• The four coronations of the twentieth century were enormous and extravagant. Replete with festive pageantry, these ceremonies were joyful celebrations of British music, employing tremendous forces. Choirs from across London and beyond were marshalled to provide a chorus of over 400 voices; a full-size symphony orchestra was squeezed into Westminster Abbey, whilst bands of fanfare trumpeters led the pomp and celebration. In the imposing surroundings of Ely Cathedral, Paul McCreesh and Gabrieli bring the history, ceremony and liturgy of these extraordinary events to life. With his renowned creative flair, McCreesh’s painstaking research provides the springboard for their latest ground-breaking recreation project. The result is a joyful celebration of five centuries of choral music, performed with the same vast forces as were heard at the coronation services. Alongside an orchestra of rare early-twentieth century instruments, an extended Gabrieli Consort is amplified by the energetic sound and fresh faces of several hundred young singers from Gabrieli’s choral training programme Gabrieli Roar. The music is interspersed by the coronation liturgy, with Simon Russell Beale speaking the part of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Performance ★★ Recording★★★★★ McCreesh at his considerable best - BBC Music Magazine ★ Paul McCreesh has magnificently recreated this unique coronation rite... truly heart-warming - Choir & Organ ★ An astonishing recording - The Times ★ McCreesh has conceived and executed a magnificent project - Classical Source ★ Palpable enthusiasm and engagement - Planet Hugill One can imagine the virtuosity required by every contributor, at every turn, to make this a reality, let alone a dazzling triumph - Gramophone A most recommendable treat - MusicWeb International This is something very special - Cross Rhythms
  • The choral works of Duruflé, like his organ works, are small in number but beautifully crafted. Frequently written and rewritten until he was completely satisfied, he was a composer who rethought and reconfigured his music right up to the moment he had to let go of it. Often described as a man out of step with his times, his pieces look back to Gregorian chant and plainsong at a time when the musical life of his home city of Paris was steeped in radical new compositional ideas – a testament perhaps to Duruflé’s enduring love of France’s choral heritage. In a new recording produced by Grammy® winning producer Blanton Alspaugh, the Houston Chamber Choir are led by artistic director Robert Simpson on their first release with Signum Records. ★★★★★ Houston Chamber Choir here offer beautifully presented accounts of all of Duruflé’s choral music - Choir & Organ ★★★★ No listener could fail to be impressed by both the quality of the compositions and performances - Cross Rhythms ★★★★ Beautifully crafted - Classical Source [Ken Cowan] certainly adds real distinction to this performance of the Requiem - Gramophone The Houston Chamber Choir, led  by their artistic director Robert Simpson, present an immaculate account of these works - The Northern Echo Beautiful, artistic singing and thoughtful, sensitive music-making at every turn - Dale Warland A superb recording to be treasured - Simon Carrington
  • Formed in 2016, the Albion Quartet brings together four of the UK’s exceptional young string players who are establishing themselves rapidly on the international stage. This disc marks the first release in a new Dvořák cycle with Signum Records, as well as future releases of Walton and Britten plus the premiere recording of Richard Blackford’s Kalon with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra later in 2019. Having made their debuts last season at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam as well as the Auditorium du Louvre in Paris, the 2018/19 season sees the Albion Quartet’s debuts at the Wigmore Hall and at Town Hall/Symphony Hall Birmingham. They also continue their residency at London’s Kings Place, become quartet-in residence at the Stratford Festival of Words and Music and perform at the Oxford Lieder Festival. 'Their attention to the smallest detail reaps dividends' - Gramophone
  • When Michael Nyman started reinventing the English baroque back in the 1980s, one critic described the result as “pump-action Purcell.” This recording combines these two singular musical styles through the stunning voice of countertenor Iestyn Davies and viol consort Fretwork, serving as the bridge across three centuries. The programme combines bold harmonies, wondrous inventions, and melodies that will haunt your dreams – whether from the 17th century or the 21st. Recorded following a concert tour of the programme, the disc includes the premiere recording of a new commission from Michael Nyman, Music after a While – based upon Purcell’s song, or more particularly upon its strikingly original bass-line, with its insidious rising chromatics. ★ A beautiful account - Planet Hugill Editor's Choice: The Nyman performances are exemplary – crisp and cleanly articulated from Fretwork and dispatched by Davies with a vacant, unrippled purity that is so essential to the music - Gramophone All executed with perfection - The Observer
  • David Goode continues his series of the complete organ works of Johann Sebastian Bach, played on the Metzler Söhne organ of Trinity College Chapel, Cambridge. This eleventh volume includes Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C, BWV 564, which has a unique pedal-solo section considered unique in organ literature, and the notoriously difficult Trio Sonata No. 6, BWV 530.  This digital-only recording is available from all major download stores and streaming services in MP3, CD Quality and Studio Quality/24-bit audio, and includes an extensive note on the works by George Parsons. It is also available to buy as a disc on demand – made to order with a printed booklet and inlay.  Available for purchase on Presto Classical.
