Critics Choice March 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
Naxos 2.110710
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Grigorian • Hannigan • Jaho
Quarterly Critic’s Choice | Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik (German Record Critics’ Award)
Critic’s Choice | Record Geijutsu

‘The film provides fascinating insights into the most tangible, intense form of music-making.’
Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik (German Record Critics’ Award)

‘A magnificent film. It is so much more than a documentary…’
Classical Explorer

South West German Radio Symphony Orchestra, Baden-Baden • Rosbaud
Gramophone Choice | Gramophone

‘Rosbaud charts every colour to perfection…’

Audio Releases
Naxos Releases
Giltburg • Royal Liverpool Philharmonic • V. Petrenko

‘To my mind, this is the most compelling finish to the Beethoven Fourth Concerto I’ve ever heard on record.’
Audio Video Club of Atlanta

Irina Jae-Eun Park • Thammathi • J. Moser

‘Moser responds with aplomb to the demands of this intensely atmospheric score… Irina Jae-Eun Park and tenor Nutthaporn Thammathi bring impeccable clarity and assurance throughout.’
BBC Music Magazine ★★★★

T. Reiner • Interpreti Veneziani

‘Reiner’s transcriptions are convincing and involve the kind of alternative instrumentation frequently offered by Baroque composers themselves.’
BBC Music Magazine ★★★★

Slovak Radio Symphony • Leaper

‘Performances are top-notch, with Adrian Leaper conducting the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra with verve and obvious love for the music.’

Matthew Schellhorn

‘Essential for Howells fans, this release is enjoyable for anyone…’ ★★★★

Goranci • World Chamber Orchestra
Recommended | MusicWeb International

‘Sometimes you know from the very first note that you will enjoy a disc; and here the feeling lasted to the very last note.’
MusicWeb International

MultiPiano • Royal Philharmonic • Yablonsky

‘Tomer Lev’s skilful rearrangement of the solo parts for three pianos undoubtedly gives Martin’s music a new lease of life…’
BBC Music Magazine ★★★★

‘A lovely work [Levanon’s Land of Four Languages], beautifully played, and certainly the highlight of both discs.’
Classical CD Reviews

G. Schwabe • R. Pöntinen

‘…these two fine comrades blend their thoughts and sounds into an outstanding performance of an important program.’
American Record Guide

English Chamber Orchestra • N. Thomson

‘…they’re well worth your attention… You can’t go wrong with 68 minutes of gentle, relaxing, and intelligent music.’
The Absolute Sound ★★★★★

Independent Label Releases (in alphabetical order)
Philharmonia Zürich • Noseda

‘…the performances are of such high quality that one might wonder just how much better they can get. The Symphony No. 8 is especially strong.’ ★★★★

Bavarian Radio Chorus • Munich Radio Orchestra • A. Mustonen
Critic’s Choice | Opera News

‘It’s an indescribably beautiful glimpse of the afterlife that offers a far more sincere tribute to the dead than all the weeping and wailing of your standard Requiem.’
Opera News

Vicky Chow

‘Chow’s own phenomenal technique is never in doubt here’
BBC Music Magazine ★★★★

F. Dupree • A. Brendle • Berlin Radio Symphony • Beykirch

‘…the performances leave nothing to be desired, and Capriccio’s sonics are first rate. This series only goes from strength to strength. You will surely want to hear it.’

‘Dupree’s fascinating dexterity, his unsurpassable sense of rhythm and the enthusiasm that is transmitted to the orchestra and the listener are astounding.’

Cedille CDR90000-216
McGill • Pacifica Quartet

‘McGill’s patrician phrasing, technical facility, and masterful embrace of classical, jazz, and folk elements are the work of a sublime artist. The Pacifica Quartet is equally impressive.’

Cheli • Kastner • Millstein • Conlon

‘These are praiseworthy performances of a fascinating repertoire.’
MusicWeb International

Maximilian Kromer

‘Truly a perfect ending for one of the most enjoyable recitals I’ve come across this year!’

