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Louise Farrenc

Symphony No. 2 and 2 Overtures

LOUISE FARRENC (1804-75): Symphony No. 2 in D, Op. 35, Overture No. 1 in E Minor, Op. 23, Overture No. 2 in E Flat, Op. 24. The notes compare the slow introduction of the second symphony (1846) to that of the same numbered symphony by Beethoven but we think you'll immediately think of a certain Haydn London symphony. Regardless, when the allegro gets underway, we are swept away by a truly Beethovenian power and urgency. The finale is monothematic and contrapuntally an homage to Bach while retaining the same flow and vitality while neither the slow movement nor the scherzo will make you think of anything but a wild-haired, red-eyed German visionary. The overtures date from 1834 and, oddly, use a larger wind and brass section than the symphony; they are Farrenc's practice pieces for her first symphony and share some characteristics with what must have been their model - Mendelssohn's concert overtures. All early-Romantic symphony lovers must have this (and the first volume if you don't already) - as striking and satisfying as the Ries symphonies. NDR Radio Philharmonic; Johannes Goritzki. CPO 999 820 (Germany) 08G001 $15.98


First: Those of you who ordered only the July Hungaroton imports need to know that Hungaroton managed to ship our 3 August orders while ignoring the 6 July titles. At this time, we expect that the missing Julys will be here to ship with your August orders. (Why only 3 Augusts? Well, because we ordered 12 more single Hungaroton copies to determine which to order for August [already having had 3 singles on hand] but those didn't come either).

SALE: Note that the Aug. 17-Sept. 17 sale dates apply to us as well as to you. We can't order sale items until Aug. 17 and can't order them after Sept. 17. So, make sure your orders reach us no later than Sept. 17 so that we can forward our final order no later than 1pm EDT (for Naive and cpo) or 3 pm EDT for Harmonia Mundi and Hyperion. If you have any questions about label codes and prices, please call or e-mail for clarification. And, of course, you can still order catalogues (we have actual, real, four-color printed catalogues for all four labels now).

NEW LABEL: Those of you who know the Hänssler Classic label will be interested in hearing that Günter Hänssler, unhappy with the path his namesake label was on, has abandoned it and started a new label called Profil. You will find three new releases on this label in the current catalogue. (No, we don't know if the latest Hänssler (old label) Koechlin release will be available to us.)

EGON WELLESZ (1885-1974): Symphony No. 1, Op. 62, Symphony No. 8, Op. 110, Symphonic Epilogue, Op. 108. Dating from 1945-45, Wellesz' first attempt at the symphony is an imposing, 36-minute work in three movements which is a true scion of the Austrian symphonic tradition, especially in its slow final movement which really summons the spirit of Mahler but also in the first where Bruckner is dimly present not in melodic or motivic reminiscence but in the rude health of its themes and big-shouldered construction. The eighth (1971) lacks almost any formal melodic/thematic development, events seeming to pile up on and to follow one another throughout its 23 minutes (still the regular three movements), making it the most enigmatic of the symphonies but one which oozes raw, elemental power. Next to this, the 1969 Epilogue is a model of form and thematic development (and who would have thought that one would have two recordings of this in consecutive months to compare?). Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra; Gottfired Rabl. CPO 999 998 (Germany) 08G002 $15.98

HERMANN KOPPEL (1908-1998): Orchestral Works, Vol. 4 - Symphony No. 5, Op. 60, Piano Concerto No. 3, Op. 45, Prelude to a Symphony, Op. 105. The fifth symphony, winner of a competition to open the new Tivoli Concert Hall in 1956, is an unruffled (if not exactly sunny), smoothly flowing work with a relatively narrow emotional range (and less contrapuntal complexity than usual) but whose structure has such ingenuity and integrity and elegance that one feels it could not possibly have been composed any other way. The ghost of Nielsen is still there but, at times, there is also a feel of contemporary English symphonists too (Rubbra came to mind a couple of times) although this may only serve to accentuate the Scandinavian influences on many 20th century English composers. The concerto (1948) was Koppel's most popular orchestral work (some collectors will have the 1953 recording with the composer at the keyboard and Erik Tuxen conducting which was issued on Danacord in 2001) and is a fascinating synthesis of Prokofievian and Stravinskian neo-classicism and motoric rhythms and Bartókian central European melody with the expected Nielsen echoes added tothe mix - yet, in the end, an unmistakably personal work assimilating all of its models into Koppel's own, personal, mature style. Nina Kavtaradze (piano), Aalborg Symphony Orchestra; Moshe Atzmon. Dacapo 8.226027 (Denmark) 08G003 $9.98

LEONARDO BALADA (b.1933): Symphony No. 4 "Lausanne", Zapata: Images for Orchestra, Guernica, Homage to Sarasate, Homage to Casals. Collectors of this series will be most familiar with Balada's late period in which avant-garde techniques are mixed with ethnic, folk elements to create music which is approachable if you are even slightly adventurous. All but one of the pieces here are from this period with the single-movement symphony (1992) dealing cleverly with Swiss folk material and Zapata (1988) with Mexican (the suite comes from the music for an opera) while the Sarasate homage has rhythmic, collage-like fun with the rhythms of the zapateado and the Casals with a folk song the cellist used to end his recitals (both from 1975). Guernica (1966) comes from the plain-and-simple avant-garde period but its ability to readily connect emotionally with the listener will appeal to anyone who enjoys Penderecki of the same period. Barcelona Symphony and Catalonia National Orchestra; Salvador Mas Conde. Naxos 8.557342 (New Zealand) 08G004 $6.98

BORIS TISHCHENKO (b.1939): Symphony No. 7, Op. 119. This world premiere recording will please the many admirers of this somewhat neglected composer, widely considered the direct successor to Shostakovich as Russian Symphonist. Dating from 1994, this symphony is in five movements (lasting almost 53 minutes) - two big outer ones and a big slow movement itself surrounded by a scherzo-like movement and one of intermezzo character. The free approach to symphonic form, as well as an often chamber-like scoring and several interjections of ironic dance-type music and/or aural nudges like trombone glissandos all recall Shostakovich while not sounding much like him. Should appeal to collectors of modern, tonal symphonies. Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra; Dmitri Yablonsky. Naxos 8.557013 (New Zealand) 08G005 $6.98

AITA DONOSTIA (1886-1956): 21 Preludios Vascos, 7 Mosaicos, 13 Piezas Infantiles for Piano Four Hands. Although they look like planned sets, the preludes and Mosaicos date from as early as 1910 to as late as 1954 with the early preludes (these were written in four books between 1910 and 1923 but the unhelpful booklet does not distinguish these chronological divisions) very much in the character of Schumann klavierstücke, not demanding much in the way of technique (as Donostia was not a professional pianist) while later preludes and several of the Mosaicos have definite characteristics of Impressionism. Folk elements are present, more or less, throughout and this goes also for the Infantiles, which date from the 1940s and were intended to by played by teacher and pupil together. 2 CDs. Ricardo Requejo (piano), Marina Pintos (second pianist). Claves CD 50-2307/8 (Switzerland) 08G006 $33.98

DARIUS MILHAUD (1892-1974): 5 Saudades do Brasil, ALFREDO CASELLA (1883-1947): 11 pezzi infantili, CHARLES KOECHLIN (1867-1950): 12 Pastorales, HEITOR VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959): A lenda do caboclo, VITEZSLAV NOVÁK (1870-1940): 8 Pieces from Mládí, JOSEF SUK (1874-1935): Friendship, DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1974): 5 Preludes, MAURICE RAVEL (1875-1937): La valse, Tombeau de Claude Debussy (consisting of): PAUL DUKAS (1865-1935): La plainte, au loin, du faune..., ALBERT ROUSSEL (1869-1932): L'accueil des Muses, GIAN FRANCESCO MALIPIERO (1882-1973): Lento, MANUEL DE FALLA (1876-1946): Homenaje, EUGENE GOOSSENS (1893-1962): Hommage à Debussy, BÉLA BARTÓK (1881-1945): Sostenuto, rubato, FLORENT SCHMITT (1870-1958): Et Pan au fond des blés lunaires, s'accouda, IGOR STRAVINSKY (1882-1971): Fragment des Symphonies pour istruments à vent. "Yearbooks of the 20th Century Piano - 1920" is the title of this collection which is the third in a series. (The first two - 1900 and 1950 - did not offer much unrecorded repertoire at all and, thus, were not offered here.) The wide variety of material and the rarity of most of it is self-recommeding to all piano collectors and aficionados of early 20th century music. 2 CDs. Maurizio Baglini (piano). Frame CD FR0348-2 (Italy) 08G007 $33.98

ARTHUR HONEGGER (1892-1955): La Danse des morts for Narrator, Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra, DARIUS MILHAUD (1892-1974): L'Homme et son désir. Both these works were inspired by the author Paul Claudel, Honneger's oratorio of 1938 suggested by several "danses macabres" in the Basle city museum (the work uses local traditional tunes and a style which pays tribute to the 18th century); Milhaud's work was to be a ballet for Nijinsky which never came about and he revised his music into the version for 16 instruments and percussion heard here. Dating from 1917 and the composer's stay in Brazil, the piece is polytonal and polyrhythmic and evokes the forests and tropical jungles. French texts. Lambert Wilson (reader), Anne-Sophie Schmidt (soprano), Claire Brua (mezzo), Hubert Claessens (baritone), Chur de Radio France, Orchestre de Picardie; Edmon Colomer. Calliope CAL 9526 (France) 08G008 $17.98

WILLIAM WALTON (1902-1983): The Wise Virgins (arr. Philip Lane [b.1950]), CONSTANT LAMBERT (1905-1951): Horoscope. For this recording, composer Philip Lane arranged the three missing movements of Walton's 1940 ballet, itself arranged from the music of Bach, allowing the complete ballet to be heard (in some version, at least) for the first time. Horoscope, although dating from 1937, shared The Wise Virgins' fate, the two scores being danced by Sadler's Wells in Holland when the Nazis invaded; all the sets, costumes and music were abandoned as the English company fled. It would appear that this is the first complete recording of Horoscope - the suite has five movements and there are nine here. Containing some of Lambert's most passionate music (he was having an affair with the lead ballerina, Margot Fonteyn at the time), this will be a must-have for ballet collectors. BBC Concert Orchestra; Barry Wordsworth. ASV DCA 1168 (England) 08G009 $17.98

MICHEL LEGRAND (b.1932): Concertino "Un été 42" for Piano and Orchestra, ANDRÉ HOSSEIN (1907-1983): Piano Concerto No. 3 "Una Fantasia", JEAN WIENER (1896-1982): Piano Concerto No. 1 "Franco-Américain", BERNARD HERRMANN (1911-1975): Concerto Macabre for Piano and Orchestra. Herrmann is the odd man out in this disc of piano concertos by French film composers (actually, Legrand's is merely a four-minute theme from the 1971 American coming-of-age film "Summer of 42"). Hossein (born in Samarkand!) was the father of the noted film director Robert Hossein (whose concerto sounds like half a dozen French composers from Saint-Saëns to Ravel) while Wiener's 1924 concerto was written under the influence of Gershwin in particular and American music in general. Mid-price. Danielle Laval (piano), Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra; Pascal Verrot. Original 1995 Valois release. Naïve V 4979 (France) 08G010 $13.98

NIKOLAI MYASKOVSKY (1881-1950): Cello Concerto in C Minor, Op. 66, Cello Sonata No. 1 in D, Op. 12, Cello Sonata No. 2 in A Minor, Op. 81. Cello Classics have unearthed two archival recordings (1981 and 1984) of Myaskovsky's hyper-romantic cello sonatas, in wonderfully passionate performances in which emotion flows freely, and coupled them with a brand-new recording made by the same cellist of the 1944 concerto, whose elegiac character is a more honest statement of the composer's feelings as the end of the war came into sight than the Soviet authorities would have preferred. Alexander Rudin (cello), Victor Ginsburg (piano), Musica Viva Orchestra; Andrei Golovin. Cello Classics CC 1012 (England) 08G011 $18.98

