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Featured Releases - Novembre 2016

WAGNER, R.: Walküre (Die)
Richard WAGNER (1813–1883)
Die Walküre (The Valkyries)

Matthias Goerne, Baritone • Michelle DeYoung, Mezzo-Soprano
Stuart Skelton, Tenor • Heidi Melton, Soprano
Petra Lang, Soprano • Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra
Jaap van Zweden, Conductor

Naxos 8.660394-97 [2 CDs]

Comprising four separate operas, Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung) is one of the supreme works in the history of music. Part II of the tetralogy, Die Walküre, centers on the young lovers Siegmund and Sieglinde, whose relationship angers Fricka, goddess of marriage, and on the disobedience of the Valkyrie Brünnhilde who is sent to carry out Fricka’s wishes. Performed by an all-star international cast, the work features thrilling set-pieces such as Wotan’s Farewell and the Ride of the Valkyries. The Prologue, Das Rheingold, can be heard on Naxos 8.660374-75, selected as ‘Album of the Week’ by The Sunday Times of London, which praised its ‘thrilling sense of drama’.


Brass Septet Music - BACH, J.S. / HANDEL, G.F. / RACHMANINOV, S. / WARLOCK, P. (Christmas with Septura)

Naxos 8.573719

Brass instruments are almost a Christmas cliché: synonymous with the celebration, but perhaps not with the wealth of great music that it has inspired. Septura sets out to rectify this, re-imagining for brass septet the Christmas offerings of the greatest composers of the past 450 years. Pushing the combinations and colors of the septet to the limits, the result is a virtuosic and varied selection of festive favorites.


VERDI, G.: Rigoletto / La Traviata / PUCCINI, G.: Tosca (3 Live Films, 1992-2010) (4-DVD Box Set) (NTSC)
3 Live Films

Giuseppe VERDI (1813–1901)
Rigoletto in Mantua (2010)

Plácido Domingo, Tenor • Julia Novikova, Soprano
Vittorio Grigolo, Tenor • Ruggero Raimondi, Bass-Baritone
Nino Surguladze, Mezzo-Soprano
Marco Bellocchio, Director

La traviata in Paris (2000)
Eteri Gvazava, Soprano • José Cura, Tenor
Rolando Panerai, Baritone • Giuseppe Patroni Griffi, Director

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858–1924)
Tosca in Rome (1992)

Catherine Malfitano, Soprano • Plácido Domingo, Tenor
Ruggero Raimondi, Bass-Baritone • Giuseppe Patroni Griffi, Director
Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI • Zubin Mehta, Conductor
Vittorio Storato, Cinematographer • Andrea Andermann, Producer

Naxos 2.110374-77 [4 DVDs]


WHITBOURN, J.: Missa Carolae / Choral Music for Christmas
James WHITBOURN (b. 1963)
Music for Christmas

Eric Rieger, Tenor • Daryl Robinson, Organ
Westminster Williamson Voices • James Jordan

Naxos 8.573715

James Whitbourn is a GRAMMY® nominated composer whose music is internationally admired for its direct connection with performers and audiences, The Observer describing him as ‘a truly original communicator in modern British choral music’. Carolae is a fusion of two great American and English Christmas traditions, with the Missa carolae at its heart. Whitbourn’s love of medieval musical language is shown through his crafting of original melody and skillful arrangements of seasonal favorites.


GRÉTRY, A.-E.-M.: Épreuve villageoise (L') (The Village Trial) [Opéra bouffon]
André-Ernest-Modeste GRÉTRY (1741–1813)
L’épreuve villageoise
An opéra bouffon in two acts
Libretto by Pierre Desforges

Sophie Junker, Talise Trevigne, Sopranos
Francisco Fernández-Rueda, Tenor
Thomas Dolié, Baritone • Opera Lafayette • Ryan Brown

Naxos 8.660377

L’épreuve villageoise (The Village Trial) – which, in its original form as Théodore et Paulin, was first performed before Marie Antoinette at Versailles – was one of André-Ernest-Modeste Grétry’s most popular works. For a century after its 1784 première, it enjoyed huge acclaim across Europe and even travelled to the New World, where it captivated audiences in New York. Grétry was a master of 18th-century opéra comique and this crisp and lively farce centers on a clever farmer’s daughter and her two competing suitors. Employing divergent stylistic registers – finesse and naiveté, music reminiscent of popular song, and extended ensembles – Grétry fashioned a score of sophisticated wit and huge charm.


BRAHMS, J.: Piano Quartets Nos. 1 and 3
Johannes BRAHMS (1833–1897)
Piano Quartets Nos. 1 and 3

Eldar Nebolsin, Piano • Anton Barakhovsky, Violin
Alexander Zemtsov, Viola
Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt, Cello

Naxos 8.572798

Johannes Brahms is considered Beethoven’s successor in terms of his orchestral output, but for chamber music it was more the Romantic mantle of Robert Schumann that he assumed, vastly expanding its scale and ambitions in the 19th century and remaining a towering influence until well into the 20th. The First Piano Quartet has a deeply felt Andante con moto at its heart, and a sprightly ‘Gypsy Rondo’ finale. Brahms started writing the Third Piano Quartet during the difficult period of Schumann’s final illness, later re-composing it to create a work of symphonic proportions, distinctive power and striking beauty.


HERRMANN, B.: Souvenirs de Voyage / DEL TREDICI, D.: Magyar Madness
Bernard HERMANN (1911–1975)
Souvenirs de voyage

David DEL TREDICI (b. 1937)
Magyar Madness*

Michel Lethiec, Clarinet • Fine Arts Quartet
Naxos 8.559796


“When I first became acquainted with the scores of Bernard Herrmann’s Souvenirs de voyage and David Del Tredici’s Magyar Madness, I was struck by how much these seductive quintets had in common, despite being completely different in mood and style. Both of these compelling works were written for string quartet plus clarinet by distinguished American composers who were pioneers in the Neo-Romantic movement, and both wistfully evoke the spirit of diverse European cultures. They seemed to be the ideal, odd couple. And Magyar Madness would be a world première release, to boot, so I felt they just had to be recorded together.”



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