Anne Cook - Songs Of The Mass And Songs (new version)

Published Saturday 15th July 2017
Anne Cook - Songs Of The Mass And Songs (new version)
Anne Cook - Songs Of The Mass And Songs (new version)

STYLE: MOR / Soft Pop
RATING 4 4 4 4
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 165109-25468
LABEL: Independent

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

When listening to choral music I often wonder how many members of a choir - even a cathedral choir - mean what they sing. I am certain sure that some, perhaps many, are sincere but I suspect others are there for purely aesthetic reasons. Perhaps they like the music or perhaps even it is a job. Whatever the reason, so long as the end result is listenable I do not worry myself about unanswerable questions. After all, the Lord will judge all of us one day and singing in a choir on earth is no guarantee of a place in the heavenly chorus. However, when I hear a solo release such this by Peterborough's Anne Cook I cannot hide behind collective anonymity. Clearly this lady has been through some troubling times and has brought her grief as a gift to her Lord and Saviour. I have no doubt at all that God has heard her prayers and I hope that this project has brought her comfort. But while the music may have been therapeutic for her and may bring comfort to others who have struggled to carry their crosses I am not convinced that the project is strong enough to be presented to the public. The content is shaped around the Mass with some other songs, not all of which sit comfortably together. The popular Basque carol "The Angel Gabriel" is performed very well, for example, but sequenced as it is between a setting of Psalm 145 verses 1-3 and The Creed does not make much sense to me but perhaps I am missing something. Over all this reminds me of songs from Taize and there's the rub. Listeners who appreciate the Taize approach may get something from Anne Cook's work but in all probability will prefer their Taize CDs. While Anne has a pleasant voice not every song in the collection suits her, particularly Reginald Heber's great hymn to the Trinity, "Holy, Holy, Holy" where she struggles to reach the low notes. However her acoustic guitar accompaniments are a joy throughout. Overall I wish Anne Cook had used a producer or perhaps even found a constructively critical friend who could have pushed her a little further beyond her comfort zone. While I believe the Lord will be pleased with her sincerity and dedication to her craft I have to say that there were more lows than highs for this listener.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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