La Luna
by Sarah Brightman, pop/classical (2000)
EMD/Angel, $17.98, ASIN B00004UDNP

Sarah Brightman's latest invitation to her private celestial fantasia is a splendid - if uneven - tapestry of beautiful sounds and evocative poetry. It's a welcome return of the Diva Ethereal. La Luna is actually a collection of all sorts of music from jazz (Gloomy Sunday) to pop Whiter Shade Of Pale) to folk (Hijo De La Luna) to classical (Figlio Perduto).

On the dull side, Ms Brightman's realiance of her falsetto most of the time can make things a bit dull. But there's no denying the jiggy Hijo De La Luna can swing, although when I read the lyrics sheet, I realize it tells a rather violent consequence of a foolish vow made in haste. Even the moving Scarbarough Fair - sang in beautiful crystal clear cadence to a backing track that evokes vision of spring and flowers - is actually a song about bitter break-ups.

But there's no denying the ethereal pleasures of La Luna and the bitter yet captivating He Doesn't See Me - this singer, no matter how showy or bland she can be at times, spins a web around her listener. I am transported into a world of moonlight and colors built on the splendor of orchestral sounds and aria. It's therapeutic as well as inspiring.

And the divine masterpiece has to be Figlio Perduta, built around Beethoven's Seventh Symphony. The dark, sonorous choir and the singer's lilting soprano spins a dark, morbid tale of a young boy's kidnap by the Faerie King. But with lines like Father oh Father, it's the King of Elves... he is touching me, he hurts me, the song makes me wonder if the threat is more mortal and terrifying that it seems at first. A tale of abuse? Who knows, but this song is a morbid tapestry of winter chill - beautiful and eerie to the ears.

La Luna does have some duds, like the hollow Winter In July and the lifeless cover of Whiter Shade Of Pale. But I can't deny that for the most part, La Luna is a musical journey into a fabulous secret world.

Rating: 87

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