Performance Thursday, October 10, 2013 | 7:30 PM

Carolyn Sampson

Weill Recital Hall
Hailed as “the best British early-music soprano by quite some distance” (Gramophone), Carolyn Sampson comes to Carnegie Hall to perform a recital of delightful art songs and arias by influential British composer Henry Purcell. Hear for yourself why “she tops virtually every Baroque conductor's wish list of soloists” (The Independent, London).

This concert is part of Salon Encores.


  • Carolyn Sampson, Soprano
    New York Recital Debut
  • Beiliang Zhu, Viola da Gamba
  • Paul O'Dette, Archlute
  • Kenneth Weiss, Harpsichord


  • PURCELL "Thou wakeful shepherd" (A morning hymn) from Harmonia sacra
  • PURCELL "Music for a while" from Oedipus
  • PURCELL "Sweeter than roses" from Pausanias, the Betrayer of His Country
  • ANON. "The Duke of Norfolk," or "Paul's Steeple"
  • PURCELL "Thrice happy lovers" from The Fairy Queen
  • PURCELL "Oh! fair Cedaria, hide those eyes"
  • PURCELL "I attempt from love’s sickness to fly" from The Indian Queen
  • BYRD Third Pavan and Galliard in A Minor from Lady Nevell's Book
  • PURCELL "From rosy bow'rs" from The Comical History of Don Quixote
  • PURCELL "Let us dance, let us sing" from The History of Diocletian
  • PURCELL "Man is for the woman made" from The Mock Marriage
  • PURCELL "If music be the food of love"
  • PURCELL "The fatal hour comes on apace"
  • SIMPSON Division on a Ground in E Minor
  • PURCELL "From silent shades, and the Elysian groves" (Bess of Bedlam)
  • PURCELL "O solitude, my sweetest choice"
  • BANISTER Division on a Ground
  • PURCELL "Hark! The ech’ing air" from The Fairy Queen
  • PURCELL "When first Amintas sued for a kiss"
  • PURCELL "Now that the sun hath veiled his light" (An evening hymn) from Harmonia sacra

  • Encore:
  • PURCELL "When first Amintas sued for a kiss"


  • Carolyn Sampson

    Equally at home on the concert and opera stages, Carolyn Sampson has enjoyed notable successes in the UK as well as throughout Europe and the US. Ms. Sampson's roles for English National Opera have included the title role in Semele and Pamina in Die Zauberflöte. For Glyndebourne Festival Opera, she sang various roles in Purcell's The Fairy Queen, now released on DVD. During 2012, she sang Anne Trulove in Sir David McVicar's new production of The Rake's Progress for Scottish Opera. Internationally, she has appeared at Opéra national de Paris, Opéra de Lille, Opéra national de Montpellier, and Opéra national du Rhin. She also sang the title role in Lully's Psyché for the Boston Early Music Festival, which was released on a CD that was subsequently nominated for a Grammy Award in 2008.

    Ms. Sampson's numerous concert engagements in the UK have included regular appearances at the BBC Proms and with orchestras that include the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, The English Concert, Bach Collegium Japan, Manchester Camerata, and The Sixteen. She is a frequent guest with the Hallé, and has performed with City of London Sinfonia, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. In Europe, her many appearances have included concerts with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Gürzenich Orchestra Köln, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, and Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra. In the US, Ms. Sampson has been a featured soloist with the San Francisco Symphony, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, in addition to being a regular guest at the Mostly Mozart Festival.

    A consummate recitalist, Ms. Sampson appears regularly at Wigmore Hall, where a recital of lute songs with Matthew Wadsworth was recorded on the Wigmore Hall Live label and released to critical acclaim. She has given many recitals at the Saintes and Aldeburgh music festivals, as well as Amsterdam's Concertgebouw.

    Her recording of Purcell songs for BIS Records was selected as Editor's Choice in the December 2007 issue of Gramophone. Her many recordings for Hyperion with The King's Consort include a highly acclaimed CD of Mozart sacred music that was selected as BBC Music Magazine's Record of the Month and was also the recipient of an ECHO Award. She recorded a highly acclaimed CD of Stravinsky's Les noces and Mass for harmonia mundi, and Bach's Christmas Oratorio with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and Riccardo Chailly for Decca.

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  • Beiliang Zhu

    Beiliang Zhu won the first prize and audience award at the International Bach Competition Leipzig in 2012 as the first string player to have received this honor on a Baroque instrument. She received a master's degree in historical performance from The Juilliard School with Phoebe Carrai and Sarah Cunningham, and a bachelor's degree and performer's certificate from the Eastman School of Music. She is currently pursuing a doctorate at the Eastman School of Music under the guidance of Steven Doane.

