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Naxos Labels Win Three Cannes Classical Awards

Cannes, FRANCE - When the winners of the 2004 Cannes Classical Awards were announced on Tuesday, Naxos had three recordings from its family of labels receive honours, making parent company HNH the only CD company to receive more than one award. Affirming the exciting diversity and quality found amongst the company's releases, the Naxos winners included chamber and orchestra works as well as a stunning choral piece. 

Part's PassioIn the Choral: 19/20th Century category, Antony Pitts and Tonus Peregrinus won with Arvo Pärt's Passio.  The work, and the award, has a special meaning for the ensemble, according to director Antony Pitts.  "We've been making music together as TONUS PEREGRINUS since the early 1990s, and Passio was the very first live performance that we gave in New College Chapel in Oxford.  I'm really delighted that as our first recording with Naxos it has been so well received - certainly it was a challenge recording such an intricate and powerful work for disc, but ultimately it's the Passion story itself that shines through Arvo Pärt's luminous music."

Martinu's String QuartetsThe Martinu Quartet won in the Chamber/Solo Instrumental 20th Century category with their recording of Bohuslav Martinu's String Quartets Nos. 3 and 6.  Quartet cellist Jitka Vlasánková is "very pleased" with the award, which adds to a list of accolades for the group's cycle of string quartets by Martinu, including a 10/10 for Artistic and Sound Quality from ClassicsToday and reviews in the New York Times and BBC Music Magazine, which called the quartet "one of the most promising of a generation of young Czech quartets." 

Braga Santos' Symphony No. 4The Orchestral and Concerto: CD Premiere category was won by a Marco Polo recording of Symphony No. 4 by Joly Braga Santos.  Skilfully played by the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland under the direction of Alvaro Cassuto, the recording is part of an ongoing Marco Polo series featuring the works of Braga Santos.  Martin Anderson of the International Record Review described the Marco Polo series as having "moved Braga Santos from the periphery of twentieth-century music rather closer to the centre." 

In addition to the winner from Marco Polo and two winners from Naxos, several labels distributed by Naxos in selected territories fared exceedingly well at the awards.  Naïve's Opus 111, Analekta, BIS, Hyperion, and DVD label BBC / Opus Arte each had one recording among the winners, with TDK receiving awards for two DVDs. 

The three Cannes Classical Awards add to Naxos' 11 nominations for the upcoming Grammy Awards to herald a great start for Naxos in 2004. 

For more information and a complete list of Cannes Classical Awards, see

Callas is Back

50 Years Later,
Tosca Still Shines

Mark Obert-Thorn's transfer of the 1953 Tosca starring Callas.  This item is not available in the U.S. 

The year may be 2004, but Maria Callas is still the reigning diva for many opera fans.  UK music collectors proved the fact as they flocked to music stores in January to buy the album during its first month of release, elevating it to the 19th spot on the UK's classical charts.  Ivan Hewett of The Times had this to say about the hottest recording in England:

The chances of a perfect opera recording are pretty slim. There are so many human resources to marshal, there is so much music to record and, of course, there are those temperamental singers. But every now and then the miracle happens…Fifty years on, Callas's marvellous interpretation is still influential…

"This new remastering is streets ahead of the others; it irons out the sourness and surface noise of the original, without adding the implausible sheen and reverberance of previous transfers. To get such musical brilliance at Naxos's bargain price beats anything else that you might find in the sales."


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