Critics Choice March 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
Naxos 2.110693
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Blondeel • De Negri • Van Mechelen • Mauillon • Les Arts Florissants • Christie • Twist

‘Another triumph from William Christie.’

‘An exceptional edition.’
Opéra (France)

‘A remarkably interesting production’
MusicWeb International

Dupuy • Basque National Orchestra • R. Trevino

‘A fascinating and gloriously played programme of little-known American orchestral works, assembled and conducted with real care and passion by Robert Trevino.’

‘An enterprising conductor leading a talented and enthusiastic ensemble with both swagger and sensitivity to burn.’

‘Robert Treviño and the Basque National Orchestra deserve the highest praise for the verve and polish of their playing, replete with enviable transparency and nuance.’
MusicWeb International

‘Virtually unknown pieces of symphonic Americana turn out to be lively and contemporary in the hands of conductor Trevino.’ ★★★★

‘This was, simply, a terrific release. More – much more – of this, please.’
The Arts Fuse

Audio Releases
Naxos Releases
English Northern Philharmonia • Royal Ballet Sinfonia • D. Lloyd-Jones

‘David Lloyd-Jones conducts them so well as to recall the glory days of Sir Thomas Beecham.’
American Record Guide

Van der Plas • Bruker • Kalaidjian • S.T. Freier • Edén • Malmö Opera Orchestra • Salvi

‘A listening which is not only very pleasant but of the utmost interest’

Slovak Radio Symphony • Leaper

‘Fun and flair… The London Suite is just the tip of an enjoyable iceberg.’
BBC Music Magazine ★★★★

‘Magical stuff from start to finish.’
Classical Music Daily

Goran Krivokapić

‘This is superlative playing of such power and imagination that it elevates the works far above what can descend to mere pastiches.’
Soundboard (Guitar Foundation of America)

Aquinas Piano Trio

‘A fascinating window into Haydn’s earliest piano trios, beautifully performed’

Banse • Hakhnazaryan • ORF Vienna Radio Symphony • Alsop

‘Always well-formed in sound, even in agitated episodes, the music is always presented transparently and thus does justice to Henze’s wish for euphony. Yet the vehemence of the density of expression remains unbroken.’
Pizzicato ★★★★★

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

‘Alsop’s performance is terrific: clear, luminous and appropriately moving.’
Limelight ★★★★★

‘This fine release stimulates an appetite both for more Hindemith and for more Alsop in Vienna.’ ★★★★

‘Performed with admirable flair and passion by Alsop and her Viennese forces.’
BBC Music Magazine ★★★★

Carewe • Bickley • Royal Philharmonic • Balcombe


Simon Mayr Choir • Concerto de Bassus • Hauk

‘An absolutely riveting addition to Hauk’s unflinching advocacy of Mayr’s mostly neglected sacred oeuvre.’
Classical Music Daily

Cologne West German Radio Chorus • Cologne Chamber Orchestra • Poppen

‘The WDR Rundfunkchor combines clarity and a rich sound. Poppen’s readings are straightforward and unfussy, capturing a lyricism in these works that is sometimes lost…’ ★★★★

Lille National Orchestra • Darrell Ang

‘Gabriel Pierné’s suites from Ramuntcho and Cydalise et le Chevre-pied enchant in their rendition by Darrell Ang and the Orchestre National de Lille.’ ★★★★

ORF Vienna Radio Symphony • Jeter

‘John Jeter supplies intelligent leadership, projecting the symphony’s structures firmly.’
Stereophile ★★★★★

‘Not only inspiring but enjoyable, and not only interesting for our times but of splendid and durable quality.’
BBC Music Magazine ★★★★

Hinterhuber • Grodd

‘A real discovery!’

Gustav Piekut

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

Naxos 8.660489-90
Bortolotti • Schliewa • R. Davidson • Buettner • Sofia Philharmonic Chorus and Orchestra • Salvi

‘Stylish and vibrant, with an energetic chorus and strong soloists.’
Opera News

E. Baldini • P. Rossi

‘This new recording is so good, it is not of interest only to Villa-Lobos completists. It is worth collecting in terms of sheer performance, a shining example of a simpatico violin/piano partnership.’

Independent Releases (in alphabetical order)
G. Kremer • M. Petersone • Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra • D. Gatti

‘A major statement in violinist Kremer’s long career of championing Weinberg’s music.’ ★★★★★

Bavarian State Orchestra • K. Petrenko

‘Ecstasy and clarity: The Bavarian State Opera Orchestra under Kirill Petrenko sets the benchmark with the first CD on its new label.’’

J. Norman • Baltsa • Carreras • Nesterenko • Bavarian Radio Chorus and Symphony Orchestra • Muti

‘Here’s an all-enveloping performance of this great work that demands to be heard. Highly recommended.’

‘What an achievement it is!’

