"Mattinata"

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Joseph Fagan

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Mar 8, 2014, 12:46:01 AM3/8/14
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I just recently discovered this version of above on YouTube. A slow arrangement and a few minor blemishes....but nevertheless the raw power and beauty of Mario's voice gave me goosebumps. I was wondering if the forum was familiar with this version and its background.....Joe
 
 

Michael McAdam

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Jan 25, 2011, 7:42:13 AM1/25/11
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Wow! and......wow!
Where did "stoltapaura" find this? The venerablissi ;-) Derek and Armando, must know of this recording?
Lanza's a little rough in places but, not as many 'Marioisms' and some good covering and note attacks evident. You can hear the blossoming raw material here.
Good one, Joe.
M.

Derek McGovern

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Jan 25, 2011, 7:51:48 AM1/25/11
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Hey Mike and Joe: The Mattinata from June 1945 is listed in Armando's book (p. 293 first edition and p.294 second ed.) and it's also in our forum's discography. It was the first of a handful of test recordings that Mario made for RCA. Yes, there's plenty of promise there, all right!

Don't have time to discuss it in any depth right now, but would certainly like to when I have a chance. When I do, I'll also upload a better-quality audio copy than Stoltapaura's (who, I'm sorry to say, drives me crazy with her much-lauded equalizing and compression -- especially on the 1958-59 recordings).

Good on you, Joe, for bringing this recording to our attention!

Cheers
Derek
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Derek McGovern

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Jan 25, 2011, 9:14:52 PM1/25/11
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Joe tried to post the following message earlier today:
Tis a shame that Mario did not put a little enthusiasm into this "audition"...lol...I just loved it, rough patches and all! I now wonder if there may be some other "auditions" kicking around. I am glad you also enjoyed it, Mike!
Hi Joe: No, it certainly wasn't an "audition" (as Stoltapaura has called it); RCA had already signed Lanza up, and were probably trying to gauge two things: how well Mario's voice recorded and, more importantly, how long it would be before he was ready to start recording commercially. Remember that this was about eight months before he'd started working on his vocal technique with Rosati.

The other test recordings that Lanza made for RCA in June 1945 (and presumably at the same session as Mattinata) were E Lucevan le Stelle, Vesti la Giubba, and I'm Falling in Love with Someone. I've had these on a tape for years, and they're also on the CD "The Lord's Prayer," put by Damon Lanza Productions. (That CD, by the way, also includes a Flower Song -- supposedly from later in 1945, according to Bill Ronayne's liner notes, but which was actually recorded in 1949 for the soundtrack of Toast.)


Cheers
Derek

Tony Partington

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Jan 25, 2011, 9:21:11 PM1/25/11
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Hey Folks!  Hope you don't mind my jumping in.  I'll try to save Derek some work.  Here's the Mattinata that everyone is raving about - and yes, i think it's really quite good too.  Hopefully, you'll find this copy a wee bit more pristine and not mucked up with electronic "improvements."
 
Ciao - Tony
 

Michael McAdam

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Jan 25, 2011, 9:36:26 PM1/25/11
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Quite right Derek. After seeing Joe's post while sipping my bleary-eyed tea first thing, I dragged my lazy body up to my bookcase and checked out that discography in Armando's tome. I wonder if anyone has posted any other of Mario's test records to YouTube (I never knew they were available)?
 
Do you have these in your collection Derek? On one of your old tapes perhaps?
M.
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Derek McGovern

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Jan 25, 2011, 9:47:55 PM1/25/11
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Thanks for doing that, Tony! You saved me quite a bit of time.

I wouldn't say I was "raving" about the recording, but for a 24-year-old stripling, it's pretty good. Listening to it, though, one can really appreciate what Rosati taught Lanza: how to sing more lyrically without forcing the voice. Mario's pushing at times with his upper register here (and his intonation suffers at one point), especially at the end. There's a world of difference between the singer with soaring high Cs that we hear just two years later and the rough diamond on this recording. Rosati knew his craft!

Mike: I can certainly have those other recordings, and would be happy to share them here at some later stage. But if you've got them handy, Tony, then be my guest!

