• Signum Classics are proud to release the fourth disc from The King's Singers on Signum Classics - 1605: Treason and Dischord. On 5 November 1605 Guy Fawkes was caught preparing to detonate 36 barrels of gunpowder under the House of Lords unveiling an act of attempted treason that shocked the whole of Europe. What led a group of young Catholic men to risk their lives for their faith? 400 years later the King’s Singers and Concordia illuminate the dangers of hearing Mass in secret, of conspiracy and downfall, and of protestant relief and celebration, through a project of music and prose. The music, structured around Byrd’s perfect 4-part Mass, contains motets by Catholic composers, balanced with protestant anthems celebrating the downfall of the plot, and a commission from the British composer, Francis Pott. Master Tresham: His Ducke reflects on the ‘9/11’ of its day - 5/11/1605. The script, drawing on historic texts and written by Deborah Mackay for the quatercentenary concert series related to this CD, uses the dramatised persona of William Byrd, the most famous composer of his age, to recreate the atmosphere of change and hope in the Jacobean court. ★★★★ The performers bring verve and forceful emotional fervour to these works of protest - Classic FM Magazine A brilliant fusion of Renaissance and contemporary idioms - The Scotsman Strongly recommended - International Record Review There is never a question of technical polish and precision with the King’s Singers - American Record Guide
  • Discover 50 of the most relaxing pieces of classical music, featuring recordings by The King's Singers, Fretwork, Alessio Bax and Tamsin Waley-Cohen. A new Signum compilation, this digital exclusive is available to buy and stream on iTunes, Apple Music and Spotify.
  • 2012 marks the 15th anniversary of the first release from the leading independent classical label Signum Records. Beginning life as an early music specialist (with a landmark release of the Complete Works of Thomas Tallis with Chapelle du Roi), Signum has grown since 1997 to a catalogue of over 300 releases across a wide range of genres. In this A Cappella collection, you can hear a wide rage of works by The King's Singers, The Swingle Singers, BBC Singers, Tenebrae, Voces8 and many more all on one disc - all selected from titles across the Signum catalogue. The repertoire stretches from Monteverdi to Michael Jackson and is dispatched with consummate ease by all involved -  Choir & Organ
  • International award-winning octet Voces8 has established itself as the foremost young British a cappella vocal group. Performing a repertoire ranging from Renaissance polyphony to unique jazz and pop arrangements, the group has been praised for stunning performance, exquisite singing and creating a sound that spans the entire range of vocal colour. A Choral Tapestry explores the rich vocal timbres of sacred vocal music spanning five centuries. Interweaving genres create an ethereal sonic tapestry that centres around the haunting beauty of William Byrd's Mass for Four Voices. The programme includes anthems and motets from the English Chapel Royal, the Sistine Chapel in Rome and St. Thomas' Church, Leipzig. VOCES8 are as good as any vocal ensemble I have heard for many a year and the material on this CD is well chosen and superbly sung - Cross Rhythms Following their Bach Motets, choral octet Voces8 branch further afield with A Choral Tapestry, programming devotional material from across the spectrumThe Independent
  • 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

  • Despite the tradition of passing folk songs from generation to the next, aurally, the Irish folk song had lost its importance somewhat in 19th century Ireland, but by the turn of the twentieth-century the revival of Ireland’s native music was coming to a head. Belfast-born Herbert Hughes set about collecting and distributing Irish airs. From there he began arranging the melodies for voice and piano, but at a lecture in Dublin pointed out the relationship between the original song, as sung by ‘the peasant, giving voice to an ancient tradition’ and the same song as put into print with a piano accompaniment. This original disc brings together both the old and the new, transforming the traditional folk song into an ‘art-song.’ The 25 folk songs tell of stories both happy and sad and make this disc as much a literary landscape, as a musical one with words by Thomas Moore & James Joyce. Beautifully performed by Ailish Tynan & Iain Burnside. ★★★★★ Soprano Ailish Tynan's feeling for the musical idiom and, above all, the poetry of her countrymen, matched by Burnside's delightfully poetic pianism, prove irresistible. Highly recommended - Classic FM  
  • Aces High

