This is my 2nd piano concerto. My first piano concerto was called AMPERE, and was written for piano and symphony orchestra (with toy piano cadenza).
I wanted to make this 2nd piano concerto a complete contrast to the first one. Therefore Diamond Dust is written for ensemble and piano. In AMPERE, I treated the Orchestra as an extended sustain pedal of the piano. The result was as if the orchestra was the out of control resonance of the piano itself. For Diamond Dust I wanted to treat the ensemble as an uncontrollable harmonic field. I imagined that the harmonic series of the piano was alive and particularly mischievous. The work starts with an attack of the lowest key of most pianos, a very low A, and the ensemble quickly runs up the harmonic series. As it goes up the series it becomes distorted, and pitches float away. These loose notes start forming their own harmonic series of the low A, and make different textures until they start making lyrical phrases which are like swarming animals (a particular obsession of mine). These textures play very lyrically together, sometimes flying off as individual animals and then returning to the swarm together. As this happens the harmonic series gets more and more distorted, and finally returns to the piano as a completely transformed base note.
Since this is a piano concerto (and I LOVE writing concertos), the piano makes the musical material in the rest of the work flow. As this piece was commissioned by a Norwegian pianist and ensemble (and I LOVE Scandinavian cultures), I was often thinking of ice whilst writing the piece.
Light is shining on big blocks of ice and many small particles of ice. The light gets reflected and sparkles into new spaces.
As the piece progresses, the piano creates more and more material which is added to this fragmented diamantine labyrinth of distorted harmonic textures which constantly behave unpredictably yet slowly forms a crystal castle that imprisons the piano and vibraphone which then struggle to escape.
Dai Fujikura (edited by Harry Ross)