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

June 1, 2016

GRANADOS Orchestral Works Vol 2
Barcelona Symphony, González
Naxos 8.573264

Revered as one of the greatest Spanish composers for the piano, Enrique Granados also wrote a wide-ranging body of virtually unknown orchestral pieces. Our three-volume series of new recordings of these works helps to both redress this imbalance and mark the centenary of Granados’ death. Volume 2 contains a much neglected masterpiece, Dante, based on two episodes from The Divine Comedy, while the gypsy-tinged orientalism of Danza de los ojos verdes and Danza gitana contrasts with the sombre and epic La nit del mort. Once again the Barcelona Symphony and Catalonia National Orchestra, from Granados’ native Catalonia, is conducted by Pablo González, the orchestra’s music director from 2010 to 2015.

ROSSINI Il viaggio a Reims
Giordano, Pizzolato, Mchedlishvili, Poznań Camerata Bach Choir, Virtuosi Brunensis, Fogliani
Naxos 8.660382-84

The great writer Stendahl wrote of Rossini’s Il viaggio a Reims that “this opera is a feast”. The plot is a contemporary farce, tailor-made for a particular occasion—the coronation festivities of Charles X—though Rossini valued the music so highly that he preserved part of the score in the opera Le Comte Ory, written three years later. Il viaggio a Reims is a sparkling work, performed and recorded here at the Rossini in Wildbad Festival in its entirety for the first time, and in accordance with the critical edition. Of 8.660363-66, also conducted by Rossini specialist Antonino Fogliani, Gramophone wrote: “This 2013 ‘Rossini in Wildbad’ production of Guillaume Tell is probably as fine an achievement as any in the festival’s 25-year history.”

MOZART Violin Concertos Nos 3, 4, 5
Kraggerud, Norwegian Chamber Orchestra
Naxos 8.573513

The last three of Mozart’s five Violin Concertos have always been popular with recording artists, but there is always plenty more to be discovered in repertoire of such infinite variety. As soloist Henning Kraggerud has said, “the true sign of a masterpiece must lie in the number of possible interpretations inherent in it.” His own interpretations are based on many years’ experience and studied consideration of the autograph scores, so these readings will be eagerly anticipated by everyone familiar with the works. Henning Kraggerud is one of today’s most in-demand violinists and we count ourselves fortunate to have him as a member of the Naxos artistic family.

DOMÍNGUEZ The Legend of Joaquín Murieta
Santiago Philharmonic, Domínguez
Naxos 8.573515-16

José Luis Domínguez is one of Chile’s leading musicians and the Resident Director of the Santiago Philharmonic Orchestra. His involvement with opera and ballet productions for the city’s Teatro Municipal inspired him to compose The Legend of Joaquín Murieta, a large-scale ballet score that works equally effectively as a stand-alone piece. Its subject is the nineteenth-century Californian brigand Joaquín Murieta, often seen as the inspiration for the fictional title character in the film Zorro. Cast in the great symphonic tradition of film music (think Korngold, Steiner, Rózsa and Herrmann), The Legend of Joaquín Murieta marks an exciting contribution from the first Chilean orchestra to feature in the Naxos catalogue.

AUBER Opera Overtures Vol 1
Orchestre de Cannes, Dörner
Naxos 8.573553

Although Auber’s operas have long ceased to be part of the standard repertoire, the overtures to these once hugely popular works have survived. Highly entertaining in their vibrancy and variety, they are clearly on a par with those by Rossini and Suppé. Auber deftly conjures the piety of nuns in Le Domino noir, the ferocity of Vesuvius’ eruption in La Muette de Portici, the glory of Venice in Haydée, and the saucy sensuality of La Circassienne. The Cannes Philharmonic Orchestra and its music director and conductor Wolfgang Doerner are ideally suited for the energetic verve of Parisian light music. They have also recently recorded an album of waltzes and polkas by Joseph Lanner (Naxos 8.573552) for release in May 2016.

SCHUBERT 3 Sonatas for Violin & Piano
Hyejin Chung, Warren Lee
Naxos 8.573579

Schubert composed his three highly attractive Sonatas for Violin and Piano in the spring of 1816, though they had to wait until 1836 for posthumous publication by Diabelli, who re-named them ‘sonatinas’. The pieces sidestep Beethoven’s influence and return more to the world of Mozart’s later violin sonatas. The minor-key works exemplify Schubert’s gift for drama and lyricism, and include hints of his famous song Erlkönig written the previous year. This is the first recording for Naxos by the outstanding Korean violinist Hyejin Chung; her future recording projects include the complete concertos of Seitz as well as a number of other rarely performed concertos. Award-winning pianist and Steinway artist Warren Lee can be heard on the 2013 clarinet and piano album Ebony and Ivory (8.573022), which was “very strongly recommended” by Fanfare.

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

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