We are very pleased to share with you the July 2015 issue of NEW ON NAXOS. This month’s array of exciting new releases features over 10 CDs which include world première recordings! Our monthly spotlight release is the second of a six-volume cycle of orchestral works by Jean Sibelius, with the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of internationally-acclaimed conductor Leif Segerstam.
Other highlights include: Franz Ignaz Beck’s Op. 2 symphonies, performed by the Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Kevin Mallon; a Marco Polo reissue of Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov’s Symphony No. 1 and his Turkish Fragments and Turkish March, featuring the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and conductor Choo Hoey; José Antonio Escobar’s interpretation of the Luys Milán’s El Maestro, Libro 1, which is likely the oldest surviving printed collection of vihuela music; the third and final album of Heitor Villa-Lobos’ works for guitar, including the world première recording of Villa-Lobos’ fourteen folksong arrangements from Guia prático, performed by guitarist Andrea Bissoli, with the Ensemble Cirandinha, Minais Gerais Philharmonic Orchestra and Fabio Mechetti conducting; and a re-release of Du Ming-xin’s Ten Xinjiang Dances for Violin and Orchestra, performed by Takako Nishizaki.
From exquisite nocturnal tranquility to the macabre ‘Dance of Life’, Belshazzar’s Feast is an exotic tale of seduction and tragedy to which Sibelius responded with some of his most hauntingly beautiful writing for the stage. The early Menuetto and lively Cortège were considered good enough by the composer to be recycled for further stage productions, while the Overture in E and Scène de Ballet started life as Sibelius’s first attempt at composing a symphony.
Franz Ignaz Beck is increasingly acknowledged as one of the most forward-looking and inventive of mid-eighteenth-century symphonists. A student of the celebrated Johann Stamitz, Beck was trained in Mannheim, a focal point of new approaches to orchestral writing. Although small in scale, his Op. 2 set includes some of the most striking and harmonically daring works of their kind from the period. Further Beck Symphonies may be heard on Naxos 8.553790, 8.554071, 8.570799, 8.573248 and 8.573249.
A pupil of Rimsky-Korsakov and Director of the Moscow Conservatory, Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov is most famous for his evocative Caucasian Sketches [8.553405]. He was always interested in the music of the ethnic minorities in the Soviet Union and in later life he pursued an interest in the music of the Turkish peoples, composing the Turkish Fragments, Op. 62 in 1930. This richly melodic suite is notable for its characteristically oriental turns of phrase. Many years earlier, in1908, he wrote his Symphony No. 1 in E minor, Op. 46 which, with its solemn evocations of liturgical music, confirmed him in the lineage of eminent Russian symphonists.
Although biographical details of his life remain sketchy, Luys Milán’s Libro de música de vihuela de mano intitulado El Maestro is certainly the oldest surviving printed collection of vihuela music. Tuned like the contemporary Renaissance lute, the Spanish vihuela is a guitarshaped instrument and for it Milán wrote a series of compelling works including fantasias and pavans that maturely fused improvisatory and polyphonic elements. This recording presents all the solo vihuela pieces from the first book of El Maestro in the order in which they appear.
The genesis of Heitor Villa-Lobos’s Études goes back to his first meeting with the Andrés Segovia, at which the legendary guitarist asked for one étude and the composer ended up writing twelve. Andrea Bissoli returns to the original 1928 manuscript, restoring elements lost in later publication and reliving the magic of those times on an instrument almost identical to Segovia’s. The Tarantela was probably also written guitar in hand. For his ‘folk ensemble’ instrumentation of the brightly coloured songs of the Guia prático, Bissoli has sought out traces of the guitar in the original and chosen a selection of pieces tailor-made for his instrument. The exciting story of O papagaio do moleque (The Little Boy’s Kite) concludes this third and final volume of the series.
Takako Nishizaki is among the most frequently recorded and best-selling violinists of all time, not least as a performer of Chinese violin music. She gave the première performance of Du Ming-xin’s Violin Concerto in 1982. Here she displays her renowned lyricism and technical prowess in Du’s suite of dances, based on widely popular folk music from the Xinjiang region of China, which comprises fourteen ethnic minorities and consequently enjoys a rich musical heritage. The Singapore Symphony has recorded a wide range of Asian music and is conducted by Choo Hoey, the orchestra’s founding music director.