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.
ORFEO was founded in 1979 in Munich, with the first recordings taking place in 1980. After starting as a pure license label at RCA and EMI, ORFEO began releasing its own recordings in 1982.Thanks to its close cooperation with the best singers, instrumentalists, orchestras and conductors of the past four decades, ORFEO was able to realise many world premiere recordings and to build up an extraordinarily fine catalogue, which contains more than 1,000 recordings to date.
The most famous series, ORFEO D’OR, features legendary historic performances, from both the Bayreuth and Salzburg festivals and the Vienna and Munich State Operas.
For many years, ORFEO productions have been marketed throughout the world by Naxos Music Group in more than 50 countries, and the label has since consistently expanded its digital business. Since 2015, ORFEO has been integrated as a separate limited company in Naxos Germany within the Naxos Music Group and can thus continue its successful and secure path into the future.
Mozart composed his violin concertos in 1773 (K. 207) and 1775 (K. 211, 216, 218 and 219). These five works and the three single movements recorded here have been passed down complete and verified as authentic. The genesis of these works is closely linked to Mozart’s work as Kapellmeister at the Salzburg court, ending with probably the most notable kick-out in music history.
Mozart scored no solo cadenzas for his violin concertos; in the practice of the time, they were improvised. All the cadenzas on these recordings are by Baiba Skride. ‘Baiba is such an intuitive player. She has this rare quality of discovering the music as we play. So, she never plays exactly the same. There is a wonderful sense of creating, discovering, and finding new ways.’ – Eivind Aadland
Additional Exciting New Releases and Bestsellers from Orfeo
He was ‘tremendously’ impressed, Arvo Pärt recalls of the moment he stood in front of Anish Kapoor’s Marsyas for the first time at London’s Tate Modern. “Suddenly I found myself in a position from where I saw my life in a different light. At that moment, I had the strong feeling that I wasn't ready to die yet,” said then-67-year-old Arvo Pärt. This was the creative impulse for Lamentate. Arvo Pärt, who celebrated his 85th birthday on September 11, 2020, seems to have often been inspired to compose by external circumstances. This is demonstrated in the selection of works for or with piano, which Onute Gražinyte chose for her first recording.
For Baluji Shrivastav to be such an accomplished and respected musician is a minor miracle. Blinded as a child, Baluji is largely self-taught. His skill, as well as his versatility, is what makes Baluji shine as a musician. Baluji has accompanied such major stars as Coldplay, Massive Attack, Annie Lennox, and Noel Gallagher. He received the Order of the British Empire for his contribution to music by His Majesty the Prince of Wales in 2017, and is founder of the blind Inner Vision Orchestra. Baluji is widely recognised as an ingenious musical pioneer. Indian Classical Interactions is an album of vibrant instrumentation, choral prayers, and musical revelations. This intriguing new album of original compositions truly highlights Baluji’s poetic and philosophical insight into Indian Classical music.
After the Sixth, Seventh, and Tenth Symphonies, BR-KLASSIK is now releasing Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony performed live by the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks under its long-time chief conductor Mariss Jansons. After accusations of formalism directed against Shostakovich in a critical Pravda article had forced the composer to withdraw his Fourth Symphony (it remained shelved until after Stalin’s death), the Fifth, written in 1937, was a phenomenal success. It premiered on November 21, 1937 under the young conductor Yevgeny Mravinsky in the Great Hall of the Leningrad Philharmonic. During the applause, Mravinsky waved the score above his head for a good half hour – making it quite clear that the applause was for Shostakovich alone. Officially, the work was interpreted as the return of a prodigal son to the guidelines of Stalinist cultural policy. To this day, the music has lost none of its fascinations, and the Fifth Symphony ranks as one of Shostakovich’s best-known works.
‘It simply cannot be gauged what music has lost with him.’ – Gustav Mahler
Hans Rott, a composer and contemporary of Gustav Mahler, was unknown to most people of his day and familiar to many critics only by his name. Many people have expressed the opinion, perhaps justifiably, that only his tragic early death prevented him from both securing a place in the annals of music as Mahler’s equal and establishing a permanent position in the repertoire. A member of Bruckner’s circle within the music scene in Vienna, Rott developed a strong antipathy towards Johannes Brahms. When you hear his works, it’s difficult to appreciate that they probably remained entirely unperformed outside the confines of conservatory life. With these recordings of his orchestral works (some of them reconstructed), Capriccio has sought to fill that gap and preserve his fascinating legacy for posterity.
