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An Australian Symphony

GEORGE WILLIAM LEWIS MARSHALL-HALL (1862-1915): Symphony in E Flat, Adagio sostenuto from Symphony in C Minor. Born in London, educated at the Royal College of Music by Grove and Parry, Marshall-Hall was also a published poet and had this E flat symphony performed in London by Henry Wood and in Berlin by Artur Nikisch but it had not been heard since 1907 until the present recording (Percy Grainger purchased the manuscripts where they remained hidden in his collection). He moved to Australia in 1892 and founded the Melbourne Conservatory, a concert series and, later, his own conservatory, so he casts a large shadow in the history of Australian music. The symphony dates from 1903 and is in three movements, eschewing the scherzo. A sunny, breezy, Classically inspired work, it has the same sort of joie de vivre as many of Raff's works in the same genre. The adagio sostenuto from Marshall-Hall's earlier symphony was revised in the 1930s by Sir Bernard Heinze and this version makes up the filler here. Queensland Theatre Orchestra; Warren Bebbington. Move Records MD 3081 (Australia) 12D001 $14.98

GRANVILLE BANTOCK (1868-1946): Thalaba the Destroyer, Processional, Caristiona, Prelude to "The Song of Songs", Prelude and Camel Caravan from "Omar Khayyam". The fifth in Hyperion's series of Bantock orchestral works features Thalaba the Destroyer, a 26-minute tone poem from 1899, one of six which date from the turn of the 20th century (of which Dante and Beatrice, Fifine at the Fair and The Witch of Atlas have already appeared in this series). Its source is in Arabic legends and its fantastic and colorful situations allowed the composer to provide similarly exotic music, scored for a large orchestra. Processional is the earliest Bantock yet excavated (c.1893) and depicts an Indian funeral and the suttee of the deceased's followers; Caristiona (1920) is one of the two Hebridean Sea Poems (The Sea Rievers is also in this series) and is based on a song in a recently published collection of folk songs from the Hebrides. Needless to say, the other works have all of the glamorous appeal and rich orchestration their titles would suggest. Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Vernon Handley. Hyperion CDA 67250 (England) 12D002 $17.98


MARTIN SCHERBER (1907-1974): Symphony No. 3 in B minor. This 54-minute, single-movement symphony dates from 1952-55. The whole work develops from the very Brucknerian ostinato rhythmical figure with which the piece opens but, unlike the Austrian composer, Scherber uses a complicated metamorphosis technique in which that figure is transformed over the entire course of the symphony, which falls into twelve parts and which closes with an echt-Brucknerian peroration. The short biography of the composer (well, short on biographical information... it has plenty of metaphysical drivel) tells us nothing about his activities during the Third Reich so we don't know how his career fared compared to those of, say, Hessenberg or Tiessen; a web-search turned up only his name and dates in a list of German composers and their birthdays. Staaatsphilarmonie Rheinland-Pfalz; Elmar Lampson. col legno 20078 (Germany) 12D003 $19.98

KURT ATTERBERG (1887-1974): Rhapsody for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 1, Ballade and Passacaglia, Op. 38, Piano Concerto in B Flat Minor, Op. 37. The Rhapsody was not Atterberg's first work, just the first one he acknowledged and it is a lovely ten minutes of a winning mixture of Nordic and exotic "Oriental" tones in which the piano is treated as a concertante instrument rather than as a soloist. The virtues of the 1935 concerto will be known to most readers since they will have its premiere recording on Sterling which was released a couple of years ago. The Ballade and Passacaglia, from 1936, carries the subtitle "On a Theme in the Swedish Folk Tone" but the work is anything but rhapsodic, being a tightly constructed and compelling ten minutes which have all the characters of a four-movement symphony. Love Derwinger (piano), Hannover Radio Philharmonic; Ari Rasilainen. CPO 999 732 (Germany) 12D004 $15.98

KARL HÖLLER (1907-1987): First Sonata for Flute and Piano, Op. 43, Piano Sonatina, Op. 58/2, Second Sonata for Flute and Piano, Op. 53, PAUL HINDEMITH (1895-1963): Flute Sonata, Echo for Flute and Piano, Abendkonzert for Flute and Piano, 8 Pieces for Solo Flute. Like Hindemith, Höller believed in being a good craftsman and his flute sonatas (1947 and 1950) are tonal and contrapuntal, showing the influences of the neo-classicism of Poulenc and Françaix, especially in their very elegant slow movements. The 1962 Sonatina is in similar vein, rather more thoughtful in nature and more harmonically advanced. The other half of the disc contains all of the chamber music which Hindemith left for the flute. Xavier Relats (flute), Jordi Masó (piano). ASV DCA 1121 (England) 12D005 $16.98

FRANCIS POULENC (1899-1963): Les Biches, Les Animaux modèles, Suite française, Matelote provençale, Bucolique, Pastourelle, Sinfonietta, 2 Marches et un Intermède, Concert champêtre for Harpsichord and Orchestra, Concerto for 2 Pianos and Orchestra. This well-filled (78 minutes on each disc), low-mid-priced set not only contains the two fairly rare ballet suites (Les Biches and Les Animaux modèles, of which only the latter has a new digital recording) but also classic performances of the Concert champêtre and the two-piano concerto. Les Biches was recorded in 1980; the remainder between 1962-68. Re-issue of original EMI recordings. 2 CDs. Special price. Aimée van de Wiele (harpsichord), Francis Poulenc & Jacques Février (pianos), Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire; Georges Prêtre. EMI CDZB 69446 (France) 12D006 $17.98

WILLIAM ALWYN (1905-1985): Film Music, Vol. 2 - Music from The Crimson Pirate, Green Girdle, Take My Life, A Night to Remember, The Card, Desert Victory, The Winslow Boy, In Search of the Castaways and State Secret, Libera me. Save The Crimson Pirate, A Night to Remember and the march from Desert Victory, all of this music receives its first recording in reconstructions painstakingly made by Philip Lane. Susan Bullock (soprano), Canzonetta, BBC Philharmonic; Rumon Gamba. Chandos 9959 (England) 12D007 $16.98

LENNOX BERKELEY (1903-1989): Guitar Concerto, Op. 88, MALCOLM ARNOLD (b.1921): Serenade for Guitar and Strings, Op. 50, Guitar Concerto, Op. 67, WILLIAM WALTON (1902-1983): 5 Bagatelles for Guitar and Chamber Orchestra (orch. Russ). All of these works were written for Julian Bream and they all provide a valuable and refreshing alternative to the guitar's Iberian ancestry and repertoire. While not belonging to the English national-pastoral tradition, Berkeley's 1974 concerto still manages to create a mood of sunny joy in its first movement, an idyllic, yes, pastoral quality in its slow one and provides a spiky, festive dance for its finale. Arnold's concerto (1959) comes closest to embracing the guitar's heritage with its vaguely Aranjuezian finale but its second movement is a virtuosic tribute to Django Rhinehart. Walton himself orchestrated his guitar bagatelles as Varii Caprici so, Patrick Russ takes the idea one step further, providing an orchestral accompaniment for the guitar based on Walton's own Caprici score. Craig Ogden (guitar), Northern Sinfonia; Richard Hickox. Chandos 9963 (England) 12D008 $16.98

ROY HARRIS (1898-1980): Symphony No. 7, WILLIAM SCHUMAN (1910-1992): Symphony No. 6, Op. 60. A coupling of little-known symphonies by well-known American composers: Harris' harmonic textures evoke images of wide-open landscapes in the same way Copland did although he used his own personal creations of polyharmony and polychords along with his quotations and evocations of American folk music. His is a one-movement work (1952) in three sections and a coda and it will please anyone who knows his early symphonies. Schuman's piece (also in single-movement form) dates from 1949 and manages to have the same feeling of American boundlessness although the composer ingeniously builds the whole work from two very small motives while moving from moments of great passion and intensity to periods of an almost chamber music transparency. New Zealand Symphony Orchestra; Hugh Keelan. Koch International Classics 7290 (U.S.A.) 12D009 $16.98

GEORGE LLOYD (1913-1998): Cello Concerto, Orchestral Suite No. 1 from "The Serf". Completed in 1997, the concerto has something of a summing-up about it, a look back at a life traumatized first by injury during World War II and then by the neglect from the "official" musical establishment which deemed any music which was tonal and easy to understand unworthy of performance or critical attention. Thus, we have a work in which intense emotions - a sense of loss, regret, bitterness at the state of the human condition - are omnipresent. Not a bleeding wound like Pettersson's works, this is much more in the tradition of Elgar's concerto for the same instrument although this is in a single, 30-minute span which yet is taut and economical, introduced by a slow, lyrical theme which appears again at significant structural points. Although the opera The Serf dates from 1938, Lloyd only compiled two suites from it at the end of his life (correcting the scores was one of the last things he did). The opera was set in 12th century England during the final subjugation of the Saxons by the Normans and the suite's seven sections, lasting 36 minutes, provide more of the richly romantic and urgently communicative music for which the late composer ultimately became so popular. Anthony Ross (cello), Albany Symphony Orchestra; David Alan Miller. Albany TROY 458 (U.S.A.) 12D010 $16.98

GEORGE CRUMB (b.1929): Complete Crumb Edition, Vol. 4 - A Haunted Landscape for Orchestra, Easter Dawning for Carillon, Celestial Mechanics for 2 Pianos, Processional for Piano. Those unacquainted with the sound of the carillon will find this four-and-a-half minute piece by Crumb an excellent introduction since it produces, by nature, just the sort of bright, odd and percussive sounds which the composer likes to find in prepared pianos and large orchestral percussion sections. The latter is well in evidence in A Haunted Landscape (four percussionists playing 45 different instruments although the piece is anything but cacophonous). Celestial Mechanics is fairly well-known by now as part of Makrokosmos IV but its evocation of the movement of the stars makes it a kind of grandfather to Urmas Sisask's similarly inspired Starry Sky cycles. Processional's hypnotic effect comes from the subtle changes of harmonic color and frequent modulation in a work which has an obsessive, reiterated pulse. Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra; Thomas Conlin, Haewon Song, Robert Shannon (pianos), Don Cook (carillon). Bridge 9113 (U.S.A.) 12D011 $16.98

GIAN CARLO MENOTTI (b.1911): The Unicorn, the Gorgon and the Manticore, R. MURRAY SCHAFER (b.1933): A Medieval Bestiary, JACK GOTTLIEB: Presidential Suite. Gottlieb's work sets texts of various US Presidents in a whimsical and humorous manner that also celebrates the ideas of freedom and patriotism. Shafer's Bestiary is also a work of whimsy, using the choir to provide a variety of accompanying textures to melodic lines that recall organum, Orthodox chant and gospel songs. The Menotti is beautfully crafted, with a clear, open-textured instrumental accompaniment and interludes in neoclassical style to the delightfully elegant madrigals and baroque vocal counterpoint of the sung narrative. The Carolina Chamber Chorale; Timothy Koch. Albany TROY 452 (U.S.A.) 12D012 $16.98

