January 2001   January 2000  January 1999  January 1998  
 February 2001   February 2000  February 1999  February 1998  
    March 2000  March 1999  March 1998  
    April 2000  April 1999  April 1998  
    May 2000  May 1999  May 1998  
    June 2000  June 1999  June 1998  
   July 2000  July 1999  July 1998  July 1997
   August 2000  August 1999  August 1998  August 1997
    September 2000  September 1999  September 1998  September 1997
    October 2000  October 1999  October 1998  October 1997
   November 2000  November 1999  November 1998  November 1997
    December 2000  December 1999  December 1998  December 1997

Paul Von Klenau

Symphonies Nos. 1 & 5

Paolo und Francesca

PAUL VON KLENAU (1883-1946): Symphony No. 1 in F Minor, Symphony No. 5 "Triptikon", Paolo und Francesca. Descended from old German nobility, Klenau was Danish but spent the greater part of his career in Germany where his works had great success, especially during the early part of the Third Reich. He studied with Bruch, Thuille and von Schillings but, in his first symphony (1908) Bruckner is the greatest influence. In fact, we'd go as far as to say that this symphony sounds more like Bruckner even than Richard Wetz's Second (and that's saying something!). To give some idea of its scale, there are 8 French horns and an organ accompanied by 4 tubas in its devotional chorale which prepares the majestic ending of its fourth movement. Vastly different in scope and scale is the 1939 Fifth which was composed just before Klenau moved back to Denmark. In three movements and lasting less than 12 minutes, this work uses smaller orchestral forces and has, perhaps, been influenced by French ideas of cyclic, succinct and spare form. The tone poem works with the same material Klenau used in his Symphony No. 4 "Dante", using stark musical resources to describe the descent into hell, the tragic love story of the doomed lovers and bows out with a well-orchestrated evocation of Dante's grief over their fate. Odense Symphony Orchestra; Jan Wagner. Marco Polo/Dacapo 8.224134 (Denmark) 08C001 $14.98

The only PISTON SYMPHONY not on CD (until now...)

WALTER PISTON (1894-1976): Symphony No. 3, JAMES YANNATOS (b.1929): Prisms (Symphony No. 3), Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra. Piston's Third dates from 1947 and was commissioned in memory of Natalie Koussevitsky. Its first movement is a moving, somber elegy which rises to a powerful conclusion, ushering in a wildly manic scherzo-like second movement which is followed by a solemn, majestic adagio and a joyful, almost frivolous finale. Yannatos' concerto (1995) is in the Copland-Hanson-Thomson mode, providing upbeat, graceful and, ultimately, exhilarating music for both soloists and orchestra while Prisms (1989) translates the refracton of light to the refraction of tonality into polytonality but the work is approachable and attractive regardless of of its underlying structure. Mendelssohn String Quartet, Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra; James Yannatos. Albany TROY 400 (U.S.A.) 08C002 $16.98

WALTER PISTON (1894-1976): Flute Quintet, String Sextet, Piano Quartet, Piano Quintet. The piano quintet of 1949 is probably Piston's most "Romantic" work with the influence of Brahms and even Dvorak present in its full-bodied, rich style. From 1942, the flute quintet is more neo-classical, the soloists usually being part of the texture and only emerging as a soloist on two occasions. The sextet (1964) is remarkably severe and chromatic for Piston with jagged lines and intense counterpoint creating a certain monumentality in its first movement. Although written in the same year as the sextet, the piano quartet is much more lyrical but still infused with the meticulousness and precision of Piston's 1960s style. Members of the 1999 Australian Festival of Chamber Music. Naxos 8.559071 (U.S.A.) 08C003 $5.98

JEAN MARTINON (1910-1976): String Quartet No. 1, Op. 43, String Quartet No. 2, Op. 54. This famous French conductor also left a considerable uvre of orchestral, chamber and instrumental works and it's good to have some of them on CD at last. The first quartet (1946) lasts over half an hour and is notable for its boldness, logic and scope; although actually atonal, in its spikiness, variety of sonorities and rhythmic fantasy, it will appeal to anyone who enjoys the music of Bartók and Prokofiev and, perhaps, Stravinsky. The second quartet, from 1966 while Martinon was in charge of the Chicago SO, treats duodecaphony freely with dense counterpoint added to the earlier work's varied rhythms and sonorities. Quatuor Ravel. Skarbo D SK 4002 (France) 08C004 $16.98

GEORGE KLEINSINGER (1904-1982): Clarinet Quintet, DOUGLAS MOORE (1893-1969): Clarinet Quintet, GARY SCHOCKER (b.1969): Sonata for 2 Clarinets and Piano, VIRGIL THOMSON (1896-1989): 5 Portraits for 4 Clarinets, ELLIOTT CARTER (b.1908): Pastorale for Clarinet and Piano. This collection of American clarinet works is doubly welcome for offering the Kleinsinger, a richly romantic and conservative work with a delightful directness of spirit from 1949 which could have been written 50 years earlier. Moore's quintet dates from three years earlier and contains melodies in his National American style which made his "folk operas" such as Jesse James, The Devil and Daniel Webster and The Ballad of Baby Doe so popular. Thomson's micro-portraits are as full of wit and flair as the man himself while Schocker's 1996 sonata is immediately approachable, especially in its driving, neo-baroque first movement toccata; even Carter's piece - from 1940 - has a beautiful, romantic theme and an unassuming charm, well in advance of his more thorny style. American Chamber Ensemble, Naomi & Stanley Drucker (clarinets). Elysium Recordings GRK 718 (U.S.A.) 08C005 $16.98

HUBERT STUPPNER (b.1944): Salomes Tanz for Orchestra, Salomes Tanz - 7 Songs for Soprano and Orchestra, Les bijoux de Salomé - 7 Characteristic Etudes for Piano. More fun than you'll feel unashamed to have: the four orchestral dances are demented Arabian hootchie-kootchie cum Le Sacre du Printemps cum Iron Foundry. And the 1993 dances are only a distillation of the much longer 1988 Seven Songs - the delirium continues non-stop as texts freely set after Mallarmé and Apollinaire drive the poor soprano to exhausted sensual distraction. "The Jewels of Salomé" (no date given) is a sequence of motoric, ostinato-driven etudes inspired by the list of precious gems which Herod offers the young maiden in Richard Strauss' opera. Bavarian Radio Orchestra; Arturo Tamayo, Sylvia Greenberg (soprano), Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg; Hans Graf, Massimiliano Damerini (piano). Agora AG 214.1 (Italy) 08C006 $18.98

CZESLAW MAREK (1891-1985): Volume 8 - Petite Suite for Piano, Op. 36a, Choral and Allegro for Piano, Op. 11, 2 Pièces Romantiques for Harp, Op. 31, Ondine for 2 Harps, Rondeau for 4 Harps, Andante assai e fastoso for Cello and Piano, Gavotta all'Antica for Cello and Piano. This final volume of Marek's works collects a variety of odds and ends, all composed with his fastidious craftsmanship and many have a characteristic elegant charm and civilized serenity. The Allegro for piano dates from as early as 1914 when Marek was studying with Pfitzner and reminds us of his close relationship with Busoni. The works for multiple harps are fascinating transcriptions of (respectively) Ravel's Ondine and a Rondeau by Rameau Marie-Catherine Girod (piano), Richard Jenkinson (cello), Gabriella Dall'Ollio, Catherine White, Patricia Maier, Hugh Webb (harps). Koch Schwann 3-6577-2 (Germany) 08C007 $16.98

ALAN RAWSTHORNE (1905-1971): String Quartet No. 3, FRANCIS ROUTH (b.1927): Divertimento for String Quartet, Op. 66, EDWARD ELGAR (1857-1934): String Quartet in E Minor, Op. 83. Rawsthorne's last quartet (1964) is his most concentrated and abstruse with his characteristic Bartókian tonal idiom providing rhythmic incisiveness as well as sustained lyricism. Routh's piece was written in 1997 for this quartet, a hesitant theme asking a question and variations answering abruptly, energetically, passionately and vigorously. Bochmann String Quartet. Redcliffe Recordings RR 015 (England) 08C008 $16.98

Paderewski's 'other' major, serious piano work (apart from the sonata) - the Romantic piano at its finest!

IGNAZ PADEREWSKI (1860-1941): Album de Mai, Op. 10 & Op. 14 , Variations and Fugue, Op. 23 , 2 Intermezzi. Adam Wodnicki's complete Paderewski cycle continues with what is probably the composer's finest piano work, the Op. 23 Variations and Fugue. Continuing the vein of large-scale, post-Lisztian piano writing exhibited in the sonata, but taken to even more adventurous heights, this half-hour work is Paderewski's most extreme statement in piano writing. He never attempted anything on this scale again. Full of pianistic inventiveness and drama, this is an unforgettably powerful piece. The Op. 10 and Op. 14 sets are typical of Paderewski's delightful miniatures, and include some of his best-known, including the famous Minuet in G (Op. 14 # 1), and the marvellous Cracovienne Fantastique, possibly Paderewki's best Krakoviak, and a wonderful piece of Polish nationalism. These works and the early Intermezzi suggest that Paderewski was the true successor to Chopin as Polish National Composer. No collection of Romantic piano music is complete without these splendid pieces. Adam Wodnicki (piano). Altarus 9046 (U.S.A.) 08C009 $17.98

FREDERICK DELIUS (1862-1934): 5 Danish Songs, 7 Danish Songs, Intermezzo from Fennimore and Gerda, 2 Danish Songs, Sakuntala, Life's Dance, En Arabesk for Baritone, Chorus and Orchestra. Danish-English texts. Delius was drawn to the literature and landscape of Scandinavia, and spent some extended periods of time there. Anyone who values the intense chromatic sensuality of Delius' native musical vocabulary will find much to enjoy here, in these beautiful, harmonically rich settings. The usuals preoccupations are here - nature, pagan beauty and intimate psychological depth and emotional responses to natural forces - expressed through exquisite, lyrical music tinged with otherworldly melancholy. A lovely disc, of stifling sweetness that invites one to give oneself over wholly to the composer's sensuous muse. Henriette Bonde-Hansen (soprano), Johan Reuter (baritone), Danish National Opera Chorus, Aarhus Chamber Choir, Aarhus Symphony Orchestra; Bo Holten. Danacord DACOCD 536 (Denmark) 08C010 $17.98

CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921): Suite in D for Orchestra, Op. 49, Piano Concerto No. 1 in D, Op. 17, Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 22. The 1863 orchestral suite is a delightful neo-Baroque piece (prelude - sarabande - gavotte - romance and final) whose vigorous central gavotte has a glowing flute duet. The second concerto is quite popular but the first is quite neglected although it's a wonderfully romantic piece opening with a horn solo; the slow movement is touching and the finale a highly rhythmic romp. Noriko Ogawa (piano), Tapiola Sinfonietta; Jean-Jacques Kantorow. BIS CD-1040 (Sweden) 08C011 $17.98

GIUSEPPE MARTUCCI (1856-1909): Piano Music, Vol. 2 - Capriccio and Serenata, Op. 57, Fantasia, Op. 51, 2 Nocturnes, Op. 70, Capriccio and Toccata, Op. 77, 6 Pieces, Op. 44. Any whiff of the salon (as could be discerned in his youthful pieces) has gone in these piano pieces which are part of the transition from late Romanticism to the anxieties of the 20th century. The second Nocturne, especially, has that sense of "pleasure in suffering" which was common in much fin de siècle music; the Fantasia (1881) was Martucci's first work in one of the great musical forms and its has writing of great fluidity, long melodic phrases and a brilliantly playful Allegro. The op. 44 pieces have the sparkling virtuosity of Thalberg joined with the early Romantic spirit of Mendelssohn and Schumann. Francesco Caramiello (piano). ASV DCA 1092 (England) 08C012 $16.98

