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Mette Henriette:

Drifting

After Mette Henriette’s critically acclaimed, self-titled first recording comes Drifting – an album pervaded by trio conversations of idiosyncratic and original expression. Mette: “Drifting vividly captures a moment in time. I can hear everything still growing – in motion – on the record and how present my imagination is. Prior to the recording, I had a lot of time to sit down and focus on this new music. From the very beginning, I wanted to create material that could grow, expand and contract in different formats.”

With Johan Lindvall returning on piano, new addition Judith Hamann on cello and herself on saxophone, Mette’s chamber musical elaborations prove of a concentrated and exploratory quality, marked by subtle yet intense interaction. Motifs and recurring patterns crystallize and reveal a concise, intricate narrative. The saxophonist-composer explains how “this album is in movement. It’s on its way somewhere and has its own pace – its creative agency is fundamentally different from what I’ve done previously.”

The difference not only manifests in the change of instrumentation, but moreover in the fabric and compositional design of this collection of songs. At once organized programme with a compelling instrumental narrative and playground for impulse and improvisation, Drifting connects to the deeper processes within Mette’s musical consciousness. Illuminating the mechanisms behind her musical inventions and touching upon the diction of her language, Mette notes: “for me, a very important tool in the compositional process is to let ideas mature to the extent that they start living their own lives. Then things just spontaneously come to the surface in different pieces and start interconnecting. And I like playing with prepositions in music. Shedding light on different things from different perspectives, playing with foreground and background, repositioning elements and flipping arrangements. To me, that’s how different improvisational opportunities come to life.”

Jasdeep Singh Degun:

Anomaly

Lie back. Surrender to the undertow. Feel yourself floating away. Submit to the beauty and sorrow, the poetry and power, of the sitar – that plucked string instrument with the long neck, pear-shaped gourd and origins in the courts of the Maharajahs of medieval India.

Marvel at the astonishing prowess of Jasdeep Singh Degun, who is steeped in the North Indian classical tradition – indeed, in the musical traditions of the Indian subcontinent - and proudly born, raised and based in Leeds, north of England. “My language is music,” says Degun. “Music is where I come alive.”

Anomaly is not just any debut album. It is a project that showcases an almost preternatural musicality, a way with technique, improvisation, composition and collaboration that will dazzle purists and newcomers alike. A work whose twelve tracks range from inspired sitar solos and duelling sitar and guitar to all stops out cinematic journeying. Music rooted in the ancient repertoire of raags, the frameworks used in the improvised performances of Indian classical music, and delivered with contemporary flair.

Soothing. Healing. Energising. Bringing us closer to ourselves.

Cast Albums:

Funny Girl - New Broadway Cast Recording

Producers Sonia Friedman, Scott Landis and David Babani together with Gemini Theatrical, Accidental Jacket and Sony Masterworks Broadway have released the New Broadway Cast Recording of FUNNY GIRL. Produced by David Caddick and David Lai and featuring the classic score by Jule Styne (music) and Bob Merrill (lyrics), the album was executive produced by Evan McGill, and co-produced by Brian Gillet, Huck Walton, Sean Keller, Marc Levine, Michael Mayer, Sonia Friedman, Scott Landis and David Babani.

FUNNY GIRL stars Emmy Award Nominee Lea Michele as Fanny Brice, Tony and Olivier Award nominee Ramin Karimloo as Nick Arnstein, 2022 Tony & Drama Desk Award Nominee & Chita Rivera Award Winner Jared Grimes as Eddie Ryan, and four-time Tony Award nominee Tovah Feldshuh as Mrs. Rosie Brice at the August Wilson Theatre (245 West 52nd Street). They are joined by Peter Francis James as Florenz Ziegfeld, Ephie Aardema as Emma/Mrs. Nadler, Debra Cardona as Mrs. Meeker, Toni DiBuono as Mrs. Strakosh, Martin Moran as Tom Keeney, and an acting company that includes Miriam Ali, Amber Ardolino, Daniel Beeman, Colin Bradbury, Kurt Csolak, John Michael Fiumara, Leslie Donna Flesner, Afra Hines, Masumi Iwai, Aliah James, Jeremiah James, Danielle Kelsey, Stephen Mark Lukas, Alicia Lundgren, John Manzari, Liz McCartney, Connor McRory Katie Mitchell, Justin Prescott, Mariah Reives, Barbara Tirrell, Leslie Blake Walker, and “Fanny Brice” alternate Julie Benko, who performs the role every Thursday.

