Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

Henry Fogel
Fanfare, March 2013

Naxos’s project of recording the major works of Simon Mayr is an extremely important event, introducing to most of us a composer of genuine individuality and importance.

Arianna in Nasso is described as a “cantata in one act,” and really is almost an un-staged opera. This is attractive, engaging, and dramatic music, with a real face to it. Anyone who responds to vocal music of the late-18th and early-19th centuries will find this a wonderful discovery.

Conductor Hauk has made a specialty of Mayr…and he has absorbed the essence of the composer and conducts with absolute conviction and a sure knowledge of how to pace the music. His chorus…sing in tune and with real involvement in the score and the text…the orchestra…plays together and goes beyond mere note-reading.

Both soloists here are good, with the strongest praise going to soprano Horak. Hers is…an attractive lyric soprano with freedom on top and agility throughout. She sings with imagination, and conveys Ariadne’s happiness at the conclusion with a glowing tone. Tenor Allen also displays quite remarkable agility in the work’s coloratura writing…This performance will provide much pleasure, and I anticipate returning frequently to Arianna in Nasso. Highly recommended. © Fanfare Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, October 2012

Seldom can a record label have done so much to promote a composer whose music had largely been forgotten. Born in Bavaria in 1763, Mayr moved to Italy in his early twenties and absorbed their musical styles, though he was to find difficulty in impressing his audiences. He took the very sensible decision of writing for the church where he could be more assured of performances, while busying himself in his artistic inclinations towards opera. He left to posterity a catalogue of works numbering over fifteen hundred, including several oratorios and among his many cantatas was Arianna in Nasso. It  was a score heavily slanted towards opera and was originally intended as a showpiece for the legendary opera soprano of the day, Isabella Colbran. Though at times I blow hot and cold towards Mayr, this is a little gem. It is quite short at under the hour, its construction quite simply a series of arias, duets and choruses to tell the story of Ariadne on the isle of Naxos. Betrayed by Theseus she now only craves death, when onto the scene comes Bacchus who has sailed by fate to the island. He falls for her beauty and when a few reservations in Ariadne’s mind have cleared, the work ends in mutual happiness. Mayr found an unending flow of attractive melodic invention, whether dramatic or happy. Following in the footsteps of Colbran, Cornelia Horak, is convincing in the vocal acrobatics, with the American tenor,Thomas Michael Allen, a credible Bacchus, the two blending well in duets. The Simon Mayr Ensemble, conducted by Franz Hauk, are admirable in the inspired orchestral writing that recalls Mozart, the chorus sounding just a little rough but always ready. The recording is well balanced, and for those looking for something off the beaten track, I commend it you. © 2012 David’s Review Corner

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group