Lieberson's Neruda Songs Returns to Billboard Classical Chart

Classic Arts News   Lieberson's Neruda Songs Returns to Billboard Classical Chart
Neruda Songs, the cycle which Peter Lieberson composed for his wife, the beloved mezzo Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, has returned to the Billboard classical chart almost exactly one year after its release on CD.

The Nonesuch Records disc, back at no. 25, was made from performances LHL gave of the score with conductor James Levine and the Boston Symphony Orchestra in late 2005; those concerts, and a brief tour she made with the BSO the following spring that featured the cycle, were among the last performances she gave before her death from cancer in July 2006 at age 51.

Last week Neruda Songs garnered two major honors: the score won Lieberson the 2008 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition, and the recording was nominated for three Grammy Awards, including Best Classical Album.

There are no newcomers to the classical chart this week; the only title other than Neruda Songs to reappear is "No Boundaries" (no. 22) by the piano-playing siblings The 5 Browns. (Their most recent release, "Browns in Blue," is now at no. 8 in its tenth week on the chart.)

The top-selling classical title, for the sixth straight week, is this year's Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas release, "Spirit of the Season." Last week that disc arrived on the Billboard 200, which lists the top-selling titles in all genres combined, at no. 190; this week it has climbed to no. 154.

Following "Spirit of the Season" in Billboard's classical top five are, in order: crossover violinist André Rieu's "Radio City Music Hall: Live in New York"; Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops playing selections from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker; "O Holy Night," a collection of Christmas music performed by "inspirational classical violinist" Jenny Oaks Baker; and Simone Dinnerstein's recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations.

The Deutsche Grammophon label's "Duets," by soprano Anna Netrebko and tenor Rolando Villaz‹n, which fell last week from no. 5 to no. 16, is back up to no. 9. Last week's new arrival, the Yundi Li/Berlin Philharmonic/Seiji Ozawa recording of Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 2 and Ravel's Piano Concerto in G, slipped from no. 21 to no. 24.

The newsmaker on the Billboard classical crossover chart this week is the vocal ensemble Chanticleer's new holiday release, "Let It Snow," which leapt from no. 12 to no. 6.

Josh Groban's "Noel," which has been atop the crossover chart for about two months, is now marking its third consecutive week as the no. 1 title on the Billboard 200.

The remainder of the crossover top five are just as they have been for the previous three weeks: "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.

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