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Featured Releases - March 2019

MONTEVERDI, C.: Madrigals Book 9 • Scherzi Musicali
Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567–1643)
Madrigals Book 9
Scherzi Musicali

Delitiæ Musicæ • Longhini


Monteverdi’s Ninth Book of Madrigals, published posthumously, and the 1632 Scherzi musicali (‘Musical Jokes’) are thematically linked by the recurring theme of war for the sake of love. Prefaced with a Sinfonia by Biagio Marini and featuring one of Monteverdi’s towering masterpieces, Zefiro torna, the Ninth Book comprises the few remaining late madrigals, a number of canzonette, as well as works with the same titles and verses from the earlier Eighth Book (available on 8.573755-58), here performed in completely different musical settings. Recorded complete, and in historically informed fashion, this is the final volume in this series.

COPLAND, A.: Billy the Kid • Grohg
Aaron COPLAND (1900–1990)
Billy the Kid (Complete Ballet)
Grohg (One-Act Ballet)

Detroit Symphony Orchestra • Slatkin

Aaron Copland did as much as anyone in establishing American concert music on the world stage, and his ballet scores proved to be among his most important and influential works. Grohg is the most ambitious example of his Parisian years, a precociously brilliant one-act ballet scored for full orchestra, inspired by the silent expressionist film Nosferatu. The first example of Copland’s new ‘Americanized’ music of the 1930s was Billy the Kid, based on the life of the 19th-century outlaw and heard here in its full version. This was the first fully fledged American ballet in style and content: brassy, syncopated, filmic and richly folk-flavoured.

Russian Songs

Gritskova • Prinz

The songs on this album are not as well known as other works by these three composers, but this more intimate form of expression often goes straight to the heart and soul of their work. Tchaikovsky wrote songs throughout his life, and it is easy to find autobiographical parallels in his chosen themes of love and longing. Rimsky-Korsakov’s songs are characterised by tender lyricism, while Rachmaninov’s wordless Vocalise has become one of his most famous melodies.

WOLF-FERRARI, E.: Il segreto di Susanna • Serenade for Strings
Ermanno WOLF-FERRARI (1876–1948)
Il segreto di Susanna *
Serenade for Strings

Howarth * • Òdena * • Oviedo Filarmonía • Haider

Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari’s prolific early career succeeded in launching a fundamental renewal of opera buffa, offering a clear alternative to the dominance of Wagner and Puccini, while his Venetian upbringing inspired a songlike and lyrical style. With its subtle orchestration and vivacious Mediterranean charm, Il segreto di Susanna (‘Susanna’s Secret’) is a magical comic opera that became a box office success in its day and remains one of Wolf-Ferrari’s most frequently performed works. The early Serenade reveals his innate gift for inspired melody, expressing both carefree bliss and bitter melancholy.

CHABRIER, E.: L’Étoile (Dutch National Opera, 2014) [Opera]
Emmanuel CHABRIER (1841–1894)
Libretto by Eugène Leterrier and Albert Vanloo

D’Oustrac • Mortagner • Guilmette • Varnier • Chorus of Dutch National Opera • Residentie Orkest The Hague • Fournillier • Pelly

L’Étoile did much to establish Chabrier as a major force on the Parisian stage and his contemporary Henri Duparc praised him specifically for creating a French comic genre, both funny and musical – described as something of a French Die Meistersinger. The fanciful story is set in an imaginary kingdom and all, naturally, ends well. However, despite the slight plot line L’Étoile is something of a pivotal work, a unique example of French 19th-century light opera, orchestrated with great sophistication and flooded with gossamer wit.

Also available on Blu-ray (NBD0091V).

BELLINI, V.: I puritani (Staatsoper Stuttgart, 2018) [Opera]
Vincenzo BELLINI (1801–1835)
I puritani
Libretto by Carlo Pepoli
After Têtes rondes et cavalieres by Jacques François Ancelot and Joseph Xavier Saintine

Durlovski • Barbera • Myshketa • Palka • Haller • Staatsopernchor Stuttgart • Staatsorchester Stuttgart • Bezni • Wieler • Morabito

I puritani is one of Bellini’s most creative and influential masterpieces, a bel canto opera stamped with vocal and orchestral writing of intoxicating beauty and dramatic intensity. Set in England in the Civil War shortly before Oliver Cromwell’s triumph, it involves romantic and political intrigues that drew from Bellini music of melodic raptness and melancholic depth. It also inspired him to compose some of his most breathtakingly virtuosic passages, notably Elvira’s Mad Scene, that call for the utmost in theatrical power. This production includes for the first time all the music performed at the work’s Paris premiere.

