• On Thursday, August 20, Signum Classics will begin releasing the COVID-19 Sessions. Recorded on March 17, 19, and 20 at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the COVID-19 sessions came together quickly as society began to shut down amidst the growing outbreak in the United States.  Recorded on March 17, 19, and 20 at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the COVID-19 sessions came together quickly as society began to shut down amidst the growing outbreak in the United States.  “Cantus tour dates and home concerts were being canceled and it was clear there would be only a limited window in which to sing together before the world went on pause,” says Paul Scholtz, tenor.  “What would social distancing and prohibitions on large gatherings mean for vocal music, our communities, and the world at large?” continues Scholtz. “Cantus’ vision is to give voice to shared human experiences and what better way than to offer these performances amidst this great turmoil and uncertainty. We hope you can find yourself and your experience reflected somewhere in these sessions. The pieces you will hear span a great breadth of emotion, from joy to sorrow to wonder to pain. We hope you will find the performances themselves informed by the emotional states in which they were recorded — heightened at different times in different ways.” 
  • The King’s Singers release an EP consisting of six tracks recorded during the Coronavirus lockdown. Featuring classic arrangements of well-loved songs that are an integral part of their repertoire, these tracks were recorded remotely and showcase their versatility and talent at producing superlative music, particularly during these difficult moments in history. The King’s Singers also released videos of each of the tracks on this EP on social media during the lockdown period, racking up millions of views, allowing the group to continue performing, despite the cancellation of their tour for their recent Signum album, Finding Harmony.
  • This is a musical trip from the mid-sixteenth century to around 1700, involving music in Late Renaissance style, carrying Spanish Catholicism across the Atlantic to supplant an indigenous culture. Once the invasion had taken root with the conquest of Tenochtitlán and its transformation to Mexico City, the country became the target of fervent friars and preachers. Franciscans were first in 1523, then Dominicans, all fired with Christian zeal to convert the native population. From the outset they used music to great effect. The accounts that survive show how successful they were in teaching singing and playing, training choirs to perform liturgical music. By the mid-century it was claimed that standards had reached that of Charles V’s chapel. Churches and cathedrals were established throughout the rapidly expanding New Spain. Conquest and Christianity imposed an almost exact replica of Old Spain. Liturgical books, prints of plainchant and polyphony were shipped in throughout the century. In this recording the singers present music by eight composers. Four of them never went to the New World; their music did. Three of them were born in Spain and were trained in music there; they held appointments in Spain and later emigrated to the new colonial cities. One more became the first composer-choirmaster to be born there of Spanish parents, thus criollo.   All downloads include booklets.
  • The Library Volume 2

    £6.00£9.00
    This is the second volume in the EP series ‘The Library’. The idea behind this series is to explore both the history, and the new horizons, of The King’s Singers close-harmony repertoire. Close-harmony is the part of their work for which they are best known, and their library of thousands of arrangements is one they’re determined to explore, maintain and develop. The track -listing is designed to celebrate some old favourites from the library alongside brand new arrangements and adaptations, created especially for these recordings, which may perhaps become ‘old favourites’ of the future. Volume 2 was recorded in the beautiful surroundings of Snape Maltings, Suffolk (UK) - a place most famous for its association with Benjamin Britten - and it proved to be a relaxing and inspiring place to work for two beautiful wintry days. The King’s Singers were founded on 1 May 1968 by six choral scholars who had recently graduated from King’s College Cambridge. Their vocal line-up was (by chance) two countertenors, a tenor, two baritones and a bass, and the group has never wavered from this formation since.   All downloads include booklets. 
  • Love Lives Beyond the Tomb

    £8.00£14.00
    Ian Venables studied composition with Richard Arnell at Trinity College of Music, London and later with John Joubert, Andrew Downes and John Mayer at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. His works encompass many genres and he has added significantly to the canon of English art song. Described as ‘Britain’s greatest living composer of art song’ (Musical Opinion) and ‘a song composer as fine as Finzi and Gurney’ (BBC Music Magazine), Ian Venables has written over 80 works in this genre, including nine song-cycles. As the title suggests, the works on this disc are predominantly reflective in mood although this does not preclude the use of faster-moving music whenever the poetry requires it. Its subject matter celebrates the timelessness of love through the poetry of James Joyce, John Drinkwater, Edward Thomas, John Clare, Robert Nichols and the modern poet Jennifer Andrews; the celebration and commemoration of Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, in Sir Andrew Motion’s remarkable narrative poem Remember This and the collective remembrance of those who died in the First World War: the poetry of Wilfred Owen, Isaac Rosenberg, Siegfried Sassoon, Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy and the less well-known Francis St. Vincent Morris providing the impetus for one of Ian Venables’ most dramatic and profoundly moving cycles.   All downloads include booklets.
  • Finding Harmony

