Distributed Labels
February 2009  

Distributed Labels: Capriccio | Dacapo

Naxos distributes Capriccio, Dacapo, Phoenix Edition and OUR Recordings world-wide.


CAPRICCIO C5001 BLOCH: Deux Psalms, Suite Hebraïque, Baal-Shem, Trois poèmes juifs
Christiane Oelze, soprano • Tabea Zimmermann, viola • Antje Weithaas, violin • Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin • Steven Sloane, conductor

Four of Bloch’s deeply moving works on Jewish themes are given highly charged performances. Ernst Bloch was the son of a Genevan clockmaker. In 1916, he emigrated to the United States and became one of America’s most renowned composers. During his entire life, he was bound to Jewish culture. Leading a quiet life, he did not choose New York, Chicago or Los Angeles as home, but preferred Portland, Oregon. His music is amiably unostentatious and remained loyal to the musical language of Late Romanticism.

CAPRICCIO C5005 GLUCK: Iphigenie auf Tauris
Hilde Zadek, soprano • Nicolai Gedda, tenor • Hermann Prey, baritone • Kolner Rundfunkchor • Kolner Sinfonie Orchester • Joseph Keilberth, conductor

An all-star cast makes this 1956 recording of Gluck’s opera indispensible. This is a performance in the grand style and is filled with drama and fire. It would rarely be possible today: an opera by Christoph Willibald Gluck sung by artists who sing Verdi and Wagner with equal enthusiasm, in German, with a traditional symphony orchestra and a conductor renowned for his interpretations of Wagner. So, it is good to hear, now and again, how it sounded in the “old days”. The line-up of those soloists who performed at the WDR Kölner Funkhaus (Cologne Radio) was impressive: Hilde Zadek, Nicolai Gedda and a 27–year-old Hermann Prey. Joseph Keilberth (1908-1968), whose 100th birthday was celebrated last year, is regarded as one of the most important conductors of the 20th Century.

Astrid Varnay, Leonie Rysanek, sopranos • Res Fischer, mezzo-soprano • Hans Hotter, bass Kolner Rundfunkchor • Kolner Rundfunk Sinfonie Orchester • Richard Kraus, conductor

The golden age cast—Astrid Varnay in the title role, Leonie Rysanek singing Chrysothemis, Res Fischer as Clytemnestra and Hans Hotter singing Orest—makes this 1956 recording of Elektra essential listening. The casting could hardly have been better. Astrid Varnay sang at the climax of her long career. Indeed, during the 50s and 60s Astrid Varnay came to be regarded as the Elektra. The Viennese singer Leonie Rysanek became identified with the character of Chrysothemis in the eyes of a generation of opera lovers. Richard Kraus conducted what has become a unique document.

CAPRICCIO C5019 DESSAU: Symphony No 2, In memorium Bertolt Brecht, Danse et Chanson, Examen et poème de Verlaine
Ksenija Lukic, soprano • Manuela Bress, mezzo-soprano • Holger Groschopp, piano • Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin • Roger Epple, conductor

Dessau wrote in every genre and his music has an immediate emotional appeal that is quite compelling. Together with Hanns Eisler, Paul Dessau (1894-1979) was the leading composer of the German Democratic Republic. Nevertheless, it is not possible to reduce him to a state composer loyal to his regime. Dessau was born in Hamburg and was part of a musically active Jewish family; his cousin was the famous operetta composer Jean Gilbert. Originally, Dessau wanted to become a director. During the mid-twenties he was that successful with his own compositions that no time remained for directing. His political credo was formed and influenced by the first World Was, the Nazis and a further, devastating war. He believed that only communism leads to a humane society. This is why he decided to live in the German Democratic Republic. Dessau’s compositions include all kinds of classic music, from piano to chamber music, Lieder, works for choirs and also great operas.

CAPRICCIO C7001 PROKOFIEV: Incidental Music for Hamlet, Boris Godunov, Eugen Onegin & Egyptian Nights
RIAS-Kammerchor • Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin • Michail Jurowski, conductor

This specially priced 3-CD set features Prokofiev’s rarely encountered incidental music written for Moscow Studio Theatre productions in the 1930s. Russian actors were used in the speaking roles and the scores used for these recording sessions were reconstructed from original source material. In 2003, Capriccio started a remarkable project of recordings to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Sergei Prokofiev. It included the first and only recordings of all four theatrical musical works that Prokofiev created in the 30s for the Moscow Studio Theater. Sadly, only two of the four works were performed: Hamlet and Egyptian Nights. The adaptations of Pushkin’s Boris Godunov and Eugen Onegin were forbidden for political reasons. Prokofiev proved once more a skilled musical illustrator, who gave the dramatic scenes a unique character. This project was very much a labour of love for the conductor Michail Jurovski. The scores were recreated for these recordings.

