Dai Fujikura: Flare

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About

London based composer Dai Fujikura launches his own imprint for recordings of his work, Minabel Records, with this first release, Flare, featuring performances from such acclaimed ensembles as the Arditti Quartet, Vox Humana, and the Goldfield Ensemble.

Audio

# Audio Title/Composer(s) Performer(s) Time
Total Time 67:05
01Flare for string quartet
Flare for string quartet
Arditti Quartet15:03
02But, I fly for 12 voices
But, I fly for 12 voices
Vox Humana9:55
03Sakana for tenor saxophone
Sakana for tenor saxophone
Masanori Oishi, tenor saxophone8:03
04Dolphins for two celli
Dolphins for two celli
Kenji Nakagi, cello, Mari Endo, cello8:35
05Halcyon for clarinet and string trio
Halcyon for clarinet and string trio
Goldfield Ensemble13:52
06Flux for viola
Flux for viola
Johanna Persson, viola5:26
07Scion Stems for string trio
Scion Stems for string trio
Zilliacus/Persson/Raitinen String Trio6:11

London based composer Dai Fujikura launches his own imprint for recordings of his work, Minabel Records, with this first release, Flare. Featuring performances from such acclaimed ensembles as the Arditti Quartet, Vox Humana, and the Goldfield Ensemble, Flare showcases several of Fujikura's chamber works, five of which were recorded live. Many of Dai Fujikura's works evolve from his keen awareness of the sonic landscape of his environment, whether it be the natural or man-made world. Miranda Jackson writes in the liner notes, "Where Fujikura does stand comparison with the sensibilities of Takemitsu, elder statesman of Westernized Japanese composers, is in his ability to depict elements of the natural world through his musical language. However, I reiterate this is not programme music, or a faithful recreation of the energy and movement of the natural world. Rather Fujikura is able to take a visual image or flight sequence from nature and idealize it in musical form." Meanwhile, it should be noted that Fujikura bristles at the label Japanese composer, preferring to immerse himself in several aesthetic schools and borrow the best from them, without finding himself defined by any in particular. In this sense, Dai Fujikura is truly an international composer with a powerfully individual voice, both in his pragmatic approach to aesthetics and in his voracious interest in expanding his artistic pallette.

Although Dai Fujikura was born in Osaka, he has now spent more than 20 years in the UK where he studied composition with Edwin Roxburgh, Daryl Runswick and George Benjamin. In London where he chooses to live with his wife and family, he has now received two BBC Proms commissions, his Double Bass Concerto was recently premiered by the London Sinfonietta and in 2013 the BBC Symphony Orchestra will give the UK premiere of ‘Atom’ as part of the Total Immersion: Sounds from Japan. In his native Japan he has been accorded the special honour of a portrait concert in Suntory Hall in October 2012.

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During the last decade he has been the recipient of numerous prizes, including the Huddersfield Festival Young Composers Award and a Royal Philharmonic Society Award in UK, Internationaler Wiener Composition Prize, the Paul Hindemith Prize in Austria and Germany respectively and both the OTAKA and Akutagawa awards in 2009.

The French music world too has taken him to its hearts with numerous commissions, culminating in his first opera – an artistic collaboration with Saburo Teshigawara, which will be co-produced by Theatre des Champs Elysées, Lausanne and Lille. In Germany the European premiere of ‘Tocar y Luchar,’ the world premiere of which was given in Venezuela by Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra, was given at the Ultraschall Festival in Berlin. His next German commission is ‘Grasping’ for the Munich Chamber Orchestra which will be premiered in Korea before being brought back to Munich.

Conductors with whom he has worked include Pierre Boulez, Peter Eötvös, Jonathan Nott, Gustavo Dudamel, the newly-appointed conductor of the Suisse Romande, Kazuki Yamada and Alexander Liebreich. In 2012/13 the Seattle and Bamberg Symphony will each give continental premieres of ‘Mina’ for wind and percussion soloists and orchestra.

Dai Fujikura is published by G Ricordi & Co, Munich – part of the Universal Music Publishing Classical Group.

