Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Be My Love: Greatest Performances at Mgm
Genres: Jazz, Special Interest, Pop, Rock, Soundtracks, Classical, Broadway & Vocalists
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Stunning Lanza rarities
D. MCGOVERN | New Zealand | 11/22/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Some of Mario Lanza's soundtrack recordings make a long-awaited debut on CD with this disc. This is a collection of material from the tenor's first four movies, plus the film in which he should have appeared: The Student Prince.
The sound quality on this CD is not up to the standard of most of Lanza's BMG releases, but the disc is still well worth buying for a number of fascinating tracks that are unavailable elsewhere. The greatest of these is All the Things You Are, a recording that was inexplicably cut from the release print of Because You're Mine, Lanza's fourth movie. One of the tenor's most rapturous achievements, this is a vastly superior version to his 1951 radio version (featured on the BMG CD My Romance), and better than his 1956 rendition for the Cavalcade of Show Tunes album. "You are the angel glow that lights a star," he sings, imbuing the word "glow" with a beguiling magic that would disarm even the starchiest of critics. As an example of pure vocal poetry, this rendition is in a class of its own.
Other standouts include The Lord's Prayer - also from Because You're Mine, but here with organ accompaniment only - and the tenor's immortal Serenade from The Student Prince. Although the same rendition as originally released by RCA, Serenade features a lengthy orchestral intro and a markedly different recording mix between singer and orchestra. Lanza aficionados will also note that the men's chorus is further back than on the commercial version, and that Lanza's concluding high B-flat rings out here with greater clarity.
Equally interesting are several recordings from the Great Caruso, some of which are actually alternate takes from the versions used in the movie. Celeste Aida (one of seven takes that Lanza purportedly made of this aria) contains the soundtrack recitative but the aria itself is a different - and more lyrical - rendition. La Donna 'e Mobile is an improvement over the movie take, and Vesti La Giubba offers a tantalizing alternative to the compelling movie version. Bach-Gounod's Ave Maria, on the other hand, *is* the movie take, but the sound quality is better here, with the organ accompaniment noticeably more dominant.
Although not stated in the liner notes, much of the material presented on the disc consists of alternate takes from the movie versions. The differences are, in many cases, subtle ones, with the exception of Beloved from The Student Prince. Here we have a completely different rendition of this passionate song - the very recording, in fact, that led to Lanza's clashes with Curtis Bernhardt, the man originally signed to direct the film. Bernhardt reportedly disliked Lanza's rendition, deeming it over the top for the character of a Prussian Prince. I can now confirm that Herr Bernhardt was right! This is Lanza at his roughest, and his splendid remake a year later was a vast improvement.
Also included here is an impressive Granada, which in some ways betters the tenor's own commercial recording of the song; and a pleasant alternate take of Deep In My Heart, Dear with Ann Blyth.
The liner notes are well-written and largely accurate, and the presentation of the CD (with numerous photos) is most attractive.
Flawed reproduction mars historic CD
Lonnie Barone | Doylestown, PA | 11/23/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"These are all sound track recordings from Lanza's early MGM films. Never before released, they are a true collector's delight. The songs and arias had been released in alternate versions on RCA Red Label records, and usually omitted or replaced the soprano who starred in the respective movies. Here you actually get to hear Kathryn Grayson and Ann Blyth. Unfortunately, the reproduction is extremely variable, due to differing qualities of the available masters.Incidentally, there are two really fabulous cuts: the original, lusty "Beloved," redone for the Movie, The Student Prince, and said to have been a cause of Lanza's serious falling out with his director. The second is a luscious rendition of "All the Things You Are," recorded for Beacause You're Mine but omitted from the movie and never before heard. It is one of Lanza's finest recordings of a love song."
Lanza at his golden best... tracks from his early MGM movies
D. MCGOVERN | 10/11/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Before the release of this CD, I had created a similar program by dubbing the audio tracks of Lanza movies to audio cassette. But here, the audio engineers have produced a far superior product than mine. Included are the great duets with Kathryn Grayson, which have never been relased before, and the fantastic sextet from The Great Caruso. The highlights of these movies are here but, in my opinion, the original tracks for these movies hold additional gems that were not included. Maybe a sequel?"