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State of Grace
State of Grace
State of Grace
Genres: Special Interest, New Age, Pop, Classical, Christian
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #1

Producer and composer Paul Schwartz thanks many people on State of Grace, but there is one notable exclusion: the 12th-century nun Hildegard von Bingen. Although these aren't her compositions, echoes of her ecstatic hymns...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: State of Grace
Title: State of Grace
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 2
Label: Windham Hill Records
Original Release Date: 10/10/2000
Release Date: 10/10/2000
Genres: Special Interest, New Age, Pop, Classical, Christian
Styles: Holiday & Wedding, Vocal Pop, Opera & Classical Vocal, Pop & Contemporary
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 019341156529

Producer and composer Paul Schwartz thanks many people on State of Grace, but there is one notable exclusion: the 12th-century nun Hildegard von Bingen. Although these aren't her compositions, echoes of her ecstatic hymns and sequences resound throughout Schwartz's latest electronica-classical opus. He composes his own 21st-century gothic chants, which are sung by the impassioned soprano Lisbeth Scott. Scott is a powerful singer who brings a more emotional, perhaps even lustful, tone to these electro-Gregorian evocations, gliding over synthesizer ministrations and violin from the durable Gavyn Wright. Paul Schwartz was also responsible for the Aria CDs, on which he updated operatic arias with dance beats. State of Grace benefits from the less oppressive rhythmic regimentation, letting these soaring melodies ring out. When Schwartz deviates from his gothic inspirations, State of Grace flags, notably on a predictable rendition of "Amazing Grace," a misguided Celtic take on the Shaker hymn "Simple Gifts," and a trio of instrumentals. --John Diliberto

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CD Reviews

Well Done
Clarissa | Ontario, California | 07/01/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Paul Schwartz, the creator of Aria and Aria 2, has put together yet another masterpiece, this time reaching up into the spiritual realm of heaven. Its sheer brilliance is hypnotic yet religious at the same moment.... I'm a very optimistic person who doesn't put complete faith in anything unless witnessed before the naked eye. But upon each listen of State Of Grace it almost convinces me to yield all guards and simply believe in this greater power, despite my constant doubt. That's how poignant this piece of music is. Step into the cathedral and become a believer.... Lisbeth Scott's lush, airy notes accompanied by light, graceful ambience and classical arrangments (mainly being violin or piano) give off a smooth relaxing elixir of mind trancing ease. Veni Redemptor Gentium, Veni Creators Spiritus, and Angelica are probably the best songs on here, that and the hidden track Miserere which has more of a jazzy feel rather than a choral feel like the original. I also love the modern twist that Schwartz does on Amazing Grace (though many seem to disagree).... The only upbeat song on here, Simple Gifts, is probably the worst song, aside from my likings of the opening celtic drum pipes. The dance swirl just seems too awkward beside this glorious opus. I suggest sleeping to this cd, for it will snooze you right into dreamland. I recommend this cd, not to religious based seekers, but to anyone looking for something more on the lines of calm tranquility. All in all this is a worthy buy."
Enhanting and Soul-Calming
Marion | Louisiana | 01/31/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I stumbled upon this CD at my library and was enchanted by the angel on the cover so I checked it out last week. It is an amazing, soothing, calming, meditative, soul-stirring rendition of music. The voices on the songs are lyrical, haunting and mesmerizing.

"Be Still My Soul" is like a musical tranquilizer, a heartfelt, beautiful melody that brings tears to my eyes every time I listen to it. It makes me feel as if I'm safely enfolded in God's wings and listening to His heart beating just for me.

I'm eager to find more music like this. I highly recommend this if you love soothing, uplifting music."
Intense, intriguing and cool
Brianna Neal | USA | 01/01/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"A compelling collection of compositions by innovative composer and keyboardist Paul Schwartz. The mood of the album varies, but minor keys predominate and a mysterious, brooding reflectiveness pervades many of the selection to good effect. Christian lyrics in both Latin and English are sung by a soloist, accompanied by programmed groove beats and a lush orchestra of synthesized sound. Clear-voiced Lisbeth Scott does a nice job of emulating a boy soprano for the Latin numbers, the Joyful Company of Singers provides a full, if muted, choral sound in "Misere", and violinist Gavin Wright offers soaring descants and sweet leads on several numbers. But it is composer Schwartz who gives distinctive voice to this music with his multilayered programming. He is at his best in sweeping tracks like "Veni Redemptor Gentium", the choral "Misere", the symphonic "Auguries of Innocence, Part 2" and the delicately brooding "Angelica". Songs I could have done without, however, are "Amazing Grace" and "Simple Gifts", tunes that do not lend themselves to the groove beat phenomenon. While that seems to work well for plainchant and some symphonic and operatic selections, these already-metered folk songs would have been better off left in their traditional state. Nonetheless, "State of Grace" is a good listen--evocative, stirring, and generally well-matched in its fusions. If you like religious plainchant fused with modern musical elements, you might also enjoy "Vision: The Music of Hildegard of Bingen" by Richard Souther, Libera's self-titled debut album, and anything by Enigma."