Kunzel/Cincinnati Pops Nutcracker Makes Billboard Classical Chart

Classic Arts News   Kunzel/Cincinnati Pops Nutcracker Makes Billboard Classical Chart
As the holidays get underway, a recent disc of selections from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker is this week's new arrival on the Billboard classical chart.

The Telarc release, which debuts on the chart at no. 11, features the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra under longtime conductor Erich Kunzel. The recording includes both of the suites Tchaikovsky extracted from his ballet score plus some additional numbers — all but about 20 minutes of the complete ballet score.

Three titles have returned to the chart this week: the Cleveland Orchestra's first release under its new agreement with Deutsche Grammophon, of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony (no. 17); "Angel Voices," a live concert recording by the London boys' choir Libera (no. 23); and "Baroque," pianist Gabriela Montero's latest disc of improvisations based on favorite 18th-century works.

Atop the classical chart for the third consecutive week is "Spirit of the Season," this year's holiday disc from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra with Norwegian folk-pop singer Sissel. Back at no. 2 is Maria, a tribute disc by Cecilia Bartoli to the legendary 19th-century mezzo Maria Malibran. At no. 3 is pianist Simone Dinnerstein's recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma's "Appassionato" has leapt eight notches to no. 4, followed by Browns in Blue by the pianist siblings The 5 Browns.

The new arrival on Billboard's classical crossover chart this week, at no. 18, is "Christmas Break: a relaxing classical mix," a compilation of Christmas carols and classical selections on a seasonal theme gathered from various Telarc recordings. Returning to the crossover chart are "Star Wars: The Corellian Edition" (no. 24), a re-release of John Williams's score to the original film in the Star Wars franchise, and "Folk Songs" (no. 25), a collection of Nordic tunes arranged and sung by the three women of Trio Mediæval.

Josh Groban and Andrea Bocelli continue to dominate the top of the crossover chart. Groban has discs at no. 1 ("Noel") and no. 4 ("Awake"), while Bocelli has five titles in the top 11. Two of the remaining four in the top 10 are by the operatic boy-band Il Divo.

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