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Hayley Westenra [Australian Import] [Import]

Hayley Westenra Audio CD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Biography

# Hayley Westenra began performing when she was just 6 years old and made her first recording in a professional studio at 12. She was still only 16 when she released her debut international CD, Pure. It rapidly became the fastest-selling debut album from a classical artist, and reached the Top 10 of the pop charts in 11 countries. Her albums have sold more than four million copies worldwide to ... Read more in Amazon's Hayley Westenra Store

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Product details

  • Audio CD (3 Nov 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Universal
  • ASIN: B0000TAOKW
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 30,357 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful 23 Feb 2004
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Most people have heard Hayleys international release 'Pure' and its her best album. This album is brilliant in its own right however. This album has a fantastic selection of songs and Hayley really does make them into her own with some very different arrangements made by her team. 'Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again' sounds kind of odd since its supposed to be a very melancholic song yet it turns into a happy beat someway through. When you hear Hayleys rendition of 'Walking In The Air' you will think 'Aled who?' She really does sing that song so beautifully.
The downshot of this album is the selection of songs (yes Im contradicting myself). I say this because we have heard all of the songs before. She brings something new and fresh into the songs but it lacks what Pure has and thats the original songs.
You must get this album though, her voice is just so beautiful!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply wonderful 16 Jan 2006
Format:Audio CD
This is an amazing album from Hayley, released when she was just 14/15 (the copyright is 2001). Hayley's voice is noticably less rounded than on either 'Pure' or 'Odyssey', but she is still beautiful to listen to. The selection are mainly well known tunes, many from West End shows. My personal favourite tracks are 'Walking in the Air', 'Bright Eyes' and 'Love Changes Everything', the rest are all very good too. The only slight dissapointment (and I mean very slight) is 'Amazing Grace' - this version is rather slower than she normally sings it, but is rather nicely accompanied by the 'The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards'. Not quite as rousing, but still very good to listen to. BUY IT!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as other albums 13 Feb 2013
By Vee
Format:MP3 Download|Verified Purchase
Was disappointed this is not as good as her other albums, but am still a fan of Hayley Westenra. Liked the well known songs from the musicals, but not walking in the air.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  30 reviews
85 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Perfect Instrument 25 Jun 2004
By Marc Ruby™ - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is one of two Hayley Westenra albums that are still not commonly available in the US (The other is My Gift to You, equally good, and is primarily holiday music). Unlike Pure, which is heavily produced, this album represents a more pristine sound, one which lets the naturally beauty of her voice come through clearly. For those of you have not heard her before, Hayley has a very clear and flowing high range, with sensitivity and control well beyond the norm for her age.
For the most part this album contains classical (two 'Ave Marias' and Webber's 'Piu Jesu') and show music (Cats, Phantom, and Les Miserables). It is the latter which really demonstrate that her skill is far more than a technical one. Songs like 'Memory' or 'All I Ask of You' take a certain maturity of vision to present and sound like more than memorized music. Whether this is innate in Westenra or she is being well coached is moot, the result can be compelling. I cannot begin to imagine what Hayley's voice will be like if she continues to develop it at this pace.
It's hard for me to pick out a song that isn't a favorite. Westenra's taste in this album reflects my own romantic roots - 'Memory', 'Somewhere', 'Love Changes Everything', and so on. Perhaps her Pie Jesu, beautiful as it is, takes second place to Sarah Brightman's - purely due to vocal coloring rather than ability.
In fact that leads to my only quibble - just because a singer can sing the incredibly high notes doesn't mean that they should make a habit if it. When Westenra forces a note she hits it, but it becomes slightly edgy. Sometimes this works, and sometimes it doesn't. Compare the aforementioned 'Pie Jesu' with 'Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again,' which is only slightly lower in range, and you will see what I mean. Both are excellent, but the latter is more flowing and natural.
That aside, Hayley Westenra has what may very well be one of the voices of this century, full, an astounding range, and an ear for what makes beautiful music. She seems at home with a remarkable range of music - to the point were one can only look forward to here further efforts with a sense of stunned delight.
