Smorgasbord Music Column 2022 – William Price King meets the Music Legends – #Classical – Andrea Bocelli – Pavarotti, Celine Dion, Awards 1990s


It is eight years since William Price King joined Smorgasbord to share music across the genres. It is six years since we have featured some of the music legends and delighted to showcase them again in 2022.

Welcome to the next part in the Andrea Bocelli story. The multi-award winning cross over tenor has won not just critical acclaim for his beautiful voice, but the hearts of millions around the world

In September 1994 when Andrea was invited to sing at the renowned Pavarotti’s annual Charity Gala Concert, Pavarotti International in Modena. Bocelli sang Ruggiero Leoncavallo’s ‘Mattinata’ (Morning).. A song with quite an interesting back story.

It was the first song ever written for the then Gramophone Company in 1904 (which later became HMV). Ruggero Leoncavallo was an Italian composer who was best known for his two act opera, Pagliacci written in 1892, and still one of the top twenty list of most performed operas worldwide. ‘Mattinata’ was dedicated to the renowned Italian tenor, Enrico Caruso, and he was the first to record the song with Leoncavallo at the piano.. Just one of over 260 recordings between 1902 and 1920 by the great Caruso.

Also during the gala performance, Andrea sang a duet with Pavarotti, Maurizio Morante’s Notte e Piscatore’. Luciano Pavarotti 

This was the year that Andrea Bocelli made his opera debut in Verdi’s Macbeth as Macduff. Performing at the Teatro Verdi in Pisa. It was also in 1994 that Andrea, who considered himself to be an agnostic, reverted to catholicism. It followed his immersion in the works of Leo Tolstoy who promoted the belief that life was not the result of pure chance, but had purpose and meaning. He performed the hymn ‘Adeste Fideles in Rome before Pope John Paul II in St. Peter’s Basilica at Christmas.

Having won the newcomer section at the 1994 San Remo Festival, Andrea was invited to return in 1995. This time he entered the main competition with ‘Con ti Partiro’ and finished in fourth place.

The song was included on his second album, Bocelli, produced by Mauro Malavasi and released in November 1995. In Belgium, the song became the best-selling single of all time.

In this piece, Con te Partiro, Bocelli’s young voice is strong and well supported.His mixing of high and low notes confirm his distinct timbrewhich is extraordinary and transcendent,and his performance is as impressive as the power he brings to its expression. Andrea Bocelli 

Later in 1995 Bocelli was invited to sing with soprano Sarah Brightman and they translated the title of the song to ‘Time to Say Goodbye’. The single topped the German charts and stayed there for over three months. Three million copies were sold and this beat the previous record of best-selling single by one million copies, the single also won a sextuple platinum award.

In 1996 Bocelli released his third album. Viaggio Italiano is Andrea Bocelli’s third studio album and first classical album. The album features some of the most popular opera arias and Neapolitan songs of all time, such as Ave Maria, Nessun Dorma, O Sole Mio and la Donna è Mobile. Although released only in Italy in 1996, it sold close to 300,000 copies. Bocelli later received the ECHO Klassik “Best seller of the year” award for the album, after its international release, in 1997

Bocelli gives a warm,passionate,and heartfelt delivery of Schubert’s Ave Maria. It’s unbelievably heavenly and inspirational.

Bocelli continued to gain fans around Europe, topping the charts in Spanish charts with ‘Vivo Por Ella’ ( I Live for Her) his duet with Queen of Spanish pop Marta Sanchez. This was followed in 1997 with the French version of the song, ‘Je Vis Pour Elle’ sung with French singer Hélène Ségara; a hit in Belgium and reaching number one in France.

On March 3rd 1997 he appeared in Hamburg, Germany, with Sarah Brightman to receive the ECHO music award for Best Single of the Year for Time to Say Goodbye. This was followed in the September with Bocelli’s concert at the Piazza dei Cavalieri in Piza, A Night in Tuscany which was his first concert to air on PBS.

Whilst continuing to perform concerts and to record further albums, Bocelli remained committed to performing opera roles and early in 1998 he made his debut in a major role as Rodolfo in La bohème at the Teatro Comunale in Cagliari.

