Christmas is coming a little early this year. Actually, I’ve just been in the mood for some Christmas carols, and Charlotte Church’s holiday disc, Dream A Dream has certainly come in handy.
Recorded in 2000 and when Church was only 14, Dream A Dream is filled with nineteen holiday tracks, all beautifully accentuated with Church’s amazing voice.
The album begins with the title track, which is the only non-traditional piece on the album. The song starts off with dynamic strings (the London Symphony Orchestra) and Church’s alluring soprano voice soon joins in. Country singer, Billy Gillman sings the second verse, and he and Church sound quite good together.
O Come All Ye Faithful follows and begins with the New London Children’s Choir singing, which is a nice addition to the track. Church’s vocals are quiet and understated in comparison to the choir, and though the song isn’t anything too unique, her clear and beautiful vocals make it worth listening to.
One of my favorite Christmas carols is the Little Drummer Boy, though I’m not sure I’m a fan of Church’s version. Again, her rendition isn’t much different than other covers of the song, but I’m not sure her voice fits the song well. I’m used to hearing a nice bass voice or even an alto sing the song, and after a while, her high pitched “parum pum pum pum”s become a bit irritating.
However, her voice works perfectly for the classic, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing. Though the song is usually too high for my range, Church has no problem tackling all the high notes perfectly. Again, the choir is a nice addition to the song, giving it a majestic feeling.
One of the albums highlights, The Coventry Carol (Lully Lullay), follows. I’ve been a fan of this carol after singing it in choir a few Christmas seasons ago, and Church does it justice. The orchestration is subdued, and the production is more focused on her vocals and light flute, which works perfectly. Listening to the track gives me chills, even in September.
Joy To The World is also nice, but the London’s Children Choir really makes the song. A strong bass line and a charming tenor section are the highlight of the track, along with Church’s vocals. The orchestra is also put to good use during this track, and adds a nice touch to such a common song.
Another of my favorite holiday tracks is God Rest Ye Merry, Gentleman, but Church’s treatment leaves the same feeling that Little Drummer Boy did; her soprano voice is ill-fitted on a song that I’m used to hearing Boys II Men sing (admittedly, their version is my favorite). She does hold a nice note towards the end of the song, however.
Draw Tua Bethlehem is a quite beautiful track, though I’m not familiar with this particular carol. The verses are in both Welsh and English, and Church’s vocals are highlighted nicely, with the orchestra again taking a more subdued role.
Church covers Ave Maria, but not the traditional standard that most are familiar with. I’ve actually sang this same song, but with a different melody. The lyrics are in Italian (“Et benedictus fructus ventris tuis Jesus”…hmm, funny enough I still remember the alto melody of that line), and Church masters them perfectly. Again, her vocals are the best part of the track and she sounds absolutely wonderful.
As I’ve said in every holiday album review, O Holy Night is my favorite Christmas carol. I’m not quite sure if I’m a fan of Church’s version; the opening bells and strings are a bit cheesy, though the song is still a treat vocally. The album comes to a close with the oft-sung Silent Night. Church’s rendition isn’t much different than any of the others I’ve heard, though the orchestra has a beautiful instrumental break that makes the song worth listening to.
Dream A Dream is a great holiday album. Though the nineteen tracks do seem to drag at times, the album is guarenteed to provide the perfect background music for the Christmas season. Is it December yet?
1. Dream A Dream – (with Billy Gilman)
2. O Come, All Ye Faithful
3. Little Drummer Boy
4. Mary’s Boy Child
5. Ding Dong! Merrily On High
6. Winter Wonderland
7. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)
8. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
9. The Coventry Carol(Lully Lullay)
10. Joy To The World
11. When A Child Is Born
12. What Child Is This
13. God Rest Ye Merry, Gentleman
14. Draw Tua Bethlehem/Far Over Bethlehem
15. Ave Maria
16. Gabriel’s Message
17. O Holy Night
18. Lo! How A Rose E’er Blooming
19. Silent Night