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Dvořák: Sacred Songs
Iwona Sakowicz (mezzo-soprano); Manuel Lange (piano); Peter Frisée (organ)
Capriccio C5207

Dvořák composed the Biblical Songs op. 99 in 1894 during his time in America (1892-95), working as artistic director and professor of composition at the New York Conservatory of Music. His 9th Symphony, appositely termed ‘From the New World’ was to be followed by a further symphony, but Dvořák opted instead for treating the Biblical Songs, which, in their austerity, hardly allow scope for an American scent but rather are possibly reminiscent of the composer’s Czech homeland. Dvořák, the Catholic, had long demonstrated his faith with numerous works of fervent piety: Stabat Mater (1876), Requiem (1890), the Mass in D major as well as the pieces for solo voice and organ, for instance, the works that can be heard on this CD - Ave Maria, Ave Maris Stella and Hymnus ad laudes in festo Sanctae Trinitatis (1877-79) as well as the organ preludes and fugues of 1859 by the then 18-year-old composer.


Rapsodia Satanica; Il Gattopardo - Original Motion Picture Score
German State Philharmonic Rheinland-Pfalz; Frank Strobel
Capriccio C5246

Pietro Mascagni’s single work for the early days of cinema was composed in the winter of 1914-15, and premiered by him in 1917. The idea behind Rapsodia Satanica and the film’s director Nino Oxilia was to create a “Poema cine-musicale”, a synthesis of the arts with music, poetry and finally cinematography. The plot is something like a female version of “Faust”, based on poetry by Fausto Maria Martini (1886-1931). The work is oriented toward Richard Wagner’s musical language. The French-German TV channel Arte restored this treasure of early cinema in 2006 and recorded the complete film music score, now available also on CD. Luciano Visconti’s Il Gattopardo (The Leopard, 1963), based on the Lampedusa novel, is one of his most striking films, as is its Nino Rota-supplied score. Frank Strobel helms the Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz in the CD presentation of these scores.


Glassworks, Vol. 2
Nicolas Horvath
Grand Piano GP690

Following the enormous success of, and critical superlatives tossed like bouquets of roses at Glassworlds 1 (Grand Piano 677)), Glassworlds 2, featuring Philip Glass’s 20 Etudes for solo piano, is now available and primed for a similar, or even more enthusiastic reception. Nicolas Horvath gave the world premiere performance of the complete cycle of Philip Glass’s 20 Etudes at Carnegie Hall on 9 January 2015. Recognized at once as a great interpreter of Liszt’s music, Nicolas Horvath became in recent years one of the most sought after pianists of his generation. Holder of a number of awards, including First Prize of the Scriabin and the Luigi Nono Int’l Competitions, he frequently organizes events and concerts of unusual length, some lasting in excess of 12 hours, such as Philip Glass complete piano music or Erik Satie’s Vexations. Composers from many countries have written works for him. Alongside his career as an international virtuoso, Nicolas Horvath is also a composer, his aesthetic in his creative work music being one of great inclusivity. “… a prodigious pianist.” (New Yorker)


Sibelius: Jedermann; 2 Serious Melodies; In memoriam
Pia Pajala (soprano); Nicholas Söderlund (tenor);
Tuomas Katajala (bass); Mikaela Palmu (violin);
Turku Philharmonic Orchestra; Leif Segerstam (conductor); Cathedralis Aboensis Choir

Naxos 8.573340

Rarely performed but recognized as a hidden masterpiece, Jean 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. As the oldest orchestra in Finland, the Turku Philharmonic continues to develop and flourish under the baton of renowned conductors. Since 2012, the orchestra’s 74 musicians have been under the artistic leadership of Leif Segerstam.


Divine Redeemer
Paul Jacobs (organ); Christine Brewer (soprano)
Naxos 8.573524

Two of America’s most celebrated musicians, both GRAMMY® Award-winners, join for a program that ranges across the sacred vocal and organ repertoire. Some of the most beloved of all pieces, such as Cesar Franck’s Panis angelicus (taken from his Messe à 3 voix) are complemented by rarer items. Nadia Boulanger’s three organ pieces are heard alongside her sister Lili’s beautiful Pie Jesu while Max Reger’s sensitive organ arrangements of three Hugo Wolf songs are followed by the rousing Toccata and Fugue, Op. 59. Named one of the top twenty sopranos of all time by BBC Music Magazine, soprano Christine Brewer is a highly sought-after stage and recording artist. Known for his imaginative interpretations and charismatic stage presence, organist Paul Jacobs has been hailed by the press as America’s leading organ performer.


Glass: String Quartet No. 5; Suite from Dracula;
String Sextet

Carducci Quartet (Matthew Denton; Michelle Fleming, violins; Eoin Schmidt-Martin, viola; Emma Denton, cello);
Cian O’Dúill (viola); Gemma Rosefield (cello)

Naxos 8.559766

Philip Glass’ Fifth String Quartet is the most substantial of his five quartets and the most traditional, using formal structures and expressive contrasts that go far beyond minimalism. While maintaining Glass’ unmistakable personal style, this is a quartet that delivers both driving energy and an unforgettable, threnody-like tenderness. Glass chose a string quartet for his score to the film Dracula to ‘evoke the feeling of the world of the 19th c.’, the music underpinning the film’s visual drama while avoiding obvious ‘horror’ effects. The String Sextet is an arrangement of Glass’s Third Symphony (Naxos 8.559202), combining symphonic scale with the intimacy synonymous with the chamber music genre. The Carducci Quartet’s critically acclaimed recording of Philip Glass’s String Quartets Nos. 1- 4 can be heard on Naxos 8.559636.


