COMPOSITIONS 

Aside from his jazz work, Tim has a varied portfolio of pieces for a wide variety of ensembles. Here's a video featuring excerpts from TIMETRAP for piano, violn and cello, recorded 10 February 2017 at Brunel University, London. Performed by TABLEMUSIC: Mandhira de Saram (violin), Natalie Rozario (cello), Ruth Herbert (piano).


Musique Concrete

Twelve Seconds 4:37
Electronics and found sounds.
Written for the dancer MARIA SVENSSON, and first performed at The Laban Centre, London, March 2008

 This was inspired by a trip to the island of Hoy in Orkney, and the huge oil tank in the 2nd World War naval base at Scapa Flow. The acoustics inside the tank are extraordinary, with a 12-second reverberation time. Sounds made near the edge of the tank travel round the perimeter, but cannot be heard by someone standing in the centre, much like the whispering gallery in St Paul's Cathedral.


Piano pieces

Triskelion 3 mins
For piano Commissioned and published by SCHOTT MUSIC in 2012 as part of the Petrushka Project, involving 70 composers round the world, with concerts in London, New York, Beijing and Mainz. Performed by Kate Ryder at the Schott Recital Room, 8 June 2012 I have long been fascinated by the simultaneous combination of 3/4 and 6/8 rhythms present in African music and jazz, sometimes referred to by musicologists as hemiola.

In researching for the book Exploring Latin Piano with John Crawford, I noticed another type of polyrhythm found in 3/4 music from South America, such as the Venezuelan waltz, the Columbian joropo and the Argentine zamba.
Although notated in 3/4, these styles often feature melodies that imply an underlying 3/2 time signature, eg: three consecutive half notes over two bars of 3/4. Triskelion's 3/2 time signature reflects this, with passages in 3/4, 4/4 and 2/4 occurring alongside it. Similar to fractal patterns in nat'ure, the polyrhythms in this piece are found at different rhythmic levels.

This is apparent in the opening bars where the left hand plays three consecutive whole notes over two bars of 3/2, implying an underlying 3/1 time signature. There's another layer of rhythmic ambiguity at work in these bars too. The right-hand ostinato repeats a three-note motif played in eighth notes, preventing it from sounding like triplets and causing the accents to shift within the group. These nested polyrhythms gave rise to the piece's title a triskelion or triskele is an ancient Celtic motif consisting of three interlocking spirals, symbolizing the upper, middle and lower worlds.



Photo: Roger Redgate

Syzygy 14 mins

For toy pianos and looper pedal.
Commissioned by pianist Kate Ryder, 2010.
First performed by Kate Ryder at the Royal Festival Hall, London, 21 May 2011, using her collection of vintage toy pianos.

The strange tuning and percussive sound of the toy piano is reminiscent of the chiming sound of Javanese Gamelan music, which was one of the inspirations behind this piece. Also important was the English churchbell change-ringing tradition, in which a multitude of bell sounds are overlaid on top of each other in a variety of rhythmic patterns. The looper pedal provided the ideal means for realising these textural possibilities in live performance.


Southern Discomfort
4 mins For piano

Commissioned and published by SCHOTT MUSIC for the opening of the Bauer & Hieber music shop, London, 21 September 2007.

First performed by Tim Richards, 21 September 2007.

The starting point for this piece was a melodic fragment from Erik Satie's Gymnopédies. The opening and closing bell-like sonorities frame a central section that mimics an improvised solo in the right-hand, with jazzy left-hand chords following a typical 'New Orleans' rhythm.


Opus Pocus
4:30 For piano
Performed and recorded live by Androniki Liokoura, January 2007.

A minimalist-influenced piece that features toccata-like passages, melodic left-hand octaves and jazzy power chords.


Seraglio
5 mins For piano
Performed and recorded live by Firat Altay, March 2008.

Two-handed clusters are featured in this composition, which combines fully-notated sections with passages of improvisation, resulting in frequent contrasts of style, tempo and dynamics.


Starshower
3:36
For 10 pianos (overdubbed)
Commissioned by SYNC MUSIC, 2011. Performed by Tim Richards, July 2011. 

A multi-layered composition for acoustic piano overdubbed ten times. Sounds heard include plucking the strings, glissando on strings, and using the sounding board of the piano as a percussion instrument. This is one of a series of multi-layered piano pieces composed for the production music website SYNC MUSIC. To hear the parts individually, go to the construction kit on the Sync Music website. The other layered piano pieces have only 2 or 3 overdubs. To listen to them go to: www.sync-music.com Some of these (Promenade, Journey) have been adapted for live performance as PIANO DUETS for Tim's collaboration with classical pianist Kate Ryder.


Raised on the Gospel 1:30
Lazy Dog Blues 4 mins
Beauville Boogie 2 mins

For piano
Performed here by David Rees-Williams (from ROCKSCHOOL CDs).
These bluesy pieces were commissioned by ROCKSCHOOL and published in 2001 as part of their Popular Piano Syllabus.


For a further selection of piano pieces, see:
Improvising Blues Piano
Exploring Jazz Piano
Exploring Latin Piano


Pieces for classical instrumentation

String Quartet 9 mins
Excerpt performed by the Brodowsky Quartet, January 2008.

After a pizzicato opening, an ostinato cello figure underpins a classical-sounding melody in sonata form, with a transition from 4/4 to 3/4 for the second theme.


The Emerald Tablet 5 mins
For symphony orchestra.
Performed by Trinity College Symphony Orchestra, May 2008.

Opening with sinister brass chords in an extremely low register, this composition mirrors the transition from dark to light sought by medieval alchemists in their attempts to turn lead into gold.


Timetrap 11 mins
For violin, cello and piano.
Commissioned by Tryptich Piano Trio, 1998.
Performed and recorded live at Trinity Arts Centre, Tunbridge Wells, 10 March 1998, by Ruth Herbert (piano), Jonathan Few (cello) and Alun Thomas (violin).

The first two sections of this work for piano trio feature impressionist modal harmonies inspired by French composers such as Ravel and Debussy. The third section moves into more 'Messiaen-like' territory, and is based on an African 6/8 'bembe' rhythm.

Part 1 (Allegro) - 5 mins
Part 2 (Adagio) - 3 mins
Part 3 (Scherzo) - 3 mins


Carbon Footprints 2:30
For brass quintet.


Fully-notated jazz-based pieces

Tangletalk 4 mins
For recorder quintet.

First performed by Consortium5 Recorder Consort, Grosvenor Chapel, Mayfair, London, 25 May 2008.

This was written for Consortium5 Recorder Consort, who specially requested something jazzy to contrast with their often Renaissance and Baroque repertoire. The extraordinary 6-foot high sub-bass recorder plays an ostinato pattern, overlapping a similar pattern on bass recorder. Together they mimic a jazz rhythm section, with spiccato or slap tonguing producing a very percussive sound. The tenor and treble recorders each have solo features over a minor 12-bar blues structure - towards the end of the piece the two solos become intertwined.
Tangletalk is the name given to a particular kind of children's nonsense rhyme in which words are transposed or mixed up, for instance: "I met a bark and it dogged at me".


Escape Velocity 5 mins
For soprano sax, vibraphone and piano.

Commissioned by The Interference Trio, 2010.

First performed by Matt London, Manchester, 2010 (this recording is a Sibelius audio file).
A fast-moving piece featuring parallel suspended 4th chords on vibes and piano, and solos from all three instruments.