Press Room

naïve June 2010

Haydn: Twelve “London” Symphonies (Nos. 93-104)
Live recordings from Vienna’s Konzerthaus
Les Musiciens du Louvre, Grenoble / Marc Minkowski
V 5176
Four-CD set available June 29, 2010

“The musicologically enlightened set the world has been waiting for.”
– Philadelphia Inquirer [David Patrick Stearns]

Conductor Marc Minkowski paid tribute to the bicentennial of Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) with a series of concerts dedicated to the beloved Austrian composer’s twelve “London” Symphonies.  These performances, featuring Les Musiciens du Louvre, Grenoble at Vienna’s Konzerthaus and recorded live, are now available on a four-CD set from naïve.

The Viennese critics responded enthusiastically to Minkowski and his orchestra, praising them for their “vivacity and musical verve” (Wiener Zeitung) and for making Haydn’s music sound “incredibly fresh and alive” (Kronenzeitung).  Already named a “Diapason d’Or,” the new set received full marks in the Philadelphia Inquirer, with critic David Patrick Stearns concluding, “Minkowski is thoroughly up-to-date on the tempos expected in certain kinds of movements and makes interpretive points without fussing the music to death.  That plus live-performance energy sets new standards in this repertoire.”

After decades of relative isolation living and working on the Hungarian estate of his patrons, the famed Esterházys, Haydn was released from the family’s service in 1790 following the death of Prince Nikolaus.  It was then that he accepted an invitation from impresario and violinist Johann Peter Salomon to come to London.  The first set of “London” Symphonies, Nos. 93 through 98, was composed during the composer’s first trip there (1791-92).  The second set, Nos. 99 through 104, was written in Vienna and performed during his second trip (1794-95).  Both visits were enormous triumphs that moved the composer deeply.  Writing for a large orchestra, and for a knowledgeable, enthusiastic London public, stimulated and engaged Haydn’s imagination, resulting in works of unparalleled wit, joy, energy, and exuberance.  The two trips left him with a lifetime of experience; he continued writing symphonies throughout his life, and is today credited as the “father of the symphony.”

Minkowski and the orchestra played Haydn symphonies on tour in Japan.  Their performance of the closing two movements of the last “London” Symphony (No. 104) – the final symphony, in fact, that the composer would write – can be viewed here:


Vivaldi: Concerti per fagotto I (Bassoon Concertos)
Sergio Azzolini, bassoon
L’Aura Soave Cremona
OP 30496
CD available June 29, 2010

The 39th release in naïve’s landmark Vivaldi Edition features seven of the composer’s numerous and enormously appealing bassoon concertos: K.493, 495, 577, 488, 503, 471, and 484.  Bolzano-born bassoonist Sergio Azzolini is the soloist, joined by the period instrument ensemble L’Aura Soave Cremona.

British musicologist and author Michael Talbot, a noted authority on Vivaldi, provides these words of introduction in the album’s liner notes:

“It is almost an understatement to identify Vivaldi as the most significant composer ever of bassoon concertos, since the competition is so meager.

“Even within Vivaldi’s own oeuvre, the 39 bassoon concertos (two of them incomplete) form an impressive group.  The composer seems to have had a particular affinity with deeper instruments (the cello as well as the bassoon), which brought out especially vividly the melancholy, reflective side of his temperament.  Moreover, the bassoon concertos are all works of Vivaldi’s full maturity – in fact, mostly of his last period, running from the later 1720s to his death in 1741 – and have an incomparable rhythmic variety, boldness of form, and attention to detail.

“Not only the concertos for solo bassoon and strings but also a huge, diverse collection of works and movements where Vivaldi employs the bassoon in other contexts (for example, in chamber concertos and concertos with multiple soloists) show that he was in equal measure familiar with, and partial to, the instrument.”

A video excerpt from the recording sessions – which follows Azzolini discussing the new album in an Italian-language interview with Susan Orlando, director of naïve’s Vivaldi Edition – is available here:

A comprehensive web site dedicated to the life and work of Antonio Vivaldi, including additional information about the Vivaldi Edition, is available at


Trio Tzane
V 5230
CD available June 29, 2010

Folk and world music – along with the spirit of improvisation – come together with captivating immediacy on Gaïtani, the debut release from Trio Tzane.

The liner notes for the recording describe the Trio Tzane as “the story of the meeting in Paris of three women, three nationalities, three different universes, who tell each other stories that are at once so different and so similar, singing them in Greek, Turkish, Bulgarian, and other languages.”

Gül Hacer Toruk (who hails from Istanbul), Sandrine Monlezun (born in Paris but a student of Bulgarian music and a four-year resident of Sofia, Bulgaria), and Xanthoula Dakovanou (who was born in Athens) sing these Balkan stories in polyphony, in their own way or the way of their ancestors, mingling vocal improvisations with entirely new arrangements.  They take listeners on a journey from Epirus to Turkey by way of Macedonia, Bulgaria, and the Black Sea.

