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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 score - Opera Now Magazine
If it were not for the operas of Gioachino Rossini, the operatic repetory of the mezzo soprano would lack some of its most interesting characters and music. Silvia Tro Santafé proves herself a true ‘Rossini Mezzo’ in this collection of scenes and arias, accompanied by the excellent Orquesta Sinfónica de Narvarra and Lluís Vich Vocalis. This voice is one fine instrument, at times as luxuriant as rippling grey silk, at others glinting like flexible metal, always thoroughly enjoyable as pure sound - Opera Magazine A most impressive recital - The Gramophone Tro Santafé's unique vocal qualities illuminate the music with fresh colors and interpretive accents … this is an excellent disc that more than stands up to the competition - MusicalCriticism.com
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
Swimming Over London is a new studio?album of jazz?inspired hits and recent commissions performed by The King’s Singers, and is a follow up to their Grammy Award?winning crossover album Simple Gifts.
This album covers a huge range of pop and jazz?inspired influences – from old favourites (Nat King Cole’s Straighten up and fly right, Arlen & Gershwin’s It’s a New World and Hogey Carmichael’s Lazy Bones) to modern hits (Michael Bublé’s Home, Jason Mraz’s I’m Yours and Imogen Heaps Hide and Seek). Commissions especially for the album come from Bob Chilcott, Mia Makaroff, Ysaye M. Barnwell and Roger Treece.
A special King’s Singers arrangement of Mika’s By the time is also featured, inspired by their performance with him for the 2009 Mencap Little Noise sessions at the Union Chapel.
“They are always breathtakingly impressive in their vocal virtuosity, blend and pinpoint intonation.”
American Record Guide
“They are still unmatched for their sheer musicality and ability to entertain.”
“...a musical group of the very highest order.”
David Hurley countertenor
Timothy Wayne-Wright countertenor
Paul Phoenix tenor
Philip Lawson baritone
Christopher Gabbitas baritone
Stephen Connolly bass
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 mark - The Sunday Times It bristles with wit and lyricism, while giving other composers and librettists a lesson in how to drape operativ tradition in modern clothes - The 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
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
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 compelling - BBC Radio 3 Record ReviewEditor'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 MagazineIain Burnside is a dream of an accompanist - La Scena Musicale
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 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
Cantabile (also known as ‘The London Quartet’) have been wowing audiences across the world since the 1980s with their shows that blend performance flair, comic timing and a deep passion for high-quality vocal music. This album is an eclectic tribute to the very British obsession that is cricket, bringing together works from the turn of the century (school songs from Harrow and Eton) to the present day (Jiggery Pokery from the 2009 Ivor Novello nominated album The Duckworth-Lewis Method) – as well as from the well-known (Roy Harper’s When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease) to the obscure (The Summer Game, from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s little-known musical Cricket, commissioned for the Queen’s 60th Birthday). Featuring guest performances from the likes of Richard Stilgoe, Rory Bremner and Tim Rice, this album should prove a must-buy for cricket- and music-fans alike.
Signum Records presents a world first – a CD single, from a new edition of the magnificent 40-part Thomas Tallis motet Spem in Alium and the English version Sing and Glorify. Spem in alium is surely not just the greatest of all Thomas Tallis’ musical achievements, but one of the great musical compositions of all time. Writing for 40 independent voices, Thomas Tallis created a noble and imaginative masterpiece. The earliest surviving manuscript of this great work, the Egerton manuscript, is laid out with an English rendition, Sing and glorify heaven’s high majesty. The English words are not a translation of the Latin, but a new poem written as a syllable-for-syllable replacement. A fine recording as well, beautifully captured in the wide open spaces of All Hallows Church - BBC Radio 3 Record Review Their interpretation at times almost touches the visionary - Gramophone Not only does Alistair Dixon shape the music beautifully, but he has a first-rate team of singers who respond to the music’s every nuance - Goldberg