In addition to its own wide-reaching monthly new releases (see www.naxos.com/newreleases.asp), Naxos also distributes several leading labels in many countries around the world. Here is a choice selection of recent releases from some of these distributed labels.
Founded in 1982, the CAPRICCIO record label has become well-known for the individual character of its diverse catalogue. While standard repertoire by Bach, Beethoven and Mozart has its place, most of the label’s CD and DVD titles feature music from all historical periods that is either less well known or has been recently rediscovered.
Capriccio enjoys an enviable diversity of recordings: operas by Hasse, Graun, Schreker and Zemlinsky; the symphonies of Joseph Martin Kraus, Gossec, Schulhoff and Ullmann; the comprehensive Kurt Weill Edition; the complete film music of Shostakovich and Schnittke; and the ‘20th-century Portraits’ series, featuring music by composers such as Ernst Bloch, Egon Wellesz and Paul Dessau.
Eminent artists have ensured a consistently high standard of performance over the years. These include Christoph Eschenbach, Bo Skovhus, Harriet Krijgh, Christine Schäfer, Ramón Vargas, Tzimon Barto, Matthias Goerne, Anne Schwanewilms, Christine Schornsheim, Jochen Kowalski, Hermann Prey, the Vienna Boys’ Choir, Concerto Köln, Max Emanuel Cenčić, Vladimir Spivakov and Dmitri Kitajenko.
The fate of Ekkehard, a lovesick monk, unfolds against the historical background of the battle against heathenism and the invasion of the Huns, elements that seem tailor-made for grand opera. Abert set the different strands of the libretto in contrasting musical styles, framed by the individual tonal language he had developed in his previous operas. The brilliant timbre of the young tenor Jonas Kaufmann made him ideally suited to the title role in this virtually unknown opera. The production was one of his first recordings, now remastered and re-released.
Additional Exciting New Releases and Bestsellers from Capriccio
The name of the Russian composer Rodion Shchedrin is primarily associated in the West with his Carmen Suite which has been highly popular ever since its first performance. The thirteen movements of this ballet music are based on Bizet’s opera Carmen and carefully adapted to the musical language of the present day. Meanwhile, the symphonic poems Roman Trilogy which deal with the fountains, pine trees and festivals of Rome, made Respighi’s name immortal. In his Pines of Rome, he describes four locations in the Eternal City, each with a different historical background—Pines of the Villa Borghese, The Pines near a Catacomb, The Pines of the Janiculum, and The Pines of the Appian Way.
The great poet Adam Zagajewski once wrote that ‘true poetry… is impossible except when it encounters the world of that imagination which was once called spirit.’ The same is true of music, and most certainly of the song genre, which inhabits the world of the imagination and is by nature fragile and evanescent. Each of the composers represented on this album can be said to be a part of the world of ‘true music’. Their compositions in this programme are tied together by their exoticism, mood, unreal and fabulous character, gentleness, a nocturnal kind of uncertainty, and last but not least, a sense of transience.
Jin Yin (Golden Tone) comprises world-premiere recordings of works by Yao Chen, Vivian Fung, and Lu Pei, plus specially made new arrangements of pieces from Zhou Long and Chen Yi. First recordings include Yao Chen’s mystical, rhapsodic Emanations of Tara, named for a revered figure in Tibetan Buddhism and written expressly for the Civitas Ensemble; Vivian Fung’s Birdsong, a virtuosic piece for violin and piano that opens and closes with evocations of bird calls; and Lu Pei’s vigorous and lyrical Scenes Through Window, imbued with both American minimalist rhythms and South China folk traditions.
All three composers featured on this recording were central to the Danish Golden Age, a period of blossoming in the arts and music that delivered countless gems. Here, principal players from the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra perform fine concertante works from two composers who are experiencing a renaissance and one who still languishes in obscurity. From the splendour of Kuhlau’s William Shakespeare and his melodious Concertino, the fresh melodic qualities of Gade’s Capriccio, and the as yet unpublished Oboe Concerto by Barth these new recordings from Aarhus make the case for four winning Danish scores.
The legendary late American organist, composer, and pedagogue McNeil Robinson was especially prized for his skill at improvisation: a rare discipline largely restricted to European masters of the organ. Many distinguished composers of his day—including Marcel Dupré, Ned Rorem, Lukas Foss, and Vincent Persichetti—were his regular collaborators, providing thematic materials for his peerless improvisatory events. Robinson himself regarded this revelatory March 21, 2006 performance of Improvisations on the Fourteen Stations of the Cross—a treasured ritual of sacred Christian liturgy—as the finest of his improvisatory efforts. His dying wish was to have it released to the musical public as the pinnacle of his storied legacy, hence this marvellous live recording of the event.
