Disclosure: While I am acquainted with the lyricist for this album on-line, I have no stake in this album. I paid full price on BandCamp for the download (it’s also available via Amazon, iTunes, etc.), and was not asked to provide a review. I am doing this of my own volition.
Immortal Aria is the mother-son composition team of Bonnie Anne Pinard (lyrics) and award-winning composer Nathan Allen Pinard (orchestration and arrangement). The songs were inspired by Pinard mère‘s novel series, Chanson de l’Ange, which is her re-telling of Gaston Leroux’s Phantom of the Opera.
On first listen, I was drawn far more to the four instrumental tracks than to the six vocal tracks. Seven subsequent listens over three days didn’t do much to change my mind. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with the lyrics, or that the vocals are bad (guest vocalists are Toni Gibson on “Chanson de l’Ange Aria,” Worlds Apart,” and “The Bleeding Rose”;
Jay Weston on “In the Mirror” and “Worlds Apart”; Carrie Shaw on “That Summer by the Sea,” and; Michele Karmin on “Firelight Through Diamonds”). It’s just that Pinard fils‘ arrangements and orchestration are so lush and delightful that the lyrics started to feel like a disruption. There’s a good reason that the younger Pinard has won awards for his video game scores; his ear allows him to create images for the melodies with just the right combination of instruments.
I was somewhat disappointed by one track, “That Summer by the Sea.” I wasn’t sure whether the goal was to have the vocalist sound so child-like, to be honest; it felt like it was supposed to be told in retrospect, but Shaw’s vocals made it sound like a little girl was telling the story. The A/A-B/B rhyme scheme of the lyrics on this track added to the impression, and it didn’t seem to fit with the rest of the work.
While the album is positioned as neo-classical and classical crossover, it really feels much more New Age to me. You can decide for yourself. I am including two tracks here: “The Bleeding Rose” (in my opinion the best vocal track), and “Orphan in Winter,” which introduces the album. Enjoy!