NORMAN DELLO JOIO (b.1913): Complete Works for Piano, Vol. 3 - For Piano Four Hands: Family Album, 5 Images, For Piano: Christmas Music, Stage Parodies, Suite for the Young, 3 Sketches, Lyric Pieces for the Young, Aria and Toccata for 2 Pianos. Titled "Family Album", this is a collection of music for young people - beginners and more advanced young players - which contains 42 pieces in all. Needless to say, the pieces are both pedagogical and creative and their unfailing sense of humor and whimsy makes them easy to listen to no matter what your age. Debra Torok, Marylène Dosse (pianos). Albany TROY 468 (U.S.A.) 12D013 $16.98

WALTER GIESEKING (1895-1956): Variationen über ein Thema von Edvard Grieg for Flute and Piano, Ausgewählte Lieder von Richard Strauss for Piano, Spiel um ein Kinderlied for Piano Four Hands, Sonatine for Flute and Piano, 3 Tanz-Improvisationen for Piano. Gieseking was particularly associated with the music of Ravel and Debussy so it is not surprising that it is the influence of the 20th century French school which informs his flute pieces: lush altered chords, chromaticism and elements of modality with completely idiomatic writing for both instruments. The Grieg variations date from 1939 and the Sonatine from 1935, both predominantly lyrical and graceful. The "Childrens' Song" is "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" and represents the composer's last published work (1948); the "Dance Improvisations" (1925-6) show his unexpected affinity with popular music while he divulges some of his thoughts as an accompanist to singers with his transcriptions of five well-known Richard Strauss songs. Karen Heid (flute, piano). Nimbus NI 5696 (England) 12D014 $17.98

ALEXIS WEISSENBERG (b.1929): Sonate en état de jazz, Le regret, 4 Improvisations on songs from "La fugue". More unexpected compositions from a famous pianist: the Sonate (1982) is a 30-minute, four-movement work in a attractive and relaxed mood which evokes the tango, Charleston, blues and samba; Le regret (1962) is a Scriabinesque study in shimmering textures while the Improvisations (on music from a musical comedy Weissenberg supplied the music to in the 60s) are in the international modern jazz idiom. Simon Mulligan (piano). Nimbus NI 5688 (England) 12D015 $17.98

FRANCESO CAVALLI (1602-1676): L'Orione. One of the few Cavalli operas to be premiered outside of Venice (Milan, in 1653), L'Orione is one of the four Cavallis which Raymond Leppard edited for performance in the 70s and whose very personal and idiosyncratic revisions have now been discredited by period performance scholarship. It appears that this live performance from 1998 uses a new edition by the conductor, allowing for a more authentic appreciation of a typical work of the most performed opera composer in the 17th century after Monteverdi. 3 CDs. Italian libretto, English synopsis. Cinzia Forte (soprano), Laura Polverelli (mezzo), Accademia di San Rocco, Orchestra Barocca di Venezia; Andrea Marcon. Mondo Musica MFON 22249 (Italy) 12D016 $50.98

ALESSANDRO SCARLATTI (1660-1725): Sedecia, re di Gerusalemme. Premiered in 1705, this oratorio anticipates Handel's Biblical oratorios as it paints a tragic story taken from the Old Testament in music which ranges from the martial splendor and vocal/orchestral bravura of the first part to the somber, moving and tragic denouement of Part Two. Italian-English texts. Gérard Lesne (alto), Virginie Pochon (soprano), Philippe Jaroussky (sopraniste), Peter Harvey (bass), Mark Padmore (tenor), Il Seminario Musicale; Gérard Lesne. Virgin Classics 5 45452 2 (England) 12D017 $35.98

WILLEM DE FESCH (1687-1761): Joseph. Long believed lost, this 1745 oratorio was rediscovered in 1980. One of only two oratorios by this Dutch composer, it was offered to an English public still in love with Handel. Even though De Fesch is known primarily for his instrumental music, this is an attractive and dramatic entertainment which offers a valuable look at what else was on offer in English theatres at the time of Handel's great success. English texts. Claron McFadden, Roberta Alexander (sopranos), Nico van der Meel (tenor), Tom Sol (bass), National Kinderkoor, Viri Cantores, Musica ad Rhenum; Jed Wentz. NM Classics 92079 (Netherlands) 12D018 $53.98

GIOVAN BATTISTA PERGOLESI (1710-1736): Violin Concerto in B Flat, Sonata in A, Sinfonia in F, LEONARDO LEO (1694-1744): Concerto in D for 4 Violins and Strings, FRANCESCO DURANTE (1684-1741): Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Concerto No. 8 in A "La Pazzia", Concerto No. 5 in A for String Orchestra. Much of the orchestral color, virtuosity and expressive variety which characterize Neapolitan opera of the early 18th century are also present in this collection of instrumental works by composers from Naples. Elizabeth Wallfisch (violin), Raglan Baroque Players; Nicholas Kraemer. Hyperion CDA 67230 (England) 12D019 $17.98

WILLIAM BOYCE (1711-1779): Pindar's Ode, Ode for the New Year. A rare opportunity to hear an orchestral work from Boyce's last years (the 1774 New Year's ode) along with one from 1741 when he was still establishing himself on the London scene. Patrick Burrowes, Andrew Johnson (boy sopranos), Christopher Josey (high tenor), Charles Daniels (tenor), Michael George (bass-baritone), Choir of New College, Oxford, The Hanover Band; Graham Lea-Cox. ASV GAU 232 (England) 12D020 $16.98

JACQUES DUPHLY (1715-1789): Chaconne, La Pothouin, La de la Tour, Menuets, La de Belombre, La du Buq, La Millettina, Allemande, Médée, La Forqueray, La de Vaucanson, La Tribolet, Cazamajor, La de Villeneuve, La Lanza. Although Duphly's four books of harpsichord pieces appeared between 1744 and 1768, there is no trace of any style more modern than the hints of Domenico Scarlatti, Rameau and Couperin - and these appear mostly in the first book. Nonetheless, the music is well-crafted and often flashy and energetic and well worth getting to know. Mitzi Meyerson (harpsichord). MD&G 605 1068-2 (Germany) 12D021 $17.98

HENRIK PHILIP JOHNSEN (1717-1779): 6 Fugues, GEORG DIETRICH LEYDING (1664-1710): Von Gott will ich nict lassen, 3 Praeludiums, Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern. The complete extant organ works of these two German composers: Leyding spent his career in Lübeck and follows Reincken and Buxtehude in style while Johnsen, who moved to Stockholm, writes his fugues (1770) in the up-to-date manner of C.P.E. Bach. Håkan Wikman (organs of the Finnish Church, Stockholm). Alba ABCD 129 (Finland) 12D022 $16.98

FRANÇOIS DEVIENNE (1759-1803): 3 Bassoon Quartets, Op. 73. Dating from 1798, these quartets are written in the sinfonia concertante style with violin having a solo role along with the bassoon. The first movements are infectiously rhythmic, the slow movements pognant and heartfelt and the rondo finales boisterous and jolly. The period instruments (a light-toned copy of a French bassoon) provide a vivid view of some wonderful but forgotten chamber music. island. Centaur CRC 2524 (U.S.A.) 12D023 $16.98

GAETANO BRUNETTI (1767-1798): String Quartets in A, in B Flat, in G Minor, Op. 2/1 & in E Flat, Op. 2/3. Next to nothing is known of Brunetti's music today although he was the most powerful and influential composer in Spain during the second half of the 19th century (including Boccherini who eventually modified his string quartet form to Brunetti's). However, all of his works belonged to the Spanish king and were never published. This collection of four of his 34 extant quartets cannot be a representative sampling since, according to his current biographer, they cannot encompass the sheer individuality and expressive range of Brunetti's muse. These are remarkable pieces, each sounding completely different from the others, and we can only hope that more will come from this period-instrument quartet. Mid-price. Schuppanzigh Quartet. CPO 999 780 (Germany) 12D024 $10.98

?MOZART! Vol. 7 - Serenade in B Flat, K 370a "Gran Partita" arr. Franz Gleissner for Strings and Winds, Adagio in B Flat for 2 Clarinets and 3 Bassett Horns, K 484a. Gleissner (1759-1818 and known mostly as the co-inventor of lithography) arranged Mozart's large-scale wind serenade for string quartet with double bass, flute and pairs of oboes, clarinets, bassoons and horns, turning it into a veritable sinfonia concertante which has its own considerable delights. Consortium Classicum. MD&G 301 1077-2 (Germany) 12D025 $17.98

FRANÇOIS-JOSEPH GOSSEC (1734-1829): Symphony in C, Symphony No. 1 in B Flat, Symphony in D "Sinfonia périodique à piu strumenti", Symphony in D "La Caccia". Since these works are numbered using a different system (not their original printed opus numbers), we can't tell you if the two in D are also on the Chandos "Contemporaries of Mozart" CD. However, Sanderling and his orchestra take an unabashedly "big band" approach to these bracing, full-blooded late Classical symphonies in the spirit and style of Mozart, Haydn (the La Caccia uses clarinets five years before Mozart and 20 years before Haydn) and early Beethoven meaning that possible duplication of one or two of the works is not necessarily a bad thing. Orchestre de Bretagne; Stefan Sanderling. ASV DCA 1123 (England) 12D026 $16.98

CARL DITTERS VON DITTERSDORF (1739-1799): Giob. The tale of Job was set by Dittersdorf in 1786 (and made him a rich man through one performance alone, at the Prussian court), divided into two parts - the first begins with Job's humble prayer and his wife Sara's gloomy presentiments of disaster and builds up to an impressively expressive storm scene before ending in a restrained mood. The second half concentrates on psychological effects and the music has a more archaic sound (melodies of lament appear in the manner of those which Haydn wove into several of his symphonies of the 1760s); in fact, the mixture of popular and polyphonic vocal writing is similar to that in Mozart's The Magic Flute and the music for Sara in Giob may have well influenced Mozart in his aria for the Queen of the Night. Italian-English libretto. 2 CDs. Markus Schäfer (tenor), Romelia Lichtenstein (soprano), Ekkehard Abele (bass), Jörg Waschinski (soprano), Rheinische Kantorei, Das Kleine Konzert; Hermann Max. CPO 999 790 (Germany) 12D027 $31.98

GIOVANNI PAISIELLO (1740-1816): Socrate Immaginario. This 1775 comedy is a stinging satire of the bookish and antiquarian academicism into which Neapolitan cultural life was falling by the closing decades of the 119th century. Caustic witticisms and allusions are wrapped in Paisiello's typically effervescent and graceful music. Italian-English libretto. 2 CDs. Claudia Marchi (soprano), Filippo Pina Castiglioni (tenor), Yolanda Auyanet (soprano), Christophoros Stamboglis (bass), Coro Lirico "G. Manzino" of Savona, Savona Symphony Orchestra; Giovanni Di Stefano. Bongiovanni GB 2259/60 (Italy) 12D028 $33.98

FRANÇOIS ADRIEN BOIELDIEU (1775-1834): La Dame blanche. Based on three Walter Scott novels, this 1825 opera comique made Boieldieu's name known throughout Europe. Brimming with gorgeous melodic invention, its Gothic milieu also allowed the composer to reach heights of dramatic power unequalled in his previous output. Weber influenced Boieldieu greatly and he particuarly liked this opera, as did Wagner. Original 1997 EMI issue. 2 CDs. French-English libretto. Rockwell Blake (tenor), Annick Massis (soprano), Mireille Delunsch (soprano), Chur de Radio France, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris; Marc Minkowski. EMI CDCB 56355 (France) 12D029 $35.98

