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Naxos Bestsellers March 2024

Top 20 Audio Releases
ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra • M. Poschner

‘The trumpet soloist is a star. The finale is of a piece with Poschner’s approach: driven, exhilarating, yet suitably relaxed in the slower, more songful sections… the sound throughout the cycle has been exemplary. This is a worthy addition to the series.’ – MusicWeb International

CZERNY, C.: Nocturnes, Opp. 368, 537 and 604
Naxos 8.574581
Roberte Mamou

‘Concert pianist and chamber musician Roberte Mamou brings out the 19th century salon setting charm and Viennese manner of these pieces, with finely detailed and delicate playing.’ – Classical Music Sentinel

BRITTEN, B.: Violin Concerto • Double Concerto
Orfeo C220021
Skride • Vukčević • ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra • Alsop
Editor’s Choice | Gramophone

‘A fascinating pairing of two Britten works, magnificently performed by Baiba Skride.’ – Gramophone

GERSHWIN, G.: Rhapsody in Blue • TOWER, J.: 1920/2019 • STUCKY, S.: Dreamwaltzes
Naxos 8.559934
Kevin Cole • National Orchestral Institute Philharmonic • D.A. Miller

‘The high level of all performances, the good program and the excellent sound quality make this release very recommendable.’ – Pizzicato ★★★★★

ROSSINI, G.: Elisabetta, regina d’Inghilterra [Opera]
Naxos 8.660538–39
Farnocchia • Kabongo • Süngü • Cracow Philharmonic Chorus and Orchestra • Fogliani

Rossini’s rarely performed Elisabetta regina d’Inghilterra was his first opera for the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples. With the composer showcasing and indeed recycling some of his best music, it was an enormous success and allowed him to become established as the leading opera composer in Italy. The story revolves around Queen Elizabeth I (Elisabetta), whose romantic attachments expose her to murderous intrigues, and ends with her renouncement of love itself. This fast-moving production under the baton of Antonino Fogliani was described as ‘a colourful, sparkling festival of music’ in Die Deutsche Bühne.

STRAUSS, E.: A Centenary Celebration, Vol. 3 – Waltzes and Polkas
Marco Polo 8.225382
Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice • Štilec

Though he is much less well remembered than his more famous brothers, Johann II and Josef, Eduard Strauss was the master of the quick polka and the galop with a succession of distinctive and beguiling melodies and a genius for orchestration. This latest release continues the rediscovery of his music with a succession of pieces, all of which are receiving their first commercial recordings. His music was performed at some of Vienna’s most glittering balls and carnival festivities with Eduard offering such à la mode pieces as the Electric Lights waltz and the ingenious equine polka, Leaps of Pegasus.

Triendl • Rheinland-Pfalz State Philharmonic • Tzigane

‘…Triendl plays with a wonderful evenness of touch and carefully controlled dynamic range as well as an innate sense of musical line and phrase. …in Tzigane and Triendl [Labor] has found the best possible advocates.’ – MusicWeb International

BOHRER, A. and M.: Grande symphonie militaire • Violin and Cello Concertos
Naxos 8.574048
Eichhorn • Hülshoff • Jena Philharmonic Orchestra • Pasquet

‘The soloists, violinist Friedemann Eichhorn and cellist Alexander Hülshoff, have repeatedly tackled lesser-known works. …Both are technically very accomplished musicians who always allow their skills to take a back seat to the musical message. In this case, too, they offer interpretations with heart and mind that explore the works in rich detail.’ – Pizzicato

VIEUXTEMPS, H.: Voix intimes – Rarities for Violin and Piano
Naxos 8.579149
Lamaison • V. Csikos • Lechardeur

‘Csikos positively presents the music in a musical rather than virtuoso manner, whereby the radiant soloistic aura is not difficult for him. Lechardeur finds his place in the duo as a secure and reliable accompanist.’ – Pizzicato

DVOŘÁK, A.: Violin Concerto • Piano Concerto
Vox VOX-NX-3035CD
R. Ricci • Firkušný, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra • Susskind

‘The [violin] concerto was a specialty of Ricci’s; he performed it numerous times in concerts worldwide… His familiarity with and affection for the work come through in this beautiful performance, which should go far to win converts to this overlooked masterpiece.’ – Classical Candor

