08 Dec Angel’s Glory – Kathleen Battle/Christopher Parkening
Upon hearing her at just eight years old, a Time Magazine music critic described Kathleen Battle as “this tiny little thing singing so beautifully.” She was told that “God had blessed her, and she must always sing.” Critics have called her the “best lyric coloratura in the world” and not without reason.
Many years ago, I had the privilege of studying with Christopher Parkening in a few master class settings. Parkening, recently retired from the concert stage, was arguably the “Segovia” to the classical guitar renaissance in the United States in the 70’s. A generation of guitarists were inspired to play the instrument after hearing that unmistakable sound coaxed from his Ramirez guitar.
The ensemble of these two consummate musicians is stunning. The phrasing alone is a study of artistry and the highest levels of musicianship. The first track, “Mary Did You Know” sets the standard for this Christmas tune and alone is worth the price of the album. Absolutely glorious. I repeat. Get it. Now.