Inventions (For Heath Robinson)
by Tom Coult
- solo piano
Commissioned by the Riot Ensemble
- First Performance
- 2.8.2019, Petworth Festival, 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.