CAPRICCIO C7005 JC BACH: Sinfonie concertanti
Janos Balunt, flute • Lajos Lencses, oboe • Istvan Szekely, piano • Budapest Strings • Bela Banfalvi, violin and leader • Karoly Botvay, cello and artistic director

This specially priced 4-CD set offers the “London Bach’s” delightful music that combines elements of the concerto and the symphony. The solo instrumentation varies throughout and the excellent wind and string soloists of the Budapest Strings are the featured performers. Johann Christian Bach (1735-1782), the youngest son of Johann Sebastian, became one of the masters of the new era, when music followed the dictates of susceptibility and gallantry rather than a narrow set of rules. The desire to please and the possibility to sing were at the top of the list of priorities—and Johann Christian Bach embodied these ideals and was a model for Mozart. There are a dozen concert performances of symphonies and a variety of other works in this 4-CD Set. Concerts or symphonies—Bach seems to have regarded both titles as appropriate. After all, what he was interested in when creating the fifteen works (between 1760 und 1780) was a connection between the two forms. The intended lack of formal clarity provided an ideal field of experiment for the arrangement and the genre, for movement technique and instrumentation.

CAPRICCIO C7010 RACHMANINOV: Russian Easter Vespers Mass, Liturgy of St John Chrysostom
Bulgarian National Choir • Georgi Robev, conductor • Sofia Orthodox Church Choir • Miroslav Popsavov, conductor

Rachmaninov's essential sacred works specially packaged and priced in a 3-CD set with a DVD documentary made in Russian monasteries and churches. In the last year of his life, 1943, Serge Rachmaninov became an American citizen. Nevertheless, he always regarded himself to be wholly Russian composer, never really overcoming the fact that he had to flee from Russia in 1917 after the October Revolution. During the 25 years which he spent in the United States and Switzerland (where he stayed during the summer months between 1933 and 1939), he only wrote six compositions. He wrote two great liturgical works in 1910 and 1915 for a cappella choir, the Liturgy of the Holy John Chrysostomos and the Morning and Evening Rejoicing, also known as the Vespers. The Vespers was Rachmaninov’s last work to be composed in Russia, but it eventually fell in disgrace with the new Communist leaders. Actually, the first disc of this recording was made in Moscow in 1965 but was only produced for foreign markets, the Russian population being denied this kind of religious music.

Capriccio Catalogue


DACAPO 6.200001 LANGGAARD: The Symphonies
Danish National Symphony Orchestra • Thomas Dausgaard, conductor

With his symphonies the Danish composer Rued Langgaard offered 16 vastly different versions of what a symphony can be. His captivating, complex genius made room for all conceivable idioms and a wealth of styles ranging from the grandiosely Late Romantic to the purest Absurdism. This box set is the first collected recording of Langgaard's complete symphonies based on the critical edition of the scores; recordings which demonstrate, with spectacular sound quality, Langgaard’s masterly grasp of the orchestra and his ecstatic view of art: “Mr. Dausgaard's keen advocacy elicits polished, persuasive accounts that live up to Langgaard's motto: 'Long Live Beauty'” - The New York Times.

DACAPO 6.220533 GUDMUNDSEN-HOLMGREEN: Plateaux for piano and orchestra, For Piano
Juho Pohjonen, piano • Danish National Symphony Orchestra •
Ed Spanjaard, conductor

Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen (b. 1932), one of the most important composers in Scandinavia, is both famous and notorious for simple, music full of contrasts that often borders on both the entertaining and the absurd. The contrasting and simple are also evident in the first recordings of the two works on this release: the piano concerto Plateaux followed by Holmgreen’s most expansive solo piano piece For Piano. The pianist in both works is the young Finn, Juho Pohjonen.

DACAPO 6.220547 NØRGÅRD: Symphonies Nos 3 & 7
Danish National Symphony Orchestra • Danish National Vocal Ensemble Danish National Choir • Thomas Dausgaard, conductor

Per Nørgård's symphonies are milestones in the music of our time. On this unique CD we hear a new recording of the famous Third Symphony, a watershed work of the seventies that pays tribute to the unifying force of the universe. The new Seventh Symphony is a dynamic, highly complex work coloured by much use of percussion. Once more, it shows new aspects of Nørgård as the constantly developing master of Scandinavian music. Other Dacapo recordings of Nørgård's music are also available:

DACAPO 8.226037 NORGARD / HIND: Works for Piano
DACAPO 8.226059 NORGARD: String Quartets Nos 7, 8, 9 & 10
DACAPO 8.224170 NORGARD: Songs

OUR Recordings

OUR RECORDINGS 6.220600 Dialogue - East Meets West
Chen Yue, xiao and dizi • Michala Petri, recorders

Ten new compositions by five young Chinese and five young Danish composers whose colorful and varied works provide distinctive visions of the musical encounter between China and the West. Six venerable instruments: the xiao (Chinese end-blown flute), dizi (Chinese transverse flute) and sopranino, soprano, alto and tenor recorders played by two first ladies in their field. A unique musical dialogue. Whether combining tradition and innovation, Eastern and Western elements, borrowed or newly created musical resources, each piece is an exploration of how these disparate and seemingly mutually exclusive cultures can provide new possibilities for creativity and beauty.

OUR Recordings Catalogue


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