Recording of the Week,
Elin Manahan Thomas
A young Welsh soprano is the topic of my thoughts this week. Her name - Elin Manahan Thomas - will already be familiar to Baroque enthusiasts, and now thanks to a new five-album signing for Universal Classics she should become familiar to everyone else.
It is really heartening to see a major record label investing heavily in someone who is genuinely fantastic, rather than using a so-called 'crossover' artist who is very marketable to the mass public but whose actual talent is somewhat lacking. Elin made headlines two years ago when she became the first singer to perform Bach’s seductive aria 'Alles mit Gott' for almost three centuries, and now works regularly as a soloist with some of the very best names in early music including Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Paul McCreesh and Harry Christophers.
Her new album out today - Eternal Light - was driven by her desire to bring baroque music to the widest possible audience. "Most people think of baroque as a style of architecture and a period that seems incredibly distant and remote," she says. "Yet the tunes on this disc are remarkably familiar today, even if listeners don’t know that they are conveniently filed under baroque music".
The real joy of this disc is that it will appeal to so many people. To listeners new to classical music this is a stunning entry into the world of Baroque singing, and for enthusiasts this will be enjoyed immensely. You’ll find her voice enchanting and beautiful, every note and phrase carefully shaped, and superbly supported by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under Harry Chistophers. I think this could become one of our best-selling albums of the year.