• Signum Classics are proud to release the fourth disc from The King's Singers on Signum Classics - 1605: Treason and Dischord. On 5 November 1605 Guy Fawkes was caught preparing to detonate 36 barrels of gunpowder under the House of Lords unveiling an act of attempted treason that shocked the whole of Europe. What led a group of young Catholic men to risk their lives for their faith? 400 years later the King’s Singers and Concordia illuminate the dangers of hearing Mass in secret, of conspiracy and downfall, and of protestant relief and celebration, through a project of music and prose. The music, structured around Byrd’s perfect 4-part Mass, contains motets by Catholic composers, balanced with protestant anthems celebrating the downfall of the plot, and a commission from the British composer, Francis Pott. Master Tresham: His Ducke reflects on the ‘9/11’ of its day - 5/11/1605. The script, drawing on historic texts and written by Deborah Mackay for the quatercentenary concert series related to this CD, uses the dramatized persona of William Byrd, the most famous composer of his age, to recreate the atmosphere of change and hope in the Jacobean court.

  • An exhilarating new album of contemporary music shaped by the collaborative musical collective Powerplant, featuring performances from percussionist Joby Burgess in collaboration with sound designer Matthew Fairclough and visual artist Kathy Hinde.

    24 Lies Per Second combines works by contemporary British composers – Graham Fitkin, Max de Wardener and Dominic Murcott – with two pieces by compositional icons Conlon Nancarrow and Steve Reich, including the Reich work My Name Is (for audience and tape recorder) which has never before been released commercially.
     
    This release includes a bonus CD Plus video performance of Max de Wardener's Im Dorfe, which can be viewed when playing the CD on a PC.
     
  • Formed in 1992, the British percussion quartet ensemblebash has forged a reputation as one of the world’s most innovative and groundbreaking chamber ensembles. Using the music of West Africa as both core repertoire and a guiding spiritual influence, ensemblebash mixes contemporary classical, jazz and music theatre into unforgettable performances. 

    This new recording marks 20 years since the formation of the group, with the programme made up of some of their best commissions from the 2002 to 2012.

    "ensemblebash, who make playing percussion the coolest, noisiest and funniest occupation on earth." The Times

  • An invitation to stroll through the world of one of England’s greatest composers

    The young, virtuoso A Cappella ensemble VOCES8 return to disc on Signum with a sumptuous collection of early works by Henry Purcell. Joined by the specialist early-music ensemble ‘Les Inventions’, the group explores Purcell’s astoundingly diverse output – there is hardly a genre in which he did not express himself: anthems, odes, funeral music, semi- operas, masques, sonatas, consort-music, songs and catches populate his extraordinarily multifaceted œuvre. It is this astonishing diversity that we wish to celebrate by inviting the listener for a stroll through the world of one of England’s greatest composers.

  • Signum Records is delighted to announce the release of A Songbook for Isabella.

    Isabella d’Este was brought up in the midst of an extremely active musical court. After her marriage in 1490 to Francesco Gonzaga Duke of Mantua she began to remodel the Duke's relatively modest musical establishment in imitation of that of her father, Hercule. She was herself a gifted musician and favoured above all the viol. Not only was the viol the favourite vehicle for aristocratic instrumental performance, but it was the ideal accompaniment to the voice.

    Under Isabella’s patronage the tradition of improvised song accompanied by the singer on a lira da braccio developed into the frottola, shared between two, three or even four viols. In employing Italian composers, and herself performing their music, Isabella played a key role in the development of this new music, and of the consort of viole which developed alongside it.

    This disc presents a selection of music from the circle of Isabella. The repertoire is centred around the Milliare Songbook - a hand written songbook compiled in 1502 by, or for, one Ludovico Milliare. This contains a wonderfully rich cross section of the vocal and instrumental repertoire loved by the d’Este family of Mantua. An attractive feature of the collection is the inclusion of sacred pieces, mostly non-liturgical and apparently intended for private devotional use.

    The instruments used for this recording have been thoroughly researched by examining documented and iconographic evidence - for example contemporary paintings of the period. The custom-made viols are cannot be called "copies"; they are recreations using the best information and scholarship available. This CD offers a rare opportunity to hear the very different sound these instruments make - rather different from their more modern counterparts from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

  • Recreating the exciting sound of swing from the 30’s and 40’s, Julian Bliss’s dynamic virtuosity leads his sextet through some of the great tunes of the swing era, staying true to the authentic feel but naturally with a modern twist.

