Erica Anderson | Minneapolis, MN | 01/29/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I recently got into Paul Schwartz's music in the past few months, beginning with "State of Grace". I absolutely loved that album, not to mention the concept of fusing classical and pop music together. The results simply takes my breath away. I moved on to "Earthbound", Paul's latest album which is another winner in my book. I didn't realize up until recently that I had already heard Paul Schwartz's work as a composer with his album "Aria". I kinda put that cd aside and allowed for other music to take hold of me in recent months. So I dug around in my massive cd collection and found my copy of "Aria" which I had purchased used at my favorite cd store. As I am listening to "Aria" for the first time in months, I immediately recognize Paul's work on this particular album. I can't really pinpoint my finger on Paul's sound but I definitely hear it here. On "Aria", the music is more classical with operatic vocals than what I'm used to hearing on "State of Grace" and "Earthbound" which are heavily influenced by pop music as well as classical music. The vocals are provided by Rebecca Luker and Michelle Ivey as opposed to Lisbeth Scott like on "State of Grace" and "Earthbound". And of course, Paul's choice in vocalists is impeccable. Both Rebecca and Michelle have absolutely stunning vocals. Musically, "Aria" is not my favorite Paul Schwartz album but it is still very good nonetheless. I jus prefer "State of Grace" and "Earthbound". I however enjoyed "Secret Tear", "Willow" and "Habenara" a lot. I am definitely a fan of Paul Schwartz's music and look forward to hearing more from him."
Traditional meets Modern
Clarissa | Ontario, California | 06/21/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Like every project composer Paul Schwartz takes on he bring it to life and this album is simply breathtaking! This may not be his best work ever but 'Aria' is his debut into the world of classical crossover and the material here shows great potential but with much room for improvement, and his growth as an artist has become apparent with every release thereafter. The sublime music he creates becomes more divine with each new endeavor and he's proven himself worthy of my attention time and time again, becoming a musician I deeply respect. His arrangements overtake me, filling me with the irrefutable beauty he provokes, causing my senses to soar as I close my eyes and allow the glorious sounds to seep in and release me into a momentary state of bliss. "Secret Tear" was the first song I ever heard by Paul Schwartz and is probably my favorite on here but despite how many times I've heard "Un Bel Di" remade, aside from the operatic singing, the melody is distinctly his own with lovely Japanese strumming in the beginning and a jazzy saxophone that comes in after about 2-minutes of playing... Other highlights for me include "Willow" and "Dido", which are both positively gorgeous with lush strings and hypnotic beats (you can also hear a wonderful trance remix of the latter on DJ Tiesto's 'Summerbreeze'), and "Pamina Blue" is a hybrid of modern r&b and traditional opera with the primary vocalists being Rebecca Luker and Michelle Ivey throughout this album. 'Aria 2: New Horizon' is far better than this but fans of Paul Schwartz need this in their collection; however, good luck finding it new. I had to get mine used and it was a promotional copy that contained no booklet inside."
"Haunting" is a good word for it
Howard S. Shubs | South Hadley, MA USA | 10/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I find my favorite tracks are Dido, Secret Tear, and Willow, though I also like Pace Pace and other tracks. While looking for the lyrics for Dido, preferably in English, I tripped over Amazon's listing and these reviews. I WILL be going out to find Aria 2 and 3 right after work, because if 2 is even better than 1, I'd better not be doing anything else of importance when I listen to it. This first album is really great stuff, and now I know to look for more by Paul Schwartz. I can't get technical about the music, as I don't have that kind of expertise, but I can agree that these tracks are generally relaxing, and some of them REALLY speak to me. It would be nice if I understood what they were SAYING, so I'll continue my search for lyrics. :-D"