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The December 2013 issue of NEW ON NAXOS presents our monthly spotlight release: Azerbaijani composer KARAYEV’s Ballet Suites The Seven Beauties and The Path of Thunder, with Dmitry Yablonsky and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Other highlights include: Leonardo BALADA’s Sinfonía en Negro with Edmon Colomer and the Málaga Philharmonic; the first volume of VILLA-LOBOS’s Guitar Manuscripts (featuring the Guitar Concerto), played by Andrea Bissoli; MERCADANTE’s Flute Concertos featuring Patrick Gallois as soloist/conductor; and the 25th and final volume of the complete Johann STRAUSS I Edition.

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

This Month's Highlights

Naxos 8.573122
Kara KARAYEV (1918–1982)
The Seven Beauties • The Path of Thunder
(Ballet Suites)

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra • Dmitry Yablonsky

Born in Baku, Kara Karayev was one of Dmitry Shostakovich’s most distinguished pupils. Karayev absorbed his teacher’s influence, binding it to his own distinctive use of native Azerbaijani folk melodies and harmonies to produce music in an eclectic range of genres. The Seven Beauties is the first full-length Azerbaijani ballet, and the suite heard here brims with an exotic array of appealing rhythms and melodies. The Path of Thunder uses elements of African and Afro-American music in its exploration of the theme of forbidden love in apartheid era South Africa. Karayev’s Symphony No. 3 and other orchestral works can be heard on 8.570720.

Naxos 8.573047
Leonardo BALADA (b. 1933)
Sinfonía en Negro: Homage to Martin Luther King
Double Concerto* • Columbus

Emanuel Abbühl, oboe* • Joan Enric Lluna, clarinet*
Málaga Philharmonic Orchestra • Edmon Colomer


A strong opponent of oppression in all its forms, Leonardo Balada met Martin Luther King in 1967. His Sinfonía en Negro is a powerful response to King’s subsequent murder as well as a description of the black people’s journey in the Americas from slavery to freedom. Both the Sinfonía and the virtuoso Double Concerto use Balada’s pioneering blend of ethnic music with avant-garde techniques, while Columbus: Images for Orchestra is a free adaptation of four contrasting scenes from his acclaimed opera Christopher Columbus (8.660237-38). In 2007 Leonardo Balada won an Award in Music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters which helped to make this recording possible.

Naxos 8.572731
Saverio MERCADANTE (1795–1870)
Flute Concertos Nos. 1, 2 and 4

Patrick Gallois, flute and conductor
Sinfonia Finlandia Jyväskylä

Saverio Mercadante was one of Italy’s ground-breaking composers in the development of opera, admired by contemporaries such as Rossini, Donizetti, Bellini and Verdi. But during the years 1814 to 1820, inspired by fellow conservatoire students and their virtuoso teachers, he embarked on a series of works for the flute. They include seven concertos, happy exceptions to the rule in opera-obsessed Italy of the day. The solo writing is vividly characterised, full of technical demands perfectly adapted to the instrument’s then more limited capabilities and permeated with a rich bel canto lyricism.

Naxos 8.573115
Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887–1959)
The Guitar Manuscripts:
Masterpieces and Lost Works, Volume 1
Including: Guitar Concerto, Valse-Choro and Floresta do Amazonas

Andrea Bissoli, guitar • Federica Artuso, guitar • Lia Serafini, soprano
Minas Gerais Philharmonic Orchestra • Fabio Mechetti

This is the first of three volumes including rare and recently discovered works by Heitor Villa-Lobos. Guitarist Andrea Bissoli’s researches have revealed new sources for lost manuscripts, and these recordings of the Valsa, the Motivos Gregos and Canção do poeta do século XVIII represent the revival of music thought to have vanished forever. These works are joined by transcriptions which include one of Villa-Lobos’ best loved melodies, the Ária from Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5, as well as the Concerto he wrote for the legendary Segovia.

Naxos 8.225345
Johann STRAUSS I (1804–1849)
Edition, Volume 25

Slovak Sinfonietta Žilina • Christian Pollack

Morale was low in Vienna after the suppression of the 1848 revolution, but Johann Strauss the Elder’s celebratory ball in January 1849 provided new waltzes which “were heard to general applause and were excellent”. This final volume of the complete Johann Strauss I edition includes the enigmatic Quadrille Without Title, and the celebration of a hero hailed alongside Radetzky in the Jelačić March. The Exeter Polka and Almack’s Quadrille were an introduction to London society, while the Radetzky Banquet March was left incomplete at the time of the composer’s death.

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