Critics Choice July 2024

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
Naxos 2.110770
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Golovneva • Lauritano • Carè • Sulimsky • Trąbka • Kłubczuk • Petersen • Members of the Frankfurter Opern- und Museumsorchester • Loy
Editor’s Choice | Gramophone

‘Songs of love and loss, loneliness and isolation from a period – the pandemic restrictions – defined by such sentiments.’

ORF Vienna Radio Symphony • M. Poschner
Joker Absolu | Crescendo

‘Markus Poschner strikes hard again with a reading that revitalizes the famous Symphony No. 7.’

‘This interpretation of Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony is incredibly exciting.’
Pizzicato ★★★★★

‘…a performance that’s fresh and invigorating but also deeply felt.’

Audio Releases
Naxos Releases
ORF Vienna Radio Symphony • Alsop

‘[Alsop] deserves credit for drawing out good jazzy brass lines in the opening work, City Noir (2009)… The slow movement of that work, which, as a whole, evokes Los Angeles in the film noir era, is a remarkably atmospheric piece in Alsop’s hands.’ ★★★★

Vendramin • V. Rabagliati • Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano • G. Grazioli

‘Grazioli skilfully and appealingly brings out the inherent qualities of the music and renders it in a discreet and intelligent manner.’

Georgi Dimitrov-Jojo
Recommended | MusicWeb International

‘This recording represents excellent technical facility, refined musicianship and deep understanding of the music.’
MusicWeb International

Wunderlin • Carrel • Eisenlohr

‘A delicate accompanist, Eisenlohr has always surrounded himself with interesting voices. Here, he has hit the nail on the head with Alina Wunderlin, a young German coloratura soprano, artistic and literary like few others.’

ORF Vienna Radio Symphony • Alsop

‘Marin Alsop and the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra deliver outstanding interpretations of these compositions, all of which are well worth hearing.’
Pizzicato ★★★★★

Quartetto Adorno

‘The Quartetto Adorno…offers the listener this collection of works in lively interpretations. They play the music with verve and expressiveness, without ignoring the sometimes modern textures.’
Pizzicato ★★★★

Plitmann • Iranshahr Orchestra • Paranj

‘Hila Plitmann sings all the songs very sensitively and expressively with her radiantly pure and bright soprano voice. The accompanying instrumentalists are all first-rate.’
Pizzicato ★★★★★

A. Porter • Nikki Chooi • Buffalo Philharmonic • 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 ★★★★

‘[Falletta] gives a highly spirited account of his symphony… All sit easy on the ear… The music is beautifully made.’
The Critic


‘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 ★★★★

Martin Cousin

‘To be able to play Liszt’s piano music you have to be as virtuosic as he was, a requirement at which Martin Cousin excels.’

Minas Gerais Philharmonic • Mechetti

‘…the composer’s music is impressively rendered and this album can be unequivocally recommended.’
Pizzicato ★★★★★

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…’
BBC Music Magazine ★★★★

Naxos 8.660556–57
Farnocchia • Faggioli • Marín • Kabongo • Chuan Wang • Gabriel Park • Cracow Philharmonic Chorus and Orchestra • Fogliani

‘This recording…under the competent direction of Antonino Fogliani, is a remarkable interpretation in every respect.’
Pizzicato ★★★★

D. Bowlin • K. Docter • Kouzov • Tony Cho
Supersonic | Pizzicato

‘…[David Bowlin and Tony Cho] offer the works with an extremely positive commitment that immediately engages the listener.’

Wawrowski • Karnavicius • Lithuanian National Symphony • Lyndon-Gee

‘Wawrowski is an eloquent exponent of the many lyrical passages… It’s all strangely beautiful, and, at the same time, disconcertingly haunting.’
BBC Music Magazine ★★★★

Thessaloniki State Symphony • Tsokanou
Discos Recomendados | Ritmo

‘With the participation of Japanese violinist Noé Inui in Kalomiris’ work and a very attentive Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra under the idiomatic conductor Zoi Tsokanou, this excellent recording denotes that these works could not have had a better possible interpretation.’