Dai Fujikura

Dai Fujikura was born in 1977 in Osaka, Japan. He was fifteen when he moved to UK to complete his secondary education. His studies continued in college, where, during his sophomore year, he won the Serocki International Composers Competition. Since then, he has been awarded many other important prices including the Royal Philharmonic Society Award, Otaka Prize, Akutagawa Composition Award, WIRED Audi Innovation Award, the Paul Hindemith Prize, and The Silver Lion Award from Venice Biennale 2017. His works include operas, orchestral pieces, ensemble works, chamber music, and film scores.

Having received numerous international co-commissions, Dai Fujikura’s music has been performed in Europe, Asia, and North and South America. He recently held the composer-in-residence position at Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra. He has received two BBC Proms commissions, his “Double Bass Concerto” was premiered by the London Sinfonietta, and in 2013 the BBC Symphony Orchestra gave the UK premiere of his "Atom". Suntory Hall hosted a portrait concert of his orchestral music in 2012. Fujikura’s "Tocar y Luchar" was premiered under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel with the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra in Venezuela in 2011.

Fujikura has also received performances and commissions from Bamberg Symphony, Munich Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Philharmonia Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New Japan Philharmonic, and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, among many others. He has collaborated with Ensemble Modern, Arditti Quartet, Ensemble Intercontemporain, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Oslo Sinfonietta, Asko Ensemble, Klangforum Wien, and Bit20 Ensemble. Ultraschall Berlin, Lucerne Festival, Salzburg Festival, Punkt Festival, Spoleto Festival, NHK Symphony Orchestra, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, and Tanglewood Festival have all programmed his music, and his works have been conducted by many conductors including Pierre Boulez, Peter Eötvös, Jonathan Nott, Kazuki Yamada, Martyn Brabbins, Peter Rundel, and Alexander Liebreich.

Dai Fujikura’s first opera Solaris, a co-commission by Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Opéra de Lille, Opéra de Lausanne, Ircam-Centre Pompidou, and Ensemble Intercontemporain, had its world premiere in Paris 2015. The multimedia production which included dance, electronics, and 3D film was directed by Saburo Teshigawara who also wrote the libretto. The opera is based Stanisław Lem’s famous science fiction novel of the same name. Theatre Augusburg will present a new production of Solaris for the German premiere in May 2018.

Fujikura’s debut solo album, Secret Forest was produced by NMC Recordings in 2012. Since then, he’s had numerous albums produced including Mirrors which features four of his orchestral works, Ice, on the Kairos label, and most recently, my letter to the world, named for his song cycle, which he produced on his own label, Minabel in collaboration with SONY Japan. For a complete list of his recordings, visit http://www.daifujikura.com/un/discography.html.

Fujikura also has strong connections to the experimental pop/jazz/improvisation world. His co-composition with Ryuichi Sakamoto, peripheral movement for electronics, premiered in Hakuju Hall in Japan in 2013, and his collaborative works with David Sylvian were recorded for Sylvian's album Died in the Wool. Jan Bang released an album on Jazzland records, which featured Fujikura’s collaborations with Jan Bang and Sidsel Endresen.

Recently, Dai has been named the artistic director of the Born Creative Festival in Tokyo Metropolitan Theater for 2017. He will take the positions of composer-in-residence at the Orchestre national d'Île-de-France, and artist-in-residence at The Philharmonic Chorus of Tokyo beginning in 2017. He is currently​ preparing for his second opera, The Gold-Bug, which will premiere in March 2018 in Basel. His orchestra work, Glorious Clouds which was co-commissioned by Nagoya Philharmonic, WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, and Orchestre national d'Île-de-France, will be premiered in Japan in 2017, followed performances France and Germany.

