Carolyn Sampson

Soprano

Carolyn Sampson

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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

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - December 2016

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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 ****

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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.

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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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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.

“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 ****

“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 ****

“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

“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 ****

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Bach - Secular Cantatas VI

Bach - Secular Cantatas VI


Bach, J S:

Psalm 51 from Pergolesi's Stabat Mater BWV1083 'Tilge, Höchster meine Sünden'

Cantata BWV53 'Schlage doch, gewünschte Stunde'

Cantata BWV198 'Laß, Fürstin, laß noch einen Strahl' (Trauerode)


Carolyn Sampson (soprano), Joanne Lunn (soprano), Robin Blaze (counter-tenor), Gerd Türk (tenor) & Dominik Wörner (bass)

Bach Collegium Japan, Masaaki Suzuki

Although Bach's sacred cantatas span a huge expressive range and display a striking stylistic diversity, they were all composed for church service. In the case of the secular cantatas, on the other hand, their respective purpose is as varied as their subject matter and emotional content. They were usually commissions intended for occasions such as weddings, funerals and birthdays. As such they were sometimes performed in churches, and some of them have religious texts, but as the works gathered here show, they were not related to the particular theme of the church service on a certain day. The cantata BWV 198, often called the Trauerode (funeral ode) was performed at an imposing ceremony in Leipzig's Paulinerkirche in 1727, held in order to mark the passing of Christiane Eberhardine, wife of Augustus the Strong, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland. Compared to BWV 198, the circumstances surrounding Tilge, Höchster, meine Sünden, BWV 1083, are far more uncertain: why Bach at a late stage in his life (around 1746) decided to make an arrangement of Pergolesi's famous Stabat mater isn't known. In the case of the Pergolesi arrangement, the text is religious – a German paraphrase of the penitential Psalm 51 replaces the medieval sequence about Mary mourning Christ at the cross – but the work doesn't seem to have had any liturgical purpose.

“Bach Collegium Japan produce a delectable vision in quasi-Passion clothes…the choruses captivatingly detailed, luminous and with just enough galant accentuation…Suzuki delivers a captivating narrative of sadness leading seamlessly and reassuringly to idealism” Gramophone Magazine, May 2016

Building a Library

Also Recommended - June 2016

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Stravinsky: Les Noces, Mass & Cantata

Stravinsky: Les Noces, Mass & Cantata


Stravinsky:

Les Noces

Mass

Cantata


Carolyn Sampson (soprano), Susan Parry, Jan Kobow, Vsevolod Grivnov & Maxim Mikhailov

RIAS Kammerchor & musikFabrik, Daniel Reuss

This tribute to Stravinsky at his finest from the combined talents of the RIAS Kammerchor and MusikFabrik, includes the extraordinary, pioneering 'Les Noces' which took Stravinsky more than ten years to complete, plus the 'Mass' of 1948 and the 'Cantata' of 1952.

“The Chamber Choir's pitches are true and focused, rhythms crisp, textures clean, and in the jubilant wedding cantata-ballet Les noces that marked the culmination of Stravinsky's early Russian period there is a clear and spacious sound balance with its accompanying ensemble of four pianos and percussion.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2006 ***

“a feeling of rhythmic joy is what makes this new performance so exhilarating. The performance is terrific, directed with superb exuberance by Daniel Reuss... Why is the Mass not better known? It too has an archaic feeling but it is wonderfully lyrical and inspired. The performances are all marvellous: who would have expected to hear Carolyn Sampson singing Stravinsky? This record is not to be missed.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2006

“a joy, MusikFabrik's four pianists and six percussionists produce an electrifying sound, as do the impeccable RIAS Kammerchor, the silver-toned soprano Carolyn Sampson, and mezzo Susan Parry, whose maudlin mother-ofthe- bride is superb…Jan Kobow's Cantus Cancrizans is riveting.” The Independent on Sunday

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JS Bach: Magnificat & Christmas Cantata

JS Bach: Magnificat & Christmas Cantata


Bach, J S:

Cantata BWV63 'Christen, aetzet diesen Tag'

Magnificat in E flat major, BWV243a


Philippe Herreweghe and Collegium Vocale Gent, revisit the festival of Christmas as it was celebrated in Leipzig under the direction of Bach himself. A highlight of the programme is the original version of the celebrated 'Magnificat' with four extra movements . . .

