12 Notes Down

milkboys Film & TV, Films & TV 15 Comments

How do you decide when it’s time to let go? For young Jorgis, the star voice of the Copenhagen Royal Chapel Choir, the moment is upon him. With just a few weeks to go before an important concert, his voice has suddenly begun to break, forcing the 14-year-old into a state of transition he is not prepared for. He must choose between damaging his vocal cords trying to hit the high notes and dashing his hopes by walking away in this tender portrayal of a universal, yet intensely personal, rite of passage.

Comments 15

  1. this is literally why it INFURIATES me that singing competetions cast young children..anyone under 16 should not be allowed to sign contracts make deals get jobs that involve singing. voices change

    1. But all voices change. Every singer – bass, tenor, alto or soprano – must face the decision when it’s best to end and finish while the voice is still good.

      Kiri Te Kanawa recently announced that she’d given her last public performance; Janet Baker likewise retired her outstanding mezzo-soprano – and there are so many more.

      I don’t think anyone would want a repeat of Callas, who pushed just a little too hard at the end of her career and rounded off surely THE soprano voice with something rather weak and wobbly.

      Boys’ voices are one of the most glorious sounds on Earth and with the good support and advice he received, Jorgis is well prepared to rest while his voice undergoes the natural changes that hit us all – and, as he says, to return: perhaps as a tenor or that rarest of sounds, a counter-tenor.

      A bitter-sweet film, but not without hope for the future.

  2. Oh Josh, I DO so miss SOUND SUNDAY on MB. This would have been the crowning item in it.

  3. It’s interesting that the boy’s vocal coach discouraged him from singing in his choir’s next program because of the difficult of the Brahms piece. The choral director later confirmed that if he couldn’t sing the Brahms piece, he couldn’t sing in the choir. But . . . the piece that is actually sung in the final program, while wonderfully heartbreaking as the boy cries all the way through it, is not Brahms. It’s Gabriel Faure—his “Cantique de Jean Racine.”

    1. He’s crying because it’s his last song with the choir, not because it’s an emotional piece. No?

  4. This was very good. It was an interesting (and educational) perspective of a boys’ choir. And by his intense desire to sing, I think he’ll find another outlet to accommodate his voice. Well done.

    I have only 2 criticisms of this film/video:
    1. I think there were way too many [director/cameraman] extreme camera close-ups. I feel it would have been more effective to pull back the camera/lens on most of those close-ups.

    2. Why was it “necessary” to have the ‘shower scene’ in this video about music? I pretty sure I know, but I’m curious if any of you can say “why” it was included.

  5. A beautifully crafted film takes the viewer into the emotions of a young man whose growth to adulthood is taking him away from his love of singing. Yet we are left knowing that he’ll be back. The very tight focus on his face in much of the film is unusual but it very effectively conveys Jorgis’ emotions as he makes his decision. The scene in the final concert, while emphasizing Jorgis, has the newer, younger, upcoming boys in the foreground, saying that the choir will go on. A magnificent piece of cinematic art.

  6. Interesting little film -but all those gorgeous young boys! It’s like the Choir is a Helix Studios farm team. In half a dozen years, I’d like to see these boys again – in a different kind of video.

  7. Sweet and heartbreaking film. Reminded me of the 1962 Disney film, “Almost Angels,” featuring the Vienna Boys Choir. It had a similar theme with the lead boy’s voice breaking. Even at 11 years old I was in love with those boys and wanted to be in that choir in order to be “with” them!

  8. The moment at about 21:40 when he really realises this will be the last time his carefully trained gift/skill has deserted him is absolutely heartbreaking. But all such gifts do pass, whether at 12/13, or later in life when the voice finally starts to finally break up. One lady in our choir, now in her eighties, can still sing beautifully, though her mind is drifting away into another world. Others who are ten or twenty years younger have had to give up already despite the life long pleasure their voice has given both to themselves and to others.

    The shower scene might be regarded as gratuitous but it quietly makes the point that his body is probably giving him other cues that things are changing, without ramming it down our throats; and of course the compensations of becoming a mature sexual being are not to be denied.

    Jorgis really comes across as a thoughtful and sensitive young man, though still a boy; I wish him well.

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