Pops Take Billboard Classical Chart: 5 Browns, Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Jenny Oaks Baker

Classic Arts News   Pops Take Billboard Classical Chart: 5 Browns, Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Jenny Oaks Baker
A trio of classical pops releases, new titles by familiar artists that could very comfortably fit in the crossover genre, have made their debut on the Billboard classical chart this week.

The top newcomer, at no. 2, is Browns in Blue by the Juilliard-trained pianist siblings The 5 Browns. The new disc, described by Sony Classical as "their most commercial album yet," features arrangements of relaxed fare such as Debussy's "Clair de lune," Chopin's Nocturne in C minor and Gershwin's "Embraceable You." (A bonus track features the song "Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime" with vocals by Dean Martin.) The previous disc by The 5 Browns, No Boundaries, is also on the classical chart, at no. 15, after more than 15 months in release, nearly half of that time spent at no. 1.

Arriving on the chart at no. 17 is "Spirit of the Season," this year's holiday release from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra. The disc, which features Norwegian folk-pop singer Sissel, includes Christmas hymns and carols in several languages.

Making a debut at no. 20 is another holiday pops release: O Holy Night, a collection of newly-arranged Christmas hymns by "inspirational classical violinist" Jenny Oaks Baker. A graduate of the Curtis Institute and the Juilliard School, Baker was for nine years a first violinist with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C.; she stepped down earlier this year to concentrate on her solo career and raising her family. Her discs, released by the Mormon publisher Deseret Books, are sold widely (though not exclusively) through Latter Day Saints outlets.

The week's fourth new title on the classical chart, at no. 22, is Tales of Opera, a collection of arias by baritone Simon Keenlyside with the Munich Radio Orchestra.

"Duets," Deutsche Grammophon's new album featuring soprano Anna Netrebko and tenor Rolando Villaz‹n, has retaken the top spot on the classical chart; the CD that displaced it last week, crossover violinist Andr_ Rieu's Radio City Music Hall: Live in New York, has slipped to no. 3. (Rieu's Masterpieces, released by Philips Classics at roughly the same time that the Denon label released the Radio City disc, is on the chart at no. 10.) Joshua Bell's recording of John Corigliano's Red Violin Concerto, conducted by Marin Alsop, has moved up one slot to no. 4; pianist Simone Dinnerstein's acclaimed recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations has climbed three notches to no. 5.

Re-entering the classical chart this week are Netrebko's Russian Album, at no. 8, and the Sony Classical compilation The Essential Joshua Bell, at no. 25.

Two new titles have arrived on Billboard's classical crossover chart: LAGQ: Brazil by the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet (no. 17), and another holiday release, Noel by Josh Groban (no. 9).

Atop the crossover chart for the third consecutive week is One Chance by tenor Paul Potts, first prize winner on the U.K. television program Britain's Got Talent. Groban's Awake, at the upper end of the chart for nearly a year, rose one notch to no. 2; Wolfgang's Big Night Out, the classical pops collection by rock guitarist Brian Setzer and his orchestra that debuted last week at no. 2, slipped to no. 3.

Quasi-operatic boy band Il Divo and crossover tenor Andrea Bocelli continue to have two titles each on the crossover chart, as does the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Pavarotti's Greatest Hits, a midline compilation of arias sung by the recently deceased tenor, remains on the Billboard 200 (which includes all genres of music) for the third consecutive week, though it has fallen to no. 182 from no. 124 last week and no. 104 the week before. The other Pavarotti collections that hit the overall charts in the wake of his death no longer figure there; the late Luciano does, however, still have four titles each on the classical budget and classical midline charts (plus a midline Three Tenors collection), mixed in among all the Baby Einstein CDs.

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