• Signum Records is delighted to release The King's Singers debut album on the Signum label. King’s Singers Christmas comprises 24 carols for each day of Advent, and a bonus 25th track which pays homage to one of their famous songs. Featured on the disc are such celebrated carols as Away in a Manger, specially arranged for the group and other traditional carols performed in their original versions. Even though nearly every piece on this disc could be heard in an English church carol service, the variety of musical styles covered is immense. Five centuries of music are represented here including works from various different countries. "As a group that spends much of its life on the road, we are fortunate to be able to gather music from many cultures and traditions beyond our own" says Gabriel Crouch. "Several pieces collected on our travels have found their way onto this playlist, including La Peregrinaçion by the Argentinian Ariel Ramirez, and the Polish-Ukranian song Szczo to za Prediwo, which we first heard performed by a choir from Warsaw at a King’s Singers workshop". In addition to the choice of traditional Christmas carols we have chosen pieces by Peter Warlock, John McCabe, John Rutter, Bo Holton and our own Philip Lawson, as representative of the living tradition amongst English institutions for commissioning new carols. A King’s Singers Christmas album would not be complete, however, without a little musical twist or two. These are delivered in the form of Tchaikovsky’s The Crown of Roses which has been arranged by the great jazz arranger Jeremy Lubbock and a new version with Christmas words by Philip Lawson of the perennial King’s Singer’s favourite You are the New Day, sung to the accompaniment of a String Quartet. Nothing fazes them, however tough the demands, and there is a combination of precision and warmth to the singing, captured in sympathetic acoustics - Daily Telegraph The King's Singers' style is beautifully detailed, and even the most familiar carols sound fresh - Classic FM Magazine If you love Christmas music recordings, well, what are you waiting for? This is one of the best ever - ClassicsToday.com Precise intonation, instinctive articulation, a downy, luxuriant tone, all captured in an excitingly lifelike recording - International Record Review  
  • 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
  • Piangete

    £12.00

    Signum Records is delighted to announce that the ensemble Concerto delle Donne will release their first disc on Signum Records in 2003. The disc will feature the cantatas and motets of Giacomo Carissimi.

    Carissimi is sometimes thought of as a "one-work composer" known to the average music-lover only for his oratorio Jephte. Choral Societies looking for 17th century music earlier than Purcell are therefore likely to choose Jephte.

    Alastair Ross first became interested in Carissimi’s music for the 3-soprano Concerto delle Donne line-up when he was asked to prepare a programme “Handel and his predecessors in Italy” for the 1977 Göttingen Festival. A review of Carissimi's oeuvre showed that there were several pieces by Carissimi in the library of Christ Church Oxford just waiting to be performed by the group! He chose the cantata Siam tre miseri piangenti which has become a regular item in their concerts and which is central to this recording. It’s a marvellous piece, full of pain, suffering and anger. The three voices really are equal in the way they intertwine and react to one another. Donna Deam’s solo Piangete and Gill Ross' and Elin Thomas’s duet Ahi, non torna are similar in mood. Maybe in our cynical 21st century we find it difficult to relate to these highly emotional, self-obsessed, texts, but there’s no denying that they inspired some wonderful music! Va dimanda al mio pensiero’ and Si dia bando, alla speranza are lighter in mood – both attractive, tuneful pieces.

    There is plenty of variety in the church music as well. Cum reverteretur David, which begins the CD, is brilliant and virtuosic, a dramatic account of the rivalry between David and Saul. The duet Exulta, gaude, filia Sion is a joyful celebration of Christmas. In Benedictus Deus et Pater the voices weave rich dissonances to convey the suffering of the text; there’s something of the mood of Allegri’s Miserere here.

    In addition to the vocal pieces the disc includes a set of variations by Frescobaldi and Michelangelo Rossi’s flamboyant and chromatic Toccata Settima for harpsichord, together with Kapspereger’s charming improvisations for chittarone.

    We believe that only one of the Carissimi pieces on this CD, Exulta, gaude, filia Sion, has been recorded before, so the disc will be an important event in the recorded-music world, and one which we hope will revive interest in this unjustly neglected composer.

