Image © BMG Music 2003
Image © Lisbeth Scott 2000
(22 November 2003) Paul Schwartz, the man who brought us
Aria 2 (review),
State of Grace (review),
and the Paul Schwartz Project Earthbound
albums, has returned with his latest classical crossover album
State of Grace II: Turning to Peace (Windham Hill (USA),
Without doubt, State of Grace II proves to be Paul Schwartz's
most affecting and beautiful release to date. Paul Schwartz once again
teams up with stunning vocalist Lisbeth Scott
(Dove review, website)
who imbues the music with incredible depth and emotion. Legendary guitarist
Carlos Santana also makes an appearance. The Crouch End Festival Chorus
lend their voices to create an expansive and rich backdrop for the music.
Largely focusing on latin texts, the songs on State of Grace II
represent expressions of faith, hope, sorrow and love. Musically,
the material features ethereal orchestration, ambient downtempo
beats and lovely choral sections. Songs like the breathtaking and divine
"Turning to Peace," "Fear Not," and "Let Me" allow solo vocalist Lisbeth
Scott to really shine. Her highly acclaimed vocals are perfectly fit to
these contemplative piano and string pieces.
Other songs like the gorgeous "Suscepit Israel" are more cinematic
in nature. The soaring and angelic strings, harp and choral singing
combine in a way that is truly majestic. One of the best tracks, "Et
Misericordia" is a variation on "Veni Redemptor Genitum" and "Angelica,"
which are featured on the first State of Grace album. The
harmony vocals combined with softly flowing violins and cellos are
Some of the tracks like "Quia Respexit" and "Magnificat"roam into
the land of Ibiza-chill with slight flavorings of jazz and trip-hop. In sum,
State of Grace II is actually a better album than its predecessor.
Paul Schwartz seems to be getting better and better as a composer
and his melodies are more engaging than ever. Lisbeth Scott gives a
heartfelt and sincere performance, and the Crouch End Festival
Chorus sound incredible. State of Grace II is a perfect blend of
old and new sounds and deserves a broad audience.--Justin Elswick
Read further reviews, listen to soundbites
and order the album from
Clearly worth a trans-Atlantic journey, State Of Grace II
is a must listen!