Moon Bunny (2020)
Commissioned as one of the winners of the DeGaetano Institute of the Orchestra of St. Luke's, Moon Bunny is a piece inspired by the ideas of Bach's Musical Offering. In his piece, Bach takes materials and motifs to generate musical puzzles in a piece as an offering to the king.
When I heard the news that my sister was planning to get married this year, I immediately wanted to dedicate a piece to her. After pondering over this idea, it soon became apparent to me that referencing the Korean folk song "Half Moon" would be the perfect fit—as American children sing the nursery rhyme "pattycake," Korean children sing the folk song "Half Moon" when playing a similar clapping game. This was a song my sister and I sang, always in unison, ever since we were very small. Referencing back to our childhood together seemed appropriate in such a monumental time in her life, allowing the both of us to touch back onto something so deeply rooted and fundamental yet simultaneously needing a reminder of its existence and gravity.
To emulate Bach's ideas in his musical offering, I took a few melodic themes from the folk song and twisted it into several different textures and colors. While the original source material is simple and catchy, Moon Bunny
transforms these easy-going lines into something larger, tangled, and ultimately, different. In retrospect, I suppose this piece brings forth an apt analogy of our two lives—first taking shape together with a simple tune sung in unison, then gradually evolving into more complicated entities that are unique but undoubtedly connected.
In 1747, Bach presented his piece as an offering to the king. In 2020, I present my offering to my beloved sister.
– Nicky Sohn