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Customer Review

56 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A debut classical album from Mike Oldfield. In a word, STUNNING, 6 Oct. 2007
This review is from: Music Of The Spheres (Audio CD)
If there is one musician in this world who was born to write a classical work, then it has to be Mike Oldfield. His most successful works have been those that combine real instruments with a compositional style that is not too far removed from classical music (i.e. Tubular Bells, Hergest Ridge, Ommadan etc) and after over 30 years in the music industry he has composed possibly his finest work since the 1970's. I am able to make this claim because i have a promo copy which has now been played countless times, and i want to pass this message on to as many people as possible- you will be presented with a 45 minute work in two movements, and within these movements you will hear the unmistakable style of the man himself, who also appears on most tracks, with his lyrical classical guitar. The work opens with HARBINGER, and the strings performing a very familiar musical pattern! THE TEMPEST is probably the most experimental and unconventional of the tracks, with a minimalist/ Steve Reich-like display from the strings/piano etc but at 3"45 there is an almighty build up, with an explosion of passion and thematic beauty. Influences of Karl Jenkins (the arranger and conductor on this album) can also be heard in SHABDA which towards the end features a beautiful chorus that raises the roof, and in my view is a homage to ADIEMUS. The song ON MY HEART is performed by Hayley Westenra and is so beautiful it will not fail to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. This closes part 1, and with AURORA we are treated to a virtuosic display from the strings in a very joyful passage, with choir singing the title 'Au-ro-ra!' THE OTHER SIDE is very filmic, whilst EMPYREAN reminds me of early Oldfield works with it's aggressive brass lines. This leads us into the closing track, MUSICA UNIVERSALIS which reprises the grand section of THE TEMPEST and we finish on a (perhaps cliched but nevertheless fantastic) rousing crescendo and an almighty cymbal crash. At the end i am left thinking to myself, there is no one quite as diverse, quite as creative, and quite as unmistakable in style as Mike Oldfield. Enjoy!
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Comments


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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 4 Apr 2008 21:30:14 BDT
unmixed says:
"If there is one musician in this world who was born to write a classical work, then it has to be Mike Oldfield".

Frankly, I find it hard to take your review seriously after such opening line.

Posted on 7 Apr 2008 00:20:33 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 7 Apr 2008 00:27:04 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Apr 2008 10:22:02 BDT
The Wolf says:
Couldn't agree more 'unmixed'. It pains me to see the name of Steve Reich mentioned in the same context.
Oldfield's work is derivative, formulaic and tedious in the extreme. C.S.'s use of the terms "experimental
and unconventional" in relation to the 'Tempest' section, for example, is laughable.
May I suggest he listens to Carl Nielsen's Symphony Number 4 (1914-16) for his edification.
(I suspect Mr Oldfield has been listening too).

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Apr 2008 16:24:45 BDT
unmixed says:
(I suspect Mr Oldfield has been listening too).

Or at least his orchestrator has been...

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Apr 2008 20:17:42 BDT
A.N Other says:
Give up on your criticisms would you - your boring! It's a great album - and a breath of fresh air from the usual chart tat.

Posted on 27 Apr 2008 21:00:03 BDT
Last edited by the author on 27 Apr 2008 21:02:48 BDT
Lee Thomas says:
Don't let 'em bother you C.S.

Whilst I respect other people's opinions, after reading The Wolf's so called 'review', I'm glad someone like that is criticising this album, as opposed to an intelligent reviewer!!

And as for unmixed, he just sounds as though his feet are super glued to his soapbox!

"It's a great album"... indeed!

In reply to an earlier post on 2 May 2008 01:05:50 BDT
unmixed says:
Mr Lee Thomas. I am glad you respect other people's opinions, when they are the same as yours. I actually thought you were referring to me when you mentioned "as opposed to an intelligent reviewer", but how wrong was I. I am a respected musician, whose judgement is also valued by the industry, and I don't think I have made any comment about this album without digesting the music first. It is only fair for us all to be allowed to expressed our opinion.

No one with an unbiased mind reading my first reply to this review would argue that a statement like "if there is one musician in this world who was born to write a classical work, then it has to be Mike Oldfield" is simply laughable. Thank you.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 May 2008 12:47:01 BDT
Last edited by the author on 3 May 2008 00:25:29 BDT
Lee Thomas says:
To unmixed... and just for the record,

First off, "after reading The Wolf's so called 'review', I'm glad someone like that is criticising this album, as opposed to an intelligent reviewer!!"......

.......I meant the Wolf's review, well fantasy story (Toads, rabbits, wizards)!!... was stupid and it was the reason I was calling him not you! And the 'intelligent reviewer' meant anyone, including yourself, who writes more sensible comments about the actual CD. I'm just puzzled as to how you misunderstood this.

Mind you though, I'm wondering why anyone who's "judgement is valued by the industry" can agree that this fairy tale story by The Wolf, qualifies as "Such a well written review." Why didn't you say to The Wolf "Frankly, I find it hard to take your review seriously after such opening line". After he wrote "Mike Oldfield Breaks Wind - Malice In Wonderland." not to mention the rest of it. I mean c'mon!

C.S's review is better written than yours and especially The Wolf's. Not because he praises the album, but because it's more in depth. And yes I admit, my review isn't as well written as C.S's too.

Secondly, I do respect other people's opinions even if they do differ from mine. You don't know me, so therefore how can you make such a judgement from one or two small comments, and say that I only respect other people's opinions when they're the same as mine.

So you don't like this album, fine by me. As long as I like it I'm happy. And yes I agree... "It is only fair for us all to be allowed to express our opinion".

The only gripe I have against you, is that you've already stated you don't like this album, fair enough... but you don't need to milk it by keep pulling people's reviews to bits with all your snide little digs. There's a difference between constructive critisism and nasty throw away digs like the ones you're dishing out here! (hence the soapbox remark to you)!

And third, I'm not a musician, and I don't know the first thing about true classical music. And maybe it's a duff classical album in the real meaning of the word, I dunno? I just think it's an excellent Mike Oldfield effort in his own catalogue. (I'll say it before you do... "Excellent Mike Oldfield effort, har har laughable, all Karl Jenkins work etc etc"!!)

Finally, I also wrote my review after "digesting the music first" (I had listened to it about 10 times then posted a review a couple of days later). And I have critisized Mike Oldfield before (see my Millennium Bell review in particular) so I am not completely biased.

Anyway the subject is now closed as far as I'm concerned (my fingers are tired now) and I'm wasting too much time online anyway. I could be doing better things like listening to Music Of The Spheres again. It'll be a long time before I forget about this album!

Take care.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 May 2008 02:49:44 BDT
unmixed says:
Take care you too. I admit my comment of The Wolf wasn't really a serious one - more in line with his tone - it was just kind of refreshing. I hope you will see my other comments so far as more genuine.
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