Our ‘Midnight Sun’ soloists Mari Samuelsen and Mick and Angeelia Pedaja were the perfect collaborators, completely engaged in the Baltic Sea Philharmonic vision of an organic, free-flowing concert concept, and contributing so much to the special atmosphere of each performance. A champion of contemporary composers and an instinctive interpreter of modern and minimalist styles, Mari was in her element in her four solo features (Richter’s Dona Nobis Pacem 2 and Vasks’s Lonely Angel both appear on her new double album that was released by Deutsche Grammophon in June). Elias Pietsch in the Tagespiegel praised her ‘crystalline’ playing in the Vasks, a performance which was ‘at the same time fragile and powerful’. He found her interpretation of Richter’s piece, which he wrote for the poignant and mystical HBO drama series The Leftovers, ‘both forceful and deeply sad’.
The singing of Mick and Angeelia Pedaja added a vibrant new dimension to the orchestral sound, and their songs also played a big part in balancing the energy and flow of the whole performance. As Pietsch observed, ‘The evening is also beautifully varied thanks to the songs of the Estonian singer-songwriter Mick Pedaja, which are repeatedly interspersed. His calm songs, floating between ambient and folk, fit well with the classical works, and the orchestral arrangements avoid the kitsch of many classical/pop combinations through discreet electronics.’ In the context of the modern and contemporary Estonian works on the programme – Pärt’s Fratres and Kristjan’s Aurora – Mick’s songs, rooted as they are in nature and landscape, sound both fresh and timeless.