Rouse: Seeing; Kabir Padavali
Orion Weiss (piano); Talise Trevigne (soprano);
Albany Symphony; David Alan Miller (conductor)

Naxos 8.559799

Winner of a Pulitzer Prize and a Grammy® Award, Christopher Rouse is one of America’s most prominent composers of orchestral music, creating a body of work perhaps unequalled in its emotional intensity. Conceived from the start as differing from a traditional piano concerto, Seeing brings together seemingly disparate elements to explore the notion of ‘sanity’ through the music of Robert Schumann and Skip Spence, swinging between extremes of consonance and dissonance, stability and instability, to create a disorientating and hallucinatory work seen through the lens of mental illness. Kabir Padavali or ‘Kabir Songbook’ presents a range of the great Indian poet’s religious concerns, from extraordinarily beautiful ecstasy to impishly humorous allegories.


Programs 9 & 10
Lola Astanova (piano); David Kim (violin); All-Star Orchestra; Gerard Schwarz (conductor)
Naxos 2.110370

The All-Star Orchestra gives you a front row seat to the world’s greatest music, performed by top players chosen from over 30 great American orchestras, and conducted by Gerard Schwarz. + The programs feature complete performances of popular masterpieces and world premieres of new works by leading American composers. + Filmed in High-Definition with multiple cameras in and around the orchestra, the All-Star Orchestra celebrates the symphonic experience in the 21st c. + Gershwin’s immortal Rhapsody in Blue is featured in the rarely heard original jazz-band version from the 1924 New York premiere. + This iconic work is complemented by Aaron Copland’s 1925 jazz-age classic “Music for the Theatre.” + Robert Beaser’s “Ground O” offers a contemporary musical perspective of New York after the attacks of 9/11. (Program 9: Visions of New York) + This exotic orchestral showpiece is based on fantastical tales that - according to tradition - were told by the ingenious wife of a cruel Sultan so as to prolong her life for 1001 nights. + Concertmaster David Kim conveys the voice of the wily heroine Scheherazade in virtuosic violin solos. (Program 10: 1001 Arabian Nights – The Legend of Scheherazade)


Programs 11 & 12
Akiko Meyers (violin); Erik Ralske (horn); All-Star Orchestra; Gerard Schwarz (conductor)
Naxos 2.110371

The All-Star Orchestra gives you a front row seat to the world’s greatest music, performed by top players chosen from over 30 great American orchestras, and conducted by Gerard Schwarz. + The programs feature complete performances of popular masterpieces and world premieres of new works by leading American composers. + Filmed in High-Definition with multiple cameras in and around the orchestra, the All-Star Orchestra celebrates the symphonic experience in the 21st c. + Strauss’ orchestral autobiography from 1899, Ein Heldenleben, is a unique documentary in music, scored for extra-large orchestra – a sonic spectacular, and a showcase for the All-Star musicians. + In this highly pictorial music, the listener follows the “Hero” as he asserts his independence, falls in love, confronts his critics, engages in battle, creates a legacy of peace, and eventually comes to life’s end. (Program 11: A Hero’s Life in Music) + Mozart’s magical “Posthorn Serenade” is paired with the world-premiere of Samuel Jones’ Violin Concerto with Anne Akiko Meyers performing on the legendary Vieuxtemps Guarneri del Gesu violin. + This rare event showcases the collaboration between composer, soloist, and conductor in bringing a brand-new concerto to life. (Program 12: Mozart and a World Premiere)


Philidor: Les Femmes Vengées
Pascal Beaudin; Claire Debono (soprano);
Blandine Staskiewicz (mezzo-soprano); Antonio Figueroa; Alex Dobson (tenor); Jeffrey Thompson (baritone);
Opera Lafayette Orchestra; Ryan Brown (conductor)

Naxos 8.660353

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 fan tutte (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 Sancho Pança [8.660274] was hailed as a ‘witty, authentic interpretation’ by the American Record Guide.


The Best of Tianwa Yang
Tianwa Yang (violin); Markus Hadulla (piano);
Navarra Symphony Orchestra; Sinfonia Finlandia Jyvaskyla; Nashville Symphony Orchestra; Ernest Martinez Izquierdo; Patrick Gallois; Giancarlo Guerrero (conductors)

Naxos 8.578317

Winner of the prestigious ECHO Klassik Best Up-and-Coming Artist Award 2014 and the Annual Prize of the German Record Critics 2014 for her Naxos recordings of the Mendelssohn Violin Concertos and Complete Music for Violin by Sarasate, Tianwa Yang is referred to as “an unquestioned master of the violin” by American Record Guide who “rises above her competition” (Fanfare), while quickly establishing herself as a leading international performer and recording artist. As a critically acclaimed Naxos recording artist, Ms. Yang most recently released the Violin Concertos by Castelnuovo-Tedesco recorded with the SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg and the complete Solo Sonatas by Eugene Ysaye which immediately won several awards. The Best of Tianwa Yang features a nice programmed selection of her most popular and well-loved recordings.



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