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.
Tactus: discovering the finest Italian Classical music!
Established in 1986 by Serafino Rossi, Tactus is devoted to the discovery and preservation of the enormous and still unexplored Italian classical music repertoire, from Gregorian chants to Contemporary Classics. The label is committed to capturing the purest and most natural sound of the original period instruments and in promoting historically informed performance practice. Tactus boasts a wide roaster of Italy’s talented musicians: Rinaldo Alessandrini, Enrico Gatti, Sergio Vartolo, Federico Maria Sardelli, Modo Antiquo, among others. Under the new leadership of Gian Enzo Rossi, son of the founder, the label continues to produce high-quality classical music recordings and gained Grammy Awards nominations. For the subsequent years, the label targets to release the complete instrumental and chamber works by Alessandro Scarlatti, Marco Enrico Bossi, Claudio Merulo, Giovanni Sgambati, Gaspare Spontini, Vincenzo Petrali, Giuseppe Sarti, and more.
Biagio Putignano is one of the most important exponents of New Music in Italy. His catalogue includes chamber music, various compositions for soloists, choral, electronic, and avant-garde music. Parts of his growing works are documented on this recording and performed by Pier Damiano Peretti using the valuable 1995 Mathis organ of the Scottekirche, Vienna. Also included on this release are remarkable Italian keyboard works found in Faenza Codex, the well-known collection of the 14th-century surviving keyboard and vocal pieces.
The 24 Preludes for cello solo by Mieczysław Weinberg have a particular history. Composed in the late sixties for Mstislav Rostropovich, the renowned cellist never actually played them. Their musical language is aphoristic, often brutal, provocative in its inner conflict. It contains many different gestures and is very intense. To perform these preludes might have been problematic in the Soviet Union back then. Gidon Kremer has adapted the Preludes for solo violin and this is the world premiere recording of his adaptation. In his concerts, Kremer often plays them to projections of works by the Lithuanian photographer Antanas Sutkus in the background.
The House Devils present foot-stomping Irish songs and instrumental sets played with guitar, fiddle, cittern, flute, harmonica, whistle, mandolin, uilleann pipes, double bass and bodhran. The House Devils are Mat Walklate, Matt Fahey, Jonny Hulme, and Laszlo Palko. Reviews for the ensemble’s previous albums and performances have been stellar. “Mat Walklate… one of the best harmonica players on the planet… a cracking album, immediate, direct, and full of life.” (BBC Radio 2) “The whole group is solid and smoking… I was especially impressed with Mat’s harmonica… and Matt Fahey’s vocals, this man can sing… This is one you want to hear.” (Irish American News)
Johann Sebastian Bach’s St John Passion was written for Holy Week in 1724, directly after Bach was appointed as cantor of St Thomas’s Church in Leipzig. St John’s Passion is a true Baroque masterpiece, and still retains all of its vivacity and brightness nearly three centuries after its composition. This recording is brilliantly performed by the Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks alongside Concerto Köln, both highly recognised nd admired ensembles.
Reviewing the 2015 world premiere of composer Donnacha Dennehy and playwright Enda Walsh’s opera The Last Hotel, The Guardian’ s Kate Molleson was smitten by “a dark drama in which death hangs over every move—the titular hotel is a shabby establishment where guests go to kill themselves.” Modern musical theatre has consistently pushed against the boundaries of what constitutes “opera” in the traditional Western classical sense; The Last Hotel is firmly rooted in that vanguard, merging the grit and gall of experimental theatre and independent arthouse films with the crackling trajectory of post-classical chamber music.
CONCERTO KÖLN is an ensemble of young musicians who have stamped their hallmark on the interpretation of music, mainly of the 16th and 17th centuries. Their collective skill, technique and drive certainly opens your ears to an innovative way of presenting familiar material. There is no conductor. Spontaneity within an outline of a common goal is the basis of their music-making. Each performance is a unique event. Live concerts are adventures in sight, sound, imagination, and team spirit.
The Wajnberg Trio—pianist Piotr Salajczyk, violinist Szymon Krzeszowiec, and cellist Arkadiusz Dobrowolski—consists of renowned chamber musicians who engage daily in artistic activities in many fields. They share a fascination with the life and work of the outstanding Polish composer, Mieczyslaw Wajnberg, and the passion for performing chamber music. The Wajnberg Trio made its debut in 2016 during the 20th edition of the Tansman Festival in Lódz, and its repertoire is primarily the works of 20th-century Polish composers. This album—containing works by three Polish émigré composers—is the first in the ensemble’s output.
