reperio (2022)

 Commission: Clare Longendyke

Instrumentation: piano

Duration: 8 minutes

Program Information: reperiō is a musical exploration of the ideas of discovery and invention. The work explores the piano’s many modes of resonance, from sharp attacks on the keyboard to more percussive effects that result from the muting of strings inside the instrument. The idea of tension/release is evoked as the music passes from the instrument’s lyrical, sustaining sounds to a harsh, muted and percussive approach.

‘Reperio’ is derived from the Latin verb “reperire” meaning “to find, learn, realize, discover, and invent,” encapsulating the essence of the work—the pianist is challenged to invent new ways of voicing the instrument, navigating the dynamic range of the piano while utilizing the full range of resonance to highlight the music’s stark contrasts in sound.

The concept behind reperiō was to use the music as a vehicle to express what I have observed to be the silencing of Asian and Asian-American women in America. The very loud, piercing sounds in the piano’s highest register evoke muted screaming, present but unheard. Those sounds gradually become swallowed within the thickening texture, but reemerge as the muted texture overtakes the entire soundworld. Thereafter, a coexistence and new understanding between the different sections of the piece is discovered and the music regains a sense of, albeit tense, relief. 

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ekoh unheard cover