    £8.00£14.00
    Finding Harmony is a new mission for The King's Singers; a mission celebrating music which binds people together in times of hardship. "Singing together binds us together. From the Protestant Reformation in Europe during the 1500s to the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, there have been countless moments in history when songs have united nations, cultures and causes. This is still the case in today’s world. Finding Harmony is evidence that music has always been our common language. A unique collection of pieces that span the globe – including music that’s too often forgotten – each song is the key to a powerful true story about who we are and how we’ve got here. Together, Finding Harmony proves how deeply we can be moved by all kinds of stories when songs connect us to them, and to each other."   All downloads include booklets.
  • The Divine Muse

    £8.00£14.00
    After the success of their debut release, Voyages, Mary Bevan and Joseph Middleton present their second recital disc exploring Lieder in German and Italian by Schubert, Haydn and Wolf. The programme is woven around songs inspired by the ‘muses’ of the day, both mythological and divine. It begins with Schubert’s dramatic and reverential settings of sacred German poetry, set alongside his lush emotional portrayals of female characters in the Italian settings. The central section of the disc is then devoted to Haydn’s epic ‘scena’ depicting the famously cruel abandonment of Arianna by her lover Teseo, ‘Arianna a Naxos’. Haydn’s beautiful prayer ‘Geistliches Lied’ takes us back into the world of German poetry and the religious fervour that arose from the collective belief in Christianity which pervaded most art forms of the age. The disc then moves into works by Hugo Wolf, whose stunning settings of devotional texts take the listener right to the heart of the characters; a few of these songs were in fact inspired by paintings. The early moments of Jesus Christ’s life are vividly portrayed here, particularly in songs such as ‘Die ihr Schwebet’, ‘Auf ein Altes Bild’ and ‘Schlafendes Jesuskind’, while the haunting ‘Gesang Weylas’ invites the listener into the world of the mysterious goddes Weyla who wistfully dreams of the shores of her distant homeland. From Ganymed to Christ, Dido to the Virgin Mary, Arianna to St Peter, this recital disc richly illustrates the lives and events surrounding the ‘divine muses’ who inspired these composers.   All downloads include booklets.
  • There was a craze for the music of Josquin Desprez in sixteenth-century Spain. All three of the greatest Spanish composers of the age – Morales, Guerrero, and Victoria – were directly inspired by one particular rhetorical effect developed by Josquin: ostinato, the repetition throughout a piece of a musical motto. This album explores Josquin’s legacy as manifest in the motets of Morales, Guerrero, and Victoria, and in Victoria’s great six-voice Missa Gaudeamus. In the hands of such composers the use of ostinato produces results that are dynamic, compelling, and striking in expressive impact. These work show the Spanish composers not just emulating Josquin but also competing to out do him in inventiveness.   All downloads include booklets.
  • The programme performed here by baritone Christopher Maltman and pianist Joseph Middleton was born whilst Maltman was studying at the Royal Academy of Music. The compositions have been selected to form a coherent but flexible narrative that produces a touching memoire to all those affected by war. One composer chosen for the record, George Butterworth, was a casualty of the First World War: in September 1915 he went to the trenches and was killed, aged 31, in the Battle of the Somme on 5th August 1916. The use of his composition, A Shropshire Lad, is touching in this instance. It gives the listener a more sensitive perspective of the loss in World War One, almost allowing the listener to see the faces of those who passed away, most of whom were young ‘lads’ from various parts of the country.
  • Magnificat

    £12.00
    Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis was recorded to explore the breadth of imagination with which composers have approached the texts, which have been sung in Christian worship for over 1000 years. Stanford’s starting point was the Germanic symphonic tradition; Howells took his inspiration from the architecture and acoustics of the Cathedral in Gloucester; Tippett was inspired by the unique Spanish trumpet stop at St John’s. The Evening Cantincles chosen for this record relate to a particular period of music making in the life of St John’s conductor, Andrew Nethsingha; his time at the Royal College of Music; at Truro and Gloucester Cathedrals, and lastly his time at St John’s. Founded in the 1670s, The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge, is one of the finest collegiate choirs in the world – known and loved by millions for its rich, warm and distinctive sound, expressive interpretations and ability to sing in a variety of styles.
  • The Library Volume 1

