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The success and popularity of Naxos rests on the extraordinary range of music available from all musical periods and across many different musical genres, and the wonderful performances by leading artists and ensembles from around the world. In 2012 alone, Naxos has 289 new releases in total, an astounding figure which is far more than that released by any other classical music label.

So which are the bestsellers of the year amongst our treasure trove of great recordings? Now take a look at our 20 Top-Selling Naxos Albums from 2012 (and more!) to make sure you don’t miss out on any of them! All CDs are available for download online from ClassicsOnline.com, or from any good record stores.




Nos. 1-10


#1

Naxos 8.572986
BANKS, T.: SIX Pieces for Orchestra
City of Prague Philharmonic, Englishby

Tony Banks, founder member of rock band Genesis, has already written a much admired orchestral work called Seven (8.557466), which was praised for its ‘genuine melodic gift’ (Gramophone). His new work consists of six evocative songs without words which may evoke in the listener ideas of seduction, journey, hero, quest, decision and goal. Two of the pieces feature solo instruments—alto saxophone on Siren and violin on Blade—played here by elite soloists, which mesh into Banks’s orchestral tapestry with bewitching effect. The remaining pieces reveal his outstanding lyrical gifts and total command of musical narrative.

Tony Banks is a founding member of the rock group Genesis, having been keyboard player and composer through all of its various incarnations. Becoming one of the major exponents of progressive rock music in the early 1970s, in the 1980s Genesis became one of the most commercially successful bands in the world with a string of number one albums including Invisible Touch and We Cant Dance. Tony Banks also has recorded five solo albums, and composed the soundtracks for the films The Shout (with Mike Rutherford), The Wicked Lady, Lorca and the Outlaws, and Quicksilver.
#2

Naxos 8.572914
HOLST, G.: Symphony, ‘The Cotswolds’ / Walt Whitman, Overture / Indra / Japanese Suite / A Winter Idyll
Ulster Orchestra, Falletta

   

Gustav Holst’s youthful enthusiasm for Wagner is reflected in his ebullient Walt Whitman overture written in 1899. Shortly afterwards he composed the Cotswolds Symphony which embraces hints of contemporary British folk music but is dominated by the slow movement, a profound elegy for the utopian socialist William Morris. Though completed at college, A Winter Idyll shows real orchestral assurance. Indra is an accomplished tone poem revealing Holst’s interest in the legends of India, whilst the glittering and evocative Japanese Suite was written in response to a request from a Japanese dancer appearing in London.

JoAnn Falletta serves as Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Virginia Symphony in the United States and Principal Conductor of the Ulster Orchestra in Northern Ireland. A champion of American music, she has presented nearly five hundred works by American composers including over one hundred world premières. Her Naxos recordings include the double GRAMMY® Award winning disc of works by John Corigliano and GRAMMY® nominated discs of works of Tyberg, Dohnányi, Fuchs, Schubert, and Respighi.
#3

Naxos 8.572861-62
DELIUS, F.: A Mass of Life / Prelude and Idyll
J. Watson, Wyn-Rogers, A. Kennedy, Opie, Bach Choir, Bournemouth Symphony, D. Hill

                        

Long an admirer of Nietzsche’s poetry, Frederick Delius composed A Mass of Life while at the height of his powers, blending passages from Also Sprach Zarathustra into orchestral textures of great expressive depth and striking beauty. Written in his final years, the Prelude and Idyll sourced music from a long discarded opera, transforming a story of lust and vengeance into one which emphasizes the transience of life and love. David Hill’s previous BSO recordings include a “perfectly judged” Dies natalis by Gerald Finzi (The Guardian on 8.570417), while his Vaughan Williams Sancta Civitas (8.572424) was described as “thrilling…a great case for a neglected work”. (Classic FM)

Renowned for his fine musicianship, David Hill is widely respected as both a choral and an orchestral conductor. He became The Bach Choir’s ninth musical director in 1998; he is also chief conductor of the BBC Singers, associate guest conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, chief conductor of the Southern Sinfonia and music director of the Leeds Philharmonic Society. He has a broad-ranging discography covering repertoire from Thomas Tallis to Judith Bingham, and has won the prestigious GRAMMY® and Gramophone Awards.

#4

Naxos 8.572708
SHOSTAKOVICH, D.: Symphonies, Vol. 7 – Symphonies Nos. 2 and 15
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra, Petrenko

   

These two hugely contrasting symphonies come from the opposite ends of Shostakovich’s life and career. The Second Symphony was written to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Bolshevik October Revolution. Its advanced idiom of experimental textures and abstract effects can perhaps be best described as organised musical chaos. The Fifteenth was Shostakovich’s last symphony and is filled with remarkable contrasts, from the rollicking quotes from Rossini’s William Tell Overture and eerie references to Wagner’s Götterdämmerung and Tristan und Isolde, to the last and perhaps most imaginative of the composer’s symphonic passacaglias.

