My Dear Young Gentlemen of Il Volo,
You have been honored with many important awards and many more will certainly come your way. However, your truest award will always be the one we, The Il Volo Flight Crew, give you every time we hear your voices, see your handsome faces or read your accomplishments. It is the knowledge that we will love and support you to the end of time. If there was a greater award we would give that too.
You may not know us, but we know you well, from the freckle on the end of Ignazio’s nose to the scar on Gianluca’s cheek. We knew you before your countrymen. We knew you when you had curls. To us you are family, to some of us sons or grandsons, to others best friends or heart throbs. We know your families, your friends, your supporters and your critics. More, we know your visions, your morals, your values and your goals. Our support for them is unending. Above all, we know your songs.
This is not an award that was voted on. There were no polls. There was only our time with you and our pride in your talent and in yourselves.
Honor this award, Gentlemen of Il Volo. Hang it above the others.
In Faithful Love and Devotion,
The Flight Crew
Il Volo – February 2015
Sanremo Grande Amore – An album of winners !!!
I mean that literally and figuratively. These songs are great songs and thus “winners” in that sense. In addition, most of these songs have won the Sanremo Music Festival in some previous year. The songs are winners and now, so are our guys !!!
This album includes:
Grande Amore by Francesco Boccia and Ciro Esposito
Ancora by Eduardo de Crescenzo
Vacanze Romane by Matia Bazar
Canzone per te by Sergio Endrigo
Piove by Domenico Modugno
Romantica by Renato Rascel
L’immensitá by Don Backy
Grande Amore, of course, is the prize winner of Sanremo 2015 that each of us Il Volo fans can practically sing from memory. A rather challenging song with a melody that is not, at first, easy to take in. But in the long run, that makes it very memorable. If I were going to choose a competition piece I could not have thought of a better one. All of the technical aspects which are on my usual list: tone quality, intonation (singing in tune), projection, breath control, vowel shaping and tone colour, etc. are here in spades. Beautiful performance.
Ancora is a more easily accessible song with a refrain melody that teaches itself it is so beautiful. Ignazio had a field day with the final refrain and add in a wonderful sax solo – really a duet – very dynamic. Even a vocal purist has to admit that adding in a little “raspy tone” to that sound at times gives an earthy feel to the sound that expands the color. It is hard on the voice so you don’t want to do it too often. This song was originally sung by the composer and won the 1981 Sanremo Music Festival.
Vacanze Romane In so many ways is a poem to the city of Rome and the pain that love can bring when you sense that the relationship is on troubled footing. The melody is lyric and somewhat bitter at the same time.
Canzone per te a beautiful song for the guys and a definite indication of maturity. This song was originally performed by the composer when it won the 1968 Sanremo Festival !
Piove was the 1959 winner of the Sanremo Music Festival where it was sung by the composer. Sometimes the song is known as “Ciao, Ciao Bambina” In spite of its interesting marcato rhythms indicating something else, it is really a dramatic ballad of a man whose love is about to leave him. He asks her to not look back when she does because he still loves her.
Romantica was performed by the composer and won the 1960 Sanremo Music Festival. The song has been recorded by a number of famous European singers as well as a few American singers. The text deals with the inspiration that the man feels from his girl, his muse, is “romantic spirit”
L’immensitá this song took 9th place at the 1967 Sanremo Music Festival where it was performed by Johnny Dorelli,
Quality of singing on the recording:
Overall, this is an exciting album for Il Volo fans because it gives us a sense of a new maturity of sound and feeling from our guys. As mentioned under the song Grande Amore, the technical aspects of the their singing is, as usual, of the highest quality.
