In celebration of the holiday season Quinlan Road will release Loreena McKennitt’s A Midwinter Night’s Dream on October 28. The holiday themed album features eight new songs alongside five tracks from McKennitt’s 1995 EP, A Winter Garden: Five Songs For The Season, that have been completely re-mastered for the new release. This highly anticipated holiday collection features an array of influences ranging from Celtic to classical to Middle Eastern. McKennitt’s eclecticism shines through in the mysticism of “The Holly and the Ivy,” the exotic Eastern arrangements of “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen,” the Latin-sung “Emmanuel” and “Noël Nouvelet!” sung in Old French.
McKennitt recorded A Midwinter Night’s Dream at Peter Gabriel’s Real World recording studio near Bath, England following a highly successful European tour. With McKennitt providing vocals as well as accompaniment on the piano, accordion and harp, the record features a diverse instrumentation that includes oud, fiddle, cello, viola, percussion, hurdy gurdy, Greek lyra and Greek lute.
“Not only did I want to recapture some of the frankincense and myrrh in this music,” McKennitt explains, “but the process was a fresh reminder of the diversity of so many traditions when it comes to music of the winter season. [The songs are] rich with abundant references to the natural world and connections to our spiritual and religious bearings; it is clear that people have used winter as a time of reflection.”
McKennitt will perform songs from the new album for the Vatican at the annual “Concerto di Natale” holiday concert on December 7. The concert traditionally unites Italian and international artists with an invited cast drawn from across a spectrum of faiths and cultures, brought together in the spirit of the Christmas message of hope and renewal. This year’s concert will be held at the Philharmonic Theatre, an almost three hundred-year-old venue best known for hosting operas, ballets and winter season works. The eagerly anticipated event will be broadcast on television December 24, 2008 during primetime.