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Musical World

Steven Rickards

  • Composer
  • Countertenor


Steven Rickards press reviews

Bach's Mass in B Minor, Miami Bach Society, Fl

Among the vocal soloists,countertenor Steven Rickards was a standout. His unique plaintive vocal timbre and superb musicianship were the essence of great singing.

The Miami Herald- April 27, 2005

Bach's Mass in B Minor, Champaign, IL

In the aria,”Qui sedes ad dextram Patris, counter-tenor Steven Rickards’agile voice blended beautifully with the smoky tone of Alison Robuck’s oboe d’amore.”

The News-Gazette-March 23, 2004

Moretti's Vespro, New York City Ballet, New York State Theater, New York, NY

Anyone familiar with the fragmented sounds of the Italian Avant garde will feel at home. Bruno Moretti, a leading Italian composer and conductor, has written a fine commissioned score, which he played on stage on a grand piano. Albert Regni, principal saxophonist with the New York Philharmonic and the City Ballet, and Steven Rickards, as a splendid countertenor, contributed to the variety of texture and sudden near-void of notes hanging in the air.”

 The New York Times-May 10, 2002

Bach's Three Weimar Cantatas, BWV 182, 12, 172 -The Bach Ensemble, Joshua Rifkin

"This historically informed performance will certainly please the purists who prefer their cantatas in an unadulterated form, played on original instruments as though freshly sprung from the mind of the composer. This performance is spare and delicate rather than passionate, partly because the cantatas' tight composition leaves little room for individuality and personal expression. In keeping with their devotional spirit, the singing is serious, smooth (particularly Rickards's), and straightforward."

Audiophile Audition Classical CD Reviews, September 2001

John Adams's El Niño, Davies Hall, San Francisco, CA

"The Texture of El Niño achieves a new kind of eloquence for Adams. The almost medieval harmonies assigned to a consort of countertenors from Paul Hillier's Theatre of Voices—Daniel Bubeck, Brian Cummings, and Steven Rickards, all exceptionally mellifluous and wonderfully pristine in projection, —lends a serene, other-worldly quality to much of the work."

San Francisco Chronicle-January 11, 2001

John Adams's El Niño, Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris

"A trio of excellent countertenors —Daniel Bubeck, Brian Cummings, and Steven Rickards—both narrate and take part in the in action as the Three Wise Men."

The Times (London)- December 20, 2000

Carissimi's Jephte, May Festival, Cincinnati, OH

"Adding to the authentic touch was the timbre of countertenor Steven Rickards, who made an arresting narrator (Historicus). He performed his recitatives with agility and remarkably pure penetrating tone."

The Cincinnati Enquirer-May 23, 2000

Pergolesi's Stabat Mater, Seattle Baroque Orchestra, Seattle WA

"Rickards' voice is of the same type as the pioneer of the 20th-century, Alfred Deller, but reaps all the benefits of a generation later, of Deller's and others research and experience. Rickards strong straight voice is warm, open, and excellently supported, with no hint of his predecessor's somewhat hooty quality, and as perfectly on pitch as that of (Ellen) Hargis."

Seattle Post-Intelligencer- January 26, 1998

John Dowland:"Flow my Tears" and other Lute Songs

"This disc is an unalloyed delight. Steven Rickards’s flexible and limpid voice seems to me just right for Dowland’s highly expressive songs, and he receives admirable support from lutenist Dorothy Linell. Nineteen lute songs are interspersed with seven solo lute pieces. The selection could hardly be better: a good range of the popular songs, "Come again," "Flow my tears," "Me, me, and none but me," "Now, oh now" and "Fine knacks for ladies," as well as some wonderful songs that aren’t quite so well known: "In darkness let me dwell," "Come, heavy sleep" and my own favourite, "Time stands still". Dorothy Linell’s lute solos are, for the most part, not by Dowland, but include several anonymous pieces, as well as Francis Cutting’s divisions on Greensleeves. They do a good job of lightening the predominately dark tone of Dowland’s songs. Given Naxos’s unbeatable -, I’d say go right out and buy this one!"

Continuo, Magazine June 1998 Vocal Reviews

Handel's Messiah, Princeton Pro Musica, Princeton, NJ

"Countertenor Steven Rickards brought crystal-clear diction, intelligent musicianship, and a lovely pure falsetto tone to his solo work. He was mesmerizing in all his numbers. His expertise in Baroque performance was evident in the frequent and sometimes elaborate ornaments he added to his recitatives and arias."

Town Topics- December 24, 1997

"Four superb soloists contributed to the success of the presentation. Countertenor Steven Rickards was the most effective. His voice is a striking instrument, which gave a deeply moving impact to the segments "He was despised," "O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion," and "He shall feed his flock." His singing was also marked by a deep sense of involvement with the texts."

The Times-December 27, 1997

Recital, Rickards Linell Duo, presented by Capriole Williamsburg, VA

"The quality that deserves attention is superbly Rickards takes words and tunes and fashions them into emotionally meaningful moments. Inflection and a slight gesture or two, at the hands of such a superb vocalist, generate degrees of rare visual imagery, sublime and auditory excitement. The audience seemed to hang on to every word, fully captive to his lyrical voice, meaningful delivery, and thoroughly delightful commentary."

The Virginia Gazette- February 2, 1997

Bach's Mass in B Minor, The Bach Ensemble, Perth, Australia

"And with unfailing bouyancy of momentum (and where appropriate, of mood) and gratifying liner and harmonic clarity, one was exposed more often than not to a euphoric listening experience, as gratifying as it is rare.  This was especially so in relation to countertenor Steven Rickards, whose pure-toned account of Qui Sedes was beyond reproach, singing in which the soloist took up an interpretative stance at the emotional epicentre of the aria."

Western Australian-March 3, 1997

Bach's Mass in B Minor, Dayton Bach Society, OH

"The clouds opened and the angels sang, however, whenever countertenor Steven Rickards opened his mouth. "Glorious" was the word most often heard afterward."

Dayton Daily News-May 12, 1996