TORI AMOS Night of Hunters CD + DVD 4779429

This is the album she was destined, by early apprenticeship and spiritual affinity, to record . . . The story is animated by characters and motifs that any Amos fan will recognize as characteristic: a shapeshifter; ancient poets, battling in a ring of trees; a Star Whisperer; a Fire Muse . . . the music deeply satisfies . . . Amos never sounds stiff or somber. "Night of Hunters" is ambitious, but it's also personal ¿ not in the confessional sense, but musically.

Thankfully, her "classical song cycle" necessitates sonic ambition as well: that Amos can weave her own songs so deftly into variations on classical pieces is testament to her talent, and the piano/strings/woodwind arrangements of "Night of Hunters" frequently sound as lovely as earlier orchestral experiments such as "Yes, Anastasia". The heart-pounding drama of opener "Shattering Sea" even nears that career highlight's intensity.

With her first album for classical label Deutsche Grammophon, an all-acoustic affair, she has rediscovered [her dark muse] triumphantly . . . these graceful, imaginative, allacoustic songs threaten to give classical crossover a good name. Amos, meanwhile, deserves a reappraisal.

Featuring her 10-year-old daughter on vocals it is, as you might expect from Ms Amos, complex, accomplished and according to many critics her finest work in a decade. You won't find any disagreement with that here.

Tori Amos has established herself as an unmistakable musical presence with a distinctive voice, her powerful piano playing and a penchant for lyrics that can be a bit, well, confounding. "Night of Hunters" is packed with those piercing Amos vocals, her dominating piano and a fair share of head-scratching lyrics, this time around a classically inspired theme of reinvention . . . It's a beautifully composed album that highlights Amos' classical training and her fierce intensity as a musician and songwriter.

Amos's latest album sees her spinning a fairytale as only she can . . . English for a bona fide American eccentric, yet mesmeric and charged with a pristine eroticism . . . It is intensely personal, engaging the listener in one-to-one orchestral combat as befits a record on a classical label . . . This is a real record by a real artist, a rare thing in this age of disposable culture.

. . . Amos is just about the only artist in pop music who might even dare anything so presumably lofty. Impressive.

. . . her most skillful (and perhaps most complex) concept album to date . . . "Night of Hunters" is a modern work . . . fans of her more recent work will find the dizzying narratives and familiar characters that have since become the singer-songwriter's preference. The playing is distinctively Amos, with towering pianos guiding the way through all turns. Her voice is of course as singular as it has ever been . . .

. . . [the album] perfectly marries her classical and pop/rock artistry. The unique beauty of the album makes it even more troubling to think that it might never have been created . . . Amos enlisted an amazing group of talent with which to work on the album . . .

Genuine, passionate, powerful ¿ that's as much of an introduction as Tori Amos needs. But for the past two decades, she's introduced her fans to plenty. She helped turn the piano into a rock instrument, showed that she can create big hits in different genres and challenged every critic who ever tried to put her in a box. And her 12th studio album, Night of Hunters, is no different . . . Amos' ability to connect with her audience is undeniable.

A classically trained pianist, Amos makes a graceful arrival in the world of art music with this hybrid work . . . Granados, Alkan, Chopin, Bach, Scarlatti and others serve as the starting-off point and are beautifully integrated into Amos's unique songwriting style . . . Amos forgoes any attempt at sounding like a classically trained singer, which, when juxtaposed with the "classical" style of her pianism, adds intrigue and complexity to these adventurous songs . . . [Kelsey Dobyn's] clear, light soprano blends with and tumbles beautifully over the composer's own to haunting effect . . . Amos and company wade through the crosscurrents of this cycle with a finesse and assurance that elude most classical crossover artists when "slumming it" in the world of pop. Her trust in this music is implicit and it shows . . . Amos weaves her tale into this aural tapestry so well that by the time she reaches the delicate final song . . . her composition stands entirely on its own . . . in "Edge of the moon" Amos's naturally wistful voice captures the simple, melancholy beauty of Bach's famous Siciliano.

Unterstützt von einem Streichquartett und Holzbläsern hat Amos 14 Songs geschaffen, die die Geschichte nicht nur in den Texten, sondern auch mit der atmosphärisch dichten Instrumentierung erzählen.

. . . Amos' zwingendste Arbeit seit langem . . .

. . . [ein faszinierende Werk] . . . Natürlich stehen in dem berauschenden Song-Zyklus ihre zarte Stimme und ihr durchdringendes Piano im Zentrum einer rein klassischen Ummantelung aus Romantik und Barock . . . [man] wird diese klangvolle Symbiose aus Klassik und Pop lieben.

Unglaublich, dass Crossover so gut funktionieren kann. Amos gelingt's, weil sie den Gehalt der Originale nicht antastet und doch zu Neuem verwandelt.