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This is a perfect album for the softer, quieter moments of the Christmas season.

Music Review: Sarah McLachlan – ‘The Classic Christmas Album’

Sarah McLachlan has a voice that would suit a Christmas angel, and it is perfect for the calm, serene music on this album. This is marvelous music for embracing the softer side of the holiday, escaping the bustle and the party whirl and simply relaxing and enjoying the season.

Courtesy of Arista
Courtesy of Arista

However, if you happen to already own Wintersong, it is important that you know that 12 of the songs on this album are identical to the songs on that release – they are the same recordings. So the only reason, in that case, to get this new disc is for the five songs that were not on Wintersong. Only four of those are original to this album but they are all such great songs. The entire collection is so fabulous and worth picking up – it is bargain-priced, too.

The other song which is not new is the wonderful “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings” medley McLachlan performs with Barenaked Ladies and which appeared originally on their album Barenaked for the Holidays. What a delectable blending of voices!

Technically, “Prayer of St. Francis” is not new either since it has appeared on several other collections, but this is a new version which features the Sarah McLachlan School of Music Choir. It is beautiful, ethereal, and breathes new life into the inspiring words of the prayer.

The never before released songs include a lovely version of “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” and two original tunes, the very sweet “Space on the Couch for Two” and the uplifting “Find Your Voice.”

As for the previously recorded songs, they are all beautifully arranged, sung and a joy to listen to. Favorites are the heartwarming versions of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” the melancholy but so beautiful “River,” “Christmas Time Is Here (with Diana Krall),” and a lovely version of “Happy Xmas (War Is Over).”

So if you are new to Sarah McLachlan’s Christmas music, this is the perfect collection for you. And even if you already own some of these songs, it is worth getting them again for the new material or to give to someone else who is sure to treasure them.

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About Rhetta Akamatsu

I am an author of non-fiction books and an online journalist. My books include Haunted Marietta, The Irish Slaves, T'ain't Nobody's Business If I Do: Blues Women Past and Present, Southern Crossroads: Georgia Bluesand Sex Sells: Women in Photography and Film.

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