First track and music video Hollow in the tree, released today, showcases orchestra members as composers, producers and video artists

The Baltic Sea Philharmonic today releases a new single in its ‘Musical Chain’ series, Hollow in the tree. Composed by orchestra members Mintautas Kriščiūnas and Zuzanna Wąsiewicz, the track is out now on Estonian independent label nEscapes. An accompanying music video, produced and directed by another member of the orchestra, Ludwig Angerhöfer, is available to watch on the orchestra’s social media channels. An engaging fusion of electronic textures and orchestral soundscapes, the music for Hollow in the tree was recorded by the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi on the island of Usedom in September 2021. Further tracks written and produced by Baltic Sea Philharmonic musicians as part of the ‘Producers Edition’, an expansion of the ‘Musical Chain’ series, will be released on nEscapes later in 2022 with accompanying music videos.

Empowering creativity and collaboration

The ‘Musical Chain’ series of collaborative music videos launched in July 2020 as a way of bringing Baltic Sea Philharmonic musicians together virtually during the pandemic lockdowns and connecting them with other artists and video producers. In the summer of 2021 the project was extended with the ‘Producers Edition’, which invited members of the orchestra to create their own music and videos, and gave them the opportunity to showcase their talents as composers, producers, scriptwriters, sound engineers and videographers. After submitting ideas for music and video projects, selected musicians collaborated in small teams to compose and produce their tracks and bring their stories alive on video. At a dedicated recording session on Usedom, the composers worked with Kristjan Järvi and professional sound engineers to record their creations. The musicians selected to produce and direct films for the music tracks worked under the guidance of professional videographers. Through the ‘Producers Edition’, members of the orchestra have learned new skills and tools and developed collaborative ways of working, as well as growing their entrepreneurial potential.

Behind the scenes

With Hollow in the tree, Lithuanian violist Mintautas Kriščiūnas and Polish harpist Zuzanna Wąsiewicz have created a compelling union of electronic music, layered acoustic harp and the sound of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic. They describe the piece as reflecting the human condition in an ever-changing modern world in which nature struggles to survive in the face of mechanical and destructive human development. The conflict between these two forces comes through in the climax of the piece, but throughout the work the peace and strength of nature offers a constant flow and drive, as well as a sense of hope.

For Wąsiewicz, Hollow in the tree was a departure from composing purely acoustic music. ‘This project was the first time I had worked with electronics and effects,’ she says. ‘It’s also the first work I’ve ever had released, so I’m very excited.’ Kriščiūnas is no stranger to releasing his own music but jumped at the chance to be part of the ‘Producers Edition’. ‘I’ve learned so much already as a member of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic,’ he says. ‘It’s been a great opportunity to grow as a musician, so I had no hesitation to join this project.’

German tuba player Ludwig Angerhöfer responded to the flow and forward motion of the Hollow in the tree music with a video that captures the power of nature, and especially the energy of water, but also showcases the musicians of the orchestra. He filmed in five countries, including Latvia, where one location was Europe’s widest waterfall, and he also shot under water. He says: ‘As a tuba player, I’m used to being at the back of the orchestra, providing the fundamental bass but not always contributing throughout a piece. The “Producers Edition” was a great opportunity to create something whole myself, to step out to the front and showcase more of my abilities.’

Check out the Hollow in the tree video now on the Baltic Sea Philharmonic’s YouTube channel