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Featured Releases - November 2019

Beethoven Complete Edition [90-Disc Boxed Set]
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770–1827)
Complete Edition

Various Artists


Beethoven’s monumental contribution to Western classical music is celebrated here in this definitive collection marking the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth. Surveying the totality of his career and achievement, the Complete Edition spans orchestral, concerto, keyboard, chamber, music for the stage, choral and vocal works, encompassing his most familiar and iconic masterpieces, alongside rarities and recently reconstructed fragments and sketches in world premiere recordings. The roster of artists and ensembles includes some of Beethoven’s greatest contemporary exponents, in performances that have won critical acclaim worldwide.

BEETHOVEN, L. van: Works for Voice and Orchestra
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770–1827)
(Incidental Music)

Ranta • Salminen • Turku Philharmonic Orchestra • Segerstam

Beethoven was involved with the theatre in one way or another from boyhood, and the commission to compose incidental music for Goethe’s play Egmont at the Royal Imperial Court Theatre in Vienna was the first of many such collaborations. Beethoven’s score conveys the essence of this tragedy and reveals his clear affinity with its theme of heroic sacrifice by a man condemned to death for taking a valiant stand against oppression.

VILLA-LOBOS, H.: Guitar Concerto • Harmonica Concerto • Chamber Works
Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887–1959)
Guitar Concerto • Harmonica Concerto
Sexteto Místico • Quinteto Instrumental

Barrueco • Staneck • OSESP Ensemble • São Paulo Symphony Orchestra • Guerrero

The concertos and chamber works on this album show Villa-Lobos’s unceasing enthusiasm for new colours and sonorities in his music. The Concerto for Guitar and Small Orchestra was his last work for the instrument and written for Segovia. A cornerstone of the repertoire, it contains soaring melodies and rhythmic vitality couched in virtuosic writing. Exploring the instrument’s full harmonic and chromatic possibilities, the Concerto for Harmonica is also deftly orchestrated. New and daring sonic combinations are to be heard in the two chamber works demonstrating the composer’s extraordinary gift for seductive lyricism.

Pieces for Young Audience – SAINT-SAËNS • RAVEL • PROKOFIEV • BRITTEN
Pieces for Young Audience
Live from Snape Maltings Concert Hall

Britten-Pears Orchestra • Alsop

These live performances from Snape Maltings Concert Hall present some of the most popular classical works for younger audiences. Their perennial appeal is a result of vivid melodies, witty instrumental characterisation, and, in three works, the use of spoken texts to illuminate the narrative. Whether composed to amuse, entertain or educate, each possesses marvellous vitality, lyricism and bravura. The performances are conducted and narrated by Marin Alsop, one of the world’s most inspirational musical communicators.

Also available on Blu-ray (NBD0102V)

THOMAS, A.: Hamlet (Opéra Comique, 2018) [Opera]
Ambroise THOMAS (1811–1896)
Libretto by Michel Carré and Jules Barbier after William Shakespeare

Degout • Devieilhe • L. Alvaro • Brunet-Grupposo • Les éléments • Orchestre des Champs-Élysées • Langrée • Teste

With Shakespearian operas all the rage in Paris during the 19th century, Ambroise Thomas and his librettists Michel Carré and Jules Barbier adapted Hamlet to create a romantic spectacle in which the character of Ophélie shines with a haunting radiance. With its virtuosic arias, stunning ensembles and vivid orchestration – with the colourful addition of the newly invented saxophone – Thomas composed one of the most successful operas in the French repertoire. This is further enhanced by director Cyril Teste’s multi-layered production, reinstating its powerful original ending, and including cinematic techniques to create ‘a very palpable hit’ (

Also available on Blu-ray (NBD0103V)

SHOSTAKOVICH, D.: The Bedbug • Love and Hate
Dmitry SHOSTAKOVICH (b. 1972)
The Bedbug • Love and Hate

Mannheim Opera Choir • Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz • Juris • M. Fitz-Gerald


Shostakovich was still a young composer when he was hired to provide incidental music for The Bedbug, a surreal and farcical satire on Communist utopian dreams and bourgeois corruption and vulgarity. He produced a terrifically knockabout score that draws on local fireman’s bands and American dance music. Illustrated by Shostakovich’s powerful middle-period music, Love and Hate is a film about female fortitude set in a mining village during the 1919 Civil War. The innovative score, newly reconstructed by Mark Fitz-Gerald from rough piano sketches and the 1935 soundtrack, combines symphonic sections with popular songs.

