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Aksel is Aksel Rykkvin, a treble who was 12 when he made this recording. I’d not previously encountered his name, but it seems that he is something of a celebrity in his native Norway, with numerous TV and radio appearances to his name. The recording was made with the aid of crowdfunding.

If that smacks of a vanity project, forget the idea. This wide-ranging collection of popular 18th-century arias reveals an astonishing talent able to encompass the chosen programme with a maturity and confidence extending way beyond such tender years. The voice itself has a lovely quality – rounded and not without power, both physical and expressive, as he amply demonstrates in ‘Barbara! io nen lo so’, one of two arias included that Handel wrote for the 15-year-old William Savage as the boy Oberto in Alcina. Elsewhere one can admire Rykkvin’s command of cantabile in Handel’s ode Eternal Source of Light Divine and of coloratura in the ‘Alleluia’ from Mozart’s Exsultate Jubilate.

It goes without saying that at his age Aksel Rykkvin is not going to convince that he can comprehend some of the emotions he is conveying, in which context can be included Bach’s ‘Bist du bei mir’, for all its musical simplicity, and ‘Ich folge dir’ from the St John Passion. Apart from that, Rykkvin’s diction could do with some attention and it is somewhat depressing that such a supreme talent has yet to be taught to sing a trill properly. But this is unquestionably a remarkable CD that demands to be heard by anyone who loves the treble voice.

Brian Robins Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Early Music Today, 2017 - ©Rhinegold Publishing