J.P.E. HARTMANN (1805-1900): 6 Novelletten, Op. 55b, NIELS W. GADE (1817-1890): Fra Skizzebogen, C.F.E. HORNEMAN (1840-1906): Fantasistykke, 2 Piano Pieces, LOUIS GLASS (1864-1936): 9 Skizzer, Op. 21, 6 Lyriske Bagateller, Op. 26, 3 Piano Pieces, Op. 66, LUDVIG BERKEDAL-BARFOD (1850-1937): 5 Albumsblade, Op. 7, LUDVIG SCHYTTE (1848-1909): Nightengales, FRIEDRICH KUHLAU (1786-1832): Sonata in E, Op. 127, 8 Variations on "King Christian", Op. 16, 19 Variations on "Unsa Kaz", Op. 42/6, KNUDÅGE RIISAGER (1897-1974): 6 Piano Pieces, FINN HØFFDING (1899-1997): 7 Pieces from Via Nova, SVEND ERIK TARP (1908-1994): Puslespil, Op. 54, JØRGEN JERSILD (b.1913): Landsby-musikanter, 2 Small Pieces, 3 Piano Pieces, NIELS VIGGO BENTZON (1919-2000): 7 Small Piano Pieces, Op. 3, VAGN HOLMBOE (1909-1996): Rigoroso, Allegro Pro Piano II, Allegretto Pro Piano III, SVEND S. SCHULTZ (b.1913): 5 Moments Musicaux. This 1995 release offered such a wide variety of Danish piano miniatures that we felt compelled to offer it again to those who may have missed it. Special price. Erik Fessel (piano). Danacord DACOCD 434-435 (Denmark) 08C013 $29.98

FERDINAND ZELLBELL Sen. (1689-1765): Preludes in E Minor and in D Minor, DAVID WIKANDER (1884-1955): Passacaglia, ROLF KARLSEN (1911-1981): Partita No. 1 in C Minor, JEAN SIBELIUS (1865-1957): Funeral Music, Intrada in E, EDVARD GRIEG (1843-1907): Fuga "Dona nobis pacem", Air from Holberg Suite, DIETRICH BUXTEHUDE (1637-1707): Toccata in D Minor, Prelude & Fugue in E Minor. This budget-priced collection of Nordic organ music includes two Grieg transcriptions in addition to other, original works: the only two organ pieces by Sibelius, a Passacaglia in Swedish Romantic style from Wikander in 1944 and two preludes by the father of the Classical period song-writer Zellbell. Hans Helmut Tillmans (organs in Porsgrunn, Norway; Viborg, Denmark and Torrlösa, Sweden). Koch Schwann Musica Mundi 3-6726-2 (Germany) 08C014 $6.98

JOHAN ADAM KRYGELL (1835-1915): Sonata Appassionata, Op. 57, Prelude and Fugue in E Minor, Op. 8, Marcia funèbre, Op. 59, Prelude, Fugato & Postlude on the Name of GADE, Op. 72, Souvenir de Joh.Seb. Bach. Toccata and Fugue, Op. 65. First released in 1994, this offering resurrected the work of a wholly forgotten composer, one who wrote four symphonies and 25 (!) string quartets (one in every key) in addition to choral and organ music. The latter made up half of his 150 compositions and is represented here by one of his two romantic sonatas, a funeral march and three examples of his favorite genre - the counterpoint of the toccata/prelude & fugue. Gunnar Svensson (organ of the Filips Kirke, Copenhagen). Danacord DACOCD 431 (Denmark) 08C015 $17.98

GIUSEPPE SARTI (1729-1802): Giulio Sabino At a time when opere serie rarely received repeat performances, Giulio Sabino had some 20 performances over a period of 20 years. Premiered in 1781, there is only one duet, one trio and a final chorus of the six soloists - no ballets or choruses, following the Metastasian tradition of dramma per musica. Its subject, honoring conjugal love, has a long, emotional subterranean scene which will call to mind the future Fidelio. 2 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Sonia Prina (soprano), Elena Monti (soprano), Giuseppe Filianoti (tenor), Alessandra Palomba (mezzo), Accademia Bizantina; Ottavio Dantone. Bongiovanni GB 2246/47 (Italy) 08C016 $33.98

DOMENICO GALLO (18th cen.): 12 Trio Sonatas. Here is the set of pieces attributed to Pergolesi which furnished Stravinsky with the melodies for his Pulcinella. Dating probably from the 1750s or 1760s, Gallo's dozen are long on attractive melodies if somewhat short on craftsmanship but this is an excellent chance to hear some well-known tunes in their original, period-instrument guise. Mid-price. Parnassi musici. CPO 999 717 (Germany) 08C017 $10.98

FELICE GIARDINI (1716-1796): 6 String Trios, Op. 17, 6 String Trios, Op. 20, 6 String Trios, Op. 26, 2 String Trios, Op. posth. A brilliant violinist who spent 34 years in England, where these trios (which date from 1773 to 1784) were composed, showing brilliance, vigor, elegance and wit in the spirit of the style galant. 3 CDs. Budapest String Trio. Hungaroton HCD 31837-39 (Hungary) 08C018 $50.98

JOSEPH SCHUBERT (1757-1837): Viola Concerto in C, ALESSANDRO ROLLA (1757-1841): Viola Concerto in F. Schubert's work (pre-1796) exhibits pre-Romantic characteristics in its freely constructed Romance and has a Hungarian-influenced finale while Rolla's concerto (one of 12 for the instrument) mixes Italian violin-style virtuosity with the spirit of Viennese classicism. Vidor Nagy (viola), Württemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn; Jörg Faerber. Bayer 100 309 (Germany) 08C019 $17.98

ANTON LISTE (1772-1832): Piano Sonata in A, Op. 8, Grand Sonata for Piano Duet, Op. 2, 3 Songs, Cantata upon the opening of the new Masonic Hall in Zürich, Op. 5. More fine Beethovenian piano music from this neglected Swiss composer, as well as Schubertian songs and an 1811 chamber cantata in fine early Romantic style. German-English texts. Andrew Zolinsky (piano), Steve Davislim (tenor), Garrie Davislim (tenor), James Rutherford (bass), William Fong (piano). Guild GMCD 7184 (England) 08C020 $16.98

JOSEPH HAYDN (1732-1809): 6 Notturni, Hob. II:25, 26, 29-32 for 2 Violas, 2 Clarinets, 2 Horns and Double Bass. The first in a mid-price series "The Dieter Klöcker Collection", drawn from EMI Electrola recordings of 1974, pays tribute to this fine clarinettist and exhumer of much unknown Classical and Romantic repertoire. Mid-price. Consortium Classicum; Dieter Klöcker. CPO 999 741 (Germany) 08C021 $10.98

MANUEL BRAULIO CANALES (1747-1786): 3 String Quartets, Op. 3. The influence of Boccherini (not surprisingly for this Spanish composer) and of Haydn are felt in these quartets, which probably date from around 1779 - Canales like the former was a very good cellist and played the quartets of both composers and his integration of folk music, his delicacy and sensitivity to contrast make these works original and highly pleasing. Cambini Quartet. La Ma de Guido LMG 2038 (Spain) 08C022 $17.98

GIOVANNI BATTISTA VIOTTI (1755-1824): Meditazione in preghiera for Violin and Orchestra, Concerto No. 3 for Violin, Piano and Orchestra in A, Violin Concerto No. 20 in D. Bongiovanni announce in this release that they are embarking on a complete recording of Viotti's works! They offer a world premiere of the Meditazione, a five-and-a-half minute work full of pathos written by the composer in 1792 as he was fleeing the French Revolution for England. Note that the Concerto No. 3 above is for violin and piano - not to be confused with the transcription for piano only of the same piece (his Violin Concerto No. 9) which we offered several months ago. Cristina Canziani (piano), Camerata Ducale; Guido Rimonda (violin). Bongiovanni GB 5101 (Italy) 08C023 $16.98

FRIEDRICH KIEL (1821-1885): 2 Piano Trios, Op. 65, Piano Trio, Op. 3. Good to have more from one of Romanticism's most neglected composers. The two op. 65 trios (mid 1870s) are very Brahmsian in their melodiousness and there are agreeable homely, Schubertian touches. The op. 3 work, his first of seven trios, dates from 1850 and is a bit less original although finely turned and a pleasure to hear. Genberg Trio. Koch Schwann Musica Mundi 3-6738-2 (Germany) 08C024 $6.98

GAETANO DONIZETTI (1797-1848): Si o no, Il giglio e la rosa, Una lagrima, Il Trovatore in caricatura, Questi capelli bruni, L'amor funesto, Leonora, Il nome, Viva il matrimonio, Il canto XXXIII della Divina Commedia. This collection of chamber mélodies is taken from periods throughout Donizetti's career with the 19-minute long Canto from Dante being the most striking with its Lied-like melodic complexity and frequent harmonic changes. Italian texts. Alfonso Antoniozzi (baritone), Loris Peverada (piano). Kicco Classic KC058.1CD (Italy) 08C025 $17.98

JOSEPH HAYDN (1732-1809): Divertimenti in A & in D, JOSEPH-HECTOR FIOCCO (1703-1741): 1 Suite in G - 3 movements, LUIGI TOMASINI (1741-1808): Sonata in A, JOSEPH BURGKSTEINER (18th cen.): Divertimento in A. East Germany in 1968 may not be where you might think "Period Instruments!" yet here is a recital of works originally for baryton, viola and cello (except for the Fiocco, which the soloist has arranged from a book of Pièces de clavecin) and arranged for that instrument and harpsichord. Also of interest is the fact that Tomasini and Burgksteiner were members of the Esterhazy orchestra, showing that all and sundry needed to help kapellmeister Haydn supply the Prince with literature for his famous white elephant of an instrument! Janos Liebner (baryton), Hans Pischner (harpsichord). Eterna 3147 (Germany) 08C026 $5.98

LE CHEVALIER DE SAINT-GEORGES - Symphonies and Violin Concertos

LE CHEVALIER DE SAINT-GEORGES (1739-1799): Symphony in D, Op. 11/2 (Overture to Lamant anonyme), Violin Concertos in D, Op. 3/1, in D, Op. 8/1 and in D, Op. 2/2. Miroslav Vilimec (violin), Pilsen Radio Symphony Orchestra; Frantisek Preisler Jr. Avenira AV 9985-2E (Switzerland) 08C027 $17.98

LE CHEVALIER DE SAINT-GEORGES (1739-1799): Violin Concertos in G, Op. 8/9, in D, Op. 4 and in G, Op. 2/1. Miroslav Vilimec (violin), Pilsen Radio Symphony Orchestra; Frantisek Preisler Jr. Avenira AV 9986-2E (Switzerland) 08C028 $17.98

LE CHEVALIER DE SAINT-GEORGES (1739-1799): Violin Concertos in C, Op. 5/1 and in B Flat, Op. 7/2, Sinfonia concertante in A for Violin and Viola, Op. 10/2, Sinfonia concertante inE Flat for Violin and Viola, Op. 12 Miroslav Vilimec (violin), Jiri Zilak (violin - sinfonia concertante), Jan Motlik (viola), Pilsen Radio Symphony Orchestra; Frantisek Preisler Jr. Avenira AV 9987-2E (Switzerland) 08C029 $17.98

The Avenira Foundation appears to be a publishing (book and CD) organ of the writer/composer Emil F. Smidak who has produced two CDs of songs as well as books on Ignaz Moscheles (see below) and the Chevalier de Saint-Georges. These are the first three volumes of five which will cover all of the mulatto composer's violin concertos and sinfonie concertantes (12 of the former and 6 of the latter). Volume One above also includes a "symphony" which was the overture to the opera L'amant anonyme. The miraculous success (as a horseman, fencer, dancer, runner and horseman as well as a composer) of a boy born to a slave mother in the French colony of Guadeloupe can only seem more unbelievable when confronted with such an outpouring of refined and elegant music. Saint-Georges' concertos do not plumb great emotional or philosophical depths but that was not what was expected of such music in Paris at the end of the 18th century and they do conform to the highest exemplars of French concertante works of their time.

