A Masterclass Review of David Archuleta’s Christmas From The Heart


Christmas From The Heart: David Archuleta

Christmas From The Heart: David Archuleta

I finally managed to find some “me” time to savor the golden voice of David Archuleta in his wonderful Christmas recording, “Christmas From The Heart”.

As expected, David’s vocal artistry, combined with his magical team of musicians and arrangers, offer the listener fresh, exciting arrangements to these popular Christmas songs and carols.

Here is a link to the credits for this album. It’s a long list, so is it any wonder that this album is a winner?

So, I invite you to sit back and enjoy David’s music as you read this Masterclass review.

And if you haven’t yet purchased his CD, you can do so now through Amazon.Com and ITunes.

1. Joy To The World

This begins with an ethereal orchestral introduction followed by David’s luscious vocal style. This is a very good arrangement that becomes increasingly better as the song progresses.  The chord progressions in this song are very good indeed.

Personally, I felt that the song rose to enormous heights in the middle of this song, where one can hear the orchestra play the closing refrain of “Angels We Have Heard On High”. At this point, David not only highlighted the strength and beauty of his gorgeous upper range, but also emphasized what a creatively mature artist he is and will continue to be.

Additionally, the background vocals added a mystical quality to this song.

The ending is truly spectacular -the goosebumps are starting to form on my arm. David’s liberated vocal style, that soulful quality that we have come to know and love is revealed in splendor and glory as he vocalizes the final strains of this beautiful song. Excellent!

2. Angels We Have Heard On High

The producer(s) correctly programmed the inclusion of this song. As I mentioned above, the refrain of “Angels We Have Heard On High” was heard in “Joy To The World” and someone was intelligent enough realize that this would make a logical segue for the second track.  Kudos!

I loved the instrumental opening – very baroque in style and hinting at an harmonic underlay from J.S. Bach’s, “Jesu Joy Of Man’s Desiring”. Just lovely and extremely creative.

David’s voice sounds wonderfully focused and pure in this song and his voice stays true to the “oh” vowel during the sustained “Gloria” segments.

It was exciting to hear the multiple key changes during this song, culminating in a  grandiose and dignified finale to this number

Oh my – here is the “Jesu Joy Of Man’s Desiring“.  Please believe me when I say I did not know David was going to go full throttle at “Jesu Joy Of Man’s Desiring” in the middle of this song when I stated earlier: “…hinting at an harmonic underlay from J.S. Bach’s, “Jesu Joy Of Man’s Desiring”.

I was typing as I was listening – similar to when I watch American Idol.  I guess my ear has not aged along with the rest of my body. Ha!

This is an excellent arrangement of this beautiful sacred carol. David’s voice is gorgeous beyond belief and just soars with ease and transparency above the orchestral arrangement.

Ah, yes, now the lovely quiet ending of “Jesu Joy”once again, with David’s soulful vocal gift to complete this exquisite arrangement. Bravo!

3. O Come All Ye Faithful

I have always loved this song. The harmonic progressions in this song introduce endless possibilities for arrangers, so I am interested to hear what happens over the course of this number.

However, I must say that, although David’s voice sounds rich and resonant in his upper range, I wish he would support his lower range more efficiently.

Also, he has to monitor his decision-making process when he breathes. For instance, when he sings “O Come Ye, O Come Ye To Bethlehem”, he should breathe after the first “Ye” and then carry the rest of the phrase through in one breath.  The phrase would sound less fragmented.

He encountered the same problem when he sang “O Come Let Us Adore (breath) Him, Christ the Lord”.  That phrase should be sung in one breath.

I felt that the orchestral accompaniment was moving too quickly for him. David’s phrasing would have been more fluid if he had been given the opportunity to create more space in his musical line, thus giving him ample time to breathe in a relaxed manner.

However, David’s articulation is so crisp and so clear- you never have to strain to understand a word.

The key change in the middle of this song is dynamite and, at this point, David and the musicians go on their own magical adventure through Bethlehem. As David and his team of musicians work their melodic and harmonic wizardry, the overall effect is just phenomenal, .  Beautiful beyond belief!

Additionally, the percussive elements were wisely interjected in this song, thus increasing power and authority in this arrangement.

4. Silent Night

This is, for many, the most treasured of Christmas carols. It speaks so simply and, yet, so beautifully to the truth, spirit and meaning of Christmas.

David’s voice sounds controlled and expressive at the beginning of this song and, as the song moves forward, David’s reverence for whom he is singing is absolutely heavenly. How can one not feel and appreciate David’s strong and very spiritual communicative skills?

The orchestra confidently grows in momentum and sound before the key change into the third verse – but not too much! Very tastefully, done!

And, as David ends this lovely carol, I am left with a sense of peace.

Thank you, David and team for keeping the song’s meaningful lyrics front and center.  So often, I have heard this song butchered beyond recognition, so I am grateful to be listening to artists who respect and appreciate composer Franz Xavier Gruber’s original composition.

5.The First Noel

Oh my, how I love this song.  When I have a moment, I will have to add a video of my choir performing an adapted John Rutter arrangement of this song. This is truly a singer’s song. The wonderful melodic lines of this song allows the singer’s voice to soar and the orchestral possibilities are endless.

But I digress. Time to press the “play” button” and hear David’s personal vision of this most sacred of carols.  Here we go!

