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Carolyn Sampson

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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

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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

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Eriks Ešenvalds: Passion & Resurrection

Eriks Ešenvalds: Passion & Resurrection

& other choral music


Ešenvalds:

Passion and Resurrection

Evening

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 ****

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Mozart: Exsultate jubilate!

Mozart: Exsultate jubilate!


Mozart:

Regina coeli in C, K108

Vesperae Solennes de Confessore, K339: Laudate Dominum

Sub tuum praesidium, K198

Sancta Maria, mater Dei, K273

Exsultate, jubilate, K165

Agnus Dei (from Coronation Mass)

Vesperae solennes de Domenica, K321: Laudate Dominum

Regina coeli in B flat, K127


“Unreservedly recommended” BBC Music Magazine

“This is a sunny and unpretentious disc which deserves to be among the successes of the Mozart year” Gramophone Magazine

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Hyperion 30th Anniversary - CDA30012

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Handel - Neun deutsche Arien

Handel - Neun deutsche Arien


Handel:

Sonata in B flat major for oboe and continuo, HWV357

Sonata in C minor for oboe and continuo, HWV366, Op. 1 No. 8

Oboe Sonata in F major, HWV 363a

Neun deutsche Arien, HWV202-210


Carolyn Sampson (soprano) & Alexandra Bellamy (oboe)

The King’s Consort

“…Handel's Nine German Arias are devotional music at its most beguiling and hedonistic. With her pure, luminous tone, graceful sense of phrase and discerning musicality, Carolyn Sampson gives enchanting performances of music that is essentially about enchantment.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2007

“Carolyn Sampson sings with effortless ease, the reward for superb vocal technique. She generates a lovely warmth in tone to colour individual syllables while retaining a gloriously flowing musical line. No less a delight… are three oboe sonatas. Alexandra Bellamy plays them with alluring simplicity. Her tone is something quite special, supple and warm, and fluent when fast movements demand it - a real find.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2007 ****

“as fresh as it is tonally beautiful” Penguin Guide, 2011 edition

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Monteverdi - Vespers

Monteverdi - Vespers


Monteverdi:

Vespro della beata Vergine (1610)

Missa 'In illo tempore' (1610)


Carolyn Sampson, Rebecca Outram, Daniel Auchincloss & Nicholas Mulroy

The King’s Consort, Robert King

A dazzling array of soloists join King - his choir and orchestra on top form - in presenting this new recording of a true masterpiece to the world: a project made possible by the generosity of all the many hundreds of people who donated to Hyperion’s appeal for recording funds in 2005.

“More than any other version, this one sounds like its director has set out to enjoy himself and forget the musicological baggage. Gleefully choral and revelling in presenting the Vespers as a work of splendour, it benefits from some strong solo singing (notably from Charles Daniels and James Gilchrist)” Gramophone Magazine, June 2010

“Despite four wonderful volumes of Monteverdi's sacred music from The King's Consort, nothing will prepare you for the ecstatic consequences of taking seriously at least one aspect of Monteverdi's so-called seconda pratica – using much freer counterpoint, with an increasing hierarchy of voices: that the word is mistress of the music. And what ecstasy! Never mind the majestic opening psalm: just listen to the eloquent gestures in the 'Dixit Dominus', which range from the declamatory to the reticent with astonishing flexibility. Or the freedom and delicacy of tenor James Gilchrist in the 'Nigra sum', equally matched by the fragile spaciousness of Caroline Sampson's and Rebecca Outram's 'Pulchra es'.
Spaciousness soon loses its fragility in the propulsive 'Nisi Dominus' and the 'Lauda Jerusalem' with its luxuriant finale. And although the 'Sonata sopra Sancta Maria' is still preferable with a solo soprano line, its instrumental variations are here dispatched with such fluency it's hard not to be won over; the 'Ave maris stella' is similarly eloquent.
The second disc includes equally superb performances of the alternative six-voice Magnificat and the Missa In illo tempore.
The cumulative effect here is of a dazzling chiaroscuro that Monteverdi surely would have recognised. With its use of full choir, King's recording has room to manoeuvre – which gives the imagination more room to take flight.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“The majesty and the ecstasy - King's forces are glorious in Monteverdi… Never mind the majestic opening psalm: just listen to the eloquent gestures in the 'Dixit Dominus', which range from the declamatory to the reticent with astonishing flexibility. Or the freedom and delicacy of tenor James Gilchrist in the 'Nigra sum', equally matched by the fragile spaciousness of Caroline Sampson's and Rebecca Outram's 'Pulchra es'.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2006

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - June 2006

Building a Library

First Choice - April 2007

Building a Library

First Choice - December 2010

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Hyperion Monteverdi Sacred Music - CDA67531/2

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Michael Haydn: Requiem

Michael Haydn: Requiem


Haydn, M:

Requiem in C minor pro defuncto Archiepiscopo Sigismundo, MH 155

Missa in honorem Sanctae Ursulae, MH 546 'Chiemsee-Messe'


