Familiar song form: classical-pop crossover in the piano bar 

Familiar song form: classical-pop crossover in the piano bar

The cliché of the egocentric composer who hangs over his sheet music in a quiet chamber, kissed by the muse and creating a new, unique masterpiece, persists to this day. What this image fails to mention, however, is that adaptations and variations of original and third-party compositions were also widespread in Bach's and Mozart's day.

For me, this is an essential core of making music: to exchange ideas, to enter into a dialogue. Besides composing my own pieces, I take great pleasure in writing arrangements of classical melodies or many a folk song.

My new release, the series Piano Classicsbrings together two spheres that, at first glance, have little in common: classical works from the Renaissance and Baroque periods and bar music. A classical-pop crossover, so to speak.

Song form and variation in music history

Let's go back in the history of music once again. Variation works and songs are among the oldest forms of music. The special thing is: songs connect all times - from Renaissance and Baroque to contemporary pop music. Music lives from the exchange and modification of existing motifs, it lives from the interrelation between form and opening. Variations shaped the practice of the old classical masters as well as that of musicians in blues and jazz and the remix culture in pop music.

The song form with its repetitive elements is firmly anchored in our culture; its simple structure and catchy melodies shape our listening habits from an early age.

Classical-Pop-Crossover: Bach, Rameau and Telemann in the Pianobar

In my career as a pianist, I have played my way through a diverse spectrum of classical piano literature and enriched my repertoire over the years with very different works by classical composers. This repertoire forms the starting point for my selection of arrangements of Piano Classics. Thus, although the song form is in the foreground here, not all pieces, which are based on Piano Classicsappear were composed by their original authors in the song form. Thus, some of the melodies also come from larger works, from whose context I have extracted them.

Piano Classics 1 already appeared in 2014 as CD. With this re-release you can now look forward to an especially good recording quality in High-Resolution Audio. The compilation includes arrangements by Johann Pachelbel, François Couperin, Georg Philipp Telemann and others. Some pieces are slightly altered, some quite considerably. For example, the song "Die Muse küsst zartbitter", an arrangement of Couperin's "La muse platine".

Piano Classics 2 then continues the classical-pop crossover in chronological order. Included are melodies by Jean-Philippe Rameau, J. S. Bach, George Frideric Handel and Domenico Scarlatti, among others.

By the way, you can also find some of the originals to the arrangements in my classical music series Living sound world listen

Music goes through the stomach

I usually play the pieces at the main dinner time in the piano bar of the Excelsior Hotel Ernst in Cologne. And the Piano Classics are also well received at the Piano Brunch. Although the original pieces are not familiar to most listeners, their translation into song form creates an atmosphere that is familiar and unobtrusively creates an ideal space for food and stimulating conversation.

Even classical concertgoers are usually more familiar with the orchestral pieces of the old masters and less with pieces from the piano literature. An exception is the song "Bach.a.rach", to be found on Piano Classics 2. This is an arrangement of the first minuet in G major from the little music book for Anna Magdalena Bach - a piece that almost everyone who has learned to play the piano has practiced at some point.

The most reactions can probably be caught during the "Country Shuffle March". This is not only reflected in many a rhythmic movement of the guests, even those present who merely walk past the piano bar run elatedly.

New releases in March and April

Piano Classics 1 will be released as a digital re-release in High-Resolution Audio on March 18, 2022. The initial release of Piano Classics 2 follows next month on 08.04.2022.

You can listen to both compilations on the most popular streaming platforms: 

Piano Classics 1 

Piano Classics 2

A continuation of the Piano Classics-series is planned, by the way. A little foretaste: Haydn, Schubert and Mendelssohn are some of the familiar names you will hear on Piano Classics 3 will find. With further arrangements of romantic pieces (including Grieg, Schumann and Chopin) also closes Piano Classics 4 chronologically to the series.

Stay healthy - and maybe see you at the Pianobar sometime soon.

Marcus Sukiennik

Album Cover Piano Classics 1

New releases in the month of March and April

  • Piano Classics 1 & 2 appear on the popular streaming portals
  • YouTube release video
  • Learning video (on the hands view)
  • Piano sheet music printed as music album (Piano Classics 1) and as PDF (both albums) in my store 
  • Leadsheet C part - melody with chord symbols - printed (Piano Classics 1) and as PDF (both albums)