Solaris 2.0 - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Solaris 2.0

Solaris 2.0

Published June 3, 2011

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of Krakow writer Stanislaw Lem’s novel ‘Solaris’, and this should be celebrated. Luckily, the masterful Ben Frost and Daníel Bjarnason have created an ambitious project doing just that, with the help of one of Poland’s leading orchestras, Sinfonietta Cracovia. And, guess what: they’re bringing it to Harpa!
‘Music For Solaris’ was premiered at the Unsound Festival in Krakow last year (and then staged at Unsound New York in April) to critical acclaim. Now we’re getting it in Reykjavík, and this is exciting.
For 29 string players, two percussionists, prepared piano, guitars and electronics, ‘Music For Solaris’ has its beginnings in both Lem’s original novel and Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1972 film adaptation. The story behind it, as explained on Ben’s MySpace (!) goes that he was never satisfied with the original score for Tarkovsky’s film. “I always felt that Russian composer Eduard Artemyev’s score compounded the external, science fiction elements of the story rather than exploring the internal, the human.”
After composing the music, however, Daníel and Ben were no longer interested in screening Tarkovsky’s adaptation to it. “At the same time the idea of a blank screen also troubled me”, says Ben, “[b]ut as soon as Brian [Eno, who selected Frost as his protégé in the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative] saw the screen in the Krakow cinema, I could see his mind started ticking over the problem too, and a few days later he laid out this elegant visual solution that mirrored everything we were trying to get at aurally”.  
Brian along with Nick Robertson came upon the elegant solution of manipulating Tarkovsky’s original, turning single frames of the film into a slow moving slide show that looks as if the images are “melting” together. It is an ambitious feat to change the music, and an equally ambitious venture to change the film itself to suit the new music. But do you expect anything less from some of Iceland’s best, coupled with Brian Eno?  elegant solution of manipulating Tarkovsky’s original, turning single frames of the film into a slow moving slide show that looks as if the images are “melting” together. It is an ambitious feat to change the music, and an equally ambitious venture to change the film itself to suit the new music. But do you expect anything less from some of Iceland’s best, coupled with Brian Eno?
Where: Harpa—Silfurberg, Ingólfsgarður Austurbakki 2
When: June 4, 20:00
How much: 3500 ISK

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