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Continuation of a great series
on 1 April 2009
Not for classical music purists (though even they might use it to convince sceptics that their pre-conceived stereotypical assumptions about classical music are wrong), this is one of a series of compilations offering sample tracks from some of the best contemporary classical crossover artists. Like others in the series, this one was released for the Christmas market in the year before the date in the title (so it came out in November or December 2008). I suspect that 2008 was not such a great year for the release of new classical crossover albums, since many of the tracks are older, with only 17 of the 40 tracks having a 2008 copyright date. While earlier compilations in the series also contained older material, they didn't rely as heavily on it. Still, there's a lot of great music here.
Many of the songs will be familiar to people who don't necessarily follow classical music. Here you'll find covers of All by myself (popularized by Eric Carmen, who wrote the lyrics for an old classical tune by Rachmaninov), Abide with me (here performed by the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards), Amazing grace (here performed by Lesley Garrett), Ave Maria (here performed by Aled Jones), Somewhere (here performed by David Garrett), Danny boy (here performed by Bryn Terfel and Ronan Keating), the theme from Inspector Morse (here performed by Emma Johnson), Imagine (the John Lennon song here performed by the Fron male voice choir), The Lord is my shepherd (here performed by Katherine Jenkins) and Tears in heaven (the Eric Clapton song here performed by the Choirboys). Pie Jesu (here performed by Katherine Jenkins) and Time to say goodbye (here performed by Blake) were both huge UK pop hits for Sarah Brightman duetting with other artists.
Apart from those tracks, you may also recognize other famous artists including Luciano Pavarotti (singing Curuso) and Mike Oldfield (performing Aurora), Julian Lloyd Webber (performing The swan), Bond (singing Allegretto), Russell Watson (singing You raise me up) and Hayley Westenra (singing Pokarekare Ana) and the Salvation Army (performing Largo), whether or not you recognise the actual tracks.
Typical of other releases in the series, this is an easy-listening collection that is ideal for those who want to dabble in the fringes of classical music but who don't necessarily want to get in too deep.