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:
thanks for reading – please share
if you like what you see, why not subscribe?
all your Alfie news straight to your inbox
plus 4 exclusive photos and a welcome message from Alfie
It’s been a very busy time for Alfie fans until recently and we haven’t had time to feature many fan stories, so this post sees more from our occasional series, Six Sensational Songs.
Today’s choices come from Chris Coats, who first saw him singing Stranger in Paradise on TV and thought “wow, what a voice.” These are Chris’s songs:
You Are My Heart’s Delight, chosen by Chris as it reminds her of her grandparents, who loved Richard Tauber. The same reason goes for Girls Were Made to Love and Kiss, from the same Lehar album, Love Was A Dream. Sadly I can’t find a video of this but Soundcloud is the next best thing:
Core ‘ngrato, from Alfie’s first album, Classic FM Presents, was Chris’s mum’s favourite song and “had to be on the list”.
As I mentioned in the introduction, Chris first saw Alfie on this very TV appearance and it makes the list because it was the first time she heard THAT voice.
Mattinata, from La Passione, because “it’s such a lovely tune.”
The last of Chris’s six songs is from Serenata, Non Ti Scordar Ti Me and once again, I can’t find a video!
Yet again, I’m astounded that four new tracks have been added to our choice of six sensational songs, this time, very much in Alfie’s classical repertoire.
If you would like to see your choices featured, please fill in the form:
Finally, if you haven’t yet seen the news, Alfie will be switching on the Blackpool Illuminations on 31 August!
More than six years after it was released, Love Was A Dreamyesterday topped the UK classical charts. Looking back, the last time I wrote about this fabulous album (my favourite after Trust and the best classical album), it had just entered the top ten classical album chart, then standing at number 4, ahead of Serenata at 6 and You’ll Never Walk Alone at 7. This news is especially exciting for those of us who love this album as it’s probably one of the least known of Alfie’s albums. Recorded and released with Linn Records before Alfie signed to Decca, the album is now part of Alfie’s back catalogue under the Decca umbrella.
From Alfie’s autobiography, My Story, you really understand the depth of feeling he has for Franz Lehar and for Love Was A Dream. The opportunity to make the album came at a low point in Alfie’s professional life and clearly has an emotional connection for him, not least because Lehar was a favourite of his father. Alfie says:
That album has a real sentimental feel for me – vocally and emotionally and even technically….It was a really warm experience…one of my favourite albums I’ve done, certainly the most personal.
Anyone familiar with Alfie’s story knows that Lehar’s music is a personal favourite for him and his father, Alfred. As well as singing You Are My Heart’s Delight (track 5) for his first D’oyly Carte audition, Alfie spent many a Sunday lunchtime in the Boe household listening to Alf senior’s music and Alfie says that Richard Tauber was one of his father’s favourite singers. Tauber became particularly well known for singing the song; indeed it comes from a 1929 operetta, The Land of Smiles, written for his voice by Lehar. Here’s Alfie at the 2012 Proms in the Park:
The remainder of the tracks (click here to see the complete list) are taken from other Lehar operettas dating from 1905-1934. Tracks 2 and 9 are from The Merry Widow (1905), an operetta that Alfie performed in with ENO in 2009 although Vilia (track 2) is sung by the Merry Widow herself. Track 12 (Farewell, My Love Farewell) was the song that made Richard Tauber a star in 1922 and he then went onto originate a number of roles for Lehar – the rest of the track list comprises songs that were created for Tauber’s voice.
Love Was A Dream is, for me, the perfect album for Alfie’s voice and my favourite classical album. For me, it’s a much more romantic album than Serenata, which was promoted as his most romantic album yet (of the Decca albums, yes).
Whether or not you have anyone to share Valentine’s Day with, here is a little treat just for you:
This topped Alfie Boe’s Guide to Romance in 2014, or it would have done if Serenata songs were not taken into consideration! For a really romantic evening with Alfie, Love Was A Dream just can’t be beaten in my opinion but sadly, these songs have never really featured in Alfie’s live repertoire. I’m still dreaming that they’ll make a come back one day though.
I have another treat for you too – you may have heard that February 9th is now Alfie Boe day – now I know that everyday is Alfie Boe day for all of you – in Utah. Here is Alfie singing in the Utah senate last week:
Beautiful – and beautiful words of introduction too.
Although we’re in the midst of full blown excitement about the Alfie Boe and Michael Ball Together Tour, we’re also counting down the fans favourite Alfie Boe Live Song. Last week saw the publication of numbers 9 and 10, both new entries this year.
