Elin Manahan Thomas

COMPOSERS: Elin Manahan Thomas
LABELS: Heliodor
ALBUM TITLE: Elin Manahan Thomas
WORKS: Eternal Light: works by Hildegard von Bingen, Handel, Vivaldi, Pergolesi, Bach, Arne, Dowland etc
PERFORMER: Elin Manahan Thomas (soprano), Robin Blaze (countertenor); Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment/Harry Christophers
CATALOGUE NO: 476 5970

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Soprano Elin Manahan Thomas has paid her dues with distinguished choirs like The Sixteen, Polyphony and The Cambridge Singers, shining in solos on cloudburst, Polyphony’s anthology of choral works by Eric Whitacre (Hyperion), and on John Rutter’s ‘O Come Down, Love Divine’, arguably the highlight of The Cambridge Singers’ Mass of the Children CD on Collegium. She was also a member of the Monteverdi Choir during its marathon Bach Cantata Pilgrimage, and made news in 2005 by giving the modern premiere of Bach’s re-discovered aria, ‘Alles mit Gott’, lost for nearly three centuries (and recorded on Soli Deo Gloria with the same forces).There are two Bach pieces here, ‘Aus Liebe Will Mein Heiland Sterben’ from the St Matthew Passion, and (though nowadays attributed to Stölzel) ‘Bist du bei mir’; Thomas sings both with her characteristic blend of warmth and clarity. The programme opens with a radiant performance of Hildegard’s ‘O Euchari’, followed by an equally celestial reading of Handel’s ‘Eternal Source of Light Divine’. These are both beautiful, but what really marks Thomas out is the humanity and intimacy of her very personal interpretations of such familiar pieces as Handel’s ‘Ombra Mai Fu’ (which also features lovely trumpet playing by David Blackadder) and Dowland’s ‘Flow My Tears’. The final track, Monteverdi’s ‘Pur Ti Miro’, is an exemplary duet with countertenor Robin Blaze. Barry Witherden