This work was written especially for a competition for viola players. This unique situation brought with it its own inspiration. So many contestants will need to learn the work and the judges will have to endure hearing the same piece played again and again. So I wanted to make sure that each player can distinguish his/her performance by more than just the interpretation of phrasing and tempo. So each player has the option of re-structuring the piece, making each performance unique.

The piece is structured in three macro sections:

Section 1 has 4 elements: A, B, C, D
Section 2 has just 1 element
Section 3 has 3 elements: E, F, G

In Section 1, the FOUR elements (A, B, C, D) can be played in any order. All elements must be used, but cannot be repeated.
Similarly, in Section 3, the THREE elements (E, F, G) can be played in any order. All elements must be used, but cannot be repeated.
Once the performer has chosen an order, all elements and sections should be played attacca and must be played as one piece of music, as if it were written out exactly from beginning to an end in traditional fashion.
Within the scope of these restrictions there are 144 possible permutations for the performer.

The premise of ‘Engraving” is that the player has more freedom to “shape” the piece and deliver a unique performance. The audience and judges have the opportunity appreciate how each musician’s mind works in building the musical structure in addition to enjoying each player’s phrasing and choice of tempi.

Dai Fujikura (edited by Miranda Jackson)

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