45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hayley's voice was pure even before Pure 24 May 2004
By Daniel J. Hamlow - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Looking at the song selection on this album, which compelled me to get this following the stunning Pure, I can see how Christchurch, New Zealand's classical crossover prodigy, Hayley Westenra has gone the Sarah Brightman/Charlotte Church route, even being touted as being the new Church. Her soft lilting voice may not be as robust as Charlotte Church, but there's a smooth crystalline quality about it that's equally home doing church hymns, pop, and songs set to classical melodies. As for the arrangements, piano and a maximum of four violins feature greatly, with some emphasis on synths as opposed to an orchestra.
From the get-go, her sweet and soaring vocals and the violins make "Walking In The Air" and the Celtic-like "The Mists of Islay" dreamy experiences.
She is notable for doing two "Ave Maria"s. The first is the one adapted by Bach's First Prelude, which Church does on Voice Of An Angel. The other is the more familiar one by Schubert, which is a staple during Christmastime and which benefits from a nice violin arrangement and Hayley's angelic voice.
Five of the songs here are Andrew Lloyd Webber tunes that Sarah Brightman has covered on her ALW Collection CD. She hits a splendid higher register in the first pre-chorus verses and final chorus "Memory" from Cats. Her best rendition of an ALW song? With help from Shaun Dixon, she then does the song that pushed Cliff Richard and Sarah Brightman to the top of the UK charts in the 80's, "All I Ask Of You" from Phantom Of The Opera, and her high notes are superlative here without being strained. Dixon works well as a junior sort of Josh Groban. Also from Phantom is "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again," set to some light drums that make it a trice quicker than Brightman's version. With her cover of "Pie Jesu," from ALW's Requiem, the number that pushed Charlotte Church to fame and which has been done by Brightman makes another voice singing for the orphans of the civil war in Belfast. And finally, from Aspects Of Love, is "Love Changes Everything," with a rat-tat-tating snare drum in the background.
The song that prompted me to get this was her cover of Mike Batt's "Bright Eyes," the song in the movie Watership Down that Art Garfunkel covered. The synth arrangements don't make it as tearful as the strings in Garfunkel's version, but her high vocals still do great justice to this song.
From Les Miserables, comes the forlorn "I Dreamed A Dream," the heart-rending number of despair when a life of troubles has killed those dreams. One of the standouts here. And she does a splendid "Somewhere" from West Side Story.
Two bonus tracks include her rendition of the patriotic hymn ballad "God Defend New Zealand," featuring piano and guitar, and some organ-like synths towards the end. She sings in both English and Maori here. The album ends with a live cover of "Amazing Grace," the studio version of which can be heard on Pure.
With Charlotte Church's conspicuous absence, I say a la Yoda, "No, there is another," meaning someone who could succeed Sarah Brightman in the realm of classical crossover. 4.5, rounded to 5, as her followup, Pure, tops this one, but her voice is pure all the same.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The amazing Hayley Westenra! 10 Jan 2004
By A. Sybo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Hayley has one of the most beautiful voices I have ever heard. And combined with beautiful music, this album is a winner. It's hard to believe that this is a debut album at points because Hayley's technique is wonderful. Most of the songs on here are taken from musical theater, and there are a few traditional songs, too. There is one live track, 'Amazing Grace'. I also like how Hayley sings a tribute to her home country, New Zealand, in 'God Defend New Zealand'. This is a great album for fans of musical theater and classical crossover. Hopefully this spring, with the release of her worldwide debut album, Pure, in the USA, Hayley will get the superstardom she deserves.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful,pure,haunting voice! 28 April 2004
By "smahony2" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I Love Charlotte Church and Haley is such a great discovery for me I think her voice is a more elegant and pure sounding than
Charlotte's but I don't think she can hit the notes that Miss.Church can hit.I would call Haley's vocal capabilities as a cross between Charlotte,Enya & Sissel (closest
to Sissel & Enya).
I would highly recomend her her Cd's.A voice of another angel.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In the beginning, there was Hayley... 15 Feb 2006
By rorqual - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Following a limited edition CD that was only ever made for friends and family, this was Hayley's first commercially available recording, but even this was only ever released in New Zealand.