The word Gaïtani, which provides the album with its name, means “the link” in Greek, Bulgarian, and Turkish.  The word “Tzane” comes from “jaan,” a Persian word that traveled from Iran to Turkey and then to Greece and Bulgaria.  “Tzane means ‘soul’, and it’s used in Turkish, Bulgarian, and Greek with the same meaning,” said Dakovanou, explaining the origin of the group’s name.  “We also had a song like that,” she added, noting, “We were inspired by that and we took this name.”

Joining the three voices on the new album are musical guests Nicolas Beck (double bass), Adrien Espinouze (ney), Paul Goodman (saz), Dimitar Gougov (gadulka and tapan), Antoine Morineau (tombak and daff), and Taxiarchis Vasilakos (accordion). 

The three singers of Trio Tzane discuss their “neo-traditional” approach to Balkan music, and the new album, in an interview with the English-language Turkish newspaper Today’s Zaman:

A TV appearance by the Trio Tzane is available here:


Baroque Voices
Ten new titles
Specially-priced CDs available June 29, 2010

Following the success of the first 30 recordings in its “Baroque Voices” series, naïve adds a further ten volumes this month.  As with past installments, the new titles – many released originally on the Astrée and Opus 111 labels – traverse a wide range of repertoire, including works by well-known composers – such as Bach, Monteverdi, and Vivaldi – as well as lesser-known gems from the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries that deserve greater recognition.  Whether of secular or sacred inspiration, for chorus or for soloist, church or theater, the works presented here reflect, through the voices and personal interpretations of the finest artists – who include Sandrine Piau, Patricia Petibon, Andreas Scholl, Sara Mingardo, Christophe Rousset, and Christophe Coin – the plurality of the voices of Baroque times, and of today.


A list of the featured repertoire and performers follows below:

Vivaldi: Mottetti (Anke Herrman, Laura Polverelli, Academia Montis Regalis / Alessandro de Marchi

Bassani: La morte delusa (Philippe Jaroussky, Emanuela Galli, La Fenice / Jean Tubéry)

Bencini: Vesperae beatae virginis (A Sei Voci / Bernard Fabre-Garrus)

Couperin: Concert dans le gout théatral (Capriccio Stravagante / Skip Sempé)

Frescobaldi: Primo Libro dei Madrigali (Concerto Italiano / Rinaldo Alessandrini)

Monteverdi: Quarto Libro dei Madrigali (Concerto Italiano / Rinaldo Alessandrini)

Scarlatti: Humanità e Lucifero (Europa Galante / Fabio Biondi) 

Bach: Aria (Amaryllis, La maitrise de garcons de Colmar)

Donne Barocche – works by women composers including Barbara Strozzi, Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre, and Bianca Maria Meda (Bizzarie Armoniche; Roberta Invernizzi)

Festa Napoletana (Capella de Turchini / Antonio Florio)



Recent critical acclaim for naïve artists and recordings

Pascal Dusapin: Sept Solos pour Orchestre; Cycle of the Seven Forms

Orchestre Philharmonique de Liège Wallonie Bruxelles / Pascal Rophé

(MO 782180, released May 2010)

“What the album makes immediately apparent is that Mr. Dusapin – like his teacher, Iannis Xenakis, as well as modern composers like Harrison Birtwistle and Magnus Lindberg – has an exceptional knack for yoking and shaping the raw power of massed orchestral forces. … Mr. Rophé and his Belgian players do superb work, and the recording is thrillingly dynamic.”

            – New York Times [Steve Smith]


Bertrand Chamayou plays Franck

(V5208, released April 2010)

“In another naïve disk, the up-and-coming French pianist Bertrand Chamayou takes up an even greater challenge – the music of César Franck (1822-90), the composer whom people love to hate.  Belgian-born, and with a German mother, Franck was the principal entry point for the influence of Liszt and Wagner during the early years of the Third Republic.  Chamayou’s straightforward but stylish and invigorating accounts of such bedrock works as the Prelude, Chorale, and Fugue, and the Symphonic Variations (the latter offered with the dynamic accompaniment of Stéphane Denève and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra) suggest that perhaps a legacy of heavy-handed performances, rather than the music itself, has limited Franck’s appeal.”

            – New Yorker [Russell Platt] 


George Onslow: String Quartets No. 28, Op. 54 (world-premiere recording); No. 29, Op. 55 (world-premiere recording); and No. 30, Op. 56

Quatuor Diotima

(V 5200, released March 2010)

 “The notion that any substantial German influence could affect France’s triumphant achievements in art, fashion, and cuisine would be, well, incroyable.  But music, the relatively weaker sibling, has always been more susceptible to developments across the Rhine.  It was George Onslow (1784-1853), the son of a transplanted English nobleman, who first gave France a serious chamber-music repertory – with the help of Beethoven, whose late quartets, performed in Paris in 1828, had a galvanizing effect on Onslow’s String Quartets Op. 54-56, newly recorded by the Quatuor Diotima (naïve).  These surprisingly powerful works, heard in suave and energetic performances, reveal a composer who combined a mastery of thematic development and chromatic harmony with a lightness of touch – and a bold, operatic lyricism – that remains utterly French.”

            – New Yorker [Russell Platt]


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© 21C Media Group, June 2010

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