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.
LABEL OF THE MONTH: DELOS
The legendary classical label Delos, “long a leader in audiophile-quality recordings” (The New York Times), has initiated significant trends in the classical music industry, has recorded some of the most honored names in the classical music field, and was a pioneer in digital recording. Sometimes called “the Great American Label,” Delos was founded in 1973 to give outstanding American artists an international platform.
“Delos is the David that will remain standing after Goliath has fallen,” remarked the president of the nationwide Music Personnel Conference during the association’s opening ceremonies in 2001 — a fitting homage to the joyous and indomitable spirit of Delos founder Amelia S. Haygood (1919-2007). In a tribute to Haygood, James Jolly of Gramophone wrote: “Her zeal and desire for excellence created a label with a strong personality that not only attracted a host of major performers but which also gained plaudits for its technical excellence.”
Delos’ many awards and commendations include the 2001 Grammy® for Sound Engineering.
Hvorostovsky, Dmitri - PROKOFIEV, S. / TCHAIKOVSKY, P.I / RUBINSTEIN, A.: Dmitri Hvorostovsky Sings of War, Peace, Love
and Sorrow (Vocal Recital)
Grigorian, Guzhov, Hvorostovsky, Morozov, Shinshkova, Volkov,
Helikon Opera Chorus, Russian Federation Academic Symphony Orchestra, Orbelian
Featuring the incomparable Siberian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky, best known for his Verdi roles. He is joined by rising star soprano Asmik Grigorian and other notable singers in a gripping album of Russian arias and scenes that marks his return to the operatic masterpieces of his homeland.
Basel Symphony Orchestra
STRAVINSKY, I.: Petrushka (version for orchestra /
version for piano 4 hands)
Namekawa, Sinfonieorchester Basel, Davies
Basel Symphony Orchestra SOB11
This new recording of Stravinsky’s Petrushka by the Sinfonieorchester Basel is the third and final installment in conductor Dennis Russell Davies’ Stravinsky trilogy. In this project, the orchestra has recorded Stravinsky’s three major ballets in a version for orchestra and piano duet. Stravinsky originally planned this composition as a piano concerto. After the idea of a ballet from Sergei Diaghilev, Stravinsky rewrote the music about Petrushka, the Russian carnival figure. The piece was first performed at the Theatre du Chatalet in June 1911. Critics hailed the work as a genius combination of music, dance, and painting.
In addition to the orchestral score, Stravinsky wrote a piano version, which has gained increasing popularity. Dennis Russell Davies has been chief conductor of the Sinfonieorchester Basel since 2009. He has also led the ensemble in numerous other recordings, and performs the piano version on this release alongside partner Maki Namekawa.
CHABRIER, E. / GERSHWIN, G. / ENESCU, G. / RAVEL, M. /
LISZT, F.: Rhapsodies (Orchestral Music)
Matsuev, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Jansons
This newest release from BR-Klassik explores the genre of the 19th and 20th century Rhapsody, featuring works from masterful composers Emmanuel Chabrier, George Gershwin, George Enescu, Maurice Ravel, and Franz Liszt. The concert-like atmosphere of this recording makes this a truly unique release, as these works were recorded live in Munich as recently as October 2015.
The five rhapsodies featured here come from different regions and the composers’ unique styles can be heard in each of their works. Chabrier’s Espana is centered around Iberian and folk music which was very popular at the time. Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody contrasts this work with its use of Hungarian folk melodies. The ever-popular Rhapsody in Blue from George Gershwin throws Americana into the mix with its blues roots.
Mariss Jansons and the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks never fails to please with their brilliant interpretations and performance quality. World-renowned Russian pianist Denis Matusev is brilliant as the Rhapsody in Blue soloist.
GINASTERA, A.: Concerto per corde / Estudios sinfónicos /
Glosses sobre temes de Pau Casals / Iubilum
Deustsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Tamayo
Considered one of the most influential 20th century composers of the Americas, Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983) composed a great oeuvre including ballets, operas, piano works, orchestral pieces and more. His works can be grouped into three periods: Objective Nationalism (1934-1948), Subjective Nationalism (1948-1958), and Neo-Expressionism (1958-1983).
The four works featured on this release come from his late period of neo-expressionism. Traditional classical style can be heard in these pieces, as well as Ginastera’s experimentations with the avant-garde. Arturo Tamayo conducts the brilliant Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin for this recording. Tamayo conducts in both the concert hall as well as the opera house, and conducts with orchestras across Europe, Asia, and the Americas.
