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WILLIAM WALLACE (1860-1940): Creation Symphony in C Sharp Minor, Suite from Incidental Music to Pelléas et Mélisande, Prelude to The Eumenides. Hyperion's release of four of Wallace's tone poems early last year betokened the rediscovery of a singularly original character: musician, doctor and painter who imbibed at the fount of Liszt but who turned influences into quite original compositions. Now we have his magnum opus: the Creation Symphony of 1896-99. The work is cast in four large movements: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" starts with Wallace's own musical representation of primeval Chaos (divided basses and solo tuba) out of which the main allegro comes into being, representing the arrival of light, swelling to a majestic climax before receding into a calm hymn with reminiscences of the tone poem The Passing of Beatrice. The second movement, "And God made two great lights...", opens with a startling use of minimalist technique (long before there was a name for it!) evoking the twinkling of stars; themes for the moon and the sun follow and the movement ends in a triumphant fanfare as the first sun rises. The scherzo, "And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters..." combines restless surging motives with a pastoral theme to represent the earth and the ocean. The finale, "So God created man in his own image..." is a triumphal paean to the creative capacity of humankind and the work ends in Eden upon which the second-movement sun motif shines in splendor. An amazing rediscovery! The couplings are a delightfully Lisztian orchestral prelude from 1893 which describes the clash between the brutal forces of revenge (personified by the Furies) and the rule of justice, represented by Athena. The suite from Pélleas... dates from 1900, predating both Sibelius and Debussy, containing "The Love of Pélleas for Mélisande", a passionate flood of rising desire, "Spinning Song", a delicate character-piece representing Mélisande's innocence and "The Death of Mélisande", a surprisingly extravagant expression of tormented grief. BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra; Martyn Brabbins. Hyperion CDA 66987 (England) 12-001 $17.98

HERBERT HOWELLS (1892-1983): Suite for Orchestra The B's, 3 Dances for Violin and Orchestra, In Green Ways. Howell's wrote his five-movement suite The B's in 1914, a celebration of four of his friends at the Royal College of Music (Benjamin, Bliss, Gurney, Francis Warren), with himself (Bublum) as the overture which leads on to a "lament", "Scherzo", "Mazurka alias Minuet" and "March". Only his second orchestral work, this suite bubbles with self-confidence and sureness of touch: all vigor and sunlit optimism save for the somewhat pavane-like "lament" depicting Gurney's "remoteness of mind and fascination with folk-lore". The three dances were written in 1915 for another friend, George Whittaker; two high-spirited allegros frame a gorgeous quasi lento which invites comparison with Vaughan Williams' The Lark Ascending. Both receive their premiere recordings here as does the pastoral song-cycle (1915) in its orchestral version (1928). Yvonne Kenny (soprano), Lydia Mordkovitch (violin), London Symphony Orchestra; Richard Hickox. Chandos 9557 (England) 12-002 $16.98

FREDERICK DELIUS (1862-1934): Fennimore and Gerda. This is the premier recording of Delius' original, German libretto of the novel Niels Lyhne by Danish author Jens Peter Jacobsen. Unfolding in 11 "pictures", the story, set in the Norwegian countryside, tells of a romantic triangle which brings much grief and torment to its protagonists. Laconic and terse, the libretto is augmented by Delius' music which was intended to clarify matters not addressed in words. Delius' avowed intent was to create a psychological opera which would achieve "short, strong emotional impressions given in a series of terse scenes" and the subtlety of his musical scene- and mood-painting helps him succeed admirably. Randi Stene (soprano), Judith Howarth (soprano), Peter Coleman-Wright (baritone), Danish National Radio Choir and Symphony Orchestra; Richard Hickox. Chandos 9589 (England) 12-003 $16.98

JOHN IRELAND (1879-1962): Sextet for Clarinet, Horn and String Quartet, Phantasie Trio in A Minor, Trio No. 2 in E, Trio No. 3 in E. The 19-year-old Ireland's sextet receives its world premiere recording here. The composer saw Richard Mühlfeld and the Joachim Quartet perform Brahms' Clarinet Quintet in London in the mid-1890s and this event provided the impetus for the sextet, with horn added to further richen an already rich, Brahmsian palette. The disc then provides a mini-resumé of Ireland's chamber music evolution, from the strikingly original Phantasie Trio of 1906 through the later piano trios of his maturity (1917 and 1938). The Holywell Ensemble. ASV DCA 1016 (England) 12-004 $16.98


KAROL RATHAUS (1895-1954): Polonaise symphonique, Op. 32, Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 45, Vision dramatique, Op. 55, Suite from Uriel Acosta. Polish-born Rathaus was yet another composer to wear the entartete badge in Nazi Germany but he was presciently well ahead of events, moving to Paris, then London and finally winding up in the U.S. by 1938 where he became an eminent pedagogue as well as working in the film industry. The concerto, dark in seeming presage of the impending catastrophe dates from the year of his arrival; there is a Bartokian quality to it but Stravinsky and Prokofiev seem to be near as well - a thoroughly enjoyable, if edgy, 30 minutes. It's couplings include 4 movements from incidental music to a play which feature Jewish-like elements, a five-minute orchestral polonaise of somewhat somber mien and a 13-minute long tone poem from 1945 full of rich gesture, emotional agitation and constant motion. Donald Picone (piano), London Symphony Orchestra; JoAnn Falletta. Koch International Classics 373972 (U.S.A.) 12-005 $16.98

JOSEF MATTHIAS HAUER (1883-1959): Klavierstücke mit Überschriften nach Worten von Friedrich Hölderlin, Op. 25, Nomos, Op. 2, 7 Kleine Stücke, Op. 3, Tanz, Op. 10, 5 Kleine Stücke, Op. 15, Phantasie, Op. 17. Hauer claimed to have anticipated Schoenberg in "discovering" the 12-tone system, a claim which, after a period of contact with the elder composer performing some of Hauer's works, led to a break in the late 1920s. What we have here, however, are pieces mostly from pre-1919, the date Hauer recognizes as the beginning of his 12-tone discoveries. These are brief, aphoristic pieces of strong chromatic coloring, not unlike the contemporary (non-serial) pieces of Schoenberg, Webern, Berg and Zemlinsky. The op. 25 "Pieces with Titles Taken from Hölderlin"(1923) numbered 60, of which 16 were published. These are euphonic and possess a gentle harmony which will mystify anyone expecting "cold, hard atonality". These are delightful little pieces as easy to listen to as anything written by non-serialist contemporaries. Anna Petrova (piano). Gega 181 (Bulgaria) 12-006 $16.98

PAUL HINDEMITH (1895-1963): String Quartet No. 2 in F Minor, Op. 10, String Quartet No. 6 in E Flat. To obviate any confusion, we should point out that Wergo uses the numbering system which designates Hindemith's early op. 2 quartet as No. 1. Thus, according to Schwann/Opus, these quartets would be nos. 1 and 5 respectively. Composed while in the army during WW I, the F minor quartet mixes liberal doses of Reger, Dvorak and Schumann in its long, variation middle movement while the mock-heroic first is redolent of Richard Strauss. The huge rondo final movement hurtles along with many odd events along the way before tumbling into a precipitous coda. A gap of 20 years separated the E Flat quartet from its predecessor and its mature seriousness is indicated by the slow fugue of its first movement and, as in Beethoven's op. 131, a following energetic fast movement. A slow variation movement is followed by a brilliant finale which juxtaposes craggy counterpoint with a grazioso coda. Juilliard String Quartet. Wergo 6607 (Germany) 12-007 $19.98


CARL CZERNY (1791-1857): Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 781, Symphony No. 5 in E Flat. Although neither the program notes nor Grove provide dates for any of Czerny's symphonies, the scale of these works (37 and 40 minutes respectively) and their musical language are comparable with the earlier symphonies of Franz Lachner and Raff although Beethoven's shadow (and he was a teacher of Czerny) looms over all. First movements are in sonata form, abundant of musical thoughts while second movements flow rhapsodically rather than brood romantically. Scherzos are crisp and neat and finales tend toward the monumental. A major release for collectors of forgotten Romantic symphonies! Frankfurt (Oder) State Orchestra; Nikos Athinäos. Signum 89-00 (Germany) 12-008 $17.98


CHEVALIER J.J.O. DE MEUDE-MONPAS (18th cent.): Violin Concerto No. 4 in D, CHEVALIER DE SAINT-GEORGES (1745-1799): Violin Concerto in A, Op. 5/2, JOSÉ WHITE (1835-1918): Violin Concerto in F Sharp Minor, SAMUEL COLERIDGE-TAYLOR (1875-1912): Romance in G for Violin and Orchestra. World premiere recordings of Coleridge-Taylor's 1899 exercise in lush harmonic and melodic beauty and of Meude-Monpas' 1786 classical concerto. Little is known about Monpas but his work shows an increase in emotion and dramatic intensity over the concerto of his compatriot Saint-Georges of 11 years earlier which is rooted in the transitional French Classical style that still looked back to Tartini. Born in Cuba and educated in Paris, White composed his concerto in 1864 for his own use as a touring virtuoso and contains much Paganini-esque virtuosity in the outer movements, the latter of which is a sparkling rondo built on a gypsy-like theme. Rachel Barton (violin), Encore Chamber Orchestra; Daniel Hege. Cedille 035 (U.S.A.) 12-009 $16.98

JOHANN SIMON MAYR (1763-1845): Grande Messa da Requiem. Composed in 1815, this massive 90-minute work is firmly in the monumental French style so influential at that time. Richly orchestrated (particularly thrilling, glittering brass in the Libera me), the work opens with a Requiem aeternam introduced by a funeral march and builds to an intense, 50-minute Dies irae which is fiery, catalclysmic and resigned by turns. Mayr's importance as a composer and his ability to write memorable music (as instanced by the collection of overtures we offered a few months ago) is confirmed even more by this magnificent issue. 2 CDs. Anna Valdetarra (soprano), Kyoko Moriyama (mezzo), Guillermo Dominguez (tenor), Manuel Beltran Gil (tenor), Frano Lufi (bass), Civic Philharmonic Chorus of Milan, orchestra Stabile di Bergamo; Pierangelo Pelucchi. Agorá AG 131.2 (Italy) 12-010 $33.98

NICOLA VACCAJ (1790-1848): Giulietta e Romeo. A student of Paisiello and author of 17 works for the stage, Vaccaj's most successful opera was this one, written in 1825. It action is that of Bellini's I Capuleti e i Montecchi of 5 years later except that Romeo is sung by a contralto. In fact, if this opera is known today at all, it is because the aria ending its penultimate scene (Ah se tu dormi, svegliati) is often interpolated into Bellini's work. The character of the music is Rossinian in its delicacy rather than having the more emotional intensity of Bellini. 2 CDs. Italian libretto. Paula Almeraes (soprano), Maria José Turllu (contralto), Coro Lirico Marchigiano "Vincenzo Bellini", Orchestra Filarmonica Marchigiana; Tiziano Severini. Bongiovanni 2195-6 (Italy) 12-011 $33.98

GAETANO DONIZETTI (1797-1848): Chamber Music, Vol. 1: Variations in F, Scherzo in D, Sonata in F, Variations in B Flat, Amusement pathètique tiré de l'opéra "Anna Bolena", Impromptu. Rodolfo Bonucci (violin), Pietro Spada (piano). Arts 47217 (Germany) 12-012 $9.98

GAETANO DONIZETTI (1797-1848): Chamber Music, Vol. 2: Larghetto e Allegro in G for Violin and Harp, Largo in G Minor for Cello and Piano, Sonata for Flute and Piano in C, Sonata for Oboe and Piano in F, Studio in C for Clarinet, Piano Trios in E Flat and D, Larghetto e Allegro in C for Flute, Bassoon and Piano. Claudia Antonelli (harp), Arturo Bonucci (cello), Rodolfo Bonucci (violin), Marco Constanini (bassoon), Augusto Loppi (oboe), Vincenzo Mariozzi (clarinet), Angelo Persichilli (flute), Pietro Spada (piano). Arts 47218 (Germany) 12-013 $9.98

A delightful collection of short chamber works, mostly from Donizetti's youth, show the same gift for melody and sparkling joy in music-making which informs so many of his stage works.

