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Sophie Berkal-Sarbit " Hallelujah" 7Arts

1,779
by Guest, 8 years ago
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When you take a chance renewing a classic song that has had so many definitive approaches you place yourself in the crosshairs of the music world. "When Sophie told me she wanted to record one of the planet's most beloved songs, "Hallelujah," I caught my breath -- rolled my eyes and thought to myself 'Why?' Revered versions by John Cale, Jeff Buckley, Rufus Wainwright and k.d.Lang come to mind -- not to mention the most recent Canadian Tenors,' says producer/pianist Bill King. "I think I can bring something different to this," says Sophie. King's response --"O.K." let's just see what happens in the studio. This should be totally improvised. Things should happen organically --if it doesn't we'll do ourselves a solid by stepping away and leaving the world short one more unnecessary misfire." There are times when everything feels just right. A brand spanking new C. Bechstein D280 9′ Concert Grand piano at Number 9 Studios -- an intimate studio and broad smile spread across 21 year old Berkal-Sarbit's face. It's always about establishing a mood -- a moment of decision filled with tension, intimacy and contrasts. After a first improvised run through the arrangement composed itself. It's the marriage of the two - piano and voice --a quiet solitude. Carefully considered notes borrowed from the upper regions of the piano placed at intervals falling like isolated rain drops gently lay the framework for what was to come - a full symphonic orchestration within the range of the glimmering Bechstein. Berkal-Sarbit embraces the languid tempo -- one that takes a poetic stance. Rather than abruptly shift verse to verse the piano intercedes reserving the time in between to contemplate the spiritually bittersweet lyrics. The church like harmonies sound closure, much like the parting measures of a Beethoven sonata. Then total silence. No third takes or let's change this or that -- the piece is complete. Studio head George Rodina got wind of the session engineered by Bernie Cisternas 'and suggested sending 'Hallelujah' to Los Angeles where a couple of string section arrangers might be interested in contributing. As luck would have it violinist Christian House heard what everyone heard and volunteered added sweetening. "My approach was to come up with something with few distractions for the viewer," says video director, Chris Gentile. "Sophie's voice elegantly surrounds the piano and had to be just right visually. The more I listened to "Hallelujah", things began to come clear. This had to be a black and white video, classic in filming style, with an edit style of dissolves and soft fades. No colors or background textures just simple and clean. There was no need for a place or set, just perfect classic portrait lighting. This was all I needed to tell the story." Produced by Bill King and George Rondina Arrangement: Bill King Strings: Christian Howes Strings Video production was produced through Christopher Gentile Productions. Directing and story design created Christopher Gentile www.christophergentile.ca Camera DOP David Suddaby Camera Arri Alexa provided by Robert Burt Productions Studio 17 Noble Street Studios Studio One Posting PPD Post Producers Digital Toronto Strings: Donald Quan, Charmaine Louis and Mark Korven Assistant to director: Stephen Smith Christopher Gentile is a long time Commercial Video Director in Toronto .and owns and operates Christopher Gentile Productions/Photography Recorded at Number 9 Studios Engineer - Bernie Cisternas