    £12.00
    The international award-winning octet VOCES8 has established itself as the foremost young British a cappella group. Performing a repertoire ranging from Renaissance polyphony to unique Jazz and Pop arrangements, the group has been praised for stunning performance, exquisite singing and creating a sound that spans the entire range of vocal colour. ACES HIGH is an album that flows like a fine cocktail - delicious from start to finish! It evokes the story of a perfect night out, transporting you to the glamorous world of high society, passion and daring intrigue.
  • 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
  • In their debut disc on Signum, the Caius choir celebrates the relationship between seven British contemporary composers and their influences drawn from the Medieval period. Fascinating stuff - Classic FM Magazine One or two surprisingly mature voices step out for solos from this young choir, and the blend and tuning are generally of a very high standard - Choir and Organ The Choir of Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge is impressively at home in this consummately difficult repertoire - Classics Today
  • Iain Burnside and Ailish Tynan return to Signum with their second disc of Irish Songs and arrangements – this time from a range of different 20th Century composers. Although all of the sung texts stem from Irelands rich heritage of literature (including poems from W.B. Yeats, Thomas Moore and James Joyce), the composers featured here have a more transatlantic feel, with works by John Cage and Samuel Barber programmed alongside others by Benjamin Britten and Herbert Hughes.
    Ailish Tynan’s singing [is] totally compellingBBC Radio 3 Record Review
    Editor's Choice: The disc is full of interest. There are lovely, unknown tunes, seductively sung and hauntingly harmonised. It has pathos and wild joy in equal measure. An excellent recital -  Classic FM Magazine
    Iain Burnside is a dream of an accompanistLa Scena Musicale
  • Tolstoy's Anna Karenina is a masterwork of 19th Century literature; a parable on the struggle for personal freedom against the conventions of a hostile society, played out in a tragic love-story. With a libretto by the distinguished director Colin Graham after the novel by Leo Tolstoy, David Carlson's opera vividly captures the drama and message of the original work. This double-disc set is a world premiere recording of the opera, with commanding performances from members of the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra conducted by Stewart Robertson. There is a lot to admire in this dramatic, expressive scoreOpera Now Magazine
  • Star tenor Andrew Kennedy is accompanied by Southbank Sinfonia in this collection of arias by three unique Classical-era composers. This disc showcases some of the best in young British musical talent, with rising star tenor Andrew Kennedy and Southbank Sinfonia, conducted by Simon Over. Their programme explores three phases of the Classical era, with early arias from Gluck, later classical works by Mozart, and the beginnings of Romanticism with Berlioz. Performance ★★★★ Recording ★★★★ The promise shown by Andrew Kennedy has been confirmed by his rapidly developing international career. His voice has grown in strength, well beyond the stereotypical 'English tenor' bleat - BBC Music Magazine Kennedy’s bright, firm tenor is equal to the demands of Gluck’s haute-contre parts. [Moreover], Simon Over and the Southbank Sinfonia are crystal-clear accompanists and the overture to Tito is splendid - The Times The Southbank Sinfonia plays vivaciously under Simon Over - The Daily Telegraph [Kennedy's voice] is always clear in definition and often, as in Pylades' aria and Tito's three solos, gracefully poised - Gramophone
  • 2012 marks the 15th anniversary of the first release from the leading independent classical label Signum Records. Beginning life as an early music specialist (with a landmark release of the Complete Works of Thomas Tallis with Chapelle du Roi), Signum has grown since 1997 to a catalogue of over 300 releases across a wide range of genres. In this Art Song collection we bring together performances from across Signum's catalouge by singers including John Mark Ainsley, Sarah Connolly, Philip Langridge, Felicity Lott, Mark Padmore, Andrew Kennedy, Roderick Williams, Ailish Tynan and Hila Plitmann. This generous culling of 25 songs from 20 albums released in the past 15 years has a delectable cast of British and Irish voices in songs from Beethoven to Weir - BBC Music Magazine
  • Described as “one of the finest song composers of his generation”, Ian Venables’ music for voice and string quartet draws on a wealth of literary and musical sources, in particular from the 19th Century romantic tradition. Performances on this disc come from British tenor Andrew Kennedy and the award winning Dante Quartet. Stylish and graceful melodic invention, vividly realised in Andrew Kennedy's plangent tenor and the keenly judged playing of the Dantes - The Observer In his writing for strings, the instruments sing - one could almost fancy they had words written into their parts - Gramophone This is a distinguished and eloquent set of songs - MusicWeb International
  • Voces8 return to disc with this new recording of J.S.Bach's Motets, BWV 225-230. Joined by the Senesino Players, this young group prove their versatility and skill in performing some of Bach's most challenging and engaging compositions. The singing is crisp and accurate … The period performance movement has demonstrated how to bring life and energy back to Bach's choral textures, but none of the big names have produced anything that is quite as much fun as this - MusicWeb International One can only marvel at the group's remarkable collective skill and cohesion - Fanfare Magazine
  • The second in a two part set of Beethoven's Lieder und Gesänge, with the luminous collaboration between the tenor, John Mark Ainsley and his accompanist Iain Burnside. Beethoven himself was not a keen song writer, yet despite this almost half of his total works call for a voice. This disc includes some of the best of those compositions. John Mark Ainsley is accomplished as both a concert and operatic vocalist, performing at some of the most well renowned venues in the world. As well as having great experience and success as a live artist he also benefits from an extensive discography which covers repertoire from Bach to Stravinsky. Iain Burnside enjoys a unique reputation as pianist and broadcaster and is most recognised for his collaborations with leading international singers. This will be Iain's seventh disc with Signum Classics. There is something monumental about John Mark Ainsley’s Beethoven. Iain Burnside’s fluid playing is delightful, while Ainsley’s artistry is fascinating - The Independent John Mark Ainsley’s instinctive musicianship at its best, perhaps, in ‘An Die Ferne Geliebte’, ‘To A Distant Beloved’, or as the poetic translation in the booklet would have it,’ To My Dear Girl, So Far Away’ - BBC Radio 3 Record Review John Mark Ainsley’s delivery is faultless, his masterly control of the line revealing profound emotion in these often under-estimated gems; Burnside’s piano parts are beautifully judged, too. This joins the Goerne as one of the finest lieder recordings I have heard in years. Put them at the top of your list - Klassisk Musikkmagasin
