A Heartfelt Offering Reminiscent of An Earlier Era
merlin's mom | Germany | 02/15/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Bryn Terfel harkens back to earlier American operatic stars such as Richard Tucker and Robert Merrill who crossed grenres to satisfy their unquenchable need to sing any and all songs that moved them to an appreciative public. These great singers all had their origins singing sacred music from their respective religions and learned to lay their considerable talents before the altar of the simple inspirational song.
This recording is wonderful on many levels. The selections are an unusual mixture of classical sacred music, spirituals, hymns, Lieder, Austrian Christmas and Gaelic songs, musical numbers and movie theme songs harmoniously combined to touch the soul of the listener in a gentle ebb and flow of devotion, intensity and tenderness. All of these songs are beautiful in and of themselves and in his hands, we experience them anew.
Bryn Terfel sings with the commitment necessary to make the awesome challenge of simplicity look easy. To my way of thinking, he is the most communicative and articulate singer today, bar none. He is a poet who savors the sound, feeling and meaning of each and every word and marries it uniquely and faithfully to the music. He transports the listener into the life of a song and transfixes us each and every moment. His enormous talent is not overwhelming or distractive and is inextricably and wholly intertwined with the music. This is greatness and it is very, very rare today.
I like the inclusion of the choir in several of the numbers as it reflects on the nature and context of the songs. I am less fond of the selections with the guest soloists as I feel they do not match his ability to "get inside" a song. The orchestra and orchestations are sensitive and enhancing.
This recording is simply wonderful and should have a broad appeal. It will move and inspire the believer, satisfy and fulfill the otherwise spiritual, calm the troubled and renew a flagging soul.
Bryn Terfel's Simple Gifts
Kay Holloway | Cheverly, MD United States | 02/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Simply superb. I don't know what our local (Wash DC) paper was talking about when they said Deep River was the weakest link. I was enthralled from beginning to end. I have had the pleasure of hearing Bryn Terfel live in recital at the Kennedy Center. I can assure you that his voice has only improved with age. He was wonderful then and is spectacular now!"
Top quality crossover classical music
Peter Durward Harris | Leicester England | 05/16/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Wales, the land of song, has produced many outstanding singers in a variety of musical styles. Bryn Terfel is doing much to continue that tradition by using his wonderful baritone voice to record a series of brilliant albums. Judging by his repertoire, Bryn enjoys several different, mainly traditional, musical styles.#
On this album, Bryn mixes classical pieces with folk songs, show songs, hymns and the occasional popular song that doesn't fit any of those categories. There are even a couple of Christmas songs (Ave Maria - the Bach / Gounod version - and Still still still). All the songs here are performed in Bryn's customary style with excellent musical support, so despite the contrasting origins of the various songs, the whole album hangs together well. The set opens with Mozart's setting of Ave verum corpus (a recording of the Karl Jenkins setting comes midway through the album) and ends with a song frequently used in Mormon services, God be with you. The title track is a song of American origin, written in the mid-nineteenth century.
Bryn is in great form throughout the album, so your favorite tracks are likely to depend on your particular tastes. Among my favorites would be The rose, most famously recorded by Bette Midler but also recorded by country singer Conway Twitty and several other great singers in various musical genres. Other favorites of mine include Send in the clowns, Morning has broken, How great thou art and Amazing grace. I've heard plenty of other versions of these songs but I never get tired of them; they are timeless, which is why Bryn recorded them. Yet there are so many great tracks here that your favorite might be one of those that I haven't mentioned.
If you love top quality crossover classical music, you'll enjoy Bryn's music in general and this album in particular."