• In this live recording from the Royal Festival Hall the OAE shines its musical torch into the realms of some later repertoire, shedding new light on the music of Mahler. Conducted by Principal Artist Vladimir Jurowski, this CD includes Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Songs of a Wayfarer), written in the wake of an unhappy affair with a soprano, and the extraordinarily exciting and powerful Totenfeier, Mahler’s first foray into orchestral music, and later reworked into the opening movement of his second symphony.
    The OAE's period instruments emphasise its rawness, just as they point up the anguished detail of the accompaniments to the Lieder eines Fahrenden Gesellen, in which mezzo Sarah Connolly allows the words and Mahler's treatment of them to speak for themselves, without unnecessary gilding - The Guardian Vladimir Jurowski’s brisk and thrusting account with the period instrument players of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment makes a strong case for the composer’s original thoughts - The Irish Times
  • With its vivid poetry and technical ingenuity, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons was ground breaking at the time of its release and to this day remains as influential and transfixing as ever. In this recording, violinist Kati Debretzeni directs the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in an energetic, historically informed performance. From the commanding heat of the Summer sun, to Winter’s foreboding darkness, the power of Vivaldi’s masterpiece is inescapable. The booklet includes a ‘Guided tour of the Four Seasons’, allowing listeners to follow the poetry that inspired Vivaldi as they hear the performances on the disc, including additional composer’s notes from Vivaldi’s own scores. This is a recording of the evergreen Four Seasons to remember and return to. The playing is sublime. Kati Debretzeni is a breath of fresh air at any time of the year. The chamber ensemble from the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, led here by Alison Bury, includes a core of players that has been there from its formation who continue to play with the same joyful camaraderie and artistic precisionGramophone Debretzeni sets out to highlight the descriptive aspect of the music by finding many more colours and contrasts in the orchestral texture than are usually heard, and the period instruments give the familiar movements a new attack, making the work sound as fresh today as the day it was written - Classic FM

    This is probably one of the noteworthy period-instrument 'Seasons' recordingsEarly Music Review

     
  • Messiah…Refreshed!

    £8.00£18.00
    The Goossens Messiah, recorded for the first and only time by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus under Sir Thomas Beecham, has stood as a landmark of the classical catalogue for sixty years. Goossens’ richly orchestrated version is set to reach a new audience thanks to Maestro Griffith and DCINY, New York City’s leading promoter of classical music. They gathered at Abbey Road Studios in London in July 2019, to record the work with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and a chorus comprising of sixty members of The Jonathan Griffith Singers, drawn from around the world and sixty members of the National Youth Choir of Great Britain. The new recording has captured the score’s vibrant tone colours in thrilling high-definition sound. An acclaimed conductor, educator and lecturer, Dr. Jonathan Griffith has led performances across North America, Europe, and Asia. Griffith is Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY), which has brought together, under Griffith’s artistic leadership, thousands of musicians and choral singers in concert at prestigious venues across the United States, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and Disney Hall. The founder and Music Director of the Distinguished Concerts Orchestra, Griffith also oversees DCINY’s mentoring program for conductors. Founded in 1983 as a single choir of 100 of the best singers in the nation, the National Youth Choir is now the flagship ensemble of an Arts Council England National Portfolio youth music organisation and registered charity, the National Youth Choir of Great Britain (NYCGB), which runs five membership choirs, a nationwide outreach programme for schools and Music Hubs, and provides professional training for the next generation of choral singers, composers and leaders.   All downloads include booklets.
  • Born in Strasbourg, Elizabeth Sombart studied piano from the age of seven. She studied all over the world with various teachers, including Bruno-Leonardo Gelber, Peter Feuchtwanger, Hilde Langer-Rühl and Sergiu Celibidache. Elizabeth recieved the rank of Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite in 2006 and then was awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2008, both in reference to her career in music. Elizabeth has a strong relationship with the RPO and will be continuing this Beethoven Piano Concerto cycle with them over the coming months. Beethoven is one of the single most influential figure in the history of Western music. Starting out with Mozart and Haydn as his spiritual mentors; he wrestled off the shackles of 18th century Classicism, forging uncompromising musical landscapes with a visionary intensity that left most musicians quivering in his wake. For centuries, music had lagged behind the other arts, but with Beethoven’s iron-clad will, it found itself at the cutting edge of social change.   All downloads include booklets.
  • Gabriel Prokofiev’s famous first Concerto for Turntables reached a global audience when performed by Mr. Switch at the 2011 BBC Proms, under the baton of Vladimir Jurowski. It has since been performed 55 times worldwide, with the 5th movement being performed 20 times as part of the BBC’s Ten Piece’s project. The aim of the piece is demonstrate the main DJing techniques, with each movement showing off a specific one. Prokofiev’s Cello Concerto was composed in 2012 and is the third concerto he composed. It was the most conventional of his concertos, with the other two (at that point) being for Bass Drum and Turntables. Despite this, Prokofiev still manages to explore influences of electronic and dance music in the concerto, whilst also exploring the traditional lyrical side of the cello.   All downloads include booklets. 
  • Beethoven’s euphoric Symphony No. 9, like his Symphony No. 5, is one of those pieces of classical music which transcends the barrier between musical genres – one of the few pieces of the classical canon in the popular consciousness. Few can fail to be uplifted and caught up in the joyous Ode to Joy finale. For this performance, recorded live at the Edinburgh International Festival in 1994, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment were joined by the renowned conductor and long-time collaborator, Sir Charles Mackerras, a partnership between him and the OAE that lasted almost a quarter of a century. ★★★★★ One of the most thrilling Beethoven interpretations I have ever heard. It bristles with revolutionary spirit … The OAE play like gods and demons - The Financial Times ★★★★★ The slow movement is full of spiritual balm. The outer movements are elemental in proper revolutionary style; the finale’s found British soloists are excellent. Highly recommended - The Mail on Sunday Fine choral singing by the New Company, and Mackerras's masterly control, make the finale as electrifying as only it can be - The Times
  • Sometimes known as ‘The Tragic’ – a title suggested but then withdrawn by the composer – Mahler’s Sixth Symphony embodies much of the inner turmoil and superstition of its composer. Conceived at perhaps one of the happiest periods of Mahler’s life, it seems to foreshadow the personal tragedies that would later befall him – with his wife Alma writing that “The music and what it foretold touched us deeply.” The brass are heroic and dauntingly present throughout – from the tuba that executes a fiendish trill in the finale to the clarion trumpets fan faring the doom-marches - BBC Music Magazine This is a terrific Mahler 6… Where Gergiev achieves a generalised superficial excitement, Salonen’s closer consideration is more rewarding and repays more generously repeated listening - MusicWeb International [Salonen’s] performance is purposeful and revealing - Classic FM Magazine
  • An exciting start to a new orchestral collaboration for Signum Records, this disc is the first of a new series with the London Sinfonietta – one of the world’s elite contemporary music ensembles with a reputation built on the virtuosity of its performances and ambitious programming. This live recording brings together the UK premiere of Anaïs Nin, a new work for soprano and small ensemble, alongside his famed work De Staat.