In the four commissioned works on this CD, you will hear music shaped by a variety of cultures and experiences. Clarice Assad brings the influence of her Brazilian heritage and experiences living in Brazil, France, and the US to her work; Reena Esmail works between the worlds of Indian and Western classical music; Jennifer Higdon was influenced early on by popular and folk music as well as geography and nature, and forges all these influences into her unique and powerful voice; and Jessie Montgomery sees music as a place where people can express both their differences and commonalities. All of these composers celebrate life with their music.
Elverskud (The Elf-King’s Daughter) is a dramatic cantata from 1854, based on Danish medieval ballads. It became one of Niels W. Gade’s greatest successes, not only in his native Denmark but throughout Europe, where Elverskud was performed several hundred times, often conducted by Gade himself. Gade was especially admired in Germany, and on this album, Elverskud is not only played on period instruments for the first time but is also sung for the first time with the German text that brought the work international fame. Soloists Sophie Junker, Ivonne Fuchs, and Johannes Weisser, alongside the Danish National Vocal Ensemble, superbly perform these works.
While Robinson Jeffers (1887–1962) is one of America’s most important 20th-century poets, relatively few composers have set his lean, emotive and enigmatic verses.
Composer Christopher Anderson-Bazzoli, like Jeffers a Californian with deep ties to the Monterey-Carmel area, has met the challenge with his expansive song cycle Continent’s End. The work successfully captures nine poems in which Jeffers, in characteristic fashion, combined striking nature imagery with powerful metaphysical musings and depictions of humankind’s transitory, conflicted role in the planet’s future.
Continent’s End is vividly brought to life on this recording by two outstanding performers who call the Bay Area home—mezzo-soprano Buffy Baggott and pianist Kevin Korth.
Raimund Lissy, violinist with the Vienna Philharmonic, has supported the rediscovered work of Viennese composer and violinist Joseph Mayseder (1798-1863) for years. He now presents his fourth album with chamber works by the Biedermeier composer, who himself had worked with Haydn, Beethoven, and Schubert. Mayseder gained great fame in his lifetime and bought a city house in Vienna for himself and his son-in-law, a jeweller whose descendants still are active there today. His works, mostly written for chamber music with violin participation, combine virtuosity with Viennese charm. In this volume, the Viennese Mayseder ensemble (with Lissy as 1st violinist) plays the String Quartet No. 2 and the String Quintet No. 2.
Mone Hattori came from a musical family. At age 10, she became the youngest ever winner of the Karol Lipinski and Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition. Her debut recording featuring Franz Waxman’s virtuoso showpiece Carmen-Fantasie is technically brilliant. Shostakovich’s magnificent Violin Concerto No. 1 completes the album, with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester under conductor Alan Buribayev. The album was released in Japan earlier, and received enthusiastic reviews: “I was reminded of the debut of Hilary Hahn… her outstanding talent really comes across clearly… listening to her play Shostakovich’s great cadenza, I’m sure I am not the only one who felt a shiver run down their spine.” (Stereo Review)
“I hear the embodiment of the wanderer resounding in my musical language. Each ‘end’ of a piece only brings forth the beginning of a new one”, says Sri Lankan-Australian composer Nirmali Fenn. The Hong Kong New Music Ensemble dedicates its first KAIROS release to Fenn’s small-scale chamber music: solos, duos, and trios. This is an intimate journey to the composer’s soul.
Founded in 2008, the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble is hailed as “one of Hong Kong’s most progressive groups of musicians” (CNN). Widely praised for its innovative programming, the Ensemble’s productions include concerts, education outreach events, and interdisciplinary collaborations and research projects with artists from different artistic fields.
The composer (Johann Gottfried) Carl Loewe is familiar to music lovers of the 20th and 21st centuries as the writer of important ballad scores, of which Edward, Erlkönig, Herr Oluf, and Archibald Douglas are well-known examples. Loewe wrote more than 400 songs. But the same Carl Loewe also write six operas, two symphonies and two piano concertos as well as a total of 17 sacred and secular oratorios, all of which have fallen into oblivion. With the present oratorio, the Arcis -Vocalisten, led by Thomas Gropper, are vehemently opposed to oblivion.
