Premiered on September 17, 2021 at Nieuwe Kerk, The Hague
Live recording on 30th, September 2021 at Concert Hall, Seoul Arts Center
In 2020, pianist Yeol Eum Son was selected as an Artist-in-residence for Residentie Orkest Den Haag, an orchestra based in The Hague, Netherlands. During her Dutch schedule, four concerts and one recital were scheduled. This piece is dedicated to the pianist to celebrate her debut on the Hague, which is the same city I studied and lived in for 5 years. Among her massive recital program composed of variations by composers over 200 years from Haydn, Alkang, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, to Pärt and Kapustin, the piece arrogantly denies that it is not variations-form. In fact, it’s a variations piece with the title of wordplay. The theme of the piece originated from my work for percussion ensemble <No, it's not> (2012) which was excluded from the list of works after the premiere because of the lack of quality of the composition. I tried to make use of the theme because I liked its simplicity and unique-pop style. And the poor theme had to be suffered from all kinds of transformational torture in the manuscript after many attempts over the years. Curiously, after the three keywords ‘Yeol Eum Son', 'Variations', and 'The Hague’, the compositional idea was set, this theme quickly took the form of the piece. Back to her first debut recital at the Concert Hall of Seoul Arts Center in March 2013, After finishing all programs, she played 'Snake Kiss' from William Bolcom's <Garden of Eden> as an encore. In the middle of the ragtime, there is a part where the pianist plays the rhythm between rests by tapping on the piano. Instead of tapping this rhythm alone, Yeol Eum clapped towards the audience to guide their participation. From the very next verse, the audience followed her with clapping together as one. I made a variation to hommage this special memory into the piece <No, it’s not variations>. This short and witty piece is written to make the audience laugh and enjoy the concert with a pianist. Especially for Yeol Eum Son, who likes new things as much as old ones, and who can challenge and digest any kind of music with her audience. <No, it’s not variations> was premiered on September 17, 2021, at Nieuwe Kerk, The Hague, Netherlands, and she introduced it in Korea, at Seoul Arts Center Concert Hall.