GIOACCHINO ROSSINI (1792-1868): Piano Works Vol. 1 - Péchés de Vieillesse (selection): Petite Caprice (Style de Offenbach), Memento Homo, Assez de memento: dansons, Une caresse à ma femme, Un profond Sommeil, Un réveil en Sursaut, Un enterrement en carnival, Mon Prelude hygienique du matin, La Lagune de Vénise, Marche et Réminiscences pour mon dernier voyage.... Rossini's late piano pieces combine a Czernian and Mendelssohnian technical brilliance with a Lisztian fascination with ambiguous harmonies and mystery, all wrapped up in a sense of humor which influenced French composers down to Satie. Stefan Irmer (piano). MD&G 618 0654 (Germany) 12-014 $18.98

VÁCLAV JAN TOMASEK (1774-1850): 22 Goethe Lieder, Opp. 53-59. One of the most neglected of the transitional composers between classicism and romanticism, Tomasek is known, if at all for his piano concertos and eclogues for solo piano which demonstrate burgeoning romanticism. He also set 41 of Goethe's poems and was a friend and correspondant of the poet; the selection recorded here originally in 1981 contains several poems made lastingly famous by Schubert: Erlkönig, Wandrers Nachtlied, Rastlose Liebe, Trost in Tränen, Schäfers Klagelied, Nähe des Geliebten, Mailied, etc. Kurt Widmer (baritone), Klaus Linder (hammerklavier). Ars Musici 1210 (Germany) 12-015 $17.98


FRANZ JOSEPH HAYDN (1732-1809): Clarinet Concerto in B, Double Concerto in E Flat for 2 Clarinets and Orchestra, Double Concerto in B for 2 Clarinets and Orchestra. Klöcker argues that the single clarinet concerto, which he discovered 10 years ago dates from Haydn's late period and it certainly sounds that way, not least in its adagio's and final rondo's affinity with the world of the London symphonies. The E Flat double concerto appears to be one of the lost lyra concertos written in 1786 for the King of Naples while the third work stylistically seems to date from Haydn's youth and his period in the service of Count Morzin. Dieter Klöcker, Waldemar Wandel (clarinets), Prague Chamber Orchestra. Orfeo 448 971 (Germany) 12-016 $17.98

ANTONIO ROSETTI (c.1750-1792): Symphony in D, A12, Symphony in G, A40, Symphony in C, A9, Symphony in F, A33. Dating from 1780 (A12) and 1784-5, these four symphonies continue the rediscovery of Rosetti as a symphonic composer. The rustic minuet of A9 has a trio for winds, a reminder of Rosetti's facility with wind concertos. Bucolic colors shade A33's minuet also and a strong personality is evident in all of the later works, with busy rhythms, chromatic twists, sudden pauses and playful themes. A fine addition to Chandos' "Contemporaries of Mozart" series. London Mozart Players; Matthias Bamert. Chandos 9567 (England) 12-017 $16.98

GIOVANNI BATTISTA VIOTTI (1755-1824): Sinfonia concertante for Violin, Piano and Orchestra, Violin Concerto No. 4. Composed in 1786, the sinfonia concertante is the only work coupling these instruments until Mendelssohn's 37 years later. Parisian tastes demanded - and Viotti supplied - a work full of florid, exuberant and brilliant writing for the solo instruments and yet looks forward to the early Romantic period in its affect. The concerto, from 1782, provides the obligatory virtuosity in the outer movements and a cantabile middle movement again anticipating Romantic sensibilites. Guido Rimonda (violin), Cristina Canziani (piano), Camerata Ducale. Bongiovanni 5567 (Italy) 12-018 $16.98

JOHAN WIKMANSON (1753-1800): String Quartets in D Minor, E Minor and B Flat, Op. 1, Nos. 1-3. Wikmanson was the major representative of Viennese Classicsm in Sweden. Inspired possibly by Kraus but certainly by Haydn, these works, from the mid-1780s show a serene solemnity, burlesque cheerfulness, Ländler-type folk melodies and surprising effects, all of which recall the latter master. Fresk Quartet, Berwald Quartet, Nils Erik-Sparf, Per Sandklef (violins), Björn Sjögren (viola), Bengt Ericson (cello). Proprius/Musica Sveciae PRCD 9114 (Sweden) 12-019 $17.98

ANTONIN KAMMEL (1730-1787): String Quartet No. 2 in E Flat, LUIGI BOCCHERINI (1743-1805): String Quartet No. 2 in G Minor, CARL FRIEDRICH ABEL (1723-1787): String Quartet No. 5 in A, IGNAZ PLEYEL (1757-1831): String Quartet No. 9 in G Minor. The Bohemian Kammel appears on CD for the first time: his quartet is in the style of early Haydn or J.C. Bach and the same applies to Abel's work. Here is the only of Pleyel's 70 quartets currently available: written for the King of Prussia in 1787, it has a virtuosic part for the first violinist and, interestingly, wraps a hint of a minuetto into its third and final movement. Schein String Quartet. Proprius PRCD 9081 (Sweden) 12-020 $17.98

ANTONIO BARTOLOMEO BRUNI (1757-1821): 6 Viola Sonatas, Op. 27. Best known as a pedagogue and the author of a viola method which is still used today, Bruni spent most of his career in France. Like the violin sonatas of his Piedmontese compatriot, Viotti, these works are full of fluent melodies, lyricism often tinged with melancholy and a mix of late galant and early Romantic elements. Antonello Farulli (viola), Gabriele Micheli (harpsichord), Francesco Dillon (cello). Dynamic S 2005 (Italy) 12-021 $13.98

JOHANN FRIEDRICH FASCH (1688-1758): Bassoon Concerto in C, Symphony in G, JOHANN CHRISTOPH GRAUPNER (1683-1760): Overture in G for Flute, Bassoon and Strings, Bassoon Concerto in C Minor, Bassoon Concerto in G. All these works date from 1740-44 and all show the passage from late Baroque to early Classical, even Graupner's Telemann-like "overture" which, in its writing for the soloists, anticipates the early classical style of Haydn and J.C. Bach. Paolo Tognon (bassoon), Capella Savaria; Pál Németh. Dynamic CDS 199 (Italy) 12-022 $16.98

GAETANO DONIZETTI (1797-1848): Chamber Music, Vol. 3: Introduzione for Strings, 4 Notturni for Strings and Winds, Amusement pathétique tiré de l'opéra "Anna Bolena" for Violin and Strings, String Quintet in C, Quintet for Guitar and Strings in C, Symphony for Winds in D, Larghetto for Winds, Moderato for Winds and Organ, Marcia for Winds and Drums. The third and final volume in this series collects Donizetti's occasional works for larger groups of instruments, all works which are not far from the salon but are of the highest craftsmanship. Santa Cecilia Chamber Orchestra; Alessio Vlad. Arts 47219 (Germany) 12-023 $9.98

JEAN-FRANÇOIS TAPRAY (1737?-1819?): Quartet in B Flat for Piano, Clarinet, Viola and Bassoon, Op. 18/2, Quartet in G for Harpsichord, Transverse Flute, Viola and Cello, Op. 19/6, Piano Trio in B Flat, Op. 23/1, Quartet for Piano, Clarinet, Viola and Bassoon in F, Op. 18/1. One of the first French composers to write specifically for piano, Tapray's works (these date from the late 1780s) are conservative in style, representing the galant period rather than the classical times in which he lived. L'Academie Royale de Musique de Paris. K617 7073 (France) 12-024 $17.98


HENRI VIEUXTEMPS (1820-1881): Violin Concerto No. 6 in G, Op. 47, Violin Concerto No. 7 in A, Op. 49, Greeting to America for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 56. With this release, all of this Belgian master's concertos are at last on CD. Both concertos were written between 1865 and 1870; the G major work is in four predominantly lyrical movements, with only the final rondo, a rustic dance, offsetting the elegant, lightly scored allegro moderato, pastorale and intermezzo siciliano. The following concerto wraps a warm opening moderato and brilliant and sprightly rondo finale around a striking Mélancolie middle movement with its suggestions of gypsy laments. The Greeting, dating from around 1871, is a tripartite salute to the country Vieuxtemps had just left, and works variations upon the Star-Spangled Banner and Yankee Doodle. Gérard Poulet (violin), Orchestre Philharmonique de Liège et de la Communauté Française; Pierre Bartholomée. Auvidis/Valois V 4797 (France) 12-025 $18.98


JOSEPH JONGEN (1873-1953): Piano Concerto, Op. 127, Harp Concerto, Op. 129, Passacaglia and Gigue, Op. 90. The two concertos date from 1943 and 1944 respectively, products of an elder statesman of Belgian music carrying on during World War II. Both are performed here in early 60s mono recordings by their dedicatees: the piano concerto moves elegantly between dynamic vitality and nostalgia while the harp concerto creates an irresistibly poetic atmosphere, combining supple, sinuous melodies in the woodwinds with the solo instrument. The final work dates from 1929 and, in its gigue, contains echoes of the Symphonie Concertante for organ and orchestra of three years before. Eduardo del Pueyo (piano), Mireille Flour (harp), Belgian National Orchestra, Orchestre de Liège; Fernand Quinet. Cyprès/Musique en Wallonie CYP 3610 (Belgium) 12-026 $17.98

CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921): String Quartet No. 1 in E Minor, Op. 112, String Quartet No. 2 in G, Op. 153. The second quartet receives its CD premiere here: written in 1919, it contains a joyous, life-enhancing and youthful spirit which utterly belies its composer's 84 years. The first quartet, only almost completely ignored in the catalogues, dates from 20 years earlier and has a virtuoso first violin part, as befits a work written for Ysaÿe's string quartet. Both are fine specimens of late romanticism and deserve to be far better known. Quartetto d'archi di Venezia. Dynamic CDS 179 (Italy) 12-027 $16.98

