While just about everyone has heard of Katherine Jenkins not everyone will have bothered to find out what she sounds like to any great extent. My only experience before this album had been 'Time to say goodbye' being played at a funeral! I thought it was OK but preferred Sarah Brightman singing it with Andrea Boccelli. I thought at first glance that this best of looked to be a pretty worn out collection of old standards that had been pretty much done to death. However it has been a pleasant surprise to discover just how excellent so many of these tracks are. You would think that 'Hallelujah' had just about been flogged to pieces but this version is somehow purer and Jenkins haunting vocal style alongside a rather beautiful orchestral accompaniment means there was still life to be found in Cohen's much covered track. This really pretty much sums up what makes this such a winner. Jenkins really does have a beautiful voice that avoids artifice and cleverness but rather simply portrays a clear and yet powerful projection. She is constantly supported superbly but orchestration that is both moving and highly enjoyable. Such well worn classical tracks as 'O mio babbino Caro' & the flower duet from Lakme sound fresh and bright. Corny stage barnstormers such as 'Music of the night' & 'Don't cry for me Argentina' again sound new and well worth listening to. Even an Italian rendering of the Dolly Parton/ Whitney Houston 'I will always love you' is touching & beautifully finished. The only track I would happily live without is 'I could have danced all night' but in fairness I already hate it and this does little to change my mind.
Otherwise this is a very enjoyable collection, with a generous track listing and well recorded at a great price. Not sure what else needs to be said other than to give this a try if you've not taken much notice of Kathrine Jenkins before. It really is a very good album and she has a lovely voice.
It's no surprise to see this Katherine Jenkins `Best Of' compilation release on the Universal Classics label since her departure from them to sign with Warner Brothers.
The 17 tracks are a selection from her highly successful five year, six album contract with Universal from 2004 to 2008. Second Nature, Living a dream and Serenade are well represented, while her debut Premiere is dismissed (Lascia ch'io pianga would have been nice) and her last two albums Rejoice and Sacred Arias are poorly represented with just 3 tracks from them.
The decision to release the album into the popular, rather than classical, chart means that many of her trademark songs must be left out to comply with the chart rules, which is a shame for those early classics were the ones responsible for her current popularity.
Katherine's regular fans won't find anything new on offer here but for newcomers this is a good introduction to Katherine Jenkins, and of course an opportunity for Universal to squeeze some more revenue from the singer's increasingly successful career.
Katherine Jenkins (born 29 June 1980) is a Welsh mezzo-soprano. She is a classical-popular crossover singer, who performs across a spectrum of operatic arias, popular songs, musical theatre and hymns. So far, she has released 8 albums, starting with Premiere in 2004 to the most recent Daydream in 2011.
The Ultimate Collection is a compilation of her greatest hits, with previously unreleased and rare songs. This release is as the result of her switching record labels, from Decca (Universal) to Warner. There are 17 songs:
01 Time To Say Goodbye (from Second Nature, 2004)
02 Hallelujah (from Sacred Arias, 2008)
03 I Will Always Love You (from Living A Dream, 2005)
04 I Vow To Thee My Country (from Living A Dream, 2005)
05 (Everything I Do) I Do It For You (from Serenade, 2006)
06 Nella Fantasia (from Serenade, 2006)
07 Hymn To The Fallen (from Second Nature, 2004)
08 The Flower Duet (featuring Kiri Te Kanawa)(from Serenade, 2006)
09 Pie Jesu (from Sacred Arias, 2008)
10 Calon Lân (from Second Nature, 2004)
11 Caruso (from Second Nature, 2004)
12 Vide Cor Meum (from Second Nature, 2004)
13 O Mio Babbino Caro (from Serenade, 2006)
14 Music Of The Night (from Living A Dream, 2005)
15 I Could Have Danced All Night (new, unreleased, 2007)
16 I’ve Dreamed Of You (unreleased, 2004)
17 Don’t Cry For Me Argentina (unreleased, 2005)
The audio was very well remastered. All the tracks are really enjoyable. I started listening to Katherine Jenkins after I have watched her concert at O2 Arena: Believe Tour on blu ray (my review of that concert is found elsewhere). She was a gorgeous, talented and great singer/performer. She is more well known in UK than North America. Being a completist, I started collecting all her albums and found them all very enjoyable and the sound well remastered. She really reminds me of a very young Sarah Brightman. The above disc represents a good cross-section of her works. The notable omission to really call it a “greatest hits” is that her only charted single on Decca Green, Green Grass Of Home was omitted. Since she changed labels to Warner, she has released two albums: Believe (2009)(highly recommended) and Daydream (2011). If you have a chance, buy and watch her DVD or blu ray concert. She is even better on stage. The above disc is highly recommended.
on 30 November 2012
Katherine Jenkins (AKA: The Forces Sweetheart) is a beautiful woman with a beautiful voice!
This ultimate collection is full of fantastic songs that will touch your emotions. She has a superb vocal range and can hit any high note with ease; keep an eye on your stereo's volume as she is very powerful!
I normally play this album in the background when I have guests, when driving on long journeys or when my young daughter asks me to play it, as she adores Katherine and likes to sing along to some of the songs.
A lovely album at a nice price.
on 4 January 2010
The de-luxe version is very hard to find here in Australia -in fact many stores were unaware of its existence. I was able to find a copy on Amazon at a price (including delivery) which undercut that for the standard version ! On top of that, Amazon promised a delivery date range well within time for this CD to be offered as a Christmas present - and the record even arrived before the earliest promised date!
All of the songs were beautifully arranged and complemented Catherine Jenkins' voice perfectly. Altogether an exceptional Christmas experience for giver and recipient.
I cannot resist mentioning one tiny jarring note, which had nothing to do with the quality of the performers, the music or the production. It is stated in the sleeve notes that "I vow to thee my country" is a traditional tune. In fact the words were written in 1918 by Sir Cecil Spring-Rice and set to music by Gustav Holst in 1921, adapting the theme from "Jupiter" in his suite "The Planets". In such a glorious record, surely it is only fair that all contributors receive due credit.
on 15 January 2010
The Title says it all. A lovely album with some beautifull duets. One surprise, very pleasant,is the low register in which she sings "I could have Danced all Night", as a contrast to the higher register of most of the other songs. Particularly interesting is the version of "I will always love you" to which she fully applies her wonderfull operatic skills.
on 24 December 2009
I am new to Katherine Jenkins, but not to classical music. Initially I got this album as I was curious about her and thought this would be a good place to start, as others have recommended. I also do like to have several versions of my favorite songs as Nella Fantasia and Pie Jesu, and what I really have found was a beautiful adaptation of many beautiful songs (this Hallelujah version is probably my favorite). I am very glad my curiosity came in the right place ... such a beautiful powerful yet soft voice. If you love classicals and opera in general, this album is a must-have.
on 1 March 2010
Having not heard much by Katherine Jenkins prior to getting this album, I didn't quite know what to expect.
After my first listen she has become one of my favourite music artists!
The album is fantastic and she has a breathtaking voice. A brilliant selection of songs and I fell in love with every one!
I particularly like her version of Bryan Adam's 'Everything I do' in Italian. Whatever language she sings in she sounds great!
I was particularly pleased with this and this has become one of my alltime favourite albums!
A must buy!