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“2015 has been another incredibly fertile year for the Naxos label, with over 200 new classical albums and videos released on CD, Blu-ray Audio, DVD and in digital format. Each year I’m asked to cherry-pick a list of favourites to share with you, a task that never seems to get easier with such a vast array of new recordings vying for selection, from early music to contemporary works, solo instrumental recitals to the grandest of grand opera.

I’m delighted, however, to nail my colours to the mast by nominating the following titles, encouraged by the critical acclaim that external sources have also awarded them throughout the year.

They aren’t listed in order of preference, simply in the order of the months in which they were released and highlighted in my Chairman’s Priorities Newsletters.

I hope you will take the opportunity to listen to them, perhaps through the free listening service available on Naxos.com, or your NaxosMusicLibrary.com subscription.

I wish you many hours of happy listening.”

- Klaus Heymann, chairman of the Naxos Group of Companies

JANUARY
SAINT-SAËNS, C.:
Symphony No. 3, "Organ" /
Danse Macabre / Cypres et Lauriers

Warnier, Orchestre National de Lyon, Slatkin

“…this is the Saint Saëns Third Symphony recording par excellence.”
Gramophone

“…this is one of the stellar Thirds.”
Fanfare

8.573255
MORENO TORROBA, F.:
Guitar Concertos, Vol. 1
Concierto en flamenco / Diálogos

Pepe Romero, V. Coves,
Málaga Philharmonic, M. Coves

“Even if you think you’ve heard it all when it comes to guitar music, you will want this disc and, I suspect, the whole series.”
ClassicsToday.com

FEBRUARY
8.573135
CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO, M.:
Violin Concertos Nos. 1 and 2

Tianwa Yang, SWR Symphony,
Baden-Baden and Freiburg, Boer

 

“...I was riveted by the playing of Tianwa Yang. Here is a young woman who is already a mature artist and not just a performing machine. Her tone is sweet and well modulated throughout its range; her technique is of the sort that is always dependable yet never draws attention to itself, and she plays with a muscular strength that brings nobility to every note and line.”
Fanfare

8.573399
SCHUMANN, R.:
Carnaval / Davidsbündlertänze / Papillons

Giltburg

“…Giltburg has the capacity to identify with and encapsulate the moods of each piece while artlessly crafting them into a shapely span.”
The Daily Telegraph ★★★★

“[Boris Giltburg’s] tone is pure velvet, cushioned and almost vocal in quality”
BBC Music Magazine

“Vivid, subtle performances”
The Sunday Times

“An artist whose interpretations can even stand the test with luminaries.”
Fono Forum

MARCH
8.660363-66
ROSSINI, G.:
Guillaume Tell [Opera]
(complete version)

Foster-Williams, Spyres, J. Howarth, Poznan Camerata Bach Choir,
Virtuosi Brunensis, Fogliani

“…here, thanks to a much leaner orchestra, appropriately fast tempos, and cast members that throws themselves into the fray with both feet, we have a Guillaume Tell that is truly interesting and compelling.”
Fanfare

8.573344
BIZET, G.:
Roma / Marche Funèbre /
Patrie Overture / Petite Suite

Ireland RTÉ National Symphony, Tingaud

“…this disc offers delights aplenty, not least thanks to Jean-Luc Tingaud’s stylish and alert conducting. Everything is in place, nothing is rushed, even at the fastest tempo, and nothing drags at the slowest.”
BBC Music Magazine ★★★★★

APRIL
8.573139
SAINT-SAËNS, C.:
Symphonies, Vol. 2 - Symphony No. 3 / Symphony in A Major /
Le rouet d'Omphale

C.A. Landström, Malmö Symphony, Soustrot

“With his conducting, Marc Soustrot creates a lot of electrifying energy, the excellent sound of the Malmö Symphony Orchestra having been perfectly captured by the sound crew. The second volume of the Saint-Saëns Edition from Malmö maintains what the first promised.”
Pizzicato ★★★★★

8.573347-48
COUPERIN, F.:
Nations (Les)

Juilliard Baroque

“All eight players are totally absorbed in the style. Their often dense ornamentation never sounds calculated or contrived; their rhythmic flow in slower movements has a captivating insouciance, relaxed, gently fluid. This is French playing that would be hard to better.”
BBC Music Magazine ★★★★

MAY
8.660369-71
ROSSINI, G.:
La gazza ladra [Opera]

Moreno, Tarver, Regazzo, Praticò,
Brno Classica Chamber Choir,
Virtuosi Brunensis, Zedda

“In this Wildbad performance [Zedda] is very much master of his craft, conducting with a mixture of guile and élan that calls to mind the Rossini conducting of Vittorio Gui. The Czech-based Virtuosi Brunensis…play like born-and-bred Rossinians, endlessly responsive to detail and to those instrumental colours which Zedda’s love of the music makes manifest.”
Gramophone

8.570611
ZHOU, Long / CHEN, Yi:
Symphony, "Humen 1839" /
ZHOU, Long:
The Rhyme of Taigu / The Enlightened

New Zealand Symphony, Darrell Ang

“Long and Yi give us music well worth hearing, world-class orchestral music that goes its own way and reflects a melding of Asian and contemporary elements both convincing and at times quite exciting.”
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review

