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Three further tracks struck me with particular force (others will doubtless discover similar highlights); they are Music for a while (from Oedipus, 1692?), Thrice happy lovers (from The Fairy Queen, 1693) and O Solitude (from The Theater of Music, 1687).

The first of these selections (above) pictures one of the Furies, Alecto (a female personification of vengeance), capable of 'freeing the dead from their eternal bands'. In order to depict snakes dropping from Alecto's head, Purcell penned music of transforming sublimity, sung here with breathtaking seamlessness and perfectly underscored by bass viol and harpsichord.

In what was to be his old age, at 34, Purcell wrote The Fairy Queen and its Thrice happy lovers; a lyric ode in honor of bride and bridegroom, it exemplifies Sampson's ease and naturalness in the art of ornamentation.

Third of the above, O Solitude [listen -- track 16, 1:23-2:58] , is a restful poem to peacefulness and reflection --

O heav'ns! what content is mine
To see these trees, which have appear'd
From the nativity of time ...

Here's balm for the harassed, perplexed or stressed mind; a disc to treasure.

Carolyn Sampson is in world-wide demand -- a partial list of groups she has featured with includes The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, The King's Consort, The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, The Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, The Washington Bach Consort, The English Concert (at the BBC Proms), The Gabrieli Consort, Leipzig Gewandhaus, the Manchester Camerata, La Chapelle Royale, the Orchestre des Champs Elysées, Music of the Baroque -- Chicago, Chorwerk Ruhr, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Ensemble Baroque de Limoges, Il Giardino Armonico, the Hallé Orchestra, RIAS Kammerchor, Holland Sinfonia, the City of London Sinfonia and Sonnerie, Collegium Vocale Gent, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Collegium Vocale, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Bach Collegium Japan and Birmingham's Ex Cathedra.

Her discography spotlights music of Kuhnau, Knüpfer, Vivaldi, Zelenka, Monteverdi and Lalande for Hyperion, Bach for Harmonia Mundi, Orfeo for Virgin Classics, Amor in Gluck's Elena e Paride for DG Archiv, Bach Cantatas for BIS, Buxtehude for Linn Records and lute songs for Deux-Elles.

Copyright © 14 February 2008 Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand


Henry Purcell - Victorious Love - Carolyn Sampson

BIS-SACD-1536 SACD/DSD Multi-channel/Stereo NEW RELEASE 71'40" 2007 BIS Records AB

Carolyn Sampson, soprano; Laurence Cummings, harpsichord, spinet; Elizabeth Kenny, archlute, theorbo; Anne-Marie Lasla, bass viol; Sarah Sexton, violin; Andrea Morris, violin; Jane Rogers, viola

Henry Purcell (1659-95): Sweeter than roses Z585 No 1 (Pausanius, the Betrayer of his Country, 1695, incidental music); The fatal hour Z421; When first Amyntas sued for a Kiss Z430; The Plaint Z629 No 40 (The Fairy Queen, 1692); They tell us that you mighty powers above Z630 No 19 (The Indian Queen, 1695); Man is for the woman made Z605 No 3 (The Mock Marriage, 1695, incidental music); From silent shades Z370 (1683); Music for a while Z583 No 2 (Oedipus, 1692?, incidental music); Now the night is chas'd away Z629 No 28 (The Fairy Queen, 1692); If music be the food of love Z379 (1692); Thrice happy lovers (An Epithalamium) Z629 No 39 (The Fairy Queen, 1692); The bashful Thames Z333 No 4 (The Yorkshire Feast Song, 1690); I attempt from Love's sickness to fly in vain Z630 No 17 (The Indian Queen, 1695); Oh! fair Cedaria Z402; Fairest isle Z628 No 38 (King Arthur or The British Worthy, 1691); O solitude Z406; If love's a sweet passion Z629 No 17 (The Fairy Queen, 1692); The Blessed Virgin's Expostulation Z196; An Evening Hymn Z193


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