THE ART OF CONTEMPLATION
Mari Samuelsen presents Deutsche Grammophon debut album
- Mari draws listeners into soundworlds of Max Richter, Philip Glass, Brian Eno, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Peter Gregson, Vladimir Martynov, Pēteris Vasks and Johann Sebastian Bach
- Programme reconciles restless energy of modern life with a sense of peaceful timelessness
- Mari tracklist evolved from Maris’s close personal connections with individual works and composers
Norwegian violinist Mari Samuelsen’s debut for the Yellow Label is entitled simply MARI, and is set for international release on 7 June 2019. 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.”
Mari Samuelsen debuts on Deutsche Grammophon
Berlin, January 2019. Deutsche Grammophon is delighted to announce the signing of an exclusive agreement with Norwegian violinist Mari Samuelsen. Her first single, Max Richter’s “November”, is set for international release on 11 January 2019 to coincide with the ARTE broadcast of her spectacular performance last October at Beijing’s Forbidden City as part of the DG 120 celebrations (scheduled for 13 January at 5.40pm CET).
L-R: Clemens Trautmann (President Deutsche Grammophon), Nanja Maung Yin (Head of Marketing New Repertoire), Mari Samuelsen, Christian Badzura (Executive Producer Deutsche Grammophon)
© Stephan Hoederath / DG
Mari Samuelsen’s debut DG album was recorded with the Konzerthausorchester Berlin and conductor Jonathan Stockhammer. Tracks range from Bach’s Chaconne in D minor to orchestral pieces by leading contemporary composers, including Max Richter, Brian Eno, Jóhann Jóhannsson and Peter Gregson. The album will be released on the Yellow Label in early summer 2019.
Mari Samuelsen is one of today’s most imaginative and eloquent violinists, known for her inventive approach to programming and presentation. Her style of playing blends virtuosity with entrancing musical finesse. She has appeared as soloist on many of the world’s leading stages, including New York’s Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, London’s Barbican Centre, Berlin’s Konzerthaus and the Paris Philharmonie and Théâtre des Champs-Elysées.
“I’m super happy to be joining the DG family!” says Samuelsen. “Continuing my musical journey as violinist with the absolute best team of creative people, composers, electronic artists and producers, and releasing recordings on the most legendary classical label in the world is truly exciting. I’ve always felt an urge not to do what’s traditionally expected. My aim is to create new and innovative programmes for music lovers – regardless of genre. I cannot wait to share my selection of pieces on my upcoming album.”
Christian Badzura, Director New Repertoire, Deutsche Grammophon, adds, “I heard Mari’s interpretation of the Bach Chaconne a few years ago and was blown away by her clarity of articulation and the wonderful sound colours she produces. We could have made a complete album of Bach’s timeless music, but were keen to reflect the great breadth of her artistic vision. Her debut album combines familiar repertoire with freshly composed pieces to create an irresistible musical mix.”
Max Richter’s music has become an essential part of Mari’s personal playlists as well as her live repertoire. Instantly struck by his 2012 DG release Recomposed, she has since played the Vivaldi-inspired score with Max in concert, most recently in December 2018 in Hong Kong. They have also performed Memoryhouse and worked together on his latest album for the Yellow Label, Three Worlds – Music from Woolf Works. “Apart from being a wonderful violinist,” comments Richter, “Mari has an instinctive understanding of my compositional world and an uncanny ability to communicate my intentions.”
Mari opened the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2017 and brought DG’s classical club night experience to Oslo as artistic director of Norway’s Yellow Lounge. She has also collaborated with legendary electronic artists Jeff Mills and Dubfire, and created pioneering projects with Berlin multimedia artist Philipp Geist. Nordic Noir, her first solo album, recorded with the Trondheim Soloists and released on DECCA in 2017, was built around the kind of brooding, unsettling music heard in TV series such as The Killing, The Bridge and Broadchurch.
In the first half of 2019, Mari will – among other appearances – be performing works by Richter (in Tokyo in March, and in Lyon in May) and music by Arvo Pärt and Pēteris Vasks on tour with the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi, with concerts at the Berlin Philharmonie and Hamburg Elbphilharmonie (June/July).
“Having been captivated by Mari’s work with Max Richter, we’re thrilled to welcome her to the DG family,” says Dr Clemens Trautmann, President, Deutsche Grammophon. “We’ve seen how she connects with listeners at the deepest spiritual and emotional levels and are now looking forward to working with her on innovative recording projects and sharing her compelling programmes with a global audience.”