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George Antheil:

Symphonies Nos. 4 & 6

GEORGE ANTHEIL (1900-1959): Symphony No. 4 "1942", Symphony No. 6, McKonkey's Ferry (Washington at Trenton) - A Concert Overture. The Fourth is our latest addition to that mid 20th-century segment of the symphonic canon known as "The War Symphony". Its first movement is troubled and turbulent, with brutal march rhythms appearing and disappearing; the second movement (one of four fast movements in this work), inspired by the news of the horrors of Lidice and Warsaw, is a twisted and tragic dance of death while the scherzo is a sardonic and brutal joke. The finale, written after the turn of the tide at Stalingrad and the Allied landings in Africa, is still veined with march rhythms but this time jaunty and optimistic ones. There is more than a little suggestion of Shostakovich in every movement (and also an odd section of the second movement which is classic Bernard Herrmann) but Antheil's synthesis of these elements with his own, uniquely American sensibility makes this an attractive discovery. The Sixth, from 1948, also has its martial qualities, mixing a Prokofievian motif in its first movements with odd snatches of The Battle Hymn of the Republic. Its slow second movement is a chilly, Satiesque waltz with a Mahlerian trio section while the finale adds syncopations and jazzy motor rhythms to the mix while avalanching toward a thunderous conclusion. The concert overture (1948) shares many of its vigorous and motoric characteristics with the Sixth Symphony. National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine; Theodore Kuchar. Naxos 8.559033 (New Zealand) 04B001 $5.98

PAUL CRESTON (1906-1985): Symphony No. 1, Op. 20, Symphony No. 2, Op. 35, Symphony No. 3 "Three Mysteries", Op. 48. Unlike Antheil, Creston didn't write a "war symphony". His first dates from 1940 and is full of the high spirits and swagger of an American composer writing a big, American symphony on the order of Copland's third. No. 2, although written in 1944, is Creston's "apotheosis of the two foundations of all music, song and dance." Its first movement is a lyrical, sometimes ardent "Introduction and Song" and its last a surging, rhythmically insistent "Interlude and Dance". The longest work here is the Third - a 1950 work in which Creston's religious feelings find expression in a symphonic life of Christ. "The Nativity", "The Crucifixion" and "The Resurrection" have motives either derived directly from or inspired by Gregorian chant and the work begins and ends in glory after traversing solemn and tragic depths. National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine; Theodore Kuchar. Naxos 8.559034 (New Zealand) 04B002 $5.98

DAG WIRÉN (1905-1986): Symphony No. 2, Op. 14, Symphony No. 3, Op. 20, Concert Overture No. 1, Op. 2, Concert Overture, No. 2, Op. 16. Wirén's first acknowledged symphony is No. 2, dating from 1939. It has something of the characteristic of a serenade, with Sibelius and Nielsen combining with Stenhammar. Full of lively charm and unpretentiousness, the piece has an optimistic sunniness which belies the storm clouds forming over Europe at the time. The third symphony dates from 1944 and is equally carefree, full of a healthy vigor and bubbling over with vitality. The two overtures (from 1931 and 1940 respectively) are occasional pieces whose sole purpose is to entertain and, not surprisingly, they do so with typical élan. Norrköping Symphony Orchestra; Thomas Dausgaard. CPO 999 677 (Germany) 04B003 $15.98

HANS WERNER HENZE (b.1926): Piano Concerto No. 2, Telemanniana for Orchestra. Was there ever a composer more given to contrasts and contradictions than Hans Werner Henze? He himself has espoused a kind of transformative æsthetic approach as a means of avoiding any risk of repetition or staleness. His attempts to bring politics into the concert hall have for the most part had as little to do with his music as the similar preoccupations of Alan Bush,who, like Henze pursued his own way and wrote individual and powerful music quite irrespective of its extramusical associations, or none. The monumental concerto here is serial, and for the most part very restrained in its use of the orchestra, which functions more as an infinite resource of chamber groups to interact with the eloquent solo part. Telemanniana is an opulent orchestral transcription of a chamber work of Telemann, and represents the most accessible side of Henze's multifaceted musical personality. Rolf Plagge (piano), Northwest German Philharmonic; Gerhard Markson. CPO 999 322 (Germany) 04B004 $15.98

JOHAN KVANDAL (1919-1999): Fantasia for Hardanger Fiddle and Strings, Op. 50, Sonata for Strings, Op. 79, ARNE NORDHEIM (b.1931): Rendezvous for Strings, MAGNAR ÅM (b.1952): Gratia for Harp and Strings, DAGFINN KOCH (b.1964): Aura for 16 Strings. Four contrasting 20th-century Norwegian composers, represented appropriately enough by music for strings, the folk-fiddle being the prevailing icon of Norwegian folk music. Kvandal places this very instrument in an orchestral setting, late-romantic and tonal, big-boned and classically proportioned. Koch's Aura is relatively subdued - no big Romantic gestures here - but it has a restrained passion which builds an intense listening experience. Nordheim, of course, contrasts with just about everybody, having written in almost every conceivable style at one time or another; Rendezvous avoids the avant-garde, being a blocky, granitic structure which looks back to models such as Sibelius' fourth symphony, and shares with that monument a dark, brooding intensity. Åm's Gratia is an eminently approachable work by a younger composer, with an easy-going flow and an evident sense of beauty of sound. Arve Moen Bergset (fiddle), Kristiansand Chamber Orchestra; Jan Tigmar. Intim Musik IMCD 065 (Sweden) 04B005 $16.98

JOHN FERNSTRÖM (1897-1961): String Quartets: No. 4 in E Flat, Op. 54, No. 6 in the 7th Gypsy Key of G, Op. 81b, No. 7, Op. 91 & No. 8 in Dorian Mode, Op. 93. Quite simply, some of the most enjoyable quartets we've heard from this century. Lighter than Simpson, generally more outgoing than Holmboe, they are nevertheless full of nervous energy and their slow movements have a distinct gravity. While no folk music is used, the very choice of No. 6's key brings a slightly exotic tinge to the music. No. 4 has a virile neo-classical form (and I mean Mozart, not "Neo-Classicism") updated to the 20th century; No. 7 is the most intense and withdrawn and No. 8 gives Fernström the opportunity to have fun with counterpoint. Wonderful, bracing stuff! Lysell Quartet. Daphne 1009 (Sweden) 04B006 $16.98

FRANK MARTIN (1890-1974): Polyptique for Violin and 2 Small String Orchestras, Sonata da Chiesa for Viola and Strings, Etudes for String Orchestra. The 83-year-old Martin's Polyptique was his last composition - a six-movement work which was inspired by a set of Italian wooden tablets depicting the Passion of Christ. It is fitting that a composer who, as a ten-year-old was deeply impressed by Bach's St. Matthew Passion, should finish his career with this humane, meditative and quietly moving 25-minute composition. The Etudes (1956) and sonata (1938) show different aspects of the composer's personal use of 12-tone technique, in which melodic and emotional communication are always foremost. Gottfried Schneider (violin), J. Rieber (viola d'amore), Munich Chamber Orchestra; Hans Stadlmair. Koch Schwann Musica Mundi 3-6732-2 (Germany) 04B007 $6.98

EASLEY BLACKWOOD (b.1932): String Quartets No. 1, Op. 4, No. 2, Op. 6 & No. 3, Op. 42. Blackwood's first two quartets, dating from 1957 and 1959, are in an atonal, yet highly expressive idiom heavily influenced by Hindemith, Berg and Bartók and are very enjoyable examples of that genre. In the late 70s, the composer began writing in a conventional tonal idiom and his third quartet (1998), dedicated to the perfomers here recorded is in a style reminiscent of the quartets of Franck, Ravel and Verdi. Attractive, passionate works. Pacifica Quartet. Cedille CDR 90000 050 (U.S.A.) 04B008 $16.98

ERNESTO HALFFTER (1905-1989): Sinfonietta in D, 2 Esquisses Symphoniques, Al Amanecer for Violin and Orchestra, Cavatina, Habanera. Halffter's brilliantly orchestrated, richly melodic and colorful 1925 Sinfonietta has been described in these pages before; the present disc offers four items new to CD: the symphonic sketches (1925) have a sumptuously impressionistic cast and Al Amanecer (1937) is a delicate miniature portrait of sunrise. The Habanera of 1931 is an intoxicatingly rhythmic 9-minute bath in Spanish color and the 1933 Cavatina is a short but attractive tribute to Enrique Arbós. Mikhail Vostokov (violin), Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria; Adrian Leaper. ASV DCA 1078 (England) 04B009 $16.98

POUL SCHIERBECK (1888-1949): The Chinese Flute, Op. 10, The Tinder-Box, Op. 61, Queen Dagmar. Schierbeck falls between two generations in Danish music; after the true romantics of the turn of the century, before the revolutionaries of the middle of our own. He was no revolutionary, and his studies with (among others) Nielsen seem to have borne ripe and delectable fruit. The music is late-Romantic opulence at its best, with suggestions of Nielsen's energy but not, for the most part, his stunning originality. The vocal writing is exquisite; the orchestration masterly, and for anyone interested in the 'second-string' masters of romanticism - Zemlinsky, Louis Glass, etc - this will be an essential acquisition. Inger Dam-Jensen (soprano), Kirsten Dolberg (mezzo), Morten Frank Larsen (baritone), Johnny van Hal (tenor), Kurt Dreyer (recitation), University Choir Lille MUKO, Odense Symphony Orchestra; Giordano Bellincampi. Dacapo 8.224104 (Denmark) 04B010 $14.98

ULVI CEMAL ERKIN (1906-1972): Sinfonietta for Strings, CEMAL RESID REY (1904-1985): Andante and Allegro for Violin and Strings, NEVIT KODALLI (b.1924): Adagio for Strings, CENGIZ TANÇ (b.1933): Lyric Concerto for Flute, Oboe and Strings. Erkin's Sinfonietta started life as an exercise for young string players but when the composer realized it was too difficult, it became a professional piece. Its finale provides the only overtly Turkish music here and that only in its use of aksak rhythm; otherwise, it and Rey's and Kodalli's pieces are tonal, predominantly lyrical, sometimes impassioned examples of approachable, mainstream European music. Tanç's piece (1984) uses the composer's own serial technique which, however, is expressionistic and not at all academic. Suna Kan (violin), Northern Sinfonia; Howard Griffiths. Koch Schwann 3-1480-2 (Germany) 04B011 $16.98

CAMARGO GUARNIERI (1907-1993): Concertino for Piano and Orchestra, Chôro for Piano and Orchestra, Sonatina, Danse Negra, Ponteios Nos. 22, 24, 30, 45, 46 & 49. Written in 1961, Guarnieri's Concertino is Bartokian in its fierce, percussive and intense first movement but then shows its true Brazilian colors in its melancholy slow movement and its finale, in which frevo, modinha and embolada rhythms make for lively and - for the soloist - virtuosic fun. The same combination of outer movement high spirits and languid center (and Northwestern Brazilian and African rhythms) obtains for the 1956 Chôro, another concertino in all but name. Caio Pagano (piano), Czech National Orchestra; Paul Freeman. Summit DCD 249 (U.S.A.) 04B012 $17.98