FRANZ MITTLER (1893-1980): Piano Trio in G, Op. 3, 3 Charakterstücke for Piano, Lieder: Couplet des Gondremark, Der Tag, Vergelts Gott, An eine Falte, Das Kind, Alle Vöglein sind schon da, Eine gute Seele, Der eifersüchtige Schmetterling, Heimliche Liebe, Ach, ich fühl es, Die Mühle, Volksweise, Da bleibe man zeitlebens bei einer Partei, Da ließ sich viel sagen, Na, da hab' ich schon g'nur. The most highly regarded song accompanist of his day, Mittler, as an Austrian Jew, was forced to flee Europe while on tour in Holland in 1939 and came to New York. Like many such artists, his life changed completely as he had to find different ways to make a living. He had also been a composer, with Universal Edition publishing much of his work. This new, 70-minute release offers 32 minutes of lieder (not overwrought or highly expressionistic), a dramatic 26-minute, four-movement piano trio from 1912 which exhibits both the overheated, late Romanticism of the age as well as a gift for lovely melody, and three piano pieces (lasting 11 minutes in all) of a more intimate nature. German-English texts. Anton Miller (violin), Lawrence Zoernig (cello), Diana Mittler (piano), Wolfgang Holzmair (baritone), Russell Ryan (piano). Preiser PR90567 (Austria) 08G012 $16.98

ERNESTO LECUONA (1895-1963): Siempre en mi corazón, Como presiento, Allá en la sierra, Tu no tienes corazón, Mi corazón se fue, Dame de tus rosas, ¡No es por ti!, ¡Mira!, Dame el amor, Que risa me da, La comparsa, Al fin, Se abrieron las flores, Conga Cuba, Amor tardio, En una noche así, Devuélveme el corazón, Primavera de ilusión, Un amor vendrá, Me has dejado, No me engañarás, Rumba mejoral, No me mires ni me hables, Mi amor fue una flor, Canción del amor triste. This is a representative sample of the Cuban composer's hundreds of songs, most of them, as one can tell from the titles, about love (usually unrequited) and most of them to his own texts. Simple, sweetly melodic, sometimes unpredictably so, these are instantly enjoyable confections which have the immediacy of popular song although a couple rise above that (and two come from the 20th Century Fox film Carnival in Costa Rica). Spanish-English texts. Carole Farley (soprano), John Constable (piano). BIS CD-1374 (Sweden) 08G013 $17.98

JOHANN HERMANN SCHEIN (1586-1630): Israels Brünnlein - Sacred Madrigals for 5 Voices and Basso Continuo, Psalm 91I from Cymbalum Sionium. This 1623 collecton of sacred concertos, using Old Testament texts, combines the Italian madrigal style with the older German motet style and, in its leaning toward the former, sounds rather more modern than Scheidt's comparable Geistliche Chormusik which came out 25 years later. 2 CDs. German-English texts. Weser-Renaissance Bremen; Manfred Cordes. CPO 999 959 (Germany) 08G014 $31.98

26 pieces for Viola da Gamba and Lyra-Viol by Tobias Hume (c.1579-1645), William Corkine (17th. c.), Thomas Mace (c.1613-1706), Simon Ives (1600-1662), Joseph Sherlie (17th c.), John Jenkins (1592-1678), Daniel Farrant (1575-1651), William Young (d.1662) and Anonymous. Much unusual repertoire here by little known English composers of the 16th and 17th centuries played on an interesting variety of instruments from the period. Vittorio Ghilemi (treble, lyra, tenor and bass viols). Winter & Winter 910 082-2 (Germany) 08G015 $17.98

FRANCESCO PROVENZALE (1624-1704): Pange lingua for 9 Voices and Instruments, Dialogo sacro for 5 Voices and Instruments, CRISTOFARO CARESANA (1640-1709): Missa for 8 Voices and Instruments "Exultet orbis gaudiis", Sonata à 8 parti. The polychoral splendor of Venetian and Roman music came late to Naples and Provenzale provided some of its finest examples, especially this newly discovered and authenticated Dialogo of 1685 which treats the Passion with flamboyant and dramatic splendor. Smaller-scale examples by Provenzale from 1667 and a member of a younger generation contribute to an impressive, 79-minute disc. Cappella de' Turchini; Antonio Florio. Opus 111 OP 30360 (France) 08G016 $16.98

JOHANN CHRISTOPH BACH (1642-1703): Lieber Herr Gott, Es ist nun aus, Der Gerechte, ob er gleich, Ich lasse dich nicht, Fürchte dich nicht, JOHANN BACH (1604-1673): Unser Leben ist ein Schatten, JOHANN MICHAEL BACH (1648-1694): Herr, du lässest mich erfahren, Nun hab 'ich überwunden, Sei lieber Tag willkommen, JOHANN LUDWIG BACH (1677-1731): Unsere Trübsal, Das is meine Freude. This 1995 recording offers a selection of motets for choir and continuo by three generations of the Bach family. Some of the works come from the Alt-Bachisches Archiv (recently offered on two discs by Harmonia Mundi) and others are from other sources. At the price, a good way to acquaint oneself with this extraordinary family if one has not done so already. Budget price. Choir of Clare College, Cambridge; Timothy Brown, Liz Kenny (theorbo), Helen Gough (bass violin), Keri Dexter (organ). Columns Classics 90236 (England) 08G017 $6.98

JOHANN THEILE (1646-1724): St. Matthew Passion. Although Theile studied with Schütz, his 1673 Passion completely eschews his master's withdrawn intensity and archaic style and instead goes for direct, emotional expression, introducing brief lyrical elements in the music and assigning to counterpoint a secondary importance. No texts. Kurt Equiluz, Rogers Covey-Crump (tenors), Stephen Varcoe (bass), London Baroque; Charles Medlam. Original 1984 Harmonia Mundi release. First CD release. Harmonia Mundi Musique d'Abord HMA 1951159 (France) 08G018 $7.98

FRANCESCO SCARLATTI (1666-after1741): Dixit Dominus, Mass, Miserere. Alessandro's lesser-known younger brother wrote in the same Neapolitan style, fond of irregular melodic phrases, colorful and dissonant harmonies, counterpoint and independent instrumental parts, all of which are evident in these three of only four remaining extant choral works from (1702-3 and 1714). Emma Kirkby (soprano), Armonico Consort; Concerto Gallese, The English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble; Christopher Monks. Deux-Elles DXL 1096 (England) 08G019 $16.98

HENRY ECCLES (c.1668-1735): Semele. A casualty of the burgeoning taste for Italian opera in the England of the period, this work to a libretto by William Congreve never saw the light of day and caused both librettist and composer to leave the world of the stage for good. Probably composed in 1706, the work is an interesting mixture of English masque and Italian opera with a strong libretto and widely varied types of aria. Not premiered until 1972, Semele represents the end of the short-lived English operatic tradition which began only a couple of decades before with Blow's Venus and Adonis. 2 CDs. Mid-price. Libretto included. Florida State University Opera and Early Music Departments; Anthony Rooley. Forum FRC 9203 (England) 08G020 $18.98

HENRY PURCELL (1659-1695): King Arthur. This semi-opera (really a play with music) of 1691 with texts by John Dryden contains some fine examples of the composer's daring harmonic technique and intensity of expression. Not exactly over-recorded. Libretto included. Véronique Gens, Hanna Bayodi (sopranos), Joseph Cornwell (tenor), Peter Harvey (bass), Le Concert Spirituel; Hervé Niquet. Glossa GCD 921608 (Spain) 08G021 $18.98

ANTONIO VIVALDI (1678-1741): Bassoon Concertos: RV.481, 498 and 501 "La Notte", Oboe Concertos: RV.461 and 451, Concerto for Oboe and Bassoon, RV.545. We offer this collection since there is really nothing like hearing a good fruity, throaty period instrument in Vivaldi's marvellous bassoon concertos, even if you have the complete collection on modern instruments on another label. Sergio Azzolini (bassoon), Hans Peter Westermann (oboe), Sonatori de la gioiosa Marca. Opus 111 OP 30379 (France) 08G022 $16.98

ANTONIO VIVALDI (1678-1741): Orlando finto pazzo, RV. 727. Not to be confused with the later, 1727 Orlando (which contains some music from here), this is Vivaldi's first Venetian opera (and only his second at all that we know of), premiered in 1714. The libretto concentrates of the magical, comic and dramatic elements of Boiardo's Orlando innamorato and Vivaldi pulled out all the stops of his brilliant, innovating genius to announce the arrival of a new kind of opera. With notes on every aspect of the production. 3 CDs. Mid-price. Italian-English libretto. Antonio Abete (bass), Gemma Bertagnoli (soprano), Manuela Custer (mezzo), Chorus of the Teatro Regio di Torino, Academia Montis Regalis; Alessandro de Marchi. Opus 111 OP 30392 (France) 08G023 $33.98

GEORG PHILIPP TELEMANN (1681-1767): Concertos and Chamber Music, Vol. 2 - Concerto in D Minor for 2 Violins, Viola and Continuo, TWV 43:d2, Concerto in F for Recorder, Bassoon, 2 Violins, Viola and Continuo, 52:F1, Sonata in F Minor for 2 Violins, 2 Violas and Continuo, 44:32, Sonata in D for Cello and Continuo, 41:D6, Overture in B minor for Violin Solo, 2 Violins, Viola and Continuo, 55:h4. Another clutch of brilliant, inventive and colorful orchestral and chamber music for the ongoing Telemann renaissance. Musica Alta Ripa. MD&G 309 1250 (Germany) 08G024 $17.98

GEORG PHILIPP TELEMANN (1681-1767): Tafelmusik. Not licensed material, this is a new 2003 recording with a group of Dutch musicians containing some of the top names in period-instrument performance (like Wilbert Hazelet [flute] and Jaap ter Linden [cello]) as well as a younger generation. A great way to be introduced to this marvellous collection of instrumental, chamber and orchestral music for those of you out there who may not yet be Telemann fans. 4 CDs. Budget price. Musica Amphion; Pieter-Jan Belder. Brilliant Classics 92177 (Netherlands) 08G025 $21.98

LEONARDO LEO (1694-1744): De Dios el Afecto, Ya te proclaman, O Pedro Pelegrino, O tu que Piedra, IGNACIO JERUSALEM (1707-1769): O Golpe Suave, Ea. feliz vajel, GERUSALEMM/MANUEL JOSEPH DE QUIROZ (?-1765): Despierta Bato, ANTONIO DUNI (c.1700-1766): Ni de amor, NICOLA LOGROSCINO (1698-1765): Mi bien amor. Like several other recent labels, this new young Italian company explores here music by Italian masters composed or performed in the New World. These arie and villancicos come from the archive of the Cathedral of Guatemala City and vary in their quality from rather simple to a few which must have demanded professional musicians. Spanish texts. Enrica De Lillo (soprano), Angela Masi (mezzo), Piero Naviglio (bass), Meridies; Gioacchino De Padova. DAD Records DAD-002-2 (Italy) 08G026 $16.98

DOMENICO ZIPOLI (1688-1726): Sonate d'Intavolatura per Organo e Cembalo, Book II - Suites in B Minor, G Minor, C & in D Minor, Partitas in C and in A Minor. These suites are in the early Italian baroque style with elegant melodic lines skillfully interwoven with counterpoint which suggest that the Jesuit composer's death of tuberculosis in Argentina was a significant loss to musical history. Susan Alexander-Max (Cristofori grand piano). Albany TROY 669 (U.S.A.) 08G027 $16.98

