Inspired by the work set out from former MP Jo Cox’s Commission of Loneliness, published in 2017, Toni Castells’ latest work – ‘HHUMANN X’, heavily draws upon the findings of this report, which divulged that more than 9 million people are affected by loneliness in the UK alone.
With the album’s themes centred around the subject of a paradox that highlights a growing social isolation in times of technological hyper-connectedness, the premier performance at LSO St Luke’s in Barbican (20th October) is also set to feature More Than Just a Choir – a community choir based in North London that works with people suffering from mental illness and social isolation.
The choir appears towards the end of the piece and they’ll be unknowingly sitting amongst the audience before their entry. This staging metaphor is designed to strengthen the idea that isolation and mental illness are invisible to most of us.
While initial inspiration came largely from his teachers at music school, Castells’ overall sound was developed from a foundation of classical training combined with an inventive use of modern technology to produce a mixture of dreamy, cinematic and poetic soundscapes.
His music has been described as “Morricone meets Satie” by Michael Haas, producer of prize-winning recordings with major classical artists including Zubin Mehta, Mstislav Rostropovich, Daniel Barenboim, Cecilia Bartoli and Luciano Pavarotti.
This concept speaks to a wide public and goes well beyond standard music-magazine genre subdivisions due to them being far too deliberately communicative to belong to any traditional contemporary schools of composition.