September 2015 is a big month here in Naxos and this issue of NEW ON NAXOS presents an exciting array of over 20 new releases! Our spotlight release is Leonard Bernstein’s controversial Symphony No. 3 ‘Kaddish’, with internationally acclaimed conductor Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. This release coincides with Marin Alsop's return as the conductor of the Last Night of the BBC Proms on 12 September this year. Also on the album are Bernstein’s Missa Brevis and The Lark.
Other highlights include the third and final volume of Marc Soustrot and the Malmö Symphony Orchestra’s cycle of Camille Saint-Saëns’ symphonies; the fourth of six volumes in our cycle of Jean Sibelius’ orchestral works, with the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of Leif Segerstam; Ryan Brown and the Opera Lafayette‘s recording of Philidor’s Les Femmes Vengées, one of the precedents for Mozart’s Così fan tutte; a special compilation of Tianwa Yang’s most popular and best-loved recordings; the second volume of Philip Glass’ chamber works, with the Carducci String Quartet; the next installation in the Naxos A-Z series – the A-Z of Singers 4-CD box set; the world première recordings of transcriptions for two guitars of Johann Sebastian Bach’s English Suites Nos. 1-3 with the Montenegrin Guitar Duo; and Jordi Masó’s 11th volume of Joaquín Turina’s ongoing piano music cycle. Previous volumes have received wide acclaim.
Three examples of Leonard Bernstein’s vocal art can be heard in this recording. His Symphony No. 3 ‘Kaddish’ shuns traditional symphonic ideas in favor of an eclectic theatrical and oratorio-like form with a prominent rôle for speaker. For this recording Marin Alsop has returned to the work’s original narrative text, heard before the 1977 revision. The Lark – heard in a concert version with added narration – derives from Lillian Hellman’s adaptation of L’Alouette on the life of Joan of Arc, and it was this music that Bernstein reworked into his Missa Brevis many years later.
Saint-Saëns’s Symphony in F major ‘Urbs Roma’ was his prizewinning entry to a competition organized by the Bordeaux Société Ste Cécile, but the work remained unpublished in the composer’s lifetime. This early work is notable for a masterly final movement which, unusually, comprises a theme and variations. The symphonic poem La Jeunesse d’Hercule is a portrayal of the conflict between pleasure and duty, while the Danse macabre is amongst his most popular orchestral works. The first two volumes of this complete edition of Saint-Saëns’s symphonies can be heard on Naxos 8.573138 and 8.573139.
Rarely performed but recognized as a hidden masterpiece, Sibelius’s score for Jedermann is unusual in that the music closely follows the words and action of this morality play, intensifying Everyman’s hubris, penance, escape from the Devil’s clutches and ultimate salvation. The Two Serious Melodies reflect Sibelius’ dark mood during the difficult years of World War I, while In memoriam resonates with his preoccupation with death in 1909 following a life-saving throat operation, and was performed at his own funeral in 1957.
The first performances of Les Femmes Vengées (The Avenged Women) in 1775 restored the fortunes of Francois-André Danican Philidor, which had been wavering since the great success of Tom Jones a decade earlier. His opéra-comique, which foreshadows the plot of Mozart’s Così fan tutte (Mozart had been in Paris during the first performances of Philidor’s work), offers delicious opportunities for mock-indignation and repartee in its arias and ensembles. This recording presents the complete music. Opera Lafayette and Ryan Brown’s recording of Philidor’s Sancho Pança [8.660274] was hailed as a ‘witty, authentic interpretation’ by the American Record Guide.
Tianwa Yang, called “an unquestioned master of the violin” (American Record Guide), is an international renowned performer and recording artist. The Best of Tianwa Yang features a nice programmed selection of her most popular and well-loved recordings.
