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In addition to its own wide-reaching monthly new releases (see, 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.

Selected CDs

Cantaloupe Music

Big Beautiful Dark and Scary
Bang on a Can All-Stars
Cantaloupe CA-21074

With Big Beautiful Dark and Scary, the Bang on a Can All-Stars show off their blazing speed, polyrhythmic virtuosity and all-world versatility in a return to the core Bang on a Can sound – an uncategorizable supermix of classical and electric instruments that is part classical ensemble, part rock band, and part jazz sextet. The album is the first in a decade that features the All-Stars exclusively, rather than as part of a collaborative project. Each of the pieces on the double-CD calls upon a different kind of virtuosity, demonstrating the range of musical abilities and experiences arguably unique to this ensemble. Recorded in New York City, all of the music on Big Beautiful Dark and Scary (including the arrangements of the works by Conlon Nancarrow) were written for and premiered by the Bang on a Can All-Stars.

Cantaloupe Music catalogue on


21st Century Portraits
ensemble xx. jahrhundert
Capriccio C5129

The soloist-ensemble ‘ensemble xx.jahrhundert’, founded by Peter Burwik in 1971, is made up of members of leading Viennese orchestras and freelance instrumentalists. They guarantee the highest standards and the level of sound quality which is associated with ‘Viennese musical culture’ worldwide. Its aim ever since is to make music of the 20th century known and to support contemporary creative work. For that purpose, several domestic and foreign composers were and are commissioned.

Capriccio catalogue on

Carpe Diem

Lute Music of the Netherlands
Anthony Bailes, lute
Carpe Diem CD-16289

Acclaimed English lutenist Anthony Bailes presents on his new CD a fine selection of Dutch lute music of the 17th Century, the ‘Golden Age’ of Dutch cultural and artistic history. Despite the lute being of utmost importance in the musical life of that era, most of its music has not survived and it is rarely being played by today’s performers. This is the meaning and importance of this recording: It allows us, like a travel in time, to have a closer look into this fascinating culture and into the work of Dutch lutenists like Vallet, Huwet and especially van den Hove, contemporaries to such well-known artists as Rembrandt, Vermeer, van Eyck and Huygens.

Carpe Diem catalogue on


SHOSTAKOVICH String Quartets Nos 1-4
PROKOFIEV String Quartet No 2

Pacifica Quartet
Cedille CDR90000-130

The Soviet Experience is the first Shostakovich quartet cycle to include works by other important composers of the Soviet era, adding variety and perspective to the listening experience. This superbly performed series of audiophile recordings, produced and engineered by multiple Grammy Award winner Judith Sherman, will appeal to everyone interested in great Russian music of the 20th century. Volume 1 received universal praise on both sides of the Atlantic and was included on the best classical albums of 2011 lists of The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, The New Yorker, San Jose Mercury News, Newark Star-Ledger, and St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Cedille catalogue on


Bent SØRENSEN / Johannes OCKEGHEM Requiem
Ars Nova Copenhagen • Paul Hillier
Dacapo 6.220571 [hybrid SACD]

The 500 years that separate Renaissance master Johannes Ockeghem (c1410-97) and Danish composer Bent Sørensen (b 1958) seem to disappear in this extraordinary Requiem which is a totality integrated both dramatically and musically; a work that unites the stylistic contrasts in a mode of expression that seems at once timeless and entirely present. The project has been initiated by conductor Paul Hillier and interpreted by his GRAMMY®-winning ensemble Ars Nova Copenhagen.

Dacapo catalogue on


Mark ABEL The Dream Gallery: Seven California Portraits
soloists • La Brea Sinfonietta • Sharon Lavery
Delos DE3418

McCartney’s tried it; Costello, too. So have Sting, Peter Gabriel, and even Bernstein. But a maverick California composer named Mark Abel has created what may be the most elegant and persuasive attempt yet to marry classical and rock. So get ready for a unique and powerful listening experience. The Dream Gallery is an evocative, sophisticated and hard-hitting cycle of songs for soloists and chamber orchestra that explores the inner lives, struggles, illusions and home turf of 7 archetypal Californians. Uncover a new strain in American art song.

Delos catalogue on

Dorian Sono Luminus

Still Sound
Bruce Levingston, piano
Dorian Sono Luminus DSL-92148

The final album in Bruce Levingston’s three-part series, Still Sound contains intimate works featuring world premiere recordings of Pulitzer Prize-winner William Bolcom’s New York Lights written for Bruce Levingston, and Augsta Gross’ new works inspired by Satie and Pärt. Bruce Levingston is one of the leading figures on the contemporary music scene. The New York Times calls him ‘[one] of today’s most adventurous musicians’ and describes his performances as ‘graceful’, ‘dreamy’ and ‘hauntingly serene’; The New Yorker describes him as ‘a poetic pianist who has a gift for inventive – and glamorous – programming.’

