•  Pianist Malcolm Martineau brings together some of the UK’s finest singers for the first release in a new series charting the complete songs of French composer Gabriel Fauré. This series follows Martineau’s well-received series of The Complete Poulenc Songs.

     

     
  • After the success of their debut disc, ‘Voyages’, Mary Bevan and Joseph Middleton present their second recital disc exploring Lieder in German and Italian by Schubert, Haydn and Wolf. The programme is woven around songs inspired by the ‘muses’ of the day, both mythological and divine. It begins with Schubert’s dramatic and reverential settings of sacred German poetry, set alongside his lush emotional portrayals of female characters in the Italian settings. The central section of the disc is then devoted to Haydn’s epic ‘scena’ depicting the famously cruel abandonment of Arianna by her lover Teseo, ‘Arianna a Naxos’. Haydn’s beautiful prayer ‘Geistliches Lied’ takes us back into the world of German poetry and the religious fervour that arose from the collective belief in Christianity which pervaded most art forms of the age. The disc then moves into works by Hugo Wolf, whose stunning settings of devotional texts take the listener right to the heart of the characters; a few of these songs were in fact inspired by paintings. The early moments of Jesus Christ’s life are vividly portrayed here, particularly in songs such as ‘Die ihr Schwebet’, ‘Auf ein Altes Bild’ and ‘Schlafendes Jesuskind’, while the haunting ‘Gesang Weylas’ invites the listener into the world of the mysterious goddes Weyla who wistfully dreams of the shores of her distant homeland. From Ganymed to Christ, Dido to the Virgin Mary, Arianna to St Peter, this recital disc richly illustrates the lives and events surrounding the ‘divine muses’ who inspired these composers.
  • The Dream of Herod features music for Advent, anthems for the Mother & Child, music for Christmas, and The Dream of Herod, a semi-dramatic contemporary work with a particular resonance at Christmas. Inspired repertoire selection - Classic fm An almost ecstatic tenderness - Gramophone More polished choral singing would be hard to find anywhere - BBC Music Magazine
  • 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
  • The 20th Century composers Peter Warlock, Herbert Howells, Michael Howard and Betty Roe were all inspired by the music of their country, both in the words they set in song and the music they composed. Tim Travers Brown, accompanied by Jeremy Filsell, explore the counter-tenor's role in British songwriting. Whilst Roe and Howard wrote specifically with the counter-tenor voice in mind, Warlock and Howells did not, providing the counter-tenor with a fantastic opportunity to highlight some of their best works in a new perspective.

    This programme forms a delicate balance between modern styles and historical influences featuring the songs 'My Little Sweet Darling' and 'The Night' by Peter Warlock, 'The Painted Rose' by Michael Howard, 'When the Dew is Falling' by Herbert Howells and 'Noble Numbers' by Betty Roe.

     
  • Based at Windsor Castle, the members of The Queen’s Six make up half of the Lay Clerks of St George’s Chapel, whose homes lie within the Castle walls. This rare privilege demands the highest musical standards, as they sing regularly for the Royal family at both private and state occasions. In 2018 this included the weddings of Princess Eugenie and Mr Jack Brooksbank, and Prince Harry and Ms Meghan Markle, both held in St George’s Chapel. Most significantly however, it is the familiarity of living and singing together in Chapel every day that lends this group its distinctive closeness and blend, as well as an irresistible informality and charm. Individually, members of The Queen’s Six have appeared in many of the most prestigious vocal ensembles on the circuit, including The Tallis Scholars, Tenebrae, and The Sixteen. Their repertoire extends far beyond the reach of the choir stalls: from austere early chant, florid Renaissance polyphony, lewd madrigalsand haunting folk songs to upbeat Jazz and Pop arrangements.
  • Acclaimed for their life-affirming virtuosity and irresistible charm, The King’s Singers are in global demand. Their work – synonymous with the best in vocal ensemble performance – appeals to a vast international audience. The Library is the name of a series of EP releases that celebrates our ‘close-harmony’ library, both historically and as it grows each year. Close-harmony is the phrase we have always used to describe its lighter repertoire, and we see The Library as our chance to make sure this rich vein of great song-writing and arranging gets the place of prominence it deserves. The Library recording series will involve regular releases which will come out alongside other touring and recording projects, giving us an output for revisiting some of these old favourites and commissioning brand new close harmony from recent releases. Every volume in The Library series will capture a variety of songs, celebrating the wonderful diversity of music in our world today.
  • As 2014 heralds the composer’s 80th year, Harrison Birtwistle remains one of the most popular voices in contemporary composition in the UK and beyond. This new collection of premiere recordings draws together recent commissions with older works to mark the occasion, with characteristically flawless performances from the BBC Singers under Nicholas Kok. They are joined on this disc by the Nash Ensemble and baritone Roderick Williams.