MARCEL DUPRÉ (1886-1971): Works for Organ, Vol. 9 - Sonata in A Minor for Cello and Organ, Op. 60, Trio for Violin, Cello and Organ, Op. 55, Quartet for Violin, Viola, Cello and Organ, Op. 52, 11 Chorales, Op. 28, Regina Cli for Organ, Op. 64, 17 Chorales, Op. 28. The rarely-heard combination of string instruments and organ is the main attraction of this volume of Dupré's works. The quartet, from 1952, has an airy scherzando, a charming, folk-like larghetto and a rustic rondo which follow a severe prelude; the trio (1955) is harmonically advanced with a strong forward thrust and some striking writing for the combination of instruments while the sonata (1960) has a certain lyrical charm in its outer movements, which surround a slow, waltz-like movement. Bruce Neswick (Fisk Organ of the First Presbyterian Church, Evansville), Timothy Durbin (violin), Jennefer Rende (viola), Clyde Beavers (cello). Naxos 8.554378 (New Zealand) 04B013 $5.98

JØRGEN BENTZON (1897-1951): Sonatina for Flute, Clarinet and Bassoon, Op. 7, Divertimento for String Trio, Op. 2, Intermezzo for Violin and Clarinet, Op. 24, Mikrofoni No. 1 for Baritone, Flute and Piano Trio, Op. 44, Variazioni interrotti for Clarinet, Bassoon and String Trio, Op. 12. A second release of music by Niels Viggo Bentzon's less-well-known cousin (after a disc of his chamber Racconti on this label) brings an early (1921) divertimento whose opulent, Nielsen-influenced sonority the composer was soon to abandon for his "character polyphony". The latter informs the remaining works on the disc - pieces in which each individual instrument is allowed to express itself in keeping with their own natural sonorities. The 1924 sonatina, in particular is notable for its trenchant, ironic tone. Lars Thodberg Bertelsen (baritone), Danish Chamber Players. Marco Polo/Dacapo 8.224129 (Denmark) 04B014 $14.98

HANS SCHAEUBLE (1906-1988): Concerto for Piano and Strings, Op. 50, MEINRAD SCHÜTTER (b.1910): Piano Concerto, Pastorale II for Clarinet and Orchestra. Schütter's concerto is freely atonal, strongly polyphonic yet manages to suggest tonality when none is there. A certain reserved warmth inhabits portions of the concerto (1985) which is a lament for the dying forests of Europe but a forbidding beauty is the overall impression left. Schaeuble's 1967 concerto is an attractive work whose neo-classical, severely pure first movement is followed by evidence of its composer's late-Romantic roots in music which seems to try to reconcile baroque forms with the harmonic world of Berg. Antoine Rebstein (piano), Josias Just (clarinet), Zürich Chamber Orchestra; Howard Griffiths. Musikszene Schweitz CD 6162 (Switzerland) 04B015 $18.98

GIUSEPPE VALENTINI (c.1680-c.1746): 7 Bizzarrie per camera, Op. 2. Fans of Biber or Muffat will enjoy this cycle (the odd number of seven for a group of this sort is also "bizarre") with its surprising twists and turns, wide scale of emotions, often frivolously light but, in the center bizzaria in E Minor, tragic and passionate. Aura Musicale; Balázs Máté. Hungaroton HCD 31864 (Hungary) 04B016 $16.98

WILLIAM BOYCE (1711-1779): Ode for St. Cecilia's Day. Dating from 1739, this ode allows the young Boyce to display a Janus-like style, looking forward as much as backward, with less of Handel to be heard than one might expect. The music is dramatic and virile, brimming over with good melodies, especially in its second part, which produces greater intensity, imagination and beauty. Texts included. Patrick Burrowes (boy soprano), William Purefoy (alto), Andrew Watts (counter-tenor), Richard Edgar-Wilson (tenor), Michael George (bass-baritone), Choir of New College, Oxford, The Hanover Band; Graham Lea-Cox. ASV GAU 200 (England) 04B017 $16.98

JOHANN BEER (1655-1700): Concerto for Posthorn, Corno da caccia, Violins and Basso Continuo in B Flat, CHRISTOPH FÖRSTER (1693-1745): Concerto for Horn and Strings in E Flat, ANON.: Sonata da caccia for Horn and Strings in C, GEORG PHILIPP TELEMANN (1681-1767): Horn Concerto in D, JOSEPH HAYDN (1732-1809): Horn Concerto No. 1 in D. Damm plays four types of horn (the brief, late 17th century anonymous work is performed on a piccolo horn) in this varied collection of pre-classical concertos. Budget price. Peter Damm (horns), Chamber Orchestra of the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin; Hartmut Haenchen. Berlin Classics Eterna 3210 (Germany) 04B018 $5.98

CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH (1714-1788): Complete Keyboard Concertos, Vol. 9 - in E Flat, H.446, in C Minor, H.407, Sonatinas in D, H.449 and in G, H.451. Bach composed only one keyboard concerto between 1755 and 1762 (the E Flat one recorded here); after this, a new period in his uvre begins, with works much more pianistic in character, with orchestral horns and winds added to make up a bolder, bigger sound. Public concerts are likely the impetus for this shift and the Sonatinas (also with orchestra) particularly seem to have been written with a more "popular" audience in mind. All but the above mentioned concerto are world-premiere recordings - that of the C Minor being a 1762 revision of a 1739 concerto. Miklós Spányi (tangent piano), Concerto Armonico. BIS CD-868 (Sweden) 04B019 $17.98

JEAN-BAPTISTE KRUMPHOLTZ (1747-1790): Sonata No. 1, Variations on an Air by Mozart, Op. 10, Second Symphony, Op. 11, Sonata, Op. 17 "Comme scène de demi-caractère". A solo harp recital which should appeal to any Classical collector: the op. 17 sonata showing a questing pre-Romanticism while the earlier works are jewels of Mozartian beauty and style. Jan Walters (pedal harp). ASV Gaudeamus GAU 209 (England) 04B020 $16.98

FERDINAND RIES (1784-1838): Cello Sonatas in C, Op. 20, in A, Op. 21 & in G Minor, Op. 125. One of the few composers who can actually sound like Beethoven, Ries, his pupil, comes through again with the two early sonatas (1807 & 1809) which are indebted to his master yet have a somewhat softer dramatic profile. The G minor work, from 1823, is unlike Beethoven; its purling piano part and sighing cello speak more of the salon than of passionate emotions. Arturo Bonucci (cello), Aldo Orvieto (piano). Dynamic CDS 246 (Italy) 04B021 $17.98

JOAN PLA (c.1720-?)& JOSEP PLA (1728-1762) Trio Sonatas Nos. 2, 4, 12, 13, 15, 16 & 29. The Catalan Pla family traveled throughout Europe as wind players and the two brothers concerned here wrote some 30 trio sonatas (a few of which are under Joan's name but most of which are under both) in the rococo style which separated the baroque from the stil galant of the early Classical period. Oboe and various types of flute are used in these performances. Barcelona Consort. La Ma de Guido LMG 2036 (Spain) 04B022 $17.98

JOAN PLA (c.1720-?): Flute Concertos in G and in B Flat, MANUEL PLA (?-1766): Flute Concerto in B Flat. Works such as the trio sonatas above were published and consumed avidly by amateur players but concertos were not anywhere near as popular for obvious reasons of scale so these three concertos fell into oblivion not long after they were written. Charming and melodic, they again fit into the pre-Classical rococo style. Claudi Arimany (flute), English Chamber Orchestra; José Luis García. Ensayo ENY-CD-9721 (Spain) 04B023 $16.98

DAVID MORITZ MICHAEL (1751-1827): Wind Parthias 6-9. More Moravian wind music from the turn of the 19th century. Michael's works have the lighthearted exuberance and playfulness of most 18th century divertimenti and some passages, indeed, are reminiscent of Haydn's more serious writing. Pacific Classical Winds. New World 80538 (U.S.A.) 04B024 $16.98

JOHANN SCHOBERT (1735?-1767): 3 Sonates en quatuor, Op. 7 "April", "May", "June", 2 Sonates en quatuor, Op. 14. Attractive, period instrument performances of five of Schobert's "concertos"; op. 14 calls for violin ad lib. while op. 7 are miniature keyboard concertos of the type which so attracted the young Mozart and which heralded the high Classical style. Jaroslaw Adamus, Dominique Manière (violins), Evelyne Peudon (cello), Lydie Bonneton (harpsichord). Acte Préalable AP0037 (Poland) 04B025 $16.98

GIOVANNI BONONCINI (1670-1747): 8 Diverti-menti da camera. Bononcini was one of Europe's most popular opera and vocal composers in the early 18th century; this collection of recorder divertimenti dates from 1722, during his time in England and tends toward the portrayal of sighing emotions (perfect for the recorder) and a generally pastoral mood (five are in minor keys). La Stagione Armonica; Sergio Balestracci. Tactus TC 672702 (Italy) 04B026 $17.98

IGNACY JAN PADEREWSKI (1860-1941): Fantasy from the Opera "Manru" (arr. Walter Rabl [1873-1940]), Prelude to Act 3 and Gypsy March from Manru, Ouverture, Mélodie, Op. 16/2, Chant d'amour from Op. 10, Mélodie from Op. 8, Cracovienne fantastique, Op. 14/6, Menuet from Op. 14. Unknown hands are responsible for the orchestrations of Paderewski's piano pieces here recorded and Brahms' protege Rabl was hired by the composer's publisher to produce the fantasy on themes from the wildly successful opera Manru (since fallen into utter oblivion). The Ouverture is that youthful work which appeared in the January catalogue on Naxos. That said, it is good to hear the arch-Romantic melodies created for the story of a wandering gypsy and the Polish farm girl whom he marries and then dishonors while the piano pieces sound fine in their new clothing. Cracow State Philharmonic Orchestra; Roland Bader. Koch Schwann 3-1735-2 (Germany) 04B027 $16.98

FERRUCCIO BUSONI (1866-1924): Brautwahl-Suite, Op. 45, Geharnischte Suite, Op. 34a. The suite that Busoni arranged for orchestral performance from Die Brautwahl contains a great deal of quintessential mature Busoni. But then, so does the "Armoured Suite" from a more than a decade earlier. What, exactly, enabled Busoni to capture in a phrase Harlequin the buffoon, Faust, simultaneously mankind's greatest achiever and symbol of its greatest defeat, and Mephistopheles the jesting demon - and moreover to have been able to do it from his early teens onward with scarcely a misstep along the way, is unlikely to become clear to those billions of us who are not his spiritual and intellectual equal any time soon. In both these works, Busoni may be seen anticipating many of the polyrhythmic and polytonal innovations of our century, while never turning his back on the German and Italian musical heritage on which he drew so fluently. Endlessly surprising, brilliantly witty and chillingly macabre, and expressed so completely as to render the listener entirely under the sway of the composer; no recommendation can be too high for any recorded, performed or written component in a full understanding of this most enigmatic and generous composer. Timisoara Philharmonic Orchestra; Jean-François Antonioli. Timpani 1C1054 (France) 04B028 $18.98

ROBERT FUCHS (1847-1927): String Serenade No. 2 in C, Op. 14, String Serenade No. 3 in E Minor, Op. 21, Andante grazioso and Capriccio for Strings, Op. 63. Here is the only CD version available of the second suite (1876) and the Andante grazioso... (1900). The latter has an autumnal touch to its ingratiating dance rhythms, something not present in the two more youthful serenades (the third coming from 1878) where subtlety and skill present whether in the high-spirited tarantella finale of op. 14 and its companion alla Zingarese movement of op. 21 or in the elegiac larghetto of the former and Romanze of the latter. These fit well with, for example, Elgar's work in the same genre. Southwest German Chamber Orchestra; Vladislav Czarnecki. ebs 6097 (Germany) 04B029 $17.98

