Dai Fujikura: Mina

by Dai Fujikura

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about

Dai Fujikura’s newest Minabel Records release is named after his daughter Mina, who was born just before he began composing the title piece on the recording, written for five soloists from the International Contemporary Ensemble. Fujikura brings his sense of wonder at the birth of his child to his compositional process in several of these pieces, exploring previously unexamined territory while continuing to rely on his interest in natural phenomenon for inspiration. “Mina” begins as if in the middle of the piece, and the quick character shifts in the music reflect the rapid change of mood one finds in a newborn’s behavior. Midway through the piece, a bass flute and prepared dulcimer duo evokes a dreamlike state, inspired by Fujikura observing his daughter sleeping and wondering what she might dream about at such an early age. “Prism Spectra” for viola and electronics is designed for the violist to control a virtual orchestra, though like a small child, this orchestra does not always obey, and occasionally has a mind of its own. The solo bassoon piece “Following”, a follow up to “Calling” also written for Rebekah Heller, is inspired by the image of viewing a river from above, constantly flowing forward despite vacillations in current and terrain. At the suggestion of the dedicatee Matthew Barley, “The Spirit of Beings” for cello and electronics is inspired by “pre-life”, or the period just before birth. The movements are meant to be re-ordered in different performances, giving the piece a modular structure that suggests many permutations and creates multiple transitions between reorganized movements. Not unlike “Prism Spectra”, where the viola generates material for a virtual orchestra, in the “Recorder Concerto” the real orchestra is meant to be an augmentation of the haunting articulations of the solo instrument. “Wondrous Steps” is also directly inspired by Fujikura’s daughter, as he observes her openness to risk in the process of learning to walk and exploring new activities. The music shifts character and expression quickly, as a child would, but also contains accelerating passages evoking the build up to a new triumph, and a dream sequence that miraculously produces a more skilled child than the one who fell asleep. Fujikura describes his daughter as a “risk management expert” in how she manages new experience; luckily we can enjoy her father’s observations from a safe distance and let Mina take the chances and explore.

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released September 8, 2015

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New Focus Recordings New York, New York

New Focus Recordings is an artist led collective label featuring releases in contemporary music of many stripes, as well as new approaches to older repertoire. The label was founded by guitarist Daniel Lippel (who is the current director), composer engineer Ryan Streber, and composer Peter Gilbert in 2003-4, and features releases from many of new music's most active performers and composers. ... more

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