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Next month’s release highlights from the Naxos Music Group include operatic masterpieces by Henze and Puccini, orchestral works by Peter Breiner, Joan Manén, and Hans Rott, Hindemith’s concertos, instrumental works by Kodaly, Ligeti and Balakirev, an enormous collection of legendary conductor Carl Schuricht’s recordings, and the introduction of the new NXN Recordings label. Klaus Heymann, founding chairman of Naxos, puts the spotlight on his personal picks.
Naxos 2.110668 [DVD]
In June we released Capriccio’s audio recording of Henze’s opera rarity, Der Prinz von Homburg (C5405). Now we have the stunning audiovisual recording of the same production by the Staatsoper Stuttgart, and you should note that it’s the only one available today. The critically acclaimed staging is by the award-winning director Stephan Kimmig, a veteran of acclaimed productions throughout Germany and beyond, while the masterly interpretation of the score is in the hands of conductor Cornelius Meister, musical director of the opera house since 2018, when he was also named Conductor of the Year in the Opus Klassik awards. ‘The glowing intensity and sensitive musical interpretation of the work by Cornelius Meister and the Stuttgart State Orchestra is outstanding… With his high baritone, Robin Adams impresses as the Prince of Homburg.’ (Online Merker)

Also available on Blu-ray (NBD0115V)


Naxos 8.574274-75
For many, this release may be their first encounter with the engaging music of Joan Manén, a 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 ever recording of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto. The two works on this programme are heard in world premiere recordings conducted by distinguished Naxos artist Darrell Ang, who has received many accolades for his albums. The outstanding violin soloist is Ana María Valderrama, the first Spanish violinist to win the International Violin Competition Pablo Sarasate, in 2011. Cast on a huge scale, the Symphony No. 2 ‘Ibérica’ calls for an exceptionally large orchestra, while the Violin Concerto No. 3 ‘Ibérico’ is a brilliantly written and unashamedly Romantic work that exudes Iberian vitality.

Listen to an extract from Violin Concerto No. 3 ‘Ibérico’ (sin tono), Op. A-37: III. Finale: Allegro con spirito

Naxos 8.574202
A husband and wife team feature in this all-Hungarian programme of music by two towering composers of the 20th and 21st centuries. Gabriel Schwabe is among the leading cellists of his generation, being a laureate of numerous national and international competitions; while violinist Hellen Weiß has frequently impressed the critics with her ‘natural approach [and] remarkable talent.’ (Die Welt) Kodály’s Duo for Violin and Cello, Op. 7 fuses classical form and folk influence, while the Sonata for Cello Solo, Op. 8, with its expanded harmonies and tone colours, is one of the greatest solo cello works since Bach’s Cello Suites. György Ligeti continued the Hungarian lineage with his Cello Sonata, a succinct but pivotal work in his compositional development.
Visual album coming soon exclusively on Apple Music
Listen to an excerpt from Kodály’s Duo for Violin and Cello, Op. 7: I. Allegro serioso, non troppo

Naxos 8.574184-85
Peter Breiner is one of the world’s most performed composer/arranger/conductors with record sales in the millions and over 200 album titles to his credit. He’s also well represented in the Naxos catalogue, not least for his monumental compendium of the National Anthems of the World (8.201002) and his hugely popular Beatles Go Baroque (8.555010) which represents some of his most commercially successful arrangements. Slovak Dances, Naughty and Sad will no doubt consolidate that excellent track record; it features Breiner’s typically colourful orchestration that includes a wide variety of tuned and untuned percussion. It’s also an extraordinary mix of world music, improvisation and symphonic composition, enhanced by the involvement of acclaimed specialist soloists such as multi-instrumentalist Marian Friedl and virtuoso accordionist Boris Lenko. This really is one not to be missed.
Listen to an excerpt from Slovak Dances, Naughty and Sad: No. 1. Ej, zalužicko poľo (‘The field of Zalužice’)

Capriccio C5408
No-one should miss this opportunity to become acquainted with the music of Hans Rott, a little known composer (even in his day), but one who made a significant impact before his untimely death at the age of 25. When Gustav Mahler is on record as having said that ‘It simply cannot be gauged what music has lost with him’, collectors can be confident that there are treats in store with this opening volume of his orchestral works. Improbable though it may seem, it’s likely that not a single one of Rott’s works was performed in public during his lifetime. This release from Capriccio is therefore a most welcome opportunity to help correct that neglect and experience exactly what Mahler was referring to.

