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Featured Releases - November 2017

WAGNER, R.: Siegfried [Opera]
Richard WAGNER (1813–1883)

O’Neill • Goerne • Cangelosi • Mechelen • Melton • Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra • Zweden
Naxos 8.660413-16

Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung) is one of the most remarkable achievements in all music, and Siegfried, the third in the cycle, contains some of the greatest moments in Wagner’s entire output. Wagner conceived Siegfried as a heroic ‘man of the future’, and his fantastical tale is one in which the human dramas of treachery and violent struggles for power become magnified in a world of gods, dragons and magic. The previous opera in this cycle, Die Walküre (Naxos 8.660394-97), was acclaimed in The Guardian as ‘thrillingly vivid… easily maintains the high standard and promise of Das Rheingold’ (Naxos 8.660374-75).


SAINT-SAËNS, C.: Works for Violin and Orchestra
Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835–1921)
Works for Violin and Orchestra
Introduction et Rondo capriccioso
Caprice andalou • Morceau de concert
La Muse et le Poète*

Tianwa Yang • Schwabe * • Malmö Symphony Orchestra • Soustrot
Naxos 8.573411

Tianwa Yang is ‘an artist of exceptional technique and musicianship’ (BBC Music Magazine) and has established herself as a leading international performer and recording artist, winning the Annual Prize of the German Record Critics 2014 for her acclaimed recordings of Sarasate’s complete violin works. Her ‘stunning effortless virtuosity’ and ‘uncanny affinity for Spanish music’ (All Things Strings) make her the ideal advocate for the music presented on this recording. The Introduction et Rondo capriccioso is a glittering showcase imbued with the passion of Iberian dance, while the Havanaise in E Major is a languorous habanera. Less frequently heard are the evocative Caprice andalou, the songful Romance in C Major, the rhapsodic Morceau de concert, and the improvisatory La Muse et le Poète.


VILLA-LOBOS, H.: Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2
Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887–1959)
Symphony No. 1 ‘O Imprevisto’
Symphony No. 2 ‘Ascensão’

São Paulo Symphony Orchestra • Karabtchevsky
Naxos 8.573829

Heitor Villa-Lobos’s first two symphonies take the European tradition head-on, absorbing French models prevalent in Brazil in the early 20th century. The confident swagger of the First Symphony is characteristic of Villa-Lobos’s ‘Brazilianness’, while the cyclical Second Symphony filters myriad influences including the music of Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Debussy and Puccini. Its slow movement heralds the affecting melodic content that would later become the trademark of the Bachianas Brasileiras [Naxos 8.557460-62]. This is the sixth and final volume of an acclaimed complete edition of Villa-Lobos’s symphonies in which ‘Karabtchevsky leads the way’ (Gramophone).

SHOSTAKOVICH, D.: Ovod (The Gadfly)
Dmitry SHOSTAKOVICH (1906–1975)
The Gadfly
Complete Original Score for the 1955 Film
Reconstructed by Mark Fitz-Gerald
The Counterplan (excerpts)

Bachchor Mainz • Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz • Fitz-Gerald
Naxos 8.573747


Set in mid-nineteenth-century Italy during a turbulent period of pre-Unification political unrest, The Gadfly drew from Shostakovich one of his most dazzling and popular film scores, heard hitherto on record only in a suite arranged and re-orchestrated by Levon Atovmian. This recording presents the full, original score for the first time, as closely as possible to Shostakovich’s original conception. Reconstructed by Mark Fitz-Gerald from the original manuscript and the Russian film soundtrack, it calls for a large orchestra including church bells, an organ, two guitars and a mandolin, all excluded from the Atovmian suite.

DYSON, G.: Choral Symphony / St Paul's Voyage to Melita
George DYSON (1883–1964)
Choral Symphony1
St Paul’s Voyage to Melita2

Watts1 • Hulcup1 • Ellicott1,2 • Williams1
The Bach Choir • Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra • Hill

Naxos 8.573770


Born into a working-class family, George Dyson became one of the most important musicians and composers of his day. The previously unknown Choral Symphony was written as an examination work while Dyson was studying at Oxford, and it was only recently discovered at the Bodleian Library. Dyson relishes his dramatic chosen text from Psalm 107 on the expulsion from and homecoming of the Jews to Israel, a narrative that inspires trademark features that would make his later works so attractive. Its seascape finale links neatly with St Paul’s Voyage to Melita, another vivid text from which Technicolor musical images are conjured.

Music for Brass Septet, Vol. 5 –  FAURÉ, G. / RAVEL, M. / DEBUSSY, C.
Music for Brass Septet, Vol. 5

Naxos 8.573619

Septura turn to one of the most groundbreaking periods of music history: France at the outset of the 20th century. In this fertile compositional field solo brass instruments flourished, but the chamber music landscape was barren. And so the group reimagine works by the three composers who defined France’s unique musical direction: Fauré, Debussy and Ravel. Conjuring the full kaleidoscope of colours possible from seven brass instruments, they trace the origins of Impressionism, from Fauré’s masterful mélodies through to the iconic piano works of Debussy and Ravel.

RILEY, T.: The Palmian Chord Ryddle / At the Royal Majestic
Terry RILEY (b. 1935)
The Palmian Chord Ryddle1
At the Royal Majestic2

Silverman1 • Wilson2 • Nashville Symphony • Guerrero
Naxos 8.559739

Terry Riley’s name will always be associated with his breakthrough work In C, but his influence on modern music has stretched far beyond minimalism. Both of the works on this recording reveal Riley’s spirit of exploration and his close collaboration with remarkable musicians. Commissioned by the Nashville Symphony, The Palmian Chord Ryddle is a kind of musical autobiography in which electric violin pioneer Tracy Silverman’s “one-man string quartet” sets the pace for the sparse, translucent orchestration. At the Royal Majestic is another recent example of Riley’s work with a symphony orchestra and a virtuosic soloist, in this case organist Todd Wilson. Its title refers to “the mighty Wurlitzer housed in grand movie palaces,” and the music draws on a wide variety of genres including gospel, ragtime, Baroque chorales, and boogie.


OFFENBACH, J.: Overtures
Jacques OFFENBACH (1819–1880)
La Fille du tambour-major • Orphée aux enfers
La Belle Hélène • La Vie parisienne
Vert-Vert • L’Île de Tulipatan

Orchestre National de Lille • Darrell Ang
Naxos 8.573694

Jacques Offenbach is best remembered for his operettas, but the dramatic Ouverture à grand orchestre is a rarely heard early piece that presages his future in musical theatre. The enduring popularity of Orpheus in the Underworld is due in no small part to the Can-Can, now one of the most iconic pieces in Western classical music. Orpheus was Offenbach’s first full-length operetta, and The Drum-Major’s Daughter was to be his last, those in between including the popular vaudeville of Monsieur et Madame Denis, humorous satires on Parisian life, and La belle Hélène, an instant success that enjoyed an initial run of 700 performances.


LAJTHA, L.: Orchestral Works, Vol. 7 - Capriccio [Ballet]
László LAJTHA (1892–1963)
Capriccio, Op. 39 – Suite de Ballet

Pécs Symphony Orchestra • Pasquet
Naxos 8.573649

László Lajtha is recognized, along with Bartók, Kodály and Dohnányi, as one of the great Hungarian composers of the first half of the 20th century. He established his reputation as his country’s foremost symphonist but also showed a strong affinity for the stage, writing his one-act ballet Capriccio in 1944. Despite the darkness of the times the ballet is filled with light and set in the period around 1700, the age of Watteau. Taking commedia dell’arte as his model, Lajtha’s characterisation brims with wit and elegance.


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