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Hyperion Records

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Portrait of Marie Fel (1757) by Maurice Quentin de La Tour (1704-1888)
Musée Antoine Lecuyer, Saint-Quentin / Giraudon / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA68035
Recording details: June 2013
All Hallows, Gospel Oak, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Adrian Peacock
Engineered by David Hinitt
Release date: June 2014
Total duration: 9 minutes 39 seconds

'This is a brilliantly planned and executed, musically illustrated biography of Marie Fel, one of the great 18th-century divas and muse of Rameau, admired by the Philosophes and adored by Paris audiences … this is a programme that pleases as much today as it did in hers, guided by Graham Sadler’s beautifully crafted booklet-notes … Carolyn Sampson, in superb form, is joined here by the choir of Ex Cathedra, who sing with precision and clarity of articulation in a lovely bright acoustic … the longer we listen to Sampson’s voice, the more she seems to inhabit the aura of Fel, clearly a skilled and charismatic yet deeply affecting performer' (Gramophone) » More

'This extremely well researched recording is captivating. Based on repertoire performed by Marie Fel, the ‘Jenny Lind’ of the court of Louis XV, it ranges from the restrained elegance of de Lalande to the Italianate excitement of Mondonville … in standing in for Fel, Carolyn Sampson is quite remarkable. She has the capacity to soften the vocal line with carefully controlled vibrato, but also deploys tone of crystalline clarity. There are many highlights, but the characteristically colourful excerpt from Mondonville's Daphnis et Alcimadure is particularly delightful as is Rameau’s La lyre enchantée' (BBC Music Magazine) » More
PERFORMANCE
RECORDING

'Celebrating the work of a singer described by Voltaire as an ‘adorable nightingale’ is a terrific idea for a recording, especially when it has been prepared with such care and performed so stylishly … from the start, it’s clear that Carolyn Sampson is an ideal exponent, stylishly supported by Ex Cathedra and its period-instrument orchestra … this is a lovely disc, a most attractive programme supported by Graham Sadler’s illuminating and extremely interesting note (in a booklet that also includes complete texts and translations). The sound is up to Hyperion’s usual standard, capturing Sampson’s voice extremely well, in a natural balance. The whole production has provided me with hours of pleasure' (International Record Review) » More

'Marie Fel was the diva of her day and the darling of the French baroque. In this exquisite release from soprano Carolyn Sampson and Ex Cathedra, Sampson steps into Fel's dainty silk slippers and guides us through a life in music … Sampson’s rounded tone and poised musicality find a natural fit in this repertoire, showcased beautifully in ‘Un tendre intérêt vous appelle’ from Rameau’s Castor et Pollux and Lalande’s sacrilegiously lovely ‘Tu Rex gloriae’' (Sinfini.com) » More

Salve regina
composer
1752
author of text
Antiphon to the Virgin Mary from Trinity until Advent

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
In 1752 Marie Fel came into contact with the renowned philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau. His one-act opera Le devin du village, in which she took the principal female role, proved a smash-hit at the French court, and Rousseau was so taken by her voice that he composed a Salve regina for her to sing at the Concert Spirituel that same year. The Mercure de France enthused about this thoroughly Pergolesian piece and its performance: Mlle Fel sang it ‘as she alone knows how to sing. Much tunefulness and expression have been found in this motet, and connoisseurs hope that Mr Rousseau will continue to enrich secular and sacred music with his works’.

from notes by Graham Sadler © 2014

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