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The February NEW ON NAXOS continues to ‘Celebrate Beethoven’ with the world premiere recording of the narrated version of Ludwig van Beethoven’s The Ruins of Athens, presented by the world-renowned conductor Leif Segerstam and the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra. This new release features a quintet of outstanding speakers—Angela Eberlein, Roland Astor, Claus Obalski, Ernst Oder and Leah Sinka—joined by soprano Reetta Haavisto and bass Juha Kotilainen, and the Chorus Cathedralis Aboensis. The sixth instalment in Segerstam’s recording cycle of Beethoven’s large-scale works, the series received critical acclaim, with the first two volumes Christus am Ölberge (8.573852) and The Creatures of Prometheus (8.573853) receiving nominations at the 2020 International Classical Music Awards.

Other highlights include: Rossini in Wildbad’s 2014 revival of Francesco Morlacchi’s hit opera Tebaldo e Isolina, conducted by Antonino Fogliani; Christof Loy’s new staging of Euryanthe by Carl Maria von Weber for Teather an der Wien; Book 2 of J.S. Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier, performed with critical acclaim at the 2018 BBC Proms by Sir András Schiff; Ukrainian composer Myroslav Skoryk’s Violin Concertos Nos. 1–4, featuring soloist Andrej Bielow; the world premiere recording of Johann Simon Mayr’s Mass in E flat major, presented by specialist Franz Hauk; and many more.

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


This Month’s Highlights
BEETHOVEN, L. van: The Ruins of Athens (version with narration)
8.574076
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770–1827)
Die Ruinen von Athen
(‘The Ruins of Athens’)

Astor • Eberlein • Obalski • Oder • Sinka • Haavisto • Kotilainen • Chorus Cathedralis Aboensis • Turku Philharmonic Orchestra • Segerstam

WORLD PREMIERE RECORDING OF VERSION WITH NARRATION

Die Ruinen von Athen (‘The Ruins of Athens’) was composed to celebrate the opening of the new German theatre in Pest in 1812. Designed to accompany the play of that name by August von Kotzebue, its incidental music is substantial enough to form a kind of one-act Singspiel and is full of attractive arias, duets and choruses and includes the famous Turkish March. Though the work’s theme was rooted in Greek mythology, in reality it was explicitly political in nature, celebrating Pest as ‘the new Athens’. This is the first ever recording of the work with full narration.

Visit and bookmark our Beethoven 250th anniversary mini-site, which will be regularly updated with new content.


MORLACCHI, F.: Tebaldo e Isolina [Opera]
8.660471-72
Francesco MORLACCHI (1784–1841)
Tebaldo e Isolina
Libretto by Gaetano Rossi

Pastrana • D’Agosto • Polverelli • Giustiniani • Vlad • Baglietto • Camerata Bach Choir, Poznań • Virtuosi Brunensis • Fogliani

Francesco Morlacchi was a native of Perugia, but early success led him to become music director of the Dresden Opera where he remained for the rest of his life despite having an opportunity to succeed Rossini in Naples in 1822. He did make tours to Italy however, and Tebaldo e Isolina received its triumphant premiere in Venice, becoming the most successful of all his operas. Morlacchi’s gifts as a lyricist and for characterisation are heard here at their best, with showpiece arias and duets in a version of the Romeo and Juliet story that ends in happiness and the victory of reason over vengeance.


WEBER, C.M. von: Euryanthe [Opera] (Theater an der Wien, 2018)
2.110656
Carl Maria von WEBER (1786–1826)
Euryanthe
Libretto by Helmina de Chézy

J. Wagner • Neubauer • Kronthaler • N. Reinhardt • Foster-Williams • Cerny • Arnold Schoenber Choir • ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra • Trinks • Loy

Weber’s ‘great heroic-romantic’ opera Euryanthe premiered in Vienna in 1823. It concerns the wronged Euryanthe, victim of a plot to establish her unfaithfulness, but her love imbues her with colossal strength which Weber characterises with acute psychological insight. Through-composed and dispensing with spoken dialogue, its chivalric plot provides opportunities for a series of arias, ariosos, duets, cavatinas and choruses that contain some of his greatest operatic music. This production employs the opera’s original version with a few, very minor cuts.

