Chandos Records

Chandos Records is a British independent classical music recording company based in Colchester. It was founded in 1979 by Brian Couzens.[1][2]

Chandos Records
FounderBrian Couzens
Country of originUnited Kingdom


Chandos Records arose from a band music publisher Chandos Music, founded in 1963, and Chandos Productions, a record production company which produced LPs for Classics for Pleasure, and, especially, RCA's work in the UK.[3] Its first record was Bloch's Sacred Service (ABR1001). Important early recordings were made with Mariss Jansons, Nigel Kennedy and the King's Singers – before they moved to bigger contracts with EMI.[3]

In 2005, Chandos Records was the first classical label to offer mp3s on its website. They now run The Classical Shop with over 45 labels on offer, including Naxos, LSO Live, Coro, Avie, Onyx, Alpha and many rarer European labels, which are not available in physical format in the UK.

The current managing director of Chandos Records is Ralph Couzens, son of Brian Couzens.[3]

The name "Chandos" refers to James Brydges, 1st Duke of Chandos (1674-1744), at whose Palladian-style house, Cannons, Handel was engaged as a composer-in-residence for approximately a year (1717-1718). In addition to the eleven "Chandos" anthems, Handel also wrote other works, including Acis and Galatea, at Cannons. The company originally had its office in Chandos House, Chandos Place, London SW1, the street name derived from the Duke.


The Chandos catalogue contains a range of classical music - for example, much orchestral, choral and chamber music by such lesser-known British composers as Herbert Howells, Gerald Finzi, Charles Villiers Stanford and Arnold Bax, conducted by eminent conductors including Richard Hickox, Gianandrea Noseda, Neeme Järvi and Vernon Handley. They also specialise in early music, on their label Chaconne, with performances by artists such as the Purcell Quartet, Collegium Musicum 90 and Sophie Yates. Chandos is also known for its Movies series, preserving previously lost film scores. In 1990 they launched the Opera in English label, in association with the Peter Moores Foundation,[1] which has resulted in over 80 recordings.

Series include:

  • Complete symphonies of Alwyn, Vaughan Williams, Mahler, Arnold, Shostakovich, Bax
  • Tone poems of Liszt
  • Film Music series includes: Arnold, Shostakovich, Vaughan Willams, Bax, Korngold, Coates, Addinsell, Addison


Recordings released by Chandos have won many awards including "Gramophone Record of the Year" for Vaughan Williams's A London Symphony with the London Symphony Orchestra, and "Gramophone Choral Recording of the Year" for Hummel Masses. Chandos recordings have received five Grammy Awards: "Best Opera Recording" in 1997 for Britten's Peter Grimes and in 2008 for Engelbert Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel, "Best Engineered Classical Album" in 2008 for Gretchaninov's "Passion Week" and in 2013 for "Life and Breath" by the Kansas City Chorale, and "Best Choral Performance" for "Life and Breath."[4]


Soloists and conductors who have recorded for the label include Sir Charles Mackerras, Rebecca Evans, Julian Lloyd Webber, Sir Thomas Allen, Alan Opie, Tasmin Little, Bruce Ford, Barry Banks, Christine Brewer, Lesley Garrett, Horacio Gutiérrez, Neeme Järvi, Simon Keenlyside, Hideko Udagawa and Alexandre Naoumenko.

They have an exclusive recording partnership with, among others, the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet. The late conductor Richard Hickox was many times a Gramophone winner with Chandos recordings.


  1. ^ a b Cutts P. For the record : Steering clear of the mainstream. Gramophone, October 1999, p16.
  2. ^ Jolly J. Chandos at 10. Gramophone, May 1989, p12.
  3. ^ a b c Anderson C. Thirty years of Chandos. Ralph and Brian Couzens talk about the history of their company. Classic Record Collector, Winter 2008, 39-42.
  4. ^ Stott M. Colchester: Double Grammy win for classical music record label Chandos. Ipswich Star, 18 February 2013.

