Carolyn Sampson

Soprano

Carolyn Sampson

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Beethoven: Missa Solemnis in D major, Op. 123

Beethoven: Missa Solemnis in D major, Op. 123


Carolyn Sampson (soprano), Marianne Beate Kielland (alto), Thomas Walker (tenor) & David Wilson-Johnson (bass)

Cappella Amsterdam & Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, Daniel Reuss

The Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century continues its vibrant music-making journey, very much in the spirit of its late founder Frans Brüggen, with specially invited conductors. In order to tackle Beethoven's mighty 'Missa Solemnis', the orchestra formed a partnership with highly-regarded Daniel Reuss, who has recorded a sizeable number of critically-acclaimed choral masterpieces, many of them with Cappella Amsterdam. This fine Dutch chorus is possessed of all the right skills to climb this glorious mountain of a work; notably vocal agility and stamina. The chorus is joined by an outstanding quartet of soloists in Carolyn Sampson, Marianne Beate Kielland, Thomas Walker and David Wilson-Johnson. The Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century has significant experience performing the music of Beethoven on period instruments (and its current concert schedule embraces the symphonies, piano concertos and Fidelio), all the more necessary with such a demanding work.

This new recording comes with an elegant essay from Bas van Putten, but also by a fascinating series of images captured by photographer and violinist Annelies van der Vegt, taken across The Netherlands during the course of the orchestra’s concert tour with the Missa Solemnis.

“Period-style recordings of this work are surprisingly rare, dominated by Harnoncourt, Gardiner and Herreweghe, but this belongs with the best. The choir is superb and the solo quartet — led by Carolyn Sampson — are fearless.” Sunday Times, 9th April 2017

“this is a Missa Solemnis that, for me, really taps into the spirituality of Beethoven’s vision. There is depth and insight in every movement, and the overall result is as moving as it is musically impressive.” MusicWeb International, 18th April 2017

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Haydn: The Seasons

Haydn: The Seasons


Carolyn Sampson (soprano), Jeremy Ovenden (tenor), Andrew Foster-Williams (bass)

Wrocław Baroque Orchestra, Wrocław Philharmonic Choir, Gabrieli Consort & Players, Paul McCreesh

Read our exclusive interview with Paul McCreesh about the recording here, and Katherine's full review of the disc here.

The Gabrieli Consort continue their series of award-winning collaborations with the National Forum of Music, Wrocław, Poland with a new version of Haydn’s great oratorio The Seasons. Using a new performing edition by Paul McCreesh this recording is the first to feature the large orchestral forces that Haydn called for, including a string section of 60, 10 horns and a choir of 70. As well as the combined forces of the Gabrieli Consort & Players, Wrocław Baroque Orchestra and National Forum of Music Choir, the recording features solo performances from British singers Carolyn Sampson, Jeremy Ovenden and Andrew Foster-Williams.

All booklet texts are printed in both English and Polish translations.

“McCreesh’s new translation is a triumph, and will surely have an illustrious career beyond this recording...One of the great joys of this set is the huge dynamic and emotional range afforded by the expanded forces – the introspective recitatives are, in their way, as spine-tingling as the 70-strong chorus belting out their lusty paeans to wine, women and weather.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 24th March 2017

“The opening thunderous wallop on the timpani will warn you that this is a recording of some drama and punch...If you are not familiar with The Seasons, this is the recording to go for. Paul McCreesh's English translation is excellent, the singing and orchestral playing is outstanding.” Early Music Review, 27th March 2017

“What emphatically sets this Seasons apart from all previous recordings, whatever the language, is the scale…the big choruses, toppled by a shining, un-wobbly soprano line, generate a visceral excitement unmatched by any rivals. In the cataclysmic thunderstorm, rasping, minatory brass to the fore, the terrified populace evokes Verdi's 'Dies Irae', while the autumn hunt, raucously fuelled by anarchic natural horns, has never sounded more uninhibitedly exuberant. In the wine harvest, with its final tipsy fugue, McCreesh conjures a Burgenland bacchanalia to rival Jacobs -high praise indeed. McCreesh and his massed Anglo-Polish forces have given us a Seasons that thrillingly catches both the work's bucolic exhilaration and its invocations of the sublime. And for sheer sonic splendour it's in a class of its own.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2017

