If on a Winter's Night... [CD/DVD]

If on a Winter's Night... [CD/DVD]

by Sting
3.3 10

CD(Special Edition / Bonus DVD / Special Packaging)

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If On a Winter's Night... 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 62 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sting's new release If On A Winter's Night is a product which truly exudes class and sophistication. The gathering of top notch players from the realms of folk, classical and jazz is absolutely stellar and impressive on its very own, but the unique arrangements of the chosen material is really what is crucial to the project's success. The production is so organic, so vibrant and clear that the listener could actually be given the feeling that these musicians are right there in the room. As for the chosen material, there are plenty of standouts. 'Soul Cake' is a jaunty rendition of the begging song A'Soalin, seemingly fusing together various elements of traditional Folk, Bluegrass, Irish jigs, and Jazz. The song also contains the first of many highlights provided by violinist Kathryn Tickell, whose presence is absolutely key to the Northern English ambience which exudes from this recording. The raucous fun of 'Soul Cake' is followed by Sting's first exhibition of his penchant for really interesting musical hybrids: The decision to place the slow and softly traditional 'There Is No Rose Of Such Virtue' on top of upbeat Arabian percussion, punctuated by the infectious tones of the oud and the insistent drone of the harmonium, creates a mesmerizing piece of musical alchemy. Another such unique fusion of styles comes later on the disc, a song called 'The Burning Babe', a piece built around an eerie bit of poetry by Robert Southwell. The music, written by Chris Wood, is an upbeat blend of Celtic music and Jazz performed in the odd time signature of 5/8. Standout contributions from legendary drummer Jack DeJohnette and saxophonist Kenny Garrett serve to take the proceedings up a notch with the fiery intensity usually inherent to Jazz fusion, and yet such a daring departure in texture doesn't sound out of place with the rest of the material. In my opinion, the brightest gem on this cd is 'Christmas At Sea', a Celtic inspired song featuring music written by Sting, lyrics adapted from the poetry of Robert Louis Stevenson, and the enchanting Gaelic verse of 'Thograinn Thograinn' provided by vocalist/harpist Mary MacMaster. This captivating work is evocative of the numerous nautical themed classics that Sting has created over the years, and the result is probably the finest duet which Sting has ever been involved in creating. Other major highlights on the cd include Dominic Miller's patented guitar stylings on 'The Snow It Melts The Soonest', the haunting 'Balulalow', which sounds similar to Paul Simon at his finest, and the folky spiritual 'Cherry Tree Carol', where Sting shows his mildly bluesy facet. The disc ends with the elegance of 'You Only Cross My Mind In Winter', as Sting sets his own lyric to Johann Sebastian Bach's 6th Cello Suite performed on lute by Edin Karamazov. For much of the material, Sting either sings with a heavily affected accent or reaches deep down to sing in his lowest possible register. If one is already accustomed to his vocal stylings on the two previous Deutsche Grammaphon releases he took part in (those being Songs From The Labyrinth and Welcome To The Voice), then these vocal approaches should not come as any surprise. He sounds relaxed and soulful throughout and this seems entirely appropriate for the chosen music. It should be plain to any ear which is willing to hear that Sting intended to create an intimately cozy setting for those coldest months of Winter and he has succeeded admirably.
wendavey More than 1 year ago
Weaving through all the songs on Sting's latest album "If On A Winter's Night..." are the themes of winter, ghosts and spirits, religion and the pull of home back to loved and missed ones. The musicians and singers complement the songs impeccably - the Northumbrian pipes of Kathryn Tickell are so evocative of the the northeast and are an instant reminder to older fans of his classic 1991 album "The Soul Cages", an album that drew heavily on his roots. Standout tracks include "Christmas At Sea", a poem written by Robert Louis Stevenson that is combined with the gaelic song "Thograinn Thograinn" and provides one of the most evocative songs that Sting has recorded. "Soul Cake" is a very catchy song that is guaranteed to etch its way into your subconscious after the first listen and is the most immediate track on the album; "The Snow It Melts The Soonest" is a hauntingly beautiful northumbrian track; "The Burning Babe" contrasts a macabre tale with a jolly tune to great effect, and Sting combines his own lyrics to a piece of Bach on the melancholic "You Only Cross My Mind In Winter". Taken with traditional Christmas songs such as "Gabriel's Message" and the "Cherry Tree Carol", some reworkings of older songs such as "The Hounds of Winter" and "Lullaby To An Anxious Child", and more obscure pieces from centuries past such as "Lo How A Rose E'er Blooming" and "Now Winter Comes Slowly" means that Sting delivers a thoughtful and beautifully judged seasonally themed album without once having to mention reindeer, snowmen or Santa Claus.
Terry_M More than 1 year ago
when pop artists do a holiday (Xmas) CD the effort can be frightening (Dylan) or just curious - with styles ranging from icy (jazz) to rock 'n roll. Sting's CD is different. though it eschews specific holiday iconography, all of the songs fit together as examples of genuine winter/christmas music - the music that has been handed down in hymnals and song books, and enjoyed for decades. to those who find the music dreary - ok, its not for you. but listen to a clip or two. if you like the clips, buy the CD.
AvidDG More than 1 year ago
The music has a timeless honesty to it. The easy arrangements and straightforward vocals of these old folksongs make this a beautiful passage back to simpler times. These are not toe-tapping or jazzy modern arrangements that one normally associates with Sting. He is onto a new venue of sound that some will like and others not so much.
