playing Traumerei

I was trying to video taped myself playing a classical piece by Schumann,  Traumerei, tonight. But knowing that  a camera is pointing at me, I just cannot relax and dont play like my normal self.. Suddenly mind becomes blank, and there is quite a bit of hesitations at the later part.

But since I normally don’t re tape, I will just post it for your listening pleasure. This piece is also called “dreaming”, a very moving piece which unfortunately, I have not been able to really captured the feeling. Considering that I am a self taught piano player, learning from from books and a computer program without any formal lessons from piano teacher, please do not be too critical, especially this is a grade 7-8 piece.

Best to listen softly, with one third volume as the grand piano is very loud, and even the video camera’s speaker is buzzing because of the resonance..


25 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. monsterball
    Sep 01, 2008 @ 23:51:40

    That is a very nice piece I heard from my father’s dozen’s of “His Master’s Voice”…with the famous dog listening… to the gramophone logo…..long play records..when I was a child. He loved classical music…but I would fall asleep listening few minutes.
    I still do fall asleep now. I just got up from few hours sleep and listening to you piece…I am yawning again….not that you play lousy or good..but simply classic music….make me sleepy.
    You avoided responding to the previous post of important medical question…I put out.
    Here you are….releasing your stress…….thinking……..”What am I going to do with troublesome…monsterball”
    If not….that’s good news.


  2. monsterball
    Sep 02, 2008 @ 06:42:31

    Good Morning Doc and all!!
    It is 14 days and counting to 16th September!!


  3. monsterball
    Sep 02, 2008 @ 07:48:54

    I listen to the piano again….now feeling sleepy.
    Got to have 44 winks.
    Doc is great!!……hahahahahahaha


  4. Justin Choo
    Sep 02, 2008 @ 11:09:23

    Dr Hsu,

    What a tactical manoeuvre in blogging!!
    When the battle scene seems hopeless and a waste of time, with no more action, a stalemate, it is best to abandon (not retreat) the scene and diffuse the enemy. Set up another attack in another battle field!!

    I never know the names of even the most popular classics, but when I hear one I can always feel nostagic of having been there but not quite knowing where.

    Classical music was subtly and unconsciously introduced (or was it indoctrinated) to me through the Rediffusion each morning sharp at 6 AM. way back in the 60s. Did you know about this Dr Hsu?
    It was the most miserable time of day (or morning) when one was rudely woken up to prepare for school. I hated those eerie whining haunted sound!! Only after many many years while growing up that I realized what I heard was not haunted noises, but brilliant musical works of geniuses!! You see, give real gold to a fool, he will think it’s worthless stone!!

    Your piece, I never know the name until now, also bring back nostalgic reminiscene of drama programmes played in the Rediffusion in the 60s. I used to listen to drama series in Hokkien; and whenever there were sad scenes, the sound of Schumann’s Traumerei would be played. (Hurray! Now I know; only now I can say I belong to the same class as Dr Hsu!!)

    Another piece is Fer Elisse (or something like that, Dr please correct). This brings back happy memories when my daughter was learning her first pieces!

    A few weeks ago while watching CCTV I was telling my wife that I like to learn the “Dong Xiao” because of its “haunting” and basal sound. Do you have any advice for me? I think it should be affordable and looks like not too difficult to learn.


  5. dave
    Sep 02, 2008 @ 12:22:05

    Hi Dr Hsu,

    You played the piece rather beautifully. Very soft and tender. Time kinda moved slowly with every note. Would love to hear more of your pieces. 🙂



  6. Dr Hsu
    Sep 02, 2008 @ 13:08:50

    dave, thanks and grateful that you like my interpretation. Classical music is all about interpretation.

    Justin, my first muscial instrument was the chinese bammboo flute, or what you called “Dong Xiao”. It produces beautiful sounds. Not too difficult to learn, but like all instrument, it takes time to master it.
    I like the melancholy sound of Dong Xiao.

