Top positive review
32 of 32 people found this helpful
on 13 April 2012
Rock/Pop artists have tried producing classical works in the past with competent to mediocre results. Sir Paul McCartney comes to mind, being one of the most melodic songwriters of all time. His "Liverpool Oratorio Suite" and "Ecce Cor Meum" received modest reviews. So when former Bee Gees member Robin Gibb and his son RJ stepped up to the plate to honor the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, the skeptics were waiting.
The work is not a rock opera, an Andrew Lloyd Weber production, nor even a purely classical piece. It takes the strengths of all these elements and produces one unique experience. Its actually an ingenious idea that Robin Gibb would take his fascination of the Titanic and use it to emote an interweaving composition of absolute drama. Using the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, forty-two strong chorus members bursting forth in Latin ('Latin Mass for the Dead') and three unique soloists, 'The Titanic Requiem" comes very close to nailing a perfect movement that easily pulls emotion from the listener. The layered mixture of vocals and orchestration can be startling given that this is the first work of this kind from Robin Gibb.
Most of the pieces are somber and heartfelt without much levity. In fact, only "Farewell (The Immigrant Song)" and "Maiden Voyage" contain glimmers of happiness and hope. Soon, pieces like, "Kyrie" and "Sos (Tract)" give way to a more serious and foreboding sense. A listener may find a few of the pieces ponderous or even too grave, but perhaps that was the point; to give the listener no chance for composure given the severity in the wake of this most famous disaster. The three solo vocalist songs are truly beautiful, and the lyrics (particularly "Daybreak" and "Don't Cry Alone") suck sorrow from the gut with surprising ease. In fact, Robin Gibb's trembling "Don't Cry Alone" is one of his most startlingly aching vocals to date.
To compare the "The Titanic Requiem" to anything other than itself would be a disservice as it truly does not easily fall into any one category. It is a work from a father and son who let out all emotional stops, in severe illness and health, to deliver a truly unique and satisfying hybrid of musical compositions. "The Titanic Requiem" begs numerous listening.