Renowned as the modern-day Waltz King, André Rieu is closely associated with the traditions of Vienna and the music of his orchestra's namesake, Johann Strauss. Yet for his 2014 release on Universal, Love in Venice, Rieu pays an imaginary visit to the south, shifting the emphasis from the waltz to the barcarole and tarantella, and highlighting the popular songs and dances of Italy. Of course, it wouldn't be a Rieu album without some waltz music, which can be heard in Strauss' Lagunenwalzer, but there's an effort to introduce a variety of pieces that create a sense of Italian atmosphere through sentimental melodies that are popular around the world. However, Rieu sometimes overshoots his intended location and performs music from Naples, as in the Neapolitan standards, O sole mio and Santa Lucia, or chooses pop songs that are more generically Italian, such as Volare and That's Amore. But the lush arrangements exude nostalgia for the past, if not necessarily a Venetian past, and set a romantic mood, which seems to be the main point. Rieu appears occasionally as violin soloist and provides his familiar orchestral and choral sound with touches of local color in the use of the mandolin and concertina. While this is not a purist's musical tour of Venice, this album is aimed at a general audience that will find it appealing for its lighthearted tone and lavish treatment.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
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