CPE Bach

11 October 2019

Born in Weimar, Carl Philipp Emanuel (1714-88) was the fifth child and second surviving son of JS Bach and his first wife Maria Barbara. By his own account he had no other teacher for composition and keyboard except his father. Nevertheless, the majority of Emanuel’s earliest works owe more to the influence of Telemann and other exponents of the new galant style, while already suggesting his own progressive instinct.

At the age of twenty-four, after seven years studying law, Emanuel decided to devote himself to music. In 1738 he accepted the position of keyboard player at the court of the Prussian crown prince – the future Frederick the Great. After nearly thirty years of royal service he left Berlin and moved to Hamburg, where he occupied the positions of Music Director and Cantor until his death.

Signum Records


1 June 2018

Renowned British composer Richard Blackford sets the Greek fable of Niobe to music in the premiere recording of his new violin concerto, performed by Tamsin Waley-Cohen with the Czech Philharmonic under conductor Ben Gernon.

In the myth, Niobe, who has seven daughters and seven sons, mocks Leto, goddess of motherhood yet mother of only two children – Apollo and Artemis. In revenge, Apollo murders Niobe’s sons, while Artemis kills her daughters, and her husband Amphion, king of Thebes, commits suicide. Niobe in grief turns to Zeus for help, who takes pity and turns Niobe to stone; she continues to weep, however, for eternity, her tears flowing as a stream from the rock.

Waley-Cohen comments: “The Greeks saw Niobe as a warning against hubris, but what happened to her can also be interpreted today as a tale about the overly severe punishment of women judged to have stepped out of line. Her punishment seems so brutal, as does the punishment that many women face today around the world. Richard’s concerto is an incredibly powerful piece and a story that is so relevant to women’s issues today.

Signum Records


22 January 2018

Tamsin Waley Cohen is joined by pianist Huw Watkins for a new disc exploring folk- inspired Bohemia from before the First World War – featuring works by Antonin Dvorak, Josef Suk and Leos Janacek.

This disc follows Tamsin’s recent critically-praised disc of Roy Harris and John Adams’ Violin Concertos with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, as well as previous discs with Huw Watkins exploring some lesser-known gems of the violin and Piano repertoire.

Waley-Cohen captures the score's spirit of infectious bonhomie to perfection, and brings an air of uncluttered simplicity and ingenuousness to the Four Romantic Pieces, creating the bracing impression of inspired improvisation.

The Strad Jan '18

Waley-Cohen's tone is bright enough to carry any climax

Gramophone Jan '18

Waley-Cohen and Watkins articulate the overall narrative beautifully

Gramophone Jan '18

Signum Records


2 June 2017

Permutations is a new work by Freya Waley-Cohen, commissioned as part of a Aldeburgh Festival’s 2017 season and exploring the relationship between architecture and music.

...severe demands on the violin soloists technique, which Tamsin Waley-Cohen takes in her stride

Andrew Benson-Wilson Jul '17

the multitracked performance is mesmerising as you start to appreciate the different characters of the parts and the way they move around one another before splintering off into their own world

Record Review Jun '17

It’s an imaginative and absorbing piece, rendered here with great finesse.

Gramophone Aug '17

Signum Records

Roy Harris, John Adams: Violin Concertos

30 September 2016

Gramophone Classical Music Awards 2017 shortlist
Violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen continues her series of concerto recordings on Signum with two contrasting works by American composers.

Harris’s Concerto is a major (re-)discovery, and Waley-Cohen outclasses Fulkerson’s pioneering version in every respect. ... Not to be missed.

Gramophone Sep '17

Tamsin Waley-Cohen handles [John Adams concerto's] gruelling solo part with athleticism and conviction

The Guardian Oct '16

...her interpretation is technically beyond reproach and musically imaginative

Gramophone Sep '17

Signum Records

Hahn & Szymanowski: Works for Violin & Piano

1 September 2015

Tamsin Waley-Cohen and Huw Watkins continue their duo partnership with a new recording of works by two trailblazing composers from France and Poland respectively - Reynaldo Hahn and Karol Szymanowski.

