• Britten’s powerful and masterful evocation of the North Sea in all its moods has to audiences all over the world become inextricably linked with the Aldeburgh that was home to George Crabbe (author of the ‘The Borough’ from which the story originates) in the eighteenth century and Britten in the twentieth.
    Steuart Bedford leads a vast and accomplished ensemble on this new live recording, created shortly before the group’s unique staging of the work on the beach at Aldeburgh as part of the town’s world-renowned festival. The mix here is imperceptible and the sound unobtrusive; engineer Mike Hatch deserves a credit twice the size and conductor Steuart Bedford pulls off an extraordinary feat of coherence and endurance. But it’s Oke who makes the case for Peter Grimes and steals the show. There used to be two great Grimes on record: Peter Pears and Jon Vickers. Now there are threeSinfini Music
  • Following their acclaimed recordings of Berlioz’s Grande Messe des Morts and Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Paul McCreesh has once again assembled the mass forces of Gabrieli Consort & Players and Wrocaw Phiharmonic Choir to record one of the iconic masterpieces of the twentieth-century oratorio repertoire.
    The work reflects Britten’s long-held and committed pacifist beliefs. Composed to mark the consecration of a new Cathedral in Coventry, Britten combines the Latin text of the Missa pro Defunctis with nine poems by the First World War poet Wilfred Owen, which vide a moving (and frequently uncomfortable) commentary on the liturgical text.
    This series has already garnered substantial critical claim and a number of prestigious awards, including a Gramophone Award, BBC Music Magazine Award and two Diapason d'Or awards.
    It’s a very well-paced performance, and Susan Gritton, John Mark Ainsley and Christopher Maltman are excellent soloists, totally engaged with Britten’s combination of the Latin Mass for the Dead and Wilfred Owen’s war poetry. It’s an outstanding recording for the Winged Lion Label from Signum ClassicsBBC Radio 3 CD Review
  • 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
  • Recorded in 2014 at the begninning of a series marking his 85th birthday season, Christoph von Dohnányi leads the Philharmonia Orchestra in a rousing live performance of Bruckner’s monumental Ninth Symphony, which stands alongside the other epoch-defining Ninth symphonies of Beethoven and Mahler. [A] beautifully prepared account... Dohnanyi's new recording is distinguished by the clarity with which it presents Bruckner's score as well as the excellence of its soundGramophone Dohnanyi's is a considerable performance in its own right. The Philharmonia plays very well for a conductor who they clearly and rightly esteemMusicWeb International The recording is everything you'd wish from a Bruckner recording. You'll get the grand and the detail all in silky sound. Very highly recommended - Audiophilia A wonderfully passion-filled performance by the Philharmonia in Salzburg and an excellent CD edition of this occasion - North East Music Magazine The performance is as devastating an experience as it should be, and one of the most powerful that the whole literature of music can provideBBC Music Magazine Maazel's Seventh is very decent...the clangorous coda is fantastic - The Arts Desk A wonderfully passion-filled performance by the Philharmonia in Salzburg and an excellent CD edition of this occasion -NE:MM
  • Christopher Gunning has composed twelve symphonies, as well as concertos for the piano, violin, cello, flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, and guitar; many of these have now been recorded. He has also composed many scores for films and television dramas, including Agatha Christie’s ‘Poirot’, La Vie en Rose, Middlemarch, Cold Lazarus, Rebecca, Under Suspicion, Firelight, The Big Battalions, Wild Africa, When the Whales Came and Porterhouse Blue. With a career spanning 50 years, he has won 4 BAFTA and 3 Ivor Novello Awards, and BASCA’s prestigious Gold Badge Award. Christopher studied composition with Edmund Rubbra and Sir Richard Rodney Bennett at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. After a hugely successful career writing for the big and small screen he is now focussed on his classical work and releases.   All downloads include booklets.
  • Following the celebrated releases of Gunning’s Symphonies Nos. 2, 10 & 12 in 2019 and his concertos for Violin and Cello with the piece ‘Birdflight’ in 2020, Signum presents the recording of Symphonies Nos. 6 & 7 as well as his piece ‘Night Voyage’, performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Linked by the theme of journeying, Symphonies 6 & 7 explore Gunning’s fascination with a single movement form broken into several sub-sections. The piece ‘Night Voyage’ is a sea piece born on a rainy evening whilst the composer was standing on the edge of the Mersey river. Four-time BAFTA winning composer Christopher Gunning, has composed twelve symphonies as well as concertos for the piano, violin, cello, flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, and guitar. “Gunning’s [...] symphonies, numerous concertos and sundry orchestral pieces are as meticulously wrought as they are powerfully conceived.”  - Richard Whitehouse, Gramophone
  • Christopher Gunning returns with recordings of his Violin Concerto, Cello Concerto and Birdflight. Not composed until 2011, Gunning's Violin Concerto was composed after inspiration whilst the composer was out hiking in Wales. The violin is supposed to represent ducking and weaving, rather like the insects and animals found in the Welsh hills and valleys. However, despite this positive venture for the composer, the emotions of sadness and melancholy are never far from this music - feelings which never seem far from Gunning's music. The Cello Concerto is quite different. Although composed hard on the heels of the Violin Concerto, it is generally darker though equally expressive. The third piece, Birdflight, is for the orchestra alone; a kind of tone poem. At the opening and close there is some quiet night music with spacious strings. The birds take flight but encounter a problem; a hawk is on their tail. The birds manage to hide and there is a pause. Then, when danger has passed, they take off and once again enjoy the sheer pleasure of flying.   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. 
  • Founded in 1973 by Trevor Pinnock, The English Concert has been a leading light in the performance of Baroque and Classical music for for over 40 years. Under their present Artistic Director Harry Bicket and with distinguished guest artists they continue to perform with the passion, sophistication and technical mastery established at their creation.