CHARLES KOECHLIN (1867-1950): 14 Pièces for Flute and Piano, Op. 157bis, 3 Pièces for Flute, Bassoon and Piano, Op. 34bis, Les Chants de Nectaire for Solo Flute, Trio in G for Flute, Clarinet and Bassoon, Op. 92, 2 Nocturnes for Horn, Flute and Piano, Op. 32bis, Sonata for 2 Flutes, Op. 75, Idylle for Flute and Bassoon, Op. 155bis, Sonata for Flute and Piano, Op. 52. This comprehensive collection of Koechlin's chamber works involving the flute ranges from the late Romantic miniatures of the 14 Pièces (1936) and the Chants nectaires (1944) to the sonata of 1913 in which the piano plays the central role. Koechlin's individuality stands out in all of these forms, making this release a worthwhile item for travellers of forgotten romantic byways. José Ananias Souza Lopes (flute), José Eduardo Flores (bassoon), Edmilson Nery (clarinet), Marcus Bonna (horn), Achille Picchi (piano). Paulus 11418-7 (Brazil) 12-028 $16.98

ALEXANDER BORODIN (1833-1887): String Quartet No. 1 in A, String Quintet No. 1 in F Minor. The quintet, an early product of Borodin's late 20s, is imbued throughout with a yearning lyricism which culminates in a dazzling prestissimo finale. Rarely recorded, this is its first appearance at budget price in a new recording which also brings a sparkling performance of the more familiar first string quartet. Arcata Quartet, David Geber (cello). Vox Classics 7543 (U.S.A.) 12-029 $6.98

ANTON RUBINSTEIN (1829-1894): Caprice russe, Op. 102, Piano Concerto No. 3 in G, Op. 45. Rubinstein's 1878 Caprice is a pianistic romp based on three Russian folk-songs while his third concerto, from 1854, features spirited interplay between soloist and orchestra and offers a very early example of the cyclic reuse and modification of themes in an instrumental concerto. Extremely unusual repertoire in a brand new recording at budget price! Valerie Traficante (piano), Rheinische Philharmonie; José Serebrier. Vox Classics 7533 (U.S.A.) 12-030 $6.98

NIKOLAI MEDTNER (1880-1951): Piano Works, Vol. 3: 8 Mood Pictures, Op. 1, Etude "Of Medium Difficulty", 3 Improvisations, Op. 2, Improvisation, Op. 31/1, 3 Hymns in Praise of Toil, Op. 49, 3 Novelles, Op. 17. This series continues with several novelties: Medtner's op. 1 is a series of widely contrasted short pieces spanning the range of emotions (and pianistic difficulty), introduced by a resetting of the song The Angel to a poem by Lermontov. Op. 2 brings an impressionistic picture of a water sprite, followed by a reminiscence of a ball scene and winds up with a scherzo infernale which lives up to its name. The op. 49 pieces, perhaps inspired by a trip to Russia in 1927, are not studies in socialist realism: "Hymn Before Work", "At the Anvil" and "Hymn After Work" are brilliant studies which will challenge any pianist. Geoffrey Tozer (piano). Chandos 9498 (England) 12-031 $16.98

MILY BALAKIREV (1837-1910): Islamey, Au jardin, Valse mélancolique, Scherzo No. 3, Gondellied, Valse-impromptu, Toccata, Nocturne No. 3, Chant du pêcheur, Sonatina, Polka. This recording presents a group of works seemingly inspired by Chopin, several others of the "Song Without Words" variety and, of course, the infamous Islamey and also offers another virtuosic tour-de-force, the Toccata - all now reissued by Russian Season at mid-price. Mikhail Kollontai (piano). Russian Season 788110 (France) 12-032 $12.98


JOHN PHILIP SOUSA (1854-1932): Désirée. This new label will exist solely to issue all of Sousa's comic operas (or operettas). We won't call it "America's first comic opera" as the cover does since Baker's lists The Smugglers of 1879 preceding this one but, regardless, it will do quite nicely to introduce the series. Its tale of a mercer's daughter and the Musketeers after her hand in marriage set in the time of Louis XIII and Cardinal Richelieu was produced in 1884; the result is a kind of Gilbert & Sullivan cum music-hall mixture which is light, fluffy and charming. Live recording. Next up: El Capitan (conducted by the pianist Ian Hobson!) Jody Karin Applebaum, Melissa Thorburn, David Price, Richard Lissemore, Pocono Pops Chorus and Orchestra; Jerrold Fisher. Amdec AMTC 101 (U.S.A.) 12-033 $16.98

OTTORINO RESPIGHI (1879-1936): Il Tramonto, Deità Silvane, 5 Songs, Quartetto Dorico. A valuable complilation of recordings made by Scotto in 1982 of Respighi's 1914 setting of an Italian translation of Shelley's hyper-romantic poem The Sunset, his 1917 song-cycle of pagan tinged nature poetry and five short collected single songs is coupled with the CD premiere of the 1923 "Doric Quartet". Composed at the same time as the Concerto misolidio, the quartet reflects Respighi's then-current interest in the sound worlds of early Christian music with the theme which permeates the whole work based on the old Doric church mode. Renata Scotto, Tokyo String Quartet, Thomas Fulton (piano). Arcata String Quartet. Vox Classics DaCapo 7201 (U.S.A.) 12-034 $6.98

ALFREDO CASELLA (1883-1947): À la manière de..., Op. 17 and Op. 17bis, 2 Contrastes, Op. 33, PERCY GRAINGER (1882-1961): Free Settings of Favorite Melodies, PAUL PABST (1854-1897): Paraphrase de Concert sur lOpéra "Eugen Onegin" de Tchaikovsky, Op. 81a. This ingeniously constructed program of piano music that pays homage (in one manner or another) from one composer to another opens with Casella's series of parodies of composers from Wagner to Richard Strauss, from Debussy to D'Indy, mild acts of good-humored pastiche, much like Reizenstein's celebrated Variations on the "Lambeth Walk" (but played less for belly-laughs than that outstanding piece of musical comedy). Grainger's free arrangements of familiar works, like the Brahms Lullaby with the melody first presented (democratically) in the tenor voice, or the amazing Rosenkavalier Ramble, using one of the most varied tonal pallettes ever drawn from the piano, show a master of transcription at his very best. Pabst's paraphrase of is an easy-going example of the tradition of operatic fantasias which stretches back to Liszt. Sandro Ivo Bartoli (piano). Timbre DMHCD 6 (England) 12-035 $16.98

ZDENùK FIBICH (1850-1900): Moods, Impressions and Reminiscences, Op. 47, Parts 2 and 3. Here is Volume 9 in this impressive (and massive) series, containing the balance of op. 47 (nos. 285-313 in overall numbering). Remaining are the 63 pieces of op. 57... Marián Lapansk (piano). Supraphon SU 3252 (Czech Republic) 12-036 $16.98

ANTONÍN DVO¤ÁK (1841-1904): Silhouettes, Op. 8, 2 Minuets, Op. 28, Dumka, Op. 35, Theme with Variations, Op. 36, Scottish Dances, Op. 41, 2 Furiants, Op. 42. Collectors of Czech piano music will be happy to see, just as the Fibich series is nearing its end, the reissue of Kvapil's complete Dvorák piano music series at mid-price. The works here date from 1876-79 and represent much of Dvorák's earliest solo piano output. Radoslav Kvapil (piano). Supraphon SU 3290 (Czech Republic) 12-037 $11.98

ADOLF WIKLUND (1879-1950): 3 Pianostycken, Op. 3, Stämningar, Op. 15, 4 Lyrische Stücke, Op. 14, 3 Intermezzi, Op. 8, Från mitt fönster, Scherzo in F minor, Allegro con fuoco. Except for pieces without opus numbers (the Från mitt fönster are group of 6 "Summer Pieces for Children and Youth" from 1928; the scherzo dates from 1899 and conservatory days while the Allegro was a birthday gift for Kurt Atterberg in 1937) these examples of Swedish Romanticism date from 1905-1910. Predominantly lyrical and in moderate tempos, the music often has the autumnal mood of late Brahms, with the occasional flash of emotion recalled lending contrast to the Intermezzi, in particular. Rolf Lindblom (piano). Proprius PRCD 9092 (Sweden) 12-038 $17.98

DANIEL JEISLER (1877-1959): Introduction, Chorale and Variations for Organ, Cello Sonata No. 1, 5 Songs, Adagio for Strings. Jeisler was a Swede who went to Paris in 1906 and ended up living there the rest of his life, from 1917-59 as organist at the Swedish Church. The works here date from 1912-1921 and show a composer who went his own way, following the path of late Romanticism without being appreciably influenced by his adopted home. Erik Mohlin (organ), Kerstin Elmqvist-Gornall (cello), Kent Sjöberg (piano), Kristina Furbacken (soprano), Chamber Orchestra of the ORTF; Pierre Capdevielle. Proprius PRCD 9111 (Sweden) 12-039 $17.98

JULIUS RÖNTGEN (1855-1932): Cello Sonata in B Flat, Op. 3, HEINRICH VON HERZOGENBERG (1843-1900): Duo for Cello and Piano in D, Op. 12, ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810-1856): Adagio and Allegro, Op. 70, JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833-1897): Cello Sonata No. 1 in E Minor, Op. 38. Herzogenberg's duo (really a sonata) dates from 1872 and takes its cue from Brahms' first sonata in its treatment of the cello. A lyrically restrained first movement and a merry rondo frame a brief slow movement with striking harmonic fluctuations and scordatura tuning. Röntgen's work was written the previous year; the 16-year-old was more under the influence of Mendelssohn than Brahms but his freshness of invention and skillful exploitation of the cello make for delightful listening all the same. Claudius Herrmann (cello), Saiko Sasaki (piano). Divox CDX-29407 (Switzerland) 12-040 $16.98


HENRY COWELL (1897-1965): Persian Set, ROGER GOEB (1914-1997): Symphony No. 3, BEN WEBER (1916-1979): Symphony on Poems of William Blake. This is the pioneering recording of Cowell's work, made in 1957 in the same year the work was completed. It does not quote nor imitate Persian melodies or rhythms; rather, in the words of the composer, it tries "to develop some of the kinds of musical behavior that (Persia and the West) have in common". Goeb's symphony was premiered in 1952 and its three movements contain much original, yet unmistakably mid-century American music. Weber's symphony was also premiered in 1952 and embeds its soloist in the texture of the music, scored for chamber orchestra. Using a 12-note row to depict a cycle of mystery, despair, madness and a return to love, Weber nevertheless creates a sound-world which is powerfully communicative. Warren Galjour (baritone), Leopold Stokowski conducting his symphony orchestra. Citadel CTD 88123 (U.S.A.) 12-041 $14.98

