In September 2015 Bjarte Eike and Barokksolistene took London by storm when they performed two concerts at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare’s Globe. Their performances were chosen by The Arts Desk as one of the highlights of the year. TAD’s Alexandra Coghlan writes, “if orchestras and opera houses could find just a drop of the warmth and affection these musicians bring to their performance then we could put those ‘death of classical music’ conversations to bed for good.”
After the success and spirit of this first residency, the unique Norwegian-based baroque-folk music ensemble were invited to record the soundtrack for Shakespeare’s Globe’s ambitious multi-media celebration of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Over the spring weekend of 23 – 24 April 2016, the banks of the Thames will come alive with an extraordinary celebration as Shakespeare’s Globe invites the world to join The Complete Walk. 37 screens along a 2.5 mile route between Westminster and Tower Bridge will play a series of specially-made 10 minute films, starring some of the world’s finest actors. Each film will explore an aspect of one of Shakespeare’s plays and will include scenes shot in the locations Shakespeare imagined when he wrote them; picture Cleopatra in front of the Pyramids, Shylock in Venice’s Jewish Ghetto and Hamlet on the rocks of Elsinore. Barokksolistene recorded the six-hours of music that will accompany this magnificent celebration.
The ensemble’s founder and artistic director Bjarte Eike said: “The task of adding music to such a large amount of filmed material is both exciting and extremely challenging. The fact that Dominic Dromgoole, Artisitc Director of Shakespeare’s Globe, entrusts us to exclusively deliver the entire soundtrack for all the 37 films is a great honour; an honour and a task we just couldn’t turn down.”
Eike spoke about the thrilling challenge of this project:
“The working process is slightly unusual, since all the films aren’t ready yet. We have therefore created a musical ‘bank’ or an index with a mix of both new and previously released tracks. The index features music from our two previous BIS releases (London Calling and The Image of Melancholy) along with lots of new material recording in January. In addition, we have recorded about 3 hours of music from our The Alehouse Session project. The soundtrack features a mixture of tunes, songs, composed pieces and improvised melodies as well as sounds, layers, loops and effect intended for atmosphere. The music has its origins in the renaissance and baroque periods, as well as British and Scandinavian folk and contemporary music and soundscapes I have composed.
The collaboration process is as epic as the project itself. Eike continues:
“Some of the directors include musical suggestions, others just general guidelines and thoughts. I then insert, edit and layer the music I think will work, which is then discussed with the directors and my input and insights are taken into consideration. Part of March and April will be spent in London with representatives from the Globe Theatre, mixing film and sound together.
“We don’t have much time, but the process has been very rewarding and we all have a strong sense that this will turn out to be a very special and exciting project.”
The Complete Walk is a timely project for Barokksolistene as they will be making their UK debut tour in July 2016 where they will be visiting Lichfield, Chleltenham, York Early Music, Cambridge Summer Music and Ryedale Festivals amongst others, as well as a few other of their famous impromptu Alehouse Session’s in the local public houses.
For more information on The Complete Walk, please visit: shakespearesglobe.com
For more information on Bjarte Eike and Barokksolistene, including their upcoming UK tour, please visit:barokksolistene.com