Andreas Scholl – The Voice (2000)

Composer: J.S. Bach, Bach, Vivaldi, Caldara, Buxtehude, Hammerschmidt

Composition: The Voice

Performers: Andreas Scholl

Released: Harmonia Mundi / 2000

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This aptly titled sampling from countertenor Andreas Scholl’s Harmonia Mundi discography (he made some 16 recordings for that label before signing with Decca) begins with the English folksong “The Three Ravens”. It’s interesting to compare this gorgeously spun, golden-toned performance with that of “pioneer” Alfred Deller’s own version on Vanguard from way back in the countertenor dark ages in 1955. Deller’s singing has tremendous personality and exhibits a gentle playfulness that really “sells” the song, but the voice itself misses the richness, range, and warm naturalness of Scholl’s in his more refined and equally musical performance. In Deller you hear a certain falsetto-like quality where the word “false” is particularly appropriate. It’s not ugly–it’s quite agreeable mostly–but it sounds like a man making his voice conform to a placement that’s not natural. With Scholl, what you hear is as true as if he were a soprano or a bass. It’s a voice that has no artificial edge or unsteadiness (an unfortunate feature typical of many “made” countertenors) because, according to Scholl himself, this is the voice he was born with. And it happens to be one of the finest of its kind you’re ever likely to hear. Besides his beautiful sound, Scholl demonstrates in every utterance his consummate musicianship and extraordinary technique.
As usual with these things, you could argue about the programming choices, but among the highlights of the highlights are arias from Handel (“But who may abide” from Messiah and the sublime “Ombra mai fù” from Serse), two English folksongs, a fine Caldara aria from his oratorio Maddalena ai piedi di Cristo, a couple of Baroque German songs, and several Bach selections. Of these last, Scholl’s rendition of Hercules’ aria from the secular cantata Hercules auf dem Scheidewege, with its lovely melody and artfully performed and recorded echo effects is not to be missed–nor is the heavenly “Erbarme dich” from the St. Matthew Passion. Scholl’s colleagues here include Les Arts Florissants, lutenist Andreas Martin, Ensemble 415, Collegium Vocale, and several others. And although recorded in different locations, the sound is consistently first rate, giving maximum and ideal presence to Scholl’s instrument. If you’re a committed fan, you probably have these selections already on their original recordings. But sometimes it’s nice to have one disc that by itself shows off the many facets of a performer’s art. And with Scholl, you’ll certainly agree, these facets not only are many, but at this point at least, they are incomparable. –David Vernier, (source:

1 The Three Ravens 3’20
2 Barbara Allen 3’07
(Andreas Martin, lute)
3 Messiah. Air: “But who may abide the day of His coming?” 4’39
Les Arts Florissants, dir. William Christie
4 Sinfonia 1’13
5 Recitativo “Frondi tenere” 0’39
6 Aria “Ombra mai fù” (Atto I, scena 1) 3’01
Akademie fur Alte Musik Berlin
Cantate “Cessate, omai cessate” RV 684
7 Largo e sciolto “Cessate, omai cessate” 1’59
8 Larghetto & Andante molto “Ah ch’infelice sempre” 5’15
9 Andante “A voi dunque ricorro” 1’15
10 Allegro “Nell’orrido albergo ricetto di pene” 3’39
Ensemble 415, dir. Chiara Banchini
11 Messe en si mineur. Agnus Dei 6’30
Collegium Vocale, dir. Phillippe Herreweghe
Stabat Mater (extraits / excerpts)
12 “Eja mater, fons amoris” 2’44
13 “Fac ut ardeat” 1’39
14 “Amen” 1’04
Ensemble 415, dir. Chiara Banchini
ANTONIO CALDARA (c.1670-1736)
Maddalena ai piedi di Cristo
15 Recitativo Amor Celeste “Di miei dardi possenti” 0’36
16 Aria Amor Celeste “Da quel strale che stilla veleno” 6’58
Orchestre de la Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, dir. Rene Jacobs
17 Cantate “Jubilate Domino” 8’41
Friederike Heumann, Brigitte Gasser, violes de gambe/ Markus Markl, orgue/Karl-Ernst Schroder, luth
18 Ach Liebste, laß uns eilen 3’05
19 Kunst des Küssens 2’05
Marcus Markl, clavecin / Karl Ernst Schroder, luth / Alix Verzier, violoncelle
Cantate profane
Hercules auf dem Scheidewege (Hercule a la croisee des chemins)
20 Aria Hercules: “Treues Echo” 6’39
Akademie fur Alte Musik Berlin, dir. Rene Jacobs
21 Matthäus-Passion. Aria: “Erbarme dich” 6’38
Collegium Vocale, dir. Philippe Herreweghe

Download Lossless*: FLAC (tracks) | 75:40 | 349 Mb

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