• 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
  • Signum Classics are proud to release the King's Singers fifth disc on Signum; Sacred Bridges. For thousands of years, the biblical Psalter has been the liturgical “heart” of the three main book religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The Psalms announce the word of God and, simultaneously, contain the full range of human experience. Jews, Christians and Muslims sing and listen to the same songs of lament and joy, confessions of sin, hymns of praise and adoration. In this project of the King’s Singers and Sarband, psalm settings by composers from three religions give an example of how psalms can be a source of spirituality, a political instrument, a link between tradition and modernity and, above all, a bridge connecting human beings. Immaculate blend, perfect tuning and crystal diction ... Superb performances across the cultural divide show that great art transcends political differences - The Times A fascinating, attractive, beautifully performed-album - Gramophone Perfectly judged and beautifully blended sound - Classic FM Magazine An intriguing disc, and far more than a curiosity - Early Music Review A real gift to ... music lovers that need a special musical holiday gift - Mid West Record Recap
  • Sir Michael Tippett's great masterpieces - Boyhood's End and The Heart's Assurance - are coupled here with some of his editions of songs by Henry Purcell, and Benjamin Britten's companion piece to Boyhood's End - Canticle 1. Superbly performed by John Mark Ainsley and Iain Burnside, an added treat is the performance of Tippett and Bergman's edition of Pelham Humfrey's setting of John Donne's A Hymn to God the Father.

    John Mark Ainsley is one of the world's leading tenors. He has worked with the Berlin Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic and the Vienna Philharmonic, and has appeared with the San Fransisco Opera, and as Der Daemon in the world premiere of Henze's L'Upupa.

    Iain Burnside has performed with artists including Dame Margaret Price and Susan Chilcott. As a broadcaster he has recently won a Sony Radio Award.

    Remember Your Lovers
    Sir Michael Tippett
    John Mark Ainsley Tenor
    Iain Burnside Piano

  • When an ensemble like the BBC Singers, renowned for its commitment to the music of our own time, sets out to record a Christmas CD you can be sure that the repertoire will include material rather different from the usual run of popular standards and arrangements! One star at last includes eight new carols (six of them specially-commissioned by BBC Radio 3), several premiere recordings, and a selection of music - serious and light-hearted, contemplative and joyful - by some of the leading British, European and North American choral composers of the day. Astonishingly high standards of choral singing ... excellent performances and the organ contributions by Robert Quinney are all splendid ... Enthusiastically recommendedMusicweb International
  • 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
  • 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
  • The King's Singershave combined one of the greatest vocal compositions of all time with modern recording technology and customary style to produce a truly stunning recording of Thomas Tallis' Spem in alium. This is a unique opportunity to hear every part in Spem sung and recorded to perfection, with the six King's Singers dividing the forty parts of Spem in alium between them, in this multi-track recording the disc is in full surround sound, and is a CD/SACD hybrid. This disc can be played on any standard CD or SACD player. In addition, there is a 4.0 surround-sound mix on the SACD layer. A bold and fascinating performance - Classic FM So impressive - Choir & Organ
  • Following Sarah Connolly's series of title roles at English National Opera, Glyndebourne and New York's Metropolitan Opera in 2005, this live recital was recorded at St. John's, Smith Square, London, having been premiered at Carnegie Hall earlier in the year. Accompanied by Eugene Asti, Sarah Connolly sings songs by Haydn, Brahms, Hahn, Korngold and Weill. Her distinctive, intelligent, warm, bright-sounding mezzo-soprano will be enjoyed by her growing 'army' of fans in this rich, romantic repertoire. Hugely impressive disc, testifying to the versatility and range of a singer who has already drawn comparisons with Janet Baker - The Guardian One of our most refined mezzos - The Observer Exquisitely articulated and accompanied - BBC Music Magazine A national treasure - The Evening Standard Connolly's lovely singing reaches to the sensuous core - The Daily Telegraph
  • Much loved mezzo-soprano, Susan Bickley, and fast-rising stars Ailish Tynan and Andrew Kennedy perform songs written by one of Britain's leading composers, Judith Weir

    With works ranging from minature to epic, these songs showcase the originality and talent of one of music's great storytellers. Superbly accompanied by Iain Burnside, these strong performances masterfully bring together Weir's diverse range of literary and musical influences from many international sources, including China, Africa and Serbia as well as her native Scotland.

  • Francis George Scott is a key figure in Scotland's musical history. Often referred to as Scotland's Hugo Wolf, his poetic settings draw on material from such writers as Robert Burns and Hugh McDiarmid to convey an extraordinary range of emotions and themes.