“This successor to Haydn’s Creation has often felt in the shadow of the earlier masterpiece, but this recording brings it thrillingly to life. Avoiding the early-music tendency to small forces, Paul McCreesh assembles a massive throng of singers and players, the numbers that might have performed the piece in 1801. And what a noise they make!...McCreesh’s fresh new translation animates the top-class solo singing, while the massed choruses blow the roof off. Glorious.” The Observer, 9th April 2017

“Much is splendid: the big hunting, drinking and spinning choruses, for example” Sunday Times, 16th April 2017

“the performance matches the high standards of McCreesh's previous grand choral projects...McCreesh revels in Haydn's masterly skills in writing for orchestra, choir and soloists...The choir's tone is full-bodied yet never heavy...The soloists are expertly chosen...while McCreesh's conducting is responsive to every subtle shade within Haydn's grand spiritual vision.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2017

“the playing is magnificent… eloquence is consistently uppermost, stemming from McCreesh’s singular passion shared with musicians who likewise respond passionately to every facet… superlative, all-encompassing performance” Classical Ear, May 2017 *****

Presto Disc of the Week

24th March 2017

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - May 2017

BBC Music Magazine

Choral & Song Choice - June 2017

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Mozart: Mass in C minor, K427 'Great'

Mozart: Mass in C minor, K427 'Great'


Mozart:

Mass in C minor, K427 'Great'

Olivia Vermeulen (mezzo), Makoto Sakurada (tenor), Christian Immler (bass)

Exsultate, jubilate, K165

from the revised Salzburg version of K165


Following on from the 2015 release of Mozart’s Requiem, Masaaki Suzuki and his Bach Collegium Japan have gone on to record the composer's Mass in C minor, K427 – the ‘Great Mass’. As the nickname indicates, it is a work of unusual proportions for a mass of the Classical period – or would have been so, had Mozart completed it. It is not known, for what occasion Mozart intended the work, but a letter to his father Leopold, dated 4 January 1783, indicates that he may have committed himself to writing it in connection with his marriage to Constanze and a planned visit to Salzburg. A performance of parts of the Mass did take place in Salzburg in October 1783, with Constanze performing the prominent soprano part. Two years later Mozart reused the music from the Kyrie and Gloria sections in the sacred cantata Davidde penitente, K 469, but the Mass itself was left incomplete. The present performance includes the sections completed by Mozart himself, as well as those sections, for which extensive sketches by Mozart provided a basis for completion (by Franz Beyer in 1989). Three of Suzuki’s soloists also took part in the recording of the Requiem, while the Dutch mezzo-soprano Olivia Vermeulen makes her first appearance on BIS, shining in the aria ‘Laudamus te’. The disc closes with the celebrated cantata Exsultate, jubilate in which the soprano Carolyn Sampson glitters in the virtuosic solo part. As an appendix to the programme, she and the Bach Collegium Japan orchestra also repeats the initial aria, in a less well-known later version with a slightly different text and with flutes replacing the oboes of the original.

“The Mass survives as one of the great unfinished works. Suzuki’s famed period forces are significantly enlarged here (24 choristers), but are quite small for this work. His tempi are surprisingly spacious, but the dramatic impact of the double-choir Qui tollis in the Gloria comes across with full force.” Sunday Times, 13th November 2016

“Period-instrument C minor Masses get better and better. ...The choir are well drilled and the two female soloists are matched as well as any on disc...Suzuki is no speed merchant, and maintains the through line in more strenuous movements.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2016

“Stripping the score right back, Suzuki makes musicianship dominate. He taps into the subtle arts of his fellow performers, especially Carolyn Sampson, to create a benchmark performance…Sampson arabesques effortlessly up to the stratosphere in a slow dance with solo woodwinds…the three other vocal soloists equal Sampson’s elegance, forging a blissful euphony in their ensembles” BBC Music Magazine, January 2017 *****

“A tremendous achievement.” MusicWeb International, 10th January 2017

“playing and singing are excellent throughout, especially from the vocal soloists, all giving florid and characterful performances. The Exsultate, Jubilate makes an ideal filler, not least for the further opportunity it provides to hear soprano Carolyn Sampson, here on excellent form. The SACD audio is atmospheric and clear, giving an ideal audio image for the orchestra and soloists” Classical Ear, 27th March 2017 ***

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - December 2016

BBC Music Magazine

Disc of the month - January 2017

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A Verlaine Songbook

A Verlaine Songbook

Carolyn Sampson sings settings of poems by Paul Verlaine


Bordes:

Colloque Sentimental

Chausson:

Apaisement

Debussy:

Fêtes galantes - Set 1

Ariettes Oubliées (6)

Fauré:

La Bonne Chanson, Op. 61

Clair de Lune, Op. 46 No. 2

Hahn, R:

Tous deux

L'heure exquise

Ravel:

Sur l'Herbe

Saint-Saëns:

Le vent dans la plane (Verlane)

Severac:

Le ciel est, par-dessus le toit ...

