January 2002   January 2001   January 2000  January 1999  January 1998  
February 2002   February 2001   February 2000  February 1999  February 1998  
March 2002   March 2001   March 2000  March 1999  March 1998  
April 2002   April 2001   April 2000  April 1999  April 1998  
May 2002   May 2001   May 2000  May 1999  May 1998  
June 2002   June 2001   June 2000  June 1999  June 1998  
July 2002  July 2001  July 2000  July 1999  July 1998  July 1997
August 2002  August 2001  August 2000  August 1999  August 1998  August 1997
 September 2001   September 2000  September 1999  September 1998  September 1997
  October 2001   October 2000  October 1999  October 1998  October 1997
  November 2001  November 2000  November 1999  November 1998  November 1997
 December 2001   December 2000  December 1999  December 1998  December 1997

Asger Hamerik

Symphonies Nos. 5 & 6

ASGER HAMERIK (1843-1923): Symphony No. 5 in G minor, Op. 36 "Symphonie sérieuse", Symphony No. 6 in G, Op. 38, "Symphonie spirituelle". The fifth may be Hamerik's most immediately striking symphony. Its themes are strong (the composer again uses the Berliozian idée fixe for the main theme which occurs throughout the symphony and from which most subsidiary themes are built), the orchestration rich and commanding. The second movement has an almost Brucknerian majesty and the scherzo is Beethovenian (of the Seventh variety) in its dance-like insistence. The sixth is for strings only because, at the time of its composition in 1895-6, the regular symphonic concerts in Baltimore had been suspended for budgetary reasons. It was the first Hamerik symphony to be recorded (by the Boyd Neel String Orchestra just after World War II) and it also has a clear cyclic feel, the outer movements being related to each other as are the inner ones. We hope that the next volume in this series will couple the choral-orchestral Seventh with one or more of Hamerik's Nordic Suites. Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra; Thomas Dausgaard. Dacapo 8.224161 (Denmark) 02D001 $15.98

EDUARD ERDMANN (1896-1958): Symphony No. 1, Op. 10, Symphony No. 2, Op. 12, Rondo for Orchestra, Op. 9. Although they don't make a point of it on the cover, this is part of a series, "Prohibited and Forgotten", whose most recent release was last March's disc of symphonic works by Heinz Tiessen (03C009). Dealing with composers whose careers were destroyed or were murdered by the Nazi regime (Schulhoff and Haas titles may have been subsumed into this "series" after Schwann realized that it actually did have a series going on), this offers a valuable continuation to Decca's apparently defunct "Entartete Musik" line. Erdmann was known primarily as a pianist but he gained fame as a composer early with the 1918 Rondo, dedicated to his teacher Tiessen, his first symphony (1920), dedicated to Berg, and the second symphony (1923), dedicated to Krenek. All are single-movement works which superfically use classical forms but which, through intensive development of thematic material, cause them to disintegrate. Dynamic contrasts are striking and often abrupt, sections of chamber-like transparency are set against powerful orchestral tutti, much chromaticism, wide interval leaps and a joy in counterpoint. In short, a must for anyone who enjoys the fermenting, overheated musical atmosphere which produced Berg, the early Schoenberg, Schreker, Zemlinsky, the early Hindemith and Krenek... well, you get the idea. And, next month, music of Emil Bohnke (1888-1928)! Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra; Israel Yinon. Koch Schwann 3-6572-2 (Germany) 02D002 $16.98

ANDRES ISASI (1890-1940): Berceuse Tragica for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 22/1, Erotische Dichtung, Op. 14, Zharufa, Op. 12, Das Orakel, Op. 18, Die Sünde, Op. 19. Claves have their U.S. distribution problems cleared up one more time and we can finally offer this new volume in their Basque Orchestral series. Isasi studied in Germany with Humperdinck and the influence of Wagner is often present in these very richly orchestrated, Germanic-sounding tone poems, especially Zharufa (which is based on Moroccan themes). The Berceuse has a bit more of the Iberian peninsula in it and a fair amount of eroticism in it (although Scriabin had nothing to fear!). Jonathan Carney (violin), Basque National Orchestra; Enrique García Asensio. Claves CD 50-2007 (Switzerland) 02D003 $16.98

GIAN CARLO MENOTTI (b.1911): Violin Concerto, Muero porque no muero for Soprano, Chorus and Orchestra, Oh llama de amor viva, for Baritone, Chorus and Orchestra, The Death of Orpheus for Tenor, Chorus and Orchestra. Menotti's gorgeous 1952 violin concerto should be as popular and oft-recorded as Barber's but inexplicably remains a rarity. If you don't know this melodic, lyrical, often intimate concerto with its memorable triple-time dance theme in its finale, you're going to love this new release! Its discmates are all world premiere recordings: the two Spanish language cantatas date from between 1982 and 1991. Muero... is based on writings of the 16th century St. Teresa of Avila and is a meditation on her longing to be reunited with God in death. The music has overt Iberian flavors but its companion piece, to a text by a follower of St. Teresa, is a surprisingly erotic work whose vivid music does no more than represent intensely devotional texts. Written in 1990, The Death of Orpheus begins abrasively with the ululations of the maenads who tore Orpheus into pieces but which soon moves into consonance as it depicts the still-singing head floating down the river Hebrus, enchanting all who see and hear it. Jennifer Koh (violin), Julia Melinek (soprano), Jamie MacDougall (tenor), Stephen Roberts (baritone), Spoleto Festival Choir and Orchestra; Richard Hickox. Chandos 9979 (England) 02D004 $16.98

JANIS IVANOVS (1906-1983): Piano Concerto in D Minor, Symphony No. 10, Andante for Cello Ensemble. The 1959 piano concerto came at a time of transition for Ivanovs; the mandated idiom of Socialist Realism was beginning to be replaced by a more modern, angular style and the outer movements have much steely, motoric rhythms while the slow movement is a throw-back which echoes the folk songs sung at the Latvian national song festival. The symphony comes from 1963 (and this mono recording of the same year must have come with the ink still fresh on the manuscript) and its four movement headings display a neo-classical turn; the first movement Dialogo uses a 12-tone theme as a first subject, epic and powerful in its effect, followed by a Toccata and an Intermezzo, whose emotional intensity rather surprises the listener before a sparkling sonata-form finale ends the work. Stereo-mono. Igor Zhukov (piano), Latvian National Symphony Orchestra; Vassily Sinaisky, Edgars Tons, Tovijs Lifsics. Campion Cameo 2013 (England) 02D005 $13.98

GRAHAM WHETTAM (b.1927): Concerto Drammatico for Cello and Orchestra, Sinfonia contra timore. The second volume of Whettam's orchestral music offers two widely-spaced (sort of) works: the concerto consists of outer movements written as long ago as 1962 while the central movement was composed only in 1998 (and the other two re-written) and the work was premiered by these forces in Illinois in 2000. The symphony was also completed in 1962 and this live performance from the Leipzig Radio in 1975 is what led to the conductor commissioning the Sinfonia Drammatica which has already appeared on this label. The concerto exploits the whole range of the cello in characteristic melodic writing of wide emotional boundaries. Whettam is closer in style and language to Shostakovich, Panufnik or Lutowslawski than to his English countrymen but he is resolutely tonal and has an acute rhythmic sense and a love for the percussion section. The latter comes into particular use in the symphony where a single player has to face down the entire orchestra while playing several instruments in the second movement and must also play rapidly across five drums in the final thirty bars. The fear against which this symphony stands is, of course, that of nuclear war and the work was actually banned for almost a year in Britain for fear of peace demonstrations targeting it. Martin Rummel (cello), Sinfonia da Camera Urbana-Champaign, Illinois; Ian Hobson, Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra; Günter Blumhagen. Redcliffe Recordings RR 017 (England) 02D006 $16.98

MAXIMILIAN STEINBERG (1883-1946): Symphony No. 2 in B Flat Minor, Op. 8, Variations pour grand orchestre, Op. 2. These works reflect Steinberg's St.Petersburg Conservatory training under such greats as Liadov, Glazunov and Rimsky-Korsakov, whose daughter he would marry. The Symphony, which is a posthumous tribute to Rimsky, shows his influence as well as that of Borodin, Tchaikovsky and particularly Glazunov. There are even traces of early Scriabin and Rachmaninov. It is in three movements, and more structurally and harmonically sophisticated than its predecessor. TheVariations are based on a Russian popular melody, which was used by at least three other Russian composers. Can you name them without looking at the notes? This is an exciting follow-up to the release of his First Symphony(10D008), and an absolute must for all Russophiles. Let's just hope that Järvi eventually gives us the remaining three symphonies. Deutsche Grammophon 471 198-2 (Germany) 02D007 $21.98

MAX REGER (1873-1916): Psalm 100 for Mixed Choir, Organ and Orchestra, Op. 106 (arr. Hindemith), Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Mozart, Op. 132. For those of you who find Reger's orchestration too thick, Paul Hindemith is on your side! In 1958, Hindemith produced an edition of Psalm 100 (1908-09) which thins out the orchestration, particularly the four horns and removes much of the organ's part which obscured the choral parts. It also reasigns vocal lines to instruments as new entries appear in the closing fugue, also in the interest of clarity and cuts 11 bars of the fugue to tighten the structure. Worth hearing whether you know the original version or not! Russian State Symphonic Capella and Symphony Orchestra; Valeri Polyansky. Chandos 9917 (England) 02D008 $16.98

ERNÖ DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960): Piano Concerto No. 1 in E Minor, Op. 5, Ruralia Hungarica, Op. 32b. The fourth in Chandos' Dohnányi series brings the under-recorded piano concerto, premiered in 1899 and in the finest late Brahmsian tradition, and the five-movement suite of 1924 which uses folksongs from a collection published by Bartók and Kodály, memorable particularly for its fine and striking orchestration. Howard Shelley (piano), BBC Philharmonic; Matthias Bamert. Chandos 9649 (England) 02D009 $16.98

LEOPOLD GODOWSKY (1870-1938): Passacaglia, Piano Sonata in E Minor. Two recordings of Godowsky's mammoth sonata of 1910/11 in four months seems hard to believe but collectors who bought Konstantin Scherbakov's Marco Polo performance (10D010) will certainly want to hear this brilliant pianist's interpretation (and you can find a description of the work in the October catalogue). Here, the filler is the rather more substantial Passacaglia, 44 Variations, Cadenza and Fugue on the Opening of Schubert's "Unfinished" Symphony, to give the 1927 work its full title. It's 19 minutes are a reverent and weighty tribute to Schubert, noble and majestic and displaying the expected wide range of invention and variety of textures and harmonic activity. Marc-André Hamelin (piano). Hyperion CDA 67300 (England) 02D010 $17.98

WILHELM PETERSON-BERGER (1867-1942): Sonata in A Minor, EMIL SJÖGREN (1853-1918): Sonata in A, Op. 58, LAURA NETZEL (1839-1927): Sonata in E Minor, Op. 66, TURE RANGSTRÖM (1884-1947): Ver Sacrum. Although 45 years separate the birthdates of the oldest and youngest composers on this disc, all four works were written within the period of 1888 to 1912 and two - Peterson Berger's and Rangström's - are world premiere recordings. The latter's is a nine-minute piece from 1907 which makes up in intensity and incident what it lacks in length while Peterson-Berger's is the performer's transcription of an unpublished violin sonata. Its second movement provided a motive for the later opera Arnljot and its themes have much of the memorability associated with this composr's mature works. The Sjögren is lovely, lyrical and song-like in its second movement and Netzel's 1899 sonata is more generalized in its Germanic Romanticism. Ola Karlsson (cello), Arne Torger (piano). ConCello CD 1 (Sweden) 02D011 $15.98

