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Founder and Chairman Klaus Heymann shares his thoughts on select new releases
from the Naxos Music Group.

Here we have three American orchestral masterpieces in a programme that I am sure will impress and delight in equal measure. Alternative recordings of the works are relatively thin on the ground. John Harbison’s mighty Fourth Symphony, Steven Stucky’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Second Concerto for Orchestra and Carl Ruggles’ overwhelming tone poem Sun-Treader are given performances of astounding passion and precision by the young musicians of the National Orchestral Institute Philharmonic. GRAMMY® Award-winning conductor David Alan Miller’s Naxos recordings include the recent release of Michael Daugherty’s Dreamachine (8.559807), while his earlier work with the National Orchestral Institute Philharmonic resulted in a recording of John Corigliano’s First Symphony (8.559782) that was considered “mightily impressive” by Gramophone.

I’m pleased that Naxos is making this important contribution to the revival of Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s orchestral works, which are generally less well known than his compositions for guitar. The number of first recordings on the programme adds to its attractiveness. There is only one other recording of the Cello Concerto Op. 72, a work that combines imposing scale and demanding virtuosity with a rare beauty and warmth of expression. Soloist Brinton Averil Smith featured on our American Classics album of music by Steven Gerber (8.559618), in which “[Kurt] Nikkanen and the extraordinary cellist Brinton Averil Smith bring out the changing moods and colors of the virtuosic Duo for Cello and Violin.” (Strings Magazine) The Houston Symphony’s previous Naxos recordings include our GRAMMY® award-winning release of Alban Berg’s Wozzeck (8.660390-91) in which “the orchestra plays stunningly.” (

“As a child, I read Piatigorsky’s story of his debut of the Castelnuovo-Tedesco Cello Concerto with Toscanini, and ever since I’ve nurtured the dream of bringing it back to life. This live recording documents the first professional performances of the composer’s melodic and fiery concerto in more than 80 years, paired with playful and virtuosic freely composed transcriptions of Mozart, Rossini and Ravel made for Piatigorsky and Heifetz, many recorded here for the first time ever.”

Brinton Averil Smith

Naxos has enjoyed a fruitful collaboration with Toshio Hosokawa in recent years, not least in two collections of his orchestral works conducted by Jun Märkl: Vol. 1 (8.573239) “…[draws] magically delicate colours and rich textural intricacies from what is a profoundly attractive score.” (Gramophone on Lotus under the moonlight); Vol. 2 (8.573276) “…reinforce Hosokawa’s commitment to poetic representations of human presences in the natural world.” (Gramophone) Hosokawa has moved in new expressive directions since the 2011 TŨhoku earthquake and tsunami, and this is our opportunity to bring his deeply emotive responses to this tragic event to a wider public. Naxos artist Jun Märkl needs little introduction following his numerous acclaimed recordings for us. World-class soloists soprano Susanne Elmark, mezzo-soprano Mihoko Fujimura and Tadashi Tajima, one of today’s most respected shakuhachi players, all featured in the works’ world premiere performances.

This is the final volume in our edition of Percy Grainger’s complete music for wind band, in which all the composer’s specific instructions as to instrumentation are scrupulously observed. Alternative, complete recordings are hard to find. The pieces on the programme span the breadth of Grainger’s career, from his first large-scale work in the genre, The Lads of Wamphray March, to The Power of Rome and the Christian Heart, his largest such work and one of his last. The Royal Norwegian Navy Band under conductor Bjarte Engeset established their collective credentials on a recording of Geirr Tveitt’s music (8.572095): “This fascinating and dramatic music, played by an outstanding band, makes for an hour of terrific listening.” (American Record Guide)

Born in Paraguay, Agustín Barrios Mangoré was one of the greatest guitar virtuosi of his time. His compositions abound with technical and expressive devices for the guitar, drawn from both South American and European traditions. This is Vol. 4 in our series of recordings of his works, each programme featuring a different artist. It includes the scintillating Estudio No. 6, which demonstrates some of the composer’s finest artistic characteristics, from poignant melodies to masterly harmonic progressions. Soloist Celil Refik Kaya is a prize-winner of a number of international competitions, including First Prize at the 2012 JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Competition. His affinity for South American music was confirmed by his recording of Jorge Morel’s guitar music (8.573514): “The performances are just perfect.” (American Record Guide)

La campana sommersa (The Sunken Bell) is Respighi’s operatic masterpiece. A symbolist drama on a supernatural theme, it’s steeped in beauty, mystery and foreboding and orchestrated with the romantic opulence familiar from his sumptuous trilogy of Roman tone poems. Its triumph at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in 1928 was repeated at La Scala, Milan, and now again with this most recent production at the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari, world-renowned for its staging of rarities. The occasion was hailed for its brilliant production and magnificent performances. As there are no competing DVD or Blu-ray releases of this work, I am confident of its significant sales potential.


The successful pairing of conductor Dmitrij Kitajenko and the Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne, previously heard on their recording of Tchaikovsky’s symphonies (OC027), is repeated here in Sibelius’ ever-popular Second Symphony. The work was an immediate success: it was premiered under the composer’s baton and given three more performances to sold-out houses in the following days. This release also includes two of Grieg’s own exquisite orchestrations of chamber pieces: the second of his Symphonic Dances, a relatively late work; and the second of his 2 Elegaic Melodies, Last Spring, which was played at Grieg’s funeral at the composer’s request.

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