Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Join the Facebook group devoted to basso profondos here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/304921782912521/ And subscribe to this YouTube channel devoted to oktavists and basso profondos: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCg6IiNQqZWJH3ZFfJhXRMsg

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Im Tiefen Keller

As everyone knows, the repertoire for basso profondos is relatively limited. Unless you are directing a performance of Mahler or Rachnmaninov, you will rarely find yourself in need of a basso profondo. Those of us who like basso profondos should be thankful for Ludwig Fischer (1745-1824), a man who is directly and indirectly responsible for a substantial chunk of the basso profondo repertoire.
It was for Fischer that Mozart wrote the role of Osmin in Die Entf├╝hrung aus dem Serail with the Act 3 aria "O, wie will ich triumphieren," in which Osmin descends to a meaty D2. It is clear that Ludwig Fischer was a formidable bass himself, but he is only indirectly responsible for this sector of basso profondo repertoire.
Fischer was directly responsible, however, for the German drinking song "Im tiefen Keller sitz' ich hier—in English, “In cellar cool, I sit me here.” Fischer wrote the song to showcase the bass range, originally spanning F2-F4.

Below is an English translation of the lyrics:
In cellar cool I sit me here, upon a pipe at leisure
And with a cheerful mind I order
Win in right good measure
The tapster draws a mighty glass
When he beholds me winking
I hold my cup high in the air,
when I'm drinking, drinking, drinking.

Poor me a thirsty demon plagues,
But I shall surely fright him,
and with my wineglass in my hand
I'll up and bravely fight him
The whole world seems rosy red
and ever to my thinking
I'd do no harm to any man
when I'm drinking, drinking, drinking

I’ll leave you with a few renditions of the piece. First, and audio only clip of the piece in its original key, sung by bass Jose Mardones.

Second we have an impromptu performance by Mikhail Kruglov, which is in fact my personal favorite. This is pitched down to D, so the piece spans from D2-D4.

Lastly, we have the Ukranian basso profondo Glib Chandrowsky singing far down in the cool cellar—in the key of B. So, the piece spans from B1-B3. Impressive, to say the least, although his tone is a bit throaty for my tastes.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Yuri Vishnyakov

Yuri Vishnyakov (or Wichniakov) is one of the more well known Russian basso profondos, although there are relatively few videos of him singing. Vishnyakov is perhaps responsible for popularizing the Russian basso profondo as he is featured on the Orthodox Singers CD "Basso Profondo from Old Russia."

Vishnyakov, along with Boris Tchepikov, and Viktor Krutchenkov, sung perhaps the most impressive rendition of Chesnokov's "Do Not Reject Me in My Old Age," a piece for a basso profondo soloist, although, in this case, three basso profondos sing!
You can hear the recording below:

Vishnyakov hits a rather impressive G1 at the end, although it is somewhat masked by the G2 sung by the other two bassos. Vishnyakov has performed with a number of Russian Choirs. He recently has performed with the Orthodox Singers choir, but he can be seen here performing the Russian Patriarchate Choir of Moscow:

In a more recent video, we have Vishnyakov singing with the Orthodox Singers, performing the entering chant "It is Fitting" :

A New Video from Mikhail Kruglov

The young basso profondo Mikhail Kruglov has posted a new video of himself singing Chesnokov's peice "Save Thy People." Pavel Chesnokov (24 October 1877 – 14 March 1944) was a Russian composer who had a particularly keen ear for the basso profondo, and has composed many choral pieces that showcase this particular range. Chesnokov was a prolific composer, having composed over four-hundred works by the time he was thirty; however, he met a tragic end under the Soviet regime. When the cathedral where he was choirmaster was torn down, and Chesnokov ceased composing altogether.

Kruglov sings this piece in D minor, which is a considerably lower key than that usually sung. That makes the lowest note in the piece a D2, for anyone wondering.

The Genesis of the Basso Profondo Blog

Hello all,
I am just one of many on the internet who have an obsession with the basso profondo singing voice. I will be posting articles, videos, etc. on this blog in order to give my fellow basso profondo fanatics their daily fix. Additionally, this blog will hopefully be an enlightening musical experience for those unfamiliar with basso profondos.

We'll begin this blog with a quintessential sample of the basso profondo.

This basso is reputed to be Michael Zlatopolsky, although I haven't confirmed this one hundred percent. This is a classic example of a Russian basso profondo singing with an Russian orthodox choir. The ending note is a C2, or "low C"--the bread and butter note of basso profondos. This note is a kind of watermark for basses who would wish to enter the profondo category, similar to the high C of tenors (C5), or the high C of sopranos (C6).

The general range of basso profondos tends to bottom out around low A (A1), although there are recordings of basses hitting notes lower than these. Stay tuned for more updates, and, as always, comments are welcome!