Jansen, Villaz‹n, Dessay, Kern Make Billboard Classical Chart

Classic Arts News   Jansen, Villaz‹n, Dessay, Kern Make Billboard Classical Chart
New recordings by four top-flight soloists, two singers and two instrumentalists, have arrived on the Billboard classical chart this week.

Top among the newcomers is violinist Janine Jansen, whose Decca recording of Bach's Partita No. 2, along with arrangements for solo strings of the Two- and Three-Part Inventions, arrives at no. 3. Joining Jansen for the Inventions are violist Maxim Rysanov and cellist Thorleif Thord_en.

Viva Villaz‹n!, an anthology of arias on Virgin Classics (culled from previous releases) sung by tenor Rolando Villaz‹n, has debuted on the chart at no. 13. The selections range from high Italian opera by Verdi and Puccini to bel canto by Donizetti to French arias by Gounod and Massenet to Lensky's big aria from Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin to an excerpt from Villaz‹n's one outing with Monteverdi. Included as a bonus is a DVD of a recent recital the tenor gave in Prague.

Landing on the classical chart at no. 22 is a new Virgin Classics recording of Bellini's La sonnambula starring soprano Natalie Dessay, with other soloists and the chorus and orchestra of the Op_ra National de Lyon conducted by Evelino Pid‹.

New on the chart at no. 25 is a Harmonia Mundi release of pianist Olga Kern playing three sets of variations, Opp. 21, 24 and 35, by Johannes Brahms.

Re-entering the chart are No Boundaries (no. 17) by the piano-playing siblings The 5 Browns, soprano Nicole Cabell's debut CD with Andrew Davis conducting the London Philharmonic (no. 20), Lang Lang playing Beethoven's Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 4 with Christoph Eschenbach conducting the Orchestre de Paris (no. 23), and Cloudburst and other choral works by American composer Eric Whitacre (no. 24.).

Moving up to no. 1 on the classical chart this week is crossover violinist Andr_ Rieu's Radio City Music Hall: Live in New York, which has climbed steadily from fifth place in its four weeks in release. Back at no. 2 is "Duets," the DG disc by Villaz‹n and soprano Anna Netrebko, which debuted in second place two weeks ago and rose to the top slot last week. Still at no. 4 is the aria-packed soundtrack album to the restaurant comedy film No Reservations. Slipping to no. 5 from its perch atop the chart last week is Joshua Bell's recording of John Corigliano's Red Violin Concerto; at no. 6 is New Impossibilities by Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Remaining at no. 7, where it has been for all of its three weeks on the chart, is another Rieu album, Masterpieces. At no. 8 is pianist Simone Dinnerstein's acclaimed recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations, followed by Ma's Apppassionato and Bell's Voice of the Violin to round out the top ten.

This is the second week in a row with new arrivals on the usually static Billboard classical crossover chart.

Still at no. 1, where it arrived on the chart last week, is One Chance, the debut CD by tenor Paul Potts, the former telephone salesman who won first prize on the U.K. television program Britain's Got Talent earlier this year with his rendition of "Nessun dorma" from Puccini's Turandot. This disc is also at no. 34 on the Billboard 200, the list of top sellers in all genres.

This week's top new arrival, at no. 2, is Wolfgang's Big Night Out by rock guitarist Brian Setzer and his orchestra; the disc is a collection of rock-ified renditions of such classical chestnuts as Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee, Rossini's William Tell Overture, the Can-Can from Offenbach's Orph_e aux enfers and Johann Strauss's On the Beautiful Blue Danube.

The other new title on the crossover chart, landing at no. 14, is the new 50th anniversary recording of Bernstein's West Side Story starring Hayley Westenra as Maria, Vittorio Grigolo as Tony and Melanie Marshall as Anita.

Four weeks after his death, Luciano Pavarotti continues to be a power on the Billboard charts. He still has two titles on the classical budget chart and four titles on the midline chart; Pavarotti's Greatest Hits is at no. 124 on the Billboard 200 (which includes all genres of music), down from no. 104 last week. And The Best: Luciano Pavarotti has just landed, at no. 8, on the magazine's chart of "Top Internet Albums," listing the best-selling titles in all genres from online retailers such as Amazon.com.

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