Katherine Jenkins

Sacred Arias

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Katherine Jenkins is one of classical music's breakout stars who's managed to gain mass popularity, and this album sees her back in territory that's not only comfortable for her, but also for a large audience. Plenty of the material, like "Silent Night" and "Abide with Me," for instance, is quite familiar, although Jenkins certainly does them justice -- this isn't filler. The inclusion of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" (albeit in a gorgeous, gauzy version) might be a little baffling, since, in spite of its title, it's not exactly sacred, but she does give a nod to gospel on "Down in the River to Pray." Apart from the pieces that are more hymns and carols, there's also a smattering of classical material, with "Agnus Dei" and "Panis Angelicus" as standouts. It's a decidedly choral album, with some excellent arrangements, and Jenkins truly does shine. It's not just an album for those with deep spiritual beliefs, but one that manages to straddle the boundaries between classical, sacred, and popular, performing a tricky balancing act quite adroitly. This will enhance her stature, without doubt, both critically and commercially.

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