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Book of Roses [19 Tracks]

Andreas Vollenweider 11/18/2009
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 La Strega PT1M3S
  3. 2 The Grand Ball of the Duljas PT1M45S
  4. 3 Morning at Boma Park PT3M18S
  5. 4 The Five Curtains PT1M48S
  6. 5 Book of Roses PT3M26S
  7. 6 In Doga Gamee PT4M41S
  8. 7 Passage to Promise PT2M30S
  9. 8 In the Woods of Kroandal PT3M13S
  10. 9 Jugglers in Osidian PT3M29S
  11. 10 Chanson de l'Heure Bleue PT1M35S
  12. 11 Czippa and the Ursanian Girl PT3M12S
  13. 12 The Birds of Tilmun PT2M10S
  14. 13 Hirzel PT5M22S
  15. 14 Jours d'Amour PT3M58S
  16. 15 Manto's Arrow and the Sphinx PT2M35S
  17. 16 Letters to a Young Rose PT5M21S
  18. 17 Overtuerli [Live] PT3M9S
  19. 18 Book of Roses [Live] PT3M6S
  20. 19 Hey You! Yes, You... [Special Edit] PT3M13S

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