Amici Forever's second release DEFINED will be well received by people who enjoyed the group's first collection THE OPERA BAND. The collection is more similar than different to the first CD. There are a few excerpts from the world of opera; a few "classi-pop" selections that are similar to songs performed by Josh Groban, Andrea Bocelli, Sarah Brightman, et. al.; and contemporary lyrics set to the music of well known classical composers. The purpose of the collection is entertainment rather than serious interpretation of classical music and opera and it more than succeeds in entertainment value. Yet it not only entertaining, it is also musically sound. Even though the arrangements are closer to pop standards than the original intentions of the composers, performing these pieces requires skill and vocal ability, both which are evident in the performances on this CD.
I am going to admit I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of this collection. I have enjoyed the first collection since its release, but I thought it was a fluke of sorts. Every type of music has "one hit wonders" who make a splash in the musical world then disappear, and I thought this would be the case with Amici Forever. I assumed that the first collection would be successful, maybe they would release a moderately successful Christmas album, but a second collection would be more of the same and get tiring. Not the case with this collection. The group sounds more like an ensemble in this collection which gives it a bit of an edge over the last CD, and the music has a fresher quality to it.
I hope you enjoy this collection, and if the marketing people from RCA happen to read this review, a Christmas collection would not be such a bad idea.
on November 10, 2005
I am disappointed to realize that I unwittingly loaded Sony's anti-piracy software rootkit into my hard drive when I loaded this CD. I didn't realize that something would actually install itself on my hard drive. I also didn't realize that this particular file would be a file created so as to be difficult to remove.
I was even more upset to learn that, in doing so, I opened my hard drive up to at least one documented computer risk, as reported in the New York Times (Brian Krebs: "Calif Lawsuit Targets Sony" - follow the links to get more info)
There is a class action lawsuit in California and another pending in New York.
The reason for this lawsuit is that, by installing this CD, you are uploading invasive programming onto your computer. This CD will install a "rootkit" onto your hard drive and this rootkit can and will interfere with your hard drive.
It will also leave you open to hackers. Anti-virus software maker Sophos is already working on the fix to at least one virus that your computer will be susceptible to, if you install this CD.
I also understand that the music on this CD cannot be played on portable MP3 players. (This is apparently what "copy protect" means - it restricts you from copying the content onto your MP3 player. If you follow the links you'll also see claims that this software interferes with other legitimate applications, like copying your own content.)
Avoid this product. I like Forever Amici too, but it's not worth it. In fact, someone please tell Amici Forever that I'm not buying any more of their music if they can't find a more reputable way to get it distributed.
on October 10, 2005
I will never purchase another CD that is copy protected! If I cannot use it on my iPod then I have no use for it. These record companies have become so greedy that they deserve to lose money. I have never stolen a song ever and I am rewarded with garbage from a paranoid corporation.
on July 10, 2005
I was pleasantly surprised that Amici Forever's sophomore album outshines their first. I thought their first album was okay, but this second record is spectacular. They sing together better and harmonize better.
If you're familiar with Sarah Brightman's work, Terra e liberta, Adagio, and Nella Fantasia will be familiar to you. Amici's interpretations are interesting and refreshing, and while I still prefer Sarah's renditions, the fact I find Amici Forever's versions well done says a lot coming from an over-protective Sarah Brightman fan.
I've loved the 'popera' genre for years, but I've been disappointed with recent releases in the genre. Suffice to say Amici Forever's "Defined" is a pleasant surprise and welcome relief. Definitely worth owning if you enjoy the music of Sarah Brightman, Josh Groban, Charlotte Church, Andrea Bocelli, etc.
(The following only applies to you if you own a portable music player like an iPod.)
Now, if you own a portable mp3 player, please, please, please research the copy-protection of this CD and make sure your unit will support Windows Media Audio (.wma) format. When you pop this CD into your computer to rip the tracks, it'll install a program that you *have* to use if you want to rip the tracks or burn an audio CD (there's a limit to the amount of CDs you can burn, too). So, no, you can't use iTunes or whatever other program you may normally use to rip your music. Also, it seems this program will *only* let you copy the music into .wma files. What this translates to is you can only use Windows Media Player to play the music. iPod users are out of luck because iPods don't support .wma files. (And the program mentions that burned copies are still copy-protected, so the usual last resort method of ripping tracks from burned copies is a no-go.) After realizing I couldn't transfer music from the CD onto my iPod, I ended up purchasing the download from iTunes. Needless to say, I wasn't very happy.
on June 21, 2005
The first album by Amici Forever was a wonderful experiment, a twist in the "boyband/girlband" concept, and it worked since they have sold over 1.000.000 copies world wide by now.
This second album follows the same formula of the first one, basically classical songs and operatic songs sang with a choral arrengement and assigned parts, pop/classical songs that are more towards the A/C audience that enjoys Josh Groban and Sarah Brightman, etc.
And speaking of Sarah Brightman, they have covered 2 of her songs in this album (as they covered one of Josh Groban's songs in the first album) "Terra e Liberta" takes the same melody that inspired Sarah Brightman's "Figlio Perduto" and gives it a different twist, still very powerful switching from minor key to major key and back to minor, and also "Nella Fantasia" is longer than Sarah's and the distribution of the voices makes up for a powerful effect.
They also cover other standard pop/classical crossover songs such as "The prayer" that has been recorded by about everybody in this field, yet one more version doesn't bother (neither contributes).
