Search MusicWeb Here

selling Internationaly

aSymphonies 1 and 5 £9.00 post free

See also Symphonies 2 and 3

Vision of Judgement £9 post free

Newest Releases

Symphonies 1,2,4 £11.75 post free

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Editor-in-Chief: Rob Barnett

Some items
to consider


  • Menuhin lost tapes
  • Overtures SACD
  • Krommer Flute Quartets
  • Schubert Piano Trios 2CD
  • Menuhin lost tapes

Let me tell you

David Pia

Beethoven Rattle

Highly Impressive

Matthews Shostakovich
Sheer delight!

To live with

outstanding retrospective

A superb celebration

flair, insight, controversy

outstanding singing


Sheer bliss

best thing I’ve heard this year

this really exciting release


Plain text for smartphones & printers

Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Cameo Classics
Prima voce
Red Priest
Toccata Classics

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Editor in Chief
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Support us financially by purchasing this disc from
François COUPERIN (1668-1733)
Trois Leçons de Ténèbres (ca. 1714) [43:41]
Marin MARAIS (1656-1728)
Tombeau pour Sieur de Ste Colombe (1674) [7:28]
Chaconne in A major (pub. 1725) [2:51]
Motet pour le jour de Pâques [7:29]
Monsieur de SAINTE-COLOMBE le FILS (c.1660-1710)
Prélude in E minor [5:00]
Magnificat anima mea [12:04]
Carolyn Sampson (soprano)
Marianne Beate Kielland (mezzosoprano)
The King’s Consort
rec. 5-7 March 2011, St Andrew’s Church, Toddington, UK

Nicely presented with a thick booklet which has all of the texts and plenty of helpful information, this Vivat recording ticks all of the boxes for a feast of authentic period French religious music. The King’s Consort musicians create the ideal atmosphere for Couperin’s Lamentations, and both vocal soloists are highly effective and deeply expressive. This release enters a market with string competition, not least from William Christie on the Erato label (see review). The soprano voice is a defining aspect of these pieces, and Sophie Daneman’s pure and strong solos are something a bit special. Carolyn Sampson is equally sensitive, though both she and Marianne Beate Kielland are given free rein to develop a natural vibrato, projecting powerfully while avoiding anything too operatic. Couperin’s score is full of subtly expressed emotional and dramatic moments. Contrast the dolorous vocalise opening to track 10 in the Deuxième Leçon with the text ‘Sordes ejus in pedibus ejus’, ‘Her skirts are dirty…’ A kind of humanistic warmth oozes from the organ, but there is no mistaking the desolation in both music and text.
Further interest can be found in the rich selection of additional music in this programme. Marais’s Tombeau is given some remarkable slow vibrato and glissando effects which may catch you as heartrendingly affecting, or give you cause to flinch. The Chaconne in A is easily digested and nicely performed, Susanne Heinrich’s bass viol at times mixing beautifully with the gently thrumming accompaniment.
Couperin’s Motet pour le jour de Pâques has a joyously festive vocal duo for the opening Alleluia, with tender descending lines and a beautifully understated and compact summary of the Easter narrative to follow. The two voices together work sublimely, supported by the scantest of accompaniment. The mood of melancholy is resumed in Monsieur de Saint-Colombe’s solo instrumental Prélude, and the programme is topped off with fine Magnificat, in which the voices once again join in the most delightful of imitative duets.
As you can imagine, this is not the kind of programme to have us dancing in the streets, but these performances and the fascinating musical byways explored make this release stand out somewhat from the crowd. It might be argued that there is little to choose between this and, for instance, Emma Kirkby on the BIS label (see review). It’s a question of personal taste, but I prefer the vocal colour and less overtly dramatic manner of Carolyn Sampson in this instance. There is something about the atmosphere of Robert King’s Ténèbres which makes it more believable than many, and this is a recording which will take you on a very long journey indeed.
Dominy Clements