MARI DRAWS LISTENERS INTO SOUNDWORLDS OF MAX RICHTER, PHILIP GLASS, BRIAN ENO, JÓHANN JÓHANNSSON, PETER GREGSON, VLADIMIR MARTYNOV, PĒTERIS VASKS, AND JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH
14 May 2019 (Toronto, ON) - Norwegian violinist Mari Samuelsen’s debut for the Yellow Label is entitled simply MARI and is set for international release on May 31 via Deutsche Grammophon/Universal Music Canada, the country’s leading music company. Recorded with the Konzerthausorchester Berlin and conductor Jonathan Stockhammer, the album explores the contradictions of contemporary life – the fact that, despite the excitement of city life and the convenience of instant communication and express travel, many of us still feel a need to ground ourselves in the peace and quiet of the natural world. Mari herself was born in rural Norway and goes back to the family farm as often as her schedule allows. She was keen, therefore, to choose a selection of music echoing the conflicting pulls on our time and energy.
At the emotional heart of the album is Bach’s Chaconne in D minor, whose serenity Samuelsen has chosen to counter with the nervous agitation of “Knee Play 2” from Philip Glass’s Einstein on the Beach. The rest of the programme of her DG debut grew organically from the seeds of Bach and Glass, tracing themes of change and renewal, from the increasingly complex variations of the Chaconne to the expansive melodic development of Clark’s Mammal Step Sequence. The album also combines familiar repertoire with brand-new pieces from some of today’s leading composers and musicians.
Mari tested different combinations of compositions, carefully considering the ways in which they related to one another and to the whole. The finished recording contains pieces as diverse as Vladimir Martynov’s The Beatitudes, Peter Gregson’s Sequence (Four), arrangements of Jóhann Jóhannsson’s Heptapod B and Brian Eno’s song “By this River”, and Pēteris Vasks’ Vientulais Engelis (“Lonely Angel”). The mix also includes four works by Max Richter, with whom she collaborates on a regular basis, including “Vocal”, for solo violin, and the wonderfully hypnotic “November”.
As MARI reveals, Mari is an artist with a fresh and intelligent vision of the world. She respects the masterpieces of the past but is fearlessly adventurous when it comes to new repertoire and innovative musical partnerships. An advocate of creative communication and attentive listening, she understands that we all yearn for moments of quiet contemplation. “The need to go into a room and just listen to sound – almost like sound therapy – is bigger than ever,” she observes. “People are hungry for it, and I wanted to use my creativity to collaborate and experiment with some of the great people living today. Slowing down, and people leaving their busy lives behind, is only going to become more important, so there will be more room for this type of collaboration, and this type of music, in the years to come.”
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