Monday, October 19, 2009

Earlier this year BCSD, one of my favorite sites, featured a CD by Dennis Chmelensky which was simply titled Dennis. I finally got around to getting it and it’s pretty good.

Dennis has one of those special voices that reminds me a bit of Diozny Placzkowski. It’s very smooth, sort of operatic, and he can easily reach the high notes without straining.

On this CD, his first, he has some of the standards like Schubert’s Ave Maria, Pie Jesu, and Abendsegen (Evening Prayer) from Hansel and Gretel. How many times can I listen to Panis Angelicus? At least a million and this one is good.

Dennis takes on three songs from the movie Les Choristes: Cerf-Volant, Vois Sur Ton Chemnin and Caresse Sur L’Ocean.

He does You Raise Me Up in a very ‘American Idol’ style, you know where they repeat a verse three times, each time getting higher and more intense, the microphone held high and their eyes squinched tightly shut.

I’m not a fan of American Idol but he also does a sweet rendition of Moon River and The Last Unicorn. He even gives us some Handel and Mozart and Bach to show he’s not afraid of classical music.

The liner notes are in German and so is his home page but I managed to get a translation of some of it. He was with the Berlin State and Cathedral Choir when he sang Ave Maria on 'Germany’s Got Talent' and made it to the finals. He said he wanted to buy his mother a better hearing aid with the prize money. That was bound to get him some votes from the older female viewers.

At age five he began playing the violin and at seven, the piano. Dennis began singing at eight years old as a member of the Berlin State Opera Chorus where he has performed under the direction of some big name conductors, like Simon Rattle. I could say more about him if only my German was better.

He’s a cute kid and probably should have won that talent show. I hope his mom got that hearing aid.


  1. Here is some interesting news, not related to the above. The Oldest Boy Choir in existence is going to start accepting girls. Yes, thats right The Vienna Boys Choir will no longer be just boys.

    Let us all hope this doesn't come to pass. The stated reason is for lack of boys. That may be so, but the demise of the choir is assured if they take on girls. The bulk of their funding comes from tours and cd sales and who wants to go see a mixed choir. I can do that by going to the local school concerts. If they think the can rely on their past history as a boy choir to sustain them, it's just not going to happen.

  2. Here is another article that seems more credible:

    Let us hope this one is the true one.

  3. Girls in the choir?!! OMG! I almost fell out my chair. I read the articles and I pray they are telling us the truth about keeping WSK all boys.
    What's this world coming to?