DVOŘÁK, A.: Cello Concerto • Silent Woods • Rondo • Romance • Mazurek
Vox VOX-NX-3034CD
Nelsova • R. Ricci • St. Louis Symphony Orchestra • Susskind

‘Two discs, separately available, containing Dvořák’s concertante works, led by Prague-born Walter Susskind throughout fashioning idiomatic and characterful accompaniments from the SLS…for three distinguished soloists. …enjoyable and recommendable releases.’ – Colin’s Column

DVOŘÁK, A.: Symphonies Nos. 7 and 8
SWR Classic SWR19130CD
German Radio Saarbrücken-Kaiserslautern Philharmonic Orchestra • Inkinen

‘Prominent woodwinds give this Seventh Symphony a more than usually peaceable atmosphere, although brass and strings raise the emotional temperature at all the right moments.’ – BBC Music Magazine

Hansjörg Albrecht

This series marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Anton Bruckner, which falls in 2024. It’s dedicated to Bruckner’s symphonies, most of them recorded in new transcriptions for organ by Hansjörg Albrecht. This 10th album was made on the organ at Fraumünster in Zürich using Erwin Horn’s transcription of Bruckner’s 9th Symphony and incorporating Gerd Schaller’s completion of the finale, which Bruckner left unfinished.

Ukrainian Masters – BORTKIEWICZ, S. • KOSENKO, V.S. • SKORYK, M.
Naxos 8.579146
Solomiya Ivakhiv • Steven Beck

‘Ukrainian-born violinist Solomiya Ivakhiv and US pianist Steven Beck have taken on this exciting program. They offer a technically solid recording.’ – Pizzicato

GOLINELLI, S.: Piano Sonatas Nos. 1 and 2
Dynamic CDS7990
Loredana Brigandi

Stefano Golinelli was an acclaimed virtuoso pianist who was also appreciated as a composer in his day. He played an important role in the 19th-century Italian musical renaissance, but his name has faded from view over time. The emotional power of Golinelli’s music is well represented in his first two piano sonatas, the earliest of which, Op. 30, shows the influence of Schumann and Mendelssohn. The Op. 53 sonata features a wealth of melodic ideas and musical surprises – its opening is an Italian homage to Chopin, and the work also contains a beautiful Andantino movement.

SUPPÉ, F. von: Fantasia Symphonica • Orchestral Overtures and Preludes
Naxos 8.574538
Tonkünstler Orchestra • Rudner

‘…a fresh insight into the now-vanished world of Franz von Suppé, a composer of so many engaging attributes, evidently shared by this conductor [Rudner].’ – Gramophone

Karl-Andreas Kolly

Franz Schmidt was not only a brilliant cellist, but also a gifted pianist who mastered almost the entire piano repertoire with ease. Nevertheless, he had a kind of love-hate relationship with the piano, since his great passion was for the organ. This did not prevent him, however, from writing numerous works for the left hand alone, all of them commissioned by the one-armed pianist Paul Wittgenstein and including the Beethoven Variations, Piano Concerto in E-Flat Major and Quintets. Schmidt’s output for piano two-hands, however, comprised only one work – the melancholic Romance, which he dedicated to his English teacher Geoffrey Sephton in 1922. Karl-Andreas Kolly remarks: “The fact that I have decided to arrange three of Franz Schmidt’s organ works for piano has primarily to do with my great passion for his music. And also a little with my hope that in a piano version, his organ works might possibly reach a wider audience”.

BARTÓK, B.: Piano Music, Vol. 9 – Piano Sonata (1898) • Early Pieces • Piano Method (with S. Reschofsky)
Naxos 8.574420
Goran Filipec

Two important works dominate volume nine of this series. The first is Bartók’s substantial and ambitious late-Romantic Piano Sonata, Op. 19, a very early work, composed when he was around 17 before his studies in Budapest. It was long considered lost and is heard in Goran Filipec’s performing edition, prepared from the manuscript. Zongoraiskola or ‘Piano Method’ was devised in collaboration with composer, pianist and teacher Sándor Reschofsky who contributed the exercises. Bartók’s 48 original pieces are perfectly formed and charmingly refined, allowing him an opportunity to explore his ideas of piano pedagogy.

