This work is published for performance and study. The performance set includes a saddle-stitched full score for reference, a loose-leaf part set for the solo percussionist and an audio CD, which contains the digital audio part and is played on a sound system for performance. The audio CD also includes a reference mix of the work, with both digital audio part and a studio-recorded version of the marimba part, performed by Beverley Johnston.
About the work:
The composer writes: 'Fertility Rites for five-octave marimba and tape is part of a series of works all written in the 1990s, the connecting thread running through all of which is Inuit throat singing.'
Selected review of the publication:
Composed in 1997, Fertility Rites is a marimba solo with CD accompaniment. The work lasts over 13 minutes, includes three movements and requires a 5.0-octave marimba. This piece is very interesting in its use of the CD, which provides not only background ambience to the solo, but also serves as a duet voice and extension of the marimba. The idea behind the work, especially the CD part, is Inuit throat singing. Hatzis’ extensive program notes say, “Throat songs were originally a fertility ritual, a shamanistic mating call which the women performed while the men were out hunting. “The sexual nature of these sounds is imminent in the electronically processed throat sounds and heavy breathing.
The first movement contains rhythmic manipulations of the throat and breath sounds while the marimba maintains steady quarter and intermittent sixteenth notes. The opposing rhythms blend so that the “gentle, non-possessive music for the marimba and the dark, longing calls on the tape contradict each other.” The second movement is a beautiful duet between the tape and marimba and pitch bending to create an extension of the soloist through electronics. The soloist and CD both play slow, legato rolls and outlined, arpeggiated chords. Although this movement is the shortest of the three, it is extremely effective.
The third movement is about six minutes long and requires fast hands to play sixteenths and sextuplets at quarternote = 124. Some sections require four mallets, while others can be played with two. The CD for this movement establishes a steady groove and tempo while the marimba part has a more soloistic role, moving around the entire keyboard. Large leaps, syncopations and constantly changing rhythms allow the soloist to show his or her virtuosic techniques.
Overall, the first two movements are accessible by many intermediate to advanced players, while the third movements requires much more advanced techniques. The conservative player (and listener) might find the Intuit throat sounds too risqué, but no one can deny Hatzis’ high quality of work and excellent blend of the CD accompaniment and marimba solo.
Brian Zator, Percussive Notes, August, September 2009
Difficulty Rating Scale
V - Advanced