Given Rick Wakeman's fondness for the Big Subjects in his music, it's unsurprising that eventually he would turn to the Bible. 1996's The Word and Music, however, is unsatisfyingly literal in its interpretation of Biblical stories. Indeed, there's no interpretation at all: the nine pieces are simply recitations by Nina Wakeman, Rick's wife, of Old Testament parables, with musical backings that sound like Wakeman has fallen asleep at a bank of synthesizers set to "foreboding rumble." Nina Wakeman has a perfectly lovely reading voice, and the stories are, of course, one of the bedrocks of Western Civilization, but there is very little reason for this album to exist. The Word and Music should not be confused with In the Beginning, a very similar 1989 release that features a different set of Biblical settings.
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AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason