We are very pleased to share with you the April 2015 issue of NEW ON NAXOS, presenting a broad selection of exciting new releases that includes world première recordings from around the world! Our monthly spotlight release is the second volume of the rare complete symphonies of Camille Saint-Saëns, with the Malmö Symphony Orchestra, directed by the acknowledged French music expert Marc Soustrot.
Other highlights include: the fourth album in our ongoing cycle of Heitor Villa-Lobos’ complete orchestral works, with the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, Choir and Children’s Choir under the baton of Isaac Karabtchevsky. The previous releases in this cycle have been critically received by leading international classical music reviewers. François Couperin’s extraordinary set of chamber music, Les Nations – a vast project which exhibits his very earliest efforts at Italian sonata-form with the French classical dance tradition, performed by the highly-acclaimed specialist performers of the Juilliard Baroque, led by violinist Monica Huggett, the legendary early music pioneer and artistic director of the Juilliard School’s Historical Performance programme; Popular overturesto comic operas, such as Zampa, The Merry Wives of Windsor, and Fra Diavolo, performed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, conducted by Lance Friedel; three concertos for guitar and orchestra by Joaquín Rodrigo – Concierto de Aranjuez, Concierto Andaluz, and Concierto Madrigal – brilliantly presented by Dale Kavanagh, the Amadeus Guitar Duo and the Eden-Stell Duo, with the Internationale Philharmonie, directed by Horst-Hans Bäcker; and world première recordings of music by Aaron Jay Kernis, one of the youngest composers ever to be award the Pulitzer Prize. This album features renowned pianist Andrew Russo and violinist James Ehnes, with the Albany Symphony Orchestra and conductor David Alan Miller.
Inspired by Liszt, to whose memory the work is dedicated, Camille Saint-Saëns’ Symphony No. 3 is ground-breaking in its inclusion of organ and piano. For the composer this represented ‘the progress made in modern instrumentation’ and the result is a work both spectacular and grandiose. By contrast the Symphony in A, his first completed symphony, is a youthful piece, fully revealing his admiration for Mozart, whilst Le rouet d’Omphale, dating from the 1870s, is an impressively atmospheric tone poem. Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2 are available on 8.573138.
Heitor Villa-Lobos was instrumental in developing a national Brazilian musical culture, writing in a wide variety of forms. Composed in 1954 for the 400th anniversary of the founding of São Paulo, Ameríndia is the composer’s largest symphony. Effectively a hybrid symphony and oratorio for soloists, chorus and orchestra, it is memorable for its stylistic variety and breadth, drawing on many different sources of Brazilian music. This recording is based on a newly revised edition made by Editora Criadores do Brasil (the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra’s publishing house) in collaboration with the Academia Brasileira de Música.
Although Couperin is best known today as a composer of harpsichord music, he remained deeply involved in chamber music throughout his career. Les Nations is a vast project in which the virtues of both the French and Italian styles are set next to each other. Each of the four ordres celebrates a Catholic power of Europe, France, Spain, the Holy Roman Empire and the Savoy dynasty of Piedmont, and each is a combination of an Italianate trio sonata with its freeform virtuosity and a large-scale and elaborate French dance suite. Juilliard Baroque brings together some of the world’s most respected and accomplished early music instrumentalists.
The flourishing genre of the comic opera had its roots in eighteenth-century Italian opera buffa, whose irrepressible brio was soon taken up outside the country’s borders. In France it produced opera comique and operetta, and in German-speaking countries Spieloper and Viennese operetta. Some of the world’s most popular comic opera overtures, filled with gorgeous tunes, brilliant orchestration and race-to-the-finish endings, are presented here. They include staples of the concert repertoire such as Hérold’s dramatic Zampa, the textual delicacy of Wolf-Ferrari’s Il segreto di Susanna and the vivid colour of Lortzing’s Zar und Zimmermann.
Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo was one of the foremost guitar composers of the twentieth century. His 1939 Concierto de Aranjuez, with its evocative Andalusian colour, indelible melody and subtle and effective orchestration, is assuredly one of the genre’s best loved works. The passionate and vital Concierto Andaluz is scored for guitar quartet and orchestra, whilst in the Concierto Madrigal Rodrigo employs variation form to brilliant effect.
Winner of the coveted 2002 Grawemeyer Award and one of the youngest composers ever to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize, Aaron Jay Kernis is among the most distinguished musical figures of his generation. Conceived as a concerto for toy piano and orchestra, and with touches of Indonesian gamelan, French lyricism and jazz, Three Flavors appears here in its final version, adapted by soloist and longterm collaborator Andrew Russo. Commissioned for renowned violinist James Ehnes, the introspective Two Movements (with Bells) is a memorial to the composer’s father with echoes of blues singing and improvisatory impetuousness, while the virtuoso Superstar Etude No. 3 is his homage to Gershwin and the blues.