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Altus - From Castrato To Countertenor


Release Date: 02/24/2009 
Label:  Virgin Classics   Catalog #: 35476   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Antonio VivaldiJohann Sebastian BachGeorge Frideric HandelTraditional,   ... 
Performer:  Philippe JarousskyDavid DanielsAndreas SchollRené Jacobs,   ... 
Conductor:  Jean-Christophe SpinosiFabio BiondiMichel CorbozHans-Martin Linde,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble MatheusEuropa GalanteLausanne Vocal Ensemble,   ... 
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Mixed 
Length: 3 Hours 24 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The male voice hits an all-time high with this collection. Starting as far back as 1902 with the last of the castrati, Alessandro Moreschi, it comes right up to the present with Philippe Jaroussky and David Daniels. Compilation with Philippe Jaroussky, Max-Emanuel Cencic, James Bowman, Alfred Deller, Gérard Lesne, René Jacobs, Charles Brett, Derek Lee Ragin, David Daniels… Including last castrato Alessandro Moreschi recorded in 1902 30 years ago, when the boom in Baroque music was just beginning, the countertenor was an exotic species. Today, male falsettists performing in the alto and soprano register are best-selling stars, with Philippe Jaroussky, David Daniels, Max-Emmanuel Cencic and Andreas Scholl leading the way. Today, Read more countertenors sing virtuoso music composed in the 18th century by figures such as Handel, Vivaldi and Mozart for the castrati, men ‘surgically altered’ before adolescence to preserve their pure, high voices. They went on to gain adult power, stamina and temperament while preserving the angelic tones of a choirboy. Among the great castrato names were Giovanni Carestini, Francesco Bernardi – known as Senesino, Girolami Crescentini and, above all, Carlo Boschi, alias Farinelli, the subject of a 1994 movie directed by Gérard Corbiau which became an international hit.

These three CDs feature a roll-call of virtually all the leading countertenors of recent history, hailing from continental Europe, the UK and the US. Each has his own special vocal colour and style, from the very British restraint of Alfred Deller, probably the first great countertenor of the modern era, to the lushness of the American Daniels, the elegance of the Frenchman Philippe Jaroussky, the fire of the middle-European Max-Emmanuel Cencic and the clarity of the German Andreas Scholl. All these artists are exponents of ‘authentic’ performance, but – fortunately for the gentlemen in question – true authenticity is restricted to the track performed by Alessandro Moreschi. Dating from 1902 and the only known audio memento of a genuine castrato, it was recorded in the Sistine Chapel, Rome, where Moreschi sang in the choir. His sound is understandably plaintive, but – in every sense – the countertenors of Altus : from castrato countertenor bring complete male bravado (along with sensitivity) to some glorious music.
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Works on This Recording

1.
Giustino, RV 717: Vedrò con mio diletto by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Jean-Christophe Spinosi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Matheus
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; Rome, Italy 
Length: 5 Minutes 13 Secs. 
2.
Stabat Mater in F minor, RV 621: Stabat Mater dolorosa by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  David Daniels (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Fabio Biondi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Europa Galante
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 21 Secs. 
3.
Saint John Passion, BWV 245: no 58, Es ist vollbracht by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Andreas Scholl (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Michel Corboz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lausanne Vocal Ensemble
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 5 Minutes 6 Secs. 
4.
Vergnügte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust, BWV 170 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  René Jacobs (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Hans-Martin Linde
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Linde Consort
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1726; Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 6 Minutes 59 Secs. 
5.
Messiah, HWV 56: He was despised and rejected by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  James Bowman (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Andrew Parrott
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Taverner Players
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1742; London, England 
Length: 11 Minutes 49 Secs. 
6.
Sosarme, HWV 30: Sincero affetto by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Max Emanuel Cencic (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Alan Curtis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Il Complesso Barocco
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1732; London, England 
Length: 5 Minutes 21 Secs. 
7.
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Minacciami, non ho timor by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Xavier Sabata (Countertenor)
Conductor:  William Christie
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Arts Florissants
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1715; London, England 
Length: 8 Minutes 40 Secs. 
8.
Serse, HWV 40: Amor, tiranno Amor by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Lawrence Zazzo (Countertenor)
Conductor:  William Christie
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Arts Florissants
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1738; London, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 30 Secs. 
9.
Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248: no 4, Bereite dich, Zion by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Michael Chance (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Philippe Herreweghe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Collegium Vocale
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1734-1735; Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 5 Minutes 42 Secs. 
Notes: Composition written: Leipzig, Germany (1734 - 1735). 
10.
Saul, HWV 53: O Lord, whose mercies numberless by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Paul Esswood (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Sir Philip Ledger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1738-1739; London, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 34 Secs. 
11.
