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Jef van Hoof

Symphonies Nos. 5 & 6

JEF VAN HOOF (1886-1959): Symphony No. 5 in E, Symphony No. 6 in B Flat "Unfinished", Second Symphonic Suite, 5 Songs for Soprano and Orchestra. Only 19 years after their first Van Hoof orchestral disc, Phaedra has returned to his late symphonic cycle (all six symphonies date from 1937 on) with the four-movement Fifth (1954) combining the composer's love of Glazunov and of Richard Strauss (producing a fairly unique musical personality) with an admirable, classical concision (23 minutes in length) to produce very attractive music. The Sixth is even more concentrated: a carefree and cheerful first movement and a joyful scherzo surround a slow movement tinged with mild melancholy; the finale, noted down on Van Hoof's deathbed, breaks off after three bars. The songs, from as early as 1903 to as late as 1957, are in the same vein - none over four minutes, generally gentle and calm in spirit while the suite (1952) is an often boisterous five-movement collection of humorous character sketches. Flemish texts, English summaries. Ann De Renais (soprano), Pannon Philharmonic Orchestra, Pecs; Zsolt Hamar. Phaedra 92044 (Belgium) 12H001 $17.98 (In Flanders' Fields, Vol. 44) >



NOTES:

1. Unavailable back-orders update: The Salmanov and Pakhmutovas should be in by the time this catalogue is in your hands and will be filled with your December orders. The Lie (09H001) now will not be in again until January. The Bennett (10H001) and the Bloch (09H064) might be available for filling back-orders this month. The two Accords (10H093 and 10H099) will also ship with December orders.

2. There will be more unusual Russian CDs on IM Lab and other labels next month. Also for January will be several more New Classical Adventure titles, including a major 19th century symphony disc (well, major for collectors like us!).

3. For those who may be interested in a recording I'm not offering:

ERIC ZEISL (1905-1959): Piano Concerto in C. Daniel Glover (piano), Saratoga Symphony; Jason Klein. This live concert recording, by a fine pianist and an amateur orchestra, is available from its recording engineer on CD-R. It is coupled with Beethoven's Fidelio overture, Cui's Scherzo No. 2 and Tchaikovsky's Fantaisie de Concert, Op. 56. The Zeisl is 37:41 in length. I was unable to offer it at less than full-price, as I felt it should be, so, if anyone is interested in hearing this very interesting piece from 1952 ($15.00 including postage within USA), please contact G. E. Mott, P.O. Box 850, Pollock Pines, CA 95726, or gmott@smfc.k12.ca.us.

4. Any historical collectors who noticed page 130 in this month's Gramophone - the 66-CD complete Michael Raucheisen "Living Encyclopedia of German Song" - can order it from me on a special order basis. It's $159.98 and, obviously, qualifies for free shipping. Just order it by name.



An Important Neglected German Composer series renewed

EDUARD ERDMANN (1896-1958): Symphony No. 3, Op. 19, Capricci, Op. 21. Collectors will be thankful that the series of recordings of German composers whose careers were smothered by the rise of the Nazis, originally on the now-defunct KOCH Schwann label, is now being continued with new recordings by cpo. This new recording brings us the first post-war music by Erdmann. The symphony (1947) is a big, 50-minute work in the expected four movements and, while there are still ghosts of his youthful expressionist language heard in the first two symphonies, the overall effect is of Hindemith adopting a late Romantic language (try it, it works!). Capricci is a 13-minute piece from 1952, subtitled "A Little Kaleidoscope", is about as light as a composer like Erdmann can get (if an Italian had written it, his countrymen would have accused him of defecting across the Alps). Brandenburg State Orchestra Frankfurt; Israel Yinon. CPO 777 068 (Germany) 12H002 $15.98

WALTER BRAUNFELS (1882-1954): Phantastische Erscheinungen eines Themas von Hector Berlioz, Op. 25, Serenade, Op. 20. The theme is Mephistophele's Song of the Flea from The Damnation of Faust and Braunfels created 12 "Appearances" of it for this sprawling, nearly 50-minute work from 1914-17 (the ninth "Appearance" is omitted, as the note says "as earlier often was the case in performances of the work" although the only reason here must have been time since the disc is at 75:15 already). Not really variations, since the length and the relative independence of each "Appearance" mark them out as something more than that, the piece becomes a huge canvas for Braunfels' musical experimentation, into which he also plainly pours much personal experience - the tenth through twelfth apparently refer to the composer's experiences during World War I. Anyone interested in German symphonism of the period will find it absolutely necessary. The 25-minute Serenade from 1910 is mostly blissful and idyllic, a true epitome of the genre of its title. Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra; Dennis Russell Davies. CPO 999 882 (Germany) 12H003 $15.98


Rudi Stephan World Premiere!

RUDI STEPHAN (1887-1915): Music for Orchestra (1910), Music for Orchestra (1912), Music for Violin and Orchestra. Collectors may be startled to find something new from Stephan, given that most of his unrecorded scores perished in World War II, but here we have a Music for Orchestra from two years prior to the one premiered way back in the 80s on Schwann. A third longer (at 24 minutes) than its successor of 1912, it doesn't tell us anything we don't already know about Stephan - it ranges from delicate transparency of Debussian cast to orchestral opulence à la Richard Strauss, with a Brucknerian climax toward the middle and the ghost of Mahler is often present, as in his other orchestral works - but it does give us another sizeable piece of gorgeous music to listen to, especially for people who can luxuriate in the multi-channel SACD layer of this hybrid disc. Sergey Stadler (violin), Melbourne Symphony Orchestra; Oleg Caetani. Chandos SACD hybrid disc 5040 (England) 12H004 $18.98


MIECZYSLAW KARLOWICZ (1876-1909): Orchestral Works, Vol. 3 - Returning Waves, Op. 9, A Sorrowful Tale, Op. 13, Episode at a Masquerade, Op. 14. Chandos finishes the third or fourth complete Karlowicz orchestral cycle with three more tales of depression, suicide, lost love and reminiscences of happier times (he actually wanted originally to have a gunshot at the climax of A Sorrowful Tale when the protagonist kills himself but settled for the existing tam-tam stroke). Needless to say, Christmas season depressives should stay away but others will enjoy the increasingly expressionistic manner which Karlowicz was employing toward the end of his short life with its indeterminate tonality and extreme contrasts of tone color. And he remains a valuable warning against skiing (or, it would follow, any other recreation which involves high speeds) if you are very talented. BBC Philharmonic; Gianandrea Noseda. Chandos 10298 (England) 12H005 $17.98

ARTUR SCHNABEL (1882-1951): Violin Sonata, Sonata for Solo Violin. Since this title predates the new Records International era by over two years, I offer it again for collectors who may not have had access to it back then. The violin/piano sonata (1935) is a quite approachable work for collectors of modern music who don't mind a lot of chromaticism. Most of it is in sonata form and tonal, if freely so. The earlier solo violin sonata (1919), a sprawling 45 minute work in five connected movements, is more complex (although not atonal), employing Schnabel's "developing variation" process in which constant change and development take place in a system without rigid formal structures. Christian Tetzlaff (violin), Stefan Litwin (piano). Originally released in 1995. Arte Nova ANO 277980 (Germany) 11H006 $4.98

MARGARET SUTHERLAND (1897-1984): 2 Chorale Preludes, 6 Profiles, Voices I and II, Valse Descant, First Suite, Second Suite, Miniature Sonata, Sonatina, Extension, Chiaroscuro I and II. Containing pieces from 1935 to 1968, apparently the sum total of her solo piano music, this collection sheds light on a slightly different aspect of Sutherland's style than the string music in last month's catalogue (11H003). A glance at the titles will show that these are miniatures or groups of miniatures, some originally for pedagogic purposes. Unlike many English or Australian composers of her generation, Sutherland's piano music looks to Bartók, Debussy, Stravinsky and Hindemith in its form, rhythmic and harmonic bite and lack of sentimentality (although it contains plenty of warmth, humor and, occasionally, poignancy). David Lockett (piano). 1997 release. ABC Classics 441 934-2 (Australia) 12H007 $17.98 >

GEORGES AURIC (1899-1983): Phédre, Le Peintre et son modèle. The big work here is the 1950 Phèdre, a 41-minute Lifar ballet with sets and costumes by Cocteau. With its theme of illicit, unrequited love and various death scenes as well as a storm at sea, Auric had all the material he needed for a big-boned score in which full-throated orchestral splendor outweighs quieter, psychological depictions. In fact, much of the music could have been a film score (the disc could take a place beside Chandos' disc of Auric's film music) and the detailed synopsis helps the listener appreciate it in this respect also. The 13-minute companion ballet (1949) is also raw and turbulent (the mental struggles of the painter in the title, mainly) but delicate and sensitive as well in its shorter course. Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra; Arturo Tamayo. Timpani 1C1090 (France) 12H008 $18.98

DAG WIRÉN (1905-1986): String Quartet No. 2, Op. 9, String Quartet No. 3, Op. 18, String Quartet No. 4, Op. 28, String Quartet No. 5, Op. 41. This new release will be a must-have for all Scandinavian music collectors. Wirén never wastes a note, says what he wants to say in the most direct manner and then stops speaking, traits shared by many Scandinavian composers of his generation, but his voice as he got older changed steadily from lightness and brightness (as in the 1935 second quartet when he had just returned home, newly married, from a period in Paris and the surprisingly light-hearted third which was composed during the war years) to an increasing depth and gravity so that, in 1970's fifth quartet (just over 13 minutes whereas the others are all around 19), there is a quality of just the bare essentials being discussed, a lonely, personal innigkeit and a sense of a hard-earned wisdom. Lysell Quartet. Daphne 1021 (Sweden) 12H009 $16.98

MAXIME JACOB (Dom Clément) (1906-1977): Piano Sonatas No. 4 in E Flat, No. 9 in C Sharp Minor and No. 11 in E Flat. A student of Koechlin and Gédalge and member of the Ecole d'Arcueil, a group formed around Satie, Jacob's career turned 180 degrees when he converted to Catholicism and became a Benedictine monk in 1929. He wrote 15 piano sonatas in the next 20 years and then, from 1961-69, eight string quartets! The three recorded here date from 1940, 1944 and 1947 and the first has a dedication to a fellow monk killed in battle which leads from a first movement with march and battle sounds through a funeral march-like slow movement to a transcendent finale in which the soul reaches heaven. Far from a simplistic tone-poem, Jacob builds his sonatas from simple yet pliable themes, is not afraid of using dissonant harmonies, refers now and then to Gregorian themes and often uses modal material influenced by plainsong. The result is a luminous and often exalted sound which seems to be striving to represent higher planes of aspiration and his religious belief is just as intangibly evident as that of Messiaen although, oddly enough, the composer who most came to mind in Sonata No. 11 was Medtner. Bernard Arbus (piano). Lira d'Arco LA 012.4 (France) 12H010 $17.98 >

ALAN HOVHANESS (1911-2000): Symphony No. 4, Op. 165, Return and Rebuild the Desolate Places, Op. 213, Symphony No. 20 "Three Journeys to a Holy Mountain", Op. 223, Prayer of St. Gregory, Op. 62b, Symphony No. 53 "Star Dawn", Op. 377. The mixtures of East and West, long, flowing modal melodies redolent of Armenian, Persian and Indian music, performed by various sizes of wind band, with and without percussion, which make up part of the great eclecticism of Hovhaness, are present in all of these compositions which date from the early fourth symphony of 1958 to 1983's Star Dawn whose soaring melodies are inspired by thoughts of space travel. Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama Wind Orchestra; Keith Brion. Naxos American Classics 8.559207 (U.S.A.) 12H011 $6.98

