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Symphony No. 2 "Sintram"

GEORGE TEMPLETON STRONG (1856-1948): Symphony No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 50 "Sintram", Chorale on a Theme by Leo Hassler. Strong is another of the 19th century American composers educated in Europe but, unlike his colleagues, he chose to spend most of his life in Switzerland. Even more remarkably, he took 15 years off from composition between 1897 and 1912 to pursue a career as a watercolor painter. The large-scale Symphony No. 2 (1887-8) was suggested by a woodcut by Dürer, "The Knight, Death and the Devil" and by a tale of Fouqué about a cruel Norse knight and his son, Sintram, who suffers for his father's misdeeds. The first two movements are apparently absolute music, although the composer suggests that they are to represent "the normal development of life in human communities". The third and fourth, however, have subtitles: "The Three Terrible Companions: Death, the Devil and Insanity" and "The Victorious Struggle". At just under an hour, it is probably the longest American symphony of the 19th century and it shows, predictably, the European influences of its period, with quite a bit of Lisztian flavor (of the symphonic poems) in the vividly colored final movements. Powerful and brilliantly scored, it is something of a landmark which all collectors of Romantic symphonies will want to have. The short Chorale is a meditation of placid, unruffled serenity. Naxos tell us that this is the first in a series of the complete Strong orchestral works. Moscow Symphony Orchestra; Adriano. Naxos 8.559018 (New Zealand) 02A001 $5.98

BRAGA SANTOS - Symphonies Nos. 3 & 6

JOLY BRAGA SANTOS (1924-1988): Symphony No. 3, Symphony No. 6 for Soprano, Chorus and Orchestra. At last, the second volume arrives of the new digital cycle of symphonies by this remarkable Portuguese composer who may be the finest unknown composer of the 20th century. The third symphony (1949) has a whiff of Sibelius and the sea in its first movement and a modal theme of folk style threads its way through an undulating string accompaniment; the second movement expresses a still, quiet solitude which is followed by a robust county dance of a scherzo and the finale rides a double fugue to a coda of great musical intensity. The sixth dates from 1972, when Braga Santos' style had changed considerably. In one movement, the work falls into two sections: a purely orchestral first part which is atonal, highly chromatic and full of intense, convoluted expression, and a second part with soprano soloist and chorus setting texts of a 16th century Portuguese poet which has modal harmonies and a pure, almost childlike style of expression for the soloist. Both works are deeply expressive and wholly approachable examples of communicative 20th century composition at its best. Ana Ester Neves (soprano), Chorus of the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos, Portuguese Symphony Orchestra; Álvard Cassuto. Marco Polo 8.225087 (New Zealand) 02A002 $14.98

DARIUS MILHAUD (1892-1974): Symphony No. 2, Op. 247, Symphony No. 3 "Te Deum", Op. 271. Inevitably, in an oeuvre as vast as Milhaud's, not everything is of the standard of the best. But these two symphonies, products of the composer's maturity (the sleevenote is worth quoting: "Milhaud's development was like that of a juvenile arsonist who grows up to be a firefighter") are good ones, without a doubt. The second symphony, commissioned by the Koussevitzky Foundation in memory of Mme Koussevitzky, is an elegiac yet optimistic work, scored with economy and restraint. The third Symphony, Te Deum uses a choir - wordlessly in the marvellous second movement, a thrilling effect, and singing the Latin text in the last. The work begins and ends in exuberant jubilation. Chorus of the Basel Theatre, Basel Radio Symphony Orchestra; Alun Francis. CPO 999 540 (Germany) 02A003 $15.98

ARTHUR FOOTE (1853-1937): Piano Quartet in C, Op. 23, Nocturne and Scherzo for Flute and String Quartet, String Quartet No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 4. Happily, the Foote chamber music series has switched from full-price Marco Polo to budget-priced Naxos with this second volume. The 1882-83 quartet is of Schumannesque character and the piano quartet (1890) is all relaxed, flowing melody, genial and free of storm or stress. The 1918 Nocturne and Scherzo is, again, fresh, spontaneous and delightful (the Nocturne became Foote's best-known piece in its form as "A Night Piece"). Da Vinci Quartet, James Barbagallo (piano), Jeani Muhonen Foster (flute). Naxos 8.559014 (New Zealand) 02A004 $5.98

JOHN PHILIP SOUSA (1854-1932): Dwellers of the Western World, Overture to The Irish Dragoon, Marches: Bullets and Bayonets, Jack Tar from "Chris and the Wonderful Lamp", The Power and Glory, The Invincible Eagle, The Daughters of Texas, The Stars and Stripes Forever, Rêverie: Nymphalin, Semper Fidelis, Humoresque on Kern's "Look for the Silver Lining", Humoresque on Gershwin's "Swanee", Sacred Selection: Songs from Grace and Songs from Glory. A wide-ranging selection of music here, from the expected rousing marches to more unusual material - the two Humoresques are Spike Jones-like sendups of what were, at the time of composition, hugely popular hit songs (the Kern piece contains drunken musicians playing There is a Tavern in the Town, the cranking-up, starting and motoring of a Ford Model T and an onslaught of police whistles in a "Keystone Cops"-like interruption); Dwellers of the Western World (1910) is a three-movement suite of musical depictions of "The Red Man" (pseudo-Indian music typical of the period), "The White Man" (a concert waltz) and "The Black Man" (a cake-walk). In short, much fun for all! Razumovsky Symphony Orchestra; Keith Brion. Naxos 8.559013 (New Zealand) 02A005 $5.98

JOHN IRELAND (1879-1962): String Quartet No. 1 in D Minor, Op. posth., String Quartet No. 2 in C Minor, Op. posth. The Holy Boy. These are the only available recordings of Ireland's two youthful quartets, both dating from 1897. Remarkably, the first one gained the young composer a composition scholarship at the Royal College of Music, Ireland having in effect composed it to prove to Professor Stanford that he was worthy of learning to compose... As might be expected, Ireland's mature voice is nowhere to be heard and his models are still Beethoven, Brahms and Dvorak but the talent is obvious, the music itself warmly romantic (and even quite individual in the second quartet's evocative Nocturne slow movement) and sure to appeal to all collectors of late Romantic chamber music. The Holywell Ensemble. ASV DCA 1017 (England) 02A006 $16.98

GERALD FINZI (1901-1956): Clarinet Concerto, Op. 31, 5 Bagatelles, Op. 23a (arr. Lawrence Ashmore for Clarinet and Strings), 3 Soliloquies from "Love's Labours Lost", Op. 28, A Severn Rhapsody, Op. 3, Romance in E Flat for Strings, Op. 11, Introit in F for Violin and Small Orchestra, Op. 6. This CD is a useful and welcome collection of Finzi's melodious and tuneful, resolutely tonal and always inventive music. The main work is the Clarinet concerto, with its shades of Elgar and modal harmonies reminiscent of Vaughan Williams. The smaller pieces are all most attractive, from the early Introit, tender and wistful, to the gently pastoral Rhapsody and the more individual Bagatelles (the piano part arranged for strings by Lawrence Ashmore). Robert Plane (clarinet), Lesley Hatfield (violin), Northern Sinfonia; Howard Griffiths. Naxos 8.553566 (New Zealand) 02A007 $5.98

Danish Romantic Symphonic Premieres

LUDOLF NIELSEN (1876-1939): Symphony No. 1 in B Minor, Op. 3, From the Mountains, Op. 8. After two recordings of Nielsen's second symphony in 1997-8, we get his first - a youthful effort of 1902-03 with influences of Wagner, Strauss, Svendsen and Grieg but still a remarkable achievement for a youngster with no formal composition studies behind him. More individual is the symphonic suite from 1905 which depicts four scenes from the Alps - "The Castle Ruin" moodily impressionistic, "The Shepherd" which throws in some bitonality and collage effects a la Ives, "The Mountain Chapel" impressionistic again and with an obbligato organ, and "Folk Life in the Valley" which depicts a series of dances and processions in layered fashion. Danish Philharmonic Orchestra; Frank Cramer. Marco Polo/Dacapo 8.224093 (Denmark) 02A008 $14.98