I hear bells, then David, then strings and some soft percussion. I love the baroque “feel” to this arrangement – very similar to one performed by my choir, the Timmins Youth Singers.  This style perfectly compliments this carol – the melody has a music-box quality in the rhythmic component that I absolutely adore.

David’s voice sounds very good – always so expressive and so passionate.

And, once again, we are treated to a neat key change at the end of the second refrain, on the word of “Israel“. And, it allows David to access his baritone range with better strength and clarity than was heard earlier on in this recording.

And as David approaches the final segment of this song, he adds his liberated soulful style, improvising melody and lyrics. Although I was hoping for a more powerful ending, it is still a beautiful performance and sets the perfect tone for the next number on the CD.

6. O Holy Night

And now I get to hear the most powerful sacred carol ever written, “O Holy Night”. Originally composed in French by Adolphe Adam and officially known as “Cantique De Noel”, this is an extremely popular song. Every student I have ever taught wants to learn and/or sing this song at some point in time in their singing career.

I love the opening strains from the orchestra – totally innovative beginning and different from what I have heard in previous recordings  by other artists.

As David begins, I just sit back and relish the beautiful and expressive quality of Mr. Archuleta. And can I tell you how happy I am that David doesn’t bellow and wail the “Fall on your knees” section of this song?  So often the singers “throw caution to the wind” and “let ‘er rip” in this section.

However, David has great respect and reverence for the lyrics, thus allowing him to communicate the very special story contained in the lyrics with spiritual meaning and grace.

He grabs and sustains the pure vowels so very well in this song, as evidenced in the word “night“, where he sustains the word on the “ah” vowel, thus avoiding the “eye” diphthong.  Perfect!

And as the trumpets and the percussion triumphantly herald the key change into the second verse, David’s voice becomes more passionate and intense.  I love the melodic variation he introduces in the second verse. Very memorable and very innovative!

The “Christ Is The Lord” section is everything it should be and so much more. David’s voice sounds luscious indeed.

However, I would have preferred a more pronounced focus on the “eh” vowel in the word “Noel“. To my ear, the “eh” vowel sounded too wide and the mouth less circular and/or relaxed as I know it could be.   One could hear the rasp and tightness in his throat during and after the last upper register “Noel”

And, the breath in the middle of the word “divine” is a “no-no“.  David should have accessed a fuller compliment of his air supply and used it more efficiently. This is not a long phrase, but he sure sounded winded at the end of the song.

I sense that David’s voice was tired during the recording of this particular song. I wonder how many takes of this song he endured and/or how tired he was during the recording of this track?

However, overall, this was still a very beautiful performance. The quality and the maturity is clearly evident but singers need to remember that they are not machines. The vocal cords are part of their physical make-up and rest and pacing ensures consistency and excellence in their vocal product.

7. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas with Charice Pempengo

I am quite anxious to hear this duet featuring Charice Pempengo along with David. If ever two artists were meant to sing together, it most certainly includes David and Charice.

Originally written for the movie and stage musical, “Meet Me In St. Louis“, David begins this nostalgic Christmas song,  with his signature “oos“.   And, then his expressive, luscious voice begins the opening strains of this song. And, before you know it, young Charice comes in, sounding absolutely perfect, matching David in mood and style.

Oh my, what a beautiful performance. And the harmonies are perfect; both singers are so “in tune” with one another figuratively and literally.

The orchestral arrangement is exquisite – lush, yet relaxed.  These young voices just “blow my mind” with their extraordinary artistry and expressiveness.

What more can I say?   This song should be played 24/7 on the radio during the Christmas season. Both are vocal and personal role models for this generation of young artists and their combined talent is cause for celebration beyond the Christmas season.

Bravo and Brava David and Charice!   Here’s to future collaborations!

8. I’ll Be Home For Christmas

Once again, the inclusion of this song after “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” is perfect.  The producers took great care in ensuring that this entire CD flowed from track to track, similar to a live performance.

Note to other artists: you can learn a great deal from listening to this CD.  This CD was produced with enormous thought and attention to the finest detail, once again highlighting the work ethic and intelligence that embodies the Archuleta team.

This arrangement of “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” has a nice relaxed, jazzy feel. And, we are treated to David’s gorgeous lower register voice.  He focuses this area of his vocal range exceptionally well in this song.

There is a lovely key change as the song moves toward the finale – a chance to enjoy David’s phenomenally potent upper register vocals.  Accompanied by keyboard and percussion, this song was perfectly realized by singer and musicians, tastefully capturing the nostalgia that the lyrics evoke.

9. Pat-A-Pan

This is a very cute song – very similar in content to the slightly more popular song, “The Little Drummer Boy”. I conducted a very busy arrangement of this song with my choir and, although it was a lot of work, it was also a great deal of fun once the end product was realized.

David begins this song with the traditionally French version of this sweet carol. I must say that his French diction is exceptional.  He has a wonderful ear for this language- and all languages-, something that I feel will become increasingly evident throughout the remainder of this CD.

He then continues in English and his youthful, exuberant voice is so perfect for this song.  And, of course, there is an excellent percussive track in this song.

I love, love, LOVE the wild musical ride that David and the orchestra embark on midway through this song. The arrangement takes on a very cool classical sound and the result is truly spectacular. Listen to those synthesized strings  – lots of fun!

Once again, this adventure modulates to a higher key and David’s upper register voice just explodes with such passion and verve. And then, in a blink of an eye, he vocalized down the octave with a hushed nuance in his voice. while layering his variant background vocals. And then, all too quickly, the song fades to black.

