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Midwinter Graces [CD/DVD Combo]

4 out of 5 stars 92 customer reviews

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Audio CD, November 10, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Deluxe CD/DVD edition includes bonus DVD. 2009 holiday release. After nearly two decades writing and recording some of her generation's most emotionally powerful music, Tori Amos releases her first seasonal album, Midwinter Graces. A follow up to Tori's critically acclaimed studio album, Abnormally Attracted To Sin, Midwinter Graces finds Tori reworking and expanding on classic carols as well as developing some of her very own seasonal tracks. For Midwinter Graces, Amos has again teamed up with long time collaborators Matt Chamberlain on drums, Jon Evans on bass, and Mac Aladdin on guitars. Tori has enlisted the help of a Big Band and an Orchestra with stunning John Philip Shenale arrangements to create Tori's new seasonal classics.

About the Artist

For Midwinter Graces, Amos has again teamed up with long time collaborators Matt Chamberlain on drums, Jon Evans on bass, and Mac Aladdin on guitars. Tori has enlisted the help of a Big Band and an Orchestra with stunning John Philip Shenale arrangements to create Tori's new seasonal classics.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 10, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Republic
  • ASIN: B002QCKOME
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #91,100 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Like Tori mentioned before the album was released, the real shocker in this album is that there is no real shocker. Overall it is a very pleasant listen with Tori doing songs across a wide range of sounds. There is big band (Pink and Glitter), medieval (Candle: Coventry Carol), Persian-tinged folk-rock (Star of Wonder) and music from the Dark Ages (Emmanuel). There is also a song, Winter's Carol, that is from the musical Tori is working on (The Light Princess). Tori also wrote a song in memory of her brother Michael, Our New Year, which is a very beautiful, true-to-Tori-form song with some nice strings.

One highlight of the album is that the piano is now back to the center, an element that has been missing in the last few Tori albums. I must say I enjoyed watching the interview, it shows a side of Tori that is not usually brought out in past interviews - and you see that she really does know quite a fair bit about church history. Even though this album is very much your unconventional Tori, I really think Tori could have done a little better with this album. For one, songs like Harps of Gold and Candle: Coventry Carol were not very suited to Tori's voice. And the album cover (I know this should not be a point of contention, but it is not something easily ignored) looks very obviously photoshopped - as a Tori fan put it: "she looks more and more like an android with each album cover." I don't mean to speak this way about Tori but there is something to the raw Tori we all find magical.

My favorites on this album are:
Star of Wonder - reminds me of Strong Black Vine.
Pink and Glitter - a wonderful nod to the big band era, reminiscent of the songs Tori sang on Mona Lisa Smile.
Jeanette, Isabella
Comfort and Joy (Bonus Track on Deluxe Edition)
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Format: Audio CD
I was pleasantly surprised by how mellow and smooth this album is. Once you start listening to it, you'll get into such a relaxed mood that all you'll want to do is sit in a comfy chair and sip coffee or tea. I'm listening to Midwinter Graces as I type this review and I have a cup of coffee right next to me :)

I can honestly say that even my parents would appreciate hearing these songs over the Christmas holidays. Now don't get the idea that this album is totally mainstream or lame, because it's not, remember this is Tori Amos were talking about. But it's so well done that non-Tori fans will be asking "Who IS this? And where can I get the CD?".

It's the perfect holiday album to listen to with loved ones but it can also help you introduce Tori's brilliant music to new listeners. Don't be surprised if months from now, your mother discovers 'Little Earthquakes' and shouts to the world that 'Cornflake Girl' is her new favorite song, lol. Trust me, by listening to this album with your family it's ridiculously possible. Of course you'll have to explain to your mom what 'Cornflake Girl' is about and that's it's not just a catchy tune, but a song with a deep message.

Now back to Midwinter Graces...

My favorite songs on this album include:

1. Star of Wonder (my #1 favorite)
2. Holly, Ivy, and Rose (a believe she sings this song with her young daughter)
3. Snow Angel
4. Jeanette, Isabella
5. Emmanuel (a beautiful version of the holiday classic)
6. What A Child, Nowell
7. Winter's Carol

At times it doesn't even feel like I'm listening to a holiday album at all, just a mellow Tori album. I highly recommend getting/downloading it and listening to Midwinter Graces all year round. It's really that good.
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Format: Audio CD
Tori Amos creates a refreshing take on the holiday season with her new album: "Midwinter Graces". Working with her usual team of Mark Chamberlain on drums, Jon Evans on bass, and Mac Aladdin on guitars, plus some nice orchestration, we see a lot of new Tori, and very little of the old/expected. The tracks especially worth noting are the ones that take the typical Christmas tunes and switch it up for something new and interesting, like the harpsichord filled "What Child, Nowell" or tabla'd "Star of Wonder". She is a master at taking our expectations of what SHOULD appear in a Christmas album and changing them.

The best track on the whole album, and my favorite, was "Pink and Glitter". While a slightly disarming title, the sudden entrance of the brass and the great big-band sound lend this piece a lot of "glitter". I highly suggest snuggling up to your lover with this, maybe on New Year's Eve, or maybe just by a fire....you get the idea. Tori's jazz vocals make a comeback, and are rarely drowned out by the brass, so the blend seems all right. This is one of the two highly publicized tracks, but this one is well deserved.

One of the other tracks getting advertising attention is "A Silent Night With You". Honestly, I felt this song was pretty mainstream sounding--maybe even a little too, although it did hark back to the sound of "Gold Dust" or many of the tracks in "Scarlet's Walk". Also, if anyone has heard any of her jazz covers, her vocals are reminiscent of it. The harmonies are pretty, but this whole track was just a little too repetitive and expected for me. Also the tubular bells to give the Christmas effect were overdone. But hey, how can you avoid that when you're trying to make a song sound like the holidays?!!!
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Topic From this Discussion
What's on the DVD?
I haven't yet seen anything stating what's on the DVD, but the bonus tracks are "Comfort And Joy" and "Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht! (Silent Night! Holy Night!)". That info comes from a Tori fan/news site, www.undented.com.
Oct 5, 2009 by Maria Kristic |  See all 7 posts
Bonus tracks?
The dexule is availbe for four dollars more, also from Amazon.
Nov 12, 2009 by G. Sutton |  See all 3 posts
A Tori Amos Christmas album...
This album is absolutely STUNNING. I thought I was going to despise it and disown Tori for making it, but it is so beautiful. Wow. Thank you Tori.
Nov 2, 2009 by Nihilist Extraordinaire |  See all 24 posts
Easily Amongst her Top 5
I have been thinking that too! Not the set your Spark promo on fire part, but seriously, all these years later, ENOUGH with the minister's daughter already!! :D
Nov 10, 2009 by Aaron J. Smith |  See all 6 posts
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Midwinter Graces [CD/DVD Combo]
This item: Midwinter Graces [CD/DVD Combo]
Price: $18.75
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