Naxos Bestsellers December 2023

Top 20 Audio Releases
Lithuanian Music for Violin and Piano – BANAITIS, K.V. • GRUODIS, J. • JUZELIŪNAS, J. • VAINIŪNAS, S.
Simona Venslovaitė • Veronika Kopjova

‘The interpreters devote themselves to the four exemplary works with careful attention, but also with playing enthusiasm, so that they create the interpretations with energy and pronounced articulation. They make the modernity of the works especially clear by emphasizing these elements.’ – Pizzicato ★★★★

Double You
Catrin Finch • Aoife Ni Bhriain

Double You is a delightful melting pot of classical mastery and proud traditional culture…’ – FolkWales Online Magazine ★★★★★

BRUCKNER, A.: Complete Symphony Versions Edition, Vol. 10 – Symphony No. 5 (1878 version, ed. L. Nowak)
ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra • M. Poschner

‘This is one of the best entries in Poschner›s ultra-complete Bruckner symphony cycle – a performance full of characterful ideas, perfectly executed.’ –

POSTON, E.: Carols and Anthems
St Albans Cathedral Girls Choir • Lay Clerks of St Albans Cathedral • O. Morrell • Winpenny
Recommended | MusicWeb International

‘This is a worthy and indeed important addition… not only because of the quality of the music, recording and performances but because it places front and centre the work of a composer who all too often was happy to position herself at the service of the project… rather than take the credit her music was due.’ – MusicWeb International

BACH, J.S.: Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 (Highlights)
Hungarian Radio Choir • Budapest Failoni Chamber Orchestra • Oberfrank

‘The most favored ‘hit’ numbers are covered [on this recording]. Each soloist has at least one showcase number, the women coming out slightly ahead-which is appropriate in view of the solid alto work of Nemeth and the really handsome singing of Kertesi…’ – American Record Guide

SHOSTAKOVICH, D.: Complete Symphonies (11-Disc Boxed Set)
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra • Petrenko

‘If you’re looking for a single Shostakovich cycle that gives you all the symphonies and performances that really can’t be bettered as a group, as a whole, then Petrenko on Naxos is the way to go.’ –

LUTOSŁAWSKI, W.: Concerto for Orchestra • Partita • Novelette
C. Tetzlaff • Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra • Collon

‘Excellent playing from the FRSO and unexceptionally fine sound make these latter performances the equal of any predecessor… Hopefully the series will continue under Collon, with a volume of the four mature vocal works an especially attractive proposition.’ – Gramophone

GRAHAM, P.: Brass Band Music – Force of Nature • Triquetra • Master of Suspense • Hymn for Bram
R. Richardson • Black Dyke Band • D. and N. Childs

The five world premiere recordings heard on this album represent Graham’s long association with Black Dyke. The trumpet concerto Master of Suspense references Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic movies, the virtuoso euphonium concerto Force of Nature was inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s extraordinary life, and The Triumph of Time is a dazzling example of compositional craft and brass band virtuosity.

RIMSKY-KORSAKOV, N.A.: Christmas Eve [Opera]
G. Vasiliev • Muzychenko • A. Popov • Shkoza • Tikhomirov • Frankfurt Opera Chorus and Orchestra • Weigle
Finalist | International Opera Awards

‘Possibly the happiest release of the past year, Christof Loy’s production managed to balance a reasonable level of faithfulness to the fairy tale with a modern design aesthetic. The production was superbly cast and realized by the forces of the Frankfurt Opera Company.’ – MusicWeb International

KRIEGER, E.: Orchestral Works – Canticum Naturale • Ludus Symphonicus
F. Fernandes • São Paulo Symphony Choir • Goiás Philharmonic Orchestra • Neil Thomson

‘Thomson is really a splendid conductor who evidently works hard to both take a long view of each work he conducts as well as to bring out as much orchestral detail as is possible.’ – The Art Music Lounge

WALTON, W.: Cello Concerto (arr. A. Serova for viola) • MOLINELLI, R.: Lady Walton’s Garden
Serova • Haydn Orchestra of Bolzano and Trento • Molinelli

With his distinctive blend of incisive drama and lyrical expressiveness, Sir William Walton was one of the greatest English composers of the 20th century. He and his wife Susana made their home on the Italian island of Ischia where he composed the Cello Concerto – a work he considered to be the best of his three concertos for string instruments – heard here for the first time in a stunning transcription for viola by Anna Serova. The Italian composer Roberto Molinelli pays homage to Susana’s Argentine roots and the beautiful garden she created, La Mortella, with his concerto Lady Walton’s Garden, displaying a colourful use of South American and Neapolitan instruments. William’s Rock and The Missing E are also dedicated to La Mortella.

