• 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
  • The Armonico Consort return to disc on Signum (following their highly-regarded Naked Byrd CD series) with a new disc celebrating the glorious combination of soprano and trumpet in baroque music – featuring the soaring talents of Elin Manahan Thomas and Crispian Steele-Perkins. Widely-praised for their imaginative and inventive programming, this disc features works by JS Bach (Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen), GP Telemann (Trumpet Concerto in D major), Alessandro Scarlatti (Su le sponde del Tebro) and a special compilation of works by Handel devised by Crispian Steele-Perkins. The tone is immediately set by Crispian Steele-Perkins' trilling trumpet on Bach's Jauchzet Gott in alien Landen, which also features quite thrilling counterpoints between him and soprano Elin Manahan ThomasThe Independent
    The whole thing seems suffused with light reflected from Manahan Thomas’ voice, and Steele-Perkins’ effortlessly projected trumpetBBC Radio 3 Record Review
  • 99 WORDS

    £12.00
    Voce Chamber Choir’s new disc is a moving tribute to Sir John Tavener, featuring a selection of works by him (many of which are previously unrecorded) and by Roxanna Panufnik. At the heart of the disc is the premiere recording of Panufnik’s 99 Words to my Darling Children, a moving setting of Tavener’s last message to his family. As well as the Voce Chamber Choir, the disc features performances from cellist Matthew Barley, organist James Sherlock and narration from Simon Russell Beale. ★★★★★ Voce Chamber Choir offer a well-balanced sound with a polished sheen to their singing. An unusual and most welcome disc - Choir and Organ The result – a lullaby that cradles its sung text with infinite tenderness – is exquisite, and beautifully handled… a strong, and very welcome, first outing - Gramophone It’s a really lovely programme… lovely moment of connection between the two, a lovely homageBBC Radio 3
  • 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 Choral Scholars of University College Dublin are Ireland’s leading collegiate choral ensemble, and for their first recording on Signum they perform an enchanting and ground-breaking collection of traditional and Celtic-inspired choral music, led by their director Desmond Early
    ★★★★ Blending 'folk' voices with choral precision and tight harmony isn't easy, but Desmond Earley has a passionate stake in both and doesn't put a foot wrong - Choir and Organ Bright young thingsThe Irish Times
     
  • Signum Records is delighted to release The King's Singers debut album on the Signum label. King’s Singers Christmas comprises 24 carols for each day of Advent, and a bonus 25th track which pays homage to one of their famous songs. Featured on the disc are such celebrated carols as Away in a Manger, specially arranged for the group and other traditional carols performed in their original versions. Even though nearly every piece on this disc could be heard in an English church carol service, the variety of musical styles covered is immense. Five centuries of music are represented here including works from various different countries. "As a group that spends much of its life on the road, we are fortunate to be able to gather music from many cultures and traditions beyond our own" says Gabriel Crouch. "Several pieces collected on our travels have found their way onto this playlist, including La Peregrinaçion by the Argentinian Ariel Ramirez, and the Polish-Ukranian song Szczo to za Prediwo, which we first heard performed by a choir from Warsaw at a King’s Singers workshop". In addition to the choice of traditional Christmas carols we have chosen pieces by Peter Warlock, John McCabe, John Rutter, Bo Holton and our own Philip Lawson, as representative of the living tradition amongst English institutions for commissioning new carols. A King’s Singers Christmas album would not be complete, however, without a little musical twist or two. These are delivered in the form of Tchaikovsky’s The Crown of Roses which has been arranged by the great jazz arranger Jeremy Lubbock and a new version with Christmas words by Philip Lawson of the perennial King’s Singer’s favourite You are the New Day, sung to the accompaniment of a String Quartet. Nothing fazes them, however tough the demands, and there is a combination of precision and warmth to the singing, captured in sympathetic acoustics - Daily Telegraph The King's Singers' style is beautifully detailed, and even the most familiar carols sound fresh - Classic FM Magazine If you love Christmas music recordings, well, what are you waiting for? This is one of the best ever - ClassicsToday.com Precise intonation, instinctive articulation, a downy, luxuriant tone, all captured in an excitingly lifelike recording - International Record Review  
  • 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
  • Mass in Blue, performed by ‘one of the most accomplished small choral groups of our time’ (Gramophone), is a brilliant blend of driving jazz grooves and clear, strong, choral writing against which the solo piano and solo soprano voice weave and blend in a delightful aural tapestry. Leading young composer Will Todd performs a unique fusion of sacred choral music and jazz in his Mass in Blue. This central work is complemented by beautiful musical settings of religious texts, infused with a highly individual and melodic style, bringing the composer’s lifelong love of traditional choral music into the 21st century with spiritual sensitivity and a contemporary edge. The performances are excellent, as is the recording - Musical Opinion  The Vasari Singers deliver the irregular rhythms with great punch ... Will Todd’s music receives the strongest possible advocacy on this CD - MusicWeb International  
  • 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
  • The Gabrieli Consort and Players return to the programme that put them on the musical map when it was originally recorded and released in 1990: A Venetian Coronation 1595 is a musical re-creation evoking the grand pageantry of the Coronation Mass for Venetian Doge Marino Grimani. His love of ceremony and state festivals fuelled an extraordinary musical bounty during his reign and formed the background to the musical riches of the period, especially to the works of Giovanni Gabrieli. With cornetts, sackbuts and an all-male consort, Paul McCreesh fully exploits the dazzling polyphony of Andrea and Giovanni Gabrieli’s music and captivates the audience in a theatrical and ceremonious performance. Two decades later, the Gabrieli's New Venetian Coronation takes advantage of huge developments in early instruments, performance techniques and research into the pieces that were on the original (as well as advances in recording techniques). Even if you own the classic Virgin disc, this new version is a must-buy - The Sunday Times Never less than enthralling - The Independent McCreesh's new take on his classic recording is a triumph … Highly recommended to both first- and second-time buyers, and on track to inspire yet another generationBBC Radio 3 Record Review
  • Four CDs for £20 Four early discs from the professional chamber-choir Tenebrae, who since their formation by former King's Singer Nigel Short have become one of the finest choral-groups in the UK. The combined experiences of the choirs members (who between them have worked with The Monteverdi Choir, the choirs of Westminster Abbey and Cathedral,  King’s College, Cambridge, I Fagiolini, The Tallis Scholars, The Swingle Singers, The King's Singers Gallicantus, Covent Garden, English National Opera) allows an extraordinary range of depth and precision to their performances and interpretations. These four discs are the first they released on Signum - covering music by Rachmaninov, Karl Jenkins, Howells and many others. The Dream of Herod features music for Advent, anthems for the Mother & Child, music for Christmas, and The Dream of Herod, a semi-dramatic contemporary work with a particular resonance at Christmas. Mother and Child is a distinctive and distinguished collection of works by a number of living composers, many of whom have established themselves at the creative forefront of the choral scene in recent times. Includes premiere recordings of works by Sir John Tavener, Francis Pott, Alexander L’Estrange and Jeremy Filsell. Gaudete was arranged by Classic FM's Hall of Fame 2004 'top-ten-composer' Karl Jenkins, sung by crack professional choir - Tenebrae - Gaudete is released on Signum Classics both with drums and percussion and as a pure, unadulterated, a cappella version. This EP release also features works by Steve Reich, Alexander L'Estrange and Sir John Tavener. Rachmaninoff Vespers is a live recording of the stirring performance by Tenebrae of Rachmaninoff’s ‘All-Night Vigil’ (Vsenoshchnoye bdeniye, Op. 37).
     
