4.3 25
by Sarah Brightman

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Sarah Brightman took five years between 2003's pop exotica outing Harem and Symphony. The over-the-top gothic excess in the artwork here seems like a cousin to Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell II, so much so that it feels like legendary theatrical rock excess king Jim Steinman -- a former…  See more details below


Sarah Brightman took five years between 2003's pop exotica outing Harem and Symphony. The over-the-top gothic excess in the artwork here seems like a cousin to Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell II, so much so that it feels like legendary theatrical rock excess king Jim Steinman -- a former associate of Brightman's longtime producer Frank Peterson (who wrote or co-wrote five of these tunes) -- is haunting the recording. Despite the big duet presences here -- Andrea Bocelli (again) on"Canto della Terra," tenor Alessandro Safina on "Sarai Qui," vocalist and actor Fernando Lima, and Kiss' Paul Stanley -- there are relatively few moments of real inspiration amidst the obvious kitsch. Symphony is trademark Brightman. It sits dead center at the crossroads of classical crossover, pop, and musical theater. Despite the star power on board, this is exactly what EMI wanted from her. The reprise of her first duet appearance with Bocelli is a firm showcase for both voices, and "Sarai Qui" with Safina is among best things here -- even if the arrangements threaten to do in all that vocal power. As for "Pasión," Lima's voice, with all of its high tenor acrobatics, is as lilting as her light soprano. It may work in the theater, or in the movies, but it doesn't here. "I Will Be with You (Where the Lost Ones Go)," with Stanley, is a bit of a campy cheat. Brightman originally recorded this for the Pokeman soundtrack with Chris Thompson of Manfred Mann. Stanley's vocal chops just don't equate with the former. With acoustic guitars all but drowned in strings, the emotional punch of the original is lost. Brightman simply soars, and if her ice queen vocal isn't believable emotionally, it contains enough drama to keep it from falling into the abyss. Peterson and Carsten Heusmann's cool sound and synth loops on "Gothika" set up the meld of bombastic electric guitars and the London Symphony Orchestra in "Fleurs du Mal." It's full of sweeping textures where a lone clarinet sweeps in before the woodwinds on the third verse; strings shift, swoop, and soar; and a choir comes hammering down on the refrain like thunder trying to bury Brightman in her full but false fragility act. The title track begins as one of the most overblown things on the set, but in comparison to others, it is one of the simplest, breeziest melodies here. There is one genuine surprise: a cover of "Sanvean," written by Lisa Gerrard and Andrew Claxton. Brightman allows Gerrard's words (the English title amounts to "I Am Your Shadow") to haunt her, imbuing them with a classically delivered discipline that showcases the otherworldly and sorrowful melody in the piece. And if there were any radio programmers with brains, they'd choose either the classically tinged and passionate Cordel/LaBionda/Brightman number "Storia d'Amore" or the relatively straight-ahead melancholy pop
ock anthem "Let It Rain" as a single. The latter may be more standard radio fare, but the former would grab the attention of anyone who heard it. The album's nine-plus-minute closer, "Running," is a virtual multi-part suite disguised as a single song. There is an operatic intro that becomes fist-in-the-air uplifting rock & roll bombast in the first half -- it even includes an electric guitar solo, enormous drums, and a choir hammering home the refrain with Brightman before it moves back toward opera, then silence, then more orchestral and vocal drama. This track reeks of Steinman -- and his lyrics would have been far better than what is here. Symphony is stronger than Harem, yet not as adventurous as Luna, and is more self-indulgent than both.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Manhattan Records


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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Sarah Brightman   Primary Artist,Keyboards,Vocals,Background Vocals
Curt Cress   Drums
Steve Sidwell   Conductor
Peter Weihe   Guitar
Frank Peterson   Background Vocals
Gunther Laudahn   Background Vocals
Paul Bateman   Conductor
Klaus Hirschburger   Background Vocals
Roland Peil   Percussion
Michael Soltau   Keyboards
Mike Reed   Conductor
Matthias Meissner   Keyboards
Crouch End Festival Chorus   Choir, Chorus
James Fitzpatrick   Choir, Chorus
Carsten Heusmann   Keyboards,Background Vocals
Kristian Draude   Keyboards
Carolin Fortenbacher   Background Vocals
Amelia Brightman   Background Vocals
Alex Grube   Bass,Bass Guitar
Metropolitan Voices   Choir, Chorus

