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From Lindsay Perigo -
Jeff Rense's latest 3-CD release is a triumph of love and perseverance. In modern parlance, it is "mind-blowing" to contemplate the time and money that he must have poured into restoring these gems to the best sound possible. He and his technician(s) at Oregon Sound Recording deserve a medal, the highest praise and the widest possible custom.
Exquisitely packaged, with heart-tugging photographs and exhaustive liner-notes by the redoubtable Derek Mannering and Jeff himself, these CDs present the incomparable Mario at his budding, occasionally faltering but always captivating and often dazzling (CD1), and, at least for the most part, at his blooming best (CDs 2 and 3).
Standouts - well, where to start?! The very first track, "A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody" serves startling notice of the high quality thrills in store. There's something irresistible about "Ah, Moon of My Delight," for all Mario's fluffed notes ... and never more so than here. The Hollywood Bowl material is rapturous, the Toronto "Lamento" a revelation (undoubtedly Gigli-influenced) that demonstrates something really fascinating for singing students: the pesky problem Mario was still having at that point with his upper "passaggio," the transition from his middle to upper registers around F-sharp and G (I'd bet my life that he altered the lyrics deliberately in the first stanza so that he could sing "me" and not "vo" on the F-sharp - much easier! Hear the problem he has earlier with "l'oblio TROvar" and you'll see what I mean).
I don't know whether I was just in a frisky mood, but "Marcheta" on CD2, tingling to spine and ear, simply blew me away. And it's great to have, finally, on CD such pearls as "A Vucchella," "La Spagnola," "A Kiss" and "Make Believe."
It is to be hoped that youngsters will hear these performances and realise they are newly privy to, arguably, the greatest vocal talent they will ever hear. Thanks to Mr. Rense's revitalisations, we Lanza veterans can also hear him as though for the first time. My own reaction, sitting back with booklets and Chianti can best be captured in one of the song titles: "My Heart Stood Still."
Tony Partington -
Hey Folks! I am looking forward to checking out this new football playing tenor. I think all would agree that singing is rather "athletic." On another note though, I would like to comment briefly on the 3 new CDs from Jeff. First, BRAVO Jeff!!! I ordered all 3 and was thrilled with each one. The concert and radio CD is perhaps my favorite because it contains rareties and the sund quality is FANTASTIC!. I say this based upon the fact that I have the CD "Great Moments In Music." I'm sure many of you folks have this CD too and while I enjoy it greatly, the sound quality and edits on that CD are, to my mind, somewhat inferior. Jeff's CD, which contains some of the same takes, is by far superior - both in audiophonic quality and editing. It will be interesting to see if Jeff utilizes the TOSCA and OTELLO excerpts from the "Great Moments In Music" broadcasts for his all opera CD (hopefully soon to come out!). The other 2 CDs are wonderful as well and I cherish the selections presented which are new to CD. I also so not mind at all having both editions of "I'll See You In My Dreams." They compliment one another perfectly and it's interesting to compare the remasterings on each. Anyway, to sum it up, again I say BRAVO Jeff! Thank you for this labor of love. It is evident in every track. Ciao!
John van Buyten (Belgium) -
Just received today the 3 new cds, just fantastic. So thank you for this wounderfullwork.
Doug -
Since so many have expressed much pleasure with the new set of CD's from Jeff Rense, I decided to order them....and jaded old musician that I am....I did not expect anything out of the ordinary. I was wrong. The clarity and presence on these discs is amazing. Absolutly remarkable. It sounds as if the recordings had been made last year instead of more than half a century ago. Congratulations and 'mille grazie' to Jeff for a job well done. If you don't have these CD's stop what you're doing right now and and order them!
Rudy Steuns -
I received the CDs last week. They are wonderful! After listening many times I am convinced the quality is the best I have ever heard! I have only one question: Can Mario's voice be as good as I'm hearing? I can think of no other singer who comes close to it! The beauty of the voice is incredible. Thank you so much for what you are doing for Mario and for us all! I don't want to be ungrateful but... do you think there will be more new releases in the near future? I can hardly wait to have more of Mario's songs in the same quality!  Sincerely, Rudy
From Mavis Ashman (UK) -
I received your 3 CD's today (super fast delivery) and have just finished listening to them. WOW - Superb job - I'm amazed at the quality of the sound. Thank you so much.
