Tenor Brian Smith Walters is a force to be reckoned with — endowed with a dark, thundering timbre and magnificent, towering style, he is the embodiment of a Heldentenor. His first Navona Records release is a challenging cross-section of chansons and Lieder spanning five centuries, and Walters navigates them with stunning bravado.
It doesn't matter whether he sings Purcell or Copland, Schubert or Saint Saens, Tchaikovsky or Barber, Wagner or Szymanowski – the energetic grip Walters has on every single piece is awe-inducing, every rendition buzzing with vibrance and profundity. Accompanied here by only the piano, there is only one word to describe the tenor and A PHOENIX RISING: intense.
Véronique Mathieu and Stephanie Chua present INVOCATION, a collection of works for violin and piano written by female-identifying composers of unique heritages, backgrounds, and cultures. With a wide range of aesthetics and a variety of compositional eras, INVOCATION presents a collection of wonderfully animated performances that provide a fantastic model for the exploration of these composers’ works.
Mathieu and Chua carry on the ever-growing tradition of bringing female-identifying composers from all musical eras out of the shadows. Their delicate, tender, and thoughtful iterations of these compositions solidify INVOCATION as a function of its title; a message to the women of this collection to step forward and shine.
Tchaikovsky's works burst with well-loved, well-known melodies – which is precisely what renders them a challenge for any young musician. How does one perform a cherished classic without resorting to cliché or to musical blasphemy? Talented violinist and arranger Sarah Coyl has found her personal answer to this dilemma on PAS DE DEUX: by re-setting the Russian composer's works for unprecedented setups – in this case, the violin-guitar duo and the violin-guitar-piano trio.
This audacious endeavor is strengthened not only by Coyl's undeniable talent as a multi-genre arranger, but also by her two skillful colleagues, the keen-minded, quick-fingered guitarist Max Case and emotive, empathetic pianist Angelo Monroy. The result is an album that is still very reverently Tchaikovsky – but seen from a fresher, more youthful angle.
Every pianist makes a piece their own, adding flourishes and signature accents, but Marta Brankovich takes artistic interpretation to a new level. Leveraging her passion and irreplicable touch on the piano, the black swan of piano conjures an unforgettable storm on MARTA, THE TEMPEST. This long-awaited exploratory deep-dive into the classical canon delivers fresh interpretations of works by Rachmaninoff, Chopin, Kaufman, Jirásek, and Webber, complete with a solo piano composition by Brankovich herself that offers an inside look into her artistic emergence. Weaving themes of adversity, opposing forces, and oneness with a profoundly emotive approach, Brankovich delivers a powerful program in this Navona Records release.
Shostakovich & Rachmaninoff: Sonatas for Cello & Piano
Catalog #: NV6475
Release Date: March 3, 2023
Navona Records presents SHOSTAKOVICH / RACHMANINOFF: SONATAS FOR CELLO AND PIANO, an album that highlights the musical expression and virtuosity of these renowned works.
Acclaimed award-winning soloist Carmine Miranda and GRAMMY-nominated Nashville Symphony pianist Robert Marler combine their virtuosity with the legendary three-time GRAMMY-nominated producer Alan Shacklock and celebrated mastering engineer Tommy Dorsey (Berlin Philharmonic – Deutsche Grammophon) to deliver the highest quality performances of these works.
Deeply expressive with interplay and virtuosic passages, these two sonatas are held to high regard by pianists and cellists alike. Once turning points in the lives of Shostakovich and Rachmaninoff, these works have stood the test of time, rewarded with commanding performances by cellist Carmine Miranda and pianist Robert Marler.
Globally recognized for its unique radio programming, innovative collaborations, and community outreach, All Classical Portland presents AMPLIFY, a response to the industry’s inequities in classical music recordings. The works of five contemporary composers are brought to light in this album, each infused with recollections of stories, cities, and movements that have made an impact along the artists’ journey. As the 1,000th album brought to life by parent organization PARMA Recordings, this important Navona Records release marks a monumental achievement in highlighting voices in classical music, and is a step in helping to change America’s playlist.
