Sensational Seventh Sepia CD!

Is the latest Derek McGovern/Sepia Mario Lanza CD, their seventh, sensational?
Back in the day, in cases where answers were obvious, one might have responded rhetorically, “Is the Pope a Catholic?!”  
To do so in our present circumstances might cast doubt on the CD’s indeed being sensational, so let me just say flatly, “It is sensational.”

Here’s what I emailed the good professor after my first hearing:


“Just played it right through. I’m a bit shattered, I have to say. I didn’t imagine it could get that good. I was resolutely supine with my Grant’s Whisky and lost count of the number of times I wanted to go bolt upright. Up until Lover [Come Back to Me] I thought, yes very good, but nothing startling as yet. I was even mildly disappointed that you didn’t use the superior take of Love Is [The Sweetest Thing]. But with Lover, the earth moved. 

“With Gypsy [Love Song], honestly I started to shake with terror and disbelief, a kind of Dominique reaction that such beauty was ever permitted. I think for the first time I had the full realisation that recordings indeed couldn’t really capture him, though these reproductions obviously come closer than ever and it truly scares the hell out of you, as Sammy observed. All the Things [You Are] was terrifying also. I was waiting for the walls to collapse or the speakers to rebel.

“Coupla details: listening to the last note of Lover intently, I couldn’t hear anything wrong with it. I always thought there was a wobble at one point, but I didn’t hear it this time. The Coke Chenier sounds bloody amazing!  And the sharpness in Cielo just didn’t matter any more.. 

“It was a very good idea indeed to end with Summertime [in Heidelberg]. One needed that release from all the intensity. It sounded just the way I remember it at the age of 9 in the movie theatre!

“The two Vestis are astonishing.

“I can’t praise it highly enough, but I’ll do my best. Just give me a day to recover.”.

That was last Friday, and this is Monday. I have recovered. I’ll say nothing more of the singing itself, other than to say that every human with a heart that beats red blood should avail himself or herself of it. Engineer Robin Cherry has again done a superb job of combining clarity with depth and warmth, and Derek McGovern has surpassed himself in the imaginativeness of this compilation of The One Tenor’s performances.

It was indeed a master-stroke to end with Summertime, like drifting off to sleep in the delicious afterglow of prolonged, vigorous lovemaking (for those who can remember what that was like).
It’s the spirit of the thing that so shattered me. Amidst the grisly events of this year and the steady advance of occasional cortices in the West, one becomes desensitised to ugliness and evil and the worship thereof, and assumes they are the norm. To hear this glorious voice from over fifty years ago pouring forth with such rapture from such a beautiful soul is to be reminded that ugliness and evil, however much they may be on the march, are not the norm, and should never be accepted as such.
To Mario Lanza—and all the things he was!

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