  • The first in a two part set of Beethoven's Lieder und Gesänge. Beethoven himself was not a keen song writer, yet despite this almost half of his total works call for a voice. This disc includes some of the best of those compositions. Ann Murray has appeared with some of the world's greatest orchestras and conductors, her discography reflects both her broad concert and operatic repertoire and also her great operatic roles. Roderick Williams is active in the opera house, on the concert platform and in recital, encompassing a repertoire from baroque to world premieres. He has performed with all BBC orchestras and other acclaimed ensembles internationally. Iain Burnside enjoys a unique reputation as pianist and broadcaster and is most recognised for his collaborations with leading international singers. This will be Iain's sixth disc with Signum Classics. ★★★★ Williams’s subtle baritone adapts to each challenge. Joining him, the rich toned mezzo, Ann Murray, is also fine, particularly in the four subtly different versions of Goethe’s Sehnsucht - The Times ★★★★ Iain Burnside provides vivid accompaniments - BBC Music Magazine  
  • Signum Records are pleased to present a debut recording by the Brabant Ensemble, an Oxford-based ensemble with a strong reputation for sympathetic performance of early sacred music, focussing on the repertoire of the 16th century. Like many of even the most prolific and celebrated composers of the sixteenth century, Jacobus Clemens non Papa (‘not the Pope’) has offered the history books little factual material with which to work. In contrast to the paucity of biographical material, however, many sources of Clemens' music survive. Indeed, he is one of the most widely published musicians of the entire century with fifteen Masses, over two hundred motets, many Dutch psalms and French chansons to his name. This disc features the Mass Ecce quam bonum, which is based on Clemen’s own motet setting of Psalm 133, ‘Behold, how good and joyful a thing it is: brethren, to dwell together in unity!’ Apart from that on which the Mass setting is modelled, all of the motets on this disc are in five parts, although their textures are varied. Pascha nostrum sets the text of the Easter Anthem. The Song of Song’s motet Veni electa mea is highly characteristic of mid-sixteenth century spirituality, with the eroticism of the Song of Songs harnessed to provide a metaphor for the Church as bride of Christ. Accesserunt ad Jesum introduces Jesus’s admonition to the Pharisees concerning the estate of marriage. In Job tonso capite, a highly emotive narration of Job accepting his many trials, Clemen’s delivers an immediate approach to word-painting. The final piece on this disc, Carole, Magnus eras is a secular work: a state motet addressed to the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and his son, Philip II of Spain. Since the text celebrates the achievements of the Emperor but promises even greater things under his son, it was probably composed at the time of Philip’s investiture as Regent of the Low Countries in 1549. The bell-like soprano sound is particularly attractive - Daily Telegraph Irresistible...it will change your life - Early Music Review An outstanding recording - International Record Review
  • 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
  • As part of the celebration Britten's Centenery in 2013, this new recording presents Britten's five Canticles, performed by tenor Ben Johnson with James Baillieu accompanying. Ben Johnson describes his attraction to these works in his self-penned notes for the disc: "Each is deep with meaning or subversion, a trademark of Britten’s music to a modern audience. In their very performance they glide through such variety of style that it makes them wonderfully difficult to categorise. They are song, opera, cantata and chamber music, and so they correspond with the most delicate of intimacy and to the most effective of grand gesture … In his biography of Britten, Humphrey Carpenter points out the close links between the Canticles and Britten’s operas. This answers in part their difference from the ‘usual’ song repertoire: their religious flavour (a stronger taste in some than others) mixed with the circumstances of their composition make for a unique strand in Britten’s output." A superb collection containing some of the most intensely beautiful of all Britten's vocal writing - The Guardian Released as part of the celebration of Britten’s centenary, this CD comes highly recommended - The Northern Echo
  • Britten’s extraordinary skill and fluency for setting his native language has sometimes obscured his flair for his settings of foreign poetry; some of his very finest are in German, Latin, Italian and Russian. Susan Gritton and Mark Padmore perform these songs with vigour, marvellously accompanied by Iain Burnside and do great justice to songs which many would regard as being the most distinctive and very finest examples of Britten’s art. ★★★★★ A powerfully eloquent performance - The Guardian ★★★★★ Flawless music-making of the first order - BBC Music Magazine ★★★★★ The superior qualityof the music-making here matches that of the music itself. A great album - Classic FM Magazine [An] ingenious programme - The Daily Telegraph Pianist Iain Burnside traverses this vast, impressive terrain with stylish ease - The Sunday Times Mark Padmore's singing of the Michelangelo Sonnets has all the grace of the young Pears without his mannerisms... Iain Burnside is a tower of strength throughout - The Sunday Telegraph
  • Masses by Frye and Plummer from the Brussels 5557 manuscript. The manuscript Brussels 5557 was probably compiled for the marriage of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, and Margaret of York in July 1468. A number of illuminations, including one at the start of Missa Flos Regalis, develop a theme of chastity and fidelity which accords with the nuptial spirit. However, the music itself belongs to the 1450s or even earlier. These masses are the late-bottled vintage of a style which, in a poem of circa 1440, Martin le Franc refers to as 'la contenance angloise'. They are harmonically rich and fruity, but built to last. The two masses on this recording are complemented by motets by a third English composer, John Bedyngham.
  • 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
  • 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
  • Emilia

