Benedict Todd

Organist · Composer · Conductor






Out of the Machine

Out of the Machine

  • Composed: August - October 2013
  • Duration: 9 - 10 min
  • Instrumentation: Flute, Clarinet (B flat), Horn (F), 2 Percussion, Piano, Harp, Violin, Viola & ‘Cello
  • First performance: University of Bristol New Music Ensemble (NME) at the Victoria Rooms, Bristol, 11 December 2013
  • Subsequently performed as part of the Bristol New Music festival 2014

  • Notes: Winning entry in the 2013 University of Bristol Postgraduate Composition Competition

  • Programme note: The initial ideas for this piece all sprang from the title (itself in fact borrowed from the production company behind the Bristol New Music festival). I was immediately struck by the musical and conceptual ideas which this name seemed to suggest. Ideas arising from the concept of ‘the mechanical’, certainly: of repetition, regularity, order, constant and unstoppable movement, of precision parts all precisely interlocking together. But also, and perhaps more interestingly in terms of a musical structure, the idea of something arising Out of these elements, of the contrast between the mechanical and the lyrical, the impersonal and the personal. Thus, although the driving pulse, immediately established in the opening seconds, remains constant throughout the majority of this piece, the musical elements which weave around it move with a much more flexible pacing: sometimes intricately interlocking whilst, at other points, widening and broadening in scope. When the tension inherent in this relationship finally becomes too much and it quickly becomes apparent that, in fact, this fast-paced, pulsing material is no longer sustainable, it turns out that this musical machine actually contains within itself not only the fundamental source of this inherent instability, but also its eventual solution.


  • Recording (extract)
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  • This recording was made during the concert on 23 February 2014 in the Victoria Rooms, Bristol, which was part of the Bristol New Music festival. The performance was given by the University of Bristol New Music Ensemble, conducted by Neal Farwell.
    This recording is copyright © B Todd 2014. All rights are reserved.

  • This score is available. Please click here for details.



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