Monday, June 5, 2017

Opening Notes: June 2017 - New Release Playlist

We've sifted through all the new releases for this month, and we're highlighting our favorites. Some of these are obscure works that may be unknown to you, while others are fresh takes on standard repertoire. If you're like us and are constantly craving something new to enjoy, take a spin through these tracks to get a taste of what is now available to you in NML. And if you hear something you love, click on the cover art in the player window to be taken directly to the full album!

To hear the playlist, access NML as usual, go to the Playlists section, and select the Opening Notes folder under the Themed Playlists tab. If you are on your institution's premises, you may also be able to access it if you CLICK HERE.

George Antheil
Symphony No. 5, "Joyous": III. Allegretto maestoso - Allegro giocoso
BBC Philharmonic; John Storgårds
Chandos - CHAN10941
John Adams
Son of Chamber Symphony: II. --
Alarm Will Sound; Alan Pierson
Cantaloupe - CA-21128
Rued Langgaard
Le Béguinage: I. Andante marcato
Berit Johansen Tange
Dacapo - 6.220631
Nicolò Paganini
24 Caprices: No. 24 in A Minor
Rachel Barton Pine
Avie - AV2374
Dmitry Shostakovich
2 Pieces for String Quartet: No. 2 Polka: Allegretto
Arabella String Quartet
Naxos - 8.579013
Sergey Rachmaninov (arr. I. Mikhnovsky)
12 Songs: No. 7. How Fair Is This Place
Julia Severus
Naxos - 8.573468
Jocelyn Morlock
My Name Is Amanda Todd
Canadian National Arts Centre Orchestra
Analekta - AN28870
Ildebrando Pizzetti
Harp Concerto: III. Allegro moderato
Margherita Bassani; RAI Symphony, Turin
Naxos - 8.573613
Mieczyslaw Karlowicz
Eternal Songs: III. Song of Eternity
Royal Philharmonic; Grzegorz Nowak
Arvo Pärt
Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten
Munich Radio Orchestra; Ulf Schirmer
BR-Klassik - 900319
John Luther Adams
Canticles of the Holy Wind: XII. Sky with Endless Stars
The Crossing; Donald Nally
Cantaloupe - CA-21131
Libby Larsen
Mephisto Rag
Youmee Kim
Centaur - CRC3531
Steve Reich
Clapping Music (arr. P. Hillier)
Ars Nova Copenhagen
Cantaloupe - CA-21127
Josef Suk
Asrael, Part I: III. Vivace - Andante sostenuto
Essen Philharmonic Orchestra; Tomas Netopil
Oehms Classics - OC1865

Dmitry Shostakovich
Symphony No. 1: IV. Allegro molto
Luxembourg Philharmonic; Gustavo Gimeno
Pentatone - PTC5186622
Viktor Ullmann
Piano Concerto: I. Allegro con fuoco
Moritz Ernst; Dortmund Philharmonic; Gabriel Feltz
Capriccio - C5294

Frederick Delius
String Quartet: I. With animation
Villiers Quartet
Naxos - 8.573586
Erik Satie
Gnossienne No. 3
Nicolas Horvath
Grand Piano - GP761

Gaetano Donizetti
Rosmonda d'Inghilterra, Act I: Cabaletta: Torna, torna or caro oggetto
Donizetti Opera Choir and Orch.; Sebastiano Rolli
Dynamic - CDS7757.02
Antonín Dvořák
Mass in D Major: Gloria
Orquesta Sinfónica de Navarra; Antoni Wit
Navona - NV6078
Camille Saint-Saëns
Piano Concerto No. 3: III. Allegro non troppo
Romain Descharmes; Malmö Symphony
Naxos - 8.573477
Maurice Ravel
Miroirs: No. 2 Oiseaux tristes
Stewart Goodyear
Orchid - ORC100061

Amy Beach
Piano Trio: III. Allegro con brio
Monte Piano Trio
Genuin - GEN17449
Soffren Degen
Pastorale Malinconico
Michael Kevin Jones; Agustin Maruri
EMEC Discos - E-117

Each month, Naxos Music Library presents a new release playlist for our subscribers to enjoy. We know that a database of over 1.9 million tracks can be a bit daunting, so we'd like to highlight some of the amazing music that has become available to you just this month. Let it kickstart discovery!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

June 2017 - Featured Playlist: A Most Special Day

Ah, June. It’s that point in the year when it seems like every weekend we have to get dressed up in itchy clothing to go sweat in some rented garden outside of town while an endless stream of people we’ve never seen before act like they know the bride(s) and/or groom(s) better than we do. And maybe we’re secretly hoping that someone’s crazy uncle gets really drunk and embarrassing just to liven up the proceedings. Weddings…

But we suffer through them because someone who is special to us has found the love they want to spend the rest of their life with, and that’s what matters. In the end, all the drama, expense, and small talk with weird strangers is worth it because we get to join with loved ones to celebrate A Most Special Day.

To hear the playlist, access NML as usual, go to the Playlists section, and select the Playlist of the Month folder under the Themed Playlists tab. If you are on your institution's premises, you may also be able to access it if you CLICK HERE.

1. Gene De Paul / Saul Chaplin – Seven Brides for Seven Brothers: June Bride – From a 21st-century perspective, this story about seven brothers who carry away seven women in hopes of wooing them seems more than a little wrong. But if we ignore the Stockholm Syndrome and the unrealistic odds that all seven brothers who sing and dance actually want a bride, it’s a cute movie full of memorable songs.

2. Edvard Grieg – Wedding Day at Troldhaugen – Originally a part of Grieg’s Lyric Pieces for piano, this tune was composed as an anniversary gift to his wife. In its orchestrated form, it conjures a mental picture of guests arriving at a wedding and conversing excitedly in anticipation of the joy to come.

