Song in the City commissioned four composers to write a new song cycle back in 2012 called Voices of London. The process of creating this new work involved Song in the City artists sifting through many London-inspired poems until a collection emerged that hung together as a group. Each composer chose a shortlist of poems, which was then further reduced to two or three poems each. They decided to include poems that spoke of London’s own ‘voice’: the noise that the city makes, the sounds of its people, or, as James Lark and Simon Munnery wonder in the final song, ‘If London could speak’! Of course, a collection of songs that is composed by four different composers for four different voices and a pianist, with poetry ranging from the 12th century to the present day, is at the risk of being incohesive, let alone being able to claim a place in the genre of the song cycle. However, one has only to look at London to see the juxtaposition of old and new, of beautiful and ugly, of congruous and incongruous, to realise that this melange of different ‘voices’ is what makes London so uniquely attractive.
On this debut recording, Song in the City also includes many other London-themed music by composers who have wished, like us, to leave a legacy that celebrates the vibrancy of the ‘Big Smoke’ and the art it has inspired.
– Gavin Roberts
Artistic Director, Song in the City
Clips from, full version of tracks available to buy from iTunes.