LYS Mari Samuelsen
Label: Deutsche Grammophon (DG)
Subgenre: Chamber Music
Artist: Mari Samuelsen
Composer: Meredi (1992), Dobrinka Tabakova (1980), Hannah Peel (1985), Caroline Shaw (1982), Laura Masotto (1985), Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179), Hildur Gudnadottir (1982), Lera Auerbach (1973), Hania Rani (1990)
Album including Album cover
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- Meredi (b. 1994):
- 1Meredi: White Flowers Take Their Bath03:06
- Dobrinka Tabakova (b. 1980):
- 2Tabakova: Nocturne (Arr. for Solo Violin and Piano)03:44
- Hannah Peel (b. 1985).
- 3Peel: Signals04:28
- Caroline Shaw (b. 1982):
- 4Shaw: Plan & Elevation: IV. The Orangery02:05
- 5Shaw: Plan & Elevation: V. The Beech Tree02:10
- Laura Masotto (b. 1985):
- 6Masotto: Sol Levante03:49
- Margaret Hermant (b.):
- 7Hermant: Lightwell03:41
- Hildegard von Bingen (1098 - 1179):
- 8Hildegard von Bingen: O vis eternitatis (Arr. Tormod Tvete Vik for Solo Violin and Strings)03:25
- Beyoncé Knowles (b. 1981), Ryan Tedder (b. 1979), Evan Bogart (b. 1978):
- 9Halo (Solo Violin and Strings Version): Halo (Solo Violin and Strings Version)03:36
- Lera Auerbach (b. 1973):
- 10Auerbach: 24 Preludes for Violin and Piano, Op. 46: No. 15 Adagio sognando01:43
- Hildur Guðnadóttir (b. 1982):
- 11Guðnadóttir: Bær (Arr. Knoth for Solo Violin and Strings)03:47
- Hannah Peel (b. 1985), Erland Cooper (b. 1984):
- 12Peel, Cooper: Reverie (Arr. Knoth for Solo Violin, Strings and Electronics)03:03
- Hania Rani (b. 1990):
- 13Rani: La Luce05:23
- Clarice Jensen (b.):
- 14Jensen: Love Abounds In Everything04:20
- Anna Meredith (1978):
- 15Meredith: Midi (Arr. for Solo Violin and Electronics)03:02
Info for LYS
Mari Samuelsen’s latest Deutsche Grammophon album sees a bold new curation of dynamic and original music dedicated and influenced by life and light. Lys – Norwegian for “Light” – presents music by thirteen female composers, from Hildegard von Bingen to Hildur Guðnadóttir, combining specially commissioned works with new arrangements of existing pieces. The fourteen tracks are woven together to create a meditative, and energising playlist on this life-giving phenomenon. The Norwegian violinist’s eclectic programme moves through light’s infinitely subtle qualities to reveal a musical world of boundless shades of emotion and expression.
“We humans have so many impressions of light, what light feels like, in good and bad times,” Mari Samuelsen observes. “I hope that speaks through the music on this album. We instinctively sense the way light affects our feelings, and the influence on our being of dark light, of ‘negative’ light, of the light people talk about just before they die or the ugly light we see from a hospital bed, of shocking laser light and so many other kinds of artificial and natural light. Then you have extreme sunlight, burning down, leaving the land dry and parched. Maybe it’s to do with living in the North or simply with getting older, but these varieties of light touch me now more deeply than ever. All of this was turning over in my mind before I started thinking about who could write the pieces.”
