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Leontyne Price: Christmas Songs

Adolphe Adam , Johann Sebastian Bach , Charles Gounod , Franz Xaver Gruber , John Henry Hopkins , Felix Mendelssohn , Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , Franz Schubert , Herbert von Karajan , Wiener Philharmoniker Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

Price: $19.41 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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MP3 Music, 13 Songs, 2004 $9.49  
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Wiener Philharmoniker
  • Conductor: Herbert von Karajan
  • Composer: Adolphe Adam, Johann Sebastian Bach, Charles Gounod, Franz Xaver Gruber, John Henry Hopkins, et al.
  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Decca
  • ASIN: B0000041TH
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #175,606 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Silent Night
2. Hark! The Herald Angles Sing
3. We Three Kings Of Orient Are
4. Angels We Have Heard On High
5. O Tannenbaum
6. God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
7. It Came Upon The Midnight Clear
8. Von Himmel Hoch, Da Komm Ich Her
9. Sweet Li'l Jesus
10. Ave Maria
11. O Holy Night
12. Ave Maria
13. Alleluja

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievably beautiful singing December 27, 2001
Format:Audio CD
This is probably the best Christmas album ever. Recorded in 1961, it features the voice of Leontyne Price at its most unbelievable. Her voice has always seemed to me to be one of the most stunningly beautiful ever, and that impression was strengthened after listening to this recording. Particularly astonishing is her heavenly top range; she just flips a switch and the most gorgeous sound ever comes pouring out effortlessly. In "O Holy Night," the Bach-Gounod "Ave Maria," and the Mozart "Alleluja," she hits (repectively) a high B-flat, B-natural and high C that made my jaw hit the floor. I sat in a stupor until I reassembled my wits and hit the rewind button.
Another great thing about this album is the sensibility of the arrangements. This is, mercifully, not another of those soupy, cloying Christmas CDs featuring orchestras of approximately 120 members. Several of the carols are recorded without orchestra, and those that are recorded with it feature only a small portion of the huge Vienna Philharmonic. (On the cover, it says "Mitglieder der Wiener Philharmoniker" - Members of the Vienna Philharmonic.) I much prefer to hear Christmas carols with a smaller orchestra.
The only quibble I have about this is the short playing time: only 39 minutes. That is extremely short, but the recording comes at a special low price. However, it can be disappointing to sit through forty minutes of glory and then realize that that's it!
This has vaulted to near the top of my list of favorite recordings. I urge anyone who does not have this to get it immediately, featuring as it does some of the most gorgeous singing imaginable (or unimaginable!).
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If I could only have one Christmas recording... November 27, 2001
Format:Audio CD
This is one of the most beautiful Christmas offerings any opera singer, or for that matter, any singer has made to the vast wealth of Christmas recordings. If I could only have one Christmas record (and I still have this one as a record!) it would be this one. Needless to say, when it came out as a CD, I was ecstatic!
Recorded in the early 1960's when Leontyne Price was in her vocal prime, this performance captures her impeccably-produced, shimmering, rich sound. Although this is the same sound she used on the operatic stage, it does not seem out of place when applied to these simple carols and hymns. Whereas other opera stars have opted for lavish orchestral accompaniments, large back-up choruses, and extravagant arrangements, Miss Price, accompanied by Herbert von Karajan and the Vienna Philharmonic, favors simplicity. She sings We Three Kings to a sparse orchestra background, O Tannenbaum with a cappella choir, Hark the Herald Angels Sing with organ, and Sweet Little Jesus Boy as an unaccompanied solo. (On the original record, by the way, the latter was the opening track on the second side, setting if off spatially, as well as musically, from the rest of the program.)
When needed, however, Miss Price is fully capable of opening her glorious voice in praise and jubilation - and does. Von Himmel Hoch builds to a thrilling climax, combining chorus, orchestra, and soloist. Two selections "O Holy Night" and the Mozart "Alleluia" are the closest Miss Price comes to operatic presentation in this otherwise restrained and gorgeous Christmas offering.
The pure beauty of her sound in the Schubert "Ave Maria" never fails to bring tears to my eys.
When I hear Miss Price singing, I know it's Christmas.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
There's no need to tarry too long in this 'review'. Others have already eloquently lavished praise on this recording. I simply must add my own hosanna to theirs. Without a doubt, the singing of soprano Leontyne Price -"La Splendissima" - is incomparable here. There has never been a soprano with a timbre so incredibly distinctive & beautiful that also infuses her music with a rare humanity and humility. Every Christmas is inauguarated with this recording at my home, and those fortunate enough to receive this CD as a gift from me, are infinitely grateful & astounded by Ms. Price's gifts.(especially those not inclined to Opera singers!)
Her collaboration here with Maestro Von Karajan is just as rewarding as all of the others including "Carmen", "Tosca", the Verdi "Requiem"(VHS/DVD), and a legendary "Il Trovatore". These (2) musical 'giants' seem to derive inspiration from each other that ignites a passionate response from each as well. Nowhere is this more evident than in their now 'classic' rendition of the Schubert "Ave Maria". Listen to the ethereal, voice-like intro of the orchestral strings that precedes Ms. Price's celestial vocalism. It's magical! The programme is diverse and deeply satisfying for the Season. Miss Price's singing, whether in this rep, singing Spirituals, the recital stage, or Grand Opera, is almost always an inveterately soulful experience. It is no less so here. Celebrate the Season (any Season you like) with "La Splendissima" Leontyne Price singing classical 'Soul' music at Christmas. Get this!!!!!!!!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A True Muiscal Treasure November 4, 2004
Format:Audio CD
This is one of the recordings that made me fall in love with opera. My father owned a drugstore and I started working at eth store when I was in junior high. He loved Christmas and would always play holiday music once Thanksgiving arrived. He used 8-track tapes that could repeat over and over again. Most of the recordings would be light and airy music that would encourage people to shop, but every now and then he would slip in this Leontyne Price recording, much to the chagrin of the employees. I would often switch to the track that contained Ms. Price singing "Von Himmel Hoch" pretending it was a joke, but secretly I could hardly believe that anyone could create such music. I also loved her singing of Mozart's "Alleluia."

