VIVAT international distribution

VIVAT is delighted that as of January 1, 2017, we are now distributed in the USA and Canada by Naxos USA. Vivat is thrilled to join one of the world’s most influential and successful distribution networks.

VIVAT now has full distribution in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the USA. We are thrilled to be working with such committed partners widely across the world. Full details of our distributors come on the Distribution page.

Recent releases

2016 was an exciting year for Vivat. Released during March was Mendelssohn’s astonishing 1833 version of Handel’s oratorio Israel in Egypt: a shoal of fine reviews included a Gramophone Editor’s Choice, with BBC Radio 3’s Record Review commenting “This one’s a winner”, and, indeed, the CD went straight into the UK Classical Charts at #2. The genesis of the work is fascinating: in 1833, after four years of study and reconstruction, and captivated by the music of Handel, Mendelssohn performed, to great acclaim, his new version of Israel in Ägypten. Some 180 years later, Robert King painstakingly reconstructed Mendelssohn’s own reconstruction, and radically different it is to Handel’s 1739 score. The large and colourful orchestra play nineteenth-century instruments, producing vivid new sonorities, and including very different orchestrations. There are significant changes to the order of movements, as well as new numbers. The text is sung in German, and the work starts with a thrilling, pure-Mendelssohn overture, which mixes life and energy with moments of exquisitely shifting instrumental colours. There is fine solo singing from five renowned soloists, and striking chorus work from the large double choir. Incorporating early nineteenth-century performing practice – bringing a notably different approach to portamento, rubato, vibrato, trills and slurring – and pitched at A=430, here is a familiar work in wholly new clothing.

In May we launched an exciting new series, Decades, across which a host of renowned singers will draw listeners, decade by decade, through a century of song from 1810 to 1910. Each volume presents a well-planned, varied programme, but overall the series also holds a wider aim, building a comprehensive survey of song right through the nineteenth century (and, in doing so, creating an invaluable teaching asset). The opening volume, 1810-1820, includes songs from Austria, Bohemia, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, with works by Franz Schubert, Fernando Sor, Ludwig van Beethoven, Joseph Fabry-Garat, Sophie Gail, Václav Tomášek, Giovanni Battista Viotti, and Carl Maria von Weber, performed by the distinguished Canadian tenor Michael Schade, sopranos Lorna Anderson and the young Spaniard Sylvia Schwartz, mezzo Dame Ann Murray and bass Florian Boesch, accompanied by the series’ creator, pianist Malcolm Martineau. The singers for volumes 2 & 3 add Sarah Connolly, John Mark Ainsley, Christina Gansch, Anush Hovhannisyan, Christopher Maltman and Angelika Kirchschlager.

Most recently released is A Voice from Heaven, a beautifully themed collection of fourteen of the finest unaccompanied British choral masterpieces of the last 125 years, performed by the award-winning Choir of The King’s Consort. The recording has been universally praised, and contains a fascinating mix of familiar and unfamiliar works, and includes five ‘paired’ but contrasting settings: William Harris’s classic 1959 Bring us, O Lord God is partnered by James Macmillan’s 2010 version of the same text; Herbert Howells’ devastatingly poignant Take him, earth, for cherishing (written in memory of the slain President J F Kennedy) is juxtaposed with John Tavener’s 2008 response to the same text; Justorum animae (‘The souls of the righteous’) is heard in versions by Lennox Berkeley and Charles Villiers Stanford, with a tenderly melodious setting, in English, by Herbert Murrill; plangent settings of Drop, drop, slow tears come from Kenneth Leighton and a recent composition by Thomas Hewitt Jones; and Stanford’s beautifully crafted I heard a voice from Heaven is coupled – and totally contrasted – with Herbert Howells’ exquisite, mystical setting of the same words. The collection is completed with three impressive single works: Hubert Parry’s valedictory Lord, let me know mine end, William Harris’s acknowledged masterwork Faire is the Heaven, and a powerful recording of John Tavener’s extraordinary Song for Athene, which sprang to global fame when performed at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales: after five subdued sections of resigned calm, the triumphant final stanza that ends the disc comes as a stunning sonic sunburst.

Our May 2017 release is volume 2 of “Decades: A Century of Song”. This second volume, 1820-1830, includes songs from Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Russia by Vincenzo Bellini, Mikhail Glinka, Carl Loewe, Felix Mendelssohn, Louis Niedermeyer, Franz Schubert and Robert Schumann. The three principal singers are mezzo Sarah Connolly, tenor John Mark Ainsley and baritone Christopher Maltman, joined by tenors Robin Tritschler and Luis Gomes, and Armenian soprano Anush Hovhannisyan, accompanied by the series’ creator, pianist Malcolm Martineau. Of especial note is Sarah Connolly’s performance of Schubert’s three ‘Ellen Songs’, including a glorious rendition of the classic ‘Ave Maria’, Christopher Maltman’s vivid portrayal of Goethe’s ‘Erlkönig’ in Loewe’s setting, and John Mark Ainsley’s beautifully crafted renditions of songs by Schubert, Schumann and Mendelssohn.