External links

A World Requiem

A World Requiem, Op. 60 is a large-scale symphonic work with soloists and choirs by the British composer John Foulds. Written as a requiem and using forces similar in scale to Gustav Mahler's Eighth Symphony, the work calls for a full symphony orchestra, soloists, massed choirs including children's choirs, offstage instrumentalists and an organ.

Foulds wrote the work between 1919 and 1921, and conceived it as a memorial to the dead of all nations in the wake of the First World War. The text (in English), assembled by his wife Maud MacCarthy, to whom the score is dedicated, is not liturgical, though it uses sections of the Requiem Mass plus several other Biblical passages as well as excerpts from John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress, a poem by the Hindu poet Kabir and a few passages she wrote herself. There are 20 movements arranged in two parts of 10 movements each, though some movements are quite brief.

It was premiered under the auspices of the Royal British Legion on Armistice Night, 11 November 1923 in the Royal Albert Hall by up to 1,250 instrumentalists and singers; the latter were called the Cenotaph Choir. The soloists were Herbert Heyner, Ida Cooper, Olga Haley and William Heseltine. The programme-book for that occasion proclaimed on its cover that the work was 'A Cenotaph in Sound' and it is likely that Foulds wished to present his work as a musical equivalent of the Cenotaph recently erected in Whitehall and designed by his friend Sir Edwin Lutyens. The performance brought Foulds such popular acclaim that after his death Maud MacCarthy was able to publish a book devoted to the positive responses to the work, though critical reaction was mixed. The work was repeated from 1924 to 1926 and constituted the first Festivals of Remembrance.

The vocal score was published by W. Paxton & Co. Ltd., London, whose business was eventually absorbed by the music publishers Novello & Co. During the period when the work was being performed in the 1920s, Foulds introduced various revisions and modifications.

Having lain neglected for eighty years, the BBC in association with the Royal British Legion undertook a revival of the work, performed at the Royal Albert Hall on 11 November 2007. The BBC Symphony Orchestra was joined by soloists Jeanne-Michèle Charbonnet, Catherine Wyn-Rogers, Gerald Finley and Stuart Skelton and the BBC Symphony Chorus was joined by the Crouch End Festival Chorus, Philharmonia Chorus and Trinity Boys' Choir and conducted by Leon Botstein.The concert was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 (and was streamed online from their site) and was also recorded for later release by Chandos Records. The Chandos recording was issued in January 2008.

The German premiere was held on 2 November 2014 in Wetzlar Cathedral.

Andrew Shore

Andrew Shore, (born 30 September 1952) is an English operatic baritone.

Benjamin Luxon

Benjamin Matthew Luxon (born 24 March 1937 in Redruth, Cornwall, UK) is a retired British baritone.

Borodin Quartet

The Borodin Quartet is a string quartet that was founded in 1945 in the then Soviet Union. It is one of the world's longest-lasting string quartets, having marked its 70th-anniversary season in 2015.

The quartet was one of the Soviet Union's best known in the West during the Cold War era, through recordings as well as concert performances in the United States and Europe.The quartet had a close relationship with composer Dmitri Shostakovich, who personally consulted them on each of his quartets. They also performed with the pianist Sviatoslav Richter on many occasions. They have recorded all of Shostakovich's string quartets as well as all of Beethoven's quartets. Their other recordings include works by a wide range of composers on the Melodiya, Teldec, Virgin Records, and Chandos Records labels.

The original Borodin quartet's sound was characterised by an almost symphonic volume and a highly developed ability to phrase while maintaining group cohesion. Although it has seen many personnel changes in its lifespan, all quartet members have been graduates of the Moscow Conservatory.

Brian Couzens

Brian William Couzens (17 January 1933 – 17 April 2015) was a British music industry executive, recording engineer, and producer. He founded Chandos Records in 1979.

Bryden Thomson

Bryden Thomson (16 July 1928 – 14 November 1991) was a Scottish conductor remembered especially for his championship of British and Scandinavian composers. His recordings include influential surveys of the orchestral music of Hamilton Harty and Arnold Bax. He was principal conductor of several British orchestras, including the Ulster Orchestra, which flourished under his tenure.

