In addition to its own wide-reaching monthly new releases (see www.naxos.com/newreleases), 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.
OehmsClassics, the independent German record label, was founded in 2002 by Dieter Oehms. Part of the Naxos Music Group since 2018, OehmsClassics focuses on productions from opera houses such as the Frankfurt Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin and Aalto Theater Essen. Among the label’s extensive roster of well-known artists are Stanisław Skrowaczewski, Dmitrij Kitajenko, Simone Young, Sebastian Weigle, Ivor Bolton, Markus Stenz and Bertrand de Billy. Identifying promising young artists and helping them develop their careers is at the core of the label’s philosophy. Today, OehmsClassics is one of the most renowned classical record labels boasting a catalogue of some 800 entries, including numerous debutants, rarities and important work cycles by great composers. It has received many international awards, including the ECHO Klassik Awards, Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik and International Classical Music Awards.
Oehms Classics celebrates its 20th anniversary with its exciting Bruckner Project, a 10-volume edition of the composer’s entire symphonies transcribed for the organ.
This series marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Anton Bruckner, which falls in 2024. It’s dedicated to Bruckner’s symphonies, most of them recorded in new transcriptions for organ by Hansjörg Albrecht. The fifth recording was made on the impressive organ of Konzerthaus Vienna with the transcription of Bruckner’s 4th Symphony by Thomas Schmogner. A bonus track on each volume will be a brand new composition for the organ that references Bruckner the composer. Two or three volumes will be released each year, with the project reaching its conclusion in 2024.
This compilation includes selected works by the noted Renaissance composer Ludwig Senfl, who was an important student of Heinrich Isaac. In 1523, Senfl joined the Munich court orchestra at the court of Maximilian I, where he worked until his death. Singer Pur will perform these pieces at their Singer Pur Tage festival, and at the 2023 Medieval and Renaissance Music Conference in Munich.
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Mariss Jansons elicits the typical élan of the young Richard Strauss from the BRSO here, pointing to his roots in musical romanticism. With his Don Juan, Strauss established himself early on as an important representative of the progressive New German School. His tone poems were very wide-ranging and have earned him considerable admiration, but also a reputation as an enfant terrible. This release is from the concert rehearsals on February 27 and 28, 2014, at the Herkulessaal der Residenz, Munich.
Sándor Végh was a supreme musician and one of those few conductors who possessed indefinable qualities. Whatever he touched – especially when performing with his Salzburg Camerata – it was always musical, light and exciting. He never indulged in extremes of tempo and volume, focusing instead on the effectiveness of phrasing and sparkle, making even the least of Mozart’s occasional pieces sound like works of ardent genius. This box proves (if it needed proving) that these skills also applied to the output of other composers, from those of the First Viennese School to the Second Viennese School and beyond. His Schubert Symphonies are a pure classical joy; his Transfigured Night a manifestation of late-romantic beauty; his Bartók idiomatic and highly attractive.
‘I feel each of my symphonies is a whole continent in itself,’ said one of the greatest symphonists of our time, the Danish composer Per Nørgård (b. 1932). Founder of the Infinity Principle, Nørgård has always sought out new paths. His music stems from an insatiable urge to explore the phenomena of the world and the possibilities of music, and his eight symphonies stand as milestones over the course of six decades. This pioneering 4-disc boxed set contains spellbinding and critically acclaimed performances, from the sombre Nordic Symphony No. 1 to the almost psychedelic Symphony No. 2, the intense and chaotic Symphony No. 4, and the ethereally beautiful and bright Symphony No. 8.
The great music scholar H.C. Robins Landon calls Mozart’s decade in Vienna (1781–91) his ‘golden years’ in the title of his book on the composer. In the first six years of this period, Mozart was at the centre of the imperial capital’s musical life. He made many friends among the influential Viennese aristocracy and high bourgeoisie, and even Emperor Joseph II followed his activities with interest. Golda Vainberg-Tatz, ‘a pianist with a wonderful firm, clear touch’ (New York Times), a ‘fascinating interpreter’ (Tagblat, Germany), and an ‘artist of depth and virtuosity’ (The Time Argus, USA), presents in this recording Mozart’s Concertos, K. 453 and 466 with the dynamic Moscow Chamber Orchestra under the GRAMMY-nominated conductor Constantine Orbelian.