IGNAZ MOSCHELES (1794-1870): Piano Concerto No. 3 in G Minor, Op. 60, Concerto for Flute, Oboe and Orchestra, Bonbonnière musicale for Solo Piano. Like the Saint-Georges CDs above, this is also a production recorded to accompany a Smidak book on the composer and was briefly available on Supraphon in the late 1980s. The third concerto was Moscheles' most popular and it is on a Beethovenian scale, being one on only two of the composer's eight concertos in a minor key. No dates are available for the accompanying pieces which are, respectively, a single-movement double-concerto whose delightful rondo-finale takes up more than half of its length and a set of eight "Musical Bonbons" whose title describes them nicely. Ivan Klánsky (piano), Jirí Válek (flute), Jirí Mihule (oboe), Dvorák Chamber Orchestra; Ivan Parík. Avenira 1195-2 (Switzerland) 08C030 $17.98

More Unusual Repertoire from ACTE PRÉALABLE in Poland - A Records International Exclusive!!

FRANCISZEK LESSEL (1780-1838): Piano Concerto No. 2 in C, Op. 14, St. Cecilia Cantata, KAROL KURPINSKI (1785-1857): Clarinet Concerto in B Flat, Overture to Zamek na Czorsztynie. Only the Kurpinski overture is currently represented in the catalogues making this concert of forgotten Polish Classical composers a must-have. The biggest work is Lessel's concerto (his first one, along with all six of his symphonies, is lost) which dates from 1810 and is probably the most outstanding Polish piano concerto before Chopin, moving between Mozartian and brillante styles. Lessel's cantata (1812) is a brief but mellifluous ode to music's patron saint while Kurpinski's 1823 concerto is a highly virtuosic and melodious piece in single-movement form. Emilian Madey (piano), Pawel Stolarczyk (clarinet), vocal soloists, Polish Choir and Orchestra Jeunesses Musicales; Lukasz Borowicz. Acte Préalable AP0055 (Poland) 08C031 $16.98

THOMAS D.A. TELLEFSEN (1823-1874): Piano Works, Vol. 1 - Sonata in C Minor, Op. 13, 4 Mazurkas, Op. 1, Grande Mazurka in B Flat, Op. 24, Walhallafesten, Op. 40, Nocturne in G Flat, Op. 39, 3 Valses, Op. 5, 2 Grandes Valses, Op. 30, Au travers d'un Songe, Op. 34, Le petite Mendiante, Op. 23. A student and close friend of Chopin, Tellefsen was also the composer of the first Norwegian piano concertos and he used Norwegian folk melodies in his piano works, particularly evident in the mazurkas recorded here and in the "Valhalla Fest" which is the last of three Norwegian dances he composed. The sonata is in typical classical form (probably dating from 1848) with a rich harmonic vocabulary while the waltzes are the closest to Chopin's pieces in the same genre. Malgorzata Jaworska (piano). Acte Préalable AP0049 (Poland) 08C032 $16.98

WLADYSLAW ZELENSKI (1837-1921): Songs, Vol. 1 - 5 Songs from the Collection of the King's Court, Op. 10, 2 Songs, Op. 14, 2 Songs, Op. 7, 2 Songs, Op. 12, Spring Dreams, Op. 13, My Little Darling, Op. 2, Jarutha's Song, 3 Songs, Op. 19, Spider's Web, Op. 6, Wild Dreams, Op. 24, In S.B.'s Album, Op. 8/2. Zelenski carried on the Polish song tradition after Moniuszko (and the opera tradition, for that matter), writing around 100 songs, all but one to Polish texts. Like his predecessors, his songs are predominantly simple and lyrical, steeped in both Polish and 19th Century European tradition. Polish texts. English notes. Anna Michalska-Przybysz (soprano), Malgorzata Wielgolinska (piano). Acte Préalable AP0040 (Poland) 08C033 $16.98

MARCOS PORTUGAL (1762-1830): Le donne cambiate. Portugal is Portugal's most important opera composer, employing the stylistic features of the Neapolitan school while anticipating certain Rossinian techniques. This one-act farce dates from 1797 and has been reconstructed from manuscripts for this premiere recording. Italian-English libretto. Ana Paula Russo (soprano), Jorge Vaz de Carvalho (tenor), City of London Sinfonia; Álvaro Cassuto. Marco Polo 8.225154 (New Zealand) 08C034 $14.98

KARL GOLDMARK (1830-1915): Complete Works for Violin and Piano, Vol. 2 - Sonata in D, Op. 25, Ballade in G, Op. 54, Romanze in A, 6 Piano Pieces, Op. 52. The sonata is a big (39-minute) piece but, like most of Goldmark's work, is not filled with big gestures. The first movement is idyllic, gently flowing and full of lovely melody; the slow movement is similarly unruffled while the finale brings some dance-like uptempo high spirits. Particularly striking are the hints of impressionism and atonality in the late (1913) piano pieces, showing that the composer was far from a head-buried-in-the-sand conservative. Mid-price. Ulf Wallin (violin), Bruno Canino (piano). CPO 999 524 (Germany) 08C035 $10.98

CHARLES-MARIE WIDOR (1844-1937): Violin Sonata No. 1, Op. 50, Violin Sonata No. 2, Op. 79, Suite Florentine for Violin and Piano, Cavatine for Violin and Piano, Op. 57, Romance in E for Violin and Piano, Op. 46. The first sonata, in whose title "piano" comes first, is a very late example (1881) of the "accompanied piano sonata" where the majority of the material (very Franckian here) is presented and elaborated by the keyboard. The second sonata dates from 1907 and is quite dissonant, tensely chromatic and uneasy. Janet Packer (violin), Orin Grossman (piano). Centaur CRC 2475 (U.S.A.) 08C036 $16.98

WOLDEMAR BARGIEL (1828-1897): Octet in C Minor, Op. 15a, FELIX MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847): Octet in E Flat, Op. 20. Over 10 years old now and reissued at mid-price, this Hyperion recording let collectors know that Clara Schumann's brother-in-law was a fine composer in his own right. His octet is a student piece but its 34 minutes include a restless, agitated first movement, a slow movement combined with scherzo and a large-scale finale of the highest spirits. Mid-price. Divertimenti. Helios CDH55043 (England) 08C037 $10.98

PAVEL PABST (1854-1897): Fantasie sur l'opera "Mazzepa", Paraphrase de concerto sur l'opera "Eugene Onegin", Illustrations de l'opera "Pique Dame", Paraphrase de concert sur le ballet "Sleeping Beauty", Berceuse (Tchaikovsky, Op. 16/1), Réminiscences de l'opera "The Demon" de Anton Rubinstein. One of the lesser-known pianist-composers of the late 19th century (due to his choosing teaching over the concert platform), Pabst nevertheless is no lesser a master of the operatic transcription than Thalberg, Tausig, etc. as is demonstrated in this disc of transcriptions from the operas of Tchaikovsky and Anton Rubinstein. Oleg Marshev (piano). Danacord DACOCD 450 (Denmark) 08C038 $17.98

EMIL SJÖGREN (1853-1918): Violin Sonatas No. 1, Op. 19 & No. 2 in E Minor, Op. 24, 2 lyrische Stücke, Poème, Op. 40. All Sjögren's chamber music is vocal in quality and these pieces all have the ease of melody of a true song-writer. The sonatas are only a few years apart (1886 and 1888) but the second is twice the length of the first, taking the fresh, youthful enthusiasm of the first and adding more passion and drama as well as a fourth movement. Per Enoksson (violin), Kathryn Stott (piano). BIS CD-995 (Sweden) 08C039 $17.98

ANTONIO PASCULLI (1842-1924): Oboe and Piano: Fantasia sull 'opera "Poliuto" di G. Donizetti, Le Api. Studio caratteristico, Gran Concerto su temi dall'opera "I vespri siciliani" di Verdi, Concerto sopra motivi dell'opera "La Favorita" di Donezetti, Ricordo di napoli, Omaggio a Bellini for English Horn and Harp. Only rediscovered in the last 15 years, Pasculli did for the oboe what Paganini did for the violin; the playing techniques on display here are astounding - the etude "The Bees" is an advanced demonstration. Yet the oboe can also sing and it does, beautifully, in the several opera fantasias. Yeon-Hee Kwak (oboe), Chia Chou (piano), Ursula Eisert (harp). MD&G 603 0942 (Germany) 08C040 $17.98

FELIX MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847): Konzertstücke for Clarinet, Basset Horn and Piano in F Minor, Op. 113 & in D Minor, Op. 114, Clarinet Sonata in E Flat, CARL BAERMANN (1811-1885): Duo concertant for 2 Clarinets and Piano in E Flat Minor/Major, Op. 33. Mendelssohn's complete works for clarinet include an early sonata and two late pieces written for the father of our other composer, Heinrich Baermann (for whom Weber wrote all of his clarinet works). Heinrich's son was a better composer than his father and his duo is probably the finest item here. Dieter Klöcker, Sandra Arnold (clarinets), Luigi Magistrelli (basset horn), Thomas Duis (piano). MD&G 301 0974 (Germany) 08C041 $17.98

ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810-1856): 6 Stücke in kanonischer Form, Op. 56 (arr. Kirchner), Piano Trio No. 2 in F, Op. 80, Piano Trio No. 3 in G Minor, Op. 110. The rarity here is Theodor Kirchner's transcription of Schumann's original work for pedal piano, which allows all the strands to be heard clearly and which is probably more enticing to the ear than the instrument for which it was written. Trio Parnassus. MD&G 303 0922 (Germany) 08C042 $17.98

FRANZ SCHUBERT (1797-1828): The Hyperion Schubert Edition, Vol. 36 - Romanze des Richard Löwenherz, D907, Jägers Liebeslied, D909, Schiffers Scheidelied, D910, Frühlingslied, D919, L'incanto degli occhi, D902/1, Il traditor deluso, D902/2, Il modo di prender moglie, D902/3, Wolke und Quelle, D896B, Fröhlisches Scheiden, D896, Sie in jedem Liede, D896A, Das Weinen, D926, Heimliches Lieben, D922, Die Sterne, D939, Der Wallensteiner Lanzknecht beim Trunk, D931, Der Kreuzzug, D932, Der Hochzeitsbraten, D930, Cantate zur Feier der Genesung der Irene Kiesewetter, D936. Juliane Banse (soprano), Michael Schade (tenor), Gerald Finley (baritone), Graham Johnson (piano), Holst Singers. Hyperion CDJ33036 (England) 08C043 $17.98

AMILCARE PONCHIELLI (1834-1886): Sinfonia for Orchestra, Op. 113, Il Convegno for 2 Clarinets and Orchestra, Quartetto for Flute, Oboe, Eb & Bb Clarinets and Orchestra, Paolo e Virginia for Violin, Clarinet and Piano, Ricordanze della Traviata for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet and Piano. We offer this four-year-old recording again due to its rarity and the difficulty in finding Danacord CDs in the U.S. currently. Wind rarities and orchestral rarities in premiere recordings. Soloists, Lithuanian National Philharmonic; Juozas Domarkas. Danacord DACO CD 471 (Denmark) 08C044 $17.98

HOWARD HANSON (1896-1981): Orchestral Works, Vol. 1 - Symphony No. 1 in E Minor, Op. 21 "Nordic", Suite from Merry Mount, Pan and the Priest, Op. 26, Rhythmic Variations on Two Ancient Hymns. Naxos' hometown orchestra embarks on a Hanson cycle with the evocative Nordic symphony - full of the orchestral experience of his teacher Respighi and of the Northern mood of Sibelius and Bax. The tone poem Pan and the Priest (1926) is similarly atmospheric; the 1938 dances from the opera Merry Mount are lush and full-bodied while the variations, thought until recently to be lost are somber and expressive, with archaic touches. Nashville Symphony Orchestra; Kenneth Schermerhorn. Naxos 8.559072 (New Zealand) 08C045 $5.98

