Mott (PS 84-89) tells us about his incredible experience working with the great Maltese Tenor, Joseph Calleja, to bring his grandfather's beautiful music back to life in "The Magic of Mantovani"
|7 Oct 2020|
|Simon shares his extraordinary experience of working with Joseph Calleja and reflects on memories of his grandfather |
The collaboration with Joseph Calleja began in February of this year when, after some preliminary discussions between us and the Decca Record company, Joseph flew over from Malta to meet and greet and have lunch with us in Tunbridge Wells.
After lunch we took Joseph on a tour of our display of Mantovani memorabilia and a fascinating conversation ensued about how Joseph remembers his parents playing Mantovani on their old gramophone.
Following this, we decided to handout the original Mantovani orchestral scores to sell out Joseph Calleja concerts both in his native Malta and back home at the Palladium in London for BBC Radio 2’s “Friday night is music night“ compered by Bruno Tonioli on 13th March (one of the last concerts at the Palladium before lockdown).
This is us backstage at the London Palladium with Joseph Calleja. Three Old Tonbridgians are in the photo, myself and my cousins Jonathan and Paul Mantovani, on the left and right of Joseph respectively.
From Left: Simon Mott (PS 84-89), Ken Mantovani (the son of Mantovani and father of Jonathan and Paul), Jonathan Mantovani (SH 81-86), Joseph Calleja, Paul Mantovani (SH 81-86)
The next step was, of course, the approval of the Mantovani songs, now mixed in with the beautiful voice of Joseph.
For the family it was incredibly important that the recordings were as authentic as possible. This meant the original recordings from the 1950s and 60s had to be used rather than engaging a new orchestra and conductor who would then play the original orchestrations. For us, it had to be Mantovani pulling the strings.
Similarly, we were intent on ensuring that Joseph’s powerful tenor voice did not overpower or detract from the subtle feeling and beauty of the original recordings.
Happily, we not only achieved these objectives, but our expectations were surprisingly surpassed resulting in a wonderful classic record that we hope will bring the exquisite music of Mantovani into homes across Britain once again.
Simon’s grandfather died when he was 9 years old, he reflects on his memories of his grandfather for us.
‘It is not the specific memories of riding with him on his “ride on” lawnmower, (or even in his Rolls-Royce), or of a house full of music or holidays in Venice that stands out, it is more the incredible feeling of joy and warmth I felt when I was with him.
Growing up as special to someone who themselves was incredibly special to everyone he met and encountered, from waiters in a restaurant to passers-by in the street, was an amazing privilege.
My memories now are simply ones of gratitude and love, rather than any particular conversations or words of wisdom. And, of course, he still speaks to me through his music.’
Simon Mott (PS 84-89)
Joseph Calleja released his new album ‘The Magic Of Mantovani’, featuring Mantovani’s original orchestral recordings, late last month. Last week ‘The Magic of Mantovani’ was album of the week on Classic FM. Read more
'The Magic of Mantovani', in its first week of release, charted at No.5 in the classical album charts. The album is now available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Magic-Mantovani-Joseph-Calleja/dp/B085RP5JJH
Listen to one of the tracks - Charmaine
Provided to YouTube by Universal Music Group. Charmaine (From "What Price Glory") · Joseph Calleja · Mantovani · The Mantovani Orchestra. Released on: 2020-03-13