    Such is the commitment and passion that their players bring to every performance. Drawn not only from home-grown talent, The English Concert can boast a truly international cast of musicians. Soloists in their own right, and backed-up by scholarly knowledge of style and genre, the close-knit relationship between their musicians makes for a truly special blend of sound. This new recording features the talents of these soloists in performances of Concertii by Telemann, Marcello, Dall’Abaco, Tartini and Porpora.

    Performance: ★★★★ Recording: ★★★★★ Here's that increasing rarity: A Baroque disc with no conceptual axe to grind, no over-arching theme - save for giving the members of The English Concert a concerto moment in the sun - and seemingly out to do little more than delight (which it does so in spades) - BBC Music Magazine [Harry] directs from the harpsichord, bringing both vitality and cohesion to the performancesAndrew Benson-Wilson A nice way to spend 70 minutes of your timeGramophone
  • Avant garde. Eccentric. A maniac. Wild and adventurous. Off the wall. Extraordinary. No marketing hyperbole - this is how the players of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment describe Carl Philip Emmanuel Bach and his music. One of the many children of JS Bach, CPE Bach always lived in his father’s shadow, and now is an almost unknown figure at least beyond the classical cogniscenti. How can such an unknown be considered a gamechanger? A listen to his music reveals just why – it constantly shifts, wrongfooting the listener when they least expect it with wild changes of direction and colour – it is bright, effervescent, and is a fascinating link between the music of his father (and the Baroque era) and Joseph Haydn (and the Classical era). ★★★★ It is the sense of adventure that comes across vivaciously here in a fusion of stylistic taste, smooth and supple phrasing and an exuberant thrust - The Daily Telegraph Editor's Choice: Self-critical perspective is clearly not a problem for these artists ... the unfurling description of of a lover's kisses permit all kinds of glorious opportunities for the singers' seemingly telepathic understanding for chiaroscuro, impeccable tuning and innate grammatical sense - Gramophone The OAE under Rebecca Miller play with an accuracy and passion that's infectious: this is among the most exciting, adrenalin-filled period instrument recordings you'll hear - The Arts Desk Symphonies that embrace the strangeness and originality of the writing as well as the beauty of some of the middle movements and the feistiness of the finales. Made live, but they’ve emerged in excellent shape - BBC Radio 3 Record Review The orchestra's playing here is bright, effervescent and fascinating – truly positioning C.P.E. Bach as the missing link between his father and the music of Haydn - Classic FM These energetic, committed performances of five symphonies dating from between 1757 - when Haydn was first writing in the genre - and 1780 show the period band has lost none of its verve and enthusiasm for this strange, dramatic music from the dawn of the "classical" era - The Sunday Times
  • Dance

    £12.00
    Dance forms the final part of a trilogy of albums following the huge success of ‘Flight’ and ‘Seasons’. This project started as a concept album, using the title as the inspiration for the works. Though several of the works embrace the composer’s background collaborations in ballet, there are other works influenced by violinist Kerenza Peacock’s connection with folk music. Recorded at Abbey Road Studios the disc features Kerenza Peacock, pianist Huw Watkins and The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Paul Bateman.
       
  • A frequent collaborator with both the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and Jac van Steen, David Matthews’ new recording explores both the natural world and the symphonic idea, the second of which has, in his words, “obsessed me since I started composing at the age of 16”. As well the Sinfonia and Symphony No. 8, the programme includes Toward Sunrise; inspired by the sound of the sun (a rising fourth of C-F), as recorded by scientists at Sheffield University, and A Vision of the Sea; drawn from the sights and sounds of English Channel near the composers’ home in Deal, Kent. With a singular body of work spanning almost 60 years, David Matthews has established an international reputation as one of the leading symphonists of our time. Born in London in 1943, he began composing at the age of sixteen. He read Classics at the University of Nottingham – where he has more recently been made an Honorary Doctor of Music – and afterwards studied composition privately with Anthony Milner. He was also helped by the advice and encouragement of Nicholas Maw and spent three years as an assistant to Benjamin Britten in the late 1960s. In the 1970s a friendship with the Australian composer Peter Sculthorpe (leading to collaboration and numerous trips to Sydney) helped Matthews find his own distinctive voice.
  • 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
  • Jamie Walton is joined by the Philharmonia Orchestra under the baton of their conductor laureate Vladimir Ashkenazy for this new concerto recording of concertos and orchestral works by Dvorák and Schumann. Jamie Walton has proved himself as a leading light in UK's musical life; as a performer in his widely praised concerto and sonata recordings, and as a festival director in his work as founder of the North York Moors Festival, which was shortlisted for an RPS Award in 2011. The two concertos on either side of this lovely miniature, ably supported by the Philharmonia, confirm Walton as an artist with secure intuition in terms of style and with a manner of performing that speaks with natural fluency, eloquence and strength of purpose - The Telegraph Inevitably, everyone will have their favourite performance of these two concertos, book-ending the 19th century cello concerto tradition. But Walton's elegant, refined tone and singing style will win him many converts and this is a recording which I will be playing again - Planet Hugill What has impressed me so much with regard to this account of the Dvorak is the oneness of conception between soloist and conductor. I am sure much preparation went into this performance: they are fully integrated, so we hear the work as a totality, not as a piece for virtuoso solo cello with orchestral accompaniment. This is, of its kind, a masterly performanceInternational Record Review
  • 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
  • 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
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