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The remarkable, effortless, bell-like clarity of soprano Emma Kirby makes this one a stunner:
Well, that one caught me completely by surprise. I’m used to playing it in a different key for a baritone (tell Buster that’s one he needs to work on!), although the last two times I did Messiah, a countertenor sang the aria in the usual key. Still, Emma Kirby has a beautiful voice, and she’s not a singer I’ve heard before, so thanks for the introduction!
Emma Kirby became well-known about the time the original instruments movement became popular. Her voice is perfect for that sound and she has done some absolutely brilliant recordings with lute and viola da gamba and harpsichord and virginal. You could think of her as the soprano Cecilia Bartoli. I love to listen to her and have quite a few of her recordings.
Several years ago I heard Emma Kirkby at a concert in Chicago. I was blown away by her voice. Three weeks later, I was in London on business and saw that she was giving a concert that night in a church a few blocks from my hotel. I rushed down to buy a ticket. With my ticket in hand, I wondered in to look at the church. Ms. Kirkby was just beginning her dress rehearsal. I got to hear both the rehearsal and the concert that day. It was awesome!
It’s my understanding that Ms. Kirkby was a schoolteacher with little formal training when she was discovered. She attributes her lack of training to the clear, minimal-vibrato sound that fits so well in the early-music, original instrument setting.
Elizabeth Scalia is a Benedictine Oblate and the Managing Editor of the Catholic Portal at Patheos. She is an award-winning writer and a regularly-featured columnist at [Read More...]
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