violin and piano piece (2009)

for: violin and piano

Richard Pinnell, The Watchful Ear, 18th February 2011 (...) After the interval we were treated to a rare performance of a score by Tim Parkinson, his "violin and piano piece (2009)" which he played alongside Angharad Davies. Parkinson’s composition is really quite remarkable in that it sounds like nothing else I can think of. If listening to last night’s performance I kept thinking I heard reference points in the music then they were very quickly blown away by whatever came next. I just don’t know how to describe his work. There are no easy genre types or handy categories into which his music can be placed. This piece involved a strong sense of the mathematical, as often clockwork like rhythms of the two instruments were heard, but just as you settled into the two note patterns that seemed to start the piece then we heard romantic violin solos and abrupt starts and stops, pounding chords and thoroughly melodic duo parts. Listening, it felt as if Parkinson had set out inspired by a Beethoven sonata, only for a loud ambulance to pass, influencing the music dramatically so the rich melody shifted to a ‘nee-nah, nee nah’ metronomic before changing tack again. I enjoyed the performance a great deal and felt constantly challenged and inspired throughout. Parkinson is a true original, writing music that will frustrate people that want everything to be easily categorisable. There is plenty of humour in there alongside little puzzles and glimpses of chamber music’s history. In places I was reminded of Webern, elsewhere Beethoven, Tom Johnson and Nono. If that mix of references isn’t enough to point out that this music just doesn’t fit into any neat little hole then I don’t know what is. Wonderful stuff. (...)