One of the best contemporary countertenors in the world will be visiting the University tonight. Andreas Scholl graces the stage of the Mendelssohn Theatre accompanied by Karl-Ernst Schroeder on the lute. His program tonight contains material from his recently released CD and other songs from the Renaissance period.
Countertenors are one of the most interesting parts in vocal music. This distinct male repertoire is above standard tenor and covers an extremely high range for the male voice. This range is also shared by some women vocalists, which make it the most demanding part to sing.
Scholl began his studies in Germany at Kiedricher Chorbuben, where he sang in a boy”s choir learning Gregorian chants. Even when his voice broke at age 13, he continued to sing the soprano and alto parts. He battled to overcome his shyness and earned a diploma in Ancient Music. Scholl based his repertoire especially for this concert on the music he learned while in the boy”s choir. “For me, the most wonderful thing about this choir was the amount of Baroque and Renaissance music it performed. This means I never grew up thinking of “early music” as some special category. To me if has always been as familiar as Beethoven and Mozart,” he said.
His expertise in this music resonates in tonight”s Renaissance program. He has sung some of the most prestigious roles in opera, such as Bertarido in “Rodelinda” and will make his debut this season as Guilio Cesare with the Royal Danish Opera. Scholl is known for his flawless diction and complete breath control. His music is technically sound and as a true musician he provides his audience with the full range of emotions.
The program”s highlight will be Scholl”s selections from the Renaissance. It includes titles by Holborne, Caccini and many selections from Robert Dowland, who compiled an anthology of music in 1610. Dowland had not traveled much outside of England and so it is said that his father, John, influenced most of his song choices, encompassing selections from England, France, Italy and Germany. Scholl will sing Dowland”s best-known song of the time period, “Flow My Tears.” Another composer Scholl will present is Giulio Caccini. He created the vocal technique “stile recitative,” which has developed into the foundations of operatic style.
Schroder will also perform two lute solos during the concert displaying his exception talent on the beautiful instrument. A lute is an instrument that has pairs of gut strings. A luteist strums the lute just as guitar would be played. Schroeder has appeared throughout Europe specializing in Renaissance and Baroque music.
Scholl recently released his newest album, titled Wayfaring Stranger, which includes the most well loved English, Irish and American folksongs. Scholl believes this is a more relaxing album because the songs tell stories.