Critics Choice February 2022

This month brings you another bumper crop of great reviews from the leading music magazines, quality dailies and online review sites. There’s no doubt about it: Naxos releases and distributes some of the best music and audiovisual albums!

Highly Reviewed Albums of the Month
Petri • Moser • Poppen • Milton • Bignamini

‘Fabrice Bollon infuses jazz, electro and pop in high symphonic form… Recognised as a talented and versatile conductor, Fabrice Bollon also devotes himself with singular originality to composition.’

Daviet • Bavarian Radio Chorus and Symphony • Kent Nagano

‘This superb collection of large-scale works by Messiaen, including Poèmes pour Mi and a remarkable La Transfiguration de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ, is brilliantly recorded.’

‘Compelling performances from Messiaen master, Kent Nagano.’
Limelight ★★★★

Audio Releases
Naxos Releases

BBC Concert Orchestra • L. Slatkin

‘Leonard Slatkin understands Anderson’s style perfectly, and elicits consistently superb playing from the BBC Concert Orchestra.’

‘Performances are superbly rounded, full of swagger and consistently fresh and spirited.’
Classical Music Daily

Janácek Philharmonic • Salvi

‘The Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra plays with esprit. The music sounds airy, light, natural, the melodies sparkling and brimming with musical wit.’
Pizzicato ★★★★

‘A splendid performance’

Boris Giltburg

‘Nine CDs of the very best.’

‘Balanced interpretation, transparent texture. Germans may call such an interpretation sauber. In addition, Giltburg has deep felt passion and refined aesthetic.’
Record Geijutsu

Deborah Sternberg

‘This is a thoroughly delightful recording, one that is highly recommended.’
Journal of Singing

S. Gross • Ficsor • Finehouse

‘Splendidly intense and involving.’

W. Sharp • Arciuli • Dakota String Quartet

‘The performance by the Dakota String Quartet is detailed and convincing.’ ★★★★

Naxos 8.660480-82
M. Miller • J. Kohl • Irina Jae-Eun Park • A. Jung • Theater Freiburg Choirs • Freiburg Philharmonic • Bollon

‘An extraordinarily multi-layered, highly ambitious music, conducted by one of the most empathetic specialists of the period.’
kulturradio vom rbb ★★★★★

‘Grim and grisly, but with a sumptuous score, Franck’s operatic tragedy is a real find.’
Limelight ★★★★

C. Stein • Greger • De Marchi

‘Stein’s playing here, and throughout the recording, is beautifully shaped and sensitive’
Pan (British Flute Society Journal)

Vasari Singers • Backhouse

‘The whole program is mesmerising and the performances are exquisite’
American Record Guide

Stundyte • R. Morloc • ORF Vienna Radio Symphony • Alsop

‘Marin Alsop proves herself to be a top-flight interpreter of Hindemith’s music, showing Sancta Susanna to be a masterpiece.’
MusicWeb International

‘Marin Alsop conducts the ORF Radio Symphony Orchestra Vienna, which interprets the three scores beautifully and powerfully’
Pizzicato ★★★★★

Brahms Trio

‘The sound is beautiful—so beautiful that I liked the Rimsky-Korsakoff piece better than I ever have before.’
American Record Guide

Anne-Sophie Bertrand

‘There is so much sparkling power of spraying water in these waterworks, and such a communicative force from the performer, that one listens with fascination.’
Pizzicato ★★★★★

‘Anne-Sophie Bertrand’s Jeux de Création is a captivating delight from start to finish, one that I recommend with the utmost enthusiasm.’

M. Dean • Seocho Philharmonia • Jong Hoon Bae

‘The performances are splendid and the recording resonant and full.’

C.H. Shaw • Breithaupt • Les Ordinaires

‘The combinations of voice with flute or viola da gamba are splendid.’
American Record Guide

Iain Quinn

‘An exciting adventure into the world of Persichetti’s own instrument.’
Brutal New Music Reviews

Naxos 8.574354-55
Kyanidou • Baka • Simos • Stamboglis • Amadeus Orchestra • Sofia • Fidetzis

‘A hugely valuable addition to the discography, and a triumph all round.’

