Tarja – “From Spirits and Ghosts (Score for a Dark Christmas)” (2017)

Label: earMUSIC

Review by Alessandra Cognetta

As the winter holidays approach, many of us panic at the thought of having to listen to the same two or three Christmas songs over and over again. This often nauseating tradition has changed this year: Tarja’s “From Spirits and Ghosts (Score for a Dark Christmas)” is the solution to our Christmas song woes. As with all the covers in her previous albums, Tarja does not take rearrangements lightly. This album is, in fact, a great compilation of classics (plus the original song “Together”) reworked into Tarja’s trademark style, with a particularly dramatic and cinematic vibe. The songs are richly orchestrated, dynamic, and bring a freshness to this kind of repertoire that is not common in the genre. It almost feels like listening to a Two Steps From Hell album with Tarja’s vocals, and the result is stunning. Tarja selected pieces in a variety of language and balanced the tracklist with internationally famous songs, such as “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” or “O Tannenbaum”, and less known pieces. Even songs we know by heart sound new and unknown in this score for a dark Christmas. The use of a cinematic approach to the arrangement is also varied, as shown in “We Three Kings”, which veers strongly towards folk at times, or “Deck the Halls”, which sounds like the haunting title track for a horror movie, mixing orchestral and electronic elements. Tarja’s voice is also used a bit differently than usual. She sings with an overall softer voice, keeping a brighter and lighter sound both in low and high notes. This fits really well into the instrumental arrangements, giving them a dreamy, almost nostalgic atmosphere, like in “Amazing Grace”. Using different languages further adds to the variety of the release. And no spoilers, but you’ll want to listen to this version of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”, trust me. As with all the covers in her previous albums, Tarja does not take rearrangements lightly. This album is, in fact, a great compilation of classics reworked into Tarja’s trademark style, with a particularly dramatic and cinematic vibe. The songs are richly orchestrated, dynamic, and bring a freshness to this kind of repertoire that is not common in the genre. This album is for anyone who is fond of Christmas music and wants to see an almost completely new take on the classics. Tarja accustomed us to great quality releases in the last few years, and “From Spirits and Ghosts (Score for a Dark Christmas)” does not disappoint in this regard.

Rating- 88/100

 

Tracklist

  1. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
  2. Together
  3. We Three Kings
  4. Deck the Halls
  5. Pie Jesu
  6. Amazing Grace
  7. O Tannenbaum
  8. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
  9. God Rest Ye Merry Christmas
  10. Feliz Navidad
  11. What Child Is This
  12. We Wish You a Merry Christmas

 

Links

facebook.com/tarjaofficial

twitter.com/tarjaofficial

tarjaturunen.com/home-tarja/