Carolyn Sampson

Soprano

Carolyn Sampson

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Carolyn Sampson: Fleurs

Carolyn Sampson: Fleurs


Boulanger, L:

Les lilas qui avaient fleuri

Britten:

The Nightingale and the Rose

Chabrier:

Toutes les fleurs

Debussy:

De fleurs

Fauré:

Le papillon et la fleur, Op. 1 No. 1

Fleur jetée, Op. 39 No. 2

Les roses d'Ispahan Op. 39 No. 4

Gounod:

Le temps des roses

Hahn, R:

Offrande

Poulenc:

Fleurs

Purcell:

Sweeter than Roses (from Pausanius, the Betrayer of his Country, Z585)

Quilter:

Damask Roses

Schubert:

Im Haine, D738

Die Blumensprache D519 (Platner)

Schumann:

Schneeglöckchen, Op. 79 No. 26

Die Blume der Ergebung Op. 83 No. 2 (Friedrich Rückert)

Jasminenstrauch Op. 27 No. 4 (Friedrich Rückert)

Meine Rose, Op. 90 No. 2

Röselein, Röselein! Op. 89 No. 6 ('Wielfried von der Neun')

Strauss, R:

Mädchenblumen (4 songs), Op. 22

Das Rosenband, Op. 36 No. 1


Carolyn Sampson (soprano) & Joseph Middleton (piano)

Carolyn Sampson has enjoyed notable successes worldwide in repertoire ranging from the early baroque to the present day, in opera and concert as well as on disc. Nevertheless, the present recording is, as she writes in a personal introduction in the CD booklet, something of a début – her first recital disc of songs with piano. When choosing the repertoire, she collaborated closely with her pianist, Joseph Middleton and together they have devised a garland of flowers: settings of poems on a floral theme in Russian, English, French and German. Just as flowers themselves are used to convey affection or regret, and are symbols of celebration as well as bereavement, the selected songs represent a great diversity, through their different musical styles and affects. Scintillating exuberance, as in Fauré’s youthful Le papillon et la fleur, and intimate delicacy (Schumann: Schneeglöckchen) alternate with the ethereal mystique of Richard Strauss’s Wasserrose and the sad resignation which infuses Britten’s setting of Alexander Pushkin’s poem Solovej i roza, depicting the unrequited love of a nightingale for a rose. There are even threatening moments, as in De fleurs, Debussy’s setting of his own, Baudelairean text, in which violet irises and sickly white lilies languish in a stifling hothouse atmosphere. But as Carolyn Sampson and Joseph Middleton sum it up in the closing song of the disc, Chabrier’s Toutes les fleurs, we do adore them all, be they mimosa, jasmine, lilies-of-the-valley, marigolds, corn-flowers, cyclamen…

“A sweetly scented posy, this...Perfect, too, for all who love Sampson's fragrant, light-filled, warmly communicative soprano. Surprisingly, this is her sollo recital debut on disc. The bouquet was Joseph Middleton's idea, and his fluent and always idiomatic playing accompanies Sampson with glee and grace throughout.” BBC Music Magazine, Awards Issue 2015 ****

“Always a lovely Baroque singer, Sampson vividly suggests the mounting erotic excitement of 'Sweeter than roses'...But with hints of deeper colours in her vernal soprano, she is hardly less persuasive in Romantic songs...Middleton creates limpid, luminous textures...an imaginatively planned, beautifully executed recital that charms and touches by turns.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2015

GGramophone Awards 2015

Finalist - Solo Vocal

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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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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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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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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


Carolyn Sampson, Marianne Beate Kielland, Makato Sakurada, Christian Immler

Bach Collegium Japan, Masaki Suzuki

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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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 ****

Presto Discs of 2014

Finalist

Glossa - GCD921629

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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

Finalist

GGramophone Awards 2015

Winner - Recital

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2014

Hyperion - CDA68035

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Poulenc: Stabat mater

Poulenc: Stabat mater


Poulenc:

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

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Hommage à Trois

Hommage à Trois


Cimarosa:

Il maestro di cappella: excerpts

Haydn:

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)

Mozart:

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)


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 ***

“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 *****

“ 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 ****

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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

Presto Disc of the Week

18th February 2013

Presto Favourites

Recommended Recording

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - May 2013

Hyperion - CDA67901/2

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