Under City Skin
for solo viola, string orchestra and surround sound
The bestiaries of the middle ages, the zoological dictionaries of the time, are astonishing reading. The Dragon, the Unicorn and the Mermaid appear effortlessly alongside the Lion, the Horse and the Cat, and the real animals are given very odd characteristics:
– The pelican mother kills her offspring. After three days she revives them by letting blood from her own chest fall on them.
– A dog that crosses a hyena's shadow will lose its voice.
– A snake that tastes the spit of a fasting man will die.
– The blood of a he-goat can dissolve a diamond
In our time we know better. Or do we? Maybe we still hold an unconsciously mythological relation to the world around us, in spite of its modernisation and urbanisation? Perhaps many of the things we see and hear in the urban jungle contain hidden meanings for us, perhaps they carry strong histories of power, fear, yearning and bliss?
The Mercedez. The High-heeled Shoes. The Park at Night. The Cash Register. The Bus. The City Hall Bells.
In Berlioz' famous viola concerto, young Harold goes to Italy to broaden his mind. Here our protagonist goes under the skin of the city sounds, in a quest to find out what forces are hiding within.
© Rolf Wallin