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PURCELL, H.: King Arthur (or The British Worthy) [Opera] (Staatsoper Berlin, 2017)
Henry PURCELL (1879–1936)
King Arthur
or The British Worthy
Libretto by John Dryden

Fritsch • R. Johannsen • Milhofer • Weisser • Rotschopf • Droste • Rehberg • Choir of the Staatsoper Unter den Linden • Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin • R. Jacobs • Bechtolf • Crouch

The collaboration of the poet John Dryden and Henry Purcell marked a conspicuous leap forward for English opera. Their greatest project, King Arthur, is a five-act ‘dramatick opera’, the text of which had its origins in a patriotic musical play Dryden had written in 1684 but which he radically overhauled. The result was a work that appealed to the audience’s enthusiasm for fine costumes, lavish sets, ingenious stage machinery and a cast of singers, dancers and instrumentalists, containing vocal show-stoppers such as the imperishable Frost Scene and Fairest isle. This critically acclaimed staging uses a new performing edition by René Jacobs, and is sung in English with German dialogue.

Also available on Blu-ray (NBD0109V).

BERNSTEIN, L.: Songfest • GERSHWIN, G.: An American in Paris • COPLAND, A.: An Outdoor Overture
Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918–1990)
Songfest *

George GERSHWIN (1898–1937)
An American in Paris

Aaron COPLAND (1900–1990)
An Outdoor Overture

Wolf Trap Opera * • National Orchestral Institute Philharmonic • Judd

An American in Paris is one of Gershwin’s most vivacious works, an orchestral ballet saturated in homesickness and the blues. This recording, however, uses the new 2019 critical edition and offers Gershwin’s original orchestration, unheard for 75 years—leaner, more angular and transparent, it also employs the correct use of the iconic taxi horns, for a new sonic experience. The breezy vitality of Copland’s An Outdoor Overture is balanced by Bernstein’s Songfest—written to celebrate the Bicentennial Year in America, setting the verses of 13 of the country’s poets.

BEETHOVEN, L. van: Mass in C major • Vestas Feuer • Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770–1827)
Mass in C major
Vestas Feuer
Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt

Haavisto • Lehesvuori • Katajala • Kotilainen • Spångberg • Key Ensemble • Chorus Cathedralis Aboensis • Turku Philharmonic Orchestra • Segerstam


The custom of marking the name-day of Princess Esterházy with a newly composed Mass began in the 1790s and for many years was carried out by Joseph Haydn. In 1807 Beethoven was commissioned and responded with his Mass in C major. Coolly received at court, it is a celebratory work of large-scale brilliance. The cantata Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt is set to Goethe’s poems and contrasts calm with exuberance. In 1803 Beethoven set two numbers from Vestas Feuer, written by Emanuel Schikaneder, the librettist of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte.

Visit and bookmark our Beethoven 250th anniversary mini-site, which will be regularly updated with new content.

MAGNARD, A.: Orchestral Works
Albéric MAGNARD (1865–1914)
Orchestral Works
Ouverture • Chant funèbre • Hymne à la justice
Hymne à Vénus • Suite d'orchestre dans le style ancien

Philharmonisches Orchester Freiburg • Bollon

Although Albéric Magnard’s oeuvre is relatively small, the uncompromising perfectionism with which he worked created a catalogue that is filled with expansive, complex and beautifully crafted music. Composed while he was still a student of Vincent d’Indy, the Suite d’orchestre dans le style ancien follows 18th-century models and is simultaneously solemn and joyful in mood, while the Chant funèbre is seen as his first true masterpiece. The importance of justice in Magnard’s life is expressed in the Hymne à la justice, while the Hymne à Vénus reflects every aspect of love, from tenderness to elation.

CIPULLO, T.: The Parting [Opera]
Tom CIPULLO (b. 1977)
The Parting
Libretto by David Mason

Strickling • C. Cook • Mayes • Music of Remembrance • Willis • M. Miller


Heard here in its world premiere recording, The Parting is a daring opera by award-winning composer Tom Cipullo and librettist David Mason that explores the life and art of Miklós Radnóti, one of the most important poetic witnesses to the Holocaust, and one of its tragic victims. Radnóti’s poems express emotions from love and enchantment to absolute loss, and The Parting includes texts found in his jacket pocket after his death. This opera is a profound meditation on what it is about art that outlives us, that enables us to be creative even in the face of unimaginable adversity, and reminds us to guard against hatred and to celebrate what makes us human.

GAVRILIN, V.: The Russian Notebook • Anyuta (excerpts)
Valery GAVRILIN (1939–1999)
The Russian Notebook *
Anyuta (excerpts)

Shkirtil * • St Petersburg Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra • Serov

Valery Gavrilin was one of the most colourful and significant Russian composers of the second half of the 20th century. He was only 25 when he composed The Russian Notebook, a ‘poem of love and death’ crafted in a new musical language that doesn’t employ folk melodies but does use folkloric texts, and with a virtuosic vocal part. These stylised tunes are combined with rich melodies to form a haunting cycle heard here in a 2018 orchestration. The ten numbers from the ballet Anyuta are lively, melodious and touchingly beautiful.

RACHMANINOV, S.: Complete Solo Piano Recordings, Vol. 6 (1922–1924)
Sergey RACHMANINOV (1873–1943)
Complete Solo Piano Recordings, Vol. 6
Victor Talking Machine Company Recordings
Recorded 1922–1924

Rachmaninov • Philadelphia Orchestra • Stokowski

After the end of his contract with Edison, the period covered in Volume 5 (8.111408), Rachmaninov signed for Victor in April 1920 and recorded for the company for the rest of his life. Victor was keen to record their star pianist in his own compositions, as well as short works by Chopin and popular encore pieces. This volume also contains the very rare test pressing of Le Cygne in Alexander Siloti’s transcription, and the premiere release first take of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 first movement, recorded acoustically in 1924.

* Naxos Historical titles are not available in the United States



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