Archive for Classical Crossover

New Classical Crossover Website

Posted in Diary, Personal Musings with tags on 5 July, 2009 by Nicola

I am starting a new project.  It’s also hosted on WordPress, but it will be less like a blog.  It’s still in its starting stages, but it’s basically dedicated to the music genre ‘Classical Crossover’.  It will aim to have profiles and reviews for as many artists from the genre as possible.  Its unique element is that each artist are given star ratings on their different attributes. 

It won’t be ready for a while, but if you want to see me working on it, check it out anytime: Classical Crossover

I won’t be stopping this blog, as although I do review a lot of my music on here, reviews for artist of that genre will be restricted to that site only.  I will still reviews books, films, talk random stuff and review music from other genres.

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Hayley Westenra’s “Treasure”

Posted in Hayley Westenra, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 26 March, 2009 by Nicola

I cannot even begin to describe the amount of sweat and tears that went into trying to understand this album.  The amount of effort I put into this CD to try and like it.  I was waiting for some miracle, some revelation to appear out of thin air, as to why this album tends to be a favourite among Hayley Westenra fans.  Why it is so highly esteemed, why it is the pivot of discussion.  I am not so lucky this time.  I have failed.  I officially don’t get it.

Let me start with the postives.  I do enjoy two songs on this album and tellingly they are two songs that are co-written by Westenra herself.  ‘Let Me Lie’ and ‘Summer Rain’ are clear standout tracks from what is otherwise a highly predictable album. Continue reading

Hayley Westenra’s “Odyssey”

Posted in Hayley Westenra, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 23 March, 2009 by Nicola

I have been putting off writing this review for a very long time.  Why?  The simple truth is that I could not quite decide how to review this album.  At first, I was quite content to review the first edition of Odyssey that I obtained, the one I know really well, but just out of curiousity, I picked the later edition up, the UK special edition, to see what the difference was.  I was struck stupid to realise that there’s a ten track difference.  You read that correctly. 

‘Well’, I thought, ‘this is stupid’.  Maybe I was too busy staring at paint and watching the sun rise and set to notice any commotion over at ‘TEAM HAYLEY WESTENRA‘ (i.e. the ever trustworthy HWI who have since told me that my original edition was never a UK edition) over this confusing blip in her discography, but I am on my own here, and I don’t quite know what to make of it.  It’s like I have had this hidden second album all this time without even realising it.  I don’t even know why I bought it, especially as I am quite strongly of the ‘SCREW YOUR MANY EDITIONS OF THE SAME ALBUM’ sentiment.

Okay, so if I could only let go of the fact that I basically have two different albums here under the same name, I could actually discuss the album(s). Continue reading

Hayley Westenra: In Her Own Voice

Posted in Books, Hayley Westenra, Music with tags , , , , , , , on 22 February, 2009 by Nicola

Many would consider Hayley Westenra to not have walked the earth long enough to justify an autobiography (plus the fact that this is her second book; an authorised biography, The World At Her Feet, written by Paul Little was published in 2004) but to dismiss this book on that criteria would be a shame. Of course it does not have the intrigues and knowledgeable voice of someone in their fifties, who has endured love lost and found, career setbacks and so fourth, but this book is not really supposed to be about that. At twenty years old at the time of writing the book, Westenra simply wants to document her young life in its own little chapter. Although Darren Henley helps write the book, it is told in the first person, and Henley succeeds at projecting out Westenra’s personality.

This book’s most appealing trait, perhaps, is the inside look of the music industry, not just from anyone’s eyes, but through the eyes of a child, and later a naive teenager. Hayley documents her journey through the industry with innocent sincerity, and what is so beautiful about it all is that she is still young enough to remember everything with utmost clarity; an advantage she has over older autobiographers. There is something charming about reading about the world through so much naivety and innocence. She will lose this narrative voice when she gets older so I can hardly regret that she has written this autobiography early on in her life. Continue reading

Hayley Westenra & Jonathan Ansell at the Palladium Theatre

Posted in Diary, Hayley Westenra, Jonathan Ansell, Music, Personal Musings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 16 February, 2009 by Nicola

Hayley Westenra and Jonathan Ansell teamed up for The Valentines Tour

Hayley Westenra and Jonathan Ansell Concert
Palladium Theatre
15.02.2009
The Valentines Tour

At about 7pm I found myself in the Palladium Theatre.  I do not really have many preferences regarding venues, but this place gets its stamp of approval from me for simply having more than three cubicles in the toilets – I think it had about twenty!  In an unprecedented event in London, I was able to go into the Ladies, straight to the toilet, straight to a sink, and walk back out again.  I was shocked to the core.  Men will probably not understand how amazing that is, but take it from me: it is amazing.

Enough about the toilets though.  But really.  A sincere highlight to the evening.  That’s the PAL-LA-DI-UM TH-EA-TRE, with the fantastic toilet facilities, ladies.  You must go and see with your own eyes!

Going into the main theatre, I was called over by the blue jumpers (otherwise known as the Hayley Westenra International team, HWI for short).  These people are extremely scary people that remember every single concert date, exactly every single person that was there, exactly what you look like though they have only seen you for two seconds in their entire lives and seem to remember every single word you have ever written on their forums.  Truly frightening.  I was introduced to what seemed like a score of people, all names blazing (which I promptly forgot, no matter how much I tried to remember).  It was a genuine treat to see Roger (big boss man of HWI) again, and to talk to Richard properly.  There were many I had a good conversation with, but their names slipped through the sieve that is my brain, I am ashamed to say.  Ashamed. Continue reading

Hayley Westenra’s “My Gift To You”

Posted in Hayley Westenra, Music with tags , , , , , , on 10 February, 2009 by Nicola

Hayley Westenra‘s second release in New Zealand is not much different from her first.  My Gift To You was rushed out for the Christmas of 2001 after her success of her debut.  Essentially, it is a Christmas album and probably not entirely appropriate to review in February, but it can be listened to anytime due to five neutral tracks.

What makes this album standout next to the debut is the first appearence of ‘Pokarekare Ana’, a traditional Maori song.  Westenra is probably most well known for singing this track and although Hayley went on to re-record it for subsequent albums, this original arrangement sets the premise of her international marketing tool, and that is the purity of her voice.  ‘Pokarekare Ana’ is the perfect song for Westenra.  It does not demand emotional delivery, and has the sweet, mild temperament of its singer.  The version on this album starts off as an acapella, showcasing the bell like clarity of her voice, until a vague arrangement of meek instruments quietly seep through her vocals.  I have always felt that this is the exact treatment this song, and Westenra, deserves, but as she went upmarket with Decca, overproduction ensued. Continue reading

Hayley Westenra Marathon: Introduction

Posted in Hayley Westenra, Music with tags , , , , , , on 5 February, 2009 by Nicola

Well, here we are.  As promised, a ‘Hayley Westenra Marathon’, if you like.  Over the next week or so I will be reviewing all of her studio albums, a live concert (I will be seeing her on the 15th February with Jonathan Ansell) and other tidbits such as her biography, best websites, etc.

My relationship with Hayley has always been rocky, and I have actually been more disappointed by her albums rather than satisfied.  In truth, I have only really ever liked just one of her albums.  Others verge on average for me, whilst the others are just dull.  So why am I fan?  Can I even be referred to as a fan? Continue reading