CARL NIELSEN (1865-1931): Commotio, Op. 58 (orch. Bo Holten), Violin Sonata, Op. 35 (orch. Bo Holten), 7 Early Songs (orch. Bo Holten). The massive prelude-and-double-fugue (with various interludes along the way) which Nielsen wrote for organ in the last year of his life was his only major work for that instrument and conductor Holten (who has over 100 compositions to his credit as well) felt that an orchestration would even better reveal the expressive and polyphonic potential of the work. The 1913 violin sonata stands at a crossroads in Nielsen's personal style and the rich, dark orchestration underlines its forward-looking character while the orchestration of the songs (written between 1890-94) is undertaken with a Mahlerian touch not out of keeping with the composer's early style. Danish-English texts. Bjarne Hansen (violin), Henriette Bonde-Hansen (soprano), Odense Symphony Orchestra; Bo Holten. Danacord DACO CD 588 (Denmark) 02D012 $16.98

PERCY GRAINGER (1882-1961): The Grainger Edition, Vol. 17 - Tiger-Tiger!, The Hunter in His Career, The Sussex Mummers' Christmas Carol, The Rival Brothers, Australian Up-Country Song, Harvest Hymn, The Merry King, Lisbon (Dublin Bay), In a Nutshell, The Widow's Party, Died for Love, Horkstow Grange, The Brisk Young Sailor, Hard-Hearted Barb'ra (H)Ellen, Bristol Town, Sea-Song Sketch, Molly on the Shore, Shepherd's Hey, Country Gardens, Mock Morris, Colonial Song, The Tents of the Happy Tribes, Handel in the Strand, My Robin is to the Greenwood Gone. The latest volume in this massive series is the second volume of solo piano works and most of those here are late transcriptions (done in the 1930s and later) of earlier choral pieces. A couple are receiving their premiere recordings in these versions although, with the multiple versions Grainger produced over his lifetime, this will hardly come as a surprise! Penelope Thwaites (piano). Chandos 9919 (England) 02D013 $16.98

VALENTIN HAUSSMANN (c.1570-1614): 3 Polish Dances, HEINRICH ALBERT (1604-1651): Aria Polonica, Aria Polonica Hochzeitlied, Tantz nach Art der Polen, GEORG NEUMARK (1621-1681): Klaglied, JOHANNES STOBAEUS (1580-1646): Psalm 128, JAKOB KREMBERG (c.1650-1718): 5 Arias, ANON. (17th cen.): Psalms 28, 24, 62 & 12, 3 Balleti Polachi, Balleto Dantichano, Variatio. This collection of Polish dances and psalm settings demonstrates the close musical affinity between Germany and Poland during the late 16th and the 17th centuries. Some of the dances are instrumental, some have sung texts as well. The accompaniments use a group of violin, viola, recorders, three sizes of gamba, positiv organ, harpsichord and lute. A ray of light into a very obscure area of the early Baroque period in northeastern Europe. German-Polish texts and notes. Camerata Cracovia; Ireneusz Trybulec. Dux 0139 (Poland) 02D014 $16.98

PHILIPP JACOB RITTLER (c.1637-1690): Sonata à 3, Ciaccona, PAVEL JOSEF VEJVANOVSKY (c.1640-1693): Sonata Trubus Quadrantibus, JOHANN HEINRICH SCHMELZER (c.1620/23-1680): Serenata con altre arie, Sonata à 3, Sonata à 5, Sonata XI, HEINRICH IGNAZ BIBER (1644-1704): Sonata I à 8, Sonata IV "Der Blutschweiß", Sonata VII à 5, pars III aus "Mensa sonora", Sonata X à 5. This new release concentrates on music and musicians from the Prince-Bishop's court at Kromerziz in Bohemia, whose archives are among the richest in Europe for the period of the high Baroque. Many of the works by Schmelzer and Biber are familiar, known for their bizarre bursts of hair-raising virtuosity (even for the trumpet, here) and odd turns of compositional fancy. Rittler fits in nicely in his chaconne where the trumpeter's courage is suddenly summoned just when you think that the composer couldn't possibly ask him to follow the violinist's spectacular chain of 16th-notes! Vejvanovsky's sonata is distinguished by its use of alto trombone which takes its soloistic place alongside a trumpet and violin. Anima Mea. Marc Aurel Edition MA 20017 (Germany) 02D015 $17.98

JOHANN THEILE (1646-1724): Die Seele Christi heiligie for Soprano and 3 Violas, Sonata à 3, Gott hilf mir, denn das Wasser for Soprano, Violin and Viola da Gamba, Jesu, mein Herr und Gott for Soprano and 2 Violas da Gamba, Praeludium, Aria, Courante & Sarabande for 2 Violins and 2 Violas da Gamba, JOHANN SCHOP (c.1590-1667): Paduana & Galliard for 2 Violins, Canzon VIII for 2 Violins, Lachrimae Pavan & Ballet for Descant Viola da Gamba, JOHANN PHILIPP FÖRTSCH (1652-1732): Aus der Tiefe rufe ich, Herr, zu Dir for Soprano, Violin and Viola da Gamba, Veni creator spiritus for Soprano, Bass, Violin and Viola da Gamba. A welcome glimpse of the work of Theile, a friend of Buxtehude, whose cantatas bear comparison with the latter's and with those of Reinken and Krieger, and of Theile's pupil Förtsch, shows us the sound and sensible talents of minor masters working within the North German tradition. German-English texts. Hedwig Westhoff-Düppmann (soprano), Martin Backhaus (bass), Hamburger Ratmusik; Simone Eckert. Christophorus CHR 77245 (Germany) 02D016 $17.98

GEORG PHILIPP TELEMANN (1681-1767): Matthäus-Passion. Only identified as by Telemann in 1976, this Passion from 1746 is notable for the composer's unprecedented adaptation of French recitative style and the nuanced diversity of the arioso writing which combine to effect an eloquence which makes this one of his most individual divine service Passions. German-English texts. Wilfried Jochens (tenor), Klaus Mertens (bass), Rheinische Kantorei, Das Kleine Konzert; Hermann Max. Capriccio 10 854 (Germany) 02D017 $16.98

GEORG PHILIPP TELEMANN (1681-1767): Cantatas for Easter and Pentecost: Am Sonntage Laetare, Am Feste der Verkündigung Mariae, Am Erstern Osterfeiertage, Auf Rogate, Am Ersten Pfingstfeiertage, Am Zweiten Pfingstfeiertage, Am Dritten Pfingstfeiertage. In 1726, Telemann supplied a complete cycle of cantatas for Sundays and feast days for the entire year (72 in all, each being provided and published just before its performance date). Wishing to make them available also by subscription to the general public, they needed to be relatively brief and they call for a single voice, an obbligato instrument (here recorder and violin taking turns) and basso continuo (cello, bassoon, organ and harpsichord). German-English texts. Monika Frimmer, Petra Kötz-Geitner (sopranos), Bernhard Hirtreiter (tenor), Gotthold Schwarz (bass), Instrumental soloists. Capriccio 10 795 (Germany) 02D018 $16.98

GEORG PHILIPP TELEMANN (1681-1767): Cantatas for Christmas: Am Vierten Advents-Sonntage, Am Sonntage nach Weihnachten, Am Jeujahrstage, Am Sonntage nach dem neuen Jahre, Am Feste der himmlische Drei Könige, Am Dritten Sonntag nach dem Feste der himmlische Drei Könige, Am Sonntage Septuagesnimä. See notes above. German-English texts. Monika Frimmer (soprano), Rufus Müller (tenor), Gotthold Schwarz (bass), Instrumental soloists. Capriccio 10 796 (Germany) 02D019 $16.98

GEORG PHILIPP TELEMANN (1681-1767): Concertos for Oboe d'Amore and Strings in E Minor, for Viola and Strings in G, for 2 Violins, 2 Horns and Strings in D, for Violin and Strings in A, for 2 Violas and Strings in G, for 2 Violins and Strings in B Flat, for Violin and Strings in G and for 2 Horns and Strings in F. Six of the eight concertos here are world premiere recordings, having just been edited from manuscripts in Darmstadt and Rheda. The Berlin Baroque Soloists pay particular attention to Telemann and it is good to have a disc full of concertos at at time when the majority of Telemann rediscoveries have been in the instrumental and vocal/choral genres. Wolfram Christ (viola), Stefan Dohr (horn), Berlin Baroque Soloists, Rainer Kussmaul (violin). EMI 557232 (Germany) 02D020 $17.98

JOHANN FRIEDRICH FASCH (1688-1758): Overture in B Flat for 2 Oboes, Bassoon and Strings, Cantatas for Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass,Chorus, 2 Oboes, 2 Recorders and Strings: Du sollst Gott, deinen Herrn, lieben & Wir müssen alle offenbar werden, CARL CHRISTIAN FASCH (1736-1800): Psalm 119 for 8-Part Chorus. These two cantatas are brief (15 minutes each) and amiable, exploring no great depths of emotion but no less enjoyable for that; the overture is in the French style - like those Telemann was writing at the same time (around 1730). The psalm setting by Fasch's son is a more ambitious work and even has a Romantic feeling, lasting half an hour and is divided into two long sections which each contain eight movements. German-English texts. Maria Zádori, Veronika Winter, Annette Müller (sopranos), Lena Susanne Norin (alto), Hans Jörg Mammel, Bernhard Scheffel, Michael Schaffrath (tenors), Klaus Mertens, Shephan Schreckenberger (basses), Rheinische Kantorei, Das Kleine Konzert; Hermann Max. CPO 999 594 (Germany) 02D021 $15.98

MICHAEL HAYDN (1737-1806): Der Traum. Here is a genre we've not offered very frequently, the pantomime. Performed in 1767, the stage action is, so to speak, non-linear: there are armies, Turks and members of the commedia dell'arte haring all over the place in no particular rhyme or reason. Brief interventions by a narrator explain the action and three arias and a duet are included. The soprano has an Italian aria, the bass a mock-Turkish explosion of gibberish and Mercury (yes, he's here too) sings his in Latin. The duet is a pastoral ("Damon und Amaryllis") which points the way to the genre of the singspiel. Haydn takes full advantage of the opportunity to provide "Turkish" music as well as a couple of breakneck prestos in addition to movements of more moderate tempo. German-English texts. Georg Schuchter (narrator), Christiane Boesiger (soprano), Markus Forster (alto), Robert Holl (bass), Salzburger Hofmusik; Wolfgang Brunner. CPO 999 823 (Germany) 02D022 $15.98

LUIGI BOCCHERINI (1743-1805): String Quartets, Op. 32, Nos. 3-6. This second volume of Boccherini's op. 32 quartets completes this set of very distinctive pieces, combining melodic profundity with harmonic adventurousness and standing on the threshold of Romanticism while still possessing the courtly elegance of the 18th century. Quartetto Borciani. Naxos 8.555043 (New Zealand) 02D023 $6.98

C.E.F. WEYSE (1774-1842): Piano Sonatas, Vol. 2 - Sonatas No. 5 in E and No. 6 in B Flat, Fantasie in D, 3 Allegri di bravura. Who would have thought last May that we could now compare recorded versions of Weyse piano sonatas? In addition to the two sonatas (which also appear on a dacapo CD, 06C023), we have here a 1790 fantasy and three of six Allegri di bravura which date from 1796. The former is modeled on similar pieces by Mozart or, more closely, C.P.E. Bach and the latter's spirit is also heard in the third allegro. The first allegro is in the same emergent tradition as Schubert's Moments musicaux and the second is rather like a late Classical rethinking of a two-part baroque invention. Morten Mogensen (piano). Kontrapunkt 32323 (Denmark) 02D024 $16.98

