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Featured Releases - August 2019

GOUNOD, C.: La Nonne sanglante (Opéra Comique, 2018) [Opera]
Charles GOUNOD (1818–1893)
La Nonne sanglante
(‘The Bleeding Nun’)
Libretto by Eugène Scribe and Germain Delavigne

Santoni • Lebègue • Spyres • accentus • Insula orchestra • Equilbey • Bobée

The plot of Gounod’s opera La Nonne sanglante (‘The Bleeding Nun’) is drawn from Matthew Lewis’ once famous 1796 novel The Monk. The subject is a Gothic melodrama featuring warring families, two lovers, and the vengeful spectre of the Nun, to which Gounod responds with music that fuses Romanticism with the supernatural on the grandest scale. This ground-breaking production features memorable set pieces enhanced by the stark drama of the stage setting and brilliant cinematic lighting effects.

Also available on Blu-ray (NBD0097V).

FACCIO, F.: Amleto (Bregenz Festival, 2016) [Opera]
Franco FACCIO (1840–1891)
Libretto by Arrigo Boito after William Shakespeare

Černoch • I.M. Dan • Sgura • Kaiser • Tsanga • Schweinester • Prague Philharmonic Choir • Wiener Symphoniker • Carignani

First performed in 1865, Amleto (‘Hamlet’) represented a radical new development in Italian opera, the nuovo melodramma. Composer Franco Faccio and his librettist Arrigo Boito sought a greater degree of musical unity in staged productions and a more equal relationship between text and music. In Hamlet, a play that many then considered un-operatic, they found the perfect medium through which to explore the work’s philosophical and dramatic power – not least the great set-piece scenes: Amleto’s soliloquy ‘Essere o non essere!’ (‘To be or not to be’), Ofelia’s Mad Scene and the fight scenes – in a way that strikingly prefigures the verismo operas yet to come.

BERMEL, D.: Migration Series • Mar de Setembro • A Shout, a Whisper, and a Trace
Derek BERMEL (b. 1967)
Migration Series • Mar de Setembro
A Shout, a Whisper, and a Trace

Souza • T. Nash • Bermel • Juilliard Jazz Orchestra • Albany Symphony • D.A. Miller


Migrations provides a generous view of Derek Bermel’s superb craftsmanship and eclectic style, in which classical forms, world music, jazz, blues and American folk music create a mix that reaches directly into the body and the heart. Commissioned by Wynton Marsalis, Migration Series has its roots in African American music, its impeccable counterpoint and biting rhythms expressed through orchestration that sounds like a city coming to life. Mar de Setembro was inspired by Luciana Souza’s bell-toned voice and the intense feelings of Portuguese saudade, while A Shout, a Whisper, and a Trace honours Bartók’s last years in New York, referring to the Concerto for Orchestra as well as to jazz and Balkan music.


BEETHOVEN, L. van: The Creatures of Prometheus (version for piano)
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770–1827)
The Creatures of Prometheus
Version for Piano

Warren Lee

In addition to his world-famous marches, John Philip Sousa was a master of the piquant Humoresque, of which there are two examples here. The first, On the 5.15, is a popular song detailing the travails of a commuter, while the second, The Band Came Back, introduces popular tunes in witty fashion. The sonorous Second Fantasia from El Capitan showcases the band’s bravura qualities and The Fighting Race draws on a trombone solo. There are charming detours to explore rural Americana in the form of Sheep and Goat (‘Walkin’ to the Pasture’) and the evergreen classic, Turkey in the Straw.


HOFMANN, L.: Flute Concertos, Vol. 3
Leopold HOFMANN (1738–1793)
Flute Concertos, Vol. 3

Grodd • Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice • Halász


Leopold Hofmann was among the most prominent Viennese composers of his generation, his music performed all over Europe. Hofmann’s radiant flute concertos follow the conventions of the day with superlative elegance and a deceptive facility. The solo writing has a lightness, grace and agility perfectly suited to the instrument’s strengths, particularly in the lovely and often rhapsodic slow movements. It is hardly surprising that musicians and audiences found these concertos so beguiling, and they have lost none of their magic today.


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