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Featured Releases - January 2017

SHOSTAKOVICH, D.: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 / String Quartet No. 8 (arr. for piano)
Dmitry SHOSTAKOVICH (1906–1975)
Piano Concertos Nos. 1* and 2
String Quartets Nos. 2 & 8
Arranged for piano by Boris Giltburg

Boris Giltburg, Piano • Rhys Owens, Trumpet*
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra • Vasily Petrenko

Naxos 8.573666


Shostakovich’s two Piano Concertos span a period of almost thirty years. The youthful First Piano Concerto is a masterful example of eclecticism, its inscrutable humor and seriousness allied to virtuoso writing enhanced by the rôle for solo trumpet. Written as a birthday present for his son Maxim, the Second Piano Concerto is light-spirited with a hauntingly beautiful slow movement. With the permission of the composer’s family, Boris Giltburg has arranged the exceptionally dark, deeply personal and powerful String Quartet No. 8, thereby establishing a major Shostakovich solo piano composition.


BERNSTEIN, L.: Symphonies 1 and 2
Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918–1990)
Symphony No. 1 ‘Jeremiah’1
Symphony No. 2 ‘The Age of Anxiety’2

Jennifer Johnson Cano, Mezzo-Soprano1
Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Piano2
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra • Marin Alsop

Naxos 8.559790

Leonard Bernstein’s legendary 1943 Carnegie Hall conducting début brought his name to national attention, and the event was followed a few months later by the triumphant reception of his Symphony No. 1 ‘Jeremiah.’ This major symphonic statement explores a crisis in faith and employs Jewish liturgical sources, its final movement, Lamentation, being an anguished cry at the destruction of Jerusalem. Sharing the theme of loss of faith, Symphony No. 2 ‘The Age of Anxiety’ takes W.H. Auden’s poem of the same name and follows its four characters in their spiritual journey to hard-won triumph. Bernstein’s Symphony No. 3 ‘Kaddish’ can be heard on Naxos 8.559742.


BERG, A.: Wozzeck [Opera]
Alban BERG (1885–1935)
Libretto by Georg Büchner

Roman Trekel, Baritone • Anne Schwanewilms, Soprano
Marc Molomot, Tenor • Nathan Berg, Bass-Baritone
Members of Houston Grand Opera Children’s Chorus
Karen Reeves, Chorusmaster
Chorus of Students and Alumni, Shepherd School of Music
Rice University • Houston Symphony Orchestra
Hans Graf

Naxos 8.660390-91 [2 CDs]

Based on real events and playwright Georg Büchner’s starkly vehement text, Alban Berg’s tragic opera Wozzeck is an epoch-making work, in stark contrast to the previous high romantic ideals of the genre, that led Schoenberg to exclaim “now that’s what I call an opera!” Immensely powerful and heartbreakingly moving as a drama, Wozzeck explores the victimization, despair and madness of a central character who has no place in society, its deeply humane message and sublimely innovative score firmly establishing it as a 20th-century masterpiece.

RAVEL, M.: Orchestral Works, Vol. 4 - Daphnis et Chloé / Une barque sur l'océan
Maurice RAVEL (1875–1937)
Daphnis et Chloé*
Une barque sur l’océan

Spirito* • Orchestre National de Lyon • Leonard Slatkin
Naxos 8.573545

Composed for Sergey Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, Ravel’s ‘symphonie chorégraphique’ Daphnis et Chloé is based on a classical Greco-Roman love story set on the island of Lesbos. He described the work as ‘a vast musical fresco’, and with its extraordinarily passionate music, lush harmonies and orchestration, is considered both his masterpiece and the epitome of Impressionism in music. Orchestrated from the third of his Miroirs for piano, Ravel’s Une barque sur l’océan is an evocative portrayal of the ever-changing moods of the sea.


ROSSINI, G.: Overtures (Complete) (4-CD Box Set)
Giachino ROSSINI (1792–1868)
Complete Overtures

Prague Sinfonia Orchestra • Christian Benda
Naxos 8.504048 [4 CD boxed set]

Rossini’s musical wit and zest for comic characterization have enriched the operatic repertoire immeasurably, and his overtures distill these qualities into works of colorful orchestration, bravura and charm. From his most popular, such as La scala di seta (The Silken Ladder) and La gazza ladra (The Thieving Magpie), to the rarity Matilde of Shabran, the full force of Rossini’s dramatic power is revealed in these masterpieces of invention. Each of the four discs in this set has received outstanding international acclaim, with Volume 2 described as “an unalloyed winner” by ClassicsToday, and the Prague Sinfonia Orchestra’s playing described as “stunning” by American Record Guide (Volume 3).


17th Century Secular Spanish Vocal Music

Mercedes Hernández
Yetzabel Arias Fernández, Sopranos
Francisco Fernández-Rueda, Tenor • Ars Atlántica
Manuel Vilas, Harp and Director

Naxos 8.573678

The Guerra Manuscript, named after its copyist José Miguel de Guerra y Villegas, is a repository of one hundred of the greatest secular songs (tonos humanos) circulating in the Madrid court of seventeenth-century Spain. The songs were composed by the leading figures of the Spanish Baroque and include many by the most prestigious of all, José Marín and Juan Hidalgo. Ideally accompanied by one of the principal Spanish baroque instruments, the arpa de dos órdenes (double harp), they explore ideas of love, praise, and beauty. This volume includes perhaps the best-known song of all, Corazón que en prisión.


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