Four Perpetual Motions
by Tom Coult
- chamber ensemble of 10 players
- Mixed Chamber Ensemble
- fl.ob.cl - tpt - perc(1): vib/mar/glsp/crot/2 bongos - harp - vln.vla.vlc.db
Tom Coult was one of the winners of the 2012 Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize and was consequently commissioned to write this work for the Philharmonia Music of Today Series.
- First Performance
- 27.6.2013, Royal Festival Hall, London, UK: Members of Philharmonia Orchestra/Rüdiger Böhn
- Programme Notes
i. Canon a 3 ii. Alla ottava iii. Per augmentationem et diminutionem iv. In modulatione descendente (Berceuse) This piece is essentially a suite of fantastical miniatures – four short, contrasting character pieces that aim for a sense of charm and delight in their abstract playfulness. They are described as ‘perpetual motions’ because they all have certain ways of moving – each piece acts like a machine with certain rules in harmony, melody and rhythm. The first movement, a three-part canon and the only true moto perpetuo, starts as a mechanical process for plucked and struck instruments but opens out into more melodic material and florid arabesques. The second begins with austere parallel octaves but gradually embraces harmony and flowers into more a more sensuous sound. Over the course of the third movement, slow material gradually speeds up while fast material slows down – until they have swapped places by the end. The final movement is a lilting Berceuse, gradually modulating downwards with intricate decoration towards its tolling conclusion.