\very/ specifically vague (2017)

Commission: Transient Canvas

Instrumentation: bass clarinet and marimba

Duration: 7 minutes

Program Information:
“very specifically vague” was an observation describing the usage of Singlish in an
r/Singapore discussion. In the work, I had the two protagonists (bass clarinet and
marimba) “speak” in a roundabout, specifically-vague way similar to that in Singlish.
Here’s a sample of Singlish’s very specifically-vagueness:
A: “Eh, lunch eat where ah?”
B: “Why not go to that place… the one behind the building…”
A: “Oh… The one next to the big tree, left hand side is alley one ah?”
B: “Think so lah. Opposite is the small park one correct?”

Premiere: March 3 2017 | Transient Canvas | Providence RI

Performances: March 4 2017 | Transient Canvas | Third Life Studio / Somerville MA
May 29 2017 | Transient Canvas | Chiesa di Santa Maria di Maddalena / Alba, Italy
November 14 2017 | Transient Canvas | Ross Art Museum / Delaware OH
November 19 2017 | Transient Canvas | Toledo Museum of Art / Toledo OH
November 19 2017 | Transient Canvas | Stocker Arts Center / Elyria OH
February 16 2018 | Transient Canvas | Vernon Salon Series / Oakland CA
June 30 2018 | Transient Canvas | The Record Company / Boston MA
February 29 2020 | Transient Canvas | Imagine Art / Austin TX

March 20 2020 | Transient Canvas | Appletree Books / Cleveland Heights OH
April 02 2020 | Transient Canvas | Olson Performing Arts Center / Kansas City MO
April 03 2020 | Transient Canvas | The Hammert Building / Eudora KS
April 08 2020 | Transient Canvas | Ruth Grant Recital Hall / St Cloud MN
April 10 2020 | Transient Canvas | Harper Hall / Appleton WI

 

Reviews:
“The inventive compositions range from the austerely lyrical title track, by Stefanie Lubkowski, to the dancing, start-stop motion of Emily Koh’s “\very/ specifically vague.”
David Wieninger, The Boston Globe

“\very/ specifically vague shifts to linguistic terrain, as Singaporean composer Emily Koh creates a musical analogue to Singlish, Singapore’s English-based creole. The tile, describing Singlish’s characteristic roundabout quality, is borrowed from a Reddit forum.”
Sasha Margolis, Chamber Music America

“Emily Koh’s \Very/ Specifically Vaugue is inspired by from [sic] Singaporean English patois, Advocat’s precise trills and the occasional upward flare contrasting with Sharrock’s anchoring accents and ripples.”
Lucid Culture