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CD of the Month

Ralph Vaughan Williams:
Piano Quintet; Quintet in D major; Six Studies in English Folk Song; Romance for Viola and Piano

London Soloists Ensemble

Ralph Vaughan Williams wrote chamber music throughout his long creative life. The Piano Quintet in C minor uses the same rich instrumentation as Schubert’s ‘Trout’ Quintet, while the Quintet in D major has an alluring wit and playfulness of its own. Vaughan Williams’s discovery of English folk song contributed greatly to his mature voice, the Six Studies introducing subtle elaborations on each of the themes.

Formed in 2011 by some of Britain’s most distinguished musicians, the London Soloists Ensemble have very quickly established themselves as a chamber group of superb quality. Appointed as ‘Associate Ensemble’ by St John’s Smith Square in London, they began their first series of Sunday afternoon concerts at this prestigious venue in June 2013.


Naxos Featured CDs


Mieczysław Weinberg: Symphony No. 18 ‘War – there is no word more cruel’; Trumpet Concerto

Andrew Balio (trumpet)

St Petersburg Chamber Choir & State Symphony Orchestra, Vladimir Lande

Mieczysław Weinberg’s eighteenth symphony is the centerpiece of his symphonic trilogy On the Threshold of War, which focusses on the traumas of the Soviet Union in World War II and stands as one of the most significant creations of his later years.  Using texts by important Soviet poets, the work reflects on war with eloquent expressive power.

The Trumpet Concerto is amongst Weinberg’s most substantial and diverse works from the 1960s. Ranging in effects from pointillist modernism to the grotesque and sardonic, it was described by Shostakovich as a ‘symphony for trumpet and orchestra’.



Peter Maxwell Davies: The Lighthouse

Neil Mackie (tenor), Christopher Keyte (Baritone), Ian Comboy (Bass)

Members of the BBC Philharmonic, Maxwell Davies

On a routine tour of duty in December 1900 the supply ship Hesperus discovered the Flannan Isles lighthouse in the Outer Hebrides to be empty, the three keepers apparently having disappeared into thin air.  Peter Maxwell Davies’ haunting and thrilling chamber opera The Lighthouse is heard here in its classic première recording.  It shows what might have become of the three men, marooned in their storm-bound tower and overwhelmed by ghostly visions and crazed desperation, creating a dramatic imagining of a story which remains a mystery to this day.



Eugène Ysaÿe: Sonatas for Solo Violin, Op. 27

Tianwa Yang

Eugène Ysaÿe was a towering figure in the history of the violin.  He also composed a number of important works, most inspirationally the cycle of Six Sonatas for Solo Violin, which rank among the greatest and most demanding of the twentieth century.  Each is dedicated to a fellow violinist and friend, whose style of performance and musical preoccupations they reflect.

Echoes of Bach are present, as are dance motifs, and virtuoso figuration, reflecting the eminence of the dedicatees.  Tianwa Yang has quickly established herself as a leading international performer and recording artist. 



Dmitri Shostakovich: Cello Concerto Nos. 1 & 2

Truls Mørk (cello)

Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Vasily Petrenko

This is the premiere recording of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra under their new artistic director Vasily Petrenko.  Vasily Petrenko is renowned as a star conductor of the younger generation and one of the foremost interpreters of Shostakovich’s symphonies.

Truls Mørk is one of the most respected and prestigious cellists playing today, forged by a reputation of fierce intensity and grace in performances throughout the world.  A committed performer of contemporary music, Mørk gave the UK premiere of Rautavaara’s cello concerto Towards the Horizon and whose recording on Ondine won both Gramophone and ICMA Awards.




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