In a Christmas album that is a gift itself, Jonas Kaufmann – the most acclaimed operatic tenor of the age – echoes his own holiday memories and joys with It’s Christmas!, celebrating the most festive time of the year with a unique selection of beloved songs and carols. This uniquely rich and diverse holiday album features 40 favorites that reflect the many facets of Christmas, from ancient Christian hymns to contemporary pop classics. It’s Christmas! will be released worldwide November 20 on Sony Classical.
“When I think of Christmas, many memories spring to mind,” Kaufmann writes, in his liner note for It’s Christmas! “In this I’m probably like everyone else. Christmas is the festival of contemplation and remembrance, of joy and light.”
Christmas has had a special meaning for Kaufmann ever since he landed on the front page of a Munich newspaper – at the age of eight – after describing his family’s lively, musical Christmas Eve so vividly that he won a school prize. The songs he has chosen for It’s Christmas! reflect that happy experience and the many moods and pleasures of the Christmas holidays, from grateful worship to the exhilaration of celebrating with family and friends.
The most versatile and exciting tenor on the world’s operatic and concert stages today, Jonas Kaufmann brings his all-encompassing style to this one-of-a-kind Christmas collection.
His choices include a rich selection of traditional German holiday songs (“O du fröhliche,” “O Tannenbaum,” “Still, still, still”) the young Kaufmann sang around the Christmas tree with his family every Christmas Eve. Also included are haunting English carols (“What Child is This”, “In the Bleak Midwinter”) and such beloved worldwide favorites as “O Holy Night” and “Silent Night.”
The album’s breadth of variety is also illustrated by the inclusion of rare intimate German-Alpine Christmas songs for voice and harp accompaniment. Then, a highly personal selection of American pop holiday favorites – “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!,” “Winter Wonderland,” “The Christmas Song,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “White Christmas.” For Jonas Kaufmann, these casual, intimate holiday classics bring back a special memory.
“The moment when everyone sat around the tree surrounded by gifts and mountains of wrapping paper, completely exhausted yet overjoyed,” he recalls, “and my father brought out his record collection to indulge his not-so-secret passion for the swinging American Christmas of Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and the rest.”
To provide the perfect settings for the songs that comprise It’s Christmas!, Kaufmann collaborates with the Mozarteumorchester Salzburg, the Bachchor Salzburg and the St. Florianer Sängerknaben, all conducted by Jochen Rieder, as well as harpist Florian Pedarnig and the Cologne Studio Big Band, conducted by Wieland Reissmann with guest artist Till Brönner playing Trumpet and Flugelhorn on two songs.