Carolyn Sampson


Carolyn Sampson

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Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 14 & 21

Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 14 & 21


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

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Super Audio CD


Hybrid Multi-channel

BIS Brautigam Mozart Concertos - BIS2054



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JS Bach: Easter & Ascension Oratorios

JS Bach: Easter & Ascension Oratorios

Bach, J S:

Easter Oratorio BWV249

Ascension Oratorio 'Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen', BWV11

This, the second release of the highly anticipated Retrospect Ensemble series, features the Easter Oratorio, one of Bach’s best-known oratorios and a monumental work, as well as the Ascension Oratorio.

Originally released in 2011 ‘J.S. Bach: Easter and Ascension Oratorios’ has been re-issued as part of Linn’s ECHO series which offers a second chance to enjoy the best of the label’s award-winning catalogue.

Retrospect Ensemble employs large-scale forces for this recording including four-part choir and orchestra (including timpani), and is joined by Carolyn Sampson (soprano), Iestyn Davies (countertenor), James Gilchrist (tenor) and Peter Harvey (bass).

This dynamic recording highlights the skill and brilliance of Bach's writing through the inspired story telling of its star soloists and the passion of the Ensemble.

Named a Finalist in the ‘Baroque Vocal’ category at the 2011 Gramophone Awards, the recording received many five star reviews in addition to being named The Sunday Times’ ‘Classical Record of the Week’.

Founded by Matthew Halls, Retrospect Ensemble takes its musicians and audiences on an exciting journey, exploring the repertoire of four centuries and embracing the practices, styles and aesthetics of former ages with renewed vigour and a fresh approach.

Retrospect has appeared at major UK festivals including the Edinburgh International Festival and Norfolk and Norwich Festival and performed at Wigmore Hall and Cadogan Hall, London.

Matthew Halls has established himself as one of today’s leading young conductors. A former Artistic Director of The King’s Consort, he has conducted in prominent venues throughout the UK and Europe.

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Linn ECHO - BKD373



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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)


Ah! quand reviendront nos beaux jours?


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)


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)


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 2014Presto Discs of 2014


GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2014

Hyperion - CDA68035



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Poulenc: Stabat mater

Poulenc: Stabat mater


Stabat mater

Sept Répons des Tenèbres

Poulenc’s 'Stabat Mater', which he described as a ‘requiem without despair’, was written in 1950 following the death of Christian Bérard who designed the sets for Cocteau’s films and plays and was a leading figure of 1940s Paris. This masterly work, dedicated to the Virgin of Rocamadour, gives pride of place to the chorus and clearly shows its line of descent from the French grands motets. On completing it, Poulenc wrote to Pierre Bernac: "It’s good, because it’s completely authentic".

From the time of his pilgrimage to Rocamadour in 1936, Poulenc's religious output was filtered through his Catholic interpretation of the world and his personal trajectory. The 'Stabat Mater' is no exception to this rule, in that it associates the events and circumstances of his own life with the drama of the Gospels. It identifies the three figures of Christ, the Virgin and the Faithful Disciple with biographical figures: Bérard, Poulenc, and the latter’s lover Lucien Roubert, whom he was to refer to as ‘the secret’ of the 'Stabat Mater' and 'Dialogues des Carmélites'.

In December 1959 Leonard Bernstein commissioned a new work from Poulenc for the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. He chose to write the 'Sept Répons des Ténèbres' (Seven Tenebrae Responses) for treble soloist, a chorus of boys’ and men’s voices and symphony orchestra. The posthumous first performance took place on 11 April 1963 at Philharmonic Hall (now Avery Fisher Hall) under the direction of Thomas Schippers. Poulenc had insisted on these all-male vocal forces, but, 50 years after his death, it is important to allow for more widespread performance of this fascinating score which has too long languished in the shadows.

