Silence began working on Tomaž Pandur's play Kaligula in early 2008. The production, a joint effort between several international institutions, tackles the myth of Caligula, the infamous Roman emperor portrayed by Albert Camus' notorious dramatic piece. Pandur refutes the widespread perception of Caligula as the first in a long line of deranged Roman emperors and sheds new light on the life and aspirations of the man behind the myth.
Collaborating for the third time, Pandur and Silence opted for a predominantly acoustic score based on two elements: piano and mixed choir – an unorthodox combination that allowed the duet to achieve both grandeur and intimacy.
All compositions derive from three songs: La luna (The Moon), Ai successori d’odio (To the Heirs of Hatred) and Una strana schiavitù (A Strange Slavery). The latter combines oriental and European elements – a reference to Caligula’s dream of uniting the East and the West.
The play's costumes fused ancient Rome with Fascist Italy. In order to highlight the idea, Silence wrote the main theme, La luna, in the style of 1930's Italian popular music.
Walking the thin line between the panache and sentimentality of 19th century romanticism (audible in tracks like La luna or Capri) and the starkness of 20th century modernism (the latter is particularly prominent in choral pieces, which were inspired by Arvo Pärt’s works), the duet combined two distinct and seemingly incompatible vernaculars in order to create a sense of impudent, unabashed freedom. A freedom that is, in essence, Caligula: alluring and frightful, brutal and beautiful. The score was performed by pianist Igor Vićentić and the Cantanti Trasfigurati, a 15-member choir led by choirmaster Ivana Srbljan. The acoustic pieces were recorded by Davor Rocco at the Rocco&Partner studio in Zagreb in May 2008. The soundtrack’s sole electronic track, I Am Still Alive!, was programmed and produced by Silence at Daily Girl, the duet’s private studio.
Kaligula opened on July 2nd 2008 at the Theatre City Budva festival in Montenegro and then embarked on a short international tour, gaining public and critical acclaim along the way. Silence’s contribution did not go unnoticed:
Politika (Serbia): “Very original music …”
Vjesnik (Croatia): “Silence’s impressive music heralds a new sound, the sound of choirs and piano.”
Glas Istre (Croatia): “Fantastic music …”
RTV Slovenia: “… Silence are increasingly defining Pandur’s theatre.”
Primorski dnevnik (Slovenia): “Excellent original music by Silence. The lyrics in Italian, with their almost sentimental tenderness, represent a bitter contrast of poetic dimension.”
released September 1, 2008
Music, lyrics, arrangements, programming and production: Silence.
Italian-language editing: Lucija Šimičić.
Piano: Igor Vićentić.
Choir: Cantanti Trasfigurati.
Choirmaster: Ivana Srbljan.
Track 13 recorded by Silence at Daily Girl, Ljubljana.
All remaining tracks recorded by Davor Rocco at Rocco&Partner Studio, Zagreb.
Mastered by Tom Meyer at Master & Servant, Hamburg.