    Anaïs Nin is a monodrama based on the diaries of the same famed author, as well as those of her lovers (Antonin Artaud, René Allendy, Henry Miller and her own Father). A sometimes disturbing tale of desire and passion, Andriessen felt that the music should "closely track the irony, despair and passion of this brilliant, many-sided woman."

    De Staat remains one of Andriessen's supreme achievements, an epic rechannelling of Stravinskyan rhythmic energy into his own raw-edged minimalismThe Guardian Don’t get too bogged down in trying to comprehend Andriessen’s long-winded attempts to explain what the piece is about – just enjoy the noise. It’s fantasticThe Arts Desk
  • The Royal Scottish National Orchestra’s Christmas concerts are one of the highlights of this celebrated ensemble’s musical year. Joined by the RSNO Junior Chorus, this disc captures some highlights of these concerts with a selection of festive favourites both old and new. The mix is infectious and the performances full of fun and panache - The Daily Telegraph There are plenty of Christmas albums around, as you know, but this one is blessed with an extra dose of charm. Listening to it, I can almost smell the cranberry sauce - Classic FM Magazine
  • This new disc from the Philharmonia completes the collection of Brahms symphonies conducted by Christoph Von Dohnányi. These live performances are about subtle shading and unexaggerated, probing thoughtfulness, bringing out the Classical rather than the Romantic side of Brahms - Classic FM Magazine A very sensitive interpreter… the slow movement [of the First Symphony] is very lyrical with some effective instrumental dovetailing and plenty of light and shade, and the finale generates an impressive sense of joyous release - Gramophone
    Both performances are well played by the Philharmonia from whom the conductor obtains a sound that is lean and muscular - MusicWeb International
  • Christina Rossetti’s 19th Century poem Goblin Market has long divided and bemused readers as to its meaning and intent. The story of two sisters and their encounters with the sinister Goblin men and their ‘forbidden’ fruit, has been variously interpreted as an allegory of proto-feminism, a critique on the rise of advertising in pre-capitalist England, and an exploration of feminine sexuality in relation to the Victorian world. This multitude of interpretations only adds to the poems mystique and imagery, captured here by the Pulitzer Prize winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis. Performed by London-based ensemble The New Professionals under Rebecca Miller, the work is a unique concoction of music, mime and masks that delves into the overripe and at times grotesque and shocking imagery of Christina Rossetti’s poem. Goblin Market explores both the Victorian repression coded into its text as well as its parallels with contemporary social issues. An inventive treatment of music theatre - The Guardian This should be heard … not a moment that's not ear-catching - International Record Review It is no exaggeration to say that Goblin Market is one of the great musical works of art for theatre of the 20th century - MusicWeb International Well-balanced sound as well as detailed annotations add to the attractions of this worthwhile release - Gramophone
  • In recent years, Patrick Hawes has emerged as one of the country’s most popular and inspirational composers. Born in Lincolnhire, he studied music as an organ scholar at Durham University, and soon went on to make an impact in the world of choral music. ★★★★★ Patrick Hawes has carved out a niche as a contemporary composer who writes melodic, atmospheric and, frankly, beautiful music - Gramophone Hawes’s admirers will find much here to confirm their warm response to his music’s quiet strength and individuality... The excellent performances feature the tawny loveliness of Julian Lloyd Webber’s cello-playing, plus two fine solo singers - Classic FM Magazine
  • If it were not for the operas of Gioachino Rossini, the operatic repetory of the mezzo soprano would lack some of its most interesting characters and music. Silvia Tro Santafé proves herself a true ‘Rossini Mezzo’ in this collection of scenes and arias, accompanied by the excellent Orquesta Sinfónica de Narvarra and Lluís Vich Vocalis. This voice is one fine instrument, at times as luxuriant as rippling grey silk, at others glinting like flexible metal, always thoroughly enjoyable as pure sound - Opera Magazine A most impressive recital - The Gramophone Tro Santafé's unique vocal qualities illuminate the music with fresh colors and interpretive accents … this is an excellent disc that more than stands up to the competition - MusicalCriticism.com
  • Since her American debut in the early nineties, Silvia Tro Santafé has become one of the most sought after coloratura mezzos of her generation. On this disc we hear the proof of her operatic talents, performing some of the greatest and most passionate arias of any operatic mezzo soprano. Though Silvia Tro Santafé is no newcomer in the recording stakes this was my first encounter with her and this recital has definitely whetted the appetite for more - MusicWeb International
  • Charles Ramirez is a guitarist of rare skill. A preeminent performer in the generation of guitarists that followed Segovia, he has held the post of Professor of Guitar at the Royal College of Music since the age of 25, raising the profile of the instrument through his concerts and education activities since mid-1970s. This disc is the first in a new series of recordings featuring Charles Ramirez and sees him perform works by Joaquín Rodrigo with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe – the Concierto de Aranjuez and Fantasia para un gentilhombre – under conductor and founding member of the orchestra Douglas Boyd. The programme is completed with Rodrigo’s enchanting solo-guitar piece Elogio de la guitara. Guitar virtuoso Charles Ramirez is on supple, sensitive form on this collection of Rodrigo suites - The Independent Concierto de Aranjuez sparkles in the hands of Charles Ramirez. Even more impressive is the more virtuosic Elogio de la guitarra, where Ramirez sustains some fiendish fingerworkThe Daily Telegraph Ramirez is technically masterful, his tone rich, his musical ideas intelligent - Classic FM Magazine
