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MAY 2020

NEW ON NAXOS

The May issue of NEW ON NAXOS presents the audiovisual release of Toni Schmid’s film The State Opera, a documentary about the Bavarian State Opera – one of the world’s oldest, most prestigious and international esteemed companies. Featuring excerpts from recent productions of Wagner’s Die Meistersingers von Nurnberg, Rameau’s Les Indes Galantes and Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera, the film also include interviews with opera stars Anja Harteros and Jonas Kaufmann, as well as current and former music directors Kirill Petrenko, Zubin Mehta and Ivor Bolton, as well as artistic directors Nikolaus Bachler and Sir Peter Jonas.

This month’s highlights:
• The release of Niklas Sivelöv "Piano Concertos" with Niklas Sivelöv (piano), Malmö Symphony Orchestra, Victor Aviat, Livgardets Dragonmusikkår and David Björkman. Niklas Sivelöv is never “just” composer or “just” pianist. His aim is the same in both fields – just as it is the same in music, and in conversation as well. We must experience the vault of the sky with the right sound and hopefully come together to experience the timeless feeling of spirit.

• The DVD/Blu-ray release of Alexander von Zemlinsky’s single-act opera Der Zwerg (‘The Dwarf’) from Deutsche Oper Berlin, directed by Tobias Kratzer and conducted by Donald Runnicles. Starring tenor David Butt Philip and actor Mick Morris Mehnert both playing the title role, the production also includes a dramatisation of Arnold Schoenberg’s Accompaniment to a Cinematographic Scene.

• World premiere recordings of José Antônio de Almeida Prado’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Aurora and Concerto Fribourgeois – the fourth instalment of our ‘Music of Brazil’ series – presented by Latin GRAMMY-winning pianist Sonia Rubinsky, with the Minas Gerais Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Fabio Mechetti.

Viser 22 varer
Image Piano Concertos
Release 22nd of May

Niklas Sivelöv, piano

Malmö Symphony Orchestra • Victor Aviat
Track 1-3: Concerto Classico for piano and orchestra
Track 4-7: Concerto No. 2 for piano and strings

Livgardets Dragonmusikkår • David Björkman
Track 8-10: Concerto No. 5 "Riddarkonserten" for piano and brass band

Niklas Sivelöv is never “just” composer or “just” pianist. His aim is the same in both fields – just as it is the same in music, and in conversation as well. We must experience the vault of the sky with the right sound and hopefully come together to experience the timeless feeling of spirit.

kr 89
Image Piano Concerto No. 1; Aurora; Concerto Fribourgeoi
Release 8th of May

At the time of his death in 2010, Almeida Prado was one of Brazil’s most internationally admired composers, one who created music of unique sonority and color, rooted in his native country. In Aurora (‘Dawn’) he employs his newly developed ‘transtonality’ to radiant effect, while the Concerto Fribourgeois features a collage technique. In his Piano Concerto No. 1 Almeida Prado explores a cogent structure in which the soloist opens up, rips apart or transforms the theme and variations, in a work that is both grandiose and luminous.

kr 89
Image Le due duchesse
Release 8th of May

As one of the leading operatic composers of his generation, Johann Simon Mayr nurtured a fascination with the chivalric stories of medieval England. Le due duchesse, an opera semiseria with buffa elements, is set during the reign of the 10th-century King Edgar. Huntsmen’s and Knights’ choruses and troubadour-like songs give great vivacity to a score that is both lyrical and dramatic. Mayr’s compound of Viennese Classicism and Italianate melodic beauty, allied to his ambitious writing and a skillful libretto, produced an important and influential opera couched in his own unmistakable idiom.

kr 159
Image This Land Sings - Inspired by the Life & Times of
Release 8th of May

In ‘This Land Sings,’ Grammy Award-winning composer Michael Daugherty has created an original musical tribute to the singer-songwriter and political activist Woody Guthrie (1912-1967). Traveling the backroads of America from coast to coast with a guitar and harmonica, Woody Guthrie performed folk songs of love, wandering and social justice during the Great Depression and the Second World War. Daugherty has composed his own original songs and instrumental interludes that give haunting expression, ironic wit and contemporary relevance to political, social and environmental themes from Guthrie’s era. Under the baton of Grammy Award-winning conductor David Alan Miller, the Albany Symphony’s new music ensemble Dogs of Desire, joined by soprano Annika Socolofsky and baritone John Daugherty, give a poignant and rousing performance.