MORTON GOULD (1913-1996): Fall River Legend (Complete Ballet), Jekyll and Hyde Variations. Usually heard and recorded as a half-hour suite, Fall River Legend (1948) is heard here in its full score (52 minutes), with narrator involved only in the three-minute prologue. Like much of Gould's music, it makes prominent use of folk melodies and hymn tunes. The accompanying variations (a 21-minute work), premiered by Mitropoulos in 1957, use the form to dramatize various aspects of "split personality" - pure music and a work which Gould considered one of his best (but rarely ever performed). James F. Neal (narrator), Nashville Symphony Orchestra; Kenneth Schermerhorn. Naxos American Classics 8.559242 (U.S.A.) 12H012 $6.98

NATHANIEL SHILKRET (1889-1992): Trombone Concerto, FREDRIK HÖGBERG (b.1971): Trombone Concerto No. 1 "The Return of Kit Bones", CHRISTIAN LINDBERG (b.1958): Helikon Wasp. Shilkret, who commissioned the multi-composer orchestral suite Genesis, composed his concerto in 1942 for Tommy Dorsey on commission from Leopold Stokowsky. It was restored from a damaged single score by trombonist Brian Free for this recording. It is "period" cross-over, a later equivalent to Rhapsody in Blue, and you've got to like a work with multiphonics in its first movement cadenza and a boogie-woogie finale! Högberg's 19-minute concerto of 2001 was inspired by Sergio Leone westerns although not, apparently by the music of Ennio Morricone (but its narrator does quote Dirty Harry), as it freely and cheekily borrows from many decades of 20th century popular and classical music during its entertaining ride. Lindberg himself provides the final entertaining ride with his 2003 Helikon Wasp, a slightly shorter audience-pleasing, anti-intellectual romp. Christian Lindberg (trombone), São Paolo Symphony Orchestra; John Neschling. BIS SACD hybrid disc SACD-1448 (Sweden) 12H013 $17.98

ARTHUR HONEGGER (1892-1955): Prélude for Aglavaine et Sélysette (rec. 1969), Suite archaique (rec. 1961 - mono), JACQUES IBERT (1890-1962): La Ballade de la Geôle de Reading (rec. 1973), Bacchanale (rec. 1970), Louisville Concerto (rec. 1954 - mono). A fascinating program: very early and very late works by each composer so that one would never recognize him when he was young (Honegger's 1917 Prélude was his first orchestral work, quite Debussian in character and Ibert's Reading Geôle from 1921, whose seriousness and depiction of the horrors of English prisons is quite out of keeping with his best-known breezy and lyrical style). The Louisville Orchestra; Robert Whitney, Jorge Mester. First Edition Music FECD-1906 (U.S.A.) 12H014 $12.98

JEAN-BAPTISTE LULLY (1632-1687): Lully Edition, Vol. 7 - Isis. Recorded live less than five months ago (July 2005) with Reyne beginning his survey of Lully's tragédies en musique. Isis was the composer's fifth in this genre and was premiered in 1677. The orchestra has been beefed up to 40 and, with chorus and vocal soloists, about 70 people were on stage, making this by far the biggest production of this series so far while Lully, of course, provides his usual skill, innovation and gift for sheer, splendid spectacle. 3 CDs. Special price. French-English libretto. Françoise Masset, Isabell Desrochers (sopranos), Guillemette Laurens (alto), Howard Crook (tenor), Bernard Deletré (bass), La Simphonie du marais; Hugo Reyne. Accord 476 8048 (France) 12H015 $33.98 >

ELISABETH JACQUET DE LA GUERRE (c.1664/5-1729): Pièces de Clavecin (1687 - 4 suites), Pièces de Clavecin qui peuvent se jouer sur le violloin (1707 - 2 suites). All the surviving keyboard music of this famous performer and composer from the court of the Sun King (and child prodigy) is collected here in performances which attempt, through ornamentation, to capture the improvisatory playing style which made her famous. 2 CDs. Elizabeth Farr (harpsichord). Naxos 8.557654-55 (New Zealand) 12H016 $13.98

NICOLAUS BRUHNS (1665-1697): Complete Organ Works, GEORG DIETRICH LEYDING (1664-1710): Complete Organ Works. Two of the lesser-known lights of baroque North German organ music are coupled here (world premiere recordings of all five of Leyding's pieces). Bruhns' sole surviving works are with us because they were all transcribed by Bach; Leyding, who like Bruhns, studied with Buxtehude, owes his slender survival to three intabulated manuscripts and two transcriptions by Johann Gottfried Walther. Friedhelm Flamme (1724 Christian Vater organ of St. Petri Kirche, Melle, Germany). SACD hybrid disc. CPO 777 123 (Germany) 12H017 $15.98

GEORG VON BERTOUCH (1668-1743): 7 Trio Sonatas, 6 Pieces from Music Book of Jacob Mestmacher. Born in Germany, of French descent, Bertouch became a military commander in Norway where he wrote most of his music which are stylistically comparable with the conservative North German composers who had no truck with the galant style which Telemann was quick to adopt. Bergen Barokk. Toccata Classics TOCC 0006 (England) 12H018 $16.98 >

FRANCESCO BARTOLOMEO CONTI (1681-1732): Ouverture in C "Don Chisciotte in Sierra Morena", JOHANN MATTHESON (1681-1764): Ouverture in F "Die geheimen Begebenheiten Henrico IV. Königs von Castilien und Leon", GEORG PHILIPP TELEMANN (1681-1767): Ouverture in G "La Querelleuse", Ouverture in G "Burlesque de Quixotte". Although Telemann's Burlesque has appeared on CD before, the two other Quixote-inspired orchestral suites by composers also resident in Hamburg, probably haven't and are valuable additions to the genres of the suite and of representational baroque music. Elbipolis Baroque Orchestra Hamburg. Raum Klang RK 2502 (Germany) 12H019 $17.98

JOHANN DAVID HEINICHEN (1683-1729): Te Deum for Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Chorus and Orchestra, Pastorale per la Notte di Natale for Orchestra, GIOVANNI ALBERTO RISTORI (1692-1763): Messa per il Santissimo Natale for Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Chorus and Orchestra, Motetto pastorale for Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra, JOHANN GEORG SCHÜRER (c.1720-1786): Christus natus est for Soloists, Orchestra and Organ. This recording recreates a hypothetical Christmas Eve service at the Dresden Catholic Court around the middle of the 18th century with Heinichen's 15-minute Te Deum preceding a sermon which was then followed, at midnight, by a mass, here one of 36 minutes provided by the Italian Ristori, active in Dresden from 1715. Christine Wolff (soprano), Britta Schwarz (alato), Martin Petzold (tenor), Dresden Körnischer Sing-Verein, Dresden Instrumental-Concert; Peter Kopp. Carus 83.169 (Germany) 12H020 $17.98

GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL (1685-1759): Serse. I won't try to sell DVDs of repertoire on their musical merits since, unless they are first recordings, I'll assume collectors will have audio versions already. The credentials of video versions such as this are self-evident. This performance was recorded live at the Semperoper, Dresden as part of the 2000 Dresdener Musikfestspiel. 5.1 surround sound, 4:3 screen format, English notes and subtitles. Paula Rasmussen, Ann Hallen-berg, Patricia Bardon (mezzos), Isabel Bayrakdarian, Sandrine Piau (sopranos), Marcello Lippi (bass), Ludwigshafen Theatre Choir, Les Talens Lyriques; Christophe Rousset. EuroArts DVD 2053798 (Germany) 12H021 $29.98

CHARLES LEVENS (1689-1764): 2 Messes des Morts. Although spending most of his career in Toulouse and Bordeaux, far from the splendid court at Versailles, Levens was an influential scholar as well as a composer of saccred works such as these masses which acknowledge the tradition of Gilles, Campra, Delalande and Rameau but which carry Levens' own personal stamp (especially the influences of Provençal popular music). Sagittarius, Ensemble Vocal Arpège; Michel Laplenie. Lira d'Arco LA 008-3 (France) 12H022 $17.98 >

GIOVANNI BATTISTA SAMMARTINI (1700/01-1775): Symphonies in A, (J-C 62), C Minor (9), D (16), F (36), D Minor (23) and C (4). A third release (previous releases, on Dynamic, were offered in 2000 and 2003) of symphonies by the "missing link" (in recordings) in the genesis of the Classical symphony brings us a variety of works from Sammartini's first two periods: J-C 4 and 62 (both from around 1750) already sound like symphonies Haydn wouldn't write for several more years. The remainder, from the 1730s and 40s, are more attached to baroque models (strings and continuo) while their overall affect remains strikingly early Classical. No historian of the symphony can be without this disc (and let's hope more of Sammartini's 67 symphonies will be recorded by this Canadian period-instrument ensemble). Aradia Ensemble; Kevin Mallon. Naxos 8.557298 (New Zealand) 12H023 $6.98

ANTONIO SACCHINI (1730-1786): Oedipe à Colone. Sacchini's last work, premiered posthumously, "achieved a synthesis of Italian melodic style and Gluckian principles within a French dramatic framework" (Opera Grove). Striking for its many ensembles, all of which actually advance the action, and for the way arias flow seamlessly into and out of recitative and arioso, Oedipe had 583 performances by 1830, more than any opera of its time. 2 CDs. French-English libretto. Manon Feubel (soprano), Fabrice Mantegna (tenor), Daniel Galvez-Vallejo, Sviatoslav Smirnov (basses), Chorus and Chamber Orchestra of La Camerata de Bourgogne; Jean-Paul Penin. Dynamic CDS 494/1-2 (Italy) 12H024 $35.98

JOSEPH HAYDN (1732-1809): String Trios, Vol. 3 - Nos. 14-18, Hob.V: 15-19. For the unusual (to us) combination of two violins and cello (perhaps a reference to the baroque trio sonata), Haydn's 18 string surviving string trios all date from before 1767 and show the beginnings of classical sonata form. Wiener Philharmonia Trio. Camerata CMCD 28043 (Japan) 12H025 $17.98

GIOVANNI PAISIELLO (1740-1816): Gli astrologi immaginari. Basking in the satisfaction which came from having had his salary increased to equal that of Galuppi at the court in St. Petersburg, Paisiello produced his fifth opera in Russia in 1779 and it proved to be one of his most popular opera buffas with a major role for basso buffo; it also provided Mozart with an aria from which he drew the theme for his variation set K398 (416e). 2 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Mauro Utzeri (bass), Stefania Donzelli, Tiziana Spagnoletta (sopranos), Donato De Gioia (baritone), Chorus and Chamber Orchestra of the Giovanni Paisiello Festival; Lorenzo Fico. Bongiovanni GB 2406/7 (Italy) 12H026 $33.98

FRANZ ANTON HOFFMEISTER (1754-1812): Wind Serenades, Vol. 2 - Parthias Nos. 3, 24 & 25, Esterhazy-Parthia No. 5. A darker color than most wind serenades is guaranteed by the pairs of clarinets, horns and bassoons which make up these sextets (along with double bass) of unknown date but quite in the styles of Haydn and Mozart. Modern instruments. Consortium Classicum. CPO 777 133 (Germany) 12H027 $15.98

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756-1791): Piano Sonata in B Flat, K. 570, Violin Sonata in A, K. 526, Piano Sonata in E Flat, K, 481 transcribed for String Quartet by IGNAZ JOSEPH PLEYEL (1757-1831). And, now: transcriptions from simplicity to greater complexity! For those of you who love Mozart and wish he'd written even more string quartets, Pleyel has rescored, composed additional parts and, now and then, shortened the originals - all in response to publisher Johann André's appetite for arrangements of Mozart to feed an increasingly voracious amateur public during the end of the 1790s. Quartetto Luigi Tomasini. Hungaroton HCD 32343 (Hungary) 12H028 $17.98

LOUIS MASSONNEAU (1766-1848): Oboe Quartets in F, B Flat & C. Not unlike Hoffmeister's serenades in the column to the left, these genial, Mozartian works date from 1798. Note that the total time here is only 40:38. Modern instruments. Ensemble Più. Audite SACD hybrid disc 92.562 (Germany) 12H029 $16.98