Savage

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Jan 26, 2011, 4:38:14 PM1/26/11
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Did anyone else notice that Mario botched the lyrics? He sang "Ove tu sei la luce manca . Ove tu sei, nasce l'amor." each time , omitting "ove non sei." Errors aside, this is a beautiful recording. Thanks for the tip.
David
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Derek McGovern

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Jan 27, 2011, 12:17:54 AM1/27/11
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I wrote earlier:
The other test recordings that Lanza made for RCA in June 1945 (and presumably at the same session as Mattinata) were E Lucevan le Stelle, Vesti la Giubba, and I'm Falling in Love with Someone. I've had these on a tape for years, and they're also on the CD "The Lord's Prayer," put by Damon Lanza Productions. (That CD, by the way, also includes a Flower Song -- supposedly from later in 1945, according to Bill Ronayne's liner notes, but which was actually recorded in 1949 for the soundtrack of Toast.)
Whoops: I've just been told that the recording date error for the Flower Song was made by Fred Phillips, not Bill Ronayne. Bill wrote the liner notes for "The Lord's Prayer" CD, but the track listings and recording info for the disc were supplied by the late Fred Phillips. My apologies to Bill.  

Derek McGovern

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Jan 27, 2011, 12:29:52 AM1/27/11
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 Savage wrote:

Did anyone else notice that Mario botched the lyrics? He sang "Ove tu sei la luce manca . Ove tu sei, nasce l'amor." each time , omitting "ove non sei." Errors aside, this is a beautiful recording. Thanks for the tip.
David

Well spotted, David! And a bit unfortunate as it changes the meaning from "Where you are not, sunlight is missing" to Wherever you are, sunlight is missing"!  

Maybe it was Mario's little joke? :)

Mattinata
L'aurora di bianco vestita
Già l'uscio dischiude al gran sol;
Di già con le rosee sue dita
Carezza de' fiori lo stuol!
Commosso da un fremito arcano
Intorno il creato già par;
E tu non ti desti, ed invano
Mi sto qui dolente a cantar.

Metti anche tu la veste bianca
E schiudi l'uscio al tuo cantor!
Ove non sei la luce manca;
Ove tu sei nasce l'amor.

Morning Serenade
Dawn, dressed in white,
already opens the door to broad daylight;
already, with her rosy fingers,
she caresses the multitude of flowers!
All around, creation seems stirred
by a mysterious shiver;
and you do not awaken; and in vain
I stay here, aching to sing.

Put on your white dress too,
and open the door to your minstrel!
Where you are not, sunlight is missing;
where you are love dawns.


Savage

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Jan 27, 2011, 7:13:38 PM1/27/11
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Derek,
I suspect it was a deliberate change meant either as a joke or a message to someone present at the recording session. Mario's command of thelanguage was good enough not to miss the obvious change in meaning. The other possibility is that someone handed him a flawed page of lyrics and he just sang what he saw. In any event , it will have to remain an unsolved mystery.

David

Derek McGovern

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Jan 27, 2011, 8:04:34 PM1/27/11
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Hi David: Well, certainly if Mario had wanted to have a bit of fun with the lyrics, this was the time to do it, since he knew the recording wasn't going to be released. 

But if it was unintentional, then it certainly wasn't the only time he sang the wrong words! At the Hollywood Bowl in 1947, for example, on the climactic line of the Improvviso, Mario sings "T'amo" (I love you) instead of "Amor" (Love). In his 1948 Toronto concert, during the Lamento di Federico, he makes up a complete line: "La pace solta e' solo a me" (which makes no sense); it should have been "La pace sol cercando io vo'." But he does it without missing a beat! And on the "La Donna e' Mobile" at the same concert, instead of singing "Sempre un amabile" in the first verse, he goes straight into the second verse (which he then repeats). But how many in the audience would have noticed? Probably very few. And besides, Lanza's singing is so good on each of these occasions that no one would have cared.

I do wonder, though, if Mario's problems with his left eye (which, incidentally, often looks half-closed in many of Vince's screen captures) sometimes caused him to misread words. For example, he sings "rosco riso" instead of "roseo riso" on the Otello Monologue. There isn't any such word in Italian as "rosco" (though I remember that my native Italian lecturer at university had to consult his dictionary to check), so unless it was a misprint in Lanza's score, the odds are that he simply read it that way. 

It's no big deal, though, and many famous singers have forgotten their words in performance. Tenor Josef Locke once told the amusing story of his singing "Questa o Quella" in English at a concert and forgetting "the bloody words." So what did he do? He starting singing gibberish, slipping in the odd Italian word "to make it sound authentic." The next day, he was lauded by the local music critic for his ability to switch languages in mid-aria! Just goes to show...

Cheers
Derek   

Savage

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Jan 27, 2011, 9:32:28 PM1/27/11
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Derek,
I'm not sure I trust my ears, but I believe Mario does the "T'amo, divino dono" line in the home recording of the Improvviso as well. It seems he was a perfectionist in some matters and not in others. That is a fascinating observation about his vision. It provides a very plausible explanation for the Otello error.

