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Naxos Featured CDs


Hector Berlioz: Harold en Italie; Reverie et Caprice; Le carnival romain; Benvenuto Cellini

Lisa Berthaud, Giovanni Radivo

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 virtuoso 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 Berlioz’ only work for solo violin and orchestra.



Paul Hindemith: Nobilissima Visione (Complete Ballet); Five Pieces for String Orchestra, Op. 44 No. 4

Seattle Symphony, 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.



Gabriel Fauré: Piano Quartet No. 2 in G minor, Op. 45; Piano Trio (clarinet version); Trois romances sans paroles

Philip Dukes, Richard Hosford

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 the Kungsbacka Piano Trio follows their recording of Fauré’s First Piano Quartet and other chamber works (8.573042), described by Gramophone as ‘a delectable way into Fauré’s chamber music’.

The programme features the less frequently heard 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.



Peter Warlock: Choral Music

The full heart; Corpus Christi; Bethlehem Down

Rachel Haworth

The Carice Singers, George Parris

Peter Warlock’s choral works sit firmly in the great English lineage.  The music ranges from Hymns to the Virgin to carols, many spiced with his own ‘melody of chords’ and his typically tangy harmonies.  Some of Warlock’s most beautiful and sensitive settings are to be heard, not least Corpus Christi and Bethlehem Down, whilst there is also a very rare setting in Cornish (track 21), recorded for the first time in that language.




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11:22:04 PM, 25 December 2014
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