• 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?.

  • 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.

  • 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 second release in a new series charts the complete songs of Francis Poulenc, performed by some of the greatest singers of the day and accompanied by the exceptional Malcolm Martineau.

    Praise for the first disc includes:
    "Lisa Milne performs wonderfully throughout this Poulenc disc. She really sings the French as to the Manoir born … A nicely balanced and arranged recital for all of these voices, so a promising start to this new Poulenc series."

     

    Hilary Finch and Andrew McGregor, CD Review, BBC Radio 3

     

     

  • 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 generalisation, Poulenc set his music to a wide range of French poetry – both ancient and modern, and from the serious to the surreal.

    This release marks the first in a new series charting the complete songs of Francis Poulenc, performed by some of the greatest singers of the day and accompanied by the exceptional Malcolm Martineau. Future releases will feature several works that have never before been recorded.

    This disc includes the vocal works: Cocardes, Metamorphoses, Chansons gaillardes, À sa guitare, Épitaphe sur un texte de Malherbe, Trois Poèmes de Louise de Vilmorin, Bleuet, Dernier poème, Rosemonde, Fiançailles, Parisiana and La Courte Paille.

  • 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 third 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.

    Praise for the first disc includes:
    "Lisa Milne performs wonderfully throughout this Poulenc disc. She really sings the French as to the Manoir born … A nicely balanced and arranged recital for all of these voices, so a promising start to this new Poulenc series."
    Hilary Finch and Andrew McGregor, CD Review, BBC Radio 3

     
     
  • 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
  • Poetry Serenade brings together four top british singers to perform the newest masterpieces from Brian Knowles, based on the work of poets including William Wordsworth, Thomas Hood and Christina Georgina Rossetti. The eighteen songs on Poetry Serenade have been chosen to give the listener an eclectic array of the differing texts and contrasting styles of composition. A disc marvelled with talent, not only from the principle voices but also the RSVP Voices, the Brighton Festival Youth Choir and the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.

    Elin Manahan Thomas Juliette Pochin
    Jon Christos Nick Garrett
    FOREWORD by ALAN TITCHMARSH
    Brian Knowles is that rare thing - a composer of great originality who can also write good tunes! This CD is a terrific example of his work in setting some of the nation’s favourite poems to music. Having enjoyed Brian’s work myself for many years now, I’m happy to think that this CD will ensure it of a wider audience. His is a talent that deserves greater recognition and I congratulate him on a tremendous achievement.
    Alan Titchmarsh MBE
  • Piangete

    £12.00

    Signum Records is delighted to announce that the ensemble Concerto delle Donne will release their first disc on Signum Records in 2003. The disc will feature the cantatas and motets of Giacomo Carissimi.

    Carissimi is sometimes thought of as a "one-work composer" known to the average music-lover only for his oratorio Jephte. Choral Societies looking for 17th century music earlier than Purcell are therefore likely to choose Jephte.

    Alastair Ross first became interested in Carissimi’s music for the 3-soprano Concerto delle Donne line-up when he was asked to prepare a programme “Handel and his predecessors in Italy” for the 1977 Göttingen Festival. A review of Carissimi's oeuvre showed that there were several pieces by Carissimi in the library of Christ Church Oxford just waiting to be performed by the group! He chose the cantata Siam tre miseri piangenti which has become a regular item in their concerts and which is central to this recording. It’s a marvellous piece, full of pain, suffering and anger. The three voices really are equal in the way they intertwine and react to one another. Donna Deam’s solo Piangete and Gill Ross' and Elin Thomas’s duet Ahi, non torna are similar in mood. Maybe in our cynical 21st century we find it difficult to relate to these highly emotional, self-obsessed, texts, but there’s no denying that they inspired some wonderful music! Va dimanda al mio pensiero’ and Si dia bando, alla speranza are lighter in mood – both attractive, tuneful pieces.

    There is plenty of variety in the church music as well. Cum reverteretur David, which begins the CD, is brilliant and virtuosic, a dramatic account of the rivalry between David and Saul. The duet Exulta, gaude, filia Sion is a joyful celebration of Christmas. In Benedictus Deus et Pater the voices weave rich dissonances to convey the suffering of the text; there’s something of the mood of Allegri’s Miserere here.

    In addition to the vocal pieces the disc includes a set of variations by Frescobaldi and Michelangelo Rossi’s flamboyant and chromatic Toccata Settima for harpsichord, together with Kapspereger’s charming improvisations for chittarone.

    We believe that only one of the Carissimi pieces on this CD, Exulta, gaude, filia Sion, has been recorded before, so the disc will be an important event in the recorded-music world, and one which we hope will revive interest in this unjustly neglected composer.

    ★★★★ An impressive release - Choir & Organ An important and rewarding release - Early Music Review
  • The music contained in this CD represents a selection of Vespers movements written by the organist Johann Pachelbel. They have in common the distinctively sonorous scoring of four or five-part choir, accompanied by a six-part string orchestra to which is added, at the composer’s express request, a bassoon.

    ‘Charivari Agréable is one of the most versatile Early Music groups around at the moment; under its benign director, Kah-Ming Ng, it appears to be infinitely adaptable, finding musicians who can fit into any of its many and varied programmes’ International Record Review. They represent ‘a new and very exciting phase of the early music revival, one that enriches the existing repertory and can bring us ever closer to the spirit of the original music’ Gramophone.

    Described by The Times as a group that has “stayed in character over four decades, yet retuned 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 critically acclaimed vocal ensembles in the world, performing a rich and varied repertoire from Gesualdo to György Ligeti and Michael Bublé. Internationally recognised for their work in the classical field, they retain the sparkle that delights so many fans when they perform much loved numbers from the lighter end of the repertoire. Whatever the music 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.

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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