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Featured Releases - Février 2015

Concerto Italiano†
Violin Concerto No. 2 ‘The Prophets’

Tianwa Yang, Violin
SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg
Pieter-Jelle de Boer

Naxos 8.573135


Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco considered the 1924 Concerto Italiano to be his first truly symphonic venture. This tuneful, fresh and transparently scored concerto here receives its world premièrerecording. It was admired by the great violinist Jascha Heifetz,for whom the composer wrote his Concerto No. 2 ‘I Profeti’ (The Prophets), an impassioned work ‘of biblical character and inspiration’ with an almost cinematic sweep. The recipient of the coveted Echo Klassik award for her album of Mendelssohn’s two Violin Concertos [8.572662], Tianwa Yang is widely recognised as one of the outstanding rising stars on the world classical music scene.


Robert SCHUMANN (1810–1856)
Carnaval • Davidsbündlertänze • Papillons

Boris Giltburg, Piano
Naxos 8.573399

Davidsbündlertänze (Dances of the League of David) was written after Schumann’s engagement to Clara Wieck, to whom he wrote, ‘If I have ever been happy at the piano, it was when I was composing these.’ Papillons (Butterflies) is the work of a youthful, unfettered imagination, and Carnaval is one of his most popular pieces, a display of both technique and emotion. Boris Giltburg, who took first prize at the 2013 Queen Elisabeth Competition, is one of today’s most exciting young pianists, lauded for his ‘massive and engulfing technique, supporting interpretations poetic commitment’ (Gramophone).


Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835–1921)
Symphonies, Vol. 1
Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2
Phaéton – Symphonic Poem

Malmö Symphony Orchestra • Marc Soustrot
Naxos 8.573138

Precocious as a child, Camille Saint-Saëns was once known as the French Mendelssohn. The remarkably assured First Symphony, completed at the age of 17, was praised by Berlioz and Gounod at its first performance. The elegantly crafted Second Symphony defies convention not least by basing the first movement on a fugue, while the symphonic poem Phaéton skilfully brings this Greek mythological drama to life with stampeding horses, thunderbolts and a moving apotheosis. This is Volume 1 of 3 devoted to the five Saint-Saëns Symphonies.


Alan HOVHANESS (1911–2000)
Symphony No. 48 ‘Vision of Andromeda’†
Prelude and Quadruple Fugue
Soprano Saxophone Concerto*

Greg Banaszak, Soprano Saxophone*
Eastern Music Festival Orchestra • Gerard Schwarz

Naxos 8.559755


Alan Hovhaness’s remarkable legacy of 67 symphonies and hundreds of other works stands as a testimony to one of the most individual musical voices of the 20th century. Written when Hovhaness was 25, the Prelude and Quadruple Fugue represents not only his mastery of counterpoint but in its sweeping climactic form is also one of his most exciting works. The Soprano Saxophone Concerto is like a melodic tone poem or aria, and considered the most Romantic concerto Hovhaness ever wrote. “Inspired by the wonders and mysteries of astronomy” and appearing here in its première recording, theSymphony No. 48 ‘Vision of Andromeda’ expresses the vastness of this galaxy through giant melodies, shimmering orchestral colors and a transcendent apotheosis.


Isaac ALBÉNIZ (1860–1909)
Piano Music, Vol. 7
12 Piezas características • Sonata No. 3

Hernán Milla, Piano
Naxos 8.573160

The seventh volume in this acclaimed series is devoted to two works of Albéniz’s early maturity. The 12 Piezas características is a cycle of exquisite miniatures encompassing a wide variety of styles, including the assimilation of Andalusian folk music into his own personal idiom, reminiscences of earlier greats such as Scarlatti and Chopin, and elements of nineteenth-century salon music. The work led Felipe Pedrell, the father of Spanish musical nationalism, to call Albéniz not only a superbly equipped pianist but a great composer as well. The romantic and virtuosic Piano Sonata No. 3 opens with a richly contrapuntal Allegretto, followed by a slow movement of the utmost delicacy in the manner of a romanza and concludes with a technically complex Allegro assai.


Federico MOMPOU (1893–1987)
Complete Songs, Vol. 2
Becquerianas • Comptines

Marta Mathéu, Soprano • Jordi Masó, Piano
Naxos 8.573100

This second and final volume of Frederic Mompou’s complete songs features the cycle Becquerianas, one of his most ambitious and also one of his most diverse, with its unprecedented fusion of Andalusian folk-music, virtuosic piano writing and vocal opulence. Comptines, by comparison, are joyful and simple traditional children’s counting rhymes. Also included are five recently discovered songs: Et sentoque véns, Ets l’infinit, El testament d’Amèlia, Ave María and El viajedefinitivo. ‘… an enticing first offering in a welcome series, and the performers are warmly to be applauded’ (Fanfare on Volume 1 / 8.573099).


Battles in Music
Naxos 8.578293-94 [2 CDs]

How to depict scenes of battle in music is a task that has long fascinated composers. From the dawning of the Renaissance the first successful programmatic works appeared from Susato, Dowland and Biber. But it was the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that witnessed a true flourishing, when composers utilised the full resources of contemporary symphonism to evoke the tumult of battle. Later the medium of film, notably those produced in Hollywood, brought with it colourful and gripping scores.



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