Marais Project

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The land of the northern lights meets the land of summer sun

by Philip Pogson

TN163 June 24

Nordic Moods & Baroque Echoes continues The Marais Project’s decades’ long commitment to explore new repertoire and dissolve artistic and geographical boundaries.

It documents the group’s musical partnership with Swedish ensemble, Duo Langborn/Wendel, developed during 2023 tours of Australia and Sweden.

Recorded at Atlantis Studios, Stockholm, (ABBA’s favourite studio), the album explores the collaboration’s rare instrumentation: voice/violin, baroque and modern violin, viola da gamba, cimbalom, and lute/guitar.

The range of available tone colours is truly unique.

This is believed to be the first Australian recording featuring the viola da gamba, lute, and cimbalom.

The concert cimbalom is similar to a hammered dulcimer but with damping pedals like a piano.

It’s also the first to include an album booklet in both Swedish and English.

The track list features moving arrangements of two of Sweden’s most famous folk songs.

One was taken up as the tune for the Swedish national anthem.

There’s also an orchestral suite by Marin Marais, new works by Eriksson and Wendel, Tommie Andersson’s arrangement of a Pavane by Swedish jazz greats, e.s.t., as well as a violin sonata by the Baroque era ‘Father of Swedish Music’, Johan Helmich Roman.

From the start of their long distance ‘north-south’ relationship, the musicians decided to focus on three areas: baroque music, traditional songs from both Australia and Sweden, and originals by group members.

This approach drew on the diverse musical skills and backgrounds of group members.

As well as leading some of the finest Swedish early music ensembles, violinist Catalina Langborn studied and plays Swedish folk music, as does Swedish/Australian lutenist, Tommie Andersson.

Violinist and singer, Susie Bishop, has a long folk music history alongside her training as an opera singer.

Gamba player Jenny Eriksson has explored traditional music on the acoustic viol as well as with her electric viola da gamba band, Elysian Fields.

Percussionist and cimbalom virtuoso, Olof Wendel, has a diverse background that spans from orchestral music to jazz, contemporary classical music, and opera.

In fact, all five members of the collaboration are composers and/or arrangers, something that is still a rarity in the classical music world.

Nordic Moods & Baroque Echoes is an album that is lovingly crafted and engages listeners from the first note!



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