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New on Naxos April 2024

The April NEW ON NAXOS highlights Marin Alsop’s newest recording with the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra of John Adam’s orchestral works. The programme includes City Noir, Fearful Symmetries and the capricious Lola Montez Does the Spider Dance, which was commissioned by the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in honour of her 25-year tenure as the Festival’s musical director. Alsop also previously recorded Adam’s Shaker Loops, Wound Dresser and Short Ride in a Fast Machine (8.559031) which was a Gramophone Critic’s Choice: ‘this vividly recorded, inexpensive disc should make a compelling introduction to Adams’ music’.

Other highlights include Gaetano Donizetti’s La Favorite conducted by Riccardo Frizza starring mezzo Annalisa Stroppa and tenor Javier Camarena; George Walker’s piano music presented by Alexandre Dossin; the fifth installment of Elisabetta Brusa’s Orchestral Works; and more.

Watch our monthly New on Naxos video to sample the highlighted releases of the month.

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Orchestral & Concerto Recordings

ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra • Marin Alsop

John Adams’ music has long since captured the admiration of listeners for its inimitable American qualities. City Noir was inspired by the cultural and social history of Los Angeles, with Adams calling it ‘an imaginary film score’ in its evocation of a terse, melodramatic and menace-drenched sound world. Fearful Symmetries exemplifies Adams’ steamroller motor rhythms, endlessly inventive in their shifts of timbre, texture and colour. The album ends with a work dedicated to Marin Alsop, a capricious “Spider Dance” of memorable rhythmic drive.

Concerto Málaga • Gil de Gálvez


To commemorate the 75th anniversary year of Turina’s death, this album presents some of the composer’s most admired works heard in arrangements for strings that honour the colour, richness and vivacity of the originals. Two of his best-known works – La oración del torero (‘The Prayer of the Bullfighter’) and Orgía, from Danzas fantásticas – open and close the programme. Other examples include a sinuous Andalusian Tango and a rare example drawn from his incidental music, Aparición del Arcángel.

Karlovy Vary Symphony Orchestra • Dario Salvi


Auber’s overtures were once as popular as those by Rossini and Suppé, with no less a figure than Tchaikovsky commenting on the ‘elegant clarity of his harmonisation, his delightful and striking melodies … and beautiful instrumentation.’ Full evidence is provided here in music that ranges across Auber’s creative periods where finesse of orchestral detail and piquant harmonies are met by verve and wit. Some of his least well-known music is encountered, as are scores that explore vivid dance themes, all presented with Auber’s gossamer orchestration and lightness of touch.

Cotik • Martingale Ensemble • Selden


Astor Piazzolla’s Nuevo tango transcends categories and represents an amalgam of international influences. All the arrangements in this album are of instrumental works that Piazzolla composed for his Quinteto Nuevo Tango. Most prominent is the Vivaldi-inspired Las cuatro estaciones porteñas (‘The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires’) reimagined in concerto style for solo violin and string orchestra by Leonid Desyatnikov. The seven other companion pieces, arranged by Ken Selden, use printed sources for structure but incorporate improvisations transcribed from original recordings made by Piazzolla and his band. On this, his third Piazzolla album for Naxos, internationally recognised violinist Tomás Cotik pays homage to his birth city of Buenos Aires.

Vendramin • Rabagliati
Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano • Grazioli


Franco Alfano is remembered today for his completion of Turandot after Puccini’s death. His catalogue of works, including operas, orchestral and chamber music, reveals him to be a sophisticated and original composer. Alfano possessed an innate melodic facility combined with a talent for unexpected timbres, as heard in the luxuriously orchestrated Suite romantica which, in the composer’s own words, aims to convey ‘the feelings of two lovers travelling through Italy’. From the neo-Classical Divertimento to the noirish postwar Nenia, and from the lightness of touch of Amour… Amour… to the impressionistic and iridescent Una danza, each work reveals a different aspect of this multifaceted composer.

Haufa • Sinfonia Varsovia • Klauza


The prolific and internationally admired Jia Daqun is one of China’s leading composers. He has written in a wide variety of forms – his chamber works can be found on Naxos 9.70241 and 8.579011 – but is especially distinctive when writing for orchestra. The Wave of the Surging Thoughts is a large-scale symphonic concerto-suite in which he achieves a high degree of unity through the use of formal variations. Bashu Capriccio is an ardent symphonic prelude that expresses the cultural traditions and simple folk customs of Bashu, the ancient name of Sichuan province.

Opera & Ballet

Di Tonno • Stroppa • Camarena • Milletti • Sempey • Stavinsky
Coro dell’Accademia Teatro alla Scala
Orchestra e Coro Donizetti Opera

Written for the Opéra in Paris, Gaetano Donizetti’s La Favorite contains some of his most famously enthralling arias. While its much-reduced Italian version has continued in popularity, this superb production from the Donizetti Opera Festival in his birthplace of Bergamo returns the work to its rarely heard 1840 French grand opera origins. Set in 14th-century Spain, the tragic story is of a pious novice (Fernand) who falls in love with a noble lady and abandons the cloister, meeting her in secret. He becomes a war hero and asks the King for her hand, later finding out to his horror that she is Léonor de Guzman, the King’s beloved mistress.

