Klaus Heymann Recommends - ClassicsOnline
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Dear ClassicsOnline customer,

Naxos Founder and Chairman Klaus Heymann shares his thoughts on a few key February releases from Naxos. Here are his recommendations:

ROSSINI, G.: Overtures (Complete), Vol. 4 (Prague Sinfonia, Benda)
8.572735  Rossini: Complete Overtures, Vol. 4

This fourth and final volume in the complete edition of Rossini's overtures will no doubt build on the enthusiastic critical reception received by the previous three. "These new Naxos recordings are about as good as it gets" was the verdict from MusicWeb International on Vols. 1 and 2 (8.570934). The series is now a clear market leader with its sparkling mix of both Rossini's concert sinfonias and opera overtures. This last instalment showcases the variety of his operatic scene-setters, from the farcical comedy of Il barbiere di Siviglia to the themes of heroism and revenge in Armida.

GLIÈRE, R.: Symphony No. 3, 'Il'ya Muromets' (Buffalo Philharmonic, Falletta)
8.573161  Glière: Symphony No. 3 'Il'ya Muromets'

A pivotal figure in Russian music, Reinhold Glière drew on the full intensity and colour of his country's rich history. This is particularly evident in his Symphony No. 3 in B minor 'Il'ya Muromets', in which Glière applies his brilliant orchestration skills to portray the epic exploits of the mediaeval knight of the subtitle. Using an extended palette that includes eight horns, two harps and celesta, the music's gripping drama and vivid orchestral timbres combine under JoAnn Falletta's assured direction in a spectacular celebration of one of Mother Russia's greatest legends. A work of massive proportions, the rarely heard work is performed here in its original, uncut version to support Falletta's description of the symphony as "unquestionably Glière's finest work — his towering masterpiece."

ERKEL, F.: István király (King Stephen) (Gurbán, Nyári, Bazsinka, King Stephen Opera Choir, Budapest Symphony Orchestra MAV, Csányi)
8.660345-46  Erkel: King Stephen (István király)

I am confident that this recording of Erkel's wonderful opera will finally restore its profile as an undoubted masterpiece, having suffered from alterations and unworthy interpretations since its composition in 1886. Almost entirely unknown outside Erkel's native Hungary and a genuine rarity on recordings, this lyrical and passionate work will appeal to all lovers of 19th-century opera. Valéria Csányi coaxes an exciting and profoundly moving live performance from her musicians, with the soloists showing "breathtaking virtuosity and consummate dramatic skills." (musicalcriticism.com)

YAMADA, Kazuo: Grand Treasure / A Song of Young People / Kiso / Spellbinding (Russian Philharmonic, Yablonsky)
8.570552  Yamada: Grand Treasure / A Song of Young People / Kiso / Spellbinding

This exclusive disc of previously unrecorded works by Kazuo Yamada, one of Japan's most influential composers and conductors, is certain to attract wide attention. He refused to allow his pre-war orchestral music to be published after 1945, and so these significant works have remained unknown until now. Yamada's orchestral style reflects the influence of Mahler and Richard Strauss, but in his Grand Treasure Op. 20 he makes telling use of Japanese instruments, adding emotional intensity to his moving lament for the dead, which was conceived towards the end of the war.

PETRASSI, G.: Piano Concerto / Flute Concerto / La follia di Orlando Suite (Canino, Ancillotti, Rome Symphony, La Vecchia)
8.573073  Petrassi: Piano Concerto / Flute Concerto / La follia di Orlando

Goffredo Petrassi was one of Italy's most important 20th-century Italian composers, whose output is characterised by a remarkable inventiveness. His works embrace both the older Italian traditions, elements of neo-classicism and more stringent, avant-garde techniques. From the overtly virtuosic Piano Concerto to the experimental sonorities of the suite from his ballet La follia di Orlando, the works on this disc provide an excellent example of his stylistic breadth. With very few recordings of the compositions already available, this release will be of great interest to both existing Petrassi fans and newcomers to his music.

MOZART, W.A.: Symphonies Nos. 38, 39, 40 (arr. J.N. Hummel for flute, violin, cello and piano) (Grodd, Eichhorn, Rummel, Krüger)
8.572841  Mozart: Symphonies Nos. 38, 39 and 40

This disc will be an eye-opener for lovers of Mozart. Hummel lived and studied with the great master in Vienna, maintaining a life-long reverence for his teacher. His affinity with the composer's style led him to arrange six of his symphonies for the unlikely chamber combination of flute, cello, violin and piano. Recordings of these versions are almost entirely absent in the current market. Observing all of Hummel's detailed performance instructions contained in the original publications, these performances make for both scholarly reference and refreshing entertainment. The outstanding soloists give highly sensitive performances here of the arrangements of Symphonies Nos. 38, 39 and 40. Volume 2 will include those of Nos. 35, 36 and 41.

SAINTS AND SINNERS - The Music of Medieval and Renaissance Europe [10 CD Boxed Set]
8.501067  Saints and Sinners: The Music of Medieval and Renaissance Europe (10-CD Boxed Set)

This extensive survey of music from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance assembles works from no fewer than 87 composers, presented chronologically in a 10-CD boxed set. The supporting notes are written by Dr Lucien Jenkins, a leading authority and prolific writer on early music. They guide the listener through a fascinating collection of sacred and secular compositions from Italy, France, Germany, Spain, England, Flanders, Portugal and The Netherlands. This comprehensive map of the development of music prior to the sounds of the early Baroque marks a scholarly and artistic milestone.

We hope you will enjoy these selections and more from Naxos Records and ClassicsOnline.

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