CLARKE, R. / BABADJANIAN, A. / MARTIN, F.: Trios from Our Homelands (Piano Trios)
Chicago based ensemble Lincoln Trio presents this personal program of 20th century piano trios by composers who hail from the members’ ancestral homelands of England, Armenia, and Switzerland. Acclaimed for creating “worthwhile programs of serious classical music that are wholly winning and simply delightful” (ClassicsToday.com), the Lincoln Trio consists of violinist Desiree Ruhstrat, cellist David Cunliffe, and pianist Marta Aznavoorian. Many listeners will be discovering the works on this release for the first time. English composer Rebecca Clarke wrote her Piano Trio in 1922. This work is featured alongside Arno Babajanian’s 1952 work Piano Trio in F-Sharp Minor and the most well-known work on the album, Frank Martin’s Trio on Popular Irish Melodies from 1925.
RØNSHOLDT, N.: Me Quitte
Egilstrøð, Rønsholdt, Scenatet
Love is not always a liberating good; it is just as often the root of human misery and degradation. Niels Rønsholdt’s surreal song cycle Me Quitte (2012) sees an iconic Parisienne love song reflected in a cabinet of magic mirrors where good is turned into evil, love is destructive and beauty is repulsive. In this world première recording, we hear the vulnerable voice of the composer himself, together with the Faroese singer Anna Katrin Egilstrød and the Danish ensemble Scenatet.
OFFENBACH, J.: La Grande-Duchesse de Gerolstein [Operetta]
Allemanno, Cassard, Censo, Imbert, Ligot, Longo, Marcantoni, Morris, Pani, Peraino, Plaza, Valentini-Terrani, Bratislava Chamber Choir,
Orchestra Internazionale d’Italia, Villaume
This is a re-issue of one of Dynamic's bestselling titles. It is a pity that Jacques Offenbach’s masterpiece La Grande-Duchesse de Gérosltein is not staged more often, but that gap in the repertory is more than amply filled here by conductor Emmanuel Villaume and his excellent cast of singers, the absolute star of which is Lucia Valentini-Terrani.
LOURIÉ, A.: Complete Piano Works, Vol. 1
Grand Piano GP737
This first volume devoted to Arthur Vincent Lourié’s piano music traces his journey from the Debussian Impressionism of his youthful Cinq Préludes fragiles, Op. 1 through absorption of Scriabin’s chromaticism in the eerie Masques (Tentations) of 1913 to the near- Cubism of Formes en l’air. Although Lourié was lauded—or derided—as a pioneering Futurist, his post-Revolutionary writing in France embraced a nostalgic Neo-Classicism represented by the Petite Suite en Fa.
SCHUMANN, R.: Symphonies Nos. 1 and 4
Santa Cecilia Academy Orchestra, Pappano
ICA Classics ICAC5139
This is the first recording of Antonio Pappano conducting two of Schumann’s most popular symphonies, No. 2 in C major and No. 4 in D minor. Pappano brings his customary energy to the ensemble, while drawing out the magnificent beauty of the string section and the delicacies of the woodwind. His careful approach to detail makes this a commanding interpretation.
Antonio Pappano began his conducting career as assistant at the Bayreuth Festival. He became music director of the Den Norske Opera in Oslo in 1990. Since 2005 he has been music director of the ensemble Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. He was knighted in 2012, and was made a Knight Grand Cross of Italy’s Order of Merit.
MOZART, W.A.: Piano Concertos Nos. 17 and 27 /
Concerto for Violin and Piano / Fantasia
Vetter, Kussmaul, Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, Ruzicka
Sophie Mayuko Vetter presents us here with W.A. Mozart’s final Piano Concerto, K. 595, also regarded as the master’s most mature work in this genre. It is joined by the Piano Concerto No. 17, written by Mozart for his pupil Barbara Ployer. Encores can also be heard with Rainer Kussmaul, performing in both the unfinished Concerto in D major for Violin, Piano and Orchestra and in the C minor Fantasia.
