• The four coronations of the twentieth century were enormous and extravagant. Replete with festive pageantry, these ceremonies were joyful celebrations of British music, employing tremendous forces. Choirs from across London and beyond were marshalled to provide a chorus of over 400 voices; a full-size symphony orchestra was squeezed into Westminster Abbey, whilst bands of fanfare trumpeters led the pomp and celebration. In the imposing surroundings of Ely Cathedral, Paul McCreesh and Gabrieli bring the history, ceremony and liturgy of these extraordinary events to life. With his renowned creative flair, McCreesh’s painstaking research provides the springboard for their latest ground-breaking recreation project. The result is a joyful celebration of five centuries of choral music, performed with the same vast forces as were heard at the coronation services. Alongside an orchestra of rare early-twentieth century instruments, an extended Gabrieli Consort is amplified by the energetic sound and fresh faces of several hundred young singers from Gabrieli’s choral training programme Gabrieli Roar. The music is interspersed by the coronation liturgy, with Simon Russell Beale speaking the part of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Performance ★★ Recording★★★★★ McCreesh at his considerable best - BBC Music Magazine ★ Paul McCreesh has magnificently recreated this unique coronation rite... truly heart-warming - Choir & Organ ★ An astonishing recording - The Times ★ McCreesh has conceived and executed a magnificent project - Classical Source ★ Palpable enthusiasm and engagement - Planet Hugill One can imagine the virtuosity required by every contributor, at every turn, to make this a reality, let alone a dazzling triumph - Gramophone A most recommendable treat - MusicWeb International This is something very special - Cross Rhythms
  • Locus Iste

