Toca Loca: Simon Docking - piano Aiyun Huang - percussion Gregory Oh - piano/conductor guest performers track 3 Max Christie clarinet Mary-Katherine Finch cello Gabriel Radford French horn Stephen Tam flute track 4 Fernando Rocha percussion Half-Remembered City (Dai Fujikura) This piece was written for Waka Hasegawa and Joseph Tong, a happily married piano duo. The composer was inspired by their sharing - a piano, a life. 'I wanted those four hands to be as close as possible...holding the keys silently so that when the other notes are played, suddenly those silent keys start ringing...if another duo wanted to play this piece, they wouldn't necessarily need to be married but it would be great to imagine other pianists getting it on after playing...' Simon and I have conspicuously resisted it's siren song. During passages where our fingers strain to interlock like a sadistic jigsaw puzzle, our hands bearing numerous cuts and scratches, the result of furiously rapid hand position leaps and shifts, we wonder if Dai wasn't unconsciously describing other, less celebrated aspects of matrimony. Dai also imagined the rapid-fire style of an MTV video depicting the overstimulated life he experienced growing up in Osaka: 6-day school week, 3 days of evening study class, piano, acting, swimming, no days off. Ma'Mounia (Heinz Holliger) This is the commissioned work from the 2002 Geneva International Music Competition, which our percussionist, Aiyun Huang, went on to win. The title comes from the Moroccan restaurant in Geneva where the commission was finalized. Rife with extended techniques, the percussionist finds herself at one point screaming at the top of her lungs, trapped in a massive setup played with superballs, rosined bows and metal rods, while the pianist throws cymbals onto the bass strings and the horn player shuns his mouthpiece for an oboe reed - Holliger is not exploring his instruments, but rather demanding of them specific and meticulously selected sounds. Ma'Mounia is a wonderland where timbres and sonorities exchange and merge, back and forth, and instruments describe a dream, and then dream about each other. Adventuremusic: Love her madly (Andrew Staniland) This is one of our favourite works to play. Scored for 2 pianos, 5 pieces of wood and 5 temple bowls, this piece also has a tape part which incorporates three elements: recordings of myself speaking (heavily processed), the sound of ice sheets breaking apart in Baffin Island and samples of Aiyun's temple bowls. There is a sort of ironic juxtaposition, as the latter, often representing meditation and introspection finds itself in counterpoint with one of the more identifiable symbols of climate change. Incidentally, each of the pianos has 5 prepared strings - Simon used masking tape, and I used screws. Bring Them Home! (Frederic Rzewski) Like Rzewski's 'The People United', this work is a set of variations on a theme - in this case, a 17th-century Irish anti-war song, 'Siuil A Run', about a woman whose lover has left her to go to war. Incorporating whistling, leg slaps, and the thumping of chests, pianos frames and boxes, Rzewski creates a militaristic framework, interspersed with variations that conjure different affects - some obviously lamentations, others more abstract, but always returning to some variant of martial regularity. The piece also contains episodic solos, where the players are invited to improvise if so desired. The piece ends quietly, elegiac or perhaps hopeful. Like many of Rzewski's other works, it speaks of the past, but turns our eyes to the present.