...her bow rasping on the string in the composer’s passionate flights, her sound meltingly beautiful and fragile in his graceful melodies

The Strad Jan '16

An intelligent recital disk...all played with verve and style.

The Guardian Sep '15

She has a potent rhetorical style, moving neatly from dramatic flourishes and cadenzas into gentle lyricism

The Strad Jan '16

Signum Records

SOLI: Works for Solo Violin

6 April 2015

Tamsin Waley-Cohen, a violinist of ‘fearless intensity’ (The Guardian), explores post-1944 solo repertoire, pushing the instrument to its limits. Bartok’s Solo Sonata, an ‘Everest’ of the violin repertoire, sits at the heart of this recording which also includes Penderecki’s Cadenza, and miniatures by Carter, Gyorgy Kurtag and George Benjamin.

Great playing from the very talented Tamsin Waley-Cohen. This really highlights the talent of the next generation of virtuosi.

Classic FM Jun '14

it's a measure of Waley-Cohen's commitment and energy (not to mention prodigious technique) that [the disc] succeeds utterly

Classical Music Magazine Jun '15

Waley-Cohen never loses poise.

The Strad Aug '15

Signum records

Vaughan Williams: The Lark Ascending

10 October 2014

British violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen adds to her already prodigious reputation with a new disc of timeless works for strings by Ralph Vaughan Williams and Edward Elgar.

Joined again the the Orchestra of the Swan under David Curtis, the centre piece of the programme is an enchanting performance of Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending.

her sense of line and capacity to make things happen are both beautiful and strikingly individual

BBC Music Magazine Nov '14

The Lark Ascending's opening solo searches out an extreme degree of musical space in a way that's at once daring and mesmerising

BBC Music Magazine Jan '15

Waley-Cohen's playing is memorable for its confident, earthy grit.

Sinfini Music Nov '14

Signum Records

1917: Works for Violin and Piano

7 April 2014

Rising-star violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen is joined by the eminent pianist-composer Huw Watkins in a diverse programme of works that were all influenced in different ways by the era in which they were composed. The works were conceived at four very different points in the composer’s lives – Debussy, at the end of his life, Respighi in the first flush of fame, Elgar, although not old, enjoying his last creative period, and Sibelius in his prime composing prolifically.

These four contrasting works were all composed as the Great War drew to a close, but none of them specifically attempts to conjure up images of the conflict, nor act as any kind of programmatic memorial to its victims. Rather, these works are all conceived as absolute music, albeit, in the case of the Elgar and Debussy sonatas, imbued with a melancholy regret that may have been a reflection of those tragic four years.

...a wonderfully subtle, introspective and touching performance.

The Guardian Jun '14

Signum records

Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in D minor

2 September 2013

The Violin Concerto in D minor was composed when Mendelssohn was just 13, and has remained popular with audiences the world over since its rediscovery in the middle of the 20th century by Yehudi Menuhin. The work is paired on this disc with Mendelssohn's Concerto for Violin & Piano, where Waley-Cohen is joined by British pianist Huw Watkins, all alongside the enthusiastic accompaniment of the Orchestra of the Swan under David Curtis.

Signum Records

An American In Paris

3 June 2013

Tamsin says of this project: "Song is one of the primary connections between all the works on this disc: folk songs, cafe songs, blues songs, traditional songs. I grew up with many of them; the Ives and the Gershwin, and even the Blues in the Ravel, from my American Mother. Some, such as the cafe songs of the Poulenc, are part of my European heritage. The juxtaposition of the beauty of these songs with the sardonic humour and the macabre, which in particular inhabit both the Ives and the Poulenc, adds power and poignancy to the content of these works."

Champs Hill Records