• Rising-star violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen is joined by the eminent pianist-composer Huw Watkins in a diverse programme of works that were all influenced in different ways by the era in which they were composed. The works were conceived at four very different points in the composer’s lives – Debussy, at the end of his life, Respighi in the first flush of fame, Elgar, although not old, enjoying his last creative period, and Sibelius in his prime composing prolifically.

    These four contrasting works were all composed as the Great War drew to a close, but none of them specifically attempts to conjure up images of the conflict, nor act as any kind of programmatic memorial to its victims. Rather, these works are all conceived as absolute music, albeit, in the case of the Elgar and Debussy sonatas, imbued with a melancholy regret that may have been a reflection of those tragic four years.

    2CD Release

     

  • Formed in 1992, the British percussion quartet ensemblebash has forged a reputation as one of the world’s most innovative and groundbreaking chamber ensembles. Using the music of West Africa as both core repertoire and a guiding spiritual influence, ensemblebash mixes contemporary classical, jazz and music theatre into unforgettable performances. 

    This new recording marks 20 years since the formation of the group, with the programme made up of some of their best commissions from the 2002 to 2012.

    "ensemblebash, who make playing percussion the coolest, noisiest and funniest occupation on earth." The Times

  • Recreating the exciting sound of swing from the 30’s and 40’s, Julian Bliss’s dynamic virtuosity leads his sextet through some of the great tunes of the swing era, staying true to the authentic feel but naturally with a modern twist.

     
    Julian Bliss says “I decided in the summer of 2010 that I wanted to start my own Jazz group. I enlisted the help of Neal Thornton (Piano) to help make this dream a reality. We spent months listening to every version of each tune we could find, and putting together our own versions while still being mindful of the light and fun feel Goodman captured all those years ago. We then had the task of putting the rest of the band together. We were specifically looking for musicians that had a great interest in the Swing era, and I must say we couldn’t have picked a better set of players”
     
    "Julian Bliss threatens to steal the show on clarinet," Norman Lebrecht
    Recent review of Julian's performance with Grammy-award winning soprano Hila Plitmann on 'The Ancient Question' (SIGCD276), released December 2011.
     
  • Alessio Bax returns to disc on Signum with two masterworks of Beethoven’s piano repertoire, as well as a new arrangement from Die Ruinen von Athen.

    Pianist Alessio Bax creates “a ravishing listening experience” (Gramophone) with his lyrical playing, insightful interpretations, and dazzling facility. First Prize winner at the Leeds and Hamamatsu international piano competitions – and a 2009 Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient – he has appeared as soloist with over 100 orchestras.
      
  • The Italian-born pianist and Leeds competition winner Alessio Bax returns with his third solo recital disc for Signum. His programme surveys a selection of highlights from Brahms' pianistic output, charting his development from the early lyrical collection '4 Ballades' (1854) through to the 'eight perfect gems' that are the 8 Klavierstücke Op.76 (1871-78). Bax also tackles Brahms' fiendish set of 'Variations on a Theme of Pagainini, Op.35', which Bax describes in the programme notes as one of "the most fearsome works ever written for piano". 

  • It is a sign of the brilliance of J.S. Bach that great pianists have chosen to recreate and reinterpret his works in so many ways. From Wilhelm Kempff’s subtle resetting of Wachet Auf to Ferruccio Busoni’s virtuosic grandeur in the Violin Partita Chaconne, these performances by star pianist Alessio Bax capture the reverence and resplendence of Bach’s music in thirteen great transcriptions.
     
    Alessio Bax is universally praised for his lyrical playing and insightful interpretations. On April 23rd 2009 he was awarded the Avery Fischer Career Grant, presented once a year to talented instrumentalists who show great potential for solo careers, following in the footsteps of previous winners Joshua Bell, Hilary Hahn and Gil Shaham.

     

  • In his second solo piano recital disc for Signum, this release further demonstrates Alessio Bax’s dazzling skill and flair in performance and interpretation – this time with Rachmaninov’s piano works. The programme is centered around the Preludes op.23, but takes in a broad selection of his other studies, etudes, melodies and transcriptions – in performance, Bax describes the programme as being a collection of ‘visions and landscapes’.

    Praise for Alessio’s first solo disc on Signum records (SIGCD156 – Bach Transcribed):

    " ... a level of technical control that gives new meaning to the word ‘awesome’ … Furthermore, Bax retains tonal beauty and definition even in the loudest and most sonorous passages" Gramophone Magazine

    " ... the transcriptions can only be mastered by someone with an amazing technique. Audiences still like to be astonished. Alessio Bax astonishes along with the best of them … in short, this disc is a must." Fanfare Magazine

  • Pianist Alessio Bax creates “a ravishing listening experience” with his lyrical playing, insightful interpretations, and dazzling facility. “His playing quivers with an almost hypnotic intensity,” says Gramophone magazine, leading to what Dallas Morning News calls “an out-of-body experience.”

