Toccata on ‘Singapura, oh Singapura’
Duration: 4’ 5”
Based on a Malay song, the song ‘Singapura, Oh, Singapura’ is an idealistic portrait of the country rendered in music and words. The opening notes of the piece hint at the opening notes of the song, which appear very frequently throughout. Passages of chords in the manuals are then stretched over the unadorned melody line in the pedal, with a loud and exuberant registration that reflects the sunshine and the blooming flowers mentioned in the lyrics. A brief interlude of a contrasting section, rendered in softer stops and with the melody set in a choral style, reflects the ‘chorus’ referenced in the text, before reverting to the sparkling timbre of the opening. The piece then closes, not gloriously as expected, but quietly, opting ultimately for a moment of contemplation on all that has been mentioned before.
(Synopsis taken from the programme notes of the premiere performance)
This piece received its Singapore premiere in August 2015 at the Victoria Concert Hall, and its American premiere in February 2016 at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, MD. In both cases, the composer gave the premiere.