Classical

As the weather grows ever more Autumnal, it’s another great excuse to stay indoors and watch Alfie on YouTube.  To aid you in this, here is another instalment of Six Sensational Songs and this time, they are from Marie Blair, who first got to know Alfie when he did the Les Mis 25th Anniversary Concert at the O2.

Some Enchanted Evening, chosen by Marie because “…it was the song he sang at STV when I met him for the first time on 28 January 2011. It is from the musical South Pacific. In a recent documentary to celebrate his 70th birthday, Andrew Lloyd Webber said that it is the greatest song ever written for a musical.”

The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face. Marie says “I met Alfie for the second time in September 2011 in Dundee at the Last Night of the Proms. He sang The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face. It was and remains the best live performance he has done of that song in my opinion. I think it is mesmerising. It is such a beautiful love song.” Sorry I couldn’t find video of the right performance Marie!

Run, by now needing no introduction.  Marie’s reasons for choosing this are that “I think the performance at VE Day was just wonderful. I often watch it on YouTube and I love the way he acknowledges Murray on stage. I loved Leona Lewis’s version of this song but prefer Alfie’s. I really hope he records it.” And so say all of us, regarding the recording Marie!

The official video for If You Go Away, from Trust.  Marie loves this song and also the video, having watched it loads of times – I’m sure you’re not alone in that!

Billy Joel’s Always a Woman to Me was a bonus track on Storyteller – and is kindly shared here by Marcia, along with photos of Alfie and Sarah.*

Marie says “My sixth choice, Parlami D’Amore Mariu, was written in 1932 for the singer Vittorio de Sica and means Tell Me About Love Mariu. It is exquisitely sung by Alfie and remains one of my favourites. I do wish Alfie would sing more Italian songs and opera arias in particular.”  Knowing Alfie’s views on music and his wide ranging repertoire, I wouldn’t be surprised if this again happens in the future.

Thanks Marie for sharing your songs with us – two new ones added to the list!

If you would like to choose and share your six songs with us, please fill in the form:

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Almost time for the new album – who’s getting excited about As Time Goes By?  I imagine one or two of the songs will feature in the list of Alfie Boe’s Best Ever Song 2019 but before we get to that, here is another one in the occasional series of our Six Sensational Songs.  This time it’s the turn of Betty May to tell us her choices.

Dimming of the Day, from Trust – with a great Tom Jones anecdote at the beginning of this clip from Cardiff.

Bring Him Home, this time from Fleetwood, bringing the number of times this song has featured in this series to ten.

The ever popular live song, Run.

A throwback to La Passione with Parlami D’Amore Mariu at Leeds 2015 – note the short hair in preparation for Les Mis on Broadway!

Come What May with West End star Kerry Ellis.

Tell Me It’s Not True, from Blood Brothers – all the way back in 2012!

Thanks Betty for sharing your six songs with us.

If you would like to see your favourite Alfie songs featured here, please fill in the form:

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On the homeward stretch of the 2018 countdown of the fans favourite Alfie Boe recorded song and we find a song at number four that topped the chart in 2016, fell to number three last year and is now at number four:

I’ve used this video more times that I can remember (the song has featured heavily in the Six Sensational Songs series) but the first version of Love Reign O’er Me remains spine tinglingly wonderful.  The whole Classic Quadrophenia album is amazing but this is definitely the best, showcasing Alfie’s vocal talents like very few other songs in his recent repertoire, either recorded or live.  Anyone who experiences (you don’t see or hear Alfie sing this live, you experience it) Alfie singing this live can never get enough of it again.  It’s simply spellbinding.

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We’ve reached the half way stage of the poll to find the best Alfie Boe recorded song 2018!  The song at number five is a new entry to the chart, having only been released in 2017.  The third song to feature Alfie with Michael Ball and taken from Together Again, the song is The Prayer:

Happily, this song was voted in at number five in this year’s Alfie Boe Best Live Song poll!

The song was written by David Foster and Carole Bayer Sager, with Alberto Testa and Tony Renis for the 1998 film Quest for Camelot and was originally two solo tracks; English for Celine Dion and Italian for Andrea Bocelli. The song was then released as a duet by Dion and Bocelli and that is the version that is most well known.

Composer Foster had said that is is “a song that I just never get tired of playing, I never get tired of hearing it, and I never get tired of people telling me that they enjoy it. And it seems to mean a lot—it means a lot of different things to a lot of people. So it’s a powerful piece of music. I think it came through me, and I think Carole’s lyric is beautiful. And it’s very meaningful to me that when all is said and done, there is a piece of music like that, that will undoubtedly outlive me. It was a moment—that song was a moment for sure.”

