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River Of Dreams - The Very Best Of Hayley Westenra CD

4.7 out of 5 stars 81 customer reviews

Price: £5.75 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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Product details

  • Audio CD (27 Oct. 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: UCJ
  • ASIN: B001BBOSB4
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,439 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Product Description

1. Pokarekare Ana
2. River of Dreams
3. Dell'Amore Non Si Sa
4. Shenandoah
5. The Water Is Wide
6. Songbird
7. Both Sides Now
8. Ave Maria
9. Benedictus
10. Amazing Grace
11. Danny Boy
12. Summer Rain
13. Never Say Goodbye
14. Gianni Schicchi - O mio babbino caro
15. May It Be/Fellowship of The Ring
16. Ave Maria
17. Now Is The Hour

BBC Review

Hayley Westenra shot to attention five years ago at the age of 16. Since then she has released seven albums into various national and international territories and contributed to a dozen others, out of which two permutations of greatest hits compilations have also been gleaned.

River of Dreams is the first such compendium targeted at the UK market and if you are a fan of the still-young New Zealander, you'll know what to expect here and, more than likely, you'll be more than satisfied with what you get. Initially touted as a classical soprano, Westenra quickly (and wisely) moved away from the operatic towards a more eclectic repertoire to showcase her distinctively flutey, helium-high, gravity-free, crystal-sharp, emotion-free vocals.

Sensibly, the classical element is downplayed and disguised here, not least in the title track where new-age lyrics are layered over a heavily re-arranged version of Winter from Vivaldi's Four Seasons, and in Never Say Goodbye, which re-works Ravel's Pavane to wistfully watery effect. The approach to Puccini's O mio babbino caro, Bach's Ave Maria (one of three new tracks on the album) and Karl Jenkins's Benedictus all err on the side of botox-smooth textures (such as they are).

The other new material includes album closer Now is the Hour, adapted from a tradition Maori tune, and Fleetwood Mac's Songbird, popularised more recently by Eva Cassidy, on which Westenra is pleasantly airy and clearly away with the dewdrop-drunk faeries.

If the epic American folk song Shenandoah loses much of its heart-stopping grandeur, it gains in places from Westenra's trademark brittleness, as does the traditional Irish gem Danny Boy, and the cover of the Enya-penned May It Be from The Lord of the Rings' soundtrack. The same cannot be said for Amazing Grace which has the most peculiar vocal tick 2'55" in that launches itself out of the speakers at you like a Banshee on heat.

In truth, this is a critic-proof album. With machine-tooled, nothing-left-to-chance production, on its own terms it succeeds, and it will undoubtedly sell by the van load this Christmas. Whether it deserves to, on its singular musical merits, is another matter altogether. --Michael Quinn

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
It is without doubt by no coincidence that Hayley decided to call this album River of Dreams. It is a tiver of dreams. Each track explains a personal journey in Hayley's musical and personal life, and I believe it is the best Best Of one can produce. Each song was carefully selected, and the songs were without doubt my favorite from the start. So I was extremely pleased to see the tracklistings. I am also more than impressed with the three new recordings. Songbird is one of the best version I have ever heard, and Now is the Hour is yet again one of Hayley's best Maori songs. I believe Hayley's best songs are in sung in Maori, and there is no exception for Now is the Hour. The new recording of Ave Maria displays Hayley's purity of her voice, and how she has contained it over the years. The three new tracks are very well selected, as the album itself is great, and the new tracks prove that she has more. I am very pleased with this album, and am so glad she produced a Best Of. I can now listen to Pure, Odyssey and Treasure all at the same time! If you likes her three international albums, then this is for you. You will not be disappointed.
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Format: Audio CD
This album is worth the price for Now is the Hour on it's own.
A beautiful Maori song (Po Atarau / Harere Ra) that was a huge hit about 1948 sung by Gracie Fields,
This version of Now is the Hour by Hayley is my definitive version of the song, sung with an intimate understanding of the Maori culture and language, just melts the heart with it's beauty, What a gorgeous voice !
Should also bring back some great memories for the older listeners, My Da just loves it :-)

Gorgeous version of Christine McVie's Songbird on this as well.

Two versions of Ave Maria the Bach/ Gounod version and the Caccini version.

17 tracks in all you won't need the remote to skip over any tracks on this collection, You may need the remote to press repeat a few times as some of the music on this album just massages the soul about as deep as a female voice can !
Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
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Format: Audio CD
Just love this album! The beautiful voice of Hayley is like a clear crystal brook rippling over smooth pebbles, fresh like the trees that grow alongside the river banks, delighting the senses of all you happen to come by, refreshing them with every note she sings. Beautiful Hayley,you refresh me and lift me up, thank you.
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Format: Audio CD
It's so lovely to see a Best Of So Far album with some completely new tracks as well as being reminded of some of the classic songs from the last 3 CDs. Fantastic album and would thoroughly recommend it to all.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is truly the very best of Hayley Westenra! Beautiful music, great sellection of songs! This is a double cd, New Zealand import, with bonus tracks. Would highly recommend! Considering this was posted from the other side of the world, it arrived in excellent time.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Hayley's incredible voice is not about all volume and control; it's magical, clear as a mountain spring, with a feel that can bring tears to your eyes - and the bonus - you can hear every word she sings. And the numbers on this CD enhance her magic. Simply divine.

Barry
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a really good introduction to Hayley for those who have not heard her work before and a great collection for long term fans like myself. This CD really displays Hayley's talent, it has a wide range of styles incuding folk songs such as 'Shenandoah' and 'The Water is Wide' and the immortal 'Pokarekare Ana'. It also includes covers of pop songs such as 'Both Sides Now' and an amazing duet with Andrea Bocelli 'Dell'Amore non si sa'. Hayley can really do any style she does them all really well and this CD really shows how versatile she really is. There are a few new ones on here 'Songbird' is a great Eva Cassidy cover, I love how it is arranged, kept very simple with just a piano. Also there is 'Po Atarau/Now Is The Hour' which is half maori and half english, again this is a simple, but impressive arrangement and I love to hear Hayley sing in maori.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
One that was advertised on television so thought we would like to hear all of it. We find it a nice easy listening CD. As always the advertisement played bits of all the best songs so there will be a few that might not be to everyone's taste.
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