Impressions of “Dream With Me” CD

Several months have passed since the release of Jackie Evancho‘s “Dream With Me” CD on June 14th, 2011.  I purchased my copy sometime in July.  From the first time I started listening, I was amazed at how much Jackie’s voice had progressed since her appearance on America’s Got Talent in 2010. At the time of the show, her performances were exceptional.  As I listened to the CD months later, it was as if Jackie had taken her already amazing talent and propelled it to the next level.  The vocals that are produced from this gifted little girl (11 years old at the time the CD was released) are absolutely incredible.  Over 2 months have passed since I first listened to it, and I am still playing it almost daily in my car.  It draws me in like no other recording has ever done.  There is this uncanny sense of peace and tranquility that comes over me when I listen to her sing.  It is almost indescribable.  The CD covers a range of musical genres that highlight Jackie’s singing style very well.  Each track is beautifully orchestrated and the sound quality is exceptional.

For anyone who has not purchased this CD or at least watched some of the videos of her singing on PBS Great Performances as shown on YouTube , I would highly encourage you to do so – and to be clear, I am not a paid promoter.  Jackie is a rare pearl that will fill your heart with joy when you see and hear her perform.

The only critical comment that I would make of the CD is that there does seem to be a bit of background noise that was picked up on the “Nessun Dorma” track.  It almost sounds as if someone bumped a mic. during the recording.  This could be due to it being recorded live.  I have watched the PBS Great Performances video of “Nessun Dorma” as well (where I believe the CD recording was taken from), and it does not appear that Jackie had anything to do with the background noise.  It may have been an orchestra member or stage hand that bumped something that was picked up on the recording.  It occurs about 3 or 4 times, but does not detract from the piece.  I am a bit surprised that it could not be “edited out” of the recording considering the advancements in audio processing that are available today.

From my perspective and personal tastes regarding each piece on the CD, I have come up with my own order of favorites concerning each track.  Keep in mind that this was not easy considering I absolutely love each and every track, but I think that I do have a slight preferential ranking that I would like to share – basically an order of favorites among favorites.  The rankings that I have come up with are as follows:

  1. “Lovers” by Shigeru Umebayashi – Absolutely my most favored track.  It is just such a powerful piece of music and to hear Jackie’s performance of it with such great orchestral backing is just mesmerizing.
  2. “Nessun Dorma” by Giacomo Puccini,  Giuseppe Adami, Renato Simoni – Jackie broke the mold singing this piece considering it is primarily meant to be performed by male adult tenors.  However, Jackie took this thing on and totally nailed it.  She made it her own and created a new dimension to this piece that is fresh and inspiring.  Even though there is some background noise in portions as mentioned earlier, I still would rank this as part of my top picks.
  3. “Imaginer”  by Walter Afanasieff,  Lara Fabian – Just when I was blown away by Jackie  taking on the complex task of singing in Italian with “Nessun Dorma”, she goes one step further and sings in French on “Imaginer” with equally amazing skill.  The emotion that comes from her interpretation of this piece is absolutely brilliant.
  4. “The Lords Prayer” by Albert Hay Malotte  – This is probably one of the most touching songs that Jackie sings on the CD.  When I first played this for my wife and kids in the car, everyone was speechless.  When it had ended, you could hear a pin drop.  It was as if our souls had been touched in a unique and profound way.  When I pray this prayer, I now hear Jackie singing it in my head and I feel an even deeper connection with God because of it.
  5. “To Believe” by Matthew Evancho – This is another spiritually touching piece that Jackie sings.  This was written by her uncle who is a musical composer.  It showcases Jackie in a very charming and endearing way as a prayer in song.  Having a children’s’ choir for accompaniment to Jackie is another wonderful touch within this piece that portrays the sacred innocence of childhood.  I think the lyrics illustrate the hopes and dreams of us all.

From here on, it starts getting a bit harder for me to rank.  I pretty much have equal favoritism for each of these next pieces, but if I will rank them nonetheless.

  1. “Nella Fantasia” by Ennio Morricone, Chiara Ferrau  – Another beautiful Italian piece that Jackie sings so effortlessly.  This is one of the reasons why Jackie’s voice has such a great appeal.  She can beautifully sing a song like this with a gentle style that is not overpowering.
  2. “O mio ba babbino caro” by Giacomo Puccinni – This piece has special meaning to me, because it is the first debut piece that I heard Jackie sing on America’s Got Talent.  This is where her launch to stardom began and it will always be something dear to me and probably many of her fans.
  3. “Dream With Me” by David Foster, Linda Thompson, and Jackie Evancho – This is the title track on the CD and I love the fact that Jackie had a hand in writing it.  I am not sure of the level of contribution that Jackie made on this piece, but just to know that she was involved with it is very appealing.  It is indeed a dreamy song full of things you would expect an 11-year-old girl to dream about, which is what I love about it.
  4. “Ombra mai fu” by George Frideric Handel – The vocal entrance that Jackie makes after the intro is one of the many reasons to love her performance of this piece.  In addition, she demonstrates great control over her voice by showcasing her ability to hit a broad range of notes with a great sense of pitch while making it seem effortless.
  5. “A Mother’s Prayer” by David Foster, Carol Bayer Sager – This piece has been performed many different ways by many different artists.  Typically performed as a duet, Jackie Evancho and Susan Boyle team up to record this piece.  Although the recording was made using “studio magic” to combine Jackie and Susan’s voices to form the duet, it is masterfully done and is a joy to hear.
  6. “Somewhere” by Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim – Another amazing use of “studio magic” to combine the voices of Jackie Evancho and the legendary Barbra Streisand.  Jackie and Barbara complement each other very well in this piece.
  7. “All I Ask of You” by Charles Hart, Andrew Lloyd-Webber, Richard Stilgoe – For anyone who has followed Jackie Evancho, this piece should have special meaning since it is from “The Phantom of the Opera” — one of the reasons why Jackie became inspired to sing.  Starting at age 8, she began singing songs from the musical and it eventually lead to where she is today.  You can sense the passion that she has for this piece when she sings.
  8. “When You Wish Upon a Star” by Leigh Harline, Ned Washington – An all time Disney classic.  At first I though this piece was a bit beneath the skills of Jackie until I listened to it.  She treats this piece with an equal level of grace as the more complex works that she performs.  I believe that Disney could use this as their headline rendition, it is that good!
  9. “Angel” by Sarah McLachlan – Although this comes in at the bottom of the list (something has to when you rate things), I think this is another fine performance by Jackie that deserves accolades for sure.  Although I personally feel that Jackie is better suited for classics as opposed to pop music, she still does a wonderful job with this piece and I can understand why it was chosen for her to perform — she has the voice of an angel and it is only fitting for her to sing it.

