(13 October 2002) The latest album from British contemporary crossover artist Izzy Cooper is a 14-track collection entitled New Dawn (Virgin Records (UK) CDVE963, 2002). The Japanese version (Virgin Records (Japan) VJCP 68437, 2002) includes three bonus tracks unique to that territory. Our review is based on the Japanese release. Links to Musical Discoveries reviews of Izzy's earlier recordings Ascolta and Libera Me are provided below her photo. Click on either image to visit the artist's website.
Izzy's new album arrives following continued growth of the contemporary crossover genre. Factors contributing include the success of Izzy's earlier albums as well as others by Sarah Brightman
(Il Rosso Amore review),
(Myth Of Red review),
and Emma Shapplin
(Etterna review). While her voice is as pure and crystalline as a classical opera singer, Izzy departs not only in pop star styling but vocally with the inclusion of lush harmony layers--under the guidance of arranger Craig Leon--to previously solo soprano classical numbers.
Vocal harmonies and lush orchestration support the first four classics--"Lascia Ch'io Pianga," "Sull' Aria," "Pavane" (superbly arranged to the vast appeal of Annie Haslam and Renaissance fans) and "Un Bel Di Vdremo"--and add to the accessibility of these otherwise purely operatic tunes. Izzy's unique solo rendition of the traditional tune "The Water Is Wide" is stunning with rich orchestral arrangements that underscore the vocal lead to make it a clear album standout.
The album returns to classics with "Le Temps Des Cerises" whose extended orchestral arrangement provides an effective backdrop to Izzy's lead and harmony vocal layers sung in French. "Sheherezade Fantasy" on the other hand is a short multi-movement piece, rich with lovely vocalise supporting the rich orchestration and lyrical content heavily layered--and consequently difficult to interpret. Crystalline lead and harmony vocals within "Steal Away" are perfectly supported by the orchestra. This standout classical--but accessible--track is certain to delight album listeners.
Izzy was compelled to include a version of the traditional tune "Greensleeves" within the New Dawn collection. Rich orchestration supports a crystalline lead vocal line with harmonies supported with light instrumentals but primarily by additional vocal layers. Renditions of a suite of short French classics emerge as the album's harmonious theme develops--"Qui C'est Celluy," "Helas, Pourquoy Me Suis, Je Mariee" and "Laisses, Parler, Laisses Dire"--and tempos vary.
The flute in "Suo Gan" perfectly compliment's Izzy's vocal in this Welsh traditional tune. Izzy's performance of the Irish traditional piece "The Last Rose Of Summer" concludes the British version of New Dawn. Izzy's solo soprano lead vocal goes from powerful to quiet while blending perfectly with rich orchestration in this lovely performance.
The Japanese bonus tracks begin with "Shima-Uta," featuring a Izzy's lovely crystalline vocal sung in Japanese. Flute perfectly compliments the lead vocal line. Orchestration is classic yet modern. It is followed by the brief new age arranged tune "Aka-Tonbo." The rich bass line gives away the new age arrangement. The final track is "Shima-Uta (acoustic) featuring THE BOOM," which includes Izzy's stunning lead vocal sung in alternating English and Japanese to piano accompaniment.
Male vocals, also sung in alternating Japanese and English, provide a stark contrast and turn the track into a lovely duet with Izzy soaring away in vocalise. The superb Japanese bonus tracks certainly will make this version of the album much sought after.
Izzy writes in the liner notes, "New Dawn - New Hope; Hope lifest our spirits and helps us to grow; Music lifts our spirits and touches our souls; I would like my music to fill your hearts with joy and infinite hope." Indeed it has. This album must be explored further.
Read further reviews, listen to soundbites and order the album from amazon.com here.
Worth a trans-Atlantic journey this one--like those that precede it--is a must listen!