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Chairman’s Choice: Klaus Heymann spotlights some of September’s new releases

September 1, 2014



GLIÈRE Symphony No 3 ‘Il’ya Muromets’
Buffalo Philharmonic • Falletta
Blu-ray Audio NBD0041

“The Glière Symphony No. 3 has always been a piece that shimmered on my horizon—a cult piece, in a way, renowned as the composer’s towering masterpiece but rarely played in concert. As long as a Mahler symphony and enormous in its instrumental requirements, it was a work that people spoke about reverently but almost never heard live. The recording was an adventure that changed our orchestra, strengthened us, and became an artistic benchmark for our musicians. We revelled in the gorgeous landscape of the Symphony—from mysterious bass murmurings to crushing walls of brass fortissimo to breathtaking impressionistic renderings of forests and birds. We performed and recorded this massive work uncut to preserve Glière’s extraordinary architecture. This work is a cathedral in sound that unfolds in breathtaking swashes of colour, poetry and monumental climaxes.” – JoAnn Falletta



MILHAUD L’Orestie d’Eschyle
Soloists • University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra • University of Michigan Percussion Ensemble • University Choirs • UMS Choral Union • Kiesler
8.660349-51

Part of the great French musical tradition and a member of Les Six, Darius Milhaud was an important avant-garde figure in early 20th-century Paris. The Oresteia of Aeschylus trilogy arose from his lifelong interest in Greek mythology and drama, inspired by the expressive, syncopated rhythms of Paul Claudel’s poetic texts. In addition to innovative rhythmic elements, the trilogy exhibits complex harmonic techniques, particularly polytonality, which Milhaud believed gave him more varied ways of expressing sweetness in addition to violence.



HOWELLS Stabat Mater, Te Deum, Sine Nomine
The Bach Choir • Bournemouth Symphony • Hill
8.573176

The three works on this recording mark staging posts in Herbert Howells’s compositional life. Sine nomine was commissioned at Elgar’s instigation when Howells was 30 and is predominantly orchestral, with wordless parts for the two vocal soloists. This arch-like ‘spiritual meditation’ was his first extended work for larger forces. Like the Hymnus paradisi (Naxos 8.570352), the Stabat Mater is a direct musical response to the death of the composer’s nine-year-old son, and further reveals his mastery of choral and orchestral polyphony. The Te Deum signalled a fresh and new approach to settings of Anglican canticles



BARTÓK Kossuth, 2 Portraits, Orchestral Suite No 1
Buffalo Philharmonic • Falletta
8.573307

All three of the works in this programme reveal a young composer on the threshold of greatness, serving as his passport to the vast new world of orchestral music prevailing at the beginning of the 20th century. Inspired by the tone poems of Richard Strauss, Bartók’s Kossuth dramatically commemorates the struggle for Hungarian independence in 1848 with an alluring and provocative orchestration. The Two Portraits set moods of love and painful heartbreak into stark contrast, while the First Suite is a showcase of symphonic effects which caused a sensation in Vienna at its première in 1905.



Italian Soprano Arias
Maria Luigia Borsi
8.573412

Appearing here in her début solo album, Italian lyric soprano Maria Luigia Borsi has been acclaimed for her ‘grace, beauty, animation and variety’ (The Sunday Times). Her Willow Song from Verdi’s Otello has been described as ‘gorgeously sung’ (Opera News) and her rôle in Puccini’s Turandot as demonstrating ‘extraordinary communicative skills’ (Opera Magazine). This programme includes some of the most moving and dramatic arias from Italian opera, including the tragic heartbreak of Madama Butterfly and the shimmering beauty of Catalani’s Ebben? Ne andrò lontana from La Wally.



TOSHIO HOSOKAWA Orchestral Works Vol 2
Orchestre National de Lyon • Royal Scottish National Orchestra • Märkl
8.573276

Toshio Hosokawa is one of Japan’s most eminent living composers. The first volume in this series devoted to his orchestral works (8.573239) explores the idea of the blossoming lotus—“music as plant-like development and growth”—and continues here with Blossoming II for chamber orchestra. Woven Dreams traces the journey from womb to birth by employing techniques drawn from Gagaku, the ancient Japanese court music. Of Circulating Ocean the composer writes: “I am attempting to express in sound the flow and change of water… The ocean is for me the birthplace of life, a being possessed of infinite depth and expanse.”



KRAUS Arias and Overtures
Groop • Helsinki Baroque Orchestra • Häkkinen
8.572865

Joseph Martin Kraus was one of the most talented and progressive composers of the 18th century, and regarded by Haydn as one of the only two geniuses he knew, alongside Mozart. Following the successful audition of his opera Proserpin, Kraus became closely associated with the court of Gustav III in Stockholm. The highly dramatic Begrafnings-kantat overture was the composer’s emotional response to the assassination of his sovereign. The vocal pieces include works performed for the first time in over two centuries, ranging from Italian concert arias to rare survivals from the Royal Dramatic Theatre



A to Z of String Players
Kreisler • Oistrakh • Heifetz • Casals • Primrose • Du Pré
8.558081-84

The A–Z of String Players surveys the lives, careers and recordings of over 300 string players from the past and present. Many great string players who have made recordings are included, from Accardo to Zukerman. The text covers artists from the earliest recording processes to contemporary, cutting-edge technology. In this clear and straight-forward publication, the artists are listed alphabetically, with a summary of their career, notable recordings, biography and critical appraisal of their recorded legacy. In addition, four compact discs present a selection of recordings from 69 artists. This package will appeal to enthusiast and scholar alike as a readable, informed and fascinating work of reference.



We hope you will enjoy these selections and more from Naxos Records.

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2:33:38 AM, 22 September 2014
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