Picks and Pans Review: A Christmas Celebration
This album by the Ohio-born operatic soprano isn't for those around-the-tree sing-alongs—unless you happen to have a multilingual family that is also looking to burst a blood vessel or two. For quieter moments, though, this kind of record could be the perfect accompaniment as well as an event in itself. There is lovely support provided by the Boys' Choir of Harlem, the New York Choral Artists and New York's Orchestra of St. Luke's, under the direction of St. Louis Symphony conductor Leonard Slatkin. Not that Battle needs all that much help. She sings with a combination of grace, strength and sense of melody that makes the spiritual Rise Up, Shepherd as thrilling as the old French carol O Holy Night. As she demonstrates, the finest Christmas songs bear an emotional power and musical grandeur that reflect the most moving qualities of the season. (EMI /Angel)
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