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

June 1, 2015



SIBELIUS Kuolema, King Christian II, Overture in A minor
Pajala, Torikka, Turku Philharmonic, Segerstam
Naxos 8.573299

This is the first of a six-volume set of orchestral works by Jean Sibelius which sets out to explore his prolific output beyond the core oeuvre of his symphonies and the violin concerto. We are delighted to have conductor Leif Segerstam at the helm of this project. Acclaimed for his many recordings with numerous orchestras, Segerstam was awarded the Finnish State Prize for Music in 2004, and in 2005 the highly esteemed Sibelius Medal. “A giant-killer among Wozzeck recordings” was Gramophone’s opinion of his recording of Alban Berg’s opera (8.660076-77). The award-winning Turku Philharmonic enjoys a superb reputation and is joined on this new release by baritone Waltteri Torikka, named Musician of the Year 2014 by the Finnish Pro Musica Foundation, and the powerfully expressive voice of soprano Pia Pajala, noted for her interpretations of Sibelius and Finnish classical music.



HINDEMITH String Quartets Vol 3
Amar Quartet
Naxos 8.572165

This is the third and final volume in our series of Hindemith’s seven string quartets performed by the Amar Quartet. I have no doubt that it will soon become the reference edition for these works. Reviews of the previous discs in the set support my optimism: “…I strongly doubt that Hindemith’s own quartet played these pieces nearly this well”, and “Connoisseurs of chamber music will find this disc an endless source of pleasure” were the ClassicsToday.com verdicts respectively of Vol. 1 (8.572163) and Vol. 2 (8.572164). This final instalment contains the First Quartet, influenced both by late-Romanticism and the catastrophic events of the First World War, and the Fourth Quartet, which is both tempestuous and beautiful and remains Hindemith’s most popular and frequently performed quartet.



GUBAIDULINA Complete Guitar Works
Tanenbaum, Viloteau, Psarras, Wyrick, Wright, Teicholz, Levitz, Pingel
Naxos 8.573379

This release marks the first time that the complete guitar works of Sofia Gubaidulina have been available on a single CD. It includes the world première recording of her Toccata, noted for its relentless, driving momentum. Having worked closely with the composer, soloist David Tanenbaum is an authority on the performance of Gubaidulina’s works for guitar, in which she draws fascinating new sounds from the instrument. Our previous releases of the music of Sofia Gubaidulina have included Fachwerk (8.572772), voted Best Album of the Year by Zeit Online, and Seven Words (8.553557), in which “The combined effect of solo cello and bayan (the Russian push-button accordion) is utterly mesmeric” (Classic CD).



BRAHMS Piano Trios Nos 1-3
C. and T. Tetzlaff, Vogt
Ondine ODE1271-2D

The Brahms Piano Trios belong to the very core of romantic chamber music repertoire, spanning a period from the 1850s to the 1880s. This 2-CD release boasts interpretations from three of today’s foremost performers. They are equally sought after as chamber musicians and as concerto soloists, and have previously enjoyed frequent collaborations with each other. Christian Tetzlaff has been considered one of the world’s leading international violinists for many years. He is the recipient of many awards, most recently that of ‘Artist of the Year’ in the 2015 ICMA event. Lars Vogt was appointed the first ever Pianist in Residence by the Berlin Philharmonic in 2003/04, and cellist Tanja Tetzlaff, Christian’s sister, gives regular recitals in renowned concert series and festivals.



GRIEG Piano Concerto in A minor
EVJU Piano Concerto in B minor (on fragments by E. Grieg)

Petersson, Prague Radio Symphony, Stratton
Grand Piano GP689

This release represents a genuine feast of new material for Grieg collectors, with a programme that’s both novel in concept and impressive in performance. The familiar Piano Concerto in A minor comes with a fresh makeover that incorporates revisions made by Grieg for the work’s final edition; these were achieved with the help of the composer’s friend, Percy Grainger, who was to perform the work on a concert tour, with Grieg conducting. The alterations were intended to remove opportunities for the performers to “improve what the composer has written.” The young Swedish pianist Carl Petersson, dubbed “a brilliant musician” by the French magazine Diapason, is the soloist. Norwegian composer Helge Evju’s Piano Concerto provides further interest by taking up the challenge to compose a work based on fragments Grieg wrote for a second concerto, creating a romantic and beautiful companion piece. Two highly attractive song transcriptions for piano solo round off this fascinating programme.



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

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