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This Month’s Highlights

Naxos 8.573151
Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887–1959)
Symphony No. 3 ‘War’
Symphony No. 4 ‘Victory’

São Paulo Symphony Orchestra • Isaac Karabtchevsky

Villa-Lobos’ War and Victory Symphonies were commissioned by the Brazilian government following the end of the country’s involvement in World War I. Using very large orchestral forces, and conveying the composer’s feelings about the conflict with no sense of triumphalism, the two Symphonies display a confident use of unusual and evocative effects, such as the collage of fragments of the Brazilian national anthem and La Marseillaise in the ‘Battle’ movement of the Third Symphony. Villa-Lobos’s Symphonies Nos. 6 and 7 can be found on Naxos 8.573043 in “superb… full-blooded” performances. (

Naxos 8.573092
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791)
Missa brevis in D major, K. 194
Missa brevis in B flat major, K. 275
Regina coeli in B flat major, K. 127

Elizabeth Cragg, soprano • Deborah Miles-Johnson, contralto
Daniel Auchincloss, tenor • Lawrence White, bass
St Albans Cathedral Choir • Sinfonia Verdi • Andrew Lucas

During his years in Salzburg, Mozart wrote a series of shorter mass settings, for which he drew on the models of his senior colleague Michael Haydn. Regina coeli reveals his supreme skill at writing for the solo voice. The Missa brevis in D, K. 194 is a work of great solemnity, employing a remarkable range of expressive contrasts, whilst the Missa brevis in B flat, K. 275 is notable for its sublime lyricism and grace. The Allegro and Andante in F minor, K. 608 is regarded as Mozart’s finest work for the organ and has become one of the cornerstones of the organ repertory.

Naxos 8.557358-60
George Frideric HANDEL (1685–1759)
Concerti Grossi, Op. 6

Aradia Ensemble • Kevin Mallon

Handel’s Concerti Grossi contain some of the finest orchestral music of the eighteenth century. The Op. 6 collection brims with a wealth of variety, colour, and dance rhythms – Polish and Pastoral dances, courtly and fast ones – and Handel’s customary self-borrowings and indeed borrowings from other composers. The combination of full orchestra with a concertino solo group of two violins and cello allows both breadth and intimacy, producing concertos in the fullest sense. On this recording Kevin Mallon incorporates the later oboe parts for Concertos Nos. 1, 2, 5 and 6, using them as a model for most of the other concertos. When the oboes are silent, flutes or recorders are added, in line with eighteenth-century practice.

Naxos 8.660326-27
Leo FALL (1873–1925)
The Rose of Stambul

Kimberly McCord, soprano • Alison Kelly, soprano
Erich Buchholz, tenor • Gerald Frantzen, tenor
Robert Morrissey, bass
Chicago Folks Operetta • John Frantzen

Leo Fall’s early career mirrored that of his famous contemporary Franz Lehár. Both were born in provinces of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and soon moved to the Imperial capital, Vienna. There they both wrote a series of glorious operettas. Fall’s The Rose of Stambul, set in Ottoman Turkey, is a sparkling masterpiece that ran for fifteen months, the most successful such work since Lehár’s The Merry Widow, composed eleven years earlier. The plot offers comedy, mistaken identity, cultural misunderstandings, exoticism, and, of course, a romance that must overcome various obstacles, while Fall’s melodies are exquisitely beautiful, with numerous hit songs.

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