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The July 2014 issue of NEW ON NAXOS presents our monthly spotlight release: Berlioz's Harold en Italie, performed by the Orchestre National de Lyon, conducted by Leonard Slatkin. Other works in this release include his concert overtures Le carnaval romain and Benvenuto Cellini, as well as Berlioz's only work for solo violin and orchestra, Rêverie et Caprice.

Other highlights include: the first recording of the complete ballet of Paul Hindemith's Nobilissima Visione performed by the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, directed by Gerard Schwarz; Mercadante’s unique revival of a version of I Briganti; an exciting release of Loussier’s First Violin Concerto brought together for the first time with the Second Violin Concerto from 2006; Fauré’s Second Piano Quartet performed by viola player Philip Dukes, including the original version of the Piano Trio featuring the renowned claninettist Richard Hosford; the final volume in Marco Polo's stunning series of complete string quartets by Louis Spohr; and a cantata based on the theme of reconciliation, Aldridge’s Parables featuring an 80-piece orchestra and 200-voice choir.

Watch our monthly New on Naxos video to sample some of the highlight releases of the month.

This Month's Highlights

Naxos 8.573297
Simultaneously available
on Blu-ray
Naxos Blu-ray NBD0042
Hector BERLIOZ (1803–1869)
Harold en Italie* • Rêverie and
Caprice** • Le carnaval romain
Benvenuto Cellini Overture

Lisa Berthaud, Viola* • Giovanni Radivo, Violin**
Orchestre National de Lyon • Leonard Slatkin

Drawing on the adventures of Byron’s Childe Harold and the composer’s own Italian experiences as a Prix de Rome winner, Harold en Italie was intended for the great violinist Paganini who, having initially rejected the work, later repented, giving it his highest praise. The brilliant concert overtures Benvenuto Cellini and Le carnaval romain are among Berlioz’s most popular works. Quickly taken up by several celebrated violinists of the time, the elegant Rêverie et Caprice is his only work for solo violin and orchestra. Leonard Slatkin’s Lyon recording of Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique (8.572886) has been acclaimed as “quite simply one of the best on disc” by MusicWeb International.

Naxos 8.572763
Paul HINDEMITH (1895–1963)
Nobilissima Visione (Complete Ballet)
Five Pieces for String Orchestra,
Op. 44, No. 4

Seattle Symphony Orchestra • Gerard Schwarz

A series of powerful, largely radical works in the early 1920s saw Hindemith established as Germany’s leading young composer. In 1936 he was asked by choreographer and dancer Léonide Massine to collaborate on a ballet project and Hindemith proposed scenes from the life of St Francis of Assisi. The resulting ballet, Nobilissima Visione (The Noblest Vision), is a work of lyricism, elegy and majesty. This is the first recording of the complete ballet score, not the three-movement concert suite that Hindemith later extracted. The Five Pieces for String Orchestra is an earlier, spirited work dating from 1927.

Naxos 8.660343-44
Saverio MERCADANTE (1795-1870)
I Briganti
Melodramma serio in Three Parts
Libretto by Jacopo Crescini

Bruno Praticò, Vittorio Prato, Bass • Maxim Mironov, Jesús Ayllón, Tenor
Petya Ivanova, Soprano • Rosita Fiocco, Mezzo-soprano • Atanas Mladenov, Baritone
Camerata Bach Choir, PoznaĹ„ • Virtuosi Brunensis • Antonino Fogliani

WORLD PREMIÈRE RECORDING

A highly regarded composer in his day and considered the equal of Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti, Saverio Mercadante pioneered the transformation of bel canto opera into real music drama. He wrote the operatic tragedy I Briganti (The Brigands) not only to prove himself to the Parisian public but as a direct challenge to Bellini’s I puritani, premièred the previous year. Mercadante’s individual style of canto fiorito and distinctive theatricality demonstrate that opera need not be a mere succession of virtuoso vocal arias, and it paved the way for Verdi’s later dramas. Prepared from a new critical edition, this production was described as ‘outstanding’ by The New York Times.

