Emma Kirkby

The Artistry of Emma Kirkby

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This budget reissue (four CDs for the price of two) from Sweden's BIS label collects tracks from soprano Emma Kirkby's recordings for the label, which began in the late '90s and continued through the 2000s decade; most of the music here dates from the early 2000s. Kirkby, who came on the scene in the 1970s, was one of the first singers to carve out a real niche in early music, and whether her voice had begun to show signs of age by the time the later tracks here appeared is open to debate; where you would find general agreement is in the proposition that her voice has lasted longer than those of the great run of operatic sopranos. Further, Kirkby has continued to attack with gusto all the music that made her famous, and even to explore new fields. Although the exterior of this box set doesn't show the organization of the contents, the program is nicely arranged by genre and composer, with Handel on disc one, German and French arias on disc 2, Alessandro Scarlatti and other Italian composers on disc 3, and Dowland and other music of the English Renaissance on the final disc. The latter is perhaps the least successful of the set, but Kirkby's soaring soprano brings something distinctive to all this music, and the selection is a good one for those wishing to survey this part of her career. Sonically, BIS was a wonderful place for Kirkby to land; the label recorded her sympathetically in a variety of locations including an old church in northern Sweden.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Gloria
1 2:34
2 2:30
3 1:10
4 0:54
5 1:29
6 4:23
7 1:05
8 2:14
Salve Regina, for soprano, two violins and basso continuo
9 5:28
10 3:40
11 1:40
O qualis de cœlo sonus, for soprano, two violins and basso continuo
12 0:58
13 0:45
14 3:28
15 0:23
16 4:17
17 1:54
Cœlestis dum spirat aura, for soprano, two violins and basso continuo
18 1:36
19 0:31
20 4:20
21 0:34
22 3:05
23 1:54
Laudate pueri, for soprano, two violins and basso continuo
24 2:06
25 2:11
26 1:09
27 2:40
28 3:21
29 1:41
30 3:20
31 5:41 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Non sò qual più m'ingombra, cantata pastorale for soprano, two violins and basso continuo
1 2:20
2 4:15
3 1:03
4 6:15
O di Betlemme, altera poverta venturosa, cantata per la natale for soprano, two violins, viola and basso continuo
5 2:20
6 2:00
7 0:43
8 3:52
9 0:37
10 7:15
Pur alfin gentil viola, cantata à voce sola con la viola d'amore
11 5:23
12 1:03
13 4:36
14 11:58
15 8:47
16 10:01
blue highlight denotes track pick