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.
The legendary classical label Delos, ‘long a leader in audiophile-quality recordings’ (New York Times), has initiated significant trends in the classical music industry, has recorded some of the most honoured names in the classical music field and was a pioneer in digital recording. Hailed as the ‘Great American Label’, Delos was formed to give outstanding American artists an international platform. Towering performers include the Philadelphia Orchestra, Dallas Symphony, Seattle Symphony and Moscow Chamber Orchestra; vocal stars Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Sondra Radvanovsky; and innovative contemporary composers from Abel to Zwilich.
Gevorg Hakobyan is a rising star on the international operatic stage. His deep, resonant voice brings drama and colour to every aria on this album. Three unusual selections in Armenian – including Mosi’s Aria from Anoush, the most important opera in the Armenian language – enhance this debut recording. Drawing from favourite operas such as Verdi’s Otello and Tchaikovsky’s Queen of Spades, Arias of Love & Sorrow joins recent Delos releases, including Oksana Dyka’s In Questa Reggia, Oksana Volkova’s Poison D’Amour and Kristian Benedikt’s Tenore di forza in bringing new and captivating voices to fans of opera.
Acclaimed American composer Mark Abel’s sixth album for Delos extends his growing command of chamber writing while also delivering three major new vocal works. Celebrated sopranos Isabel Bayrakdarian (four-times Juno Award winner) and Hila Plitmann (winner of two GRAMMY Awards and a long-time Abel collaborator) are joined by mezzo Kindra Scharich in presenting the song cycles Trois Femmes du Cinema and 1966, and debuting Two Scenes from The Book of Esther, a provocative excerpt from an opera in development.
The album’s impressive array of instrumentalists includes pianist Carol Rosenberger (making the final recording of her epic career); fellow pianists Dominic Cheli, Sean Kennard and Jeffrey LaDeur; Alexander String Quartet violist David Samuel; Pacific Symphony concertmaster Dennis Kim and cello star Jonah Kim.
Spectrum is Abel’s deepest and richest offering thus far, underscoring previous kudos from Gramophone (‘music compelling in narrative depth and energy’) and The Whole Note (‘a compositional master of intriguing contemporary music’).
Bruckner’s symphonies are strenuous alpine hikes, and Blomstedt is a mountain guide who not only has the next fork in the road in mind but also knows every stone on the path before the group has even started. The listener observes an ongoing creative process as if watching a sculptor at work. Blomstedt’s unique Bruckner cycle impressively reflects the extraordinary spirit of the long-standing partnership between the legendary conductor and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. The nine symphonies released in this box were recorded at the Gewandhaus Leipzig between 2005 and 2012.
When western audiences discovered the music of Nikolai Kapustin, they were truly shocked: Who was this Soviet (!) composer, whose music sounded more like an Oscar Peterson improvisation than anything else – but who wrote detailed scores, black with notes? As we discover more and more of his music (and there’s so much more yet to discover), a very distinct, always wholly charming voice emerges, whether in a freewheeling outright-jazzy work like his Concerto for 2 Pianos and Percussion, the more symphonic Fifth Piano Concerto, or the frisky Sinfonietta which transports us into a smoky 1940s bar in Manhattan.
A visual album is also available on Apple Music.
The Czech composer Antonín Dvořák was gaining international fame during the latter part of the 19th century for a string of highly successful and popular works across many genres. His Cello Concerto was premiered in London in 1896 – its symphonic character and wonderful melodic invention made the concerto one of his most beloved and frequently performed works. The Rondo, Op. 94 owes its Slavic nature to the popular melody on which it is based, while the enchanting Silent Woods and soulful Laßt mich allein! are both arrangements from previous works. The pieces on this album are performed by the award-winning cellist Enrico Dindo – praised by Rostropovich for an extraordinary sound that ‘flows as a splendid Italian voice’.
For 19th-century audiences, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 was the most loved of all his piano concertos, a work in which the balancing of high drama, tenderness, lyricism and humour is most pronounced and in which a coda resolves inner tensions with brilliance and triumphant grandeur. Piano Concerto No. 4 is the most introspective and poetic of the concertos. The simplicity of its opening piano statement gives way to an unprecedented dialogue in the central movement between a heartfelt piano and an austere unison string orchestra, before the infectious energy of the dramatic finale.