    £12.00
    Emilia is one of the most promising new talents of her generation, and in her short career has already performed before illustrious figures such as Princess Anne and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Aged 11 when this disc was recorded, Emilia is one of Signum Record’s youngest artists. Emilia made her debut singing Rule Britannia at The Sail for Gold Ball 2004 when she was just nine. Since then she has completed a full-time chorister post at Salisbury Cathedral, leaving in July 2008 with a music scholarship. During this period she has sung in Venice (San Marco), performing in many of the Great Cathedrals of Tuscany and a tour of Vienna and Salzburg. The young soprano sings a selection of traditional folk tunes including The Last Rose of Summer and Steal Away, alongside Handel’s Laschia ch’io Pianga and IF by Michael Nyman, who proclaimed Emilia’s technique and sound as being “absolutely gorgeous”.
  • In recent years, Patrick Hawes has emerged as one of the country’s most popular and inspirational composers. Born in Lincolnhire, he studied music as an organ scholar at Durham University, and soon went on to make an impact in the world of choral music. ★★★★★ Patrick Hawes has carved out a niche as a contemporary composer who writes melodic, atmospheric and, frankly, beautiful music - Gramophone Hawes’s admirers will find much here to confirm their warm response to his music’s quiet strength and individuality... The excellent performances feature the tawny loveliness of Julian Lloyd Webber’s cello-playing, plus two fine solo singers - Classic FM Magazine
  • For You

