Virpi Räisänen, one of Finland's most internationally sought-after mezzo-sopranos, has released a new album! The Trasparente album consists of songs composed or arranged for Räisänen, and they are now recorded for the first time while playing and singing at the same time. This Virpi's virtuoso like way of performing has become known as the Viulaja project.
"The Trasparente album was born from my wish to document pieces composed for my unique combination, where I'm searching for the limits of expression in managing two simultaneous instruments. This challenge has also seemed to fascinate composers to whom I have presented my project and who have wanted to compose pieces for Viulaja." Räisänen says.
The original source of inspiration for this recording was Gustav Holst’s Four Songs for Voice and Violin Op. 35, a piece originally intended to be performed by one person, a violinist-singer. Prior to this recording, this relatively well-known work has always been performed and recorded by two musicians, as a chamber music piece for a violinist and a singer. Other songs on the album have been composed by e.g. Uljas Pulkkis, Ilmari Mäenpää, Harri Österman, Beverley Julie Lunt and Jean Van Vugt.
Räisänen: "The composers often received lyric subjects about issues important to me or I suggested poems that are close to me. The Trasparente album reflects two almost equal strengths of my musicianship that have followed me throughout my life so far."
Virpi Räisänen is especially known for her musical versatility. Before becoming a singer, Räisänen made a significant career as a violinist, a concert soloist and a chamber musician. Räisänen has sung as a soloist with many of the most prominent conductors and orchestras at concert and opera stages such as La Scala in Milan, the Berlin State Opera and the Netherlands Opera. In addition to Europe, Räisänen has performed as a Lied singer and a chamber musician in Japan, Hong Kong, and North and South America.
“Technically the biggest challenge is the handling of intonation: when singing, the perception of the violin’s intonation becomes blurred, as the ear is unable to distinguish between two sounds that are so close to each other. In some places, either the position of the violin must be lowered, or you must bend your head away from the violin to allow the ear to separate the two instruments. I've had to solve a number of other technical differences to be able to simultaneously sing and play at the highest level possible. " Räisänen says.
All the songs on the disc were recorded with Virpi simultaneously playing and singing at Renswoude Church, The Netherlands in 2010 and 2017.