The men and boys of Christ Church Cathedral sing with a clarity and fineness of tuning on this album that all choirs everywhere should emulate. The result is a rendition of Vivaldi's masterpiece that rings with a beauty unparalleled in any other recording. Emma Kirkby is celestial as usual. A hidden treasure on this double-album is the Trio Sonata, which is a splendid exhibition of the instrumental virtuosity of Hogwood and The Academy of Ancient Music. Purchase this album, and be inspired over and over again.
For once the 5 stars are worth it. The choral works on disc 1 are masterful benchmark interpretations of the pick of Vivaldi's sacred output. What makes it a real bargain however is the second disc of cantatas - one of Emma Kirkby and Catherine Bott's finest achievements on the old L'Oiseau Lyre label. Couple this with full texts and an intelligent booklet. Wonderful!
This whole set is gorgeous (although the second cd gets a bit tediuos unless you really like early music), and Emma Kirkby has one the most beautiful, distinctive soprano voices I have ever heard, one can't help but like her, but hard-core critics beware, her intonation is not flawless, especially in the "Alleluia" of the "Nulla in Mundo" cycle, one can hear her go off on some of the high notes. Like I said, it's beautiful, but that does bother me personally every time I listen to that track. But buy it anyway.
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