JOHANN NEPOMUK HUMMEL (1778-1837): Mass in D Minor, Salve Regina in B Flat. Hummel's second mass (1805) has one of the longest opening Kyries you'll hear in the Classical period, based on the atmospheric opening of Mozart's piano concerto K 466 and is following by a blazingly intense Gloria as the work goes from strength to strength in its 46-minute course. The accompanying Salve Regina (1809) has a positively operatic soprano solo. Susan Gritton (soprano), Pamela Helen Stephen (mezzo), Mark Padmore (tenor), Stephen Varcoe (baritone), Collegium Musicum 90; Richard Hickox. Chandos Chaconne 0724 (England) 12H030 $17.98

JOHANN NEPOMUK HUMMEL (1778-1837): Piano Quartet in G, Op. posth., Piano Trio in G, Op. 35, Grande Sonate in A for Cello and Piano, Op. 104, Piano Trio in F, Op. 22. The posthumous quartet has the powerful quality of a concerto about it while the remaining pieces are excellent examples of the graceful and lyrical melodic style which made Hummel so popular with Viennese audiences. Susan Alexander-Max (fortepiano), Micaela Comberti, Simon Standage (violins), Jane Rogers (viola), Pal Banda (cello). Naxos 8.557694 (New Zealand) 12H031 $6.98

FERDINAND RIES (1784-1838): Complete Piano Concertos, Vol. 1 - in C, Op. 123 and in A Flat, Op. 151 "Gruss an den Rhein". Ries' concertos are numbered in the order in which they were published which is far from the order in which they were written so we dispense with numbers at all. The op. 123 is either his first or second, dating from 1806, and while the orchestral parts remind us very much of Beethoven, the piano writing is rather more in the elegant style of Hummel. Coming from 1826, the companion work is a predominantly lyrical and serene piece in which the most striking aspect about it is the anticipation of the piano writing of Chopin. Christopher Hinterhuber (piano), New Zealand Symphony Orchestra; Uwe Grodd. Naxos 8.557639 (New Zealand) 12H032 $6.98

ALBERT LORTZING (1801-1851): Der Wildschütz. A top-rate cast distinguishes this East German recording made in 1980-82 of Lortzing's hugely enjoyable comic opera which will make it self-recommending to opera collectors. With original Eterna LP cover art. 2 CDs. Mid-price. German libretto. Edith Mathis (soprano), Doris Soffel (contralto), Peter Schreier (tenor), Gottfried Hornik (baritone), Berlin Radio Choir and Childrens' Choir, Staatskapelle Berlin; Bernhard Klee. Original 1984 Eterna release. Berlin Classics 0032972BC (Germany) 12H033 $18.98

GIOACHINO ROSSINI (1792-1868): Moïse et Pharaon. Live recording from the Teatro degli Arcimboldi, Milan, Dec. 21, 2004 staged by the Teatro alla Scala. 16:9 anamorphic format, surround sound, English subtitles. 181 minutes. Ildar Abdrazakov (bass), Erwin Schrott (baritone), Sonia Ganassi (mezzo), Barbara Frittoli (soprano), Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro alla Scala; Riccardo Muti. TDK DVD DVWW-OPMEP (Germany) 12H034 $34.98


Friends of Schubert

ALBERT TONITZ (c.1810-after 1856): La Romanesca for Cello and Piano, Paraphrase de chansons nationales de Carinthie, Op. 3, Consolation for Flute and Piano, Op. 18, On n'en meurt plus for Soprano and Piano, Op. 4, An die Natur and Ich liebe dich for Male Quartet and Piano, Wieder geh ich, immer weiter for Tenor and Piano, Des Geistes Nachtlied for Bass and Piano, JOHANN EDUARD KREINER (c.1800): 6 German Dances for Piano, GRAF FERDINAND EGGER (1802-1860): Ange Gardien and Stances for Soprano and Piano, Op. 3, JOSEF TOMASHOVIZ (1812-1851): Ihr blauen Augen for Male Quartet, ANSELM HÜTTENBRENNER (1794-1868): Nachruf an Schubert in Trauertönen for Piano, ISAK ALBERT BERG (1803-1886): Se solen sjunker for Bass and Piano, FRANZ SCHUBERT (1797-1828): Andante con moto from Piano Trio in E Flat, D 929. Actually, this disc proves to be a survey of music in the Austrian province of Carinthia by composers who became associated with the posthumous Schubert circle around Anselm Hüttenbrenner. Tonitz has the lion's share since he is the finest composer here but much attractive Biedermeyer music is to be heard, as well as the Swedish song which gave Schubert a theme for his E Flat piano trio. French, German, Swedish texts. Salzburger Hofmusik; Wolfgang Brunner. Profil PH05033 (Germany) 12H035 $16.98


BERNHARD MOLIQUE (1801-1869): String Quartets, Vol. 1 - in F, Op. 18/1 & in A Minor, Op. 18/2. Molique studied a bit with Spohr but, for the rest of his life claimed him as his master. His contemporaries recognized him as both a brilliant violinist and as conservative as they came. That will tell you what to expect: Molique starts with Beethoven and ends with Mendelssohn - Schumann was too "modern" for him - so, for rigorous working out of motifs and true "civilized conversation among four equals", these quartets are models of their type. Mannheim String Quartet. CPO 777 149 (Germany) 12H036 $15.98

THÉOPHILE STERN (1803-1886): Fantaisie in D Minor, THÉODORE PARMENTIER (1821-1910): Andantino, ADOLPHE QUERM (1823-1869): Communion, NICOLAS-JOSEPH WACKENTHALER (1840-1913): Introduction et fugue, EUGÈNE THOMAS (1841-1918): Solo No. 3, MARIE-JOSEPH ERB (1858-1944): Canzone phrygienne, Fugue sur "Benedicamus", Sonata, LÉON BOËLLMANN (1862-1897): Suite Gothique, ALPHONSE SCHMITT (1875-1912): Prélude-Choral sur l'hymne "Sacris Solemnis", Prélude lent, AUGUSTE SCHIRLÉ (1895-1971): O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden. For romantic organ collectors - 67 minutes of unknown music by Alsatian composers. Yannick Merlin (organ of St. Pierre-le-Jeune, Strasbourg). Ktesiobios 043 (France) 12H037 $17.98 >

JUAN CRISÓSTOMO DE ARRIAGA (1806-1826): String Quartets No. 1 in D Minor, No. 2 in A & No. 3 in E Flat. No collector out there doesn't have Arriaga's quartets, which move between Mozartian Classicism and early Schubertian Romanticism, but this is the first time they've been available at budget-price and on period instruments! Camerata Boccherini. Naxos Spanish Classics 8.557628 (New Zealand) 12H038 $6.98

GIUSEPPE VERDI (1813-1901): Ave Maria, In solitaria stanza, Nell'orror di notte oscura, More, Elisa, lo stanco poeta, Non t'accostare all'urna, Stornello, Il tramonto, Ad una stella, Il mistero, Lo spazzacamino, Il poveretto, La seduzione, Brindisi (2 versions), Chi i bei dì m'adduce ancora, L'esule. Verdi's "liriche da camera" often served as a practice field for his treatment of dramatic verse. Just under an hour of them are performed here by a leading British Verdi tenor. Texts and translations available on-line. Dennis O'Neill (tenor), Ingrid Surgenor (piano). Original 1998 Collins Classics release. Naxos 8.557778 (New Zealand) 12H039 $6.98

GIUSEPPE VERDI (1813-1901): Complete Preludes, Overtures and Ballet Music from Oberto, Un giorno di regno, Nabucco, Ernani, I due Foscari, Giovanna d'Arco, Alzira, Attila, Macbeth, I masnadieri, Il corsaro, La battaglia di Legnano, Jérusalem, Luisa Miller, Stiffelio, Rigoletto, It trovatore, La traviata, Les Vêpres siciliennes, Simon Boccanegra, Un ballo in maschera, La forza del destino, Don Carlo/Don Carlos, Aida and Otello. A complete banquet of "Verdi Without Words" which is well worth the lower price if you missed the single-disc issues back in the late 90s. 4 CDs. Mid-price. BBC Philharmonic; Edward Downes. Original 1997, 1998 and 2000 Chandos releases. Chandos 10343 (England) 12H040 $47.98

CHARLES-VALENTIN ALKAN (1813-1888): Organ Music, Vol. 1 - 11 Grands Préludes et 1 Transcription du Messie de Hændel, Op. 66, 12 Études d'Orgue - Nos. 1-6, Benedictus, Op. 54. Kevin Bowyer (organ of Blackburn Cathedral). Like the earlier examples of Alkan's organ and pedal-piano music, these works avoid the transcendental virtuosity of the most famous piano music while retaining his characteristic harmonic ambivalence, the unpredictable twists and turns which make his music instantly identifiable in any medium. Toccata Classics TOCC 0030 (England) 12H041 $16.98 >

FELIX DRAESEKE (1835-1913): String Quintet in A, WoO 25 "Stelzner", Süße Melancholie from Fata Morgana, Op. 13 (transcr. for quintet by W. Müller-Steinbach), ARNOLD KRUG (1849-1904): String Sextet in D "Preissextett", Op. 68. Not merely another set of first recordings of late German Romantic chamber works, this new release features two unusual instruments - the violotta (one octave below the violin) and the cellone (a fourth below the cello) - by the 19th century instrument maker Alfred Stelzner (all the regular instruments played here are by him as well) and the booklet contains a wealth of information about them and their maker. Collectors will know what to expect from Draeseke; Krug has a highly lyrical style and makes particularly striking use of both unusual instruments in his 1896 sextet. The Summit Chamber Players. AK Coburg DR 0010 (U.S.A.) 12H042 $16.98 >

MILY BALAKIREV (1837-1910): Symphony No. 1 in C, Symphony No. 2 in D Minor, Piano Concerto No. 1 in F Sharp Minor, Op. 1, Tamara, In Bohemia, Overture to King Lear. Certainly the best sonics for the repertoire and, with Melodiya unavailable now, also the only place you're going to find all these works today! Howard Shelley (piano), BBC Philharmonic; Vassily Sinaisky. 2 CDs for the price of 1. Original 1998/9 Chandos releases. Chandos 241-29 (England) 12H043 $17.98

MAX BRUCH (1838-1920): Symphony No. 1 in E Flat, Op. 28, Swedish Dances, Op. 63, Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 26. The Philips recordings of the symphonies are out of print again and some collectors will want to have new recordings of what is still pretty unusual repertoire so, with Marriner at the helm, we offer this new release. Pamela Frank (violin), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields; Neville Marriner. Hännsler Classic CD 98.300 (Germany) 12H044 $17.98

HEINRICH VON HERZOGENBERG (1843-1900): For Piano Duet: Allotria, Op. 33, Book 1, Variations on a Theme of Brahms, Op. 23, Waltzes, Op. 53, For Two Pianos: Theme and Variations, Op. 13, For Solo Piano: Capriccio, Op. 107, Waviations on the Minuet from "Don Juan", Op. 58. Herzogenberg needs no introduction, thanks to the cpo releases of his Brahmsian chamber music we've offered over the past several years so this 77-minute disc of mostly two-piano or duet music, containing four first recordings, will be self-recommending to all collectors of German Romantic piano music. Goldstone and Clemmow (piano duet), Anthony Goldstone (piano). Toccata Classics TOCC 0010 (England) 12H045 $16.98 >

