Holiday music recommendations are back, and after missing a week, here’s a double edition. First up is one of my favorite singers in a slick, cohesive gem of an album released last year: Kylie Christmas. The Aussie pop goddess blends bouncy arrangements with razor-sharp delivery. My favorites are Winter Wonderland, Every Day is Christmas, and a lo
vely, surprising duet with James Corden (yes, the Carpool Karaoke host)—Only You.
My second recommendation for this week is an oldie, but a goodie. Just last week, the controversial and incomparable Kathleen Battle made a well-received return to the stage of the Metropolitan Opera, from which she was fired more than two decades ago for bad behavior. In 1996, Battle and classical guitar master Christopher Parkening released a collaborative Christmas album entitled Angels’ Glory. Every arrangement is simple and beautiful, there are traditional carols from the West Indies, Poland, Wales, and the American South, and the opening track is a surprisingly lovely rendition of Mary Did You Know—a Christian country tune far from Battle’s usual milieu. After twenty years, this album and Kathleen Battle’s artistry are worth rediscovering.