Notes on a City (2008)
Two Voices & Piano, 8'
- New York
Notes on a City is a series of four short duets, each offering a musical snapshot of a world-famous city. The music and poetry seek to evoke these places by focussing on specific images and the way they recreate memories or feelings - for instance, the nostalgia of blossom in the Parisian springtime. The duets also feature musical associations to guide the listener through the four cities - be it the ghost of an English folk tune or the pulsating rhythm of Broadway vaudeville.
The music is set to poetry by Adam Goodyer, who writes:
Each of these pieces is an attempted distillation of the essence of a city into no more than a handful of words. Cities are vast and dense, so that is by definition an exercise in extreme compression, requiring all the resources of poetic writing to express something very big in an utterance almost as brief as a haiku. I hope some of these pieces have at least been partially successful in suggesting the atmosphere of the different cities; despite the fact I have never been to one of them. Which suggests the idea: the essence of a city is not found in a geographical location, but in the idea people have of it. Or to put it another way, that all cities are essentially invisible.