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

February 1, 2016

RAVEL L’Heure espagnole
Orchestre National de Lyon, Slatkin
Naxos 8.660337

This release continues our series devoted to Ravel’s complete orchestral music performed by the Lyon National Orchestra conducted by Leonard Slatkin. Both works are appearing for the first time in the Naxos catalogue. Ravel’s L’heure espagnole breathes new life into the traditional Italian opera buffa and gets first-class treatment here from a strong cast that includes young rising stars such as the mezzo-soprano Isabelle Druet. The song cycle Don Quichotte à Dulcinée features François le Roux, the eminent French baritone who is considered the natural successor to Gérard Souzay in his performances of the French song repertoire.

WEINER Csongor and Tünde (1959 version)
Szűcs, Jubilate Girls Choir, Budapest Symphony Orchestra MÁV, Csányi
Naxos 8.573491

Weiner was one of Hungary’s greatest teachers, but he is now also becoming known as a composer in his own right. His highly approachable musical style is marked by striking lyricism, a light impressionist touch and an imaginative palette of sound. The ballet Csongor and Tünde was originally written as incidental music to a play and Weiner considered it his most important work. He subsequently compiled several suites from the original. This recording of a 14-movement suite is based on the manuscript score preserved at the Hungarian State Opera House.

HAYDN Opera Overtures
Czech Chamber Philharmonic Pardubice, Halász
Naxos 8.573488

Although Haydn’s operas are little-performed today, many of them were immensely popular during his lifetime and were staged far beyond the wealthy Esterhàzy court for which they were written. These rarely recorded overtures showcase a lesser-known side of the composer and display his flair for melody and dramatic effects. The Czech Chamber Philharmonic is conducted by Naxos stalwart Michael Halász, the former Resident Conductor of the Vienna State Opera.

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

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