ALESSANDRO ROLLA (1757-1841): 3 String Quartets, Op. 5. These quartets, in the classical four-movement form, were published in 1807 and are in the French Quatuor concertant style in which melody overshadows thematic development and first violin has a concertante role with many solo and bravura sections. In the fiery rondo finales, the virtuosity reminds one of the (unsubstantiated) story that Rolla was Paganini's teacher. Quartetto Rolla. Dynamic CDS 293 (Italy) 12D030 $17.98

GAETANO DONIZETTI (1797-1848): Gli Esiliati in Siberia. The obsessive revisions (five or seven depending on how you count) which Donizetti inflicted upon this opera make for fascinating, and very confusing, reading. Fortunately, no matter which version you listen to (and this is mostly the third but the record company decided to add some scenes discovered at Covent Garden in 1984), you'll be entertained by virtuosic vocal writing, exciting storm sequences, delightful ballet scenes and everything else you love about Donizetti. And now, Actes Sud even provides an English translation of the libretto! 2 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Brigitte Hahn (soprano), Luca Canonici (tenor), Latvian Radio Choir, Orchestre National de Montpellier L.-R.; Enrique Diemecke. Actes Sud AT 34108 (France) 12D031 $35.98

LOUISE FARRENC (1804-1875): Piano Quintets No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 30 & No. 2 in E, Op. 31. Written in 1839 and 1840, these are among Farrenc's earlier chamber works and they helped establish her reputation as a composer. Following the examples of Schubert and Hummel by adding a double bass to the string trio, Farrenc gives the piano almost non-stop work in both quintets although it never overpowers the strings. She combines the elegance of Haydn and Hummel with the romantic lyricism of Weber and Spohr to produce fresh and frequently harmonically adventurous works which will please any collector of Classical or Romantic chamber music. Schubert Ensemble of London. ASV DCS 1122 (England) 12D032 $16.98

CLARA SCHUMANN (1819-1896): Piano Trio in G Minor, Op. 17, FANNY MENDELSSOHN (1805-1847): Piano Trio in D, Op. 11. Clara sounds like Robert in the first movement of her 1845 trio and her contrapuntal devices in the finale are worthy of Mendelssohn whose sister's trio (published three years after her death) is, not suprisingly, influenced by Felix and by Schubert. Charming chamber music. Mid-price re-issue of a 1989 Hyperion release. Dartington Piano Trio. Helios CDH 55078 (England) 12D033 $10.98

JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833-1897): Complete Lieder, Vol. 5 - Lieder und Gesänge, Opp. 58, 59 & 63. Dating respectively from 1871, '73 and '74, these songs continue the vein of unrequted love and melancholy longing so characteristic of both Brahms and the German lied and the op. 63 songs contain some of the composer's most beautiful melodies of all. German-English texts. Mid-price. Juliane Banse (soprano), Andreas Schmidt (baritone), Helmut Deutsch (piano). CPO 999 445 (Germany) 12D034 $10.98

FRANCESCO CILEA (1866-1950): Gina. Cilea's first opera dates from 1887 and the end of his term at the conservatory. Part rustic idyll, part light comedy, part melodrama (it is not verismo), this work is noteworthy for showing the young composer working with various elements from his cultural past and synthesizing them (sometimes well, sometimes awkwardly) into a personal creation. This live recording from November 2000 was made in association with celebrations and academic panels on Cilea on the 50th anniversary of his death. The work was prepared from manuscript (this was probably its first performance since the 19th century) and copious learned notes (actually pretty well translated) are included. 2 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Fabio Maria Capitanucci (baritone), Anna Lucia Alessio (mezzo), Laura Brioli (contralto), Gianluca Terranova (tenor), Coro "Solisti Cantori", Philharmonia Mediterranea; Christopher Franklin. Bongiovanni GB 2302/3 (Italy) 12D035 $33.98

MIHÁLY MOSONYI (1815-1870): Mass No. 4 in A, Jubilate Deo, Lauda Sion, Libera. All but the Libera date from before Michael Brand became Mihály Mosonyi and the composer's Classicism changed t o national Romanticism. Thus, the 1853-4 mass is a meditative, serene and flowing work with only one really fast movement. The Lauda Sion is solemn and brilliant and the Libera (1870), which omits violins from its strings, has romantically soaring melodies. Vanessa del Riego Ledo, Reina Boelens (sopranos), Marianne Selteger, Simone Veder (contraltos), Ruud Fiselier, Bert Visser (tenors), Lars Terray, Jan van Zelm (basses), Liszt Ferenc Chorus and Orchestra (Amsterdam); Peter Scholcz. Hungaroton HCD 32009 (Hungary) 12D036 $16.98

FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886): Cantico del Sol de San Francesco d'Assisi, S4, The Bells of Strasbourg Cathedral, S6, Sankt Christoph, Legend, S47, Sainte Cécile, Legend, S5, Cantantibus organis, S7, Hymne de l'enfant à son réveil, S19. A compilation of Hungaroton LP-era recordings from 1968 and 1975 featuring very rarely heard choral repertoire (all are choral-orchestral except for Sankt Christoph and the Hymne which are accompanied by piano and harp). The Bells... is even in English, setting Longfellow's romantic poem about Satan's assault which is foiled by the cathedral's ringing bells. The Hymne does not have a sacred text but it, like the remainder of the items here, fits comfortably into the "sacred" category. As with most of Liszt's works, these pieces exist in various stages of revision and completion and the booklet notes are excellent on this matter. Italian, Latin, German, French texts - English translations. György Melis, Sándor Sólyom-Nagy (baritones), Lívia Budai, Klára Takács (mezzos), Éva Andor (soprano), Hungarian Radio and Television Chorus, Györ Girls' Choir, Budapest Symphony Orchestra; János Ferencsik. Hungaroton HCD 31960 (Hungary) 12D037 $16.98

JOHANN JOSEPH ABERT (1832-1915); Ekkehard. Aromantic German opera in the French grand opera tradition, Ekkehard is based on a novel by the same name, and comes off like an extended "Battle of the Huns". Although written in Abert's own style, there are great similarities to the music of Meyerbeer and Humperdinck. It is very lyrical, and Abert even makes the recitatives sound songlike through the use of skillful phrasing and thematic repetition. There are many beautifully constructed ensemble numbers, and each of the five act finales are spectacular, demonstrating the composer was a master at creating dramatic crowd scenes. The orchestration is equally impressive. Although taken from a live concert, this sounds like a studio recording. The performance couldn't be better. Try it -- you'll like it! 2 CDs. German libretto, English synopsis. Nyla van Ingen (soprano), Susanne Kelling (mezzo), Henryk Böhm (tenor), Stuttgart Chorus, SWR Radio Orchestra Kaiserlautern; Peter Falk. Capriccio 60 080 (Germany) 12D038 $27.98

GUSTAV UWE JENNER (1865-1920): Violin Sonatas No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 8, No. 2 in B Flat & No. 3 in E Flat. The first two sonatas date from 1893, the B flat actually the earlier one and a sunny, youthful and joyful mood prevails throughout its four movements with Brahmsian influences traceable to that composer's early to mid-period works. The A Minor work, however, has more of the feel of late Brahms, opening in a melancholy vein and using compositional devices similar to those of Brahms' late string quintet (op. 111) and the clarinet quintet. The third (1903) is in only three movements and much more succinct, concentrating intensively on thematic development and the contrast between sharp and flat keys. Rainer Schmidt (violin), Saiko Sasaki (piano). Divox CDX-29806 (Germany) 12D039 $16.98

GAETANO BRAGA (1829-1907): Soirée à Naples for 3 Cellos and Piano, Violin and Piano: In Barchetta, Slatarella Abruzzese, Solo! Solo! Solo!, Un sogno, Cello and Piano: Meditazione, Pergolesi, 4 Meditazioni lugubri, Souvenir du Rhin, Adieux à Varenna, e' dello!..E' il suo canto!, Il Corricolo Napoletano, Trio de Salon for Piano Trio. Known first as a virtuoso touring cellist, Braga also wrote eight operas, two symphonies and many chamber pieces of the type recorded here: salon miniatures, lilting barcarolles and sentimental pieces with a certain amount of Italianate vocal quality. Many are of a melancholy nature (the Meditazioni lugubri don't even mince words about it) but all have that certain Mediterranean quality of warm, emotional communication. Paolo Morena (violin), Galileo Di Ilio (cello), Giuseppe Sabatini (piano), Alessandro Culiani, Perikli Pite (cellos). Bongiovanni GB 5119 (Italy) 12D040 $16.98

CHARLES-VALENTIN ALKAN (1813-1888): Sonate de concert for Cello and Piano, Op. 47, FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886): Élégie, Deuxième Élégie, La lugubre gondole, Romance oubliée, Die Zelle in Nonnenwerth. Alkan's 1857 sonata, the last of his three chamber works, is a work of both mercurial passion and virtuosity and of meditative spirituality. The heroic quality of the first movement (which recalls Franck at times) is balanced by the contemplative prayer of the third, translucent and delicate in its inwardness; the rocking pseudo-barcarolle of the second movement is offset by the transcendental brilliance of the Finale alla saltarella where Alkan's requested tempo is almost unplayable (almost). Liszt's late transcriptions, all despairing to one degree or another, make fitting companions. Emmanuelle Bertrand (cello), Pascal Amoyel (piano). Harmonia Mundi HMC 901758 (France) 12D041 $17.98

FELIX DRAESEKE (1835-1913): Symphonia tragica, Op. 40, Overture to Gudrun, Symphonic Prologue to Penthesilea. Draeseke's finest symphony, the fiery third, receives its second recording in as many years. For collectors, the couplings - the 1882 opera overture and the 1890 symphonic poem - provide another 26 minutes of CD premieres. Wuppertal Symphony Orchestra; George Hanson. MD&G 335 1041-2 (Germany) 12D042 $17.98

HEINRICH MARSCHNER (1795-1861): Der Vampyr. New, digital recording this horror opera of 1828 which followed Der Freischütz in its use of supernatural elements but which is structurally, harmonically and dramatically more advanced than Weber. It also had an important influence on the young Wagner. 2 CDs. German libretto, English synopsis. Franz Hawlata (baritone), Jonas Kaufmann (tenor), Regina Klepper (soprano), Markus Marquardt (bass), Cologne Radio Chorus and Orchestra; Helmuth Froschauer. Capriccio 60083 (Germany) 12D043 $27.98

CARL JOSEPH TOESCHI (1731-1788): Symphony in D, FRANZ DANZI (1763-1826): Piano Concerto in E Flat, JOHANN BAPTIST WENDLING (1723-1797): Flute Concerto in G, JOHANN CHRISTIAN CANNABICH (1731-1798): Symphony in B Flat. Early to late Classical works from composers associated with the Munich Court (meaning the same musicians who moved with the famous Mannheim orchestra to Munich in the 1778), Wendling's being the earliest (1759) and Danzi's Mozartian concerto of 1800 the latest. Martin Sandhoff (transverse flute), Neue Hofkapelle München; Christoph Hammer (fortepiano). Capriccio 10 861 (Germany) 12D044 $16.98