Also available on Blu-ray (NBD0093V).

BACH, J.S.: St Matthew Passion, BWV 244
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685–1750)
St Matthew Passion

Poplutz • Winckhler • Kleiter • Hörner • Romberger • Becker • Sans • Rathgeber • C. Wagner • D. Ochoa • Bachchor Mainz • Bachorchester Mainz • Otto

Johann Sebastian Bach’s St Matthew Passion is widely recognised as one of the greatest masterpieces in Western sacred music. With its double orchestra and chorus this is a work of enormous proportions in every sense, and Bach was extremely resourceful in treading a fine line between creating the almost operatic spectacle valued by the secular authorities in Leipzig, and the elevated religious atmosphere sought by the clergy. This inspired mix of moving drama and theological discourse led Leonard Bernstein to declare that ‘there is nothing like it in all of music’.

KROUSE, I.: Armenian Requiem
Ian KOUSE (b. 1956)
Armenian Requiem

Barsoumian • Avakian • Manucharyan • Chernov • Harutyunyan • C. Bull • VEM String Quartet • Tziatzan Children’s Choir • Lark Master Singers • UCLA Philharmonia • Stulberg


Composed to mark the centenary of the genocide of 1915, the Armenian Requiem is a large-scale sacred work structured around the liturgical chants encountered in requiem services appended to the traditional Armenian Mass. It is written in a form that, uniquely for the music of the country, is not based wholly on the model of the Latin Mass. Instead, taking the precedent of Britten’s War Requiem, Ian Krouse embeds poems as interludes, and his work – a poignant meditation on loss couched in a marriage of Western and Armenian forms – offers both conciliation and hope.

RIHM, W.: Works for Violin and Orchestra, Vol. 2 – Gesungene Zeit • Lichtes Spiel • COLL’ARCO
Wolfgang RIHM (b. 1952)
Gesungene Zeit
Lichtes Spiel • COLL’ARCO

Tianwa Yang • Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz • Darrell Ang

Wolfgang Rihm, one of the foremost contemporary composers, has created a powerful body of music for the violin. Gesungene Zeit is one of his most performed works, and it demonstrates why Rihm is so admired: music that begins and ends in ethereal lines while embracing agitation and threnody alike. The beautifully transparent and sensuous Lichtes Spiel is ‘light, but not lightweight’ in the composer’s words, and COLL’ARCO takes the soloist to the extremes of virtuosity in his largest concertante work for the violin, teeming with reminiscences, intricacy and drama. Volume 1 can be heard on 8.573812.

POPPER, D.: Cello Concertos
Ian KOUSE (b. 1956)
Armenian Requiem

Barsoumian • Avakian • Manucharyan • Chernov • Harutyunyan • C. Bull • VEM String Quartet • Tziatzan Children’s Choir • Lark Master Singers • UCLA Philharmonia • Stulberg David POPPER (1843–1913)
Cello Concertos

Rummel • Mari Kato • Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice • T. Evans

David Popper was one of the most important cellists of the 19th century and is remembered for the études of his High School of Cello Playing (8.557718-19). Popper premiered chamber works by Brahms and championed Schumann’s Cello Concerto, and his own four concertos span an illustrious 50-year career. Each shares a lyrical Romantic spirit: the playful First Concerto, an enjoyable prelude to the more dramatic and virtuoso Second, and the single-movement Third a masterpiece in melodic compactness. The Fourth Concerto was dedicated to ‘my great colleague’ Alfredo Piatti and is recorded here in its version with piano.

BARRIOS MANGORÉ, A.: Guitar Music, Vol. 5
Agustín BARRIOS (1885–1944)
Guitar Music, Vol. 5
Pericón • Choro da saudade • Danza paraguaya No. 1

Celil Refik Kaya


Agustín Barrios Mangoré’s first public appearance was as ‘the Paganini of the guitar from the jungles of Paraguay’. This flamboyant image was soon retired, but his legacy as a composer has endured and flourished, as have the recordings he made as the first guitarist to take advantage of new technology from as early as 1910. Ranging from romantic enchantment to fearsome virtuosity via works with Bach-like restraint, this programme embraces Barrios Mangoré’s art from his earliest known piece, Abrí la puerta mi china, to the reconstruction of the substantial Diana Guaraní from a recording made in 1943.


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