• Emmanuel Despax is a rising star on the UK and international piano scene, who has performed at the Wigmore and Cadogan Halls in London, the Salle Gaveau and Louvre Auditorium in Paris, and with orchestras including the CBSO.

    His debut concerto recording, with the Orpheus Sinfonia under Thomas Carroll, features the premiere recording of Stephen Goss’s Piano Concerto, inspired by the designs of Thomas Heatherwick (the work’s premiere performance was the first classical concert in which audiences were invited to bring their ipads and tablets, to watch an interactive display designed to accompany the music). The work is accompanied by two similarly expressive and characterful works, Saint-Saëns’ ever-popular Piano Concerto No.2 and Franck’s Variations symphoniques.

    “Welsh composer Stephen Goss draws on a variety of sources for his eminently listenable music. Despite the eclectic nature of his influences, which range from Beethoven’s late piano music to the films of former Python Terry Gilliam, Goss’s musical language comes across as brilliantly integrated.” International Record Review

  • 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
  • Flight

    £12.00
    Flight is the stunning new album of works from British composer Oliver Davis (b.1972), composed for and in collaboration with violinist Kerenza Peacock. Flight captures the spirit of movement and energy present in many of Davis’s compositions, which have led to frequent collaborations with groups such as the Royal Ballet and a great number of TV commissions. On disc these works are performed by Kerenza alongside the London Symphony Orchestra under conductor Paul Bateman. [These] exuberant works are performed with charisma and sensitivity by Kerenza Peacock and the LSO - BBC Music Magazine The music is full over movement and energy. It's spirited, lively, and at times reminiscent of the music of Michael Nyman. Kerenza Peacock plays with great panache and verve - Classic FM No quibbles as to Peacock's commitment or panache, while Paul Bateman gets a disciplined response from the London Symphony Orchestra - Gramophone
  • For You

    £18.00
    For You is a new opera that brings together the music of composer and BBC Radio 3 presenter Michael Berkeley and Booker-prize winning author Ian McEwan. This gripping tale of love, lust and obsession centers on the composer and prodigious womanizer Charles Frieth (Alan Opie), and the tragic consequences that his selfish actions cause him and those around. Although essentially dark, there are moments of irony, wit, and humour throughout the opera. Soaring vocal lines, intricate ensemble pieces, and imaginative instrumental writing make this an electrifying work. Masterly performed by Music Theatre Wales, directed by Michael Rafferty.
    The music, conducted here by Michael Rafferty, is energetic, deftly coloured and carefully balanced, allowing the excellent voices, including Alan Opie’s Frieth, to make their due markThe Sunday Times It bristles with wit and lyricism, while giving other composers and librettists a lesson in how to drape operativ tradition in modern clothesThe Financial Times Berkeley’s score is lively, abrasive and strongly crafted … the performance (recorded live) is focused, with excellent orchestral playing and a strong central performance by Alan Opie -  The Daily Telegraph
  • Star British cellist Jamie Walton returns to disc on Signum with a programme Russian repertoire by composers Glazunov, Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky. Joined by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under Okko Kamu, the disc includes the original version of Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme. Jamie Walton's outstanding programme of Russian classics captures the music's soaring lyricism with impassioned eloquence and interpretative flair - The Strad Walton embraces Glazunov's tenderness with the warmth and suppleness of his tone...Walton interprets [the Prokofiev] with impressive, seamless sweeps and refined dynamic shading - The Daily Telegraph Seamless lyricism and glorious tone - Gramophone [Walton] delivers a particularly eloquent and virtuosic account of the work - BBC Music Magazine
  • 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.

    Aaron Jay Kernis is a remarkable composer...in his Goblin Market...you hear an irresistible variety of invention from the 13-piece ensemble...The music seems perfect...its combination of original invention with a broadly earlier style similarly brings the ear back and forth across the generation...this is an inventive treatment of music theatre.
    David Fallows, The Guardian

  • Around the time The King’s Singers was starting up, one of the most productive periods of song- writing in history was coming to a close in America, starting with composers such as Gershwin, Kern, Berlin and Porter in the early 1920s, and continuing through to the early 1960s.

    In this new 2-CD studio recording – featuring brand new a cappella arrangements by jazz composer and arranger Alexander L’Estrange, and swing-orchestra performances with the South Jutland Symphony Orchestra – The King’s Singers bring their own unique performance style to this wonderful music. The King’s Singers bring their unique style to some of the most beloved hits from the golden era of songwritingThe Lady
  •  

    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.

