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All listed Naxos singles £5 each*
Selected Christmas titles £3 each*

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Image TAVENER: Ex Maria Virgine
£3.00 (£7.99)
Image The Night Before Christmas
£3.00 (£7.99)
Image Manchester Carols
This new sequence of Christmas carols was written in 2007 by the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy and composer Sasha Johnson Manning, and premiered in the same year. The Manchester Carols re-tell the Christmas Story for the 21st Century, celebrating a child's birth and all that child was to become: a man who lived by a humble, selfless creed, championing the marginalised in a society which was, as it is now, fraught with political tensions. These carols are for everybody, the believer and the non-believer, people of other faiths and everyone wishing to join in the Christmas celebrations.

£3.00 (£7.99)
Image My Playlist for The Nativity
Can you hear the music? Do you hear it play? It's telling you the story of the first Christmas Day…
Perfect for children of all ages, this album of classical and traditional works is a charming and engaging retelling of the nativity through music, song and rhyme. Listen to the music and read the story!


£3.00 (£7.99)
Image Another Night Before Christmas | Scrooge
£3.00 (£7.99)
Image CHRISTMAS CAROLS FROM TEWKESBURY ABBEY
Carols from Tewkesbury Abbey

Traditionally carols were not necessarily confined to the Christmas season, but were dance-songs. The dancers of Kölbigk, indeed, found themselves in difficulties with the Church, condemned by an angry priest to dance for a whole year, as a punishment for their neglect of religious duties, carolling at an inappropriate time in the churchyard. Nevertheless, even in the Middle Ages, there were carols specifically for Christmas, the season with which nowadays these songs are most closely associated. It has become the fashion to use very considerable technical and musical skill in the arrangement of essentially simple and popular music for the kind of sophisticated performance to be found in the major English choral foundations, and on these arrangements composers annually use much ingenuity and artifice.

The Tewkesbury Abbey carols open with The first Nowell, in an arrangement by Sir David Willcocks, a musician well known for his long association with King's College, Cambridge, and its choir, and with the London Bach Choir. The series continues with another David Willcocks arrangement, this time of an old Basque carol, with well known words by S. Baring-Gould, Gabriel's Message. Other fine arrangements by David Willcocks include a version of the popular While shepherds watched their flocks, from Thomas East's 1592 publication, The Whole Booke of Psalmes with their Wonted Tunes, as they are sung in Churches. The Polish carol Infant holy, infant lowly is included, with the fifteenth century French Franciscan processional Come, o come Emmanuel. Two other French carols arranged by David Willcocks are Angels from the realms of glory and Quelle est cette odeur agréable? (Whence is that goodly fragrance flowings?), the latter sung here in French. A final arrangement by David Willcocks in the present collection is of the traditional English watchman's song God rest ye merry, gentlemen.

A maiden most gentle appears in an arrangement by Andrew Carter and the traditional Cornish Sans Day Carol in a version by John Rutter. There is an arrangement of Karl Leuner's Shepherds' Cradle-Song by Charles Macpherson and of the traditional English The Holly and the Ivy by Sir Walford Davies, Master of the King's Musicke from 1934 in succession to Sir Edward Elgar. The oratorio by Hector Berlioz, L'enfance du Christ (The Childhood of Christ) brings The Shepherds' Farewell (Thou must leave thy lowly dwelling).

The Stockport composer John Wainwright, organist and singer at Manchester Collegiate Church, later Manchester Cathedral, in the year before his death, 1767, is best remembered for his Christmas hymn Christians awake, salute the happy mom, written about 1750. Less familiar is the traditional English melody set to The Truth from Above by Ralph Vaughan Williams, co-editor of the important 1928 Oxford Book of Carols, a reaction, like The English Hymnal, to the excesses of nineteenth century sentimental hymnody.

The anonymous fifteenth century words of Adam lay y-bounden are familiar in various settings. Not the least well known is the version by Boris Ord, predecessor of Sir David Willcocks at King's College, Cambridge, where he was choirmaster and organist for some twenty-five years. The nineteenth century hymn As with gladness men of old is followed by an old Basque Noel, used as a setting of anonymous fifteenth century English words, I saw a maiden.

Good King Wenceslas, Bohemian saint and patriot, owes its words to J. M. Neale, its melody to the late sixteenth century German Piae cantiones and its arrangement to Reginald Jaques, for thirty years conductor of the London Bach Choir, a position he held until 1961, when he was succeeded by Sir David Willcocks. Michael Head, a respected composer of many English songs, is the composer of The Little Road to Bethlehem, with words by Margaret Rose.

The Choir of Tewkesbury Abbey School
The Tewkesbury Abbey School was founded in 1973 as the choir school for Tewkesbury Abbey. Its foundation has revived the tradition begun in the Abbey which is generally acknowledged as having one of the finest acoustics in England. The choristers, who are awarded scholarships on audition at regular voice trials, are all educated at the Abbey School which is a member of the Choir School's Association.

The Abbey School Choir sings Evensong during term time on Monday to Thursday. Most of the choristers are weekly boarders and without weekend commitments, they are able to combine the benefits of a choristership - with its excellent musical and academic training - with a normal family life at weekends.

Outside the normal routine of Abbey services, the choir is increasingly in demand for concerts, recital work and recording, both in England and abroad. Recent concert tours have included visits to Germany, the Soviet Union, France and Holland. Earlier this year the choir returned to France for a series of concerts in the Loire Valley, prior to which the choristers gave a series of four concerts with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Simon Rattle.

Andrew Sackett
Andrew Sackett was born in Sheffield in 1964 and at an early age had piano lessons with Fanny Waterman. Before entering the Royal Northern College of Music in 1982 he studied organ with Jonathan Rees-Williams at Lichfield Cathedral. At college he studied organ with Eric Chadwick and Gordon Stewart and piano accompaniment with David Lloyd. During his final year at Royal Northern College he was also organ scholar at Manchester Cathedral. In January 1987 he was appointed Assistant Organist at Carlisle Cathedral and in September 1989 moved to Tewkesbury Abbey, where he is Director of the Choir of the Abbey School. He also conducts the highly acclaimed Malvern chamber choir, The Aldwyn Consort of Voices, as well as being in demand as a recitalist and accompanist.



£3.00 (£7.99)
Image Whitbourn: Carolae
James Whitbourn is a GRAMMY® nominated composer whose music is internationally admired for its direct connection with performers and audiences, The Observer describing him as 'a truly original communicator in modern British choral music'. Carolae is a fusion of two great American and English Christmas traditions, with the Missa carolae at its heart. Whitbourn's love of medieval musical language is shown through his crafting of original melody and skilful arrangements of seasonal favourites. The music of James Whitbourn is a well-established part of the Naxos catalogue, and this Christmas release will be an attractive prospect for fans of choral music looking for a fresh approach to the traditional music of the season. The album Luminosity (8.572103) was considered 'striking... [with a] glowingly committed performance' by BBC Music Magazine and admired by American Record Guide for 'Whitbourn's ability to add something new...' and his 'flair for rhythm.' Still greater acclaim has been given to his Son of God Mass (8.572737), with ClassicsToday.com giving it a 10/10 score as a 'gem, a masterpiece, a work that compels you to listen in a new way', and Gramophone summing it up as 'strikingly beautiful.'