THÉODORE GOUVY (1819-1898): String Quintet in G, Op. 55, String Quartet in G. Another disc from K617 of the marvellous music of this all-but-forgotten Franco-German composer. The quartet here recorded was completed from instrumental parts and dates from the late 1880s and was probably Gouvy's last chamber work (he spent the 90s writing large choral-orchestral pieces). The melodic richness of the music and the skill of the instrumentation animate music which has a definite autumnal cast, especially in its slow movement which takes its inspiration from 16th century French song. The quintet was completed in 1870, two months after Gouvy's brother was killed in action at Sedan and some six months before his family home was lost in the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine by Prussia. A deceptively cheerful first movement is followed by a heart-rending funeral march then a forcedly cheerful scherzo grits its teeth and the work concludes with a finale whose brilliant, catchy theme is interrupted by a tragic development with funeral march echoes. Not Mahlerian suffering - rather that of a Mozart... Quatuor Denis Clavier, Hervé Renault (second cello). K617 105 (France) 04B030 $17.98

LEOPOLD GODOWSKY (1870-1938): Complete Studies on Chopin's Etudes. Marc-Andre Hamelin turns his formidable talents to these foundation-stones of modern piano technique - well, they jolly well should be anyway. Who would have thought, as little as a decade ago, that we would have a choice of legitimate interpretations of Godowsky's fantastically imaginative demonstrations of just how much more he knew about piano technique than pretty much anyone else alive in his day? 2 CDs. Marc-André Hamelin (piano). Hyperion CDA 67411/2 (England) 04B031 $35.98

AMY BEACH (1867-1944): Piano Concerto in C Sharp Minor, Op. 45, Piano Quintet in F Sharp Minor, Op. 67. The old Turnabout recording of the concerto is finally superceded by this new release, whose up-to-date sound and brilliant performance do their utmost for Beach's work. The first movement has a Dvorakian theme, the scherzo is brilliant and scintillating, the largo eloquent and pensive and the finale offers a Spanish-tinged seductiveness. The quintet has been offered recently (on Chandos) but makes a perfect companion for this long-overlooked concerto. Joanne Polk (piano), English Chamber Orchestra; Paul Goodwin, The Lark Quartet. Arabesque Z6738 (U.S.A.) 04B032 $16.98

CHARLES TOMLINSON GRIFFES (1884-1920): Complete Piano Works, Vol. 2 - The Pleasure Dome of Kubla Khan, 3 Preludes, Piece in E, Dance in A Minor, 3 Fantasy Pieces, Op. 6, Piece in D Minor, Piece in B Flat, Symphonische Phantasie for 2 Pianos, ENGLEBERT HUMPERDINCK (1854-1921)/GRIFFES: Overture to Hänsel und Gretel. The second and final volume, along with the well-known, impressionistic Fantasy Pieces and the exotic Pleasure-Dome, also includes the sparse, epigrammatic and tonally ambiguous preludes of 1919 as well as first recordings of a Humperdinck transcription and a two-piano version of a Wagenerian orchestral piece from around 1910. Michael Lewin (piano), Janice Weber (second piano). Naxos 8.559046 (New Zealand) 04B033 $5.98

ALESSANDRO SCARLATTI (1660-1725): 7 Sonatas for Flute, Violin, Viola and Bass. Mid-price. Once thought to have been composed for Quantz around the time of his death, it is now thought that these modest, thoroughly conservative sonatas were composed at different times between 1708 and 1725. Camerata Köln. CPO 999 619 (Germany) 04B034 $10.98

CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH (1714-1788): 22 Sacred Songs after C.C. Sturm. Dating from 1780 and 1781, these songs set texts by a friend of Bach, a popular Lutheran preacher in Hamburg. Sturm was a kindly, well-liked preacher and Bach hit the right tone precisely in these gentle, moving and touching settings which will appeal to any student of the earlier days of the German lied. German-English texts. Mid-price. Klaus Mertens (baritone), Ludger Rémy (fortepiano). CPO 999 708 (Germany) 04B035 $10.98

DOMENICO CIMAROSA (1749-1801): Flute Quartets No. 1 in D, No. 4 in F and No. 6 in A Minor, SAVERIO MERCADANTE (1795-1870): 7 Variations in C on "Là ci darem la mano" by Mozart, 6 Variations in F on an Original Theme, Theme and 7 Variations in E Minor. Both composers were Neapolitan and predominantly operatic and vocal writers; chamber composition was an exercise in uniting the sophistication of Classical style with the spontaneous qualities of Neapolitan song. Mercadante's works here will naturally have done that more obviously but Cimarosa's graceful and lyrical quartets are just as gracious and pleasing. Gian-Luca Petrucci (flute), Alberto Martini (violin), Enrico Balboni (viola), Zoltan Szabo (cello). Bongiovanni GB 5093 (Italy) 04B036 $16.98

ANTONIO CASIMIR CARTELLIERI (1772-1807): Concerto in B Flat for 2 Clarinets and Orchestra, Flute Concerto in G, Allegro aperto in B Flat for Clarinet and Orchestra. Ducking out of the archives and into the light for a quick recording, Klöcker brings us the second disc of late Classical concertante music from this little-known Italian composer in the style of late Haydn and early Beethoven. Dieter Klöcker, Sandra Arnold (clarinets), Kornelia Brandkamp (flute), Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra. MD&G 301 0960 (Germany) 04B037 $17.98

FRANZ GLEISSNER (1761-1818): Messe in G, Op. 1/4, Epistelsonaten, Op. 1/3, 5 & 6 and Op. 2/2 & 3. Gleissner is best-known (among people with really arcane knowledge) as one of the inventors of lithography. Grove, blithely: "his work as a composer has not survived". Well - not quite - this new release provides us with an undated but late 18th century mass (complete with violin, viola and contrabass solists of the same last name as the conductor!) in tasty, Haydnesque style along with four "church-sonata" orchestral movements and four offertories in the finest late Classical style. German notes and Latin texts. Soloists, Thurgauer Chamber Chorus and Baroque Ensemble; Raimund Rüegge. Quantaphon 15.902 (Germany) 04B038 $16.98

Early Polish Romanticism - Lessel

FRANCISZEK LESSEL (1780-1838): 3 Piano Sonatas, Op. 2, Fantasia in E Minor, Op. 13, Fantasia in C, Op. 8, Variations in A Minor, Op. 15/1&2, Polonaise in D. Lessel was the most important Polish composer in the generation before Chopin. Unfortunately most of his compositions are lost and these two releases offer a substantial amount of what still exists. Perhaps the most arresting piece here is the op. 13 fantasy, a remarkably advanced expression of personal turmoil and turbulent thoughts whose frequent tempo changes and fragmented form prefigure Romanticism. The sonatas date from around 1800 and were dedicated to Haydn, whose late sonatas they resemble but with the addition of a pre-Romantic lyricism in slow movements. 2 CDs. Marcin Lukaszewski (piano). Acte Préalable AP0022 (Poland) 04B039 $33.98

FRANCISZEK LESSEL (1780-1838): Flute Quartet in G, Op. 3, String Quartet in B, Op. 19. The only two surviving quartets (from 1806 and 1824) show a similar debt to late Haydn and to Mozart; the latter's maturity shows in a lyrical, incipient Romanticism. Wonderful discoveries and worthy additions to the genre! Elzbieta Gajewska (flute), Wilanów Quartet. Acte Préalable AP0006 (Poland) 04B040 $16.98

GAETANO DONIZETTI (1797-1848): Parisina d'este. Premiered in 1833, this melodrama is based on a Byron source telling of - what else - the fatal love of a 15th century dutchess and what turns out to be her husband's son by a previous wife. 2 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Alexandrina Pendatchanska (soprano), Amedeo Moretti (tenor), Ramon De Andrès (baritone), Chorus and Orchestra of the Swiss-Italian Radio; Emmanuel Plasson. Dynamic CDS 277/1-2 (Italy) 04B041 $35.98

GIOVANNI SGAMBATI (1841-1914): Complete Piano Works, Vol. 1 - Prelude and Fugue, Op. 6, Mélodie de Gluck, Nocturne No. 5, Op. 31, Nocturne No. 6, Op. 33, Boîte à musique badinage, Op. posth., Pièces lyriques, Op. 23, Mélodies poétiques, Op. 36. The first of three CDs which will contain all of Sgambati's piano music offers a valuable look at a composer who, even before the generation of Casella, Malipiero and Pizzetti which gets most of the credit for it, tried to revive the tradition of instrumental music in Italy. The sets of character pieces (from 1890 and 1903) are mostly backward-looking and romantic in nature although a few in the later collection seem to acknowledge Impressionism. Francesco Caramiello (piano). Agora AG 239.1 (Italy) 04B042 $18.98

SAVERIO MERCADANTE (1795-1870): Clarinet Concertos in B Flat and in E Flat, GIOACCHINO ROSSINI (1792-1868): Introduction, Theme and Variations in B Flat for Clarinet and Orchestra, Variations in C for Clarinet and Orchestra, GAETANO DONIZETTI (1797-1848): Study No. 1 for Solo Clarinet, Clarinet Concertino in B Flat. No world premieres, but plenty of luscious, totally enjoyable music for clarinet and orchestra from three of the most prodigious suppliers of memorable melodies in the Romantic period! Joy Farrall (clarinet), Britten Sinfonia; Nicholas Daniel. ASV Quicksilva QS 6242 (England) 04B043 $10.98

LEIFUR THÓRARINSSON (1934-1998): Symphony No. 2, Violin Concerto. Both works throw the listener into the action in media res, but these confrontational openings belie the subtlety of the musical argument. A serialist with a strong lyical and Romantic tendency, Thorarinsson composed music of great directness and honesty of utterance. The symphony is his swan song, and in the light of this it is tempting to find in it a deliberate summation of musical influences and styles that mattered to the composer ; it certainly contains more references to the past than the concerto, which is a masterly essay in the expressive power of 12-tone music. Sigrún Ethvaldsdóttir (violin), Iceland Symphony Orchestra; Petri Sakari, Paul Schuyler Phillips. Icelandic Music ITM 7-12 (Iceland) 04B044 $17.98

VALERY GAVRILIN (1939-1999): A House on the Road - Symphonic Suite, GEORGY SVIRIDOV (1915-1998): Oratorio pathétique for Mezzo-Soprano, Bass and Orchestra. For a composer of his unquestionable stature, Sviridov has thus far been strangely undervalued despite the widepread interest in Soviet-era music in recent years. We offered his marvellously dynamic Piano Sonata in August 1997, and now we have one of his major works for large forces. Epic and grand, grandiose even at times, blending idioms familiar to us from Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Khachaturian and looking back to Mussorgsky (and even Wagner here and there) the Oratorio Pathétique to words by Mayakovsky speaks with an individual voice and makes direct and compelling appeal to the emotions in the manner of the best Russian music since the beginning of the 19th century. An extremely welcome addition to the catalogue. Gavrilin's suite from a television ballet is another beautifully written score in the Russian tradition; think Balakirev or Borodin brought up to date by rather less than a century. Lacking the impact of the Sviridov, it is nonetheless an appealing work of considerable power and genuine sentiment. Raissa Kotova (mezzo), Alexander Vedernikov (bass), Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra; Vladimir Fedoseyev. Relief CR 991053 (Switzerland) 04B045 $18.98

MEYER KUPFERMAN (b.1926): A Faust Concerto for Horn and Orchestra, Among the Windy Places for Bassoon, Violin and Viola. The ever-surprising and unpredictable, not to say prolific, Mr Kupferman has always been a great teller of tall tales in his music, so it is not surprising to find him drawn to that most elemental of tall tales, the Faust legend. With a virtuosic part for solo horn, who acts as a narrator, sometimes taking on the character of the action described, this tone-poem concerto moves effortlessly between musical genres - sometimes a picturesque, almost Hollywoodized portrayal of the story, sometimes a more abstract canvas, replete with unconventional instruments (slide whistles and flexatones, etc). Ultimately a compelling narrative. The trio for bassoon and strings is a tough yet approachable, concentrated work of great vigor. Jane Zwerneman (horn), Orquesta de Baja California; Meyer Kupferman, Bronx Arts Ensemble. Soundspells CD127 (U.S.A.) 04B046 $16.98

