City samples magnificent sound portrait
It is not that Surrogate Cities is a purely percussion piece. The full strength of the BBCScottish Symphony Orchestra is on stage throughout. But when it builds to its climax, an augmented, nine-strong percussion section have to work at full stretch to keep up.
Written by the German modern music composer Heiner Goebbels, Surrogate Cities builds A sound portrait of a modern city. It is not a literal representation, but one which examines the soul and being of a city.
Besides the extra percussion, Goebbels has written large sections of the piece for two voices. For the most part, their text adds a human level to the orchestra's more architectural representation of the city, which seems to get right down to the groaning sewers.
He is a composer who knows that microphones are not only good for making voices sound louder, however. Jocelyn B Smith's breathy soprano voice would simply not have been as ethereal without them. But it is David Moss who makes the best use of microphone.
Moss simply applies the principles of the human beat box from hip hop to an orchestral, classical music setting.
Goebbels' biggest divergence from the norm, however, is to include a long central suite for orchestra and sampler. This allows him to include even more sonic variations into the already seething mix - variations which the SSO dealt with in powerful and understanding fashion.
Run ended, but the concert will be broadcast by Radio 3 on Saturday, September
The Scotsman (GB), 2 September 2002