Albums

306 albums sorted by Date: from newest to oldest
£4.79

Sacred Vocal Music - Released June 9, 2017 | Alpha

Booklet
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Classical - Released May 19, 2017 | naïve classique

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique
Some people will be angry, others will laugh, but since there are many orphaned lute pieces in English sources that have come down to us with no name at all, Hopkinson Smith has taken the liberty of christening four such pieces in this program with names that seem to suit their musical spirits. The title of the album itself, Mad Dog (admittedly something that doesn’t quite sound like a respectable name for a Renaissance music album, but marketing will be marketing), is taken from such an apocryphal title given my Smith to what is really a galliard by Anthony Holborne found in the 2nd Matthew Holmes Lute Book. Ward’s Repose is a homage to Smith’s deceased musicology teacher… But, as so marvellously said by the Bard, “What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, so who cares really what these pieces were or were not called back four hundred years ago, when wen don’t even really know who wrote or arranged some of them – and here again, what’s in a name, be it Dowland, Byrd (whose lute pieces are all rewritings of keyboards works as done by his contemporary Francis Cutting), Johnson, when just the beauty of the music counts… Hopkinson Smith plays an 8-course lute built in the 1970s by Joel van Lennep, one of the world’s foremost lute-doctors and instrument makers. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released May 5, 2017 | Alia Vox

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
With the release of this new recording dedicated to Heinrich Isaac, in memory of the 500th anniversary of his death, ALIA VOX pays tribute to one of the greatest Renaissance composers. Isaac was born in Brabant but spent most of his life travelling around Europe, first to the court of Burgundy, the Austria, and finally Italy and Germany. At the invitation of Lorenzo the Magnificent in 1488, he moved to Florence, the city he continued to call home through all his subsequent travels, and where he became a highly regarded and much admired member of the Medici court. Some years after Lorenzo’s death in 1492, he also became the principal composer at the court of emperor Maximilian I of Habsburg until his own death, and, whatever his extensive travels from one court to another, spent most of his time in Florence. The programme of this album is conceived as a “life in music” that could illustrate, within the short space of a recording, the immense richness and creative diversity of this great Renaissance composer. ALIA VOX also offers a short chronological evocation of some of the key events in his life, as well as the key moments in history for which his music was composed or performed; these works include A la battaglia, which illustrates the battle between Genoa and Florence for the control of Sarzanello castle, and Quis dabit capiti meo aquam, a deeply moving lamento on the occasion of Lorenzo’s death. And since the musical journey begins with Isaac’s own birth, Jordi Savall and the musiciens of the ensembles La Capella Reial de Catalunya and Hespèrion XXI have had to slightly bend the chronological musical narrative, choosing to illustrate the early years Isaac’s life with some of his owb most beautiful compositions (naturally written several years later). A special mention goes for the song Innsbruck, ich muß dich lassen written 1484, and later adopted by the Reformation under the shape and name of the chorale O welt, ich muß dich lassen which Bach himself used in both his Passions. © SM/Qobuz
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Secular Vocal Music - Released March 17, 2017 | Printemps des Arts de Monte-Carlo

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Classical - Released March 3, 2017 | L'Encelade

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Classical - Released February 10, 2017 | Ricercar

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice
A two-CD set devoted to the Lutheran liturgical repertory from Martin Luther himself to Heinrich Schütz. The first disc comprises compositions specific to the Lutheran liturgy: Deutsche Messe, Deutsches Magnificat, Deutsche Passion (the first German polyphonic Passion, by Joachim von Burck) and even a reconstruction of a Deutsches Requiem drawn from polyphonic works that set the same texts as those Brahms was later to use for his Deutsches Requiem. The second disc presents a selection of motets arranged according to the liturgical calendar, from Advent to Trinity. These polyphonic pieces were written by a wide range of composers including Martin Luther, Andreas Hammerschmidt, Michael raetorius, Joachim von Burck, Christoph Bernhardt, Heinrich Schütz, Thomas Selle, Melchior Franck, Caspar Othmayr, Michael Altenburg, Samuel Scheidt, Johann Hermann Schein and Johann Walter. The organist Bart Jacobs completes the programme with a few organ pieces by seventeenth-century composers.
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Classical - Released November 18, 2016 | Ars Produktion

