Notes and Editorial Reviews
Alluring singing from Carolyn Sampson in hedonistic Handel
Inspired by Barthold Heinrich Brockes’s pictorial, pantheistic verses, Handel’s Nine German Arias are devotional music at its most beguiling and hedonistic. Like Haydn’s Creation and Seasons, whose joy in the beauty of the natural world they share, the arias can be killed by an excess of solemnity. No danger of that here. With her pure, luminous tone, graceful sense of phrase and discerning musicality, Carolyn Sampson gives enchanting performances of music that is essentially about enchantment. My favourite among the arias, “Süsse Stille” – Handel’s “Feldeinsamkeit” – is exquisitely shaped and savoured, with a rapt, confiding pianissimo at the da capo.
Elsewhere Sampson perfectly catches the blissful languor of “Künft’ger Zeiten eitler Kummer” and brings a smiling eagerness to “Die ihr aus dunklen Grüften”, enhancing the da capo with playful touches of ornamentation. Another winner is “Das zitternde Glänzen”, with its exuberant coloratura flourishes – more sparkling ornamentation here, both from Sampson and the nimble and imaginative violinist Stéphanie-Marie Degand.
-- Richard Wigmore, Gramophone [7/2007]
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