ORF Vienna Radio Symphony • Jeter

‘At once thrilling and profoundly moving.’
Presto Classical

Alessandro Marangoni

‘Rossini’s melodiously delightful Péchés de vieillesse are invaluable’
Klassik begeistert

Clamagirand • V. Cohen

‘Clamagirand has a total affinity for the fun and theatricality of this music; listen to the violin’s rise to the stratosphere of the Havanaise in E major, Op. 83 ★★★★

Platts • Nikki Chooi • Buffalo Philharmonic • Falletta

‘It’d be hard to imagine a better introduction to Schmitt’s music than this. The performances are outstanding.’
American Record Guide

Gustav Piekut

‘Piekut hits the sweet spot between technical accuracy and off-the-cuff brilliance.’
BBC Music Magazine ★★★★

E. Glennie • B. McMillen • Albany Symphony • D.A. Miller

‘Beautiful and exciting, superbly played and recorded’

Independent Releases (in alphabetical order)

N. Jürgensen • Katte • Klenke Quartet

‘An exceptionally delicate performance of the quintet.’

Garajová • Sekera

‘These are marvellous performances of inventive and engaging folk song arrangements. Enthusiastically recommended.’

Sosa • Keita

‘The two musicians create something artistically special and pull it off with aplomb.’
Roots Music Report

Lorelei Ensemble • B. Willer

‘By turns haunting, emotionally intense and serene.’
MusicWeb International

Dupree • Württemberg Chamber Orchestra of Heilbronn • C. Scaglione
★★★★★’s 2021 Keep on Listening Award: Disc of the Year

‘Whoever listens to the recording by Frank Dupree and the Württembergisches Kammerorchester is immediately convinced: this is no exaggeration.’

Cedille CDR90000-203
Lincoln Trio

‘Both of these pieces are discoveries, and that is always welcome.’
American Record Guide

‘Superbly played and recorded.’

‘The Lincoln Trio plays magnificently, with a remarkable combination of delicate interplay and robust tone. They are fine champions for this unduly neglected music.’

‘The performance of the Lincoln Trio surpassed my most optimistic expectations!’
MusicWeb International

‘Piano trios by Ernst Bacon and Leo Sowerby mightn’t be at the heart of the repertoire. But maybe they should be, especially when they’re played as grippingly as by the Lincoln Trio here.’
The Arts Fuse

A. Riis • Philharmonic Choir • Odense Symphony • Delfs

‘What a delightful discovery this is’
American Record Guide

Oksana Volkova

‘Volkova [is] the real deal, full of intelligence, passion, nuance and chutzpah.’
Opera News

Marco Rogliano

‘Hats off to Marco Rogliano, true heir to the great Ruggiero Ricci, for this prodigious display of fireworks.’

Gramola Gramola99228
Zimper • Suklar • Eggner • Ovtcharov

‘Thoroughly professional and artistically convincing.’
American Record Guide

Gottlieb Wallisch

‘Past editions surprised and delighted in equal measure; this latest album on the Grand Piano label extends the streak.’
The New York Times

‘This is another super release. I must now find the other volumes in the series.’
Lark Reviews

Herskedal • Myhre

‘This was a very enjoyable surprise.’
American Record Guide

Hansjörg Albrecht

‘Hansjörg Albrecht succeeds in a fabulously powerful interpretation of a substantially accurate organ transcription of the first Bruckner symphony.’ ★★★★

Lars Vogt

‘Vogt, like the great Ivan Moravec before him, is a singer at the piano, combining tension with naturalness, and turns accents into nuanced, music-inherent developments, unobtrusive throughout in the character of an improvisational reflection.’

