The spotlight recording in the July 2018 issue of NEW ON NAXOS is the world premiere recording of Peter Joseph von Lindpaintner’s opera Il vespro siciliano (The Sicilian Vespers) recorded from the 2015 production of the Rossini in Bad Wildbad Bel Canto Festival. Conducted by Federico Longo, this album features performances from an outstanding cast led by baritone Matija Meić, soprano Silvia Dalla Benetta and tenor César Arrieta, with the Camerata Bach Choir, Poznań and Virtuosi Brunensis.
Other highlights include: the fifth instalment of the Eugene Zádor orchestral works series by the Budapest Symphony Orchestra MÁV and conductor Mariusz Smolij; audiovisual release of Gioachino Rossini’s comic opera Le Comte Ory, in a production by Malmö Opera conducted by Tobias Ringborg; volume nine of Rossini’s complete Péchés de vieillesse (Sins of Old Age) featuring pianist Alessandro Marangoni; flutist Patrick Gallois’s latest recording of Saverio Mercadante’s works for flute and orchestra; world premiere recordings of Caprichos Nos. 6, 7 and 10, Ballet City and Spiritual by contemporary composer Leonardo Balada; and many more.
Robert Schumann considered Peter Joseph von Lindpaintner the most promising operatic composer in the country, yet despite his 21 operas he has been almost forgotten. Like most leading German composers of his time he took Meyerbeer’s historical grand operas, conceived in Paris, as his model. Set in Sicily at the dawn of the 1848 revolution, Il vespro siciliano (Die sizilianische Vesper / The Sicilian Vespers) is a dramatic four-act opera that reveals why he was held in such esteem by Schumann, Spohr and Mendelssohn: expressive harmonies, folksong-like strophic songs, rich orchestration, the use of the latest stylistic devices, and tuneful bel canto melodies that point to the work’s Franco-Italian lineage.
In the last two decades of his career Eugene Zádor, whose music fused Classicism with Romanticism to universal acclaim, wrote a series of works that reflected his Hungarian roots. Subtly flavoured by folklore without any direct quotations, Zádor’s facility for melody, harmony and colour is exemplified in the Rhapsody for Orchestra, while his gift for lyricism and pithy concision is to the fore in the Fantasia Hungarica for double bass and orchestra. The Rhapsody for Cimbalom and Orchestra reveals his ceaselessly inventive imagination in music that is orchestrated with the deftest touch.
Gioachino Rossini was summoned to Paris in 1824 to breathe new life into its opera culture, and one of his most exciting innovations in this period was the creation of an entirely new genre of opera comedy. The risqué tale of Le Comte Ory had its origins in vaudeville theatre and is based on the story of a villainous count who attempts the seduction of Countess Adèle as she awaits the return of her husband from the Crusades. Le Comte Ory is the last of Rossini’s comic operas, making full use of the libretto’s farcical disguises and humour in one of his most colourfully orchestrated scores.
Gioachino Rossini’s ambitious younger years saw his composing entirely focused on well-defined projects. In later years he developed musical ideas with or without poetry to hand, and the Sins of Old Age heard here bring together genre songs and character pieces on both religious and domestic subjects. These include premiere recordings of album leaves that became scattered worldwide, including one sent by ‘pantélégraphe’, the first ever ‘fax’ transmission device.
Although operas make up the most substantial part of Mercadante’s catalogue, his technically challenging flute concertos are notable examples of 19th-century Italian instrumental music, effectively closing the Classical period for this instrument. Built on the agile writing and bel canto style that characterised the Neapolitan school, the Concerto in D Major is unique in Mercadante’s catalogue in being for two flutes. The great mutual respect between Mercadante and Rossini is brought vividly to life in the theme used for the masterly Tema con variazioni. The Capricci can be compared with those for violin by Paganini, and the joyous Sixth Concerto makes varied and eloquent use of the orchestra. Volume 1 of this collection can be heard on Naxos 8.572731.
Acknowledged as one of the finest contemporary composers, Barcelona-born Leonardo Balada has written a series of Caprichos, suite-like pieces that illustrate the range of his invention. Fusing traditional and contemporary elements, they generate a symbiosis between the ethnic and the avant-garde, as in Caprichos No. 7: Fantasies of ‘La Tarara’ in which an Andalusian folk melody is transformed into a surrealist canvas, and in the vividly descriptive dissonance of Caprichos No. 6. Ballet City is a youthful work, reflecting Balada’s early enthusiasm for neo-classicism.
This recording traverses Canada, America and the British isles in music that has helped define the culture of those nations. England is represented by two of its most celebrated composers, Holst and Vaughan Williams, and the iconic Scottish Auld Lang Syne is traditionally sung to greet each New Year. Celebrated Canadian songs include Jimmy Rankin’s Juno Award-winning Fare thee well love. Eric Whitacre’s distinctive harmonic clusters can be heard in Go lovely rose, and Gordon Lightfoot counts Bob Dylan among his many fans, Dylan once declaring that when he heard a song such as Pussywillows, cat-tails he wished ‘it would last forever’.
Boris Tchaikovsky stands out as one of the most original composers of the post-Shostakovich generation. The three works presented here helped establish his early reputation for expressive lyricism and strong rhythms that embrace the deep-rooted traditions of his teachers Miaskovsky, Shebalin and Shostakovich. The elegant and emotionally searching Piano Trio is considered by some to be a kind of self-portrait. The Cello Sonata and Solo Cello Suite were both written for Mstislav Rostropovich who declared, ‘I consider him to be a genius, whose contribution to the cello repertoire has yet to be sufficiently appreciated.’
