Sounds like … Irish flavored hymns and folk songs, at times New Age in flavor, with soft vocals, piano, flutes, and other woodwinds at the core
At a glance … this album is an obvious attempt to capitalize on the new popularity of C.S. Lewis, but that doesn't invalidate it as a beautiful and soothing collection of music that he probably loved
Disappointing that Maranatha! has offered A Musical Tribute to C.S. Lewis, which has virtually nothing to do with the famed writer. Sure, there are pictures of a lion, a lamppost, and Oxford on the cover, and the booklet offers a concise, well-written bio about Lewis. But otherwise, it's a collection of previously released recordings of Irish flavored hymns and folk songs.
Lewis might have appreciated this album, but gosh, weren't these church classics originally written in tribute to God? Weren't they intentionally recorded for other worship albums? Shouldn't there be an explanation from the record label or Lewis' estate that connects the scholar with these particular hymns? Lewis' thoughtful and imaginative writing is worthy of an equally thoughtful and imaginative album of original songs inspired by his work. This is more a flagrant attempt by marketing to capitalize on the frenzy surrounding The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe film. But that still doesn't invalidate the music, a beautiful and soothing album featuring several renowned names in music.
Phil Keaggy's acoustic guitar and Moya Brennan's harp are among the instrumental tracks, though Phil Kristianson's piano work is most impressive in marvelously contemplative arrangements of "Jesus, Draw Me Close" and "I See the Lord." The vocal tracks are soft and lilting, particularly Shannon Wexelberg's gently mesmerizing delivery of "Fairest Lord Jesus." Many will recognize "Lullaby (Suo Gân)" as the primary theme from Spielberg's Empire of the Sun, and it's right at home here alongside a worshipful track like "When It's All Been Said and Done." Only the New Age styled soundtrack music of "The Hidden Passage" seems out of place.
It all serves as pastoral music perfectly suited for quiet time of work or prayer. In spite of its intentions, this Tribute admittedly works, matching the temperate demeanor of a man who adored his God and the English countryside.
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