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.
belvedere edition releases audio and audiovisual productions in the fields of high-class drama and classical music performances on DVD, Blu-ray and CD. Based in Berlin, the company was founded in 2006 and developed the successful series Die Theateredition which was the first DVD label for theatre and drama within the German speaking market. In 2014 the label initiated an exclusive partnership with the Mozart Week Festival to release a series of milestone recordings from the beginning of the Festival in 1956 to the present day. Renowned artists such as Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Pierre Boulez, Renaud Capuçon, Clara Haskil and Peter Schreier made their mark on this festival and created a distinct impact as regards interpretation, artistic analysis and musical performance, all of which is now available on CD and DVD.
In January 2016, internationally acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma played the role of the Knight of the Doleful Countenance in Strauss’s Don Quixote as part of a week-long residency with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in the Munich Philharmonie. Mariss Jansons provided the right emotional verve and passionate immediacy for this Romantic masterpiece, and his vitality and abiding love of music-making, combined with the full, dark tone of his orchestra, were just as well-suited to Antonin Dvořák’s Eight Symphony.
Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth) is subtitled “A symphony for tenor, alto (or baritone) voice and orchestra”. The formal design of the work is unique, and the demands it places on its performers are extreme. It requires highly experienced Lied singers and a highly competent conductor to ensure cohesion and to give spirit and soulfulness to such a large-scale work. These parameters were in place on this recording – a star-studded and outstanding interpretation of one of the most important compositions of the Late Romantic repertoire.
Nobody knew anything about Strigoii until the score was purchased back by the Director of the Enescu Museum. The score was lost together with other items in the turmoil of the First World War. To understand how Strigoii was created, it was necessary to undertake the decipherment and reconstruction of the manuscript. The work is conceived for full orchestra, choir and singers, setting the complete text of Eminescu’s poem to music. Strigoii shows that Enescu was in line with many of his distinguished contemporaries. His techniques are reminiscent of Schoenberg and Bartók, whereas his twilight Post-Romanticism makes us obviously think of Mahler.
Nicole Cabell and Alyson Cambridge, acclaimed sopranos and close friends, record together for the first time on an album of opera duets by Mozart, Offenbach, Humperdinck, and Delibes and specially commissioned duet arrangements of classical songs, folk tunes, and African-American spirituals. Composer-arranger Joe Clark created arrangements expressly for Cabell and Cambridge’s distinctive voices. The sopranos describe their album as a “dream project” that’s “uniquely us,” reflecting their multi-ethnic heritages and showcasing pieces that profoundly influenced them both.
Rued Langgaard was a master of his craft. His greatest successes took place in Germany and Austria, where his Symphonies Nos. 2 and 6 were met with considerable acclaim. This release continues Dacapo’s collaboration with the Vienna Philharmonic on performing and recording Danish music. The recordings are based on the two concerts in Wiener Konzerthaus – both receiving great reviews and standing applauses. The album also includes Jacob Gade’s Tango Jalousie, featuring Sakari Oramo as violin soloist.
The brilliant virtuoso Sean Kennard has chosen a captivating program featuring solo piano music by Samuel Barber and Aaron Copland. While neither composer’s body of work includes a great many pieces for solo piano, each has left a legacy of superb piano compositions to memorable effect. Of the five works on this album, Barber’s finger-twisting PianoSonata and Copland’s stunning Piano Variations stand as enduring masterpieces of 20th-century American piano music. Both pieces incorporate broad spectrums of modernist musical language and styles, as well as degrees of difficulty that only the finest and most technically accomplished artists can master.
Violinist Raimund Lissy, member of the Vienna Philharmonic, has long been dedicated to uncovering the works of Austrian composer Joseph Mayseder and make them available to a wider audience. Joseph Mayseder composed six violin concertos, three of which were published with opus numbers, while the other three are preserved in the original manuscripts. Joined by the newly formed Joseph Mayseder Orchestra under the baton of Helmut Zehetner, Lissy presents Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. 22 and No. 3, Op. 28 as well as Concertino No. 2 in E Major, Op. 53.
Witold Lutosławski’s few surviving apprentice works are suffused with the elegance of Ravel and the lush effusiveness of Szymanowski, and this is particularly true of the early Piano Sonata, heard here in Giorgio Koukl’s new and corrected edition based on the original manuscript. Further premieres include the wistful A Kiss of Roxanne and the technically complex Invention. Including all of the folk-music tinted pedagogical miniatures, works for piano four hands and other occasional pieces, this is the most comprehensive edition of Lutosławski’s works for solo piano ever recorded.
For over 20 years now, music theatre has been a focus in the compositional work and explorations of Lucia Ronchetti. Including on this new release are her drammaturgie – Le palais du silence, Lacus timoris, and Rumori da monumenti – as well as the action concert pieces – Helicopters and Butterflies and Forward and downward, turning neither to the left nor to the right. These works demonstrate her unique approach to composition and reveal her avant-garde virtuosity. Ronchetti is always on the lookout for the new sources of inspiration, but she usually draws inspiration from literature, natural science, philosophy, and physics.
After getting off to a flying start with Igor Stravinsky, OehmsClassics is delighted to be continuing its partnership with the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Dmitry Kitayenko – this time with the works of Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky and Alexander Glazunov. The Stravinsky recording was awarded with Pizzicato Supersonic immediately after release, and no doubt this album will be met with similar critical acclaim. Dimitri Kitayenko is one of the great maestros of our time. For decades now, he has regularly conducted prestigious orchestras across Europe, America and Asia.
