Laurence Osborn

  • Duration

    21 mins

  • Year of composition


  • Number of performers


  • First performance

    The Riot Ensemble, St Nicholas Church, Brighton

  • Commissioned by
    The Riot Ensemble in association with New Music Brighton


Micrographia comprises six movements, each of which illustrates a phenomenon observed through the microscope and documented in Robert Hooke’s 1665 treatise of the same name. Hooke’s observations are accompanied by beautiful drawings. The conclusions he draws from what he sees are frequently inaccurate and sometimes fantastical. The text therefore communicates a wonderful, naïve exuberance inspired by the experience of seeing tiny things for the very first time.

The first five movements deal with magnified images of the following phenomena: the point of a needle, grains of salt, urine, blue mould, and the wing of a fly. The final movement deals with Hooke’s observations of stars through a telescope, which, bizarrely can be found in the same book. The final movement therefore illustrates a sudden change in scale and direction, although in relation to the human eye, the phenomena presented is just as small and mysterious.

Full Scoring:

Two Sopranos

Flute doubling Piccolo and Alto Flute
Percussion [Vibraphone and Glockenspiel]
Electric Guitar

To enquire about hiring the score and parts for Micrographia, please complete the form below.