Smith’s worshipful “Agnus Dei” is the crown of this recording.
Artist: Michael W. Smith (www.michaelwsmith.com)
Label: The MWS Group distributed in the US by Provident Distribution
Length: 12 tracks/52:24 minutes
I like to hear Michael W. Smith play the piano, and Glory features him in a classical film score mode backed by The London Symphonica. The latter makes for booming crescendos and delicate accents, all tied together by Smith’s piano, free from the constraints of popular music formats.
It is a little like Paul McCartney’s forays into classical music. No pop. No rock. This is the means for a creative genius to express himself in a different way.
In Smith’s case, this follows the similarly-styled Freedom (2000), another fully-instrumental companion. Just as “Thy Word” was interpreted in a new context on that release, Smith’s worshipful “Agnus Dei” is like the crown of this recording. It has never sounded so timeless, beautiful and majestic. Orchestration adds an element not found on the original.
Another highlight is Mark Baldwin’s classical guitar on “Joy Follows Suffering.” It complements the piano notes. The same could be said of the scattered violin solos of Concertmaster Gabrielle Lester. Conductor, arranger, and co-producer, David Hamilton, makes the orchestra sound superb.
The magical moments, when the music seems most transcendent, made me glad I was listening to this just prior to Christmas. It has a little of the wonder of the season. It is the sound of flutes and strings floating through the air.
The “Glory” relates to the dedication and the song titles, which carry a patriotic theme. It would be entirely fitting for this to be a soundtrack for an epic adventure with a war-time setting, such as our nation is in today.
Like me, fans of Michael W. Smith, may feel like strangers in a strange land, one moment caught up in broad sweeping movements of orchestration, followed by a gentle stillness. And yet, allowing myself to be immersed in this wild landscape of sound, I feel as though I could become comfortable. I can grow in my capacity to appreciate this style of music.
First, Freedom, and now, Glory. Well done Michael. Continue to create as only you can.