JOHANN JOACHIM QUANTZ (1697-1773): Flute Quartets in D, E Minor, G, G Minor, C and B Minor. World premiere recording of this set of flute quartets, mentioned by Quantz in his autobiography but not discovered until 2002 (by the flutist on this recording). Probably dating from the late 1720s, these are like sonate da camera with three melody instruments and continuo and are full of sophisticated counterpoint as well as lyrical melodies of vocal quality for the flute. Mary Oleskiewicz (transverse flute), Elizabeth Field (violin), Daniel Elyar (viola), Stephanie Vial (cello), David Schulenberg (harpsichord). Hungaroton HCD 32286 (Hungary) 08G028 $17.98

CHARLES AVISON (1709-1770): 12 Concertos, Op. 6. World premiere recording of this set of concertos from 1758 which stand as a bridge between Italian concerto grosso style and the beginnings of sonata-form which one associates with Haydn and J.C. Bach. 2 CDs. Avison Ensemble; Pavlo Beznosiuk. Naxos 8.557553-54 (New Zealand) 08G029 $13.98

JEAN-JOSEPH CASSANÉA DE MONDONVILLE (1711-1772): Les sons harmoniques, Op. 4 (Sonatas for Violin and Continuo). Dating from 1736, these fascinating amalgams of French elegance and Italian emotion also employ harmonics on the violin (as well as in the cello continuo - which, often, is not just a continuo and competes for attention with the violin itself). This technique (frowned upon by Leopold Mozart) lends a subtle and flexible variation in tone which adds to the charm of the works. 2 CDs. Cristofori Trio. Hungaroton HCD 32257-58 (Hungary) 08G030 $35.98

ANTONIO MARTÍN Y COLL (d. after 1734): Suite española, JOAN BAPTISTA PLA (c.1730-1785): Concierto favorito for 2 Flutes and Strings, For Soprano and Orchestra: NICOLA CONFORTO (1718-1788): Misera donna son, DOMINGO TERRADELLAS (1713-1751): L'augelan che in laci stretto from the Opera La Merope, CARLO BROSCHI (1705-1782): Ogni dì più molesto, ANNA MARIA MARTÍNEZ (1744-1812): Perchè, compagne amate. A collection of rare vocal and instrumental music from Spain around the middle of the 18th century with special interest in the cantatas by Carlo Brioschi (aka Farinelli) which exhibits his own vocal technical specialties and the cantata by Martinez, a woman who counted Haydn and Porpora among her teachers. Spanish-English texts. Ruth Rosique (soprano), Capella de Minstrers; Carles Magraner. Licanus 0306 (Spain) 08G031 $18.98

JOSEPH HAYDN (1732-1809): Piano Concertos No. 1 in C, No. 2 in D, No. 3 in F, No. 4 in G, No. 6 (with violin) in F, No. 8 in C, No. 9 in G and No. 10 (Concertino) in C, Piano Concertos (Concertinos) in C, C, G and in F, Hob. XIV:11, 12, 13 and F2, Divertimenti for Piano, Violins and Cello in C, C, C, F, C and C, Hob. XIV:4, 3, 7, 9, 8 and C2, Divertimento for Piano, Violin and Basso in C, Hob. XIV:C1, Divertimento for Piano "con Violini" in C, Hob. XIV:10. These four discs were issued singly over the last four years but were not offered in these pages. Containing all of the authentic concertos as well as all of the authentic and probably authentic early Divertimenti from the beginning of Haydn's service at Eisenstadt (1760-64), this box bids to be the best (critical acclaim from both sides of the Atlantic) and most complete collection of these pieces available. 4 CDs. Mid-price. Massimo Palumbo (piano), Austrian Chamber Orchestra; Ernst Theis, United Europe Chamber Orchestra. Arts 47710 (Germany) 08G032 $51.98

A Critically Important Symphonist

FRANZ IGNAZ BECK (1732-1809): Symphonies in D, Op. 3/6, in B Flat, Op. 3/2 & in F, Op. 3/1, Overture from La mort d'Orphée. The first volume of Beck's op. 3 symphonies came out in 1995, at least two years before we took over Records International, so we were astounded by the modern sound of these works of 1762. Rediscovered in the early 20th century, Beck is now credited with being the most obvious predecessor of Haydn, Boccherini and Beethoven due to his early use of dual thematic material, motivic working-out and bold harmonic progressions. No one interested in the history of the symphony can afford not to hear Beck. La Stagione Frankfurt; Michael Schneider. CPO 777 034 (Germany) 08G033 $15.98

JOSEPH HAYDN (1732-1809): For 2 Oboes, 2 Clarinets, 2 Corni da Caccia, 2 Bassoons and Double Bass: Feldparthie in B Flat, Hob.II/43 & Feld parthie in B Flat, Hob.II/42, For 2 Oboes, 2 Clarinets, 2 Horns, 2 Bassoons and Double Bass: Parthia in F, Hob.II/F7 & Feldparthie in E Flat, Hob.II/41, Feldparthie in B Flat (Chorale St. Antoni) in B Flat for 2 Oboes, 2 Horns, 3 Bassoons and Double Bass, Hob.II/46. These works for military band, written for Prince Eszterhazy's wind ensemble at an uncertain date but before 1784, are listed in the composer's catalogue as of "spurious or uncertain" authorship but they are rousing pieces of their kind, highly virtuosic and sure to please aficionados of the genre - especially those of the corno da caccia. Linos Ensemble. Capriccio 67 069 (Germany) 08G034 $16.98

MICHAEL HAYDN (1737-1806): Missa pro defuncto Archiepiscopo Sigismundo, Symphonies in G, P.16 and in B Flat, P.9. This 1771 mass was the composer's first big composition for Salzburg Cathedral and its weighty grandeur is accentuated by the presence of two clarino trumpets and two more regular trumpets and trombones. Johanette Zomer (soprano), Helena Rasker (alto), Markus Schäffer (tenor), Klaus Mertens (bass), Swiss Chamber Choir, Lausanne Chamber Orchestra; Christian Zacharias. MD&G 340 1245 (Germany) 08G035 $17.98

PADRE GIUSEPPE PAOLUCCI (1727-1777): Sinfonia a 4 in D, Concerto for Flute and Strings, Ecce nunc, Veni creator spiritus, Salvete flores martyrum, Domine Deus, Salve sancte pater, Redemp-tionem, Diffusa est gratia, Victimae paschali laudes. These generally bright and cheerful works, including his only two non-vocal pieces, come from a student of Padre Martini and are in a fresh, early Classical stle. Cappella Musicale della Basilica di S. Francesco d'Assisi, I Solisti di Perugia; P. Giuseppe Magrino. Tactus TC 721601 (Italy) 08G036 $11.98

GIACINTO CALDERARA (1729-1803): Overture and Arias from the Opera Ricimero. Dating from 1755, this opera seems to survive only in a manuscript of its arias and overture (although Nuova Era's notes don't tell us this) but its tale of a betraying King of the Goths besieging a Norse castle (with attendant female love interests), it joins similar historical operas of the period and shines a light on a composer who is little-known since he spent his entire career in the small town of Asti. Mid-price. Italian-English texts. Manuela Kriscak, Alexandra Zabala (sopranos), Leonard de Lisi (tenor), Orchestra della Compagnia d'Opera Italiana; Maurizio Benedetti. Nuova Era 7384 (Italy) 08G037 $12.98

GIOVANNI PAISIELLO (1741-1816): Piano Concertos No. 2 in F & No. 4 in G Minor, Overture from Proserpine, Sinfonia d'Opera. The second concerto has a classical poise and restraint while the minor-key fourth is a Sturm und Drang piece which recall's Haydn's comparable works. Francesco Nicolosi (piano), Collegium Philharmonicum Chamber Orchestra; Gennaro Cappabianca. Naxos 8.557031 (New Zealand) 08G038 $6.98

CARL STAMITZ (1756-1801): 2 Concertos in D for Viola d'amore and Orchestra, Sonata in E Flat for Viola d'amore and Accompanying Instruments. This Stamitz was known as a virtuoso on the viola d'amore by his contemporaries and this new recording offers three delighfully tuneful works for this instrument whose sympathetic strings give it a hazy, romantic quality. The concertos have bright, infectious rondo finales and the sonata is quite unusual - the first movement is a duo with violin, the second has the pair accompanied only by horns while the orchestral accompaniment only arrives in full in the finale. Gunter Teuffel (viola d'amore), Heidelberger Symphony; Thomas Fey. Profil PH03001 (Germany) 08G039 $16.98

JOSEPH MARTIN KRAUS (1756-1792): Flute Quintet in D, String Quartet in G Minor, Op. 1/3, String Quartet in D, Op. 1/4. This Swedish composer's originality is highlighted by three works from 1783: a ten-minute minor-key string quartet which begins like a tribute to the baroque and ends in a nervous, headlong "minute"; a 20-minute string quartet all sunshine and ebullience concentrating on civilized conversation between the instruments; and then a 28-minute flute quintet in which the flute is a non-soloistic partner of the strings in a work which often reaches symphonic proportions. Schuppanzigh Quartet, Martin Sandhoff (transverse flute). Capriccio 67 066 (Germany) 08G040 $16.98

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756-1791): Concerto in F for 3 Pianos and Orchestra, K.242, Concerto in E Flat for 2 Pianos and Orchestra, K.365, Sonata in D for 2 Pianos, K.448. First recording on period instruments of these unusual, quasi-stepchildren of Mozart's keyboard concerto uvre. Wolfgang Brunner, Florian Birsak, Leonore von Stauss (fortepianos), Salzburger Hofmusik; Brunner. Profil PH04012 (Germany) 08G041 $16.98

JÓZEF ELSNER (1769-1854): Violin Sonata in F, Op. 10/1, JAN PADEREWSKI (1860-1941): Violin Sonata in A Minor, Op. 13. Elsner's 1805 sonata (first recording)is very Viennese in style, rather like early Beethoven and it is one of three sonatas under its opus number, all of which could have fitted onto this 39:00 disc. Paderewski's 1886 sonata is full of youthful passion and vigor but it was offered by the same label in a different recording only last year! Well, we're only here to offer the repertoire, not to criticize, right? Barbara Trojanowska (violin), Elzbieta Tyszecka (piano). Dux 0451 (Poland) 08G042 $16.98

FRANÇOIS DE FOSSA (1775-1849): 3 Quartets for 2 Guitars, Violin and Bass, Op. 19. Among the manifold combinations which guitar chamber music appeared in during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, this, from one of the guitar revival's main champions, is quite unusual. Noteworthy too is the battery of effective guitar writing which produces a treasury of colorful effects. Matteo Mela, Lorenzo Micheli (guitars), Ivan Rabaglia (violin), Enrico Bronzi (cello). Stradivarius STR 33678 (Italy) 08G043 $17.98

LOUIS SPOHR (1784-1859): Concertante No. 1 for 2 Violins and Orchestra in A, Op. 48, Concertante No. 2 for 2 Violins and Orchestra in B Minor, Op. 88, Grande Polonaise for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 40, Potpourri über irische Volks-weisen for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 59. These are two, full-fledged double concertos from 1808 and 1833 (the opus number of the first is misleading) and the Irish folk-tune piece is really a mini three-movement concerto (1820) which Spohr played often on tour. A must-have for collectors who have the series of violin concertos. Ulf Hoelscher (violin), Gunhild Hoelscher (second violin), RSO Berlin; Christian Fröhlich. CPO 999 798 (Germany) 08G044 $15.98

