Countertenor Andreas Scholl has discovered that returning to his roots has enriched not only his personal life, but his artistic endeavours too.

A half-hour ride through the rolling, verdant landscape of the Rhine Valley from Frankfurt Airport is all it takes to reach Andreas Scholl’s home in Kiedrich. Here, in a house built the year Bach was born, the German countertenor lives with his recording equipment, his harpischordist partner Tamar Halperin, his Swiss coffee machine and his complex reflections.

Until two and a half years ago, Scholl still lived in Basel, the city he had moved to as a student two decades earlier. It was the untimely death of a lutenist friend that prompted Scholl to return to the town of his birth.

“Life as a musician means packing suitcases, leaving for concerts, singing, coming back home, unpacking, washing, learning new repertoire, packing the suitcase and so on. After a while you simply forget that it’s nice to meet friends, that there is family, that it’s actually possible to come back home.

“When my friend died, I realised just how small my social circle in Basel really was. Here in Kiedrich, even if I have only two or three days off,...