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APRIL 2008
Naxos New Releases

See also Bingen   Dvorak   English Festival   Messiaen   Vaughan Williams

  CD of the Month
  Gerald FINZI

Gerald FINZI (1901 - 1956)

Dies Natalis

Dies natalis*:
I. Intrada; II. Rhapsody; III. The Rapture; IV. Wonder; V. The Salutation;
Prelude for String Orchestra;
The Fall of the Leaf (Elegy) (compl. Howard Ferguson);
Two Sonnets for Tenor and Orchestra*: I. When I consider; II. How soon hath Time; Nocturne (New Year Music);
Farewell to Arms*:
I. Introduction; II. Aria

James Gilchrist (tenor)*
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (Leader: Duncan Riddell),
David Hill

Quintessentially Finzi, the tender yet radiant Dies natalis, a setting of texts by the 17th-century poet Thomas Traherne, depicts both the first sensations of a child as it enters the world, and life’s tarnishing experience of the innocence of childhood.

In Farewell to Arms, a further example of Finzi’s enthusiasm for 17th-century poets, the steady but inevitable tramp of time, symbolized by the measured bass and the tenor’s sad, arching melody, becomes a poignant symbol for the brevity of life as expressed in lines such as ‘O time too swift, O swiftness never ceasing’. Finzi knew all too well that ‘Beauty, strength, youth are flowers but fading seen’.

“These are fine performances….The Bournemouth chorus sing cleanly….. The orchestra sustain all comparisons and one feels David Hill’s direction to be both firm and inspiring.” Gramophone on 8.557863

“James Gilchrist’s singing is at one with this approach. It is good to hear the voice gain resonance and make the comparatively rare forte carry more in the way of release than a more habitually robust manner would do. His clarity and precision are warmed by a rare sweetness of tone, and the ‘lie’ of these songs appears to suit him to perfection.” Gramophone on a previous Finzi songs release


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Erno DOHNANYI (1877 - 1960)
Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 2

Michael Ludwig (violin), Royal Scottish National Orchestra, JoAnn Falletta

Written in the mould of the great Romantic violin concerto, and with an unmistakably Hungarian flavour, the superbly orchestrated Violin Concerto No. 2 is worthy of being ranked alongside the Concertos by Barber and Korngold.“…an exciting, perfectly balanced, extremely engaging, kaleidoscopic adventure in music.  All the playing is remarkable.” American Record Guide  on 8.557153


Leroy ANDERSON (1908 - 1975)
Orchestral Music . 2
Alistair Young (piano), David McCallum, (trumpet), BBC Concert Orchestra, Leonard Slatkin

Here, in the second volume of Anderson’s orchestral music, the Anderson family has made available several pieces that the composer did not release, with some first recordings scattered among the titles. “The playing by the BBC Concert Orchestra is relaxed and charming. Under Slatkin's baton the melodies flow effortlessly, and clearly a good time was had by all.” Classics Today on 8.559313 (Vol. 1)

Albert ROUSSEL (1869 - 1937)
Symphony No. 2 (1919-21)

Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Stéphane Denève

Roussel’s  Second Symphony, has densely intricate orchestration and a wide range of expression. The previous disc of Roussel on on Naxos 8.570245 was a great success and won the prestigious Diapason D’or. Stéphane Denève was given exceptional praise by Classic FM: “Denève does justice to a dazzling piece of work, fresh and vigorous, a mix of Stravinskyian rhythms and Debussyian colours…this is a thrilling reminder of an underperformed composer.”


Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874 - 1951) Chamber Symphony No. 2

Beesley (bass), Simon Joly Chorale, New York Woodwind Quintet, Philharmonia Orchestra, Robert Craft

The little-known Second Chamber Symphony ought to be the most popular of Schoenberg’s later masterpieces. Neither “atonal” nor “twelve-tone”, it contrasts a lush, melodious, dramatic first movement with a rapid and richly polyphonic second movement. “There's no denying the sheer excitement, the authentically Schoenbergian iconoclasm of what Craft and his team of 15 virtuosos achieve.” Gramophone on 8.557523

Alexander ZEMLINSKY (1871 - 1942)
Cello Sonata

Othmar Müller (cello), Ernst Ottensamer (clarinet), Christopher Hinterhuber (piano)

The three works on this recording, written during the 1890s, reveal a skilful and assured figure in the process of working free of influences, notably Brahms.  “[Christopher Hinterhuber is] able to tease textures out with intelligence and skill. This is fine playing.” Gramophone  on 8.557450


Carl NIELSEN (1865 - 1931)
The Symphonies . 1

Danish National Symphony Orchestra / DR, Michael Schønwandt

The exuberant Symphony No. 1 is here coupled with the enigmatic Symphony No. 6, which has been described as “music of clear sunlight and sudden shadows”. “This is the welcome completion of what now ranks, in my judgment, as the best set of the Nielsen symphonies yet accomplished in the recording medium.” Fanfare on the original release  


Igor Alexandrovich FROLOV (b. 1937) Music for Violin and Piano

Nicolas Koeckert (violin), Rudolf Joachim Koeckert (violin), Kristina Miller (piano)

Although his roots are grounded in classical tradition, elements of jazz can be found in many of Frolov’s compositions, such as the virtuosic and entertaining Concert Fantasy on Themes from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. “Nicolas Koeckert, a prizewinner in the 2002 Moscow Tchaikovsky Competition, wears his virtuosity with an admirably light touch.” The Strad on Naxos 8.557388


Giovanni BOTTESINI (1821 - 1889)
Gran Concerto in F sharp minor

Thomas Martin (double bass), José-Luis Garcia (violin), Emma Johnson (clarinet), English Chamber Orchestra, Andrew Litton

The Gran Concerto in F sharp minor is arguably Bottesini’s most accomplished and involved composition for the double bass in which the instrument’s resources are fully exploited with virtuoso passages and adventurous modulations. “It's all easy and delightful to digest, especially if you like a good tune, and calculated to disperse any elephantine image you may have of the double-bass, a revelation in fact”  Gramophone on its original release.



England’s Helicon, Gerald Place (tenor), Dorothy Linell (lute), Rebecca Hickey (soprano)

Here are thirty or so settings from Shakespeare’s lifetime by composers including Morley, Johnson, Dowland, Byrd, Ferrabosco and others, including lyrics set to ballad tunes that would have been very familiar to the actors in his company. “This is an enchanting entertainment, well worth the effort.”  Gramophone on 8.55733. For more information about the full range of Naxos New Releases, or to register for our monthly newsletter, please visit
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