• 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  
  • 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
  • The conclusion to a three part-series of Igor Stravinsky's ballets from Sergei Diaghilev's Ballet Russes (following discs of The Firebird and Petrushka), performed by BBC National Orchestra of Wales under Thierry Fischer. These recordings capture the excitement and vibrancy of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in live performance at their home of BBC Hoddinott Hall, Wales.

    Almost no musical work has had such a powerful influence or evoked as much controversy as Stravinsky's ballet score The Rite of Spring. The work's premiere on May 29, 1913, at the Théatre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, was scandalous. In addition to the outrageous costumes, unusual choreography and bizarre story of pagan sacrifice, Stravinsky's musical innovations tested the patience of the audience to the fullest.

    This disc also features Francis Poulenc's ballet Les Biches, premiered at the Ballet Russes in 1924. Originally commissioned by Diaghilev to write a piece based on Glazunov's Les Sylphides, Poulenc instead chose to base his piece on the paintings of Watteau that depicted Louis XV and various women in his 'Parc aux biches.'

    [Fischer’s] Rite is one of the best I've heardInternational Record Review

    This live performance from an unexpected source is very, very decent … 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

  • 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

  • Jonathan Dove wrote There Was a Child as a tribute to a friend’s son who died tragically young. Filled with both joyous celebration and heartfelt emotion, it’s a big, warm-hearted modern masterpiece in the spirit of Britten and vaughan Williams – following in an evergreen english tradition and featuring the combined forces of the CBSO and CBSO Chorus, Youth Chorus and Junior Chorus with soloists Joan Rodgers and Toby Spence.

    [Dove] has thus achieved the near-impossible: a work that commemorates an event which is surely every parent's darkest fear but which at the same time truly and positively fulfils the commissioner's brief, 'to celebrate' this young, short lifeInternational Record Review Joyous, vibrant, passionate ... There Was a Child is a major addition to the choral repertoireFinancial Times Dove's adroit choice of poetry, orchestrated with imagination and humour, provides an endearing story of a boy through to adolescence, and although there is pathos it is never mawkish - Choir & Organ
  • 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” – adds to her already prodigious reputation with a new disc of timeless works for strings by Ralph Vaughan Williams and Edward Elgar. Joined again the the Orchestra of the Swan under David Curtis, the centre piece of the programme is an enchanting performance of Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending. Her sense of line and capacity to make things happen are both beautiful and strikingly individual ... The Lark Ascending's opening solo searches out an extreme degree of musical space in a way that's at once daring and mesmerising - BBC Music Magazine Superlative performances of Vaughan Williams' The Lark Ascending ... Highly recommendedNorthern Echo This double homage to strings and English composers is engrossingly goodSinfini Music
  • 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
  • Signum Records are proud to present the debut orchestral recording from Grace Davidson, one of the UK’s leading British sopranos specialising in Baroque music. She is joined by some of Europe’s leading Baroque musicians from the Academy of Ancient Music to perform a selection of works by Handel and Vivaldi, with performaces led by violinist Bojan Čičić under artistic director Joseph Crouch.

    Grace won the Early Music Prize while studying singing at London’s Royal Academy of Music. Since then, she has worked with the leading Baroque ensembles of our day, singing under the batons of Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Paul McCreesh, Philippe Herreweghe and Harry Christophers. Her discography includes a decade of CDs with The Sixteen, many of which feature her as soloist – Handel’s Jeptha (as Angel), Dixit Dominus, Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610, Pianto della Madonna, and the Lutheran Masses of Bach.

    Davidson is outstanding for her seraphic purity and evenness of tone - Gramophone The voice is radiantly fresh and clean - The Times Grace Davidson…voice seems to have been especially created to sing baroque musicCross Rhythms Each performance carves out an atmosphere of thoughtful, reflective poise capturing the settings' interior spirit  - Classical Source
  • 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

     
  • 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
  • The outstanding British cellist Jamie Walton returns to disc on Signum, accompanied by the Philharmonia Orchestra under Alexander Briger. This disc includes William Walton's 1975 revision to the final movement of the cello concerto, which has never before been recorded or publically performed (as well as a performance of the original final movement).
  • Schubert's 'Wanderer Fantasy' and Schumann's 'Fantasie' are two highly remarkable works: whilst musically embodying the romantic spirit of the age in their unconventional structures and lyrically imaginative styles, they also act as self-portraits to their creators through the evocation of the creative process. In these new orchestrations by Joeseph James, the familiar beauty of the works is rekindled in the exciting and fresh interpretations performed by the illustrious English Chamber Orchestra alongside concertante solos from members of the Schubert Ensemble. The performances are directed by the exceptional young conductor, Orlando Jopling. Featured instrumentalists from the Schubert Ensemble include Simon Blendis (violin), Jane Salmon (cello), Peter Buckoke and Stephen Williams (double basses).
    A magnificent work, extremely convincing, which allows the two greatest piano fantasies of the 19th century to be listened to with a different ear - Abeille Musique
  • O/Modernt, Swedish for ‘Un/Modern’, is the concept devised by violinist Hugo Ticciati that explores vital connections between artistic and intellectual creations, old and new. At the heart of White Light is a dialectic between contemplation and ecstatic joy: a journey that leads within and without. The ensō (Japanese for ‘circle’) drawn by Antony Gormley on the front cover invites us into the prismatic now of listening. ensō: a continuous brushstroke that expresses a moment in time when the mind is released, leaving the body free to listen and create. Looking inwards, we embrace that which we find outside ourselves before finally returning to inner peace and silence. The sound worlds of Arvo Pärt, John Tavener, Pēteris Vasks, The Beatles, and the rhythms and melodies of India are woven together through improvisation to invite a two-way sense of reflection and surprise. The music roams from the weird to the wonderfulCross Rhythms Here it is the combination of material that matters, and I found the programme both seductive and thought provokingPlanet Hugill
  • Lux et Veritas (Light and Truth) is the new album from Will Todd with the professional chamber choir Tenebrae. Todd’s music has a universal appeal and he has been hailed as “one of the UK’s most sought-after, versatile composers” (Tempo Magazine). For this collection of sumptuous new choral works Tenebrae are accompanied by the English Chamber Orchestra, conducted by the choir’s director Nigel Short. This new release follows Will Todd’s last choral album The Call of Wisdom, featuring music commissioned for HRH The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee service in St Paul’s Cathedral in 2012. Throughout, the excellent Tenebrae under Nigel Short's sensitive direction deliver the sequence of 14 short pieces with commitment and great beauty of tone - Choir & Organ One of this year's finest releases - Classic FM Don't miss this movingly accessible and genuinely sensitive choral collection - MusicWeb International Sumptuous, soothing and reflective music for all occasions - Northern Echo
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