Love Was A Dream

All posts tagged Love Was A Dream

More than six years after it was released, Love Was A Dream yesterday 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).

Love Was A Dream is available here:

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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.

Love Was A Dream is available here:

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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:

love was a dream

serenata

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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:

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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):

Love Was A Dream and Serenata are available here:

love was a dream

serenata

Storyteller DVD featuring Dimming of the Day:

storyteller dvd

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Christine Firby!

Well done Christine – the Alfie Boe goodie bundle will be winding it’s way to you shortly.

Christine correctly answered the question

How many albums has Alfie released in the UK?

The answer is:   9

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

Onward

La Passione

Love Was A Dream

Bring Him Home

Alfie

Storyteller

Trust

Serenata

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 album

Classic FM is only available as used.

love was a dream

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Hot on the heels of February’s Alfie Boe Album of the Month, Love Was A Dream, we come to the featured album for March, Onward.

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’ll Never 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 onward

Alfie’s autobiography, My Story, is also available:

alfie autobio

 

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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!

Michael and sean wedding

 

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:

love was a dream

 

serenata

If you’ve not read Alfie’s book, My Story, give it a go, it’s a cracker!

alfie autobio

 

thanks for reading and sharing!

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plus 4 exclusive Alfie photos

xx

It must be fate – I was thinking about a new series of blog posts based on each of Alfie’s albums and decided to start with Love Was A Dream to coincide with Valentine’s Day (such a romantic album!).  The fate bit came in when I discovered that this album has just entered the top ten classical album chart – way to go Alfie!  It is currently at number 4, ahead of Serenata at 6 and You’ll Never Walk Alone at 7.

In the recent thoughtsofjustafan survey into how fans found Alfie I found that Love Was A Dream was the least owned Alfie album (69% of respondents owned it).  I’m not really sure why this is although one reason could be that it was released before Alfie became widely known through Les Mis; additionally, the album was released on an independent label which nearly always makes it harder to achieve mainstream success.  Rebecca Newman’s recent classical chart topper, Dare To Dream, was highly unusual in making it to the top of the classical charts without the backing of a major record label.

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:

This is also a fan favourite, making the top ten in last year’s Alfie Boe Best Ever Song poll.

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 his recently released Serenata, which was promoted as his most romantic album yet (of the Decca albums, yes).  So, if you’re stuck for a Valentine’s gift, or just want to treat yourself, Love Was A Dream would fit the bill perfectly.  To order, click on the album cover:

love was a dream

Alfie’s autiobiography, My Story, is also available:

alfie autobio

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Back in November 2014 I asked “How Did You Find Alfie Boe” and I’m pleased to say that lots of you responded, being only too pleased to tell me how and when you first heard that beautiful voice.  A few of you have been on board Alfie’s musical train right since the very beginning – and by that I mean since he was singing locally in Lancashire!  One of his many nephews and nieces even filled in the survey although I don’t know which one! One respondent had followed him since he was appearing regularly in opera and another couple since his first album, Classic FM Presents.  Other reasons given were his 2007 appearance on Parkinson, other TV appearances, Desert Island Discs, through friends, surfing youtube, through hearing David Miller of Il Divo talk about Alfie and his performance at the Diamond Jubilee concert in 2012.

However, like most of us Alfie fans these days, the vast majority (82%) of the respondents found Alfie through Les Miserables.  Of those 82%, just over half first saw and heard Alfie on a PBS 25th anniversary promotion and the others saw him either live or on the DVD of that concert.  This is what one smitten fan said

Saw him on PBS in Florida, USA in March 2011 singing Jean Valjean role and stopped in my tracks when hearing that voice. Watched the whole O2 Les Misarables concert and then had to find out who this wonderful tenor is. YouTubed him and listened and read everything I could find on him. The Alfie and Matt Lucas video Nessun Dorma with his hands in his pockets was what clinched him for me. Joined his Facebook page and his own web page and since have met many wonderful fans of his who over the last 3 years have become good friends. All this from that one O2 performance.

After finding out how and when fans found Alfie, I then wanted to find out when they made their first Alfie related purchase, be it  CD, DVD etc.  I admit that I was expecting most responses to be “immediately” or very quickly, given the devotion shown to Alfie by fans.  However, I was slightly surprised to find that although two thirds of responses indicated that a purchase was made either the same day or next day, the next highest response was months, at least 6-12.  In three cases there was a wait of at least a year and one waited for 3.5 years before making up (her?) mind to buy a CD.  Incidentally, the length of time before making a purchase and considering yourself to be “Boed” does not match up; with the exception of the Lancashire locals and the fan waiting 3.5 years, every single respondent considered themselves “Boed” immediately.

The survey then went on to ask which albums fans had in their collection.  For this survey, I only considered Alfie’s albums released under his own name (not including Serenata which was released after the survey) and the collaboration with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Home for the Holidays.  The rest of his recording career can be found on the Alfie Boe Discography.  The results are:

Classic FM Presents – 61% of respondents own this

La Passione – 82%

Onward – 72%

Love Was A Dream – 69%

Bring Him Home – 98%

Alfie – 95%

Storyteller – 95%

Trust – 90%

Home for the Holidays – 37%

As you can see, the most owned albums are the Decca ones released since the Les Mis connection although La Passione is the most popular album of Alfie’s back catalogue.  It occurs to me as I sit writing these results up, that I should have asked in which order these albums were purchased; it would have been interesting to see how many people had La Passione before Les Mis.  I suspect that like me, the answer would be not many,  otherwise Alfie would surely not have contemplated becoming a personal trainer for the SLC police.

DVD ownership is something else again – this time, there were only four choices as only two tours have been filmed:

Les Mis 25th concert – 96% own this

Bring Him Home tour – 83%

Storyteller tour – 75%

Home for the Holidays – 43%

Perhaps the relatively high amount of people owning the DVD of Home for the Holidays reflects the low amount owning it on CD (they don’t see the need to have it twice), otherwise the completely predictable result is that Les Mis is the most owned DVD.  Of course this was expected, given that 82% of us found Alfie that way to start with.  This is also borne out by 66% of those owning it citing it as their favourite of the DVD’s.  Storyteller comes next, followed by Bring Him Home and Home for the Holidays again bringing up the rear.

Those of you who completed the survey will remember I also asked you which album you preferred – to find out the answer, you’ll have to be a subscriber!

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