    £18.00
    For You is a new opera that brings together the music of composer and BBC Radio 3 presenter Michael Berkeley and Booker-prize winning author Ian McEwan. This gripping tale of love, lust and obsession centers on the composer and prodigious womanizer Charles Frieth (Alan Opie), and the tragic consequences that his selfish actions cause him and those around. Although essentially dark, there are moments of irony, wit, and humour throughout the opera. Soaring vocal lines, intricate ensemble pieces, and imaginative instrumental writing make this an electrifying work. Masterly performed by Music Theatre Wales, directed by Michael Rafferty.
    The music, conducted here by Michael Rafferty, is energetic, deftly coloured and carefully balanced, allowing the excellent voices, including Alan Opie’s Frieth, to make their due markThe Sunday Times It bristles with wit and lyricism, while giving other composers and librettists a lesson in how to drape operativ tradition in modern clothesThe Financial Times Berkeley’s score is lively, abrasive and strongly crafted … the performance (recorded live) is focused, with excellent orchestral playing and a strong central performance by Alan Opie -  The Daily Telegraph
  • Described by The Times as a group that has “stayed in character over four decades, yet returned itself to the times” and by Gramophone as “enchanting the ear from first to last note” The King’s Singers are truly remarkable They continue to be one of the most sought-after and critcally acclaimed vocal ensembles in the world, performing a rich and varied repertoire from Gesualso to György lIgeti and Michael Bublé. With a discography of over 100 recordings The King’s Singers have garnered both awards and significant critical acclaim. Their recent studio album Simple Gifts was awarded a Grammy in 2009. The coming year will see the release in the UK of The King’s Singers new album Swimming Over London, a disc that crosses genre borders in a way similar to Simple Gifts, using smooth jazz as the inspiration for new pieces and arrangements with the King’s Singers signature style and standards. The King's Singers have, as their many fans will testify, astonishing technical facility, and bring artistry to much of the music in their wide-ranging repertoire - BBC Music Magazine They've been going for over 40 years but they still sound as fresh as when they started. Some lovely arrangements, including Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah and [John Brunning's] Pie Jesu - Classic FM Magazine
  • Gaudete

