Various Artists

Classical Confections

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This Valentine's Day item from Decca comes with its own gift card; on one side are pictured chocolates that show through a heart-shaped opening in the CD's front cover, and on the other there's a verse by Robert Burns together with blanks for your name and that of the recipient. Of course, to get at the card you'll have to break the shrink wrap, raising the dire suspicion that you went to a thrift shop to buy a Valentine's Day gift. If you can create a distraction with a good wrapping job, however, Classical Confections is a pleasant collection of light romantic favorites. Most of the selections fall into the category once known as pops, mixing generally non-operatic vocal selections with movie themes and other pop instrumentals. The vocal pieces feature the splendid talents of Domingo, Carreras, and Pavarotti in their prime years, and several Boston Pops instrumentals go back to the Arthur Fiedler era. Several romantic standards (Nino Rota's Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet, the Love Story Theme, and "O mio babbino caro," as an instrumental) are here, even if there are a few questionable choices (is "Core 'Ngrato" really a romantic song?). There's a beautiful guitar arrangement of "And I Love Her," and the sound holds together well overall considering that the recording dates range from 1953 -- "Te Amo (Means I Love You") -- to 1988. The addition as a "Chocolicious Bonus Track" of "The Candy Man," directly excerpted from the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory soundtrack, would make an affectionate close, but the excerpt seems to hang in the air without a final cadence. Perhaps this is meant to suggest the still greater relationship joys that lie over the horizon. In any case, for a rush Valentine CD you could do much worse than Classical Confections.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:42
2 3:16
3 3:42
4 3:16
Gianni Schicchi, opera
5 4:05
7 4:13
Love Story, film score
8 4:27
Romeo and Juliet, film score
9 4:07
10 3:11
11 3:12
12 5:12
A Summer Place, film score
14 2:31
15 2:49
16 3:49
17 3:38
The Godfather, film score
18 3:01
19 2:24
20 2:31
blue highlight denotes track pick