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Having won Classical Brit `Album of the Year' awards for her previous two albums - 'Second Nature' and 'Living A Dream', Katherine Jenkins returns with her fourth and strongest album to date, `Serenade'. Featuring a collection of classical favourites that includes `The Flower Duet' (featuring Dame Kiri Te Kanawa), Pachelbel's `Canon' and Puccini's `O Mio Babbino Caro', `Serenade' also includes a version of the modern classic, `Everything I Do', performed in Italian and featuring Bryan Adams on guitar.
Following on from the heady success of albums like Premiere, Second Nature and Living A Dream, Welsh mezzos-oprano and sometime fashion model and music teacher Katherine Jenkins now presents her fourth collection of classically-rendered hymns, arias and pop classics. Serenade seems an understated title for someone with such a soaring voice and dynamic range, yet fans will know Jenkins is more than capable of balancing her operatic cartwheels with moments of real tenderness. This is evidenced immediately on the album's opening track, an elegant version of Bryan Adams' "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You", sung in Italian with Adams himself featured on guitar. The same undulations of quietude and drama unfold throughout the rest of the LP as Jenkins recreates timeless classics such as "Dear Lord And Father", "Lisa Lan", "Chance In A Lifetime" and "O Mio Babbino Caro" with characteristic grace and aplomb. --Danny McKenna
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But these are just sales figures, which reflect only the popularity of an artist, so what of the selection of songs for this release?
The general theme of the last three albums has been retained - a selection of opera, classical, popular and traditional music, and while such diverse range of music will inevitably mean some listeners find something they don't like, it also helps capture a wider audience than, for example, an entire opera-themed album would. Some will say it's a case of playing safe, while others will welcome the opportunity to diversify their musical appreciation.
For me this is easily Katherine Jenkins' most accomplished studio album to date. The opening track is the Bryan Adams massive 1991 hit `(Everything I Do) I Do It For You' and is sung in Italian (with Adam's on acoustic guitar) to great effect. This is so much more suited to her voice and style than some of the choices (for example `I Will Always Love You') on her previous albums.
The modern classics such as `Nella Fantasia' and `Granada' are here, so too the traditional such as `Green Green Grass of Home' and `Lisa Lan' (folk song, Welsh of course), and they are sung with the usual effortless grace we've come to expect from Katherine.
The highlights, and they really are special I think, are the `The Flower Duet', which is sung to brilliant effect with Dame Kiri Te Kanewa, and the dreamy `Canon' by Pachelbel which is expertly transcribed by Simon Franglen for keyboards (which he plays), instruments and vocals. There are actually two vocal lines on this track, one high one low, both by Katherine, and the overdubbing is so carefully recorded that it works to spectacular effect.
For me there's only two minus points with this album, the first being one of the opera choices, `Chanson Boheme' from Bizet's `Carmen', which Katherine seems to struggle with on the `Tra la la' chorus. It's surprising really, for I've seen her sing this piece live and didn't notice any problems, but given her stunning appearance in flamboyant flame-red dress perhaps my concentration lapsed for a moment (!).
My only other issue is (again) the cover photo and enclosed sleeve artwork, which are credited to Bryan Adams. Bryan's a great songwriter, a great guitarist and can take lovely candid photos of Katherine. But world class fashion photographer he's not, and that's what the CD cover needed.
That aside, this is a brilliant album, her best so far I think.
I am very glad I did! There are so many gems here that I now consider this Katherine's best album. Surprisingly, "Nella Fantasia" instantly became a favorite of mine. Her rich, warm tones really brought this song to life in a way I had never heard before. It could have been written for her! Ultimately, I concluded that she did justice to every single track, from the rousing gypsy dance ("Chanson Boheme") to the beautiful hymn, "Dear Lord and Father of Mankind." I would not have left out a single one, not even "O Mio Babbino Caro" (which I still think is sung too often.)
One thing people seem to be arguing about is what genre Katherine belongs to. With arias like "One Fine Day" in her repertoire, she can hardly be called a pop singer, but seeing that she has never actually performed in an opera, she can't rightly be called a legitimate opera singer, either. Instead, she is a part of a growing community of what we call "Classical Crossover" singers. Some people like this, some people don't. I just accept her for who she is - a classically trained recording artist who consistently produces wonderful music.
Whenever I have seen Katherine Jenkins on TV I have always appreciated her talent.
After seeing the ads on TV I thought I would give the album a try and wow I just love it. I play it constanstly on loop when I'm in the mood to chill while I work. I love the mix of hits and classical classics! I'll certainly be checking out all her past albums!
Plus got to say it - she is so beautiful!
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