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

January 1, 2018



GLENNIE, Evelyn / HEMMERSAM, Jon / MEZEI, Szilárd / STEVENS, Michael Jefry: Core-tet Project (The)
Glennie, Hemmersam, Mezei, Stevens
Naxos 8.573804

This unique programme of fourteen improvised pieces may be difficult to pigeonhole stylistically, but each track captivates with an abundance of colour, vitality and effortless technical brilliance. Dame Evelyn Glennie, arguably the world’s greatest percussion virtuoso, is joined by internationally renowned jazz artists on viola (Szilárd Mezei), guitar (Jon Hemmersam) and piano (Michael Jefry Stevens). Together, they represent a quartet of outstanding performers from varied cultures with a common goal of improvisation that pushes the boundaries of spontaneous music-making. I need hardly remind you that Dame Evelyn’s previous recordings for Naxos have all been extremely well received, not least her disc of music by John Corigliano (8.559757) that was a MusicWeb International Disc of the Year and a GRAMMY® award winner for best instrumental solo.



KODÁLY, Z.: Concerto for Orchestra / Dances of Galánta / Dances of Marosszék / The Peacock Variations
Buffalo Philharmonic, Falletta
Naxos 8.573838

I’m delighted to present another recording by JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic that adds to their tally of outstanding performances of music by European nationalist composers. This release features four of Zoltán Kodály’s major orchestral scores that were deeply enriched by his researches into Hungarian folk music. Dances of Galánta exudes swagger and vitality; the Concerto for Orchestra is lush, sparkling and vivid; and the Peacock Variations on a Hungarian Folk Song are a virtuoso showcase of sizzling effects. Together with the orchestral version of Dances of Marosszék, these scores reveal the brilliance of Kodály’s orchestral colours and the indelible allure of Gypsy themes.



SHOSTAKOVICH, D.: Violin Sonata, Op. 134 / 24 Preludes, Op. 34 (arr. D.M. Tsyganov and L. Auerbach for violin and piano)
Dogadin, Tokarev
Naxos 8.573753

It gives me great pleasure to introduce you to two remarkable musicians of the new generation: violinist Sergey Dogadin (a laureate of ten international competitions to date) and pianist Nikolay Tokarev (most recently the winner of the 2009 Prix Montblanc). They are heard to brilliant effect on their debut recording for Naxos. Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes have proved their popularity in numerous arrangements but when the composer heard these transcriptions for violin and piano by Dmitry Zyganov he declared that “I forgot they were originally written for piano, so naturally did they sound.” Often whimsical and ironic, the Preludes contrast greatly with the chilling and profound character of Shostakovich’s monolithic late work, the Sonata for Violin and Piano, Op. 134.



GRAINGER, P.: Wind Band Music (Complete), Vol. 1
Royal Swedish Navy Band, Engeset
Naxos 8.573679

This is the first of three volumes in a complete edition of Percy Grainger’s music for wind ensemble and adheres strictly to his instrumental demands, whether for Hammond organ, Swiss hand bells or steel marimbaphone. The programme includes some of his greatest and most joyous creations—the ever-popular Country Gardens, Shepherds Hey! and Molly on the Shore. Conductor Bjarte Engeset has a number of Naxos recordings to his credit, including his 8-CD boxed set of Grieg’s complete orchestral works, which was awarded a 10/10 rating by ClassicsToday.com. The Royal Norwegian Navy Band features on a number of discs in our Sousa collection. Commenting on Vol. 9 (8.559396), the American Record Guide wrote “ …the enthusiastic playing is always tasteful, never bombastic…The Royal Norwegian Navy Band sounds terrific.”



TURINA, J.: Piano Music, Vol. 13 - Sanlúcar de Barrameda / Trilogía / Los siete Dolores de la Virgen María
Jordi Masó
Naxos 8.573677

This is the thirteenth and final volume in our acclaimed edition of Turina’s complete works for solo piano, a highly gratifying marker for what is now the most comprehensive collection of Turina’s piano works available anywhere. “Jordi Masó has proved himself to be the perfect pianist for this project. His sure technique and his unflamboyant pianistic imagination are everywhere evident, and his perceptive, and audibly affectionate, affinity with the work of the composer is audible in pretty well every bar.” (MusicWeb International on vol. 10, 8.573183). This final issue features one of the most ambitious and complex works in the Spanish piano repertoire: Sanlúcar de Barrameda is one of Turina’s true masterpieces, the composer describing it as “my homage to this wonderful city of silver … where the salt spray of the ocean is mixed with the aroma of manzanilla.”



ZEMLINSKY, A.: Florentinische Tragödie (Eine) [Opera]
W. Koch, H. Brunner, Vienna Radio Symphony, de Billy
Capriccio C5325

Oscar Wilde began his play A Florentine Tragedy in 1893, but it was destined to remain a fragment when the author was subsequently arrested in the lead-up to his infamous trial. Zemlinsky, possibly mindful of Richard Strauss’ setting of Wilde’s Salomé, eventually converted A Florentine Tragedy into a one-act opera, hoping for similar success. Both Puccini and Busoni had expressed a similar interest, but never followed through. Zemlinsky’s instincts proved to be sound, and A Florentine Tragedy went on to be very well received. Alban Berg admired the work so much that musical parallels can be found in his opera Wozzeck, which premiered eight years later.



GIORDANO, U.: Fedora [Opera]
D. Dessì, F. Armiliato, Antoniozzi, D. Kovalenko, Genoa Carlo Felice Theater Chorus and Orchestra, Galli
CDS7772.02 [CD] | DYN-37772 [DVD] | DYN-57772 [Blu-ray]

Dynamic’s tribute to soprano Daniela Dessì, an undisputed prima donna and one of the finest voices the world of opera has known, is available in CD, DVD and Blu-ray formats. The recording was made just a year before the singer’s untimely death in 2016. Dessì’s performance of Giordano’s Fedora is acknowledged as one of the pinnacles of her career, in which her powerful yet intensely expressive voice is heard to great effect in the work’s dramatic story of passion, revenge and guilt.



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

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