Music of the Gods— "Never Till Now": A New Compilation of Mario Lanza At His Best in English Song

Derek McGovern's picture
Submitted by Derek McGovern on Sat, 2016-01-09 14:19
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 I'm delighted to report that UK-based Sepia Records will soon be releasing yet another Mario Lanza CD compilation: Never Till Now, a collection of some of the man's finest recordings in English. Armando Cesari (author of Mario Lanza: An American Tragedy), Vincent Di Placido, Lee Ann Cafferata and I were the compilers, and the material that we've chosen spans most of Lanza's commercial recording career. 

This is actually the fourth CD that Sepia has entrusted us to compile, and it comes hot on the heels of Greatest Operatic Recordings, My Italian Soul (a collection of Neapolitan and Italian songs), and Greatest Operatic Recordings, Vol. 2, all of which were released in 2015. Once again, we're celebrating Lanza at his best in a particular musical genre—in this instance, operetta and ballads—and the succession of veritable gems on this disc include some of the tenor's most famous recordings in English, such as "Serenade" from The Student Prince and the rip-roaring "Without a Song," along with some relative rarities. And in a nod to the esteemed host of this site, whose cries in the seeming wilderness were duly noted, we've even restored Lanza's inimitable spoken introductions to three of the recordings featured here.

Of course, I realize that not everyone likes hearing an opera singer singing lighter material. That's understandable, for many of them do sound terribly stilted or unidiomatic in English-language songs. But not Lanza. As I observe in the liner notes,  

When singing songs in English, he never sounded like an opera singer slumming it; rather, his was a completely natural approach that combined an astonishingly beautiful voice with poetic phrasing, instinctive musicality, exemplary but unaffected diction, and a sincerity that transcended the often-overblown arrangements or occasional corniness of his material.

Moreover, when he felt that the song required it, Lanza could croon with the best of them, as we hear in, say, “Begin the Beguine,” or produce a brilliant high B-flat seemingly from nowhere, as he does, for example, in “I’ll Be Seeing You.” Little wonder that Frank Sinatra reportedly marvelled of Lanza’s versatility: “That kid can sing like me, but I can’t sing like him!”

The CD will be available from Sepia Records by mid-February, and from March 4th everywhere else. 


Greg

Neil Parille's picture

Thanks for the insightful comment and happy new year to you as well.

Early signs of madness?

gregster's picture

Neil, both posts had little relevance. Have you lost your navigation skills? Is the psychological toll of attempting to take down PARC becoming apparent?

Left Wing Czech President Has More Brains Than Yaron Brook

Neil Parille's picture

"Let them have their culture in their countries and not take it to Europe, otherwise it will end up like Cologne," he added, referring to the mass New Year's Eve assaults on women in Germany and elsewhere.

"Integration is possible with cultures that are similar, and the similarities may vary," pointing out that the Vietnamese and Ukrainian communities had been able to integrate into Czech society.

Zeman, a 71-year-old leftwinger and the first-ever directly elected president of the Czech Republic, has repeatedly spoken out against the surge of migrant and refugee arrivals in Europe.

Earlier this month, Zeman claimed the influx was masterminded by Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood which uses money from several states to finance it in a bid to "gradually control Europe".

Late last year, Zeman called the surge in refugee numbers "an organised invasion," urging young men from Iraq and Syria to "take up arms" against the Islamic State (IS) group instead of running away.

Mario Lanza, Syrians, Italian-Americans and Flash Mob Rapists

Neil Parille's picture

This was a recent op-ed by Roger Cohen on the New York Times:

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For everyone — from Donald Trump to rightist parties in Germany and Sweden — itching to close borders, the sexual assaults on women in Cologne on New Year’s Eve have become the great I-told-you-so moment. Germany last year admitted 1.1 million refugees and asylum seekers, of whom close to 40 percent are Syrian. That’s a huge number. Sweden’s admission last year of up to 190,000 refugees is also substantial, relative to its population.

In small towns, when hundreds of newcomers abruptly arrive, social tensions are inevitable. Far-right forces — Germany’s Pegida movement or the Sweden Democrats — believe they can benefit.

* * *

Immigration is a challenge but also a measure of the confidence of a society, its preparedness for self-renewal. That confidence is low in America right now. “The dignity of a person is untouchable” — so begins Germany’s postwar Constitution, with words drawn from bitter experience. Merkel has shown the conviction that this idea can eventually be absorbed by everyone now in Germany. She will be vindicated.

The United States, between the 1880’s and 1924, admitted about 4 million Italian immigrants. As Leon Wieseltier, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, observed to me, “We got Enrico Fermi, Frank Sinatra, Joe DiMaggio, Antonin Scalia — and Al Capone. Who in their right mind would suggest that the Italian immigration was not a great blessing for our country?”

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My Italian-American ancestors were flash mob rapists because of some "social tensions"!

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