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.
Proprius’ founder Jacob Boëthius once wrote: “A small record company can’t afford to put out bad discs. And you, the music lover, must be confident that what you buy is good.” He was aware that, in the final analysis, quality is what counts with regard to clients, record buyers, artists and sound engineers.
Widely known as an ‘audiophile label’, quality in every aspect has been the hallmark of Proprius for over 30 years, and will continue to be so for years to come.
Prologue, like prelude, welcomes the listeners into a world of ambiance and resonance. On this release, listeners will enjoy both of J.S. Bach’s Preludes and Staffan Isbäck’s Prologues. Bach’s Preludes are followed by his famous Fugue, BWV 1000 as well as the highly poetic Sarabande, BWV 997. Meanwhile, in addition to Staffan Isbäck’s Prologues are the three fantasies after the themes by Jerome Kern, Chick Corea, and Duke Ellington – not in any way jazz-like, but more of the joy of walking on a familiar ground. His suite Den andra enkelheten serves as a bridge towards the music of Bach. It breathes simplicity and playfulness.
Halíř Trio was created with the main goal of reviving the character of the brilliant Czech violinist Karel Halíř (1859-1909), who was an important personality in the musical life of the late-nineteenth century. Halíř himself played regularly in a piano trio, so it is only fitting that the ensemble aiming to revive his legacy plays in such a formation. For this release, the ensemble has recorded Granados’s, Piano Trio in C Major, Op. 50 and Dvořák’s Piano Trio in F Minor, Op 65.
The “Great” C Major Symphony was the last symphony that Schubert composed. In contrast to his far shorter Sixth Symphony, also in C Major, it was named “the Great” – and it is indeed a great and magnificent work, marking the culmination of his symphonic oeuvre. It is monumental and representative, and was written with large audiences very much in mind. Schubert began this composition in August 1824, or possibly even as late as March 1825. The first page of the score manuscript is dated March 1828, possibly the month in which he finally completed the work.
Kabalevsky was a Jack of all musical trades. He was a master of most genres, as this release demonstrates. The varied programme contains the work that first brought Kabalevksy international fame, the Violin Concerto, Op. 48 and the lushly orchestrated Overture Pathétique and symphonic poem Spring. His Rhapsody on the Theme of the Song ‘School Years’ became one of the most popular concert works of its time, and the overture to his opera Colas Breugnon was an orchestral hit that served many great conductors, including Arturo Toscanini and Fritz Reiner, as a virtuoso opening to concerts.
The Civitas Ensemble teams up with Czech violin virtuoso Pavel Šporcl and his wildly popular Gipsy Way Ensemble for a groundbreaking collaboration at the crossroads of Western classical and Romanian musical traditions. Alla Zingarese, in the Gypsy way, embraces the past with new arrangements of well-loved, Gypsy-infused works by Brahms, Enescu, Hubay, and Sarasate, while celebrating the present with new music by the noted Czech composer Lukáš Sommer.
For the first time ever, all of Paganini’s works have been collected in a 40-album boxed set release featuring all the best interpreters of the composer’s music: Salvatore Accardo, Massimo Quarta, Leonidas Kavacos, and many others. The release also includes historical documents featuring milestone Paganini interpretations by Ruggiero Ricci, Arthur Grumiaux, Yehudi Menhuin, and others. Also included are the rare and newly rediscovered works in their world premiere recordings. The scholarly input into both the editing and performing of Paganini’s oeuvre gives us a complete picture of this performer-composer who represented a crucial turning point in the history of music.
Luca Lombardi is one of the most prolific and inventive Italian composers of our time. He is mostly known for large-scale symphonic works, including symphony-cantatas and secular oratorios, as well as orchestral miniatures and four operas. In the 1980s Luca Lombardi met the flutist Roberto Fabbriciani whose artistry inspired many of his flute compositions. This album represents a variety in all the pieces and a diverse collection of flute instruments played by Roberto Fabbriciani, ranging from the earliest manifestations of Lombardi’s muse to pieces with special sound effects giving voice to human expression.
More from Kairos
BERG, A.: Wozzeck [Opera]
Iversen • Wolfsteiner • Mitterrutzner • Frankfurt Opera Chorus and Museum Orchestra • Weigle
Alban Berg’s Wozzeck premiered at the Berlin State Opera in 1925 and is now regarded as one of the pivotal compositions of the 20th century. It’s an essential work in any connoisseur’s library, and this exciting, razor-sharp performance from Frankfurt Opera under the baton of Sebastian Weigle makes a strong case for being added to any opera fan’s collection. The release boasts an ideal cast, with baritone Audun Iversen and mezzo-soprano Claudia Mahnke in the leading roles.
