A Timely Reminder
Kid Flory | Denver | 07/07/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This CD is at once a stunning example of vocal virtuosity; an amazing example of the intimacy of LIVE performace captured on a recording; a wonderfully ambient recording; an introduction to the glories of English Renaissance song; and a meditation on the passage of time, on the brevity and sweetness of life, and the spectral, though in some regards rewarding, inevitability of old age and death. As the "Editorial Review" above states, Kirkby's command of "subtle inflection of melody, imagination and taste in added embellishment, and sensitivity to nuance in both text and melody" are truly astounding. But this is too academic for such a powerfully emotional recording. Simply sit down with the text in hand (all the texts are contained in the CD booklet), and notice how Kirkby emphasizes a word here, or alters a musical phrase in a repeat, there. Her mastery of such musical "gimmicks," if you will, is unmatched. The effect is profound: the texts are brought alive. We can hear the melancholy and wistfulness of Dowland, the profound awareness of the deep meaning of the temporality of human existence couched in the formalisms of Elizabethan courtly language, and yet modern in an almost existentialist way. Feel the shiver up your spine, and recognize in this shiver the visceral, and yet not violent, confrontation with your own mortality. This is an album for the ages, and for all the ages of an individual, an album whose meaning reaches across the life-span."