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Sting's John Dowland Disc Tops Billboard Year-End Classical Chart for Second Year
Lorraine Hunt Lieberson Is Fifth for 2007

By Matthew Westphal
21 Dec 2007

As it was in 2006, "Songs From the Labyrinth," the disc of John Dowland lute songs performed by the veteran rock star Sting, is the best-selling classical album of 2007, according to the Billboard year-end chart.

That Deutsche Grammophon release is followed by:

  • 2. "Appassionato" by Yo-Yo Ma and others
  • 3. "Voice of the Violin" by Joshua Bell
  • 4. "The Homecoming!" by crossover violinist André Rieu
  • 5. Peter Lieberson's Neruda Songs, performed by the late Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and the Boston Symphony Orchestra under conductor James Levine
  • 6. "The Journey and the Labyrinth: The Music of John Dowland," the companion DVD to Sting's "Songs From the Labyrinth"
  • 7. Rieu's "Christmas Around the World"
  • 8. "Bach & Beyond" by pianist Gabriela Montero
  • 9. "New Impossibilities" by Ma with his Silk Road Ensemble and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  • 10. "The Russian Album" by soprano Anna Netrebko with the orchestra of the Mariinsky Theater (a/k/a the Kirov Orchestra) under conductor Valery Gergiev

Other titles in the year's classical top 25 that seem notable to this particular set of eyes and ears include:

  • "Dragon Songs," a collection of 20th-century piano music from China (including the Yellow River Concerto, the most famous musical product of the Cultural Revolution), played by Lang Lang (no. 14)
  • "Homage: The Age of the Diva" by soprano Renée Fleming (no. 15)
  • "Gloryland," the second disc of traditional American hymns by Anonymous 4 (no. 16)
  • Beethoven's Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 4, performed by Lang Lang with the Orchestre de Paris under Christoph Eschenbach (no. 19)
  • "Duets" by Netrebko and tenor Rolando Villazón (no. 20)
  • pianist Simone Dinnerstein's widely-praised renditon of Bach's Goldberg Variations (no. 21)
  • probably the year's sleeper, Cloudburst and other choral works by contemporary American composer Eric Whitacre (no. 22)
  • John Corigliano's Red Violin Concerto, played by Bell with conductor Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (no. 23)
  • violin concertos by Paganini and Spohr, performed by Hilary Hahn with Eiji Oue conducting the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra (no. 24)

Billboard's ten bestselling classical artists of 2007 are:

  • 1. Sting
  • 2. Yo-Yo Ma
  • 3. André Rieu
  • 4. Joshua Bell
  • 5. Anna Netrebko
  • 6. The 5 Browns
  • 7. Lang Lang
  • 8. Gabriela Montero
  • 9. Renée Fleming
  • 10. Lorraine Hunt Lieberson

That list doesn't include midprice or budget titles, however. The top-selling classical artist of the year on both the midprice and budget lists is The Baby Einstein Music Box Orchestra (which is why this space almost never covers those lists). The number-two artist on both lists is the name most conspicuously missing among the artists named above: the late Luciano Pavarotti, none of whose top-selling discs this year were new releases or full-price.

Big Lucy also achieved one of the year's most notable Billboard chart feats: in the weeks following his death, he was a classical artist who actually made the Billboard 200, the weekly list of the top-selling discs in all genres — and he did it with two different titles, no less.




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