Archive for April, 2011

Countertenor Technique: An Introduction to Concepts

April 12, 2011
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Is countertenor technique different from standard classical vocal technique? Should a countertenor train like a male or female voice, and what pedagogical approach and conceptual model best elicits a healthy countertenor sound? Is a countertenor merely the intersection of gender and tessitura, or is there something specific to the technical approach and musical context that limits the definition?

Much of the language of our vocal pedagogy comes from the time before invasive scientific tools. It was as recently as 1854 that Manuel Garcia first viewed the vocal folds (his own, actually) in action with the use of a dentist’s mirror. By that point, words like chest, head, mixed voice, and falsetto (terms generally based on the location of the sensation of sympathetic vibrations) were so ingrained in the minds of 19th century voice teachers that the new information revealed by this direct scientific observation was made to conform to that basic conceptual system. However, success as a countertenor is no more or less physiologically likely than for any other voice-type, provided we have conceptual models that encourage singers to believe that it is possible…

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Saint Thomas Fifth Ave NYC Has a Rare Alto Job Opening

April 12, 2011
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The Choir of Men and Boys of Saint Thomas Fifth Ave, one of the only truly full-time choral organizations in the USA, has posted the rare job opening for a male alto. Five weekly services plus an active concert and recording schedule will keep you singing in the heart of Manhattan.

Please send inquiries to music@saintthomaschurch.org, attention Ms. Laurel Unwin. Attach a CV and MP3 (optional) to the email (and let her know you read about it here!)

Good luck!

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Adam Viktora, Ensemble Inégal, and The Prague Baroque Soloists Zelenka Missa Sancti Josephi and Litaniae Xaverianae: A Review

April 12, 2011
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Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679-1745) occupies an uncomfortable place in music history: He is often relegated to the sidelines when discussing the music of his better-known contemporaries and has the distinction of being compared unfavorably to Johann Sebastian Bach. Zelenka’s chamber music, including the sonatas for two oboes, bassoon, and basso continuo, are among his more familiar and often-recorded works – quirky and demanding, and sometimes a bit long-winded. Yet they reveal a composer with a fine grasp of counterpoint and a unique sense of melody influenced by the folk music of his native Bohemia.

Zelenka fans have a new and impassioned advocate in organist and conductor Adam Viktora and his superb Prague Baroque Soloists and Ensemble Inégal…

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Darryl Taylor How Sweet The Sound – A Charm of Spirituals: A review

April 12, 2011
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I love hearing erudite, classicaly trained singers extend their technique in Negro Spirituals. The  1990 concert of  Kathleen Battle and Jessye Norman singing spirituals with James Levine was one of my earliest inspirations, fascinating to me as a teenaged chorister.  As a fifteen year-old, I realized that this music was powerful, exciting, and infectiously tuneful, and that a singer like Jessye Norman – who seemed so regal, pompous, and affected – became animated and took big risks that felt spontaneous and competitive.

Darryl Taylor’s singing is masterful on this record. He demonstrates long, legato lines, unbelievable breath control, surprising high notes plucked out of the sky…

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A Day in the Life of… Bryan DeSilva, Emerging Artist

April 12, 2011
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It is with great excitement (and a little jet lag) that I write to you this month from across the pond. That’s right – this month’s edition of A Day in the Life comes from the verdant land that Purcell, Britten and Handel called home!

In early autumn I became aware of both a new student grant opportunity at my University and the upcoming London Handel Society Singing Competition. I had recently returned from a stay at Christ Church, Oxford where my church choir spent a week as choir in residence. I was invigorated by all of the possibilities that the UK music scene seemed to present and was quite anxious to return. As with much of Europe, England seems to embrace Baroque music as part of the mainstream. Also, coming from a place where my voice has at times been viewed as an anomaly, it was refreshing to visit a country where countertenors are simply another fach. This no doubt springs from England’s choral tradition and the subsequent rise to fame of twentieth century countertenor pioneers like Alfred Deller and James Bowman…

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Watch This Now! Magdalena Kožená Sings Bach

April 12, 2011
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httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJcL-dSn5zo&feature=related

Well sung with an even tone and clear declamation, this “Music Video” of Kommt, ihr angefochtnen Sünder from BWV 30 Freue dich, erlöste Schar is, well… adorable. Of special note are J.S. Bach’s jedi-like powers @2:42. Enjoy.