Our 6 favourite piano pieces about “stars”

As we love stars, we decided to do a search for piano music inspired by songs about stars, and music that sounds as if the stars are singing while they twinkle.

We found more than a few …

And these are 6 favourites:

  1. Here the stars are not only twinkling but filled with energies, revolving, dancing and exploding … go for it: Scriabin’s Vers la flamme (with Horowitz) that is almost audibly about a star spinning and exploding on itself.
  2. Well, the Moon is the star that is nearest to us … and we cannot not mention Debussy’s iconic and intoxicating Clair de lune (“moonlight”) from his Suite Bergamasque (difficult to decide which interpretation to choose but here’s Gulda’s) – explicitly inspired by Verlaine’s poetry that speaks of songs blending with the moonlight, birds in the trees dreaming, and fountains sobbing with ecstasy.
  3. We and many like us love Franck’s Prelude, Fugue & Variation (here with the great Jorg Demus) (though there is a brilliant performance on the St Sulpice organ in Paris by Xaver Varnus) where the stepwise motifs almost suggests going up and down the heavenly ladder while plucking stars.
  4. Japanese composer Takashi Yoshimatsu’s To a disappeared pleiade. He wrote many dreamy, colourful and whimsical pleiade dances too; pleiades being some of the nearest star clusters to Earth.  These compositions “take [their] material from the seven colours of the rainbow, the seven pitches of church modes, and seven metrical units ranging from three to nine beats”.
  5. And a 4-hand piece too: the second piece from Messiaen’s 7-piece suite, Visions de l’Amen, named Amen des étoiles, de la planète à l’anneau (or “Amen of the stars, from the planets to the ring”).  Seriously!
  6. Finally, we give you Medtner’s Op.1, no.1 (here with Geoffrey Tozer), which was composed to a Lermontev poem named “The Angel”, starting with the words “An angel was flying through the midnight sky, singing softly; and the moon, and the stars, and the clouds in a throng hearkened to that holy song.”

Finally: we “stretch” meanings a little and give you Franz Liszt’s transcription of Richard Wagner’s Recitative & Romance “Evening Star’ from his opera Tannhäuser.   

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