PET SHOP BOYS’ FIRST-EVER LIVE ALBUM CONCRETE & BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN THEIR ORIGINAL MUSIC FOR THE CLASSIC 1925 FILM AVAILABLE IN THE US FOR THE FIRST TIME on MAY 17th!
Astralwerks records is proud to announce the release of Pet Shop Boys’ first-ever double CD live album, Concrete as well as Battleship Potemkin, their original music for the film Sergei Eisenstein’s classic film. This is the first time the releases have been available digitally in the US .
Concrete was originally recorded live for Radio 2 at the Mermaid Theatre in London with the BBC Concert Orchestra, and released in the UK in May of 2006, the show features songs Pet Shop Boys had previously recorded with orchestral arrangements, including huge hits, album tracks from their album Fundamental and a few surprises, including a song from their musical “Closer To Heaven”.
With musical direction by Trevor Horn, the night was made extra-special by the individual appearances of Robbie Williams, Rufus Wainwright and Frances Barber, each of whom sang lead vocals on a Pet Shop Boys song.
LEFT TO MY OWN DEVICES
YOU ONLY TELL ME YOU LOVE ME WHEN YOU’RE DRUNK
THE SODOM AND GOMORRAH SHOW
CASANOVA IN HELL (feat. Vocals by Rufus Wainwright)
FRIENDLY FIRE (feat. vocals by Frances Barber)
NOTHING HAS BEEN PROVED
JEALOUSY (feat. Vocals by Robbie Williams)
DREAMING OF THE QUEEN
IT’S A SIN
INDEFINITE LEAVE TO REMAIN
WEST END GIRLS
Astralwerks has also released Pet Shop Boys original music for Sergei Eisenstein’s classic film “Battleship Potemkin.” The music was recorded in London and Berlin with the Dresdner Sinfoniker in 2004, with orchestrations by Torsten Rasch.
It originally premiered in 2004, when Pet Shop Boys and the Dresdner Sinfoniker played the score to accompany a screening of the film in London ’s Trafalgar Square . The free event was presented by the ICA and GLA and attracted 40,000 people. At the time, The Independent noted that “this must be the largest audience for an art movie ever recorded”.
Eisenstein’s film, made in 1925, describes the mutiny of the sailors on the battleship Potemkin in 1905, an event which then linked up with the local population in Odessa as part of Russia ’s 1905 revolution. In France the authorities destroyed the film; in Germany it was subject to censorship and in Britain it was banned, apart from club performances, until 1954.
For the film’s Moscow premiere in January 1926, its soundtrack was a medley of existing pieces by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and others, but when the film reached Berlin later that year, it had its first specially-written score, by the radical composer Edmund Meisel. Eisenstein would subsequently acclaim the power of such “unity of fused musical and visual images” in his work and is said to have hoped that a new Battleship Potemkin soundtrack would be written for each new decade.
In April 2003, Philip Dodd, director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, approached Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe and suggested that they might write a new score for the film and perform it as a free concert in Trafalgar Square. They wrote the music in the order it would be heard, following the structure of the film. From the beginning they resolved to combine electronic music and strings; the lyrics of the three vocal pieces within it were largely inspired by the film’s original subtitles, though one – “After All (The Odessa Staircase)” – was also prompted by the role in London of Trafalgar Square as a home of political dissent.
Tennant and Lowe decided to ask Torsten Rasch to orchestrate the work after hearing his song cycle “Mein Herz Brennt”, a record based on the music of the rock group Rammstein which has sold over two million copies worldwide. Torsten Rasch’s orchestrations were recorded by the Dresdner Sinfoniker, conducted by Jonathan Stockhammer, in Berlin during July 2004. The finished composition – “not so much background music as foreground music”, says Neil Tennant.
Neil Tennant continues; “I’ve read a lot about Russian history and, when we started this, I said ‘of course it’s really just a propaganda film’. And Chris pointed out that it’s an ideal, really. It’s an ideal of revolution. It’s a romantic film of people struggling against oppression to find freedom. And that’s why I think it works totally outside the communist context. It’s a very stirring film, and I think we’ve tried to bring out that stirring and idealistic quality in the music.”
“Battleship Potemkin”, composed by Tennant/Lowe, is performed by Pet Shop Boys and the Dresdner Sinfoniker, conducted by Jonathan Stockhammer. Orchestrations are by Torsten Rasch.