In addition to its own wide-reaching monthly new releases (see https://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.
OehmsClassics is the brainchild of Dieter Oehms. After working for 35 years in the recording industry (Deutsche Grammophon/Poygram and Arte Nova/BMG), he created this independent label in 2003.
Since its launch, OehmsClassics has become one of the leading independent classical record companies. The catalogue comprises more than 800 recordings covering a wide range of repertoire, available in CD and LP formats, and for download and streaming. For the coming years, the label plans to focus in the opera field and continue its successful collaboration with the opera houses in Berlin, Frankfurt, Graz and Essen. OehmsClassics is globally distributed by the Naxos Music Group.
Featuring the first recording of Meyerbeer’s principal work based on the new critical edition of the opera, this edition not only considers the musical text of the version known during the 19th century, which was released by the publisher Brandus, but also offers the version of the work that Meyerbeer produced for the definitive instrumentation and allowed to be rehearsed in Paris beginning in December 1848.
Czech composer and radio producer Jaroslav Krček is also an instrumentalist, conductor, and connoisseur of folk music. He graduated from Prague Conservatory of Music where he studied composition under the tutelage of Miloslav Kabeláč and conducting under Bohumir Liška. He draws inspiration from Czech traditional music, classical music, and folk music of the 18th and 19th centuries to create his own compositions. This new album features his vocal compositions: The Lord’s Prayerfrom the Aramaic, Mass No. 10, Do Not Trust Time, and Oh, Light of the World.
At the age of just fifteen, the budding composer Richard Strauss lost his way during a summer hike on the Heimgarten in the Bavarian Alps and ended up in a thunderstorm. The next day, he fantasized about the experience on the piano. That memory had matured into a concept describing a one-day hike in the form of a symphonic poem. In 1915, Strauss finally completed his masterpiece, Eine Alpensinfonie. It is probably his most famous symphonic poem. Its content is easily understandable, and the work became especially well-known for its required gigantic orchestral forces.
In his original program notes for Sonatra, composer Michael Gordon writes: “When I started writing Sonatra, I decided that since I would probably only ever write one piano piece in my entire life, I wanted to use all the keys on the piano and use them often. I constructed long chains or links of major and minor thirds that ceaselessly wind their way up and down the piano. Eventually they start cascading and intersperse with glissandos half the length of the keyboard, sounding to me like the performer has at least four hands.”
Many works by the Argentinian composer Martín Palmeri are inspired by the style of Tango Nuevo in terms of form and harmony. Misatango, composed in 1996, is a Latin Mass set to the traditional music of his homeland. Several of his works have been recorded, and he regularly takes part on the adjudication of choral festivals across Europe. Considering Palmeri’s stylistic influences, it is fitting that the ensemble led by Ulrich Stötzel has chosen to juxtapose works by Astor Piazzolla and Ismael Spitalnik with Palmeri’s Mass.
La secchia rapita (The Stolen Bucket), is the second operetta of Giulio Ricordi. It has been revived in a modern edition that faithfully follows the autograph manuscript. The libretto is taken from the famous mock-heroic poem of Alessandro Tassoni that tells about the war between Modena and Bologna. This is a world premiere recording performed by the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi and the Soloists and Chorus of the Civica Scuola di Musica.
The 20th anniversary of the Bruckner Festival in St. Florian in 2017 was celebrated with Bruckner’s Fifth Symphony. Interpreted by the Altomonte Orchester with Maestro Remy Ballot, the brilliant pairing came to be a truly worthy culmination of the festival. Through the interaction with the unique acoustics of the Priory Basilica, the abysses of deep despair Bruckner was afflicted with during the time of composition come to light, but also the strength and force which kept him alive.
Unlike the only published piano duet arrangement by Max Reger, which has serious performance limitations, Eleonor Bindman’s new transcription of the Brandenburg Concertos highlights their polyphony, imagining how Bach might have distributed the score if he had created four-part inventions for piano duet. With an equal partnership between the two instrumentalists, using the modern piano’s full potential to convey the unique scoring and character of each work, the concertos are ordered to create an engaging listening sequence.
