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84 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure by Hayley Westenra. A review by Keith
I have been following Hayley's career for over two years now and am fortunate to own her first two commercially released albums - the self-titled "Hayley Westenra" and "My Gift To You". The wait for her third album, which turned out to be her first international release, was a long one. But it was well worth the wait.
When it was released in New Zealand, I bought it...
Published on 29 Aug 2003

versus
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pure Voice
Here is a rare talent - a powerful, beautiful and hypnotising voice which has to be heard live or at least on a top quality hi-fi system to be appreciated fully. Stunning.
As an album however, there is something lacking. Some of the songs chosen don’t quite work and the somewhat traditional "sugary" production drags her down. Lose the orchestra and violins,...
Published on 31 Dec 2003 by Carlo


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84 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure by Hayley Westenra. A review by Keith, 29 Aug 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Hayley Westenra: Pure (Audio CD)
I have been following Hayley's career for over two years now and am fortunate to own her first two commercially released albums - the self-titled "Hayley Westenra" and "My Gift To You". The wait for her third album, which turned out to be her first international release, was a long one. But it was well worth the wait.
When it was released in New Zealand, I bought it direct. I then bought the international version from Hong Kong. I couldn't wait any longer for it to come out in the UK.
Since I bought it I have been playing it almost non-stop. Well, certainly several times a day. Every song on it is an absolute delight to listen to and demonstrate Hayley's wonderful gift of one of the most beautiful voices I have ever heard. She is invariably pitch-perfect, and the clarity of her voice is, in itself, entrancing. As well as this, she has a magnificent vocal range, which continually surprises me, even though I have spent so many hours listening to her.
So, her first international release is aptly titled "Pure". It is certainly an excellent definition of such a pure voice, and of the pure pleasure of listening to the album, either when considered by individual track or in it's entirety.
Pure is an eclectic mix of styles - crossover pop, classical and traditional Maori. Each completely different from the others, but complementing each other perfectly. As you listen to the various tracks, you will find them esoteric in parts, bold and powerful at other times, then ethereal, and then performed in a beautifully restrained and deeply moving way. And that doesn't even begin to cover it.
The combination of Hayley Westenra, Decca Classics, Sir George Martin, and his son Giles Martin has produced by far the best album I have heard in many years. It is, to say the least, masterful. In my opinion, this album is a "must have" for any music lover.
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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly the Voice of an Angel, 31 Aug 2003
This review is from: Hayley Westenra: Pure (Audio CD)
I first heard Hayley at Bryn Terfel's Faenol festival in August 2003. When she was introduced as a sixteen year-old schoolgirl, I was expecting a Charlotte Church clone, with an adequate voice and no more. However, I was bowled over by the pure quality of her voice, and her easy, fluid high notes.
'Pure' features a lovely mix of songs, from the enchanting Maori lullaby 'Hine e Hine', to religious songs such as 'Amazing Grace' and 'Benedictus' and a great cover of the Kate Bush classic 'Wuthering Heights' . The album would be stunning from any singer: from a young girl whose voice is still developing, it is truly something to be treasured.
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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charlotte who?, 5 Oct 2003
By 
Mr. Patrick J. Ward (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hayley Westenra: Pure (Audio CD)
As a long standing fan of the voices of young sopranos (before they have been over-coached), I was intrigued by what I was hearing about this delightful young Kiwi girl. After sampling some of what she has to offer, I have to give an overwhelming thumbs up to her talent and express my disbelief at the quality of her voice.
