Tarja – “from Spirits and Ghosts (Score for a dark Christmas)” (earMUSIC)
Christmas – dontcha just love it? Well for many people, that certainly isn’t the case, especially for those who are lonely or missing loved ones and where the joy and blinking lights may seem even more jaded and depressive. Clearly sensing this, award winning ex Nightwish soprano singer songwriter Tarja Turunen has decided to put together this dark operatic interpretation of famous Christmas classics and carols – and jingle it certainly isn’t! Renowned for her class and professionalism, this is no mere Xmas cash in but as with all things Turunen a personal challenge to bring together a unique atmosphere of gothic darkness, ghosts and mysticism. Using the power of a grand orchestra and an award winning production team in American Emmy Award winning film score composer Jim Dooley and British producer Tim Palmer, known for his work with Pearl Jam, U2, David Bowie, Lang Lang and The Cure among others, Turunen has once again put together a very classy affair indeed, this time using her voice not so much for its power or highs, but instead to elicit as much emotion and heart felt passion into the 12 tracks here. As such there is indeed a big cinematic feel to the music along with a strong contrast between Turunen’s ladylike charms and the orchestra that stylishly flexes its classical muscles to suite to maximal effect on these suave interpretations. From the dramatic pomp and majesty of ‘O Tannenbaum’ to the soothing latin-esque ‘Feliz Navidad’ and the simply tear jerky ‘Amazing Grace’ with its powerful strings this album puts any commercial rivals to shame, if anything for exuding the warmth and embrace that so many souls may yearn. And if that isn’t the true spirit of Christmas I don’t know what is.