Famed English soprano and Early Music authority Emma Kirkby delivers a commanding performance of twelve arias from late-Renaissance and Baroque Italy and Britain, accompanied on lute by Anthony Rooley. An extremely rare recording that was only briefly and limitedly released in the early 1990s. Dame Kirkby's voice is sweet and powerful, and she regards this recording as one of her all-time favorites.
“Revisiting a past recording can be a bitter-sweet business... but balancing this can be the shock of remembering something joyfully special about those sessions... Two or three years ago I returned for a concert there [and] as I sang my first notes in the Great Hall, I knew again that these acoustics are among the most beautifulRead more anywhere in the world, for chamber music and for voices... One could take any of these pieces and add clusters of accompaniment for larger theatrical spaces, or, as we did, one can search for the essence of each drama with voice, just one plucked instrument and a special space.”
R E V I E W:
This really is a gorgeous recital by the divine Emma. Is there any other soprano of our time other than Cecilia Bartoli whose work has been more influential than hers? I doubt it. And here she is, in this 1992 recital (originally issued on the Alto label but deleted in 2001), in her glorious prime, her boy-soprano-with-force voice perfectly placed, her phrasing exquisite, her interpretations subtle yet always charming. There is more, much more, florid singing to come in this disc, particularly in Angelo Notari’s convoluted Ah, che s’accresce in me. Or is this actually in the score? Rooley makes no specific claims for this track, but generally describes the first five bands (which includes this aria) as examples of how “we are regaled with the advanced singer’s art … an essentially improvised art … where the performer was obliged to go to the very edge of creativity.” Hmm … I wonder what Rooley would think of Anita O’Day?
After an instrumental toccata played by Rooley on the lute, we are treated to the real gems of this collection: Barbara Strozzi’s astonishingly creative L’astratto, a cantata about wanting to sing because “Music has the power to suppress pain”; Carissimi’s excellent Lament of Mary Stuart, with its strophic construction, interesting use of harmonics, and almost shocking dramatic intensity (with virtuoso leaps up and down the singer’s range) in certain sections; and Henry Lawes’s Ariadne’s Lament, a wholly original work with no relationship to Monteverdi’s famous piece of the same name, in which the music follows an almost conversational melodic contour. In all of these one is aware of superior musical minds at work as well as of the superior musicality and finely-nuanced interpretations of Kirkby.
This is an outstanding disc, highly recommended particularly for Kirkby fans."
Nature Framed Theeby John Weldon Performer:
Emma Kirkby (Soprano),
Anthony Rooley (Lute)
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
A fine Voice, but......March 3, 2014By Jeremy M. (Victoria, BC)See All My Reviews"Maybe I should have read the 'blurb' in more detail, but I did not think that this recording really showed off what a delightful voice Emma Kirkby has. Personally I do not think that Emma Kirkby's voice is best reproduced when she has nothing but a lute for accompaniment, even if in her opinion the acoustics are superb; though having been a farming student right next door to Somerset, I have to agree with her description of the county. I would love to have heard her singing with more of a chamber orchestra which is where I believe her voice really shines. I have a wonderful CD of The creation with herself and the choir of New College Oxford and the Academy of Ancient music; her voice is so beautiful and with so little vibrato. I felt that this recording lacked the joy of hearing her amongst other professional singers, and an equally good chamber orchestra."Report Abuse