Charlotte Church - Prelude

Charlotte Church

Teen soprano Charlotte Church's first best-of collection. Not bad for a 16-year-old.
Sony: 24 November 2002

Last updated: 20 November 2008

So Charlotte Church is less of an angel than a troublesome teen and headlines about her relationship with her parents and boys are more likely to dominate the news than discussions of her music.

Prelude cover


  • Pie Jesu
  • My Lagan Love
  • In Trutina
  • Panis Angelicus
  • Amazing Grace
  • Just Wave Hello
  • La Pastorella
  • She Moved Through The Fair
  • Ave Maria
  • Dream A Dream
  • The Flower Duet
  • Habanera
  • The Prayer
  • All Love Can Be
  • It's The Heart That Matters Most
  • Tantum Ergo
  • Bridge Over Troubled Water
  • Sancta Maria

But we shouldn't forget that just two years ago the girl from Llandaff was in the top 10 of best selling international female artists. Beauty and talent are not things to be wasted.

Since Voice Of An Angel Charlotte has released three albums: 2001's Enchantment, the Christmas album Dream A Dream and the eponymous Charlotte Church. Not even Britney Spears could release a best of album at the age of 16; to be reviewing your career on the cusp of adulthood must be some sort of record in itself.

Prelude is also a timely Christmas offering, a value for money 18 songs that Charlotte has performed all over the world. It is to Sony's credit that a number of these songs are also previously unheard recordings - grannies the world over are guaranteed to dip into their pensions.

The new album is testament to the breadth of Charlotte's talent but not necessarily to her taste. Amazing Grace and Bridge Over Troubled Water are old favourites that will doubtless please many, but who would argue that Charlotte adds anything to the originals?

Record producers obviously feel the need to relieve Latinate classical albums with a few English song titles but as Charlotte's voice matures, can't she be left to do what she does best?

Webber's Pie Jesu, Faure's Tantum Ergo, Bach's Ave Maria and Bizet's Habanera are all wonderfully suited to Ms Church's operatic talents but when she moves into popular 20th century material her interpretation is neither pop nor musical.

This is partly the fault of arrangements. It does not do to over produce a Paul Simon song or add sampled drums to a hash up of Faure's Elysium.

Perhaps now Charlotte is taking her own career into hand she may be able to make musical choices that suit the seriousness and gravity of her talent. Time will tell whether or not the way forward for her means yet more unsuitable boyfriends and the much-threatened new pop direction. But if this really is a prelude, let's hope the first movement does her more justice.

Words: David Savill

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