She is practically pitch-perfect, her breath control is amazing and the purity of her voice has to be heard to be believed. This from a 16 year old. I was a fan of the excellent Charlotte Church for a long time and I still love her music, but her voice relied too much on the use of vibrato, she was very breathy and always seemed to rush her songs. Hayley is a very welcome addition to an under-populated genre, in fact, she defies typical genre classification because of her easy grasp of such a broad range of styles. For instance, who could possibly do "Wuthering Heights" better than Kate Bush? No prizes for guessing.
"Pure" is an excellent album from a young artist with an awful lot of promise. Hear it and believe it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enchantingly superb without being pompus, 21 Mar 2004
By 
D. J. Fisher "Daivid J Fisher" (Uttoxeter) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hayley Westenra: Pure (Audio CD)
Well what else can I say. This album completely enchanted me. Like most people who buy this type of album I love my music, I am very difficult to please but this young lady has totaly captivated me . Her voice is flawles, not a single missed note on the whole album ( OK so I know they can over dub but work with me here) and lets face it how many people do you know who can sing Wuthering Heights. As much as I love Kate Bush's version I can't help feeling that this version has that certain Je Ne sai Quois that makes it stand out. If you love your music and you love pure unadulterated talent then buy this album. You will not be dissapointed.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply heaven, 20 Feb 2004
By 
As Wood - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hayley Westenra: Pure (Audio CD)
A beautiful collection of songs sung by a young New Zealander who has a voice so heavenly you can become entranced. Truely a fabulous album for anyone.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pure but mixed up, 1 Mar 2004
By 
Mr. R. B. Ager "Ronald Ager" (Nottingham, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hayley Westenra: Pure (Audio CD)
New Zealand doesn't produce many world-shattering musical artists but when it does - Kiri te Kanawa, Crowded House, Hayley Westenra - we certainly know about it.
This album has been cleverly put together to show off Hayley's pure soprano voice in all its facets. To begin with it is very pure, and clear, and high, sometimes almost achingly so. On some of the tracks ("River of Dreams", "Benedictus" and the frankly boring "Hine e Hine") she actually sounds more like a choirboy, and even the lead track "Pokarekare Ana" leans that way. Personally I'm not so keen on that; however, on others ("Never Say Goodbye", "Who Painted The Moon Black", "Dark Waltz", and even hoary old "Amazing Grace") the voice is soft and mellow, and warm enough to melt any natural cynicism some of us might have about very young singers being "found" and thrust into the limelight as the "next best thing". And the really remarkable feature of the voice is the absence of vibrato, in marked contrast to some of her contemporaries.
Although possibly not the best track on the album, it would not surprise me if "Wuthering Heights" is lifted off as a hit single, with dreamy accompanying video, at some future point. It is a fairly faithful version of it, and Hayley's voice shows another side to it by coming as close to the original as I have heard.
Quite apart from Hayley's voice, the album has the huge advantage of some sensitive arrangements and orchestrations, some courtesy of Sir George Martin. There are no heavy techno-beats to try to sell it in the "crossover" market, nor is it so sleepy that it's easy listening; there are just sufficient rhythms to let you know that this is not really a classical record.
It certainly is a bit of a mixed bag, stylistically, and I can't give it the full five stars. But at the tender age of 17 Hayley has some maturing to do, vocally and in personality, and whatever direction she takes in the future, with a voice like this I'm sure it will be great. I look forward to the next CD.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely voice and some highly original song choices, 12 Jun 2008
By 
Mart (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Hayley Westenra: Pure (Audio CD)
The original `Pure' album was released in 2003, and despite there now being a confusing number of variations of it (special edition, import, bonus tracks & bonus discs) there are basically two editions - this original single disc album, and a 2CD Special Edition which is the original album plus a bonus disc.

