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Book of Roses

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Review

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. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 Chapter One: La Strega (Her Journey to the Grand Ball) Andreas Vollenweider 1:1
  3. 2 Chapter One: The Grand Ball of the Duljas Andreas Vollenweider 1:47
  4. 3 Chapter One: Morning at Boma Park Andreas Vollenweider 3:16
  5. 4 Chapter One: The Five Curtains Andreas Vollenweider 1:44
  6. 5 Chapter One: Book of Roses Andreas Vollenweider 3:31
  7. 6 Chapter One: In Doga Gamee Andreas Vollenweider 4:40
  8. 7 Chapter One: Passage to Promise Andreas Vollenweider 2:28
  9. 8 Chapter Two: In the Woods of Kroandal Andreas Vollenweider 3:13
  10. 9 Chapter Two: Jugglers in Obsidian Andreas Vollenweider 3:24
  11. 10 Chapter Three: Chanson de l'Heure Bleue Andreas Vollenweider 1:35
  12. 11 Chapter Three: Czippa and the Ursanian Girl Andreas Vollenweider 3:12
  13. 12 Chapter Three: The Birds of Tilmun Andreas Vollenweider 2:10
  14. 13 Chapter Three: Hirzel Andreas Vollenweider 5:14
  15. 14 Chapter Four: Jours d'Amour Andreas Vollenweider 3:57
  16. 15 Chapter Four: Manto's Arrow and the Sphinx Andreas Vollenweider 2:35
  17. 16 Chapter Four: Letters to a Young Rose Andreas Vollenweider 5:3

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