Picks and Pans Review: Kiri Te Kanawa at Christmas

updated 12/05/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/05/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

By contrast, Dame Kiri is relaxed and expansive in this 50-minute tape of a London concert that was originally a 1987 BBC program. At the end of a playful version of Twelve Days of Christmas, she grins and says, "That was fun," and she generally seems to be having a wonderful time. Dame Kiri sounds magnificent—her O Holy Night is as close to heaven as some of us will ever get, and she turns the traditional Spanish carol The Virgin Washes the Swaddling into an emotional experience. She doesn't condescend "to such relatively frivolous pop Christmas tunes as Silver Bells and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas either, but treats them as if they were modest Christmas trees that were nonetheless deserving of graceful decorations. Dame Kiri and the Philharmonia Orchestra strike a soaring musical rapport and she frequently turns to salute its conductor, Carl Davis, and the Tallis Chamber Choir, spreading the glory, of which there is more than enough to go around. (View, $29.95; 800-843-9843)

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