Enter the compelling world from which Maxwell-Davies drew his remarkable 8 Songs For A Mad King.
Founded by King George III in 1817, the Worshipful Company of Aviarists served to source and look after his tuneful birds and now present this flight of fancy from inside a birdcage of absurdity as the worshipful company create the regal mind of the mad monarch. We’ll sing a song of sixpence with four and twenty blackbirds, and have a Lark doing it!
The score (to a text by Randolph Stow) offers a searing examination of madness, and this tour de force music theatre piece for male voice and ensemble gives a visceral thrill in performance.
George, our mad king, is suffering from hallucinations and is painfully aware of his failing mental state. During his first episodes of madness, he is subjected to torture, starvation, reproach; he is kept in a stable where he is treated like an animal.
Performing alongside Red Note, in the role of the Mad King, will be MMus Opera student Oskar McCarthy, and the piece will be conducted by one of the Leverhulme conducting Fellows. The performance will also feature works by Mark Simpson, Harrison Birtwistle and two RCS composers, Sean O’Callaghan and Rylan Gleave.
Mark Simpson Straw Dogs
Harrison Birtwistle Carmen Arcadiae
Sean O’Callaghan New Work
Ryan Gleave New Work
Peter Maxwell Davies Eight Songs for a Mad King
RCS Music Lab and Red Note Ensemble
Conductors: Teresa Riveiro Bohm, Joel Sandelson and Sergej Bolkhovets
Soloist: Oskar McCarthy
Director: Mark Hathaway