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Monteverdi: Madrigals of Love and Loss

Monteverdi: Madrigals of Love and Loss


Merula:

Ciaccona

Monteverdi:

Volgendo il ciel (Ballo ‘Movete')

Thomas Walker (tenor)

Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda

James Gilchrist (tenor)

Or che’l ciel e la terra

Ohimè, dov'è il mio ben (Book 7)

Katherine Watson (soprano) & Anna Dennis (soprano)

Zefiro torna

Ohimè il bel viso (Book 6)

Sestina - Lagrimae d'Amante al sepolero dell'amata


Gramophone Award-winning ensemble Arcangelo (in their first recording as a vocal and instrumental group) presents a selection from Monteverdi’s last three books of madrigals. These ardent and passionate works are microcosms of Monteverdi’s great operas, and among his most celebrated music.

Most of the madrigals of Book 6 (1614) are songs of parting and loss. Book 7 (1619) is entitled Concerto, meaning that all the works it contains require instrumental accompaniment. And Book 8 (1638) introduces the genere concitato—the ‘agitated’ manner that Monteverdi devised to convey the emotions of war, whether physical or psychological. Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda sets an extended passage from Tasso’s epic poem Gerusalemme liberata. Tasso’s text, set in the time of the first crusade, tells of the combat between the Christian knight Tancredi and the Saracen maiden Clorinda. Most of the action of the Combattimento is conveyed by a narrator (Testo—the text), sung here by celebrated tenor James Gilchrist.

“All of Cohen's singers come from the world of opera, and it shows in performances that place the drama of le parole to the fore...But among so much vocal athleticism, it's still the instrumentalists that dominate...Arcangelo's musicians deploy rough-edged expressive risk-taking within a framework of complete stylistic control.” Gramophone Magazine, March 2014

“The first impression given by the opening track on this disc is of enormous energy and breadth. There is some superb singing from the assured and polished tenor Thomas Walker, while even more impressive is the remarkably full-bodied sound and glorious instrumental textures from the dozen players” International Record Review, March 2014

“These are not easy pieces, but the opening ballet swings along with panache, and there is some excellent tenor solo singing in the first section.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2014 ****

“Of the two emotional foci of the disc, the Combattimento and the Sestina, the former is the more draining listening, thanks to the thrilling, visceral singing of James Gilchrist, in whose narration is summoned up every sword clash, every colour of the night, and almost every exhausted breath. I can’t imagine better performances of the middle-of-the- programme madrigals.” Early Music Today

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Handel - Chandos Anthems Nos. 7, 9 & 11

Handel - Chandos Anthems Nos. 7, 9 & 11


Handel:

Chandos Anthem No. 9 ' O praise the Lord with one consent', HWV 254

Chandos Anthem No. 11 'Let God arise', HWV 256a

Chandos Anthem No. 7 'My song shall be always', HWV 252


In a year of Handel celebration and many new recordings, this is a welcome addition to the discography. Stephen Layton, the Academy of Ancient Music, the Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge, and a stellar group of soloists—in fact, the best in solo Handel singing that this country has to offer—present a disc of three of the Chandos anthems which is sure to achieve the same critical and public acclaim as the recent Dettingen Te Deum from Trinity.

Here we have the composer at his most English and most gently appealing. Written for the musical establishment of the first Duke of Chandos, these anthems set texts taken from the Psalms, mainly the old version of the Psalter as preserved in the Book of Common Prayer, but also the metrical versions of Nahum Tate and Nicholas Brady, first published in 1696. The anthems have no direct models in English church music, but follow the form used by Handel for his Latin psalm settings, with a mixture of movements for solo voices and choruses. The expressive range of the solos is remarkable, and in the choruses Handel seizes every opportunity to create grand effects with modest means.

