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The April 2014 issue of New On Naxos presents our monthly spotlight release: the penultimate installment in Vasily Petrenko's acclaimed cycle of the complete Shostakovich performed by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

Other highlights include: Brahms' A German Requiem performed by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, conducted by Antoni Wit; Suites, scenes and overtures from the operas of Eugen d'Albert, with Jun Märkl directing the MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra; Dvořák's Piano Trios Nos. 3 and 4performed by the Tempest Trio; and a delightful musical menagerie from Animals in Music.

Watch our monthly New on Naxos video to sample some of the highlight releases of the month.

This Month's Highlights

Naxos 8.573132
Dmitry SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975)
Symphonies, Volume 10
Symphony No. 14, Op. 135

Gal James, Soprano • Alexander Vinogradov, Baritone
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra • Vasily Petrenko

At its première in June 1969 Shostakovich described his Symphony No. 14, in effect a symphonic song cycle, as ‘a fight for the liberation of humanity... a great protest against death, a reminder to live one’s life honestly, decently, nobly...’ Originally intending to write an oratorio, Shostakovich set eleven poems on the theme of mortality, and in particular early or unjust death, for two solo singers accompanied by strings and percussion. This is the penultimate release in Vasily Petrenko’s internationally acclaimed symphonic cycle.

Naxos 8.573061
Also available in Blu-ray
Naxos Blu-ray NBD0039
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Ein deutsches Requiem
(A German Requiem), Op. 45

Christiane Libor, Soprano • Thomas E. Bauer, Baritone
Warsaw Philharmonic Choir (Choirmaster: Henryk Wojnarowski)
Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra • Antoni Wit

The longest work in Brahms’s entire oeuvre, A German Requiem was almost certainly triggered by the death of his mother, althoughit also seems likely that the tragic loss of his friend RobertSchumann, some years earlier, added to its depth and eloquence.Taking inspiration from Bach’s contrapuntal genius but avoidingovert religious tradition, Brahms chose the texts himself, placingan emphasis on an affirmation of life with the suggestion that hewould gladly have substituted ‘human’ for ‘German’ in the title.This release joins Antoni Wit’s ‘richly satisfying’ (Gramophone)recording of Brahms Choral Music [8.572694].

Naxos 8.573110
Eugen D’ALBERT (1864-1932)
Aschenputtel (Cinderella) Suite
Das Seejungfräulein (The Little Mermaid)* • Overtures

Viktorija Kaminskaite, Soprano *
MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra • Jun Märkl

Eugen d’Albert was a titan of the keyboard and one of the greatest virtuosi of his age. A pupil of Liszt, who dubbed the young man ‘Albertus Magnus’, d’Albert was also devoted to composition. He wrote nineteen operas which reveal the breadth of his interest in wide-ranging subject matter, as well as the narrative excitement he could generate. This selection includes the overture to his first opera, Der Rubin, as well as the rare Das Seejungfräulein which reveals a Wagnerian influence. Each of the works exudes theatrical self-confidence, skilful orchestration and strong, exciting themes.

Naxos 8.573279
Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)
Piano Trios, Volume 1
Nos. 3 and 4 ‘Dumky’

The Tempest Trio
(Ilya Kaler, Violin • Amit Peled, Cello • Alon Goldstein, Piano)

Dvořák’s four surviving Piano Trios are cornerstones of the repertory. No. 3 was completed early in 1883, shortly after the death of the composer’s mother. Though there are inevitably moments tinged with sadness, as in the poignant third movement, there is also tender lyricism and strong nervous energy. Formed of six dumky (the dumka was in origin a Ukrainian lament), the ‘Dumky’ Trio is one of Dvořák’s most original and popular works. Offering a seemingly endless variety of mood and texture, each movement incorporates a slow and melancholy section alternating with one which is faster, dance-like and cheerful.

Naxos 8.578281-82
Animals in Music
Various Artists

Through the centuries composers have brought colour and panache to bear in their depictions of animals in music. For some, such as Sibelius, animals become the central focus in their tone poems, whilst for others a symphonic unity is sought, as Beethoven showed in his ‘Pastoral’ Symphony. Poetic imagery, through song, offers another avenue. The rich variety of the animal kingdom – from bees to birds, from fleas to fish (and much else) – offers memorable opportunities for sonic richness.

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*digital pre-release
*digital pre-release

Naxos Books

Naxos Books 978-1-84379-770-8
My First Orchestra Book
Genevieve Helsby

A delightfully colourful introduction to the orchestra, aimed to fire the imagination of children aged 4–9 years. There is a special guide in the book: a little green creature called Tormod. He is a troll who has come all the way from the top of a mountain in Norway to discover music. As he searches for the music that will help him to find his way home, readers learn about the different instruments – what they look and sound like, and how they belong in different families. Throughout the book children are referred to the accompanying CD so that they can hear examples as they read. There is a musical quiz at the end, with multiple choice answers.

Apps for iPhone / iPad / iPod Touch

Beanie's Musical Instruments
Beanie's Musical Instruments Lite

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