    This new recording featuring masterful performances by Lisa Milne, Roderick Williams and Iain Burnside helps to shed light on an often overlooked composer, whose work stems from both the spirit of his national identity and the tradition of the great European song composers.

    Including the works:
    Milkwort and Bog-cotton
    Country Life
    The Eemis Stane
    Moonstruck
    Amang the Treets
    Ay Waukin, O
    The Man in the Moon
    The Wee Man
    The Watergaw
    Te Deil o Bogie
  • Julie Andrews frolicked across the Alps singing it in The Sound of Music and generations of children have learnt their musical scales by remembering it. Now Do-Re-Mi has been traced back more than 2000 years to one of the greatest poets of ancient Rome. According to a book to be published next month, the origins of the song lie far from the female deer and ray of golden sun in the Rodgers and Hammerstein version sung by Andrews to the von Trapp children. Instead it was penned as a mnemonic by a medieval Italian monk who drew on a melody which accompanied Horace's Ode to Phyllis, written in the 1st century BC. The research has been carried out by Stuart Lyons, who won a classics scholarship to King's College, Cambridge. "The monk who invented Do-Re-Mi told a lie about it because he didn't want to go to the stake (for heresy)," Lyons said. "The melody truly belonged to the Ode," said Lyons. "It is the most exciting thing that has ever happened to me in academic discovery. It is incredible to solve a mystery that is 1,000 years old. " A fascinating and highly recommended CD of the Ode’s first performance in modern times, performed by King’s Singer Christopher Gabbitas and lutenist David Miller - Musical Opinion Pleasantly performed by Christopher Gabbitas- of the King's Singers - and the excellent lutenist David Miller, the results are pleasant and intriguing listening - MusicWeb International  
  • 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  
  • Andrew Kennedy performs Vaughan Williams’ great and innovative work, On Wenlock Edge, nearly one hundred years after its premiere performance in 1909. Written for tenor, piano and string quartet Williams explored a chamber combination previously unexplored by other English composers. Followed by Ludlow & Teme and Songs of Eternity & Sorrow Op.36 by Ivor Gurney & Ian Venables, this disc provides the listener with renditions from three great English composers ranging from the late nineteenth- century to the present day, performed beautifully by Andrew Kennedy, Simon Crawford-Phillips & the Dante Quartet. Kennedy has a big, bright, expressive tenor voice and uses it with fervour, delicacy and imagination ... A thoughtfully realised recital - The Independent on Sunday Kennedy's young tenor sounds utterly at ease in this CD of Housman settings by Vaughan Williams, Ivor Gurney and Ian Venables ... his musicianship is appealing, and the Dante Quartet accompany with gusto - The Times The first of what I hope will be a flood of Vaughan Williams CDs to mark the 50th anniversary of his death has arrived, and very fine it is too ... Kennedy copes marvellously with the music's kaleidoscopic, constantly changing moods ... Venables's four settings come as an unexpected bonus, and cap an outstanding CD no lover of British music should miss - The Mail on Sunday Venables' songs are sharply responsive to the weight and meaning of every word, and his style ... around Kennedy's voice like a glove ... The tenor handles the texts superbly, making every word perfectly clear - The Guardian This is a powerful cycle, worth hearing. All the participants respond well to its requirements, as they do to the Vaughan Williams and Gurney songs - International Record Review
  • 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
  • The Chinese poet, Du Fu (712-770), received no recognition in his lifetime but is now regarded as one of China’s finest poets. His poems appear in Roth’s work, Songs in Time of War, a stunning compilation of songs from Du Fu’s experiences in civil war China, beautifully arranged for tenor, violin, harp and guitar.

    Inspired by a visit to Vancouver’s Chinese garden (in authentic Ming Dynasty style), Roth sketched musical ideas for the four songs, Chinese Gardens. The original version has since been revised for Mark Padmore and Morgan Szymanski who perform for the first time on this recording.

     
         
  • The initial impetus for Songs of Innocence came from Andrew Swait who was extremely keen to investigate repertoire rarely sung by a treble; indeed, several of the songs featured are world premiere recordings.

    After rehearsals with Andrew Plant in the summer of 2007, Andrew Swait’s immense enthusiasm for Britten’s unpublished student works was soon evident and is as evident in this fresh recording a year on. A wonderful collaboration of English and American 20th century song.

    A chorister of Cheltenham College and former chorister of the Abbey School Tewkesbury, Andrew Swait (b.1994) has already enjoyed an extremely successful solo career, performing as principal soloist on Light of the World (SIGCD068) in 2005 and appearing as a soloist with choirs around Britain and Europe.
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