In addition to its own wide-reaching monthly new releases (see www.naxos.com/newreleases.asp), Naxos also distributes several leading labels in many countries around the world. Here is a choice selection of recent releases from some of these distributed labels.
GRAMMY Award-winning Yarlung Records brings fresh musicians to the classical music world using minimalist audiophile recording techniques to deliver sound as close to living performance as possible. Rather than using recording studios, engineer Bob Attiyeh produces these albums in concert halls famous for their acoustics, including Walt Disney Concert Hall and Ambassador Hall in Los Angeles. Yarlung uses both analogue tape and high-resolution digital media for CDs made with special alloys, high-resolution digital downloads, and 180-gram vinyl LPs, all mastered by Steve Hoffman. Yarlung repertoire ranges from the 11th century through the baroque, classical and romantic eras, with a special focus on new music from the 20th and 21st centuries. Artists include top soloists as well as superstar young musicians at the beginnings of their international concert careers. Yarlung brings artists into your living room; you can hear their music, their breathing, and almost their heartbeats.
Crossover and global music fans might know Aditya best from his jazz-infused Karnatik blend on his Aditya Prakash Ensemble releases such as Diaspora Kid or from his concerts on National Public Radio. They might also know him from his tours in Europe, the Near East and Asia as the vocalist with choreographer Akram Khan and musicians Pandit Ravi Shankar, Karsh Kale, Anoushka Shankar and Tigran Hamasyan.
Symmetria Pario Creation explores the beginnings of things, the origin of the universe, as expressed in music and various creation stories from different cultures around the world. But when listening to this album, one does not need to know anything about science or even the inspiration behind these works to enjoy the music. Track one, Symmetries by Clarice Assad, proves this instantly. Clarice Assad investigates the quantum theory and what we surmise happened in the first billionths of a second after the universe came into being. Yuko Mabuchi explores a Yoruba creation story from West Africa and incorporates Native American creation traditions. Mehmet Sanlikol’s piece takes inspiration from the mystical Islamic Sufi tradition describing the creation of the universe in seven days. Hannah Kendall channels the Book of Psalms. Ricky Kej explores pre-Hindu Vedic narratives from Ancient India, and Adam Gilbert pokes fun at Renaissance ideas about the order of the universe. Composers Cecilia Damstrom, Harrison Birtwistle, and Missy Mazzoli join this album, celebrating music for violin and piano.
Browse more of Yarlung Records’ acclaimed releases on naxos.com.
‘Hrusa’s interpretation thrives on both lyrical and passionate expressivity and its great arcs of tension.’
‘Hrůša’s ear for detail reveals much: the string triplets in the middle sparkle… The end result is a Strauss interpretation that’s as fervent and luminously attractive as they come.’
– The Arts Fuse
Seven musical character images – each one immensely sensual and expressive, and standing on its own like a monument. The British composer Gustav Holst, fascinated by (esoteric) astrology, chose the planets of our solar system and the characteristics attributed to them as the basis for what he referred to as musical ‘mood pictures’ or ‘embodiments’. Ultimately, the seven movements of his orchestral suite The Planets, Op. 32, composed between 1914 and 1916, can also be understood as general explorations of human traits. The work had not been performed by the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra for almost three decades when, on February 25, 2022, the British conductor Daniel Harding brought it back to Munich’s concert audience in the Herkulessaal of the Residenz, with great success.
During his lifetime, and for a short while after, the virtuoso performer-composer Georg Goltermann (1824–1898) was popular enough to have the Cantilena from his Cello Concerto No. 1 recorded by Pablo Casals, but little since. That’s a pity because it’s a perfectly constructed, delightful Romantic work, by turns lyrical and melancholic, and never gratuitously virtuosic. The Symphony in A Minor, which was both well-received and prized by Goltermann himself, is written in an attractive, post-Brahmsian vein, especially the exquisite, lively Scherzo with its sweeping Trio.