This album presents eight of the most recent works by Peter Boyer, one of the leading American orchestral composers of his generation. Balance of Power was commissioned for the 95th birthday of former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, while Fanfare for Tomorrow was composed for the inauguration of President Joe Biden in 2021. Each of these pieces displays Boyer’s vivid soundscapes and tuneful American sensibilities, from the cinematic sweep of Rolling River to Radiance, composed especially for this album. Boyer’s GRAMMY-nominated Ellis Island: The Dream of America (8.559246) has received over 250 performances and was televised by PBS.
What makes Olivier Messiaen’s œuvre so special is largely his ability to coalesce various influences, inspirations and convictions into a wholly individual and perfectly coherent musical language. This includes the development of modal harmonies from earlier centuries and engagement with rhythms from non-European traditions. The wealth of colour in Messiaen’s works stems in part from his synesthetic ability to perceive chords as various shapes and colours. As an enthusiastic ornithologist, he spent much time in nature, notating bird songs and then working them in stylized form into his compositions. But most importantly, Messiaen’s work is governed by his profound faith. He once said that he didn’t primarily see himself as a composer but as an ‘ornithologist and rhythmist.’
‘My first concert for the unaccompanied voice was Vox in Femina (2010), in which I brought together some of the great twentieth-century and contemporary composers. Vox in Bestia is a natural progression of that work. The idea came about in 2020, amid the pandemic. I was thinking about a new project for a solo voice when I came across the universe of fantastical animals and medieval bestiaries. I was also thinking about Dante’s upcoming anniversary. And that is when the idea came to me: I could create a Dante-esque bestiary, a sort of exploration of the real and mythical animals found in The Divine Comedy, observed and perceived through the prism of my voice.’ – Laura Catrani
Carlo Filago, an excellent musician and talented organist, was born in Rovigo in the centre of the Polesine region. His Sacri Concerti a voce sola, published in Venice by Bartolomeo Magni in 1642, was composed during his stay in Venice and is a typical example of the Venetian motet. There are 16 solo voice motets in the Sacri concerti, 13 for soprano, 2 for contralto and 1 for tenor. The only extant copy of the volume is now in the University Library in Wroclaw, Poland. Ensemble Les Nations, led by Maria Luisa Baldassari with the leading voice of Arianna Lanci, Elena Bianchi’s dulciana, and the participation of alto Marcella Ventura, tenor Giovanni Cantarini, and Pedro Alcacer on the theorbo, succeeded in adhering to the style of Monteverdi’s prima prattica.
Complex research in the manuscripts of the Vercelli archives has led to the attribution of known and unknown works to Luca Marenzio, one of the great masters of the late Renaissance in Italy. These works, recorded for the first time here, share a common thread: the composer’s activity in Rome and Poland. Missa Jubilate, a parody mass, is one of the most sumptuous creations of its time and a masterpiece of melodic invention whilst Magnificat Sexti Toni, exemplifies Marenzio’s sophisticated use of echo effects.
The combination of organ and violin goes back to the Baroque era. Many sonatas for violin and basso continuo can be executed just as well on the organ as on the harpsichord, sometimes even more colourfully than with harpsichord accompaniment. It was this tradition that Henri Marteau followed when he wrote his Fantasia for Organ and Violin, Op. 27, recorded here for the first time. Prélude et Passacaille, Op. 23, No. 1 dates from 1918 and in many ways are reminiscent of Marteau’s great role models J.S. Bach and Max Reger. Henri Marteau was a close friend of Max Reger and the soloist at the 1908 premiere of Reger’s Violin Concerto, Op. 101. Two of the best-loved pieces by Reger, the Toccata in D Minor and the Fugue in D Major, can also be heard in this recording. Another logical addition to this ‘Upper Franconian’ programme is the Andante from Organ Sonata No. 2, Op. 10 by Philipp Wolfrum, also a close friend of Max Reger. The album ends with another major work for violin and organ, Karl Höller’s Fantasia, Op. 49.
