THE world premiere is to be held next month of a new work inspired by words written by acclaimed poet Edwin Morgan in the wake of the 1979 Scottish devolution referendum.

Slate is seen as a love letter to a politically – and environmentally – battered Scotland and is the inspiration behind music commissioned by the country’s leading string orchestra, Scottish Ensemble (SE).

It will form the centrepiece of a concert evoking the elements of Scotland’s landscape: from its rocks, sea and air to the changes and processes that have shaped its land and its people. The event is a collaboration between the Ensemble and two musicians from the non-classical world – Mercury Music Award nominee Kit Downes and award-winning composer, fiddler and producer Aidan O’Rourke, who have written the new piece, There Is No Beginning.

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Through their composition the duo explore not only the poem’s intrinsic musicality but its themes of time, change and transformation, particularly in relation to the current political and environmental landscape of Scotland and the world.

Bringing together their separate influences, the piece fuses the energy of Scots trad with elements of jazz and modern classical music.

Scottish Ensemble will also perform a clutch of contemporary works inspired by all things elemental such as space, silence, waves and air, intertwined with melodies which echo an ancient Scotland.

Pieces will include Dave Fennessy’s Hirta Rounds, which references one of the islands of remote Scottish archipelago St Kilda, and Gyorgy Ligeti’s Ramifications.

Downes will also perform his track Obsidian from the 2018 album of the same name and O’Rourke will play pieces from 365: Volume 2.

This was created in response to Scots author James Robertson’s short story collection 365: Stories, for which the writer composed a story a day over the course of a year. O’Rourke then spent a year writing daily musical responses to each of his stories.

Elemental is the third tour of SE’s 50th anniversary season.

The collaboration with O’Rourke and Downes follows a history of collaboration with artists from other musical traditions in order to break down barriers between different musical forms and present classical music in a new way in an attempt to widen its potential audience.

The first collaboration with a musician from the folk tradition was in 1995 with celebrated Scottish fiddler Aly Bain on his Follow The Moonstone album.

The ensemble has since formed a long-term partnership with Celtic-inspired duo Chris Stout and Catriona McKay, which began in 2013 with Sally Beamish’s evocative work Seavaigers and has since continued through various concerts, projects and workshops together, including multiple performances at Celtic Connections.

In recent years, the ensemble has collaborated with artists from the worlds of electronica, reggae/dub as well as other musical traditions from across the world.

There is no beginning is O’Rourke and Downes’ first joint commission as composers although they perform as a duo as well as solo artists. O’Rourke also plays with his band Lau, who have won Best Group at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards an unprecedented four times.

A pianist, organist and harmonium player, Downes is a BBC Jazz Award winner and has toured the world performing on various keyboard instruments with his own bands – Enemy, Troyka, Elt and Vyamanikal – as well as artists such as Squarepusher, Thomas Stronen and Django Bates, and has collaborated with filmmakers, video game developers and classical composers.

Elemental will tour to Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow and Edinburgh