Sonnet Machine, a BBC Philharmonic commission from 2015-16 will receive its Dutch premiere as part of the Holland Festival in June, with Martyn Brabbins conducting the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra.
Recalling Alan Turing’s fascination with the idea of machines writing sonnets, Coult describes the piece as ‘a creative misunderstanding of sonnet form – 14 bits of music that “rhyme’’ in various ways, as if an early computer had arbitrarily applied the rules of sonnet form to a piece of music.’ Over the course of the work’s riproarious 10 minutes, whipcracks articulate many jolting gear changes and non sequiturs, whilst the front desks of violins and violas double on instruments whose scordaturas lend a blazing rawness to the open-string sonorities of the work’s arresting point of departure. A succession of dazzling textures once again testify to the maturity of this young composer’s craft. Later, the glint of open strings returns to initiate a breathless coda which hurtles forward to its close.
Sonnet Machine is not the only work of Coult’s to be revived in coming seasons; composed for the BBC Symphony Orchestra in 2013, his Codex (Homage to Serafini) will be performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in their 18/19 Season, as part of the PRS Resonate Scheme