  • Signum Records are delighted to welcome the CBSO, under the direction of Mark Elder, to the Signum label. For Shostakovich the six years which span this recording (1931 – 1937) were a period of almost incredibly change and upheaval. It was at this time that the young man faced his first serious political difficulties which culminated in the terrors of 1936. In 1930, the composer met the celebrated vaudeville and pioneer jazz-performer Leonid Utiosov, an astonishing talent who introduced Shostakovich to the world of the theatre. Hypothetically Murdered was written in 1931 to open the Music Hall’s new season. After its initial run, the show was not revived and at some point, probably during the siege of Leningrad, the full-score, parts and libretto disappeared, leaving only a folder with around 40 pages of detailed piano sketches with instrumental indications. The Orchestral Suite Op. 31a, given its world premiere recording on this disc, consists of all the complete surviving orchestral numbers from the folder of sketches, reorchestrated from the composers scribbled notes, and in the style of his surviving theatre music from the period. Nearly six years after Hypotheically Murdered, Shostakovich finished his Four Romances on Poems by Pushkin Op. 46. By this time the composer, and his messages, have profoundly changed. These Romances are music of mature seriousness, and dark with sorrow set against the literary work of the greatest and most humane of all Russian writers. After finishing the Romances, Shostakovich went on to create the Fifth Symphony, using motifs and fragments from the first poem – Rebirth. Thus he was able to hide the words of Pushkin’s passionate poem, a declaration to the power of art to survive barbarism and oppression, beneath the musical argument of his symphonic finale. The fascinating and rarely performed Five Fragments, written in a single sitting in July 1935, are one of Shostakovich’s last experimental works. They prepare the ground for the composition of the massive Fourth Symphony, just as the Romances do for the Fifth. The popular Suite for Jazz Orchestra No. 1 was written early in 1934. This delightful highly ironic music is a continuation of the spirit of laughter and adventure that had earlier led Shostakovich to work with the great Utiosov on Hypothetically Murdered. As with most ‘Soviet Jazz’ of the period there is not much jazz here, more of a feeling of operetta and cabaret music and also of Jewish songs. Despite such jollity there is always an undertone of depth and darkness, of real sadness and foreboding underlying the sentimentality and parody.
  • Signum Records are delighted to present the second recording on SignumClassics of the CBSO, under the direction of Mark Elder. In his youth Shostakovich devoted much time and energy to composing for the theatre and the cinema, writing for an astonishing variety of movies, political plays, satires, the music-hall and the ballet. The music for Nikolai Akimov’s outrageous and scandalous production of Hamlet was composed in the winter of 1931 – 1932. Akimov had decided that tragedy was irrelevant to the modern Soviet audience, and therefore presented the play as a satirical farce in which the play was turned up-side-down, by reversing all the usual assumptions about the plot and how it should be acted. The alterations to Shakespeare’s work are reflected in the titles of several of Shostakovich’s numbers. He was asked to provide music for scenes that Shakespeare only refers to but which Akimov insisted on representing on stage, for example the feast where "funeral baked meats did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables". The overall character of Shostakovich’s music is often abrasive and satirical, and flippant just where we would expect the music to be more serious. There are also some funny moments, with particular sharp parodies of various well-known musico-theatrical clichés. In 1954 Kozintsev had also attempted to direct a staged version of Hamlet. For this occasion he decided to reuse music that Shostakovich had already written for him to use in a staged production of King Lear in 1941. All that Kozintsev asked Shostakovich to add for the 1954 Hamlet were a Gigue and a Finale, both of which are included on this recording as an appendix to the music for Akimov’s 1932 production. The music that Shostakovich wrote for Kozintsev’s 1941 King Lear production inhabits a strange and transitional world, halfway between the bright and brilliant sarcasm of the music for Akimov’s Hamlet of ten years earlier and the more soberly functional manner of his post-war theatrical music. Gone is most of the cheekiness, the fondness for the experimental and the grotesque. There is much in this often oppressively dark music that is characteristic of what was by now Shostakovich’s public symphonic manner. Perhaps the most powerful and unusual part of the score is the bizarre cycle of Fool’s songs, with which the Fool mocks the mistakes of his master, the King, in the course of the first three Acts. The music of these songs is as strange and quirky as the words they set. Taken as a whole, these ten songs make up a miniature cycle of sourly absurd, almost expressionistic outbursts for voice and orchestra.
  • Parapraxis

