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Brian Wilson
MusicWeb International, April 2014

Franz Schubert[’s]…Complete Overtures performed by the Prague Sinfonia/Christian Benda…offers the contents of two CDs, playing for 127:36, so it’s very good value as well as containing fine performances of music too often squeezed in as fillers to Schubert symphonies.

I don’t know of any other collections that offer such a complete overview so…what’s not to like? © 2014 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Christopher Dingle
BBC Music Magazine, May 2012

LANCINO, T.: Requiem (Grant-Murphy, Gubisch, Skelton, Courjal, Radio France Choir, Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra, Inbal) (Blu-Ray Audio) NBD0020
JANÁČEK, L.: Glagolitic Mass / Sinfonietta (Libor, Marciniec, Bentch, Gierlach, Malanowicz, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Wit) (Blu-Ray Audio) NBD0026
SCHUMANN, R.: Scenes from Goethe’s Faust (Warsaw Boys’ Choir, Warsaw Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra, Wit) (Blu-Ray Audio) NBD0015
SCHUBERT, F.: Overtures (Complete) (Prague Sinfonia, C. Benda) (Blu-Ray Audio) NBD0019

Naxos’s commitment to audio-only Blu-ray is serious. In addition to the recordings reviewed here, and in July 2011, the steady stream of releases not only includes natural fare for the surround-sound format, such as Mahler’s Eight Symphony or the Szymanowski Symphonies, but also one of the best recent accounts of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.

That Naxos invests in its catalogue in major-label style is most apparent in the appearance of Thierry Lancino’s Requiem on CD and Blu-ray . Even in stereo, the Blu-ray version leaps out of the speakers with greater immediacy than CD. In surround, the experience is exhilarating when the chorus and sizeable orchestra are given full rein, but there is also the frisson that comes from hearing so many people singing and playing in a whisper. Moreover, this music is worth hearing. Lancino adds two characters, the biblical David and the Sibyl of Greek myth, amid the Requiem text. Such interspersing of texts brings to mind Britten, but his absorbing exploration of notions of mortality is also rooted in Honegger, Stravinsky and Penderecki, and bears repeated hearing in this compelling performance from Radio France ensembles under Eliahu Inbal.

After Lancino’s spectaculars, it is not too great a leap to Janáček’s exuberant Glagolitic Mass, led by one of Naxos’s stars, Antoni Wit. This is a strong performance, and the Blu-ray opens out the choral sound so that the balance of Janáček’s rich textures is more natural, without softening its edges. The Sinfonietta is a touch more recessed, but still stirs the blood.

Wit and his well-drilled Warsaw forces are also impressive in Schumann’s Scenes from Goethe’s Faust. The rarity of this masterpiece is baffling, and this unaffected performance should win many friends, especially in the much-better Blu-ray sound. The Schumann and the compilation of Schubert’s complete Overtures make use of Blu-ray’s extra capacity, both fitting on to a single disc. It’s especially handy for exploring the 18 Schubert gems, two hours passing happily in the comp nay of charming performances from the Prague Sinfonia under Christian Benda. Naxos is to be applauded for investing in Blu-ray audio. If only the supposed major labels would follow suit. © 2012 BBC Music Magazine

Robert Benson, February 2012

LANCINO, T.: Requiem (Grant-Murphy, Gubisch, Skelton, Courjal, Radio France Choir, Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra, Inbal) (Blu-Ray Audio) NBD0020
SCHUBERT, F.: Overtures (Complete) (Prague Sinfonia, C. Benda) (Blu-Ray Audio) NBD0019

The music is enchanting throughout and includes many works that will be unfamiliar to most listeners. Excellent performances indeed…

…Lancino’s Requiem offers much more opportunity for sonic display as it is scored for large orchestra and choruses along with four vocal soloists and heavy on percussion. The music is bold, challenging and dark, with many thrilling choral outbursts. Audio is superb… Naxos, please let us have more Blu Ray Audio disks of this quality! This recording also is available on a regular budget CD. © 2012 Read complete review

Lee Passarella
Audiophile Audition, January 2012

The performances are bright, chipper, perfectly aligned with Schubert’s broadening world view, capturing all the charming naïveté of the earlier works and all the consummate musical-dramatic skill of the later ones. They sound very well played by a chamber orchestra—even the later overtures, which have a special litheness where bigger bands tend to lumber.

The main advantage is having all of the overtures available on a single disc, in very good sound, and for about the same price as the two-volume CD set. If you have a Blu-ray disc player and you love Schubert, this disc should be high on your shopping list. © 2012 Audiophile Audition Read complete review

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