Also available on Blu-ray Video
Stemme • Hilley • Huang • Paterson
Orchestra of the Deutsche Oper Berlin
Runnicles • Herheim

Siegfried is the third of the four operas that comprise Wagner’s epic tetralogy Der Ring des Nibelungen (‘The Ring of the Nibelung’). Siegfried, raised by the evil dwarf Mime, discovers that he is the son of Siegmund and Sieglinde. He must negotiate betrayals and dangers in a landscape of dragons and magic in order to kill Fafner, who has the Ring, as well as Mime, who has designs on it. Finally, in music of resplendent drama, Siegfried, the hero who knows no fear, can penetrate the ring of fire to awaken the sleeping Valkyrie, Brünnhilde. Sir Donald Runnicles conducts an internationally acclaimed cast in this innovative new production by Norwegian director Stefan Herheim.

Also available on Blu-ray Video
Grigorian • Mahnke • Švēde • Mikhailov • MacNeil • Jost
Chor der Oper Frankfurt • Frankfurter Opern- und Museumsorchester
Uryupin • Barkhatov

Originally set in the 15th century, Tchaikovsky’s The Enchantress is updated to the present day in this innovative production. The charismatic, emancipated Nastasya, who rejects the advances of the devious Mamïrov, duly faces the implacable forces of traditional values in a society riven by divisions between liberal freedoms and religious orthodoxies. The tragic outcome engulfs everyone. This production was a triumphant success – ‘At the end, storms of enthusiasm, the likes of which are rare even at Oper Frankfurt’ (Neue Musikzeitung) – both for the staging and performers, with soprano Asmik Grigorian hailed as a ‘miracle’ and baritone Iain MacNeil as ‘world class’

Chamber & Instrumental

Alexandre Dossin


George Walker’s unique collection of piano music ranges across his long career. The three sonatas heard here, in this the first of two volumes of Walker’s complete piano works, offer compelling contrasts. Sonata No. 1 is his longest and utilizes folk tunes, No. 2 is darker and unified by tonal relationships, whilst No. 3 displays contrapuntal mastery and translucent elements. Both Spatials and Spektra are atonal – the former athletic and compressed, the latter vivid and colourful. The album opens with Prelude and Caprice – a serene and majestic early work.

Georgi Dimitrov-Jojo

Georgi Dimitrov-Jojo, winner of the 2022 European Bach Guitar Award, presents a selection of works transcribed for guitar from the rich repertoire of Johann Sebastian Bach. Arrangements made for different instruments were customary during the Baroque period – and with a wide range of tonal possibilities, the guitar is an ideal instrument for this music. Dimitrov-Jojo’s beautiful sound and poetic interpretations bring an intimate connection to Bach’s boundless imagination, crowned in this substantial programme by the famous Ciaccona, BWV 1004.

Choral & Vocal

Kristóf • Láng • Horváth • Bakonyi
Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir


Most of Elisabetta Brusa’s compositions have been written for orchestral forces, with four volumes currently available on Naxos. The two new choral pieces in this fifth volume offer a revealing look at the composer’s response to spirituality and her own feelings about the end of life. The Stabat Mater was written as a trial for the Requiem and features vocal parts that are often pushed to the limit of their extensions for maximum expressivity. Following traditional models, Brusa’s Requiem evokes an archaic atmosphere which gives the piece a medieval aura, contrasted with moments of luminous and transcendent music.

Johannsen • Gaul • Simon


Erich J. Wolff’s name will be unfamiliar to many but in the 1920s an authoritative reference book on popular art song ranked his compositions fourth, behind Hugo Wolf, Richard Strauss and Gustav Mahler. The first volume in this series of Wolff’s Complete Songs introduces a composer of astonishing gifts whose Romanticism is as daring as his formal sophistication. Wolff’s songs are lyrical, serene and full of melodic beauty, coupled with piano writing that is both virtuosic and atmospheric.


MACAULAY, R.: What Not (Unabridged)
MACAULAY, R.: What Not (Unabridged)
STOKER, B.: The Lair of the White Worm (Unabridged)
STOKER, B.: The Lair of the White Worm (Unabridged)

Naxos Playlist

The New & Now playlist features all that is new and exciting in the world of classical music, whether it’s new music, new presentations or new performers. With more than 200 new releases each year, and artists from around the world, there is always something new to discover with Naxos.

This month, there are some fantastic new additions to the playlist!

  • George Antheil: Violin Sonata No. 1: II. Andante moderato (Tianwa Yang, Nicholas Rimmer)
  • Charles Ives: Set No. 9 of 3 Pieces for Chamber Orchestra: III. Largo to Presto: The Unanswered Question (ed. J. Sinclair) (Orchestra New England, Sinclair)
  • Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges: Violin Concerto in G Major, Op. 2, No. 1: III. Rondeau (Fumika Mohri, Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice, Halász)
  • Domenico Scarlatti: Keyboard Sonata in D Major, K.178/L.162/P.392 (arr. L. Peretić for guitar) (Lovro Peretić)
  • Francesco Durante: Laudate pueri Dominum a 4 (Carmignani, Arrivabene, Ferrarini, Vargetto, Valotti, Acciai)
  • Władysław Żeleński: Janek, Act I: Gdy ślub weźmiesz z twoim Stachem (reconstructed by P. Pietruszewski) (Gaj, Lublin Philharmonic Orchestra, Rodek)
  • György Ligeti: Études, Book 1: No. 6. Automne à Varsovie (Han Chen)
  • José Antônio Rezende de Almeida Prado: Sinfonia dos orixás (Symphony of the orishas): Saudação a Exu (Salutation to Eshu) (São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, N. Thomson)
  • Adolphe Adam: Orfa, Act I: Act I: Mazurka, ‘Les traîneaux’ (Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra, Salvi)
  • Imre Széchényi: Serenade in A Minor (Lázár, Kassai)
  • Namlim Lee: Arirang (Kyoung Cho, Won Cho, Eun-Hee Park)

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