ALAN HOVHANESS (b.1911): Armenian Rhapsodies Nos. 1-3, Opp. 45, 51 & 189, Symphony No. 38, Op. 314 (movements 3 & 4), Concerto No. 10 for Piano, Trumpet and Strings, Op. 413. Hovhaness' Armenian Rhapsodies all date from 1944, all are for strings and all are based on Armenian folk melodies in the style of Bartók's and Kodály's similar works. The two movements recorded here of the symphony (1978) include settings of texts in the spirit of haiku for a voice with an extremely high range, emulated by a solo flute. The concerto, from 1988, is more like a six-part suite whose rich thematic material is drawn from ancient music of both East and West, contributing to a hymnlike, incantatory feel. Hinako Fujihara (soprano), Scott Goff (flute), Martin Berkofsky (piano), Chris Butler (trumpet), Seattle Symphony; Gerard Schwarz, Alan Hovhaness. Koch Schwann 374222 (Austria) 12-042 $16.98

AUBERT LEMELAND (b.1932): Airmen - Song Cycle for Soprano, Reciter, Harp and Strings, Op. 159, Epilogue, Op. 164, Mémorial "Dieppe 19-08-1942" for Orchestra, Op. 158, Time Landscapes - Song Cycle for Soprano and Orchestra, Op. 153. Lemeland has written a significant amount of music in memory of the Allied soldiers who liberated France in 1944. Airmen sets seven poems by British pilots who died during the war up to the invasion of France; Mémorial is a tribute to the Canadians killed at Dieppe and Epilogue is the final part of An American War Requiem; the music has an ethereal, quasi-impressionistic feel, elegiac rather than dramatic although tragic moments cut through here and there. Time Landscapes sets eight classical Chinese poems of predominantly pastoral content in music of impressionist and neo-classical style. Carol Farley (soprano), Pamela Hunter (narrator), Instrumental Ensemble of Grenoble; Marc Tardue, Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie; José Serebrier. Skarbo D SK 3945 (France) 12-043 $18.98

LIBBY LARSEN (b.1950): Corker for Clarinet and Percussion, Blue Third Pieces for Clarinet and Guitar, Dancing Solo for Clarinet, Black Birds, Red Hills for Clarinet, Viola and Piano, 3 Pieces for Treble Wind and Guitar, Song Without Words for Clarinet and Piano. This collection of works for the clarinet spans most of Larsen's composing career, from the 1974 Three Pieces to the 1996 Blue Third Pieces and are freely drawn from such diverse influences as pop culture, classic jazz, delta blues and the compositional technique refined in a university environment. Caroline Hartig (clarinet), Christopher Kachian (guitar), Kevin Purrone (piano), Robert Adney (percussion). Innova 512 (U.S.A.) 12-044 $16.98

GEORGE LLOYD (b.1913): Aubade, Eventide, The Road Through Samarkand. Nearly forty minutes long, Aubade dates from 1971. Described by its composer as a "fantasy", it seems, in its eight movements (with descriptive titles such as "Dance of the Charcoal Burners", "The March of the Tin Soldiers" and "Bells, Monks and Lutherans") to be almost a tone poem or ballet for two pianos. The music is colorful and tuneful as one would expect from this composer. Eventide is a 1989 reworking of a carol by Lloyd's father which the 10-year-old composer set for piano while The Road to Samarkand, originally written in 1972 for John Ogdon and a commentary on young people's craze for Indian and other Eastern religions during that period, was reworked for two pianos recently. Anthony Goldstone, Caroline Clemmow (pianos). Albany TROY 248 (U.S.A.) 12-045 $16.98

RICHARD FLURY (1896-1967): 24 Preludes, VOLKMAR ANDREAE (1879-1962): Suite for Piano, Op. 20, PAUL MÜLLER (1898-1993): Suite, Op. 10, Invention, Rondo, 4 Miniatures, Prélude pour la main gauche. The atmosphere in Andreae's 1911 suite is dark, haunted, oppressive and 19th-century-Romantic while the mood only lightens somewhat in Müller's suite of probably similar date. Flury's preludes exhibit the same fresh, imaginative and highly appealing romanticism which has distinguished his chamber and choral/orchestral works offered in these pages over the last several months. A disc sure to delight the romantic keyboard lover. Cathy Aubert-Tackett (piano). Gallo 942 (Switzerland) 12-046 $18.98

LUIS GIANNEO (1897-1968): Sonata for Violin and Piano, Chacarera, Canción de Cuna, Zapateado, JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833-1897): Violin Sonata No. 3 in D Minor, Op. 108. The Argentinian Gianneo, one of the principal founders of the Argentinian national school of composition, was greatly influenced by the folk melodies of the native population of Tucumán province in his native country and this comes out in his tonal, bright and attractive three-movement sonata (1935) as well as in his settings of three characteristic songs and dances. Brunilda Gianneo (violin), Edith Murano (piano). Koch Discover 920268 (Belgium) 12-047 $6.98

ALEXANDER ARUTIUNIAN (b.1920): Violin Concerto, Sinfonietta, Concertino for Piano and Orchestra. This release helps to broaden our picture of this Armenian composer who is known only for the trumpet concerto which seems to appear on well-nigh every debut recording by leather-lunged young trumpet players. The violin concerto, from 1988, consists of a first movement founded on medieval Armenian monody as a lament for the victims of the recent great earthquake, a whirlwind toccata, an aria in which the soloist sings a noble song and a perpetuum mobile finale. The Sinfonietta (1966) is for strings alone and in neo-classical style while the concertino dates from 1951 and is nearest to Khachaturian in its vividly colorful use of folk rhythms and its optimistic nature (in keeping generally with post-war Soviet composition). Ilya Grubert (violin), Narine Arutiunian (piano), Moscow Chamber Orchestra; Constantine Orbelian. Chandos 9566 (England) 12-048 $16.98

TEIZO MATSUMURA (b.1929): Piano Concerto No. 2, TAKASHI YOSHIMATSU (b.1933): Threnody to Toki for Piano and Strings, Op. 12, TORU TAKEMITSU (1930-1996): Twill by Twilight, AKIRA MIYOSHI (b.1933): Noesis. Takemitsu's haunting work, in its world premiere recording, was written in memory of Morton Feldman, and forms a touching elegy in muted shades of color - although the musical vocabulary is rather different, the effect of the piece is not unlike Delius. Yoshimatsu's work is also an elegy - for a species of bird threatened with extinction. Less impressionistic than the Takemitsu, more Second-Viennese influenced, and more active, it shares with it a twilight melancholy. Matsumura's concerto provides a striking contrast, using driving, obsessive process-like piano figurations against string clusters to propel a highly active first movement, while the extended second movement runs the gamut from tranquillity to violence, ending with a somber postlude. Minoru Nojima (piano), Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra; Tadaaki Otaka. ASV DCA 1021 (England) 12-049 $16.98

HENRI DUTILLEUX (b.1916): Métaboles, Tout un monde lointain (Concerto for Cello and Orchestra), Mystère de l'instant (grande formation). Mystère makes its CD debut; composed in 1989, the work is described by its composer as a series of "snapshots" which capture a set of 10 fleeting impressions ("Calls", "Echoes", "Prisms", "Distant Spaces", etc.) in Dutilleux's characteristic, vividly imagined sound-world. Its couplings are the 1964 Métaboles which exhibits his unique process of transforming musical elements until they become something completely different, and the 1970 cello concerto, again marked by delicacy, subtlety and a wholly original imagination. Boris Pergamenshikov (cello), BBC Philharmonic; Yan Pascal Tortelier. Chandos 9565 (England) 12-050 $16.98

DANIEL ASIA (b.1953): Gateways, Piano Concerto, Black Light. Black Light, from 1990, is a two-movement work full of intricate lines which builds to sudden climaxes and then eases back with no loss of momentum. Gateways (1993) is a bright, splashy orchestral fanfare full of rhythmic vitality, syncopated, brassy rhythms and angular high spirits while the concerto of 1994 offers a dry, jaunty allegro and a dancelike finale full of nervous glitter which embrace a ruminative, ethereal and delicately singing second movement which is longer than the other two movements put together. The music is always richly scored and immediately appealing. André-Michel Schub (piano), New Zealand Symphony Orchestra; James Sedares. Koch International Classics 373722 (U.S.A.) 12-051 $16.98

FRANK MARTIN (1890-1974): 3 Poèmes Païens, HECTOR BERLIOZ (1803-1869): Les Nuites d'Eté. World-premiere recording of Martin's "3 Pagan Poems" of 1910 setting texts of Leconte de Lisle: "Hymn" is a song to Bacchus which increases in intensity to its singer's apotheosis, "The Return of Adonis" is a hymn to Aphrodite which flirts with fin-de-siècle romanticism and "The Red Star" a brooding, baleful evocation. Martin's Germanic schooling and French outlook combine in music of magnificent effect. José van Dam (baritone), Italian-Swiss Orchestra of Lugano; Serge Baudo. Forlane 16768 (France) 12-052 $16.98

SERGEI RACHMANINOV (1873-1943): The Miserly Knight. Based on a play by Pushkin and depicting in Shakespearian fashion the illusion of power which derives from the accumulation of wealth, Rachmaninov's second opera features dense sonorities and quasi-expressionistic intensity in a memorable study in abnormal psychology. Originally issued in 1993; now reiussed at mid-price. Mikhail Krutikov (baritone), Vladimir Kudriashov (tenor), Bolshoi Theater Orchestra; Andrei Chistiakov. Russian Season 788080 (France) 12-053 $12.98

ALEXANDER VON ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942): 2 Movements for String Quartet, 2 Movements for String Quintet, ARNOLD SCHOENBERG (1874-1951): String Quartet in D, String Trio, Op. 45. Neither Zemlinsky piece (more than 34 minutes all together) is available on CD. The quintet movements date from 1894-6 - an allegro and prestissimo (mit Humor) - and, like Schoenberg's early 1897 quartet, descend directly from Brahms while the quartet pieces - Andante con moto and Adagio misterioso - date from 1929, roughly halfway between his third and fourth string quartets and display the composer's mature characteristics of concision and precision and even a touch or mordant humor (Yankee Doodle seems to be present in the first movement!). A release of great value for all collectors of late Romanticism and of the Second Viennese School. Corda Quartet. Stradivarius 33438 (Italy) 12-054 $16.98


