Airs de Cour - Catherine King & Jacob Heringman - Classic CD Review

This CD comprises worthy repertoire superbly recorded and impeccably performed. Catherine King sings beautifully. No reasonable person would fault her tone, pitch, phrasing or articulation. Heringman's playing matches her for quality, and Charles Daniels too sings creditably. For my perverse tastes, though, the spanner in the works is that word "impeccably". These songs of human passion and weakness sound as if they are performed by celestial beings better acquainted with perfection than with the messy business of being mortal.

It is singing of this quality that has established the high reputation of the British style of early music performance, and whilst the finished cloth is pure and fault, no-one should doubt that it is woven from threads honourably stained with blood, sweat, tears and chocolate. I just wish that the bleaching wasn't quite so thorough.

Of course, the music was designed to appeal to effete, "cultivated" audiences at the Royal Courts of early seventeenth century France, but I'd happily trade authenticity and exquisite diction for a little rough-edged emotion. Unfortunately the antiseptic nature of CD culture discourages such aberation.

Classic CD Review
01 April 1999