Yet Do I Fear Thy Nature, both in title and inspiration, is drawn from a defining line in the famous monologue by Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. She doubts her son’s ability to claim the throne, both a critique and credit to his character in that he is not resolute in doing so at any cost. This ambiguity is seen in this duet for recorder and percussion as each player wanders back and forth between several competing themes. The piece opens with a simple one-measure motive that is gradually arrived at though an additive process. The recorder breaks away from this loop with the first appearance of a melody and the marimba hesitantly harmonizes a bit before returning the piece to the opening ostinato. The recorder insists on the melody and the marimba joins in again, this time a bit less reluctantly, before dropping out to introduce a new pattern on pandeiro. The recorder is able to present its melody once more over the pandeiro groove before the duet shifts to a compound-meter feel, compelling the recorder to present a Renaissance-like dance over the new groove before reflecting back on the original recorder and marimba ostinato, initially in the new 12/8 time signature before returning to 4/4 at a significantly faster tempo. Once again, the recorder brings the marimba along into a reprise of the first melodic idea, but almost immediately dances back into the compound meter feel which brings a return of the pandeiro. The work ends with a building repetition of the original ostinato in the recorder over a looping 12/8 pattern in the pandeiro bringing the indecisive drifting and increasingly frantic process to a fitting end.
“Yet Do I Fear Thy Nature” is a terrific intermediate duet for soprano recorder and percussionist. Gottry captures Shakespeare’s tone perfectly … the perfect piece for any players looking for a duet for percussion and soprano recorder, looking to improve their two-mallet chamber music skills, and wanting to better their pandeiro playing. – Joe Millea
Printed by permission of the Percussive Arts Society, inc.