HAKON BØRRESEN (1876-1954): Romance, Op. 4, 2 Pièces, Op. 17, JENS LAURSØN EMBORG (1876-1957): Nocturne, Op. 1, PETER HEISE (1830-1879): 4 Pieces, JABOB FABRICIUS (1840-1919): Ballade, Dormeuse, LOUIS GLASS (1864-1936): Frühlingslied, Op. 31, LUDOLF NIELSEN (1846-1907): Romance, Op. 11. These salon-style Romantic pieces all date from 1860-1910 and are, in turn, yearning, tender, merry and song-like. Three of the composers were symphonists but, like their companions, they too could turn out languishingly melodious pieces which are windows into the fashions of a bygone age. Henrik Brendstrup (cello), Per Salo (piano). Marco Polo/Dacapo 8.224092 (Denmark) 02A009 $14.98

EMIL VON SAUER (1862-1942): 20 Études de Concert. The first of two CDs which will offer all 29 of Sauer's concert studies and other solo works offers a series which falls into two categories: pieces which explore individual technical aspects and genre pieces with descriptive titles (which, of course, usually also pose specific pianistic challenges). Naturally, since they were written for his own use, these etudes exploit Sauer's performing strengths, so we have here a cornucopia of deft passagework demanding an agile right hand and lightness of touch which give us a picture of a flamboyant, though fastidious musician who was more an aesthete at work than a barnstorming virtusoso. Oleg Marshev (piano). Danacord DACOCD 487 (Denmark) 02A010 $17.98


HERMANN GOETZ (1840-1876): Genrebilder, Op. 13, Nos. 1 & 2 (Anton Kuerti), GEORG HENDRIK WITTE (1843-1929): 2 Walzes for Piano Four Hands, Op. 7, Nos. 8 & 10 (Ina Peeken & Michael Struck), REYNALDO HAHN (1875-1947): Portraits de peintres d'après M. Proust (Jeffrey Swann), PIERRE DE BRÉVILLE (1861-1949): Sonate, CLAUDE DEBUSSY (1962-1918): Nocturne (Marie-Cathérine Girod), ANATOLY ALEXANDROV (1888-1982): Piano Sonata No. 2, Op. 12 (Yuri Martinov), ERNÓ VON DOHNANYI (1877-1960): Pastorale, ASTOR PIAZOLLA (1921-1992): 3 Préludes (Kathryn Stott), SCHUBERT/LISZT: Ave Maria (Roberto Cappello). This annual celebration of pianistic wizardry and unusual repertoire offers much new material, pride of place perhaps going to Alexandrov's 1918 sonata. Dedicated to Medtner, it is in one-movement of just over 10 minutes but manages to pack in much virtuosity and nervous intensity with echoes not only of its dedicatee but also of Rachmaninov and Scriabin. Bréville's 1923 sonata is also in one movement, showing some of the influence of Franck and D'Indy; also of interest are the portraits of famous painters by Hahn (1894): a rare instrumental piece by this writer of songs and musical comedies. Danacord DACOCD 489 (Denmark) 02A011 $17.98

VICENTE EMILIO SOJO (1887-1974): 6 Danzas Venezolanas, FEDERICO G. VOLLMER (1834-1901): Piezas de Baile, TERESA CARREÑO (1853-1917): La fausse note, Op. 39, Un rêve en mer, JUAN VICENTE LECUNA (1892-1954): 5 Sonatas de Alta Gracia, ANTONIO LAURO (1917-1986): Natalia, RAMON DELGADO PALACIOS (1867-1902): Vals Apassionado, Mi encanto, Graziella, Muñoz Tebar, La Dulzura de tu rostro, Mi aplauso. All of these composers are Venezuelan and most of them use the dance forms which they grew up with. The comparison of the 20th century Sojo's dances and those of the 19th century German-born Vollmer brings the expected filtering of the latter's through European influences. The famous pianist and teacher Carreño is represented by two charming salon-style pieces; Lecuna mixes Hispanic musical heritage with Creole rhythms; Palacios' compositions bring the dance into the salon. Monique Duphil (piano). Eclectra ECCD - 2034 (Canada) 02A012 $16.98

MILY BALAKIREV (1837-1910): Impromptu on Two Preludes of Chopin, Au jardin, Mazurka No. 1 in A, Capriccio, Ne parle pas, Mazurka No. 2 in C Sharp Minor, Waltz No. 7 in G Sharp Minor, Romance from Chopin Piano Concerto No. 1, Valse-Impromptu in D, Gondellied, Reverie of Zapolsky, Caprice Brillant sur "La Jota Aragonesa". We all know by now that Balakirev's piano music is about a lot more than Islamey, exciting as that old war-horse can be in the right hands. Here are more examples of the melodic inventiveness, charm, sheer pianistic excitement and rich chromatic harmony which makes his music perhaps not the most forward-looking of its day, but undoubtedly memorable and thoroughly delightful to hear. Anyone who has enjoyed the Sonata or Islamey (to both of which there are occasional references in these pieces) need not hesitate to acquire this disc to hear more music of the same caliber. Included are transcriptions of Glinka and Chopin, which lovers of the noble art of transcription will find bring as broad a smile to the face as any of the familiar works of Liszt and other recognised masters of the craft. Nicholas Walker (piano). ASV DCA 1048 (England) 02A013 $16.98

PETER TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893): Piano Music, Vol. 2 - Dumka, Op. 59, Romance in F Minor, Op. 5, 2 Morceaux, Op. 10, 6 Morceaux, Op. 19, 3 Song Transcriptions, Op. 16, Marche Slave, Op. 31. Naxos' series of Tchaikovsky's solo piano music is all the more valuable as preceding complete recordings of these works have been deleted and the music itself is often so worthy of hearing. Much is of a standard kind of European Romanticism but well-made for all that; the Slavic and folk element is present in much of this disc (besides the March slave, in the Dumka and in the 3 Song Transcriptions.) Oxana Yablonskaya (piano). Naxos 8.553330 (New Zealand) 02A014 $5.98

MANUEL BLASCO DE NEBRA (1750-1784): 6 Sonatas para Pianoforte, Piano Sonatas in E and in C. Although from Seville, de Nebra's sonatas do not show the colorful Iberianisms of Scarlatti and Soler, being instead oriented toward the emerging classical sonata form. All are in two movements (slow-fast) and demonstrate the pull of the Austro-German musical sphere of Haydn and C.P.E. Bach. Tony Millán (fortepiano). Almaviva DS 0108 (Spain) 02A015 $18.98

ETIENNE-NICOLAS MÉHUL (1763-1817): Keyboard Sonatas, Op. 1 in D, in C Minor and in A, NICOLAS SÉJAN (1745-1819): Recueil de pièces pour le clavecin ou le piano forte, Op. 2. Méhul's three 1783 sonatas show the influence of his teacher Jean-Frédéric Edelmann (a world premiere recording of whose keyboard works was offered in last month's catalogue) - an orchestral style full of dramatic and dynamic contrasts. Séjan's set of 13 piano pieces date from roughly the same time and show similar experiments with abrupt dynamic contrasts. Peter Kranen (piano). Raptus 395.02.89 (Netherlands) 02A016 $12.98

CHRISTIAN GOTTLOB NEEFE (1748-1798): 9 Variations for Piano on a Theme from Mozart's "Die Zauberflöte", 12 Variations for Piano on a Theme from Dittersdorf's "Das rothe Käppchen", LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827): 7 Early Songs: Man strebt de Flamme zu verhehlen, WoO 120, Plaisir d'aimer, WoO 128, O care selve, WoO 119, An Minna, WoO 115, Que le temps me dure, WoO 116, Traute Henriette, Hess 151, Der freie Mann, Hess 146, Sketches for a Symphony in C Minor, Hess 298, 4 Settings of Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt, WoO 134, Sketches for a Piano Piece in C, uncatalogued, 9 Short Sketchbook Fragments. With the exception of the four Sehnsucht songs, all of the Beethoven pieces here are from his first creative period (1785-1800): seven delightful, neglected songs, a few loose pages from his sketchbooks and an idea for an unwritten symphony. Appropriately, they are coupled with two charming sets of variations by Neefe from around 1793, who was Beethoven's principal teacher in Bonn. Michiel ten Houte-de Lange (tenor), Anatol Karemacher (piano - Beethoven), Peter Kranen (piano - Neefe). Raptus 389.02.88 (Netherlands) 02A017 $12.98

