Singaporean Fantasy

Written at the request of talented young Singaporean pianist Nabillah Jalal, this short ‘pedagogical study’ arose from her search for a piece of music that ‘bears a country or city’s name in the title’.

Apart from taking inspiration from life events and people, the work is also inspired by ‘Rojak’, a form of Singaporean salad, generally including a mix of fried dough, radish, pineapples, apples, pears, cucumbers, sweet sauce etc.etc.etc. Based on a traditional song titled ‘Di Tanjung Katong’ (mistakenly thought by many of my generation to be an ‘authentic’ Singaporean folksong), the song is put through a series of transformations. Ahmad Patek composed the original song and it is hoped that his good (and unknown) work will be recognized with the inclusion of his name in this piece.

This piece is a strange paradox – it is neither a ‘theme and variations’ nor a ‘fantasy’ in the traditional sense. Containing elements and styles inspired by both classical and pop traditions, the work perhaps defies classification as being neither ‘classical’ nor ‘pop’ as well. Hopefully this work will not cause too much of a riot in the concert hall or jazz pubs. Just like there is something for everyone on a plate of Rojak, it is hoped that this piece will have something that everyone will enjoy.

This work will be premiered by Nabillah Jalal on 10 March 2013 at the Royal College of Music (UK) as part of “Around the World on 88 Keys – Piano Music From Around the World”, a festival featuring international keyboard music.

Albert Tay

4 March 2013

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