• Contrapunctus concludes its exploration of the music preserved in John Baldwin’s partbooks with a third album dedicated to this remarkable treasure house of English sacred music, the richest single source of Tudor polyphony to survive. This third recording opens a window on a striking aspect of the history of the English motet, and one that has been neglected: the penchant in England for setting Latin psalms as motets, the so-called ‘psalm motet’. These texts offered rich opportunity for vivid musical response, given their nature as personal and impassioned addresses to God, and led to Richard Sampson – Dean of the English Chapel Royal under Henry VIII – describing the psalms as ‘the sweetest songs’. The principal English composers born between the 1510s and the 1530s all contributed to this genre of motet, but to a significant extent this fascinating repertory has lain in obscurity and remains unfamiliar to modern audiences. More than half of the works on this album are premiere recordings, and they include such glorious motets as Robert White’s Domine, non est exaltatum, William Mundy’s Memor esto verbi tui, and John Sheppard’s Confitebor tibi Domine. Contrapunctus’s trademark combination of ground-breaking scholarship and performances that are ‘revelatory and even visionary’ (BBC Music Magazine) here brings to light and to life some of the finest musical survivals of the Tudor age.
  • Advent Live Vol. 2

    £8.00£12.00
    The sublime Choir of St. John’s College, Cambridge return with the second voluume in their Advent series - celebrating the advent season from within the Christian tradition; a season celebrated since at least the sixth century. This splendid live recording, from within the Chapel of St. John’s College itself, features Christmas favourites, including Britten’s Deo Gracias from A Ceremony of Carols as well as gorgeous performances of lesser known works by modern composers including Jonathan Dove, Arvo Pärt and Paul Manz.
  • Shared Ground is a set of works by the British composer Alec Roth, featuring several poems and sung texts by the Indian writer Vikram Seth. The title piece of the same name is inspired by Seth’s poetry following a decision to buy and live in the Old Rectory in Bemerton – the former home of the 17thcentury poet and priest George Herbert. Other works on the disc expand this idea of a shared home or dwelling, with Earthrise – the reflections of Apollo astronauts on viewing the planet from orbit – and Hymn to Gaia.

    This disc follows the 2008 release of Roth’s Songs in Time of War (SIGCD124), featuring the tenor Mark Padmore with Philippe Honoré, Alison Nichols (harp) and Morgan Szymanski (guitar).

     

     

     

  • A must-have for choral-aficionados everywhere that sees perhaps the world’s finest a cappella ensemble The King’s Singers join forces with The Concordia Choir – one of the USA’s best collegiate groups – to perform works by choral composers Eric Whitacre, Bob Chilcott and Morten Lauridsen.

    One of the world’s most celebrated ensembles, The King’s Singers have a packed schedule of concerts, recordings, media and education work that spans the globe. Championing the work of young and established composers, they remain consummate entertainers; a class-act with a delightfully British wit. From Gesualdo and György Ligeti to Michael Bublé, The King’s Singers are instantly recognisable for their spot-on intonation, their impeccable vocal blend, the flawless articulation of the text and incisive timing.

     

    The Concordia Choir of Moorhead, Minnesota is one of America’s finest a cappella choirs. Since 1920, the 72-voice choir has performed in nearly every major hall including Carnegie Hall and Kennedy Center and has taken numerous international tours. The Choir is broadcast throughout the United States on public radio stations and on television via its Emmy-award winning Concordia Christmas Concert.

    Includes the world premiere recordings of Alone by Eric Whitacre, and High Flightanyone lived in a pretty how town and Days by Bob Chilcott

     

     

     

     

  • After the triumphant success of the King’s Singers last Christmas Album released in 2003 entitled ‘Christmas’, this new disc sets an eclectic assortment of modern Christmas classics with special arrangements of some much loved favourites.
    Stand-out moments include Tchaikovsky's thoughtful The Crown of Roses, Lawson's gentle Lullay my Liking and Pierpont's hyperactively jolly jingle bells, which they whizz through as though the words 'technically challenging' had vanished from the dictionaryBBC Music Magazine An eminently enjoyable release that will please fans of The King’s Singers and lovers of Christmas music alikeMusicWeb International A delightful holiday releaseAll Music Guide
  • Beethoven’s euphoric Symphony No. 9, like his Symphony No. 5, is one of those pieces of classical music which transcends the barrier between musical genres – one of the few pieces of the classical canon in the popular consciousness. Few can fail to be uplifted and caught up in the joyous Ode to Joy finale. For this performance, recorded live at the Edinburgh International Festival in 1994, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment were joined by the renowned conductor and long-time collaborator, Sir Charles Mackerras, a partnership between him and the OAE that lasted almost a quarter of a century. ★★★★★ One of the most thrilling Beethoven interpretations I have ever heard. It bristles with revolutionary spirit … The OAE play like gods and demons - The Financial Times ★★★★★ The slow movement is full of spiritual balm. The outer movements are elemental in proper revolutionary style; the finale’s found British soloists are excellent. Highly recommended - The Mail on Sunday Fine choral singing by the New Company, and Mackerras's masterly control, make the finale as electrifying as only it can be - The Times
  • Hear my words ye people by Hubert Parry, a former chorister at Eton College is the first track on the album featuring some of the bestloved anthems in the church repertoire, beautifully performed by the Eton College Chapel Choir. The choir, formed in the 14th-Century has changed a great deal since the choir school was succeeded by a music scholarship system, designed to facilitate talented choristers with their education. Although life has changed at Eton, the music passed down over five hundred years still possesses a power to stir.
  • This recording is compiled from Armonico Consort’s ‘Naked Byrd’ programme, featuring music by Tavener, Purcell, Barber and Byrd, composers who wore their hearts on their sleeves, and whose art saw their emotions laid bare, in an atmospheric concert where magical musical moments are intertwined with sublime passages of plainchant and violin improvisation. ‘Naked Byrd Two’ follows on from their December 2009 release (‘Naked Byrd’). Armonico Consort is, at its heart, a highly talented vocal ensemble that stages a wide variety of concerts. The quality of the performances they stage is reflected in the praise they have recently received: An achingly beautiful selection - Classic FM Superb!The Times A beautiful soundBBC Radio 3 Record Review [A] splendid second volume in the Armonico Consort’s Naked Byrd seriesThe Independent
    [A] disc of unending delight - Gramophone
  • The Temple Church is one of the most historic and beautiful churches in London. Situated between Fleet Street and the Thames Embankment, its recorded musical history extends back to its restoration in 1841, although a church has stood on the site for over 800 years.

    The modern choir is comprised of 18 boy choristers and 12 professional choirmen – an excellent opportunity for the choristers who receive singing and theory tuition as well as generous scholarships towards their education. The programme explores three fascinating and contrasting settings of the Te Deum: A stalwart of the church liturgy (first conceived as far back as AD 387), these settings span over 300 years of English music history, composed respectively in 1694 (Purcell), 1897 (Elgar) and 1944 (Howells).

    This disc is complemented by the release of James Vivian’s English Organ Music from the Temple Church. 

     

     

     
  • 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
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