The Hypnotic Power of Music


George Lloyd, conductor and composer 

An illustrated lecture-recital with


and ALAN MILLS piano


Music has hypnotic power, able to move, disturb and overpower us. It can stir dreams and mystical visions, fantasies and even madness. It was thought Wagner’s operas could drive listeners insane. But auto-suggestion can also stimulate healing and inspiration. Both Rachmaninov and the 20C English composer George Lloyd used hypnotherapy to recommence composition after profound emotional trauma. In a personal account, Lloyd’s nephew, folk-singer and record producer William Lloyd, explores these issues, telling the story of his uncle’s life and musical reputation; from shell-shock in the Second World War to an historic centenary performance at the 2013 Last Night of the Proms. A twisting tale reveals connections with the CIA’s use of mind-control, as Lloyd explains how and why his uncle’s romantically expressive music was marginalised for a generation. Works for piano by George Lloyd and others will illustrate this fascinating investigation into music’s extraordinary powers




The Hypnotic Power of Music: a lecture-recital

(Items are interspersed by various topics of discussion)


Frédéric Chopin (1810-49): Nocturne in E flat, opus 9
Robert Schumann (1810-56): Album Leaves Op.124:
Fantasy Dance, Forebodings of Sorrow, Waltz, The Elf
Richard Wagner (1813-83): Arrival of the Black Swans
George Lloyd (1913 – 1998): The Lily-Leaf and the Grasshopper 


Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943):Moments Musicaux, No.5 in D-flat
Alan Mills (b.1964): Night-music
Franz Liszt (1811-86): Study No.12 in B-flat minor S.136
Arvo Pärt (b.1935): Für Alina

There is an opportunity for the audience to ask questions and join the discussion at the end of the recital

About the participants

WILLIAM LLOYD is the nephew of the composer, George Lloyd and was, for many years, his recording manager. He now administers The George Lloyd Society, maintaining the archive and promoting the music through performances, broadcasts and recordings; many made on his own Albany (UK) record label. In 2013, the Centenary year of George Lloyd’s birth, William was especially busy with performances of his uncle’s music country-wide, including The Last Night of the Proms which played to a massive worldwide television audience. In addition to work on behalf of his uncle, William is a renowned folk-singer with his own folk label, Wildwood Records. He is also a hill-farmer based in Cumbria and an active environmentalist and practitioner of traditional land-management techniques. He has been closely involved with the British gypsy community for many years, including the administration of the famous Appleby Horse Fair. His experiences as performer, promoter and advocate of all kinds of music have led him to a special interest in how it affects listeners on a deep psychological level.

ALAN MILLS was born in Belfast in 1964. After studying piano at the Ulster College of Music, he went on to take an MA in music at Cambridge University, studying composition with Hugh Wood and Robin Holloway. This was followed by two years of study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. In 1988 he was awarded the Lloyds Young Composer Prize and in 1993 the Lower Machen Festival Prize. He was commissioned in 2012 to contribute to the Two Rivers Festival’s anthology commission Five Aquarelles for piano and returned to perform in the festival in 2013. As a pianist, he has broadcast for the BBC, Radio France and Dutch Television and, at present works in London as pianist, lecturer and singing-coach. As a composer his music has been published in France, Germany and the US, although his main publisher is Music Haven in the UK. Alan writes, ‘My music aims to utilise various “traditional” musical elements as a conscious reaction against certain trends in contemporary music. Thus I make free use of tonal structures showing the influence of twentieth-century French music, neo-classicism and modern jazz hoping to create a personal language.

PETER DAVISON is Artistic Director and co-founder of the Two Rivers Festival. He is also Artistic Consultant to Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall; a position he has held since the venue opened in 1996. He has an M. Phil in musicology from the University of Cambridge, specialising in the music of Gustav Mahler. His booklet about Mahler, Wrestling with Angels, was issued to accompany The Bridgewater Hall’s acclaimed Mahler symphony cycle in 2010. He is also an occasional poet, writer and cultural commentator, editing a controversial collection of essays on contemporary music, Reviving the Muse, published by Claridge Press. He is a frequent presenter and interviewer, recently chairing a public discussion on Heroes & Tyrants; part of Manchester’s celebration of Richard Strauss’s 150th birthday. He has hosted countless pre-concert talks too, interviewing many well-known names such as Harry Christophers, John Lill, Noriko Ogawa, Stephen Hough, David Matthews, Juanjo Mena and Yan Pascal Tortelier.


Technical requirements:

  • Two chairs and table
  • Concert grand piano recently tuned or serviceable equivalent upright piano
  • PA system depending on the size of venue
  • Lighting can be adapted, but rigged lighting and control panel preferred