Crystal clear heights
Decca 468 499-2
Of all the Scholl CDs, this one ranks high among my favourites. It is hard to pinpoint why, because I am not usually a fan of folk music, which Webster defines as 'traditional and typically anonymous music that is an expression of the life of the people in a community'. But when the German-born, yet very anglicised, countertenor Andreas Scholl, who happens to be one of the best in the world, takes on such music it is amazing what he can do to it.
The title song, I am a poor wayfaring stranger
[listen -- track 1, 3:22-4:44],
becomes a statement of faith and of beautiful music, the crystal clear heights of which leave you wondering whether folk songs should ever be sung by anyone but those with full classical training to bring out their full potential. For this song alone, with its haunting quality, the CD would be worth buying, but there are plenty of other memorable tracks like Blow the wind southerly, Barbara Allen, or She moved through the fair.
Scholl is always an enjoyment to listen to, but here he also provides a revelation: of what he is capable of, aside from the early music that he is best known for.