• Patrick Hawes returns to disc on Signum with the premiere recording of his Lazarus Requiem, for Choir, Orchestra and Soloists. Blending the liturgical text of the Requiem Mass with the story of Lazarus from the New Testament, the composer creates a work in which “the mystery of life and death, the pain of grief and the hope of a risen life are held in taut symmetry”.

    The work begins with an orchestral Elegy for Lazarus. This depicts the dying man and sets the scene for the first tableau where we are informed “a certain man was ill”. Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus, send for Jesus and the drama of the miracle unfolds.

    An attractive, sincere and thoughtful piece. This very good first recording should bring it to the attention of a wider audience - MusicWeb International What the Lazarus Requiem does do - and to striking effect - is bring into sharp relief Hawes's unerring gift for evocative orchestral texture and beautiful melodic lineChoir & Organ
  • Gustavo Diaz-Jerez composed these symphonic poems about the Canary Islands over a period of 10 years. These masterfully and exquisitely put together works demand new never-before-seen techniques by players throughout the orchestra and solo lines, creating a wonderful end product with a completely unique style.
  • Led by Lorin Maazel, the Philharmonia Orchestra are captured at their very best in these live performances of Mahler’s Nine Symphonies. Recorded in concert at London’s Royal Festival Hall, the symphonies include performances by soloists and ensembles including Sarah Connolly, Michelle DeYoung, Philharmonia Voices and the BBC Symphony Chorus. Praise for these performances has been near universal. This 15-CD box set includes a 96-page booklet of biographies, programme notes and full texts for each symphony, as well as Lorin Maazel’s introduction to the collection. You get that audience perspective as if you were sitting in the hall, and its got all the energy and focus of a live or concert recording - BBC Radio 3 Maazel could sustain this score in a way that seemed to transcend reality ... a tremendously moving experience - Classical Source An extraordinary reading of the Ninth ... a performance touched by greatness - MusicWeb International
  • Lorin Maazel leads the Philharmonia Orchestra and a star-studded ensemble of performers in Mahler’s first three Symphonies. This is the first 5-CD Set in a series that will encompass Mahler’s Nine Symphonies, featuring live orchestral recordings from London’s Royal Festival Hall of Maazel and the Philharmonia’s much-lauded Mahler Cycle.

    Wonderfully stylish: that hesitant Viennese-style playing-around and a lovely warm string sound ...You get that audience perspective as if you were sitting in the hall, and its got all the energy and focus of a live or concert recording - BBC Radio 3 Record Review The most successful reading is Symphony No.1, in which the mystery of the hushed opening, the gutsy resonance of the second movement and the frenzied launch of the finale are comparable with some of the best versions - BBC Music Magazine I love these performances, truly and deeply, and just a little madly - Classical Ear
  • Lorin Maazel and the Philharmonia Orchestra perform Mahler’s Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Symphonies. This is the second set in a series that will encompass Mahler’s Nine Symphonies, featuring live orchestral recordings from London’s Royal Festival Hall of Maazel and the Philharmonia’s much-lauded Mahler Cycle.

    This second volume, along with the first, is a treasured set on my shelves. I cannot wait for the final volume, Symphonies 7-9 - Classical Source The first movement, launched at a crisp, no-nonsense pace, offers numerous instances of warm, tender phrasing; clean textural contrasts and balances; and delicate, evocative solos - MusicWeb International
  • Recorded at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in February 2006, the next disc in Signum's series of live orchestral recordings with the Philharmonia features the late Sir Charles Mackerras conducting Mahler's Symhpony No.4. No matter how many performances of Mahler's Fourth you possess or may have heard, make time for this one. It's prime Charles Mackerras, capturing the essence of this symphony in the most memorable and life-enhancing manner as well as a comprehensive roll-call of the myriad qualities that made him such a special musician - International Record Review A very distinguished account of Mahler’s Fourth Symphony; it is also a splendid memorial to the late Sir Charles Mackerras’s long-term and vital association with the Philharmonia Orchestra - Classical Source The massed strings of the Philharmonia have seldom sounded silkier after the opening jingle and the third movement is tranquil as a child staring at the skies on a cloudless day - Norman Lebrecht
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • At the time of its first performances in 1846, Elijah was hailed as one of the great oratorios alongside Handel’s Messiah. It tells the story of the prophet with imposing grandeur, inspirational orchestration and beautiful arias, recitatives and choruses. This mighty piece requires mighty orchestral and choir forces and Gabrieli singers are reinforced with talented young singers from the Gabrieli Young Singers’ Scheme and the Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir. This recording sees over 440 musicians taking part, including 92 string players and over 300 singers.
    The musical milieu is still Victorian but, rather like the cleaned-up Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens, it gleams anew and radiates light. ... a definite first choice - The Telegraph In all this is staggeringly good. Approaching the work in this way fills a gap which I didn’t even realise was there, but now I’ve heard it I think it will be first choice for a while to come. Thoroughly recommended - Presto Classical
  • 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
  • The Goossens Messiah, recorded for the first and only time by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus under Sir Thomas Beecham, has stood as a landmark of the classical catalogue for sixty years. Goossens’ richly orchestrated version is set to reach a new audience thanks to Maestro Griffith and DCINY, New York City’s leading promoter of classical music. They gathered at Abbey Road Studios in London in July 2019, to record the work with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and a chorus comprising of sixty members of The Jonathan Griffith Singers, drawn from around the world and sixty members of the National Youth Choir of Great Britain. The new recording has captured the score’s vibrant tone colours in thrilling high-definition sound. An acclaimed conductor, educator and lecturer, Dr. Jonathan Griffith has led performances across North America, Europe, and Asia. Griffith is Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY), which has brought together, under Griffith’s artistic leadership, thousands of musicians and choral singers in concert at prestigious venues across the United States, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and Disney Hall. The founder and Music Director of the Distinguished Concerts Orchestra, Griffith also oversees DCINY’s mentoring program for conductors.   Founded in 1983 as a single choir of 100 of the best singers in the nation, the National Youth Choir is now the flagship ensemble of an Arts Council England National Portfolio youth music organisation and registered charity, the National Youth Choir of Great Britain (NYCGB), which runs five membership choirs, a nationwide outreach programme for schools and Music Hubs, and provides professional training for the next generation of choral singers, composers and leaders.
  • 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
  • Julian Bliss performs the Clarinet Concertos of Mozart and Nielsen – often thought of as the two greatest such works in the repertoire: twin examples of what can be achieved by composers who have been truly inspired to write for the clarinet, using its uniquely expressive qualities to produce enduring and comprehensively masterly compositions. Alongside these Julian Bliss presents two of his own clarinet arrangements of two Mozart arias, Der Liebe himmlisches Gefu?hl, K. 119  and Non che non sei capace, K. 419. The brilliant Julian Bliss continues to demonstrate his considerable talent ... A youthful addition to the many excellent versions of the Mozart already available, and a fine introduction to the Nielsen for those who are not familiar with itClassic FM Highly recommended - Northern Echo  Bliss integrates the bottom register smoothly, in a performance matching that of the Nielsen in flair, intimacy and spontaneity - BBC Music Magazine
  • 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.

  • 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