on 30 August 2013
Having seen David Hansen's appearances on You Tube, I looked forward to his debut CD and was not disappointed. Hansen is an extraordinary singer - a glorious voice with an astonishing technique that would have impressed Farinelli himself! I agree whole heartedly with the first reviewer in his comments about the choice of repertoire. Hansen obviously wants to make his mark in a musical world that is now teeming with countertenors. The time when James Bowman and Rene Jacobs held sway are long gone and Hansen is going to be, without doubt, amongst the stars along with Jarrousky, Cencic, Daniels and Mehta.
All the arias on this disc are showpieces, even the slow ones and Hansen sings them perfectly. Broschi's "Son qual nave" Hansen throws off with ease. It is interesting that this aria, in a much abbreviated form, appears in the feature movie "Farinelli" and the screen writer has the singer complaining to his brother that it is all "runs and ornaments". This can be said of everything on the disc, unfortunately. They have a rarity value (and I doubt is "Son qual nave" has ever been sung complete since the time of Farinelli) and for lovers of Baroque opera this CD is a must. What one longs for now is a CD with music from the real Masters of the period. Hansen's contemporaries have shown that Handel, for example, wrote extensively for virtuoso singers, providing them with music worthy of their musical and dramatic talents. I hope that David Hansen will provide us with music of real value in his next outing on disc. In the meantime, buy this one and enjoy the singing of this truly astonishing rising star. I must also mention the superb playing by the Academia Montis Regis under Alessandro de Marchi. The orchestral ritornelli are thrilling and in the quiet arias some exquisite solo oboe playing.
on 27 August 2013
And so another countertenor of the first water appears on the scene with the issue of David Hansen's debut disc 'Rivals', which is devoted to music written for Farinelli and his rival castrati. Make no mistake, this is a spectacular debut; Hansen's singing is of a quality to place him in direct rivalry with the current 'greats' of the countertenor scene, David Daniels, Max Emanuel Cencic and Philippe Jaroussky. His voice is quite distinctive, melodious and attractive throughout its immense range. It is not perhaps as rich as Daniels in the lower register and not as 'feminine'. He is capable of an amazing lightness, like Jaroussky, but without his occasional shrillness. Perhaps he is most like Cencic but with a spectacular and fabulously sweet upper register. This young Australian is a very welcome addition to ranks of the 'guys who sing high'.
Eight of the nine tracks on this very generous disc (76½ mins) are world premiere recordings and that is not perhaps too surprising. Each of them affords the singer ample opportunities to display his technique, which Hansen does to brilliant effect. But it has to be said that they lack any great musical quality. They are all by little-known composers and, frankly, 76 minutes of this kind of music is too much of a good thing. But taken in sensible doses, the individual items can be very exciting. Broschi's 'Son qual nave', written for his brother, Farinelli, is the high point of the disc, a real show-stopper.
David Hansen is a very fortunate young man - he is photogenic (handsome, muscular and lightly bearded) and he has an extraordinary and beautiful voice with a faultless technique. His breath control is fantastic. I understand his wish to mark his arrival with something quite distinctive, and that he has achieved, but I look forward to a disc of music which will allow us to see how wide a range of emotion he can display through his singing. In the meantime, no one who has even the mildest interest in the art of singing should miss the opportunity to meet this exciting young man.
David Hansen is a discovery indeed, with such a pure and clear voice and effortless movement across his considerable range, and surely will rival (no pun intended) if not surpass the likes of Jaroussky, Cenčić and the other top ranking countertenors of the age. I don't really agree with other reviewers here that this is in some way substandard music by substandard composers - just because the likes of Leonardo Vinci, Leonardo Leo and Giovanni Bononcini are less well known these days does not mean that they were any less successful or less admired than the likes of Handel in their own time, nor that their works do not provide suitable vehicles for Hansen to demonstrate his virtuosity.
Eight of the nine arias here are world premieres, including apart from the above mentioned composers, the centrepiece of this disc, the aria "Son qual nave" by Riccardo Broschi the brother of Farinelli, which was inserted into a 1734 London production of Hasse's opera "Artaserse". This has probably been recorded before but can claim to be a 'premiere' of sorts as Hansen employs the vocal ornamentation documented by Farinelli himself in a manuscript of 1753 containing a version of the aria.
The booklet provides some brief but decent notes, libretti are given with translations into English, German and, oddly, Norweigian (it appears that Hansen despite being Australian is of Norwegian descent and has family there - maybe a fanbase too?).
on 25 November 2013
This cd is really one of the best castrato cds on the market,to have in your collection ,if your a fan of this music, every track clear crisp with a flair of his own, David Hanson is a very talented young man ,more cds please
on 26 April 2014
A remarkable album from a remarkable singer. I can't wait for the following release - a beautiful, versatile and rich voice, excellent musicality and a fantastic range. I recommend this album to anyone who loves the Baroque, red in tooth and claw.
on 23 March 2014
The slower tempo pieces are delightful. The rapid scales and leaps can be a bit alarming and not completely pitched, which is a shame, as this is a n outstanding voice. Typical of the age it is meant to represent, I suppose, like it or lump it.