     
    Julian Bliss says “I decided in the summer of 2010 that I wanted to start my own Jazz group. I enlisted the help of Neal Thornton (Piano) to help make this dream a reality. We spent months listening to every version of each tune we could find, and putting together our own versions while still being mindful of the light and fun feel Goodman captured all those years ago. We then had the task of putting the rest of the band together. We were specifically looking for musicians that had a great interest in the Swing era, and I must say we couldn’t have picked a better set of players”
     
    "Julian Bliss threatens to steal the show on clarinet," Norman Lebrecht
    Recent review of Julian's performance with Grammy-award winning soprano Hila Plitmann on 'The Ancient Question' (SIGCD276), released December 2011.
     
  • Iain Burnside and Ailish Tynan return to Signum with their second disc of Irish Songs and arrangements – this time from a range of different 20th Century composers.

    Although all of the sung texts stem from Irelands rich heritage of literature (including poems from W.B. Yeats, Thomas Moore and James Joyce), the composers featured here have a more transatlantic feel, with works by John Cage and Samuel Barber programmed alongside others by Benjamin Britten and Herbert Hughes.

    This disc continues Burnside’s series of recital discs with Signum – in particular his 2007 disc with Ailish Tynan of Irish songs by Herbert Hughes A Purse of Gold

    “The word 'arrangement' as Burnside suggests, doesn't do justice to the inventive piano writing and pacing of so many of these pieces ... Soprano Ailish Tynan's feeling for the musical idiom and, above all, the poetry of her countrymen, matched by Burnside's delightfully poetic pianism, prove irresistible. Highly recommended"  Classic FM Magazine 

  • Signum Records is delighted to announce  the release of Gail Hennessy (baroque oboe) and Nicholas Parle (organ and harpsichord)'s second collaborative disc on Signum Records.

    Pellegrina’s Delight celebrates Vivaldi’s contribution to oboe repertoire in the early eighteenth century. Vivaldi wrote at least 16 concerti for solo oboe, but in this recording we offer an overview of Vivaldi’s prominent use of the solo oboe in his chamber music. The disc also provides a fascinating illustration of Vivaldi’s stylistic development between c.1705 and c.1720.

    The Quartet Sonata in C major (RV 779) was written during the first decade of Vivaldi’s activity as a composer, when he was serving as a violin teacher at the Ospedale della Piet in Venice. Selected girls were admitted - after audition - to the musical establishment. Vivaldi made a note in this manuscript of the names of the four female musicians who were chosen to perform the sonata. They are Pellegrina (oboe), Prudenza (violin), Lucietta (organ) and Candida (chalumeau).

    Other works featured on this disc are the Sonata for oboe and continuo in C minor, RV 53, the Sonata in G minor, RV 28 the Trio-sonata in E minor, Op. 1 no. 2, RV 67, the Concerto for flute, violin and bassoon in G minor, RV 106 (presented with the oboe taking the part of first treble instrument, the Sonata in B-flat major, RV 34 and the Sonata a 4 in C major, RV 801.

  • Matthew Barley adds to his reputation as one of the UK's most innovative and creative performers with the new programme and CD Around Britten – celebrating the centenary of Britten's birth with a selection of his works, including the Third Cello Suite and pieces by Sir John Tavener and Gavin Bryars. 

    The release coincides with the start of a tour of 100 events taking Britten's music to a kaleidoscopic variety of venues around the UK, reaching a huge cross section of British society. As well as concerts in conventional concert halls, Matthew will play in galleries, a cafe, a woodland in Devon, a number of cathedrals (including Canterbury), around 12 different National Trust properties and Britten's library at the Red House in Aldeburgh. The events will be featured across the year in BBC Music Magazine, and one concert will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Find out more about the events near you here.

  • Early-music pioneers Charivari Agreable perform an engaging collection of overtures from the Italian Baroque Opera, best described by Kah- Ming Ng as being “lucidly crafted for the purpose of turning heads”.

    In a decadent era when the antics of theatre-goers was often as intriguing as the performances taking place on stage, these works were composed with the express intention of thrilling, beguiling and engaging an often hard-to-impress audience.

  • The London Chamber Orchestra, the UK’s oldest chamber orchestra, has nurtured the new and paid homage to the traditional since 1921. Since 1988 Principal Conductor and Music Director Christopher Warren-Green has brought together the inspirational musicians and repertoire for which LCO is renowned. The remarkable acoustic and intimate ambience of St. John’s, Smith Square, its London home, enable the LCO - the only chamber orchestra resident in London - to give vibrant performances and establish a close rapport with its audiences. The recordings on the LCO Live label, in partnership with Signum Classics, are the result of this happy marriage of orchestra and venue. Future releases include Mozart’s Symphony No. 1 and Beethoven’s ‘Ah Perfido!’
     
