•  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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • "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."
  • 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.”
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • This is the first in a new series of releases from the world-renowned conductor Paul McCreesh and his Gabrieli Consort. Recorded in Poland as part of the Wratislava Cantans Festival (of which McCreesh is artistic director) this staggering performance of Berlioz's 'Grand Mass for the Dead' is produced by a force of over 400 performers - drawn from the Gabrieli Consort and Players, the Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir and students from Chetham's School of Music. Future releases with McCreesh will include Mendelssohn's Elijah, Haydn's The Seasons, Britten's War Requiem and a re-recording of their famed disc 'A Venetian Coronation'. Founded in 1982 by Artistic Director Paul McCreesh, Gabrieli Consort & Players are worldrenowned interpreters of great choral and instrumental repertoire, spanning from the renaissance to the present day. Their performances encompass virtuosic a cappella programmes, mould-breaking reconstructions of music for historical events, and major works from the oratorio tradition. They are regular visitors to the world's most prestigious concert halls and festivals and have built a large and distinguished discography. Anyone in search of a transformative listening experience, Berlioz agnostics among them, should make this release a priority purchaseClassic FM Magazine The contrapuntal intricacy of Berlioz's choral writing is done with precision and firm accents, the haunted atmosphere of the 'Quid sum miser' interpreted with restrained, eloquently inflected choral singing and poignant instrumental interjectionsGramophone Berlioz’s 1837 Grande Messe has rarely sounded so thrilling or transparentThe Independent on Sunday
  • Music of the seventeenth century was little known to the concertgoing or record-buying public, up until fifty years or so ago when Monteverdi’s Vespers were performed under the inspiration of figures such as Michael Tippett as part of a modern revival of early music. Subsequently, it has been one of the most celebrated works both with choral societies and early music specialists. Here, the Rodolfus Choir offer their interpretation of one of the most magnificent works of the seventeenth century. Following their highly successful release with Signum earlier this year, Choral Arrangements by Clytus Gottwald, the Rodolfus Choir perform earlymusic as sensitively and musically as they perform music of the twentieth-century.
    Title page of the 1610 edition of Monteverdi's Vespers
    The English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble can be found at: www.ecse.co.uk
  • The Yorkshire Baroque Soloists and Yorkshire Bach Choir were formed in 1973 as the basis of the famous York Early Music Festival, and have built a firm reputation as one of the finest ensembles in the world in their performance and interpretation of 17th and 18th century music. Under their director Peter Seymour they return to disc with a fine selection of soloists to perform Bach’s Mass in B Minor, BWV 232.

    Their 2009 disc of Bach’s St John Passion on Signum (SIGCD209) was released to excellent reviews:

    “A coherent, articulate and engaging performance that balances well the work's twin identities as narrative and contemplation.”
    MusicWeb International

    "… as dramatically coherent and satisfying as I've heard for a while … this is a St John which carries open-hearted conviction and character before it."
    The Gramophone

    http://www.yorkshirebaroquesoloists.org.uk/

  • The Huddersfield Choral Society continue their esteemed relationship with Signum Records with arguably the best-loved musical work of all time Messiah, more than two and a half centuries on from that celebrated first performance in Dublin’s New Music Hall in April 1742. The buoyant chorus, under Glover's incisive direction, goes from strength to strength - The Times Glover's emphasis on firm tempi and natural articulation pushes this version to the head of the queue, for newcomers and adepts alike … a rugged and utterly musical Messiah - Choir & Organ A modern symphonic chorus in good form, well drilled by chorus master Joseph Cullen and thoroughly prepared for the considerable demands of Jane Glover's fleet-footed interpretation … Elizabeth Watts and Catherine Wyn-Rogers add deep emotional impact to the performance - Classic FM Magazine
  • This disc represents a new orchestra partnership for Signum Records with The Orchestra of the Age of the Englightenment, one of London and the world’s leading period-instrument ensembles. Led by Robert Howarth, the recording was made at Kings Place following the orchestras successful 2010 tour of the work.

    'Not all orchestras are the same,' runs the message on the cover, and it’s true: … a shimmering, captivating choral sound that seems to float effortlessly through the psalmsThe Independent

    What is impressive is the grammatical sense (underpinned by flexible accentuation) that the choir brings to the projection of the words in Dixit Dominus and at many other places. Also, as we might expect, the instrumentalists are terrificBBC Music Magazine In a word it is magnificent … this is one of the most enjoyable I have heard in recent yearsMusicWeb International