‘Musical Chain’ – a digital evolution


Just in time for the holiday season, we’re releasing the fourth music video in our digital initiative ‘Musical Chain’. The new video, ‘Nutty Christmas’, is based on music from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, and transforms the Dance of the Reed Pipes and Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy into the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s very own Christmas carol. ‘Musical Chain’ has been the orchestra’s characteristically innovative response to not being able to physically perform together during the pandemic. Under Kristjan’s creative direction, ‘Musical Chain’ takes the now-familiar concept of the virtual orchestra in a completely fresh direction, bringing together Baltic Sea Philharmonic musicians with other artists and collaborators, including professional video production teams. ‘Musical Chain’ also showcases how the ensemble is evolving to become more and more like a band, with Kristjan as much producer as conductor.

A symbol of unity and solidarity in the face of the pandemic, ‘Musical Chain’ is inspired by historic human chains, such as the Baltic Way, which was a peaceful political demonstration on 23 August 1989 when around two million people joined hands to form a human chain stretching across the three Baltic states. The project launched in July with the ‘Rewritten Series’, an ongoing series of strikingly original music videos featuring transformations and remixes of iconic classical pieces. The first video in the series, ‘Midnight Mood’, was a reimagining of Grieg’s ‘Morning Mood’ from Peer Gynt and brought together 13 musicians. Kristjan mixed their individually recorded tracks to produce the final audio, and a professional production team then edited the video. Next up, in September, was ‘Beethoven’s Twilight’, a cutting-edge, electronics-infused take on Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, featuring 21 musicians of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic. As before, the players made recordings at home, and the final audio was mixed and produced by Kristjan. The musicians filmed themselves performing outside, and these scenes were intercut with emotive scenes of love, loss, pain and peace, along with elemental images of nature, cities and space.

The third video, released in November, was ‘Ascending Swans’, based on Sibelius’s ‘Song of Praise’ from the Swanwhite Suite, one of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s signature encore pieces. The orchestra recorded the music for ‘Ascending Swans’ in Merano, Italy, in September 2020, during its ‘Nordic Pulse’ tour of Italy and Germany. The video features 13 Baltic Sea Philharmonic musicians – who filmed themselves outdoors in atmospheric landscapes – together with stunning images that celebrate the nature and landscape of the North. Calming and uplifting, elemental and spiritual, ‘Ascending Swans’ reflects the grace, purity and strength of the eponymous birds, many thousands of which migrate south from the Arctic in October and November.

‘Musical Chain’ will continue in 2021 with the involvement of more and more international collaborators in the creative process. The ‘Musical Chain’ productions will also accompany the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s live performances.

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