    ★★★★ An impressive release - Choir & Organ An important and rewarding release - Early Music Review
  • 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
  • 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
  • When Sir Michael Tippett first worked with the BBC Singers in 1944, the experience was such that he recalled nearly 50 years later that "It was to be the first of many such occasions when a composer's dreams were brought to fulfillment." Now under their Conductor Laureate, Stephen Cleobury, the present-day BBC Singers return the compliment with this programme of his works for choir, both unaccompanied and with organ. Includes the works: The Windhover Plebs Angleica The Weeping Babe Magnificat & Nunc Dimitis Four Songs from the British Isles The Source Lullaby Negro Spirituals from A Child of Our Time & two premiere recordings: Over the Sea to Skye Unto the Hills (Wadhurst)
  • Signum Records is delighted to announce that the choir of Magdalen College Oxford will release their first disc with Signum in early 2003. Entitled The Songs of Angels the disc will consist of repertoire written by the distinguished 15th and 16th century Magdalen Informator Choristarum.  These young choral scholars are an impressive group of musicians - BBC Radio 3 Record Review A superb release, as much for its historical interest as for the unarguable excellence of the music-making - Gramophone
  • Described by The Times as "thrilling. contemporary, and original... impressive and profoundly affecting", Francis Pott's  writing provides a treasure-trove of astonishingly beautiful composition. Meditations & Remembrances is a new collection of choral and organ pieces of extraordinary tenderness and masterly technique. Francis Pott began his musical life as a chorister at New College Oxford. He held open music scholarships at Winchester College and Magdalene College, Cambridge. Francis was appointed Administrative Head of Music at London College of Music and Media in 2001, subsequently becoming its Head of Composition and Research Development on Music, Media and Creative Technologies. He was also a member of Winchester Cathedral Choir under David Hill from 1991 until 2001. Francis remains an active pianist and accompanist, uniting both compositon and academic research. Christ Church Cathedral Choir enjoys an enviable reputation as one of Ireland's most outstanding choirs. Under the direction of Judy Martin, Director of Music at the cathedral, the present choir is a mixed ensemble of 20 adult singers. In addition to the full part it plays in the worship in the cathedral, the Cathedral Choir is active with concerts, tours and regular broadcasts.
  • With a stunning selection of choral music that is truly fit for a King, Andrew Gant leads the Choir of the Chapel Royal & The Musicians Extra-Ordinary to re-create the music that accompanied the coronation of James II and Queen Mary in 1685.  
    William Child Te Deum in E Flat
    John Blow Behold, O God our defender
    William Turner The King shall rejoice
    Henry Lawes Zadok, the Priest
    Henry Purcell I was glad, My heart is inditing
    Thomas Tallis Litany
      Recorded in the Chapel Royal at St James's Palace, this disc is a perfect representation of one of the country's most illustrious and historic musical institutions
  • Signum Records are pleased to welcome a new ensemble to the catalogue: The Elysian Singers perform choral works by composer James MacMillan. MacMillan characteristically draws inspiration for his vocal works from recurring themes such as the Catholic Church and Scottish traditional culture. The most substantial work on this recording is Cantos Sagrados ("Sacred Songs"). MacMillan takes the poems of Latin American poets Ariel Dorfman and Ana Maria Mendosa, and combines their settings of political repression with traditional religious texts to create a powerful combination of liberation theology. The result is at times delicate, and then terrifying. The composer’s intentions were to create a work both sacred and secular, being timeless yet contemporary. Of the other works on this disc, the majority are settings of Latin or English religious texts often written for particular occasions or places. A Child’s Prayer, for instance, was dedicated to the victims of the Dunblane tragedy of 1996, where one teacher and sixteen of her pupils were shot dead whilst in class. One of the two secular works on this recording, The Gallant Weaver is a setting of that most Scottish of poets, Robert Burns, to a nostalgic evocation of Celtic folk-music. The Elysian Singers were founded in 1986. Since 1999 they have been directed by Sam Laughton and have established a national reputation as a young and lively chamber choir, winning awards for commissioning new music.
  • This disc is the second in a series of nine covering the complete works of Thomas Tallis (c.1505-1585). As the 1540s developed, the Reformation began to take hold and the style of music required from composers such as Tallis altered radically. The large-scale melismatic votive antiphons (for example those on disc 1) were no longer required; the emphasis moved away from Marian devotion to a more syllabic and compact style and, eventually, to settings of English rather than Latin texts. Disc two traces this development from the Jesus antiphon Sancte Deus, to the mass for four voices, the three early English anthems including If ye love me, the Te Deum for meanes and the Elizabethan Magnificat and Nunc dimittis. A stimulating second volume in this distinguished series - Penguin Guide to Compact Discs A beautiful homogeneous quality and are pure and uncomplicated - Footloose Magazine
