If on a Winter's Night...

Studio Album by released in 2009
If on a Winter's Night...'s tracklist:
Gabriel's Message
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Soul Cake
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There Is No Rose of Such Virtue
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The Snow It Melts the Soonest
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Christmas at Sea
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Lo How a Rose E'Er Blooming
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Cold Song
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The Burning Babe
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Now Winter Comes Slowly
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The Hounds of Winter
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Balulalow
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Cherry Tree Carol
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Lullaby for an Anxious Child
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Hurdy Gurdy Man
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You Only Cross My Mind in Winter
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Bethlem Down
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Blake's Cradle Song
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If on a Winter's Night... review

What does he have this time?

Sting, an icon of a singer from Britain, has taught his followers to be ready to any surprises they might find on his new studio works. It is sufficient to mention Songs From The Labyrinth, where the singer is accompanied solely by the Medieval music, in fact, produced only by one instrument. That effort was so impressive and powerful that many might believe that the artist would will to develop these themes on. However, Sting would not be Sting if he remained within the same stylistic borders and were lazy to seek something new. In the autumn of 2009, the singer extended his discography with a brand new album, If On A Winter’s Night, again pleasing the listeners with interesting solutions and ideas. As Sting admitted, it was an endeavor to unite ballad and folk music. You will find there two original songs penned by Sting himself, Lullaby for an Anxious Child, and The Hounds of Winter alongside his versions of English folk compositions including Christmas chants and lullabies. That is some mixture, isn’t it?

Christmas experiments

If On A Winter’s Night is an album where you absorb the mood even from the title. A winter night is a romantic time that is rich in inspiration. That is exactly how Sting perceives it and he does not take much time to invite you to this wonderful world. You will have to accept this offer as you hear the first sounds of the album’s opener, Gabriel’s Message, an amazing acoustic number looking like a live performance. The ballad tempo is replaced by the dancing one when the second track, Soul Cake, comes up. But, as soon as you are fully ready to have a party time, Sting slows down again and offers you an exotic composition called There is No Rose of Such Virtue with drums producing Arabian-like beats. Then, again, you hear an example of simple, yet highly efficient combination of acoustic guitar and singing, The Snow it Melts the Soonest. And that is the way If On A Winter’s Night develops with the constant shift of rhythms, instrumental accompaniment and stylistics. This in no way harms the work in general because the main instrument here is still Sting’s vocals, periodically outlined by female choral efforts. That is the singer’s voice, his singing manner that unite all the pieces into an integral substance. In the end, you will have a monumental work where the solemnity of spiritual chanting magically walks hand in hand with the melancholy of ballads and vastness of folk art. The singer did not abandon the themes he always loved and thus recorded a sea-motivated song called Christmas at Sea and another medieval composition, Lo How a Rose E'er Blooming, begging to grab a place in Songs From The Labyrinth.

Sting always able to surprise

Whatever you might think in the beginning, you will later have to admit that If On A Winter’s Night can not be seen as just one of the Christmas or happy-new-year albums that have become darlings of musicians recently. It is not a collection of folk songs that everybody knows and longs to sing along to. Sting will be Sting and can not record such an album. Perhaps, even the singer does not fully know what effect he expects his new studio work to produce on a listener. After all, there are many unprecedented and experimental things here, which automatically makes it an album that is doomed to have minuses. And it does have them, indeed. There are some songs that could sound better be they recorded live without dubbing or using a drum-machine. Moreover, the mood and stylistic peculiarities of this album are so distinct that many will be able to like the music only listening to it on that very winter night. But is it not again a beauty of Sting’s just released album? Researcher’s courage, performer’s originality and author’s stylishness: these features that are so vivid on this album will easily make up for the minor flaws If On A Winter’s Night has. And there will be many of those who would be happy to express personally their appreciation to Sting that they now have not simply another Sting’s album, but one more different Sting’s album.