Baiba Skride brilliantly performs three demandingly virtuosic violin concertos by the great composers Leonard Bernstein, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, and Miklós Rózsa. Of this new recording Skride said, “The technical challenges of these works are unquestionably immense. The deciding factor for me, though, is that these purely violinistic difficulties and challenges do not come to the fore in performance. These concertos are written in a highly virtuosic style, but all their ‘effects’ are ultimately there only as direct expression of the musical language.”
The title song TRUST was made in dialogue with paintings by Lousie Bourgeois and dance by Anna Wennerbeck (Embladance). All sounds, except for some additional percussion, has been created with wind instruments such as contrabass flute, bass flutes and soprano saxophone.
‘As an improviser, Hagberg conveys the magic of this archaic world.’ – M. Allgemeine
This is the seventh installment of the series dedicated to the SWR recordings of Fritz Wunderlich. It contains a unique compilation of songs by the great German lied composers including Schubert, Schumann, Wolf, and others. The compilation provides a unique overview of Wunderlich’s lied performances – from the start of his career until his tragic and untimely death. During the remaining decade of his life Fritz Wunderlich gained the highest respect as a W.A. Mozart singer, lending lyrical brilliance to J.S. Bach, Schubert and Mahler and melodic tenderness to bel canto and light opera roles.
“The important thing in a trio is the interaction,” said Greek pianist and composer Nikolas Anadolis. “Not only how well you are in contact with your own feelings, but also how much you’re in agreement with the others musically. How the three of us can be one.” This synergy of opposing impulses first makes a community of musicians into an organism that helps the sound experience, in itself abstract, produce a specific and ideally emotional effect. In this live recording from the Enjoy Jazz Festival in Heidelberg, Nikolas Anadolis makes an impressive statement.
On this sixth volume of Alessandro Scarlatti’s opera omnia for keyboard, once again the star is the eighteenth century Italian Anonymous Ferrarese harpsichord owned by Francesco Tasini. Toccatas, Arpeggi, Introduzioni, and even the famous Folly of Spain are contained in this volume featuring the brilliant and rich harmonics of the precious historical instrument. Extremely interesting is the interpretation by Francesco Tasini, that – absolute master of the period performance practice – succeeds in giving us a perfect understanding of the correct approach to the compositions by Alessandro Scarlatti, true founder of the Neapolitan keyboard School.
For his inaugural concert as the new Gewandhauskapellmeister, Andris Nelsons chose three pieces, each with symbolic power. At its center is the Scottish Symphony by Felix Mendelssohn, his most prominent predecessor, which was premiered by the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig under the baton of the composer himself in 1842. The symphony is framed by a commissioned work by the Leipzig composer Steffen Schleiermacher and Alban Berg’s Violin Concerto, a key work of classical modernism. There is no question about it: this program defines his agenda. It professes Leipzig’s rich musical tradition, spanning the period from the 19th to the 20th century, and to the music of our time.
A sparkling personality on the contemporary dance scene, Swedish choreographer Alexander Ekman has been invited for the first time to work with the dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet. His language, both visceral and tinged with humor, combining theatricality, and classical and contemporary vocabulary alike, perfectly resonates with the incredible versatility and stage presence of the ballet: the result is Play, a piece that evokes the world of childhood and its careless pleasures. But beyond pure entertainment, this performance contemplates the meaning and the importance of play when we become adults.
With more than 120 performances a year, Yuja Wang lives a nomadic lifestyle. The exploration of her wanderings is a travelogue of exciting venues, glitzy cities and encounters with extraordinary artists, such as Gustavo Dudamel, Gauthier Capuçon, Leonidas Kavakos, and personalities of other professional horizons. But there is also a downside: fatigue, jet lag, pressure, doubts, hostilities, disorientation, and loneliness. With a bittersweet reference to the transience of life, the film reveals the invisible that complements the visible and shows us this artist in a very personal way.
Antonio Vivaldi’s three-act opera Orlando Furioso is set to an Italian libretto by Grazio Braccioli and is based on Ludovico Ariosto’s epic poem of the same name. The opera alternates arias with recitative and is set on an island at an unspecified time. The story line combines several plot lines from Ariosto: the exploits of the hero Orlando are detailed, as well as the tale of the sorceress Alcina. Orlando is performed in this production by Sonia Prina, and Alcina by Lucia Cirillo. Recorded at the 43rd Festival della Valle d’Itria, this production is the first video recording of this rare opera.
A penniless poet, a young seamstress, and a lost key: Puccini’s passionate opera tells the story of a captivating romance set against the background of 19th-century Paris. The luscious score, with its soaring melodies and rich orchestration, brings to life the relationships between Rodolfo, Mimì and their friends, the painter Marcello and fiery Musetta. Acclaimed director Richard Jones stages a fresh and intelligent new production of one of the world’s most popular operas, conducted by The Royal Opera’s Music Director, Antonio Pappano.
Playing pieces from Miroirs and Gaspard de la nuit empathetic pianist Ragna Schirmer reveals the essence of Ravel’s artistic compositions with delicate brilliance: These musical works are animated by an incomparable union of mechanical precision and aching fantasy. In such moments it becomes clear that these mournfully beautiful sound creations are the essence of the artistic soul whose fibers Maurice Ravel wove into his compositions so assuredly. Ragna Schirmer’s exquisite interpretations bear witness to Ravel’s passionate sensibilities and that which could not be said, something he himself concealed from those around him during his lifetime.