Musical Offering for Christmas
The Times ("El Tiempo" - Venezuela)
December 23, 2007
By Gabriel Lamberti
(Thank you to Keren for this transcript)
Josh Groban represents one of the vocal phenomena of the moment. His debut in 2001 established a new way to genuinely, elegantly and originally mix the genres of classical and pop. At 27 years old, he has released six albums and has performed duets with Celine Dion and Brian McKnight, among other artists.
At the start of the new millennium, young talents started to interpret opera from a more modern perspective. Although actually the popularity can be traced back to the vocal quartet Il Divo, it was the American Josh Groban who was one of the pioneers- inclusively before the afore mentioned- to offer a top and commercial sound to lyrical ballads.
Since his arrival in 2001, when he was discovered by the producer, writer, arranger and winner of multiple Grammys, David Foster, has publicly released six albums and has performed duets with stars such as Celine Dion.
The most recent release from the the 27 year-old, NoŽl, is the best musical offering for this Christmas. In a vast production under the direction of David Foster, the baritone's voice adds to the beauty of the London Symphony Orchestra and the Magdalen College Choir, while Chilean Humberto Gatica took charge of recording and mixing the album's tracks.
The first piece is the well-known "Silent Night". Although there have been innumerable versions recorded, there's no harm in listening to it once more.
"Little Drummer Boy" is a highlight because it is a modern version, plus the acoustic guitar performed by Andy McKee. It is accelerated and more cheerful than the traditional and the climax is the risen tone of the musical interlude with strings and wind instruments.
On the sad "I'll Be Home For Christmas" telephonic messages are included from American military soldiers, who send Christmas greetings to their family and loved ones.
Another well-known song is "Ave Maria", in which Groban and the pure voices of the Magdalen College Choir shine in their heart-felt interpretation.
Album of Christmas Carols
"Angels We Have Heard On High" is another pop-lyric version where Groban duets with rhythm & blues singer Brian McKnight. After "Thankful" and "The Christmas Song" the Christmas carols follow, "What Child Is This?" and "The First Noel", with participation of the country singer Faith Hill and a gospel choir. Groban sings in French on the track "Petit Papa Noel" and then plays an acoustic piano for his interpretation of "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear", also with gospel-styled vocal arrangements.
On "Panis Angelicus" the young singer participates in the arrangement together with Foster and the orchestra director, Bill Ross.
The goodbye could not be more triumphant; "O Come All Ye Faithful" with the collaboration of the two choirs (the afore mentioned The Mormon Tabernacle Choir), the orchestra and the characteristic pipe organ.
The young man who replaced Andrea Bocelli
Josh Groban constitutes one of the musical and vocal phenomena of the moment. With his first album in 2001, he showed an orginal mixture of classic and pop music.
After his debut in the US, he went on to appear twice on the television series "Ally McBeal" and sang on popular television programs such as The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Tonight Show, The Rosie O'Donnell Show, Larry King Live and NBC's Concert For America in memory of September 11th and its victims, among others.
His duet with Charlotte Church, another young lyrical singer, at the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City was seen by more than a billon people across the globe.
Groban, a native of Los Angeles, attracted the attention of various professionals because of his quality vocals. Because of that, in 1998, he met David Foster who called because he needed a singer for the governor of California's inauguration ceremony.
A month later, Foster called again in need of help in replacing Andrea Bocelli at the Grammy Awards rehearsal.. The Italian tenor had missed a flight connection and was stranded in Germany.
"At first I told him no. I was scared and the song was in a key that was too high for me," he said in a public statement on www.joshgrobanspain.com. However, Foster stuck with the 17 year-old from then on, was the composer of the song, "The Prayer", a duet with Celine Dion. Groban is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, where he studied musical theater.
"Josh Groban" (2001)
"Josh Groban In Concert" (2002)
"Live at the Greek" (2004)
Groban's debut album was a hit and marked a new milestone in fusing lyrical and pop music. The studio production included versions of "Alla Luce Del Sole" and "Gira Con Me". It also had special invited artists like the Irish band The Corrs, Charlotte Church, Rhys Fulber and Lili Daydn, with musical selections that vary from the afore mentioned operatic melodies to a remake of the memorable "Vincent" from Don McLean and the original song "To Where You Are", written by Richard Marx and Linda Thompson.
Consulted sources: www.joshgrobanspain.com