Instrumental Moods (Virgin, 1995)

Review
As winter 1995 approached, Virgin released another new age compilation to sooth our souls. Instrumental Moods is yet another contemporary soundtrack with Enya, Mike Oldfield, Enigma all namechecked on the inlay along with “themes from The Choir, Inspector Morse & The Deer Hunter.” Six of its 20 tracks had already featured on earlier volumes in the series as follows:
Moods: Kenny G – Songbird, Barrington Pheloung – Inspector Morse Theme, Ennio Morricone – Chi Mai
Moods 2: Fleetwood Mac – Albatross
Pure Moods: Enigma – Return To Innocence
Celtic Moods: John Anderson Concert Orchestra – Riverdance
While Senses, released by Polygram TV in 1994 is where you will find my thoughts on Incantation – Cacharpaya, Giorgio Moroder – Love Theme From Midnight Express, John Williams – Cavatine (Theme From The Deer Hunter).

There’s a new age rush on Yeha-Noha (Wishes Of Happiness And Prosperity) by the German musical project Sacred Spirit. This tribal number is sung by Navajo elder Kee Chee Jake from Chinle, Arizona. Pipes of peace. Throwing back the apple to 1987 was Enya with The Celts. Sung entirely in Irish, it was the theme song to the 1986 BBC documentary The Celts. The haunting video of the song was filmed at Bodiam Castle. The LP was re-issued in ’92 and The Celts reached #29. The B-side of the single, Eclipse, is the song Deireadh An Tuath (found on The Celts album), played backwards. Don’t stop etc. Meanwhile Mike Oldfield’s Sentinel is a restructured, shorter version of the track from Tubular Bells II. The piece itself is a re-imagining of the introduction theme from Oldfield’s 1973 album Tubular Bells. There’s a crescendo tease that’s handled perfectly; if you want more I strongly recommend the companion sets The Studio Albums 1992-2003 and The Best Of 1992-2003. Sometimes, it is a good idea to go back and revisit the past.

The sultry sound of Santana stands out, the expertly-played Samba Pa Ti, going straight to your soul. Next are Adiemus and their eponymous number that featured in the Delta Airline advert. It was written in 1994 by Karl Jenkins with South African singer Miriam Stockley chosen as a lead vocalist due to her wide range of intonation while Purley resident Mary Carewe took over additional vocals. The London Philharmonic Orchestra were also involved. The song is also often misattributed to Enya, primarily due to the memorable television advert for Pure Moods (US) featuring both Adiemus and Orinoco Flow. It’s followed by that live version of The Shadows’ Don’t Cry For Me Argentina that also featured on Reflections, another easy compilation that also includes a number of these Instrumental Moods tracks. Far better is Geoffrey Burgon’s haunting theme to the 1981 television adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s novel, Brideshead Revisited – a score that will make you long for times you’ve never experienced and people you’ve never met.

Jim Parker’s Theme From Soldier Soldier is a pleasant interlude and takes me back to Monday nights from the early ’90s, before Robson & Jerome got involved. And celebrating its 60th birthday in 2021, Acker Bilk’s relaxing Stranger On The Shore still packs a punch, evoking nostalgia across the ages. New for the time, Zbigniew Preisner’s Theme From People’s Century was a memorable piece of music for a fine history series. Finally Panis Angelicus (Latin for Bread of Angels) is the penultimate strophe of the hymn Sacris Solemniis written by Saint Thomas Aquinas for the feast of Corpus Christi. César Franck’s arrangement – as used in the BBC series The Choir (also 1995) – features a wonderful vocal by 12 year old soprano Anthony Way. He was backed by the Gloucester Cathedral Choir and the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra. Released by PolyGram label Decca, the soundtrack album went platinum, selling 350,000 copies worldwide and spent 15 weeks at the top of the UK Classical chart. Very much of its era and rarely included on other comps.

In 1997, the US version of Instrumental Moods was released with an identical sleeve which omitted the “featuring” details. It’s almost completely different to the UK release with just one common track – Santana’s Samba Pa Ti. Otherwise it’s chock-full of goodies like 3rd Force – In The Full Moon Light, Enigma – Knocking On Forbidden Doors, Ottmar Liebert – Barcelona Nights, Cusco – Montezuma, Sacred Spirits – Dawa (Cradlesong), Eric Serra – Heat (from The Fifth Element), Jesse Cook – Tempest, Eric Johnson – Cliffs Of Dover, Neal Schon – Midnight Express, Massive Attack – Weather Storm, Afro Celt Sound System – Sure As Not (Full Whack Dub), Vanessa Mae – Widescreen, Ennio Morricone – Gabriel’s Oboe (from The Mission), David Lanz – Cristofori’s Dream, Craig Chaquico – Gathering Of The Tribes. Check it out here. This really is some glorious sounding stuff.

Meanwhile in 1996, the same sleeve was also used for Pure Moods 2 (Sweden) which is another diverse selection with unique tunes like Alan Silvestri – Forrest Gump Suite, Sacred Spirit – Tor-Cheney-Nahana, Deep Forest – Marta’s Song, Angelique Kidjo – Agolo, Enigma – Principles Of Lust, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – Mustt Mustt (Massive Attack Remix), Cecilia Vennersten – Det Vackraste, Michael Ó Suilleabháin – Lumen, Oliver Shanti & Friends – Fight Without Fear, Secret Garden – Nocturne, Dana Dragomir – Mio My Mio, Björn J:Son Lindh & Staffan Scheja – Spirits Of Europa, Supernova – Gold.

Favourite tracks
Mike Oldfield – Sentinel (Single Restructure)

Adiemus – Adiemus

Acker Bilk – Stranger On The Shore

Lest we forget
Geoffrey Burgon – Brideshead Revisited

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