This is the final volume in Lars Vogt’s new cycle of Beethoven’s Piano Concertos on Ondine. Piano Concerto No. 2 shows the influence of Mozart and at the same time a powerful evidence of Beethoven’s development as a composer towards maturity. The work was premiered in 1795 with Beethoven debuting as piano soloist. Piano Concerto No. 4 is considered by many as Beethoven’s best achievement in the field of piano concerto. He opens this work in a revolutionary way by means of a calm dialogue between the piano and the orchestra.
Gottfried von Einem’s Der Besuch der alten Dame is an opera based on the Swiss tragicomic play of the same name by Friedrich Durrenmatt. It came some 15 years later after the play was written in 1956. In the opera, an enormously wealthy older woman returns to her former hometown with a sinister bargain: she wants the townspeople to kill the man who got her pregnant, then jilted her. In exchange, she offers the town enough money to revitalize their decrepit city. Eventually, the townspeople agree to her dreadful deal. This release is the live recording from the premiere performance in Vienna, May 23rd, 1971.
Kyle Gann’s Hyperchromatica is a work in seventeen movements, lasting two hours and 35 minutes, for three microtonally tuned Disklaviers (computer-driven pianos). It would be more accurate, actually, to think of this not as music for three pianos, but for one piano with 243 keys. In addition to the microtonality, most of the pieces also use polytempo structures and other rhythmic difficulties that would make performance by human players impossible. The fusion of microtonality and polytempo that Gann began in his work Custer and Sitting Bull reaches a second climax here.
The Viennese cellist Joseph Merk has become one of many musicians who were originally associated with a lot of historically important facts and figures before falling into oblivion. Merk’s musical career began at a very early age as a successful violin player. After being bitten by a dog in his left arm, he could no longer hold the violin up to his chin and thus changed to the cello, which at the time had just started to become a soloist’s instrument. This release from cellist Martin Rummel features Merk’s 20 Etudes for Solo Cello, Op. 11.
Jürg Eichenberger and ErikoKagawa have been working together for decades. They’ve spent a long-time planning to record Bragato’s tango Graciela y Buenos Aires and his arrangements of Piazzolla’s pieces. Graciela y Buenos Aires is a musical testimony to Bragato’s friendship with Jürg Eichenberger. However, Bragato died before Eichenberger and Kagawa recorded his music. Intended as a tribute to Bragato, this is the first recorded compilation of Bragato’s own compositions and exclusive arrangements, which also contains Daniel Fueter’s cello and piano arrangements of Satie’s piano pieces.
This release comes from one of the hardest-working and most respected pianists in the world today—Stewart Goodyear. Every album from Goodyear is released to widespread critical acclaim, and this one is sure to be no different. Goodyear writes of this release: “It was the year Glenn Gould died when I first heard his legendary name. It was his Bach that introduced me to his playing. His sound struck me immediately…a sound that was compelling and uncompromising. It was not designed to speak words of mere prettiness, but of an individual truth.”
Wilhelm Backhaus is the first pianist to record all 24 Etudes, Opp. 10 and 25 by Frederic Chopin. Still admired today, the recording documents his superb technique and simultaneously his temperament with its almost ebullient willingness to share. In the present documentation, we have Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-Flat Major, Op. 73. Joseph Keilberth conducted the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra in palpable accordance with the clear and clarified desires and wishes of the soloist. This recording is not only a confirmation of Backhaus as an absolute authority for the E-Flat Major, but also a clarion call to Keilberth.
Concerts with Maria Schneider are something special. They are stylistically not only out of the ordinary, but also manage to bring large orchestras to perform artistically at high voltage, with an energy and at a creative level which is otherwise known only in much smaller ensembles. It is not the music alone that drives the participants, but rather the serene seriousness of a band leader who demands a maximum of intensity from her compositions and passes this premise on to their interpretation. This original recording was made in May 2000 when Schneider appeared alongside the SWR Big Band.
