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This month brings you another bumper crop of great reviews from the leading music magazines, quality dailies and online review sites. There’s no doubt about it: Naxos releases and distributes some of the best music and audiovisual albums!

HIGHLY REVIEWED ALBUMS OF THE MONTH

SAINT-SAËNS, C.: Cello and Orchestra Works – Cello Concertos Nos. 1, 2 • Suite in D Minor • Romance
Buy/Stream
SAINT-SAËNS, C.: Cello and Orchestra Works – Cello Concertos Nos. 1, 2 • Suite in D Minor • Romance
Gabriel Schwabe • Malmö Symphony • Soustrot
Naxos 8.573737



‘Exceptional. Schwabe plays with a light heart and produces a light, airy tone to match, combined with a nonchalance and poise that I found most attractive.’ – Gramophone

‘It’s wholly delightful. An effortlessly collectable release, for sure.’ – ClassicsToday.com

‘Throughout the disc, ensemble between soloist and orchestra is immaculate, with a wonderfully fluid approach to rubato.’ – The Strad


BERSA, B.: Piano Works (Complete), Vol. 1
Goran Filipec
Grand Piano GP767


‘New music to me, but what a delight to discover! This is the opening volume of a series devoted to the Croation composer Blagoje Bersa’s, and one couldn’t ask for a better champion than Goran Filipec.’ – Jed Distler, Gramophone



NAXOS RELEASES (in alphabetical order)

ALDRIDGE, R.L.: Sister Carrie [Opera]
Zabala • Phares • M. Morgan • Jordheim • Florentine Opera Chorus • Milwaukee Symphony • Boggs
Naxos 8.669039-40

‘Keith Phares, who created Elmer Gantry, sings Hurstwood with charisma. Mezzo Ariana Zabala, as Carrie, shows remarkable vocal and dramatic versatility. That, along with the luxuriant playing by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra under William Boggs and the considerable contributions by the Florentine Opera Chorus, is more than enough for a thoroughly successful new opera.’ – Opera News


ARGENTO, D.: Andrée Expedition (The) • From the Diary of Virginia Woolf
Mulligan • Long
Naxos 8.559828

‘This Naxos recording, featuring the muscular yet versatile baritone Brian Mulligan, offers two remarkable cycles’ – Opera News


BAKER, C.: Piano Concerto, “From Noon to Starry Night” • Aus Schwanengesang
M.-A. Hamelin • Indianapolis Symphony • Varga • Mena
Naxos 8.559804

‘Performances could hardly be bettered. Marc-André Hamelin conjures scintillating pianism, while Gilbert Varga and Juanjo Mena secure committed orchestral playing.’ – Gramophone


BELLINI, V.: Bianca e Gernando [Opera]
Dalla Benetta • Mironov • Dall’Amico • Prato • Poznan Camerata Bach Choir • Virtuosi Brunensis • Fogliani
Naxos 8.660417-18

‘Mironov sings with breathtaking vocal beauty and sensitivity, and dispatches the florid writing and stratospheric high notes with ease. This is bel canto tenor singing of the absolute highest order and on its own justifies purchase of this set.’ – Fanfare


DANIELPOUR, R.: String Quartets Nos. 5-7
Plitmann • Delray String Quartet
Naxos 8.559845


‘The music is immediately appealing in these outstanding performances by the Delray String Quartet’ – Pizzicato


GRAINGER, P.: Wind Band Music (Complete), Vol. 1
Royal Norwegian Navy Band • Engeset
Naxos 8.573679

‘There is not a dull moment anywhere, and one excitedly awaits Vol. 2. ’ – AllMusic.com


KODÁLY, Z.: Concerto for Orchestra • Dances of Galánta • Dances of Marosszék • The Peacock Variations
Buffalo Philharmonic • Falletta
Naxos 8.573838

‘What’s not to love? Here are seventy-seven minutes of music that you really can sit down and play straight through.’ – ClassicsToday.com


PIAZZOLLA, A.: Violin and Piano Arrangements (Legacy)
Tomás Cotik • Tao Lin
Naxos 8.573789

‘Cotik doesn’t just play tango music—he lives it. It’s absolutely captivating and intoxicating stuff.’ – The WholeNote


Gerard Schwarz Collection (The) (30-CD Box Set)
Various Artists
Naxos 8.503294

‘A huge amount to enjoy. You won’t be disappointed.’ – Gramophone


STRAVINSKY, I.: The Rite of Spring (arr. V. Leyetchkiss for piano) • DEBUSSY, C.: La Mer (arr. L. Garban for piano)
Ralph van Raat
Naxos 8.573576

‘Van Raat’s virtuosity and physical endurance carry him through his gripping performances, and these solo piano transcriptions of both Le Sacre du printemps and La Mer are as convincing as the two-piano versions’ – AllMusic.com


VILLA-LOBOS, H.: Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2
São Paulo Symphony, Karabtchevsky
Naxos 8.573829

‘This release is a beauty in every way, from its moody black and white photo of Rio de Janeiro on the cover, to the silken performances within of music I didn’t know’ – Fanfare


WAGNER, R.: Siegfried [Opera]
O’Neill • Goerne • Cangelosi • Mechelen • Melton • Hong Kong Philharmonic • van Zweden
Naxos 8.660413-16

‘Simon O’Neill’s steely, bright-toned heldentenor encompasses this killer part with deceptive ease’ – BBC Music Magazine

‘A real jewel in the Naxos catalogue. ’ – MusicWeb International


INDEPENDENT LABELS RELEASES (in alphabetical order)

