Joy Follows Suffering
The Tribute / Agnus Dei
Michael W. Smith has proven his gifts as an instrumental artist with such popular releases as 2000’s Freedom. Glory continues in a similar orchestral vein with a cycle of new compositions invoking reverent and patriotic themes. Recording with the 65-piece London Symphonica, Smith and arranger/conductor David Hamilton take the listener from lush, classically influenced pieces to simpler settings and back again. The album brings to mind the grand scores of James Horner, Hans Zimmer, and similar film composers; with their billowing strings and yearning woodwinds, “Glory Overture,” “The Blessing,” and “The Romance” especially conjure up images of sweeping landscapes and rapturous onscreen reunions. Such dramatic flourishes are balanced by starker, more melancholy pieces like “Atonement” and “Joy Follows Suffering” (the latter featuring a poignant classical guitar solo by Mark Baldwin). The stately martial strains of “Patriot” and “Heroes” pay homage to America’s fighting forces. “Whitaker’s Wonder” lightens the mood with whimsical touches in the manner of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker.