• The grammy-award winning artist Hila Plitmann is known worldwide for her astonishing musicianship, light and beautiful voice, and the ability to perform challenging new works. On this disc she brings together a very personal programme that draws on her familial roots in Jewish culture and song; from traditional folk music (Five Yiddish Songs), to contemporary compositions (Bridges of Love, Tehilim and I Never Saw Another Butterfly). The disc also features the Five Hebrew Love Songs, with poetry by Plitmann set to music by the composer Eric Whitacre. Performance ★★★★ Recording ★★★★ Plitmann's selection is carefully chosen for maximum variety ofexpression and instrumentation [and] Julian Bliss proves a sensitive partner to the charismatic Plitmann BBC Music Magazine Julian Bliss threatens to steal the show on clarinet, but there’s beauty in the voice and enough variety in the works to keep the ears attentiveLa Scena Musicale
  • 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
  • Mille Fleurs’ debut recording for Signum Records is devoted to one of the treasured manuscripts of early music, the Codex Las Huelgas. This impressively large manuscript contains 170 parchment folios of works from the 13th and early 14th centuries. It was discovered by two monks early in the last century in the royal convent of Las Huelgas outside Burgos, Spain. It is unusual in several ways, encompassing a wide range of musical forms and styles, and being highly organised according to genre, liturgical function and number of voices. The codex reflects the devotional practices of a medieval Cistercian monastery, but it wasn't designed as a luxury object, rather, a pragmatic tool to be used as a source of reference or perhaps even for actual performance. This is an especially intriguing manuscript for music historians, performers and listeners alike. The pieces contained in the Las Huelgas manuscript reflect a wide range of Latin-texted music between 1200 and the first half of the 14th century. French influence is strong, illustrating the repertory as both international and local, imported, and adapted in a continual process of absorption and reinvention. Mille Fleurs bring a wealth of experience and research to these performances. Some pieces are performed as written; in others the notation provides a starting-point for musical elaboration. These charismatic singers do not believe female early music vocalists should sound like modern choirboys, but instead celebrate their different vocal timbres with each voice’s natural personality shining through. Just as the manuscript is pragmatic and adaptable as regards the notation of its musical repertory, so the performance approaches adopted and realised on this recording offer variety and flexibility, always respecting the nature of the piece. One thing is clear: throughout the Middle Ages the walls of the monastery of Las Huelgas resounded to the most highly refined and eloquently beautiful musical settings then in circulation in northern Spain. The performances are the epitome of sophisticated smoothness.... The recording impresses by its freshness and vigour, and by the excitement the singers clearly find in this fascinating repertoire - Gramophone The performances have a freedom which is refreshing as well as plausible. Highly recommended - Early Music Review Mille Fleurs interpret this varied collection with verve and vigour - Lyric FM
  • This is the third disc recorded by The Clerks' Group for their Signum Records trilogy. The series explores repertoire in the medieval period and culminates with a selection of works by Guillaume Dufay, found in one of the great anthologies of 15th century music: the manuscript Bologna, Civico Museo Bibliografico Musicale, MS Q15 (or "Q15" as it is known by its friends). The Q15 manuscript contains examples of almost every conceivable musical genre of the period by a vast array of composers. The Clerks' Group has chosen to perform works by a single composer, but still the variety of forms and styles on offer is bewildering. Guillaume Dufay was a composer who witnessed and contributed to most of the revolutionary changes to occur in music composition in the 15th century. The album includes some of the earlier works so often neglected from Dufay's repertoire, and goes on to explore compositions that demonstrate this revolutionary genius. Some compositional techniques celebrated by The Clerks' Group's performance include the playful exchange of Dufay's song-like melodies between the vocal lines; and the use of mensural canon, where the same melody is sung by all voices but at slightly different speeds. These are just a few examples of the radical nature of Dufay's music as demonstrated on this recording. The Clerks' Group brings immense diversity to the music and its performance. Their refreshing approach displays sincere empathy and passion for this astonishing repertory. Unexpectedly dazzling...The Clerks' Group sing beautifully - The Sunday Times
  • 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.

  • 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
  • Emilia

    £12.00
    Emilia is one of the most promising new talents of her generation, and in her short career has already performed before illustrious figures such as Princess Anne and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Aged 11 when this disc was recorded, Emilia is one of Signum Record’s youngest artists. Emilia made her debut singing Rule Britannia at The Sail for Gold Ball 2004 when she was just nine. Since then she has completed a full-time chorister post at Salisbury Cathedral, leaving in July 2008 with a music scholarship. During this period she has sung in Venice (San Marco), performing in many of the Great Cathedrals of Tuscany and a tour of Vienna and Salzburg. The young soprano sings a selection of traditional folk tunes including The Last Rose of Summer and Steal Away, alongside Handel’s Laschia ch’io Pianga and IF by Michael Nyman, who proclaimed Emilia’s technique and sound as being “absolutely gorgeous”.
  • Since her American debut in the early nineties, Silvia Tro Santafé has become one of the most sought after coloratura mezzos of her generation. On this disc we hear the proof of her operatic talents, performing some of the greatest and most passionate arias of any operatic mezzo soprano. Though Silvia Tro Santafé is no newcomer in the recording stakes this was my first encounter with her and this recital has definitely whetted the appetite for more - MusicWeb International
  • Erich Korngold is perhaps best known as the pioneering émigré composer whose grand orchestral scores defined the sound of film during the golden age of Hollywood. As well as this though, his output for voice in the form of Lieder and Song highlighted the strong bond that Korngold forever held with his homeland and the city of Vienna, a place inextricably linked to the High-Romantic style that Korngold so ably perfected. This collection of songs and lieder are beautifully performed by Sarah Connolly (mezzo-soprano) and William Dazeley (baritone), accompanied by renowned pianist and broadcaster Iain Burnside. In a feature for BBC Music Magazine in June 2013, Sarah Connolly picked this disc as her favourite recording, saying: "We recorded this in the lovely Potton Hall in East Anglia. I was in very fresh voice, and the producer John West was very encouraging and left me to my own devices. But when listened to the playback I couldn't believe how closely miked I sounded - you could hear the formation of consonantseverythingJohn said 'Don't worry, we've got it in hand, we'll make it sound right.' When listened to the final recording I couldn't believe how clean it sounded. I now use it as an example of how I'd like my voice to sound."
  • 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
  • Whether from his years touring Europe as a virtuoso pianist or from his later émigré life in Paris and Weimar, Franz Liszt reflects in his song texts his ‘polyglot’ attraction to 19th-Century culture, shown in these setting of French, German, Italian, English, Russian and Hungarian words.

     

     

  • 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
  • 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
  • For You

    £18.00
    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 markThe Sunday Times It bristles with wit and lyricism, while giving other composers and librettists a lesson in how to drape operativ tradition in modern clothesThe 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
  • 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.