AKIRA NISHIMURA (b.1953): Violin Concerto No. 1 "Afterglow", River of Karuna for Violin and Strings, A Mirror of Mist for Violin and Strings. The violin concerto is a serious work of philosophical intent and content. Nishimura uses subtle yet highly dissonant cluster textures to define an alien landscape in which his solo protagonist's soliloquies emerge with greater poignancy and force than they would in a more sonically conventional setting, seeming to reflect on weighty matters of existence, death and transcendence or both of these necessities. Perhaps the composer's fondness for the highest registers aids in this perception of his intent. The other works have a reflective beauty, inhabiting a similar soundworld, sometimes reminiscent of the incandescent textures of Ligeti. Saschko Gawriloff (violin), Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra; Antoni Wit. Camerata 28CM-522 (Japan) 04B047 $18.98

WILLIAM THOMAS MCKINLEY (b.1938): Summer Dances for Violin and Orchestra, JOHN CARBON (b.1951): Violin Concerto, ROBERT CHUMBLEY (b.1954): Song Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra. McKinley's Summer Dances is a set of three fine Romantic tone poems with (rather virtuosic) violin obbligato. The first is a sultry and restrained bolero, the second an ethereal waltz, and the third a kind of fantastic nocturne. Carbon's concerto is very much modeled after classical and romantic precedents, producing a big, dramatic virtuoso vehicle accompanied by sumptuous orchestration. Chumbley's Fantasy is just that, modeled after Portuguese "Fado" folk music in long melismatic lines and sensuous swagger. The work oscillates between seductive wheedling by the soloist and brash ferocity from the orchestra; imagine an uncivilised, modernised version of Ravel's Tzigane. Peter Zazofsky (violin), Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra; Gerhardt Zimmerman. MMC 2059 (U.S.A.) 04B048 $16.98

JACOB DRUCKMAN (1928-1996): The Sound of Time for Soprano and Orchestra, AUGUSTA READ THOMAS (b.1964): Spirit Musings for Violin and Orchestra, JOHN MUSTO (b.1954): Encounters for Tenor and Orchestra, JEFFREY JACOB: The Persistence of Memory for Piano and Orchestra. Druckman's setting of texts by Norman Mailer is serial and thorny, some might say aggressive, though always beautifully crafted. Thomas' brief violin concerto (a 'version' by the composer of a flute concerto) is more lyrical, though no more tonal. Eloquent and expressive, one is reminded at times of a spark of the material that glows so intoxicatingly in Berg's concerto. Musto's Encounters is a warm and rich song cycle, setting a variety of texts to music unmistakably of our time, yet timeless. Pianist-composer Jacob uses allusions to musical styles of the past in a deliberately surreal juxtaposition, paying homage to the ideas behind the Dalí painting that gives the work its title; the result is very striking, bold and a little unsettling. Marlene Rosen (soprano), Laura Russell (violin), Paul Sperry (tenor), Jeffrey Jacob (piano), Cleveland Chamber Symphony; Edwin London. Albany TROY 347 (U.S.A.) 04B049 $16.98

ALLAN PETTERSSON (1911-1980): 7 Sonatas for 2 Violins, Lamento for Piano, 2 Elegies for Violin and Piano, Romanza for Violin and Piano, Andante espressivo for Violin and Piano. The 1951 sonatas were perceived as horrifically avant-garde by the Swedish critics and they do make use of extended playing techniques here and there but, from our vantage point, they are both sketches for Pettersson's vast symphonic uvre and reminders of his grounding in Swedish folk song. The short pieces which make up the CD are the composer's earliest yet recorded, dating between 1934 and 1945 and are in a romantic idiom. Duo Gelland, Lennart Wallin (piano). BIS CD-1028 (Sweden) 04B050 $17.98

Portuguese, Brazilian and Latin-American works for String Orchestra

JOLY BRAGA SANTOS (1924-1988): Concerto in D, CAMARGO GUARNIERI (1907-1993): Concerto for Strings and Percussion, ANDRÉS GAOS (1874-1959): Impresión nocturna, HEITOR VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959): Fantasia for Saxophone and Chamber Orchestra, JOAQUÍN TURINA (1882-1949): Serenata, Op. 87, ASTOR PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992): 2 Tangos. Much rare repertoire here and one claimed world-premiere - the Guarnieri concerto, whose combination of crisp neo-classicism and Brazilian folk rhtyhms and modalities recall his compatriot Villa-Lobos. The latter's saxophone concerto is bracing and tangy and Braga Santos' 1951 concerto is a dark-hued, serious yet still folk-influenced work well worth having in the repertoire. Isabelle Lapierre (sax), I Musici de Montréal; Yuli Turovsky. Chandos 9804 (England) 04B051 $16.98

ERMANNO WOLF-FERRARI (1876-1948): Sly. Premiered at the end of 1927, Sly is based on Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew only in its earlier part (the main character, Christopher Sly, has passed out in an alehouse and an elaborate trick is played on him by a nobleman). The opera becomes increasingly tragic as it unfolds and ends with the title character's suicide after the cruel hoax is revealed. Neglected most likely due to its serious subject matter, the work only within the last few decades has seen some success, often in the German translation in which it is performed here. Verdi, Wagner and even Dvorak all seem to have contributed to the style, making for an unusual and quite enjoyable experience. 2 CDs. German libretto. Hans-Dieter Bader (tenor), Deborah Polaski (soprano), Klaus-Michael Reeh (baritone), Chorus and Orchestra of the Lower Saxon State Opera Hannover; Robert Maxym. Arts 47549 (Germany) 04B052 $21.98

JOHN GARDNER (b.1917): Symphony No. 3 in E Minor, Op. 189, Flute Concerto, Op. 220, Irish Suite, Op. 231, Sinfonia Piccola, Op. 47, Half Holiday, Op. 52, Prelude for Strings, Op. 148a. Somewhat rare in the field of "light music" is the composer who uses classical forms but that is exactly what Gardner does here. This music is tuneful, generally bright and sunny and was written mostly for semi-professional and amateur orchestras although the composer's skill in orchestration would never lead one to believe it. The flute concerto, written for the soloist here, is perhaps the finest piece and one which crosses the "light music" boundary. Well worth acquiring for those who've been collecting ASV's recent series of British Light Music. Jennifer Stinton (flute), Royal Ballet Sinfonia; Gavin Sutherland. ASV WHL 2125 (England) 04B053 $11.98

KARL AMADEUS HARTMANN (1905-1963): Symphony No. 5, ERNST TOCH (1887-1964): Spiel, Op. 39, BORIS BLACHER (1903-1975): Divertimento, Op. 7, ARNOLD SCHOENBERG (1874-1951): Theme and Variations, Op. 43a, PAUL HINDEMITH (1895-1963): Symphony in B Flat. This disc of "German Wind Band Classics" throws up a couple of premiere recordings - Toch's 1926 short suite which mischeviously pecks away at the prevailing serious-minded repertoire of German military bands, and Blacher's 1936 trifle, composed, in fact, for a military band - the German Air Force Music Corps. The remainder of the disc reminds us of the importance of wind-band music in the "serious" German repertoire of the 20th century. Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra; Clark Rundell, Timothy Reynish. Chandos 9805 (England) 04B054 $16.9

ANDREAS ROMBERG (1767-1821): String Quartets, Vol. 1 - in E Flat, Op. 1/1, in G Minor, Op. 1/2 and in F, Op. 1/3. Cousin of the better-known cellist/composer Berhard Heinrich Rombert, Andreas wrote 10 symphonies, 20 violin concertos and 30-odd string quartets among other works, which makes one wonder how many volumes this series is projected for! Romberg's quartets were esteemed by his contemporaries as equal to those of Haydn and Mozart in their quality yet, due to Beethoven's innovations in the genre, Romberg's uvre fell completely into oblivion well before his death. Although not an innovator, Romberg was a fine composer of high quality quartets which will appeal to anyone who enjoys Haydn's and Mozart's late works in the genre. The three recorded here, though published in 1799, were probably composed between 1794 and 1796. Leipzig String Quartet. MD&G 307 0963 (Germany) 04B055 $17.98

ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810-1856): Piano Sonata in F Minor, Op. 14 (Second Version), Studien nach Capricen von Paganini, Op. 3, 6 Etudes de concert composées d'après des Caprices de Paganini, Op. 10. Much of the second piano sonata was written while Schumann was struggling with his unhappy love for Clara and the conflict with her father (1836). The version recorded here for the first time, based on the text of the second edition, omits two of the fourth movment variaations and adds the second scherzo originally omitted from it but edited by Brahms in 1866. The couplings, two sets of etudes based on Paganini date from the same period (1832 and 1834-35 respectively) are were composed for Clara's use. Mi-Joo Lee (piano). MD&G 604 0941 (Germany) 04B056 $17.98

ROBERT STOLZ (1880-1975): Blumenlieder, Op. 500, Pierrot, komm, trag mich nach Haus, Servus, du!, Spiel auf deiner Geige das Lied von Leid und Lust. Composed in 1928, this 24-piece song cycle on texts about flowers by Günter Loose remains Stolz's only lieder-cycle. Coming as it did right before he embarked on his subsequent career as composer for filmed operettas, it was something of an unintentional dead-end since the new genre proved to be far more lucrative. Everything here has the charm , economy and love of melody which characterizes Stolz' operetta melodies and will be a valuable addition to anyone who collects them or songs of the early 20th century. German texts. Brigitte Lindner (soprano), Ansi Verwey (piano). MD&G 641 0890 (Germany) 04B057 $17.98

LOUIS GLASS (1864-1936): String Quartet No. 3 in A Minor, Op. 23, String Quartet No. 4 in F Sharp Minor, Op. 35. Although a contemporary of Nielsen, Glass was strongly influenced by Franck and Bruckner and his quartets are on a Franckian/Brucknerian scale - the fourth (1907) is over 45 minutes long! The latter's spaciousness of form owes itself to Bruckner but influences also include contemporary Russian music. The third quartet, from 1896 but reworked in 1929, offers similar qualities, qualities which make us look forward all the more to the complete Glass symphonies which are due during the course of the year from Danacord. Zapolski Quartet. Marco Polo/Dacapo 8.224048 (Denmark) 04B058 $14.98

ALESSANDRO LONGO (1864-1945): Suite for Oboe and Piano, Op. 63, Theme and Variations for Bassoon and Piano, Op. 69, Suite for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 62, Suite for Flute and Piano, Op. 68. This collection of music for winds and piano is characteristic of this composer (some of whose chamber works were offered in Sept. 1999's catalogue and who happens to be the "L" in the Scarlatti catalogue listings...) - a pleasing mixture of late Romanticism with neo-classical and Impressionistic veins - all amounting to a quite entertaining, if small-scale, recital. Various artists. Agora AG 181.1 (Italy) 04B059 $18.98

NICCOLO' VAN WESTERHOUT (1857-1898): Piano Sonata in F Minor, Insonnii. The name is Flemish but the composer was Italian, born in Bari. His sonata, from 1888, breathes the unadulterated air of Germanic Romanticism and is a fine example of such emulation, worthy of collection by afficionados. But the eleven pieces going under the general title of "Sleeplessness", composed between 1891-93, are sophisticated amalgams of Tchaikovsky and other late 19th century Russians, late Liszt, Fauré and the young Debussy and even some modernist tinges anticipating the mature Scriabin. Collectors need not hesitate! Pierluigi Camicia (piano). Bongiovanni GB 5098 (Italy) 04B060 $16.98

