Inventions (For Heath Robinson)


solo piano

Commissioned by the Riot Ensemble

First Performance
2.8.2019, Petworth Festival, St Mary's Church, Petworth, West Sussex, UK: Adam Swayne

Score in preparation

Programme Notes

The generic title ‘Inventions’, usually used for keyboard compositions, has always had an attraction for me.

Firstly, it suggests that the composer is intentionally reducing their means – evoking Bach’s Inventions, it implies rigour, concision, transparency and craft. Secondly, the word suggests a composer’s imagination taking flight – conjuring worlds that don’t exist yet, embracing the elation of creating artistic things. Lastly, it conjures for me the idea of a mad inventor – working with pulleys, cogs, engines and sellotape. Creating contraptions whose complexity far exceeds their use value, but whose ingenuity has a charm in direct proportion to their uselessness. Heath Robinson (alongside his American equivalent, Rube Goldberg) was a master of these latter type of inventions.

All of these three definitions seem to describe how I see my work at various times during the composition process – these Inventions align themselves with all the above implications.


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