• The Royal Scottish National Orchestra’s Christmas concerts are one of the highlights of this celebrated ensemble’s musical year. Joined by the RSNO Junior Chorus, this disc captures some highlights of these concerts with a selection of festive favourites both old and new. The mix is infectious and the performances full of fun and panache - The Daily Telegraph There are plenty of Christmas albums around, as you know, but this one is blessed with an extra dose of charm. Listening to it, I can almost smell the cranberry sauce - Classic FM Magazine
  • Another highlight of Scotland's musical life comes from the National Youth Choir of Scotland (NYCoS) National Girls Choir. Joined by Claire Jones, the official harpist to HRH The Prince of Wales, Christopher Bell leads performances of Benjamin Britten's A Ceremony of Carols, An English Day-Book - an exciting rarity by English composer Elizabeth Poston - and two contemporary works by Scottish composer Oliver Iredale Searle and Irish composer Stephen Deazley. ★★★★★ This debut recording by Christopher Bell's NYCoS National Girls Choir could so easily have been just another recording of Britten's A Ceremony of Carols, but for two things: the wholesome confidence of the choir itself … and the successful partnering of Britten's masterpiece with Elizabeth Poston's edgy and colourful An English Day-BookThe Scotsman The voices are rich toned, well-balanced and powered by developing teenage musculatureClassic FM Magazine Clear as a jingle-bell, the NYCoS National Girls Choir take Britten’s unadorned carols without fear or sentiment in a translucent readingLa Scena Musicale
  • Prayers for Mankind celebrates the life and writings of Father Alexander Men, a Russian Orthodox Christian priest who, whilst being little known outside of his home country during his lifetime, has come to be hailed as a saint and martyr by thousands all over the world. 2010 marks the anniversary of what would have been his 85th Birthday, as well as 20 years since his brutal assassination on the way to a Sunday morning service.

    Following years of religious suppression under the communist regime, Father Alexander Men emerged as a leading Christian and humanitarian figure in Russia, through radio and TV broadcasts and his prolific written works. These prayers, set by Russian composer Alexander Levine, capture the beauty and humanity of Men’s view of the world, and is brought vividly to life by Nigel Short’s professional chamber choir Tenebrae.

    A recent review for Tenebrae (from their June disc - Figure Humaine, SIGCD197)

    “… they seem to have an extra gear, a kind of choral over-drive that allows them to soar almost serenely over corners that have some of the finest vocal ensembles showing the strain.” BBC Radio 3, CD Review, Andrew McGregor, May 2010

     
  • In 1612, Prince Henry Frederick, son of James I and heir to the thrones of England and Scotland, died from a suspected bout of typhoid fever. His untimely death inspired a massive outpouring of artistic tributes in both verse and music, reflecting the mood of a nation mourning the loss of this popular future king at just 18 years of age. 'Dialogues of Sorrow' is the second disc from early music consort group Gallicantus, here joined by lutenist Elizabeth Kenny to perform familiar masterpieces and undiscovered treasures of the late English Renaissance, composed at the time of the young prince's death. The release follows the group's critically acclaimed debut recording, 'Hymns, Psalms and Lamentations' - music by Robert White. Editor's Choice: This is a perfect selection … lovingly and movingly performed - Early Music Today This is a well-sung, intelligently produced and exhaustively researched project, which deserves great success - International Record Review One of the the year’s best choral releases - TheArtsDesk.com
  • Eton College Chapel Choir perform an enchanting selection of 20th Century French Choral and Organ music. As well as music by composers who were at the heart of French musical life in Paris, such as Olivier Messiaen and Francis Poulenc, this disc features works by lesser-known composers such as Déodat de Severac and Pierre Villette.

    The choir’s history can be charted back to the founding of Eton in 1441 by Henry VI. The present day choir is comprised of Eton students (with the occasional master), about half of whom have been choristers at cathedrals or chapels before they come to Eton for their secondary education.

  • Francis Poulenc is now considered to be among the most important composers of choral music of the 20th Century. Yet his early career reveals no trace of the dazzling and idiosyncratic unaccompanied choral textures so abundantly produced in the second half of his life.

    This new collection of Poulenc's choral works is centered on his masterwork, the Figure Humaine. Even though it is only 20 minutes in length, the work is a supreme test of stamina, technical agility, range, aural skill and musicianship. The professional chamber choir Tenebrae (directed by former King's Singer Nigel Short) are more than capable of tackling this repertoire, and this disc promises to provide a new benchmark in interpretations of the work.

    This disc follows from December 2009's well received Christmas album What Sweeter Music (SIGCD182).

  • A true master and exponent of the British choral music tradition, Herbert Howells' compositions and settings are brought to life in this collection of his secular and sacred works. Performances come from the youthful talents of The Rodlofus Choir, led by their director Ralph Allwood. The Rodolfus Choir is made up of singers aged from 16 to 25 who have been chosen from past and present members of Eton College's summer choral courses for prospective choral scholars. Many members of the choir are choral scholars, some are at music college, and most hope to make a career in music. Ralph Allwood founded the choir in 1984, and has been Precentor and Director of Music at Eton since 1985. Recording ★★★★★ Performance ★★★★★ Put simply, this disc has quality stamped all over it - BBC Music ★★★★ I could listen to the young singers of The Rodolfus Choir all day without tiring or losing my appetite for their collective musicianship and accomplished choral artistry - Classic FM Magazine These youthful singers [deliver] the sensitivity and precision you would expect of the next generation of choral scholars - The Observer One can only marvel at the group's remarkable collective skill and cohesion - Fanfare Magazine
  • Espana

    £12.00

    Coro Cervantes is the only U.K. choir dedicated to the classical music of the Iberan Peninsula and Latin America. It was founded in 1995 by Carlos Aransay, under the auspices of the Instituto Cervantes in London. Its repertoire spans a wide variety of music from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance to the 21st Century, with a special emphasis on Romantic Music. Coro Cervantes often performs with distinguished solists and instrumentalists and contributes to the international propagation of Hispanic choral music through its performances, recordings and research. Its repertoire includes works sung in Latin, Spainsh (Castilian). Quechua (language of the Incas), Nahuatl (language of the Aztecs), Mediaeval Galician, Catalan, Basque and even in English.

