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Sheet Music Review

Neil Sissons

May/June 2007

Timothy Raymond describes his piece Chiming as an `ornamental, contemplative nocturne', explaining that the long pedal sustains and the repeated notes within each wash of harmony combine to suggest change ringing. The flow of atonal chiming sometimes stops with long notes, held for up to 11 seconds, and various other devices combine to give the music a free-flowing motion with no regular rhythm. There are various tuplets, grace notes, boxes with groups to be repeated `in no particular melodic pattern, but as fast as possible' and so on. The repeated notes and randomly-repeated patterns ensure that there is no feeling of serialism, but rather a freely developing flow based around melodic shapes and half-pedalling effects, especially when used with the lower bass notes, which give really beautiful secondary resonances. The sound world is, harmonically, like that found in the music of Morton Feldman, though it does not share his extremes of tempos. The piece is ten pages long and lasts as many minutes, but be prepared for some fairly rigorous practising/decoding as, despite the impression of improvisatory freedom, the music also requires careful poise and precision.

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