Also available on Blu-ray (NBD0107V).


BACH, J.S.: The Well-Tempered Clavier Book 2 (BBC Proms, 2018)
2.110654
Apple Music Visual Album
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685–1750)
The Well-Tempered Clavier Book II
From the 2018 BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall

Sir András Schiff

Distinguished Bach specialist Sir András Schiff returned to the BBC Proms in 2018 to present Book II of The Well-Tempered Clavier. Extending the variety already evident in Book I (available on 2.110653), Bach’s effortless brilliance and new-found sonorities push harmony and counterpoint further than ever with a combination of ancient and modern styles, church austerity and galant lightness. Schiff has said that ‘no-one combines the sacred and the secular as Bach does’, and this is comprehensively demonstrated in Bach’s fascinating and challenging sequence. This performance in the Royal Albert Hall was described as ‘a musical meditation for our troubled times’ by The Independent.

Also available on Blu-ray (NBD0105V) and as Visual Album.


SKORYK, M.: Violin Concertos Nos. 1–4
8.574088
Myroslav SKORYK (b. 1938)
Violin Concertos, Vol. 1
Nos. 1–4

Bielow • National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine • Sirenko

Myroslav Skoryk, a postgraduate student of Dmitry Kabalevsky, is one of Ukraine’s leading composers and teachers. His works range from opera and ballet, a symphonic transcription of Paganini’s 24 Caprices, and his cycle of nine Violin Concertos written over a 45-year span. They draw on elements of Carpathian folklore and are saturated in expressive dialogues, lyricism and elegy while also exuding powerful intensity. Skoryk’s sensual writing is frequently contrasted with syncopated motifs, cadenzas, fugal episodes and march rhythms. This is the first of two volumes.


MAYR, J.S.: Mass in E flat major
8.574057
Johann Simon MAYR (1763–1845)
Mass in E flat major
Reconstructed and arranged by Franz Hauk and Manfred Hößl

Szczepánska • Krödel • Schäfer • D. Ochoa • Simon Mayr Chorus • Concerto de Bassus • Hauk

WORLD PREMIERE RECORDING

Mayr’s great Mass in E flat major is a late work, largely composed in 1843. It conforms to the prevailing Italian messa concertata tradition with its clear divisions into distinct vocal numbers, as opposed to the symphonic Mass which held sway north of the Alps. In this reconstruction and musical revival, Mayr’s imposing, tonally consonant and expressive setting can be heard in all its grandeur and eloquence. With its striking vocal solos and choruses, and characteristically songlike instrumental roles, Mayr contributed a late pinnacle in the long history of this form of the Mass.


GODOWSKY, L.: Piano Music, Vol. 14 – 53 Studies on the Chopin Études, Vol. 1
8.225372
Leopold GODOWSKY (1870–1938)
Piano Music, Vol. 14
53 Studies on the Chopin Études, Vol. 1

Konstantin Scherbakov

PENULTIMATE VOLUME

Leopold Godowsky wrote his first Studies on the Chopin Études when he was barely 23 years old, and the complete cycle took some 20 years to finish. It remains one of the most extraordinary and technically demanding of all such works. It offered Godowsky—one of the greatest virtuosi of his age, but a haphazard teacher—an opportunity to resolve his innovative theories of keyboard technique. His exploration of developing the left hand in these studies remains revolutionary, and his ambition of ‘furthering the art of pianoforte playing’, triumphantly vindicated.

Additional Exciting New Releases
FARRENC, L.: Symphony No. 1 • Overtures • Grand Variations on a Theme by Count Gallenberg
8.574094
Louise FARRENC (1804–1875)
Symphony No. 1
Overtures • Grand Variations on a Theme by Count Gallenberg

Muller • Solistes Européens, Luxembourg • König

WORLD PREMIERE RECORDING

Louise Farrenc was renowned in her lifetime as a pianist, composer and teacher, but it is only recently that her compositions have emerged from many years of neglect. Symphony No. 1 in C minor—cast in the German tradition—is an exceptionally accomplished work, finely orchestrated, lyrical and fiery, and a substantial contribution to the canon. The Grand Variations on a Theme by Count Gallenberg is a showcase for virtuosic elegance, and the two overtures demonstrate real theatrical drama—Overture No. 2 was admired by no less a figure than Hector Berlioz.