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Classical - Released October 14, 2016 | L'Encelade

Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles Classica
£11.59

Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released October 7, 2016 | deutsche harmonia mundi

Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Classical - Released September 23, 2016 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet
It takes a bit of reading of small, brutally lightface, sans serif print to figure out what's going on here, but once you do, you're rewarded with a truly superb album of Renaissance and contemporary a cappella choral music that captures what Renaissance singers and hearers would have found significant in the music they heard. There are several interesting aspects to the program, any one of which might be enough to make Refuge from the Flames worth your time and money. It begins with two versions of the old chestnut Miserere, by Gregorio Allegri. But it's a chestnut no more: the score has been re-edited by Ben Byram-Wigfield, removing familiar features such as the shift of tonal center and the soaring ascent to high C. Wigfield argues in a note that these details are anachronistic, and likely the result of scribal error. Perhaps his conclusions can be debated, but it's striking how much the work changes in his version. It fits better with what comes next: the Miserere is a setting of Psalm 50, which inspired devotional poetry by the monk and insurgent activist Girolamo Savonarola, who antagonized both the church and secular authority and got himself first excommunicated and then torched for his trouble. The main intent of this album is to explore the significance of Savonarola's writings for composers. The program builds from a pair of simple, but awesomely powerful, anonymous sacred madrigals to larger pieces of French polyphony by Le Jeune and Verdelot, to Byrd -- who saw in Savonarola's sufferings an analogue to what Catholics were going through in Britain and delivered a profound setting of Savonarola's Infelix ego -- to contemporary composers from Britain and Scandinavia for whom the words of Savonarola continue to resonate. This program situates contemporary a cappella choral pieces in relation to Renaissance music in something beyond simple similarity of texture, and it brilliantly illuminates what a Renaissance motet might have meant in its own time. Throw in emotionally direct, but clean, singing from the 18-member group ORA and fine sound from St. Alban's church, and really the result is a must-have choral collection.
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Chamber Music - Released June 10, 2016 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Classical - Released June 3, 2016 | Challenge Classics

Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released June 3, 2016 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles Classica
The main expressive goal of this release by New York Polyphony seems to be the vocal harmonies accomplished by the one-voice-per-part singers and their interaction with the spectacular acoustics of the St. Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha, Nebraska (a venue known to U.S. Midwesterners but not internationally, and the BIS label and the performers deserve kudos for finding it). It succeeds brilliantly on those counts: the singers of New York Polyphony control not only pitch but vocal timbre to remarkable degrees. The album isn't intended as historically informed performance, yet it actually comes close in some ways to what might have been heard in the time of Palestrina, Victoria, and Guerrero. Palestrina's choirs numbered a few dozen, yet there are records of his music being sung one to a part in smaller situations. And the interpolation of chants and motets into the larger works brings the listener closer to what a Roman churchgoer would have experienced. The end result is a performance of, especially, Palestrina's Missa Papæ Marcelli that's nothing short of revelatory: New York Polyphony's reading stands in the highest possible contrast to the usual choral readings of this work, whose density turns it into a big wash of sound when it is sung by a large group. Although Palestrina himself wouldn't have appreciated the comparison, New York Polyphony's sound in the work is almost madrigalian, and in their use of the timbres of individual voices to bring out Palestrina's control over register they accomplish something genuinely original. Victoria's Missa O quam gloriosum and the smaller pieces by all three composers are hardly less compelling. Highly recommended.
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Chamber Music - Released April 29, 2016 | Accent

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Classical - Released April 22, 2016 | deutsche harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles Classica