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New on Naxos May 2024

The May NEW ON NAXOS features Lukas Foss’ orchestral works presented by multiple GRAMMY-winning conductor JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. The programme includes the lyrical, bucolic and subtly jazz-influenced Symphony No. 1; the Three American Pieces, which was composed for Itzhak Perlman; Ode, composed around D-Day in memory of those who would not return from the war; and the Renaissance Concerto described as a ‘handshake across the centuries.’

Other highlights include Giacomo Meyerbeer’s opera L’Africaine – Vasco da Gama featuring tenor Michael Spyres in the title role; Vol. 62 in Franz Liszt’s Complete Piano Music series presented by Martin Cousin; Duo YUMENO presenting Daron Aric Hagen’s Heike Quinto; and more.

Watch our monthly New on Naxos video to sample the highlighted releases of the month.

Click on any of the following categories to jump to that section:

Orchestral & Concerto Recordings

Porter • Chooi • Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra • Falletta

Berlin-born Lukas Foss studied music in Paris before settling in Philadelphia in 1937. Though he freely explored diverse compositional styles, three of the works in this recording fall into his early neoClassical period and exemplify his dictum that “to have a big foot in the future, you’ve got to have a big foot in the past.” Symphony No. 1 in G major is lyrical, bucolic and subtly jazz-influenced, while the Three American Pieces show Aaron Copland’s “open air” influence. Foss’s Ode expresses his feelings about the loss of American lives during the Second World War, and Renaissance Concerto is a “handshake across the centuries” ingeniously spiced with unexpected harmonic twists.

Wawrowski * • Karnavičius **
Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra • Lyndon-Gee

Valentin Silvestrov, Ukraine’s leading composer, currently lives in exile in Berlin. His life in the late-Soviet period was harsh and included expulsion from the Composers’ Union which led to his withdrawal from participation in public life. This album brings together the two superlative works of Silvestrov’s early maturity. Postludium for Piano and Orchestra is yearning and dissonant, embodying the atmosphere of a lament, but without nostalgia, cast in a style full of ambiguity and allusion. The Symphony for Violin and Orchestra ‘Widmung’ is another melancholy, mystic work, a homage to the human spirit and life-force, but also, through hard-won lyricism, to love, hope and renewal.

Opera & Ballet

MacKinnon • Andrew • Mahnke • McCown
Spyres • Mulligan • Faulkner • Bauer Kanabas
Chor der Oper Frankfurt
Frankfurter Opern- und Museumsorchester

At a late stage in its composition Meyerbeer changed the name of his opera L’Africaine to Vasco da Gama and completed it the day before he died in 1864. Changes were then made by the Belgian musicologist and composer François-Joseph Fétis who prepared a performing version from the extensive score material, retaining the title L’Africaine, before the opera’s premiere in April 1865. The plot concerns the famed Portuguese navigator and his series of love entanglements cast as a magnificent grand opéra. This production is based on the critical edition of the full score and reflects Meyerbeer’s original intentions.

Iniesta • Amati • Angelini • Arrieta
Kabongo • Marín • Wang • Park • Zong
Kraków Philharmonic Chorus and Orchestra

The story of Armida had already inspired around 70 composers by the time Rossini took it on both as an opportunity to measure himself against his colleagues, and as a special role for soprano Isabella Colbran with whom he had recently started a relationship. The narrative of Armida sees the arrival of a beautiful noblewoman at a Crusaders’ camp, asking them for help and protection. She claims that her throne has been usurped by the evil Idraote. However, she is in fact the sorceress Armida in disguise – and secretly in love with the heroic Rinaldo. This acclaimed Rossini in Wildbad production was admired for its ‘near magical casting’ (

Also available on Blu-ray Video
Stemme • Hilley • Pesendorfer
Orchestra and Chorus of the Deutsche Oper Berlin
Runnicles • Herheim

Götterdämmerung (‘Twilight of the Gods’) is the final opera of Wagner’s epic tetralogy Der Ring des Nibelungen (‘The Ring of the Nibelung’) in which his visionary masterpiece reaches its cataclysmic conclusion. Betrayal and death, murder and remorse, lie at the opera’s heart, in a work that draws together every plot element in writing of blazing intensity. As the Ring is restored to the Rhinemaidens, the age of the gods ends, with the opera offering the certainty of destruction but the consolation of renewal. Sir Donald Runnicles conducts an internationally acclaimed cast in this innovative new production by Norwegian director Stefan Herheim.