Excerpts: of orchestral music by CALIXA LAVALLÉE (1842-1891), CLAUDE JOSEPH ARTHUR ADONAÏ CHAMPAGNE (1891-1965), JEAN COULTHARD (b.1908), OSKAR MORAWETZ (b.1917), GODFREY RIDOUT (1918-1984), PHILLIP RISTA NIMMONS (b.1923), PIERRE MERCURE (1927-1966), R. MURRAY SCHAFER (b.1933), MALCOLM FORSYTH (b.1936), MICHAEL CONWAY BAKER (b.1937), JACQUES JOSEPH ROBERT HETÚ (b.1938), PETER PAUL KOPROWSKI (b.1947), ALEXINA DIANE LOUIE (b.1949), GARY KULESHA (b.1954), GLENN ARTHUR BUHR (b.1954), LINDA BOUCHARD (b.1957), of choral music by ANON. (c.1700), HEALEY WILLAN (1880-1968), HARRY STUART SOMERS (b.1925), ANDRÉ PRÉVOST (b.1934), IMANT KARLIS RAMINSH (b.1943), of chamber music by SIR ERNEST ALEXANDER CAMPBELL MACMILLAN (1893-1973), COLIN MCPHEE (1900-1964), JOHN JACOB WEINZWEIG (b.1913), HARRY FREEDMAN (b.1922), FRANÇOIS MOREL (b.1926), NEXUS (percussion ensemble), CLAUDE VIVIER (1948-1983), DENIS GOUGEON (b.1951), DENYS BOULIANE (b.1955), MARK DUGGAN (b.1961) & BILL BRENNAN (b.1964), of elecroacoustic music by HUGH LE CAINE (1914-1977), MARCELLE DESCHÊNES (b.1939), CHRISTOS HATZIS (b.1953). These excerpts have been licensed from the labels SNE, CBC, Les disques SRC and Sackville Records. Many of these recordings can be ordered from us so that, if you like what bits you hear here, you can get the whole work - and possibly more - by the same composer(s). Happy listening! 2 CDs. Various artists. Naxos 8.550171-2 (Hong Kong) 12-055 $11.98

DANIEL CATÁN (b.1949): Rappaccini's Daughter. Mexican-born composer Catán's setting of Nathaniel Hawthorne's gothic horror tale was the first opera by a Mexican composer to be produced in the United States. Its libretto was based on a play by Nobel Prize-winning author Octavio Paz and Paz' delineation of opposites - love vs. death, science vs. the wisdom of the heart, man shaping nature vs. nature shaping man - have come through, married to music of great subtlety and imagination which can rise to heights of romantic lyricism or chill the heart. Live recording. 2 CDs. Spanish-English libretto. Brandon Jovanovich, Olivia Gorra, David Alan Marshall, Manhattan School of Music Opera Theater; Eduardo Diazmuñoz. Newport Classic NPD 85623 (U.S.A.) 12-056 $33.98

ERNESTO LECUONA (1896-1963): Danzas Afro-Cubanas, Estampas Infantiles, 3 Miniaturas, Ante El Escorial, San Francisco del Grande, Andalucia (Suite Española). A most enjoyable recital of Lecuona's beautifully crafted piano miniatures, with their exotically-tinged harmonies and rhythms, and atmospheric scene-setting. Especially noteworthy are Ante el Escorial and San Francisco el Grande, impressive, and unusually serious, evocations of two significant landmarks in Spain. Elsewhere, the lighter side of Lecuona's output is explored, in the odd and haunting "Afro-Cuban Dances" and his most popular work, the suite Andalucia. Cristiana Pegoraro (piano). Dynamic S 2007 (Italy) 12-057 $13.98

BERNARD LEWKOVITCH (b.1927): Piano Sonatas 1-4, Opp. 2-5, Dance Suites Nos. 1 and 2, Opp. 16 & 17. The composer regards himself primarily as a composer of liturgical music, but the substantial body of piano music represented on this disc - all written while Lewkovitch was a young man - reveal a thorough knowledge of the instrument's expressive and technical capabilities. There are definite influences from Lewkovitch's eastern European background - the closest comparison is Bartók, though there is far less dissonance - the folk dances and melodic structures, as well as a characteristic rhythmic vitality will be familiar to admirers of Bartók's music. Anker Blyme (piano). Danacord DACOCD 475 (Denmark) 12-058 $17.98

OLA JOHANSSON: Sonatas I-III for Piano, 5 Danish Poems for Laila. Johannson, a Danish composer, blind from birth, writes straightforward dodecaphonic music with clear, open textures, which is readily accessible. The brief piano sonatas here were based on sketches influenced by Bach - in structure, not language; so each starts with a slow prelude, followed by a fugue, followed by a slow movement and then a final allegro. The 5 Danish Poems are an exercise in vocal virtuosity to lighthearted texts, incorporating effects to suggest more than one singer and a very wide vocal range. Laila Fiil (soprano), Ola Johansson (piano). Point PCD 5134 (Denmark) 12-059 $18.98

RON FORD (b.1959): Cross for Flute, Clarinet, Vibraphone, Piano, Violin, Viola and Cello, RICHARD RIJNVOS (b.1964): Gigue et Double for Violin and Piano, MICHA HAMEL(b.1970): There was nothing nobody could say for Five Instruments, RICHARD AYRES (b.1965): Untitled for Trumpet and Piano, IVO VAN EMMERIK (b.1961): Valise for Flute, Piano and Percussion, GENE CARL (b.1953): Claremont Concerto for Clarinet, String Quartet and Piano. Broadly speaking, these works all come from the æsthetic of Morton Feldman, in that there is great emphasis on the function of time, and of the interplay of apparently random elements in time. Sonorities are established through repetition, and then juxtaposed, sometimes according to aleatoric principles, and sometimes precisely notated so as to imitate the randomly shifting images of memory. The listener will come away from this recital contemplating the pure sensation of sound and its resonances in the mind. The Ives Ensemble. Donemus CV 63 (Netherlands) 12-060 $18.98

PETER MAXWELL DAVIES (b.1934): Job. Maxwell Davies, bad boy of British music in the 1960s and 70s has in recent years turned to a much more conventional language, less shocking, less innovative, but perhaps more humanly expressive. There is little in his recent oratorio, of which this is the world premiere recording which Britten or Walton could not have recognised and accepted. The work is theatrical, in the sense that the text is illustrated, rather than merely accompanied, by bold scene-setting and characterization in the music. The composer plays up the human drama of the story by emphasizing Job's quest for understanding of his condition in the face of the misfortunes visited on him by life, culminating in his realization that he is "comforted that I am dust". Valdine Anderson, Linda Maguire, Paul Moore, Kevin McMillan, Vancouver Bach Choir, CBC Vancouver Orchestra; Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. Collins Classics 15162 (England) 12-061 $16.98

ALFRED SCHNITTKE (b.1934): Concerto for Piano and Strings, Requiem from the Music to Schiller's Drama "Don Carlos". If only Schnittke were less prolific, or less eclectic - or less skilful in his manipulation of whichever diverse techniques he chooses in any particular work of any given period of his career - it would be so much easier to categorise him, and then eulogise or dismiss him as a composer. This disc provides a good example of why this is infuriatingly impossible. The concerto emulates a somber romantic work to perfection, but incorporates painfully evocative reminiscences of Russian church music, dance rhythms, quasi-improvisatory passages in a formal structure based on variation form. The Requiem, written as stage music at a time when liturgical music was banned in Soviet Russia, incorporates electric guitar and drums, recalling Bernstein's Mass, choral writing that sounds very like Britten, and ends up sounding individual, sincere and moving. If there is truly a composer for all seasons in our century, it is surely Schnittke, not Stravinsky. Olga Sizova (soprano), Anaida Agajanian (soprano), Olga Tal (soprano), Tatyana Sharova (soprano), Ludmila Kuznetsova (mezzo), Vsevolod Grivnov (tenor), Igor Khudolei (piano), Russian State Symphonic Capella and Symphony Orchestra; Valeri Polyansky. Chandos 9564 (England) 12-062 $16.98


HARRY PARTCH (1901-1974): 11 Intrusions, Plectra & Percussion Dances - Satyr-Play Music for Dance Theatre, Ulysses at the Edge. Gate 5 Ensemble; Horace Schwartz. CRI 751 (U.S.A.) 12-063 $16.98

HARRY PARTCH (1901-1974): The Wayward, And on the Seventh Day Petals Fell on Petaluma. Harry Partch (voice and instruments), Gate 5 Ensemble, Harry Partch Ensemble; Jack McKenzie, Danlee Mitchell, Harry Partch. CRI 752 (U.S.A.) 12-064 $16.98

HARRY PARTCH (1901-1974): The Dreamer that Remains - A Study in Living, Windsong, Rotate the Body in All Its Planes - Ballad for Gymnasts, Water! Water! - An Intermission with Prologues and Epilogues. Freda Pierce (soprano), Chorus and Instrumental Ensemble, Gate 5 Ensemble; John Garvey, Harry Partch Ensemble; Jack Logan. CRI 753 (U.S.A.) 12-065 $16.98

HARRY PARTCH (1901-1974): The Bewitched: A Dance-Satire. Members of the University of Illinois Musical Ensemble; John Garvey. CRI 754 (U.S.A.) 12-066 $16.98

Harry Partch is a true American original; a hard-headed, I-don't-give-a-damn, I-do-it-my-way original. Like that other American eccentric innovator in music, Charles Ives, he was raised in a highly unconventional yet musically stimulating setting in which he learned the value of doing his own thing at an early stage. Yet it was not until the age of 28 that he finally rejected his formal musical training and set off on a wholly unique path that, as he himself said, "seduced [him] into carpentry" - by the necessity of building his own instruments to produce the unique timbres and tuning scales he desired. He also travelled as a hobo, gathering experiences that he put into his uniquely earthy music, expressive of the stubborn individualism and pioneer spirit that have always made this country great. CRI has done a great service by reissuing 5 hours of the recordings that the composer made and supervised for his own Gate 5 label in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Partch's unique vision played itself out through the creation of his strange but beautiful - visually as well as acoustically - instruments - mainly tuned percussion and bowed or struck strings, these providing the easiest means of incorporating his 43 notes to the octave, just temperament scale into essentially home-made constructions. The works presented here range from the works of the 1940s, brief settings of graffiti texts left by the composer's fellow hoboes or the street cries of newsboys, to the large and ambitious theatre and dance pieces - there has always been a strong theatrical element to the performance of Partch's music - of the 1950s and later. No other music sounds like this, and few other composers have adopted quite such an extreme position as musical outsider, and then gone on to produce a body of work of this significance with scant concern for the passage of contemporary music history. The sonorities of the instruments are alternately unearthly and primitive; the music conjures a wild Dionysian frenzy in which the antique, the antic, and the exotic combine with the cross-country diesel locomotive and the scrawls on abandoned walls by men who had forgotten their own names or why they were travelling, in a barbaric yawp that, like Whitman, could only have originated in one country on earth. You will not come away from this strange music unmoved.

