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Songs From The Labyrinth

StingAudio CD
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (204 customer reviews)

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Sting speaks about the deluxe edition of The Journey & The Labyrinth


Composer, singer, author, actor, activist – Sting was born in Newcastle, England before moving to London in 1977 to form The Police with Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers. The band released five albums, earned six Grammy awards, and in 2003 was inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Since 1985, Sting has released 13 solo albums. His latest musical endeavor, The Last Ship, is ... Read more in Amazon's Sting Store

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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: POL
  • ASIN: B000G8OYZS
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (204 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #709,684 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

2006 classical project from the former Police mainman and successful solo artist featuring the music of acclaimed Elizabethan songwriter, John Dowland (1563-1626). Sting is joined on this recording by much-admired lutenist Edin Karamazov, in what he describes as "a soundtrack to Dowland's life in words and music". Packaged in a digipak. Deutsche Grammophon.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
58 of 64 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
When I heard that Sting was coming out with a new collection of music, I tried to stop my giddy grin, and went on and preordered it. When I opened it up, I was hit with a bit of surprise. For one, it was released on the Deusche Grammophon label, which usually devote themselves to classical works. Looking closer I saw that it was not an array of pop songs, but rather a review of the works of John Dowland.

Oh boy, am I in for an adventure! I thought and eager ripped off the packaging and into the cd player it goes.

I was enchanted right from the start. The singing is wonderful, there was only one really bad track, and even Sting reading from one of Dowland's letters to an influential courtier at James I's court was interesting. There's a haunting quality to the songs, music written by a man who was an outsider in the land of his birth (Dowland was a catholic in a fiercely protestant England), and from what the letter tell us, a man who was living on the edge between being comfortable and poverty.

Not all of the songs are great, and there are several real clunkers in this -- for me, I detested listening to Can she excuse my wrongs? but several others are haunting in their beauty and touch of melancholy. Slipped in between the musical selections is Sting reading from a letter of Dowland's, written in 1595, to an influential courtier in Queen Elizabeth's court, and Dowland is hoping that he can gain the patronage of Lord Robert so that he can gain employment and return to England. While at first, it feels odd to have the readings in there, but eventually you get a cohesiveness that makes Dowland's story all the more poignant.
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Haunting, Beautiful October 14, 2006
Format:Audio CD
You're missing the point if you criticize Sting for making this album. To paraphrase the man himself, these songs are not sacrosanct. In fact, to the purists who fault him for making this gentle, yet yes, self-indulgent album: it sometimes takes an artist like Sting to revive a genre or composer so the work does not fade into oblivion. Though Sting is a better bass player than guitarist or lutenist, the playing on this album is beautiful. The reverence for the music is there without being overbearing. Sting makes a powerful statement for the pure joy of...melancholy. Excellent work. Buy it. Indulge.
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148 of 173 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars If you like this, please consider October 14, 2006
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
"John Dowland: Songs for Tenor and Lute" by Nigel Rogers with Paul O'Dette on Virgin Classics, there's really no comparison technically or interpretively. Sting get's an A for effort and also an A for putting his reputation on the line in the name of a beautiful repretoire. As a lifetime lover of this music, I am thrilled to see Sting take it on as another "cause". If this cd turns on just one person to lute or classical guitar music, I say great.

As another musician/reviewer suggests, if you forget that you are listening to Sting the results seem amateurish and student-like, but the truth is that you are listening to Sting and that of course changes everything! In Sting's defense, it's true these are not operatic arias but rather intimate art songs, they are pop songs of sorts and they do mark the beginning of a long line of self-expressive songwriting that does include Sting himself. Glad they at least found a roadie who could tune a lute :)
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Honorable Stab at Dowland May 18, 2007
Format:Audio CD
Sting and Dowland are an odd mix, but he makes an honorable stab at it, and it definitely a good purchase for anyone wanting a way in for music from the turn of the sixteenth to seventeenth centuries. There area numerous books on the subject of early vocal style and a host of fabulous period instrument and period voice recordings to choose from. My advice - compare and contrast, there is no single definitive performance of this repertoire. While I definitely would NOT count Sting's CDs here as close to a definitive performance, closing the book on Dowland, but it is a book worthy openi9ng, not closing. These performances examine Dowland from a unique perspective, and are a worthy addition to anyone's music collection, classical or otherwise.