SKALD:

Huldufolk

Far from the lands of the North, the echoes of such legends still ring out. The beliefs of those who used to populate these distant lands have been perpetuated, and despite the pressures of modern industrial society, the old folk traditions live on. It was in the countries where the people we call Vikings were to be found – Norway, Denmark, Sweden or Iceland – that the Huldufólk ("the hidden people") remained anchored in their everyday lives and traditions. At roadsides, deep in the forests and in the heart of the mountains, elves and trolls huddled together in a discreet coexistence with humankind, melting into a strange and wonderful wilderness. And now, it's from among those people born of a far-off imagination that the poetic, epic sounds of SKÁLD are now venturing forward!

Plunging listeners into the myths and legends of Scandinavia, producer/composer Christophe Voisin-Boisvinet and the SKÁLD collective have gathered around them many talented artists who have restored the poets and shamans of ancient times to their rightful place. Accompanied by the sounds of the drums, we are cradled by hypnotic voices that let us escape into an "elsewhere" made of fantasy, a land inhabited by weird and wonderful creatures, and mysteries created in strange landscapes. And so it is that SKÁLD leads modern men and women to flee, far from the harsh realities of everyday life, like the first colonies of settlers in Iceland.

Finishing Move Inc.:

The Callisto Protocol (Original Game Soundtrack)

Decca Records US is proud to partner with Striking Distance Studios and composing team Finishing Move Inc. to release the original game soundtrack for The Callisto Protocol – one of the most highly anticipated video games of this decade. Set on Jupiter’s moon Callisto in the year 2320, The Callisto Protocol is a next-generation take on the survival horror genre. The game challenges players to escape the maximum-security Black Iron Prison and uncover its terrifying secrets. A blend of horror, action and immersive storytelling, The Callisto Protocol aims to set a new bar for horror in interactive entertainment. The Callisto Protocol (Original Game Soundtrack) will be released digitally today. A vinyl release will follow in the second half of 2023.

Cast Albums:

CABARET - London Cast Recording

Willkommen! Decca Records is today privileged to release the highly-anticipated 2021 London Cast Recording of one of the most successful shows of all time: the hit musical CABARET, brought to you from the KIT KAT CLUB in London’s West End, and presented by ATG Productions and Underbelly.

Recorded live during a performance, with the exceptional in-house band at the KIT KAT CLUB, the award-winning 2021 London Cast stars Oscar, SAG, BAFTA, Tony and Olivier award winner Eddie Redmayne as ‘The Emcee’ and British Independent Film award and Olivier winner, Oscar, BAFTA and 2022 Mercury Prize nominee Jessie Buckley as ‘Sally Bowles’. Here, the atmosphere and energy of the show is captured perfectly, for the very first time.

Eddie Redmayne says of the recording: “Getting to perform John Kander, Fred Ebb and Joe Masteroff’s extraordinary piece with a staggering troupe at the Kit Kat Club in the heart of London was the stuff that dreams are made of. I am so thrilled that a recording that hopefully catches the intimacy and the immediacy of the production is finding its way out into the world.”

Jessie Buckley says of the recording: “So excited to share this live recording of Cabaret with you all. We loved every minute creating this world with the effervescent life force of our Kit Kat company and musicians that made it come to life night after night. I hope you find a way to disappear back into the Kit Kat Club and love hearing the music play as much as we did.”

