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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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”.
- 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!
- 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.