LOUIS SPOHR (1784-1859): Quintet for Piano and Winds in C Minor, Op. 52, String Sextet in C, Op. 140, Septet for Flute, Clarinet, Horn, Bassoon, Violin, Cello and Piano in A Minor, Op. 147, Piano Quintet in D, Op. 130. Collectors of Romantic chamber music who didn't get this repertoire (only one item, the op.130, is in the Naxos Spohr series) the first time around should not miss it at mid-price. The 1853 septet is especially notable for its anticipation of the autumnal quality of Brahms' late chamber works although all three of the other works are full of elan, vigor and high spirits. 2 CDs for the price of 1. Ensemble Villa Musica. Original 1992 and 1994 MD&G releases. MD&G 304 1263 (Germany) 08G045 $17.98

FRIEDRICH KUHLAU (1786-1832): Sonatas, Variations & Rondos, Vol. 2 - Piano Sonatas,Op. 30 and Op. 46, Variations in E Minor, Op. 91, Rondo in A Minor. As we said last month, the notes for this series are useless; op. 46 contains three sonatas and we have no idea which one this is. As ignorance does not affect Kuhlau's stylishly Classical personality, having nothing to read while listening is no impediment to enjoyment for those of you who have been collecting this composer's keyboard music on various labels. Mid-price. Loredana Brigandì (piano). Nuova Era 7380 (Italy) 08G046 $12.98

MARIA SZYMANOWSKA (1789-1831): Fantasie dédiée à Son Altesse Madame la Princesse Zajaczek, 7 Preludes from 20 Exercices et Préludes, Nocturne in B Flat, Caprice sur la Romance de Joconde in E, Polonaise in F Minor, 8 Mazurkas from 24 Mazurkas arrangées pour le piano, Dance Polonaise in B Minor, Nocturne "Le Murmure" in A Flat. In October last year ( 10F029) we offered a disc containing all of Szymanowska's mazurkas, the most important pieces in the genre before Chopin. Here we have a wider view of her oeuvre - elegant salon music of high quality and sparkling beauty (and, in the preludes, something more) which should delight all collectors of early Romantic piano literature. Anna Ciborowska (piano). Dux 0450 (Poland) 08G047 $16.98

Jan Václav Hugo VoÞis ek (1791-1825): Rondo for String Quartet, Op. 11, Violin Sonata in G, Op. 5, Rondo for Violin and Piano, Op. 8, Variations for Cello and Piano, Op. 9. World premiere recording of the seven-and-a-half minute string quartet Rondo (1823) which, like its better-known discmates, inhabits a Classical world with one foot in the early Romantic period. Kocian Quartet, Ivan Klánsky (piano). SACD Hybrid. Praga PRD/DSD 250 204 (Czech Republic) 08G048 $17.98

GIOACHINO ROSSINI (1792-1868): Il signor Bruschino. This was the 19-year-old Rossini's last farsa, a one-act comic opera genre popular at the turn of the 19th century. Not vintage Rossini, of course, but plenty of sparkling fun will be had by all in the 79:43 neatly fitted onto this single disc. Italian libretto. Alessandro Codeluppi (tenor), Elena Rossi (soprano), Maurizio Leoni (baritone), I Virtuosi Italiani; Claudio Desderi. Naxos 8.660128 (New Zealand) 08G049 $7.98

SAVERIO MERCADANTE (1795-1870): Emma d'Antiochia. Dating from 1834, with a libretto and leading soprano who also came together in Norma, La Sonnambula and Beatrice di Tenda, this tragedia lirica is distinguished by Mercadante's innovative harmony and instrumentation. The work was deemed problematic by the contemporary critics but mostly for the quality of the libretto and it is interesting to see the composer trying to find a way around the cabaletta and the way it was becoming trite and trivial on the stage of his day. Gramophone laments the lack of a "big tune" but collectors will not want to be without this new example of the work of the eminent composer whom only Verdi could eclipse. 3 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Nelly Miricioiu (soprano), Roberto Servile (baritone), Bruce Ford (tenor), Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, London Philharmonic Orchestra; David Parry. Opera Rara ORC 26 (England) 08G050 $59.98

RICHARD WAGNER (1813-1883): Konzert-Ouvertüre No. 2 in D, Wesendonck Lieder (orch. Henze), Symphony in C. We offer this title for the world premiere recording of the concert overture which predates the 1832 symphony by a few months and is very much in the style of Beethoven's concert overtures. At the time this recording was made (2001) the Henze orchestration of the Wesendonck Lieder was probably a first recording too but we recall offering one within the last year. Still, a not unattractive program for fanatic repertoire hounds! Birgit Schmickler (alto), Jena Philharmonic; Paulus Christmann. Coviello Classics CD 30102 (Germany) 08G051 $16.98

JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833-1897): Complete Lieder, Vol. 7 - 6 Romanzen und Lieder, Op. 84, 6 Lieder, Op. 85, 6 Lieder, Op. 86, 5 Lieder, Op. 94. After a hiatus of around two years, this series continues with songs from 1877-82 which revolve around opposing poles of folk song (op. 84 and 85) and others depicting grief, the transitoriness of life and yearning for youth. German-English texts. Juliane Banse (soprano), Iris Vermillion (mezzo), Andreas Schmidt (baritone), Helmut Deutsch (piano). CPO 999 447 (Germany) 08G052 $15.98

CARLOS GOMES (1836-1896): Salvator Rosa. Those collectors who know this opera only through the somewhat grisly sound of the Brazilian airchecks we offered on a forgotten label four or five years ago will be delighted by this 2000 recording made in England by young professionals and amateurs alike. The quality is more than adequate (the production moved to London after its Dorset premiere) and, although there is no Italian libretto, the sterling English translation is by the notable Erik Smith. 2 CDs. Mid-price. Libretto in English translation. Fernando del Valle (tenor), Lisa Livingston (soprano), Andrea Baker (mezzo), Michael Glucksmann (baritone), Dorset Opera Chorus and Orchestra; Patrick Shelley. Forum FRC 9201 (England) 08G053 $18.98

CHARLES VILLIERS STANFORD (1852-1924): Cello Sonata No. 1 in A, Op. 9, Cello Sonata No. 2 in D Minor, Op. 39, Ballata, Op. 160/1. When Stanford wrote his first cello sonata in 1877, the only work of its kind to exist in English music was a Sonata Duo by Sterndale Bennett; though Stanford was a great fan of Brahms (and the First Symphony had been conducted in Cambridge by Joachim the same year), there is more of Mendelssohn (sparkling and elegant passage-work abounds) than of the former. This goes as well for the second sonata of ten years later, in which Elgarian eloquence and Celtic dance elements are some of the outstanding features. The Ballata (1918) is one of a pair of cello/orchestra pieces which Stanford only ever heard in his own piano transcription which the pianist here has edited for this recording. Alison Moncrieff Kelly (cello), Christopher Howell (piano). Meridian CDE 84482 (England) 08G054 $17.98

EDWARD ELGAR (1857-1934): Give unto the Lord, Op. 74, 3 Anthems, Op. 2, O hearken Thou, Op. 64, Te Deum laudamus, Op. 34/1, Benedictus, Op. 34/2, O salutaris hostia, Great is the Lord, Op. 67, Go, Song of Mine, Op. 57, From The Light of Life, Op. 29: Seek Him that maketh the seven stars and Light of the World, The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me from The Apostles. Elgar's sacred choral music has the same ear for melody and sense of drama which much of his orchestral repertoire does; this collection spans his career from very early settings for the Catholic liturgy, to commissions for the Three Choirs Festival and to a 1914 commission for St. Paul's Cathedral. Choir of St. John's College, Cambridge; Christopher Robinson, Jonathan Vaughan (organ). Naxos 8.557288 (New Zealand) 08G055 $6.98

SERGEI LYAPUNOV (1859-1924): Sextet for Piano, String Quartet and Double Bass, Op. 63, ALEXANDER GRECHANINOV (1864-1956): String Quartet No. 3 in C Minor. Coming only two years before the massive Symphony No. 2 (04F003), it should come as no surprise that Lyapunov's 1915 sextet (almost unique in its scoring) is a dark, deeply Romantic work drenched with Slavic melody. Also lasting 37 minutes, Grechaninov's quartet (1916) is just as richly rewarding a listening experience although less overtly Russian and with more late Romantic chromaticism. Dante Quartet, John Thwaites (piano), Leon Bosch (doublebass). Dutton CDSA 6880 (England) 08G056 $16.98

JEAN SIBELIUS (1865-1957): Piano Music, Vol. 5 - 6 Bagatelles, Op. 97, 8 Little Pieces, Op. 99, 5 Romantic Pieces, Op. 101, 5 Characteristic Impressions, Op. 103, 5 Esquisses, Op. 114. The piano music series comes to an end with this fifth volume and those of you who have enjoyed Sibelius' more slender muse (he was not a pianist but his piano pieces still convey fragrant breezes of the Nordic atmosphere which erupts with gale-force in his symphonic works) will want to have his last thoughts. Except for two sets of violin/piano pieces from 1929 (both of which we'll have next month on an Ondine recording which uses Sibelius' own Steinway in his summer house in Ainola), the same year as Op. 114, these are the composer's last surviving works (we still wonder if the Symphony No. 8 will show up, at least in fragmentary form...). Håvard Gimse (piano). Naxos 8.555853 (New Zealand) 08G057 $6.98

ENRIQUE GRANADOS (1867-1916): Piano Music, Vol. 7 - 10 Valses sentimentales, 7 Estudios, 6 Estudios expresivos en forma de piezas fáciles, 4 Bocetos: colección de obras fáciles, Exquise...! (Valse tzigane), L'himne dels morts, 4 Cartas de amore: Valses íntimos, A la antigua: Bourrée, Minuetto, La góndola: Escena poética. There are 34 minutes of first recordings in this collection of waltzes and pedagogical pieces. The latter may have been designed for students of various abilities but they still have the often melancholic or pastoral quality which one finds throughout Granados' works. The waltzes are lovely, emotional Romantic pieces full of luminous harmonies, keyboard color and luxuriant imagination, deriving from Schumann and Chopin. Douglas Riva (piano). Naxos 8.557141 (New Zealand) 08G058 $6.98

SCOTT JOPLIN (1868-1917): Maple Leaf Rag, Heliotrope Bouquet, Pine Apple Rag, Solace, Paragon Rag, Pleasant Moments, Elite Syncopations, Original Rag, Fig Leaf, The Entertainer, The Easy Winners, Country Club Rag, The Strenuous Life, Bethena. Half "greatest hits" and half more unusual repertoire, this collection showcases a Russian pianist having the time of his life with material which no Soviet pianist could have ever dreamed of performing 30 years ago during the heyday of Joplin's revival. Alexander Peskanov (piano). Naxos American Classics 8.559114 (U.S.A.) 08G059 $6.98

SIGISMOND STOJOWSKI (1870-1946): 2 Pensées musicales, Op. 1, 2 Orientales, Op. 10, Chant d'amour and Thème cracovien varié from 4 Morceaux, Op. 26, Fantasie, Op. 38, Vers l'azur, Vers l'amour, Vers le caprice and Vers la joie from Aspirations, Op. 39, Variations et Fugue sur un thème original, Op. 42. We've had the two magnificent piano concertos from this Polish-born, American-resident pianist/composer in Hyperion's "Romantic Piano Concerto" series and it's good to have this selection of his solo pieces dating from 1888-1923. His rich lyricism and chromatic complexity are on display throughout and the latter achieves what would have seemed shockingly modern effects in the latest work on the disc. Jonathan Plowright (piano). Hyperion CDA 67437 (England) 08G060 $17.98

