If you like folk and traditional music that strongly reminds you of Mike Oldfield's works then this CD with bonus DVD of Les Penning (with Robert Reed) will please you.
Quite obvious as Les played with Oldfield for a few years. There are some real classics on it like the Cuckoo Song and In Dulci Jubilo and even a cover from Oldfield's classic Ommadawn, Argiers. Is it a cover? Not really, Mike wrote the arrangement with Mr. Penning (together with Oldfield's hit Portsmouth in 1971) and its original is much older. I have to say this version is absolutely beautiful and the crisp sound quality lifts this classic up. There are more traditionals on this CD even going back more than 300 years. They are all beautifully elaborated. The musicians (with excellent contributions of Robert Reed from Magenta) clearly know how to put this carefully arranged music on record. I had the feeling I was wandering into The Shire when this cd opened, the 3 parts of Return To Penrhos guide you into the landscapes of Hobbitland and lead you out with another great classic in the folk world, Auld Lang Syne.
Highlights are the songs most already known from Oldfield's past. I can smell the pine cones when In Dulci Jubilo in this more modest version kicks in.
Personally I get a bit bored after half hour of flutes and folk melodies. It seems that this music is more for background filling than to listen carefully in a dimmed room with a tasty cigar and a good malt whisky. But that is my opinion.
The DVD offers you nearly an hour of pleasant entertainment. The 6 promo clips have some funny mini movies and there are 2 live performances on it. The passion with which Les plays his flute is lovely to see, and he's got a nice sense of humor and that makes the music more pleasant to listen to.
If you like the CD it will be a nice addition to the Les Penning “experience”.
*** Erik van Os (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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