CD REVIEW - RAIN
Music by Christopher Tyler Nickel
Composer Release CTNCD-002
10 Tracks 54:35 mins
It was nice to hear from composer Christopher Tyler Nickel again, with the news that his second album, Rain, is now available from his website at www.christophernickel.com. I had the pleasure of reviewing his previous release, Horizons, back in 2007 (check it out at http://screensounds.blogspot.com/2007/03/cd-reviews-horizons-reaping-well-im.html).
Rain features soloists Canadian/Irish soprano Catherine Redding and Beth Orson on English Horn, with Christopher describing the album as being "quite different from Horizons as it is much darker, and incorporates not only the two soloists, but also large orchestra and chorus as well. Although grounded in an orchestral sound, I've also fused elements of pop, rock and minimalism into the album's musical tapestry."
For Horizons, Christopher utilised the services of the City of Prague Philharmonic, and for Rain he calls upon their string section, whilst also utilising The Northwest Sinfonia.
"Overture" gets us underway, with a brief but purposeful choral/orchestral presentation of the album's main theme. The title track follows and, though utilising the same theme, with lyrics also by the composer, soloist Catherine Redding is accompanied by a much more modern rock/pop arrangement. Ms Redding continues in "Lacrimosa," her voice soaring over the choir in a lengthy variant of the theme from before, which builds to a powerful climax. The even longer "Rangimaire ("Tranquility") follows, opening with strings, before Beth Orson enters on English Horn to play a yes, tranquil melody, that is later developed for full orchestra, but which still proves not far removed from the main theme, as it duly surfaces here and there before the 10 minute piece is through.
Ms Redding returns with another couple of songs, both quite beautiful, "Evening Rains" and "Love's Moment," again with lyrics by the composer; then it's Ms Orson's turn again, with another 10-minute track, "Whispers of Eternity," which has a more ambient, synths-based feel to it, including what sounds more like sampled choir, as it moves to a soaring conclusion. Another lovely song from Ms Redding, "Lost in Twilight" follows; who then continues, wordlessly, in the penultimate track, "Rain Part II" which, like part I, has a more contemporary feel to the arrangement, with percussion more prominent and, after quite a lengthy intro, finally we hear the main theme surface again. Sounds of a rainstorm introduce and conclude the album's final track, "Epilogue," in which Ms Redding gives us a final wordless rendition of the main theme, accompanied by piano.
Whilst indeed quite different from Horizons, I enjoyed Rain just as much, if not more so, and have no hesitation in recommending this lovely album to you.
Christopher Tyler Nickel is clearly a talented orchestrator, contributing to the very successful Video Games Live concert tours, TV shows like The Collector, Class of the Titans, and Jibber Jabber, documentaries like Journey to 10,000 BC, Mars Rising, and The Real Lost World, movies like Alien Agent, and to Tim Janis' production of Mother Russia, which premiered at New York's famous Carnegie Hall. But, on the evidence of Horizons and Rain, he is also clearly a talented composer and let's hope more commercial composing opportunities come his way soon. In the meantime, he is working on recording his flute concerto Reflections of Time, with Sarah Jackson - piccolo of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Order your copy of Rain from Christopher's website (the address again is www.christophernickel.com), where you can first check out some samples. And, if you haven't already done so, you can still pick up a copy of Horizons while you're at it.