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
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."
music MIX National Magazine
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
the whole thing, got a couple of calls from listeners who really
enjoyed it! Played when the satellite went down." Huntsville
a wonderfully magical excursion from the humdrum! Fantastique!
on contemporary show, love it! Mobile, AL
it a lot, great stuff, have used, fantastic, can't say enough
about it, one that really jumps out at me." Cape Girardeau,
played on a children's program." Gainesville, FL
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.
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).
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.
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.