TISCHENKO, B.: Harp Concerto, Op. 69 • To My Brother, Op. 89 • Testament, Op. 96
8.574173
Gian Francesco MALIPIERO (1882–1973)
Symphony No. 6 ‘degli archi’
Ritrovari • Serenata mattutina • Cinque studi

Orchestra della Svizzera italiana • Iorio

WORLD PREMIERE RECORDING

The unconventional structure of Gian Francesco Malipiero’s music takes us on a journey through unexpected, sometimes incredibly beautiful vistas. The Sixth Symphony is a rich and songful celebration of string sonorities and moods, while the heroic Ritrovari and evocative Serenata mattutina display Malipiero’s expertise in writing for unusual chamber ensembles. The Cinque studi, heard here in their premiere recording, demonstrate an astonishing range of contrasting moods—a kaleidoscopic sonic tour with no more than a small orchestra, which juxtaposes orchestral strings with a wind group of a single flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon and two horns, and a percussion group of cymbal, bass drum, tambourine, celesta and piano.


BEETHOVEN, L. van: Grosse Fuge • Preludes and Fugues (Rarities for String Quartet)
8.574154
Nikos SKALKOTTAS (1904–1949)
The Neoclassical Skalkottas
Sinfonietta in B flat major • Classical Symphony
Four Images • Ancient Greek March

Karampetsos • Athens State Orchestra • Tsialis

FIRST COMMERCIAL RECORDING

Despite his tragically short life, Nikos Skalkottas has now become recognised as one of the most important Greek composers of the 20th century. The modernist style of his earlier period is balanced by the four important mature neoclassical works presented here. Both the Sinfonietta and the Classical Symphony are expressions of the deep regard Skalkottas had for traditional forms blended with his unique musical language. Skalkottas was a violinist with the Athens State Orchestra, who are honouring his memory with this and future recordings of his works.


GÓRECKI, H.: String Quartet No. 3 ‘…songs are sung’ • Sonata for Two Violins
8.574110
Henryk Mikołaj GÓRECKI (1933–2010)
String Quartet No. 3 ‘…songs are sung’
Sonata for Two Violins

Mills • Isaac • Tippett Quartet

The Sonata for Two Violins is one of Henryk Górecki’s earliest acknowledged works—its contrasts, instrumental rivalries and sophisticated technique a worthy rounding-off of his formative period. The Third String Quartet with its evocative subtitle ‘…songs are sung’ represents a culmination of Górecki’s preoccupations with elaborate and emotive melodic shapes and closely intertwined harmonies, its final minutes recalling the beauty and poignancy of the composer’s Third Symphony (8.550822). The First and Second String Quartets can be heard on 8.573919, ‘a recording deserving of the very highest recommendation’ (Gramophone).


Two Lutes with Grace – Plectrum Lute Duos of the late 15th Century
8.573854
Two Lutes with Grace
Plectrum Lute Duos of the late 15th Century

Newcombe • P. Kieffer • Lewon

INCLUDES WORLD PREMIERE RECORDINGS

The plectrum lute duo was one of the most popular ensembles for professional instrumentalists in late 15th-century Western Europe. This recording presents for the first time the bulk of a surviving repertoire that can arguably be considered for the lute duo, performed on two equal plectrum lutes or with a combination of lute and gittern—a smaller member of the lute family. The album, inspired by the Ferrarese virtuoso Pietrobono dal Chitarino (c. 1417–1497), acclaimed in his lifetime as ‘the foremost lutenist in the world’, includes the earliest printed lute duos by Francesco Spinacino and Joan Ambrosio Dalza and the two-voice instrumental works by Johannes Tinctoris. The often highly ornamented instrumental duos are mostly reworkings of songs, some of which are given here in a performance with the singer Grace Newcombe to provide the context for the lute arrangements that follow.


