Tarja Turunen – “Ave Maria – En Plein Air” (2015)


Label: earMUSIC

Review by Alessandra Cognetta

Two years after “Colours in the Dark”, Tarja is back with a new album, with the specific intent of displaying and honouring her background in classical music. “Ave Maria – En Plein Air” is a collection of different versions of the timeless classic, and it was recorded live at Laukeden Risti church, in Seinäjoki, Finland.

The sound quality is dramatically impacted by this choice, providing the listener with a vibrant and clear experience. The recordings were performed without an audience, but listening to the album gives the impression of being right there and then nonetheless. The level of intimacy and authenticity reached throughout the twelve tracks is unparalleled, and so is Tarja’s voice. If anyone has ever doubted her skills as a lyrical singer, this is unquestionable evidence of her talent. Singing many different versions of such a huge classic could have easily become nothing more than a simple (and boring) technical exercise, but Tarja managed to turn it into an engaging experience. She not only sounds perfect – and it should be noted that her pronunciation is almost spotless throughout the album – she is also able to convey a sweetness that was rarely seen in her previous work. Even the most difficult passages are performed in the most delicate, almost weightless, way Tarja’s voice is capable of. The minimal instrumental accompaniment helps create the perfect atmosphere to spotlight Tarja’s singing, allowing for a level of spirituality that can be perceived regardless of personal religious orientations. Most of the “Ave Maria” collected in the album are well-known to the general audience, except for the last one, written by Tarja herself.

Not included in the version of the album I’m reviewing is a bonus track, specifically Edvard Grieg’s “Ave Maria”. The other versions provided in the standard edition are more than enough to satisfy the listener, be they a longtime fan, a newcomer or a fan of classical music. “Ave Maria – En Plein Air” is Tarja’s gift to herself and her fans, and considering the quality of the release, it is definitely something many of us will want more of in the future.

Rating – 88/100



  1. Ave Maria (Paolo Tosti)
  2. Ave Maria (Axel von Kothen)
  3. Ave Maria (David Popper)
  4. Ave Maria (Camille Saint-Saëns)
  5. Ave Maria (Astor Piazzolla)
  6. Ave Maria (J.S.Bach / Charles Gounod)
  7. Ave Maria (Pietro Mascagni)
  8. Ave Maria (Ferenc Farkas)
  9. Ave Maria (Giulio Caccini)
  10. Ave Maria (Michael Hoppé)
  11. Ave Maria (Charles-Marie Widor)
  12. Ave Maria (Tarja Turunen)


Line Up

  • Tarja Turunen – Vocals
  • Kalevi Kiviniemi – Organ
  • Marius Järvi – Cello
  • Kirsi Kiviharju – Harp







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