Rachmaninov’s First Piano Concerto was composed while he was a student at the Moscow Conservatoire, then fully reworked before he left Russia in 1917 and again in 1919. It is hard to explain why it never achieved a higher level of popularity – it has all of the melodic beauty, passion and brilliance found throughout the composer’s music. The Fourth Piano Concerto was much revised after harsh criticism at its premiere but it occupies a unique place in Rachmaninov’s oeuvre, showing a progression from lush Romanticism towards the muscular transparency of his later works. The electrifying Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini is a concerto in all but name – the work’s sense of fun and demonic bravura has ensured its place among the most-loved and often performed works for piano and orchestra.
Vitĕzslav Novák was one of the most important Czech composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Moravian-Slovak Suite is one of his most popular works, evoking an eventful and romance-filled day in a Slovakian village. Recorded here for the first time since its rediscovery by producer Jiří Štilec, the Two Wallachian Dances further invoke Novák’s passion for folk music. De profundis was written during the dark days of the Second World War. It includes an important part for organ which is unleashed with full force in one of the most triumphant conclusions in all of 20th-century music.
Swedish composer Melcher Melchers (1882–1961) has been largely forgotten by music history. Melchers studied composition in Paris, and his circle of friends included, among others, Matisse, Picasso, Modigliani, Guillaume Apollinaire, Erik Satie, and members of Les Six. Among the Nordic composers, he had the biggest impact on French music life but his aesthetics in music were quite conservative: d’Indy, Chausson and César Franck were his greatest influences. This album by the Gävle Symphony Orchestra and conductor Jaime Martín includes Melchers’ magnum opus, his finely crafted Symphony in D Minor, Op. 19 together with world première recordings of two symphonic poems.
‘Despite a bewildering insistence by journalists to characterise music written by those with Icelandic surnames as a monolith, the entries on this tracklist are as singular as hand blown glass. The inclusion of American sonic clairvoyant Missy Mazzoli is a helpful geographic foil here, but there is one element fusing all of these inventions: Your person is about to feel minuscule or massive, by contrast to – or motivated by – these sounds.
Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s music is often intimidatingly cyclopean, and Catamorphosis at times mimics the cosmic indifference of Lovecraftian deities, but it simultaneously introduces an iridescent hope I have not encountered before in her music. Mazzoli’s Sinfonia (for Orbiting Spheres) catapults us from one end of a pulsing solar system to the other while Daníel Bjarnason’s From Space I Saw Earth improbably stretches perspective from Earth to the moon and back, seeming somehow both terrestrial and paranormal within a single phrase. Maria Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir’s Clockworking bridges a similar expanse, coexisting within the measurable realm of time keeping…and the immeasurable realm of what occurs as the seconds tick by. Is Bára Gísladóttir’s ÓS gasping in air, or desperately exhaling? Whatever your observation, and as with every waypoint on this illusory itinerary, the answer is likely: both.’ – Doyle Armbrust
The lasting fame of conductor Karl Böhm is based on qualities that were praised by listeners, musicians and critics throughout his long career: his discipline and meticulousness when rehearsing compositions as well as his modesty, his willingness to take second place to work and composer. After many years serving as principal conductor in several opera houses he left his administrative duties behind and embarked on an international career as an acclaimed guest, concert and opera conductor. He was regularly invited by the New York Met and the Deutsche Oper Berlin, to the festivals in Salzburg (as of 1938) and Bayreuth (as of 1962), he gave guest performances from Tokyo to Moscow, from Milan to Buenos Aires, and at the broadcasting corporations in Berlin, Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt and Stuttgart.
Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto was an instant hit. Analysts since 1845 raved about its purity, perfection, and resourceful scoring. The genesis of the concerto can be traced through letters to Ferdinand David. On 30 July 1838, Mendelssohn wrote, ‘I would like to write a violin concerto for you next winter. One in E Minor runs through my head, the beginning of which gives me no peace.’ Ferdinand David, probably the finest German violinist of his time, premiered the concerto on 13 March 1845. Mendelssohn, at any rate, never tried to hide the fact that the concerto was, in many respects, a work of collaboration. Nevertheless, one thing is certain: the craftsmanship and orchestration are pure Mendelssohn, and the thematic content is Mendelssohn at his greatest.