David

Derek McGovern

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Jan 27, 2011, 10:05:13 PM1/27/11
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Hi David: Yes, you're quite right -- Mario does make the same mistake on the 1952 home rehearsal. But he gets it right on his commercial and Coke recordings of the aria.

Lanza's defective vision in his left eye (the result of a convulsion as a baby) at least spared him from active service in World War II. It also probably contributed to his poor academic performance at school.

Cheers
Derek 

Shawn

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Jan 27, 2011, 10:20:27 PM1/27/11
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Very interesting about the eye problem. Since we're on the topic ;) I
also noticed that Lanza, in the 1947 hollywood bowl performance,
oddly, in "e lucevan le stelle," pronounces the line, 'discioglea dai
veli' as 'discioleaBA dai veli.' (Possibly on another occasion as
well..? memory fails.) And on his coke show 'che gelida manina' he
adds a strange little 'in' to the line just before the high C, namely,
'poiche va preso stanza,' which he says as "poiche va preso'IN
stanza." (again possibly on some other occasion too, not sure.)

I've always wondered about these little foibles and why nobody caught
them. :)

Jan Hodges

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Jan 27, 2011, 10:23:55 PM1/27/11
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It's no big deal, though, and many famous singers have forgotten their words in performance. Tenor Josef Locke once told the amusing story of his singing "Questa o Quella" in English at a concert and forgetting "the bloody words." So what did he do? He starting singing gibberish, slipping in the odd Italian word "to make it sound authentic." The next day, he was lauded by the local music critic for his ability to switch languages in mid-aria! Just goes to show...

Cheers
Derek   


Hi Derek. There is also the story in the biography of Kathleen Ferrier who when singing "Where Ere You Walk forgot her lines and sang the first thing that came into her head which was "where ere they eat the grass" Unfortunately she had to  repeat it twice more  so if no one noticed the first time they certainly did by the time the phrase had ended.
Regards Jan
P S Have had trouble with eyesight and computer so my wings have been clipped a bit as regards the forum lately

 

Derek McGovern

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Jan 27, 2011, 10:43:15 PM1/27/11
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Shawn wrote:

Since we're on the topic ;) I also noticed that Lanza, in the 1947 hollywood bowl performance, oddly, in "e lucevan le stelle," pronounces the line, 'discioglea dai veli'  as 'discioleaBA dai veli.'

Hi Shawn! Actually, what Lanza sings at the Hollywood Bowl is "discioglieVA," which means exactly the same thing as "disciogliea." They're both the imperfect (or past continuous) tense, i.e. "was undoing." The only difference is that "disciogliea" is the poetic variant -- like "cadea" instead of "cadeva." So on this occasion, at least, Lanza was grammatically correct! (He isn't, however, when he sings "Where a sweetheart's tender eyes/TakeS the place of sand and skies" on his spotty Coke version of "One Alone" :)) 

Cheers
Derek

Derek McGovern

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Jan 27, 2011, 10:47:03 PM1/27/11
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Hi Jan: That's very funny about Kathleen Ferrier!

Hope your eyes (and computer) get better soon! I want you to be able to see our spanking new website when it opens on Monday!

All my best
Derek

Shawn

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Jan 27, 2011, 10:58:10 PM1/27/11
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"what Lanza sings at the Hollywood Bowl is
"discioglieVA," which means exactly the same thing as "disciogliea.""

Hi Derek,

Thanks! That makes sense, although, listening to it again just now, it
certainly *sounds* like a "B." But recordings can sometimes give the
wrong aural 'impression.' ;)

Derek McGovern

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Jan 27, 2011, 11:38:31 PM1/27/11
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Hi Shawn: No, it's a "V," I swear!! Check it out again on this version (it's at 1:41" mark, everyone):


Here's another recording from the June 1945 RCA test session. It's "I'm Falling in Love with Someone" -- later to become a staple of Lanza's recital career. Even more than the Mattinata, this recording reveals why Mario really needed to work on his technique. His upper register is very tight here, as he forces out those top notes. The interesting thing is the ending "...if someone would only love me." The "ly" in "only" is the climactic note, and that unforgiving "ee" vowel sound makes for uncomfortable listening. But from 1951 onwards, Lanza reverses the order of the words to sing "if someone would love only me," making the climax fall spectacularly on the first syllable of "only" -- and with it a much nicer vowel sound. A smart choice!


