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Reviews: Helmut Lotti: Pop Classics in Symphony

Reviews: 1

Review by emilsjr October 15, 2003
Performance:   Sonics:
EMI has released Helmut Lotti's newest recording, Pop Classics in Symphony, on an overall pleasant multi-channel SA-CD. As the title suggests, this disc consists of all covers of famous pop songs. The covers range a variety of artists, from The Eagles, Queen, Barry Manilow, The Moody Blues and others. However, the Symphony part is a little much. This disc is much more Pop than Classical.

Like most collections of this type, this is a mixed back when it comes to the effectiveness of the covers. Helmut Lotti has a classical, high voice. So, when covering songs like "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay" or "Eloise", his voice is the perfect complement to these songs. I think his rendition of "Mandy" is the best version of the song I have ever heard. The Symphonic sound elevates what I used to feel was a cheesy song to a higher level. The cover of "Bohemian Rhapsody" is surprisingly good. And the covers of "He ain't Heavy He's my brother" and "A Whiter Shade of Pale" are effective. While I found "Nights in White Satin" to be average, it does makes me desire to hear the Moody Blues on SA-CD. However, Helmut's voice just is not a good match for "Hotel California". He sounds like a stranger in a strange land here. And the disco version of "Proud Mary" just does not work. Still, considering how well known most of these songs are to people over 30, Helmut Lotti picks some great pop songs and makes most of them interesting.

As for the disc, EMI has done a good job with this live recording. The disc reminds me a lot of Telarc's discs. It needs to be turned up. When you do, you will feel the concert experience. The vocals are center channel driven. The front is where a majority of the music comes from. There are some moments where the rears add to the mix, but this is a more conservative multi-channel mix. However, that does not detract from the experience. It is not a demo disc, but would be perfect for a bad day when you need something to make you smile.

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