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Featured Releases - March 2015

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792–1868)
Guillaume Tell†

Andrew Foster-Williams, Baritone
Alessandra Volpe, Mezzo-soprano
Tara Stafford • Judith Howarth, Sopranos
Michael Spyres • Giulio Pelligra
Artavazd Sargsyan, Tenors
Nahuel Di Pierro • Raffaele Facciolàz
Marco Filippo Romano, Basses
Camerata Bach Choir, Poznań
Ania Michalak, Chorus-master
Virtuosi Brunensis • Antonino Fogliani

Naxos 8.660363-66 [4 CDs]


Performed for the first time in its original uncut version, this production of Guillaume Tell was the jewel in the crown of the 25-year history of the ‘Rossini in Wildbad’ opera festival. Rossini’s final, great, operatic masterpiece is a story of liberation, the oppressed Swiss attaining their ideal of emancipation by hounding the tyrannical Habsburgs out of their country. Although it was composed for the complex demands of the Paris Opéra, numerous dances, choruses and arias were dropped for reasons of practicality. These are restored in the present recording which also includes the stunning finale of the shorter 1831 version of the opera (CD 4 / Track 13).

John Knowles PAINE (1839–1906)
Orchestral Works, Vol. 2
Symphony No. 2 ‘In the Spring’
Oedipus Tyrannus – Prelude
Poseidon and Amphitrite – An Ocean Fantasy†

Ulster Orchestra • JoAnn Falletta
Naxos 8.559748


The late 19th century witnessed unprecedented musical growth in the United States, and it is impossible to imagine a Copland, an Ives or even a Gershwin without the pioneering groundwork of the ‘Boston Six’, of whom John Knowles Paine was the senior member. Favorite among his own works, Paine’s Second Symphony was described on its New York première as “a serious, important and totally beautiful work.” His Prelude to the tragic play Oedipus Tyrannuswas an immediate hit, while An Ocean Fantasy was his last orchestral piece. The first of this set of two volumes of Paine’s complete published orchestral works is available on 8.559747.

Georges BIZET (1838–1875)
Marche funèbre • Overture in A
Patrie • Petite suite

RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra • Jean-Luc Tingaud
Naxos 8.573344

The success of Bizet’s opera Carmen has overshadowed the rest of his output, but this fascinating orchestral programme, which includes a number of seldom performed works, reveals more of his talent for writing colourful, atmospheric and melodic music. The Overture in A was Bizet’s first orchestral work and unperformed in his lifetime, while the Marche funèbre was originally the prelude to an opera about love and vengeance, now lost. The dramatic overture Patrie captures the mood following the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71, while the Petite suite is a set of orchestrations of movements from Jeux d’enfants (Children’s Games). Conceived in Italy as a symphony, after Bizet had won the Prix de Rome, Roma occupied the composer for 11 years before the final version heard here.


And the Bridge is Love
English Chamber Orchestra
Julian Lloyd Webber, Cello* and Conductor

Naxos 8.573250


This wide-ranging programme of English music for strings includes the world première recording of Howard Goodall’s moving And the Bridge is Love, in which Julian Lloyd Webber plays cello, and of William Lloyd Webber’s The Moon, only performed for the first time in 2014. There are also established classics such as Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro, Op. 47, as well as novelties in the case of the never-before-recorded arrangements by Elgar’s friend and biographer W.H. Reed of the two Chansons.


Mikhail Alexeevich KUZMIN (1872–1936)
Sacred Songs1,2
The Society of Honoured Bell Ringers
Masquerade1,2 • Hinkemann the German

Mila Shkirtil, Mezzo-soprano1
Petrozavodsk State University Male Choir2
Alexey Umnov, Artistic Director • Vasily Sirbu, Choirmaster
Karelia State Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra (Petrozavodsk) • Yuri Serov

Naxos 8.573192

The great twentieth-century Russian poet, Mikhail Alexeevich Kuzmin, was for much of his early life also passionately devoted to composition. Masterpieces of the vocal miniature, his Sacred Songs for voice and orchestra are settings of his own words based on studies of ancient Russian music. His incidental music for Masquerade is notable for a heartfelt Romance and a closing chorus which draws upon traditional Russian church music. The Society of Honoured Bell Ringers displays Mahlerian and Mozartian influences whilst greater harmonic complexity can be savoured in Kuzmin’s edgier music for Der deutsche Hinkemann.


Carl CZERNY (1791–1857)
Bel Canto Concertante
Virtuoso Variations for Piano and Orchestra

Rosemary Tuck, Piano
English Chamber Orchestra • Richard Bonynge

Naxos 8.573254

Carl Czerny is remembered as a pupil and friend of Beethoven and the composer of numerous piano studies, but in his lifetime he was renowned for a prodigious output of brilliant concert works, most of which remain entirely unknown to present-day audiences and performers. Inspired by the most famous and attractive themes from Bel Canto operas which were hugely popular in their time and are still performed today, these sets of variations give full rein to the soloist and are a major contribution to the great pianist-composer tradition.



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