A new one hour documentary to be broadcast on Channel 4 follows this year’s Hacienda Classical concerts from their first rehearsal and debut gigs, the triumphant Royal Albert Hall show, the Manchester homecoming and the recording of the studio album to be released by Sony Classical on Friday 21 October.
The documentary, Hacienda House Orchestra, is produced by Carm Music and directed by Chris Cowey and features Peter Hook, Mike Pickering, Graeme Park, and Rowetta alongside the Manchester Camerata orchestra with previously unseen full length concert footage from major gigs, interviews and exclusive behind the scenes access.
The documentary showcases many of the highlights from the full album version of the live show with the new orchestral arrangement of seminal dance tracks such as Good Life, Ride On Time, Pacific State, Voodoo Ray, and Blue Monday being heard for the first time away from the actual concerts.
The album features the full twenty track set all released for the first time and ends on Rowetta’s widely admired staple encore You Got The Love.
Peter Hook didn’t want one of the best known tracks, Blue Monday, to be part of the live set. But when it came to choosing the set, neither Mike Pickering nor Graeme Park, the original Hacienda DJ partnership, had any doubts that it should be included.
“Blue Monday is in there purely on merit,” says Graeme. “Although it pre-dates house music, it is simply one of the most fantastic club records ever made. It was way ahead of its time and sounds as fresh as on the day it was made. The driving rhythm and pounding bass have obvious club appeal which is why it such an enduring and endearing record.”
“Blue Monday quite simply is the biggest selling 12” single of all time,” says Mike Pickering. “It transcended all genre and became an anthem to Manchester, the UK, and then the world. It still remains one of the most revered tracks ever. Both myself and Graeme knew it had to be included.”
The man charged with adapting the house classics to a full orchestra, Hacienda Classical’s conductor, composer and arranger Tim Crooks, said that initially he was worried about transcribing the track.
“At face value Blue Monday presented a real challenge to orchestrate, partly because the track is so famous, also because the texture itself is iconic and instantly recognisable. But beneath the surface and there are details that can be enhanced, whether with the cellos and bass clarinet mimicking Hooky’s six-string bass, or with the strings recreating the chattering synth lines in the background. There’s a yearning, haunting feel to this track which I’d hoped to capture by using the oboe with the high string lines, and lower strings to double the sung melody towards the end of the song. It works beautifully really.”
The collision of dance music anthems with orchestral instrumentation on Hacienda Classical breathes new life into club anthems across both the more famous and more underground tracks.
The album has been executive-produced by Peter Hook together with producer Phil Murphy and its release allows fans to enjoy Haçienda Classical as a recording for the very first time. Together with the new C4 documentary, it will provide fans with a unique insight into the show, the music and the people involved.
The documentary Hacienda House Orchestra will be broadcast at 12.05am on Channel 4 on Thursday/Friday 20/21 October. It will also be made available on All4.