  • This disc is the third in a series of nine covering the complete works of Thomas Tallis (c.1505-1585). Not for nothing is Tallis known as the "father of church music" – with his colleagues at the Chapel Royal he created most of the church music genres that we take for granted today. In chronological terms Volume 3 follows on quickly from the Edwardine music of Volume 2 with repertoire written for the Marian reversion to Catholicism in 1553. Here we meet Tallis the composer of music for the old English liturgy in both a modern “continental” style and a self-consciously old fashioned English style. The music includes the extraordinary seven part mass Puer natus est nobis of 1554 and the similarly-scored motet Suscipe Quaeso. A speculative reconstruction Beati immaculati opens the disc and it concludes with the monumental six part votive antiphon Gaude Gloriosa. Alistair Dixon, the conductor and founder of Chapelle du Roi, has shaped a remarkably beautiful CD here - Evening Standard The sound is finely honed and balanced, in the British tradition ... this is wonderful music, wonderfully sung - Goldberg
  • This disc is the first in a series of nine covering the complete works of Thomas Tallis (c.1505-1585). Not for nothing is Tallis known as the "father of church music" – with his colleagues at the Chapel Royal he created most of the church music genres that we take for granted today. Volume one in the series of nine contains much of the music that Tallis wrote during the reign of Henry VIII. The two early votive antiphons Ave Dei and Ave Rosa open the disc and it concludes with one of Tallis's masterpieces Salve Intemerata. Unusually for an English composer of the time, Tallis wrote a "parody" mass based on material from Salve Intemerata. Also included are two beautiful miniatures not previously recorded – Alleluia: Ora pro nobis and Euge celi porta. This was the first disc to be recorded by Chapelle du Roi and was Signum Records' debut disc in February 1997. The singing is of great distinction - Goldberg Magazine The quality of this disc will surely put these talented performers on the musical map - BBC Music Magazine
  • This disc is the fourth in a series of nine covering the complete works of Thomas Tallis (c.1505-1585). Not for nothing is Tallis known as the "father of church music" – with his colleagues at the Chapel Royal he created most of the church music genres that we take for granted today. Volumes 4 and 5 both focus on music written for the office hours – the daily services found mainly in the monasteries that eventually suffered at the hands of Henry VIII’s dissolution. Here we have a selection of hymns and Responds from the Henrician and Marian periods, each matched with their accompanying plainchant taken from contemporary sources.
  • This disc is the fifth in a series of nine that covers Thomas Tallis’s complete surviving output from his five decades of composition. In this disc we continue to explore the choral music of the Divine Office, progressing with the choral hymns and responories not found in volume 4. Music for the Divine Office  is completed with Tallis’s liturgical organ music: five hymns and three antiphons for the Divine Office, an Alleluia for the Lady Mass and an extended setting of the offertory Felix Namque. Tallis’s written music for the liturgy is modest in style, inventive and very appealing. His surviving output of written keyboard music is very small in light of his reputation. It is possible that much of this written music has been lost, and even more likely that the majority of his keyboard performances were improvised, and therefore not strictly notated. This CD offers reconstructions based on what is known of liturgical practice at the time when this music was most probably written (the later years of Henry VIII and those of Queen Mary I). Recording the organ works of Tallis involves a number of difficult decisions, not least the choice of organ, as there are no surviving English organs from the sixteenth century. The organ in the late medieval private chapel of Knole, a vast country house in Kent, is arguably the oldest playable organ in England. It’s joints can sound rather rattley, and it has some trouble breathing at times (although the regular creak of the bellows being pumped by foot is a reassuring link with the pre-electric past). However, the sound of this organ in the Knole chapel acoustic might not be far off from what Tallis knew from inside the Chapel Royal. Once again Chapelle du Roi presents an inspired and historically informed performance of the sacred renaissance repertoire for which they are celebrated. ★★★★★ The singing is shapely and serene with a satisfying edge, and the recorded sound is generous without obscuring detail - Choir & Organ ★★★★ Beautiful contemplative music - The Times ★★★★ [A] magnificent recording - Goldberg Magazine
  • Chapelle du Roi devote this latest volume to music which was composed by Tallis for use during the reformed services announced in The booke of the common prayer which came into effect on Whitsunday (9th June) 1549. Tallis’s music, together with the associated intonations and Collects (for Easter Day at Mattins and for Christmas Eve), is presented for this recording in the normal liturgical sequence for the day; Mattins, Holy Communion, and Evensong. The recording concludes with Tallis’ nine psalm-tune harmonisations which he contributed to Archbishop Matthew Parker’s Psalter, published in 1567. Chapelle du Roi give an inspired and historically informed performance of the sacred renaissance repertoire for which they are celebrated. Sung with plaintive simplicity, exquisite balance and clear diction, virtues that characterise the whole estimable disc - Classic FM Magazine [The singers] cohere in a warm collective that is wonderful to listen to - International Record Review Chapelle du Roi's skill is manifest ... the whole experience of listening to them was like hearing was like hearing a rather special evensong in a college chapel - Gramophone The singing of the Chapelle is as beautifully flawless as ever ... the crowning glory of the disc is the exquisite account of Tallis nine tunes of Archbishop Parker's Psalter - EMF Scotland  
