• 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
  • In the centenary year of the Armistice of 1918, thoughts turn to the great human cost of the First World War and many subsequent armed conflicts. Released in support of the charity Combat Stress, this commemorative recording explores the themes associated with human conflict. The programme brings together texts and music pointing to the frailty that leads to the violence of war, but also to triumphs of the human spirit that so often arise from situations of the deepest desolation.

    The Choir of Chichester Cathedral are led by Charles Harrison in this collection of works by composers affected by the Great War, including Stanford, Bainton, Ireland, Howells, Parry and Elgar.

    Such understated yet beautifully moulded singing - Gramophone No other collection matches this - MusicWeb International Lest We Forget brings together eloquent pieces of music and text that reach remarkable depths of musical and artistic expression that still resonate in the modern day - Chichester Observer Both singing and playing are first class within the clear acoustic of Chichester Cathedral - Cross Rhythms Farrington's imaginative re-working of the orchestral score for organ should win it many devotees, especially in this fine performance - Planet Hugill
  • 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
  • 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.
     
  • Coupling powerful interpretations with path-breaking scholarship, the choir Contrapunctus presents music by the best-known composers as well as unfamiliar masterpieces. Directed by Owen Rees, a specialist in music of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the group presents imaginative programmes revealing previously undiscovered musical treasures and throwing new light on familiar works. This recording explores the musical ‘cries of the oppressed’ from opposite ends of Europe, which include some of the most powerful works composed in England and Portugal during this period by Byrd, Tallis, Monte and Cardoso. The highlight perhaps is the first recording of a newly reconstructed vocal work by Thomas Tallis, Libera nos. This has long been thought to be an instrumental work, and has been recorded as such, but there’s persuasive historical evidence for us to be confident that this is in fact a choral setting of the antiphon Libera nos, and it is performed here with the relevant text restored to the five vocal parts. A rich seam of material by such as Tallis, Byrd and Cardoso - The Independent Exemplary... Pristine performances by Owen Rees’s Contrapunctus choir - The Times Experience and vocal excellence merge in the singing of Contrapunctus to produce performances extraordinary even by the British vocal group’s own high standards - Sinfini
  • 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
  • The King's Singers celebrate their 40-year anniversary with a live BBC Proms performance from the Royal Albert Hall. This disc demonstrates the skill, flair and versatility you would come to expect from a King's Singers performance, sampling the besrt from their vast repertoire. The King's Singers have maintained their place at the apex of a cappella singing and are amongst the world's elite classical performers. Following this concert The Daily telegraph said "every edge was bevelled smooth" and the Guardian described it as "flawlessly realised". Click here to see the DVD version of this disc
  • Locus Iste

    £12.00
    Locus Iste celebrates two milestones for the Choir of St John's College, Cambridge: as well as 2019 marking the 150th anniversary of the consecration of the college chapel, this release is coincidentally the choir's 100th recording – 60 years on from George Guest’s iconic first recording of ‘Hear my prayer’ for Argo, released in 1959. Directed by Andrew Nethsingha, the programme makes great use of the chapel's renowned acoustic, and celebrates the choirs past, present and future – including an anthem by a former director of music, a motet by one of their recent student composers and the cello-playing of a current undergraduate. The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge is one of the finest collegiate choirs in the world – known and loved by millions from its broadcasts, concert tours and recordings. Founded in the 1670s, the Choir is known for its rich, warm and distinctive sound, its expressive interpretations and its ability to sing in a variety of styles. It would be hard to imagine a finer celebration of the 150th anniversary of St John’s College Chapel - MusicWeb International Leaves us wanting more - Cross Rhythms
  • 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
  • Magnificat

    £12.00
    Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis was recorded to explore the breadth of imagination with which composers have approached the texts, which have been sung in Christian worship for over 1000 years. Stanford’s starting point was the Germanic symphonic tradition; Howells took his inspiration from the architecture and acoustics of the Cathedral in Gloucester; Tippett was inspired by the unique Spanish trumpet stop at St John’s. The Evening Cantincles chosen for this record relate to a particular period of music making in the life of St John’s conductor, Andrew Nethsingha; his time at the Royal College of Music; at Truro and Gloucester Cathedrals, and lastly his time at St John’s. Founded in the 1670s, The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge, is one of the finest collegiate choirs in the world – known and loved by millions for its rich, warm and distinctive sound, expressive interpretations and ability to sing in a variety of styles.
  • A new disc of works by the world renowned choral composer Bob Chilcott. Bob has been involved in choral music for most of his life and since he became a professional composer in 1997 he has had over 100 works published by Oxford University Press. He was hailed by Gramophone magazine as “one of the finest choral composers at work in Britain today.” This CD includes tracks with The Sirens, an ensemble of young professional women's voices specially created for this recording. Also featuring are a jazz trio with Alexander Hawkins on piano, Michael Chilcott on bass and Dereck Scurll on drums. The works included here reflect the strong support and interest that Bob’s vocal music generates, with commissions from a wide variety of choral societies, children & youth choirs and professional choruses.
  • Man I Sing

    £12.00
    The world-renowned choral composer and conductor Bob Chilcott leads the BBC Singers, as well as the internationally recognised soloists Simone Rebello and Paul Silverthorne, in these new performances of some of his best and most loved choral works. ‘He has the knack of exploring highly effective uncomplicated choral devices, and providing both singers and listeners with a complete cycle that leaves them fulfilled yet still prepared for more ... It is all splendidly entertaining.’

