Dai Fujikura Portrait was presented at the Wigmore Hall as part of the Avex Recital Series for 2018. Avex presents this series to provide international artists with quality performance opportunities at the classic concert venue, Wigmore Hall.
Dai Fujikura was born in Japan but came to live in the United Kingdom at the age of 15. He is an award winning composer, had his compositions commissioned and performed around the world, and has received two BBC Proms Commissions amongst a plethora of prominent invitations.
The program this evening listed eleven short pieces and was augmented by a surprise, very new composition. Enno Senft, principal bass and founder member of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe had already played es for Double Bass, a fast and furious piece incorporating unconventional playing techniques. The work was composed in conjunction with Senft in 2005 and showcases the capabilities of the instrument. In the second half of the program Senft re-appeared off the program with the newest composition, written to complement the first.
Senft is one of ten distinguished instrumentalists featured. Mei Yi Foo dominated the first half of the program playing both solo piano and the quirky Milliampere for solo Toy Piano. The contrast in tone between the concert grand and the toy piano was reinforced in the writing with similar motifs used for both instruments.
The highlight of the evening was Bartosz Woroch performing Samarasa for Solo Violin. Fujikura composed the piece to include a complex cross-string technique intended to produce an irregular kind of melody. The technique visually and aurally shows Fujikura’s emphasis on the right hand rather than the more favoured left hand in control of pitch. Woroch masterfully dealt with the complexities to produce a musically sound and satisfying performance.
Amongst the many solo pieces, the final quintet of GO for piano, clarinet, oboe, horn and bassoon was a welcome contrast of rich layers of sound structured in sections written to be interpreted afresh at every performance. Yu Kosuge (piano), Mokoto Yohsida (clarinet), Philippe Tondre (oboe), Teunis von der Zwart (horn) and Rie Koyama (bassoon) all played with vigour and great skill.
Much of Fukijura’s music combines elements of diverse musical genres and compositional techniques combined with inspiration from natural and environmental sources. For instance, Sakana for solo saxophone represents light reflecting off fish as they move through the water. Fukijura produces smooth and rapid movements using multiphonics and quarter tones in a punishing tempo. Masanori Dishi plays this difficult piece, occasionally producing two simultaneous tones seemingly without breathing.
The extremely fast and abrupt sections are a feature of Fukijura’s compositions as is an echo of traditional Japanese music. Ironically Neo for solo shamisen was written by Fukijura to emulate a rock guitar solo. Played by HONJOH Hidejiro the western music influence was apparent through a beautifully stoic and traditional performance.
Dai Fujikura Portrait was an evening of fine music and performance that well celebrates the body of work to date of Dai Fujikura.