PAUL WRANITZKY (1756-1808): Symphony in D, Op. 36, Symphony in C Minor, Op. 11, Grand Characteristic Symphony for the Peace with the French Republic, Op. 31. A wonderful trio of late Classical symphonies with the D major work a resoundingly splendid piece with trumpets and timpani providing festive high spirits while the C minor piece is typically anxious and taut, in the spirit of the older Sturm und Drang. Amazingly, the 31-minute Grand Characteristic Symphony (receiving its first recording here) uses a string orchestra only to achieve its vividly pictorial sequence of historical depictions, complete with two guillotine crashes for the unfortunate Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette. London Mozart Players; Matthias Bamert. Chandos 9916 (England) 02D025 $16.98

FRANCESCO MOLINO (1768-1847): Violin Concerto No. 2, Op. 25, Gran Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra, Op. 56, Trio for Flute, Viola and Guitar, Op. 4, Notturno No. 2 for Flute and Guitar, Op. 38, Sonata for Solo Violin, Op. 68, Grande Sonata for Guitar, Op. 51, Grande pot-pourri sul temi di Rossini for 2 Guitars, Op. 47, Notturno No. 1 for Fortepiano and Guitar, Op. 36. Although you will find no mention of Molino in Grove, it turns out that he was a fabulously successful guitarist and violinist at both the court of the King of Sardinia and later, in private life, in Paris. His guitar method competed for popularity with that of Carulli and, like the latter, Molino composed much chamber music in addition to works for solo guitar. Unlike him, he produced concertos for both his instruments: the second violin concerto recorded here was published in Paris in 1820 and has all of the pathos of Paganini without the mindboggling virtuosity. The chamber pieces are mostly of the salon variety since that is where composers like Molino needed to find their audience and their customers but they need not be spoken of pejoratively for they have much charm, skill and Italianate melodic beauty. 2 CDs for the price of 1. Leonardo Boero (violin), Mario Bricca (guitar), Accademia Domino; Maurizio Benedetti. Nuova Era 7363 (Italy) 02D026 $17.98

CARL STAMITZ (1745-1801): Concerto in F, MICHAEL HAYDN (1737-1806): Concertino in B Flat, P 52/5, CARL MARIA VON WEBER (1786-1826): Concerto in F, Op. 75, Andante e Rondo Ungarese, Op. 35. Stamitz' fresh and lyrical concerto joins a single-movement piece by Michael Haydn which is actually part of a multi-movement serenade and a new edition of Weber's Andante e Rondo which was prepared for this recording from the original manuscript. Laurence Perkins (bassoon), Manchester Camerata; Douglas Boyd. Hyperion CDA 67288 (England) 02D027 $17.98

JOHN FIELD (1782-1837): Piano ConcertoNo. 5 in C "L'Incendie par l'Orage", Piano Concerto No. 6 in C. These equally melodic and virtuosic concertos conclude with the fifth of 1817, in which Field joined his predecessors such as Steibelt (and, of course, Beethoven) in offering a colorful storm sequence in the first movement, and the sixth of 1819. Benjamin Frith (piano), Northern Sinfonia; David Haslam. Naxos 8.554221 (New Zealand) 02D028 $6.98

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827): String Quartet in C Sharp Minor, Op. 131, Große Fuge in B Flat, Op. 133. Fans of transcriptions will want this new one of late Beethoven quartet works transcribed for string orchestra, done by the conductor of the orchestra which performs it here. Nieuw Sinfonietta Amsterdam; Peter Oundjian. BIS CD-1218 (Sweden) 02D029 $17.98

FRIEDRICH KUHLAU (1786-1832): 3 Flute Sonatas, Op. 83. One of the main figures in early Danish Romanticism, Kuhlau wrote flute sonatas of considerable virtuosity in a cosmopolitan yet personal style which reflects the influence of Mozart and Beethoven and which earned him the sobriquet "the Beethoven of the flute". Uwe Grodd (flute), Matteo Napoli (piano). Naxos 8.555346 (New Zealand) 02D030 $6.98

GIOACHINO ROSSINI (1792-1868): String Sonatas Nos. 1-5 (arr. Frédéric Berr). The wit, elegance and virtuosity of Rossini's sparkling string sonatas were such that they were bound not to remain long in their original guise. Here are contemporary arrangements of them for the quartet of flute, clarinet, bassoon and horn. Michael Thompson Wind Quartet. Naxos 8.554098 (New Zealand) 02D031 $6.98

GIOACHINO ROSSINI (1792-1868): Cantemus Domino, Il candore in fuga, Eja Mater, O salutaris hostia, 3 churs religieux, Chur de chasserus démocrates, Chur, Preghiera, Brindisi, I Gondolieri, La passeggiata, Toast pour le nouvel an, O giorno sereno, Quartetto pastorale, Il Carnevale. The majority of these works date from the period of the "Sins of my Old Age" and range from drinking songs to sacred hymns to the impressively grave, tenor-drum-accompanied Preghiera, a lament for the death of Meyerbeer in 1864. French/Italian-German texts. Südfunk-Chor; Rupert Huber, Eric Ericson, Helmut Wolf (conductors), Roland Keller, Susan Wenckus (piano). Carus 83.127 (Germany) 02D032 $17.98

FRANZ SCHUBERT (1797-1828): Alfonso und Estrella - Harmoniemusik for Wind Octet and Double Bass (arr. Andreas N. Tarkmann [b.1956]). Alfonso und Estrella was Schubert's favorite of all his stage works but, like all but three others, it was not performed in his lifetime. Here, we have a 20th century arranger performing the same task as so many from the 19th - making a selection of choruses, arias and duets from the opera available to a wider public by arranging them for wind ensemble. Linos Ensemble. CPO 999 807 (Germany) 02D033 $15.98

FELIX MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847): Sacred Works, Vol. 5 - 3 Kirchenstücke, Op. 23, 6 Sprüche, Op. 79, Vespergesang "Adspice Domine", Op. 121, Kyrie, Gloria & Sanctus from Deutschen Liturgie, Jauchzet dem Hern, alle Welt, Denn er hat seinem Englen befohlen. Another hour of Mendelssohn's distillation of the revered compositonal techniques of Bach and Handel with the wider harmonic possibilities of his time and mixed with his own seemingly inexhaustible melodic genius. German texts. Stuttgart Chamber Choir; Frieder Bernius. Carus 83.203 (Germany) 02D034 $17.98

FREDERIC CHOPIN (1810-1849): Allegro de concert for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 46 (arr. Wilkomirski), Sinfonia concertante for Piano and Orchestra (after the Cello Sonata, Op. 65, arr. Kazimierz Rozbicki), Grand duo concertant in E for Piano and Orchestra (arr. Bohdan Jarmolowicz). Since this seems to be the month for concerto transcriptions of chamber works (see the Grieg release elsewhere), we also offer this trio. The Allegro de concert was originally planned as the first movement of a third piano concerto and the conductor Kazimierz Wilkomirski (1900-1995) reconstructed the orchestration. Since the op. 65 sonata (titled "for piano and cello" rather than vice versa) has the piano in the dominant role, one can see why this orchestration was attempted and the same explanation goes for the Grand duo concertant on themes from Meyerbeer's "Robert le diable". Edward Wolanin (piano), Sinfonia Baltica; Bohdan Jarmolowicz. Dux 0310 (Poland) 02D035 $16.98

CÉSAR FRANCK (1822-1890): Deuxième Grand Concerto in B Minor for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 11, Les Djinns, Symphonic Variations for Piano and Orchestra. No, there isn't a "First Grand Concerto"... This 32-minute work was probably written in 1835 when the 12-year-old composer was being flogged as a virtuoso by his lazy, overbearing, unemployed father and the influence is exactly what you would expect given the time and the place (Paris) - Chopin. Previously recorded on a Koch Schwann Musique en Wallonie release in the late 80s, long out of print, making this new recording a easy buy at budget price. Martijn van den Hoek (piano, op. 11), François-Joël Thiollier (piano), Arnhem Philharmonic Orchestra; Roberto Benzi. Naxos 8.553472 (New Zealand) 02D036 $6.98

JOSEF RHEINBERGER (1839-1901): Mixed Choir: All meine Gedanken, Op. 2/1, Verlust, Op. 63/6, Die Liebe ist ein Roenstrauch, Op. 80/3, Frühling ohn' Ende, Op. 52/1, Nordwind, Op. 63/4, Dennoch singt die Nachtigall, Op. 170/5, Der Strom, Op. 108/1, Die Quelle, Op. 170/3, Rhapsodie, Op. 186/5, Waldesgruß, Op. 2/5, Im Märzen, Op. 85/4, 3 Wanderer, WoO 11, Abendruhe, Op. 160/4, Gute Nacht, Op. 131/6, Im Erdenraum< Op. 131/4, St. Nepumuks Vorabend, WoO 63, Mixed Choir and Piano: Früh morgens, Op. 64/1, Mittagsruhe, Op. 64/3, Heimfahrt, Op. 64/5, Die Wasserfee, Op. 21, Diebstahl, Op. 75/2, Lockung, Op. 25, Die Nacht, Op. 56 for Mixed Choir and Piano Quartet. Poems of nature provide the source for most of these works which were written for the voracious demand of private choral societies all over German-speaking Europe. Although, after six volumes of sacred music on this label, it may not seem like it, about a quarter of Rheinberger's entire output was devoted to this popular genre. German texts. Anne Le Bozec (piano), Rastatt Vocal Ensemble; Holger Speck. Carus 83.157 (Germany) 02D037 $17.98

STANISLAW MONIUSZKO (1819-1872): Concert Overture Bajka, PIOTR TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893): Suite No. 2, Op. 53. Moniuszko's 1848 "fantastic overture" is a colorful piece of 14 minutes with lovely lyrical melodies. Fortunately the coupling is still a relative rarity, making for a very attractive disc of Slavic music. Bialystok Philharmonic Orchestra; Marcin Nalecz-Niesiolowski. Dux 0130 (Poland) 02D038 $16.98


LOUIS VARNEY (1844-1908): Les Mousquetaires au couvent. Like Planquette below, Varney had little success after the 1880 premiere of this frothy and sparkling farce involving amorous musketeers more concerned with springing two girls from a convent than protecting Cardinal Richelieu from a plot. 2 CDs. Budget-price. No libretto. Original 1979 EMI release. Mady Mesplé (soprano), Michel Trempont (baritone), Churs de la RTBF, Churs du Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, RTBF Symphony Orchestra; Edgard Doneux. EMI 574076 (France) 02D039 $17.98

ROBERT PLANQUETTE (1848-1903): Les Cloches de Corneville. The 29-year-old Planquette never had quite the success again as Les Cloches produced for him. Its colorful action includes ghosts, a graphic mad scene and a lively job fair in addition to the usual comic servants as a long-lost marquis and his heiress win back their inheritance from a dastardly steward. 2 CDs. Budget-price. No libretto. Original 1974 EMI release. Mady Mesplé (soprano), Bernard Sinclair (baritone), Churs du Théâtre National de l'Opéra de Paris, Orchestre du Théâtre National de l'Opéra-Comique; Jean Doussard. EMI 574091 (France) 02D040 $17.98

ANDRÉ MESSAGER (1853-1929): Veronique. Premiered in 1898, this opéra comique has proved to be Messager's most lasting creation (the ballet Les deux pigeons having rather slipped into oblivion over the last several decades). 2 CDs. Budget-price. No libretto. Original 1969 EMI release. Mady Mesplé (soprano), Michel Dens (baritone), Churs René Duclos, Orchestre de l'Association des Concerts Lamoureux; Jean-Claude Hartemann. EMI 574073 (France) 02D410 $17.98

