• The early music ensemble Gallicantus was born within the ranks of the world-class choir Tenebrae, when five of the choir’s regulars, each with a wealth of experience in the world of consort singing, decided to form a separate group dedicated to renaissance music. Literally meaning Rooster Song or cock crow, Gallicantus is a word from monastic antiquity for the office held just before the dawn. It evokes the renewal of life offered by the coming day. The group is bound by a shared love of communicating text, and is committed to creating performances which draw out unifying themes within apparently diverse repertoire: To this end they are as meticulous about providing context and insight for audiences as they are about crafting interpretations of the music they love. What better respite from the secular pressures of Christmas shopping than these sublime sacred sounds from the late 16th century … beautifully recorded - The Observer Taste the final amens in Exaudiat te, Dominus, where imitative exchanges spiral in ecstasy. Impassioned, exciting musicThe Times What an outstanding disc … never once is there a loss of clarity, a hint of muddinessGramophone
     
  • Following in Signum’s series of composer-led releases with the BBC Singers, this new disc represents the culmination of a collaboration between British composer Bernard Hughes and the choir that began in 2002. Combining modern poetry by E. E. Cummings and Siegfried Sassoon alongside Norse poetry, Hughes combines both ancient and modern elements into his compositions, which are ably performed by the BBC Singers under Paul Brough.

     

    Bernard Hughes’s music has been performed at major venues in Britain and abroad and received a number of broadcasts on BBC Radio 3. He was runner-up at the 2009 British Composer Awards for the choral work The Death of Balder (featured on this recording).

     

     
  • 'I Love all Beauteous Things' explores a great collection of works by the British Composer Herbert Howells, featuring performances of some of his lesser-known choral and organ music. The Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin have had a long and prosperous history: they were recorded as having taken part in the first performance of Handel's 'Messiah' in 1742. Since 1972 the new mixed voice choir, lead by Judy Martin, has been highly active with concerts tours and regular broadcasts for the RT? and BBC, as well as continuing worship in the cathedral.
  • The King’s Singers perform the complete Italian madrigal collection Il Trionfo di Dori. Commissioned by Venetian nobleman Leonardo Sanudo in 1592, the collection features 29 works, each written by a different composer and poet, and set for nine voices. Among them are Vecchi, Gabrieli, Marenzio, de Monte, Striggio, Anerio, Gastoldi, Porta and Palestrina.
    ★★★★★ The King's Singers bring this great monument of Italian music history to striding life - Sinfini Music ★★★★★ The King’s Singers are on top form, singing with a sunny freshness appropriate to this happy music, blending beautifully, and moving as one into crescendos and decrescendos, ranging in dynamic from a whispering pianissimo to declamatory episodes of high drama - Early Music Review It is hard to imagine a group with greater potential to do justice to this music of love and mythology than they - Gramophone The King's Singers turn out their characteristic, highly polished finish: diction is razor-sharp, ensemble and intonation are well-nigh flawless - BBC Music Magazine A masterclass in delicate phrasing, elegant lines, exemplary Italian and effortless madrigalian expression with standards of intonation to languish after...delizioso - Choir & Organ If you have to make a single choice The King's Singers will appeal more and it's also beautifully recorded in a venue, which is at least new to this reviewer - Music Web International
  • Following its nomination for a Gramophone Early Music Award in 2014, Contrapunctus releases an album of motets from the Baldwin Tudor partbooks, on the theme of mortality.  Conducted by Owen Rees, the album includes Sheppard’s epic Media vita and works by Byrd, Parsons, Mundy, Teverner, Gerarde and Tallis, with Contrapunctus’s own reconstructions of the missing tenor parts. ★★★★★ Contrapunctus really knows what to do with these pieces and from the very first item the tuning is superb and the ensemble rock solid. Moreover, Owen Rees’s interpretations are revelatory and even visionary - BBC Music Magazine ★★★★ Whether you listen in Lenten penitence or in general hope of spiritual balm, the message is universal, the singing superb - The Observer Rees’s choir brings an intensity of sound and dramatic dynamics, in music that contemplates the pain of death in ecstatic elation and sublime devotion - The Sunday Times The undeniable jewel in the crown of this selection is Sheppard’s magisterial setting of Media vita … Contrapunctus is the ideal group for this superb repertoire, and I look forward with eager anticipation to future CDs in this series - Early Music Review There’s lovely balance and clarity of sound from as fine a clutch of voices - Choir & Organ
  • Seasonal Music by Bob Chilcott

