Winter Symphony (Jpn)



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    Winter Symphony (Jpn) EMI/Manhattan Records
    1. Winter Symphony Manhattan Records
    2. Winter Symphony (Jpn) EMI/Manhattan Records
    3. Winter Symphony (Jpn) Manhattan Records

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Review Text Ten months after the release of her blockbuster Symphony album, vocalist Sarah Brightman and producer/musical guru collaborator Frank Peterson release the inevitable, Winter Symphony. If only it were really an extension of the overblown, wildly overproduced former album it would work on sheer camp level alone. But alas, while it's excessive it's not so overdone that it's dramatic or exciting, despite the presence of symphony orchestras, gaggles of session players, three choirs, etc. There are a number of traditional selections from the season of Christmas: "Silent Night," "In the Bleak Midwinter," and "Child in a Manger," among them, as well as two versions of "Ave Maria" (one in duet with Fernando Lima). There are also a slew of contemporary pop tunes in the mix, such as Vince Gill's "Colder Than Winter," an overcooked reading of Neil Diamond's "I've Been This Way Before," and inexplicably, one of the only hits ex-Move/Electric Light Orchestra co-founderRoy Wood ever scored on his own: the faux bubblegum nostalgic sock hop classic "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday." Despite the original version's nostalgic rock & roll structure and look at teen innocence, it is performed here as if it's a show tune. Weirdly enough, it's followed by "Amazing Grace"! The set closes with a far less dramatic reading of "I Believe in Father Christmas" than the wonderful version done by Emerson, Lake & Palmer back in the day. The tune comes from Sergei Prokofiev, but lyrics were added by Greg Lake and provided a rather solemnly majestic spiritual arrangement by Pete Sinfield. This take by Brightman feels like something that would be sung by the entire cast in a final scene from a newly staged musical version of A Christmas Carol. The sound here is a reversion of the old Brightman, where the instrumental and choir arrangements almost overwhelm the vocalist. This set is not contemplative, it's not necessarily joyous or expressive either, let alone inspiring. That said, it will no doubt appeal to hardcore Brightman fans without a hitch. ~ Thom Jurek

Track Listing

CD: 1

  1. 1. Arrival - 3:16
  2. 2. Colder Than Winter - 4:03
  3. 3. Ave Maria [Lima] - 4:10
  4. 4. Silent Night - 3:09
  5. 5. In the Bleak Midwinter - 4:44
  6. 6. I've Been This Way Before - 4:52
  7. 7. Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring - 4:58
  8. 8. Child in a Manger - 3:07
  9. 9. I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday - 5:41
  10. 10. Amazing Grace - 3:06
  11. 11. Ave Maria [Gounod] - 3:54
  12. 12. I Believe in Father Christmas - 4:44

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