RALPH BENATZKY (1884-1957): L'Auberge du Cheval blanc. Although not performed in its original language, we offer this anyway due to its historical interest (and because a few French "adaptations" were added to this opera-by-many-hands). 2 CDs. Budget-price. No libretto. Original 1962 EMI release. Bourvil (tenor), Andrine Forli (soprano), Churs René Duclos, Orchestre de l'Association des Concerts du Conservatoire; Félix Nuvolone. EMI 574070 (France) 02D042 $17.98

GIOVANNI SGAMBATI (1841-1914): Complete Piano Works, Vol. 3 - Fogli Volanti, Op. 12, 4 pezzi di seguito, Op. 18, Notturno in G, Notturno, Op. 3, Romanza in A, Serenata from Symphony No. 1, Op. 16, Scherzo from Quartet, Op. 17 for Piano Four Hands (tr. Humperdinck). "Flying Leaves" (1880) is a 27-minute sequence of character pieces with reminiscences of, among others, Liszt, Schumann and Tchaikovsky while the four op. 18 pieces foreshadow Rachmaninov and Reger, provide a Nenia which von Sauer particularly liked and close with a virtuoso Toccata. Various published and unpublished short works make up the rest of this fine recital of this rediscovered Italian Romantic. Francesco Caramiello (piano), Pasquale Russo (second piano). Agora AG 280.1 (Italy) 02D043 $18.98

CHRISTIAN SINDING (1856-1941): Symphony No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 21, Symphony No. 2 in D, Op. 83. For those of you who did not buy the 2CD set on Finlandia last September, here is the first of two separate CDs from cpo. The symphonies date from 1890 and 1904 and, as we noted before, Sinding's language never went far beyond Liszt, Wagner and Richard Strauss. Hannover Radio Philharmonic of the North German Radio; Thomas Dausgaard. CPO 999 502 (Germany) 02D044 $15.98

GEORGE ENESCU (1881-1955): Impressions d'enfance, Op. 28, Violin Sonata No. 2, Op. 6, Violin Sonata No. 3, Op. 25 "Dans le caractère populaire roumain". New recordings of still underperformed repertoire: the 1899 op. 6 (one of Menuhin's favorites) uses an intricate, effusive main theme, chromatically enhanced and clothed in modal harmonies in Franckian cyclic form; the third sonata (1926) uses modern playing techniques on Romanian folk music in music of an expressiveness ranging from expectantly smoldering to extravagantly impassioned; and the 1940 Impressions is a fine example of memories of childhood recalled "by an adult for adults", full of effective tone-painting and virtuosic writing. Mihaela Martin (violin), Roland Pöntinen (piano). BIS CD-1216 (Sweden) 02D045 $17.98

JOAQUÍN TURINA (1882-1949): Piano Trio in F, Piano Trio No. 1 in D, Op. 35, Piano Trio No. 2 in B Minor, Op. 76, Círculo... Fantasy for Piano Trio, Op. 91. World premiere recording of the 1904 trio which shows the influence of Franck's cyclical principal and which owes most of its language to French Romanticism. The remaining pieces, dating from 1926 to 1942 are, of course, mature Turina with his characteristic mix of French training and Spanish thyrhmic and melodic inspiration. Trio Arbós. Naxos 8.555870 (New Zealand) 02D046 $6.98

JOSEF SUK (1874-1935): Piano Works, Vol. 4 - Moods, Op. 10, Meditation on the old Czech hymn "St. Wenceslas", Op. 35a, Träumerei, Albumblatt, Capriccietto, Andante in B Flat, Polonaise in C Minor, Bagatelle, Village Serenade, Sousedská, Melody, OTILIE SUKOVA-DVORAKOVA (1878-1905): Josef on his Hobbyhorse, Lullaby, Humoresque. This final volume collects six unpublished works from Suk's teenage years (as well as the 19-year-old's Moods), the intensely spiritual St. Wenceslas meditation written soon after the outbreak of war in 1914 and Suk's last piece, the Sousedska of 1935. In addition, we are offered three charming miniatures written by the composer's ill-fated young wife sometime after the birth of their son Josef in 1901. Niel Immelman (piano). Meridian CDE 84442 (England) 02D047 $17.98

PETER BENOIT (1834-1901): 20 Motets. Published in 1868, this collection of Latin sacred pieces varies from simple chorale style to solo pieces to pieces for solo voice and choir. The writing is generally homophonic with judiciously applied sections of polyphony. Joris Verdin (harmonium, Cavaillé-Coll organ of the Jesuit Church, Heverlee), Jan Busschaert (double bass), Flemish Radio Choir; Vic Nees. Klara MMP 021 (Belgium) 02D048 $16.98

VINCENT D'INDY (1851-1831): Souvenirs, Op. 52, GABRIEL FAURÉ (1845-1924): Pelléas et Mélisande, Op. 80, Masques et Bergamasque, Op. 112. Here is the rarely recorded Souvenirs, a 19-minute symphonic poem dating from 1906 which was inspired by the death of D'Indy's wife the previous year. The composer built the work around a theme from his symphonic poem Poème des montagnes which he called "La Bien-Aimée" and which was associated with his wife. Not a threnody by any means, the work recalls happier times - a reminiscence of love as much as a mourning of loss - before a more pictorial account of the final illness and death closes the piece. Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra; James DePriest. Koch International Classics 7348 (U.S.A.) 02D049 $16.98

HEINRICH XXIV, PRINZ REUSS (1855-1910): Viola Sonata in G, Op. 22, HENDRIK ANDRIESSEN (1892-1981): Sonatina in One Movement, FRIEDRICH KIEL (1821-1885): 3 Romances, Op. 69, HEINRICH VON HERZOGENBERG (1843-1900): Legends, Op. 62, JOSEPH JOACHIM (1831-1907): Hebrew Melodies, Op. 9. The rarities here are Andriessen's densely harmonic, Chausson-like five-and-a-half minute sonatina from the 20s (but only discovered in 1984) and Prince Heinrich's sonata from 1904. Heinrich wrote six symphonies and was a student of Herzogenberg and his sonata has a fluid melodic grace with reminiscences of the Franck violin sonata inthe first movement and a Brahmsian passacaglia for the slow one. Anna Barbara Dütschler (viola), Marc Pantillon (piano). Claves CD 50-9905 (Switzerland) 02D050 $16.98

ISAAC ALBÉNIZ (1860-1909): Sonata No. 5 in G Flat, Recuerdos de viaje, Pavana-Capricho, Tango, Torre Bermeja. The dating of Albéniz' compositions is a complete mess thanks to the composer's lack of interest in keeping track of what he wrote and when. Thus, only three of seven sonatas have been published and two may not even exist. This re-issue of a 1974 recording brings works which were at least performed during the 1880s, whenever they may have been written and both the sonata and the Recuerdos have healthy dashes of the influence and style of Chopin and of Grieg, the latter of whom was an especially important model in Albéniz' eventual founding of a Spanish national piano idiom. Esteban Sánchez (piano). Ensayo ENY-CD-9740 (Spain) 02D051 $16.98

IGNAZ JAN PADEREWSKI (1860-1941): Tatra Album for Piano Four Hands, Op. 12, Miscellanea, Op. 16, Nos. 1-4 & 7, Chants du voyageur, Op. 8/3, Humoresques de concert, Op. 14, Nos. 1, 2 & 6. The half-dozen pieces of the Tatra Album are delighful folk dances from the Zakopane region whose melodic language and piano textures are reminiscent of the Brahms Hungarian Dances. Duo Granat. Dux 0328 (Poland) 02D052 $16.98

ERIK SATIE (1866-1925): Piano Music, Vol. 1 - Le Fils des Etoiles. Having finished his complete Cage series, this pianist now embarks on a Satie integrale with a real rarity - the complete music for the 1892 Rosicrucian play "The Son of the Stars". Only the short preludes to each of the three acts have been published; the rest (66 of 80 minutes) exist only in manuscript. The music is hieratic, vaguely Oriental, amost always at a low dynamic level, hypnotic in a pre-Feldman way; it is a great surprise when something appears near the end of the first act which sounds like a Gnossienne. The notes provide much interesting information about Satie's brief association with the colorful founder of the Rosicrucian Church with whom he had already broken by the time Le Fils was staged. Steffen Schleiermacher (piano). MD&G 613 1063 (Germany) 02D053 $17.98

BASIL HARWOOD (1859-1949): Complete Organ Works, Vol. 1 - Sonata No. 1 in C Sharp Minor, Op. 5, Dithyramb, Op. 7, Communion in F, Interlude in D, Paean, Short Postlude for Ascensiontide, Requiem Aeternam, Andante Tranquillo, Op. 15, Nos. 1-6, Capriccio, Op. 16. The works on this first volume date from 1886 to 1903; they are conservative in style and idiom and, even in works with secular titles, Harwood is fond of introducing hymn tunes wherever he can. His second sonata is disguised within the six pieces of op. 15, the fifth of which adds an impressionistic tinge to its ceremonial splendor, having been inspired by the sounds of a funeral service at a large church in Brittany. The latest work, the Capriccio has a lighter texture and a fresher effect which foreshadows the Harwood's later style. Adrian Partington (organ of Bristol Cathedral). Priory PRCD 683 (England) 02D054 $16.98

EDVARD GRIEG (1841-1907): Cello Sonata, Op. 36 (orch. Joseph Horowitz, Benjamin Wallfisch), Songs: Last Spring, Op. 34/1, The Wounded Heart, Op. 34/2, Solveig's Song, Op. 55/4, Ingrid's Lament, Op. 55/1, The First Meeting, Op. 53/1, Norwegian, Op. 53/2, Ich liebe Dich, Op. 5/3, To Spring, Op. 43/6 (orch. Benjamin Wallfisch, Michael Freyhan). Why? The booklet notes spend a bit of time evincing Grieg's own defense of the arrangements he made of Mozart piano sonatas (adding a second pair of hands) and have much detail on the turbulent circumstances of the composer's life at the time the cello sonata was written. Many fascinating excerpts from Grieg's letters both regarding this and also the various songs here orchestrated. Fine, colorful orchestration and I suppose we can always use another cello concerto but with so many romantic concertos unrecorded? Raphael Wallfisch (cello), London Philharmonic Orchestra; Vernon Handley. Black Box BBM 1070 (England) 02D055 $17.98

GIAN FRANCESCO MALIPIERO (1882-1973): I capricci di Callot. This fantastical adaptation of sections of E.T.A. Hoffman's "Capriccio nach Jakob Callot" dates from 1942 and marked a return to the anarchic nonconformity which characterized Malipiero's early work and from which he had departed during the middle and late 30s for more traditional stage works. Much of the work is purely orchestral, accompanying dance and mime (25 of the 93 minutes). The libretto is non-linear and scenes exist purely for the musical fun which could be conjured up to support them and some of the vivid music was later appropriated by the composer for his fifth string quartet. 2 CDs Italian-English libretto. Martina Winter (soprano), Markus Müller (tenor), Gro Bente Kjellevold (mezzo), Bernd Valentin (baritone), Kiel Philharmonic Orchestra; Peter Marschik. CPO 999 830 (Germany) 02D056 $31.98