This week, we’re looking at 7 and 8. The song voted in at number 8 is a song that made it to the top five in 2014, You Are My Heart’s Delight from Blackpool (thanks Nikki Lewis for sharing):
Oh what a magical moment that was, made all the more special by knowing Alfie’s family were in the audience that night. Anyone familiar with Alfie story knows that You Are My Heart’s Delight is a personal favourite for him and his father, Alfred. As well as singing it for his first D’oyly Carte audition, Alfie spent many a Sunday lunchtime in the Boe household listening to Alf senior’s music and Alfie says that Richard Tauber was one of his father’s favourite singers. Tauber became particularly well known for singing the song; indeed it comes from a 1929 operetta, The Land of Smiles, written for his voice by Franz Lehar. Click here to see Tauber’s version. Alfie’s English version is one my joint favourite album, Love Was A Dream. My other favourite album is nothing like this!
Onto the next song, number 7 in the countdown which is another top five number from 2014: Buona Sera. At that time, we had only seen Alfie sing it live at the Belfast Proms and at a charity concert in Utah earlier that year but that was before the Serenata tour when we heard it at the end of every concert:
Thanks to Linda W for sharing, this was the first concert of that tour – roll on the next one in November!
Written by Peter de Rose and Carl Sigman (Sigman also wrote the lyrics to the English version of Arrivederci Roma), most people will be familiar with the Dean Martin version. However, the song was first recorded by Louis Prima (click here to see that version). Prima was a big band, swing singer of the mid twentieth century and Buona Sera was one of a long line of hits. Incidentally, Prima is the voice of King Louis in Disney’s The Jungle Book.
Love Was A Dream and Serenata are available here:
thanks for reading and sharing – songs 6 to 5 will be revealed next week!
Alright, alright, it’s actually International Happiness Day but I got the title idea from my 9yo who looked at the 2015 Happy International Day of Happiness Alfie Boe Fans and said “it’s not really Happy Alfie Boe Day is it”? We don’t exactly see eye to eye on our musical tastes although he has been known to sing along to Alfie songs before and even uttered the immortal line (on hearing Elvis sing If I Can Dream) “this is Alfie’s song, why is Elvis singing it”.
To celebrate, these are some of my favourite Alfie tracks from each of his albums:
E Lucevan Le Stelle (Classic FM Presents) – video from first series of BBC Maestro
The song recently voted the favourite Alfie Boe recorded song, A Living Prayer (Onward) – from Songs of Praise
Funiculi Funicula (La Passione) – this was a hard choice as I could easily have chosen the whole album!
On The Street Where You Live (Bring Him Home) – from QVC, picked because my son’s choir used to sing this:
In My Daughter’s Eyes (Alfie) – for all parents and children everywhere:
Angie (Storyteller)- loved the original, this is better:
My all time favourite Alfie song (so far) is Keep Me In Your Heart (Trust) – something to do with those buttons…
Addio Sogni di Gloria (Serenata) was my favourite in the Serenata review and it hasn’t changed:
The eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed that Love Was A Dream is missing – as far as I’m aware we don’t have video of Alfie singing my favourite song from that album. Maybe one day…
What are your songs from all Alfie’s albums? Let us know below:
Or Happy Valentine’s Day as it’s better known – the Smooch Day comes from Alfie himself who tweeted that phrase himself on this day in 2015. If you’ve yet to get a Valentine this year or even if you have, this is especially for you:
Thanks to Nikki for sharing!
This is one of my favourite Alfie Boe songs ever and I especially love Emilia Mitiku’s vocals. This song was nominated in the 2014 poll to decide Alfie Boe’s Most Romantic Song so I know I’m not alone in loving it.
That said, my favourite romantic album as a whole is Love Was A Dream – just magnificent. Here is You Are My Heart’s Delight from that album (thanks to Linda for sharing):
A happy memory of the late, great Sir Terry Wogan too.
Lastly, the last time we looked at Alfie Boe’s romantic songs a song from Serenata came out on top, so here is My Heart is Yours from the first night of the Serenata tour (thanks once again to Linda for sharing):
Now, this is a fan blog for Alfie Boe so I was astonished when there were less than 10 correct answers to this question! A complete discography can be found by clicking here but the UK albums are as follows:
Classic FM Presents
Love Was A Dream
Bring Him Home
So, if you entered the competition and answered 8 as so many of you did – which album did you forget about? Leave a comment to tell me!
