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Track(s) taken from LSO5070

The calligrapher's manuscript


London Symphony Orchestra, François-Xavier Roth (conductor)
Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Studio Master:
Studio Master:
Recording details: June 2015
LSO St Luke's, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Jonathan Stokes
Engineered by Neil Hutchinson
Release date: April 2016
Total duration: 12 minutes 35 seconds


'There are plenty of imaginative sounds in The Panufnik Legacies, a CD from the LSO showcasing works by young composers' (BBC Music Magazine)

'The Panufnik Legacies is an extremely valuable release, demonstrating the London Symphony Orchestra’s commitment to contemporary music, François-Xavier Roth’s dynamic and committed conducting, and that music being written right now is in very good health' (Classical Source)
The calligrapher’s manuscript was inspired by the remarkable designs of 17th-century Bavarian master Johann Hering found in the Bamberg State Library. While most calligraphers from this period created modelbooks from which students could learn their craft, Hering’s album seems to have been intended purely for private experimentation, and is highly unusual as a result. His designs are incredibly elaborate, and towards the end of the volume, almost completely abstract.

The piece is divided into two contrasting halves. The first concerns the notion of a text adorned by layers of intricate filigree. Just as many of Hering’s pages begin with an enlarged, highly ornamented single letter, the music opens with detailed decorative figuration, and from this texture, melodic fragments gradually begin to emerge until they coalesce into a clear melodic line, which becomes the musical focus, or the ‘text’, if you will.

In the second half, the gradual transformation of a very straightforward rendering of the alphabet into extremely ornate, and eventually purely abstract designs in Hering’s manuscript was the inspiration. Musically, this manifests itself as a simple line in the strings that repeats and evolves, but is gradually joined by other melodic figures in the woodwinds placed in counterpoint against it, leading to a densely multilayered climax of activity, followed by a brief coda.

from notes by Matthew Kaner © 2016

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