• Julian Bliss and Joby Burgess combine forces for these recordings made during the 2020 UK lockdown. Working from their homes (although only a few miles apart from each other), each performer combines multiple layers of clarinet and percussion to create these exciting and dynamic new arrangements of much- loved standards of the American Band Music world. Composer John Mackey describes Asphalt Cocktail as “a five-minute opener, designed to shout, from the opening measure, “We’re here.” With biting trombones, blaring trumpets, and percussion dominated by cross- rhythms and back beats ... Picture the scariest NYC taxi ride you can imagine, with the cab skidding around turns as trucks bear down from all sides.” The composer’s favourite month, Eric Whitacre’s October contains “simple, pastoral melodies and subsequent harmonies inspired by the great English Romantics (Vaughn Williams, Elgar) ... perfectly suited to capture the natural and pastoral soul of the season.” Frank Ticheli’s Blue Shades is a love letter to blues and jazz music, mixed through the composers own compositional voice: “Blue notes (flattened 3rds, 5ths and 7ths) ... Blues harmonies, rhythms, and melodic idioms pervade the work; and many “shades of blue” are depicted, from bright blue, to dark, to dirty, to hot blue.”
  • The Library Vol. 3 (EP)

    £6.00£9.00
    This is the third volume in the EP series ‘The Library’ – a series that explores both the history, and the new horizons, of The King’s Singers close-harmony repertoire. Close-harmony is the part of their work for which they are best known, and their library of thousands of arrangements is one they’re determined to explore, maintain and develop. The track-listing is designed to celebrate some old favourites from the library alongside brand new arrangements and adaptations, created especially for these recordings, which may perhaps become ‘old favourites’ of the future. The King’s Singers were founded on 1 May 1968 by six choral scholars who had recently graduated from King’s College Cambridge. Their vocal line-up was (by chance) two countertenors, a tenor, two baritones and a bass, and the group has never wavered from this formation since.
  • Christopher Gunning’s Symphony No. 5 was composed during 2009 and was the composer’s most ambitious to date, in four extended movements. There is no strict programme, but the music moves through several phases which could be said to correspond to one’s journey from birth to death. The symphony is dedicated to the memory of Christopher Gunning’s sister Rosemary, who grappled with illness throughout the composition of the work, and died as he was completing it. The String Quartet No. 1 was composed in 1999, and revised in 2006. Each of the four movements is based on on a three note motif, C-D-G, with its four possible transpositions. The first is an arch-shaped passacaglia, and the second is a fast semi-fugal scherzo. The third is quietly expressive and the last is a bright rondo with ostinati based on the 3 note idea. Four-time BAFTA winning composer Christopher Gunning, has composed twelve symphonies as well as concertos for the piano, violin, cello, flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, and guitar.
  • Julian Bliss and James Baillieu present a recording Johannes Brahms’ Clarinet sonatas, Op. 120 and an arrangement of his 4 Ernste Gesänge, Op.121 arranged by Bliss. These late works were inspired by the great clarinettist Richard Mühlfeld, principal clarinet of the Meiningen Court Orchestra, without whom we would not have had this clarinet repertoire. Julian Bliss is one of the world’s finest clarinettists, excelling as a concerto soloist, chamber musician, jazz artist, masterclass leader and tireless musical explorer. He has inspired a generation of young players as creator of his Conn-Selmer range of affordable clarinets, and introduced a substantial new audience to his instrument. Julian started playing the clarinet aged four, going on to study at the University of Indiana and in Germany under Sabine Meyer, turning professional aged twelve. Described by The Daily Telegraph as ‘in a class of his own’ James Baillieu is one of the leading song and chamber music pianists of his generation. He has given solo and chamber recitals throughout the world and collaborates with a wide range of world-class singers and instrumentalists. As a soloist, he has appeared with the Ulster Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, and the Wiener Kammersymphonie.
  • Since Westminster Mass (2000) established Roxanna Panufnik’s firm place among today’sleading British composers, she has often been celebrated for her choral music. Her instrumental and chamber works, however, are equally striking, filled with dazzling imagination and poetic lightness of touch. Her latest album Heartfelt encompasses compassion, tragedy and irresistible humour, while demonstrating her passion for exploring diverse musical cultures, from East Sussex to Myanmar. Featuring a stellar line-up of leading British soloists (including soprano Mary Bevan, pianist Charles Owen and baritone Roderick Williams) and led by the Sacconi Quartet, the title work includes a musical translation of the heartbeat of a young European Brown Bear named Albie: captured by a digital stethoscope, Bristol Zoological Society’s Wild Place Project was generously able to send Panufnik a recording of Albie’s heartbeat whilst he underwent a small surgical procedure, the anaesthetic possibly resembling the bear’s hibernation. Albie himself is pictured on the album’s front cover.
  • This new recording for Signum Records includes silvery vibraphone with live looping, a quasi rock n roll documentary exploring censorship and a musical picture of the subtle shifts in our changing Seasons.