Chamber & Instrumental

Martin Cousin

Franz Liszt’s entire life was influenced by the spiritual and the mystical, his piety often in conflict with the secular life of a journeying pianist. Liszt’s prolific and historical transcriptions range from the Renaissance to his own time, and he is acknowledged as Western civilisation’s finest creative force in this genre. The transcriptions of religious works in this recording hold a special place in Liszt’s output and show a different side to this often misunderstood composer, conveying and enhancing the essence of each work to often achingly beautiful effect, and resulting in a treasure trove of unexpectedly intimate and private treasures.

Peregrine • Ingham • O’Connor

Following the success of the first volume of Folk Tales (8.574035), Gerald Peregrine and Antony Ingham go further into their explorations of British and Irish music. These include rarely recorded works and new interpretations of traditional Irish songs that Peregrine presented during his more than 2,000 ‘Covid Care Concerts’ performed at health care settings during the pandemic. This is yet another treasure trove of poetic miniatures to treat the ear and tug at the heartstrings.

Hyejin Chung • Warren Lee

Eminent composer and revered teacher, Robert Fuchs, was an established part of Vienna’s musical landscape. His six violin sonatas fuse lyricism with conversational ease and chromatic harmonies with folk-derived melodies. This second volume of the complete set (Volume 1 is on 8.574213) charts a decade’s worth of composition, from 1905 to 1915. No. 4 in E major is hymn-like, while No. 5 in A major is playful and deeply lyrical. His final violin sonata No. 6 in G minor, is sombre with a nervous energy reflective of the time of its composition, though still, as always, exuding Brahmsian richness and beauty.

Bowlin • Cho ¹² • Docter ³ • Kouzov ³

Although he is best remembered for his highly regarded stage and orchestral works, Roussel also composed a significant body of masterful yet relatively unknown chamber music. The Romantic early First Violin Sonata is an epic journey of soaring majesty, while the later Second Violin Sonata is dramatic and succinct, sharing its dynamic neo-Classical style with the String Trio, Roussel’s last completed work.

Choral & Vocal



Daron Hagen is a multi-award-winning creative polymath whose work is internationally acclaimed for its impeccable craftsmanship, social conscience and emotional accessibility. Embracing the Japanese medieval text The Tale of the Heike, Hagen has brought his musical vision as an opera composer to create in Heike Quinto a work that is as grand and emotionally complex as the original on which it is based. Themed around the Buddhist law of impermanence, the story is told through its female protagonists. The unique combination of cello and Japanese koto is layered with a wide variety of vocal textures and effects alongside pre-recorded material helping to create a compelling and expressive narrative.

Great Composers in Words and Music

Davinia Caddy • Nicholas Boulton

The Bayreuth Festspielhaus stands today as a testament to Richard Wagner’s ambition and self-importance – a theatre designed and built solely for the performances of his immersive ‘music dramas’. From the influence of Beethoven to the transcendental properties of his greatest music, Wagner’s work became a cornerstone of European musical culture, but what kind of journey took him towards this remarkable achievement? In this fascinating audio biography we hear about Wagner’s tempestuous personal life, his controversial political views and his struggles to establish himself as one of the most influential musical visionaries of the 19th century. The narrative is illustrated with excerpts from all of his best-loved operas including the Ring cycle, Tristan und Isolde, Lohengrin, Der fliegende Holländer, Parsifal, and more.


DONNE, J.: Devotions and Death’s Duel (Unabridged)
DONNE, J.: Devotions and Death’s Duel (Unabridged)
WHARTON, E.: Summer (Unabridged)
WHARTON, E.: Summer (Unabridged)

Naxos Playlist

The New & Now playlist features all that is new and exciting in the world of classical music, whether it’s new music, new presentations or new performers. With more than 200 new releases each year, and artists from around the world, there is always something new to discover with Naxos.

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