• Hideko Udagawa returns to disc on Signum with a new album of Russian Romantic music from Aram Khachaturian and Sergei Lyapunov. The two composers represented here symbolize two entirely different eras in Russian music – Lyapunov from the end of the Romanov Empire and Khachaturian from the height of the Soviet Union – yet their works are perhaps more an expression of continuities, of perennial concerns for Russian composers, such as the need to integrate folkloric elements with the demands of sophisticated musical structures for concert performance, and adherence to the great Russian traditions of violin-playing that go back to the middle of the 19th century. The concerto's rather grand manner suits Udagawa's noble style and steely tone wonderfully well ... The unaccompanied Sonata-Monologue is riveting - The Guardian Hideko Udagawa fulfils her part with a voluminously blazing sound which fits the works marvellously. It doesn't get much better than this!Wiener Zeitung The neglect of this winning and dramatic piece by Armenia’s most distinguished composer is inexplicable, but perhaps the reading here of the Concerto-Rhapsody will redress the balance, such is the persuasiveness of the playing. The coupling, Liapunov’s violin concerto, while a lesser piece, is also realised with great attention to detail - Classical CD Review
  • A stunning soloist follows on from his 2012 Brahms release with a new concerto recording of piano concertos K.491 and K.595 by Mozart, performed with the Southbank Sinfonia under Simon Over. The Italian-born pianist Alessio Bax is a first-prize winner at the Leeds and Hamamatsu international piano competitions and a 2009 Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient. Bax and the Southbank Sinfonia bring a new lease of life to these concertos, making the most of the clean lines as well as the cheekier moments hidden within the score … Youthful, beautiful music, peppered with Mozart's trademark tunes - Classic FM Leeds International Competition winner Alessio Bax here extends his repute as a performer of gossamer brilliance with a Mozart disc dear to his own heart - Audiophile Audition
  • Although he was counted amongst Mily Balakirev's 'Mighty Handful' (which dedicated itself to pursuing a more purely Russian art music, as opposed to the Austro-German musical dominance of the era), both works on this recording show how Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov was able to draw influences from beyond Russia into his own unique compositional approach: the scenes from his opera The Invisible City of Kitezh take on a dramatic, Wagnerian influence, whilst Sheherazade is suffused with orientalism as it conjures images from the Thousand and One Nights.

    The St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra under Yuri Temirkanov bring their natural insight with this repertoire to the fore in these live performances, continuing their series of acclaimed releases with Signum.

    The St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra under Yuri Temirkanov deliver the scores with panacheCD Choice The St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Yuri Temirkanov, presents sterling performances of excerpts from Rimsky-Korsakov's The Invisible City of Kitezh and SheherazadeNorthern Echo This Scheherazade is absolutely marvellous, one of the best available. If you think you have heard the score so often that it has become jaded, this is a recording to make you think againMusicWeb International
  • 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
  • Contrasting pieces by two masters of orchestral composition, these live performances capture the energy and movement of three much-loved balletic works; Ravel's intricate vignettes of childrens' stories in Mother Goose and 'choreographic poem' La valse, and Stravinsky's epoch-defining Rite of Spring. One of the oldest professional orchestras in Russia, the St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra can trace its lineage back to 1882 and its formation by Tsar Alexander III. In a 25-year collaboration, Yuri Temirkanov has been the orchestra's principal conductor since 1988.
  • 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
  • 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
  • A sumptuous new recording of Gabrieli Consort & Players’ first, award-winning CD, A Venetian Coronation 1595. Nearly 25 years later, Paul McCreesh has reworked his imaginative reconstruction of a glorious late 16th century Coronation Mass at St Mark’s, Venice. This is an exciting new version of one of Gabrieli’s most influential and enduringly popular programmes, available for the very first time on Vinyl, and recently awarded a Gramophone Award for Best Early-Music recording 2013. Double, 180g Vinyl Release, plays at 33rpm Even if you own the classic Virgin disc, this new version is a must-buyThe Sunday Times Never less than enthrallingThe Independent McCreesh's new take on his classic recording is a triumph … Highly recommended to both first- and second-time buyers, and on track to inspire yet another generation - International Record Review
  • Outstanding British-violinist Tamsin-Waley Cohen – described by the late Ruggiero Ricci following a masterclass as "the most exceptionally gifted young violinist I have ever encountered" – performs a fittingly prodigious work by Felix Mendelssohn.
    The Violin Concerto in D minor was composed when Mendelssohn was just 13, and has remained popular with audiences the world over since its rediscovery in the middle of the 20th century by Yehudi Menuhin. The work is paired on this disc with Mendelssohn's Concerto for Violin & Piano, where Waley-Cohen is joined by British pianist Huw Watkins, all alongside the enthusiastic accompaniment of the Orchestra of the Swan under David Curtis. Connoisseur's Choice: Tamsin Waley-Cohen is going to do very well - a young artist to watch - Classic FM
  • 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
  • Under the direction of Margaret Faultless the OAE shine on these new recordings of Mozart’s horn Concertos, featuring sublime performances by Roger Montgomery on the natural (valveless) horn. As well as lesser-known gems of Mozart’s horn repertoire, at the centre of the collection comes the lyrical fourth horn Concerto (K.495), featuring thrilling fanfares and brilliant dialogue between the solo instrument and orchestra.

