Winding Bodies: 3 knots has been shortlisted in the large chamber music category of this year’s BASCA awards. Here’s what I wrote about the piece:
A knot is the magical image of time turned back on itself – think of a knot and you start thinking of the actions and process of tying it! The place where you were first finds itself next to where you will be next as you interlace a strand and pull it tight.
A knot is a material technology for binding and unbinding through friction and tension and is also one of our oldest patterns for story-telling, memory-work, divination and magic. The properties that make a knot ‘knotty’, somehow also appeal to our story-telling instincts when we’re faced with paradoxes and problems intervening in a life of desires, curses, memory and loss. Winding Bodies, 3 Knots looks at the old Nordic tale of sailors ‘buying the wind’ tied in knots – untying the first knot would release a breeze, the second a strong wind and the third contained a hurricane which should never be untied…
I would like to make a music that is similarly intertwining in nature, a music made up of a circulating meshwork of lines of activity in which one finds knots of stable coherence and knots that puzzle and confound; a music where knotting describes a poetics of bewilderment as much as of clarity, and where forms grow out of an attention to and fascination with the hurricane of waywardness that sits at the edge of where you think things are going, barely contained by a knot in a rope.
For alto flute, bass clarinet, piano (with preparation), percussion, Norwegian hardingfele (hardanger fiddle), violin, viola, cello and double bass. Winding Bodies: 3 Knots was commissioned by the Cikada Ensemble with the generous assistance of the Norwegian Arts Council. It received its UK premiere by the Cikada Ensemble at St Paul’s Hall on 23rd November 2014 as part of the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.