STYLE: Orchestral RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 109039-18213 LABEL: Kingsway KWCD3208 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RELEASE DATE: 2011-05-16 RRP: £1.00
Reviewed by Helen Dean
Fans of light classics and melodic-operatic pop can revel in the release of this album from a group of Christian professional musicians, brought together by US songwriter Mark Niedzwietz. With a pedigree of having worked with major figures like Katherine Jenkins and Ennio Morricone, Mark composed his orchestral interpretations of the Psalms in a lush style that would not be confined to churchgoers. It is full of excellent solos and duets by Kai McKenzie and Claire Wheatley about whom the term dulcet tones must have been coined. The classical accompaniments underpin the vocals excellently, the arrangements ranging from simple to fulsome but the apposite instrumentation never overpowers the melodies, harmonies or lyrics. All tracks are highly polished including those which would not be out of place on a powerfully expressive Disney soundtrack (territory not unfamiliar to Kai), such as "Show Me Your Ways" (Psalm 25), "River Of Peace" (Psalm 46) and the beautiful "Love Upon Me" (Psalm 91). Psalm-inspired gems continue aplenty, from the quiet, resonant and rich "Deep To Deep" (Psalm 42) and "Standing Stone" (Psalm 61), as well as different takes on "God Be In My Head" and "The Lord's Prayer". Aimed at 'restless spirits' who 'seek the peace of God', maybe without even knowing it, this is surely full of hope, rest and peace without a hint of the soporific.
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An album of classical crossover songs inspired by the Psalms, Symphony of Psalms has huge potential to connect with a wide audience - both those within and without the church.
The brainchild of Mark Niedzwiedz - a songwriter who has worked with artists/composers such as Ennio Morricone, Katherine Jenkins, LeAnn Rimes, Ronan Keating, Matt Dusk and various Pop Idols.
According to Mark ‘Symphony of Psalms is dedicated to restless spirits who long for rest, for those in darkness who walk towards the light at the end of the tunnel, for those whose hearts seek the peace of God’.