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July 1 is Canada Day, the country's national day which is marked each year by a host of celebratory events, both at home and for Canadians abroad. The country can certainly be proud of its popular and jazz musicians (think Leonard Cohen, Michael Bublé and Maynard Ferguson), but Canada also has its roster of highly distinguished classical composers and performers, who are well represented in the Naxos catalogue. Here are some samples of their work.
From the Canadian Classics Series
8.573009
FUNG, Vivian: Piano Concerto, "Dreamscapes" / Violin Concerto / Glimpses
Kristin Lee • Hanick • Metropolis Ensemble • Cyr

Vivian Fung’s work is influenced by Asian sources such as Balinese gamelan music. Violin Concerto soloist Kristin Lee’s shared experience of Bali with the composer resulted in an intensely lyrical and virtuoso work in which West and East collide to create music of remarkably fresh sophistication. Fung draws on John Cage’s ‘prepared’ piano techniques to create often eerie and otherworldly effects in Glimpses, ideas from which expand into the Piano Concerto. Subtitled ‘Dreamscapes’, this work explores contrasts ranging from hauntingly sustained calm to moments of brutal power.

Listen to an extract from Vivian Fung's Violin Concerto

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8.573303
HARMAN, C.P.: After JSB-RS
MeiYi Foo • Yoori Choi • Jin Hyung Lim • Toca Loca • McGill Percussion Ensemble
Aiyun Huang

Drawing inspiration from Bach’s Chorales and Two Part Inventions and two of Schumann’s piano cycles, the works on this recording create fresh and unique sound worlds from a variety of percussion and keyboard instruments such as tubular bells, crotales, prepared piano, celesta and toy piano. “The five solo and chamber works collected here span a period of seven years, from 2006 to 2013, and illustrate the significance of keyboard and percussion instruments in my music throughout this period. The enigmatic reference to ‘JSB’ (Johann Sebastian Bach) and ‘RS’ (Robert Schumann) underlines the importance of pre-existent music or ‘source material’ in most of my works since the mid-1990s.” – Chris Paul Harman

Listen to an extract from Chris Paul Harman's Concertino:
IV. —


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8.572765
RYAN, J.: Symphony No. 1, "Fugitive Colours" / The Linearity of Light / Equilateral
Gryphon Trio • Vancouver Symphony • Tovey

Jeffrey Ryan is one of Canada’s most outstanding composers. He evokes bright, vivid colours in his works which brim with imaginative sound worlds. The Linearity of Light is one such work and is concerned with imagining sound itself, brilliantly realised through different pitch combinations and their suggestions of the brightness of light. Equilateral is a triple concerto, and a spiritually complex meditation that fuses lament with joyful affirmation. Symphony No. 1: Fugitive Colours draws on the idea of colours that fade when exposed to light, and does so with masterly orchestral virtuosity.

Listen to an extract from Jeffrey Ryan's Symphony No. 1, "Fugitive Colours":
III. Light: Fast


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8.573428
STANILAND, A.: Talking Down the Tiger / Dreaded Sea Voyage /
Flute vs Tape / Still Turning / True North

Scott • MacDonald • Watts • Uitti • Halladay

Andrew Staniland is recognised as one of Canada’s most important and innovative musical voices, and his works are performed and broadcast internationally. He has already composed a powerful body of music for solo instruments with electronics, which reveals the exciting and evocative use he makes of sound files and ‘looping’. Talking Down the Tigerexplores the ferociousness, beauty, and mystery of percussion instruments whilst Flute vs Tape is virtuosic, vivacious, and not afraid to embrace capricious fun. These qualities permeate his music and help explain why leading American writer Alex Ross calls it ‘alternately beautiful and terrifying’.

Listen to an extract from Andrew Staniland's
Talking Down the Tiger


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Aradia Ensemble
“...delightfully spruce and
rhythmically alive playing.”
Fanfare
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“Mallon’s latest Naxos series sets high artistic values from the off, powered by the music-making’s unbridled joyfulness and a delicious feel for Baroque excess.”
Classic FM ★★★★★

  Listen to an extract from Amphitryon, Z. 572,
"The 2 Sosias":
V. Air

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“…this is an excellent recording of beautiful music that rewards both a casual listener and a serious devotee.”
Musical Toronto

Handel With Care:
Kevin Mallon talks to
Jeremy Siepmann

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Amici Ensemble
“This performance is in all respects quite excellent. The sweep, the passion, the intensity are all present.”
American Record Guide
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“This marvellous recording confirms Amici as on of the world’s finest chamber ensembles.”
Daily Telegraph (Australia)
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Elora Festival Singers
“If I were Morten Lauridsen and my work was in the artistic care of a choir like the Elora Festival Singers I would feel that my creative vision was in exceptionally good hands.”
ClassicsToday.com
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“Noel Edison is one of the best living choral conductors, and he knows exactly what sound he wants and how to get it. The Festival Singers follow his every whim, and are captured in top quality sound. Every single Elora album is worth getting, and this proves no exception.”
Classical Net

  Listen to an extract from
7 Chansons:
No. 7. Luire

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“This stimulating and superb disc is a bargain and an absolute ‘must have’.”
Gramophone

Listen to Raymond Bisha's podcast about this release.

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New Music Concerts Ensemble
“...this disc is a must for any fan of Lutosławski. The fact that it is his last concert, and one so well performed and recorded, is an added incentive.”
MusicWeb International
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“This is a fantastic product, with world class recordings of Carter’s music.”
MusicWeb International
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