by Hayley Westenra
Review by Keith.
of the things that I have found very difficult since receiving
my CD from New Zealand is choosing a favourite track. I have
been playing the album several times every day and find that
every track has something unique about it. Just when I thought
I was coming to a decision, I decided to put my headphones on
and turn the volume up a little. This gave me a whole new listening
experience and threw me right back to square one. The big benefit
of that is that I am now listening to it yet again and loving
I am going to try and give an objective review:
1 - Who Painted The Moon Black
This is so deep and full of feeling that it makes you feel as
though you are experiencing the emotions contained within this
2 - Beat Of Your Heart
This song is just so different from any other I have ever heard.
It is difficult to quantify it other than it is a celebration
of the power of love and the comfort that giving your love to
another can bring.
3 - Never Say Goodbye
A complete contrast to the previous track. It is a song about
the regret and longing experienced when love between two people
dies. It seems to me that, in so few words, it encompasses the
whole range of feelings that come at such a time.
4 - Dark Waltz
The mood of the album turns again. This time praising the eternal
quality of love. It likens the journey through time as a dance
- and maybe it really is.
5 - Heaven
Yet another turn. This time the song is about being parted by
death. Seems an odd choice for such a vibrant young lady to
sing. But, in reality, this song is a celebration of the certainty
that they will be reunited in the future.
6 - In Trutina
This is yet another of my all-time favourites. Over the years
I have heard this song performed by some of the world's greatest
singers. Each gave it a little something of their own. This
version has to be one of the finest I have ever heard. Hayley's
voice is just so beautiful performing this piece.
7 - Across The Universe Of Time
In some ways, this song is in a similar vein to Heaven. And
yet, in so many other ways it is totally different. It is the
story of a journey and the joy of reaching the end of that journey.
It is so powerfully performed by Hayley as to take you by surprise.
A complete new facet of this amazing artist.
8 - River Of Dreams
This song is one that I will say no more about than it is absolutely
divine. Yet again, Hayley shows how perfect her voice is for
this kind of song and how magnificently she performs it.
9 - Wuthering Heights
Over many years, I have heard this song played on the radio
and TV, never really getting to like it very much. Then again,
I was never particularly a fan of Kate Bush and was not overly
impressed by the falsetto voice she used. Now, I love this song
when performed by Hayley. She sings it in her soprano register
to absolute perfection.
10 - My Heart And I
This is almost religious. A plea for love and peace. I can think
of no-one more suited to sing it than Hayley, especially as
she recently became New Zealand's Ambassasor to UNICEF. Hayley
sings this with such reverence that it leaves the listener with
no choice but to love it.
11 - Benedictus
This is just so divine. I've used that word again, but I don't
know how to express myself any better. There is one thing I
will say, half way through this track, the first-time listener
is in for a surprise. It is so powerful and beautifully done.
The nearest thing to it that I can think of is the Rossini Crescendo
- but this is a thousand percent better. A full orchestra and
choir in full flow, counterbalanced by the sheer beauty of Hayley's
voice is a master-stroke.
12 - Hine e Hine
The introduction to this track is spoken in Maori - and it appears
again elsewhere in the track - and is so evocative. And, like
Pokarekare Ana, Hayley performs this with such perfection. It
is refined, restrained and so peaceful. It is just so obviously
a Maori lullaby. Once again, I delight in the beauty of the
Maori people and their culture and all thanks to Hayley's fabulous
you see my problem. There is something about every track that
appeals to me in it's own right. When it is so difficult to
compare one with another except in the most fleeting of ways,
how does one pick a favourite track. So, I am not going to.
I am going to simply say that I love every note, every word,
every second of this, Hayley's first international album. And,
as I write this, we have the news that Pure is no. 1 in the
Australian Classical Chart and no. 17 in their Pop Charts (and
undoubtedly climbing) AND that it is no. 1 in the New Zealand
Pop Charts. So, I think it is fair to say that there are a great
many people who agree with me.
you, Hayley. With this album, I have experienced so much and
yet find that there is so much more to experience each time
I listen to it.
a devoted fan.
July 29, 2003
Reviews Menu 2003