On this recording, the Icelandic composer Hugi Guðmundsson presents a new oratorio infused with religious themes and features a stirring ensemble of sinfonietta, choir, and solo soprano. The Gospel of Mary draws inspiration from a long forgotten gospel written in the early centuries after Christ’s birth. It challenges the established narrative surrounding the role of Mary Magdalene in Christianity, daring to portray her as an apostle of equal importance to her male counterparts, bringing to life a long overlooked perspective on one of the most iconic figures in the history of Christianity.
Inspirational and orderly, visionary and concrete: the compositional path shown by Edoardo Dadone could be summarised with these (and other similar, ad libitum) descriptors. It is certain that in opening any of the pages, the scores show an unceasing push towards tonal and gestural invention, ready to make use of the entire palette available to a composer. Dadone’s music has been performed at important festivals such as Rondò 2019, Rondò 2020 and ComoContemporanea, and has been played by notable performers like Sandro Gorli, Divertimento Ensemble, Mauro Bonifacio, New Ensemble Xenia Turin, Geneviève Létang, among others.
Diogenio Bigaglia, a composer still unknown to most, was active in Venice in the first half of the eighteenth century. He was a contemporary of the much better-known Tomaso Albinoni, Alessandro and Benedetto Marcello, and, above all, Antonio Vivaldi, whose work shows several evident – and more or less explicit – references to Bigaglia’s production. Interest is increasing recently among musicologists not only in the intrinsic musical worth of his works but also in the influence his activities may have had on musicians, with whom we are more familiar. Performing the selection of cantatas presented here is soprano Tullia Pedersoli who skilfully interprets the musical affetti proposed by the simple and elegant style of the composer, who in some points appears to have provided some cues to Johann Sebastian Bach. All the cantate are about love and frequently resort to the literary topoi typical of this genre.
In 2023, the Bayerisches Staatsorchester celebrates its 500th birthday. To mark this considerable milestone, a selection of releases featuring outstanding musical collectives will showcase the stunning breadth of the orchestra and its members. Kicking off the series are the percussionists of the Bayerisches Staatsorchester with their group OPERcussion, founded in 2009.
Original Grooves takes listeners on a journey back to the origins and traditions of rhythm. With percussion instruments, in particular, it is easy to imagine how different cultures have influenced one another. While timpani have belonged to the standard musical equipment of the Bayerisches Staatsorchester since 1600, percussion, the newest discrete group of instruments, was not included until 1925. Since the mid-19th century, percussion instruments have increasingly enriched the overall sound of orchestras with vibrant local flavour. Composers such as Edgar Varèse, Igor Stravinsky, Maurice Ravel, Béla Bartók and Paul Hindemith are known today for innovatively employing this new instrument group.
The Pictures at an Exhibition has already been translated into other musical styles several times, and Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s interpretations of some of the pictures are considered legendary. This cycle by Modest Mussorgsky calls for rhythmic expansion. In the version by Ragna Schirmer and Matthias Daneck, the piece becomes a joy to play with lots of wit and charm.
Fuelled by inspired performances from Mammoth Trio (pianist Lisa Moore, cellist Ashley Bathgate and violinist Elly Toyoda) and the NYC-based Contemporaneous ensemble (conducted by David Bloom), David Lang’s shade is one of his most poignant and dynamic collaborations – a writ-minimal recording with a wide-open emotional arc that can transport us into spaces that are by turns mournful, meditative and uplifting.
Shade and its companion piece wed clock in together at a little more than 23 minutes, but the listening experience is rich with the gradual ebb-and-flow sensations of an orchestral concert, or more directly, one of Lang’s signature song cycles. The title piece moves through several distinct moods, with the middle section allowing the piano trio to step forward into a shimmering light while the string orchestra, as the composer intended, undulates behind them in shadow. The much shorter wed is a triumph of string arrangement, with conductor David Bloom leading Contemporaneous through a slow-building wave of alternately consonant and dissonant textures, reflecting the tragic and beautiful events that inspired Lang to write the piece.
