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This Month’s Highlights

Naxos 8.559750

George GERSHWIN (1898–1937)
Rhapsody in Blue* • Strike Up the Band – Overture
Promenade • Catfish Row

Orion Weiss, piano* • John Fullam, clarinet
Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra • JoAnn Falletta

George Gershwin fired up the New York music scene with his mélange of alluring tunes and refinement of the jazz vibe. His Strike up the Band Overture opened a flashy Broadway hit and, inspired by a train ride, the composer heard his masterpiece Rhapsody in Blue as a “musical kaleidoscope of America”. Promenade was reconstructed from a 1937 film score, and Catfish Row was Gershwin’s concert suite from the opera Porgy and Bess. Acclaimed as a “bold, gutsy performance with plenty of pizzazz” and with “impressive brilliance and depth”, JoAnn Falletta’s previous Gershwin volume can be found on 8.559705 or Blu-ray NBD0025.

Naxos 8.570934
Aaron COPLAND (1900–90)
Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes
Dance Panels • El Salón México • Danzón Cubano

Detroit Symphony Orchestra • Leonard Slatkin

While Copland’s hugely successful celebration of the American West, Rodeo, has become an American classic, Dance Panels is barely known despite working beautifully as a concert work. Based on popular Mexican melodies, the glittering, even exotic El Salón Mexico is one of Copland’s most frequently performed works. Of his rhythmically complex Danzón Cubano, inspired by a visit to a dance hall in Cuba, in which there were two orchestras playing at both ends, the composer himself wrote: “I did not attempt to reproduce an authentic Cuban sound but felt free to add my own touches of displaced accents and unexpected silent beats.” GRAMMY® Award-winning conductor Leonard Slatkin’s recording of Copland’s Lincoln Portrait (8.559373-74) received “the kind of performance that brought tears to my eyes” (Audiophile Audition).

Naxos 8.570934
Giorgio Federico GHEDINI (1892–1965)
Architetture • Contrappunti*
Marinaresca e baccanale*

Paolo Chiavacci, violin • Riccardo Savinelli, viola
Giuseppe Scaglione, cello
Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma • Francesco La Vecchia


Architetture (‘Architectures’), a concerto for orchestra in seven linked sections, was the piece that catapulted the Italian composer Giorgio Federico Ghedini to fame in his home country at the late age of 48. On this disc it is coupled with two more of his finest orchestral works. The powerful atmosphere and stunning orchestral effects of Marinaresca e baccanale (‘Sea Piece and Bacchanale’), written several years earlier, prove that Ghedini’s belated recognition was fully deserved. Contrappunti (‘Counterpoints’), which Ghedini composed much later in life, finds him responding to the inspiration of one of his lifelong musical heroes, Beethoven.

Naxos 8.570934
Gioachino ROSSINI (1792–1868)
Le Siège de Corinthe

Lorenzo Regazzo, bass • Majella Cullagh, soprano • Marc Sala, tenor
Michael Spyres, tenor • Matthieu Lécroart, bass
Gustavo Quaresma Ramos, tenor • Marco Filippo Romano, baritone
Silvia Beltrami, mezzo-soprano • Camerata Bach Choir, Poznań
Virtuosi Brunensis • Jean-Luc Tingaud

Rossini adapted his own Italian opera of 1820, Maometto, for the Parisian stage under the title of Le Siège de Corinthe. As Rossini’s original work had already absorbed distinctive French characteristics such as heroic arias, and characterisation through orchestral colour, the newly composed music for the reworking makes for a powerful and compelling operatic tour de force. With its historical subject matter and tragic ending, Le Siège de Corinthe anticipates the advent of grand opera.

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