This is a VERY current arrangement of this song and I truly hope that it receives the exposure that it truly deserves. Just excellent!

10. What Child Is This

Now, a change of pace – at least, I think so. This is a more sedate carol, similar to “Silent Night“,  and I am anxious to hear David’s version.  So here we go – press play, Rosanne!

The instrumental opening is beautifully calm, perfectly capturing the mood. And, although this is a very tricky song for the singer in terms of planning one’s breathing, David manages the long lines of the phrases superbly well.

The accompaniment is relaxed and affords David space to breathe and interpret the phrases in a comfortable manner.  Oops – “Son (breath) of Mary” – should be sung in one breath.

I love the almost a cappella sound of David’s  voice midway through this song during “This, this is Christ The King“, followed by the grandiose entrance of the full orchestra. How wonderful is that?  This is an another example of the wonderful  nuances from singer and musicians throughout this CD.

The orchestra is then given an opportunity to shine  while David adds his soulful “oos” and “ahs“.  This is truly a magnificent moment in this number – I feel transported to another dimension.

Kudos to the arrangers for taking a very simple song and turning it into a masterpiece, while still preserving the original melodic content.

11. Riu Riu Chui

This song brings back memories – my choir performed this with a Latin American artist many moons ago.

I love the “Carol Of The Bells” melody that is incorporated into the beginning of this song.  Makes me wonder if David will sing portions of “Carol Of The Bells” midway through this song. We shall see!

And, as David begins this Spanish carol, I sit back and enjoy the perfect articulation of his Spanish diction. This melody is slightly different from what I have previously heard. I love that David is once again given the opportunity to grab the beauty of his lower range.

And, then, in a blink of an eye, David moves to the phenomenal beauty of his upper range, accentuating his soulful and liberated vocal style in the process. What a great moment in this song!

And, as the song moves toward the closing bars, we hear “Carol Of the Bells” from the orchestra. The song gently fades away and we are left, once again, with the memory of an exceptionally performed Christmas rendering from David.

12. Ave Maria

The exceptional voices of the Salt Lake Children’s Choir provide the a cappella opening strains to this beloved prayer by Charles Gounod/J.S.Bach.  Their voices sound angelic and true – nothing beats the sound of an exceptionally well-rehearsed children’s choir. Their addition perfectly establishes the reverent mood of this song.

And, as David begins to sing, I have to say I am thoroughly impressed with his Latin diction. He is one of the handful of singers who correctly pronounce “Gratia“.  In  the countless number of performances of this song I have heard over the years, the singers always pronounce this word with the Italian diction – “grazia” -and not the Latin.  Drives me crazy! But, I digress!

This is a very difficult song, but David masters the technical pitfalls very well. The breathing spots in this song need to be firmly established or the phrasing can sound fragmented.

Oh no – he breathed in the middle of “ventris“!  He should have taken a breath after “fructus“, thus enabling him to carry the rest of the phrase through in one breath.

However, the rest of the song moves along quite beautifully and he manages his breathing much more efficiently. Good for him! This is a very difficult song and, yet, he is performing this song exceptionally well.

At the end of the first verse, the Salt Lake Children’s Choir add their gorgeous harmonies, followed by David’s more soulful rendition of the second verse of this song. And this time around, the choir provides beautiful background to his solo voice and, as a result,  the song truly flows to another dimension.

I love the melodic variation he incorporates into the original line – just enough to say “wow” but not too much to detract from the original beauty of the original composition.

I always love listening to David weave his vocal magic and artistry through well-known song material.  He is an extremely innovative vocal artist and sings with a maturity far beyond his years.

This was a stellar performance! Can you come and sing at my Church? (smile)

13. Melodies Of Christmas

This is an original composition and, for the life of me, I cannot find the name of the composer. Could someone help me here?

Update From Tom Suzuki: Melodies of Christmas was conceived by Jeff Archuleta and David Archuleta.

I love the title and I love the concept.  The lyrics and the melody are cohesive and contagious. I think we have  a new Christmas hit on our hands, folks!

I do love and applaud the incorporation of  fragments of familiar carols through this song. The song is resplendent with the joy and spirit of Christmas and leaves the listener with a great feeling at the end of this CD.

If you don’t love and appreciate the season and true meaning of Christmas after you listen to this CD, I’m sorry, I can’t help you!  As once quoted by Jerry Seinfeld, “you need a team of specialists” to help you.

Copyright © 2008. MasterclassLady.Com. All rights reserved.