JACQUES IBERT (1890-1962): Divertissement, Symphonie marine, Bacchanale, Ouverture de fête, Escales. In addition to the well-known Divertissement and Escales of the 1920s, this new disc offers the 1931 "Marine Symphony", a one-movement work which uses the music from a short documentary which detailed the rescue of a foundering merchant ship, Ibert providing a moody and subdued score; the 1940 overture, like Richard Strauss' Japanische Festmusik, was composed for the 2600th anniversary of the Japanese Empire (while Ibert was in Italy) but, unlike that work, is predictably lighter and more humanely jubilant. Bacchanale (1956) is a riotous burst of exuberance commissioned by the BBC. Orchestre des Concerts Lamoureux; Yutaka Sado. Naxos 8.554222 (New Zealand) 08C046 $5.98

JEAN FRANÇAIX (1912-1997): 2 Quintets for Flute, String Trio and Harp, 5 Piccoli Duetti for Flute and Harp, Clarinet Quintet. Although 55 years separate the two flute and harp quintets recorded here, Françaix's consistent and eternally youthful artistic expression remains the same; his style did not change much after his neo-classical works of the 30s. However, it is precisely this consistent mixture of sparkling, urgently rhythmic fast movements and tender, evocative slow movements which make his compositions so heart-easingly enjoyable. Mobius. ASV DCA 1090 (U.S.A.) 08C047 $16.98

ALFREDO CASELLA (1883-1947): Trio Sonata for Violin, Cello and Piano, Op. 62, Sicilienne and Burlesque for Flute and Piano, Op. 83, Sinfonia for Clarinet, Trumpet, Cello and Piano, Op. 53, Barcarola and Scherzo for Flute and Piano, Op. 4, Cavatina and Gavotte from Serenata, Prelude and Danza Siciliana from La giara, Minuet from Scarlattiana. From the Fauré-esque Op. 4 of 1903 to the 1938 trio with its motoric rhythms, angular themes and scrunchy harmonies, this offering not only shows the amazing mutability of Casella's styles but, in its refreshingly honest notes, pulls no punches about his Fascistic leanings but naively kind and indulgent personality. Ex Novo Ensemble. ASV DCA 1085 (Englnad) 08C048 $16.98

NINO ROTA (1911-1979): Viola Sonata, Violin Sonata, Trio for Flute, Violin and Piano, Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano. Like Françaix above, Rota remained resolutely tonal, simple and expressive with pure beauty of melody the most important part of composition to him. First recording of the 1973 (unpublished) clarinet trio. Ensemble Nino Rota. Chandos 9832 (England) 08C049 $16.98

Romantic Orchestral Bach Transcriptions

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (1685-1750) transcribed by OTTORINO RESPIGHI (1879-1936): Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor, BWV 582, GRANVILLE BANTOCK (1868-1946): Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 645, ARTHUR HONEGGER (1892-1955): Prelude and Fugue in C, BWV 545, MAX REGER (1873-1916): O Mensch, bewein' dein' Sünde, BWV 622, EDWARD ELGAR (1857-1934): Fantasia and Fugue in C Minor, BWV 537, RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) and ARNOLD FOSTER (1896-1963): Wir glauben all' an einen Gott, BWV 680, JOACHIM RAFF (1822-1882): Chaconne from Partita No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1004, GUSTAV HOLST (1874-1934): Fugue à la gigue in G, BWV 577, ARNOLD SCHOENBERG (1874-1951): Prelude and Fugue in E Flat "St. Anne", BWV 552. From the golden age of transcription, this wonderful disc shows just how the combination of Bach with brilliant orchestrators can produce a perfect hybrid. Respighi's colorful piece uses an organ at climactic points as a pedal point; Elgar's shatteringly emotional transcription sounds so Elgarian yet is still so obviously Bach... and so on. A great collection for all lovers of Bach, Romantic music and fine orchestration. BBC Philharmonic; Leonard Slatkin. Chandos 9835 (England) 08C050 $16.98

JOSÉ SEREBRIER (b.1938): Saxophone Quartet, for Wind Orchestra: 6 por Televisión, Suite Canina, Pequeña Musica, Erotica for Soprano and Wind Orchestra, George and Muriel for Double Bass, Double Bass Ensemble and Choir, Dorothy and Carmine! for Orchestra. Serebrier has enjoyed a career distinguised for its variety as much as for its formidable accomplishment. This disc provides a 'sampler' of his various talents, and whether writing for unorthodox chamber ensembles, or for full orchestra, and whether in lighthearted, tonal idiom (as with most of the works here) or in more experimental vein (especially Erotica for soprano and ensemble), the music is distinguished by its color, originality and accessibility. Australian Saxophone Quartet, Carole Farley (soprano), Australian Wind Virtuosi, Lucas Drew (double bass), Festival Miami Double Bass Ensemble and Chorus, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; José Serebrier. Phoenix USA PHCD 144 (U.S.A.) 08C051 $15.98

GÜNTER RAPHAEL (1903-1960): Oboe Sonata in B Minor, Op. 32, PAVEL HAAS (1889-1944): Suite for Oboe and Piano, STEFAN WOLPE (1902-1972): Oboe Sonata, NIKOS SKALKOTTAS (1904-1949): Concertino for Oboe with Piano Accompaniment, WALTER PISTON (1894-1976): Suite for Oboe and Piano. A very welcome recital of works by composers (except for Piston) who were forced to flee Nazi Germany or who perished there during the Holocaust. Raphael's music was banned but he remained - in "inner exile". His 1933 sonata is in an idiom between Brahms and Reger while the ill-fated Haas reacted to the occupation of his native Czechoslovakia with his abrasive 1939 suite which quotes the Wenceslas Chorale and a melody from Ma Vlast. Skalkottas (1939) and Wolpe (1937-41) left the most virtuosic and complex pieces, both in highly personal 12-tone language while Piston's 1931 essay is a bracing exercise in neo-Classicism. Fabian Menzel (oboe), Bernhard Endres (piano). Antes Edition BM-CD 31.9147 (Germany) 08C052 $17.98

PIETRO MASCAGNI (1863-1945): Parisina. The libretto, by D'Annunzio, was offered first to Puccini and then to Franchetti (see Cristoforo Columbo on page10). It represents the second in a trilogy on the Malatesta family (after Francesca da Rimini) and Mascagni supplied music which, particularly in the second act, perfectly matches the librettist's decadent aestheticism, in which Ugo, urged on by his spurned mother against his father (Niccolo d'Este)'s second wife (Parisina), ends up falling violently in love with her, leading to both of their deaths. 3 CDs. French-Italian libretto. No English notes. Special Price. Denia Mazzola (soprano), Vitali Tarashenko (tenor), Tea Demurishvili (mezzo), Vladimir Vaneyev (baritone), Latvian Radio Choir, Montpellier Languedoc-Roussillon Philharmonic Orchestra; Enrique Diemecke. Actes Sud OMA34103 (France) 08C053 $49.98

RUGGERO LEONCAVALLO (1857-1919): Zingari. This new exercise in verismo was perhaps inspired by the success of Pagliacci's London premiere in 1911. It had great success in its London debut the next year but was excoriated in Italy as a carbon copy of Pag. The story of adultery and murder (like Pag, both lovers get it although fire is the agent this time) among Gypsies encamped by the Danube is, however, rather faithful to the Pushkin story it was based upon so one cannot blame Leoncavallo for that! Italian libretto. Marina Fratarcangeli (soprano), Andrea Elena (tenor), Carlo Morini (baritone), Andrea Rola (bass), Coro Harmonia Cantata, Orchestra Regina; Giovan Battista Varoli. Kicco Classic KC054.1CD (Italy) 08C054 $17.98

MARCEL DUPRÉ (1886-1971): Organ Concerto in E Minor, Op. 31, Cortège et Litanie, Op. 19/2, JOSEPH JONGEN (1873-1953): Symphonie concertante for Organ and Orchestra, Op. 81. While Jongen's 1926 Sinfonia concertante has become one of the most recorded organ-and-orchestra works (the booklet contains an interesting, long letter from Eugène Ysaÿe to the composer upon having heard the premiere), Dupré's concerto from 1938 has been rather neglected. Its first movement is fluid and neo-classical in style while the slow movement is very atmospheric, with a choral-like section broken up by a cheerful, folksy second subject. The finale rushes along with great momentum, working toward a cadence where the organ presents all the work's themes before soloist and orchestra pile up in a grandiose apotheosis. Franz Hauk (organ), Philharmonic Ingolstadt; Alfredo Ibarra. Guild GMCD 7195 (England) 08C055 $16.98

LEOPOLD GODOWSKY (1870-1938): Java Suite, ALEXANDRE TANSMAN (1897-1986): Exotique from Novelettes, La flûte de bambou dans la forêt de Bandoeng (Java) and Le Gamelang de Bali (Waiang - Théâtre d'Ombres) from Le tour de monde en miniature. Finally! A complete recording of Godowsky's lovely Java Suite, in which that most pianistic of piano composers put his unparalleled knowledge of his instrument at the service of picture-painting in what has to be one of the most evocative musical travelogues ever. These pieces are not primarily concerned with technique, unlike the Studies after Chopin (which, lest anyone need to be reminded also succeed admirably as pieces of music, in the right hands); they paint the landscape that so impressed the composer on his travels in the 1920s in vivid, glowing colors. The CD is filled out with world premiere recordings of Java-inspired miniatures by Alexandre Tansman, which, no great surprise, lack the brilliant keyboard originality of the Godowky, but are charming in their own right. Esther Budiardjo (piano). Pro Piano PPR 224529 (U.S.A.) 08C056 $9.98

OTTO OLSSON (1879-1964): Romance, Op. 24, JEAN LANGLAIS (1907-1991): 5 Pièces, Op. 180, ELEUTHÈRE LOVREGLIO (1900-1972): Arioso, KENNETH LEIGHTON (1929-1988): Fantasy on "Es ist genug", Op. 80, MAX REGER (1873-1916): Romanze, CARL RÜTTI (b.1949): Pavane, CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921): Prière, Op. 158b, WILLIAM LLOYD WEBBER (1914-1982): Benedictus, SERGEI RACHMANINOV (1873-1943): Vocalise, JULES MASSENET (1842-1912): Méditation from Thaïs. Only the Massenet, the Lloyd Webber and the Rachmaninov have been recorded before, as Guild continues to bring us rare organ chamber music repertoire. Like the harp, the violin stands out well against most of the organ's registers and, though most of these works tend toward the meditative side, the novelty of the sound pairing will appeal to collectors both of organ and of unusual repertoire. Rachel Gough (violin), Rupert Gough (organ). Guild GMCD 7191 (England) 08C057 $16.98

REBECCA CLARKE (1886-1979): Passacaglia on an Old English Tune, MAY MUKLE (1880-1963): The Hamadryad, The Light Wind, SHEILA MARY POWER (1903-1971): Suite No. 1 in E, MARGARET HUBICKI (b.1915): 2 Contrasting Pieces, MARIE DARE (1902-1976): Hebridean Suite, AMY ELSIE HORROCKS (1867-1920): Twilight, Irish Melody and Country Dance, Op. 17, IMOGEN HOLST (1907-1984): Two Scottish Airs, DORA ESTELLA BRIGHT (1863-1951): Polka a la Strauss, R. CAROLINE BOSANQUET (b.1940): Elegie in memoriam Joan Dickson, JANETTA GOULD (b.1926): Sontag 2. "A Cello Century of British Women Composers" is the title of this enterprising release and it sure does throw up many unknown names alongside one or two who may be known to collectors of historical recordings as instrumentalists. Most of these pieces fall into the "encore" or "salon" style of composition although they are unfailingly tuneful and attractive. More meaty are Bosanquet's 1995 elegy, powerful and hard-hitting with huge discords and atonal writing and Gould's 1977 Sontag 2 which opens with high tremolos and uses a ten-note series in unspecified order for the piano. Catherine Wilmers (cello), Simon Marlow (piano). ASV Quicksilva QS 6245 (England) 08C058 $10.98

