• Acknowledged as the UK's foremost musical pioneers, with an extraordinary recording legacy, the Philharmonia leads the field for its quality of playing. Together with its relationships with the most sought-after artists, most importantly its Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Philharmonia Orchestra is at the heart of British musical life. Esa-Pekka Salonen made his London conducting debut with the Philharmonia Orchestra in September 1983 and he has returned to conduct the Orchestra on a regular basis ever since. This is the third in our series of Philharmonia releases that feature Salonen as conductor following Schoenberg's Gurrelieder and Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique. In the two massive slow outer movements, he doesn’t wring out the final drops of emotion, but empathises with the love of life and the beauties of nature that paradoxically emerge from Mahler’s premonition of death - The Sunday Times His Boulezian ear for balance keeps all the textures phantasmagorically clear in the first and third movements … the final dying embers are a dream - BBC Music Magazine Its radical and forward-looking qualities emerge with the clarity and vision of a conductor… whose expertise in contemporary music elucidates texture and orchestral detail - International Record Review
  • 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
  • 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 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
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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
  • Signum Records are proud to present the first release in a new series of live orchestral recordings featuring the illustrious St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, led by their chief conductor Yuri Temirkanov. These new recordings have been made possible thanks to the recent refurbishment of their home concert venue, the Grand Philharmonic Hall, allowing many of us to hear for the first time the excitement of the Philharmonic’s performances in their resident city of St Petersburg. This release will be followed later in the year with their live performance of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7 (Leningrad). The orchestra moved like a single unit, swelling and surging, natural rubato raising tension, pacing and placing impeccably judged - The Independent This is a full-blooded performance of Verdi’s late work … Full marks for passion - The Daily Telegraph [Temirkanov] has been in charge of the St Petersburg Philharmonic since 1988 and the orchestra plays splendidly for him here. What particularly marks out the performance is his attention to dynamics - Classic FM Magazine Yuri Temirkanov’s mature and considered performance wears its own character with pride, rather than complying with any perfectionist norm. The reading sounds Russian: dark and edgy - The Sunday Times
  • 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
  • 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
  • Percy Grainger was one of the great “originals” of 20th century music. Australian-born, he studied with his mother while a boy and later went to Germany where his career as a virtuoso pianist began. As a composer he was largely self-taught and strongly influenced by the folk music of Great Britain and Ireland, Many of his “miniatures”-such titles as Country Gardens, Handel in the Strand and Molly on the Shore - established his composing credentials very early on. But Grainger was also an inveterate innovator and experimenter in music, and the kaleidoscopic aspects of his compositional creativity-evident in highly imaginative works often with unprecedented rhythms, harmonies and scoring-are fully represented in the programme heard on this recording. The music was digitally recorded with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in February 1989, at the acoustically excellent South Melbourne Town Hall. The album was originally released in Australia by ABC Classics and elsewhere by Koch International. Australian conductor Geoffrey Simon is resident in London and has appeared there with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Chamber Orchestra, London Mozart Players and English Chamber Orchestra.
  • Sturm und Drang Vol. 2

    £8.00£14.00 Available October 9, 2020.
    The second volume in a ground-breaking seven-part series, The Mozartists and director Ian Page’s ‘Sturm und Drang’ recordings incorporate iconic compositions by Mozart, Gluck and, above all, Joseph Haydn, but it also includes largely forgotten or neglected works by less familiar names. All of the music featured on this second recording was composed between 1765 and 1770, with three turbulent minor-key symphonies alternating with sacred and operatic arias. The ‘Sturm und Drang’ movement swept through all art forms in between the early 1760s and 1780s, with the general objective to frighten and perturb through the use of wildly subjective and emotional means of expression, envoking ground-breaking extremes of passion and sentimentality.
  • LCO Live: Vaughan Williams, Suk & Dvořák

    £8.00£14.00 Available September 25, 2020.
    This release by the London Chamber Orchestra marks the start of the build up to the orchestras 100th anniversary year. Featuring three sublime recordings of pieces for strings, this is a nod to the fact that the orchestra truly are one of the best in the country. When you go to an LCO concert, you do not just go to listen to a concert, you go to experience a performance. This live recording from Cadogan Hall, in June of 2019 is no exception. Christopher Warren-Green and the orchestra capture the quintessential ‘Englishness’ of Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis perfectly. They then explore the emotional Serenade for Strings of both Josef Suk and Antonín Dvořák, examining the similarities between the pieces.   All downloads include booklets.
  • Beethoven & Barry Vol. 2

    £8.00£18.00 Available October 23, 2020.
    The second volume of celebrated pianist, composer and conductor Thomas Adès and the Britten Sinfonia’s collaborative performances of the works of Beethoven and Gerald Barry. Beethoven’s 4th, 5th and 6th symphonies are interspersed with Barry’s ‘Viola Concerto’ (featuring Lawrence Power) and piece for orchestra and bass ‘The Conquest of Ireland’ (featuring Joshua Bloom). The pairing is ideal, for Gerald Barry’s compositional style was greatly influenced by Beethoven, giving a piece a title such as Beethoven would suggest an attempt at emulating his legacy nearly two centuries after his death. His music also shows his major influence from radio, moving from the sublime and the ridiculous with carefree abandon.   All downloads include booklets.
  • Flare (Digital Only)

    £8.00£9.75
    Described in The Guardian (2019) as one of today’s leading composers for voice, Joanna Marsh is a British composer who since 2007 has divided her time between Dubai and the UK. Her life in the Middle East has lead to many unique musical opportunities including writing an orchestral work to celebrate the building of the Burj Khalifa. Most recently she was commissioned by Dubai Opera to write an orchestral work for the first BBC Proms in Dubai in March 2017. This lead to her writing the 6 minute work Flare, for the BBC Symphony Orchestra, based on a short story called Oil Field, by Saudi writer Mohammed Hasan Alwan. Joanna has been Composer in Residence, at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge from 2015 through to 2020 and during that time has written a number of choral works for the college choir and the college organ. She is a Co-Founder of ChoirFest Middle East in Dubai, an annual celebration of the region’s choral music scene which is reached its eighth edition in March 2020. She is also Founder and Artistic Director of the Dubai Opera Festival Chorus a large body of singers that was set up for the BBC Proms in Dubai and continues to undertake concert performances of various types across the UAE.   Available as a disc on demand from Presto Classical.