Nathan Gunn's New Solo Disc Hits Billboard Classical Crossover Chart

Classic Arts News   Nathan Gunn's New Solo Disc Hits Billboard Classical Crossover Chart
It rarely happens that our biggest news from the weekly Billboard charts comes from the crossover side, but that's the case this week. The new solo CD by Nathan Gunn, the American baritone whose famously fit physique sometimes leads people to overlook his burnished voice and interpretive skills, has debuted on the magazine's classical crossover chart this week at no. 10.

The disc, titled Just Before Sunrise, is the first to be released under Gunn's contract with Sony BMG Classical. The collection of American songs includes music by, among others, Gene Scheer (the librettist of Tobias Picker's 2005 opera An American Tragedy, in which Gunn created the lead role), Ben Moore, John Bucchino, Jimmy Van Heusen, Tom Waits, Billy Joel and Sting. Among his collaborators on some tracks are the 20-year-old jazz piano prodigy Eldar and Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth.

Re-entering the crossover chart, at no. 23, is Remember Me by The Celtic Tenors. (It is, unusually, the only disc by a Tenors group currently on the chart.)

The top five on the Billboard classical crossover chart are the same as for the past several weeks: Josh Groban's Awake at no. 1, followed (in order) by Andrea Bocelli's Amore, Il Divo's Ancora, the soundtrack to the Edith Piaf biopic La Vie en rose, and Il Divo's Siempre. The soundtrack to the 2005 film version of Pride and Prejudice rose two notches to no. 6, passing two other Bocelli albums, Under the Desert Sky and Amor. Toward the bottom of the chart remain string quartet tributes to the rock bands Three Days Grace (no. 18), Evanescence (no. 20) and Hinder (no. 25). (Similar tributes to the groups Tool's Aenima and My Chemical Romance have slipped out of the top 25.)

While the newcomer to the crossover chart is by a genuine opera star, the debutante on the Billboard "core" classical chart, at no. 2, is the soundtrack to a movie — No Reservations, the recently-released restaurant comedy starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Aaron Eckhart. The score is made up largely of famous opera arias sung by famous Decca artists: "Nessun dorma" and "Celeste Aida" (Luciano Pavarotti), "Un bel dÐ" and "O mio babbino caro" (Renata Tebaldi), "La donna  mobile" (Joseph Calleja), "Libiamo, libiamo" (Joan Sutherland); there are also a couple of pieces written specifically for the film by Philip Glass.

No Reservations trails only New Impossibilities, the new disc by Yo-Yo Ma and his Silk Road Ensemble with the Chicago Symphony which debuted last week at no. 1. Following those two titles are Sting's John Dowland collection Songs from the Labyrinth (no. 3), Ma's Appassionato (no. 4), Osvaldo Golijov's Oceana (no. 5), Joshua Bell's Voice of the Violin (no. 6) pianist Jon Nakamatsu's all-Gershwin disc with the Rochester Philharmonic (back at no. 7 after having risen to no. 3 last week), Masters and Commanders: Music from Seafaring Film Classics by the Cincinnati Pops (no. 8), the choir Stile Antico's "Music for Compline" (no. 9), and Beethoven's First and Fourth Piano Concertos, played by Lang Lang with the Orchestre de Paris under Christoph Eschenbach (no. 10).

Returning to the classical chart after an absence are soprano Nicole Cabell's collection of arias with the London Philharmonic (no. 14), crossover violinist Andr_ Rieu's The Flying Dutchman (no. 19), and Angel Voices by the London youth choir Libera (no. 25).

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