Steve Reich, Dame Emma Kirkby and Gothic Voices:  50 Greatest Recordings of All Time

19 December 2011

Characterised as ‘a perfectly balanced, glowing recording’ in which ‘every note glistens’, Steve Reich’s 1978 recording of Music for Eighteen Musicians has been named in BBC Music Magazine’s 50 greatest recordings of all time. At position 22, it is described as a ‘tour de force of ultra-disciplined bliss…You can feel the sheer force of the composer driving this performance of almost superhuman finesse’.

The ‘must-have’ list was assembled by BBC Music Magazine in order to find the greatest ‘of the hundreds of thousands of recordings to have been made…the ones that no collection should be without.’ Reich receives this accolade alongside two contributions by ‘the incomparably pure-voiced Emma Kirkby’. At number 25 is Kirkby’s 1980 recording of Handel’s Messiah with the Academy of Ancient Music and Christopher Hogwood, whilst “A Feather on the Breath of God” (1981) – a collection of music by Hildegard von Bingen performed with ‘Christopher Page’s pioneering Gothic Voices group’ – takes position 16. In this recording, Kirkby and Gothic Voices render ‘Bingen’s spellbinding melodies…clear and meditative, achieving a rare, high beauty whose integrity has proved timeless.’

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