JOAQUÍN TURINA (1882-1949): Piano Works, Vol. 10 - Álbum de viaje, Op. 15, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Op. 24, Evocaciones, Op. 46, Viaje marítimo, Op. 49. The theme of this volume of Turina's piano works is "Travel": op. 15 contains musical impressions of a trip to North Africa complete with notated Arab melodies; Evocaciones recalls a trip to Barcelona, complete with Catalan melodies; op. 24 is a portait of Guadalquivir and Viaje marítimo comes from a trip to Cuba in 1929. Ripe, melodic, colorful and evocative music which can't fail to please! Antonio Soria (piano). Moraleda 6410 (Spain) 04B061 $16.98

CHARLES VILLIERS STANFORD (1852-1924): Songs, Vol. 1 - La Belle Dame sans merci, 8 Songs from "The Spanish Gypsy", Op. 1, 8 Heine Songs from Opp. 4 & 7, 2 Songs from 50 Old Songs of Ireland, Trottin' to the Fair, The Tomb, Heraclitus, Op. 110/4, 6 Songs from "The Glen of Antrim", Op. 174, 3 Songs from "A Sheaf of Songs from Leinster", Op. 140. Lyrical, diatonic and informed by Irish folksong, Stanford's song uvre influenced Vaughan Williams, Gurney, and Howells.Stephen Varcoe (baritone), Clifford Benson (piano). Hyperion CDA 67123 (England) 04B062 $17.98

GILBERT & SULLIVAN: Princess Ida. 2 CDs. Princess Ida came between Iolanthe and The Mikado (in 1884 to be exact) and was a failure and withdrawn due, perhaps to Gilbert's libretto which drew on an earlier blank-verse play. This recording makes a good case for it, including (possibly exclusively?) every word of dialogue. Also notable is the sheer amount of brass writing Sullivan provided - perhaps the influence of his bandmaster father. Libretto included. Ohio Light Opera; J. Lynn Thompson. Newport Classic NPD 85675/2 (U.S.A.) 04B063 $35.98

ALEXANDRE-PIERRE-FRANÇOIS BOËLY (1785-1858): Fantasy and Fugue in B Flat, Andante in G Minor, Andante in E Flat, Toccata in B Minor, Larghetto in C Sharp Minor, Fantaisie pour le verset Judex Crederis au Te Deum, ALEXANDRE GUILMANT (1837-1911): Morceau de Concert, ACHILLE PHILIP (1878-1959): Lied, Adagio and Fugue, HENRI NIBELLE (1883-1966): Carillon Orléannais, CLAUDE DEBUSSY (1862-1918): First Arabesque. Half of the disc belongs to Boëly, whose rejection of the simplistic, pianistic style of the French music of the early 19th century produced ear-pleasing, Bachian/Mozartian results. Philip was a pupil of Guilmant but both of his pieces bring to mind Franck, with the spirit of Bach looming behind the Adagio & Fugue while Nibelle, a pupil of Gigout, follows in the fine tradition of Vierne's Carillon de Westminster. Gerard Brooks (organ of St. Pierre, Douai). Priory PRCD 637 (England) 04B064 $17.98

CARL NIELSEN (1865-1931): String Quartets, Vol. 2 - No. 1 in F Minor, Op. 5, No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 13. Nielsen's first two quartets (1888 and 1890) are still youthful works, full of the influences of Brahms, Dvorák and Svendsen, but, for all that, full of glorious melodies, fine command of the medium and even a few pointers of things to come. Oslo String Quartet. Naxos 8.553908 (New Zealand) 04B065 $5.98

REYNALDO HAHN (1875-1947): Chansons grises and 15 other songs. This reissue of a 1988 recording offers elegantly intimate performances which bring out all of Hahn's harmonic subtlety, shimmering atmosphere and pathos. French-English texts. Mid-price. Martyn Hill (tenor), Graham Johnson (piano). Hyperion/Helios CDH 55040 (England) 04B066 $10.98

CHARLES MARIE WIDOR (1844-1937)/FRANK STEWART ADAMS (1885-1964): Allegro vivace in F Minor (1st movement of the Organ Symphony Op. 42/5), WIDOR: Symphony for Organ and Orchestra in G Minor, Op. 42, 3 Nouvelles Pièces, Op. 87, Scherzo "La Chasse" (original scherzo from Organ Symphony No. 2, Op. 13). Organ collectors will want the American Adams' 1920 orchestration of the first movement of Widor's fifth organ symphony, approved by the composer. The other rarity is the brief, jauntily pastoral scherzo from the second symphony which fits rather better than the existing one with the work's mood. Ulrich Meldau (organ of the Zürich Tonhalle), Zürich Symphony Orchestra; Daniel Schweizer. Motette CD 40241 (Germany) 04B067 $16.98

A Records International Exclusive: CD Accord from Poland

MARTA PTASZYNSKA: Holocaust Memorial Cantata. A rare foray into the world of contemporary music by the lateYehudi Menuhin, this cantata evolved from a version written several years earlier by Ptaszynska, in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. Menuhin accreted some additional texts to the work to broaden its commemorative scope, so the version presented here is something of a collaborative effort, though the (expanded) score remains Ptaszynska's. Sometimes percussive and declamatory, sometimes hauntingly lyrical, this is an unusual work, evoking a very human response to a tragic chapter in human history. Polish-English texts. Zofia Kilanowicz (soprano), Ryszard Minkiewicz (tenor), Robert Gierlach (baritone), Warsaw Chamber Choir, Sinfonia Varsovia; Lord Yehudi Menuhin. CD Accord ACD 016 (Poland) 04B068 $16.98

PENDERECKI - Symphony No. 7 - World Premiere!

KRZYSZTOF PENDERECKI (b.1933): The Seven Gates of Jerusalem (Symphony No. 7). Premiered in 1996, this work was given the added appellation of "Symphony No. 7" after a couple of performances (Penderecki had already sketched out the still-to-be-heard Sixth). In essence, this is a seven-movement choral symphony using, as the composer has done several times in his career, texts from the Old Testament. Here, the purpose is to celebrate the third millenium of the city of Jerusalem. The work fits snugly into Penderecki's late (or mixed) style - approachably romantic but with seasonings of sound colors from his early, avant-garde years - and is conceived on a monumental scale, with the number seven pervading structure and content. At times sounding almost like the backdrop to an old-fashioned Hollywood epic, this score is sure to appeal to those collectors who have snapped up the late symphonies in the ongoing Naxos series. Latin, Hebrew-English texts. Bozena Harasimowicz-Haas (soprano), Izabella Klosinska (soprano), Jadwiga Rappé (alto), Wieslavw Ochman (tenor), Romuald Tesarowicz (bass), National Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra Warwaw; Kazimierz Kord. CD Accord ACD 036a (Poland) 04B069 $16.98

KRZYSZTOF PENDERECKI (b.1933): Credo. "Magnificent" is the first and overwhelming impression created by this recent (1997 - 98) addition to Penderecki's already formidable, heartfelt and gripping canon of sacred music - quite possibly the most important body of work in this genre by any composer of our century. From his avant-garde days onward, Penderecki has always known very well how to use choral forces for maximum expressive impact, and here, in his now familiar lyrical, relatively consonant vein, it is fascinating to discover that his ability to shock and thrill remains undiminished, without resorting to musical "shock tactics". This is a mighty work of unmistakable conviction and eloquence, and deserves the higfhest recommendation to anyone who responds to the great religious choral works from Bach's masses forward. Bozena Harasimowicz-Haas, Izabella Klosinska (sopranos), Ewa Marciniec (mezzo), Adam Zadunikowski (tenor), Piotr Nowacki (bass), Warsaw Boys' Choir, Warsaw National Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra; Kazimierz Kord. CD Accord ACD 066 (Poland) 04B070 $16.98

PAWEL SZYMANSKI (b.1954): Partita III for Harpsichord and Orchestra, Lux aeterna for Chorus, 2 Pianos, 2 Celestas, 2 Harps and 2 Vibraphones, Partita IV for Orchestra, Miserere for Vocal Consort and Ensemble, 2 Studies for Piano. Like his piano concerto below, these works for various forces share a common factor in their exceptional vitality and energy. Szymanski's language is basically tonal, sometimes with deliberate, though functional rather than ironic, references to musical styles of the classical period and before. Sometimes the overlapping of motoric cells creates either the sense of a complex texture or of readily accessible tonal fragments of different works presented simultaneously. Then the composer breaks the flow with a static interlude of restrained dissonance, and upsets the listener's expectations again. The choral works are especially noteworthy for their originality of texture and 'instrumental' use of voices. Elzbieta Chojnacka (harpsichord), Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra; Marek Pijarowski, Antoni Wit, Szabolcs Esztényi (piano). CD Accord ASC 038 (Poland) 04B071 $16.98

PAWEL SZYMANSKI (b.1954): Piano Concerto, ANDRZEJ PANUFNIK (1914-1991): Piano Concerto, WITOLD LUTOSLAWSKI (1913-1994): Piano Concerto. Panufnik's music was always tonal and dynamic, constructed of his trademark gestural cells and ostinato-driven. Like the great Sinfonia Sacra, this concerto is a good example of what makes this approach work. The Lutoslawsk concerto is not only among that towering composer's greatest works, but also stands as one of the finest concertos of our century; wholly of our time, yet as lyrical as Chopin, the work is simultaneously a great song from first bar to last, and a glittering, multifaceted jewel. The Szymanski, receiving its first recording here, is worthy to stand in this exalted company. Functioning like a dramatically compressed Romantic concerto, this piece has an extraordinary rhythmic vitality, its off-beat pulses vaguely minimalist, its harmonies post-romantic (it actually sounds less "modern" than the Lutoslawski), having more in common with Panufnik's vital assemblages of gestural cells. To encounter any one of these works would be an exciting event; all three together is an embarassment of riches. Ewa Poblocka (piano), Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra; Kazimierz Kord. CD Accord ACD 046 (Poland) 04B072 $16.98

GRAZYNA BACEWICZ (1913-1969): Concerto for String Orchestra, HENRYK GÓRECKI (b.1933): 3 Pieces in the Old Style for String Orchestra, ADAM JARZEBSKI (c.1590-1649): Tamburetta, Chromatica, Canzona Quartra, ANON. (16th cent.): Duma, WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756-1791): Symphony in B Flat, K.182, Symphony in C, K.200. Something for everyone here. Sprightly performances of the early Baroque Jarzebski, an anonymous composition from the 16th century, Bacewicz' Bartókian Concerto for string orchestra, is at once rich and astringent. A couple of Mozart symphonies that, mercifully, aren't among the overplayed staples, round out the disc. Polish Chamber Orchestra; Jerzy Maksymiuk. CD Accord ACD 023 (Poland) 04B073 $16.98

KASPAR FÖRSTER (1616-1673): Vanitas vanitatum, Repleta est malis, Viri Israelite, Beatus vir, Dulcis amor Jesu, Et cum ingressus esset Jesu, Ad arma fideles, Trio Sonatas in G & B Flat, Trio Sonata La Pazza. Förster's vocal works are scored for three solo voices with very low bass parts (he was a very low bass himself) accompanied by two violins and continuo (here varied using viola da gamba, chitarrone, harpsichord and chamber organ). Vanitas vanitatum and Viri Israelite are dramatic oratorios, the former a dialogue between a rich man and a poor one, the latter a dialogue between Judith and Holofernes. The remainder of the vocal works can be described as Latin sacred concertos. Only six trio sonatas by Förster survive, half of which are performed here; they include vigorous fugal writing and virtuoso solo passages. Il Tempo Baroque Ensemble. CD Accord ACD 050 (Poland) 04B074 $16.98

