• Gesualdo

    £8.00£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
  • 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.
       
  • Peter Seymour and the Yorkshire Baroque Soloists present a new edition of Bach’s first version of the Matthäus-Passion, probably first performed on Good Friday 1727 and one of the greatest works of J.S. Bach’s prodigious output. Recorded at the National Centre for Early Music in York, the Yorkshire Baroque Soloists are joined by the renowned soloists Charles Daniels and Peter Harvey. Significant readings that inspire further thinking about the greatest of all Passions - Choir and Organ Seymour’s pacing often has a comfortable feeling of ‘rightness’ and integrity - Gramophone
  • Chilcott’s mighty setting of words from St John’s Gospel is a dramatic yet optimistic retelling of the Passiontide story. The work combines 13th and 17th century English poetry with the King James Bible text settings and, as with Bach’s great Passion settings, the role of the Evangelist is taken by the tenor soloist, who provides a melodious narrative throughout. Including 5 well- known hymn texts set to new, original melodies, the work further confirms Chilcott’s status as one of the world’s most popular active choral composers.
  • Invisible Stars

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    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 Earley.
    ★★★★ 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
     
  • Perpetual Twilight

    £8.00£14.00
    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
  • The choral works of Duruflé, like his organ works, are small in number but beautifully crafted. Frequently written and rewritten until he was completely satisfied, he was a composer who rethought and reconfigured his music right up to the moment he had to let go of it. Often described as a man out of step with his times, his pieces look back to Gregorian chant and plainsong at a time when the musical life of his home city of Paris was steeped in radical new compositional ideas – a testament perhaps to Duruflé’s enduring love of France’s choral heritage. In a new recording produced by Grammy® winning producer Blanton Alspaugh, the Houston Chamber Choir are led by artistic director Robert Simpson on their first release with Signum Records. ★★★★★ Houston Chamber Choir here offer beautifully presented accounts of all of Duruflé’s choral music - Choir & Organ ★★★★ No listener could fail to be impressed by both the quality of the compositions and performances - Cross Rhythms ★★★★ Beautifully crafted - Classical Source [Ken Cowan] certainly adds real distinction to this performance of the Requiem - Gramophone The Houston Chamber Choir, led  by their artistic director Robert Simpson, present an immaculate account of these works- The Northern Echo Beautiful, artistic singing and thoughtful, sensitive music-making at every turn - Dale Warland A superb recording to be treasured - Simon Carrington All downloads include booklets.
  • Now We May Singen

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     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.
  • There Will Come Soft Rains

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    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.   All downloads include booklets.
  • Finding Harmony

    £8.00£14.00
    Finding Harmony is a new mission for The King's Singers; a mission celebrating music which binds people together in times of hardship. "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."   All downloads include booklets.
  • Messiah…Refreshed!

    £8.00£18.00
    The Goossens Messiah, recorded for the first and only time by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus under Sir Thomas Beecham, has stood as a landmark of the classical catalogue for sixty years. Goossens’ richly orchestrated version is set to reach a new audience thanks to Maestro Griffith and DCINY, New York City’s leading promoter of classical music. They gathered at Abbey Road Studios in London in July 2019, to record the work with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and a chorus comprising of sixty members of The Jonathan Griffith Singers, drawn from around the world and sixty members of the National Youth Choir of Great Britain. The new recording has captured the score’s vibrant tone colours in thrilling high-definition sound. An acclaimed conductor, educator and lecturer, Dr. Jonathan Griffith has led performances across North America, Europe, and Asia. Griffith is Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY), which has brought together, under Griffith’s artistic leadership, thousands of musicians and choral singers in concert at prestigious venues across the United States, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and Disney Hall. The founder and Music Director of the Distinguished Concerts Orchestra, Griffith also oversees DCINY’s mentoring program for conductors. Founded in 1983 as a single choir of 100 of the best singers in the nation, the National Youth Choir is now the flagship ensemble of an Arts Council England National Portfolio youth music organisation and registered charity, the National Youth Choir of Great Britain (NYCGB), which runs five membership choirs, a nationwide outreach programme for schools and Music Hubs, and provides professional training for the next generation of choral singers, composers and leaders.   All downloads include booklets.
  • Ash Wednesday

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    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.”   All downloads include booklets.
  • Cantos Sagrados

    £8.00£14.00
    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. Booklets included with all downloads. 
  • 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.   All downloads include booklets.
  • Beowulf

    £8.00£14.00
    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 ambiguity perfectly.   All downloads include booklets.
  • 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.   All downloads include booklets.
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