JOHANN PHILIPP KIRNBERGER (1721-1783): Harpsichord Concerto in C Minor, JOHANN GOTTFRIED MÜTHEL (1728-1788): Piano Concerto No. 3 in G, CHRISTOPH NICHELMANN (1717-1762): Harpsichord Concerto in E. All three of these Central or North German composes studied under Bach and each of them was part of the period of experimentation between baroque and classical periods which seems to be dominated on CD by C.P.E. Bach. These three concertos offer three more interesting and individual responses to the possibilities in the "clavier concerto" genre Christine Schornsheim (harpsichord, fortepiano), Berliner Barock-Compagney. Capriccio 10 739 (Germany) 12D045 $16.98

JOHANN CRISTOPH FRIEDRICH BACH (1732-1795): Songs from Musikalisches Vielerley and Münters Geistliche Lieder, CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH (1714-1788): Songs from Geistliche Gesänge, Gellerts Geistliche Oden und Lieder and Neue Lieder-Melodien. 29 more useful reminders (21 by C.P.E. Bach, who wrote more than 300 in his lifetime) that the German lied did not spring from Mozart and Schubert fully-grown but had been cultivated in Germany since the 1730s. The secular songs are quite outnumbered by the sacred ones but the family resemblance to the high Romantic Lied is strongly evident throughout. German texts. Gotthold Schwarz (bass), Sabine Bauer (fortepiano). Capriccio 10 856 (Germany) 12D046 $16.98

OTTORINO RESPIGHI (1879-1936): String Quartet in D Minor, Piano Quintet in F Minor, 6 Pieces for Violin and Piano. World premiere recording of the 1909 quartet, a 35-minute piece whose influence, like that of the earlier piano quartet, is decidedly German, often restlessly energetic in its outer movements, with nervous, Mendelssohian scherzo and a beautiful, mournful Lentamente con tristezza second movement. The Ambache. Chandos 9962 (England) 12D047 $16.98

ALEXANDER SCRIABIN (1872-1915): Sonata in E Flat Minor, Allegro Appassionato, Op. 4, 2 Pieces, Op. 9, 2 Nocturnes, Op. 5, Valse in F Minor, Op. 1, Valses in G Sharp Minor & in D Flat, Nocturne in A Flat, Variations on a Theme by Mlle. Egorova, Sonate-fantaisie, Fugue in E minor, Canon in D Minor, Mazurkas in B Minor & in F, Etude in D Sharp Minor. Titled "The Early Scriabin", this release collects pieces dating from 1883-94, the earliest beingthe Canon and the latest the op. 8 Etudes. The major work is the sonata (1887-89) whose first movement was later revised and published as the op. 4 Allegro appassionato and whose original three movements never appeared in print until 1971. Stephen Coombs (piano). Hyperion CDA 67149 (England) 12D048 $17.98

IGNAZ STRASFOGEL (1909-1994): Scherzo No. 1, Franz Schreker Heft, FRANZ SCHREKER (1878-1934)/STRASFOGEL: Chamber Symphony. Strasfogel may be known to collectors through the disc of his piano works which appeared in Decca's Entartete Musik series; this remarkable "arrangement for concert performance on the piano" of his teacher Schreker's Chamber Symphony was done at the tender age of 15. It brilliantly reproduces the atmospheric effects of the orchestral original while offering a totally pianistic final product. The Heft is a seven-piece set of transcriptions (1926) intentionally simplified for publication in a popular circulation journal while the grotesque scherzo (1924) is another testimony to the teenager's brilliant pianism and compositional skills. Kolja Lessing (piano). Capriccio 10 873 (Germany) 12D049 $16.98

FERRUCCIO BUSONI (1866-1924): Große Konzertfantasie über "Merlin" von Karl Goldmark, Trauermarsch zu Siegfrieds Tod aus der "Gotterdäm-merung" von Richard Wagner, Kammer-Fantasie über "Carmen" von Georges Bizet, 6 Choral-Vorspiele für die Orgel von Johannes Brahms, Klaverstück Op. 11/2 von Arnold Schoenberg, BACH/BUSONI: Chaconne in D Minor, BEETHOVEN/BUSONI: Ecossaisen, WoO 83. World premiere recording of the 16-minute fantasy on themes from Goldmark's opera. Holger Groschopp (piano). Capriccio 10 896 (Germany) 12D050 $16.98

VIKTOR ULLMANN (1898-1944): Die Weise von Liebe und Tod des Cornets Christoph Rilke for Speaker and Piano, 5 Liebeslieder von Ricarda Huch, Op. 26, Gesänge nach Gedichten von Friedrich Hölderlin, Little Cakewalk. The setting of the turn-of-the-century Rilke poem (1944) is a 34-minute-long melodrama formed from a dense web of motif and theme combinations, using tone-painting elements and genre intonations (march, waltz, etc.) to help the characterization. German-English texts. Mitsuko Shirai (soprano), Elisabeth Verhoeven (speaker), Harmut Höll (piano). Capriccio 10 897 (Germany) 12D051 $16.98

RICHARD TOENSING (b.1940): Concerto for Flutes and Orchestra, Concerto for Flutes and Wind Ensemble, Fantasia (of Angels and Shepherds) for Cello and Percussion. As the composer's own instrument is the flute, it is not surpising to discover that he writes idiomatically and with complete assurance for it. A man of religious faith, fairly recently culminating in conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy as the final step in a spiritual odyssey, Toensing is concerned in his music with emotional contact with the listener and with beauty, though not without acknowledging the dramatic possibilities of conflict and confrontation. Predominantly tonal, especially in the more recent music, the works share a common characteristic of great clarity of line and directness of expression - the eloquent cello line of the Fantasia is especially memorable in this respect - and a colorful use of instrumental timbres, notably percussion. Leone Buyse (flutes), National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine; Theodore Kuchar, Carol Ou (cello), John Kinzie, Scott Higgins (percussion). CRI CD 883 (U.S.A.) 12D052 $17.98

JAMES ADLER (b.late 50s?): Memento mori: An AIDS Requiem. A genuinely moving and profound requiem for our time, Adler's work is tonal and approachable, and cast in the mold of the great Romantic requiems, tending more towards the elegiac than the operatically dramatic expression of Berlioz or Verdi, for example. Setting the traditional Latin text alongside poetry by Quentin Crisp among others, and traditiional Hebrew texts, the piece functions as a very personal act of remembrance for the victims of AIDS in particular, and of personal loss and suffering in general. Admirers of Britten's War Requiem will find the æsthetics and techniques of this requiem familiar, and as a heartfelt cry of protest against the senseless wastage of human life, albeit from a completely different cause, the emotional impact of the work is similar to the Britten. Comparisons are odious - let us just say that Adler's music succeeds admirably on its own terms, and provides a testament of great emotional power and sincerity. Máire O'Brien, Jane Dutton (sopranos), Victoria Livengood (mezzo), Neil Farrell (tenor), Steve Huffines (baritone), AmorArtis Chorale and Orchestra; Johannes Somary. Albany TROY 463 (U.S.A.) 12D053 $16.98

TIM THOMPSON (b. around1940?): Variations: Song of the Rain God for Chorus and Orchestra, A Song of Earth for Chorus and Orchestra. These two large works for orchestra with voices bring together myths and folklore from different cultures in a very postmodern, easily accessible format in which straightforward harmony and bouncy, sometimes world-beat rhythms rub shoulders without antagonism with bluesy and jazzy eloquence. The result is a highly approachable aesthetic, colorful and quasi-cinematic in its direct emotional appeal. BCC Singers, National Symphony of Hungary, Györ Symphony Orchestra; Matyas Antal. Centaur CRC 2557 (U.S.A.) 12D054 $16.98

GUNNER MØLLER PEDERSEN (b.1943): Die Rättin. As bizarre and surreal as the text of Günter Grass' novel of the end of time and the meaning of civilisation is, perhaps the only medium in which it could adequately be turned into an opera is one in which many styles collide and interact, as here. The work opens with a dreamscape, incorporating electronic elements, but elsewhere, straightforward narrative passages are sung in styles recalling classical and pre-classical models. The piece constantly shifts between disparate dreamscapes, which, in the manner of dreams, make perfect sense in themselves but have no connection to context outside their own content. In the end, one is left wondering who is dreaming whom. German libretto. Helle Hinz (soprano), Ulrik Cold (baritone), Sankt Nikolai Kirkes Kammerkor Nakskov, Ensemble Domino-Lolland; Peter Ettrup Larsen. Danacord DACOCD 591 (Denmark) 12D055 $16.98

GISLE KVERNDOKK (b.1967): Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra with Obligato String Sextet, JOHN CORIGLIANO (b.1938): Oboe Concerto, EDISON DENISOV (1929-1996): Oboe Concerto. Corigliano has always possessed a strong sense of tradition and there is a backbone of melodic thinking that runs through his major output, however polystylistically mulifaceted it may be. Like the Clarinet Concerto written two years later, the Oboe Concerto is a relatively traditional work. It contains an especially lovely slow movement interrupted by a spiky scherzo, and followed by another slow movement strongly reminiscent of Shostakovich, which provides a link to the Denisov work on the CD. This is another polystylistic work, but in this case the roots of the styles are clearly to be found in Russian Romanticism, folksong and church music. The soloist spins an extended monologue in a wintry landscape of economically utilised orchestral texture. Kverndokk studied with Corigliano, and shares his concerns with comprehensibility and communicativeness within a modernist framework. The soloist's role is to react and comment to stimuli provided by colorfully used instrumental groups within the orchestra, and the whole is an attractive blend of styles and influences. Steinar Hannevold (oboe), Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra; Dmitri Kitaienko. Simax PPC 9041 (Norway) 12D056 $18.98

ROBERTO ESCOBAR (b.1926): Torre de los Vientos for String Quartet, Cuarteto Estructural for String Quartet, Impresiones de Balabán for Violin and Piano, Prometheus for Reciter, Harp, Bassoon and Tam-Tam, Monodia de la Soledad I for Clarinet, Las Campanas de la Sal for Harpsichord. At least in the chamber works presented here, the composer seems drawn to extramusical inspiration for his pieces, which are nonetheless of considerably greater musical substance than the chance occasional events which suggested them might imply (for example, a piece which commemorates a meal with musical colleagues in St Louis is a striking violin and piano duo, somewhat Shostakovich-like). Elsewhere, Escobar's work in more modern idioms is more in evidence, in the tendency to employ unpitched sounds and microtonal glissandi as thematic elements of a composition. Despite the not infrequent atonality implied by these methods the music is surprisingly approachable, and the composer has an individual voice, or perhaps several, which seem to coexist in a coherent æsthetic, unified by the vivid depiction of their programmatic narrative. Various artists including Esterhazy Quartet. SVR SVR-REB-3006-14 (Chile) 12D057 $16.98

JURRIAAN ANDRIESSEN (1925-1996): Berkshire Symphonies, Piano Concerto, Flute Concerto. The son of composer Hendrik Andriessen, Jurriaan left a total of 731 works in every conceivable genre. Never an avant-gardist, Andriessen eschewed Second Viennese serialism and his works remain resolutely tonal but firmly anchored in the 20th century of such composers as Ibert, Stravinsky, Bartók, Poulenc and Milhaud. These three are all early works (1947-51) but they are identifiably in a personal style, one which employs rapidly ascending and descending scales as motifs throughout the orchestra, a constant rhythmic pulse and a rich, warm orchestration. Stravinskian rhythms are prevalent in the flute concerto and Bartókian harmonies pervade the slow movement of the piano concerto (while elsewhere there are jazz flirtations à la Milhaud), but the finest piece is the Berkshire Symphonies, written after a summer of study at Tanglewood under Copland and dedicated to Koussevitzky. It radiates the enthusiasm and joy of a young man freed from the devastation of his native country and discovering his place among the greatly talented of contemporary composers. Balanchine liked the score so much he used it for his ballet Jones Beach in 1950. This Dutch composer is someone from whom we need to hear more and soon! David Kuyken (piano), Eleonore Pameijer (flute), Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra; Alexander Vedernikov. NM Classics 92091 (Netherlands) 12D058 $17.98

