The Passion of the Cold / Baroque

by Silence

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about

Silence have often flirted with classical music. Even a cursory glance reveals a multitude of classical elements strewn throughout their works. Many of the duet's live performances featured acoustic arrangements performed by classical ensembles. In 2006, Silence wrote a 7' piece for piano and string orchestra, Nippon, for Laibach's Volk album. However, it wasn't until 2007 that the duet was given the chance to write an exclusively orchestral work.

In April 2007, the duet was assigned to write the soundtrack for Barroco, Tomaž Pandur's adaptation of Choderlos de Laclos' epistolary novel Les Liaisions Dangereuses and Heiner Müller's adaptation of the latter, Quartet. The massive production, produced by Teatro Fernán Gómez / Centro Cultural de la Villa de Madrid, provided the ideal opportunity for the implementation of an idea that was glimmering in Pandur's and Silence's minds since their first collaboration, the 2006 Tesla Electric Company: gracing a theatre play with an orchestral soundtrack.

Instead of opting for the obvious choice and writing Baroque-reminiscent pieces, Silence decided to emphasize the timelessness of malice - the play's subject - by superimposing different genres from different historic periods. A closer look at the score thus reveals a wide array of references. The latter - including Albinoni, Sarasate, Mozart, Saint-Saëns, Khachaturian, Gorecki, Vangelis, Sakamoto and many others - trace an arch from early 18th century to the present and provide the soundtrack's unclassifiable, all but 'universal' sound. Three months of work were required to complete the score for the 34-piece string orchestra and soloists.

The recording sessions - headed by multiple Goya award winning sound engineer José Vinader - took place at the renowned Teatro Real in Madrid between July 16th and July 18th 2007. Conducted by José Antonio Montaño and performed by the Orquesta Escuela de la Sinfónica de Madrid, the soundtrack features three remarkable soloists: Margarita Sikoeva (violin), Dragos Balan (violoncello) and Riccardo Bini (piano).

The score includes three songs (The True Nature of Happiness, Halfway There, Mostly Nowhere and The Dance of the Dead), which were performed live during the play - in Spanish - by actor Asier Etxeandia. The songs featured on the album were recorded in English by Benko.

Benko also appears on The True Nature of Happiness - Reprise, an electronic adaptation of the aforementioned orchestral piece.

The soundtrack, "... a tantamount 'protagonist' of the play" according to Delo (Slovenia) and "beautiful" according to El Confidencial (Spain), is one of Silence's most ambitious and complex works to date.

credits

released September 1, 2008

Music, lyrics, arrangements, programming and production: Silence.
Conductor: José Antonio Montaño.
Assistant to Mr. Montaño: Juan Portilla Franco.
Performed by the Orquesta Escuela de la Sinfónica de Madrid.
Soloists: Dragos Balan (violoncello), Riccardo Bini (piano) and Margarita Sikoeva (violin).
Tracks 15, 16 and 17 recorded by Silence at Daily Girl, Ljubljana.
All remaining tracks recorded by José Vinader at the Teatro Real, Madrid.
Violin on track 15: Margarita Sikoeva.
Acoustic guitar on track 17: Igor Leonardi and Benko.
Mastered by Tom Meyer at Master & Servant, Hamburg.

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Track Name: The True Nature of Happiness
Vicomte Sébastien de Valmont:
THE TRUE NATURE OF HAPPINESS
Man is happiest when sad
What goals can the happy have?
They might as well be dead
Believe me, happiness can fill
the bravest heart with dread

Quick, you look content -
a remedy must be found
Lies do wonders, even in small amounts
Come, I will cheer you up
by bringing you down
Your misery is all that counts
It is nothing,
the least I can do
Anything for you

Away with happiness, if you please
All you need is war
to help you find your peace
A smile in itself is useless
unless it brings others to their knees
Track Name: Halfway There, Mostly Nowhere
Madame Marie de Tourvel:
HALFWAY THERE, MOSTLY NOWHERE
If I am you
If I am every man
Then this is one sad world
If you are me
If you are all I am
Then this is one sad world

We are hostages
of character
We are prisoners
of habitudes
We are refugees
in no-man's land
Halfway there
Mostly nowhere

If this is all
All that we'll ever be
Then this is one sad world
If I am us
If I'm humanity
Then this is one sad world
Track Name: Dance of the Dead
Marquise Isabelle de Merteuil:
DANCE OF THE DEAD
She separates
heads from hearts
Under her blade
thoughts and feelings part
Contempt is left intact
Love becomes abstract
Lies become a form of art

She is Justice
without the blindfold
She is Virtue
measured in gold
She is the world
Cold as ice
Killing time
Living of vice

She's courage
needed to be vile
A promise
broken with style
At her feet, heartless heads
dance the dance of the dead
with an unrelenting smile

She is Reason
to deprave
She is Freedom
to enslave
She is the world
Cold as ice
Killing time
Living of vice
Track Name: The True Nature of Happiness - Reprise
Man is happiest when sad
What goals can the happy have?
They might as well be dead
Believe me, happiness can fill
the bravest heart with dread

Quick, you look content -
a remedy must be found
Lies do wonders, even in small amounts
Come, I will cheer you up
by bringing you down
Your misery is all that counts
It is nothing,
the least I can do
Anything for you

Away with happiness, if you please
All you need is war
to help you find your peace
A smile in itself is useless
unless it brings others to their knees