Critics Choice March 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
Goiás Philharmonic • N. Thomson
Choc | Classica

‘…splendidly recorded in world premiere: a striking summary of the work of a major composer… a constantly inspired music that “speaks” to both audience and performer.’

Dynamic DYN-37992
Also available in Blu-ray Video
Stroppa • Camarena • Sempey • Stavinsky • Donizetti Opera Chorus and Orchestra • Frizza • Carrasco
Opera Choice | BBC Music Magazine

‘Javier Camarena is exemplary as Fernand, every inch the bel canto tenor in his celebrated final act aria “Ange si pur”. …Annalisa Stroppa’s Léonor is gold: her Act 3 recitative and aria brings the house down.’
BBC Music Magazine

‘The choral singing is first-rate, the playing exemplary, and Frizza, impressive yet again, is wonderfully alert to the work’s slowly accumulating tensions…’

Audio Releases
Naxos Releases
Sofia Philharmonic • Salvi

‘…Orfa is full of colour, energy, and melody… The Sofia Philharmonic plays idiomatically and with exuberance, and Dario Salvi adds to his continued advocacy of this music.’
American Record Guide

Naxos 8.574424–25
Miksch • Bándi • Szecsodi • Elek • Kassai
Recommended | MusicWeb International

‘It is a disc full of joy. The piano playing by Elek and Kassai is second to none…’
MusicWeb International

St. John’s Voices • Cambridge University Chamber Choir • Graham Walker

‘The quartet performs this music with a buoyancy and spirit that truly brings it to life.’
American Record Guide

Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin • Tingaud

‘Time to bring César Franck in from the cold, and this outstanding Naxos release is a good way to begin.’
The Mail on Sunday

‘Even though the catalogue is full to the brim of rival recordings, this one is highly competitive.’
Classical CD Choice

Kevin Cole • National Orchestral Institute Philharmonic • D.A. Miller

‘The high level of all performances, the good program and the excellent sound quality make this release very recommendable.’
Pizzicato ★★★★★

Valencia Baryton Project
Discos Recomendados | Ritmo

‘This release is the second of two devoted to Haydn’s baryton trios; both are recommended, and there are plenty more pieces where these came from; one hopes to hear still further albums.’ ★★★★

Tippett Quartet

‘The recording is exceptional, revealing many incidental details that, after 50 years of knowing this music, even I had not noticed! Unreservedly recommended.’
Musical Opinion ★★★★★

F. Fernandes • São Paulo Symphony Choir • Goiás Philharmonic • Neil Thomson
Editor’s Choice | Limelight

‘On the whole, this is carefully calibrated, evocative modern music. British conductor Neil Thomson and the Goías Philharmonic have been responsible for many issues in this series, and they keep up their fine standard here.’

Viola • Mannheim National Theatre Orchestra • Percacciolo

‘…Viola demonstrates sublime skill and musicianship, flattered by a carefully balanced recording…’
BBC Music Magazine ★★★★

Independent Label Releases (in alphabetical order)
BBC National Orchestra of Wales • J. Berman

‘…playing of sensitivity and technical brilliance…’
BBC Music Magazine ★★★★

Machaidze • Kristóf • Pretti • Salas • Bavarian Radio Chorus • Munich Radio Orchestra • Repušic
Editor’s Choice | Limelight
Recommended | MusicWeb International

‘The chief merit of this new…recording is Repušić, who leads the excellent Munich Radio Orchestra in a punchy reading of Verdi’s beefy score. He’s aided by a magnificent turn from the Bayerischen Rundfunks Chorus whose role is as important here as any of the principal players.’

‘Hearing this has left me wishing that I had been there in-person to enjoy it all the more. This is surely going to be one of my top [Recording of the Year] choices for 2024.’
MusicWeb International

Rakhi Singh
The Strad Recommends
Recommended | MusicWeb International

‘Captured in warm, close sound, Purnima offers a collection of pieces that captivate and challenge, and demand you to return again and again.’
The Strad

‘Impressive as Rakhi Singh’s impassioned playing and deft arranging skills undoubtedly are, on the evidence of this terrific disc she is equally talented as a curator of attractive and innovative programmes.’
MusicWeb International

Rheinland-Pfalz State Philharmonic • Bühl
Discos Recomendados | Ritmo

‘The Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz impresses as a whole and…through the quality of its soloists. …this recording can only be recommended.’
Pizzicato ★★★★★

Dover Quartet

‘This stylish, elegant Beethoven cycle, immaculately recorded, stands with the best.’