“The word 'powerful' is not one we naturally associate with Poulenc...Still, these are vivid and, yes, powerful performances.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2014 ****

“Carolyn Sampson is a wonderful soloist and the combined choirs, which number just short of fifty singers, perform Poulenc’s varied and demanding music expertly...The splendid performances on this disc make the best possible case for Poulenc’s sacred music.” MusicWeb International, 9th April 2014

“This is a beautiful recording, and a valuable coupling of Poulenc’s two most serious works for chorus and orchestra … Very warmly recommended.” International Record Review, April 2014

“Sampson eloquently expresses the isolation and apprehension of the solo line [in the Sept Répons], and the mixed voices...sensitively and dramatically project the sombre, fearful, abject world in which Poulenc finds himself. Theirs is also a fine performance of the Stabat Mater...The choir and orchestra rise fully to the eruptions of emotion.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2014

Harmonia Mundi - HMC902149



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Your Tuneful Voice: Handel Oratorio Arias

Your Tuneful Voice: Handel Oratorio Arias


Belshazzar: Oh sacred oracles of truth

The Triumph of Time and Truth: Mortals think that Time is sleeping

Esther: Tune your harps to cheerful strains

Alexander Balus: Mighty love now calls to arms

Jephtha: Overture

Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne HWV74 'Eternal source of light divine'

Solomon: Welcome as the dawn of day

Carolyn Sampson (soprano)

Your tuneful voice (from Semele)

The Choice of Hercules: Yet can I hear that dulcet lay

Jephtha: Up the dreadful steep ascending

Samson - Overture

Israel in Egypt: Thou shalt bring them in

Esther: Who calls my parting soul

Carolyn Sampson (soprano)

The Triumph of Time and Truth: On the valleys, dark and cheerless

Esther: How can I stay, when love invites?

Acclaimed countertenor Iestyn Davies and The King’s Consort perform an outstanding programme of Handel arias from some of the composer’s finest oratorios.

Eleven varied solo arias include ‘O sacred oracles of truth’, the delicate ‘Tune your harps’, ‘Eternal source of light’ (with supreme trumpet playing from Crispian Steele-Perkins), the melodious ‘Your tuneful voice’ and the virtuoso ‘Mighty love now calls to arm’, as well as rarities including ‘On the valleys, dark and cheerless’ and an especial jewel, ‘Mortals think that Time is sleeping’.

Iestyn is joined in two glorious duets by soprano Carolyn Sampson, including the ecstatic ‘Welcome as the dawn of day’ and the ghostly ‘Who calls my parting soul from death’.

Recorded in the well-nigh perfect acoustic of Menuhin Hall with a large and colourful orchestra, who also contribute two splendid overtures.

36 page booklet with authoritative liner note (in three languages) by renowned Handel scholar Prof. Donald Burrows, together with full texts, and 16 photos from the recordings.

“Davies is in his prime of vocal flexibility, and authoritative in modes both pious (‘O sacred oracles of truth’) and warlike (‘Mighty love now calls to arm’). Two cameos from Carolyn Sampson are, naturally, ravishing.” Early Music Today

“Davies's quick coloratura is dazzling in the final aria, 'How can I stay when love invites?'” Gramophone Magazine, March 2014

“Davies's phrasing is to be admired, spanning as it does long lines of breath control.” International Record Review, March 2014

“a first class anthology of Handel arias. The singing of Iestyn Davies is a delight from start to finish and he receives ideal support from Robert King and his players.” MusicWeb International, 12th February 2014

“[the slow arias] allow us to appreciate Davies's extraordinary evenness of tone, his immaculate breath control and the rapt subtlety of his phrasing...the handful of virtuoso arias are delivered with terrific panache and a bravura technique that is second to none. The King's Consort under Robert King are dark-toned and admirably sensual throughout.” The Guardian, 13th February 2014 ****

“Iestyn Davies brings a grace and calm entirely appropriate to these Handel arias...Throughout, Davies’ control is remarkable.” The Independent, 8th February 2014 ****

“he cherishes the words while negotiating the technical hurdles with amazing fluency and consistency of timbre...Davies’s definition of the varying moods in these arias is of an absorbing order, matched as it also is by the King’s Consort’s judicious range of colour in the orchestral accompaniments on a disc that highlights a countertenor voice in its prime.” The Telegraph, 6th February 2014 ****

Vivat - VIVAT105



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Hommage à Trois

Hommage à Trois


Il maestro di cappella: excerpts


Chi nel cammin d'onore (L'Isola disabitata)

Il pensier sta negli aggotti (L'Anima del Filosofo - Orfeo ed Euridice)

Teco lo guida al campo (Armida)

Gia la morte in mante nero (from La vera costanza)

Non sparate... mi disdico... (La Vera Costanza)


Crudel! perché finora farmi languir così? (from Le nozze di Figaro)

Hai gia vinta la causa! (from Le nozze di Figaro)

Fin ch'han dal vino (from Don Giovanni)

Deh! vieni alla finestra (from Don Giovanni)

Rivolgete a lui lo sguardo (from Così fan tutte)

Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen (from Die Zauberflöte)

Pa-pa-pa-pa-Papagena (from Die Zauberflöte)

William Berger (baritone), Carolyn Sampson (soprano)

Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Nicholas McGegan

Described by Gramophone Magazine as ‘one of the best of our younger baritones’ William Berger makes his Linn debut with a programme of arias from some of the finest operatic composers.