The songs are a mixture of classical, popular and traditional, with some highly original and unexpected choices such as `River of Dreams' which is a transcription of Vivaldi's lovely violin solo `largo' from `The Four Seasons', and a powerful recording of `Benedictus' from the Karl Jenkins' album `The Armed Man - A Mass for Peace'.

The New Zealand traditionals, predictably chosen because of Hayley's origin from that country, are the beautiful love songs `Pokarekare Ana' and `Hine e Hine' which are performed with effortless grace.

But the version of the 1978 Kate Bush hit `Wuthering Heights' was for me a disappointment, failing to reach anything like the passion and intensity achieved by Kate Bush and her backing group. This one floats along comfortably like a nice love song but eventually fizzles out with a competent, but lacklustre, guitar solo.

The remaining songs though are good performances, and the alternative 2CD Special Edition with its Christmas songs and video track, will probably be the recommended choice, depending of course on cost.

On its original release Pure deservedly reached No. 8 in the UK Pop chart and No.1 in the UK Classical chart. It remains the fastest selling international debut album in the history of the UK Classical chart and the best selling artist of her native New Zealand's history, having been awarded Platinum status ten times over.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Purification, 19 Feb 2004
By 
Nicola Jarvis (Herts, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hayley Westenra: Pure (Audio CD)
Purification
What can I say about Hayley which no one else has already said? Her voice is just perfection. Like I do with her other albums I can just sit there and listen doing nothing else. Her voice is just unbelievable. She is so gifted and she deserves all the recognition and success she is getting.
Pokarekare Ana - No other song will ever show Hayleys voice as such purification. I don't remember the background exactly but a man fell for a woman and her tribe didnt approve of him, so he wrote this poem for her. Simple yet so emotional. 5/5
Never Say Goodbye - This song shows how well Hayley can keep her diction clear. She sings with innocent emotion and her pitch is perfect. Its a slow song with contribution from violins. The song is mainly full of 'what ifs' then they wouldnt of had to say goodbye. Sweet. 3/5
Who Painted The Moon Black - Hayley chose this song. Most Poppy of all the songs. But you know, its great and its very popular among the fans. This song is for the beginners, it will probably be your first favourite song until you get to know the album better. Its mid-tempo again with wonderful violins. Its about a relationship which ended with no good reason. 5/5
River Of Dreams - This song really is beautiful but its not one of my favourites. This song is the turning point of the album when you realise its a very lyrical album. At least it is for me. It has a moody piano playing throughout but violins giving it sweet beauty complementing Hayleys voice. 3/5
Benedictus - The first very different song of the album. A song doesnt get slower than this one. This song is about the voice and not the instruments. Hayley is accompanied by a male choir, but very softly. It stays soft through out until a massive loud climax. 4/5
Hine E Hine - This is the one song of the album I do not like. Classical guitar and violins make up this boring song. I could be alright with this song if it wasnt for the man speaking half way through it. Hayley says it gives it extra flavour... I would just have to disagree. Sorry. 2/5
Dark Waltz - Absolutely brilliant! Whoever wrote this is a genius and Hayley makes it into a work of a genius with the must beautiful vocals ever to be sung. If its not for the moody violins its the lyrics. The song is what the titles says: A Waltz twisted into something darker, melancholic. This song is just beauty. The best song of the whole album. Highlights of this song is when Hayley sings 'Turning me into the light' and the end climax 'Let the Dark Waltz begin'. One of the best songs ever written and her best performance. 5/5
Amazing Grace - *yawn* We've heard it before. Its a good version, and it is a beautiful song but I've heard it so many times. Hayley says its her favourite to sing. Fair enough, she sings with conviction but Im more interested in the other songs. 4/5
My Heart And I - I really like this song but its obviously not the strongest of the album. I love the lyrics, its a wonderful concept. Her vocals are just sweet in this one. Its slow and innocent. 3/5
In Trutina - I could say the same for this as I did for Amazing Grace but I can't. I've heard so many other artists sing this and it never got my attention. But Hayley makes me pay attention to this song and its turned out to be one of my favourites. I havent heard anyone sing this any better and I actually own the soundtrack of the opera it came from. 5/5
Beat Of Your Heart - Another lyrical song. Hayleys voice is really clear in this one. This song is kind of moody achieved mostly by the wind instruments. The guitar is the dominent instrument in this one. Its about finding your strength in the one you love. 3/5
Across The Universe Of Time - Sarah Class composed this song and its one of the best of the album. Again, very lyrical. The lyrics to this just blow me away and the chorus is just beautiful. Its epic to me although I cant pick out why. OH I wish I could write like that! 5/5
Heaven - Poppy and weak though its one of the fans favourite. Its about a friend that died young and seeing them again in Heaven. It has a catchy chorus and the lyrics are touching. Just not one of my favourites. 3/5
Wuthering Heights - Hayley is good with this song. But I dont see the point in covering it. She is also releasing it. I dont see who will buy it as a single apart from her fans. Oldies will prefer the original and the younger generation are not going to give it a second listen. But she does it brilliantly. Somewhat proved herself doing this song.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From a fan of Hayley, 15 Sep 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Hayley Westenra: Pure (Audio CD)
I have heard a lot about Hayley Westenra and went to the Last Night of the Proms at Kenwood Hall in Hampstead especially to hear her. I was very much looking forward to seeing Hayley and when she came on I was absolutely delighted. It was a long wait to buy Pure but it was worth the wait. She has a truely fabulous voice, I loved every track. I am amazed at how she can reach those notes. From Pokarekare Ana to Wuthering Heights she covers a wide vocal range faultlessly. I hopes she comes back to do some concerts.
I would like to know where I can buy her other albums.
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22 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just fantastic, 6 Nov 2003
By A Customer
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This review is from: Hayley Westenra: Pure (Audio CD)
Just what's needed when sitting in heavy traffic, Hayley's voice is amazing. Like another reviewer said, who else could possibly do "Wuthering Heights"? I'm looking forward to her next offering.
I hope she sticks to classical, but having said that, I really love the Maori songs too. Hayley is a breath of fresh air.
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