Dai Fujikura's third release on his Minabel imprint, Mirrors, is devoted to performances of four symphonic works that were programmed and recorded in a portrait concert of his music in his native Japan, at Tokyo's famed Suntory Hall in 2012. Performed by the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Tatsuya Shimono and edited and mixed by Fujikura himself, this release is a unique opportunity to hear an orchestra focused exclusively on one living composer's music in versions that reﬂect the composer's explicit wishes for how the ensemble should be balanced and what elements are primary in the score.
"Tocar y Luchar" was written on the occasion of the 30th birthday of the Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel and the 36th anniversary of the ground breaking Venezuelan education program, "El Sistema." Dudamel conducted the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra in the work's premiere. Fujikura researched "El Sistema" while composing the piece, becoming interested in how the children in the program came from different backgrounds but acted as one entity when they worked together. As he often does in his work, Fujikura drew an analogy with a natural phenomenon, seeing the children as a "swarm," like birds or ﬁsh. Inspired by this environmental paradigm, the work ﬂows as one large phrase that is made up of small components swarming together to form a whole.
The material from the "Bassoon Concerto" is based on music from Fujikura's solo bassoon piece, "Calling" (heard on Rebekah Heller's TUNDRA imprint release, 100 Names TUN001). The orchestra functions as a magniﬁcation of dense multiphonics on the bassoon, creating prismatic harmonies. "Mirrors", commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, is written for a cello section alone. Fujikura became interested in creating a "mirror" relationship between plucked pizzicato and bowed arco sounds, and this relationship gradually distorts through the piece, creating the sonic equivalent of a "hall of mirrors." "Atom" takes a solitary repeated staccato note as its genesis, with Fujikura drawing on processes honed in the electronic music studio to guide the development of the work.
In all four works on "Mirrors", we hear Fujikura experimenting with ways of using the ensemble and of generating material. Whether he is drawing inspiration from the collective model of "El Sistema" or tinkering with the most fundamental components of sound, Dai Fujikura is constantly searching for fresh approaches to instrumental writing and formal organization, and this recording is a vital document of his journey.
released August 7, 2014
All tracks produced by Dai Fujikura.
Recorded by Takeshi Muramatsu at Octavia Records Inc. /Tokyo, 2012
Assistant Engineers: Keiji Ono, Masashi Minakawa
Mixed & Digital Edited by Dai Fujikura at Minabel studio / London, 2012-2013
Mastered by Andreas Meyer of Meyer Media LLC
I don't need every Kronos performance to be one that shakes me to my essence, but I do always want them to be interesting. Kronos has been my gateway to discovering a lot of composers I never knew of before, so this one is worth checking out. Richard Weems