Virgin – 2001 – CD 1: 76 minutes, CD 2: 67 minutes

Thirty-one tracks over two CDs, 'Classical Chillout' is one of those compilations which attempts to cover all bases, and instead of focusing on the remit of its title, falls into the quagmire of the obvious and the formulaic.

First of all, let's make one thing clear: each and every piece here has its merits. It's when they are collected under the "chillout" umbrella that problems arise. Why? Well, for starters, chillout would suggest that this album brings the listener on a soothing trip of tranquility. Admittedly, some of it does. The rest, however, is sporadically sanguine, frequently poignant, and constantly pensive.

One cannot be but disappointed by the dearth of imagination that went into the selection process. Vivaldi's 'Winter', Barber's 'Adagio for Strings', Delibes' 'Flower Duet' and Satie's 'Gymnopédie No. 1'? Superb compositions all, but even allowing for chronic overuse, these are hardly vintage chillout. Thankfully, there are some lesser-known treats here too. Part's 'Spiegel im Spiegel' is memorably haunting, Sakamoto's 'Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence film theme' is delicately beautiful, while Satie's 'Gnossienne No. 1' is arguably the standout of the collection.

Probably just about worth having in your collection, but still a supermarket effort.

Tom Grealis

Tracklisting: CD 1: Adagio for Strings (Barber/ Orbit) - Gymnopédie No. 1 (Satie) - Adiemus (Jenkins) - Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence film theme (Sakamoto) - O mio babbino caro (Puccini) - Adagio (Albinoni) - Figlio Perduto (Beethoven) - Spiegel Im Spiegel (Part) - Flower Duet (Delibes) - The Heart Asks Pleasure First (Nyman) - Cantique de Jean (Fauré) - The Ashokan Farewell (Ungar & Mason) - Claire de Lune (Debussy) - Miserere mei, Deus (Allegri)

CD 2: My Heart Will Go On (Horner) - Perpetuum Mobile (Jeffes) - Concerto for Violin & Oboe in D minor (Bach) - Symphony No. 3 (Górecki) - The Lark Ascending (Williams) - Gnossienne No. 1 (Satie) - Nagoya Marimbas (Reich) - Violin Concerto No. 1 (Bruch) - Song for Athene (Tavener) - Gabriel's Oboe (Morricone) - Weather Storm (Armstrong) - Chi Mai (Morricone) - In paradisum (Fauré) - Ebben? ne andrò Iontana (Catalani) - Winter (Vivaldi) - Piano Concerto No. 5 (Bach) - Ave verum corpus (Mozart)