MARCIN LEOPOLITA (?-1589): Missa Paschalis, MARCIN MIELCZEWSKI (1600-1651): Missa Super "O Gloriosa Domina", GRZEGORZ GERWAZY GORCZYCKI (1665-1734): Missa Paschalis. Leopolita's mass is one of the first complete surviving Polish masses from the period of "high" Renaissance polyphony; Melczewski's early Baroque mass is Venetian in spirit, subtle and sublime; Gorczycki evokes late Renaissance counterpoint while employing the Baroque stile antico. Il Canto. CD Accord ACD 018 (Poland) 04B075 $16.98

19th Century Polish Orchestral Music

KAROL KURPINSKI (1785-1857): Overture to the Opera The Two Huts, IGNACY FELIKS DOBRZYNSKI (1807-1867): Overture to the Opera Monbar, STANSLAW MONIUSZKO (1819-1872): A Fairy Tale, WLADYSLAW ZELENSKI (1837-1921): In the Tatras, ZYGMUNT NOSKOWSKI (1846-1909): The Steppe. Kurpinski's and Dobrzynski's overtures are indebted to the prevailing Italian type but are no less enjoyable for that. Moniuszko is the first composer here to speak in a more personal voice although his brief tone-poem also has Italianate elements. Zelenski's 1868-70 piece has an infectious main theme which you'll swear you've heard before somewhere and its progress through the 12-minute work is delightful. Noskowski's is the longest work here (19 minutes) and dates from 1897. Employing late Romantic, often Wagnerian, orchestral style, it paints a vivid picture of the steppes of Russia and their inhabitants. Sinfonia Varsovia; Grzegorz Nowak. CD Accord ACD 019 (Poland) 04B076 $16.98

MIECZYSLAW KARLOWICZ (1876-1909): Serenade for Strings, Op. 2, HENRYK GÓRECKI (b.1933): 3 Pieces in the Old Style, WOJCIECH KILAR (b.1932): Orawa for 15 String Instruments. Karlowicz's 1897 serenade, a student work, has the same vernal freshness of similar works by Elgar and Suk; Górecki's 1963 pieces use old Polish songs for their basis and have proved to be one of his most popular (although hardly characteristic) works. Kilar, known better abroad for his film music, wrote Orawa (the name of a river on the Polish-Slovak border) in 1986, nostalgically capturing the music-making of the Carpathian shepherds. Mid-price. Capella Bydgostiensis; Daniel Stabrawa. CD Accord ACD 047 (Poland) 04B077 $10.98

STANISLAW MONIUSZKO (1819-1872): Old Spinner's Song, Tell me, Rue, Evening Song, The Spinner, MIECZYSLAW KARLOWICZ (1876-1909): To a Grieving Maiden, Op. 1/1, Rust-colored Leaves, In the Snow, Op. 1/3, The Sea, Op. 3/5, Early Stars, Op. 1/3, I Have No Sun, Op. 3/2, Under the Sycamore, With the New Spring, KAROL SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937): Holy God, I Am and Weep, Blessed Be the Moment, WITOLD LUTOSLAWSKI (1913-1994): The Sea, The Wind, Winter, Knights, Eastern Church Bells, FRYDERYK CHOPIN (1810-1849): The Maiden's Wish, Lithuanian Song, Melody, The Handsome Lad, My Little Darling, The Leaves are Falling. This is a marvellous selection of 150 years of Polish song, performed by one of the finest contralto voices to grace the world's operatic stage and with excellent notes to boot. Polish-English texts. Ewa Podles (contralto), Ewa Poblocka (piano). CD Accord ACD 045 (Poland) 04B078 $16.98

Live Argerich from Warsaw for Piano Collectors!

PETER TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893): Piano Concerto No. 1 in B Flat Minor, Op. 23, ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810-1856): Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54, DOMENICO SCARLATTI (1685-1757): Sonata in D Minor, L.422, JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (1685-1750): Bourrée from English Suite No. 2, BWV 807, ALBERTO GINASTERA (1916-1983): Danza de la Moza donosa. The Tchaikovsky was recorded on Oct. 1, 1980; the remainder (some encores not normally associated with this pianist) dates from December 5-8, 1979. Mid-price. Martha Argerich (piano), Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra; Kazimierz Kord. CD Accord ACD 020 (Poland) 04B079 $10.98

BEDRICH SMETANA (1824-1884): Piano Works, Vol. 6 - Countrywoman's Polka, Little Galopp, Galopp di bravura, Variations on the Czech Song "Sil Jsem Proso", Etudes in C and in A Minor, Morceau caractéristique in C Flat, Caprice in G Minor, 2 Marches, Ball-Vision, Concert Etude in C, Bettina's Polka (2 versions), Macbeth and the Witches, Concert Etude "On the Sea-Shore". The sixth volume of this series runs the gamut from the 8-year-old Smetana's first composition - Little Galopp - and the Galopp de bravura from 1840 (an impressively virtuosic piece for a still untrained student) to the toccata-like 1858 etude in C, the innovative and dazzling Macbeth from the following year and "On the Seashore" from 1861, Smetana's musical memory of the stormy Swedish coastline. Ivan Klansky (piano). Kontrapunkt 32306 (Denmark) 04B080 $16.98

Original Soundtrack Recordings on Spanish RCA

FRANZ WAXMAN (1906-1967): The Spirit of St. Louis - Original Soundtrack conducted by Franz Waxman. Recorded March 1, 1957. RCA 74321720512 (Spain) 04B081 $14.98

FRANZ WAXMAN (1906-1967): Peyton Place - Original Soundtrack conducted by Franz Waxman. Recorded Dec., 1957. RCA 74321720522 (Spain) 04B082 $14.98

MAX STEINER (1888-1971): Band of Angels - Original Soundtrack conducted by Max Steiner. Recorded July 3, 1957. RCA 74321720572 (Spain) 04B083 $14.98

MAX STEINER (1888-1971): Marjorie Morningstar - Original Soundtrack conducted by Max Steiner. Recorded March 12, 1958. RCA 74321720542 (Spain) 04B084 $14.98

JEROME MOROSS (1913-1983): The Cardinal - Original Soundtrack conducted by Jerome Moross. Recorded Oct. 1, 1963. RCA 74321720552 (Spain) 04B085 $14.98

ELMER BERNSTEIN (b.1922): Summer and Smoke - Original Soundtrack conducted by Elmer Bernstein. Recorded Nov. 7, 1962. RCA 74321720552 (Spain) 04B086 $14.98

ERICH WOLFGANG KORNGOLD (1897-1957): The Adventures of Robin Hood - Original Motion Picture Score. Korngold's landmark film score was re-recorded digitally in 1983 and originally released in this country on Varese Sarabande. Anyone who didn't add this title to their collection at that time has no excuse now! Utah Symphony Orchestra; Varujan Kojian. TER 1066 (England) 04B087 $16.98

RICHARD STRAUSS (1864-1949): Complete Orchestral Songs. This lavishly prepared complete cycle comes with a 250-page book full of photographs, period photos, posters, etc. which document Richard Strauss' lifelong love affair with the (predominantly soprano) voice through the seven decades of his active production. Although all of these pieces have been recorded somewhere or other, this release is the finest and most complete such effort yet to appear on CD and will appeal to anyone interested in orchestral song or in the composer himself. Adrianne Pieczonka, Edita Gruberova, (sopranos) Judith Howarth, Petja Petrova (mezzo), Peter Straka (tenor), Bo Skovhus (baritone), Kurt Moll (bass). 3 CDs. German-English texts. Nice Philharmonic Orchestra; Friedrich Haider. Nightingale Classics NC 000072-2 (Switzerland) 04B088 $53.98

Orchestral Spectacular - SOME Unusual Repertoire Included...

DEEMS TAYLOR (1885-1966): Looking Glass Insects, from Op. 12, ARMAS JÄRNEFELT (1869-1958): Praeludium, OTTO KLEMPERER (1885-1973): Merry Waltz, MAURICE RAVEL (1875-1937): Boléro, DMITRI KABALEVSKY (1904-1987): Overture to Colas Breugnon, NIKOLAI RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908): The Flight of the Bumble-bee, FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886): Les Preludes, JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833-1897): Hungarian Dance No. 3, GRIGORAS DINICU (1889-1949): Hora Staccato, ANTONIN DVORAK (1841-1904): Slavonic Dance, Op. 72/2, HECTOR BERLIOZ (1803-1869): Dance of the Sylphs, EMMANUEL CHABRIER (1841-1894): Habanera. Yes, mostly already available, but you'll not find the quality of sound reproduction or of performance for any of the unusual repertoire pieces here, nor, in many cases, for the standard repertoire. Even under Klemperer himself, the Merry Waltz never sounded this merry and, though only an excerpt from Deems Taylor's little suite, Looking Glass Insects should make collectors who don't have it look for the complete version. Minnesota Orchestra; Eiji Oue. Reference Recordings RR-92CD (U.S.A.) 04B089 $16.98

HILDING ROSENBERG (1892-1985): Cello Sonata, MELCHER MELCHERS (1882-1961): Cello Sonata, HENNING MANKELL (1868-1930): Nocturne, MATS LIDSTRÖM (b.1959): Tango, FRANZ BERWALD (1796-1868): Duo, JOHAN HELMICH ROMAN (1694-1758): Largo. Rosenberg's 1923 sonata departs somewhat from his typical bright style in its withdrawn, meditative quality although neo-classicism still reigns. Mankell's Nocturne is a technically challenging piece while Melchers' 1926 sonata is notable for its eclecticism and variety of tone colors as it moves betwee late Romanticism and mature Sibelius. Mats Lidström (cello), Bengt Forsberg (piano). Caprice CAP 21460 (Sweden) 04B090 $16.98

YOSHIHISA TAÏRA (b.1937): Monodrame I, REGINALD SMITH BRINDLE (b.1917): Orion M 42, ELLIOTT CARTER (b.1908): Saëta, Canto and March from 8 Pieces for Timpani, ERIC TANGUY (b.1968): Towards, KARLHEINZ STOCKHAUSEN (b.1928): Zyklus für einen Schagzeuger, HANS WERNER HENZE (b.1926): Prison Song, JOHN CAGE (1912-1992): Cartridge Music, SALVATORE SCIARRINO (b.1947): Appendice alla perfezione. A wide variety of 20th century percussion music in a sharp new recording using 24-bit, 96 kHz technology (which makes its effect whether you have special, expensive equipment or not!). Johathan Faralli (percussion). Arts 47558 (Germany) 04B091 $10.98

ARTHUR BENJAMIN (1893-1960): Pastorale, Arioso & Finale, Let's Go Hiking, Suite, Chinoiserie, Siciliana, Scherzino, Jamaican Rumba, Fantasies I & II, Saxophone Blues, 3 New Fantasies, Romance-Impromptu, Odds & Ends I & II, Haunted House, Brumas Tunes, Elegiac Mazurka. Most of Benjamin's piano works date from the mid to late 1930s with a few from the late 20s and a couple more from the mid 40s. Are are brief, cheerful, uncomplicated things with the unmistakeable influence of Ravel and sometimes of Constant Lambert. The two longest works here, the Suite and the Pastorale, Arioso & Finale, are only a shade more serious in tone than the many trifles - pianistic (the composer was a fine performer) and often written for students and beginners. Ian Munro (piano). Tall Poppies TP105 (Australia) 04B092 $18.98

