We are very pleased to share with you the March 2015 issue of NEW ON NAXOS, presenting a broad selection of exciting new releases that includes world première recordings from around the globe! Our monthly spotlight release is the first recording of the complete original uncut version of Rossini’s opera Guillaume Tell.
Other highlights include: the second volume of John Knowles Paine’s orchestral works, with the Ulster Orchestra, directed by JoAnn Falletta; a wide-ranging programme of English music for strings, performed by the English Chamber Orchestra and featuring Julian Lloyd Webber as soloist and conductor, including world première recordings of Howard Goodall’s And the Bridge is Love and William Lloyd Webber’s The Moon. This is Julian Lloyd Webber’s first recording as a conductor after his retirement as a cellist last year due to injury. We also have the seldom-performed orchestral works by Georges Bizet, including Roma, Marche funèbre and Overture in A; the world première recordings of Russian poet Mikhail Alexeevich Kuzmin’s musical compositions; and a collection of Carl Czerny’s brilliant, but largely unknown, concert works, performed by pianist Rosemary Tuck, accompanied by the English Chamber Orchestra conducted by Richard Bonynge.
Performed for the first time in its original uncut version, this production of Guillaume Tell was the jewel in the crown of the 25-year history of the ‘Rossini in Wildbad’ opera festival. Rossini’s final, great, operatic masterpiece is a story of liberation, the oppressed Swiss attaining their ideal of emancipation by hounding the tyrannical Habsburgs out of their country. Although it was composed for the complex demands of the Paris Opéra, numerous dances, choruses and arias were dropped for reasons of practicality. These are restored in the present recording which also includes the stunning finale of the shorter 1831 version of the opera (CD 4 / Track 13).
The late 19th century witnessed unprecedented musical growth in the United States, and it is impossible to imagine a Copland, an Ives or even a Gershwin without the pioneering groundwork of the ‘Boston Six’, of whom John Knowles Paine was the senior member. Favorite among his own works, Paine’s Second Symphony was described on its New York première as “a serious, important and totally beautiful work.” His Prelude to the tragic play Oedipus Tyrannus was an immediate hit, while An Ocean Fantasy was his last orchestral piece. The first of this set of two volumes of Paine’s complete published orchestral works is available on 8.559747.
The success of Bizet’s opera Carmen has overshadowed the rest of his output, but this fascinating orchestral programme, which includes a number of seldom performed works, reveals more of his talent for writing colourful, atmospheric and melodic music. The Overture in A was Bizet’s first orchestral work and unperformed in his lifetime, while the Marche funèbre was originally the prelude to an opera about love and vengeance, now lost. The dramatic overture Patrie captures the mood following the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71, while the Petitesuite is a set of orchestrations of movements from Jeux d’enfants (Children’s Games). Conceived in Italy as a symphony, after Bizet had won the Prix de Rome, Roma occupied the composer for 11 years before the final version heard here.
This wide-ranging programme of English music for strings includes the world première recording of Howard Goodall’s moving Andthe Bridge is Love, in which Julian Lloyd Webber plays cello, and of William Lloyd Webber’s The Moon, only performed for the first time in 2014. There are also established classics such as Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro, Op. 47, as well as novelties in the case of the never-before-recorded arrangements by Elgar’s friend and biographer W.H. Reed of the two Chansons.
The great twentieth-century Russian poet, Mikhail Alexeevich Kuzmin, was for much of his early life also passionately devoted to composition. Masterpieces of the vocal miniature, his Sacred Songs for voice and orchestra are settings of his own words based on studies of ancient Russian music. His incidental music for Masquerade is notable for a heartfelt Romance and a closing chorus which draws upon traditional Russian church music. The Society of Honoured BellRingers displays Mahlerian and Mozartian influences whilst greater harmonic complexity can be savoured in Kuzmin’s edgier music for Der deutsche Hinkemann.
Carl Czerny is remembered as a pupil and friend of Beethoven and the composer of numerous piano studies, but in his lifetime he was renowned for a prodigious output of brilliant concert works, most of which remain entirely unknown to present-day audiences and performers. Inspired by the most famous and attractive themes from Bel Canto operas which were hugely popular in their time and are still performed today, these sets of variations give full rein to the soloist and are a major contribution to the great pianist-composer tradition.