trio with objects (2008)

for: vn, va, vc, 2 auxilliary

The Watchful Ear - Guest live review by Dominic Lash - Incidental Music at Cafe Oto, 25th April 2010 - (...) After a brief interval, the concert concluded with Tim Parkinson’s trio with objects. This was in a sense much more abstract that the previous pieces: violin, viola and cello played sections of various material, all of it rhythmically direct, mezzoforte, and highly recognisable (not in that it sounded like other music, but in that when a certain texture returned there was no mistaking it for another). But this material was set against the sounds produced by Normisa Pereira da Silva and Manfred Werder. They sat on either side of the string trio, forming a mirror image of each other, and performed almost identical actions: first dropping rice onto pieces of paper which created very quiet and gentle specks of sound, later turning on small desktop fans which created a subtle whirring under the music, then dropping rice again but this time onto a pile of plastic boxes which created much lounder and more dynamically varied sounds. The juxtaposition of the “abstract” string trio material (which was represented by notes on paper that not only served as instructions but also in a sense as representations of the sounds themselves) with the “concrete” object-based sounds (where the notation could only have given instructions, not represented the detail of the resultant sounds) recontextualised some of the questions raised by the previous pieces, as well as being very beautiful (in a cool and unrhetorical way). At the conclusion of the piece the object players struck pieces of glass or perspex that served almost as small gongs. These sounds blended at times almost indistinguishably with pizzicati from the strings, suggesting that the “abstract” and “concrete” need not be mutually exclusive categories but can interpenetrate, depending on the kind of attention we give to the sounds we hear.