The Prayer was was one of my standout songs of Together Again – it’s beautiful and is a treat for those who love to hear Alfie sing in Italian. Both Alfie and Michael excel here and it seems to be a fitting song for the troubled times we currently live in.

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Last week saw the news that Alfie Boe’s new album, As Time Goes By (click here to order), will be released on 23 November and I’m sure there will be plenty of fans very much looking forward to hearing all the tracks.  Before then, however, we have the question that all fans are desperate to have answered:

What is the fans favourite Alfie Boe song 2018???

I’m happy to say that the vote is now closed, the votes have been counted and the results will be revealed over the next ten weeks, which will take us almost up to the week of the new album.  Anyone would think it was planned!

Without further ado, the song in at number ten is a song that featured in the first three charts but dropped out of the top ten last year.  From Onward, it’s A Living Prayer:

A Living Prayer shows off Alfie’s soaring vocals to perfection and is probably the reason why a song from one of Alfie’s lesser known albums has been eternally popular with fans, also being chosen several times as part of the Six Sensational Songs series.

A Living Prayer was written by bluegrass / country singer Alison Krauss and released on the Union Station album Lonely Runs Both Ways in 2004. The bluegrass roots are evident in this video of Krauss:

As evidenced from Alfie’s autobiography, he wasn’t too thrilled with the choice of songs for Onward, with the exception of A Living Prayer – hope he sings it again one day.

Onward is available here:

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Fans of both ITV’s The Voice and Alfie Boe were thrilled when they found out that one of the finalists from this year’s series, Belle Voci, were confirmed to support Alfie at his Scarborough show in June.  With just a couple of days notice, Emily Burnett and Sophie Rohan, who form the operatic duo, were just as thrilled, if not more so, to be supporting one of their musical inspirations.  They were even more delighted when Alfie popped into their dressing room on the day of the show and asked if they would share the stage with him on a couple of songs.  Here they are on You’re The Voice, appropriately enough:

I spoke to Emily recently and asked how Belle Voci got the opportunity to sing with Alfie.  It turns out that it’s all down to Jennifer Hudson turning for them on The Voice.  Deciding to audition for the show as a way to get footage for their website, neither Emily or Sophie expected anyone’s chair to turn and were “absolutely amazed.  It’s opened so many doors for us, we would never have sung with Alfie without it.”

As a result of getting to the final three, Emily and Sophie were signed by an agent and thus found themselves performing with one of their musical idols.  They say never meet your idols, but Emily was relieved to find that Alfie was “such a nice guy, loved working with him.”

Emily and Sophie met and formed Belle Voci a few years ago when they were both working in a pub (chef and waitress).  Both trained as singers, at Durham University / Royal College of Music and London School of Musical Theatre respectively and were looking for a way to forge a career in music.  Opera evenings, weddings and corporate events followed before the chance to do The Voice came along.  Just prior to appearing on the show, the duo decided to record and release their eponymous first album, showcasing seven operatic arias and Over The Rainbow, using the arrangement by Roderick Williams.  As the album concentrates on opera, I wanted to know why Rainbow was included – it turns out that it’s just because Emily and Sophie love to sing it.  Emily then said that “we hope that someone might like Over the Rainbow and then discover some of the other, operatic tracks and like them as well…it’s almost like drip feeding opera, introducing people to it who might not have had much before.”  Sounds remarkably similar to something Alfie would say – “there’s only two types of music: good and bad.”

I earlier mentioned that Alfie is one of Belle Voci’s musical inspirations, one reason being that they are “inspired by the musical choices he makes…we want to be like him, he’s so bang on trend with everything.” Emily and Sophie were at the Classic BRITs this year and thought it was awesome that Alfie and Michael won two awards.   Il Divo also gain a mention for their harmonies, as well as Katherine Jenkins (“she’s built an insane career for herself”), Laura Wright and Beyonce -Emily “loves her sass!”

Belle Voci’s album is available here:

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After the nominations closed for the 5th annual Best Ever Alfie Boe song (recorded) last week, I’m pleased to say that the poll is now open for votes once more!

Thanks to those who sent in their nominations – we have five new additions this year!

