• 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
  • Hertfordshire Chorus continue to build on their reputation for commissioning and performing some of the very best in contemporary choral music. In their first recording with Signum they are joined by the BBC Concert Orchestra for a 2CD set featuring James McCarthy’s Codebreaker (an exploration of the life of the pioneering computer scientist and mathematician Alan Turing) and Will Todd’s Ode to a Nightingale (setting the famous poem by John Keats). The BBC Concert Orchestra offer superb support to both composers and the engineering is up to Signum’s customary excellence. This important release should be in every keen choral singer’s Christmas stockingGramophone Splendidly recorded and performed… I give a thorough recommendation to this issueMusic Web International For me, this is undoubtedly the choral album of the yearThe High Arts
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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  
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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