    £12.00
    Locus Iste celebrates two milestones for the Choir of St John's College, Cambridge: as well as 2019 marking the 150th anniversary of the consecration of the college chapel, this release is coincidentally the choir's 100th recording – 60 years on from George Guest’s iconic first recording of ‘Hear my prayer’ for Argo, released in 1959. Directed by Andrew Nethsingha, the programme makes great use of the chapel's renowned acoustic, and celebrates the choirs past, present and future – including an anthem by a former director of music, a motet by one of their recent student composers and the cello-playing of a current undergraduate. The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge is one of the finest collegiate choirs in the world – known and loved by millions from its broadcasts, concert tours and recordings. Founded in the 1670s, the Choir is known for its rich, warm and distinctive sound, its expressive interpretations and its ability to sing in a variety of styles. It would be hard to imagine a finer celebration of the 150th anniversary of St John’s College Chapel - MusicWeb International Leaves us wanting more - Cross Rhythms
  • Discover 50 of the most relaxing pieces of classical music, featuring recordings by The King's Singers, Fretwork, Alessio Bax and Tamsin Waley-Cohen. A new Signum compilation, this digital exclusive is available to buy and stream on iTunes, Apple Music and Spotify.
  • The choral works of Duruflé, like his organ works, are small in number but beautifully crafted. Frequently written and rewritten until he was completely satisfied, he was a composer who rethought and reconfigured his music right up to the moment he had to let go of it. Often described as a man out of step with his times, his pieces look back to Gregorian chant and plainsong at a time when the musical life of his home city of Paris was steeped in radical new compositional ideas – a testament perhaps to Duruflé’s enduring love of France’s choral heritage. In a new recording produced by Grammy® winning producer Blanton Alspaugh, the Houston Chamber Choir are led by artistic director Robert Simpson on their first release with Signum Records. ★★★★★ Houston Chamber Choir here offer beautifully presented accounts of all of Duruflé’s choral music - Choir & Organ ★★★★ No listener could fail to be impressed by both the quality of the compositions and performances - Cross Rhythms ★★★★ Beautifully crafted - Classical Source [Ken Cowan] certainly adds real distinction to this performance of the Requiem - Gramophone The Houston Chamber Choir, led  by their artistic director Robert Simpson, present an immaculate account of these works - The Northern Echo Beautiful, artistic singing and thoughtful, sensitive music-making at every turn - Dale Warland A superb recording to be treasured - Simon Carrington
  • Hymns are part of the UK’s national culture, available to believers and non-believers alike. Some of the most popular hymn-tunes featured here – such as O Sacred Head, Sore Wounded or Good Christians All – are over four hundred years old, while others date from the latter half of the 20th century. Founded in 1836, the internationally renowned Huddersfield Choral Society is one of UK’s leading choral groups. Famed for their ‘Huddersfield Sound’, they have a long established histoy of recordings and performances, appearing at the BBC Proms in 2018 as well as broadcasing regualarly on radio and television. A must for choral devotees - The Northern Echo
  • The Choral Scholars of University College Dublin and Artistic Director Desmond Earley follow up their debut release with a programme of new choral music inspired by the evocative imagery of the natural world in traditional Irish and Scottish folksong and poetry. The disc includes a number of world-premiere recordings of new works and arrangements commissioned by the choir. The Choral Scholars of University College Dublin, under the artistic direction of Desmond Earley, is Ireland’s leading collegiate choral ensemble. With a large repertoire ranging from art to popular music, and stretching from the medieval to the contemporary in style, this choir gives many concerts throughout the academic year, both in Ireland and abroad. This whole project exudes quality - Gramophone Excellently sung - BBC Music Magazine Earley [shapes] a sequence of traditional Irish settings with contemporary material, [and his] setting of 'Danny Boy' [is] quite beautiful - Choir & Organ
  • Owen Rees leads early-music consort Contrapunctus alongside The Choir of The Queen’s College, Oxford in performances of John Taverner’s masterwork, the Missa Gloria tibi trinitas. A virtuosic work, it has pride of place in the Forrest-Heyther partbooks (in the Bodleian Library in Oxford), which it has been variously argued originated at Cardinal College or at the Chapel Royal. It might well have been heard on Trinity Sunday in the chapel of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey’s palace at Hampton Court. The work is accompanied by other sacred choral works by Taverner, including his Ave Maria composed for Wolsey’s Cardinal College, Oxford, and one of his most widely copied works, Gaude plurimum – a dramatic work where Taverner exploits the power of his full forces to evoke Christ’s harrowing of hell and the breaking of ‘the bloody powers of the prince of eternal death.’ Contrapunctus is an early-music vocal ensemble dedicated to passionate interpretations informed by authoritative insight and understanding. Directed by Owen Rees, a specialist in music of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the group presents imaginative programmes revealing previously undiscovered musical treasures and throwing new light on familiar works. Performance ★★★★ Recording ★★★★★ Rees brings together both of his crack ensembles [and] the 40-strong collective recreates [Taverner's] lavish sound - BBC Music Magazine ★★★★★ Rees has a natural affinity for this music, whether underlining differences of mood, allowing phrases to bloom or deftly judging cadential arrivals, his touch is instinctive - Classical Source ★★★★★ [A] thrilling new recording - Planet Hugill 9/10 Between them the music of John Taverner comes alive and whether your interest is in Tudor polyphony of acappella choral singing this release will bring much pleasure - Cross Rhythms This glorious programme of polyphony by John Taverner offers much opportunity for contrast as delicate, sinuous passages of vocal chamber music open up into densely populated choral vistas - Choir & Organ The full ensemble brings an undeniable grandeur - Gramophone A must for early music devotees - The Northern Echo A very fine album - MusicWeb International Beautifully recorded by Signum, this is a novel and beautiful Tudor choral release - AllMusic
  • The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge’s advent service is a staple of the British choral world, and is broadcast on BBC Radio 3 almost every year. The service features much-loved favourites from the festive season alongside a variety of new works commissioned especially for the event. This disc of live recordings features performances by the choir from their four most recent services from 2014-17. ★★★★ This superbly programmed collection will take your Advent listening in unexpected, but entirely apposite, directions - BBC Music Magazine The choir has retained its renowned clarity, flamboyance and readiness to take risks - Gramophone The choir has retained its renowned clarity, flamboyance and readiness to take risks - The Guardian This disc gives a very good flavour of the excellent Advent music one can hear at St John’s - MusicWeb International
  • In the centenary year of the Armistice of 1918, thoughts turn to the great human cost of the First World War and many subsequent armed conflicts. Released in support of the charity Combat Stress, this commemorative recording explores the themes associated with human conflict. The programme brings together texts and music pointing to the frailty that leads to the violence of war, but also to triumphs of the human spirit that so often arise from situations of the deepest desolation.