CARLOS RIESCO (b.1925): 4 Dances for Orchestra, Sinfonía de Profundis for Voice and Orchestra, Piano Concerto, Passacaglia and Fugue for String Orchestra, Mortal mantenimiento for Voice and Orchestra, Serenade for Orchestra, Violin Concerto. Riesco's most important influences are Copland, Nadia Boulanger and Messiaen and his music can basically be described as neo-classical although such later works as the Sinfonia de Profundis and the Mortal mantenimiento (from 1982-85) stretch a generally tonal language into the realms of expressive dissonance. The early Serenade (1949) and 4 Dances (1951) are lovely, tuneful works in the style of French neo-classicism. The violin concerto (also 1951) is generally lyrical as well while the piano concerto (1965) is more stern, Bartokian in its percussiveness. Mono-stereo radio recordings from 1958-1992. 2 CDs. Rosario Cristo (contralto), Elvira Savi (piano), Miryam Singer (soprano), Alvaro Gómez (violin), Chile Symphony Orchestra; Werner Torkanowsky, Juan Carlos Zorzi, Lothar Koenigs, Luis Herrera de la Fuente, Agustín Cullel, Victor Tevah. SVR ABA-SVR-900000-6 (Chile) 12D059 $33.98

GUILLERMO RIFO: Tobalahue for Flute and String Orchestra, MARINHO BOFFA: Garotinho for Flute, Piano, String Quartet and Electric Bass, GUILLERMO ROJAS: Caliche for Flute and String Orchestra, JUAN CRISTOBAL MEZA: Dúo for Flute and Cello, CARLOS ZAMORA: Pieza de Concierto for Flute and Strings, JUAN MOURAS: Constelaciones Andinas for Flute, Oboe, Guitar and String Quintet, ALBERTO GINASTERA (1916-1983): Impresiones de la Puna for Flute and String Quartet. With the exception of the Boffa (a jazzy 5-minute piece) and the Ginastera (whose provenance is the other side of the Andes), all of these pieces evoke Andean folk music and folk instruments (there were various flute-like instruments used by the native inhabitants of the area). The only "extended playing techniques" used are those which imitate native wind instruments; otherwise, the music provides a great variety of Latin American/Indian rhythms and forms and its folk origins or influences are clearly present on every page of these bright and attractive scores. Hernán Jara (flute), orchestra; Guillermo Rifo. EM Edición 003 (Chile) 12D060 $16.98

HEATHER SCHMIDT (b.1975): Cello Concerto, CHRISTOS HATZIS: Confessional for Cello and Orchestra, KELLY-MARIE MURPHY: This is the Colour of My Dreams for Cello and Orchestra, KA NIN CHAN: Soulmate for Cello and Orchestra. A very attractive program of new, tonal works for cello and orchestra - all written for this soloist. Schmidt's work is the only one in tradtional form although she admits to its containing a wide variety of pictorial and emotional associations for her and the piece is certainly vivid in its interchange of motifs, attractive melodies and dynamic range. Hatzis' Confessional is a single-movement work of 21 minutes which uses a Byzantine chant as a theme from which an eventful journey is made by the soloist in search of a transcendance which ultimately comes from a return to the beginning. Often meditative, the solo line is supported (and sometimes interrupted) by very colorful orchestration and the journey sometimes comes close the bizarre. The other two pieces are short: Murphy's nine-minute piece is a phantasmagorically vivid piece which comes off like a concerto for orchestra with obbligato cello while Chan's six-minute Soulmate is an emotionally eloquent little showpiece for the cello. Shauna Rolston (cello), CBC Radio Orchestra; Mario Bernardi. CBC SMCD 5214 (Canada) 12D061 $16.98

JAIME M. ZENAMON (b.1953): Carisma, Op. 91, CARLO DOMENICONI (b.1947): Oyun, ROLAND DYENS (b.1955): Concertomaggio. Zenamon's single-movement, 20-minute work is written in a tonal language which recalls Villa-Lobos, thoroughly tuneful and conservative without being reactionary. Much of Domeniconi's music has Turkish influences; Oyun is Turkish for "game" and "dance" and its four movements are colorful and, of course, tonal. Dyens' piece is in three movements, dedicated respectively to Ravel, Sor and Piazzola (and the second movement also contains ingenious workings out of the German and Canadian national anthems - the home countries of the husband-and-wife guitar duo who are the soloists). Amadeus Guitar Duo, Kurpfälzisches Chamber Orchestra; Jiri Malát. Hänssler Classic CD 98.389 (Germany) 12D062 $16.98

Rare Czech Operas on SUPRAPHON

at lower than usual prices!!

ANTONÍN DVORÁK (1841-1904): The Jacobin, Op. 84. A comic opera from 1889 and revised in 1898, The Jacobin is through-composed like most of Dvorák's works in this genre with the composer making use of and developing recurrent motifs throughout. The sentimentality of the action and its outcome allowed Dvorák to produce his finest open-hearted lyricism; this recording of the revised version offers a richer, slightly Wagnerian coloring in comparison to the first version. Czech-English libretto. 2 CDs. Marcela Machotková (soprano), Vilém Pribyl (tenor), Václav Zítek (baritone), Karel Prusa (bass), Kantiléna Children's Chorus, Kühn Mixed Chorus, Brno State Philharmonic Orchestra; Jirí Pinkas. Supraphon 11 2190-2 (Czech Republic) 12D063 $27.98

ANTONÍN DVORÁK (1841-1904): Vanda, Op. 25. This 1876 romantic opera is based on the well-known legend of the Polish queen who vows to drown herself in the Vistula in return for her people's deliverance from the German invader. Meyerbeer, Gounod and Wagner are influences but Dvorák's own musical personality is present throughout and his handling of recurrent motifs and his excellence at building large structures, especially with chorus, help to build the tension dramatically. A 1951 radio recording which suffers from the damaged tape in severalplaces but which remains a valuable document both of this opera and of a forgotten generation of Czech performers. Czech-English libretto. 2 CDs. Mono. Drahomíra Tikalová (soprano), Beno Blachut (tenor), Karel Kalas (bass), Prague Radio Chorus and Orchestra; Frantisek Dyk. Supraphon SU 3007-2 (Czech Republic) 12D064 $27.98

ANTONÍN DVORÁK (1841-1904): The Cunning Peasant, Op. 37. Dating from 1878, this comic opera has a plot closely following the Beaumarchais-Da Ponte Figaro and a pair of lovers closely resembling Jeník and Marenka of The Bartered Bride. However, the music is entirely characteristic of Dvorák and his melodic inspiration never flags although in service of a libretto which vacillates between rural Czech idyll, critical depiction of peasant coarseness and stupidity and condemnation of upper-class immorality. Czech-English libretto. 2 CDs. Eva Depoltová (soprano), Václav Zítek (baritone), Leo Marian Vodicka (tenor), Josef Kundlák (tenor), Prague Radio Chorus and Symphony Orchestra; Frantisek Vajnar. Supraphon SU 0019-2 (Czech Republic) 12D065 $27.98

ANTONÍN DVORÁK (1841-1904): King and Charcoal Burner, Op. 14. Originally composed in 1871, this, Dvorák's second opera, received two revisions, the last being in 1887 and further modifcations and cuts were made in it for this 1989 recording for Czech television (the libretto in the box is complete; the portions not recorded are printed in blue). The first version was harmonically adventurous and incorporated Wagnerian elements; the second and last versions are substantially different and in a simpler style, more Lortzing than Wagner. Czech-English libretto. René Tucek (baritone), Miroslav Kopp (tenor), Jitka Svobodová (soprano), Dalibor Jedlicka (bass), Prague National Theatre Chorus and Orchestra; Josef Chaloupka. Supraphon SU 3078-2 (Czech Republic) 12D066 $13.98

ANTONÍN DVORÁK (1841-1904): Kate and the Devil, Op. 112. Based on a Czech folk-tale, Kate (1899) preceded Rusalka and was likewise a great success. Unique in Czech comic opera for its lack of a love interest, the story tells of an overbearing village girl who, ignored at the village dance, is taken up when she offers to dance even with the Devil. The second act, in Hell, involves the fed-up Lucifer's attempts to get rid of the larger-than-life Kate, which is finally accomplished with the help of the shepherd Jirka who has come down after her. The overture is a mini-tone-poem in its own right and each of the two other acts also opens with an orchestral interlude. Two dances also enliven the proceedings in which the characterization of the major characters is razor-sharp, the set pieces effective (the word-setting anticipates Janácek) and the simplicity of the melodic writing (much use of bagpipe effects) looks back to Dvorák's earlier comic operas. Czech-English libretto. 2 CDs. Anna Barová (mezzo), Milos Jezil (tenor), Richard Novák (bass), Brno Janácek Opera Chorus and Orchestra; Jirí Pinkas. Supraphon 11 1800-2 (Czech Republic) 12D067 $27.98

VILÉM BLODEK (1834-1874): In the Well. Premiered in 1867, In the Well has a libretto by Karel Sabina, who supplied Smetana with The Bartered Bride the year before. Like that one (and like others he would supply to other composers later), it features a shrewd character (here the village "witch") who helps a young couple to get married and to frustrate the plans of an unwanted suitor. Through-composed, with no dialogue, this 66-minute work has a simple, uncomplicatedly tuneful style with local color especially evident in the choral numbers while its nocturnal, romantic mood owes as much to Nicolai or Lortzing as to Smetana. Czech-English libretto. Daniela Sounová (soprano), Vojtech Kocián (tenor), Karel Berman (bass), Libuse Márová (contralto), Kühn Mixed Choir, Prague National Theatre Orchestra; Jan Stych. Supraphon SU 0033-2 (Czech Republic) 12D068 $13.98

ZDENEK FIBICH (1850-1900): The Bride of Messina. Dating from 1883, this is Fibich's most Wagnerian opera but it is also one without arias, duets or other purely operatic numbers as two choruses (retinues of the two brothers who are main characters) provide the only ensembles and have both a dramatic and narrative role. Its gloomy story, somber scoring and severe style are intellectually compelling but did not make the work a popular success. 2 CDs. Czech-English libretto. Libuse Márová (alto), Václav Zítek (baritone), Ivo Zídek (tenor), Gabriela Benacková (soprano), Prague National Theatre Chorus and Orchesta; Frantisek Jílek. Supraphon 11 1492 (Czech Republic) 12D069 $27.98

