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ClassicsOnline Home » GREAT CLASSICAL MASTERPIECES - Bestselling Naxos Recordings 1987-2012
1987-2012 Great Classical Masterpieces; Naxos
With this album, the Naxos proudly celebrates 25 years (1987-2012) of best-selling albums. All the selections are taken from previously offered CDs that were all, in their time, best-sellers, and some of their earliest albums still outsell more recently marketed CDs.
Of the 18 tracks, four (Nos. 1, 9, 14, and 18) are conducted by Maestro Stephen Gunzenhauser, who made many acclaimed recordings for Naxos in their early years but no longer records for them, although he is still very active as conductor of the Lancaster (PA) Symphony Orchestra and the summer-season's annual Endless Mountain Music Festival. The first track, Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man, is a splendid introduction to this sampler, which no newcomer to classical music should miss.
Personally, I would have arranged the tracks on this CD in a different order, because, to me, listening to Handel after listening to Rodrigo, or following Satie with Vivaldi, is akin to eating soup after dessert, but this is my only quibble about what is otherwise a splendid CD.
The recorded quality of all 18 tracks is fine, although inevitably the overall tonal characteristics of the various ensembles vary from track to track. If you're new to classical music, be sure to add this CD to your collection!
- Ted Wilksmore....
Film Music: The Neglected Art
Bestselling Recordings 1987–2012
All of these bestselling titles come from the fi rst 10 years of the label and feature our most successful artists. Some are still recording for us, including violinist Takako Nishizaki, the co-owner of the Naxos label; Jenő Jandó, who is busy recording Bartók’s piano music; Jeremy Summerly and his Oxford Camerata; and Antoni Wit whose new recordings with the Warsaw Philharmonic are among the fi nest in our catalogue. Norbert Kraft is still active as producer of the Naxos guitar series and much of our chamber music. Although he no longer records for Naxos, Stephen Gunzenhauser is still active as a conductor. Sadly, Zdeněk Košler to whom we owe many great recordings with the Slovak Philharmonic passed away a few years ago. Others have retired or disappeared altogether from the musical scene. Therefore, in a way, this compilation is a tribute to all the artists who made the success of Naxos possible in the early days of the label. – Klaus Heymann [Founder of Naxos]
 Aaron COPLAND (1900–1990) 02:54
Fanfare for the Common Man
Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra / Stephen Gunzenhauser
This was an unexpected bestseller—standard American repertoire performed by a Slovak orchestra under the baton of one of the busiest Naxos conductors from the early years of the label.
 Hildegard VON BINGEN (1098–1179) 01:31
O pastor animarum
Oxford Camerata / Jeremy Summerly
One of the fi rst recordings by Oxford Camerata and Jeremy Summerly and by far the best selling, even though many of their other recordings have also done extremely well over the years.
 Johann Sebastian BACH (1685–1750) 03:57
Violin Concerto in A minor, BWV 1041: I. Allegro
Takako Nishizaki, violin / Capella Istropolitana / Oliver Dohnányi
A movement from one of the many standard concertos my wife recorded in the early years of the label. It has stood the test of time and continues selling year after year even though we have a more recent version in our catalogue.
 Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) 01:52
Requiem in D minor, K. 626: Sequence: I. Dies irae
Slovak Philharmonic Chorus / Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra / Zdeněk Košler
This recording was a huge success featuring the splendid Slovak Philharmonic Chorus under the late Zdeněk Košler, one of the early Naxos star conductors. The Slovak soloists were also first-class.
 Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770–1827) 05:15
Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 27, No. 2, ‘Moonlight’: I. Adagio sostenuto
Jenő Jandó, piano
From the very first album recorded by our busy Naxos house artist, Jenő Jandó. On the strength of this first recording, we decided to ask him to record all the Beethoven sonatas for the label. This led to a long-term relationship that has lasted to this day.
 Johannes BRAHMS (1833–1897) 03:04
Hungarian Dance No. 1 (version for orchestra)
Budapest Symphony Orchestra / István Bogár
This was a completely unexpected success and one of the first Naxos recordings to be awarded a Rosette by the Penguin Guide. Utterly idiomatic performances by one of the best Hungarian orchestras at the time.
 Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873–1943) 11:23
Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18: II. Adagio sostenuto
Jenő Jandó, piano / Budapest Symphony Orchestra / Győrgy Lehel
Another bestseller from Jenő Jandó. We recorded the concerto twice again in recent years but this recording keeps outselling the more recent recordings.
 Maurice RAVEL (1875–1937) 01:25
Valses nobles et sentimentales: I. Modéré – très franc
Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra / Kenneth Jean
The Slovak orchestra had never played most of the works on the disc but Kenneth Jean, a busy conductor from the early years of the label achieved a miracle and this recording keeps selling year after year.
 Carl ORFF (1895–1982) 02:39
Carmina Burana: O Fortuna
Slovak Philharmonic Chorus / Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra / Stephen Gunzenhauser
This recording of Orff’s masterpiece featuring the outstanding Slovak Philharmonic Chorus was another huge success and continues to be one of our bestselling recordings to this day.
 Henryk GÓRECKI (1933–2010) 03:20
3 Olden Style Pieces: I. —
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra (Katowice) / Antoni Wit
One of the first of many recordings we made with the Polish National Radio Symphony and Antoni Wit. Mr. Wit continues to record for Naxos, nowadays with the Warsaw Philharmonic, Poland’s national orchestra.
 Joaquín RODRIGO (1901–1999) 06:18
Concierto de Aranjuez: I. Allegro con spirito
Norbert Kraft, guitar / Northern Chamber Orchestra / Nicholas Ward
Our very first recording with Norbert Kraft. He went on to record substantial chunks of guitar repertoire for Naxos and is still associated with the label as producer of most Naxos guitar recordings.
 George Frideric HANDEL (1685–1759) 03:00
Water Music: Suite No. 2 in D major, HWV 349: II. Alla Hornpipe
Capella Istropolitana / Bohdan Warchal
This is one of the most successful recordings by one of our early house orchestras, the Bratislava-based Capella Istropolitana. They recorded many of the most popular chamber orchestra recordings for Naxos.
 Erik SATIE (1866–1925) 02:43
Gymnopédie No. 1: Lent et douloureux
Klara Körmendi, piano
An unexpected hit record by a young Hungarian pianist who went on to record the complete piano works of Satie for Naxos.
 Antonio VIVALDI (1678–1741) 03:34
The Four Seasons: Violin Concerto in E major, Op. 8, No. 1, RV 269, ‘Spring’: I. Allegro
Takako Nishizaki, violin / Capella Istropolitana / Stephen Gunzenhauser
The most popular Naxos recording of all time featuring my hardworking wife and the Capella Istropolitana. The Four Seasons were recorded in one very long day, with the last session ending just before the orchestra musicians had to leave to catch the last tram.
 Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) 02:58
Serenade No. 13 in G major, K. 525, ‘Eine kleine Nachtmusik’: IV. Rondo: Allegro
Capella Istropolitana / Wolfgang Sobotka
One of the first five Naxos recordings, it has remained in the catalogue since 1987 and continues to outsell a more recent album.
 Gabriel FAURÉ (1845–1924) 03:29
Requiem, Op. 48: Sanctus
Oxford Schola Cantorum / Oxford Camerata / Jeremy Summerly
A very English Requiem with our Oxford Camerata and Jeremy Summerly. The recording continues to be among our 100 bestselling recordings year after year.
 George GERSHWIN (1898–1937) 06:48
Piano Concerto in F major: III. Allegro agitato
Kathryn Selby, piano / Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra / Richard Hayman
This recording has also stood the test of time—it was the first and only recording young Australian pianist Kathy Selby made for Naxos with veteran American pops conductor/arranger Richard Hayman conducting the Slovak Radio Symphony. Richard went on to conduct many pops orchestra recordings for the Naxos International label.
 Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841–1904) 11:08
Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95, ‘From the New World’: IV. Allegro con fuoco
Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra / Stephen Gunzenhauser
Our recording of the complete Dvořák symphonies with the Slovak Philharmonic conducted by Stephen Gunzenhauser became a huge critical and commercial success. The cycle continues to sell to this day and this, of course, was the most popular title in the cycle.
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