WAR AND PEACE - Premiere recording of the complete opera

SERGEI PROKOFIEV (1891-1953): War and Peace, Op. 91. Prokofiev's setting of Tolstoy's novel has one of the most convoluted histories of any such work - 5 different versions of which one was never staged. Chandos does not explain how this version is "complete" in its notes for its 13 scenes and Epigraph appear to be what Rostropovich recorded years ago. However this medley of scenes from the great novel and its swerving between opera and oratorio have by no means been well served on record and this live recording, made over five nights during 1999's Spoleto Festival in Italy, will be a must for all collectors of Russian opera. 4 CDs for the price of 3. Russian-English libretto. Ekaterina Morozova (soprano), Justin Lavender (tenor), Oleg Balashov (tenor), Roderick Williams (baritone), Pamela Helen Stephen (mezzo), Russian State Symphonic Capella, Spoleto Festival Orchestra; Richard Hickox. Chandos 9855 (England) 08C059 $50.98

CHARLES IVES (1874-1954): Robert Browning Overture, KARL AMADEUS HARTMANN (1905-1963): Symphony No. 3. The Robert Browning Overture is the only completed work of a planned series commemorating significant literary and philosophical figures, and is Ives' most extended single movement work. Devoid of the collage-like mixture of American folk elements for which the composer is famous, or notorious, the piece is tautly, formally organised, and demonstrates very clearly that the Whitmanesque "barbaric yawp", with nothing left out, whether it fits in or not, of Ives' mature style was not a matter of making a virtue out of a necessity - he just didn't want to go on writing music like this. From a current perspective, this sounds like a rather advanced, post-romantic score that might have come out of the Vienna of the time, with frank atonality and the other developments we now know all about, just around the corner. It is also a stirring and powerful piece of music, perhaps Ives' best in purely musical-expressive terms. So it is that, in musical vocabulary, it is rather aptly coupled with Hartmann's third symphony. One of the composer's post-war works, formed out of a revision of earlier music, the symphony very obviously follows the tradition of which Mahler and early Schoenberg were the summit - and drawing on an earlier "Tragic Symphony", Hartmann produces just the kind of music this might suggest - full of echoes of post-war trauma and deep emotion. This disc deserves the highest possible recommendation if you think that music should express something, and express it strongly and with consummate technical facility. Bamberg Symphony; Ingo Metzmacher. EMI 7243 5 55254 2 0 (Germany) 08C060 $17.98

NORMAN DELLO JOIO (b.1913): Piano Sonatas Nos. 1-3, Nocturne in F, Nocturne in F Sharp Minor, Introduction and Fantasies on a Chorale Tune, Suite for Piano. Dello Joio's deliciously unfashionable musical language finds full expression in these lovely, rich and dramatic piano sonatas, which like all but one of the works on this disc, date from the 1940s. One can clearly hear the influences of the composer's youth; organ sonorities and the sounds of the choir in his slow movements; jazz inflections (though never going as far as Gershwin) in faster sections. The music is resolutely tonal, personal in expression and pianistically grateful. Having arrived at a style that suited him so well, it is interesting to note that the Introduction and Fantasies . . . written some 40 years later, is still in the composer's trademark style, a (slightly) updated companion to MacDowell's piano music. Jaemi Kim (piano). Elan CD 82420 (U.S.A.) 08C061 $16.98

OTTO MORTENSEN (1907-1986): Wind Quintet, JØRGEN JERSILD (b.1913): Wind Quintet, HENNING WELLEJUS (b.1919): Wind Quintet, CARL NIELSEN (1865-1931): Wind Quintet, Op. 43. Nielsen's 1922 quintet revived the genre singlehandedly in the Scandinavian countries and its long shadow stands over these three later Danish wind quintets. The Mortensen and the Jersild date from the mid 40s and the Wellejus from 1966 but each of them is in the same vernal, outdoorsy, unbuttoned, rustic style of Nielsen's masterpiece and anyone who likes that ever-popular quintet can't fail to enjoy these worthy successors. Wind Quintet of the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra. Marco Polo/Dacapo 8.224151 (New Zealand) 08C062 $14.98

WLADYSLAW SLOWINSKI (b.1930): Concertino for Harpsichord and String Quartet, Espressivo sempre for Flute and String Quartet, Miniatures for Piano, Serio e buffo for Solo Flute, Baroque Reminiscences for Flute and String Trio. This month we are offering two discs of chamber works by this distinguished Polish composer, who has also enjoyed a parallel career as conductor. Passionately austere, the music flows with an expressive force that is all the greater for its restraint. The clarity and precision of Slowinski's textures, and the acerbic, uncompromising character of his harmonic language - economical, rather dissonant yet always expressive and spontaneous - heighten the sense of emotional directness. The Concertino for harpsichord and quartet exemplifies this style to the utmost, and provides a concentrated listening experience, while Baroque Reminiscences has a timeless quality which seems to suggest antiquity but described in unmistakably modern terms. Elzbieta Gajewska (flute), Wladyslaw Klosiewicz (harpsichord), Krzysztof Slowinski (piano), Wilanow String Quartet. Acte Préalable AP0051 (Poland) 08C063 $16.98

WLADYSLAW SLOWINSKI (b.1930): Passionato per quattro archi, Doloroso in memoriam Witold Lutoslawski, Quartetto piccolo in memoriam Tadeusz Szeligowski, Elegy, 3 Burlesques. The perennially fresh and potential-filled medium of the string quartet might be expected to appeal to a composer like Slowinski, with his aptitude for expressing profound emotions by instrumentally restrained means, and so this disc proves. The composer's titles give a clue as to his primary preoccupations in his music, and he achieves the expression of these abstract emotional ideas without warming over a Romantic idiom on the one hand, or succumbing to the temptation to indulge in freakish sound-effects on the other. The music is tautly argued and concise, though the main effect on the listener is of sharing in feelings, rather than intellectual processes. Wilanow String Quartet. Acte Préalable AP0031 (Poland) 08C064 $16.98

The PEROSI Renaissance Continues.... !

LORENZO PEROSI (1872-1956): Il giudizio universale. This hour-and-a-quarter "vocal-symphonic poem" dates from 1904 and was inspired by Michelangelo's "The Last Judgement". Consisting of excerpts from the Bible with two Hymns (of Peace and of Justice) composed in Italian for Perosi, it is a predominantly soothing, peaceful piece whose visions of heaven yet never cross over into the saccharine. (Mascagni loved the score but told the composer "It's beautiful music, but it's a judgement without a judgement", to which Perosi replied "That's like saying your Cavalleria... has no cavaliers.") A long section after the prelude, lasting almost 17 minutes, is purely symphonic and is really a symphonic poem in its own right; this rises to a highly dramatic climax - something which only comes again in the work when Christ pronounces judgement in the eighth of its ten sections. Italian/Latin-English texts. Aldo Bertolo (tenor), Tatiana Korra Elmazi (soprano), Nella Actis Perino (contralto), Marco Camastra (baritone), "Orlando di Lasso" Choir of Milan, "Carlo Coccia" Symphony Orchestra of Novara; Arturo Sacchetti. Bongiovanni GB 2248 (Italy) 08C065 $16.98

LORENZO PEROSI (1872-1956): String Quartet No. 5 in A, String Quartet No. 6 in F, String Trio No. 2 in A Minor. All of Perosi's string quartets, string trios and piano quartets were composed between 1928 and 1931 and all of them are dedicated either to the memory of his father or to his late brother (except for two dedicated in strange manner to himself as "Perosi senior, vegetarian" and "Perosi junior, vegetarian"!) whose respective deaths in 1928 and 1930 seemed to open the gates for a flood of musical therapy. Therepeutic though they may have been, they are not funereal although each three-movement work contains a central slow movement (andante, cantabile and adagio in these three) which contain profoundly spiritual and introspective musings. Overall, though, there is more of a sense of fun and joie de vivre in these ever surprising, eccentrically written and constructed chamber works which invites many subsequent hearings. Ensemble "L. Perosi". Bongiovanni GB 5102 (Italy) 08C066 $16.98

LORENZO PEROSI (1872-1956): String Quartet No. 7 in C, String Quartet No. 8 in E Minor, Piano Quintet No. 2 in D Minor. The piano quintet (1931) is the only one on these two discs dedicated to Perosi's brother but, aside from the piano being the introducer, varier and embellisher of themes, the music displays the composer's trademark harmonic eccentricities, flair for original and unpredictable ideas and irrepressible energy. Ensemble "L. Perosi". Bongiovanni GB 5103 (Italy) 08C067 $16.98

RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958): Scott of the Antarctic, ARNOLD BAX (1883-1953): Oliver Twist, ARTHUR BLISS (1891-1975): Men of Two Worlds, LORD BERNERS (1883-1950): Nicholas Nickelby, JOHN IRELAND (1879-1962): The Overlanders, BRIAN EASDALE (b.1909): The Red Shoes, CHARLES WILLIAMS (1893-1978): While I Live. Leave it to Pearl to come up with the idea of issuing historic recordings of film music. NOTE: Most of these recordings are not original soundtracks; they were made near the same time in the studio and thus contain much better quality sound than a film track would produce. This disc's recordings from 1946-48. Philharmonia Orchestra; Muir Matheson and others. Pearl GEM 0100 (England) 08C068 $17.98

RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958): The Story of a Flemish Farm, Coastal Command, 49th Parallel, ARNOLD BAX (1883-1953): Malta G.C., ARTHUR BLISS (1891-1975): Things to Come, GUY WARRACK: Theirs is the Glory, CLIFTON PARKER (1905-1989): Western Approaches, HUBERT BATH (1883-1945): Cornish Rhapsody, RICHARD ADDINSELL (1904-1977): Warsaw Concerto. The 25-minute suite of music from Things to Come was recorded by the composer with the LSO in 1935; these test pressings were just discovered and have never before been issued. Louis Kentner is the pianist in the Warsaw Concerto; Harriet Cohen in the Cornish Rhapsody; the "Dawn Scene" from Story and the two items from Coastal Command are from BBC discs which did not survive in the BBC archive. Recordings from 1935 and 1941-47). Philharmonia Orchestra; Muir Matheson and others. Pearl GEM 0100 (England) 08C069 $17.98

ALBERTO FRANCHETTI (1860-1942): Cristoforo Columbo. First released in 1992, this unknown opera won acclaim for (especially) its second act, in which Columbus must quell a mutiny which begins to rise just before land is sighted where the orchestra powerfully suggests the surge of the sea and choruses and off-stage voices describe the crew's superstitious dread. Having it come back less than 10 years later at budget-price is a boon to collectors who didn't nab it the first time. Sung in Italian; German-English translations (no Italian libretto) 3 CDs. Budget-price. Renato Bruson (baritone), Rosella Ragatzu (soprano), Roberto Scandiuzzi (tenor), Hungarian Radio Chorus, RSO Frankfurt; Marcello Viotti. Koch Schwann 3-6739-2 (Germany) 08C070 $17.98

HEINRICH MARSCHNER (1795-1861): Treu, Süßes Mädchen, Komm, komm, und fort, O kühler Wald, Der König der Thule, Trennung, Leonore, Das Flämmchen auf der Haide, Die sieben Freier, Sängers Genesung, Der Fischerknabe, Mein Lieb ist ein Bächlein, Nachtgesang, Die Rache, Auf die Berge muß ich gehen, Er liebt und reitet fort, Marchese del Orco, Im Frühling, War enie Ratt' im Kellernest, Serenade, Nach "Reimar der Alte", Tanzlied, Ja, du bist mein, O wie so weit, Der Prager Musikant, Der betrogene Teufel, Ave Maria. This 28-piece recital of ballads and lieder will go some way to help restore Marschner's proper fame. Practically forgotten by the time of his death, his importance in German Romantic opera is now recognized but the quality of his song output (over 400 compositions) can, for the most part, stand comparison with the best of his contemporary, Carl Loewe. German texts, English summaries. Steven Kimbrough (baritone), Dalton Baldwin (piano). Koch Schwann Musica Mundi 3-6742-2 (Germany) 08C071 $6.98

