The Playhouse Sessions
Bjarte Eike & Barokksolistene

September 2022

‘There are some things you just can’t fake. The chemistry of a group is one of those – the sparks of musical energy that fly when certain artists collide. Bjarte Eike’s Barokksolistene is an alchemical miracle of an ensemble…pure musical gold’ Gramophone magazine review for The Alehouse Sessions (RCD1017). Since the release of the chart topping Alehouse Sessions in 2017, and a world wide tour, Bjarte and the boys and girls have been busy on this new album which moves the alehouse project on from dour Puritanism of Cromwell’s Commonwealth, to the hedonistic Restoration of Charles II, and the Glorious Revolution that saw William III and Mary II replace the unpopular James II. The alehouse musical culture developed into playhouses, and music halls, selling tickets and subscriptions. Operas, masques, dance, jesting (the first stand-up comedians maybe?) , all this prepared the way for the first public concert hall to be established. Nights in these places though would still be bawdy – stage fights, cross dressing, elements of pantomime, songs sung to popular tunes of the day, satire – always a good draw, and a good number of rustic clowns, bawdy wenches and fools thrown in for good measure!
Think of these back rooms as a very English mix of Shakespeare, commedia dell arte, juggling with music by Purcell, folk tunes, and sea shanties. After the misery of the Commonwealth and Cromwell’s dictatorship, the public were in the
mood to party! Playhouse is your invitation to the party – enjoy!



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