This month’s NEW ON NAXOSspotlight recording belongs to Mayr specialist Franz Hauk and his forces from the Simon Mayr Choir, Concerto de Bassus, and members of the Bavarian State Opera Chorus, in a recording of Gaetano Donizetti’s and Simon Mayr’s Messa di Gloria and Credo in D. Sopranos Siri Karoline Thornhill and Marie-Sophie Pollak, mezzo-soprano Marie-Sande Papenmeyer, tenor Mark Adler and bass Martin Berner complete the bill.
Other highlights include the world première recordings of works by Peruvian composer Celso Garrido-Lecca, introducing the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya; Boris Tishchenko’s – popular as one of Shostakovich’s students – orchestral works, including his Eighth Symphony, the Concerto for Violin, Piano and String Orchestra, and Three Songs to Poems of Marina Tsvetayeva. Yuri Serov conducts the St. Petersburg State Symphony, with mezzo-soprano Mila Shkirtil, violinist Chingiz Osmanov, and pianist Nikolai Mazhara; the fifth instalment of the Cimarosa Overtures Series, featuring the Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice and conductor Patrick Gallois; the début recording of the award-winning Kenari Quartet, performing a collection of French works for Saxophone Quartet, with compositions by Dubois, Pierné, Francaix, Desenclos, Bozza and Schmitt; and Carpe Diem Quartet’s final volume of Taneyev’s String Quartets, featuring the String Quartet No. 8 in A major paired with the String Quintet No. 2 in C major with James Buswell on viola.
While the German tradition observes a strict distinction between sacred and secular styles, the 19th-century Italian Mass can feel more akin to attending an operatic performance. Donizetti’s church music, consisting of at least a hundred items, has hardly been explored. Individual movements were often later recycled by the composer, in cantata-like fashion, to form a complete Mass, and it is this ad hoc technique that Franz Hauk has used to create a new work, the Messa di Gloria and Credo in D. This includes an expansive Qui sedes with its violin solo written for the famous violinist-composer Pietro Rovelli, and is completed with movements by Johann Simon Mayr from whom Donizetti learned his compositional craft in settings of sacred texts.
A native of Peru, Celso Garrido-Lecca is one of the foremost Ibero-American composers, successfully integrating a unique blend of musical elements that include serialism, the native sounds of the Andes, and the influence of the ‘Nueva Canción Chilena’ movement. Impressions of folk music capture celebrations of life and moments of drama in the Suite peruana and Danzas populares andinas, while Laudes II expresses praise through Chinese philosophy. The award-winning Retablos sinfónicos combines popular roots in both vocal music and dance forms driven by a cajón or wooden box-drum.
Boris Tishchenko was one of the most recognisable and important Russian composers of his time. His studies with Shostakovich – whose mantle as Russia’s leading symphonist he assumed after his teacher’s death in 1975 – proved decisive. Symphony No. 8, one of his last completed works, was written to be performed immediately after Schubert’s ‘Unfinished’ Symphony to which it makes reference. The Concerto for Violin, Piano and String Orchestra is rich in emotional depth, lyricism and dance rhythms while Three Songs to Poems by Marina Tsvetayeva intriguingly fuses popular song with Russian romance.
Domenico Cimarosa was one of the last great exponents of the ‘Neapolitan School’ and one of the most famous and successful composers before the arrival of Rossini on the European opera scene. His works were produced and re-staged at innumerable performances in opera houses all over Europe. This programme represents the extraordinary range of Cimarosa’s career, from Le trame deluse (The Foiled Schemes) and La villana riconosciuta (The Country Girl Revealed), which were among his greatest hits, to overtures from cantatas such as Atene edificata (The Founding of Athens) and the ‘dramatic composition’ for Cardinal de Bernis, written on the occasion of the birth of the Dauphin, the firstborn son of Louis XVI.
Invented in Paris in 1846 by the Belgian-born Adolphe Sax, the saxophone was readily embraced by French composers who championed the new instrument through numerous ensemble and solo compositions. This tradition is celebrated in a programme, performed by the young and exciting Kenari Quartet, that explores the saxophone in all of its colors and sonorities, from Pierre Max Dubois’s light-hearted and jazz-inspired music to the lyrical and expressive world of Alfred Desenclos, and from Jean Françaix’s witty ‘bantering’ to the excitement and energy which closes Florent Schmitt’s Quatour, Op. 102.
This is the fifth and final volume of Carpe Diem’s highly acclaimed cycle of Taneyev’s nine complete string quartets which are notable not only for the composer’s famed meticulous craftsmanship but for their attractive lyrical sweep. Infused with the spirit of Haydn and Mozart, the harmonically adventurous Eighth Quartet includes a beautiful and romantic Adagio. The Second String Quintet is a monumental work in every sense, standing firmly alongside the later quartets.
Beethoven’s friend Louis Spohr was one of the most significant symphonists of his day and his nine works in the genre divide fairly evenly into those which follow classical traditions and four which have titles. Symphony No. 4 in F major, Op. 86 is subtitled Die Weihe der Töne (The Consecration of Sound) and is a programmatic work, based on an eponymous poem by Carl Pfeiffer, that offers both a novel symphonic form and a powerful musical narrative. Spohr was also a hugely influential figure in the development of German opera, as the two overtures clearly demonstrate.
