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Lazarus and the Gimp
06-07-2007, 17:05:15
Written yesterday. I think we should bring back aestheic castration.


About 15 years ago, I was listening to a somg by an industrial/neo-folk band that featured an unearthly sample. It was obviously incredibly old, and consisted of an eerie, high-pitched voice singing in latin. Being fascinated by it, I tracked down the source of the sample and discovered it was a 1902 recording of Alessando Moreschi, the last Vatican Castrato.

The Castrati were an ingenious solution for tackling that inconvenient issue arising when promising young choirboys get all pubescent and start getting wobbly, multi-octave voices. Thse days, we'd just put it down to experience and move on, but in 17th-18th century Europe a different approach was used. They were castrated.

Incidentally, if you've just eaten, you might want to skip the next paragraph.

This was achieved through drugging the lad with opium, then putting him in a hot bath until he passed out. Then the testes would be kneaded and crushed by hand until their structure started the break down. Then the spermatic cords would be cut with a knife. Ow. Quite a few of them died as a result, unsurprisingly.

Deprived of testosterone, the Castrati developed in weird ways. They tended to have unusually long arms, barrel chests and heads that looked small in comparison to their bodies. They tended to be tall, but sporting underdeveloped genitals and bouncing boy-boobs. However, some of them had staggering voices. They were able to reach the higher ranges usually accessible to female sopranos, but with much greater power thanks to those barrel chests and big lungs. The most celebrated of all was Farinelli (1705- 1782) a handsome Castrato who was reputed to be the greatest singer of all time.

The practice dragged on for far too long. The Vatican finally banned Castrati from the Papal Choir in 1878, but gave special dispensation to Moreschi allowing him to remain. At the time he was recorded in 1902 and 1904, he was many years past his best, but his voice still sounds like a broadcast from another galaxy. Moreschi died in 1922, and while I remain curious as to what a Castrato in his prime would sound like, I'm relieved that I'll probably never find out.

Guynemer
06-07-2007, 17:19:32
Too late; George W. Bush has already spawned.

Drake Tungsten
06-07-2007, 17:21:49
I was thinking yesterday that bringing back the castrati could be a good solution to the Church's problems with kiddy fiddlers. The paedos would be able to massage all the rude bits they wanted to, but they'd be doing it for a purpose and we'd all get some amazing and freakishly deformed singers out of the bargain. It's win-win.

Guynemer
06-07-2007, 17:24:08
That's what I like about you, Drake. Thinking outside of the box.

qcubed
06-07-2007, 17:30:37
http://www.archive.org/details/AlessandroMoreschi

Drake Tungsten
06-07-2007, 17:33:00
That's what I like about you, Drake. Thinking outside of the box.

It's good of you to mention boxes, because they're the one big wrench in my plan. I'm sure there are priests who would like to play with them as well, but unfortunately getting a finger slipped inside you doesn't endow one with an unearthly singing voice, as far as I know. Will choir boys be enough for the depraved servants of the Holy Catholic Church?

maroule
06-07-2007, 18:26:56
Originally posted by Drake Tungsten
but unfortunately getting a finger slipped inside you doesn't endow one with an unearthly singing voice, as far as I know.

getting a nice singing voice was just the excuse you used, but you didn't really believe it yourself

Drake Tungsten
06-07-2007, 18:31:24
Experiments are ongoing. I'm trying to find someone with thicker fingers.

KrazyHorse
06-07-2007, 22:47:20
Aren't we all

qcubed
06-07-2007, 22:54:54
This was achieved through drugging the lad with opium, then putting him in a hot bath until he passed out. Then the testes would be kneaded and crushed by hand until their structure started the break down. Then the spermatic cords would be cut with a knife. Ow. Quite a few of them died as a result, unsurprisingly.

Why didn't they just go snip-snip?

Vincent
06-07-2007, 22:59:33
or the two bricks?