The ancient shamanistic musical traditions of the Sami of northern Scandinavia are given a modern twist by vocalist and drummer Mari Boine (Persen). Although her highly rhythmic songs are rooted in the wordless, yodeling-like vocal style of yoik (or joik), Boine's arrangements incorporate influences of jazz, rock, and other ethnic elements.
For the last 25 years of his life Antonio Soler occupied the distinguished positions of maestro di capilla and organist at the Escorial palace. He wrote around 150 keyboard sonatas, which remain his best-known achievement, a body of music that reveals the subtle influence of Domenico Scarlatti on the Catalan composer, as well as prevailing Viennese trends. Volume eight of the complete sonatas shows Soler’s cultivation of expressive melancholy in No. 77 in F sharp minor, a virtuosic use of the full range of the keyboard in No. 85 in F sharp minor and characteristically vibrant Spanish motifs in No. 86 in D major.
Japanese pianist Mari Asakawa has made a beautiful album of the works of Carter and Babbitt. She has the full measure of these works, this album presents these superb pieces in the best possible light. Mari began her piano studies in Japan at the age of five, and in 1980 moved to the United States. At the age of 15, she won the Westchester Competition, performing the Grieg concerto, followed by a performance of the Bach concerto at Alice Tully Hall. She earned a Bachelor's degree at the Julliard School, where she studied with Georgy Sandor, and received a Masters of Music at Yale University. In 1998, she moved to Italy, continuing her studies with Bruno Mezzena at the Accademia Musicale Pescarese, earning a diploma of the highest honor. Most recently, she was appointed to a teaching position at the Aichi Prefectural University of Fine Arts and Music, where she teaches piano performance.