Renowned American tenor Eric Rieger has performed under such conductors as John Elliot Gardner, Stefano Ranzani, Franz Welser-Möst, and Robert Shaw, and has sung leading roles with opera companies throughout Europe and beyond. Organist Daryl Robinson has earned critical acclaim as a solo and collaborative artist, praised for his innovative programming, compelling performances, and unique depth of interpretative skill. He was winner of both First Prize and Audience Prize at the 2012 American Guild of Organists National Young Artist Competition. The GRAMMY® nominated Westminster Williamson Voices, named after the founder of Westminster Choir College, John Finley Williamson, is lauded by reviewers and audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. Founded by James Jordan in 2003, the ensemble has quickly distinguished itself in the choral world for its distinctive artistry and compelling sound, recordings, educational outreach and its passionate mission to perform new music and forge close relationships with composers. It received a GRAMMY® nomination for its recording of Annelies by James Whitbourn in 2013.

£5.00 (£7.99)
Image Wonder Of Christmas
The Elora Festival Singers, conducted by internationally acclaimed director Noel Edison, is one of the most exciting of contemporary choirs. Their disc of Eric Whitacre's choral music (8.559677) was nominated for a GRAMMY® in 2010. Now they turn to the art of the Christmas carol, a genre covering a variety of styles, both popular and refined, each piece expressing religious sentiments and beliefs.

The music ranges from much-loved settings to new works, from polyphony to more straightforward melodies, in a recital stretching from the Middle Ages to the music of today.

This much admired choir and director have been lavishly praised for their previous Naxos discs. 'Choral enthusiasts, arise! Here is a new recording that you can really get excited about.' - ClassicsToday 10/10, of the album 'Psalms of the Soul' [8554823]. This latest disc celebrates the art of the Christmas Carol, from the Middle Ages to the music of today, not least in the settings by John Tavener and the ever-popular John Rutter. This is the perfect Christmas offering.

£3.00 (£7.99)
Image My Playlist for The Christmas Season
The nights are drawing in, there's a nip in the air, and everywhere you go there are twinkling lights - it's time to prepare for Christmas! Let this album of festive classical works help you to get ready for the holidays as you light the Advent candle with Chilcott, build a snowman with Korngold, untangle the fairy lights with Liszt and get the box of baubles down from the loft with Tchaikovsky. And once the halls have been decked and the presents are placed underneath the tree have yourself a merry, musical Christmas!

£5.00 (£7.99)
Image Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2
Beethoven’s first two piano concertos share an abundance of lyric and virtuosic qualities. Concerto No. 1 in C major is expansive and richly orchestrated with a sublime slow movement that is tender and ardent, and a finale full of inventive humour. Concerto No. 2 in B flat major marries energy with elegance, reserving poetic breadth for its slow movement and quirky wit for the finale. Also included is the jovial Rondo, WoO 6, which Beethoven originally intended to be the finale of Concerto No. 2.
Giltburg’s previous release of Shostakovich’s Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2, and his piano
arrangement of the Eighth String Quartet (8.573666) with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Vasily Petrenko received several accolades – Diapason d’Or, BBC Music Magazine ‘Concerto Choice’, MusicWeb International ‘Recording of the Month’, and a ‘Supersonic’ rating from Pizzicato. ClassicsToday. com also awarded it a perfect 10/10 score: ‘These are big, bold, in-your-face performances that find a wider range of expression in both works than you might have believed possible.’

£5.00 (£7.99)
Image A Winters Light
The Vasari Singers' annual carol concerts always provide a warming blend of traditional favourites and less well-known music from all periods and styles. Here, joyous and masterful 16th-century polyphony sits alongside eternally popular Victorian carols, and exquisitely crafted settings by Howells and Walford Davies join works as recent as Gabriel Jackson's The Christ-child. Bob Chilcott magically superimposes traditional carols with entrancing new material, and no Vasari Christmas would be complete without some close harmony Swingle singing. The Vasari Singers have also recorded Gabriel Jackson's Requiem (8.573049).

The Vasari Singers' Great British Anthems [8.572102] was described as "essential listening" by Gramophone. The mixture of moving beauty and entertaining good humour in this programme makes it a disc which is sure to appeal to a very wide audience this and every festive season.

Founded in 1980, Vasari Singers is among the leading chamber choirs in Britain, performing music ranging from Renaissance to contemporary. The choir performs regularly in London as well as visiting many of England's cathedrals to sing services, with recent trips to Canterbury, Salisbury, Bath and Ripon. The choir and Jeremy Backhouse are deeply committed to contemporary music and have commissioned over twenty works since 2000, including works by Francis Pott and Gabriel Jackson.

£3.00 (£7.99)
Image Festive Frolic
Roderick Elms's Christmas music ranges from charming and witty arrangements of well-loved traditional carols to new settings and festive orchestral pieces written for this very special season. The charm and immediate appeal of his music has been captivating audiences across the country for many years and this selection represents some of his most popular works, together with a few new ones such as the spectacular suite 'Wassail Down the Wind' for organ and orchestra.

£3.00 (£7.99)
Image My First Christmas Album
Can you imagine Christmas without music? No singing, no jingling. Only Scrooge would be happy with that! It is a time for music to fill the air. Part of the fun is hearing things that are only played at Christmas and at no other time of year - carols that make you think of the end of term, or the holidays, or bobble hats; songs that make you think of food, or snow, or stockings. Here are some of the most popular carols, as well as some other surprises... Merry Christmas!

£5.00 (£7.99)
Image A German Christmas
The pieces on this album originate largely from the Christmette by Michael Praetorius. In addition, nativity hymns by a range of different composers from the same era have been compiled. In Lutheran style the compositions on this album include solo-pieces, choir arrangements, double-choral motets, instrumental pieces and of course the church organ repertoire. The listener can also hear pieces, which were not necessarily meant for Christmas, but fit the programme very well. The function of some of the pieces is liturgical, like "Gloria", "Our Father" or the mighty Entrance-Prelude. Two other pieces are meditative moments about the name of Jesus.

£5.00 (£7.99)
Image TAVENER: Ex Maria Virgine
£3.00 (£7.99)
Image Sergei Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf (Special Edit
A special 20th anniversary edition of a Naxos bestseller - the iconic 1997 recording of Peter and the Wolf, famously narrated by Dame Edna Everage. Packaged in a commemorative slipcase, with a bonus sticker sheet for children. “Using her own enthusiastically expanded version of the original commentary, Dame Edna Everage is sure to draw any young possum into the world of the orchestra. Her exuberance offsets any twee moments, and the Melbourne Orchestra illustrate vivid instrumental descriptions with splendidly alive and colourful playing. The Naxos recording is excellent and, with its highly enjoyable couplings, this inexpensive triptych is warmly recommendable.' – The Penguin Guide


£5.00 (£7.99)
Image The Night Before Christmas
£3.00 (£7.99)
Image VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Hodie/Christmas Carols Fantasia
£5.00 (£7.99)
Image In Terra Pax
The choral music on this disc includes Holst's surprisingly neglected Christmas Day, as well as music by Leighton, Joubert, Mathias, Gardner and Rutter. The nostalgic mood of Howells's evergreen carol anthems is echoed in Finzi's In terra pax, which recalls the pealing of bells at midnight on a frosty Christmas Eve. The City of London Choir, which enjoys an enviable reputation as a \leader among non-professional choruses" (The Times), makes its Naxos debut with this delightful recording."