As the Staatskapelle Berlin begins to look for its next music director (only the fourth since 1955!), this release finds the band’s own winds turning to Richard Strauss, who held the job some 110+ years ago. Together, they recorded their old chief conductors’ complete music for winds, including rarities like the sonatinas From an Invalid’s Workshop and The Happy Workshop, which Strauss dedicated to Mozart. Covering Strauss’ very early and very late creative output, the four pieces (plus the Eulenspiegel arrangement) give a fascinating insight into the development of Strauss, a horn player’s son.
Many Paganini scholars consider the quartets with the guitar to be among his finest chamber works. The care Paganini took in their composition is documented in numerous letters asking the opinion of his friend Luigi Germi, to whom Quartet No. 10 is dedicated. The Quartets, Op. 4 and Op. 5, with their almost playful eccentricities and freedoms, show the composer trying out a variety of forms and variations on convention, all with his typically virtuoso and lyrical touch. Volume 2 of this edition (CDS7938) was admired for its ‘crisp and elegant sensibility’ in BBC Music Magazine.
With their project ‘The Duplex Coupler Grand Piano’, Florian Uhlig and David Stromberg breathe new life into a forgotten concept. The composer Emánuel Moór, whose works combine wonderful melodies and surprising harmonic twists, developed the ‘Duplex Coupler Piano’ that incorporated a double keyboard. With keys coupled at the octave, this enabled works to achieve special shades of sound. The unique instrument is featured in this recording by David Stromberg and Florian Uhlig of cello sonatas by Moór, Dohnányi and Richard Strauss.
Difficult Grace, based on GRAMMY Award-nominated cellist Seth Parker Woods’ multimedia concert tour de force, conceived by and featuring Woods in the triple role of cellist, narrator/guide, and movement artist, is Woods’ debut album for Cedille Records. Hailed by The Guardian as ‘a cellist of power and grace’ who possesses ‘mature artistry and willingness to go to the brink,’ Woods has established a reputation as a versatile performer straddling several genres. He is the recipient of the 2022 Chamber Music America Michael Jaffee Visionary Award. The album features music written for and with Woods including the world premiere recording of the title work, Difficult Grace, by Fredrick Gifford (b. 1972) that layers solo cello, electronics, and spoken text (delivered by Woods) derived from Dudley Randall’s poem, Primitives. Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson’s (1932–2004) Calvary Ostinato, the all-plucked third movement from Lamentations Black/Folk Song Suite, references traditional African American music.
Nina Kotova, the phenomenal Russian-born cellist, astounds listeners with this dazzling album for cello alone. Solo Cello, her third album for Delos, reveals her spectacular technique, heartfelt passion and profound comprehension of the extraordinary program she has chosen.
Along with a brilliant rendition of J. S. Bach’s C Major Suite for Solo Cello, the Baroque era is represented by Handel and Marin Marais, both with musical fireworks that leave the listener breathless. Works from the 20th century include Hindemith’s Sonata for Solo Cello (four of the five movements were written in one night!); Alfred Schnittke’s haunting tribute to a cellist, Klingende Buchstaben (Sounding Letters); and Gaspar Cassadó’s charming and challenging Suite per Violoncello Solo.
The repertoire for this album is a fascInating combination of well-known and little-known compositions for solo cello. The two transcriptions (of works by Marais and Handel) sound like they were written for solo cello.
The present Reflections juxtapose four composers of the so-called First and Second Viennese Schools, who became world-famous through many things – except compositions for organ. Pier Damiano Peretti, organist and composer and professor of organ at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, conceives an organ program framed by the two Fantasies in F Minor, K. 594 and K. 608, ‘for a mechanical clockwork organ’ by W. A. Mozart. In addition, there are arrangements for organ by Franz Schubert: Fugue in E Minor, Op. 152, D. 952, Fantasia in F Minor for Piano Four Hands, Op. 103, D. 940, and Adagio in G Major, D. 178. The Six Little Piano Pieces, Op. 19 by Arnold Schoenberg and the Variations for Piano, Op. 27 by Anton Webern, portray the Second Viennese School. All arrangements were created by Peretti, performing here on the Lenter organ of the Lutherische Stadtkirche Vienna.
