“Sounds made by humans under extreme physical or mental duress” makes out the basis for Maxwell-Davies’s Eight Songs for a Mad King.
The vocal techniques used in the piece originates from Alfred Wolfsohn, who served as a field surgeon during World War I.
…but after the war, he still heard the soldier’s screams. They continued to haunt his mind and soul.
To cure himself of these terrifying auditory hallucinations he began copying them.
We, however, strive not to only mimic humans in distress. We want to get under the skin of King George III, the “Mad King” of the piece, and in the most literal sense.
We explore his madness and the sounds made by a body in true distress.
In A Man Hanged, we explore the concept of extreme duress from three different angles – by merging science, classical composition, and live body suspension paired with biophysical instruments in one performance.
Thus, we hope to shed new light on the story of a king who was, perhaps, never meant to rule, but did so for 60 years.
Photo: Anna Thorbjörnsson