PENDERECKI, K.: Sacred Choral Works
Latvian Radio Choir • Kļava

‘The Latvian ensemble succeeds wonderfully in emphasizing the communicative element as well as the spiritual depth of the music in a fine balance. The voice leading always remains clear, differentiated and equally refined. As a result, the dense soundscapes with which Penderecki worked in the 1960s also unfold with a powerful, emotional effect.’ – Pizzicato ★★★★

COPLAND, A.: The Tender Land Suite • CRESTON, P.: Saxophone Concerto • PISTON, W.: The Incredible Flutist Suite
Mattix • T. McAllister • National Orchestral Institute Philharmonic • Falletta

‘…Falletta delivers a real firework of different orchestral colours in a refined canvas of great delicacy but also strong rhythmic pulsation.’ – EarRelevant

MUSTONEN, O.: Symphonies Nos. 2, ‘Johannes Angelos’ and 3, ‘Taivaanvalot’
Bostridge • Turku Philharmonic Orchestra • Mustonen

Drawing inspiration from diverse sources, the theme of Mustonen’s Second Symphony, ‘Johannes Angelos’ (2013), delves into the ancient city of Constantinople and its mysticism. Mustonen’s Third Symphony, ‘Taivaanvalot’ (Heavenly Lights) (2020), is based on a section in the Finnish national epic Kalevala and inspired by the cosmic and shamanistic elements in Finnish mythology. The solo part in this recording is performed by the internationally acclaimed tenor Ian Bostridge.

BRAHMS, J.: Complete Organ Works
Konstantin Volostnov

In contrast to the grand scale and public profile of his orchestral and choral works, Johannes Brahms saw the organ as an instrument ‘for home use’, and one in which he confided his most intimate feelings. The earlier pieces were exercises in counterpoint inspired by Brahms’ friendship with Clara Schumann and, despite their academic titles, they are infused with distinctive musical ideas and lyrical expressiveness. The later Chorale Preludes with their themes of suffering and death can be seen as autobiographical, the elder Brahms seeking spiritual strength in the ‘pure style’ of the Protestant tradition.

BEETHOVEN, L. van: Complete Piano Sonatas (9-Disc Boxed Set)
Boris Giltburg
Critics’ Choice | Record Geijutsu

‘Balanced interpretation, transparent texture. Germans may call such an interpretation “sauber”. In addition, Giltburg has deep felt passion and refined aesthetic.’ – Record Geijutsu

RACHMANINOV, S.: Symphony No. 1 • Prince Rostislav
St. Louis Symphony Orchestra • L. Slatkin

‘…I have been impressed by Slatkin and the St Louis forces before… This recording is equally fine.’ – Classical Music Daily

BEETHOVEN, L. van: Overtures and Incidental Music
Bach Society of Minnesota • Minnesota Orchestra • Skrowaczewski

‘…Skrowaczewski paces the music expertly and gives just the right level of attention to orchestral balance and to the inherent drama, lyricism, or stateliness (depending on the work) that Beethoven includes.’ –

BRUCKNER, A.: Complete Symphonies (12-Disc Boxed Set)
Ireland National Symphony Orchestra • New Zealand Symphony Orchestra • Royal Scottish National Orchestra • Tintner

‘It’s a fabulous, fabulous performance’ –

HAYDN, J.: Baryton Trios – Treasures from the Esterháza Palace, Vol. 2
Valencia Baryton Project

The city of Eisenstadt was the location of the Esterházy Court where Joseph Haydn was music director for 25 years. Prince Nikolaus commissioned Haydn to write trios for the baryton, an instrument on which the Prince had become proficient. The baryton is a bowed, stringed instrument similar to the viol but with extra plucked strings that can enable the performer to accompany themselves. For Nikolaus, Haydn wrote string trios of elegance, refinement and poise that encapsulate a rich variety of moods. Seldom performed or recorded, the baryton trios attest to Haydn’s limitless powers of invention in every medium.

Top 10 Audiovisual Releases
PROKOFIEV, S.: Cinderella [Ballet] (Royal Ballet, 2023)
Also available on Blu-ray (OABD7316D)
Nuñez • Muntagirov • Royal Opera House Orchestra • Kessels • Ashton

A timeless classic story is presented in a brand new production full of fairy-tale magic and superb dancing.