JOHANN FRIEDRICH REICHARDT (1752-1814): Lieder: Aus Proserpina, Aus Euphrosyne, Rastlose Liebe, Ihr verblühet..., Mut, Herbstgefühl, Meeresstille, Nähe, Klärchens Lied, An die Laute, Verschiedene Empfindungen an einem Plätze, Johanna Sebus, Violin Sonata in F, Harpsichord Sonata in E Flat, Poco Allegro for Harpsichord, Violin Sonata in B Flat. Reichardt's more than 1500 lieder cover a range of styles unsurpassed until Schubert; all these settings here are of Goethe and range from simple strophic setting to romantic "atmosphere" pieces, balads, dramatic monologues and pathetic descriptions. A significant addition to the recorded catalogue of the German lied. German-English texts. Isabelle Poulenard (soprano), Massimo Spadano (violin), Laurent Stewart (harpsichord), Arthur Schoonderwoerd (fortepiano). Auvidis/Astrée E 8595 (France) 02A018 $18.98

FERDINAND RIES (1784-1838): String Quartet in E Minor, Op. 150/2, Piano Sonata in E Flat, Op. 11/1, LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827): Fugue in E Minor, Hess 238, No. 1. After last month's cover offering of two of Ries' symphonies comes this further confirmation of his talent as a composer of fine, memorable music. These two works come from opposite ends of his career: the piano sonata from 1807 whose virtuosity reminds us that Ries was one of the foremost pianists of his day. Bold modulations and deviations into remote tonal regions mark out the first movement while the second has a Schubertian lyricism and the finale is a Russian flavored set of variations. The quartet dates from 1826 when Ries had moved back to Germany from England and began to reacquaint himself with classical models (after providing fantasias, rondos and polonaises to the bourgeois tastes of the English). The first movement has an instantly memorable first subject and a passionate development and is followed by a graceful andante, a Beethovenian scherzo and an exuberant finale. A little-known Beethoven fugue from 1794, composed while under Albrechtsberger's tutelage, fills out a fine disc. Raphael String Quartet, Peter Kranen (piano), Raptus 397.02.89 (Netherlands) 02A019 $12.98

CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH (1714-1788): Flute Sonata in G, Wq127, Trio Sonata in A, Wq146, Harpsichord Sonata in C Minor, Wq60, Trio Sonata in E, Wq162, Sonata for Viola da Gamba and Continuo in D, Wq137. All the works in this program of chamber music date from Bach's Berlin years (i.e. before 1767) and show the brilliant, showy and predominantly cheerful galant style which prevailed at the court of Frederick the Great. Les Coucous Bénévoles. Music & Arts CD-1037(U.S.A.) 02A020 $16.98

HEINRICH IGNAZ BIBER (1644-1704): Litaniae de Sancto Josepho, Sonata Sacti Polycarpi, Fidicinium sacro-profanum: Sonata XI, GEORG MUFFAT (1653-1704): Missa In labore requies, ANTONIO BERTALI (1605-1659): Sonata Sancti Placidi, Sonata a 13. Biber and Muffat were not known for their vocal-instrumental works. The former left many, of which this "Litany" dates from 1677; the Missa In labore requies, however, is Muffat's only surviving vocal work - a sumptuously sonorous composition making use of a wealth of vocal and insturmental forces whose exact date is unknown but which gives a vivid picture of the rich musical tradition of Salzburg Cathedral in the late 17th century. Cantus Cölln, Concerto Palatino; Konrad Junghänel. Harmonia Mundi HMC 901667 (France) 02A021 $17.98

JEAN-MARIE LECLAIR (1697-1764): Violin Concertos Op. 7, No. 2 in D, No. 6 in A & Op. 10, No. 1 in B Flat, Concerto for Violin and Flute in C, Op. 7/3. Four examples of the sophistication of musical language, lushness of harmonies and richness of orchestral writing which made Leclair a pathfinder for the art of the violin in late Baroque France. Unlike Vivaldi, Leclair pits his soloist against the orchestra more often than not, which, along with virtuoso technical demands, produces an emotional intensity all his own. Monica Huggett (violin), Claire Guimond (flute). Arion. ATMA ACD 2 2143 (Canada) 02A022 $15.98

MICHAEL HAYDN (1737-1806): Singspiel: Der Baßgeiger zu Wörgl, Overtures to Andromeda e Perseo, Rebekka als Braut, Der büßende Sünder, Divertimento in G, 6 Menuetti, 3 Marches. What seems to be a motley mixture of genres is, in fact, a useful look at the various types of secular music which a composer like Michael Haydn was required to produce for his royal employers. The singspiel "The Bass-Fiddler of Wörgl" is a one act piece of buffo business from 1775 using the familiar trope of a dumb wife and her sly, drunken peasant husband for a series of three recitatives and arias and a final duet. Three more overtures to forgotten dramas and singspiels and a divertimento (or a symphony, call it what you will) prepare the way for courtly dances and some marches which may have introduced serenades. Entertaining stuff and proof that there is much more unknown Michael Haydn out there! Barbara Meszaros (soprano), Hans Christoph Begemann (baritone), Deutsche Kammerakademie Neuss; Johannes Gortizki. CPO 999 513 (Germany) 02A023 $15.98

LUIGI CHERUBINI (1760-1842): String Quartet No. 1 in E Flat, String Quartet No. 6 in A Minor. Since the DG Melos quartet set of these quartets has gone out of print, it is gratifying to have this new recording (hopefully the first of a complete set), especially on authentic instruments. That a composer of operas and sacred music wrote his first string quartet at the age of 54 remains remarkable. Living in Paris and, thus, away from the Viennese quartet tradition, Cherubini imparted a certain dramatic, operatic quality to the first two movements before unleashing a colorful, Spanish flavored scherzo with a fandango-like trio and a radiant finale which captivated Schumann. Dating from 1837, the sixth and last quartet is expansive, introspective and generally relaxed with Cherubini's mastery of counterpoint much in evidence. Hausmusik London. CPO 999 463 (Germany) 02A024 $15.98

ANTONIN REICHA (1770-1836): Symphony in C Minor, Symphony in F Major. Reicha's C Minor work is undated but its relatively small scale and compact use of themes (and its emphasis on strings) probably identify it as a work of the late 1790s. Echoes of the Haydn of the Sturm und Drang period stand side by side with more modern influences, including a rumbustious scherzo quite akin to early Beethoven. The F Major dates from 1808 and is more mature and on a much larger scale. Beethovenian vigor and Mozartian grace coexist with the occasional appearance of a Weberian operatic tone (especially in the slow movement). These works, performed here on authentic instruments, widen our appreciation of a man whose influence on both contemporaries and students was vast; more of his orchestral works need to be heard and we can hope that this is a beginning. Beethoven Academie; Jan Caeyers. Auvidis/Valois V 4834 (France) 02A025 $18.98

ANTONIO SOLER (1729-1783): Quintets for Harpsichord and Strings No. 1 in C & No. 2 in F. Andrée Wachsmuth, Montserrat Cervera (violins), André Vauguet (viola), Marçal Cervera (cello), Christiane Jaccotet (harpsichord). PDI G-80.1053 (Spain) 02A026 $17.98

ANTONIO SOLER (1729-1783): Quintets for Harpsichord and Strings No. 3 in G & No. 4 in A Minor. Andrée Wachsmuth, Montserrat Cervera (violins), André Vauguet (viola), Marçal Cervera (cello), Christiane Jaccotet (harpsichord). PDI G-80.1054 (Spain) 02A027 $17.98

ANTONIO SOLER (1729-1783): Quintets for Harpsichord and Strings No. 5 in D & No. 6 in G Minor. Andrée Wachsmuth, Montserrat Cervera (violins), André Vauguet (viola), Marçal Cervera (cello), Christiane Jaccotet (harpsichord). PDI G-80.1055 (Spain) 02A028 $17.98

Soler's six quintets date from 1776, his only known chamber works and quite unlike his corpus of 120 keyboard sonatas. In fact, there was little precedent for works of this sort from an 18th century Spanish composer: the cello and viola are autonomous partners and the keyboard is treated as a soloist now and again. Scarlattian influence shows in the keyboard parts' leaps and hand-crossing while the variety of dance forms in the minuet movements, the occasional fugal movement and the sheer variety of melodic invention demonstrate that Padre Soler was having a very pleasant time when he composed this set.