PETER BENOIT (1834-1890): Overture to De Elzenkoning, FLOR ALPAERTS (1876-1954): Uilenspiegel - Symphonic Poem, NORBERT ROSSEAU (1907-1975): Overture to De Pracht van Sicilië, ARTHUR MEULEMANS (1884-1966): Stadspark, VIC LEGLEY (1915-1994): Before Endeavours Fade for String Orchestra, EDGAR TINEL (1854-1912): Prelude to Franciscus. This collection of Flemish orchestral music ranges from Benoit's 1859 overture to his take on the classic legendary character "The Erl-King", with its reminiscences of Weber to the 1978 Before Endeavours Fade, a melancholy adagio inspired by the tens of thousands of war deaths in and around the composer's home town of Ypres. Everything is in romantic style, Rosseau's 1948 overture to his opera "The Splendour of Sicily" having much warm, Mediterranean color; Alpaert's own representation of Til Eulenspiegel is not Straussian but is still extrovert and in burlesque style; Tinel's oratorio prelude is rather Brahmsian and Meulemans' 1928 "City Park", a pair of brief tableaux, is a rich evocation of a city at night. Flemish Radio Orchestra; Jan Latham-Koenig. Klara MMP 024 (Belgium) 02D057 $16.98

EMIL BOHNKE (1888-1928): Sonata in B Minor, Op. 10, Klavierstücke, Op. 6, Klavierstücke, Op. 8, 6 Skizzen, Op. 12, Nocturn. Bohnke was killed (along with his wife) in an auto accident at 39, robbing the musical world of a significant talent. But, of course, what might have happened to this composer, married to a descendant of Felix Mendelssohn and composing in a dissonant and expressionist manner, after 1933, is a good question. At any rate, his extant compositions were easily suppressed by the Nazis and it was left to his son, born 13 months before his parents' death, to gradually rediscover them after the war, helped along in part by the urging of Edwin Fischer, who had often played the sonata. A powerful work which teeters on the edge of tonality, with a deeply profound slow movement, dark and haunted, the sonata is a gripping piece recovered, as it were, from the grave. The two sets of Klavierstücke, slightly earlier, show Bohnke beginning to venture harmonically beyond, say, Reger while the six brief "Sketches" are terse, aphoristic studies in freely tonal expressionism. Bohnke's symphony and piano concerto will be offered next month! Robert-Alexander Bohnke (piano). Real Sound RS 051-0032 (Italy) 02D058 $14.98

MARIO PILATI (1903-1938): Concerto for Orchestra in C, 3 Pieces for Orchestra, Suite for Strings and Piano, By the Cradle. Pilati's music is a kind of mixture of neo-classicism, post-impressionism and some of the more "modern" tendencies of the 20s and 30s. The 1932 Concerto for Orchestra (with a prominent piano part) is all joy and sunshine, with modal touches in its slow movement which may suggest that Pilati knew Respighi's Concerto in modo misolidio and whose finale is a rondo on a rustic Tyrolean theme. The 1925 suite is in four movements in neo-classical form, based on old dance tunes, allowing Pilati to demonstrate his creativity in deriving contrasting material from a unitary thematic source. The 3 Pieces (1929) are, again, dances (Minuetto, Habanera and Furlana) but here the composer's sense of humor and irreverence are taken to a further level. The CD is filled out with a melancholy little Berceuse completed three weeks before Pilati's death which may have been a farewell to himself. Tomás Nemec (piano), Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra; Adriano. Marco Polo 8.225156 (New Zealand) 02D059 $15.98

LARS-ERIK LARSSON (1908-1986): Concert Overture No. 2, Op. 13, Sinfonietta for Strings, Op. 10, The Bright Country for Soprano, Baritone, Chorus and Orchestra, Op. 11, A Fiddler's Last Journey for Baritone and Orchestra, Op. 1. The latest release in the Musica Sveciae Modern Classics series brings four works written by Larsson between the ages of 19 and 26, demonstrating the path he took to his mature neo-classical style. The op. 1 is in the Nordic Romantic style whereas the Sinfonietta of five years later is aggressive in its outer movements, bubbling with energy while the slow movement is like a baroque Largo which frames a jagged scherzo. The Bright Country, written for a choral competition, looks ahead in general tone and even in orchestration to God in Disguise but the overture (1935) firmly establishes the fresh and joyful tone, slightly intruded upon with shadows, which marks the adult composer. Swedish-English texts. Lena Hoel (soprano), Karl-Magnus Fredriksson (baritone), Swedish Radio Choir, Sami Sinfonietta; Stefan Parkman. Phono Suecia/Musica Sveciae PSCD 714 (Sweden) 02D060 $16.98

RUED LANGGAARD (1893-1952): Symphony No. 9 "From Queen Dagmar's City", Symphony No. 10 "Yon Hall of Thunder", Symphony No. 11 "Ixion". The next volume in this new series of recordings using the brand new critical edition of Langgaard's works brings three works which encapsulate the bizarre career of this composer: the ninth (1942) is a four-movement symphony in the classical-romantic style; the tenth (1944-45) is a single-movement evocation of nature in the spirit of Richard Strauss' tone poems while Ixion (1944-45) is a six-minute explosion of molten, kinetic energy which, perhaps, can only be compared with Mosolov's Iron Foundry. Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra; Thomas Dausgaard. Dacapo 8.224182 (Denmark) 02D061 $15.98

RUED LANGGAARD (1893-1952): Fantasia patetica, Preludio patetico, Nemo contra deum nisi deus ipse, Elias i Uvejret, Forbarm dig!, Som Lynet er Kristi Genkomst, Øde Gader. Five of the seven items here are world premieres, the Fantasia and Preludio being from Langgaard's student years and in a showy, late Romantic idiom, while the three others date from the 1930s and, in the case of Forbarm dig!, 1947. Nemo contra... contains an introduction with some of the most tumultuous writing ever heard for the organ; "Elijah in the Storm" and "Have Mercy" is an extended prelude for a church feast day. Ulrik Spang-Hanssen (organ of Århus Cathedral). Classico CLASSCD 390 (Denmark) 02D062 $15.98

CARL REINECKE (1824-1910): Complete Childrens' Songs, Vol. 1 - 10 Laienbrevier für kleine Leute and 44 other lieder. As the amusingly polemical notes point out, these songs come from a culture in which parents took the time to educate and communicate with their children through, among other things, song (who'd have thought that the Teletubbies would get such a thrashing in a German record label's liner notes?). Thus, these are not songs for children to sing although they might try singing them with their parents. They are not mindless entertainment but they can be playful; some are anecdotal, some are educational, some are monitory, some comforting. Reinecke wrote much piano music for young people and almost half of his 200-odd songs were composed for them also. This selection is a truly unusual glimpse into a part of family life lost forever. No texts. Caroline Merz (soprano), Marta Marquez (mezzo), Thomas Leander (piano). Cybele 550.301 (Germany) 02D063 $16.98

FERDINAND HILLER (1811-1885): From 6 Chamber Duets, Op. 121: No. 1, Frieden der Nacht, No. 5, Gebet, No. 6, Hymne, EMIL MATTIESEN (1875-1939): Zwiegesänge zur Nacht, Op. 13, FELIX MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847): Ich wollt, meine Lieb ergösse sich, Herbstlied, Abendlied, Wasserfahrt, ANTON RUBINSTEN (1829-1894): Der Engel, Op. 48/1, Wanderers Nachtlied, Op. 48/5, Die Wolke, Op. 48/8, Waldlied, Op. 67/2, ANTONIN DVORÁK (1841-1904): 3 Moravian Duets, CARL LOEWE (1796-1869): Der Erlkönig, Odins Meeresritt, Archibald Douglas, Tom der Reimer, FRANZ SCHUBERT (1797-1828): Der Tod und das Mädchen, Irish Popular Songs arr. Ernst von Stockhausen: The Wearing of the Green, Daherin O Machree, The Drinaun Dhun, How Sweet the Answer Echo Makes, Pastheen Fionn, Kitty of Coleraine. This unusual recording of Romantic bass duets charts a course from Mendelssohn's drawing-room pieces, cosy little pieces with the voices paralleling each other, to the remarkably dramatic pair of works by the Baltic composer Mattiesen where they are in rich counterpoint and the effect closer to the opera stage. German texts, some English translations, some English summaries, in Schwann's usual half-assed fashion. Kurt Moll, Harald Stamm (basses), Wilhelm von Grunelius (piano). Koch Schwann 3-6521-2 (Germany) 02D064 $16.98

POUL SCHIERBECK (1888-1949): Hafiz' Grave, Op. 13, The Ballad of the Grocer Happy and his Wife, Op. 20/3, A Word of Warning to Preachers Advocating Total Abstinence, Op. 20/2, Hymn at Evening, Op. 42/23, The Last Smile, Op. 42/38, CARL NIELSEN (1865-1931): Protect Your Soil, We Love our Flowering Motherland, Now are Broodingthe Nest, Danish Bread, The Morning before Battle, And I Will Leave, Before Christmas, To the Isle Where I Was Born, EMILIUS BANGERT (1883-1962): Now the Spring's Merry Swain Rides, Close Your Eyes, Op. 5/1, I Lie Down in the Shelter, Op. 6/1, NANCY DALBERG (1881-1949): I Know a Little Bird, Under the Beech Leaves, ADOLF RIIS-MAGNUSSEN (1886-1950): Stream Life, Op. 4/1, 3 Jutland Ballads, Op. 16, KNUD JEPPESEN (1892-1974): Reunion with Denmark, Song of Summer, Autumn Dream, Angelus, PAUL HELLMUTH (1879-1919): May Song, Rustle, O Birch, Now the Clouds are Parting, JØRGEN BENTZON (1897-1951): The Barrel Organ, Op. 38/3, Summons, Op. 13/3, HILDA SEHESTED (1858-1936): Ballad, Song of the Elves. The German lied tradition flowered in other Germanic speaking countries too but Danish songs may be the most neglected in recordings. This collection features Nielsen and his pupils and, while Nielsen tends to stand out, the French influences on Schierbeck and Bangert provide welcome dashes of "exotic" color (and in Schierbeck's Ballad and A Word of Warning music which matches the hilarious texts!). Danish texts, English translations in Danacord's usual exemplary fashion. Lars Thodberg Bertelsen (baritone), Tove Lønskov (piano). Danacord DACOCD 472 (Denmark) 02D065 $16.98

RICHARD STRAUSS (1864-1949): The Unknown Richard Strauss, Vol. 14 - 2 Gesänge, Op. 34, 7 Lieder, AV 67, Cantate, Schwäbische Erbschaft, Utan svafvel och fosfor, 3 Männerchöre nach Gedichten von Rückert, Durch Einsamkeiten, AV 124, 4 Movements for a Mass. These works fall into two categories: student works, such as the four mass movements from 1877 and the seven songs of 1880, in which Strauss applied himself to genres with which every professional composer was expected to be familiar, and works written for specific occasions during his adult years. The latter include a joke setting of the text on a box of Swedish matches (Utan svafvel och fosfor) and the Rückert songs written in 1935 for a Cologne choral society. Standing apart from both are the two settings of Op. 34, each about eleven minutes in length and very ambitious in extent and quality, often with an ecstatic quality, which were written between Also sprach Zarathustra and Don Quixote and Ein Heldenleban. German texts. Berlin Radio Choir; Robin Gritton. Koch Schwann 3-6541-2 (Germany) 02D066 $16.98

MAX REGER (1873-1916): 8 geistliche Gesängen, Op. 138, HUGO WOLF (1860-1903): 6 geistliche Lieder nach Gedichten von Eichendorff, JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833-1897): Marienlieder, Op. 22, Fest- und Gedenksprüche, Op. 109, JOSEF GABRIEL RHEINBERGER (1839-1901): Abendlied. This collection of sacred works for mixed choir by composers known also for their lieder shows both the development of the choral composition from the one-part piano song and that, as in their lieder, so in their choral works: Brahms puts the primary emphasis on melody (the Marian songs are in the manner of old German and church settings) while Wolf engages with the high quality of the texts by one of his favorite poets and marries deep religious feeling with his usual striving for unity between text and music. Reger's cycle is deliberately simple musically, with archaizing elements to match the texts selected from poets of the 14th to 16th centuries. German texts. Alsfelder Vocal Ensemble Bremen; Wolfgang Helbich. MD&G 334 0968 (Germany) 02D067 $17.98