    Choir & Organ

    The Making of the Drum The Modern Man I Sing
    My Prayer Beach
    Advent Antiphons And Every Stone Shall Cry
    The Shepherd's Carol Simple Pictures of Tomorrow
    Pange Lingua Weather Report
  • 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
  • Andrew Nethsingha and The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge mark the centenary of the 1918 Armistice with a new recording of choral works by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Many of the works were composed in the years immediately following the event, including O clap your hands, Lord, thou hast been our refuge and the Mass in G minor which leads the programme.

    Vaughan Williams turned his attention to liturgical music following his service as a wagon orderly during the Great War. Ursula Vaughan Williams, his second wife and biographer, wrote that such work ‘gave Ralph vivid awareness of how men died’. It is perhaps unsurprising that in many of the texts to which he turned after the 1918 Armistice, the fragility and weakness of humanity becomes a recurrent theme. Despite being described as a ‘confirmed atheist’ by the philosopher Bertrand Russell, his heightened exploration of Christian texts, symbols, and images after the War might rather be understood both as an attempt to grapple anew with what might lie, as he put it, ‘beyond sense and knowledge’, and to search for consolation in religious and other inherited traditions amid a world irrevocably changed.

    I admire both the outstanding quality of the treble line and the excellent sense of ensemble - Cathedral Music Magazine The great virtues of the disc are the way it brings RVW's into a different focus yet also emphasises the transcendent mysticism which is the essential core to the music - Planet Hugill This is a very fine disc indeed. Andrew Nethsingha has chosen the music with great discernment and conducts it with evident commitment and understanding - Music Web International
  • Tenebrae Consort is an outstanding group of musicians, with singers hand-picked from the award winning chamber choir Tenebrae. Known for their instinctive ensemble skills, the singers and instrumentalists are directed from within the Consort by Nigel Short who leads the group to attain music making of the highest quality. Focussing on the repertoire originally written for consort performance, particularly early music, Tenebrae Consort aim to shed new interpretative light on works through the combination of both passion and precision, creating an intimate and unique concert experience. On this recording they explore classic works at the very heart of the Medieval and early-Renaissance British Choral Tradition. [The recording displays] this group's famous sensitivity toward musical structure, as well as their exquisite harmonic control - BBC Music Magazine The velvety tones of the Tenebrae Consort singing Sarum chant associated with Compline for Passiontide made me wonder just how this music actually sounded in the Middle Ages - Early Music Review Following on from Tenebrae's Russian disc this is a highly imaginative programme. It takes a nicely purist view and gives us the complete Compline service and with the additions makes a satisfying whole. I do hope that they record more - Planet Hugill
  • At the time of its first performances in 1846, Elijah was hailed as one of the great oratorios alongside Handel’s Messiah. It tells the story of the prophet with imposing grandeur, inspirational orchestration and beautiful arias, recitatives and choruses. This mighty piece requires mighty orchestral and choir forces and Gabrieli singers are reinforced with talented young singers from the Gabrieli Young Singers’ Scheme and the Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir. This recording sees over 440 musicians taking part, including 92 string players and over 300 singers.
    The musical milieu is still Victorian but, rather like the cleaned-up Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens, it gleams anew and radiates light. ... a definite first choice - The Telegraph In all this is staggeringly good. Approaching the work in this way fills a gap which I didn’t even realise was there, but now I’ve heard it I think it will be first choice for a while to come. Thoroughly recommended - Presto Classical
  • Wells Cathedral Choir under Matthew Owens explore and celebrate the life and works of the late British composer Sir John Tavener (1944- 2013), in a new programme centred around his Missa Wellensis

    The disc features several world-premiere recordings of works commissioned especially for the choir, including his Preces and Responses and They are all gone into the world of light. 