Dorian Sono Luminus catalogue on

ICA Classics

SCHUMANN Piano Concerto
BEETHOVEN Eroica Variations, Piano Sonata No 30

Annie Fischer, piano
Kölner Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester • Joseph Keilberth

ICA Classics ICAC5062

Annie Fischer’s ‘unerring awareness’ (David Threasher) of the shifting moods in the Schumann Piano Concerto has been caught in wonderful sound by the WDR engineers in this ‘live’ recording which has never been issued before. In the two Beethoven works, ‘she is powerfully authoritative’ (David Threasher). Both these ‘live’ recordings have never been published before. Maurizio Pollini said Fischer’s playing was marked by ‘a childlike simplicity, immediacy and wonder’ while the distinguished writer Bryce Morrison commented on her ‘depth and spiritual serenity’. All these recordings are great additions to her relatively small discography.

ICA Classics catalogue on

Newton Classics

BARTÓK Complete String Quartets
Guarneri Quartet
Newton Classics NC8802111 [2 CDs]

Bartok’s six string quartets, to which this 2CD compilation is dedicated, represent a milestone in the history of the genre and provide a unique insight into the way the composer’s musical language developed over four decades. Together with driving rhythms, sharp dissonances and even quarter tones, this cycle presents a huge challenge musically and technically to even the most accomplished quartets. The Guarneri, however, is on fine form here and delivers a first-rate performance brimming with character. A gem of a recording.

Newton Classics catalogue on

Oehms Classics

CHOPIN 4 Ballades, 4 Impromptus
Amir Katz, piano
Oehms Classics OC402

As a successor project to the double CD of the Nocturnes, Amir Katz has now recorded 4 Ballades and 4 Impromptus at the Teldex Studios in Berlin. On the occasion of his concert in early November 2011 in Munich, at which he anticipated the CD programme, Klaus Kalchschmid wrote the following in the Süddeutschen Zeitung: ‘Unlike many pianists, Katz trusts the natural flow of the music. With a wonderful leggiero he forms the F-sharp major Impromptu, finding a magnificent balance of the two hands in the A-flat major Ballade before the narrative stream appears to carry him away without his seeming to have done anything.’

Oehms Classics catalogue on

OUR Recordings

Half Monk | Half Rascal
POULENC Music for Choir a cappella

Danish National Vocal Ensemble • Stephen Layton
OUR Recordings 8.226906

Poulenc was a man of contradictions. The traditionalists called him a modernist, the modernists called him old-fashioned. The contradictions were almost glaring: a declared homosexual and devout Catholic in the first half of the twentieth century! Courageous? Indeed! He wrote modern music but couldn’t help creating melodies. That was to be both his good fortune and his misfortune. He knew so much about instruments and voices, and his music sounded so good that it could be regarded as poppish, and many people were loath to admit him to the serious musical world of Europe. Some snobs spoke of ‘French elegance’, ‘Gallic esprit’ or – even worse – ‘perfumed music’, and this was not meant as praise. Poulenc died in 1963. The rascal was there until the end: ‘Even though you may think the music is in bad taste, you must play your heart out all the same. I am quite aware of what I can do. And pianists must remember that you can never use too much pedal!’

OUR Recordings catalogue on

Selected DVDs

Arthaus Musik

Christa Ludwig, Leonore • James King, Florestan • Walter Berry, Don Pizarro
Joseph Greindl, Rocco • Lisa Otto, Marzelline
William Dooley, Don Fernando
Martin Vantin, Jaquino • Deutsche Oper Berlin • Artur Rother
Gustav Rudolf Sellner, stage director

Arthaus Musik 101 597 [DVD]

Live Recording from the Deutsche Oper Berlin, 1962/1963

This DVD documents the performance of Beethoven’s Fidelio on the occasion of Deutsche Oper Berlin’s 50th anniversary on 7th November 1962. The conductor of the Deutsche Oper orchestra was a man who had been personally involved in much of the former history of the opera house – Artur Rother. He had joined it in 1934 and in the 28 years leading up to the anniversary, Rother conducted no fewer than 66 premieres. The production was in the hands of theatre director Gustav Rudolf Sellner and his chief set designer Wilhelm Reinking. Special care was taken in selecting the cast for the anniversary performance. For the four main roles, singers were chosen who already had international experience but were still fresh and vigorous. Arthaus Musik catalogue on

C Major Entertainment

WAGNER Tannhäuser
Peter Seiffert, Tannhäuser • Petra Maria Schnitzer, Elisabeth
Béatrice Uria-Monzon, Venus • Markus Eiche, Wolfram
Günther Groissböck, Hermann
Symphony Orchestra & Chorus of the Gran Teatre del Liceu
Sebastian Weigle
Robert Carsen, stage director

