David Sawer: Coachman Chronos

  • for 9 players
  • Duration: 8–10 min
  • Instrumentation details:
    cor anglais
    clarinet in A
    horn in F
    cornet in Bb (+flhn)
    double bass
  • Composer: David Sawer
  • Commission: Commissioned by NMC Recordings as part of the 'Objects at an Exhibition' project to mark its 25th anniversary. This work was supported with funds from the PRS for Music Foundation and the Britten-Pears Foundation.

Work introduction

As soon as I saw the splendid 1820 Royal Mail coach in the ‘Making the Modern World’ gallery, I was reminded of Thomas de Quincey’s essay on motion, ‘The English Mail Coach’, and especially the moment where he describes how, by contrasting the speed of movement with the speed of thought, the driver of the coach is able to think clearly, thereby narrowly avoiding disaster. In a world which increasingly emphasises speed, clarity can perhaps be best achieved when time stands still.

David Sawer


The complete perusal score (PDF-preview)

World première

Science Museum, London (GB)
Aurora Orchestra
Nicholas Collon

Press reviews

David Sawer’s Coachman Chronos, played in front of the York to London mailcoach of 1820, weaves allusions to Thomas de Quincey and Goethe into his wonderfully concise ride towards the abyss […] (Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 5 October 2015)

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