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Eleanor’s debut classical crossover CD draws inspiration from Celtic, ballad, folk and pop genres – all unified by the deeply personal nature
of the music.
“The unifying thread to this musical compilation is the deeply personal nature of the songs –my hope is that the experience is intimate, poignant and filled with an emotion that is genuine and wonderfully human.”
Intimate is a musical compilation of exquisite melodies, poignant words and penetrating emotion. Eleanor’s debut album brings a diversity of musical genres – classic, Celtic, ballad, folk and pop – into a unified, comforting and intimate space. With input from some of Canada’s brightest musical stars, these songs bring both timelessness and ingenuity to the expression of human emotion.
The simplicity of words and melodies belies the emotional strength of “When You Are Old” and “Songbird”. Eleanor brings tremendous conviction to these love songs, which speak to the unbreakable connections between soulmates. While the messages are wonderfully basic, the arrangements and vocals are distinctive compliments to Eleanor’s talents. John McDermott’s vocals and Quartetto Gelato’s music come together with Eleanor to turn the Irish ballad, “When You Were Sweet Sixteen”, into a contemporary classic. And Aaron Davis’s piano arrangement on the Fleetwood Mac love song is the musical expression of love itself.
“Frauen Lieben und Leben” (A Woman’s Love and Life) is part of Schumann’s eight-song cycle about a woman who moves through various life stages, from early courtship through marriage and motherhood, to the death of her husband. This particular poem depicts the woman’s overwhelming love for her partner. “The words, ‘I want to serve him only, and come out in his image’ are not exactly popular today,” explains the singer. “But the euphoria of being married, of wanting to give everything to that person, holds incredible meaning for me.”
The Tim Thorney/Erica Ehm collaboration “Green Hills” tells of a wistful leave-taking from the familiar and the bittersweet journey into the unknown. It came to the singer at a particularly poignant time in her life when she was venturing in to new personal and professional territories. Eleanor’s Irish and Scottish ancestry resonates in the song and Natalie MacMaster’s masterful fiddling is one of the album highlights. Another would most certainly be – Eleanor’s mother, playing piano on “Eriskay”, the Scottish folk song.
“She’s Like the Swallow” and “Shenendoah” were recorded in Toronto’s St. Anne’s Church with the world-renown Elmer Iseler Singers. Both the Irish and American folk songs are steeped in tradition, yet the arrangements are uniquely tailored to Eleanor’s graceful style, which stretches into the contemporary even as it echoes with its classical roots.
Terrence Sawchuck’s production brings a timeless and original beauty to songs that stem from a variety of origins. Classical strings temper the guitar and synthesizer in “Shiver”, written by Sawchuck, about the frisson of relief that one feels upon deciding to leave a soured relationship. The exquisite psalm “Ave Maria” is both serene and innovative, blending guitar with Erica Goodman’s harp. And “Always and Forever”, written for Eleanor by Chantal Kreviazuk, features such unusual and emotive instruments as the koto and the erhu, in addition to Kreviazuk’s piano.
Terrance Sawchuk produced the CD. Guest artists included John McDermott, Natalie MacMaster, Chantal Kreviazuk, Quartetto Gelato, Aaron Davis, and The Elmer Iseler Singers.