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Cantatas (sacred) - Released April 21, 2017 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
The three Bach cantatas presented on this album belong to the composer’s Weimar period (where he lived and worked from 1708 to 1717), written between 1711 and 1714. Bach was still a young composer then, but the full body of his artistry is already present, and one can but shake the head in disbelief: where did the fellow find the source of such intense emotion, such harmonic and melodic boldness? The beginning of "Weichet nur, betrübte Schatten" ("Yield now, troubling shadows") unfolds a succession of harmonies which seem to have no logical link with each other, some kind of non-tonality – this being the way the composer describes in music the aforementioned lugubrious shadows. Arias alternately heartbreaking and tender, instrumental inventiveness, you name it, Bach has it. Soprano Carolyn Sampson, accompanied by the Freiburger Barockorchester (together with baritone Andreas Wolf for the cantata "Tritt auf die Glaubensbahn"), lends her voice with dedication to the music, combining the teachings of historically informed performance with a solid sense of emotion, indispensable for such masterpieces. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released September 15, 2017 | BIS

Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Mélodies (French) - Released October 7, 2016 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Classical - Released April 7, 2015 | BIS

Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
Nearly everyone who has listened to Baroque vocal music in the 21st century knows the name and voice of British soprano Carolyn Sampson, so many will be surprised to learn that this is her debut solo recital album. Replicating a concert program Sampson has often performed with pianist Joseph Middleton, it is here recorded in sublimely accurate SACD sound at Suffolk's Potton Hall. Song aficionados may enjoy trying to deduce the structure of the program from the plain track listing on the CD's back cover: clearly the theme is flowers, but how are the 24 tracks subdivided after the initial group that's all about roses? After this is a group of Richard Strauss songs titled "Strauss's Flowermaidens," and then a highly original grouping of Schumann and Schubert songs on the theme "When blooms speak." Finally there's "Un bouquet française," a diverse collection of French songs from the 19th and early 20th centuries. As it happens, Sampson is as effective in this Romantic and early modern repertory as she is in Handel and Bach. She inhabits all three languages effectively, and the program hangs together very well: most of the material is on the sadder side and doesn't go much beyond medium tempo (there is no Heidenröslein or anything like it). The music is affecting, the singer confident, the accompanist (who had a big hand in devising the program) sensitive, and the engineering superb. A highly recommended recital.
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Classical - Released August 1, 2007 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet
The young English soprano Carolyn Sampson has been heard in ensemble recordings of music by Bach, Handel, and Monteverdi, among other mostly Baroque composers. In Purcell's songs, many drawn from otherwise forgotten theatrical productions, she has strong competition from Emma Kirkby, among other British stalwarts, but she stands up to them and more and she's on her way to becoming a major star. Her voice is not really large, but the occasional little explosions written into Purcell's scores show the power she keeps in reserve and her skill at working within chamber dimensions. She uses a plain, vibratoless tone just up to the edge, where you wonder what's coming next, and then slides into extremely agile decorations and ornaments, which would be mostly improvised in this repertory. Best of all is her dramatic sense for this music -- each track involves not just a melody but a theatrical character, and she is funny, flirtatious, passionate, humorous, and despondent in turn. The small continuo group, especially the unusually active harpsichord of Laurence Cummings, is notable for its sensitivity to Sampson's readings; this was no pickup group, or even historical-performance all-star group, but performers who obviously worked hard on creating unified interpretations. The BIS engineers can take home the triple crown for this disc. They bring the microphones up close and create an unresonant, chamber-theater sound that's right for Purcell (even if a church was the recording location), catching all the detail of the instrumental playing but none of the wheezing and instrument-scratching that bedevils so many recordings of this type. Anglophones will be able to understand every word Sampson sings, and perhaps the only complaint here is that the readers of the German and French booklet notes might also wish they had text translations as they're the only ones who might need the texts in the first place. An absolute delectation.
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Classical - Released March 1, 2006 | BIS

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Classical - Released October 1, 2004 | BIS

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Classical - Released March 24, 2017 | Glossa

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Classical - Released March 1, 2013 | VIVAT

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Classical - Released March 1, 2006 | BIS

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