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Loreena McKennitt: Nights from the Alhambra (Amaray - DVD + 2CD)

4.8 out of 5 stars 227 customer reviews


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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

An enchanting musical performance, set beneath the stars in the breathtaking Moorish heart of medieval Spain. Captured in concert in September 2006, singer/composer Loreena McKennitt leads viewers through the multi-textured landscapes of her catalog, from traditional Celtic ballads to literary narratives and highlights from her latest recording, An Ancient Muse.

Filmed in rich HDTV, Nights from the Alhambra evokes the otherworldly magic of Granada's palace of dreams, the fiery and inspired performances of a stellar cast of supporting musicians and, of course, the unforgettable voice and songs of Loreena McKennitt herself. The package includes the complete footage on DVD and 2 separate audio CDs that encompass the complete evening.

Amazon.com

After nearly a decade off the scene, Loreena McKennitt returned to the performance and recording stage in 2006 and 2007. The Canadian singer picked up exactly where she left off, traveling through the Celtic-Middle Eastern fusions she explored on The Book of Secrets with her latest studio album, An Ancient Muse. Now, with momentum behind her, she's released a DVD document of her performance at Alhambra palace in Granada, Spain. This is the same performance that has been running on PBS station pledge drives for the last year, but with a double CD included. McKennitt's renditions of songs from An Ancient Muse and her earlier albums are impeccable. As she is something of a perfectionist, there isn't much deviation from the original studio versions, but McKennitt is in fine voice and the band gets to rave it up a few times on tracks like "The Bonny Swans," where violinist Hugh Marsh and guitarist Brian Hughes trade increasingly frantic leads. This is an expanded group for McKennitt, with players from England, Greece, and the Middle East playing oud, dumbek, kanoun, hurdy-gurdy, duduk, and other ancient sounds from the British Isles to Turkey. The advantage of this edition of the Alhambra performance over that seen on PBS is that we're spared McKennitt's earnest and precious interstitials, talking about the location and her inspirations while slowly running her hands over Celtic carvings. But if you want it, that version of the performance is also on the DVD, as the commentary track. The CDs wisely drop even the between-song patter, which is fine, but not something to sit through on repeated listenings. Although the performance is beautifully, if conventionally filmed, and it's great to see this virtuoso band playing in communion, it's ultimately McKennitt's songs themselves that brim with visual imagery as she creates her ancient evocations as effectively on the concert stage as she does in the studio. --John Diliberto

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Loreena McKennitt
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Verve/Quinlan Road
  • DVD Release Date: August 21, 2007
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (227 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000SO7OMA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #168,149 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
The reason why I am reviewing this nearly before its release here in the UK is that I saw Loreena McKennitt in her only UK concert at London's Barbican Theatre on 3 April. After a magnificent evening, I bought a copy of the CD/DVD set for £25 at the tour sales stand. Paying the extra for having the set before the official release date is money well spent.

The concert was recorded in September 2006 at the Alhambra Palace in Granada. It must be said that Loreena's music melds beautifully with the backdrop of the palace and whoever had the idea for the concert here was truly inspired.

There are 18 tracks on the album - the 2 CDs - and the order is the same for the DVD. There is a commentary by Loreena at intervals throughout the concert and you get a real understanding of how her mind works, in putting together the historical images which shape her albums; each album being a history lesson and a travelogue for her research which culminates in her marvellous albums.

There are tracks from all her studio albums:

* Penelope's Song", "Caravanserai" and "Never-Ending Road (Amhran Duit)" are all from "An Ancient Muse", the brilliant new album;

* "The Mystic's Dream", "The Bonny Swans" and "Santiago" are from "The Mark And Mirror";

* "She Moved Through The Fair" and "Stolen Child" are from "Elemental";

* "The Mummer's Dance", "Marco Polo" and "Dante's Prayer" are from "The Book Of Secrets";

* "Bonny Portmore", "All Souls Night", an abbreviated version of "The Lady Of Shalott", "The Old Ways" and "Cymbeline" are all from "The Visit"; and

* "Huron 'Beltane' Fire Dance" is from "Parallel Dreams".