£5.00 (£7.99)
Image Manchester Carols
This new sequence of Christmas carols was written in 2007 by the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy and composer Sasha Johnson Manning, and premiered in the same year. The Manchester Carols re-tell the Christmas Story for the 21st Century, celebrating a child's birth and all that child was to become: a man who lived by a humble, selfless creed, championing the marginalised in a society which was, as it is now, fraught with political tensions. These carols are for everybody, the believer and the non-believer, people of other faiths and everyone wishing to join in the Christmas celebrations.

£3.00 (£7.99)
Image My Playlist for Drawing & Painting
Music and art are inexorably bound together, and this playlist of inspirational and relaxing classical works provides the perfect background to time spent drawing and painting. From the iconic ? rst notes of Promenade from Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, to Murphy's sublime Scintillation from And then at night I paint the stars, these works span a multitude of hues and tones, from Higdon's Pale Yellow to Bliss's Purple. Prime your canvas, prepare your palette and immerse yourself in a world of colour and sound.

£5.00 (£7.99)
Image My Playlist for Baking
Wooden spoons at the ready! Turn the oven on, weigh out the sugar and immerse yourself in a feast of classical music – from Tchaikovsky's enchanting Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy to Clara Schumann's delicious Notturno. Perhaps you fancy making a sweet French Pastry with Hayman, baking a pie with Bax – or maybe even conjuring up a wedding cake with Saint-Saëns? Whatever you're baking, this album will serve as the perfect accompaniment to your culinary creativity.

£5.00 (£7.99)
Image My Playlist for Gardening
The garden is a magical place to spend a day, and this playlist of cultivated classical pieces is the perfect accompaniment to working amid the ?owers and foliage. Hear the sun rise in Grieg's exquisite Morning Mood from Peer Gynt, waltz among the ?owers with Tchaikovsky and watch the sparkling Fountain Dance with Elgar before drifting into the Haze of Noon with Alwyn. In the afternoon, shelter from the shower with Debussy and listen to the Birds in the High Hall Garden, exquisitely brought to life by Julian Lloyd Webber, before Gibbs' Dusk falls.

£5.00 (£7.99)
Image Medieval Carols
In 15th-century England a tradition grew up for the composition of polyphonic carols. None of them is ascribed to a specific composer or poet, neither is their function completely understood. The form is that of alternating verses and burdens (refrains), the language generally being a mixture of Latin and English. The majority of the carols have sacred texts and it is possible that these were designed for liturgical use. Others are moralistic or celebratory and were possibly used to enliven feasts and banquets in aristocratic households or for recreational purposes at educational establishments.

£5.00 (£7.99)
Image My Playlist for Sewing & Knitting
Knit one, purl one…and press play on this album of specially picked classical works, stitched together to create a musical tapestry of pieces to sew and knit to. Lay out a pattern for a New Dress with Waxman, thread The Sewing Machine with Ibert, cross and twist the bobbins on the lace pillow with Johann Strauss I and prime The Darning-Needle with Boris Tchaikovsky. From the sublime Fantasia on Greensleeves by Vaughan Williams to the delightful Valse from Coppélia by Delibes, this playlist is the perfect accompaniment to needlework.

£5.00 (£7.99)
Image My Playlist for The Nativity
Can you hear the music? Do you hear it play? It's telling you the story of the first Christmas Day…
Perfect for children of all ages, this album of classical and traditional works is a charming and engaging retelling of the nativity through music, song and rhyme. Listen to the music and read the story!


£3.00 (£7.99)
Image Another Night Before Christmas | Scrooge
£3.00 (£7.99)
Image Joy to the World
£5.00 (£7.99)
Image CHRISTMAS CAROLS FROM TEWKESBURY ABBEY
Carols from Tewkesbury Abbey

Traditionally carols were not necessarily confined to the Christmas season, but were dance-songs. The dancers of Kölbigk, indeed, found themselves in difficulties with the Church, condemned by an angry priest to dance for a whole year, as a punishment for their neglect of religious duties, carolling at an inappropriate time in the churchyard. Nevertheless, even in the Middle Ages, there were carols specifically for Christmas, the season with which nowadays these songs are most closely associated. It has become the fashion to use very considerable technical and musical skill in the arrangement of essentially simple and popular music for the kind of sophisticated performance to be found in the major English choral foundations, and on these arrangements composers annually use much ingenuity and artifice.

The Tewkesbury Abbey carols open with The first Nowell, in an arrangement by Sir David Willcocks, a musician well known for his long association with King's College, Cambridge, and its choir, and with the London Bach Choir. The series continues with another David Willcocks arrangement, this time of an old Basque carol, with well known words by S. Baring-Gould, Gabriel's Message. Other fine arrangements by David Willcocks include a version of the popular While shepherds watched their flocks, from Thomas East's 1592 publication, The Whole Booke of Psalmes with their Wonted Tunes, as they are sung in Churches. The Polish carol Infant holy, infant lowly is included, with the fifteenth century French Franciscan processional Come, o come Emmanuel. Two other French carols arranged by David Willcocks are Angels from the realms of glory and Quelle est cette odeur agréable? (Whence is that goodly fragrance flowings?), the latter sung here in French. A final arrangement by David Willcocks in the present collection is of the traditional English watchman's song God rest ye merry, gentlemen.

A maiden most gentle appears in an arrangement by Andrew Carter and the traditional Cornish Sans Day Carol in a version by John Rutter. There is an arrangement of Karl Leuner's Shepherds' Cradle-Song by Charles Macpherson and of the traditional English The Holly and the Ivy by Sir Walford Davies, Master of the King's Musicke from 1934 in succession to Sir Edward Elgar. The oratorio by Hector Berlioz, L'enfance du Christ (The Childhood of Christ) brings The Shepherds' Farewell (Thou must leave thy lowly dwelling).

The Stockport composer John Wainwright, organist and singer at Manchester Collegiate Church, later Manchester Cathedral, in the year before his death, 1767, is best remembered for his Christmas hymn Christians awake, salute the happy mom, written about 1750. Less familiar is the traditional English melody set to The Truth from Above by Ralph Vaughan Williams, co-editor of the important 1928 Oxford Book of Carols, a reaction, like The English Hymnal, to the excesses of nineteenth century sentimental hymnody.

The anonymous fifteenth century words of Adam lay y-bounden are familiar in various settings. Not the least well known is the version by Boris Ord, predecessor of Sir David Willcocks at King's College, Cambridge, where he was choirmaster and organist for some twenty-five years. The nineteenth century hymn As with gladness men of old is followed by an old Basque Noel, used as a setting of anonymous fifteenth century English words, I saw a maiden.

Good King Wenceslas, Bohemian saint and patriot, owes its words to J. M. Neale, its melody to the late sixteenth century German Piae cantiones and its arrangement to Reginald Jaques, for thirty years conductor of the London Bach Choir, a position he held until 1961, when he was succeeded by Sir David Willcocks. Michael Head, a respected composer of many English songs, is the composer of The Little Road to Bethlehem, with words by Margaret Rose.

