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The Stars Shine on Naxos

Recognised the world over as the value-priced label, Naxos increasingly presents many of the world’s leading performers alongside exciting emerging talents.

This small selection of titles alone includes world-class interpretations by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and its charismatic young conductor Vasily Petrenko, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra with its new director Pietari Inkinen, the Choir of Clare College Cambridge, Chicago Symphony Chorus, Nashville Symphony Chorus and the Nashville Symphony Orchestra.

SIBELIUS: Night Ride and Sunrise / Belshazzar's Feast Suite / Kuolema
New Zealand Symphony • Pietari Inkinen

While the beloved Valse triste and Scene with Cranes from Kuolema are virtually signature tunes for the great Finnish composer, much of Sibelius’ orchestral and theatrical music remains undeservedly less familiar. From the incidental music for the play Belshazzar’s Feast Sibelius drew four richly scored orientalist movements. The tone poems Pan and Echo and Night Ride and Sunrise respectively evoke the world of ancient myth and a nocturnal journey towards a Nordic dawn. A lilting waltz dances at the heart of the impressionistic The Dryad, while castanets enliven the light-hearted mood of the Tanz-Intermezzo, Op. 45 No. 2.

TCHAIKOVSKY: Manfred Symphony / The Voyevoda
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra • Vasily Petrenko

Written between the fourth and fifth symphonies, Tchaikovsky’s programmatic Manfred Symphony, inspired by Byron’s dramatic poem of the same name, contains some of the composer’s most thrillingly orchestrated music and best tunes. For Tchaikovsky, as for Byron, Manfred represented the figure of the outsider, an outcast from society. This recording is proving very popular and has gained outstanding reviews

MENOTTI: Amahl and the Night Visitors
Ike Hawkersmith, boy soprano (Amahl) • Kirsten Gunlogson, soprano (Mother) • Dean Anthony, tenor (King Kaspar) • Todd Thomas, baritone (King Melchior) • Kevin Short, bass (King Balthasar) • Chicago Symphony Chorus • Nashville Symphony Chorus • Nashville Symphony Orchestra • Alastair Willis, conductor (Amahl and the Night Visitors) • George Mabry, conductor (My Christmas)

Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors, the first opera written for television, enjoys more than five hundred performances annually around the world and is immensely popular with amateur groups. A crippled boy, Amahl, and his mother are visited by the three Kings who seek the newborn Jesus. Deciding to give his crutch to the Christ child, he is miraculously healed, and joyfully accompanies the Kings to give thanks. Sung in English, brimming with tuneful melodies for both soloists and chorus, the opera is a humorous and poignant Christmas classic beloved by people of all ages.

Eldar Nebolsin, piano • Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra • Vasily Petrenko, Conductor

Franz Liszt’s two piano concertos amply display both his extraordinary pianistic ability and his originality as an influential Romantic composer. The first, premiered in Weimar in 1855 with Berlioz conducting, is a path-breaking tour de force whose four movements, played without break and thematically linked, moved Bartók to acclaim it as "the first perfect realisation of cyclic sonata form”. The second, equally brilliant but more integrated, exemplifies Liszt’s belief that "New wine demands new bottles”. The Totentanz (Dance of Death), inspired by an Italian fresco, is a powerful series of variations on the Medieval Die irae chant.

Coming Soon

SHOSTAKOVICH Symphony No. 11 '1905'
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra • Vasily Petrenko

Charismatic young conductor Vasily Petrenko launches his Shostakovich Symphonies series with a tragic titan, the Eleventh.  Though composed for the 40th anniversary of the 1917 Revolution and commemorating the abortive 1905 Revolution, the composer remarked that the symphony “deals with contemporary themes”, alluding to the 1956 Hungarian uprising that was suppressed by the Red Army. Petrenko’s recording with the RLPO of Tchaikovsky’s Manfred Symphony (8.570568) has been acclaimed as “beyond polished, red-blooded music-making. Call it taste and intelligence” (The Times). His Shostakovich series promises to set a thrilling new benchmark.

In addition to these, Naxos also records many other internationally recognised artists and ensembles from around the world.

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