Klaus Mäkelä Peter Maxwell Davies
Hector Berlioz

Madness and hallucinations

Oslo Concert Hall Buy ticket

Klaus Mäkelä © Marco Borggreve

Madness and hallucinations

Klaus Mäkelä conducts music about the dark corners of the human mind. Peter Maxwell Davies’ tragi-comic Eight Songs for a Mad King depicts King George III’s mental disorders and Hector Berlioz’ Symphony Fantastique depicts a desperate young artist under the influence of opium.

The English composer Peter Maxwell Davies (1934–2016) had a career full of contrasts. For ten years starting in 2004 he had the title of Master of the Queen’s Music and was the house composer for the Royal Household of the United Kingdom. When he became famous in the 1960s it was rather due to quite experimental music that audiences found shocking. Eight Songs for a Mad King (1969) is based on the historical King George III’s mental illness. In the eight monologs scored for a baritone soloist, Maxwell Davies uses extended techniques to express the King’s madness.

Symphonie fantastique (1830) by Hector Berlioz (1803–1869) is one of the great milestones in the history of orchestral music. The symphony depicts the heartache of a young artist, based on the composer’s own desperate infatuation with actress Harriet Smithson. In his despair the young artist takes opium, which Berlioz had personal experience doing. In the fourth movement, the effects of it kick in. During a hallucination he becomes a witness to his own execution and then in the last movement he is dragged into a vulgar and grotesque witches’ Sabbath.

What is played

  • Peter Maxwell Davies 8 Songs for a Mad King
  • Hector Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique

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Price groups Price
Adult 170 - 560 NOK
Senior 170 - 450 NOK
Student 170 - 280 NOK
Child 150 NOK

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Klaus Mäkelä Peter Maxwell Davies
Hector Berlioz

Oslo Concert Hall Buy ticket