His fifth album Aria: The Opera Album’ was released in March. There was some negative reviews for the album from opera purists who felt that his voice was not strong enough to master the arias. If you read the reviews on Amazon, it is clear to see there is definitely a divide between the critics and the massive response from Bocelli’s fans who loved the album.. Here is one review that sums up this controversy.

CHANGE YOUR REVIEWER ! By DAVID WILLIAMS on March 1, 2000

Thanks to Rick Holden (Sceptic@traveller.com) for showing Ms Miller how to write a proper review. Having listened to the album myself I can only agree whole heartedly with his comments. Unfortunately there are too many critics out there who try to analyse music note by note and impress us with their technical jargon.

The joy of music is all about liking what you hear, and whether or not the music moves you. How can anyone enjoy listening if they’re listening for flaws or mistakes instead of enjoying what they hear. Perhaps Andrea Bocelli isn’t the greatest Opera singer, I don’t know, but I can say that he has one of the most wonderfully melodic voices I have ever heard and he sings like a man who is enjoying every note he delivers.

His background or his potential for the future don’t bother me, he is the man of the moment, and that’s all that matters. I recently watched a video performance of his ‘Evening in Tuscany’ which I would reccommend to all fans. Maybe Andrea will never be a great Opera singer, but who cares? He can move audiences without all the fancy dress. VIVA ANDREA!

It was now time to win over the United States and in April, Bocelli made his debut with a concert at the John F. Kennedy Centre in Washington. This was followed the next day by a reception a the White House with President Bill Clinton.

As a very definite response to some of his critics, Bocelli appeared in Monte Carlo in the May and won two World Music Awards. One in the category “Best Italian Singer”, and one for “Best Classical Interpretation“. He was also named one of People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People of 1998. This was consolidated in September when he received his second Echo Klassik award for the best-selling Aria: The Opera Album which sold almost two million copies, one million of them in the United States achieving Platinum status.

Here is ‘E lucevan le stelle‘ from the album – Bocelli’s grasp of style and vocal technique are quite evident in this aria, and his talent undeniable.His sound is not rounded in a Pavarotti-like way but is quite virile with a *baritone-like color used over a wide *vocal range without any suspicion of strain. Do enjoy this aria which is performed lovingly, sincerely,and skillfully.

Note: barione-like color – timbre
Note: vocal range –the measure of the breadth of pitches that a human voice can sing.

As the millennium drew to a close there was very little that could stop the phenomenon that was Andre Bocelli.

On Thanksgiving Eve, Andrea was a guest on Celine Dion’s televised These Are Special Times where they sang ‘The Prayer‘. The duet was included on Celine Dion’s album of the same name and the song also appeared on the film Quest for Camelot in 1998. ‘The Prayer’ won the Golden Globe for Best Original Song in 1999 and at the 41st Grammy Awards, Bocelli was nominated for Best New Artist.

His seventh album, Sacred Arias contained exclusively sacred music and reached number one on the US Classic Billboard charts two weeks later. This made Andre the first vocalist to hold all three top places on the chart with Aria: The Opera Album in second place and Viaggio Italiano in third place. To promote Sacred Arias, Bocelli recorded his second PBS concert in Rome and this special was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Classical Music-Dance Program.

To end the decade and millennium on a high note, Bocelli performed at the Royal Variety performance at the end of November 1999 by invitation of Queen Elizabeth. The following day his autobiographical novel, La Musica del Silenzio was released in Italy.

BUY Andrea Bocelli’s Music: Amazon

Official Website:Andrea Bocelli

Additional materialWikipedia

William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.

His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour.

While touring Europe he met a lovely French lady, Jeanne Maïstre, who, a year later became his wife. King left the group ‘Au Naturel’ and settled in the south of France where he started a new life on the French Riviera, opening his own music school – the “Price King Ecole Internationale de Chant.” He has had the pleasure over the years of seeing many of his students excel as singers on a professional level, and some going on to become national celebrities. He continues to coach young singers today, in his spare time.

Blog– IMPROVISATION William Price King on Tumblr – Buy William’s music: William Price King iTunes – FacebookWilliam Price King – Twitter@wpkofficial
Regular Venue – Cave Wilson

 

As always William would love to receive your feedback… thanks Sally.