Compellingly passionate with clean modern lines: Wagner’s Romantic opera as brilliantly reconfigured for the new-style Bayreuth. “New Bayreuth has become romantic again” – this was a common response, echoed in several headlines couched in similarly simplistic terms, to Wieland Wagner’s production of Der Fliegende Holländer in 1959; and while some of the hundred-odd reviewers at the premiere sounded puzzled, disconcerted or dismayed, others were relieved and even jubilant. “Wieland Wagner has staged Der fliegende Holländer with billowing waves and ship planks, with a realistic spinning room, and a phantom chorus that seemed to come directly from Mars.” (Hans Lehmann)
Alden Jenks’s works include electronic music for recorded media alone and with live performers, and a significant body of music for live performers alone as well. The pieces on this release are world premiere recordings: Namo was composed with tape recorder and home-made electronics (with buzzing oscillators). Space (for Stephen Hill) was made on a Buchla box, using the wonderful sliding Waah sound it made when an oscillator was performing Frequency Modulation on itself. This piece just goes on and on. Lastly, Lapis was made for a showing of a gorgeous mandala film by John Whitney at Mills College.
Following a series of military and economic defeats in the early 19th century, an enterprising group of teachers, pastors and writers set about to revive the Danish national spirit. In 1894, the first Højskolesangbogen (High School Songbook) was published. Today the collection includes 572 songs with 2.4 million copies sold and is the most popular songbook in the country to this day. The natural choice for performing this Treasury of Danish Song is, the internationally acclaimed Danish National Vocal Ensemble. Their luminous sound provides the perfect frame for these simple, heartfelt expressions of the Danish soul.
Tall Tales is a Stockholm based music collective, run by Arvid Ingberg. Their music is inspired by The Beatles, Vulfpeck, Susanne Sundfør, Snarky Puppy, Loney Dear, and many of Arvid Ingberg’s favourite musicians. The group develops a distinct style by fusing different genres which give birth to a fresh mix of very melodic, groovy, and contemporary music, with plenty of room for improvisation, as well as carefully arranged and orchestrated passages.
In the early 1980s, Ronn McFarlane began performing and recording Scottish music, since there is a written repertory of Scottish tunes written out for the lute in several manuscripts dating from the 17th century. But there is no repertory of Irish lute music, so he arranges some of his favorite Irish and Scottish tunes that had never quite made it into the historical lute repertory. Ronn has created this all-new arrangement of pieces for The Celtic Lute, which includes several other O’Carolan compositions.
This release features a unique compilation of ballads, romances and other works for vocal soloists or choir with orchestra by Hector Berlioz. These lesser-known works by Berlioz are worth discovering, even more so when interpreted by the SWR Vokalensemble. A thought-provoking, colorful and dramatic artist, Sylvian Cambreling has a flair for grabbing the attention of audiences, yet his originality is rooted in thorough knowledge of musicology. As the Chief Conductor of the SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg, he has offered ample proof of his gifts for imaginative programme-planning and persuasive championship of contemporary music.
Peter Brook’s 2002 Aix-en-Provence production of Mozart’s darkly comic melodramatic fable about the cost of lust and the price of pride features an all-star cast in this stylish contemporary production. Gilles Cachemaille is a convincing and solid Leporello, Mireille Delunsch a noble Elvira, Alexandra Deshorties a beautiful Donna Anna, Lisa Larrson a lovely Zerlina, and Mark Padmore gives his warm voice to Ottavio’s character. At the head of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the young Daniel Harding conducts Mozart’s greatest opera with passion.
This three-part documentary offers a lively and fascinating inside look at the professional world of young conductors and orchestral musicians in three one-hour-long programs. It also portrays one of the greatest conductors of the 20th century, Leonard Bernstein, shown at work with young musicians. “I am trying to do something for Europe that Europe actually did for me. I had promised myself to founding another Tanglewood here.” (Leonard Bernstein)
The conductor and composer Bo Holten has long been fascinated by Carlo Gesualdo – an Italian prince and one of the most extreme composers of the Late Renaissance, whose dramatic life and bitter fate make up the plot in Holten’s and librettist Eva Sommestad Holten’s modern baroque opera Gesualdo-Shadows. Reflecting our own time, this is a drama of a great artist lost between outward duties and inner fragility: from a passionate youth to an old age of mysticism, violence and melancholy. Gesualdo’s own madrigals, fused into the score, contribute to a thrilling universe of pain and beauty.
Mozart’s trilogy of operas composed to librettos by Lorenzo Da Ponte delight and entertain audiences with their combination of sublime music and their mix of humor, romance and drama. Cosìfan tutte, also known as ‘the school for lovers,’ stars a cast of young rising stars, conducted by Semyon Bychkov, in this 2016 production playfully set in a theatre. Kasper Holten’s production of Don Giovanni reveals the inner turmoil of the eponymous antihero, sung by Mariusz Kwiecien. Erwin Schrott, Miah Persson and Gerald Finley star in David McVicar’s production of Le Nozze di Figario, one of the world’s most beloved operas.
On this release, taken from her first solo record, Anne Sofie von Otter introduces us to the world of the Baroque, full of myth and fantasy and populated by the great figures of classical history and drama; and to Johan Helmich Roman, the Progenitor of Music in Sweden, by an aria from his Swedish Mass.