Finally, there is a wonderful version of "Raglan Road, the poem written by Patrick Kavanagh.
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1 Comment 112 of 112 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
For fans of Loreena McKennitt, this is the concert video that we have all been waiting for... it is just stunning!

There is a possible point of confusion here, as there are TWO versions of the same performance offered on Amazon. The ONLY difference is the packaging, both contain 3 disks (2 cd's and one DVD). This set is packaged as a jewel box set, and the other is packaged in a DVD sized container. At first, I ordered both, thinking that one set was a DVD video and the other was a CD audio version. After I realized my mistake, I canceled this jewel box order and got the DVD sized package (which was cheaper at the time).

Whichever version you buy, I am sure you will be captivated by this magnificent performance, recorded in a magnificent setting!
2 Comments 151 of 154 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
For fans of Loreena McKennitt, this is the concert video that we have all been waiting for... it is just stunning!

There is a possible point of confusion here, as there are TWO versions of the same performance offered on Amazon. The ONLY difference is the packaging, both contain 3 disks (2 cd's and one DVD). This set is packaged in a DVD sized container, and the other is packaged as a jewel box set. At first, I ordered both, thinking that one set was a DVD video and the other was a CD audio version. After I realized my mistake, I canceled the jewel box order and kept this DVD sized package (which was cheaper at the time).

Don't get "suckered in" like I did, for awhile Amazon listed the two versions as a buy BOTH together deal, but this has now been changed to a more realistic offer.

Whichever version you buy, I am sure you will be captivated by this magnificent performance, recorded in a magnificent setting!
1 Comment 63 of 64 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If this box set did not include the DVD, it would not take on the significance it has. After all, most long time fans of Loreena McKennitt are already quite familiar with most or all of the songs on it. Without the DVD, it would just be an excellent live concert CD. With it, the listener can grasp a fuller sense of the visual and aural extravaganza that Nights From the Alhambra was.
We all like McKennitt's unique sound and the way her songs borrow from a wide swath of cultures stretching from the Emerald Isle to Anatolia. Here we can not only relish that sound, but we can see how it is created by an array of strange and wonderful instruments, many of which are unfamiliar to the average listener.
Each CD offers a little more than three quarters of an hour's worth of music. The DVD is a bit longer than the two CDs combined because the songs are interspersed with McKennitt's commentary. On the DVD, the cameras wander around, providing the viewer not just with a lot of close-ups of McKennitt and her band, but also of the Alhambra itself.
Of course I have my favorites, but I find the entire package a delight. If you are already a fan of Loreena McKennitt and have not yet heard or seen Nights From the Alhambra, then its time to do so now. This is one of those CDs likely to be regarded by posterity as an essential work of the early 21st century.
Comment 42 of 42 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
This concert was broadcast on PBS earlier this year. I had liked Loreena McKennitt ever since my brand-new husband introduced me to her latest CD at a Biltmore Village, North Carolina music store in 1999. BOOK OF SECRETS, at that time, was her most recent recording. This is the concert that made me buy the rest of her catalogue. This is a wonderful concert. Loreena is truly a very gifted singer/songwriter/performer, and the musicians who accompany her are no less than superb. Her words and music transport the listener to faraway lands and mystical places and it's a good place to go. I paid $35.00 for this DVD which included a 2-disc CD at her Nashville, Tennessee concert at the Ryman and I've had it since April. My husband and I ended up walking back to our car with a little man who had come to the concert by himself and who was obviously enamored with the singer. "Best concert I've ever been to!" he told us, with a great big ol' grin on his face. We wholeheartedly agreed with him. If you buy it from AMAZON, you won't pay as much as I did and I'll tell you right now, if you enjoy Loreena McKennitt, you will enjoy this set. Buy the CD also and then you can enjoy it in the car as you travel! Raves!!!
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