• Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent, the forty-day period of fasting and penitence which precedes Easter. Ashes are placed on worshippers’ foreheads in the shape of a cross, as a sign of repentance. Evensong on this day has been an especially important service in the liturgical year at St John’s; the BBC started transmitting it live in 1972. For several decades the service was broadcast annually; more recently it has been biennial. 2019 was a live broadcast year, however the recording on this release uses our own microphones, permanently installed in St John’s College Chapel for webcasting, rather than those of the BBC. This recording will be released around the same time that the Dean of St John’s, Mark Oakley, releases a book on George Herbert’s poems, called My Sour Sweet Days. The book and the recording go well in tandem, as in the Deans first sermon at St. John’s, he said “I believe that when we walk here (The Chapel), we walk into a poem. The liturgy is poetry in motion, and we sometimes fail to understand its density of suggestion, the eavesdropping on the soul, the sensitive state of consciousness that its poetry can prompt.”
  • This recording made by the Royal Holloway Choir celebrates the music of Ben Parry. His compositions and arrangements include the popular Faber Carol Book and a burgeoning catalogue of choral music for Peters Edition and Oxford University Press. He has enjoyed commissions from, among others, St John’s College, Cambridge, The Cathedral Choral Society of Washington DC, VOCES8, the BBC Singers, Chelmsford, Ely, Norwich and Worcester cathedrals, and his music has been heard at the BBC Proms and on the TV and radio. In this recording, he sets the words of poems by Garth Bardsley, who says about Ben’s work “all of my poems stand alone but given the Parry treatment, I know that they take flight.” The Choir of Royal Holloway is considered to be one of the finest mixed-voice collegiate choirs in Britain. Their recordings on the Hyperion label have attracted top reviews from all major music publications. The choir gives 50-plus concerts a year with a particular specialism in collaborating with living composers. The choir has collaborated, performed and recorded with many prestigious ensembles, including The King’s Singers, BBC Singers, London Mozart Players, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, Onyx Brass, Fretwork, and the Britten Sinfonia.
  • Some of the most atmospheric music from the numerous Liturgical settings in Holy Week is that composed for the Office of Tenebrae. Victoria’s are the most well-known, but equally beautiful and arguably more dramatic are the settings composed by Gesualdo and Couperin. The Gesualdo is intense with the Couperin atmospheric, yet both compliment each other perfectly on another world-class recording from Tenebrae. Described as “phenomenal” (The Times) and “devastatingly beautiful” (Gramophone Magazine), award-winning choir Tenebrae, under the direction of Nigel Short, is one of the world’s leading vocal ensembles renowned for its passion and precision. These are Tenebrae’s core values and with their continued dedication to performance of the highest quality, Tenebrae’s vision is to deliver dramatic programming, flawless performances and unforgettable experiences, allowing audiences around the world to be moved by the power and intimacy of the human voice.
  • "Singing together binds us together. From the Protestant Reformation in Europe during the 1500s to the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, there have been countless moments in history when songs have united nations, cultures and causes. This is still the case in today’s world. Finding Harmony is evidence that music has always been our common language. A unique collection of pieces that span the globe – including music that’s too often forgotten – each song is the key to a powerful true story about who we are and how we’ve got here. Together, Finding Harmony proves how deeply we can be moved by all kinds of stories when songs connect us to them, and to each other."
  • The Choir of the West is the premier choral ensemble of the Department of Music at Pacific Lutheran University, located in Tacoma, Washington. The choir was founded in 1926, and was the third Lutheran college choir to tour extensively throughout the United States. Choir of the West has toured to Europe, Scandinavia, Japan and China, and has been selected to appear at several regional and national conferences of the National Association for Music Education and the American Choral Directors Association. In November of 2015 the choir was a featured ensemble at the National Collegiate Choral Organization Conference, held in Portland, Oregon, performing with renowned conductor Simon Carrington. During the summer of 2011, Choir of the West competed among choirs from 47 nations at the prestigious Harmonie Festival in Lindenholzhausen, Germany, winning two gold certificates and one silver. In 2015 the choir competed in the Anton Bruckner Choir Competition, held in Linz, Austria. This record celebrates the music of Latvian composer Ēriks Ešenvalds. One of the most sought-after composers of today, Ešenvalds studied both in Latvia and the UK. He has had works premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, which have won him many awards.
  • Voce’s mission, as articulated by Artistic Director Mark Singleton, is to Serve Harmony. They strive to perform each piece as a unified ensemble – to get straight to the heart of each composition. This cooperative spirit enables them to render music that expresses, as closely as possible, the intent of the composer. Paul Mealor’s music, in turn, comes from a place of deep humility. It stirs the soul, allowing the spirit of all who hear it a direct, unconditioned experience of peace, love, compassion and a profound joy. When Paul came to work with Voce in 2017, it was obvious that Voce and Paul Mealor were a perfect pairing. Some things are just meant to be.
  • Beowulf

    £12.00
    The story of Beowulf, although thousands of years old, is still loved by many all over the world. This recording of a new musical telling of the story, composed by Toby Young, blurs traditional sense of the genre of classical music by merging it with folk and popular music. This fusion is what makes Beowulf a fantastic story. The greatest versions of the story are not the simple good verses bad, but the ones which involve slight ambiguous points; ones which allow the reader/listener to mkae his/her mind up about what is exactly going on. The combination of Toby Young’s score and Jennifer Thorp’s libretto create this perfectly.
  • There was a craze for the music of Josquin Desprez in sixteenth-century Spain. All three of the greatest Spanish composers of the age – Morales, Guerrero, and Victoria – were directly inspired by one particular rhetorical effect developed by Josquin: ostinato, the repetition throughout a piece of a musical motto. This album explores Josquin’s legacy as manifest in the motets of Morales, Guerrero, and Victoria, and in Victoria’s great six-voice Missa Gaudeamus. In the hands of such composers the use of ostinato produces results that are dynamic, compelling, and striking in expressive impact. These work show the Spanish composers not just emulating Josquin but also competing to out do him in inventiveness.
