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CD Review

Placido Domingo

Sony 511743

My Christmas

  • Hugh Martin & Ralph Blane: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas 1
  • Harpo Marx & Gerda Beilenson: Guardian Angels 2
  • Franz Gruber & John Freeman Young: Silent Night 3
  • Traditional & William Chatterton Dix: What Child Is This? 4
  • Traditional: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen 5
  • Felix Mendelssohn, Charles Wesley & George Whitefield: Hark The Herald Angels Sing 6
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber: Pie Jesu from Requiem 7
  • Giacomo Puccini: Astro del ciel 8
  • Placido Domingo, Jr., Francesco Morettini & Luca Angelosanti: Loving Christmas With You 9
  • Richard Storrs Willis & Edmund H. Sears: It Came upon the Midnight Clear 10
  • Irving Berlin: White Christmas 11
  • Wolfgang Mozart: Ave verum corpus, K. 618 12
  • José Feliciano: Feliz Navidad 13
Placido Domingo, tenor
1 Vincent Niclo, voice
2 Idina Menzel, voice
4 Helene Fischer, voice
7 Jackie Evancho, voice
9 Hayley Westenra, voice
11 Placido Domingo, Jr., voice
2,7,9,11 Richard Cottle, keyboards
3 The Piano Guys
13 Banda el Recodo
5-8,10,12,13 Czech National Symphony Choir
5 Voices of Los Angeles Opera's Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program
1,2,5-13 Czech National Symphony Orchestra/Eugene Kohn
Sony Classical 88875117432 46:31
Find it at AmazonFind it at Amazon UKFind it at Amazon GermanyFind it at Amazon CanadaFind it at Amazon FranceFind it at Amazon JapanOrder Now from ArkivMusic.comFind it at CD Universe Find it at JPC

Placido Domingo (b. 1941) is in good voice still, despite his advancing age. Moreover, on this album he gets fine support from a number of talented singers as you can see in the heading, including his son Placido, Jr., Jackie Evancho and, on the instrumental side, from The Piano Guys and Banda El Recodo. Although the music here is generally light and festive, Domingo puts his heart into every selection, and it is fitting that he has dedicated the album to the memory of his younger sister who died in June, 2015.

Most readers interested in purchasing such a disc are obviously not looking for deep musical analysis of the works offered, but rather an evaluation of the performances and arrangements. Regarding the latter, the songs are generally arranged to yield the most colorful aspects of the music without sounding like long-haired treatments. As for the performances… The disc starts off with Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (arr. Sally Herbert), wherein Vincent Niclo partners Domingo, and on track two, Guardian Angels (arr. Lee Holdridge), Idina Menzel joins the tenor. Both of these are splendid accounts, as are most of the remaining ones involving other singers, including those in Domingo's Young Artist Program who appear in God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen (track 5 arr. Nicholas Dodd & Nick Patrick). Perhaps the best singing though (and best music maybe) comes in Lloyd Webber's Pie Jesu (arr. Nicholas Dodd), which is of course not a Christmas song at all. Here, Domingo is joined by Jackie Evancho, who sings beautifully and actually steals the show.

New Zealand Crossover singer Hayley Westenra joins Domingo in Loving Christmas With You (track 9) and imparts a fresh and innocent quality to the music with her very youthful sounding voice, which contrasts well with Domingo's darker and more mature sound. The younger Domingo gives a youthful quality as well to the Irving Berlin classic, White Christmas (arr. Lee Holdridge). Feliz Navidad (arr. Lee Holdridge), despite its spiffy performance, sounds quite out of place coming after the Mozart's Ave verum corpus. That said, most listeners will like it still, as it is a rousing way to close the disc.

The sound reproduction is very good. No album notes or texts are provided, but we mostly know the words to these songs and who needs notes for this kind of recording? A very nice Christmas album.

Copyright © 2015, Robert Cummings