The Dover Quartet, ‘the young American string quartet of the moment’ (The New Yorker), launches its emerging, three-volume complete Beethoven quartet cycle with the six Opus 18 quartets, often cited as the epitome of the classical string quartet as developed by Haydn and Mozart while foreshadowing Beethoven’s future innovations. In concert, the quartet has presented three complete Beethoven cycles, including the University at Buffalo’s famous Slee Cycle—which has offered annual Beethoven quartet cycles since 1955 and has featured the likes of the Budapest, Guarneri, and Cleveland Quartets. The Dover is featuring Beethoven’s Quartet in G Major, Op. 18, No. 2, in its 2020–2021 season programming.
Music created by veteran Danish composer and Hammond organ player Anders Koppel has been the mainstay of several successful Dacapo releases over the past years. Now, Still Life joins them as a documentation of a new endeavour of his, a vibrant music making in duo with Danish master cellist Henrik Dam Thomsen, whose far-reaching musical creativity proves a fine match for Koppel’s own. Still Life is a meeting of kindred spirits—yielding 15 impressions of life as captured in a dimly lit night.
The wonderful Conspirare chamber choir, known for its interpretive depth and otherworldly sonic lushness, offers another of its captivating programs—this time joined by three superb guitar quartets—in a program remarkably relevant for our time. The choir is joined by the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, the Texas Guitar Quartet, the Austin Guitar Quartet, and cellist Douglas Harvey for this release featuring compositions by Reena Esmail, Craig Hella Johnson, Nico Muhly, and Kile Smith. Conspirare is a virtuoso choir. The Grammy-winning ensemble comprises distinctive solo artists who are also committed to the highest level of ensemble performance. These professional singers travel to Austin from around the country to perform together, providing their audiences with a rare level of choral music making.
The composition competition of the Vienna Tonkünstlerverein in 1896 under honorary president Johannes Brahms intended to promote chamber music ‘which uses at least one wind instrument’ and resulted in 18 submissions, twelve of which were selected for five concerts. The first and third placed works of this competition, namely the Clarinet Quartet in E-Flat Major, Op. 1 by Walter Rabl and the Clarinet Trio in D Minor, Op. 3 by Alexander Zemlinsky were now recorded for this album by Christoph Zimper, clarinet, Kristina Suklar, violin, Florian Eggner, cello and Peter Ovtcharov, piano. The proximity to the music of Johannes Brahms is not least influenced by his own chamber music works for clarinet, but can also be seen in numerous stylistic and aesthetic aspects with both Rabl and Zemlinsky.
This final volume in Nicholas Walker’s much-admired survey of the complete solo piano music of Balakirev includes the composer’s famous work for piano, Islamey, an exotic and ultra-virtuoso oriental tale. Also featured are previously unpublished and unrecorded miniatures—pieces that are both poetic and, in the case of the Elegy on the Death of a Mosquito, witty. Transcriptions of Glinka are included, and Walker has arranged Balakirev’s passionate and sensual symphonic poem Tamara for solo piano, recreating textures redolent of the composer’s own piano style. He also plays Au Jardin, an Idyll-Étude of rapt beauty and tenderness.
Joan Manén was an admired and prolific Catalan composer who wrote in all genres, from opera to transcriptions. He was also one of the leading violinists of his day and made the first recording of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto. Manén’s Violin Concerto No. 3 ‘Ibérico’ is a brilliantly written and unashamedly Romantic work that exudes Iberian vitality without recourse to Hispanic effects. Cast on a huge scale, the Symphony No. 2 ‘Ibérica’ calls for an exceptionally large orchestra, with music that is pastoral, Spanish-flavoured and, at times, solemn.
Throughout history, the regions of the South Caucasus and Anatolia have witnessed many encounters, as well as separations. This album reinterprets melodies that have been handed down between generations, with a novel perspective, by three musicians from Turkey, Armenia, and Georgia.
The kaval in Turkey, the duduk in Armenia and the accordion in Georgia are among the most common instruments in these countries. The natural harmony between these instruments turns into complementing timbres, thanks to the melodies of their shared roots.
