Reasons in Madness
Carolyn Sampson and Joseph Middleton
BIS 2353 @ £14.25 plus P&P
The Guardian “All performed with Sampson’s wonted freshness of tone, superb control and subtle sensuality, with Middleton offering vibrant support.”
Music web international “An absorbing recital – recommended.”
About this recording ….. Throughout history men have feared madwomen, burning them as witches, confining them in asylums and subjecting them to psychoanalysis – yet, they have also been fascinated, unable to resist fantasizing about them. For their new disc, Carolyn Sampson and Joseph Middleton have created a programme that explores the responses of a variety of composers to women whose stories have left them vulnerable and exposed. As a motto they have chosen an aphorism by Nietzsche: ‘There is always some madness in love, but there is also always some reason in madness’. Brahms’ Ophelia Songs, composed for a stage production of Hamlet, appear next to those by Richard Strauss and Chausson, while Ophelia’s death is described by both Schumann (in Herzeleid) and Saint-Saëns. Goethe’s mysterious and traumatized Mignon appears in settings by Hugo Wolf as well as Duparc, while his ill-used Gretchen grieves by her spinning-wheel in Schubert’s matchless setting. Sampson and Middleton end their recital as it began, with a suicide by drowning: in Poulenc’s monologue La Dame de Monte-Carlo, the elderly female protagonist has been unlucky at the gambling tables and decides to throw herself into the sea.