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JULY 2022

NEW ON NAXOS

NEW ON NAXOS for July spotlights the audiovisual release of Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s opera Die Passagierin (‘The Passenger’), directed by Nadja Loschky for Opera Graz. Declared ‘one of the most important and most brilliantly composed operas of the 20th century’ by Online Merker, this DVD/Blu-ray release follows the audio recording of the same production released on the Capriccio label. The strong cast was led by mezzo-soprano Dshamilja Kaiser, with the Graz Philharmonic conducted by Roland Kluttig.

Other highlights include
• César Guerra-Peixe’s Symphonic Suites Nos. 1 and 2 and Roda de Amigos – the latest in our critically acclaimed The Music of Brazil series – performed by the Goiás Philharmonic Orchestra under principal conductor and artistic director Neil Thomson. Of their Santoro Symphonies recording, ClassicsToday.com stated the orchestra and conductor ‘has every reason to be proud of its achievement’.

• New orchestral works by American composer Peter Boyer, including several world premiere recordings, conducting the London Symphony Orchestra. The album includes Fanfare for Tomorrow, commissioned for the inauguration of President Joe Biden in 2021. This follows his GRAMMY-nominated work Ellis Island: The Dream of America, which has received over 250 performances and celebrating its 20th anniversary since the 2002 premiere.

• Antonio Soler’s Keyboard Sonatas Nos. 96–98, the eleventh volume in this major cycle, performed by First Prize winner of the 65th Maria Canals International Music Compeition (2019) Daumants Liepinš. He recently topped Pianist Magazine’s list of Pianists to Look Out For in 2020 and also won top prizes at the Nordic Piano Competition, George Enescu International Piano Competition and others.

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Image The Passenger (DVD)
Release 8th of July

Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s powerful Holocaust drama Die Passagierin channels his and his family’s ordeals of wartime and Soviet persecution, applying them musically to Zofia Posmysz’s autobiographical novel. The score was praised by Shostakovich for its ‘beauty and greatness’, with a narrative that unfolds on an ocean liner bound for Brazil on which a former Auschwitz guard and one of her Polish prisoners confront impossible moral conflict and harrowing flashbacks in music that is sparse, dark, sardonic and intermittently tender. This acclaimed Oper Graz production draws us movingly into the raw unimaginable madness of this imperishable moment in history.

kr 239
Image The Passenger (Bluray)
Release 8th of July

Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s powerful Holocaust drama Die Passagierin channels his and his family’s ordeals of wartime and Soviet persecution, applying them musically to Zofia Posmysz’s autobiographical novel. The score was praised by Shostakovich for its ‘beauty and greatness’, with a narrative that unfolds on an ocean liner bound for Brazil on which a former Auschwitz guard and one of her Polish prisoners confront impossible moral conflict and harrowing flashbacks in music that is sparse, dark, sardonic and intermittently tender. This acclaimed Oper Graz production draws us movingly into the raw unimaginable madness of this imperishable moment in history.

kr 239
Image Symphonic Suites Nos. 1 & 2; Roda de Amigos
Release 8th of July

César Guerra-Peixe was one of the most versatile Brazilian musicians of the 20th century, gaining a particular mastery of orchestration and creating his own inimitable sound through extensive work in radio, television and cinema. The toe-tapping dance rhythms and lyrical expressiveness in his two Symphonic Suites were inspired by research into Brazilian folk traditions, further enhanced by a broad range of vibrantly eloquent global influences. The light-hearted Roda de Amigos mischievously caricatures Guerra-Peixe’s musical circle of friends and their various woodwind instruments.

kr 119
Image Balance of Power - Orchestral Works
Release 8th of July

This album presents eight of the most recent works by Peter Boyer, one of the leading American orchestral composers of his generation. Balance of Power was commissioned for the95th birthday of former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, while Fanfare for Tomorrow was composed for the inauguration of President Joe Biden in 2021. Each of these pieces displays Boyer’s vivid soundscapes and tuneful American sensibilities, from the cinematic sweep of Rolling River to Radiance, composed especially for this album. Boyer’s GRAMMY-nominated Ellis Island: The Dream of America (8.559246) has received over 250 performances and was televised by PBS.

kr 119
Image The Westminster Waltz; Colditz March; State Occasi
Release 8th of July

Frank Sinatra dubbed Robert Farnon ‘The Guv’nor’ in 1962 when the two men first came together in London to work on an album. This summed up Farnon’s reputation as being synonymous with the highest standards of craftsmanship across the widest spectrum of music-making, earning him four Ivor Novello awards and the Order of Canada. His fame was established with BBC wartime radio broadcasts and the ubiquitous Portrait of a Flirt. Further success came with TV themes such as the stirring Colditz March and the impressionistic beauty of such gems as À la claire fontaine. The performances on this acclaimed recording are given with ‘warmth, polish and a remarkable naturalness of idiomatic feeling’ (The Penguin Guide).

