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Music of the Spheres

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jonathan Widran
The legendary British composer will always be most identified with his breakthrough long-play composition "Tubular Bells" and the way it was used to illuminate fear in The Exorcist. The happy truth is that since then he's amassed an incredible catalog of over 20 albums featuring just about every instrumental form but jazz: pop, classical, new age, world music, computer game, film soundtrack, etc. The title of his 2008 45-minute classical-influenced opus Music of the Spheres is a reference to the prolific and eclectic composer's feeling that all music should aim to represent the spiritual or otherworldly elements of life -- something beyond the mundane and everyday. He ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jonathan Widran
The legendary British composer will always be most identified with his breakthrough long-play composition "Tubular Bells" and the way it was used to illuminate fear in The Exorcist. The happy truth is that since then he's amassed an incredible catalog of over 20 albums featuring just about every instrumental form but jazz: pop, classical, new age, world music, computer game, film soundtrack, etc. The title of his 2008 45-minute classical-influenced opus Music of the Spheres is a reference to the prolific and eclectic composer's feeling that all music should aim to represent the spiritual or otherworldly elements of life -- something beyond the mundane and everyday. He accomplishes that via the sheer hypnotic beauty of the gentler passages and the percussive drama of others, both of which characterize the multi-movement opening track, "Harbinger," which lives up to its title as a preview of the overwhelming, ethereal joys to come. Mike Oldfield is a highly accomplished film composer and it would be easy to imagine gorgeous, sweeping pieces like "Animus" and "Silhouette" behind pastoral romantic scenes, and action-packed, percussively dense expressions like "The Tempest" building some heavy suspense for some nail-biting plot. Completely recorded by an orchestra at Abbey Road studios and featuring Oldfield himself on guitar, Music of the Spheres -- which features guest performances by world-renowned young soprano and Decca labelmate Hayley Westenra and classical piano phenom Lang Lang -- is huge in scope yet at heart simple and emotionally direct on a purely melodic level. While the piece was entirely conceived, produced, and written by Oldfield, he turned to popular modern classical composer Karl Jenkins to translate his ideas into traditional classical notations arranged for orchestra -- a great departure from the artist's usual array of studio-only wizardry. Jenkins, who once played oboe on a live BBC recording of "Tubular Bells" in 1975, gets a co-production credit, and with good reason. Oldfield scored his music via a computer program called Logic, while Jenkins used Sibelius to create the musical notation. Oldfield recorded an elaborate demo using orchestral samples, then handed it over so that Jenkins could add the human touch by re-recording it by an orchestra of classical musicians. It's a rich, heartfelt collaboration that breaks new ground for both men. Oldfield had no trouble declaring that he was almost moved to tears while listening to Music of the Spheres come alive at Abbey Road. It's a primitive spiritual and emotional response that every listener would later relate to.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/25/2008
  • Label: Decca
  • UPC: 602517636330
  • Catalog Number: 001092502
  • Sales rank: 160,852

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Harbinger (4:08)
  2. 2 Animus (3:09)
  3. 3 Silhouette (3:19)
  4. 4 Shabda (3:56)
  5. 5 The Tempest (5:48)
  6. 6 Harbinger (Reprise) (1:30)
  7. 7 On My Heart (2:26)
  8. 8 Aurora (3:42)
  9. 9 Prophecy (2:54)
  10. 10 On My Heart (Reprise) (1:16)
  11. 11 Harmonia Mundi (3:46)
  12. 12 The Other Side (1:28)
  13. 13 Empyrean (1:37)
  14. 14 Musica Universalis (6:24)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Mike Oldfield Primary Artist, Classical Guitar
Mae McKenna Background Vocals
Heather Cairncross Background Vocals
Karl Jenkins Conductor
Gary Kettel Percussion
Nicole Tibbels Background Vocals
Sam Walton Percussion
Tom Watson Trumpet
Mary Carewe Background Vocals
Vincent Green Viola
Stephen Henderson Timpani
Paul Clarvis Percussion
Peter Francomb Horn
Edward Vanderspar Viola
John Thorn Viola
Jeremy Morris Violin
Sarah Eyden Background Vocals
Chris Worsey Cello
Lang Lang Piano, Guest Appearance
Louisa Aldridge Violin
Neil Percy Percussion
Simon Wills Trombone
Fay Sweet Viola
Hayley Westenra Vocals, Guest Appearance
Jeremy Watt Bass
Gareth Small Trumpet
David J. Lyon Violin
Joe Walters Horn
Chris Fish Cello
Jacqueline Barron Background Vocals
Emma Owens Viola
Rachel Robson Viola
Holly Butler Viola
Jo West Violin
Jonny Byers Cello
Evgeny Chebykin Horn
Gareth Davies Flute
Roy Carter Oboe
Technical Credits
Mike Oldfield Composer, Producer, Author
Karl Jenkins Producer, Orchestration
Richard King Piano Engineer
Simon Rhodes Engineer
Miles Showell Mastering
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 2 )
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(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Fantastic, Outstanding.

    I think this is some of the best music I have ever heard. It is breathtakingly beautiful. Very uplifting music that made me feel as if I was soaring through space. floating on crystal clear water while soaking the sun. Very harmonious, yet never boring. It has a somewhat classical, new agelike feel to it, but its better than any classical or new age music I have ever heard. Normally Rock is my favorite genre, but if music can get this good I think that might have to change.

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

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Tubular

    Wow, the AllMusic reviewer really pulled out all the stops for his rave. If you like derivative, self-referencing, feel-good (and occasionally "feel good about feeling bad") music, you will love this. It's well orchestrated,it still reminds me of 'Tubular Bells' without the sense of menace it leant to "The Exorcist". It is so consonant, with the diminished and augmented chords right where you expect them. I was never surprised or taken aback, except by the fact that I was never surprised or taken aback by the music. I think I'm done. Anyone want my copy?

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews