Tuesday, March 9, 2010

REVIEW: Andreas Scholl and Edin Karamazov in A MUSICALL BANQUET

Part of the 38th Hong Kong Arts Festival, this recital by countertenor Andreas Scholl and lutist Edin Karamazov on March 9 at the Hong Kong City Hall Concert Hall was eagerly anticipated by me. The name Andreas Scholl first came to my attention when I decided that he was the best among The Three Countertenors. Yes, this is the title of the CD produced at the heels of the very profitable The Three Tenors. The CD was more like a funny but serious showcase of the countertenor voice. Since then, I have gathered a good number of his recordings but have never seen him perform live.
The recital was heavily based on his CD, A MUSICALL BANQUET. The repertoire had a good but curious mix of English, French, Spanish and Italian airs. John Dowland was featured heavily to my delight. In fact, I was dismayed that one of my favorite Dowland song Come Again was not in the programme and was humming it during the intermission. But to my surprise, Andreas sang it in the second half, bringing a lot of people in the audience into hurried search in their programme book.

Andreas Scholl didn't disappoint me at all. His voice had a youthful timbre and his singing was effortless. He also brought tremendous eloquence and empathy for the texts. Erin Karamazov played sublimely, pacing cohesively to Scholl's phrasing.

From the third row, Scholl's voice was clear and pure; while throat-clearing was a bit too often and obvious for me, who kept clearing my own throat to stifle my cough. All in all, the evening was gentle and soothing.

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