Saturday, January 15, 2011

album 43: saviour (various artists)

those were good times - when major projects were made, and all major christian contemporary music artists would be invited to lend their talents and voices. the beginning of the 90s had a few of those projects, and i'd like to mention "the new young messiah" and "my utmost for his highest" as very good examples of making this format work.
it was a special project led by greg nelson and phil mchugh, who had made a name for themselves producing the big ccm christian singers of the 80s, sandi patti, steve green and larnelle harris. greg and phil are producers, arranjers and composers, and that's what they did on this special project, which was supposed to be their musical masterpiece. and, to me, it still is. "saviour" attempts to be a musical, and instead of everyone singing a solo or participating in a duet, this time the idea was to ask five singers to solo, duet, trio in various songs, accompanied and sometimes lead by a choir. the high quality of this album is certainly also due to the talent of larnelle harris, steve green and wintley phipps in top form, and a fantastic choir, far from being only backups to the "stars". twila paris did very well, and even wayne watson was okay.
but the songs and arrangements are at the heart of this endeavor; the choir does a great job in the opening (creation) and in the exodos (slavery and freedom), singing very profound and witty lyrics in great orchestreal, but still modern and timeless music. "the kings of the earth", featuring harris, green and phipps, and the creation of man duet pulled off grandiously by phipps as God and harris as adam ("my heart belongs to you") are the high points of the repertoire, with the song "the rose of sharom" being also beautiful.
all in all, a true masterpiece in christian music, with some really thrilling moments in between. i've sung it twice in portuguese, and it was still really great - which gives the songwriters and arrangers even more credit.

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