  • Signum Records are delighted to release the seventh volume of their celebrated nine-disc series, presenting the Complete Works of Thomas Tallis (1505 - 1585). Queen Elizabeth’s reign (1558-1603) was a golden age for the arts. England enjoyed a growing cultural exchange with continental Europe. England’s rich, but essentially conservative pre-Reformation heritage was infused with increasing continental influence and innovations. Elizabeth I was the fourth monarch to sit on the throne in Thomas Tallis’s lifetime. From the outset of her reign Elizabeth allowed considerable freedom of practice and belief. She was firmly in favour of a vernacular liturgy for the general population, although in her own chapels she preferred a more lavish ceremony to music. Tallis had witnessed the wholesale destruction of much of England’s church music tradition, however the ever adaptable composer met the challenges of a new liturgy, its new styles and genres, with the imaginative force of a man half his age. The years of Reformation, and Elizabeth’s protestant settlement, freed the Latin-texted tradition of liturgical propriety, allowing composers to reinvigorate the language and harness it to new, expressive and personal ends. This recording presents Tallis’s Elizabethan Latin motets (which number fifteen). The mighty occasional piece, the forty-voice motet Spem in alium, concludes the disc. The Tallis complete works is one of the most exciting projects currently underway on any early music label. Thoroughly recommended - Early Music Scotland Alistair Dixon paces and balances the voices of his vocal group Chapelle du Roi beautifully - The Evening Standard  
  • 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. Chapelle du Roi succeed in conveying a sense of spaciousness and grandeur - The Daily Telegraph
  • 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). Lynda Sayce contributes an astonishing performance ...  the very simple and pure interpretation by Stephen Taylor is most affecting - Early Music America Laurence Cummings [brings the] music wonderfully to life - BBC Music Magazine This recording is a collection of delights ... including the smooth sound of Stephen Taylor’s countertenor voice. ...  a splendid final offering by Chapelle du Roe - Gramophone With the issue of this double CD, we reach the triumphant conclusion of one of the most fascinating and enjoyable complete works projects of recent times - Early Music Scotland A successful conclusion to the series, containing a good deal of previously unrecorded music - Early Music Today
  • Phillip II of Spain died at first light on Sunday 13th September, 1598. Released in his 400th anniversary year this disc commemorates the death of this most catholic king with music associated with him during his lifetime, and with the sumptuous six part Requiem mass of Jean Richafort that may well have been used at his obsequiries The programme begins with a motet written by Gombert for the birth of Philip; other motets include one of Infantas' finest works Domine Ostende, and within the context of the mass is included the celebrated Versa est in luctum by Lobo.
  • Signum Records is delighted to present Chapelle du Roi’s eleventh release with the label. This recording offers a selection of music spanning the life and reign of Charles V, undoubtedly the most powerful man in 16th-century Europe, from his early teenage years to his death in 1558. Charles was a devout Catholic, and maintained a chapel employing some of the most notable composers of the period, including Nicolas Gombert and Thomas Crecquillon, who Charles referred to as ‘the truest Opheus of the age’. Closely identified with the Order of the Golden Fleece, which gave rise to the L’homme armé tradition, Charles V was said to have a musical ear. A great deal of music survives that is associated directly with him and his patronage – a selection of which is presented on this recording. The music composed for rulers frequently mixed the heavenly with the secular, and a great many pieces were written to celebrate political conquests and occasions within the court. For example, Cristóbal Morales possibly wrote his Missa L'homme armé as an offering for Charles’s wedding to Isabella of Portugal. Near the end of Charles’s reign, the young composer Orlandus Lassus was just starting his career, and seeking preferment. He offered his secular motet, Heroum Soboles to Charles in the hope that he would join the prestigious Capilla Flamenca. He was unsuccessful, however Charles’s minister, Bishop Granvelle of Arras helped Lassus to secure his position at the court of Duke Albrecht of Bavaria – a musical establishment that was no less magnificent. The last years of Charles life were troubled by his failure to convert the Protestants back into the Roman Catholic Church, and to lead a universal Catholic empire. His death resounded throughout the Empire, and Don Fernando de las Infantas marked his passing with a setting of Parce Mihi Domine, the best-known of the texts from Matins pro defunctis.
  • Music to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the death of Francisco Guerrero. This recording celebrates the music of Francisco Guerrero and presents music form his collection of music written for the office of Vespers. The second half of the disc consists of Guerrero's Requiem mass in its original form. The style of plainchant heard and performed in Spain was rather different from that heard in other European territories. On this recording Chapelle du Roi has followed the instructions for semi-mensural performance given by Guerrero's colleague at Seville, Villafranca.
     
