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Critics Choice November 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 2.110728
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Torre • Sølberg • Ladyuk • Rowley • Norwegian National Opera Orchestra • Jensen • Herheim

‘Diego Torre leads a fine cast in Herheim’s kaleidoscopic exploration of bereavement.’

Bayerische Staatsoper Recordings BSOREC1001
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Kaufmann • Petersen • Bavarian State Orchestra • Petrenko • Stone

‘A magnificently cast, imaginatively directed and superbly conducted performance of Korngold’s youthful opera’

Audio Releases
Naxos Releases
Bermel • C. Otto • Hijmans • JACK Quartet

‘Elements of folk and blues permeate traditional classical forms in masterful ways, resulting in a joyous listen. Characterful.’
BBC Music Magazine ★★★★★

London Symphony • P. Boyer

‘Boyer’s broad-brush cinematic works have the orchestral buoyancy of John Williams and the absorbing emotionalism of the late James Horner.’
BBC Music Magazine ★★★★★

Naxos 8.574465-67
Danish Chamber Orchestra • Á. Fischer

‘Highly interesting, often surprising, always musically passionate complete recording of the Brahms symphonies.’
Pizzicato ★★★★★

‘Hearing Brahms played by a comparatively small orchestra is a welcome experience, allowing the composer a fleetness and clarity that can be missing in more typical performances.’ ★★★★

G’froerer • Mercer • Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra • Mallon

‘Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra plays with bountiful finesse under music director Kevin Mallon.’

Tom Winpenny

‘A fascinating and enjoyable organ recital.’
The British Music Society

Slovak Radio Symphony • Leaper

‘This Naxos disc is the perfect introduction to Farnon, including the stirring Colditz March and the impressionistic beauty of À la Claire Fontaine.’
Classical CD Choice

Teale • Buckland • Navarra Quartet

‘Superbly recorded in the presence of the composer, this thoughtfully programmed disc has the ring of authenticity. It would be difficult to imagine more committed or imaginative performances… Highly recommended.’
Musical Opinion ★★★★★

Goiás Philharmonic • N. Thomson

‘These colourful exciting suites are here given the best possible advocacy.’
Classical CD Choice

Concentus Musicum de Belo Horizonte • Minas Gerais Philharmonic • Mechetti

‘The sure orchestral direction of Fabio Mechetti and the choir provide a triumphant demonstration of how far understanding of the performance of repertoire from the 18th century in Brazil has come over the past few decades, and the recorded sound is exemplary.’

G. Schwabe • R. Pöntinen

‘An attractive program and excellent interpretations’
Pizzicato ★★★★★

M. MacDonald • RTÉ Chamber Choir • RTÉ Concert Orchestra • A. Penny

‘Sullivan’s music is simply a delicious banquet of delight. This disc lavishes the music with love, and who could ask for more?’
Classical Explorer

Janáček Philharmonic • Salvi

‘We now have an opportunity to experience imagination and innovation on a completely new tangent. Highly recommended.’ ★★★★

‘This CD is a musical gem that guarantees joy and stimulates the listener’s imagination. A new release worth listening to!’
Online Merker

Moraly • R. David • Orchestre de la Garde républicaine • Billard

‘Very committed and high-quality playing’

Alexander Markov • Thüringen Philharmonie Gotha-Eisenach • M. Huber

‘Alexander Markov, if you haven’t come across him before, is the real deal – thrilling, leading from the front, swooping up to stratospherically high notes with palpable relish and virile projection. In terms of technical accomplishment and velvet-toned bravura he gives Heifetz and Vengerov a run for their money.’

H. Plitmann • F. Child • K. Deas • Virginia Arts Festival Chamber Players • Falletta

‘Entertaining musical pieces with wit, esprit and verve. Above all, the tonal sophistication and joyful energy of the orchestral part are captivating, as is the hilarious recitation of the three narrators, who make the poems absolutely delicious.’
Pizzicato ★★★★

Independent Label Releases (in alphabetical order)
Gaechinger Cantorey • Rademann

‘Splendid performance.’

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

‘This brilliant performance of Verdi’s Requiem from 1981 voices heaven and hell, love and fear in a sublime synchronicity of conductor, choir and soloists. This live recording lets us hear what happens when everything comes together in an optimal way, namely eternal beauty.’
Edison Klassiek

‘Performance here that can lift you out of your seat’
Opera News

Linos Ensemble

‘The result is a spirit of broad chamber music that is seductively fresh and dynamic.’

‘Immaculate throughout’
MusicWeb International

‘Exquisitely played (and recorded) recording that I’ll be returning to.’

Cedille CDR90000-212
Black Oak Ensemble

‘Their [French string trio] neglect in recent years is redeemed by the characterful championing of the Chicago-based Black Oak Ensemble.’

