At the end of every year, Billboard, the industry's most respected authority on album sales, puts together a list of the highest selling music albums in various categories. One of the first things I noticed about the classical music chart was that none of the albums listed were nominated for a Grammy Award. See the 2011 Grammy Award nominated classical albums. This makes me wonder. Should Grammy Award members consider public opinion when applicable to vote for certain Grammy categories? Perhaps now is not the time for such a discussion. So let's get to the list. Below are the top selling classical albums in 2011.
Jakie Evancho has a very large fanbase. Her rendition of "O Holy Night" is quite lovely, but it makes me cringe a little to be honest. Having gone through intense operatic vocal training, it's hard for me to listen to her. I want to tell her to stop singing and enjoy her childhood (she's only 12). Then when she turns 18, she can go to music school. Right now, her voice is just too young to handle all the stresses that come with operatic singing. I'd hate to see her damage her voice in any way.
This album was released when Jackie Evancho was eleven years old. With popular songs like "Nessun Dorma" and "O Mio Babbino Caro", and having nearly won America's Got Talent in 2010, it is easy to see why this album, and the one mentioned above, take the top two spots.
This heavily marketed pop operatic trio of almost 20 year old boys, is surprisingly enjoyable. Their youthful exuberance sheds new light on classic arias like "o, Sole Mio." And their contemporary pieces are just as delightful. For those of you who enjoy Andrea Bocelli, I have no doubt you already own Il Volo's music. If not, I highly recommend you do.
With the success of her album, O Holy Night, it's no surprise that Heavenly Christmas would be just as successful. Unlike the previous, this Christmas album is much fuller with ten track listings. All in all, I'd say 2011 was a great year for Miss Evancho.
Created in 2004 by the famed Simon Cowell, the group of four men in their late 30s and early 40s have enjoyed many great successes. Wicked Game is their seventh studio album. It was released in November of 2011, so earning its position at number five on the list was no easy feat. Prior to the album's release, Il Divo completed three world tours. The album's namesake song, "Wicked Game" is Il Divo's take on the classic 90s hit by Chris Issac. You'll also hear familiar songs like "Time to Say Goodbye" and "Don't Cry For Me Argentina."
Released on October 21, 2011, weeks after the 2011 Grammy cut-off date, Yo-Yo Ma's The Goat Rodeo Sessions will surely win a 2012 Grammy Award, or at least be nominated for one. Unlike his worldly Silk Road Journeys, which I highly enjoyed, Ma's The Goat Rodeo Sessions is easily more approachable and accessible no matter what genre of music you like - no doubt, the reason it ranks number six on this list (though for me, it should be number one). The men's highly skilled and effervescent musicianship increases exponentially when merged in the studio. Rarely is it captured when multiple, musical souls come together as one entity. Simply divine.
I love a good choral album, and this is definitely a good one. With a great selection of music and their pure and even sound, the Men of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's skill is showcased. My only complaint is that with a chorus this large, roughly 150 or more members, I find their performances robotic - technically precise bet emotionally devoid.
For just $5.49, you can by 99 pieces of classical music at Amazon.com. This album, basically a digital compilation CD offered at a steep discount, definitely presents a wide range of classical music. Not all of the music presented should be considered "dark" or "spooky," and some of the performances are less than spectacular. However, at that price, it's insane not to purchase it.
David Garrett's Rock Symphonies is something I could not get into. However, due to its large appeal - orchestrated renditions of famous pop/rock songs like Guns N' Roses' "November Rain", Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit", or Led Zepplin's "Kashmir" - it garnered many fans, and quite possibly, introduced many of them to classical music when they would have otherwise steered clear from it. Garrett sprinkles a few classical pieces into the mix of classic rock tunes, like Beethoven's 5th and Bach's Toccata and Fugue.
Released by classical music label, Deutsche Grammophon in September of 2011, this was Tori Amos' twelfth studio album. Impressively, her classical crossover album was largely successful - largely out of fan loyalty and classical music aficionado curiosity. The creation of the album was sparked by Deutsche Gramophon when they sought Amos to create a modern day song cycle inspired by classical pieces of the past. The album rests solely on Amos' voice and piano along with other acoustic instruments. To keep with the classical sound, no synthesized or electronic instruments were used. It is a very inspiring project that I'm happy turned out as marvelous as it did.