Christmas Portrait

Christmas Portrait

by Carpenters


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The Carpenters were just about the last adult pop outfit of their era with anything resembling rock credibility (they did have a little of the latter in the early days, and weren't a kid act like the Osmonds) who could have pulled off a straight Christmas album. And they did it in superb style here, illuminated throughout by the delightful, complex, often playful arrangements, courtesy of Peter Knight, Richard Carpenter, and Billy May. Actually, for a change on a Carpenters album, Richard is the dominant personality on display across this record, as both co-arranger and producer, as well as the mastermind behind the project; Karen Carpenter's voice is also prominent, to be sure, most notably on "Merry Christmas, Darling" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," and she threw herself into this next-to-last completed project (and their final release before a two-year hiatus), but it's Richard who comes to the fore everywhere here, in ways that are impossible to ignore. And the results are mightily impressive, as the mood never slackens in what amounts to a wall-to-wall celebration of the Christmas holiday. After a suitably festive introductory section, Karen Carpenter's solo voice comes up on the "Christmas Waltz" and the proceedings really take off, carrying us into the most engaging rendition of Leroy Anderson's "Sleigh Ride" that has come down in many a year, and it only gets better from there, through a brace of holiday staples that end up sounding fresh in her voice and his arrangements. There's not a slack moment on this album.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/25/1990
Label: A&M
UPC: 0075021517325
catalogNumber: 5173
Rank: 599

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Carpenters   Primary Artist
Pete Jolly   Keyboards
Richard Carpenter   Keyboards,Vocals
Karen Carpenter   Vocals
English Chorale   Background Vocals
Skaila Kanga   Harp
Bob Messenger   Tenor Saxophone
Barry Morgan   Drums
Cubby O'Brien   Drums
Dorothy Remsen   Harp
Ron Tutt   Drums
Gayle Levant   Harp
O.K. Chorale   Vocals,Background Vocals
Pete Morgan   Upright Bass
Joe Osborn   Electric Bass
Peter Morgan   Bass

Technical Credits

Adolphe Adam   Composer
Charles Gounod   Adaptation
Franz Schubert   Composer
Peter Knight   Adaptation
Billy May   Arranger
Richard Carpenter   Producer
Buck Ram   Composer
Franz Gruber   Composer
Jack Daugherty   Producer
Kim Gannon   Composer
Ray Gerhardt   Engineer
Walter Kent   Composer
Nick Perito   Arranger
John Richards   Engineer
Eric Tomlinson   Engineer
Roger Young   Engineer
Tim Bryant   Art Direction
Richard Storrs Willis   Composer
Joseph Mohr   Composer
Howlett Peter Smith   Composer
John Sullivan Dwight   Composer
Pietro Yon   Composer
E. H. Sears   Composer

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Christmas Portrait 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
GT_oh More than 1 year ago
The 1978 vinyl LP of this album did not begin with "Midnight Clear," but with "O Come O Come Emanuel" and the "Deck the Halls" medley. To get that (what I believe to be the actual) original version, you must buy the double CD set, "Christmas Collection," for rather more money. Then the original album is disk 1.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have had this since I was a child and I will pass it down to my children. It is the most beautiful take on all of the Holiday classics and other songs. Karen Carpenters range is incredible and well heard throughout this whole cd. Don't think, just buy!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I, too, had this "album" as a child, and for boomers, this is a must have (we've had it in cassette, and it's disappeared over the years). As on all Christmas CDs by popular artists, this one has some duds, but really worth it for a number of these songs.
KB-LongIsland More than 1 year ago
You don't have to be a big fan of the Carpenters to appreciate this collection, just a fan of Holiday music. If you were stranded on the North Pole and could only have one Holiday CD to listen to, this would be the one. I've yet to have someone listen to this CD without falling in love with it. It contains more than 60 minutes of traditional Holiday classics that show case the amazing talent of singer Karen Carpenter.

One listen and I'm sure you will agree that her readings are flawless and that her voice is perfectly suited to capture the nuiances and spirit of the many Holiday songs contained in this delightful package. Ballads such as Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and Little Alter Boy showcase her "chill factor" marvalous lower register, while songs like Sleigh Ride and Winter Wonderland radiate with the fun and excitement that are so representative of the Season.

This CD is great for any and all family gatherings because it bridges generations and appeals to almost all sensibilities. You won't be disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This collection of holiday music set the standard for Christmas albums/cd's that followed. Undoubtedly the best ever.
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