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

August 1, 2015

SIBELIUS Pélleas & Mélisande, Musik zu einer Szene, Autrefois, Valse Chevaleresque
Pajala, Nordqvist, Turku Philharmonic, Segerstam
Naxos 8.573301

This is the third 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, performed by the internationally acclaimed conductor Leif Segerstam and the award-winning Turku Philharmonic. Commenting on Vol. 1 (8.573299) The Guardian noted that “the first movement of the music for Järnefelt’s play Kuolema … has rarely waltzed as sadly or as profoundly as this.” Vol. 3 focuses on Sibelius as a writer of incidental music and a transcriber. The programme features the substantial concert suite from the music Sibelius wrote for Maeterlinck’s play Pelléas et Mélisande. In contrast, two transcriptions of piano originals—the Valse Lyrique and Valse Chevaleresque—find Sibelius writing under the distinct stylistic influence of Tchaikovsky.

CZERNY Flute & Piano Music
Kazunori Seo, Makoto Ueno
Naxos 8.573335

Overshadowed in his time by giants such as Mozart and Beethoven, Carl Czerny is only now emerging as a composer of works of the highest quality and substance. Naxos is leading this exploration of new discoveries, including those on our recent Bel Canto Concertante album (8.573254), adjudged “delightful” and “highly entertaining” by commentators. None of the works in this programme are widely available on recordings, and only the Duo Concertant Op. 129 remains a relatively familiar piece in concert halls today. Performed by award-winning flautist Kazunori Seo and renowned pianist and seasoned accompanist Makoto Ueno, this collection of virtuoso masterpieces will further highlight the craftsmanship of this neglected master of the classical period.

MEYER Piano Quartet, Piano Quintet
Sałajczyk, Silesian String Quartet
Naxos 8.573357

Krzysztof Meyer is one of Poland’s leading living composers and one of Europe’s pre-eminent composers of chamber music. His mastery of this medium is clearly represented in the two works on this disc: the passionate interplay of the Piano Quartet, Op.112 is heard here in the work’s world première recording, while the powerfully expressive Piano Quintet, Op. 76 sits in the lineage established for the genre by Brahms. In addition to his own compositions, Meyer is well-known as a teacher, writer and the one who completed the performing edition of Shostakovich’s unfinished opera The Gambler.

DUTILLEUX Symphony No 1, 2 Sonnets de Jean Cassou, Métaboles
P.A. Edelmann, Rheinland-Pfalz State Philharmonic, Steffens
Capriccio C5242

Influenced by Dukas, Ravel and Roussel, the works of Henri Dutilleux brim with orchestral colour and clearly demonstrate why Die Welt dubbed him “the van Gogh of classical music.” The accolade is exemplified in his rarely performed First Symphony which explores novel combinations of sounds, contrasting groups of performers with single instruments. The release also offers a welcome opportunity to get to know Dutilleux’s virtually unknown orchestral settings of two poems by Jean Cassou, performed here by the noted Austrian baritone Paul Armin Edelmann.

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

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