Christmas With Mario Lanza
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Lanza seems to me to have had a deep and abiding affection for God, though I would scarcely think of him as a goody-two-shoes. He had the robust appetites of the common man and displayed them proudly- yet- listen to any of these selections and tell me he didn't believe in God. Hark, the Herald Angels Sing jumps out at the listener, as Lanza wraps his wonderful voice around the words and the very meaning of the words. He was capable of surpassing tenderness as well. There's a song here by Max Reger (I think!), The Virgin's Slumber Song, which is sung in an exquisite half voice. The sounds Lanza produces here are amazingly tender, bell-clear, sweet, and full of love. This song alone is worth the price of the album, but it is hardly the only one. Harpo Marx's Guardian Angels will touch your heart deeply. The descriptions here of a child's heavenly visions are enraptured, full of power, yet tender and yearning for the beauty that is, for the moment, out of reach.
The sound preserved here is far better than the old LP that I owned and listened to for decades. It is free of the distortions that record was prone to. Lanza's voice is clear, clean, and distortion free. He was in fine voice for these sessions, and, for me, this preserves Lanza's best work. May God bless this mighty tenor, wherever he is.
Listening to this album brings back memories of childhood when a well-worn record was dutifully and lovingly played on Christmas mornings. One of my favorite selections is "Guardian Angels," a beautiful and haunting song composed by Harpo Marx. "O Holy Night" is a masterpiece and "Silent Night," "The Lord's Prayer" and "Ave Maria" are powerful. Each hymn is impeccably done; Mr. Lanza was truly an artist.
Lanza's album brings back Spielbergesque childhood memories of elaborate and moving midnight Masses or other Christmas services for which our parents indeed would let us stay up so we could see tiny children bring a life-size figure of baby Jesus up the center aisle and into the manger; fine buffets turned by our grandparents into Christmas wonderlands with cotton batting, tiny houses, ponds made from mirrors, faded and chipped but still-exquisite Nativity sets, and what seemed like millions of tiny multicolored lights; of traditional trees bedecked with Shiny Brite ornaments--whisk- or feather-tailed birds, Santas emerging from chimneys or spheres, tiny bells, fruit, and more, or of aluminum trees and revolving color wheels; of trying to go to sleep amid our childhood excitement over the next day's presents, and awakening with even more when we would open them; of going to our grandparents' homes for even more presents and a rich, filling dinner; and of going to sleep somewhat sad at how all that magic lasted only such a short time and was over so fast. (The blues over having to go back to school wouldn't start until after New Year's Day!Read more ›
You don't have to be a scholar of musical composition and performance to recognize greatness when something resonates at the core of your being to such an extent that it sends goose bumps scurrying across your skin chasing your hairs on end. Such is the raw emotion conveyed in this most cherished recording. No other possessed such power and grace, and when coupled with the spirit of Christmas - whew! "O Holy Night" and "The Lord's Prayer" are breathtaking.
If you like Christmas music - buy the disc. Especially if you've grown somewhat tired of the usual fair that passes for songs of the season these days. It'll rejuvenate your sense of spirit and if you're not very familiar with him it'll introduce you to one of the greatest voices of all time.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
High quality voice. He sings Christmas carols traditionally and beautifully. Wanted my young son to hear what quality male singers should sound like singing Christmas carols very... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Teresa
If you love Mario Lanza, this is a must for your collection. Also see him in the movie Caruso!Published 6 months ago by Barbara Benning
I grew up listening to Mario Lanza. My father really liked his voice and had several of his recordings. When I was a teenager, my father gave me my very own Mario disc. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Ladylilac
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