Carl BÖDDECKER (1607-1683) Natus est Jesusa.
Alessandro SCARLATTI (1660-1725) Non sò qual più
m'ingombraa. O di Betlemme, altera povera
Johann PACHELBEL (1653-1706) Canon and
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland,
BWV61 - Öffne dich mein ganzes Herza. Orchestral Suite
No. 3 in D, BWV1068 - Air. Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, BWV147a - Bereite
dir, Jesu, noch itzo die Bahna.
Arcangelo CORELLI (1653-1713) Concerto grosso in G minor,
Op. 6 No. 8, 'Fatto per la notte di
aEmma Kirkby (soprano);
London Baroque/Charles Medlam (cello).
BIS CD-1135 [66'49]
BIS have come up with that seasonal rarity: the intelligent, considered and
beautifully presented Christmas album. Emma Kirkby's pure tone, keen intelligence
and utterly natural musicality need no introduction - she has, after all,
been delighting us all for decades now.
No admirer of either baroque music or Emma Kirkby will want to miss this
impeccably programmed disc. The short Böddecker piece acts as a perfect
warm-up. It is gentle and pure - the ideal vehicle for Kirkby's voice. Listening
to the Cantatas of Alessandro Scarlatti takes us to another, altogether more
exalted world. These pieces (and many other cantatas by this composer also)
are fruits ripe for the picking, for Scarlatti père's suave
and sophisticated language is infinitely rewarding. London Baroque displays
its finely honed sensitivity in these pieces, which gain their most committed
advocate in the form of Kirkby. It is my hope that this aspect of this release
will encourage people to explore this rich repertoire further - perhaps by
heading for the countertenor Brian Asawa's series of Scarlatti recordings
on Deutsche Harmonia Mundi. If you need to sample one track on this album,
try the peaceful Aria pastorale Nacque, col Gran Messia which ends
Non sò qual più m'ingombra.
Another refreshing aspect of this offering is the spontaneity London Baroque
bring to the more famous items. The Pachelbel Canon positively bursts
with life: rhythms are taut and jauntily sprung, while the Air on the
G string is the perfect interlude (it flows along at a beautifully liquid
tempo) between the delightful Bach arias. Corelli's Christmas Concerto is
given the tenderest performance imaginable by London Baroque.
Many, many delights await you.