Finnish composer Lotta Wennäkoski (b. 1970) is one of Finland’s most distinguished composers of the last two decades. This second album of her music on Ondine includes Wennäkoski’s international breakthrough work, Flounce (2017), from the BBC Last Night of the Proms, recorded by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and its new chief conductor Nicholas Collon. Wennäkoski’s Harp Concerto Sigla was written for Sivan Magen, the solo harpist of the Finnish RSO.
Mozart was at his consistent best in the piano concertos, in which he successfully combined elements of virtuosity and depth, chamber music and symphonic style, and regard for both his public audience and his personal expression. Pianist Walter Klien recorded all of Mozart’s works for piano, together with those by Brahms and many works of other important composers.
This recording was made in 1978 by the famous production team of Joanna Nickrenz and Marc Aubort for the appropriately named Elite Recordings series. The GRAMMY category of ‘Producer of the Year, Classical’ was introduced in 1979 and Joanna Nickrenz was the first woman to receive a nomination for the award. During her long career, she received eight ‘Producer of the Year, Classical’ nominations and won the distinction twice. In 1983, she shared the win with Marc Aubort. In 1996, she was the sole recipient. Since that time, many of their projects have achieved collector status, especially their recordings of American orchestras. For this re-issue, the original analogue tapes have been carefully restored and transferred before being subsequently re-mastered.
Life on the reef is beautiful. Lots of different creatures all live peacefully together here: parrotfish, swordfish, turtles, schools of sardines, an octopus, a seahorse, a mackerel, and an oyster. But then something terrible happens: a huge swarm of jellyfish starts drifting directly towards the reef! And jellyfish, as every fish knows, are dangerous! Fatal, in fact!
At first, the four friends Mackerel, Seahorse, Oyster and Octopus don’t want to face up to the danger – but then it’s suddenly too late to escape! They’re trapped! Just as they run out of ideas, something quite unexpected happens…
In this family concert, Rufus Beck and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Paul Daniel tell a hilarious and highly colourful story about the power to rise above oneself. The text, to music by Claude Debussy and Alexander Scriabin, was written by Katharina Neuschaefer, with illustrations by Martin Fengel.
Haymarket Opera, Chicago’s premier early opera company that presents historically informed performances played on 18th-century classical era instruments, performs on this world-premiere recording of L’Amant Anonyme (The Anonymous Lover) by Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745–1799).
Premiered in 1780, L’Amant Anonyme was the most successful of Bologne’s six operas and is the only one to survive to the present day. Based on a play by the composer’s patroness Félicité de Genlis, who was a respected writer of the era, the work is an opéra comique in two acts composed in the then-popular style that mixed sung parts with spoken dialogue.
What happens to the body when you are locked up? How do you hold on to yourself in an enclosed space? Stille slag (Quiet Beats) by Louise Alenius is a choral work that describes the emotions that affect people in isolation. Before creating the work, the composer and text writer spent 24 hours in solitary confinement to experience isolation. This experience formed the basis for the lyrics, together with interviews with former prisoners about their incarceration.
For Brahms, folk songs were sources of musical inspiration, not subjects for academic study. The songs from Books 6 and 7 of the Deutsche Volkslieder exemplify how Brahms’ distinctive and expressive accompaniments brought unique qualities to these songs, how he intensified certain verses to draw out their power or allowed the piano its own revealing melodic phrases. In Book 7, the songs are divided between a lead singer and a chorus, adding fresh musical possibilities. In the Volkskinderlieder (Children’s Folk Songs), Brahms’ economy and deftness turn lullabies into works of art.
Beat Furrer is a Swiss-born Austrian composer and conductor, co-founder of Klangforum Wien and professor of composition at the Music University of Graz. In 2018, he was awarded the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize. The SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart, which performs the present recording, was founded in 1946 and is one of the leading international ensembles specialising in the vocal music of the 20th and 21st centuries. The ensemble was awarded the Echo Klassik in 2011 and 2012, the European Choral Prize of the Pro Europa Cultural Foundation for its pioneering commitment to contemporary vocal music in 2011, and was a GRAMMY nominee in 2013.
Exclusively available for streaming and download.
Following the recordings dedicated to the rediscovery of Ulisse Matthey’s works for organ and harmonium (TC871390 and TC871380), the Italian organist Fausto Caporali on this double disc album plays the role of the composer. This project sees the collaboration of Italian and Spanish musicians, with the choirs of the cathedral of Malaga, the famous cantaor de Flamenco Francisco Javier Sánchez Bandera (Bonela Hijo), and musicians of the Cathedral of Cremona, among which we find Caporali himself. The first disc highlights the Via Crucis, the re-enactment of the journey of taking Jesus to the cross through the traditional fourteen stations. The second disc features two sacred cantatas dedicated to Saints Paola and Ciriaco, patron saints of Malaga and Santa Maria della Vittoria, protector of the city since the conquest in 1487 by King Fernando the Catholic.