Christopher Gunning

Christopher Gunning (born 5 August 1944) is an English composer of concert works and music for films and television.

Gunning was born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. He studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where his tutors included Edmund Rubbra and Richard Rodney Bennett.Gunning's film and TV compositions have received many awards, including the 2007 BAFTA Award for Best Film Music for La Vie en Rose, as well as three additional awards for Agatha Christie's Poirot, Middlemarch, and Porterhouse Blue. He also has won three Ivor Novello Awards, for the TV miniseries Rebecca, and the film scores for Under Suspicion (1991), and Firelight (1997). His other film scores include Goodbye Gemini (1970), Hands of the Ripper (1971), Ooh... You Are Awful (1972), the film version of Man About the House (1974), In Celebration (1975), Rogue Male (1976), Charlie Muffin (1979), Rise and Fall of Idi Amin (1981), When the Whales Came (1989), Lighthouse Hill (2004) and Grace of Monaco (2014).

In the 1970s and 1980s, Gunning collaborated with rock musician Colin Blunstone and was responsible for the distinctive string arrangement on Blunstone's 1972 hit "Say You Don't Mind". He also provided the haunting string arrangements on "Won't Somebody Dance With Me", the Ivor Novello award-winning song written and performed by Lynsey De Paul.Gunning's scores for The Big Battalions, Wild Africa, Cold Lazarus and When the Whales Came also received nominations for BAFTA and Ivor Novello Awards, and his music for the Martini advertising campaign, heard around the world for thirty years, won three Clio Awards.

Gunning composed the music for nearly all of the Poirot TV films starring David Suchet, and worked on all three series of Rosemary and Thyme featuring Felicity Kendal and Pam Ferris.

In addition to performances of his television and film scores, Gunning's Concerto for Saxophone and Orchestra and The Lobster have been performed at various venues including London's Southbank Centre. The Saxophone Concerto, played by John Harle with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, has been released by Sanctuary Classics, The Lobster is available on the Meridian label, and the Piano Concerto, Symphony No. 1 and Storm have been released by Albany Records. Recent works include concertos for the oboe and clarinet and the CD Skylines The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performed the premiere of Symphonies No.3 and No.4, coupled with Concerto for Oboe and String Orchestra. This has been released by Chandos Records.

Gunning has now completed eight symphonies.

In recognition of Gunning's unique contribution to music, he was awarded with a BASCA Gold Badge Award October 19, 2011.

Collegium Musicum 90

Collegium Musicum 90 is an English baroque orchestra playing on period instruments. It was founded by violinist Simon Standage and conductor Richard Hickox in 1990 and was jointly directed by them (either together or separately) until the death of Hickox in November 2008.

Collegium Musicum means something like musical guild and was used generically as the name of musical societies and ensembles in the baroque era, and is sometimes used similarly today by ensembles playing early music.

Simon Standage was leader of baroque orchestra The English Concert under Trevor Pinnock from 1973 to 1991, often performing as violin soloist, while Richard Hickox had an initial background as a Cambridge University organ scholar and then became a conductor. Hickox founded the City of London Sinfonia and the Richard Hickox Singers in 1971 for the performance of Baroque music on modern instruments, for which Standage was concertmaster, then went on to pursue a career as a choral conductor of the London Symphony Chorus, as well as conducting large symphony orchestras and opera.

Collegium Musicum 90 was founded to be a standing period instrument orchestra specialising in baroque and early classical music which would enable Standage to direct regularly for the first time and Hickox to return emphatically to the baroque repertoire.

The orchestra has recorded extensively for Chandos Records; Standage has directed violin concertos and concerti grossi with himself as soloist, and Hickox has directed large-scale vocal repertoire with the group. They have toured around Europe and the United Kingdom, and performed at the Proms and other music festivals.