    Beiliang Zhu has performed with internationally acclaimed artists and ensembles, including William Christie, Masaaki Suzuki, Monica Huggett, Paul O'Dette, Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra, Juilliard Baroque, The Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Trinity Wall Street Orchestra. She continues to explore a wide range of repertoire as a modern cellist, Baroque cellist, and violist da gamba. She was a section cellist with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra during her undergraduate degree, has held the principal cellist position of Mercury Houston, and has won awards that include the Eastman Cello Concerto Competition, second prize in the Holland America Music Society International Competition, and the American Bach Soloists' Henry I. Goldberg International Young Artist Prize.

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  • Paul O'Dette

    Though best known for his recitals and recordings of virtuoso solo lute music, Paul O'Dette maintains an active international career as an ensemble musician, performing with many of the leading early-music soloists and ensembles. Mr. O'Dette has made more than 130 recordings, receiving five Grammy nominations and numerous other international record awards. John Dowland: Complete Lute Works, a five-disc set for harmonia mundi, was awarded the prestigious Diapason d'Or and was recently named the best Dowland solo lute recording by BBC Radio 3.

    In addition to his solo work, Mr. O'Dette is an active conductor of Baroque operas. His recordings for the Boston Early Music Festival of Conradi's Die schöne und getreue Ariadne, Lully's Thésée, and Lully's Psyché were each nominated for Grammy Awards. Mr. O'Dette has guest conducted the Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra, Portland Baroque Orchestra, Tafelmusik, Apollo's Fire, Ensemble Arion, and Chatham Baroque.

    Mr. O'Dette is professor of lute and director of early music at the Eastman School of Music and artistic director of the Boston Early Music Festival. He is also an avid researcher, having worked extensively on the performance and sources of 17th-century Italian and English solo song, continuo practices, and lute music. He has published numerous articles on historical performance practice and co-authored the Dowland entry in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.

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  • Kenneth Weiss

    Kenneth Weiss was born in New York City, where he attended The School of Performing Arts. After studying with Lisa Goode Crawford at Oberlin Conservatory, he continued with Gustav Leonhardt at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. From 1990-1993, he served as musical assistant to William Christie at Les Arts Florissants in numerous opera productions and recordings. He later conducted Les Arts Florissants in Doux Mensonges by choreographer Jiří Kylián at the Opéra national de Paris. He has also conducted The English Concert, Concerto Copenhagen, Orquesta en Salamanca, Divino Sospiro, Opéra de Rouen, Orchestre Régional de Basse-Normandie, Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire, and the Orchestre des Pays de Savoie.

    Mr. Weiss has performed recitals with violinists Fabio Biondi, Daniel Hope, Monica Huggett, and Lina Tur Bonet. His 2014 projects include a Well-Tempered Clavier recital at Cité de la musique in Paris, Rameau recitals in Versailles and Barcelona, Scarlatti in Madrid, a Brussels virginalist recital, a Netherlands tour, and several recitals with Fabio Biondi in the Americas and at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris.

    Mr. Weiss has made a series of highly acclaimed solo harpsichord recordings for Satirino Records. He has also recorded Bach's sonatas for violin and harpsichord with Fabio Biondi. In June 2013, he recorded the first book of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier on the historic Ruckers-Taskin in the Musée de la musique in Paris. Mr. Weiss teaches on the faculty of the Conservatoire de Paris and The Juilliard School.

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Purcell's "If music be the food of love"
Carolyn Sampson, Soprano | Laurence Cummings, Harpsichord | Anne-Marie Lasla, Bass Viol

At a Glance

This program devoted to the songs of Henry Purcell reveals why many connoisseurs have called him England's greatest composer. In his short lifetime, Purcell set a standard for setting English words that has been matched perhaps only in our own time by Benjamin Britten.

Besides writing quantities of independent songs, Purcell also composed songs as incidental music for the plays presented by the thriving London theater scene of the late-17th century. Though he surely would have been an outstanding opera composer (the captivating Dido and Aeneas being his only true opera), England was not yet interested in that form and so his strong dramatic instincts had to be channeled into the song genre.

Though he studied both French and Italian musical styles that dominated Baroque music even in England—and borrowed some of the Italian innovations—Purcell forged a distinctly English style, rooted in the peculiar nature of the English language. Though vocal music is carried primarily by vowel sounds, English is notorious for its overabundance of consonants as well as the variety of its syllabic stresses—handicaps Purcell with his artful prolongation of vowels and flexible mimicry of speech rhythms smoothed away. He summed up his adoration of poetry—and in particular of English  poetry—with these words: "Musick and Poetry have ever been acknowledg'd Sisters, which walking hand in hand, support each other. As Poetry is the harmony of Words, so Musick is that of Notes; and as Poetry is a rise above Prose ... so is Musick the exaltation of poetry."
Program Notes
This performance is part of Early Music in Weill Recital Hall.

Part of