Dai Fujikura is published by Ricordi Berlin.

http://www.daifujikura.com

08 Jul, 2013

Dai Fujikura launches new imprint, Minabel, with album "Flare"

Critically acclaimed London based composer Dai Fujikura has launched a subimprint of New Focus Recordings for recordings of his music, Minabel Records. The first album, released in digital format only, features performances by the Arditti Quartet, Vox Humana, and the Goldfield Ensemble. Stay tuned for more exciting new releases coming this …

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Reviews

Planet Hugill

Dai Fujikura, the London-based Japanese composer, has launched his own record label, Minabel Records, for recordings of his own works. The first release under the new imprint is Flare showcasing seven of Fujikura's chamber works, performed by the Arditti Quartet, Vox Humana, Masanori Oishi, Mari Endo,Kenji Nakagi, the Goldfield Ensemble, Johanna Persson and the Zilliacus/Persson/Raitinen Trio. Rather impressively five of the pieces are recorded live.

Though Fujikura was born in Osaka, Japan, he has lived in the UK for more than 20 years and he studied composition in London with Edwin Roxburgh, Daryl Runswick and George Benjamin. In his music Fujikura is fascinated by the forms and patterns observed in the natural world, patterns of synchronised movement and geometric precision. On this disc, this is reflected in the way the textures of the pieces develop, transmute and fragment as Fujikura uses often advanced playing techniques to create patterns in sound.

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AnchorFlare (2010) was recorded live by the Arditti String Quartet. The work was inspired by memories of sitting by a campfire as a child, mesmerised by the process of burning. The work gradually transforms from the percussive bursts at the opening to the softest articulations at the end.

The opening is edgy, with its combinations of arco and pizzicato (with the composer also introducing col legno later on), melody is fragmentary at best, it is the sound texture that counts and the way it changes. The movement has intense energy, with strong forward rhythmic thrust. Hidden amongst the complex layers are some lyrical moments, fragments which hint at the 20th century string tradition.

But, I fly (2005) was written for the Japanese choir Vox Humana; it is written for 12 voices. The performance was recorded live, conducted by Ryuta Nishikawa. Fujikura set a text created by Harry Ross, but words are almost incidental here. It is the poly-rhythmical textures which count, as Fujikura sets to explore the vocal possibilities of multiple voices and sets them against each other.

Sakana (2007) was written specifically for the saxophone player Masanori Oishi, who plays the piece on this recording. Fujikura tailor made the work for Oishi, exploring the limits of what was possible. Fujikura consciously chose to write softly for the saxophone, challenging our perception of the instrument as a lout on. The result is a busy, eerie piece where the use of harmonics and other techniques make it difficult to believe that no electronic manipulation is used. Quite an amazing piece.

Dolphins (2010) is written for two cellos, played here live by Mari Endo and Kenji Nakagi. Again Fujikura uses extremes and harmonics, combined with some intensely dramatic writing. The overall feel of the music does evoke something of the feel of swimming and diving.

Halcyon (2011) for clarinet and string trio is played by the Goldfield Ensemble. A high solo clarinet surrounded by strenuous strings, with burst of energy alternating with stasis. The clarinet writing uses advanced phonics, often over Fujikura's beloved plucked strings. In the piece the composer wanted the music to sound as if manipulated using electronics, and it does!

Flux (2010) is for solo viola, played by Johanna Persson. In this piece Fujikura eschewed his favourite pizzicato and instead explored the limits of the possible with a boa, even going so far as to notate the rhythms before the pitches. The piece has a wonderful rapturous feel to it, even though the music remains edgy with a deliberate awkwardness to the writing. The viola's tessitura gives a mellowness to the lower register. There are moments when it is difficult to believe there is just one player and, recorded live, Persson is technically brilliant.

Scion Stems (2011) for string trio is played by the Zilliacus / Persson / Raitinen Trio, again recorded live at the Punkt Festival in 2011 (where Persson also recorded Flux). Starting with multiple trills, the programme note likens the piece to a swarm of bees, congregating, dancing and then separating, though Fujikura says he simply wanted to start with one texture and transform it into different ones. Again we have a rapturous feeling to the music, albeit with a strenuousness to and textures are clearly very important here, the way they intersect and transform.

In each of these works Fujikura explores his chosen forces to their limits taking his players to the edge. And all respond brilliantly giving a series of fascinating performances. Fujikura does not write easy music, each piece on the disc requires care and attention from both performers and listeners. But the results can be magical.

-Planet Hugill

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