    £6.00£9.00
    Acclaimed for their life-affirming virtuosity and irresistible charm, The King’s Singers are in global demand. Their work – synonymous with the best in vocal ensemble performance – appeals to a vast international audience. The Library is the name of a series of EP releases that celebrates our ‘close-harmony’ library, both historically and as it grows each year. Close-harmony is the phrase we have always used to describe its lighter repertoire, and we see The Library as our chance to make sure this rich vein of great song-writing and arranging gets the place of prominence it deserves. The Library recording series will involve regular releases which will come out alongside other touring and recording projects, giving us an output for revisiting some of these old favourites and commissioning brand new close harmony from recent releases. Every volume in The Library series will capture a variety of songs, celebrating the wonderful diversity of music in our world today.   All downloads include booklets.
  • Based at Windsor Castle, the members of The Queen’s Six make up half of the Lay Clerks of St George’s Chapel, whose homes lie within the Castle walls. This rare privilege demands the highest musical standards, as they sing regularly for the Royal family at both private and state occasions. In 2018 this included the weddings of Princess Eugenie and Mr Jack Brooksbank, and Prince Harry and Ms Meghan Markle, both held in St George’s Chapel. Most significantly however, it is the familiarity of living and singing together in Chapel every day that lends this group its distinctive closeness and blend, as well as an irresistible informality and charm. Individually, members of The Queen’s Six have appeared in many of the most prestigious vocal ensembles on the circuit, including The Tallis Scholars, Tenebrae, and The Sixteen. Their repertoire extends far beyond the reach of the choir stalls: from austere early chant, florid Renaissance polyphony, lewd madrigalsand haunting folk songs to upbeat Jazz and Pop arrangements.
  • The creation of the Song Cycle as a new art form in the early 19th Century was paved with musical experiments and innovations. On this disc we illustrate the progress made by the great Lied composers of the day toward the cyclical perfection finally achieved by Beethoven and Schubert, and since emulated by Schumann, Loewe, Wolf, Fauré, Britten, Shostakovich and so many others. A Song Cycle is distinguishable from a collection of songs or a Liederspiel by some type of interior cohesion: a unifying theme, text from a single source, a narrative. It could be a musical connection: recurring devices and motifs, key relationships between songs, or perhaps a fixed performance order. Usually, a combination of these criteria is necessary to bestow on any song collection the title of Song Cycle.
  • Handel’s Queens features some of the most exquisite pieces of music written by G.F. Handel and his contemporaries for the two finest singers of the eighteenth century, Faustina Bordoni and Francesca Cuzzoni. Often wrongfully framed as rivals, these dazzling new recordings with Mary Bevan and Lucy Crowe reveal the distinctive yet versatile talent of the Italian vocalists.  Conductor Bridget Cunningham continues her research and created Handel’s Queens and directs London Early Opera from the harpsichord. Handel’s Queens - as part of this important series serves as a further example of Cunningham’s dedication to imaginative programming and outstanding period performance on this double CD placing her at the forefront of baroque research and recording.
  • When Michael Nyman started reinventing the English baroque back in the 1980s, one critic described the result as “pump-action Purcell.” This recording combines these two singular musical styles through the stunning voice of countertenor Iestyn Davies and viol consort Fretwork, serving as the bridge across three centuries. The programme combines bold harmonies, wondrous inventions, and melodies that will haunt your dreams – whether from the 17th century or the 21st. Recorded following a concert tour of the programme, the disc includes the premiere recording of a new commission from Michael Nyman, Music after a While – based upon Purcell’s song, or more particularly upon its strikingly original bass-line, with its insidious rising chromatics. ★ A beautiful account - Planet Hugill Editor's Choice: The Nyman performances are exemplary – crisp and cleanly articulated from Fretwork and dispatched by Davies with a vacant, unrippled purity that is so essential to the music - Gramophone All executed with perfection - The Observer
  • Owen Rees leads early-music consort Contrapunctus alongside The Choir of The Queen’s College, Oxford in performances of John Taverner’s masterwork, the Missa Gloria tibi trinitas. A virtuosic work, it has pride of place in the Forrest-Heyther partbooks (in the Bodleian Library in Oxford), which it has been variously argued originated at Cardinal College or at the Chapel Royal. It might well have been heard on Trinity Sunday in the chapel of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey’s palace at Hampton Court. The work is accompanied by other sacred choral works by Taverner, including his Ave Maria composed for Wolsey’s Cardinal College, Oxford, and one of his most widely copied works, Gaude plurimum – a dramatic work where Taverner exploits the power of his full forces to evoke Christ’s harrowing of hell and the breaking of ‘the bloody powers of the prince of eternal death.’ Contrapunctus is an early-music vocal ensemble dedicated to passionate interpretations informed by authoritative insight and understanding. Directed by Owen Rees, a specialist in music of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the group presents imaginative programmes revealing previously undiscovered musical treasures and throwing new light on familiar works. Performance ★★★★ Recording ★★★★★ Rees brings together both of his crack ensembles [and] the 40-strong collective recreates [Taverner's] lavish sound - BBC Music Magazine ★★★★★ Rees has a natural affinity for this music, whether underlining differences of mood, allowing phrases to bloom or deftly judging cadential arrivals, his touch is instinctive - Classical Source ★★★★★ [A] thrilling new recording - Planet Hugill 9/10 Between them the music of John Taverner comes alive and whether your interest is in Tudor polyphony of acappella choral singing this release will bring much pleasure - Cross Rhythms This glorious programme of polyphony by John Taverner offers much opportunity for contrast as delicate, sinuous passages of vocal chamber music open up into densely populated choral vistas - Choir & Organ The full ensemble brings an undeniable grandeur - Gramophone A must for early music devotees - The Northern Echo A very fine album - MusicWeb International Beautifully recorded by Signum, this is a novel and beautiful Tudor choral release - AllMusic
  • Bass-baritone Stephan Loges is accompanied by Iain Burnside in a collection that explores concepts of lost youth, the transience of life and the comforting presence of nature. The programme features performances of Schumann’s 12 Gedichte Op. 35 and Brahms’s 5 Lieder Op. 94, as well as in 5 rarely recorded works by Finnish composer Yrjö Kilpinen.