kr 89
Image Three American Violin Sonatas
Release 8th of May

The three sonatas on this recording were written at the behest of violinist Cho-Liang Lin, who worked closely with each composer at their premiere performance. Paul Schoenfeld’s Violin Sonata references literary influences and the composer’s past as well as his Jewish heritage in the work’s final Freilach or ‘joyous dance.’ Steven Stucky acknowledged Debussy as the source of inspiration in his work, while the alchemy of John Harbison’s style creates music that is simultaneously abstract and narrative. Wryly introduced as “crazy modern music,” Bernstein’s brief Canon for Aaron was composed for Copland’s 70th birthday celebrations.

kr 89
Image Opera-Comique Overtures
Release 8th of May

Opera-comique emerged in the 19th century as an intermediary between grand opera and burlesque operetta. This album charts its progression as a distinct genre, tracing the origins from Boieldieu and Mehul early in the century via the classic vitality of masters such as Herold and Maillart into the operetta style of Offenbach and Lecocq. With innovative features, colorful orchestration, drama, wit and atmospheric writing, the operas proved very popular and these overtures encapsulate their immense vivacity and charm.

kr 89
Image Complete Works for String Quartet, Vol. 1
Release 8th of May

The renowned Italian composer and mountaineer Leone Sinigaglia wrote a fascinating series of pieces for string quartet that reflect his powers of characterization and elegance. Flowing melodies can be heard throughout, not least in the Concert-Etude, Op. 5, while the more substantial Variations on a Theme of Brahms, Op. 22 display his technical skill and expressive variety, whether reflective, somber or exuberant. His String Quartet in D major, Op. 27 exemplifies his dual inheritance: a commanding central European facility, combined with a natural Italian lyricism.

kr 89
Image Songs & Romances
Release 8th of May

Sergey Prokofiev is acknowledged as one of the 20th century’s greatest composers, and his enduring popularity today rests on a rich legacy of orchestral and chamber works. Less well known are his songs, which display a lyrical component that suited his liking for clear and simple forms. This can be heard particularly in Five Poems of Anna Akhmatova, but all of these pieces show Prokofiev to be a worthy successor of the great 19th-century tradition of art songs. Margarita Gritskova’s voice was described by Opera News as ‘a spectacular instrument’ in her recording of Russian Songs previously released on Naxos.

kr 89
Image Guitar Duos
Release 8th of May

Kemel Belevi’s music is steeped in the colors and atmosphere of the eastern Mediterranean, and his aim is ‘to create beautiful music’ based on melodies and rhythms that have been absorbed from the folk music of Greece, Turkey and the Middle East. Belevi’s own arrangements of works such as the evocative Suite Chypre and the richly varied Cyprian Rhapsodies have significantly extended the repertoire for two guitars. The Duo Tandem are drawn towards this composer’s skillful modernity and his celebration of traditional heritage reimagined within the sound world of the classical guitar.

kr 89
Image The State Opera (DVD)
Release 22nd of May

The State Opera is the first film ever made about the Bavarian State Opera, one of the world’s oldest, most prestigious and internationally esteemed companies. It charts the course of three operas – Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Les Indes galantes and Un ballo in maschera – as they come to life on the stage. We meet some of the great singers, such as Jonas Kaufmann and Anja Harteros, in performance and behind the scenes, as well as artistic directors past and present, and two of the music directors in Kirill Petrenko and his predecessor Zubin Mehta. As both a celebration and an exploration, this entertaining film is a declaration of love for the operatic form.

kr 239
Image The State Opera (Blu-ray)
Release 22nd of May

The State Opera is the first film ever made about the Bavarian State Opera, one of the world’s oldest, most prestigious and internationally esteemed companies. It charts the course of three operas – Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Les Indes galantes and Un ballo in maschera – as they come to life on the stage. We meet some of the great singers, such as Jonas Kaufmann and Anja Harteros, in performance and behind the scenes, as well as artistic directors past and present, and two of the music directors in Kirill Petrenko and his predecessor Zubin Mehta. As both a celebration and an exploration, this entertaining film is a declaration of love for the operatic form.