Bridge Over Troubled Water – nominated by Brenda Licence

You’re The Voice – Gill Jansingh

You’ll Be Back – Pauline Merrick

A Thousand Years – Karen Blower

He Lives In You – Ann Quelch

I originally started this poll to highlight the depth of Alfie’s repertoire and we have songs from all his albums to date, so we have more than accomplished this.  Whenever I talk about Alfie to non fans (yes, there are such people!), the song they always mention is Bring Him Home, twice the winner of this poll.  While it is the song for which he is always known, wouldn’t it be great for something new to top this year’s vote?

Voting will remain open until the end of this week and then the first song of the top ten will be revealed the week after – get voting!

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Although the summer is drawing to a close, don’t worry, because that means that it’s a little bit closer to the release of Alfie Boe’s eagerly anticipated solo album.  Set to be released in November, it’s something that Alfie fans have been looking forward to for a while now.

Before then, there’s the small matter of the now annual Best Ever Alfie Boe song poll, now in it’s fifth year.  We have another album, Together Again, to include in our favourites so let’s see if anything can knock Bring Him Home off it’s pedestal – newer fans, it’s not always been at the top of the poll!  How about this one for example – it was very popular at the Oxford Street HMV album signing last year!

The time has come for your nominations please – the longlist can be found on Spotify so click here to listen.  If you don’t find your favourite here, please fill in the form below:

Nominations will close on 30 August and voting will open the following week.

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Opera superstar Sir Bryn Terfel is releasing his first album for five years in September and I’m thrilled that Alfie Boe will be a guest!  Titled Dreams and Songs, the album is a collection of songs that Bryn loves.

Recorded at London’s Abbey Road studios, the album also features soprano Danielle de Niese on Amazing Grace, tenor Joseph Calleja on Granada and Katherine Jenkins on Tell My Father.  In addition, Dame Emma Thompson and Ron Brydon join Bryn on Do You Love Me from Fiddler on the Roof and The Golfer’s Lament, respectively.  There is also a world premiere recording of The Shepherd Poet Of Passchendaele, written especially for Bryn by Penclawdd-born Sir Karl Jenkins, the most performed living composer. The song is inspired by the story of Welsh poet Hedd Wyn, who died on the first day of the Battle of Passchendaele (the Third Battle of Ypres), with poignant lyrics written by Sir Karl’s wife – Lady Jenkins, Carol Barratt.

Alfie will duet with Bryn on John Denver’s Perhaps Love, recorded with Placido Domingo in 1981 – this will be tremendous with Alfie and Bryn’s voices.  Of course, Alfie and Bryn have known each other for a long time; Bryn appeared at the Royal Opera House whilst Alfie was a student in the Vilar Programme – click here (from 4.19) to see footage of the two of them together.  However, since then, the pair have performed together, most notably at the South Bank Awards, singing the Pearl Fishers duet.  This performance was the winner in an early thoughtsofjustafan poll to find your favourite Alfie Boe duet – duets have taken on a whole new meaning for Alfie since then!

Acclaimed worldwide for tackling the biggest opera roles, Sir Bryn’s new album – his first in five years – shows his lighter side with a collection of his most loved songs, recorded in brand new orchestral versions. He says, “This is some of my favourite concert repertoire. Songs and duets, some humorous encores that I just adore to sing. And how lucky I am to share the album with some incredible artists, and to record at the amazing, iconic Abbey Road.”

Alongside the release of Dreams and Songs, Sir Bryn Terfel continues to give major performances around the world. Following his title role in Falstaff at London’s Royal Opera House, he will be reprising his title role as Sweeney Todd at Zürich Opera in December. He will also sing with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall on 5th October for a special concert which includes music by Verdi, Wagner, Mozart and more.

Dreams and Songs can be pre-ordered here:

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Into August and the countdown to the 2018 Blackpool Illumination Switch On is under way – anyone going to see Alfie switch on?

In the meantime, let’s take a look at Janice Stark’s song selection.  Janice first saw Alfie on the Royal Variety Show 2010), bought the 25th Anniversary DVD has bought all his CD’s and DVD’s ever since. Janice says “I think I really prefer his opera renditions but the more modern songs have grown on me so tried to get a mix in my choice of six!”

Danny Boy, from Trust.

Dimming of the Day, Trust.

The Floral Dance at Children In Need Rocks for Sir Terry.

If I Can Dream, Storyteller.

Patiently Smiling, Love Was A Dream.

The Pearl Fishers Duet, with Bryn Terfel – Janice chose this or Nessun Dorma as her sixth song, so I chose this as it hasn’t been chosen before.

Another three new tracks have been added to our list – at this rate, we’ll eventually have every single song from Alfie!

If you would like to see your choices featured, please fill in the form:

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