This work premiered at Anxiety Festival in June. It follows on from Hearing Voices, a song-cycle composed by Jocelyn Pook in 2012. Hearing Voices was a collaboration with Melanie Pappenheim and Emma Bernard, performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra, and was inspired by Pook’s interest in people’s experience of mental illness. Anxiety Fanfare and Variations for Voices takes Pook’s interest in mental illness further; it is a musical exploration of anxiety disorders, which are amongst the most common of mental health problems.
Pook took inspiration from conversations with people who suffer from anxiety, in all its many forms, and was particularly interested in the experience of living with anxiety on an everyday basis. This selection of new pieces includes first person descriptions of possible causes of anxiety, including the nervous energy of a singer waiting in the wings to go on stage, and some of its many possible effects – hyperventilation, a rush of adrenaline and indecision. They also address the circular nature of living with anxiety on a daily basis, and the busy mind of an insomniac lying awake at night.
Aurora Orchestra conducted by Graham Ross; soloists: Lore Lixenberg mezzo-soprano, Melanie Pappenheim mezzo-soprano, Jonathan Peter Kenny countertenor, George Ikediashibass, and the Mind and Soul Choir led by Lea Cornthwaite.