Our Advertisers Represent Some Of The Most Unique Products & Services On Earth!


Exciting New Lanza CD
From Sony Masterworks

From Derek Mannering
In November 2008, Mario's daughter Ellisa and I met with Sony Masterworks in New York to discuss future additions to her father's CD catalogue. The meeting was long and very fruitful and we came away secure in the knowledge that 2009 would indeed be a banner year for Mario Lanza on Compact Disc.
We were advised on arrival that Sony was planning a new "Lanza Greatest Hits" CD for release in March 2009. I offered some suggestions for the track listing and as most of you know, the CD is now available online and in stores. The really great news came next when we were informed that one of my CD proposals had also been approved for development by the company. Sony was excited at the prospect of a new Lanza compilation featuring a number of rare and previously-unreleased recordings, and a release date was scheduled for September 29, 2009.
With CD sales in a staggering decline over the past decade ­ 40-50% by some estimates ­ it has become more and more difficult to persuade record companies to devote time and money to specialized projects like this. I am delighted to report that Sony has done Lanza's recorded legacy proud with this wonderful new compilation.
The title chosen by Sony for the new CD is SERENADE ­ A MARIO LANZA SONGBOOK and it features 22 glorious performances, recorded (with one exception) between 1949 and 1952 when Mario's voice was at it its absolute best. 7 previously unreleased recordings are included here along with several first-time-on-CD selections. All of the tracks, including the previously issued material, have been reproduced from the original master tapes (or closest available source) in some of the best audio quality I have heard on a Lanza CD. Terry Robinson provided the record company with photos from his private collection and as you can see from the beautiful album cover, this will be a standout package in every way.
The following are the songs featured on the new CD; selections marked with an asterisk (*) indicate recordings previously unreleased by the record company. I usually let the track listing speak for itself, but this exceptional compilation warrants some comments:
This is Mario's terrific one-take recording for RCA, making its debut here on a major Lanza CD. It's a classic recording in every way and the perfect opener to the collection.
2. Toselli's SERENADE (*) (Coke Show):
The immediacy of Mario's voice is the first thing that hits you here and it's lovely to have this "new" recording included on the compilation; exciting stuff indeed.
Was there ever a more sublime recording by Mario than this? The Coke Show version is not too shabby either, but this is the stand-alone classic, finally receiving a worldwide release on CD.
This is Mario's first great performance of the song for RCA recorded in 1949 and an appropriate selection for the new album.
5. DICITENCELLO VUIE (*) (Coke Show):
Lanza fans have been waiting patiently for this to show up on disc and here it is at last. Comparisons will undoubtedly be made between this passionate performance and the more sedate version on the great MARIO! CD, but at least we now have both recordings to choose from.
6. VALENCIA (Coke Show):
I chose this in part because I wanted to highlight the warmth and charm of Mario's spoken introductions. His famous "smile-in-the-voice" is on full display here and for someone coming to the Lanza magic for the first time (a goal of this new release) this brings an added appreciation of the singer's many gifts. It's a fun track, too, sounding even better than the cut on the "When Day Is Done" CD.
7. FENESTA CHE LUCIVE (*) (Coke Show):
See comments for 5 above ­ another rare treat for the new CD and another one to draw comparison with the version of the song on the MARIO! album.
8. LA SPAGNOLA (Coke Show):
One more "most wanted" track, here receiving its official release on CD; a great and joyous recording, with the singer at the top of his game
9. SANTA LUCIA LUNTANA (*) (Coke Show):
This is the radio show broadcast performance and is far superior to the faster-paced alternate take included on the "Don't Forget Me" collection. Lanza's singing is quite lovely here.
10. SIBONEY (Coke Show):
This has a delightful spoken introduction by Mario, different to the one he did on the radio broadcast of 12/31/51. It's great to have it on a major release at last and again: presented in the best sound you've ever heard.
11. NON TI SCORDAR DI ME (Coke Show):
As I mentioned in the liner notes, Lanza really breaks your heart with this performance. It sounds even better than earlier pressings, too.
I had hoped to present Take 2 of this recording here, but the one pulled from the archives turned out to be identical to the original version. It's a small mystery that I hope yet to resolve, but no apologies necessary for including it on the list; this is the definition of a Lanza classic and the most exciting performance ever of this great song.
The swoon factor continues with this utterly romantic recording, a perfect companion to the other tracks on the collection.
14. MUSICA PROIBITA (Coke Show):
First heard on Jeff's great compilation, "I'll See You In My Dreams," this lovely recording is now part of Sony's official Lanza CD catalogue.
15. BESAME MUCHO (Coke Show):
The warmth and immediacy in his singing here is striking and it also features a charming (if rather goofy) introduction by Mario.
16. OH, NIGHTS OF SPLENDOR (*) (Coke Show):
Another "new" track, this one taken from the actual Coke Show broadcast; it's light and pleasant and offers the listener a chance to cool down from all the vocal thrills that have come before.
This is another stunning one-take Lanza classic, here receiving a major label release for the first time.
18. SENZA NISCIUNO (*) (Coke Show):
One more "new" recording to delight the fans and one that will surely prompt spirited debate as to which recording of the song ('52 or '59) is the better version.
19. AY-AY-AY (Coke Show):
Sheer joy from start to finish, it's impossible to think of it sung better than this.
A Neapolitan song written by an Irishman ­ how could I not include this? This is Lanza at his romantic best and the pristine remastering is glorious.
21. BECAUSE (*) (RCA):
Here's one you probably weren't expecting to see on the list, Mario's 1950 recording of this classic ballad with Ray Sinatra conducting and (presumably) arranging. Mario re-recorded this song several months later with Costa Callinicos on the podium and a completely different arrangement. This release marks its official debut on record.
And finally drum roll please
One of the most requested of all hard-to-find Lanza recordings finally finds its way to Compact Disc. This is the complete Italian/English version of the popular song recorded in Rome in 1957 and it sounds exquisite. Even the tenor's slight vocal wobble on that last note is barely noticeable. One interesting bit of information did come to light while we were working on this track. When the researcher pulled the master tape and accompanying documents, the conductor for the session was revealed as Constantine Callinicos and not George Stoll, who had previously been credited on a 45 single of the song released back in the 1960s. Stoll had conducted the orchestra on the movie version of the song a few months before, so it's easy to see how the mistake was made. It's nice to finally give credit to Costa for his excellent conducting on this recording, albeit a half-century later.
So there you have it: 22 fabulous Lanza performances on one marvelous new CD. I have been involved with many official Mario Lanza compilations over the years, including two ­ THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION and THE DEFINITIVE COLLECTION ­ that topped the classical charts in the U.K., but this wonderful new album from Sony Masterworks is in a class of its own.
SERENADE ­ A MARIO LANZA SONGBOOK will be released on September 29, 2009. So, in the words of another great Italian-American singer, start spreading the news!
Donate to Rense.com
Support Free And Honest
Journalism At Rense.com
Subscribe To RenseRadio!
Enormous Online Archives,
MP3s, Streaming Audio Files, 
Highest Quality Live Programs


This Site Served by TheHostPros