O Mio Babbino Caro – The Inside Scoop

Some of you have been asking about my version of “O Mio Babbino Caro” and so I thought I would share…

When I was writing the music for the album, and deciding on the track list – I knew right off the bat that OMBC was going to be one of the most controversial songs with classically-minded musicians.  The whole intent was not to re-arrange Puccini’s song, but to simply take the melody and put it to entirely new music.  (I think some people were expecting to hear the original version and so the new one took them by surprise).

When you listen to the lyrics, the girl is singing about throwing herself into a river if she isn’t allowed to marry the man she loves.  Simply put – I gave the song an entirely darker side.  Minor key, beats, unresolved 2nds in both the piano and French horns.  And at the end of the piece, if you listen closely to the mens chorus, you will hear Orff’s “Carmina Barana”.

This was also a killer of a piece for my vocalist, Erika Nisbet, to conquer.  The original version is in 6/8 time, and in 6 flats – whereas mine is changed to 4/4 and changes from 6 flats up a couple of steps to the key of A Minor.  I think she did an amazing job – certainly far from anything I could ever crank out of my own wimpy “background choir voice”.

With all of the studio software out there these days where you can manipulate the voice, tune it, add effects, Erika’s is simply pure and raw.   I think we only plugged in the intonation corrector on 2 notes in the entire piece, and not by much. 

If anything, I was influenced by Paul Schwartz’s style of rearranging arias into a more pop-classical-fusion type of sound.  I would never even dream to compare myself to him, so you should just check him out yourself. www.paulschwartz.com, or better yet check out his myspace page – http://www.myspace.com/paulschwartz  

– J

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