Mari Samuelsen: Mari

Mari Samuelsen

Mari Samuelsen: Mari
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Mari Samuelsen: Mari

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, Pēteris Vasks and others.

Review

In our busy lives, we long to feel grounded. MARI – Norwegian violinist Mari Samuelsen’s first solo recording for Deutsche Grammophon – is an ‘urge to live slow … to keep yourself, your life and your mind in balance’. This concept album traverses a wide range of repertoire, from Einaudi and Richter (for which Samuelsen is famous) to Bach. Samuelsen has programmed dreamlike music, evocative of childhood innocence to conjure ‘places and memories that are pure and untouched’.

The recording has already had an effect on our Readings customers, some lingering in store just to listen to Samuelsen’s extraordinary playing and ambient repertoire choices, often commenting on the sheer beauty of the music, evident from Martynov’s opening ‘Come in!’. The work’s message is simple but profound: ‘the staircase to Heaven is inside your heart; you enter through the door of your soul’. Bach’s D minor Chaconne is the centerpiece of MARI, around which the other repertoire has been curated. Here, Samuelsen demonstrates her brilliant and precise technique. In the final, haunting ‘Lullaby’ by young Scottish composer Peter Gregson, Samuelsen shows us the emotional depth of her playing, and her capacity to create vast sound worlds with her violin alone. An exhilarating recording.


Alexandra Mathew is a classical music specialist at Readings Carlton.

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