“The soloists excel; the music-making is robust yet yielding - Happy Christmas indeed!” BBC Music Magazine, Awards Issue 2015 *****

“BWV 63 is surely the most celebratory of Bach’s Christmas cantatas, and I love the way Herreweghe embraces this, revelling in the ebullience and producing something that pulses with life. Much of the comes from the performances of the choir, so rounded, mellow and homogenous that it sounds as though this music was made for them.” MusicWeb International, May 2015

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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.

Linn ECHO - BKD373

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Rameau: Les Fêtes de l'Hymen et de l'Amour, ou Les Dieux d'Égypte

Rameau: Les Fêtes de l'Hymen et de l'Amour, ou Les Dieux d'Égypte

World Premiere Recording


Carolyn Sampson, Chantal Santon-Jeffery, Blandine Staskiewicz (sopranos), Jennifer Borghi (alto), Reinoud Van Mechelen, Mathias Vidal (countertenors), Tassis Christoyannis, Alain Buet (basses)

Le Concert Spirituel, Hervé Niquet

The latest in Hervé Niquet's 'reinvigorations' of French operatic music from the Baroque and beyond for Glossa is Rameau’s 1747 'Les Fêtes de l’Hymen et de l’Amour'. A ballet heroïque in a prologue and three entrées, the whole work was designed to comprise a complete theatrical spectacle. Music for dancing – as befits a ballet – is given a prominent role and Rameau is able to create especially expressive symphonies and to give the choruses – even a double-chorus – an integral role in the action. Added to this are supernatural effects, and plots for the entrées which explored the then uncommon world of Egyptian mythology (including a musical depiction of the flooding of the River Nile). In his vocal music Rameau deftly switches between Italianate style and the French mode, current in the mid-18th century, allowing the distinguished team of vocal soloists to demonstrate their accomplished talents. Overseen by the Centre de musique baroque de Versailles, and with booklet notes from Thomas Soury, this new recording is an important addition to the Rameau catalogue – the more so in the 250th anniversary year of the composer’s death. It brings to life one of Rameau’s finer, if underrated, compositions, and a dramatic work written on the cusp of important reforms in opera.

“The singing is buoyant, the playing of Le Concert Spirituel under Hervé Niquet affectionate and uplifting – one of the more imaginative tributes for the composer’s 350th anniversary year.” Financial Times, 4th October 2014 ****

“Few ensembles do French baroque as well as Le Concert Spirituel with their conductor Hervé Niquet. There’s a real understanding here of the innate sexiness of this music. The orchestral and choral sound is wonderfully rich without ever turning pompous.” The Guardian, 8th October 2014 ****

“The story is sophisticated light entertainment. The music, however, is first-rate and stylishly performed by Niquet, his solo team and the band’s players and chorus.” Sunday Times, 12th October 2014

“the performances are so, so fresh and so present.” CD Review, 18th October 2014

“[Santon's] gleaming tone and smoothly flowing emission are rewardingly dulcifying...[Vidal] produces a clean, focused sound, lightish when singing A Pleasure in the Prologue and tonally fuller as Arueris...[Chrystoyannis's] baritone brings a different colour and range from what has gone before...Niquet appears to strike sensible tempos.” International Record Review, December 2014

“The solo writing ranges from recitative to da capo arias; the delightful orchestration includes independent bassoon parts. Apart from a backward harpsichord continuo, the recording is excellent. And, oh yes, so are the singing and playing.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2014

“There is some superb singing here, particularly from soprano Chantal Santon-Jeffery, high tenors Mathias Vidal and Reinoud Van Mechelen, and bass Tassis Christoyannis...Le Concert Spirituel does an outstanding job with the sumptuous score and its beguiling stream of song, speech and dance.” Early Music Today

“The music, with Rameau very much in his prime, matches the spectacle and drama...While Herve Niquet's musical direction is generally and excellently consistent, this performance is by no means perfect...But the recorded sound is good and this rarity certainly repays attention.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2015 ****

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Glossa - GCD921629

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