100 years German national anthem

100 years German national anthem

New release of my editing

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the German National Anthem, I have re-recorded my arrangement and released it today, Sept. 30, 2022, on the popular streaming platforms.

The sound is now at the very latest quality level. Enjoy it. 

Album-Cover Deutsche Nationalhymne (2022)
Album cover German national anthem (2022)

Detailed blog post

More about the German National Anthem in my detailed blog post: The German national anthem - former imperial song

The GermanNationalhmyne (2022) Release Overview

  • Audio track on popular streaming portals 
  • Learning video (on the hands view)
  • Piano sheet music in store

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)

Favourite pieces from classical and neoclassical music

Favourite pieces from classical and neoclassical music

There are these classic melodies that we encounter everywhere: in the café, as background music of a commercial, in waiting loops, as a ringtone. Catchy melodies that we never tire of hearing. From baroque catchy tunes like Bach's Prelude in C Major from the Well-Tempered Clavier to Yann Tiersen's film music for The Fabulous World of Amélie. Much played and much loved - that's what the pieces I'm releasing this fall in three new releases have in common.

This blog article today is about popular favorites, music and well-being, and catchy movie tunes. Among other things, it's about music that focuses on the piano in the classical tradition: so-called neoclassical music.

Classical music for the piano bar

When I play in the piano bar or at events, there are a handful of classical pieces that are always requested by guests. One of them is Beethoven's For Elise. To my amazement, there are also many young people who want this "oldie".

What is the fascination of these favorite pieces? On the one hand, it's their catchiness, which is recognizable, but also their emotional dimension, which lets you discover something new every time you hear them. I recently wrote an arrangement of a classic piece that fascinates me myself, which is now available as a digital release: Pachelbel's Canon in D. The piece for piano solo begins in the classical tradition, but develops into an airy, dreamy arrangement as it progresses.

Pioneers of neoclassicism

Which brings us to one of the keywords of neoclassicism: Because it often invites you to dream. With the release of my EP Beloved Piano Songs released the first single of a new series dedicated to popular tracks of the genre.

To kick things off, there are pieces from an early neoclassical milestone that continues to touch an international audience with its melancholic sounds 20 years after its release: Yann Tiersen's iconic soundtrack for The Fabulous World of Amélie. The music of the Japanese composer Joe Hisaishi, world famous for his film music to the popular anime of the production house Studio Ghibli, does something similar. For publication I have chosen and recorded his especially beautiful track Summer.

Pianist Marcus Sukiennik, classical and neoclassical music

What is neoclassicism?

The term neoclassicism was coined as a current by the music journalism of the 00s. However, it does not describe a fixed school, but rather a loose designation for a musical style that mixes elements of classical music with pop, jazz or even electronic music. The focus is clearly on a classical instrument: the piano.

Many of the neoclassical pieces are characterized by consonant harmonies and short repetitive segments of catchy melodies. It is about a very conscious reduction of compositional means. Names such as John Cage and Philip Glass, but also Eric Satie or Frédéric Chopin are therefore often mentioned as influencers.

Most neoclassical composers are also pianists. Among the best-known representatives of neoclassical music are Ludovico Einaudi, Max Richter, Nils Frahm, Ólafur Arnalds, Yann Tiersen, Jóhann Jóhannson and Yiruma. However, neoclassical music does not only include piano music; other instrumentalists are also active in this field. For example, the Icelandic cellist Hildur Guðnadóttir, whose film music for the film Joker 2019 Oscar winner, among others.

The neoclassical artists are sometimes celebrated like pop stars. Einaudi currently has 5.5 million monthly listeners on Spotify - the same number as Janet Jackson's listeners, for example.

Neoclassicism: Between Philharmonic and Pop

But why is neoclassicism now actually so popular and excites so many people? First of all, it is relatively simple. Minimalism and repetition make many neoclassical compositions catchy pieces that quickly seem familiar. They are often characterized by atmospheric sounds, they transport moods and are therefore particularly suitable as film music, among other things.

Nowadays, music is listened to even more often than in the past by many people, primarily for relaxation. In the office, during dinner, while doing housework, for example. Unobtrusive and atmospheric, neoclassical music gives you the space to perceive it pleasantly in the background or to engage with it completely and immerse yourself in it. In recent years, neoclassical artists have also been responsible for attracting new audiences to classical concert halls. It offers a new approach to people who might not otherwise have anything to do with classical music.

Incidentally, it is a fallacy that classical music was never background music during the lifetime of Beethoven and co - for it was also played at times for the amusement of the princely court. But it's also clear that neoclassical music is a genre that divides and is both celebrated and ridiculed. What do you think of neoclassical music?

New publications in autumn

My EP Classical music for the piano bar will be released on 08.10.21, the single Canon in D for Piano Solo shortly thereafter on 22 October. On 05 November the Beloved Piano Songs 1 - as always to be heard on all major music streaming portals.

Hope you all have a golden autumn and stay healthy.

Marcus Sukiennik

Album Cover EP Classic for the Piano Bar
Album Cover Canon in D
Album Cover EP Beloved Piano Songs 1

New releases autumn 2021

  • Release EP Classic for the Piano Bar on 08.10.2021
  • Release Canon in D on 22.10.2021
  • Release EP Beloved Piano Songs 1 on 05.11.2021
  • Piano sheet music Canon in D PDF in my shop