• Signum Records are pleased to welcome a new ensemble to the catalogue: The Elysian Singers perform choral works by composer James MacMillan. MacMillan characteristically draws inspiration for his vocal works from recurring themes such as the Catholic Church and Scottish traditional culture. The most substantial work on this recording is Cantos Sagrados ("Sacred Songs"). MacMillan takes the poems of Latin American poets Ariel Dorfman and Ana Maria Mendosa, and combines their settings of political repression with traditional religious texts to create a powerful combination of liberation theology. The result is at times delicate, and then terrifying. The composer’s intentions were to create a work both sacred and secular, being timeless yet contemporary. Of the other works on this disc, the majority are settings of Latin or English religious texts often written for particular occasions or places. A Child’s Prayer, for instance, was dedicated to the victims of the Dunblane tragedy of 1996, where one teacher and sixteen of her pupils were shot dead whilst in class. One of the two secular works on this recording, The Gallant Weaver is a setting of that most Scottish of poets, Robert Burns, to a nostalgic evocation of Celtic folk-music. The Elysian Singers were founded in 1986. Since 1999 they have been directed by Sam Laughton and have established a national reputation as a young and lively chamber choir, winning awards for commissioning new music.
  • With a stunning selection of choral music that is truly fit for a King, Andrew Gant leads the Choir of the Chapel Royal & The Musicians Extra-Ordinary to re-create the music that accompanied the coronation of James II and Queen Mary in 1685.  
    William Child Te Deum in E Flat
    John Blow Behold, O God our defender
    William Turner The King shall rejoice
    Henry Lawes Zadok, the Priest
    Henry Purcell I was glad, My heart is inditing
    Thomas Tallis Litany
      Recorded in the Chapel Royal at St James's Palace, this disc is a perfect representation of one of the country's most illustrious and historic musical institutions
  • Described by The Times as "thrilling. contemporary, and original... impressive and profoundly affecting", Francis Pott's  writing provides a treasure-trove of astonishingly beautiful composition. Meditations & Remembrances is a new collection of choral and organ pieces of extraordinary tenderness and masterly technique. Francis Pott began his musical life as a chorister at New College Oxford. He held open music scholarships at Winchester College and Magdalene College, Cambridge. Francis was appointed Administrative Head of Music at London College of Music and Media in 2001, subsequently becoming its Head of Composition and Research Development on Music, Media and Creative Technologies. He was also a member of Winchester Cathedral Choir under David Hill from 1991 until 2001. Francis remains an active pianist and accompanist, uniting both compositon and academic research. Christ Church Cathedral Choir enjoys an enviable reputation as one of Ireland's most outstanding choirs. Under the direction of Judy Martin, Director of Music at the cathedral, the present choir is a mixed ensemble of 20 adult singers. In addition to the full part it plays in the worship in the cathedral, the Cathedral Choir is active with concerts, tours and regular broadcasts.
  • Signum Records is delighted to announce that the choir of Magdalen College Oxford will release their first disc with Signum in early 2003. Entitled The Songs of Angels the disc will consist of repertoire written by the distinguished 15th and 16th century Magdalen Informator Choristarum.  These young choral scholars are an impressive group of musicians - BBC Radio 3 Record Review A superb release, as much for its historical interest as for the unarguable excellence of the music-making - Gramophone
  • When Sir Michael Tippett first worked with the BBC Singers in 1944, the experience was such that he recalled nearly 50 years later that "It was to be the first of many such occasions when a composer's dreams were brought to fulfillment." Now under their Conductor Laureate, Stephen Cleobury, the present-day BBC Singers return the compliment with this programme of his works for choir, both unaccompanied and with organ. Includes the works: The Windhover Plebs Angleica The Weeping Babe Magnificat & Nunc Dimitis Four Songs from the British Isles The Source Lullaby Negro Spirituals from A Child of Our Time & two premiere recordings: Over the Sea to Skye Unto the Hills (Wadhurst)
  • When an ensemble like the BBC Singers, renowned for its commitment to the music of our own time, sets out to record a Christmas CD you can be sure that the repertoire will include material rather different from the usual run of popular standards and arrangements! One star at last includes eight new carols (six of them specially-commissioned by BBC Radio 3), several premiere recordings, and a selection of music - serious and light-hearted, contemplative and joyful - by some of the leading British, European and North American choral composers of the day. Astonishingly high standards of choral singing ... excellent performances and the organ contributions by Robert Quinney are all splendid ... Enthusiastically recommendedMusicweb International
  • Recorded in the beatiful church of Notre Dame, Rozay-en-Brie, by Concerto Delle Donne, this CD celebrates 300 years of Marc-Antoine Charpentier, whose works ranged from simple settings of hymns composed for unaccompanied solo voice to works of great complexity and virtuosity for soloists, double choir and double orchestra. Here, the focus is on the sacred works that Charpentier composed for two and three solo women's voices. The three principal sopranos of of Concerto delle Donne all feature as soloists. Other composers included on this disc are Jean-Baptiste Lully, Nicholas-Antoine Lebègue & Guillame-Gabriel Nivers. The singers' delectably pure, sweet sound, rhythmic liveliness and stylish ornamentation perfectly capture the spirit of some beautiful and inventive music, ideally suited to its very specific purpose - The Daily Telegraph Ravishing music draws some exquisite singing in response... [a] superb disc - Gramophone There is much stunning music here... [an] essential for lovers of the most sublime composer of the French Baroque - Early Music America These are charming performances of charming music. Warmly recommended - MusicWeb International
  • Piangete