“Layton never over-inflates the music but rather invigorates it through carefully detonated points of detail: the explosive choral entry which cuts the polite bluster introducing 'Let God Arise' is a good example.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2009 ****

“…the 40 members of the Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge, sing with flexibility and lightness. The opening chorus of O praise the Lord with one consent is crisply articulate and lightly shaped, and consonants are attacked with voracity. The four illustrious soloists excel in numerous short movements. It is enjoyable to hear some of Handel's lesser-known and more intimate English church music performed with such elegant restraint and skill.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2009

“The choir sings with their usual purity of tone and clear diction while the Academy of Ancient Music plays with convincing vigour in the sprightly double-dotted passages.” The Observer, 17th May 2009

“The choir’s firm tone and tightly disciplined singing, coupled with the Academy’s polished ensemble and phrasing, are a considerable improvement on The Sixteen and O’Reilly’s sometimes raw and slightly untidy performances” International Record Review

“Here are three of the 11 so-called ChandosAnthems composed for James Brydges, the Earl of Carnarvon (from 1719 the First Duke of Chandos). Handel's music was tailor-made for fewer performers than those featured here. Nevertheless, the 40 members of the Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge, sing with flexibility and lightness. The opening chorus of O praise theLord with one consent is crisply articulate and lightly shaped, and consonants are attacked with voracity. Most of the choral contributions have sweetness and delicacy. Stephen Layton lets the performers off the leash a little in the final pealing 'Alleluia' sections of each anthem, and in some dynamic passages of Let God arise, based on Dixit Dominus. The Academy of Ancient Music's playing is often understated, and the introductory sonatas of Let God arise and My song shall bealway feature convivial oboe solos played by Katharina Spreckelsen. The four illustrious soloists excel in numerous short movements.
Iestyn Davies navigates some difficult low passages in 'Praise him, all ye that in his house' (HWV254) without traces of strain. Neal Davies is authoritative, James Gilchrist is on fine dramatic form in 'Like as the smoke vanisheth' (HWV256a), and Emma Kirkby shows her stylistic intelligence and masterful communication of text in the radiant opening of HWV252. It is enjoyable to hear some of Handel's lesserknown and more intimate English church music performed with such elegant restraint and skill.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“The ten undergraduate sopranos here sing with charm, clarity and a bright tone that never strays into faux-treble territory, and their flexibility in this often very florid music is impressive...Vocal soloists are uniformly splendid. Thomas Hobbs has the lion’s share of the solo duties, and rises to the challenge with consistently beautiful tone and easy agility.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 8th July 2013

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Romantic Residues

Romantic Residues

Songs for tenor and harp


Britten:

Down by the Salley Gardens

O Waly, Waly

Bugeilio’r Gwenith Gwyn (Watching the Wheat)

David of the White Rock

Fauré:

Morceau de concours

Ravel:

Cinq mélodies populaires grecques

Roth, A:

From California

Romantic Residues

Saint-Saëns:

Une flûte invisible

Skempton:

Three Songs for Jennie

Tournier:

La Lettre du jardinier


James Gilchrist (tenor), Alison Nicholls (harp) & Jaime Martin (flute)

James Gilchrist is one of the finest British tenors of today, acclaimed as a concert soloist, a recitalist and a recording artist, each latest event eliciting more rapturous comments from critics and audience alike. In his first solo disc for Hyperion, he features in a fascinating recital of English, French and American music for tenor, harp and flute.

What do we remember of our past romantic encounters? This is the theme of ‘Romantic Residues’, the opening section of Vikram Seth’s collection of verse All You Who Sleep Tonight, first published in 1990. There are nine poems in all, varying widely in content and mood—from the light and whimsical to the melancholy and dark. The songs were commissioned by the Bury St Edmunds Festival and composed for James Gilchrist and Alison Nicholls who gave the first performance. This charming, impeccably-performed collection of morceaux and mélodies also includes works by Britten, Saint-Saëns, Ravel and Fauré.

“[Gilchrist] is now unsurpassed among lyric tenors in sweetness and technical security, and for his musical intelligence” The Independent

“Repeated hearings may harm the artful simplicity of the title cycle by Alec Roth, but the Britten folk-song settings should never die. If Gilchrist’s French is too muscular overall, he tiptoes delicately through the final song by Marcel Tournier.” The Times, 8th August 2008 ***

“James Gilchrist is one of the most expressive tenors of the day, his timbre soft-grained, his diction immaculate, his lack of mannerism gratifying and his choice of repertory, on this disc of songs and song cycles with harp, interesting.” Sunday Times, 10th August 2008 ***

“…an interesting and intelligent singer, well served by his distinguished accompanists.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2008 ****

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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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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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Monteverdi - The Sacred Music 1