CHOPIN, F.: Piano Concerto No. 1 • Fantasy on Polish Airs • Andante spianato and Grande polonaise brillante
Vox VOX-NX-3032CD
A. Simon • Hamburg Symphony Orchestra • Beissel

‘Hamburg Symphony Orchestra under Heribert Beissel makes a satisfying sound in this impressively engineered recording of the First Piano Concerto, but it’s Simon’s sense of line and colour, the easy fluency of his playing and natural rubato that impresses most.’ – BBC Music Magazine

Luxembourg Contemporary Music, Vol. 3 – DARTEVELLE, O. • GRETHEN, L. • HAMMES, E.
Naxos 8.579138
Solistes Européens • Luxembourg • König

‘A really good and attractive work with a lasting effect!’ – Pizzicato

Linz Bruckner Orchestra • M. Poschner

‘…Poschner generates plenty of drive and excitement, steering the music towards a thrilling conclusion, reining back persuasively before the final acceleration.’ – MusicWeb International

TARKIAINEN, O.: Midnight Sun Variations • Songs of the Ice • Milky Ways • The Ring of Fire and Love
Ondine ODE1432-2
N. Daniel • Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra • Collon

‘In some ways, Ondine’s second disc of music by Outi Tarkiainen paints the composer in a slightly different light – more personal and reflective, less an artist railing against injustice. In others, this is echt Tarkiainen and music concerning her two most salient identities as a Laplander and a woman.’ – Gramophone

Top 10 Audiovisual Releases
WAGNER, R.: Das Rheingold [Opera] (Deutsche Oper Berlin, 2021)
Naxos 2.110740
Also available on Blu-ray (NBD0157V)
Welton • Blondelle • Brück • Schlicht • Berlin Deutsche Opera Orchestra • Runnicles • Herheim

‘…the music making by the Orchestra of the Deutsche Oper Berlin conducted by Donald Runnicles is first-rate and the singing by a hugely capable cast is led by Derek Welton’s Wotan, the supreme god, and Markus Brück as the dwarf Alberich, whose curse fatally haunts the rest of the tetralogy.’ – The Flip Side

TCHAIKOVSKY, P.I.: None but the Lonely Heart (staged version by C. Loy) [Opera] (Frankfurt Opera, 2021)
Naxos 2.110770
Also available on Blu-ray (NBD0181V)
Golovneva • Lauritano • Carè • Sulimsky • Trąbka • Kłubczuk • Petersen • Members of the Frankfurter Opern- und Museumsorchester • Loy

‘Vladislav Sulimsky and Olesya Golovneva as the husband and wife have nice voices and work well together. …Andrea Caré and Mikołaj Trabka as the alter egos and Kelsey Lauritano as the “other woman” are also good and there’s some nice piano playing from Mariusz Kłubczuk and from the handful of members pulled in from the house orchestra for the chamber music.’ – operaramblings

DONIZETTI, G.: Chiara e Serafina, o Il pirata [Opera] (Fondazione Teatro Donizetti, 2022)
Dynamic DYN-37987
Also available on Blu-ray (DYN-57987)
Spagnoli • Fan Zhou • Doveri • Coro dell’Accademia Teatro alla Scala • Orchestra Gli Originali • Quatrini • Falaschi

‘Both soprano Greta Doveri as Chiara and mezzo Fan Chou as Serafina are solid bel canto singers with excellent coloratura and a good sense of style. …Pietro Spagnoli is a buffo bass with solid low notes, great acting and a mastery of the patter song.’ – operaramblings

Essential Royal Ballet: Pas de deux – An Exceptional Collection of Ballet Duets
Opus Arte OA1379BD
Also available on Blu-ray (OABD7317BD)
The Royal Ballet

In the feature-length documentary Essential Royal Ballet, Katie Derham introduces carefully curated excerpts from productions spanning the history of ballet, going behind the scenes as the dancers prepare to take to the stage. With stunning solos, passionate pas de deux and jaw-dropping numbers for the corps de ballet, it is a chance to see the Company’s much-loved dancers, past and present up close, including Carlos Acosta, Marianela Nuñez, Natalia Osipova, Steven McRae, Francesca Hayward and Matthew Ball, who share stories of their life on the stage and thoughts on what these ballets mean to them.

