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

October 1, 2016

LALO Symphonie espagnole
MANÉN Violin Concerto No 1

Tianwa Yang, Barcelona Symphony and Catalonia National Orchestra, Darrell Ang
Naxos 8.573067

This release features two vibrant violin concertos with an unmistakably Spanish soul—one a staple of the repertoire, the other almost unknown. Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole reflects the phenomenal technique of its dedicatee, Pablo de Sarasate, with its ingenious and virtuosic passagework. The Concierto español No. 1 by Juan Manén will be an exciting discovery for many. Manén, known to violin collectors as the first artist to have recorded the Beethoven Violin Concerto, was an exceptionally popular performer and composer during the years 1900–1930. Soloist Tianwa Yang is “an unquestioned master of the violin” (American Record Guide) and an internationally renowned performer and recording artist. Her Sarasate discs on Naxos have earned her outstanding reviews.

MAHLER Das Lied von der Erde, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (arr. A. Schoenberg)
Platts, Reid, Williams, Falletta
Naxos 8.573536

These chamber ensemble arrangements by Schoenberg of Mahler’s orchestral song cycles have received an increasing number of performances in recent years. This new Naxos release, however, boasts a world-beating team of musicians. Conducted by the GRAMMY® Award-winning JoAnn Falletta, mezzo-soprano Susan Platts is a celebrated Mahlerian soloist, while baritone Roderick Williams has appeared at every major UK opera house and sings regularly with the BBC orchestras and internationally. Central to the ensemble for these recordings is the multiple award-winning Attacca Quartet, one of America’s premier young ensembles. The Virginia Arts Festival Chamber Players appeared on the recent Naxos recording of Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale (8.573537), which was unreservedly recommended by “… the sonics are excellent, the dialogue crystal clear … while the purely instrumental pieces… leap from the speakers with all of the rhythmic ebullience that Stravinsky intended … simply the best if you want the work complete, and in English.”

DANIELPOUR Songs of Solitude, War Songs, Toward the Splendid City
Hampson, Nashville Symphony, Guerrero
Naxos 8.559792

Richard Danielpour is one of America’s leading contemporary composers, “… an outstanding composer for any time—one who knows how to communicate deep, important emotions through simple, direct means.” (The New York Daily News). His War Songs were inspired by a series of photographs of young men and women killed in the Iraq War. The work was commissioned by Thomas Hampson’s Hampsong Foundation in September 2008. Hampson is one of the world’s most eminent baritones and sings both on this première recording of the work and in Songs of Solitude, a set of six powerful orchestral songs written in response to the events of 9/11. Conductor Giancarlo Guerrero, a fervent advocate of new music, won GRAMMY® Awards in 2011 and 2012.

HAYDN String Quartets Nos 1, 29 and 66
Goldmund Quartet
Naxos 8.573701

The Goldmund Quartet is considered one of today’s most exciting young European string quartets. They have appeared at international festivals and given recitals at prestigious chamber music venues all over the world. A recipient of scholarships from the Yehudi Menuhin Live Music Now and Deutscher Musikwettbewerb foundations, the quartet was also the winner of the 2015 Bavarian Young Artist Award. Their 2016/17 season comprises some 60 engagements, including a debut performance at the Vienna Konzerthaus. This first CD for Naxos provides a one-stop overview of Haydn’s string quartets: from the 5-movement, divertimento-style Op. 1, No. 1 to the harmonically daring Op. 77, No. 1, with one of the “completely new and special” Op. 33 quartets from 1781 as the centrepiece.

SCHULHOFF String Sextet, Violin Sonata No 2, Duo for Violin and Cello, 5 Études de jazz
Spectrum Concerts Berlin
Naxos 8.573525

Music by the Prague-born prodigy Erwin Schulhoff has become increasingly popular in recent decades. His output moved through successive creative phases. This mixed recital by the flexible ensemble Spectrum Concerts Berlin focuses on the second period, with music written between 1924 and 1927. The Cinq Études de jazz explore the genre’s “rhythmic intoxication” he described in a letter to Alban Berg, whilst the Duo for Violin and Cello and the Violin Sonata offer striking parallels to similar works by Bartók, Kodály, and Debussy. The String Sextet, which contains stark contrasts reminiscent of Cubist montage, is a key work in Schulhoff’s artistic development.

GLASS Glassworlds Vol 5 - Mad Rush, Metamorphosis II, 600 Lines (Enlightenment)
Nicolas Horvath
Grand Piano GP745

This fifth volume in our ongoing cycle contains some rare treats for Philip Glass fans, not least in the first recording on solo piano of his 600 Lines (a hypnotic toccata reflecting the influence of Ravi Shankar) and the première on disc of Metamorphosis 2. The vivid contrasts of Mad Rush and the composer’s sole example of an arrangement (Paul Simon’s The Sound of Silence) complete the programme. Pianist Nicolas Horvath’s previous releases in the set have attracted many plaudits: “His virtuosity is astounding.” (Pizzicato on Vol. 1, GP677); “… an indispensable reference for the serious enthusiast … of the music of Philip Glass.” ( on Vol. 2, GP690); “… performances are fine and demonstrate as always Horvath’s intense, almost romantic expressive choices for the music.” (American Record Guide on Vol. 3, GP691)

BEETHOVEN Solo Concertos
Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Tingaud
Capriccio C7210

Stefan Vladar, chief conductor of the Viennese Chamber Orchestra since 2008, directs the ensemble on this 4-CD set of all of Beethoven’s concertos, plus the two Romances for violin and orchestra. Almost thirty years ago he recorded the five Beethoven piano concertos for Naxos; he returns here as the soloist-conductor in those works, plus the triple concerto for violin, cello and piano. Serving in this dual role and accompanied by smaller forces than usual, Vladar gives a fresh account of the works, interpreting them more in the manner of expanded chamber music than in the confrontational style normally associated with a larger body of players. Isabelle van Keulen (violin) and Julian Steckel (cello) complete the distinguished line-up of soloists.

ENGLUND/KLAMI Violin Concertos
Schmid, Oulu Symphony, Gustavsson
Ondine ODE1278-2

The violin concertos of Uuno Klami and Einar Englund are 20th-century masterpieces that have sadly been overshadowed by the huge popularity of the violin concerto by compatriot Jean Sibelius. I am certain this recording will do much to redress that imbalance. Klami’s concerto (revised 1954) dates from the composer’s later stylistic period, in which he pursued an increasing interest in symphonic textures. Englund, one of the most influential voices in Finnish contemporary music following World War II, produced one of his most lyrical works with his violin concerto, written in 1981. In this recording, the award-winning and internationally renowned violinist Benjamin Schmid gives impeccable performances of the two works, together with the Oulu Symphony Orchestra and their chief conductor Johannes Gustavsson.

PAISIELLO Fedra [Opera]
Milanesi, Sargsyan, Dell’Oste, Poggini, Catania Teatro Massimo Bellini Chorus and Orchestra, Correas
Dynamic CDS7750

This world première recording of Paisiello’s opera Fedra by the Teatro Bellini of Catania has been produced to mark the bicentenary of the death of the composer. Written in 1788 for the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, the work has never received a modern performance, save for a radio production in 1950, which underscores the significance of this release. The young cast is under the musical direction of period specialist Jérôme Correas, formerly harpsichordist with William Christie’s Les Arts Florissants and founder of Les Paladins, an orchestra devoted to the exploration of Italian and French baroque operas.

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