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About Masterclass Lady

Rosanne (Giallonardo) Simunovic began her musical career in Timmins, Ontario. She studied piano with Anne Pizzale and later, at an advanced level, with Soeur Anita Vaugeois (Sister Cecile of Les Soeurs De L’Assomption in Timmins). Her vocal and accompaniment skills were nurtured by her aunt, the late Dorothea Mascioli. When Rosanne graduated from O’Gorman High School, she moved on to the University of Toronto where she continued her piano and vocal studies while attaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree. She was hired as a piano accompanist for several musical companies, most notably, the National Ballet Of Canada. She presently holds an A.R.C.T. Teacher’s Diploma in Voice from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Rosanne has studied choral conducting with numerous well known Canadian Conductors, including Wayne Riddell of Montreal, Quebec and the internationally renowned Dr. Elmer Iseler. She has been a founding member of numerous community-based arts organizations: the Timmins Arts Council, later known as Arts & Culture Timmins, the Timmins Symphony Orchestra, and, the Timmins Youth Singers…as well as the TYS Alumnus choir, the Timmins Concert Singers. In 1987, she was also selected to be the conductor of the Timmins Board Of Education Choir, comprised of talented students from Grades 5 to 8. In 1988, she was elected to the Board Of Directors of the Ontario Choral Federation (now known as Choirs Ontario), where she served as Chair of the Festivals Committee for six consecutive seasons. In 1996, in honour of the Ontario Choral Federation’s 25th Anniversary, Rosanne was selected as one of 25 recipients of the OCF’s Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contribution to the choral art. The ceremony was presided by Lieutenant Governor, Hal Jackman. In November 1997, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Rotary Club Of Timmins to receive the prestigious Paul Harris Award for her years of dedication to the artistic development of young musical talent in Timmins. In August of 2002, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Board Of Directors of Choirs Ontario to serve as Conductor of both the Provincial Junior and Teen Choir Camps, now renamed in honour of the Camp Benefactors, Don and Lillian Wright. In November 2002, Rosanne was the one of the recipients of the Commemorative Medal for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, honouring her work in the development of the arts in Timmins. Under Rosanne Simunovic’s direction, the Timmins Youth Singers and the Timmins Concert Singers have been featured in numerous choral festivals and performing opportunities outside of Timmins. In 1985, they were selected to partici

61 Responses to “A Masterclass Review of David Archuleta’s Christmas From The Heart”

  1. Wow – great review!
    I really appreciate your technical approach on these songs about phrasing and that sort of thing. It’s comforting to know that a choral instructor, like yourself, enjoyed the album just as much as we did.
    Thanks for breaking it down song by song for us =)

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  2. MCL “Melodies of Christmas” is an Archuleta original, written by Jeff and David. I believe there were others involved as well but I don’t have a information link for you.

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  3. Love the review, MCL! Thank you for taking the time — I learn so much from you.

    Now, back to listening to Christmas from the Heart.

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  4. Thank you so much Masterclasslady!
    I love reading your reviews. While I do not understand a lot of technical terms about music, I love the way you write in a manner that a layperson like myself doesn’t feel like we’re reading a foreign language. This is one of the best Christmas albums I’ve ever heard and while I think it’s due to David’s amazing voice, I recognize the way the beautiful arrangements allow his voice to shine and enhances the listening experience. Your review helps me understand a little more about music and I really apreciate you sharing your expertise.

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  5. MCL, thanks for your amazing review, I will post a link on the SnowAngelz site asap.

    I’ve been on the edge of my seat waiting to read your expert take on the CD and found your insights on the technical aspects of David’s diction and breathing especially fascinating.

    And listening to CFTH while reading it was an inspired idea!!

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  6. Loved your review. Thank you very much for taking the time to do it.
    The liner booklet gives credit to David Archuleta and Z. Picante for the piece, “Melodies of Christmas.”
    By the way, the liner notes from David are priceless. Love them almost as much as I love the CD.

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  7. What a great review! Loved the song by song review. Can’t wait to listen again and make note of your comments on each song. Glad you liked it as much I did. Thank you! For your info, on the CD Melodies of Christmas is listed with (David Archuleta, Z. Picante) as writers. Published by Archie’s Songs (ASCAP), Picante Publishing(ASCAP)and Produced & Arranged by Jeff Archuleta and Sam Cardon. I checked the digital booklet on the itunes download.

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  8. I thoroughly enjoyed your review. It was spot on and honest. This cd is a joy to listen to. It feeds my heart and spirit and and by the end it leaves me feeling joyful and uplifted. What a gift this young man and his voice are. I believe your minor criticisms were correct and fair. I think the fact that he was touring and had a lot of time pressures and a lot of taxing things going on with his voice was a factor. Still, it is a magnificent offering that I can’t stop listening to. Sometimes he sings with both melancholy and joy. Is that even possible? He is simply one of the best artists of our time. I will treasure this cd for years to come, it is love. Thank you David, and thank you Rosanne, for your intelligent review.

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  9. MCL – thank you for this. I so appreciate your words, they help me understand what I think I hear when I am listening to these songs.

    As for your comment on O Holy Night “the breath in the middle of the word “divine” is a “no-no“ – I will have to go back and check, but if I am remembering correctly his previous versions (when he was younger – tree lighting last year) on youtube all have the same breath in the middle of divine – I just thought of it as a David adaptation.

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  10. Palm to Heart

    Thank you MCL! Now I can listen to this masterpiece and know what I’m listening for. I’ll listen in at least 3 way. In quiet, in ambient noise, while doing chores. Each designed to see if the songs grab me in a different way. Therefore grab the average listener. Music has to stop me in my tracks, not just be background. I can’t wait to get started.

    “Melodies of Christmas” was credited to Jeff Archuleta and Sam Cardon with a host of assists.

    I love that with you review you are honest even though I think you count David as one of your own. Isn’t he precious and blessed of God. I don’t mind seeing an error critique of something in David’s work by us. I know it’s done with love and respect for him and his work and meant solely to advance him. I hope you get to talk with him about the ones you gave him.

