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Featured Releases - February 2020


BEETHOVEN, L. van: The Ruins of Athens (version with narration)
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770–1827)
Die Ruinen von Athen
(‘The Ruins of Athens’)

Astor • Eberlein • Obalski • Oder • Sinka • Haavisto • Kotilainen • Chorus Cathedralis Aboensis • Turku Philharmonic Orchestra • Segerstam

WORLD PREMIERE RECORDING OF VERSION WITH NARRATION

Die Ruinen von Athen (‘The Ruins of Athens’) was composed to celebrate the opening of the new German theatre in Pest in 1812. Designed to accompany the play of that name by August von Kotzebue, its incidental music is substantial enough to form a kind of one-act Singspiel and is full of attractive arias, duets and choruses and includes the famous Turkish March. Though the work’s theme was rooted in Greek mythology, in reality it was explicitly political in nature, celebrating Pest as ‘the new Athens’. This is the first ever recording of the work with full narration.

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


MORLACCHI, F.: Tebaldo e Isolina [Opera]
Francesco MORLACCHI (1784–1841)
Tebaldo e Isolina
Libretto by Gaetano Rossi

Pastrana • D’Agosto • Polverelli • Giustiniani • Vlad • Baglietto • Camerata Bach Choir, Poznań • Virtuosi Brunensis • Fogliani

Francesco Morlacchi was a native of Perugia, but early success led him to become music director of the Dresden Opera where he remained for the rest of his life despite having an opportunity to succeed Rossini in Naples in 1822. He did make tours to Italy however, and Tebaldo e Isolina received its triumphant premiere in Venice, becoming the most successful of all his operas. Morlacchi’s gifts as a lyricist and for characterisation are heard here at their best, with showpiece arias and duets in a version of the Romeo and Juliet story that ends in happiness and the victory of reason over vengeance.


WEBER, C.M. von: Euryanthe [Opera] (Theater an der Wien, 2018)
Carl Maria von WEBER (1786–1826)
Euryanthe
Libretto by Helmina de Chézy

J. Wagner • Neubauer • Kronthaler • N. Reinhardt • Foster-Williams • Cerny • Arnold Schoenber Choir • ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra • Trinks • Loy

Weber’s ‘great heroic-romantic’ opera Euryanthe premiered in Vienna in 1823. It concerns the wronged Euryanthe, victim of a plot to establish her unfaithfulness, but her love imbues her with colossal strength which Weber characterises with acute psychological insight. Through-composed and dispensing with spoken dialogue, its chivalric plot provides opportunities for a series of arias, ariosos, duets, cavatinas and choruses that contain some of his greatest operatic music. This production employs the opera’s original version with a few, very minor cuts.

Also available on Blu-ray (NBD0107V).


BACH, J.S.: The Well-Tempered Clavier Book 2 (BBC Proms, 2018)
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685–1750)
The Well-Tempered Clavier Book II
From the 2018 BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall

Sir András Schiff

Distinguished Bach specialist Sir András Schiff returned to the BBC Proms in 2018 to present Book II of The Well-Tempered Clavier. Extending the variety already evident in Book I (available on 2.110653), Bach’s effortless brilliance and new-found sonorities push harmony and counterpoint further than ever with a combination of ancient and modern styles, church austerity and galant lightness. Schiff has said that ‘no-one combines the sacred and the secular as Bach does’, and this is comprehensively demonstrated in Bach’s fascinating and challenging sequence. This performance in the Royal Albert Hall was described as ‘a musical meditation for our troubled times’ by The Independent.

Also available on Blu-ray (NBD0105V) and as Visual Album.


SKORYK, M.: Violin Concertos Nos. 14
Myroslav SKORYK (b. 1938)
Violin Concertos, Vol. 1
Nos. 1–4

Bielow • National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine • Sirenko

Myroslav Skoryk, a postgraduate student of Dmitry Kabalevsky, is one of Ukraine’s leading composers and teachers. His works range from opera and ballet, a symphonic transcription of Paganini’s 24 Caprices, and his cycle of nine Violin Concertos written over a 45-year span. They draw on elements of Carpathian folklore and are saturated in expressive dialogues, lyricism and elegy while also exuding powerful intensity. Skoryk’s sensual writing is frequently contrasted with syncopated motifs, cadenzas, fugal episodes and march rhythms. This is the first of two volumes.


MAYR, J.S.: Mass in E flat major
Johann Simon MAYR (1763–1845)
Mass in E flat major
Reconstructed and arranged by Franz Hauk and Manfred Hößl

Szczepánska • Krödel • Schäfer • D. Ochoa • Simon Mayr Chorus • Concerto de Bassus • Hauk

WORLD PREMIERE RECORDING

Mayr’s great Mass in E flat major is a late work, largely composed in 1843. It conforms to the prevailing Italian messa concertata tradition with its clear divisions into distinct vocal numbers, as opposed to the symphonic Mass which held sway north of the Alps. In this reconstruction and musical revival, Mayr’s imposing, tonally consonant and expressive setting can be heard in all its grandeur and eloquence. With its striking vocal solos and choruses, and characteristically songlike instrumental roles, Mayr contributed a late pinnacle in the long history of this form of the Mass.


GODOWSKY, L.: Piano Music, Vol. 14 – 53 Studies on the Chopin Études, Vol. 1
Leopold GODOWSKY (1870–1938)
Piano Music, Vol. 14
53 Studies on the Chopin Études, Vol. 1

Konstantin Scherbakov

PENULTIMATE VOLUME

Leopold Godowsky wrote his first Studies on the Chopin Études when he was barely 23 years old, and the complete cycle took some 20 years to finish. It remains one of the most extraordinary and technically demanding of all such works. It offered Godowsky—one of the greatest virtuosi of his age, but a haphazard teacher—an opportunity to resolve his innovative theories of keyboard technique. His exploration of developing the left hand in these studies remains revolutionary, and his ambition of ‘furthering the art of pianoforte playing’, triumphantly vindicated.



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