Naxos Bestsellers March 2023

OFFENBACH, J.: La vie parisienne [Operetta] (Palazzetto Bru Zane, 2021)
Also available on Blu-ray (NBD0163V)
Devos • Briand • Mauillon • Leguérinel • Buendia • Namur Chamber Choir • Les Musiciens du Louvre • Dumas • Lacroix

‘Director Christian Lacroix’s dazzling sets and costumes perfectly complement Offenbach’s beguiling music (played by Les Musiciens du Louvre under the baton of conductor Romain Dumas), and it’s charmingly sung by a superlative cast.’ – The Flip Side

BEETHOVEN, L. van: Piano Concertos Nos. 3 and 4
Giltburg • Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra • V. Petrenko

‘The Third and Fourth Concertos round out what has been an impressive Beethoven cycle.

Giltburg builds his Largo introduction from the bottom up, with real weight and gravitas, while meaningfully inflecting the final pages’ decorative passages and cadenza.’ – Gramophone

SCHUBERT, F.: Eine Winterreise (staged version by C. Loy) [Opera] (Theater Basel, 2022)
Also available on Blu-ray (NBD0165V)
von Otter • Bezuidenhout • Rado • Franciscus • Alm • Tornarolli • Gustafsson • Loy

‘[Anne-Sofie von Otter’s] rapport with Kristian Bezuidenhout (who provides the most stunning fortepiano playing throughout) is astonishing: his way with repeated chords and his sheer imitation of a post-horn in Die Post (from Winterreise) is remarkable, and Otter’s sense of longing is underlined by a certain fragility in her voice.

The whole experience is entrancing…’ – Classical Explorer

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.

SCRIABIN, A.: The Poem of Ecstasy, ‘Symphony No. 4’ • Symphony No. 2
Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra • Falletta

‘Not only do conductor and orchestra have this fare under their fingers: their recording of Scriabin’s Second and Fourth Symphonies holds its own with the best out there.’ – The Arts Fuse

WRANITZKY, P.: Orchestral Works, Vol. 5 – Das listige Bauernmädchen • Vorstellungen • Quodlibet: Final Contradance
Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice • Štilec

As an influential figure in Viennese circles that included Mozart and Haydn, Paul Wranitzky was often called upon to take on commissions from the Imperial Court and the Empress Marie Therese in particular. Das listige Bauernmädchen, a ballet from her collection, reflects its rustic setting and story of romantic intrigues with folk-dance energy and delightful pantomime. The dramatic ballet divertissement Vorstellungen was part of Emperor Franz II’s birthday celebrations in 1803, as was an extensive Quodlibet from which we have selected the colourful Final Contradance.

RUBINSTEIN, Anton: Preludes and Études
Martin Cousin

‘A comprehensive programme of beautiful well-crafted 19th Century piano music which should be better known. Lovely performances by Martin Cousins are presented here of the complete Six Preludes, Op 24 and Six Etudes, Op 81.’ – Lark Reviews

GERMAN, E.: Symphony No. 2, ‘Norwich’ • Valse Gracieuse • Welsh Rhapsody
Ireland National Symphony Orchestra • Penny

Stylistic affiliations with French and Russian music…are often evident. German gave us another superb symphony too, albeit in miniature, with his Welsh Rhapsody, a brilliant orchestral showpiece that remains his most performed extended orchestral work.’ – The Northern Echo

PUTS, K.: The City • Marimba Concerto • Moonlight, ‘Oboe Concerto No. 2’
Needleman • Ji Su Jung • Baltimore Symphony Orchestra • Alsop

‘…Ji Su Jung elicits wide spectrums from the work with superior technical execution that proves the stylistic possibilities of use despite a unified sound.

With this fresh addition to the solo repertoire, oboist Katherine Needleman has found a rich field of activity for her instrument that she fills with virtuosity and creative inspiration.’ ★★★★

SAINT-GEORGES, J.B.C. de: Symphonies Concertantes, Opp. 9,10, Op. 11, No. 1
Revich • Ježek • Honsová • Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice • Halász
Want List | Fanfare

‘The Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice under the direction of Michael Halász offers a lively recording on the Naxos label of four of Boulogne’s symphonies concertante and his Symphony in G Major, op. 11/1. Their elegance and poise convey the unique voice of the Chevalier, while recalling the charm of Haydn’s light works for orchestra.’ – Fanfare

BRAHMS, J.: Complete Songs, Vol. 3
Wunderlin • Valentin-Fieguth • Carrel • Ingenpaß • Eisenlohr

Alina Wunderlin is a wonderfully pure-voiced soprano, as we hear in Es steht ein Lind in jenem Tal.

