Klaus Heymann Recommends December 2022

Next month’s release highlights from the Naxos Music Group includes Fabrice Bollon’s first ever compositions for classical singers and electric cello, Giovanni Sgambati’s symphonies, Heinrich Marschner’s most performed operas, second volume of Johannes Brahm’s complete songs series, an audiovisual presentation featuring Camilla Nylund singing masterpieces from the Great American Songbook, an audiovisual release of Vincenzo Bellini’s opera Bianca e Fernando, and more. Klaus Heymann, founding chairman of Naxos, puts the spotlight on his personal picks.

Naxos 8.574456

While Fabrice Bollon is well known as an internationally acclaimed, award-winning conductor, it’s only in recent years that he has attracted attention as a composer with a keen ear for unique and unusual timbres. Our first album to feature him in that role certainly turned heads: ‘high-octane eclecticism with excellent, committed performances all around.’ (American Record Guide on 8.574015) So, I’m delighted to introduce this follow-up programme that features the first ever composition for classical singers and solo electric cello – Die ungebornen Enkel. The solo cellist is Johannes Moser, who enjoys a multi-award winning discography across several labels; the solo singers are soprano Irina Jae-Eun Park, a prizewinner at several international competitions, and tenor Nutthaporn Thammathi, noted for his leading opera roles throughout Europe.

Listen to an excerpt from Die ungebornen Enkel (‘The Unborn Grandchildren’): Heiterer Frühling (‘Glad Spring’)

Naxos 8.572686

Composer Giovanni Sgambati was both admired by Wagner and predicted as the man who would take Italian music ‘towards a bright new future’ by Busoni. That promise is evidenced here by conductor Francesco La Vecchia and the Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma, our specialists in late 19th/20th-century Italian orchestral music. The album features Sgambati’s Symphony No. 2, a work that was lost for decades before its reconstruction by Rosalind Trübger, whose performing edition is recorded here. The same performers’ previous album of Sgambati’s music included the First Symphony and was judged ‘nothing short of magnificent ... guaranteed to stimulate the appetite of anyone who acquires this CD for more Sgambati.’ (ClassicsToday.com on 8.573007) Well, we like to oblige, so here's the Second Symphony, paired with his Sinfonia epitalamio, a beautiful, loosely programmatic work that was commissioned to celebrate a royal wedding.

Listen to an excerpt from Symphony No. 2 in E flat major: IV. Allegro

Naxos 8.574449

Conductor Dario Salvi, a noted specialist in composers of the second half of the 19th century, presents the first of three volumes dedicated to the overtures and stage music of Heinrich Marschner, the most significant German opera composer between Weber and Wagner. While our catalogues already include recordings of Marschner's two most frequently performed operas – Der Vampyr (C5184) and Hans Heiling (8.223306-07 / OC976) – this programme of overtures and stage works includes four world premiere recordings, which reflects the music's long neglect. Commenting on Dario’s recent album of Auber overtures with the Janáček Philharmonic, Gramophone observed: ‘these are attractive accounts of music that deserves better than its current obscurity,’ a comment I'm confident will be echoed in this Marschner album from the same artists.

Listen to an excerpt from Schön Ella (‘Beautiful Ella’): Act IV – Entr’acte

Naxos 8.574345

This second volume in our Brahms Complete Songs edition has been widely and eagerly anticipated, understandably so following the immensely positive reception enjoyed by the first: ‘Prégardien and accompanist Ulrich Eisenlohr also have lessons to teach in singer-pianist interaction, and Naxos’ Southwest German Radio studio sound is superb. One awaits further volumes excitedly.’ (AllMusic.com on 8.574268) This follow-up album features 35 of Brahms’ 49 German Folksongs WoO33, performed by a wonderful quartet of soloists, once again accompanied by Ulrich. Brahms’ artistic contribution lay in his richly varied piano accompaniments, and they couldn't be in better hands. As a Lieder specialist, the conception, artistic direction and recording of Schubert’s complete songs for Naxos remains one of Ulrich's major, highly successful projects.

Listen to an excerpt from Deutsche Volkslieder, WoO 33 – Book 1: No. 1. Sagt mir, o schönste Schäf’rin mein

Naxos 2.110747 [1 DVD + 1 Disc]

Finnish opera star Camilla Nylund is one of the world’s most in-demand dramatic sopranos. Having long maintained a significant presence in our affiliated labels’ catalogues, including those of Ondine, Orfeo, OehmsClassics and Opus Arte, this audiovisual special features her performance of masterpieces from the Great American Songbook. It's a unique collaboration with the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra under their music director Marin Alsop, one of Naxos’ leading artists. The songs were arranged especially for this project to suit Nylund’s performance style, vocal strengths and personality, as if the songs had been written especially for her. This special edition includes a DVD of the televised film project by André Heller (which was shot in black and white) plus an audio disc of the recordings.

Also available in Blu-ray Video [1 BD + 1 Disc] (NBD0162V)

Dynamic DYN-37954 [DVD]

Bianca e Fernando was commissioned for the inauguration of Genoa’s Carlo Felice Theatre in 1828, launching Bellini’s career as one of the most important Italian opera composers of the 19th century. It’s documented that the impressive music accompanying the work’s dramatic story was received with the ‘jubilation and admiration of the citizens of Genoa’ and greatly admired by the likes of Donizetti, earning Bellini recognition throughout Italy and beyond. This acclaimed first modern performance (and its world premiere audiovisual recording in the very opera house that commissioned it) also restores previously lost pages of music from the original score. The critics at last year’s performance noted ‘the magnificent stage direction by Hugo de Ana’ (Il Secolo XIX) and how ‘conductor Donato Renzetti … injected sparkle and brio into the complex score.’ (gliamicidellamusica.net)

Also available in Blu-ray Video (DYN-57954) and Disc (CDS7954.02)

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