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Watercolor Smudge [번짐수채화]

Instrumentation | orchestra

Year | 2021

Duration | 6' 30"

Premiere | commissioned and premiered by the Korean Symphony Orchestra

Link for Score Purchase

Note | I used to go to a small art institute in Korea as a kid, and I remember creating my first watercolor painting. To my surprise, watercolor turned out to be unforgiving and unpredictable. If I tried to fix a mistake I had made, it would only make things worse. As I dabbed it over and over, sometimes my canvas would get so wet to the point where it started peeling. This memory captures how I feel in my bad days. When things aren't going as I want, and I try and fix it only to feel worse at the end. Just one negative moment is enough to smudge over everything good that happens on the same day, like a watercolor painting with a simple yet fatal mistake. 


The piece begins with two simple harmonies that repeat. Soon after, random or wrong harmonies are overlayed on top which interrupt the piece as if they are tainting the perfect view. Throughout the piece, I try to get familiar with the idea of smudging and blending and using it as a technique rather than seeing it as an interruption or obstacle. The Harp cadenza marks the release of this tension as the passage blends everything without fear which unlocks bigger gestures that occur consecutively.

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