Damkapellet is a music collective formed in 2016 to bring diversity to the Danish music scene by highlighting and performing music by artists who define themselves as women, non-binary or transgender. Demiurge, the collective’s debut album, presents Damkapellet’s unique approach to music-making with a carefully assorted programme that treads gentle lyricism and bold creative outbursts in equal measures.
This new double-disc album featuring pianist Lars Vogt, violinist Christian Tetzlaff and cellist Tanja Tetzlaff includes some of Franz Schubert’s (1797–1828) greatest works of chamber music, including his Piano Trios and the Arpeggione Sonata, in breathtaking interpretations.
Franz Schubert wrote his two numbered Piano Trios, as well as the Notturno for piano trio, during the very last months of his life, in 1827 and 1828. Like Beethoven, Schubert’s final works in chamber music are masterpieces of great emotional depth. The famous Arpeggione Sonata (1824) and Rondo for violin and piano (1826) were written slightly earlier, but can also be counted among Schubert’s late works.
Pianist Lars Vogt tragically passed away on September 5, 2022 due to a serious illness before this album of Schubert’s chamber music was released. This album stands as a great testament of his outstanding chamber musicianship together with his long-time chamber music partners Christian Tetzlaff and Tanja Tetzlaff. ‘If not much time remains, then it’s a worthy farewell. Incomprehensible. Such expression. Such fragility, such love.’ (Lars Vogt)
Augustin Braud is the recipient of the SACEM Claude Arrieu 2020, which is awarded to young composers of symphonic music. In this latest recording, Ensemble Alternance presents a comprehensive collection of Braud’s instrumental and chamber works. Contrechoqué for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, and piano is the second part of the Contremouvements cycle, which began with the short piece Contrecoupé for piano. Contrecarré concludes the cycle by adding to the quintet a baritone saxophone, a shadow of the bass clarinet, and a viola which completes the string section by allowing the creation of complex textures. Contrexposé also takes gestures from Contrecoupé and embodies them in flute and cello. Entre espace et silence originates from the commission of the Louis Rosoor International Cello Competition in 2019, intending to highlight, through a short composition, the cello, supported by an auxiliary instrument, here the baritone saxophone. Lastly, a piece for solo violin, Lignier, was commissioned by Radio France and first performed by Carolin Widmann.
A child prodigy, Stephan Elmas met Franz Liszt and made his acclaimed Viennese performing debut in 1885. Like Chopin, Elmas combined the character of folk-music dance forms to create sophisticated and deeply personal statements, and his Mazurkas are musical poems and paintings in which depictions of everyday scenes are combined with soulful lyricism. This world premiere recording by Armenian music specialist Mikael Ayrapetyan provides ample evidence of the great contribution Elmas’s Mazurkas make to the piano repertoire and to the musical heritage of Armenia and beyond.
‘SILVA is a work for processed double bass built on the idea of a downward growing forest, living its own secret life of underground raves and meditative cohesiveness.
I like to think of different movements and directions in the musical form and was intrigued by the thought of something that would otherwise naturally grow upwards, in reach for light and surrounded by air, rather than being drawn in the opposite direction where darkness and solid form serve as the source of gleaming luminosity and breezy surroundings.
Both in my compositional and instrumentalist work, in every nook and cranny I’ve been driven to dig as deep as I’ve been able, with SILVA perhaps quite literally so. Although growing up in classical music and predominantly working and living in an environment of classical contemporary/avant-garde music, I’ve been very much into other genres as well – alternative, experimental, heavy metal, noise, drone, techno, and electronica – and I believe SILVA is the by-product of all of that.
Every sound on SILVA is of the double bass, processed to various degrees (w. MAX/Live) and layered into a mass of noise.’ – Bára Gísladóttir
Women and War and Peace took shape during concert pianist Katelyn Bouska’s darkest days of isolation during the coronavirus pandemic. She missed her family and friends, her students at Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and her live performances in front of living, breathing audiences. To use the time productively, Bouska revisited women composers she wanted to explore and realised many of them shared a common theme. They were refugees, or they barely survived, or didn’t survive, and the fact that they were women at the cutting edge of the contemporary music scenes in their various environments made their situations even more difficult. Stretching from composers born in the 1700s through the 20th century, Kate’s repertoire includes music by Caroline Shaw, Maria Szymanowska, Ruth Schoental, Ivana Loudova, Vitezslava Kapralova and Ludmila Yurina.
