3 years ago

Fertility Rites

  • Text
  • Hatzis
  • Hatzis
  • Audio
  • Marimba
by Christos Hatzis | Marimba and Digital Audio

promoted Inuit culture

promoted Inuit culture around the globe. His strongest inspiration is his own religious faith, and his religious works have been hailed by critics and audiences alike as contemporary masterpieces. In addition to composing and teaching, Hatzis has written extensively about composition and contemporary music. His writings have been published on Interface, Organized Sound and Harmony, are increasingly translated into other languages and are frequently listed as required reading for music courses in tertiary educational institutions. Two of Hatzis’s works – String Quartet No.1: The Awakening (PE117) and Constantinople – have earned him Juno Awards for Classical Composition of the Year (2006 and 2008, respectively) by a Canadian composer. In 2008 Hatzis also received the Jan Matejcek Concert Music Award, awarded to the most performed and broadcast Canadian composer of the year. In 2010 Hatzis was commissioned by virtuoso violinist Hilary Hahn to write a new work for violin and piano. The resulting work, Coming To (PE119), appears on Hahn’s album In 27 Pieces: The Hilary Hahn Encores, which went on to win the 2015 Grammy Award for Chamber Music / Small Ensemble Performance. A second commission from Hahn soon followed, with Hatzis writing the hyper-virtuosic Dystopia (PE121) for solo violin. In 2013 the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra commissioned Hatzis to score a major new ballet work, Going Home Star: Truth and Reconciliation. Hatzis collaborated with award-winning aboriginal throat singer Tanya Tagaq, Steve Wood and the Northern Cree Singers in creating the score for the groundbreaking production. The ballet’s subject matter is close to the composer’s heart as it confronts the impact of the residential school system on Canada’s aboriginal young people. Bolstered by critical acclaim upon premiering in October of 2014, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet embarked on a cross-Canada tour of Going Home Star in 2016. In reviewing the production, Paula Citron of The Globe and Mail remarked “...the music for Going Home Star may be the best ballet composition ever created in Canada. Hatzis’ score embraces the story like hand to glove. His musical detail evokes each scene perfectly…Hatzis has created a cascade of musical images that bring the characters and the story to life. It is in the score that imagination lives.” Most of Hatzis’ writings and other information about the composer can be found at PE101 – iv

Fertility Rites (1997) Fertility Rites, for five-octave marimba with digital audio, is part of a series of works written in the 1990s. The connecting thread that runs through all of these works is Inuit throat singing. My fascination with the Inuit and their culture started in 1992 during the course of creating a radio documentary/composition for CBC Radio called The Idea of Canada. That was the first time I heard this strange and haunting music. A few years later I got myself involved in a similar project, this time focussing entirely on Inuit culture, and throat singing in particular. This latter project took CBC producer Keith Horner and me to Baffin Island in arctic Canada where we spent two weeks recording throat singers and interviewing elders of the Inuit communities in Iqaluit and Cape Dorset. The recorded material was eventually used in four compositions (including this one) the other three being Footprints in New Snow, a thirty-eight minute radio documentary/composition, Nunavut for string quartet and tape—later retitled String Quartet No.1: The Awakening—and Hunter’s Dream, an one-minute miniature commissioned by rock keyboardist Morgan Fisher for a CD of miniatures he was producing at the time in Japan. The title of the work derives from the throat songs themselves. In one of our interviews in Iqaluit Horner and I learned that throat songs were originally a fertility ritual, a shamanistic mating call which the women performed while the men were out hunting. The katajjaq (vocal games) in this piece are used to evoke this primordial practice. Their sexual suggestiveness is further enhanced by electronic processing (lowering the pitch by an octave or more transforms the original sound into a semblance of heavy breathing), or through juxtaposing the katajjaq against other types of amorous music stylistically more familiar to the listener, such as the ‘French-sounding’ second movement or the tango-like music of the third. In addition to the katajjaq samples, the tape part consists of pre-recorded marimba sounds (normal, ‘bent’ and bowed) which both in terms of timbre and musical treatment represent a virtual extension of the instrument’s abilities. In a programmatic sense they represent the performer’s ‘thoughts’ or ‘instincts’ in contrast to the instrument on stage which represents the performer’s ‘voice’. Sometimes what is being ‘felt’ and what is being ‘said’ are PE101 – v

Score Library

Christos Hatzis Hatzis Digital Audio Marimba