    Born in Dresden, Stephan Loges was an early winner of the Wigmore Hall International Song Competition. He has given recitals throughout the world, including regular appearances at Wigmore Hall London and the Oxford Lieder Festival, as well as Carnegie Hall New York and many more.

    ★★★★ Loges and Burnside are a responsive duo... an intuitive set of songs with real light and shade throughout - BBC Music Magazine A sensitive, touching account of [Schumann's Op 35 cycle], with Iain Burnside offering fine piano playing - Gramophone Iain Burnside is as usual a flexible accompanist and Stephan Loges, who has already an impressive catalogue of recordings behind him, adds a further gem to his [collection] - MusicWeb International
  • Following her debut release of Baroque works by Vivaldi and Handel earlier this year, Grace Davidson returns to disc on Signum with an intimate disc of Dowland’s first book of lute songs, accompanied by David Miller. Blending melancholy with wit in his writing for both lute and voice, John Dowland’s songs have continued to enchant audiences and singers for nearly 400 years. The ‘First Booke’ includes some of Dowland’s less well-known works, and was recorded in the sensitive acoustic of Ascot Priory in Berkshire, UK.

    Performance ★★★★ Recording ★★★★★ Dowland's [works] find elegant interpreters here in Grace Davidson and David Miller - BBC Music Magazine These are beautiful, musical performances - Gramophone
  • Christopher Glynn continues his series of late Schubert song cycles in English, joined by celebrated soloists Sir John Tomlinson, Sophie Bevan, Julian Bliss and Alec Frank-Gemmill.

    Titled by the works first publisher following Schubert’s death, Swansong (Schwanengesang) D 957 sets sets the words of poets Ludwig Rellstab, Heinrich Heine and Johann Gabriel Seidl in songs that cover a variety of different emotional states. The lighthearted Love Message (Liebesbotschaft), with its rippling accompaniment, addresses a murmuring brook with the hope of true love. The bone-chilling Doppelgänger with its stark, slowly tolling chords, finds the protagonist crazed with a nocturnal vision of himself agonizing at the empty doorstep of his lost love. Renowned for his clear diction and powerful voice, Sir John Tomlinson brings his insight and nuance to these profound works.

    Reminiscent of the scoring for The Shepherd on the Rock and composed in the same year, On the River (Auf dem Strom) combines soprano and horn in a setting of a poem by Ludwig Rellstab. Originally given to Beethoven who did not live long enough to set it, Schubert took up the words in a work that is a subtle homage to the composer.

    The 1828 work The Shepherd on the Rock (Der Hirt auf dem Felsen) sets words by Wilhelm Müller and German playwright Helmina von Chézy, and was composed in gratitude to the soprano Anna Milder-Hauptmann. Here performed by Sophie Bevan and Julian Bliss, it tells the story of a shepherd lamenting the distance between him and his beloved before a reflection on loneliness and grief. The final section celebrates the arrival of spring in a hopeful conclusion.

    The creamy clarity of both Alec Frank-Gemmill’s horn and Julian Bliss’s clarinet sound is a perfect foil for Sophie Bevan’s exquisite, rounded legato - BBC Music Magazine

    Christopher Glynn’s playing is excellent throughout - Gramophone

  • Pianist Malcolm Martineau brings together some of the UK’s finest singers for the third release in his series charting the complete songs of French composer Gabriel Fauré. This series follows Martineau’s well-received 5-CD series of The Complete Songs of Francis Poulenc.
  • Voyages