    The Filthy Fifteen Nicole Lizée

    Montreal based composer Nicole Lizée has been called a musical scientist, with a body of work inspired by the glitches of outmoded and well-worn technology. The Filthy Fifteen is a quasi rock n roll documentary taking a satirical look at censorship and the PMRC. Formed in 1985 the ‘Parents Music Resource Center’ was a committee of ‘Washington wives’ including Tipper Gore, which led to the labeling of albums with ‘Parental Advisory’ stickers. The live percussion - which includes a 'censorship kit' (typewriter, books, papers) - meld and intermingle with the rhythmic and pitch inflections of voices taken from footage and recordings related to the hearings. Premiered by Joby Burgess in 2016, The Filthy Fifteen was commissioned using funds from Arts Council England.

    Can’t Sleep Rebecca Dale

    Hailed by Classic FM as "one of today's most exciting young composers" Rebecca Dale is a London based composer, working most often with large orchestral and choral forces in the worlds of cinema and theatre. Written for solo vibraphone and live looping Can’t Sleep explores the moments around sleep, where our brains fire ideas around to keep us from resting. Premiered by Joby Burgess in 2016, Can’t Sleep was commissioned using funds from Arts Council England.

    Seasons Tōru Takemitsu

    Tōru Takemitsu is one of the most influential Japanese composers of the 20th Century. Combining traditional Japanese music with ideas from the American experimental and European Avant-Garde, Takemitsu created a sound uniquely his own for both the concert hall and film scores. Seasons (1970) is a 16 minute exploration of the sounds between our Seasons, using only metallic materials to describe the subtle shifts and changes. At the heart of my performance is the Canna Sonora (Aluminium Harp) - a Capone-era friction instrument, designed and built in Chicago - this replaces Francois and Bernard Baschet’s instrument of glass bars ‘Trombone’, which featured in the early performances of this work. Seasons is notated graphically, with an echo effect applied to this generally soft music, a response to statements of an almanac, atmospherics and astrology.

  • The new recording from percussionist Joby Burgess includes ambient electronics fused with mellow vibraphone, explosive cinematic drumming and the delicate muted sounds of 1960’s New York.

    Psappha Iannis Xenakis

    Psappha is an archaic form of Sappho - a great Greek poetess from the Island of Lesbos, born in the 600's BC. Composed for six groups of instruments (of wood, skin and metal) Psappha is muscular, abrasive and often violent - an intensely masculine work in contradiction to its title. The inspiration comes from Sappho's poetry, whose rhythms appear constantly in both small cells and the large scale over arching structure. Instrument choice is left to the performer, Xenakis writes ‘timbre serves only to clarify the rhythmic structures’ - my performance seeks maximum range and colour, with a nod to touring practicalities.

    Ekstasis Linda Buckley

    A ‘leading figure in the younger generation of Irish composers’ Linda Buckley combines medieval harmony, ambient electronic music and the hypnotic atmosphere of Javanese Gamelan in her commission for Pioneers of Percussion. Referring to the Greek term for ‘trance, to stand outside oneself, rapture’ Ekstasis is composed for vibraphone, Thai gongs and electronics. Premiered by Joby Burgess in 2016, Ekstasis was commissioned using funds from Arts Council England.