BEDRICH SMETANA (1824-1884): The Two Widows. Coming after the weighty, historical operas Dalibor and Libuse, The Two Widows (1874, here in its final version of 1877) was a return to the light, idyllic Bohemian countryside - the world of The Bartered Bride. The translation of the booklet-notes calls it "the first Czech sitcom opera", amusing in itself, but the libretto's witty dialogue and its conversational style (Smetana's best setting of the Czech language up to that time) do the anachronism some justice. Its tale of two young widows, one full of life, the other full of death and the young suitor who loves the latter and the means by which the two are united in love provides an opera glowing with the delight of the summer day on which the action takes place. While The Two Widows does not reach the stature of The Bartered Bride for its "Czechness", it is a delightful work which deserves a place on the stage today. Czech-English libretto. 2 CDs. Nada Sormová, Marcela Machotková (sopranos), Jirí Zahradnícek (tenor), Jaroslav Horácek (bass), Prague National Theatre Chorus and Orchestra; Frantisek Jílek. Supraphon 11 2122-2 (Czech Republic) 12D070 $27.98

BEDRICH SMETANA (1824-1884): The Devil's Wall. Smetana's last opera, The Devil's Wall was written amidst great suffering and was premiered in late 1882. The protagonist, a 13th century nobleman who was rejected by the woman he loved many years before, was a character with whom the composer strongly identified in his own isolation and he provided some of his most poignant music for him; the motif of late happiness was also present in The Two Widows, The Kiss and The Secret. The libretto is somewhat confused (Smetana had asked for a comedy and the piece is still described as a "comic-romantic opera) and the work uneven from a dramatic standpoint but it mixes elements of light humor and charming romance with the ominous presence of a devil with music which is predominantly lyrical. This 1960 stereo recording features a fine Czech baritone noted for his wide vocal range and velvety tone and a soprano who was legendary for her Rusalka, both under the greatly underappreciated Chalabala. Czech-English libretto. 2 CDs. Václav Bednár (baritone), Ivo Zídek (tenor), Milada Subrtová (soprano), Prague National Theatre Chorus and Orchestra; Zdenek Chalabala. Supraphon 11 2201-2 (Czech Republic) 12D071 $27.98

BEDRICH SMETANA (1824-1884): The Kiss. The premiere in 1871 was the happiest and most successful of all Smetana's operas and The Kiss became second only to The Bartered Bride in its popularity. The first work since the composer's total deafness, it is fervently lyrical and features enough folk-like tunes to be described as a "folk opera". The motif of late happiness - a widower woos and wins his first love - is characteristic of Smetana's late works (and those of other Czech composers as well) and was to be echoed in his next opera, The Secret. Czech-English libretto. 2 CDs. Leo Marian Vodicka (tenor), Eva Depoltová (soprano), Eduard Haken (bass), Brno Janácek Opera Chorus and Orchestra; Frantisek Vajnar. Supraphon 11 2180-2 (Czech Republic) 12D072 $27.98

BEDRICH SMETANA (1824-1884): The Secret, Viola. Like Dalibor below, The Secret (1878) is almost entirely monothematic and, in its story of a secret which is actually known to all of the villagers, contains many of the same ingredients as The Kiss as well as the same gentle lyricism, early love recovered late and message of reconciliation. Also contained on the second disc are the surviving fragments (14 minutes) of Viola, a setting of Twelfth Night which the composer started on in 1883 but which he was unable to complete due to the illness which would claim his life less than a year later. Czech-English libretto. 2 CDs. Daniela Sounová (soprano), Vera Soukupová (alto), Leo Marian Vodicka (tenor), Viola (fragment), Marie Veselá, Drahomíra Drobková (mezzos), Prague National Theatre Chorus and Orchestra; Zdenek Kosler. Supraphon 11 2177-2 (Czech Republic) 12D073 $27.98

BEDRICH SMETANA (1824-1884): Dalibor. After the sunny The Bartered Bride, Dalibor proved a surprise with its gloomy Gothic atmosphere and impassioned feel. Set in 15-th century Prague, the opera was criticized for being a Czech Fidelio due to the character Milada's Leonore-like attempt to rescue Dalibor from prison but the resemblance is superficial. The monothematicism and use of recurring leitmotivs is closer to Liszt and early Wagner. 1967 recording. Czech-English libretto. 2 CDs. Vilém Pribyl (tenor), Nadezda Kniplová (soprano), Jindrich Jindrák (baritone), Prague National Theatre Chorus and Orchestra; Jaroslav Krombholc. Supraphon 11 2185-2 (Czech Republic) 12D074 $27.98

JOSEF BOHUSLAV FOERSTER (1859-1951): Eva. The second of Foerster's six operas and the only one known at all anymore, Eva (1895-7) is a realistic and psychological drama (based upon a stage play about the love between a poor seamstress and the son of a wealthy landlord, and whose successor formed the basis for Janácek's Jenufa). If Jenufa is a sort of "Moravian verismo", Eva is closer to the French lyric drama of, say, Massenet as local color (the play was in a country dialect which Foerster recast into regular Czech) is subdued in favor of characterization through traditional European operatic forms. Czech-English libretto. 2 CDs. Eva Depoltová (soprano), Leo Marian Vodicka (tenor), Prague Radio Chorus and Symphony Orchestra; Frantisek Vajnar. Supraphon SU 3001-2 (Czech Republic) 12D075 $27.98

Excerpts from the operas Rusalka, The Devil's Wall, In the Well, Libuse, Eva, Don Giovanni, The Queen of Spades, Les contes d'Hoffman, Louise, La traviata and Un ballo in maschera. Historic recordings (1954-66) of one of the Prague National Theatres important sopranos (including 13 minutes of an earlier, 1955 recording of Eva), over half of which consists of Czech repertoire. Milada Subrtová (soprano), various Prague orchestras and conductors. Supraphon SU 3409-2 (Czech Republic) 12D076 $13.98

KAREL KOVAROVIC (1862-1920): The Dogheads. Amazingly enough, The Dogheads ran head-to-head for many years with Smetana's The Bartered Bride as the most performed opera in the Czech lands. The work's popularity led to its composer becoming head of the National Theatre in 1900 and his efforts on behalf of Czech opera (as well as Wagner and Richard Strauss) was crucial in establishing the theatre for the coming decades. As a conductor, Kovarovic knew well what worked on stage and, while he is not as original as his compatriots Fibich, Janácek, Dvorák and Smetana, his operas tended to have excellent success. Premiered in 1898, The Dogheads is based on a 1695 peasant revolt against a German landowner and its first act has a fine village festival scene which lasts for 14 minutes. But Delibes and Massenet and verismo were as much a part of his language as things Bohemian and French-style music is used the characterize the aristocrats and elements of folk music for the rustic Czech country people. A 1961 radio recording. Czech-English libretto. 2 CDs. Mono. Beno Blachut (tenor), Drahomíra Tikalová (soprano), Marta Krásová (contralto), Pavel Haderer (bass), Prague Radio Choir and Symphony Orchestra; Frantisek Dyk. Supraphon SU 3357-2 (Czech Republic) 12D077 $27.98

LEOS JANÁCEK (1854-1928): The Excursions of Mr. Broucek. Janácek's only comic opera, Excursions had a complicated and long compositional history, ten years passing from beginning to completion - a time when the composer's style changed into what we recognize as his late style - leaving an impression of unevenness and inconsistency. The title character is a stout, bourgeois philistine whose regular nightly beer-fests at his favorite local pub lead to two drunken dreams in which he journeys first to the moon and then to the 15th century during the Hussite wars. A slow waltz is the unifying musical motif and Janácek's famous musical speech setting is present (though not throughout); the Czech Janácek scholar who provides the notes suggests that the work can be appreciated as an ancestor of the musical. Czech-English libretto. 2 CDs. Vilém Pribyl (tenor), Jana Jonásová (soprano), Richard Novák (bass), Czech Philharmonic Chorus and Orchestra; Frantisek Jílek. Supraphon 11 2153-2 (Czech Republic) 12D078 $27.98

ALOIS HÁBA (1893-1973): Mother, Op. 35. This composer, famous for his microtonal works, was a student of Novák and Schreker although Schoenberg and Busoni influenced him toward semitonal and microtonal composition. Mother (1927-29) is in the quarter-tone system but its musical roots are in rural Moravian society. There are no motifs and the music flows smoothly through its ten scenes (there is a lovely folk scene which uses traditional prayers and dirges) in a broadly lyrical fashion with orchestration which approaches chamber-quality in its spareness and transparency. Czech-English libretto. 2 CDs. Oldrich Spisar (tenor), Vlasta Urbanová (soprano), Prague National Theatre Chorus and Orchestra; Jirí Jirous, Jirí Pokorny (quarter-tone piano). Supraphon 10 8258-2 (Czech Republic) 12D079 $27.98

Important earlier Supraphon recordings of favorite operas

LEOS JANÁCEK (1854-1928): Jenufa. Conductor Vogel (1894-1970) was known as a Janácek specialist while the composer was still alive. He was a highly intellectual artist who wrote an important monograph on Janácek and, like Kovarovic above, also a composer. His life-long devotion to the composer makes his interpretations historically valuable; in addition, soprano Jelínková (1911-1996) was known primarily for her Jenufa and tenors Blachut and Zídek are heard in their youthful prime in this 1953 recording. Czech-English libretto. 2 CDs. Mono. Stepánka Jelínková (soprano), Beno Blachut, Ivo Zídek (tenors), Marta Krásová (soprano), Prague National Theatre Chorus and Orchestra; Jaroslav Vogel. Supraphon SU 3331-2 (Czech Republic) 12D080 $27.98

LEOS JANÁCEK (1854-1928): The Cunning Little Vixen. Gregor took over Vogel's Janácek productions at the National Theatre and gained a good reputation with the composer's operas both there and later, in Brno. Tattermuschová was a member of the National Theatre for over 30 years and her lyric coloratura capabilities made her outstanding not only as the Vixen but also as Papagena, Zerlina and Susanna. Czech-English libretto. 2 CDs. Helena Tattermuschová (soprano), Zdenek Kroupa (bass), Prague National Theatre Chorus and Orchestra; Bohumil Gregor. Supraphon SU 3071-2 (Czech Republic) 12D081 $27.98

ANTONÍN DVORÁK (1841-1904): Rusalka, Op. 114. Anyone who has heard Chalabala's recordings of this composer's tone-poems know their fire and colorful vigor. This 1961 recording features the most famous Rusalka of her generation. Czech-English libretto. 2 CDs. Milada Subrtová (soprano), Marie Ovcacíková (alto), Ivo Zídek (tenor), Eduard Haken (bass), Prague National Theatre Chorus and Orchestra; Zdenek Chalabala. Supraphon SU 0013-2 (Czech Republic) 12D082 $27.98

BEDRICH SMETANA (1824-1884): The Bartered Bride. Tikalová (b.1915) had been singing Marenka for 16 years when this recording was made in 1959 and her collaborations in the role with Chalabala were always noted for their emotionality and dramatic tension. Czech-English libretto. 2 CDs. Drahomíra Tikalová (soprano), Oldrich Kovár (tenor), Jaroslav Horacek (bass), Prague National Theatre Chorus and Orchestra; Zdenek Chalabala. Supraphon SU 0040-2 (Czech Republic) 12D083 $27.98

