The two takes of the unreleased "Serenade"

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Derek McGovern

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Oct 4, 2010, 7:43:25 AM10/4/10
to The Mario Lanza Forum
There are quite a few instances in Lanza's recorded legacy where I wish he'd been persuaded to do another take. Imagine what he might have achieved on a retake of Core 'Ngrato, for example. Certainly, there are enough occasions when he did re-record a song or aria -- and improved on his first version -- to refute RCA producer Richard Mohr's throwaway remark that, "Musically speaking, one take was all that [Lanza] had."

A good example is the unused Serenade ("When you speak to me..."), recorded for the film Serenade. Lanza recorded two versions of the song -- both presumably on the same day -- and yet there are plenty of differences between the two renditions. Take 1 begins somewhat blearily, as if a slightly hungover Mario is feeling his way through the number, but ends spectacularly in a way that only Lanza could have done given the ridiculously difficult tessitura. Take 2, on the other hand, doesn't end *quite* as well (there's more sharpness here than on the first take, for one thing), but from the outset it's a more tenderly delivered -- and more musical -- rendition. The piano part is also different towards the end of the second take.

Which take do *you* prefer -- and do you think this is a better "Serenade" than the one that was ultimately used in the film?

I'll leave you with both the audio links and a few thoughts from an old post of Muriella's:   

"I do wish there could be a combining of the best parts of these two  Serenades to make a smashing one!! Here's how: Take two begins more 
engagingly, "When you speak to me, each word becomes a melody, a serenade that sings within my heart..." Then phase in take one "....a serenade you start whenever you appear, dear (love his inflection on that)." Back to take two, "Now your lips on mine, give meaning to the word *divine* and we can face the morning unafraid."  Take one takes over from here until the end with a ravishing, "We've got the night, we've got our love, we've got *our* serenade!!!" How he goes on after the piano ends, is just exhilarating!  Who could resist following the leader??"

http://www.4shared.com/account/audio/cmexXQRM/Unreleased_Serenade_Take_1.html

http://www.4shared.com/account/audio/CbCPTmGf/Unreleased_Serenade_Take_2.

zsazsa

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Oct 4, 2010, 9:28:32 AM10/4/10
to Mario Lanza, Tenor
Oh Derek,
what treasures you have! Thanks a million for these fantastic
performances of Mario! Heaven will open to hear them both, but I
think, my favorite is the first take! Deeply grateful that you`ve
shared them with us!
Cheers from Susan

On 4 Okt., 13:43, Derek McGovern <derek.mcgov...@gmail.com> wrote:
> There are quite a few instances in Lanza's recorded legacy where I wish he'd
> been persuaded to do another take. Imagine what he might have achieved on a
> retake of Core 'Ngrato, for example. Certainly, there are enough occasions
> when he did re-record a song or aria -- and improved on his first version --
> to refute RCA producer Richard Mohr's throwaway remark that, "Musically
> speaking, one take was all that [Lanza] had."
>
> A good example is the unused Serenade ("When you speak to me..."), recorded
> for the film Serenade. Lanza recorded two versions of the song -- both
> presumably on the same day -- and yet there are plenty of differences
> between the two renditions. Take 1 begins somewhat blearily, as if a
> slightly hungover Mario is feeling his way through the number, but ends
> spectacularly in a way that only Lanza could have done given the
> ridiculously difficult tessitura. Take 2, on the other hand, doesn't end
> *quite* as well (there's more sharpness here than on the first take, for one
> thing), but from the outset it's a more tenderly delivered -- and more
> musical -- rendition. The piano part is also different towards the end of
> the second take.
>
> Which take do *you* prefer -- and do you think this is a better "Serenade"
> than the one that was ultimately used in the film?
>
> I'll leave you with both the audio links and a few thoughts from an old post
> of Muriella's:
>
> "I do wish there could be a combining of the best parts of these *two*  *
> Serenades* to make a smashing one!! Here's how: Take *two* begins more
> engagingly, "When you speak to me, each word becomes a melody, a serenade
> that sings within my heart..." Then phase in take one "....a serenade you
> start whenever you appear, dear (love his inflection on that)." Back to
> take *two*, "Now your lips on mine, give meaning to the word *divine* and we
> can face the morning unafraid."  Take one takes over from here until the end
> with a ravishing, "We've got the night, we've got our love, we've got *our*
> serenade!!!" How he goes on after the piano ends, is just exhilarating!  Who
> could resist following the leader??"
>
> http://www.4shared.com/account/audio/cmexXQRM/Unreleased_Serenade_Tak...
>
> http://www.4shared.com/account/audio/CbCPTmGf/Unreleased_Serenade_Take_2.

