The June releases from Naxos arrived this morning. First out of the box is a collection of Choral music by Eric Whitacre. Although still a relatively young man – he was born in 1970 - Whitacre’s music is becoming increasingly popular with choirs and choral societies. We’ve certainly sold hundreds of his choral parts in the last couple of years, with pieces like Lux Aurumque and Water Night leading the way. It’s interesting, beautiful, music with original textures and sonorities, set to a wide variety of texts. Performed by a top Canadian chamber choir, the Elora Festival Singers, conducted by Noel Edison, it’s a highly enjoyable fiver’s worth. (That’s if you buy three other Naxos CDs – you get four for twenty quid !)
Next we have a real rarity – the opera Lurline by one William Vincent Wallace, of whom I’m not ashamed to say I’d never heard. The setting of the opera is the Lorelei Rock in the Rhine, on which the siren Lurline played her enchanting harp to lure fishermen to a watery grave. Richard Bonynge has prepared a new performing edition of this work, which was declared a complete success by Vitorian theatre critics, and ran for a “substantial” number of performances. A double CD, at £9-99 – certainly one for lovers of opera rarities to investigate.
On more familiar territory, the next in the series of Haydn Masses features the ever popular Nelson Mass, and the St Nicholas Mass.
Beethoven String Quintets – surprisingly obscure – are unearthed by the Fine Arts Quartet, joined by Gil Sharon on Viola. The first, Opus 29 in C major comes between the well known opus 18 quartets and the Rasumovsky quartets. The second, Opus 104, is an arrangement of his early Piano Trio in C minor, and the Fugue in D major is a musical curiosity, written as an inducement to his publisher to make fewer printing errors.
Other highlights for June include Chansons de Mer by Charles-Marie Widor (yes, that Widor!), a collection of Sephardic Romances and Songs, a 3-CD set of Mozart’s Idomeneo, a historic recording of two operas by Gian Carlo Menotti, the Consul and Amelia al Ballo. And finally an intriguing collection of twentieth century music for Clarinet and Clarinet Ensemble entitled Clarinet Hive.
That’s just the ones that I picked out. There are 28 releases scheduled on Naxos for June. Anybody buying them all will get an extra-specially large discount !