International release September 2015, excluding North America* *Available in North America on 13 November 2015
Listen to TRACK 4: Kaddish
Three examples of Leonard Bernstein’s vocal art can be heard in this recording. His Symphony No. 3 ‘Kaddish’ shuns traditional symphonic ideas in favour of an eclectic theatrical and oratorio-like form with a prominent rôle for speaker. For this recording Marin Alsop has returned to the work’s original narrative text, heard before the 1977 revision. TheLark—heard in a concert version with added narration—derives from Lillian Hellman’s adaptation of L’Alouette on the life of Joan of Arc, and it was this music that Bernstein reworked into his Missa Brevis many years later.
Rarely performed but recognised as a hidden masterpiece, Sibelius’s score for Jedermann is unusual in that the music closely follows the words and action of this morality play, intensifying Everyman’s hubris, penance, escape from the Devil’s clutches and ultimate salvation. The Two Serious Melodies reflect Sibelius’ dark mood during the difficult years of World War I, while In memoriam resonates with his preoccupation with death in 1909 following a life-saving throat operation, and was performed at his own funeral in 1957.
The first performances of Les Femmes Vengées (The Avenged Women) in 1775 restored the fortunes of Francois-André Danican Philidor, which had been wavering since the great success of Tom Jones a decade earlier. His opéra-comique, which foreshadows the plot of Mozart’s Così fantutte (Mozart had been in Paris during the first performances of Philidor’s work), offers delicious opportunities for mock-indignation and repartee in its arias and ensembles. This recording presents the complete music. Opera Lafayette and Ryan Brown’s recording of Philidor’s SanchoPança[8.660274] was hailed as a ‘witty, authentic interpretation’ by the American Record Guide.
Listen to Track 2: II. Molto vivace – Più presto – Prestissimo
Saint-Saëns’s Symphony in F major ‘Urbs Roma’ was his prizewinning entry to a competition organised by the Bordeaux Société Ste Cécile, but the work remained unpublished in the composer’s lifetime. This early work is notable for a masterly final movement which, unusually, comprises a theme and variations. The symphonic poem La Jeunesse d’Hercule is a portrayal of the conflict between pleasure and duty, while the Danse macabre is amongst his most popular orchestral works. The first two volumes of this complete edition of Saint-Saëns’s symphonies can be heard on Naxos 8.573138 and 8.573139.
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