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THE DA VINCI PROJECT (2006)

Words, music, arrangements by Jan Kisjes. Produced and conducted by Jan Kisjes.

14 Tracks (Playing Time = 45:46)

Performed by various instrumentalists and choirs. Vocalists: Andrea McNeill (Scottish); Frederic Dorfman (French); Robin Kisjes and Merijn Kijkstra (English). Narrators (children): Eve McNeill (Scottish); Jessica Lamme and Anne de Bruijn (French). Narrators (Adults): Andrea McNeill (Scottish); Frederique Ravalli, Frederic Dorfmann, Jean-Claude Ngumire (French). Recorded at Hof von Heden and Gravity Studios. Audio engineers: Brian McNeill, Barend Minks, Willem Coenen, Jan Kisjes. Mixed by Brian McNeill. Mastering by Alan Ward.

Sony Classical 82876825882.

Rating: *

 

This is a very odd concept album based on Dan Brown's international best-selling novel, The Da Vinci Code.

The CD features a combination of spoken dialogue, chantlike choral music, and solo singing to a rock beat, with some really trite texts thrown in for good measure.

Apparently the Norwegian composer/ lyricist/ arranger/ producer Jan Kisjes, was so inspired with Dan Brown's novel that he got the idea for this album while reading it. Is this meant to be a theatrical album? Or a multi-cultural album? Whatever it's intent, the result is mildly interesting but hardly very memorable.

Some of the cues evoke places from Brown's novel, such as "Eglise Saint-Sulpice (ecclesia 'Saint-Sulpice')" (4:32) and "Roslin Chapel" (3:35). There are also cues which are in several languages, such as "The Sword and the Chalice (gladius et calix)" (4:44), a combination of French choral singing and solo singer in English. Yet many of the cues sound alike, such as "Sectio Divina (sectio diuina) (4:28) which is similar to "The Sword and the Chalice." The music by Kisjes is not very challenging either, written in a bland pop-rock style. Fortunately the texts are provided in the CD booklet. That's essential because the diction of the singers is often hard to understand.

Is this so-called "concept album" cashing in on The Da Vinci Code's popularity? Probably so. First came the novel and now there's the film (see film score review), both of which are much better than this album.

This CD just doesn't add up to much and is just another example of a mediocre musical production receiving the royal treatment by being released on a major record label.

THE DA VINCI POJECT may have been a labor of love for Jan Kisjes, but the CD is not essential unless you like some weird combinations of words and music in a Scottish-French-English hodge podge, with diverse musical styles that have little in common.

A waste of time and money.

--Roger L. Hall, 12 May 2006

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