Recess!
(2022)

Instrumentation:

1.1.0.0.  2.2.2.1. (timp.+3 perc.) strings

Percussion 1: Snare Drum, Bass Drum

Percussion 2: Glockenspiel, Tubular Bells

Percussion 3: Xylophone, Bass Drum, Vibraphone

Duration: 4'

Commissioned by the Ministry of Education (Singapore), Recess! is written for an orchestra of youths. I began thinking about this piece by putting myself in the shoes of a young person, imagining how it is like spending a day at school. I quickly concluded that the recess would be my favourite period. Through the music, I reminisced how youngsters might be excitedly marching to the canteen, queuing up at one’s favourite stall, and gobbling up all the food quick enough to play a game or two with friends before the bell rang.

This precious pocket of free time in a school day might be filled with fun and laughter: playing old school kampung games out in the field, goli (marbles) on the cemented ground, zero point with rubber bands intricately strung together, feeding fishes and turtles at the school pond, plucking little wildflowers from the grass patches, and many more new and modern-day entertainment. But of course, one could also be peacefully reading a book under the shade of a fully-grown Rain Tree, or furiously attempting to win a last round of chess at the canteen table. I thought perhaps the recess would represent some of the most memorable youthful moments of our lives as we grow up, all too quickly.