    £12.00
    Soprano Mary Bevan and pianist Jopseph Middleton perform a programme exploring the genius of Baudelaire and Goethe, and how texts by them unlocked very speci c musical landscapes in settings by Debussy, Duparc, Chausson, de Bréville, Séverac, Fauré and Schubert. Praised by Opera for her “dramatic wit and vocal control” in stand out performances on opera and concert platforms, Mary Bevan is a winner of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Young Artist award and UK Critics’ Circle Award for Exceptional Young Talent
    Pianist Joseph Middleton specialises in the art of song accompaniment and chamber music and has been highly acclaimed within this eld. Described in the BBC Music Magazine as “one of the brightest stars in the world of song and Lieder”, he has also been labeled “the cream of the new generation” by The Times and “a perfect accompanist” by Opera Now. ★★★★ A beautiful programme… they include plenty of intriguing and little-known songs that more than deserve these excellent interpretations - Primephonic Bevan’s purity of tone and discreet yet telling way with words can be by turns unnerving and alluring in the Baudelaire settings… Middleton, as one might expect, is marvellously insightful, playing throughout with weight as well as grace and subtlety - Gramophone
  • Hertfordshire Chorus continue to build on their reputation for commissioning and performing some of the very best in contemporary choral music. In their first recording with Signum they are joined by the BBC Concert Orchestra for a 2CD set featuring James McCarthy’s Codebreaker (an exploration of the life of the pioneering computer scientist and mathematician Alan Turing) and Will Todd’s Ode to a Nightingale (setting the famous poem by John Keats). The BBC Concert Orchestra offer superb support to both composers and the engineering is up to Signum’s customary excellence. This important release should be in every keen choral singer’s Christmas stockingGramophone Splendidly recorded and performed… I give a thorough recommendation to this issueMusic Web International For me, this is undoubtedly the choral album of the yearThe High Arts
  • One of the UK’s leading choral directors for over 50 years, Stephen Wilkinson MBE has led both professional and amateur choirs across Europe, and is particularly renowned for his work with the BBC Northern Singers and the William Byrd Singers of Manchester. Only retiring from conducting in 2009 at the age of 90, Stephen Wilkinson’s songs span the breadth of his long career as a conductor and musician, and are best described by his daughter Clare – an acclaimed mezzo-soprano herself who also performs on this recording – as being “a unique voice, yet deeply rooted in the English song tradition of Finzi, Gurney and Quilter.” Performed by British singers Mhairi Lawson, Clare Wilkinson, James Gilchrist and Matthew Brook, they draw on texts by a wealth of sources including Auden, Yates, Coleridge, Shakespeare and many more. Highly persuasive English lyricism… a worthwhile labour of love - The Guardian There are fine things here…. strikingly original…. rooted in textual detail - Gramophone Drawing on texts from the likes of Auden, Yates, Coleridge and Shakespeare, this is a must for devoteesNorthern Echo The English song tradition continues to bear fruit [and] Wilkinson takes his place in the canon - MusicWeb International  
  • Soprano Gillian Keith joins the acclaimed Baroque ensemble Armonico Consort under Christopher Monks for the first release in a three disc series featuring the solo cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach’s cantatas hold a special place amongst performers and devotees of his music. Whether sacred or secular, these works provide incredible variety for listeners and players alike. Some contain elements of storytelling similar to arias and recitatives from his great Passions; many have instrumental movements and solo passages that rival any of his concerti, and are indeed borrowed directly from some of the most famous. Not surprisingly, Bach’s cantatas are often incredibly virtuosic, demanding as much technical ability, style and understanding of the music as any of his other works. This first release features the cantatas nos. 82a, 202 (the famous “Wedding Cantata”) and 210.
  • Internationally-renowned chamber choir Tenebrae return with a new collection of British part songs and choral works. As well as being a celebration of compositions by British composers, the disc also marks Shakespeare’s anniversary year with a selection of works based on his texts, including the much loved works by Vaughan Williams and a lesser-known set by Herbert Murrill. Perhaps the least recognisable composer name on this disc, Murrill (1909-1952) is one of a select group of composers who – through war or ill-health – died at a tragically young age and whose works were subsequently neglected during the second half of the century.
  • London Early Opera continue their new series of Handel’s works with the second volume of pieces composed in Italy. Both volumes of Handel in Italy explore the young composer’s Italian years through his cantatas, sacred pieces, operatic works and instrumental compositions. Handel wrote prolifically during his stay in Italy, his output includes oratorios, operas, sonatas, instrumental works and sacred vocal masterpieces including over 100 cantatas. Featuring performances from internationally acclaimed soloists, the sopranos Sophie Bevan and Mary Bevan with their uncle, baritone Benjamin Bevan conducted and conceived by Bridget Cunningham.
  • Aksel!

    £12.00
    Norwegian boy-soprano Aksel Rykkvin has quickly built a reputation as a rare talent, combining an intelligent musicality with a beautifully resonant treble voice. On his debut recording he is accompanied by The Orchestra of the Age on Enlightenment under Nigel Short (leader of award-winning chamber choir Tenebrae), in a selection of arias by Mozart, Handel and JS Bach. Many of the arias performed are considered too technically demanding for boy singers in the present day – in particular Mozart’s Exsultate Jubilate which was composed for the castrato Venunzio Rauzzini, and several of Bach’s Cantatas which were written at a time when singers often maintained their treble voices until the ages of 16 or 17. Freakishly good, with a musical assurance and richness of tone that are almost superhuman - Financial Times Widely praised for his richness of tone and instinctive, innate musicality - BBC Music Magazine It's a remarkable performance - pure, technically perfect and hauntingly beautiful - Classic FM This is totally extraordinary. For the sheer joy in performing, this CD would be hard to beat - Cathedral Music Magazine
  • Continuing the company’s critically acclaimed complete cycle of Mozart operas on Signum Classics is the release of Zaide. One of very few of Mozart’s works to be written without a commission, Mozart completed fifteen numbers before abandoning the work to fulfil the commission for Idomeneo. These include two searing melodramas, some superb ensembles and a sequence of arias including the celebrated “Ruhe sanft”.
    Allan Clayton brings energy and definition to his singing… Excellent sound - BBC Music Magazine
  •  Pianist Malcolm Martineau brings together some of the UK’s finest singers for the first release in a new series charting the complete songs of French composer Gabriel Fauré. This series follows Martineau’s well-received series of The Complete Poulenc Songs.

