commissioned by Nevis Ensemble for their inaugural tour of Scotland in August 2018.
The starting point for Attach was ‘Circles in a Circle’ (1923), a work by the Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky. Referring to this composition, Kandinsky wrote, “The circle is the synthesis of the greatest oppositions. It combines the concentric and the excentric in a single form, and in balance." I started to think about how the communities that we all belong to are in some ways exponents of “the greatest oppositions” that Kandinsky refers to. On the one hand these small communities and their comprised individuals tend to strive for independence and may espouse a collective set of opinions, beliefs or a sense of pride. In summary, there is a desire to have their unique voices heard. On the other hand, these communities may also aspire to feel like a microcosm of society in broader terms. They may want to feel connected to neighbouring communities and ultimately feel like their voices can be aligned, strengthened and united with the voices of surrounding communities. The ebb and flow of these opposing states heavily impacted the way I thought about organising the orchestra and eventually manifested into four distinct groups of musicians. The physical spatialisation of the groups was loosely informed by ‘Circles in a Circle’, and organised to situate three chamber-sized groups within a large circle of string players. I was interested in the resultant interactions between each group’s musical material and whether they try to have their individual voices heard or contribute towards the voice of one larger entity.