PETER ERASMUS LANGE-MÜLLER (1850-1926): Excerpts from Once Upon a Time, Op. 25, Renaissance, Op. 59 and Viking Blood, Op. 50, 2 Songs from Songs by the Sea, Op. 54, Late on a Night So Cold. Drachmann's play, Once Upon a Time, premiered in 1887, and making use of a common folk-tale motif became one of Denmark's most popular and enduring works. Here are 14 of the original 24 numbers. Both this and Renaissance appeared complete on Dacapo (in 1998 and 2000) but these have been deleted and we offer this new recording, with ten minutes of other works which may be new to CD, for collectors who may gave missed the previous issues. Danish-English texts. Susanne Elmark (soprano), Michael Kristensen (tenor), Johan Reuter (baritone), Coro Misto, Aalborg Symphony Orchestra; Moshe Atzmon. BIS CD-1214 (Sweden) 12H046 $17.98

CHARLES VILLIERS STANFORD (1854-1924): Piano Quintet in D Minor, Op. 25, String Quintet No. 1 in F, Op. 85. The 1886 piano quintet is a big, 37-minute work which very much emulates the works in the same form by Schumann and Brahms and it moves from melancholy introspection to exuberant joy. The string quintet (1903) has a Mendelssohnian lightness with an Irish lament-inspired slow movement. Piers Lane (piano), RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet, Garth Knox (viola). Hyperion CDA 67505 (England) 12H047 $18.98

HANS KOESSLER (1853-1926): Trio-Suite for Violin, Viola and Piano, Piano Quintet in F, EMANUEL MOÓR (1863-1931): Cello Sonata No. 2, Op. 55. Collectors who remember our special import of Koessler on VMS a couple of years ago will know that his admiration for Brahms knew no bounds and his music is as Brahmsian as his model. Moór, who was championed by Casals, was still fairly conservative but a little more open to other contemporary musical trends, as is evident in his 1900 sonata. David Frühwirth, Christoph Ehrenfellner (violins), Geneviève Strosser (viola), Péter Szabó (cello), Zsuzsa Kollár (piano). Hungaroton HCD 32331 (Hungary) 12H048 $17.98

ALFREDO CATALANI (1854-1893): La falce. This mini-opera (almost a vocal symphonic poem) with a libretto by Boito, lasts only 42 minutes (of which the first 12 are a real symphonic poem, depicting a battle in the Arabian desert) - a recitative, aria, duet and finale which should have given notice of the immense potential of its 21-year-old composer who, unfortunately, was to be long dead 20 years later. Italian-English libretto. Paola Romanò (soprano), Carlo Torriani (tenor), Pesaro Philharmonic Chorus, Dniepropetrovsk Opera Orchestra; Silvano Frontalini. Bongiovanni GB 2394 (Italy) 12H049 $16.98

LEOS JANÁCEK (1854-1928): Violin Concerto "Pilgrimage of the Soul", Suite from The Cunning Little Vixen, Sinfonietta. At the price, this memoire of Neumann conducting some rare Janácek in Stuttgart in 1986 and 1990 (only two years after the fragmentary 1926 concerto was reconstructed) will appeal to collectors of the conductor and of Czech repertoire. Christiane Edinger (violin), Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra; Václav Neumann. Arte Nova ANO 304810 (Germany) 12H050 $4.98

CLAUDE DEBUSSY (1862-1918)/LUC BREWAEYS (b.1959): Preludes, Books 1 and 2 for Orchestra. Brewaeys, a "spectral" composer, might be one of the last people you'd expect to find doing something like this but, in his "recomposition" of Debussy's 24 etudes, but as the re-composer himself says, "I decided not to touch Debussy's notes" and he has produced an atmospheric, colorful work which should delight anyone who collects orchestral transcriptions. 2 CDs. Royal Flemish Philharmonic; Daniele Callegari. Talent DOM 3810 04/05 (Belgium) 12H051 $31.98

HANS PFITZNER (1869-1949): Das Christelflein, Op. 20. Premiered in 1917 and using music the composer had written for an earlier stage play, this naively simple tale tells the story of an elf who takes the place of a dying child at Christmas and Pfitzner supplies simple, lyrical music which befits such a fairy-tale. Note: we also offered a Bavarian Radio production of this conducted by Kurt Eichorn on Orfeo (a live recording from 1979) back in January 2001. 2 CDs. English synopsis. Marlis Petersen (soprano), Kevin Connors (tenor), Michael Volle (bass), Tolz Boys' Choir, Munich Radio Orchestra; Claus Peter Flor. CPO 777 155 (Germany) 12H052 $31.98

RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958): Willow-Wood for Baritone and Orchestra (World Premiere Recording), Toward the Unknown Region for Chorus and Orchestra, The Sons of Light for Chorus and Orchestra, The Voice out of the Whirlwind for Chorus and Orchestra, Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus for Strings and Harp. Amongst some very rare choral-orchestral works here is the first recording of Willow-Wood,a 14-minute setting of four stanzas from Rosetti's "The House of Life" (1903 and orch. 1909) in which images of love and dreams are evoked in luxuriant orchestral textures seasoned by a wordless women's choir. This is also the first new recording of the 1951 The Sons of Light since LP days. Texts included. Roderick Williams (baritone), Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra; David Lloyd-Jones. Naxos 8.557798 (New Zealand) 12H053 $6.98

JOSEPH JONGEN (1873-1953): Complete Piano Works, Vol. 2 - Toccata, Op. 91, Sarabande triste, Op. 58, Sérénade, Op. 19, 2 Études de Concert, Op. 65, Mazurka, Mazurka, Op. 126bis, Napolitania, Ballades Nos. 1 and 2, Bourrée dans le style ancien, Sarabande dans le style ancien, Étude No. 3, Op. 84, 3 Pièces, Op. 102, Jeux de Nymphe, Op. 91/2, En forme de valse, 13 Préludes, Op. 69, 10 Pièces, Op. 96, For Piano Four Hands: Fantaisie sur deux Noëls populaires wallons, Pages intimes, Op. 55, Jeux d'enfants, Op. 120, Cocass-March, Op. 129, Intermezzo piccolo, Op. 136bis. The second of three volumes of Jongen's complete piano music (one more single disc is to follow) brings another compendium of material from throughout his career, the pieces here dating from as early as 1901 to as late as 1950. The composer's style crystallised and remained in the Franck-Fauré stream of post-Romanticism and only a few of his works of the first decade of the 20th century show that he was aware of the Impressionists; his biggest collection here, the 1922 preludes (some 38 minutes), are noteworthy for their Romantic sub-titles which depict interior states of emotion rather than, say, Debussy's nature impressions. The third disc's 30 minutes of duo/duet pieces are character pieces in the children's genre - all inspired by his children and grandchildren. 3 CDs. Mid-price. Diane Andersen (piano), André De Groote (second). Pavane ADW 7477/9 (Belgium) 12H054 $32.98

HAVERGAL BRIAN (1876-1972): 17 Songs, Legend for Violin and Piano. Brian is of course primarily known as a symphonist - on the basis of the finest of his 32 examples, one of the 20th century's best. In the years leading up to the Watershed Gothic (though hardly ever thereafter) he wrote in a number of other forms, including numerous songs, and the cross-section presented here provides fascinating insight into a young(ish) composer, already avoiding pastoralism and picturesque quaintness in favor of something harder-edged and more European - it is not for nothing that there are readily discernible traces of Richard Strauss in the early symphonies. There are several gems here, 'The Defiled Sanctuary' being especially powerful, almost expressionistic. The violin Legend is from around the same time as the Gothic and suggests the lyrical vein apparent in the early symphonies, often subsumed in the profusion of ideas in the later ones. Brian Rayner Cook (baritone), Roger Vignoles (piano), Stephen Levine (violin), Peter Lawson (piano). Original 1982 Auracle LP release. Toccata Classics TOCC 0005 (England) 12H055 $16.98 >

KAROL SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937): Piano Works, Vol. 4 - 9 Preludes, Op. 1, Variations n B Flat Minor, Op. 3, Mazurkas, Op. 50, Nos. 17-20, 2 Mazurkas, Op. 62, Valse Romantique, Sonata No. 3, Op. 36. Mystifyingly, as far as I can tell, the first three volumes of this series predated the Records International change-over in mid-1997. The recording is not terribly old (2003), so it hasn't been sitting in the can since the mid 90s... The whole span of Szymanowski's career is represented, from the Preludes - believed to be his earliest surviving work, to the dazzling and technically daunting sonata, so, if you were collecting and wondered what happened to the series, here it is! Martin Roscoe (piano). Naxos 8.557168 (New Zealand) 12H056 $6.98

IVOR GURNEY (1890-1937): Despair, Sehnsucht, Song of the Summer Woods, The Sea, Nocturnes in B and in A Flat, 9 Preludes, HOWARD FERGUSON (1908-1999): Sonata in F Minor, 5 Bagatelles. The titles of Gurney's youthful short pieces of 1908-9 seem to look forward to his mental illness but these and the Nocturnes are Klavierstücke in the style of Schumann (probably entrance pieces for the RCM) while his later preludes (1919-20) are not at all "songs without words" as one might expect from a song composer but more like an English Fauré in the making. Ferguson's tragic, stormy sonata (1938-40), whose emotional gamut runs from grief to defiance with no consolation to be found, is a major find while the 1944 Bagatelles are light-spirited pieces put together as a challenge from a composer friend who gave Ferguson handfuls of seemingly randomly chosen notes to come up with a finished product. Mark Bebbington (piano). SOMM CD 038 (England) 12H057 $17.98

SERGEI PROKOFIEV (1891-1953): The Stone Flower. Recorded at the Bolshoi in 1990, a Japanese-Russian co-production (Russian artists, Japanese technicians). 4:3 format, stereo, 120 min. Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra; Alexander Kopilov. Arthaus Musik DVD 101 121 (Germany) 12H058 $19.98

JOACHIM STUTSCHEWSKY (1891-1982): Israeli Suite, Jewish Song, Improvisation, LAZARE SAMINSKY (1882-1959): Hassidic Dance, Meditation, LEO ZEITLIN (1884-1930): Eli Zion, SINOWI FELDMAN (1893-1942): Poem, JOSEPH ACHRON (1886-1943): Fragment mystique, SOLOMON ROSOWSKY (1878-1962): Rhapsodie, ERNEST BLOCH (1880-1959): From Jewish Life, Méditation Hébraique. The fifth CD in this series of music from the New Jewish School concentrates on works for the cello with, aside from the fairly well-known Bloch, Stutschewsky's 1942 Israeli Suite, based on elements of Ashkenazi, Sephardic and Yemenite folk music, being the major piece. David Geringas (cello), Jascha Nemtsov (piano). Hänssler Classic CD 93.122 (Germany) 12H059 $17.98

Bach Transcriptions by WILHELM KEMPFF (1895-1991): Sinfonia from the Cantata, BWV 29, Jesus bleibet meine Freude, BWV 147, Nun komm'der Heiden Heiland, BWV 659a, Es ist gewisslich an der Zeit, BWV 307 and 734, Herzlich tut mich verlangen, BWV 727, Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV 639, Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 645, Sicliano from Flute Sonata, BWV 1031, FERRUCCIO BUSONI (1866-1924): Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 565, Chaconne from Violin Partita, BWV 1004, FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886): Fantasy and Fugue in G Minor, BWV 542, Variations on "Weinen, klagen, sorgen, zagen", Prelude and Fugue on B-A-C-H, MAX REGER (1873-1916): Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Bach, Op. 81. For collectors of Bach transcriptions, especially those of the great German pianist Kempff, whose Marco Polo recording may have included all or some of what's here but which is out of print now. 2 CDs. Gerhard Oppitz (piano). Hänssler Classic CD 98.479 (Germany) 12H060 $35.98

BOHUSLAV MARTINU (1890-1959): 2 chansons, 3 mélodies, Vocalise-etude, 2 Ballads, 4 Songs, New Anthology, 3 Christmas Songs, 4 Children's Songs and Nursery Rhymes, Love Carol to a Folk Text, A Wish for a Mother, Songs from The Miracles of Mary, For Piano: Polka and Waltz from Spalicek. Martinu's songs are practically unknown, making this recording by Czech artists of a selection of his works in the genre from the 1930s and 40s, when he began a return from French influences toward his native Bohemian sources, particularly valuable, especially at budget-price. French, Czech-English texts. Olga Cerná (mezzo), Jitka Cechová (piano). Naxos 8.557494 (New Zealand) 12H061 $6.98