TEXTURES IN CLASSICS from renowned pianist and music scholar Sang-Hie Lee explores the rich musical possibilities offered by the piano. To do so, Lee performs works from some of the seminal composers in Western music including Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms. The album captures Lee’s unique pianism at the height of her maturity as an artist. While contemporary performers often place an outsized emphasis on virtuosic technical skill, Lee’s performances examine the notion of texture in piano music; this ranges from the clean, crisp soundscape of Mozart’s early pianoforte to Beethoven’s exacting technique and lush harmonies. There is little doubt that TEXTURES IN CLASSICS will cement Lee’s legacy as a scholarly-artistic pianist.
The story of Misha Galaganov’s CHARM, PASSION, AND ACROBATICS began when the artist uncovered a trove of forgotten, 19th century viola music in a private library. The music on this album from composers Pierre Kunc, Désiré-Émile Inghelbrecht, and Ernest Chausson has long gone unplayed; Kunc’s musical manuscripts, for example, were kept under lock and key by the Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers of Music until 2021. Featuring challenging virtuosic pieces alongside expressive, impressionistic masterworks, this album celebrates the boundless potential of the viola. The music transports the listener to a French salon of the Belle Époque, guided by Galaganov and Owings’ sensitive and technically-masterful performances.
New from Navona Records is saxophonist José Antonio Zayas Cabán’s CENTENNIAL, an album of cutting-edge solo and chamber music reflecting on the shortcomings of the 19th Amendment during its 100-year anniversary. Rather than celebrating, this album urges listeners to recognize the significant work that remains in achieving global equality.
Violinist Véronique Mathieu and pianist Jasmin Arakawa present Navona Records’ CORTÈGE. The name cortège, or “solemn procession,” covers a vast expanse of meaning — while it most often describes a funeral procession, the term also refers to a joyful wedding procession, or a group that follows a person of importance in their honor. Mathieu and Arakawa balance the solemn and the celebratory in this sensitive, dynamic performance. Exploring the works of four French composers — Claude Debussy, Lili Boulanger, Nicolas Bacri, Francis Poulenc — the album is emotional, refined, and triumphant all at the same time.
It all began in 2011, when DuWors and Niekawa, then students at Eastman School of Music, were assigned to perform Mozart's last Sonata for Violin and Piano K. 526 together. The magnificence of the piece not only unlocked a profound musical rapport between the two young musicians, but also inspired their name as a collective.
The four works on UNEXPLORED, offer an expansive variety of musical genres while introducing listeners to previously unrecorded cello repertoire. Premiere recordings of works by Tchaikovsky, Cassadó, Rudnytsky, and Rimsky-Korsakov are presented by cellist Nada Radulovich and pianist Cullan Bryant.
On her new album NOUVELLE VIE, flutist Michelle Batty Stanley and pianist Margaret McDonald breathe new life into classic 19th and 20th century compositions. The duo dream up new interpretations of both familiar French favorites as well as works by lesser known composers.
Like many European composers alive during the World Wars, Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959) was nomadic. But while most of these artists’ music changed drastically based on their location, Martinů’s compositional style consistently referenced the culture of his Czech heritage. SMALL STORMS – cellist Meredith Blecha-Wells’ debut record – contains Martinů’s duos for cello and piano from the latter half of his life, with the performances of Blecha-Wells and pianist Sun Min Kim fully embodying the folkloric sensibility and conservative style that typify the composer’s oeuvre.
Violist Jutta Puchhammer’s album PIÈCES DE CONCOURS POUR is a treasure trove of late romantic French viola music. Originating as exam compositions for students enrolled at the Conservatoire Supérieur de Paris from 1896-1938, this album demonstrates Puchhammer’s peerless virtuosity as a performer, as well as the expressive range of her instrument, which was largely dismissed by the mainstream of eighteenth and nineteenth century composers.
Transcriptions And Paraphrases For Cello And Piano
Catalog #: NV6007
Release Date: August 14, 2015
On their debut Navona Records release, KOSTOV-VALKOV DUO: TRANSCRIPTIONS AND PARAPHRASES FOR CELLO AND PIANO, the Kostov-Valkov Duo - cellist Lachezar Kostov and pianist Viktor Valkov - present a powerful and invigorating program, showcasing their virtuosity and superior technique with commanding performances of works by Franz Liszt, Buxton Orr, Bohuslav Martinů, and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco.