Search was commissioned by the Young People’s Chorus of New York City for the Radio Radiance program. The text was assembled by the composer from the suggestions Google makes when one types a question word into a search bar. In the piece, various characters emerge, at times curious, desperate and contemplative. Someone wonders why certain things are the way they are (“Why are barns red?”); someone is frustrated with technology (“How do I unlock my iPhone?”); someone asks how to eat different kinds of food (“How do I open a coconut?”); there is a hypochondriac (How do I get jaundice?”); and there is someone asking about love (“How do you know if you love someone?”)…The questions are layered contrapuntally in the first movement (Curiosity). Three different kinds of music are layered on top of one another in the second movement (Desperation), creating a polytonal effect. In this movement, the choir may be divided physically and may be panned on the radio into two different speakers. The close harmonies in this movement are meant to evoke music that might have been heard on the radio in the 1930’s. The third movement (Contemplation) is homophonic.
I am grateful to Francisco Nuñez for the opportunity to write for The Young People’s Chorus of New York City, and this piece is dedicated to him and the members of the chorus.