On this side of the Atlantic, singer Chloe Agnew is usually seen performing with the musical group Celtic Woman,
and two of this group's performances are--or soon will be--available on DVD. The better of these is certainly the second
concert, filmed earlier this year in the courtyard of Slane Castle in Ireland. It shows Chloe in her famous strapless white dress, and is set to be released one month from today, on January 30th.
However, Miss Agnew's Irish fans are probably better acquainted with their curvaceous songbird from a solo DVD
that she released to accompany her own individual album, titled Walking in the Air.
This DVD does not feature concert footage, but something even better: a collection of classical music videos,
showing Chloe performing songs from her solo album.
Just as Chloe is a timeless beauty rather than a synthetic modern waif, so do her videos glory in the splendour of the natural world, rather than showcasing grim, urban cityscapes.
The Arcadian settings of the videos harmonize perfectly with the lovely songs that Chloe sings, which are very much in a melodic, classcial mode, rather than examples of vulgar modern "rock" rubbish.
The videos on this DVD were all filmed in Miss Agnew's Irish homeland, and the footage shows just how richly Ireland deserves its reputation as the "Emerald Isle," as Chloe is frequently presented singing before lush, rolling hills of green.
The videos do more than simply provide gorgeous backdrops for Miss Agnew's performances. They also reinforce the mood and the themes of the songs themselves. For example, one video shows Chloe performing in a storybook Romantic churchyard:
The setting is particularly appropriate, as the song in question is something of a spiritual meditation. The lichen-bedecked tombstones, witnesses to the ages, underscore the reflective content of the lyrics.
Another video, set amid cloisters, shows Chloe framed by Gothic arches. It reminds the viewer of the intensely spiritual nature of Ireland itself, and adds a wonderfully atmospheric, Romantic component to the performance.
Accomplished performer that she is, Chloe alters her demeanour to suit every song--whimsical and playful in the more contemporary numbers, acknowledging her teenaged youth,
and more mature and meditative in the classical compositions, which explore deeper themes of life and death.
What remains consistent throughout every performance is Chloe's well-fed beauty. The exquisite fullness of her facial features adorns every frame, making this DVD a visual as well as auditory delight.
Two videos in this collection stand out above the rest, and are so breathtakingly gorgeous, that they are like waking dreams. One is called "Sigma," and it shows Chloe singing against the backdrop of a magical Irish waterfall. The styling here is particularly effective, as the vibrant pink of her sweater contrasts richly with the lush greenery.
Miss Agnew's own cascading tresses echo the flowing waters of the cataract, and the soft, feminine contours of her countenance play off against the masculine, Sublime grandeur of the rugged crags behind her. This video provides a stunning visual example of what an ideal plus-size-fashion editorial might look like.
Even more achingly beautiful than "Sigma," however, is the video for "Vivaldi's 'Rain,'" the lyrics of which are set to the Largo movement of the "L'inverno" concerto from the composer's masterpiece, The Four Seasons.
In this video, which can only be described as a Pre-Raphaelite painting come to life, the viewer sees Chloe in a delicate feminine top and skirt, wading in an idyllic brook, in the midst of a secret woodland.
The camera discovers Miss Agnew sitting on rocks in the middle of the brook, the sunlight illuminating her pink dress and golden tresses,
and later, relaxing by the riverbank, nestled amid the flowers--herself the most vivid expression of the natural beauty that is all around her. (Note the enchanting styling detail of Chloe's blouse slipping off one shoulder.)
But the moment that takes every viewer's breath away, persuading them that Heaven itself could not contain any lovelier imagery than this, is the sight of Chloe frolicking in the stream,
taking her skirt in two handfulls, while the sunlight bathes her in an angelic glow,
and doing a graceful turn in the water, her hair flowing freely around her.
This video demonstrates, yet again, that Miss Agnew could easily become one of the greatest of all plus-size models, if she only wished to be.
All in all, this DVD is a superlative document of timeless beauty, equal in visual richness to the Anita Ekberg films La Dolce Vita and Boccaccio '70, and to the episodes of Degrassi: The Next Generation, Seasons One through Three, featuring Christina Schmidt. The loveliness of Miss Agnew's voice, and of the songs that she chooses to sing, matches the splendour of the settings in which she is filmed, along with her own angelic appearance.
These videos show us the kind of healthy, life-affirming popular culture that we could have, if we wished it, rather than the degenerate media by which we are surrounded--a culture that would celebrate elegant femininity rather than trashiness, favour beautiful music over drumbeat-driven primitive noise, and venerate the glory of the natural world over modernist urban blight.
Timeless beauty such as this can be restored, if only we devote our efforts to making it happen.
Chloe displaying a Valerie Lefkowitz-like pout, amid the wonder of the Old World:
(Although it is only available from overseas retailers such as amazon.co.uk, Chloe's DVD is a code-free disc, meaning that it will operate perfectly well in all North American DVD players.)
- Click here to obtain Chloe's solo DVD