After garnering five-star reviews from the critics, CABARET then swept the boards at this year’s Olivier Awards winning a staggering seven awards. It became the most award-winning revival of a musical in Olivier history and the first ever musical or play to win in all four acting categories, for Eddie Redmayne, Jessie Buckley, Liza Sadovy (Fraulein Schneider) and Elliot Levey (Herr Schultz), who all feature on the album.

CABARET features some of the most iconic songs in musical theatre, including Wilkommen, Money, If You Could See Her, Tomorrow Belongs To Me and Two Ladies, here with lead vocals from Redmayne and Don’t Tell Mama, Mein Herr, Maybe This Time, Perfectly Marvellous and of course the title track Cabaret, with lead vocals from Buckley.

CABARET has music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, book by Joe Masteroff. Based on the play by John Van Druten and stories by Christopher Isherwood. It is directed by Rebecca Frecknall, set and costume design is by Tom Scutt with choreography by Julia Cheng. Musical supervision and direction is by Jennifer Whyte with lighting design by Isabella Byrd and sound design by Nick Lidster. The casting director is Stuart Burt and the associate director is Jordan Fein.

Andras Schiff:

J.S. Bach - Clavichord

András Schiff is one of the greatest J.S. Bach interpreters of our time and his dedication to Bach’s oeuvre has been extensively recorded on ECM’s New Series, receiving wide acclaim with his interpretation of the Goldberg Variations (2001) and the Six Partitas (2007), before taking on both books of the Well-Tempered Clavier (2012). The New York Times: “Mr. Schiff is, in Bach, a phenomenon. He doesn’t so much perform it as emit, breathe it.” Here Schiff returns to Bach, this time on clavichord, and presents a special selection, spanning the Capriccio in B-flat major, Bach’s Two- and Three-Part Inventions as well as the Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue, the Four Duets and Ricercar à 3 from Musikalisches Opfer.  

In a performer’s note for this new double-CD, András Schiff writes: “On first hearing, the sound of the clavichord may seem unfamiliar and strange but, little by little, you will become accustomed to it. Then a new world will open up, like a quiet oasis in our noisy, troubled times. Thanks to the clavichord I now play and hear Bach differently – even on the modern piano: it’s all more detailed.”

Schiff’s infatuation with the clavichord ensues a long line of composers and musicians who held the instrument in equally high regard, praising its transparent nature and delicate dynamics. In his detailed account of the instrument in the liner text, the Belgian clavichord and organ maker Joris Potvlieghe traces the clavichord’s presence and reception back to the 14th century, marking the instrument’s peak in the 16th, though, “the only clavichords built before the end of the 17th century were fretted.”

In his forward to the Inventions and Sinfonias Bach addresses them to those who “love the clavier most of all to acquire a cantabile art of playing”. Several sources, cited in Potvlieghe’s notes, provide strong evidence that with ‘clavier’ Bach referred to the clavichord. Originally conceived as keyboard and composition instruction, in Schiff’s lucid interpretations the pieces inherit a fresh guise that emphasises the converging voices with rare accuracy.  

Catalyst Quartet:

Uncovered Vol. 3 - C-TP, GW, WGS

The lives of William Grant Still, George Walker, and Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, which unfolded between 1895 and 2018, encompassed the regime of racial terror that characterized the US following Reconstruction; the various Black artistic, political, and social projects that transformed the US in the 20th century; and the deep contradictions that continue to plague the US today. Indeed, as Perkinson said of his own position as a Black composer in the 1970s in relation to his forebears, we can say that “the situation has changed today; it has not changed very much, but it has changed.” The compositions featured here were written roughly between 1940 and 1956, and they represent Walker and Perkinson in their youths and Still in his prime. Each is a testament to these composers’ important place in the history of concert music in the US, their negotiations of competing aesthetic traditions of the 20th century, and their creative and deliberate engagement with what musicologist Eileen Southern referred to as “Black musical materials” in their compositional styles.

George Walker’s String Quartet No. 1 “Lyric” is in a way the most youthful music here, being the artist’s ?rst major composition. Walker ?nished the quartet in 1946 while he was a student at the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau, France, just one year after he had ?nished his Artist Diploma at the Curtis Institute, where he had studied composition with Samuel Barber’s teacher Rosario Scalero. The abrupt and dissonant opening gesture of the ?rst movement quickly gives way to a harmonic lushness that portends the middle movement, which remains one of his best remembered works and is often performed alone as the Lyric for Strings.