We all know artists these days have a varied repertoire. Still, Harr & Hartberg took the music industry in Norway by surprise when they released their first jazz album. Their music feature a triple treat; Sublime lyrics by the famous Norwegian author Lars Saabye Christensen delivered with a Chet-Baker-esque voice by one of Norway’s international acclaimed actors, teamed up with a hot double bass and outstanding compositions by the versatile musician Aslak Hartberg. This is seriousness served softly and their catchy tunes will sneak into your soul. Producer, the GRAMMY-nominated R&B artist Jarle Bernhoft and engineer, sound-magician Bjarne Stensli have succeeded in keeping the soulful sound of Harr & Hartberg, while approaching a more modern sound throughout the whole album. Some of the best jazz musicians in Scandinavia guarantee a thrilling musical experience with their new album Scar.
The Sanskrit word Turangalîla roughly translates as ‘dynamism’ and ‘vitality’, and Olivier Messiaen, an expert on Indian rhythms, gave this title to his gigantic opus, christening it Hymn to Joy. The National Theatre Orchestra Mannheim and its general music director Alexander Soddy revel in the work’s exuberance, with an ensemble of over 100 musicians that includes Turangalîla specialists Tamara Stefanovich (piano) and Thomas Bloch (ondes martenot). With its crazy tempi, rhythms and tonalities, Messiaen’s ‘love song’ is a Dionysian frenzy of sound that is second to none. A production by the Musikalischen Akademie des Nationaltheater Orchesters Mannheim e.V. in cooperation with the Nationaltheater Mannheim.
The final volume of Paul Hindemith’s youthful and fresh Kammermusik series from the 1920s includes Kammermusik Nos. 4-7 performed by Kronberg Academy Soloists and the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra under a true Hindemith specialist, Christoph Eschenbach, who has won a Grammy for a previous Hindemith album on Ondine.
Kammermusik No. 4 (Violin Concerto) is scored for a larger orchestra than its three predecessors and includes 24 instrumentalists. The composer himself premiered Kammermusik No. 5 (Viola Concerto) by playing the solo part and performed it for 85 times during the next 11 years! Hindemith fell in love with the sound of viola d’amore and wrote Kammermusik No. 6 with this instrument in mind. Hindemith’s final Kammermusik (No. 7) was commissioned by the Southwest German Radio: the premiere of this Organ Concerto was transmitted live in 1928. The radio broadcast had a decisive role in the composer’s choice of instrumentation.
Icelandic cellist, singer, and composer Gyda Valtysdottir, a founder of the band múm and 2019 winner of the prestigious Nordic Council Music Prize, releases Epicycle II. The album which was produced by Gyda and mixed with Jónsi, features music written for her, and/or in collaboration with her, by eight of Iceland’s most compelling composers—Ólöf Arnalds, Daníel Bjarnason, Úlfur Hansson, Jónsi, María Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir, Kjartan Sveinsson, Skúli Sverrisson, and Anna Thorvaldsdóttir. The album is a sequel to her highly acclaimed first solo album from 2017, Epicycle, on which Gyda created personal renditions of written music spanning over 2000 years. On Epicycle II, Gyda stretches the boundaries of genre even further, selecting composers who all have created their own unique sonic environments. The outcome is an expansive and colourful landscape, varied but connected in profound unity through Gyda’s highly personal touch.
Together with Wilhelm Furtwängler, Otto Klemperer, Bruno Walter, Erich Kleiber and Karl Böhm, Carl Schuricht belonged to the generation of German conductors who were born before the turn of the 20th century. They were trained as conductors in classical-romantic symphonic repertoire and the then contemporary music of late Bruckner, Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss, and Max Reger. Schuricht always remained totally faithful to a work’s original intent.
He performed mainly symphonic works from the Classical and Romantic eras—Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and Bruckner, as well as Schubert, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Liszt, Tchaikovsky, Richard Strauss and Reger. One might add Bizet and Jacques Offenbach to this list; and of course, Johann Sebastian Bach, whose works he frequently performed. Gustav Mahler’s works engaged and enriched Schuricht throughout his lifetime; this interest took him into the realms of what was then known as ‘contemporary’ music, encompassing the works of Bartók, Hindemith, Pfitzner, Stravinsky, Honegger, Schönberg, Debussy and Ravel.
The instrumental ensemble Opera Quinta, directed by Fabrizio Longo, adds a compelling element to the rediscovery of the 18th century Italian heritage. The Sonatas, Op. 1 by Angelo Michele Besseghi were published ten years after the extremely successful Opus 5 by Corelli, during a period in which, the music of Corelli was performed in every place reached by European culture. We can perceive the unarguable influence even in the title Sonate da Camera a violin solo col violone o cembalo, which retrace the Sonate a violin e violone o cimbalo by Corelli.