The Choir of Tewkesbury Abbey School
The Tewkesbury Abbey School was founded in 1973 as the choir school for Tewkesbury Abbey. Its foundation has revived the tradition begun in the Abbey which is generally acknowledged as having one of the finest acoustics in England. The choristers, who are awarded scholarships on audition at regular voice trials, are all educated at the Abbey School which is a member of the Choir School's Association.

The Abbey School Choir sings Evensong during term time on Monday to Thursday. Most of the choristers are weekly boarders and without weekend commitments, they are able to combine the benefits of a choristership - with its excellent musical and academic training - with a normal family life at weekends.

Outside the normal routine of Abbey services, the choir is increasingly in demand for concerts, recital work and recording, both in England and abroad. Recent concert tours have included visits to Germany, the Soviet Union, France and Holland. Earlier this year the choir returned to France for a series of concerts in the Loire Valley, prior to which the choristers gave a series of four concerts with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Simon Rattle.

Andrew Sackett
Andrew Sackett was born in Sheffield in 1964 and at an early age had piano lessons with Fanny Waterman. Before entering the Royal Northern College of Music in 1982 he studied organ with Jonathan Rees-Williams at Lichfield Cathedral. At college he studied organ with Eric Chadwick and Gordon Stewart and piano accompaniment with David Lloyd. During his final year at Royal Northern College he was also organ scholar at Manchester Cathedral. In January 1987 he was appointed Assistant Organist at Carlisle Cathedral and in September 1989 moved to Tewkesbury Abbey, where he is Director of the Choir of the Abbey School. He also conducts the highly acclaimed Malvern chamber choir, The Aldwyn Consort of Voices, as well as being in demand as a recitalist and accompanist.



£3.00 (£7.99)
Image Whitbourn: Carolae
James Whitbourn is a GRAMMY® nominated composer whose music is internationally admired for its direct connection with performers and audiences, The Observer describing him as 'a truly original communicator in modern British choral music'. Carolae is a fusion of two great American and English Christmas traditions, with the Missa carolae at its heart. Whitbourn's love of medieval musical language is shown through his crafting of original melody and skilful arrangements of seasonal favourites. The music of James Whitbourn is a well-established part of the Naxos catalogue, and this Christmas release will be an attractive prospect for fans of choral music looking for a fresh approach to the traditional music of the season. The album Luminosity (8.572103) was considered 'striking... [with a] glowingly committed performance' by BBC Music Magazine and admired by American Record Guide for 'Whitbourn's ability to add something new...' and his 'flair for rhythm.' Still greater acclaim has been given to his Son of God Mass (8.572737), with ClassicsToday.com giving it a 10/10 score as a 'gem, a masterpiece, a work that compels you to listen in a new way', and Gramophone summing it up as 'strikingly beautiful.'

Renowned American tenor Eric Rieger has performed under such conductors as John Elliot Gardner, Stefano Ranzani, Franz Welser-Möst, and Robert Shaw, and has sung leading roles with opera companies throughout Europe and beyond. Organist Daryl Robinson has earned critical acclaim as a solo and collaborative artist, praised for his innovative programming, compelling performances, and unique depth of interpretative skill. He was winner of both First Prize and Audience Prize at the 2012 American Guild of Organists National Young Artist Competition. The GRAMMY® nominated Westminster Williamson Voices, named after the founder of Westminster Choir College, John Finley Williamson, is lauded by reviewers and audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. Founded by James Jordan in 2003, the ensemble has quickly distinguished itself in the choral world for its distinctive artistry and compelling sound, recordings, educational outreach and its passionate mission to perform new music and forge close relationships with composers. It received a GRAMMY® nomination for its recording of Annelies by James Whitbourn in 2013.

£5.00 (£7.99)
Image Gabriel Fauré; Maurice Ravel: Music for Brass Sept
Septura turn to one of the most ground-breaking periods of music history: France at the outset of the 20th century. In this fertile compositional field solo brass instruments flourished, but the chamber music landscape was barren. And so the group re-imagine works by the three composers who defined France’s unique musical direction: Fauré, Debussy and Ravel. Conjuring the full kaleidoscope of colours possible from seven brass instruments, they trace the origins of Impressionism, from Fauré’s masterful mélodies through to the iconic piano works of Debussy and Ravel.

£5.00 (£7.99)
Image RAWSTHORNE: Symphonies Nos. 1-3
Alan Rawsthorne (1905-1971)


Symphonies Nos. 1-3


The first performance of a composer's first symphony isa musical rite of passage, a declaration that he or she hasarrived. Rawsthorne, like Brahms, left his entrance intothis august company a little late, for he was 45 when hecompleted his First Symphony.

Rawsthorne's reputation was founded upon a handfulof published compositions. The earliest and mostesteemed of these were the Theme and Variations for TwoViolins (1937), Symphonic Studies (1938), FourBagatelles for Piano (1938) and the First Piano Concerto(1942), with all of which he established a singular voice.

Of post-war compositions, the First Violin Concerto(1948) and the Concerto for String Orchestra (1949),further secured his standing. It was against thisaccumulation of solid achievement that his FirstSymphony was expectantly awaited.

The symphony was commissioned by the RoyalPhilharmonic Society and first performed on 15thNovember 1950 by the BBC Symphony Orchestraconducted by Sir Adrian Boult. Without preamble thelistener is propelled into the turbulent opening section,Allegro tempestuoso, into the first forty or so seconds ofwhich the composer concentrates most of the elementswhich prove ripe for subsequent development. Themovement is marked by restlessness, both harmonic andrhythmic; agitation even underlies the calm secondarytheme which appears on the oboe. This is continued bythe strings, accompanied by a scurrying semi-quaverfigure which becomes material in the ensuingdevelopment. A long-drawn melody (cor anglais andviolas) provides contrast and leads to a reprise of theopening theme, now passive and lyrical. Cellos andbasses start a climb from the depths, building thefoundation for a crescendo, a prelude to a shortenedreprise of the opening music. The movement endssombrely on a unison G, the tonal centre of the wholework. In the slow movement a recitative-like figure on thelower strings and bassoons, alternating with a chordalpassage on horns and trumpets, establishes an immediatechange of mood. The main theme is a long, sad melodyfor flute, which is taken up by muted strings, giving itgreater expressive intensity, before further development.

A middle section is of a contrasting, romantic andsentimental nature, the climax of which brings arestatement of the introductory material. The cor anglaisplays a version of the first flute subject leading themovement to a quiet close. The restlessness of the scherzois attributable to the continual shifts in metre, alternating5/8, 3/8, 2/8, of the main subject, which is derived fromthe flute melody of the previous movement. Thecontrasting middle, trio, section, now in a stabilised 2/4,can be traced to a descending woodwind figure in the firstmovement. These are just two examples of the integrationof the symphony's thematic materials. The reprise of theopening section concludes the movement. Rawsthornetells us: \The last movement is based on an idea stated ina short introduction by the brass, maestoso, which is soondoubled in speed to form the subject of the main Allegro".

