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FORCES: Soprano/Lute

“A Musical Banquet” – gems of eloquence from 17th century Europe
Emma Kirkby and Jakob Lindberg in songs and lute solos by D’India, Kapsberger, Strozzi, Lambert, Lawes, Purcell and others

“Soprano Emma Kirkby and lutenist Jakob Lindberg make an absolutely perfect musical pair, performing in a seamless blend of style and expression…Kirkby and Lindberg, that exquisite voice and fabulous lute sound, perform as two halves of a whole. They are simply meant to perform together.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

About Emma Kirkby

Originally, Emma Kirkby had no expectations of becoming a professional singer. As a classics student at Oxford and then a schoolteacher she sang for pleasure in choirs and small groups, always feeling most at home in Renaissance and Baroque repertoire. She joined the Taverner Choir in 1971 and in 1973 began her long association with the Consort of Musicke. Emma took part in the early Decca Florilegium recordings with both the Consort of Musicke and the Academy of Ancient Music, at a time when most college-trained sopranos were not seeking a sound appropriate for early instruments. She therefore had to find her own approach, with enormous help from Jessica Cash in London, and from the directors, fellow singers and instrumentalists with whom she has worked over the years.

Emma feels privileged to have been able to build long-term relationships with chamber groups and orchestras, in particular London Baroque, the Freiburger Barockorchester, L’Orfeo (of Linz), the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Palladian Ensemble, Florilegium, and Theatre of Early Music.

To date, she has made well over a hundred recordings of all kinds, from sequences of Hildegarde of Bingen to madrigals of the Italian and English Renaissance, cantatas and oratorios of the Baroque, works of Mozart, Haydn and J. C. Bach. Recordings include: “Handel – Opera Arias and Overtures 2” for Hyperion, Bach wedding cantatas for Decca, Bach Cantatas 82a and 199 for Carus; and four projects for BIS: with London Baroque, one of Handel motets and one of Christmas music by Scarlatti, Bach and others; with the Royal Academy Baroque Orchestra the first recording of the newly-rediscovered “Gloria” by Handel; and with the Romantic Chamber group of London, “Chanson d’amour” – songs by the American composer Amy Beach, who died in 1944. “Classical Kirkby”, an anthology devised and performed with Anthony Rooley, also on the BIS label, was released in 1999; Cantatas by Cataldo Amodei, also for BIS, 2004; with Fretwork, consort songs by William Byrd, for Harmonia Mundi USA, 2005; Scarlatti “Stabat Mater” with Daniel Taylor, for ATMA, 2006; “Honey from the Hive”, songs of John Dowland, with Anthony Rooley, for BIS, 2006: and “Musique and Sweet Poetrie”, also for BIS, 2007 – lute songs from Europe with Jakob Lindberg.

In 1999 Emma was voted Artist of the Year by Classic FM Radio listeners; in November 2000 she received the Order of the British Empire, and in June 2007 was delighted to be included in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for appointment as a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. BBC Music Magazine, in a recent survey of critics to find “The greatest sopranos”, placed Emma at number 10. In June 2008 Emma received an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Oxford University. While such things are inevitably parochial, partial, controversial, and outdated as soon as they appear, she is pleased at the recognition this implies for an approach to singing that values ensemble, clarity and stillness alongside the more usual factors of volume and display.

Despite all the recording activity, Emma still prefers live concerts, especially the pleasure of repeating programmes with colleagues; every occasion, every venue and every audience combine to create something new from this wonderful repertoire.

About Jakob Lindberg

Jakob Lindberg was born in Djursholm in Sweden and developed his first passionate interest in music through the Beatles. He started to play the guitar and soon became interested in the classical repertoire. From the age of fourteen he studied with Jörgen Rörby who also gave him his first tuition on the lute.
After reading music at Stockholm University he went to London to study at the Royal College of Music, where he further developed his knowledge of the lute repertoire under the guidance of Diana Poulton, and decided towards the end of his studies to concentrate on renaissance and baroque music; he is now one of the most prolific performers in this field. Jakob has made numerous recordings for BIS, many of which are pioneering in that they present a wide range of music on CD for the first time. He has brought Scottish lute music to public attention, demonstrated the beauty of the Italian repertoire for chitarrone and recorded chamber music by Vivaldi, Haydn and Boccherini on period instruments.

He is the first lutenist to have recorded the complete solo lute music by John Dowland and his recording of Bach’s music for solo lute is considered to be one of the most important readings of these works.

Most recently released on the BIS label:

Seven suites of Swedish folk tunes

Sonatas of Weiss

Musique and sweet Poetrie, a sequence of solos and songs with Emma Kirkby.

Sonatas of Weiss 2

Orpheus in England – Dowland and Purcell, a sequence of lute solos and songs with Emma Kirkby.

Italian Virtuosi of the Chitarrone

Jacobean Lute Music

Italian Lute Virtuosi of the Renaissance

An active continuo player on the theorbo and arch lute, Jakob has worked with many well known English ensembles including The English Concert, Taverner Choir, The Purcell Quartet, Monteverdi Choir, Chiaroscuro, The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and The Academy of Ancient Music. He is also in demand as an accompanist and has given recitals with Emma Kirkby, Ann Sofie von Otter, Nigel Rogers and Ian Partridge. He assisted Andrew Parrott in the musical direction of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas given by The Royal Swedish Opera at Drottningholm Court Theatre in 1995, and also directed from the chitarrone the much acclaimed performances of Jacopo Peri’s Euridice given there in 1997.

It is particularly through his live solo performances that he has become known as one of the finest lutenists in the world today, with concerts all over the globe from Tokyo and Beijing in the East to San Francisco and Mexico City in the West.

In addition to his busy life as a performer, Jakob Lindberg teaches at the Royal College of Music in London where he succeeded Diana Poulton as professor of lute in 1979