If you love consoling music that is joyous, uplifting, melodious and free of dissonance and “unnecessary” complication, The Music Man has a treat for you. The 12 tenors are what might be termed light classical with a crossover into covers of mainstream rock, pop, love ballads, and traditional songs from the country they happen to be performing in. The 12 Tenors are especially popular in China, Japan and Germany, so this is where you are most likely to be able to attend a show.
The 12 Tenors did tour the US in 2012, but the shows were plagued by technical difficulties with the sound, resulting in mixed reviews. Rest assured that the audio in our video of The 12 Tenors singing You Raise Me Up in 2011 is top notch. You Raise Me Up was written by Rolf Løvland & Brendan Graham and released by Secret Garden in 2002. Most readers who know the song are probably more familiar with Josh Groban’s 2005-Grammy-Award-winning cover or the Westlife version (2005). Enjoy the video:
The video has over 20.6M views on YouTube, so there are a lot of listeners who find solace in this wholesome celebration of finding support in a time of need. Zuzanna Wisniewska comments, “It’s 2023, and this song is still raising me up”. Trish Enah observes, “Beautiful voices blended into wonderful harmony. No autotune fixtures, just raw live sound. You can feel the live dynamic touch,” while Jeffrey WP says: “I wish I had heard more from the third singer. He effortlessly hit those final notes”
Jeffrey WP also remarks on the amazing difference the tenor voices make compared to Josh Groban’s rich baritone. Now a word of caution. Should you be inspired to seek out more music from The 12 Tenors, be sure not to confuse them with the 3 Tenors, the 7 Tenors, or the memorably named 10 tenors. Fans of Britain’s Got Talent should also note that this is not the same 12 tenors who performed You Raise Me Up for their audition on BGT 2015. That was Kingdom Tenors with a different arrangement. Look
What a bonus! Two different arrangements of You Raise Me Up performed by two different groups of 12 tenors! An obvious difference is that The 12 Tenors is a professional touring group while Kingdom Tenors were spirited amateurs (a mechanic, a barman, a teacher etc). Which version do you prefer?
Being professional doesn’t necessarily make the 12 Tenors better. In its review of a sound-problem-plagued 12 Tenors concert in May 2012, the Chicago Critic stated “The ambitious song selection, ranging from Irish folk tunes to Barry Manilow to opera selections to Simon and Garfunkel to a Frank Sinatra to Les Miserables to The Beatles, and we get a show trying too hard to play to all audience tastes. These mediocre voices butchered the opera arias as well as the Rat-Pack medley.” On the other hand, the 12 Tenors are still performing and Tipi-am-Kanzleram describes their current Berlin concert as follows: “Their show is a time travel through music history, full of emotions, full of surprises.cModern boy group feeling with sophisticated choreographies meets classical traditions, world-famous arias meet rock and pop anthems with a spectacular light show, 12 top soloists become one brilliant unit.” Berlin.de concurs: “They can dance spectacularly, present charmingly and switch unerringly between styles … and they look stunning to boot. A treat for the eyes and ears. The 12 Tenors combine the tastes of several generations through their distinctive classical yet modern sound. If there is one boy band that unites young and old, it is The 12 Tenors”.
If you happen to be in Berlin, or visiting Berlin, the 12 Tenors Music of The World show runs from Monday 20/11/2023 to Saturday 22/03/2025. So if you live in China or Japan, I’m afraid that you have a bit of a wait before you see the 12 Tenors live again.