BACH, J.S.: St. Matthew Passion [Oratorio] (Choreographed Version) (NTSC)
Kristjánsson • Stražanac • Gaechinger Cantorey • Rademann
Accentus Music ACC-20408


‘The vocal soloists are all excellent, fairly extrovert whether in a mode of declamation or confession; Benno Schachtner’s alto and Benedikt Kristjánsson’s Evangelist are most vividly drawn and sung.’ – Gramophone


RAMEAU, J.-P.: Indes galantes (Les) [Opera] (Blu-ray, Full-HD)
Auvity • Quintans • Prohaska • Münchner Festspielorchester • Balthasar-Neumann-Chor • Bolton • Cherkaoui
Bel Air Classiques BAC438

‘Cyril Auvity is ardent and glowing right to the top of his extraordinary range, first as Valère and then as Tacmas. Ana Quintans and Anna Prohaska share the female laurels, and the dramatic interplay between them offers some of the production’s most touching moments.’ – Gramophone


Orchestral Songs – MARX, J. • BRAUNFELS, W. • KORNGOLD, E.W. • PFITZNER, H. (Love’s Embrace)
Banse • Münchner Rundfunkorchester • Weigle
BR-Klassik 900322

‘This programme brings together some of the most seductive songs of Joseph Marx, Walter Braunfels, Korngold and Pfitzner in a nicely balanced selection. All are lovingly wrapped in orchestral garb, which is a particularly attractive proposition with the Pfitzner songs…an enjoyable programme, lovingly performed. ’ – Gramophone


SCHUBERT, F.: Winterreise
Skovhus • Vladar
Capriccio C5291

‘I was so overwhelmed by their reading that it took me a long time to get back to normal again. I suspect that most readers with an interest in art songs already have at least one recording of Winterreise. However good that recording is, I urge you to listen to Skovhus and Vladar as well. ’ – MusicWeb International


Trios for Flute, Clarinet and Piano – ROGERSON, C. • COLEMAN, V. • CONNESSON, G. • SCHOENFIELD, P. (Portraits)
McGill • McHale Trio
Cedille CDR90000-172

‘The McGill brothers boast stunningly clear and resonant woodwind timbres, exquisite balance and blend, sensitive phrasing, and expert technique; and McHale matches them with superb touch, voicing, pedal work, and musical instinct, including a good sense of when to go for broke.’ – American Record Guide


STRAUSS, R.: Tod und Verklärung • Aus Italien
Frankfurter Opern- und Museumsorchester • Weigle
OehmsClassics OC892

‘A thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding disc, highly recommended.’ – Gramophone


DEBUSSY, C.: Preludes, Books 1 and 2 • Children’s Corner
Paavali Jumppanen
Ondine ODE1304-2D

‘This fascinating new two-disc set of Debussy, superbly recorded by Ondine, presents the bona fides of the Finnish pianist Paavali Jumppanen as a musician of keen intelligence and almost preternatural sensitivity. ’ – Gramophone


BELLINI, V.: Norma [Opera] (Royal Opera House, 2016) (NTSC)
Yoncheva • Calleja • Ganassi • Royal Opera Chorus • Orchestra of the Royal Opera House • Pappano • Ollé
Opus Arte OA1247D

‘This is a generally valuable production of Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma from London’s Royal Opera House. Antonio Pappano’s conducting is powerful and very supporting for the excellent orchestra and a handpicked cast of singers.’ – Pizzicato


MOZART, W.A.: Così fan tutte [Opera]
Price • Fassbaender • W. Brendel • Schreier • Grist • T. Adam • Bayerische Staatsoper • Sawallisch
Orfeo C918182I


‘Here we have a very dramatic and lively account of Mozart’s ‘Cosi fan tutte’, with a stellar cast. The recording doesn’t show its age, and so we only can recommend this superb release.’ – Pizzicato


Arrangements for Recorder, Guitar and Percussion (Brazilian Landscapes)
Petri • M. Mazur • D. Murray
OUR Recordings 6.220618

‘This is a delightful collection. Petri has chosen repertoire that reflects the combination of nostalgia, lyricism, and dance that characterizes Brazilian music at its best. ’ – American Record Guide


Chamber Music – ENESCU, G. • BARTÓK, B. Rhapsodie Roumaine
G. Apap • Ketler • Ensemble Raro
Solo Musica SM277


‘Well-thought-out and imaginatively played program. Violinist Gilles Apap’s performances are particularly impressing. ’ – Pizzicato


SUK, J.: Asrael • KREJCI, I.: Serenata
Südwestfunk-Orchester Baden-baden • Ančerl
SWR Classic SWR19055CD

‘To say that the conductor gives his all would be an understatement. This is a performance of Toscanini-Rodziński-Carlos Kleiber-like intensity. …the Südwestfunk Orchester Baden-Baden responds with crisp, dynamic, spot-on playing, reveling in the music’s wry wit and grotesqueries. All in all, a splendid disc. ’ – The Art Music Lounge


TALES OF TWO CITIES – Leipzig-Damascus Coffee House (The) (DVD + CD set) (NTSC)
Nashman • Trio Arabica • Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra • Lamon
Tafelmusik TMK1035DVDCD

‘Playing under Jeanne Lamon is superb. Violist Patrick G. Jordan is wonderful in the Telemann concerto; violinist Aisslinn Nosky is stunning in Torelli. Trio Arabica is no less impressive in its musical world.’ – La Scena Musicale


BEETHOVEN, L. van: Symphony Nos. 1 and 3
Wiener Symphoniker • P. Jordan
Wiener Symphoniker WS013

‘…[here] are old skills married to new inspiration.’ – Gramophone



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