Technical Credits

Sarah Brightman   Programming,Concept
George Marino   Mastering
Steve Sidwell   Orchestral Arrangements,Choir Arrangement
John Luard Timperley   Engineer
Volker Heintzen   Engineer
Frank Peterson   Producer,Engineer,Digital Editing,Audio Production
Paul Bateman   Orchestral Arrangements,Choir Arrangement
Stefan Pintev   Orchestral Arrangements,Choir Arrangement
Michael Soltau   Programming
Greg Collins   Engineer
Matthias Meissner   Programming
Jim Morey   Management
Carsten Heusmann   Programming,Producer,Audio Production
Dennis Preiss   Engineer,Digital Editing
Kristian Draude   Programming
Daniel Dociu   Illustrations
Philip Straub   Illustrations
Michelangelo La Bionda   Composer
Steve Price   Engineer
Thomas Schwarz   Digital Editing

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Symphony 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Having heard several songs from this new cd already I highly recommend this cd from the great Sarah Brightman. A voice like no other.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sarah is my favorite artist. Her last show in the US was super and I can't wait for her next concert. Symphony sounds as if it would make a good concert.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Like all of Sarah's albums this one has definitely been worth the wait of 5 years. Having heard just sound clips from the new album, I am already blown away. Sarah Brightman redefines herself once again. The album is going to be spectacular and the tour amazing. The alum deserves a Perfect 10!!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sarah has done it again. Our Angel of Music is always coming up with somthing new for her beautiful voice.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sarah Brightman is my favorite artist and with every new album you never know what to expect. However every album is always a hit to her fans, and this is why I am one of them. There is no artist like her, and none of her albums fail to impress.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After a five year wait Sarah Brightman has again given the music world an album well worth the wait. Once you hear the sheer beauty of her voice on her newest cd you will want to look for more of her music-you will be addicted.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This new creation blends a creative magnitude of rock, classical, and pop harmonies along with some silver stardust vocals that any Sarah Brightman fan and listener can close their eyes and feel a symphony being formed all around. Think of it as a magnificent orchestrated new type of surround sound mixed with an angelic voice that moves your senses as it strums your visionary journey through this fantastic album. What a creative envisionary this beautiful artist is...
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought it a couple of days ago in a Barnes & Noble store and cannot stop listening to it. It's like heaven on earth. I not only consider this Sarah's best CD but the most beautiful CD I ever heard.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The opening tracks, "Gothica" and "Fleurs Du Mal," grab the listener immediately and pull them into the rest of the tracks. Beautiful duets with Andrea Bocelli, Alessonandro Safina, and Fernando Lima, but the "I Will Be With You" duet with Paul Stanley is outstanding. Once again, Brightman makes a crossover to more of a pop sound, yet manages to hold onto the classics on some of the tracks. Definitely worth listening to. Can't wait for the tour.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This long awaited album is very welcomed from this spectacular permormer. Passion I think is my favorite. And to the "Reviewer-voice coach" I would suggest listening to "Nessun Dorma" on either Sarah's album Eden or The Harem World Tour. If this performance does not move you then I would begin to suspect your credentials.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After waiting 5 years for this album, Symphony has left much to be desired.Some of the songs are terrific like Fleur Du Mal and Canto Della Terra, however the slower ones needed more instrumental music to support it.This album feels as though it was thrown together and it had too many duets. I am a huge Sarah fan and will always enjoy her music.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album yet again is so very typical of Sarah Brightman. She sets the scene and fills it with her vision of gothic fantasy set to music. Sarah's vocals yet again on many tracks are rich and full but never forced. In all a very food listen.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's not completely terrible, but the horrible interpretations of Mahler and Holst destroy any kind of good will I might feel while listening to the album. Her aping of Holst in "Running" is already bad enough, even if you don't count the horrible rock segment shoehorned in the middle because it's got no subtlety. Far worse though, is her theft of Mahler's Adagietto from his fifth symphony. She completely misses the point once again and creates a overly saccharine mess.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is a beautiful, dreamy type of CD, and I love it. Sarah Brightman's voice is so incredible, and this music suits her very well.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had not heard of Ms Brightman until a PBS special. I have missed out on so much, I listen to everything I can now. Her voice is like magic. This CD is beautiful. There are just no words to descibe how she makes me feel. I love it in the car when I driving home from work.
SusanVT More than 1 year ago
Dear Sarah: This CD was wonderful as usual but I did hear an underlying sadness here. I am thinking that your life has taken a different path and it may not be the one you have chosen. No matter, dear Sarah, you always land on your feet and you will this time also no matter how painful it may be at the time. Your fans are solid behind you so never doubt. Hand it over Sarah and enjoy the freedom it gives you.
You cannot always make a wrong right or clear the field of pain but you can recover from it and go on.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I've never gotten the appeal of Brightman's singing and this album hasn't done it for me either. I tried. I really, really tried. Her voice strikes me as thin and gutless, wobbly, and unemotional. I'm not moved one way or the other, and that is a rare thing! Someone please explain to me what is so appealing? It's certainly not her vocal technique, and the interpretation isn't drawing me in either. It's "just okay".