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Next month’s set of new releases from the Naxos Music Group includes Respighi’s very popular Roman Trilogy from JoAnn Falletta, world premiere recordings of works by Simon Mayr and Bernd Alois Zimmermann, and orchestral works by Alberto Nepomuceno and Gottfried von Einem, and more. Klaus Heymann, founding chairman of Naxos, puts the spotlight on his personal picks.
JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic already have a long and distinguished Naxos discography to their credit, including a recording of music by Ottorino Respighi that was nominated for a GRAMMY® Award (8.557711). They follow up here with more music by the same composer, his ever popular Roman Trilogy. These are sumptuous tone poems that explore a host of harmonic and rhythmic contrasts in scores that are suffused with drama and colour. Swinging between serenade and rustic dance, solemn melody and pastoral landscape, children at play and visions of past martial glories, the movements are all scored in the most grandiose style. I’m confident that the performers’ reputation for magnificent interpretations of such repertoire will be further enhanced by this release.

It’s appropriate that music by Alberto Nepomuceno, a herald of Brazilian musical nationalism, is launching our latest Naxos project – The Music of Brazil. This is a monumental, 5-year undertaking to produce around 30 releases of some 100 works by Brazilian composers, focusing mainly on orchestral repertoire. There will be many first recordings together with the publication of newly edited or first edition scores. Naxos is collaborating with the Cultural Department of Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, three of the country’s leading orchestras and the Brazilian Academy of Music for this exciting development.  As for this first volume, although Nepomuceno may be relatively unknown today, he needed no introduction in his time: he was one of the first Brazilian composers to employ elements of folklore in his compositions; he encouraged younger composers such as Villa-Lobos; and his music was conducted by Richard Strauss. The programme on this release comprises the Prelude to his uncompleted opera O Garatuja, one if his best-known works; the vivacious suite Série Brasileira; and his Symphony in G minor, one of the earliest Brazilian examples of the genre that reveals the influence of Brahms.

Franz Hauk is the world’s leading exponent of Simon Mayr’s music, and his numerous new editions and excellent recordings of operatic and other vocal works by the composer are internationally recognised. Mayr’s highly charged opera I Cherusci is set in ancient Germania at the time of Christ’s birth. The narrative focuses on the perils of Tusnelda, a captured slave girl who has been chosen for a sacrificial ritual. This recording of I Cherusci is not only a world premiere, it also uses the authentic period sound of Concerto de Bassus that helped make Mayr’s Saffo (8.660367-68) and Telemaco (8.660388-89) such great successes, and presents I Cherusci as it would have been heard at its premiere in 1808. The title role is taken by rising star soprano Yvonne Prentki, while many of the other soloists have enjoyed a long and close association with Franz Hauk’s Simon Mayr project.

2.110594 [DVD]
There are only a handful of DVD recordings of Adam’s narrative ballet Le corsaire available on the market. This production by the Vienna State Ballet will consequently attract a great deal of interest, not only for its rarity value, but also for its inventiveness in fusing links to 19th-century Russian traditions with an entirely new and much acclaimed interpretation by Manuel Legris. His original choreography, colourful production and finely etched characterisations combine to deliver an impressive new approach to the exciting story while respecting the outline and intention of Byron’s original poem. Following the production’s 2016 premiere at the Vienna State Opera, the performance was hailed by Attitude as ‘a brilliant piece of work ... Mr. Legris’ legacy to the ballet world, already immense, increased enormously after last night’s world première.’

Also available on Blu-ray (NBD0090V).

The latest volume in our edition of Robert Schumann’s complete songs is marked by a change of artist roster for both the singers and the pianist. The high quality of performance, however, remains a constant. Naxos followers may recognise the name of pianist Ulrich Eisenlohr who is the artistic leader of our highly regarded Deutsche Schubert Lied Edition; and the four singers featured on the recording include tenor Simon Bode, who made his Salzburg Festival debut in 2018, and contralto Marion Eckstein, who has recorded a significant amount of German repertoire across several labels. The three cycles heard here combine solo songs, duets and quartets, while the Spanische Liebeslieder advances the cycle concept by using a piano duet accompaniment.

This new release by the award-winning Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Hannu Lintu features music by Bernd Alois Zimmermann (1918–1970), a leading figure in the music of post-Second World War Germany. The programme includes his magnificent Vviolin Concerto, superbly performed by star violinist Leila Josefowicz; Photoptosis, a masterful study in orchestral sonority and one of Zimmermann’s final works; and the first CD recording of his Die Soldaten Vocal Symphony, based on an opera that is widely considered one of the greatest German operas of the 20th century. Lintu and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra recently won a Gramophone Award for their recording of the Bartók Violin Concertos (ODE 1317-2) featuring soloist Christian Tetzlaff.

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