BRAHMS, J.: Violin Sonatas Nos. 1-3 /
Violin Sonata, "F-A-E": III. Scherzo
This exciting new program of Violin Sonatas by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) comes from award-winning violinist Christian Tetzlaff and pianist Lars Vogt as the latest volume in their highly successful series of violin chamber works. These sonatas were composed between 1878 and 1888, and are among the greatest 19th century chamber music masterpieces. This release also features a Scherzo movement from the F. A. E. Sonata, which was Brahms’ contribution to a composite sonata with Albert Dietrich and Robert Schumann in 1853.
Christian Tetzlaff maintains an extensive performance schedule and is one of the world’s leading international violinists. He has won numerous awards including “Instrumentalist of the Year” from Musical America, and the “Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik” for his recording of violin concertos by Mendelssohn and Schumann.
TOMKINS, T.: Anthems and Canticles
Magdalen College Choir Oxford, Phantasm, Hyde
Opus Arte OACD9040D
The renowned Choir of Magdalen College, Oxford, joined here by former Magdalen College viol consort-in-residence, Phantasm, showcase the amazing breadth and diversity of this masterly voice in English composition. Five verse anthems, jewels in Tomkins’s choral output, have come down to us with ensemble accompaniment, allowing choir and consort to combine forces like they once did in the Elizabethan Chapel Royal. Phantasm also perform some of Tomkins’ most striking works for three to six viols, revealing the composer’s very personal approach to the consort style.
Perry, Janet - MOZART, W.A. / STRAUSS, R. / LISZT, F. / FAURÉ, G. / DEBUSSY, C.: German and French Songs (Vocal Recital)
Solo Musica SM239
Soprano Janet Perry hails from Minneapolis, Minnesota. She began her career with lessons on piano and violin at a young age. In her adulthood she has found resounding success, having recorded several major works under Karajan’s baton, including Mozart’s C Minor Mass, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, and Bruckner’s Te Deum. Perry is accompanied by pianist Jean Lemaire, who specializes in accompaniment and chamber music. He frequently performs throughout Europe, the USA, Japan, and South America.
Perry writes of the works chosen, “…classical music has truly made me who I am today. It has been a constant companion since my earliest childhood…The songs of Mozart Debussy, Faure, Duparc, and Strauss have been in my repertoire for a long time, we are old friends who enjoy music–and the silence between the notes–together.”
SCHUMANN, R. / BEETHOVEN, L. van: Re: Imagined
(Transcriptions for Cello Quintet)
Bailey, Ying Quartet
Sono Luminus DSL-92204
The Ying Quartet and Zuill Bailey have been collaborating for years to bring listeners the popular standards. With this release, they hope to explore repertoire beyond the common and reimagine works as their own. Re: Imagined includes a world première recording of the Schumann arrangement, Cello Concerto in A Minor.
FALCONIERI, A. / COPPOLA, F.: Il Seicento Italiano
(Choral and Chamber Music)
Coro Polifonico Santo Spirito, Cappella Musicale San Giacomo Maggiore, Cascio
These early Baroque songs are an outstanding selection of dance forms, chaconnes, and passacaglia, which all honor the Iberian musical art. Both composers, Andrea Falconieri and Filippo Coppola, served as master of the Royal Music Chapel of Naples during the early 17th century. This fresh interpretation offered by the Cappella Musicale di San Giacomo Maggiore in Bologna and the choir of the Accademia dello Spirito Santo in Ferrara shines with their informed historical performance practice.
MENDELSSOHN, F.: Complete Violin Sonatas
One of the most incredible child prodigies in the history of Western music, Felix Mendelssohn’s talents were inhuman. The compositions that were chosen for this program show a young master at work. The Sonata in F major was composed in 1820 when the composer was just eleven years old. In 1824, when Mendelssohn was only 15, he wrote his Sonata in F minor. These early works show that talent cannot be measured only in years.
Violinist Madeline Adkins has been called “deliciously exuberant” by the Baltimore Sun. This release celebrates her new position as Concertmaster of the Utah Symphony. She is joined by TwoPianists co-founder Luis Magalhães.
DV8 PHYSICAL THEATRE: Dead Dreams of Monochrome Men /
Strange Fish / Enter Achilles
DV8 Physical Theatre
Arthaus Musik 109254 [Blu-ray] | 109253 [DVD]
This new release features three dance works by world-renowned choreographer Lloyd Newson. The first piece is Dead Dreams of Monochrome Men, choreographed in 1989. The Times called this piece “…painful, original, convincingly observed and compassionate…”
Strange Fish, choreographed in 1992, was the Prix Italia 1994 Special Prize winner for Music & Arts. According to Financial Times, “The playing of the ensemble, the brilliant conflict and complementing of personalities; the shared sense of risk and trust, the acuteness of timing and physical response is matched by an emotional awareness that is dazzlingly communicative.”