  • 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
  • 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. ★★★★★ A rich offering on the theme of interfaith connectivity - BBC Music Magazine [An] impressively varied and diverse collection. A music of hope in dark and troubled times - Gramophone A soothing soundworld - The Northern Echo
  • 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
  • One of the pinnacles of nineteenth-century pianism, Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition broke new frontiers in its writing for the piano through its use of ringing bell-like sonorities, dramatic juxtaposition of registers and dynamics, its approach to resonance, percussive octaves and rapid hand-alternations, and sheer grandeur of sound. Introducing new ideas about virtuosity that owe much to orchestral thinking in the ways the full range of the piano’s tone-colours are explored, this work requires immense stamina through combining great finger dexterity with unbridled power. Mussorgsky’s masterpiece is coupled here with works by Ravel and Messiaen – composers who were indebted to the innovations of their Russian predecessor. Miroirs comprises a set of five pieces evoking contrasting moods and pianistic characters. Far from being Impressionist – a movement with which Ravel had little real affiliation –the ‘Mirrors’ of the title suggests more Symbolist associations in that the individual pieces explore ambiguities between supposed reality and ‘reflected’ simulation. Ravel was particularly fascinated by a line from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar: ‘the eye sees not itself, but by reflection, by some other things.’ An unusually non-descriptive work for Messiaen, without religious references or bird- song, Cantéyodjayâ is about musical process and is constructed as a mosaic-like collage in which a jaunty rhythmic refrain is contrasted with a multiplicity of contrasting ideas, many of which are re-workings from his gargantuan Turangalîla-Symphonie. ★★★★ An absolute humdinger - The Daily Mail Donohoe's brightly faceted interpretation [of Cantéyodjayâ], whose chiselled textures and sharply defined lines make this, for me, by some distance the highlight of the disc - Gramophone This recording confirms Donohoe's reputation as one of the foremost pianists of today, and comes highly recommended - The Northern Echo
  • The Choral Scholars of University College Dublin and Artistic Director Desmond Earley follow up their debut release with a programme of new choral music inspired by the evocative imagery of the natural world in traditional Irish and Scottish folksong and poetry. The disc includes a number of world-premiere recordings of new works and arrangements commissioned by the choir. The Choral Scholars of University College Dublin, under the artistic direction of Desmond Earley, is Ireland’s leading collegiate choral ensemble. With a large repertoire ranging from art to popular music, and stretching from the medieval to the contemporary in style, this choir gives many concerts throughout the academic year, both in Ireland and abroad. This whole project exudes quality - Gramophone Excellently sung - BBC Music Magazine Earley [shapes] a sequence of traditional Irish settings with contemporary material, [and his] setting of 'Danny Boy' [is] quite beautiful - Choir & Organ
  • This CD marks the second release of the Carducci’s Shostakovich 15 project, which includes performances of the complete cycles of the Shostakovich Quartets in cities including Washington DC, London, Oxford, Cardiff, Bogota and concerts throughout the UK to mark the 40th anniversary of the composer’s death. Described by The Strad as presenting “a masterclass in unanimity of musical purpose, in which severity could melt seamlessly into charm, and drama into geniality”, the Carducci Quartet is recognised as one of today’s most successful string quartets. This disc contrasts Shostakovich’s first two string quartets with the seventh – composed in memory of his late wife Nina. In composing his quartets prior to No. 7, Shostakovich had scrupulously followed a predetermined sequence of keys: according to this, the work should have been in E flat major. However Shostakovich, significantly, chose to break this pattern by writing his new quartet in F sharp minor, the key associated with such anguished music as Peter’s remorse in Bach’s St John Passion, and – particularly close to Shostakovich’s heart – Mahler’s unfinished Tenth Symphony. Performance★★★★ Recording★★★★ Beautiful honed - BBC Music Magazine
    These are athletic, upfront performances, clear in texture, forthright in tone and bold in articulation - Gramophone Sterling renditions that come highly recommended - The Northern Echo
