• Signum Records are proud to present the eighth and penultimate volume of Chapelle du Roi’s recording of the Complete Works of Thomas Tallis.

    This volume brings together Tallis’s two masterly settings of the Lamentations of Jeremiah and English adaptations of several of his best-known Latin motets.

    Thomas Tallis was one of many continental and English composers who composed settings of texts from the Lamentations of Jeremiah, the opening five verses of which formed part of the office of Matins (or Tenebrae) during Holy Week. Tallis’s two settings could have been performed ritually but in all likelihood they are Elizabethan works intended for use at the private devotions of staunch Catholic sympathisers.

    The statutory introduction of the First Book of Common Prayer on Whitsunday, 9th June 1549 precipitated an urgent need for a repertory of service music in the vernacular. One straightforward solution to the predicament was to adapt existing Latin motets to English texts, a genre of composition that has come to be known as a contrafactum. Contrafacta survive of liturgical music by pre-Reformation English composers as well as by several composers whose working life spanned the period of Reformation.

    During the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods contrafacta and their models assumed several forms of dual existence, and were performed not only within a liturgical setting but also in a domestic context for recreation or private devotion. Usually there is no textual relationship between the model and the contrafactum. Indeed the finale of this disc, Sing & Glorify heaven’s high majesty, an adaptation of Tallis’s celebrated eight-choir (40-part) motet Spem in alium was adapted to celebrate Prince Henry’s investiture as Prince of Wales in 1610.

  • Signum Records are delighted to present the final volume of The Complete Works of Thomas Tallis.

    The final release explores the most obscure and enigmatic corner of Tallis’s output – his secular music. His profession as church musician and member of the Chapel Royal did not require him to write secular songs or pieces, yet some works may have been written for the Tudor court. Other works are thought to have been written for generations of choir boys, who were assisted with their training by the composer. Plays and performances outside of the choirboy’s obligation were popular, as well as instrumental consort music and keyboard pieces associated with their training. Tallis is likely to have been given the opportunity to write his secular works for these occasions.

    Tallis’s music was admired and used by others far beyond the Chapel Royal and the court. Some of his intended sacred choral works are included on this recording in other guises, arranged by musicians with performance intentions very different to that of the church. His reputation of greatness amongst his friends and contemporaries is reflected in William Byrd’s elegy Ye sacred muses, where he echoes the sentiments of others with the words "Tallis is dead, and Music dies". This musical tribute has justifiably become one of Byrd’s most popular works.

    Volume 9 of The Complete Works is a double CD release, marking the end of this popular series. Alistair Dixon has realised the project, and directed his choir Chapelle du Roi throughout the earlier volumes. Musicians featured on this final disc are: Andrew Benson-Williams (organ), Laurence Cummings (virginals), the ensemble Charivari Agréable, Lynda Sayce (lute), and Stephen Taylor (counter tenor)

  • Tallis, Byrd, Victoria, Bach, Parry, Kodaly, Part & Howells

    The Rodolfus Choir return to disc on Signum with a stunning new collection of choral works drawn from composers spanning over 500 years. Ralph Allwood MBE introduces the programme and the personal inspiration behind it:

    The concept of time is so rich that it has inspired a large body of writing and musical setting. This collection is a tribute to my father, because I learnt so much about time from him. Mathematician and philosopher, theologian, musician and physicist, he was fascinated by our perception of time, and he and I had many discussions about its nature. In a trivial sense, music traces the passage of time, but also, as with all events, manipulates it. A watch traces a different pattern of time during events. But who is to say that the watch is ‘right’.
     
  • Tomás Luis de Victoria's requiem mass for six voices, written in 1603 and published in 1605, is a masterpiece. It is one of a handful of large-scale works which enjoys mainstream appeal in the 21st century. For many, it represents what Renaissance polyphony is, what it sounds and feels like, and how expressive it can be. The disc also features two well-known works by Victoria's contemporary Alonso Lobo.

    The performance comes from the renowned professional chamber choir Tenebrae, led by Nigel Short, following their BBC Music Magazine Award nominated recording of Francis Poulenc's Figure Humaine.

     

     

     

  • 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.

    The fifth release in their series with Signum, the Choir of St John’s have received glowing praise for their previous releases, culminating in the choral prize at the 2017 BBC Music Magazine Awards for their debut release of works by Jonathan Harvey (Deo SIGCD456).

