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Featured Releases - March 2020

STRAUSS II, J.: Blindekuh [Opera]
Johann STRAUSS II (1825–1899)
Libretto by Rudolf Kneisel after his comedy of the same name

R. Davidson • Kunkle • Bortolotti • Pichler • Bowers • Chudak • Schliewa • Byrne • Rohde • Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus • Salvi


Blindekuh (‘Blind Man’s Buff’) was Johann Strauss II’s sixth operetta and his least known. Neglected for well over a century, it was revived by Dario Salvi and the forces on this album in January 2019. The work’s initial lack of success is hard to explain but it may have been caused by a confusing libretto—the music itself is vibrant and captivating with waltzes, polkas, mazurkas, marches and bel canto arias. Performed in a concert version without dialogue, and in accordance with performing traditions, this production restores the work to the status of one of Strauss’s most melodically seductive works.

RESPIGHI, O.: La bella dormente nel bosco (‘Sleeping Beauty’) [Opera] (Teatro Lirico di Cagliari, 2017)
Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879–1936)
La bella dormente nel bosco
Libretto by Gian Bistolfi after the fairy tale by Charle Perrault

Nisi • Barsoumian • Gandía • Taormina • Pilipenko • Urru • Orchestra e Coro del Teatro Lirico di Cagliari • Renzetti • Muscato

Ottorino Respighi’s La bella dormente nel bosco (‘The Sleeping Beauty’) was originally commissioned by the renowned puppeteer Vittorio Podrecca. The revised version we hear today preserves much of the kaleidoscopic approach and magnified characters and emotions of that original; now enhanced by the composer’s matchless orchestration. This famous story in which the Princess pricks her finger on a spindle and sleeps for centuries until kissed by her Prince is given a magical atmosphere through director Leo Muscato’s colourful staging, and the superb cast of this Teatro Lirico di Cagliari production truly inhabits an enchanted realm.

Also available on Blu-ray (NBD0106V)

BEETHOVEN, L. van: Cantata on the Death of Emperor Joseph II • Cantata on the Accession of Leopold II
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770–1827)
Cantata on the Death of Emperor Joseph II
Cantata on the Accession of Leopold II

Haavisto • Lehesvuori • Katajala • Kotilainen • Spångberg • Key Ensemble • Chorus Cathedralis Aboensis • Turku Philharmonic Orchestra • Segerstam

By the time of Emperor Joseph II’s death in 1790 Beethoven was a member of the court musical establishment in Bonn. To mark the occasion, Beethoven was commissioned to write two cantatas, one to mourn Joseph’s death and the other to celebrate the accession to the throne of Emperor Leopold II. Although Beethoven was only 19 years old at the time, both works show the embryonic marks of his greatness: intense expression and control of structure in one, and an almost operatic panache in the other. Neither piece was performed during Beethoven’s lifetime.

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

DANIELPOUR, D.: The Passion of Yeshua [Oratorio]
Richard DANIELPOUR (b. 1956)
The Passion of Yeshua

Plitmann • Worth • Overton • Bridges • Fallon • Bass • UCLA Chamber Singers • Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus and Orchestra • Falletta


Richard Danielpour’s dramatic oratorio The Passion of Yeshua—a work which has evolved over the last 25 years—is an intensely personal telling of the final hours of Christ on Earth. It incorporates texts from the Hebrew Scriptures and the Christian Gospels inspiring extraordinarily beautiful music that stresses the need for human compassion and forgiveness. Danielpour returns to the scale and majesty of Bach in this oratorio, creating choruses that are intense and powerful, and giving both Mary the mother of Jesus and Mary Magdalene a central place in a work of glowing spirituality. Conductor JoAnn Falletta considers The Passion of Yeshua to be “a classic for all time.”

EŠENVALDS, Ē.: Translations (Choral Music)
Ēriks EŠENVALDS (b. 1977)

Portland State Chamber Choir • Sperry


The multi-award-winning Latvian composer Ēriks Ešenvalds’ 21st-century choral sound is both exquisite and angular, and in this album he explores ideas of ‘translation’, legend and the divine. With his expanded tonality and employment of shimmering singing handbells in Translation, and the angelic use of the viola and cello in In paradisum he creates music of ravishing refinement. In Legend of the Walled-In Woman Ešenvalds transcribes and employs an authentic Albanian folk song.

WEINBERG, M.: Clarinet Concerto • Clarinet Sonata • Chamber Symphony No. 4
Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919–1996)
Clarinet Music
Clarinet Concerto • Clarinet Sonata • Chamber Symphony No. 4

Oberaigner • Schöch • Dresden Chamber Soloists • M. Jurowski

Mieczysław Weinberg was familiar with the clarinet from his youth, given its prominent place in klezmer bands and theatre ensembles, and he wrote three works specifically for the instrument. In the Clarinet Concerto he draws a wide range of textures from the accompanying strings, over which the soloist explores the clarinet’s extremes of register in virtuosic fashion. Despite having been written when Weinberg was still in his mid-twenties, the Clarinet Sonata is a mature work with Romantic and folkloric elements. His last completed work was the Chamber Symphony No. 4, an impassioned piece with a wrenching chorale theme and role for obbligato clarinet.

ZÁDOR, E.: Sinfonia Technica • Music for Clarinet and Strings • Trombone Concerto
Eugene ZÁDOR (189–1977)
Sinfonia Technica
Music for Clarinet and Strings • Trombone Concerto

Sólyomi • Fejér • Budapest Symphony Orchestra MÁV • Smolij


The music of Eugene Zádor is both warmly expressive and colourful. The composer took great delight in writing for overlooked solo instruments, as his Trombone Concerto, garnished with elements of Hungarian folklore, clearly shows. The easy-going, gypsy-influenced Music for Clarinet and Strings is a beautifully proportioned quasi-concerto. The Sinfonia Technica, composed much earlier when he was living in Vienna, and something of a one-off, is an enchanting and exuberantly orchestrated example of ‘industrial music’.

GOULD, M.: Symphonettes Nos. 2–4 • Spirituals of Orchestra
Morton GOULD (1913–1996)
Symphonettes Nos. 2–4
Spirituals for Orchestra

ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra • Fagen

Morton Gould was an American musical phenomenon, equally at home in classical, crossover and film genres, and the recipient of both GRAMMY and Pulitzer awards during his long and distinguished career. The Symphonettes represent Gould’s best crossover work—the Symphonette No. 4 deriving its character from Latin-American dance forms to make it one of his most popular compositions. The first movement of Symphonette No. 3 has been described as ‘a collection of dance band licks, full of bent notes and syncopations’ and the central Pavanne of Symphonette No. 2 with its bluesy trumpet motif is one of Gould’s biggest hits. Spirituals for Orchestra utilizes the strings as a choir, with antiphonal responses in the rest of the orchestra.

SCARLATTI, D.: Complete Keyboard Sonatas, Vol. 23
Domenico SCARLATTI (1685–1757)
Complete Keyboard Sonatas, Vol. 23

Sergio Monteiro

Domenico Scarlatti’s distinguished career included a royal post in Rome where he competed against Handel, the latter being declared the better organist and Scarlatti the better harpsichordist. Written for his pupil the Infanta Maria Bárbara, Scarlatti’s legacy of hundreds of single-movement keyboard sonatas forms a valuable resource for performers today. This collection includes a wealth of Spanish dances with virtuoso leaps, unusual modulations, flourishes and ornamentation, as well as Scarlatti’s irrepressible verve and energy.


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