He considered this movement "rather more discursivethan the rest of the Symphony". It proceeds in anunbuttoned fashion through several inventive episodesbefore the introduction of what Rawsthorne calls "asecondary theme of a playful nature", which adds materialfor further episodes. The end arrives rather abruptly toseal the symphony with an emphatic G major chord,scored for the full orchestra. The work was well received.

Rawsthorne's Second Symphony (A PastoralSymphony) was a commission from the City ofBirmingham Symphony Orchestra (supported by the JohnFeeney Charitable Trust), and was given its firstperformance in Birmingham on 29th September 1959 bythe commissioning orchestra under Meredith Davies. It isno programme piece; no quails or imitations of other birdsong are to be heard. Rawsthorne moved to live in ruralEssex in 1953 and this is an expression of the pleasures ofliving in an environment where the passage of the seasonscould be closely observed and a tranquillity, denied theurban dweller, was to be found. Nevertheless the harsherundercurrents of country life are not ignored; beneath thesurface of the music melancholy undertones are to besensed. The introductory bars accumulate to form anexquisite chord of harmonic portent. The movement'smain elements are a flowing melody, its continuation by asecondary idea heard in woodwind and violas, and alively scherzando figure recognizable by its dottedrhythm. The second part of the movement begins withlyrical phrases derived from the first theme accompaniedby sustained harmonies, until the mood is broken byrough chords on the strings. From here the movementworks towards a modified version of the openingmaterial. The slow movement opens with a drowsy hornsolo, containing an echo of the previous movement. Thisis an introduction to the rhapsodical principal melodydeclaimed by flute, oboe and violins, which is developeduntil a contrasting section is reached, described byRawsthorne as having "... a rather march-like feeling.

The theme is darker, more gloomy." The composerexplores this in three-part canon, employing the fullorchestra at its climax. The somnolent horn call returns toput the movement to bed.

The composer calls the third movement 'Country Dance'.

The first theme is written in a favourite Rawsthorne style,a jovial jig-cum-tarantella. This opens the first of threesections with fragments of the tune building to its fullstatement. The second section introduces a new melody,played over tenacious fragments of the first tune in thebass. The mood is broken by the sudden interjection oftwo trumpets, heralding the return of the first section'stheme. The finale is an epilogue, which sets a poem byHenry Howard, Earl of Surrey (1516-1547). Rawsthornetells us that he chose this poem not for its melancholy, butfor "... the beautiful alliterative verse, the closeobservation, and general expression of the pleasures oflife in the country". The soprano soloist meditates uponmaterial derived from the first movement. The scene is setby a return of the music heard at the very opening of thesymphony. Throughout, the voice is accompanied withdelicacy, in some passages in duet with a solo oboe ortrumpet. The work ends as it began with the serene spellcast by the strings, tinged by the counter-harmony of thehorns, before they retreat, leaving the strings to bring aresolution.

Commissioned by the Cheltenham FestivalCommittee, Rawsthorne's Third Symphony received itsfirst performance at Cheltenham on 8th July 1964 by theBBC Northern Orchestra conducted by George Hurst.

The work returns to the turbulence of the First Symphony,now tempered by the subtle colouration and gentlerexpression of the Second. The opening of the firstmovement predicts a more astringent idiom, yetRawsthorne's voice remains distinct. He tells us that themovement "... is based upon two thematic elements, andtheir relations to one another. It is in this aspect of its formthat its claim to be symphonic resides". The first theme ispresented in fragments, which accrue to merge into ascampering passage over which the second, imposingtheme appears vehemently stated on cellos and horns. Thefalling interval of the final phrase has a valedictoryquality - shades of Mahler - which remains prominentthroughout the development and elsewhere. The workingout of the materials is strenuous and rigorous becauseRawsthorne employs his own version of the serial system.

A return of the second theme in its original form presagesthe end in a quiet, shimmering passage. The slowmovement is one of Rawsthorne's finest creations, writtenin the style of a Sarabande. The composer points to thesalient elements, "An important feature is the pedal noteF, which persists, on variou

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Image ELGAR-PAYNE: Symphony No. 3


Edward Elgar (1857 - 1934) - AnthonyPayne (b. 1936)



Symphony No.3



 



Elgar's last major completed work wasthe Cello Concerto Op, 85, finished on 8th August 1919. The death of his wifeAlice on 7th April 1920shattered him: he described himself as 'a broken man'. The music he wrote betweenthen and his own death on 23rd February 1934 was all on a small scale: the Severn Suite, the Nursery Suite,piano pieces, songs, and orchestral transcriptions. He did, however, embark ontwo major projects that never progressed beyond the stage of sketches an opera,The Spanish Lady, with a libretto by Sir Barry Jackson, Director of theMalvern Festival, based on Ben Jonson's play The Devil is an Ass (begunin 1929), and a third symphony On 7th January 1932 Elgar's staunch ally GeorgeBernard Shaw, who for years had been trying to persuade him to compose anothersymphony, wrote. 'Why don't you make the BBC order a new symphony? It canafford it.' A few months later Elgar was seriously considering Shaw'ssuggestion; on 29th June GBS wrote, on a postcard, 'Why not aFinancial Symphony? Allegro: Impending Disaster. Lento mesto: Stony BrokeScherzo: Light Heart and Empty Pocket. Allegro con brio: Clouds Clearing.'



 



Rumours started to spread. On 4th AugustWalter Legge, then Editor of the Gramophone Company's house magazine TheVoice, wrote to Elgar that he had heard, on what he believed to be 'veryreliable authority', that 'you have practically completed a third symphony'.Elgar promptly retaliated. 'There is nothing to say about the mythicalSymphony for some time, probably a long time, possibly no time, - never.' At a teaparty during the Three Choirs Festival in Worcester a month later Elgar was said, by the critic H. C. Colles, to havereferred to the symphony as 'written', but said it would be pointless 'tofinish up the full score since no one wanted his music now'. On 30th SeptemberShaw wrote to Sir John Reith, Director General of the BBC, reminding him thatin 1823 (actually 1822) the Philharmonic Society in London had offeredBeethoven ?ú50 for the manuscript score of a new symphony, and that in 1827 theSociety sent him ?ú100; he was dying and he said 'God bless the PhilharmonicSociety and the whole English nation.' GBS described this as 'by far themost creditable incident in English history' and suggested that 'the BBC, withits millions, could do for Elgar what the old Philharmonic did for Beethoven. Youcould bring the Third Symphony into existence and obtain the performing rightfor the BBC for, say, ten years, for a few thousand pounds. The kudos would be stupendousand the value for money ample.' The conductor Sir Landon Ronald acted asgo-between, and the formal commission, offering a fee of ?ú1,000, payable infour quarterly instalments, was made to Elgar in November. At a dinner in London'sGuildhall on 14th December, immediately after the last of three BBC concertscelebrating Elgar's seventy-fifth birthday (on 2nd June 1932), Ronald announcedthe commission publicly. The next day Fred Gaisberg, Recording Artists Managerof the Gramophone Company, wrote to Elgar about the possibility of recordingthe work immediately before or after the first performance (the following autumn?)but received an evasive reply, ending 'as to Sym. III - ?'.