    £12.00
    A seductive and fascinating disc for fans of contemporary music, this collection of works for Bassoon with choir and orchestra feature works by British composer Stephen Frost and Norwegian composer Kjell Mørk Karlsen. The disc’s title work Parapraxis, for solo bassoon and choir, melds together a mix of sacred latin text and secular English poetry, pushing and playing with the illusory ‘boundary’ that seems to exist between the two. The other two works – Frost’s Bassoon Concerto and Karlsen’s Serenata – are beguiling and stimulating pieces that show off the talents of Norwegian bassoonist Sigyn Birkeland and the Belarusian State Chamber Orchestra. In demand as a soloist, Sigyn Birkeland has been Principal Bassoon in the Norwegian Radio Orchestra since 1992. She continues to champion the instrument by commissioning, performing and recording new works for the instrument in a variety of unique ensembles and settings.
  • Red Leaves

    £12.00
    Signum Classics are proud to announce The Brunel Ensemble's first disc on Signum Classics - Red Leaves. No ensemble other ensemble is as committed to the performance of such works from all decades of the twentieth century. Formed in 1992, the group gives thrilling performances under Christopher Austin’s inspired direction. John McCabe’s Red Leaves was commissioned by the European Community Chamber Orchestra and the 1991 Istanbul Festival. Composer Malcom Williamson studied with Elisabeth Lutyens (as did Robert Saxton) and he was Master of the Queen’s Music until his death in 2003. One of Lutyens’ first major success was a setting of Rimbaud, O Saisons, O Chateau encored at the first performance in 1947 - but noteable for having previously been turned down by the BBC as unsingable! The McCabe and Williamson pieces are linked by the common theme of nature, the latter being inspired by Australian landscape and history. It was commissioned for the 150th Anniversary of the State of Victoria. For his anniversary greeting of 1986 on the occasion of his colleague’s half century, Robert Saxton presented his Birthday Piece for Richard Rodney Bennett. In which he chose in time-honoured manner to extract from Bennett’s name the musical notes available as a thematic cipher, and to fashion them after his own manner into a bracing invention for strings. Performance ★★★★ Sound ★★★★ A valuable and distinctive release - BBC Music Magazine
  • Schubert's 'Wanderer Fantasy' and Schumann's 'Fantasie' are two highly remarkable works: whilst musically embodying the romantic spirit of the age in their unconventional structures and lyrically imaginative styles, they also act as self-portraits to their creators through the evocation of the creative process. In these new orchestrations by Joeseph James, the familiar beauty of the works is rekindled in the exciting and fresh interpretations performed by the illustrious English Chamber Orchestra alongside concertante solos from members of the Schubert Ensemble. The performances are directed by the exceptional young conductor, Orlando Jopling. Featured instrumentalists from the Schubert Ensemble include Simon Blendis (violin), Jane Salmon (cello), Peter Buckoke and Stephen Williams (double basses).
    A magnificent work, extremely convincing, which allows the two greatest piano fantasies of the 19th century to be listened to with a different ear - Abeille Musique
  • World renowned Welsh composer, John Metcalf presents his new work,In Time of Daffodils. A song cycle, originally set for voice & piano, Metcalf has extended his own work into an orchestral masterpiece, setting the words of much loved poets to the six concluding songs of the cycle. Metcalf drew on material from 12 years of creative work to produce the three works which appear on his latest release. Metcalf emphasises the connections in the way the movements were conceived; originating as a whole or in part as works with piano. Metcalf embraced the pan-diatonic or ‘white note’ style when composingParadise Haunts and Three Mobiles encompassing a sense of minimalism in each, yet the movements are both distinctive; Three Mobiles has a larger rhythmic complexity than the more sublime former. The BBC National Orchestra perform beautifully with Thomas Bowes and Gerard McChrystal interweaving with leading lines on violin and saxophone. The final movement, In Time of Daffodils is a collection of beautiful songs performed by Jeremy Huw Williams, (baritone). The songs are based on texts from 7 poems by poets including William Wordsworth and Amy Lowell, based around the central theme – and emblem of Wales – the daffodil. The Welsh Orchestra was outstanding from the downbeat - Washington Post I have to concede it's difficult not to be charmed ... The strength of Metcalf's score lies in its horse-sure sense of shaping over an extended, one-movement span and his creative handling of the orchestra ... The strength of Metcalf's score lies in its horse-sure sense of shaping over an extended, one-movement span and his creative handling of the orchestra - Grampohone The music, as in the other works of Metcalf, is often warmly melodic and lyrical as well as strongly expressive - MusicWeb International
  • DVORAK