OSCAR STRAUS (1870-1954): Die Perlen der Cleopatra. This operetta, premiered in Vienna in 1923 (although this is the Berlin version of the following year) starred Fritzi Massary and Richard Tauber and is a good example of the period of Straus' career when he specialized in sexual double entendre and political satire (Mark Antony, who only appears towards the end, is plainly a Mussolini-type fascist). 2 CDs (apparently the amount of data necessary to produce 5.0 Surround Sound prevents this 76-minute operetta from fitting on one disc; we say apparently since, as far as we know, the SACD format itself should be identical to regular CD in terms of minutes-per-disc). No libretto but detailed synopses. Morenike Fadayomi (soprano), Michael Zabanoff, Axel Mendrok (tenors), Volker Vogel (baritone), Chorus of the Léhar Festival Bad Ischl, Franz Léhar Orchestra; Herbert Mogg. SACD/Surround Sound Hybrid. CPO 777 022 (Germany) 08G061 $31.98

PHILIPPE GAUBERT (1879-1941): Complete Works for Flute, Vol. 2 - Sonatas Nos. 1-3, Sonatine quasi Fantasia. The former principal flutist of the Boston Symphony continues his Gaubert series with the three sonatas (1917, 1924 and 1934) whose clarity of form and warmth of expression inform a generally genial personality which sometimes calls to mind the mature Fauré. Fenwick Smith (flute), Sally Pinkas (piano). Naxos 8.557306 (U.S.A.) 08G062 $6.98

FRANK BRIDGE (1879-1941): Enter Spring, Summer, The Sea, 2 Poems for Orchestra. We assume that the vast majority of you out there who would be interested have already soaked up Chandos' ongoing series of Frank Bridge Edition releases (and, of course, there are at least a dozen CDs on other labels going back to the mid 1980s of this repertoire also). However, if anyone has yet to discover this brilliant English composer whose journey from late Romanticism to an intense and chromatic idiom which flirted with the European avant-garde of the 1920s, this Naxos release offers examples from both ends of Bridge's spectrum. New Zealand Symphony Orchestra; James Judd. Naxos 8.557167 (New Zealand) 08G063 $6.98

CHARLES IVES (1874-1954): Piano Sonata No. 2 "Concord, Mass.: 1840-60", Varied Air and Variations, The Celestial Railroad, Transcriptions from "Emerson" No. 1. Ives collectors will want to have the comically dissonant Varied Air and Variations (a parody of audience rejection of then-modern music); the other short works reuse motifs from the sonata and Mayer is a not inconsiderable artist (meaning that collectors who want to sample Ives at budget-price are in good hands) but we should mention that, in September, we will have Marc-André Hamelin's Concord coupled with Barber's sonata on Hyperion. Steven Mayer (piano), Kerry Shale (reader). Naxos American Classics 8.559221 (U.S.A.) 08G064 $6.98

ANTHONY LOUIS SCARMOLIN (1890-1969): La Serenata Interrotta, Battaglie Perdute - Opera Prologue for Baritone and Orchestra, Preghiera from La Grotta Rosa for Soprano, Chorus and Orchestra. Our third Scarmolin disc from Suben and Bratislava (the first was on Naxos) brings us his one-act lyric opera from 1913 (in which a young wife humiliates her jealous husband), 40 minutes of pretty good Puccini which prompted Gigli and the Met's director to attempt to get it onto the big stage. The fillers are an extract from a 1921 opera which Scarmolin adapted as a stand-alone soprano, chorus and orchestra scene and the only remaining fragment from an opera of 1934, a sinister prologue which makes one want to hear more of the score. Italian-English libretto. Judith Halász (soprano), Pablo Cameselle (tenor), Kyu-Hee Cho (baritone), Bratislava Conservatory Choir, Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra; Joel Eric Suben. Centaur CRC 2650 (U.S.A.) 08G065 $16.98

A late April Fool Joke - but very real and attractive English music

ERIC COATES (1886-1975): First Meeting, ALEC ROWLEY (1892-1958): Reverie, Aubade, Farandole, REBECCA CLARKE (1886-1979): Morpheus, I'll bid my heart be still, BENJAMIN DALE (1885-1943): Romance, ADAM CARSE (1878-1958): Gently swaying, Heartache, Calm Reflection, A Breezy Story, NORMAN FULTON (1909-1980): Introduction, Air and Reel, EDWARD ELGAR (1857-1934): Canto Popolare, ALFRED MOFFAT (1866-1950): Longing, THOMAS DUNHILL (1877-1946): In Courtly Company, Alla Sarabanda, FRANK BRIDGE (1879-1941): Allegro appassionato, LIONEL TERTIS (1876-1975): Sunset. We couldn't resist offering this for all the Anglophiles out there: with three exceptions, all of the music here was written for or inspired by the great violist Lionel Tertis (who may be said to have inspired his own composition). This is also an April Fool's joke which you cannot enjoy properly unless you have an Internet connection and go to members.lycos.co.uk/dameavrilpiston/ (don't miss the "reviews" button on the site). An 82-year-old violist who studied with Tertis (among others), and her 81-year-old accompanist who has "performed all the Bowen piano concertos in Bombay" as well as other English piano music "to such esteemed listeners as Mahatma Gandhi". Thirty years ago, the instrumentalists in the photos on the web-site (alas, not in the booklet) would have been, say, Eric Idle and Graham Chapman. This doesn't take away from the music, which is all authentic, and lovingly performed! Dame Avril Piston (viola), Shamonia Harpa (piano). Guild GMCD 7275 (Switzerland) 08G066 $16.98

RUTLAND BOUGHTON (1878-1960): String Quartet in F "From the Welsh Hills", String Quartet in A "On Greek Folk Songs", 3 Songs without Words for Oboe Quartet, Oboe Quartet No. 1. Only seven years old, this gorgeous release comes out at mid-price already!? The two quartets, written within months of each other in 1923 brim over with the spirit of good-will and success which will come to a composer whose opera The Immortal Hour is all the rage in London and who has just married his third wife. Folk-song, real or invented (Boughton could fool the best at this) fills both the quartets while the 1932 oboe quartet is an ode to spring (and a gift to his oboist daughter) and a 79-minute disc ends with three transcriptions of his own songs probably done around 1937. Mid-price. Sarah Francis (oboe), Rasumovsky Quartet. Original 1997 Hyperion release. Helios CDH 55174 (England) 08G067 $10.98

DARIUS MILHAUD (1892-1974): Le carnaval d'Aix for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 83b, L'apothéose de Molière for Small Orchestra with Harpsichord, Op. 286, Le carnaval de Londres for Orchestra, Op. 172, Le buf sur le toit for Orchestra, Op. 58. When this came out twelve years ago, it was a significant addition to the Milhaud discography and a couple of the items here have yet to be re-recorded. The longest work is 1937's Le carnaval de Londres, a 28-minute, 26-tune adaptation of music from Gay's The Beggar's Opera. Aix comes from 1926 and its subject matter is, predominantly, Sardinian music arranged into 12 segments while L'apothéose (1948) is a delicately scored ten-minute suite adapted from music by the French baroque composer Baptiste Anet (c.1676-1755). Mid-price. Jack Gibbons (piano), New London Orchestra; Ronald Corp. Original 1992 Hyperion release. Helios CDH 55168 (England) 08G068 $10.98

Sorabji - John Ogdon's "Opus Clavicembalisticum" is back!

KAIKHOSRU SHAPURJI SORABJI (1892-1988): Opus Clavicembalisticum. Since this recording, which has attained semi-legendary status in the annals both of Sorabji's ongoing rise in public profile and of the strange history and legacy of the unique performer John Ogdon, was made - almost 20 years ago now - Sorabji scholarship and performance practice have grown out of all recognition. Yet there is still very much an important place in the catalogue for this, still the most heaven-storming, quirky, sometimes infuriating, often breathtakingly brilliant, account of Sorabji's most famous work. Ogdon was quite simply a pianist sui generis, and there is very little point in even comparing him with anybody else. The risks he takes in this colossal work - tempi on the verge of total immobility or exhilarating, breakneck speed; dynamic contrasts between the edge of inaudibility and volcanic explosiveness - are tremendous, but such was the scale on which his imagination worked - similar, one is tempted to believe, to the composer's own - that, controversial as they may be they far more often succeed, and succeed magnificently, than misfire. All the material in the original edition booklet is here (100 pages of it), with corrections and updating, and the sound, which always captured Ogdon's huge sonorities with atmosphere and precision, is even more vividly presented in this new 24-bit remastering from the original session tapes. For a true and complete picture of the composer, now rapidly emerging as one of the very greatest and most original figures in 20th-century music, one cannot avoid taking account of this truly unique recording. 5 CDs for the price of 4. John Ogdon (piano). Original 1989 release. Altarus AIR-CD-9075 (U.S.A.) 08G069 $75.98

ERICH WOLFGANG KORNGOLD (1897-1957): Violin Sonata in G, Op. 6, Much Ado About Nothing, Op. 11, Ich ging zu ihm from Das Wunder der Heliane, Serenade from Der Schneemann, Tanzlied des Pierrot and Mariettas Lied from Die tote Stadt, Op. 12, Caprice Fantastique. Though most of this material has been recorded before, some of the transcriptions which Korngold made of opera arias or chamber/orchestral works are rare, especially the arrangement of "The Goblins" from his 1910 set of piano miniatures Märchenbilder which he called Caprice Fantastique. The 15-year-old Korngold's amazing maturity and expressivity on view in his violin sonata is well known; all make a fine stage for this latest release in Naxos' "Violin Laureate Series". Joseph Lin (violin), Benjamin Loeb (piano). Naxos 8.557067 (New Zealand) 08G070 $6.98

OLIVIER MESSIAEN (1908-1992): Poèmes pour Mi, Books 1 and 2, Chants de Terre et de Ciel, Harawi (Chat d'amour et de mort). These recordings set the standard for interpretation of these three song-cycles by the devout Catholic composer who managed to make religious dogma an entrancing, compelling and, above all, a beautifully colorful musical event. The Poèmes (1937), to the composer's own texts, are dedicated to his wife and celebrate the sacrament of marriage and the Chants (1938) praise conjugal love and paternity. Harawi (1945), however, is one of the trilogy of works (the others being Turangalila and Cinq rechants), referred to by Messiaen himself as his "three Tristans", which deal with the power (destructive, transfiguring, ecstatic and terrifying) of human love and which are inspired by extra-Christian cultures, in this case, the Incan of Peru (although the surrealist poems are, again, by the composer himself). 2 CDs. Mid-price. French-English texts. Jane Manning (soprano), David Mason, David Miller (piano). Original 1985 and 1986 Unicorn-Kanchana releases. Forum FRC 9202 (England) 08G071 $18.98

GIUSEPPE VERDI (1813-1901)/SYDNEY SMITH (1839-1889): Fantasie Brillante on La Traviata, GEORGES BIZET (1838-19875)/SMITH: Fantasie de Concert on Carmen, GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL (1685-1759)/JOHN WALSH II (1709-1766): The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba, CHRISTOPH WILLIBALD GLUCK (1714-1787)/CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921): Caprice sur les Airs de Ballet, GLUCK/IGNAZ FRIEDMAN (1882-1948): Dance of the Blessed Spirits, GLUCK/GIOVANNI SGAMBATI (1841-1914): Melody for Flute and Strings from Orpheus and Eurydice, GIOACCHINO ROSSINI (1792-1868)/GRIGORY GINSBURG (1904-1961): Figaro's Aria from The Barber of Seville, PIETRO MASCAGNI (1863-1945): Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana (transcr. composer), VINCENZO BELLINI (1801-1835)/ADOLFO FUMIGALLI (1828-1856): Casta Diva from Norma, REVERIANO SOUTULLO (1884-1932)& JUAN VERT (1890-1931): Intermezzo from The Legend of the Kiss (transcr. composers), LEONARD BERNSTEIN (1918-1990): America from West Side Story (transcr. composer), ERNESTO LECUONA (1895-1963): Lucumi Dance from Maria My Own (transcr. composer), FRANCESCO MIGNONE (1897-1986): Congada from The Diamond Contractor (transcr. composer), GABRIEL FAURÉ (1845-1924): Sanctus from Requiem (transcr. Grossenstein). A pretty unhackneyed collection of operatic piano transcriptions performed by this Brazilian-born, naturalized Spaniard of German parentage. Mid-price. Eduardo Grossenstein (piano). Campion Cameo 2028 (England) 08G072 $12.98

Hungaroton Special Imports - not released in the U.S.