Some of the brightest moments are "So far away" a beautiful nostalgic song sang in a tenor pop voice, "The Sacred Flame" which is sang in a mix of english and Italian takes a more choral connotion, "Adagio" which is a more classical and slowed down version of the Lara Fabian version of Albinione's Adagio, "La Mia Nostalgia" which is a beautiful classical/operatic version of "All by myself" made popular by Celine Dion as they already covered in an operatic way "Unchained Melody" (with outstanding results), and "Aranjuez" that has a melody so beautiful that fills up everything around as a golden wave, you can envision yourself in the gardens and such they are describing.
Overall the album keeps the quality of the first one, with beautiful moments all through out.
If you enjoy the music of Josh Groban, Sarah Brightman, Andrea Bocelli and Charlotte Church, you would enjoy this album from beginning to end.
on December 12, 2005
There is a consumer alert regarding Sony Digital Rights Management software included on some of their music CD's. The Illinois Attorney Generals Consumer Alert can be found at
Beware that this CD in particular is mentioned since the CD case appears not to include the specifics relating to the Sunncomm software.
As I recall the Sunncomm protected disks also install the copy protection systems even if you decline the EULA agreement that is displayed when you insert the disk into a computer, so extra care should be taken when inserting these disks into any computer. You don't get the opportunity to decline installation, the software contains security flaws, and the disks do not contain software to uninstall the protection programs. You need to contact Sony directly to uninstall.
The patches they describe are patches to the uninstaller software, early versions of which add more security flaws into Windows than the original CD software does.
With any luck, SonyBMG will recall these disks as well and replace them with either properly tested and functioning software, or as a standard CD without the copy protection in place (as they have done for the rootkit infected CD's created using First4Internet software).
Anyone who enjoys a blend of classical and pop music will like this CD, which features 3 male and 2 female singers. Tenors David and Geoff and bass-baritone Nick are vocally much stronger than sopranos Jo and Tsakane ("Mon coeur s'ouvre a ta voix," based on an aria from Saint-Saens' "Samson and Delila," here a female duet, is a little wobbly), but overall the quintet works in lovely harmony, and the musical arrangements are lush and rich. There are 2 original songs, and the rest are adaptations of very familiar classical themes, as well as 1 track from the film "The Mission" by Ennio Morricone, the hit duet for Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion, "The Prayer," and the gorgeous Neapolitan favorite "Core 'Ngrato."
Choice picks for me are the theme from Rodrigo's "Concierto de Aranjuez," the Adagio from Khatchaturian's ballet "Spartacus," and best of all, is the glorious melody from Albinoni's "Adagio in G Minor," which has been featured in many films, like "Gallipoli." Amici is based in the U.K., and seems to now be a quartet, as the newest issues of this CD have obliterated Nick from the cover. Their music will definitely not appeal to classical purists, but for those who appreciate all kinds of music, and "opera lite" in particular, this is a polished and melodic album, and it has a mellow atmosphere about it that makes it terrific background music. Total playing time is 50'19.
on September 9, 2005
I purchased this CD, and when I went to play it on my Win XP computer, in my user account, it required administrator rights to install software. I switched to my admin account and installed the software, and the CD played in the Admin account using it's own peculiar CD player, not using Windows Media Player, my default CD player.
When I switched back to my user account, the CD again wanted Admin rights to install software. I changed the rights to my user account, temporarily, and was able to install the software and play the disk. But after I then removed Admin rights from my user account, the disk would not play. It insists on Admin rights in order to play.
For my money, this is unacceptable. Since the CD is opened, I'm not going to be able to return it. But I'll never buy a CD that's copy protected again. I'm not trying to make a digital copy of this music anywhere. I'm trying to put the actual plastic CD into my computer and play the music I paid good money for. If copy protection means that I can't play it on my computer unless I'm running in an Admin account, that's not good enough.
on June 28, 2005
If you have not heard of Amici before DEFINED was released....YOU WILL DO NOW. This is the most glorious, single album I have ever bought. If you like classical crossover with something 'special' DEFINED is a must for your collection. The glorious harmonies, the fantastic selection of tracks, the incredible vocal and orchestral arrangements are just sublime.
There is not another Artist out there that has this unique and compelling combination of talent.
I cannot get over the sound..... they make everyone else, supposedly in this genre, sound lacking in the extreme! Il Divo is absolutely a cheap rip off of what this sort of music should sound like. To recommend that we buy that on the same page as Amici is simply commericalism gone mad! Their feeble attempt at a cover of Amici's Unchained Melody from their debut album 'The Opera Band' only goes to illustrate that.
This album is pure class. You don't even have to like opera - this is something special and a true tribute to everyone who had a hand in the making of it.
Please go on and on forever making the world sit up and listen to your unique and 'defined' sound. I am telling everyone I know to rush out NOW and treat themselves.
This album is a simply THE GREATEST ALBUM OF THE YEAR SO FAR!
on June 25, 2005
I love this album already! Not sure if it's better, as good or worse than their last (Opera Band). Never heard anybody else sing these sings before so I'm not comparing, except Nella Fanatasia and The Prayer. I especially love La Fiamma Sacra (third fav), So Far Away (second), Adagio(fourth), Core 'ngrato (Ungrateful Heart)-love the big neopolitan sounds, and my absolute favourite: Land and Freedom. Love the melody and the huge harmonies! I LOVE Amici Forever.