Naxos Bestsellers June 2024

Top 20 Audio Releases
MEYERBEER, G.: L’Africaine (Vasco da Gama) [Opera]
Naxos 8.660558-60
Spyres • Mahnke • MacKinnon • Mulligan • Kanabas • Frankfurt Opera Chorus and Orchestra • Manacorda

‘What has kept the piece in the repertoire is singing and it’s the cast that make this new recording… The chorus…are magnificent throughout… All credit too to conductor Antonello Manacorda for steering so straight a course through all five acts.’ – BBC Music Magazine

FOSS, L.: Symphony No. 1 • Renaissance Concerto • 3 American Pieces • Ode
Naxos 8.559938
A. Porter • Nikki Chooi • Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra • Falletta

‘…marvellously dispatched here by soloist Amy Porter… Crisply recorded, the Buffalo Philharmonic plays with the passion and precision expected of any ensemble fortunate to be conducted by JoAnn Falletta.’ – BBC Music Magazine

Linz Bruckner Orchestra • M. Poschner
Supersonic | Pizzicato

‘In 1891, Hans Richter conducted the first performance of the second version of Bruckner’s First Symphony. …I can’t imagine Richter conducting it as powerfully and with as much impetus as Poschner does in this interpretation, which brings out the complex orchestration with the greatest brilliance…’ – Pizzicato

Naxos 8.503297

‘A whopping 30-disc set that provides an essential starting point for anyone wishing to hone their understanding of the genre.’ – BBC Music Magazine

ROSSINI, G.: Armida [Opera]
Naxos 8.660554–55
Iniesta • Angelini • Kabongo • Arrieta • Marín • Chuan Wang • Amati • Cracow Philharmonic Chorus and Orchestra • Pérez-Sierra

‘Soprano Ruth Iniesta was engaged for the role of Armida… With her agile and flexible voice, she is perfectly suited to the role, both vocally and dramatically… Michele Angelini is a good choice for the role of Rinaldo with his high and pleasantly timbred tenor voice.’ – Pizzicato

FUCHS, R.: Violin Sonatas Nos. 4–6
Naxos 8.574547
Hyejin Chung • Warren Lee

‘The interpreters Hyejin Chung and Warren Lee present the last three sonatas by Robert Fuchs… A masterly command of the instruments coupled with carefully crafted interpretations reveal the lush late-romantic harmonies as well as the exuberant melodies.’ – Pizzicato

ROUSSEL, A.: Violin Sonatas Nos. 1–2 • String Trio
Naxos 8.574577
D. Bowlin • K. Docter • Kouzov • Tony Cho

‘…this new disc is plainly excellent. Violinist David Bowlin and pianist Tony Cho play with evident technique, sensibility and stylish skill… The trio of players is very fine indeed at laying out the intricate sophistication of the writing with music making of ideal clarity and unanimity.’ – MusicWeb International

SILVESTROV, V.: Dedication • Postludium
Naxos 8.574413
Wawrowski • Karnavičius • Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra • Lyndon-Gee

‘The Polish violinist Janusz Wawrowski, the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra and the recording team are not afraid to make the meditative, nostalgic music sonically effective. As a result, the symphony is quite captivating…’ – Pizzicato ★★★★★

LISZT, F.: Liszt Complete Piano Music, Vol. 62 – Transcriptions of Religious Works
Naxos 8.574546
Martin Cousin

Franz Liszt’s entire life was influenced by the spiritual and the mystical, his piety often in conflict with the secular life of a journeying pianist. Liszt’s prolific and historical transcriptions range from the Renaissance to his own time, and he is acknowledged as Western civilisation’s finest creative force in this genre. The transcriptions of religious works in this recording hold a special place in Liszt’s output and show a different side to this often misunderstood composer, conveying and enhancing the essence of each work to often achingly beautiful effect, and resulting in a treasure trove of unexpectedly intimate and private treasures.

O. Triendl • Gutzeit • Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra • Silber

‘Oliver Triendl…throws himself into the solo part here with excellent commitment and turns it into a memorable performance. Konstanze von Gutzeit plays the cello in the concerto…with no less vigour and sensitivity. The Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin under the direction of Christiane Silber is not only an attentive and committed partner to the soloists in the two solo concertos, but also performs the two small-format orchestral pieces with a love of detail…’ – Pizzicato ★★★★★

RIES, F.: Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2
Ondine ODE1443-2
Tapiola Sinfonietta • J. Nisonen

‘Nisonen shows how original and expressive the first two symphonies are. …Under Janne Nisonen’s gripping direction, both symphonies have a lasting effect. The inspired Tapiola Sinfonietta is a willing instrument in his hands.’ – Pizzicato ★★★★★

Fabio Banegas

The third volume in the series of José Antonio Bottiroli’s complete solo piano music reflects once again his immersion in late Romanticism allied to the resources of impressionism. Although these world premiere recordings focus on Bottiroli’s elegiacal works – laments in tribute to the memory of his loved ones – they also include pieces with the free musical structure of a ‘fantasy’ and those with the more rigorous demarcation of theme and variation. In the Mircrofilms he even offers us imaginary cinematic pieces. Fabio Banegas is not only Bottiroli’s protégé but has also catalogued the composer’s complete works.

