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.
Launched in 2001, Cantaloupe Music is a Brooklyn-based independent classical label curated by Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe—the founding composers of Bang on a Can. The label’s mission is to nurture adventurous new music that’s ‘too funky for the academy.’
Throughout its history, Cantaloupe Music has regularly received recognition from various publications such as TheNew York Times, TheNew Yorker, The Washington Post, TheBoston Globe, The Guardian (UK),The Wire (UK), Newsday, Mojo Magazine, Gramophone, Billboard, Stereophile, and Time Out New York. Cantaloupe Music releases have also been featured on CNN, National Public Radio, the BBC, Pitchfork.tv, and numerous outlets online, in print and over the airwaves.
Scored for 24 unaccompanied voices, Anonymous Man is an hour-long piece that expands on Michael Gordon’s eclectic approach to composition, layering minimalistic swirls of vocal sound on top of one another to create a hypnotic incantation.
Gordon drew inspiration for the piece from his neighbourhood in lower Manhattan. ‘When I moved into my loft on Desbrosses Street, the streets were empty, since few people lived there. But both then and now, there were the homeless. Over time, the neighbourhood changed from an industrial warehouse district to a residential area. Anonymous Man is a memoir about my block. The piece is built around my memories of moving in, meeting my future wife for the first time there, and conversations I’ve had with two men who made their home on the loading dock across the street.’
This release from ARC Music adds one more colourful entry to the growing market of world music recordings. With the unmistakable essence of West African soul music, the members of Awalé intertwine elements of Senegalese and Latin American music, funk, jazz, and influences from the London music scene, where they are now based. Yewoulen is a call for leaders of the world and everyday people alike to Wake Up and work together for the sake of humanity. I have no doubt that listeners will be completely hooked by Awalé’s ‘truly magical and uplifting cross-cultural collaboration.’ (Jazz FM/Musica Macondo)
Schmückstücke represents a colourful combination of multi-vocal polyphony, Spanish neoclassicism, and Brazilian folklore. Performed by the award-winning guitarist Eileen Baum, the programme opens with Villa-Lobos’s Five Preludes highlighting the fusion of Brazilian folk music and the elements of the European classical tradition. Next on the programme is Rodrigo’s homage to Manuel de Falla, his masterpiece, Invocación y danza. Concluding the delightful programme is the guitar arrangement of J.S. Bach’s Sonata in G Minor, BWV 1001. The sonata is originally written for solo violin, so the Fugue is really a technical challenge to the guitarist.
With this recording of Josef Suk’s Asrael, BR-KLASSIK makes a strong case for Suk’s impressive and compelling music. The symphony was written after Dvořák’s death, and the death, soon afterwards, of Suk’s wife gave the work a new direction—it is dedicated to both of them. Suk developed his musical language in which the solo violin is often involved (as here in the gentle central section of the Andante). Ever since its premiere on February 3, 1907, at the Prague National Theatre, Asrael has ranked as Suk’s most important symphonic work—and as a visionary glimpse into the future.
BERNSTEIN, L.: Mass
Dyk • Vienna State Opera Children’s Choir • Company of Music • Wiener Singakademie • Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra • D.R. Davies
Few musicians have proved as charismatic as Leonard Bernstein. He broke down the boundaries between ‘serious’ classical music and ‘entertaining’ popular music, and few others were able to connect with people of all generations in the way he did. His entire output promoted the philosophy of living together in love,
rather than with antagonism and hatred. Many of these attributes are evident in his Mass, which was first performed in 1971. In order to understand this unusual work, it is crucial to view it not as a standard mass composition, but as ‘a theatrical piece with the title Mass’, as Bernstein described it.