Listen to an extract from Hamlet Overture

Dynamic DYN-37873 [DVD]
Suor Angelica (Sister Angelica) is one of the three single-act operas that comprise Puccini’s Il Trittico, a triptych of story-lines that range from comedy to tragedy. Suor Angelica belongs to the latter category and features intensely lyrical music performed by an all-female cast. Recorded last year, this is a fine new staging by the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari, in a co-production with the Teatro del Giglio di Lucca and the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. The conductor is Valerio Galli, who ‘directs the the Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino with great assurance. The performance is excellent, the sound is homogeneous, rich and sparkling with energy.’ (Connessiallopera.it) Anna Maria Chiuri gives a notable performance in the role of The Princess, Sister Angelica’s aunt: ‘Chiuri has a beautifully projected and even contralto voice, and a monumental sense of phrasing that well suits the character’s elusiveness.’ (Connessiallopera.it)

Also available on Blu-ray (DYN-57873);
Audio-only version available on CDS7873


NXN Recordings NXN2002
I’d like to draw your attention to a label that I hope will become increasingly familiar. NXN Recordings is owned by Naxos Norway and based in Oslo. Although it has a distinct leaning to jazz, it’s not restricted to that style; its aim is to release new music in any genre that will reflect Norway’s vibrant music scene and inspire and surprise music lovers around the world. The label’s first album was released in May of this year. The label follows up now with a programme that features some of the best jazz musicians in Scandinavia and guarantees a thrilling musical experience. Try it. You certainly won’t be disappointed.

For more information, visit www.nxnrecordings.no

Listen to an extract from Scar

Grand Piano GP846
This is the final volume in Nicholas Walker’s exceptional recordings of Balakirev’s works for piano, and one that fittingly crowns the entire edition. Expect to hear again his ‘sophisticated tonal palette and…bravura with integrity’ (Gramophone on Vol. 5, GP811), not least in Balakirev’s greatest work for piano, Islamey, an exotic and ultra-virtuoso oriental treasure. Also featured are previously unpublished and unrecorded miniatures, plus Walker’s own arrangement of Balakirev’s passionate and sensual symphonic poem Tamara for solo piano, recreating textures redolent of the composer’s own piano style. There’s so much to enjoy here that collectors will no doubt be urgently seeking out Vols. 1–5.

Listen to an extract from Glinka’s Kamarinskaya (arr. Balakirev)

Ondine ODE1357-2
Christoph Eschenbach needs no introduction as one of the world’s leading conductor/pianists, but here we can enjoy a less well known corner of his expertise as a true specialist in the interpretation of Hindemith’s music; his mixed bill recording for Ondine of Hindemith orchestral works (ODE1214-2) won the GRAMMY for Best Classical Compendium in 2014. This new release is the final volume in Ondine’s edition of Hindemith’s youthful Kammermusik series, written in the 1920s. Kammermusik Nos. 4–7 are essentially concertos for organ, violin, viola and viola d’amore (in Hindemith’s opinion ‘the most beautiful thing that you can imagine in sound’) and the excellent young soloists are from Germany’s noted Kronberg Academy. Add to that the combined talents of the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra, which comprises some of the world’s finest young musicians, and you have a very special meeting of minds.
Listen to an excerpt from Kammermusik No. 5, Op. 36, No. 4: IV. Variante eines Militärmarsches


Opus Arte OA1323BD [4 DVDs]
This special edition boxed set celebrates the artistry of Natalia Osipova, one of The Royal Ballet’s brightest stars. It brings together three classic full-length performances – Giselle, Swan Lake and La fille mal gardée – all filmed at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. The set showcases both the power of Osipova’s performances, and the range of her dancing and acting abilities. Complementing that triple bill is a documentary, Force of Nature Natalia, which provides unprecedented access and insight into Osipova’s rehearsal process, as she prepares to dance some of classical ballet’s most challenging roles, as well as collaborating with some of today’s leading choreographers on brand new works. The critics love her, and so will you: ‘[Osipova] defies gravity more completely and more serenely than any other ballerina I have ever seen. Technically, she is often astounding.’ (The Daily Telegraph ★★★★)

Also available on Blu-ray (OABD7281BD)


SWR Classic SWR19425CD
[30-Disc Boxed Set]
This is an unmissable 30-volume collection that encapsulates the lifework of Carl Schuricht (1880–1967), one of the most significant conductors of his time who was esteemed by orchestras and audiences alike. Music lovers today continue to find the depth of his interpretations and the breadth of his repertoire (from Haydn to Blacher) captivating. This collection is drawn from the 125 recordings Schuricht made for the South West German Broadcasting Services in Stuttgart and features the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra and the SWR Vokalensemble. This release offers a splendid opportunity to hear an authoritative overview of major symphonic repertoire from the 18th to the early 20th centuries – a perfect resource for the long winter months ahead.
Listen to an excerpt from Robert Oboussier’s Violin Concerto: I. Maestoso – Allegro


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