Change We Must (1994) is the seventh solo album by the former Yes vocalist Jon Anderson. The album contains new material and orchestral arrangements of old songs from Anderson's past. A newly remastered edition has been released in 2013 by Esoteric Recordings. It features two bonus tracks, new liner notes by Anderson and an illustrated booklet that fully restores the original album artwork. For the recordings of Change We Must Anderson joined forces with conductor Nigel Warren-Green and the London Chamber Academy. They made orchestral arrangements of new pieces and some of Jon's old favourites. The album was well-produced by Anderson and Tim Handley.
On Change We Must you can enjoy Jon's voice in harmonic balance with a wonderful and amazing landscape of orchestral sounds. The album opens with the well-known song State Of Independence, which can originally be found on the album The Friends Of Mr. Cairo (1981) by Jon & Vangelis. Both Anderson and the orchestra achieve a natural beauty on this version that even sounds better than the original or the one recorded by Donna Summer. Change We Must and Anyone Can Light A Candle - on this album called Candle Song - are two tracks that originally appeared on the Jon & Vangelis album Page Of Life (1991). It's obvious that these songs sound differently compared to the originals since the keyboards of Vangelis are gone and replaced by a real orchestra.
The album also features The Kiss, a song signed as a Jon & Vangelis composition that was previously unreleased. Tracks that already appeared on Anderson's solo albums are Hurry Home and Under The Sun previously released on In The City of Angels (1988, see review), the latter as It's On Fire. They got a second life with Celtic and world music arrangements, respectively. The only Yes composition that got a new adaptation is Hearts, which sounds completely different from the one recorded for 90125 (1983). This time it sounds more like a Chinese piece of music. Some tracks sound like real classical piano songs; just listen to Run On Jon, A View From The Coppice and Alive And Well and you'll catch my drift. Pianist Gwendolyn Mok really shines on those tracks with her fantastic piano playing.
On some of the new material Anderson invited some guest singers. This is the case on Chagall Duet where Jon wonderfully sings next to soprano Sandrine Piau. These two voices perfectly fit together. Maybe Barcelona, a duet sung by Freddie Mercury (Queen) and the Spanish operatic soprano Montserrat Caballé, was an inspiration for Anderson to come up with something that sounds more or less identically. On Candle Song Jon sings together with his daughter Jade. It's just a short sweet tune on which both voices sound quite alike. One of the two bonus tracks on this re-release are a five-minute interview with Anderson talking about Change We Must and the book with the same name, dealing with war and peace. The other one is a single version of the title track.
Change We Must is an excellent album orchestrated in the vein of Aaron Copland containing a magnificent vocal performance by Jon Anderson. All songs composed by Jon or in cooperation with others sound very strong. If you like Mr. Anderson's voice and classical music this certainly is a required purchase!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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