OK, but missing something...
Bruce H. Jensen | San Lorenzo, CA United States | 01/29/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This fairly new recording of O Canada in six different renditions is recorded beautifully, features generally excellent musicianship, and is quite fetching to the ear. David Foster conducts and plays the keyboards with panache, the symphony is in fine fettle, and everything comes together very well, even if the whole thing is done a little slowly. The question mark, however, comes with the arrangement of the music. This is somewhat subjective, but please read on.These arrangements, full of nice touches, are designed for contemporary audiences, and only contemporary audiences. Nothing wrong with that in principle, and if you like this type of music you will be greatly rewarded by this recording - but for this reviewer, the result is that the glory of this beautiful music, the emotion and soul-stirring aspects of it, are definitely not enhanced. The very modern arrangement here is designed for an early 21st century concert a la Celine Dion or Whitney Houston, plenty of flash and spectacle that might be very convincing at a live performance, but missing something of the soul that a more timeless edition might bring even on a recording. This is the kind of CD that, if this reviewer were a Canadian citizen, he could listen to occasionally and be happy, but his heart would not swell with pride, and after awhile he would put it away.This reviewer knows that "O Canada" has not been subject to a large number of good recordings, certainly not definitive ones. Many are offbeat arrangements by various artists that are fine in their own right, but bring a set of values exclusive to their musical styles, whether folk, rock, band or, as with this present rendition, pop. Some come off as pert but shallow, or trite, or dirgelike, or even very good, but they may miss the essence of the music. It is also understood that the version heard throught Canada for many years was starting to sound timeworn - this reviewer is not sure what that version was, but he can just imagine. This beautiful music, perhaps the most beautiful of national anthems, deserves depth and joy and soul and fire, wrapped in timeless tradition.Calixa Lavallee, the composer of the music, being a classical musician and teacher, probably envisioned an arrangement that could be played by a symphony orchestra with full romantic treatment, with or without choir, that could be adjusted for smaller and amateur ensembles when called for. A major rendition, it seems to this observer, would somehow fit that mold, have a timeless quality, and fulfill all the requirements the music demands. One that springs to mind immediately is the version on RCA that Radio Canada/CBC played back in the 1970's prior to it's international radio broadcasts. It was played by a full orchestra (the Toronto Symphony? The CBC Orchestra?) with extraordinary dynamics, briskly but not too fast, with climaxes bringing on swells of emotion at just the right places. Back in those days, this reviewer requested a recording from CBC, and they kindly sent a 45-RPM record with five versions on it - two long orchestral versions (including the one heard on Radio Canada), a truncated orchestral version, and two combination orchestral/choir versions with not one but two verses, in both French and English. It was sublime - that record was played until it had grooves worn to ribbons (why is this version no longer available anywhere?). Against this magnificent recording, Foster's version seems somewhat lacking. This reviewer would welcome efforts by CBC and RCA to digitally restore those great recordings and place them on CD where they can be heard.The new recording is acceptable and enjoyable - for now. Ultimately, however, the music will need to be presented differently for both old and new generations to appreciate."
Superb as always
sergio | MADRID, MADRID Spain | 06/19/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What can I say?It's beautiful music (Not all countries can say the same)with the super production of David Foster, the magic of the Vancouver Orchestra and the excellent voice of Lara Fabian.It takes your breath away when the drums goes in.Extra recommended if you're a David Foster fan."
Great National Anthem
jason_francisco | San Francisco | 08/01/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"as an american, i have to admit, from a musical standpoint, the canadian national anthem is at least a notch better than ours, both musically and lyrically. vancouver symphony and david foster capture the spirit of the canadian national anthem well. music worth listening to."