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A Winter's Solstice II

30 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 25, 1990
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$22.49 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 1 left in stock. Sold by CAC Media and Fulfilled by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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A Winter's Solstice II + A Winter's Solstice: Windham Hill Artists + A Winter's Solstice III
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

No Description Available
No Track Information Available
Media Type: CD
Artist: WINTER'S SOLSTICE
Title: VOL. 2-WINTER'S SOLSTICE
Street Release Date: 09/01/1989
Domestic
Genre: XMAS VOCAL COLLECTIONS

Amazon.com

The Winter Solstice series from Windham Hill is an appealing souvenir from the label's early days, when guitarist Will Ackerman still served as its chief guiding light and fount of original thought. For years Ackerman shunned the overt commercial trappings of traditional Christmas recordings and instead offered odes to a broader season that, like his artists' music, is compatible with periods of sustained, hushed contemplation. Winter Solstice II, released in 1988, mixes original and traditional compositions (none that specifically brings Christmas to mind) and is adorned with classical overtones from front to back, conveying the high-minded earthiness associated with the label's then all-acoustic format. A few pieces on the 50-minute disc clock in at under than two minutes, and a couple others are duds, yet several selections make this quiet disc a worthy listen: a handsome interpretation of Bach ("Prelude to Cello Suite No. 1") on harp-guitar by Michael Hedges, plus gorgeous, yearning piano solos by Philip Aaberg ("The Gift") and Michael Manring. Better known as a bassist, Manring's reworking of one of his own works, "Sung to Sleep," may be the disc's highlight. Ackerman's contribution, "Abide the Winter," and "Medieval Memory II" by the sadly disbanded duo of pianist Ira Stein and oboist Russell Walder, float through the air as beautifully as winter's first snowfall. --Terry Wood


1. The Gift - Philip Aaberg
2. 17th Century Canon - Paul McCandless
3. Prelude To Cello Suite # 1 - Micheal Hedges
4. This Rush Of Wings - Metamora
5. Sung To Sleep - Michael Manring
6. E'en So, Lord/Dadme Albricias - Modern Mandolin Quartet
7. 'Bring Me Back A Song.' - Michael O' Domhnaill
8. Salve Regina - Therese Schroeder-Sheker
9. Chorale #220 - Turtle Island String Quartet
10. Simple Psalm - Fred Simon
11. Flute Sonata In Em - Barbara Higbie & Emily Klion
12. Come Life Shaker Life - Malcolm Dalglish
13. Medievil Memory II - Ira Stein & Russel Walder
14. Abide The Winter - Will Ackerman
15. By The Fireside - William Allaudin Mathieu

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Windham Hill Records
  • ASIN: B000000NHA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,743 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Christian Ellithorpe on January 25, 2006
Format: Audio CD
After all the years and all the Winter Solstice/Carols of Christmas?Windham Hill Christmas compilations, this is the one I always come back to. It has the most original material, and because of that, it is one of the few Winter Solstice albums you can honestly listen to in July or January or December. Brilliant improvisations by Philip Aaberg begin, and end this disc. One of Ackerman's awesome harp-guitar pieces, a piece by Barbara Higbee which is one of the only I've heard of her flute performances. And the most poignant moments of all - Fred Simon's Simple Psalm. Very moving piano work, complete with chime effects. Simply awesome. There is literally not a single boring or predictable track on this CD; it is a true masterpiece of astonishingly consistent talent all throughout. Yes the first "Winter Solstice" was very good, but this was actually far beyond perfect. THIS is the CD to start with!
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Shmama on July 6, 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
My first Winter Solstice cd (I started with number 2) & I'm quite impressed! It is completely Instrumental except for a very short beautiful addition of the sound of female voices more like an instrument near the end of one of the selections that adds to it's sweetness. (Normally I do not care for mixing vocals with primarily instrumentals, but this doesn't detract from it at all). I guess you could play this cd in the winter only, but that sure seems like a waste of the opportunity to be soothed year round. The music is reminiscent of the renaissance period & there are no recognizable Christmas tunes (for me anyway). This whole album is perfect for relaxing anytime & will be great at bedtime for me as I usually have trouble winding down to sleep. Overall, I highly Recommend it. There are some very reasonably priced "like new" ones offered by an assortment of sellers here on Amazon (I now have the first cd in this series on the way to me). Peace.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Captain Nojaa on November 14, 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is the second in the "A Winter's Solstice" series. As usual, the good folks at Windham Hill have assembled a masterpiece of music!

If I had to describe musically my feelings of the winter season, this would be it. This compilation is so perfect that, if I close my eyes, I can actually feel myself being transported to the vistas these selections describe.

Here's a sampling of what can be found on this CD:

"The Gift" describes a gentle snowfall. Each note and chord of the piano is a snowflake falling gently to earth amongst a forest of evergreens. "17th Century Canon" brings to mind a scene of an early Main Street, with bells ringing, garland and tinsel gently swaying and children playing in piles of snow. "Prelude to Cello Suite #1," written by Johann Sebastian Bach, becomes a fireplace with the flames dancing over the embers.

"Sung to Sleep" is a mother softly and lovingly singing her child to sleep and telling her child, and herself, that all is well. "Bring Me Back a Song" is actually a medley of traditional Celtic carols. It exudes a warmth of good tidings while causing the listener to reflect on Christmases past.

"Salve Regina" is a tune from the Middle Ages. While not specifically a Christmas piece, it nevertheless fits the mood of the album. "Simple Psalm" is perhaps a rendition of one of the Psalms put to music. The listener's mind may wander to a snow-covered countryside as the sun tries to peek through the clouds.

"Come Life Shaker Life" is a traditional Shaker hymn which celebrates life and the joy of living. "Medieval Memory II" is another mood piece that fits well in the canon. This piece brings to mind a winter's evening with a light snowfall, and is a reflection of "peace on earth" at winter time.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 10, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Without a doubt, this compilation of material is terrific. My family has listened to this CD each Christmas season for several years; we are still fascinated with the depth and beauty of the recordings from start to finish. Especially, as Bach advocates, the rendition of "Prelude to Cello Suite No. 1" by Michael Hedges is a virtuoso performance, which I listen year-round. "Sung to Sleep"..unbelievable...just buy it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By traveler on October 4, 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The whole Winters's Solstice Series is really first rate. The different styles of music all complement each other and there are enough traditional holiday songs to make the discs nice for holiday gatherings. My wife and I both love Christmas music, but this series goes beyond the holiday season and we do listen to them until Spring. The Windham Hill Christmas series offers very nice arrangements of the more "traditional" , familiar songs that we also enjoy. I think the best testament is that even though this series goes back 25 + years, it still plays well now. The regular familiar arrangements are nice, but this series offers a pleasant alternative. And, they are priced to buy! Put them on shuffle play on a multi disc changer and you won't have to worry about music for any gathering of good friends, family, food and spirits (Christmas and otherwise...)which is what the season is all about...counting your blessings and enjoying life.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Crowsfeet on January 25, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I was shopping in a store in Berkeley several years ago and they happened to be playing this album. I had never heard anything like it so I asked what the album was. The saleswoman had to go upstairs to find out and I'm so glad she did. It was my introduction to Windham Hill which led me to several of their artists who have become my favorites (particularly Nightnoise and Metamora) and many more of their albums that I now have. As other reviewers here have noted, the music is perfect background music for dinner parties, holidays or anytime you want to feel mellow. I particularly like the pieces with minor key fiddle music that remind me of pioneer folk music. I didn't hesitate to buy it after hearing a few of the songs. The samples here should convince you too.
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