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

March 1, 2016

GRANADOS Orchestral Works Vol 1
Cor Madrigal, Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, González
Naxos 8.573263

Known principally as a virtuoso pianist and the composer of some of the greatest masterpieces in the Spanish piano music repertoire, Enrique Granados also wrote a number of orchestral pieces that have rarely been recorded. In light of this, and to mark the centenary of his death, Naxos is releasing three new discs of his orchestral works. The pieces on this first volume, all receiving their world première recordings, demonstrate the range of influences that fed into his compositions, the most substantial and ambitious being the Suite on Galician Songs. The orchestra, from Granados’ native Catalonia, worked under conductor Pablo González from 2010-15. Together, they make an ideal pairing for this new cycle of Granados’ highly attractive, yet largely unknown works.

STRAVINSKY The Soldier’s Tale
Child, McGuire, Biehl, Tianwa Yang, Virginia Arts Festival Chamber Players, Falletta
Naxos 8.573537

Quirky, catchy and disturbing, Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale is also one of his most immediately exciting works. It gets a sterling performance here under conductor JoAnn Falletta, who has been cited as ‘one of the finest conductors of her generation’ by the New York Times. The unusual scoring for instrumental septet is in the authoritative hands of noted performers, with the prominent violin part played by Naxos star violinist Tianwa Yang. The line-up also has two speaking parts and a narrator, the latter taken on this recording by Fred Child, the well-known American broadcaster who hosts APM’s Performance Today, the most-listened-to classical music radio show in the USA.

SHOSTAKOVICH 3 Chamber Symphonies
Kiev Soloists, Yablonsky
Naxos 8.573466

Violist and conductor Rudolf Barshai maintained a professional association with Shostakovich until the composer’s death. Shostakovich’s string quartets are arguably the most enduring examples of the genre from the 20th century, and Barshai’s five transcriptions and arrangements of the works bring new dimensions to them. The National Chamber Ensemble “Kiev Soloists” perform the works here on what is their debut CD. The orchestra has earned both national and international recognition as one of Ukraine’s leading ensembles, while Dmitry Yablonsky is a GRAMMY® nominated conductor with numerous acclaimed Naxos recordings to his name.

The First Contemporary Chinese Composers Festival 1986
Banowetz, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Schermerhorn, Jordan Tang
Marco Polo 8.225834

The First Contemporary Chinese Composers Festival was held in Hong Kong in 1986 to facilitate discussion about the present and future of Chinese music, and to hold concerts of recent compositions. A selection of those performances can be heard on this disc, bringing together six composers from mainland China, Hong Kong and further abroad. Hong Kong’s veteran composer Chan Wing Wah is represented by his Symphony No. 3 for Double Orchestra, while the first ever recording of Tan Dun’s fascinating sound world can be heard in his Intermezzo for Orchestra and Three Tone Colours, which is built on an interplay between the orchestra, bass clarinet, double bassoon and human voices.

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

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