This past September saw the release of former NIGHTWISH singer Tarja Turunen's classical solo debut, "Ave Maria - En Plein Air".
"Ave Maria" is a traditional prayer dedicated to the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus, asking for her intercession. It has been set to music in over 4000 songs, some of which kept the original prayer as words while others used a different text than the traditional one.
A five-minute video clip in which Turunen talks about "Ave Maria - En Plein Air" can be seen below.
"Ave Maria - En Plein Air" features 12 beautiful "Ave Maria" songs by a wide variety of composers. Tarja Turunen breathes life into some of the most loved and rare songs of Paolo Tosti, David Popper, Astor Piazzolla, and, of course, Johann Sebastian Bach/Charles Gounod, among others. The closing track of the album presents a magnificent composition by Tarja Turunen herself.
Recorded in the stunning Lakeuden Risti Church in Seinäjoki, Finland — a snow-white landmark, both national heritage and significant example of modern Finnish architecture designed by famous Finnish architect Alvar Aalto — the Lutheran church offers the perfect soundscape for Tarja Turunen's crisp clear voice. Combined with a piercing organ, cello and harp, the music blends into a rich sound universe.
"Ave Maria - En Plein Air" was released as limited Super Audio CD, vinyl and download on September 11 on earMUSIC.
Classical music was Tarja Turunen's first love. The classically trained soprano studied Church Music at Sibelius Academy in Finland as well as German Lied at the Music University of Karlsruhe, Germany. She became one of the most important female voices of metal: first as part of multi-million selling and groundbreaking symphonic metal band NIGHTWISH and later with her successful solo career, carrying her own name and releasing three studio albums so far.
Tarja Turunen has always crossed genres and musical cultures, showing a wide versatility with projects such as "Tarja Turunen & HARUS" and "Beauty & The Beat"; HARUS being a mix of traditional and modern pieces whereas "Beauty & The Beat" created an interface between classical and rock music, arranged with orchestra and choir.
Tarja Turunen is one of the few artists who can perform at the biggest rock and metal festivals one night, in a cathedral the next.
This December, Tarja Turunen will introduce her favourite "Ave Maria"s as well as her most beloved Christmas carols on tour.
"Ave Maria - En Plein Air" track listing:
01. Paolo Tosti
02. Axel Von Kothen
03. David Popper
04. Camille Saint-SaënsAstor Piazzolla
06. J. S. Bach / Charles Gounod
07. Pietro Mascagni
08. Ferenc Farkas
09. Giulio Caccini
10. Michael Hoppé
11. Charles-Marie Widor
12. Tarja Turunen
The official video for the album's opening track can be seen below.