GIACINTO SCELSI (1905-1988): Yamaon for Bass Voice and 5 Instrumentalists, Anahit for Violin and18 Instruments, I presagi for 10 Instrumentalists, 3 pezzi for Soprano Saxophone, Okanagon for Harp, Tam-Tam and Double Bass. This fabulous new recording brings some vintage Scelsi - especially Yamaon and presagi (both finished in 1958). Each uses a characteristic blend of low winds and percussion to weave a threatening, other-dimensional sound world which, the composer tells us, warns of the downfall and destruction of a Mayan city. Yamaon adds a vocalist who sings semantically vacant vowels, consonants and syllables. Anahit (1965) has a bit of the sound world of the Ligeti of the mid-60s as sound states move shift and change in a continuum of enigmatic beauty. Okanagon (1968) is another dark, vaguely threatening exercise of ritualistic aspect which seems to portend no good. Roland Herrmann (baritone), Annette Bik (violin), Pierre-Stéphane Meugé (sax), Klangforum Wien; Hans Zender. Kairos 0012032KAI (Germany) 04B093 $16.98

WOLFGANG RIHM (b.1952): Musik für 3 Streicher. This extended work for three solo strings is a kaleidoscope of string references, techniques and gestures. There is little in the way of unconventional playing techniques, but fragments of material are flung around challengingly and provocatively - the trick of introducing a sudden consonance into fragmentary atonal music, producing a greater sense of surprise than any discord ever could may have become a cliche, but it works very effecitively nonetheless. The piece functions as a compendium of ideas about what can be expressed in string terms, and this limited palette inspires rather than restricts the composer's prodigious imagination. trio recherche. Kairos 0012042KAI (Germany) 04B094 $16.98

HANS ZENDER (b.1936): Schuberts "Winterreise" - Eine komponierte Interpretation for Tenor and Large Orchestra. Zender has presented a most convincing argument that, as it is impossible to encounter a work of art from the past in the context in which it was originally presented to, and received by, the public of its time, the only way in which it is possible to recreate the effect of the original composer's contemporary inspiration is to recreate the work in contemporary terms as they exist now. This is a provocative and fascinating view of the question, and when carried out with such obvious reverence and skill as here, one that genuinely throws new light on an established masterwork. So we have here a complete, sung performance of Winterreise, but with orchestral color added; harmonies and textures changed, and the suggestions of visual detail and atmosphere in the text or hinted at in the accompaniment, fleshed out in pictorial detail, perhaps appropriately for our cinematic age. At the least, this is a fine, fresh approach to the art of transcription; at best, it genuinely enhances the finest character of Schubert's chilly masterpiece. Christoph Prégardien (tenor), Klangforum Wien; Sylvain Cambreling. Kairos 0012002KAI (Germany) 04B095 $16.98

MATTHIAS PINTSCHER (b.1971): 5 Orchesterstücke, Musik aus Thomas Chatterton for Baritone and Orchestra, Choc - Antiphonies for Large Ensemble. Dissatisfied with conventional techniques, Pintscher has, like many other young composers of talent, looked for a new musical vocabulary in which to express his ideas. The most obvious feature of his musical language is contrast - between soft, subtle, almost ambient reverberative sounds, and massive energetic tutti. The actual textures, the notes played, are not so very far from the works of other European composers of the second half of the 20th century - Wolfgang Rihm, for example. The 20-minute suite from the composer's stage work about the strange young 18th century poet Thomas Chatterton exploits these contrasts, between early 20th-century style vocal writing, not especially avant-garde, and a sometimes violent and alien instrumental world, to build a potent and unsettling portrait of the disturbed poet's mind. Urban Malmberg (baritone), RSO Berlin; Matthias Pintscher, Klangforum Wien; Sylvain Cambreling. Kairos 0012052KAI (Germany) 04B096 $16.98

BRUCE STARK: String Quartet No. 1, Hush for String Quartet, The Moon and I for Piano, Romance for Viola and Piano, Lament for Horn and Piano, Song of the Whale for Tuba and Piano, Bone Tones for Trombone and Piano, Hymns for Nonet. Stark is an American composer who has lived in Japan for more than a decade. It is possible to perceive a fascinating contrast in the juxtapositioning of Oriental stasis and calm with the jazzy, folk roots of Stark's American ancestry. Hush is a piece of written-out jazz for string quartet, which sounds like a more 'civilised' example of the same idea as the arrangements of rock staples that the Kronos Quartet made a virtue of playing a few years ago. S everal pieces here have a very personal, meditative air, and they are indeed meditations on individuals who mean a great deal to the composer. The formal quartet shares something of this acknowledgement of non-classical music, while functioning more in the manner of a concert piece. Consonant and approachable, incorporating a sense of spontaneity into finely crafted forms, these are most enjoyable works. Y. (Igrek) Quartet, Bruce Stark (piano) and other artists. M A Recordings M021A (U.S.A.) 04B097 $17.98

IVÁN MADARÁSZ (b.1949): Flautiáda for Flute and Orchestra, Concertuba for Tuba and Orchestra, Musica solenne for Orchestra. From its rustling, textured opening, one is prepared for the flute concerto to be at the very least an attractive and wholly intelligible work, and so it turns out to be, developing along the lines of 1980s Philip Glass, slightly unexpectedly. The soloist's decorative figurations over bouncy ostinati, underpinned by slow, consonant chordal textures come over like a blueprint for how to write a really winning, appealing piece of 20th century music. The tuba concerto uses similar devices, less ostensibly minimal-sounding, and providing one of the very few high velocity virtuosic concertante tuba parts that one is likely to hear. Finally, Musica Solenne, in some ways a more serious composition, without the crowd-pleasing solo act integral to the other works, emerges as a powerful and original tone-poem, with some fantastic (in both senses) sonorities and the same kind of propulsive drive that energises the concerti. If you already like contemporary music, Madarasz will be a welcome discovery; if you think you don't, you will likely be pleasantly surprised. Gyula Csetényi (flute), Roland Szentpáli (tuba), Budapest Symphony Orchestra; Béla Drahos, Györ Philharmonic Orchestra; Ádám Medveczky, Mátyás Antal. Hungaroton HCD 31830 (Hungary) 04B098 $16.98

GENE GUTCHË (b.1907): Icarus, Op. 48, Genghis Khan, Op. 37, Fifth Symphony for Strings, Op. 34, Bongo Divertimento, Op. 35 for Percussion and Chamber Orchestra. Born in Berlin, Gutchë had piano lessons with Busoni, who recognized the child's talent but, due to parental disapproval, the composer's musical career had to wait for adulthood. Gutchë spent most of his life in Minnesota and created a significant body of personal and engaging orchestral works. The Bongo Divertimento of 1962 is a delightful and fun-filled concerto for the unlikeliest of solo instruments while the symphony of the same year shows a more academic but never dry side of the composer. Genghis Khan (1963) is only nine minutes long but full of incident while the largest work here - Icarus (1975) - is austere, raw and powerful. Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra; David Zinman, Louisville Orchestra; Jorge Mester, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra; Max Rudolf, Marvin Dahlgren (percussion), St. Paul Chamber Orchestra; Leopold Sipe. CRI CD 825 (U.S.A.) 04B099 $16.98

HANS GEORG PFLÜGER (1944-1999): Piano Concerto, Patchwork 1999 for Percussion and Strings, Agitato 1995 for Piano. Pflüger's untimely death last year terminated a highly individual and self-motivated career which leaves the impression not so much of "what might he have accomplished had he lived a full span" as of the completeness and accomplishment of what he did leave. The concerto is certainly a tour de force of its genre, with a brilliantly virtuosic piano part against an orchestral backdrop sometimes suggesting Mahler in its brooding intensity, or Berg, or the Schoenberg of Gurrelieder, and the structured dynamicism of Robert Simpson. The composer's fondness for percussion, especially timpani, and bright, dense brass sonorities lend his music a forceful directness, while the detailed drama of his musical argument guarantees that there will always be more to discover in his scores on repeated listening. Gerhard Oppitz (piano), Badische Staatskapelle; Günter Neuhold, Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra; Dennis Russell Davis. Cadenza CAD 800 873 (Germany) 04B100 $17.98

KALEVI AHO (b.1949): Oboe Quintet, 7 Inventions and Postlude for Oboe and Cello, Quintet for Flute, Oboe and String Trio. Anyone familiar with Aho's superb symphonic output will need no prompting to acquire this chamber disc, based around the oboe, the woodwind instrument for which the composer feels a special affinity. With Shostakovich in the background, Aho has forged a very individual and unusually emotionally expressive style, which cannot be described as post-anything, because it evolved organically, or so it sounds, from the traditions that already existed in northern Europe. Texturally clear and tautly argued, with never a note wasted, these works are masterful examples of concision and musical dialectic of the very finest kind. Sinfonia Lahti Chamber Ensemble. BIS CD-1036 (Sweden) 04B101 $17.98

FRIEDRICH CERHA (b.1926): Spiegel for Large Orchestra and Tape, Monumentum für Karl Prantl for Large Orchestra, Für K for Chamber Orchestra. Cerha is a composer who thinks in large, monumental forms, and constructs them with the assurance of one to whom the epic is a natural mode of expression. Less shocking and viscerally stimulating than Penderecki's pre-neo-Romantic works, Cerha nonetheless uses many devices drawn from a similar vocabulary - clusters, microtones, dense gliding tones and the like. In Spiegel (1960-61) an 80-minute work in seven sections, there is a great deal of subtlety, as though the listener's attention is being drawn to the minute details of a vast sculpture, with only occasional glimpses of the complete edifice. In the light of this analogy it is far from surprising to learn of Cerha's friendship with the suulptor Karl Prantl, nor that the massive Monumentum of 1988 in his honor is indeed a monumental structure of impressive, indeed overwhelming, dimensions, though with the same attention paid, as it were, to the smallest branches as to the massive and immovable central trunk. These more recent works employ tonal referents to a larger extent than the earlier piece, perhaps out of deference to the calm solidity of Prantl's forms (there is an uncanny, and certainly unintentional, echo of (of all things) Vaughan Williams' Sinfonia Antartica; and some textures and organic processes reminiscent of Sibelius (Tapiola and the 4th Symphony) that would likely not have turned up in Cerha's music of the 1960s. 2 CDs. Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra; Friedrich Cerha, Michael Gielen, Klangforum Wien; Cerha. col legno 20006 (Germany) 04B102 $37.98

ANDRÉ HAJDU (b.1932): Dreams of Spain for Alto, Tenor, Narrator, Chorus and Orchestra, Concerto for an Ending Century (Piano Concerto No. 2). For the 500th anniversary of the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, Hajdu was commissioned to write a work that ultimately turned out to be this huge historical epic, with texts in six languages and incorporating musical styles as diverse as Spanish folk-rhythms, church music and traditional Jewish music from central and southern Europe. The underlying musical vocabulary is, broadly speaking, Soviet-era big-boned tonality; that dark yet luminous orchestral texture that Shostakovich employed so well. Very far from a didactic historical essay, however eclectic its sources, this work is a powerful and personal utterance, dramatic and compelling. The same might be said of the tense yet oddly romantic concerto, questioning and questing, though always in musical terms readily assimilated; this seems to be a welcome trademark of Hajdu's style. English translations of Spanish, Latin, Hebrew, Aramaic, Gallican and Ladino texts. Tzveta Hristoforou (alto), Vesselin Hristov (tenor), Sofia Festival Choir, Omer Arieli (piano), Sofia Festival Orchestra; Nayden Todorov. Hungaroton HCD 31872 (Hungary) 04B103 $16.98