    £12.00

    Signum Records is delighted to announce that the ensemble Concerto delle Donne will release their first disc on Signum Records in 2003. The disc will feature the cantatas and motets of Giacomo Carissimi.

    Carissimi is sometimes thought of as a "one-work composer" known to the average music-lover only for his oratorio Jephte. Choral Societies looking for 17th century music earlier than Purcell are therefore likely to choose Jephte.

    Alastair Ross first became interested in Carissimi’s music for the 3-soprano Concerto delle Donne line-up when he was asked to prepare a programme “Handel and his predecessors in Italy” for the 1977 Göttingen Festival. A review of Carissimi's oeuvre showed that there were several pieces by Carissimi in the library of Christ Church Oxford just waiting to be performed by the group! He chose the cantata Siam tre miseri piangenti which has become a regular item in their concerts and which is central to this recording. It’s a marvellous piece, full of pain, suffering and anger. The three voices really are equal in the way they intertwine and react to one another. Donna Deam’s solo Piangete and Gill Ross' and Elin Thomas’s duet Ahi, non torna are similar in mood. Maybe in our cynical 21st century we find it difficult to relate to these highly emotional, self-obsessed, texts, but there’s no denying that they inspired some wonderful music! Va dimanda al mio pensiero’ and Si dia bando, alla speranza are lighter in mood – both attractive, tuneful pieces.

    There is plenty of variety in the church music as well. Cum reverteretur David, which begins the CD, is brilliant and virtuosic, a dramatic account of the rivalry between David and Saul. The duet Exulta, gaude, filia Sion is a joyful celebration of Christmas. In Benedictus Deus et Pater the voices weave rich dissonances to convey the suffering of the text; there’s something of the mood of Allegri’s Miserere here.

    In addition to the vocal pieces the disc includes a set of variations by Frescobaldi and Michelangelo Rossi’s flamboyant and chromatic Toccata Settima for harpsichord, together with Kapspereger’s charming improvisations for chittarone.

    We believe that only one of the Carissimi pieces on this CD, Exulta, gaude, filia Sion, has been recorded before, so the disc will be an important event in the recorded-music world, and one which we hope will revive interest in this unjustly neglected composer.

    ★★★★ An impressive release - Choir & Organ An important and rewarding release - Early Music Review
  • Signum Classics are proud to release the King's Singers fifth disc on Signum; Sacred Bridges. For thousands of years, the biblical Psalter has been the liturgical “heart” of the three main book religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The Psalms announce the word of God and, simultaneously, contain the full range of human experience. Jews, Christians and Muslims sing and listen to the same songs of lament and joy, confessions of sin, hymns of praise and adoration. In this project of the King’s Singers and Sarband, psalm settings by composers from three religions give an example of how psalms can be a source of spirituality, a political instrument, a link between tradition and modernity and, above all, a bridge connecting human beings. Immaculate blend, perfect tuning and crystal diction ... Superb performances across the cultural divide show that great art transcends political differences - The Times A fascinating, attractive, beautifully performed-album - Gramophone Perfectly judged and beautifully blended sound - Classic FM Magazine An intriguing disc, and far more than a curiosity - Early Music Review A real gift to ... music lovers that need a special musical holiday gift - Mid West Record Recap
  • SIX

    £5.00
    Signum Records present a special CD release from the King’s Singers, celebrating over 35 years of popular repertoire that has left audiences delighted across the globe. Formed in 1968 by six Choral Scholars from King’s College, Cambridge, the King’s Singers quickly became a prominent musical force in the UK. The rest of the world soon followed so that today the group’s engagements are spread throughout the four corners of the globe. The ensemble are renowned for their commitment to blend balance and intonation in their performances, but above all it is their simple enjoyment of what they do that has captured the imagination of the public, and kept the King’s Singers at the top of their game for over three and a half decades. This album presents six pieces performed by the six vocalists over the years. The titles were selected to span the life of the group so far: After the explosive rock decade of the 1960s in which the group was founded, you can almost hear the hair lengthen in Neil Young’s 1970 song After the Goldrush. This was originally sung by the group with Nana Mouskouri on her BBC TV show, and has remained popular ever since; Irving Berlin’s much-loved jazz classic Blue Skies is here sung in a cool and reflective arrangement by Richard Rodney Bennett; the Beatle’s Blackbird is one of the most requested encores happily sung to ecstatic audiences, and Daryl Runswick’s arrangement perfectly maintains the feel of the original song. The remaining three tracks are all newly recorded pieces from the 21st century. Down to the River to Pray, a spiritual, appeared in the Coen brothers movie “O Brother Where art Thou?”; Billy Joel’s Lullaby Goodnight My Angel is an example of the songwriter at his lyric best. Finally, The Wishing Tree was commissioned by the King’s Singers and the BBC for the 2002 Proms, celebrating the present Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Joby Talbot, formerly of The Divine Comedy, was asked to compose a work in which to reflect Queen Elizabeth II’s life, as well as incorporating a 16th century madrigal-element, in reference to the reign of the first Queen Elizabeth. Six new tracks from the lads with the voices of spun gold. The irresistible verve of this much-changed group's mid-1970s peak is less evident, but for sheer polish and style these singers are truly 'kings' - BBC Music Magazine Think gorgeous close harmony, think crossover-with-integrity, and enjoy - Classic FM Magazine  
  • 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  
  • Gesualdo

