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The March 2014 issue of New On Naxos presents our monthly spotlight release: two LIVE IN CONCERT IN ST PETERSBURG DVDs featuring Naxos Artists Tianwa Yang and Eldar Nebolsin with the St Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Lande.

Other highlights include: Ryan Brown conducting DAVID's opera Lalla Roukh in a world première recording from Opera Lafayette; A programme of MEYERBEER'S opéra-ballet music played by the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra conducted by Michal Nesterowicz; 3 concertos by Toshio HOSOKAWA in world première recordings by The Royal Scottish National Orchestra and soloists, directed by Jun Maerkl; and Richard Danielpour's oratorio Toward a Season of Peace  in its world première recording by Carl St. Clair, the Pacific Symphony and the Pacific Chorale.

Watch our monthly New on Naxos video to sample some of the highlight releases of the month.

This Month's Highlights

Naxos 2.110283

Tianwa Yang, violin
St Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra
Vladimir Lande

This is the accomplished and stylish Russian debut of Tianwa Yang – one of the most unusual and energetic violinists of our time. To an enthusiastic audience within the walls of the beautiful Court Capella in St Petersburg, she performs the much-loved concertos of Tchaikovsky and Brahms with the St Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra under the sensitive direction of Vladimir Lande. The remarkable intensity of her playing is just as apparent in both her encore – Ysaÿe’s Violin Sonata No. 3 – and her separate performance of Bach’s solo Partita No. 2.

Naxos 2.110284

Eldar Nebolsin, piano
St Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra
Vladimir Lande

Against the backdrop of St Petersburg’s beautiful Court Capella, Eldar Nebolsin performs the piano concertos of Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov with a passion and sincerity as palpable on screen as live in the hall. With such evident pleasure and seemingly with ease, he transforms the familiar into something fresh and wonderful. He is seen live with Vladimir Lande and the St Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra. Bonus material shows Nebolsin as soloist in an intimate and equally engaging performance of Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Sonata.

Naxos 8.660338-39
Félicien DAVID (1810–1876)
Lalla Roukh (Opéra-comique in two acts)

Marianne Fiset, soprano • Emiliano Gonzalez Toro, tenor
Nathalie Paulin, soprano • Bernard Deletré, bass-baritone
David Newman, baritone • Andrew Adelsberger, bass-baritone
Opera Lafayette • Ryan Brown

French opera owes much of its obsession with exoticism to the pivotal figure of Félicien David, a pioneer of ‘musical Orientalism’. His opera Lalla Roukh, first performed to huge acclaim in 1862, was the catalyst for the explosion in operas set in the ‘Exotic East’. The fairy-tale plot revolves around an Indian princess who travels to Bukhara (part of modern Uzbekistan) to meet the man to whom she is to be given in marriage. Along the way she falls in love with the minstrel Noureddin who is, in fact, the King of Bukhara in disguise. David’s evocative and magical orchestration is harnessed to memorable melodies, including Lalla Roukh’s deftly harmonized arias ‘Sous le feuillage sombre’ and ‘O nuit d’amour’.

Naxos 8.573076
Giacomo MEYERBEER (1791–1864)
Ballet Music from the Operas

Barcelona Symphony Orchestra • Michał Nesterowicz

Giacomo Meyerbeer was one of the most significant opera composers of all time. The four grand operas represented here brought him his greatest fame, with Les Huguenots being one of the most performed of all operas. Meyerbeer’s contributions to the French tradition of opéra-ballet acquired legendary status, including the ghostly Ballet of the Nuns from Robert le Diable; the exotic orchestral colour of the Marche indienne in L’Africaine; and the virtuoso Ballet of the Skaters from Le Prophète in which the dancers famously glided over the stage using roller skates.

Naxos 8.573239
Toshio HOSOKAWA (b. 1955)
Orchestral Works, Volume 1

Royal Scottish National Orchestra • Jun Märkl

Japanese musicians have often taken the connection between man and nature as their theme and award-winning composer Toshio Hosokawa stands strongly in that artistic lineage. His Horn Concerto ‘Moment of Blossoming’ imagines the solo instrument as a lotus flower and the orchestra as the cosmos. The theme of the blossoming lotus continues in the piano concerto Lotus under the moonlight and in the songful Chant for cello and orchestra, influenced by Shômyô singing (the ceremonial music of Japanese Buddhism). The Horn Concerto was co-commissioned by the Berlin Philharmonic, the Concertgebouw of Amsterdam and London’s Barbican Centre.

Naxos 8.559772
Richard DANIELPOUR (b. 1956)
Toward a Season of Peace

Hila Plitmann, soprano • Pacific Chorale
Pacific Symphony • Carl St.Clair

One of the most sought-after and acclaimed composers of his generation, Richard Danielpour refers to himself as “an American composer with a Middle Eastern memory.” His distinctive voice is part of a rich neo-Romantic heritage which includes composers such as Copland, Bernstein and Barber. Toward a Season of Peace is an oratorio which explores violence and war in the name of religion, using the season of spring as a metaphor for change and transformation toward songs of peace through forgiveness. Danielpour’s insistence on music having “an immediate visceral impact” can be heard throughout his oeuvre, and the beautifully translated Persian poetry and rich spirit of harmony in Toward a Season of Peace make it symbolic of a brighter future for everyone.

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