Agafia • Bogotá Philharmonic • Gustafsson

‘Maestro Gustaffson and his superb musicians go on to give us an outstanding account of Enna’s Symphony.’
Classical Lost and Found

Pichler • Frantz

‘Pichler offers an exquisitely sculpted tone… with superb clarity, sparkling technique, steadfast rhythm, and instinctive phrasing…’
American Record Guide

M. Bevilacqua • L. Trabucco

‘Bevilacqua gives a thrilling and sparkling interpretation…he enables the more dreamy qualities to come to the fore where necessary.’
MusicWeb International

Friederike Chylek

‘This is an altogether delightful recording, with an outstanding exponent of early English keyboard music performing a well-chosen selection…’
Early Music Review

L. Vogt • Orchestre de Chambre de Paris
Editor’s Choice | Gramophone
Finalist | ICMA Awards

‘A wonderful Mozart concertos album from the late Lars Vogt – a moving tribute to the joy and love he brought to music-making.’

‘[Vogt] sounds on top form, with his typically vivid articulation and sparkling touch, while his generously lyrical phrasing incorporates unfailing attention to detail.’
BBC Music Magazine ★★★★★

Skride • Vukčević • ORF Vienna Radio Symphony • Alsop
Editor’s Choice | Gramophone

‘A fascinating pairing of two Britten works, magnificently performed by Baiba Skride.’

Agata-Maria Raatz

‘I was very eager to hear this performance again…for the standard works. The Bach alone is worth the price. The Ysaÿe is excellent playing…’
American Record Guide

‘Raatz’ own work …contains bags of violinistic fireworks but grabs hold of the emotions too.’
MusicWeb International

The Jasper String Quartet

‘Don’t miss this album. It is truly special.’
Positive Feedback Online ★★★★

Ingrid Haebler

‘The well-restored 1954–57 recordings confirm the warmth and tonal refinement of Haebler’s general approach. Recommended.’

Botta • Galiano

‘Hours of fun!’
Opera Now ★★★★★

Vox VOX-NX-3026CD
Bach Society of Minnesota • Minnesota Orchestra • Skrowaczewski

‘This set… is an absolute joy.’
BBC Music Magazine ★★★★

Audiovisual Releases
Naxos Releases
Naxos 2.110759
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Behle • Kulchynska • Wagner • Soffel • Dutch National Opera Chorus • Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra • Albrecht • Loy
Critic’s Choice | American Record Guide
Excepcional | Scherzo

‘This production by Christof Loy is one of his best.’
American Record Guide

Naxos 2.110761
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Strid • Johansson • Laurenz • Mayer • Pursio • Pauwels • Deutsche Oper Berlin Chorus and Orchestra • Albrecht • Loy
Excepcional | Scherzo

‘…this cast handles Schreker’s lushly complex and demanding idiom with aplomb. The Deutsche Oper orchestra, under Marc Albrecht, attends to the gorgeousness of Schreker’s style.’
The New York Times

Independent Releases (in alphabetical order)
BelAir Classiques BAC224
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Brownlee • Fuchs • Teitgen • Mauillon • di Pierro • Vidal • van Mechelen • Bounazou • Lesca • Chœurs de l’Opéra National de Paris • Les Musiciens du Louvre • Minkowski • Pelly

‘What a joy to discover this funny, touching, bubbling production… Rameau’s sprightly score…is played with clearly felt affection by Les Musiciens du Louvre conducted by Marc Minkowski.’
British Theatre Guide

Opus Arte OA1356D
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Fassi • Semenzato • Alcántara • Lombardi • Hipp • Royal Opera Chorus • Royal Opera House Orchestra • Pappano • McVicar

‘This is a superbly proportioned performance, with every mood and tempo unfailingly attuned to the stage.’
Opera ★★★★★

UNITEL Edition 809608
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Opolais • Tetelman • Bretz • Arnold Schoenberg Chor • ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien • Albrecht • Kušej
Editor’s Choice | Gramophone

‘A very contemporary take on Tosca from Theater an der Wien. Kristine Opolais, in the lead, impresses Mark Pullinger, our critic’

‘Marc Albrecht conducts an intense reading. The performance is often thrilling.’
Opera Now ★★★★

‘…Musically this is all top notch.’

Lucy Scott
Earphones Award | AudioFile

‘Lucy Scott gives a thrilling performance of this propulsive detective story, which will have listeners guessing until the end.’

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