• 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.
  • 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
  • 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

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Recorded live at the Royal Festival Hall’s Southbank Centre, the Philharmonia Orchestra are led by Christoph von Dohnányi in these captivating live recordings of Brahms’ Four Symphonies. The Philharmonia Orchestra is widely recognised as the UK’s finest orchestra with an impressive recording legacy. Christoph von Dohnányi has been principle conductor of the Philharmonia since 1997 and was appointed Honorary Conductor for life in 2008. 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 Throughout the set the Philharmonia plays excellently – the rapport with the conductor is evident… these Dohnányi readings are consistent and very rewarding - MusicWeb International
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Serge Diaghilev’s choice of composers for his Ballet Russes productions (often acknowledged as one of the 20th century’s most influential ballet companies) has led to the creation of some of the most engaging and exhilarating music in the classical world. This new 3 CD set of live orchestral recordings by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales – made in their home venue of BBC Hoddinott Hall, Cardiff – captures Stravinsky’s three great ballet scores (The Firebird, Petrushka and The Rite of Spring) as well as works by fellow Ballet Russes composers Poulenc (Les Biches) and Liadov (Baba-Yaga, The Enchanted Lake and Kikimora).

    This fresh sounding live recording from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales under Thierry Fischer, the first made in the BBC Hoddinott Hall in Cardiff, certainly has a sense of occasion about it, with the audience erupting as the finale chorale [Firebird] reaches its exultant conclusionBBC Music Magazine

    [Thierry Fischer’s] Petrushka, notably beautiful, is graciously touching rather than violent or eruptive, the clean-textured, superbly detailed playing from the BBC National Orchestra Wales reminds us just how startlingly original Stravinsky's sonoritiesThe Guardian

    You should buy this for the generous, unusual coupling with Francis Poulenc’s rowdy, witty 1924 ballet Les biches …. As with the Rite, the performance is immaculateThe Arts Desk

  • 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
  • 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
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