Hungaroton shipped their distributor the three items below instead of our six July offerings (which will be shipped to customers with this month's orders). So, at least we know that we can fill orders for these titles. We only have three this month because they also didn't ship more samples for us to choose from. We should be back to six imports for the September catalogue.

GYULA DÁVID (1913-1977): Viola Concerto (Pál Lukács [viola], Hungarian State Orchestra; János Ferencsik, rec. 1961), TIBOR SÁRAI (1919-1995): Spring Concerto for Flute, Viola, Cello and Orchestra (Hános Szebenyi [flute], Anna Mauthner [viola], Vera Dénes [cello], Hungarian State Orchestra; Frigyes Sándor, rec. 1963), ANDRÁS MIHÁLY (1917-1993): Cello Concerto (Miklós Perényi [cello], Budapest Symphony Orchestra; György Lehel, rec. 1971). After 1947, the Communist authorities' demands for music which was optimistic and accessible to mass audiences (good old socialist realism) produced a flood of, first, serenades and divertimentos and, then, in the 1950s, a huge outpouring of concertos in romantic style, often (but not always) with Hungarian folk flavor. These three works are excellent examples of the genre. While the other two are in the traditional three movements, Sárai's triple concerto (1955) is in four and suggests the baroque suite although its pastoral pleasures are fully Romantic in their melodic content. Mihály's (1953) is the longest - nearly half an hour - and is really three miniature tone poems (titled Poema, Ballada and Capriccio) strung together and is probably the most intensely colorful and pictorial of the three, sounding at times like a soundtrack to an adventure/romance set in exotic central Europe. Hungaroton HCD 31989 (Hungary) 08G073 $17.98 >

RUDOLF MAROS (1917-1982): 5 studi for Orchestra (Budapest Symphony Orchestra; György Lehel, rec. 1968), Trio for Violin, Viola and Harp (Ezster Perényi [violin], Zoltán Tóth [viola], Éva Maros [harp], rec. 1975), Consort for Wind Quintet (Hungarian Woodwind Quintet, rec. 1975), Suite for Harp (Éva Maros [harp], no rec. date), Notices for Strings (Budapest SO; Lehel, rec. 1975), Muisca leggiera for Wind Quintet (Budapest Woodwind Quintet, rec. 1957 - mono), Fragment for Orchestra (Budapest SO; Lehelre, 1981). This disc functions as a kind of 'composer's portrait' with a cross-section of Maros' works for a variety of players. A student of Kodaly, Maros' music is steeped in the Hungarian folk tradition, and its indebtedness to Kodaly and (almost inevitably) Bartók is unmistakable. Hungary encountered the world of Darmstadt and post-Webernian serialism comparatively late, so Maros' personal voice was already fully developed by the time he was in a position to absorb more experimental idioms, so for the most part these compositions avoid any suggestion of avant-gardism, while unmistakably works of the 20th century. Especially in the orchestral works, the influence of Bartók is very apparent, but it is with Lutoslawski, Dutilleux and Panufnik with whom the most apt comparisons can be made in terms of what the later music actually sounds like. The earliest score here - Musica leggiera - is unusually conservative, with an almost gallic sprightliness and charm; increasing economy and a freer use of unresolved dissonance is noticeable in the late works from the 1970s, but none of these pieces is in any way difficult to assimilate or to enjoy. Hungaroton HCD 31984 (Hungary) 08G074 $17.98 >

JÓZSEF SOPRONI (b.1930): Cello Concerto No. 1 (László Mezö [cello], Budapest Symphony Orchestra; György Lehel, rec. 1974), Cello Concerto No. 2 (Miklós Perényi [cello], Budapest SO; András Ligeti, rec. 1967), Eklypsis for Orchestra (Budapest SO; Lehel, rec. 1974), Ovidii Metamorphoses for Chorus and Orchestra (Hungarian Radio and Television Chorus, Budapest SO; Miklós Erdélyi). Half a generation later than Maros, Soproni plainly assimilated more of the prevailing trends in central-European modern music than the older composer. Highly chromatic to the point of atonality, and with an emphasis on linear counterpoint and polyphony, the works here - especially the two eloquent cello concerti - nonetheless state their form and harmonic vocabulary with warmth and exemplary clarity. In both concerti the soloist is called upon to perform as a virtuoso protagonist with a clearly defined narrative rôle, underlined by the long lyrical lines which the composer has provided against a rich landscape of orchestral texture in which percussion plays an inventive and idiosyncratic part while emphasizing argument and directional dialectic rather than sonority for its own sake. Hungaroton HCD 32024 (Hungary) 08G075 $17.98 >

KARL AMADEUS HARTMANN (1905-1963): String Quartet No. 1 "Carillon", String Quartet No. 2, HANNS EISLER (1898-1962): String Quartet, Op. 73. Hartmann's quartets are eleven years apart (but what an eleven years - 1934 and 1945) but are structured almost exactly alike, the only difference being that the early quartet has a strongly Bartókian, Eastern European-melodic style which has been subsumed into a more overtly polyphonic, personal language in the second. Eisler's is a brief, two-movement piece from 1937 and is strictly twelve-tone in accepted Schoenbergian fashion, terse, clear yet always strongly expressive in a manner far removed from the agitprop songs which Eisler was turning out around the same time. Vogler Quartet Berlin. Nimbus NI 5729 (England) 08G076 $15.98

PERCY WHITLOCK (1903-1946): Sonata in C Minor, EDWARD BAIRSTOW (1874-1946): Sonata in E Flat, WILLIAM H. HARRIS (1883-1973): Flourish for an occasion. Dating from 1937, Whitlock's massive, 45-minute sonata was inspired by Rachmaninov's second symphony which the composer had heard on the radio and its huge outer movements are in that lush, Romantic style while the two inner ones are, in turn, song-like in a way Quilter or Finzi would have appreciated and in "light music" style. Bairstow wrote his 17-minute sonata in the same year (and both composers died on the same day!) - a bustlng scherzo surrounded by a gentle andante and an elegiac fugue. Colm Carey (Letourneau organ of the Church of the Ascension and St. Agnes, Washington DC). Signum UK SIGCD508 (England) 08G077 $17.98

ERKKI SALMENHAARA (1941-2002): Suomi-Finland, La fille en mini-jupe, Adagietto, Le bateau ivre. This Finnish composer studied with Ligeti in the early 60s and composed using the latter's "field technique" before beginning a period of further experimentation including creation of musical "happenings" - all of which would gladden the hearts of collectors of the Darmstadt/avant-garde school. But, like a few others of his generation, Salmenhaara eventually was drawn back to tradition and, though he never became a neo-romantic as such, his late works comment on and are informed by the Romantic 19th century European tradition. The earliest work here, Le bateau ivre (1966 and,at 24 minutes, the biggest piece here) marked the end of Salmenhaara's avant-garde days and it is still composed in the "field technique" but with a structural approach based on superimposed triads which makes it far less avant-sounding to today's listener. Suomi-Finland is also from 1966 and its 20 minutes are a commentary on the Sibelian tradition which is quite approachable to the average listener. As are the two remaining pieces, the 1967 La fille ("in a mini-skirt") which is a commentary on Debussy and refers to his La fille aux cheveaux de lin and the 1981 Adagietto, a deeply felt six minutes which germinates from a theme from Suomi-Finland. Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra; Eri Klas. Ondine ODE 1031-2 (Finland) 08G078 $17.98

HENRI TOMASI (1901-1971): Clarinet and Piano: Introduction et Danse, Chant Corse, Concerto for Clarinet and Piano, Solo Clarinet: Sonatine Attique, Danse de Noces, PIERRE MAX DUBOIS (1930-1995): 9 Impromptus for Flute and Clarinet, Menuet de Beugency for Clarinet and Piano, EUGÉNE BOZZA (1905-1991): 3 Mouvements for Flute and Clarinet. Tomasi is the main figure here and his pieces are generally bright and spirited without being lightweight with the influence of Impressionism in general and Ravel in particular present in varying degrees while Dubois' contribution is attractively folk-like in its rhythms. Csaba Klenyán (clarinet), Zoltán Gyöngyössy (flute), Ildikó Cs. Nagy (piano). Hungaroton HCD 32214 (Hungary) 08G079 $17.98

Piano Music by Brazilian Women Composers

KILZA SETTI (b.1932): 5 Peças sobre Mucama Bonita, ADELAIDE PEREIRA DA SILVA (b.1928): Valsa-Chôro No. 2, Suite No. 2, NININHA GREGORI (b.1925): Cenas Brasileiras, MARIA HELENA ROSAS FERNANDES (b.1933): Prelúdio and Valsa, CHIQUINHA GONZAGA (1848-1935): Corta-Jaca, Meditação, Atraente, BRANCA BILHAR (1887-1936): Samba Sertanejo, CLARISSE LEITE (1917-2003): Suite Nordestina, MARIA LUIZA PRIOLLI (1915-2000): Arabesco, Lundu Carioca. About one hundred years of compositions are represented here, the fruit of the piano-playing skill which was deemed necessary for a girl to be marriagable having led to generations of teachers, pianists and composers working quietly in a male-dominated society. Almost everything is based on popular song and dance music, much of it wistful and nostalgic, and of real interest to those digging deeper than the top two or three layers of cultural history. Luciana Soares (piano). Centaur CRC 2680 (U.S.A.) 08G080 $16.98

WANG JIANZHONG: 5 Yunnan Folk Songs, Flowers Blooming all over the Mountains, Hundred Birds Salute to Phoenix, HUANG HUWEI: Pictures of Sichuan, CHEN YI (b.1953): Duo Ye, CUI SHIGUANG: Mountain Spring, CHEN PEIXUN: Autumn Moon on a Calm Lake, CHU WANGHUA: The Erquan Lake Mirroring Moon, LI YINGHAI: Flute and Drum at Sunset. Save for Mountain Spring, an impressionistic water piece, and Chen Yi's Duo Ye, itself based on a traditional form of song and dance but much more than a transcription, this is a collection of piano transcriptions of traditional folk tunes (written for various Chinese traditional instruments) of the Chinese and the many ethnic minorities who live within China. Should appeal to all those who enjoy collecting piano versions of folk material. Li Fan (piano). Centaur CRC 2652 (U.S.A.) 08G081 $16.98

PAUL SCHOENFIELD (b.1947): Viola Concerto, 4 Motets, Excerpts from Act II of The Merchant and the Pauper. The 1998 concerto is based largely on tunes the composer heard Jewish kindergarten children singing next door to where he was living in Israel at the time; later he found out that many of them were liturgical melodies of Hassidic origin. The finale "King David Dancing Before the Ark" includes inflections and gestures associated with klezmer music. The motets (1995) are unusual for their Renaissance polyphonic style, looking back to the liturgical music of Salomone Rossi while the opera (1999) is based on a 19th century Hassidic tale - an allegory of the Jewish people and their God. Texts included. Robert Vernon (viola), RSO Berlin; Yoel Levi, BBS Singers; Avner Itai, Soloists, University of Michigan Opera Orchestra and Chorus; Kenneth Kiesler. Naxos Milken Archive 8.559418 (U.S.A.) 08G082 $6.98

