Elin Manahan Thomas - Eternal Light

Elin Manahan Thomas

Debut solo album from talented Welsh soprano.
Heliodor: 9 July 2007

Last updated: 25 November 2008

Eternal Light is the debut from Elin Manahan Thomas, a Swansea soprano who cut her musical teeth in early-music collectives including the Monteverdi Choir and The Sixteen.

Eternal Light cover


  • Hildegard von Bingen: O Euchari, In Leta Via
  • Hildegard von Bingen: O Euchari, In Leta Via
  • Vivaldi: Nulla In Mundi Oax Sincera
  • Handel: Ombra Mai Fu
  • Pergolesi: Et Jesum
  • JS Bach: Bist Du Bei Mir
  • Vivaldi: Dell'aura Al Sussurrar
  • Thomas Arne: Where The Bee Sucks

Complemented by the sympathetic and unobtrusive sounds of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, conducted by baroque choral specialist Harry Christophers, Eternal Light showcases the singer's unaffected, expressive and pure vocals.

Although beginning with 11th century plainsong by Hildegard von Bingen, Eternal Light focuses mostly on the 17th and 18th centuries. Five of Handel's works are adapted, as are selections by Vivaldi, JS Bach, Purcell and John Dowland. Most effective are the final four selections, in which the accompaniment is pared down to showcase Thomas' vocals to great effect.

The choices are indicative of Thomas' personal preferences. "I'm a Bach, Handel and Purcell girl," she says. "Most people think of baroque as a style of architecture and a period that seems incredibly distant and remote, yet these tunes are remarkably familiar today."

Universal Classics' decision to release Eternal Light on their resurrected 'core classical' Heliodor label should give Thomas chance to grow as a recording artist, away from the commercial expectations given to some of her better-known UCJ labelmates - although the soft-focus, glamorous portraits of the singer that adorn the CD booklet suggest they're not taking any chances.

Whether future releases will continue to feature performances from this era, or she broadens her musical palette, Eternal Light is an accomplished and charming debut from a singer whose talents are more than evident. Given chance to grow, in time she could well dazzle.

Words: Joe Goodden

BBC Music

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