Floating Fireflies

The harp has always been a mysterious instrument for me.
I knew the function of the instrument, but I always knew there must be more than how the instrument works.

When I received a passionate email from the harpist Stef Van Vynckt asking me to write a new harp piece, I was delighted. Also, another harpist, Mai Fukui, was happy to co-commission the work with Stef; I felt that at last the long awaited time had come for me to research the instrument.

It turned out to be more research into the harpists - the musicians who decided to dedicate their lives to the instrument – rather than research into the harp itself. Why did they choose this instrument? Why do they become so obsessed by it? What is so great about it?

I was composing this work during the pandemic, so I could spend a long time with them remotely, trying out many different things. It was more as if I was trying to get into the harpists’ minds rather than just focusing on what is technically possible on the harp.

After all these experiences with the two harpists, the music material I came up with was something that appeared to float, hovering without a particular direction. Or maybe there IS an overall direction. Or maybe it is something between the two states….

Dai Fujikura (edited by Alison Phillips)