The recording sessions took place in 2001 when Hayley was still only 13 years old, yet her voice sounds so mature and rich and she displays such wonderful voice control. Overall, this recording allows the listener 47 minutes of absolute bliss.

1. Walking In The Air (Words and music by Howard Blake)

This was once a hit for Aled Jones and remained popular for years. Now, with an intriguingly mystical introduction and a gently cascading theme between verses, Hayley's gorgeous voice always sounds strong and vibrant.

2. Ave Maria (Bach)

With its omnipresent and highly recognisable tripping piano accompaniment, Hayley sings this beautifully. With perhaps a greater level of reverb than usual, it sounds as though she is singing in a huge cathedral.

3. Memory (from 'Cats')

This begins with an arrangement for piano and vocal only, which enables the listener to concentrate fully on Hayley's wondrous voice. A full instrumental backing then becomes rich and powerful before gradually subsiding to allow Hayley's vocal part to once again transcend all expectations.

4. All I Ask Of You (from 'Phantom of the Opera')

This is sung in duet with Shaun Dixon, a New Zealand tenor aged 23 (at the time of the recording). They alternate the lead and blend together perfectly when they sing together.

5. Somewhere (from 'West Side Story')

Although 'Somewhere' might be a slightly uninspiring title, the opening line, 'There's A Place For Us', generates instant recognition. It is, however, a particularly memorable song from the pen of Leonard Bernstein with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. It never sounded more lovely than when Hayley sings it. Her voice is so perfect that you want every note to be held for half an hour or more to enable you to wallow in its beauty.

6. The Mists Of Islay (Music by Wishart Campbell; Lyrics by Gavin Creed)

This sounds for all the world as though it is a traditional song but, in fact, it isn't. In places, the melody is reminiscent of 'The Skye Boat Song' and 'Scarborough Fair'. The island of Islay lies just below Jura off the west coast of Scotland - a place that evokes a feeling of peace and tranquility. So does the song and, particularly, Hayley's interpretation of it which is quite delightful.

7. Ave Maria (Schubert)

This is enchanting and begins so peacefully it makes one want to drift off to sleep. It sounds a very ambitious work for someone so young to attempt but, Mr Schubert need have no fears. Hayley did not let him down!

8. Bright Eyes (Words and music by Mike Batt)

Of course, we do not know how much time elapsed between the recording of the last track and this one or even that they were recorded in the same order as they appear on the end product but the change in style from classical to popular is magical and seamless, displaying Hayley's eclectic tastes and her great versatility.

This song, originally from the film 'Watership Down' was made popular by Art Garfunkel. It is so well known that any other version will inevitably be compared to it and familiarity usually tends to win. Not so here. Hayley's voice is utterly sensational. It was always a lovely song but, sung by Hayley, has become an eternal favourite. There is a delightful vocal fade-out at the end. Lesser singer's voices can sound frail when singing softly but Hayley's is still strong even as it fades gently away.

9. Pie Jesu (from 'Requiem')

We return to the classical genre. At least it sounds as though we do, but this was written in 1985 by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Those piercing high notes send shivers down the spine. Hayley is surely capable of taking the lead in some future Lloyd Webber production. Are you reading this, Sir Andrew?!

10. Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again (from 'Phantom of the Opera')

Hayley reaches the low notes in this song easily. What an incredible range she has. The instrumental break from violin, cello, piano and cymbals is haunting and delightful but, at the same time seems to demand the return of the vocal. It comes. The final note is so high, so pure, so perfect.

11. I Dreamed A Dream (from 'Les Miserables')

A fabulous song which never sounded better than this. The central section contains some notes so low that I wouldn't have expected Hayley to reach them. But she does so easily and they sound so rich. The whole song is sung with such feeling and passion that I defy anyone to listen closely to Hayley's voice especially during the final few lines and not be deeply moved.

12. Love Changes Everything (from 'Aspects of Love')

This is probably my favourite Andrew Lloyd Webber song anyway. It once occurred to me that it would be wonderful to hear Hayley sing it. I did not know then that she had recorded it. Here, sometimes singing two tracks in harmony with herself, it sounds quite magnificent. Two Hayleys - heavenly. And that top note at the end, perfectly held and controlled for seven seconds. Awesome.

13. God Defend New Zealand (Music by John Joseph Woods; English lyrics by Thomas Bracken; Maori lyrics by Thomas Henry Smith)

This song and 'God Save The Queen' share equal status as the National Anthems of New Zealand but, in the absence of the Queen or a member of the Royal Family, only 'God Defend New Zealand' is used. The words were written in the 1870s and set to music a few years later when a competition was held for that purpose with a prize of ten guineas!

The first verse is arranged simply for vocal with piano accompaniment. The second verse is for vocal and acoustic guitar. Throughout these two verses Hayley's voice sounds quite majestic. Finally comes a synthesiser sounding for all the world like the majesty of a cathedral organ above which her voice sounds triumphant. Throughout, it is a joy to hear.

14. Amazing Grace (Traditional)

Unlike the rest of the album, this song was recorded during a live performance in Hamilton, New Zealand in February 2001. We hear the announcement, 'Ladies and Gentlemen, Hayley Westenra'. The welcoming applause dies away as Hayley begins to sing the ever popular 'Amazing Grace'. It features the pipes and drums of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. The arrangement would sound magnificent as an instrumental but is enhanced by a 13-year-old Hayley whose voice sounds mature beyond her years. Such feeling. Such control. Such emotion. Utterly perfect. As we hear in the closing announcement, it was "absolutely fantastic. Thank you very much, Hayley.'"And so say all of us.

Hayley, if anyone told you at the time that your CD was a success, you tell them they were wrong. It was absolutely magnificent.
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