Lys spans a breadth of styles that mirrors Mari’s openness to music from a multitude of genres and her wholehearted advocacy of new work. It embraces everything from a moving arrangement of the Beyoncé hit Halo to music by twelfth-century Benedictine philosopher, mystic and visionary Hildegard of Bingen; from the transcendent stillness of Hania Rani’s La Luce and the melancholy sounds of Hildur Guðnadóttir’s Bær to the laser-like precision of Anna Meredith’s Midi and Laura Masotto’s charming Sol Levante. The tracklist also includes pieces by other such diverse contemporary classical composers as Lera Auerbach, Meredi, Hannah Peel, Caroline Shaw and Dobrinka Tabakova, as well as music by Mari’s fellow string players Margaret Hermant and Clarice Jensen, whose Love Abounds In Everything is a compelling contemporary complement to Abbess Hildegard’s chant O vis eternitatis.
The idea for Lys came to the violinist in the summer of 2019, around the time Deutsche Grammophon released her debut album, MARI, while she was waiting to board a long-delayed flight. She seized the moment to think about what her next release might be. “Waiting for that plane gave me space to think about the ways in which music connects to light, shade and darkness,” Mari recalls. Her initial thoughts evolved slowly, informed by the long history of describing music through metaphors of light and personal memories of childhood days spent in the winter darkness of rural Norway.
Mari’s choice of composers grew from a long-list of people, most of them women, she felt would have something interesting to say about light. The finished album’s all-female tracklist, she explains, flowed from her desire to connect individual pieces to an overall soundscape rather than any preordained concept or “manifesto” about female musicians. She reached out to composers she already knew, contacted others for the first time, and worked closely with DG’s New Repertoire team to refine the performance details of each piece. Thanks to conversations with either the composers themselves or their arrangers, she was able to influence the individual tracks and the album’s overall soundscape.
“I’m immensely grateful to have had this chance to create an album where I could work so closely with the composers,” notes Mari. “They’re all very different personalities. It gave me a new dimension as a performer, because I could ask them about the meaning of their music. It’s both exciting and a little risky to put together pieces that come from various times, places and genres, but these are the projects that fascinate me most. I want people to experience Lys as a whole story rather than a collection of ‘sentences’ or impressions by different composers. There’s a larger picture here that I hope will take listeners on a journey into light and the atmosphere it creates as it shifts and changes.”
Mari Samuelsen, violin
Scoring Berlin Orchestra
Jonathan Stockhammer, conductor
Julien Quentin, piano
Margaret Hermant, harp, violin
Hania Rani, piano
Dobrawa Czocher, cello
Norwegian violinist Mari Samuelsen has enjoyed a remarkable rise on the international concert stage through a characteristic mixture of artistry and enterprise. Her concerts combine a breathtaking musical finesse and virtuosity and an imaginative and innovative approach to presentation.
Mari has appeared as soloist at some of the world’s most prestigious venues including Carnegie Hall, New York; Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Paris; Konzerthaus, Berlin; Smetana Hall, Prague; Kremlin Hall, Moscow and the Victoria Hall, Geneva. Recent performances have included a return to the Barbican, London; debuts at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and with Kristjan Järvi and the MDR Symphony Orchestra, Leipzig and performances in Munich and Luzern.
She works regularly with composer Max Richter, as soloist in concert performances of his works ‘Recomposed’ (most recently in Leipzig and Paris) and ‘Memoryhouse’.
Future highlights include opening this year’s Montreux Jazz Festival, Philip Glass’s double concerto in Istanbul, performances at the Bremen Musikfest and the release of her solo album, ‘Nordic Noir’ (Universal) featuring new works from contemporary Nordic composers.
For the past two years, alongside her brother, Håkon, Mari has been artistic director of the Yellow Lounge in Norway, bringing the Berlin-born clubnight to Oslo and collaborating with partners such as the pre-eminent video artist, Philipp Geist. Their debut album, Pas de Deux, on Mercury Classics (Universal), included a new work written for them by the Oscar-winning composer, the late James Horner. It went straight to no. 1 in the Norwegian pop charts, the first classical album to do so in more than 20 years.
Mari Samuelsen plays the ‘Duke of Edinburgh’ Stradivarius 1724, generously on loan from Florian Leonhard Fine Violins, London.
This album contains no booklet.