Isles of Wonder - Music For The Opening Ceremony Of The London 2012 Olympic Games
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Overseen by artistic director Danny Boyle, the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games was one of the most talked about and acclaimed events of the 21st-centruy. Its soundtrack, which was curated by regular Boyle collaborators Underworld, was a key factor to its success.
Featuring performances from Frank Turner, Four Nations Choirs, London Symphony Orchestra and Mike Oldfield, Isles of Wonder captures the electricity of this momentous evening. It also contains all of the evening's highlights, including Arctic Monkey's take on "Come Together", Emili Sande's rendition of "Abide With Me" and the soundtrack to the lighting of the torch, "Calliban's Dream".
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Pity the Vinyl limited edition of the Opening Ceremony is no longer available, but this is a good alternative.
Listening to this CD transports me straight back to the whole experience in a way that watching the event live on TV was not completely able to do. Letting the music fill my living space (particularly the music on disc one) creates a gorgeous expansive soundscape of tremendous light and shade, grit and grandeur, that is both haunting and earthy in turns. The music is drawn from various genres yet it all gels in a seamless sonic tapestry that is very moving.
It is unusual for me to want to play music loud. This is the exception, and although I normally use an mp3 player, I have never wished to put Isles of Wonder on it. The range ot this music is so deep and so huge it seems to require to be expressed in physical space. The drums are superb.
Not for playing in the background, but BIG music to listen to. I love it!
Kicking off with Frank Turners 'I still believe' we are taken on a tour of the UK and the Four Nations Choir before Underworld dazzles with a rich blend of music followed by the magical Mike Oldfield. The LSO plays a wonderful cover of Chariots of Fire before we are treated to Blanck Mass, Dizzee Rascal and AR Rahman featuring Jaspreet Jasz displaying a unique cultural and energetic blend of music, this is followed by Emelie Sande's Heaven and a truly soul stirring rendition of Abide with Me sung in remembrance of the 7/11 bombings ( a sharp counterpoint to the previous days announcement that London had won the Games) the Arctic Monkeys bring us Come together which leads into Underworlds 'Calibans Dream' fusing the musical genuius of Dame Evelyn Glennie, Only Men Aloud, Elizabeth Roberts and Esme Smith and Alex Trimble,and this is just disc 1.
Disc 2 Welcome opens with the Chemical Brothers Galvanize before treating the listener to a blend of synth and electronic music, the Pet Shop Boys, U2, Underworld and a host of musical talent that underscored the arival of the outstanding Olympic Athletes from across the world.
This CD is a wonderful reminder of the London 2012 Olympic Games where the Uk welcomed the finest from across the globe, just listening to it reminds me of the opening of the games and the great privelage of greeting the sporting heroes to our great country.
a must for Olympic fans, sit back and recall the warmth and humour of the UK's quirky and Great British opening ceremony.
So, just 2 points from me. You don't have to be religious to appreciate Abide With Me. This has been the anthem at Wembley cup finals for countless years, sung by thousands of football and rugby league supporters many of whom have never seen the inside of a church. This version by Emili Sante is the best I've ever heard.
Caliban's Dream deserves a special mention. Like other memorable moments in the Opening Ceremony it derives from Shakespeare's The Tempest. It is the backdrop to Steve Redgrave entering the stadium with the Olympic flame, which he hands to the young athletes who then light the cauldron. Composed by the musical director Rick Smith, soon to have Sir before his name, this is a hauntingly beautiful piece of music which paints pictures, just like his pandemonium creation which no dictionary has the words to fully describe.
As someone who can remember some of the tracks when release more than a decade or two ago, Danny Boyle certainly used them well for the event.
Disk one of two covers the ceremony itself and disk two with the music that accompanied the entrance of the athletes. "We could be heroes" at the end of disk two a fitting reminder when team GB arrived at the end of the long list of countries taking part.
I doubt we'll see any public event as good as this again so the music is a great reminder of what was achieved in front of the world.
Four stars on the basis that it would have been nice to have an explanation of the thinking behind the music in the CD leaflet.