The Mail on Sunday - Event - - CLASSICAL -

An­drea Bo­celli’s 16th al­bum has been is­sued on a tidal wave of pub­lic­ity, be­cause of his 60th birth­day and the fact it’s the first in 14 years with all-new songs.

I gen­uinely ad­mire Bo­celli, whose achieve­ments are even more ex­tra­or­di­nary given he lost his sight as a child – some­thing he never plays on. He doesn’t want a sym­pa­thy vote – he just wants peo­ple to en­joy what he does.

And I do, but sadly this al­bum, de­spite the starry names in­volved in it, such as Ed Sheeran and Josh Groban, rarely amounts to more than su­pe­rior back­ground mu­sic. It’s best en­joyed with a cou­ple of glasses of pros­ecco, to sup­ply the fizz the mu­sic lacks.

For in­stance, Amo Soltanto Te, fea­tur­ing Sheeran, is nice enough, but you for­get it the mo­ment it

Si Decca, out now

fin­ishes. And, un­for­tu­nately for Sheeran, the next track, Un’An­ima, be­gins with the won­der­ful melody from Fauré’s Pa­vane; the dif­fer­ence be­tween tal­ent and ge­nius is well and truly rubbed in.

Also dis­ap­point­ing is If Only, the last song writ­ten by Francesco Sar­tori and Lu­cio Quar­an­totto (who died in 2012). These two wrote Bo­celli’s mega-hit Con Te Par­tirò, which I adore. This one isn’t a patch on it. It doesn’t help ei­ther that Bo­celli is joined here by singer Dua Lipa, who is aw­ful.

This al­bum will do well, and I have no prob­lem with that. Af­ter all, Fall On Me, on which Bo­celli duets with his son Mat­teo, fea­tures over the cred­its to Dis­ney’s block­buster The Nutcracker And The Four Realms. The video to this song, just re­leased, has racked up 20 mil­lion hits!

But if my life de­pended on re­call­ing the tune to you, I couldn’t, de­spite hav­ing lis­tened to it half a dozen times re­cently.

The pick of the crop are the two songs fea­tur­ing mu­sic by J S Bach, es­pe­cially Dormi Dormi. I also, to my sur­prise, re­ally liked Ave Maria Pi­etas, a dol­lop of re­li­gious gloop fea­tur­ing the out­stand­ing Rus­sian so­prano Aida Gar­i­ful­lina. al­ready

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