HENRI RABAUD (1873-1949): Mârouf. A rare opportunity to get to know this 1914 opéra-comique based on a tale from "1001 Nights" with music influenced by Wagner and Debussy. With bonus tracks from Adam's Le Chalet and Boieldieu's La Dame Blanche. 2 CDs. Budget-price. No libretto. Live recording, Paris 3/13/64. Henri Legay (tenor), Lina Dachary (soprano), French Radio-Televison Chorus and Orchestra; Pierre-Michel LeConte. Gala GL 100.587 (Portugal) 02D068 $10.98

EDMUND RUBBRA (1901-1986): Piano Concerto in G, Op. 55, BENJAMIN BRITTEN (1913-1976): Piano Concerto in D, Op. 13, Prelude and Fugue for 18-Part String Orchestra. First CD release of these recordings, all of which were world-premieres at the time of their taping. In fact, the Rubbra was completed only months before this recording from August, 1956 and it remains the only one available on CD. Dedicated to Ali Akbar Khan, the work is influenced by the improvisational approach of Eastern musicians, particularly in the long, slow introduction to the first movement. The Britten concerto's attractions are well-known; this January, 1956 recording was its first, as was the 1964 taping of the ambitiously inventive Prelude and Fugue of 1943. Mid-price. Denis Matthews (piano), BBC Symphony Orchestra; Sir Malcolm Sargent, Jacques Abram (piano), Philharmonia Orchestra; Herbert Menges, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Norman Del Mar. EMI CDZ 574781 (England) 02D069 $11.98

JOSEPH BOVET (1879-1951): La messe du divin Rédempteur. This remarkable release comes with a lavishly produced 56-page booklet containing introductory notes, reviews from the premiere performance in 1928 and from later writers and the whole texts (with color illustrations) of the 40-page program handed out at the premiere. It's all in French only, but more than justifies the full-price of the release, given that the mass is only 34 minutes long. The work is an astonishing compendium of choirs (echo choir, childrens' choir, male choir and two mixed choirs), positive and grand organs, bells, orchestral and multiple soloists, placed throughout the cathedral in Fribourg. Visually, it must have been stunning, adding an element of stage drama to the already impressive, flamboyantly Gothic music which combines an almost overheated late Romanticism with ancient modes yet manages to keep the lines simple and ardently communicative. This live recording from New Year's Eve, 2000, in the same location as the work's premiere, manages to capture much of the wonder and awe which the audience must have experienced. Ludmila Zelenka (soprano), Eliseda Dumitru (alto), Christophe Einhorn (tenor), Michel Brodard (bass), Divertimento Vocale, Ensemble Vocal de Villars-sur-Glâne, André Bochud (organ), Villars-sur-Glâne Chamber Orchestra; Pierre-Georges Roubaty. Cascavelle VEL 3032 (Switzerland) 02D070 $17.98

DMITRI KABALEVSKY (1904-1987): Sonata No. 2 in E Flat, Op. 45, Sonata No. 3 in F, Op. 46, 9 Preludes from Op. 38. The two sonatas here recorded, written a year apart in 1945 and 1946, couldn't be more different in content. The third's now nimble and playful, now simple and sentimental personality seems to mark the point at which the composer left behind struggle and passion and tuned to the light, entertaining personality which gained him international recognition (and brickbats from people suspicious of his lack of friction with the Communist regime). The second is tightly constructed and gloomy throughout its first two movements, sometimes martial in character, before its whirlwind finale. Wolfram Schmitt-Leonardy (piano). EBS 6124 (Germany) 02D071 $17.98

WOJCIECH KILAR (b.1932): Krzesany for Orchestra, Angelus for Soprano, Chorus and Orchestra, Exodus for Chorus and Orchestra, Victoria for Chorus and Orchestra. Hammered unison string chords and jagged brass eruptions, ecstatic and devotional women's voices and shrieking choral outbursts, folk music ratcheted up to a manic, shrill intensity, trance-like dynamic buildups and Orff-like outbursts of martial fervor - all of these are here in these four works (and many of them are present in each single work) which will appeal to those who know Kilar's film scores as well as to those who collect Penderecki for his barbaric sound sculptures and Górecki for his spiritual intensity. Hasmik Papian (soprano), Cracow Philharmonic Chorus, Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra (Katowice); Antoni Wit. Naxos 8.554788 (New Zealand) 02D072 $6.98

PETER MØLLER (1947-1999): Sonata No. 3 in B Flat "Faust Sonata", Op. 64, 9 Preludes and Fugues from 24 Preludes and Fugues - Tales of the Old Grand Piano, Op. 43, Chaconne after J.S. Bach, Op. 73, Transcendental Etude after Chopin, Op. 103/3. Møller was primarily a composer of church music for organ and choir but he had trained as a piano soloist and the combination of his love of the Germanic sacred music tradition and early career as an instrumentalist provided the impetus for the works presented here. The Bach transcription adds layer upon layer of material to the original notes with much inventive imitation and the additon of a chorale in the final section. The cycle of preludes and fugues alternates seriousness and humor as the pieces careen back and forth between the opposite poles of Bach and Satie. The Chopin study was one of a projected 12 but only three were completed at the time of Møller's death; the composer had been engrossed in Poe at the time and the piece has a ghostly, haunted quality. The sonata dates from 1988, just after the Chaconne transcription, and Møller acknowledges the influence of Mann's "Doctor Faustus" in the frequently polytonal, intense and restless music. Jørgen Hald Nielsen (piano). Paula PACD 132 (Denmark) 02D073 $16.98

ROMUALD TWARDOWSKI (b.1930): Triptych of the Virgin Mary, TADEUSZ BAIRD (1928-1981): Colas Breugnon, 4 Love Sonnets for Baritone, Strings and Harpsichord, HENRYK MIKOLAJ GÓRECKI (b.1933): 3 Pieces in Old Style, JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (1685-1750): Concerto for Violin and Oboe in D Minor, BWV 1060. Baird's early predilection for music of the Baroque and Renaissance is on display here in his 1951 Colas Breugnon, subtitled like Górecki's main title "Suite in the Old Style", and his 1956 setting of four Shakespeare sonnets. If you know Górecki's popular suite, Baird will appeal as well. Twardowski's work, in three "scenes" and "two dances", is of a similarly archaizing style although the "scenes" incorporate some modern dissonance. Capella Premisliensis; Marek Zazula. Dux 0141 (Poland) 02D074 $16.98

African Heritage Symphonic Series, Volume 2

ULYSSES KAY (1917-1995): Overture to Theatre Set, HALE SMITH (b.1925): Ritual and Incantations, GEORGE WALKER (b.1922): Lyric for Strings, ROQUE CORDERO (b.1917): 8 Miniatures for Small Orchestra, ADOLPHUS HAILSTORK (b.1941): An American Port of Call, Epitaph for a Man Who Dreamed. The one thing all of these works share is their lack of "ethnic music" influence. Only Smith's highly evocative, slightly sinister Ritual and Incantations, bases itself on idealized African drumming but the composer also uses a 12-note row early in the piece. Dodecaphonic experimentation characterizes Panamanian composer Cordero's suite too (1944, rev. 1950) in which he attempts to synthesize folk idioms of his native country with that technique. Walker's Lyric (1941) is sheer Romanticism, Kay's overture (1968), richly scored, has an outdoorsy feeling to it and Hailstork's two pieces are both quite tonal - Epitaph (1979) a work of transcendant beauty and Port of Call a bright, brassy curtain-raiser from 1985. Chicago Sinfonietta; Paul Freeman. Cedille CDR 90000 061 (U.S.A.) 02D075 $16.98

IGOR STRAVINSKY (1882-1971): Tango for Violin and Piano, How the Mushrooms Went to War for Bass and Piano, La Marseillaise for Violin, Petit Ramusianum Harmonique for Baritone, Octet for Winds, Fanfare for a New Theatre, Lied ohne Name for 2 Bassoons, Pastorale for Violin and Winds, Pribaoutki for Soprano and 8 Instruments, Suite from Histoire du Soldat. Stravinskian completists will want the four world premiere recordings here: the glum, rather Slavic Tango of 1940, the Rimskian allegory How the Mushrooms... from 1904, the exuberant transcription of the French national anthem from 1919 and a little spoken/sung gift to C.-F. Ramuz, the librettist of Histoire which Stravinsky presented as a 60th birthday present in 1938. English translations. Lucy Shelton (soprano), Martin Bruns (baritone), Mikhail Svetlov (bass), Mark Peskanov (violin), Doris Stevenson (piano), Harmonie Ensemble; Steven Richman. Koch International Classics 7438 (U.S.A.) 02D076 $16.98

AARON COPLAND (1900-1990): Violin and Piano: Ukelele Serenade, Duo, Capriccio, Prelude, Prelude No. 2, Sonata, Cello and Piano: Lament, Poème, Vitebsk for Piano Trio, Elegies for Violin and Viola. Half of the works here are real rarities - all of them composed before Copland turned 21: the Ukelele Serenade, so called for a strumming-like accompaniment in one section, is Copland in jazz/blues mode but the Capriccio, Lament, Poème and the two Preludes show varying influences, from Klezmer and other Hebraic tones in the first two to French Impressionism in the Poème while the preludes offer late romanticism and, after arriving in Paris to study with Nadia Boulanger, a more sophisticated handling of harmony and jazz-based chords and progressions. Adam Summerhayes (violin, viola), Catherine Summerhayes (piano), Joseph Spooner (cello), Susanne Stanzeleit (Elegies violin). Meridian CDE 84436 (England) 02D077 $16.98

DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975): Preface to the Complete Collection of My Works and Brief Reflections Apropos this Preface, Op. 123, 5 Romances to Texts from "Krokodil", Op. 121, 5 Romances to Poems by Dolmatovsky, Op. 98, 6 Romances to Poems by English Poets, Op. 62, 4 Monolgues to Poems by Pushkin, Op. 91. The lengthy title which goes by Op. 123 above is a two-and-a-half minute is a satirical monologue in the same vein as the Krokodil songs of 1965 which set randomly excerpted passages from a satirical magazine. The Dolmatovsky romances, atypically for Shostakovich, deal with life, love and tender memories. The English songs date from 1942 and the Pushkin settings from 1952 but both uncannily select poems which resonate with contemporary political events. No Russian texts, German and English translations. Sergei Leiferkus (bass), Semyon Skigin (piano). Koch Schwann 3-1095-2 (Germany) 02D078 $16.98

ROBERT SIMPSON (1921-1997): Variations and Fugue for Recorder and String Quartet, LEONARD BERNSTEIN (1918-1990): Variations on an Octatonic Scale for Recorder and Cello, PHILIP WOOD (b.1972): Concertino for Recorder and String Quartet, RICHARD ARNELL (b.1917): Quintet The Gambian, Op. 107 for Recorder and String Quartet, DAVID FORSHAW (b.1938): 13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird for Recorder and String Quartet, DAVID ELLIS (b.1933): Elegiac Variations, Op. 66 for Recorder, Viola and Cello, BETH WISEMAN (b.1951): Dance on My Grave for Recorder and String Quartet, MÁTYÁS SEIBER (1905-1960): Pastorale for Recorder and String Trio. Of the eight works here, five were written for the current soloist and they show a commendable variety of approaches to writing for this "baroque" instrument, all of them tonal and approachable. Bernstein's 1989 piece was a gift to the daughter of Humphrey Burton, who directed the series of videos of the conductor and the Vienna Philharmonic in the 1980s while Arnell's (using a tune entered into a competition for the Gambian national anthem at the time of that country's new independence) and Simpson's 1951 piece were for Carl Dolmetsch who did so much not only for the recorder but for the use of authentic instruments in general. John Turner (recorders), Camerata Ensemble. Olympia OCD 710 (England) 02D079 $16.98