Soprano Carolyn Sampson guest stars on several duets whilst the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, which has won several awards for its performances of Mozart, provides sterling support throughout.

Following a 2012 performance by Berger, the SCO and McGegan, The Herald commented that Cimarosa’s 1792 cantata Il Maestro di Capello woud be ‘a highlight of [the] upcoming Linn disc this team is making.’

The programme encompasses arias from all of Haydn and Mozart’s best-loved operas; Berger’s stage portrayal of Papageno was praised by The Arts Desk: ‘Berger is also a deft, musicianly baritone, and a communicator who has the audience eating out of his hand.’

Berger’s debut album was chosen by Guardian critics as one of the ‘Best Classical Albums of 2012’ and by David Mellor as his ‘Album of the Week’ on Classic FM.

William Berger’s warm, rich baritone and charismatic stage presence have been winning praise from audiences and critics alike. With his intelligent approach to characterisation and thrilling interpretations, he’s a rising young star on both the concert and operatic stage.

A specialist in 17th and 18th century repertoire, William has performed all of the major Mozartian baritone roles as well as a wide selection of roles by Monteverdi, Handel, Haydn, Puccini, Janáček and Weill.

In concert, William has performed at the Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Wigmore Hall, Sadler’s Wells and Birmingham Symphony Hall with orchestras and ensembles including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and English Consort.

Carolyn Sampson has sung many roles for English National Opera and for Glyndebourne Festival Opera, and has appeared with Opéra de Paris, Opéra de Lille and at the Boston Early Music Festival.

Described as ‘an expert in 18th-century style’ (The New Yorker) Nicholas McGegan is the Grammy nominated director of the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra; he is active in opera as well as the concert hall and has given several premiere performances of collaborations with choreographer Mark Morris.

“The Scottish Chamber Orchestra's characterful accompaniments under Nicholas McGegan's expert baton prove adventurous at every turn. Berger's agile, lyrical high baritone is also impressive, with top notes almost tenorially easy.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2013 ***

“ It's a discreetly sexy disc, engagingly witty and stylish, and, for the most part, cleverly put together...Haydn's wide-ranging arias show off Berger's coloratura and the beauty of his upper registers to perfection.” The Guardian, 9th January 2014 ****

“Berger immediately sets out his stall in the opening aria frm Haydn's L'isola disabitata, singing with firm, mellow tone, bright, ringing top notes and a care for evenness of line...a beautifully recorded recital that enhances the young baritone's credentials as a fine Classical stylist.” Gramophone Magazine

“Berger might not have the richest of tones, but his voice is true and the top secure. Just as importantly, he is able to use it to build character and his Count, Giovanni, Guglielmo and Pappageno are all deftly differentiated...McGegan conducting is hugely supportive and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra on good form.” Opera Now *****

Super Audio CD


Hybrid Multi-channel

Linn - CKD428



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Couperin: Trois Leçons de Ténèbres

Couperin: Trois Leçons de Ténèbres

Couperin, F:

Trois Leçons de Ténèbres

Motet pour le jour de Pâques


Marais, M:

Tombeau pour Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe

Susanne Heinrich (viol)

Chaconne in A major

Susanne Heinrich (viol)

Sainte Colombe the younger:

Prelude in E minor

Susanne Heinrich (viol)

Carolyn Sampson (soprano), Marianne Beate Kielland (mezzo), Lynda Sayce (theorbo), Robert King (chamber organ)

King's Consort, Robert King

Ravishing second release on The King’s Consort’s new classical label, VIVAT, features world-renowned British soprano Carolyn Sampson and outstanding Norwegian mezzo Marianne Beate Kielland in entrancingly evocative French Baroque music.