Vince Di Placido

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Oct 4, 2010, 1:09:35 PM10/4/10
to Mario Lanza, Tenor
I think the compromise of take 1 for official cd release was right...
BUT I was always fascinated by Muriel's favourite bits of the 2 takes
& I just threw together an edit following her guidelines :-)
I didn't equalise them & obviously take 2 suffers with bad hiss
compared with the "clean" sounding take 1 but it was a quick cobbling
together this afternoon... Maybe Mike can do it properly some day...
I actually think Muriel has it nailed here...

here is a link:

http://www.4shared.com/audio/GBAlK_xZ/Muriels_dream_Serenade_edit.html

Vince Di Placido

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Oct 4, 2010, 1:27:14 PM10/4/10
to Mario Lanza, Tenor
Sorry, that was a wav file & 4shared didn't like it at all, I've
converted it to mp3 so here it is...

http://www.4shared.com/audio/6EbkYO3g/Muriels_dream_Serenade_edit.html

Lou

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Oct 5, 2010, 12:04:37 AM10/5/10
to Mario Lanza, Tenor
Not bad, Vince, not bad at all! I'm referring to the "quick cobbling"
job. Many thanks for taking the time and effort to bring Muriel's
dream Serenade to life. It is really to die for! What was Warner Bros.
thinking when they junked this Serenade for the one they used in the
movie? The exultant, rapturous ending alone should have clinched the
decision in its favor.

Cheers,
Lou

On Oct 5, 1:27 am, Vince Di Placido <vincent.diplac...@gmail.com>
wrote:

Derek McGovern

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Oct 5, 2010, 5:24:28 AM10/5/10
to Mario Lanza, Tenor
Hi Vince: Yes, I agree with Lou -- very nice splicing job! Of course,
the edits would be less audible if I'd given you a copy of Take #1
from the same rough audio source as #2, but this certainly gives us a
good idea of how the final version might have sounded. Overall,
though, I still prefer the second take -- and that goes for the more
dramatic piano part as well.

Actually, it's tempting to speculate whether there were any other
takes of the song. The recording logs aren't much use to us here,
since they show only a single take (with piano) on 15 July 1955:

http://www.rense.com/excursions/lanza/recordinglogs2.html

This must be the same song, as the length is 1:26 -- the same as Take
#1 (give or take a second). The different Serenade in the movie is
about 30 seconds longer. (Actually, I wonder if the fact that the
unreleased Serenade was so short had anything to do with it being
canned? From RCA's perspective, at least, it probably would have been
too short to be released as a single.)

If you scroll down this same log, you'll see quite a number of other
"Serenades"s -- all with orchestra -- but I'm assuming that these were
all recordings of the song that was eventually used in the movie. You
never know, though! One of the later sessions with orchestra may have
been *this* Serenade.

As always with Lanza, there are so many puzzles -- especially when it
comes to the documentation of his recordings!

Cheers
Derek

Derek McGovern

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Oct 5, 2010, 5:39:03 AM10/5/10
to Mario Lanza, Tenor
A P.S. to the above: I would love to get my hands on the other takes
that Lanza recorded of various songs and operatic items for Serenade.
The logs in the link above show, for example, two takes of Torna a
Surriento, three takes of the discarded Ci Lasciaremo (I've only ever
heard one), two takes of O Paradiso, three My Destinys with orchestra,
three (!) takes of Di Rigori Armato, and two takes of Amor Ti Vieta --
which, interestingly enough, was recorded with piano, not orchestra.

Then there's the boy soprano part that precedes Lamento di Federico,
which was also recorded. Imagine if that and the entire aria had been
included in the film! It's always disappointed me that in the movie,
the Lamento di Federico starts at the 1:17 mark from "Anch'io
vorrei...", especially since the deleted opening bars ("E la solita
storia...", etc) are among Mario's most beautiful pieces of singing on
the soundtrack album: http://www.4shared.com/account/audio/rwlA_CKm/Lamento_di_Federico__1955_.html
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