Femmes Fatales – Soprano Heroines from the Orient
8.579066
Femmes Fetales
Soprano Heroines from the Orient

Nasibli • National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine • Adigezalov

Composers of every era have drawn on the strengths, sorrows and joys of women for operas and vocal works, inspiring some of their most powerful music. From the heartbreaking tragedy of Samuel Barber’s Andromache’s Farewell to the magical storytelling of Shéhérazade and the Fairy-Tale Princess, acclaimed soprano Seljan Nasibli takes us on a timeless journey through female musical ancestors whose courage is as relevant in today’s society as it has ever been.


Birds of Love and Prey – KITCHEN, E. • SIMPSON, A.E. • THIBAUDEAU, G.
8.579064
Birds of Love and Prey
Song Cycles by
Eric KITCHEN • Andrew Earle SIMPSON • Gabriel THIBAUDEAU

Sternberg • A.E. Simpson • Vogel

WORLD PREMIERE RECORDINGS

Soprano Deborah Sternberg brings together three song cycles themed on birds, each with its own unique flavour and expressive vocabulary. Andrew Earle Simpson’s eloquent skills as a composer and pianist are united in Birds of Love and Prey, in which both antique and modern textual sources contrast songbirds and predators in a variety of ways. Eric Kitchen uses transcriptions of actual birdsong in The Olney Avian Verse of William Cowper, while Gabriel Thibaudeau’s Cycle Avicellus portrays birds within landscapes using a language of modern impressionism.


Guitar Laureate Recital – Ji Hyung Park (Winner, 2018 Changsha International Guitar Festival)
8.574140
Ji Hyung Park Guitar Laureate Recital
Winner, 2018 Changsha International Guitar Festival

INCLUDES WORLD PREMIERE RECORDINGS

Ji Hyung Park has won numerous prestigious competitions, with the 7th Changsha International Guitar Competition in 2018 his most recent triumph. The diverse selection of music performed in this programme features three virtuoso sonatas by Scarlatti, the world premiere recording of Leo Brouwer’s evocation of ancient Greek culture Las Cíclades arcaicas, Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Sonata ‘Omaggio a Boccherini’ in its original, pre-Segovia manuscript form, Takemitsu’s final work In the Woods and rare selections from Albéniz’s masterpiece Iberia. The programme ends with a colourful arrangement of Toots Thielemans’ gorgeous Bluesette.


BEETHOVEN, L. van: Piano Pieces and Fragments
8.574131
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770–1827)
Piano Pieces and Fragments

Sergio Gallo

INCLUDES WORLD PREMIERE RECORDINGS

Including premiere recordings, this programme provides us with a privileged opportunity to engage with 36 of Ludwig van Beethoven’s rarely heard sketches, variations and briefest of compositions, even the earliest of which have much to teach us about the emergence of his unique voice and style. The range of Beethoven’s musical experimentation reveals a lasting interest in counterpoint, as well as practical pages such as cadenzas for a Mozart concerto, an incomplete sonata and a second version of the famous bagatelle Für Elise. A significant supplement to his greatest works, these miniatures bring the full arc of Beethoven’s singular genius into ever clearer focus.


CELEBRATE BEETHOVEN: Music from His Middle Compositional Period
9.30206*
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770–1827)
Celebrate Beethoven
Music from His Middle Compositional Period

Various Artists

This is a selection of Beethoven’s works composed between 1802 and 1815, those dates marked respectively by performances of his ‘Kreutzer’ Violin Sonata and his Fourth Cello Sonata by major Naxos artists violinist Takako Nishizaki and cellist Maria Kliegel. Fine examples of his choral, chamber, concerto and symphonic works make up the rest of this attractive compilation.