    The choral recordings that St John’s College Choir have released on this label so far have been uniformly excellent, and this is another golden string to add to their bow. - Music Web International
  • Signum Records are proud to present the first release in a new series of live orchestral recordings featuring the illustrious St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, led by their chief conductor Yuri Temirkanov. These new recordings have been made possible thanks to the recent refurbishment of their home concert venue, the Grand Philharmonic Hall, allowing many of us to hear for the first time the excitement of the Philharmonic’s performances in their resident city of St Petersburg. This release will be followed later in the year with their live performance of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7 (Leningrad).

    “The orchestra moved like a single unit, swelling and surging, natural rubato raising tension, pacing and placing impeccably judged.”
    The Independent

  • Tenebrae return to the sublime music of Tomás Luis de Victoria on Signum with this recording of his timeless Tenebrae Responsories. The works mix the words of the Gospels with other texts commenting on collective suffering written around the 4th century, and would traditionally have been performed as part of a moving service in which candles are slowly extinguished to mark the progress and suffering of Christ that forms the Passion story.
     
    Tenebrae's previous disc of works by Victoria (Requiem Mass, 1605) won the BBC Music Magazine Award for Best Choral Album of 2012.
     
  • Early music consort Contrapunctus return to disc on Signum for the second release in their series centred on music of the Baldwin Partbooks (In the Midst of Life, SIGCD408). John Baldwin was a member of the choir of St George’s chapel, Windsor, and his transcriptions during the 1570s and 80s create one of the greatest surviving collections of Marian polyphony, composed during the reigns of Henry VIII and Mary Tudor. This volume explores texts celebrating Mary as mother of God, and on the Virgin and her Child.  
    Contrapunctus, led by Owen Rees, couple powerful interpretations with pioneering scholarship. Currently Vocal Consort in Residence at Oxford University, the ensemble’s first two recordings, Libera nos and In the Midst of Life, were both shortlisted for the Gramophone Early Music Award.
  • The Flemish-born Giaches de Wert was one of many foreigners to dominate the Italian music scene in the mid to late sixteenth century, therefore to this day his music is largely unknown to many. It is the second of three books of Motets which appears on this disc, written when his skill as a madrigalist had reached its height.

    As part of the Kings College Choir, the choral scholars of Collegium Regale perform independently of the choir, singing a repertoire that encompasses 15th Century sacred music, jazz, folksongs and pop. Directed by Kings College’s and the BBC Singer’s renowned director Stephen Cleobury. 

  • As the centenary of the Great War approaches, the choir of Jesus College Cambridge present a new recording titled War & Peace – a beautiful and moving collection of choral works that are united in various ways by the experiences and impact of war.

     

    Praise for the Choir of Jesus College Cambridge’s previous release, ‘Journey into Light’: “It’s a performance of full, rich sounds from a group who are among the unsung heroes of a collegiate choir circuit currently dominated by the larger colleges.” BBC Music Magazine

     

  • Tenebrae is a professional chamber choir, founded and directed by Nigel Short in 2001. Often performing by candlelight, the choir creates an atmosphere of spiritual and musical reflection, where medieval chant and renaissance works are interspersed with contemporary compositions. The carefully selected team of singers use the acoustic and atmostphere of the building to enable the audience to experience the power and intimacy of the human voice.

    Tenebrae has an exceptionally wide repertoire from early, through renaissance, baroque and classical music, to romantic and twentieth century works, plus a range of specially commissioned pieces, the most recent of which is Joby Talbot’s Path of Miracles. What Sweeter Music is a real festive treat, with a sumptuous collection of songs and carols for Christmas - touching on traditional favourites (Silent Night, Away in a Manger), modern classics (The Lamb, What Sweeter Music) and some new light-hearted arrangements (Jingle Bells, We Wish You a Merry Christmas).

     
  • 11-year-old Alice lives in the not terribly exciting town of Grimthorpe. On a boring Wednesday in the summer holidays Alice’s family, wandering around town, gets caught in a downpour. They rush into the nearest shelter, which turns out to be a pet shop – much to Alice’s parents’ delight. Alice is lost in a daydream of exotic holidays... Suddenly she is jolted out of her reverie by one of the animals – a white rabbit – who starts talking to her...
     
    Opera Holland Park’s production of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, a family opera by composer Will Todd and librettist Maggie Gottlieb, comes to CD for the first time after two critically praised runs in 2013 and 2014.
     
      

    Rabbit James Cleverton
    Dad / Queen of Hearts Robert Burt
    Mum / Mad Hatter Victoria Simmonds
    Cheshire Cat Magid El-Bushra
    Caterpillar Keel Watson
    March Hare / White Knight John Lofthouse
    Humpty Dumpty / Duchess Maud Millar
    Brat / Tweedle Dum Rosie Middleton
    Brat / Tweedle Dee Rosanne Havel
    Dormouse Stephanie Bodsworth
    Bottle / Victorian Maud Millar
    Victorians Rosie Middleton, Edward Hughes, Henry Grant Kerswell

  • Lux et Veritas (Light and Truth) is the new album from Will Todd with the professional chamber choir Tenebrae.