HAGEN, D.A.: Heike Quinto
Naxos 8.559914

‘The exotic music transports the listener into a very special world of sound… In this recording it benefits from the technically outstanding and very committed interpretation of the Duo Yumeno.’ – Pizzicato

Folk Tales, Vol. 2 – BAX, A. • BREATNACH, M. • BRIDGE, F. • CLARKE, R. • ELGAR, E.
Naxos 8.574550
L. O’Connor • Peregrine • Ingham

‘…Gerald Peregrine (cello), Antony Ingham (piano) and Lynda O’Connor (violin), all work together to suffuse even the simplest of tunes like Down by the Salley Gardens for example, with expressive warmth and a hint of nostalgia… A well-rounded collection of both familiar and unusual repertoire that feeds the mind and soul.’ – Classical Music Sentinel

RACHMANINOV, S.: Symphonic Dances • The Isle of the Dead • Caprice bohémien
Vox VOX-NX-3042CD
St. Louis Symphony Orchestra • L. Slatkin

Rachmaninov’s final work – and the only one composed fully in the United States – was the Symphonic Dances. It embraces jazz elements and ecstatic expressiveness and is both a valediction and a summation of his creativity. The Isle of the Dead is a lamentation utilising a variant of the Dies irae – it is a stirring, transformative work that begins and ends in stillness. The early Caprice bohémien and Scherzo in D minor complete this programme of Leonard Slatkin’s admired Rachmaninov recordings on Vox, heard here newly remastered from the original tapes.

GRIEG, E.: Peer Gynt Suites Nos. 1 and 2 • Holberg Suite • Norwegian Dances • Wedding Day at Troldhaugen
Vox VOX-NX-3039CD
Utah Symphony Orchestra • Abravanel

‘Understated, but never faceless, Abravanel’s conducting attractively frames the baritonal timbre of the Utah Symphony. …Vox’s production favors the middle and lower registers, imparting a rich, smooth bass that never turns boomy, with a touch of light glimmering at the high end.’ – MusicWeb International

Guitar Recital – BACH, J.S. • PONCE, M.M. • WALTON, W. • TÁRREGA, F. • SULEK, S.
Naxos 8.554563
Ana Vidovic

‘It was a bright idea of Patrick Russ to mix the set of Five Bagatelles for solo guitar with his very last work, Varii Capricce, a brilliant orchestration of those same five pieces.’ – CNNMoney

MONTEVERDI, C.: Complete Madrigals (15-CD Boxed Set)
Naxos 8.501505
Delitiae Musicae • Longhini

‘The collection thus takes the listener on a remarkable musical, stylistic, and textual journey, one that pushes relentlessly forward with hardly a dull moment.’ – Early Music America

DEBUSSY, C.: Le Martyre de St. Sébastien (with narration in German by M. Mosebach)
SWR Classic SWR19149CD
SWR Radio Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden and Freiburg • Cambreling

‘…loaded with sumptuous music, as this top-notch 2005 recording, led by conductor Sylvain Cambreling and featuring singers Heidi Grant Murphy, Nathalie Stutzmann, and Dagmar Peckova; narrator Dorte Lyssewski; the SWR Symphony Orchestra; and Collegie Vocale Gent chorus, demonstrates.’ – The Flip Side

MORENO-TORROBA, F.: Guitar Music, Vol. 1
Naxos 8.557902
Ana Vidovic

‘This young Croatian guitarist Ana Vidovic does, playing cleanly and with a natural, easy virtuosity that allows her considerable musicality to capture the essence of each piece…’ – Limelight

ALFANO, F.: Suite Romantica • Una danza • Nenia • Divertimento • Amour… Amour…
Naxos 8.574533
Vendramin • V. Rabagliati • Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano • G. Grazioli

‘The opening movement is a highly romantic and very hummable Notte adriatica. It could make a fine love theme for a romantic film. It is played lusciously here. The strings of the Milan Orchestra sound very well indeed.’ – MusicWeb International

Top 10 Audiovisual Releases
DVOŘÁK, A.: Rusalka [Opera] (Royal Opera House, 2023)
Opus Arte OA1384D
Also available on Blu-ray (OABD7322D)
Grigorian • Philip • Isaev • Bell • Connolly • Royal Opera House Chorus and Orchestra • Ann Yee • Abrahami

‘Musically…there are no reservations, with forces superbly marshalled by conductor Semyon Bychkov in the pit, encouraging every nuance in Dvořák’s fluid score and from the rhythmical Czech libretto. The balance between pit and stage is perfect, allowing Grigorian’s glorious soprano to gleam amid the shifting harmonies, with David Butt Philip equally impressive as the two-timing prince.’ – British Theatre Guide