Soleils couchants (Paysages tristes)

Szulc:

Clair De Lune Op. 83 No. 1

Wieniawska:

Cythère

En sourdine

Colombine

L'heure exquise

Mandoline


Carolyn Sampson (soprano), Joseph Middleton (piano)

In his poem Art poétique, Paul Verlaine declared that poetry should, above all, be musical: 'De la musique avant toute chose'. This quality in his work was already recognized by composers during his lifetime, and it is sometimes claimed that Verlaine has been set to music more often than any other poet after him. For their Verlaine Songbook, Carolyn Sampson and Joseph Middleton have selected songs by ten composers, including two complete cycles – Fauré's La Bonne Chanson and Debussy's Ariettes oubliées. The 33 songs on the disc set a total of 25 texts – several poems by Verlaine have attracted more than one composer, and Clair de lune appears three times, in versions by Debussy, Fauré and Joseph Szulc, while La lune blanche can be heard no less than four, in versions by Fauré, Ernest Chausson, Reynaldo Hahn and Poldowski – the pseudonym of the Belgian-born British composer Régine Wieniawski. Released in 2015 to critical acclaim, Carolyn Sampson's début recital disc, Fleurs (BIS2102), was a flower-themed anthology with songs by composers ranging from Purcell to Benjamin Britten via Schubert and Debussy. On the present disc the repertoire is rather more concentrated in time – all songs were composed during a span of 35 years (c. 1880-1915) – but the variety is nevertheless striking: a reflection of how different artistic temperaments have responded to the many-facetted Verlaine.

“Sampson adores these songs, caressing the text with her beautiful, pure soprano, particularly those that dwell on the correlation between nature and the emotions. Her partnership with Middleton is inspired, his intelligence always evident.” The Guardian, 13th November 2016 ****

“[Sampson is] in excellent voice, her tone clear and silvery, her upper registers exquisite: Chausson’s ‘Apasiement’ sends shivers down your spine with its floated high pianissimos and suggestive portamentos…Middleton’s playing is marvellously fresh throughout, the thin dividing line between wit and melancholy superbly negotiated.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2016

“A garland of roses to everyone concerned.” MusicWeb International, 19th December 2016

“The discovery of the disc are the songs by ‘Poldowski’ – a pseudonym for Régine Wieniawski…her songs prove nothing short of fabulous: warm, energetic and melodic, with a deep-set richness of harmonic language. Sampson’s pure, shining tone matches the finesse of this repertoire and her lower range sometimes has the softness and subtle qualities of a deep flute…Middleton provides a bright cushion of support throughout” BBC Music Magazine, February 2017 ****

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Handel: Solomon

Handel: Solomon


2 CD box with sung texts and French translation

Handel was 63 years-old when he composed 'Solomon', one of his final masterpieces. It caused the composer serious financial difficulties in 1749 on account of the exceptional forces it required – but under the baton of Daniel Reuss, it finds a crack British cast devoted to its noble cause. This monumental oratorio depicts the three highpoints of the biblical king’s life: the building of the temple, the famous judgment, and the visit of the Queen of Sheba.

“With Sarah Connolly and Caroline Sampson appearing for the prosecution, it doesn’t require the judgement of Solomon to predict a favourable outcome.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2017 ****

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Harmonia Mundi HMHeritage - HMY2921949/50

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Monteverdi: L'Orfeo

Monteverdi: L'Orfeo


Ian Bostridge (Orfeo), Natalie Dessay (La Musica), Patrizia Ciofi (Euridice), Véronique Gens (Proserpina), Alice Coote (Messaggiera), Sonia Prina (Speranza), Carolyn Sampson (Ninfa), Paul Agnew (Eco/Pastore), Christopher Maltman (Apollo/Pastore), Lorenzo Regazzo (Plutone), Mario Luperi (Caronte), Pascal Bertin, Richard Burkhard (Pastori)

Le Concert d'Astrée, European Voices, Emmanuelle Haïm

Monteverdi’s retelling of the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, composed for the court of Mantua, is the earliest opera to hold a firm place in the repertoire. Emmanuelle Haïm directs a full-blooded performance with star singers whose artistry is as valid here – in a groundbreaking Renaissance score – as in music of later eras: Ian Bostridge, Patrizia Ciofi, Natalie Dessay, Carolyn Sampson, Véronique Gens, Alice Coote, Sonia Prina, Christopher Maltman and Lorenzo Regazzo.