Irish Songs to texts of Thomas Moore, William Smyth, John Philpot Curran and Turlough O'Carolan, set to music by LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827): Avenging and Bright, WoO 154/5, The Minstrel Boy, WoO 157/2, The Parting Kiss, WoO 155/25, The Deserter, WoO 152/10, HECTOR BERLIOZ (1803-1869): L'Origine de la harpe (from Irlande, Op. 2), JOHN STEVENSON (1761-1833): My Gentle Harp, Once More I Waken, Come Send Round the Wine, Erin the Tear and the Smile, After the Battle, HENRY BISHOP (1786-1855): As Vanquished Erin, CHARLES VILLIERS STANFORD (1852-1934): Silent, Oh Moyle, Song of the Battle Eve, Weep On, Weep On (all from Op. 60), BENJAMIN BRITTEN (1913-1976): 'Tis the Last Rose of Summer, O the Sight Entrancing, Oft in the Stilly Night, HERBERT HUGHES (1882-1937): Siúil a ghrá, ALOYS FLEISCHMANN (1910-1992): Marbhna Eoghain Ruaidh Uí Néill, T.C. KELLY (1917-1985): Fanny Power, Lament (both arr. piano trio), PIERCE TURNER: Union (When the Planets are in Place). This recording stems from a concept recital devised by the soprano to mark the bicentenary of the Irish Rebellion of 1798. Covering almost 200 years themselves, the settings range from Beethoven to Britten and attest to the unique charm and emotional power of the songs which are taken from 10 volumes published by Thomas Moore (1779-1852) between 1808 and 1834. Ranging from delicate love songs to sober battle tunes and poignant laments, they succeed in the original compilers' attempt to capture the Irish soul in music. A historical note sets the songs in context and full texts and (where necessary) translations are provided. Kathleen Tynan (soprano), Dearchla Collins (piano), The Irish Piano Trio. Black Box BBM1022 (England) 02A029 $16.98 (See 02A0 75 for more Irish songs.)

BIZET - L'Arlésienne - Complete Melodrama

GEORGES BIZET (1838-1875): L'Arlésienne: Melodrama in 3 Acts and 5 Scenes. The short story by Alphonse Daudet on which this score is based appeared in print in 1866, telling a tragic story of Fréderi, in love with "The Girl from Arles" (who never actually appears in the work), Vivette, in love with Fréderi and the latter's suicide when he cannot bring himself to abandon the notion of marrying his "Arlesienne". Like a film score, Bizet's music now blends in with the text, now forms musical base for the narrator and now stands independently or sets a mood. Collectors who have enjoyed any of the several 18th century melodramas which have appeared in recent years will be delighted to encounter one with such well-known and memorable music in its original, complete format. The 128-page booklet contains the complete French texts and English translations as well as excellent notes on the genesis of the work and remarks on its arranging by the conductor. 2 CDs. Daniel Mesguich (narrator), Ianne Rouleau (soprano), Ensemble Vocal Jean Sourisse, Orchestre de Chambre National de Toulouse; Jean-Claude Malgoire. Auvidis/Valois V 4839 (France) 02A030 $37.98

ANDRÉ-ERNEST-MODEST GRÉTRY (1741-1813): 6 String Quartets, Op. 3. This master of the opéra comique composed little non-vocal music and these quartets are early works, dating from his apprentice period in Italy between 1761 and 1765. Even at this young age, Grétry did not hesitate to break with the forms of the galant period: only the second quartet is in the typical fast-slow-fast format. The others have a variety of original forms and offer both the first violin and the viola solo opportunities; not known as a contrapuntalist, Grétry even ends two of the quartets with fugues. The overall grace, effective writing and love of contrast make these works a valuable addition to the catalogue of early Classical quartets. Quatuor Via Nova. Pierre Verany PV798102 (France) 02A031 $16.98

ANTON LISTE (1772-1832): Bassoon Sonata, Op. 3, Piano Sonata in E Flat, Piano Sonata in G Minor. Here is the "Find of the Month": that rare composer whom, when first hearing him and not knowing who he is, one identifies as Beethoven. But what? A newly-discovered manuscript? Well, Liste is a completely forgotten German who made his name in Switzerland, knew Weber, may have studied with Mozart and knew how to write strikingly attention-grabbing music with its roots in late Classicism and one foot in the early Romantic era. The bassoon sonata is probably the latest of the works; 33 minutes long (!) its use of successive transformation of themes in the first movement, the dispensing of bar-lines in the slow movement recitative and its jolly rondo finale bespeak a master composer. The two piano sonatas are no less fine, the G major in an unusual one-movement form and both sounding like middle-period Beethoven - serious music composed with vigor, spirit and skill. William Waterhouse (bassoon), William Fong (piano). Guild GMCD 7154 (England) 02A032 $16.98

ERNST VON WANCZURA (c.1750-1801?): Symphony No. 2 "The Russian", FRANZ JOSEPH HAYDN (1732-1809): Mass No. 11 in D Minor, "Nelson Mass". Wanczura (or, to use the original, Bohemian version Vanãura) was the first composer to write symphonies in Russia. One of the many foreigners imported by Catherine the Great to provide European music for the court, Wanczura composed at least six symphonies, three of them so-called "National Symphonies" (Polish, Ukrainian and Russian). He was also apparently the first composer to use printed collections of folk-songs as sources for symphonic compositions (they had been used as sources for piano variations for a long time). The symphony is short (just over 14 minutes) and hardly "cutting edge", but collectors of classical symphonies will want this little piece of history nonetheless. Fine, authentic instrument performances. Patrizia Kwella (soprano), Mark Chambers (countertenor), Nicholas Hurndall Smith (tenor), Simon Birchall (bass), Fiori Musicali Choir and Orchestra; Penelope Rapson. Metronome MET CD 1024 (England) 02A033 $19.98

FANNY MENDELSSOHN (1805-1847): 4 Lieder ohne Worte, 4 Lord Byron Songs, 3 Heine Songs, 3 Goethe Songs, Die Nonne, Gondellied, Die Frühen Gräber, Sehnsucht, Italien. This collection of lieder shows a variety of responses, from the salon-style emotionalism of several to the more vividly set Goethe and Heine songs. Punctuating them with four cantabile "Songs without Words" provides a useful overview of the genres in which Felix's sister composed more than 400 works. German-English translations. Julianne Baird (soprano), Keith Weber (fortepiano). Newport Classics NPD 85652 (U.S.A.) 02A034 $16.98

LE CHEVALIER DE SAINT-GEORGES (1739-1799): Violin Concerto No. 11 in G, Op. 7/2, Symphony in G, Op. 11/1, Symphony in D, Op. 11/2. The second in Arion's series of mid-price reissues of Saint-Georges brings us two "symphonies" (really overtures in the Italian style so popular in Paris at the end of the 18th century) - one actually an overture to a comic opera and bright and frothy, the other more passionate and turbulent. The eleventh of twelve violin concertos is in the typical three-movement form with influences of the Mannheim school evident and a propensity for a singing line in the slow movement and a concluding rondo with popular elements. Anne-Claude Villars (violin), Versailles Chamber Orchestra; Bernard Wahl. Arion ARN 55434 (France) 02A035 $13.98

