STYLE: Ambient/Meditational RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 174298-27945 LABEL: Dove FORMAT: Digital Only EP
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
I've long been a fan of Vivienne Neville's voice. But until this release I'd never registered what an excellent pianist and arranger she is. On this EP she takes five well-known - some would say over-recorded - carols and produces instrumental versions which are atmospheric, meditative and, dare I say it, beautiful. The opener "Hark The Herald" has a gentle melodic lilt, as does "In The Bleak Midwinter" (which, despite the EP's title, even has a snatch of Enya-style vocals near the close). Both are soothing gems while Vivienne's rendition of "Silent Night" brings out the beauty of Franz Gruber's melody and makes you forget all those ghastly muzak versions we've heard in supermarkets and airports down the years. This is clearly an excellent time for British Christian musicians to produce top rate instrumental Christmas music. In recent times we've had Nigel Cameron and Julie Cameron-Hall's 'Celtish Christmas' album and Angus MacGregor's 'Celtic Christmas' EPs. Now this gem of an EP, which aims and succeeds in taking our minds off Santa and present-giving and back to the true essence of Christmas. Thoroughly recommended.
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