HAUSER:

The Phantom of the Opera

International superstar cellist HAUSER shares the romantically stunning song and video of “The Phantom of the Opera” theme by renowned composer Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the legendary Broadway musical, now officially set to close in April 2023.  The music video, the first to have ever been recorded on stage at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London’s iconic West End, stars HAUSER playing cello as the “Phantom” alongside his obsession “Christine Daaé” in a dynamic heart-touching performance. With HAUSER’s impeccable interpretation, this dramatic new visual showcases the storyline of the longest-running Broadway musical in a refreshing new way – watch here.  

Meanwhile, HAUSER, fresh off the release of his Billboard crossover chart-topping new full-length album THE PLAYER, which is out now on Sony Music Masterworks (listen here), has been on an exciting adventure since wrapping his farewell tour with 2CELLOS and kicking off his own Rebel With A Cello solo tour.

HAUSER was recently featured in People Magazine’s annual “Sexiest Men Alive” issue, receiving acclaim under the headline “Sexy at Any Age.”

The multi-faceted artist has recently launched a line of premium luxury wines, aptly called HAUSER Wines, available internationally, and produced in the Mád village of Tokaj, a region by virtue of the wines, deemed a historic area considered the Wines of Kings. Tokaj has been an iconic region of the wine world for centuries. 

Montparnasse Musique:

Archeology

Following their self-titled EP released on our Real World X imprint in 2021, pan-African production duo Montparnasse Musique have released their debut album: Archeology on Real World Records this Autumn. Out on 7th October, Archeology is a vibrant collection of tracks based in electronic music and inspired by a variety of influences from across the African continent.

The first single, ‘Bonjour’, is out today. The track was created from Montparnasse Musique’s recording sessions with vocalist Muambuyi and guitarist Mopero Mupemba (of Kasai Allstars). It’s an uplifting song which celebrates friendships. The video was filmed on the streets of Kinshasa by award-winning filmmaker Renaud Barret (Systeme K!, KOKOKO!) and features Muambuyi and Mopero alongside other creatives from the Congolese capital’s vibrant street art scene.

Nadjib Ben Bella is a DJ and producer who draws influences from the gnawa music of his North African roots and a diverse range of Sub-Saharan sounds from musicians he has worked with over the years. Most recently he has been touring Europe with West African band Les Amazones d’Afrique. Aero Manyelo, a name now synonymous with the burgeoning South African house scene, has honed a distinctive electronic sound that translates across the international club circuit and has attracted a broad range of collaborators — including Idris Elba and The Mahotella Queens on the opening track of an album inspired by the Nelson Mandela biopic Long Walk to Freedom.

Pete Calandra and Straight Up:

Mixed Emotions

Mixed Emotions is the latest release from Pete Calandra and Straight Up.

It’s an upbeat latin-jazz track with Ramsey Lewis, Bob James and Joe Sample in?uences. The song has a catchy melody full of easy to remember hooks. The song features a fantastic rhythm section with New York studio legend Tom Barney on bass guitar and Los Angeles Session Drummer Eric Valentine. This duo supports and drives the groove with composer Pete Calandra adding soulful Piano, Keyboards and Rhythm Guitar. Mixed by engineering ace Ken Freeman the song is now available on all digital platforms.
 

Pete Calandra and Straight Up: Mixed Emotions 1-15-23 Release Date
Tom Barney Bass Guitar Eric Valentine: Drums
Pete Calandra: Composer, Piano, Keyboards, Guitar. Ken Freeman: Mix Engineer
John Kilgore: Record Engineer Producer: Pete Calandra

Eldbjorg Hemsing:

Arctic

The Sony Classical debut album “Arctic” from internationally acclaimed Norwegian violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing is a musical journey through the Arctic. It features newly composed music by composer stars such as Jacob Shea (“The Blue Planet”) and Frode Fjellheim (“Frozen”). It is scheduled for release on 3 February 2023.