 



Very little of the symphony, even in the form of sketches,seems to have existed at the time. On 5th February 1933 Elgar'sclose friend and biographer W .H. Reed (Leader of the London Symphony Orchestrafrom 1912 to 1935) made the first of many visits to 'Marl Bank', Elgar's housein Worcester, with his violin, to play through, with the composer at the piano,as much of the work as there was: sketches for the first movement, including atransition 'which I had to play countless times in every conceivable manner';the second movement, 'in place of Scherzo', of which 'he must have had the maintheme... (very light and rather wistful) in his mind for some years, as I haveseen it scribbled in his scrap books in various forms'; the slow movement,based on a 'broad, dignified and very expressive melody... [in which] heexhorted me to "tear my heart out each time we repeated it". I wasnever able to induce him to write down the continuation, but I was allowed toplaya bar or two (looking over his shoulder) from the fragments on one or twoother scraps of MSS. but I could never prevail upon him to divulge in whatorder they were to appear.' The finale was open to various possible readings,but 'he never played anything to show in what manner it should end, not evenimprovisation, but would leave off suddenly and abruptly when we arrived nearthat part, and say, "Enough of this; let us go out and take the dogs onthe Common." Also, he would be very restless and ill at ease, and wouldnot discuss the symphony any more, and it would be quite a while before hebecame calm and resumed his normal good spirits' Shaw and his wife Charlotte,Basil Maine (Elgar's first biographer) and Gaisberg were among the people towhom Elgar played (either by himself or with Reed) parts of the symphony, oreven possibly an attempt at all of it, often in conjunction with excerpts fromthe opera.



 



When the BBC's first cheque for ?ú250 arrived on 25thMarch, Elgar wrote to Reith. 'I am hoping to begin "scoring" the workvery shortly... up to the present the symphony is the strongest thing I haveput on paper.' On 27th April Adrian Boult's assistant, Owen Mase, wrote to Elgarasking if the symphony would be ready in time for the first concert in the BBCSymphony Orchestra's 1933-34 season, on 18th October. Elgar hedged once more, sayingthat no announcement about the first performance should be made at this stage.

Mase then suggested May 1934 as an alternative; Elgar, in bed recovering from'a sudden bad turn two days ago', wrote to say that he liked the idea. On 20thSeptember he had another 'bad turn', as a result of which he was told that hemust go to a nursing home to undergo 'some small operation'. As though he instinctivelyrealised the seriousness of the situation, he wrote, on 7th October, to Reith'I am not at all sure how things will turn out and have made arrangements thatin case the Symphony does not materialise the sums you have paid on accountshall be returned. This catastrophe came without the slightest warning as I wasin the midst of scoring the work. Perhaps it will not be necessary to referpublicly to the Symphony in any way at present; we will wait and see whathappens to me.' The operation revealed inoperable cancer and work on thesymphony ceased. As he told his physician, Dr Arthur Thomson: 'If I can't completethe Third Symphony, somebody will complete it - or write a better one - infifty or five hundred years.' On 2Oth November the faithful Billy Reed went tosee him. 'It was evident that he was trying very hard to speak; and graduallyand at long intervals the words came from him. "I want you... to dosomething for me the symphony all bits and pieces... no one no one... don't letanyone tinker with it... no one could understand. .I think you had better burnit.", Reed then said 'I don't think it is necessary to burn it: it wouldbe awful to do that. But Carice [Elgar's daughter] and I will remember that noone is to try to put it together. No one shall ever tinker with it" wepromise you that.'



 



In the last 42 pages of Elgar as I knew him (Gollancz,1936) Reed reproduced, in facsimile, many of the most important and substantialof Elgar's 127 pages of sketch

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Image Tony Banks: Five
0

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Image Shostakovich: Chamber Symphony Op. 73s, Symphony f
An eminent violist and conductor, Rudolf Barshai was responsible
for five transcriptions of Shostakovich’s String Quartets and this
recording completes the sequence with the Third and Tenth (Volume
1 is on 8.573466). Barshai recast String Quartet No. 3 as a chamber
symphony for strings and woodwind, the latter adding a sense of
foreboding to the texture and engaging in whimsical dialogues during
a work full of terseness and piercing power. Fashioning a Symphony
for Strings from the Tenth Quartet soon after its première, Barshai
graphically charts its movement from innocence lost and then
tentatively regained.

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Image Rossini:Stabat Mater
Rossini's Stabat Mater is one of the staples of the sacred music repertoire but had a complicated history. He wrote it for performance in Madrid but, running short of time, enlisted the help of his friend Giovanni Tadolini. Rossini completed six pieces, Tadolini seven. Tadolini's pieces now only exist as piano reductions but conductor Antonino Fogliani has orchestrated them to allow listeners to hear the original work for the first time since 1833. Marco Tarelli's 2009 orchestration of Giovanna d'Arco (Joan of Arc), a cantata for solo voice, is also heard on this first recording.

Antonino Fogliani made his celebrated début at the Pesaro Rossini Opera Festival in 2001 with Rossini's Il viaggio a Reims, followed by various engagements in Pesaro and in leading opera houses, including La Fenice in Venice, the Teatro dell'Opera, Rome, the San Carlo in Naples and the Opéra Comique in Paris, as well as the Bergamo Donizetti Festival. He made his début at Rossini in Wildbad in 2004, leading to a series of further performances and recordings. He was appointed musical director of Rossini in Wildbad in 2011.

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Image ALWYN: Symphonies Nos. 1 and 3
William Alwyn (1905-1985)


Symphonies Nos. 1 and 3


William Alwyn was born in Northampton on the 7thNovember 1905. He studied at the Royal Academy ofMusic in London, where, at the age of 21, he wasappointed Professor of Composition, a position whichhe held for nearly thirty years. Amongst his works arefive symphonies, concertos for flute, oboe, violin, andharp and two piano concertos, various descriptiveorchestral pieces, four operas and much chamber,instrumental and vocal music. In addition to this Alwyncontributed nearly two hundred scores for the cinema.

He began his career in this medium in 1936, writingmusic for documentaries. In 1941 he wrote his firstfeature length score for Penn of Pennsylvania. Othernotable film scores include the following: DesertVictory, The Way Ahead, The True Glory, Odd Man Out,The History Of Mr Polly, The Fallen Idol, The RockingHorse Winner, The Crimson Pirate, The Million PoundNote, The Winslow Boy, The Card, and A Night ToRemember. In recognition of his services to the filmmedium he was made a Fellow of the British FilmAcademy, the only composer ever to have received thishonour. His other appointments include serving aschairman for the Composers' Guild of Great Britain,which he had been instrumental in forming, in 1949,1950 and 1954. He was a Director of the MechanicalCopyright Protection Society, a Vice-President of theSociety for the Promotion of New Music (S.P.N.M.) andDirector of the Performing Rights Society. For manyyears he was one of the panel reading new scores for theBBC. The conductor, Sir John Barbirolli, championedhis first four symphonies and the First Symphony isdedicated to him.

Alwyn spent the last 25 years of his life inBlythburgh, Suffolk, where, in those tranquilsurroundings, he concentrated on two operas, Juan, orthe Libertine and Miss Julie. In addition to chamber andvocal music, he composed his last major orchestralworks there, the Concerto Grosso No. 3, commissionedas a tribute to Sir Henry Wood on the centenary of hisbirth in 1964 and first performed at the LondonPromenade Concerts that year by the BBC SymphonyOrchestra conducted by the composer, the Sinfoniettafor String Orchestra in 1970 and the Symphony No. 5'Hydriotaphia' during 1972-73. When not writing musiche spent his time painting and writing poetry and anautobiography entitled Winged Chariot. He died on the11th September 1985 after various illnesses just twomonths before his eightieth birthday.