This second and final volume of Olga Solovieva’s complete edition contains all of Alexey Stanchinsky’s published piano pieces composed after 1910, as well as recently discovered early works. Stanchinsky’s piano music is an unparalleled phenomenon, anticipating future musical developments and including the invention of new ‘canon-prelude’ and ‘sketch’ genres. From the dramatic Sonatas to the miniature universes captured in his Sketches, Stanchinsky’s vivid and heartfelt melodies are relatable to us all. ‘Stanchinsky’s music is like an exposed nerve, all at the limits of the senses. It reveals the innermost feelings, expressing what is in the soul.’ – Olga Solovieva
Several dictionaries of English language define the word ‘duality’ as ‘a quality or state of being two’, ‘combining two different things’, or ‘having two different parts’. The word encapsulates precisely the aim and the essence of the album of the young Slovenian classical guitarist Aljaž Cvirn: namely, his manifold approach to his instrument and the classical repertoire. The album Duality is, thus, an insightful reflection of the multifaceted notion of music for a musician, who – active both as a soloist and as a chamber musician – focuses on the musical (re)consideration of the established pillars of the Romanticism: Johannes Brahms, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy and Franz Schubert
‘…Ne quid nimis’, ‘nothing more than the necessary…’
In the early twentieth century, philosopher Ortega y Gasset expressed his idea of suprarealist art, an aesthetic capable of overcoming the sentimental sublimation of late Romanticism or positivistic Realism. During these years in Spain, poets, musicians, artists, composers, and philosophers were processing a new vision of the world and Spain itself. Composers of the Grupo de los Ocho sought a Spanish system to create a European musical language, moving away from the passive to late Romantic folklorism. They took advantage of neoclassicism, incorporating musical elements from their glorious past into the popular style Spain had developed to create casticismo, in which the guitar became the core element.
Why was classical music so important to Hitler and Goebbels? The film centres around two people who represent musical culture during the Third Reich – albeit in very different ways. Wilhelm Furtwängler was a star conductor; Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, the cellist of the infamous Women’s Orchestra of Auschwitz. Both shared a love for classical German music. The world-famous conductor made a pact with Hitler and his henchmen. The young woman brought to Auschwitz for being Jewish was spared death for her musical talent. German music was used to justify the powerful position the Third Reich claimed in the world and to distract listeners from Nazi crimes. This music documentary by Christian Berger features interviews with musicians like Daniel Barenboim and Christian Thielemann; the children of Wilhelm Furtwängler; and of course 97-year-old survivor Anita Lasker-Wallfisch. Her memories are chilling. Archive film footage, restored and colourized, brings the story to life and bears witness to an agonising chapter in history.
Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos is one of the early 20th century’s most peculiar operatic works. Its narrative derives from the famous myth of Ariadne, who is abandoned by Theseus on the island of Naxos and eventually falls in love with the god Bacchus. This opera is, however, preceded by an extensive modern prologue in which a young composer finds himself tortured by egotistical artists complicating preparations for the opera’s production in an eternal struggle between comedy and high art. Set in the beautiful Teatro della Pergola in Florence, Matthias Hartmann’s 2022 production was a triumphant success both for its soloists and conductor Daniele Gatti in his first season as musical director at the Maggio Musicale Foundation.
Tosca is a melodrama of love, betrayal and death set in the revolutionary unrest of 1800. The story concerns the opera singer Floria Tosca who tries to save her lover, the painter Mario Cavaradossi, from the brutal chief of police, Scarpia. Through-composed and expertly orchestrated it contains some of Puccini’s best-known lyrical arias and remains one of his most performed operas. In this 2022 production, an eminent cast is directed by the acclaimed Australian director Barrie Kosky – ‘the Amsterdam audience was completely swept off its feet by Kosky’s stunning production’ (Opera News).