    For his latest solo recording with Signum, Alessio Bax returns with a programme of rich and evocative works for piano by Modest Mussorgsky and Alexander Scriabin.

  • ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’, whose score is the first commissioned by The Royal Ballet for a full-length narrative dance work in 20 years, won over not only London audiences but those in Canada and the US, flocking to its premiere North American season with the National Ballet of Canada in June of 2011. The production was sold out well in advance of its close and ended as the company’s highest-grossing production of all time.

    Joby’s score was received with extraordinary relish by both audiences and critics, who praised variously its energy, sophistication, wit, colour, danceability and richness of expression.

    “Joby Talbot’s superb score [is] arguably the best new ballet music I have heard in years.” Giannandrea Poesio, The Spectator

  • Signum Records is delighted to announce  the release of Gail Hennessy (baroque oboe) and Nicholas Parle (organ and harpsichord)'s second collaborative disc on Signum Records.

    Pellegrina’s Delight celebrates Vivaldi’s contribution to oboe repertoire in the early eighteenth century. Vivaldi wrote at least 16 concerti for solo oboe, but in this recording we offer an overview of Vivaldi’s prominent use of the solo oboe in his chamber music. The disc also provides a fascinating illustration of Vivaldi’s stylistic development between c.1705 and c.1720.

    The Quartet Sonata in C major (RV 779) was written during the first decade of Vivaldi’s activity as a composer, when he was serving as a violin teacher at the Ospedale della Piet in Venice. Selected girls were admitted - after audition - to the musical establishment. Vivaldi made a note in this manuscript of the names of the four female musicians who were chosen to perform the sonata. They are Pellegrina (oboe), Prudenza (violin), Lucietta (organ) and Candida (chalumeau).

    Other works featured on this disc are the Sonata for oboe and continuo in C minor, RV 53, the Sonata in G minor, RV 28 the Trio-sonata in E minor, Op. 1 no. 2, RV 67, the Concerto for flute, violin and bassoon in G minor, RV 106 (presented with the oboe taking the part of first treble instrument, the Sonata in B-flat major, RV 34 and the Sonata a 4 in C major, RV 801.

  • Matthew Barley adds to his reputation as one of the UK's most innovative and creative performers with the new programme and CD Around Britten – celebrating the centenary of Britten's birth with a selection of his works, including the Third Cello Suite and pieces by Sir John Tavener and Gavin Bryars. 

    The release coincides with the start of a tour of 100 events taking Britten's music to a kaleidoscopic variety of venues around the UK, reaching a huge cross section of British society. As well as concerts in conventional concert halls, Matthew will play in galleries, a cafe, a woodland in Devon, a number of cathedrals (including Canterbury), around 12 different National Trust properties and Britten's library at the Red House in Aldeburgh. The events will be featured across the year in BBC Music Magazine, and one concert will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Find out more about the events near you here.

  • Described as “one of the finest song composers of his generation”, Ian Venables’ music for voice and string quartet draws on a wealth of literary and musical sources, in particular from the 19th Century romantic tradition. Performances on this disc come from British tenor Andrew Kennedy and the award winning Dante Quartet.

    This release follows the 2008 release On Wenlock Edge with performances by Andrew Kennedy, the Dante Quartet and pianist Simon Crawford-Phillips of works by Vaughan Williams, Ivor Gurney and Ian Venables:

    "Venables' songs are sharply responsive to the weight and meaning of every word, and his style ... around Kennedy's voice like a glove ... The tenor handles the texts superbly, making every word perfectly clear" The Guardian

     

     

  • The real life marriage of two great concert pianists, Alessio Bax and Lucille Chung, has led to one of the leading piano duos of their generation. To cite the UK magazine Music and Arts, “Theirs is a marriage of wondrous colours and dextrous aplomb, subtly balanced to make a musical performance sound as one.”

    Stavinsky’s Pétrouchka was originally arranged for four-hands by the composer as a rehearsal score for the Ballet Russes production of the same name, but in this stripped-down it brings Stravinsky’s melodic, rhythmic and harmonic inventiveness to the fore.  Brahms’s 16 Waltzes Op.39 are an enchanting collection of Romantic miniatures that simultaneously nod to the musical lineage of the composer’s home in Vienna whilst asserting his own flair and individuality. The final four tangos by Piazzolla are a full of Argentine flair and vigour, and were arranged especially for this recording by Bax & Chung.