When more than 500,000 people gathered in New York’s Central Park on 26 June 1993, they wanted to hear only one thing: The voice of the greatest tenor of the twentieth century: the voice of Luciano Pavarotti. A year earlier, Pavarotti had thrilled the crowds in London’s Hyde Park – here, in New York, he confirmed once again that he was an undisputed world star. He was accompanied by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra under Leone Magiera, featuring the flautist Andrea Griminelli and The Boys Choir of Harlem, whose voices can be heard on albums of Michael Jackson, Kathleen Battle, and many more. The recording of this concert, without a doubt one of Pavarotti’s most celebrated performances, includes the famous Puccini arias Nessun dorma and E lucevan le stelle and Neapolitanian songs as O sole mio.
Building on the success of Cavalleria rusticana, Pietro Mascagni’s commedia lirica L’amico Fritz was given seven encores and thirty-five curtain calls at its premiere in Rome in 1891. Considered by critics to be one of Mascagni’s best operas, the story is that of a love triangle involving the wealthy Fritz Kobus and Suzel, daughter of one of his tenants, who together sing the famous Cherry Duet in Act II. Returning to the Teatro del Maggio Musicale in Florence for the first time since 1941, this production was acclaimed for its superb cast and astonishingly effective modern setting.
Jacques Offenbach had already achieved fame as an operetta composer by 1866, but that year’s premiere of La vie parisienne was his first portrayal of contemporary Parisian life. With its tale of romantic intrigues, disguises and comic celebrations of the mad gaiety of life in the French capital, La vie parisienne became popular in the nation’s theatres, but not after a hasty re-working of its final acts after protests from the original performers. With significant new musical discoveries and the final acts restored, this opéra-bouffe masterpiece now speaks for itself given the resources of a superb cast and Christian Lacroix’s colourful and much acclaimed Bru Zane France production.
In Eine Winterreise, renowned director Christof Loy has created a memorable evening of music theatre in which Schubert’s tragically short life is depicted by and extended through his immortal music and songs from Winterreise, Die schöne Müllerin and Schwanengesang. The soul of the composer is brought to life by the internationally celebrated mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter alongside acclaimed pianist Kristian Bezuidenhout. Drawing on nostalgia for Viennese Biedermeier intimacy, the narrative explores extremes of human feelings from the joy of life to a longing for death, all portrayed through a cast that includes Schubert’s disreputable friend Schober, among other shadows from his past and his imagined future.
When Leontes, Sicilian king, becomes convinced his pregnant wife Hermione is conducting an affair with his closest friend Polixenes, King of Bohemia, he is so enraged he banishes her newborn child, while Hermione apparently dies of grief. Sixteen years later, the child, Perdita, having been raised in Bohemia by shepherds, is in love with Florizel, son of Polixenes, who forbids their marriage. The lovers travel to Leontes’ court seeking happiness, which they find – in ways nobody expected.
Two classic court operas are brought together to tell the stories of love, be it between gods or royalty in the historic Confidencen Theatre, Sweden.
Venus and Adonis, composed in 1683 by John Blow, is considered the earliest example of English opera. It tells the enchanting story of two mythical lovers and their cruel fate in scenes reaching from lighthearted comedy to heartfelt despair.
Henry Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas from 1689 has become one of the most famous and beloved operas from the Baroque era, with its sumptuous music, dramatic plot and its themes of love, friendship, jealousy, and cruelty. The opera is perhaps best known for Dido’s painfully beautiful lament When I am Laid in Earth.
Hopper’s work is the most recognisable art in America – popular, praised, and mysterious. Countless painters, photographers, filmmakers and musicians have been influenced by his art – but who was he, and how did a struggling illustrator create such a bounty of notable work?
This new film takes a deep look into Hopper’s art, his life, and his relationships. From his early career as an illustrator; his wife giving up her own promising art career to be his manager; his critical and commercial acclaim; and in his own words – this film explores the enigmatic personality behind the brush.
Combined with expert interviews, diaries and a startling visual reflection of American life, Hopper – An American Love Story brings to life America’s arguably most influential artist.
