Bartoli, Bell, Ma Climb Billboard Classical Chart; Philip Glass Arrives on Crossover (!) Chart

Classic Arts News   Bartoli, Bell, Ma Climb Billboard Classical Chart; Philip Glass Arrives on Crossover (!) Chart
 
Recordings by three classical superstars — mezzo Cecilia Bartoli, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and violinist Joshua Bell — have made notable leaps up the Billboard classical chart this week.

"Maria," Bartoli's tribute to the legendary 19th-century mezzo Maria Malibran, rose eight notches to no. 4 on this week's chart. Climbing four spots to no. 6 is Ma's "Appassionato," and leaping ten places to no. 8 is Bell's recording of John Corigliano's Red Violin Concerto. (Bell and Ma each have a second disc on the chart: the former's "Voice of the Violin" at no. 15 and "New Impossibilities" by Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble at no. 13.)

The top three discs on the classical chart are still (as they have been for three weeks) "Spirit of the Season" by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir with the Norwegian folk singer Sissel, crossover violinist André Rieu's "Radio City Music Hall: Live in New York," and Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops playing selections from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker. Nudged to no. 5 by the Bartoli disc is "O Holy Night," a collection of Christmas music performed by "inspirational classical violinist" Jenny Oaks Baker.

There are no new arrivals on the classical chart this week — new titles are rarely released this late in the holiday shopping season — but three discs returned: soprano Anna Netrebko's "Russian Album" (no. 21), H_lne Grimaud's recording of Beethoven's "Emperor" Concerto and Sonata No. 28 (no. 23), and Mychael Danna's soundtrack to the film The Nativity Story (no. 24).

There is a new arrival on the crossover chart, though — by Philip Glass, no less. And what is one of America's best known "art-music" composers doing on the crossover chart alongside Josh Groban, Andrea Bocelli and Il Divo? The disc — released on Glass's own label, Orange Mountain Music, and arriving on the chart at no. 19 — is a recording of Book of Longing, a song cycle on texts by Canadian rock legend Leonard Cohen that premiered on this year's summer festival circuit. The reasons Billboard classifies some titles as classical and others as classical crossover (or something else altogether) aren't always clear to the rest of us, but Book of Longing's rock connection is likely what got it put into the crossover category.

Once again this week, the top five on the crossover chart are Josh Groban's "Noel" (which remains no. 1 on the Billboard 200 as well); "The Best of Andrea Bocelli: Vivere" (no. 2); "One Chance" (no. 3), the debut CD by British tenor/reality TV show winner Paul Potts; Groban's "Awake" (no. 4); and "Lo mejor de Andrea Bocelli: Vivere" (no. 5), the Spanish-language release of the second-place title. Following right behind at nos. 6 and 7 are two more Bocelli releases, "Amore" and "Under the Desert Sky."

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