The spotlight recording for the first issue of NEW ON NAXOS for 2018 is an exciting collection of improvised music by The Core-tet Project—Dame Evelyn Glennie (percussion), Jon Hemmersam (guitar), Szilárd Mezei (viola), and Michael Jefry Stevens (piano). Glennie’s previous recordings on Naxos have been highly successful, particularly her performance of John Corigliano’s Conjurer which won a GRAMMY® Award for Best Classical Instrumental Solo.
Other highlights include choral music by renowned Norwegian composer Kim André Arnesen, which includes several world premieres, performed by Kantorei and conductor Joel M. Rinsema; the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and JoAnn Falletta’s recording of orchestral music by Zoltán Kodály; violinist Sergei Dogadin and pianist Nikolay Tokarev’s debut Naxos recording, performing Dmitry Shostakovich’s Violin Sonata and 24 Preludes, Op. 34 arranged for violin and piano; the first instalment of Percy Grainger’s Complete Music for Wind Band, recorded by The Royal Norwegian Navy Band and conductor Bjarte Engeset; the final volume of Jordi Masó’s exploration of the Complete Piano Music by Joaquín Turina; Ralph van Raat’s latest album for Naxos, featuring Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and Debussy’s La Mer, arranged for solo piano; and many more.
This premiere recording of master percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie’s new international ensemble offers a programme of fourteen improvised pieces that push the boundaries of spontaneous music-making. The group brings together musical traditions from four varied cultures (Scotland, Serbia, the United States and Denmark) but with a common goal: to create spontaneous music of great beauty and power which utilises the basic formal elements of musical composition – melody, harmony, rhythm and form.
Kim André Arnesen is one of Norway’s most frequently performed contemporary composers. International recognition of his music includes a performance of the beautifully evocative Cradle Hymn at the White House for Barack Obama in 2016. Arnesen’s association with Denver’s Kantorei resulted in their commissioning the warmly expressive The gift I’ll leave you and the eloquent Making orBreaking. Even When He Is Silent sets a text written by a prisoner on a concentration camp wall, and Arnesen’s own summing-up of FlightSong is that ‘music making is the song of new life, fragile as the fall of a feather’.
Zoltán Kodály, like his compatriot Béla Bartók, wrote major orchestral scores that were deeply enriched by his research into Hungarian folk music. The Dances of Galánta are full of swagger and vitality, and the Concerto for Orchestra, commissioned for the Chicago Symphony’s 50th anniversary, is lush, sparkling and vivid. Like the Variations on aHungarian Folk Song, ‘The Peacock’, a virtuoso showcase of sizzling effects, these scores reveal the brilliance of his orchestral colours and the indelible allure of gypsy themes.
Dmitry Shostakovich’s succinctly composed and highly distinctive 24 Preludes have proved their popularity in numerous arrangements, but when the composer heard these transcriptions by Dmitry Tsyganov he declared that ‘I forgot they were originally written for piano, so naturally did they sound.’ The set was completed in 2000 by the Russian-born composer and pianist Lera Auerbach. These often whimsical and ironic Preludes contrast greatly with the chilling and profound Violin Sonata, a late work that concludes with Shostakovich’s last ever use of passacaglia form.
This is the first volume in a complete sequence of Percy Grainger’s music for wind band and it adheres strictly to his instrumental demands, whether for Hammond organ, Swiss hand bells or steel marimbaphone. Grainger, who considered the medium an unrivalled vehicle for emotional expression, wrote a series of Chosen Gems forWinds, which include beautiful transcriptions of music by composers such as Bach, Franck and Fauré. This first volume also contains some of his greatest and most joyous creations – the immortal Country Gardens, Shepherd’s Hey and Molly on the Shore.
Both La Mer by Debussy and The Rite of Spring by his friend Stravinsky are now regarded as two of the most influential pieces of the 20th century, although these achievements were accomplished in entirely different ways. The notoriously difficult solo piano rearrangement of Stravinsky’s own piano duet version of The Rite ofSpring by the Russian pianist Vladimir Leyetchkiss (1934–2016) met with the composer’s approval. The solo piano version of LaMer by Lucien Garban (1877–1959) reinterprets the work from the perspective of Debussy’s piano output, taking works such as Images, from the same period, as a model.