BOHUSLAV MARTINU (1890-1959): The Marriage. This setting of a Gogol short story was done for NBC television's "Opera Theater" in 1953 and he produced a light, "number opera" full of Mozartian ensemble scenes which deals with three suitors competing for the hand of a single woman. The orchestra is chamber-sized and the music is a rich mixture of styles and procedures as Martinu drew upon a lifetime's musical experiences. Czech-English libretto. Vladimír Bauer (baritone), Libuse Lesmanová (mezzo), Jaroslav Ulrych (tenor), Brno Janácek Opera Chorus and Orchestra; Václav Nosek. Supraphon SU 3379-2 (Czech Republic) 12D084 $13.98

BOHUSLAV MARTINU (1890-1959): Les Trois Souhaits. Dating from 1929, "The Three Wishes" is an experimental mixture of film and stage action in which a fairy offers three wishes to a middle-aged couple; the wishes are sometimes projected onto a screen during a fantastic dream-like progression of scenes. Martinu's first decade in Paris was one of eclecticism and a strong jazz element (saxophones and banjo) mingles with contemporary popular music techniques, barbershop quartet vocal styles and accordion playing. Czech-French libretto. Jaroslav Soucek (baritone), Jirina Martová (soprano), Zdenek Smukar (tenor), Brno Janácek Opera Chorus and Orchestra; Václav Nosek. Supraphon SU 3103-2 (Czech Republic) 12D085 $13.98

DIMITAR NENOV (1902-1953): Concerto for Piano and Large Orchestra, Toccata (orch. L. Nikorov). Nenov was a professional architect (a follower of Gropius' Bauhaus school) as well as a brilliant pianist and composer who has been eclipsed for political reasons in his native Bulgaria. This concerto (1936) is a large, one-movement work of 40 minutes which contains four easily recognizable sections within it - a form indebted to Liszt - and in a language influenced perhaps above all by Scriabin but also by the early Schoenberg, Prokofiev and Mahler (and Bulgarian folk elements are found throughout also, but especially in the closing sections reminiscences of celebratory bells). Nenov's student, Lazar Nikolov, orchestrated the 1939 solo piano Toccata for orchestra, turning it into a vividly colorful display piece of eight pulsating minutes. Anton Dikov (piano), Rousse Philharmonic Orchestra; Alipi Naidenov. Gega GD 258 (Bulgaria) 12D086 $16.98

GRAZYNA BACEWICZ (1909-1969): 10 Etudes, Sonata No. 2, Scherzo.Vivace, Rondino, Sonatina, Children's Suite, 3 Burlesken, 2 Etudes, Kleines Triptychon. This release contains all of Bacewicz' published solo piano output (other piano pieces have not been released for publication or performance by her sister) and they show a fairly consistent voice: the earliest items (Children's Suite of 1933 and the Burlesken of 1935) are in a slightly astringent neo-classical style which evolved into the mature works whose atonality is still informed by a brittle lyricism in slower pieces while a preoccupation with toccata-like figuration predominates elsewhere. Ewa Kupiec (piano). Hänssler Classic CD 93.034 (Germany) 12D087 $16.98

GEORGY DMITRIEV (b.1942): In the Spirit of Hermann Hesse for Saxophone Quartet, Warsaw Fantasy for Violin and Piano, Stained Glass for Oboe,Clarinet, Alto Sax and Bassoon, Nicolo for Violin and Piano, Adagio for UPIC. Dmitriev's saxophone quartet veers alarmingly between the spirit of Milhaud, the sort of small-ensemble writing that has come to typify much Dutch new music in recent years, and a Schnittke-like abandon in throwing musical ideas and fragments around. The two violin works are more uniformly neo-romantic in style, and especially in the case of the homage to Paganini, could easily enter the violin repertoire alongside established 20th-century violin works by Bartók, Prokofiev, Enescu and Shostakovich. The range of the composer's output is further established by the Adagio written for Xenakis' electronic music system UPIC, in which gliding tones and slowly cumulative textures suggest unformed, natural forces at work. Kiev Saxophone Quartet, Wind Soloists of the USSR State Academic Symphony Orchestra and other soloists. Boheme CDBMR 008150 (Russia) 12D088 $16.98

SOFIA GUBAIDULINA (b.1931): Johannes-Passion. This was written for the year 2000, in remembrance of the 250th anniversary of J.S. Bach's death. It combines the narrative of Christ's suffering with St John the Divine's vision of the Last Judgment. Written in Russian, it is a large-scale work featuring all Russian performers, and an orchestra with a substantial percussion section, which now and then imitates the sound of Russian bells. Gubaidulina can be off-the-wall at times, but here she has created a very emotionally effective work, which should appeal to anyone whose tastes run to late romantic or modern music. The performance couldn't be better or more Slavic sounding. This is a live recording, but the audience is very quiet, and must have been totally captivated by this piece. You will be too! 2 CDs. German-English texts. Natialia Korneva (soprano), Viktor Lutsiuk (tenor), Fedor Mozhaev (baritone), Genady Bezzubenkov (bass), St. Petersburg Chamber Choir, Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre St. Petersburg; Valery Gergiev. Hännsler Classic CD 98.405 (Germany) 12D089 $26.98

SOFIA GUBAIDULINA (b.1931): Quaternion for Cello Quartet, 10 Preludes for Solo Cello, In croce for Cello and Organ. Quaternion (1996) receives its world premiere recording here - a 22-and-a-half minute work for cello quartet in which two instruments are tuned a microtone below the others to achieve a "shadow" effect similar to that in the String Quartet No. 4. Typically, the instruments are used in unconventional ways to produce a new sound-world, a juxtaposition of "existence" and "spiritual essence" with the former produced by stopped notes and the latter by harmonics produced on the same string but without pressure. Similarly, the 1974 Preludes exploit non-traditional playing techniques to achieve a detailed representation of emotional states via new coloristic means. Alexander Ivashkin (cello), Malcolm Hicks (organ), Natalia Pavlutskaya, Rachel Johnson, Miranda Wilson (cellos). Chandos 9958 (England) 12D090 $16.98

LARRY SITSKY (b.1934): Gurdjieff: Violin Concerto No. 2, De Profundis for Double String Quartet, Percussion and Baritone, Fantasia No. 2 for Piano, Petra for Piano. The 1983 concerto, inspired by the enigmatic philosopher and (as Records International customers know him) folk-song collector George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff, is a seven-movement work in which long paragraphs of Central Asian melody are joined by networks of dissonant counterpoint in a compelling mixture of East and West. The setting of Oscar Wilde's De Profundis is also in seven sections, with Wilde's words lifted out of context (texts are included) and arranged into a "new coherence" while the instrumentalists support the baritone in an expressive and conventional manner. The two short piano pieces are further examples of Sitsky's skill at belnding neo-Romanticism with more unusual compositional techniques. Jan Sedivka (violin), Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra; Omri Hadari, Petra String Quartet, Canberra School of Music Quartet, Lyall Bevan (baritone), Graeme Leak (percussion), Larry Sitsky (piano). Move Records MD 3084 (Australia) 12D091 $14.98

GEORGE DREYFUS (b.1928): Symphony No. 1, Symphony No. 2, Sextet for Didjeridu and Wind Instruments. The sextet is remarkable for the manner in which Dreyfus incorporates an instrument which can only play at one pitch and which is essentially a rhythm instrument. He does so by creating a web of chromatic sonorities for the wind quintet which moves through three sections of metamorphoses against which the didjeridu soloist plays wholely ad libitum - he has no notated part. It's odd to realize that such a work as the first symphony (1967) could have excited such negative commentary from the musical establishment which at that time in Australia, as elsewhere in the western world, was hide-bound in homage to sterile complexicism of the Darmstadt variety. After all, neither this nor the second symphony of ten years later is exactly tuneful and romantic; although the composer renounced academic serialism, his choice of materials and methods is unmistakeably modern. Melodic fragments are worked out and distorted in various ways, rhythmically, harmonically, to produce works of great intensity and concentration and of more than a little interest if one gives them a chance. Melbourne Symphony Orchestra; Ladislav Slovak, David Measham, Adelaide Wind Quintet, George Winunguj (didjeridu). Move Records/Southern Cross SCCD 1024 (Australia) 12D092 $14.98

TONY GOULD (b.1940): Chronicle for Violin, Viola, Piano and String Orchestra, The Subtlety of Time for Saxophone and String Orchestra, Wind Terrace for Flute Choir, The Poetry of Music for Piano, Celesta, Vibraphone, Marimba, Drum, Flutes, Oboe, Cor anglais, Double Bass and Bass Clarinet., Music from the films The Living Soil and Plants in Action. Gould works as both performer and composer in both classical and jazz circles and the two works for orchestra here involve combining the two genres; Chronicle has a second movement in which the pianist improvises and in The Subtlety of Time, it's the saxophonist. Wind Terrace offers flutes you've never heard before (contrabass and octabass flutes?) and the sheer variety makes this sound like wind band music, not just massed flutes. The documentary film scores (short films of nine nad ten minutes) are vivid enough that you can imagine the stop-motion and time-elapse photography yourself. Various Artists incl. Geminiani Orchestra; Tony Gould. Move Records MD 3146 (Australia) 12D093 $14.98

BRENTON BROADSTOCK (b.1952): For Piano: In the Silence of Night, Aureole 4, Dying of the Light, String Quartet No. 2, Clear Flame Within for Cello and Piano, Aureole 3 for Recorder and Harpsichord, Bright Tracks for Soprano and String Trio, At the Going Down of the Sun for Trumpet and Organ, All That is Solid Melts into Air for Alto Flute, Bass Clarinet and Piano, Fourteenth Station of the Cross for Choir, Beast from Air for Trombone and Percussion, I Touched Your Glistening Tears... for Soprano Saxophone and Piano. Those of you who made the Broadstock symphony box-set (05C080) such an unexpected success last May will find more of this outstanding composer's unique voice in the majority of these pieces. Richly lyrical and generally modal, Broadstock composes in arches which attain a climax (the "Golden Mean") roughly two thirds of the way through before returning to the mood of the beginning. One striking earlier piece here is the 1984 Beast from Air, an impassioned protest against French nuclear testing in the SouthPacific, which evokes the danger of nuclear fallout through stabbing percussion and grating trombone. The booklet is a work of art in itself and provides a plethora of very interesting information on the composer as well as on the works recorded here. 2 CDs. Various Artists incl. Petra String Quartet, Josephine Tan, Ian Holtham, Linda Kouvaras (piano). Move Records MD 3204 (Australia) 12D094 $29.98

PETER SCULTHORPE (b.1929): Four Little Pieces for Piano Duet, Callabonna, Night Pieces, Mountains, Djilile, Rose Bay Quadrilles, Nocturnal, Sonatina, Koto I, Koto II, Landscape, 2 Easy Pieces. The majority of this release is a reissue of a 1976 recording issued on LP in Australia in 1981. Thus, it offers an earlier Sculthorpe than many of the recent releases of this composer's music. The Sonatina (1954) was his first acknowledged piano work and it, Callabona and Night Pieces show his early engagement with the patterns of aboriginal music. Landscape and the Koto pieces (from the 1970s) come from his period of interest in Asian idioms while Mountains, Djilile and Nocturnal (from the 80s) are representative of his latest phase which may best be known from the powerful melancholy of the orchestral works Mangrove and Earth Cry. Max Cooke & Darryl Coote (piano duet), Linda Kouvaras, Robert Chamberlain, Gudrun Beilharz, Alex Furman, Michael Hannan, Peter Sculthorpe (piano). Move Records MD 3031 (Australia) 12D095 $14.98