    Todd’s music has a universal appeal and he has been hailed as “one of the UK’s most sought-after, versatile composers” (Tempo Magazine). For this collection of sumptuous new choral works Tenebrae are accompanied by the English Chamber Orchestra, conducted by the choir’s director Nigel Short. This new release follows Will Todd’s last choral album The Call of Wisdom, featuring music commissioned for HRH The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee service in St Paul’s Cathedral in 2012.
     
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  • 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.

  • Winchester Cathedral celebrate 50 years since the release of Geoff Stephen’s Winchester Cathedral – a 1966 release for the New Vaudeville Band that reached No.1 in the charts in the USA and Canada, selling over 3 million copies and subsequently winning a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Recording. For this new disc Geoff Stephens has allowed the words of his tune to be adapted by the Choristers of Winchester Cathedral Choir, under the direction of Andrew Lumsden, “to celebrate the forthcoming 50th Anniversary of the original recording and to present the Cathedral as “a beacon of light” in the dark days through which we live”.

    This special EP release also includes arrangements of Somewhere over the Rainbow and Climb Every Mountain alongside Andrew Lumsden’s new arrangement of Geoff Stephen’s Winchester Cathedral.
     
     
  • Yanomami

    £12.00

    Coro Cervantes is a unique professional chamber choir. Through its perforamances and recordings it aims to bring the music of Iberia and Latin America to audiences everywhere. This disc of 20th century music for the unusual yet fabulous combination of choir and guitar coincides with the 70th birthday of Brazilian composer Marlos Nobre, whose work Yanomam, inspired by the death rituals of the indigenous Yanomami people, gives the album its title. The choir is accompanied by the Brazilian Fabio Zanon, one of most all embracing talents in the international guitar scene.

    Julian Stocker Fabio Zanon Carlos Fernandez Aransay

    The Yanomami

    The Yanomami are one of the largest relatively isolated tribes in South America. They live in the rainforests and mountains of northern Brazil and southern Venezuela, and today their total population stands at around 32,000. At over 9.6 million hectares, the Yanomami territory in Brazil is twice the size of Switzerland. In Venezuela, the Yanomami live in the 8.2 million hectare Alto Orinoco - Casiquiare Biosphere Reserve. Together, these areas form the largest forested indigenous territory in the world.

    The Yanomami live in large, circular, communal houses called yanos or shabonos. Some house up to 400 people. The Yanomami believe strongly in equality among people. Each community is independent from others and they do not recognize ‘chiefs’. Decisions are made by consensus, frequently after long debates where everybody has a say.

    Like most Amazonian tribes, tasks are divided between the sexes. Men hunt game, often using curare (a plant extract) to poison their prey. Women tend the gardens where they grow around 60 crops and also collect wild honey nuts, shellfish and insect larvae.

    The spirit world is a fundamental part of Yanomami life. Every creature, rock, tree and mountain has a spirit. Sometimes these are malevolent, attack the Yanomami and are believed to cause illness. Shamans control these spirits by inhaling a hallucinogenic snuff called yakoana. Through their trance like visions, they meet the spirits or xapiripë.

    During the 1980s, the Yanomami suffered immensely when up to 40,0000 Brazilian goldminers invaded their land. The miners shot them, destroyed many villages, and exposed them to diseases to which they had no immunity. Twenty percent of the Yanomami died in just seven years. After a long international campaign led by Yanomami spokesman, Davi Kopenawa, Survival and the Brazilian NGO, the Pro Yanomami Commission (CCPY), Yanomami land in Brazil was officially recognized as the ‘Yanomami Park’ in 1992 and the miners expelled.

    However, the Yanomami still face many threats. Cattle ranchers are invading and deforesting the eastern fringe of their land. Over 1,000 gold- miners are now working illegally on Yanomami land, transmitting deadly diseases like malaria and polluting the rivers with mercury. The Brazilian congress is debating a draft bill which, if approved, will legalise large scale mining in Indian lands, a move which is bitterly opposed by the Yanomami.

    As a result of their increasing contact with outsiders, the Yanomami, CCPY and Survival, set up an education project. Yanomami are being trained to teach reading, writing and maths in their communities.

    In 2004, Yanomami formed their own organisation, Hutukara (the part of the sky from which the earth was born), to defend their rights. Survival International has been working with the Yanomami for 40 years.

    To support the Yanomami join Survival International at www.survival-international.org