Tom Williams: A Shadow That Falls

A Shadow That Falls (2019) for percussion and fixed media
by Tom Williams
performed by Patti Cudd

‘I’m going to Flicker for a moment
And tell you the tale of a shadow
That falls at dusk…’   (Alice Oswald)

A Shadow that Falls was composed for the French percussionist Thierry Miroglio and is for unpitched percussion and electroacoustic fixed media. The fixed media is composed from sample recordings of Miroglio playing. There is no conventional written score for the performer, instead there is a ‘listening score’.  The percussionist improvises to the fixed media, stereo track that accompanies the player and to the listening score that only they hear on a third, private track.  To shape and inspire their performance the percussionist hears lines and words taken from the poem Shadow (2015) by the English contemporary poet Alice Oswald. There is a sense of revealing and unfolding, of emptiness, of mindfulness in the performance.  The work requires no music stand and, where possible, asks for special low lighting to generate silhouettes (shadows) around the performer.

Since the 1980s Tom Williams has been composing for both acoustic and electroacoustic media. Recordings of his music are available on the Kitchenware, TEM and Albany Record labels. His music has been widely performed at international festivals, including at International Computer Music Conferences, Australasian Computer Music Conferences, SEAMUS (USA), NYCEMF (New York), and Sonorities, Belfast.  Recent performances include:  SABRE, Zurich; CMMR, Sao Paulo; Music+Sound, Hull; and EMAS2019 at Greenwich University and his music has been recently broadcast on the BBC Radio 3, New Music Show. He has received awards from ALEA III Boston, the Italian music medal ‘Città di Udine’, Honourable Mention, IMEB, France; and has been nominated for a British Composer Award. Recent work includes for the New York cellist, Madeleine Shapiro; the soprano Juliana Janes Yaffé; the contrabass clarinettist Sarah Watts; French percussion Thierry Miroglio, and Dance Umbrella. Tom Williams has a doctorate in music composition from Boston University and is an Associate Professor at Coventry University.

Tom Williams