    Bob Chilcott’s compositions are beloved with choral societies around the world, and this album represents the fruits of his recent collaborations with the US choir Choralis and their conductor Gretchen Kuhrmann. Featuring festive works for solo choir as well as choir and brass ensemble, at the centre of the programme is Wenceslas, inspired by the legend of the Bohemian King who braved the winter weather with his Page to save the life of a poor peasant, and incorporating the melody of the famous carol into each of its 8 movements. The disc includes the premiere recordings of Chilcott’s Gloria, which was premiered by the choir to great critical acclaim in 2015. These musicians radiate all the warmth of the famous church scene in Home Alone… That underscores Chilcott’s gift as a songwriter and an arrangerGramophone Chilcott’s music undeniably sounds great when sung by a small scale professional chamber choir (such as here) but there’s something equally appealing in the inclusive joy of a performance by a larger group of amateurs. This is a tribute to them, as much as to the composer of the music they sing - MusicWeb International Incorporating the traditional carol Good King Wenceslas it’s a work rich in melodic invention… sung here with becoming warmth, the finale glowing with good tidings… Impeccably directed throughoutPrimephonic This effortlessly fluent, audience-friendly music is hard to dislike. The craft is impeccable, the tunes are memorable and the performers invariably sound as if they’re enjoying themselvesThe Arts Desk
  • An inspiring sequence of Christmas music ancient and modern, culminating in Britten’s virtuosic choral masterpiece, A Boy Was Born: Paul McCreesh leads the Gabrieli Consort (joined by the Trebles of Copenhagen Royal Chapel Choir) in this evocative and contrasting collection of festive works that samples works from the 12th century to the present day.

  • The Choral Scholars of University College Dublin are Ireland’s leading collegiate choral ensemble, and for their first recording on Signum they perform an enchanting and ground-breaking collection of traditional and Celtic-inspired choral music, led by their director Desmond Earley.
    ★★★★ Blending 'folk' voices with choral precision and tight harmony isn't easy, but Desmond Earley has a passionate stake in both and doesn't put a foot wrong - Choir and Organ Bright young thingsThe Irish Times
     
  • The Yorkshire Baroque Soloists and Yorkshire Bach Choir were formed in 1973 as the basis of the famous York Early Music Festival, and have built a firm reputation as one of the finest ensembles in the world in their performance and interpretation of 17th and 18th century music. Under their director Peter Seymour they return to disc with a fine selection of soloists to perform Bach’s Mass in B Minor, BWV 232.

    Their 2009 disc of Bach’s St John Passion on Signum (SIGCD209) was released to excellent reviews:

    “A coherent, articulate and engaging performance that balances well the work's twin identities as narrative and contemplation.”
    MusicWeb International

    "… as dramatically coherent and satisfying as I've heard for a while … this is a St John which carries open-hearted conviction and character before it."
    The Gramophone