The late 1970s were not a particularly happy time for Mieczysław Weinberg (Pol. Wajnberg). 1975 not only brought the death of his friend Dmitri Shostakovich, but also several of the dedicated performers of Weinberg’s music had emigrated, and those who stayed in the Soviet Union presented his works less and less frequently. In the face of such adversities, Weinberg nevertheless continued to compose, and in 1977 he returned to the string quartet genre with his String Quartets Nos. 14, 15, and 3 Psalms. These hugely important pieces of Weinberg are performed here with great passion by the Silesian String Quartet and Joanna Freszel.
Contrastes Records presents a guitar recital of Antoine Morinière, the First Prize winner of the 2015 International Sevilla Guitar Competition. Morinière performs works by Napoléon Coste, Joaquín Rodrigo, Alberto Ginastera, and Manuel María Ponce.
Apart from the coveted International Sevilla Guitar Competition, Morinière has also won in various national and international guitar competitions. He is always looking for new repertoire, interested in contemporary music, and is a sought-after guitarist to play solo concerts, chamber music, and concertos all around the world.
Sørensen’s distinctive music thrives on the intangible, from atmospheres and feelings to memories and dreams. This recording assembles three recent concertos from the Grawemeyer Award-winning composer performed by distinguished Nordic soloists, beginning with a second piano concerto La Mattina played by its dedicatee and inspiration, Leif Ove Andsnes. Sørensen’s clarinet concerto Serenidad for Martin Fröst is inspired by the scents of Spanish poetry, while his Trumpet Concerto for Tine Thing Helseth feeds off his constant obsession with the beauty and vulnerability of Venice. Each is highly evocative and filled with Sørensen’s own etched beauty.
Yes, there was another Cleopatra! She was married to Tigranes the Great, King of Armenia, and together they created an Armenia that reached from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean. The resplendent and regal voice of soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian is perfectly suited to the role of Cleopatra. Bayrakdarian’s multi-hued voice relates the passion, drama, and fervour of the love story of Tigranes and Cleopatra. Bayrakdarian sparkles in five arias from Il Tigrane by Baroque master Johann Adolph Hasse. Arias by Vivaldi and Gluck add further excitement to the album. Bayrakdarian is supported by the GRAMMY-nominated team of Constantine Orbelian – ‘the singer’s dream collaborator’ (Opera News)—and his marvellous Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra.
Had it been up to his mother, Georg Philipp Telemann would never have become a musician or composer. However, his irrepressible interest in it made Telemann one of the most respected composers of his time and one of the most productive with more than 3000 works. The Pandolfis Consort led by Elzbieta Sajka-Bachler and countertenor Nicholas Spanos presents with moving Telemann four cantatas from the Harmonischer Gottesdienst as well as two trio sonatas for transverse flute or oboe with viola and basso continuo. In addition to the diverse historical instruments with violin, violetta, viola, violoncello, and theorbo as well as archiliuto, the use of a (modern) accordion instead of the organ ensures a refreshing and truly moving listening experience.
Robert Orledge’s research into Debussy’s sketches and incomplete drafts has resulted in the unearthing and reconstruction of numerous lost masterpieces, the piano versions of which are given their première recordings here. Unknown versions of famous pieces such as La Fille aux cheveux de lin and an unused movement from Le Martyre de Saint Sébastien appear alongside the ecstatic Prélude de l’Histoire de Tristan. This uniquely valuable programme also includes the life-affirming suite for No-ja-li (Le Palais du Silence) with narration.
Blindekuh (Blind Man’s Buff) was Johann Strauss II’s sixth operetta and his least known. Neglected for well over a century, it was revived by Dario Salvi and the forces on this album in January 2019. The work’s initial lack of success is hard to explain but it may have been caused by a confusing libretto—the music itself is vibrant and captivating with waltzes, polkas, mazurkas, marches and bel canto arias. Performed in a concert version without dialogue, and in accordance with performing traditions, this production restores the work to the status of one of Strauss’s most melodically seductive works.
Der Freischütz represents a milestone in the history of German opera. Written in 1821 against the backcloth of the Wars of Liberation against Napoleon, this so-called ‘national opera’ expresses the Germans’ desire for cultural identity.
