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Ji Liu plays his own improvisation of Rachmaninov and, Ed Sheeran!

Classic FM, March 1st, 2018


"Rachmaninov was a great Russian pianist and composer of the 20th century, Ed Sheeran is one of the 21st century’s best-selling artist.


But it turns out Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini goes perfectly with Ed Sheeran’s ‘Perfect’.


The brilliant young pianist Ji Liu created his own mash-up of the two works. And amazingly, these two famous melodies work really well together.


Both Ji Liu and Ed Sheeran are nominated for a Global Award – you can watch the whole ceremony live from the Eventim Hammersmith Apollo tonight from 7.30pm right here."

Some personal thoughts from Ji Liu regarding this improvisation he did for Ed’s Perfect with Rachmaninoff Paganini Rhapsody ahead to the Global Awards, these two pieces matches each other like gloves:

"I am always fascinated by how composers could communicate with each other beyond time, space genre and boundaries. To Liszt's beautiful transcriptions on Schubert's or Schumann's lieders, I see them as the homages and dialogue from one great musician to the other great musician, not to mention Rachmaninoff's transcription on Paganini's 24th Capriccio and many other great transcriptions. Therefore, to be a classical pianist of the 21st century myself and to manage to improvisationally translate the musical language of Ed's Perfect on piano with Rachmaninoff and Paganini's approach, is also my tribute to these great musicians from different ages, genres and nations. The music in this particular song transcription and the snow bring me some nostalgic feel to my playing here as well as to the way how I deconstruct all these musical materials.

The inspiration comes from one moment of my recent preparation of the Rach Pag, and I developed a secret and intimate band between these two pieces both melodically and harmonically. Then, I tried to juxtapose Perfect's melody in the left hand and Rach's line in the right one - faithfully quoted from both pieces without changing one single note. Surprisingly, this montage-like effect worked rather nicely; then I blended them a bit more as things developed.

I hope you enjoy this little improvisation!"