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Jonas Kaufmann - It's Christmas! makes 'theartsdesk: Christmas CDs 2020'

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Jonas Kaufmann – It's Christmas! is an album of two halves. Disc one a generous selection of mostly German carols, Kaufmann accompanied by the Mozarteumorchester Salzburg. He's in good voice. The arrangements are fine, and it's an agreeable listen. Disc 2 shakes things up a bit. Kaufmann singing Holst and Vaughan Williams is fun – the English pronunciation is good, piquing our curiosity as to how he'll tackle a bunch of cheesier Christmas standards. Naysayers will be disappointed, but Kaufmann does a decent job. Diction is clear, and the Cologne Studio Big Band offer fruity support. "Winter Wonderland" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" are both great. There's a nice vibraphone obligato in Mel Torme's "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire", and the Cologne rhythm section keep Kaufmann on his toes in "Let It Snow!". All fine by me, with Kaufmann audibly enjoying himself in a daft take on Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You". Improbably enjoyable, and handsomely produced to boot. If this isn't your bag, no-one's forcing you to buy it.

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