    "What a contrast: the spiritual mysticism of Castelnuovo-Tedesco's Romancero Gitano to the drama of Carlos Surinach's Andalusian-spiced Via Crucis and then the climax - Marias Nobre's Yanomami, a vivid depiction of Brazilian indigenous ritual, with fine tenor solos from Julian Stocker. The choir performs with a fluidity that boasts expertise in Iberian style."
    SIGCD166 - Classical Music Magazine

  • The early music ensemble Gallicantus was born within the ranks of the world-class choir Tenebrae, when five of the choir’s regulars, each with a wealth of experience in the world of consort singing, decided to form a separate group dedicated to renaissance music. Literally meaning Rooster Song or cock crow, Gallicantus is a word from monastic antiquity for the office held just before the dawn. It evokes the renewal of life offered by the coming day. The group is bound by a shared love of communicating text, and is committed to creating performances which draw out unifying themes within apparently diverse repertoire: To this end they are as meticulous about providing context and insight for audiences as they are about crafting interpretations of the music they love. What better respite from the secular pressures of Christmas shopping than these sublime sacred sounds from the late 16th century … beautifully recorded - The Observer Taste the final amens in Exaudiat te, Dominus, where imitative exchanges spiral in ecstasy. Impassioned, exciting musicThe Times What an outstanding disc … never once is there a loss of clarity, a hint of muddinessGramophone
     
  • Naked Byrd

    £12.00
    The varied programme of this recording identifies, as Armonico Consort’s director, Christopher Monks describes, ‘... a wide range of pieces united by the tendency of their composers to wear their hearts on their sleeves and their ability to fix a sense of raw emotion on paper’. For the majority of the composers represented here, the reasons for revealing naked sentiments through their music is as a response to a religious theme, whether through the suppression of particular relgious practices or the influence of relgious ideals themselves. Crossing several centuries, from the sixteenth to the present day this disc displays how every generation has been inspired to use both sacred and secular music as a powerful medium to express their personal emotions. Includes Allegri's Miserere Mei
  • Founded in 1836, the Huddersfield Choral Society has long been a major part of the town’s vibrant musical tradition. Under a succession of distinguished principal condutors and chorus masters it has developed an international reputation as the UK’s leading choral society. Although enjoying a close working relationship with any leading professional orchestras and conductors, the Society is a independent and self-governing amateur choir, drawing talented singers from a wide area across Yokshire and the north of England. This is the Huddersfield Choral Society’s fourth release with Signum Records. Other releases include SIGCD074 Messiah, SIGCD079 The Hymns Album and SIGCD108 The Carols Album. ★★★★ The Crucifixion is a work of its time, but a performance as good as this one shows that its expressive quality is timeless - The Daily Telegraph This style of performance by the Huddersfield Choral Society under Joseph Cullen’s highly sensitive direction provides a vital instance of how The Crucifixion was conceived – that is, to be sung with romantic, emotional conviction, by a choir that revels in the sound of rich, chromatic harmony - Gramophone This is an excellent recording wholeheartedly recommended - Classic FM
  • 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). ★★★★ An exquisite account of Rutter’s There is a flower - Classical Music Magazine Superbly sung and plenty of fun - The Gramophone A jazzy Jingle Bells launches this varied and seductively sung programme - The Telegraph
  • 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
  • The composer Patrick Hawes has established a reputation as one of the most popular contemporary English composers working today. This new disc of choral and organ works centres on the mystery and beauty of the words of the Old Testament, with stunning performances from Welsh soprano Elin Manahan Thomas and Patrick’s own choral group Conventus, as well as accompaniment from The English Chamber Orchestra. Taking the Old testament as his inspiration, Classic FM's former composer in residence has come up with a new choral disc of mystery and beauty - Classic FM Magazine
  • Combining Gerorian chant with his own unique compostional style, Duruflé's Requiem has proved to be one of the most popular and enduring choral works of the 20th Century. On this recording, Jeremy Backhouse leads the celebrated Vasari Singers, as well as star soloists Sarah Connolly and Christopher Maltman , in a performance of this alongside works by Duruflé's musical contemporary, Jean-Jaques Grunenwald. The singing of the Vasari Singers is nothing short of superb… The catalogue boasts several fine recordings of the Duruflé Requiem but I think this one is now first choice, its attraction enhanced by the imaginative couplings - MusicWeb International ★★★★★ This superb disc is very strongly recommended - Musical Opinion Magazine
  • Combining perennial favourites with wonderful new discoveries, these immediately appealing pieces reflect the much-loved repertoire at the heart of a King’s Singers programme, performed with the skill and flair that distinguishes the group as one of the world’s most popular a cappella ensembles. Includes works by Elgar, Schumann, Schubert and Saint-Saëns, as well as a new piece by popular American composer Libby Larsen. This latest venture between Signum Classics and The King’s Singers follows hot on the heels of a Live DVD and CD release of their 2008 performance for the BBC Proms in the Royal Albert Hall (SIGDVD005 and SIGCD150), and the 2008 Grammy-nominated album Simple Gifts (SIGCD121).