Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Music Webmaster
Len Mullenger:

(1607-1683) Natus est Jesusa.
Alessandro SCARLATTI
(1660-1725) Non sò qual più m'ingombraa. O di Betlemme, altera povera venturosaa.
Johann PACHELBEL (1653-1706) Canon and Gigue.
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 natale'.

aEmma Kirkby (soprano); London Baroque/Charles Medlam (cello).
BIS CD-1135 [66'49] [DDD]

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.


Colin Clarke



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