Invisible Cities

for orchestra

Graham Lynch

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for orchestra

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Composer Graham Lynch
Year of Composition 1998
Duration ca.14'
Forces 2fl, fl/picc/afl, 2ob, ca, 2cl, 2bn, 4hn, 2tpt, 2tbn, btbn, 3perc, cel, hp, strings
Categories (all composers)
Catalogue ID ce-gl1ic1


Invisible Cities was first performed by the Orchestra of Opera North and then taken up and performed and broadcast on Radio 3 by the BBC Symphony Orchestra. It has also been used as a compulsory piece in the semi-finals of the Leeds Conductor’s Competition in both 1999 and 2009.

The music takes its title from the novel by Italo Calvino. In this book Calvino relates the dialogue that takes place between the explorer Marco Polo and the great ruler Kublai Khan, in which Marco Polo describes all the strange and exotic cities he has visited – each revealed in small crystalline episodes.  However, the music of Invisible Cities also evokes other cities and lands of fantasy and the imagination, such as the Byzantium of Yeats, or the Golgonooza of Blake. These places are always shimmering at the edge of consciousness, as suggestions of ideal forms, impossible colours, bold sweeping shapes, dark perspectives, and the slow passing of time.