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Music Of The Spheres CD

127 customer reviews

Price: £5.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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Product details

  • Audio CD (17 Mar. 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: UCJ Mercury
  • ASIN: B000T6K8KW
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (127 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 22,601 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Product Description

Product Description

MIKE OLDFIELD Music Of The Spheres (2008 UK 14-track CD album - Collaborating for this release with the highly respected Karl Jenkins Mike Oldfield has returned to his ubiquitous Tubular Bells and used a theme from it aS the theme for his first attempt at a truly classical album. With a guest appearances by the divine Hayley Westenra on the vocal piece On My Heart and acclaimed pianist Lang Lang who appears throughout Oldfield has drawn upon the best the Classical world hasto offer for this premier outing)

BBC Review

If you're going to prove your detractors wrong better to do it in grand style. In his autobiography (Changeling 2007) Mike Oldfield describes how, after being the butt of patronising attitudes whilst a member of Kevin Ayers' band, he wanted to come up with something that would make everyone sit up and take him seriously. Well, it doesn't get much grander than Tubular Bells, and more or less the whole wide world (give or take a few million sales here and there) sat up and took notice.

The phenomenal success didn't necessarily make him happy. Several times in his book he talks of being grateful for the abiding interest in Bells whilst simultaneously resentful about having everything he does compared to that first record. Despite such stylistically diverse pieces such Ommadawn, the catchy pop and rock of Moonlight Shadow or Family Man, or even the techno-tinged moods of 2005's Light And Shade, he's never quite escaped the gilded cage which his debut album has constructed around him.

It's no great surprise, therefore, that the dancing string motif of the opening track Harbinger is clearly drawn from the same gene pool as the first fruit of his loins. Similarly the stirring bass figures which stoke the engines of Musica Universalis bear a striking resemblance to those underpinning the Viv Stanshall-narrated coda of Tubular Bells.

Back then the guitar was pretty much the star. Here Oldfield's tunes have been threaded into Karl Jenkins' opulent orchestral embroidery. Not surprisingly Music Of The Spheres does sound an awful lot like an Adiemus album at times. Shabda in particular has those choral voices that Jenkins pushed to the fore though mercifully aren't lumbered with that ridiculous invented 'ethnic' language which Jenkins devised.

Perhaps because Oldfield's presence is limited to a few cameo appearances the album lacks the personality and tension which he achieved with side one of Tubular Bells. And if that seems unfair then it's because so much of Music Of The Spheres sounds like an old arrival rather than a new departure. --Sid Smith

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Peter Lee TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 12 Nov. 2007
Format: Audio CD
I grew up in a house where my Dad was a huge Mike Oldfield fan, and I remember him excitedly rushing home with his latest album, putting it on the hi-fi, and then we would sit there and listen to it, waiting for him to pass judgement. His enthusiasm rubbed off on me, and as the years passed we would both listen to the albums separately, then reconvene to discuss what we had heard. For me, "Amarok" has been his finest album, followed by "Ommadawn", but this album is right alongside them.

The first thing that must be said is that "Music of the Spheres" is NOT "Tubular Bells 4", and although it immediately sounds like Oldfield you soon realise that the entire album is orchestral and there is little, maybe even no guitar on there, so don't expect wailing electric guitars, but do be prepared for strings, brass, and choirs. Right from the start is is clear that this is an Oldfield album but the orchestration is simply gorgeous. The album is split into two halves, a Hayley Westenra vocal ending the first "side", and the rousing "Musica Universalis" bringing the second to a close, a few of his trademark tubular bells popping up towards the end.

Critisicms? The album is only forty five minutes long and could easily have been much longer, but what we have here is just perfect. Oldfield's best album in years, and I really can't wait to hear the album again.
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56 of 62 people found the following review helpful By A. J. Blakemore on 7 Feb. 2008
Format: Audio CD
Having been a great fan of Mike Oldfield's music since 1973 (!) I've never really been disapointed with any thing he's done but as with all genuinely creative artists ,their careers have their high points and low points.
Mike Oldfield is no exception and although it's been a long time coming ,'Music of the Spheres' is definately one of the high points in his long career.This is Mike Oldfield at his very best.
When I first heard he was creating an orchestral peice of music with no electric guitar my main concern was that it wouldn't sound like Mike Oldfield.I've always thought that Mike's distictive sound came from the fact that, apart from his unique electric guitar style he generaly plays nearly every instrument himself thus giving each peice his own unique'musical voice'.
Where 'Music of the Spheres'succeeds is that although apart from some beautiful acoustic guitar played by Mike,the music is played via an orchestra but some how has that unmistakable Mike Oldfield 'sound-scape'you would expect to hear if he'd played everything himself.
From the opening bars of Harbinger to the last notes of Musica Universalis this is classic Mike Oldfield of a quality we haven't heard Mike produce in many ,many years.
At its very best Mike's music has an almost addictive quality about it.Sadly this quality has been lacking in recent years but here he's back with a piece of music that in parts is so beautiful it will send shivers down your spine and bring tears to your eyes !
This is the Mike Oldfield album I've been waiting so long for,brilliant in its composition and construction.Music that inspires and moves you with flashes of genuine genius.Anyone who thought that 'Tubular Bells' or 'Ommadawn' were the pinical of Mike Oldfield's career listen to this.
My only hope now is that we all get the chance to see it performed live.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By mariopops on 17 Mar. 2008
Format: Audio CD
I have to diagree with two earlier reviews,i.e. a one star review from someone who has given one star in 6 of his last 10 review items so is obviously very hard to please , likewise a two star review from someone who gives 5 stars to 1953 reissues of Janacek and Mahler.. doubtless very good in their way but that is isn't the audience this album is aimed at! Having payed the album twice with "open ears" I am happy to say this is Classic Oldfield : it just happens to be played by an Orchestra with the man himself taking a bit part on accoustic guitar. Any Oldfield fans ,especially those from the early days, will rejoice in this album as a return to form...In particular if you liked the Orchestral version of Tubular Bells then you should click the buy button immediately . In summary - clasical? possibly not , but classic- yes!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Edward Leedskalnin on 14 Feb. 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
With the imminent release of Oldfield's 2014 release; Man on the Rocks, I find myself drawn to his other most recent release now 6 years old. For those fans of old like myself, Music of the Spheres is a (very sweet) treat. Finally, Oldfield shakes off his frankly dreadful techno-chill phase and goes classical!!!

Harbinger, the albums opener, heralds this as another work in the Tubular Bells series. At first this grated with me but hang in there, the nods to Tubular Bells are only occasional. I find it helps to make sense of Oldfield's entire back-catalog if you see it as one big piece of music with plenty of variations on a theme along the way. I'm sure some of those grand old masters of classical music used to do this throughout their careers, Viv Aldi for example, before he set up that supermarket chain.

Joking aside, Music of the Spheres features some truly beautiful moments, it is clearly Oldfield's most rewarding work for many, many years. The only negative for me is that at times it does stray into Hollywood film-score territory. With so much of that in our lives already is this unnecessary? I might have preferred those saccharine cinematic passages to instead have been pieces more challenging to the ear of a listener matured by years of Oldfield's grander moments.

Plus....for those who yearn for a return to the sound of those early classics; Ommadawn, Hergest Ridge, Incantations and the like, an artist by the name of Andrew Taylor has come to your rescue. Look up his recent Mohribold album, many of the Oldfield faithful seem to be talking about it.
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