Thursday, December 22, 2005

Richer, Deeper, Lower, Higher

A couple weeks ago, Monee and I dug up some old records of a Russian singer named Ivan Rebroff. He sings some opera stuff and a lot of Russian (and other) folk songs, and he has the most fantastic voice. He's been called the "richest, deepest, lowest, highest bass in the world," and he really is incredible. The record jackets claim he can sing down to an A below the bass staff, but on one song he actually makes it all the way down to the F below that. (That's a full octave below the usual low F for a bass singer.) Plus, he even has a surprisingly good head voice, and can sing well all the way up into soprano range (or at least alto, I haven't really checked) when he wants to. The songs that contrast the extremes of his range are really fascinating. I also like his recordings of "If I Were a Rich Man," in both French and German. I haven't found an English version yet, but I really like the German one. And the balalaikas playing with him on a lot of the recordings of are pretty cool too.

6 comments:

Miriam said...

The title to this post made me smile. Sing it richer, drop it deeper, sink it lower, float it higher? Loud as ever, measure after measure how far down his notes are? Daft Punk did it with synthesizers, but I bet Ivan Rebroff could actually sing that song and hit all the notes. Wish I had that kind of range.

Graham said...

You know I almost suggested exactly that as part of my post, and then decided to just leave it as the title only. I knew someone would fill in the idea for me. :-)

Miriam said...

*glee dance* Glad I could help. :)

Anonymous said...

Hello,
Ivan Rebroff has never sung an english version of the song "If I were a rich man"...

Anonymous said...

Correct, never an English version. If you wish to see more info on Ivan Rebroff, I have a discography of all of his songs (that I know of):

http://home.san.rr.com/vanpelt92117/

Also, he's actually German, though his parents were Russian.

-- Andy

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot, Andy. I knew your website, it's very whole. Sorry for my English, I'm French...
I heard Ivan Rebroff 'in live' few months ago. He was 74 years old and he couldn't sing easily as high as he was younger. But he has a real presence on stage, charism and humour, and the technic is still here. His strenght on low notes is really fantastic. His name, Ivan Rebroff, is the russian translation of his birthname Hans Rippert. His russian mother, named Natalia Nelina, was the great bass Feodor Chaliapin's fan.
Next(on April 2006), he'll come in France, and I'll go and hear him again... :-)
Best regards.
Mag.