    £5.00
    Arranged by Classic FM's Hall of Fame 2004 'top-ten-composer' Karl Jenkins, sung by crack professional choir - Tenebrae - Gaudete is released on SignumClassics both with drums and percussion and as a pure, unadulterated, a cappella version Founded as recently as 2001, Tenebrae has been embraced by the public and critics alike as one of the most innovative and gifted groups in Britain. Tenebrae’s motto is “passion and precision”, but they also believe in accessibility, performing various different types of music as long as it’s good music, sung well. Gaudete (“rejoice”) is an anonymous composition that was first published in 1582 in a collection of carols and other religious songs called Piae Cantiones. This collection, made by a Scandinavian called Peter Nyland, included a huge number of other Christmas melodies that have since become ‘standards’, but it only gives music for the chorus of Gaudete; the verses, which tell of the wonder of God’s arrival on earth in human form, have been taken from a Czech medieval song about the Virgin Mary, Ezechielis Porta.
  • Gesualdo

    £12.00
    Signum Records is proud to announce the release of the latest recording by The King's Singers: Gesualdo's Tenebrae Responsories for Maundy Thursday. The Italian Prince, Carlos Gesualdo, is probably most famous for the obsessive double murder of his first wife along with her lover, but his music is not always accredited with the same sense of celebrity. Gesualdo is known in traditional history books as an amateur composer. His music is characterised by wild gesticulation and abrupt starts and stops, particular to a composer who just didn’t know what he was doing. However, the 20th century has now uncovered our composer’s place in history as part of a larger movement of Neapolitan artists, and as perhaps the most forward-thinking, expressive and sensual composer of his time. The King’s Singers were fascinated by the naked honesty that is heard within this 400 year old music. It is so startling that it keeps its freshness of surprise even on many repeated hearings. The music portrays a desperate and wretched, but also passionate and loving person who is set on composing "further out" than anyone else. Gesualdo moved in the highest circles of Italy and was extremely wealthy. His decadent lifestyle allowed him to do and write exactly as he pleased, and at the tender age of 19 it brought him into close contact with one of the most attractive and admired women in Naples. Maria d’Avalos was twice widowed by the age of 25. Her marriage to Gesualdo was initially promising. However, Maria’s rich social life soon dominated the relationship and a profound and constant jealousy took possession of the young and highly sensitive composer. After four years of turmoil he hired professional murderers to assist him in killing wife and lover while they were in bed together. The violence and rage of the act is well-documented. After the murder of Maria, Gesualdo suffered from severe and increasing feelings of guilt. Penitence never left him and he was moved to compose church music of a most black and self-reproachful nature. The programme on this CD represents part of the liturgy for the Matins Offices on the final three days of Holy Week, the Triduum Sacrum. Each of the Matins services is divided into three nocturns, each containing psalmody, three lessons and three responsaries. The attention given to word-painting is exemplary - The Times A no holds barred, immaculately sung performance from the King's Singers. Unmissable - Classic FM Magazine
  • Around the time The King’s Singers was starting up, one of the most productive periods of song- writing in history was coming to a close in America, starting with composers such as Gershwin, Kern, Berlin and Porter in the early 1920s, and continuing through to the early 1960s.

    In this new 2-CD studio recording – featuring brand new a cappella arrangements by jazz composer and arranger Alexander L’Estrange, and swing-orchestra performances with the South Jutland Symphony Orchestra – The King’s Singers bring their own unique performance style to this wonderful music. The King’s Singers bring their unique style to some of the most beloved hits from the golden era of songwritingThe Lady
  • This is the third disc recorded by The Clerks' Group for their Signum Records trilogy. The series explores repertoire in the medieval period and culminates with a selection of works by Guillaume Dufay, found in one of the great anthologies of 15th century music: the manuscript Bologna, Civico Museo Bibliografico Musicale, MS Q15 (or "Q15" as it is known by its friends). The Q15 manuscript contains examples of almost every conceivable musical genre of the period by a vast array of composers. The Clerks' Group has chosen to perform works by a single composer, but still the variety of forms and styles on offer is bewildering. Guillaume Dufay was a composer who witnessed and contributed to most of the revolutionary changes to occur in music composition in the 15th century. The album includes some of the earlier works so often neglected from Dufay's repertoire, and goes on to explore compositions that demonstrate this revolutionary genius. Some compositional techniques celebrated by The Clerks' Group's performance include the playful exchange of Dufay's song-like melodies between the vocal lines; and the use of mensural canon, where the same melody is sung by all voices but at slightly different speeds. These are just a few examples of the radical nature of Dufay's music as demonstrated on this recording. The Clerks' Group brings immense diversity to the music and its performance. Their refreshing approach displays sincere empathy and passion for this astonishing repertory. Unexpectedly dazzling...The Clerks' Group sing beautifully - The Sunday Times
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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
  • A must-have for choral-aficionados everywhere that sees perhaps the world’s finest a cappella ensemble The King’s Singers join forces with The Concordia Choir – one of the USA’s best collegiate groups – to perform works by choral composers Eric Whitacre, Bob Chilcott and Morten Lauridsen.

