I was up at 2 this morning, then again at 3. Not because I was so excited for Tuesday to start that I couldn’t sleep. Apparently, though, Baby Harbat was. She was cry-whining and when I went in to her room, she sounded surprisingly awake. I put her back to sleep and she was up again in a half hour. I am not good at this time of night, especially when I’m dreaming that I am a paraplegic and crawling through debris-clogged storm sewers on a college campus (yes, really). By 3:30 I relented and brought her to sleep with us. For the first ten minutes she was calm and I was just sinking to sleep when she started squirming. And talking. And grabbing my ears. By four-thirty my wife and I had given up on sleep. By five BH was back in her bed and asleep. Then morning came and I was cross.
But it gave me plenty of time to think about today’s blog entry. Last night while washing dishes I put on an album I haven’t listened to for a few years. It’s Emma Kirkby singing sacred music by Pergolesi. Obscure? Yes. Beautiful? Absolutely. Can I ask myself another question I’ll answer? Since it’s my blog and I can do what I want…yes. I came across Emma Kirkby on a recommendation from an opera singer who said Emma had the most beautiful and clear voice of anyone she’d ever heard. Straight from the horse’s mouth.
One of the things I like is that she lets the quality of her voice shine through in sustained notes, rather than warbling through music with excessive vibrato. This is one of my pet peeves about singers—rather than letting us really hear their voice, they warble and tremolo until it makes you think the recording studio was in the midst of a massive seismic event. Look, if I want to view the Mona Lisa, I want to look at it hanging on the wall, not through binoculars from a bouncing car. When I listen to a vocalist, I expect to hear a voice, not a theremin. That said, listen to the incredible sound of Emma Kirkby’s voice on this track. She starts at 0:45 if you’re impatient, but the whole track is worth three and a half minutes of your day. Listen to her voice soar at 2:09.
And because I’m feeling magnanimous, or maybe just loopy from lack of sleep, here’s another track with Ms. Kirkby. For the highlight go to 3:28. She sings straight through for 20 seconds in a climbing crescendo that words don’t do justice. Enjoy.