The collaboration between Sony Classical and concert violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing starts off with a unique concept album. “Arctic” is a musical journey through a stunningly beautiful region and a celebration of a fragile and largely unexplored ecosystem threatened by climate change.

“The Arctic is often misrepresented as stark and uninhabitable wasteland,” Hemsing explains. “Yet it’s a region of matchless beauty abounding in life, one that magically illustrates how all things cohere in fragile cycles. ‘Arctic’ is a musical journey through this unique and endangered natural habitat. I want this project to show people how magnificent and deserving of protection this landscape is, and to point out the threat of climate change, which affects us all.”

Ryuichi Sakamoto:

12

Milan Records today releases 12, the new album from prolific composer, producer and artist RYUICHI SAKAMOTO. Available everywhere now, 12 marks the 15th solo studio album from Sakamoto and the first of new solo material since 2017’s async. The album features 12 songs selected from a collection of musical sketches Sakamoto recorded like a sound diary between 2021 and 2022 during his ongoing battle with cancer. Each track is titled and sequenced by the date in which it was written, culminating in a collection of music that provides an intimate snapshot into this period of Sakamoto’s life. Alongside today’s release is a special visual companion to 12 featuring the album’s closing track “20220304” and footage of the composer in Tokyo – watch here.  

Of the album, RYUICHI SAKAMOTO says, “In early March 2021, I finally ‘came home’ to my new temporary housing after a big operation and a long stay in the hospital. Around the end of March, just as my body was feeling a little lighter, I found myself reaching for the synthesizer. I had no intention of composing something; I just wanted to be showered in sound. I had a feeling that it’d have a small healing effect on my damaged body and soul. Up until then, I barely had the energy to listen to music, let alone play anything. But after that day, I began to occasionally touch the keys of the synthesizer and piano, and I began to record little sketches of sounds as if to write a diary. I tried choosing 12 of my favorite sketches for this album. There are no adornments—I’m intentionally putting them out as is. From now on, until my body gives out, I’ll probably continue to keep this kind of ‘diary.’”

In advance of the album’s release, Sakamoto recently debuted a special solo piano concert that was streamed online to an audience of over 60,000 viewers across the globe. His first live performance in two years, the concert was recorded over the course of a week at Tokyo’s legendary 509 Studio and features an hour of the composer playing new arrangements both spanning his repertoire and from his new album. 

Soundtracks:

BBC - Frozen Planet II

The 2-CD physical soundtrack to the natural history landmark sequel Frozen Planet II will be released on Jan 27, 2023 in the US. Frozen Planet II premieres Saturday, January 28th at 8pm ET/7pm C on BBC America and AMC+.

The Emmy and BAFTA nominated Bleeding Fingers Music team, headed by Hans Zimmer, deliver an ethereal and powerful soundtrack featuring the vocals of AURORA and backed by the Reykjavík Recording Choir and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. The 3-note leitmotif from the opening theme is slowly varied and carried by the waves of shifting harmonies supported by crystalline strings, metallic percussion, and contemplative brass. On the second album the sound becomes more defined with the themes establishing themselves whilst the swirling and pulsating orchestral sound intermittently supports and drowns them.

Soundtracks:

Copenhagen Cowboy

Milan Records today releases COPENHAGEN COWBOY (SOUNDTRACK FROM THE NETFLIX SERIES), the music album from Netflix’s new series created by Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive, The Neon Demon). Available everywhere now, the album features music written by Julian Winding, Peter Peter and Cliff Martinez for the noir-thriller set in Refn’s native Copenhagen. All frequent collaborators of Refn’s, the composing trio have infused the series with a synth-heavy, electronic soundscape befitting the neon-drenched journey through Denmark’s dark underworld. Originally premiering at the Venice Film Festival, Copenhagen Cowboy is available to watch on Netflix now.

