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Thread: Countertenors?

  1. #1
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    Default Countertenors?

    hello all,
    I was wondering what people here thought of countertenors? Interesting, silly, unnatural or beautifull; what are your thoughts?
    godzilla

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    Senior Member Daniel's Avatar
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    I would say interesting ... only Castrates are somehow unnatural ...
    Last edited by Daniel; Mar-18-2012 at 12:48.

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    Arggh, I've been trying to get the same sound clip and it just isn't happening
    Here is a page with some soundclips;

    http://www.amazon.fr/exec/obidos/ASI...001365-6704936

    Of a countertenor I think is quite good. I can't get the original long sound clip . But click on the "Nocturne". I think if there were more countertenors like this tenors would have a run for their money .
    godzilla

    PS; yes, I know the page is in french , but it's all I could find.
    Last edited by godzillaviolist; Jan-27-2005 at 10:56.

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    Senior Member Edward Elgar's Avatar
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    Countertenors are the coolest guys ever!

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    Member vivaciouswagnerian's Avatar
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    I love countertenors. I was going to study as one for about a year, but I realized I'm not one, I just have a clear head voice. I really think countertenors don't get what they deserve. There are many countertenor roles that opera companies just say, "Screw it, drop the octave and use a baritone." (Not to hate on baritones). Ceasar is supposed to be a countertenor. Anyways, thats my spiel, take it or leave it.

    Love ya'll
    "Don't bother to look; I've composed all this already"
    -Gustav Mahler to Bruno Walter, who had stopped to admire mountain scenery in rural Austria

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    Not over keen my self, but I do think David Daniels has a very sweet voice, I never could rate James Bowman?

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    Senior Member 4/4player's Avatar
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    In My opinion, I think Countertenors are weird sometimes...It's just hard looking at a guy sing, but he sounds like a woman...Hope I didn't offend anybody and if I did, well My profound apologies!(Im just 15 years old, so my age might affect my look on things,lol)

    4/4player

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    Member Amy's Avatar
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    Countertenors are in my opinion the best voice to listen to Nothing disappoints me more when I purchase a recording of a song that was originally written for a male alto and there's a woman singing it. I've heard female voices singing the solo verses in Gibbons' 'This it the Record of John' and found it changes a piece that I have always thought of as profoundly beautiful into something mundane and generic. I don't wish to sound severe on my own sex, but I do prefer male voices generally (with the exception of soprano soloists). This does make me totally hypocritical, as whenever I get turned away from certain church choirs because I am female I complain, but whenever I purchase recordings of choral works I usually tend to go for all male choirs as I find the sound has a much purer quality. Does anyone else have an opinion on women being allowed to sing in traditional church choirs? I do sing in one now in a high church, but even in this case women were only allowed to join five years ago...

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    Senior Member Lisztfreak's Avatar
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    Really? Well I know quite a lot of girls of my age who sing for a long time in a church choir. I never heard about any restrictions of the kind.
    ''Oh, the String Quartet - oh, the Divine Scratching!''

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    Member Amy's Avatar
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    Lol I wish it was like that around Yorkshire! It is restrictive, which is annoying- partcularly when church music is my favourite genre In York where I live part time younger girls are allowed, but only until they are about 12 and their tonalit begins to change. But even then there are seperate services for the boys and the girls

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    Senior Member Lisztfreak's Avatar
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    And people say catholics are conservative...
    ''Oh, the String Quartet - oh, the Divine Scratching!''

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    Recently attended a concert by Christ College Cambridge when they visited NZ, the Female Sopranos were magnificent, and at risk of being savaged I much prefer the sopranos to boy trebles which always sound a bit immature to me.

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    Senior Member Frasier's Avatar
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    The timbre of boy treble and mature female voices seems quite different, particularly when the latter start to get operatic with their vibrato or whatever it is. I suppose a female singing a boy treble part is as out of character as a boy trying to sing coloratura. For 16th century polyphony females just don't make it. Apologies if that offends anyone.

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    Default Countertenors, female sopranos, and boy sopranos

    Ah yes, I was afraid that this thread might devolve. It is not a question of who sings better or their gender. The really great a cappella choral music written around the 16th century was with the *tonal colours* that the male voice choir could make. Let us remember that they did not always sing with a lusty vibrato since that would disturb the fine textual and notationally constructed pieces, not to mention the character and solemnity of the occasion they sang in. A excellent choir is one that can, at will, turn off the vibrato. To make a fine point - Informed Musicianship! Not only the Conductor but each and every singer should be very cognizant and have taken the time to peruse and *digest* something about the composer and their time on this earth and which were the venues that they composed for. Most, if not all composed for a Church venue. That sort of edifice usually had an other-worldly acoustic and the composers knew it and thusly composed with that in mind. I'll stop right here, otherwise I would digress even further.

    Oh, I forgot - just because one has female voices performing in the 16th century choral literature does not mean that the choir sings with a lusty vibrato. A blended and balanced choir of male and female voices can be just as satisfying. But, getting back to the original point - it's a question of style and acheiving the *Informed Musicianship* that should be the ken of every choir.


    Humbly,

    Giovanni

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    Member Amy's Avatar
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    There is no reason to be humble, Giovanni In my opinion there is nothing worse than an ensemble of female sopranos warbling away the top line of Tallis' 'Spem in Alium' with full gusto. This may make me a traitor to my own sex but the performance of a piece has to be appropriate in style to its era and occasion. Many string players in original Baroque orchestras played with catgut strings, so vibrato was not even possible (hence why some chamber orchestras have recently started to imitate this) and the same is essentially true when performing early church music. Soloists could certainly perform with a rich vibrato, but it is just not appropriate when performing in an ensemble that is intended to produce an interesting yet ethereal sound. That does not mean that I think women should not perform this style of early music, it is merely my suggestion that sopranos should try to achieve a more bell-like treble sound when performing early music rather than the gusto used in performing later choral works.
    And back to the subject of counter-tenors, the same applies for women singing the alto parts in choral works- the style simply has to depend on the occasion!

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