Limbo is a state which suggests uncertainty and indeterminacy, and probably a struggle between two opposing forces cast upon the subject. The subject here is the listening subject, or the listener, who is forced into the experience of limbo. However, the listener is also an intellectual who can decide and choose what to hear. This piece therefore invites the listener for a journey through limbo, torn between classical and 20th Century notions. Structured in sonata form, the music begins with a tone row which dominates throughout the music, but it is constructed in a way which not all notes are equal: certain notes are emphasized as “keynotes”. These “keynotes” shape the music within the sonata framework, putting the music in the classical formal structure despite its 20th Century gestures. Which side of the pole does the music incline itself towards? It all depends on the listener, for the listener can settle in limbo as well.
Read and premiered by Singapore Symphony Orchestra