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A Winter Symphony [B&N Exclusive Version]

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Ten months after the release of her blockbuster Symphony album, vocalist Sarah Brightman and producer/musical guru collaborator Frank Peterson release the inevitable, Winter Symphony. If only it were really an extension of the overblown, wildly overproduced former album it would work on sheer camp level alone. But alas, while it's excessive, it's not so overdone that it's dramatic or exciting, despite the presence of symphony orchestras, gaggles of session players, three choirs, etc. There are a number of traditional selections from the season of Christmas: "Silent Night," "In the Bleak Midwinter," and "Child in a Manger," among them, as well as two versions of "Ave Maria" ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Ten months after the release of her blockbuster Symphony album, vocalist Sarah Brightman and producer/musical guru collaborator Frank Peterson release the inevitable, Winter Symphony. If only it were really an extension of the overblown, wildly overproduced former album it would work on sheer camp level alone. But alas, while it's excessive, it's not so overdone that it's dramatic or exciting, despite the presence of symphony orchestras, gaggles of session players, three choirs, etc. There are a number of traditional selections from the season of Christmas: "Silent Night," "In the Bleak Midwinter," and "Child in a Manger," among them, as well as two versions of "Ave Maria" (one in duet with Fernando Lima). There are also a slew of contemporary pop tunes in the mix, such as Vince Gill's "Colder Than Winter," an overcooked reading of Neil Diamond's "I've Been This Way Before," and inexplicably, one of the only hits ex-Move/Electric Light Orchestra co-founderRoy Wood ever scored on his own: the faux bubblegum nostalgic sock hop classic "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday." Despite the original version's nostalgic rock & roll structure and look at teen innocence, it is performed here as if it's a show tune. Weirdly enough, it's followed by "Amazing Grace"! The set closes with a far less dramatic reading of "I Believe in Father Christmas" than the wonderful version done by Emerson, Lake & Palmer back in the day. The tune comes from Sergei Prokofiev, but lyrics were added by Greg Lake and provided a rather solemnly majestic spiritual arrangement by Pete Sinfield. This take by Brightman feels like something that would be sung by the entire cast in a final scene from a newly staged musical version of A Christmas Carol. The sound here is a reversion of the old Brightman, where the instrumental and choir arrangements almost overwhelm the vocalist. This set is not contemplative, it's not necessarily joyous or expressive either, let alone inspiring. That said, it will no doubt appeal to hardcore Brightman fans without a hitch. [A Barnes & Noble exclusive was also released.]
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/4/2008
  • Label: Barnes Noble Consign
  • EAN: 5099923740723
  • Catalog Number: 37407

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Sarah Brightman Primary Artist, Keyboards, Choir, Chorus
London Symphony Orchestra Performing Ensemble
Curt Cress Drums
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Performing Ensemble
Ralph Salmins Drums
Steve Sidwell Conductor
Peter Weihe Guitar
Trevor Barry Bass
Frank Peterson Choir, Chorus
Gunther Laudahn Background Vocals, Choir, Chorus, Pianoharp
Paul Bateman Conductor
Roland Peil Percussion
Billy King Choir, Chorus
Crouch End Festival Chorus Choir, Chorus
Carsten Heusmann Organ, Keyboards, Hammond Organ, Choir, Chorus
Pete Murray Piano, Conductor
Jan Eric Kohrs Piano, Choir, Chorus
Carolin Fortenbacher Choir, Chorus
Amelia Brightman Choir, Chorus
Alex Grube Bass
Anna Coralee Choir, Chorus
Technical Credits
Charles Gounod Composer
Sergey Prokofiev Composer
Neil Diamond Composer
John Lennon Composer
Sarah Brightman Programming, Producer
Greg Lake Composer
Yoko Ono Composer
Roy Wood Composer
Vince Gill Composer
Steve Sidwell Orchestration
Volker Heintzen Engineer
Frank Peterson Arranger, Director, Producer, Engineer
Simon Rhodes Engineer
Niall Acott Engineer
Jorge Avendaño Engineer
Loris Ceroni Composer
Paul Bateman Orchestration
Jorge Avendaño Lührs Composer
Alberto Salerno Composer
Tom Meyer Mastering
Traditional Composer
Maurizio Seymandi Composer
Carsten Heusmann Arranger, Programming, Producer, Engineer
Pete Murray Orchestration
Mario Frangoulis Duet
Dennis Preiss Engineer
Florian Sitzmann Composer
Cae Gauntt Composer
Dario Baldan Bembo Composer
Fernando Lima Duet
Kathrin Kiesewetter Sample Clearance
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 38 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(25)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 38 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Joy of Holiday's Desiring