THOMAS OBOE LEE (b.1945): String Quartet on B-flat, 7 Jazz Pieces, ART: arias & interludes, Morango... almost a tango. Lee charts a course between enthusiasm for popular musical genres (tango, jazz, bossa nova, funk and their most famous exponents are explicitly acknowleged in the movement headings of the Jazz Pieces) and the witty, playful creation of something original out of it, coming nowhere near mere pastiche. The infectious rhythms and insinuating melodies are turned into equally infectious and memorable pieces which demand and repay immediate re-listening. ART is a five-movement sketch of commedia dell'arte characters which is colorful and joyously gestural, using some of the afore-mentioned influences to create vivid characters of Pulcinella, Pierrot, Colombine, Pantaloon and Harlequin. Hawthorne String Quartet. Koch International Classics 7452 (U.S.A.) 02D080 $16.98

BRUNO MADERNA (1920-1973): Satyricon. Premiered eight months before the composer's death in 1973, this is a partly improvisational work whose 16 sections (from Petronius' famous and influential Roman novel) can be performed in varying order and which can also use sections of tape in various places (five are used here in this live recording from 1998). The libretto is in various languages (but mostly English), and the musical language is one of collage, with no attempt at operatic unity of conception, Maderna using quotations from popular classics and passages in styles from all musical periods. Libretto and Italian translation. Marie Angel, John Cogram, Melanie Walz, Jens Larsen, Orchestra del Teatro la Fenice; Jürg Henneberger. Mondo Musica MFON 22254 (Germany) 02D081 $33.98

DAVID CONTE (40ish): The Gift of the Magi. Conte is a professor at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and his 2000 one-act opera in four scenes (lasting almost 74 minutes), based on the well-known O. Henry short story, is straight-forward and lyrical, using a small ensemble of single strings and winds and providing easily approachable music in a style which does not venture beyond Barber or Menotti. An attractive and gently sentimental setting. Libretto included. Aimée Puentes (soprano), Tim Krol (tenor), San Francisco Conservatory New Music Ensemble; Nicole Paiement. Arsis CD 141 (U.S.A.) 02D082 $16.98

MIKKO HEINIÖ (b.1948): The Knight and the Dragon. This opera is loosely based on the St. George legend, and its fundamental issues are dichotomies, particularly good and evil. Generally speaking melodious strings and organ accompany the good characters, while atonal winds and percussion are associated with the evil ones. Heiniö is a polystylistic composer, and there are brief segments in his opera, which will remind you of several others by earlier composers. Two that come immediately to mind are Wagner's Ring Cycle and Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle. There is even a reference to the sword leitmotif in the former when one of the characters sings about such a weapon. The performance and recorded sound are excellent. English synopsis and Swedish, English and Finnish librettos. Helena Juntunen (soprano), Charlotte Hellekant (mezzo), Aki Alamikkotervo (tenor), Curt Appelgren (baritone), Rúni Brattaberg (bass), Turku Opera Chorus & Philharmonic Orchestra; Ulf Söderblom. BIS CD-1246 (Sweden) 02D083 $17.98

ANDREW FORD (b.1957): Chamber Concerto No. 3 "In Constant Flight" for Cello and Ensemble, Icarus Drowning for Ensemble, Like Icarus Ascending for Violin, Parabola for 2 Voices, Bass Clarinet, Piano and Percussion, Hymn to the Sun for Ensemble. The brief 1999 Hymn was written as an introduction to the following cycle of four pieces, dating from 1984-98, suggested by the myth of Icarus. The solo violin piece is the earliest, beginning with a single pitch, the soloist struggles and then succeeds in taking flight; the chamber concerto is the same work clothed with a percussion-rich ensemble. Parabola describes the course of Icarus' flight, ending in his crash intothe ocean and it uses two actors speaking texts and a percussion section which requires quite a bit of athleticism from its players and which provides the audience with a spectacle as the ill-starred boy plummets from the heights of the sky. Icarus Drowning proceeds in achingly slow motion as fragments of earlier pieces (i.e. the boy's life) pass before his eyes. Rohan Smith (violin), Kowmung Music Festival Ensemble, Terra Australis Incognita; Andrew Ford. Tall Poppies TP150 (Australia) 02D084 $18.98

EZRA LADERMAN (b.1924): String Quartets Nos. 6-8. These quartets stand as a trilogy, composed to commissions between 1980-85. Each begins from the ending of the previous one and each is in a concentrated, densely argued single-movement form. The first two make use of continually recurring sections whose musical elements are reworked, re-emphasized, transformed, the mood ranging from tenderness to violence. The eighth quartet replaces the five-section scheme with a passacaglia and much of it has a bizarre, unreal and dreamlike quality helping the listener to an overall impression of a Morning-Noon-Night metaphor for the three-quartet cycle. Cassatt Quartet. Albany TROY 473 (U.S.A.) 02D085 $16.98

WILLIAM BOLCOM (b.1938): Capriccio, JOHN CORIGLIANO (b.1938): Phantasmagoria, ELSWORTH MILBURN (b.1938): Character Pieces, JOAN TOWER (b.1938): Trés lent, CHARLES WUORINEN (b.1938): An Orbicle of Jasp, JOHN HARBISON (b.1938): Prelude. A look at the headings above will reinforce this CD's title: "b.1938". An intteesting idea which allows a view of the munlti-dimensional aspects of American composition during the last half of the 20th century. All but two of the works date from the 90s (Bolcom's and Milburn's are from 1985 and 1980 respectively) and you get what you'd expect from Bolcom - the influences of popular music and dance music with the last movement inspired by Nazareth tangos - Harbison and Corigliano (the latter two in their best approachable, neo-romantic vein). Tower's piece is a memorial to Messiaen and is based on motives from the slow movments of his Quatuor pour le fin du temps; Wuorinen is predictably prickly but the atonality in his piece is more approachable than that of his work from the 60s and 70s while Milburn's updating of the Romantic genre-piece-suite is freely tonal and atmospheric. Norman Fischer (cello), Jeanne Kierman (piano). Gasparo GSCD-351 (U.S.A.) 02D086 $16.98

JOEL HOFFMAN (b.1953): Cubist Blues for Piano Trio, Cello Sonata, Fantasia Fiorentina for Violin and Piano, String Quartet. Cubist Blues (1991) is an ironic reflection on aspects of jazz which takes cadential formulas, blues-flavored progressions and other cliches and develops them in an often tongue-in-cheek "classical" manner. The sonata (1982) is dark and introspective, blending dodecaphonic and freely chromatic elements into an autumnal, richly expressive idiom while the Fantasia of 1988 weaves folk-like melodies into a flowing, lyrically tonal tapestry. The quartet (1993), departing from all three other works in style, assembles blocks of sharply contrasting material into intricate patterns of echoes and repetition in moods ranging from agitation to tranquillity. Leonore Quartet, Joel Hoffman (piano). Gasparo GSCD-326 (U.S.A.) 02D087 $16.98

ANDREW WAGGONER (b.1960): Symphony No. 2, Legacy: 2 Movements for String Quartet, String Quartet No. 2. These pieces are all in one way or another very personal statements by the composer, and they are fine and effective pieces in their own right. The Symphony is a curious amalgam of - oh, all sorts of people - Shostakovich, Moeran, Sibelius, good Hollywood film music, the 'serious' end of Bernstein's output - you get the idea. An in memoriam piece, the symphony is clearly a deeply felt work, which makes no apology for its overtly emotional content. The two string quartets make a similar direct appeal to the emotions, the first utilising more or less overt references to the textures and visceral impact of non-classical forms, the second leading the listener through a sensual journey of dream and imagination, all expressed in similarly accessible musical terms, harmonically uncomplicated yet original because they express feelings which, being the composer's own, are quite unlike anyone else's. Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic; Petr Pololanik, Corigliano Quartet, Cassatt Quartet. CRI CD 884 (U.S.A.) 02D088 $17.98

GÉRARD GASPARIAN (b.1960): Quintet for 4 Saxophones and Piano, Violin Sonata, Ballade forPiano, Pulsions for Flute and Piano, Cycle vocal, Intermède for Clarinet and Piano. If one were feeling ill-disposed towards M. Gasparian - not that there appears to be any obvious reason why one should - one might suggest that here is a youngish composer of very considerable technique - very considerable indeed - who is still in search of an æsthetic to call his own. Certainly he has absorbed and made ample use of a bewildering range of techniques available to the composer today. Some of these pieces are dodecaphonic - in principle, though serialism this freely treated arguably ceases to be classifiable as such. The songs are unabashedly romantic, as is the relatively early Ballade; the saxophone quartet pieces sound not unlike the free quasi-minimalism of Andriessen-like Dutch composers; elsewhere one may find traces of Messiaen, Vienna, both traditional and Secondary, and pre-classical allusions in a Romantic context. This eclectic array of influences and methods eventually come to constitute a style in themselves, and an appealing one it is too, if terribly hard to classify. Jean Ledieu Saxophone Quartet, Yoko Yamasaki (piano), Jean Ter-Merguérian (violin), Gérard Gasparian (piano), Marie Kobayashi (mezzo), Sylvie Hue (clarinet), Emmanuelle Ophèle (flute), Hidéki Nagano (piano). Timpani 1C1055 (France) 02D089 $18.98

HENRI LAZAROF (b.1932): String Quartets Nos. 4 & 5, String Quintet. Quicksilver changes of mood and emotional content expressed through constant contrasts in dynamics and meter characterise these striking works for strings, which present a kaleidoscopic array of impressions which share a common factor of being emotionally evocative in one way or another. In slow sections, the composer is not afraid of long melodic lines, which nonetheless seldom offer much sense of repose, though sometimes they inhabit a world of almost conventional harmony. Faster movements, as in the case of the final sections of all three works here, are highly kinetic, and frequently contain frenetic passages, though the quintet is less hectic than exulting in its dynamic energy. These works are valuable additions to the string literature and while not exactly breaking hitherto unguessed-at ground are lively and approachable works on their own terms. Stanford String Quartet, Borromeo String Quartet, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Centaur CRC 2520 (U.S.A.) 02D090 $16.98

ANDRÉ SOURIS (1899-1970): Concert Flamand d'après des sources de la Renaissance, Tombeau de Socrate, 3 Inventions for Organ, 3 Flonflons, Quelques airs de clarisse Juranville, Burlesque (pentaphonique), Fatrasie, Journal du diamant, Choral, Marche et Galop, Rengaines, Comptines pour enfants sinistres, Pièce for Viola and Piano, L'autre voix, 3 Poèmes japonais. The late 19th and the early part of the 20th century in Europe within striking distance of France must have been a very exciting place to be for a young bohemian full of idealism and determined to make a statement about - well, something or other. The Belgian, Souris, seems almost to have been invented to illustrate this stereotype. Here we have Satie-like obliquity and tongue-in-cheek impersonality; surrealism in the form of manipulation of the perforated music rolls controlling a mechanical organ; a studious essay in the rehabilitation of early music (at a time before this was remotely fashionable) and so on. The songs are very typically French, either in the sense of chansonesque sensuality and beauty or Cocteau-like sly knowingness (and here the influence of Stravinsky loons large), but always the product of a prodigious and highly unusual imagination that nonetheless never seems to have settled to one particular æsthetic in which to make his 'big statement'. Fascinating and provocative nonetheless. Artists including Danel Quartet, Anne-Catherine Gillet (soprano), Christine Solhosse (mezzo), Philippe Terseleer (piano). Cyprès CYP 4610 (Belgium) 02D091 $18.98