Vasily Petrenko was appointed principal conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in September 2006 and became its chief conductor in September 2009. He is also the principal conductor of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, and in 2013 will become chief conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. He was the Classical BRIT Awards Male Artist of the Year 2010. Recordings include Tchaikovsky’s Manfred Symphony (2009 Classic FM/Gramophone Orchestral Recording of the Year) (Naxos 8.570568) and an ongoing Shostakovich cycle.

#5

Naxos 8.572987
PATER NOSTER: A Choral Reflection on the Lord’s Prayer
The King’s Singers

BBC Music Magazine

GRAMMY®-Award winners in 2009, The King’s Singers are one of the world’s most celebrated ensembles. Their programming concept in this disc is unique: built upon the individual clauses of The Lord’s Prayer, beginning and ending in plainchant, it ranges over the centuries to explore the spiritually charged text. Chant is at the heart of the programme, and each composer’s setting illuminates the others, shedding rich interpretative light on the poetic and devotional aspects of the prayer.

One of the world’s most celebrated ensembles, The King’s Singers have a packed schedule of concerts, recordings, media and education work that spans the globe. Championing the work of both young and established composers, they are instantly recognisable for their spot-on intonation, impeccable vocal blend, flawless articulation of the text and incisive timing. They are also consummate entertainers: a class act with a delightfully British wit.

#6

Naxos 8.572902
DELIUS, F. / IRELAND, J.: Songs (arr. for cello and piano)
J. Lloyd Webber, Jiaxin Cheng, Lenehan

           

Frederick Delius’s beautiful songs show his extraordinary gift for melody. John Ireland admired Delius enormously and his songs are inspired by a wide variety of literature, including his hugely popular setting of John Masefield’s Sea Fever. Renowned cellist Julian Lloyd Webber celebrates both composers’ remarkable melodic gifts in these sensitive arrangements, and pianist John Lenehan has received great acclaim for his Naxos recordings of Ireland’s complete piano music.

Julian Lloyd Webber is one of today’s leading cellists. He has given the premières of more than fifty new works for cello and has inspired new compositions from composers as diverse as Malcolm Arnold and Joaquín Rodrigo to James MacMillan and Philip Glass. His many recordings include his Brit-Award winning Elgar Concerto conducted by Yehudi Menuhin (chosen as the finest ever version by BBC Music Magazine), and Walton’s Concerto with Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields, which was described by Gramophone magazine as “beyond any rival”.

#7

Naxos 8.572764
DELIUS, F.: Appalachia / Sea Drift (arr. T. Beecham)
Williams, Tampa Bay Master Chorale, Florida Orchestra, S. Sanderling

Appalachia (a native American word for North America) is a set of variations based on a slave song about the tragedy of the cotton planters ‘being sold down the river’. Delius heard the song when teaching the violin in Virginia, but the primary inspiration was his formative experience of the semi-tropical beauty of Florida’s Solano Grove where he had managed an orange plantation. In Sea Drift Delius absorbed a further American influence in the nature mysticism of Walt Whitman. The symphonic poem, one of his greatest works, is a song of love and death in which the baritone soloist is both a participant in the drama and offers a commentary upon it.

The son of legendary conductor Kurt Sanderling, Stefan Sanderling has conducted such orchestras as the London Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, Vienna Radio Symphony, Berliner Sinfonie Orchester and St Petersburg Philharmonic. Since his North American début at the 1989 Tanglewood Summer Music Festival, he has forged a successful career for himself in the United States, serving as music director of The Florida Orchestra from 2002–2012, and now holds the positions of conductor emeritus and artistic advisor of The Florida Orchestra and principal conductor and artistic advisor of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra.

#8

Naxos 8.509002
DEBUSSY, C.: Orchestral Works (Complete) [9-CD Box Set]
Orchestre National de Lyon, Märkl

This collection contains all Debussy’s works for orchestra as well as many orchestral arrangements of his piano music. Together these display a rich panorama of Debussian sound and a remarkable insight into the composer. Established arrangements by Debussy’s contemporaries, including Ravel and Caplet, are complemented by more recent arrangements from composers such as Colin Matthews and Robin Holloway. The conductor Jun Märkl believes that Debussy ‘set up a model of orchestration for the rest of the twentieth century’ and it is with this conviction that he draws from the Orchestre National de Lyon such ‘world-class playing’ (American Record Guide).

