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Note to journalists and promoters:  This is NOT Andreas Scholl's official biography for use in concert programmes
which is available at the website of his worldwide agents: 
Harrison/Parrott

Biographie auf deutsch bei KlassikAkzente 





Audio sample info:  Maria Zart ((text here) by Arnolt Schlick (1460-1521) sung by the 16-year old Andreas Scholl. From the CD Gregorianischer Choral Musik auf Historischen Instrumente © 1984 Rainer Hilkenbach.

You need Flash to use the embedded player on this page. To launch the track in your own player, click here.

Samples are played on this not-for-profit site in the hope that visitors will be tempted to buy the full recordings.
If you own copyright in any of them and object to our using it, we will remove it. Please mail us now.


Click here for how to describe Andreas Scholl's voice correctly.




Introduction Andreas Scholl
Photo: JG

Andreas Scholl was born on 10 November 1967 into a musical family of Kiedrich im Rheingau, a Catholic town of 4,000 inhabitants in the wine-growing region around Wiesbaden in Germany. The town is famous for its Gothic church which contains the relics of St Valentine and boasts the oldest playable organ in Germany. His sister is Elisabeth Scholl, the soprano. His brother, physician Johannes, is an amateur baritone and his parents were both choir singers. His second sister, Christine, who died in her twenties, was a talented and much-admired contralto.

Growing up right next door to the church, Andreas Scholl was enrolled at the age of seven into the Kiedricher Chorbuben, first documented in the year 1333 as a schola of 'men assisting the priests on all Sundays, singing the Gregorian chants'.  Later, it became a boys' choir school. In 1857, Sir John Sutton, an English Catholic baronet who was cruising down the Rhine, fell in love with Kiedrich's church, its choir and the organ, the oldest playable organ in Germany, dating from 1500. Sutton had the organ repaired and the foundation which he set up for the Chorbuben enabled the engagement of teachers and the construction of school and rehearsal facilities, and paid for the reprinting of ancient books of Gregorian music. The street in which the church stands was re-named after Sutton who is buried in the garden of the church. As boys, Andreas Scholl's father and grandfather were both members of the Chorbuben. Scholl says: ‘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 it has always been as familiar as Beethoven and Mozart.’  Scholl returns to Kiedrich regularly from his home in Basel, Switzerland, and often gives concerts in the parish church in which his musical career began. 

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The boy Andreas
                Scholl..with Pope John Paul II

Throughout his ten years in the choir school, the boy Andreas learned to love sacred music and he still gets goose bumps recalling the joy of singing the final part of the closing chorale from Bach's St John Passion at the age of seven or eight, although he sang less Bach at this time than work by other composers like Schütz and Pergolesi. At the age of thirteen, he sang the second boy (Elisabeth sang first boy) in Mozart's Magic Flute at the Wiesbaden Staatstheater. That same year, Andreas was one of some 20,000 choristers from all over the world in Rome for the Pueri Cantores festival. He was chosen to sing solo at Mass on Sunday 4th January 1981 and on the following day, accompanied by his choirmasters, he met Pope John Paul II.  Along with his fellow choristers, Andreas Scholl was an extra in the film The Name of the Rose, playing a young monk standing alongside Sean Connery in scenes shot at Kloster Eberbach, near Kiedrich. There are photographs from Andreas Scholl's movie debut here.

When his speaking voice broke at 13, he went on singing soprano or alto. ‘We were all great friends in this choir, so nobody joked about it. To me it just came naturally. I never felt comfortable in a tenor or baritone and I think it has helped my technique that I never had a phase of singing in those ranges.’

As a teenager, he was into pop and electronics. Aged sixteen, equipped with a Casio synthesiser and a Commodore 64 computer, he and a friend performed their own pop songs at a few rock festivals and later made a couple of records for Polydor which, he cheerfully confesses, flopped. 'Terrible music!' he says, now. His songs got better, though.

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Career choices Andreas
                Scholl

He was seventeen, just one of the boys in the choir, playing football and working for his exams, when his natural gift as a countertenor was identified by the Chorbuben's voice coach from the Darmstadt Music Academy, who said: 'This sounds more and more like a countertenor voice, not a boy alto.'  Andreas Scholl adds: 'She told me it was rare that someone keeps a voice of such quality through adolescence and I should think about that', so he sang for the tenor/countertenor Herbert Klein, who said yes, he had a voice. Now he began to consider a professional singing career. His father was doubtful, concerned that his younger son might not be able to earn a living in music. Scholl had been thinking about entering the Salesian order as a priest or possibly becoming a professional soldier but eventually he decided that he did not have a religious vocation and, in the event, less than perfect eyesight meant that his military career amounted to two years' compulsory service. One day - under orders - he sang a Gregorian setting of the Ave Maria for the men in his barracks, stunning them with his amazing voice. He had expected them to laugh but they were impressed.