     

     
  • Classical Opera explore a wealth of arias by Handel and his contemporaries William Boyce, John Christopher Smith and Thomas Arne, all of which were composed for the celebrated 18th-century tenor John Beard (1716-1791). For this recording Allan Clayton steps ably into this role, performing alongside the Orchestra of Classical Opera under Ian Page. The disc also features a duet with Mary Bevan, from Handel’s L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato.
    ★★★★ Rousing renditions - The Times A must for early music devoteesGramophone A delight... I cannot recommend it too highly - Classic FM The outstanding young tenor [John Beard] fulfils his early promise - The Sunday Times
  • German romantic rarities for soprano, clarinet and piano

    Australian soprano Elena Xanthoudakis joins forces with Jason Xanthoudakis and Clemens Leske to perform some lost gems of the Romantic chamber music and leider repertoire – featuring works by composers including Lachner, Späth, Proch, Lindtpaintner and Kalliwoda.

     

     

  • VOCES8 and Les Inventions shine a light on a hidden musical treasure in these world-premiere recordings of Charles Avison’s 1757 adaptation of Benedetto Marcello’s Estro-poetico armonico. A fresh and original collection, Marcello’s Psalm settings were composed in Venice and quickly found fame across Europe after their publication between 1724 and 1726. ★★★★★ The results are wholly delightful and absorbing, and the intimate forces of VOCES8 and Les Inventions are completely at home in this repertoire - Choir & Organ ★★★★ With their vivid word-setting and lively declamation, the English texts give a slightly homespun quality to the enterprise. Well sung, there's a striking triple canon with Latin text to finish - The Observer ★★★★ Marcello's masterpiece receives...world premiere recording here by VOCES8, accompanied by the organ, recorder and strings of French early-music ensemble Les Inventions - The Independent Very polished - BBC Radio 3 CD Review A nice variety of vocal colours and a lovely blend make for a convincing representation of Marcello's largely unknown masterpiece Estro poetico-armonico. More please - Early Music Review
  • London Early Opera perform a unique programme of Handel’s Italian-inspired works, devised by conductor Bridget Cunningham and featuring a unique family collaboration from from world-renowned soprano sisters Sophie Bevan and Mary Bevan alongside their uncle, bass Benjamin Bevan. Editor's Pick: This is as polished an account as any on account of Sophie Bevan's unerring sense of decorum for what each movement requires Gramophone The quality of the musicianship is highBBC Music Magazine A dazzling disc from the Bevan siblingsThe Observer An enjoyable showcase for Mary, Sophie and Benjamin Bevan - The Sunday Times A pleasant compilation, showcasing the considerable vocal talents of three of the Bevan familyEarly Music Review
  • Ian Venables’ reputation as ‘one of the finest song composers of his generation’ (BBC Music Magazine) finds voice in this disc of premiere recordings of two of his substantial song cycles. International baritone, Roderick Williams is joined by the Carducci String Quartet and pianist Graham J Lloyd in The Song of the Severn, a celebration of Venables’ home county of Worcestershire and The Pine Boughs Past Music, a poignant tribute to the poetic talents of Ivor Gurney. Other songs include those with solo piano and arrangements by Graham J Lloyd, for string quartet. Each work highlights Venables’ gift of being able to take poetry to a higher level of appreciation and at the same time create works of lasting beauty. Sharply memorable music of bewitching lyricism, idiomatic grace and rapt instinctGramophone
    The Carducci String Quartet [are] exemplary in their interpretationsBBC Music Magazine
  • 11-year-old Alice lives in the not terribly exciting town of Grimthorpe. On a boring Wednesday in the summer holidays Alice’s family, wandering around town, gets caught in a downpour. They rush into the nearest shelter, which turns out to be a pet shop – much to Alice’s parents’ delight. Alice is lost in a daydream of exotic holidays... Suddenly she is jolted out of her reverie by one of the animals – a white rabbit – who starts talking to her... Opera Holland Park’s production of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, a family opera by composer Will Todd and librettist Maggie Gottlieb, comes to CD for the first time after two critically praised runs in 2013 and 2014.
    The cast sing with impeccable diction, the players never drowning out the voicesArts Desk The cast, headed by Fflur Wun as Alice, and orchestra, conducted by Matthew Waldren, put on a good show - Gramophone Will Todd's Lewis Carroll-inspired opera has proved a huge success both on stage and on disc - BBC Music Magazine The recorded sound is excellent...a release of many pleasures - Opera Magazine
  • Composing over 150 works for piano and voice over a period of 44 years, the songs of Francis Poulenc remain consistently popular to concert audiences the world over. Varying in their individual style and character in a way that defies generalization, Poulenc set music to a wide range of different French poetry – both ancient and modern, and from the serious to the surreal. The final disc in Signum’s series of The Complete Songs of Francis Poulenc features a cast of the finest singers of our generation, accompanied by Malcolm Martineau as well as additional instrumental soloists for Poulenc’s larger-ensemble settings of his songs.