And, just for comparison, here's a very early live performance of the song taken from the Red Barber (radio) Review six months later. The ending is better here:  


Derek McGovern

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Jan 27, 2011, 11:40:39 PM1/27/11
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A P.S. to the above: those links I just gave aren't working in Google Chrome for some reason. If you're using Internet Explorer, however, then they should play.

Derek McGovern

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Jan 29, 2011, 11:37:42 PM1/29/11
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I wrote a few days back:

I do wonder, though, if Mario's problems with his left eye (which, incidentally, often looks half-closed in many of Vince's screen captures) sometimes caused him to misread words. For example, he sings "rosco riso" instead of "roseo riso" on the Otello Monologue. There isn't any such word in Italian as "rosco" (though I remember that my native Italian lecturer at university had to consult his dictionary to check), so unless it was a misprint in Lanza's score, the odds are that he simply read it that way.
Well, we can now rule out a misprint in Lanza's score as the cause of that curious "rosco" mispronunciation. When Armando met Gloria Boh last week, she presented him with her handwritten score of Otello, which was identical to the one used by Lanza when they were working together. The score clearly says "roseo riso."

But regardless of Lanza's tiny pronunciation slip, his recording of the Otello Monologue is a magnificent achievement -- vocally, artistically, and musically. I've yet to hear a more compelling or moving performance.
 

Derek McGovern

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Sep 14, 2012, 4:40:20 AM9/14/12
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Prompted by Calleja's performance of "Mattinata" on the Proms the other night, I listened today to my favourite Lanza version of this song---the 1949 recording with Ray Sinatra---and thoroughly enjoyed its youthful exuberance. Yes, the arrangement is hopelessly overblown (sounding more Mantovani than Leoncavallo, as Lindsay Perigo once wrote), and it's longer than it needs to be in spite of its overly fast tempo, but Lanza's in great voice here:


Listen to that exceptional high B natural he sings near the end! The ease and brilliance of the note, and the way it surges out of nowhere, make for a very exciting conclusion. 

It's amazing to think that at the session Lanza managed to scale everything right back and deliver two of the softest renditions of his recorded legacy, They Didn't Believe Me and  I Know, I Know, I Know.

Cheers
Derek


Derek McGovern

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Sep 14, 2012, 9:17:43 AM9/14/12
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Correction to the above: I should have written, "It's amazing to think that at the SAME session Lanza managed to scale everything back...".

Derek McGovern

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Feb 16, 2013, 9:25:49 PM2/16/13
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Now here's a very curious thing.
 
A few days ago, a gentleman wrote to me via the "Contact Us" page on our main site. He was writing because he'd acquired a 78rpm record of Lanza in an estate sale, and wanted my thoughts on it. The record had an MGM label with "Mario Lanza: Mattinata" and a recording date of 27 March 1948 handwritten on it.
 
Naturally, I was immediately intrigued. I'd never heard of a 1948 "Mattinata" for MGM, and the date (coming so close to the New Orleans Butterfly performances) made little sense to me. I assumed it must instead be the 1945 RCA test record that we discussed earlier in this thread.
 
Well, it's not the same recording, it turns out, though it's unmistakably from the same session as the purported RCA test record. For one thing, Mario again botches the lyrics on the second-to-last line, just as David had pointed out about the other take in this post. But the good news is that it's a better take! Slightly different phrasing, and a superb high B at the end.
 
Now the question is: how did this recording end up in someone's possession with an MGM Records label on it? Or could both takes have originated from 1948 after all? I still think it's more likely, however, that both takes are pre-Rosati Lanza (i.e. pre-1946) simply because of the voice production (though I'll admit the newly found take has given me doubts). But if it turns out that these two 1945 Mattinatas are in fact 1948 recordings, it wouldn't be the first time that earlier Lanza discographers/"experts" had got things wrong. After all, the so-called 1945 RCA test record of the Flower Song on one of the Damon Lanza Production CDs turned out, on closer inspection, to be from the soundtrack of Toast of New Orleans :)
 
I'll add the new "Mattinata" to the Audio Recordings page on our main site as soon as I get a chance, and I'll be most interested in everyone's thoughts on it!
 
Cheers
Derek
 
  

Derek McGovern

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Feb 17, 2013, 2:29:30 AM2/17/13
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The newly discovered take of "Mattinata" mentioned in my post above can now be heard on our site:
 
 
Don't forget to post your thoughts here on it!
 
