One of the most successful, iconic and talented artists of the late 20th century is back like you've never heard her before. A Christmas Cornucopia is a collection of new, inspired interpretations of 11 traditional festive songs, rounded out by a new Lennox composition, Universal Child.
"I've known these songs, these carols all my life, I've sung them since I was little," says the songwriter and singer of The Holly And The Ivy, Silent Night, The First Noel and other, less- widely-known songs such as Il Est Ne Le Divin Enfant, and Lullay Lullay. "They're just in me. They're a huge part of my life. So it's not an arbitrary selection. Those relationships with those pieces of music were there intrinsically before I approached the recording."
The music on the album was mostly played by Lennox, in collaboration with co producer Mike Stevens, and recorded in his southwest London studio. To achieve the resonance and vibrancy that were integral to Lennox's ideas for these re-energized reboots, the pair also worked with a 30-piece orchestra and the African Children's Choir, a remarkable organization with which impassioned campaigner and activist Lennox has long had a relationship.
Tracks: 1. Angels From The Realms of Glory 2. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen 3. See Amid The Winter's Snow 4. Il Est Ne Le Divin Enfant 5. The First Noel 6. Lullay Lullay (Coventry Carol) 7. The Holly And The Ivy 8. In The Bleak Midwinter 9. As Joseph Was A Walking 10. Oh Little Town Of Bethlehem 11. Silent Night 12. Universal Child
Annie Lennox's first album for Island Records (released on Decca Records in the U.S.) finds her bringing an African flavor to traditional holiday songs and carols, and includes her own new composition "Universal Child."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.94) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Eleven of the songs here are reinterpretations of Christmas carols and songs, sung beautifully..."
I'm a lifelong Annie Lennox fan and was excited about the release of this album. However, upon listening to it the first time through I couldn't help but think, "This is the ANGRIEST Christmas album I've ever listened to!" Another reviewer said Annie seems to be at "full throttle" throughout the album and that's a spot-on description. And yet I have already listened to the album several times over because the arrangements are interesting and different and INTENSE. Annie Lennox never ceases to fascinate the listener even if she is scaring the pants off you in a few songs. "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" sounds like she's storming the ramparts and if you don't lift a glass to holiday cheer she's going to kick your ass. "Coventry Carol" also has that intensity, but it works. The way "Il est né" is repeated in an atonal fashion shows Annie can be scary and intense in French, too. It's only on the last three songs that the throttle is pulled back a bit. "Universal Child" is haunting, lush and touchingly tender. It's a relief after the vehemence of the rest of the album. There is definitely passion in this recording which makes it worth purchasing and enjoying. Just do as she says and back away slowly!
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