Anna Calvi ventures into the world of soundtracks by publishing, in January, the soundtrack for the fifth and sixth season of Peaky Blinders, the BBC One television series.
His evocative and engaging compositions will be published in full for the first time on January 26, 2024 via Domino Soundtracks. Peaky Blinders, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, broke streaming records in 2022 on the BBC’s iPlayer platform, reaching nearly 7 million streams for the first episode of Season 6, 30 million streams for the season and counting 55 million streams for the box set.
Speaking about his work on the soundtrack, Calvi says:
The concepts of atmosphere and space were fundamental to the composition of Peaky Blinders. There are so many nuances when it comes to composing the soundtrack for a film. What you leave out is more important than what you leave in. I had to let the actors’ voices speak but find a way to bring out the emotions of the moment. I was completely obsessed with Tommy Shelby, I dreamed about him every night while working on the soundtrack, I had to really live in the show.”
Calvi, initially commissioned to write the soundtrack for the fifth season in 2019, also worked on the final season of the series as her extraordinary arrangements proved to be a perfect match with Peaky Blinders.
There’s a duality in the show, of beauty and brutality, that I had explored in my music. The manipulation of emotions with sound fascinates me, it’s so mysterious. With Peaky Blinders I really tried to explore this, sometimes putting the opposite music to what you would expect into a scene had the biggest impact.”
Peaky Blinders: Season 5 & 6 (Original Score) includes 37 songs involving several members of The Shelby Company Limited and more recent new characters such as Oswald Mosley. The album includes the previously released original songs “You’re Not God” and “Ain’t No Grave,” and a cover of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ “Red Right Hand,” the Peaky Blinders theme song. These songs highlight Calvi’s visceral guitar playing, but elsewhere we also find tender, delicate moments of piano accompanied by his captivating voice, as well as foreboding shadows as the series enters a turbulent period in British history.
THE NEW SONG
Today Anna Calvi presents a new song taken from the upcoming release, the propulsive “Black Tuesday” supported by her unmistakable guitar.
In Season 5, Anna Calvi composed everything herself and performed it largely alone, including the singing parts, guitar, violin, piano, percussion and harmonium. Speaking about the process, Calvi says: “For Season 6 I wanted to bring in other musicians for a new interpretation and I wanted to find a new musical voice for Tommy. I called Nick Launay, who had produced my last album ‘Hunter’, to work with me. We faced several challenges for this soundtrack, as it was the time of the pandemic and I was also overdue with my first child. Combining such intense work with a heavy pregnancy was challenging. I didn’t want it to be seen as affecting my work. Yet at the same time it felt strange to believe, due to the pressures of our society, that I should hide the difficulties I was experiencing. I was aware that I couldn’t be the first pregnant woman to experience a conflict in this way.”
Anna continued working on the soundtrack until the night before her son Elio was born in November 2021, before quickly returning to work and racing to finish the entire soundtrack as the record-breaking first episode of the season aired, all while she was in the early stages of motherhood and adjusting to her new life.
The thing I learned most from writing for Peaky Blinders was to trust my instincts. I understood that I shouldn’t be afraid of simplicity and that I shouldn’t think that if something happens quickly it could compromise its quality. This whole experience was wonderful and intense. I am very proud of my scores for Peaky Blinders and I would like this work to be a signal for future generations of composers.”
The completion of the score marks a remarkable achievement for Anna Calvi and showcases a composer and artist who is still discovering her abilities.
Season 5 – Tracklisting:
You’re Not God
Tommy’s Requiem #1
Death Is A Kindness
I Don’t Like The Life
There Ain’t No Serious
We Don’t Like The Life
Do What The Voices Tell You
Tommy’s Requiem #2
Season 6 – Tracklisting
Under The Maple Tree
Ain’t No Serious
Where Will You Go
Pledge Your Allegiance
Ruby Has A Fever
Jail And Perfume
Red Right Hand
The Eleventh Hour
Tommy’s Final Requiem
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