"Lebenslieder" is a song-symphony for orchestra or chamber ensemble with electronics. The vocal part consists of extracts from recorded interviews with people with dementia and their partners who care for them. Their voices are translated directly into orchestral material, bringing the experience of living with dementia into the concert hall, breaking the silence that often surrounds the topic, and giving voice to the real-life, day-to-day experience of what is fast becoming the defining medical condition of our age.
The work is in three movements, which may also be performed as stand-alone pieces:
"Daybreak" concerns the moment that those with dementia, or those close to them, first started to notice something was different: the ‘dawning’ of the realisation that there may be a ‘problem’. It also considers the subsequent reactions of family, colleagues and friends, as the reality of dementia is brought into the full light of day.
(Excerpt of premiere performance on 19 March 2018 given by musicians from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, conducted by Diogo Costa.)