Sting has yet again created a beautiful album that defies definition, If On a Winter's Night is a mix of Sting's gift for melody and rich vocal harmonies with both modern and ancient songs celebrating the Winter Season. This is not a Christmas CD filled with the standard tunes redone, but a real exploration of music of all types.
The CD starts with "Gabriel's Message" is a reworking of "The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came," and while the tune is recognizable, Sting provides his signature blend of harmonies with a soft drifting saxophone and guitar to create a beautiful new version. This is followed by a romp with "Soul Cake", a folk tune with a subtle intensity only Sting could accomplish maintaining a completely relaxed attitude throughout. "There is no rose of such virtue" is an ancient hymn. Here again, String keeps a sense of the ancient melody and spirit, yet brings it fully into the present with stunningly warm harmonies allowing the sumptuousness of the tune to fully be enjoyed. Another hymn, "Lo How a Rose E'er Blooming" is treated with a reflective approach starting with a solo accordion.
"Now Winter Comes Slowly" is a beautiful piece by Purcell. Sting does a faithful rendition complete with the slow descending melodic line which so aptly echos the sentiment of the words. This is followed by "The Hounds of Winter" and is filled with Stings signature laid back rhythm and rhyme. Any fan of Sting will be equally at home with this piece as easily as they will resonate with the rest of the music on If On a Winter's Night. String has yet again created a beautiful collection of great music worthy of lovers of both classical and popular music.