    Have a great day MCL. :)

    Palm to Heart

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  11. Rosanne, Thanks your for the detailed professional review. It helps me appreciate David and his team all the more. I’ve ordered 10 of the album for gifts and couldn’t wait so went and purchased one for myself. The store wasn’t going to put them out until Thursday but I talked the salesperson into selling me one on the 13th. Ha! ha! I’ve been checking your site several times a day all week. wouldn’t we all wish that David could sing at our church!! I even read where fans of Jewish faith were wishing the same thing and also appreciated the Christmas songs. Hopefully you know how much we as David fans have appreciated your reviews over these last two years.
    David re-recorded some of the songs because he has been sick during intial recordings.
    One story you might enjoy was when the sound engineer was overwhelmed during a take of What Child Is This. Apparently he remarked that he had never heard anything so beautiful. (they had him sing it again for their benifit) I’m sure David and his producers would appreciate your review and feedback.
    Blessings to you and Happy Happy Holidays!!

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  12. Thanks, MCL! I always love your reviews because you always respect the artist and also have such an easy to read, yet educating way of reviewing. I love to learn, and with David’s voice, I love to listen and learn how and why he sings the way he does.
    I remember when he first met you at the Idol concerts in Canada, he said he needed you to help him with his vocal range and breathing. Well, here’s the help he needed. I hope he gets to read your review. You gave him specific little details where he could improve, and also applauded his skills throughout.
    I totally felt like this cd had a story feeling,a completeness in progression and blending of songs that made it so desiring to listen to over and over again, just like a very good story is!So, when you added this same sentiment, I was happy that my feelings were confirmed by someone who knows a bit more than me about music.
    And to hear you comment about the thought and attention to details made me grin. I think the Archuleta team WAS superb on this album.
    I would love David to come to my church, also, and sing Ave Maria.

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  13. MELODIES OF CHRISTMAS

    Published by Archie’s Songs (ASCAP), Picante Publishing
    Produced & arranged by Jeff Archuleta & Sam Cardon
    Assisted by Scott Wiley, Yoni Gileadi & John Hancock
    Sam Cardon: Piano, Synthesizer, Programming
    John Hancock, Scott Wiey: Guitar
    Rob Honey: Bass
    Todd Sorensen: Drums
    Jenny Frogley, David Osmond: Background Vocals
    Creative Consultant: Rob Honey

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  14. Yup – it’s true David has perfected the “breath in the middle of divine (last sung divine at end) NO-NO”, in each of the youtube videos I just watched/listened to.

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  15. Thank you for this review. David might have some breathing problems, but he can breath for me any time he wants to. His beautiful voice makes up for any imperfections he might have.
    This album is so beautiful I will be listening to it all year.
    I have heard many Christmas albums before but NEVER with the emotions and feelings that David puts into every song. The true meaning of Christmas THANK YOU David and Thank you MCL.

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  16. Thanks everyone. I forgot to download the information booklet.

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  17. Thank you again, MCL, for a master class review. We David Archuleta fans always wait with “bated breath and whisp’ring humbleness” for your take on his performances. And you always deliver with thoughtfulness, appreciation, and a lot of love!

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  18. MCL – thanks for taking the time from your busy life and giving us your wonderful review and thoughtful critiques.

    This was priceless and a classic MCL:

    “If you don’t love and appreciate the season and true meaning of Christmas after you listen to this CD, I’m sorry, I can’t help you! As once quoted by Jerry Seinfeld, “you need a team of specialists” to help you.”

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  19. Thank you for the detailed analysis of David Archuleta’s Christmas from the Heart new CD. I am not one to analyze every breath an incredible artist takes to sing beautiful songs, after all I will never buy any music, since most new popular artists appear to be out of sink with anything they sing. What is truly amazing to me with this CD is the incredible talent, passion and voice that David Archuleta offers us with this incredible new CD. In my 40+ years I have heard many beautiful voices, without analyzing all the details, but I know one thing, this CD is a MUST BUY for all that appreciate an incredibly talented and beautiful voice. This CD brought tears to my eyes and chills up my spine, even the songs that I did not understand the words. THAT IS MY FRIENDS talent :)

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  20. Great review,i havent heard the songs yet cse they arent available here and the review makes me wanna here them so bad..I hav to wait for like 3 weeks.bt atleast il get it! its put into a way whch everyone can easily undrstand whch is so very thoughtful .thanx

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  21. Great review,i havent heard the songs yet cse they arent available here and the review makes me wanna here them so bad..I hav to wait for like 3 weeks.bt atleast il get it! its put into a way whch everyone can easily undrstand whch is so very thoughtful .thanx.great stuff.

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  22. Thanks so much for your review Rosanne. I felt that we were sitting here listening to the album with you as you talked. A wonderful thing about this album is that one can get new insights on further listenings. For example, I love the point in Riu Riu Chiu where David sings a melisma on ‘Riberaaaaaa’ that brings to mind the Moorish influence in Spain, adding an extra layer of depth to this Spanish carol.

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  23. Wow!! Thank you so much for your technical approach to David’s music….and for also focusing your review on the emotional aspect of it. In his liner notes, he calls this CD a “gift to the fans”, and what a gift it is! As a longtime fan of David, I find it near impossible to listen to his music without an emotional response….David finds a way to communicate on a deeper level than when he is speaking (although I am sure that it is just something that is born in him, in addition to his training to perfect his delivery, anunciation, etc)…such is the power of music! I love how this CD was mixed (for lack of a more professional term here) to showcase Davids’ vocals first and foremost, and all of the amazing embellishments of the choirs and instruments all make for a highly sophisticated and enjoyable experience. Thank you David for this most undeserving gift that you have shared with me as a fan…..it is PURE LOVE.

