Ravishing second release on The King's Consort's new classical label,VIVAT,features world-renowned British soprano Carolyn Sampson and outstanding Norwegian mezzo Marianne Beate Kielland in entrancingly evocative French Baroque music.Couperin's three Leçons for Holy Week are vividly atmospheric,highly coloured,richly dissonant,and deeply melancholy,presenting music of an intensity that is quiet unique in Baroque sacred repertoire.The third Leçon is an especial jewel,with gloriously intertwining vocal lines.Alongside the three extraordinary Leçons come two further substantial vocal duets by Couperin:a joyous Easter motet and a fine setting of the Magnificat.Full-length 79 40 disc also includes stunning solo instrumental tracks,with Gramophone award-winning viol player Susanne Heinrich performing music by Marin Marais and Monsieur de Ste-Colombe(composers featured in the film Tous les Matins du Monde).Recorded at low French baroque pitch,A=392,giving unparalleled richness to the vocal and instrumental sonorities.High quality documentation, first-rate engineering.
Sampson's brightness and Kielland's riper tones beautifully complement each other. --Stephen Pettitt-Sunday Times
Another hit for the King Consort's new label Vivat. The gorgeous Trois leçons de ténèbres (c1714) by Couperin are remarkable for their intertwining, sensual dissonances: here the idiomatic (though not vibrato-free) voices of soprano Carolyn Sampson and mezzo Marianne Beate Kielland are recorded quite close, so the detail tells. They have one solo lesson each, in contrasted styles, but the eloquent centrepiece is the third lesson for them both, absolutely spine-tingling in its intensity. Couperin's duet setting of the Magnificat is jaunty by comparison, and there are some attractive viol pieces by Marin Marais, stylishly played by Susanne Heinrich, to complete the disc. Nicholas Kenyon. --The Observer, Sunday 7 April 2013.