Sacred Songs, sung by tenor Roberto Alagna, with the City of Toulouse Choir and Orchestra (conducted by Michel Plasson) EMI Classics
The 14 selections on this magnificent CD all sound secular, yet also somehow sacred. The CD opens with the old favorite Ave Maria (Hail Mary), followed three songs later by an arrangement of the popular song Midnight, Christians (O Holy Night). I didn’t recognize most of the other songs, but I definitely enjoyed listening to this entire collection of beautiful music, which mostly was composed in the 1800s. In fact, I turned the CD up quite loud, at home - very entertaining and inspiring. The cover shows a handsome, smiling Roberto Alagna, the famous tenor who in 1988 won the Luciano Pavarotti International Competition in Philadelphia, and who in 2004 was named Artiste Lyrique de L'année at the Victoire de la Musique Classique awards. Despite the cute picture, the CD apparently is not a big seller; currently on Amazon you can only buy it from a third party. Not a good sign. Released in 1996, the CD joined the library collection in February. I recommend it for good listening at home, or on a long August cross-country drive.