Jun Märkl was music director of the Orchestre National de Lyon from 2005 to 2011 and principal conductor/artistic advisor of the MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony to 2012. He has appeared as a guest conductor with the orchestras of Philadelphia, Cleveland, NHK Symphony, Tonhalle Zurich, and the Munich, Oslo and Czech Philharmonics among others, and at the Met, Covent Garden, Vienna State and Dresden Semper Operas. He also enjoys a close relationship with the NHK Symphony with which he conducted the first Japanese Ring cycle in Tokyo.

#9

Naxos 8.572486
BARTOK, B.: Concerto for Orchestra / Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta
Baltimore Symphony, Alsop

   

Béla Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra, one of his greatest works, was written in the United States after the composer was forced to flee Hungary during World War II. It is not only a brilliant display vehicle for each instrumental section but a work of considerable structural ingenuity that unites classical forms and sonorities with the pungency of folk rhythms and harmonies. Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta explores darker moods through a score of marvellously poised symmetry. This release follows Marin Alsop’s ‘riveting’ (Gramophone) Baltimore Symphony recordings of Dvořák’s symphonies.

Hailed as one of the world’s leading conductors for her artistic vision and commitment to accessibility in classical music, Marin Alsop made history with her appointment as the twelfth music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, becoming the first woman to head a major American orchestra. She also holds the title of conductor emeritus at the Bournemouth Symphony in the United Kingdom, where she served as the principal conductor from 2002–2008. Her most recent appointment as principal conductor of the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra (OSESP), in 2012, marks another historic appointment for her.

#10

Naxos 8.572683
DUSSEK, F.X.: Sinfonias, Altner G4, A3, Bb2, Bb3
Helsinki Baroque Orchestra, Häkkinen

       

Mozart’s friend Franz Xaver Dussek (in whose summer villa he completed Don Giovanni) was a pianist, celebrated teacher and the leading composer of instrumental music in Prague. Like his compatriot Wanhal, Dussek completed his musical training in Vienna and, unsurprisingly, his works reflect the strong influence of composers such as Hofmann, Haydn and Dittersdorf. Dussek’s symphonies, most of which appear to have been composed in the 1760s and 1770s, are works of great charm and vivacity, cleverly orchestrated and full of striking melodic ideas as this recording amply demonstrates.

Aapo Häkkinen is artistic director of the Helsinki Baroque Orchestra. He took up the harpsichord at the age of thirteen, studying with Elina Mustonen at the Sibelius Academy. He studied with Bob van Asperen at the Amsterdam Sweelinck Conservatory and with Pierre Hantaï in Paris, and was also fortunate to enjoy the generous guidance and encouragement of Gustav Leonhardt. In 1998 he won second prize at the Bruges Harpsichord Competition. Häkkinen has appeared as soloist and conductor in most European countries, in Israel, in the United States and in Mexico.




Nos. 11-20


#11

Naxos 8.572783
BEETHOVEN, L. van: Der glorreiche Augenblick / Choral Fantasy
McCawley, City of London Choir, Royal Philharmonic, Wetton

BBC Music Magazine

Beethoven’s unusual cantata Der glorreiche Augenblick (The Glorious Moment) is filled with patriotic praise for Vienna and tributes to the kings and princes of Europe after the defeat of Napoleon. It was performed alongside his symphonic Wellington’s Victory at its première in 1814. The Fantasia in C minor for piano, chorus and orchestra opens with a virtuosic, improvisatory Adagio for the piano. The work’s main theme anticipates the famous Ode to Joy setting Beethoven later devised for his Choral Symphony.

#12

Naxos 8.559705
GERSHWIN, G.: Piano Concerto / Second Rhapsody / I Got Rhythm Variations
Weiss, Buffalo Philharmonic, Falletta

George Gershwin’s Concerto in F was a response to demands for a ‘proper concerto’ after the success of Rhapsody in Blue, avoiding programmatic content while providing a feast of tunes both uplifting and nostalgic. Originally intended as music for a film, his up-beat Rhapsody No 2 describes the bustling Manhattan cityscape while under construction. Sourced from his hit musical Girl Crazy, I Got Rhythm Variations was Gershwin’s last full score. Pianist Orion Weiss is one of the most sought-after soloists and collaborators of his generation of young American musicians.