WILLIAM GRANT STILL (1895-1978): Suite for Violin and Piano, 2 Cameos, Pastorela, Quit Dat Fool'nish, Blues from the Ballet Lenox Avenue, Summerland from Three Visions Suite, Here's One, Bambalele e Espin Garda from Folk Suite No. 1, Carmela from Vignettes Trio. Much of these short pieces have been recorded before but a few may be new to CD; all are in Still's characteristic style founded on African-American religious and popular music. Clifford Panton (violin), Jason Alfred (piano). Centaur CRC 2750 (U.S.A.) 12H062 $16.98

PAUL BEN-HAIM (1897-1984): Music for Piano 1957, Op. 53, Music for Piano 1967, Op. 67, Variations on a Hebrew Melody for Piano Trio, Op. 22, Pastorale Variée for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 31b, Chamsin for Piano. This second volume of chamber works (the first appeared in 2001) continues a valuable perspective of Ben-Haim's post-emigration works composed in Palestine/Israel. Everything here either overtly or covertly seeks to synthesize the Western traditions the composer was brought up with in Germany with the varied Arab and Jewish musics of the Middle East and North Africa which he found in Palestine, even the two sets of prelude-like piano pieces which were written for advanced students. More than many of the New Jewish School (three numbers prior to this), whose works often sound like folk-music transcriptions and are quite short, Ben-Haim created a hybrid East/West genre which fits firmly into the Western European tradition. Gila Goldstein (piano), Yehonatan Berick (violin), Inbal Segev (cello), Alexander Fiterstein (clarinet). Centaur CRC 2766 (U.S.A.) 12H063 $16.98

PAUL BEN-HAIM (1897-1984): Piano Concerto (Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra; Hans Vonk. March 10, 1983), MARC LAVRY (1903-1967): Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 201 (Israel Philharmonic Orchestra; Zubin Mehta. March 18, 1984), VINCENT D'INDY (1851-1931): Symphony on a French Mountain Air, Op. 25 (Jerusalem SO; Mendi Rodan. June 26, 1973), CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921): Piano Concerto No. 5 in F, Op. 103 (Jerusalem SO; Lawrence Foster. Sept. 10, 1988), BELA BARTÓK (1881-1945): Piano Concerto No. 3 (Israel PO; Paul Paray. Nov. 29, 1971), FREDERIC CHOPIN (1810-1849): Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise, Op. 22 (Jerusalem SO; Neville Marriner. Jan. 17, 1979). Needless to say, this compilation of off-the-air recordings is offered for the two Israeli concertos. For Ben-Haim's style, see above. Lavry was born in Latvia and came to Palestine two years later than Ben-Haim, in 1935. His concerto (24 minutes, no date available) is more cinematically vivid than Ben-Haim's big, 37-minute piece from 1949, more overtly colorful and, perhaps, quasi-orientalist in places rather than folk-inspired in the strict academic sense but it's gorgeous to listen to and the stereo recordings (of both) are vivid with very little audience noise. 2 CDs. Pnina Salzman (piano). Doremi DHR-7840/41 (Canada) 12H064 $35.98

ANDRÉ JOLIVET (1905-1974): Concerto for Harp and Chamber Orchestra (Lily Laskine, Orchestre du Théâtre National de l'Opéra de Paris; André Jolivet. 1955 Vega recording, mono), Mana for Piano (Françoise Gobet. 1957 Vega recording, mono), Pastorales de Noël for Flute, Bassoon and Harp (Jacques Castagner [flute], Gérard Faisandier [bassoon], Laskine [harp]. 1957 Vega recording, mono), Concerto for Ondes Martenot and Orchestra (Ginette Martenot, OTNO de Paris; Jolivet. 1955 Vega recording, mono), Concerto for Bassoon, String Orchestra, Harp and Piano (Maurice Allard [bassoon], Orchestre des Cento Soli; Rudolf Albert. 1961 Club Français du Disque recording), Suite Liturgique for Tenor and Small Ensemble (Jean Giraudeau [tenor], Jean Brizard [oboe], Robert Casier [cello], Laskine [harp]. 1961 Vega recording), Incantations for Solo Flute (Jean-Pierre Rampal. 1957 Boîte à musique recording, mono),Eglogues for Solo Viola (Serge Collot. 1971 Adès recording), Suite Rhapsodique for Solo Violin (Devy Erlih. 1966 Adès recording). A very wide variety of Jolivet from various labels, all of which came under control of Universal Classics France for reissue on Accord, just under 145 minutes in all and with several items which have never been issued on CD, this reissue is a must for collectors of 20th century music (note the sister of the inventor of the Ondes Martenot as soloist in that concerto). The notes are brief and in French only but there are five fascinating and candid photos of the composer from his childhood to his late maturity, adding to the set's value as a collector's item. 2 CDs. Mid-price. Accord 476 7783 (France) 12H065 $25.98 >

MICHAEL TIPPETT (1905-1998): Piano Sonatas Nos. 1-3. Spanning 36 years, these sonatas are in wildly different styles, with No. 1 (1937) exuberantly neo-classical, No. 2, coming right after the opera King Priam (1962) similarly austere and angular and No. 3 (1973) concentrating on the sonorous qualitites of the instrument in its explorations of harmony and color for their own sake. Peter Donohoe (piano). Naxos 8.557611 (New Zealand) 12H066 $6.98

MICHAEL TIPPETT (1905-1998): Symphonies Nos. 1-4, Suite from New Year. This repackaging from the original series of single discs not only includes all the symphonies but, instead of yet another version of the Corelli Fantasia or Triple Concerto, Chandos include the half-hour suite from Tippett's 1988 opera New Year with its battery of three saxophones, two electric guitars and drum kit, which again shows the composer, even in his early 80s, unafraid to engage with "modern popular music" (however little or greatly you might cotton to the results personally). 3 CDs. Faye Robinson (soprano), Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra; Richard Hickox. Original 1993-95 Chandos releases. Chandos 10330 (England) 12H067 $35.98

PAUL HINDEMITH (1895-1963): Das lange Weihnachtsmahl. Based on Thornton Wilder's 1931 one-act play "The Long Christmas Dinner", Hindemith was fortunate enough to have the author revise the play into a suitable one-act opera, planning out the whole musical structure before writing a note. Finished in 1960 and premiered the next year, the work depicts 90 years of Christmas dinners in the life of an American family and falls into eight sections, each composed in a single form (passacaglia, fugue, jig, boogie-woogie, etc.) and performed by a chamber orchestra with harpsichord. German-English libretto. Ruth Ziesak (soprano), Ursula Hesse von den Steinen (alto), Herman Wallén (baritone), Arutiun Kotchinian (bass), Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra; Marek Janowski. Wergo WER 6676 (Germany) 12H068 $19.98

HUGO DISTLER (1908-1942): Die Weihnachtsgeschichte, Op. 10 for Soloists and Choir. A musical reformer and church musician who participated in the post-World War I revival of Protestant church music in Germany, Distler wrote much sacred music and a few secular ones (such as a harpsichord concerto which the Nazis performed at a "degenerate music" exhibition) before committing suicide in 1942. His 37-minute "Christmas Story" dates from 1933 and combines old techniques such as imitative countetpoint and Venetian polychorality with syncopated rhythms and modern dissonance. No texts. Regina Werner (soprano), Heidi Rieß (alto), Hans-Joachim Rotzsch (tenor), Herman Christian Polster (bass), Thomanerchor Leipzig; Hans-Joachim Rotzsch. Original 1979 Eterna release. Berlin Classics 0032882BC (Germany) 12H069 $10.98

DINU LIPATTI (1917-1950): Concerto for Organ and Piano, MARCEL DUPRÉ (1886-1971): Ballade, Op. 30, FRÉDÉRIC LEDROIT (b.1968): Oppositions, Op. 48, CÉSAR FRANCK (1822-1890): Variations Symphoniques (transcr. Ledroit). Collectors are likely to be interested in this new title for the Lipatti work, a 1939 four­movement piece lasting around 24 minutes which treats the instruments as equal partners in a generally sunny and cheerful, mostly neo-classical language which has much of the Mediterranean about it. Dupré's ten-minute Ballade of 1932 offers more overt brilliance and virtuosity while modernists will enjoy organist Ledroit's clashes of sound blocks and tone colors (lasting 14 minutes, his three movements are evocatively titled "Fusion", "Volcanique" and "Cristal"). Jean-Pierre Ferey (piano), Frédéric Ledroit (organ of the Cathedral of Angoulême). Skarbo D SK 4054 (France) 12H070 $18.98

LEONARD BERNSTEIN (1918-1990): Serenade for Solo Violin, Strings, Harp and Percussion, Divertimento for Orchestra, Facsimile - Choreographic Essay for Orchestra. Three of Uncle Lenny's least-heard or -recorded orchestral works, Facsimile (1946) a 20-minute ballet conjuring post-war malaise in its acerbic/angular and solemn/tender poles; the 1954 Serenade a five-movement work suggested by Plato's Symposium which is lyrical and often moving in its depiction of various aspects of love; and the 1980 Divertimento, an 18-minute celebration of the Boston Symphony's centenary, full of musical puns and breezy humor. Philippe Quint (violin), Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra; Marin Alsop. Naxos American Classics 8.559245 (U.S.A.) 12H071 $6.98

HOWARD BLAKE (b.1938): Lifecycle. Although composed for various occasions and over a period of more than 40 years, Blake's Lifecycle remains a set of 24 pieces connected by thematic and stylistic traits which make it a homogeneous whole and, thus, one of the more significant large-scale piano compositions by an English composer in recent decades. Completed in 1996, it is in a direct, traditional language united by tonality and a clear emotional structure and which should attract collectors of piano music. William Chen (piano). ABC Classics 476 118-4 (Australia) 12H072 $17.98 >

MATTHEW TAYLOR (b.1964): Piano Trio, Op. 17 (Lowbury Piano Trio), String Quartet No. 3, Op. 18 (Schidlof Quartet), Conflict and Consolation for Brass (Members of the BBC Symphony Orchestra; Martyn Brabbins). It comes as no surprise that a young British composer already influenced by Beethoven and Haydn, and with a thorough understanding of their uses and innovative departures from classical forms, would gravitate toward Robert Simpson. Like the older composer, Taylor delights in the use of traditional forms - the second movement of the trio, for example, is a finely wrought set of variations - while subtly toying with our expectations of conventional resolution, as often encountered in Beethoven. There is also a bracing, Nielsenesque energy to Taylor's more extrovert music; this is most readily evident in the splendid Conflict and Consolation for brass and percussion, with its explosive opening giving way to sonorous chorales and an eventual winding-down of the prevailing mood of tension as the music finally achieves a hard-won and slightly ambiguous sense of resolution. Toccata Classics TOCC 0015 (England) 12H073 $16.98 >

THIERRY ESCAICH (b.1965): 3 Esquisses, JEAN-BAPTISTE ROBIN (b.1976): 3 Éléments d'un songe, BENOÎT MERNIER (b.1964): 5 Inventions, LAURENT CARLE (b.1970): Aphorismes 3-5, CHRISTOPHE MARCHAND (b.1972): Toccata et Canzone à 4 (Pascale Rouet [second player]), PIERRE FARAGO (b.1969): Nächtlich geschürzt, ÉRIC LEBRUN (b.1967): From XV Mystères du Rosaire: Eli, Eli, lamma sabactháni, VALÉRY AUBERTIN (b.1970): Vincent Van Gogh - Les Fresques - Lamento from Livre ouvert, JACQUES PICHARD (b.1961): Le trahison de Judas from Livre d'orgue pour le temps de la Passion. The presence of this disc of New French Organ Music, performed by the composers, with excellent notes in English, was triggered by the presence of Thierry Escaich, whose two previous discs which I offered this year were wildly popular. One cannot generalize about the works of nine composers, whose range of influences goes from the baroque to the present so it remains only to invite organ-lovers to discover a new generation of French compositions. All are performed on the Rieger organ of the Paris Conservatoire. Hortus 037 (Belgium) 12H074 $17.98 >