Skride • Swedish Chamber Orchestra • Aadland

‘Baiba Skride performs these early works with a freshness and a sense of fun that never loses its natural charm.’
Classica ★★★★★

‘With Baiba Skride’s opening solo there’s engaging character and bite, a blend of intensity yet also grace and a vivid feeling of all enjoying making music together.’
MusicWeb International

Ieva Jokubaviciute

‘Striking on a number of levels. A visceral debut.’
BBC Music Magazine ★★★★

‘Harris is an exceptional narrator in full command of the instrument’s potential.’

‘An imaginative showcase for contemporary piano music but also for a sumptuous pianistic talent.’
MusicWeb International

Last Song is the finest, most entertaining, thoughtfully assembled, artfully performed, and skilfully engineered recording of music for violin and piano that I have heard in many years.’
Classical Candor

Liliana Bernardi

‘Liliana Bernardi does an excellent job with both composers and is especially affecting in the Matteis fantasias.’
American Record Guide

Jonason • Helsingborg Symphony • Solyom

‘Jonason sports a strikingly clear and resonant tone, ardent and sincere phrasing, and outstanding fingers and articulation.’
American Record Guide

South West German Radio Symphony, Baden-Baden • Cologne Radio Symphony • Rosbaud

‘What a gift this release is!’
Edison Klassiek Award

Audiovisual Releases
Naxos Releases

Naxos 2.110685-86
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Antonacci • Gillet • Richards • Cavallier • Monteverdi Choir • Maîtrise des Hauts-de-Seine • Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique • Gardiner • Noble

‘Anna Caterina Antonacci’s Carmen, finally on DVD, is legendary, a detailed artist at her most nuanced.’
Opera News

Naxos 2.110679-80
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Di Pierro • Bonitatibus • Bridelli • Aspromonte • K. Adam • Pygmalion • Pichon • Lesort • Hecq

‘Performed with gusto, delectable refinement, and a whole lot of invention’
American Record Guide

Record Academy Award (Japan): Winner – Video Disc (Performing Genre)

Naxos 2.110673
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Ciofi • Frenkel • Wey • Henschel • Ensemble Nikel • SWR Experimentalstudio • Orchestra of the Deutsche Oper Berlin • Kalitzke • Guth

‘Approaches love from an almost scientific angle, letting all the hackneyed commonplaces burn off.’
Opera News

Naxos 2.110683-84
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Mula • Castronovo • Choeur et Orchestre de l'Opéra national de Paris • Minkowski • Joel

‘A superb production, long unavailable, returns to the catalogue.’
MusicWeb International

Independent Releases (in alphabetical order)

Bayerische Staatsoper Recordings BSOREC1001
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Kaufmann • Petersen • Bavarian State Orchestra • Petrenko • Stone

‘His [Kaufmann] brilliant performance is the major highlight of this album. Kirill Petrenko’s commitment to the Bayerische Staatsorchester is evident, and the vital breath of his conducting is always in harmony with the sensual score.’

BelAir Classiques BAC186
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Garifullina • Mynenko • Serafin • Paster • Mayer • Paris National Opera Chorus and Orchestra • Tatarnikov • Tcherniakov

‘It’s hugely enjoyable and the vocal side of things is top notch.’
MusicWeb International

C Major 759508
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Grigorian • Cutler • Mattila • Kuzmin-Karavaev • Dalayman • Teatro Real Chorus and Orchestra • Bolton • Loy

‘A stylish production and a superb lead in soprano Asmik Grigorian makes for a highly recommendable Rusalka on DVD.’

Dynamic DYN-37871
Also available in Blu-ray Video
and Disc
Ravasio • Guarrera • Colombo • Cortese • Borgioni • Nanni • Tosi • Reate Festival Baroque Ensemble • Quarta • Scarton

‘The all-Italian cast is superb, each singer projecting an individual personality that delineates his role.’
American Record Guide

Also available on Blu-ray Video
Stagg • Peter • Williams • Kares • Devieilhe • Gansch • Royal Opera Chorus • Royal Opera House Orchestra • Jones • McVicar

‘This spirited performance, with good video direction by Jonathan Haswell, will give a great deal of pleasure.’

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