  • Following a string of five-star reviews for their previous discs of 20th-century French choral music (Poulenc’s Figure Humaine – SIGCD197) and Renaissance polyphony (Victoria’s Requiem Mass – SIGCD248), the professional chamber-choir Tenebrae go from strength to strength with this new recording of British partsongs and choral music – centered on Hubert Parry’s Songs of Farewell. Composed towards the end of Parry’s life, the Songs of Farewell have taken on something of an epithetical interpretation; they are almost a musical summation of his compositional life, reflecting Parry’s love of English renaissance madrigals and partsongs as much as the influence on his work from German composers like Brahms – made more complicated as these works were composed as the country (and its music) fell out of favour at the start of the Great War. This disc also includes works by Tavener, Sullivan, Holst, Rodney Bennett, Howells, Elgar and Vaughan Williams. Editor's Choice: Precision, spot-on intonation and sensitive phrasing inform Tenebrae's affectionate performances of these settings of great English poets, the texts of which are provided in the classily produced booklet - Classic FM Magazine A tour-de-force of feather-light, eight-part polyphony - The Independent Performed with Tenebrae’s customary poise - The Financial Times Conductor Nigel Short extracts the themes of desperate longing beautifully from a clean and well balanced choral sound - BBC Music Magazine
  • The BBC Singers continue their series of releases featuring works by their official Associate Composer – a unique chance for some of the most talented artists to create compositions for the ensemble – with a new collection of world premiere recordings of works by British composer Gabriel Jackson.