Early Opera Company

The Early Opera Company is a British ensemble dedicated to the performance of baroque operas using period instruments. It was founded in 1994 by Christian Curnyn. Handel's operas feature prominently in its repertoire, and the Company has given notable performances of Agrippina in New York, Orlando at the South Bank Centre Early Music Festival and Partenope at the Buxton and Aldeburgh Festivals. They have also recorded Partenope and Semele for the Chaconne label on Chandos Records. The recording of Semele was awarded the Handel Prize in 2008. Soloists who have performed with the company include Rosemary Joshua, Hilary Summers, Richard Croft and Gail Pearson. They performed at the Lufthansa Baroque Music Festival in May 2009 with John Eccles's The Judgment of Paris in one its first ever performances. The ensemble also made the premiere recording of the work for Chandos Records.

Froissart Overture (Elgar)

Froissart, Op. 19, is a concert overture by Edward Elgar, inspired by the 14th-century Chronicles of Jean Froissart. Elgar was first attracted to the Chronicles after finding mention of them in Walter Scott's Old Mortality.

Håvard Gimse

Håvard Gimse (born 15 September 1966) is a Norwegian classical pianist from Kongsvinger, Norway and the brother of the cellist Øyvind Gimse. He has received the Griegprisen (1996) and the Steinway Award (1995). Gimse has done several recordings for Naim Audio, Naxos Records, Sony Classical Records, Chandos Records and Simax.

I Fagiolini

I Fagiolini is a British vocal ensemble specialising in early music and contemporary music. Founded by Robert Hollingworth at Oxford in 1986, the group won the UK Early Music Network’s Young Artists’ Competition in 1988 and a Royal Philharmonic Society Award in 2006. It has an international reputation for presenting music in unusual ways, especially for featuring in John La Bouchardière's production and film The Full Monteverdi, worldwide. I Fagiolini has recorded some 15 CDs, mostly for Chandos Records, as well as a DVD of Orazio Vecchi's L'Amfiparnaso with Simon Callow.

The group has recorded the recently found Striggio 40-part mass (1566), released in March 2011. The CD won the Early Music category in the 2011 Gramophone Awards and a Diapason d'Or de l'Année.

Julian Gavin

Julian Gavin (born 1965) is an Australian-born British operatic tenor who has sung leading roles both in the United Kingdom and internationally. His full-length opera recordings include Don José in Carmen and the title roles in Ernani and Don Carlos for Chandos Records.

Karen Geoghegan

Karen Geoghegan is a Scottish bassoonist. She appeared on the 2007 BBC Two reality show, Classical Star. She was spotted on the show by the managing director of Chandos Records, Ralph Couzens and she has gone on to record three albums with the independent label.

Partita (Dallapiccola)

Partita for orchestra, Alla memoria di Ernesto Consolo, is a composition by the Italian composer Luigi Dallapiccola. It was composed between 1930 and 1932.

Partita is the work with which Dallapiccola first came to international recognition. Written in memory of the Italian pianist Ernesto Consolo, it is scored in four movements for orchestra, with a soprano solo in the final movement. In a manner analogous to the finale of Mahler's Fourth Symphony, the setting is a childlike medieval Latin lullaby.The work was premiered at the Teatro Comunale di Firenze on the 22nd of January 1933 by the theatre orchestra under Vittorio Gui, with Laura Pasini as soloist. It had to wait over seventy years for its recorded premiere, however, given by the BBC Philharmonic under Gianandrea Noseda in 2010, with Gillian Keith as soloist. The recording was released on Chandos Records.

Phoenix Chorale

The Phoenix Chorale is a professional chamber choir based in Phoenix, Arizona, United States.

The ensemble formed in 1958 as the Bach and Madrigal Society. After years as an amateur ensemble, the group went fully professional (meaning all the singers are compensated) in 1990 and changed its name to the Phoenix Bach Choir under Swedish conductor Anders Öhrwall. From 1992 until 1998, their conductor was Jon Washburn. Since 1998, the Artistic Director of the choir has been Charles Bruffy. In 2004, they signed a recording contract with Chandos Records. Their 2007 recording of works by Alexander Gretchaninov, made in collaboration with the Kansas City Chorale, was nominated for four Grammy Awards: Best Classical Album, Best Choral Performance, Best Surround Sound Album, and Best Engineered Classical Album--and won in the Engineering category. The group's collaborative recording with the Kansas City Chorale of works by Josef Rheinberger was nominated for two Grammy Awards: Best Choral Performance and Best Surround Sound Album.