A Summer Night’s Home Session is Andreas Ihlebæk’s fourth solo album, a digital-exclusive album release, and a collection of some of his most beloved piano pieces. Ihlebæk recorded all the tracks in his home in beautiful Engelsviken, south of Oslo, Norway. Being played at a treated upright piano and interpreted slightly differently, this album gives new insight and a warm new sound to already known pieces streamed by millions and celebrated in the press globally.
‘Let me invite you to listen to this potpourri of favourite musical stories spotlighting some of the rich contributions from American immigrants and other countries. Laden with cultural pride, they celebrate people like my Scottish friend Stuart, who capped a fulfilling international career with retirement to Cape Cod but never forgot his roots and would sing the old song I Belong to Glasgow at the drop of a hat. I Lift My Lamp pays musical homage to his Glaswegian pride – and the pride of so many other immigrants for their homelands. In a conversation between old and new, it honours living, community traditions not set in stone. Influenced by my work with storyteller Ken Burns, I feature vintage immigrant songs and dances from my Pittsburgh childhood, later life in Boston and travels – my arrangements of American standards, lesser-known gems, and imported and home-grown creations, from the countryside to Tin Pan Alley.’ – Jacqueline Schwab
A breath of fresh air is blowing over the Ural Opera Ballet with this new version of Paquita, halfway between tradition and modernity! A festive ballet recounting the thwarted loves of a gypsy and an officer, Paquita marked the debut of Marius Petipa in Saint Petersburg. But only the last scene of the ballet, the famous Grand pas Classique, remained in the companies’ repertoire. Thanks to a careful reconstruction, the Ural Opera Ballet finally revives the original version in three acts.
Falstaff was composed to a libretto fashioned by Arrigo Boito largely from Shakespeare’s play The Merry Wives of Windsor. Superficially, the work is an opera buffa in its depiction of the travails of the penniless knight, Sir John Falstaff, but goes beyond the operatic tradition of the time. The vocal line is integrated into the orchestral texture, and with self-quotations and parodic elements, the opera is saturated with as much irony as comedy, forming the fitting culmination of Verdi’s entire operatic life. Sir John Eliot Gardiner conducts this acclaimed staging of Verdi’s final masterpiece.
Claudio Monteverdi developed the principles of opera with L’Orfeo in the first decade of the 17th century. At the very end of his life, he wrote L’incoronazione di Poppea. The opera marked a decisive move from allegorical and mythic elements toward a historical subject – the love affair between the Roman Emperor Nero and his mistress Poppea. His final masterpiece, where the beauty of the arias vanquished the decadence of the storyline, was first performed in the year of his death. For decades, John Eliot Gardiner has been at the forefront of Monteverdi performance and scholarship, and for the 450th anniversary of Monteverdi’s birth in 2017, he conducted all three of the composer’s surviving full-length operas. This semi-staged production, recorded in Venice’s historical Teatro La Fenice is part of that acclaimed cycle.
Khiyo are a London-based British-Bengali band known for their unique style of blending traditional Bengali heritage music with contemporary rock‘n’roll vibes. Oliver Weeks’ wild electric guitar riffs unite energetically with strings, brass, tabla… all enhanced by the powerful and mesmerising vocals of Sohini Alam. Their latest album ‘Bondona’, meaning ‘to pay homage to’, features Nazrul and Rabindra Sangeet classics, as well as original compositions, that honour the beauty of Bengali culture and heritage.
For 20 years, OehmsClassics has supported talented artists who have not yet received the deserved attention. In the album Roots, the label proudly presents the superb performances of Salaputia Brass. With the thematically designed programmes, Salaputia Brass created a balance between the highest musical standards and broad appeal that musically captivated the audience. Download and enjoy Gustav Holst’s A Moorside Suite, one of the finest works for brass band, specially transcribed by Peter Dörpinghaus for the ensemble.
This album by the young ensemble Salaputia Brass is dedicated to works by composers from England. The English tradition is variously reflected in transcriptions of classical works by Gustav Holst, an original work by Arthur Butterworth, arrangements of music by Anthony Holborne, and cross-genre excursions from James Bond to the Beatles: All you need is Brass!