PIET SWERTS (b.1960): Clarinet Quintet (Roeland Hendrikx [clarinet], Tempera String Quartet), String Quartet No. 2 (Speigel String Quartet). This will be a must for all collectors of mainstream contemporary chamber music. Warm, passionate and often beautifully lyrical (the fourth movement Elegia has a still beauty rarely found in contemporary music; Shostakovich has the stillness but Swerts' is free of angst), the clarinet quintet (2001) also has good-spirited humor in its opening Serenata and final Rondo and, now and then in the second movement Notturno, suggests the pastoral calm of English music of the earlier part of the 20th century. As Swerts notes in the booklet, the 1998 quartet had its psychological and emotional roots in the "troubled production" of his opera Les liaisons dangereuses of the year before and it is a darker and more violently emotional work (a fourth movement Canto funebre is followed by a finale subtitled La violenza) which just goes to increase one's admiration of the composer's stylistic and emotional range. Phaedra 92045 (Belgium) 12H075 $17.98 > (In Flanders' Fields, Vol. 45)

JOHN TAVENER (b.1945): Schuon Lieder for Soprano, Piano, String Quartet and Tibetan Bowls. A brand-new work (2004), this setting of 19 songs by the Swiss philosopher, poet and Sufi mystic Frithjof Schuon (1907-96) reveals a warmer and more sensual composer, courtesy of what Tavener calls the "sacral erotic nature" of Schuon's poetry. The songs' tonal/modal language is offset by atonal linking canons (of less than 30 seconds in general) into which the songs seem to magically dissolve and reassemble themselves and the whole cycle ends in circular nature referring back to the first song. Tavener also surprises with his quotes and allusions to such composers as Bach, Schubert, Mozart and Messiaen, in ingenious ways which never fail to point up the subjects of the text at hand. German-English texts. Patricia Rozario (soprano), The Schubert Ensemble, Gillian McDonough (Tibetan bowls). Black Box BBM 1101 (England) 12H076 $17.98

FRANÇOIS GLORIEUX (b.1932): Divertimento for Piano and Strings (Tobias Koch [piano], Kiev Chamber Orchestra; François Glorieux), Manhattan for Piano and Large Orchestra, Mouvements for Piano, Percussion and Brass. Written in 1974, when the eponymous city was both alluring and still plenty threatening, Manhattan is "A European in New York" complete with sleazy saxophone for its depiction of down-and-out tenements, a Times Square evocation mixing black, oriental and rock music (with banjo and harmonica too) and other brash, loud and virtuosic sections which will entertain anyone with a sense of humor. Mouvements (1962), a four-section ballet score commissioned by Béjart, is often strongly rhythmic, sometimes wistfully nostalgic with as significant influences from popular music of the day as from Bartók, while the Divertimento (1980) is a brief suite of witty dances à la light-music. François Glorieux (piano), Munich Radio Orchestra; Kurt Eichhorn Talent DOM 2910 504 (Belgium) 12H077 $15.98

COLERIDGE-TAYLOR PERKINSON (1932-2004): Sinfonietta No. 1 for Strings, Grass for Piano Strings and Percussion (Joseph Joubert [piano], Chicago Sinfonietta; Paul Freeman), String Quartet No. 1 (New Black Music Repertory Ensemble Quartet), Blue/s Forms for Solo Violin (Sanford Allen), Lamentations: Black Folk Song Suite for Solo Cello (Tahirah Whittington), Louisiana Blues Strut (A Cakewalk) for Solo Violin (Ashley Horne), Movement for String Trio (Allen [violin], Jesse Levine [viola], Carter Brey [cello]). The composer was intensely aware of his African-American heritage, which influenced his musical thinking throughout his career in a musical tradition which has never been seen, rightly or wrongly, as especially accommodating to black composers. Despite the use of spirituals, blues and jazz elements and folk-songs here and there, this is not an ethnomusicological exercise - the impressive orchestral works suggest a neo-classical approach to music that is very much of the concert hall - the comparisons that come most readily to mind are 20th-century Romantics like Barber; the most apparent classical antecedent is Bach. The string quartet is likewise a fine addition to the established tradition, an easy-going work with unexpected similarities to the English pastoral æsthetic (certain works of Moeran and Vaughan Williams), presumably entirely coincidental, but the comparison gives a suggestion of Perkinson's harmonic language. The solo cello work contains the most explicit references to 'black' music, though again cast in forms most familiar from the 'classical' Baroque. Cedille CDR 90000 087 (U.S.A.) 12H078 $16.98

ELLEN TAAFE ZWILICH (b.1939): Violin Concerto, Rituals for 5 Percussionists and Orchestra. The concerto (1998) is in the fine 20th century tradition of American symphonies and concertos - tonal, approachable but with an appealingly rugged quality which suggests American optimism and individualism. The somewhat more exotic instrumentation of the 2002 Rituals has the same indefinable "American" sound, especially in its joyous and celebratory final movement "Contests" which has some of the spirit of the Copland of the 30s and 40s. Pamela Frank (violin), Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra, NEXUS/IRIS Chamber Orchestra (Rituals); Michael Stern. Naxos American Classics 8.559268 (U.S.A.) 12H079 $6.98

MICHAEL MAULDIN (b.1947): Petroglyph, 3 Dances from Chaco Canyon, Promontory Night, DAVID YEAGLEY: HaNitzol for Oboe and Orchestra, Scene from the Opera Jacek, HARRY HEWITT (1921-2003): Prelude to Spoon River. After a bit of a dry spell, we get another release from Max Schubel's unique little operation up in Maine with a half-hour's worth of music from the New Mexico composer Michael Mauldin. We've offered a couple of Mauldin's own CDs in the past and anyone who also knows John Donald Robb's music from Opus One recordings (similarly inspired by New Mexico) will certainly appreciate Mauldin's atmospheric short pieces which channel his impressions of the ancient cultures, enchanted landscapes and vast vistas of northwestern New Mexico in a tonal, approachable, yet far from simple style. Meirav Kadichevski (oboe), vocal soloists, National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra; David Oberg. Opus One 193 (U.S.A.) 12H080 $11.98

GEORGES LENTZ (b.1965): Ngangkar, Guyuhmgan. These two works form elements of a huge cycle of pieces in which the composer has been examining aspects of his twin preoccupations with spiritual matters and the vision of the nature of the universe as revealed through modern scientific discovery. In this sense, the works fall squarely into the realm of 'new spirituality' and New-ageism - and indeed, much of the music is slow and of a restrained and meditative quality. But Lentz' vocabulary is broader than this might suggest - although there is a considerable amount of slow-moving consonant music, there are also microtonal elements, aleatoric gestures and sometimes dense layering of polyphonic textures, and in 'Guyuhmgan', computer-generated sounds are also used. Ultimately, then, we are closer to the æsthetic of Andriessen, or perhaps Takemitsu, than Pärt or Taverner. CD single; budget price. Sydney Symphony Orchestra; Edo de Waart. ABC Classics 472 397-2 (Australia) 12H081 $7.98 >

ROSS EDWARDS (b.1943): Symphony No. 3 "Magna Mater", PETER SCULTHORPE (b.1929): Music for Federation, BRENTON BROADSTOCK (b.1952): Federation Flourish. These works were commissioned for the Australian centenary of Federation celebrations, and present three leading Australian composers' very personal views of their native land. Edwards' symphony is likely to be considered one of his finest works; a powerful and cohesive example of his mature style, in which rugged Sibelian tonality is integrated with Eastern modality and alternating moods of driven dynamism and a brooding spaciousness suggesting the vast landscapes of Australia, punctuated by Edwards' trademark nature sounds and birdsong. Broadstock's work is a bold orchestral fanfare - not so far removed from the famous Copland one - tonal and colorful. Sculthorpe's nine short movements explore different aspects of solemn ceremonial, eschewing pomposity entirely in favor of dramatic intensity and an openly Romantic, deeply felt evocation of national pride, always underpinned by an uneasy, brooding quality, reminding us that the subject of this particular brand of nationalism is projected against a backdrop of natural wildness on a scale which scarcely exists any more elsewhere on earth. Melbourne Symphony Orchestra; Markus Stenz. ABC Classics 461 830-2 (Australia) 12H082 $17.98 >

ROSS EDWARDS (b.1943): Oboe Concerto, Solo Oboe: Yanada, Ulpirra. Ross Edwards' Oboe Concerto, a recent (2002) work is lyrical and long-breathed, very much a soloist's vehicle in the traditional concertante form. Edwards no longer sounds like the young experimenter of his 20s, but his music is far more individual and identifiable these days, and his evocations of birdsong and sounds of nature have been integrated into a personal style which richly evokes the wide open spaces of primitive Australia. Edwards use of Eastern modes and archaic musical forms celebrates musical diversity in an unselfconscious eclecticism which is as eloquent as it is refreshing. CD single; budget price. Diana Doherty (oboe), Melbourne Symphony Orchestra; Arvo Volmer. ABC Classics 476 7173 (Australia) 12H083 $7.98 >

Trumpet Concertos by WILLIAM LOVELOCK (1899-1986), RICHARD MILLS (b.1949), HENRI TOMASI (1901-1971), ALEXANDER ARUTIUNIAN (b.1920), JOSEPH HAYDN (1732-1809) and JOHANN NEPOMUK HUMMEL (1778-1837), Adaptations for Trumpet: VINCENZO BELLINI (1801-1835): Oboe Concerto in E Flat, DOMENICO CIMAROSA (1749-1801): Oboe Concerto (arr. Arthur Benjamin), CARL MARIA VON WEBER (1786-1826): Concertino in C for Oboe and Winds, JEAN-BAPTISTE ARBAN (1825-1889): Fantasy and Variations on a Cavatina from "Beatrice di Tenda" by Bellini. We offer this set for its first disc which contains two Australian works unlikely to be found elsewhere. Although Lovelock was born in England and only moved Down Under in 1957, the majority of his composing was done there. His 1968 concerto borders on light music and was written as a display piece for soloist John Robertson to record for RCA and has a nice gloss of English pastoralism in its slow movement. Mills' concerto dates from 1982 and is a bright and attractive work with a gorgeous slow movement made magical by ingenious use of percussion which collectors will recall from last month's all-Mills offering with his percussion concerto. 2 CDs. Geoffrey Payne (trumpet), Melbourne Symphony Orchestra; John Hopkins, Michael Halász. Original 1990 and 1996 ABC Classics releases. ABC Classics 982 6976 (Australia) 12H084 $25.98 >

ROSS EDWARDS (b.1943): Laikan, RICHARD MEALE (b.1932): Incredible Floridas, ROGER SMALLEY (b.1943): Ceremony II. Meale's six-movement tribute to Arthur Rimbaud (the title is taken from a line in a Rimbaud poem) was commissioned by The Fires of London in the 1960s. As one might expect, then, it is freely atonal and somewhat theatrical in style, with a disjointed, pointillistic instrumental texture. The glittering surface finish of the music reflects the vivid and hallucinatory imagery of the poet's texts. Ross Edwards' "Laikan" evokes natural sounds in five brief, contrasting movements, disconcertingly alternating between naïve and tonal folk-like sections and an abstract atonality making use of unpitched, percussive sounds. Smalley's work - like the others here, associated with The Fires of London - exploits a more traditional instrumental virtuosity, with tension provided through the interplay of tonal centers in outer movements of considerable dynamism framing a more definitely tonal central movement which starts simply and builds in complexity and density through the accumulated 'wave-like' overlapping of instrumental lines. The Seymour Group. ABC Classics 434 901-2 (Australia) 12H085 $17.98 >

