The top arrival is Appassionato, an anthology of romantic (with a small r) favorites performed by superstar cellist Yo-Yo Ma, along with some of his favorite collaborators (among others, Emmanuel Ax, Mark O'Connor and Edgar Meyer). The disc — which includes music ranging from Vivaldi to Brahms to Astor Piazzolla and Ennio Morricone — made a strong debut at no. 1 on the chart. (It also reached no. 79 on the Billboard 200, the chart of best-selling discs in all genres; this is the highest position Ma has ever reached on that list.)
Debuting at no. 3 is Anna Netrebko's The Russian Album, a collection of opera arias and art songs from the glamorous soprano's homeland.
Another artist offering music from his mother country is pianist Lang Lang, whose Dragon Songs presents a collection of Chinese works for Western keyboard, alone and with other instruments. Along with plenty of appealing recent repertoire inspired by nature, the disc offers the Yellow River Concerto, composed by a Communist Party committee and probably the most famous musical artifact of the Cultural Revolution.
Arriving on the chart at no. 7 is a recording of Mendelssohn and Bruch violin concertos (plus Bruch's Romance) by the rising Dutch star Janine Jansen, along with the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig conducted by Riccardo Chailly.
Also new to the chart, at no. 25, is Evgeny Kissin Plays Chopin: The Verbier Festival Recital, a commercial release of a now-famous program the Russian pianist performed at the Swiss festival in the summer of 2004.
The only non-soloist-oriented new arrival on this week's classical chart, at no. 16, is the soundtrack to the new film version of Somerset Maugham's novel The Painted Veil, starring Naomi Watts and Edward Norton.
Re-entering the chart this week are the Michael Tilson Thomas/San Francisco Symphony recording of Mahler's Fifth Symphony (no. 18) and Janine Jansen's rendition of Vivaldi's Four Seasons (no. 19).
Ma's strong showing knocked Songs From the Labyrinth, Sting's John Dowland disc, down to no. 2 after 14 weeks at the top of the chart. Similarly, the new arrivals on the chart meant that the late Lorraine Hunt Lieberson's recording of her husband's Neruda Songs slipped from second to fourth place and Joshua Bell's Voice of the Violin from third to sixth. Andr_ Rieu's The Homecoming! fell from no. 4 to no. 8, with pianist Gabriela Montero's Bach and Beyond going from no. 6 to no. 9 and soprano Ren_e Fleming's Homage: The Age of the Diva from no. 8 to no. 10.
With the passing of the holidays, Mychael Danna's score for the film The Nativity Story tumbled from fifth to 14th place and the Vienna Philharmonic's 2007 New Year's Day concert, which arrived on the chart last week at no. 7, fell to no. 17.
There was very little change from last week on the Billboard classical crossover chart — and no change at all in the top 10. Il Divo continues to have discs in first, fourth and fifth place; Andrea Bocelli has titles at nos. 3, 6 and 8; Josh Groban's Awake remains at no. 2; Sarah Brightman's Diva stays at no. 7; Juanita Bynum and Jonathan Butler's Gospel Goes Classical is at no. 9, followed by the soundtrack to the 2005 film of Pride and Prejudice.
The only major change on the crossover chart was the ascent of Uninhibited: The String Quartet to Hinder (covers of tunes by the eponymous rock band) from no. 25, where it entered the chart last week, to no. 14. Also, Here's to the Heroes by The Ten Tenors slipped back onto the chart at no. 25.