‘A legendary performance of the Verdi Requiem’
Opera Now ★★★★

‘Another long-delayed surprise, this release of a forty-year-old live performance takes its place at the head of my favourite live performances’
MusicWeb International

Seattle Symphony • Morlot

‘These are powerful pieces of nature music and make an immediate appeal.’
MusicWeb International

D. Kaiser • Stefanoff • W. Hartmann • Butter • Graz Opera Chorus • Graz Philharmonic • Kluttig

‘A compelling 20th-century rediscovery’

‘One of the most important and most brilliantly composed operas of the 20th century.’
Online Merker

‘[Blumina’s] playing is as mercurial as Weinberg’s music. In her hands, the piano can sound sarcastic, sentimental, angry, restless, or playful.’

Cedille CDR90000-200
Will Liverman

‘Liverman’s expansive, expressive baritone is perfect for these songs by Black composers.’
Opera News

‘Here is a singer with a wonderfully rich, powerful, and expressive voice.’
American Record Guide

P.M. Bye • Holmsted • Odense Symphony • Bellincampi

‘[Holmsted] is superb in every aspect of the work, and boasts a truly fabulous trombone sound – powerful, masculine, but sweeter than a nut when required.’
MusicWeb International

Coro Claudio Monteverdi di Crema • Ensemble Claudio Monteverdi di Crema • B. Gini

‘Stylish in their ornamentation and fully realising the expressive power of Italian harmonic practice, these musicians have contributed a most welcome addition to the Cavalli discography.’
Choir & Organ ★★★★

Gramola Gramola99219
Denisova • Kornienko

‘Intensely and soulfully played music to the ear.’
Pizzicato ★★★★

Nicolas Horvath

‘We would like to think that the marquise… would have appreciated Nicolas Horvath’s energetic and very expressive interpretation.’

Wen-Sinn Yang • Oliver Triendl

‘This is an important release that we all should have on our shelves and in our ears.’
American Record Guide

Júlia Várady

‘The interpretations are sensitive, eloquent and above all expressive.’
de Gelderlander ★★★★★

‘This exhilarating collection is indeed a fitting tribute to one of the greatest singers of the twentieth century… An unmissable operatic memento.’
Classical Music Daily

Jens E. Christensen

‘A fascinating and a very rewarding listen’
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review

Siggi String Quartet • Caput Ensemble • Duo Harpverk • Franzson

‘A musical and technological triumph.’
MusicWeb International

Anca Vasile Caraman

‘A novel reading that makes one forget how challenging these works can also sound.’
Pizzicato ★★★★★

Audiovisual Releases
Naxos Releases
Naxos 2.110697
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Fuchs • Behr • Lapointe • accentus • Orchestre Symphonique de l'Opéra de Toulon • Equilbey • Fau

‘Julie Fuchs delivers a true star turn in the title role, funny, feisty and winsome all at once.’
Limelight ★★★★

Naxos 2.110691-92
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Uhl • Streit • Koch • Grundheber • Slovak Philharmonic Choir • Wiener Symphoniker • De Billy • Warner

‘Spiritualy Transformative – Hindemith’s dense historical drama is invigorated by Keith Warner’s production’
Opera News

‘The performance and production finally confirm my suspicions that Hindemith’s Mathis der Maler is a work of the greatest importance, and packs more emotional weight and dramatic punch than the Kubelík audio recording might have conveyed.’
MusicWeb International

Naxos 2.110670
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Pérez • Rachvelishvili • Chaieb • Zilio • Jovanovich • Ciaponi • Jagde • Burdenko • Olivieri • Chorus of Dutch National Opera • Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra • Viotti • Carsen

‘The manner in which director Robert Carsen does so in this initially challenging but ultimately completely convincing Dutch National Opera production takes the process to a whole different level. Singing of the highest quality adds to a riveting experience from Amsterdam.’
MusicWeb International

Naxos 2.110694-95
Also available on Blu-ray Video
De Negri • D’Oustrac • Richter • Rivenq • Compagnie Fêtes Galantes • Les Arts Florissants • Christie • Villégier

‘The production that kick-started the French Baroque revival is back in style.’

‘Still-fresh and still-revelatory production, telling of a goddess’s destructive love.’
Opera News

Independent Releases (in alphabetical order)
C Major 759508
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Grigorian • Cutler • Mattila • Kuzmin-Karavaev • Dalayman • Teatro Real Chorus and Orchestra • Bolton • Loy

‘These soloists and a well-differentiated ensemble are led by Ivor Bolton with rhythmic sensitivity and a feel for colourful sound: escalating to a moving love-death finale.’
Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik (German Record Critics’ Award)

Opus Arte OA1336D
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Beuron • Mas • Gay • Mortagne • Courcier • De Damas • Ghazarossian • Martin • Opéra de Lyon Chorus and Orchestra • Spotti • Pelly

‘This 2019 production not only makes all the comedic points, but the performances and production are outstanding. I haven’t enjoyed a comic opera production this good in some time.’
American Record Guide

‘Skilfully and humorously directed by Laurent Pelly’
Online Merker

Andrew Wincott

‘Andrew Wincott captures the multitude of contrasted characters with consummate skill, projecting young hopefuls and jaded oldies, heavy fathers and flirtatious daughters, with equal felicity.’
The Times (London)

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