Fleurs - Sampson, Middleton

Fleurs - Sampson, Middleton


Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Vocal

Purcell: Sweeter than Roses
Quilter: Damask Roses
Britten: Solovej i roza ('The Nightingale and the Rose')
Schubert: Die Blumensprache; Im Haine
Schumann: Meine Rose; Röselein, Röselein!; Jasminenstrauch; Die Blume der Ergebung; Schneeglöckchen
R. Strauss: Das Rosenband; Mädchenblumen
Gounod: Le temps des roses
Fauré: Les roses d’Ispahan; Le papillon et la fleur; Fleur jetée
Debussy: De fleurs
Poulenc: Fleurs
Hahn: Offrande
L. Boulanger: Les lilas qui avaient fleuri
Chabrier: Toutes les fleurs!

Carolyn Sampson (soprano)
Joseph Middleton (piano)

Carolyn Sampson has enjoyed notable successes worldwide in repertoire ranging from the early baroque to the present day, in opera and concert as well as on disc. Nevertheless, the present recording is, as she writes in a personal introduction in the CD booklet, something of a début – her first recital disc of songs with piano.

When choosing the repertoire, she collaborated closely with her pianist, Joseph Middleton and together they have devised a garland of flowers: settings of poems on a floral theme in Russian, English, French and German. Just as flowers themselves are used to convey affection or regret, and are symbols of celebration as well as bereavement, the selected songs represent a great diversity, through their different musical styles and affects.

Scintillating exuberance, as in Fauré’s youthful Le papillon et la fleur, and intimate delicacy (Schumann: Schneeglöckchen) alternate with the ethereal mystique of Richard Strauss’s Wasserrose and the sad resignation which infuses Britten’s setting of Alexander Pushkin’s poem Solovej i roza, depicting the unrequited love of a nightingale for a rose. There are even threatening moments, as in De fleurs, Debussy’s setting of his own, Baudelairean text, in which violet irises and sickly white lilies languish in a stifling hothouse atmosphere.

But as Carolyn Sampson and Joseph Middleton sum it up in the closing song of the disc, Chabrier’s Toutes les fleurs, we do adore them all, be they mimosa, jasmine, lilies-of-the-valley, marigolds, corn-flowers, cyclamen…

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PCM recording

Recorded in February 2014 at Potton Hall, Suffolk, England, 24/96

Recording producer and sound engineer: Jens Braun (Take5 Music Production)

Piano technician: Graham Cooke

Recording equipment: BIS's recording teams use microphones from Neumann and Schoeps, audio electronics from RME, Lake People and DirectOut, MADI optical cabling technology, monitoring equipment from B&W, STAX and Sennheiser, and Sequoia and Pyramix digital audio workstations.

Post-production: Editing and mixing: Jens Braun

Executive producer: Robert Suff