    Featured works in this final volume include Rapsodie Negre, Le Bestiaire, Quatre poe?mes de Max Jacob, Vocalise, Quatre poemes d’Apollinaire, Banalite?s and Le Bal Masque?.

  • The Gabrieli’s first Handel recording in over a decade is particularly special, recreating in painstaking detail the very first performance of L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, given in 1740, with additional instrumental repertoire including a Handel organ concerto and two concerti grossi. With a reputation as peerless Handelians, Paul McCreesh and the Gabrieli Consort & players bring meticulous research to every performance and recording project, and are joined on this disc by a stunning selection of soloists.
    ★★★★★ This is quite simply life-enhancing music making, a glorious achievement in every respect - Early Music Today ★★★★★ McCreesh finds all the expressive opportunities in a blissful production, at times breathtakingly beautiful - Choir & Organ ★★★★★ The choral elements are scrupulously handled by the Gabrieli Consort - BBC Music Magazine McCreesh's superb Gabrieli Consort and Players present all this...with flair, a pristine sense of style and infectious energy - The Times Handel's ravishing score [is] realised to perfection by Paul McCreesh and Gabrieli... A glorious recording - The Observer
  • The King’s Singers perform the complete Italian madrigal collection Il Trionfo di Dori. Commissioned by Venetian nobleman Leonardo Sanudo in 1592, the collection features 29 works, each written by a different composer and poet, and set for nine voices. Among them are Vecchi, Gabrieli, Marenzio, de Monte, Striggio, Anerio, Gastoldi, Porta and Palestrina.
    ★★★★★ The King's Singers bring this great monument of Italian music history to striding life - Sinfini Music ★★★★★ The King’s Singers are on top form, singing with a sunny freshness appropriate to this happy music, blending beautifully, and moving as one into crescendos and decrescendos, ranging in dynamic from a whispering pianissimo to declamatory episodes of high drama - Early Music Review It is hard to imagine a group with greater potential to do justice to this music of love and mythology than they - Gramophone The King's Singers turn out their characteristic, highly polished finish: diction is razor-sharp, ensemble and intonation are well-nigh flawless - BBC Music Magazine A masterclass in delicate phrasing, elegant lines, exemplary Italian and effortless madrigalian expression with standards of intonation to languish after...delizioso - Choir & Organ If you have to make a single choice The King's Singers will appeal more and it's also beautifully recorded in a venue, which is at least new to this reviewer - Music Web International
  • British soprano Sarah Fox makes her solo recording debut with songs by Broadway songwriting legend Cole Porter. Accompanied by pianist and arranger James Burton, highlights include ‘In the Still of the Night’ from Rosalie; ‘I’ve got you Under My Skin’ from Born to Dance, and ‘I get a Kick out of You’ from Anything Goes. ★★★★ Sarah Fox and James Burton [give] lovely relaxed performances - Planet Hugill [Sarah Fox] lends a classic feel to all the favourite, including I've Got You Under My Skin, I Get a Kick Out Of You and Anything Goes - The Lady A wholly delightful discMusicWeb International
  • A song recital which commemorates World War One brings to mind works by the poets and composers who fought valiantly for their country. But the affliction of the War was not restricted to the battlefields. As well as those who fought, there were those interned, those who stayed to defend their home, and those who were forced from their homes by the advancing armies.

    This recital draws its inspiration from those lives upturned by the Great War, whether friend or foe, soldier or civilian. Some survived the conflict to produce great catalogues of works. Others never made it home, penning their final songs in the mud of the trenches.

    Alongside established works, this recital programme introduces some little known songs to portray the humanity of those caught up in the torrent of The Great War.

    2CD Set, Price of a Single CD

  • Postcards

    £12.00
    The King’s Singers explore the folk songs and melodies of the world in a new programme entitled Postcards. In their own words: “In our travels we have amassed a wonderful collection of folksongs and popular songs from numerous countries, many of which we use as encores when we visit. The influences and sources are extraordinarily far-ranging, and each song has its own local characteristics. To celebrate the diversity of music that we perform and the numerous countries we visit each concert season, we have recorded an album of some of our favourite folksongs from around the world.”  Typically immaculate performances of songs collected by the King's Singers on their global travels, and used as encores. Velvet vocal blending is a given, and mellifluous arrangementsBBC Music Magazine
  • Dreamscape

    £12.00
    A unique programme of works by father and daughter. Sir Andrzej Panufnik was a leading Polish composer of the 20th Century, and his daughter Roxanna has made a name for herself in her own right as a contemporary composer in the 21st. This disc, programmed by Roxanna to combine works by both her and her father, explores the parallels between their two musical languages and forms a touching tribute to Andrzej from his daughter.
    This is intensely personal music-making, beautifully performedThe Observer
  • An invitation to stroll through the world of one of England’s greatest composers The young, virtuoso A Cappella ensemble VOCES8 return to disc on Signum with a sumptuous collection of early works by Henry Purcell. Joined by the specialist early-music ensemble ‘Les Inventions’, the group explores Purcell’s astoundingly diverse output – there is hardly a genre in which he did not express himself: anthems, odes, funeral music, semi- operas, masques, sonatas, consort-music, songs and catches populate his extraordinarily multifaceted œuvre. It is this astonishing diversity that we wish to celebrate by inviting the listener for a stroll through the world of one of England’s greatest composers.

