Astrid Lindgren’s timeless classic children’s novel THE BROTHERS LIONHEART comes to life in director Svein Sturla Hungnes’ stunning new stage adaption for Det Norske Teatret (The Norwegian Theatre). The dreamlike visual and audial experience is the result of a tight collaboration between director Hungnes, choreography by André Danielsen, scenography by Even Børsum, lighting design by Ola Bråten, music by yours truly and sound design by Vibeke Blydt-Hansen. Add to this a fantastic cast of actors, led by Emil Johnsen as Kavring and Oddgeir Thune as Jonatan.
Music-wise this is certainly one of my biggest projects to date. The play lasts for 90 minutes and there is practically music throughout the whole thing. In total I recorded almost two hours of music for Brørne Løvehjarte during the preparation process. During the rehearsals and fine tuning of the project, this was edited and shortened down to its final length and form. The musical palette consists of a string quintet (featuring musicians from KORK, the great Norwegian Radio Orchestra), plus various percussion and keyboard instruments, and the occational solo voice.
There are several musical themes and motifs, notably the Nangijala theme, representing the idea of the magical afterlife world in which most of the story takes place (or does it, really?). There is also the solo vocalized theme of Sofia and her doves. Then there is the very heavily used Tengil theme, representing the fascist regime which has put the otherwise idyllic world of Nangijala in turmoil. The Tengil theme is a strange beast since it both consists of a four-note motif, and a chord progression of four chords – and these are either played one by one or in various combinations. To make it even more confusing, it is never quite clear if the theme is referring to Tengil in person, or evil in general, since the same theme is also describing the ancient beasts Katla and Karm, and the final battle between good and evil in the afterlife. I can only say to my defense that it felt right. Still does.
The story of brothers Kavring and Jonatan – whose friendship and love not even death can tear apart – have touched multiple generations of readers, and is still as relevant and still as utterly heartbreaking today as it was when first published in 1972.
BRØRNE LØVEHJARTE premiered at Det Norske Teatret October 3, 2014. A soundtrack album was released on Pling Kong Recordings on February 26, 2016. Click here to listen to the album on your favourite digital music service, or use the embedded Spotify player below.
Music by Eirik Myhr
Recorded April-September 2014
VIOLIN 1: Anders Nilsson
VIOLIN 2: Bjarne Magnus Jensen
VIOLA: Ida Bryhn
VIOLONCELLO: Audun Sandvik
CONTRABASS: Marius Flatby
KEYBOARDS, PERCUSSION, PROGRAMMING AND VOICE: Eirik Myhr
VOICE: Benedikte Kruse
Photos by Erik Berg / Det Norske Teatret
Client: Det Norske Teatret
Director: Svein Sturla Hungnes