  • A stunning 12-CD box set, Beethoven Unbound, will be released to mark the completion of Llŷr Williams’ monumental Beethoven cycle at Wigmore Hall and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD) – recorded live at Wigmore Hall over three years and nine recitals. As well as the complete piano sonatas, the box set also features other works including the 32 Variations in C minor, Eroica Variations, Opus 126 Bagatelles and the Diabelli Variations, a total of almost 14 hours of music. This is Williams’ fourth album on Signum Classics. Beethoven Unbound is presented in a beautiful hinged box with extensive notes by Misha Donat, and personal notes by Williams and the album’s award-winning producer Judith Sherman, with whom Williams worked previously on his Wagner Without Words release. Williams comments on the box set and the partnership with Sherman: “Rather than adopt the chronological approach, I have arranged the works roughly in the order that I played them in the concerts, and each CD has been devised as a mini-recital programme. This has sometimes allowed for creativity in putting the pieces together. Working with Judy on this project has been a joy and a privilege. It was sad to reach the end – but at least we still have a Schubert cycle to look forward to!” Williams has developed a reputation as one of the finest exponents of Beethoven, since giving his first Beethoven cycle in Perth in 2010, and winning a South Bank Sky Arts Award in 2012 for an epic two-week marathon in Edinburgh. The Guardian said of one of his RWCMD cycle recitals in 2016: “Williams’ already considerable stature as a Beethoven interpreter seems to grow with every performance” (Rian Evans, 25 March 2016) and The Independent commented on a Wigmore recital: “Williams treats it [the keyboard] as an extension of his body, and with the three Opus 10 sonatas plus the Diabelli Variations he took us onto an altogether higher plane” (Michael Church, 12 October 2016). 2017 saw the conclusion not only of the solo series at Wigmore Hall and the RWCMD, but also of a complete concerto cycle with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. The best of these performances are out of the top drawer and all are worthy of careful listening. At its bargain price this set is highly recommended to all lovers of Beethoven’s piano music” - iClassical
  • Pianist Min-Jung Kym makes her recording debut on Signum Records, leading the Philharmonia Orchestra under conductor Clemens Schuldt in performances of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4, and alongside Zsolt-Tihamer Visontay for Mendelssohn’s Double Concerto for Violin, Piano and String Orchestra in D Minor.

    Steinway Artist Min-Jung Kym has acquired an internationally recognised reputation performing with some of the world’s leading orchestras and musicians, including collaborations with (amongst others) Barry Wordsworth, Alison Balsom, the Haffner Ensemble, Pierre Amoyal, Leon Bosch, Joy Farrall, Andrew Haveron, Sergey Levitin, Adrian Brendel, Thomas Carroll, Mats Lidstrom and the soprano Susan Bickley. Min-Jung was the ‘pianist of choice’ for the masterclasses of the legendary violinist Ruggiero Ricci.

    “Min-Jung is an exceptionally talented pianist, with a wonderfully controlled and even technique, combined with a highly sensitive approach to the music.” Ruggiero Ricci

  • Alessio Bax returns to disc on Signum with the Southbank Sinfonia under Simon Over, in a new recording of works by Beethoven centred around the majestic “Emperor” Piano Concerto No. 5.

    Combining exceptional lyricism and insight with consummate technique, Alessio Bax is without a doubt “among the most remarkable young pianists now before the public” (Gramophone). He catapulted to prominence with First Prize wins at both the Leeds and Hamamatsu International Piano Competitions, and is now a familiar face on four continents, not only as a recitalist and chamber musician, but as a concerto soloist who has appeared with more than 100 orchestras, including the London and Royal Philharmonic Orchestras, Dallas and Cincinnati Symphonies, NHK Symphony in Japan, St. Petersburg Philharmonic with Yuri Temirkanov, and the City of Birmingham Symphony with Sir Simon Rattle.

    Alessio has appeared frequently with the Southbank Sinfonia in concerts and recordings – their 2013 disc of Mozart’s Concertos Nos. 24 & 27 was described by Musicweb International’s critic as their “Recording of the Month … and quite possibly my recording of the year”. A live concert of the “Emperor” concerto in 2016 with the orchestra in Tuscanny’s Incontri in terra di Siena festival was met with praise by reviewers:

    [Bax’s] capacity for softness and for evenness of touch came beautifully to the fore for the concerto’s many top-keyboard pianissimo flutterings, as his strong relationship with the orchestra also reaped dividends, producing satisfyingly sympathetic chamber pockets amidst the surrounding symphonic excitement.” BachTrack (Live Concert Review)