    Best Classical CDs of 2014 The Guardian ★★★★★ Recorded after a memorable Proms UK premiere last year, The Moth Requiem is one of Birtwistle's most austerely beautiful works ... The Ring Dance of the Nazarene, featuring a standout contribution from Williams, is similarly striking, as are performances and recording - Classical Music Magazine Birtwistle’s characteristic melodic angularity and rhythmic complexity are duly represented in six pieces written between 1965 and 2012, including two strikingly evocative recent triumphs — the buoyantly mystic Ring Dance of the Nazarene and the shadowy, haunting Moth Requiem — with all of it sung supremely well - The New York Times Birtwistle is scaling new heights just now, and the elegiacMoth Requiem transports us to a sonic world of beguiling mystery. These singers have his music in their bones, presenting it with precision and sensitivity, be it the stark, monumental Carmen Paschale, a glistening gem of a Lullaby or the dynamic Ring Dance of the Nazarene- BBC Music Magazine
  • 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  
  • Former King's Singer Bob Chilcott conducts a stellar array of his choral music, in a collaborative performance with the Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir. Described by the Observer as “a contemporary hero of British Choral Music”, Bob Chilcott works tirelessly as a composer and choral conductor - August 2012 saw the first performance of The Angry Planet in the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, and he has recently completed commissions for The Bach Choir, BBC Singers and National Youth Choir of Great Britain.
  • The programme performed here by baritone Christopher Maltman and pianist Joseph Middleton was born whilst Maltman was studying at the Royal Academy of Music. The compositions have been selected to form a coherent but flexible narrative that produces a touching memoire to all those affected by war. One composer chosen for the record, George Butterworth, was a casualty of the First World War: in September 1915 he went to the trenches and was killed, aged 31, in the Battle of the Somme on 5th August 1916. The use of his composition, A Shropshire Lad, is touching in this instance. It gives the listener a more sensitive perspective of the loss in World War One, almost allowing the listener to see the faces of those who passed away, most of whom were young ‘lads’ from various parts of the country.
  • One of the UK’s leading choral directors for over 50 years, Stephen Wilkinson MBE has led both professional and amateur choirs across Europe, and is particularly renowned for his work with the BBC Northern Singers and the William Byrd Singers of Manchester. Only retiring from conducting in 2009 at the age of 90, Stephen Wilkinson’s songs span the breadth of his long career as a conductor and musician, and are best described by his daughter Clare – an acclaimed mezzo-soprano herself who also performs on this recording – as being “a unique voice, yet deeply rooted in the English song tradition of Finzi, Gurney and Quilter.” Performed by British singers Mhairi Lawson, Clare Wilkinson, James Gilchrist and Matthew Brook, they draw on texts by a wealth of sources including Auden, Yates, Coleridge, Shakespeare and many more. Highly persuasive English lyricism… a worthwhile labour of love - The Guardian There are fine things here…. strikingly original…. rooted in textual detail - Gramophone Drawing on texts from the likes of Auden, Yates, Coleridge and Shakespeare, this is a must for devoteesNorthern Echo The English song tradition continues to bear fruit [and] Wilkinson takes his place in the canon - MusicWeb International  
  • Signum Records is delighted to announce the completion of Chapelle du Roi's recordings of the complete works of Thomas Tallis. This major project has taken seven years to complete. It was the brain child of Alistair Dixon and brought to fruition jointly by Chapelle du Roi and the engineering and production company Floating Earth.
