• Jocelyn Pook
  • Anxiety Fanfare and Variations for Voices (2014)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation, the work premiered at Wigmore Hall, London, as part of the Anxiety Arts Festival London 2014.

  • 2tpt.2tbn/2vn.2va.2vc
  • SATB
  • Bass, countertenor, mezzo-soprano, soprano
  • 26 min

Programme Note

Anxiety Fanfare and Variations for Voices takes Pook’s interest in mental illness further; it is a playful 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.

It is a work with community engagement at its core – the choir should be comprised of mental health service users and staff, whose participation in the project can itself be therapeutic. The premiere was given by the Mind & Soul Choir from the Maudsley Psychiatric Hospital and further community choirs have performed the work since.

Anxiety Fanfare and Variations for Voices 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.

The work is part of Pook's Mental Health Trilogy, a collection of compelling and relevant works exploring mental health and psychological trauma in all its manifestations:

I. Hysteria - A Song Cycle for Singer and Psychiatrist (2018)

II. Hearing Voices (full orchestra, 2012) | Hearing Voices (chamber, 2015)

III. Anxiety Fanfare and Variations for Voices (2014)

Commercial release by NMC Recordings featuring the Jocelyn Pook Ensemble and London International Gospel Choir. Read more here.

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