This solo album by cellist Wilhelmina Smith features works for solo cello by Esa-Pekka Salonen and Kaija Saariaho. Both composers belong to a generation of modernist Finnish composers whose work has gained broad acceptance in musical culture throughout the world. While each composer has a clear individual artistic persona, as a group they are known for pushing sonic boundaries. In writing for strings and, in particular on this recording, the cello, Salonen and Saariaho exploit the outer reaches of the technical possibilities for both the instrument and the performer.
As the head of the Symphony Orchestra of Bavarian Radio, Rafael Kubelik was one of the major personalities of post-war German music life. These audio recordings of two of Ludwig van Beethoven’s best-known works, the Missa Solemnis and the famous Symphony No. 9, demonstrate the reasons why Kubelik was adored for his interpretation of music. With Helen Donath, Brigitte Fassbaender, Peter Schreier, John Shirley-Quirk, and other voices from the very top ‘league’ of the concert and song guard of the 1970s and 1980s, these Munich recordings also go far beyond the status of historical sound documents—they are veritable reference recordings!
Johanna Senfter, one of Max Reger’s favourite students, is one of the most prolific female composers of the 20th century, having written more than 130 vocal and instrumental works. Nowadays, however, her music is nearly forgotten. Violinists Friedemann and Alexia Eichhorn, together with pianist Paul Rivinius, have recorded some of her violin works for a double album, which is now published as a co-production between Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (MDR) and Paladino Music. These four world premiere recordings present music that deserves a wide audience.
This is a new instalment in the SWR CLASSIC series dedicated to Hans Rosbaud. It contains all the recordings the Austrian conductor made for the SWR, some of them being released for the first time on modern recording technology. The recordings were made shortly (days!) before his death. Both Piano Concertos are interpreted by famous pianists of the 20th century: Walter Gieseking and Géza Anda. Gramophone recently remarked that Rosbaud “was one of the unsung heroes of mid-20th-century music, who … gave thoroughly rehearsed and assimilated performances and premieres of the widest possible range of music ”.
Rossini’s penultimate opera, premiered in 1828 at the Opéra National de Paris, is a musical comedy about a love triangle set during the Crusades. In this production from the Opéra Comique, its plot is transported to the time of the works’ creation with France’s military expeditions to Algeria. Stage director Denis Podalydès and costume designer Christian Lacroix provide stunning visuals, whilst conductor Louis Langrée leads the Orchestre des Champs-Élysées, the Chœur Les éléments, and a stellar cast of soloists in this delightful fool’s game. Le Comte Ory at the Opéra Comique is “a true musical and theatrical celebration where everything sparkles!” (Bachtrack)
Presented by the Festival della Valle d’Itria, this is the first modern-day staging of Leonardo Leo’s Neapolitan revision of Handel’s Rinaldo, a pastiche with a Mediterranean allure, which was composed in 1718 but considered lost until a few years ago.
The story behind this rare opera is fascinating: the score of Handel’s masterpiece was brought illegally to Naples by the castrato singer Nicolò Grimaldi, who had performed Rinaldo in London. Once in Italy, the work was given a makeover by local composers, including Leo, who adapted it to the taste of the Neapolitan public, adding intermezzos and amusing characters.
Acclaimed dancer-choreographer Akram Khan ‘speaks tremendously of tremendous things’ (Financial Times) and this new Giselle reimagines the classic narrative ballet for the 21st Century. Giselle has become a former garment factory migrant worker, Albrecht, a member of the wealthy factory-owning class. An abandoned ‘ghost factory’ haunted by the memory of female migrant workers, many of them victims of industrial accidents, replaces the traditional glade of Act II. There, Giselle’s desire to break the cycle of violence will lead her to reconciliation with Albrecht and his release from the retributive justice of the Wilis.
EXHIBITION ON SCREEN journeys from the streets of Paris to the heart of the superb Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, whose extensive collection of Degas’ works is the most representative in Britain. With exclusive access to view rare and diverse works, Degas: Passion for Perfection offers a unique insight into Degas’ personal and creative life. The film uncovers the fascinating story of Degas’ obsessive pursuit for perfection through both experimentation with new techniques and lessons learnt from studying the past masters.
Free Downloads from Tactus
Tactus is widely known as one of Italy’s leading independent classical music labels. Its vast catalogue of Italian music covers Gregorian Chant to Contemporary Classics. Tactus invites you to discover the finest Italian Classical Music with them. Download and enjoy!
CALACE, R.: Complete Mandolin and Guitar Music Duo Zigiotti Meriante TC860301
AVE DONNA SANTISSIMA – Itinerario musicale intorno a Maria TC260001
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