Deutsche Grammophon/CherryTree announces the release of Symphonicities, the new studio album, comprised of twelve of Sting's most celebrated songs re-imagined for symphonic arrangement.
Highlights on the new album include arrangements of fan-favorites culled from The Police songbook such as “Roxanne” and “Next To You,” as well as songs from Sting's enduring solo career including “Englishman in New York,” “She's Too Good For Me” and “I Hung my Head.” Symphonicities is produced by Rob Mathes and Sting, and predominantly mixed by Elliot Scheiner (Steely Dan, Fleetwood Mac).
The CD serves as the ultimate commemoration of the highly-acclaimed Symphonicity world tour, which began June 2 in Vancouver, featuring the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, conducted by Steven Mercurio (Bocelli, Pavarotti).
Hello all, I was so taken with the detail and beautifully written review by Brian that I had to post a review of my own, despite the fact that I have no right to review it because I produced this record with Sting. This music has meant so much to me, these songs, this artist, that the daunting task of arranging a lot of the current tour and producing this record haunted me for months. This review will contain some defensive comments but I hope they at least illuminate the process of making this record for anyone who cares. It will also hopefully serve as a slightly better indication of why (Brian's question) the record was made and the thinking behind a lot of it. First of all, for those who think that Sting is slacking off and just trying to continually recycle existing material, be aware of this. The record was something that happened almost by accident and the whole venture was essentially another voyage of discovery for Sting, who loves Orchestral music.
The story: He was invited by both The Philadelphia Orchestra and The Chicago Symphony Orchestra to put on a concert of his music arranged for orchestra. A tour was planned based on the appeal of those concerts. They were a thrill for him. In his words, "what a joy and honor it is to hear songs I often wrote on a guitar alone in a room played by a group of peerless musicians". All that said, the concerts highlighted the difficulties of a venture like this. Many music stars do Standards records and other similarly minded projects to appeal to adults who attend Symphonic concerts and higher brow Arts events but still love great Pop music. These projects are occasionally successful but they can be artistically dreadful. Is there anything worse than a series of ballads peppered with cloying Strings?? This was exactly what Sting did not want to do and in fact his earliest direction to the arrangers was to "please not give the orchestra endlessly held chords that are beautiful but are better for putting people to sleep than entertaining them".
Timely release for Sting's visit next year! The first track could be quite a shock but the following track "Englishman in New York" lends itself really well to the orchestral arrangement. Some tracks are fairly close to the original versions but some like, Roxanne have a totally different mood to them (I quite liked this version). I'm still trying to remember the original "We worked the Black Seam" as this version, seemed quite different, but maybe better than the original.
Don't expect the raw "Police" sound. Just relax to a more mellow, mature, easy listening sound.
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