  • Music of the seventeenth century was little known to the concertgoing or record-buying public, up until fifty years or so ago when Monteverdi’s Vespers were performed under the inspiration of figures such as Michael Tippett as part of a modern revival of early music. Subsequently, it has been one of the most celebrated works both with choral societies and early music specialists. Here, the Rodolfus Choir offer their interpretation of one of the most magnificent works of the seventeenth century. Following their highly successful release with Signum earlier this year, Choral Arrangements by Clytus Gottwald, the Rodolfus Choir perform earlymusic as sensitively and musically as they perform music of the twentieth-century.
    Title page of the 1610 edition of Monteverdi's Vespers
    The English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble can be found at: www.ecse.co.uk
  • Signum Records is delighted to announce  the release of Tenebrae's second disc, Mother and Child. In its short existence, Tenebrae has made a considerable impact with fresh and vital re-interpretations of classic works in the choral repertoire. On this new recording, innovatory and lesser-known repertoire is drawn from contemporary sources, reflecting an exploratory approach which places the group artistically at the cutting edge. This is a distinctive and distinguished collection of works by a number of living composers, many of whom have established themselves at the creative forefront of the choral scene in recent times. A very classy piece of singing [and] a remarkable range of colours thanks to the mixture of voices... one of the best sounding CDs I have had on the desk this week - BBC Radio 3 This is a CD of exceptional stature. It seems to me that everything about it – performances, documentation, sound quality and, above all, the music itself – is of the highest quality - MusicWeb International A highly dramatic work [that makes] the fullest use of  the choral resources available and with a very challenging organ part superbly played by Jeremy Filsell - International Record Review Pott’s impassioned My Song is Love Unknown stands out as a small masterpiece of choral writing - Classical News This is a wonderful disc, a program that all choral lovers should hear, not least because it gives proof that very fine sacred choral music is still being written – and given the first-rate attention it deserves by world-class performers - ClassicsToday.com
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The debut disc of world-renowned early-music ensemble Charivari Agréable on Signum Records. Music for Philip of Spain and His Four Wives is complementary to SIGCD004 and presents secular music associated with Philip II from the four European countries of his wives - Portugal, England, Austria and France. Bravo!Gramophone Highly recommendedEarly Music Review Exquisite performances ... a highly intelligent programmeEarly Music Today
  • 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
  • Mark Williams leads the Choir of the Jesus College Cambridge through an evocative selection of choral works inspired in varying ways by the songs of Solomon. Songs of love have been written from the earliest records of human existence. None are more passionately ecstatic than the Song of Solomon, which occupies a unique place in the Holy Bible in both style and content. It contains lyric poems of love and courtship, as might have been sung at Jewish weddings. For Christians, these poems speak to the beauty of the union of Christ and his ‘bride’, the Church. The present collection presents a diverse group of choral works written between the 16th century and the present day, with most inspired by this unique sacred text. Under Mark Williams direction, the choirs make a clear elegant and focussed sound, and clarity is very much the watchword in the performancesMusicWeb International This CD features both the Jesus College Choir (top line women) and the all-male Chapel Choir. The two sounds are well differentiated, the fresh clarity of the boys contrasting with the more mature sounds of the young womenChoir and Organ Superlative singingNorthern Echo
  • As one of Britain’s most respected and versatile musicians, Sir Richard Rodney Bennett has produced over two hundred works for the concert hall, and fifty scores for film and television, as well as having been a writer and performer of jazz songs for over fifty years. This disc of compositions and arrangements performed by the BBC Singers showcases some of his most popular and beguiling works for choir and voice, drawn from classical and jazz music and featuring his ever-popular work A Good-Night. There's not a note out of place or a phrase that seems second-handThe Guardian
    This CD offers an excellent overview of Bennett’s a cappella choral works, demonstrating the breadth of this compositional interests and versatility across a wide range of genres from contemporary classical to jazz to Christmas musicStudio Flamingo With the Singers' impeccable intonation, warm vocal blend, this CD is a must-buy for anyone interested in contemporary British choral musicChoir & Organ
  • 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
  • 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 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.
  • Choral music from the sixteenth-century, right up to the late-twentieth-century features on this beautiful eleven-track album, with stunning performances from The Choir of Royal Holloway. The Chapel Choir was established in 1886 for women’s voices & became a mixed choir in 1965. Forty-three years on and the choir have made 14 CD recordings & have toured most European countries, under the guidance of Rupert Gough, who began his musical training as a chorister at the Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace.
  • Armonico Consort return to disc on Signum with a festive selection of classic carols and hymns alongside new commissions and arrangements. The programme is rounded off by Benjamin Britten’s timeless A Ceremony of Carols. If you want this particular programme it is hard to imagine it being better performedEarly Music Review Highly recommended - Northern Echo Intimate, small-scale performances of mainly familiar titlesBBC Music Magazine
  • Nigel Short leads Tenebrae in a new album of sacred and jazz inspired choral works by Alexander L’Estrange, one of Britain’s most popular living choral composers.
    L'Estrange's works add a jazz-infused chordal depth and a roving harmonic eye to Howell's declamatory muscularity and modal palette. It's attractive, approachable music, with nothing contrived or patronising about it - Gramophone Vivid, varied and completely satisfying - Choir & Organ The choir masterfully interprets all the works to perfection and gains power and warmth from one piece to the next, offering to its listeners deep bass sounds as well as the brilliant homogeneity of voices - BachTrack On the showing of this disc, Alexander L'Estrange is the go-to person for evocative and striking small scale new commissions, something lyrically attractive with some luscious harmonies... Each item is perfectly lovely with the fine performances of Tenebrae giving us plenty of magical moments - Planet Hugill
  • 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