In August 2008, the name of the ensemble was changed from the Phoenix Bach Choir to the Phoenix Chorale, and shortly thereafter, the group released a SACD on Chandos Records titled Spotless Rose: Hymns to the Virgin Mary, which received nominations for two Grammy Awards: Best Classical Album and Best Small Ensemble Performance. At the Grammy pre-telecast awards ceremony on February 8, 2009, the Grammy for Best Small Ensemble Performance was awarded to the chorale and its conductor, Charles Bruffy.Their most recent collaborative recording with the Kansas City Chorale, Rachmaninoff's All-Night Vigil, was nominated for Grammy Awards for Best Choral Performance and Best Engineered Album, Classical and won the Grammy for Best Choral Performance.

Scherzo in A-flat major (Borodin)

Alexander Borodin's Scherzo in A-flat major is a lively piece written in 1885, while Borodin was in Belgium for an early performance of his then incomplete opera Prince Igor. It was originally written for solo piano but in 1889 Alexander Glazunov orchestrated it, along with the Petite Suite. Borodin dedicated the piece to Théodore Jadoul, who made a four-hand piano arrangement of it.

Sea Songs

"Sea Songs" may also refer to sea shantiesSea Songs is an arrangement of three British sea-songs by the English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams. It is based on the songs "Princess Royal", "Admiral Benbow" and "Portsmouth". The work is a march of roughly four minutes duration. It follows a ternary structure, with opening material based on "Princess Royal" and "Admiral Benbow", with "Portsmouth" forming the central section before a return to the opening material featuring the first two songs.

The march was arranged for military band in 1923 as the second movement of English Folk Song Suite, and the world premiere of the suite was given at Kneller Hall on July 4, 1923. As a single work, its first performance was given at Wembley during the British Empire Exhibition in April 1924. This work, as well as the English Folk Song Suite, stemmed from Vaughan Williams' admiration for the band of the Royal Military School of Music at Kneller Hall. The work was re-arranged for full orchestra in 1942 by the composer.The term "Sea Songs" may also be used to refer to any songs about or concerned with ships and seafarers. Such songs (including Sea Shanties and other work songs) are most commonly classed as Folk Music and are a major feature of maritime festivals held at seaports (and some river-ports) around the UK.

Yan Pascal Tortelier

Yan Pascal Tortelier (born 19 April 1947) is a French conductor and violinist. Born in Paris, he is the son of the cellist Paul Tortelier, and the brother of Maria de la Pau. Tortelier began piano and violin studies at age 4. At age 14, he was a first-prize winner for violin at the Paris Conservatoire.Tortelier has worked and recorded extensively in the United Kingdom. He was principal conductor of the Ulster Orchestra from 1989 to 1992. He served as Principal Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra in Manchester from 1992 to 2003, and now has the title of conductor emeritus with the orchestra. He has also been a Principal Guest Conductor of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain (NYOGB).

Tortelier served as Principal Guest Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra from 2005 to 2008. He was principal conductor of the Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo (OSESP) from 2009 to 2011, and had the title of honorary guest conductor with the OSESP from 2011 to 2013. Tortelier first guest-conducted the Iceland Symphony Orchestra (ISO) in 1998. In October 2015, the ISO announced the appointment of Tortelier as its next chief conductor, effective with the 2016-2017 season, with an initial contract of 3 years.Tortelier's recordings include his own orchestration of Ravel's Trio. He is a regular recording artist for Chandos Records, and has conducted commercial recordings for Chandos with the BBC Philharmonic, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra. On Plasson's 1978 recording of Orphée aux enfers he plays the violin solos.

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