Ondine’s third release with the star baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky is devoted to sacred works by Russian composers and Russian folk songs. Hvorostovsky is accompanied by the prestigious Russian Grand Choir “Masters of Choral Singing,” conducted by Lev Kontorovich, a choir that keeps up the best traditions of Russian choral singing.
"I like the organ — but I have a particular flair for string instruments." Anyone who has a slight acquaintance with Iannis Xenakis's music will suspect that his liking for string instruments does not derive from early childhood memories or some other sentimental origin. The technical characteristics and sonorities of string instruments are so much part of his soundworld that we may well wonder if it did not actually develop out of string sound in the first place.
- Michael Struck-Schloen (from the attached booklet)
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.
At age 54, Elliott Murphy has been recording albums of his original compositions regularly for 30 years, and unlike some musicians who have been at it that long (such as Neil Young, whose raucous, Crazy Horse-style guitar playing is echoed on this album's leadoff track and whose After the Gold Rush ballad "Birds" is covered under the title "Bird"), he hasn't changed much about his musical or lyrical approach in that time. The Elliott Murphy of 2003 is not very different from the Elliott Murphy of 1973. He still writes semi-autobiographical songs full of poetic imagery and literary references (The Great Gatsby and Samuel Beckett are favorites), and he still sets them to folk-rock arrangements that call to mind Bob Dylan.
Portland experimentalists whose singular sound touches on psychedelia, modal music, hard rock, and dub. Collection includes: The Burden Of Hope (2003); Redlight (2004); Interpretations Of Three Psychedelic Rock Songs From Around The World (2005); Black Tar Prophecies vol's 1, 2, & 3 (2006); Burning Off Impurities (2007); Doomsdayer's Holiday (2008); Take Refuge In Clean Living (2008); Deep Politics (2011).