    I've read a lot of mixed reviews on this CD, from Brightman fans and non-fans alike. But in my personal opinion, it's a superb album, and I'm thrilled she finally produced a holiday CD.<BR/><BR/>I'm giving it 4 of 5 stars because I do believe it could have been better, but that by no means implies that I hate the CD in anyway. I've just followed Sarah for the past 10 years since I was a little girl. This woman was my introduction to opera and classical cross over music! That being said, I know what the "best" and "most" could sound like from her; this isn't it.<BR/><BR/>I really wish two things would have been done with this CD: Sarah singing, "The First of May" (as she did on the Symphony tour, for pre-Christmas dates), and she also included a version of her singing "Carol of the Bells."<BR/><BR/>A few notes:<BR/><BR/>"Arrival" -- based off of the ABBA track by the same name, it opens the CD in a very unqiue and interesting fashion. I never thought the day would come when I would hear my favourite soprano covering the quartet from Sweden. The thing is, she doesn't do it in a corney fashion either. It's tasteful and I think she does ABBA justice. Her voice also lends the track an unearthly fantistical ring to the track, making you "see" the song as you "hear" it.<BR/><BR/>"Colder than Winter" -- if you ever had your heart broken by anyone for any reason, you will releate to this song. Enough said. <BR/><BR/>"Ave Maria" w/ Fernando Lima -- I seriously think this woman loves this song, because this is the THIRD (or more, who knows/remembers) arrangement she's has recorded of it. I have all of Sarah's releases and, while I welcome this addition to the CD, I seriously wish she would just CHILL on the hail Marys. I don't think Fernando Lima has a great voice, it's acceptable, but he's no Andrea Bocelli or Josh Groban, and he's completely not a Nick Garrett or Russell Watson by any stretch of the imagination. So what saves this track? The arrangement. It's beautiful and DIFFERENT. The last minute of the song, especially. Peterson is ths this verion's saving grace! Take the "Ave Maria" you think you know, to a new place. It's either really fantastic, or really brave. You be the judge.<BR/><BR/>"I Believe in Father Christmas" -- she also sings this on the "Symphony" tour before the holidays, if you are lucky enough to see her in person. It's fabulous! Oh I love love love this song. It's a unqiue addition to any Christmas CD that doesn't get played enough, and for Sarah, that's a blessing for her album!<BR/><BR/>"Happy Christmas (The War is Over)" -- Sarah Brightman, whhhhhhhyyyyy??? Okay, I am biased. I think no one SHOULD sing this besides for John Lennon and if you do sing it, like "Imagine," you better do it some justice (Eva Cassidy). So again, all I have to say, is Sarah Brightman, whhhhhhhyyyy did you do this? Wwwwhhhhhhyyyy did you taint your near perfect singing record?

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Absolutely amazing!

    This was my first Christmas CD this season, and it is probably the only one I will need. Sarah's voice is amazing, as usual, and each track is clear and beautiful. The extra DVD is a nice bonus with video of songs from the Symphony release. The only bad part is that the CD ends. I would have loved to have had more songs from Sarah.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Amazing Grace ? More like Amazing Sarah

    Sarah does it again with that amazing voice. Just buy it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2013

    Great Christmas CD!

    I love Sarah Brightman and her Holiday CD did not dissapoint! I liked it enough to buy 3 more for my best friends, they loved it too!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 27, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Amazing Christmas album!

    This is my first Christmas album I've ever brought in almost four ago. I listened to the whole when I first brought in December '08 and it was amazing, the album has beautiful songs and wonderful singing voice. I love to listen to this album every December, once a year.
    I would recommend this Christmas album for everyone who love Christmas season!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    IT'S NOT JUST WINTER!

    This is one of Sarah's best ever CDs
    I have nearly worn it out listening to it so many times!!
    And I enjoy it everytime.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Disappointing

    I have more holiday music, than any other genre, in my music library: wish I could return this one. Bleah.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Finally, Sarah Brightman has done it!

    She's done it again! Another fantastic album made by Sarah Brightman. Sarah Brightman is my favorite artist. I was so excited to hear that she had finally made a Christmas album. I bought the B&N exclusive version of A Winter Symphony and found it was well worth it. The album has songs I've never heard but I immediately loved every track after listening to the album. The extra tracks are fabulous! The second disk is a DVD that includes four tracks from her Symphony album, a photo gallery, and a couple more features. This is a good one to have in a holiday music collection. Truly Amazing!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    There Is None Better and Never Will Be!

    Sarah's Christmas album is her best album yet. "Symphony", of course, is as good. The songs on both albums ring true with a bit of saddness or perhaps for Sarah, the songs ring true with reality. She is the greatest artist of our time. Her personality draws you in and won't let you go. We all have ups and downs in our lives and it seems sometimes that the downs promote a growing experience that cannot be accomplished any other way. To you Sarah, we will always love you no matter what time, what year, what circumstance. You are to us the epitome of all those things that we hold so close and dear. Be happy now Sarah, your world will recover from the darkness and will again provide all of us with your brillance. Love to you Sarah, from all of us for the Holiday season and for always.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Sarah Does It AGAIN

    She never gets it wrong. This CD is amazing as usual for Sarah Brightman. I would have LOVED to hear her sing "O Holy Night", though.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Magnificent

    Sarah never fails to touch my heart.<BR/>Her concerts are fabulous.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    No one like Miss Sarah Brightman

    I am very happy with the whole CD and the extra DVD is fabolus..

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted November 2, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2008

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 38 Customer Reviews