• Sale!

    Tenebrae join the Aurora Orchestra with mezzo soprano Dame Sarah Connolly and narrator Simon Callow for ‘A Walk with Ivor Gurney’, an album of choral music celebrating the works of Ivor Gurney whose promising career as a composer was interrupted by World War I. Alongside four pieces of Gurney’s own music are works by his contemporaries, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Herbert Howells. The recording features a new piece by Judith Bingham commissioned by Tenebrae in 2013 for the choir with Dame Sarah Connolly.

    ★★★★★ The Mail Online

    Performance ★★★★ Recording ★★★★ Beautifully sung by Nigel Short's Tenebrae - BBC Music Magazine Orchestra and wordless choir combining to ravishing effect - The Arts Desk

    Nigel Short’s peerless Tenebrae singers, backed by the Aurora Orchestra, offer nothing but sorrowful beauty and multiple reasons to give thanks - The Times

    A nourishing, thoughtfully compiled release  - Gramophone The orchestra marvellously supportive and Tenebrae exemplary - Classical Source [Dame Sarah Connolly] brings a great warmth here, vocally but also in terms of her response to the poetryBBC Radio 3 Record Review Throughout this disc the singing of Tenebrae confirms their stature as one of the UK’s premier chamber choirs […] Tenebrae have done the memory of Ivor Gurney proud - MusicWeb International
  • A special release showcasing James Rhodes’s most popular performances on 180g vinyl for the very first time.

    There's certainly nothing crude about the recorded sound - The Times

  • Sale!

    Following her debut release of Baroque works by Vivaldi and Handel earlier this year, Grace Davidson returns to disc on Signum with an intimate disc of Dowland’s first book of lute songs, accompanied by David Miller. Blending melancholy with wit in his writing for both lute and voice, John Dowland’s songs have continued to enchant audiences and singers for nearly 400 years. The ‘First Booke’ includes some of Dowland’s less well-known works, and was recorded in the sensitive acoustic of Ascot Priory in Berkshire, UK.

    Performance ★★★★ Recording ★★★★★ Dowland's [works] find elegant interpreters here in Grace Davidson and David Miller - BBC Music Magazine These are beautiful, musical performances - Gramophone
  • Love Abide

    £12.00
    Roxanna Panufnik's ongoing mission to build musical bridges between different faiths was inspired by the birth of her first child in 2002, when she started to reflect on the world she was bringing her baby into. Religious conflict and wars caused by it are constantly in the news - but we rarely hear enough about the affirmative aspects of our many faiths, such as the phenomenal beauty of the varied cultures surrounding them. By exploring these cultures, Panufnik has been able to unearth a bounty of stunning chant and verse and has been brought closer to her own personal spiritual beliefs. Each work on this CD focuses on a particular mood or sentiment around the theme of love, expressed in a musical language that echoes the origin of the words. Drawing on texts from different faiths, from the 15th century Zen Master Ikkyū Sōyun to the well-loved 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians; from the Christian mass setting to the 14th Century Sufi poet and mystic Rumi, to the ancient Hebrew Psalm 136 (135). And marrying traditional Anglican text with a Catholic one – creating a truly Ecumenical Magnificat. Within the music you hear fragments of Spanish Sephardic chant, Christian plainsong, Sufi rhythms and a Japanese lullaby to soothe the soul. Love Abide encapsulates the very contemporary ethos of multicultural spiritual devotion in a world populated by a rich diversity of faiths – all feeling, as deeply and as aesthetically, the compelling potency of music with love.
  • Love Songs

    £12.00
    The King's Singers mark Valentine's Day with a collection featuring some of the world's finest love songs – from classics of the Great American songbook including the Gershwins' 'Love is Here To Stay' and Kern's 'I Won't Dance' through to recent hits such as John Legend's 'All of Me' and Randy Newman's 'When She Loved Me'. Performance ★★★★ Recording ★★★★ Richard Rodney Bennett's exquisite arrangement of Gershwin's 'Love is Here to Stay' stands out... beautifully performed and with an appealing blend of popular hits and more unusual fare, this disc makes for an uplifting listen - BBC Music Magazine
  • Julian Bliss joins the Carducci String Quartet in performances of two seminal works – Weber’s Clarinet Quintet in B flat Major, Op. 34 and Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet in A Major, K.581.

    Performance ★★★★ Recording ★★★★ Bliss tackles the score with a piercingly pure, vibrato less tone - BBC Music Magazine Aesthetically sensitive and technically excellent... this is a performance that carries with it a weight of authority from all musicians - Classical Ear
  • Bass-baritone Stephan Loges is accompanied by Iain Burnside in a collection that explores concepts of lost youth, the transience of life and the comforting presence of nature. The programme features performances of Schumann’s 12 Gedichte Op. 35 and Brahms’s 5 Lieder Op. 94, as well as in 5 rarely recorded works by Finnish composer Yrjö Kilpinen.

    Born in Dresden, Stephan Loges was an early winner of the Wigmore Hall International Song Competition. He has given recitals throughout the world, including regular appearances at Wigmore Hall London and the Oxford Lieder Festival, as well as Carnegie Hall New York and many more.

    ★★★★ Loges and Burnside are a responsive duo... an intuitive set of songs with real light and shade throughout - BBC Music Magazine A sensitive, touching account of [Schumann's Op 35 cycle], with Iain Burnside offering fine piano playing - Gramophone
  • Hymns are a living link with the past, yet they still find freshness and relevance in the twenty- first century. Saint Thomas Aquinas comments that ‘hymns are the praise of God with song; a song is the exultation of the mind dwelling on eternal things, bursting forth in the voice’ and this explains neatly the vital place that hymnody has enjoyed throughout the ages, and continues to do so today. Praise my soul celebrates this glorious tradition of hymnody and showcases some of the hymns heard in Jesus College Chapel in their own regular pattern of choral services. Some of these, including Drop, drop, slow tears and Glory to thee, my God, this night have been sung regularly for hundreds of years. Others such as All my hope on God is founded or Christ Triumphant have become classics over the last half-century.