One of the best biographies about Glenn Herbert Gould, written by Kevin Bazzana is titled Wondrous Strange. It is such an apt title because Gould was everything this phrase connotes. He embraced both, the atonal and the romantic world—and neither for or with their dogmatisms. His String Quartet, ‘Opus 1’ sounded like a cauldron of the great romantic composers: anything from Strauss to Wagner, Bruckner, Brahms, Wolf, and late Beethoven.
Friedrich Gulda was a proclaimed enemy of apartheid in music. His companions and contemporaries could only notice or sense a small part of him. His String Quartet in F-Sharp Minor is in no way a journeyman’s piece but lies somewhere in that grey zone between solid technical competence, precise construction, and harmonic ambiguity.
Tibor Harsányi is always associated with ‘L’École de Paris’, a loosely knit collection of expatriate composers living in the city, among them Martinů, Tansman and Tcherepnin. He embraced music from a wide variety of sources, notably from North and South America, and this enriched his own music’s rhythmic vitality and sense of colour. In his piano music, Harsányi drew on diverse source material, a free-spirted absorption of Hungarian traditions, neo-Baroque, the comic and jazz, as can be heard in the 5 Préludes brefs. Baby-Dancing draws on the foxtrot, Boston, czárdás and samba, while La Semaine, seven pieces, one for each day of the week, contains nocturnes of stillness, off-beat folk songs and a wealth of colour and verve.
Zelmira was the last opera Rossini wrote for Naples, knowing it would also be his calling card to Vienna where he had been assured performances. Keen to reconcile the alleged incompatibility between ‘Italian’ melody and ‘German’ harmony, Rossini employed exciting and daring harmonies and a raft of dazzling orchestral effects in this tragedy in which a daughter saves her father, the king, and her son, from usurpers to the throne. The opera was acclaimed wherever it was heard, and this recording presents the revised and triumphant Paris version.
Detlev Glanert (b. 1960) is a contemporary German composer who found early success with his opera Der Spiegel des großen Kaisers (The Big Emperor’s Mirror), which won the Rolf Liebermann Opera Award in 1995. His newest stage work, Oceane, was premiered on April 28, 2019 at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. It enthused both the audience and critics and was hailed as ‘one of the most exciting new operas of recent times’ by the Berlin newspaper Der Tagesspiegel. Glanert and the writer Hans Ulrich Treichel conceived the libretto loosely according to Theodor Fontane’s fragment Oceane von Parceval. It tells the story of Oceane, a mystical female creature of the sea, that comes to land in search of the ability to feel emotions.
Tõnu Kõrvits (b. 1969) is together with Arvo Pärt and Erkki-Sven Tüür among the most interesting Estonian composers of our time. This album by the Estonian NSO and Risto Joost consists of orchestral works written between a period of ten years, from 2007 to 2018. These works have been inspired by a variety of themes and are rich with delicate atmosphere possessing a particularly Northern feel combined with a romantic and Impressionistic touch. The 5-movement suite Hymns to the Nordic Lights is the central work and evokes the magic of the Northern landscape with Nordic Lights. Other pieces on this album include Azure, Silent Songs, Leaving Capri, Tears Fantasy, and Elegies of Thule.
While Ludwig van Beethoven’s only opera Fidelio remains at home timelessly on all the major stages, concert audiences are usually only aware of the relevant overtures of the other stage music by the great composer. However, the eminently appealing music of Egmont with its beautiful and catchy songs and its energetic and melodious orchestral scores might be considered as Beethoven’s most interesting and worthwhile stage music after Fidelio.
Antonín Reicha’s dramatic cantata Lenore is the musical setting of the eponymous horror ballade by the German poet Gottfried August Bürger, famous today above all as the author of the tales concerning the Baron of the Lies, Münchhausen. In comparison with Beethoven (who is said greatly to have admired Reicha’s Lenore and even to have recommended it be performed), in musical terms Reicha’s cantata does not point into the future despite all its onomatopoetic effects, but takes its bearings audibly from the epic oratorio style of Reicha’s mentor and friend, Joseph Haydn.