As with any album there are a few issues but they are so minor. If I were to be really picky I would ask why Gianluca uses a darker, covered sound in a couple of the songs. As he starts out on those songs it is rather hard to know it is him singing. I was also concerned because in two other songs it sounds to me as though he is singing with a cold – that is with head congestion. It does not hurt his performance like a bad throat would. In fact, he sounds wonderful but with the extra resonance that head congestion creates. Having listened to him almost everyday for the past four years you get to know his sound and I have heard him with a cold in the past. His range and his tonal richness is getting deeper and deeper as he ages ( I still refuse to believe that he is 20 ! My age-ridden vanity tells me he is only 17 yrs but my ears say he is 28yrs,) This summer and fall we saw this young man get so deep into a song that he had tears in his eyes. Look at the incredible song “Caruso” and watch how all three always take this song very seriously – especially Gianluca to the point of tears. Also, I think of the first performance of Grande Amore at the San Remo Festival. He could not contain himself- passion of the song plus overwhelming audience response plus his birthday = too much and then tears. I love it. We all need that kind of passion.
For Piero there are a couple of places where the breath control gets a little on the thin side but he more than makes up for that minor item with a new and broader tone placement that hints to me that he has been doing more and more work with his opera voice teacher. What a sound. I wonder how many of you hear that broader sound ? After all he is going to be 22yrs old soon. He is letting a little more that Ginoble perfectionism rub off on him. I don’t want to have him leave Il Volo but I do hope he gets time to do opera as he wants.
Ignazio still makes those high notes soar into the heavens with great beauty. However, there are a few places on this album where he pushes a bigger sound almost to the point of over-singing. I listened to these songs 3 or 4 times. He is careful and does not get there, of course, because in the recording studio you can stop and do it again. But as they go out on tour I would caution him to be careful to not over sing on some of those dramatic phrases. This guy gets so involved in his concert singing (live audience) that sometimes he can’t contain himself. It is fun to watch him in the Taormina concerts. He almost looks like he needs to be “nailed” to the floor, he shows so much passion. What a great guy.
My worry as a voice coach and friend is the same for all three of these guys: with a season of over 60 concerts coming your way take care and not over do so that you protect that precious voice that is, after all, your life and career and, for us fans, a valued treasure.
The album production:
I had this complaint for the Sanremo Festival performances and now the album: The man that controls the sound board – the producer and sound tech – is leaning too heavy on bass guitar balance and bass drum vis-a-vis the rest of the orchestra. On certain songs that factor is so dominant that the voices get covered too much and even other orchestra instruments are sidelined. It does not happen all the time but sometimes it covers a complete phrase. If you go back to the “We are Love” album you find that album is nearly perfect in blend and balance. I think maybe with a new company – Sony Latin and new album producer that is pushing for his idea of a different sound. Strange thing is that the video of the Grande Amore is just fine (I listened to this comparison three times to be sure).
I was informed around Christmas that Il Volo spent last summer and fall recording 16 songs. Where are they? I do not like this scheme of releasing “partial albums” and then later releasing the whole thing. I wish they would just release the whole thing at the same time.
This album features Italian but I had heard that they also did record some English songs and another French song. I hope that is true. While I love Italian songs (believe me, I do) I feel they should try to stay with the international concepts and standards that they have used since the beginning. They are famous for being international – English, Spanish, French, German, and Italian and this year maybe another language ?
Ok now what ? I do hope (as I have said many times before) that they will get to the USA and keep developing this audience by doing concerts, TV shows such as all the talk shows and entertainment shows ( Talk, Tonight, Letterman, Kimmel, Ellen, Today, GMA Kelly and Michael Live, etc. etc, ) and add more cities to the mix. I know they are doing a PBS special from the ruins of the ancient Caracalla Baths in Rome for broadcast in the USA later this year and that will be great. Exciting place now used as a summer concert venue and summer home of the Rome Opera. In 1990, the first three tenors opened the place for concerts.
Well, once again, I found next to nothing to fuss over in the work of these guys. They are, I feel, the best music act going. They are the best trained. They choose the best repertoire. They have the most glorious talent. Most of my issues have to do with the technical aspects of orchestra balance and the format of this CD vrs. the next one. I am ready for the full album to be released. But all that aside, when you see them live you partake in an experience of love, romance, music and the presence of the three most charming gentlemen in the business.
Here is a photograph of the crowd in Milan that Piero posted on his twitter. If you look closely you can see that several people have spotted Gianluca “webbing” in to the Piazza Duomo. He’s cleverly just out of the picture. Up until now, this information has been kept secret. But we knew all along that they were Super Hero’s.
Now, which one of you is really Superman?