Rainbow-Shooting Cloud Contraption


chamber ensemble of 15 players
Mixed Chamber Ensemble
1(=picc).1.ebcl(=bcl).1 - 1110 - Perc(1): tam-t/2 tpl.bl/vib/xyl - pno - harp - strings (

Written for the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme 2013

First Performance
12.7.2013, Britten Studio, Snape, Suffolk, UK: Britten-Pears Composers Ensemble/Gregory Charette

Score and parts for hire

Programme Notes

Rainbow-Shooting Cloud Contraption has had rather a tangled history. During 2013, I was working on an orchestral piece inspired by Luigi Serafini’s Codex Seraphinianus – a gloriously eccentric encyclopaedia of imaginary animals, landscapes, buildings, fauna and inventions. I had heard a first draft of this orchestral piece performed, and wasn’t satisfied with it – the first four minutes in particular. While thinking about how to turn this draft into a finished piece, I attended the composers course at Aldeburgh, and used my time there to re-work material from those opening minutes, giving it a new profile and shape (but for 15 instruments rather than 80). This re-thinking of the material then got incorporated back into the orchestral piece, making Rainbow-Shooting Cloud Contraption a sort of reverse-engineered prequel to the larger piece. The piece’s title comes from one of Luigi Serafini’s inventions from the Codex Seraphinianus – in the chapter on machines, Serafini displays a cloud fitted with wheels and helicopter blades that shoots rainbows out of colourful gun turrets at its rear, forming rainbows wherever it flies.

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