    What you mean is beethoven’s “Fur Elise” which I can play quite well. This music is almost ubiquitous, in every nook and corner, in all music boxes, even christmas cards nowadys.
    the other time when I posted Moon light sonata, it was all because of the situation then. The first 3 notes of Moonlight sonata is “SO Do Me”.

    This time, this song, Traumerei, is dreaming. Just like Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream”, I have a dream, too. A dream to see all malaysians living peacefully in a color blind society, where merits will be rewarded but poor and less fortunate will be looked after, where every cents spent will be accountable, and where the leaders think of the people as if they are their own “children”. But sadly , this dream is not easy to realise, and hence posting this music, traumerei.


  7. A true Malaysian
    Sep 02, 2008 @ 21:53:11

    Dr. Hsu,

    I too having the same dream, not only for me but for my children and our future generation as well.

    Just ask ourselves, if we can make our country a heaven why should we live in hell?

    If everyone is of the same thinking like you and me, then, a dream is not a dream.


  8. Justin Choo
    Sep 02, 2008 @ 23:16:35

    Dr Hsu,

    Perhaps you can tape a piece with your Dong Xioa. This will give me more impetus to learn to play. Any advice for me to start with?


  9. monsterball
    Sep 03, 2008 @ 04:40:09

    Start preparing your eight fingers and two thumps..use to cramps and great pain……by stretching them .as far wide as possible.
    Once you pass that stage….then you can play the piano like Doc…..hahahahahahaha
    I am not joking…JUSTIN…get your 8 fingers and 2 thumps…muscles loosen.


  10. monsterball
    Sep 03, 2008 @ 04:48:59

    And Doc has long fingers..a must for piano playing.
    You and I ….better stick to guitar playing.
    At least they have guitars that suit small men of Asia.
    And if you can play like Eric Clapton….why hotel lobby is best to show off…with a bribe of few ringgit…and get back 10 times more tips ..filled in a huge brandy glass….by satisfied customers.
    No small money out…..not big money come…………..hahahahahahaha
    But be prepared to get…boos and woos…with half eaten sandwiches thrown at you……….hahahahahaha


  11. monsterball
    Sep 03, 2008 @ 06:02:17

    Good Morning Doc …Justin…Romerz..True Malaysian and all.
    This is the most peaceful site in Doc’s blog.
    Yes….Anwar was right…business is so bad…I had to borrow to pay all office expenses….for the first time….in many months.
    Just to break even is so hard.
    I walked at shopping complex……no one buying…just window shopping.
    Cinema goers are getting popular again.
    I see young couples going back to basic…entertainments.
    Went to eating shop…for dinner…almost all are empty…and I am talking about the non muslim eating shops.
    Usually..puasa time…hotel coffee houses are packed with muslims…’puka puasa’….like throwing a party. I wonder how is this year.


  12. nikki
    Sep 03, 2008 @ 12:26:19

    Dr Hsu,

    Thank you. A commendable effort from a self taught pianist!

    Recently I bought a DVD that featured the Chinese pianist Lang Lang and saw him perform and I was totally blown away. If you have a chance you must listen to this pianist.

    Lets pray that our dreams for this great country comes through specially for the future generations. Martin Luther King Jr, if he is still alive, will certainly be very pleased to see the possibilty of a black American ascending to the country’s highest office. His dream of racial harmony is slowly but surely taking shape.


  13. Dr Hsu
    Sep 03, 2008 @ 15:08:05

    nikki, Lang Lang is very good. But another Chinese player who is equally good if not bettr is Yundi Li. He won the 2000 Chopin International comeptition.

    You can in fact see all these performances free of charge over youtube. Just search by typing in Yndi Li or Lang Lang.


  14. Dr Hsu
    Sep 03, 2008 @ 16:11:49

    Justin, sorry. I have not been using a DOng Xiao for quite some time. I dont even know where i have put it. I have found a few “Ti’, the bamboo flute hat is played horizontally, but I cannot find the DOng xiao which is played vertically.