\My Symphony No. 1 is dedicated to Sir John Barbirolli,who conducted its first performance at the 1950Cheltenham Festival. Although the work adheres to thetraditional four-movement symphony its use of germinalseeds already hints at the new symphonic paths I was totread in the three symphonies which followed within thesame decade.

The first movement begins pianissimo with asolemn phrase (motif A) on cellos and basses. Twomysterious notes (motif B) ascend on the woodwind andresolve into a more extended version on the strings.

Almost immediately this groping fragment is interruptedby a sustained drum-roll and, over a steadily mountingchord on muted brass the strings repeat a four-notefigure with an upward lift of a ninth (motif C). These arethe seeds from which the movement evolves. TheAdagio tempo gradually accelerates to Allegro ritmico.

The repeated notes, which inaugurate it, are obsessionaland a recognizable 'thumb-print' in a number of myworks. The Allegro dies away and, after a pause, isfollowed by motif C (Andante espressivo) now extendedto a long rising tune on the strings, and further extendedby the horn over a pulsing base. The music becomesmore and more passionate and reaches its climax with areturn of the Adagio-motif A proclaimed by thetrombones against the background of the full orchestra,which quickly fades a niente, like a momentary vision ofa mountain peak glimpsed through the clouds.

The Scherzo (Allegro leggiero) stems from a twobarphrase on the woodwind (a variant of motif A of thefirst movement). Suddenly it plunges into a roisteringtune fortissimo on unison horns followed by a morelilting and graceful theme on the high strings. This issoon abandoned for a tumultuous section where thebrass blare out their version of motif A and whichgradually subsides into a Trio section (again a variant ofA). A new sequential idea (D) follows, then, after amomentary hesitation (muted horns and celesta) theScherzo abruptly returns, to finish with a brilliant Codabased on motif D and inverted fragments of A.

The third movement (Adagio ma con moto), whichstarts with quiet horn chords and a phrase of the maintheme on cor anglais, needs no analysis. It is in simpleABA form and is essentially song-like in character, butnotice the unusual repeat of the initial theme in theminor mode after its statement in the major key.

Finally the Allegro Jubilante (giubiliante to thepurist). What can I say about it except that it is probablythe most extrovert piece I have ever written? As is mypractice I spend little time on development; each ideaspontaneously generates a new idea, rhythmic ormelodic (e.g. the long undulating chromatic tune whichtakes possession of the middle section). Great play ismade of a fanfare-like theme on the brass (one 3/4 barfollowed by three 3/8 bars). This theme dominates themovement and reaches its climax Allegro molto in thetear-away coda, only to be stopped in its traces by a restatement(Molto Adagio) of motif C which brings thesymphony to a dramatic close.

So ends, or rather begins, a new chapter in mymusical life."Symphony No. 3 was commissioned by the BBC in1954 and completed in 1956. The work is dedicated tothe then controller of the BBC Richard Howgill. Thework received its first performance on 10th October1956 at the Royal Festival Hall given by the BBCSymphony Orchestra conducted by Sir ThomasBeecham. Sir John Barbirolli, who had previously giventhe first performances of Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2,should have conducted the premi?¿re but, owing toillness, was unable to do so. The composer says of thework:"In my Third Symphony I use a new kind of twelvenotesystem, the twelve notes used in a different way -in a tonal manner. I retain the concord and discord andrelate them to key and tonality - the work has a strongtonality of E flat major, with C major as a secondarykey, and I also use the twelve notes in a more vocal way.

I have divided the twelve notes into two groups - eightsemi-tones only are used in the first movement - theremaining four in the second movement. In the thirdmovement the two groups are used in opposition, but arecombined in the final pages of the symphony as acomprehensive whole. Harmonically I rely entirely onthe semitones contained in the separate groups: thus theslow movement, through almost its entire length usesonly four notes (D, E natural, F and A flat) for bothmelody and harmony, though there is a brief reference tothe eight-note group in the middle of the movement as areminder of the symphony's tonal centre of E flat. Thisall sounds very complicated, but I don't think you willfind it a difficult work to listen to.

The thematic ideas on which the whole symphony isbased are stated clearly and I hope concisely in the firstfew pages. It is a stormy and passionate work, stronglyrhythmic in the outer movements but finding tranquillityand repose in the middle movement and in the closingpages of the symphony."Note compiled by Andrew Knowleswith extracts by William Alwyn


Reprinted/reproduced with permission ofthe William Alwyn Foundation andthe Syndics of the Cambridge University Library."

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Image Delius, Bax: Choral Music
Frederick Delius and Arnold Bax both made significant contributions to the partsong
repertoire, each leaving a compelling testament to his highly individual
creative personality. Delius’s earlier choral songs are nostalgic for the worlds of
Mendelssohn, Schumann and Grieg, while the brooding contours of On Craig
Ddu results in one of his most remarkable creations. The allure of landscapes
and elemental forces was powerful for both composers; the subtle tensions
and gorgeously layered harmonies of Bax’s settings also evoking historical
remoteness and other-worldly enchantment.

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Image Wonder Of Christmas
The Elora Festival Singers, conducted by internationally acclaimed director Noel Edison, is one of the most exciting of contemporary choirs. Their disc of Eric Whitacre's choral music (8.559677) was nominated for a GRAMMY® in 2010. Now they turn to the art of the Christmas carol, a genre covering a variety of styles, both popular and refined, each piece expressing religious sentiments and beliefs.

The music ranges from much-loved settings to new works, from polyphony to more straightforward melodies, in a recital stretching from the Middle Ages to the music of today.

This much admired choir and director have been lavishly praised for their previous Naxos discs. 'Choral enthusiasts, arise! Here is a new recording that you can really get excited about.' - ClassicsToday 10/10, of the album 'Psalms of the Soul' [8554823]. This latest disc celebrates the art of the Christmas Carol, from the Middle Ages to the music of today, not least in the settings by John Tavener and the ever-popular John Rutter. This is the perfect Christmas offering.

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Image Dvorak: String Quartets Vol.8
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Image My Playlist for The Christmas Season
The nights are drawing in, there's a nip in the air, and everywhere you go there are twinkling lights - it's time to prepare for Christmas! Let this album of festive classical works help you to get ready for the holidays as you light the Advent candle with Chilcott, build a snowman with Korngold, untangle the fairy lights with Liszt and get the box of baubles down from the loft with Tchaikovsky. And once the halls have been decked and the presents are placed underneath the tree have yourself a merry, musical Christmas!

