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U. S. A. Album Reviews

"And 'mid these dancing rocks at once and ever It flung up momently the sacred river"

'And mid these dancing rocks at once and ever

It flung up momently the sacred river'

"Unroll your Persian carpets and prepare to soar on the uplifting flow of a sweepingly sublime saga. No matter that I'm not a big fan of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem 'Kubla Khan'. The epic movie score feel here is irresistible. And yes, Ben Kingsley's voice is mesmerising, but it's the music that handsomely carries this romantic theme from beginning to end. I could smell oranges and poppies and see the caravans across my living room - powerful stuff!"

NAPRA ReView National Magazine

70 seconds MP3 sample (553k)

"What a pleasant surprise! Richard Hill was one of the founders of London's Gabrieli Brass Ensemble and apparently has a very keen understanding of orchestration. This one hour 'orchestral ballet' is mostly music that supports Ben Kingsley's rich narration of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's classic text. The sound of the work is reminiscent of the best Delius or E J Moeran. This new music is finely crafted and beautifully played. One of the most sumptuous new orchestral compositions in years, and worth your time."

Nebraska Public Radio Network

"A labor of love by contemporary composer Richard Hill, it was conceived as a ballet in four movements. Each movement reflects the continually evolving moods of the poem and creates musically, what Coleridge achieved with his words: the evocation of a world of enchantment - a familiar, yet exotic experience of the psyche. Richard Hill composed and conducted 'Images from Kubla Khan' as a tribute to Coleridge, whose creativity and transcendent expression of higher imagination has inspired him since childhood. After studying the writing and archetypal images of Carl Jung, Hill's own imaginative powers deepened and took flight with this very personal interpretation of Coleridge's great poem. The poem is narrated by Ben Kingsley, who is best known for his compelling dramatic performances. He, like Richard, envisions this work as both a symphonic poem and an orchestral ballet."

AFIM music MIX National Magazine

"Ran 3 minute feature with story on the poem and played the music up until closing credits - carried on NPR stations, also on website." 'All Things Considered'-National Syndicated Radio

"Played the whole thing, got a couple of calls from listeners who really enjoyed it! Played when the satellite went down." Huntsville

"What a wonderfully magical excursion from the humdrum! Fantastique! Keene, NH

"Featured on contemporary show, love it! Mobile, AL

"Like it a lot, great stuff, have used, fantastic, can't say enough about it, one that really jumps out at me." Cape Girardeau, MO

"Wonderful, played on a children's program." Gainesville, FL

More Reviews

"The Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge may be well-known for just a couple of poems – but what an influence they’ve had! This is far from the only musical interpretation of the immortal ‘Kubla Khan’, but it’s certainly one of the best. While using an entire orchestra, composer Richard Hill wisely avoids bombast, preferring something a bit more subtle: the music swells with a sort of quiet, dreamlike grandeur that conveys wonder and beauty, without ever becoming overblown and obvious. There’s a touch of the languid, transporting opium haze to it, which seems fitting for Coleridge. When there is a bit of pomp, it has a certain fantastic joy to it, rather than too much self-importance. And Ben Kingsley’s narration of the poem itself at certain intervals hits just the right note – dramatic, but never pretentious. Not for every taste, of course; but the Romantic and the dreamer will find much to savor here!" William Timothy Lukeman – Amazon reviewer.

"This awesome masterpiece blends lavish musical scores with resonant narration to create a vivid picture of Xanadu. Rarely have I heard such magnificent tapestries of sound; this recording evokes all the rolling grandeur of the original poem. Furthermore, the liner notes include the words to Coleridge’s famous epic, along with information about the album’s making and its various contributors. I find the results immensely satisfying and play it often. Only four tracks make up this recording, and I love them all: “The Creation of the Enchanted Paradise” (13:37), “Alph, the Sacred River” (18:27), “The Shadow of the Dome of Pleasure” (11:53), and “The Abyssinian Maid and the Youth from Tartary” (14:48).

"The orchestral sections were recorded at Funkhaus in Berlin, producing an impressive diversity of sound. Images from Kubla Khan will really sweep you off your feet. This makes it ideal for groups wishing to practice guided meditation and out-of-body travel, especially with an additional interest in bardic studies. I use it as background music for writing fantasy and science fiction; but I don’t recommend driving under the influence of such a reality-bending recording. It would also make a spectacular framework for a Pagan theatre group to build a performance around. Most suitable for intermediate or advanced practitioners, beginners may find it fascinating for the aesthetic quality alone. Most highly recommended." Earth Spirit News.

"I came upon this piece of music as a result of an Amazon search and a website dedicated to the composer, Richard Hill, which featured musical samples. So for me it is a true Internet treasure that I probably would never have come across in any other circumstances. I am unaware of its performance history but I can not think it a long one. I have always been attracted to the Kubla Khan story and am a great fan of the Coleridge poem, here spoken in chilling tones by Ben Kingsley. It is the score to a ballet and has a very ethereal quality evoking both Debussy and Rimsky-Korsakov and hence to the halcyon days of the Ballet Russe. The piece is divided into four movements each one refering to lines in the classic poem. If you are looking for something a bit special, something to lift you out of a winter stupor then give this CD a whirl. You will not be disappointed and in the meantime I must investigate this Richard Hill man and see what else he has written. An inspiration...." David Spanswick - an Amazon Reviewer.





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