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The September 2013 issue of NEW ON NAXOS presents our monthly spotlight release: Marin Alsop conducting BRAHMS’s A German Requiem – one of the composer’s greatest and most popular works – released to coincide with her concert (with the same work) at London’s Proms on August 17. Alsop will also make history as the first female conductor to ever conduct the Last Night of the Proms, on September 7.

Other highlights include: RACHMANINOV’s Symphony No. 1 with Leonard Slatkin leading the Detroit Symphony; BLOCH’s Symphony in C sharp minorwith the London Symphony conducted by Dalia Atlas, a leading Bloch expert; and CORIGLIANO’s Conjurer and Vocalise, both world première recordings, featuring David Alan Miller, the Albany Symphony, as well as the world’s greatest percussion virtuoso, Evelyn Glennie.

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

This Month's Highlights

Naxos 8.572996
Johannes BRAHMS (1833–1897)
Ein deutsches Requiem (A German Requiem), Op. 45

Anna Lucia Richter, soprano • Stephan Genz, baritone
MDR Leipzig Radio Choir and Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop

Brahms’s A German Requiem, almost certainly triggered by the death of his mother in 1865, is one of his greatest and most popular works, quite unlike any previous Requiem. With texts taken from Luther’s translation of the Bible and an emphasis on comforting the living for their loss and on hope of the Resurrection, the work is deeply rooted in the tradition of Bach and Schütz, but is vastly different in character from the Latin Requiem of Catholic tradition with its evocation of the Day of Judgement and prayers for mercy on the souls of the dead.

Click here to watch our video trailer

Naxos 8.573234
Sergey RACHMANINOV (1873–1943)
Symphony No. 1 in D minor, Op. 13
The Isle of the Dead, Op. 29

Detroit Symphony Orchestra • Leonard Slatkin

After the disastrous failure of its première in 1897, Rachmaninov’s youthfully exuberant Symphony No. 1 had to wait until after his death before it was reconstructed from the surviving orchestral parts and performed again, in Moscow in 1945. Since then it has taken its rightful place as one of the great Russian symphonic works of the late nineteenth century. The Isle of the Dead, Op. 29 is a vivid and powerful symphonic poem based on a well-known nineteenth-century painting by the Swiss symbolist artist Arnold Böcklin.

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Naxos 8.559757
John CORIGLIANO (b. 1938)
Conjurer* • Vocalise

Evelyn Glennie, percussion*
Hila Plitmann, soprano
Electronics produced and performed by Mark Baechle
Albany Symphony • David Alan Miller

Leading American composer John Corigliano had reservations about writing a percussion concerto, but the challenge fascinated him. The result is Conjurer, a concerto for percussion like no other, in which ‘wood, metal and skin’ are utilised in such a way that the soloist, Dame Evelyn Glennie – the world’s greatest percussion virtuoso – ‘conjures’ the musical material from these three choirs, and the orchestra then shares and develops the themes. Vocalise employs electronics in a way that serves to heighten the expressive beauty of the writing, gradually leading the listener from a purely acoustic experience to one that becomes suffused by amplification and electronics.

Click here to watch our video trailer

Naxos 8.573241
Ernest BLOCH (1880–1959)
Symphony in C sharp minor
Poems of the Sea

London Symphony Orchestra • Dalia Atlas

Composed while Ernest Bloch was studying in Germany and before he moved to America, the richly scored Symphony in C sharp minor fits within the romantic tradition of Richard Strauss, Mahler and Bruckner. It expresses Bloch’s innermost struggles and emotions, revealing his complex talents through rhapsodic forms, exceptional polyphony and modal tonalities. Inspired by Walt Whitman, the Poems of the Sea depict the oceans with striking clarity, including flavours of Irish folk music. Dalia Atlas is a leading expert on Bloch, her acclaimed recordings including America (8.557151) and Four Episodes (8.570259), “a disc not to be missed” (Penguin Guide).

Naxos 8.573146
Philip GLASS (b. 1937)
John RUTTER (b. 1945)
Jean FRANÇAIX (1912–1997)
Harpsichord Concertos

Christopher D. Lewis, harpsichord • John McMurtery, flute
West Side Chamber Orchestra • Kevin Mallon

Attracted by a delightful fusion of early music sonorities with modern expressiveness, the three composers in this amazingly rich and varied programme build on the magnificent harpsichord concerto legacy of J. S. Bach. John Rutter’s beautiful Suite Antique is full of rich and haunting themes, with a significant solo flute part and a jazzy Waltz which is as much Brubeck as Bach. Philip Glass delivers an exciting experience of virtuoso instrumental blending and solo expressiveness, and with typical wit and elegance. Jean Françaix’s Concerto is terrific fun throughout.

Naxos 8.572751
Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835–1921)
Music for Violin and Piano, Volume 2

Sinfonia Finlandia Jyväskylä • Patrick Gallois

Saint-Saëns’s early unfinished Violin Sonata is testimony to his remarkable precocity as a child. His music’s universal appeal is demonstrated in adaptations of his Bach influenced Suite, Op. 16, the gracious Romance, Op. 48 and one of his most famous pieces Le cygne (The Swan). The Second Violin Sonata follows classical forms, while the Méditation is notable for an affecting melody that builds beautifully to an intimate conclusion. Volume 1 can be heard on Naxos 8.572750. Acclaim for Fanny Clamagirand’s playing includes her “brilliant advocacy” of Saint-Saëns’s three Violin Concertos. (Strings Magazine on 8.572037)

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