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Gioachino ROSSINI (1792–1868)
Adelaide di Borgogna
Libretto by Giovanni Schmidt
Margarita Gritskova, Mezzo-soprano
Ekaterina Sadovnikova • Miriam Zubieta, Sopranos
Gheorge Vlad • Yasushi Watanabe, Tenors
Cornelius Lewenberg, Baritone
Baurzhan Anderzhanov, Bass-baritone
Camerata Bach Choir, Poznań • Virtuosi Brunensis
Naxos 8.660401-02 [2 CDs]
Set in medieval Italy, Rossini's rarely performed Adelaide di Borgogna is based on dramatic historical events that led to Otto the Great (Ottone) of Germany conquering the Kingdom of Italy. Despite its political and warlike subject, Adelaide di Borgogna is full of beautiful music, Rossini using lyrical moments to emphasize emotions and express the triangle of passionate love and rivalry between Adelaide, Ottone and Adelberto. Adelaide is bel canto in its purest form and was held in high regard by its composer, who recycled much of it in his subsequent operas.
Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887–1959)
Symphonies Nos. 8, 9 and 11
São Paulo Symphony Orchestra • Isaac Karabtchevsky
By the 1940s Heitor Villa-Lobos was widely recognized as Latin America's greatest composer. Working in the United States gave him new perspectives, and his later symphonies move away from the folk influences and exotic effects of works written in the 1920s and 30s, such as the Bachianas Brasileiras, towards more concise, sometimes neo-classical, models. The Eighth and Ninth share a transparent lightness of touch while the Eleventh, described as a work of 'immediate charm', is the perfect introduction to the later work of Villa-Lobos.
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Aaron COPLAND (1900–1990)
Symphony No. 3
Three Latin American Sketches
Detroit Symphony Orchestra • Leonard Slatkin
Premièred in 1946, a year after the end of World War II, Copland's iconic Third Symphony was described by the composer as 'a wartime piece – or, more accurately, an end-of-war piece – intended to reflect the euphoric spirit of the country at the time.' The fourth movement, heard on this recording in its original uncut form, opens by quoting one of his most well-known pieces, Fanfare for the Common Man. Copland described the Three Latin American Sketches 'as being just what the title says. The tunes, the rhythms and the temperament of the pieces are folksy, while the orchestration is bright and snappy and the music sizzles along.'
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Randall THOMPSON (1899–1984)
Symphony No. 2
Samuel ADAMS (b. 1985)
Drift and Providence*
Samuel BARBER (1910–1981)
Symphony No. 1
Samuel Adams, Electronics*
National Orchestral Institute Philharmonic • James Ross
The second Naxos recording by the elite conservatory students of the National Orchestral Institute Philharmonic explores further examples of the breadth of American music. Randall Thompson, famed for his vocal works, is represented by his Symphony No. 2 which, with its syncopation and echoes of jazz, helped to establish a bright, vibrant American style. After an inauspicious debut, Samuel Barber’s tautly cyclical Symphony No. 1 became the first American symphonic piece to be performed at the Salzburg Festival. Samuel Adams offers a contemporary voice in Drift and Providence, which spectacularly captures the sound of the Pacific Ocean by incorporating electronic elements.
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Domenico SCARLATTI (1685–1757)
Complete Keyboard Sonatas, Vol. 19
Goran Filipec, Piano
Alessandro Scarlatti was largely responsible for developing early Neapolitan opera but his son Domenico journeyed to Lisbon and then to Madrid where he entered the service of the royal family. It was primarily for the Infanta Maria Barbara, who became Queen of Spain in 1746, that Domenico Scarlatti wrote his celebrated single-movement sonatas, some of the greatest pieces in eighteenth-century keyboard repertoire. This volume reveals Scarlatti’s evocations of Spanish dance rhythms, vivid exploration of color, scintillating scales and arpeggios and striking echo effects.
Giacomo PUCCINI (1858–1924)
Libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica
Olesya Golovneva • Maria Fontosh, Sopranos
Joachim Bäckstöm, Tenor • Miklós Sebestyén, Bass
Vladislav Sulimsky • Daniel Hellström, Baritones
Malmö Children's Chorus • Malmö Opera Chorus & Orchestra • Christian Badea, Conductor
Orpha Phelan, Stage Director
Based on stories by Henri Merger but also infused with the composer's own experiences as a penniless graduate, Puccini's powerful opera La Bohème portrays its youthful characters' romantic outlook on life and the brutally tragic end to their innocence. The story is set around 1830 but director Orpha Phelan sees Puccini's characters as equally at home in our times: "their story is universal, all that is needed is to understand what it is like to be young and in love!" This Malmö production was acclaimed in the Svenska Dagbladet as "one of the most moving renditions of Puccini's opera I have ever seen".
SCHUMANN • DUPARC • DEBUSSY • HAHN • POULENC
Yaniv d'Or, Countertenor • Dan Deutsch, Piano
After exploring the music of his Sephardic ancestry on the acclaimed recording Latino Ladino (Naxos 8.573566), Yaniv d'Or brings a refreshing perspective to the Dichterliebe from Schumann's proverbial 'year of song'. French songs of the 19th and 20th centuries offer d'Or's exotic voice further dimensions in the floating harmonies of the young Duparc and Debussy, including Reynaldo Hahn's beautiful Bach pastiche, and concluding with the classical simplicity of Poulenc's first songs.
Bechara EL-KHOURY (b. 1957)
Poème Nocturne3 • Le Chant d’amour4
Ariane Douguet, Soprano4 • Vicens Prats, Flute3
Orchestre de Paris1,3 • Paavo Järvi1
Eivind Gullberg Jensen3 • Orchestre National de France2
Daniele Gatti2 • Orchestre Colonne4 • David Coleman4
Bechara El-Khoury's work often refers to his native Lebanon, and Orages (Storms) takes us back to youthful memories of nature's chaotic moods, from flashes of lightning via sinister darkness to surreal and luminous calm. Espaces-Fragmentations reflects on time and 'a strange journey into night', while Poème nocturne marks the life of renowned French flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal. The lyrical post-Romantic style of Le Chant d'amour at times evokes the spirit of Richard Strauss.
François DEVIENNE (1759–1803)
Flute Concertos Nos. 9-12
Patrick Gallois, Flute • Swedish Chamber Orchestra
François Devienne performed as an orchestral bassoonist and flutist but rose to fame as an operatic composer. His greatest achievement, however, lies in his sequence of Flute Concertos, of which this is the final volume. Despite his failing health, the four works on this recording demonstrate the hallmark combination of melodic elegance and graceful virtuosity that characterizes Devienne's flute concertos, and are among the most attractive of their time. Concerto No. 10 is one of his masterpieces, distinguished equally by the beauty of its thematic material and its confident, cohesive musical structure.