Cheryl Frances-Hoad and The Madness Industry

Cheryl FH 2

On September 25th 2012 at the Richmond Concert Society we will be giving the premiere of The Madness Industry by Cheryl Frances-Hoad. This is one of our major new commissions this year and we are very excited about it. On first look it will be an excellent and challenging addition to our repertoire. This is what Cheryl has to say about it.

The Madness Industry is inspired by Jon Ronson’s recent best-selling book The PsychopathTest.In the book Jon takes a compelling adventure into the world of madness, meeting psychopaths and the people who diagnose them, including Bob Hare, the psychologist that developed the Psychopath Checklist, from which Jon learns the art of psychopath spotting. The book is very humorous but asks serious questions about how we define normality in a world where we are judged by our madest edges(in one chapter he meets a booker for the Jeremy Kyle show who perfected the arts of detecting people who were just ‘mad enough’ to be entertaining, but not too mad as to cause disturbing viewing for a public wanting to both identify with and be repelled by the unfortunate people on their screens.

The work is not at all programmatic,and it was only after committing to write a piece on this subject that I realised that being inspired by people who lack any form of empathy and only mimic charm and sincerity in order to manipulate others was,well, hard to be inspired by. So instead, this work employs some of the facets of a psychopath’s character in the very fabric of the work: harmony is ‘manipulated’, with chords gradually being transformed into other chords and calm textures and lyrical melodies are suddenly disrupted with violent ‘psychopathic’ outbursts.

For more information about Cheryl here’s a link to her website.


This commission has been made possible with the PRS ‘Women Make Music’ award.

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