With Gloriosus Franciscus, Anonima Frottolisti presents a cross-section of the history of music relevant to the Franciscan ideal through the first three centuries of the history of the Order. This sequence of selected pieces reveals both the learned side of the music and its closeness to folk devotion during the period straddling the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Anonima Frottolisti is an experienced group, which specializes in early music and medieval music. Their previous recordings have been widely well-received.
DVOŘÁK, A.: Symphony No. 9, “From the New World” • Rusalka (excerpts)
Opolais • Gewandhausorchester Leipzig • Nelsons
Accentus Music ACC-10419 [BD] | ACC-20419 [DVD]
Recorded live at the Gewandhaus zu Leipzig in May 2017, this release features a delightful concert by the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig and conductor Andris Nelsons. For the programme, the conductor has chosen works by Antonin Dvořák, including Othello Concert Overture, Rusalka, and his famous Symphony No. 9. Featuring in the title role of Rusalka is sopranoKristine Opolais.
RIMSKY-KORSAKOV, N.A.: The Golden Cockerel [Opera] (La Monnaie – De Munt, 2016)
Hunka • Dolgov • Shushakov • Brussels La Monnaie - De Munt Opera Chorus and Orchestra • Altinoglu
Bel Air Classiques BAC447 [BD] | BAC147 [DVD]
Rimsky-Korsakov’s Golden Cockerel draws from a poem by Alexander Pushkin, and undoubtedly counts among the most subversive works in the history of music. A very direct attack against autocracy, stupidity and political inertia, it was censored and premiered only in 1909, one year after Rimsky-Korsakov’s death. Drawing from the modernity of Rimsky-Korsakov’s musical and dramatic imagination, the ambiguities of its specular structure, and its underlying reflection on language, manipulation and absurdity, the French stage director, Laurent Pelly, underlies the heavily symbolical aspects of this fierce and pitiless tale, all the while remembering both its historical context and its universal philosophical depth.
CALLAS, Maria: Magic Moments of Music – Tosca 1964 (Film, 2018)
C Major 745104 [BD] | 745008 [DVD]
At the beginning of 1964, the music world experiences something completely unexpected. Maria Callas returns to the opera stage as primadonna. Her Tosca at the Royal Opera House becomes a sensation. Maria Callas wants to show that the title of Primadonna assoluta is still rightfully hers. The film tells the story of the event from today’s perspective and includes the performance of Tosca’s second act as bonus. It’s one of the few opportunities to see Maria Callas on stage and witness her emotional dramatics and vocal competence in one of the most dramatic acts in opera history.
MOZART, W.A.: Così fan tutte [Opera] (Royal Opera House, 2016)
Puértolas • Kränzle • Behle • Royal Opera House Chorus and Orchestra • Bychkov
Opus Arte OABD7237D [BD] | OA1260D [DVD]
The School for Lovers Mozart’s alternative title for Così fan tutte, is given a playful, theatrical treatment by German director Jan Philipp Gloger, who sets this new production for The Royal Opera in a theatre. The four lovers are performed by a cast of young rising stars, with Sabina Puértolas as the fun-loving Despina and Johannes Martin Kränzle as the impresario Don Alfonso. Semyon Bychkov conducts the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House.
Artist David Hockney is widely considered Britain’s most popular artist whose work is celebrated the world over. His exhibitions generate huge excitement, attracting millions of visitors. Director Phil Grabsky gained privileged access as the artist prepared for two remarkable exhibitions at London’s Royal Academy of Arts. A Bigger Picture explored Hockney’s return to his native Yorkshire where, using innovative techniques and technologies, he captured the landscape as it changes across the seasons. For 82 Portraits and One Still Life viewers see Hockney at work under his self-imposed deadline of 3 days for each painting.