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Thread: Countertenors

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    Senior Member Retrograde Inversion's Avatar
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    Default Countertenors

    I've seen a lot of dislike for countertenors expressed on this forum. For those of you who dislike them, what are your reasons? Conversely, what do those of you who do like countertenors have to say about them?

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    I simply do not like the sounds emanating from their throats. I have no idea what castratos sounded like in Handel's time, but they were wildly popular superstars. If someone on TC wishes to volunteer and do the castrato thing, after recuperation, post a You Tube video of some Handel arias, I would definitely listen. This would be very helpful to me.
    Countertenors are most likely very poor imitators of castrati.
    Last edited by hpowders; Jan-11-2017 at 13:39.

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    Senior Member Florestan's Avatar
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    The voices are not the same, or as good in my opinion, as a woman singing the same range.

    Besides that, they give me the creeps.
    The junk merchant doesn't sell his product to the consumer, he sells the consumer to his product. He does not improve and simplify his merchandise. He degrades and simplifies the client.

    William S. Burroughs

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    Senior Member Barelytenor's Avatar
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    I suppose countertenors have their place but, speaking personally for myself, I'd rather count on tenors.

    Having said that, I have enjoyed occasionally listening to Emanuel Cencic and Philippe Jaroussky.



    Kind regards,

    George

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    Senior Member Pugg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florestan View Post
    The voices are not the same, or as good in my opinion, as a woman singing the same range.

    Besides that, they give me the creeps.
    This will do for me .
    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
    "Mahatma Gandhi"

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    I love the countertenor voice, both in Baroque opera replacing castrati, and in new operas from 20th/21st century. I think this is one of the great adventures of our times.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Retrograde Inversion View Post
    I've seen a lot of dislike for countertenors expressed on this forum. For those of you who dislike them, what are your reasons? Conversely, what do those of you who do like countertenors have to say about them?
    My first experience of countertenors was in a record that I loved so much, it's probably not exaggerating too much to say that it kind of changed my life, or really enhanced my life. That was Alfred Deller singing a Bach cantata called "Widerstehe doch der sünde"

    One thing I've noticed is that some people link countertenors with historically informed performance, and react against it for basically conservative reasons.

    Another countertenor who I very much appreciate is Yosjikazu Mera. One I have a harder time enjoying is David James. But in truth I'm not a great connoisseur of the art of singing, I am probably reacting more to their way of dealing with the poetry than anything to do with their tone of voice.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Jan-11-2017 at 19:25.

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    Senior Member Traverso's Avatar
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    Listen to this aria sung by a counter tenor,in this case Rene Jacobs,I realy love it .After 7.30 minutes starts this aria,Why talk about the music of Bach, it is so utterly beautiful so let us listening.
    If you do not like the sound of a counter tenor please do not ridicule others who do.



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    Senior Member SiegendesLicht's Avatar
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    ^ I love this too. And Andreas Scholl - another countertenor I really like:

    ... yet for us will still remain the holy German art... (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg)
    ***
    Auf die Berge will ich steigen,
    Wo die dunklen Tannen ragen,
    Bäche rauschen, Vögel singen,
    Und die stolzen Wolken jagen.
    Heinrich Heine

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    Senior Member pcnog11's Avatar
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    Music were written for men and women to sing for reasons sometime beyond our comprehension. Putting a women to sing a countertenor line instead of a men singing a tenor line may destroys the very reasons why the piece is written in the first place. However, if pieces were written for a countertenor and this should not be substituted by a tenor.
    "Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy." - Ludwig van Beethoven

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    I've often thought that there must be genuine pre-pubertal eunuchs out there (for congenital or other reasons) who could make a small fortune if they chose to pursue a singing career. On that basis, perhaps one day we'll know what a genuine "castrato" sounded like. We get a hint from the recordings of Moreschi, of course, but he was well past his prime; a fascinating sound, nonetheless.
    Last edited by Reichstag aus LICHT; Jan-11-2017 at 21:13.

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    Senior Member tdc's Avatar
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    Whatever sounds good is the most important thing to me. I've heard multiple recordings with counter tenors that sound good, so I don't have a problem with it. Its not a big issue in my opinion.

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    Handel's Crude furie degli orridi abissi thrillingly sung by Yuriy Mynenko:



    Rarely will you hear a finer coloratura technique.

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reichstag aus LICHT View Post
    Handel's Crude furie degli orridi abissi thrillingly sung by Yuriy Mynenko:



    Rarely will you hear a finer coloratura technique.
    Countertenors tend to sound different (if only subtly) from female sopranos and altos, but in this case I don't think I would identify the singer as male.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Countertenors tend to sound different (if only subtly) from female sopranos and altos, but in this case I don't think I would identify the singer as male.
    I agree. A good yardstick, if ever there was one.

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