3 Feb 2012

Record company embarks on bass odyssey

A global hunt has been launched for a singer capable of reaching depths never achieved before in choral music.

Composer Paul Mealor

The new work of the writer of Christmas number one Wherever You Go features a note six semitones below the deepest note ever written for a choir. Record company Decca is placing ads for a singer who can reach the note to allow the music by composer Paul Mealor to be recorded this spring.

Mr Mealor’s works are characterised by very low notes, but his new Russian Orthodox-style piece reaches a new low by stretching down to a low E – nearly three octaves below middle C.

It is so deep that it is thought never to have been sung before and is two semitones below the world record holder bass note, a sung F sharp. The lowest note ever thought to have been included in a choral piece until now was a B flat, in Rachmaninov’s Vespers.


Mr Mealor said: “My setting of De Profundis calls for a rich and powerful voice – a voice that can not only touch the heart with its sincerity and truth, but also make every fabric of the human body resonate as it plunges into the very lowest parts of the vocal spectrum.”

The composer saw one of his compositions included in the Royal Wedding last year, as well as tasting success with the song he wrote for Gareth Malone’s Military Wives.

Adverts announcing the talent search will appear in international publications and online, asking “How low can you go? How deep can you sing?”.

Singers are asked to send demo tapes, or upload their voices to the website www.howlowwillyougo.com.