Italian Duets: no 11, Conservate, raddopiate, HWV 185 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Brian Asawa (Countertenor), Juanita Lascarro (Soprano)
Conductor:  Emmanuelle Haïm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Le Concert D'Astrée
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1710; Italy 
Length: 4 Minutes 27 Secs. 
12.
Greensleeves by Traditional
Performer:  Desmond Dupré (Lute), Alfred Deller (Countertenor)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 
Length: 3 Minutes 15 Secs. 
13.
Stabat Mater: Stabat Mater dolorosa by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
Performer:  Gérard Lesne (Countertenor), Véronique Gens (Soprano)
Conductor:  Gérard Lesne
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seminario Musicale
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1736; Pozzuoli, Italy 
Length: 4 Minutes 45 Secs. 
14.
Salve Regina: Ad Te by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
Performer:  Gérard Lesne (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Gérard Lesne
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seminario Musicale
Period: Baroque 
Written: Italy 
Length: 1 Minutes 7 Secs. 
15.
Nisi Dominus in G minor, RV 608: Cum dederit delectis suis sommum by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  David Daniels (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Fabio Biondi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Europa Galante
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 53 Secs. 
16.
Longe mala umbrae terrores in G minor, RV 629: Alleluja by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  David Daniels (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Fabio Biondi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Europa Galante
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 17 Secs. 
17.
Sentimenti devoti, Op. 6: Ave Regina coelorum by Giovanni Legrenzi
Performer:  Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Artaserse
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1660; Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 26 Secs. 
18.
Pianti, sospiri, RV 676: Cor ingrato dispietato by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer:  Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Artaserse
Period: Baroque 
Written: Venice, Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 23 Secs. 
19.
Magnificat in D major, BWV 243: Et misericordia by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor), Toby Spence (Tenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Artaserse
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1728-1731; Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 24 Secs. 
20.
Giulio Cesare, HWV 17: Son nata a lagrimar by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  David Daniels (Countertenor)
Conductor:  John Nelson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Orchestral Ensemble
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; London, England 
Length: 8 Minutes 25 Secs. 
21.
Admeto, Rè di Tessaglia, HWV 22: Chi è nato alla sventure by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  James Bowman (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Alan Curtis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Il Complesso Barocco
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1727; London, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 37 Secs. 
22.
Sosarme, HWV 30: M'opporrò da generoso by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Lawrence Zazzo (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Alan Curtis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Il Complesso Barocco
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1732; London, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 24 Secs. 
23.
Tenebrae responsories (9): no 6, Ecce quomodo, H 131 by Marc-Antoine Charpentier
Performer:  Gérard Lesne (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Gérard Lesne
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seminario Musicale
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1690; France 
Length: 4 Minutes 5 Secs. 
24.
Mitridate, rè di Ponto, K 87 (74a): Venga pur, minacci e frema by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  David Daniels (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Harry Bicket
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Period: Classical 
Written: 1770; Milan, Italy 
Length: 7 Minutes 2 Secs. 
25.
Semiramide: Ah! quel giorno ognor rammento by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Max Emanuel Cencic (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Michael Hofstetter
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Geneva Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1823; Italy 
Length: 11 Minutes 10 Secs. 
26.
A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op. 64: I know a bank by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  James Bowman (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Sinfonia
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1960; England 
Length: 5 Minutes 4 Secs. 
27.
Oedipus, Z 583: Music for a while by Henry Purcell
Performer:  Craig Ogden (Guitar), David Daniels (Countertenor)
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1692; England 
Length: 3 Minutes 50 Secs. 
28.
Sound the trumpet, Z 335 by Henry Purcell
Performer:  Christopher Robson (Countertenor), James Bowman (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Gustav Leonhardt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1687; England 
Length: 2 Minutes 30 Secs. 
29.
Mass in B minor, BWV 232: Agnus Dei by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Charles Brett (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Philippe Herreweghe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Collegium Vocale
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1747-1749; Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 5 Minutes 28 Secs. 
30.
Ariette (6) da camera: no 1, Malinconia, ninfa gentile by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Craig Ogden (Guitar), David Daniels (Countertenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Italy 
Length: 1 Minutes 43 Secs. 
31.
Orfeo ed Euridice: Che farò senza Euridice? by Christoph W. Gluck
Performer:  David Daniels (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Harry Bicket
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Period: Classical 
Written: 1762/1774; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 5 Minutes 6 Secs. 
Notes: Composition written: Vienna, Austria (1762).
Composition revised: Paris, France (1774). 
32.
Ellens Gesang III, D 839/Op. 52 no 6 "Ave Maria" by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Craig Ogden (Guitar), David Daniels (Countertenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1825; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 4 Minutes 32 Secs. 
33.
Nacht und Träume, D 827 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  David Daniels (Countertenor), Martin Katz (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1823; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 4 Minutes 2 Secs. 
34.
