The City

Though the Greek-born composer Vangelis has produced some formidable work — from the sinister score for Blade Runner (1982) to the huge, neoprimitive symphonic-choral piece The Mask (1985) — his latest effort, The City, is closer in weight to the theme from Chariots of Fire (1982), the hokey hit that made him famous. Divided into eight contiguous sections — ”Dawn,” ”Side Streets,” etc. — The City is apparently intended as a sort of sonic stroll through a typical day in Rome, filled with ear-catching synthesizer effects and ambient city sounds (revving motorcycles, snatches of conversation). But, for all the cutting-edge electronics, Vangelis’ tunes are mainly badly dated Eurojunk: generic Mediterranean-style folk ditties over ultra-square pop rhythms; a concertina lick straight out of an Italian travelogue; even a ’60s-style cool-jazz number for breathy flute, brushed cymbals, and vibes (like, no bongos?). The City is structured a little like Gershwin’s symphonic look at urban life, An American in Paris. But its content has more in common with Gidget Goes to Rome. C

The City
  • Music