… are the personages in this "Christmas Cantata" written in 1712 for performance at the Vatican. The notes with the CD suggest a burden of historical and political allusions in the libretto, quite interesting in their way but utterly imperceptible to modern ears. Really, the recitativos and arias of Caldara's Vaticini di Pace sound remarkably like Handel - the same broad but expressive melodies, the same robust instrumental accompaniment, the same treatment of the voice as a thing apart from the instruments, so unlike the hard-to-sing instrument-like vocal lines of JS Bach. To listeners of 1712, of course, it would have been vice-versa, Handel who sounded like Caldara, since Caldara was fifteen years older and well established.
For most artists recording a Christmas record is a convenient stop-gap in between releasing new material. In Peter Cetera's case this doesn't ring true as it has been a while since we last heard from one of soft rock's most distinctive crooners. You Just Gotta Love Christmas brings to the table everything you'd expect from a Peter Cetera record: lush, pleasant arrangements with crisp, warm, polished production and able musicanship from a crew of veteran session players. It's a mix of holiday favorites mixed in with a few originals and some guest appearances from Alison Krauss and Peter's daughter Claire; who is more than up to the task of singing with her father on two of the album's 12 tracks. Cetera and Chicago fans will no doubt enjoy having this on in the background during the holidays.