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The student Andreas
                Scholl

The tenor/countertenor Herbert Klein advised him that there were only two places he should study: either in London or at the early music conservatoire in Basel, the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. Since the time an uncle had introduced him to the voices of Paul Esswood and James Bowman, the leading European countertenors of the day, he took Bowman as his role model. He sent a tape to René Jacobs, the Belgian countertenor and conductor, asking him to say whether he had talent. 'He told me to go to the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, where he taught.'  The Schola Cantorum only accepted people for post-graduate degrees at that time, and Andreas Scholl had no first degree. 'I sang a Schubert song for the admissions board, which included Jacobs. It was somewhat embarrassing because in the choir we had learnt everything by heart and I had no training in sight-singing or basic skills. I hadn’t applied for a formal audition but I was offered a place and I jumped in. Ever since, René Jacobs has been a marvellous friend and mentor.’  From Andreas Scholl's first year at the Schola, his teacher was Richard Levitt and in his second year he also began to study with Jacobs. Violinist Chiara Banchini and soprano Emma Kirkby were major influences as he began to specialise in the music of the Baroque and he also studied with soprano Evelyn Tubb and lutenist Anthony Rooley. When he first went to Basel he knew little theory or how to really listen to music in order to contribute, but he worked hard and was a star student among many gifted young musicians. As well as his Diploma of Ancient Music, for which his external examiner was James Bowman, he collected prizes from the Conseil d'Europe and the Fondation Claude Nicolas Ledouxm, and awards from Switzerland's Association Migros and Ernst Göhner Foundation.

At the Schola, Andreas Scholl learned to respect but be wary of musicology and asserts that, in performance, the intention of the composer and communication of the text should have priority. He now teaches in the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, succeeding his own teacher, Richard Levitt.

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The débutant Andreas
                Scholl

Andreas Scholl's professional début was the proverbial dream break which enabled him to skip the concert performances usually necessary to establish a young performer's career. On 24 January, 1993, he stood in for René Jacobs at Jacobs' request, and at almost no notice, at the Théâtre Grévin in Paris, and he caused a sensation. Two days later, he sang in Bach's St John Passion at the same theatre. This performance was broadcast on Good Friday to a radio audience which included William Christie.  A little later, Christie met Scholl on a train between Caen and Paris and gave Scholl his card, saying: 'Get in touch with me.'  The 1994 recording of Handel's Messiah with Les Arts Florissants resulted directly from this casual meeting. It was widely acclaimed and Andreas Scholl's professional career was under way.

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By Royal Appointment Andreas Scholl

On 4th December 1999 Andreas Scholl sang the Agnus Dei from the B Minor Mass of J S Bach at the wedding of Belgium's Prince Filip to Mathilde d'Udekem d'Acoz in the Cathedral of St Michael and St Gudula, Brussels.  In 2003, he sang it in Bach's own church of St Thomas in Leipzig.

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A world first
Andreas Schollwith guitarist John Williams

In London, on 10th September 2005, Andreas Scholl sang at The Last Night of the Proms, the closing concert of the world's biggest classical music festival or, as he described it in an interview, 'the biggest classical event on the planet'. Until then, no countertenor had ever been invited to sing at this event. Its worldwide audience through TV, radio and the internet has been estimated at 400 million and most critics agreed that 'Scholl stole the show'.


