chamber orchestra
Chamber/Small Orchestra
Instrumentation - - timp - strings (

Commissioned for the City of London Sinfonia by Medway Council with funds from Arts Council England, South East.

First Performance
20.4.07, Turner Sims Concert Hall, Southampton: City of London Sinfonia/Douglas Boyd

Score 0-571-53142-3 on sale, parts for hire

Programme Notes
There is a (possibly apocryphal) story told about Henry Ford. It is said that he commissioned a survey of scrapyards to see if there were any parts of the Model T that never failed, that never broke down. The results of the survey concluded that while axles, brakes and pistons were all liable to fail, the sturdy kingpins inevitably had years of life left in them. Ford concluded of course that from that moment on, the kingpins should be made to an inferior specification. Kingpin, the strong and trustworthy heart of a machine, ever-present - but hard to define, difficult to describe – who amongst us could confidently sketch a kingpin? But nevertheless there they are, tirelessly holding on, keeping the machines running smoothly, our cars on the road, the wheels turning. It is the machines that grind tirelessly away that Tansy Davies has taken as inspiration for kingpin. Not a vision of gleaming steel and laser precision, but one of grey steam and black oil, metal teeth spinning and biting, and power forced out through circular motion. Rhythms and melodies push and pull against one another, now and again finding harmony and peace. But the machines are always moving, always turning, and nothing can stay still. The instruments we hear are machines as well of course, the valves of the trumpet easily conjuring an image of Ford’s scrapyard pistons. The machines of music invoke the machines that really created a revolution for man. For the world became smaller, and the elements – tamed beasts. Toby Davies Please contact Toby Davies for permission to use this.

Licensing Information

News & Reviews

'Kingpin' reviews

‘...kingpin, named after the only part of the Model T engine that Henry Ford supposedly found never wore out. Opening lurchings in the bass suggested Frankenstein’s monster on the ballroom floor. But the rhythmic machinery never collapsed as the music wheeled around at conflicting speeds and instrumental colours, clanking, tootling and chortling away until the final upbeat “kerplunk”. Read more

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