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David Hurwitz, October 2017

…the music is pleasant, entertaining, and oh so derivative. Franz Hauk leads knowing performances of what is, ultimately, very undemanding music. His three ensembles aren’t terribly special, but they get the job done. …A curiosity, maybe, but definitely fun and worth a listen. © 2017 Read complete review

Ken Meltzer
Fanfare, January 2017

The conductor is Franz Hauk, one of the great advocates for Mayr’s music. The performances are divided among three ensembles: the Bavarian Classical Players (comprising leading members of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra), the Concerto de Bassus, and the period instrument ensemble I Virtuosi Italiani.

It’s a credit both to Mayr’s craft, and the committed and incisive performances by Franz Hauk and the various ensembles, that this recording may be enjoyed from start to finish, a pleasure equaled, perhaps exceeded, upon repeated hearings. © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review

Gil French
American Record Guide, November 2016

The playing is alert, in tune, neatly phrased, highly rhythmic, and alternates nicely between full ensemble (17 players) and a group with one person per part. © 2016 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, October 2016

These are well-played and charming. If you seek something ear opening and fun from the period, this fits the bill nicely. © 2016 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review

Blair Sanderson, August 2016

Performed by Franz Hauk and the Bavarian Classical Players, Concerto de Bassus, and I Virtuosi Italiani, this Naxos collection doesn’t boast any instantly recognizable hits, but the selections are consistent in their liveliness and originality, and their brevity makes them easy to digest. © 2016 Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, July 2016

Naxos, and the conductor, Franz Hauk, have rescued the music of the highly prolific Italian opera composer, Simon Mayr, from a deep abyss into which it had plunged. Maybe it has always been the fate of those who have straddled various musical eras, Mayr coming between the most successful theatre composer of his time, Giovanni Paisiello, and the young pretenders to his throne, Donizetti and Rossini. It is true to say that Mayr wrote far too much—which most probably included sixty-six operas—and that his thematic material was often very thinly spread. Yet listening to this disc of overtures to nine of his operas, you will wonder what delights were to follow such attractive music, Hauk’s choice stretching over the period 1794 to 1817. Certainly they show how, in his hands, opera orchestration had changed since the death of Mozart, for there is a new willingness to experiment. You will also here find where Rossini ‘borrowed’ ideas, not least the famous ‘Rossini crescendo’, the weighty overture to Mennone e Zemire, and the vivacious cantata overture, Arianna a Nasso, just two of the musical jewels. Tragically for Mayr, he was to spend the last twenty years of his life in blindness, and then, no longer able to see the staging, he quickly lost interest in opera and never again promoted them. The sleeve note does not make clear, but the fact that three orchestras are used suggest live performances are involved. You will note in three tracks the high quality of the Bavarian Classical Players, its members drawn from the Bavarian Radio Symphony; that the young Concerto de Bassus are a very talented group, the disc somewhat let-down by the famous Virtuosi Italiani who bring questionable intonation to the two short Sinfonias. Otherwise a hugely enjoyable release. © 2016 David’s Review Corner

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