Dr. Phillip W. Serna, DMus

Doctor of Music, Northwestern University, 2007
Double Bass, Viola da Gamba, Bass Guitar & Guitar
Orchestra Member: Northbrook Symphony Orchestra, Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra & the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra
Early Music Member: The Chicago Early Music Consort & The Spirit of Gambo, a Chicago Consort of Viols
Chicago Federation of Musicians, Local 10-208 of A.F.M. #55608
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
By Warmgoy
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I love this recording.

Let me say at once this will not appeal to all tastes, and it is not my intent here to question the taste of anyone who does not care for this recording. There are many valid takes on it, though I will say that those who know little of early music or with only a tangential knowledge of classical music may need to do some more listening before evaluating.

I think response to this will very much depend on how one classifies Dowland's music, and how one has come to love it. Most contemporary lovers of this rep are those who love the sound of classically trained, classically utilized voices, and have come to Dowland within that musical frame. I myself adore the Battles, Pears, and Terfels in this music. And to those listeners this disc will rankle, and the singer will indeed sound raw and unmusical. On the other hand, Dowland's music was in its own time, and has since, had some life in the hands of untrained, unschooled voices, the street singer, folk singer, more down home guy. To one school, the opposite camp will appear dissonant, unevolved, and lacking in polish and basic musical grace. To the other, the opposite camp will appear effete and preciously sterile. Both have their points.

Odd comparison, but think about Johnny Cash (I'm from Nashville, bear with me). Now one school will, and quite validly, say that Cash can't sing his way out of a paper bag and is not musical, and if Cash were attempting classical singing - some Schubert say - well they would probably be right. But listen to Cash in his own idiom and Lordy, nobody can accuse him of lacking musicality - the guy can tear your heart out through his own musical means.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A great CD if you like Sting. A bit off the beaten track but fun.
Published 1 month ago by Larry Underwood, M.D.
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
This one is Sting's weirdest work by far, but utterly brilliant and well worth the purchase... if you like Elizabethan things.
Published 5 months ago by Scáth
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Intro to Dowland But Vets Could Skip It
In 2006, Sting took a shot at performing the songs of Elizabethan composer John Dowland. It was a bit of a gamble and, if Sting does not win the pot, he at least broke even. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Kevin M. Derby
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Sting
A new approach for Sting's voice. I like the new material he has presented here. Hope he continues to try new music.
Published 9 months ago by brenda morris
3.0 out of 5 stars It's Sting singing Dowland; what else is there to say?
Let's face it. The reason anyone buys this is just for the fact that it's Sting singing Dowland. Not to say it's bad; most songs are done pretty well. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Matt
1.0 out of 5 stars Ridiculous.
I picked up a copy of this CD in a bargain bin in a used CD store, for $2. I got ripped off.

Sting cannot sing his way out of a wet paper bag.
Published 12 months ago by William Kasimer
5.0 out of 5 stars Love!
I don't know any of Stings other music but his voice and the lute goes well together. I love it and I hope he comes out with more!
Published 13 months ago by B.B.
2.0 out of 5 stars not as good as I'd hoped
I usually like Sting but this one didn't really inspire me... ah well. put it down to experience. Try before you buy
Published 13 months ago by BJ
5.0 out of 5 stars A fresh look on the classic
Most reviewers who do not like this wanted something else: they wanted a more sophisticated voice raised on classic music (let us have the flowery voice of Nigel Rogers). Read more
Published 15 months ago by Claude Lambert
5.0 out of 5 stars Songs from the Labyrinth
The songs are hauntingly beautiful. Sting's voice has a quality that brings the song alive. I had no idea of what I was getting when I ordered it, but it was a delightful surprise.
Published 16 months ago by Susan J. Harris
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Topic From this Discussion
I just heard the samples from this album on "Studio 60 on Sunset Strip" (US viewers will be able to see it on NBC on Monday) and put in an order for the album at the next commercial break. If the samples on Amazon are anything to go by, this will be a wonderful album as well as an... Read More
Oct 15, 2006 by Ullrich Fischer |  See all 4 posts
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