Album: Sting, If on a Winter's Night... (Deutsche Grammophon)
Friday 30 October 2009
Named after Italo Calvino's meta-fiction If On a Winter's Night a Traveller, this is Sting's second album for the German classical label, following his 2003 collection of lute music Songs from the Labyrinth.
As a Christmas album, it is liable to secure a broader audience than its predecessor, though perhaps not as broad as its creators might have hoped. The material avoids standard seasonal repertoire in favour of more obscure carols and poems, also reflecting the pagan, pre-Christian spiritual values: virtually the only familiar melody is the brief trumpet counterpoint of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" that embellishes the later stages of the traditional beggar's song "Soul Cake". But while the folk-music settings of violins, mandolins, lap dulcimer, melodeon, harp and Northumbrian pipes are as warm and spicy as mulled wine, Sting's own baritone vocals are too similarly warm in timbre, and his delivery too ponderous, rendering many of the songs somewhat indistinct and blurry. The blending of subtle orchestrations by Musica Aeterna and choral arrangements by period specialists Stile Antico with the folk elements is beautifully effected on tracks such as "Lo, How A Rose E'er Blooming" and "Balulalow", but, contrarily, the incursion of fusion-jazz soprano sax in "The Burning Babe" is horrid.
Download this Lo, How A Rose E'er Blooming; Soul Cake; Christmas At Sea; The Hounds Of Winter
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Scottish referendum: So how about the English now being given a chance to split from England?
- 2 Stamford Hill council removes 'unacceptable' posters telling women which side of the road to walk down
- 3 Kim Kardashian 'naked pictures' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence 'The Fappening' scandal
- 4 Matthew Miller: American sentenced to hard labour in North Korea 'wanted to be Snowden II'
- 5 Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Jennifer Lopez and Iggy Azalea's 'Booty' music video is just a load of butts
Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written
Friends 20th anniversary: The highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Friends 20th anniversary: Six things we wouldn't have without influential comedy series
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'