Photo: Aljoša Rebolj

Photo: Aljoša Rebolj


Barroco (Baroque), an ambitious play produced by Teatro Fernán Gómez / Centro Cultural de la Villa de Madrid, marks the 2nd collaboration between director Tomaž Pandur (Infierno, Dictionary Of The Khazars, Alas) and Silence since the 2006 Tesla Electric Company. Inspired by Choderlos de Laclos' epistolary novel Les Liasions Dangereuses and Heiner Müller's dramatic adaptation of the latter, Quartet, Barroco opened at the Centro Cultural de la Villa on September 12 2007. The play features three renowned Spanish actors: Blanca Portillo, Asier Etxeandia, and Chema León.

Photo: Aljoša Rebolj

Photo: Aljoša Rebolj

Pandur’s and Silence’s 3rd collaboration, Kaligula (Caligula), was inspired by Albert Camus’ renowned dramatic piece. The play features a cast of acclaimed Croatian actors, including the mesmerizing Livio Badurina. The play, produced by the Gavella Theatre, Pandur.Theatres, Theatre City Budva, Ulysses Theatre, Ohrid Summer Festival, and Mittelfest, opened on July 2 2008 at the Theatre City Budva festival in Montenegro.

01 Prologue
02 The True Nature of Happiness
03 Baroque Variations: Equality
04 Concert for Guillotine and Tired History
05 Fêtes galantes
06 Butoh-Baroque
07 Sublime Symmetry of Letters
08 Halfway There, Mostly Nowhere
09 Theatre of Beasts
10 Baroque Variations: Brotherhood
11 Baroque Variations: Freedom
12 Dance of the Dead
13 Religion of Lust
14 Sounds Shameful, as if You Were in Love
15 Guillotine
16 The True Nature of Happiness - Reprise
17 Beyond My Control

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 of their tracks performed by classical ensembles. They even wrote a 7' piece for piano and string orchestra for Laibach's 2006 Volk album, entitled Nippon. 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' Les Liaisions Dangereuses and Heiner Müller's adaptation of the latter, Quartet. The ambitious production 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 play with an orchestral soundtrack.

Instead of opting for the obvious 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 16 and July 18 2007. Conducted by José Antonio Montańo 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 soundtrack features three songs (The True Nature of Happiness, Guillotine The Dance of the Dead, and Halfway There, Mostly Nowhere), originally performed live during the play – in Spanish – by actor Asier Etxeandia. The songs featured on the album were recorded in English by Benko. The latter also appears on The True Nature of Happiness Reprise, an electronic adaptation of the aforementioned orchestral piece. Lastly, the album contains two percussive adaptations of the play’s themes: Beyond My Control and Guillotine.

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.

Photo: Aljoša Rebolj

Photo: Aljoša Rebolj

01 Il gran teatro di Caligola
02 La luna
03 The Organization of Madness – Version 1
04 Venus
05 Ai successori d’odio
06 Lake Nemi
07 The Organization of Madness – Version 2
08 The Axe Falls
09 Capri
10 Can That Freedom Be Happiness?
11 Una strana schiavitù
12 The Four Sides of the Heart
13 I Am Still Alive!

Silence began working on Tomaž Pandur's play Kaligula in the beginning of 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 themes featured on the soundtrack derive from three songs: La luna (The Moon), Ai successori d’odio (To the Heirs of Hatred), and Una strana schiavitù (A Strange Slavery). Silence wrote the main theme, La luna, and the vocal line of Ai successori d’odio in the style of classic Italian popular music in order to emphasize the parallel between ancient Rome and Italian fascism. All lyrics were written in Italian for the same reason. Una strana schiavitù incorporates oriental elements in juxtaposition with European idiosyncrasies, an allusion to Caligula’s dream of uniting the East and the West.

Walking the thin line between the panache and sentimentality of 19th century romanticism – audible in tracks like La luna or Capri – and the radicalism of 20th century modernism – particularly prominent in choral pieces, reminiscent of Arvo Pärt’s works – Silence combined two distinct and seemingly incompatible idioms 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 the Daily Girl studio, the duet’s private production facility.

Kaligula opened on July 2 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 SLO (Slovenian National TV): … 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.