Cheers
Derek

Steff

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Feb 17, 2013, 7:10:17 PM2/17/13
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Hi Derek,
 
That's quite interesting. I listened to the "new" Mattinata track several times today.
In an amaturish way I tried to compare this track with some Celanese Hour tracks which as we know, are from 1945. Yet, this comparison is difficult as Mario never sang an Italian popular song on this radio show, but only opera or English songs. 
 
I see you even suspect that the two "Mattinata" renditions might have been recorded later, in 1948. One thing that occured me is that on the Mattinata track Mario, to me, already sounds more "Lanza-like," than on his Celanese renditions, but maybe I am completely wrong (e.g. his ephasizing "fremito" in "Commosso da un fremito arcano" or "creato" in  Intorno il creato gia par")?
 
Now when thinking about this, I wonder, at which time Mario started to develop his very own singing style, that made his voice so distinctive, and at which time was this development fully accomplished?
 
Steff
 

Savage

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Feb 18, 2013, 12:29:38 PM2/18/13
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Derek,
          Thanks for sharing this recording with us.  It is a beautiful rendition, although I think the tempo is a bit slow at times.  The voice is spectacular and the error with the lyrics, amusing.  I  wish more of his unknown recordings would emerge.  My dream is that someone will step forward with a complete recording of the Kiel concert.

                                                                   David 

Derek McGovern

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Feb 18, 2013, 9:40:14 PM2/18/13
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Hi Steff
 
You make an excellent point when you observe that Mario sounds more distinctly "Lanza-like" on this recording of "Mattinata" than he does on some of his other 1945 recordings. Certainly, if we compare his singing here to that of "I'm Falling in Love with Someone" (from the same RCA test record session of June 1945), he sounds much more careful---and even slightly stilted---on the Herbert number in contrast with his youthful abandon on "Mattinata."
 
Yes, the "Mattinata" could well be from 1948 (despite a couple of vocal moments that suggest the earlier Lanza), but for the life of me I can't make any sense out of the purported date (27 March 1948). Why would Lanza record a one-off test recording for MGM months after his successful audition, and also many months away from the recording of the soundtrack of That Midnight Kiss? And during one of the busiest performing periods of his life? That's why I wonder if someone simply stuck the MGM label over a 1945 acetate.
 
As for when Lanza started developing his style, there are hints of what was to come as early as the 1940 "Pecche'?", and I can certainly hear Lanza the confident popular singer emerging on something like "A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody" of 1946.
 
Cheers
Derek

Armando

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Feb 18, 2013, 11:54:53 PM2/18/13
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I agree with Derek that Lanza develop his style virtually from the start. With few exceptions, in almost any other tenor one can hear traces of Caruso, Gigli or Bjorling and, in some instances, almost exact copies of certain singer E.G. Di Stefano-Carreras. Lanza was no doubt influenced by many singers but interpretably (flaws and all) he was an original, and this, for me, is the mark of a great artist.

Armando

Vincent Di Placido

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Feb 22, 2013, 8:42:00 AM2/22/13
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Hello everybody! Firstly it's great after all these years to hear a "new" recording, great stuff!
Yes! I think this is an alternate 1945 RCA demo, that possibly made it's way to MGM for some sort of demo purpose. The lyric mistake on "tu" for "non" is something he didn't repeat & I think is the biggest hint that it is the same session in 1945. Mario's 1949 & Great Caruso recordings of "Mattinata" have the correct "non" lyric & he also has that slightly unpolished technique pre Rosati, don't get me wrong it's still Mario & I love it but he was a different singing animal after Rosati, what a teacher!
Great work, Derek, yet again in bringing us this rarity! 

Derek McGovern

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Feb 23, 2013, 9:53:11 PM2/23/13
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Hi Vince: Great to see you posting again.
 
So you're leaning towards 1945, eh? :) That was my initial gut feeling as well, though more because of a couple of wayward moments (an intonation problem at one point, for example, that suggested a singer whose technique was not yet completely secure) than the botched lyrics. Still, the mistake with the words does suggest that Mario hadn't yet ironed out the kinks in his rendition of this song---something that he presumably did not long after, when he started including the song in his concerts. It's hard to believe that someone who must have performed "Mattinata" quite often by 1948 would have made that kind of lyric error in a recording that same year. 
 
Still, that MGM label does niggle---even with handwritten details :) (Click on "original size" on the photo below to see a large version of the MGM disc.) 
 
Cheers
Derek




Derek McGovern

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Dec 31, 2014, 5:38:18 AM12/31/14
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Don't forget this thread either! It focuses on two early Lanza recordings of "Mattinata," including this recently discovered version:

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