    The late musicologist Bob Gilmore writes: ‘Buckley engages with an area of experience that new music is generally shy of, which, simplified and reduced to a single word, I’d call ecstacy. Not the drug-induced euphoria of dance music, but exultant, heightened states of being that are the product of an excitable sensibility, of an emotional response to the world that sees the bright places of life as clearly as the dark.’

    The King of Denmark Morton Feldman

    Feldman’s reply to Stockhausen’s Zyklus is the great early anti-percussion composition, where a collection of soft sounds, twinkle like stars in the night. In The King sounds move without weight as dust through a gentle breeze, to create a deep seemingly disconnected sonic canvas. Feldman captured the muted soundscape of New York from Coney Island on a summer afternoon in 1964.

  • A work bringing together performers from across the globe, the Lim Fantasy of Companionship for Piano and Orchestra is an engaging and heartfelt work that explores disruptive technologies – the intersection between technology and humanity – in the form of robotics and AI, via music. The idea that human engineering of the inanimate may ultimately produce companions previously unimagined, brought to life in a Fantasy of Companionship composed by Manu Martin.
  • The Music of Gerre Hancock

    £8.00£14.00
    The renowned Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys record a fitting tribute to their former Choirmaster and Organist Gerre Hancock (1934-2012). In this post for over 30 years, he was a pivotal figure in the choir’s rejuvenation and created a wealth of choral and organ music during his career – much of it composed for friends and colleagues across the USA. The performances are led here by Jeremy Filsell, their present Organist and Director of Music, with additional accompaniment from Benjamin Sheen (Associate Organist) and Nicholas Quardokus (Assistant Organist), and the Saint Thomas Brass ensemble. The Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys is considered to be the leading ensemble of its kind in the Anglican choral tradition in the United States. While its primary raison d’être is to sing five choral services each week, the Choir also performs regularly with Orchestra of St. Luke’s and New York Baroque Incorporated as part of Concerts at Saint Thomas. Over recent years, the Choir has toured throughout the US, Europe and Scandinavia with performances at Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, King’s College, Cambridge, Dresden and at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig. The boy choristers make frequent appearances on local and national television programs. Jeremy Filsell is one of only a few virtuoso performers as both pianist and organist. He has appeared as a solo pianist in Russia, Scandinavia, New Zealand and Australia and throughout the USA and UK. He combined an international recital and teaching career with being director of music at the Church of the Epiphany and then of St. Alban’s in Washington DC, Artist-in-residence at Washington National Cathedral, and Professor of Organ at the Peabody Conservatory (Baltimore), before moving to New York in April 2019 to become Organist & Director of Music at the Church of Saint Thomas, Fifth Avenue.
  • Following an acclaimed debut recording of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake with the Philharmonia in 2020, Santtu-Matias Rouvali returns with a recording of Sergei Prokofiev’s iconic Symphony No. 5. Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5 was first performed in 1944, 14 years after his previous symphony. Prokofiev described his Fifth Symphony as a “hymn to free and happy Man, to his mighty powers, his pure and noble spirit,” explaining that, “I cannot say that I deliberately chose this theme. It was born in me and clamoured for expression. The music matured within me. It filled my soul.”
  • Handelian Pyrotechnics

    £8.00£14.00
    Armonico Consort return to Signum with a collection of Handel arias, performed by leading counter-tenor William Towers. A noted soloist in both opera and oratorio, the programme is taken from roles which Towers has sung across his career in various productions across the globe. Towers writes: “It is the life-affirming, live-giving aspect of Handel that I’m aiming to celebrate. So frequently his operas reveal their most devastatingly beautiful and uplifting music when life is at its darkest. Here the arias shine brightest, here we find Radamisto’s ‘Ombra cara’ and the boundlessly optimistic ‘Dopo l’orrore’, looking out beyond the darkest clouds to the faint glimmer of a dawning hope. This is the uncrushable, indomitable spirit that lies in all of us ... We just need to take the time to listen.
  • Beethoven & Barry Vol. 3

    £8.00£18.00
    The final installment in the BEETHOVEN & BARRY recording series which, over three volumes, has traced all nine of Beethoven’s Symphonies coupled with music by the celebrated Irish composer Gerald Barry. “This set [Vol.1] cuts pristine interpretations of Beethoven’s early symphonies with Gerald Barry’s 21st- century zesty homage ... tightly knit performances ...” BBC Music Magazine
  • Arne: Artaxerxes

