Andrea Bocelli, I think must be one of my favourite performers, his voice seems to caress the lyrics of each and every song he performs, whether it be opera, pop, easy listening or film music. His unique vocals are instantly recognisable and seem to get right to one’s core. He creates emotions that one thought you would never feel, sadness, happiness and inspirational feelings all come to the surface when one hears his beautiful voice. A while back he released an album entitled CINEMA which surprisingly contained vocal versions of some of the most influential film themes of the 20th and thus far the 21st Centuries. He also included songs from the movies and musicals that had made it to the big screen. This is a wonderful collection of familiar and maybe not so familiar melodies, all of which have been given the Bocelli treatment. Composers who have themes featured on the album include, Nino Rota, Ennio Morricone, Henry Mancini, Luis Bacalov, Maurice Jarre, Hans Zimmer, Nicola Piovani, Francis Lai and Armando Trovajoli.
These entries include, CINEMA PARADISO, SCENT OF A WOMAN, BREAKFAST AT TIFFANYS, THE GODFATHER, LOVE STORY, GLADIATOR, DOCTOR ZHIVAGO and ONE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA, the songs are not performed by Bocelli alone, in some instances he shares the vocal performance with artists such as Ariana Grande, Nicole Sherzinger and Veronica Barti. Supported by a full orchestra with most of the performance being covered by the string section that are supported by piano, who treat us to sweeping and majestically lush passages as well as fragile and poignant set pieces which send shivers up one’s spine.
ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA is I think one of Ennio Morricone’s most emotive themes, and the vocal version here performed by Andrea Bocelli and Ariana Grande is in a word stunning. When E PIU TI PENSO begins its as everything has been shut out apart from the vocals and the strings. The strength of Bocelli’s performance is perfectly complimented by the soft and flawless voice of Grande, it is a match made in heaven and is a sheer delight and a performance that stuns and affects in a great way. It was this song that drew me to the compilation, after all the combination of these two voices and the music of Morricone surely could not disappoint anyone.
I have to say that the remainder of the album is just as polished and entertaining, Bocelli performing THE MUSIC OF THE NIGHT from PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, BE MY LOVE from THE TOAST OF NEW ORLEANS and BRUCIA LA TERRA which is the vocal version of the theme from THE GODFATHER and a fantastic take on LOVE IS A MANY SPLENDOURED complete with surging strings, and whistling. There are also some surprises in the form of vocal renditions of LOVE STORY, IL POSTINO, LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL and SCENT OF A WOMAN.
The arrangements are perfect, and the music combined with Bocelli’s alluring voice just washes over the listener. Not a soundtrack in the true sense of the word, but this is worth a listen as it is not only entertaining and performed to perfection, but it is a collection of songs that will I know evoke memories of when film music was not only inventive but also themeatic and melodic.