    “We have been developing LCO Live with Signum Classics for just over two years. I believe these first three releases give a wonderful reflection of LCO’s concerts at St. John’s. I hope you enjoy them.” 
    Christopher Warren-Green, Music Director, LCO
     
    “The concerts of Warren-Green and the London Chamber Orchestra at St John’s, Smith Square aren’t often noticed in the press, but their large regular audience knows that they are some of the most exciting in London.”
    The Times
     
  • Bohemia

    £12.00
    Tamsin Waley Cohen is joined by pianist Huw Watkins for a new disc exploring folk- inspired Bohemia from before the First World War – featuring works by Antonin Dvořák, Josef Suk and Leoš Janáček. This disc follows Tamsin’s recent critically-praised disc of Roy Harris and John Adams’ Violin Concertos with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, as well as previous discs with Huw Watkins exploring some lesser-known gems of the violin and Piano repertoire.
    Praise for Tamsin's other releases:    “Waley-Cohen brings magnetic performances and an enthusiast’s passion to this splendid disc ... [her] laser-bright tone and effortless agility drives this outstanding account” BBC Music Magazine (Harris/ Adams) *****

    “Waley-Cohen produces a beautiful, so , creamy tone in the lyrical passages, and throughout the recital we’re treated to a remarkable palette of tone colours.” Gramophone (Hahn/Szymanowski)

     
  • Also available on DVD

    Joining several discs from Signum celebrating 2013's Britten Centenary Year comes a new collection of the three Suites for Solo Cello, performed by star UK cellist Jamie Walton. Recorded in the Britten Studio at Snape Maltings, Aldeburgh, the three suites were dedicated to Mstislav Rostropovich, with the passionate third in particular inspired by Rostropovich’s rich and romantic performances of Bach’s unaccompanied suites.

    Jamie Walton has established a reputation as a performer who deeply engages with the works he performs and records. Earlier this year he released a new recording of cello concertos by Schumann and Dvorak with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Vladimir Ashkenazy (SIGCD322):

    "What has impressed me so much with regard to this account of the Dvorak is the oneness of conception between soloist and conductor. I am sure much preparation went into this performance: they are fully integrated, so we hear the work as a totality, not as a piece for virtuoso solo cello with orchestral accompaniment. This is, of its kind, a masterly performance” International Record Review

  • Two works from very different composers: Chopin’s works for cello were few and far between, but these two straddle his compositional life: the Introduction and Polonaise was written in 1829 when he was just 19, and the cello sonata in (1845-6) is his last work published during his lifetime (all latter works with opus numbers being published posthumously, against his wishes). In contrast, Saint-Saëns published a great many works for the cello (as well as works in almost every genre of the classical canon), with the Cello Sonata No.2 composed during his travels in Biskra, Algeria.

     
    Jamie Walton and Daniel Grimwood are performers who have proven themselves in both concert and recordings such as these to be formidable and enthralling interpreters of the classical canon. 
     
     
    This release follows their previous duo disc of Rachmaninov and Grieg cello sonatas (SIGCD172): " ... the musical give-and-take of these players is excellent: they seize upon the music with enthusiasm, energy and sensitivity – one can almost sense that they are keen to show us just how fine this music is … This CD can certainly be strongly recommended. It is good to see these young artists taking up these works with such conspicuous success."
    International Record Review
     
  • “This curious conglomeration of concertos is a celebration of contrasts”. Thus begins Kah-Ming Ng's introduction to this collection of works from the 18th century. Although none of the composers featured may be familiar, each work has been picked for it's fine technical skill and illuminating sound, taking inspiration from the 18th century definition of 'curious'' as being 'rare, excellent and fine'. Includes works by Paradis, Reichenauer, Berlin, Pepusch, Hertel, Croft and Baldassari.

    Charivari Agréable have established themselves as one of the UKs leading early music ensembles – in 2010 they collaborated with The King's Singers on an album of Pachelbel's Vespers, currently their best-selling album on Signum, after it featured heavily on BBC Radio 3.
    “For those who know Pachelbel only through the Canon, this disc will be revelatory ... Each piece is beautifully served by the ensemble.”
    The Sunday Times

  • Dance

    £12.00

    The Smith Quartet return on Signum with a new album of commissions and world premiere recordings, all centered on the theme of ‘Dance’. The featured programme is a veritable ‘whos-who’ of contemporary composition, including works from Michael Nyman, Graham Fitkin, Jon Lord, Michael Finnissy and Django Bates.


    Praise for previous albums with the Smith Quartet on Signum:
    "How long before the Kronos is labelled the 'American Smith Quartet'? ... they are ahead of the curve at generating new repertoire and taking the experimental back-catalogue seriously"  Classic FM Magazine