CARLOS GUASTAVINO (1912-1200): Clarinet Sonata, Tonada y Cueca, Rosita Iglesias, DAVID RAKSIN (b.1921): The Bad and the Beautiful, JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833-1897): Clarinet Sonata No. 2 in E Flat, Op. 120. Polish record label champions Argentinian composer! Well, someone had to. Guastavino enjoyed lifelong popularity from audiences and the contempt of his composer-contemporaries for ignoring serial, electronic and other complex -isms to produce an uvre of melodic, heartfelt compositions faithful both to the Romantic tradition and to the folk traditions of his native land. All three of these works are associated with a Chilean clarinettist and instrument-maker (Luigi Rossi, who transcribed Rosita Iglesias from its violin original, and commissioned the other two). The American Raksin provided this transcribed excerpt from his 1952 film score for the clarinettist Mitchell Lurie in 1981. Jan Jakub Bokun (clarinet), Wojciech Kocyan (piano). Dux 0313 (Poland) 02D092 $16.98

HELMUT LACHENMANN (b.1935): Mouvement ( - vor der Erstarrung) for Ensemble, "...zwei Gefühle...", Musik mit Leonardo for 2 Speakers and Ensemble, Consolation I for 12 Voices and 4 Percussionists, Consolation II for 16 Voices. Even those mistrustful of those kinds of contemporary music which seem wilfully to avoid the time-honored principles of perceived motion in a particular direction, musical function and an analogy of semantic meaning may yet find something accessible and even familiar in the works of the composer who, despite the aggressive modernity of his style, is beginning to look like a Grand Old Man of the European avant-garde. Extended playing and vocal techniques abound, of course - what else did you expect? - yet despite the absense of discernable pulse or functional harmony, there is an undeniable momentum to Lachenmann's music, and these pieces are no exception. The composer knows very well when to shock with what in anyone else's vocabulary might be mistaken for a tonal reference, and there is a sense of flow which is readily apparent from the first sounds of a piece like Mouvement and which never flags, even through the relatively extended timespan of the work. Schola Heidelberg, ensemble aisthesis; Walter Nußbaum, Klangforum Wien; Hans Zender. Kairos 0012202KAI (Germany) 02D093 $16.98

TOSHIO HOSOKAWA (b.1955): Koto-uta for Voice and Koto, Voyage I for Violin and Ensemble, Saxophone Concerto, Ferne-Landschaft II for Orchestra. "My music is the art of penmanship painted at the free edge of time and space. Every single line possesses a shape as a line or a dot These lines are painted onto a canvas of silence. Its edge, the part made of silence, is considered just as crucial as the audible sounds". Thus the composer on his understanding of the principles behind his music. As this might lead one to expect, this music is largely static, very refined, in which landscapes devoid of action seem to be depicted at a great distance and in highly rarefied and simplified forms. This is not to suggest minimalism, as the 'texture' of the 'canvas' is often complex, as a real canvas seen in great magnification might be, and there are vertiginous contrasts of sonic texture and dynamics, but the overall impression is of the distant and impersonal sounds of nature. Kyoko Kawamura (voice, koto), Asako Urushihara (violin), musikFabrik; Peter Rundel, Johannes Ernst (sax), Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin; Ken Takaseki. Kairos 0012172KAI (Germany) 02D094 $16.98

REBECCA SAUNDERS (b.1967): Quartet for Accordion, Clarinet, Double Bass and Piano, Into the Blue for Clarinet, Bassoon, Piano, Percussion, Cello and Double Bass, Molly's Song 3 - Shades of Crimson for Alto Flute, Viola, Steel-Stringed Guitar with Metal Bottle-neck and 4 Radios, Dichronic Seventeen for Accordion, E Guitar, Piano, 2 Percussionists and 2 Double Basses. Writing pieces for ensembles consisting of odd combinations of instruments has become very much a recognised practice in avant-garde music since the 1950s, and these four works, with their emphasis on timbre and sound-events treated as objects in their own right, to be examined from all angles as though in a spatial sense, are very much a part of this ongoing tradition. A more abrasive vocabulary than Feldman's, Saunders' language is nonetheless clearly derived from Webernian principles via Feldman, with every sound, every gesture imbued with importance and significance in isolation - the composer speaks of the necessity of ensuring that each sound heard is an essential interruption of silence - with consequently little sense of movement or progression save in the increased understanding by the listener of the meaning of each sound object as it is encountered. musikFabrik; Stefan Asbury. Kairos 0012182KAI (Germany) 02D095 $16.98

JÖRG WIDMANN (b.1973): Dunkle Saiten for Cello, Orchestra and 2 Women's Voices, ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810-1856): Cello Concerto in A Minor, Op. 129. The main work on this CD is the Widmann, taking up just over 2/3 of the disc. There is a connection, of sorts, between the two works, and to judge by an aphoristic poem by Widmann reproduced in the booklet, he holds the Schumann in high esteem. Although the compositional means are very different, as might be expected, the two concertos share a certain highly emotional, almost strained and overwrought, atmosphere, and in both, the soloist functions in the role of a personality, a protagonist, a narrator. Widmann's textures, true to his title, are predominantly dark and brooding - one might think of Sibelius of the Fourth or Tapiola at times; and in the yearning, never reposeful cello line, the Elgar concerto, though Widmann's harmonic language, though never truly lacking in tonal centers, is more consistently dissonant than either. It may be glib to suggest that this is the sort of thing the cello is especially good at, but this piece is a fine example of the truth in that truism, and the result carries a degree of emotional weight not commonly encountered in concertos written this far from the Romantic era. Jan Vogler (cello), Salome Kammer, Ursula Hesse (sopranos), Munich Chamber Orchestra; Christoph Poppen. Berlin Classics 0017142BC (Germany) 02D096 $16.98

CORNELIUS CARDEW (b.1936): We Sing for the Future!, Thälmann Variations. These two works belong to Cardew's later years, when he had turned his back decisively on the avant-garde, published his political views (including the notoriously entitled "Stockhausen serves Imperialism"), and adopted a musical vocabulary explicitly intended to be accessible to 'the common man' with whom he identified himself. Now, it has to be said that without the immensely persuasive advocacy of Frederick Rzewski, to whose People United variations these two works bear clear kinship, they might be deemed a little trite, being in both cases based on socio-political songs of less than riveting inventiveness. But in the right hands - and Rzewski's are certainly that, inasmuch as he provides his own riveting improvisations in We Sing . . . which elevate the material almost to the level of the great 19th-century piano transcriptions and fantasias. Elsewhere the piano writing is less adventurous - it isn't hard to figure out where Cardew ends and Rzewski begins - but throughout, the pieces provide a highly approachable glimpse of an interesting byway in 20th century piano music which will surely be of interest to those piano collectors whose tastes normally do not run to the wilder excesses of piano writing in the last century. Frederic Rzewski (piano). New Albion NA116CD (U.S.A.) 02D097 $16.98

BENJAMIN FRANKEL (1906-1973): Music from the Films The Night of the Iguana, Footsteps in the Fog, Trottie True, The Importance of Being Earnest, The Years Between and Curse of the Werewolf. A welcome collection of film scores from this English composer whose complete symphonies and whose score to The Battle of the Bulge have already been issued by cpo. Frankel scored 68 films and he was at his busiest in the 50s. Three of these come from that decade, Trottie True and The Years Between are from the 1940s while Curse of the Werewolf (the first 12-tone score for a British film, represented, unfortunately, only by a 2-minute, tonal, "Pastoral") and The Night of the Iguana are from the early 60s. The latter is represented by 10 cues, lasting 25 minutes, the first complete recording of a fine score, mostly intimate and scored for small ensemble. Trottie True shows another side of this composer, the film being set in a dance hall milieu, who provides several popular dance numbers. Queensland Symphony Orchestra; Werner Andreas Albert. CPO 999 809 (Germany) 02D098 $15.98

LEROY ANDERSON (1908-1975): Serenata, The Syncopated Clock, The Penny Whistle Song, The Typewriter, Sarabande, Trumpeter's Lullaby, Fiddle Faddle, Forgotten Dreams, Blue Tango, Jazz Legato, Jazz Pizzicato, The Phantom Regiment, Bugler's Holiday, The Waltzing Cat, March of the Two Left Feet, Promenade, Plink, Plank, Plunk!, The Girl in Satin, Sandpaper Ballet, Belle of the Ball, Sleigh Ride. Anderson's instinct for melody, inventive orchestration and sharp sense of humor enabled him to write high-quality light music which combines the highest technical standards with a broad popular appeal and which often parodies classical, jazz and dance forms (perhaps best illustrated in The Typewriter,whose unconventional orchestration, complete with typewriter bells, evokes the ceaseless toil of the typist). Richard Hayman and his Orchestra. Naxos American Classics 8.559125 (U.S.A.) 02D099 $6.98

FRANZ LEHÁR (1870-1948): Overtures to Zigeunerliebe and Land des Lächelns, Suite de Danse, Songs and Duets from Der Zarewitsch, Schön ist der Welt, Frasquita, Friederike, Paganini, Giuditta and Die Lustige Witwe. This rare historical issue from cpo brings us a complete radio broadcast from June 28, 1939 with ideal vocal soloists and the composer himself at the helm. Margret Pfahl (soprano), Marcel Wittrisch (tenor), Orchester des Reichssenders Saarbrücken; Franz Lehár. CPO 999 781 (Germany) 02D100 $15.98

TSIPPI FLEISCHER (b.1946): Galbi Malan Yumma in Yemenite Arabic, Ethnic Silhouettes for Tape, Voices of Ethnic Groups with Clarinet Interludes - Bedouin Children, Eskimo Women, Georgian Men, a Croatian Girl, Four Old Stories: The Goddess Anath in Ugaritic, The Judgement of Solomon in Biblical Hebrew, Appeal to the Stars in Old Babylonian, Daniel in the Den of Lions in Coptic. We don't often get to offer something which will appeal to linguists as well as to adventurous collectors but this fascinating disc from the Israeli composer who is known for her highly distinctive works not only provides sound fabrics of exotic beauty and hypnotic intensity, it also does so using four dead Semitic languages (as well as some live ones). Ethnic Silhouettes uses brief clarinet introductions to collected voice-tapes, some computer-altered, which are then mixed with elecctronics with a surety of purpose and a delicacy of hand which is startlingly beautiful. Four Old Stories were produced as multi-media items (address is in book for ordering videos) and each uses different accompanying forces, from violin, piano and percussion to drums, zume, iron sticks and palm-tree branches. The amount of work and painstaking care with which the huge accompanying book was produced makes the mid-price laughable. For anyone interested in the human voice, language and multi-media composition. 168-page book in full-color (93 pages in English, 75 in Hebrew). Texts in original languages-English translations. Reuma Nahum-Abbas, Yelena Sotric (voices), Mira Zakai (contralto), Daniel Ettinger (baritone), "Cantabile" Choir of the Petah-Tikvah Municipal Conservatory of Music, Ensemble "Belcanto" Frankfurt; Eva Pitlik, Dieburg Spohr, Avner Itai (conductors). Opus One CD 181 (U.S.A.) 02D101 $11.98