Jean-Pierre Armengaud

‘These performances are as authoritative as we’re likely to find, wonderfully played and recorded.’
The Arts Desk

Singer Pur • Ensemble Leones

‘…Singer Pur performs these complex tasks brilliantly, drawing the listener’s attention to the cantus firmus (main melody) while also dazzling the ear with Senfl’s delicate counterpoint.’
American Record Guide

Basque National Orchestra • R. Trevino
Editor’s Choice | Limelight

‘Treviño is in top form, producing a reading that is both finely nuanced yet full of character.’

‘…This is a lovely, interesting program that offers far more than the ‘same old Ravel.’ It’s a keeper.’

Hannah Collins

‘Her [Collins] performance is top-notch, with sensitivity and variety that is always appropriate for the style of the music and spot-on interpretations.’
Classical Voice of North Carolina (

Vox VOX-NX-3013CD
Saint Louis Symphony • L. Slatkin

‘It is wonderfully balanced and surprises with especially rich orchestral textures. You wouldn’t say the recording is nearly 45 years old, so good does it sound in this, new 192 kHz / 24 bit remastering.’
Pizzicato ★★★★

Audiovisual Releases
Naxos Releases
Naxos 2.110730
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Pratt • Ganassi • Amoretti • Mukeria • Dall’Amico • Teatro La Fenice Chorus and Orchestra • Wellber • Bernard
Editor’s Choice | Opera News

‘Work of art’
Opera News

Naxos 2.110726-27
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Nafornita • Olivieri • Torre • Berzhanskaya • Swensen • Torre • Hampson • Fiorentino Maggio Musicale Chorus and Orchestra • Mehta • Bechtolf

‘All in all, this is a delightful Così. One knows more powerful, but rarely so likeable.’
Classica ★★★★★

Naxos 2.110738
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Vasilier • Muzychenko • Shkoza • Tikhomirov • Popov • Frankfurter Opern- und Museumorchester • Chor der Oper Frankfurt • Weigle • Loy
Quarterly Critic’s Choice | Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik (German Record Critics’ Award)
Critic’s Choice | Record Geijutsu

‘Tuneful Rimsky rarity is full of heart and has the looks to match.’

Naxos 2.107001
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Stemme • Hilley • Paterson • Jovanovich • Teige • Pesendorfer • Deutsche Oper Berlin Chorus and Orchestra • Runnicles • Herheim

‘Visually, the production is stunning, and musically the cast is never less than serviceable, with several excellent voices in each opera.’

Independent Releases (in alphabetical order)
Bayerische Staatsoper Recordings BSOREC1003
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Ioffe • Ranish • Bayerische Staatsoper

‘Superb [are] all the young principals and the two ensembles (one for each opera), eloquently conducted by Alevtina Ioffe…’
BBC Music Magazine ★★★★

Dynamic DYN-37954
Also available in Blu-ray Video
Jicia • Misseri • Ulivieri • Orchestra e Coro dell’Opera Carlo Felice Genova • Renzetti • de Ana
Découverte | Crescendo

‘…the choirs are excellent and Donato Renzetti conducts Bellini’s captivating music with all the brilliance, but also the necessary sense of drama.’

Opus Arte OA1351D
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Grigorian • Mattila • Spence • Pirgu • Zilio • Royal Opera Chorus • Orchestra of the Royal Opera House • Nánási • Guth
Editor’s Choice | Opera News

‘With her melancholy-tinged soprano and beguiling stage charisma, Grigorian embodies the innate sadness and strength of the character and creates a unique interpretation, making Jenůfa heartbreakingly earnest and fatalistic.’
Opera News

‘People who insist opera singers can’t act have not been to the opera house lately. Everyone here clearly knows what they’re supposed to be doing and why—another tribute to Guth.’
American Record Guide

UNITEL Edition 807308
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Vienna Philharmonic • Thielemann

‘With Symphonies Nos. 3 and 6, Christian Thielemann continues his so far top-class Bruckner cycle with the Vienna Philharmonic.’
Pizzicato ★★★★★

Laurel Lefkow
Earphones Award | AudioFile

‘Laurel Lefkow gives a stellar performance as she introduces Edith Wharton’s 1913 characters to a 21st-century audience.’

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