#13

Naxos 8.572607
FUCHS, R.: Serenades Nos. 3, 4 and 5
Cologne Chamber Orchestra, C. Ludwig

‘A richly endowed composer, selfless teacher, and a rare human being’ proclaims Robert Fuchs’s memorial stone, and this esteem is reflected in his astonishing roster of pupils—Mahler, Sibelius, Wolf and Korngold among them. His own compositions, though, have been overlooked, unaccountably so on the evidence of these lovely Serenades. The Third is quite Brahmsian with a wonderfully bracing Hungarian finale. No. 4 is a highly expressive and richly scored work, whilst No. 5 casts its net yet wider—with anticipations of Mahler, and joyous references to the Vienna of the Strauss family. Serenades Nos. 1 and 2 are available on Naxos 8.572222.

#14

Naxos 8.572823
CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO, M.: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 / 4 Dances for Love’s Labour’s Lost
Marangoni, Malmö Symphony, Mogrelia

Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s two Piano Concertos form a contrasting pair. Concerto No 1, written in 1927, is a vivid and witty example of his romantic spirit, exquisite melodies and rich yet transparent orchestration. Concerto No 2, composed a decade later, is a darker, more dramatic and virtuosic work. The deeply-felt and dreamlike slow movement and passionate finale are tinged with bleak moments of sombre agitation, suggestive of unfolding tragic events with the imminent introduction of the Fascist Racial Laws that led Castelnuovo-Tedesco to seek exile in the USA in 1939. The Four Dances from ‘Love’s Labour’s Lost’, part of the composer’s recurring fascination for the art of Shakespeare, are atmospheric, richly characterised and hugely enjoyable. This is their first performance and recording.

#15

Naxos 8.573029
PROKOFIEV, S.: The Year 1941 / Symphony No. 5
São Paulo Symphony, Alsop

   

Written in 1944, Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony is one of his greatest and most complete symphonic statements. At its première he himself called it “a symphony of the grandeur of the human spirit”. The first movement couples considerable strength with unexpected yet highly characteristic twists of melody. After a violent scherzo followed by a slow movement of sustained lyricism, with a fiercely dramatic middle section, the finale blazes with barely suppressed passion. The Year1941 is another wartime work, a symphonic suite written in response to the German invasion of the Soviet Union. This is the first volume of a complete cycle of the Prokofiev Symphonies with the OSESP and Marin Alsop, the orchestra’s newly appointed principal conductor.

#16

Naxos 8.572886
BERLIOZ, H.: Symphonie fantastique / Le corsaire
Lyon National Orchestra, Slatkin

Immensely influential, the remarkable Symphonie fantastique was composed while Hector Berlioz was suffering an intense and unreciprocated passion for the Irish actress Harriet Smithson. Its autobiographical tale describes a young musician’s opium-poisoned nightmares of jealous despair and fatal justice following the murder of his beloved. Berlioz wrote a second movement cornet solo into a subsequent revision of the score, here included as an optional extra. He wed his sweetheart actress but, recuperating in Nice, wrote Le corsaire after the final break-up of their marriage.

#17

Naxos 8.572818-19
VERDI, G.: Ballet Music from the Operas (Complete)
Bournemouth Symphony, Serebrier

     

This unique programme is the first time that all the ballet music from Verdi’s operas has been brought together in a single recording. Although The Four Seasons from I vespri siciliani (The Sicilian Vespers) and the ballet scenes from Aida and Otello have survived, substantial pieces from Il trovatore and Don Carlo are more often cut, while the ballet from Jérusalem is all but unknown. José Serebrier’s recordings with the Bournemouth Symphony have resulted in some great successes with unusual repertoire. This release will be of interest both to opera enthusiasts and to those eager to explore Verdi’s neglected and relatively small body of concert music.

#18

Naxos 8.572840
MUSIC FROM THE ETON CHOIRBOOK
TONUS PEREGRINUS, Pitts

The Eton Choirbook is a giant 500 year-old manuscript from Eton College Chapel, and one of the greatest surviving glories of pre-Reformation England. This recording features the earliest polyphonic Passion by a named composer, two heartrending motets for five and six voices, two thrilling settings of the Magnificat, and an extraordinary canon in 13 parts, Jesus autem transiens. The ensemble TONUS PEREGRINUS has been widely acclaimed, not least for its “richly sung and very well recorded” programme of Orlando Gibbons, L’Estrange, and Pitts. (The Penguin Guide on 8.557681)

#19

Naxos 8.570893
SARASATE, P. de: Violin and Piano Music, Vol. 3
Tianwa Yang, Hadulla

   

Tianwa Yang’s admired and revelatory Sarasate series continues with a volume of captivatingly melodic compositions. Given Sarasate’s prodigious status in the violin pantheon, technical demands on the performer are often—but not universally—constant. But so too is his unfailing gift for lyricism, whether in the elegant Boléro, the balletic Sérénade andalouse or the aria-like Rêverie. The dazzling bowing difficulties in the Fantaisie-Caprice are thrilling, and so are the bird call harmonics of Los pájaros de Chile, written during a South American tour and only very recently published.

