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

November 1, 2014

DVOŘÁK Requiem
Libor • Wolak • Kirch • Monarcha • Warsaw Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra • Wit

Premièred in 1891, Dvořák’s Requiem enjoyed immediate success. More reminiscent of Cherubini than Verdi in style, its tone is one of compassion and reflection, devoid of unnecessary drama, and movingly crafted with great sophistication. Featuring a superb line-up of orchestral, choral and solo forces, this new recording is under the authoritative direction of Antoni Wit, who is both a Naxos house conductor and renowned interpreter of Slavic music.

STANKOVYCH Symphonies Nos 1, 2, 4
Ukraine National Symphony • Kuchar

LYATOSHYNSKY Symphonies Vol 1 – No 1, Grazhyna
Ukrainian State Symphony • Kuchar

LYATOSHYNSKY Symphonies Vol 2 – Nos 2 and 3
Ukrainian State Symphony • Kuchar

LYATOSHYNSKY Symphonies Vol 3 – Nos 4 and 5
Ukrainian State Symphony • Kuchar

These four discs, originally released on the Marco Polo label, represent Ukrainian symphonic writing at its finest. Yevhen Stankovych’s incredibly potent and expressive music is virtually unknown in the West, so I am pleased to help redress this state of affairs by placing his symphonies firmly into the Naxos mainstream catalogue. Similarly with Boris Lyatoshynsky—Stankovych’s teacher—who was the foremost Ukrainian composer of the 20th century. His five symphonies are the cornerstone of the country’s symphonic tradition. This acclaimed cycle is certain to delight listeners coming to his music for the first time.

VILLA-LOBOS Symphony No 10 ‘Ameríndia’
Neiva • Javan • São Paulo Symphony Orchestra and Chorus • Karabtchevsky

The symphonies of Heitor Villa-Lobos are the least-explored of his orchestral works, yet they contain some of his most arresting and individual writing. The Symphony No. 10, a hybrid of symphony and oratorio, is exceptional in its stylistic variety and breadth. Under Isaac Karabtchevsky, one of the world’s leading Villa-Lobos interpreters, this is the latest volume in the cycle of the composer’s symphonies. They are being recorded in a new critical edition of the works that includes revised and corrected material. This significant project is a joint undertaking between Naxos, the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra and the orchestra’s publishing house. The release is certain to build on previous accolades, including “Terrific 10/10” from Fanfare, and “Karabtchevsky leads the way” from Gramophone for Symphonies 3 and 4 (8.573151).

DEVIENNE Flute Concertos Vol 1 – Nos 1-4
Gallois • Swedish Chamber Orchestra

François Devienne was among the most important composers of wind music in the second half of the 18th century. His writing for flute combined melodic elegance and graceful virtuosity, making his concertos for the instrument some of the most attractive works in the genre of their time. This new Naxos series of these rarely recorded works will no doubt become the automatic first choice both for collectors and the many fans of conductor-soloist Patrick Gallois, who here directs the Swedish Chamber Orchestra.

Kraggerud plays Kreisler
Kraggerud • Oslo Camerata

The entertaining programme on this DVD comprises performances of orchestral arrangements of Fritz Kreisler’s ever-popular violin works, including a number of world premières. Filmed in the intimate surroundings of Oslo’s historic Old Lodge, the outstanding Norwegian soloist Henning Kraggerud introduces the works before performing them on Kreisler’s own 1740 Bergonzi violin.

VERDI Otello
Smith • Angeletti • Catana • Orfeón Donostiarra • Oviedo Filarmonía • Haider

Since its triumphant première in 1886, Verdi’s Otello has continued to enjoy popularity both on stage and in the recording studio, to the extent that it is now among the top 25 operas performed around the world. This new recording by an exceptional cast of performers is certain to help cement the work’s reputation as one of Verdi’s finest achievements, with Robert Dean Smith, one of today’s leading operatic tenors, taking the title role.

DUKAS Symphony in C Major, L’apprenti sorcier, La Peri
Ireland RTÉ National Symphony • Tingaud

Dukas’ orchestral showpieces have acquired international fame for their colourful scoring and imaginative verve, qualities that are well exemplified in the programme on this disc. Although the titles are well-known, the performances here are unique in that the original manuscript sources for the pieces were consulted for the recording, ensuring readings that are rigorously faithful to Dukas’ intentions.

De Profundis, Miserere, Requiem
Vasari Singers • Backhouse

These three pairs of sublime choral settings span well over 350 years, with James MacMillan’s 21st-century Miserere conceived as a companion piece for Allegri’s famous Miserere, written in the early 17th century. The other imaginative pairings offer similarly evocative music that will make this disc hard to resist. It adds to the previous releases from Jeremy Backhouse and the Vasari Singers that have proved highly popular: A Winter’s Night (8.573030) was hailed by International Record Review as “sensational…one is in awe before a choir that can turn in [such] magnificent performances.”

Love and Passion in Music
Various Artists

The first volume in this Love and Passion in Music series focuses on instrumental music. Whether in tone poems, symphonic movements, ballets or films, composers depict the passion of love through sheer melodic beauty, using orchestrations that are sometimes refined, sometimes sumptuous. While the subject matter of the featured works ranges from Orpheus to Dr Zhivago, from Spartacus to Cinderella, the goal is the same: to evoke amorous emotions through irresistible melodies and sensuous scoring.

We hope you will enjoy these selections and more from Naxos Records.

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