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Naxos Featured CDs

EŠENVALDS, Ē.: Choral Music (The Doors of Heaven)

Ēriks EŠENVALDS (b. 1977)
The Doors of Heaven
The First Tears • Rivers of Light
A Drop in the Ocean • Passion and Resurrection

Portland State Chamber Choir
Ethan Sperry
Listen to TRACK 2:
Rivers of Light

The Latvian composer Ēriks Ešenvalds has rapidly become one of the world’s most performed choral composers. His ability to bring a dramatic text to life through textures that are lush yet permeated with a more stringent and angular aesthetic has ensured a steady stream of commissions from leading orchestras and choral forces. The four works here reflect an interest in the beauty of nature, religious faith and legend. The First Tears explores an Inuit story and employs subtle instrumental colouration from jaw harps and Native American flutes, whilst Passion and Resurrection is a profound and powerful exploration of Christ’s death and Resurrection.


BELLINI, V.: Bianca e Gernando [Opera]
[2 CDs]

Vincenzo BELLINI (1801–1835)
Bianca e Gernando
Libretto by Domenico Gilardoni

Silvia Dalla Benetta, Soprano • Marina Viotti, Mezzo-soprano
Maxim Mironov, Tenor • Vittorio Prato, Baritone
Luca Dall’ Amico and Zong Shi, Basses
Camerata Bach Choir, Poznań • Ania Michalak, Chorus-master
Virtuosi Brunensis
Antonino Fogliani
Listen to CD 1, TRACK 8:
Act I: Viva Bianca! Viva ognora (Coro)

Vincenzo Bellini was among the most important Italian opera composers of the early 19th century, and the quintessential representative of its bel canto tradition. Despite his enduring renown, his official operatic debut Bianca e Gernando was known only in its revised version of Bianca e Fernando until this rediscovery and revival at Bad Wildbad in July 2016. Set in the ducal palace of Agrigento and with its tale of secretive plots and triumph over tyranny, this original version of the opera presents both unknown music and significant differences from the revised version, giving its dramatic shape a distinctive new character.


STRAUSS, E.: Waltzes and Polkas (A Centenary Celebration)

Eduard STRAUSS I (1835–1916)
A Centenary Celebration
Grüsse an die Aula • Mit Extrapost
Bruder Studio! • Doctrinen

Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice
John Georgiadis

Listen to TRACK 13:
Aus dem Rechtsleben. Walzer, Op. 126


Throughout his life, Eduard Strauss’s compositions were unfavourably compared with those by his elder brothers, Johann II (1825–1899) and Josef (1827–1870), yet many of his works, especially those dating from the 1870s and 1880s, easily stand comparison with those crafted by his two famous siblings. Moreover, in two particular dance genres – the quick polka and the galop – Eduard was in a class of his own. As the Strauss authority Professor Franz Mailer stated: “Posterity must make restitution to Eduard Strauss.” It is to be hoped that, at the very least, this present recording will encourage a reassessment of “handsome Edi’s” unique musical genius.


SVIRIDOV, G.V.: Russia Adrift / Snow is Falling / Music for Chamber Orchestra

Georgy SVIRIDOV (1915–1998)
Russia Adrift – Song Cycle1
Snow is Falling – Cantata2
Music for Chamber Orchestra3

Mila Shkirtil, Mezzo-soprano1
Nikolay Mazhara, Piano3 • Sergey Voloshchuk, French horn3
Rimsky-Korsakov Music College Female Choir2
St Petersburg Radio & Television Boys’ Choir2
St Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra • Yuri Serov

Listen to TRACK 18:
Russia Adrift: O Motherland, O Happy and Eternal Hour!


Georgy Sviridov was a celebrated figure whose vocal works, along with those of his teacher Shostakovich, are considered to be among the most important in twentieth-century Russian music. His ‘small cantata’ Snow is Falling includes passages of hypnotic stillness as well as folk-like warmth, while the major song cycle Russia Adrift evokes landscape, mysticism and religious faith, ending in a solemn hymn to the Motherland. Sviridov’s prolific output included symphonic suites as well as theatre and film scores. The angular and impassioned Music for Chamber Orchestra reveals his mastery of non-vocal music.




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