CARL CZERNY (1791-1857): Grande Sonata Brillante in C Minor, Op. 10, FRANZ SCHUBERT (1797-1828): 8 Variations on a Theme of Hérold, D 908, IGOR STRAVINSKY (1882-1971): Petrushka. This well-filled duo-piano recital offers rare Schubert and an equally rare complete Petrushka but the main item is Czerny's half-hour long display of passionate eloquence and scintillating virtuosity. The language hints at a Schubertian early romanticism but, unlike Schubert, who divides the keyboard between the players, Czerny adds to the fun and difficulties by letting each pianist traverse 75% of the keys, offering many opportunities for manual athleticism. Cristina Biagini, Marco Marzocchi (piano duet). Phoenix Classics 98424 (Italy) 02A036 $16.98

SIDNEY JONES (1861-1946): The Geisha. A largely forgotten composer of musical comedies who was greatly successful at the turn of the century is rescued by Hyperion with this recording of his most successful work. Premiered in April 1896 at Daly's Theatre in London, it ran for an unprecedented 760 performances and translated its success to continental Europe where its popularity exceeded any British operetta - including The Mikado. Lighter than G&S, The Geisha's emphasis is on catchy songs, attractive settings, colorful costumes and snappy dialogue; Jones' principle of "brightness and brevity" kept numbers to three minutes or so with only finales longer. A Japanese March in Act 2 is based on an old Japanese song but the rest of the music leans toward continental European dance rhythms. A diverting and pleasant look at a type of British musical theatre forgotten in the onrush of popularity of the early 20th century American musical Complete texts included. Lillian Watson (soprano), Christopher Maltman (baritone), Sarah Walker (mezzo), Richard Suart (baritone), New London Light Opera Chorus, New London Orchestra; Ronald Corp. Hyperion DCA 67006 (England) 02A037 $17.98

MAX REGER (1873-1916): Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Johann Sebastian Bach, Op. 81, 5 Humoresques, Op. 20, Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Georg Philipp Telemann, Op. 134. The inspiration of Bach has worked its magic on many composers, and in the forefront of their ranks is Reger, who not only made many ingenious transcriptions of Bach's works, but whose variations on a theme from Bach's Cantata No. 128 is among his own most striking works for keyboard. Massive, contrapuntally complex (of course) but at heart romantic and even somewhat conservative, this is surely one of Reger's finest achievements. The early Humoresques sound rather like Brahms, with light touches of Dvorak and Lisztian glitter; far lighter works than the two monumental sets of variations, they are no less enjoyable. The Telemann variations are perhaps less challenging in many ways than the Bach, but Reger's keyboard mastery remains in evidence and it is good to have the two sets coupled on one CD. Marc-André Hamelin (piano). Hyperion CDA 66996 (England) 02A038 $17.98

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (1685-1750)/LEOPOLD GODOWSKY (1870-1938): Violin Sonatas No. 1 in G Minor, No. 2 in B Minor and No. 3 in A Minor. Godowsky's recreations of Bach's violin sonatas represent his mature application of the unprecedented technical demands explored in his Studies after the Etudes of Chopin to music conceived for an entirely different medium, fleshing out what Sorabji rather unkindly referred to as the skeletons of Bach's sonatas into harmonically rich, chromatically intricate and technically demanding works that rank among the most masterful transcriptions of Bach (in a field that Godowsky didn't exactly have to himself). Seldom has the art of transcription borne such rich and rewarding fruit. Carlo Grante (piano). Music & Arts CD-1039 (U.S.A.) 02A039 $16.98

NINO ROTA (1911-1979): Organ Sonata, Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, 5 Pieces for Flute and Piano, Toccata for Bassoon and Piano, Sonata for Flute and Harp, Sonata for Organ and Brass. Listed as Volume One of a series, this delightful release brings much characteristic, pleasing Rota. Spanning the composer's entire career, each of these works has the common Rota traits of simply expressed (elements of popular music or popular style expressed in pithy, transparent neo-classical style), elegant, graceful and aurally gorgeous music. Various artists. Rainbow Classics RW 98105 (Italy) 02A040 $16.98

MAX KUHN (1896-1994): Serenata Notturno for Wind Quintet, Missa brevis, Motet: Der Mensch lebt und bestehet nur eine kleine Zeit, 5 Piano Pieces, Variations on a Melody from the Canary Islands for Piano, Elegie for Basset-Horn and Piano. Another Swiss composer given a hearing by Guild, Kuhn combined North German polyphony with Mediterranean lyricism in a typically Swiss synthesis. The former can be heard throughout the Missa brevis of 1959 as well as in the slight but charming piano variations (1967). The serenade of 1956 is both mellifluous and spiked with welcome humor while the five piano pieces make much out of very little in masterful fashion. The music is resolutely tonal but firmly of the 20th century. The Haffner Wind Ensemble of London, Alan Hacker (basset-horn), Brigitte Dolenc (piano), William Fong (solo piano), The Vasari Singers. Guild GMCD 7153 (England) 02A041 $16.98

ENNIO PORRINO (1910-1959): Sonata Drammatica, Op. 35 for Piano, Preludio in modo religioso e Ostinato for Piano, Canti della schiavitù for Violin, Cello and Piano, For Soprano and Piano: 2 Songs in Sardinian Style, 3 Liriche Trobadoriche, 3 Canti d'esilio. Porrino was from Sardinia and studied under, among others, Respighi and the latter's propensity for nationalistic color is to the fore in most of these works - from the eight songs (all dating from 1942) to the unusual "Songs of Slavery" (1933) which is in three movements - one for violin/piano, one for cello/piano and the third for piano trio, suggesting three periods in the experience of an African slave on his way to the New World. The Sonata Drammatica (1947) was originally written for soprano and piano and is in three movements with cyclic use of motives presented with clarity and simplicity with a hint of Debussian color. Sardininan/Italian- English texts. Maria Lucia Costa (piano), Tiziana Zoccarato (soprano), Enzo Ligresti (violin), Bruno Ispiola (cello). Phoenix Classics 98422 (Italy) 02A042 $16.98

ARNOLD SCHOENBERG (1874-1951): 5 Pieces, Op. 16 (reduction Webern), Chamber Symphony No. 1, Op. 9, Chamber Symphony No. 2, Op. 38b. It is always fascinating to hear works with which we are familiar in orchestral guise played on the piano; some gain, some lose, some cry out for their orchestral colors, some sound like completely different yet equally valid works. Webern arranged the 5 Orchestral Pieces to make possible a performance after Richard Strauss declined to conduct the orchestral version; this is a world premiere recording. The affinity of Schoenberg's harmonic thinking with unlikely contemporaries is perhaps the most unsettling thing to emerge from the Chamber Symphony transcriptions; one can detect the influence of Busoni, and perhaps, the influence on Sorabji? Prague Piano Duo. Praga PRD 250 119 (Czech Republic) 02A043 $17.98

JOSÉ MARIA USANDIZAGA (1887-1915): Dans la mer, Op. 20, Fantasía for Cello and Orchestra, Hassan y Melihah: Fantasía Danza, Irurak Bat, Op. 35: Rhapsody on Three Folk Songs, Symphonic Overture on a Gregorian Theme, Op. 26, Suite in A, Op. 14. This promising young Basque composer died of tuberculosis at 27 but still left behind a significant corpus of music, including the six orchestral items recorded here. His studies at the Schola Cantorum with D'Indy are apparent in the Suite of 1904 and in the overture on a Gregorian theme of the same year; his early infatuation with Impressionism is on display in the brief symphonic poem Dans la mer (also 1904). After returning to his homeland, Usandizaga concentrated on Basque themes as in the Irurak Bat rhapsody (1906) but also gave free rein to inspirations from other parts of the world (the 1912 Hassan y Melihah is a "dance fantasy" of Oriental atmosphere). Finely orchestrated, sparkling music with a French feel to it above and beyond the use of Basque folk songs. Asier Polo (cello), Basque National Orchestra; Gabriel Chmura. Claves CD 50-9814 (Switzerland) 02A044 $16.98

