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Amore Infinito: Songs Inspired by the Poems of John Paul II - Karol Wojtyła
Plácido DOMINGO Jr (b. 1965)
1. La coscienza [3:24]
Antonio GALBIATI - Jeffrey FRANZEL 
2. La tua semplicità [3:45]
3. Risuona anima mia [3:37]
4. A Mother’s Wonderment [4:32]
Maurizio FABRIZIO 
5. Anima nell’anima [3:39]
6. Canto del sole inesauribile [4:03]
7. Palabras [3:46]
8. Love [4:31]
9. Amore glorificato [3:37]
Plácido DOMINGO Jr 
10. Gratitude [4:31]
Maurizio FABRIZIO 
11. La libertà [5:15]
12. Madre [4:04]
Plácido Domingo (tenor) Josh Groban (2); Katherine Jenkins (4); Andrea Bocelli (6); Plácido Domingo Jr (8); Vanessa Williams (10); The Los Angeles Children’s Chorus (8); London Symphony Orchestra/Nick Ingman; added musicians
Various recording venues, no recording dates given
Texts and translations enclosed
DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 8166 [48:55]
Experience Classicsonline

Pope John Paul II (1920-2005), born in Poland as Karol Józef Wojtyła, was elected Pope of the Catholic Church in October 1978 and served for almost 27 years. Only Pius IX served longer. He was the first non-Italian pope since Adrian VI in the 1520s. He is regarded as one of the most influential leaders during the 20th century and he travelled widely, visiting 129 countries during his pontificate. He was a great linguist and could read and speak more than ten languages. In his youth he was an athlete and played football. He was also interested in theatre and wrote several plays. During the Second World War he studied to be a priest and was ordained in 1946. At the age of 38 he became the youngest bishop in Poland. Very early he started writing about clerical issues but he also wrote plays and poetry, which were published under pseudonyms. A dozen of those poems were chosen as the literary basis for this disc and they were set to music in a pop-oriented vein by a number of composers, including Plácido Domingo Jr.

Plácido Domingo Sr is in fine vocal shape, singing with admirable lightness, surprisingly so since he is preparing to take on baritone roles. He also nuances well and only occasionally one can hear that his highest notes don’t come as easily as they once did. That he is committed to the repertoire is beyond doubt. Of his invited guests Katherine Jenkins has an agreable lyric voice and Vanessa Williams is a secure and rather expressive artist. Andrea Bocelli sounds undernourished in comparison with Domingo.

The various composers are no doubt professionals in their field and then it’s a question of personal preferences what the individual listener likes or dislikes. I was hooked by La tua semplicità with its noble melody, and I believe Love with partipitation of The Los Angeles Children’s Chorus - as well as co-composer Plácido Domingo Jr - has hit-potential. Amore glorificato is another high-ball with lyrical singing of great beauty and La libertà is a nice song to return to.

Argentinan Jorge Calandrelli is not only composer of some of the songs but also arranger and producer. I must admit that I find some of the arrangements rather overblown - professional no doubt, but I would have liked at least some of it in small print, now most of it is in bold type and underlined as well.

It should also be said that the production is as far from ‘live’ as could be imagined with the LSO recorded at Angel Recording, UK, the rhythm section in Los Angeles, Bocelli in his own studio in Tuscany, Italy, Katherine Jenkins somewhere in UK, Vanessa Williams in NY and Domingo in three different studios. At least Josh Groban and Plácido Domingo recorded their duet in the same studio - there is photographic evidence of that.

What should not be overshadowed in the midst of all modern technique is the humanitarian message in the poems of Karol Wojtyła - ‘the greatest human being I have ever known’ as Plácido Domingo writes in his notes. For that reason alone, but also for some inspired songs and for Domingo’s deep commitment and lyrical singing of great beauty, this disc deserves to be heard.

Göran Forsling



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