Take Five - 17 May 2009

Dimitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)
- Piano Quintet in G Minor, Op. 57
I. Prelude: Lento
II. Fugue: Adagio
III. Scherzo: Allegretto
IV. Intermezzo: Lento
V. Finale: Allegretto

Joyce Beetuan Koh (1968-)
- 'What'll we do?' for Piano Quintet (2009)
I. What'll we do?
II. waiting
III. here?
IV. Let's stop talking for a minute.

Joyce Beetuan Koh (1986-) - 'What'll we do?' for Piano Quintet (2009)

III. here?

Commissioned by Take 5 Piano Quintet
Duration: c.12 minutes

This piece what'll we do is built on an analysis of reading Samuel Beckett's play "Waiting for Godot". I am fascinated by the theatrical rhythm and non-linear dimension of the play. The work ensued is a musicalisation of these aspects: reading and interpreting, listening and determining sonic characteristics (gestural, spectral) of the personages (Vladimir and Estragon). The short excerpt (in English, 1954) is taken from Act 1, beginning with Estragon's 'Let's go' and concluding with 'Let's stop talking for a minute. Do you mind?'.

The first movement musicalises the theatrical rhythmic pulse and micro-movements expressed in rhythmic, gestural and spectral motives. The second movement articulates the material of the preceding movement in cinematic fashion, such as slow motion, speed up, play back etc. The third movement is an abstraction of key significant words/material. The last movement is a piano cadenza which encapsulates the theatrical, rhythmic intensity of Beckett's texts.

Tom Stoppard describes "the drama is stripped down to bare essentials. The play is an universal metaphor precisely because it wasn't designed as being a metaphor for anything in particular. The true subject matter of "Waiting for Godot" is that two tramps are waiting for somebody".

The texts in the score are not meant to be read aloud, rather they serve as reference/suggestion to the contour and sonic quality of words and phrases.


Lim Yan (piano), Foo Say Ming (1st violin), Lim Shue Churn (2nd violin),
Chan Yoong-han (viola), Chan Wei-shing (cello)
17 May 2009, Recital Studio, Esplanade, Singapore