Heading: for 17 musicians
16 January 2008
Ensemble 10/10 (of the Liverpool Philharmonic)/Clark Rundell
The Cornerstone, Liverpool, England
Instrumentation: 0.2.2.2—0.0.0.0—Perc(5)maraca/guiro/sandpaper/tamb/clave/2 cowbells/2 bongos/2 congas—220.127.116.11.0
Recording: Fiji is found on the release, tahiti
...guaranteed to blow away the winter blahhs, Michael Torke's infectious Fiji swings with a pop sensibility and a serious South American groove. —Tom Huizenga, All Things Considered
Fiji glitters with catchy and attractive melodies that enchant the ear .—Ralph Graves, WTJU
In Fiji, each of the six woodwind instruments play exactly the same thing as each of the six stringed instruments. I like the sound of those doublings, and I like the reinforcing effect. Four percussion players create a samba composite (which derive from original African sources), "glued" together by repeated eighths of a shaker instrument. These rhythms are in turned doubled by the woodwind/string pairs, and out of these resultant arrays melodies emerge.
Like the recent pieces, Two Girls on the Beach, and Blue Pacific, this piece has a sunny, "humid" sound. But very much like the pieces, Bliss, and Rapture, I assign pitches to the rhythms, having that one to one correspondence drive the logic of the piece. This kind of thinking actually comes from the earlier Four Proverbs, where I assigned syllables to pitches whose invariance created its own sound.
But in a certain way, the piece's true antecedent is Adjustable Wrench, where I start with a pop rhythm that is not my own, but then try to give it my own context and development to personalize it.
Fiji was commissioned for Ensemble 10/10, the contemporary music group of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, by Liverpool European Capital of Culture 2008.