Top positive review
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"All for the love of you..."
on September 9, 2003
This is my favorite Loreena Mckennitt album. Although, if pressed, I'm not sure I can provide a convincing explanation of my reasons. Possibly it is because the singer, who already had a loyal and following as a singer in the British folk traditions, shows a surprising flair for experiencing other musical styles and deftly making them her own. Spanish, North African, Islamic, and Judaic come to her and are transformed into even larger concepts and then made into intimate friends.
Another factor may be the great intelligence of her choices. McKennitt's own lyrics on this album demonstrate a more than passing familiarity with the Gnostic and mystical and a very clear vision of how to express these ideas in melodic terms. She also is noted for adapting lyrics from various poetic sources, drawing from a delightful spectrum of Writers. In this case, St. John of the Cross, Yeats, and Shakespeare. Each time, she captures something in the doing that most of us might miss in the reading.
Finally, of course, there is the musicality of her work. Whether they be rhythmic, pensive, or tender, the melodies and settings distinguish Mckennitt from the crowd. Her work is never simple or gimmicky. This, and a compelling, beautiful voice make The Mask and the Mirror a treat for these tired ears. Whether the album becomes your favorite as well is moot. No one would argue that it is one of her best.