As I said earlier, I am not a paid promoter, nor am I a professional music critic.  I am just a simple man who has been impressed beyond belief by the wonderful gift of music that God has allowed me to enjoy.  I think that Jackie is heaven-sent and I truly cherish what she has done so far.  I can’t wait to see what she does next.

To see one of my favorite reviews of “Dream with Me”  and of her other releases  on Amazon, click here.

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. OldGoat34
    Oct 03, 2011 @ 05:41:56

    You need to get the Target deluxe edition that also has Someday,Mi Mancheria,Impossible Dream,and a glorious A Time For Us besides the tracks you rated.You won’t be disapointed


    • varnk
      Oct 03, 2011 @ 18:52:11

      You are so right! The new release came out after I got my copy of Dream With Me. I will be purchasing it too and will maybe add the additional tracks to my list. I am sure it will totally throw me into putting together a whole new order (if that wasn’t hard enough the first time). Like I had said before it is hard to rank Jackie’s music because everything she sings is incredible!


  2. Joe Merkt
    Oct 03, 2011 @ 16:01:32

    Beautiful description! We all have such a personal reaction to Jackie and her music that it is impossible to take exception to your ranking of her songs. “The Lord’s Prayer” is, to me, one of the most astounding renditions of this peice that I have ever heard. While Jackie is singing the final line of “Lovers’ you can hear the emotion; mixed love and longing and joy and sadness. It is beyond belief. I’ve come to love “Nella Fantasia” and “Ombra Mai Fu”. She performs “Nella Fantasia” with such emotion amd beauty that I forget that she is only 11. How can she do that? “Ombra Mai Fu” is just a vocal tour de force. Pure, powerful, perfect!

    I could go on but, suffice it to say, that Dream With Me will have a place on my iPod and in my CD player forever!


  3. Anonymous
    Oct 03, 2011 @ 21:44:03

    ►► Excellent reviews… look forward to your observations on ‘Someday’, ‘Mi Mancheria’, ‘The Impossible Dream’, ‘A Time For Us’, and ‘Danny Boy’.
    ▬▬ This young lady never ceases to amaze her legions of fans around the world… but can you imagine her family and those in her close orbit.


    • varnk
      Oct 04, 2011 @ 13:44:50

      Thanks for commenting. I am actually listening to some of these (“Mi Mancheria” and “Someday”) while I am typing this reply and I can hardly contain myself. I am so choked up that I cannot even come up with words to describe them!


  4. Ian Lawton
    Oct 13, 2011 @ 17:34:21

    Very well said! I can certainly understand how you’d feel compelled to share your feelings about the incredible Jacqueline Marie Evancho, and I thank you for doing so in this blog. Please join us on her Fan Club (accessed from her main web page, via the Community Tab) as I think you’ll find many others who feel about her the way that you do, myself included. Welcome to the club. We all love and adore this amazing little (young) person. I certainly agree that she is heaven-sent. She’s already bringing peace and love to millions across the globe in just the short time of her nascent career. You may have heard recently that she’s now going to be gracing the big screen in Robert Redford’s upcoming movie – The Company You Keep. I think she’ll excel at acting also. If you haven’t seen her brief tv appearance on the Wizards of Waverly Place, you should check out her incredibly cute, albeit brief performance, which you can find on You-Tube. She nailed her speaking parts (and of course her singing part).


  5. Everett Cox
    Mar 13, 2012 @ 04:36:20


    Nice blog Ken thanks for the link in chat tonight I didn’t know you had this.


  6. Everett Cox
    Mar 20, 2012 @ 23:06:54

    BTW you should change the spelling of “Nesum Dorma”. It is spelled Nessun.


  7. Dana Miller
    Jul 27, 2013 @ 13:54:35

    Hello Everyone:

    My Dad and I went to see Jackie’s “Dream With Me” Tour When she came to Lincoln Center On 11.7.11 as a Christmas Gift. We were surrounded by other Jackie Fans all waiting to see the show .

    Then For Christmas that same year We bought her “Dream With Me”Album which is absolutely gorgeous and we also bought her First PBS Special “Dream With Me In Concert DVD Which I watched on PBS When it First Came out and it is absolutely gorgeous


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