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

December 1, 2016

DONIZETTI/MAYR Missa di Gloria and Credo in D Major
Simon Mayr Choir, Bavarian State Opera Chorus, Concerto de Bassus, Hauk
Naxos 8.573605

It was an accepted tradition in 19th-century Italy to assemble movements from disparate sources to create complete settings of the Mass, and these often sounded more like operatic performances than religious devotions. It’s this sort of collaborative context that has produced the ‘new’ work on this release. It recycles versions of Donizetti’s Mass settings, with compositions by his teacher Simon Mayr filling the gaps, all assembled into an intriguing whole by conductor Franz Hauk and produced with his Simon Mayr Choir. It will be of particular interest among enthusiasts for the 19th-century bel canto style: this has not only maintained Donizetti’s popularity in the opera world, but also helped re-establish Mayr as a significant voice in the repertoire of the period. Hauk’s recording of Mayr’s Gran messa di requiem in G minor (8.573419-20), with contributions by Donizetti, was a MusicWeb International Recording of the Month; the reviewer was delighted by the “care, love and commitment behind this production. I would like to give a bunch of roses to everyone involved.”

TISHCHENKO Symphony No 8, Concerto for Violin, Piano and String Orchestra
Osmanov, Mazhara, St. Petersburg State Symphony, Serov
Naxos 8.573343

Boris Tishchenko was one of the most important Russian composers of his time. He studied with Shostakovich and assumed the mantle of Russia’s leading symphonist after his teacher’s death in 1975. This is the world première recording of his Symphony No. 8, one of his last completed works. It was written to form a pair with Schubert’s ‘Unfinished’ Symphony, D759, to which it makes reference. Also receiving its world première recording, in an arrangement for chamber orchestra, is the vocal cycle Three Songs to Poems by Marina Tsvetayeva, thatintriguingly fuses popular song with Russian romance. There is only one other recording of the Concerto for violin, piano and string orchestra, which is rich in emotional depth, lyricism and rhythmic energy. Tishchenko’s Symphony No. 7 can be heard on Naxos 8.557013 with the Moscow Philharmonic conducted by Naxos stalwart Dmitry Yablonsky. Gramophone adjudged it “a piece well worth hearing”, while BBC Music Magazine remarked that it had “bags of intensity.”

CIMAROSA Overtures Vol 5
Czech Chamber Philharmonic Pardubice, Gallois
Naxos 8.573568

Domenico Cimarosa was one of the most famous and successful composers on the European opera scene before the arrival of Rossini. His works were produced and re-staged at innumerable performances in opera houses all over Europe. This latest programme in our series continues to represent the extraordinary range of Cimarosa’s career. The programme includes the overture to Le trame deluse which was one of his greatest hits; it also includes overtures from cantatas such as Atene edificata and music for Cardinal de Bernis, the origins of which are shrouded in mystery. The previous four volumes in this series have been enthusiastically received, and I’m sure that the combined forces of conductor Patrick Gallois and the Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice, who are already well represented in the Naxos catalogue, will build on those past successes.

Kenari Quartet
Naxos 8.573549

Invented in Paris in 1846 by the Belgian-born Adolphe Sax, the saxophone was readily embraced by French composers who championed this brand new instrument through highly engaging ensemble and solo compositions. The award-winning Kenari Quartet celebrates this tradition in a programme that explores the saxophone through all its colours and sonorities: from Pierre Max Dubois’ light-hearted and jazz-inspired music, to the lyrical and expressive world of Alfred Desenclos, the witty banter of Jean Françaix, and the excitement and energy which closes Florent Schmitt’s Saxophone Quartet,Op. 102. Our previous releases for saxophone quartet have focused on contemporary American repertoire. This new recording takes us closer to the instrument’s origins in a programme that is certain to have wide appeal, with the inclusion of both staples and less frequently heard masterpieces from the saxophone quartet repertoire.

TANEYEV Complete String Quartets Vol 5
Carpe Diem String Quartet
Naxos 8.573671

This is the fifth and final volume in our series of Taneyev’s complete string quartets. Since the release of Volume 1 in 2007, this edition has gained a great deal of critical acclaim. The first three volumes (8.570437, 8.572421 and 8.573010) found the Nineteenth-Century Music Review complimenting the Carpe Diem String Quartet for their “sensitive, passionate performances.” Volume 4 (8.573470) appeared in December 2015, with BBC Music Magazine admiring the way that it “truly blows away the cobwebs.” Sergey Taneyev (1856-1915) was an erudite, central figure in the world of Russian culture in his day, and his sound technique and meticulous musical craftsmanship can be heard to best advantage in his chamber music. Naxos’ highly collectable edition is now the best and most easily available way to discover these forgotten works on CD.

SCHUMANN Paganini - 24 Caprices
Maristella and Mario Patuzzi
Dynamic CDS7774

Schumann composed these accompaniments for Paganini’s famous 24 Caprices in 1855, the year following his attempted suicide, whilst he was committed to a mental asylum. They were found by his wife, Clara, only after his death, and it wasn’t until 1930 that the score was published. Rarely recorded and performed, the 24 Caprices with Schumann’s piano accompaniments form a moving and symbolic musical document of a life coming full circle: Paganini’s unparalleled virtuosity had been the inspiration for Schumann to embark on a career as a professional musician; now, in this troubled year preceding his death, it also marked its end. The successful father and daughter duo of Mario and Maristella Patuzzi teams up once again for this new release. It was recorded in the RSI (Swiss Radio) Auditorium which is renowned for the excellence of its sound engineers.

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

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