Spanish composer Ramón Paús has enjoyed considerable success in the fields of film and theatre music, while his classical works have been performed worldwide. The three viola works on this recording reveal elements of Paús’ eclectic musical background, such as the jazz-like moments and colorful drama of Cobalto azul, en tránsito. They also demonstrate his command of instrumental dialogue in Madera Ocaso with its incandescent melodies and incendiary piano chords. The hauntingly beautiful Elegía primera, la deriva is dedicated to the memory of Edith Maretzki, a violinist friend of the composer.
One of China’s leading contemporary composers, Jia Daqun has often drawn on the traditional music of his native country. Flavour of Bashu derives its themes from Sichuan opera with its astringency, rhythmic uncertainty and distinctive piquancy. The Prospect of Coloured Desert is one of his best-loved works, composed for Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project. Counterpoint of Times is a chamber concerto of fascinating complexity, whilst the String Quartet has been enriched with folk tunes and vivid performing techniques. Volume 1 is available for download on 9.70241.
Mauro Giuliani was regarded in his day as ‘perhaps the greatest guitarist who has ever lived’, making his name in Vienna and mixing with the likes of Beethoven. On his return to Italy in 1820, he consorted with Paganini and Rossini which resulted in his arranging four of the latter’s overtures for two guitars. These versions abound in lyrical melodic lines, fast arpeggios, subtle colors and technical virtuosity also to be heard in the Gran variazioni concertanti. The Tre Polonesi concertanti are also full of joie de vivre, lively dance rhythms and elegant melodies.
Although C.P.E. Bach was acknowledged for his prowess on the clavichord, he was not as skilled an organ virtuoso as his father, Johann Sebastian. He wrote relatively little for the organ but around 1755 composed a sequence of sonatas for Princess Anna Amalia of Prussia, sister to Frederick II, ‘the Great’. The works are expressive and fluid, displaying a vocal approach typical of his very best galant-style music. Featuring striking dynamic contrasts and imaginative melodic decoration they show him to be a masterful composer for the instrument.
Before his thirtieth birthday the young Catalan composer Antonio Soler had become maestro di capilla and organist at the Escorial palace, positions he held for the rest of his life. Many of his keyboard sonatas were written for Don Gabriel, son of King Carlos III, and they represent his greatest compositional achievement, effortlessly embodying the dual influences of Domenico Scarlatti and the emergent Viennese school. Each sonata in Volume 6 has its own distinctive character, from the ingenious contrasts of No. 63 in F major and the harmonic sophistication of No. 64 in G major to the delicious Iberian colors evoked in No. 66 in C major.
The 2015 Jaén International Piano Competition was won by a young Canadian pianist of Ukrainian descent, Anastasia Rizikov, who was also awarded the prizes for best performances of Spanish and Contemporary Music. This is reflected in her interpretations of Albéniz’s radiant and virtuoso Triana and the work commissioned for the 57th edition of the competition, Soñando María Magdalena, which transforms the traditional Jaén melody La carrasquilla into a tender and powerful personal journey. The programme is completed by the disquieting beauty of Beethoven’s ‘Tempest’ Sonata and the breathtaking energy of Grieg’s only work in the same genre.
Meyerbeer is best known for his spectacular operas, such as the Italian Semiramide (8.660205-06) and Il Crociato in Egitto (8.660245-47) that won him great popularity. Less well-known are his songs, of which 26 were presented in the first volume of this series (8.572367). In this second volume the music covers a substantial period of the composer’s life with settings in French, German and Italian that explore the joys and pain of love, Arcadian idylls, and religious themes. Four of the songs are heard in world première recordings.
NA0250 • 8-CD set
NA0254 • 4-CD Set *digital pre-release
NA0258 • 9-CD Set *digital pre-release
AudioFile Editors Select
2016 Best Audiobooks (Children & Family Listening)
Featuring some of Lewis Carroll’s most famous and best-loved poems – including Jabberwocky and The Hunting of the Snark – as well as lesser-known gems such as Brother and Sister and My Fairy, this disc wonderfully illustrates Carroll’s fondness for impish satire, verbal wizardry and pure imagination. The selection ranges from pieces written when Carroll was just thirteen to his mature work.
The New & Now playlist features all that is new and exciting in the world of classical music, whether it’s new music, new presentations or new performers. With more than 200 new releases each year, and artists from around the world, there is always something new to discover with Naxos.
This month, there are some fantastic new additions to the playlist!
Donizetti: Gloria in C Major
Tishchenko: Concerto for Violin, Piano and String Orchestra, Op. 144: II. Rondo
Cimarosa: Atene edificata: Overture: II. Allegro
Schmitt.: Saxophone Quartet, Op. 102: I. Avec une sage décision
Taneyev: String Quartet No. 8 in C Major: IV. Finale. Allegro molto
Garrido-Lecca: Retablos sinfónicos: II. Dansak
Spohr: Symphony No. 4 in F Major, Op. 86, "Die Weihe der Töne": II. Andantino - Allegro
Some more new music added in recent months include:
Wagner: Die Walküre: Act I, Scene 3: Siegmund den Wälsung siehst du, Weib!
Whitbourn: The Magi's Dream
Gretry: L’épreuve villageoise: Act I, Finale: André, tu me l’payras j’en jure