Naxos 8.573200
Jacques LOUSSIER (b. 1934)
Concerto No. 1 for Violin and Percussion*
Concerto No. 2 for Violin and Tabla*

Adam Kostecki, Violin • Piotr Iwicki, Percussion
Polish Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra • Adam Kostecki


Ignacy Jan PADEREWSKI (1860 – 1941)
Sonata in A minor for Violin and Piano, Op. 13

Adam Kostecki, Violin • Gunther Hauer, Piano

*WORLD PREMIÈRE RECORDING

Jacques Loussier achieved immense worldwide popular success combining the music of J.S. Bach and jazz improvisation with his Play Bach Trio. Loussier’s focus has since turned more towards composing, his predilection for fusing jazz and classical elements expressed at its most economical in these two Violin Concertos. Eloquent expressiveness and colourful use of percussion characterise the First Concerto, while the Indian influence in the Second Concerto emerges through violin improvisation and rhythmic counterpoint from the tabla. Like Loussier, Paderewski was a piano virtuoso who turned to composition in later life, the Violin Sonata being one of his finest earlier works.

Naxos 8.573223
Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924)
Piano Quartet No. 2 in G minor, Op. 45*
Piano Trio (clarinet version) • Trois romances sans paroles
Dolly Suite, Op. 56 • Piano Trio in D minor, Op. 120 †

Philip Dukes, Viola* • Richard Hosford, Clarinet† • Kungsbacka Piano Trio

Gabriel Fauré’s chamber works, long overshadowed by his popular Requiem (Naxos 8.550765), are regaining their rightful place. This new release from theKungsbacka Piano Trio follows their recording of Fauré’s First Piano Quartet andother chamber works (8.573042), described by Gramophone as ‘a delectableway into Fauré’s chamber music’. The programme features the less frequentlyheard original version, with clarinet, of the Piano Trio, the Second Piano Quartet,which includes an evocation of the bells of Cadirac near the composer’s home, the Romances sans paroles, described by Marcel Proust as ‘intoxicating’ and one of Fauré’s most famous works, the Berceuse from the Dolly Suite.virtuoso who turned to composition in later life, the Violin Sonata being one of his finest earlier works.

Naxos 8.225352
Louis SPOHR (1784-1859)
String Quartets Vol. 17
Quartet No.10 in A major, Op. 30*
Variations in D minor, Op. 6
Quartet No. 18 in B minor, Op. 61
Quatuor brillant No. 3*

Moscow Philharmonic Concertino String Quartet

*WORLD PREMIÈRE RECORDINGS

The composition of string quartets ran as a continuous thread throughout Louis Spohr’s life, and he used the Quartet No. 10 in A major as his ‘parade horse’, playing it frequently in the Viennese salons to show off his skills both as a violinist and composer to audiences accustomed to Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. Its first violin part matches the bravura display of the Quatuor brillant No. 3, written as Spohr planned to resume life as a touring virtuoso after resigning from his post in charge of the Frankfurt Opera. The Variations, Op. 6 see the soloist covering a wide range of ideas derived from a theme said to be by Haydn. This is the final volume in the Marco Polo complete Spohr String Quartets edition.

Naxos 2.110358
Robert Livingston ALDRIDGE (b. 1954)
Parables – An Interfaith Oratorio
Libretto by Herschel Garfein

University of Minnesota Opera Theatre • David Walsh, Director
Univeristy of Minessota Symphony Orchestra • University of Minnesota
Choruses • University Singers • Kathy Saltzman Romey

Robert Aldridge and Herschel Garfein are internationally renowned for their GRAMMY® award-winning opera Elmer Gantry (2007). Their follow-up collaboration, Parables (2010) is a cantata for soloists, a 200-voice choir and 80-piece orchestra. The attack on the World Trade Center in September 2001 haunts its writing but the use of passages from the Torah, New Testament and Koran seeks to bind the major faiths’ commonality, hopeful of healing and reconciliation. In this staged performance young dancers, costumes, and projection emphasize the music’s powerfully theatrical impact.



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Naxos Audiobooks


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Apps


NAPP0601E
The Carnival of the Animals – Lite

Newly released – free lite version! Read and listen to the Introduction, The Royal March of the Lion and Hens and Cockerels. It is possible to upgrade to the full version from the within the app.

This ever-popular musical work by Camille Saint-Saëns is now enhanced with words and animation in a new and thoroughly entertaining app. The carnival has never been so alive!

Is the Elephant happy with his trunk? Do Kangaroos like school? What about the poor old tortoise – does he ever get out and have fun?

“a brilliant introduction to one of the most fun and child-friendly classical works ever written” – Sinfini Music 4 stars


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