3. Jean Sibelius – Processional – Finland’s greatest composer, Jean Sibelius, derived this stately piece from a collection of songs composed for the Masonic Lodge of which he was a member. In this imaginary wedding, we’re picturing the wedding party entering the hall and taking their places at the front.

4. Toivo Kuula – Häämarssi (Wedding March) – Toivo Kuula was Sibelius’ first composition student and a composer of considerable potential who died when he was only 35. His Wedding March is a charming piece that could continue the procession of the wedding party.

5. Richard Wagner – Lohengrin: Bridal Chorus – And now it is time for the entrance of the bride herself, if this is a traditional sort of church wedding, anyway. Wagner’s Bridal Chorus is one of those melodies that everyone knows, even if they’re unaware that it comes from an opera, and there’s a fair chance you’ll have some Pavlovian urge to stand up when you hear this melody start.

6. Bedřich Smetana – The Bartered Bride, Act I Scene 2: Jako matka požehnáním – Smetana’s most famous opera tells of two lovers who overcome various obstructions and misunderstandings to be together. This duet between the lovers occurs near the beginning of the opera, when—not knowing the trials to come—they commit to loving each other no matter what.

7. Elisabetta Brusa – Wedding Song – Composer Elisabetta Brusa describes this piece as such: “[It] is a hymn/song-like ode to the inner and outward joy of love and marriage: gentle, deep, and solemn in one respect, joyful, open, and luminous in another.”

8. Amy Woodforde-Finden – The Myrtles of Damascus: No. 4. I Did Not Know – Woodforde-Finden is known for composing a number of song cycles that had some success in the early 20th century. The lyrics for this particular song include: “I did not know that Love held all of bliss…I did not know until I felt your kiss!”

9. Eric Whitacre – This Marriage – Contemporary composer Eric Whitacre set to music a marriage blessing by Persian poet Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, written in the 13th century. This version is performed by the Brigham Young University Singers.

10. Felix Mendelssohn – A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Wedding March – Now that the ceremony is over, it’s time for the happy couple to exit the stage! Mendelssohn’s faster-paced and celebratory Wedding March has been a timeless classic that has accompanied many a pair on their trip back up the aisle.

11. Camille Saint-Saëns – Caprice-Valse, “Wedding Cake” – This piece for piano and orchestra was written as a wedding gift for a friend of the composer. Its playful character brings to mind the start of a wedding reception, where perhaps the happy couple adhere to the time-honored tradition of smashing wedding cake in each other’s face.

12. Edward German – Tom Jones, Act III: Hark, the merry marriage bells! – Edward German was the heir to Arthur Sullivan in the world of English comic opera. His operetta Tom Jones was a success in its day, even appearing on Broadway, and here we’ve included the celebratory finale.

13. Arthur Sullivan – The Mikado, Act II: For he’s gone and married Yum-Yum – The Mikado is the work of British comic opera legends Gilbert and Sullivan, who attempted to skewer British society by setting the story in Japan. Of course, in the process they ended up being rather disrespectful to Japanese culture. But the opera did produce the silly tune selected here, which sounds like the wedding guests have gotten into the adult beverages.

14. Ned Rorem – Piano Album I: Marriage Measures – Ned Rorem lived with his partner Jim for thirty-two years before the latter passed, and the composer would frequently create piano miniatures for him. Marriage equality was unfortunately not yet the law of the land when they were together, however, so Rorem’s Marriage Measures was a gift to some friends.

15. Geirr Tveitt – Brudlaups-Klokkor (Wedding Bells) – Tveitt composed this piece in about a half hour while sitting outside the church where his friend’s daughter was about to be married. It’s a lovely little piece that, combined with the Rorem waltz, could be the happy couple’s first dance, or a bride or groom’s dance with a tearful parent.

16. Traditional – Sønderho Bridal Trilogy, Part II – This untitled folk melody from Sønderho, in western Denmark, is approximately four hundred years old. It’s arranged here for string quartet, and one can imagine it as part of the festivities in a rural Danish wedding celebration.

17. Niels Gade – Et Folkesagn (A Folk Tale): Brudevalsen (Bridal Waltz) - Niels Gade was an important influence on several Scandinavian composers who followed him, including Edvard Grieg and Carl Nielsen. His Brudevalsen became a vital part of Danish weddings, but it is said that he didn’t judge it to be particularly great at the time, and that it had to be rescued from a trash can.

18. Karl Goldmark – Symphony No. 1, “Ländliche Rochzeit” (Rustic Wedding Symphony): V. Tanz: Finale – One of Goldmark’s best-known works, the Rustic Wedding Symphony follows a non-traditional five-movement form, with the final movement depicting the celebratory dance at the end of a wedding. The work was championed by conductors Thomas Beecham and Leonard Bernstein.

19. Sergey Prokofiev – The Tale of the Stone Flower: Wedding Suite: V. Wedding Dance – Prokofiev’s final ballet was premiered posthumously, but he was able to derive a suite from the material before he passed. This final movement from the suite is a festive dance to help keep the wedding afterparty going.

20. Peter Maxwell Davies – An Orkney Wedding with Sunrise – Davies modeled this piece after an actual wedding he attended in the Orkney Islands off the northern coast of Scotland. It depicts the event from start to finish, and as the wedding guests depart into the dawn, the bagpipes can be heard echoing over the landscape.

21. BONUS: Jimmy Roberts – I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, Act II: Marriage tango – And here’s a reminder to enjoy the honeymoon to the fullest, because it won’t last forever.

Each month, Naxos Music Library presents a themed playlist for our subscribers to enjoy. We know that a database of over 1.9 million tracks can be a bit daunting, so we'd like to highlight some of the amazing music that is available to you. Let it kickstart discovery!