kr 239
Image Der Zwerg (The Dwarf) (DVD)
Release 22nd of May

Based on Oscar Wilde’s story The Birthday of the Infanta, Zemlinsky’s single-act opera Der Zwerg is the tragic tale of a dwarf who is presented at court, falls in love with the beautiful Donna Clara, but is ultimately forced to see himself as others see him and to die of a broken heart. Preceded by Schoenberg’s Accompaniment to a Cinematographic Scene, Op. 34 (1930), Zemlinsky’s Romantic score is full of psychological intrigue. Is Der Zwerg a critique of society’s superficiality? Is it the composer’s self-portrait in his doomed affair with Alma Schindler? Director Tobias Kratzer’s stunning, transparent production creates a space in which each character is thrown into sharp relief in this ‘fine, noble and melancholy work’. (Bachtrack.com)

kr 239
Image Der Zwerg (The Dwarf) (Blu-ray)
Release 22nd of May

Based on Oscar Wilde’s story The Birthday of the Infanta, Zemlinsky’s single-act opera Der Zwerg is the tragic tale of a dwarf who is presented at court, falls in love with the beautiful Donna Clara, but is ultimately forced to see himself as others see him and to die of a broken heart. Preceded by Schoenberg’s Accompaniment to a Cinematographic Scene, Op. 34 (1930), Zemlinsky’s Romantic score is full of psychological intrigue. Is Der Zwerg a critique of society’s superficiality? Is it the composer’s self-portrait in his doomed affair with Alma Schindler? Director Tobias Kratzer’s stunning, transparent production creates a space in which each character is thrown into sharp relief in this ‘fine, noble and melancholy work’. (Bachtrack.com)

kr 239
Image Le Chasseur maudit; Psyche; Les eolides
Release 22nd of May

César Franck is perhaps best known for his organ works and late masterpieces such as the Violin Sonata. His Symphony in D minor has also been widely recorded and is often coupled with LeChasseur maudit, a work that ranks among his most popular and frequently performed orchestral works. Les Éolides and Psychéare more impressionistic in atmosphere, and much appreciated for their subtle orchestration and lyrical inventiveness. Jean-Luc Tingaud’s recordings for Naxos have always done very well, with Poulenc’s Les Biches (8.573739) given a 10/10 score by ClassicsToday.com, along with comments such as ‘Tingaud’s precise, clear-eyed direction is just what this music needs’. Vincent d’Indy’s Second Symphony (8.573522), also with the RSNO, was given a rave review by Fanfare: ‘This recording [by] Tingaud and his Scottish orchestra should absolutely fire up new interest in a composer who has been unjustly neglected. Very strongly, if not urgently, recommended.’ The Royal Scottish National Orchestra has a worldwide reputation for the quality of its recordings, receiving two Diapason d’or de l’année awards for Symphonic Music and eight GRAMMY Award nominations over the last decade. The RSNO’s numerous Naxos recordings include Roussel’s Symphony No. 2(8.570529) conducted by Stéphane Denève which gained the Gramophone ‘Editor’s Choice’.

kr 89
Image French Piano Rarities
Release 22nd of May

This album of French piano rarities features seldom-heard and recently discovered works by composers who had an influence on Pierre Boulez, as well as the premiere recording of Boulez’s Prélude, Toccata et Scherzo. This large-scale early work looks back on virtuosic Romantic music, while at the same time exploring the new compositional styles that Boulez would subsequently embrace. Among the rarities is a posthumously discovered piano study by Debussy, a reconstructed birdsong work by Messiaen, and a tiny masterpiece by Ravel found in a notebook. Ralph van Raathas been fascinated by classical music of the 20th century since the age of 14. Although his repertoire ranges from Bach to Boulez, his primary focus has always been on composers dating from Debussy, Bartók and Ives to present-day masters. Van Raat helps audiences identify with modern day composers by adhering to a classical approach: he firmly believes that a strong sense of classical structure as well as a refinement of tone is essential in conveying the logic and poetry of any music. This has not gone unrecognized: he is the recipient of a substantial number of national and international awards, many composers have written solo works for him, and he has performed over 50 piano concertos with orchestras worldwide.