Click here to read about this performance and about The Proms


Recordings Andreas Scholl 

Andreas Scholl's recording career has been phenomenal, first with Sony Music and a number of smaller labels and then with Harmonia Mundi.  By 1998 his CDs dominated Harmonia Mundi's hit list at numbers one, three, four, five and ten, and they are still among Harmonia Mundi's best sellers.  Now recording giant Decca scooped him up. His discography amounts to more than sixty CDs, all but two being music of the European Baroque or Renaissance.  Recordings in which he has collaborated, including all but one of his solo recordings, have won awards. His personal accolades include the Diapason d'Or, multiple Gramophone Awards, 10 de Repertoire, ffff Telerama and Choc du Mond de la Musique, the ECHO award and Prix de l'Union de la Presse Musicale Belge. In an extremely rare departure from its normally austere approach, Fanfare magazine described his recording of Dowland's A Musicall Banquet as 'perfect'. The recording of the St John Passion of J S Bach conducted by Philippe Herreweghe on which Andreas Scholl sings Es ist vollbracht, was nominated for a Cannes Classical Award in 2003. He was Germany's Kultur Radio Artist of the Year in 1998. His solo CD, Arcadia, was CD of the Week on BBC Radio 3, the UK's national art music radio station.  He recently recorded the role of David, the hero of G F Handel's 'music drama', Saul, under Paul McCreesh. This Saul was Classical CD of the Week in Britain's Sunday Times, and one critic described Andreas Scholl as 'a David to die for'. His recording, with Wolfgang Joop, of Hans Christian Andersen's Der Kaiser und die Nachtgall, won an Echo Award. His 2005 recording Arias for Senesino, entered the UK classical charts at number one in the week it was released. In 2006, Andreas Scholl returned to Harmonia Mundi, with a non-exclusive contract which will allow him to pursue his various musical interests. His first 2007 CD for HM was Il Duello Amoroso, reprising some Handel cantatas he recorded in his early career, plus some he has not recorded before.

Click here for details of Andreas Scholl's latest releases.
Click here to check Andreas Scholl's full discography, including some of those planned.
Click here to see a catalogue of all Andreas Scholl's recordings, indexed track by track and by composer.

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Collaborations Andreas Scholl..with OAE principal violin Alison Bury 
Photo: JG

Andreas Scholl has worked with most of the important Baroque specialists of the day including Chiara Banchini, William Christie, Christophe Coin, Michel Corboz, Paul Dyer, John Eliot Gardiner, Reinhardt Goebel, Philippe Herreweghe, Christopher Hogwood, René Jacobs, Konrad Junghänel, Robert King, Ton Koopman, Paul McCreesh, Nicholas McGegan, Roger Norrington, Christophe Rousset, Jos van Veldhoven, Dominique Veillard and Roland Wilson. His regular solo partners include cemballist Markus Märkl and the lutenists Crawford Young and Edin Karamazov. His long-time lute partner was the late Karl-Ernst Schröder. Ensembles with which he performs include the Netherlands Bach Choir, Cantus Coelln, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Musica Antiqua Köln, the Berlin Akademie für Alte Musik, the Freiburg Barockorchester, the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and, recently, Accademia Bizantina.  The composer Marco Rosano is creating a new Stabat Mater for Andreas Scholl.  In popular music, he works with rock countertenor Roland Kunz.

Click here to hear a demo recording of the new Stabat Mater.

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Repertoire Andreas Scholl..with Richard Levitt 
Photo: JG

Andreas Scholl's decision to specialise in Baroque music was influenced by his training in Basel and particularly by his teacher, René Jacobs, whom he considers to be the finest alto singer of the music of the period at the present time: 'a natural Baroque singer'. He says: 'There are no style police who will fine you if you sing Schubert songs as a countertenor but, for me personally, I made the decision that first of all I'm a countertenor, and I studied in a school that specialised in mediaeval to late Baroque music so I know best how to perform that kind of music.'  Scholl's range is the same as that of the 18th century alto castrato, Senesino, for whom Handel wrote his greatest alto roles. Scholl describes Handel's writing for alto as the most singable of all Baroque music and Sir John Tavener calls Handel 'the greatest humanist composer of all time'. Scholl's musical and humane-religious sensitivity match perfectly both the content and range of the great alto works of Bach and Handel. He has revealed, to German audiences in particular, some little-known masterworks of the German Baroque composers whose music he sang as a child, and has thereby made a significant contribution to the modern rediscovery of the Baroque repertoire as a whole. He has been invited to sing the role of Oberon in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream but considers this too big a challenge at this stage of his career.  His 2001 album of folksongs, Wayfaring Stranger, was a very personal project, well-received by the CD-buying public but not universally acclaimed by his fellow musicians, some of whom who regarded it as an inappropriate departure.

