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Michael Hoppé's Requiem -
reviewed by

'... a talented melodist ...'

Michael Hoppé: Requiem. © 2006 Valley Entertainment Inc/Michael Hoppé

I have never been really sure about the terms crossover and new age, and this CD from songwriter and ex PolyGram senior executive Michael Hoppé makes me wonder all over again. His album Afterglow won the Best New Age Album award at the Indie 2000 convention, but for this disc he has set the Latin text for the Missa Pro Defunctis. His aim was to 'write a Requiem to embrace peace and serenity'. Hoppé sets the Introit, Kyrie, Sanctus, Lacrimosa, Pie Jesu, Agnus Dei, Lux Aeterna and In Paradisum.

The setting is for soprano (Heidi Fielding) and tenor (Dwain Briggs) with an instrumental ensemble led by Hoppé on keyboards. I cannot quite see this as a liturgical work -- the music doesn't have that feel, and the recording is very studio bound, the singers and instrumentalists being close-miked and the result highly produced.

Hoppé is a talented melodist [listen -- track 2, 2:08-3:08] -- his tunes have an attractive simplicity which can verge on soupy sentimentality at times. They are generally supported by slow-moving accompaniments. All seven movements share similar feeling, musical style and limited emotional range. This is a requiem without real fear, questioning or awe; it is haunting, but not necessarily really consoling.

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Copyright © 12 March 2008 Robert Hugill, London UK


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