  • 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
  • The Gabrieli Consort continue their series of award-winning collaborations with the National Forum of Music, Wrocław, Poland with a new version of Haydn’s great oratorio The Seasons. Using a new performing edition by Paul McCreesh this recording is the first to feature the large orchestral forces that Haydn called for, including a string section of 60, 8 horns and a choir of 70. As well as the combined forces of the Gabrieli Consort & Players, Wrocław Baroque Orchestra and National Forum of Music Choir, the recording features solo performances from British singers Carolyn Sampson, Jeremy Ovenden and Andrew Foster-Williams. All booklet texts are printed in both English and Polish translations.
  • BBC Music Magazine Award-winning choir Tenebrae perform a sumptuous selection of motets by Johannes Brahms and Anton Bruckner. Choral Recording of the Year: Performance ★★★★★ Recording ★★★★★ A beautifully balanced programmeBBC Music Magazine ★★★★★ Complex, rich and beautiful... performances are everything we have come to expect from Tenebrae, likewise Signum's recorded sound - Classical Music ★★★★ Richly Expressive - The Observer Tenebrae score on all counts. They submit with impressive stamina and unfailing intonation to Bruckner’s instrumental scoring and phrasing - Gramophone The dense harmonies suit this well-established professional choir perfectly - The Guardian Beautifully performed, seraphic sequence - The Sunday Times
  • 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
  • Seasonal Music by Bob Chilcott

    Bob Chilcott’s compositions are beloved with choral societies around the world, and this album represents the fruits of his recent collaborations with the US choir Choralis and their conductor Gretchen Kuhrmann. Featuring festive works for solo choir as well as choir and brass ensemble, at the centre of the programme is Wenceslas, inspired by the legend of the Bohemian King who braved the winter weather with his Page to save the life of a poor peasant, and incorporating the melody of the famous carol into each of its 8 movements. The disc includes the premiere recordings of Chilcott’s Gloria, which was premiered by the choir to great critical acclaim in 2015. These musicians radiate all the warmth of the famous church scene in Home Alone… That underscores Chilcott’s gift as a songwriter and an arrangerGramophone Chilcott’s music undeniably sounds great when sung by a small scale professional chamber choir (such as here) but there’s something equally appealing in the inclusive joy of a performance by a larger group of amateurs. This is a tribute to them, as much as to the composer of the music they sing - MusicWeb International Incorporating the traditional carol Good King Wenceslas it’s a work rich in melodic invention… sung here with becoming warmth, the finale glowing with good tidings… Impeccably directed throughoutPrimephonic This effortlessly fluent, audience-friendly music is hard to dislike. The craft is impeccable, the tunes are memorable and the performers invariably sound as if they’re enjoying themselvesThe Arts Desk
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