Chairman’s Choice: Klaus Heymann spotlights some of March’s new releases
March 1, 2017
||SAINT-SAËNS Piano Concertos Vol 1
Descharmes, Malmö Symphony, Soustrot
This is the first of three programmes offering the complete works for piano and orchestra of Saint-Saëns which, in turn, are part of the project to record the complete symphonies and concertos with the Malmö Symphony on a total of nine CDs. The recordings of the symphonies have received great critical acclaim and I’m confident that these sparkling and elegant performances by Romain Descharmes will meet with equal acclaim. Romain is among the best French pianists of his generation. In parallel to the symphonies and concertos, Jun Märkl is busy recording the tone poems, incidental music and ballet music of Saint-Saëns with various orchestras. The first two volumes of his survey are already in the can, one with the Lille National Symphony Orchestra and the other with Mr. Märkl’s Euskadi Orchestra in San Sebastian.
||BÉRIOT Violin Concertos Nos 4, 6, 7
Ayana Tsuji, Czech Chamber Philharmonic, Pardubice, Halász
Violinist and composer Charles Auguste de Bériot (1802-1870) may not be a household name, but his playing caused a sensation in London and Paris during his day. This prompted The Strad in 1896 to dub him “the founder of the modern Franco-Belgian [violin] school.” His violin concertos include plenty of innovative features, including technical fireworks such as ricochet bowing, double-stops and harmonics. These all remain, however, at the service of the music’s stylish elegance. This release is violinist Ayana Tsuji’s debut disc for Naxos. Naxos co-founder Takako Nishizaki discovered her among the six finalists of the last Hannover Competition. She thought that Ayana was a unique talent, with impeccable technique, great musicality and a unique tone so we signed her up immediately. A few weeks later, she won First Prize at the Montréal Competition.
||DUTILLEUX Symphony No 2 ‘Le double’ / Timbres, espace, movement / Mystère de l’instant
Lille National Orchestra, Darrell Ang
Henri Dutilleux won the Prix de Rome in 1938 before going on to forge a significant international reputation and becoming one of France’s most acclaimed composers of the 20th century. His works have achieved lasting popularity for their vibrant imagination, as well as their distinctive, colourful and translucent orchestration. There are no alternative releases offering this particular selection of his orchestral works on a single disc. This is the first release of three recordings of French music featuring conductor Darrell Ang and the Lille National Symphony Orchestra. Darrell has a great affinity with French music and the other two recordings will feature Offenbach Overtures and rarely performed works by Gabriel Pierné.
||KOŽELUCH Symphonies Vol 1
Czech Chamber Philharmonic, Pardubice, Štilec
Leopold Koželuch was a contemporary of Mozart and one of the most prominent and prolific Bohemian composers working in Vienna during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. His symphonies combine the strengths of his classical predecessors with the growing Viennese fashion for romantic expressiveness. This première recording of a new and much corrected edition of Koželuch’s scores will be the new reference for these works. Koželuch wrote more then 20 symphonies and our plan is to record all of them. Marek Štilec is one of the most notable members of the young generation of Czech conductors. He gained numerous plaudits for his Naxos 4-volume set of orchestral works by Zdeněk Fibich (8.572985, 8.573157, 8.573197 and 8.573310) and his two volumes of symphonies by Franz Ignaz Beck (8.573248 and 8.573249).
||PUCCINI Complete Songs
All-Puccini song discs are exceptionally rare. His songs are almost always heard in compilation discs, in arrangements (often for instrumentalists) or interspersed with operatic arias. The performers are the icing on the cake. Bulgarian soprano Krassimira Stoyanova has sung at the world’s greatest opera houses; pianist Maria Prinz is her distinguished accompanist. Stoyanova’s January release of Verismo arias on the Orfeo label met with great critical acclaim: “Krassimira Stoyanova’s radiant soprano voice is made for this repertoire … Her creative talent is so stylish and secure that the emotional side is expressed tastefully and to perfection.” (Pizzicato)
||EISLER Film Music
Berlin Radio Symphony, Kalitzke
The 1943 film ‘Hangmen Also Die!’ was the result of the collaboration of three German exiles in America who were refugees from the Nazi regime: director Fritz Lang, playwright Berthold Brecht and composer Hanns Eisler. Eisler’s Oscar-nominated score can be heard here with two other examples of his music for film. Born in Leipzig, Eisler moved to Vienna in 1901, where he subsequently became a student of Arnold Schoenberg. The two orchestral pieces that complete the programme were composed before Hitler’s rise to power and the subsequent ban on Eisler’s music in 1933. Eisler saw his Kleine Sinfonie as “a protest against bloated, hollow neo-classical music”, offering instead “sharp, precise music that touches on emotions but tries to purify them.” Hörfleissübung is a movement taken from Eisler’s most extensive work, the Deutsche Symphonie, originally appearing as the fourth movement of his Orchestral Suite No.1, written in 1930.
We hope you will enjoy these selections and more from Naxos Records.
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