Edited by author 08-30-2007 01:39 PM
Jeff's new cds arrived today & I have spent my day off today with Mario at full volume (whether the neighbours like it or not!) First of all I have to say it was such a surprise to hear a stereo mix of the Student Prince Serenade, Jeff, could you please post a few words about this!? Did you have access to the original 3 track masters? I loved the mix & without having gone back to the Rhino cd yet I think this is the best I have heard the Serenade. I was very impressed with the sound of the Hollywood Bowl Thine Alone, I heard things in it I hadn't heard before, I have to say though that everytime I hear this I wish I could give Miklos Rozsa a poke, he is competing with Mario & Kathryn rather that accompaying them, anyhoo! I was impressed with the remastering. Your remastering of Non ti scordar di me is very good, I'm glad the mandolins sound a bit more subtle than I have heard before, they can give me a headache. Ah! Moon of my delight is just sublime, best I have heard it. Overall I loved evrything you did BUT, with all due respect, why so many duplications!? Don't get me wrong I am grateful for all you do but it just doesn't make sense when you think of the performances that have been left out. I will never understand the fascination with the Coke Surriento for starters... I look forward to your Operatic Lanza cd, you might keep us informed of your choices & thoughts on that project, we will be buying it after all, please avoid the dodgy Coke Arias, Cielo e mar aside, of course! I was marvelling, as I do everytime I listen to Mario, at just how Beautiful & expressive his voice is! For example, on a corny old number like Marcheta he just sells it completely & unreservedly, I have always loved this recording. Oh! I would have loved a remastered Agnus dei! I must sound very ungrateful and hard to please...
Paul Velda -
Have just read Vince's excellent post on Jeff's new CD's, which I heartily concur with. I too hope with all my heart that Jeff is considering an operatic CD, but I don't want to sound ungrateful for the treasures he has given us. Like Vince, I too heard things I had not heard before especially in the "Chenier", infact all the HB items I found colossal, really superb, and "Ah moon of my delight" filled me up, I almost had to brush away a tear, its that good! I have hardly stopped playing this CD!
Michele (Australia) -
Dear Jeff, This is my first message on Mario's site. Have just reveived my 2 CDs and have spent the afternoon listening to them both. How can I say what I feel about them. I turned 65 in March of this year and have been a total fan of Mario since I was 9 yrs. old. My parents took me to see 'The Great Caruso' one night. The Manager of the theatre made a speech prior to the showing of 'Caruso' to make sure people did not make any noise or talk while the film was on. It might sound crazy but it was all I could do to stop crying while listening to these wonderful CDs. I just wish he had lived longer than he did, as I omagine everyone does. I have sung professionally with the Australian Opera, inspired of course by Mario. I had been with the opera company for 2 years and went for a holiday to Hawaii and met the man whom I would marry 9 months later. Des also thinks Mario is fabulous. My favourite tracks are the Vesti la Guibba and Drigo's Serenade. The Vesti from Pagliacci is fabulous. I thought his Vesti in For The First Time was the best, but this one is the best I've heard. Please, I've seen mention of on Opera CD. Please, please, do it if you can, there are still opera selections from Caruso which have never seen the light of a CD or record. Thank you Jeff, once again.
Theresa -
Jeff - I've just listened to your "Make Believe" CD. Once again, I have nothing but praise for you. The sound is superb, clear as crystal. Mario was in the room singing to me alone. This fine quality is not always available on CDs, but you can be depended on to produce the best that I've heard..and I've heard many, many Lanza CDs. I always enjoy listening to Mario, but your latest labour of love reaches my heart with greater impact than most. I know nothing of the technology involved but even to my untrained ear it is very superior to most. Theresa
Theresa -
Jeff - I have just played "Live Concerts and Radio Performances". Absolutely stunning sound!, What a treat! I'll listen to "Make Believe", next and as soon as it arrives "I'll See You...", You are doing a fantastic job of bringing a sparkling new life to Mario's recordings. These are to be treasured. Thank you so much for devoting so much time and effort in putting the CDs together. Bravo! Theresa
Eugene -
To steal a line from Astaire in Daddy Long Legs, "time cannot dim nor custom stale.. the infinite charm" of the Lanza Voice...and no more ardent an advocate of Mario's vocal splendour has there been than Jeff Rense, whose ML Forum I had the great fortune to stumble upon in early 1997. It is still kicking where other sites have fallen away or else been stifled and muzzled. Which speaks volumes for the determination of the WebHost, Mr. Rense, to keep the ML flag unfurled and fluttering in the musical breeze. And where on earth can you find a sound, albeit eccentric, individual who ventures to make a loss, so as to enable each of Mario's fans to hold a piece of valuable music software at a fraction of its sunk cost? Relish the clearer and sharper vocal declamations of Mario Lanza that scale the heights of passionate intensity and plumb the depths of seductive urgency. These 3 CDs plus his original issue of the "I'll See You In My Dreams" are now on the top of the heap of 52 Lanza CDs accumulated over the years of intense appreciation...and over the 50 years of Lanza bedazzlement.
