Review by Dinko November 27, 2003 (3 of 4 found this review helpful)
|This album really has every type of song you might think of: compositions by classical composers, opera extracts, duets, lyrics added to excerpts from symphonies, film songs, traditional, religious...
It might sound like a pot pourri which may not necessarily work, but the different songs do work together in creating an impression of album continuity/consistency, and also in providing enough variation so that it doesn't become monotone.
The arrangements help in those respects. The arrangements are different from song to song, they were carefully done so as to be both fresh, and to keep with the mood of the original tunes. Everything is superbly played by the London Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Barry Wordsworth, the London Voices (chorus master: Terry Edwards), with a cast of additional soloists: Sissel, Andrea Bocelli, Catrin Finch, Neil Martin, Martin Taylor.
But the star of the show is of course Bryn Terfel. Never boring, never monotone, always singing with passion, and involvement, he gives life to these songs. As different as the songs' backgrounds are, it does not prevent Terfel from seemingly shifting easily from one song to the next, nevermind the different context of the lyrics, the different form of the melody... Terfel keeps it interesting from beginning to end. If anything, the albums almost seems too short.
Probably the cheesiest thing here is an Italian version of the theme song from Titanic (previously available in a very similar version by Sarah Brightman). Interstingly as well, Sissel was also a vocal soloist on the Titanic score. In any case, minus the slightly kitsch Titanic song, the rest is splendid.
As for sound... well, I'm not convinced by Stephan Flock's "New Surround Mix". I think this album sounds better in stereo. I find the surround version dull. In the 5.1 mix, the voices are kept in the front channels, while little information is available in the rear speakers. I find the stereo version to be better focused, more penetrating than the surround.
The one very weird aspect of this album is that some 74 minutes of music have been spread over 2 discs.
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