Monteverdi - The Sacred Music 1


Monteverdi:

Dixit Dominus Primo à 8 voci concertato

Confitebor Primo à 3 voci con 5 altre voci ne ripieni

Beatus vir (from Selva Morale e Spirituali)

Laudate pueri Primo à 5 concertato

Laudate Dominum omnes gentes à 5 concertato

Christe redemptor omnium 'Himnus unius Martyris'

Magnificat Primo à 8 voci

Messa a 4 voci da Cappella from Selva morale e spirituale (1640)


Carolyn Sampson, Rebecca Outram (sopranos), Roger Covey-Crump, Nicholas Mulroy, Daniel Auchincloss (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 - CDA67428

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Monteverdi - The Sacred Music 2

Monteverdi - The Sacred Music 2


Monteverdi:

Exultent caeli

à 5

Venite, siccientes

à 2

Currite populi

à voce sola e B.c

Ego dormio

à 2 voci e B.c.

Messa a 4 voci da Cappella (1650)

da Cappella

Cantate Domino a 2 voci (1615)

à 2

O beatae viae

à 2 voci

Laudate Dominum

Basso solo

Laetaniae della Beata Vergine a 6 voci


Carolyn Sampson, Rebecca Outram (sopranos), Rogers Covey-Crump, Charles Daniels, James Gilchrist (tenors), Peter Harvey (bass)

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

“... there are joys here to melt icebergs ... I want Volume 3 immediately” The Times

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

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Bach, J S: Christmas Oratorio, BWV248

Bach, J S: Christmas Oratorio, BWV248


Stephen Layton and the combined forces of Trinity College Choir Cambridge, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and an impressive line-up of soloists present a joyous rendition of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. This six-part masterpiece covers the events of the nativity to Epiphany and beautifully evokes the pastoral atmosphere of the Gospels which is such an important part of the Christmas liturgy.

James Gilchrist has become one of the most admired Evangelists performing today, his limpid, flexible tone and great musicianship bringing the stories thrillingly to life.

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

“the playing of the OAE brings great distinction to this recording...Right from the opening chorus of Cantata I one notes clarity and vigour in [the choir's] singing...Gilchrist is an admirable choice as the Evangelist...I found his narration beautifully nuanced, sensitive and characterful...This stylish and committed performance is one that renews again one’s awe at the genius of Bach.” MusicWeb International, 8th November 2013

“the 38 mixed voices of Trinity College Choir [are] very well trained, especially in matters of firm text enunciation...the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment sounds thoroughly at home (David Blackadder gives a very suave trumpet solo in 'Grosser Herr'), and Stephen Layton conducts with care and expertise.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2013

“The fact that the music seems to course through the very veins of the singers and players, not to mention Layton himself, is one of the qualities that make this Christmas Oratorio such a telling, affecting and inspiring experience, judiciously balancing jubilation, devotion and contemplation.” The Telegraph, 28th November 2013 *****

“Layton unwraps it with all due festive pomp and circumstance...In a work incontestably smitten with the alto voice, Iestyn Davies triumphs...Gilchrist's relaxed and lyrical Evangelist maintains the narrative flow...Crisp choral singing and exquisite accompaniment, this is a decidedly welcome addition to anyone's Christmas stocking.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas Issue 2013 ****

“Layton and his orchestral players begin with tremendous verve, but there is infinite variety in this seasoned Bach conductor’s trajectory of the six cantatas with the lively, mixed-voice Trinity choir — singing in excellent German — and elite British soloists...Gilchrist’s Evangelist here could hardly be bettered among his compatriots, incisively declaimed and subtly nuanced.” Sunday Times, 22nd December 2013

“There’s a real sense of jubilation right from the opening chorus; the young mixed-voice choir sing with verve and immaculately crisp diction, and the chorales are phrased with tender loving care...The soloists are also top-drawer...Davies’s limpid alto arias are simply some of the finest accounts on disc.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, 2nd December 2013

“An enthralling disc...I was most impressed with the soloists, particularly James Gilchrist’s eloquent Evangelist and Matthew Brook’s resonant bass, and by some brilliant playing from the OAE – their exultant trumpets and timpani open and close the oratorio in a blaze of festive jubilation.” Early Music Today

Presto Disc of the Week

2nd December 2013

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