  • Supersize Polyphony is a celebration of large-scale choral works from the 16th century, performed here by the Armonico Consort and the Choir of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, under their musical directors Christopher Monks and Geoffrey Webber. The unique programme features epic motets, such as Thomas Tallis’ Spemin Alium and Alessandro Striggio’s Ecce Beatam Lucem, alongside his rarely performed 60 part Missa sopra Ecco Si Beato Giorno. Interspersed with the serene beauty of ethereal chants by Hildegard of Bingen, this new recording presents works of magnitude and polyphonic drama in stellar performances by two of the UK’s leading choral ensembles. The direction is clear and the results are exciting - MusicWeb International
  • 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. Performance ★★★★ Recording ★★★★★ Rees brings together both of his crack ensembles [and] the 40-strong collective recreates [Taverner's] lavish sound - BBC Music Magazine ★★★★★ Rees has a natural affinity for this music, whether underlining differences of mood, allowing phrases to bloom or deftly judging cadential arrivals, his touch is instinctive - Classical Source ★★★★★ [A] thrilling new recording - Planet Hugill 9/10 Between them the music of John Taverner comes alive and whether your interest is in Tudor polyphony of acappella choral singing this release will bring much pleasure - Cross Rhythms This glorious programme of polyphony by John Taverner offers much opportunity for contrast as delicate, sinuous passages of vocal chamber music open up into densely populated choral vistas - Choir & Organ The full ensemble brings an undeniable grandeur - Gramophone A must for early music devotees - The Northern Echo A very fine album - MusicWeb International Beautifully recorded by Signum, this is a novel and beautiful Tudor choral release - AllMusic
  • Hymns are part of the UK’s national culture, available to believers and non-believers alike. Some of the most popular hymn-tunes featured here – such as O Sacred Head, Sore Wounded or Good Christians All – are over four hundred years old, while others date from the latter half of the 20th century. Founded in 1836, the internationally renowned Huddersfield Choral Society is one of UK’s leading choral groups. Famed for their ‘Huddersfield Sound’, they have a long established histoy of recordings and performances, appearing at the BBC Proms in 2018 as well as broadcasing regualarly on radio and television. A must for choral devotees - The Northern Echo
  • This recording presents a selection of some of the most well-loved works for the horn. Titled The Romantic Horn, the works highlight the lyrical gems of the European repertoire for the instrument, with works by Beethoven, Schumann and Scriabin. Richard Watkins is one of the most sought-after horn players of his generation. He was Principal Horn of the Philharmonia Orchestra for twelve years, is currently a member of The Nash Ensemble, and is a founding member of London Winds. His extensive discography includes recordings of concertos by Mozart, Malcolm Arnold, Reinhold Glière, Ethel Smyth and Colin Matthews, as well as Mozart’s Sinfonia concertante and chamber music for horn by Schumann, Schubert and Poulenc. Pianist Julius Drake lives in London and specialises in chamber music, working with many of the world’s leading artists, both in recital and in the recording studio. He performs regularly across the globe, in venues that include include Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, Berlin's Philharmonie, and New York's Carnegie Hall; and festivals such as the BBC Proms and Salzburg Music Festival. Performance ★★★★ Recording ★★★★★ Passing moments of earthly good humour [are] embraced with alacrity - BBC Music Magazine ★ An enjoyable recital, well recorded - Classical Music Magazine Watkins’ rich, singing tone is complemented by Drake's lively pianism - The Sunday Times Leaves an unmistakable impression that these two distinguished platers are certainly having a lot of fun - Gramophone
  • 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.
    Shaneeka Simon would sound just as confident singing Broadway material and the St. Martins Voices [perform] with what can only be described as relaxed reverence - Choir & Organ Sensitively, often rapturously written and immaculately performed - BBC Music Magazine A stimulating release, beautifully recorded and produced - Gramophone There is a great deal to admire in this release from an important and gifted British choral composer - Church Times A must for devotees - The Northern Echo
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