I have a sneaking suspicion that you might have forgotten Classic FM or Love Was A Dream as these were the least owned albums in our survey published in January 2015 (click here to see the results). If you don’t yet have these albums, they are available here:
Classic FM is only available as used.
thanks for reading and sharing
if you like what you see, why not subscribe?
all your Alfie info (including 4 exclusive photos) straight to your inbox
Onward, released in 2007 was Alfie’s first album with EMI and the track list reflects the religious theme that the label wanted Alfie to record. Reading his autobiography, My Story, Alfie had definite ideas about the arias that he wanted to sing (Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Creation, Verdi’s Requiem, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Mozart’s Requiem) but EMI instead chose the populist route of Lord is My Shepherd,Amazing Grace etc. These are beautifully sung by Alfie but I think the label really missed a trick in not going with Alfie’s choices. Having said that, Onward was nominated for Best Album at the Classical Brit Awards so what do I know? The following clip is from Songs of Praise, I Wonder As I Wander, one of a couple of Christmas tracks on the album:
From the recent thoughtsofjustafan survey, Onward is one of the less well owned albums (72% of respondents own it) and this could well be that some fans are not religiously inclined and do not want to buy an album of (mainly) hymns. Alternatively, it could be that it dates from Alfie’s pre Les Mis days and is therefore less well known. Again, having said that, most of the songs here (click here for the complete track list) also appear on Alfie’s later You’llNever Walk Alone which recently came back into the Classical Top Ten and stayed there for several weeks.
To those who are in the former category, I would say that you definitely do not have to be religious to appreciate the beauty of Onward. Alfie’s voice soars over each song and as with most of his music, I struggle to think of anyone else singing them now. As a man of faith, I think he brings something extra to this album for that reason – it was interesting that he chose Be Still, My Soul as his faith song on Good Morning Sunday in 2014. It clearly means a lot to him. He also sang this particular hymn on Songs of Praise, The Big Sing in 2012:
In my view, the most successful tracks are Britten’s Balulalow, Rossini’s Cujus Animam and the sheer beauty of Alison Krauss’s A Living Prayer which opens the album. For different reasons, all three tracks showcase the depth and strength of Alfie’s voice as well as his classical training and technique. In his book, Alfie says that he would like to re-record A Living Prayer as he felt they couldn’t do it justice due to time constraints during recording; wouldn’t it also be lovely if he also revisited Cujus Animam?
Although from reading Alfie’s story you might think that this is Alfie’s least favourite album (or at least least professionally satisfying), the material is amongst some of his most regularly performed repertoire from his early recording career. That is probably because of the religious nature of the tracks and Alfie has appeared at a fair amount of concerts and TV programmes with a religious feel; The MoTab Christmas Concert, Songs of Praise and The Festival of Remembrance spring to mind.
I find that I don’t listen to Onward as much as I do other Alfie albums although I do find that as each of Alfie’s albums has it’s own voice, there is often a space in my life that Onward fits into perfectly. If peace and solace is what you need, Onward is a pretty good place to start. Click on the image below to order:
Alfie’s autobiography, My Story, is also available:
Happy Valentine’s Day Alfie fans – this is my Valentine gift to you:
Alfie’s message was just this: Happy Smooch Day – love to you all (via twitter) xxx
In the November 2014 poll for Alfie Boe’s Guide to Romance,My Heart is Yours came out on top when Serenata was included. When Serenata was disregarded, then the winner was When I Fall in Love, mainly due to the romantic association for Alfie and Sarah as noted in his autobiography (Alfie found out he was to be a Dad again just before recording the song).
As mentioned in the Guide to Romance, my favourite romantic album of Alfie’s is the current album of the month, Love Was A Dream, a complete album of romantic arias. Not only does it ooze romance but the sound of Alfie’s soaring vocals, recorded right in the middle of the orchestra, has rarely been bettered.
Now, you may have noticed that the title of this blog post alludes to Boe’s Guide to Romance and this doesn’t just mean Alfie! His elder brother Michael, who we have featured here before, is today marrying his long term partner, Sean Ashmore – now that beats everything else hands down for romance! Michael has kindly allowed me to use a photo of their wedding – thanks Michael!
Wonder if they will use any of the romantic music from their last album, A La Voix? Click here to buy.
Michael and Sean will hopefully be recording and releasing their much anticipated new album…soon!
Love Was A Dream and Serenata are both available now:
If you’ve not read Alfie’s book, My Story, give it a go, it’s a cracker!