The pieces featured here are performed by Maria Letterberg, including the expressionistic Op. 111, which was forgotten for decades until it was rediscovered and recorded for the first time in 1984.
Over the course of his tragically short life, Alexander Scriabin wrote monumental works of great import. In between these efforts he produced a steady torrent of miniatures – concentrated gems of this same expansive genius. Fascinatingly, the title Poème is applied both to symphonic works and to the extended series of thirty-four piano pieces recorded here. Their inspirations are as varied as their titles and they offer a key into their composer's inner world. Pianist Garrick Ohlsson is an acknowledged master of the genre, and this new Scriabin recording will only enhance his already admirable reputation.
Norwegian folk musician Sinikka Langeland, singer and player of the kantele (the Finnish table harp) is a distinctly non-traditional traditionalist, redefining "folk" in successive projects. 'Maria's Song' finds her in the company of two distinguished classical musicians - organist Kare Nordstoga and "giant of the Nordic viola" Lars Anders Tomter - and on a mission to restore Marian texts to sacred music, weaving folk melodies in between the timeless strains of J S Bach. Langeland made a lot of friends with her sparkling ECM debut Starflowers: "There are jewels everywhere on this arresting example of ego-free music-making. One of the albums of this or any other year" raved the Irish Times. Where Starflowers brought Langeland into the orbit of jazz improvisers, Maria's Song is a meeting and cross referencing of folk and 'classical' energies, and also a righting of historical 'injustice': Religious folk songs are amongst the most distinctive elements of the Norwegian folk tradition, yet the Virgin Mary rarely appears in them. Once a much-worshipped figure in the Far North she was, as Sinikka puts it, "reformed" away in 1537, so this album brings Maria back into the music. It was recorded in the beautiful Nidaros Cathedral of Trondheim, famous for its Baroque organ heard here.
Lusine Zakaryan (Armenian: Լուսինե Զաքարյան), born Svetlana Zakaryan, (June 1, 1937 in Akhaltsikhe, Georgian SSR – December 30, 1992, in Yerevan, Armenia), was an Armenian soprano. She grew up in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region of southern Georgia. In 1952, she moved with her family to Yerevan, where she attended a secondary music school. She entered the Yerevan State Musical Conservatory in 1957 and her singing talent soon became clear.
From 1970 to 1983, Zakaryan was a soloist with the symphony orchestra of Armenian TV and Radio. She also sang in the choir of the Armenian Apostolic Church's Holy See at the Echmiadzin Cathedral, and it is for her magnificent rendition of centuries-old Armenian spiritual hymns that she is now most remembered.
Zakaryan was also known for singing the international opera repertoire as well as Armenian traditional and church music.