Paul Velda -
The CD of radio and concert performances arrived today, and I have no words to tell you how much I love it. It is absolutely superb! I have favourites among some of today's tenors but no voice has ever moved me like Mario's. This CD is almost like getting a brand new CD of him. Thank you, Jeff, I am delighted.
Fred Day -
Mike M: Yes, Make Believe (on Jeff's new CD) is the same as on "The Magic Mario" LP, and is the broadcast take. However, Roses of Picardy is a different take without the high ending. And You'll Never Walk Alone is also a different take, making a total of 3 different takes all on CD. Drigo's Serenade is the Coke Show version, slower than the RCA version. Toselli's Serenade is the RCA version, which was previously only on the 3-CD Readers Digest set but now in much better sound on Jeff's CD. The Coke Toselli Serenade has yet to be commercially released. The Coke Show Granada, on Jeff's older CD, has been replaced by the RCA version on Jeff's new CD. And the Coke Show Because has been omitted. It is great to finally have La Spagnola & What Is This Thing Called Love on CD. All 3 of Jeff's new CD's are marvelous!! Best sound yet!! Bravissimo!!
Brad and Sherry Steiger -
Sherry and I are listening with tears streaming down our cheeks.  We cannot pay higher compliment than that.  We can issue a guarantee with the new Lanza CDs that you have produced: If you sit with your loved one and truly listen to the lyrics and feel the energy of that great cosmically directed voice of Mario Lanza, you will begin to fall in love all over again. Regardless of how deeply in love you were before you began to listen to these marvelous songs, you will grow even more firmly and richly in love and gain a new appreciation of one another. Truly, the effect is magical...pure enchantment. A marvelous audio love potion. Satisfaction guaranteed.
Dan Marine -
i just recieved a gift from a very dear long time old friend..jeffs new 3 cds. that generous persons name SHALL remain unknown..thank you you have all the love my heart can give and hold..from what jeff describes many of the recordings were almost in ruin..it was like a war zone and out of rubble a treasure remains...the orchestra announcer etc etc sound dated but then marios voice appears..absolutely georgeous..the lanza at 24 had training yes but realy up untill that point was truly self taught..a diamond that needed polish..the energy overtones etc etc and the marioisms that muriel calls them is there in aboundance..ah moon of my delight i doubt any opera singer would attemt that..mario makes a song out of this with some incredable beatifull mezzo voice singing..then along came enrico rosati and the mario lanza we now know has fully evolved..he sings with weede golden days and then does seranade..a glimpse and hint of what will come 7 short years later which i feel is the greatest singing ever by anyone in the student prince..then the hollywood bowl after rosati..wow rosati said he finaly found that rare piece of wood in mario to build his violin..his strativarius. jeff realy did a great job with nessum dorma - one of the 3 greatest ever recordings of that aria. the duet from butterfly i feel is the best ever and most certainly gives an idea of marios opera performance at new orleans. the first song 'a pretty girl...' brought tears to my eyes..the voice, beauty, energy, enthusiasm and more overtones etc, etc demonstrates what will evolve after rosati's vocal teaching .thanks, jeff, this is the greatest tribute ever to mario..a must...