Couperin’s three “Leçons” for Holy Week are vividly atmospheric, highly coloured, richly dissonant, and deeply melancholy, presenting music of an intensity that is quiet unique in Baroque sacred repertoire. The third Leçon is an especial jewel, with gloriously intertwining vocal lines.

Alongside the three extraordinary “Leçons” come two further substantial vocal duets by Couperin: a joyous Easter motet and a fine setting of the Magnificat.

Full-length 79’40” disc also includes stunning solo instrumental tracks, with Gramophone award-winning viol player Susanne Heinrich performing music by Marin Marais and Monsieur de Ste-Colombe (composers featured in the film “Tous les Matins du Monde”).

Recorded at “low” French baroque pitch, A=392, giving unparalleled richness to the vocal and instrumental sonorities.

High quality documentation, first-rate engineering.

“The King’s Consort are set to re-enter the recording catalogue” (Gramophone)

“The two singers complement each other beautifully in the final setting, Kielland's reedy voice, with its somewhat androgynous quality, throwing Sampson's crystalline soprano into high relief and adding a slight edginess that prevents the performances from becoming too saccharine.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2013 *****

“Carolyn Sampson is perhaps this country’s leading singer of French baroque repertoire, and in Marianne Beate Kielland she has the ideal partner: the two voices weave around and respond to one another with subtlety and flexibility, and the instrumental playing is no less accomplished.” Early Music Today

“[Sampson and Kielland] deliver fresh performances that are at once serious, stylish and beautifully judged...Well worth acquiring.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2013

“the delightful purity and seeming weightlessness of Sampson's voice, at times soaring ethereally in delicate melismas, is perfectly complemented by the warmer character of the Norwegian mezzo-soprano...The instrumental support for the Lecons is discreet, a model of refined restraint...King's own notes are packed with priceless information and valuable insight.” International Record Review, May 2013

“There is something about the atmosphere of Robert King’s Ténèbres which makes it more believable than many, and this is a recording which will take you on a very long journey indeed...The King’s Consort musicians create the ideal atmosphere for Couperin’s Lamentations, and both vocal soloists are highly effective and deeply expressive.” MusicWeb International, 2nd July 2013

“Robert King has always been able to assemble the right people for the right job...he combines the contrasting timbres of Carolyn Sampson (soprano) and Marianne Beate Kielland (mezzo) in sumptuous performances of three works by Couperin. Sampson’s brightness and Kielland’s riper tones beautifully complement each other.” Sunday Times, 10th March 2013

“Another hit for the King Consort's new label Vivat. The gorgeous Trois leçons de ténèbres...are remarkable for their intertwining, sensual dissonances: here the idiomatic (though not vibrato-free) voices of soprano Carolyn Sampson and mezzo Marianne Beate Kielland are recorded quite close, so the detail tells...the eloquent centrepiece is the third lesson for them both, absolutely spine-tingling in its intensity.” The Observer, 7th April 2013

“Carolyn Sampson and Marianne Beate Kielland [find] liquid lyricism for the vocal arabesques that Couperin weaves around the introductory letters of the Hebrew alphabet...A disc that brings to life a body of music that fully merits the expressive finesse these performers bring to it.” The Telegraph, 29th March 2013 ****

Vivat - VIVAT102



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Bach, J S: St John Passion, BWV245

Bach, J S: St John Passion, BWV245

‘Layton has directed this annual St John Passion for several seasons now. His readings, which are becoming ever more dramatic and daring, have a raw intensity. It was easy to see why these concerts have become one of the highlights in London’s musical calendar’ (The Guardian)

Polyphony and Stephen Layton present their celebrated performance of Bach’s most dramatic masterpiece. Accompanied by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and a starry team of soloists, Layton directs a vivid account, the excitement of the narrative drama contrasting with heartbreaking moments of reflection.

In Ian Bostridge, we have the most iconic Evangelist of the last twenty years; an artist who is an incomparable communicator, a singer of technical brilliance, and an impassioned, experienced interpreter of Bach’s music.