    Master Class Lady, can you answer one question that I have been wondering about? David does this often on his pop tunes also, but what is it called? He always does it at the end of a word like at 3:29 of O Holy Night during the word “name”…he does it again on the same song at the end of “Christ” at 3:59 as well as other times, end of “Noel” at 4:20. It’s almost as though it is a bit of a cry, i don’t know how else to explain it. Thanks again for your balanced and thoughtful review of David’s music, now and as always.

    Mare

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  24. Thank you so much for your wonderful review. It truly makes those of us with less trained ears appreciate this CD even more. It is truly amazing what this young man can do and you have helped us to see that even more. Thank you for pointing out the different changes in music that may have gone unnoticed without this review. You truly brought listening to this CD to a new level for me. Thank you again for taking the time to expose how exquisite this CD really is. I appreciate it.

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  25. Thank you for your review as I have been anxiously waiting for it. I have listened to the CD many times already, but it was fun to listen to the songs as I read your review. I have no musical training so it’s nice to be shown the different nuances of his voice. It is always nice to read a reviewer with your credentials, rather than someone who is just doing their job. David is priceless and we are so blessed to have him sharing his gift. Thanks again!

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  26. thank you for taking the time to break down each song and give a “play by play” review while listening. i love your reviews.

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  27. Thanks a lot for taking to time to listen to every song with an openmind before writing a review. So many unqualified so-called critics out there just want to be controversial and get hits for their blogs by writing garbage. You are a true professional and I really learned a lot from your analysis of David’s album, much appreciated. I’ve been listening to the cd non-stop since I bought it!

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  28. I enjoyed reading your review. I am so impressed with David’s Christmas from the Heart album – it is just amazingly beautiful. And I love hearing David’s voice soaring throughout the whole album. The album is aswesome and I feel like I’m in a concert hall when I’m listening to it. I am enjoying thinking about Christmas in October — and this is the first holiday album I have ever purchased — and I’m so glad I did. I just think David is a very talented singer / songwriter.

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  29. Thank you so very much for your input of each song on David’s album. He truly has a gift and this album certainly shows us the deep spiritual side of this young man. Can you imagine what he will be like in another five to ten years? Whoa-nelly!! I’m sure with your kind advice his breathing techniques will be mastered. He literally has not stopped since Idol ended, he is such a hard worker for someone his age. I truly respect his marvelous character and beautiful talent. Thank you again for your professional suggestions for him and thank you for understanding what a gift he is to the world as we do.

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  30. I am always most interested in what you think of Davids work. Being a die hard fan of Davids, I don’t often listen with a critical ear, (or can’t- he can do no wrong) so I appreciate your professional opinion. When he gets all those little no-nos worked out, LOOK OUT!
    This is a beautifully done Christmas album and I agree with you “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” should be on the radio 24/7, such a gorgeous laid back treat! Way to go David!

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  31. I love David’s voice.. can you tell me what type of singer he is (Judy Garland was a contralto). He is exceptional. Thank you for explaining each song with a sincere heart. David ‘s voice is magical, and just grabs your attention.This will be my favorite album.

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  32. Thanks so much for your review. At what percent would you rank David’s technical singing ability, assuming that 100% is total technical perfection? I’m just curious as I know nothing about it LOL. Or is it better to break it into categories such as tone, pitch, vibrato, breathing, etc, etc? Maybe he is at a different level in different technical areas?

    I simply love this young man more than my heart can hold. His voice captivates me and I feel at peace whenever I hear it.

    Thanks again!

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  33. Thank you ssssoooo very much for you review! Though I waited and expected it 100%, I’m still grateful for your honest and professional opinions. It’s interesting to read in detail where a few ‘less-than-perfect’ spots could have been different – as an amateur interpreter I found myself thinking ‘yeh, she’s right on with that’ and now I know the technicalities behing it! Nevertheless, I have two respectful comments, not to ever take away or discount your review. 1)I know the UNBELIEVABLE demands of touring and illnesses David endured throughout recording left his breathing strength so compromised. Honestly, between his vocal cord damage history and the physical demands of his current schedule, what he produced was beyond normal. It’s another testimony to the God-given gift and blessings this artist possesses. 2)And even though complete perfection is impossible, this CD is so close to it in so many ways – epic, realy! I know you, I and all of David’s fans will always hold this collection so close and fondly to our hearts. I believe what makes it so exciting is not only are we treated beyond measure to the beautiful singing and music of the CD, but we have been allowed a closer look into the heart of David Archuleta. What a blessing: an early Christmas present wrapped by David with love and affection for his fans. :)

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  34. What a great review of David’s CD! As one who used to sing quite a bit when MUCH younger and who modeled my singing approach after singer Andy Williams (who also had great range, a very pleasing sound, but who also had great breath control), I would agree that the ONLY criticism I have of this album is breathing within a phrase at times, or in the case of “O Holy Night”, between syllables of the word ‘divine’. Otherwise, Splendid! I cannot stop listening to each and every selection. I’m obviously not a teen, but that’s the great thing about David’s music— it transcends generations. David, as a musician and a person, is a gift to us all. Bravo!

