Maria Valentina Chirico “Initiale / Quanno Nascette Ninno”

Classical and sacred music vocalist Maria Valentina Chirico creates airy magic on this stunning single from invisibilia editions. Based on verses from Rainer Maria Rilke, “Initiale” resonates with a glowing sadness in her transcendent melody backed by plucked strings and a whirring carillon. Lighting the way toward a higher calling, Chirico’s arrangement builds tension and anticipation in droves, all to be brought down when she duets with 11-year-old Maarta Arbarello. Fragility becomes ancient power when these two sing together, like a ghost from the distant past haunting the corners of this song. There’s beauty and torment all in one.

On the flipside, Chirico’s adaptation of a 17th-century Neapolitan carol, history flows from all her pores as she sings along with the droning bass notes and lilting violin. “Quanno Nascette Ninno” takes full advantage of Chirico’s incredible vocal range, with simple accompaniment allowing her to dig deep and unleash an affecting voice performance. It’s mesmerizing and listening to her take something familiar and stretch it into a moving lament is an excellent bow to wrap up this excellent little package.

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