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David Daniels & Craig Ogden
David Daniels American countertenor David Daniels breaks barriers for his voice part in his new CD, A Quiet Thing, that features tunes ranging from the 17th-century lute song to the 20th-century American musical. Daniels performs three of these songs with guitarist Craig Ogden in NPR's Studio 4B.

David Daniels in NPR's Studio 4B
David Daniels in NPR's Studio 4B
Credit: Nerissa Paglinauan, NPR Online
David Daniels & Craig Ogden

Live from Studio 4B

audio icon "A Quiet Thing"

audio icon "Come Again Sweet Love"

audio icon "Blackberry Winter"

Listen to the feature (19:36)

When you think of a countertenor, what generally comes to mind is Renaissance and Baroque music, florid Handel arias and Dowland lute songs, and the castrati. So, what are the songs of Bernstein, Arlen, and Foster doing alongside those of Bellini, Purcell and Dowland on David Daniels' latest album?

In an interview with NPR's Lisa Simeone, Daniels reveals that he wants to defeat the mindset that pigeon-holes countertenors into singing repertoire that they're "suppose to sing." Daniels hopes to redefine the countertenor as simply a voice type, like soprano, alto, tenor, bass, and nothing more. To do this, Daniels sings repertoire that's not associated with his voice type.

How exactly does one define a countertenor? Daniels explains, "[The countertenor] is a falsetto voice. But, the word falsetto I don't really like, because it has a connotation of being false, or fake, or not real. And so, I think to call it strictly falsetto would be limiting to the voice type."

In truth, Daniels' countertenor voice is hardly false, embodying a rich male alto sound full of warmth and color that is unsurpassed by any other countertenor today.

In Depth


NPR's Lynn Neary talks with David Daniels (Nov. 2002)

Other Resources

  • David Daniels' Official Web Site

  • Craig Ogden's Official Web Site

    'A Quiet Thing' CD cover A Quiet Thing
    David Daniels, countertenor
    Craig Ogden, guitar
    Virgin Classics
    Released: August 2003

    Purchase this CD