MARY FINSTERER (b.1962): Nextwave Fanfare (Melbourne Symphony Orchestra; Gunther Schuller), Nyx (Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble), Constans (Australian Art Orchestra), Ommagio alla Pietà (The Song Company; Rolan Peelman), Catch (Sydney Alpha Ensemble), Tract (David Pereira [cello]), Ruisselant, Achos, Pascal's Sphere (Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne), Sequi (Arditti String Quartet), Ether (Geoffrey Collins [flute]), Kurz (Perihelion), Sleep (Electro-acuoustic). These thirteen works for a variety of ensembles, diverse as they are, share the common factor of a tough and relentlessly energy, generally avoiding gentleness and repose in favour of restless excitement and unpredictability. The works for smaller ensembles and soloists contain ample material for virtuosic display, but the larger works also exploit the full instrumental resources of the individual members of the groups in a dazzling display of textural complexity. The composer's voice is remarkably consistent - clearly she arrived at her individual compositional identity at an early age - 1991's 'Ruisselant' already displays the sense of momentum and restless energy that develops over the course of the other works from the following decade. Almost inevitably, there is an Arditti piece, utilising some extended techniques and discreet use of microtones - throughout the entire programme a remarkably adroit sense of exploiting the specific strengths of the musicians involved, from the improvisational background of the Australian Art Orchestra to the recent adoption of electronic and electroacoustic techniques, as in 'Pascal's Sphere' and 'Sleep'. 2 CDs. ABC Classics 476 176-0 (Australia) 12H086 $27.98 >

HENRYK MIKOLAJ GÓRECKI (b.1933): Symphony No. 3, Op. 36 "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs", Canticum graduum, Op. 27. Although I can't imagine anyone out there not having a version of the, amazingly now evergreen Third Symphony, this new release offers the world premiere recording of a signpost on Górecki's way to that work. Canticum is a ten-minute work of 1969 (predating the symphony by seven years), scored for quadruple winds (saxophones instead of oboes), brass and strings, which builds simply from a central D, through repetition and alternation to a big climax (not without a significant dissonance) and winds down to a quiet coda in Dorian mode Polish-English texts. Ingrid Perruche (soprano), Sinfonia Varsovia; Alain Altinoglu. Naïve V 5019 (France) 12H087 $16.98

ROLF RIEHM (b.1937): Die Erde ist eine Schale von dunkelm Gold - 2 Paraphrases of J.S. Bach for Soprano, Tenor, Baritone and Orchestra (Ksenijá Lukic [soprano], Christoph Späth [tenor], Yaron Windmüller [baritone], Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra; Oswald Sallaberger), He, trèz doulz roussignol joly for Orchestra (Saarbrücken RSO; Hans Zender), Schubert Teilelager for Orchestra (Ensemble Oriol; Sebastian Gottschick). Unlike the Romantic elaboration of Baroque and Classical originals, Riehm's works re-imagine their texts by simultaneously presenting faithfully reproduced fragments of the originals, while intercutting them kaleidoscopically, leading to a collage effect that ends up sounding much more modern and abstract than is commonly the case. He, très doulz was composed in response to a project initiated by Hans Zender, who has also performed similar transformations himself. The models here are very early - pre-Monteverdi. Schubert provides the raw material for the second work, omitting his melody while suggesting the mood through juxtaposed fragments of accompaniment. Bach provides the material for the extended bipartite final work which borrows intervallic structures from familiar works and presents them in an entirely new context, never truly atonal since the chords of the original are constantly glimpsed through the shadows, like an X-ray image of an earlier painting which still exists behind the surface of a re-used canvas. Cybele CD 860.401 (Germany) 12H088 $16.98

OSVALDAS BALAKAUSKAS (b.1937): Symphony No. 4, Symphony No. 5. Barkauskas calls his long-time method of composition "dodecatonic" - the elaboration and formation of new tonal connections within strict serial structures, along with no less strictly calculated rhythm progressions. What this sounds like is not at all atonal: the fourth symphony (1998) sounds like a combination of Allan Pettersson and minimalism with the changing colors of different instrumental groups constantly keeping the attention as the music swirls and flows in mysterious directions. The fifth (2001) appears to be taking a new direction with its much higher energy and overt references to jazz and blues. Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra; Juozas Domarkas. Naxos 8.557605 (New Zealand) 12H089 $6.98

WILLIAM BOLCOM (b.1938): Recuerdos, Frescoes, Sonata, Interlude, The Serpent's Kiss (Ragtime), Through Eden's Gates (Cakewalk). 24 minutes of Bolcom in dance mode (Recuerdos is a 1991 suite of Latin American-style dances) provide the bread in a sandwich whose meat is atonal or highly chromatic with aleatory passages, clusters and unsynchronized playing (Frescoes - a 28-minute exercise in modernism from 1971) and the 16-minute sonata (1993) which is more approachable but nowhere near easy listening. Elizabeth and Marcel Bergmann (two pianos). Naxos American Classics 8.559244 (U.S.A.) 12H090 $6.98

PHILIPPE CHAMOUARD (b.1952): L'offrande des lumières, Kyrie of Messe des Anges. Taking as its point of departure a late manifestation of Gregorian liturgical chant, the Kyrie progresses through six instrumental variations which, while remaining true to the somber seriousness of the original, treat the material in a variety of ingenious ways, ranging from a neo-romantic orchestral guise to textures made up of multiple synthesizer parts which depart almost completely from 'classical' concert music, taking us closer to the sort of thing one might expect of Vangelis, or Pink Floyd. If that idea doesn't appeal, so be it, but the overall effect is not of point-proving 'crossover' music so much as a genuine attempt to write music of seriousness and solemnity in an unabashedly 'popular' style. 'The Offering of Lights' is more conventional in instrumentation, occupying a shadowy world in which atmosphere is of paramount importance; as one might expect of mystical 'world music' of this type, the vocabulary is overwhelmingly tonal. Choir of the Monks of Kergonan Abbey, Philharmonia Sudecka; Marc Andreae. Orphée Production OP 1101 (France) 12H091 $17.98 >

PHILIPPE CHAMOUARD (b.1952): Symphonie Mystique "Sphene", Symphonie No. 1 Tibétaine. These two large-scale orchestral works - more assemblages of atmospheric tone-poems than traditional symphonies, really - explore the composer's preoccupation with the mystical and philosophical traditions of the East. This appears to represent Chamouard's primary musical inspiration since he took the unusual step of rejecting - and destroying - his entire output from before 1987 (the "Mystic Symphony" from that year is actually his 'first' acknowledged work, in consequence). The works share a brooding, mysterious atmosphere which from time to time is reminiscent of Mahlerian resignation, though Chamouard largely avoids the dramatic conflict that usually preceded any such philosophical acceptance of fate in the Romantic imagination - though having said that there is more harmonic tension here than one normally encounters in 'new spiritual' New Age compositions. Olsztyn State Philharmonic Orchestra; Piotr Borkowski. Orphée Production OP 1102 (France) 12H092 $17.98 >


Elliott Carter turns 97 with 3 Premiere Recordings!

ELLIOTT CARTER (b.1908): Volume 7 - Cello Concerto (Fred Sherry), Boston Concerto, Dialogues for Piano and Chamber Orchestra (Nicolas Hodges; all with BBC Symphony Orchestra; Oliver Knussen), ASKO Concerto (ASKO Ensemble; Knussen). As he approaches his century, Carter shows absolutely no sign of slowing down and more importantly, his music continues to evolve and remain fresh and fluent in each successive new work. 2003's Dialogues is a fine example of this; Carter's familiar complex compound rhythms are here, but the dense counterpoint set up by their interplay in his familiar style is largely absent. The textures are very open, the title apposite, as the formidable piano part engages the ensemble in a dazzling exchange of ideas. The Boston Concerto (2002) is also a study in clarity of argument; Carter's orchestra is frequently subdivided into small groups which carry on their eloquent discourse, leaving the listener to delight in the opportunity to eavesdrop on such a learned discourse, so generously and lucidly expressed. The cello concerto of 2001 throws a great deal of the weight of the musical argument onto the soloist; the cello essentially plays a 20-minute soliloquy, sometimes in conflict with, at others merely commented upon by, the orchestra. Thus there is a greater sense of theatrical drama here, the occasional tutti serving as scene changes against which the complicated 'character' represented by the soloist traverses a huge range of emotions and ideas. The earliest work here, the sprightly ASKO concerto (2000), is probably the most 'typical' Carter on the disc, playing small groups of instruments within the ensemble off against each other in polymetrical counterpoint and exquisitely textured gossamer scoring punctuated rarely by abrupt tutti which propel, rather than interrupt, the flow of musical inspiration. Bridge 9184 (U.S.A.) 12H093 $16.98


ROGER SESSIONS (1896-1985): Complete Piano Works - Sonatas Nos. 1-3, From My Diary, 5 Pieces, Waltz. This useful disc gathers together the entire piano output of one of America's most strikingly original and accomplished composers of the 20th century, providing a succinct summary of Sessions' evolving compositional vocabulary, from the taut, spare and ambiguous tonality of his earliest works through the increasing density and chromaticism of his middle period, to the richly interpreted dodecaphony that he embraced from the 1950s, of which the third sonata is both the first and perhaps the most impressive example. Even the short pieces, though, seethe with tense, nervous energy, while paradoxically throughout his career, Sessions never abandoned his ready sense of the sinuous and seemingly inexhaustible melodic line, no matter the complexity of the context in which it is presented. Barry David Salwen (piano). Previous 19?? Koch Interrnational Classics release (Albany doesn't bother to provide recording or original publication dates, so check your collection!). Albany TROY 802 (U.S.A.) 12H094 $16.98

CARL VINE (b.1954): Symphony No. 1 "Microsymphony", Symphony No. 2, Symphony No. 3, Symphony No. 4.2, Symphony No. 5 "Percussion", Symphony No. 6 "Choral", Celebrare Celeberrime. For those of you who don't know him and haven't been asking me each month since September, Vine is a prodigiously talented, extremely popular composer in his native Australia who is also extremely difficult to categorize. A gifted composer who makes use of all 19th and 20th century musical history (and I do mean all, since he has experience even in electronic music) but who manages to combine all his influences into a recognizable style can't be pigeon-holed. None of Vine's symphonies (all in single-movement format, ranging in length from 11 to 29 minutes) sound like any of the others beyond certain basic characteristics such as an almost omnipresent obsession with rhythm, often blowing up into exciting, foot-stomping storms (remember the first time you heard Rolf Liebermann's Furioso? - well, Vine doesn't sound like that but the effect is the same) which only come, thankfully, marginally close to minimalism, a refusal to go "academic" and write complexicist music at any time, and a wide, attractive orchestral palette. And who could resist a composer who writes a big choral symphony whose texts are in Sumerian and Ancient Greek? 2 CDs. Mid-price. Original 1990, 1996, 1997 and 2000 ABC Classics releases. Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Philharmonia Motet Choir, Synergy (Sym. No. 5); Stuart Challender, Edo de Waart. ABC Classics 476 7129 (Australia) 12H095 $25.98 >

PHILIP GLASS (b.1937): Symphony No. 6 "Plutonian Ode". A 50-minute work (2002) which sets the poem by Allen Ginsberg, the symphony's three movements are described by the composer: "the first movement a passionate outcry against nuclear contamination and pollution, the second a turn towards healing, and the final movement an epiphany arrived at through personal transformation." The piece is much more in Glass' earlier minimalist style than the concertos which appeared last year on this label or than the violin concerto on Naxos. A second (free) CD contains Ginsburg himself reading his Ode. Text included. Lauren Flanigan (soprano), Bruckner Orchestra Linz; Dennis Russell Davies. Orange Mountain Music OMM0020 (U.S.A.) 12H096 $17.98