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  35. Palm to Heart

    @MasterclassLady(Twitter) made it easier to really hear the music. Otherwise, I’d listen at David’s voice and just have my mouth open. Rosanne gave me a task to do while the music was playing. The album is so reverent it’s hard to comment lest you intrude on David’s praise. I was taken aback quite a few times by the way he delivered a few of the songs. And a few of them ended much too soon. I found myself tiptoeing so as not to disturb the reverence. You know how you tip out of church. I just wanted to listen and hear what you heard. Aww. Glorious!
    I knew David would be singing praises to Jesus but he really set the bar so high, others will be hard pressed to reach it. This, will be, a classic.

    Today I listened while I was doing some things, and the song distracted me. That was good. I found myself shaking off the chills often and trying to contain myself more. And I did; and now I’m crying. Silly me. Wonderfullly Exquisite David James. Thank you MCL for directing us, and for imparting your considerable knowledge to David. I hope you hear from him.

    Did you guys notice that the cover has been a bit stylized? David’s face is more triangular than on the original CD cover we saw and even the one in here. He looks a bit older.

    But here’s what I’m looking forward to; this album will be eligible for a Grammy next year. But I saw no provision for holiday music in the Grammy list of cats. And yes, there is a Grammy for Album Covers. This cover is sheer genius.

    *Sorry to be so winded, I should really do the blog.

    Palm to Heart

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  36. filipino fans couldn’t wait for the release of this gem! many thanks! and oh yeah, i would spread your recommendation around! cheers!

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  37. Thank you for such a wonderful review. We love David and appreciate the wonderful blessing he is in our lives. He has given us a Christmas album we can listen to every Christamas for the rest of our lives. Thank you David for the blessing you are to us. I have always loved our Father in Heaven and His Son, but when you sing His Law is Love and his Gospel is peace it reminds me why I do..Merry Christmas everyone.

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  38. Simply Amazing! I couldn’t agree more with your review. David is simply the best!

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  39. MCl, thank you for your great review and honest critique. You are awesome. Glad you appreciate such a unique and gifted talented like David but aren’t afraid to call em like you see em when it comes to your vast knowledge on technique. Take care.

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  40. MCL, thank you so much for this labor of love, I really appreciate your time and effort!

    A couple of quick notes of my own. I agree 100% when you used the word “masterpiece” in describing WCIT. I couldn’t agree more, in fact that was the first word that came to mind when I first heard the song.

    …and I’d also like to say, upon my initial listenings the only thing I could think about was that if by some remote chance one didn’t know how David felt about Christmas, God and Christ, they surely would after listening to his album. His message was so powerful and undeniable. It was nice to know I was on point having my thoughts confirmed with his message in the liner notes.

    MCL, I have to ask, I’m sure Dean has heard David’s “diiii vine” many times, per chance could it be an artistic decision? how would that get past Dean since David has sung it like that since he was a child.

    oh! one last question MCL, I jotted down my thoughts as I listened the first time and now after numerous listens I find that the songs I liked the most have switched places with the songs that didn’t immediately grab me. why is that? any ideas? (that happens all the time! in fact, it’s kind of a game I play with myself. I note the song I’m not feeling and within a day or so I can’t live without it. LOL!)

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  41. It was such a treat reading your earlier blog about David’s performance on ALMA, that when I saw your review of Christmas From the Heart, I knew everything else was on hold till I was done with your review. Thanks. Reading your review was a real pleasure. Perhaps the team that put together this CD are the team of specialists that can help someone understand Christmas! Doctors of the heart of music. Toss out the pharmaceuticals! Listen to this CD!

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  42. Thanks for the break down review by song. I have listened to my CD so much already I’m afraid I’m going to wear it out. I’ve got plenty more. Someone told me today, while listening to Davids’ CD that she thought he didn’t didn’t sing with much emotion or enthusiasm. We were driving at the time and it was all I could do to not slam on the breaks and ask her to step out of the car. Then I realized that all people are not going to feel as we all do about Davids music. The first time I listened to the CD I got a little teary eyed on several of the songs – O Holy Night and Ave Maria. I think this is a CD that needs to be listened to without distractions so you can be lifted to the place where David is taking us. Thank you for the review on O Come All Ye Faithful – I was a little surprised at the places where David took a breath – it also seemed rushed. I still liked it. There’s not much I don’t like about Davids’ music.Thank you again for your insight.

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  43. Thanks MCL! Just knew you’d love this CD. I noticed
    a few of the breaths on my first listen to the CD.
    After that (honestly) I didn’t notice them again-is
    there a name for this besides crazy-for-David?
    Looking forward to re-listening with your notes, then
    I swear I’m going to put it away until after Thanksgiving. Thanks again.

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  44. Thank you so much for your time. David deserves the best reviews.

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  45. madeline alvarez October 18, 2009 at 10:18 am

    Thank you so much for your input. It was a pleasure to read your comments. I couldn’t agree with you more. David has a beautiful voice. What a master of the arts you are Roseanne. You are an excellent teacher! Thanks again and I’m sure that if David read this evaluation, he would try to improve in the areas where you suggested. Totally I love, and again LOVE his album. Have a Merry Christmas!!!!

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  46. Masterclasslady,

    Thank you so much for posting such a great review of David’s CD.
    It’s awesome for people to see how INCREDIBLY talented David is!

    It really is a beautiful CD.

    You’re AWESOME.

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  47. MCL love your review of Davids CD. I noticed David taking breaths where it didn’t seem that they should be. But as I listen to David he brings so much peace to my soul that that is all a really care about.
    Oh and I was at Richards house yesterday as he read your review and he said that there weren’t any synthesized strings in the arrangement it was all live orchestration. Just thought you would like to know.