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

“[Bostridge is] a magnificent Evangelist though one aspect of his approach may not be to all tastes. He is highly expressive at all times and there are several occasions where some may feel he overdoes the expressiveness..Polyphony show vividly just what can be achieved in Bach singing by a fairly small professional choir, especially in terms of such things as flexibility, attack and agility...This desirable new recording deserves a place in the front rank.” MusicWeb International, February 2013

“Layton has honed his preferred version, but only aficionados will notice or mind. Concentrate instead on the purity of sound, the emotionally expressive yet restrained performance by all and the impeccable attention to text of the soloists. Ian Bostridge (Evangelist) lives every word of the narration but never over dramatises. Countertenor Iestyn Davies's almost disembodied account of Es ist vollbracht! (It is finished!) is unforgettable.” The Observer, 3rd March 2013

“the choral singing is wonderfully pure, buoyant and transparent...Ian Bostridge’s Evangelist, mannered and occasionally stretched but full of “narrative” character, dominates Layton’s performance” Financial Times, 9th March 2013 ***

“when Bach’s goal is mellifluous comfort, as in the final chorus, Ruht wohl, Polyphony wins hands down.” The Times, 15th March 2013 ****

“this new recording's credentials border on the unassailable...Layton's pacing is compelling - there's no mistaking the gambling fever as the soldiers cast lots for Christ's garment...[Neal Davies] reserves a melting tenderness for the utterances from the cross. It's crowned by Iestyn Davies's sublime account of 'Es ist vollbracht'...Both Carolyn Sampson's arias are priceless.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2013 ****

“this St John Passion brings to the fore the traits of style and taste that are distinguished hallmarks of Layton and the forces he gathers around him...Bostridge is the tenor Evangelist, eloquent, pure of tone, fluent and strong in communicating the import of the German narrative...The choir sings with a well-rounded sound, firm accents and with diction that brings the text crisply to life” The Telegraph, 22nd March 2013 *****

“about as state-of-the-art a Bach Passion recording as you'll hear...Take as read the urgency, clarity, balance and delamatory unanimity of the chorus...Layton's reality is about cultivating the focus of each sentiment with supreme corporate executancy...Bostridge is the master story-teller who surveys all about him.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2013

“it’s remarkable simply because it’s practically perfect in every way...though [Bostridge has] been singing the Passions for over a decade he still sounds as if he’s telling this familiar story for the first time...The soloists, too, are all perfectly cast...But it’s Iestyn Davies who really takes the laurels.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 18th February 2013

“Stephen Layton directs this intense, dramatic reading with intelligence and integrity, ably assisted by an excellent team of soloists...Layton’s small choir, Polyphony, responds alertly to the changing dramatic demands...The OAE plays with style and authority, and Hyperion’s recording is spacious, full, clear and detailed.” Early Music Today

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - May 2013

Hyperion - CDA67901/2

(CD - 2 discs)


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I was glad: Sacred Music by Stanford & Parry

I was glad: Sacred Music by Stanford & Parry



orch. Elgar

Blest Pair of Sirens

Te Deum (Coronation)

I was glad

version for 1911 Coronation


Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis in A, Op. 12

Evening Service (Magnificat & Nunc dimittis) in G major, Op. 81

Carolyn Sampson & David Wilson-Johnson

Magnificat and Nunc dimittis in B flat

Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis in C, Op. 115

The King’s Consort & Choir of The King’s Consort, Robert King

The King’s Consort celebrate their hundredth CD and the launch of their new classical label, VIVAT, with TKC’s largest recording in 15 years.

Huge period instrument orchestra gathered from fifteen nations, plus TKC’s award-winning choir, and world-class soloists including Carolyn Sampson and David Wilson-Johnson.

TKC records the glorious sacred ceremonial music of two of Britain’s greatest composers, Stanford and Parry.

First recordings on period instruments, including the four great Stanford canticle settings, heard in the composer’s lavish orchestrations (Stanford in G with radiant singing from Carolyn Sampson), Parry’s I was glad (restoring a long-missing section for the 1911 coronation), a magisterial performance of Blest pair of Sirens, the 1911 Coronation Te Deum and a stunning Jerusalem in Elgar’s vivid orchestration.

High quality documentation, first-rate engineering, lively promo video releasing Jan 2013 on YouTube and Vivat’s new website.

New editions of the four Stanford works parallel-published by Oxford University Press.

The first of a series of releases on TKC’s new VIVAT label.

