Jocelyn Pook ‘Hearing Voices’

A new symphonic song-cycle, Hearing Voices, Premiered by singer Melanie Pappenheim and the BBC Concert Orchestra in the Queen Elizabeth Hall at London’s Southbank Centre on Monday December 3. The concert was conducted by Charles Hazelwood.

I filmed a technical rehearsal, then made a short film that that incorporated some location footage. It was my response to the work – which I  loved.


Pook’s trigger was the discovery of her great-aunt Phyllis’s notebooks in a battered old trunk, which described her thoughts on being locked away in an asylum. She interwove this manuscript with testimonies from other women who had been through the mental treatment mill, and she added in the tale of a German seamstress who stitched a cryptic autobiographical text into a jacket she created from her asylum uniform.

If this sounds unwieldy, it became light as a feather thanks to a score which began with gently throbbing Glass-type ostinatos, and grew steadily more interesting, and above all thanks to Melanie Pappenheim’s remarkable performance.  >> Independent