The July NEW ON NAXOS presents the latest in the critically acclaimed ‘Music of Brazil’ series with the world premiere recordings of Claudio Santoro’s Symphony No. 8 and Cello Concerto, performed by soloist Marina Martins and the Goiás Philharmonic Orchestra under Neil Thomson. Previous instalments in the cycle were praised as ‘first-class’ (Gramophone), and ‘full of intense power and restless excitement’ (Classical Music Daily).
Other highlights include Fabrice Bollon’s arrangements of Leoš Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen and Šárka for chamber ensemble; the documentary The Zurich Affair: Wagner’s One and Only Love by Jens Neubert; Vol. 27 in Domenico Scarlatti’s Complete Keyboard Sonatas series performed by Sergio Gallo; and more.
INCLUDES WORLD PREMIERE RECORDINGS
The 1960s proved to be a significant decade in Claudio Santoro’s ever-eventful life. The charged atmosphere of the Cello Concerto can be attributed to his experiences in East Berlin at the moment construction started on the Berlin Wall. Despite its challenging solo writing, the concerto is the most symphonically proportioned of all his concertante works. Exceptionally for Santoro, the dramatic Eighth Symphony combines serial techniques with an openly Expressionist idiom. Três Abstrações explores timbres and dynamic contrasts with string orchestra, while Interações Assintóticas is Santoro’s only work to use quarter-tone tuning for some remarkable effects.
WORLD PREMIERE RECORDINGS
Vienna’s music scene at the end of the 18th century was home to many renowned composers, including Paul Wranitzky, who was a respected colleague of Mozart and Haydn and was frequently tasked with providing incidental music for the considerable number of newly written plays. The three pieces heard on this album demonstrate not only Wranitzky’s compositional diversity but a gift for symphonically conceived works featuring battle music, solemn polyphonic elements, and the popular Turkish style with its characteristic janissary percussion.
Joachim Raff’s symphonies present a synthesis of pure music and the programmatic elements of the neo-German school exemplified in the symphonic poems of Liszt. His eighth symphony from 1876, Frühlingsklänge, was followed in 1878 with his ninth, Im Sommer, forming a celebration of spring and summer that are part of a set that make up the four seasons. Both are written in an immediately attractive and approachable style, and scored for a relatively modest orchestra of Classical rather than Wagnerian dimensions.
WORLD PREMIERE RECORDINGS
Fabrice Bollon’s Janáček project was developed during the COVID lockdown when the use of large orchestras was forbidden. Bollon wrote a version of The Cunning Little Vixen for twelve instruments – not a reduction but an imaginative recreation employing new combinations of sounds, without brass. Janáček’s vital, highly personal orchestration inspired Bollon, in his version, to make the opera more accessible and open to a wider audience. He has also compressed Šárka into a duo and written Twelve Lilies for Leoš, a colourfully scored tribute employing reminiscences from Janáček’s works.
An exile from his native land following the failed revolution of 1848, the impoverished Richard Wagner is in Zurich working on his opera Tristan und Isolde. There he meets Otto and Mathilde Wesendonck, ardent admirers of his music. Wagner’s passionate and scandalous affair with Mathilde, whose poems he set to music, is explored in this feature film by director Jens Neubert. After their relationship ended, Wagner left Zurich for Italy, forever remembering Mathilde as ‘my first and only love’.
INCLUDES WORLD PREMIERE RECORDINGS
Domenico Scarlatti’s keyboard sonatas are among the most original of the 18th century, especially in their use of often discordant and chromatic harmonies. From the virtuoso Essercizi (K.12 and 15) to the touching cantabile eloquence of the Sonata in G major, K.144, most of the repertoire on this album consists of lesser-known works incorporating elements of dance forms from Spain and Portugal. The last three pieces, attributed to Scarlatti, are especially intriguing. They include a world premiere recording of the colourful Sonata in D minor, and the Sonata No. 5 in C major which ends the programme with a vivid display of musical fireworks.
Multi-award-winning guitarist Johan Smith has considerably extended his instrument’s repertoire with this selection of transcriptions celebrating childhood in a variety of ways. These popular piano works – Schubert’s Erlkönig, Granados’s atmospheric Tales of Youth, Mozart’s elegant Sonata facile, Schumann’s Scenes from Childhood and the exquisitely sensitive and insightful miniatures of Debussy’s Children’s Corner – are presented in a totally natural and idiomatic manner within the guitar’s distinctly expressive soundworld.
Schumann’s studies in counterpoint during 1845 climaxed in what he described as a ‘Fugenpassion’. He rented a pedalboard attachment for his piano to extend his music’s textural possibilities and to help familiarise himself with organ technique. The resulting character pieces are amongst the most attractive examples for this instrument, and they translate so successfully to the organ that they have become a significant cornerstone of the repertoire. They are performed here on the historic and recently restored Furtwängler organ in Gronau, Germany – an instrument with a wide palette of colours that is well suited to Schumann’s expressive works.
The music of Bohemian composer Antonín Dvořák is suffused with natural nobility, fluency and freshness, and embodies the spirit of his native land. This revealing biography portrays Dvořák as a complex and wide-ranging composer, and explores the creation and performance of his music as well as its reception on both sides of the Atlantic, tracing his art in all its richness and variety. Musical excerpts include the Cello Concerto, the ‘New World’ Symphony and the Slavonic Dances, as well as selected chamber pieces, songs, opera excerpts, and more.
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!