Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Similarly Requested CDs
A showcase for Annie's lovely voice
fryeste | California, United States | 02/14/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album is not the normal fare someone familiar with Annie Haslam's other work might expect. It's a collaboration between Annie (concept and voice), Betty Thatcher (lyrics) and Louis Clark (orchestral arrangements), and sets the lyrics, sung by Annie, to selected pieces of classical music, backed by an orchestra, piano, harp, bass guitar, and drums. The lyrics are definitely appropriate to the musical selection: the song "Glitter and Dust" (from Tchaikowsky's Swan Lake) tells the story of a ballet dancer and the effects of choices one makes in life.The overall effect is quite pleasing. The "solo" instruments definitely take a background role here to the orchestra and Annie's singing, resulting in a showcase for Annie's lovely 5-octave voice. My favorites are the two Fauré pieces: "One Day" and "The Day You Strayed". The latter seems to be a favorite of Annie's, too, as she performs it again with different lyrics on her "Blessing in Disguise" album.This is one album that has a potential audience beyond those that already know Annie's voice from her days with Renaissance. Anyone who appreciates the sound of a trained voice will enjoy this album."
A must for any Renaissance lover
fryeste | 07/22/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a marvelous showcase of classical music and classical rock's finest voice. If, like me, you missed this in its earlier release, don't make the same mistake again."
A successful classical/pop hybrid
R. Josef | New Haven, CT United States | 01/04/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"In 1984, singer Annie Haslam, after releasing two badly received synth-pop albums with her formerly progressive rock band Renaissance, decided, in a sense, to get back to her roots. She had Betty Thatcher, Renaissance's primary lyricist, put words to 11 classical pieces. Some are quite well known (Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake", Bach's "Air on a G String"), others more obscure (Chopin's "Opus 10, No. 3", "The Pilgrim's Chorus, from Wagner's "Tannhauser"). Louis Clark, who had done orchestral arrangements for ELO and Renaissance's "A Song for All Seasons" album, did the honors again here.
The results are very unique, quite above the average pop album. Classical purists will balk for a number of reasons, one being that a muted rhythm section of bass and drums is employed to make the pieces song oriented. But Clark's arrangements are never tacky or overwhelming, tastefully bringing out the gorgeous melodies of the pieces. He even occasionally throws a male choir into the mix.
Thatcher's lyrics are very deep and meaningful, if tinged with a bit of sadness. One of the tracks is actually a rework from Renaissance. Thatcher's 1974 song "Cold is Being" was based on Albinoni's "Adagio". Here, she provides an entirely new set of lyrics to it called "Save Us All", almost prayerful in tone. She does, however, manage to be playful on "Skaila", which actually refers to the harpist on the track, Skaila Kanga.
Delivering these lyrics over these arrangements is the always stunning voice of Annie Haslam. For the first time in five years, she finally got to agian sing material worthy of her talent. Her range is exploited to its best, singing the lyrics with the perfect combination of emotion, grace and power. Even long time Renaissance fans may be amazed at the skill that she employs here. There's a 12th track not written by Thatcher which proves the point for sure. Annie performs Mozart's "Ave Verum" in the original Latin. This shows that Annie could have made it singing opera instead of rock if she had wanted to!
It certainly isn't rock and roll. But if you're open minded enough to hear both classical music and stunning vocals in a new setting, then this album will well reward you. Unfortunately, the 1984 LP was released only in Britain, and the 1996 CD is out of print (the company went bankrupt). Hopefully, another company will pick it up soon -- this album deserves better than obscurity.
By the way, if you're interested in "real" versions of the pieces after hearing Annie's interpretations, check out my "Listmania" list at [...]"