    £12.00
    Dvorak’s Symphony No.8 is a symphony that marks Dvorak’s first proper venture into the profusion of ideas and effects that, after the Ninth Symphony, became his home ground as a composer. Symphony No.9, ‘From the New World’, received a rapturous reception at its Carnegie Hall premiere, a reception, which has been repeated thousands of times across the globe. Enjoy an extraordinary performance of two of Dvorak’s best known symphonies, beautifully performed by Japan’s leading symphony orchestra. The Sapporo Symphony Orchestra is based in the Sapporo Concert Hall “Kitara” which boasts some of the finest acoustics in the world. The orchestra is distinguished by its clear sound and dynamic powers of expression, and has received glowing accolades from around the world. The lovely passage (tr 2, 3'00'') where the woodwind melody is accompanied by delicate descending scales on the strings is exquisitely done ... The finale is then measured and clean-cut with dramatically extreme dynamic contrasts ... the Largo with its haunting cor anglais melody is refined, with exceptionally clean textures ... Clarity of texture is again an outstanding quality of the last two movements ... Altogether an excellent disc, generously filled - Gramophone
  • ‘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. This is real music – witty, unpretentious and clever, and the extracts chosen on this disc never outstay their welcome. Themes associated with specific characters are invariably memorable and intelligently developed. The suite’s opening is entrancing - The Arts Desk The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under Christopher Austin’s baton delivers a flawless and energetic performance, drawing out every ingenious flourish and limning each individual sound in silver - Sinfini Music What Talbot has done to create the aural setting for the world down the rabbit-hole is extraordinary. His whimsical score twists and turns as capriciously as the place in which Alice has found herself. The orchestra produces a plethora of odd and magical sounds, tumbling rhythms that seem to trip over one another and at times, walls of big beautiful sound - Expedition Audio
  • The cello concertos of Elgar and Myaskovsky written in 1919 and 1944 respectively, engender few similarities these days but make an exciting coupling due not only to the disparate nature of the composers’ lives and situations, but also to the common ground they tread; both composers were in their early sixties when writing their main work for the instrument. A stunning performance by Jamie Walton, accompanied by the magnificent Philharmonia Orchestra. Jamie has enjoyed success as a rising international soloist and has given concerts in some of the most prestigious concert halls in the world. He appears regularly at the Wigmore Hall and Symphony Hall, Birmingham and has performed with leading orchestras such as the Vienna Chamber Orchestra and the Philharmonia Orchestra. ★★★★★ One of the finest recordings of the Elgar.  Jamie Walton has a formidable technique; his playing in the scherzo and the finale is beyond compare; and he captures the autumnal melancholy without loss of vitality.  His pianissimos in the finale coda are a wonder.  He has like-minded collaborators in the Philharmonia and Alexander Briger, who also support him in Myaskovsky's sombre concerto of 1945 - The Telegraph Magazine ★★★★★ Despite living in such disparate lands and situations, [Elgar and Myaskovsky] shared a similar spiritual-musical world. Walton, with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Alexander Briger, deserves credit for making the point so sympathetically - The Financial Times ★★★★ Both composers were wringing their hands over death, destruction and innocence lost. Since Myaskovsky finds more peace than Elgar, we end the disc with some gentle uplift - The Times This is probably the best performance of the Elgar Cello Concerto that I have heard. Walton cannot be beaten. I shall treasure this recording - The Elgar Society Journal
  • A fascinating musical journey through the Italian arias of Mozart, from one of his earliest works Lucio Silla (composed when he was just 16) through to his final Italian opera La Clemenza di Tito. The English tenor Jeremy Ovenden has established himself as being among the best Mozart tenors of his generation (notably in the role of Don Ottavio) and has become a familiar figure on the stages of the world's opera houses and concert halls and at major festivals. He is joined for this, his first solo recording, by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and conductor Jonathan Cohen. ★★★★  Ovenden proves complete master of his chosen repertory … for its artistic use, and for the close partnership Ovenden achieves with the OAE under Jonathan Cohen, l have only admiration - BBC Music Magazine The fine tenor … sings with an engaging commitment to these joyous creations. A delightful selection - The Observer A most imaginative idea … his rhythm, diction and easy flexibility of voice are exemplary - The Sunday Times
  • The next disc in Signum’s series of live orchestral recordings with the Philharmonia features the late Sir Charles Mackerras conducting Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No.6 (Pathétique). This was Tchaikovsky’s final completed symphony, premiered in St Petersberg under the baton of the composer in 1893, nine days before his death, dedicated to his nephew Vladimir ‘Bob’ Davydov. The Philharmonia Orchestra are widely recognised as the UK’s finest performers with an impressive recording legacy. The orchestra prides itself on collaborations with the finest musicians of our day. ★★★★★ If there were no further releases in the series, the composer's final symphony would make a fine valedictory effort for Mackerras, who leads the Philharmonia seamlessly through the piece's emotional roller-coaster… A brilliant recording - The Independent This is a superb record - a magnificent and highly original live account of the 'Pathetique' Symphony that can stand comparison with the most exacting competition - International Record Review So much of what Mackerras did was governed by an acute sense of what articulation can achieve – and this is a superb example - Gramophone
  • 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
  • ( Original 1853 version of Trio Op. 8) 

    Sinfonia in B is Joseph Swensen’s orchestration of the little-known original version of Brahms’ B major piano trio. In Swensen’s own words: “Completed in 1854, it is the largest and arguably the most important of Brahms’ published early works, yet it remains nearly unknown to most musicians and music-lovers alike … The original Opus 8 is, for me, intriguing for many reasons. Not only is it a work of extraordinary quality and emotional depth, written by a composer just 21 years of age, but it is a quintessential example of Brahms’ ultra-romantic and forward looking early style.”

