I suppose when I think about it, it probably was not the music of Maurice Jarre that was the first actual film music that I heard as a child, but the voice of Mario Lanza. I say this because I remember the collection of 78rpm discs that my Father had in the highly polished dark wood radio-gram that stood in the corner of the living room. I especially recall a couple of discs with songs from THE STUDENT PRINCE on them and these were always favourites of mine when they were played most Sunday mornings, plus songs by Frankie Laine. But it was Mario Lanza that I remember best his voice I thought was rich and full and also had such power but also possessed warmth and an attraction that just made one feel as if all was well and safe. SERENADE again from the STUDENT PRINCE was I think the song I most associate with the singer and it was this that was also the most played in our household. I also then remember seeing the movie and being told by my Father Lanza was not in the film, they just dubbed his voice onto the soundtrack, which at the age of 6 or 7 did not make a lot of sense but all I knew was I liked the voice and the movie was pretty good too. This collection of evergreen songs has been put together by Sony Masterworks and Turner Classic Movies. MARIO LANZA–THE TOAST OF HOLLYWOOD, is spread over two discs, the first being entitled A TENOR AT THE MOVIES and the second going under the heading of A TENOR IN LOVE. The compilation features some of Lanza’s most iconic and memorable songs which are taken from the movies, THE SEVEN HILLS OF ROME, THE GREAT CARUSO, FOR THE FIRST TIME, THE STUDENT PRINCE, BECAUSE YOU’RE MINE and THE TOAST OF NEW ORLEANS to mention just a few. Although the tenor had a successful career and also certainly lived life to the maximum, he died early at the age of just 38. Compact disc one, includes many of the songs that the singer made popular and are taken from the soundtracks to the entertaining MGM musicals that he was involved with. These include the timeless classic, BE MY LOVE, taken from the soundtrack of THE TOAST OF NEW ORLEANS. Penned by Nicholas Brodzsky and Sammy Cahn, this beautiful song became Lanza’s signature tune. The collection also includes a commanding performance of the dramatic and highly charged GRANADA, which is one of the stand out moments from BECAUSE YOUR MINE. Amongst the Hollywood hits are operatic arias and performances which include LA DONNE E MOBILE from RIGOLETTO, LIBIAMO NE’LIETI CALCI from LA TRAVIATA and CHE GELIDA MANINA from LA BOHEME. Compact disc two is brimming to overflowing with songs per amore, all of which were especially recorded for the MARIO LANZA radio show, which was broadcast during 1951 and through into 1952. The compilation also features a number of tracks that are introduced by the singer and also has a handful of songs that have not been previously released.
Such as DAY IN DAY OUT, I, LL NEVER LOVE YOU; I LOVE THEE, LOLITA and A VUCCHELLA. The collection includes songs written by some of the most influential composers and lyricist and Lanza puts his imitable stamp upon songs such as, THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE FREE, IF I LOVED YOU, YOU,LL NEVER WALK ALONE and MAKE BELIEVE.
This is in my opinion a wonderful collection of 30 tracks from a tenor who died too young and also singer that made classics popular and made each and every lyric that he performed special and memorable. TCM will celebrate the voice of Mario Lanza later this year when they screen, five movies on Wednesday September 18th. These will be, commencing at 8pm. THE SEVEN HILLS OF ROME, at 10pm,FOR THE FIRST TIME, at midnight, THE GREAT CARUSO, at 2 am THE STUDENT PRINCE and at 4am, BECAUSE YOUR MINE. So set the recorder and enjoy.