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The October 2013 issue of NEW ON NAXOS presents our monthly spotlight release: SHOSTAKOVICH’s Symphony No. 4, the Ninth Volume of the complete symphony cycle featuring Vasily Petrenko conducting the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

Other highlights include: PROKOFIEV’s Symphony No. 4 with Marin Alsop and the São Paulo Symphony; the final volume of SARASATE’s Music for Violin and Orchestra with Tianwa Yang; and A TALE OF TWO CELLOS, unique arrangements for two cellos by Julian Lloyd Webber, performed with his wife Jiaxin Lloyd Webber.

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

This Month's Highlights

Naxos 8.573188
Dmitry SHOSTAKOVICH (1906–1975)
Symphony No. 4 in C minor, Op. 43

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra • Vasily Petrenko

Completed in 1936 but withdrawn during rehearsal and not performed until 1961, the searing Fourth Symphony finds Shostakovich stretching his musical idiom to the limit in the search for a personal means of expression at a time of undoubted personal and professional crisis. The opening movement, a complex and unpredictable take on sonata form that teems with a dazzling profusion of varied motifs, is followed by a short, eerie central movement. The finale opens with a funeral march leading to a climax of seismic physical force that gives way to a bleak and harrowing minor key coda. The Symphony has since become one of the most highly regarded of the composer’s large-scale works.

Naxos 8.573186
Sergey PROKOFIEV (1891–1953)
Symphony No. 4 (revised version), Op. 112
L’enfant prodigue (The Prodigal Son), Op. 46

São Paulo Symphony Orchestra • Marin Alsop

Prokofiev’s imposing Fourth Symphony and his final ballet for Sergey Dyagilev, The Prodigal Son, share common roots but are entirely distinctive in character. The vivid depictions in the ballet’s moral tale include sensual temptations, drunken debauchery, robbery and remorse. The 1947 revision of the Fourth Symphony, lengthened and enriched in orchestration by the addition of a piccolo clarinet, piano and harp, makes extended use of themes from The Prodigal Son as well as unused material. Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony with Marin Alsop and the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra (8.573029) was described as “an outstanding achievement” by BBC Music Magazine.

Naxos 8.572276
Pablo SARASATE (1844–1908)
Music for Violin and Orchestra, Volume 4
Fantasies on Don Giovanni and Der Freischütz

Tianwa Yang, violin
Orquesta Sinfónica de Navarra • Ernest Martínez Izquierdo

This volume concludes Tianwa Yang’s internationally acclaimed series of recordings of Pablo de Sarasate’s works for violin and orchestra. This stunning programme includes the popular Introduction et Tarantelle and two delightful jotas. Sarasate’s scintillating flying staccato technique is heard in the Fantaisie on Weber’s ‘Der Freischütz’, while Le Rêve is a remarkable work in every way. “Yang is splendidly equipped as a Sarasate violinist, with her clear tone, pure intonation, impressive dexterity and light touch … startlingly beautiful.” (Gramophone on Volume 3, 8.572275)

Naxos 8.573251
Arrangements by Julian Lloyd Webber

Julian and Jiaxin Lloyd Webber, cellos

Good original music for two cellos is quite rare to find and over the years arrangements have greatly enriched the classical repertoire. In this recording internationally celebrated cellist Julian Lloyd Webber has taken music from Monteverdi to Arvo Pärt – much of it originally written for two voices – and adapted it to the medium of two cellos and accompanying piano, sometimes including other instrumentation. These unique arrangements, which he performs with his wife Jiaxin Lloyd Webber, allow their cello voices to blend together as they explore music of lyricism, quiet melancholy and tuneful energy.

Naxos 8.573271
Dmitry SHOSTAKOVICH (1906–1975)
Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 77 *
Wolfgang RIHM (b. 1952)
Gesungene Zeit (Time Chant) †

Jaap van Zweden, violin
Netherlands Radio Philharmonic * • Edo de Waart *
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra • Zoltán Peskó

Composed in 1947-48 but unperformed until 1955, Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto is one of the great concertos of the twentieth century. The wide emotional range of its four-movement structure encompasses an opening of brooding, elegiac melancholy, a manic scherzo, a harrowing and deeply felt passacaglia, and a brilliant, concluding burlesque. Wolfgang Rihm has been described as ‘one of the most approachable, engaging and profound composers writing music today’ (The Guardian). The solo violin in Gesungene Zeit (Time Chant) plays one long fine-spun melody, the work creating a maximum of expression with a minimum of means.

Naxos 8.573201-02
Paul HINDEMITH (1895–1963)
The Complete Piano Concertos

Idil Biret, piano
Yale Symphony Orchestra • Toshiyuki Shimada

Hindemith wrote much varied music for the piano with orchestral accompaniment. He intended his Theme with Four Variations (The Four Temperaments) as an experimental ballet, and it was first performed in this way in 1946 with choreography by George Balanchine. The manuscript of the Piano Music with Orchestra was found amongst pianist Paul Wittgenstein’s papers after his wife’s death in 2001. The Concerto for Piano and Orchestra is astutely conceived, whilst the Concert Music for Piano, Brass and Two Harps reveals Hindemith’s constant search for varied sound colour in his instrumentation.

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