The provincialist Adam saves the beautiful stranger Eva from suicide by drowning and takes her along to the Automatenbüfett, the restaurant owned by his feisty wife. Eva’s arrival is an attraction to this largely male community and the shrewd Adam knows how to use it to further his plans.
Martin Zehetgruber has designed the eponymous automat, which provides a looming backdrop to sometimes cringeworthily funny and sometimes heartrendingly sad encounters between the outstanding cast.
Anna Gmeyner was born in Vienna in 1902 and like the heroines of her stage plays, she remained an autonomous outsider. During the Weimar Republic, she worked in Berlin as a dramatist and as a dramaturge but as a political exile she moved to Paris and London, where she wrote film scripts and novels. Her first stage play Automat dates from 1932 and was inspired by the technological innovations of her age as well as by the reactionary attitudes of the bourgeoisie. The play proved a draw in major theatres in Hamburg, Berlin and Zurich before its author was forced to flee in the face of persecution by the National Socialists.
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, 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 eleven symphonies, also includes extensive conversations with Christian Thielemann about each symphony and insights into his rehearsal work.
‘Thielemann has found a symbiosis with the Vienna Orchestra that makes unrivalled interpretative statements possible, especially for this repertoire.’ (Die Presse on Bruckner 3) ‘This work has not often been heard like this: setting the highest standards, as part of the excellent Bruckner cycle that the Vienna Philharmonic recorded with Thielemann without competition’. (News on Bruckner 6)
This album contains six songs by three highly regarded composers, united by the forms of dance – Habanera, Tango, Milonga, and Waltz. Although originally written for other instruments, Flavio Cucchi transcribes them exquisitely for the guitar.
On the album Years of Ambiguity, prolific composer and jazz artist Kjetil Husebø has created music at the crossroads between ambient, drone, and jazz. Internationally renowned musicians Arve Henriksen (trumpet) and Eivind Aarset (guitar) collaborate with him on several tracks. Synthesizers, samplers, electronics, and programming have replaced the grand piano. Without discarding a sense of melody, the album – cinematic and full of contrasts, alternating between minimalistic and maximalist, sometimes light, sometimes dark – is musically oriented towards huge sonic landscapes and abstract sounds.
Ingi Bjarni is a pianist and a true Nordic artist. Hailing from Iceland and travelling around the Nordics and Northern Europe to both perform and find new musicians with whom to appear, he has created a fine mix of musicians from different countries to complete his musical vision. His music is clearly inspired by jazz traditions, Nordic folk songs and electronica while retaining its own distinct sound. Farfuglar is a clear demonstration of that mix.
Håkan Broström is one of Sweden’s most versatile saxophone players. Through the years, he has played with bands like Tolvan Big Band, Mikael Råbergs Storband, Norrbotten Big Band, Stockholm Jazz Orchestra, Mats Holmqvists Stora Stygga, and Radiojazzgruppen. Broström is also a prolific composer and arranger for both big and small ensembles.
Cosmic Friends is Håkan Broström’s tenth album; his third in the big band format accompanied by New Places Orchestra, a band named after Broström’s album New Places (PSCD169, Phono Suecia, 2006), formed in 2010, and engages several of Sweden’s best jazz musicians. All the music at Cosmic Friends is composed and arranged by Håkan Broström except for two standards, Benny Goodman’s Memories of You and George Gershwin’s I Loves you Porgy.
Pianist Emil Ingmar is back with new sparkling music! The new EP Vinterstjärnor is the first part of his upcoming album. It reflects the breathtaking contrasts between space and man, eternity and change, infinite and small, hope and sadness, and the feeling while standing on a field on a frosty winter night and looking up at Orion.
The band presents a program of mostly original compositions and arrangements, which have their very own sound with influences from modern jazz of the 1960s/70s and classical music. The instrumentation with three wind instruments offers the special leeway for almost symphonic arrangements with a great richness of tones, combined with a lot of freedom for improvisation.
Jakob Bänsch and some of his band members are national prize-winners at ‘Jugend Musiziert’ and ‘Jugend Jazzt’, received awards such as the ‘Young Lions Jazz Award’ or the ‘JazzOpen Young Playground’ and are members of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra or the Elphilharmonie Jazz Academy.
‘At Delos, we are committed to bringing you the finest performances captured with splendid sound quality. And we remain ever on the lookout for fresh and eclectic approaches – not only to established classics but also to stimulating new musical fusions and pioneering crossover efforts. We invite you to follow us closely on our journey into the future. I can promise you a fascinating and rewarding ride!’