- commissioned by Regina Schaffer
Déjà, scored for two pianos, four pianists, explores two unique and mystical human sensations: déjà vu (“already seen”) and déjà rêvé (“already dreamed”). Nearly all of us have had the feeling that we’ve experienced something before, whether it was an image, sound, or some combination of both. This eerie feeling has caused many to believe that our brains have a built-in system of clairvoyance or that the fabric of space and time is not always what it seems.
The first movement echoes this experience through the use of repetitive patterns, creating a literal sense of “hearing it before.” The end of the movement features a very specific musical reference that may cause a real sensation of déjà vu. (Hint: the quotation is a famous chord taken from a song written by four equally famous Liverpool lads).
In the second movement, Déjà Rêvé, the four pianists weave together independent layers into a dream-like series of waves. Here, the repeated patterns are less regular and clear, similar to how we experience the seemingly random discarding of the day’s sights and sounds via dreaming. Déjà concludes with a question that awakens the power of our subconscious: is the future determined by our past dreams?