With The Miraculous, Swedish singer, songwriter, and keyboardist Anna von Hausswolff has delivered an album as different from 2013's celebrated Ceremony as that was from 2010's Singing From The Grave. On Ceremony, Hausswolff discovered the sonic possibilities of the cathedral organ. Her four-octave vocal range rose above compositions that wove classically tinged Gothic art pop and skeletal post-rock that touched on Sweden's gloomy operatic and folk traditions. Sometimes gentle and dreamy, and just as often moody and droning (sometimes inside the same tune), she has created an iconoclastic brand of indie music. On The Miraculous, Hausswolff doubles down on the organ. The instrument she's using here is an enormous 9,000-pipe Acusticum Organ designed by Gerard Woehl. Its vast tonal and instrumental possibilities include sounds for glockenspiel, vibraphone, celeste, percussion, and indefinable high-pitched shrieking sounds that extend the upper reaches of the Western harmonic system (these pipes are partially submerged in water).
Swedish singer, songwriter, and keyboardist Anna von Hausswolff issued her debut full-length Singing from the Grave in 2012. Despite its sobering title, the album was full of melodic, fragile, Gothic ballads. On Ceremony, the term "Gothic" applies even more here than on its predecessor, yet the music has progressed almost immeasurably. Von Hausswolff employed an Annedal church organ as her primary instrument on this date (it's on nine of the 13 songs), though she also plays piano and synth. Its amazing array of tones, sounds, and timbres color the proceedings with an array of possibilities most pop recordings never imagine, let alone use. Further, Von Hausswolff's approach here has been influenced directly – and admittedly – by the post-metal sonics of Earth and the groundbreaking vocal innovations of Diamanda Galas.
Volume 2 of EMI's comprehensive Herbert von Karajan centenary edition gathers virtually all of the conductor's operatic and vocal output for the label in one place, taking up 71 CDs (Disc 72 contains complete librettos in the form of PDF files). I use the word "virtually" because the package omits four posthumously issued archival items taped live during the 1957-60 Salzburg Festivals (Beethoven's Missa solemnis, Brahms' German Requiem, Bruckner's Te Deum, and Verdi's Requiem). Otherwise, it's all here.