Lisa Gerrard / Patrick Cassidy

Immortal Memory

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Immortal Memory is a collaboration between vocalist Lisa Gerrard and Irish composer Patrick Cassidy. Billed as a cycle of life and death and rebirth, Immortal Memory is better described as an orphaned film score. Cassidy's warm arrangements allow the former Dead Can Dance singer to step out of the dark medieval world that she's called home for nearly 20 years -- though there is much of that world within these castle walls -- and focus on the simplicity of love, faith, and loss with a grace that's bereft of the icy perfection of her previous work. Gerrard, whose voice has aged like the finest oak, displays an almost supernatural mastery of the material. Her effortless contralto wraps itself around the ten Gaelic, Latin, and Aramaic spirituals like an evening prayer, making each stunning entrance the equivalent of audio comfort food. Echoing her collaboration with composer Hans Zimmer on the Academy Award-winning Gladiator -- Gerrard and Cassidy framed this work during the recording of the film's soundtrack -- ethereal pieces like the solo showpiece "Elegy" and the Cassidy-penned lament for his late father, "Psallit in Aure Dei," are powerful statements hatched by two people who understand each other like old friends. The majestic opener, "Song of Amergin," with its sublime Celtic melody and slow build, is indicative of the pieces to follow, allowing listeners the time to decide whether or not this is a road they wish to travel. Fans of Enya, Dead Can Dance, or snowy, image-laden soundscapes of powerful quietude will have no problem making that choice.

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