‘Conscience is but a word that cowards use’
Young Richard of Gloucester uses the chaos of the Wars of the Roses to begin his unscrupulous climb to power. Despite being manifestly unfit to govern, he seizes the crown as King Richard III. But how does he do it? How do we let tyrants get away with it? How do they find their way to power? Why do we buy into it? And how can it be stopped? Richard III is a savagely comic analysis of the exercise of power. It reminds us both of the dangers of tyranny and of our duty not to let it go unchecked. Directed by Gregory Doran and featuring Arthur Hughes as Richard, this is the thrilling climax to Shakespeare’s first great history cycle.
An invitation to stand with kings in battle, to fall in love, to witness the brutal machinations of politics, and to laugh with rogues in this 27-disc collection.
Shakespeare’s Globe, the reconstruction of his most famous London theatre, is at the centre of the astonishing global fascination with Britain’s greatest playwright. Completed in 1997, it is a living theatrical experiment that has allowed audiences to experience the impact of Shakespeare’s stories in the architecture for which he wrote; the result has been a rediscovery of the plays in all their human richness.
This collection brings together 26 Globe Theatre productions from 2009 to 2018, featuring the finest actors and leading directors in a project committed to creating ever-wider access to this rich cultural heritage. Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories and Tragedies contain dazzling poetry, romance, epic power struggles, human suffering and ingenious, raucous humour.
These films capture the unique atmosphere and theatrical space of the Globe Theatre, with the exhilarating sense of interaction in live performances between the audience and the actors on stage exquisitely maintained on screen.
On the occasion of the Bruckner bicentenary, the Wiener Philharmoniker recorded its first ever complete Bruckner cycle under the baton of Christian Thielemann. In addition to the well-known canon of nine symphonies, the two earliest Bruckner symphonies in F Minor and D Minor, which are a world premiere on DVD and Blu-ray, were also recorded for the first time in the orchestra’s history. This uniquely complete edition from the Musikverein and Salzburg Festival, featuring 11 symphonies, also includes extensive conversations with Christian Thielemann about each symphony and insights into his rehearsal work.
‘Thielemann takes ample time especially for the slow, the groping quiet and thus organically develops the structure of the entire symphony …’ – Süddeutsche Zeitung on Bruckner 4
‘The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra brings out the beauty of this three movement symphony in all its facets […] This leaves nothing to be desired.’ – Salzburger Nachrichten on Bruckner 9
Inner View is the follow-up to the exciting Outer View by Anders Lønne Grønseth and Multiverse. Their music is, in many ways, almost academic but the immense quality of the musicians and their excellent flow makes this a unique listening experience.
Karin Hammar Fab4 is a jazz quartet based in Stockholm, Sweden, led by the trombone player and composer Karin Hammar. The group has been active since 2014 and has released three albums – all internationally appreciated with great reviews both in and outside Sweden, including the American jazz magazine Down Beat and German Jazzthing. Karin Hammar Fab4 has over 10 million streams on Spotify and more than 44,000 listeners monthly.
Tanya Ekanayaka presents a stunning array of 43 works for solo piano composed between 2021 and 2022, drawing inspiration from 40 languages ranging from rare and critically endangered languages spread across Earth’s six continents, home to permanent human habitation, to some of the most famous and unusual languages of South Asia. Mystical, vibrant, contemplative and poetic, the sutras and pianisms traverse a broad spectrum of moods and thought. Throughout, the prolific composer-pianist’s fearless musical authenticity glistens within the beautiful originality of this remarkable double album.
Inside Looking Out is the new album from Swedish jazz group Horncraft, the unique jazz group where French horns play an important part in colouring the music. The group also consists of some of Sweden’s most interesting soloists and the combination of thoughtful, personal and well-written arrangements by Håkan Nyqvist and exciting solos from the members makes this group stand out.
‘We try to capture wide sound stages in our recordings, with intimate precise location details and depths within those soundstages. If Yarlung has a signature sound, which is hard for me to identify as it is inside my head and part of my tone concept, I would say that it is up front and close to the listener, yet detailed in auditorium ambiance so the listener can accurately place the performer or ensemble in the concert hall.’ – Bob Attiyeh, Producer & Recording Engineer of Yarlung Records
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