three miniatures for piano duo

These 3 miniatures were directly influenced by my experience of observing my daughter growing up from her very first day to six months old. Also with a piano duo piece I automatically associate lots of splashing notes, much pedalling, a fast tempo, something rather loud (maybe), so I wanted to do absolutely the opposite. Although the maximum number of notes to be played at any one time by each hand is 2, yet the miniatures are in some sense virtuosic; the pedal usage is described and limited very precisely.

In the 1st miniature I try and imagine the world of a 2-day-old baby. I remember my daughter seemed to be very tired, after completing the huge journey of being born, then started to take in her new environment. She slept, but made some small sudden movements....then went back to sleep.... I thought what 2 pianos can do and 1 piano 4 hands can’t do, one of which is the pedal. When a chord is played with the sustaining pedal, you hear the resonance of the whole piano; but I thought it would be interesting to hear the staccato, rapid figurations which fly around the chord (without the pedal being pressed) while the other piano is quietly resonating with the use of the pedal.

The 2nd miniature represents something I am now observing in my baby. She is 6 months old today as I write this. She is active with her arms and legs and facial expression – often making sudden movements, but not yet able to walk or run. This 2nd miniature is almost totally played without pedal; in most of the section, left hand and right hand move together, creating counterpoints between the 2 players, sometimes with very wide vertical intervals – which again is something which cannot be played by only 1 player nor 1 piano, without pedal.

The 3rd miniature is what I imagine my daughter will be like in 1 year's time -  running around my tiny flat. This music is wild footsteps, coming in and out of my sight, from all directions, sometimes with a thundering tread.

Dai Fujikura (edited by Miranda Jackson)

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