#20

Naxos 8.572163
HINDEMITH, P.: String Quartets, Vol. 1 – Nos. 2 and 3
Amar Quartet

 

Paul Hindemith wrote seven String Quartets, all of which reflect the experience and practical assurance of a distinguished violinist and, later, violist. No. 2 was written in 1918 whilst he was a soldier on active duty. It’s a bracing, dynamic and pithy work with a clever series of variations which parody romantic excess, and a virtuosic finale. No. 3 followed early in 1920 and was an instant success, a thrilling example of Hindemith’s concise imagination at work. This passionate quartet, with its richly varied material, is one of his supreme chamber masterpieces.




More Top Sellers of the Year


JANACEK, L.: Taras Bulba / Lachian Dances / Moravian Dances (Warsaw Philharmonic, Wit)
TALLIS, T.: Spem in alium / Missa Salve intemerata (Oxford Camerata, Summerly)
MAHLER, G.: Symphony No. 1 (Baltimore Symphony, Alsop)

WAGHALTER, I.: Violin Concerto / Rhapsody / Violin Sonata (Trynkos, Latsabidze, A. Walker)
JACKSON, G.: Requiem / In all his works / I am the voice of the wind / POTT, F.: When David heard (Vasari Singers, Backhouse)
ROUSSEL, A.: Festin de l'araignee (Le) / Padmavati Suites Nos. 1 and 2 (Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Deneve)

GORECKI, H.: Concerto-Cantata / Little Requiem for a Certain Polka / 3 Dances (Gorecka, Wincenc, Warsaw Philharmonic, Wit)
DEBUSSY, C.: Orchestral Works, Vol. 8 (Markl) - Preludes, Books 1 and 2 (arr. P. Breiner for orchestra)
SHOSTAKOVICH, D.: Jazz Suites Nos. 1 - 2 / The Bolt / Tahiti Trot (Russian State Symphony, Yablonsky)

Piano Recital: Prjevalskaya, Marianna - HAYDN, J. / SCARLATTI, D. / SCHUMANN, R. / ZARATE, J.
GRIEG, E.: String Quartets (arr. for string orchestra) / NORDHEIM, A.: Rendezvous (Oslo Camerata, Barratt-Due)
HANDEL, G.F.: Messiah (1751 Version) (Academy of Ancient Music, Choir of New College Oxford, Higginbottom)

Guitar Recital: Bulat, Srdjan - RODRIGO, J. / REGONDI, G. / TARREGA, F. / SULEK, S. / ALBENIZ, I. / BRITTEN, B.
BACH, J.S.: Orchestral Transcriptions by Respighi and Elgar (Seattle Symphony, Schwarz)
HINDEMITH, P.: String Quartets, Vol. 2 (Amar Quartet) - Nos. 5, 6, 7

ALMEIDA, F.A. de: Spinalba, ovvero Il vecchio matto (La) [Opera] (Quintans, Madeira, Seara, Moreso, Fernandes, Os Musicos do Tejo, Magalhaes)
GLASS, P.: Violin Concerto / Company / Prelude from Akhnaten (A. Anthony, Ulster Orchestra, Yuasa)
CASELLA, A.: Concerto for Orchestra / Pagine di guerra / Suite (Rome Symphony, La Vecchia)

DOVE, J.: Passing of the Year (The) (Convivium Singers, Cromar, Ferris)
Choral Music: Exultate Singers - PANUFNIK, R. / VAUGHAN WILLIAMS, R. / TAVENER, J. / GORECKI, H. / MANTYJARVI, J. / NYSTEDT, K. (All Shall be Well)



Special Mentions


Naxos 8.578217
GREAT CLASSICAL MASTERPIECES: Bestselling Naxos Recordings 1987-2012
various artists

A special price CD featuring selections from 18 of Naxos’s bestselling albums of all time. All of these titles come from the first 10 years of the label and feature our most successful artists. Therefore, this compilation is a tribute to all the artists who made the success of Naxos possible in the early days of the label.

‘My First’ Album Series

The ‘My First’ album series from Naxos is the ideal springboard for a lifelong journey through classical music. Each selection is carefully tailored for younger listeners and includes famous tracks as well as unexpected gems. The booklet is full of information on every piece of music. Unique and imaginative, these CDs will open a door to a wonderful world that children and parents can discover together.


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