Review of Wege Durch das Land Concert with Hille and Marthe Perl
On 29th of January 2011 there was a possibility to listen 2 concerts in a row at Mederi Hall. Joel Frederiksen performed at the second concert – is he a singing lute-player or singer with lute-accompaniment? Nowadays, it is not usual to see and hear a musician that is both a very good vocalist and an instrumentalist. But during this concert everyone had incontrovertible evidence that such a rare thing is possible. His bass vocal sound carried wonderfully and was beautiful even on the lowest notes. During his musical wanderings through France, England and Italy the written accompaniments and basso continuo sounded equally masterful.
A masterful singer, he interpreted the different inner experiences of one’s soul with such a noble perspective (typical for Renaissance) that the esthetic whole was poetic in every aspect. The ideals of the 17th century flowed throughout Frederiksen’s interpretation. The style of Frederiksen's music is lyrical and even in the drinking and war songs he managed to stay in artistic frames. The singing technique was perfectly free of tension. I would call him a basso profundo – that full-of-life and full-sounded quality resonated the deepest notes of his voice. The audience enjoyed his remarks that contained personal observations and topics of songs. The acoustics of the hall helped to hear all the beautiful nuances of lute-songs, presented to the audiences as if on a silver platter. Speaking of nuances I also mean flawless technique and intonation. Frederiksen created in this small chamber hall a sort of special tranquility and energy of deep introspection, enveloped by pleasant communication.
Everything sounded finished and authentic. Some had an almost magical appeal. One was Frederiksen in Jeremiah Ingalls' "The heavenly courtier" (1805). His bass was especially lustrous and he coaxed and caressed the lyrics in a beguiling way.
Allegorical fights between earthly desires and the purity of belief contained great musical variety, especially when the two excellent singers were accompanied by instrumentalists who were just as strong.
Joel Frederiksen mastered the huge range and coloratura of the virtuosic "O vos omnes" by Giovanni Felice Sances excellently. Robert Crowe, representing the other extreme of the male voice (soprano)...in the piano sections round and expressive.
Frederiksen is at the moment the only one that masters the art of self-accompanying to the lute at the highest level. He has at his disposal amazingly many styles and vocal registers and styles. The most impressive were the big, theatrical monodies of Giulio Caccini: easily over two and one-half octaves, virtuosically ornamented and with powerful diction...truly amazing.