The librettist Johann Friedrich Kind places the action around the time of the Thirty Years’ War (1618–48), a time when society was shaped by religious power struggles, war and outdated rituals, leading to a blurring of reality and the illusion of a perfect world.
The recording took place on 8 December 2018 with the Essen Philharmonic under Tomáš Netopil in the Aalto Theater Essen. The production will be revived in April 2020.
The present release is the first volume in a series dedicated to Paul Hindemith’s (1895–1963) chamber works and includes the first three works in his Kammermusik series together with Kleine Kammermusik written for a wind quintet. This album is the latest in a successful series of recordings of Hindemith’s music together with conductor Christoph Eschenbach. This series has earned him a GRAMMY award, among other accolades. These recordings of chamber music have been recorded with a group of young promising artists, including pianist Christopher Park and cellist Bruno Philippe who are playing the solo parts in the ‘Concertos’, Op. 36.
Missa solemnis was Beethoven’s response to the appointment of his student Archduke Rudolph (youngest brother of Emperor Franz I of Austria) as Archbishop of Olmütz in 1819. He set to work spontaneously, without a direct commission. He planned for the piece to be completed on the occasion of Rudolph’s enthronement, on 19 March 1820, but the work proved to be much more of a challenge for the composer than he had anticipated. Accordingly, the premiere did not take place for another four years, on 7 April 1824, at a charity concert given by the Philharmonic Society of St Petersburg.
Michael Gielen, who passed away in March 2019, can be heard in this historic recording from 1985 with the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Presenting four masterworks for harpsichord by Johann Sebastian Bach, Jory Vinikour performs on a harpsichord modelled after German harpsichords of Bach’s time, notably Silbermann. The Italian Concerto and the French Overture, both published by Bach in the 2nd volume of his Clavier Übung, are paired with two other great works—the Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue, as well as the concerto-like Prelude and Fugue in A Minor. GRAMMY nominee Jory Vinikour is recognised as one of the most outstanding musicians of his generation. A highly diversified career has brought him to the world’s most important festivals and concert halls as recital and concerto soloist, and partner to several of today’s finest artists.
Dizzy Gillespie saw himself less as an artist, and more as a human being who was contributing to the fight against drug abuse, educational problems, and issues of segregation. It is worth bearing this benevolence in mind when listening to his music. Gillespie’s melodies were supple in an engaging way, and his radiant tone had something numinous about it, extending beyond the physical capabilities of the instrument. His breathtaking virtuoso improvisations were inspirational, entrancing players and audiences alike. This was certainly the case at his performance at the Stuttgart Liederhalle in November 1961, the atmosphere of which still resonates with listeners today.
The city of Modena, under the rule of the Este family, was the capital of the Dukedom of Modena e Reggio. Modena stands out for its collection of musical documents in the Biblioteca Estense. Tactus supports and promotes a rediscovery of this enormous heritage by carrying out a meticulous study of the sources of the works, transcribing them into modern notation and critical editions, and producing monographic recordings. In this second of six albums dedicated to Giovanni Battista Vitali’s music preserved at the Estense Library, the baroque group Italico Splendore presents the brilliant and lively Sonatas for Two Violins and Continuo, Op. 2.
Music is considered one of the best companions to stimulate your study efforts. This unique playlist features one of the world’s leading baroque ensembles in a wonderful blend of music by Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Mendelssohn, and Beethoven.
Music from the baroque and classical eras is intrinsically well suited to studying. Its harmonies, melodies, and rhythms are ordered and pleasing. It is both stimulating and calming. It encourages focus. Whether fast or slow, it works well as either background or foreground music. It is all wonderful music that inspires great and productive studying! (Jeanne Lamon)
It’s one of Wiener Staatsoper’s most outstanding opera productions for children: Cinderella—Viennese version for children by Alma Deutscher, the musical prodigy of our times. Based on the popular fairy tale, Deutscher tells a modern version of the story, combining humour, poetry, and the magic of theatre.