kr 119
Image Piano Quintets Nos. 1 & 2; String Trio No. 2
Release 8th of July

Puccini once said, ‘there is more music in Perosi’s head than in mine and Mascagni’s put together’. Priest-composer Lorenzo Perosi achieved international celebrity by the late 1890s for his sacred music, and he also composed a fine selection of chamber works that are little known today. Perosi’s Piano Quintets have a fresh and spontaneous feel, even though they were written while he grieved the loss of his brother. Combining bold rhythms and solemn spiritual depth, these works along with the Second String Trio are all respectful of tradition while representing an exploration of new paths unique in Italian music of the time.

kr 119
Image Les Soirees de Pausilippe, Op. 75
Release 8th of July

Sigismond Thalberg was a virtuoso pianist whose training included studies with Mozart’s pupil Johann Hummel, and whose rivalry with Franz Liszt became the talk of Paris in the 1830s. Thalberg excelled in the fashionable solo piano genre of operatic paraphrase but, while drawing on themes by the ever-popular Rossini, Les Soirées de Pausilippe avoids ostentatious excess. Instead Thalberg preferred an elegant simplicity in which the piano is allowed to sing in emulation of the operatic originals. With rhythmic dances, expressive arias and more, this is a collection that embraces moods that range from Mendelssohnian charm to Chopinesque pianism.

kr 119
Image Keyboard Sonatas Nos. 96–98
Release 22nd of July

Like many Catalan musicians of his time, Antonio Soler received initial training as a chorister before his excellence as an organist ensured high appointment at the Escorial, Spain’s royal palace. Here he absorbed the influence of Domenico Scarlatti, and the keyboard sonatas Soler composed remain his most lasting contribution to musical history. The three sonatas in this volume reflect his awareness of trends in Viennese music and are notable for their vivid pastoral elements, refined delicacy and sizzling virtuosic demands.

kr 119
Image A. Kraft, N. Kraft & Romberg: Works for 2 Cellos
Release 22nd of July

The emergence of the cello as a solo instrument at the beginning of the 19th century encouraged composers to explore its melodic and sonorous potential, with compositions for two or more cellos becoming increasingly popular. Bernhard Romberg and Anton Kraft both had personal connections to Beethoven – their works offer inventive timbres, intimacy and substantial virtuosity. The world premiere recording of the sparkling Concertino by Kraft’s son Nikolaus completes an album of unique gems, influenced by Beethoven and Haydn, which helped to usher in the golden age of the cello.

kr 119
Image Cypriana - Works for Violin & Guitar
Release 22nd of July

Kemal Belevi’s works for the guitar, either solo or in combination, as heard on this album, exude the color and allure of the eastern Mediterranean. Without alluding to any specific tunes, he evokes Cypriot folk music in Cypriana, while the linked Four Sketches show his variety in the work’s bracing modernity. Belevi is at heart a romantic and a melodist of touching beauty as can be heard in Catch 22 and in the subtle color study Clouds. The poignant Suite Chypre is heard in this special arrangement made for Silvia and Livio Grasso.

kr 119
Image Blohn, Brandmuller, Escaich, Jordan & Part: Evocat
Release 22nd of July

This album of contemporary organ repertoire features fascinating works that display a wide array of influences. Barry Jordan’s Praise Song, heard here its 2018 revision, draws on modern worship songs and African drumming rhythms, an element that also suffuses part of Thierry Escaich’s Évocation II, a work of electrifying intensity and vibrant color. Arvo Pärt’s starkly beautiful Annum per annum is featured alongside Theo Brandmüller’s last work Sternenklänge. Dialogue vers les étoiles by Christian von Blohn – a student of Brandmüller – acts as a moving posthumous dialogue with his teacher.

kr 119
Image Where the Shadow Glides - Songs, Solo Piano & Chor
Release 22nd of July

Internationally acclaimed composer William McClelland has written a wide variety of music in many styles and forms, but the works in this program have all been inspired by poetry. The choral works evoke the atmosphere of time and place in settings of very early texts, including Catullus’ movingly elegiac lament for his lost brother, These Last Gifts, an experience shared by the composer. The short pieces in Five for Piano all evoke specific poems and, composed over several decades, McClelland’s songs are primarily settings of poetry by American writers that express a mystical, symbolic or visionary view on nature.

kr 119
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