lizytish More than 1 year ago
In this collection, Sting's voice is true. Purchase this, and you'll have the perfect background music for a small gathering of friends around the fire, an evening of private time to sort thoughts, or to simply unwind after a day's work with a mug of your favorite beverage. I wouldn't file this CD in the holiday group...this can be enjoyed year 'round.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of Stings most fabulous CD. I loved it so much I had to share it with my parents so I bough one for them this Christmas. They listened to it all season and look forward to playing it next winter. I left it in my CD player in my car all winter and never tired of the powerful instrumentals and wonderful variety of joyful songs as well as devotional. Stings voice clarity offered depth to each song. Even the classics sounded new and different with the arrangements used within them. My husband borrowed the CD for his office for those late night drives back and I haven't seen it since then. I may need to buy another one next winter, just to have enough for our household.
NoLaWriter More than 1 year ago
This disc helped me through the short, dark cold days and nights of December. It is joyous, calm, reverent music, perfect for snuggling up with. Sting succeeds.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a wonderful CD this is. Lovely music with vocals befitting this time of year. Like a walk alone in the snowy forest, the wonder of it all appears around you in quiet ways. This CD is musical version of that experience. Enjoy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
chas22 More than 1 year ago
What beautiful music on this CD.
port4u More than 1 year ago
I like Sting's arangements of these old songs.
HeyJude More than 1 year ago
Although I love Sting, this album was not as pleasurable as I had hoped. It's nice to hear old English and Celtic carols renewed, but only a couple of the songs really were to my liking.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This Cd is really enjoyable. The quality of the music is excellent and it just fills you with a sense of joy.
Cape-Cod-Bob More than 1 year ago
Too sad for most holiday listening
daldricht More than 1 year ago
This was a gift that I get to hear all the time - love his subtle voice and can visualize being in those birch trees walking in a peaceful setting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
...knows how to make something magical. Lots of people assumed Sting, he of the velvet voice, would be putting out a traditonal, over-packaged, produced album of holiday favorites. He's done so much more, reminding his listeners that he's a consummate artist who loves the history of music. No, this is not a "Christmas CD," and it's only vaguely a holiday album. Actually, it's a historical tour de force of the lineage of the carol, from madrigals to traditional folk music. The musicians who play with him bring their consummate skill in trad and folk music, as well. And the songs, quite simply, are haunting--full of the true magic of the Christmas season. Don't miss his versions of "Gabriel's Message" and "Lo, How a Rose Ee'r Bloming," as well as the poignant "When The Snow Melts the Soonest." If you love traditional folk music, if you love classical, if you love true artistry, you will listen to this CD for the entire season.
vacmac More than 1 year ago
So disappointed in this CD. Very off track from all the other Sting CD's with his soleful voice and great band accompaniment. I can't say I even liked or cared for one song on this CD. It was not a joyful holiday album at all.
Cerridwen1983 More than 1 year ago
If you aren't one to like the constant stream of modern Christmas music from Thanksgiving to January 1st, this is a CD for you! Such a wonderful selection of traditional seasonal songs that will get your toes tapping and make you want to stay home with a cup of tea in front of the fire. My favorite off of this CD is "Soul Cake," which made me want to buy this CD after seeing Sting perform on the Today Show on October 27 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-vZ8FDvnW8). Absolutely fantastic!
bevinator More than 1 year ago
Loved this! Sting has taken some old (really old) traditional songs and brought them to a modern market. The musicianship on the album is fabulous. The only thing I didn't like is that sometimes Sting tries too hard for a classical sound from his voice and doesn't quite make the mark.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although released during ths Christmas season, this was not a typical Christmas album. However, it's melancholy tones were perfect for "A Winter's Night". I particularly liked "Hounds of Winter", "You Only Cross My Mind in Winter" and "Gabriel's Message". I highly recommend this album.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This album is very different than his usual but yet still the same with the way he uses his voice as an instrument throughout the tracks. He uses Domonic Miller on this album and he has been using him as a guitarist since The Soul Cages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This album shows great complexity. The music is soothing like fire on a cold winter's day.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a real disappointment. Most songs sounded like the last one and by the third one we were ready to change CD!
zsazzy More than 1 year ago
I am very disappointed in Barnes and Noble right now!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this CD! As a true Sting fan, the moment I saw this (I was standing in line in my local B & N store), I added it to my purchases without even reading the blurbs on the back, something I've never done before. I am also a fan of Christmas music; after all, it only comes once a year and has some very beautiful, classic music attached to it - glad to hear it go, glad when it comes around again. This CD is unlike any I have heard before. Most of the music is fresh to my ears, has an "unexpected Christmas sound," and Sting's wonderful voice. It is great before, during, and after Christmas - no "ho ho ho" here.