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Featured Releases - Février 2018

BERNSTEIN, L.: The Complete Naxos Recordings
Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918–1990)
The Complete Naxos Recordings

Alsop • Various Artists


Leonard Bernstein was without question the greatest musician America ever produced. As an inspirational teacher and renowned conductor he was the nation’s musical ambassador to the world, and his work as a composer bridged gaps and broke down barriers, reaching audiences way beyond the normal boundaries of classical music. This celebration of Bernstein’s centenary brings together all of the acclaimed Naxos recordings of his music conducted by his protégée Marin Alsop as well as new and world premiere recordings, and an insightful documentary DVD in which colleagues and family sum up this boundlessly brilliant and charismatic musical giant of the 20th century.


Live from the 2016 BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall <br> BERLIOZ • RACHMANINOV • RAVEL • R. STRAUSS • USTVOLSKAYA
Live from the 2016 BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall

A. Petrenko • Abduraimov • Münchner Philharmoniker • Gergiev

Valery Gergiev, fresh from his appointment as chief conductor of the Münchner Philharmoniker in 2015, takes his new ensemble to the BBC Proms for a concert of the utmost in drama and vivid musicianship. The brilliant young Uzbek pianist Behzod Abduraimov performs Rachmaninov’s thrillingly virtuosic Piano Concerto No. 3, while the Russian stage and film actor Alexei Petrenko recites the text in Galina Ustvolskaya’s resonant and profound Symphony No. 3 ‘Jesus Messiah, Save Us!’. The programme also features a hypnotic Ravel Boléro, an alternately tender, florid and witty Rosenkavalier Suite, and the rousing Hungarian March by Berlioz.


SAINT-SAËNS, C.: Orchestral Works
Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835–1921)
Orchestral Works
Suite algérienne • Suite in D Major
Suite for cello and orchestra in D Minor* • Serenade in E-Flat Major

Pastrana* • Basque National Orchestra • Märkl

Saint-Saëns’ travels often resulted in geographically themed works, such as the Suite algérienne: this exotic musical picture postcard – full of perfumed sensuality and the brazen confidence of march themes – reflects the composer’s visits to colonial North Africa. The two suites on this recording are both structured around dance movements and were originally scored for different forces – the Suite in D Major, Op. 49 for harmonium, the Suite in D Minor, Op. 16 for cello and piano. The engaging Serenade, Op. 15, rarely performed with its original, exotic scoring, is heard here in an orchestral transcription.


WOLF-FERRARI, E.: Talitha Kumi! • La Passione • Otto cori
Ermanno WOLF-FERRARI (1876–1948)
Talitha Kumi!*
La Passione • Otto cori

Trost* • Martín-Royo* • Coro El León de Oro • Oviedo Filarmonía • Haider


Before he sprang to international fame as an operatic composer, Wolf-Ferrari had embarked on an important sequence of choral works. The very early Otto cori, Op. 2, set to Italian and German texts, contain some of the most beautiful music he ever wrote, revealing his love of Italian Renaissance music through grace, bucolic melancholy, humorous wit and sublime characterisation. In Talitha Kumi!, Op. 3, the title derived from an Aramaic quotation from Mark’s Gospel, the voice of an Evangelist carries the biblical narrative of Jesus bringing the daughter of Jairus back to life against a rich orchestral backdrop.


ROSSINI, G.: Ricciardo e Zoraide
Gioachino ROSSINI (1792–1868)
Ricciardo e Zoraide
Libretto by Francesco Maria Berio di Salsa

Marianelli • Beltrami • Mironov • Bills • Di Pierro • Camerata Bach Choir, Poznań • Virtuosi Brunensis • Pérez-Sierra

Based on an epic poem by Niccolò Forteguerri and set in the times of the Crusades, Ricciardo e Zoraide is a drama full of infatuations and jealousy, imprisonment and murderous plots, concluding with a gallant rescue and a benevolent outcome. The problems of such a complex and intense libretto were solved by Rossini through sheer dramatic skill, sophisticated melodic inventiveness, an emphasis on contrasts between dark and light, and the innovative and extensive use of on-stage musicians. This rarely heard opera is a true bel canto feast that reinvents the long tradition of chivalrous tales that still fascinate us today.


BACH, J.S.: St John Passion, BWV 245
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685–1750)
St John Passion, BWV 245
(1749 Version)

Kleiter • Romberger • Poplutz • Sans • Speer • Winckhler • Bachchor Mainz • Bachorchester Mainz • Otto

Johann Sebastian Bach’s St John Passion is, along with the St Matthew Passion, without doubt one of the most important works he ever composed. It established a new tradition for Good Friday vespers in Leipzig, and with sublime skill Bach managed to retain a spirit of church worship while creating an almost operatic narrative that movingly depicts Christ’s trial, death, and ultimate apotheosis. Bach’s numerous revisions always demand a certain amount of scholarly decision-making, and this recording of the St John Passion uses the final 1749 version that not only draws on and reinforces the best of Bach’s original concept, but incorporates the additional movements of the 1725 version.


LASSUS, O.: St Matthew Passion
Orlandus LASSUS (1532–1594)
St Matthew Passion

Nielsen • Thomsen • Musica Ficta • Bo Holten

Orlandus Lassus was one of the greatest and most celebrated musicians of his day, and a teacher whose influence extended into the Baroque period and beyond. Although the St Matthew Passion is almost always associated with J.S. Bach’s towering masterpiece, earlier settings developed from plainchant into polyphony throughout the 16th century. Lassus composed four Passions of which this is the most elaborate. His sublimely interwoven polyphonic settings are here placed alongside a traditional Roman Catholic Passion chant through which the roles of Jesus and the Evangelist unfold in a seemingly timeless meditation. Certain key moments in the otherwise austere Passion story are further illuminated in this recording by the inclusion of motets and a spiritual madrigal.



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