    £12.00
    Signum Records is proud to announce the release of the latest recording by The King's Singers: Gesualdo's Tenebrae Responsories for Maundy Thursday. The Italian Prince, Carlos Gesualdo, is probably most famous for the obsessive double murder of his first wife along with her lover, but his music is not always accredited with the same sense of celebrity. Gesualdo is known in traditional history books as an amateur composer. His music is characterised by wild gesticulation and abrupt starts and stops, particular to a composer who just didn’t know what he was doing. However, the 20th century has now uncovered our composer’s place in history as part of a larger movement of Neapolitan artists, and as perhaps the most forward-thinking, expressive and sensual composer of his time. The King’s Singers were fascinated by the naked honesty that is heard within this 400 year old music. It is so startling that it keeps its freshness of surprise even on many repeated hearings. The music portrays a desperate and wretched, but also passionate and loving person who is set on composing "further out" than anyone else. Gesualdo moved in the highest circles of Italy and was extremely wealthy. His decadent lifestyle allowed him to do and write exactly as he pleased, and at the tender age of 19 it brought him into close contact with one of the most attractive and admired women in Naples. Maria d’Avalos was twice widowed by the age of 25. Her marriage to Gesualdo was initially promising. However, Maria’s rich social life soon dominated the relationship and a profound and constant jealousy took possession of the young and highly sensitive composer. After four years of turmoil he hired professional murderers to assist him in killing wife and lover while they were in bed together. The violence and rage of the act is well-documented. After the murder of Maria, Gesualdo suffered from severe and increasing feelings of guilt. Penitence never left him and he was moved to compose church music of a most black and self-reproachful nature. The programme on this CD represents part of the liturgy for the Matins Offices on the final three days of Holy Week, the Triduum Sacrum. Each of the Matins services is divided into three nocturns, each containing psalmody, three lessons and three responsaries. The attention given to word-painting is exemplary - The Times A no holds barred, immaculately sung performance from the King's Singers. Unmissable - Classic FM Magazine
  • 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 dramatised persona of William Byrd, the most famous composer of his age, to recreate the atmosphere of change and hope in the Jacobean court. ★★★★ The performers bring verve and forceful emotional fervour to these works of protest - Classic FM Magazine A brilliant fusion of Renaissance and contemporary idioms - The Scotsman Strongly recommended - International Record Review There is never a question of technical polish and precision with the King’s Singers - American Record Guide
  • The debut disc of world-renowned early-music ensemble Charivari Agréable on Signum Records. Music for Philip of Spain and His Four Wives is complementary to SIGCD004 and presents secular music associated with Philip II from the four European countries of his wives - Portugal, England, Austria and France. Bravo!Gramophone Highly recommendedEarly Music Review Exquisite performances ... a highly intelligent programmeEarly Music Today
  • The King's Singershave combined one of the greatest vocal compositions of all time with modern recording technology and customary style to produce a truly stunning recording of Thomas Tallis' Spem in alium. This is a unique opportunity to hear every part in Spem sung and recorded to perfection, with the six King's Singers dividing the forty parts of Spem in alium between them, in this multi-track recording the disc is in full surround sound, and is a CD/SACD hybrid. This disc can be played on any standard CD or SACD player. In addition, there is a 4.0 surround-sound mix on the SACD layer. A bold and fascinating performance - Classic FM So impressive - Choir & Organ
  • The King's Singers present a disc of some of their best and most requested repertoire. We are all shaped, perhaps unconsciously, by the landscape and time in which we live. This evocative and spiritual programme, which contains five King's Singers commissions, explores the links between human life and it's surroundings through the different personal languages of poets and composers.
    Richard Rodney Bennet The Seasons of His Mercies
    John McCabe Scenes in America Deserta
    Cyrillus Kreek Taaveti laulud
    Jackson Hill Remembered Love
    Peter Maxwell Davies House of Winter
    Jean Sibelius Rakastava
    Zoltán Kodály Esti Dal
    Bob Chilcott Even Such is Time
     
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