GRAHAM WATERHOUSE (b.1962): Chieftain's Salute for Great Highland Bagpipe and String Orchestra, Op. 34a, Sinfonietta for String Orchestra, Op. 54, Jig, Air and Reel for String Orchestra, Op. 9, Celtic Voices for String Orchestra, Op. 36/1, Hale Bopp for String Orchestra, Op. 36/2, Mouvements d'Harmonie for Wind Ensemble, Op. 29, Hymnus for Wind Ensemble, Op. 47. This is all very appealing music, whether the works for strings or the works for wind ensemble, and almost none of it is regressively folky in the cow-staring-over-the-fence manner (the Jig, Air and Reel, an early work of 1983 is as close as Waterhouse gets to this). The 2002 Sinfonietta may take its place among quality English string orchestra works of the post World War II period, harmonically bracing and rhythmically compelling and even the Chieftain's Salute is a bit more than a stunt (although balance will always be a problem where this instrument is concerned). Graham Walter (bagpipe), Endymion Ensemble, English Chamber Orchestra; Yaron Traub. Meridian CDE 84510 (England) 08G083 $17.98

GRIGORY FRID (b.1915): Das Tagebuch der Anne Frank. This highly concentrated monodrama (one protagonist, small ensemble, very short sections resembling a song-cycle more than a traditional opera) presents in clear and unadorned form the diary entries of Anne Frank, who famously and movingly left her innocent yet insightful reflections on her emotional life and hardships endured while in hiding from the Nazis in a journal written over a period of two years before her capture and death in the concentration camps. Frid sets this subtle but harrowing testament to music of great economy ( for example, a four-note phrase suggestive of youthful optimism dashed in despair - yes, it is possible to do that in four notes, if they're the right ones - permeates the entire work with the insistence of a Wagnerian leitmotif) which nonetheless admits highly expressive richness of harmony and dramatic incisiveness, suggesting a hybrid of the chamber music of Shostakovich and Eisler's impactful vocal narratives. Sandra Schwarzhaupt (soprano), Emsland Ensemble; Hans Erik Deckert. Profil PH04044 (Germany) 08G084 $16.98

JOSEF MATTHIAS HAUER (1883-1959): 4 Pieces for Violin and Piano, Op. 28, HANS ERICH APOSTEL (1901-1972): Sonatina for Solo Clarinet, Op. 19/2, LEOPOLD SPINNER (1906-1980): Suite for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 10, HANNS EISLER (1898-1962): Klavierstücke für Kinder, Op. 31, ANTON WEBERN (1883-1945): 4 Pieces for Violin and Piano, Op. 7, ARNOLD SCHOENBERG (1872-1951): Phantasy for Violin and Piano, Op. 47, ALBAN BERG (1885-1935): Adagio from Chamber Concerto for Violin, Clarinet and Piano (arr. Berg). "Chamber Music of the Viennese School" mixes the unusual with the well-known. Hauer's pieces (1924) are in his personal, "trope" form of composition, and produce a surprisingly dynamic and expressive effect, Eisler (1932) teaches canon, homophony and counterpoint from a dodecaphonic basis in his pedagogical pieces while both Spinner and Apostel's works are post-Second World War examples of the evolution of serial technique. Those of you who collect his other releases may want to know that the pianist here is Steffen Schleiermacher. Ensemble Avantgarde. MD&G 613 1217 (Germany) 08G085 $17.98

NIKOS SKALKOTTAS (1904-1949): 32 Klavierstücke: Andante religioso, Childrens' Dance, Short Variations, Catastrophe in the Jungle, Greek Folk Dance, Reverie in Old Style, Reverie in New Style, Little Four-Part Canon, Marcia Funebre, Sonatina, Partita, Little Serenade, Intermezzo, Tango, Passacaglia, Night Music, Morning Serenade of the Little Maid, Foxtrot - The Old Policeman, Fantastic Etude, Lullaby, Romance - Lied, Gavotte, Menuetto, Italian Serenade, Ragtime (Dance), Slow Foxtrot, Gallop, Blues, Rondo Brillante, Caprice, Waltz, Little Peasant March. Published by Margun Music (GM, the name of Gunther Schuller's label, stands for Gunmar...)only in 1992, this collection of piano pieces was apparently written during one week in the months of June-August of 1940. Monumental in scope and duration, they also make superhuman technical demands on the performer. Greek folk music and popular American music are filtered through Skalkottas' own serial style and his often intense harmonic, rhythmic and contrapuntal workings but the most flattering thing one can say about a composer is that, even to people who shy away from "twelve-tone music", the Greek composer communicates, weaves webs of often hypnotic fascination and intensity which will grip even the least adventurous collector. Specialists will be particularly thankful to Gunther Schuller for his 18 (!) pages of notes and musical examples. 2 CDs. Idith Meshulam (piano). GM Recordings GM2074CD (U.S.A.) 08G086 $35.98

MICHAEL FINNISSY (b.1946): Gershwin Arrangements (13 pieces), More Gershwin (9 pieces). Gershwin has long been a preoccupation of Finnissy and this disc collects twenty-two transcriptions composed between 1975 and 1990 in his characteristic avant-garde "homage" to the song transcriptions of Godowsky and others. As the notes point out, "...they personalise and re-style his melodies to suit scenarios and emotions apparently somewhat remote from those originally intended". Thus, in Finnissy's own words, the first seven "document a love affair - from tentative, if hopeful beginnings to mournful ending." Tempo and harmony can reverse, dark becomes light, naive becomes cynical (sometimes its hard to find the original tune in a recognizable snippet) but the notes provide the source of each of the Gershwin originals as well as comments on what Finnissy intended in his transcription. Nicolas Hodges (piano). Metronome MET CD 1063 (England) 08G087 $17.98

ELIZABETH MACONCHY (1907-1994): String Quartets Nos. 1-13. It is very satisfying to be able to welcome this wonderful cycle of works - arguably the most accomplished by any British composer of multiple quartets - back to the catalogue. Composed over a period of half a century, the quartets chart a natural evolution in Maconchy's style - a gradual one with no abrupt transitions, as she developed her unique and distinctive voice very early on. In general there is a shift away from classical tonality toward a freer harmonic language, though the one was never altogether conventional and the other stops well short of avant-garde trendiness. Maconchy's meticulous and highly expressive contrapuntal writing is showcased marvellously in these works in a medium which lends itself better than almost any other to this type of rigorous and economical utterance. Around the time when he was writing his string quartet, Ronald Stevenson remarked that far too many quartets didn't have to be string quartets - they could be equally well rendered by two hands on a keyboard; it is a tribute to Maconchy's imagination and craft that, like Bartók, her quartet writing never falls into this trap. Warmly recommended. 3 CDs. Mid-price. Hanson String Quartet, Bingham String Quartet, Mistry String Quartet. Original 1990 Unicorn-Kanchana releases. Forum FRC 9301 (England) 08G088 $29.98

HENRI TOMASI (1901-1971): Ballade for Saxophone and Orchestra, FRANK MARTIN (1890-1974): Ballade for Saxophone and Orchestra, PEDRO ITURRALDE (b.1929): Czárdás for Saxophone and Orchestra, DIMITRIS DRAGATAKIS (1914-2001): Ballade for Saxophone and Strings, ASTOR PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992): Tango Suite for Saxophone and Orchestra (arr. Kerkezos), MAURICE RAVEL (1875-1937): Pièce en forme de habanera (arr. Hoérée). The second offering from Naxos featuring this Greek saxophonist brings us a similar collection of the somewhat familiar and the new with Tomasi's captivating Ballade of 1938 surely deserving to be as well-known as Martin's work. The saxophone substitutes quite well for the bandoneon in Piazzolla's suite, showing that it also understands all that underlies the tango, while two short, attractive and tonal pieces by a Greek and a Spanish composer (the latter a noted jazz player who made recordings for Blue Note) add a bit more to the instrument's 20th century repertoire. Theodore Kerkezos (sax), London Philharmonic Orchestra; Roberto Minczuk. Naxos 8.557454 (New Zealand) 08G089 $6.98

JACQUES IBERT (1890-1962): 3 Pièces, GABRIEL PIERNÉ (1863-1937): 3 Pièces, CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921): 4 Pieces from 7 Improvisations, Op. 150, ALEXANDRE PIERRE FRANÇOIS BOËLY (1785-1858): Offertoire pour le jour de Pâques, Andante con moto in E Flat, Andante con moto in G Minor, Allegro moderato in E Flat, Fantasy and Fugue in B. A new organ (but, due to the church's size, relatively small) in the French style in the German province of North Rhein, produces a recording of French Romantic music chosen for its suitability to the instrument. Quite rare repertoire from composers usually thought of (except for Boëly) for their symphonic works but all of whose gift for color and trenchancy translate well to the organ. Peter Planyavsky (Fleiter organ of St. Georg, Emmerich-Hüthum). Psallite CD 60501 (Germany) 08G090 $16.98

THOMAS AGERFELDT OLESEN (b.1969): For Chamber Orchestra: All as One, Tonkraftwerk, Dedications for Piano Trio, 2 Zwölftontänze for Piano, Die himmlischen Heerscharen for Ensemble, Von Schwelle zu Schwelle for Mezzo-Soprano and Piano. A bright, sparkling, perhaps faux-naive humor underlies some of the pieces on this disc, especially All as One which careens between rock-music percussion, minimalism and Romanticism (there is a ukelele, a bird-call, a plastic jug and a car horn in the instrumentation). Also clever is the pair of "twelve-tone" piano pieces which manage to turn into jazz and boogie-woogie as if Schoenberg were letting down his hair after a hard day of exacting composition. Tonkraftwerk, in the growing tradition of machine-music, represents a large, snorting piece of factory machinery while the piano trio has its own large share of motoric, perpetual-motion material. The earliest piece here, Die himmlischen Heerscharen (1996) is a static evocation of winter and Christmas conveyed with bright, flickering sonorities and Von Schwelle, setting texts of Celan, uses cabaret vocal style to evoke associations with central European expressionism. Helene Gjerris (mezzo), Signe Madsen (violin), Jens Lund Madsen (cello), Erik Kaltoft (piano), Århus Sinfonietta; Søren K. Hansen. Dacapo 8.226509 (Denmark) 08G091 $9.98

ERICA MUHL (b.1961): Consolation (Cleveland Chamber Symphony; Erica Muhl), Variations for Piano (Norman Weston [piano]), Range of Light for Cello, Percussion and Piano (Roger Lebow [cello], Erik Forrester [percussion], Lisa Sylvester [piano]), Trucco for String Quartet (Cuarteto Latinoamericano), Tremor for Percussion (Lynn Vartan [percussion]), Pulse/Shiver/Stomp for Piano and 5 Percussionists (Sylvester [piano], Vartan, Javier Diaz, Brian Bartel, Ben Loorz, Teresa Flores [percussion]). These bold and characterful compositions for a variety of ensembles and instrumental combinations showcase a composer of individuality and direct appeal. The harmonic unease of her vocabulary, especially telling in the prelude (Movement I) of the string quartet, or Consolation, not written in direct response to 9/11 but inevitably colored by it, confronts the listener with emotional challenges and risks which may seem paradoxical in view of the uncomplicated clarity of her textures. Her preoccupation with pulse and meter, both regular and disrupted, like a heartbeat recorded under rapidly changing emotional stresses, lends a human element to the works - and therefore, unsurprisingly, her writing for percussion, sometimes alluding fleetingly to jazz, or minimalism, but mostly treated in a free idiom very much her own - is especially striking and effective. Albany TROY 667 (U.S.A.) 08G092 $16.98

