Critics Choice October 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
Danish Chamber Orchestra • A. Fischer
Supersonic | Pizzicato
Absolu | Crescendo

‘Adam Fischer pushes Haydn’s mischievousness to its peak… We hear an irresistibly rhetorical, sometimes outright boisterous Haydn.’

‘The recording has just the right amount of impact to do justice to the conductor’s approach, and allows us to appreciate the excellence of the Danish Chamber Orchestra to the full. We can’t wait for the rest… ’

Members of Berlin Staatskapelle • G. Witt
Recording of the Month | MusicWeb International
Discos Recomendados | Ritmo

‘…this set is a total treat; beautifully played and luxuriously recorded’
MusicWeb International

Audio Releases
Naxos Releases
Sofia Philharmonic • Salvi

‘Superlative on all fronts.’ ★★★★

Darvarova, M.A. and C. Mumm • S. Magill

‘[The musicians] know how to bring out the different expressions of this music well. If Alfano writes dissonantly, they dare to show it clearly and formatively. If the music offers great moods and light-hearted moments, they let them sound so freely.’
Pizzicato ★★★★★

‘The performances are wondrously fervent, hot-house products. The sound is at your throat, heated and upon you with tiger-like ferocity.’
MusicWeb International

Tianwa Yang • N. Rimmer

‘Yang’s attack is fearless and laser accurate in a way that assures the listener that they are hearing the works exactly as Antheil intended.’
MusicWeb International

P. Sheppard Skærved • ORF Vienna Radio Symphony • N. Thomson

‘With its themes of madness and apocalypse, it’s an ominous and violent work in which Skaerved’s fleet-footed violin defies the growling mass of orchestral voices.’
BBC Music Magazine ★★★★

Orchestra New England • J. Sinclair
Album of the Week | The Sunday Times

‘Playful, poignant, sinister and disorientating, works such as Calcium Light Night and The Other Side of Pioneering (or Side Lights on American Enterprise) spring fresh surprises, their combination of traditionalism and futurism at once baffling and beguiling.’
The Sunday Times (UK)

‘Performed with exuberance alongside the Set for Theatre Orchestra, it’s a suitably discombobulating yet always clear and cohesive voyage into Ives’s singular music-philosophical mind.’
BBC Music Magazine ★★★★★

R. Davis Dunn • O. Duval • E. Gray • L.C. Hicks • University of Michigan Symphony • Kiesler

‘The interpretive insights…are so strong, they stand alongside other recent triumphs in the American repertoire. …American art music ambrosia.’
The New York Times

Eichhorn • Say

‘…a dialogue-rich, clear and balanced interpretation.’
Pizzicato ★★★★★

Giltburg • Brussels Philharmonic • Sinaisky
Choc | Classica

‘A deeply Slavic vision that delivers the quintessence of Boris Giltburg’s art.’

‘Here is Giltburg at his most crystalline, sparkling and impassioned, but with an added oomph of advocacy and urgency… I’ve never heard it played with such energy, tenderness and eagerness… A real gem.’
Pianist ★★★★★

Sang Woo Kang

‘Kang’s entry in Naxos’ ongoing complete Scarlatti survey has much to recommend it.’

Czech Chamber Philharmonic, Pardubice • Štilec

‘…performances with a good deal of elegance and charm. Essential for aficionados of the Classical period, this release is pleasant for anyone.’ ★★★★

Independent Label Releases (in alphabetical order)
Ælbgut • Capella Jenensis

‘Beautifully performed by the Ælbgut ensemble and Capella Jenensis’
BBC Music Magazine ★★★★★

Bavarian Radio Symphony • Haitink

‘Haitink succeeds exquisitely in the searching of the first movement, between reverence, lyrical feelings of nature, divine mystery and magnificent upswing.’
Pizzicato ★★★★★

Barton Pine • Royal Scottish National Orchestra • Muñoz

‘Rachel Barton Pine offers virtuoso playing that is also paired here with musical depth.’
Pizzicato ★★★★★

‘Rachel Barton Pine delivers an absolutely superb account of Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto.’
BBC Music Magazine ★★★★

Concerto Copenhagen • Mortensen

‘…vital and charming performances’
Pizzicato ★★★★

‘…a greatly entertaining and historically interesting tribute to Lumbye and his contemporaries, played with precision and admirable elan.’
MusicWeb International

‘I was entranced, the results combine colour and movement with academic rigour and entertaining delight.’
Planet Hugill

Wohn • Phelps

‘Wohn delivers committed, insightful performances. Dawn Wohn’s choice of music is as impeccable as her playing.’