YURI LANIUK (b.1957): Grieving Thorn for Soprano and Chamber Orchestra, Chamber Music, Chant pour un Equinoxe for Soprano, Baritone and Ensemble, Musique pour Recherche for Ensemble. This Ukrainian composer is a dynamic and individual voice of great imagination. The haunting Grieving Thorn is a study in subtlety, muted colors and highly imaginative textures, sometimes reminiscent of Lutoslawski, with whose harmonic language there is also some common ground. Chamber Music- actually a robust and event-filled miniature concerto for chamber orchestra - also suggests the same comparison. Chant... returns to the mysterious and haunted world of Grieving Thorn, while the most recent work, Musique pour Recherche (1996), shares these textures, though in a more kaleidoscopic, less neo-Romantically inspired manner than the vocal works. Texts and English translations. Soloists, Polish Radio Orchestra, Lvov Sinfonietta; Roman Rewakowicz. CD Accord ACD 054 (Poland) 04B104 $16.98

ENDRE SZERVÁNSZKY (1911-1977): Concerto in Memory of Attila József, 6 Pieces for Orchestra. Bartók and Shostakovich are the models who come to mind in Szervánszky's concerto in memory of the poet Attila József. Opening with a brooding introduction which leads to a fantasia alternating vertiginous tumult with melancholy reflection, the work also encompasses folk-music elements, rustic dances and episodes of high dramatic intensity - all very Romantic, or Realist, concepts. The much more concise Six Orchestral Pieces (1959) is a dodecaphonic work, much more abstract, yet recognisably sharing its pedigree with the overtly emotional and representational concerto. The composer uses the same kind of big, bold, colorful orchestral gestures, though in a less narrative form, as the work nonetheless achieves a very cogent sense of unity of argument. Hungarian State Orchestra; Gyula Borbély, Budapest Symphony Orchestra; Gyula Németh. Hungaroton HCD 31728 (Hungary) 04B105 $16.98

MIKIS THEODORAKIS (b.1925): Axion esti. "Praise Be" is both the title and the underlying principle of this large-scale secular liturgy by Theodorakis, setting poetry of Odysseas Elysis. Theodorakis uses his usual devices, incorporating folk elements and folk-influenced singing style (which he is, of course, uniquely qualified to understand, given his own performing activities) into a lush, tonal, romantic landscape, uncomplicated and immediately appealing. This directly communicative character is typical of Theodorakis' best music, and the sense of being on familiar ground tonally or in the incorporation of recognisable folk or church modes and rhythms only serves to reinforce the direct appeal of the music. Gothart Stier (baritone), Gunter Emmerlich (bass), Lakis Karnezis (bouzouki), Erik Kross (sanduri), Choirs, Orchester des Hochschule für Musik "Carl Maria von Weber", Dresden; Mikis Theodorakis. Berlin Classics 9352 (Germany) 04B106 $11.98

FRANCIS THORNE (b.1922): Fanfare, Gugue & Funk for Orchestra, String Quartet No. 3, Nocturnes for Soprano and Piano, Flute Sonatina, Lyric Variations No. 2 for Percussion and Wind Quintet. In a long and varied career as Wall Street businessman, arts administrator, jazz pianist and composer, Thorne has perhaps been more free than many composers to pursue his own compositional whim unfettered by schools or doctrines. Largely atonal, his music nonetheless frequently contains elements drawn from contemporary jazz, allusions to the Big Band sound, and (in the orchestral "Fanfare") 'non-classical' instrumentation added to the orchestra. The limited palette of the string quartet medium reveals a more lyrical, still atonal but far from abrasive musical sensibility. Elsewhere the jazz tendencies re-emerge, with a kind of story-telling characterisation, especially in the delicious little Flute Sonatina. Springfield Symphony Orchestra; Robert Gutter, Group for Contemporary Music String Quartet, Catherine Rowe (soprano), Francis Thorne (piano), Harvey Sollberger (flute), Boehm Quintet, Richard Fitz (percussion). CRI CD 828 (U.S.A.) 04B107 $16.98

MICHAEL FINNISSY (b.1946): Gershwin Arrangements, More Gershwin. For a composer so readily identified with the "New Complexity" school, Finnissy has what might appear to be some curious preoccupations; he is a tremendous admirer of Godowsky, for one thing. Of course, it is through his own more than formidable gifts as pianist that he has become intimately acquainted with the great transcribers, and so suddenly it is less surprising that he has himself transcribed a considerable number of Gershwin songs. These are very unusual transcriptions, owing more than a little to Godowsky (though sounding nothing like him) in that the 'complexity' or density of texture is an inherent part of the presentation of the material, and it is necessary for performer and listener alike to be able to follow clearly simultaneously presented material in close polyphony. There are very few grand gestures here, and the Gershwin original is always discernable through the dissonant haze. Fascinating, and certainly among Finnissy's most individual and enduring creations. Ian Pace (piano). Metier MSC CD92030 (England) 04B108 $17.98

NAJI HAKIM (b.1955): Sonata, DAVID MATTHEWS (b.1943): Fuga, 3 Studies, HANS WERNER HENZE (b.1926): Étude Philharmonique, Serenade, Sonata, DMITRI SMIRNOV (b.1952): 2 Fugues, Op. 6. Naji Hakim's refined yet improvisatory solo violin sonata is a work of considerable authority and inventiveness, and repays repeated acquaintance. David Matthews' fugue is aptly compared in the notes to Ysaÿe, whose textures and unbridled, though un-showy, virtuosity it evokes. The same composer's studies are the opposite of academic studies; they are evocative and crystalline pieces of highly expressive music. Smirnov's fugues are ingenious and original in their solutions to the problem of constructing a fugal texture on a monodic solo instrument. The rest of the disc is devoted to Henze, whose sonata is a tour de force of contemporary violin writing, reminding one of the challenges presented by the Bartók solo sonata when it first appeared. Peter Sheppard Skærved (violin). Metier MSV CD92028 (England) 04B109 $17.98

GIOVANNI SOLLIMA (b.1962): Spasimo for Cello and Ensemble, Il tracciato di marta for Ensemble, Sento il canto in curva for Ensemble. The composer is his own eloquent soloist in the heartbreakingly beautiful Spasimo, which suggests in musical scenes the extraordinary history of the church of that name in Palermo, which must in its time have witnessed many aspects of human suffering, inhumanity, hope and reconstruction. Opening with a haunting elegy, a mood which is reiterated throughout the work's five movements, there is also a twitchy, rock-influenced scherzo, and another incorporating inflections of eastern modes characteristic of Sicilian folk music. Very personal, and arrestingly communicative music. Even more personal in a way is the ensemble work based on the idea of the composer's daughter's heartbeat heard in utero; a gentle berceuse, touching and unsentimental, though brimful of genuine sentiment. The lively and appealing Sento . . . is sophisticated minimalism, reminiscent of a rough-edged, streetwise movement from a Nyman film score. A genuinely fresh and exciting new voice, highly recommended. Giovanni Sollima (cello), Ensemble Soni Ventorum. Agora AG 216 (Italy) 04B110 $18.98

British Light Music Classics, Vol. 3

HAYDN WOOD (1882-1959): Montmartre, CLIVE RICHARDSON (1909-1998): Melody on the Move, JACK STRACHEY (1884-1972): In Party Mood, Theatreland, TREVOR DUNCAN (b.1924): The Girl from Corsica, LIONEL MONCKTON (1861-1924): Soldiers in the Park, FELIX GODIN (c.1864-1925): Valse Septembre, RONALD BINGE (1910-1979): Miss Melanie, IVAN CARYLL (1861-1921): Pink Lady Waltz, ROBERT FARNON (b.1917): Portrait of a Flirt, HARRY DEXTER (1920-1973): Siciliano, ALBERT KETÈLBEY (1875-1959): In a Persian Market, ARCHIBALD JOYCE (1873-1963): Songe d'Automne, VIVIAN ELLIS (1903-1996): Alpine Pastures, ERNEST TOMLINSON (b.1924): Little Serenade, TOLCHARD EVANS (1901-1978): Lady of Spain, CHARLES ANCLIFFE (1880-1952): Smiles, then Kisses, SIDNEY TORCH (1908-1990): On a Spring Note, ERIC COATES (1886-1957): Rediffusion March. The third volume of this popular series continues the tried and true mixture of well-known composers with names new to the catalogue. New London Orchestra; Ronald Corp. Hyperion CDA 67148 (England) 04B111 $17.98

ALAN RAWSTHORNE (1905-1971): Music from the Films The Captive Heart, West of Zanzibar, The Cruel Sea, Where No Vultures Fly, Uncle Silas, Lease of Life, The Dancing Fleece, Burma Victory and Saraband for Dead Lovers. Gerard Schurmann and Philip Lane have done yeoman service reconstructing this disc of Rawsthorne's film music. Unlike the music of many composers, most of these tracks can stand alone (especially that from The Captive Heart and Burma Victory, which happen to be the two longest suites here). Don't miss the cues from Uncle Silas, which Bernard Herrmann thought to be the finest film score he'd ever heard. BBC Philharmonic; Rumon Gamba. Chandos 9749 (England) 04B112 $16.98

FRANZ WAXMAN (1906-1967): Hollywood Suite, Variations on Auld Lang Syne for Piano Quartet, Souvenirs de Paris, 4 Scenes of Childhood for Violin and Piano, The Little Mouse, Barnstorming, The Charm Bracelet. Aside from the Scenes of Childhood, written in 1948 for Heifetz's newborn son and the Auld Lang Syne variations of 1947, the music on this disc has been arranged by other hands for this recording. The Hollywood Suite contains music from The Young in Heart, Old Acquaintance, Huckleberry Finn and Come Back, Little Sheba arranged for piano trio and piano sextet and The Charm Bracelet, arranged here for violin and piano, was originally a 1949 suite of children's pieces for piano. The St. Clair Trio and Friends. Koch International Classics 7398 (U.S.A.) 04B113 $16.98

ERNST WIDMER (1927-1990): Prismen for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 70, Bahia-Concerto for Piano, 5 Winds and String Orchestra, Op. 17, Trégua-Suite for Ensemble, Op. 93. Widmer was a Swiss who spent most of his career as a professor and administrator in Brazil - hence the 1958 Bahia-Concerto which could be aptly summarized as "Bartók and Stravinsky meet Brazil". The later works employ a more modern language; "Prisms" of 1971 is a vividly imagined concerto which is highly rhythmic and quite approachable for all of its "avant-garde" allusions. Trégua (1976) is a half-hour suite for winds and strings of eclectic style which retains the listener's interest throughout. Emmy Henz-Diémand (piano), Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra; Räto Tschupp, "Klassik-Avantgarde"; Vladimir Baydov. Quantaphon 20.938 (Switzerland) 04B114 $16.98

HOLLIS TAYLOR: Box Set, Trail Mix. A breath of fresh air in the violin world, composer-performer Hollis Taylor here presents two suites remarkable for their ingenuity and inventiveness, not to say virtuosity and downright enjoyable sense of fun. Box Set is a transcription of Bach's Partita No. 1 for solo violin, for, er, solo violin. Reimagined as a set of dances drawing on contemporary styles - jazz, salsa, blues - the work is an unusually satisfying and instumentally exhilarating example of the crossover genre. Trail Mix is a more serious work, in a way, offering a highly personal view of American history, utilising scordatura tunings that were common practice in American folk-fiddle music to provide unfamiliar chords and sonorities. The musical influences this time are from the folk-fiddle genre, and the piece is both dramatic and full of the unexpected, and also rather moving, suggesting a long-dead pioneer culture brought vividly back to life. Hollis Taylor (violin). Private issue CD. 04B115 $14.98