Various Artists

Simplicity: Harp & Strings

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Simplicity: Harp & Strings delivers two-discs' worth of contemporary Christian instrumentals that, as the title implies, are arranged for just a harp and a string quartet. Disc one concentrates on harp and woodwind-based renditions of such traditional hymns and spirituals as "The River Is Wide," "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" and "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring." Disc two, meanwhile, offers string quartet-based performances of "Rock of Ages," "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" and "Battle Hymn of the Republic." While the performances on this collection are certainly more atmospheric than versions of these songs with vocals, they still have a feeling of reverence. Unlike many contemporary instrumental albums, Simplicity: Harp & Strings has an appealingly, well, simple production, as opposed to a slick, tinny sound. "Be Thou My Vision," "Jesus Loves Me" and "For All the Saints" are some of the other highlights from this collection, which makes for relaxing but spiritual background music; more creatively, it could also work as accompaniment for singers who want to perform these songs.

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