26-year-old mezzo-soprano Emily D'Angelo's Deutsche Grammophon debut album 'enargeia' includes original pieces by Hildegard von Bingen, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Missy Mazzoli, and Sarah Kirkland Snider.
A very different and highly imaginative debut album from Italian-Canadian mezzo Emily D’Angelo blends ancient and modern to wonderful effect. The 12th-century composer Hildegard von Bingen provides the impetus that is picked up by the 21st century’s Missy Mazzoli and Sarah Kirkland Snider, who provide their own mesmerizing arrangements, hauntingly performed, as well as original works. The album has an organic feel, each track emerging from the one before, and the cumulative effect is immensely powerful. Icelandic composer Hildur Guðnadóttir seems to reach back through the centuries to create music of an almost medieval character. D’Angelo’s expressive voice is just perfect for this music. Unmissable. (-Apple Music)
1 Fólk fær andlit 5:18
2 O frondens virga 4:07
3 A Thousand Tongues 6:44
4 Penelope: IV. The Lotus Eaters 6:00
5 Song from the Uproar: XII. You Are the Dust 3:55
6 Líður 3:45
7 Vespers for a New Dark Age: II. Hello Lord 2:23
8 Song from the Uproar: II. This World Within Me Is Too Small 4:28
9 Caritas 5:35
10 O virtus sapientiae 4:48
11 Penelope: IX. Dead Friend 2:40
12 Penelope: V. Nausicaa 3:09
"It's a relatively short and simple song, but "Nausicaa," in this breathtaking rendition, packs an outsized emotional punch. An aqueous synth intro yields to gently undulating strings, unfurling a subtle red carpet walkway onto which the Canadian mezzo-soprano Emily D'Angelo makes her majestic, yet intimate, appearance. And with one long, ravishingly phrased line ("Don't be afraid, stranger"), we fall under the spell of the beauty of the human voice."
"...when you pair a knockout voice, like that of mezzo-soprano Emily D'Angelo, with some ravishingly beautiful music by Sarah Kirkland Snider – one of today's most attentive vocal composers – you have a recipe for sublime listening. Listen to how ["Nausicaa"] unfolds in voluptuous, long lines with incandescent orchestration..."
"A brooding album, heavy on drones, mellow chants and sorrowful outpourings, “Enargeia” has its chronological foundation in the solemn music of Hildegard von Bingen, who provides a model for (much) more recent works by Missy Mazzoli, Sarah Kirkland Snider... [including] “The Lotus Eaters,” a lushly wailing song from Snider’s 2009 cycle 'Penelope.'" -- Five Classical Albums to Hear Right Now
"I'm especially struck by the way [Emily] D'Angelo handles selections from Snider's devastatingly lovely, emotionally gripping song cycle 'Penelope'...D'Angelo's performance is her own and distinctive, yet it's not a world away from the original; the new performance honors its forebear without slavish mimickry, the sign of a shrewd interpreter and a durable composition."
“Snider’s arrangement of Bingen’s hymn to divine wisdom 'O Virtus Sapientiae,' in which D’Angelo weaves in and out of the glassy, ethereal textures created by the Kuss Quartet, follows on so organically that it’s hard to believe that the music predates the previous track by a thousand years...Three extracts from Snider’s Homer-inspired song-cycle 'Penelope' also impress, particularly the other-worldly beauty of ‘Nausicaa’ (which finds D’Angelo at her most tonally seductive) and the folkish, appropriately hypnotic ‘The Lotus Eaters’ which brings this bold, imaginative debut album to an unsettling but beguiling close.”