    The central work of the programme – Airplane Cantata – explores the early days of aviation through the journals, news reports and accounts that surrounded this world- changing era. Featuring characteristically precise performances from the BBC Singers, they are joined on this disc by the world-renowned pianola player Rex Lawson.

     

  • 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. ★★★★ Victoria’s Requiem Mass is one of the acknowledged masterpieces of Renaissance choral polyphony, and Tenebrae here exquisitely conveys the flowing relationships between its six voices - The Independent ★★★★ Tenebrae’s performance, directed by Nigel Short, is gently sustained, immaculately balanced and wrapped in a luminous acoustic … If you have ever developed a resistance to Renaissance polyphony, this could be the disc to make you think again - The Financial Times This recording does justice both to the genius of Victoria and to the musicality of Tenebrae - BBC Music Magazine  
  • William Byrd, favourite of Queen Elizabeth I, was a confirmed and practising catholic who worshipped in defiance of the Queen. His status and perhaps even his life was preserved thanks partly to the undeniable mastery of his music, and to the fact that he was careful to maintain an output of music appropriate for a Protestant Rite (simple and English) as well as a Catholic one (florid and Latin). Byrd was by no means the only major Catholic composer working in England during these years. Furthermore, there were English composers whose faith drove them to work abroad, as well as foreign composers who offered sympathy and encouragement to English catholics. Included in this latter category was the Flemish composer Phillipe De Monte who entered into a fascinating compositional correspondence with Byrd. Verses of Psalm 136 ‘Super Flumina Babylonis’ (containing many allegorical references to the plight of catholics unable to practice their faith openly) were set to music and exchanged, in what is now seen as an encoded message of mutual support and friendship between brothers in faith. Gallicantus are perfectly placed here to compare the works of William Byrd and Philippe de Monte - The Independent The singing is beyond exemplary: deeply felt, tenderly phrased, perfectly balanced, with the most profound understanding, seemingly bred in the bone - Choir & Organ The intensity of the music is reflected in Gallicantus's beautifully shaped performances - The Sunday Times In Mark Chambers, Gallicantus boast a countertenor 'lead' of near-flawless poise and eloquence - Gramophone
  • The Armonico Consort return to disc on Signum (following their highly-regarded Naked Byrd CD series) with a new disc celebrating the glorious combination of soprano and trumpet in baroque music – featuring the soaring talents of Elin Manahan Thomas and Crispian Steele-Perkins. Widely-praised for their imaginative and inventive programming, this disc features works by JS Bach (Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen), GP Telemann (Trumpet Concerto in D major), Alessandro Scarlatti (Su le sponde del Tebro) and a special compilation of works by Handel devised by Crispian Steele-Perkins. The tone is immediately set by Crispian Steele-Perkins' trilling trumpet on Bach's Jauchzet Gott in alien Landen, which also features quite thrilling counterpoints between him and soprano Elin Manahan ThomasThe Independent
    The whole thing seems suffused with light reflected from Manahan Thomas’ voice, and Steele-Perkins’ effortlessly projected trumpetBBC Radio 3 Record Review
  • Few composers of any age have enjoyed the widespread admiration and unanimous praise of successive generations as Josquin Desprez. He is considered the greatest creator and innovator of musical composition during the Renaissance, and for some half a millennium his music has stood the test of time. He is remembered as much for his own works as for his lasting influence on those of his contemporaries and students, demonstrated in many of the compositions in tribute of 'the master' featured in this programme. The programme's centrepiece is Jean Richafort's Requiem mass (missa pro defunctis), a tribute that employs several of Josquin's compositional devices. The King's Singers once again demonstrate their versatility and trademark precision in this new programme devised by leading early-music scholar and conductor David Skinner. The centrepiece is Jean Richaford's Requiem, with flowing counterpoint spiced by rich dissonances. But the most astonishing work is Jacquet de Mantua's Dum vastos, weaving together five Josquin 'hits' - The Times All the Kings' Singers' performances are admirably manicured - The Guardian Those voices emerging from sublime textures and tugging at the heartstrings have their own special quality, and I’ve found myself increasingly admiring the qualities of this performance the more I’ve delved into its expressive beneficence - MusicWeb International
  • Tenebrae's latest disc on Signum sees their return to the repertoire of Russian composer Alexander Levine. The Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom is Levine’s most significant large-scale religious work to date. Inspired by the humility and humanity of the murdered Russian priest (and friend of Levine) Fr. Alexander Men and composed over a three-month period of

    spiritual immersion, research and contemplation (similar to that described by his great forebears Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov), the work traces a continuous spiritual growth towards the central point of the Liturgy – the Holy Communion.

     

  • One of the most versatile musicians of his generation, Richard Rodney Bennett was at the forefront of British musical life for nearly half a century. This new recording from the National Youth Choir of Scotland's National Girls Choir compiles a programme of Bennett's choral works from across his compositional life, as well as a collection of charming folk-tunes and nursery rhymes for piano duet (Over the Hills and Far Away).
     
    This is Signum's second release with NYCoS, who in 2011 became the first youth arts organization to receive a Royal Philharmonic Society Award.
     
  • Patrick Hawes returns to disc on Signum with the premiere recording of his Lazarus Requiem, for Choir, Orchestra and Soloists. Blending the liturgical text of the Requiem Mass with the story of Lazarus from the New Testament, the composer creates a work in which “the mystery of life and death, the pain of grief and the hope of a risen life are held in taut symmetry”.

    The work begins with an orchestral Elegy for Lazarus. This depicts the dying man and sets the scene for the first tableau where we are informed “a certain man was ill”. Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus, send for Jesus and the drama of the miracle unfolds.

    An attractive, sincere and thoughtful piece. This very good first recording should bring it to the attention of a wider audience - MusicWeb International What the Lazarus Requiem does do - and to striking effect - is bring into sharp relief Hawes's unerring gift for evocative orchestral texture and beautiful melodic lineChoir & Organ
  • Continuing Signum’s new partnership with Paul McCreesh and the Gabrieli Consort following the triumphant success of Berlioz’s Grande Messe des Morts (SIGCD280), their latest release is a recording of the groups renowned a cappella programme of music for mourning and consolation. This is a beautifully poignant programme of British choral music, including works by composers as diverse as Morley and Dove, Sheppard and Walton and featuring Howells’ sublime Requiem. An excellent disc - Gramophone Gorgeously melancholic British funeral music for unaccompanied choir... beautifully sung by Paul McCreesh's Gabrieli Consort - The Times
    This album [serves] a vital reminder that there is more depth of feeling, emotional power and intellectual stimulation to the art of music-making than we can ever hope to truly understand. All we can do is applaudClassic FM Magazine