    http://www.yorkshirebaroquesoloists.org.uk/

  • J.S. Bach’s ‘Passions’ have been said to employ the word with more than one meaning – as well as telling the story of Christ’s sacrifice, they are simultaneously a celebration of human feeling in the joy and suffering of man’s pilgrimage on earth. The expert early music chamber orchestra Yorkshire Baroque Soloists bring all of these feelings to life in a dramatic and resonant performance of Bach’s Passio Secundum Johannem (St John Passion). Joined for this recording by the excellent Charles Daniels, Stephen Varcoe and Stephan Loges, the Yorkshire Baroque Soloists have been a leading light in the world of Early Music performance since their formation in 1973. As dramatically coherent and satisfying as I’ve heard for a while… this is a St John which carries open-hearted conviction and character before it - Gramophone Charles Daniel’s level-headed Evangelist anchors the narrative thrust with suave sagacity - BBC Music Magazine A coherent, articulate and engaging performance that balances well the work’s twin identities as narrative and contemplation - MusicWeb International
  • Peter Seymour and the Yorkshire Baroque Soloists present a new edition of Bach’s first version of the Matthäus-Passion, probably first performed on Good Friday 1727 and one of the greatest works of J.S. Bach’s prodigious output. Recorded at the National Centre for Early Music in York, the Yorkshire Baroque Soloists are joined by the renowned soloists Charles Daniels and Peter Harvey. Significant readings that inspire further thinking about the greatest of all Passions - Choir and Organ Seymour’s pacing often has a comfortable feeling of ‘rightness’ and integrity - Gramophone
  • "The B minor". That phrase alone resonates with gravity in the hearts and minds of those who love as no other the music of J.S. Bach. This disc sees the Rodolfus Choir at their best, as renowned Bach interpreters, having played his works across the UK to great acclaim. Following a live broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and performance at Holy Trinity Guildford at the end of 2009, this disc, recorded in the chapel of Charterhouse School continues their evergrowing catalogue of extraordinary recordings. Performance ★★★★ Recording ★★★★ The soloists are a fine team. In 'Domine Deus', Sophie Bevan and Ben Johnson match perfectly in imitation... Highly recommended- BBC Music Magazine There is uncanny vocal empathy between Sophie Bevan and Clint van der Linde, which, in 'Et in unum Dominum', results in the most extraordinary complementing of vocal lines... both stimulating and refreshing - International Record Review If some forty young singers can produce a recorded account of the B Minor Mass of this quality then the future for British choral music is bright indeed - MusicWeb International
  • 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 mark their 15th anniversary season with a celebratory re-release of Joby Talbot’s Path of Miracles, as well as the premiere recording of a new work by Owain Park. Inspired by the Camino Frances pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, Path of Miracles has quickly become a contemporary classic amongst choral music fans. To mark their anniversary year Tenebrae commissioned British composer Owain Park to compose his new work Footsteps as a companion piece to Path of Miracles. A shorter work, Footsteps is themed on similar concepts of travel, solitude and journeying, and blends texts by eight different authors to structure a narrative that cycles the seasons through the view of a lonely traveller.
  • Path of Miracles, for a cappella choir, was commissioned by Tenebrae from Joby Talbot and premiered last year. The work is based on the most enduring route of Catholic pilgrimage - the great Pilgramage to Santiago. The four movements of Path of Miracles are titled with the names of the four main staging posts of the 'Camino Frances,' the central axis of a network of pilgrimage routes to Santiago. Talbot's music has been performed by, amongst others, the London Sinfonietta, The BBC Symphony Orchestra, The Brunel Ensemble, Evelyn Glennie and The Duke Quartet. In addtion, Talbot also writes for the big and small screen. Credits include, The League of Gentlemen and The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Tenebrae, founded and directed by former King's Singer Nigel Short, is a professional vocal ensemble, whose motto is passion and precision. Tenebrae has built an impressive reputation for innovative and memorable performances throughout the UK and Europe 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. An evocative odyssey - The Times Joby Talbot's ambitious a cappella Path of Miracles is little short of a musical miracle in itselfNick Breckenfield It's an interesting musical journey for composer, performers and listeners alike - Classic FM Joby Talbot has been making quite a name for himself recently. Path of miracles can only add to that reputation: it's a real achievementInternational Record Review This a cappella work is very demanding of its singers and Tenebrae answer every question asked of them. It is a tour de force and absolutely stunning - Choir and Organ
  • “I regard The Veil of the Temple as the supreme achievement of my life and the most important work that I have ever composed.” Sir John Tavener

    Signum Records are proud to re-release the landmark recording of Sir John Tavener’s The Veil of the Temple at the start of what would have been Tavener’s 70th year.

    This 2CD set captures the concert-version of this epic 8-hour work, composed to last through the night until dawn in the manner of the grand vigils of the Orthodox Church. Combining the psalms of a number of different religious, Tavener skillfully blends together a work that is truly all-encompasing in its scale and spiritual fervour.

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