Cecil Harding

Greatest New Age Hits

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    5
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AllMusic Review by

This is not a compilation album, but a reinterpretations of famous new age pieces from such composers as Vangelis, Adiemus, Kitaro, Enya, Tangerine Dream, and Mike Oldfield (remember the 1973 Tubular Bells from the movie The Exorcist?). One can argue over the choice of tracks for any "greatest hits" album; then one should ask if they should be retinterpreted. Cecil Harding has recreated these masterpiece with nearly the same arrangements, and the homogenization effect has me wanting to find the original versions. The very seductive and sacrilegious "Callas Went Away" by Enigma from their MCMCX.A.D. is altered just slightly when Harding pulls back on the hip-sourced beat and has the woman's voice say clearly "God bless you" instead of the anguished "mea culpa." (One would also question if the original version was "new age"; it sure sold a lot to new agers.) To his credit, I think Harding has improved on the famous theme from Mike Rowland's The Fairy Ring Suite. I can't divorce myself from the original versions to give a fair appraisal. The arrangements are skillful, the sound exciting. The album will probably lead people to not only focus their idea of what new age music really is, but send them to the artists who defined the genre.

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