One of the most ambitious and complex works in Spanish piano repertoire, the picturesque Sanlúcar de Barrameda is one of Turina’s true masterpieces, the composer describing it as ‘my homage to this wonderful city of silver… where the salt spray of the ocean is mixed with the aroma of manzanilla’. The varied pieces that form Trilogía include a grief-stricken dedication to the memory of his daughter and an entertainingly humorous finale filled with quotes from other works. This final volume in the Naxos edition of Turina’s complete piano works concludes with the tantalisingly unfinished Seven Sorrows ofthe Virgin Mary.
Amir Mahyar Tafreshipour is a leading composer from Iran whose music reaches across time and continents, being at once universal, richly exotic, and filled with the composer’s own exhilarating joy in creativity. The first ever Iranian harp concerto, Persian Echoes, weaves together Western classical heritage with sounds associated with Persian traditional music, including evocative modes and the lively rhythms of the region’s folk music. Improvisation is used compellingly in the rhapsodic Lucid Dreams, the light and darkness of Yearning in C and the vast landscape of Alas.
Musical life at the court of Louis XIV was elaborate and spectacular, but what kind of music did the Sun King enjoy on withdrawing from public gaze? This album reveals the intimate sound world inside the private chambers of the grand royal palaces, exploring the depths of human emotion that Baroque art sought to express. The softly expressive combination of traverso, viola da gamba and theorbo was known as the Royal Trio, called upon for such duties as the official retirement-to-bed ceremony. Lully’s Chaconne ‘pour le Coucher du Roi’ provides a fitting close to this rich and fascinating programme.
Each of these three quartets is informed by a particular theme: String Quartet No. 5, subtitled ‘In Search of La vita nuova’, reflects Richard Danielpour’s relationship with Italy over the decades, conveying a sense of journey and discovery expressed in its ultimately elliptical trajectory. Concerned with the quartet as a metaphor for family, String QuartetNo. 6 explores ideas of distance, time and ultimately, leave-taking. String Quartet No. 7, subtitled ‘Psalms of Solace’, pursues the search for the Divine, successive movements taking intellect, the force of will, and romantic love as their subject before the appearance in the finale of a soprano voice.
The viola established itself as a prominent solo voice in the 20th century, but the three works here illustrate the instrument’s wide spectrum in chamber music of the 19th century. Concluding with a striking series of free variations, Mendelssohn’s Viola Sonata in C Minor is notable for its combination of dignified melancholy, exuberance and lightness of texture, culminating in a striking series of free variations. Prague-born Johann Wenzel Kalliwoda’s Six Nocturnes, Op. 186 exemplify the beautifully crafted poetry and lyric features for which he was so admired, while Georges Onslow’s Viola Sonata, arranged from the cello original, is exceptionally elegant and virtuosic.
The illustrious Scarlatti family was famed throughout Europe for forging new musical developments. Alessandro was responsible for creating a new operatic school in Naples whilst his son Domenico devised a huge sequence of single-movement keyboard sonatas that have proved indispensable to pianists. Composed for the Spanish court, and specifically for his pupil, the Infanta Maria Barbara, the sonatas here derive from manuscripts preserved in Venice. Their virtuosity is matched by ceaseless invention in which Scarlatti sometimes evokes Iberian popular dances, all generously endowed with melodic interest and brilliance.
Luigi Legnani was one of the great guitar virtuosos of the 19th century, a friend of Paganini and noted as a performer throughout Europe. Legnani’s substantial legacy of works for his instrument has remained largely neglected, but here we can experience the ’delicacy and marvellous mastery’ of the Terremoto con variazioni (‘Earthquake with variations’), the expansive melodies of the Gran Ricercario o Studio, and the quasi-orchestral textures and brilliant pyrotechnics of the Gran Capriccio. This world premiere recording provides an essential rediscovery of Legnani’s works for guitar, and confirms his status as one of the finest guitar composers of his generation.
NA0293 • 23-CD Set
NA0295 • 6-CD Set
NA0298 • 14-CD Set
NA0294 • 6-CD Set *digital pre-release
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!
Richard Danielpour: String Quartet No. 7, “Psalms of Solace”: II. Presto (Delray String Quartet)
Joaquín Turina: Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Op. 24: IV. Los pescadores en Bajo de Guía (Jordi Masó)
Percy Grainger: Marching Song of Democracy (Royal Norwegian Navy Band, Engeset)
Dmitri Shostakovich: Violin Sonata, Op. 134: II. Allegretto (Dogadin, Tokarev)
Kim André Arnesen: Making or Breaking (Grover, Kantorei, Gunther, Rinsema)
The Core-tet Project: Unseen Fires
Zoltán Kodály: Variations on a Hungarian Folksong, “The Peacock”: Finale (Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Falletta)