Wintersong

Wintersong

3.8 25
by Sarah McLachlan
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Sarah McLachlan's voice -- not to mention the elegance with which she coaxes notes from a keyboard -- has a timeless quality that's ideally suited for performing traditional material, and there's nothing more traditional than a good old-fashioned set of holiday tunes. Yet while Wintersong is certainly steeped in tradition, there's enough innovation in itsSee more details below

Overview

Sarah McLachlan's voice -- not to mention the elegance with which she coaxes notes from a keyboard -- has a timeless quality that's ideally suited for performing traditional material, and there's nothing more traditional than a good old-fashioned set of holiday tunes. Yet while Wintersong is certainly steeped in tradition, there's enough innovation in its grooves to signal that McLachlan is still a restless artistic spirit. She manages to capture both the warmth and the melancholy that imbue the memories of holidays past in nostalgic readings of such classic carols as "The First Noel" and "What Child Is This?" At the same time, she puts her own imaginative sense of sonic space into play on intriguingly arranged versions of favorites like "O Little Town of Bethlehem," which is colored here by delicate banjo lines and eerily distorted violins. McLachlan is a bit more faithful to the original versions of the passel of modern holiday tunes, an approach that works beautifully on a hypnotic reading of Joni Mitchell's "River" but a little less well on an overly reverent version of John Lennon's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)." McLachlan's originals are among Wintersong's most compelling tracks, particularly the poignantly spare, piano-led title track, on which she addresses the death of her mother, who passed away just before Christmas four years ago. That mistiness informs McLachlan's portrayal of the season; by encompassing both sunny and cloudy moments, she offers a deep and complete reflection on the year's final weeks.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Marisa Brown
Because no artist's career is truly complete without a holiday album, Sarah McLachlan took yet another step toward establishing her place in sentimental adult contemporary radio history with Wintersong. For the most part, the singer chooses the darker, more melancholic, and "wintry" pieces to cover (there's no "Joy to the World" or "Angels We Have Heard on High," for example), focusing as much on the Christmas season and the general feel of the holiday as on its religious connotations. She brings together the folk spiritual "Mary Mary" -- also called "Virgin Mary" when covered by Joan Baez on her 1966 Noël or "Mary What You Gonna Call That Pretty Little Baby" when a black gospel song -- and the traditional "The First Noel," showing off not only her own impressive range but her ability to adapt to different vocal styles while still remaining wholly herself. Her version of Gordon Lightfoot's "Song for a Winter's Night," which was originally released on the 1994 Miracle on 34th Street soundtrack (and then on McLachlan's Rarities, B-Sides & Other Stuff), is pretty and sweet, using as acoustic guitar as well as layers and layers of vocal harmonies to create a sense of space and warmth, and her cover of Joni Mitchell's "River" is lovely, too, using a guitar and arpeggiated synths to push the song sadly along. The synths, in fact, are used frequently on Wintersong, sometimes in their string form on "O Little Town of Bethlehem" or "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," which works nicely, but more often as slightly new agey background effects that get a little tedious, especially considering the fact McLachlan has always been able to carry herself on more organic instrumentation, and sound good doing it, too. She does manage to just stick to only the sad, reflective piano chords on which she has earned her living -- nice in their simplicity -- on the title track, the one original song on the album, which sounds a lot, both thematically and musically, like "River," using Christmas as a way to contemplate a lover ("And this is how I see you/In the snow on Christmas morning..../Oh I miss you now, my love, merry Christmas," she sings). McLachlan's voice sounds great, and her interpretations stick pretty close to the originals while still expressing her own artistic individuality (with the exception of "What Child Is This [Greensleeves]," in which she goes too far, taking liberties with the melody and changing the song too much); but in making everything so soft and ethereal, instead of increasing their poignancy (which is certainly a goal of hers), she kills some of the songs' immediacy and power, unfortunately rendering Wintersong a little lifeless, albeit soothing, at the end.
Entertainment Weekly - Chris Willman
You couldn't hope for a more gorgeously heartsick holiday. (B+)

Read More

Product Details

Release Date:
10/17/2006
Label:
Arista
UPC:
0828768150429
catalogNumber:
81504

Tracks

  1. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)  -  Sarah McLachlan Music Outreach Children's Choir and Youth Choir
  2. What Child Is This (Greensleeves)  - Sarah McLachlan
  3. River  - Sarah McLachlan
  4. Wintersong  - Sarah McLachlan
  5. I'll Be Home For Christmas  - Sarah McLachlan
  6. O Little Town of Bethlehem  - Sarah McLachlan
  7. Medley  - Sarah McLachlan
  8. Silent Night  - Sarah McLachlan
  9. Song For a Winter's Night  - Sarah McLachlan
  10. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas  - Sarah McLachlan
  11. In the Bleak Mid Winter  - Sarah McLachlan
  12. Christmas Time Is Here  - Diana Krall

Read More

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Sarah McLachlan   Primary Artist,Dobro,Piano,Harp,Vocals
Bill Dillon   Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Mandolin,Electric Guitar
Bob Doidge   sleigh bells
Darryl Johnson   Bass
Dave Kershaw   Keyboards
Vince Mai   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Pierre Marchand   Keyboards,Synthesizer Bass
Dave Sinclair   Guitar
Diana Krall   Piano
Jim Creeggan   Double Bass
Brian Minato   Bass
Ashwin Sood   Percussion,Drums
Luke Doucet   Guitar
Colin Cripps   Dobro,Guitar
Sarah McLachlan Music Outreach Children's Choir and Youth Choir   Choir, Chorus,Track Performer,Children's Chorus

Technical Credits

Gordon Lightfoot   Composer
John Lennon   Composer
Joni Mitchell   Composer
Vince Guaraldi   Composer
Jeremy Lubbock   String Arrangements
Sarah McLachlan   Arranger,Composer
Yoko Ono   Composer
Buck Ram   Composer
Mark Howard   Bass Engineer
Bob Doidge   Guitar Engineer
Kim Gannon   Composer
Walter Kent   Composer
John Kurlander   Engineer
Bob Ludwig   Mastering
Pierre Marchand   Programming,Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Hugh Martin   Composer
Charles Paakkari   Engineer
John Rummen   Graphic Design
Ralph Blane   Composer
Lee Mendelson   Composer
Christopher Marc Potter   Engineer
Traditional   Composer

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >