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4.8 out of 5 stars
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 5 May 2004
Van Morrison returns to the east Belfast of his childhood for a record with snatches of R and B, protestant chapels ('Be Thou My Vision') and the mysticism which with he somehow rose about it all without ever leaving it behind.
The title track is one of his greatest ever compositions and performances, and the whole thing is full of twists and surprises without ever losing the theme or the plot. Even when he starts to ramble a little in the nostalgia of place names around those terraced streets, you just feel you're there with him on those sunny afternoons of childhood. Inspired.
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Hymns To The Silence is an opus magnum where Morrison�s talent reaches awesome new heights. The album impresses on many levels: the lyrical ingenuity, melodic beauty, intelligent arrangements and above all the expert mastery of many different musical styles.
Although every track is memorable, my favourites include I�m Not Feeling It Anymore with its galloping rhythms and flowing tune, the rocking Ordinary Life, a wry observation on life, the jaunty, jazzy So Complicated and the beautiful authentic country song I Can�t Stop Loving You.
Very personal observations like Professional Jealousy and Why Must I Always Explain have more of the folky feel about them, especially the second one with its hypnotic melody line. Perhaps the greatest moment is Be Thou My Vision, an extraordinarily powerful hymn that is one of this artist�s best descriptions of spiritual ecstasy.
In this regard, the title track is gripping too, but more subdued and restrained, creating a feeling of awe. See Me Through (Just A Closer Walk With Thee) is also very moving but a more traditional slice of gospel and it reminds me of Astral Weeks. The soulful song Take Me Back with its wistful harmonica likewise has a touch of that great album.
Hymns To The Silence is an uplifting work of genius on a par with Astral Weeks, Moondance and Tupelo Honey but provides greater variety than any of them. Every track here has some special quality and the alternating musical styles make it a wonderful and inspiring listening experience.
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on 7 September 2005
I'm enough of a fan of VTM to find something good on every album he's done, but I really think that Hymns is a must-have CD. I do find his continual obsession with his celebrity and the music business a bit grating - but on Hymns, the totally sublime sequence from tracks 12 thru 21 totally makes up for the odd weak spot. I defy anyone not to appreciate the pure quality of that string of songs and performances. Not only is Van in great voice, the whole production is outstanding, with special mentions for Georgie Fame on the Hammond and Candy Dulfer on sax - her accompaniment on "It must be you" is flawless.
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on 18 February 2000
Almost all of Van Morrison's music is worth checking out.
This is excellent, even by those high standards we have come to expect from him.
There are some simply astonishing tracks on here, that capture that beauty that Van Morrison's songs exemplify. Some songs are just stunning - check out "By His Grace" and the title track "Hymns to the Silence" - quite breath-taking! And "Carrying the Torch" is magnificent too. An exceptional album from an exceptional artist. Don't miss it!
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on 25 March 2003
This is quite simply a "must have" album. It incorporates all the moods of Van the
Man, from his "Professional Jealousy" and "Why Must I always Explain" to "Hymns
to the Silence" and "By his Grace". The titles are as transparent as the songs
themselves, but the music is deep and will stir your emotions like only the Van can.
There are some Van Morrison specialities here also, like "On Hyndford Street" and
"Pagan Streams" where the hypnotic narrative takes the album to another level.
If you don't own a Van Morrison album, this would be a great start, as it incorporates the
many different sides to this musical genius.
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on 22 June 2016
It is hard to pick out a Van Morrison album, as he has so many. The reason for this one is I'd miss out and had not purchased this on release for some reason.
It is a double LP that deserves to be, there are no weak waste of time tracks on board. The songs as ever have plenty of soul and blues, but also brings The Cheiftains element on a number of tracks. There are some extremely passionate and heart felt songs, not a rarity to the artist.
If you have let this one pass you by, please give it a go.
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on 4 October 2006
This is a fantastic piece of work. Much more than just a collection of tracks, this is almost a spiritual concept album. Van Morrison is often guilty of believing his own press, but this is deserving of all praise it receives.

The mood of the album as a whole is genuinely uplifting, and the lyrics are heartfelt. As well as giving an insight into Van's growing up, it could be any of us writing these songs. It talks about childhood memories, dreams we had, places we lived...it has a real dreamy quality that I can't remember many albums having.

Its not mainstream, and not weel known, but once you hear it, I am sure you won't forget. Flawed Masterpiece.
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Hymns To The Silence is an opus magnum where Morrison's talent reaches awesome new heights. The album impresses on many levels: the lyrical ingenuity, melodic beauty, intelligent arrangements and above all the expert mastery of many different musical styles, including country, folk, soul, rock and gospel.
Although every track is memorable and tuneful, my favourites include I'm Not Feeling It Anymore with its galloping rhythms and flowing melody, the rocking Ordinary Life, a wry observation on life, the jaunty, jazzy So Complicated and the beautiful authentic country song I Can't Stop Loving You.
Very personal observations like Professional Jealousy and Why Must I Always Explain have more of the folky feel about them, especially the second one with its hypnotic melody line. Perhaps the greatest moment is Be Thou My Vision, an extraordinarily powerful hymn that is one of this artist's best descriptions of spiritual ecstasy.
In this regard, the title track is gripping too, but more subdued and restrained, creating a feeling of awe. See Me Through (Just A Closer Walk With Thee) is also very moving but a more traditional slice of gospel and it reminds me of Astral Weeks. The soulful song Take Me Back with its wistful harmonica likewise has a touch of that great album.
Hymns To The Silence is an uplifting work of genius on a par with Astral Weeks, Moondance and Tupelo Honey but provides greater variety than any of them. Every track here has some special quality and the alternating musical styles make it a wonderful and inspiring listening experience.
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In January of 2008 the first 8 titles of Van Morrison's extensive remastered reissues began - followed by 7 more in late June/early July 2008.

Here in the UK, these issues came with inlays that advertised the forthcoming titles for phase 3 and 4 as Sept 2008 and Jan 2009 respectively (30 titles in total).

The 3rd phase (in which 1991's 2CD "Hymns" was scheduled) was to appear as I say in September 2008 - but these were then delayed on some databases to November 2008 - but it now looks as if they won't arrive until February 2009 - next year.

This review is by way of notice to that affect - and a warning to prospective buyers - anyone advertising these titles for sale at inflated prices BEFORE their release date should be avoided.
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on 25 January 2010
Why this album is not currently available freely to all his fans I really don't know. I don't get the music industry at times. This is a great album. an astonising album. My CD is well worn out, my original cassette version was also worn out, I need another copy at a reasonable price.
This album has everything as other reviewers have said before me. There is not quite a favourite track for me but I will mention Village Idiot and Green Mansions - truly a set of tracks you will never tire of and will stick in your mind forever.
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