I was one of the very first writers to write columns for the Flight Crew and I always enjoyed doing it and I always was proud of the fact that many you would write comments and some would email me when they wanted to. The last time I wrote an article of any length was for the wonderful “Notte Magica” program – both the PBS presentation and the CD. Since then I was always waiting for a new album and/or a new PBS show. Well the Latin American songs were MP3 and digital download. I do CD’s (as old fashioned as that is) but I did listen to the songs they recorded in Miami with Emilio Estefan. I did not write an article then because I was told there would be a CD eventually. Well, so far ? ? ? I really ended up worried about the challenges that the boys were putting their voices through. The songs were each very similar to the next but I did like some of those songs. My problem was the stress and extreme tight throat they were developing in the recording process.
Now we skip ahead to right now. Good news. In the process of preparing for this new album they must have gone back to working with their vocal coaches (always the foundation to the incredible sound these guys produce). I sent an email to Barbara Vitali this afternoon and asked about vocal coaches and hope to get an answer soon. Bottom line is that each guy has progressed in spite of the extremes of some of those previous songs. The other factor is that I really do like the songs on this album. Good for them!
Gianluca: In some of these songs the approach to vowels starts out a little closed and tight in the throat. But as he warms up the throat gets more and more free and the size and sound of the vowels is bigger and more rich than ever. As I have said many times in other reviews, this is the finest baritone working the professional music world today and he sings Latin, Broadway, light rock, pop ballads, Italian romantic songs, opera and classical recital songs. He can do it all and do it all superbly!!
Piero: a little bit of the same problem that I think is left over from singing a whole different style of music. But, as with Gianluca, he loosens up and gets rid of the old (sometimes) tight sound and lets it fly free and big. This is an instrument that always was a big instrument and now is bigger.
Ignazio: Listen to him float and soar up and around those high notes. Greatest Lyric tenor working today. I have said that many times before also. There is a way that he and Gianluca can “caress” and “romance” a beautiful phrase of love until the listener falls to the ground in a rush of emotion.
Do you ever listen to these guys and find yourself getting chills up and down your back? Do you ever find yourself having a hard time breathing when they handle the word “subtle” in their singing. Too many young singers cannot sing soft without ending up with a dead sound and they cannot sing loud without screeching their brains out. When our boys sing soft it is with absolute control and beauty – the kind that does send chills out. And they do not just sing with a mindless LOUD. They produce a gorgeous large sound that fills the room without being harsh or formless. That kind of sound can make your heart skip a beat.
So here is where all that vocal work really pays off.
The songs on this CD are:
Musica Che Restaby Gianna Nannini & Emilio Munda & Antonello Carozza
I think all of the Il Volo fans know by now this song was featured for the 2019 Sanremo Festival. I was asked to address the controversy comparing “Musica Che Resta” to “Grande Amore” composed by Francesco Boccia. First of all they are two different songs composed by two different composers. The “fuss” is silly and a waste of time. These are two different songs and each has a special energy and works well for Il Volo. Having listened to “Grande Amore” many times and “Musica che resta” a good number of times I can see where some people would find similarity in the way the piano/softer opening sections layered over fast tempo rhythmic sections would have a “sameness” to them. But they don’t really. Another place where you might find similarity is in the form of the two songs.
This is one place where there is a resemblance but, once again, it is of no importance.
Vicinissimo – more to come later.
Arrivederci Romaby Renato Rascel & Pietro Garinei & Sandro Giovanni
A good number of the “crooners” of the late 40’s, 50’s and 60’s sang this at one time or another. It was used in the movie “Seven Hills of Rome” and it was a hit for Dean Martin and also Mario Lanza, Well you can see the attraction going from Dean to Gianluca and from Mario to Piero.
Gianluca starts out a little tight in the throat but gets more loose as he moves ahead. Piero starts the same – restricted throat but changes as he moves to the next phrase and he is showing off a much more open vowel sound concept. I am anxious to see him in person soon and what how he uses his jaw. Ignazio really makes this song very romantic in the way he works the musical phrase.
A chi mi dice (English=“those who tell me”) by Lars Halvor Jensen & Martin Larsson musicians of Danish background but now live in United Kingdom. This song was featured by their own band.
Fino a quando fa bene –
People (from musical “Funny Girl”) by Julie Styne & Bob Merrill. Funny Girl was a huge Broadway hit back in the mid-1960’s and made Barbara Streisand a star. Then Columbia Pictures made a truly great film of the musical and Streisand, once again, starred. At Oscar time, she ended up in the only tie ever in Best actress with Katharine Hepburn. All you loyal Il Volo fans should know that the boys have always loved her and, better yet, sang with her on her 2012 tour. Great experience for them. They learned a lot from her. This song is her theme song and it works very well for the guys. Each guy is doing his best work on this song. Makes sense since they are loyal to her. Rumor has it she may join them for the PBS program – hope so.
La nave del olvidoby Dino Ramos and Armando Manzanero
This song was a big hit for the famous Mexican singer Jose Jose. Remember IL VOLO singing for him at an awards program because he has lost his voice forever. They sang “El Triste” at that time.
Lontano dagli occhiby Sergio Endrigo and Sergio Bardotti
Be My Loveby Sammy Cahn & Nicholas Brodzsky
Those of us of a certain age (now wait a minute, I did not say the word “old” ) – anyway for those people of that age we all remember what a strong impression was made on us when Mario Lanza sang this song in the movies. Check out the video of “That’s Entertainment” from MGM which is a fantastic collection of many scenes from MGM musicals from the 1930’s to the 1960’s He is very much part of the late 40’s and the 50’s. He was way too young when he died.
Here is another song that I bet Piero loves. I would be interested in finding out in which order these songs were recorded. Certain songs show that the boys have a rather tight throat take a verse or so to get loosened up to a more free sound
When you read my reviews of the past years you will see that the control of their instruments (voice) was always one thing that amazed me for their age and their more pop interests. One note about Sammy Cahn. He is a composer that wrote a lot of Frank Sinatra’s best songs.
La voce del silenzioby Paolo Limiti and Elio Isola
This song was a hit in 1968 from different singers first in Italian and then in English under the title “ Silent Voices” sung by Dionne Warwick
Meravigliosa creatura by Gianna Nannini & Mara Redeghieri
A few more thoughts:
I have been reading that our boys have been getting negative comments for the style of music they do. They seem to get more support here in the USA than they do in Europe (although that is getting better). My thought is that we who stick by the boys no matter what kind of music they do because they are the best and because they show their love in every note – we must always make sure that loyalty gets to them and gets known by them.
I have a feeling that upcoming programs will be just wonderful.