All in all, this is wonderful. The singers are superbly chosen and perfect for this repertoire. Eisenlohr does not put a finger wrong (he provides the fine booklet notes, too), and the recording is good, too.’ – Classical Explorer

Unicum – New Songs from the Leuven Chansonnier
Ensemble Leones • Lewon

‘Marc Lewon has once again been guided by his sense of discovery and unearthed a true musical treasure…

As usual, Marc Leon and his Leones approach the priceless scores with great sensitivity…

Especially in the polyphonic works, the performers stand out as a homogeneous ensemble, guiding through the wonderful harmonies with fine transparency and clarity of expression. From the pure soprano voices to the supple middle registers to the delicately grounded bass, perfect balance is ensured, giving the love songs in particular the necessary expressiveness.’ – Pizzicato ★★★★★

 BAX, A.: Complete Symphonies • Orchestral Works (7-Disc Boxed Set)
Royal Scottish National Orchestra • D. Lloyd-Jones

Sir Arnold Bax wrote his seven symphonies between 1921 and 1939, embracing a prolific period that drew inspiration from a variety of sources. From the dramatic impact of the Second Symphony through to the seascapes of the Fourth and hints of Sibelius in the later works, Bax’s powerful symphonic world is one of surprising and at times stormy vigour contrasting with the most intense lyrical expressiveness and serenity. The selection of additional orchestral works evoking nature and atmospheric landscapes fascinates and rewards in equal measure, providing an essential overview of Bax’s music in critically acclaimed recordings.

HOLLAND, Justin: Guitar Works and Arrangements – Carnival of Venice • Sweet Memories of Thee • Home Sweet Home • Pearls of Dew
Christopher Mallett

A master of virtuosic variations, [Justin Holland’s] arrangements are witty, elegant, and colourful, culminating in Carnival of Venice, which shows the full range of his gifts, sweeping in breadth and dazzling in effect.’ – WFMT (Chicago)

AUBER, D.-F.: Le Philtre [Opera]
Kabongo • Franco • Di Lieto • Fatyol • Vilichi • Cracow Philharmonic Chorus and Orchestra • Acocella

‘Sopranos Luiza Fatyol and Adina Vilichi each have the requisite sweetness and sparkle, with Fatyol bringing a wholly appropriate hint of tartness to her characterization of Térézine…Eugenio Di Lieto is amusingly droll as the quack Fontanarose, while Emmanuel Franco swaggers nicely as the soldier Joli-Coeur.’ – Gramophone

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

‘A superb recording by the Valencia Baryton Project of Haydn’s rarely heard baryton trios.’ – ★★★★

KAPUSTIN, N.: 8 Concert Etudes • 24 Preludes
Catherine Gordeladze

These études and preludes have real substance. Give Kapustin and Gordeladze your undivided attention.’ – Music & Vision

SCHUMANN, R.: Symphonies Nos. 3, ‘Rhenish’ and 4 (re-orchestrated by G. Mahler)
ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra • Alsop

‘What these arrangements do bring across however is how much Mahler learned from Schumann: for example there’s more than an echo of the rousing brass fanfares near the end of the ‘Rhenish’ in the finale of Mahler’s First Symphony. Mahler may have felt that Schumann needed a little practical help in places, but the quality that emerges most of all in his slightly re-engineered versions is profound respect.’ – BBC Music Magazine ★★★★★

 PRICE, F.: Songs of the Oak • Concert Overtures Nos. 1–2 • The Oak • Suite of Dances
Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen • Jeter

‘John Jeter leads the ensemble in some spirited performances. I especially enjoyed the concert overtures and the dances.

Another essential recording of music by this unjustly neglected composer.’ – WTJU

France Romance – DEBUSSY, C. • FAURÉ, G. • RAVEL, M. • SATIE, E. • POULENC, F.
Kotaro Fukuma

The Japanese musician Kotaro Fukuma is one of today’s most outstanding pianists. He has received many major awards in international competitions, including the Arthur Rubinstein (Tel Aviv), Maj Lind (Helsinki) or Gina Bachauer (Salt Lake City). He won both the First Prize and the Chopin Prize at the 15th Cleveland International Piano competition in 2003. France Romance is Kotaro Fukuma’s homage to France, where he studied with Bruno Rigutto and Marie-Françoise Bucquet. He selected pieces linked to important experiences in his piano life.

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