Come all ye songsters

Reviewed on Fri 26 Aug, 2016

Carolyn Sampson sings with rich yet clear soprano tone and pays keen attention to the texts she sings, as befits Purcell’s reputation as perhaps the greatest composer to set his native tongue to music.

Recorded live in March 2015 with atmospheric sound quality, this recital is largely devoted to Henry Purcell and the Gresham Manuscript, which he compiled between 1692 and 1695. Its highlights are extracts from The Fairy Queen, Don Quixote and famous items such as '‘Tis Nature’s Voice' and 'I see she flies me'. Carolyn Sampson sings with rich yet clear soprano tone and pays keen attention to the texts she sings, as befits Purcell’s reputation as perhaps the greatest composer to set his native tongue to music. From the drama of 'Let the dreadful Engines of Eternal Will' to the gracefully sumptuous 'Fairest Isle', there is much that gives delight. Throughout it all, Sampson is royally supported by a trio of accompanists, and it’s good that they provide instrumental solos or duets too. Laurence Cummings brings a lightness of touch to Purcell’s C major harpsichord suite, whilst lutenist Elizabeth Kenny impresses in Francesco Corbetta’s Passacaille, as does violist Jonathan Manson in Draghi’s An Italian Ground. Intelligent introductory notes and sung texts included.
–Evan Dickerson