CD of the Year: Christine Tobin – Sailing to Byzantium | New music reviews, news & interviews
CD of the Year: Christine Tobin – Sailing to Byzantium
Sublime, award-winning album of Yeats adaptations from the Irish vocalist and composer
On Sailing to Byzantium Christine Tobin's utterly singular music fuses with the amaranthine force of WB Yeats's poetry to create one of the most transporting jazz releases in aeons. From the iridescent colours of “The Wild Swans at Coole” and the statuesque tranquility of the title track, to the subtly ornamented melodic line of “The Song of Wandering Aengus” and the deeply poignant “Long-legged Fly”, the album's unique sound-world and intense depth of feeling completely seduce the senses.
Tobin's incredibly empathetic band features Liam Noble (piano), Phil Robson (guitar), Gareth Lockrane (flutes), Kate Shortt (cello) and Dave Whitford (double bass).Three of the album's 13 tracks are graced by the mellifluous tones of the renowned actor and special guest, Gabriel Byrne - Christine's teacher back in Dublin where she attended Ardscoil Éanna secondary school. Byrne's readings, which were recorded in New York, include "The Lake Isle of Innisfree" (beautifully accompanied by the singer on piano), the completely unaccompanied "The Pity of Love" and the concluding "White Birds". Another early love poem from the same era as album opener "When You Are Old", the latter brings the album pleasingly full circle.
Tobin has already landed one major award for the recording, winning the Contemporary Jazz Composition category at the 2012 British Composer Awards earlier this month. An album entirely free of licks and cliché, it deserves a host more. You really ought to buy two copies of Sailing to Byzantium: one for yourself, the other for a poetry-loving friend. It would be difficult to imagine a finer introduction to Tobin, or Yeats.
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