    If anyone ever doubts Purcell's consummate genius, this CD - beautifully recorded and executed - ought to convince them. A great introduction to Purcell's many guisesChoir and Organ

    You won't hear Purcell sung better - Planet Hugill

    This is a lovely collection, reflective of the composer's eclectic talents, and beautifully performed - Early 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.
  • As 2014 heralds the composer’s 80th year, Harrison Birtwistle remains one of the most popular voices in contemporary composition in the UK and beyond. This new collection of premiere recordings draws together recent commissions with older works to mark the occasion, with characteristically flawless performances from the BBC Singers under Nicholas Kok. They are joined on this disc by the Nash Ensemble and baritone Roderick Williams.

    Best Classical CDs of 2014 The Guardian ★★★★★ Recorded after a memorable Proms UK premiere last year, The Moth Requiem is one of Birtwistle's most austerely beautiful works ... The Ring Dance of the Nazarene, featuring a standout contribution from Williams, is similarly striking, as are performances and recording - Classical Music Magazine Birtwistle’s characteristic melodic angularity and rhythmic complexity are duly represented in six pieces written between 1965 and 2012, including two strikingly evocative recent triumphs — the buoyantly mystic Ring Dance of the Nazarene and the shadowy, haunting Moth Requiem — with all of it sung supremely well - The New York Times Birtwistle is scaling new heights just now, and the elegiacMoth Requiem transports us to a sonic world of beguiling mystery. These singers have his music in their bones, presenting it with precision and sensitivity, be it the stark, monumental Carmen Paschale, a glistening gem of a Lullaby or the dynamic Ring Dance of the Nazarene- BBC Music Magazine
  • Alastair Miles is internationally recognised as one of the world’s leading basses, appearing regularly with acclaimed opera companies such as WNO, Glyndebourne, ENO and the Royal Opera, as well as with conductors such as Giulini, Harnoncourt, Muti, Rattle, Gergiev, Gardiner, Norrington, Davis and Dohnanyi.

    On this new recording he explores some gems of the Lieder repertoire from Hugo Wolf and Johannes Brahms, ably accompanied by pianist Marie-Nöelle Kendall.

    Alastair Miles's gravely sonorous bass is finely attuned to Brahms' and Wolf's vocal swan songs..... Miles's oaken depth of tone and amplitude of line are impressive and ultimately moving. He sings with feeling and understanding [and] Miles is a vivid narrator. It's a nobly sung recital confirming that the leading English operatic basso cantante is also a lieder singer of intelligence and insight - Gramophone

    After the 174 bars of hectic introduction to Wolf's Prometheus, Miles's voice bursts into the first line of the song with a vengeance. And so it continues through the programme - a rich and resonant tone, even throughout its easy range, excellent diction and a strong identification with the text. Marie-Noëlle Kendall's accompaniment matches her singer all the way and she seizes her opportunities to show her formidable technique without unbalancing the relationship - OperaNow

  • Composing over 150 works for piano and voice over a period of 44 years, the songs of Francis Poulenc remain consistently popular to concert audiences the world over. Varying in their individual style and character in a way that defies generalization, Poulenc set music to a wide range of different French poetry – both ancient and modern, and from the serious to the surreal. This is the fourth release in our series that will build to encompass the complete songs of Francis Poulenc – performed by some of the greatest singers of the day and accompanied by the exceptional Malcolm Martineau.

  • Coupling powerful interpretations with path-breaking scholarship, the choir Contrapunctus presents music by the best-known composers as well as unfamiliar masterpieces. Directed by Owen Rees, a specialist in music of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the group presents imaginative programmes revealing previously undiscovered musical treasures and throwing new light on familiar works. This recording explores the musical ‘cries of the oppressed’ from opposite ends of Europe, which include some of the most powerful works composed in England and Portugal during this period by Byrd, Tallis, Monte and Cardoso. The highlight perhaps is the first recording of a newly reconstructed vocal work by Thomas Tallis, Libera nos. This has long been thought to be an instrumental work, and has been recorded as such, but there’s persuasive historical evidence for us to be confident that this is in fact a choral setting of the antiphon Libera nos, and it is performed here with the relevant text restored to the five vocal parts. A rich seam of material by such as Tallis, Byrd and Cardoso - The Independent Exemplary... Pristine performances by Owen Rees’s Contrapunctus choir - The Times Experience and vocal excellence merge in the singing of Contrapunctus to produce performances extraordinary even by the British vocal group’s own high standards - Sinfini
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