Although being a global company, Signum is London born and bred so for the first in our series of Classical Destination playlists, our home city was the obvious choice! From Westminster to Whitechapel, Cherry Tree Lane to Fleet Street, Berkley Square to Battersea Park, taking in a Waterloo Sunset along the way, this musical tour of London shows it off as one of the most vibrant and exciting cities in the world.
This is a musical trip from the mid-sixteenth century to around 1700, involving music in Late Renaissance style, carrying Spanish Catholicism across the Atlantic to supplant an indigenous culture. Once the invasion had taken root with the conquest of Tenochtitlán and its transformation to Mexico City, the country became the target of fervent friars and preachers. Franciscans were first in 1523, then Dominicans, all fired with Christian zeal to convert the native population. From the outset they used music to great effect. The accounts that survive show how successful they were in teaching singing and playing, training choirs to perform liturgical music. By the mid-century it was claimed that standards had reached that of Charles V’s chapel. Churches and cathedrals were established throughout the rapidly expanding New Spain. Conquest and Christianity imposed an almost exact replica of Old Spain. Liturgical books, prints of plainchant and polyphony were shipped in throughout the century. In this recording the singers present music by eight composers. Four of them never went to the New World; their music did. Three of them were born in Spain and were trained in music there; they held appointments in Spain and later emigrated to the new colonial cities. One more became the first composer-choirmaster to be born there of Spanish parents, thus criollo. All downloads include booklets.
Composer, musician and broadcaster John Brunning is perhaps best known for his choral work Pie Jesu. The piece was initially recorded by the vocal group ‘All Angels’, and there has since been around a dozen recordings including an acapella arrangement by The King’s Singers.In his introduction to the disc, John Brunning writes: There are probably more euphemisms employed when speaking of death than any other subject. Take a walk around a graveyard and you will see any number of headstones bearing inscriptions such as ‘passed away’, ‘fell asleep’, ‘called to rest’, and so on. Yet death is the one inescapable certainty that each of us must ultimately confront. I have sought to address this issue in as positive a way as possible with my cycle, ‘Swansongs’.
Elin Manahan Thomas is one of the most versatile sopranos of her generation. Since releasing her début album Eternal Light in 2007 with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, she has performed at many of the world’s most prestigious venues, festivals and events, including the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in May 2018. On this recording she is accompanied by pianist Daniel Grimwood, a performer of international renown who combines an exceptional talent with rare versatility and refinement.