Let's use this thread to discuss the songs that are on all versions of Winter/Christmas Magic.
Veni Veni Emmanuel is one of my favorites, not only for the vocals, but the arrangement, and the music, too. At first I was disappointed it wasn't in English, but now it doesn't make any difference to me what language it's in.
My favorite part of this song is the 3rd verse. I love the way she sort of lilts on the word "Davidica". Then the music right after the Refrain is especially hauntingly beautiful. The Raven Quartet are apparently the ones playing so wonderfully!
I'm also really enjoying The Coventry Carol, too. I was not familiar with this one before. The choir is really beautiful, and together with Hayley's "magical" singing, it is really a superb recording. Hayley made some really excellent choices for her album, and I think they're all just the right ones.
I really like the Ronan Keating duet as well -- which is probably because it is very new! It's quite a simple song, but it really grows on you. I think that Ronan and Hayley's voices match really well on the track.
The one clip sent to my e-mail from the official site sounds good (probably 'cause it's mostly Hayley), but the part I heard on Digirama I didn't like so much. I'd like to hear the whole song, but right now it's not enough motivation for me to buy the UK version.
I got it today, but I have to admit I'm not really impressed. Hayley's amazing voice seems wasted on too many of these songs, that are too obviously written for anyone to sing. Hayley is not 'anyone' and her amazing vocal ability doesn't really get any kind of serious run-out.
The duet with Ronan Keating is pretty good, but otherwise... Well, it's a Xmas album, if you like that kind of thing.
It's not terrible, don't get me wrong - as long as Hayley is singing, that's just not possible. But it could have been vastly better.
That's what I meant in my orginal review in the Japanese version thread, when I said that the songs were not particularly challenging for the most part. Perhaps that is why my favourite songs on this album are mostly Hayleys own compositions. Not heard the duet yet, since I haven't been able to buy the album. It will have to wait until the weekend when I have chance to explore Borders and HMV.
Here's a review of Winter Magic from the Malaysia Star. I'm not sure which version of the album it refers to, but it mentions 'Carol of the Bells':
Artist: HAYLEY WESTENRA
Reviewer: JO TIMBUONG
IT’S usually a delight to listen to Kiwi songstress Hayley Westenra, and this holiday album is another feather in her cap. Some songs are magical and Westenra’s voice sounds like the gentle chimes of bells.
What delights me more is that she is able to stay true to the original arrangement of the songs. But when she does meddle, she keeps it to the bare minimum so the listener is not caught off-guard by how different his or her favourite Christmas carol sounds.
There’s a mix of old and new on this album. You can find a very spiritual Veni Veni Emmanuel (O Come O Come Emmanuel) and the lulling melody of The Coventry Carol.
I was initially disappointed by her rendition of the Carol of the Bells, one of my favourites. I am used to the more orchestral version of this carol, like the one featured in the first Home Alone movie or the one by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. I feel this song is meant to be delivered with great force and energy, which is lacking in Westenra’s rendition. But, although I first found it too light and airy, I eventually learnt to enjoy it.
There are popular Christmas classics, like The Christmas Song and The Little Drummer Boy. But while I think she delivers the more spiritual songs beautifully, she doesn’t seem to reach the same heights when it comes to these more popular numbers. Still, there are a few wonderful new songs like River and a duet with Ronan Keating entitled It’s Only Christmas.
If you feel like you’re missing some winter magic in this hot climate, you’ll appreciate this CD. Merry Christmas!
It's quiet on a Sunday morning, I can hear the clocks tick and I am at ease having a cup of coffee. There is nothing that needs urgent attention , my mind is wandering aimlessly and I start humming, It is a new tune, a very pleasant tune and I have to hum it some more and words start to arrive with it,
Sail on my dreams Sail on my love
and it clicks into place, It is Hayley's very own On The Wings Of Time.
and I think Wow ! I only have the album since mid October and now this tune is in my head forever, Alongside the 1812 Overture and Vivaldi's Four seasons and thousands of other tunes and songs.
And I am pleased.......
" But you make me forget so very much.
I forget to pray for the Angels
and then the Angels forget to pray for us. " ......Leonard Cohen
Tonight i was listening to Winter Magic, the UK version....... and i tought i was hearing a difference in a song..........
So i listened again, and than the Japanese edition of WM..... I don't know if this was mentioned,or noticed before, but the song Winters dream, starts on the UK version with the voice of a member from the boyschoir.....The same song on the japanese versions start with an intro..... The same song ,in 2 different versions!!!!
Ronan Keating is in New Zealand touring at different wineries like Hayley did 2 years ago. He is playing tonight at the Mud House winery in Waipara. In today's Christchurch Press they had an article about him. In it was the following piece. While here he also hopes to catch up with an old mate. "I don't know how busy he is, but it would be good to meet up with Jonah Lomu while I'm in town, he's a good pal of mine". (Jonah was a famous ex All Black). Another chum is Hayley Westenra, who performed a duet with Keating which appeared on the pair's respective Christmas albums. "She's a great lady. The song It's Only Christmas I wrote a long time ago. It was on the shelf until I made a Christmas record. I never wrote it as a duet and it became one and I have to say it's one of my favourite songs on the album, I love it".
Hmm, I'm not so sure about a blondish Bilbo, but there is a dwarf with a "yellow" beard in the story... Although I suppose whoever Bilbo is may be wearing a wig, anyway, so I hair color probably isn't important.