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

Mendelssohn called Lindpaintner the best German orchestral conductor of his time; Robert Schumann considered him the country’s most promising operatic composer. Lindpaintner wrote 21 operas, almost all of them forgotten, so I’m delighted that Naxos is once again living up to its reputation for reviving lost treasures with this world premiere recording of Die sizilianische Vesper (The Sicilian Vespers), a four-act heroic opera that reveals why he was held in such esteem. This rare performance gives full expression to Lindpaintner’s telling harmonies, rich orchestration and attractive bel canto melodies, and will surely have great appeal for collectors.

“Attaining this great Lindpaintner opera meant having a close relationship with the expressive wherewithal of singing and orchestra. Indeed, I consider that musical compositions have a different identifiability with respect to other forms of artistic expression. In writing music, a composer creates a ‘sound map’, made up of fundamental ‘locations’, which are the notes. Following this ‘map’ involves using an entirely different level of communication. Composing music provides the opportunity to utilise a timeless expressive and communicative field, in which sound is something that precedes any given word or concept.”

Federico Longo

This programme vividly displays Eugene Zádor’s fusion of Classic and Romantic styles and his Hungarian musical roots. The works reveal a facility for harmony and colour (Rhapsody for Orchestra), a gift for lyricism and concision (Fantasia Hungarica for double bass and orchestra) and an abundant imagination (Rhapsody for Cimbalom and Orchestra). This is Volume 5 in our ongoing series of recordings of Zádor’s music, performed throughout by the Budapest Symphony Orchestra MÁV. Volume 2 (8.572549) received a 10/10 rating that reflected “quality music that’s evidently a lot of fun to play”; Fanfare said of Volume 4 (8.573529) that “The whole program is performed with admirable dedication from Mariusz Smolij and the Budapest SO MÁV. Zádor could not have asked for more enthusiastic advocates of his music.” I fully agree. And I’m sure you will, too.

“The music of Eugene Zádor brings together, almost in a perfect way, the new and the old musical worlds. While rooted in old European tradition and strongly influenced by the unique Hungarian folk music, it also offers new colors, harmonies and musical perspective of a modern 20th-century composer working in Hollywood. I find those qualities fascinating and would like to re-introduce all the forgotten works by this first class composer. His output clearly deserves to be known to every music lover around the world.”

Mariusz Smolij

Don’t believe for a moment that Rossini’s non-stage works belong to a lesser level of musicianship. Rossini’s publisher Antonio Pacini considered the composer’s late works as “his most illustrious period. What he composes daily is a series of masterpieces that seems as though it will never end.” Our edition of Rossini’s Complete Piano Works clearly illustrates this. We now reach Volume 9 in the Sins of Old Age series (Vols. 10 and 11 will complete the set later this year) and the programme is the second in the ‘Chamber Music and Rarities’ sub-set, bringing together genre songs and character pieces on both religious and domestic subjects. Acclaim for pianist Alessandro Marangoni’s playing has been universal throughout the series, exemplified by the Toronto Star’s opinion of Vol. 2 (8.570766): “Marangoni sparkles and seduces over and over again.” On this release he is joined by three internationally acclaimed singers with numerous recordings to their credit: soprano Laura Giordano, tenor Alessandro Luciano and baritone Bruno Taddia.

Le comte Ory, Rossini’s last comic opera, was held by Berlioz to be his “absolute masterpiece,” and with this acclaimed production from Malmö Opera we have the perfect pairing of striking staging and superb musical interpretation to challenge all other available versions. Linda Mallik’s highly effective direction was rightly praised: “…an evening where everything matched up, costumes, scenery, singing.” (Operalogg), while the strong cast is headed by tenor Leonardo Ferrando, whose “smooth, secure and well-rounded voice shapes the French Rossini style with great assurance” (Opernnetz). Conductor Tobias Ringborg, one of the most prolific musical talents to emerge from Sweden in recent years, makes an impressive debut for Naxos with this winning release.


Emmerich Kálmán’s operetta Countess Mariza received its first performance in Vienna in 1924, a time of historical foment which was to fundamentally change societal norms. This included music for the stage: people just wanted to enjoy themselves, and the music consequently had to be light and sparkling to meet audiences’ expectations. Countess Mariza was a huge success, having a plot spiced with love, jealousy and pride and a score peppered with musical suspense. This re-release from OehmsClassics, recorded in 2004 at the Lake Neusiedl Festival, coincides with a series of upcoming repeat performances at the same event, giving operetta fans the choice of enjoying this masterpiece from either a lakeside seat or an armchair setting.

Orfeo’s ongoing Wiener Staatsoper Live series affords today’s opera lovers the chance to hear historic performances from the Vienna State Opera that have subsequently acquired legendary status. Collectively, the recordings provide an overview of the company’s enviable tradition and musical culture since the house reopened in 1955, and exemplify the continuity of excellence associated with its unique orchestra, great conductors and incomparable singers. This latest release in the series is a recording of their 1978 production of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, featuring artists famed for their expertise in the bel canto style: coloratura soprano Edita Gruberova gives a perfect reading of the role of Lucia; tenor Peter Dvorský is equally passionate as Edgardo; and conductor Giuseppe Patanè leads the whole cast in a thoroughly inspired performance.


The French pianist Marylene Dosse (b. 1939) was awarded first prize in piano by the Paris Conservatory. She was subsequently offered a position at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, following a masterclass with Paul Badura-Skoda. Around the time she became an American citizen, George Mendelssohn, the founder of Vox, persuaded her to record a substantial amount of repertoire for the label, particularly by French composers, of which this programme is typical. Massenet’s Piano Concerto was virtually unknown at the time of this recording in 1973; Saint-Saëns’ Africa is a musical postcard of North African folk songs; while Gounod’s Russian Fantasy (heard here in its only existing recording) features the theme of God Preserve the Tsar, most famous for its appearance in Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.


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