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Dream A Dream Album Cover
Image © 2000 Sony Music Entertainment

Charlotte Church (2000)
Photo Simon Fowler
© 2000 Sony Classical

(18 November 2000) Just in time for the holiday season are two new releases by Charlotte Church. The compact disc is entitled Dream A Dream (Sony Classical (USA) SK 89463) and features nineteen tracks featuring the stunning young vocalist. The DVD is similarly titled: Dream A Dream — Charlotte Church In The Holyland. It is comprised of twelve tracks and an additional bonus track. The DVD also contains extra photographs and a discography amongst further artist information.

Church's first album Voice Of An Angel was released in run up to the Christmas season in 1998. The album achieved instant commercial success and critical acclaim. The artist's first video Charlotte Church in Concert found itself in the centre of PBS promotional campaigns at its release. A second self-titled album (review) featured a long version of a soundtrack done for the international re-launch of the Ford Motor Company's advertising campaign entitled "Just Say Hello" produced by Trevor Horn. The young artist was again blessed with critical acclaim and commercial success.

Both of Sony's latest Charlotte Church releases—CD and DVD—are tremendous. Here enthusiasts will hear stunning crystalline vocals and superb orchestral arrangements. No expenses were spared in either case as evidenced by top technical production in orchestration, recording and quality packaging. Extensive lyrics and lots of photographs are included in booklet accompanying the compact disc.

The DVD was produced by BBC and PBS in conjunction with other organizations. The video, made at the Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem, is truly lovely and illustrates the further development of Charlotte's stage presence. Her stylistic similarity to Sarah Brightman continues to grow. Intersperced between several of the audio selections are short snippets of Charlotte in the Holyland made when she was fourteen but it the video of the secular Christmas material seems to have been made more recently.

The dubbed audio makes full use of the 5.1 environment and sounds great. Mixing is again tops with vocals shining way above the supporting instrumentals demonstrating the power, range and emotive delivery of the young artist. Our editors especially enjoyed the stage performance of the material despite the audio dubbing. The audio from Charlotte's latest track, "Dream A Dream," closes the DVD. A truly live performance must be a real specticle (as evidenced by the Charlotte Church in Concert video where she did perform several of the numbers live).

The compact disc is an incredible collection. While some might complain that only one unique Charlotte Church track is included, the album contains a total of nineteen songs, rare for a major commercial release these days. Each of the pieces is well performed, rich in production, and mixed to perfectly highlight the tremendous vocal talent of this now well-established young artist. Supporting orchestra and choir parts demonstrate the significant production expense that went into this recording. We can think of no traditional Christmas piece that has been omitted from the collection.

"Dream A Dream" is a stunning track in its own right. It is sung with country singing sensation Billy Gilman and is a lovely blend of Fauré's well known Pavane with holiday music themes and contemporary orchestral arrangements. We also especially enjoyed "The Conventry Carol" (Lullay). Only Miriam Stockley's version on Merry Christmas To The World stands alongside it. Charlotte's interpretation of "Ave Maria" demonstrates the range, power and virtuosity of the lead singer. The "Silent Night" video used to promote the album is a bonus track on the DVD and is a stunning performance of the seasonal favourite in both places.

As the holiday season quickly approaches, we're sure that many Musical Discoveries readers will want to investigate Charlotte Church's new album Dream A Dream further. While we would have appreciated another one or two "new" numbers like the title signature track, this is a lovely collection of holiday music certain to appeal to a wide audience. Listen to soundbites, read further reviews and order the compact disc from amazon.com here.

The DVD is certain to enthrall Charlotte Church fans as well and a perfect stocking stuffer for your new DVD player, it is certainly worth a viewing. Read further reviews and order it from amazon.com here. Watch for a preview on PBS in the final run up to the holidays. This pair of holiday season releases by this young vocalist are certain to appeal to a broad audience and are certain to expand her audience. With stunning vocal work and excellent stage presence, they are worth a cross country journey—the CD is a must listen!

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