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20th Century Masters - The Christmas Collection: The Best of Donna Summer

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Album Review

Originally issued in 1994 as Christmas Spirit, this ten-song holiday collection mixes both traditional and contemporary favorites, and also places Summer in a wide variety of vocal styles from jazz to choral without pigeonholing her in the predictable disco and dance world. This may come as a shock to casual fans, but die-hard fans who have followed Summer throughout her career will find this a pleasant addition to her already versatile career and a nice alternative to predictable holiday music fare.

Customer Reviews

"Christmas Spirit" is deservedly reissued

This is a reissue of Summer's "Christmas Spirit" with the same track list and even the same cover photo, obviously those responsible felt "if it ain't broke don't fix it". The songs range from secular to religious and there is a range of styles including pop, gospel and even quasi-classical. Summer has always been a singer who serves the song rather than drastically reworking songs to make them "her own", producer Michael Omartian takes the same approach with the arrangements: on "What Child is This?" Summer is accompanied simply by an acoustic guitar, on "O Come All Ye Faithful" she's accompanied by a boy choir and full orchestra, the result is a fairly traditional Christmas album (but don't most of us yearn for tradition at the holidays). This album's appeal isn't limited to Summer's devoted fans, it will appeal to anyone looking for classic Christmas songs beautifully sung.

Christmas In Summer. Why Not?!

Melding together the trademark Summer soul and voice with a Classical/symphonic arrangement turns this collection into a majestic masterpiece. This album is forever a Christmas standard. Here’s why: For starters--quite the standout is Donna’s rendition of Amy Grant’s anthem “Breath Of Heaven.” Combined with the majestic arrangement of Michael Omartian, the deeply soulful Summer vocal touch and an incredible opening narrative all of which gives ”Breath Of Heaven” a life all its own that would make Amy proud. Donna’s ability to infuse a wealth of feeling is what gives new dimension to an already stunning piece of musical artistry. Taking this even further, “Lamb Of God’ is a masterwork. By fusing a closing narrative over ”Breath Of Heaven” toward the close brings this album full circle—simply genius! It’s from this plateau vocal and emotional depth as well as the stunning orchestrations which are woven throughout these ten tracks that this becomes an absolutely amazing Christmas collage. With this foundation laid down, even Mel Tormé’s classic gets the royal treatment (and rightly so!). Amid such powerful music, this “Spirit” still sparks of fun and spunk with such tracks as “Christmas Is Here” and the title track itself. Higlights include O Come All Ye Faithful, Christmas Medley and O Holy Night

Excellant Vocals!

OK well let's start by saying those expecting Donna's dance/disco icon style will be dissapointed. BUT for those who love Donna Summer as a musical artist and creative person...will fall in love with this album. It's truly amazing and refreshing to hear her talents come through so strongly in these songs. After years of hearing her voice over dance and disco its such a surprise to hear her singing soultry Christmas ballads. If you love emotional and soothing Christmas songs with an amazing voice accompanying them...then buy this at once. Breath of heaven is amazing! Happy hollidays!


Born: December 31, 1948 in Boston, MA

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Donna Summer's title as the "Queen of Disco" wasn't mere hype — she was one of the very few disco performers to enjoy a measure of career longevity, and her consistent chart success was rivaled in the disco world only by the Bee Gees. Summer was certainly a talented vocalist, trained as a powerful gospel belter, but then again, so were many of her contemporaries. Of major importance in setting Summer apart were her songwriting abilities and her choice of talented collaborators in producers/songwriters...
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