Colda • Tinhof

‘Discreet emphasis and the transparent combination of voice and piano allow an idiomatic interpretation of the songs, which is certainly attractive here…’
Pizzicato ★★★★★

Julia Severus

‘Severus’s playing deserves nothing but praise. Her interpretations reinforce such virtues as the music has.’
American Record Guide

B. Ranch • Deutsche Oper Berlin Children’s Choir • Essen Philharmonic Chorus and Orchestra • T. Netopil

‘…richly expansive without ever losing its sense of direction, and the glorious finale is every bit as uplifting as one would hope for.’
BBC Music Magazine ★★★★

L. Vogt • Orchestre de Chambre de Paris
Supersonic | Pizzicato

‘…even those who do not know about the background of the recording must, upon close listening, come to the conclusion that something very special is happening. …it is not only in the slow movements that the depth of the interpretation, the sublimated pain, the mixture of will to live and gloomy thoughts overwhelm.’

R. Hermann • Lorand • F. Uhl • J. Greindl • Engen • Bavarian Radio Chorus and Symphony • R. Kubelík

‘I urge even hesitant Orffians to unbind this gripping Prometheus.’

Kristoffer Nyholm Hyldig

‘Hyldig gives his all in this gutsy performance of Messiaen’s epic sacred offering, pivoting between its dynamic extremes with equal measures of grace and grit…it has all the makings of a deeply engaging, immersive listen’
BBC Music Magazine ★★★★

Lundqvist • Lázaro • Bernardes • Carvalho • Silva

‘You clearly don’t get many jazz albums like this nowadays. Listen and enjoy!’
The Art Music Lounge

J. Siegel • St. Louis Symphony • Slatkin

‘Vox’s ‘Elite Recording’ of Gershwin Works for Piano and Orchestra is a reminder of better times in the record industry. Not just in the freshness of the playing under Leonard Slatkin’s baton, but also in the quality and sumptuous length of its commentary.’
BBC Music Magazine ★★★★★

Audiovisual Releases
Naxos Releases
Naxos 2.110756
Also available on Blu-ray Video
d’Oustrac • Talbot • Christoyannis • Huchet • Peintre • Les Éléments • Orchestre de Chambre de Paris • Leroy • Lesort
Discos Recomendados | Ritmo

‘…we have, thanks to Naxos, so far, the most rounded audiovisual production: a frenetic, hilarious, rich and colourful version by Valérie Lesort.’

Independent Releases (in alphabetical order)
Dynamic DYN-37960
Also available in Blu-ray Video
and Disc
Jicia • Castronovo • Iervolino • Cavalletti • Fiorentino Maggio Musicale Chorus and Orchestra • Frizza • Cucchi
Critic’s Choice | Opera News

‘Give this disc a spin, and it’s likely to seduce you with its low-key charms.’
Opera News

Opus Arte OA1361D
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Ränzlöv • Volungholen • Enticknap • Malmberg • Confidencen Opera and Music Festival Orchestra • Boman • Relton
Critic’s Choice | Opera News

‘Ränzlöv is a shrewd, silken toned Venus, her flawless vocals caressing Blow’s mouth-wateringly melodic lines.’
Opera News

UNITEL Edition 808908
Also available on Blu-ray Video
Grigorian • Kiria • Burdenko • Guerrero • Mattila • Schwarz • Vienna State Opera Chorus • Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra • Welser-Möst • Loy
Opera Choice | BBC Music Magazine

‘…a performance like Grigorian’s here cannot conceivably be given less than five stars, for she is a sensation…’
BBC Music Magazine

Adam Sims

‘Sims’s performance is remarkably engaging; it’s hard to imagine better.’

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