JOAQUÍN TURINA (1882-1949): Piano Quartet in A Minor, Op. 67, Caliope for Piano and String Quartet, Op. 93/9, Violin Sonata No. 2 "Española", Op. 82, ENRIQUE GRANADOS (1867-1916): Piano Quintet in G Minor, Romanza for Violin and Piano. Both works for piano and strings are concise - 18 minutes for Turina and 16 for Granados - but Turina's (1931) packs in a concentrated wealth of passionate, evocative and colorful Spanish flavor such that one is both sated and eager to hear it all over again. The same quality informs his 1934 violin sonata and Caliope, a late piece from 1942 and part of a cycle in homage to the nine Muses. Granados' quintet dates from 1898 and is more in the mainstream European Romantic tradition of Schumann, Brahms and Fauré although enlivened with touches of Spanish color. Ensemble Variable. CPO 999 609 (Germany) 02A045 $15.98

ÁNGEL BARRIOS (1882-1964): Piano Works: Volandero (Bulerías), Alcaiceria (Farruca), En las Cuevas del Darro, Guajiras, Suite La Suerte, Suite Seguidilla Gitana, Albaycinera (Danza Andaluza), Angelita (Tango), Juanele (Garrotín), Los Telares del Albaycin, La Ronda, La Danza de la Cautiva, El Madroño (Bolera Andaluz), Amanecer en Granada, 2 Danzas Gitanas, Songs: La Lola se va a los Puertos, La Novia del Aire, Hechizo y Nostalgia, Aben Humeya, Con Puñales de Cariño, Sin Estrella y sin Cielo, Elisita, Dices tu (Chotis), Noche, Mañana de Luz y Fuego, Recuerda. Although Barrios' primary instrument was the guitar he was a life-long friend of Falla and of Albéniz and his piano works show the same Andalusian characteristics and a freshness and inimacy of expression. 2 CDs. Spanish-English texts. Esteban Sanchez, Miguel Laiz (piano, Maria José Montiel (soprano), Fernando Turina (piano). Almaviva DS 0124 (Spain) 02A046 $37.98

RODOLFO HALFFTER (1900-1987): 2 Sonatas de El Escorial, Homenaje a Antonio Machado, JOAQUÍN RODRIGO (b.1901): 5 Piezas, FRANCISCO CALÉS: 2 Evocaciones, 5 Cantos de Sefarad, ROMÁN ALÍS (b.1931): Poemas de la Baja Andalucia, ALBERTO GÓMEZ: 5 Formas. These pieces range from the Scarlattian early Halffter, via four pieces in the composer's more mature style and some typically atmospheric and evocative quintessentially Spanish tone poems of Rodrigo, to the pianist's own brief teaching pieces, exploring a variety of forms (each in less than a minute) based on serial rows. This is by far the most "modern" music here; the Calés and Alís works occupy a realm of shimmering impressionism, chromatic but not far this side of Debussy. The common factor here is an easy melodiousness and lyrical inspiration, making this a most enticing collection. Alberto Gómez (piano). Several Records SCD-803 (Spain) 02A047 $17.98

JOSEP SOLER (b.1935): Partita I, Variaciones y fuga sobre un coral de Alban Berg, 6 Piezas Sagradas. Soler writes in a highly expressive dodecaphonic language, which lends these piano works a curious somber intensity. The music is not particularly dissonant, for the most part, being harmonised in clear, open intervals, so that it sounds relatively melodic, even though the material is not organised tonally. The "variations and fugue", after a theme from Berg's Lulu, is especially a work of considerable power and mystery. The Partita consists of the traditional dance movements that one would expect to find, but of course they sound quite new and unfamiliar in Soler's harmonic language. This language is especially telling in the "6 Sacred Pieces", which move through solemn and mysterious chord progressions in a fashion that recalls the profoundly spiritual works of Messiaen, though in a rather different formal structure. Eulàlia Solé (piano). GEMA B-1-2 (Spain) 02A048 $17.98

JOSEP SOLER (b.1935): 2 Motets for Soprano and Organ, Postludi for Organ, Passio Jesu-Christi for Soprano, Baritone, Organ, Piano, Viola and Cello. The Two Motets and Postludi (texts by Rilke) occupy a terrain of restrained ecstasy, and the composer's Bergian dodecaphony is a wholly appropriate vehicle for this kind of searching, mystical inspiration. The half-hour Passio is an austere and deeply moving work, all shadows and subdued colors, yet expressive and profound. The economy of instrumentation and harmony lends a contemplative atmosphere to this tragic music, in which suffering and death as a result of human intolerance are examined and condemned in contemporary and personal terms. Carme Bustamante (soprano), Francesc Chico (baritone), Maria Lluisa Cortada (piano), Montserrat Torrent (organ), Josep Trotta (viola), Josep Casassús (cello), Antonì Ros-Marbà (conductor). PDI 80.2056 (Spain) 02A049 $17.98

ISAAC ALBÉNIZ (1860-1909): L'automne (Valse), Piano Sonatas Nos. 3, 4 & 5. These are the only three sonatas of the seven which Albéniz wrote in his youth and they are heavily influenced by the Chopin of the Mazurkas and Waltzes and are full of beautiful melodies. The waltz L'automne is already a step forward toward the composer's mature style. Mid-price. Albert Guinovart (piano). Harmonia Mundi musique d'abord HMA 1987007 (France) 02A050 $8.98

Three New Releases of Dances, Marches and Overtures from Marco Polo

JOSEPH STRAUSS (1827-1870): Edition, Vol. 13 - Phönix-Marsch, Op. 105, Deutsche Grüße, Op. 191, Wiener-Polka, Op. 13, Die Galante, Op. 251, Toto-Quadrille, Op. 265, Herbstrosen, Op. 232, Matrosen-Polka, Op. 52, Extempore, Op. 241, Farewell, Op. 211, Wintermärchen, Op. 66, Turnier-Quadrille, Op. 169. Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra; Michael Dittrich. Marco Polo 8.223573 (New Zealand) 02A051 $14.98

HANS CHRISTIAN LUMBYE (1810-1874): Complete Orchestral Works, Vol. 2 - A Little Ditty for the Party, Amanda Waltz, Master Erik's Polka, Victoria Bundsen Polka-Mazurka, King Carl XV's March-Past, The Dream after the Ball, Military Galop, Crinoline Polka-Mazurka, Camilla Polka, Rosa and Rosita Waltz, Victoria Galop, Minerva Polka, Salute to Capri, Wally Polka, Regatta Festival, Goodnight Polka. Lumbye's distinctive, lyrical sound is due largely to orchestrations which favor the lighter sounds of flutes to accompany melody strings and the frequent use of glockenspiel, triangle and brass, making for an altogether more bracing effect. This is lingonberry jam rather than a Viennese torte. The variety of dance forms and Lumbye's native inspiration and talent for writing memorable tunes are irresistible. To mention just a couple, The Dream after the Ball is a miniature symphonic poem while the program ends with Goodnight Polka, Lumbye's Haydenesque answer to crowds who would demand da capo repeats of their favorite dances ad infinitum. Thoroughly addicting! Tivoli Symphony Orchestra; Giordano Bellincampi. Marco Polo 8.223744 (New Zealand) 02A052 $14.98

FRANZ VON SUPPÉ (1819-1895): Overtures, Vol. 5 - Wiener Jubelouverture, Herzblättchen (ossia Das Corps der Rache), Cannebas, Unter der Erde (oder Freiheit und Arbeit), Greigeister, Gervinus, der Narr vom Untersberg, Der Tannenhäuser, Sieg der österreichischen Volkshymne, Die Liebe zum Volke (Entr'acte for Clarinet and Orchestra). More of Suppé's characteristic mix of fanfares, military band rhythms and the world of operetta with a dash of patriotism in the "Victory of the Austrian National Hymn" in which Haydn's "Emperor's Hymn" makes a triumphant appearance and wins through a welter of tunes representing the dissident nationalists of the Austro-Hungarian empire. "Love for the People" rounds off the collection with its delightful clarinet solo, appropriately turning finally into another amalgam of the bandmaster and the operetta. Julius Drake (clarinet), Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra; Christian Pollack. Marco Polo 8.223863 (New Zealand) 02A053 $14.98

