Dame Emma Kirkby, who recently received Her Majesty’s Medal for Music, is as busy as ever with three new and diverse CD releases: ‘The Queen’s Music’ presents chamber duets and trios from the patronage of Queen Christina of Sweden; ‘Orpheus in England’ consists of Dowland and Purcell’s lute songs accompanied by Jackob Lindberg; and an assortment of Haydn’s English songs with forte-pianist Marcia Hadjimarkos.
Robert Levett of International Record Review says about ‘Orpheus in England’ that “Kirkby’s voice sounds as fresh and agile as ever” and that “Kirkby opens the first group of songs in confident fashion”. He also adds that “Kirkby embellishes with taste and discretion” and that “the disc ends as superbly as it began, with Kirkby displaying her gift for characterization”.
Marc Rochester of International Record Review on Haydn’s songs and cantatas acknowledges the “extraordinary clarity of diction from Emma Kirkby… somehow the words just cut through everything to shine out of the disc with absolute precision. Kirkby is noted for her remarkable clarity – in pitch, rhythm, stylistic awareness and diction – but this preciseness seems especially acute here”.
David Vickers of Gramophone says on ‘Orpheus in England’ that “Kirkby’s phrasing has impeccable light and shade, and her authoritative articulation of melancholic sentiments is simply first-class” and that “her gripping interpretation is devoid of complacence; moreover, her intonation and technique in florid music has lost none of its sparkle and precision, and she continues to throw off high passages with relaxed nonchalance”.
Vickers continues reviewing ‘The Queen’s Music’ saying that Dame Emma’s “capability at chiaroscuro is excellent”.
Moving on to the Haydn recording, Vickers says that “Kirkby’s intelligent mastery with words and gift for story-telling are tailor-made for these Haydn miniatures” and then he concludes his reviews “let’s hope that the ever-discerning Kirkby continues to make vocal hay while the sun continues to shine”.
Dame Emma Kirkby also features in an interview on Gramophone, where she reveals to Emma Baker that a careful choice of repertoire is behind her astonishing vocal longevity. Baker says that “listening to her latest recordings, her voice is still fresh, limpid and focused, her response to text as intelligent and nuanced as ever”.
To read the full interview on Gramophone, please click here.