music in the morning

Yesterday I put on a cd while I was doing some work at my desk. It was Lorraine Hunt Lieberson’s Recital at Ravinia, music I haven’t heard from some time as the cd was tucked under several others in a pile I haven’t looked at in ages. I do listen to Lorraine, several times a week, her extraordinary voice filling my house and my heart as I cook, fold laundry, or simply sit by the fire with coffee or wine.

These pieces were recorded in 2004, two years before LHL died; her voice was never better. And Peter Serkin is the perfect accompanist. In the recitative, O Numi eterni! O Stelle, stelle!, she takes us to the heart of Lucrezia’s terrible torment, and she does it with such emotional clarity. I listened from my study and then went to the other room to hear every note. I haven’t been singing this year. There were too many events and distractions and I knew I’d never have time to practise, let alone make my regular lesson. But I miss it, and perhaps never more than when I hear Lorraine sing Handel.