Click here to check Andreas Scholl's full recorded repertoire, indexed track by track and by composer

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Bach Andreas Scholl..with Philippe Herreweghe

Bach is the composer whose work Andreas Scholl finds both the most difficult and the most rewarding. He has a deep appreciation of the spiritual content of Bach's religious work and the rhetorical intention of the composer. Unlike some Baroque composers, Bach 'wrote all the notes' for the singer and yet, Scholl says, the depth and complexity of the music carrying the text is such that '... once we start to sing it, a whole cosmos opens up and we can never get to the bottom of it.'  After recording one of Bach's solo cantatas for alto, he says, he nearly wept. 'The piece was so mighty, I felt just like an ant.'  For Scholl, the Mass in B minor is the culmination of Bach's religious work and, above all, the Agnus Dei, which he describes as the greatest single work written for the countertenor voice.  He says that when Bach writes for this voice, the part carries the core of the message of the whole piece, such as in the Erbarme Dich of the St Matthew Passion, recorded with Philippe Herrweghe, where the appeal of the broken soul to Christ is one of simple, unqualified contrition: the singer must deliver it with the simplest, most intense feeling.  He makes a similar point about Es ist vollbracht, in the St John Passion,  which he describes as the moment of the pivotal question in the whole drama: the witness must now decide whether he believes that the moment of Christ's death is in fact the moment in which his own salvation is accomplished.  Andreas Scholl has recorded the St John Passion with both Michel Corboz and Philippe Herreweghe, and he sings Von den Stricken meine Sünden and Es ist Vollbracht on both recordings.

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Performance Andreas Scholl

In his student years, performance was a fairly casual, friendly business. When early professional opportunities offered, Andreas Scholl had to battle to overcome his acute natural shyness. Even so, performance has priority over recording for Scholl. He speaks enthusiastically of spending time with an audience and is remarkably unstarry, even to the extent, occasionally, of seeming to find applause embarrassing. He enjoys oratorio and other ensemble work as much as solo recital. He is in constant demand in every continent. 


Click here for Andreas Scholl's performance schedule, as far as it is known.

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Opera Andreas Scholl..As Bertarido, with Emma Bell (Rodelinda)

Andreas Scholl refuses to describe himself as an opera singer but rather as a singer who does opera. Not anxious to make an early start on a career in opera theatre, his only major roles to date have been Bertarido in Handel's Rodelinda (Glyndebourne, 1998, 1999, 2002) and the title role in Handel's Giulio Cesare in Egitto in the Royal Danish Opera production of 2002, which he had already sung in a platform performance at the London Proms.  He was reluctant to accept the Rodelinda offer at first, but Richard Levitt persuaded him to do it. Feeling that he ‘knew nothing about doing opera’, he carefully learned the whole work thoroughly before he went to England and then had to put up with the appellation ‘swot’ from colleagues who were still mastering the work. ‘Well, at least I could do that, even if I still had a lot to learn when I got there,’ he says with a grin. It was a huge success and he 'stopped the show' (Sunday Times).  According to James Bowman, who describes himself as 'an unqualified admirer of Andreas', people 'went into a kind of trance' when he sang Dove Sei? The Financial Times said of his Vivi tiranno: '...such intelligent virtuosity ... time stands still and you feel he is speaking to you.' He revived this role for his debut with the Metropolitan Opera, New York, in 2006, to great acclaim and he will sing the role in New York again in 2011. In 2008, he sang Arsace in the Royal Danish Opera's Partenope which Decca recorded for DVD.

Click here to go to the Opera page of this site.

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On stage Andreas Schollxas Giulio Cesare, 2002

Since 2001, critics and audiences have commented on his increasingly commanding stage presence.  In February 2002, Le Monde called him 'Le Roi Scholl' after his reprise of the role of King Bertarido in the Paris production of the Glyndebourne Rodelinda.  His immensely affecting characterisation together with his ability easily to fill the relatively large Paris theatre-space with his voice, whether singing piano or fortissimo, were widely noted as the measure of his development in opera since his 1998 debut.  After Paris, he remarked that he finally felt happy to tackle the greatest castrato roles.  Having now also performed Giulio Cesare, he hopes, eventually, to tackle all seventeen of the starring roles created by Handel for the great castrato Francesco Bernardi, better known as Senesino. In 2006, Andreas Scholl again impressed both audiences and critics as Bertarido, this time in New York, and he is currently working on other Handel hero roles.  

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The teacher

Andreas Scholl

Andreas Scholl teaches interpretation in the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, succeeding his own teacher, Richard Levitt. He is in much demand for masterclasses.

Click here to see photographs of Andreas Scholl teaching at Villa Musica in 2002.
Click here to see photographs of Andres Scholl teaching at Aldeburgh in 2005

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Popular music

Andreas Scholl has always written songs as well as music for ballet and theatre. He has a professional sound studio in his home. His White as Lilies, based on ideas of John Dowland, is on the 1995 CD The Countertenors (with Dominique Visse and Pascal Bertin). It was a huge hit in Korea when used in a TV commercial and was later released there in an orchestrated version.  Andreas Scholl intends to release a CD in this genre.

