This work is published for performance and study. The performance set includes a saddle-stitch performance score for the pianist and a loose-leaf part set for the percussionist (one player).
About the work:
The composer writes: 'Composed at the request of Evelyn Glennie, the technical demands of Happy Tachyons are deliberately pitched at the edge of what is humanly possible, particularly the passages where the percussionist is required to play both vibes and marimba simultaneously. The exuberant high spirits which pervade the piece reflect the fact that during its composition Carla and I were expecting our first child, Emanuel, who was busy preparing his entrance into this world.'
Selected reviews of the work:
'Happy Tachyons is a composition for marimba / vibraphone and piano scored for two players; however the marimba / vibraphone part may be divided between two players rather than having one player doubling on both instruments. The score clearly indicates what to play with either option.The piece has strong jazz overtones. The tempo is quarter-note = 142 throughout, except for a brief poco meno mosso. Composed primarily with sixteenths and sixteenth-note triplets, this piece moves. There are sections with piano and mallets playing in unison and a few with question and answer patterns between piano and mallets. Throughout the piece, attention must be paid to the accents and dynamic contrast in order to achieve a jazz style. The mallet player(s) must have a well-developed four-mallet technique.'
John Beck, Percussive Notes
'Happy Tachyons…relies on high levels of rhythmic energy and drive…. Thrilling in result, the relentless continuity requires a pianist (and vibraphonist) of fortitude and immense concentration, though the effort will be worth it. Lest this be off-putting, once some of the basic routines and rhythmic hiccups are learned, the fingers should just cope as the single line expands and runs in and out of phase canonically, but it moves at a pretty cracking pace which must be maintained for 227 bars…. While this is not, then, a piece for weekend learning – it was after all commissioned by Evelyn – it is one well worth studying for its rhythmic inventiveness and sheer excitement. What a thrill it must be to perform once it is worked up to its full breathtaking breathlessness!'
John Elmsly, Canzona 1997