Martino -
Gary, I can't agree with you more. The sound of these disks give a new presence to the Lanza voice, the likes of which I have never heard before. I've listened to Mario for many years and always felt that he sang to me and to me alone. When I hear these disks I have no doubt I am right. The way Jeff has remastered many of the selections is not only a tribute to technology but to his relentless pursuit of excellence and he should be applauded for that. In fact, I prefer the sound of these disks to 99% of the vocal disks released in recent years - and by a considerable margin at that., I downloaded each disk to my PC at once and will now transfer them to my various portable devices as I intend to take this compilation wherever my travels take me. My Gracenote service does not have these disks in their database yet so I have had to rename each selection prior to downloading. I attempted to issue them a new CD information introduction but it did not take. Perhaps Jeff can do this with several of the more popular disk information services., The Lanza trademark of intimacy with songs, like "My Romance" for example, comes through loud and clear with each word carefully crafted to convey the sentimentality of the songs. In the muddy originals of some of these selections this sense of intimacy by word as well as song is there but not nearly as apparent. Each wonderful and subtle detail he takes with his voice is heard to its best advantage. , The Lanza voice in these disks seems not only more intimate but even more powerful than ever. The ending of O Sole Mio nearly blew me off my chair! I've never heard it like that before. As was indicated in the cd notes, it has never been more obvious that the Lanza voice was not just a great natural instrument - it was a supernatural one. The packaging is first rate as well with wonderful photo covers and excellent notes and pictures. For once, I truly enjoyed reading the notes., Once again I want to congratulate Jeff on another outstanding job. I consider these disks to be essential for any Lanza fan and lover of great singing.
Stephen -
I had a free day today and have listened to all three new CDs. Jeff's new CDs sound terrific. Buy them. Worth the wait since Jeff first started teasing us about them! Even the old radio broadcasts sound improved from what I've heard before. I don't want to get carried away on just one listen, but these CDs are excellent. These were certainly worth getting, even with the obvious duplication of numerous songs I already have. Some of these even sound slightly different ...better? ...fuller?... perhaps...it will take more listening to decide...and I don't have the master tapes to compare them to as Jeff does. Lanza's speaking voice sounds a bit deeper and fuller in the couple of song introductions. Excellent "presence" of his voice on the studio recordings. Extremely clean pressings. Of course, there are some slight static and pops in some of the radio show recordings. I haven't purchased the full "Coke Show" CDs so several of the songs are new to me. The song "Make Believe" (is it from the Coke Shows?) is gorgeous and just about worth the entire cost. Gives the great Howard Keel a run for his money. So is the improved Nessun Dorma from the Hollywood Bowl. The brochures are very nice; the two new ones are 12 pages each compared to the repeated 36-page one for I'll See You in My Dreams., The differences between the same tracks from Jeff's original "I'll See You in My Dreams" and the new release will require more comparison than the few minutes I've had so far. Is the new one more liquid? A little more detailed here or there? I think I hear some differences in the new one's favor, but I don't have a high-end system and I have old ears. I'm sure Jeff would not have remastered some of these songs if there weren't considerable improvements. The new pressing seems essentially perfect; on first listen I noticed zero glitches, whereas I noted several on the original. The new one has four new songs, but has apparently dropped one, "Because." At least, I don't see it. This gives 26 tracks compared to 23 for the original release. The dropping of Because is not explained, but I don't think there would be enough room for 27 tracks as the total recorded time is just short of 120 minutes, which I believe is the maximum that can be recorded on a CD. There is also an alternative take replacement for one song that Jeff prefers to his original. The brochure is the same with a two-sided cover leaf added that has the new picture and explains the differences, except for the absence of Because. I would definitely pick the new version over the original but both are excellent., I would be interested in more technical information on how these selections were remastered. Perhaps if he finds the time, Jeff could fill in more details then are in the brochures...perhaps an article on his site? It would also have been nice if the track title information had been encoded on the CDs in such a manner that the names and details of the tracks would come up on Windows Media Player as it does for many CDs. The original "I'll See You in My Dreams" does this, but not the new version. There must be a database on the Internet where this information can be cataloged, as many of my CDs that don't have such information on them manage to retrieve and download such information when I play them with Windows Media Player and then go online. Then when I play the CD in the future through my computer the title information for each track comes up again., Jeff, what's your next CD project? Just kidding. Thank you.
Edited by author 08-14-2007 04:36 PM