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Sacred Spirit presents Classical Spirit
Divine Works I
O' Ecclesia
Prelude (arrangement of J.S. Bach)
Divine Works II
Adagio (arrangement of Barber)
Gloria Deo Patri
Adagio (arrangement of Albinoni)
Sonata No. 14 - Adagio Sostenuto (arrangement of Beethoven)
Tranquillity
Organ Concerto (arrangement of J.S. Bach)
Written, produced, arranged and performed by "The Brave" (Claus Zundel)
No recording details given.
HIGHER OCTAVE MUSIC/VIRGIN HOMCD 13138 [48.15]


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This disc comes from "The Brave, creator of the multi-platinum Sacred Spirit and Grammy-nominated Sacred Spirit II" and is apparently "the perfect discovery for music lovers who think they've heard it all"! However, for all the hyperbole which adorns every available space on the CD inserts and booklet, this has to be one of the least stimulating listens I have had for quite some time. While classical pieces form the basis of several tracks (and very predictable the choices are too, in most cases), this disc has its origins in the worlds of "Dance, Club, and Beach music", and it shows; neither these perfectly legitimate popular genres nor the classical world gains anything from the cross-fertilisation offered here. The main reason is that there is usually just too much going on, any real interest submerged beneath layer upon layer of largely irrelevant and superfluous sonic gloop, and this is definitely a situation where more quite clearly means less. How do you make the music of Bach, Hildegard von Bingen and the Russian liturgy boring - by drowning it in sugary synthesisers and inane drumbeats! The booklet states that "instead of just tossing some electronic beats over the music, he approached each song with respect and has delicately added contemporary elements to enhance the works without drowning them out". That is not how these ears hear it. If you remember groups like Deep Forest or even Enigma from the early 1990s, well, this makes their efforts sound like Messiaen; an exaggeration, perhaps, but does Barber's Adagio really need cathedral organ and muted synthesisers to make it "haunting and beautiful at the same time"? I thought it was anyway, and even more so in its original incarnation for string quartet!

The whole package is unquestionably put together with some skill but I am left asking again and again, why fix something that isn't broken to start with? I have nothing against crossover whatsoever when it takes the form of, say, Yo Yo Ma's work with Appalachian or Oriental musicians, but the fact that the first line of the booklet notes quote "The Brave" as saying "This is chill-out music" sums it up perfectly. Released on Higher Octave Music (via Virgin) whose "mission statement" is "We believe there is a place within us all. It is a place of vision and clarity where the rhythm of life moves in harmony with a higher consciousness, the purpose of our music is to take you there", you just sense that the contact address is going to be in Malibu, California. Sorry, but even of its kind, this is highly predictable and disappointing stuff - music to have your colon irrigated to, perhaps! Maybe if I was on Prozac I might feel differently, but give me the source musics any time!


Neil Horner

 

 



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

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Naxos Classical

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Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable Arcodiva
British Music Soc.
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Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


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