kr 89
Image Cantares; Loiza; Triple Concierto
Release 22nd of May

Roberto Sierra’s refined compositional voice is subtly combined with contemporary musical techniques and his Puerto Rican heritage in the three works recorded here. Cantares, commissioned by the Cornell University Chorus and Glee Club to celebrate the university’s sesquicentennial anniversary, evokes ancient Peruvian, Aztec and Afro Caribbean voices lost in time. The virtuoso Triple Concierto transforms the popular Caribbean rhythms of salsa, bolero and merengue into complex contemporary expressions, while the polyrhythmic layers of Loiza conjure a Puerto Rican town known for its strong African traditions. Puerto Rico-born composer Roberto Sierra is internationally recognized and renowned for his integration of Caribbean music with the Western idioms he acquired during studies in Europe, and this release of recent works follows a whole series of much-admired and highly popular recordings of his music on the Naxos label. The most recent of these, Kandinsky (8.559849), was described as ‘a real find’ by Gramophone, and as presenting ‘mouth-dropping renditions of this music of supreme virtuosity’ by Fanfare. Sinfonia No. 3 ‘La Salsa’ (8.559817) was admired by ClassicsToday.com for ‘three highly entertaining orchestral works saturated with Latin rhythms and melodic motives’, and the Missa Latina (8.559624) was a GRAMMY nominee and summed up as ‘a powerful and individual major work performed with exemplary skill and commitment in superb sound’ by MusicWeb International. In other words, new recordings of works by Roberto Sierra are always a welcome and much in demand addition to the catalogue.

kr 89
Image Complete Violin Concertos, Vol. 2: Nos. 5-9
Release 22nd of May

Myroslav Skoryk is one of Ukraine’s leading composers and teachers, with a portfolio of works that include opera, a symphonic transcription of Paganini’s Caprices, and a cycle of nine violin concertos written over a 45-year span. Concerto No. 5 utilizes jazz elements and a vivid fugato, while Concerto No. 6 explores the use of sensual moods and provocative dance rhythms. Syncopation and lyricism infuse Concerto No. 7, while No. 9 is both touching and dramatic. Concerto No. 8 offers a representation of events in Chopin’s life through quotations, in combination with Skoryk’s own distinctive musical voice.

kr 89
Image Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2
Release 22nd of May

Many interwar Norwegian composers tried to create a new national music by combining elements of authentic folk music with new techniques. Eivind Groven was considered one of the most innovative composers in this quest, integrating the structure of folk dances from his rural upbringing into familiar formal principles. Both symphonies make use of techniques of so-called ‘progressive transformation’, which led fellow composer Arne Nordheim to declare: ‘While others made instrumentations of folk tunes, Groven created sounds, for example in his [two] symphonies which, in my opinion, are quite unique.’ Eivind Groven’s symphonies have been recorded before, though this is the first time they have appeared together on a single album. The expressive eloquence and approachability of both of these symphonies means that such relative neglect is deeply unfair. Peter Szilvay is one of the most sought-after of Norwegian conductors, his career developing quickly after his acclaimed final diploma exam with the Norwegian radio orchestra and his award as ‘Conductor of the Year’ in Oslo in 1999. He has conducted most of the leading Norwegian orchestras and with the Norwegian Opera and ballet, his repertoire stretching from Beethoven to the late Romantics and as an enthusiastic ambassador for contemporary composers, having premiered over 160 pieces.

kr 89
Image 24 Etudes-Caprices, Op. 64, Vol. 4: Nos. 20-24
Release 22nd of May

The final volume of the 24 Etudes-Caprices by the internationally renowned virtuoso Emile Sauret, crowns one of the most impressive but seldom performed bodies of solo violin writing in the entire canon. In the last five Etudes, once again played by Nazrin Rashidova on Sauret’s own Stradivarius violin, the full range of his art can be heard, from double and triple stopping, to registral leaps, chordal and staccato techniques and exercises for absolute control of the bow. Of Volume 3 The Strad wrote: “Rashidova plays superbly.” The Azerbaijani-born British violin virtuoso, soloist, recitalist, chamber musician and orchestral director Nazrin Rashidova made her solo debut at the age of three in Baku, and was awarded a Gold Medal by the Cairo Opera House for an exceptional violin recital three years later. Rashidova’s recordings for Naxos – works for violin and piano by Godowsky (8.573058) and Moszkowski (8.573410) – were acclaimed by The Strad and Gramophone magazines. Rashidova is pursuing a PhD at the Royal Academy of Music, where her research explores Émile Sauret and his 24 Études-Caprices. Her world premiere recording series of these works comprises four volumes.