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Image Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2
Beethoven’s first two piano concertos share an abundance of lyric and virtuosic qualities. Concerto No. 1 in C major is expansive and richly orchestrated with a sublime slow movement that is tender and ardent, and a finale full of inventive humour. Concerto No. 2 in B flat major marries energy with elegance, reserving poetic breadth for its slow movement and quirky wit for the finale. Also included is the jovial Rondo, WoO 6, which Beethoven originally intended to be the finale of Concerto No. 2.
Giltburg’s previous release of Shostakovich’s Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2, and his piano
arrangement of the Eighth String Quartet (8.573666) with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Vasily Petrenko received several accolades – Diapason d’Or, BBC Music Magazine ‘Concerto Choice’, MusicWeb International ‘Recording of the Month’, and a ‘Supersonic’ rating from Pizzicato. ClassicsToday. com also awarded it a perfect 10/10 score: ‘These are big, bold, in-your-face performances that find a wider range of expression in both works than you might have believed possible.’

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Image Kummer:Duos For Violn Cello
Frédéric Kummer, one of the founders of the Dresden School of cello-playing, and François Schubert, composer of the delightful L'Abeille (The Bee) and no relation to the more famous Viennese Franz Schubert, delighted audiences with their violin-cello duos. Superb instrumentalists and joint composers, they crafted virtuoso works full of brilliant effects based on popular operatic tunes of the day. These three sets of duets feature fast runs, double stops and chords, pizzicato and harmonics and require cast-iron ensemble.

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Image Franz Liszt: Études d'exécution transcendante, La
Liszt’s Études d’exécution transcendante enshrine the spirit of High Romanticism, embodying extremes of expressive drama and technical virtuosity. His encyclopedic approach to technique is shown at its most dazzling in this cycle, heard here in the 1852 revision which Liszt himself declared ‘the only authentic one’. Integration of musical and technical elements is absolute, and the music’s narratives are supported by dramatic physicality, an orchestral richness of sonority, and an exceptional colouristic quality.
Boris Giltburg’s recordings for Naxos received numerous praises and awards. Recently he won Best Soloist Recording (20th/21st century) at the inaugural Opus Klassik Awards for his recording of
Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Carlos Miguel Prieto, coupled with the Études-tableaux (8.573629). In May 2018 Naxos released his recording of the Third Piano Concerto and Corelli Variations with the same forces (8.573630), which has already garnered spectacular reviews including a Gramophone Editor’s Choice award.


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Image Timothy Hamilton: Requiem
Commissioned in 2012 to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, Timothy Hamilton’s Requiem draws its inspiration from the Roman liturgy. In twelve movements, it conjures up a vivid sequence of images depicting both the horror of war and the calmness and eeriness of the aftermath of battle, interspersed with moments of sombre and contemplative reflection most notably in the plangent setting of Isaac Watts’ Give us the wings of faith and the orchestral interlude Lest We Forget. The work builds to a powerful and moving conclusion with soprano and then chorus welcoming the souls of the fallen into paradise.

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Image Schumann: Piano Music
The three works on this recording are collections of short pieces, strung together and forming a cohesive whole - a form which Schumann himself invented, developed and brought to perfection. Davidsbündlertänze (Dances of the League of David) was written after Schumann's engagement to Clara Wieck, to whom he wrote, 'If I have ever been happy at the piano, it was when I was composing these.' Papillons (Butterflies) is the work of a youthful, unfettered imagination, and Carnaval is one of his most popular pieces, a display of both technique and emotion.

Boris Giltburg, who took first prize at the 2013 Queen Elisabeth Competition, is one of today's most thrilling young pianists. This release marks the start of an exciting new collaboration with Naxos.

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Image A Winters Light
The Vasari Singers' annual carol concerts always provide a warming blend of traditional favourites and less well-known music from all periods and styles. Here, joyous and masterful 16th-century polyphony sits alongside eternally popular Victorian carols, and exquisitely crafted settings by Howells and Walford Davies join works as recent as Gabriel Jackson's The Christ-child. Bob Chilcott magically superimposes traditional carols with entrancing new material, and no Vasari Christmas would be complete without some close harmony Swingle singing. The Vasari Singers have also recorded Gabriel Jackson's Requiem (8.573049).

The Vasari Singers' Great British Anthems [8.572102] was described as "essential listening" by Gramophone. The mixture of moving beauty and entertaining good humour in this programme makes it a disc which is sure to appeal to a very wide audience this and every festive season.

Founded in 1980, Vasari Singers is among the leading chamber choirs in Britain, performing music ranging from Renaissance to contemporary. The choir performs regularly in London as well as visiting many of England's cathedrals to sing services, with recent trips to Canterbury, Salisbury, Bath and Ripon. The choir and Jeremy Backhouse are deeply committed to contemporary music and have commissioned over twenty works since 2000, including works by Francis Pott and Gabriel Jackson.

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Image Mahler: Symphony No. 1
This remarkably original work, with its recurring quotations from the composer's own songs, notably Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Songs of a Wayfarer) and Des Knaben Wunderhorn (The Boy's Magic Horn), is the perfect expression of one of Mahler's most quoted sayings, "The symphony is a world; it must contain everything". The opening movement, filled with sounds that Mahler remembered from his childhood, depicts "Nature's awakening from the long sleep of winter", and is followed by an exuberant scherzo and trio based on a Landler. The disturbing slow movement funeral march, based on the children's song Frere Jacques, is unlike anything that had been heard before, and the symphony concludes with music of thrilling dramatic intensity.

Marin Alsop has been Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra since 2007, a relationship now extended to 2015. Currently Conductor Emeritus of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Laureate of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, since 1992 she has also been Music Director of California's prize-winning Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music.

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Image Catoire:Works For Violin
Tchaikovsky encouraged Georgy L'vovich Catoire to pursue a musical career, remarking that he was 'gifted with a powerful creative talent'. Catoire's passion for Wagner was intense and this infused his music with rich chromatic harmonies and sweeping melodies. His works for violin and piano are some of his very finest. The Violin Sonata No. 1 in B minor, Op. 15 is a substantial and compelling piece, full of grandeur and constantly evolving rhythms. Like its successor, the raptly beautiful, single-movement Violin Sonata No. 2 in D major, Op. 20, subtitled Poème, it shows the influence of French Impressionism.

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Image Tony Banks: Six - Pieces for Orchestra
Tony Banks, founder member of rock band Genesis, has already written a much admired orchestral work called Seven (8.557466), in which he was praised for his 'genuine melodic gift' (Gramophone). His new work consists of six evocative songs without words which may arouse in the listener ideas of seduction, journeys, heroes, quests, decisions and goals. Two of the pieces feature solo instruments alto saxophone on Siren and violin on Blade played here by elite soloists, which mesh into Banks's orchestral tapestry with bewitching effect. The remaining pieces reveal his outstanding lyrical gifts and total command of musical narrative.

Tony Banks has a big following for his solo work outside the group. His classical compositions have been admired for their lyricism and melodic qualities, with some critics noting an affinity with the string works of Vaughan Williams.

Throughout 2009 Charlie Siem's reputation as one of the brightest new classical artists grew with prestigious concerts in Paris, London, Oslo, Bergen and Basel. He has since enjoyed a very successful career, appearing with major orchestras and at festivals around the world. Martin Robertson began his solo career in 1986, and has since performed as a soloist with the Berlin, Los Angeles and London Philharmonic Orchestras, BBC Symphony Orchestra and the Ensemble Intercontemporain.

Listen to an exclusive Naxos' Podcast with Tony Banks on his new recording 'Six - Pieces for Orchestra'.



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