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Featured Releases - February 2017

HALVORSEN, J.: Violin Concerto / NIELSEN, C.: Violin Concerto / SVENDSEN: Romance
Johan HALVORSEN (1864–1935)
Violin Concerto, Op. 28
Carl NIELSEN (1865–1931)
Violin Concerto, Op. 33
Johan SVENDSEN (1840–1911)

Henning Kraggerud, Violin • Malmö Symphony Orchestra
Bjarte Engeset

Naxos 8.573738


In his day, Johan Halvorsen was one of Norway’s most talented violinists and an internationally renowned conductor and composer. With its beautifully lyrical themes and Norwegian character including Hardanger fiddle effects, his Violin Concerto was described by contemporary critics as ‘an outstanding work’ and performed to great acclaim in 1909. It was considered lost, only to be rediscovered in 2015 in the archive of its original soloist. With its equally confident opening and symphonic proportions, Nielsen’s Violin Concerto combines emotive power with a delightfully pastoral character, while Johan Svendsen’s spontaneously inventive and melodic Romance has become one of his best-loved works.

BRAHMS, J.: Piano Quartet No. 2 / MAHLER, G.: Piano Quartet
Johannes BRAHMS (1833–1897)
Piano Quartet No. 2 in A major, Op. 26
Gustav MAHLER (1860–1911)
Piano Quartet in A minor

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

Naxos 8.572799

After a period as a court composer at Detmold, Brahms returned to the city of his birth, Hamburg, in January 1860. Here, in relative tranquility, he explored the then rare piano quartet repertoire. The Piano Quartet No. 2 received a very sympathetic hearing in Vienna, Clara Schumann even preferring it to its immediate predecessor, the Piano Quartet, Op. 25 [Naxos 8.572798]. Its lyricism is heightened by a romantically beautiful Adagio. Mahler’s vibrant Piano Quartet in A minor dates from 1876, the end of his first year at the Vienna Conservatory, where the only completed movement was first performed.

MONIUSZKO, S.: Ballet Music
Stanisław MONIUSZKO (1819–1872)
Ballet Music
Hrabina • Halka • The Haunted Manor

Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra • Antoni Wit
Naxos 8.573610

Stanisław Moniuszko was Poland’s leading nineteenth-century opera composer, and has been called the man who bridges the gap between Chopin and Szymanowski. In addition to operatic works he also composed purely orchestral music, and this recording reveals that his essentially lyric style could function perfectly in the non-vocal medium. There is thematically memorable music from the comic opera Hrabina (The Countess), as well as enduring Polish-flavored dance scenes from his most popular and famous stage work, Halka. The spirited Mazurka from Straszny Dwór (The Haunted Manor), Moniuszko’s crowning operatic achievement, draws freely and inventively from his national heritage.


STRAUSS, R.: Bourgeois Gentilhomme Suite (Le) / Ariadne auf Naxos Symphony-Suite
Richard STRAUSS (1864–1949)
Ariadne auf Naxos
(Symphony-Suite, arr. D. Wilson Ochoa)
Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme – Suite

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra • JoAnn Falletta
Naxos 8.573460


Richard Strauss’ Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme suite was one of his own favorite scores, an absolute jewel of incidental music that combines the composer’s romanticism with his love of the Baroque music of Jean-Baptiste Lully. D. Wilson Ochoa has created a new symphonic orchestral suite from Strauss’ opulent Ariadne auf Naxos, enabling the orchestra to revel in music of extreme beauty and sensuous luxury, studded with gorgeous instrumental solos and the composer’s incomparable blend of poignancy, humor and melodic richness.


HAWES, P.: Revelation / Beatitudes
Patrick HAWES (b. 1958)
Quanta Qualia

The Elora Singers • Noel Edison
Naxos 8.573720


Patrick Hawes has emerged in recent years as one of England’s most popular and inspirational choral composers. ‘The nine pieces that form Revelation are the result of my deep love of the Book of Revelation and its powerful imagery. Where else do you get thunder, lightning and demons as well as a gentle lamb? Another of my favorite New Testament texts is the Beatitudes from St Matthew’s Gospel – these are, quite simply, some of Christ’s most comforting and beautiful words.’ Quanta Qualia had such a profound impact on the audience at the 2015 Elora Festival that the choir insisted on its inclusion in this recording.

HINDEMITH, P.: String Quartets (Complete)
Paul HINDEMITH (1895–1963)
Complete String Quartets

Amar Quartet – Anna Brunner • Igor Keller, Violins
Hannes Bärtschi, Viola • Péter Somodari, Cello

Naxos 8.503290 [3 CDs]

From the bracing dynamism of the earlier quartets to the technical sophistication of the later works, Paul Hindemith’s seven String Quartets include some of his supreme chamber music masterpieces and form one of the 20th century’s greatest quartet cycles. The award-winning Amar Quartet is named after Hindemith’s own eminent ensemble of the 1920s, and their acclaimed performances explore and express every aspect of the composer’s passion and intellectual rigor in this genre. considers these recordings ‘outstanding… an endless source of pleasure… there is little doubt that this will become the reference edition in this music.’



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