Top positive review
Silent Nights (Nigel Hess)
20 February 2012
I thoroughly recommend this beautiful Christmas CD. Hess is a major modern composer, including a great deal for TV, theatre and film. His recent album, 'Silent Nights', was commissioned by Classic FM and released in 2010. It is a wonderful collection of our favourite Christmas carols, arranged for piano and strings.
Classic FM conducted a listener poll to find out the nation's favourite traditional Christmas songs, and the results form the basis of the tracks chosen for 'Silent Nights', including the tranquil `Away In A Manger' and `Silent Night', and more celebratory pieces like `Hark The Herald Angels Sing' and `O Come All Ye Faithful'.
The album is a collection of beautiful carols imaginatively arranged by Nigel Hess for piano solo, with some very light string accompaniment from members of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Charming and nostalgic, these arrangements offer a different perspective on the Christmas tunes with which everyone will be familiar.
Nigel Hess is important in modern music. His latest feature film score was for 'Ladies in Lavender', and among his many other achievements, he was nominated for Composer of the Year for his Piano Concerto in 2009. Hess has composed numerous scores for TV, including Maigret, Hetty Wainthropp Investigates, and Ballykissangel.
What is it about these old and familiar tunes that strikes such a powerful chord within us? I can think of no other collection of melodies which trigger such instant connections, and it was wonderful to revisit them in these arrangements, each one painting its own personal picture. Each carol will mean something different to each person, and that meaning will often go way beyond anything musical.
'Silent Nights' is peaceful, tranquil, and reflective music, with timeless melodies that evoke memories of childhood, family, and the warmth of home. Very highly recommended.