  • Chapelle du Roi devote this latest volume to music which was composed by Tallis for use during the reformed services announced in The booke of the common prayer which came into effect on Whitsunday (9th June) 1549. Tallis’s music, together with the associated intonations and Collects (for Easter Day at Mattins and for Christmas Eve), is presented for this recording in the normal liturgical sequence for the day; Mattins, Holy Communion, and Evensong. The recording concludes with Tallis’ nine psalm-tune harmonisations which he contributed to Archbishop Matthew Parker’s Psalter, published in 1567. Chapelle du Roi give an inspired and historically informed performance of the sacred renaissance repertoire for which they are celebrated. Sung with plaintive simplicity, exquisite balance and clear diction, virtues that characterise the whole estimable disc - Classic FM Magazine [The singers] cohere in a warm collective that is wonderful to listen to - International Record Review Chapelle du Roi's skill is manifest ... the whole experience of listening to them was like hearing was like hearing a rather special evensong in a college chapel - Gramophone The singing of the Chapelle is as beautifully flawless as ever ... the crowning glory of the disc is the exquisite account of Tallis nine tunes of Archbishop Parker's Psalter - EMF Scotland  
  • Signum Records are delighted to release the seventh volume of their celebrated nine-disc series, presenting the Complete Works of Thomas Tallis (1505 - 1585). Queen Elizabeth’s reign (1558-1603) was a golden age for the arts. England enjoyed a growing cultural exchange with continental Europe. England’s rich, but essentially conservative pre-Reformation heritage was infused with increasing continental influence and innovations. Elizabeth I was the fourth monarch to sit on the throne in Thomas Tallis’s lifetime. From the outset of her reign Elizabeth allowed considerable freedom of practice and belief. She was firmly in favour of a vernacular liturgy for the general population, although in her own chapels she preferred a more lavish ceremony to music. Tallis had witnessed the wholesale destruction of much of England’s church music tradition, however the ever adaptable composer met the challenges of a new liturgy, its new styles and genres, with the imaginative force of a man half his age. The years of Reformation, and Elizabeth’s protestant settlement, freed the Latin-texted tradition of liturgical propriety, allowing composers to reinvigorate the language and harness it to new, expressive and personal ends. This recording presents Tallis’s Elizabethan Latin motets (which number fifteen). The mighty occasional piece, the forty-voice motet Spem in alium, concludes the disc. The Tallis complete works is one of the most exciting projects currently underway on any early music label. Thoroughly recommended - Early Music Scotland Alistair Dixon paces and balances the voices of his vocal group Chapelle du Roi beautifully - The Evening Standard  
  • Signum Records are proud to present the eighth and penultimate volume of Chapelle du Roi’s recording of the Complete Works of Thomas Tallis. This volume brings together Tallis’s two masterly settings of the Lamentations of Jeremiah and English adaptations of several of his best-known Latin motets. Thomas Tallis was one of many continental and English composers who composed settings of texts from the Lamentations of Jeremiah, the opening five verses of which formed part of the office of Matins (or Tenebrae) during Holy Week. Tallis’s two settings could have been performed ritually but in all likelihood they are Elizabethan works intended for use at the private devotions of staunch Catholic sympathisers. The statutory introduction of the First Book of Common Prayer on Whitsunday, 9th June 1549 precipitated an urgent need for a repertory of service music in the vernacular. One straightforward solution to the predicament was to adapt existing Latin motets to English texts, a genre of composition that has come to be known as a contrafactum. Contrafacta survive of liturgical music by pre-Reformation English composers as well as by several composers whose working life spanned the period of Reformation. During the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods contrafacta and their models assumed several forms of dual existence, and were performed not only within a liturgical setting but also in a domestic context for recreation or private devotion. Usually there is no textual relationship between the model and the contrafactum. Indeed the finale of this disc, Sing & Glorify heaven’s high majesty, an adaptation of Tallis’s celebrated eight-choir (40-part) motet Spem in alium was adapted to celebrate Prince Henry’s investiture as Prince of Wales in 1610. Chapelle du Roi succeed in conveying a sense of spaciousness and grandeur - The Daily Telegraph