WAGNER, R.: Götterdämmerung [Opera] (Deutsche Oper Berlin, 2021)
Naxos 2.110745–46
Also available on Blu-ray (NBD0160V)
Hilley • Stemme • Pesendorfer • Lehman • Shanahan • Berlin Deutsche Opera Chorus and Orchestra • Runnicles • Herheim

‘Donald Runnicles ably conducts the huge orchestral forces, while the singers are superb: Clay Hilley’s Siegfried is impressive throughout his namesake opera, and Nina Stemme’s Brunnhilde carries the works’ emotional heft.’ – The Flip Side

CILEA, F.: Gloria (1932 version) [Opera] (Teatro Lirico di Cagliari, 2023)
Dynamic DYN-38004
Also available on Blu-ray (DYN-58004)
Chikviladze • Bartoli • Vassallo • Ventre • Abis • Schirru • Frabotta • Cagliari Teatro Lirico Chorus and Orchestra • Cilluffo • Albanese

‘…Carlo Ventre, as Fortebrando sings with proper heroic tenor high notes and loads of power…Anastasia Bartoli makes a pretty good fist of Gloria. She’s a Puccini type soprano with a rich tone and plenty of oomph.’ – operaramblings

TCHAIKOVSKY, P.I.: The Enchantress [Opera] (Frankfurt Opera, 2022)
Naxos 2.110768–69
Also available on Blu-ray (NBD0180V)
Grigorian • MacNeil • Mahnke • Mikhailov • Jost • Švēde • Chor der Oper Frankfurt • Frankfurter Opern- und Museumsorchester • Uryupin • Barkhatov
Editor’s Choice | Gramophone

‘Discover one of Tchaikovsky’s least-known, least-performed mature operas in a fine production from Frankfurt Opera.’ – Gramophone

VERDI, G.: Rigoletto [Opera] (Royal Opera House, 2021)
Opus Arte OA1354D
Also available on Blu-ray (OABD7303D)
Avetisyan • Álvarez • Oropesa • Sherratt • Royal Opera Chorus • Royal Opera House Orchestra • Pappano • Mears

‘The vocal standout in the cast is the remarkably secure soprano Lisette Oropesa, who seems to incarnate the character of Gilda as surely as she fills and shapes every vocal line of her daunting, florid role. Carlos Álvarez knowingly evokes Rigoletto’s fierce traits… He summons convincing notes of rage and disbelief in the final scene.’ – Opera News

TCHAIKOVSKY, P.I: Swan Lake [Ballet]
BelAir Classiques BAC119
Also available on Blu-ray (BAC419)
Zakharova • Rodkin • Belyakov • Barykina • Loparevich • Tsvirko • Grigorovich • Petipa • Ivanov • Gorsky • Orchestra of the State Academic Bolshoi Theatre of Russia • Sorokin

With Tchaikovsky’s famous lyrical score, Swan Lake depicts the tragic love between Princess Odette and Prince Siegfried, and will no doubt be performed to perfection by the unparalleled virtuosity of Russia’s great Bolshoi Ballet. This universal and enchanting masterpiece of love, deception and drama is a must. With wonderful ballerina Svetlana Zakharova, one of the most beautiful Odette / Odile of the time, Denis Rodkin, Artemy Belyakov and Bolshoi Ballet.

STRAUSS, R.: Elektra (Aix-en-Provence, 2013)
BelAir Classiques BAC110
Also available on Blu-ray (BAC410)
Herlitzius • Meier • Pieczonka • Petrenko • Randle • Orchestre de Paris • Salonen • Chéreau

‘Patrice Chéreau’s staging of Strauss’s famously chilling opera is a triumph for Aix’ – Financial Times ★★★★★

TCHAIKOVSKY, P.I.: Swan Lake [Ballet] (Royal Ballet, 2018)
Opus Arte OA1286D
Also available on Blu-ray (OABD7256D)
Nuñez • Muntagirov • Royal Ballet • Royal Opera House Orchestra • Kessels • Scarlett

‘…Marianela Nuñez manages so perfectly in Liam Scarlett’s new staging for the Royal Ballet. Her Odette is dreamily danced and touching, down to every vulnerable flutter by the lake, while, by contrast, her Odile flashes a steely smile, digging into her fouettés like daggers in the coda of the Act 3 pas de deux.’ – Gramophone

PUCCINI, G.: La bohème [Opera] (Royal Opera House, 2020)
Opus Arte OA1332D
Also available on Blu-ray (OABD7287D)
Castronovo • Yoncheva • Mihai • Filończyk • Kellner • Nagy • Royal Opera House Chorus and Orchestra • Villaume • Jones

‘Conductor Emmanuel Villaume takes an expansive view of Puccini’s score, one that savors the rich and varied colors Puccini evokes both from the orchestra and singers.’ – Fanfare

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

‘Pappano conducts with an intriguing blend of vigour and perfume, and the orchestra and chorus are excellent. Seokjong Baek makes a house and role debut as Samson and is exciting. Elina Garanča is a seductive Dalila… They spark well off each other. The remaining cast is solid.’ – Opera Now