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Fixtures in the Fold (Download)

for percussion quartet
Level: Advanced
Duration: 5:15
Personnel: 4 players
Release Date: 2020
Product ID : TSPCE20-012DL
Price: $38.00
Item #: TSPCE20-012DL

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Description

Douglas Hertz’s Fixtures in the Fold is a quartet for percussion that was inspired by the memoir of the famous musician and poet, Patti Smith. In it, Smith discusses the relationship between several objects she collected throughout her life and how they bring meaning to her now.

In his contmporary quartet, Hertz employs both found objects and standard percussion instruments in an intricate weaving of tight rhythmic motives and long sustaining melodies. The musical material of Fixtures in the Fold is the result of Douglas’ fascination with the relationship between an object, the memory it conjures, and identity.

Use of this product is governed by the license terms outlined here.

Instrumentation

Glockenspiel

Vibraphone

Drums (1 low-mid conga, low tom, bass drum)

Accessories (single crotale (A), 4 unpitched glass bottles, singing bowl* (E), blown bottle (E), seed shell shaker, singing bowl* (unspecified pitch)

*This piece calls for two singing bowls - one at an unspecified pitch and one at an E. The unspecified pitched bowl must be a bowl because it is played with the "singing" technique, however the bowl pitched at E could be replaced with a pitched piece of metal such as a bell plate or steel tube.

Reviews

“Fixtures in the Fold,” written in 2017 for the Nief Norf Summer Festival and the Up/Down Percussion Quartet, is a musical response to the writings of poet and musician Patti Smith, and in particular the meaningful connections she makes between memory and physical objects in her possession. In his program notes, composer Douglas Hertz describes these connections as “ephemeral” and “delicate,” which in turn are the exact words I would use to describe this piece. The five-minute work never sits still, with little emphasis placed on long-form development in favor of exploring all the potentialities of timbral juxtaposition, particularly regarding the dualities of pitched vs. unpitched sounds, focused vs. ethereal sounds, and motoric rhythmic figures vs. celestial metallic tones. Frequent bursts of percussive color fleetingly wink in and out of existence, almost (but not quite) too quickly for the audience to identify the source and significance of each sound, and I wonder if a much longer piece could be written using the same voluminous collection of colors assembled here—although choosing to keep the piece brief is entirely the point of a work dedicated to the ephemerality of human memory. 

Although the piece lasts a relatively short time, the process of preparing it will not, as performers will need to embrace several challenges for a successful presentation. There are a number of specific instrumentation demands, such as requiring a low-E singing bowl and preparing the mounted bass drum with moleskin patches, which might strike some as intimidating. There are also technical demands to consider, such as one player’s need to play glockenspiel with one hand while playing syncopated “one-handed flams” on the bass drum rim with the other. Above all else, there remains the crucial need for the musical material, no matter how dense or technically challenging, to produce and fit within the desired gossamer-like soundscape. 

Performers and audiences alike will be mesmerized by the variety and novelty of the sounds contained within (although for the sake of the instrument’s health I would recommend using hard plastic mallets, or even nylon-tipped drumsticks, as opposed to metal mallets when producing a buzzing effect on vibraphone bars), each new glint of percussive color contributing to the over- all piece like gemstones set in jewelry. As much as I would love to encourage younger performers to sink their teeth into the challenges of this piece, I feel that performers at or above the graduate student level would be best-suited to perform “Fixtures in the Fold” successfully. That said, I absolutely would recommend this piece to graduate or professional ensembles as an impressive, unpredictable, and colorful addition to any program. 

—Brian Graiser
Percussive Notes
Vol. 58, No. 6, December 2020

Description

Douglas Hertz’s Fixtures in the Fold is a quartet for percussion that was inspired by the memoir of the famous musician and poet, Patti Smith. In it, Smith discusses the relationship between several objects she collected throughout her life and how they bring meaning to her now.

In his contmporary quartet, Hertz employs both found objects and standard percussion instruments in an intricate weaving of tight rhythmic motives and long sustaining melodies. The musical material of Fixtures in the Fold is the result of Douglas’ fascination with the relationship between an object, the memory it conjures, and identity.

Use of this product is governed by the license terms outlined here.

Instrumentation

Glockenspiel

Vibraphone

Drums (1 low-mid conga, low tom, bass drum)

Accessories (single crotale (A), 4 unpitched glass bottles, singing bowl* (E), blown bottle (E), seed shell shaker, singing bowl* (unspecified pitch)

*This piece calls for two singing bowls - one at an unspecified pitch and one at an E. The unspecified pitched bowl must be a bowl because it is played with the "singing" technique, however the bowl pitched at E could be replaced with a pitched piece of metal such as a bell plate or steel tube.

Reviews

“Fixtures in the Fold,” written in 2017 for the Nief Norf Summer Festival and the Up/Down Percussion Quartet, is a musical response to the writings of poet and musician Patti Smith, and in particular the meaningful connections she makes between memory and physical objects in her possession. In his program notes, composer Douglas Hertz describes these connections as “ephemeral” and “delicate,” which in turn are the exact words I would use to describe this piece. The five-minute work never sits still, with little emphasis placed on long-form development in favor of exploring all the potentialities of timbral juxtaposition, particularly regarding the dualities of pitched vs. unpitched sounds, focused vs. ethereal sounds, and motoric rhythmic figures vs. celestial metallic tones. Frequent bursts of percussive color fleetingly wink in and out of existence, almost (but not quite) too quickly for the audience to identify the source and significance of each sound, and I wonder if a much longer piece could be written using the same voluminous collection of colors assembled here—although choosing to keep the piece brief is entirely the point of a work dedicated to the ephemerality of human memory. 

Although the piece lasts a relatively short time, the process of preparing it will not, as performers will need to embrace several challenges for a successful presentation. There are a number of specific instrumentation demands, such as requiring a low-E singing bowl and preparing the mounted bass drum with moleskin patches, which might strike some as intimidating. There are also technical demands to consider, such as one player’s need to play glockenspiel with one hand while playing syncopated “one-handed flams” on the bass drum rim with the other. Above all else, there remains the crucial need for the musical material, no matter how dense or technically challenging, to produce and fit within the desired gossamer-like soundscape. 

Performers and audiences alike will be mesmerized by the variety and novelty of the sounds contained within (although for the sake of the instrument’s health I would recommend using hard plastic mallets, or even nylon-tipped drumsticks, as opposed to metal mallets when producing a buzzing effect on vibraphone bars), each new glint of percussive color contributing to the over- all piece like gemstones set in jewelry. As much as I would love to encourage younger performers to sink their teeth into the challenges of this piece, I feel that performers at or above the graduate student level would be best-suited to perform “Fixtures in the Fold” successfully. That said, I absolutely would recommend this piece to graduate or professional ensembles as an impressive, unpredictable, and colorful addition to any program. 

—Brian Graiser
Percussive Notes
Vol. 58, No. 6, December 2020


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