Tom Coult - Enmîmés sont les gougebosqueux

Filmed Live on 7th March 2014
at the Martin Harris Centre, The University of Manchester

Conrad Marshall flute
Richard Casey piano
Heather Wallington viola
Jennifer Langridge cello

Tom Coult
Enmîmés sont les gougebosqueux

Il brilgue: les tôves lubricilleux
Se gyrent en vrillant dans le guave.
Enmîmés sont les gougebosqueux
Et le mômerade horsgrave.

Frank L. Warrin (after Lewis Carroll)

I often find it difficult to come up with titles for pieces – having conceived them in an essentially abstract way, it feels strange to tie them to some piece of art, science or literature from the 'real world'. When I was doing my usual routine of trawling books and the internet to find a cultural reference that might have a tenuous relation to the way this piece was turning out, I came across Frank Warrin's French translation of Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky.

Jabberwocky is of course filled with nonexistent words that somehow conjure up a strong (if imprecise) sense of meaning and significance. The translation, Le Jaseroque, is thus a translation of a made-up language – masterfully preserving the semantic sense of its nonsense English counterpart. 'Enmîmés sont les gougebosqueux' is a translation of 'All mimsy were the borogroves'. It struck me that as composers, it is as if we are operating with a made-up language – none of our material has any objective 'sense' or meaning, but in the listener it conjures strong mental and sensual responses – responses that are fuzzily indescribable yet clear and intoxicating. My piece (like most of my other ones) is therefore seven minutes of sound and play –like a made-up language a few translations down the line, I hope that the nonsense herein makes some strange and beautiful sense to the listener.

Tom Coult

Psappha’s YouTube Channel

You can also visit Psappha’s YouTube Channel, where you can watch:

  • Films of works by emerging composers
  • Films of Psappha’s Hong Kong Residency (2013)
  • All of the films on Psappha’s website