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Extravergine: A Mediterranean Christmas

4.8 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Audio CD, November 15, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

Review

A Christmas album in Italian seems like a no-brainer until you realize that few exist.

That s why Italian Americans are indebted to Micheal Castaldo. His new CD Extravergine, A Mediterranean Christmas raises the bar on the music of Italian Americans. Like Jimmy Roselli did in his Best of Neapolitan Songs over 40 years ago, Castillo brings the appreciation of the Italian language to a broad audience, but this time through beautiful holiday melodies.

Extravergine consists of 12 tracks, all Christmas songs, several of which have been translated and sung in Italian for the first time. As with his single Pray r Castaldo has a rich operatic voice in the traditional Neapolitan style. His voice is strong but soft and always on key. When he is able to put his voice to a particularly melodic song, the results are nothing short of wondrous. That s why Extravergine is such a great CD: All the songs are recognizably pleasing to the ear in their own right, and when sung by Castaldo, they are elevated to the status of contemporary classics.

Perhaps the best song on Extravergine is the always great O Santa Notte (O Holy Night). Castaldo sings with respect for the history and vitality of the song so that it resonates with the listener.

"Gioia Nel Mondo (Joy To The World) is the seventh track on the CD and also worthy of the description of greatness. Castaldo is perfect in pitch and tempo. The song is often the beginning of Christmas Mass and one is immediately put in the Christmas hearing Castaldo s beautiful rendition.

Extravergine does not shy away from embracing songs of faith. For Italian Americans and devout Roman Catholics, the CD will further inspire. As an added treat, the CD serves as an Italian language lesson. We know almost every song and can sing them in English. And now thanks to Castaldo s translation efforts, we can grasp the meaning of a host of Italian words in best way possible, through song. Listening to the tracks repeatedly, an Italian American wanting to learn Italian can benefit by singing along with Castaldo.

A first on the CD is a cross-ethnic production. The Polish Christmas carol Jezus Malusienki" was translated in Italian by Castaldo and from all accounts this is the first time the song is sung in Italian. It is a stunning interpretation of a sung well known in Poland.

Adeste Fidelis (Oh Come All Ye Faithful) is the CD s final song. Castaldo sings it completely in Latin with the power deserving of this immense classic. The listener is on the edge of seat as Castaldo sings for all of us to join the faith. It is a fitting ending to an outstanding CD.

Extravergine is a great CD for our age. Castaldo has contributed mightily to the great canon that is the music of the Italian American experience. PRIMO gives Extravergine the highest of recommendations for Italian Americans to purchase the CD as a Christmas gift for a loved one or friend, or yourself, any time of the year. --PRIMO magazine - Truby Chiaviello

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Product details

  • Audio CD (November 15, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Vital Records
  • ASIN: B005TWC16A
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #270,989 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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December 7, 2011
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