Title - 'Night of Hunters' (Decca Records)
Artist - Tori Amos
Tori Amos marks her debut album for Deutsche Grammophon, the world’s most celebrated classical music record label with Night of Hunters, just released this September.
Indeed, Amos' debut on Deutsche Grammophon is a 21st century song-cycle, inspired by classical music from the last 400 years. Following the idea of the classical song-cycle, the all-new songs from Night of Hunters tell an ongoing contemporary story. Its central character is a woman ending a long relationship, allowing the listener to follow her on a journey over the course of one night to explore complex musical and emotional themes.
First track is 'Shattering Sea' (Alkan's Song of the Madwoman on the Sea-Shore, Prelude op. 31 no. 8), a song that begins and builds from a stern piano intro, suddenly it builds into an orchestrated ensemble work, before reverting back to solo piano and Amos' voice. 'SnowBlind' brings us a Amos we're used to musically, a storytelling Amos who, according to the song, looks at us through fox's eyes in her search for Annabelle. Then comes a tamer, more sedate nine-minute 'Battle Of Trees,' before the orchestration of 'Fearlessness' drifts amongst us. Another typical Amos song, it is not only deeply mysterious, but also mentions the Dexter (TV show) "character," the Dark Passenger.
'Cactus Practice' simply rolls along on the cusp of Amos' piano light-handed playing, before 'Star Whisperer' (based on Schubert's Piano Sonata in A major D 959) once again takes us on a much darker musical journey. A ten minute long song, be careful as around the three and a half minute mark you might think the song has ended and we're into the next - but you'd be wrong! After that track we get 'Job's Coffin,' a song that is much more light in nature, and lead vocal is taken by Amos's young daughter Natashya Hawley.
'Nautical Twilight' features something of a playful nature, before the truly beautiful 'Your Ghost' wafts out before, and over us. With the album featuring eleven tracks based on the compositions of Bach, Schubert, Chopin, Debussy, Mendelssohn, Mussorgsky, and others, next we get a rich, full-flowing, fun 'Edge of The Moon,' before 'The Chase' unfolds before us.
The title track, which is Scarlatti's Sonata in F minor K. 466 and Gregorian Chant 'Salva Regina,' is a very passionate affair, and as you'd expect from an album that features no percussion, and which has been recorded with string quartet Apollon Musagète and arranger John Philip Shenale, it predominantly revolves around Amos at her piano.
The less-than-three minute 'Seven Sisters' is next, before the closing track, 'Carry' (which is actually framed around a Debussy piece) brings is a very melancholy work, but one that remains hopeful, and us inquisitively attracted to the depths of the sung plights.
Russell A. Trunk