The best of Post-Shostakovich Russian eclecticism - Sergei Slonimsky : Piano Sonata and 24 Preludes and Fugues

SERGEI SLONIMSKY (b.1932): Piano Sonata, 24 Preludes and Fugues - Book One. Sergei Slonimsky, nephew of the better-known lexicographer, Nicolas, remained in the Soviet Union and continued to pursue a successful career as composer, somewhat in the post-Shostakovich vein. These two discs contain his most important piano works, the big cycle of Preludes and Fugues (like Shostakovich's, modelled after Bach), and the strange and compelling sonata of 1962. This latter work is among the best 20th-century Russian sonatas, combining many styles of the century and encapsulating the Russian tradition to an uncanny degree. A decade later, Slominsky wrote an opera on that most quintessentially Russian novel, Bulgakov's "Master and Margarita" (see also York Höller's work in last month's catalogue). In its kaleidoscopic shifts of perspective and abrupt contrasts of brutality, sentimentality, broad comedy and stark tragedy, the sonata appears uncannily like a prototype in pure musical terms for a musical commentary on the novel. Nikita Fitenko (piano). Altarus AIR-CD -9085 (U.S.A.) 08C072 $17.98

SERGEI SLONIMSKY (b.1932): 24 Preludes and Fugues - Book Two, Selections from "From 5 to 50" and "Reminiscences of the 19th Century". The Preludes and Fugues are in some respects a more satisfactory set even than Shostakovich's; more even in their inspiration at least. All are basically tonal, though typically of the composer, the degree of chromaticism, dissonance and serialism varies enormously, from none at all to rather advanced, giving the impression of an enormous diversity of expression. The short character-pieces are extremely accessible and very Romantic - too well-written and sincere to be kitschy, but oddly innocent, when one realises that the same composer wrote the sonata! A terrific addition to the repertory of multifaceted, philosophical pianistic expression of our turbulent century. Nikita Fitenko (piano). Altarus AIR-CD -9086 (U.S.A.) 08C073 $17.98

ROMUALDS KALSONS (b.1936): Violin Concerto, Cello Concerto, Symphonic Variations for Piano and Orchestra. Here's a valuable addition to the catalogue of music from the Baltic countries. Kalsons writes in a modern but not atonal idiom and the influences on him seem to range widely. The violin concerto (1978) has ironic and grotesque characteristics and portions of it come off as a 20th century danse macabre. The Symphonic Variations on the other hand (also 1978) features a lyrical melody redolent of Latvian folk music along with a harshly rhythmic, march-like motive while the cello concerto (1970) is the darkest work here, with looming disaster offset by folk-like elements before a final movement in Romantic passacaglia form. Valdis Zarins (violin), Agnese Rugevica (cello), Janis Zilbers (piano), Latvian National Symphony Orchesdtra; Terje Mikkelsen. Simax PCS 1213 (Norway) 08C074 $17.98

ISSAC SCHWARTZ (b.1923): Yellow Stars - Concerto for Orchestra, Music from the Film Dersu Uzala. Film fans who remember Akira Kurosawa's magnificent 1975 epic about man, nature and friendship shot in Siberia will also remember its spare, shimmering, atmospheric score. This Russian composer was responsible for it - along with over 100 other Soviet films. 19 cues lasting 46 minutes are presented here, coupled with a 1993 Concerto for Orchestra subtitled "Holidays in the Ghetto" and dedicated to the memory of Raoul Wallenberg. In six movements, Schwartz uses Jewish and Yiddish folk melodies (the klezmer style playing of the solo clarinet is present almost throughout) as the basis for his nostalgic tribute to the lost culture of the Eastern European Jews. KBS Symphony Orchestra; Vakhtang Jordania. Koch International Classics 7273 (U.S.A.) 08C075 $16.98

BAO YUAN-KAI (b.1944): Yunnan Folk Songs, Sichuan Folk Songs, Jiangsu Folk Songs, Taiwan Folk Songs. Composer Bao has dedicated himself since 1990 to researching authentic Chinese folk songs and translating them into Western orchestral guise for better propagating them in the rest of the world. There are four songs from each of the above-listed regions and two of the Jiangsu songs include native Chinese instruments. The orchestrations are brilliant and colorful, atmospheric and recorded with a huge dynamic range. Wang Yi-dong (bangu), Chen Yue (dizi), Chen Yi-han (pipa), Voronezh State Symphony Orchestra; Mak Ka-lok. Hugo HRP 7175-2 (Hong Kong) 08C076 $17.98

CHAN HING-YAN (b.1963): Enigmas of the Moon for Huqin, Cello and Orchestra, GAO WEI-JIE (b.1938): Dream of Meeting for Dizi, Flute and Orchestra, LAW WING-FAI (b.1949): A Thousand Sweeps for Pipa and Orchestra, JOSHUA CHAN (b.1962): Prelude to 97 for Xiao, Zheng and Orchestra, SO TING-CHEONG (b.1967): Man Ching. These works (all written between 1997 and last year) by Chinese composers (Hong Kong and Taiwan included) with one exception (So's Man Ching which evokes the lights of Victoria Harbor at Sunset and is dedicated to the composer's teacher Jacob Druckman) pair traditional Chinese instruments with Western orchestra. Chan's Enigmas is a moodily expressionistic set of five movements evoking different moods; Gao's piece uses an ancient Chinese song and Debussy's Afternoon of a Faun to illustrate cultures meeting; Chan's piece was inspired by a series of historical photos of Hong Kong while Law's work conveys musical motion, shape, contour and tempo in a manner inspired by Chinese calligraphy. Instrumental soloists, Hong Kong Sinfonietta; Zuo-huang Chen, Tsung Yeh. Hugo HRP 7205-2 (Hong Kong) 08C077 $17.98

LOU HARRISON (b.1917): Suite for Violin, Piano and Small Orchestra, HENRY COWELL (1897-1965): Homage to Iran for Violin and Piano, COLIN MCPHEE (1901-1964): Nocturne for Chamber Orchestra, ALAN HOVHANESS (1911-2000): Moss Garden for English Horn, Percussion and Harp, Op. 181, The Holy City for Trumpet, Large Chime in A, Harp and String Orchestra, Op. 218, Triptych, Op. 100 for Soprano, Chorus and Orchestra. These re-issues of classic recordings document some of the most important pieces in the genre of Western (mostly orchestral music) inspired by traditional musics of Asia and the Far East. Leopold Stokowski and His Orchestra, Leopold Avakian (violin), Mitchell Andrews (piano), Hessian Radio Symphony Orchestra; David Van Vactor, Elgar Howarth (trumpet), Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Arthur Bennett Lipkin, Benita Valente (soprano), Bamberg Symphony; Alfredo Antonini. CRI CD 836 (U.S.A.) 08C078 $16.98

CHRISTOPHER ROUSE (b.1949): Rotae Passionis, Concerto Per Corde, Ku-Ka-Ilimoku for Percussion Ensemble, Ogoun Badagris for Percussion Ensemble. The concerto for strings is based on Rouse's second string quartet (1988; 1990) and is founded on the D-S-C-H motive with the character one would expect of a piece honoring Shostakovich: a mournful first movement, a viciously slashing scherzo (like Bartók scoring Psycho) and a finale which begins in desolation, rises through anguished tension and ends in an unsettled mood. Rotae Passionis (1983) depicts Christ's crucifixion in the dark, sometimes horrific manner of the Flemish and German painters of the Renaissance, not the warm, almost joyous one of the Italians. In three movements, the work surrounds a dramatically compelling depiction of the fourteen Stations of the Cross with a disquieted "The Agony in the Garden" and the serene stasis of "Christ Asleep". Instantly compelling and communicative work from one of our finest composers. The Concordia Orchestra; Marin Alsop. Koch International Classics 7468 (U.S.A.) 08C079 $16.98

STEPHEN R. GERBER (b.1948): Symphony No. 1, Viola Concerto, Triple Overture for Piano Trio and Orchestra, Dirge and Awakening for Orchestra. Gerber is an American whose music has apparently been much liked in Russia, which explains the orchestra in this recording and the fact that the Triple Overture was commissioned by the Bekova Sisters and that the viola concerto was written for Yuri Bashmet. The works here recorded date from 1989-1998 and are tonal though sometimes highly chromatic and dissonant. The symphony is emotionally direct and has a Russian feel in its mood of tragic despair. Likewise the Dirge and Awakening, premiered in Moscow by Mikhail Pletnev and his Russian National Orchestra in 1992. The concerto is again mostly somber although it ends with a short, quick, rhythmically difficult finale while the overture is perhaps the most immediately vivacious of the program. Lars Anders Tomter (viola), The Bekova Sisters, Russian Philharmonic Orchestra; Thomas Sanderling. Chandos 9831 (England) 08C080 $16.98

ALLAN STEPHENSON (b.1949): Piano Concerto, Oboe Concerto, Toccata Festiva for Castanets and Orchestra. Born in England, Stephenson has spent his career since 1973 in South Africa. His 1981 piano concerto opens like a 1940s Rozsa score and continues in a similar vein, communicating easily and painting vividly on a large canvas. Dating from the following year is the only castanet concerto we've heard of - beginning with a sultry, nocturnal prelude, the piece is drenched in a tangible Spanish spirit and one can imagine the complementary footwork of the soloist (also a virtuoso Spanish dancer). Dating from 1978, the oboe concerto is a cool, elegantly neo-classical piece. Stewart Young (piano), Laszlo Bohr (oboe), Deanna Blacher (castanets), Cape Town Symphony Orchestra, I Musicanti; Allan Stephenson. Claremont GSE 1563 (South Africa) 08C081 $16.98

BRIGHT SHENG (b.1955): China Dreams for Orchestra, Postcards for Orchestra, Flute Moon for Flute/Piccolo, Harp, Piano, Percussion and String Orchestra. Powerful and dynamic, this music does not share the uneasy grafting of oriental instrumental techniques onto western orchestral textures of some music in western idioms by Chinese and Japanese composers. Muscular and big-boned, these works sound like the product of an American musical background, and as the composer has studied and worked extensively in the USA, this is presumably not a coincidence. No value judgement is intended here, but cultural boundaries can sometimes be treated as frontiers to good effect, and Sheng, for all his evocative Chinese-new-age-ish titles has written music of great power and expressivity in the western 20th-century symphonic tradition, inflected with oriental modes and incorporating folk material as a particularly sensitive Western composer might do. In general, Sheng's idiom is very symphonic, the orchestral writing wholly idiomatic, with Bartók and Ravel in the background, and early Stravinsky a bit closer - but there is no imitation, just the sense of an individual voice speaking from within an adopted culture but retaining an affinity with his own cultural background. Full marks to BIS for making these strong and evocative works available. Sharon Bezaly (flute, piccolo), Singapore Symphony Orchestra; Lan Shui. BIS CD-1122 (Sweden) 08C082 $17.98

JAMES MACMILLAN (b.1959): Epiclesis for Trumpet and Orchestra, Ninian for Clarinet and Orchestra. Both these concerti are based on religious themes, like most of MacMillan's music. The trumpet concerto is the more abstract work, a musical invocation of the divine, incorporating ideas (both thematically suggested through allusions to plainsong, and indicated through programmatic musical events) about specific doctrines of the Catholic Church, challenge, confrontation and triumph. Ninian is a more overtly programmatic work, depicting episodes from the life of a 4th-century saint in the form of a clarinet concerto. As is usual for MacMillan, the music is often dramatic, even confrontational, with much use of percussion, though in both works the soloists are given material with which to shine to the best advantages of their instruments; he does not make 'funny noises', and free of conventional tonal relationships as his music tends to be, there is a thorough grounding in tonality which provides cohesion and momentum. Powerful and stirring stuff. John Wallace (trumpet), John Cushing (clarinet), Royal Scottish National Orchestra; Alexander Lazarev. BIS CD-1069 (Sweden) 08C083 $17.98