Winner of the prestigious 2015 ECHO Klassik Instrumentalist of the Year (violin) award for her recent recording of Ysaye violin sonatas, and the Annual Prize of the German Record Critics 2014, Tianwa Yang has quickly established herself as a leading international performer and recording artist. The young violinist, a resident of Germany and heralded by the Detroit News as “the most important violinist to come on the scene in many a year,” has debuted with such major orchestras as the Detroit, Seattle, Baltimore, Nashville, Kansas City, SWR-Baden Baden-Freiburg, and New Zealand Symphonies, in addition to the MDR-Sinfonieorchester Leipzig, Bayerisches Staatsorchester, Orchestre National d’Île de France, Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, Hong Kong Sinfonietta and the Buffalo, BBC, Warsaw and Royal Liverpool Philharmonics. Ms. Yang has performed under the baton of renowned conductors Marc Albrecht, Andreas Delfs, JoAnn Falletta, Giancarlo Guerrero, Günther Herbig, Yoel Levi, Carlos Miguel Prieto, Gerard Schwarz, Vassily Sinaisky amongst others.
Philip Glass’ Fifth String Quartet is the most substantial of his five quartets and the most traditional, using formal structures and expressive contrasts which go far beyond minimalism. While maintaining Glass’ unmistakable personal style, this is a quartet which delivers both driving energy and an unforgettable, threnodylike tenderness. Glass chose a string quartet for his score to the film Dracula to ‘evoke the feeling of the world of the 19th century’, the music underpinning the film’s visual drama while avoiding obvious ‘horror’ effects. The String Sextet is an arrangement of Glass’s ThirdSymphony (Naxos 8.559202), combining symphonic scale with the intimacy synonymous with the chamber music genre. The Carducci Quartet’s critically acclaimed recording of Philip Glass’s String Quartets Nos. 1-4 can be heard on Naxos 8.559636.
*Not available in the United States due to possible copyright restrictions.
The A–Z of Singers surveys the recordings and careers of over 300 singers; the greatest vocalists who have made recordings are included, from Theo Adam to Teresa Zylis-Gara. The text covers artists using the earliest recording processes up to those using contemporary, cutting-edge technology. In this clear and concise publication, the artists are listed alphabetically, with a summary of their career, notable recordings, biography and a critical appraisal of their recorded legacy. In addition, four CDs present the author’s selection of recordings by 69 artists. This package will appeal to singing enthusiasts and scholars alike as a well-informed, interesting and precise work of reference.
Bach’s keyboard works known as the English Suites offer a series of dance movements which, despite their name, owe more to earlier French and German models. This is the first of two recordings of the complete English Suites arranged for two guitars by the distinguished Montenegrin Guitar Duo. Transcriptions of Bach for solo guitar have been popular since the nineteenth century and the emergence of the guitar duo extends still further the potential for exciting and revelatory performances.
Joaquín Turina loved to paint musical pictures of his immediate surroundings, and this 11th volume in Jordi Masó’s complete edition of Turina’s piano works features music inspired by various aspects of everyday life. Verbena madrileña is a brightly coloured portrait of a feast-day in Madrid, while En la zapatería describes the shoemaker’s tasks in vignettes ranging from Wagnerian drama to balletic pirouettes. Also included are the cinema-inspired Linterna mágica and the Radio Madrid suite with its ‘broadcasts’ from different places in Spain, each miniature a brief flash of inspiration from deep within Turina’s fertile, creative spirit.
Additional Exciting New Releases
The All-Star Orchestra DVDs
*Available in the United States only. International release, November 2015
NA0205 • 5-CD set
NA0214 • 5-CD set
NA0213 • 10-CD set
NA0160 • 28-CD set *digital pre-release
NA0239 • 14-CD set *digital pre-release
Blown Away: Music for Wind Ensemble
Wind band, concert band, wind ensemble, symphonic band – whatever the nomenclature, the glorious sound of massed woodwind, brass and percussion instruments today lies at the heart of educational and military music departments. The wind band concept took root more than three centuries ago and has been evolving ever since: following the French Revolution in 1789, the establishment of the Paris National Guard band gave considerable impetus to the development of the ensemble into its modern form; a century later, John Philip Sousa's renowned American band toured the US and Europe, spreading the ensemble's popularity; the first half of the 20th century saw established English classical composers such as Vaughan Williams and Holst championing its cause; and contemporary composers worldwide continue to provide the genre's catalogue with a modernistic edge. The sheer variety and vitality that's on offer in the Naxos Wind Band Classics and American Classics series that fill this catalogue are sure to delight listeners of all ages!