ERMANNO WOLF-FERRARI (1876-1948): Serenade for Strings in E Flat, ROBERT FUCHS (1847-1927): Serenade for Strings in E Minor, Op. 21, EDWARD ELGAR (1857-1934): Serenade for Strings in E Minor, Op. 20. An antidote to depression or the blahs if ever there was one! These eternally vernal, sunny works burst with optimisim, cheer and good spirits. The Elgar is well-known but the Fuchs (from 1878 and with an especially infectious gypsy finale) and the Wolf-Ferrari (a sun-drenched work of a naturally optimistic 19-year-old full of Italianate warmth) are its equal in their burgeoning joie de vivre. Accademia Veneta Chamber Orchestra; Roberto Padoin. Rainbow Classics RW 98207 (Italy) 02A054 $16.98

TURE RANGSTRÖM (1884-1947): Poem, Capriccio Amoroso, EMIL SJÖGREN (1853-1918): 2 Lyrical Pieces, Three Songs (transcr. Tor Aulin), The Contrabandist (transcr. Tor Aulin), WILHELM STENHAMMAR (1871-1927): 2 Sentimental Romances, Op. 28, KARL VALENTIN (1853-1918): Adagio, Op. 18, Sonata Movement, AXEL RAOUL WACHTMEISTER (1865-1947): On the Water (Barcarole). Volume 2 of a series titled "Swedish Turn of the Century 1900" (we'll try to get Volume One soon...) provides a look at the national romantic musical milieu which obtained in Sweden from the mid 19th century through the first two decades of the 20th. Easily assimilated, melodious, often with a strongly dramatic profile and far from any European avant-garde occurrences, this music was written by and large for cultivated amateurs. Rangström stands out for a certain rugged , flamboyant individualism and Sjögren's lyrical song-like style is fairly well-known (brought out all the more by violinist/composer Tor Aulin's transcriptions of four of his songs). Lesser-known composers Valentin and Wachtmeister are represented by, respectively, an adagio in memory of the violinist Henri Marteau and a sonata movement of typical Scandinavian National Romanticism, and a lolling, restful barcarole. Semmy Stahlhammer (violin), Love Derwinger (piano). Nosag Records CD 033 (Sweden) 02A055 $16.98

JOHN FRANCIS BARNETT (1837-1916): Grand Sonata, Op. 41, CARL REINECKE (1824-1910): Flute Sonata in E Minor, Op. 167 "Undine", CHARLES MARIE WIDOR (1844-1937): Suite, Op. 34, ALFREDO CASELLA (1883-1947): Barcarolle and Scherzo. Barnett is a now-forgotten Victorian who, among other things, completed Schubert's unfinished E Flat symphony. His (c.1870) sonata has a first movement of wistful melancholy, a serene slow movement and a bright, dancing finale - all delivered with a Mendelssohnian charm. Casella's is an early work, from his period in Paris (1903) but there is little of French Impressionism about it, rather juxtaposing melancholy and cheerfulness using popular Sicilian and Neapolitan elements. Angelo Ragno (flute), Gerlando Dalfone (piano). Rainbow Classics RW 98189 (Italy) 02A056 $16.98

GUSTAV MERKEL (1827-1885): Fantasie and Fuge, Op. 104, Sonata No. 3 Op. 80, Sonata No. 8, Op. 178, 4 Trios, Op. 39, Concertsatz, Op. 141, 3 grosse Choralvorspiele, Op. 32. Merkel was a famous organist whose compositions gained popularity as far afield as the U.S. and England. He managed to continue the tradition of Bach while using all the color resources of the large 19th century organs in producing works full of stormy energy, elegant sentiment and noble power. Adrian Partington (Harrison & Harrison organ of the Albert Hall, Nottingham). Priory PRCD 548 (England) 02A057 $16.98

EDVIN KALLSTENIUS (1881-1967): Dalarapsodi, Op. 18, Sångoffer, Op. 32 For Baritone and Orchestra, Symphony No. 2 in F Minor, Op. 20. This is the first in a series of 20 CDs titled "Modern Classics" which, as an appendage to the Musica Sveciae series, will concentrate on Swedish composers of the 20th century. Kallstenius was an idiosyncratic composer who marched at his own tempo and who relied on a "distant sound" which came from deep within to motivate him to composition. The song cycle on texts of Tagore shows why Kallstenius composed relatively little given his long life: the idea came as early as 1913 but the "distant sound" which led him to the right way of setting them took 31 years to arrive. There is a hint of Mahler in the cycle's open-air, face-to-face confrontation between man and nature as represented by God. Kallstenius used little actual Nordic folk music in his works but the 1931 Dalarapsodi is an exception, though even here, the tunes are clothed in unconventional harmonies. The symphony (1935) displays in its outer movements a series of climaxes and an accumulation of impressive force which owes a little to late German Romanticism (a hint of Mahler again here and there). We hope to have the companion first release, Hilding Rosenberg's Orpheus in Town, next month. Olle Persson (baritone), Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra; B Tommy Andersson. Phono Suecia PSCD 701 (Sweden) 02A058 $16.98

HILDING ROSENBERG (1892-1985): Plastika Scener, Piano Sonata No. 1, 11 Performing Studies, Piano Sonata No. 3, 8 Improvisations. Mats Widlund (piano). Daphne 1001 (Sweden) 02A059 $16.98

HILDING ROSENBERG (1892-1985): Piano Sonata No. 2, Piano Sonata No. 4, Suite, Tema con variazioni, Sonatine. Mats Widlund (piano). Daphne 1003 (Sweden) 02A060 $16.98

Most of Rosenberg's piano works date from the 1920s and are characterized by a combination of great expressiveness (some influence of Schoenberg is detectable in this respect) with a clear, concise neo-Baroque structure. All of the sonatas and the Suite fall into this period (composed between 1923-26). The "Theme and Variations" (1941) shows a more clear use of tonality while the Sonatine (from 1949 and Rosenberg's last important piano solo piece) has a strikingly poetic and tranquil slow movement sandwiched between two of vigorous impetuosity. The early (1921) Plastika Scener are short, sketch-like movements which veer between melancholy and playfulness (not unlike Prokofiev's Visions Fugitives to which the 1925 Perfoming Studies also bear some resemblance.)

LEIF SEGERSTAM (b.1944): July. July is an orchestral "happening" - in the composer's words - which takes the form of a free - very free - orchestral fantasy performed without conductor, but structured by the solo pianist (here the composer), whose part cues other events. The work is impressionistic in the sense that it evokes "impressions of time and place" - heat haze, drifting clouds and other seasonal attributes are represented in vivid, sometimes almost onomatapic imagery. SAMI Sinfonietta, Leif Segerstam (piano). Daphne 1005 (Sweden) 02A061 $16.98

DANIEL BÖRTZ (b.1943): Oboe Concerto, ARNE NORDHEIM (b.1931): Boomerang for Oboe and Chamber Orchestra, ESA-PEKKA SALONEN (b.1958): Mimo II for Oboe and Orchestra, OLE SCHMIDT (b.1928): Oboe Concerto. There is something rather fascinating, is there not, about discovering what kind of music well-known conductors write with their composer's hat on? Well, this disc affords two opportunities to find out. Salonen's Mimo II is quirky, capricious and elegant, clearly and beautifully orchestrated, and not unlike Lutoslawski in its harmonic language. Ole Schmidt has brought out the solo instrument's middle-eastern origins in his lively and colorful little concerto. Börtz' piece is in a slightly more modern idiom (microtonal glissandi and some atonality, but by no means outlandish stuff), and has a clear message or program; the struggle of the individual against the overwhelming whole. Nordheim's Boomerang has a sense of timeless lament, and again seems to have narrative content, though not explicity stated. Like the other works here it is compact and satisfying. Bengt Rosengren (oboe), Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra; Ole Kristian Ruud, Esa-Pekka Salonen. Daphne 1002 (Sweden) 02A062 $16.98