LINDA KOUVARAS: The Ormond Collection, 3 St. Kilda Sketches, Bundanon Suite. These suites of piano pieces have an improvisational character; suggested as they are by physical locations (a Melbourne college and suburb and a working farm), they are in no particular way pictorial. Instead, they seem to evoke states of mind conjured up by the places. The language is tonal, forms are free and there is often a dreamy, brooding or ecstatic quality to them. Linda Kouvaras (piano). Move Records MD 3233 (Australia) 12D096 $14.98

SONNY CHUA: Red Hot Rhapsodies, Genesis, Scenes of Childhood, Assorted Fairies, Sonatina, Theme and 12 Variations. Chua was born in Malaysia and now lives in Australia. His music makes "eclectic" sound like too narrow an adjective: classical, pop, jazz, rock, folk, techno - all these and more are used in these brief (42 pieces on the disc in all), humorous, sometimes manic works which display an accumulation and assimilation of seemingly incongruous ideas and which careen between numerous genres in a Marx Brotherish madness which can only make the listener grin in disbelief (and push the Replay button to see if he heard what he thought he just heard). Sample titles: "Transylvanian Romp", "Dungeon Master", "Death by Pasta" and "Around the World in Two Minutes... or Less". Sonny Chua (piano). Move Records MD 3230 (Australia) 12D097 $14.98

PETER TAHOURDIN (b.1928): Dialogue No. 1 for Violin and Piano, Raga Music 1 - The Starlight Night for Soprano, Flutes, Violin, Cello and Percussion, Dialogue No. 4 for Trombone and Percussion, Songs of Love and Fortune for Baritone and Piano, Raga Music 4 - For Two for Bass Clarinet and Percussion, Exposé for Piano. The two Raga Musics here are based on the structural principles of that Hindustani musical form which extends and elaborates upon a musical idea heard at the beginning of the work (no Indian music or imitation thereof is used). The Dialogues are freely atonal discussions between two instrumental voices; Songs of Love and Fortune set five of the Carmina Burana (in English translations) in a similar style while Exposé explores like territory for solo piano. Various artists. Move Records MD 3205 (Australia) 12D098 $14.98

MICHAEL WHITICKER (b.mid 1950s?): Quidong for Oboe/Cor anglais, Guitar and Percussion, Redror for Alto Saxophone and Percussion, In Prison Air for Guitar and Tape, Ad Parnassum for Flute, Mandolin, Guitar, Harp, Percussion, Violin, Viola and Double Bass, Tulku for Guitar, On Slanting Ground for Clarinet and Tape. Studies in dynamics and color, these ensemble pieces make use of aspects of musical culture as disparate as Korean traditional music and the European avant-garde. It may also not be too fanciful to detect a certain Australian-ness in the wide open textures, suggesting the huge landscapes and struck and blown instruments the sounds of which travel in the open air, of aboriginal music. But this is not unsophisticated music - it derives a visceral excitement from its unashamed use of driving percussion (before pursuing conservatory training, Whiticker had a successful career as a rock musician, which may have led to an absence of shyness in his mode of expression), while exploring complex rhythms and tuning intervals (including electronically processed sound) typical of Darmstadt-type thinking. Eclectic it may be, but also very personal and intensely communicative, and amply capable of repaying close attention. Libra Contemporary Ensemble. Move Records MD 3183 (Australia) 12D099 $14.98

ROBERT LLOYD (b.late 1950s?): Feral, Bold New Buildings, Nullarbor. Lloyd appears to be well-known in dance circles and these are kinetic, brightly colored dance scores which have a propellant energy based on minimalism and Balinese gamelan music. Feral uses both keyboards and percussion and its apparent simplicity and repetition hide multiple layers of rhythmic patterns woven into a complex web of sound. Bold New Buildings uses keyboards only but they are also used to produce percussion sounds; Nullarbor (the name of hte great southwestern Australian desert) uses octabans and timbales to evoke the harsh, brittle atmosphere of the desert. Hypnotic and evocative, this music will appeal to minimalists but also to those with a taste for exotic percussion colors. Robert Lloyd (keyboards, percussion, octabans), Leigh Giles (vibraphone, percussion, octabans), Natasha Moszenin, Peter Overall , Brendan Fitzgerald, Stephen Strahle (keyboards), David Montgomery (timbales). Move Records MD 3171 (Australia) 12D100 $14.98

LARRY SITSKY (b.1934): Arch (Fantasia No. 4), Fantasia No. 1 (In Memory of Egon Petrie), HELEN GIFFORD: Cantillation, The Spell, MARY MAGEAU: Elite Syncopations, LAWRENCE WHIFFIN: Prelude, KEITH HUMBLE: Sonata 1, Sonata 2, HAYDN REEDER: Masks, NIGEL BUTTERLEY: Uttering Joyous Leaves, JOHN MCCAUGHEY: 5 Small Pieces, THEODORE DOLLARHIDE: Ragings of a One Pot Screamer, ANN GHANDAR: Eshelgharam, MARK POLLARD: Krebs. This is the result of a project to commission, publish and record the works of eleven Australian composers and the contrasts of the pieces are extreme - from the fiery, dodecaphonic Humble sonatas to the Joplinsque Mageau and from the virtuosic tour de force of the Dollarhide to the pianists own rhapsodic pieces, this is a collection which should interest any collector of modern piano music. Larry Sitsky (piano). Move Records MD 3066 (Australia) 12D101 $14.98

IANNIS XENAKIS (1922-2001): Gmeeoorh, CHARLES CHAYNES (b.1925): Diagramme, FRANCIS CHAPELET (b.1934): Etna 71, Evocations improvisées de l'éruption du volcan Niragongo. Xenakis' work was a 1972 commission for a new organ in New Britain, Connecticut (yes, that's right - Connecticut!) and it has exactly what one would expect of this composer: a maelstrom of sounds, colors and transcendent virtuosity (the organist needs two assistants). The final minute of this piece must have killed or driven mad any birds or bats living in Notre-Dame at the time of performance; who knows how many New Englanders have been in therapy ever since 1972... Chaynes' 1970 Diagramme was written for his daughter's wedding. She must have been made of scrap iron and rivets rather than sugar and spice since the work is hardly less violent and ear-splitting than the Xenakis. Wonder if she's still married... Chapelet's Etna 71 is a 9-minute evocation of that volcano's 1971 eruption whose bass notes will destroy your speakers if you have less than a top-notch system (I turned down the volume just in time) while the Evocations are improvisations for a film documentary on the Zairean volcano Niragongo. Chapelet's works run the gamut from the barely audible (gases and sparks) to the brutally bludgeoning (explosions and belching ash clouds), making this a must-have CD for collectors of modern organ music or for sado-masochists in general. Françoise Rieunier, Francis Chapelet (Cavaille-Coll organ of Nôtre-Dame de Paris). Solstice SOCD 192 (France) 12D102 $16.98

CARL MICHAEL ZIEHRER (1843-1922): Selected Dances and Marches, Vol. 3 - Freiherr von Schönfeld-Marsch, Op. 422, Auf hoher See, Op. 66, Cavallerie, Op. 454, Ein Blick nach Ihr!, Op. 55, Gebirgs-kinder, Op. 444, Auf! In's XX. Jahrhundert, Op. 501, D'Kernmad'ln, Op. 58, Ballfieber, Op. 406, Ich lach'!, Op. 554, Wenn man Geld hat, ist man fein!, Op. 539, O, diese Husaren!, Op. 552, Wurf-Bouquet, Op. 426, Ziehrereien, Op. 478. After some time, a new installment in this lesser-known Viennese march composer, bandmaster and rival to the famous Strauss family as a waltz composer. Razumovsky Sinfonia; Christian Pollack. Marco Polo 8.225172 (New Zealand) 12D103 $14.98

ROBERT STOLZ (1880-1975): Overtures, Solos and Duets from Various Operettas and Films, Short Orchestral Pieces. The first CD contains 20 excerpts, vocal and orchestral from the wide variety of genres this composer worked in while the second has the same format only with Stolz himself conducting (no repetition of pieces) 14 more tracks. Recordings from 1963-99. Over 127 minutes of operetta bliss for collectors of the genre. Southwest German Radio Orchestra Kaiserslautern; Robert Stolz, Emmerich Smola, Peter Falk, Klaus Arp, Paul Landenberger, Roland Seiffarth. Hännsler Classic CD 93.007 (Germany) 12D104 $26.98

ROBERT STOLZ (1880-1975): Offenbach Fantasy, Kálmán Memories, Waldteufel Memories. This historical reissue of 1950 Decca recordings conatins three suites of operetta tunes arranged by Stolz (17 by Offenbach, four by Waldteufel and two waltzes and a 9-minute "fanatasie" from Kálmán) as well as the Radetzky March, Rakoczy March, March of the Cavalry and Stolz's own Adieu, meine kleine Gardeoffizier from White Horse Inn. The unmistakeable and inimitable Viennese lilt of these performances betokens a master composer/arranger/musician. Mono. Vienna Symphony Orchestra, his Concert Orchestra; Robert Stolz. Pearl GEM 0139 (England) 12D105 $17.98

VICTOR HERBERT (1859-1924): The Red Mill. This series from producer John Ostendorf, which revives forgotten, mostly American operettas in conjunction with Ohio Light Opera has moved from Newport Classics to Albany but the presentation remains exactly the same: libretto accompanied by photos taken during live performances, plot synopsis, brief history of the operetta and notes from producer and arranger. The Red Mill (1906) was fashioned expressly for the antics of a famous vaudeville pair, Montgomery and Stone, and it ran for 274 performances on Broadway (and another 531 at a 1945 revival). Needless to say, it is quintessential Herbert, bursting with memorable tunes and sparkling orchestration with not a note out of place. 2 CDs. Ohio Light Opera; J. Lynn Thompson. Albany TROY 492/493 (U.S.A.) $33.98

CZECH CHRISTMAS MUSIC by JAKUB JAN RYBA (1765-1815), FRANTISEK XAVER BRIXI (1732-1771), FRANTISEK BENDA (1709-1786), BENHARD FLIES (1770-?), FRANZ XAVER GRUBER (1787-1863), ROBERT JAN NEPOMUK FÜHRER (1807-1861), JAN KRTITEL KUCHAR (1751-1829) and JAROSLAV MÁCHA (1873-?), 5 traditional Czech Christmas carols. The gentle accompaniment of positiv organ, flute and violin accentuate the rustic and pastoral charm of this recital of Christmas music featuring one of today's top Czech sopranos. Eva Urbanová (soprano), Václav Hudecek (violin), Jaroslav Tuma (positiv organ), Jan Ostry (flute). Supraphon SU 3525 (Czech Republic) 12D107 $16.98

GIUSEPPE BECCE (1877-1973): Music for the Silent Film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Although Becce's original score has been lost, enough fragments remained for composer Emil Gerhardt, commissioned by the Düsseldorf Film Institute, to reconstruct his score for this famous German expressionist silent film of 1919. Scored for a cabaret-style band of eleven players, the score's terse characterizations, hectic agitatos and belcanto-like lyrical passages suit the film perfectly and help memorialize the composer/conductor known in his time as the "Toscanini of the cinema". Budget-price. Ensemble; Helmut Imig. Koch Schwann Musica Mundi 3-6751-2 (Germany) 12D108 $6.98