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På skive

KATYA SOURIKOVA

«Queen Maud Land»
WEAVE RECORDS

«Queen Maud Land» began as an exceptional composition in St. Petersburg-born, Berlin-based pianist Katya Sourikova third album, «Ivan’s Dream» (Weave Records, 2011), titled after the Norwegian territory in Antarctica. This unique composition marked a new direction in Sourikova music, stressing an-ECM chamber jazz aesthetic with its dreamy narrative of a distant, chilly journey.

 

Latvian Cellist Ruslan Vilensky heard Sourikova playing this composition live in 2010 and encouraged her to arrange this composition and others of her for a chamber ensemble. He assembled a group of musicians in his hometown, Riga, rehearsing them for a recording that was planned to take place during 2011-2012. Shortly before the recording all realized that the coming year would mark the 100 year anniversary of English navy officer Robert Scott’s fateful 1911 -1912 mission to the South Pole. Scott and his team perished on their way back from the South Pole on March 29, 1912.

Sourikova decided to expand the setting and arranged her new compositions as a dramatic-theatrical cycle, reflecting the tragic journey of Scott through musical images described in his journals and letters to his wife. Her ensemble feature the Russian musicians assembled by Vilensky augmented by German bassist Simon Bauer and Norwegian drummer Ståle Birkeland.

These musical images offer vivid and nuanced scenes from the journey to the frozen wilderness, drawn with great sensitivity, compassion and an obvious sense of drama spiced with reserved melancholy. The atmosphere changes from the hopeful «Twilight», referring to the days before the departure to Antarctica, to the serene and adventurous, upon the arrival to the continent. The encounter with mighty forces of nature carries a sense of of innocence and wonder, sketched lyrically on «Aurora», and even stubborn determination, as delivered in «Pathway of Honour (Hagakure)», referring to the Japanese legendary Book of the Samurai.  The last four pieces focus on the loss of hope and the realization of imminent death, reaching a touching climax on «In the Dark» where vocalist Annija Putniņa recites mourning words to a loved one, based on Scott last letter to his wife.

Impressive and beautiful.

Eyal Hareuveni

Katya Sourikova (p), Ruslan Vilensky (c), Ksenija Sidorova (acc), Andrei Pushkarev (vib), Annija Putniņa (v), Simon Bauer (b), Ståle Birkeland (dr), Stella Zaķe (vio), Rasa Kumsāre (vio), Santa Vižine (viola), Māra Botmane (c), Toms Timofejevs (b)

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