Angels: Christmas with the Great Sopranos

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Eddins
This album's title, Angels: Christmas with the Great Sopranos, wisely leaves some latitude of interpretation about exactly what type of repertoire is included; this isn't all necessarily Christmas music, but there's nothing that stands out as musically inappropriate for the season. It helps to try to forget the original contexts of some of the selections, particularly Desdemona's "Ave Maria," and the Intermezzo from "Cavalleria Rusticana" arranged with the "Ave Maria" text. Other pieces, like Brahms' "Lullaby" and "I know that my Redeemer liveth" from "Messiah," have nothing whatsoever to do with Christmas, but musically they fit fine with the mix of serene or joyful ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Eddins
This album's title, Angels: Christmas with the Great Sopranos, wisely leaves some latitude of interpretation about exactly what type of repertoire is included; this isn't all necessarily Christmas music, but there's nothing that stands out as musically inappropriate for the season. It helps to try to forget the original contexts of some of the selections, particularly Desdemona's "Ave Maria," and the Intermezzo from "Cavalleria Rusticana" arranged with the "Ave Maria" text. Other pieces, like Brahms' "Lullaby" and "I know that my Redeemer liveth" from "Messiah," have nothing whatsoever to do with Christmas, but musically they fit fine with the mix of serene or joyful music for the holiday. Each of the selections is a delight in its own way, and the album should please any fans of operatic singing, except for those who are disgruntled because a particular favorite soprano isn't included. Highlights include Joan Sutherland's artlessly direct singing of "Good King Wenceslas," Barbara Bonney's gleaming account of Mozart's "Laudate Dominum," and Sylvia McNair's serenely radiant "I know that my Redeemer liveth." The recordings, made between 1961 and 2005, aren't consistent in sound quality, but none are less than acceptable. The accompaniments, likewise, vary in quality, from the sophistication of the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields to the Vienna Philharmonic's lackadaisical approach to intonation. The compilation provides adequate information for the listener to locate the albums from which each selection is taken.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/14/2008
  • Label: Decca
  • UPC: 028947803379
  • Catalog Number: 001207202

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Cantique de Noël for voice & orchestra "O Holy Night" - Leontyne Price & Adolphe Adam (4:30)
  2. 2 Ellens Gesang III ("Ave Maria"), song for voice & piano, D. 839 (Op. 52/6) - Franz Schubert & Andreas Delfs (4:22)
  3. 3 Requiem, for 2 solo voices, chorus, organ & orchestra, Op. 48: Pie Jesu - Gabriel Fauré & Charles Dutoit (3:49)
  4. 4 Good King Wenceslas (Piae Cantiones, 1582) - Joan Sutherland & Christmas Traditional (3:03)
  5. 5 Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht (Silent Night) - Franz Gruber & George Thalben-Ball (4:48)
  6. 6 Wiegenlied ("Guten Abend, gut Nacht"), song for voice & piano, Op. 49/4 - Johannes Brahms & Angela Gheorghiu (1:37)
  7. 7 Otello, opera: Ave Maria, piena di grazia - Giuseppe Sinopoli & Giuseppe Verdi (6:02)
  8. 8 Vesperae solennes de confessore for soloists, chorus & orchestra, K. 339: Laudate Dominum - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart & Barbara Bonney (4:58)
  9. 9 Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: I know that my Redeemer liveth - George Frideric Handel & Neville Marriner (5:28)
  10. 10 Hark! the Herald Angels Sing (adapted by W. H. Cummings from Mendelssohn's Festgesang for the Gutenberg Festival) - Charles Wesley & Felix Mendelssohn (2:38)
  11. 11 Cantata No. 147, "Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben," BWV 147 (BC A174): Jesus bleibet meine Freude - Johann Sebastian Bach & Andreas Delfs (2:50)
  12. 12 Samson, oratorio, HWV 57: Let the bright seraphim - St. Paul's Cathedral Choir, London & George Frideric Handel (5:58)
  13. 13 It Came Upon a Midnight Clear - Richard Storrs Willis & Joan Sutherland (2:51)
  14. 14 Ave Maria, for voice & orchestra (adapted from Intermezzo of "Cavalleria Rusticana") - Pietro Mascagni & Angela Gheorghiu (3:22)
  15. 15 O Come, All Ye Faithful (Adeste fidelis) - John Francis Wade & Ambrosian Singers (3:15)
  16. 16 Exsultate, jubilate, motet for soprano & orchestra, K. 165 (K. 158a): Alleluia - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart & English Baroque Soloists (2:32)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Renée Fleming Vocals
Jessye Norman Vocals
Kiri Te Kanawa Vocals
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