* Only available on download and streaming platforms


KREISLER, F.: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 9 (1927–28)
8.111410*
Fritz KREISLER (1875–1962)
The Complete Recordings, Vol. 9
Recorded 1927–1928

F. Kreisler • H. Kreisler • Lamson • Raucheisen

Over the course of the twelve months charted in this ninth volume, the 52-year-old Fritz Kreisler made a series of recordings where he set down the standard electric versions of many of his most popular pieces. They include his first ever recording of his own Gipsy Caprice and of Falla’s Canción as well as a replacement for his acoustic 1912 recording of Schön Rosmarin. Four pieces with his cellist brother Hugo were made in Berlin, whilst some of his greatest playing comes in the Ruralia hungarica by his former sonata partner Dohnányi. All preserve the inimitable tonal and expressive beauties of which he was a master.

* Not available in the United States due to possible copyright restrictions.

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Naxos Playlists

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!
  • Johann Simon Mayr: Mass in E-Flat Major: Kyrie I (Szczepańska, Krödel, Schäfer, Ochoa, Simon Mayr Choir, Concerto de Bassus, Hauk)
  • Louise Farrenc: Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 32: IV. Finale: Allegro assai (Solistes Européens Luxembourg, König)
  • Henryk Mikołaj Górecki: String Quartet No. 3, Op. 67, ‘Pieśni Śpiewają’: III. Allegro, sempre ben marcato (Tippett Quartet)
  • Ludwig van Beethoven: 4 Bagatelles, WoO 213: No. 1 in D-Flat Major (ed. B. Cooper) (Sergio Gallo)
  • Toots Thielemans: Bluesette (arr. R. Dyens for guitar) (Ji Hyung Park)
  • Gian Francesco Malipiero: Symphony No. 6, ‘degli archi’: I. Allegro (Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, Iorio)
  • Maurice Ravel: Shéhérazade: No. 2. La flûte enchantée (Nasibli, Ukraine National Symphony Orchestra, Adigezalov)
  • Francesco Morlacchi: Tebaldo e Isolina, Act I: Cavatina: Ah lusinghiera imagine (Pastrana, Poznań Camerata Bach Choir, Virtuosi Brunensis, Fogliani)
  • Susan Botti: sull’ala: murmuration 2 (Koffman, Hartt Wind Ensemble, Adsit)
  • Andrew Earle Simpson: Birds of Love and Prey: No. 9. Blest are the Birds on the Wing (Sternberg, Simpson)
  • Nikos Skalkottas: 4 Images, AK 13: III. The Vintage: Allegro (Athens State Orchestra, Tsialis)
  • Myroslav Skoryk: Violin Concerto No. 4 (Bielow, Ukraine National Symphony Orchestra, Sirenko)
  • Ludwig van Beethoven: Die Ruinen von Athen (The Ruins of Athens), Op. 113: Overture (Turku Philharmonic Orchestra, Segerstam)
  • Joan Ambrosio Dalza: Calata a doi lauti (Lewon, Kieffer)
Celebrate Beethoven

We are celebrating Beethoven’s 250th birthday with a dynamic CELEBRATE BEETHOVEN playlist with various themes based on his life, compositional periods, types of works, and more. This month, we focus on the works from his middle compositional period (c.1803–1815):

  • Symphony No. 3 in E-Flat Major, Op. 55, ‘Eroica’: I. Allegro con brio (Nicolaus Esterházy Sinfonia, Drahos)
  • Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68, ‘Pastoral’: III. Merry gathering of country folk (Nicolaus Esterházy Sinfonia, Drahos)
  • Piano Sonata No. 23 in F Minor, Op. 57, ‘Appassionata’: III. Allegro ma non troppo – Presto (Jenő Jandó)
  • Egmont, Op. 84: Lied: Freudvoll und leidvoll (Clärchen) (Randa, Turku Philharmonic Orchestra, Segerstam)
  • String Quartet No. 8 in E Minor, Op. 59, No. 2, ‘Razumovsky’: III. Allegretto (Kodály Quartet)
  • Cello Sonata No. 4 in C Major, Op. 102, No. 1: II. Adagio – Tempo d’Andante (Kliegel, Tichman)
  • Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Op. 58: III. Rondo: Vivace (Vladar, Capella Istropolitana, Wordsworth)
  • Visit and bookmark the mini-site for this release, which will be regularly updated.


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