Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Known as one of the most talented voices in the light classical genre, Andrea Bocelli has undoubtedly brought about international fame. Stepping into the limelight in 1992, Bocelli made his entrance alongside the late Pavarotti. Bocelli has released over five flourishing albums and is now releasing this compilation album 'The Best of Andrea Bocelli,' which also includes four new tracks.
2007 collection, the first ever from this world renowned vocalist, featuring four new tracks previously unavailable on any Bocelli CD: 'La Voce Del Silenzio', 'Dare To Live (Vivere)' (Duet with Laura Pausini), 'A Te' and 'Bellissime Stelle'. Andrea Bocelli's recordings have scanned an astounding 55 million units worldwide. 16 tracks total.
"The songs on this disc don't really lend themselves to traditional critical scrutiny. And, as tempting as it is to take a series of shots at the open goal of Bocelli's musical style, it would probably be more useful to the millions out there who will no doubt buy this album to simply highlight a few pros and cons in the approaches taken.
Yes, most of the arrangements on Vivere would prove mildly offensive to many even if heard spilling from the long bar at the back of a cross-channel ferry. But there are some engaging, even captivating techniques in their arrangements which demonstrate distinct skill: textures are built up slowly and with patience, the harmonic variations verse-to-verse are sometimes imaginative, and the orchestrations - from the string writing to the Bond-esque glissando bass guitar - are occasionally classy.
What might prove disappointing, then, is that even in his 'best of' album, the singer himself frequently fails to match these effects. Despite some vocal 'moments' in "Time to Say Goodbye" and "Vivo per Lei", Bocelli demonstrates a general inability to deliver vocal lines with any sense of drama, colour or direction. The communicative talents of his guests Sarah Brightman, Céline Dion and pianist Lang Lang only serve to highlight this. For vocal contrast he resorts to a more closely-miked gravel-toned delivery, which in a crude edit at 2'26 in "Il Mare Calmo Della Serra" is shunted jarringly up against his standard light vibrato mezzo-forte.
Despite this, the one or two pieces in which the basic musical texture is left to its own devices are the least troublesome. "Besame Mucho", for example: a simple song in the Spanish guitar style which seems sublimely uncluttered and honest against the key-changes, jingly-janglies and beat machines that permeate the rest of the disc. But when decent musicianship is on show, as from the sensitive guitarist in "Besame Mucho" and the evocative flautist in "La Voce Del Silenzo", it's Bocelli who's shown up. Sadly though, those instrumentalists aren't credited - not even in the booklet's small print." -BBC
Lyricists: Eugenio Finardi; Gerardina Trovato; Alberto Testa; Mauro Malavasi; Mogol Audio 2; Andrea Bocelli; Tony Renis; Lucio Quarantotto; Carole Bayer Sager.
Personnel: Andrea Bocelli (vocals); Brandon Winbush, Shawne Jackson, Angela Fisher, Richard Redd, Andrea Jones, Esther Marie Austin, James Chip Burney, Keith Allen , Laura Pausini, Sarah Brightman, Kurt Lykes, Celine Dion (vocals); Paolo Gianolio, Dean Parks (acoustic guitar); Michael Landau (electric guitar); Margherita Graczyk (violin); Paolo Bighignoli (bassoon); Kenny G (soprano saxophone); Guido Corti (horns); Celso Valli (piano, keyboards, programming); Randy Kerber, Walter Afanasieff (piano, keyboards); Lang Lang (piano); Vinnie Colaiuta (drums); Ignazio Orlando, Luca Malaguti, Luca Bignardi (programming).
Audio Mixers: Ignazio Orlando; Maurizio Maggi; Massimo Carpani; Marco Borsatti; Humberto Gatica; Luca Bignardi; Mauro Malavasi.
Audio Remixer: Humberto Gatica.
Recording information: Andrea Bocelli Studio, Tuscany, Italy; Cap Martin; Chartmaker Studios, Los Angeles, CA; Clock Studio, Bologna, Italy; EMI Abbey Road Studios, London, England; Fonoprint Studio, Bologna, Italy; Fonoprint Studios, Bologna, Italy; Record Plant, Hollywood, CA; Sony Studios, Culver City, CA; Studio At The Palms, Las Vegas, NV; Studio Fonoprint, Bologna, Italy; United Music Studios, Monaco; Westlake Audio, Hollywood, CA; Westlake Studios, Hollywood, CA.
Editor: Serse Mai.
Photographer: Simon Fowler .
Arrangers: Joe Amoruso; Mauro Malavasi; Randy Kerber; Walter Afanasieff.
Classical crossover mainstay Andrea Bocelli's first greatest-hits collection to date, released nearly a decade and a half after he made his album debut in 1994, The Best of Andrea Bocelli: Vivere includes many of his best-known songs plus five new recordings exclusive to this compilation. His international breakthrough album, Romanza (1997), is well represented with a few inclusions, including his English-language duet with Sarah Brightman on "Time to Say Goodbye." His most successful album, the classical crossover follow-up effort Sogno (1999), is likewise well represented with a few inclusions, including his English-language duet with Celine Dion on "The Prayer." Later albums Cieli di Toscana (2001) and Amore (2006) are also represented with a couple inclusions on The Best of Andrea Bocelli: Vivere. The five new recordings exclusive to Vivere include "La Voce del Silenzio"; "Dare to Live (Vivere)," a duet with Italian pop star Laura Pausini; "A Te," which features Kenny G on saxophone; "Io Ci Sarò," a David Foster co-write that features Lang Lang on piano; and "Bellissime Stelle." While many of the songs compiled on Vivere are no doubt already familiar (if not overly familiar) to Bocelli fans, especially those from Romanza and Sogno, the new recordings are substantial enough to make this compilation a rewarding listening experience for fans regardless of its redundancies. As for neophytes, Vivere is an ideal introduction to Bocelli's classical crossover work. While Romanza and Sogno are still great entry points and are perhaps the better albums from the standpoint of stylistic consistency, the wide range of musical styles showcased on Vivere makes it a great summary of Bocelli's album output to date. ~ Jason Birchmeier
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