Various Artists

40 Favorite Italian Melodies

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A personal touch isn't something you'll find on this CD, which contains orchestral instrumental versions of no less than 40 Italian songs. In fact, this CD's liner notes don't even list the names of any musicians. The performances are quite faceless, which is exactly what Columbia River was going for. Rather than pushing an artist, Columbia River's selling point is the songs (which range from "Come Back to Sorrento," "Marianna, " "O Sole Mio" and "La Serenata" to "Vieni Sul Mar, " "Santa Lucia" and "Addio Mia Bella Bapoli"). These are familiar songs that anyone who's seriously into Italian music will recognize. While it's nice having so many great songs on a single CD -- and while the recording is pleasant enough -- Italian music is much more effective when the musicians themselves aren't an afterthought (if that) and there's more of a personal touch. 40 Favorite Italian Melodies is hardly an essential purchase.

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