Carolyn Sampson (soprano), Hilary Summers (alto), James Gilchrist (tenor), Peter Harvey (bass)

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

“Robert King suggests that Michael Haydn's Requiem of 1771 for the Archbishop-Prince of Salzburg reflects a personal outpouring of grief for the loss of Haydn's beloved patron and the recent death of his infant daughter. The fervent expressions of grief, consolation and hope must have made some impression on the 15-year-old Mozart. A comparison with Mozart's Requiem setting of 20 years later is inevitable: Haydn didn't give his solo quartet anything that compares with the immediacy of Mozart's 'Tuba mirum', but the older man's masterful choral writing, brilliant orchestral scoring and sensitive use of solo voices created plenty of musical riches and dramatic moods, such as the brooding Kyrie and the bursting energy of the 'Dies irae'.
The quartet of soloists is impeccable; the choir and orchestra of The King's Consort prove to be increasingly assured and dynamic with each recording released. Robert King's measured and emphatic direction makes it easy to appreciate why the Requiem was performed at his brother Joseph's funeral in 1809.
His interpretation of the sunnier, extrovert Missa in honorem Sanctae Ursulae (1793) helps the music to sound natural and spontaneous. In some respects the Mass is an even finer composition, full of charismatic and inventive musical charms (it's worth buying for Carolyn Sampson's ravishing 'Benedictus' alone).
Anybody who enjoys the choral works of Mozart and Joseph Haydn will be delighted by this double-disc set, and will probably concur that Michael Haydn's neglect in the shadow of his younger friend and older brother is substantially corrected by these exquisite performances.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“A quality quartet of soloists, led by the vernal soprano of Carolyn Sampson.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2006

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - June 2005

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Monteverdi - The Sacred Music 3

Monteverdi - The Sacred Music 3


Monteverdi:

Dixit Dominus II

Sancta Maria a 2 e B.c.

Lauda, Jerusalem, Dominum I

Memento Domine David

Confitebor tibi III alla francese

Christe, adoramus te

Salve Regina II a 2 voci, due Tenore

Nisi Dominus I à 3 voci & duoi violini

Cantate Domino a 6 voci (1620)

Ecce sacrum paratum a voce sola e B.c.

Gloria in excelsis Deo à 7 voci


Carolyn Sampson, Rebecca Outram (sopranos), Daniel Auchincloss, Rogers Covey-Crump (high tenors), Charles Daniels, James Gilchrist (tenors), Peter Harvey, Robert Evans (basses)

The King’s Consort, Robert King

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Hyperion Monteverdi Sacred Music - CDA67487

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Handel: Ode for St Cecilia's Day

Handel: Ode for St Cecilia's Day


Handel:

Ode for St Cecilia's Day, HWV76

Cecilia, volgi un sguardo HWV89


Carolyn Sampson (soprano) & James Gilchrist (tenor)

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

“This completes the series of recordings exploring the smaller works Handel inserted into his glorious setting of Dryden's Alexander's Feast. Robert King has previously recorded The Choice of Hercules, which was created for the 1751 revival. The tenor cantata Look down, harmonious Saint was intended as the interlude for the original run in 1736, but was rejected in favour of Cecilia, volgi un sguardo.
It's a splendid idea to pair this seldom-heard Italian cantata with Dryden's sublime Ode for StCecilia's Day that Handel created to fulfil the same function three years later.
This is a mouth-watering performance of Handel's colourfully gorgeous ode. 'The trumpets' loud clangour' features Crispian Steele-Perkins on fine form, flautist Rachel Brown enchants in 'The soft complaining flute', and Jonathan Cohen's cello solo in 'What passion cannot Music raise and quell!' is sweetly inspired. The King's Consort and Choir perform with perfect juxtaposition of flamboyance and taste. James Gilchrist sings with authority: he's a Handel tenor of the highest order.
This recording is in a class of its own when it comes to the seemingly effortless, beautiful singing of Carolyn Sampson, now the best British early music soprano by quite some distance.
She's sensitively partnered by organist Matthew Halls in the sublime 'But oh! what art can teach', which has a breathtaking poignancy. Notwithstanding many agreeable past achievements, King has seldom produced a disc of such outstanding conviction.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“This is a mouth-watering performance of Handel’s colourfully gorgeous ode … the recording is in a class of its own when it comes to the seemingly effortless, beautiful singing of Carolyn Sampson, now the best British early music soprano by quite some distance … notwithstanding many agreeable past achievements, King has seldom produced a disc of such outstanding conviction” Gramophone Magazine

GGramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - Awards Issue 2004

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Monteverdi - The Sacred Music 2

Monteverdi - The Sacred Music 2


Monteverdi:

Exultent caeli

Venite, siccientes

Currite populi

Ego dormio

Messa a 4 voci da Cappella (1650)

Cantate Domino a 2 voci (1615)

O beatae viae

Laudate Dominum

Laetaniae della Beata Vergine a 6 voci


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Hyperion Monteverdi Sacred Music - CDA67438

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