Finally, the 1995 piece Enter Achilles won a 1997 Emmy Award for performing arts. The Daily Telegraph heralded the work as “a rare, rich, devastating, triumphant work of art…”
Bel Air Classiques
RACHMANINOV, S.: Troika - Aleko / The Miserly Knight /
Francesca da Rimini (La Monnaie - De Munt, 2015)
Golovnin, Kozina, Kravets, Leiferkus, Nechaeva, Semishkur, Silchukov, Smoriginas, Tiliakos, Vassiliev, Brussels La Monnaie - De Munt Opera Chorus and Orchestra, Tatarnikov
Bel Air Classiques BAC133 [DVD]
Rachmaninov represents the waning of Romanticism in Russia yet, even by Russian standards, he was extremely fatalistic. His three one-act operas with libretti based on writings by Pushkin and Dante are linked by their theme: fate follows in the footsteps of sin, whether it be a matter of jealous murder, greed or illicit passion.
This triptych is a production of la Monnaie and is conducted by Mikhail Tatarnikov and directed by Kirsten Dehlholm.
MITCHELL, J.: The Fiddle and the Drum (Alberta Ballet, 2007)
Alberta Ballet Company
C Major 736404 [Blu-ray] | 736308 [DVD]
Joni Mitchell’s work The Fiddle And The Drum delves into the artist’s long-held concerns about the human race’s blatant neglect of the environment and mankind’s war-hungry nature. The piece is a ballet which is performed to a soundtrack of her music. Joni has called this work “the best project of her career.” Combining three art forms- music, dance, and visual art, Joni creates an enthralling spectacle.
Internationally recognized choreographer Jean Grand-Maitre of the Alberta Ballet Company has joined Joni for this production. The musical selections to which Jean Grand-Maitre has set his dance include works from Joni’s entire career such as For the Roses, Passion Play, Slouching Towards Bethlehem, The Beat of Black Wings, and of course The Fiddle and The Drum.
OLESEN, T.A.: The Picture of Dorian Gray [Choreographed Opera]
(Den Jyske Opera, 2013)
Best, Bobby, Cazalis, Hansen, Husjord, Møller, Nielsen, B. Nilsson, J. Nilsson, Nyberg, Ohlson, Price, Radley, Riddell, Schmid, Thiele, Vinther, Wallberg, Wolthoorn, Danish National Opera Choir, Aarhus Ballet Academy and
Symphony Orchestra, Gustafsson
Dacapo 2.110415 [DVD]
The staging of the Danish composer Thomas Agerfeldt Olesen’s opera The Picture of Dorian Gray (2013) is one of Den Jyske Opera’s (Danish National Opera) bravest ventures in recent years: a choreographed opera with no singers on stage – based on Oscar Wilde’s most controversial novel. Like Wilde’s novel, Agerfeldt Olesen’s opera balances between reality and dream or imagination. Consequently, both sounds from the world of yesterday and outbreaks of the musical genre are present in Agerfeldt Olesen’s score, though primarily expressing the composer’s own distinctive sound. The prizewinning Swedish choreographer Marie Brolin-Tani has conceived the choreography seen on the opera stage as a strong sensual interpretation of the actions and conflicts of the drama.
BRITTEN, B.: The Rape of Lucretia (Glyndebourne, 2015)
Alder, Clayton, Rice, Rock, Rose, Royal, Sumuel, Wyn-Rogers,
London Philharmonic Orchestra, Hussain
Opus Arte OABD7206D [Blu-ray] | OA1219D [DVD]
Seventy years after its Glyndebourne world première, Benjamin Britten’s first chamber opera is welcomed home with a performance of enthralling emotional power and physical beauty. It is gifted with piercingly intelligent, immaculately realised staging and superb singing, acting and playing led by Fiona Shaw’s supremely nuanced direction as well as underpinned by febrile playing from members of the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
The production eloquently and tastefully tackles the difficult subject, which is lent emotional weight by Christine Rice’s grandly sung Lucretia, noble in tone yet tragically vulnerable, along with baritone Duncan Rock’s forthright Tarquinius and the smooth bass of Matthew Rose as the caring Collatinus.