    The Choir of Jesus College Cambridge return to disc on Signum with their seventh release, and their first under choral director Richard Pinel.

    A magnificent disc of fine hymn tunes and outstanding music making - MusicWeb International
  • Resilience

    £12.00

    The Calidore Quartet present their first disc on Signum Records – a collection of quartets by Janáček, Prokofiev, Golijov and Mendelssohn.

    The pieces were the products of four compelling personal narratives: an escape from the NAZI eastern offensive in WWII, a life caught in the crosshairs of a surge of violence in the Middle East, the sudden death of one’s closest friend and the struggle of being trapped in a loveless marriage. Felix Mendelssohn and Leoš Janáček turned to their art to find an outlet for their personal grief while Sergei Prokofiev and Osvaldo Golijov used their compositions to make sense of a world that was turned upside down by violent conflict.

    Because of and despite these origins the works are imbued with emotional potency, and the quartet hope that that these works can provide “a message of hope because they illuminate the human potential to create beauty even in the darkest of circumstances.”

    Superb young quartet presents a timely and thought-provoking programme - The Strad Precision needn't inhibit expression; these lively, intelligent performances of an attractive and thought-provoking programme offer compelling proof - Gramophone Superb, rhythmically alert playing, the players’ collective virtuosity always at the service of the music - The Arts Desk The Calidore Quartet successfully capture the emotional charge of this powerful work, bringing resilience to a suitably stirring close - BBC Music Magazine If the recording is comparable to what this admirable group displayed last week, the loud ovations after the concert were completely justified - Seen and Heard International Never do these players lose sight of the fact that the music, for all its violence and passion, should be a thing of beauty - MusicWeb International
  • Christopher Glynn continues his series of late Schubert song cycles in English, joined by celebrated soloists Sir John Tomlinson, Sophie Bevan, Julian Bliss and Alec Frank-Gemmill.

    Titled by the works first publisher following Schubert’s death, Swansong (Schwanengesang) D 957 sets sets the words of poets Ludwig Rellstab, Heinrich Heine and Johann Gabriel Seidl in songs that cover a variety of different emotional states. The lighthearted Love Message (Liebesbotschaft), with its rippling accompaniment, addresses a murmuring brook with the hope of true love. The bone-chilling Doppelgänger with its stark, slowly tolling chords, finds the protagonist crazed with a nocturnal vision of himself agonizing at the empty doorstep of his lost love. Renowned for his clear diction and powerful voice, Sir John Tomlinson brings his insight and nuance to these profound works.

    Reminiscent of the scoring for The Shepherd on the Rock and composed in the same year, On the River (Auf dem Strom) combines soprano and horn in a setting of a poem by Ludwig Rellstab. Originally given to Beethoven who did not live long enough to set it, Schubert took up the words in a work that is a subtle homage to the composer.

    The 1828 work The Shepherd on the Rock (Der Hirt auf dem Felsen) sets words by Wilhelm Müller and German playwright Helmina von Chézy, and was composed in gratitude to the soprano Anna Milder-Hauptmann. Here performed by Sophie Bevan and Julian Bliss, it tells the story of a shepherd lamenting the distance between him and his beloved before a reflection on loneliness and grief. The final section celebrates the arrival of spring in a hopeful conclusion.

    The creamy clarity of both Alec Frank-Gemmill’s horn and Julian Bliss’s clarinet sound is a perfect foil for Sophie Bevan’s exquisite, rounded legato - BBC Music Magazine

    Christopher Glynn’s playing is excellent throughout - Gramophone

  • Owen Rees leads early-music consort Contrapunctus alongside The Choir of The Queen’s College, Oxford in performances of John Taverner’s masterwork, the Missa Gloria tibi trinitas. A virtuosic work, it has pride of place in the Forrest-Heyther partbooks (in the Bodleian Library in Oxford), which it has been variously argued originated at Cardinal College or at the Chapel Royal.It might well have been heard on Trinity Sunday in the chapel of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey’s palace at Hampton Court. The work is accompanied by other sacred choral works by Taverner, including his Ave Maria composed for Wolsey’s Cardinal College, Oxford, and one of his most widely copied works, Gaude plurimum – a dramatic work where Taverner exploits the power of his full forces to evoke Christ’s harrowing of hell and the breaking of ‘the bloody powers of the prince of eternal death.’
    Contrapunctus is an early-music vocal ensemble dedicated to passionate interpretations informed by authoritative insight and understanding. 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.
  • Will Todd has established himself as one of the UK’s most popular choral composers. His anthem, The Call of Wisdom, was performed at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations with a TV audience of 45 million people. His breakthrough work, Mass in Blue, has been performed hundreds of times all over the world. Passion Music was commissioned for the choirs of St Martin-in-the-Fields and continues the fusion of jazz and choral music so successfully blended in Mass in Blue. The structure highlights different points in the Passion story, beginning with a new setting of ‘Greater love has no man’ and including an evocative Stabat Mater, a movement focusing on the seven last words of Christ, and a setting of ‘Were you there when they crucified my Lord?’. The Jazz Missa Brevis gives new life to the sung Latin Mass texts in an accessible, short setting which embraces a variety of jazz styles, from the swinging jazz waltz Kyrie to the up-beat Latin-groove Gloria. The smooth jazz ballad Sanctus, 7/8 Benedictus and soulful Agnus Dei complete this inspiring Mass setting.