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Featured Releases - October 2015

Dmitry SHOSTAKOVICH (1906–1975)
The Complete Symphonies
Nos. 1-15

Alexander Vinogradov, Bass • Gal James, Soprano
Huddersfield Choral Society
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra
Vasily Petrenko

Naxos 8.501111 [11-CD Boxed Set]

“Petrenko and the RLPO have achieved a triumph. The orchestral playing is ripe, detailed, lithe, concentrated and intense.”
The Telegraph on Symphony No. 10

“The final instalment of Petrenko’s remarkable Liverpool Shostakovich cycle is a world-class achievement.”
The Sunday Times on Symphony No. 13


Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770–1827)
Piano Sonatas
No. 8 ‘Pathetique’ • No. 21 ‘Waldstein’
No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111

Boris Giltburg, Piano
Naxos 8.573400

Ludwig van Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas form an unparalleled canon, remaining one of the greatest and most rewarding challenges for pianists to this day. These three sonatas represent Beethoven’s Early, Middle and Late periods but are united in the key of C – minor, for the dramatic and stormy intensity of mood in the Pathétique, and major for the radiant and poetic Waldstein sonata. In his Sonata Op. 111 the cycle is completed with music of utmost dramatic tension and the deepest spirituality.


Jean SIBELIUS (1865–1957)
Orchestral Works, Vol. 5
Swanwhite – Complete incidental Music
The Lizard • A Lonely Ski Trail
The Countess’ Portrait

Riho Eklundh, Narrator • Turku Philharmonic Orchestra
Leif Segerstam

Naxos 8.573341

So great was the effect of Sibelius’s incidental music for Maeterlinck’s play Pelléas et Mélisande that August Strindberg, whose wife had performed the role of Mélisande, agreed that he should write the music for his as-yet unperformed play Svanevit (Swanwhite). Composing for an orchestra of thirteen he wrote in a style reminiscent of Grieg, and both play and music were very well received by critics and audiences alike. The play Ödlan (The Lizard) inspired Sibelius with its dreamlike atmosphere, while Ett ensamt skidspår (A Lonely Ski Trail) and Grevinnans konterfej (The Countess’ Portrait) show his skill in writing for drama on a miniature scale.


Johannes BRAHMS (1833–1897)
Cello Sonatas and Songs:
Sonatas for Piano and Cello
in E minor and F major
Six Lieder (transcribed for cello and piano by
Gabriel Schwabe and Nicholas Rimmer)

Gabriel Schwabe, Cello • Nicholas Rimmer, Piano
Naxos 8.573489


A period of twenty-one years separates Brahms’ two Cello Sonatas. Suffused with lyricism and expressive ardour, the First has become one of his most popular chamber works. The Second is more sober and succinct than the earlier work, yet strikingly original not least for the wide range required of the cellist to reach unusually high notes from the very low register. Chosen to suit the cello’s particular colour and articulation, the six songs are heard in idiomatic and sensitive arrangements which stay as close as possible to the originals.


Maurice RAVEL (1875–1937)
L’Enfant et les sortilèges*
Ma Mère l’Oye – Complete ballet

Choeur Britten* • Jeune Choeur symphonique*
Maîtrise de l’Opéra National de Lyon*
Orchestre National de Lyon • Leonard Slatkin

Naxos 8.660336

Ravel’s opera L’Enfant et les sortilèges captures an imaginative child’s world in which the creatures and objects around him come to life. Wittily portrayed in Colette’s inventive libretto and by Ravel’s meticulous orchestration, furniture, crockery and animals alike are at first provoked by the child’s appalling behaviour, finally helping him after he bandages the squirrel’s paw he had previously pricked with his pen. The unforgettably enchanting Mother Goose translates well-known fairytales into music, including the gently melodic Sleeping Beauty’s Pavane, her conversation with the gruffest of beasts, and a final blessing in The Fairy Garden.


Pierre RODE (1774–1830)
Violin Concertos Nos. 2 and 8
Variations on ‘Nel cor più non mi sento’
Introduction and Variations on a Tyrolean Air

Friedemann Eichhorn, Violin • Jena Philharmonic Orchestra
Nicolás Pasquet

Naxos 8.573054

Pierre Rode was the star pupil of Viotti (the greatest violinist of the day), in time becoming the leading exponent of the French Violin School. A great virtuoso – he premièred Beethoven’s last Violin Sonata – he composed exclusively for his own instrument and his thirteen concertos, along with his Caprices, are his greatest compositional legacy. The Violin Concerto No. 2 is notable for its contrasts between challenging virtuosity and lyrical interludes, whilst Concerto No. 8 is one of his most beautiful works, with long-breathed melodies and dramatic flourishes. This is the fourth of five volumes containing all thirteen of Rode’s Violin Concertos.


José VIANA DA MOTA (1868–1948)
À Pátria – Sinfonia (To the Homeland)
Inês de Castro • Chula • 3 Impromptus • Vito

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra • Álvaro Cassuto
Naxos 8.573495 [4 CDs]


The most distinguished pianist of his generation, a brilliant pedagogue and a highly gifted composer, José Viana da Mota was a towering personality in the field of Portuguese music. Disapproving of ‘modernistic’ compositional trends he stopped composing around 1910 but not before he had written his Symphony ‘To the Homeland’, a brilliantly orchestrated paean to Portuguese prowess and discovery which makes use of Portuguese folk dances and songs. Based on the dramatic life and murder of the 14th-century noblewoman Inês de Castro, Viana da Mota’s Lisztian symphonic poem is an early work notable for its kaleidoscopic sections full of inspiring contrasts. This recording presents the complete orchestral works of Viana da Mota.

Anton Stepanovich ARENSKY (1861–1906)
Chamber Music
Piano Quintet1 • String Quartet No. 22
Piano Trio No. 13

Spectrum Concerts Berlin – Boris Brovtsyn, Violin 11, Violin2,3 • Alexander Sitkovetsky, Violin 21
Maxim Rysanov, Viola1,2 • Boris Andrianov, Cello 12, Cello3
Jens Peter Maintz, Cello1, Cello 22 • Eldar Nebolsin, Piano1,3

Naxos 8.573317

Anton Arensky belonged to the generation between Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov, his early flair leading Tolstoy to state that, “among the new composers he is the best, he is simple and melodious.” Lacking a Russian tradition for the genre, Arensky’s Piano Quintet draws on Brahms and Mendelssohn for its sweeping themes and sparkling wit. The Second String Quartet was written in memory of Tchaikovsky and is a tender, elegiac work unusual in its scoring with two cellos. Dedicated to his cellist friend Karl Davidoff, the First Piano Trio is also a wonderfully heartfelt and virtuosic masterpiece.

Krzysztof PENDERECKI (b. 1933)
Powiało na mnie morze snów…
(A sea of dreams did breathe on me…)
Songs of reflection and nostalgia for soprano, mezzo-soprano,
baritone, mixed choir and orchestra

Olga Pasichnyk, Soprano • Ewa Marciniec, Mezzo-soprano
Jarosław Bręk, Baritone • Warsaw Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra • Antoni Wit

Naxos 8.573062

Composed for the final concert of the Chopin bicentenary celebrations in Warsaw in 2010, Powiało na mnie morze snów… (A sea of dreams did breathe on me…) is an extended song cycle comparable in scale to the Eighth Symphony [Naxos 8.570450]. The individual songs, settings of both Romantic and contemporary Polish poetry, are grouped into larger movements and chart a progression from an almost impressionistic lightness to monumentality, the expressive tenor of the music ranging widely – nostalgic for loss, but also tense and impassioned.


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