Critics Choice June 2023

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
Fritsch • Schmutzhard • Nigl • Boesch • Vistoli • Auvity • Arnold Schoenberg Chor • Il Giardino Armonico • Antonini • Carsen
Editor’s Choice | Gramophone
Excepcional | Scherzo
Discos Recomendados | Ritmo

‘Director Robert Carsen brings Cavalieri’s work to life; conductor Giovanni Antonini draws out the score’s texture and colours.’

‘Not just a landmark in opera history but also genuinely enjoyable’
Opera Canada

Ælbgut • Capella Jenensis
Quarterly Critic’s Choice | Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik (German Record Critics’ Award)
Discos Recomendados | Ritmo

‘The interpretation of the four-member vocal ensemble Ælbgut and the Capella Jenensis is the best that has appeared in this field for a long time.’
Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik (German Record Critics’ Award)

‘The interpretations of the musically very different five cantatas are hard to beat.’
Pizzicato ★★★★★

Audio Releases
Naxos Releases
Zgraggen • Basel Sinfonietta • Brönnimann
Supersonic | Pizzicato

‘Baldur Brönnimann and the Basel Sinfonietta offer an absolute masterpiece here, both in terms of playing technique, expression, transparency, timbre and balance.’

Naxos 8.660514–15
Kabongo • Franco • Di Lieto • Fatyol • Cracow Philharmonic Chorus and Orchestra • Acocella
Editor’s Choice | Limelight

‘Auber’s zesty elixir proves a tonic as lip-smacking as Donizetti’s.’

C. Bernsted • R. Mhaanna

‘A Danish duo on searing form in one of contemporary music’s great mavericks’
The Strad


‘…Babin’s arrangements are spectacular. Both from a brilliance perspective and from a musical one, the knowledge of what two pianists can effectively do is performance-oriented. This is a fantastic performance.’
American Record Guide

P.E. Fisher • Albany Symphony • D.A. Miller

‘…a very interesting CD that presents one aspect of John Corigliano’s compositions in detail and at a high level.’
Pizzicato ★★★★★

Villiers Quartet

‘…superb accounts of both works that are not only technically accomplished, but finely nuanced.’
Classical Lost and Found

Christopher Mallett

‘Mallett plays all of the fare with nuanced artistry, savouring the beloved melodies and bursts of decorative material.’

‘Mallett’s idiomatic playing makes for an immensely enjoyable disc.’
The WholeNote

‘Mallett elegantly shows us all Holland and the 19th-century guitar have to offer.’
San Francisco Classical Voice

Needleman • Ji Su Jung • Baltimore Symphony • Alsop
Recommended | MusicWeb International

‘…Alsop directs with an obvious understanding of the Puts soundworld.’
MusicWeb International

Giltburg • Brussels Philharmonic • Sinaisky

‘Giltburg is a joy to hear… With Vassily Sinaisky rousing the Brussels Philharmonic to play at the top of their game…these are among the finest accounts of these works alongside Wild, Shelley, Hough and of course the composer himself.’

São Paulo Symphony Choir and Orchestra • Neil Thomson

‘This is certainly one of the most interesting and culturally important releases ever put on the market.’
The Art Music Lounge

Sergio Gallo

‘Gallo's technique is pristine and flawless—sometimes in the Opus 51 he makes things sounds almost too easy. Let’s hope Naxos carries on and perhaps one day gives us a piano integrale of this prolific composer.’
American Record Guide

Bobby Mitchell

‘…[Mitchell] expertly premieres on disc a wealth of Rzewski pieces that remain largely unknown.’
BBC Music Magazine ★★★★★

‘…the real “authenticity” ultimately rests within Mitchell’s compelling, sympathetic and authoritative interpretations.’

Hong Kong Philharmonic • van Zweden

‘…enjoyable and absorbing.’
American Record Guide

Oviedo Filarmonía • Haider

‘Haider is a matchless interpreter with the ability to make an alleged minor master sound like a major one.’
American Record Guide

Independent Label Releases (in alphabetical order)
Bavarian Radio Chorus and Symphony • D. Harding

‘…this is a revelatory performance.’
The Guardian

Dierkes • Tsallagova • B. Bürger • Stuttgart State Orchestra • Meister
Critic’s Choice | Opera News
Excepcional | Scherzo

‘The cast collectively shines in Rossinian ensembles, which are equal parts sophisticated and silly.’
Opera News

Seth Parker Woods

‘Seth Parker Woods puts his stylistic range and extraordinary musicianship on display…this programme is dazzlingly inventive and reveals Woods to be a musician of uncommon communicative power.’

