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The Essential Winter's Solstice

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10/18/2005

Review

Windham Hill's successful A Winter's Solstice series started during the label's first year in 1985, and has continued at roughly a new volume every two or three years, each installment containing a bright wintry blend of classical music, reimagined hymns, chiming carols, and atmospheric compositions that have since garnered the name new age. This two-disc set picks some of the best and brightest moments from the series' first eight volumes, including David Qualey's guitar arrangement of "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring," Liz Story's piano rendition of "Greensleeves," harpist Lisa Lynne's "Northern Lights," and guitarist W.G. Snuffy Walden's sad, haunting "Moon Lake" on disc one. Disc two offers up the Modern Mandolin Quartet's take on "Trepak," drawn from Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker Suite," William Coulter's lovely "Rain into Snow," and Darol Anger's reshaping of the traditional "I Saw Three Ships." The music on these two discs is beautiful, soothing, even redemptive, and it all seems as natural as a sky full of stars. ~ Steve Leggett
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 Greensleeves Liz Story 3:29
  3. 2 Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring David Qualey 4:17
  4. 3 This Rush of Wings Metamora 4:33
  5. 4 The Holly and the Ivy Alex de Grassi 4:5
  6. 5 Carol of the Bells Windham Hill Artists 3:25
  7. 6 Shades of White Jim Brickman 2:56
  8. 7 Northern Lights Lisa Lynne 4:43
  9. 8 The Christmas Song Steve Erquiaga 2:59
  10. 9 Little Drummer Boy Schönherz & Scott 4:21
  11. 10 Shepherd's Rocking Carol Philip Aaberg 3:27
  12. 11 The Simple Birth Barbara Higbie 3:39
  13. 12 Prelude to Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major Michael Hedges 2:28
  14. 13 Wexford Carol Nightnoise 3:51
  15. 14 Coventry Carol Paul McCandless 3:32
  16. 15 Moon Lake W.G. Snuffy Walden 4:19
  17. 16 What Are the Signs George Winston 5:26
  18. 1 Trepak The Modern Mandolin Quartet 1:11
  19. 2 Rain into Snow William Coulter 3:47
  20. 3 Medieval Memory II 3:44
  21. 4 I Saw Three Ships Darol Anger 3:38
  22. 5 Sung to Sleep Michael Manring 4:16
  23. 6 Veni Emmanuel Turtle Island String Quartet 3:34
  24. 7 Sleepers Awake Andy Narell 4:0
  25. 8 The Gathering 3:31
  26. 9 New England Morning 3:57
  27. 10 Down in Yon Forest Jeff Johnson & Brian Dunning 5:19
  28. 11 Keiki's Dream Keola Beamer 3:13
  29. 12 Asleep the Snow Came Flying Tim Story 4:32
  30. 13 A Tale of Two Cities Mark Isham 5:44

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