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 .
PS; yes, I know the page is in french , but it's all I could find.
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.
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)
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...
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
In my opinion, there is still a difference between :
- a young boy, who has been sung for a few years only;
- and a countertenor who is an adult, and has been sung since his childhood;
And I consider a Child who is able to sing in tune Bach’s masterpieces, as a Miracle!
(by the way, I would be pretty much more indulgent with a child who sings out of tune, than with a countertenor!!)
Thanx for your kind suggestion. You mentioned "Spem in Alium" with warbling sopranos - Methinks Master Tallis would be rotating in his sarcophagus had he know about that. The Kings Singers did a nice recording of *Spem* a couple of years ago. Anyway, I like your including the string players and their use of catgut strings to illustrate the question about appropriate style. Why you would be considered a traitor to your own sex I don't understand. The focus of *appropriate style* in music performance should, nay, must outweigh the post-Modernist arguments and sentimentalism about gender.
I think countertenors are great!!! Because they can sing like female alto and soprano beautifully. Their headtones, falsettos and the ranges of their voices are like women. It's like when you listen to them and you close your eyes you can't notice that they are actually men. I remember a countertenor that I had watched at Youtube. His name is Brian Asawa. He's an American countertenor even though his surname sounds like Japanese. He is known for singing works of Handel but in Youtube he sang an aria from one of Mozart's opera. He sang really well no doubt he won prestigious awards. He made me love countertenors more. I am just wondering if "castrati" is still practiced today? Do you think the voice quality of the countertenors will be much beautiful?
Nice to from you Music2! I'm getting to be more fascinated with countertenors then! Just a quick question though - Could you name 3 more countertenors who are currently active in the concert scene? What particular repertoire are they suited for? From what I know, they're more akin to Baroque vocal music. What do you think?
I've recently discovered Vitas, on youtube. His voice fascinates me…
He sings both classical music and pop (this video, for instance, not classical, is rather funny:
As for castratis, i had the chance to hear one, many years ago: A priest of my parish, native of India, sang a traditional song. He was not only a countertenor, because his voice was so light, so wonderful, … but he still had his voice of child. Marvelous…