In the run-up to his 70th birthday, Duke Ellington was already acknowledged as the great historical figure of African-American music, honoured with academic degrees and appearing on the front pages of renowned magazines. Yet he still felt driven to perform as much as possible, and so he set out to tour the world with his orchestra, taking in Japan, North Africa, South America and Eastern Europe. During these travels, he was able to stop off in Stuttgart in March 1967 to present a colourful mixed programme that comprised a few tried-and-tested pieces and many lesser-known compositions. By Ellington’s standards, it was a modern concert, exuberant in mood and at times mischievous in arrangements that sported some shrill colouring. It also showed that a basically traditional jazz orchestra performing in the rock-era ’60s could still generate enough charisma to enthrall an audience such as that gathered in the Liederhalle. Revolutions were now being created by others, but Duke Ellington remained the brilliant master of the grand musical gesture.
The genre of operatic fantasy, which pervaded 19th-century Italian musical culture, has already been extensively explored in various Tactus productions dedicated to chamber and sacred music. This latest addition to the Tactus catalogue features the fantasies of Antonino Pasculli based on the immortal melodies of Giuseppe Verdi, and highlights the oboe and cor anglais. The masterful interpretation of Paolo Grazia, accompanied by the Orchestra Senzaspine conducted by Matteo Parmeggiani and Tommaso Ussardi, makes for an inspirational experience.
In Traviata, the audience is invited into Violetta’s privacy to have a close look at the fire to which she abandons herself among the guests of this musical and phantasmagorical celebration that blends theatre and opera, voices that speak and sing, and where the distinction between the instrumentalists and the singers becomes blurred, where Charles Baudelaire is seated next to Christophe Tarkos, and where the phantoms of this Paris in full industrial boom whose future we are living at present, sing and die.
Rossini’s second masterpiece La Cenerentola premiered at the Teatro Valle in Rome on the 25th of January 1817, less than a year after the first performance of his The Barber of Seville and it’s pure, perfect Rossini. In this production, a set-up made to celebrate 200 years Rossini in Rome, Emma Dante’s ‘rousing Cinderella’ (Corriere della Sera) ‘succeeds in impressing her own contemporary vision on a classic masterpiece, in perfect symbiosis with the spirit of Rossini.’ (Opera Now) ‘Alejo Pérez deserves the credit for an excellent ensemble and a dazzling rhythmic rendering of the Rossinian score.’ (La Nazione, Il Resto del Carlino, Il Giorno)
Born in Parma, Ferdinando Paer wrote more than 50 operas. He composed Agnese in 1809 for a private entertainment and a company of amateur singers. In 1824, with a few changes to the score, this opera semiseria in two acts reached the Théâtre-Italien in Paris where it gained international success. Among its early admirers were Berlioz, Chopin and Victor Hugo (who mentioned it in his Les Misérables) but a few decades after its premiere it fell into oblivion. It was first revived in modern times in concert form by conductor Diego Fasolis. Finally, in 2019, with the benefit of a critical revision, it was staged at the Teatro Regio di Torino.
This collection consists of George Benjamin and Martin Crimp’s two award-winning full-length operas, in visually stunning productions by critically-acclaimed director Katie Mitchell. Written on Skin has been hailed as ‘magic and irresistible … the best opera written over the last twenty years’ (Le Monde). Similarly, Lessons in Love and Violence, which explores how personal relationships can have fatal political consequences, has been enthusiastically received, and has already received various awards including a 62nd GRAMMY Award nomination in the category Best Opera Recording.
The composer conducts two superb international casts, including soprano Barbara Hannigan, who appears in the leading roles of Agnès and Isabel.
Capriccio Encore is a series of re-releases of the most famous recordings from Capriccio’s back catalogue, fully re-mastered and competitively priced. The legendary recordings of artists such as Sandor Végh, Ton Koopman, Sir Neville Marriner and the Vienna Boys’ Choir also contain repertoire highlights that have a particularly special appeal, from the baroque to the present day. This Encore release features William Boyce’s 8 Symphonies, performed by the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, led by Sir Neville Marriner.
Download and enjoy!
Subscribe to receive our newsletters to get the FREE DOWNLOADS*! *Offer available until February 20, 2020 only.
Make sure you subscribe to receive the Naxos newsletters and watch out for the next offer.
Scheduled Service Outage Notice:
We will be doing our server maintenance on Saturday, October 26, 2019 (From 14:00 GMT to 15:00 GMT); 10:00 EDT to 11:00 EDT). Server interruption is expected and when it occurs, you may occasionally see messages like "connection reset", "cannot find server" or "page cannot be displayed" on the website. Service on Naxos may be affected at these times.