Ziyu He • Rastogi • Singapore Symphony • H. Graf

‘…this is a disc to certainly enjoy for its freshness and vitality.’
Classical Music Daily

Dyka • Kaunas City Symphony • Orbelian

‘Featuring full-throttled singing that’s almost addictive because of how close to danger [Dyka] brings you.’
Opera News

Paul Stewart

‘Stewart has the intellect, technique, and musicality for a captivating performance of this work.’
American Record Guide

Gjersø • Haugen • Myhre • Pettersen

‘…the sheer breathless beauty of Yûgen is indeed, hard to put into words.’

A. & I. Walachowski

‘I have heard many very good performances of this masterpiece [Nonet in F] and this one ranks right up near the top. The combination of world premiere, little-known, and best-known pieces make this a compelling release.’
American Record Guide

Latvian Radio Choir • Kļava

‘A phenomenal disc. The Latvian Radio Choir is one of the world’s greatest choirs, and under Sigvards Kļava’s direction they are doing remarkable things.’
Classical Explorer

Lena Belkina
Critic’s Choice | Opera News

‘It’s a defiant affirmation and celebration of Ukrainian culture, as well as a meticulously crafted and passionately performed musical achievement.’
Opera News

Iceland Symphony • Bjarnason

‘…the performances by the Iceland Symphony Orchestra are on a much higher level of attainment. The range of sonorities they bring out in Gísladóttir’s ÓS is viscerally gripping…and Mazzoli’s engaging Sinfonia and Sigfúsdóttir’s Clockworking provide textural, stylistic and expressive contrast. Sono Luminus’s sound is top-notch. Enjoy!’

Meerovitch • Nakariakov • Saarbrücken German Radio Philharmonic • Inkinen

‘All these performances are superb. …You’d be hard-pressed to find better recordings or performances of these popular works.’
American Record Guide

Audiovisual Releases
Naxos Releases
Naxos 2.110753–54
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Devos • Briand • Mauillon • Leguérinel • Buendia • Chœur de chambre de Namur • Les Musiciens du Louvre • Dumas • Lacroix
Editor’s Choice | Limelight

‘Christian Lacroix serves up a riot of colour in the original Parisian sex comedy. …if you think you know the work, you will be in for an intriguing surprise.’

Naxos 2.110738
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Vasiliev • Muzychenko • Shkoza • Tikhomirov • Popov • Frankfurter Opern- und Museumsorchester • Chor der Oper Frankfurt • Weigle • Loy
Critic’s Choice | Opera News

‘…Sebastian Weigle, leading the Oper Frankfurt Orchestra and Chorus, deftly brings the colour, majesty, humour and heart of this work into high definition, in perfect concert with Loy’s stage work.’
Opera News

Naxos 2.107001
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Stemme • Hilley • Paterson • Jovanovich • Teige • Pesendorfer • Deutsche Oper Berlin Chorus & Orchestra • Runnicles • Herheim
Critic’s Choice | Opera News

‘Intellectually elaborate, emotionally complex and often provocative, this is a probing, thought-through production… if it’s a thinking-person’s Ring you’re after, there’s plenty here to engage you.’
Opera News

Independent Releases (in alphabetical order)
C Major 762108
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Ismatullaeva • Stroppa • Montvidas • Mulligan • Wiener Symphoniker • Mazzola • Homoki

‘…listening from measure to measure is delightful.’

Dynamic DYN-37944
Also available in Blu-ray Video
and Disc
Sala • Camarena • Sempey • Frontali • Orchestra Gli Originali • Coro Donizetti Opera • Frizza • Wake-Walker

‘…colourful, delightful production by Frederic Wake-Walker… The result is a kaleidoscope of colour, sight gags, and inventive movement that make the opera live and breathe with new life. The singers are all terrific.’
American Record Guide

Opus Arte OA1361D
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Ränzlov • Volungholen • Enticknap • Malmberg • Confidencen Opera & Music Festival Orchestra • Boman • Relton
Editor’s Choice | Gramophone

‘…super performances’

UNITEL Edition 805708
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Winters • Konieczny • Beczała • Kawałek • ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien • Arnold Schoenberg Chor • Borowicz • Treliński

‘Penetrates far below the opera’s surface to uncover new layers of meaning and resonance.’
Opera News

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