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October 2011

NBD0019 SCHUBERT Complete Overtures

‘Two hours passing happily in the company of charming performances from the Prague Sinfonia under Christian Benda.  Naxos is to be applauded for investing in Blu-ray audio.  If only the supposed major labels would follow suit.’
-Christopher Dingle, BBC Music Magazine. May 2012


8.572772 GUBAIDULINA Fachwerk; Silenzio

 ‘Geir Draugsvoll is a mesmerising soloist, both her and in the slighter Silenzio, five miniatures with violin and cello that explore the border between sound and silence with intimate concentration.  Øyvind Gimse, who directs the performance of Fachwerk, is the cellist here and, with violinist Geir Inge Lotsberg, a perfect and sensitive sonic foil to Draugsvoll’s bayan.  A marvellous disc.’
- Calum MacDonald, BBC Music Magazine, March 2012


ODE 1180-2D TCHAIKOVSKY The Nutcracker
‘Tchaikovsky’s magical story comes to like as Pletnev reasserts his reputation as an outstanding ballet conductor.  The delightfully detailed playing from the orchestra brings these enchanting characters to life, in a well paced, elegant narrative.’
-Jane Jones, Classic FM Magazine, February 2012


8.572403 GRIEG Music for String Orchestra
‘It’s difficult to avoid a whole disc of Grieg’s music for strings becoming an overdose of Nordic niceness.  However, Engeset and the Malmö SO have done so to an impressive extent.  Considering too the budget Naxos price, this is purchase-worthy.’
-Charlotte Gardner, Classic FM Magazine, February 2012

8.572433 BYRD Compete Fantasies for Harpsichord
‘Glen Wilson squares up to the Fantasias…ornaments crackle with exactitude and the counterpoint is lucidly deconstructed with didactic precision.’
-Paul Riley, BBC Music Magazine, January 2012


8.660306-07 MACFARREN Robin Hood
‘The solo singing is admirably led by Nicky Spence, exhilarating not only in his ballads 'Englishmen' and 'Thy guiding light' but also in the compelling prison scene…What ultimately remains, though, is amazement that a key work in British operatic history, lost to audiences for over a century, can be disinterred and recorded to such a high overall standard with limited resources.’
-Andrew Lamb, Opera, March 2012

‘Nicky Spence is splendid as Robin Hood: vigorous in the ballad ‘Englishmen by birth’, he is eloquent in the beautiful ‘My own, my guiding star’.’
-Richard Lawrence, Gramophone Magazine, January 2012


8.572658 SHOTAKOVICH Symphonies Nos. 6 & 12

‘Two of Shostakovich’s less often played symphonies receive taut performances from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic under its young Russian principal conductor Vasily Petrenko.  He’s not inclined to dwell on the ambiguous political complexities, but his purely musical approach is persuasive.  He concentrates on energy and precision, paces each movement astutely, and elicits lean, thrilling timbres from his players.  No. 12, ‘The year 1917’, still seems like a dutiful, and bombastic nod to Leninist orthodoxy.  But No. 6 with its profoundly sad opening and hair-raising finale sounds like a neglected masterpiece’.
-Richard Morrison, The Times, Saturday Review, 26th November 2011

‘Superlative standards already set by this team’s Shostakovich cycle couldn’t afford to slip in a symphony as great as the Sixth.  In the first movement, at least, Vasily Petrenko and the Liverpudlians reach new heights of articulation and sonic beauty.  Bronzed unisons branch out into deeply expressive counterpoint, the premature climax hits hard and the trills, which Shostakovich boldly extends from the world of the Fifth Symphony, are carefully characterised; the flutes hover wanly over them like the vital breath of air in a sealed tomb, after which the horn’s note of false hope makes a devastating fade.’
-David Nice, BBC Music Magazine, December 2011




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