In his writing for strings, Stephen Dodgson revealed an abiding love of early music through his perceptive use of ornamentation, virtuoso displays and enthusiasm for variation form. Both String Trios reflect these elements and their slow movements – hymnal in the earlier work, valedictory in the later – are especially beautiful. The Sonatina in B Minor for solo violin is simultaneously a tribute to Bach and a statement of Dodgson’s own musical identity, while the very different Caprice after Puck offers a complex exploration of the hobgoblin’s sinister pranks.
Both of the song cycles recorded here combine lyricism with powerful storytelling, covering a wide range of emotions that are well suited to the beautiful sonorities and vocal nature of the French horn. Schubert’s late Schwanengesang conveys its pastoral setting, messages of love, pain of separation and haunted loss so descriptively that the music is just as effective without words. Brahms arranged his Zigeunerlieder or Gypsy Songs from vocal quartets, their Hungarian folkmusic character lending themselves superbly to further transcription.
Circumstances including an overwhelming preoccupation with opera at the expense of instrumental music, two world wars and the rise of a Fascist dictatorship, resulted in a generation of Italian chamber music composers born between the 1880s and early 1900s whose music seemed to vanish without trace. Featured on this release, they include virtuoso composer-performers, such as Ferdinando Busoni, father of Ferruccio, renowned pedagogues, and composers persecuted for their Jewish origins. This is Sergio Bosi’s fifth album for Naxos in a series devoted to restoring to the repertoire forgotten and rarely-performed Italian clarinet works from the second half of the 19th century to the present day.
One of the giants of music-making in the 19th century, Louis Spohr excelled as a composer, violin virtuoso, conductor and teacher. His concertos for the violin (Nos. 6, 8 and 11 can be heard on 8.570528 and the world premiere recordings of Nos. 7 and 12 on 8.555101) demonstrate a Romantic temperament framed in a Classical style, but he was equally adept in smaller forms. The Duets for Two Violins, Op. 67 reveal a perfect sense of architecture, the two instruments frequently exchanging roles, as well as a majestic command of melody. The Duet, WoO 21, written when Spohr was just 12 years old, is one of his earliest surviving compositions.
For a quarter of a century the Montenegrin guitarists Srdjan Bulatović and Darko Nikčević have thrilled audiences worldwide not only as artists but with their unique blend of original compositions. Sharing a common thread of Montenegrin traditional music, movie soundtracks, and contemporary world and popular music, while drawing on improvisatory Middle Eastern modes, flamenco and Balkan rhythms, their music recreates the rhythms of Spain, wistful Slavic melodies, as well as the atmosphere of the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.
Ten years after writing Les Corps glorieux (8.573682) Olivier Messiaen developed a plan to compose a Book of Rhythmic Studies for the organ. This resulted in two distinct works of which Livre d’orgue proved to be an anthology representative of his compositional thinking at the time. It runs the gamut of rhythms, tone colours and sonorities, ranging from extreme delicacy to the most powerful vehemence, and includes new modes, complex Hindu rhythms, and an aviary of birdsong. The test piece Verset pour la fête de la Dédicace offers a more serene vision in its own essay in birdsong.
For the last 25 years of his life Antonio Soler occupied the distinguished positions of maestro di capilla and organist at the Escorial palace. He wrote around 150 keyboard sonatas, which remain his best-known achievement, a body of music that reveals the subtle influence of Domenico Scarlatti on the Catalan composer, as well as prevailing Viennese trends. Volume eight of the complete sonatas shows Soler’s cultivation of expressive melancholy in No. 77 in F-Sharp Minor, a virtuosic use of the full range of the keyboard in No. 85 in F-Sharp Minor and characteristically vibrant Spanish motifs in No. 86 in D Major.
Debussy’s richly evocative Estampes takes us through exotic gamelan-like sonorities from East Asia and the strumming guitars of Spain, to end amid the bracing excitement of a violent rainstorm in Normandy. Alexander Panfilov was a laureate at the Premio Jaén competition in 2016, at which Manuel Seco de Arpe’s elegantly constructed and complex Anamorfosis was the mandatory work. He concludes this recital with Mussorgsky’s supremely descriptive Pictures at an Exhibition, one of the great works of the Russian piano tradition.
Sergey Rachmaninov moved to America in 1918 and immediately began giving concerts to raise funds for his new life outside Russia. Thomas Edison was the first to entice him into the recording studio, and the compositions captured here complete his work for Edison, the rest of which can be found on volume 4 (8.111407). In 1920 Rachmaninov moved to the Victor company, and these first recordings, made with the acoustical process, reveal the perfectionist composer-pianist at his fascinating best.
* Naxos Historical titles are not available in the United States due to possible copyright restrictions
NA0292 • 2-CD Set
NA0313 • 15-CD Set
NA0315 • 34-CD Set
NA0316 • 15-CD Set
NA0317 • 29-CD Set *digital pre-release
NA0318 • 15-CD Set *digital pre-release
NA0322 • 10-CD Set *digital pre-release
NA0323 • 8-CD Set *digital pre-release
NA0325 • 2-CD Set *digital pre-release
NA0326 • 10-CD Set *digital pre-release
NA0330 • 9-CD Set *digital pre-release
NA0332 • 29-CD Set *digital pre-release
NA0334 • 1-CD Set *digital pre-release
NA0335 • 14-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!
Stephen Dodgson: String Trio No. 1: I. Vivace (Karolos)
Saverio Mercadante: Concerto for 2 Flutes in D Major: II. Largo (Gallois, Kazunori Seo, Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice)
Eugene Zádor: Fantasia Hungarica: II. Poco vivo (Fejérvári, Budapest Symphony Orchestra MÁV, Smolij)
Louis Spohr: Duet for 2 Violins in E-Flat Major, WoO 21, No. 3: III. Rondo: Allegro (J. Cooper, J. Dickenson)