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

July 1, 2015

SIBELIUS Belshazzar’s Feast, Overture in E major, Scène de ballet, Cortège, Menuetto
Pajala, Turku Philharmonic, Segerstam
Naxos 8.573300 [CD]

This is the second in our six-volume collection of orchestral works by Jean Sibelius that fall outside the core oeuvre of his symphonies, violin concerto and tone poems. The series features music mainly written for the stage, including overtures and incidental music. Conductor Leif Segerstam has won numerous awards, including the highly prized Sibelius Medal in 2005. Here he directs the Turku Philharmonic, a platinum record-making and award-winning orchestra. I am confident that the quality of this new cycle will guarantee wide interest in the relatively neglected works of Finland’s greatest and most influential composer.

BECK Symphonies Op 2
Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra, Mallon
Naxos 8.573323 [CD]

This is the latest volume in our ongoing series covering the pioneering symphonies of Franz Ignaz Beck, increasingly acknowledged as one of the most forward-looking of the mid-eighteenth-century symphonists. A student of the celebrated Johann Stamitz, Beck was trained in Mannheim, which was then the centre of new approaches to orchestral writing. His Op. 2 symphonies, published in Paris in 1760, may be small in scale, but they clearly reveal his exceptional compositional gifts. Conductor Kevin Mallon’s numerous recordings for Naxos have been well received by the international press and I have no doubt this latest release will attract a similar response.

MILÁN El maestro, Libro 1
José Antonio Escobar
Naxos 8.573305 [CD]

Born in Spain, Luys Milán spent his whole life in Valencia. His Libro de música de vihuela de mano intitulado El Maestro is the oldest surviving collection of 16th-century vihuela music. A contemporary of the Renaissance lute, the Spanish vihuela is a guitar-shaped instrument for which Milán wrote a series of highly attractive works, including fantasias and pavans that fuse improvisatory and technically demanding elements. The soloist is José Antonio Escobar, one of today’s leading guitarists and the recipient of numerous prizes in international guitar competitions.

VILLA-LOBOS The Guitar Manuscripts – Masterpieces and Lost Works Vol 3
Andrea Bissoli
Naxos 8.573117 [CD]

This is the third and final volume of Andrea Bissoli’s exploration of recently discovered or newly revived guitar manuscripts by Heitor Villa-Lobos. The 12 Études grew from an initial commission from the legendary guitarist, Andrés Segovia. Bissoli returned to the works' original 1928 manuscripts, restoring elements lost in later publications. The first two volumes in the series (8.573115 & 8.573116) have been widely praised, with International Record Review recommending that “… both discs should be snapped up without hesitation.”

DU Mingxin 10 Xinjiang Dances
Takako Nishizaki, Singapore Symphony, Choo Hoey
Naxos 8.225814 [CD]

Takako Nishizaki is among the most frequently recorded and best-selling violinists of all time, not least as a performer of Chinese violin music. She gave the première performance of Du Ming-xin’s Violin Concerto in 1982. Here she displays her renowned lyricism and technical prowess in Du’s suite of dances, based on widely popular folk music from the Xinjiang region of China, which comprises fourteen ethnic minorities and consequently enjoys a rich musical heritage. The Singapore Symphony has recorded a wide range of Asian music and is conducted by Choo Hoey, the orchestra’s founding music director.

CILEA L’Arlesiana
Vestri, Marchigiana Philharmonic, Cilluffo
Dynamic 37688 [DVD]

This is the first release on DVD and Blu-ray of a rarely performed opera by Francesco Cilea (1866-1950), a psychological drama that contains one of the all-time favourite tenor arias, Il lamento di Federico. The opera was first performed in Milan in 1897 with Enrico Caruso singing the principal role of Federico. It underwent extensive alterations before appearing in a revised version the following year. This DVD recording of that 1898 revision features an unpublished aria, written for the original score, that was subsequently lost but is now restored in this joint production of Teatro Pergolesi di Jesi and the Wexford Festival.

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

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