    £8.00£18.00
    A composer inextricably linked with London’s Covent Garden, Thomas Arne’s greatest opera, Artaxerxes, was premièred at the Theatre Royal, the predecessor of the Royal Opera House, on 2 February 1762 and remained in the Covent Garden repertory until the late 1830s, where it received a documented 111 performances before 1790. The young Mozart almost certainly attended a performance when he came to London in the mid1760s and Haydn was also acquainted with the work, enthusiastically exclaiming that he “had no idea we had such an opera in the English language.” The Mozartists, under the dynamic leadership of conductor and artistic director Ian Page, are leading exponents of the music of Mozart and his contemporaries. Originally called Classical Opera, the company was founded in 1997 and has received widespread international acclaim for its stylish and virtuosic period-instrument orchestra, its imaginative and innovative programming and its ability to nurture and develop world-class young artists. Renowned for their fresh and insightful interpretations of well-known masterpieces as well as for their ability to bring rare and neglected works to light, they have mounted staged productions of many of Mozart’s operas. In 2015 the company launched MOZART 250, a ground-breaking 27-year project exploring the chronological trajectory of Mozart’s life, works and influences. Described by The Observer as “among the most audacious classical music scheduling ever,” this flagship project presents 250th Anniversary performances of most of Mozart’s important works, placing them in context alongside other significant works by Mozart’s contemporaries
  • Following the huge success of their recent album release ‘Timelapse’ (Jan 2021), Orchestra of the. Swan presents Vivaldi Sleep, a project that was initiated by the orchestra during the first national lockdown of 2020. Eleven artists from a broad range of genres – including klezmer, folk, electronica and jazz – were invited to add a solo part in response to the orchestra’s recording of the second movement of Autumn from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Guest artists recorded their solo parts at home and were given free rein to start prior to the orchestra’s recording and continue after it had finished if they wished. Manipulation of the source material was also allowed. Formed in 1995, Orchestra of the Swan is a British chamber orchestra which, under the artistic direction of David Le Page, is passionate about audience inclusivity and blurring the lines between genres through its adventurous and accessible programming. This album demonstrates this ethos exactly.
  • Magnificat, Vol. 2

    £8.00£14.00
    Andrew Nethsingha and The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge release the second volume in the highly-praised Magnificat series and present nine settings of the Evening Canticles by celebrated Organist-Composers, written between 1932 and 1952, and non-church musicians from 1974- 1989. The recording culminates with a contemporary setting by Julian Anderson, composed for the Chapel’s 150th anniversary. “These first volumes are designed to complement one another. Magnificat 1 started earlier, with Stanford in the 1880s; Volume Two brings us briefly up to the present day. The first release contained celebrated works by Tippett and Leighton from 1961 and 1972 respectively, in between the two main periods represented on this disc. Both albums contain iconic works by Howells, written a year apart. We hear composers creating different orders of priority for the parameters of composition.” Andrew Nethsingha
  • Peter Cigleris performs with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in a programme of four ‘rediscovered’ clarinet concertante works of the first half of the 20th Century. Composed between 1930 and 1947, the works span a time of change in the musical landscape of Great Britain; Pre 1939/40 the two predominant styles within British music were those of Post-Romanticism and Nationalism, whereas Post 1945, with the influence of the BBC, Modernism became the dominant style. By chance it also happens that two prominent British clarinettists tie these four works together; Fredrick Thurston and Reginald Kell were both involved in performances of the works at various points during their careers. A renowned soloist and chamber musician, Peter Cigleris has performed with the CBSO, BBCCO, ENB, Philharmonic, Royal Ballet Sinfonia and Orchestra of the Swan, as well as for a time holding the principal seat with the Symphony Orchestra of India in performances under Charles Dutoit and Rafael Payare amongst others. He has worked with musicians such as Martin Cousins, John Lenehan, Mark Bebbington, Julian Lloyd Webber and the Tippett Quartet, performing for various music clubs and festivals around the UK including the Windsor and Wooburn Festival, English Music Festival, Carlisle International Music Festival, Groba Festival in Spain and the ICA ‘ClarinetFest’.
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