NIELS VIGGO BENTZON (1919-2000): Clarinet Sonata, Op. 63, IB NØRHOLM (b.1931): A Song of Breath and Wings for Solo Clarinet, Op. 171, PER NØRGÅRD (b.1932): Letters of Grass (CAO SHU) for Clarinet and Piano, JENS SCHOU (b.1943): Prelude to Mythic Morning for Solo Bass Clarinet. The soloist takes the lion's share of this recording, as his improvisational Prelude to Mythic Morning is as long as any two of the other works put together. The pulsating sonorities that Schou derives from the rich timbre of the bass clarinet have a richly hypnotic effect. The work to which this is a prelude - in a sense this is a collaborative work - is, or will be, Mythic Morning by Nørgård, for the extraordinary combination of 12 voices and bass clarinet, which apparently explores the harmonic spectrum of the bass clarinet to the fullest, and it was through Schou's exposition of the harmonic possibilities of the instrument that the material for Mythic Morning developed; the wheel then turned full circle through Schou's adoption of these techniques in his improvised Prelude. Nørgård is represented here by Letters of Grass, also written for Jens Schou, with a striking clarity and improvisatory spontaneity. Nørholm's work is based on a hymn tune, treated reverently and lyrically, even as it is deconstructed and reassembled in Nørholm's modern (but never avant-garde) idiom. Finally, Bentzon's neoclassically-inflected sonata frames a gorgeously songlike slow movement between two sprightly allegro movements, tinged with jazz and as entertaining as they are accessible. Jens Schou (clarinets), Erik Kaltoft (piano). Dacapo 8.226507 (Denmark) 08G093 $9.98

MORTON FELDMAN (1926-1987): Patterns in a Chromatic Field. In this performance fitting precisely onto one unusually long CD, and we are told 'played at the composer's marked tempos, and taking all the notated repeats' (with the subtle implication that it hasn't always been done according to the composer's wishes), Patterns in a Chromatic Field is perhaps not Feldman's most extreme example of his thesis that ' as the piece gets longer, there has to be less material.' - but it must come pretty close. Very little material indeed is microscopically examined; as one steps back and perceives the whole, one is conscious of a very gradual progression; close up, adjacent threads of the fabric are almost indistinguishable - an analogy the composer himself used by comparing his musical textures to hand-dyed rugs of abstract, repeating pattern. Dyed-in-the-wool Feldmanites (sorry!) will regard this as essential listening. Charles Curtis (cello), Aleck Karis (piano). Tzadik TZ 8002 (U.S.A.) 08G094 $16.98

IANNIS XENAKIS (1922-2001): Complete Music for Piano - Mists, Herma, Evryali, à R. (hommage à Ravel), MAURICE RAVEL (1875-1937): Gaspard de la nuit. Compositions for solo instruments played a very small part in Xenakis' oeuvre and everything he wrote for piano - lasting 35 minutes - is here. The incandescent and elemental force of many of his orchestral and choral works manages to come through in Herma of 1960 while the pianist's booklet notes also provide a useful quote for those of us who are incapable of explaining the hold Xenakis' music has over us: "this music can be happily listened to in complete ignorance of its theory, for the logic of its operations is axiomatically the logic of the listener's every mental process". So there! Marc Ponthus (piano). Neuma 450-104 (U.S.A.) 08G095 $16.98

MEYER KUPFERMAN (1926-2003): Orchestral Music, Vol. 17 - Invisible Borders, When the Air Moves..., And Five Quartets (Symphony for Strings). This CD serves as a memorial to the prolific composer, who died late last year at the age of 77; it is hoped and expected that the Soundspells series (now at volume 17) will continue until Kupferman's entire output is available. A tribute by the composer Leo Kraft in the booklet says it well: "While he was aware of the major contemporary trends, he resolutely followed his own path. He found his own language at an early age, and while he depened and broadened that, he never changed his course." This is very true; from the earliest works to the ones written in his last year, of which two are presented here, Kupferman's style is unmistakable: firmly based in tonality with excursions as far as a free chromaticism which flirts with but never fully embraces, atonality, and a highly communicative use of the vernacular which in conjunction with his eclectic sophistication sometimes leads to episodes of Ivesian cacophony from which the composer abruptly retreats as though as to say, with a smile; "see, I can do that sort of thing, but I mostly choose not to". As an energising force in contemporary music, Kupferman will be missed, but we are fortunate to have the major part of his legacy already available in fine recordings like this one. Czech National Symphony Orchestra; Paul Freeman. Soundspells Productions CD 136 (U.S.A.) 08G096 $16.98

ROLAND DAHINDEN (b.1962): Silberen for Piano and String Quartet, Lichtweiss for Solo Vibraphone. Withdrawn, subtle and static, these works function as a kind of sculptural installation, a slowly turning mobile perhaps, or, referring to the specific work of visual art that inspired Silberen, landscape artist Richard Long's assemblages of stones which suggest natural features or the remains of ancient man-made structures, the purpose of which is long forgotten. Individual notes and chords are experienced as pure sound - connected by juxtaposition much as two stones, two clouds or two still, reflective pools close to each other might seem to be connected, on inspection, by propinquity alone (the human mind is fond of discovering patterns and structures even where none exist). Development and argument are absent - even more so than in the similar-sounding compositions of Feldman; the sculpture slowly revolves on its own timescale, and spectators are free to place their own interpretations on the shifting shapes. Hildegard Kleeb (piano), Arditti Quartet, Bernd Thurner (vibraphone). Mode 138 (U.S.A.) 08G097 $17.98

GORDON MCPHERSON (b.1965): Detours, Maps and Diagrams of Our Pain, Born of Funk and The Fear of Failing. McPherson is a Scottish composer in is late 30s, who writes attractive music with a great deal of energy and a slightly twisted sense of humor. By his own admission fascinated by psychiatry, and apparently responding to the well-worn adage that one should 'write what you know' he punctuates these pieces with autobiographical, not to say confessional, references (to failed relationships, car crashes and other departures - detours - from the expected or hoped-for course of events). Ostinati and quasi-minimalist gestures suggest the obsessive quality of these preoccupations, teasing references to non-classical idioms serve to evoke the circumstances in which the events referred to took place. Largely tonal and very accessible, the music nonetheless encompasses episodes of harsh dissonance, stasis or theatrical effects, the better to suggest the implied narrative content, as clear and readily assimilable as the message of a popular song, but expressed in the vocabulary of the kind of small-ensemble eclectic modernism which one most closely associated with the Netherlands in the past several decades. 2 CDs. Psappha; Nicholas Kok. Metier MSC CD92073 (England) 08G098 $33.98

Two English Light Music Releases (not parts of ongoing series)

MONTAGUE PHILLIPS (1885-1969): Symphony in C Minor, A Shakespearean Scherzo - Titania and her Elvish Court, 4 Dances from The Rebel Maid, Arabesque, Op. 43/2, A Surrey Suite, Op. 59, Moorland Idyll, Op. 61, Revelry Overture, Op. 62, Sinfonietta in C, Op. 70. Phillips was at the Royal Academy of Music with Bax and Bowen and he had a significant uvre of "serious" music as well. In fact, the pieces on this disc often waver on the line between "serious" and "light", the Sinfonietta of 1943 being one example and the symphony another: the two movements recorded here are all that were left when the original four-movement symphony was lost in Germany due to World War I. Phillips reconstituted the two central movements, the scherzo now called "Spring Rondo" and the slow movement "Summer Nocturne", in 1925 and they've lived a long and happy "light music" life since then. BBC Concert Orchestra; Gavin Sutherland. Dutton Epoch CDLX 7140 (England) 08G099 $16.98

ROBIN MILFORD (1903-1959): Fishing by Moonlight for Piano and Strings, Op. 96a, Elegiac Meditation for Viola and Strings, Op. 83, 2 Orchestral Interludes for Flute, Strings and Piano, Op. 19e, Go, little book - Suite for Flute, Soprano and Strings, Op. 18, Interlude for Flute and Strings, Op. 69a, Miniature Concerto in G for String Orchestra, Festival Suite for String Orchestra, Op. 97, Elegy for James Scott, Duke of Monmouth and Buccleuch, Op. 50. Milford writes in the manner of Holst and Warlock and many of his works have a vein of nostalgia running through them although he could write as spritely as the latter in his Capriol Suite (the Miniature Concerto is a good example). Quite original is the Go, little book: the soprano sings the six lines of Robert Louis Stevenson's "Envoy" to "A Child's Garden of Verse" and then flute and strings illustrate aspects of the poetry. Julian Sperry (flute), Julian Milford (piano), Carys Lane (soprano), Guildhall Strings; Robert Salter. Hyperion CDA 67444 (England) 08G100 $17.98

HANS CHRISTIAN LUMBYE (1810-1874): Complete Orchestral Works, Vol. 10 - Bouquet Royal Galop, El capricho, Indiansk krigsdans, Fiskerpigerne - Hornpipe og Reel, Galop militaire, Polketta, De uimodståelige, Polacca guerriera, Hilsen til vore venner, Lucette, Bacchus-galop. Tivoli Symphony Orchestra; David Riddell. Marco Polo 8.225265 (New Zealand) 08G101 $9.98

CHARLES MARTIN LOEFFLER (1861-1912): Memories of my Childhood (Life in a Russian Village), PAUL CRESTON (1906-1985): Choric Dance No. 2, Op. 17, MORTON GOULD (1913-1996): A Lincoln Legend, FRANCESCO MIGNONE (1897-1986): Festa das igrejas, GEORGE GERSHWIN (1898-1937): Rhapsody in Blue (Benny Goodman, Earl Wild), Concerto in F (Oscar Levant). Although none of Guild's other Toscanini releases has been imported, after several months delay, this one fortunately has. Loeffler's 1923 tone-poem combines Russian dance, peasant song and liturgical motives in its thirteen enjoyable minutes, Gould's war-time dose of patriotism is warm and fuzzy without being jingoistic, while the other major unusual work, Mignone's "Symphonic Impressions of Four Brazilian Churches" (to give it its subtitle), dating from 1927, runs the gamut from a pristine Christmas atmosphere to an almost Respighian luxuriance. The sources are line-checks, air-checks and privately recorded acetates from the huge collection of Richard Gardner, Toscanini's favorite engineer at RCA which, both in the form of taped copies and acetates, were given by him to Richard Caniell, who has done the restoration and mastering for these releases. 2 CDs. Mid-price. NBC Symphony Orchestra; Arturo Toscanini (11/1/42 and 4/2/44). Guild GHCD 2256/7 (Switzerland) 08G102 $22.98

CHEN GANG (b.1935)& HE ZHANHAO (b.1933): The Butterfly Lovers Concerto, PETER BREINER (b.1957): Songs and Dances from the Silk Road for Violin and Orchestra. The notes tell us that this is the seventh recording of this hugely popular violin concerto made by Nishizaki, to which one can only say: why? Nevertheless, some of you out there may not know its lovely melding of Chinese opera themes with the western orchestra and this budget-priced recording is an easy way to get to know it. Slovak-Canadian composer, conductor and arranger Breiner has done this sort of thing before for Naxos; here he takes eight folk songs from western China (3 Uygur, Kazakh, Gansu, Shanxi, Xinjiang and Great North-West) and deftly orchestrates them in a light music/film score style which offers 35 minutes of very pleasant listening. Takako Nishizaki (violin), New Zealand Symphony Orchestra; James Judd. Naxos 8.557348 (New Zealand) 08G103 $6.98