• Signum Records presents a world first – a CD single, from a new edition of the magnificent 40-part Thomas Tallis motet Spem in Alium and the English version Sing and Glorify. Spem in alium is surely not just the greatest of all Thomas Tallis’ musical achievements, but one of the great musical compositions of all time. Writing for 40 independent voices, Thomas Tallis created a noble and imaginative masterpiece. The earliest surviving manuscript of this great work, the Egerton manuscript, is laid out with an English rendition, Sing and glorify heaven’s high majesty. The English words are not a translation of the Latin, but a new poem written as a syllable-for-syllable replacement. A fine recording as well, beautifully captured in the wide open spaces of All Hallows Church - BBC Radio 3 Record Review Their interpretation at times almost touches the visionary - Gramophone Not only does Alistair Dixon shape the music beautifully, but he has a first-rate team of singers who respond to the music’s every nuance - Goldberg
  • 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
  • Gaudete

    £5.00
    Arranged by Classic FM's Hall of Fame 2004 'top-ten-composer' Karl Jenkins, sung by crack professional choir - Tenebrae - Gaudete is released on SignumClassics both with drums and percussion and as a pure, unadulterated, a cappella version Founded as recently as 2001, Tenebrae has been embraced by the public and critics alike as one of the most innovative and gifted groups in Britain. Tenebrae’s motto is “passion and precision”, but they also believe in accessibility, performing various different types of music as long as it’s good music, sung well. Gaudete (“rejoice”) is an anonymous composition that was first published in 1582 in a collection of carols and other religious songs called Piae Cantiones. This collection, made by a Scandinavian called Peter Nyland, included a huge number of other Christmas melodies that have since become ‘standards’, but it only gives music for the chorus of Gaudete; the verses, which tell of the wonder of God’s arrival on earth in human form, have been taken from a Czech medieval song about the Virgin Mary, Ezechielis Porta.
  • Signum Classics are proud to release a LIVE recording of the stirring performance by Tenebrae of Rachmaninoff’s ‘All-Night Vigil’ (Vsenoshchnoye bdeniye, Op. 37). The recording was made live at the North Wales International Music Festival in conjunction with Boosey & Hawkes, Music Publishers Ltd. The roots of the Russian Orthodox Church are traceable back into the Third Century A.D. Whilst Western forms of Christianity continued to evolve, the Orthodox tradition has been preserved largely intact since the 11th Century, despite persecution of the Church under an intolerant Communist regime in Russia. The music of the Russian Orthodox Church features vocal chants, the oldest of which is known as znamenny (from the Slavonic znamia meaning “sign”). The melody of this chant is extremely simple, and whilst other composers added their characteristic harmonic effects, Rachmaninoff consciously preserved the modal purity of the original in his setting of the Vespers. The all-night vigil is celebrated on the eve of the main feasts of the Orthodox Church. Originally it lasted all night and consisted of three separate services to celebrate the beauty of the setting sun, and to reflect on the spiritual light of Christ as the new light of the coming day and the eternal light of heaven. Rachmaninoff’s setting of the vigil was written in 1915, in the middle of the First World War. He has used authentic znamenny chant in seven movements, with two movements employing Greek chants. “Even in my dreams I could not have imagined that I would write such a work” Rachmaninoff told the singers at the first performance in March 1915. The work is dedicated to the scholar Stephan Vasilevitch Smolensky who introduced Rachmaninoff to the repertoire of the church, however the composer’s inspiration was as much politically motivated as spiritually – the composition was a powerful affirmation of nationalism during the war. Nigel Short and Tenebrae have just the right balance of control and passion, reverence and exuberance that makes for such a superb performance - The Organ Intimate and powerfully atmospheric, shedding new and memorable light on what usually comes across as a massive choral spectacular - Classic FM Magazine
  • Signum Records is delighted to announce the debut disc of Cantabile - Lullabyes and Goodbyes. The disc has been long in preparation and is the first to be recorded by Cantabile since On the Tracks of the Comedian Harmonists. Cantabile, are one of Britain’s longest- established vocal ensembles. Since they became widely known in the early nineteen-eighties they have mastered a wide array of musical styles and their flair for the stage continues to keep them in demand in theatres and cabaret as well as in concert halls and at festivals. The four voices blend beautifully and there isn't a sour note to be heard. Diction is consistently crystal clear [and] the contribution of Malcolm Martineau is first rateMusicWeb International
  • 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 Classics are proud to release the second disc from the Vasari Singers on Signum Classics, Anthems for the 21st Century. To celebrate its first twenty-five years of vibrant music making, the Vasari Singers commissioned ten composers to each write an anthem that would in their eyes reflect the state of the world at the start of the new millennium. The brief indicated that each work should be suitable as an anthem in an Anglican cathedral Evensong, and that it could also look beyond any constraints of Liturgy or formal religious doctrine to embrace a wider, ecumenical audience. Perhaps something more humanistic that would have a voice in the multi-cultural, multi-faith societies of the new 21st century world? ★★★★ The consistently high level of invention and diverse styles contribute to the album's overall success - Classic FM Magazine The Vasari Singers and Jeremy Backhouse have few equals - Gramophone The choir sings with feeling and perception - Choir & Organ
  • Signum Records is delighted to announce the completion of Chapelle du Roi's recordings of the complete works of Thomas Tallis. This major project has taken seven years to complete. It was the brain child of Alistair Dixon and brought to fruition jointly by Chapelle du Roi and the engineering and production company Floating Earth.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Now and again a choir director finds he has an exceptional voice at his disposal. Andrew Swait was only ten years old when this disc was made - his voice was the original inspiration for the disc - and it features his outstandingly colourful tone quality and musicianship. In choosing the repertoire, we kept in mind the integrity of the great English church music tradition. We decided to do what choirs - their men and boys - do best in this country; sing, enjoy and relish the music of that tradition. Solo arias are interspersed with full choir numbers, some featuring treble solos and duets. Works by Schubert and Rachmaninoff are coupled with works from our own English masters, Sir Hubert Parry and John Rutter. Morten Lauridsen’s setting of Ubi caritas, combines a lushness of texture with the age-old plainsong melody. We hope you will enjoy this collection from Tewkesbury. Benjamin Nicholas
  • In their debut disc on Signum, the Caius choir celebrates the relationship between seven British contemporary composers and their influences drawn from the Medieval period. Fascinating stuff - Classic FM Magazine One or two surprisingly mature voices step out for solos from this young choir, and the blend and tuning are generally of a very high standard - Choir and Organ The Choir of Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge is impressively at home in this consummately difficult repertoire - Classics 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
  • 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
  • A stellar line-up of soloists, conductor, choir and orchestra combine forces in the re-mastered 2 CD set of Mozart's arrangement of Handel's much loved 'Messiah'. In April 1742, shortly after the first performance of Messiah in Dublin for the city's Charitable Musical Society, the Dublin Journal reported that the oratorio "was allowed by the greatest of Judges to be the finest Compostion of Musick that was ever heard". Sir Charles Mackerras continues the constantly evolving performance history of one of the world's most enduring masterpieces. Highly enjoyable - BBC Music Magazine