"An outstanding collection of Italian, German and English arias, beautifully sung by my favourite soprano voice Emma Kirkby - the diva of renaissance and baroque music. All the arias are enchanting, especially "Rise, Glory, rise" an aria from Arne's opera "Rosamond". The conducting and playing of Christopher Hogwood and his team of period-performance specialist The Academy of Ancient Music are as always superb.These are all arias to have one wanting to go back to the complete operas. Strongly recommended."
Richard Hallberg | 11/18/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Classical music is one of the greatest joys in life. Opera on the other hand, is often too melodramatic to stomach. But there is nothing more enchanting than an Aria. On this 2 CD set, Emma Kirkby sings in sweet exultation. Her voice expresses power and agility yet a limpid tranquility. Clarity is the greatest achievement of any musician. With the aid of precision accompaniment on period instruments, shameless perfection is delivered. She soothes the soul longing for beauty. Her marvelous Soprano is rendered on 25 tracks in this eclectic ensemble. If you are a champion of Handel or a devotee of Mozart, you should not hesitate to purchase this CD. Emma Kirkby will have you beaming with delight and pining for more. Surely it will be one of the brightest of your collection."
All hail the Queen of Early Music!
cherubino | Houston, Texas United States | 10/26/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I had the pleasure recently of attending a recital with Miss Kirkby and Fretwork, here in Houston. I had heard of her, but wasn't all too familiar with her voice. Then, I decided a couple of days before the performance that I would buy one of her discs, for her to autograph. Honestly, I chose this two-disc recital because it had a nice picture of her, with space for her to autograph!
I am happy to say that I chose what is surely one of the most pleasant soprano recitals on the market. Her voice is essentially "white," as opposed to a full operatic voice with vibrato, etc. Nonetheless, what she does with this ample selection of music, esp. Mozart, is truly incredible.
Rise, Glory, Rise, as mentioned by at least one other reviewer, is nothing short of stunning. I like the way she sings, "Bid the drum, bid the drum," with much enthusiasm. The orchestration is spectacular baroque, with the expert conducting of Hogwood, who conducts on the entire recital. (I had the pleasure to hear him conduct Ariodante here in Houston a couple of seasons back, at HGO).
Speaking of Ariodante, there is an aria from that opera, as well as other Handel arias on the first disc. Now, those of us who cut our operatic teeth on Joan Sutherland or Beverly Sills may not appreciate Emma Kirkby at first. Being used to Joan's upward transpositions, interpolated high notes, and intricate cadenzas, it took a couple of listens to appreciate Kirby's rendition of Tornami a Vagheggar. We must remember that the Sutherland and Sills interpretations took lots of liberties that Handel didn't necessarily intend!
While I do enjoy the first disc, I relish the second disc from start to end. First, there are two arias from Haydn's Creation. The orchestration is sublime, and Emma calms us with her "cooing" in the second selection. Then comes Mozart, which fills the rest of the second disc. Kirby's L'amero, Saro Costante is a miracle. To give you an example, I have heard Leontyne Price's interpretation, and had previously dismissed hte aria as a bore. Kirkby, however, sounds so sweet and virginal, so much so that you can really picture a young lady singing about fidelity. The purity and exquisiteness of Kirby's singing will melt you.
Another joy is Voi Avete Un Cor Fedele. Kirkby isn't a coloratura fanatic like our beloved Sutherland,but when she does coloratura, it is enthralling. Here, she uses rapid coloratura, a la Cecilia Bartoli, to stunning effect.
It would have been easy to choose a lot of Mozart standard arias, like Matern aller Arten. However, Emma steers clear of those chestnuts on this recital, instead treating us to lesser-known works. Just when you start to settle in the second disc, she melts you again with arias in German, from one of Mozart's lesser-known operas. The first of these three arias moved me to tears. Words simply can't express the purity of her tone, and the tender care she lavishes on the text! Beguiling, to say the least.
Finally, there is Non Temerte, Amato Bene. I first heard this aria on a recently-issued two-disc recital of Teresa Berganza. While Berganza charms us with her warm tone and vibrato, Emma Kirkby's interpretation is no less valid.
Even if you don't particularly care for the current early-music revival, any lover of the human voice and operatic arias should buy this treasurable recital. "
An uplifting experience
Richard Hallberg | Manlius, NY USA | 06/04/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is not a muscial review. That would be beyond my talents. No, this is a "spiritual" review and here is the reason. I had experienced a personal tragedy and turned often to music to revive my spirits and maintain my hope that things would right themselves in my life. Works such as Hayden's "Creation," Beethoven's "Fidelio," many of Bach's cantatas, Vivaldi's "Glorias," etc. Then I bought this CD. Immediately, I couldn't get enough of it. I felt uplifted everytime I listened, and it wasn't the same track each time that gave me that small feeling of joy that only music can provide. All is well again in my life and I continue to adore listening to this CD. For me, it was, and continues to be, magical."
HSIEH CHENG CHUNG | Taipei, Taiwan | 08/19/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"How is bright voice Kirkby performed to me in this disc. After listenning, I feel comfortable full of my emotion, it let me been a fan of Kirkby. I especially like her Handel and Mozart, she sang very very nature, without any pressure to my ears. I recommand her also althought she had getten more honor from other viewers."