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Since it was announced that Alfie Boe would feature on a new work by composer Rachel Fuller, fans have been beside themselves with excitement. Add in conductor Robert Ziegler, who conducted the world premiere of Fuller’s Classic Quadrophenia in 2015 and excitement levels rose even more.

Animal Requiem was created by Rachel to celebrate, remember and honour all the animals we have loved and lost, as well as those animals affected by cruelty or neglect around the world. The piece was also created for animal lovers and workers wherever they may be. The audience were urged to bring photos of lost pets and the resulting board was very moving.

The evening began with a beautiful performance of Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saens, along with poems from Ogden Nash, read by actor Peter Egan, himself a noted campaigner for animal rights. Both were wonderful.

After a short break, Egan again took to the stage, this time to introduce the premiere of Animal Requiem, before which he read the poem Just A Dog. The pet owners in the audience understood and agreed with the sentiments exactly. Robert Ziegler took to the stage to conduct the London Philarmonic Concert Orchestra and the Chamber Choir of London who performed the first few parts of the requiem beautifully. Fuller’s music accompanied the familiar requiem words in a new way whilst always remaining true to what we might expect from a requiem. The Prayer of St. Francis was especially moving in this respect.

Alfie then took to the stage (or, being in a church, the pulpit) and sang Psalm 142 and Agnus Dei; there was a palpable frisson of anticipation when he appeared.

As Alfie mentioned afterwards, singing this type of music in this setting (St. James’ Church, Piccadilly) took him back to his Royal College of Music days, when church music was a staple of his repertoire. As expected, it was glorious to hear Alfie’s voice performing as it was trained to do, without amplification, soaring above, but not competing with the orchestra. The setting was perfect and he held the audience in the palm of his hand for the entirety. Soprano Katy Batho was also lovely – the two of them coming together for the finale were sublime. The last song of the evening was Paul McCartney’s Blackbird. As he wasn’t able to be there, Alfie sang this for him, accompanied by a guitarist and the orchestra – you could have heard a pin drop. It also demonstrated the depth of Alfie’s vocal versatility perfectly:

It was an honour to be present at the premiere of this exciting new work and I’m sure that the entire audience felt the same, judging by the standing ovation given at the end.

Animal Requiem is available now to download and to pre-order on CD here.

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Number seven in this year’s countdown to find your favourite Alfie Boe Best Live Song is a new entry, the first this year and is from Alfie’s Bring Him Home tour:

Nominated and Filmed by Chelley, In My Daughter’s Eyes was a fixture in Alfie’s live set for a few years and is from his second Decca album, Alfie. Although this is a new addition to the live song poll, the song has featured in the top ten for best recorded song on a couple of occasions.

In some of the many interviews Alfie gave around the release of Alfie in 2011, he said that he chose the song for his daughter, Grace, as he had already chosen Song to the Siren for his son, also Alfie and for whom the album is named (Alfred Robert was born on New Year’s Day the following year).   Besides being a beautiful song, I think it holds a special resonance to anyone who is or has a daughter. In My Daughter’s Eyes was written by James T Slater for Martina McBride’s 2003 Martina album:

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My New Year resolution in 2018 (I haven’t made any this year!) was to listen to more music that was ‘new’ to me. Some of it was new to me but not to most of the rest of the world and usually involved artists that everyone has heard of but I had never really listened to. Having said that, I did find in all but one case that I knew more songs by these artists than I had previously thought. Billy Idol, Tom Petty and Glen Campbell fall into this category.

Eleven artists later (the resolution failed at the last hurdle, being too busy in December…then it was January and…oops!) and I’m taking the opportunity to look back at some of my favourites.

My first favourite is Billy Idol, who worked with Alfie in Classic Quadrophenia and whom Alfie himself recommended to me in an interview in 2015. Although I knew of Billy Idol, I hadn’t really listened to the music that much and was consequently surprised when I knew quite a lot of it. This was the song that caught my ear:

I enjoyed all the other ten artists and it was difficult to choose the ones I like best, but, as I regularly ask you to choose your favourite Alfie Boe songs, I thought I’d go for Tom Petty and Glen Campbell. But it was really hard! All these three were inspired by Alfie’s recent choice of music so maybe that’s why I like them so much??!!

I love bluegrass sounds and rhythms so it’s no surprise that I chose this in the Glen Campbell piece:

I decided on Tom Petty for this series after hearing Alfie sing Wildflowers at Scarborough last summer:

But, the Tom Petty that I remembered and found I loved belongs to Won’t Back Down:

Thanks for taking this journey with me – suggestions welcome for ideas you want to see on thoughtsofjustafan in future!

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In at number eight in our quest to find your favourite Alfie Boe live song this year is a song that entered the chart in 2018 at number four and is from Together:

St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, June 2018

Alfie has been singing You’ll Never Walk Alone for a long time, and not just because he’s a Liverpool fan! This version in the glorious setting of St. George’s Chapel showcases Alfie’s classically trained voice superbly.

