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Dai Fujikura - Secret Forest (2008)

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Published on Aug 20, 2012

Just before I composed this work, I wrote a short viola piece called "flux", and with this work, I focused on the "bowing" of the instrument -- the player's right arm, because I had used a lot of "plucking" string techniques (like pizzicati and also playing with a guitar plectrum) in the past. I began with composing the rhythm of the bowing, and then I wrote notes (using another way to organize pitches) having no relation to the bowing. After hearing this solo viola piece, it was quite a cool and unnatural sound. Then I imagined what would happen if a whole string section play like this (unnatural bowing). So I began composing "secret forest." The bowing rhythm of the string section is almost always unison.

I have an image that there are ropes between the tip of the conductor's fingers and bows of string players. Furthermore, I imagine marionette, players resembling puppets.
Another thing I want to try is to express the process of changing texture: how melodic material changes to energetic marcato, and vice versa. This idea originated from the experience of working in the electronics studio, spending many hours listening, and shaping the tiny sound you just created. I think it is interesting when the conductor increases and decreases the tempo dramatically (one beat of the conductor equals one bowing,) and I put this idea into the work to show the change.
In addition to the "marionette," there are woodwinds and brass in the auditorium, and their role is completely different from the ones on stage (strings). In my previous spatial works, I have tried to produce an effect of feeling as if instruments which are located separately in a hall played together on the stage, using monitors. On the contrary, in this piece I have an image of strings that reach from the top of the conductor's finger and baton to woodwinds and brass beyond the audience. In my mind, these woodwinds and brass are "forest," and the bassoon located in the middle of them is a "man" who walks into the forest.
When I go to a forest, my nose is blocked and get itchy because of an allergy. Birds sing (if you can call that singing!) annoyingly and insects make terrible noise. This insects' sound may be thought to be beautiful in Japanese culture, but I want to say "Could you make little more beautiful sound? Maybe vary a little?" Therefore, I'd rather see beautiful pictures of nature in the National Geographic. This "secret forest" is an imaginary forest where birds and insects make only my favourite sounds and my nose gets never blocked. I feel really comfortable there. I have composed this piece in my house in a tiny, noisy London flat, that is the exact opposite of the "secret forest."

Dai Fujikura

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