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Chairman’s Choice: Klaus Heymann spotlights some of October’s new releases

October 1, 2017

PROKOFIEV, S.: Symphony No. 7 / Lieutenant Kijé Suite / The Love for Three Oranges (excerpts)
São Paulo Symphony, Alsop
Naxos 8.573620

This release is the final volume in our cycle of Prokofiev’s complete symphonies featuring the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra conducted by Marin Alsop. It represents another milestone achievement as one of our flagship projects of the last five years. I’m naturally delighted that the cycle has been widely acclaimed: “an outstanding achievement” (BBC Music Magazine on Symphony No. 5, 8.573029); “a joy from beginning to end” (MusicWeb International on Symphony No. 4, 8.573186); “the playing of the São Paulo Symphony is exceptionally fine” (BBC Music Magazine on Symphony No. 6, 8.573518). One of the strengths of the cycle has been the inclusion of a number of Prokofiev’s other significant orchestral works on each programme. This final volume is no exception, with the Seventh Symphony supplemented by the famous March from The Love for Three Oranges and a long-standing favourite, the suite from Lieutenant Kijé.

SAINT-SAËNS, C.: Cello and Orchestra Works – Cello Concertos Nos. 1, 2 / Suite in D Minor / Romance
G. Schwabe, Malmö Symphony, Soustrot
Naxos 8.573737

This recording of Saint-Saëns’ complete music for cello and orchestra is the latest instalment in our extended plan to record all Saint-Saëns’ symphonies and concertos. Two sections of the project have already been released (the symphonies and the piano concertos). Three more are to follow (the violin concertos; shorter works for violin and orchestra; and the concertos for various other solo instruments). I’m very pleased that we were able to engage the excellent Malmö Symphony Orchestra to accompany the soloists across the complete set of recordings. This latest volume includes the two cello concertos (rarely found together on a single recording), the less frequently heard Suite in D and Allegro appassionato, with The Swan from The Carnival of the Animals thrown in for good measure. This feast of fine cello music is in the authoritative hands of conductor Marc Soustrot, an acknowledged specialist in French orchestral music, and the young Naxos Artist Gabriel Schwabe, one of the best cellists of his generation.

BIZET, G.: Carmen Suites Nos. 1, 2 / L’Arlésienne Suites Nos. 1, 2
Barcelona Symphony and Catalonia National Orchestra, P. González
Naxos 8.573546

Bizet’s opera Carmen is set in Seville, so it’s unsurprising that these orchestral suites receive such an authoritative reading by a fine Spanish orchestra and conductor. Carmen has established itself as one of the world’s most popular operas, with a vibrant and exciting score that never fails to engage the listener. Conductor Pablo González and the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra are clearly both at home and on form with this music. They previously established their credentials in Spanish music with a 3-volume series of orchestral works by Granados. The final volume (8.573265) attracted this comment from the American Record Guide: “I cannot imagine a warmer, more loving performance than this. Maestro González and the orchestra are to be commended for their extraordinary musicality.”

ROSSINI, G.: Demetrio e Polibio [Opera]
Mchedlishvili, Yarovaya, Arrieta, Dall’Amico, Poznań Camerata Bach Choir, Virtuosi Brunensis, Acocella
Naxos 8.660405-06

I’m both pleased and proud to remind opera fans that this release takes us one exciting step nearer our goal of recording the complete Rossini operas for the Naxos catalogue. Although Demetrio e Polibio is his very first opera, Rossini’s facility for melody and his genius for combining voices into the loveliest of duets are already much in evidence. The cast of rising young stars includes mezzo-soprano Victoria Yarovaya (Silveno). Reviewing her performance in the title role of Rossini’s La Cenerentola, The Guardian commented: “Victoria Yarovaya is terrific as Cenerentola, with a velvet low register and dazzling coloratura to boot. It’s worth sitting through this production for her final scene alone.” Luca Dall’Amico (Polibio), is one of the most important Italian basses of the new generation, having performed at many of the most prestigious festivals and opera houses worldwide.

BRIAN, H.: Symphonies Nos. 8, 21, 26
New Russia State Symphony, A. Walker
Naxos 8.573752

This release marks the moment when all 32 of Brian’s symphonies become available on disc, either on Naxos or on other labels. Each of the three symphonies represents an important milestone in the composer’s long musical journey and each demonstrates the breadth of his symphonic approach. The performers, conductor Alexander Walker and the New Russia State Symphony Orchestra, are the same as on our previous release in the series (8.573408) which was praised by Fanfare: “Walker is a superb Brian conductor. He understands the very “British” nature and quality of this music and, moreover, phrases everything with the utmost care and an exquisite sense of legato without sacrificing clarity.”

GRANADOS, E.: Orchestral Works (3-CD Box Set)
Barcelona Symphony and Catalonia National Orchestra, González
Naxos 8.503295

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of Enrique Granados’ birth, our three internationally admired volumes of his orchestral works have been brought together in a boxed set. The collection includes one of the greatest pieces in all Spanish music, the Intermezzo from Goyescas, as well as much that is exceptionally rare, such as the symphonic poem Dante, one of the most ambitious and exciting Spanish orchestral works of its time. Granados’ vivid sense of orchestral colour is married to melodic richness, whilst folk dances and mythical worlds alike are evoked by this master of orchestration and nuance.

MARTINŮ, B.: Symphonies Nos. 1-6
Vienna Radio Symphony, C. Meister
Capriccio C5320

Bohuslav Martinů was a prolific composer, yet most of his works have remained generally and undeservedly unknown. This 3-CD set of his symphonies therefore provides an excellent opportunity for listeners to become familiar with his distinctive style. Forced to leave his native Czechoslovakia in 1939, Martinů settled in America where he wrote these six works. They are among his most impressive achievements, combining driving energy and rhythmic flexibility, with melodies drawn from Czech folk song. Cornelius Meister has been principal conductor and artistic director of the ORF Radio Symphony Orchestra Vienna since 2010. Reviewing his recording of works by Richard Strauss (C5208), Gramophone wrote: “This excellently recorded performance under Cornelius Meister is superbly played and spontaneous. It stands up well against its countless rivals.”

BEETHOVEN, L. van: Triple Concerto / Piano Concerto No. 3
C. and T. Tetzlaff, Vogt, Royal Northern Sinfonia
Ondine ODE1297-2

Lars Vogt continues his cycle of Beethoven’s Piano Concertos with the Royal Northern Sinfonia. This second volume in the series features the Third Piano Concerto and Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, in which Lars is joined by his longtime artistic partners, Christian Tetzlaff and Tanja Tetzlaff. The trio’s chamber music recordings have received excellent comments from the press, also a GRAMMY® nomination for their recording of the Brahms Piano Trios (ODE 1271-2D). Lars Vogt’s debut solo recording on Ondine of Bach’s Goldberg Variations (ODE 1273-2) was released in 2015; amazingly, the album’s tracks have since been streamed online more than 6 million times. Earlier this year, Lars was nominated for the Artist of the Year 2017 Award by Gramophone magazine.

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