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Naxos Releases Selected as MusicWeb Recordings of the Year

 

With over 200 classical music reviews a month, MusicWeb is a top internet destination for music enthusiasts.  In addition to the hundreds of reviews contributed by a team of volunteer music writers, the UK-based site plays host to several British musical entities plus a wealth of resources, including complete books on music, programme notes, and a chatroom. 

MusicWeb’s classical reviewers recently selected their favourite recordings from 2002, and Naxos releases topped the list of critics’ choices.  Here’s what the experts had to say about the best music of 2002:

 

CLASSICAL EDITOR Rob Barnett's CD of the YEAR

Ernest John MOERAN (1894-1950) Symphony in G minor • Sinfonietta Bournemouth SO/David Lloyd-Jones NAXOS 8.555837

The Symphony: A performance bright with life. Lloyd-Jones is at a career peak here with things really catching fire. Just listen to the rushing attack of the baritonal strings at 4.39 in the first movement. Played with mordantly shivering attack. The Sinfonietta: Succulent and spry. Bull's-eye, split-second attack and dreamy yearning. The best of the modern recordings. A large orchestra in fullspate. A superb bargain.

Michael Cookson
Ernest John MOERAN (1894-1950) Symphony in G minor • Sinfonietta Bournemouth SO/David Lloyd-Jones
NAXOS 8.555837
David Lloyd-Jones can do no wrong at the moment and displays his impeccable
credentials with his reading of the wonderful Moeran symphony. The music is
so evocative of landscapes and seascapes, England and Ireland, some say even a train; you name it and you may find it here. Marvellous stuff and my record of the year! MC



Arthur BLISS (1891 – 1975) String Quartet no.1 in B flat Major
Conversations • String Quartet in A Major
Nicholas Daniel, Oboe/Michael Cox, Flute/The Maggini Quartet
NAXOS 8.557108
The Maggini string quartet go from strength to strength with their
impressive series of British chamber music for Naxos. This release of
chamber music from Bliss rewards the listener with repeated plays and
demonstrates Bliss as a master craftsman in the chamber music field. I hear
the predominantly the English pastoral school in the works whilst my friend
hears French impressionism. So what! The listener has a real treat in
store with this welcome release. MC


Gustav HOLST (1874 – 1934) The Planets • The Mystic Trumpeter
Claire Rutter, soprano/Ladies of the RSNO Chorus/Royal Scottish National Orchestra/David Lloyd-Jones
NAXOS 8.555776

I have heard so many recordings of the Planets suite over the years but none
as good as this Naxos release which is now clearly the benchmark recording.
The orchestra’s performance is out of the top drawer which is a testament to
the conductor David Lloyd-Jones. Superb sound quality too from the Naxos recording engineers! MC

 

 

Neil Horner

Douglas LILBURN (1915-2001) Symphony No. 1 • Symphony No. 2  Symphony No. 3
New Zealand Symphony Orchestra/James Judd
NAXOS 8.555862

Superb advocacy for wonderfully lyrical but concentrated nature music from NZ that ought to be far wider known - fans of Sibelius, Moeran, Harris etc. will love it. Essential. NH

Geirr TVEITT (1908-1981) Variations on a Folksong from Hardanger for two pianos and orchestra • Piano Concerto No. 4 "Aurora Borealis", Op. 130
Håvard Gimse, piano/Gunilla Süssmann, piano/Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Bjarte Engeset
NAXOS 8.555761

The finest yet of the Naxos Tveitt series. Norwegian folk music filtered through Bartok and Messiaen - the variations in particular are awesome in their evocation of man's place in primal nature. Brilliant. NH

 

 

Ian Lace

Sir Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Symphony No. 4 • Overture to a Picaresque Comedy • Nympholept
Royal Scottish National Orchestra Orchestra/David Lloyd-Jones
NAXOS 8.555343
Bax’s highly evocative and colourful Fourth Symphony was influenced by the natural grandeur of Scotland’s west coast and islands, specifically the views in all weathers out from Morar (near Malaig at the end of the Road to the Isles from Fort William). David Lloyd-Jones’s reading is a triumphant continuation of his highly acclaimed and best-selling Bax symphonies series for Naxos. IL

 

 

Kevin Sutton

Leo ORNSTEIN (1892?-2002) Piano Works: A Morning in the Woods • Danse Sauvage (Wild Men’s Dance) • Piano Sonata Number 4 and others
Janice Weber, Piano
NAXOS 8.559104
An excellent account of one of America's most eclectic and undiscovered masters. Piano playing of the first order. Music that well meets the criteria to be called great. KS

 

 

Jonathan Woolf

Roy HARRIS (1898-1979) Symphony No 7 • Epilogue to Profiles in Courage – J.F.K. • Symphony No 9
National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine/Theodore Kuchar
NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559050
The wit, the kick and the bite of the Seventh in this fine recording is harnessed to a Ninth of strength, vocalised song and punchy lyricism. Once more the American Classics series from Naxos has borne fruit - not to be missed. JW

Leo ORNSTEIN (1892?-2002) Piano Works: A Morning in the Woods • Danse Sauvage (Wild Men’s Dance) • Piano Sonata Number 4 and others
Janice Weber, Piano
NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559104
I was fortunate enough to review both Ornstein discs - Hamelin's on Hyperion and this one by Janice Weber on Naxos; nothing to choose between them really but Weber and Naxos range as widely as Hamelin and catch the essence of Ornstein. Call it proto-Futuristic, call it unforgiving, barbarous with its crushing assaults but there's impressionist poetry and depth as well and it's unignorable even, perhaps especially, when at its most fractious. JW

 

 

Click here for a complete list of MusicWeb’s Recordings of the Year. 










 
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