Title - 'Enchanted Isle'
Artist - VOCES8
For those not in the know, VOCES8 is an a cappella octet from the United Kingdom.
Formed in 2005, VOCES8 has a diverse repertoire ranging from early English and European Renaissance choral works to their own arrangements.
Indeed, they came up with the name en route to a competition! Paul Smith (one of the founding members) has since explained that, "We needed a name to go on stage and there were eight of us and we were in Italy."
"We wanted something that feels like voices, but had that Latin vibe to it, so we went with voces."
Their brand new album a on Decca Classics, Enchanted Isle is an album of music reminiscent of rolling hills, green valleys, rugged mountainsides, and sleepy villages.
2. 'Theme from Harry's Game'
3. 'Carrickfergus' (featuring Sibéal) - Game of Thrones
4. 'May It Be' - The Lord of the Rings
5. 'Agnus EI'
6. 'The Rains of Castamere'
7. 'Pyramid Song'
8. 'O Albion'
9. 'Song For Athene'
10. 'The Parting Glass'
11. 'My Luve is like a Red, Red Rose'
12. 'Let Me Love Be Heard'
13. 'Danny Boy'
14. 'I Was Born for This'
15. 'She Walks In Beauty'
16. 'The Sun Never Says'
Originally written for film or television (such as Lord Of The Rings and Game Of Thrones), new arrangements of Scottish and Irish melodies, and compositions set to texts by great English poets, Enchanted Isle is just as good, maybe more so, as you would hope/expect it to be.
From the atmospheric, gently soaring majestic beauty of the traditional 'Soay', to the haunting, simply tingling rendition of one of my all-time favorite Clannad tracks, 'Theme From Harry's Game,' into the traditional beauty 'Carrickfergus' (sung in chamber style quality by Sibéal), the album proves its worth track after track.
One assumes that VOCES8 (Katie Jeffries-Harris – alto, Christopher Moore – baritone, Andrea Halsey – soprano, Barnaby Smith – countertenor, Eleonore Cockerham –soprano, Blake Morgan – tenor, Sam Dressel – tenor, and Jonathan Pacey - bass) specifically created the design of this albums orchestrations to straddle, for want of a better term, the elusive classical-popular divide, and for me they have pulled it off.
That said, this melding of traditional British and Irish folk songs, pop, easy listening does also feel a wee bit already tried and tested within their chosen market, but they definitely still manage to refresh the scene, so to speak.
Stand out tracks as we progress include the stoic chamber music of 'The Rains of Castamere,' the stunningly lovely 'My Luve is like a Red, Red Rose,' the group as a whole on 'She Walks in Beauty,' and the stirring album ending 'Caledonia.'
Featuring music from Radiohead ('Pyramid Song'), Enya, Clannad, and compositions from both Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, these new arrangements of Scottish and Irish melodies are a sheer and unadulterated joy to behold.
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