    This disc also explores the young Brahms’ connection with Robert and Clara Schumann, with orchestrations and performances (as a violin soloist) by Swensen of miniature works by both composers – as well as extracts from the ‘F-A-E’ sonata (a joint composition by Brahms, Robert Schumann and Joseph Joachim based on the motto ‘Frei aber einsam’ / ‘free but lonely’ – Joachim’s personal motto).

    Joseph Swensen has deliberately chosen a musical palette full of odd quirks and colours to reflect the fantastical nature of the work and it’s played with terrific verve and polish by the Malmö Opera OrchestraMetro
  • Continuing Signum’s series of live orchestral releases with the Philharmonia Orchestra, on this new disc Christoph von Dohnányi leads a performance of Bruckner’s Symphony No.4, Romantic. Bruckner stands out from other 19th-century symphonists; his large-scale works demonstrate a unique fusion of conservative and radical elements, notably influenced by composers such as Wagner and Beethoven. He appended not only the title 'Romantic' but even included a programme for the Fourth Symphony, sometime after composition. Though he later withdrew it, the scenario is a mediaeval Romantic ideal, where knights awaken to the sound of horns, rejoice and repair to prayer, before the inevitable hunt and ensuing festivities. Orchestral Disc of the Month: There's much worth celebrating on this excellent new recording of Bruckner's Fourth Symphony - Gramophone The performance is notable for some really sensitive chamber-music-like interaction between wind and strings and particularly subtle phrasing from the violas in the chorale melody - BBC Music Magazine A powerful live account of Bruckner's Fourth, played in the Robert Haas edition... a vast, thrilling drama of tension and relaxation, and triumph - The Times Dohnanyi makes the finale something of a tour de force - Classical Source
  • Walton’s Violin Concerto was composed during a stay at the stunning Villa Cimbrone on Italy's Amalfi coast, and reflects this environment in different ways – some more apparent than others (the 2nd movement is based on a ‘tarantella’, after Walton suffered a tarantula bite whilst there). The piece has endured as one of his most popular works, and is contrasted here by Barber’s Violin Concerto and famous Adagio for Strings. Making his debut recording as a soloist on Signum, Thomas Bowes has built a firm reputation as an orchestral leader, soloist and chamber musician. He has also concert-mastered many film scores – the most recent credit being for "The King's Speech." The Malmö Opera Orchestra and conductor Joseph Swensen join him for this recording. A masterly account … with Bowes essaying flickering rhapsodic moments, assailed by striking orchestral flourishes - The Independent Bowes yields to none of the Walton's great interpreters – Heifetz (the dedicatee), Menuhin, Franccscatti, Chung, Kennedy – in his dazzling passage work … with his gorgeous portamento and rubato - The Times What is so remarkable about Bowes as a soloist is not just his technical assurance, his flawless intonation over the widest range, tonal and dynamic, but his natural feeling for warmly romantic expressiveness … Altogether a resounding success - Gramophone
  • Jonathan Dove wrote There Was a Child as a tribute to a friend’s son who died tragically young. Filled with both joyous celebration and heartfelt emotion, it’s a big, warm-hearted modern masterpiece in the spirit of Britten and vaughan Williams – following in an evergreen english tradition and featuring the combined forces of the CBSO and CBSO Chorus, Youth Chorus and Junior Chorus with soloists Joan Rodgers and Toby Spence.

    [Dove] has thus achieved the near-impossible: a work that commemorates an event which is surely every parent's darkest fear but which at the same time truly and positively fulfils the commissioner's brief, 'to celebrate' this young, short lifeInternational Record Review Joyous, vibrant, passionate ... There Was a Child is a major addition to the choral repertoireFinancial Times Dove's adroit choice of poetry, orchestrated with imagination and humour, provides an endearing story of a boy through to adolescence, and although there is pathos it is never mawkish - Choir & Organ
  • The London Chamber Orchestra, the UK’s oldest chamber orchestra, has nurtured the new and paid homage to the traditional since 1921. Since 1988 Principal Conductor and Music Director Christopher Warren-Green has brought together the inspirational musicians and repertoire for which LCO is renowned. The remarkable acoustic and intimate ambience of St. John’s, Smith Square, its London home, enable the LCO - the only chamber orchestra resident in London - to give vibrant performances and establish a close rapport with its audiences. The recordings on the LCO Live label, in partnership with Signum Classics, are the result of this happy marriage of orchestra and venue. Future releases include Beethoven’s Egmont Overture, Mozart’s Symphony No. 1 and Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4.

    The concerts of Warren-Green and the London Chamber Orchestra at St John’s, Smith Square aren’t often noticed in the press, but their large regular audience knows that they are some of the most exciting in London - The Times

    Tan’s engaging way with Mozart’s Concerto No. 12 intersects nicely with the orchestra’s freshly minted accompaniment. Rosemary Furniss’s direction of Haydn’s ‘La Reine’ Symphony captures the music’s grandeur as well as its grace. And the subversive originality and rhythmic drive of Beethoven’s wackiest symphony come roaring happily across - Classic FM Magazine

  • The London Chamber Orchestra, the UK’s oldest chamber orchestra, has nurtured the new and paid homage to the traditional since 1921. Since 1988 Principal Conductor and Music Director Christopher Warren-Green has brought together the inspirational musicians and repertoire for which LCO is renowned. The remarkable acoustic and intimate ambience of St. John’s, Smith Square, its London home, enable the LCO - the only chamber orchestra resident in London - to give vibrant performances and establish a close rapport with its audiences. The recordings on the LCO Live label, in partnership with Signum Classics, are the result of this happy marriage of orchestra and venue. Future releases include Mozart’s Symphony No. 1 and Beethoven’s ‘Ah Perfido!’
     