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Erato - The Home of Opera - 9029593486

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Purcell: Come all ye songsters

Purcell: Come all ye songsters

Recorded live at Wigmore Hall, London, on 17 March 2015


anon.:

Minuet

Corbetta:

Passachaglia

Draghi, G B:

The Italian Ground

Purcell:

Come All Yee Songsters

Ye gentle spirits of the air (from The Fairy Queen, Z629)

A dance of fairies (instr.) (from The Fairy Queen Z629)

Sing while we trip it (from The Fairy Queen Z629)

Suite No. 5 in C major, Z 666

The cares of lovers (from Timon of Athens, Z632)

Fly swift ye hours, Z369

Not all my torments can your pity move, Z400

From Rosy Bow'rs (from Don Quixote)

Let the dreadful engines (from Don Quixote, Z578)

Mystery’s Song (from The Fairy Queen, Z629)

Music from the guitar book of Princess Anne (instrumental)

I see she flies me ev'rywhere (from Aureng-Zebe or The Great Mogul, Z573)

What a sad fate is mine, Z428A

Pious Celinda goes to prayers, Z410

Tis Nature's voice (from Hail, Bright Cecilia, Z328)

Abdelazer or The Moor's Revenge: incidental music, Z570

Hark! The Echoing Air (from The Fairy Queen, Z629)

I attempt from love's sickness to fly in vain (from The Indian Queen)

spoken intro to encore

Fairest Isle (from King Arthur)

spoken intro to encore

Simpson, C:

A Division upon a Ground for Viola da gamba & B.c.from The Division Violist (London 1659)


Carolyn Sampson (soprano), Elizabeth Kenny (lute), Jonathan Manson (viol) & Laurence Cummings (harpsichord)

Carolyn Sampson has enjoyed notable success worldwide in repertoire ranging from early Baroque to the present day. She is in high demand by leading opera companies around the world, and regularly makes recital appearances too. Following the success of her first release ‘Not Just Dowland’, [WHLIVE0034] we are now delighted to present her second release on the Wigmore Hall Live label. She is joined by some of Britain’s most exciting exponents of historical performance – lutenist Elizabeth Kenny, harpsichordist Laurence Cummings, and viol player Jonathan Manson. This leading ensemble examines the colourful world of Purcell songs. Unlike his European counterparts, Purcell was unused to traditionally operatic terms and was unconstrained by them. Ignorance was certainly bliss in this case; for him ‘Song’ was a performers’ medium. Thoughout the course of this recital, recorded live at Wigmore Hall, we hear the musicians discovering and revealing the meaning of the texts, as they bring to life the works with sensitivity and charm.

“Versatile and ever engaging, soprano Carolyn Sampson shines in this showcase of contrasting Purcell songs...As an encore, Sampson sings Fairest Isle, unhurried, with lovely ornament and pure tone.” The Guardian, 26th June 2016 ****

“What could be just another lovely solo recital is subtly but determinedly refocused here as an ensemble affair. Each of the musicians gets a chance to step into the spotlight, and the result is both a more interesting and a much more satisfying listen than a straight sequence of arias with the obligatory mid-programme instrumental breath-catcher … Any recording of Purcell songs enters a crowded market but Sampson makes a strong case for her contribution, with just a little help from some starry musical friends” Gramophone Magazine, September 2016

“Carolyn Sampson sings with rich yet clear soprano tone and pays keen attention to the texts she sings, as befits Purcell’s reputation as perhaps the greatest composer to set his native tongue to music…throughout it all, Sampson is royally supported by a trio of accompanists, and it’s good that they provide instrumental solos or duets too” Classical Ear, 26/08/16 ****

“of course it’s soprano Carolyn Sampson’s peerless Purcell that steals the show – whether inhabiting tortured madness, or the airborne, caressing grace of an opening set from The Fairy Queen. By way of the final encore, ‘Fairest Isle’ bids farewell with a guileless, eloquent, spellbinding simplicity.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2016 ****

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Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 14 & 21

Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 14 & 21


Mozart:

Piano Concerto No. 14 in E flat major, K449

Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K467 'Elvira Madigan'

Ch'io mi scordi di te?... Non temer, amato bene, K505

with Carolyn Sampson (soprano)


Ronald Brautigam (fortepiano)

Die Kolner Akadamie, Michael Alexander Willens

“[This issue] proves every bit as immediate and lively in musical approach as its predecessors. Brautigam, bearing out his reputation as a musical and intellectual powerhouse, animates every note and phrase marking…even to people who think they know these much-recorded concertos backwards, my guess is that these readings will sound fresh and full of adventure.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2015 ****

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Mozart: Requiem & Vesperae solennes de confessore

Mozart: Requiem & Vesperae solennes de confessore


Mozart:

Requiem in D minor, K626

Vesperae solennes de confessore in C, K339


A new performing edition by Masato Suzuki, based on the autograph by Mozart and taking account of earlier completions by Eybler and Sussmayr. He has composed a new “Amen Fugue” to close the “Sequentia”, based on the sketch discovered in Berlin in 1960.

“The performance is notable for its super-clean orchestral edges and refinement.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2015 ****

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A French Baroque Diva

A French Baroque Diva

Arias for Marie Fel


Fiocco, J H:

Laudate pueri (Part 1 of Laudate pueri)

A solis ortu (Part 3 of Laudate pueri)

Alleluia (Part 4 of Laudate pueri)

Lacoste:

Ah! quand reviendront nos beaux jours?

Lalande:

Regna terrae (Movement 5 of Exsurgat Deus, S71)

Sinfonie (Movement 1 of Te Deum laudamus, S32)

Tu rex gloriae (Movement 8 of Te Deum laudamus, S32)

Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominem (Movement 9 of Te Deum laudamus, S32)

Viderunt omnes termini terrae (Movement 5 of Cantate Domino, S72)

Mondonville:

Gasouillats auzeléts (Act 1 Scene 2 from Daphnis et Alcimadure)

Venite, adoremus (Movement 4 of Venite, exsultemus)

Hodie si vocem (Movement 6 of Venite, exsultemus)

Rameau:

Tristes apprêts (from Castor et Pollux)

Amour, lance tes traits (from Les fêtes de l'Hymen et de l'Amour)

La Lyre Enchantée

Rousseau, J-J:

Salve regina


A welcome return of Carolyn Sampson and Ex Cathedra to Hyperion, performing the rich, fulsome music of the French Baroque. Their recording of love songs from Rameau’s operas (Hyperion CDA67447) was hugely acclaimed for Sampson’s stylish, fluid, seductive performances, and ten years later her artistry is even more dazzling.

This album is of particular interest as rather than concentrating on one composer it showcases the works written for the premiere soprano of the day, Marie Fel. Voltaire called her his ‘adorable nightingale’. For d’Aquin, she was an enchanted being. Marie Fel was the soprano who held an entire generation spellbound at the Paris Opéra and at Louis XV’s court during one of the most glorious periods of French music. With a voice described as ‘pure, charming, silvery’ (La Borde), ‘touching and sublime’ (Grimm) and ‘always lovely, always seductive’ (d’Aquin), she inspired some of Jean-Philippe Rameau’s finest music and introduced a whole new level of virtuosity and expression into the French singing tradition. Her long, triumphant career is traced through this fascinating recording.

Carolyn Sampson talks to Presto's Katherine Cooper about the disc here.

“don't be put off by the apparently recherche repertoire: this is a programme that leases as much today as it did in [Fel's]...the longer we listen to Sampson's voice, the more she seems to inhabit the aura of Fel...Sampson's performance is the more admirable for evoking the spirit of another singer. Start to finish, Jeffrey Skidmore devotedly shapes and paces the programme.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2014

“Sampson is quite remarkable. She has the capacity to soften the vocal line with carefully controlled vibrato, but also deploys tone of crystalline clarity...bright, vibrant, responsive and entirely in tune with the expressive language and virtuosic demands of the period.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2014 *****

“I’m sure Jeffrey Skidmore and Ex Cathedra won’t mind me saying this is a very English interpretation...Sampson sings it all beautifully: words, affect, heart and spirit in everything, plus the most natural-sounding control in the coloratura. A really lovely disc of rare and beautiful music, performed with love.” Opera Now

Presto Discs of 2014

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GGramophone Awards 2015

Winner - Recital

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2014

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