Almost 100 years after its initial release, today we present you a new soundtrack for the classic masterwork Battleship Potemkin composed by Ezequiel Menalled performed by Ensemble Modelo62.
The album is released in the contemporary series on CD and Digital mastered by Jos Smolders, and comes in beautiful artwork designed in line with the Contemporary Series by Rutger Zuydervelt with extensive notes by Sven Schlijper-Karssenberg.
Nearly a century has passed since the release of Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin (Russian: Бронено́сец «Потёмкин», Bronenosets Potyomkin).
We must speak out, now. Time has come. When the meat is rotten and maggots run across your plate, what’s left to do? Remnant memories of times almost forgotten, or of traditions from back home, linger in the body military depleted. Our daily bread served as a timely reminder of shared humanity: a first step in an uprising of overwhelming vehemence. Those in power done away with, the representative of organized religion fed to the worms below the waves. The leader, fallen in battle, on land displayed, exemplified for all to see. His death instrumentalized “for a spoonful of borscht”. The people now, frenzied, rise too. Siding with the Potemkin, the citizens of Odessa sail out to the ship. On the city steps a great many of people gather to support the rebels and their cause. But the steps turn into the grounds of a gruesome massacre when Cossacks fire into the unarmed crowds. People fall and tumble from the steps. The infamous image: a baby carriage rolling and bouncing down. A showdown then? The red flag drawn in solidarity, when Potemkin is allowed to pass unscathed, through battle lines.
100 Years on and here we find ourselves with a new imagination of a possible soundtrack in fusion with this drama of revolutionary mutiny, a rebellion of a sailor crew against the oppression of its officer ranks. A wonder of Eisenstein’s propagandist narrative and of cinematographic skill with brilliantly effective hyper-dynamic editing and montage, eliciting hitherto unseen and unheard of emotional response.
This new score internalizes the frantic, restless nature of the story-lines, breathes the jump cuts and fast action switches in reflections, mirror images, pan-shots, broad horizons and intense close-ups, pulled focus (and loss thereof) and forced perspectives.
We hear the granulated nature of the film itself, almost see the razor slicing through the edit frame. While we miss the rattle of the projector, the music calls to mind the flicker of its light beam through the dusty din of time and space immemorial, materialized and contained for generations to follow in the celluloid.
A disintegration reconstituted too, revitalized in the new performance by Modelo62.
Motifs, elements, personalities, textures, characters and materials appear to disappear to reappear. But relations are changed, time has moved on – times have evolved. Materials altered by accumulation or changed perspective, perhaps an increase of density, take on altogether new intrinsic qualities. Maybe even a rebellion against preconceived notions of fixed identities or ingrained politics.
Gradually interrupting the previous material, asking the musicians to play as loud as they can, using a narrow musical interval… With the pitch range being derived from a metaphorical transposition of the color scale into the audible range. With that rare moment of color in a black and white world, treated with utmost care, with pin-point precision. A wall of sound, invading all, like the impact of color: loud and continuous, without fluctuations.
In the layering and juxtaposing of musical styles, genres, eras, virtually spanning the globe, while – at the same time – remaining (or therewith: becoming) timeless, a sort of retrofitted avant-garde, an en-garde in and of itself, so to speak, out of time, placeless yet anchored in humanist tragedy, the work detaches itself from being a soundtrack to a silent film and transforms the music into an eventual, possible, aural proposition of an indivisible meta-version of the film, with the film; a speculative renewed lease on a previously unforeseen and unheard of afterlife for Battleship Potemkin for which Eisenstein himself wished a new soundtrack to be created every twenty years.
— Sven Schlijper-Karssenberg —
CD limited to 300 or digital available in our webshop.
Or find the album on your preferred streaming service https://orcd.co/modelo62-battleship_potemkin
Through a combination of ambitious and innovative programming and a high level of virtuosity, the Dutch-based Ensemble Modelo62 has earned its outstanding international reputation in experimental music today.
The name Modelo62 has been inspired by the playful precision evoked in the novels of Cortázar, adhering to Cortázar’s model where each member works independently but links together to form a whole greater than the sum of the parts. This dynamic cohesion leads to tight, energetic performances bringing compositions to life, and has garnered acclaim from critics and audiences alike. This collaborative intention also shows itself in the way the musicians approach experimentation with a remarkable openness, encouraging the stimulation of new ideas and techniques across a variety of musical styles.
Similarly, one of the goals of Ensemble Modelo62 is to form close collaborations with composers, taking risks to develop new work and talent, and placing an emphasis on combining the commissioning of young upcoming composers with those from more established generations. These commissions form a good part of the ensemble’s growing repertoire, averaging over a dozen world premieres per year, already accumulating to hundreds of tailor-made premieres over the current lifespan of the ensemble.
Ensemble Modelo62 has not only collaborated with composers, but shows strong versatility through their many interdisciplinary projects; performing in musical theatre, operas, dance, videos, installations, solo works, chamber music, and large ensemble works.
Thanks to their growing and substantial international profile, Modelo62 has toured through Mexico, Argentina, Norway, United Kingdom, and Germany. This has included festivals such as at the Centre of Experimentation of Teatro Colón (Buenos Aires), Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Music (Darmstadt, Germany), Festival Tou Scene (Stavanger, Norway), Toonzetters (Amsterdam), Dag in de Branding (Den Haag), November Music (Den Bosch), and the Gaudeamus Muziekweek (Utrecht).
Modelo62 has also been ensemble in residence in Ghent at the Orpheus Instituut where they recorded their first CD, Multiple Paths, released by the Orpheus Instituut. Their second CD, Modelo Moves, is a studio recording that has been released by Attacca, made of works from their first tour to Argentina. Since then, they have been busy recording other CDs, such as one with the music of Clarence Barlow, named Clarence Barlow Musica Algorithmica, which has been released on World Edition. An even more recent Modelo62 release is Claudio Baroni’s CD, Motum, which has been released on Unsounds, and as part of the CD Adjacent Sound with music by Gabriel Paiuk released on Another Timbre.
In 2023 they will release a new soundtrack to Sergei Eisenstein’s film Battleship Potemkin on Moving Furniture Records.