Christmas

Francesca Battistelli

Christmas

Mixing originals with traditional carols and modern-day standards, Christmas reflects Francesca Battistelli’s diverse musical influences and her fervent Christian faith. The rhythmic energy and optimistic attitude that have typified her work are present here, along with a feel for traditional music modes not heard on her previous releases. Supported by Ian Eskelin’s uncluttered production, Battistelli takes a jazzy tack with “Joy to the World,” captures the reverent awe within “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” and lends a folk-balladeer sweetness to “What Child Is This? (First Noel Prelude).” Her set list includes everything from the African-American spiritual “Go, Tell It on the Mountain” (rendered here in a live studio setting) to the ‘50s-era Bing Crosby favorite “Marshmallow World.” Battistelli ranges even wider on her self-composed tunes, delivering a dose of good cheer in “Christmas Is,” surveying the season's ordinary miracles in “Heaven Everywhere,” and offering the vivid nativity ballad “You’re Here.” A polished, heartfelt set.

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