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

February 1, 2015

CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO Violin Concertos Nos 1 and 2
Tianwa Yang, SWR Symphony, Baden-Baden and Freiburg, Boer

Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco considered the 1924 Concerto Italiano to be his first truly symphonic venture. This tuneful, fresh and transparently scored concerto here receives its world première recording. It was admired by the great violinist Jascha Heifetz, for whom the composer wrote his Concerto No. 2 (I Profeti), an impassioned work ‘of biblical character and inspiration’ with an almost cinematic sweep. Both works are performed here by Tianwa Yang, recipient of Germany’s 2014 ECHO Klassik Up-and-Coming Artist of the Year award, recognising her as an outstanding rising star on today’s world classical music scene. She was also the winner of this year’s Annual Prize of the German Record Critics for her 8-volume series of Pablo de Sarasate’s complete works for violin. The jury of 156 critics and journalists noted how Yang “meets every technical challenge with fantastic virtuosity and ease … it is the natural musicality of the young virtuoso, her temperament and the unerring feeling for the Spanish flavour of the music which makes her interpretation of these works an event.”

SCHUMANN Carnaval, Davidsbündlertänze, Papillons
Boris Giltburg

This disc programmes some of the most popular of all Schumann’s solo piano works. The short pieces form a cohesive, deeply expressive whole and represent the very essence of his poetic imagination. I am delighted to present Boris Giltburg in his debut appearance for Naxos with this release. Having taken first prize at the 2013 Queen Elisabeth Competition, he is one of today’s most exciting young pianists, lauded for his ‘massive and engulfing technique, supporting interpretations that glow with warmth and poetic commitment’ (Gramophone). Boris is now an exclusive Naxos artist and we have planned to make two to three recordings per year with him.

SAINT-SAËNS Symphonies Nos 1 and 2, Phaéton
Malmö Symphony, Soustrot

Complete recordings of Saint-Saëns’ five symphonies are rare, so the prospect of this new three-volume set, richly embellished with other orchestral works and conducted by acknowledged French music expert Marc Soustrot, will provide collectors with an opportunity not to be missed. The first two numbered symphonies are coupled here with the symphonic poem Phaéton, which skillfully brings the Greek mythological drama to life with stampeding horses, thunderbolts and a moving apotheosis.

HOVHANESS Symphony No 48, Prelude and Quadruple Fugue, Soprano Saxophone Concerto
Banaszak, Eastern Music Festival Orchestra, Schwarz

This outstanding release joins a growing collection of Alan Hovhaness’ remarkable symphonies as championed by Gerard Schwarz and the excellent Seattle Symphony. It presents not only a recording of Hovhaness’ virtually unknown Soprano Saxophone Concerto, but also the première recording of the Symphony No. 48, ‘Vision of Andromeda’, which expresses the vastness of this galaxy through expansive melodies and shimmering orchestral colours. Not heard since its performance at the 1982 New World Festival in Miami, this is a symphony which will generate huge interest in the music press and be a ‘must have’ for every Hovhaness collector.

ALBÉNIZ Piano Music Vol 7
Hernán Milla

This is Volume 7 in our critically-admired series in which the piano music of Isaac Albéniz is being performed by some of the finest young Spanish pianists. Hernán Milla devotes his disc to the work of Albéniz’s early maturity—both works were written when he was around 28. The Piezas were particularly important as they were publicly admired by Felipe Pedrell, the father of Spanish musical nationalism who prophesied a great career for Albéniz. The Sonata demonstrates the composer’s skill in assimilating Spanish folk music within a classical structure, with both romantic and virtuosic results.

Battles in Music

Depicting scenes of battle in music is something that has long fascinated composers. This 2-disc compendium ranges from the first successful programmatic works by Renaissance composers such as Susato, Dowland and Biber, to the nineteenth- and twentieth-century evocations of the tumult of battle for full symphonic forces, including Balada’s Guernica and Khachaturian’s The Battle of Stalingrad. Film music is also well represented by the colourful and gripping Hollywood scores of such luminaries as Franz Waxman, Max Steiner and Alfred Newman.

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

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