In December 2003, Andreas Scholl gave his first public performance in popular music in an eclectic programme of electronic and orchestral works which included four of his own compositions. His All beauty must die brought the house down.  Alongside Andreas Scholl was fellow Baroque countertenor, Roland Kunz, who specialises in setting Elizabethan English poems to his own electronic music. The two countertenors duetted in Scholl's and Kunz's songs, backed by Kunz's band die Unerlösten and the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Saarbrücken under Rick Stengårds

Click here to read about this project.

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The singer Andreas Scholl

Andreas Scholl doesn't practise scales much, preferring just to keep on singing (one thinks of pianist Andras Schiff) and this means constant work. He occasionally goes back to his teacher to ensure that no bad habits have crept in. Each new aria takes about a month's work, a couple of hours every day, to perfect. After that, with the slog behind him, he tries not to work too hard 'on the night', simply enjoying singing. 'The art,' he says, 'is not to show that it is an art.'  Usually, the more he enjoys himself, the better the performance.

Sometimes the effort required is greater than usual and sometimes, he says, he cannot account for the audience's reaction.  There are times when he feels he gives a near-perfect performance but without much response. At other times his performance is below the standard he hoped to reach yet the audience is delighted. In every performance, he feels himself to be an instrument of the music and the composer and of the given-ness of his extraordinary voice, of which he is well aware. He dislikes both vanity and false modesty in singers and concentrates wholly on the content of what he is singing: 'Lieber erstmal Lieder'. He works hard on the music, prepares himself mentally and physically and gives all he can when performing but feels the final result is not up to him. In some countries, he may be the first countertenor the audience has ever heard. In 2000, Andreas Scholl was introduced in the Far East as 'the greatest living castrato' but he discreetly declined to comment on the epithet or to mention that he has a daughter.

 

Click here to read some of Andreas Scholl's own remarks on performance, his voice and music.

Constantly travelling the world, Scholl finds himself playing ambassador for the world's countertenors, explaining that the increasing popularity of this voice has been the result of the resurgence of interest in early music, the music of the Renaissance and Baroque in particular. He is aware of - but plays down - his personal following, but is happy to exploit it in order to introduce people to music with which they may not be familiar. 'People are open but they sometimes need someone to lower the barriers.' One of the reasons he moved from Harmonia Mundi to Decca was that Decca's powerful marketing operation would be able to introduce the relatively little-known Baroque repertoire to a large number of people than could a speciality label with smaller budgets. 

 

He has strong views on the musical education of young people. He is concerned that they be given access to classical music despite the effort required to appreciate and enjoy it and the fact that it does not provide the instant gratification afforded by some other modern-day diversions.


In 2004,
Andreas Scholl was invited to be a judge at the Queen Elisabeth Concours, Belgium's most prestigious music competition.

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'Did I not own 
Jehovah's pow'r ... '
Andreas Scholl
Photo: JG

Like King Solomon, his highly acclaimed 1999 role with the Gabrieli Consort, Andreas Scholl gives the credit to God for his outstanding gifts. He describes himself as a religious man - although, he says, no longer a Catholic - and he is conscious of his responsibilities as both man and musician. He constantly emphasises the essentially collaborative nature of music-making. In European sacred music, the countertenor voice has often been used to denote the Holy Spirit and Scholl likes to remind people that 'music is there to praise God. The Latin phrase is movere et docere,' he says. 'To move people - and to teach them.'

Copyright ©  2004 Jill Gunsell, with thanks to Dr Johannes Scholl

    

More information about all the ensembles and recordings mentioned here can be found on the Links and Discography pages of this site.
Critical comment can be found on the Applause page.
Picture credits can be found in the Photo Gallery
 
 




Andreas Scholl is best described as a COUNTERTENOR.
He is ALSO correctly described as an ALTO and a FALSETTIST.
He is NOT a tenor.
He is NOT a castrato.

*

  • ALTO is the second highest VOICE RANGE and both men and women sing in it.

  • MALE ALTOS are also known as COUNTERTENORS.

  • FALSETTO is a TECHNIQUE used by ALL singers when appropriate and by countertenors most of the time.

*


FALSETTO is a voice production technique for singing high notes. It uses only part of the vocal cords plus the resonant spaces in the head and neck, rather than those in the chest and upper body. The longer the vocal cords (and men's are longer than women's) the easier falsetto is to 'do'. Using falsetto technique and head voice, a man can sing higher than if he used his full vocal cords and his chest voice.