JUNE
8.573299
SIBELIUS, J.:
Kuolema / King Kristian II /
Overture in A Minor

Pajala, Torikka, Turku Philharmonic, Segerstam

“Segerstam directs with his customary big heart and acute sensitivity for texture and mood… The young Finnish baritone Waltteri Torikka gives a wonderful account of the haunting ‘Fool’s Song of the Spider’… Soprano Pia Pajala makes a heady thing of Elsa’s song ‘Eilaa, eilaa’, while Torikka’s lustrous timbre sent shivers down my spine in ‘Paavali’s Song’. …Segerstam offers most attentive support. The engineering is truthful throughout.”
Gramophone

8.572729
PIGOVAT, B.:
Requiem, "The Holocaust" /
Poem of Dawn

Serova, Croatian Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra, Guerini

 

“music of striking serenity, beauty and depth, becoming highly emotional in the performance by violist Anna Serova and the Croatian Radiotelevision Symphony Orchestra”
Pizzicato

JULY
8.573300
SIBELIUS, J.:
Belshazzar's Feast /
Overture in E Major /
Scène de ballet / Cortège / Menuetto

Pajala, Turku Philharmonic, Segerstam

“Segerstam is an ideal Sibelius conductor, flexible and alert to the boundary between interior and formal, and Naxos scores with the engineering from the small Turku Concert Hall. A must-have release for Sibelius lovers, and an unexpected pleasure for anybody.”
Allmusic.com

8.573064
BALADA, L.:
Concerto for Piano, Winds
and Percussion / Cello Concerto /
Viola Concerto

Graf, Premo, Pillai, Carnegie Mellon Wind Ensemble

“Balada has a gift for instrumental layering and chatter, and he takes the players to extremes of range and dynamics with almost giddy modernist delight.”
Gramophone

AUGUST
8.573301
SIBELIUS, J.:
Pelleas and Melisande /
Musik zu einer Szene / Autrefois /
Valse Chevaleresque

Pajala, Nordqvist, Turku Philharmonic, Segerstam

“Leif Segerstam reveals the originality of Sibelius’s beautiful Pelléas and Mélisande and shows with much electrifying tension what a masterpiece it is.”
Pizzicato ★★★★★

8.573335
SEPTEMBER
8.559742
BERNSTEIN, L.:
Symphony No. 3, "Kaddish" /
Missa Brevis / The Lark

Washington Chorus, São Paulo Symphony Chorus, Baltimore Symphony, Alsop

“Marin Alsop, once a Bernstein protégé, conducts a coherent program of some of his choral works, delivering an incisive and brilliant account of the Third Symphony in its original version. With her sensitive and expressive voice, Claire Bloom achieves to give the long spoken text a new quality.”
Pizzicato ★★★★

8.573340
SIBELIUS, J.:
Jokamies (Jedermann) /
2 Pieces, Op. 77 / In Memoriam

Pajala, Katajala, Söderlund, Palmu,
Turku Philharmonic, Segerstam

“complex but rewarding, and especially worthwhile”
The Mail on Sunday

OCTOBER
8.501111
SHOSTAKOVICH, D.:
Symphonies (Complete)
(11-CD Box Set)

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra, Petrenko

“Magnificent, thrilling performances given expressive, idiomatic readings by a formidable young conductor ... the performances are skilful, breathtaking and beautiful. Reference quality sound rarely comes at this bargain-basement price point. Very, very highly recommended!”
Audiophile Audition ★★★★★

8.573400
BEETHOVEN, L. van:
Piano Sonatas Nos. 8, 21, 32

Giltburg

“Giltburg’s highly articulated fingerwork…gives appropriate variety and character to the gnarly writing… Naxos provides superb, full-bodied and detailed sound.”
Gramophone

NOVEMBER
WAGNER, R.:
Rheingold (Das) [Opera]

Goerne, DeYoung, Begley, Sidhom, Cangelosi, Hong Kong Philharmonic,
van Zweden

“…[Wotan’s] handling of the text is as exemplary as anyone would expect from such a seasoned lieder singer, but it’s the power and gravitas that Goerne brings to the role that are so startling. There’s real dark authority to the lower reaches of his voice, and a range of colour of the upper registers that conjures up an intriguingly complex character psychologically…”
The Guardian

8.573521
SCHMITT, F.:
Antoine et Cléopâtre Suites
Nos. 1 and 2 / Le Palais Hanté

Buffalo Philharmonic, Falletta

“Quietly sensational Schmitt, superbly recorded; nothing short of a revelation”
MusicWeb International

DECEMBER
8.573459
CIMAROSA, D.:
Overtures, Vol. 4

Czech Chamber Philharmonic, Pardubice, Halász

  Listen to an extract from the Overture to Cimarosa's La finta frascatana:
III. Allegro molto

8.573470
TANEYEV, S.I.:
String Quartets (Complete),
Vol. 4 - Nos. 6, 9

Carpe Diem String Quartet

  Listen to an extract from Taneyev's String Quartet No. 9 in A major:
IV. Allegro giocoso


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