Sarah Brightman chases dreams of space

SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil - The Philippine Star

The famous composer Andrew Lloyd Webber calls her his Angel of Music.  And I believe, she is or maybe, because, they have already parted ways, that she was indeed for a time his muse. That time began when the lovely Sarah Brightman met Webber, when she made her West End debut in a production of his musical Cats.

The meeting later led to marriage and then to Sarah creating the part of the leading lady Christine Daae in Webber’s masterpiece, Phantom of The Opera first in London’s West End and then also later doing it on Broadway.  In fact, it is widely believed that Webber based the character of Christine on Brightman’s looks and singing style.

It is easy to tell why Webber fell hard for the young soprano. Pretty in a mystical sort of way, she also had angelic tones in an incredible three-octave range to match. It did not take long after Phantom for her to move on to bigger things.  It was through these that Sarah became one of the pioneers of the classical crossover genre that combined classical singing with pop melodies and in her case, New Age themes.

Among her biggest hits were Pie Jesu, There You’ll Be, Nella Fantasia, her duets of Time To Say Goodbye (Con Te Partiro) with the Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli and the Barcelona Olympic Games theme Amigos Para Siempre with the Spanish tenor Jose Carreras, her version of Procol Harum’s A Whiter Shade of Pale, plus Who Wants To Live Forever, Just Show Me How To Love You, Symphony and Harem. Her Phantom of the Opera with Michael Crawford is the biggest selling soundtrack album of all time.

Using a wide variety of arrangements, Sarah has sung pop, rock, dance, electronica, trance and good old classical with much success in her big-selling solo albums. These musical excursions have also taken her to various places. She went to the water with Dive, to the skies with Fly, to paradise with Eden, to the moon in La Luna, to a middle-eastern seraglio in Harem and to the realms of music with Symphony.

For her latest, Dream Chaser, Sarah is off to space, not on some imaginary set of wings but on a space shuttle. In fact the album comes with a bonus DVD where Sarah talks about her dreams, where she visits a Russian space lab and shows off the Star City Russia Space Sizzle Reel. Sarah has gone in cosmonaut training as one of the three-man crew set to leave for somewhere in outer space in 2015. But no matter where she takes her listeners, it can never be said that Sarah’s singing is ever less than heavenly.

Best tracks out of Dream Chaser by Sarah are Eperdu Venus and Mars, Breathe Me and the one I like best of all, Angel.  Also included are One Day Like This, Lento e Largo from Symphony No.3, OP. 36 (Symphony of Sorrowful Songs), B 612,  Ave Maria, A Song of India and Closer. Also included are the Angel music video, a photo gallery and some additional tracks, 7th Heaven and So Long Ago So Clear.

Still on classical crossover music.  Saw one of David Garrett’s superb concerts playing on the Lifestyle Channel and I thought that those of you who saw the telecast might want to check out his Legacy album. You must have already heard a lot about the German-born Garrett by now.  He is not only a hot rock star violinist, he is also very attractive.  He sometimes walks the catwalk on special modeling appearances. And that is why fans swoon and scream and even dance in his concerts, where he plays Aerosmith and Bon Jovi with the same intensity he gives to Beethoven or Paganini.

Speaking of Beethoven, Legacy is Garrett’s recording of Beethoven’s moving Violin Concerto in D Major. This is one of his more conventional classical recordings, one wherein he stays close to the original save for a little flourish here and there. It is easy to see why. This is the ultimate masterpiece for a violinist and surely a dream come true for even somebody as famous as Garrett. He plays beautifully. I do not know if Beethoven would approve but I can honestly say that he does the master justice.

Garrett has included other interesting selections in the CD, most notably some works by Fritz Kreisler, one of the best known interpreters of the Beethoven Concerto and a composer who wrote music in the styles of the old masters but in the modern form. Garrett does Kreisler’s takes on compositions by Pugnani, Corelli and Tartini in the album, plus a sweet violin arrangement of Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.










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