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  48. I enjoyed reading your review of “Christmas from the Heart”. I love the CD. I really loved “Melodies of Christmas” many new christmas songs just don’t live up to all the many other great and classis christmas songs out there, but this one does.

    I did notice the phrasing problems that you mentioned. The breath in the middle of “Divine” is going to bother me each time I hear it. I’m sure I’ll quickly forget as I hear David’s wonderful vocals.

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  49. GREAT review! I love that you “get” David and can back up his talent with TECHNICAL aspects of singing (in my opinion, that’s the closest you can get to “proving” that someone is a great singer).

    But I’m also really glad that you criticize him (when necessary). I noticed the breathing in “Ave Maria” as well and it annoyed me, just a little. I still love listening to it.

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  50. Oh and as someone mentioned above – the strings in Pat-a-Pan were, I believe, provided by an orchestra in Prague. They were not synthesized.

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  51. Gemzone and Becky – the strings sounded so synthesized to my ear, so it must be the manner in which they mixed the final product. My apologies to Richard and the rest of the musicians. And, I forgot to mention the name of the orchestra – will add it as an update to the original blog. That orchestra is phenomenal.

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  52. MCL, Thanks for another of your thoughtful and informed critiques…and I love how you did it “in the moment.” Song for song, I agreed with much of what you loved in CFTH…the spirit of it, David’s many layered vocals and the creative production. I hadn’t thought yet about the sequencing…good point. Your technical breakdown is interesting and enlightening.

    Re: Melodies of Christmas..(and not to highlight it over the others, only since it is the one original, collaborated on by David) I love your assessment:
    “I love the title and I love the concept. The lyrics and the melody are cohesive and contagious. I think we have a new Christmas hit on our hands, folks!” ITA. This hook already stays with me for a while after the cd ends…good sign for some radio play. Commercial, fun. (Though Pat-A-Pan..could be the best artistic release.)

    “I do love and applaud the incorporation of fragments of familiar carols through this song.”
    Me too!…and I think they do this, instrumentally,in at least one other song. Love this. In that sense I think the spirit of “Melodies of Christmas” runs throughout…that seems to be the essence in David’s singing of all the other melodies of Christmas. That’s his final word to us…all these songs, overlapping, all the memories and feelings they evoke.

    “The song is resplendent with the joy and spirit of Christmas and leaves the listener with a great feeling at the end of this CD.” Yes.

    “If you don’t love and appreciate the season and true meaning of Christmas after you listen to this CD, I’m sorry, I can’t help you! As once quoted by Jerry Seinfeld, “you need a team of specialists” to help you.” LOL. nuf said.

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  53. i love your review!!! u have awesome ear for music. u can hear so much the first time through! i just have to say that on the booklet, it said that Melodies of Christmas is written by David Archuleta and Z. Picante and Jeff was one of the people who produced and arranged it.

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  54. Thx for sharing your insights–I LUV the CD:)

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  55. Regarding “di-vine” lol, I think part of the issue is that David in the past always ended with a “Hmm-mmm” or an “ooh-ooh” after word. Perhaps it was to save his breath for that? But in the album that extra part is no longer there so it comes off as superfluous.

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  56. My thoughts on the humming at the end of some songs – in particular the live ones.

    I noticed the humming at the end of David’s performance of “Contigo En La Distancia”. My theory (and it is just a personal guess – time will tell) is that the humming at the end is, in a way, an attempt to compensate for ‘running out of gas’ at the end of the song.

    I got the impression that he would have liked to have held the last note a little longer, so he wrapped it up with a bow of humming. That has become one of David’s signature moves.

    In the Christmas CD, I love the way the humming is interspersed throughout the album. To me, it creates a more intimate, personal, feel between the listener, the song, and singer.

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  57. I bought the CD yesterday and listened to it this afternoon. Thanks for your excellent review MCL. I also noticed the breathing issues, oh well, he’s not totally perfect but close. I especially loved the duet with Charise Pempengco, his voice has a different quality to it, perhaps inspired by little Miss Pempengco? Will she ever come out with a CD?, I hope so. I love, love, love David Archuleta.

    Like

  58. Hey MCL, I don’t know where to post this but, Adams song “For Your Entertainment” debut today on Ryan Seacrests Radio Show.

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Twitter Trackbacks for A Masterclass Review of David Archuleta’s Christmas From The Heart « MasterclassLady.Com [masterclasslady.com] on Topsy.com - October 17, 2009

    [...] A Masterclass Review of David Archuleta’s Christmas From The Heart « MasterclassLady.Com masterclasslady.com/2009/10/17/a-masterclass-review-of-david-archuletas-christmas-from-the-heart – view page – cached I finally managed to find some “me” time to savor the golden voice of David Archuleta in his wonderful Christmas recording, “Christmas From The Heart”. — From the page [...]

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  2. Masterclass Lady’s Album-Rezension für Christmas From The Heart « David Archuleta Fans Germany - October 18, 2009

    [...] Lady’s Album-Rezension für Christmas From The Heart Masterclass Lady, die schon während der American Idol Staffel 7 mit David immer wieder begeisterte Kritiken für [...]

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  3. David Archuleta Weekly Wrapup #12 - October 25, 2009

    [...] MasterclassLady’s Review is very extensive and beautiful. Don’t miss the comments! Please go to her site and enjoy. [...]

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