New Oysters


The Silver Swan

Oh My Love

Weep O Mine Eyes

Flow My Tears



Surround Me from Moorfields to Milk Street, 2010. Artangel


Iain Sinclair on Susan Philipsz’s ‘Surround Me’. Tate Shots


Susan Philipsz’s songs of the city, 2010. theguardian.com


Surround Me, various locations, 2010. gchong2426


Surround Me, various locations, 2010. paulglink


Surround Me, Change Alley – New Oysters. webcowgirl


Surround Me, London Bridge – Flow My Tears. webcowgirl


Surround Me, Moorfields Highwalk – Weep, O Mine Eyes. FramescourerUK

CIVIT.VERI Civitas veri sive morvm

 Sound artist Susan Philipsz unveils City song project. BBC John Wilson.mp3

Surround Me. A Song Cycle
for The City of London, 2010.
Six installations, various
locations in the City of London.
Commissioned by Artangel

Surround Me

“Things… made truly Musicall with Art by my correction, and yet plaine, and capable with ease, by my direction.”
Thomas Ravenscroft, from Deutoromelia, 1609

Surround Me; A Song Cycle for the City of London is a series of six sound works, arranged in a broad circle around the Royal Exchange designed to be experienced at the weekends. In contrast to the noise of the working week, over the weekend an eerie quiet descends on the public spaces of the City of London, broken only by the occasional sound of traffic, church bells and alarms. In the early modern city the voice had a much stronger role as an acoustic marker of civic space. To be heard over one another, a natural order and harmony evolved in the cries of the street traders which enthused composers, such as Thomas Ravenscroft, to write canons where one voice follows the other in a round. The madrigal, another popular song form for several voices, emerged in Italy in the 16th Century and soon travelled to England where it flowered as the English Madrigal School. Surround Me; A Song Cycle for the City of London embraces the vocal traditions of the City of London connecting themes of love and loss with those of fluidity, circulation and immersion; the flood of tears, the swelling tide and the ebb and flow of the river, to convey a poignant sense of absence and loss in the contemporary City of London.

Civitas Veri

Classical and medieval thinkers sometimes give visual form to the functioning of the human mind by imagining it as a walled city – a city that is circular in shape. The topos is elaborated on an epic scale in Bartolomeo del Bene’s philosophical poem Civitas Veri sive Morum (1609). Five gates in the city walls correspond to the five senses. The gate of hearing – creaking on copper hinges, adorned with musical instruments, presided over by Apollo and the Muses – stands to the right in del Bene’s image, toward the north or tramontana, against the echo producing mountains that define the horizon of the Italian imagination. It is, in fact, through the gate of hearing that del Bene, his patron Queen Margaret of Savoie, and two of her ladies in waiting, along with the poem’s reader, enter the city.

Bruce R. Smith, The Acoustic World of Early Modern England, 1999