SAINT-SAËNS, C.: Samson et Dalila [Opera] (Royal Opera House, 2022)
Opus Arte OA1371D
Also available on Blu-ray (OABD7315D)
Baek • Garanča • Goliński • Malaba • Pingarrón • Sijeqa • Mjandana • Janelidze • Royal Opera House Chorus and Orchestra • Pappano • Jones

‘The combination of Seokjong Baek as Samson and Elena Garanča as Dalila is a felicitous one. He’s convincing as the tormented Hebrew leader and he sings in the correct grand opera French style; i.e. heroic but with proper high notes.’ – operaramblings

PROKOFIEV, S.: Cinderella [Ballet] (Royal Ballet, 2023)
Opus Arte OA1378D
Also available on Blu-ray (OABD7316D)
Nuñez • Muntagirov • Royal Opera House Orchestra • Kessels • Ashton

‘The dancers in this production are excellent, especially Marianela Núñez as Cinderella. …She is graceful and athletic and conveys with her facial expressions and body language all the emotions of the innocent, good-hearted and often forlorn Cinderella.’ – MusicWeb International

THE CHRISTOPHER WHEELDON COLLECTION – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland • The Winter’s Tale • Like Water for Chocolate (3-Disc Boxed Set)
Opus Arte OA1381BD
Also available on Blu-ray (OABD7319BD)
Cuthbertson • Bonelli • Watson • Lamb • Yanowsky • Bonelli • McRae • Hayward • Sambé • Royal Ballet • Royal Opera House Orchestra • Kessels • Briskin • de la Parra • Wheeldon

The Christopher Wheeldon Collection is a dazzling showcase of the theatrical imagination of The Royal Ballet’s Artistic Associate, Christopher Wheeldon. With a stellar creative team, including designer Bob Crowley and composer Joby Talbot, he brings to life three celebrated works of fiction that pop as vividly on the screen in this collection as they did on stage for audiences watching live in the theatre.

DELIBES, L.: Lakmé [Opera] (Opéra Comique, 2022)
Naxos 2.110765
Also available on Blu-ray (NBD0177V)
Devieilhe • Antoun • Degout • Bré • Pygmalion Chorus and Orchestra • Pichon • Pelly

‘Devieilhe actually makes Lakme believable, a real human being whom we care about. Her singing is effortless and beautiful with none of the shrillness often heard in this music. The Pygmalion ensemble plays extremely well for Pichon who shows he knows exactly how this type of music should be performed.’ – American Record Guide

LEVAY, S.: Elisabeth [Musical] (Vereinigte Bühnen Wien, 2022)
Naxos 2.110749
Also available on Blu-ray (NBD0164V)
Orchester der Vereinigten Bühnen Wien • Römer • Mehmert

Treading a tightrope between death, life and intense romance in the opulent world of 19th-century Habsburg royalty, Elisabeth tells the story of the beautiful Empress of Austria, from her wedding, to her tragic assassination by the hand of the Italian anarchist Luigi Lucheni. Ongoing dark obsessions and inner turmoil are undercurrents as family schisms flare up amidst a crumbling empire. These powerful themes and a potent score brimming with fabulous music have combined to establish Elisabeth as the most successful German-language musical of all time. This spectacular open-air event presents Elisabeth at the fabled empress’s real-life home – Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna.

MACMILLAN, K.: L’histoire de Manon [Ballet] (Royal Ballet, 2018)
Opus Arte OA1285D
Also available on Blu-ray (OABD7255D)
Lamb • Muntagirov • Hirano • Avis • Mendizabal • McNally • Whitehead • Hay • Royal Ballet • Royal Opera House Orchestra • Yates • MacMillan

‘…[This] also offers the chance to hear afresh conductor Martin Yates’s new orchestration of extracts from Massenet, which were originally compiled by Leighton Lucas with the collaboration of Hilda Gaunt. He reworked the orchestration to make it more faithful to Massenet in 2011; the results are rich and complex, giving an emotional underpinning to this most feeling of ballets.’ – Gramophone