“Sherlock Suite” is an album comprising 11 poems by Oxana Poberejnaia accompanied by original music score by Rene Sens. The music enhances and creates new meaning to the words.
It’s a story of a mother, wife and a relatively sane person obsessed with the BBC drama Sherlock. Family, binge eating, addiction to television, British national identity, weather and cuisine – and Sherlock is with her every step of the way!
Read blog posts on individual poems
Muffins – a rhymed complaint letter to the Department of Bakery of the UK
How to spend time alone – a manual for a quality day in
How to be British – it is never too futile to brush up on your Britishness and listen to some brass band
Addicts United – a rhythmed confession of love and obsession
Q&A – a slightly surreal take on fanship
Red-Out – dark red, very dark. Family matters bring this Johnny down
In-laws came and took husband and child for a drive – a lyrical clear melody accompanies this poem of too good to be true
Notes on the fridge – a very surreal take on fanship
Egg for Pig – who’s for binge eating? I am!
Alternative route – a poem of two rhythms and two meditation practices
Besides the obvious references to the series, like characters’ and actors names and events, the poems contain in their titles and texts six hidden quotes or references to the BBC’s Sherlock that only a true fan will spot. How many can you find?
Sherlock is with Oxana as she complains about the tragic situation with baking in the homeland of The Beatles and Monty Python. Episode 2 of Sherlock consoles her as she goes to sleep after an exhausting and unrewarding day caring for a young child. Sherlock is her treat in the November twilight coloured by the radiant yellow leaves. It is also a hindrance on her spiritual path, as after watching Sherlock she is too restless to sit calmly in meditation. Sherlock is a cue for contemplation on loneliness, hopelessness and friendship in this world.
Sherlock Suite is a confession of my love for Sherlock Holmes. After I first saw the BBC’s Sherlock I described it to my Russian friends as a proof of the fact that British spirit is still alive, despite global capitalism’s seemingly complete victory over people’s pockets, minds and souls.
Growing up in the Soviet Union, one of my favourite TV dramas was Soviet Sherlock Holmes starring Vasily Livanov MBE and the late Vitaly Solomin. At that time before we had a video recorder, I tried to catch every re-run of the series on TV and was heart-broken when my parents’ plans were to go collect wild mushrooms in the forest, and I would miss Sherlock Holmes.
I never liked any other adaptations of the stories, be they American or British. They just never lived up to the humanity, intensity and humour of the original stories. This fact is recognised by the international community as well. Vasily Livanov’s photo is at the Baker Street’s Museum, and he is one of a handful of not-British nationals to have been awarded MBE.
When Benedict Cumberbatch mentioned it on some daytime TV programme that he was the next Sherlock, I didn’t give it a second thought. It could work, or it much have not worked, my intention was to give it five minutes when it was on.
I was hooked from second one. The style, pace, acting, and the clever references back to the stories all conquered me. (I sat with my mouth open through the mobile phone summation and laughed like mad at the final twist about Watson’s brother.
My brother and a gifted composer Rene Sens has written the original music score, to which you can listen for free here. We collaborated before, when he wrote the score for my performance of Mayakovsky‘s Cloud in Trousers in the Contact Theatre, Manchester.
Rene Sens‘ story
It was a foggy day when I turned on my digital audio workstation to start working on Sherlock Suite. Well, it was not so foggy, but it was a day, all right.
I knew the soundtrack was meant to be minimalistic and somehow reminiscent of the music from a new British Sherlock series and an oldie-goldie Soviet one.
So for a main tune (“Sherlock Suite Theme” – for the poem “Muffins”) I’ve brought back my favorite virtual band with violins, cellos, basses, woodwinds and simple drums. I’ve told them about a melody they should have played (which I worked out on my synthesizer pretty fast) and – voila! – we’ve got it! Nice little tune, which was repeated in a different way in two more tracks (“Calculations” – for the poem “How to Spend Time Alone” and “Drunk Sunday Band” – for “How to be British”).
Some other tracks mock TV shows and games (“Just Watch” – for the poem “Addicts United” and “Who the Hell Cares to be a Millionaire” – for “Q&A”), some are light-hearted (“Rain” – for the poem “In-laws came and took husband and child for a drive”, “Ring a Bell” – for “Notes on the Fridge”, and “Morning” – for “Egg for Pig”), some have more depth to them (“Evening” – for the poem “Red-Out”, “Sketchy Monk” – for “Alternative Route”, and “Next Week” for “My Sherlock”).
Overall, I believe the soundtrack leaves a listener with warm feelings, which is great, because that’s what Sherlock Suite is all about as far as I’m concerned – love for a series, love for talented and beautiful actors and love itself.
To listen to the soundtrack without the poems go to Rene Sens’ Jamendo page.
“I really enjoyed your recitation of the poems – it was a great “performance”. What about a video?” – Hilary Myers
Answering a question “Which poem was a favourite?” a member of the audience wrote:
“The last one? [My Sherlock] Actually hard to say one. I found them all poignant. Oxana’s performance is thrilling.”
Thanks go to
Rene Sens for world-class music score;
Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat, Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as key inspiration for this work;
Poet Anne Caldwell, who taught Oxana creative writing;
Jude Fowler for support;
Igor Maslennikov, Vasily Livanov, Vitaly Solomin and Rina Zelyonaya for the Soviet television films Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson as the best ever adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories.
Poems: Oxana Poberejnaia
Voice: Oxana Poberejnaia
Music: Rene Sens
Voice recorded at Robinwood Studios, UK