1 The Magical City 2 The City as Melodrama This is one of a series of pieces I have written which respond to the mystery and fascination of the modern city. The piece takes its title from ‘Soft City’, a book by Jonathan Raban published in 1974. In the book, the author explores metropolitan life and reveals that despite the hard city we can locate in maps and in statistics, it is the soft city of the imagination which is more real. There are many cities described in the book. To survive in the vastness of the city, one has to create a magical city, a private place built out of a grid of personal reference points, symbols and taboos. The city is also a place of melodrama, of theatre and impersonation, a stage set for exaggeration and performance. As the author says: ‘In cities people are given to acting, to putting on a show of themselves’!
First Performance: CoMA London ensemble, 26/2/00, Toynbee Studios, London E1
Very complex cross cutting rhythms, but generally slow pulse.