Despite it’s undoubted footballing connotations in the UK, the song is of course originally from the 1945 musical, Carousel, which Alfie appeared in 2017. However, Alfie’s character, Billy Bigelow doesn’t get to sing this song and it was a pleasure to hear Brenda Edwards’ Nettie sing it in the ENO production. Here is Alfie at the VE Day celebrations in 2015:

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Alfie Boe will shortly be appearing at the premiere of Rachel Fuller’s Animal Requiem and the good news is that you can now pre-order the album! Due out on March 8 2019, Alfie features on some tracks; click here to pre-order:

To download on 31 January, click here.

There are still a few tickets available for the premiere at St. James’ Church, Piccadilly, click here.

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The question today is how well you know what Alfie Boe did in 2018?  A week ago I asked you the questions, now it’s time for the answers – and you’ll see if you won a prize!

  1. What UK album chart position with As Time Goes By did Alfie achieve in 2018?  Number 10 (week of release)
  2. On which bass baritone’s new album did Alfie guest on in 2018? Bryn Terfel – Dreams
  3. How many summer concerts did Alfie do in 2018? 5 (Kelvingrove, Kenwood, Fleetwood, Scarborough and Llangollen)
  4. Which song was voted number one in the latest best ever recorded song poll? Anthem
  5. Which TV show did Alfie host for the second year running in December? Christmas Carols on ITV
  6. What was the name of the daytime TV programme Alfie was featured on in November? Homefront Heroes
  7. Alfie sang at St. George’s Chapel this year – who got married there in 2018? Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank
  8. In which countries did Alfie sing live at in 2018? UK, USA, Japan
  9. Which two Classic BRIT awards did Alfie and Michael Ball win? Best Album and Best Group
  10. Which two charities did Alfie become ambassador for in 2018? Rays of Sunshine and Willow Foundation

Who got ten out of ten? I should hope everyone?!

There was a competition attached and the two winners of a signed St. George’s Chapel programme and a Blackpool Illuminations programme are:

Katharine Peace and G Heys

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Two weeks into our annual quest to find Alfie Boe’s Best Live Song, we come to a song that Alfie first sang on the Together Again Tour 2017 and again during the summer concerts of 2018. Featuring at number three in last year’s poll, it’s slipped a bit to number nine this time around:

One of the reasons so many of you love this song is the joy Alfie and his band members get from playing and jamming together – not only is it great to see Alfie playing guitar but to see the other band members get their moment in the sun.

Wagon Wheel has not been recorded by Alfie as of yet and currently, it’s difficult to see where it would fit, other than a radically different album to those of recent years.  Having said that, I would love to hear such an album!  Judging by these votes, I’m not alone in that.

Wagon Wheel is a song from a US country band, The Old Crow Medicine Show and is actually a hybrid of a chorus and melody from Bob Dylan (him again!):

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How much do you know about Alfie Boe and his music?  If you think you know everything there is to know, take the Alfie Boe Quiz 2019 and find out!

  1. What UK album chart position with As Time Goes By did Alfie achieve in 2018?
  2. On which bass baritone’s new album did Alfie guest on in 2018?
  3. How many summer concerts did Alfie do in 2018?
  4. Which song was voted number one in the latest best ever recorded song poll?
  5. Which TV show did Alfie host for the second year running in December?
  6. What was the name of the daytime TV programme Alfie was featured on in November?
  7. Alfie sang at St. George’s Chapel this year – who got married there in 2018?
  8. In which countries did Alfie sing live at in 2018?
  9. Which two Classic BRIT awards did Alfie and Michael Ball win?
  10. Which two charities did Alfie become ambassador for in 2018?

I have some more competition goodies to give away so please send me your answers here.  The winner will be drawn from all correct answers on 16 January 2019*

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*Terms and Conditions: All entrants will be added to mailing list.

Number ten in our first poll of 2019 means only one thing – An Evening with Alfie Boe kicks off in just ten weeks time (next Sunday to be precise).  Anyone excited yet??? I guess that’s all of you, then!

Number ten is a song that has featured in both best live song poll and best recorded song poll of 2018 and is A Thousand Years:

This is Alfie by himself…with a few comments about Mr Ball!

The song was originally performed by Christina Perri for the 2011 film Twilight: Breaking Bad Part One. Written by Perri and David Hodges, the song also featured on the soundtrack of Breaking Bad Part Two, as a duet with Steve Kazee. In addition to Alfie and Michael, the song has been covered by several other artists, many with millions of YouTube views!

In 2018, this song ended up at number six in both live and recorded song polls – and I only just realised now!

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Starting off 2019 as we mean to go on, here is your chance to vote for your favourite Alfie Boe Live Song!  We have four new songs this year:

  • In My Daughter’s Eyes, nominated by Chelley
  • Volare at Fleetwood, nominated by Janet
  • Radio Gaga, nominated by Roberta Kappus
  • We Are The Champions, (also Roberta)
  • Who Wants to Live Forever (Roberta again)

It’s a short voting period this time as the song at number ten will be revealed on Monday – here are all the songs on the list:

You’ve got until Sunday morning (UK time) to vote:

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