Besseghi shows a strong musical personality, expressing himself in a personal style and in step with the times. Therefore, when he wants to pay homage to Corelli he does so with musical irony and obvious references which occurs, for instance, in the collection’s opening sonata, which is clearly inspired by Sonata No. 7 of Corelli’s Opus 5.
With the complicity of the excellent Royal Swedish Ballet, Alexander Ekman makes dreams dance in a new surprising, lyrical and cosmic choreographical piece. After the instant success of Midsummer Night’s Dream, exploring the density of traditional mysticism and the maze of imagination, choreographer Alexander Ekman and the Royal Swedish Ballet once again brings us on a dancing journey through the looking glass, beyond our own reality. Eskapist proves that the theatrical stage truly is a magic place, where the world as we know it shifts shapes only to dissolve into the most poetic fantasies one could envision. Once more, Ekman has sought support from his long-term acolyte, Swedish composer Mikael Karlsson, whose entrancing music follows the wide range of styles mobilized by Ekman: sometimes downright comic and uplifting, and sometimes reflexive, deep, and ultimately cosmic.
The ‘striking interpretation’ (Neue Musikzeitung) of Jules Massenet’s operatic rarity Don Quichotte at the Bregenz Festival, received ‘unanimous jubilation for director Mariame Clément, her outfitter Julia Hansen and the entire stage team: a typical Bregenz Festival orchid flourished!’ (Neue Musikzeitung Online). But this opera is also a musical discovery, not least because of the outstanding cast: ‘the balsamic sound of well-being of Gábor Bretz, David Stouts mobile Sancho Panza is also wonderfully shaded (Salzburger Nachrichten) and ‘Anna Goryachova impresses as Dulcinée with vocal clarity and scenic presence.’ (Wiener Zeitung) ‘The Bregenz Festival discovers a dreamlike operatic beauty full of melancholy and farewell.’ (Salzburger Nachrichten)
Suor Angelica is one of the three one-act operas that comprise Puccini’s Il Trittico. Of the three, it is the most lyrical and tragic; it also features an all-female cast. Set in a 17th-century convent near Florence, it tells the tragic tale of a noblewoman who is forced to become a nun to repent the sin of having had a child outside wedlock, thus causing a huge scandal in her social circle.
‘Anna Maria Chiuri, who plays the character of the Princess, has a beautifully projected and even contralto voice, a monumental fraseggio which well suits the character’s elusiveness… Valerio Galli directs the Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino with great self-assurance. The performance is excellent; the sound is homogeneous, round and sparkling with energy. Suor Angelica’s intimate religious sense flows naturally into the colours and shades of the finale.’ – Connessiallopera.it
Russian dance superstar Natalia Osipova joined The Royal Ballet as a Principal in 2013 and has since filled each of her leading roles with an unforgettable passion, fiery energy, and technical prowess. This collection brings together some of her most spellbinding performances. Her dramatic dual performance of Odette and her rival Odile in Swan Lake; outstanding solos and flair for comedy as the young lover Lise in La Fille mal gardée; and her electric stage presence in the title role of the quintessential Romantic ballet Giselle where she was hailed as ‘technically and artistically supreme… ethereal and desperately moving’ (The Daily Telegraph). The set is completed with an in-depth portrait, Force of Nature Natalia, which provides an unparalleled opportunity to become closely acquainted with one of the leading ballerinas of her generation, and invites you to discover why critics and audiences all over the world call her a ‘force of nature’ of the dance world.
Orfeo has always focused on releasing first-rate recordings of famous as well as lesser-known and neglected works by leading composers in addition to individual masterpieces by composers who are less well known. This month, Orfeo is pleased to offer special 40th-anniversary giveaways of recordings performed by some of the most respected names in the classical music industry. Download and enjoy!
Contrasts – MOZART, W.A. • SCHUMANN, R. • BRAHMS, J. • BARTÓK, B. • RECHTMAN, I.
HANDEL, G.F. • GLUCK, C.W.: Opera Arias for Soprano (Care Pupille)
BARTÓK, B.: Piano Concertos Nos. 2 and 3 • Concerto for Orchestra • Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta
BEETHOVEN, L. van: Piano Music
WAGNER, R.: Der Ring des Nibelungen [Operas]
VERDI, G.: Macbeth [Opera]
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