Lapland Chamber Orchestra Wind Quintet • Storgårds

‘Interpreted by members of Lapland Chamber Orchestra under the baton of John Storgårds, Rasmussen’s music is in strong fellow Nordic hands on this recording.’ ★★★★★

Leonard • Polenzani • Callaway • Brugger • Gemignani • Kelly • Lattanzi • Zeger

‘The resulting compilation is varied enough that you can enjoy the subtly complex romanticism throughout the album without tiring from any repetition’
Opera News

Fiori Musicali Austria

‘Novel, imaginative, and fresh.’
Pizzicato ★★★★★

M. and Y. Ayrapetyan • Sergeev • Fokin

‘Grand Piano continue their strong Armenian line with no sign of fatigue. While they have pianists of the calibre of Mikael Ayrapetyan at their bidding may they long persevere with music from this neglected treasury. ’
MusicWeb International

Danubius Quartet

‘Brilliant and finely differentiated interpretations… the Danubius Quartet plays with warmth and abandon throughout’
Pizzicato ★★★★★

Lodestar Trio

‘Lodestar do much more than shine a different light on Bach’s pieces, they make them anew.’
Songlines ★★★★

‘This must-hear album wins a gold medal for its appealing serenity, freshness and sheer ingenuity.’
FolkWales Online Magazine

Singer Pur • Ensemble Leones

‘Singer Pur offer us a vivid and characterful programme of works by Ludwig Senfl, drawing on the Swiss Renaissance composer’s sacred and secular music for a highly engaging album.’

Reinis Zariņš

‘Superb recording.’

‘Twelve minutes of accessible, somewhat nostalgic, yet at the same time artfully knitted music… with Reinis Zariņš [Vasks] now seems to have found his ideal pianist – highly recommended!’
Klassik heute

S. Ott • Radutu • ORF Vienna Radio Symphony • Kaftan

‘Ott negotiates all the considerable technical hurdles of the Weinberg with aplomb and receives committed support from the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra under Dirk Kaftan.’
BBC Music Magazine ★★★★

‘It is vibrant and full of life, and the playing is spectacular from all involved.’

‘Selina Ott deserves the title of virtuoso. I am off now to try and obtain her first recording. I am a fan now – and believe me, that does not often happen!’
MusicWeb International

Trio X of Sweden

‘I can listen to this disc for hours, absorbing every wonderful minute.’
MusicWeb International

Matei Varga

‘Varga elevates the set with one ebullient and effervescent performance after another, his playing dazzling throughout’

Colchester • Karlstrom • Niklasson • Olsson • Sand • Tronner • Vokalensemblen Sundbyberg • Karlsson

‘A terrific performance of Vaughan Williams’s Mass strikes the ideal balance between contemplation and raw passion.’
BBC Music Magazine ★★★★★

Stuttgart Radio Symphony • Norrington

‘Norrington manages to amaze us along the way with a very exciting interpretation.’
Pizzicato ★★★★★

Simone Vebber

‘Some of the contents of the trunk are brilliantly brought to life on a wonderfully restored contemporaneous Italian organ, with its varied but strong colours. Very attractive listening, and highly recommended.’
Choir & Organ ★★★★★

Audiovisual Releases
Naxos Releases
Naxos 2.110713
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Kaiser • Hartmann • Stefanoff • Butter • Graz Opera Chorus • Schneider • Graz Philharmonic Orchestra • Kluttig • Loschky

‘This Graz production is a powerful musical and vocal experience, which does justice to the genius of Weinberg whose family also disappeared in the death camps.’

Independent Releases (in alphabetical order)
C Major 759308
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Hubbard • Hunold • Relyea • Tómasson • Gazheli • Tanovitsky • Palermo Teatro Massimo Children’s Chorus • Palermo Teatro Massimo Chorus • Palermo Teatro Massimo Orchestra • Wellber • Vick

‘Wagner’s grail tale becomes a modern allegory of Middle Eastern conflict and geopolitical war-games, which makes for a visually striking production that only rarely coheres.’
Opera News

Dynamic DYN-37951
Also available in Blu-ray Video
and Disc
Alaimo • Piazzola • Swensen • Pérez • Boncompagni • Mingardo • Piva • Fiorentino Maggio Musicale Chorus • Fiorentino Maggio Musicale Orchestra • Gardiner • Bechtolf

‘Characters moved with a fine sense of theatricality in a show that reaches its visual culmination in the final scene, full of colour and magic.’

‘A performance at once exuberant and touching.’
MusicWeb International

Opus Arte OA1348D
Also available on Blu-ray Video
English Baroque Soloists • Monteverdi Choir • Gardiner • Rooke

‘Theatrically compelling: Sir John Eliot Gardiner conducts the English Baroque Soloists and a superb line-up of soloists in Monteverdi’

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