MORROW - 2022 - 6’
For TouchKeys Keyboard
Premiered by Willinger Duo in May of 2023.
MORROW was commissioned by Zubin Kanga with the support of a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship and Royal Holloway, University of London. It was premiered by Zubin Kanga on the 21st of April 2023 at Rich Mix in London.
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Upcoming British composer Robin Haigh's new piece MORROW exploited a new kind of keyboard, equipped with TouchKeys sensors, which allowed Kanga's minutest touch to vary the speed and microtonal inflections at which he played back repeated sampled piano sounds. Haigh based his composition in a traditional and deeply romantic harmonic language, but this was continually undermined by the echoing delays and subtly detuned elements, fully exploiting the range of speeds the sensors allowed to achieve a variety of polyrhythmic effects. Kanga delivered this performance with great sensitivity, allowing the beautifully resonant harmonies all the space they needed to create an expressive and delicate tracery of sounds.
- Planet Hugill
Robin Haigh's "MORROW" is full of simple melodic gestures and chordal ambiguities, wrapped in the 21st-century metamodern sentiment. It is produced by the expressive capabilities of a TouchKeys keyboard, creating an undeniable sense of melancholia and a longing for the harmony of the romantic composers.
Despite being entirely mechanical, the piano has a reputation as an instrument well suited to expressive, “human” performances. Keyboard players do not physically touch the sound-making part of the instrument, and therefore our understanding of their expressivity comes through their tiny variations in volume and rhythm.
In writing MORROW, I was given the chance to rethink this. I was asked to write for a new sort of piano, a keyboard upon which the performer’s minutest touch can directly influence the sound, via an array of TouchKeys sensors.
I chose to use this opportunity to have the fingers’ positions minutely control both volume and rhythm - those elements of pianism deemed so crucial for expressivity. A piano for the future, excessively enhanced and reconfigured, playing a sort of sad ballade.
- Robin Haigh