KAREL GOEYVAERTS (1923-1993): Sonata No. 1 for 2 Pianos, Opus 2 for 13 Instruments, Opus 3 with Bowed and Struck Tones, Compositie No. 4 with Dead Tones, Compositie No. 5 with Pure Tones, Compositie No. 6 with 180 Sound Objects, Compositie No. 7 with Converging and Diverging Sound Levels. These seven compositions are extremely abstract; a deliberate attempt to objectify music by using serial structures to determine every parameter. Nos. 1, 2, and 6 are for instrumental ensembles; the others use synthesized sounds (which in the 1950s were hardly the most sensuously involving, thereby distracting one less from the discrete sound events that make up the works). These compositions must be among the most extreme examples of the kind of preoccupations that obsessed the most 'progressive' composers of the avant-garde 1950s. But Schoenberg is not dead, as it turns out, and this disc helps us place a particular episode in 20th-century music history in context. Champ d'Action. Megadisc MDC 7845 (Belgium) 08C084 $18.98

CLAUDE CHAMPAGNE (1891-1965): Dance villageoise, ANDRÉ MATHIEU (1929-1968): Violin Sonata, JEAN PAPINEAU-COUTURE (b.1916): Violin Sonata in G, ANDRÉ PRÉVOST (b.1934): Improvisation for Solo Violin, JACQUES HÉTU (b.1938): Rondo varié, FRANÇOIS DOMPIERRE (b.1943): Les Diableries, RACHEL LAURIN (b.1961): Violin Sonata in A Minor. This disc is worth acquiring for the marvellous Mathieu sonata alone, though there is much else beside to enjoy. Very French and very Romantic; if you have always wished that the lovely Franck sonata had a few more descendants, then this is for you. The Papineau-Couture sonata is also a substantial work of considerable charm, somewhat reminiscent of Milhaud. The Prévost is meditative but uneasy, the Champagne brief and unassumingly folksy. Dompierre's jazzy, syncopated idiom is most appealing, while the youngest composer here, Rachel Laurin, returns to a very Romantic and lyrical idiom in her sonata. A very appealing recital of unfamiliar yet immensely enjoyable music. Angèle Dubeau (violin), Louise-Andrée Baril (piano). Analekta Fleurs de Lys FL 2 3150 (Canada) 08C085 $16.98

SALVATORE SCIARRINO (b.1947): Aspern Suite for Soprano and Instruments. This unsettling music-theatre piece, based on a story by Henry James, uses instrumental 'sound effects', mainly high in register and very subtle, to accompany the soprano's fragmentary, elusive and hallucinatory declamation of the text. The effect is of a ghostly evocation of a world intangible, a suggestion of former opulence, psychologically complex lives and passions, but now accessible only as a palimpsest, or fleeting reflections in a darkened window, gone when viewed in direct light. Sciarrino proves himself once again a master of the art of evoking powerful atmosphere through sonic means that are only musical in the very broadest sense - the term "music theatre" will have to do, but in recorded form, as they continue to strike their psychological resonances, there really should be a new term, something more akin to graphic or sculptural arts. Susanna Rigacci (soprano), Contempoartensemble; Mauro Ceccanti. Arts 47591 (Germany) 08C086 $10.98

DONALD ERB (b.1927): String Quartet No. 3, Suddenly It's Evening for Solo Cello, 3 Poems for Violin and Piano, 3 Pieces for Solo Double Bass. The immediacy and invention of Erb's music are the characteristics that strike one first; it is only as time passes that one realises what a wealth of compositional complexity and sophistication, and instrumental innovation, one has been listening to. The energetic quartet is a good case in point; within the boundaries of that most venerable ensemble, and a harmonic language that is based firmly in tonality, with next to nothing in the way of alternative playing techniques, Erb manages to produce a 22-minute work of unfailing freshness and vitality which grips the listener from the first note to the last. Suddenly It's Evening, for electronic cello (therefore an electroacoustic piece, though the means are very much secondary to the message, which in this case is a shadowy, disturbing one) is one of the most powerful and multi-faceted works for a solo instrument, with or without electronic enhancement, of recent times; it stands alongside Souster's The Transistor Radio of St Narcissus in demonstrating that in the right hands the additional resources of electronics can be so much more than a gimmicky effect. The violin and piano pieces, and the double-bass works, again show the composer's inventiveness in more conventional ensembles, very emotionally direct and not easy listening - not because they are difficult to listen to, far from it, but because they say so eloquently things that one cannot help but respond to on a very deep level. The Audubon Quartet, Jeffrey Kreiger (cello), James Stern (violin), Audry Andrist (piano), Bertram Turetzky (double bass). CRI 857 (U.S.A.) 08C087 $16.98

LOUIS SAGUER (1907-1991): 13 Comptines for Mezzo-Soprano and Ensemble, Quadrilles for Flute and Piano Trio, 4 Contrerimes for Mezzo-Soprano and Strings, Musique à trois for String Trio, Motivos de son for Mezzo-Soprano and 6 Percussions. Saguer was one of those composers of real quality, who wrote music that expressed what they felt, becuase they had to, and eschewed self-publicity, feeling that the music should have a life based on its own merits. The ineviatble result, as in so many such cases, is neglect out of all proportion to the quality of the music. A champion of modern music, and a man of vast intellect and understanding of other composers' work, Saguer nonetheless did not embrace the avant-garde, writing in a style which follows on from Ravel, Poulenc, and Honegger, though with a very discernable individuality of utterance. The voice was of great importance to the composer, and it shows in the lyricism of the songs on this disc, though the sheer intelligence and lively imagination of the chamber works is also remarkable. Sonia de Beaufort (mezzo), Russian State Cinematographic Symphony Orchestra, Soloists of the Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble, Percussionists of the Bolshoi Theatre; Jean Thorel. Le Chant du Monde LDC 2781121 (France) 08C088 $12.98

ASHOT ZOGRABIAN (b.1945): String Quartet No. 1 "Narcisse", Rituel for 3 Flutes, Parabole for 13 Instruments, Sérénade for 13 Instruments, Jeux de Boomerang I for 9 Instruments. Zograbian's music sounds Armenian, though not in the romantic-picturesque style of Hovhaness; there is enough of the distinctive modal tonality of traditional Armenian music in his Ligeti-like polyphony to leave one in no doubt as to its origins. Although modern in idiom, a lyrical vein runs throughout these pieces which binds them together and avoids the pointillistic abstraction which might otherwise result from the composer's sophisticated use of modern techniques. Even "Boomerang Games", the least linear work, is so playful and beautifully crafted that it is unexpectedly accessible. Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble; Alexei Vinogradov. Le Chant du Monde LDC 2781119 (France) 08C089 $12.98

JUDITH LANG ZAIMONT (b.1945): Symphony No. 1, Monarchs: Movement for Orchestra, Elegy for Strings. Modern yet tonal and approachable, and strongly dramatic and vital, Zaimont's symphony draws on familiar idioms of the symphonic repertory without sounding unduly eclectic or derivative. The composer makes use of traditional forms, and the orchestration is the big, bold palette of the early 20th-century symphonic medium - Arthur Bliss is an apt comparison. The gentle and melancholy Elegy is a long-breathed lyrical lament, while Monarchs, a most impressive work with an important concertante piano part, is altogether more dramatic, full of almost cinematic confrontations and conflicts which suggest a program (which is not explicitly stated). Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra; Leos Svarovsky, Doris Lang Kosloff. Arabesque Z6742 (U.S.A.) 08C090 $16.98

HARRY SOMERS (1925-1999): Piano Concerto No. 3, Elegy, Transformation, Jubilation for Orchestra, 5 Songs for Dark Voice. Highly regarded in his native Canada, Somers seems nonetheless to have been oddly neglected in terms of performances and recordings, especially when one considers the vitality and acessibility of his music. The concerto is a work of great dynamism, with a most exciting and energetic opening movement, somewhat reminiscent of Panufnik, a calm central slow movement, and a finale which presents a complex variety of tonalities and rhythms, with a great sense of momentum. It is a splendid, sparkling jewel of a piece, which should appeal to anyone who enjoys, say, the Prokofiev Second. In the earlier 5 Songs the composer acknowledges Mahler as an influence while Elegy . . . also contains some Romantic feeling - very expressive music - but especially in the last section, the composer moves into a complex sound-world of multi-level strands. The textures are kept admirably clear, though, and the impression, enhanced by the spatial disposition of the instrumental groups, is of a detailed tapestry depicting a readily comprehensible drama, rather than of the complexity of the music. James Parker (piano), Jean Stillwell (mezzo), Esprit Orchestra; Alex Pauk. CBC Records SMCD 5199 (Canada) 08C091 $17.98

PER NØRGÅRD (b.1932): Helle Nacht - Violin Concerto, Sonata "The Secret Melody", GYÖRGY LIGETI (b.1923): Violin Concerto. These two concertos are as inventive and innovative as one might expect. Ligeti's work abounds in those shifts of mood, teasing humor and rich, if highly unconventional, sonority (augmented by some unconventional tunings) that we have come to expect of the composer. What is perhaps a little more surprising is the rich and soulful vein of lyrical melody which runs throughout the work. The same might be said of the Nørgård, written a few years earlier. In some ways more of a conventional violin concerto, this too has a vein of melody native to the solo instrument, and relies more of the conventional interplay of soloist and orchestra than the Ligeti. The solo violin sonata goes even further in subtle and intricate melodic writing. Christina Åstrand (violin), Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra; Thomas Dausgaard. Chandos 9830 (U.S.A.) 08C092 $16.98

JUHANI NUORVALA (b.1961): String Quartet No. 1 "Dancescapes", String Quartet No. 2, 3 Impromptus for Clarinet and Kantele, What's a Nice Chord Like You Doing in a Piece Like This? for 3 Accordions, Twitching Gait for Chamber Ensemble. One's first reaction to Nuorvala's output might be to suspect him of a kind of self-conscious iconoclasm, but there is a good deal more to the music than that. For one thing it is immaculately crafted, and uses its influences with great sophistication. The second quartet is lushly and unfashionably romantic, while the first is more modern, and more the work of a young composer seeking a personal voice. The work for accordions is a quirky fanfare for the opening of the Helsinki Film Festival, and like the second movement of the 3 Impromptus, seems to flirt with explicitly non-classical idioms (the Impromptu goes further, being based on a well-known pop song, recently used in a car commercial, from the 1960s). Avanti Quartet, Kerava Quartet, Heikki Nikula (clarinet), Aino Meisalmi-Minklainen (kantele), Mikko Luoma (accordion), other artists. BIS CD-1107 (Sweden) 08C093 $17.98

DIMITAR TAPKOFF (b.1929): Peace Cantata for Mezzo-Soprano, Children's Choir and String Orchestra, Microsymphony on A(rthur) and H(onegger), Variants for String Orchestra, Concertino for Bassoon and String Orchestra, Sonata for Solo Cello, Sonata for Solo Clarinet. The composer has commented that "Those behind the times put me in the list of avant-garde composers, and the avant-gardists thought of me as one of those behind the times". Leaving aside the fact that "behind the times" seems to carry some pejorative connotation, it is hard to see how anyone would characterise this music as avant-garde, particularly given the years in which it was written - all since the mid-1970s. Honegger receives hommage in the Microsymphony, and he is a good place to start; there is also more than a trace of Bartók, and the familiar (though no less welcome for that) muscular, sinewy eastern-bloc orchestral writing that typifies so much of the finest extensions of the symphonic traditions into our time. Tapkoff uses traditional forms and playing techniques, but he has a strong personal voice, and if you enjoy other music in this idiom from this general area of the world, you certainly won't be disappointed here. Various Artists. Gega GD 218 (Bulgaria) 08C094 $16.98

