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Album

Book of Roses

ON AIR
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Andreas Vollenweider 17//1992
Andreas Vollenweider's Book of Roses marries concept to contemporary instrumentalism, and blends the music of numerous cultures into the composer's already worldly sound. Separated into four chapters (where each song is an "episode"), the album chronicles the journey of a young girl from dances in grand ballrooms, through mysterious woods full of magical jugglers, to an eventual meeting with the Sphinx. In between there are numerous other adventures, each punctuated by some of the most ambitious music of Vollenweider's career. His trademark electric harp is still here, and the flair for sweeping arrangement is intact. But the straightforward pop-jazz of "In Doga Gamee" (complete with lyrics) suggests Soul Cages-era Sting, while "In the Woods of Kroandal" marries a romantic classical swell to flamenco guitar and nature sounds. Vocals return for "Hirzel," which flirts with pop even more blatantly, breaking into a reverb-drenched electric guitar lead midway through. But Vollenweider then really gets experimental with "Manto's Arrow and the Sphinx" -- with its relatively conventional harp dominated by the whooping and sequenced screeching of a female vocalist, the song is completely unclassifiable. While "Sphinx" is ultimately too outrageous to be functional, it proves that Vollenweider -- by now an established heavyweight in the new age arena -- is not afraid to try out new ideas. Fans of the composer's early, more ethereal work might be a little put off by Book of Roses' worldbeat flair and pop leanings. But they will no doubt enjoy the album's more thematic elements, which cleverly tie its various sections and sounds together with the turning pages of a book. Likewise, the finale, "Letters to a Young Rose," is classic Vollenweider, matching his modified harp to a shuffling accordion as it moves through various moods and tempos. Book of Roses isn't recommended for the casual Vollenweider fan, but it's a must-read for the faithful. ~ Johnny Loftus
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  1. # Song Length
  2. 1 Chapter One: La Strega (Her Journey to the Grand Ball) PT1M1S
  3. 2 Chapter One: The Grand Ball of the Duljas PT1M47S
  4. 3 Chapter One: Morning at Boma Park PT3M16S
  5. 4 Chapter One: The Five Curtains PT1M44S
  6. 5 Chapter One: Book of Roses PT3M31S
  7. 6 Chapter One: In Doga Gamee PT4M40S
  8. 7 Chapter One: Passage to Promise PT2M28S
  9. 8 Chapter Two: In the Woods of Kroandal PT3M13S
  10. 9 Chapter Two: Jugglers in Obsidian PT3M24S
  11. 10 Chapter Three: Chanson de l'Heure Bleue PT1M35S
  12. 11 Chapter Three: Czippa and the Ursanian Girl PT3M12S
  13. 12 Chapter Three: The Birds of Tilmun PT2M10S
  14. 13 Chapter Three: Hirzel PT5M14S
  15. 14 Chapter Four: Jours d'Amour PT3M57S
  16. 15 Chapter Four: Manto's Arrow and the Sphinx PT2M35S
  17. 16 Chapter Four: Letters to a Young Rose PT5M3S

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