Entertainment » Music

Hymn

by Kitty Drexel
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Friday Nov 9, 2018
Hymn

On November 9, 2018, Sarah Brightman releases unto her eager fans her latest album, "Hymn." It is a sparkling jewel of pop-classical and dance tunes sure to make die-hard devotees swoon. Brightman is joined by long-time collaborator and producer, Frank Peterson (Dive [1993], Fly [1995], Timeless (Time To Say Goodbye) [1997], Eden [1998], La Luna [2000], Harem [2003]). Additional artists include Japanese superstar musician and songwriter Yoshiki ("Miracle"), German DJ Paul Kalkbrenner ("Sky and Sand"), and the Eric Whitacre Singers ("Fly To Paradise"). The title track was written by British prog-rock band Barclay James Harvest. "Hymn" is influenced by spirituality but is not a religious album. Regardless of intent, fans will have a spiritual experience listening to it after Brightman's hiatus.

Brightman's voice remains strong and clear as day, but listeners should note that she has developed a slight tremor in her age. "Sky and Sand," a song about creating a place where one feels most alive, is most approachable during its mid-range chorus. "Better One Day," a spiritual anthem, might be appropriated by churches for its accessible language and positive message. The title song, "Hymn" is a Christmas song ready for year-long listening. Folks uncomfortable with Christian references to a virgin birth may not appreciate this track. For unclear reasons, this track ends with a gong when gongs weren't otherwise used.

Four of the thirteen tracks are in Italian. Her romantic duet with French pop tenor Vincent Niclo, "Sogni," is a testament to waiting for love. Brightman is not a native Italian singer but it is blatantly obvious that Niclo is. His diction is crisp; hers is less so. "Canto Per Noi" is sung sweetly like a lullaby. Production is such that it could quiet the restless mind.

Tracks "Gia Nel Seno (La Storia Di Lucrezia)" and "Tu Che M'Hai Preso Il Cuor" are two opera arias edited and reset to suit Brightman's voice. "Gia Nel Seno" is taken from George Frederic Handel's solo cantata "La Lucrezia." This setting neuters the aggressive B-section to suit an ear more accustomed to popular music. Brightman does not sing traditional elements. Embellishments are added to the backing synths.

"Tu Che M'Hai Preso Il Cuor" is translated into Italian from the original German libretto. This song from Franz Lehár's operetta "The Land of Smiles" (Das Land des Lächelns) was originally made famous by Luciano Pavarotti. Brightman is not Pavarotti, but she does mark the song with her own distinct style. It is far from Lehár's intentions but still enjoyable.

"Follow Me" beckons her listening audience to "an island." The Polynesian inspired backing music makes it sound like the islands are somewhere near Hawaii or perhaps Bora Bora. Cultural appropriation aside, she's Charles Boyer to our Heddy Lamar; we're wooed to the casbah regardless of our own wants. We don't know what will happen to us once we get there.

In November 2018, Brightman launches "The Hymn World Tour," which will include 125 shows on five continents throughout 2019. If this tour is anything like her previous tours, there won't be a dry seat in the house. Fans will be greatly pleased. Additionally, Brightman adds that fans should "expect the unexpected!" If this tour is anything like her album, audiences should expect majestic lights, high fantasy, and whimsical portrayals of the angelic personified. Tickets can be procured at https://sarahbrightman.com/tours/.

"Hymn"
Sarah Brightman
Decca Gold/ Universal Music Group
$11.88
https://sarahbrightman.com

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