Of the soundtrack, Copenhagen Cowboy director, writer and producer NICOLAS WINDING REFN says, “With Copenhagen Cowboy, I was able to revisit my past as I move toward my future, bringing together three very singular voices — Peter Peter, Cliff Martinez and spicing it up with Julian Winding. It’s a real trip that will give everyone hot thrills and warm chills.”

Renee Fleming:

Greatest Moments at the Met

Decca Classics is proud to announce Renée Fleming – Greatest Moments at the Met. The release showcases her stellar career at the Metropolitan Opera House to date, making some of the great soprano's most iconic performances at The Met available on CD and digital audio for the first time ever. Hearing these live performances captures the excitement felt in the house as they were happening in real time, making an indispensable addition to her many studio recordings.

This announcement follows news of Fleming’s nomination last week for a 2023 Grammy Award for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album, for her previous Decca release Voice of Nature: the Anthropocene, and it comes as Fleming takes the stage at the Met again tonight (November 22) in the star-studded world premiere production of Kevin Puts's opera The Hours. 

Fleming describes The Met as “my musical home, the theater where I feel welcome amongst friends – backstage, onstage, and in the audience.” The beginning of Fleming’s Met career is famous: in 1991 she stepped in at the last minute as the Countess in Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, her surprise debut receiving instant acclaim. It launched a remarkable artistic relationship, with Fleming singing  beloved operas from the standard repertoire, as well as championing operas never before heard at the house. She has sung more than 250 performances there, more than at any other opera house in the world, and the tally continues to grow.

Zach Sprowls:

All Beginnings Are Hard

"All beginnings are hard…Especially a beginning that you make by yourself. That's the hardest of all." The wisdom of Chaim Potok's novel, "In the Beginning," was hard-won and, for Zach Sprowls, deeply resonant. This debut single echoes that wisdom. Its vulnerable arpeggios and breathing strings tell the story of life after loss—not in the tired clichés of resurrection or rebirth, but in the quiet resolve of motion itself. The piano at the center of the composition is simultaneously a song, a thought, and a step, seeking and making its way forward through hardship. Much like life, the immersive beauty of the piece comes from subtle transformations that reward you as you stay present.

In "All Beginnings Are Hard," Zach has given voice to his transformation. From his lowest point six years ago—devastated and starting over—he's gradually emerged as an artist to watch. A classically-trained pianist and composer, Zach cut his teeth as an accompanist and arranger. "All Beginnings Are Hard" reflects this maturity—it's confident, full of expression, and masterfully captured.

Zach recorded the old Baldwin piano at the heart of the piece in his small Scranton apartment. A quartet consisting of members of the U.S. Army Strings then recorded his string arrangement at Cue Recording Studios outside Washington D.C. To this, Zach added understated analog synth textures. The combined result envelops the listener in a lush soundscape as deft as it is moving. In it, listeners can find their own story of transformation—of taking the next step amid hardship and becoming more than they imagined.

Sebastian Rochford:

A Short Diary w/Kit Downes

This “short diary (of loss)”, as drummer Sebastian Rochford calls it, is offered as “a sonic memory, created with love, out of need for comfort.” It is dedicated to Rochford’s father, Aberdeen poet Gerard Rochford, 1932-2019, and to his family. Seb, one of ten siblings, wrote most of the music shortly after Gerard’s death and delivers it here, in performances of deep feeling and hymn-like clarity, together with pianist Kit Downes. The final wistful piece, “Even Now I Think Of Her” was composed by Gerard Rochford. Sebastian explains:  “It’s a tune my dad had sung into his phone and sent me. I forwarded this to Kit. He listened, and then we started.”

Rochford recalls how, after his father passed away, “music just seemed to come to me, sing inside me every day, sometimes even as I woke. Though initially I felt conflict in writing and hadn't wanted to, in it's coming, it realised in me a sense of comfort and also a way to sense physically what I was feeling.  So in a musical way, it became my diary of this time.” As far as diaries go, this may be a quietly reflective one; however, it is also imbued with striking melodic themes and poignant chord progressions, replete with many nuances and different shades of tone and timbre spread across a simple grand piano and the bare necessities of a drum-kit. 

