Mari - Mari Samuelsen (CD)

Deutsche Grammophon
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Mari Samuelsen

MARI by Mari Samuelsen explores our longing to feel grounded, to escape into nature, and how that sits with the modern notion of global citizens and the busy, fulfilling lives we wish to lead. “This contrast is something we’ll see more and more of”, says Mari. “The urge to live slow is going to become more important in order to keep yourself, your life and your mind in balance. But when you are conscious of these two, contrasting worlds, one can experience ‘a moment of flow’, where you are able reconcile these opposites, if only fleetingly.”

MARI was conceived over the course of a year and a half, a process that was constantly evolving. Mindful of the power music has to transport people back in time or to certain places, Mari sought out pieces and composers that were evocative of dreams and a childlike innocence, as well as the contrast inherent in our perceptions of modern living and culture. “Things that are beautiful but not tangible” was one criterion; “places and memories that are pure and untouched” another.

“…MARI is just one step in the direction that I will continue in for years to come; it’s the beginning of a journey, and I’m constantly exploring new ideas and widening my musical horizon.” – Mari Samuelsen

The album contains works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Philip Glass, Max Richter, Peter Gregson, Johann Johannsson, Brian Eno, PÄ“teris Vasks and others.

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  1. Martynov: "Come In!" - 2nd mvt.
  2. Richter, Max: Dona Nobis Pacem 2
  3. Glass, P: Einstein on the Beach: Knee Play 2
  4. Vasks: Vientulais engelis-Meditation for violin and string orchestra
  5. Brian Eno, Jon Hopkins, Leo Abrahams: Emerald and Stone (Arr. Knoth)
  6. Richter, Max: Vocal
  7. Jóhannsson, J: Heptapod B
  8. Bach, J S: Invention No. 13 in A Minor, BWV 784 (Arr. Badzura)
  9. Glass, P: Violin Concerto, 2nd mvt. (Arr. Gelgotas)
  10. Christian Badzura: 847
  11. Bach, J S: Partita for solo violin No. 2 in D minor, BWV1004: 5. Chaconne – Pt. 1
  12. Bach, J S: Partita for solo violin No. 2 in D minor, BWV1004: 5. Chaconne – Pt. 2
  13. Bach, J S: Partita for solo violin No. 2 in D minor, BWV1004: 5. Chaconne – Pt. 3
  14. Bach, J S: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1: Prelude in D Major, BWV 850 (Arr. Badzura)
  15. Richter, Max: Fragment
  16. Gregson, P: Sequence (Four) for Solo Violin and String Orchestra divisi
  17. Martynov: The Beatitudes
  18. Brian Eno, Hans Joachim Roedelius, Dieter Moebius: By This River (Arr. Badzura)
  19. Bach, J S: Sonata for solo violin No. 1 in G minor, BWV1001: 4. Presto
  20. Clark: Mammal Step Sequence
  21. Jóhannsson, J: Good night, day
  22. Richter, Max: November
  23. Gregson, P: Lullaby

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"Violinist Mari Samuelsen is best known for her duo albums and performances with her brother Håkon, and it is perhaps for this reason that Mari, her debut album for Deutsche Grammophon, is quite ambitious in its concept. The notes speak of such ideas as immersion in nature, but what's actually happening here is that Samuelsen has taken an unusually broad view of the music known as minimalism, noting that by now it is arguably the dominant musical style, and as such, has developed quite a number of variants. Philip Glass is represented by a couple of pieces, as is the current star of the music, Max Richter, but there are also lesser-known composers like the mystical Peteris Vasks, and Christian Badzura, who is the head of new music at Deutsche Grammophon. Brian Eno is also present. Some of the music is arranged for solo violin or violin and orchestra, which is well within the bounds of minimalist practice. Samuelsen's most daring move is to link Bach with the minimalist tradition; she is not the first to make this connection, but her linkage is the most extreme. Listeners will have to decide for themselves whether the mighty Chaconne from the Partita in D minor for solo violin, BWV 1004, breaks the mood. Even if the answer is in the affirmative, Samuelsen's performance of this piece is brilliant and thrilling. Further, it points to one of the central tensions of the album, one that Samuelsen has already explored in earlier performances: minimalism in its original incarnation was not a virtuoso music, but it is developing a virtuoso side as it grows. Samuelsen's exploration of this idea is absorbing even if you do not follow her through two CDs worth of music. Recommended, and highly accessible to anybody."

- James Manheim, All Music