    One of the world’s most celebrated ensembles, The King’s Singers have a packed schedule of concerts, recordings, media and education work that spans the globe. Championing the work of young and established composers, they remain consummate entertainers; a class-act with a delightfully British wit. From Gesualdo and György Ligeti to Michael Bublé, The King’s Singers are instantly recognisable for their spot-on intonation, their impeccable vocal blend, the flawless articulation of the text and incisive timing.

     

    The Concordia Choir of Moorhead, Minnesota is one of America’s finest a cappella choirs. Since 1920, the 72-voice choir has performed in nearly every major hall including Carnegie Hall and Kennedy Center and has taken numerous international tours. The Choir is broadcast throughout the United States on public radio stations and on television via its Emmy-award winning Concordia Christmas Concert.

    Includes the world premiere recordings of Alone by Eric Whitacre, and High Flightanyone lived in a pretty how town and Days by Bob Chilcott

     

     

     

     

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • After the triumphant success of the King’s Singers last Christmas Album released in 2003 entitled ‘Christmas’, this new disc sets an eclectic assortment of modern Christmas classics with special arrangements of some much loved favourites.
    Stand-out moments include Tchaikovsky's thoughtful The Crown of Roses, Lawson's gentle Lullay my Liking and Pierpont's hyperactively jolly jingle bells, which they whizz through as though the words 'technically challenging' had vanished from the dictionaryBBC Music Magazine An eminently enjoyable release that will please fans of The King’s Singers and lovers of Christmas music alikeMusicWeb International A delightful holiday releaseAll Music Guide
  • 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
  • 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

  • Now and again a choir director finds he has an exceptional voice at his disposal. Andrew Swait was only ten years old when this disc was made - his voice was the original inspiration for the disc - and it features his outstandingly colourful tone quality and musicianship. In choosing the repertoire, we kept in mind the integrity of the great English church music tradition. We decided to do what choirs - their men and boys - do best in this country; sing, enjoy and relish the music of that tradition. Solo arias are interspersed with full choir numbers, some featuring treble solos and duets. Works by Schubert and Rachmaninoff are coupled with works from our own English masters, Sir Hubert Parry and John Rutter. Morten Lauridsen’s setting of Ubi caritas, combines a lushness of texture with the age-old plainsong melody. We hope you will enjoy this collection from Tewkesbury. Benjamin Nicholas
  • Whether from his years touring Europe as a virtuoso pianist or from his later émigré life in Paris and Weimar, Franz Liszt reflects in his song texts his ‘polyglot’ attraction to 19th-Century culture, shown in these setting of French, German, Italian, English, Russian and Hungarian words.

     

     

  • Signum Records is delighted to announce the debut disc of Cantabile - Lullabyes and Goodbyes. The disc has been long in preparation and is the first to be recorded by Cantabile since On the Tracks of the Comedian Harmonists. Cantabile, are one of Britain’s longest- established vocal ensembles. Since they became widely known in the early nineteen-eighties they have mastered a wide array of musical styles and their flair for the stage continues to keep them in demand in theatres and cabaret as well as in concert halls and at festivals. The four voices blend beautifully and there isn't a sour note to be heard. Diction is consistently crystal clear [and] the contribution of Malcolm Martineau is first rateMusicWeb International
  • 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
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