2023 Releases

Georg Goltermann

Cello Concerto No. 1 · Symphony in A minor · Romance · Ballade

C5469 PC: 21 UPC: 845221054698

If you know the cellist-professor-composer Georg Goltermann (1824-1898) and his eight (!) cello concertos, you’re either a cellist or married to one. In his lifetime and for a while thereafter, the instrumental virtuoso-cum-composer was popular and well-liked enough to have the Cantilena of his Cello Concerto recorded by Pablo Casals – but not much since. That’s a shame because that lyrical-melancholic, never gratuitously virtuosic op.10 is a picture-perfect, delightful romantic cello concert. The symphony, then well received and Goltermann’s pride, too, goes down nicely in a post-Brahms vain rather à la Bruch or Gernsheim, especially the exquisite, lively hunting Scherzo with its sweeping Trio.

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Strauss: Complete Music for Wind Instruments

Sonatinas Nos. 1 & 2 · Serenade in E-flat · Suite in B-flat · 'Till Eulenspiegels merry pranks' (Arrangement)
Members of Staatskapelle Berlin · Gregor Witt

2CD-Set · C5497 PC: 02 UPC: 845221054971

As the Staatskapelle Berlin begins to look for its next music director (only the fourth since 1955!), this release finds the band’s own winds turning to Richard Strauss, who held the job some 110+ years ago. Together, they recorded their old chief conductors’ complete music for winds, including rarities like the Sonatinas “From an Invalid’s Workshop” and “The Happy Workshop” which Strauss dedicated to Mozart. Covering Strauss’ very early and very late creative output, the four pieces (plus the Eulenspiegel arrangement), give a fascinating insight into the development of Strauss, a horn player’s son.

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Nino Rota: Il cappello die paglia di Firenze

The Florentine Straw Hat (Opera Complete Recording)
Buszewski · Miyus · Brull · Chor der Oper Graz · Grazer Philharmoniker · Daniele Squeo

2CD-Set C5466 PC: 22 UPC: 845221054667

“Look, when they tell me that in my music I am mainly concerned about bringing a bit of nostalgia and lots of good humor and optimism, well, I think that’s exactly how I’d like to be remembered: With a bit of nostalgia, lots of optimism, and good humor.” If only we listen to enough of his music (and not just his film music), Nino Rota’s wish should well come true. Not the least, if we lend our ears to his third (of ten) and most popular opera, the snappy Florentine Straw Hat (Il cappello di paglia di Firenze), which Rota wrote in Bari, after the War ended, and orchestrated a decade later for its premiere in Palermo.

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War and Peace · Castel del Monte · Concerto per Archi · Concerto per Arpa · Prova d'orchestra
Peristerakis · Sobol · WDR Funkhausorchester Köln · FELIX BENDER, MICHAEL SEAL, conductor

C5494 PC: 21 UPC: 845221054940

When Toscanini encouraged Nino Rota to study at the Curtis Institute, where instructions by Fritz Reiner and a friendship with Aaron Copland awaited the precocious composer, it was already clear he would have a massive career. Only the direction wasn’t certain yet. It turned out to be classical music and film music, the former informing the latter. Notable when you listen to the delicious waltz Rota from War & Peace or the darkly humorous snippets from the very apropos Orchestra Rehearsal. And while the de-facto horn concertino Castel del Monte, inspired by King Frederick II’s famous medieval castle in southern Italy, isn’t technically film music, it very much sounds like music to a fantasy film of Rota’s imagining.

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Lortzing: Der Waffenschmied

Groissböck · Kutrowatz · Mars · Connor
Arnold Schoenberg Chor · ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra · Leo Hussain

2CD-Set C5490 PC: 22 UPC: 845221054902

Lortzing’s Der Waffenschmied is a lighthearted and superbly crafted opera that bridges Mozart’s Singspiele and early Wagner. Despite its relative popularity, there are surprisingly few complete recordings of it around. How lovely to change that with this new recording from the very place for which the opera was written and where it was premiered in 1846: Vienna’s Theater an der Wien – and a wonderful cast that includes the stalwart Günther Groissböck and the supremely promising Miriam Kutrowatz to boot! 

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JOSEF LABOR: Clarinet Quintet

Clarinet Trios · Quintet for horn, winds and piano
Johanns · Vallentin · Karmon · Triendl

2CD-Set · C5473 PC: 21 UPC: 845221054735

The loss of one sense, it is said, makes the other keener. What the concert pianist, organist, and composer Josef Labor lost in eyesight when smallpox left him blind at age three, must have been added to his ears. Although roughly a Brahmsian (and a friend of the composer), Labor wrote in an original style, informed by his knowledge of and love for early music. As a piano teacher, he taught Arnold Schoenberg, Alma Schindler, and Paul Wittgenstein. The connection to the Wittgenstein family explains his many works for piano left hand, including the two Clarinet Trios on this set (the clarinet was Ludwig Wittgenstein’s instrument) which are coupled with his Clarinet- and his Wind Quintets.

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Kapustin: Piano Concerto No. 5

Concerto, Op. 104 · Sinfonietta, Op. 49
Frank Dupree · Adrian Brendle · Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin · Dominik Beykirch

C5495 PC: 21 UPC: 845221054957

When the music of Nikolai Kapustin was discovered by a wider audience in the West, it was positively shocking: Who was this Soviet (!) composer, whose music sounded more like an Oscar Peterson improvisation than anything else – but who wrote detailed scores, black with notes?! As we discover more and more of his music (and there’s so much more yet to discover!), a very distinct, always wholly charming voice emerges, whether in a freewheeling outright-jazzy work like his Concerto for 2 Pianos and Percussion, the more symphonic Fifth Piano Concerto, or the frisky Sinfonietta which transports us into a smoky 1940s bar in Manhattan. 

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#bruckner24 /The Complete Versions Edition/

Symphony No. 8 C minor WAB 108 (1887)

C8087 PC: 21 UPC: 845221080871

This Complete Versions Edition includes all versions published or to be published under the auspices of the Austrian National Library and the International Bruckner Society in the Neue Anton Bruckner Gesamtausgabe (The New Anton Bruckner Complete Edition).
Was it a sign of conductors’ general satisfaction with Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony or editorial foot-dragging, that the work’s original 1887 version wasn’t published and performed until 1972? It certainly was Hermann Levi’s dissatisfaction or at least discombobulation with it, so shortly after his very successful Munich performance of the Seventh, that made Bruckner revise the work in the first place. It is this elaborate, raw earlier version that Markus Poschner performs here, in the latest edition by Paul Hawkshaw for the New Anton Bruckner Complete Edition. More ornate, brassier, and with more economically employed woodwinds, this version doesn’t smoothen edges and doesn’t round corners: An interesting insight into emboldened Bruckner at his unadulterated self.

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