Elīna Garanča: Meditation
‘Meditation’ comes with a mission statement in an interview in which the singer says ‘people long for fulfilment, comfort and salvation. In our album we trace this quest for peace across different lands and eras.’ Here, Latvian folksongs rub shoulders with operatic arias as well as arrangements of Latin religious texts with a mezzo-soprano role.
In the five years since Elīna Garanča co-starred in the much admired DG recording of I Capuleti e i Montecchi with Anna Netrebko (3/09), her voice has become richer and more velvety, as in ‘O Divine Redeemer’ or the Easter Hymn from Cavalleria rusticana. The sustained line in the ‘Laudate Dominum’ by Mozart is amazing, especially given the sedate pace, and her intonation is flawless throughout. Some of the consonants are lost for the sake of seamless legato and sometimes the words aren’t as clear as they might be. The Salve regina by Puccini, with organ accompaniment, is an extreme example. The one exception is a glorious Cantique de Noël by Adam, in the Douglas Gamley arrangement, with the first verse in French and the second sung in English, and the words in both languages as clear as a bell. Of the less well-known pieces, the Ave Maria by Gomez is simple and affecting, likewise the appealing Latvian folksongs. Dievaines by the contemporary composer Uģis Praulinš strays into the anthemic world of Coldplay. If this collection of titles seems like a bit of a hotch-potch, the sequencing of them has been intelligently managed.