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The Book of Secrets

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Audio CD, April 14, 2006
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$14.50 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 16 left in stock. Sold by cdgiveaways and Fulfilled by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

Canadian singer/composer Loreena McKennitt is self-managed, self-produced, and the head of her own internationally successful record label, Quinlan Road. In a recording career spanning nearly two decades, McKennitt's "eclectic Celtic" music has won critical acclaim worldwide and gold, platinum and multi-platinum sales awards in fifteen countries across four continents.

1. Prologue
2. The Mummers' Dance
3. Skellig
4. Marco Polo
5. The Highway Man
6. La Serenissima
7. Night Ride Across The Caucasus
8. Dante's Prayer

Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 14, 2006)
  • Original Release Date: 1997
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Verve
  • ASIN: B000J233SK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (603 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,961 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

139 of 142 people found the following review helpful By Marc Ruby™ HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on June 2, 2001
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Loreena McKennitt is a singer songwriter who defies generalizations. While primarily in the Celtic tradition, she is always pushing the borders. Sometimes traditional and sometimes completely inventive she is capable of perpetual surprises.
"The Book of Secrets" is a musical journey through the relatives and contemporaries of the Celtic tradition. She mixes themes from Europe and Near East with the rhythmic and instrumental approaches of the Celtic world. The effect is hypnotic. The eerie and contemplative 'Prologue' shifts to the strong melodic work of 'The Mummers' Dance' recalling ancient spring rituals of rebirth. 'Skellig' has an almost Renaissance flavor as it voices the contemplative farewell song of an Italian monk.
'Marco Polo' echoes Oriental touches with Sufi melodies, capturing the ecstatic nature of that tradition perfectly. The, in an almost magical transition McKennitt switches to one of my favorites, 'The Highwayman.' This is a resetting of an Alfred Noyes poem, a dramatic stories of sacrifice and vengeance over melodic fiddle work and dancing drums. 'La Serenissima' is a return to the medieval contemplative, playing harp and fiddle against each other.
'Night Ride Across the Caucasus' uses Asiatic styling over the pulsing beat of horses in motion to recall the spiritual journey of the alchemist and the quest of the mystic. 'Dante's Prayer,' the final song of the album, is another personal favorite. Occasioned by a trip across the Russian Steppes it opens with an echo of Russian Orthodox melody and then shifts to a melodic, contemporary sound as McKennitt voice sings a beautiful plaint that echoes the love songs of Sufi poetry, whose object is the Beloved, the divine.
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62 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca of Amazon HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 9, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Who would not want to read a book of secrets...Except, this is one you listen to.

"The journey not the destination, becomes a source of wonder."

Loreena McKennitt spent a few years thinking about Celtic nomadic ways. She wondered if this need arose from an insatiable curiosity. She set off to travel to Rome and ended up in Istanbul. She set off for Japan and ended up on a train across Siberia. The CD booklet, is interesting to read as you listen and reveals her sources of inspiration. Of course after reading the booklet, you might feel compelled to go off on your own journey

The songs on this album are all a reflection of Loreena's knowledge of the world. She seems to be seeking, exploring possibilities and expressing what she has captured.

1. Prologue - inspired by "From The Holy Mountain" by William Dalrymple. There is a certain emptiness and remorse woven into this piece. Maybe a longing for what could have been. You can almost imagine monks traveling from monastery to monastery to collect ancient wisdom.

2. The Mummers' Dance - Loreena incorporated the chorus of a traditional mumming song and her words take on new meaning when you realize that mumming involves a group of performers who dress up in masks and clothes bedecked with ribbons and carrying branches of greenery. This "mumming" has its roots in tree worshiping, which will make you consider why you bring a tree in at Christmas time, at least it is worth considering. Although I think people are more interested in worshipping materialism at the malls.

3. Skellig - this song becomes almost hypnotic as it seems to spin in circles or maybe it is more like the flicker of a candle that grows brighter as you approach it on a dark night.

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130 of 141 people found the following review helpful By Lord Chimp on July 18, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Ah, what a wonderful album. Loreena McKennitt's voice is a marvel, synthesizing the superhuman accuracy and strength of operatic soprano with the rich narrative quality of folk singers. Her skill as a composer is likewise impressive, as she stacks ethnic influences on a foundation of tried-and-true Celtic resources that makes for beautiful and compelling songcraft. The pristine recording quality heightens the album's mystique, making every instrument perfectly clear in even the broadest arrangement.
And isn't that voice beautiful?
Each song tells its own story, but the beautiful, exotic soundscapes lend themselves very much to the listener's imagination. "Marco Polo" might evoke images of Oriental landscapes, while "Skellig" generates lamenting -- and somewhat romantic -- imagery. If the gorgeous and elegiac "Dante's Prayer" doesn't give you goosebumps, you must be a zombie. Especially noteworthy is the tragic ballad "The Highwayman" set to music. This ten-minute piece seems a bit repetitive for the first few listens, although you'll later find that the immaculately crafted composition subtly builds in intensity, adding the presence of stronger percussion and a more desperate, emotional flavor. I can't explain it, but "Night Ride Across the Caucasus" means a lot to me deep down. It must be something in the heavenly poetry, the exquisite melodies, or the stunning vocals. The chorus really is the best thing ever...well, almost!
And she sings like an angel, doesn't she?
Additionally, this CD features a great set of liner notes that sports little bits from McKennitt's journals, highlighting some of the influences for these songs, which I found very interesting. Some of those ethnic touches are hard to put your finger on, so having it pointed out helps. Great cover art too...really sets the tone for the album, I think.
And her voice sure is gorgeous, isn't it?
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