Concerto Málaga • Gil de Gálvez

‘Turina’s desire to champion the culture of his Spanish homeland is strongly evidenced in an engaging programme… Concerto Málaga’s earthy style suits the music’s rusticity well.’
BBC Music Magazine

Ivakhiv • S. Beck

‘The world-premiere recording of the 1927 Violin Sonata in A Minor, Op. 18 by Viktor Kosenko is quite lovely, a lush, immediately accessible work beautifully played. The 1991 Violin Sonata No. 2 by Myroslav Skoryk…is another winner, with more fine playing.’
The WholeNote

Independent Label Releases (in alphabetical order)
Quatuor Danel
Discos Recomendados | Ritmo

‘…a brilliantly vivid live recording…’
The Strad

Ehsan Matoori

‘…simultaneously eerie, celebratory, defiant, and despairing… This music is powerful and gorgeous.’
Baker & Taylor CD Hotlist

Bavarian Radio Symphony • M. Hermann
Supersonic | Pizzicato

‘…the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Matthias Hermann…have taken on the extended version with curiosity and exquisite skill…’

‘…a sonic spectacle.’
The Times (UK) ★★★★

‘Score, performance, recording: all as exhilarating as a work for eight horns and orchestra has any right to be.’

Budapest Scoring Orchestra

‘This recording is a stupendous achievement.’

Frølund • NOVO Quartet

‘…the performance is beyond criticism. One really can hear when contemporary music is performed with an exactitude of pitch and rhythms, and NOVO Quartet’s way with both is impeccable.’
Classical Explorer

G.S. Johnson • Kibbey • DeCaprio • Yun Han

‘Three pieces that are completely unknown or unknown in this form can be experienced in formidable interpretations.’
Pizzicato ★★★★★

H. Angerer • Salzburger Hofmusik • Brunner
Supersonic | Pizzicato

‘Hansjörg Angerer proves himself to be both a virtuoso and a poet.’

Yulia Ayrapetyan

‘The music of Armenia gets impressive advocacy from Yulia Ayrapetyan on a release that should appeal to lovers of rare repertoire… highly effective piano transcriptions… The music of Emeralds is extremely attractive.’
International Piano

Mannheim National Theatre Orchestra • Soddy
Excepcional | Scherzo

‘…a joy for connoisseurs – a stupendous proof of how alive or not our capacity for wonder can be – and an enviable gift…for those who are approaching this work for the first time.’

Aapo Häkkinen

‘…this engaging performance communicated a huge amount of enjoyment while respecting the rigorous integrity of Bach’s masterpiece.’
BBC Music Magazine ★★★★★

St. Florian Boys’ Choir • Stumpner

‘Comprised of intimate and prayerful compositions, performed with humble devotion, this portrait, far removed from the image of the great symphonist, offers a more modest yet equally faithful depiction of the master.’

Bruce Levingston

‘Levingston is one of today’s most streamed classical artists and it’s clear to see why; his mastery of his instrument is awe-inspiring across this wordless effort.’
Take Effect

Robert Neumann

‘With energy, ardour, panache, a touch of madness, and poetic breaches, Robert Neumann…delivers a version of Schumann’s Kreisleriana that is as profound as it is electrifying.’

Vox VOX-NX-3038CD
Utah Symphony • Abravanel

‘There are engaging performances of the Symphonic Dances, and a properly folksy Bridal Procession… excellent remastering.’
BBC Music Magazine

Assad • Labro • Takács Quartet

‘…engaging unfamiliar music, committed performances, and spectacular sound.’
The Absolute Sound ★★★★★

Audiovisual Releases
Naxos Releases
Naxos 2.110766–67
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Vogt • Stober • Reuter • Jekal • Pesendorfer • Ya-Chung Huang • Berlin Deutsche Opera Chorus and Orchestra • Fiore • Wieler • Morabito • Viebrock

‘Johan Reuter in good voice positively impressed me as Sachs, as did also Heidi Stober as Eva… The orchestra and chorus do not disappoint, and John Fiore holds it all together very well.’
MusicWeb International

Independent Releases (in alphabetical order)
C Major 764308
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Jicia • Flórez • Abrahamyan • Spyres • Mimica • Bologna Teatro Comunale Chorus and Orchestra • Mariotti • Michieletto

‘Flórez as Umberto and Spyres as Rodrigo, are magnificent…’

Dynamic DYN-37998
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Henschel • Brenna • Fiorentino Maggio Musicale Chorus and Orchestra • Meister • Livermore
Editor’s Choice | Limelight

‘…a collector’s item… Dramatically Dietrich Henschel is the real deal as Faust, a singing actor who captures the arrogance, vanity, intellect, unbridled ego and tarrying insecurities of this complex character.’

Opus Arte OA1328D
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Les Arts Florissants Ensemble • Christie • Carsen

‘Benjamin Purkiss makes a riveting Macheath… Matching his versatility is Olivia Brereton… As Jenny, the ex-lover who betrays Macheath, Emma Kate Nelson combines sultry embodiment with slick vocalism.’
BBC Music Magazine ★★★★

UNITEL Edition 809808
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Volle • Villazón • Kränzle • Mahnke • Kares • Staatskapelle Berlin • Thielemann • Tcherniakov
Editor’s Choice | Limelight

‘…an exceptional performance…’

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