NORBERT MORET (1921-1998): Trumpet Concerto (Jeffrey Segal, Lausanne Chamber Orchestra; Okko Kamu), Horn Concerto (Bruno Schneider, LCO; Jesus Lopez-Cobos), Suite à l'image de temps for 2 String Orchestras (LCO; Lopez-Cobos). Subtle and restrained, and tremendously approachable, these works combine a neoclassical elegance with Romantic expressiveness. The trumpet concerto throws a good deal of the weight of the musical argument onto thesoloist, whose sinuous and eloquent soliloquy is present almost throughout. The Suite sounds more modern, though no more so than Bartók or Frank Martin, the latter being perhaps the comparison which comes most readily to mind. The horn concerto is a more extrovert work, and provides a stunning vehicle for exposing the full expressive qualities of the solo instrument. The slow movement, with its interchange of ideas between soloist and wind groupings within the orchestra is especially atmospheric. Cascavelle RSR 6169 (Switzerland) 12H097 $15.98

IANNIS XENAKIS (1922-2001): Edition, Vol. 6 - Syrmos for 18 Strings, Aroura for 12 Strings, Voile for 20 Strings, Theraps for Double Bass, Analogique A+B for 9 Strings and Tape, Ittidra for String Sextet. The latest volume in Mode's Xenakis series contains music for strings - from 20 in Voile to a solo double bass in Theraps. The early Syrmos (1959) contains most of the composer's building blocks for string music for the rest of his career: dissonant chords, howling glissandos, clustered pizzicatos and tremolos, overlapping rhythmic patterns and a wide variety of dynamic and coloristic effects while the results can vary from the alarming explosions of sound punctuated by stillness of Aroura (1971) to the threnodic, almost static quality of 1996's Ittidra (Arditti backwards). Ensemble Resonanz; Johannes Kalitzke. Mode 152 (U.S.A.) 12H098 $17.98

GIACINTO SCELSI (1904-1988): Sauh I-IV for Voice and Tape, Taiagauù for Female Voice, Hô for Female Voice. Hardcore Scelsi collectors who own the out-of-print Wergo recording of Japanese soprano Michiko Hirayama performing the Canti del Capricorno will need no urging to acquire this new release. Schuppe studied with Hirayama for a period of 15 years up to 2003 and learned much about Scelsi from her (she also studied singing in India). The works here are both "early" (Hô and Taiagarù are from 1960 and 1962 respectively) and late (Sauh is from 1973). Scelsi uses the human voice much like he uses wind instruments with only parts of Taiagarù making use of stopped consonants (one of its five pieces is a transcription of a piece from the 1956 4 Pieces for Horn); the rest is flowing and based on his characteristic obsession with variations of pitch on one note with the tape accompaniment providing polyphony, not of the voices, but of their means of articulation. Marianne Schuppe (voice). New Albion NA 129 (U.S.A.) 12H099 $15.98

MARK-ANTHONY TURNAGE (b.1960): Scherzoid (Jonathan Nott), Evening Songs (Vladimir Jurowski), When I Woke (Gerald Finley [baritone]; Jurowski), Yet Another Set To (Christian Lindberg [trombone]; Marin Alsop). These recent works display a maturity and thoroughness of musical argument that some found lacking in Turnage's early music, provocative and accomplished as that undoubtedly was. His integration of jazz idioms, long a trademark gesture, is shown to great advantage in the thrillingly propulsive Scherzoid, which is so buoyant and energetic it sounds less modern than it actually is. Eloquent lyricism is to the fore in the somberly nocturnal Evening Songs and the richly saturated colors of the Dylan Thomas settings (also of sombre hue) of When I Woke. Yet Another Set To combines jazz energy with the formidable virtuosity of Christian Lindberg, for whom it was written - Lindberg completists will want this anyway, as another worthy vehicle for the remarkable soloist's talents - and the slow movement, limiting the orchestra to strings, is a surprise; a restrained and muted shadowy nocturne, not so very far removed from the tense and chilly atmosphere of a Shostakovich slow movement. London Philharmonic Orchestra. LPO 0007 (England) 12H100 $16.98

JOHN ZORN (b.1953): Orphée for Flute, Viola, Harp, Celeste/Harpsichord, Percussion and Electronics (Tara O'Connor [flute], Lois Martin [viola], June Han [harp] Stephen Gosling [celeste, harpsichord], David Shively [percussion], Ikue Mori [electronics], Brad Lubman [conductor]), Frammenti del Sappho for 5 Female Voices (Martha Cluver, Lisa Bielawa, Martha Sullivan, Abby Fischer, Kirsten Sollek), Walpurgisnacht for String Trio (Jennifer Choi [violin], Richard O'Neill [viola], Fred Sherry [cello]). In these three recent works, the composer acknowledges a debt to French artistic influences of many kinds, the most readily audible being the sound-world of Debussy, evident in Orphée, despite its more modern language. In fact, in all these works, Zorn demonstrates a 'softer' and less aggressive side to his musical personality than is often in evidence, with considerable delicacy of instrumentation and flowing, melodic textures which are most beguiling. The a capella Frammenti especially are surprisingly consonant, beginning in a mood of Romantic minimalism and never departing from it by any great distance. Walpurgisnacht directly references post-Webernian pointillism, and again there is a subtle interplay of colours shared with impressionism and the heightened color sense of the Second Viennese. Tzadik TZ 8018 (U.S.A.) 12H101 $15.98

EVAN ZIPORYN (b.1959): Pondok for Piano (Sarah Cahill), Piano Trio - Typical Music (Arden Trio), Ngaben for Gamelan and Orchestra (Gamelan Galak Tika, New England Conservatory Philharmonia; Dante Anzolini). These three works directly resulted from the composer's exposure to Balinese culture and music in the past several decades. Ngaben for orchestra and gamelan ensemble is the work that most obviously derives its unusual timbres from the combination of eastern and western performance practice; referring to a Balinese Hindu funerary rite, it was written in response to the terrorist bombing in Bali in 2002. Like the other works here it utilises a consonant language which suggests a somewhat westernised interpretation of the modality of the east, framed in the gestures of a neo-romantic orchestral tone poem. The trio contains some repeating elements, suggesting minimalism without adhering strictly to its methods, and the direct contact on the piano strings in Pondok is an evocative timbral device, with no avant garde pretensions. Overall the impresssion is of a sophisticated by-product of 'World Music', not so very far from aspects of the output of Lou Harrison or Terry Riley. New Albion NA128 (U.S.A.) 12H102 $15.98

JOAN ALBERT AMARGÓS (b.1950): Eurídice y los títeres de Caronte. For this combination of opera and puppet theatre meant to be approachable by young audiences, Catalan composer Amargós writes for a small ensemble of piano trio, double bass and bandoneón, the latter providing a sound which suggests the world of the circus and puppet shows. While the allusions to Orpheus and Eurydice will be strengthened by the visuals, the piece stands quite well as sound alone and its direct, approachable musical language is by no means "children's music" and it should appeal to collectors of contemporary opera and Iberian music. Spanish-English libretto. Claudia Schneider (soprano), Marc Canturri (baritone), Toni Rumbau (puppet voices), Barcelona 216; Joan Albert Amargós. Harmonia Mundi HMI 987065 (Spain) 12H103 $17.98


The Hyperion Schubert Song Edition A Box-Set at Mid-Price

For those of you who, 20 years ago or so, decided to wait for it to be issued at mid-price when it was all finished: 40 CDs including the original 37 volumes and three new discs (which will be released separately early next year) containing 81 songs by such Schubert friends and contemporaries as J.F. Reichardt, L. Reichardt, Zumsteeg, Zelter, Gyrowetz, Weigl, Vogl, Unger, Tomasek, Dietrichstein, Krufft, Berger, Neukomm, Hummel, Kreutzer, Spohr, Franz, Weyrauch, Sechter, Hüttenbrenner, Bürde, Randhartinger, Unger-Sabatier, Lachner, Banck and Vesque von Puttingen. The songs are presented in chronological sequence of composition and the complete song texts, translations by Richard Wigmore, introduction and chronologies of Schubert's life by Graham Johnson and comprehensive indexes are in the accompanying 448 page book. The thing weighs an ounce or two short of 8 lbs, making it a perfect Christmas gift for all those culture-loving friends who drive Hummers! Dozens of singers and a chorus or two, Graham Johnson (piano). Hyperion CDS 44201 (England) 12H104 $432.98


KAREL KOMZÁK II (1850-1905): Den blonden Mädchen, Caraffa-Marsch, Op. 243, Warschauer Mäd'ln, Kaiser-Marsch, Op. 260, Die Mühle am Bach, Petite valse, Op. 173, Obstructionspolka, Sub rosa, Op. 172, Maiblümchen, Dein gedenk' ich, KAREL KOMZÁK I (1823-1893): Rabin Libejicer, Op. 8, Feldzugmeister "Von Kuhn" Marsch, Moldauwellen. The second volume in a series of waltzes, marches and polkas by this Bohemian family who also prospered in Vienna and made their own contribution to the genre of light music for which the city became known in the 19th century. Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra; Christian Pollack. Marco Polo 8.225327 (New Zealand) 12H105 $9.98


Australian Light Music

ARTHUR BENJAMIN (1893-1960): Jamaican Rumba, From San Domingo, Caribbean Dance: A New Jamaican Rumba, HENRY KRIPS (1912-1987): Serenata Piccola, Romanze, Blue Mountains, Legend, MIKE KENNY (b.1939): Ocean Road, KATHARINE PARKER (1886-1971): Down Longford Way (arr. Percy Grainger), FREDERICK WHAITE (1887-1964): Argentina, ERIC JUPP (1923-2003): Bobsleigh, ALFRED HILL (1870-1960): Waiata Poi (arr. Henry Krips), TOMMY TYCHO (b.1928): Lifesavers' March from Sydney Suite, GEORGE DREYFUS (b.1928): Serenade, WILLIAM LOVELOCK (1899-1986): Hyde Park Shuffle, JACK GRIMSLEY: Rebecca's Dream. As a former British colony, it's not surprising that Australia should have produced a bevy of attractive light-music composers, the Australian Broadcasting Company employing many composers as staff for writing and arranging music for radio, concerts and TV. You'll notice several well-known names in the list above and, yes, Henry Krips is Josef's brother. Adelaide Symphony Orchestra; Guy Noble. ABC Classics 476 272-2 (Australia) 12H106 $17.98 >


Václav Talich on DVD

ANTONÍN DVORÁK (1841-1904): Slavonic Dances, Opp. 46 & 72. For collectors of famous conductors on screen, his release contains the complete Slavonic Dances in a Czech television recording from 1955, just months after Talich retired as music director of the Czech Philharmonic, and a 45-minute documentary on the conductor made in 2004. Czech Philharmonic Orchestra; Václav Talich. Supraphon DVD SU 7010-9 (Czech Republic) 12H107 $24.98


ALFRED HELLER: Cello Sonata No. 2 "In the Sistine Chapel with Michelangelo", Suite for Flute and Piano, Suite Asiamericana for Cello and Piano, Confessione Sancti Augustini for Voice and Piano. In the Sistine Chapel is a three movment sonata which dramatically depicts six panels from the chapel and uses the Kyrie, Cunctipotens Genitor Deus as its idéé fixe. The Suite is filled with lyric poetry. The Suite Asiamericana brings east and west Asia together in peace in America by blending world folk influences in the spirit of Heller's mentor, the Brazilian master, Heitor Villa-Lobos.  Confessiones Sancti Augustini was commissioned by the Baronessa Mariuccia Zerilli-Marimó to honor the elevation of Renato Cardinal Martino and has been performed in Rome and New York. Miranda Su Lan Harding (cello), Christine Locke (flute), Marc Heller (tenor), Alfred Heller (piano). Alkamar Records AL 105 (CD-R). 12H108 $18.98