For musicians, one of the biggest impacts of the pandemic was not being able to play together. Without being able to play together, there was no need to tune instruments to one another, and that is where the piece begins.
The opening sound is the oboe playing a tuning “A”, essentially a call to others, with no response. The members of the orchestra begin playing individually, unaware of the other players, while quotes about isolation are read. When the players realize they are not alone, they begin playing the “A” together.
A contrapuntal section in which the players and their respective sections begin introducing themselves and their characters, follows; like a group gathering where everyone becomes reacquainted. Once all the instruments have entered, they embark on a set of variations based on the drinking song, “Whisky in the Jar”.
The players and their respective sections within the orchestra are reintroduced, imitating the initial contrapuntal introduction, this time, in a salsa inspired variation. Whereas the initial entry of the players was chaotic, reflecting our initial awkwardness at coming together after isolation, the salsa variation is a dance, expressing our comfort in functioning within a group and finding our rhythm or groove again.
The piece concludes with music associated with some of the various celebrations and life events that were missed during lockdown: birthdays, weddings, graduations, etc.