  15. Justin Choo
    Sep 03, 2008 @ 22:54:07

    Dr Hsu,

    I tried the horizontal one when a student, but could not get anywhere. It was difficult. I think the Dong Xiao is easier. Am I correct.


  16. Dr Hsu
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 09:22:50

    Justin, the actual Dong Xiao with only 5 holes are more difficult to play than the “Ti: with 6 holes.

    The difficulty is in controlling the flow of air through your lips.

    I have not played for a long time. But for “Ti”, it is much easier, and I think i can still play it , though no where near the standards of the professionals.

    Harmonica would be a nice one too. One of my friends, Chong , In KL was the former World Champion in HArmonica, and he can produce such lovely music from his harmonica that no one would beleive unless you happen to listen to it.


  17. Justin Choo
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 15:26:14

    Dr Hsu,

    I tried harmonica, but also went no where.

    Is “ti” in Hokkien “pin na”?

    Life is not very pleasant when one is just very average, but want to do above average feats.



  18. Dr Hsu
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 15:45:57

    Justin, Ti in Hokkien is called Tec. The one you played horizonatlly.

    Everyone of us is average in some aspects , and above average in other aspects.

    Like you, your philosophical view is above average. I may be above average in something, bt i maybe below average in others.

    This is life and that is what makes life interesting.

    Confucious said: out of 3 persons walking past, there is at least 3 teachers. Meaning that you can always learn something from another person, even if that person does not look to be educated, he can still teach us things.

    that is why Confucious is so great. He is so humble.


  19. A true Malaysian
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 16:55:03

    Dr. Hsu,

    I agreed, Justin’s philosophical view is above average. I found clarity in his explanation in his blog, LIFE IS LIKE THAT.

    A simple guide to have a reasonably good quality life is just ‘BEING SIMPLE & HUMBLE’.


  20. Justin Choo
    Sep 04, 2008 @ 17:07:12

    Dr Hsu,
    What more can I say??!!


  21. monsterball
    Sep 05, 2008 @ 02:50:44

    Just bang the drums and be done with it.
    Not everyone are born with special gifts.
    Doc have music talents….Justin…rockin & rollin… not there…a half way talent fr music.
    ME??….can listen…..can judge…but cannot play.
    The call it…….born with a pair of sharp ears for music…………..hahahahahaha
    Once a Korean magnetic tape manufacturer… tested my ears…by asking me to listen to a music piece..taped to few magnetic tapes and ask me to identify…which tape was the best quality.
    I listened…and hit it on. They were stunt!
    That were the good old days…..where I master mid range and natural sound.


  22. monsterball
    Sep 05, 2008 @ 02:59:43

    But for classical music…..drums are not allowed??
    Is Tec…the instrument I used to see kungfu fighting movie….a man playing it…then…it turned into a deadly weapon?
    Many Kings love to hear their concubines play that instrument?
    Yes….I bought a cheap one..tried it…like playing the guitar…it works…yet does not sound right. Gave up.


  23. monsterball
    Sep 05, 2008 @ 03:05:59

    Now I like the famous Chinese..12 girls band….playing with …all Chinese original musical instruments….all so sexy…all available……and if one got hooked….replaced by another sexy single…touring non stop in USA.


  24. nikki
    Sep 05, 2008 @ 21:42:21

    Hi Dr Hsu,

    What a revelation it was to see so many talents showcased in You Tube! And the good thing is… its free!! Thank you.

    Yundi Li …. wow, I am lost for words….he is just amazing. Listening to his sublime interpretation of Chopin pieces I got goose pimples !

    I know what my next CD purchase will be… Lang Lang and Yundi Li. Way to go China!


  25. Dr Hsu
    Sep 06, 2008 @ 00:00:33

    nikki, youtube is the wonder of the IT world.

    There is another very good pianist you sure will like. He was Vladimir Horowitz, considered the best pianist in the later part of 20th century. Of course he is dead now, but you can see in youtube his performances even when he was 80 over years old.

    Just type Vladimir Horowitz. Try his Traumerei, which moved people to tears in his MOscow performance.


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