A Scarlatti, Bach, Pachelbel, Böddecker & Corelli

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: A Scarlatti,Bach,Böddecker & Corelli,Pachelbel
LABELS: BIS
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Christmas Music
WORKS: Works
PERFORMER: Emma Kirkby (soprano); London Baroque/Charles Medlam
CATALOGUE NO: CD-1135

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This sequence of Baroque music for the festive season includes familiar favourites like Corelli’s Christmas Concerto, Pachelbel’s Canon and the so-called ‘Air on the G string’ by Bach, alongside more obscure works – among them a charming miniature by one Philipp Friedrich Böddecker, and two more substantial, intricate cantatas by Alessandro Scarlatti, complete with imitations of bagpipe drones and other pastoral piping. Emma Kirkby and London Baroque have enjoyed a long working partnership and this disc shows their evident musical rapport. Kirkby’s voice retains the youthful clarity and suppleness that have been characteristic of her style over the years, but it now has a bloom and an ease with Baroque idiom that only years of experience can bring. There is some invigorating and characterful playing, too, from London Baroque, though using just one instrument to a part tends to expose the slightest lapse in intonation, and many listeners will find such slim resources too spare. The players are not helped, either, by a slightly hard-edged recording which makes the strings sound rather wiry. All in all, though, this is a heart-warming collection to savour over this year’s mulled wine and mince pies. Kate Bolton