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Boston-born Lisbeth started piano lessons at six, then went on to study at the New England Conservatory and Connecticut College. One day, out of the blue, she was bored and started to sing -- a decisive change of focus. 'I moved to California, and began writing my own music constantly, exploring many styles and textures', she recalls.

Latterly she joined up with Paul Schwartz for State of Grace. Lisbeth explains, 'It was after completing my third album, Dove (Zone Records, 2002). My manager submitted a few CDs of my work as Paul planned his new work. I was a huge fan of Paul's and, listening to both Aria and Aria 2, loved his style and the textures he chose.'

So here we have a mish-mash of Latin liturgy, New Age 'feel-good' gleanings, basic pop electronics, a violin-dominated string orchestra, the New Amsterdam Singers (based in New York's upper west side), a standard string quartet, and finally -- a trio, a vocal solo, and two unassuming duets -- the former for voice, cor anglais and piano, one duet with violin and voice, and the final for violin and piano. In the trio, To You, and violin and piano item, Schwartz is the pianist.

His ad-hoc orchestra and the renowned New York choir were recorded in Studio 509, the huge live room of 'Right Track', designed with ensemble work in mind.

Lisbeth Scott has the opening hymn Christe Redemptor -- part Latin, part wordless vocal, served on a bed of strings and electronics with an easy beat as backing, whereas the more graceful Agnus Dei with full choir flows against a treble, Ravel-like piano.

Through tracks 3 and 4 we're into romantic folk-pop territory. As in Lennon and McCartney's ground-breaking Yesterday, Beams of Heaven and Centre of my Heart are performed against a cushioning string quartet. In the former of these two items, Scott sounds a bit wonky in her upper register and while a guitar leads proceedings in Centre of my Heart, the track emerges purely as soft pop [listen -- track 4, 2:31-3:34].

Lux Aeterna and ... et lux perpetua, tracks 5 and 6, are both purely orchestral; both overtly melodic with an added tattoo drum beat in the latter. Scott is at her best in the ballad-like To You [listen -- track 7, 1:16-1:57], and here the cor anglais adds it's own characteristic beauty to the overall effect. By contrast the less-focused Listen (track 8) for voice and orchestra sounds more woolly than expansive.

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Copyright © 7 January 2007 Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand


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