  • 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. Emmanuel Despax is a formidable talent, fleet of finger, elegant of phrase and a true keyboard colourist...a noteworthy achievement - Gramophone Despax displays fine power and urgency with some brilliant piano playing...brings just the right combination of charm, brilliance and depth to the playing - Planet Hugill    
  • An unforgettable live-concert recording, selected from the Philharmonia Orchestra and Esa-Pekka Salonen’s season of works by Béla Bartók – 'Infernal Dance.' As soon as Salonen cues the score's reptilian first bars, just after the one-minute mark, you can sense both a tightening of tension and Salonen's natural grasp of Bartok's richly suggestive tone-poetryGramophone As dazzling as you always hope it will be... A truly atmospheric recording that makes it easy to believe you’re in the dark bowels of a castleBBC Radio 3 Record Review The conclusion of the opera is riveting, vocally and instrumentally, with the live performance giving a real edge to the drama ... for Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonic on top form this is fantasticPlanet Hugill This 2011 performance of Bartok's score is sure to become a classic  ... The hour passes like a single breathWords and Music
     
  • Featuring Rebecca Bottone, Cora Burggraaf, Allan Clayton, Klara Ek, Martene Grimson, Jennifer Johnston, Susan Gritton, Anna Leese, Matthew Rose, Andrew Staples & Mark Stone Signum are proud to reissue Classical Opera’s debut CD, ‘The A-Z of Mozart Opera’, selected for Gramophone magazine’s annual Critic’s Choice in 2007. Based on the coincidence that Mozart’s first opera (Apollo et Hyacinthus) begins with ‘A’ and his last (Die Zauberflöte) with ‘Z’, this disc takes the listener on a chronological journey through Mozart’s operatic canon, featuring an aria or ensemble from fifteen of his operas. My personal pick for giving this year is the Classical Opera Company’s glorious The A-Z of Mozart Opera, which is fresh, diverse, insightful and illuminatingGramophone
    A lovely disc which manages to introduce both Mozart's genius and a range of lovely lyric voices, all in stylish performances which certainly make you want to hear morePlanet Hugill Page, to my mind one of the most talented of today's younger British conductors, immediately announced himself with this CD as a natural MozartianEarly Music Review  
  • Rising star-soprano Elena Xanthoudakis is joined by the Royal Northern Sinfonia under Richard Bonynge in these exhilarating performances of some true Jewels of the Bel Canto aria tradition by Bellini, Verdi, Rossini and Donizetti.
  • 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

     
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