    The Choir of Chichester Cathedral are led by Charles Harrison in this collection of works by composers affected by the Great War, including Stanford, Bainton, Ireland, Howells, Parry and Elgar.

    Such understated yet beautifully moulded singing - Gramophone No other collection matches this - MusicWeb International Lest We Forget brings together eloquent pieces of music and text that reach remarkable depths of musical and artistic expression that still resonate in the modern day - Chichester Observer Both singing and playing are first class within the clear acoustic of Chichester Cathedral - Cross Rhythms Farrington's imaginative re-working of the orchestral score for organ should win it many devotees, especially in this fine performance - Planet Hugill
  • One of the UK’s most lauded composers, Roxanna Panufnik celebrates her 50th birthday with a new release of her previously unrecorded choral music, performed by leading British choir Ex Cathedra under Jeffrey Skidmore. Known for her interest in world music, the programme includes performances from Indian arts organisation Milapfest on Unending Love, as well as the a recording of Child of Heaven: Dawn Chorus III – a new commission from Ex Cathedra that sets a Hymn to Dawn from the Rig Veda.

    Roxanna has written a wide range of pieces including opera, ballet, music theatre, choral works, chamber compositions and music for film and television which are regularly performed all over the world. This disc follows the 2017 release of 99 Words (SIGCD519), combining works by Panufnik and Sir John Tavener.

    ★★★★ Beguiling and soothing, it’s Panufnik at her most individual - Classical Source ★★★★ Very exciting - All Music A pleasurable disc - Gramophone

    The work is elegantly-shaped and full of warmth, rather like this disc as a whole - BBC Music Magazine

    This album is a fine and nicely varied birthday gift from Ex Cathedra to Roxanna Panufnik - Music Web International

  • Hymns are a living link with the past, yet they still find freshness and relevance in the twenty- first century. Saint Thomas Aquinas comments that ‘hymns are the praise of God with song; a song is the exultation of the mind dwelling on eternal things, bursting forth in the voice’ and this explains neatly the vital place that hymnody has enjoyed throughout the ages, and continues to do so today. Praise my soul celebrates this glorious tradition of hymnody and showcases some of the hymns heard in Jesus College Chapel in their own regular pattern of choral services. Some of these, including Drop, drop, slow tears and Glory to thee, my God, this night have been sung regularly for hundreds of years. Others such as All my hope on God is founded or Christ Triumphant have become classics over the last half-century.

    The Choir of Jesus College Cambridge return to disc on Signum with their seventh release, and their first under choral director Richard Pinel.

    A magnificent disc of fine hymn tunes and outstanding music making - MusicWeb International
  • 2018 Grammy Award nominees Tenebrae perform a new collection of choral works by Polish composer Paweł Łukaszewski.

    Born in southern Poland in 1968 in the city of Częstochowa and described by Gramophone as writing “enchanting choral music…beautifully measured phrases, immaculately tailored textures and ingenious use of light and shade to invoke light shining in darkness”, Łukaszewski has secured a place in the forefront of European sacred music with performances throughout the world and his works featuring on over one hundred recordings. He studied at the Fryderyk Chopin Academy of Music, where he still teaches, and is now the Artistic Director and Conductor of Musica Sacra Cathedral Choir in Warsaw.

    This collection of sacred choral works bears an easily-discernible cultural link with his Polish predecessors such as Lutosławski and Penderecki, but the influence of Henryk Górecki and the Estonian Arvo Pärt is evident too in the fervent but restrained spiritual aspect of Łukaszewski’s music, and his individual voice never stoops to mere imitation.