GOFFREDO PETRASSI (b.1904): Il Cordovano. An Opera buffa bedroom farce using a largely atonal musical language consisting of rigorous counterpoint - counterpoint not only of interweaving thematic fragments, but also of timbre, dynamic and rhythm - sounds an improbable proposition, doesn't it? The opera starts in medias res, the frenetic motion never lets up, and such is the composer's skill in the manipulation of his material that the medium seems entirely to fit the message! Even when the comedy is at its broadest and the music at its most uncompromising, the piece is light and lively, appealing and, in acknowlegement of the Italian vocal tradition, melodically satisfying. A profound vindication of the validity of 20th- century compositional technique - in the hands of a master. Slavka Taskova Paoletti (soprano), Susanna Rigacci (soprano), Nucci Condò (mezzo), Paolo Barbacini (tenor), RAI Rome Chorus and Orchestra; Marcello Panni. BMG Ricordi 1005 (Italy) 12-067 $18.98

LUIGI DALLAPICCOLA (1904-1975): Tartiniana Seconda for Violin and Piano, 2 Studi for Violin and Piano, Ciaccona, Intermezzo e Adagio for Solo Cello, Quaderno Musicale de Annalibera for Piano. These instrumental chamber compositions, dating from 1945 to 1956 show the development of increasing interaction between contrapuntal techniques and serial methods. Tartiniana Seconda (1956), a homage to the 18th-century master, has a very classical feel, rigorously contrapuntal, while the 1947 Due Studi are dodecaphonic. Both here and in the solo cello Ciaconne, Intermezzo and Adagio, though, Dallapiccola's trademark use of strong tonal referents produces music of strongly involving emotional content. The solo piano "Annalibera's musical notebook" is another tightly organised contrapuntal work utilising canonic techniques with the utmost skill, but to entirely non-academic ends. Bruno Canino (piano), Rodolfo Bonucci (violin), Arturo Bonucci (cello). Stradivarius 33332 (Italy) 12-068 $16.98

FRANCO DONATONI (b. 1927): Lumen, De pres, L'ultima sera, Fili, Le Ruisseau sur l'Escalier, Feria, Still. These works were all written in the decade after Donatoni turned his back on Serialism and Structuralism and started writing music of greater freedom and spontaneity than previously. The music is filled with event, and highly decorated, with much emphasis on linear vocal (or instrumental - the two are often undifferentiated) motion surrounded by fragmentary embellishments - a kind of musical pointillism, in which large structural blocks are created out of fleeting impressions. Ensemble 2e2m; Paul Méfano. 2e2m 1013 (France) 12-069 $19.98

LUCA FRANCESCONI (b. 1956): Les Barricades Mysterieuses for Flute and Orchestra, Passacaglia for Large Orchestra, Memoria for Orchestra, Trama for Saxophone and Orchestra. This disc collects together four works for large orchestra written by a remarkable young Italian composer, a student of Stockhausen and Berio who has inherited from the one a vivid sense of the theatrical possibilities of the large ensemble, and from the other, a cunning sense of the many layers of meaning and dimensions that can be made inherent in a work of art. Memoria provides the key to all these works: beneath all the surface actvity and orchestral virtuosity are levels of experience, of resonance, each coloring our perceptions of the others. Powerful and provocative music. Karl-Bernhard Sebon (flute), RSO Berlin; Peter Hirsch. Arno Bornekamp (saxophone), Bucharest Radio Symphony; Barrie Webb. BMG Ricordi 1023 (Italy) 12-070 $18.98

LUCA LOMBARDI (b. 1945): La Canzone di Greta for Soprano and String Quartet, Ophelia-Fragmente for Voice and Piano, Ein Lied for Soprano, Flute, Clarinet and Piano, Con Faust for Orchestra. Luca Lombardi fulfils many of Busoni's predictions about twentieth-century music, which may have seemed to be swept aside by the tide of fashionable academicism. Here is a composer whose pallette of available techniques is as broad as anyone writing today, and whose music packs an emotional punch that is quite out of the ordinary. This is due in no small part to his uncanny sense of harmony - extended well beyond the diatonic and chromatic norm, but nonetheless functional in the strongest possible terms. This is music of our time, but with roots that extend securely into history. I cannot recommend this too highly. Luisa Castellani (soprano), Berlin String Quartet, Gladys De Bellida (soprano), Luca Lombardi (piano), Micromegas Ensemble, Saarbrücken Radio Symphony; Markus Stenz. BMG Ricordi 1018 (Italy) 12-071 $18.98

TRISTAN MURAIL (b.1947): Serendib for Large Ensemble, L'esprit des dunes for Ensemble and Electronics, Désintégrations for Ensemble and Tape. Murail's instrumental music emphasizes the use of block textures in microtonal clusters and slow progression rather than harmonically driven development. In this respect it resembles the Ligeti of the 1950s and 60s, and indeed, the comparison is an apt one. But whatever the differences of opinion they may have had in later years, the debt to his former teacher, Messiaen, is quite unmistakable, in the colorful dynamism and bright timbres in which Murail decks out his material. However different their musical processes, the Turangalila Symphony is never far off in the background of these bold works, superbly performed and recorded at IRCAM, where Murail teaches. Ensemble Intercontemporain; David Robertson. Adès 205 212 (France) 12-072 $16.98

HILDA PAREDES (b.1957): The Seventh Seed, Permutaciones for Solo Violin. "The Seventh Seed" is a contemporary retelling of the Persephone story from Greek myth. Musically the work consists of illustrative motivic fragments providing a background to the sung text, in which the principal characters interact against the traditional commentary of the chorus. The two versions of Permutaciones reflect the choice element introduced by the composer into this series of brief sections, defining a game "with strict rules but unpredictable outcomes". Lourdes Ambriz (soprano), John Oakley-Tucker (baritone), Arditti Quartet, Steven Schick (percussion). Mode 60 (U.S.A.) 12-073 $16.98

ELLIOTT CARTER (b.1908): 90+, Night Fantasies, Piano Sonata. Even now, Carter is America's most undervalued musical resource. 90+ is the new work here. Written in 1994 for Goffredo Petrassi's 90th birthday, it consists of ninety short accented notes, which provide a unifying "backbone" around which Carter spins an amazing commentary using the full resources of his imagination and the instrument in six fantastically compressed minutes. The rest of the CD is taken up with Carter's two large piano works in the performances recorded for Etcetera by the doyen of American pianists, Charles Rosen, and a conversation between composer and performer, which contains some pithy insights and amusing moments. Charles Rosen (piano). Bridge 9090 (U.S.A.) 12-074 $16.98

BRUCE ADOLPHE (b.1955): String Quartet No. 2 "Turning, Returning", In Memories of for Piano and String Quartet, String Quartet No. 1 "By a Grace of Sense Surrounded", And All is Always Now for Violin and Piano. These chamber works are all straightforward and uncomplicated, although written in a modern idiom with only passing tonal referents. The composer writes amusingly of the "darkly obsessive, poetic and dramatic" nature of the music, and expresses a sort of credo in a quotation from one of his books: "In music, form is organic. / Structure emerges from ideas. / Ideas are born of memory. / Memory and imagination are partners." So the works evolve organically, in an atmosphere of nineteenth-century romantic melancholy. Brentano String Quartet, Marija Stroke (piano). CRI 761 (U.S.A.) 12-075 $16.98

FREDERIC RZEWSKI (b.1938): The Road for Solo Piano, Whangdoodles, for Violin, Piano and Percussion, To the Earth for Percussion. Rzewski has always succeeded in writing extremely approachable works, while exploring important themes and advanced musical vocabularies. It is, above all, a profound need to communicate with the listener that imbues his output with such accessibility, whatever his chosen idiom. The works here are two movements of a huge solo piano composition (in progress) on the idea of roads, of a journey with constant elements and chance encounters, an attractive folk or popular song-based chamber work for hammered dulcimer, violin and piano, and a work for percussionist (playing tuned pots and reciting). As pianist, Rzewski is his own best advocate; the clarity and precision of his playing have always been outstanding, and The Road is full of the kind of polyrhythmic figuration and improvisatory elements that have traditionally been part of his unmistakable style. Frederic Rzewski (piano), The Abel-Steinberg-Winant Trio, William Winant (percussion). Music & Arts 1000 (U.S.A.) 12-076 $16.98

HAROLD BLUMENFELD: Seasons in Hell - A Life of Rimbaud. Blumenfeld's ambitious opera deals with the psychology, rather than setting the works (as Britten did in "Les Illuminations") of the brilliant 19th-century poet who abruptly renounced literature at the age of 21. Rimbaud's "Une saison en enfer" is a kind of dramatised confession, and it from this that the composer and his librettist have tried to wrest a solution to the enigma of why so precocious a writer would suddenly give up his art in favor of a life of action that led to his untimely death. Musically, the drama is presented in fine, bold strokes of expressionistic colour, with something of the Second Viennese School in the vocal writing and with the technical and expresssive demands on the instrumentalists pushed to the limits. 2 CDs. Vocal Soloists, Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music Philharmonia; Gerhard Samuel. Albany TROY 262/63 (U.S.A.) 12-077 $33.98

SERGE GARANT (1929-1986): Cage d'oiseau, GILLES TREMBLAY (b.1932): Traçante, MICHELINE C.-SAINT-MARCOUX (1938-1985): Mandala II, ALAIN GAGNON (b.1938): Jeux dans l'espace, ISABELLE PANNETON (b.1955): Trait, Écart, Réparties, HENRY COWELL (1897-1965): Exultation, Fabric, Advertisement, Tiger, JOHN CAGE (1912-1992): In a Landscape, ELLIOT CARTER (1908): Night Fantasies. This CD showcases a cross-section of interesting 20th-century Canadian piano music and three seminal works from the USA. Garant's piece has the air of a free improvisation, while Tremblay's work, with its exploitation of the upper partials of the piano and fluttering motifs, recalls Messiaen, with whom the composer studied. St-Marcoux also shares some affinities with Messiaen's piano style, and her work is possibly the most cohesive and compelling of the Canadian pieces presented here. The Gagnon is a study in abstract sonorities, while Panneton uses specific pianistic elements as unifying factors in three brief movements. While Cage's 1948 piece minimalistically does very little though sonorously, for seven minutes, Cowell packs enormous vitality and a plethora of event into about the same duration. The much-vaunted use of keyboard clusters here provides a kind of tuned percussion element as a timbral adjunct to four humorous, approachable, even romantic movements. Louise Bessette (piano). SNE 553 (Canada) 12-078 $16.98

MORTON FELDMAN (1926-1987): For Philip Guston. Quintessential Feldman, this huge work (lasting over four hours) sums up the connection between his music and the abstract expressionist movement in painting. Composed four years after Guston's death, the music paints with strokes of infinite subtlety on the canvas of silence, the whole, as seen from a distance seeming to be a large, amorphous mass of textured sound, while each instant in microcosm turns out to be a meticulously planned brush-stroke of timbre. As the perceptive booklet annotator puts it: "This is music of outward immobility and inward irresistible propulsion, random and yet purposeful. . . . it's not music you analyze . . . you give yourself to it or you don't." The fourth disc is an "enhanced " CD which will play in most computers' CD-ROM drives, giing access to comments by the composer and a montage of photographs. 4 CDs. Mid-price. California EAR Unit. Bridge 9078A/D (U.S.A.) 12-079 $43.98