The album was recorded at Rochford’s childhood home in Scotland – its intimate acoustics captured comprehensively and with crystalline transparency. “As my parents always loved music being played at home and we would not be able to keep the house, I thought to record the music there, also as a sonic memory of where I grew up, played on my grandfather's piano, gifted to us by my father's brother, a tribute to the wonderful, kind hearted man I called my dad.” 

As the drummer wrote the music, sitting at his father’s piano, he took notes in a manuscript book, making sure to record, in words, the details of atmosphere and ambiance that can’t be expressed through scores. “All the music has sheet music and as the tone is an important part of the feeling, Kit and I spoke about achieving certain dynamics, as I felt if the piano went past certain dynamics, the feeling was lost for me. The writing of the music was also a comfort for me at this time, so I wanted the music we recorded to reflect that.”

Stile Antico:

The Golden Renaissance - William Byrd

Stile Antico, the award-winning early music specialist choir, will release a new album William Byrd on Decca Classics, marking the 400th anniversary year of the death of the English Renaissance composer. It is the second release in Stile Antico’s Golden Renaissance trilogy celebrating the anniversaries of three great Renaissance composers: Josquin des Prez, Byrd and Palestrina. Byrd follows 2021’s Josquin des Prez which won the inaugural Gramophone Award for Spatial Audio.
The life and work of William Byrd (1540 - 1623) is one of the most incredible stories in English musical history. Byrd wrote music for Catholic worship in post-Reformation England, a time when papists were frequently hanged, beheaded and burned alive for practicing their faith. As a result, and despite being granted some leniency by Elizabeth I (who greatly admired his music), Byrd wrote much of his most significant music in secret. It was to be sung in clandestine Catholic services held in the homes of England’s Catholic gentry. 

The new album focuses on the final phase of Byrd’s career and retirement in Essex, containing the Mass for Four Voices and a selection of motets from his Gradualia, two works of divine polyphony written for underground worship. Alongside these works are a selection of Byrd’s “sacred songs”, written by the composer not for secret worship but for publication on a large scale, to be enjoyed by a broad audience of music-reading singers. 

Stile Antico is firmly established as one of the world’s most accomplished and innovative vocal ensembles. Working without a conductor, its twelve members have thrilled audiences on four continents with their colourful and vibrant performances of Renaissance polyphony. 

Besides the 2021 Gramophone Award for Spatial Audio, its numerous recordings have earned such accolades as the Gramophone Award for Early Music, Diapason d’or de l’année, Edison Klassiek Award, and Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik. The group has received three Grammy® nominations and performed live at the 60th Grammy® Awards at Madison Square Garden.

Meredith Monk:

The Recordings

The Recordings, a box set edition compiling all Meredith Monk ECM New Series discs to date, is issued on the occasion of the composer and singer’s 80th birthday. Included here are the albums Dolmen Music, Turtle Dreams, Do You Be, Book of Days, Facing North, ATLAS, Volcano Songs, mercy, impermanence, Songs of Ascension, Piano Songs, and On Behalf of Nature. Each album is a revelation. The box set also incorporates a 300-page book reprising all original liner notes, plus new texts and interviews, many photographs, archival documents, quotes from the press, and more.

From Manfred Eicher’s preface: “Meredith Monk is one of the truly original artists of our time and we are proud to present this edition of her collected recordings on ECM. It has been a great inspiration and a real joy to have worked with her on the projects included here, a voyage of discovery. From Dolmen Music to On Behalf of Nature, Meredith’s ensembles have expanded and contracted to meet the changing needs of the music … But whether orchestral forces are involved (as on ATLAS and Songs of Ascension) or just two musicians (as on Facing North and Piano Songs), Meredith’s artistic signature is unmistakable. As assuredly as fellow outsiders and independent thinkers such as Henry Cowell, John Cage or Harry Partch, she has created her own universe, and in the process changed perceptions of contemporary music.”

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