by Andrea BocelliAndrea Bocelli


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Sentimento "embraces all the emotions of being in love," says Andrea Bocelli of this beautifully lyrical collection of songs, all on the theme of amore. It isn't quite a pop record, though -- like Bocelli's top-selling Romanza or Cieli di Toscana -- nor is it exactly a classical release from the Italian tenor, who has straddled those two worlds with unparalleled success. Reaching back to a tradition familiar to great tenors like Enrico Caruso, Sentimento features quasi-popular songs for tenor with obbligato solo violin -- a lovely combination of timbres that that enhances the collection's amorous air. Lorin Maazel, who is best known as a conductor, is the violinist, and he and Bocelli inspire each other to playing and singing of great expressive warmth, yet they never go too far and oversentimentalize the music. Maazel also fashioned the orchestrations, which are suitably lush and full, especially as played here by the great London Symphony. Most of these songs were written in the decades surrounding 1900 in a semioperatic style, and they positively overflow with elegantly lyrical melody and heartfelt emotion. Francesco Paolo Tosti is a favorite source -- no wonder, given his melodic gift -- while other composers include Leoncavallo (his familiar "Mattinata"), Offenbach (the famous "Barcarolle"), and Rossini ("La Danza"). Two particularly pleasing selections are arrangements of instrumental music: a song after Rodrigo's popular "Concierto de Aranjuez" and a version of Liszt's well-known "Liebesträume," recast here as the nostalgic "Sogno d'amore." Bocelli has inspired some debate among classical music lovers, but here is a recording that is sure to appeal to them as much as to fans of his pop releases. With Sentimento, Bocelli leaves the ham-handed marketing strategies to lesser talents and simply relies on his own vocal gifts and good taste. The stylish, moving result is that rarest form of crossover, one with true appeal for classical fans and pop lovers alike.

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