BRUNO MADERNA (1920-1973): Notturno, Syntaxis, Continuo, Musica su due dimensioni, Dimensioni II - Invenzione su una voce, Serenata II, Le Rire. The 1950s were a ripe time of experimentation in electronic music, the technology was developing at an astonishing rate, and Maderna was one of the foremost European pioneers of the new compositional method. In a 1957 lecture quoted in the CD booklet, he said: "My introduction to electronic music totally upset my relationship with musical materials . . . in electronic music one can try out directly various possible sound structures and manipulate these ad infinitum to obtain new musical images . . ." These uneartly soundscapes, all from the 1950s and 60s, were realized at the Studio Fonologia in Milan, and have been excellently transferred for the present CD. Renato Rivolta (flute), Cathy Berberian (voice). Stradivarius 33349 (Italy) 12-080 $16.98

MATTEO D'AMICO (b.1955): Angelus novus, Double Concerto for Viola, Cello and Strings, L'Azur - 5 Songs of Mallarmé for Soprano and 6 Instruments, Invenzione a due for Flute and Piano, Jubilate Deo for Soprano and String Quartet. D'Amico writes in a language of restless chromaticism, and his works are dramatic, even theatrical. The vocal works here display a fine sense of how to write for the voice, with hundreds of years of the Italian tradition behind the composer. L'Azur creates a luminous vehicle for the seductive texts, and Angelus Novus abounds in dramatic scene-setting. Especially noteworthy is the tense and concentrated double concerto of 1991, a work of almost classical formality yet with the pungency of language of a true innovator who has not forgotten his debt to history. Soloists, Augusto Vismara (viola), Luigi Lanzillotta (cello), Gruppo Strumentale Musica d'Oggi; Marcello Panni. BMG Ricordi 1031 (Italy) 12-081 $18.98

PIETRO BORRADORI (b.1965): Cantata puer aeternus for Double Choir and Chamber Orchestra, Dialectical Landscapes for Cello and Piano, Opus Alexandrinum for Cello and Chamber Orchestra, Trame Perdute for 2 Pianos, Opus Incertum for Ensemble. It comes as no surprise to learn that Borradori studied architecture alongside his compositional training, because throughout his music there is a powerful sense of structure, in which motifs - blocks of chords, arpeggiated buttresses, geometrical grids of structural relationships - suggest the architect's craft as much as the composer's. Harmony is used freely, as a structural element, in a labyrinth of sonorous mystery. The music is tense and tautly constructed; challenging in that it demands the attention of the listener, but rewarding, as this attention is repaid by a consistently high level of interest. Various soloists and ensembles. BMG Ricordi 1032 (Italy) 12-082 $18.98

THIERRY PÉCOU (b.1965): Poème du temps et de l'Éther for Cello, Piano and Transverse Flute, Éléousa for Cello Solo, Suite Aquatique for Cello and Piano, Traversée du Rêve for Cello and Piano, Nocturne IV for Piano, 5 Pièces brèves for Piano and Clarinet, Histoires en Écrins. This music by a young French composer, who also appears here as pianist with his duo-partner, the cellist Silvia Lenzi, is difficult to categorise. Several of the works are meditative, even mystical, with a surprising element of the east to them, inspired by, and incorporating elements of, Russian Orthodox Church music. The Histoires en écrins for four discrete duos is more complex, with different layers of "foreground" and "background" superimposed in a manner that recalls Elliott Carter. The other duo works paint vivid mood-pictures in a largely atonal idiom in which tone-color is of the utmost importance. Silvia Lenzi (cello), Thierry Pécou (piano), Ensemble "Music & Sound". BMG Ricordi 5892 (Italy) 12-083 $18.98

JOSÉ LUIS CAMPANA (b.1949): Dholak for 6 Solo Instruments, Lust Ich 2 for 2 Harps and Percussion, Involtura Sonora for Bassoon and Cello, Noctal 2 & 3 for 5 Solo Instruments, Je est un autre for Bass Marimba and Percussion. An Argentine composer trained in psychology, Campana attempts to give voice to the continuous shifting interplay of thoughts, actions and reactions in a living system, through music composed of "sound objects" which interact against a background of shimmering overtones and resonances. As you might expect from these aspirations and this method of composing, timbre and sonority is very important; formal structure is not; dynamic contrasts and the appearance and disappearance of blocks of timbre like shifting moods propel the music; movement through harmonic progression is effectively absent. The sonic pallette that he draws from his unconventional instrumental groups is fascinating. Various performers. Skarbo D SK 4968 (France) 12-084 $18.98

HANS ABRAHAMSEN (b.1952): Märchenbilder, Lied in Fall for Cello and 13 Instruments, Winternacht, Carl Nielsen: Three Piano Pieces op. 59 posth Recomposed for 10 Instruments. This student of Nørgård and Gudmundsen-Holmgreen adopted the "New Simplicity" which evolved in Danish music in the mid-60s as his basic style. Märchenbilder (1984), whose title was suggested by Schumann's suite, contains six abstract "folk-tales" which get progressively longer as the work builds through its first two movements into a dizzying scherzo prestissimo. In Lied in Fall, from 1987, a solo cello is a wanderer through an autumnal landscape of ever-descending lines but which ends in transcendent affirmation. Winternacht (1976-78) creates a misty, unreal landscape in four movements which end in radiant C major while Abrahamsen's "recomposition" of Nielsen's late piano pieces (1990) accentuates the latter composer's perceived "modernistic" trends in this late music. Christopher van Kampen (cello), London Sinfonietta; Elgar Howarth. Marco Polo/Da Capo 8.224080 (Denmark) 12-085 $14.98

PHILIP CANNON (b.1929): String Quartet, Clarinet Quintet: Logos, String Sextet: Cinq Supplications sun une bénédiction. Cannon's tough, uncompromising chamber music is intensely emotional, the very opposite of academic - indeed, it approaches an almost overwrought atonality at times. The string sextet, written in 1985 during a particularly tragic period in the composer's life while his wife was dying of a chronic illness, is especially intense, full of vigorous chromatic counterpoint. The Clarinet Quintet treats the solo instrument and ensemble as equals, and pits them against each other in a questing dialogue that more than once erupts into violence, before culminating in a mood of serenity. The taut and passionate String Quartet of 1964 was Cannon's first venture into a dissonant quasi-atonality, and he chose the very personal and intimate medium of the string quartet for this significant move in his compositional development. Medici String Quartet, David Campbell (clarinet), Jane Atkins (viola), Melissa Phelps (cello). Olympia OCD 632 (England) 12-086 $16.98

GIACOMO MANZONI (b. 1932): Klavieralbum, Incipit for Piano, Preludio - "Grave" di Waring Cuney - Finale for Clarinet, 3 Strings and Female Voice, Opus 50 (Daunium) for 10 Instruments and Percussion, Percorso GG for Clarinet and Tape, Omaggio a Josquin: Trascrizione di "Nymphes des bois..." (Deploration d'Ockeghem) for Female Voice and 5 Instruments, Musica Notturna for 5 Winds, Piano and Percussion. These seven concise chamber works demonstrate the unity of purpose and uncompromising severity of style of this Milanese composer. The two piano works, written more than a quarter of a century apart, share the characteristic austerity of Manzoni's work, although the first, organised serially but with echoes of Bartók, is far more conventionally expressive than the rarefied, aphoristic Incipit. Omaggio a Josquin is Manzoni's ingeniously scored, textually faithful transcription for voice and 5 instruments of Josquin's own lamentation for his teacher, Ockeghem. Musica Notturna, a shadowy, shifting exercise in subtle and unusual timbres displays the composer's austere yet involving sound-world to its best advantage here. Echo Ensemble; Emilio Pomarico. BMG Ricordi 1008 (Italy) 12-087 $18.98

AZIO CORGHI (b.1937): Mazapegul. This work is a ballet score for the unusual combination of vocal octet, with interludes on solo oboe. The text is taken from various sources telling the surreal story of an impish spirit of unfettered and natural love which binds all living creatures, and is presented by the New Swingle Singers with the wide range of stylistic virtuosity for which they are well known. Allusions to popular styles and tonal fragments blend effortlessly with quasi-instumental vocal effects, while the brief oboe interludes represent a more consciously modern idiom. The New Swingle Singers; Pietro Borgonovo. BMG Ricordi 1006 (Italy) 12-088 $18.98

KARLHEINZ STOCKHAUSEN (b.1928): Mantra. Stockhausen's work of 1970 is superbly presented in this 1996 recording. For two pianists, also playing a selection of cymbals and bells, with sound projection, the work abounds in the ritualistic sonorities for which the composer has become famous, including the one that became a virtual trademark, the ring-modulated piano. The title derives from the underlying structure of the work, in which a four-part structure is itself treated as the basic material for 14 sections plus an exposition and reprise. Janka and Jürg Wyttenbach (pianos). Accord 202252 (France) 12-089 $16.98

HUGUES DUFOURT (b.1943): Saturne for Instrumental Ensemble, Electronics and Percussion, Surgir for Large Orchestra. Saturne is a vast, ponderous, slow-moving construction for electronic instruments (played live), winds and large percussion ensemble. It represents Saturn the melancholy bringer of old age, the master of despair and ruin, under whose cold, slow star we mortals can find no solace or redemption. Not surprisingly, the work was written in response to the tense world of the late 1970s, when global annihilation seemed all too present a possibility. It takes its time to make its point - but time is its point, and in the right mood it makes an unforgettably powerful listening experience. Time is also a central concern of Surgir, which uses a large orchestra to create huge shifting blocks of slowly developing clusters - think of Ligeti's Atmosphères or 1960s Penderecki - which create a sense of impending paroxysm which, when it finally arrives, is quite devastating. Ensemble L'Intinéraire; Peter Eötvös, Orchestre de Paris; Claude Bardon. Accord 202542 (France) 12-090 $16.98

GEORGES APERGHIS (b.1945): Récitations, GIACINTO SCELSI (1905-1988): Canti del Capricorno. Aperghis' work, from 1977-78, for solo voice, consists of 12 separate "recitations" in which the voice is given 12 syllables (there are no texts) with which it creates "language", personality and meaning through the personality of the performer. As with Scelsi's 1972 Canti, which stretch the bounds of Western vocal technique to include glottal stops, nasal sounds, microtonal intervals and which creates a compelling, almost mystically absorbing listening experience, both works stretch the human peformer to the limit of technique and stamina. Pauline Vaillancourt (soprano), Julien Grégoire (percussion). SNE 571 (Canada) 12-091 $16.98

