To celebrate this years Piano Day we asked the whole of Spitfire to send through their favourite piano pieces. Listen through to the full playlist below.
A piece of such beauty and intensity, it has been my favourite piano work and possibly my favourite piece of music altogether, since 1983 when I first heard it at the age of 11. It is a masterpiece of colour and descriptive composition that exists on the summit of the giant mountain of ambition, that I know I will only ever reach the foothills of, and yet, I keep gazing up there and thinking ‘one day… maybe!’.
This is one of those songs that oozes familiarity - it naturally soundtracks whatever it accompanies with very little effort. You might not expect such a gem from the IDM grandmaster, but alas, like most of the best electronic music producers, once you peel away the layers of sonic complexity in their normal works you arrive at a melodic genius who’s probably a lot better than you are at the piano.
My Grandfather was a very quiet man and a fantastic pianist. He had piles of sheet music scattered on his Bechstein grand with countless pencilled notes scribbled all over the pages. As a child, I would wait until everyone had left the house and then try to play the pieces he’d been learning, and this was one of them. I remember spending an entire summer holiday learning the first four bars to impress him, only for him to suggest a different finger technique! I took it as a mini-compliment.
Erik Satie is the godfather of minimalism without him you wouldn’t get Riley, Glass, Reich, Adams and Part. This piece has a haunting quality that I adore and at the time a harmonic language that would befit a massive Absinthe-head who insisted on never using bar lines and writing everything in red ink!
I am going say Ray Manzarek’s fender rhodes work on the song ‘Riders On The Storm’ by The Doors. I love how he takes so many different influences, from classical music to jazz! The solo is insane, rhythmically very interesting and the phrasing is incredibly tasteful. At the same time keeps the whole band going, as he plays a fender rhodes bass with his left hand. Besides that, this song was the reason why I didn’t give up piano playing as a kid.