Alma Deutscher began composing Cinderella, her favourite fairy tale, at the age of eight. However, she does not directly follow the Brothers Grimm original, as music plays a central role in her version. In Deutscher’s reimagining, Cinderella is a young composer of whom her stepmother and stepsisters envy because of her talent and is demoted to working as a music copyist. The prince is a poet who finds Cinderella through their common love of art.
‘A powerful moment of musical history recreated,’ says Classic FM about the Brahms Requiem interpretation by Paavo Järvi, the GRAMMY Award-winning Estonian-American conductor, and his orchestra, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen. The performance corresponds with Brahms’ final version including all seven movements and using the same number of musicians as the composer himself. The premiere of the German Requiem took place on April 10, 1868, in Bremen Cathedral under the direction of the composer himself, although the fifth movement, which was created later, was still missing. On April 10, 2018, for its 150th anniversary, the work is back to the exact place of its premiere in Bremen Cathedral. ‘Valentina Farcas was the perfect female counterpart to Goerne, which was not easy. She convinced with impeccable phrasing, diction, and legato, she never got shrill and she was not afraid to take risks in the high notes.’ (El Pais)
This production, filmed at the 2019 Festival Verdi in Parma, is a very powerful and engaging creative project by 2018 Abbiati Prize winner duo Ricci/Forte. The most striking feature of the staging is that the action takes place in 2046 on a military ship, which reminds us of an Ark. The production portrays a dystopian society where we can find many references to real contemporary events: Nabucco is turned into an oppressive dictator who is obsessed with his own image; the Hebrew slaves are portrayed as refugees wearing life vests; while on the ship’s deck various screens are used to display the regime’s propaganda.
Die Walküre is the most performed work in Wagner’s Ring Cycle, esteemed for its nuanced and intelligent exploration of complex family entanglements through music of astonishing emotive power. Every aspect of the work’s musical and dramatic force is interpreted with rare authority in this exceptional audiovisual production from Covent Garden’s Royal Opera House. Any collaboration between renowned conductor Antonio Pappano and such a stellar line-up of soloists, headed by Stuart Skelton (Siegmund) and Emily Magee (Sieglinde), will stir widespread interest. This performance certainly achieved that among the press, whose reactions were encapsulated by this 5-star verdict from Bachtrack: ‘From the very first notes, we knew we were in safe hands, with the pounding, driving cellos and basses and the soaring brass… With vocal performances at the very highest level, this was a Walküre to remember.’
EXHIBITION ON SCREEN presents Leonardo: The Works—an unprecedented look at arguably the world’s most celebrated artist. Many feature films have showcased the genius of Leonardo, but none have ever examined in such detail the most crucial element of all: his art.
Leonardo’s peerless paintings are at the core of this film, offering unparalleled access for the first time. Amidst this collection of masterpieces, marvel at The Last Supper, Lady with an Ermine, Ginevra de’ Benci, Madonna Litta, Virgin of the Rocks and what is widely considered the most famous artwork of all time—The Mona Lisa.
Join us on a worldwide tour to travel across eight countries—from Italy to Poland—to experience all of Leonardo’s works in situ from the comfort of your own home. By the end of this comprehensive film you will surely understand why Leonardo is considered by many to be one of the greatest artists of all time.
Formed in 1992, the Bang on a Can All-Stars is recognised worldwide for their ultra-dynamic live performances and recordings of today’s most innovative music. Freely crossing the boundaries between classical, jazz, rock, world and experimental music, this six-member amplified ensemble has consistently forged a distinct category-defying identity, taking music into uncharted territories. Performing each year throughout the U.S. and internationally, the All-Stars have shattered the definition of what concert music is today.
Cantaloupe Music is delighted to offer free downloads from Bang on a Can All-Stars bestselling recordings. Download and enjoy!
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