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

“A brilliant new disc from the King’s Consort… It’s thrilling stuff” BBC Radio 3, 29th January 2013

“For the launch CD of its new label Vivat, The King’s Consort have delivered an undisputed spectacular...Suddenly, Stanford’s numerous Evening Canticles are heard to their full effect – radiant, Brahmsian exultations of faith, with unmistakable hints of Wagner witnessed in the thrill of the orchestral language...It’s a magnificent start for a potentially exciting new label.” The Scotsman, 3rd February 2013

“for me this is a simple “must have”. An excellent recording as well.” CD Review, 2nd February 2013

“it's splendid to have these recreations...clothed in their full orchestral colours with magnificent period brass...While the King's Consort Choir is not wholly cathedral-like, it's Elgar's version of Parry's Jerusalem, ending the disc in an unusually broad and eloquent performance from Robert King, that really hits home.” The Observer, 17th February 2013

“Using period instruments and a medium-sized professional choir pays huge dividends, and it’s as if layers of dirty brown varnish have been stripped away from these scores. Parry’s music emerges as the strongest, and I was glad is resplendent here...This is an impressive disc, well annotated and superbly recorded.” The Arts Desk, 23rd February 2013

“[I was glad] is given a performance in the atmosphere of a church rather than a cathedral but is no less dramatic in its vivid trumpet calls. Blest Pair of Sirens, Parry's other well-known motet, comes with biting attack.” Gramophone Magazine, March 2013

“vividly sung. The seraphic strains of Stanford in G are a welcome relief after the distinctly earthly thunder of Parry’s I Was Glad” Sunday Times, 3rd March 2013

“a revelation. In the opening Magnificat and Nunc dimittis in A by Stanford, the leanness of gut strings lends edge and urgency to the orchestral writing, which perfectly complements the punchy attack of the three dozen choral singers. There's not a trace here of Victorian self-satisfaction or stuffiness...This CD, full of incandescent, hugely committed music-making, will be an award-winner. You simply have to hear it.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2013 *****

“the composer’s own rarely-performed orchestrations blaze forth in all their glory, with an extra frisson provided by the use of instruments from the turn of the century...If you’re looking for definitive performances of the Parry or if you’ve always wanted to hear Stanford’s little gems in glorious technicolour then do give this a try!” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 28th January 2013

GGramophone Awards 2013

Finalist - Choral

BBC Music Magazine

Choral & Song Choice - April 2013

Vivat - VIVAT101



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Eriks Ešenvalds: Passion & Resurrection

Eriks Ešenvalds: Passion & Resurrection

& other choral music


Passion and Resurrection


Night Prayer: Mistress of night watching down on me

A Drop in the Ocean

Legend of the walled-in woman: Atje te ura në lumë 'There at the bridge o'er the river'

Long Road: I love you night and day

‘Rarely before have I sat in a concert hall and heard a new work that sounded so fresh yet so familiar … Ešenvalds Passion and Resurrection is surely set to become a classic, a position Hyperion’s forthcoming CD release of the work should consolidate’ (On an Overgrown Path).

The live performance last year of this major and substantial work by the young Latvian composer Ešenvalds thrilled critics and audiences alike. As a new liturgical work that looks set to enter the repertoire it is comparable to Arvo Pärt’s Passio.

Eschewing the single narrative perspective that characterizes the great Passion settings of the past, the composer has assembled an interlocking mosaic of texts from the gospels, from Byzantine and Roman liturgies, and from the Old Testament.

Stephen Layton’s commitment to new Baltic music is well-known and he has a deep understanding of the musical language of the area – reflected by performances of great integrity and passion. This recording is particularly splendid, featuring not only the matchless Polyphony and Britten Sinfonia but also Carolyn Sampson, acclaimed for her performances of early music on Hyperion but heard here to dazzling effect, crowning the performance with her extraordinary singing.

“Within seconds I knew I was going to adore this disc...everything here has in common a wonderful sincerity of expression and a shimmering sense of colour...If the music wasn't so utterly gorgeous, I would happily devote several hundred words to praising Stephen Layton for these totally absorbing performances.” International Record Review, March 2011

“The star is soprano Carolyn Sampson, whose rich timbre and effortless ascents into the stratosphere crown this splendid performance.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2011

“Ešenvalds responds to the purpose of the words he sets, occupying similar choral territory to the likes of Whitacre and Shchedrin, character rather than ego dominating. Carolyn Sampson is the featured guest on the title piece and sings superbly, but there is also very fine work by soloists from within Polyphony, particularly the sopranos...Polyphony typically balances beauty of timbre with precise articulation and empathy with the texts” BBC Music Magazine, May 2011 ****

Hyperion - CDA67796



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