This month's NEW ON NAXOS spotlight recording is another jewel from the Rossini in Wildbad Bel Canto Festival – Rossini's Sigismondo, featuring mezzo-soprano Margarita Gritskova on the title role, with soprano Maria Aleida, Camerata Bach Choir Poznań, the Virtuosi Brunensis, conducted by Antonino Fogliani.
Other highlights include volume seven of Antonio Soler's Keyboard Sonatas series performed by the first prize winner of the 60th Maria Canals International Music Competition of Barcelona, pianist Regina Chernychko; the latest installment of our survey of Fritz Kreisler's Complete Solo Recordings, remastered from original recordings from 1921-1925. In this release, Fritz Kreisler performs works by Bach, Beethoven, Koželuch, Wagner, Dvořák and by Kreisler himself; and Mourad Merzouki's PIXEL, a contemporary dance performance featuring the Compagnie Käfig, 3D designs by Adrien M & Claire B Company, and music by Armand Amar.
While filled with Rossini’s distinctive musical hallmarks and notable for some wonderfull duets, Sigismondo was one of his very few failures in the genre, for which blame is usually laid at the feet of librettist Giuseppe Foppa. Today, however, we can appreciate how this tale of an abused wife who retains her love for her deranged husband pushes the boundaries of the grand narrative tradition into a more searching psychological drama. An emphasis on madness and guilt and coloratura expressions of inner feeling results in a fascinating meeting of convention with experiment, Rossini's subsequent reuse of his music for Sigismondo in later hit operas being ample evidence of its intrinsic quality.
Antonio Soler's training as a chorister, organist and composer equipped the young Catalan for the prestigious position of maestro di capilla at the Escorial palace. Here he was strongly influenced by Domenico Scarlatti in his writing of keyboard sonatas for the young prince Don Gabriel, son of Carlos III. The inventive and ingenious works heard in this volume of the complete set of sonatas reveal his command of the medium, from the fugal brilliance of No. 67 in D Major and the virtuoso elements of No. 69 in F Major to the delightfully Spanish flavour encountered in No. 74 in D Major.
This 7th volume of Fritz Kreisler's complete recordings takes us to the end of his acoustic sessions and to the first to use the new Victor electric system. Kreisler was exceptionally busy after the turmoil of WWI with a comeback in America, groundbreaking global tours, and a warm welcome back to England after being considered an 'enemy alien' during the war. At HMV he was joined by cellist Hugo Kreisler, whose fine singing legato adds a breath of Viennese style to the sound. At the introduction of microphone recording with its heightened realism and fidelity, Fritz Kreisler's playing was still at its peak, also benefitting from his favourite 1733 Stradivarius in Victor's New York studio.
*Naxos Historical titles are not available in the United States due to possible copyright restrictions.
Pixel is a stunning contemporary dance performance for 11 dancers in a virtual and living visual environment. A work on illusion combining energy and poetry, fiction and technical achievement, minimal music and hip-hop. It opens a dialogue between the synthetic world of digital projection and the real bodies of dancers.
These première recordings of viola concertos written especially for Brett Deubner are by two leading American composers whose appealing styles are full of engaging melodies and vital rhythms. Amanda Harberg's Concerto for Viola and Orchestra meditates upon soaring flight and the fragility of life, concluding with joyful energy and syncopation. Her Elegy commemorates a beloved music teacher. Inspired by tales from around the world, Max Wolpert's work draws on ancient traditions of music and storytelling. His Viola Concerto No. 1, 'Giants' gazes at the lost magic of a distant past, calling up singing harps, dancing storm clouds, and a fiendishly ticking clock inexorably counting down to the end of the world.