SAINT-SAËNS, C.: Ballet Music from Ascanio • Overtures
Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835–1921)
Ascanio – Ballet
Andromaque • Les Barbares • La Princesse jaune

Malmö Symphony Orchestra • Märkl

Saint-Saëns’ operatic works contain instrumental music of vivacity and charm but have been undeservedly overlooked. Ascanio contains a substantial and elaborate divertissement that fellow composer Reynaldo Hahn termed ‘the entire Renaissance in a few pages’. Les Barbares, a tale of conquest and revenge, includes a vivid Prologue and joyful ballet, while La Princesse jaune with its pentatonic writing, and La Jota aragonese laced with Spanish vitality, show the composer at his most generously carefree.

BEETHOVEN, L. van: Lieder, Vol. 1
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770–1827)
Lieder, Vol. 1
Sehnsucht • Erlkönig • In questa tomba oscura

Breuer • Trost • Edelmann • Bojórquez • Bartos

Beethoven’s contribution to the development of German song was significant – he wrote some 90 songs – but it has inevitably been overshadowed by his mastery of orchestral and instrumental music. Unlike mozart and Schubert’s works in the genre, little is known about the composition and performance of Beethoven’s songs, but he is known to have greatly respected Goethe, as his settings amply show, not least in the incidental music to Egmont, from which Freudvoll und leidvoll is taken.

BREINER, P.: Beatles Go Baroque, Vol. 2
Peter BREINER (b. 1957)
Beatles Go Baroque, Vol. 2
Day Tripper • Norwegian Wood • Get Back • Nowhere Man • Yesterday

Peter Breiner and His Orchestra

Classical musicians have always recognised the musicality and originality of The Beatles’ songs, Leonard Bernstein declaring the Lennon-McCartney composing team ‘the Schuberts of our time’. This sequel to Peter Breiner’s multi-platinum Beatles Go Baroque (8.555010) takes the original concept even further, keeping 18th-century masterpieces such as Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons and Bach’s famously stylish and beautiful Violin Concerto No. 1 largely intact, elegantly combining them with The Beatles’ most enduring melodies to create a joyously genuine 21st-century mashup.

Boston Symphony Commissions – ANDRES • NATHAN • SHEPHERD • TSONTAKIS
Boston Symphony Commissions

Boston Symphony Orchestra • A. Nelsons


The Boston Symphony Orchestra has a long tradition of commissioning and performing important new music, and the four work on this album were commissioned and premiered by the orchestra and its conductor Andris Nelsons during the first years of his tenure. Eric Nathan takes us on a journey through a series of interconnected worlds, whereas George Tsontakis marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in a series of Sonnets for English horn and orchestra. Timo Andres carries on ‘conversations’ with composers of the past, while Sean Shepherd has been inspired by five giants of artistic modernism.

TCHAIKOVSKY, P.I.: The Nutcracker (arr. brass septet)
Pyotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1835–1921)
The Nutcracker
Arranged for Brass Septet

Jacobi • Septura

Brass instruments are a vital part of the festive fabric of Christmas, and Tchaikovsky’s iconic ballet The Nutcracker is made even more joyful with the brassy brilliance of Septura. Narrated by pre-eminent actor Derek Jacobi, The Nutcracker is set on Christmas Eve, with music both rapturous and fantastical. It tells the story of how young Clara’s favourite present, a nutcracker shaped like a little man, turns into a handsome prince at midnight. Septura has been acclaimed by Brass Band World for its ‘stylistic perfection’ and ‘beautifully portrayed artistry’ (Music for Brass Septet • 2, Naxos 8.573386).

Festival of Carols
Festival of Carols
McNair • Indianapolis Symphonic Choir • E. Stark

This collection of best-loved Christmas repertoire was recorded live at the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir Festival of Carols concerts in 2015 and 2016. GRAMMY award-winning vocalist Sylvia McNair adds her own unique beauty and warmth, and as ever, the programme celebrates the joys of the season with sparkling versions of family favourites. The tranquillity and magic of Christmas eve, heartfelt messages of hope, reconciliation and peace, and thrilling new compositions all combine to capture the celebratory excitement of the holiday season.


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