Jose Carreras Sings From the Heart on 'Passion' CD

Close your eyes. Imagine the most intense moments of your life - those vivid memories that we all have tucked away. Chances are that a certain piece of music can help to summon these memories. Maybe an organ piped a triumphant Bach fugue at your wedding, or your mother would soothe you into dulcet slumber with a Brahms lullaby; perhaps listening to Liszt just makes you want to cry for no palpable reason.

Jos Carreras understands this emotional language of music. In his latest CD, "Passion," the Spanish star liberates and energizes standard interpretations of 13 classical masterpieces, all chosen by Carreras himself for their tremendous power to evoke emotion and pathos.

He offers a redux version of such instrumental gems ranging from Dvorak's New World Symphony to Beethoven's Sonata Pathetique. With exception to the two sacred recordings of Gounod's "Ave Maria" and Franck's "Panis Angelicus," he opts to sing these orchestrations, applying sensitive lyrics in Spanish, Italian, and English to the pieces.

Particularly riveting is Carreras's interpretation of Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in A major; the sweeping lilt of the adagio clarinet is embellished by the lyrics "Love is a melody, haunting and possessing me."

Carreras never covers up the whimsical musical text with cumbersome or anachronistic lyrics. His luminous, velvety tenor voice, coupled with gentle phrasing and explosive dynamics, imbues his selections with a vibrant sense of timelessness and excitement. Carreras helps the listener understand the language these sundry composers would have used to convey their own passion.

The celebrated tenor will be performing the works of such great opera composers as Verdi, Puccini, Massenet, and Bizet at Boston's Symphony Hall on March 12.

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