“A joyous evening…a liberation, carrying us back to a time when the terms ‘classical’ and ‘folk’ hadn’t yet been invented, and music was simply music.” (Telegraph)
"Bjarte Eike’s Barokksolistene is an alchemical miracle of an ensemble…pure musical gold." (Gramophone)
Baroque violinist Bjarte Eike and his ensemble Barokksolistene will bring their latest "irresistible" [The Times] project — The Alehouse Sessions — to New York City at SubCulture on October 11. The Alehouse Sessions is an ever-evolving look into the music of the English 17th Century tavern that has been something of an insider’s tip until now. But with growing critical and audience recognition, including raves of "fizzing with energy" [BBC Radio 3] and "fabulously unrestrained" [The Guardian], the Norwegian Eike and his Barokksolistene have taken the stage by storm in Europe and with a live recording released in June on the new indie label Rubicon. An original project curated and devised by Eike, the sessions feature the group blending Norwegian folk traditions with classical repertoire in an informal context, transforming spaces from concert halls to cathedrals into old English pubs.
With The Alehouse Sessions, Eike has curated a performance which re-imagines a time in 17th-century Britain when the Puritans had outlawed public performances of music and culture was driven into the alehouses. With power changing hands amid civil war and turmoil, everyone lived in constant fear and musicians – left without income — found ways to survive in their “underground” pub concerts, though these too in the shadow of the authorities’ surveillance. A colorful time in history resulted in a colorful time in music, and The Alehouse Sessions gives audiences a window into this tumultuous period through a lively combination of Purcell stage tunes and English sea shanties, with Scandinavian and Celtic folk song thrown in for good measure. Using their own arrangements of tunes, these "Alehouse Boys" enliven this unique format with humor, an unrivaled virtuosity and flare for improvisation, "creating the effect of a late-night jamming session" [BBC Music Magazine].
About Barokksolistene: Founded and led by Norwegian violinist and Artistic Director Bjarte Eike, Barokksolistene is a baroque ensemble that “brings the raw rhythms of Scandinavian folk music to… the high baroque” (Financial Times). They draw on their native influences and traditions to produce unique projects and programs that range from performances of Handel’s operas to their unique, branded Alehouse Sessions. They are currently the Ensemble-in-Residence at the Bergen National Opera. Recent highlights have included a critically acclaimed production of Handel’s Alcina with the Norwegian National Opera, a series of performances in Norway of a reconstruction of Bach’s St Mark Passion and a European tour of Alehouse Sessions to mark their 10th anniversary in 2015.
Upcoming performances include appearances at many of Europe’s leading venues and festivals, including the Musikverein in Vienna, Norwegian National Opera, Den Ny Opera in Esbjerg, Utrecht Early Music Festival, Klagenfurt Festival, the Rheingau Festival and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.
With an expanding recording catalogue, their latest recording The Image of Melancholy (BIS) explores the use of melancholy in music throughout the centuries. Amongst major critical acclaim, the album was named the 2014 International Recording of the Year at the Danish P2 Prisen Awards in January 2015. Bjarte Eike and Barokksolistene are very grateful to receive support from the Norwegian government and community and are proud to serve as ambassadors of Norwegian culture.