ZDENùK LUKÁ· (b.1928): Piano Concerto No. 3, JAN HUGO VO¤I·EK (1791-1825): Symphony in D, Op. 24. Vorisek's only symphony, which is cast in the mould of early Beethoven, the composer's contemporary, is here coupled with the Piano Concerto No. 3 of his twentieth-century compatriot, Zdenek Lukas. A work of Romantic conception using the full range of this century's musical vocabulary, the piece is not so far removed from another great twentieth-century piano concerto, the Lutoslawski. The composer was highly regarded by his colleagues even during the years of the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia, when his music was suppressed under official disfavor, and this splendid piece whets the appetite for more recordings of his output. Jitka âechová (piano), Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra; Petr Altrichter. Arte Nova 30482 (Germany) 12-092 $8.98

ALEXANDER GLAZUNOV (1865-1936): Overture Carnaval, Op. 45, Spring, Op. 34, Concert Waltz No. 1, Op. 47, Concert Waltz No. 2, Op. 51, Salomé: Incidental Music to the Play by Oscar Wilde, Op. 90. All of these works are available for the first time at budget price and have little competition; Spring is the young Glazunov's 1891 rhapsody based on a poem by the pan-Slavist Tyutchev while Carnaval, in similar vein followed the next year. Of particular interest is the 1908 incidental music to Wilde's Salome which receives its first CD recording: in two movements, a portentous introduction and a "Dance of the Seven Veils" which assumes Polovtsian characteristics, it is classic Glazunov in its imaginative scoring and use of orchestral color. Volume 6 of Naxos' Glazunov series. Moscow Symphony Orchestra; Igor Golovchin. Naxos 8.553838 (Hong Kong) 12-093 $5.98

PETER TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893): The Snow Maiden - Incidental Music. Written in 1873 to accompany a play based on an allegorical Russian fairy-tale in which the forces of nature are personified, this is one of Tchaikovsky's freshest, most brilliant and optimistic scores, quoting numerous folksongs, and is the closest he ever came to the style and content of the Russian nationalist composers of the Mighty Five. Originally released in 1994, now reissued at mid-price. Natalia Erasova (mezzo), Slexander Arkhipov (tenor), Nikolai Vassiliev (baritone), Sveshnikov Russian State Choir, Bolshoi Theater Orchestra; Andrei Chistiakov. Russian Season 788090 (France) 12-094 $12.98

NIKOLAI MIASKOVSKY (1881-1950): Violin Concerto in D Minor, Op. 44, ARAM KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978): Violin Concerto in D. Miaskovsky's violin concerto is not otherwise currently available on CD. In any event this release is special since it contains the world-premiere recordings of both works, set down in 1944 and 1939 respectively. Surfaces are incredibly silent (the Khachaturian was originally recorded on optical film before its mastering onto 78s) and background noise light. A treasurable release for collectors. David Oistrakh (violin), USSR State Symphony Orchestra; Alexander Gauk. Pearl GEMM CD 9295 (England) 12-095 $17.98

GIAN FRANCESCO MALIPIERO (1882-1973): Sonata a tre for Violin, Cello and Piano, Sonata a cinque for Flute, Violin, Viola, Cello and Harp, Dialogo No. 4 for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Horn and Bassoon, Quartetto per Elisabetta (String Quartet No. 8). Malipiero today very much occupies the position of grand old man of Italian music, although in the 2 1/2 decades since his death his music has not been afforded the degree of exposure that such a reputation would lead one to expect. The works on this disc span some 40 years, and they make a strong case for Malipiero, along with Casella, being the primary Italian composers of instrumental music in our century. Although he wrote many operas, it is Malipiero's insistence on a modernized renaissance polyphony that gives his music a timeless quality. Firmly rooted in tonality even as he freed himself from the tyranny of a strict tonal system, this is invigorating music, strongly individual and very melodic, in the sense that everything is linearly conceived first and foremost. Ex Novo Ensemble. BMG Ricordi 1024 (Italy) 12-096 $18.98

HENRYK WIENIAWSKI (1835-1880): Romance sans paroles, Op. 9, Mazurkas, Op. 12 and 19, Souvenir de Moscou, Op. 6, Souvenir de Pozen, Op. 3, Polonaises Op. 4 & 21, Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 15. In the pantheon of composer-virtuosi of the violin, Wienawski occupies a pedestal arguably second only in position to that of the illustriuous Paganini. Like his fellow Pole, Chopin, Wienawski was intensely conscious of his national heritage, and expressed his ethnic pride through the use of Polish dance-forms, such as the mazurkas and polonaises on this recording. All these works epitomise the swaggering virtuosity expected by the audiences of the day, who cannot have been disappointed by these dazzling showpieces. Levon Ambartsumian (violin), Liana Embovica-Rivkin (piano). ACA CM20053 (U.S.A.) 12-097 $16.98

SIGISMUND THALBERG (1812-1871): Fantasia su temi dell'opera "Mosè" di Rossini, Op. 33, HENRY HERZ (1803-1888): Variazioni concertatne sulla Marcia favorita del "Philtre" di Auber, Op. 70, CARL CZERNY (1791-1857): Fantasia elegante sulla "Norma" di Bellini", Op. 247/25, Introduzione e variazioni sulla Cavatina favorita "So anch'io la virtù magica" dall'opera "Don Pasquale" di Donizetti, Op. 398/17, JOHANN PETER PIXIS (1788-1874): Fantasia drammatica su temi degli "Ungonotti" di Meyerbeer, CHARLES VALENTIN ALKAN (1813-1888): Grande fantasia sul "Don Giovanni" di Mozart. The tradition of transcribing themes from popular operas into virtuosic piano fantasias was a staple of the 19th-century pianist-composer's activity. The most famous examples of the genre are, of course, Liszt's, but many of the other great piano virtuosi also tried their hand at the art of operatic paraphrase; thus we have Czerny's skilful and cohesive fantasia on Norma - less showy than Liszt's, but no less musically convincing, and Alkan's breathtaking Grande Fantasia - actually a set of bravura variations - on Don Giovanni, full of the kind of stunning keyboard pyrotechnics that one would expect from the master of pianistic diablerie, in a varied and fascinating programme that proves that Liszt did not by any means have this form all to himself. Duo Alkan. Agorá Musica AG 105.1 (Italy) 12-098 $16.98

ARTHUR FOOTE (1853-1937): Cello Sonata, Op. 78, LEONARD BERNSTEIN (1918-1991): 3 Mdeitations from "Mass", SAMUEL BARBER (1910-1981): Cello Sonata, Op. 6. A CD premiere for Foote's cello sonata. Composed at an uncertain date before 1919, it perfectly demonstrates the composer's avowedly conservative musical personality in its richly Romantic, Brahmsian language. Andrés Díaz (cello), Samuel Sanders (piano). Dorian 90241 (U.S.A.) 12-099 $16.98

Brazilian composer Amaral Vieira is greatly lauded in his own country, and not apparently widely known elsewhere. His compositions run to some 500 individual works, among which large-scale choral works to liturgical texts are frequently to be encountered. His handling of his forces is unquestionably skilful, and he has a genuine gift for coming up with memorable ideas. The language is resolutely tonal - one might even say conservative: indeed, having acclimatised onself to it, the occurence of a Busonian or Wagnerian chromatic gesture falls on the ear with the shock value of the most extreme experimentation. Indeed, to write in this way now without descending into parody is itself a substantial achievement. Yet the composer's obvious sincerity and his ability to turn a catchy phrase pull him through.

AMARAL VIEIRA (b.1952): Te Deum, Op. 181, Requiem in Memoriam, Op. 203. These works use conventional choral and orchestral forces in music much of which could have been written by Bruckner, if not Schubert. Both works have a certain austerity, though the Te Deum is pervaded by a sense of triumph throughout. The Requiem was written in memory of President Tancredo Neves, and has the air of a sincere and tender elegy (if on a national scale), lacking the dramatic and hysterical grieving associated with the Romantic requiem. Adriana Kohoutkova (soprano), Denisa Slepkovska (mezzo), Simon Somorjai (tenor), Vladimir Kubovcik (bass), Slovak Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra; Marian Vach. Paulus 11311-0 (Brazil) 12-100 $16.98

AMARAL VIEIRA (b.1952): Stabat Mater, Op. 240, Missa pro defunctis, Op. 187. The serious nature of these texts brings out the best of the composer's gift for lyrical melodic invention and beautiful, rich yet uncluttered textures. The Missa is for a capella chorus, while the string orchestra of the Stabat Mater complements the choral writing perfectly in achieving a sonorous setting for this most beautiful text. Adriana Kohoutkova (soprano), Denisa Slepkovska (mezzo), Simon Somorjai (tenor), Stanislav Benacka (baritone), Vladimir Kubovcik (bass), Slovak Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra; Marian Vach. Paulus 11332-8 (Brazil) 12-101 $16.98

AMARAL VIEIRA (b.1952): Choral Fantasy In nativitate domini, Op. 260 for Mezzo-soprano, Piano, Organ, Harp, Mixed Chorus and 2 Symphonic Bands, Tecladofonia, Op. 104 for Keyboards and Symphonic Band, Magnificat, Op. 254 for Mezzo-soprano, Mixed Chorus and 2 Symphonic Bands. The Fantasy uses huge forces in a brash, extrovert celebration, while the cheerful little Magnificat is more restrained, in texture if not in mood. Tecladofonia, for a variety of keyboard instruments and symphonic band is immensely appealing - it sounds as though someone tried to combine all the most humorous aspects of Poulenc's Organ Concerto, Concert champêtre, and piano concertos in twenty minutes! Eloisa Baldin (soprano), Amaral Vieira (piano), Yara Ferraz (keyboards), Selma Asprino (organ), Norma Rodrigues (harp), São Paolo State Symphonic Band; Roberto Farias. Paulus 11422-7 (Brazil) 12-102 $16.98

HUSUM FESTIVAL 1996: POULENC: 2 Intermezzi (Kathryn Stott), KARG-ELERT: Filigran, BRIDGE: Fragrance, GRAINGER: In Dahomey (Piers Lane), GNÁTTALI: Negaceando, Manhosamente, Canhoto (Marc-André Hamelin), GOEDICKE: Prelude, Op. 20 (Hamish Milne), SCRIABIN: 24 Preludes, Op. 11, RAVEL: La valse (Igor Zhukov), HONEGGER: Souvenir de Chopin, D'INDY: "Franck" (Peter Froundjian), ALEXANDER & MORITZ MOSZKOWSKI: Anton Notenquetscher am Klavier: Parodie der Schülerszene aus Goethes "Faust" (Raimond Tabor, Peter Froundjian). 2 CDs. Danacord DACOCD 479 12-103 $33.98

MAX REGER (1873-1916): Die Nonnen for Mixed Choir and Large Orchestra, Op. 112, Eine Romantische Suite, Op. 125. This late arrival from the Hans Zender edition has the CD premiere of "The Nuns", a fine example of mature Reger composed in the same year as his large-scale Psalm 100 and which he called its "Catholic counterpart". North German Radio Chorus, Saarbrücken Radio Symphony; Hans Zender. CPO 999 480 (Germany) 12-104 $7.98