MARI by Mari Samuelsen
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.