  • The London Chamber Orchestra, the UK’s oldest chamber orchestra, has nurtured the new and paid homage to the traditional since 1921. Since 1988 Principal Conductor and Music Director Christopher Warren-Green has brought together the inspirational musicians and repertoire for which LCO is renowned. The remarkable acoustic and intimate ambience of St. John’s, Smith Square, its London home, enable the LCO - the only chamber orchestra resident in London - to give vibrant performances and establish a close rapport with its audiences. The recordings on the LCO Live label, in partnership with Signum Classics, are the result of this happy marriage of orchestra and venue.
    Susan Gritton's delivery of the three arias has an exquisite balance of grace and intensity befitting their spurned heroines - The Independent
  • The LCO return to disc on Signum with a new programme of French orchestral works by Ravel, Fauré, Poulenc and Ibert. Their ‘LCO Live’ series captures the vibrant, exciting performances they give at their London home of St. John’s, Smith Square.

    Here's a recording guaranteed to put a smile on your face! Enthusiastic and fun, yet with touching, tender moments and a clever awareness of the music's irony, the London Chamber Orchestra delivers a witty, exuberant collection - Classic FM Magazine

    Spry, clipped music-making, and a lovely French programme, capped by Roge's ebullient account of Poulenc's mercurial, flamboyant Piano Concerto - BBC Music Magazine

  • A close brush with his own mortality eighteen months ago was the driving force behind Mike Sheppard's decision to focus solely on his composing, putting aside his other commercial interests as a music publisher and producer. The Soul Rests Eternal marks the first fruits of this new direction.

    The works take the listener on a journey exploring the emotional landscape of grief, bereavement and loss, but also hope, optimism and a celebration of life. Seen through the twin perspectives of the composer's eyes and a more global view, the album takes an emotional journey from the immediate to the eternal; the banal to the sublime. A 'radio-friendly' collection of three to six minute works, Classic FM have confirmed playlisting for the album upon its release in November.

    Performances on the disc come from internationally renowned cellist Caroline Dale and the English Chamber Orchestra, conducted by the emmy-award nominated musican Steve Sidwell.

    It would be hard for anyone to top the humanity of Caroline Dale's interpretationClassic FM Magazine

    I can think of many reasons to listen to this music, but none more profound than the fact that all of us can sees a mirror image of portions of our own souls in it. Warmly recommendedAudiophile Audition

    Caroline Dale [is] as eloquent a soloist as one could hope for … The recording is excellent: present, and the perfect reflection of Sheppard's haunting languageFanfare

    If you enjoy the music of Karl Jenkins and Jon Lord, then this will work for youMusicWeb International