DON FREUND (b.1947): Madame Bovary Ballet Suite, Soft Cells for 15 Instruments, Viola Concerto, Dissolving Music - Rockpiece for Soprano and 6 Instruments. The Ballet Suite after Flaubert's "Madame Bovary" is a graphically colorful score in an accessible post-Romantic style, not especially modern, but sumptuously tonal, spiced with tinges of Americana and dissonance. Soft Cells is similarly approachable - none of this music is 'difficult' for the listener, though this is not to deny a certain quirkiness and unpredictability. This is especially evident in the eclectic concerto, which presents a compendium of 20th-century styles overlaid by the soloist's insistent commentary. Dissolving Music, setting W.S. Merwin's poem, is best described by saying that it sounds very like out-takes from Bernstein's Mass, which is quite a recommendation, of sorts. Indiana University Concert Orchestra; Don Freund, IU New Music Ensemble; David Dzubay, Atar Arad (viola), IU Chamber Orchestra; Paul Bliss, Moira Smiley (soprano). Indiana University School of Music IUSM-10 (U.S.A.) 08C095 $16.98

FRANK CORCORAN (b.1944): Mad Sweeney for Speaker and Chamber Orchestra, Music for the Book of Kells for Piano and Percussion, Wind Quintet, Sweeney's Vision for Tape. Corcoran's music is 'about' Mythic Ireland - "Sweeney" of the title is invoked in two of the four pieces here, the monodrama for speaker and ensemble (dramatically rendered by the composer, speaking the mad king's rambling reflections in Seamus Heaney's translation), and in the electronic soundscape which suggests elemental and irresistible forces of nature, Sweeney's Vision. Although computer-composed (the composer is not specific as to the exact techniques used) the latter sounds more like musique concrète than the synthesized tones more commonly used in electronic music. The instrumental works also share, as something of a preoccupation, this sense of nature-sculptures in sound, cruel, sad and unconcerned with human happiness. While it is not, for the most part, melodically or harmonically based, the music is powerfully atmospheric and quite unsettling. Frank Corcoran (speaker, piano), Das Neue Werk NDR Ensemble, Percussion Modern (Hamburg); Dieter Cichewiecz, Stuttgart Wind Quintet. Black Box BBM 1026 (England) 08C096 $17.98

CARLO BOCCADORO (b.1963): Cantata on Yiddish Melodies for Voice and Orchestra, The Astrolabe of the Sea for Cello and Piano, Aisha for 4 Percussionists, The Bear and the Honey for Flute and Piano. The main work here is the cantata, which incorporates spoken texts and Yiddish folk songs (in orchestral versions by Boccadoro) into what is essentially a large orchestral work in the western concert idiom, somewhat to the chromatic and dissonant side of conservative neo-romantic tonality. The appearance of the folk-songs makes a pleasing contrast, and ensures that the piece as a whole works equally well and is equally at home in both idioms, which is a considerable achievement, given the disparity of vocabulary between the two styles. The cello and piano work is a long, singing melody, and the percussion work is a lively essay in sonorities and polyrhythms, in which the composer's own study of percussion is apparent in the skill with which the ensemble is used. The flute and piano work is another lyrical meditation with some unexpected turns; all in all an appealing and enjoyable disc. Moni Ovadia (voice), Pomeriggi Musicali; Carlo Boccadoro, Enrico Dindo (violin), Andrea Dindo (piano), Aisha Percussion Group, Paola Fré (flute), Boccadoro (piano). Agora 218.1 (Italy) 08C097 $18.98

ENNIO MORRICONE (b.1928): Trio for Clarinet, Horn and Cello, ANDREA BANDEL (b.1966): Apoteosi for Harmonica and Piano, FRANCO CERRI (b.1926): Poliedrico for Guitar, Violin, Harmonica, Vibraphone and Electric Bass, PAOLO CATTANEO (b.1953): Umleitung for Harmonica and Piano. As is recently becoming increasingly apparent, Morricone's concert music is generally more "advanced" in idiom than his justly lauded film scores, but it shares an immediacy of expression with the more utilitarian scores, and so it is with the trio here, which is a piece of pure music full of almost pictorial narrative content. Bandel's piece has more in common with the familiar idioms of film music, being generally more tonal; the unconventional combination of harmonica and piano adds an interesting piquancy to its textures. Cerri's Poliedrico, both in instrumentation and idiom pays frank hommage to jazz, of which it is an elegantly written and mellifluous example. The Cattaneo curiously seems to bring together the influences of the rest of the CD, the material sounding like extracts from a Morricone film score, but scored for the forces of the Bandel. Offbeat enough to be fresh and unusual, but familiar and approachable. Alberto Ferrari (clarinet), Imerio Tagliaferri Prina (horn), Alexandre Zioumbrovski (cello), Willi Burger (harmonica), Marcello Parolini (piano), Franco Cerri (guitar) and other artists. Agora 217.1 (Italy) 08C098 $18.98

ELIZABETH BELL (b.1928): Andromeda - Concerto for Piano, Percussion and Strings, String Quartet No. 1, Symphony No. 1, Perne in a Gyre - Quartet for Piano, Violin, Cello and Clarinet. An individualist who resisted many discouragements along the way to forge her own personal idiom as a composer, Bell writes music which is obviously just the way she wants it to be, taking no notice of schools and doctrines. The music is strongly tonal (though an occasional quarter-tone is thrown in as a coloristic device); the early string quartet shows some influence of Bartók, while the more recent works suggest some programmatic content, either explicitly or not. The composer has a certain fondness for ostinati, which underpin the motion of several movments here, and the orchestration sometimes seems to hint at an influence of Shostakovich, most especially in the Passacaglia movement of the 1971 symphony. Bell has an individual voice, and the music is strong-willed (to match the composer herself, it seems) and directly communicative of its ideas. Eleanor Elkins (piano), Seattle Symphony Orchestra; Gerard Schwarz, Moyzes Quartet, Slovak Chamber Players. MMC 2082 (U.S.A.) 08C099 $16.98

JEANNE SINGER (b.1924): Tribute to Raoul Wallenberg for Voice and Orchestra, Nocturne for Clarinet and Piano, Recollections of City Island for Oboe, Viola and Piano, Sweet Stacy Suite for Violin, Clarinet and Piano, Legend for Flute and Piano, From the Green Mountains for Violin, Clarinet and Piano, Grandmother's Attic for Flute, Oboe, Violin and Cello, Five Galgenlieder for Tenor and Piano. Jeanne Singer writes direct music full of emotional expression - in fact, her willingness to wear her heart, if not quite on her sleeve, then certainly without embarrassment in the open in works such as the profoundly touching Tribute . . ., which memorialises a hero of the Holocaust, is a characteristic as rare as it is welcome in these self-conscious times. You will correctly surmise that the music is tonal and warmly harmonic, though never tame nor conventional. Singer is capable of a dancing rhyhtmic incisiveness and a wide range of expression, from broad humor through sly wit to genuine pathos and dramatic excitement. A recording to savor and enjoy. Various Artists. MMC 2088 (U.S.A.) 08C100 $16.98

BENJAMIN FRANKEL (1906-1973): The Battle of the Bulge - Complete Film Music. Thanks to the subject matter, Frankel's final film score is his largest-scale and grandest. This well-filled (79 minutes) recording is a fitting tribute to the man who wrote the first twelve-tone score for a British feature film (Hammer's Curse of the Werewolf) as well as Night of the Iguana. Excellent, detailed notes on each of the 18 cues although none of the lavish visuals of the Marco Polo film music series. Queensland Symphony Orchestra; Werner Andreas Albert. CPO 999 696 (Germany) 08C101 $15.98

JACQUES IBERT (1890-1963): Le Chevalier Errant - Epic Poem with Choreography, Chansons de Don Quichotte - from the soundtrack of G. W. Pabst's film Don Quixote. The great Russian bass starred as the errant Spanish knight in 1933 when these four songs were recorded, part of a complete soundtrack by Ibert. The coupling dates from 1934 and is described as a "choreodrama": two narrators (Carrasco and Quixote's niece Antonia) describe five scenes (lasting over 45-minutes) from the dead Don's life which are danced to music by Ibert. Evocative, colorful stuff which cries out for a new recording. French-English texts. Mono. Vocal Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra of the ORTF; Georges Tzipine, Feodor Chaliapin (bass), Orchestre du Théâtre National de l'Opéra de Paris; Jacques Ibert. L'Empreinte Digitale ED13110 (France) 08C102 $17.98

PETER TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893): Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Op. 74 "Pathétique" (transcr. Walter Niemann [1876-1955]). Exploiting the full gamut of keyboard poetry and power, Niemann's 1927 transcription mercilessly taxes and proves the mettle of pianist and instrument alike. Mid-price. Chitose Okahiro (piano). Pro Piano PPR224530 (U.S.A.) 08C103 $9.98

RICHARD WAGNER (1813-1883)/MORITZ MOSZKOWSKI (1854-1925): Isoldens Tod, Der Venusberg, WAGNER/ZOLTAN KOCSIS: Introduction to Tristan und Isolde, WAGNER/LOUIS BRASSIN (1840-1884): Magic Fire Music, Ride of the Valkyries, Sigmunds Liebesgesang, GABRIEL FAURÉ (1845-1924)/ANDRÉ MESSAGER (1853-1929): Souvenir de Bayreuth for Piano Four Hands. More echt-19th century transcriptions which no self-respecting (and self-regarding) piano virtuoso would want to be without. The Brassin pieces add a new name to the CD transcription catalogue - his Magic Fire Music was in the repertory of many end of the century pianists. Chitose Okashiro (piano), J.Y. Song (second pianist). Pro Piano PPR224521 (U.S.A.) 08C104 $9.98

GEORG MUFFAT (1653-1704): - Organ Works, Vol. 1 - Apparatus musico-organisticus - Part I, Toccatas prima - octava. Dating from 1690 and comprising twelve large-scale toccatas arranged in the order of church tones, each constructed in several sections to display the brilliance and the extremes of organ textures, these pieces range from the intimately diaphanous to the majestically mighty and will appeal to anyone who enjoys the Bach preludes and fugues for organ. Martin Haselböck (organ of Klosterneuburg Abbey, Austria). Naxos 8.553917 (New Zealand) 08C105 $5.98

NED ROREM (b.1923): Organbook III, 6 Pieces for Organ, Fantasy and Toccata, Pastorale, Eli, Eli, Sabachthani?, Fantasy. "20th-century organ music either sounds like Messiaen or it doesn't". Well, Rorem's doesn't; it sounds like Rorem. Which is to say, it is tonal and pays obvious homage to pre-classical models in its restraint and avoidance of organ 'special effects'. There is a certain austerity to Rorem's harmonic language, avoiding Romanticism's excesses, which lends itself to the organ, producing a vocabulary with a timeless quality, which is nonetheless unmistakably contemporary. Ronald Prowse (Casavant organ of St. Joan of Arc Church, St. Clair Shores, MI). Albany TROY 398 (U.S.A.) 08C106 $16.98

IGNAZ PLEYEL (1757-1831): Flute Quartet No. 2, Flute Quintet, Op. 10/3, ADALBERT GYROWETZ (1763-1850): Dritte Nachtmusik for Flute Quartet, Op. 26, FRANZ DANZI (1763-1826): Flute Quartet in D Minor, Op. 56/2. 78 minutes of rare late Classical chamber music - just in time to make the catalogue this month! Dieter Flury (flute), Das Wiener Philharmonia Trio, Thomas Indermühle (oboe). Camerata 28CM-574 (Japan) 08C107 $18.98