  • The National Youth Choir of Scotland is an outstanding choir for young people aged 16 to 25, directed by world-renowned conductor Christopher Bell. Membership is granted by yearly auditions to singers born, resident or studying in Scotland. In 2012 the choir was presented with the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Ensemble Award. Formed in 1891 as the Scottish Orchestra, the company became the Scottish National Orchestra in 1950, and was awarded Royal Patronage in 1977. The Orchestra’s artistic team is led by Danish conductor Thomas Søndergård, who was appointed RSNO Music Director in October 2018, having previously held the position of Principal Guest Conductor. NYCOS and RSNO join forces to create an eclectic mix of recordings, performing some timeless classics, as well as exploring some contemporary repertoire. The excellent stadards of both ensembles makes for an exciting listen in what is NYCOS’ first recording with Signum.
  • Magnificat

    £12.00
    Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis was recorded to explore the breadth of imagination with which composers have approached the texts, which have been sung in Christian worship for over 1000 years. Stanford’s starting point was the Germanic symphonic tradition; Howells took his inspiration from the architecture and acoustics of the Cathedral in Gloucester; Tippett was inspired by the unique Spanish trumpet stop at St John’s. The Evening Cantincles chosen for this record relate to a particular period of music making in the life of St John’s conductor, Andrew Nethsingha; his time at the Royal College of Music; at Truro and Gloucester Cathedrals, and lastly his time at St John’s. Founded in the 1670s, The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge, is one of the finest collegiate choirs in the world – known and loved by millions for its rich, warm and distinctive sound, expressive interpretations and ability to sing in a variety of styles.
  • Acclaimed for their life-affirming virtuosity and irresistible charm, The King’s Singers are in global demand. Their work – synonymous with the best in vocal ensemble performance – appeals to a vast international audience. The Library is the name of a series of EP releases that celebrates our ‘close-harmony’ library, both historically and as it grows each year. Close-harmony is the phrase we have always used to describe its lighter repertoire, and we see The Library as our chance to make sure this rich vein of great song-writing and arranging gets the place of prominence it deserves. The Library recording series will involve regular releases which will come out alongside other touring and recording projects, giving us an output for revisiting some of these old favourites and commissioning brand new close harmony from recent releases. Every volume in The Library series will capture a variety of songs, celebrating the wonderful diversity of music in our world today.
  • Based at Windsor Castle, the members of The Queen’s Six make up half of the Lay Clerks of St George’s Chapel, whose homes lie within the Castle walls. This rare privilege demands the highest musical standards, as they sing regularly for the Royal family at both private and state occasions. In 2018 this included the weddings of Princess Eugenie and Mr Jack Brooksbank, and Prince Harry and Ms Meghan Markle, both held in St George’s Chapel. Most significantly however, it is the familiarity of living and singing together in Chapel every day that lends this group its distinctive closeness and blend, as well as an irresistible informality and charm. Individually, members of The Queen’s Six have appeared in many of the most prestigious vocal ensembles on the circuit, including The Tallis Scholars, Tenebrae, and The Sixteen. Their repertoire extends far beyond the reach of the choir stalls: from austere early chant, florid Renaissance polyphony, lewd madrigalsand haunting folk songs to upbeat Jazz and Pop arrangements.
  •  The festival of Christmas means many things to many people. Its status as an international public holiday provides a rare opportunity for families and friends from far and wide to come together. Being creatures of habit, many communities establish rituals to prepare for and mark the occasion, finding comfort in the familiarity of an annual structure. For some, the birth of Christ the Saviour is at the centre of these practices, while others regard Christmas as a secular celebration characterised by Santa and mulled wine. These diverse, multifaceted traditions of Advent and Christmas are explored throughout Now may we singen. With works by composers of different generations, backgrounds and musical legacies, Christmas as both ancient holy day and modern, ever evolving holiday is embraced by Timothy Garrard (director), Ben Bloor (organ) and the Choir of Westminster School through bold, characterful musical interpretations.
  • The Elysian Singers of London celebrate the enormous and varied contribution of Sir James MacMillan (b. 1959) to the choral repertoire over the last 20 years. Beginning with MacMillan’s blazing 2016 ‘choral fanfare’ Blow the trumpet in the new moon, the programme explores the spiritual and secular texts that have influenced MacMillan, also including his monumental setting of Psalm 51 Miserere. The Elysian Singers of London is one of the UK’s leading chamber choirs. Known for its adventurous programming, the choir performs in and around London and has recorded many widely acclaimed CDs. This is the choir’s second recording of works by James MacMillan, following their critically-acclaimed first disc with Signum Cantos Sagrados.
  •   Discover some of the greatest pieces of minimalist music ever written, performed here by Signum artists including Tenebrae, Tamsin Waley-Cohen, Julian Bliss and the Armonico Consort.
  • Supersize Polyphony is a celebration of large-scale choral works from the 16th century, performed here by the Armonico Consort and the Choir of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, under their musical directors Christopher Monks and Geoffrey Webber. The unique programme features epic motets, such as Thomas Tallis’ Spemin Alium and Alessandro Striggio’s Ecce Beatam Lucem, alongside his rarely performed 60 part Missa sopra Ecco Si Beato Giorno. Interspersed with the serene beauty of ethereal chants by Hildegard of Bingen, this new recording presents works of magnitude and polyphonic drama in stellar performances by two of the UK’s leading choral ensembles. The direction is clear and the results are exciting - MusicWeb International