Codex (Homage to Serafini)


by Tom Coult

symphony orchestra
Full Orchestra
3(III=picc).3(III=ca).3(II=E♭cl.III=bcl).3(III=cbsn) - 4.3.3(III=btrbn).1 - timp - perc(3): I:BD/vib(shared with II) II:2 with I)/snare drum/susp.cym/whip III: susp.cym/tam-t/crot/mar/xyl/glsp - harp - strings (

Embedded Composer-in-Residence commission by Sound and Music

First Performance
14.11.2013, BBC Maida Vale Studios, London, UK: BBC Symphony Orchestra/Garry Walker

Score and parts for hire

Programme Notes

Luigi Serafini is an eccentric Italian artist whose major work, the Codex Seraphinianus, is a compendium of imaginary animals, landscapes, buildings, fauna and inventions – each illustration meticulously annotated in a made-up script, as if we had come across a systematic encylopaedia from a world that doesn’t exist. The fantastical inventions include trees uprooting from the ground and swimming into the sea, circular fish that skim across the water like frisbees, men whose eight faces spin round like weather-vanes, and elaborate helicopter-like machines for shooting rainbows through the sky. Serafini’s goal – to create something imaginative, fantastical and beautiful yet essentially meaningless – is one that I identify with as a composer. Like one of Serafini’s illustrations, then, my piece has no discernible function except to hopefully charm and beguile the listener. The piece was commissioned by Sound and Music as part of an ‘Embedded’ residency with BBC Symphony Orchestra.

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