C Major 709404 [Blu-ray Video] / 709308 [DVD]

Recorded live at the Gran Teatre de Liceu, 2008

This exciting modern-day adaptation of Tannhäuser, Richard Wagner’s fable of love and redemption, features a fantastic cast, conducted by the Liceu’s principal conductor Sebastian Weigle, a Wagner specialist. As a nimble, youthful-voiced Tannhäuser, Peter Seiffert plays alongside Petra Maria Schnitzer as Elisabeth. As the goddess of love, Elisabeth’s counterpart Venus is portrayed by the stunning Béatrice Uria-Monzon. Using the magnificent space of Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu in its entirety, renowned Canadian director Robert Carsen has transformed this mythic narration of medieval troubadours into a compelling and at times very amusing tale that plays out in a world of contemporary painters and art dealers. C Major catalogue on

Christopher Nupen

Jacqueline du Pré and the Elgar Cello Concerto and The Ghost
Christopher Nupen A14CND [DVD]

This DVD contains two films: the famous portrait film of Jacqueline du Pré – which includes the complete Elgar Cello Concerto in a performance which has become legendary – and a performance film, The Ghost (Beethoven’s Trio Op 70 No 1) with Daniel Barenboim and Pinchas Zukerman; described by the French opera and film director Jean-Pierre Ponnelle as the most successful translation of musical performance onto the screen that he had ever seen. And as usual with Christopher Nupen films, these are lit, shot and edited in the style of cinema film, not television. The results are visually impressive and totally unlike what usually appears on television screens – an important, defining characteristic of this DVD. These two films remember the artistic persona of one of the most charismatic and best loved performing musicians of the 20th century and in the way that film can do better than any of the other media. They were made at the high point of Jacqueline du Pré’s tragically short career.

Christopher Nupen catalogue on


BACH Goldberg Variations, BWV 988
Daniel Barenboim, piano
EuroArts 2066778 [DVD]

In 1741 Johann Sebastian Bach published the fourth and last volume of his most extensive keyboard publication, the Clavier-Übung: an aria and thirty variations known universally as the ‘Goldberg’ Variations. This monumental work, which is about eighty minutes long, is unquestionably one of the towering masterpieces of Western music. At times the ‘Goldberg’ Variations anticipate the keyboard writing of nearly a hundred years later. They present the performer with a great challenge, which Daniel Barenboim successfully addresses by using the piano to ‘orchestrate’ the music, creating the illusion of clearly defined instrumental sounds. Directed by Christopher Nupen, this film was recorded at Bavaria Musikstudios Munich in 1992, produced by Metropolitan Munich in association with Allegro Films. EuroArts catalogue on

ICA Classics

HANDEL Concerto Grosso Op 6 No 11 • BEETHOVEN Große Fuge
MENDELSSOHN Symphony No 4 ‘Italian’ • BRITTEN Les Illuminations

Anthony Rolfe Johnson, tenor
Academy of St Martin in the Fields • Neville Marriner

ICA Classics ICAD 5064 [DVD]

Marriner’s rendition of Mendelssohn’s ‘Italian’ Symphony is energetic and committed, yet sensitively communicated. Rolfe-Johnson’s Proms performance of Britten’s Les Illuminations took place at the height of his career and is utterly convincing. Beethoven’s Große Fuge is a performance of Marriner’s own arrangement for chamber orchestra. Their recording of Beethoven 3 is described in the Penguin Guide as having the impression ‘of weight and strength, coupled with a rare transparency of texture and extraordinary resilience of rhythm’. The ‘interpretive skill and musicianship’ of Marriner and the ASMF, his ‘superb ensemble’ are described in the Penguin Guide featuring Marriner’s recording of the Handel Concerti grossi on Decca.

This is the first DVD release of this material. ICA Classics catalogue on

Opus Arte

Bo Skovhus, Eugene Onegin • Krassimira Stoyanova, Tatyana
Andrej Dunaev, Lensky • Mikhail Petrenko, Gremin
Chorus of De Nederlandse Opera
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra • Mariss Jansons
Stefan Herheim, stage director

Opus Arte OABD7100D [Blu-ray Video] / OA1067D [DVD]

Recorded live at De Nederlandse Opera, June & July, 2011

Described by Tchaikovsky as ‘lyric scenes’, Eugene Onegin receives a spectacular reinterpretation from the Norwegian director Stefan Herheim. His productions create controversy and excitement around Europe, and here he takes Pushkin’s story of illusion, disaffection and frustrated love, and places the protagonists – world-weary Onegin and naïve, passionate Tatyana – in a triple temporal perspective, referencing the theatrical present, the period of the work’s composition, and the pageant of Russia’s history. Mariss Jansons, renowned for his mastery of Tchaikovsky’s symphonies, conducts this performance from Amsterdam’s Muziektheater. Opus Arte catalogue on

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