kr 89
Image Folk Songs
Release 22nd of May

George Thomson of Edinburgh, a notable promoter of Scottish music, encouraged settings of his nation’s folk songs. In particular, he found a rich source of arrangements in Vienna, where he commissioned first Haydn and then Beethoven to set a large sequence of poems, including those of Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott. Thomson envisaged simple works, agreeable to amateurs, but Beethoven found it impossible to compose within such limitations and his settings, which include Irish and Welsh songs, with the accompaniment of strings and piano, have proved perennially popular. Pianist Bernadette Bartos is the featured pianist of the Beethoven Liederseries, Vol. 1 (8.574071). Her playing was described as ‘fairly lively and sensitive’ by The Art Music Lounge. Bartos has performed at venues across Europe, including the Wiener Musikverein and the Wiener Konzerthaus. Her debut at Regent Hall, London gained her First Prize in the Beethoven Chamber Music Competition of the Beethoven Piano Society of Europe. German soprano Paula Sophie Bohnetmade her operatic debut in 2013with the role of Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro. She was the recipient of the prestigious Giovanni Omodeo Scholarship and has been awarded several prizes from organizations such as the Österreichischen Bundesministerium für Bildung, Wissenschaft und Forschung for her Master’s degree. Austrian tenor Daniel Johannsen studied with Lieder specialists such as Robert Holl, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Christa Ludwig, and thus approaches art song performance with great affection. Along with the great Schubert and Schumann cycles, his repertoire includes more than 300settings, which he has performed with pianists Graham Johnson, Charles Spences and Helmut Deutsch, among others.

kr 89
Image Piano Recital
Release 22nd of May

The Ukrainian pianist Dmytro Choni, winner of the 2018 Paloma O’Shea Santander International Piano Competition, has selected a programme that spans the 20th century. The first book of Debussy’s Images offers poetic evocation and virtuoso caprice, whereas Prokofiev’s Piano Sonata No. 6, completed in 1940, is the first of his ‘War Sonatas’, characteristically contrasting rhythmic vitality with rich lyricism. Ginastera, too, supplies vivid intensity in his Piano Sonata No. 1 suggesting the sound of the guitar, while Ligeti’s Étude is a Debussyian evocation of a rainbow. Dmytro Choni was born in Kyiv, Ukraine in 1993, and received his first piano lesson at the age of four. In addition to his victory at the 2018 Paloma O’Shea Santander International Competition, he is also a laureate of many prestigious competitions such as the Ferruccio Busoni International Piano Competition (Italy, 2017) and International Piano Competition in Memory of Vladimir Horowitz (Ukraine, 2017). In2019 he received the Vendome Prize at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland.

kr 89
Image Best of Beethoven (4 CD)
Release 22nd of May

Idil Biret’s nineteen volume Beethoven Edition consisting of the thirty two sonatas, five concertos, the Choral Fantasy and the piano transcriptions of the nine symphonies (by Franz Liszt) was recorded in fifty two days during a long period which spread over of twenty three years. In the spring of 1985 when Jacques Leiser, then Idil Biret’s agent in the USA, introduced Biret to Michel Devos, an independent producer in Belgium, she could not have imagined that this would lead to a recording odyssey lasting over twenty years. When Devos suggested an LP with the Liszt transcriptions of two Beethoven symphonies, Idil, who had earlier recorded other Liszt transcriptions, agreed immediately. When these recordings were found to be of exceptionally high quality by EMI, Idil Biret was asked to record all the nine symphonies which gained universal acclaim. When she performed the nine symphonies in four concerts during one week at the Montpellier Festival in France in July 1986, this was announced as “The Event of the Festival.” After an interval of eight years, in the midst of a busy period of recording the works of Brahms, Chopin and Rachmaninoff for Naxos in Heidelberg, Biret went back to Brussels in 1994 to record three sonatas of Beethoven to test how these would sound in the same location where the symphonies were recorded. The decision was then made in 2001 to record all the remaining sonatas and to release them together with the nine symphonies. With one or two sessions a year where a number of sonatas were recorded in each, the work was completed in 2008. All the works of Beethoven for piano and orchestra including the Choral Fantasy were also recorded in January/February of 2008 with the Bilkent Symphony Orchestra conducted by Antoni Wit, the music director of the Warsaw Philharmonic.

kr 159
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