Synergy represented by

Left to right: Phillip Brown, Lawrence White, Katy Hill, Micaela Haslam

“We’ve done quite a few workshops with Ben Park now. He and his lovely wife, Fin, are prolific in their creation of new music/dance projects with their company Walker Dance Park Music, and I admire their work hugely. This time, Ben had collaborated with Ian McMillan, “the bard from Barnsley”, to create several scenes in the life of a father and son (Lawrence and Phill – father a bit older than the son in this instance!), called Law of Motion.

The narrative is centred round a seminal moment in the two men’s lives, when the father left the family years ago. Both remember the shutting of the door; the father remembers the gentle whisper of the closing door; the son remembers an almighty slam. Both their lives were changed at this moment. (The title of the work comes from the fact that the father is a physicist.)

The two female singers are not characters as such, but represent the “inner voices” of the father and son – sometimes expressing what they don’t know how to say, sometimes singing with one of the characters, and occasionally with both.

As always with Ben, the music was presented as an enharmonic soup in a rhythmic snowstorm (I shall keep going on about it until he starts producing scores in Finale or Sibelius!!). Ben does know what he wants though – the challenge is simply in realising it. There are lots of funky rhythms in 5’s and 7’s, the vocals are often treated instrumentally, and that’s all mixed up with plenty of of beautiful expressivity.

We had the fabulous Steve Gibson, Rachael Bennett and Amanda Truelove on marimba, piano and cello, making light work of the fiendish instrumental parts; and Paul Wright at the helm. Paul was drafted in at very short notice and did a marvellous job.

Although we had to work hard, we did get to enjoy the delights of Ben’s beautiful home out in the wilds of Buckinghamshire, and our efforts were further rewarded by Ben’s mum with her delicious home-made bread and chocolate cake. She’d also made the plates on which the aforementioned delights were served. They’re a talented bunch, those Parks!

So off we eventually headed to Hammersmith and the Riverside Studios. We could have done with a bit more rehearsal, truth be told, but Tête-à-tête Opera Festival is for works in progress – for generating interest and funding, not for the finished article. We all did our best, the performances were well-received, so let’s see where the project goes from here…”


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