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.