Monday, January 20, 2014

Kiri Te Kanawa Celebrates Over 50 Years Of Recording

"New Zealand soprano comes up with a staid celebration of 50 years in the recording studio. Te Kanawa's creamy lyric soprano was not made to evoke the malevolent sea monsters of Te Taniwha. Max Cryer's liner notes for Dame Kiri Te Kanawa's Waiata make an engaging read. He provides another succinct introduction to the thorny issue of "Maori song" (as he did for Te Kanawa's 1999 Maori Songs) followed by notes on individual tracks. This is a celebration of the soprano's half-century recording career, enlisting the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the University of Auckland Chamber Choir, in arrangements by Carl (Piano by Candlelight) Doy. In time for Christmas, Waiata is an unabashed stocking-stuffer, offering minimal rewards for those with a respect for the achievements of this singer. Beside it, her earlier Maori Songs CD, which occasioned a few giggles and squirms in its time, takes on classic status. It had stronger songs and Te Kanawa's voice was 14 years younger. Its ethnic trimmings of kapa haka groups (including Mahinarangi Tocker and George Henare) and a wash of taonga puoro now seem positively piquant. Waiata is a staid affair. Doy's arrangements have fleeting moments of inspiration, with a few impressive Mantovani string clusters, but tinkling piano and churning rhythmic ostinati try the patience, along with overlooked production glitches."[Source] In addition to the new release of Waiata by Sony (set globally for March 2014), other labels such as Warner Classics (featuring former EMI Classics material) and Decca (featuring former Philips Classics material) are reissuing box-sets of their own to commemorate the occasion. Check out the beautiful editions after the jump. 

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