Year: 2007

Heading: for 17 musicians

First Performance:
16 January 2008
Ensemble 10/10 (of the Liverpool Philharmonic)/Clark Rundell
The Cornerstone, Liverpool, England

——Perc(5)maraca/guiro/sandpaper/tamb/clave/2 cowbells/2 bongos/2 congas—

Duration: 17:29

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

Program Note:
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.