Thursday, December 24, 2015

IL DIVO-The Christmas Collection (2005)

ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: December 24, 2015

Boyband break—well, sort of. The renowned hugely popular—and hugely successful—multi-national operatic pop ensemble, IL DIVO, has captured the hearts and ears of millions, though they had yet to capture mine until I had the notion of finally trying them out for size late last night. I'd heard snippets of IL DIVO's operatic vocal talents a few times in the past, but not over the course of an entire album. Since I had been meaning to get around to a full, uninterrupted listening to them for ages (yeah, I can make that statement about a lot of artists I haven't listened to!), plus the fact that I was in the mood last night for something warm and peaceful outside of my usual atmospheric New Age and electronic ambiance, tuning in to their first holiday effort, "The Christmas Collection", only seemed to be the perfect choice. I love classical music with elegant overtures and compositions, and I love hearing elegant voices matching those elegant overtures and compositions note for note, so I knew I would love every second of the 40+ minutes that I was tuned in. Was even better with them performing a few of my all-time favorite traditional holiday standards, beginning with their majestic rendition of "O Holy Night". The particular chords composed for this IL DIVO version give this annual Christmas classic an even more humbling feel. And even as high and mighty that the quartet of tenors voices project their feelings through the meaningful lyrics, I found the most touching moment to be when the angelic, peaceful voices of the children join in halfway through. "Adeste Fideles (O Come All Ye Faithful)": I love hearing any and all versions of this second holiday favorite of mine, yet this was the first time I'd heard the song being delivered with Latin lyrics. Took me a moment or two to realize that the language even was Latin; really, it should've been so obvious! But whether they're singing in Latin or my native English, their operatic harmony is so divine here! I always look forward to hearing different renditions of "Silent Night". These IL DIVO boys perform it with a dazzling class all on its own! I like how they kick it off with the high tenor of the group, escalating with the other unified voices, then coming back with high tenor to sing the first 'sleep in heavenly piece' before they all come together to sing the final 'sleep in heavenly piece' at very end. Technically not a traditional holiday standard, but "The Lord's Prayer" is a traditional church hymn that perfectly fits the spiritual theme of this collection of songs; was nice to hear it being performed in operatic style for a change. And this one's not a traditional holiday standard either: "Over The Rainbow". Judy Garland's iconic, timeless classic has been met with adoration by so many for decades, and I have a feeling that the same can and will be said by this sparkling IL DIVO remake! The guys demonstrate that it too belongs on this album, capturing that essence of magic and warmth as the other soothing selections. Then one that I personally adore if just for its elegant orchestral arrangements and nothing else: "Paris Angelicus". But that wouldn't be completely true; I equally adore the musical instruments that are the four happy gentlemen you see pictured on the album's cover artwork pictured above—on this song, on my favorite holiday standards, and on the rest of this Christmas collection:

1. O Holy Night
2. White Christmas
3. Ave Maria
4. When A Child Is Born
5. Adeste Fideles (O Come All Ye Faithful)
6. Over The Rainbow
7. Panis Angelicus
8. Rejoice
9. Silent Night
10. The Lord's Prayer
11. Isabel

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