Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actor: James Bowman
Director: David Thomas
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
An LWT South Bank Show, presented by Melvyn Bragg, exploring the phenomenon of countertenor singing.With its unique, soaring beauty, the high male voice is today enjoying a huge resurgence in popularity. Heirs to the celeb... more »
A voice teacher and early music fan
George Peabody | Planet Earth | 12/21/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"OF THE MANY EXCELLENT RENDITIONS ON THIS DISC THERE ARE TWO YOU MUST NOT MISS IF YOU ARE A MICHAEL CHANCE OR ANDREAS SCHOLL FOLLOWER: Chance's delivery of Bach's 'Vergnugte Ruh..' and Scholl's 'Vivi Tiranno'(from a recital performance).
"WITH ITS UNIQUE SOARING BEAUTY, THE POWERFUL VOCAL SINGING OF COUNTERTENORS IS NOW HAVING A HUGE RESURGENCE IN POPULARITY. HEIRS TO THE CELEBRATED CASTRATI OF THE SIXTEENTH AND SEVENTEENTH CENTURY, TODAY'S COUNTERTENORS PRODUCE THEIR VOICES BY WHOLLY NATURAL MEANS."
In this program international stars Michael Chance, James Bowman and Andreas Scholl, as well as popstar Jimmy Somerville,shed light on the appeal of the male falsetto, while experts such as Michael White place today's countertenors in their historical content. There is also a brief appearance of Alfred Deller singing a lute song.
Lest you think that this is primarily a documentary type film, I will tell you that although there is some necessary information presented off and on, (only at the beginning of the film) it is kept to a minimum. This, indeed, is one of the most entertaining DVD's that I have ever viewed.
It begins with a South Bank Show and commentary about countertenors by the four singers as well as brief song excerpts by each one which are quite interesting. All of this takes about fifty minutes.
Then there is a marvelous seventy minute concert featuring Michael Chance singing about forty minutes with James Bowman joining him in a few duets. Bowman sings only one song by himself (Since First I Saw your Face), Chance is truly entertaining to watch as he performs some familiar lute songs: 'Never Weather-Beaten Saile','Sorrow Stay', 'Can She Excuse my Wrongs?','Flow My Tears','Strike the Viol'and 'Evening Hymn' all trademark songs. But his rendition of Bach's 'Vergnugte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust' is incredibly moving. He also sings 'Cum Dederit' by Vivaldi which is also part of his regular repertoire.
Bowman & Chance's duets are sung with great skill and drama (wonderful to see their faces and body language):'Sound the Trumpet', 'O Dive Custos' and 'Ode on the Death of Henry Purcell'.
Scholl performs Pergolesi 'Stabat Mater'(opening movement), and three selections by Handel: 'Ombra Mai Fu', 'Dove Sei', and 'Vivi Tiranno', the latter being magnificently rendered.
The concert ended with Michael Chance singing two songs in a highly dramatic mannner (wonderful) by Butterworth : 'When I Was One-and-twenty' and 'Is My Team Ploughing?'
I should also mention that there are scene changes during the concert. For example, Scholl appears to have been filmed during one of his recitals in Germany. And Chance sings his "Butterworth" songs at the end in what may well be his own home. etc.
I can't say enough about the excellent quality of content in this production. AND the pictures are clear, the color is perfect as is the sound production. WONDERFUL! WONDERFUL! WONDERFUL!"