TIME / SPACE I (2007)

for four trombones and tape


Commissioned by the Royal Northern College of Music (UK), TIME / SPACE I is the first of a series of works exploring ideas of musical time and space within the context of small instrumental ensembles.   


In this work each of the four live trombones play at different, and constantly varying, simultaneous tempi.    Therefore in the live music there can be up to four different speeds at any one time.   Alongside this live music is a pre-recorded tape of the quartet playing in tempi which are different again to the live ones.  


Ideally this piece should be performed by four trombonists positioned at the four corners of the hall, each player having a loudspeaker behind them - thus creating a double quadraphonic spatialization of the sound.       


In the opening we hear the four trombonists on tape playing repeated octave Fs at different speeds with subtle rhythmic and timbral transformations of the sound.    One by one the four live trombone parts enter at different tempi with a gradual and prolonged rallantando leading to the end of the first section.   In the second main section the live performers play various solos and duos, while on tape we here four ‘chorales’; each one performed by the whole quartet, sounding like 78 rpm records being played in the distance.  


In the third section, as player 4 performs a solo we hear vocal sounds “ti – ka” rotating very rapidly around the speakers.   This is followed by antiphonal chords, again rotating around the space and gradually getting faster and faster.   


A Bridge passage follows in which various pitches are distributed around the live parts statistically and this leads into the final section.  


The last section harks back to the opening with repeated octaves, although now the music covers the whole space from the extreme foreground (live) through to extreme distance (on tape) with many different speeds running simultaneously.   Here the players are asked to perform in a manner reminiscent of Buddhist Ceremonial Music, which in its own way achieves a form of ‘timelessness’ as it can go on for many hours, indeed many days in the context of religious ceremonies. 


                                                                                                                    -Andrew Garbett



The following programme notes may be reproduced with the following notice:

© Andrew Garbett, 2007