'Falsetto' has nothing to do with 'fake'. It is a musical addition to the normal - or 'modal' - voice. Untrained falsetto can sound awful, though (remember 'Tiptoe through the tulips'?)  which is why it takes takes years of training to use it as sweetly as Andreas Scholl.

Anyone can 'do' falsetto, male or female. Male pop singers use it all the time. Try it yourself. Press your hand flat against your chest and sing a bit of 'Thriller' like Michael Jackson or 'Barcelona' like Freddy Mercury - both falsettists.
Go as high as you can without screeching. Your chest is hardly vibrating at all. You're singing falsetto, using your head voice. Now sing it as low as you can. Feel the increased vibration against your hand. That is your more powerful chest voice. The audience may not even know when a singer 'changes gear' from chest voice to head voice because with training you can make it sound seamless.


COUNTERTENORS AND CASTRATI

A singer using falsetto is
a falsettist. A countertenor is a falsettist who has trained intensively to sing in (usually) the alto range. He uses his head voice most of the time, not his chest voice. Not all countertenors sing in exactly the same range from the top to the bottom of their voices. One can sing higher or lower than another. Like all voice-type names, the word 'countertenor' was coined to distinguish this voice from, and position it in relation to, the tenor voice... above it or below it and so on.

An 18th century castrato like Senesino or Farinelli did not need to use falsetto to sing alto (or sometimes even soprano) because neither his singing voice nor his speaking voice ever dropped to the usual adult range which for Andreas Scholl - and most men - is baritone. A castrato could use his whole chest and upper body because his vocal mechanism remained unchanged from boyhood: a high voice, but now delivered with a fully-grown man's lungs and body-strength. These days, no singer is deliberately castrated in the cause of music but there are a few endocrinological castrati whose physiology gives them the same combination of high voice and powerful projection as the 18th century castrati. They are very rare indeed.

Countertenors like Andreas Scholl can mimic the high voices of the castrati using intensively trained falsetto technique. Falsetto does not harness the chest-driven power and resonance of the castrati, some of whom could (it is thought) produce arena-filling volume like Pavarotti, although that wasn't the big thing, back then, when tonal beauty and expression were far more important, and both audiences and performance spaces were very much smaller than they are today. So, like the castrati, modern countertenors concentrate on producing different 'vocal colours' rather than volume to express different emotions and convey the composer's and lyricist's meaning.

OTHER HIGH VOICES

A separate high male voice-type, the
haute-contre - sometimes called high tenor - is a tenor who can sing higher than the usual tenor range but, unlike a countertenor,
he does it using chest voice and head voice and sometimes falsetto, too, moving easily between them.

Some male singers, although not Andreas Scholl, sing in the soprano range. They are called sopranists and while they are often grouped with countertenors - because they, too, are falsettists - some prefer not to be called countertenors because they do not sing alto.

Some female contraltos and mezzo sopranos can sing the same repertoire as countertenors, and vice versa. They can usually sing louder - and lower or higher - than countertenors because
, like tenors, they use chest voice and head voice.

How singers are described can depend on what they are singing. A mezzo soprano who can sing low alto may occasionally be listed as a contralto if her repertoire in a particular performance is more usually sung by a 'true' contralto - that is, by one who who only sings in the lower (and lowest) part of the alto range. One old CD lists Andreas Scholl as a contralto. (Now that is unusual.)

CONFUSED?

Well, it can get even more complicated, but this note is deliberately short and - haha - simple, as an introduction for the unwary. It's not a learned thesis and please don't write to us about fach. Just beware of saying 'Scholl's not a falsettist', as though falsetto were A Bad And Unusual Thing. He is, and it's not. It's just one technique among many used by all professional singers.

Oh, and don't make the mistake of calling Andreas Scholl a castrato. You may bump into his daughter at a concert.

 © 2006 Jill Gunsell









This site does not purport to represent Andreas Scholl or his business associates.



Maria zart

Maria zart von edler Art
Ein Ros' ohn alle Dornen,
Du hast aus Macht herniederbracht,
Das vorlang war verloren
Durch Adams Fall;
Dir hat Gewalt
Sankt Gabriel versprochen;
Hilf, daß nit wird gerochen
Mein Sünd' und Schuld,
Erwirb mir Huld!
Denn kein Trost ist,
Wo du nit bist,
Barmherzigkeit erworben.
Am letzten End'
Ich bitt', nit wend
Von mir in meinen Sterben.