All Angels

All Angels

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Released for the Christmas market, when the "once a year" brigade comes out and buys a record, the debut album by the teenage quartet All Angels hit the Top Ten in the last week of November 2006. However, the competition for classical crossover albums was strong that year, All Angels competing with chart albums from the Fron Male Voice Choir, Katherine Jenkins, Il Divo, and the very similar-sounding Angelis. The momentum could not be sustained, and All Angels disappeared entirely from the chart even before Christmas week. This album mixed arrangements of classical repertoire, mainly the more popular and well-known end, with soft MOR pop songs. It included Delibes' Flower Duet, Mascagni's Hosanna from Cavalleria Rusticana, and -- almost inevitably for a group of angelic female singers -- Schubert's Ave Maria and Barber's Agnus Dei. The pop repertoire included "The Windmills of Your Mind," Fleetwood Mac's "Songbird," and also inevitably, Robbie Williams' "Angels." Those who did not like the voice on the original "Angels" could at least focus on the guitar solo, but even that was lacking on the All Angels version, as the track was watered down to provide the ideal of a middle-of-the-road, easy listening song. Universal were masters at promoting classical crossover music, and although a cynic might point to the CD's initial high chart position and rapid descent as a sign of failure, the girls were very talented singers and musically this was a very accomplished album. All the tracks were obviously chosen for maximum effect and profit but lacked originality -- and ultimately All Angels was a nice easy listen but unsatisfying, the classical pieces being superior to the pop choices.

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