László Lajtha was one of the most significant Hungarian composers of the 20th century, though wider recognition of his music was prevented by the Communist regime. The Seventh Symphony is a tragic, dramatic and revolutionary work directly associated with the brutal suppression of the Hungarian Uprising of 1956, the composer stating that "the musical instruments grieve at the tragedies of Hungary, pray for truth and quote the sounds of the hymn for a peaceful future". The entertaining Third Suite is light in tone in the manner of a divertimento, while Lajtha's music for the film Hortobágy reflects the wild beauty of life on the Hungarian puszta.
Bright SHENG (b. 1955)
Dan Zhu, Violin • Julian Schwarz, Trey Lee, Cellos • Robert Black, Double Bass • Yoobin Son, Flute/Alto flute • Pius Cheung, Marimba • David Friend, Marika Bournaki, Bright Sheng, Pianos
WORLD PREMIÈRE RECORDINGS
Acclaimed Chinese/American composer Bright Sheng has been fascinated by folk music for his entire career and Northern Lights is his first work to use Scandinavian folk music, exploring its kinship with American sources such as Appalachian and Bluegrass music. Inspired by ancient Chinese poetry, Melodies of a Flute captures deep and sensuous moods of love and longing, while Hot Pepper refers to the spicy cuisine of Si Chuan province. Bright Sheng combines Chinese and Western musical ideas to create luminous, deeply expressive and rhythmic scores, giving new meaning to the idea of music as a universal language.
Pauline Viardot, daughter of the famous tenor, composer, operatic impresario and teacher, Manuel García, and friend of Schumann and Chopin, was a mezzo-soprano and composer. Her Violin Sonatina in A Minor reflects her operatic background with its long melodic lines. Her son Paul, the dedicatee of Fauré’s great A Minor Sonata, wrote three beautifully crafted, expressively rich violin sonatas over an almost fifty-year period.
Muzio Clementi achieved early success as a widely-travelled pianist, performing for nobility and meeting Mozart, his journeys reflected in the Melodies of Different Nations. The Sonata in A flat Major is his earliest surviving work, and the incomplete Allegro and Finale may have been intended as part of the famous Gradus ad Parnassum (Naxos 8.572325, 8.572326, 8.572327, 8.572328). Based on a popular dance form, the delightful Monferrinas reveal Clementi's charming side, each one presenting a uniquely interesting character.
The contribution of the American composer, teacher and pianist Vincent Persichetti to the harpsichord repertoire is unique among 20th-century composers. He wrote a diverse selection of music, including an opera and nine symphonies, while his substantial output for harpsichord offers a vivid and rich variety of expression. The ingenious contrapuntal writing alludes to baroque ornamentation while remaining firmly rooted in the contemporary idiom. Lyrical passages and technical brilliance abound with vitality and inventiveness.
Italian guitarist, composer and instrument maker Luigi Legnani performed widely throughout Europe and was admired by Paganini as the guitar's "leading player" of his day. Legnani's virtuosity was eminently suited to the 19th century fashion for transcribing and writing variations on famous opera themes that range from the romance of L'Italiana in Algeri to the drama of Armida. The 'orchestral' colours of the guitar are fully explored with breathtaking special techniques and imitative effects.
Geoffrey Bush made a significant contribution to English song, while Joseph Horovitz's modest but equally varied contribution includes Lady Macbeth, a powerful, harmonically astringent scena, as well as witty cabaret items and one song which, in its late-Romantic nostalgia, reveals his Viennese roots. Bush's Cuisine Provençale has elements of an operatic drama, while the cycle Yesterday enshrines ballad simplicity and deft wordpainting. Mirabile Misterium sets medieval texts which explore various types of ecstasy,and archy at the zoo demonstrates Bush's zest and wit.
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NA0269 • 13-CD Set
NA0270 • 3-CD Set
NA0275 • 18-CD Set
NA0271 *digital pre-release
NA0272 • 8-CD Set *digital pre-release
NA0273 • 24-CD Set *digital pre-release
NA0274 • 8-CD Set *digital pre-release
NA0286 • 18-CD Set *digital pre-release
NA0287 • 4-CD Set *digital pre-release
NA0312 • 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!
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