Now when I listen to Leontyne Price's Christmas album, I no longer pretend to make fun of it. I suppose I have become my father (musically at least) and simply enjoy it. As I listen to it today, I am less impressed with Ms. Price's tremendous vocal gifts, as wonderful as they are, but of her ability to bring out the richness of each work she performs. The simple title of the recording CHRISTMAS SONGS is appropriate because the recording is about the music itself, not the performer. From my point of view this makes the recording unique. I have a number of Christmas recordings in my collection from just about every opera singer imaginable, but I always find that this recording is one of the best vocally because Price obviously loves the music, brings the music to life in her signature style, but allows the recording to be about the music and not the performer. Come to think of it, she did this onstage as well, which may be why she is considered by so many to be a musician rather than a performer and why she was so beloved when she sang and her recordings are still treasured by so many to this day.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
One of the best Christmas recordings of all time. Everyone should have it.
Published 1 month ago by JSB
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a priceless piece of music!
I was so happy to find this CD at Amazon because it is old and not in stores anymore.
Leontyne Price's voice is remarkable and, singing Christmas songs, there is a... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Betsy White
5.0 out of 5 stars Joy, Joyous, Joyest
It has all been said, so I'll keep this brief. This is Leontyne Price at her finest. I love her interpretations of these songs. She and van Karajan are an unbeatable team.
Published 10 months ago by Peter Accardi
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it, year after year
One of the best Christmas CDs. She sings O Holy Night, like no other opera artist. I would describe it as a timeless choice for the holidays
Published 10 months ago by Thom K. Walters
5.0 out of 5 stars good
leontyne price has a very nice voice. Which is not new. Unfortunately in Switzerland it is difficult to find her records.
Published 11 months ago by charles cottet
5.0 out of 5 stars superb in every way
this is one of the very best Cmas albums in history.
the voice of an angel.
herbie brings all the best out of the orchestra.
playlist is perfection. Read more
Published 12 months ago by daniel
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Recording. Tatty Cover Design
Leontyne Price: Christmas Songs is a classic recording and while the audio quality is first class, it really deserves a superior cover design. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Sean Mac Iomhair
This is a bilingual album recording of German and English hymns and carols. It is an absolute must-have collection of Ms. Price's works. Read more
Published on July 26, 2012 by William Harcourt
5.0 out of 5 stars This is something Special
Every reviewer here is right.
I came to this relatively late, but I was floored when I experienced this recording. Read more
Published on December 12, 2011 by dimsengah
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Christmas CD
There are three or four CD's that are required listening in every December. Leontyne Price's makes the list-- with stars. Read more
Published on December 5, 2005 by H. F. Corbin
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