In 2012, Song in the City commissioned a new song cycle on poetry inspired by London. In 2015, we recorded these songs alongside 'London' songs by other composers.
Composers: Joseph Atkins, James Lark, Graham Ross, Raymond Yiu
Jennie Witton (soprano)
Elizabeth Lynch (mezzo soprano)
Nicholas Allen (tenor)
Piran Legge (baritone)
Gavin Roberts (piano)
The process of creating this new work involved collectively sifting through many London-inspired poems until a collection of poems emerged that hung together as a group. Each composer chose two to three poems, ranging from 12th century to the present day, 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 in cohesive, let alone being able to claim a place in the ‘song cycle’ genre. However, one has only to look upon any vista of our beloved city 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. The best way of reflecting this unique vista in the special genre of song seemed to be to create our own melting-pot with the voices of poets, composers and singers, reflecting the multifarious ‘voices’ of London.