Christmas Portrait (Special Edition)

Christmas Portrait (Special Edition)

Starting from the Beach Boys-like harmonies of the a cappella opener, "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear," the Carpenters' holiday album is a celebration both of the season and of the human voice. Karen Carpenter's magical vocal instrument never sounded better than it does here, from giddy takes on festive tunes like "Sleigh Ride" to a melancholy "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" to a haunting "Ave Maria." Brother Richard's deft orchestral arrangements are showcased on a sparkling, piano-driven "Carol of the Bells."

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