     

     

     

  • The Gliere Harp Concerto has always been a favorite among harp enthusiasts; written in the 1930s, the work’s stylistic features are reminiscent of the Viennese classical style united with Russian romantic nationalism. This disc highlights the extraordinary talent of the Official Harpist to H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, Claire Jones. She is joined by renowned flautist William Bennet OBE, and the English Chamber Orchestra to complete the release with Mozart’s Concerto for flute, harp and Orchestra and Debussy’s Danses pour Harpe Chromatique. Claire has performed for members of the Royal Family on more then 70 occasions and has recently performed a brand new Royal Commission by Patrick Hawes at Highgrove House with the Philharmonia Orchestra. ★ I hope Claire Jone’s excellent performance, with the English Chamber Orchestra under Paul Watkins, will bring its many merits to the attention of a wider audience - The Daily Mail ★★★★ [Jones] performs diligently and allows [her] instrument to gleam and twinkle sonically in front of the self-effacing ECO - Classic FM Magazine Jones plays with a warmth, charm and relaxed ease ideal for winter evening listening. Mozart apparently loathed both the flute and harp, but after hearing this performance you would never know itBBC Music Magazine A disc [that] splendidly celebrating the artistry of Claire Jones - Gramophone
  • The Gabrieli Consort continue their series of award-winning collaborations with the National Forum of Music, Wrocław, Poland with a new version of Haydn’s great oratorio The Seasons. Using a new performing edition by Paul McCreesh this recording is the first to feature the large orchestral forces that Haydn called for, including a string section of 60, 8 horns and a choir of 70. As well as the combined forces of the Gabrieli Consort & Players, Wrocław Baroque Orchestra and National Forum of Music Choir, the recording features solo performances from British singers Carolyn Sampson, Jeremy Ovenden and Andrew Foster-Williams. All booklet texts are printed in both English and Polish translations.
  • 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

  • Rebecca Miller leads the Royal Northern Sinfonia in
    performances of three Haydn Smphonies:
     
    Symphony No.52 in C minor
    Symphony No.53 in D major, L’Imperiale Symphony No.59 in A major, The Fire Symphony
     
    This new release follows Miller’s acclaimed recording of the works of CPE Bach with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment:
    “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, Editor’s Choice, May 2015  

  • 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.
  •  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.

    In Time of Daffodils

    Including the settings of: 
    Wordsworth, Keats, Lowell, Housman & Herrick.

    Also featuring two other Metcalf works:

    Paradise Haunts...
    Three Mobiles

     


     
  • J.S. Bach’s ‘Passions’ have been said to employ the word with more than one meaning – as well as telling the story of Christ’s sacrifice, they are simultaneously a celebration of human feeling in the joy and suffering of man’s pilgrimage on earth. The expert early music chamber orchestra Yorkshire Baroque Soloists bring all of these feelings to life in a dramatic and resonant performance of Bach’s Passio Secundum Johannem (St John Passion). Joined for this recording by the excellent Charles Daniels, Stephen Varcoe and Stephan Loges, the Yorkshire Baroque Soloists have been a leading light in the world of Early Music performance since their formation in 1973. As dramatically coherent and satisfying as I’ve heard for a while… this is a St John which carries open-hearted conviction and character before it - Gramophone Charles Daniel’s level-headed Evangelist anchors the narrative thrust with suave sagacity - BBC Music Magazine A coherent, articulate and engaging performance that balances well the work’s twin identities as narrative and contemplation - MusicWeb International
  • "The B minor". That phrase alone resonates with gravity in the hearts and minds of those who love as no other the music of J.S. Bach. This disc sees the Rodolfus Choir at their best, as renowned Bach interpreters, having played his works across the UK to great acclaim. Following a live broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and performance at Holy Trinity Guildford at the end of 2009, this disc, recorded in the chapel of Charterhouse School continues their evergrowing catalogue of extraordinary recordings. Performance ★★★★ Recording ★★★★ The soloists are a fine team. In 'Domine Deus', Sophie Bevan and Ben Johnson match perfectly in imitation... Highly recommended- BBC Music Magazine There is uncanny vocal empathy between Sophie Bevan and Clint van der Linde, which, in 'Et in unum Dominum', results in the most extraordinary complementing of vocal lines... both stimulating and refreshing - International Record Review If some forty young singers can produce a recorded account of the B Minor Mass of this quality then the future for British choral music is bright indeed - MusicWeb International
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