Plainte sur la mort de Monsieur Lambert by Lambert du Buisson
Performer:  Gérard Lesne (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Gérard Lesne
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seminario Musicale
Period: Baroque 
Length: 5 Minutes 18 Secs. 
35.
Les nuits d'été, Op. 7: no 3, Sur les lagunes by Hector Berlioz
Performer:  David Daniels (Countertenor)
Conductor:  John Nelson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Orchestral Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840-1841; France 
Length: 6 Minutes 19 Secs. 
36.
Carmina burana: no 12, Olim lacus colueram by Carl Orff
Performer:  James Bowman (Countertenor)
Conductor:  David Hill
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 55 Secs. 
37.
Silent Night by Franz Xaver Gruber
Performer:  Derek Lee Ragin (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Moses Hogan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moses Hogan Singers
Period: Classical 
Written: 1818; Austria 
Length: 3 Minutes 55 Secs. 
Notes: Arrangers: Franz Xaver Gruber; Moses Hogan. 
38.
Duetto buffo di due gatti by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Gérard Lesne (Countertenor), Antonio Pappano (Piano), Rockwell Blake (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 54 Secs. 
39.
Maladresse by Gérard Lesne
Performer:  Gérard Lesne (Countertenor)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1995 
Length: 4 Minutes 0 Secs. 
40.
Shenandoah by Traditional
Performer:  David Daniels (Countertenor)
Written: USA 
Length: 4 Minutes 30 Secs. 
41.
Petite Messe solennelle: Crucifixus by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Alessandro Moreschi (Castrato)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1863; Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 0 Secs. 
42.
Plaisir d'amour by Johann Paul A. Martini
Performer:  Craig Ogden (Guitar), David Daniels (Countertenor)
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1775; France 
Length: 3 Minutes 53 Secs. 
43.
Serse, HWV 40: Ombra mai fu "Largo" by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Gérard Lesne (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Gérard Lesne
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seminario Musicale
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1738; London, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 17 Secs. 
44.
L'Incoronazione di Poppea: Pur ti miro [Final Duet] by Claudio Monteverdi
Performer:  Derek Lee Ragin (Countertenor), Suzie LeBlanc (Soprano)
Conductor:  Emmanuelle Haïm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Teatro Lirico
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1642; Venice, Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 56 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Giustino: Vedro con mio diletto (Anastasio)
Serse - Acte I - Récit : Frondi Tenere E Belle - Aria : Ombra Mai Fu
Stabat Mater: Stabat Mater dolorosa
Aria: Es ist vollbracht (St John Passion BWV 245)
Cantata No. 170: Vergnügte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust BWV170 (1997 Digital Remaster): Aria: Vergnügte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust
Messiah HWV56, (PART 2): He was despised (alto)
Fernando, re di Castiglia, Atto terzo, Scena IV: Aria: "Sincero affetto"
Amadigi (extract): Aria: Minacciami, non ho timor (Amadigi) XS
Serse, Act 3, Scene IV: No 43 Aria - Amor, tiranno Amor (Arsamene)
Christmas Oratorio BWV248, Cantata 1: Am ersten Weihnachtsfeiertage: Aria: Alto: Bereite dich, Zion
Saul HWV53: O Lord, whose mercies numberless (David)
Cantata IX - Conservate, raddoppiate HWV185
L'Incoronazione di Poppea · Dramma per musica in 3 acts and 1 prologue, Act Three, Scene 8: Pur ti miro (Poppea, Nerone)
Greensleeves ('The Merry Wives of Windsor') (2004 Digital Remaster)
Stabat Mater pour soprano, contralto, corders et basse continue: Stabat Mater dolorosa
Salve Regina pour contralto et cordes en F minor: Ad te clamamus
Nisi Dominus: Psalm 126 [127] for contralto and strings RV 608: Cum dederit dilectis
Longe mala, umbrae, terrores: motet for contralto and strings RV629: Alleluia
Ave Regina coelorum (Sentimenti devoti espressi con la musica di due e tre voci, opera sesta, Libro secondo, 1660, G. Sala, Venezia)
Pianti, sospiri e dimandar mercede RV676: IV Aria: Cor ingrato dispietato
Magnificat in D Major, BWV243: Et misericordia
Recitativo e duetto: Madre ... Son nata a lagrimar from Giulio Cesare HWV17)
Admeto, re di Tessaglia (1997 Digital Remaster), ACT 2, Scene 10: Trasimede: Aria: Chi è nato alle sventure
Fernando, re di Castiglia, Atto terzo, Scena VII: Aria: "M'oppprrò da generoso"
Répons après la troisème leçon du mercredi H131
Aria: Venga pur (Mitridate, re di Ponto)
Semiramide - Gaetano Rossi: Atto I - Eccomi alfine in Babilonia...Ah, quel giorno Arsace
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT ONE: Welcome wanderer! ... I know a bank (Oberon)

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