WAGNER, R.: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg [Opera] (Deutsche Oper Berlin, 2022)
Also available on Blu-ray (NBD0178–79V)
Vogt • Stober • Reuter • Jekal • Pesendorfer • Ya-Chung Huang • Berlin Deutsche Opera Chorus and Orchestra • Fiore • Wieler • Morabito

‘Stober’s Eva is for once a real human character, riven with contradictions and uncertainty. …Annika Schlicht’s amusingly imperious Magdalene is extremely watchable…’ – Gramophone

DONIZETTI, G.: La favorite [Opera] (Fondazione Teatro Donizetti, 2022)
Also available on Blu-ray (DYN-57992)
Stroppa • Camarena • Sempey • Stavinsky • Donizetti Opera Choir • Coro dell’ Accademia Teatro alla Scala • Donizetti Opera Orchestra • Frizza • Carrasco

‘The lovers are played by Annalisa Stroppa and Javier Camarena. Both are pretty much ideal. Leonor (…) requires power, precision and beauty of tone… Stroppa doesn’t disappoint. She’s vocally compelling, nails the big numbers and is a terrific actress. …Camarena is a proper mid-19th century tenor with plenty of oomph and super high notes. When these two duet, it’s very impressive.’ – operaramblings

DELIBES, L.: Lakmé [Opera] (Opéra Comique, 2022)
Also available on Blu-ray (NBD0177V)
Devieilhe • Antoun • Degout • Bré • Pygmalion Chorus and Orchestra • Pichon • Pelly

‘Laurent Pelly’s 2022 Opéra Comique staging in Paris is centred by Raphaël Pichon conducting the excellent orchestra and chorus, and as the title heroine, Sabine Devieilhe is heartbreakingly good.’ – The Flip Side

TCHAIKOVSKY, P.I.: The Nutcracker [Ballet] (Royal Ballet, 2018)
Also available on Blu-ray (OABD7259D)
Nuñez • Muntagirov • O’Sullivan • Sambé • Avis • Royal Opera House Orchestra, Covent Garden • Wordsworth • Wright

‘When it comes to Nutcrackers, there is simply nothing to beat it.’ – The Times

GLUCK, C.W.: Orfeo ed Euridice [Opera] (Glyndebourne, 1982)
Baker • Speiser • Gale • Glyndebourne Festival Chorus • London Philharmonic Orchestra • Leppard • Hall

‘British mezzo-soprano Dame Janet Baker chose to retire from the operatic stage singing the title role in Sir Peter Hall’s acclaimed production of Orfeo ed Euridice. This 1982 recording from Glyndebourne, where Dame Janet appropriately began her professional career, proved a suitable crowning glory to the career of one of the great singing actresses of our age. Dame Janet’s realisation of Orfeo, the grieving musician from Greek mythology, who follows his beloved wife Euridice to the depths of Hades in an attempt to bring her back from the dead, is totally convincing “… a quite staggering performance…”’ – MusicWeb International

PUCCINI, G.: Tosca [Opera] (DNO, 2022)
Also available on Blu-ray (NBD0166V)
Byströ • Guerrero • Hakobyan • Dutch National Opera Chorus • Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra • Viotti • Kosky

‘Viotti leads his forces skilfully and tightly, often not hanging around. …I found this a very enjoyable modern-day update. All the singers acquit themselves well, with the two lovers being especially convincing…’ – Fanfare

TCHAIKOVSKY, P.I.: The Sleeping Beauty • The Nutcracker • Swan Lake [Ballets] (Royal Ballet, 2015–2017)
Also available on Blu-ray (OABD7249BD)
Royal Ballet, Covent Garden • Royal Opera House Orchestra, Covent Garden • Gruzin • Kessels

‘Osipova was riveting throughout… [Golding] demonstrates real brilliance and prowess.’ – Swan Lake – The New York Times

LAMAGNA, V.: Akram Khan’s Giselle [Ballet] (English National Ballet, 2017)
Also available on Blu-ray (OABD7254D)
Rojo • Cirio • Streeter • Quageberu • English National Ballet

‘Highlights the haunting details of Tim Yip’s set design—including bloodied handprints on the factory wall—and the exquisitely expressive performances of Jeffrey Cirio (the misguided Hilarion) and Stina Quagebeur (the icy, creaturely Queen of the Wilis).’ – Gramophone

LEVAY, S.: Elisabeth [Musical] (Vereinigte Bühnen Wien, 2022)
Also available on Blu-ray (NBD0164V)
Orchester der Vereinigten Bühnen Wien • Römer • Mehmert

Treading a tightrope between death, life and intense romance in the opulent world of 19th-century Habsburg royalty, Elisabeth tells the story of the beautiful Empress of Austria, from her wedding, to her tragic assassination by the hand of the Italian anarchist Luigi Lucheni. Ongoing dark obsessions and inner turmoil are undercurrents as family schisms flare up amidst a crumbling empire. These powerful themes and a potent score brimming with fabulous music have combined to establish Elisabeth as the most successful German-language musical of all time. This spectacular open-air event presents Elisabeth at the fabled empress’s real-life home – Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna.

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