  • A unique disc from one of Scotland's most dynamic and versatile groups – the Scottish Ensemble is a tight-knit band of outstanding string players from around Europe who perform regularly together under Artistic Director, Jonathan Morton. This disc – one of their first solo releases following acclaimed discs with artists such as Alison Balsom and Toby Spence – contrasts Vivaldi's timeless Four Seasons with Piazzolla's tango-inspired The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires. Combining Vivaldi and Piazzola together like this underlines the meteorological and cultural differences between Mediterranean Europe and the heart of South America. To have them performed side by side creates a fascinating programme of similarities and contrasts. The playing standard is excellent, with the strings of the Scottish Ensemble finding a light and suitably transparent texture in the Vivaldi, matched by bright, stylish solos from Jonathan Morton - Gramophone The relationship between the violin soloist and the ensemble is just right … the Scottish Ensemble succeed in bringing this paradoxical idea to fruition - Classical-CD-Reviews.com
  • Signum’s fourth disc with the St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra continues their series of the great core Russian repertoire. Featuring the Orchestral suite of one of Tchaikovsky’s most famous ballets Swan Lake, complemented with Rachmaniov’s final composition Symphonic Dances.
  • The Philharmonia Orchestra is widely recognised as the UK’s finest orchestra with an impressive recording legacy, with this being their sixth disc with Signum. Christoph Von Dohnányi has been principle conductor for the past 11 years and has recently been made Honorary Conductor for life. The disc features two crowning achievements of Beethoven’s aptly titled ‘Heroic’ compositional period of the early 19th Century; the Third Symphony (Eroica), and the Fifth Symphony, arguably the single most popular piece of classical music in the Western canon. The musical argument is pursued with unflagging vigour combined with a high degree of orchestral virtuosity - the excitement remains intense in this hugely satisfying account - International Record Review These are fine, intelligent and very well played live performances and both are very welcome additions to the catalogue - MusicWeb International
  • The Philharmonia Orchestra is widely recognised as the UK’s finest orchestra with an impressive recording legacy, this being their fifth disc with Signum. This disc combines the Philharmonia’s renowned sound with the leadership of Maestro Davis, who’s recording and performing career spans through all the great orchestras of the world. This disc features Elgar’s best known orchestral works; The Enigma Variations depict twelve of Elgar’s family and friends in fourteen variations built on the original Enigma theme, one of Elgar’s earliest and still most frequently played orchestral works, Serenade for Strings, and In the South, Elgar’s Concert Overture written for the Elgar festival in 1904. A reading clearly born of true affection for, and deep knowledge of this rich and ever-wonderful score… any Elgarian seeking these three pieces together will not remotely be disappointedInternational Record Review Three fine interpretations, that also has the excitement of public performance, by a conductor who loves this repertoire and knows it like the back of his handBBC Music Magazine A highly impressive recording - Classic FM Magazine
  • The Philharmonia Orchestra is widely recognised as the UK’s finest orchestra with an impressive recording legacy, this being their ninth release with Signum Records. This disc combines the Philharmonia’s renowned sound with the leadership of Maestro Davis, whose recording and performing career spans through all the great orchestras of the world.
  • Symphony No. 2 Its idyllic nature, sheer tunefulness and general sunny disposition earned Brahms an unmitigated triumph in its premiere performance in Vienna in 1877. Since then, it has been described as the sunny counterpart to the storm clouds of his First Symphony. Symphony No. 4 This work conveys Brahms’ imaginative writing combining sheer intelligence with unexpected comic turns. The Finale is still considered to be one of the most exhilarating movements in the entire orchestral repertoire. The Philharmonia Orchestra is widely recognised as the UK’s finest orchestra with an impressive recording legacy. Christoph Von Dohnányi has been principle conductor for the past 11 years and in the coming season will be made Honorary Conductor for life.
  • The ‘Great C major’ has often been cited as the first of the big romantic symphonies and an open door leading to the Romantic era. We owe the belated emergence of this symphony, 11 years after Schubert’s death, to Schumann who described it as “a symphony for the benefit and enjoyment of the whole world.” The Philharmonia Orchestra are widely recognised as the UK’s finest performers with an impressive recording legacy. The orchestra prides itself on collaborations with the finest musicians of our day including guest conductor Sir Charles MacKerras. In an age of deodorised live recordings, this rough diamond document of that concert is thrilling... A miraculous work played with humour, wisdom and daringThe Independent on Sunday This staggering recording… is the most remarkable recording of this elusive work since Furtwängler’s famous Berlin account in 1951BBC Music Magazine
  • Festive Overture
    One of Shostakovich’s most famous works originally composed for a concert to commemorate the 37th anniversary of the October Revolution in 1917.
    Symphony No. 5
    Its position as one of the 20th Century’s most popular and successful symphonic works is beyond any doubt, the triumph was immediate and greeted Shostakovich’s rehabilitation as a truly great Soviet artist.
    The Philharmonia Orchestra is widely recognised as the UK’s finest orchestra with an impressive recording legacy. Vladimir Ashkenazy has a longstanding relationship with the orchestra, and in 2000 he was appointed their Conductor Laureate.
  • Jamie Walton's new collaboration with the Philharmonia Orchestra, led by Alexander Briger, covers two more-contemporary Cello works; Shostakovich?s Cello Concerto No. 2, and Britten's Symphony for Cello and Orchestra. Jamie Walton is quickly gaining international recognition for his work, being compared to Cello legends Rostropovich and Tortelier. The Elgar society wrote about Jamie's first disc with Signum: “I really cannot praise this performance too highly. For faithfulness to the text, interpretative musicality, accuracy, ensemble and warmth and beauty of tone, Walton cannot be beaten."
  • The Philharmonia Orchestra is widely recognised as the UK’s finest orchestra with an impressive recording legacy, with this being their fourth disc with Signum. Christoph Von Dohnányi has been principle conductor for the past 11 years and has recently been made Honorary Conductor for life. Till Eulenspiegels Lustige Streiche (Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks) is considered to be one of Strauss’s most witty, entertaining and successful tone poems.Ein Heldenleben (A Hero's Life) heralds the composer’s more mature period in this genre, and proved controversial at it's premiere for it's highly auto-biographical nature.
  • Sir Charles Mackerras leads the Philharmonia Orchestra in rousing live performances of Dvorak's 7th and 8th Symphonies. What I especially liked about the new disc is the naturalness of both readings, always unaffected yet with plenty of discernable character - Gramophone Dvorak’s greatest symphonies receive magisterial performances from the Philharmonia under Sir Charles Mackerras, whose baton seems to turn everything it controls into gold - The Sunday Telegraph These spirited, authoritative and, above all, highly enjoyable readings are a match for the finest in the field - MusicWeb International
  • Since September 2008 Esa-Pekka Salonen has been Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Philharmonia Orchestra. In his first season in this role he devised and led City of Dreams, a nine-month exploration of the music and culture of Vienna between 1900 and 1935. The project, which presented the music of Mahler, Schoenberg, Zemlinsky and Berg in its social and historical context, travelled to 18 cities across Europe, culminating in October 2009 with semi-staged performances of Berg's Wozzeck, with Simon Keenlyside in the title role. The Philharmonia plays beautifully for Esa-Pekka Salonen. [Their] woodwind section particularly distinguishes itself, with eloquent, forlorn exchanges between the oboe and cor anglais in the 'Scene aux Champs' ... a well-turned, thoughtful performance - International Record Review Don't ever be tempted to typecast Esa-Pekka Salonen as a hardline modernist ... he reveals himself as a powerful Berliozian tooClassic FM Magazine The Philharmonia gives its all in a performance that relishes the manic contrasts in Berlioz's groundbreaking score, as well as emphasising its symphonic sweep - BBC Music Magazine