Keaton Henson's 'Six Lethargies' Premieres at the Barbican

 "If i write how it feels to me, will it make you feel the same?” 

Keaton Henson's 'Six Lethargies' received it's world premiere at the Barbican last Friday. 

Performed by the world-renowned Britten Sinfonia at the Barbican Centre to a sold-out audience, and received with a standing ovation, 'Six Lethargies' is the culmination of over three years of work from the musician, artist and composer. Composed around, and from within, issues of mental illness and human emotion, the piece aims to express and explain the feelings of anxiety and depression through six connected movements for string orchestra. 

As a performer known for his inability to perform live due to anxiety, 'Six Lethargies' is Keaton's way of handing his story over to the orchestra. Not performing himself, he allowed them to be his voice.  As well as using pure introspective composition, Keaton met with neuroscientists, music theorists and bio feedback specialists to bring an immersive installation element to the performance, which aimed to provide human connection and empathetic insight, and ask the simple question; “if i write how it feels to me, will it make you feel the same”. To heighten and illuminate this question, a portion of the audience were monitored, with their bio feedback and anxiety levels controlling the lighting of the show in real time.

Catherine Grieves