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

June 1, 2017

ROSSINI Adelaide di Borgogna [Opera]
Sadovnikova, Gritskova, Poznań Camerata Bach Choir, Virtuosi Brunensis, Acocella
Naxos 8.660401-02

Rossini’s Adelaide di Borgogna is a superb example of the bel canto opera tradition. Having received only occasional performances in recent decades, however, the opera can be classed as a rarity. This release builds on our highly successful series of recordings from the annual Rossini in Wildbad festival and enjoys a very strong cast: the title role is sung by soprano Ekaterina Sadovnikova (“…a passionate Adelaide. She has a sublime upper range and proved an ideal partner for Ottone. Their duet…formed the musical highlight of the evening.” Opera Gazet); the part of Ottone is taken by contralto Margarita Gritskova (“…a perfect sensation“ Badische Zeitung); while “The tenor Gheorghe Vlad passionately embodies the young Adalberto.” ( Conductor Luciano Acocella has numerous acclaimed opera recordings and productions to his name, including Bellini’s Capuleti e i Montecchi on the Dynamic label.

VILLA-LOBOS Symphonies Nos. 8, 9 and 11
São Paulo Symphony, Karabtchevsky
Naxos 8.573777

This is the fifth volume in our complete edition of Villa-Lobos’ symphonies with the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra conducted by Isaac Karabtchevsky. As with all the other recordings in the series, it’s the result of an intense process of revision and correction of the scores initiated in 2011 by the orchestra’s publishing arm, Criadores do Brasil. That sense of informed authority will no doubt reward this release with more of the critical acclaim enjoyed by previous issues. The three symphonies on this recording move away from the Latin American folk influences frequently heard in Villa-Lobos’ music. Symphonies Nos. 8 and 9 enjoy a neo-classic transparency, while the immediate charm of No. 11 is the perfect introduction to Villa-Lobos’ later work.

COPLAND Symphony No. 3 / 3 Latin American Sketches
Detroit Symphony, Slatkin
Naxos 8.559844

Premiered a year after the end of the Second World War, Aaron Copland’s Symphony No. 3 is one of the great symphonic statements in American music. The work is partnered on this disc by his zestful Three Latin American Sketches, which brim with complex rhythms, unexpected dissonances and novel orchestration. The Detroit Symphony and the GRAMMY® Award-winning conductor Leonard Slatkin continue their extensive and highly successful collaboration on Copland’s music. The second volume in their Copland Complete Ballet Music Series (8.559806), for example, was recognised with a MusicWeb International Record of the Year and an Editors’ Choice award, MusicWeb International adding: “I’d say Slatkin’s Appalachian Spring is one of the most illuminating performances of this American classic that I’ve ever heard. Bravo, bravo and thrice bravo!”

THOMPSON Symphony No. 2 / ADAMS Drift and Providence / BARBER Symphony No. 1
National Orchestral Institute Philharmonic, J. Ross
Naxos 8.559822

This is the second release from the National Orchestral Institute Philharmonic, which comprises the highest achieving students trained at American conservatories and abroad. Naxos intends to release one album of American music each year performed by these elite musicians. Their debut disc had Gramophone commenting: “…such a polished, expressively pointed performance as this [Corigliano’s Symphony No. 1] … is mightily impressive.” This follow-up disc presents an attractive and varied programme: Randall Thompson’s Symphony No. 2, with its syncopation, echoes of jazz and lush scoring; Samuel Barber’s Symphony No.1, which was the first American symphonic piece to be performed at the Salzburg Festival; and the contemporary voice of Samuel Adams in his Drift and Providence, which spectacularly captures the sound of the Pacific Ocean by incorporating electronic elements.

SCARLATTI Keyboard Sonatas (Complete), Vol. 19
Goran Filipec
Naxos 8.573590

Domenico Scarlatti’s single-movement sonatas represent some of the greatest pieces in the 18th century’s keyboard repertoire. He wrote more than 550 of them and, while there are several editions featuring a large number played by a single artist, the Naxos complete edition distinguishes itself by apportioning them to different performers. This nineteenth volume showcases Goran Filipec, whose name you may recognise in connection with Vol. 42 of our Liszt Complete Piano Music cycle (8.573458), which was a MusicWeb International Recording of the Month: “The playing throughout these very difficult pieces is top notch; I cannot fault Mr. Filipec’s virtuosity or musical feeling at any point. The playing is superb in every respect.” The playing on this disc is on the same extremely high level as in the Liszt recording.

ANTHEIL Jazz Symphony (A) / Piano Concerto No. 1 / Capital of the World Suite
Dupree, Rheinland-Pfalz State Philharmonic, Steffens
Capriccio C5309

George Antheil’s works for the concert hall have mostly fallen into obscurity, so this release will play an important role in informing and entertaining any listeners willing to step out of the box to experience a selection of jazz-influenced orchestral pieces by the so-called Bad Boy of Music (the enfant terrible label was earned following a riot during his Paris piano recital debut in 1923). The Jazz Symphony premiered in 1927 and is heard here in its original version. It calls for large orchestral resources to colour its melee of dance tunes and disorienting changes of metre. The Piano Concerto No. 1 (1922) may have stylistic allusions to other composers, not least Stravinsky, but it’s an imaginative work with lively repartee between soloist and orchestra. Capital of the World, a once highly rated ballet score, is more populist than his earlier futuristic works and packs its own distinctive punch.

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

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