The first concert - Mad Songs - will be dedicated to the musical genre of the same name that originated during the Stuart Restoration. The songs evidence the incredible interest which the English in the 17th century considered mental disorders and sleepwalking. One of the popular entertainments of that time was observing the patients of the Bethlem Royal Hospital (Bedlam).
The Mad Songs programme shows the heyday of the genre: songs by Purcell, Dowland, Eccles and their contemporaries, as well as the extremely expressive 20th century mad songs: Eight Songs for the Mad King (1969) by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. The fascination with the borderline states of the human psyche, first manifested in the mad songs, was embodied three centuries later in the expressionist paintings of Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud and their followers.