    There is always a sense of rhythmic and harmonic displacement about his work, which makes it not only difficult to deliver but curiously timeless  - Choir and Organ Very effectiveGramophone I would strongly recommend this as a CD of great interest, wonderfully well sung - Cathedral Music Magazine Moving and upliftingCross Rhythms I offer plaudits to Nigel Short and Tenebrae for their quality of singing and commitment - iClassical
  • The Choir of The Queen’s College, Oxford celebrate the works of choral music icon Herbert Howells in a disc that sets his works alongside pieces that they inspired and influenced – such as Nico Muhly’s Like as the Hart for choir, solo violin and percussion – as well as works that in turn influenced him. The disc features two world premiere recordings by David Bednall: settings of two Marian antiphons Alma redemptoris mater and Ave regina caelorum that ‘complete’ the partly-lost set of works that Howells wrote for Westminster Cathedral.

    Led by their director Owen Rees, the Choir of The Queen’s College, Oxford is among the finest and most active university choirs in the UK. Its wide-ranging repertory includes a rich array of music from Renaissance and Baroque masterpieces to contemporary works, including commissions.

    ★ A distinguished disc - Choir and Organ

    An excellent disc: the singing is incredibly tight, in the manner to which it has become increasingly accustomed under its musical director, Owen Rees, and Bednall’s writing is ingenious Gramophone

    This is a welcome disc of some lesser-known repertoire - Cathedral Music Magazine A well planned collection of British sacred musicMusic Web International
  • Sibylla

    £12.00

    Literally meaning ‘rooster song’ or ‘cock crow’, Gallicantus takes its name from monastic antiquity; the name of the office held just before dawn, it was a ceremony which evoked the renewal of life offered by the coming day. Dedicated to renaissance music and directed by Gabriel Crouch, the membership of this early music group boasts a wealth of experience in consort singing.

    Renowned for their critically-acclaimed and researched programmes, Gallicantus present Sibylla. At the heart of the programme is Orlandus Lassus’s 16th Century Prophetiae Sibyllarum, which sets to music the texts of ancient Sibylline prophecies telling of the coming of Christ.

    One of the composer’s most renowned and celebrated works, it is performed alongside settings by the ‘Sibyl of the Rhine’ Hildegard von Bingen, as well contemporary responses to Lassus’s work. Dmitri Tymoczko’s Prophetiae Sibyllarum sets poems by Jeff Dolven which recast the sibyls’ role: this time to the teller of grim truths of present life in post-industrial America. As an epilogue the album finishes with Elliot Cole’s ‘I saw you under the fig tree’ (part of his suite Visions) – a simple 4-part setting beneath an extraordinary countertenor glissando, setting Jesus Christ’s response to Nathaniel.

    ★★★★★ The extraordinary Gallicantus sing with micrometrical precise articulation and flawless pitching - Choir and Organ This CD is evidence of an intimate understanding of this challenging music and is as fine an account of the score as has been committed to CD to date - Early Music Review
  • Andrew Nethsingha and The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge mark the centenary of the 1918 Armistice with a new recording of choral works by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Many of the works were composed in the years immediately following the event, including O clap your hands, Lord, thou hast been our refuge and the Mass in G minor which leads the programme.

    Vaughan Williams turned his attention to liturgical music following his service as a wagon orderly during the Great War. Ursula Vaughan Williams, his second wife and biographer, wrote that such work ‘gave Ralph vivid awareness of how men died’. It is perhaps unsurprising that in many of the texts to which he turned after the 1918 Armistice, the fragility and weakness of humanity becomes a recurrent theme. Despite being described as a ‘confirmed atheist’ by the philosopher Bertrand Russell, his heightened exploration of Christian texts, symbols, and images after the War might rather be understood both as an attempt to grapple anew with what might lie, as he put it, ‘beyond sense and knowledge’, and to search for consolation in religious and other inherited traditions amid a world irrevocably changed.

    I admire both the outstanding quality of the treble line and the excellent sense of ensemble - Cathedral Music Magazine The great virtues of the disc are the way it brings RVW's into a different focus yet also emphasises the transcendent mysticism which is the essential core to the music - Planet Hugill This is a very fine disc indeed. Andrew Nethsingha has chosen the music with great discernment and conducts it with evident commitment and understanding - Music Web International
  • Pianist Malcolm Martineau brings together some of the UK’s finest singers for the third release in his series charting the complete songs of French composer Gabriel Fauré. This series follows Martineau’s well-received 5-CD series of The Complete Songs of Francis Poulenc.
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