MIKHAIL NOSYREV (1924-1981): Symphony No. 3, Symphony No. 4. Imprisoned in 1943 for "counter-revolutionary activity", Nosyrev served ten years and, in fact, was only "rehabilitated" posthumously in 1988. These two symphonies date from 1978 and 1980 respectively (the latter only a few months before Nosyrev's untimely death) and they share a unique combination of expressionism and romanticism of the sort which one can associate with Shostakovich but which is ultimately entirely personal. The second movement Andante non troppo of the third symphony is a gripping absurd, grotesque nightmare while its finale combines an almost cartoonish mania with an unexpected pianissimo section. The fourth symphony is tortured and nightmarish throughout - a tour-de-force of personal expression which demonstrates the statement by the composer's son that every single work by his father bore the traces of his time in prison. St. Petersburg Academic Symphony Orchestra; Vladimir Verbitsky. Olympia OCD 653 (England) 02A063 $16.98

MOISHEI VAINBERG (1919-1996): Sonatas for Solo Cello No. 2, Op. 86, No. 3, Op. 106, No. 4, Op. 140, Original First Movement of No. 4, Op. 140. Vainberg's output for solo cello (four sonatas and 24 preludes) is one of the most significant since Bach's; this second volume contains an intensely dramatic second sonata from 1964-65 and a predominantly lyrical third from 1971. The fourth, from 1985 (and, like the second, dedicated to Valentin Berlinsky - the cellist of the Borodin Quartet) was revised at its dedicatee's wish: the original andante contains dodecaphonic and aleatory passages - remarkable in Vainberg's output - and the composer shortened this movement and added a lyrical Allegretto before the concluding frenetic allegro molto. Yosif Feigelson (cello). Olympia OCD 643 (England) 02A064 $16.98

ARNOLD BAX (1883-1953): Symphony No. 6, Tintagel, Overture to Adventure. New to CD is the 1936 Overture to Adventure which turns out to have an element of the cinema about it but still quite Baxian in its unusual harmonies and open-throated romanticism. The sixth symphony is from the same period (1934) and its structure based on conflict between savage bleakness and a more placid peacefulness is well conveyed here; Tintagel, of course, is quintessential Bax. Lovers of this composer will not hesitated to acquire these fine new versions and this bracing new-to-CD overture. Munich Symphony Orchestra; Douglas Bostock. Classico CLASSCD 254 (Denmark) 02A065 $14.98

WILLIAM HURLSTONE (1876-1906): Trio in G Minor for Clarinet, Bassoon and Piano, 4 Characteristic Pieces for Clarinet and Piano, HERBERT HOWELLS (1892-1983): A Near Minuet for Clarinet and Piano, Minuet: Grace for a Fresh Egg for Bassoon and Piano, CHARLES HARFORD LLOYD (1846-1919): Trio in for Clarinet, Bassoon and Piano. Hurlstone's tragically short life, plagued by bronchial asthma, is belied by the sparkling brilliance and optimism of most of his music, including the Four Characteristic Pieces which have a lot of Schumannesque Romanticism in them, and the world premiere recording of his trio which dates from 1894 and is rich in warmth and harmony. Lloyd's trio for the same instruments (1900) is also a first recording, lighter in feel than the Hurlstone but with a gorgeous slow movement. Howells' brief pieces (also premiere recordings) were written for students in 1945 and 1946 and make a charming filler. Victoria Soames (clarinet), Laurence Perkins (bassoon), John Flinders (piano). Clarinet Classics CC0023 (England) 02A066 $17.98

VAGN HOLMBOE (1909-1996): Suite, Op. 4, Small Piano Pieces, Romanian Suite, Op. 12/1, Sonatina Briosa, Op. 27/1, Suono da Bardo - Symphonic Suite, Op. 49. Holmboe is a giant of 20th century music in at least three fields: the symphony (14), the string quartet (over 20) and in choral music. But solo piano compositions did not occupy him much and most of his uvre in this genre are early; several of these are recorded here (Bartók haunts the Small Pieces and the Romanian Suite which date from the early 30s) for the first time. The Sonatina Briosa, of 1941, belies its small-scale appelation with thundering octaves and implacable rhythms but the major piano work of Holmboe's career is the 1949 "Bard Sound" suite which lasts nearly 35 minutes. A compelling and virtuosic Toccata is echoed by another toccata in the fifth movement finale; a central Fantasia of ebbing and flowing bursts of energy separates a slow, hieratic Interludio from the fourth movement Metamorfosi, where the concept which informs many of Holmboe's symphonic movements is worked through in masterly fashion. A must for all Holmboe collectors. Anker Blyme (piano). Danacord DACOCD 502 (Denmark) 02A067 $17.98

JØRGEN JERSILD (b.1913): Alice in Wonderland, BENT LORENTZEN (b.1935): Comics. Jersild's 38-minute piece was written for a 1950 radio play and Haugland takes all the roles in excerpts from Carroll's book. The music is a pastiche of periods and styles, as might be expected when providing incidental music to a fantastic tale; much of this piece is narration but the musical sections are of some interest and all texts and translations are provided. Lorentzen's piece is from 1987 and is a blast: jungle noises, sharp comic voices from the virtuosic narrator, mechanical monsters, loads of comic-style concomitant exclamations (and panels drawn by the composer), Tarzan, Flash Gordon and an unequal encounter between an elephant and a tribe of ants. The music is just what you'd expect for accompanying action comics - rhythmic, brass-laced, in-your-face and hilariously colorful... which is just what Comics is. Danish-English texts. Aage Haugland (narrator), Thomas Eje (narrator), Aarhus Symphony Orchestra; Frans Rasmussen. Danacord DACOCD 501 (Denmark) 02A068 $17.98

ARTHUR HONEGGER (1892-1955): Nicolas de Flue: Dramatic Legend for Speaker, Children's Chorus, Chorus and Wind Orchestra. A cross between incidental music and oratorio, Nicolas recounts the story of Switzerland's patron saint, Brother Klaus, who helped preserve the national unity of the Swiss in the aftermath of war in 1481 (ironically, its premiere was delayed by the outbreak of World War II). Since all actors, singers and musicians were to be amateurs, Honegger concentrated on highly vivid characterization in fairly narrow confines using mostly short pieces (and easily remembered leitmotifs). As in Le roi David, the scoring is for winds only and the composer achieves a similarly gripping and excitingly dramatic atmosphere. French-German texts. Jean-Luc Bideau (speaker), Akademiechor Luzern, Chorus of the Collegium Musicum Luzern, Sängerknaben und Mädchenchor der Luzerner Kantorei, Junge Philharmonie Zentralschweiz; Alois Koch. Musikszene Schweiz MGB CD 6154 (Switzerland) 02A069 $18.98

DAN WELCHER (b.1948): Vox Femina for Soprano, Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Piano, 7 Songs on poems of e.e. cummings, The Bequest for Soprano and Flute, Harbor Music for String Quartet. Vox Femina sets a daunting array of poetry - women's poetry or poetry concerned with the concept of womanhood, and it is a tribute to Welcher's breadth of inspiration that he makes these diverse texts work together so well. Part of the magic is his skill in manipulating musical vocabularies - for instance in the combination of 16th-century themes accompanying his own vocal line, or the ease with which he steps between strict serial composition, frank tonality (which he then nonetheless extends as he pleases) and popular idioms, as in the jazz movement here (which is serial). If this sounds like an eclectic mish-mash, it's not; the whole work succeeds admirably throughout its generous time span. The other songs and the string quartet display similar exquisite craftsmanship and depth of content. Judith Kellock (soprano), ISIS Ensemble, Martin Amlin (piano), Laura Gilbert (flute), Cavani Quartet. Gasparo GSCD-314 (U.S.A.) 02A070 $16.98

HEINO ELLER (1887-1970): 7 Preludes Book I, 7 Preludes Book II, 4 Preludes Book III, 5 Preludes, Prelude in D Flat Major. Eller was something of an anomaly in Estonian music - a highly respected teacher and composer, he contributed nothing to the vocal tradition of his native land, but wrote a considerable amount of instrumental and orchestral music. These preludes are harmonically individual, though within well-defined keys; the early ones sound quite a lot like Rachmaninov and Scriabin (not late Scriabin either). Those from the 1920s are more wayward and impressionistic, with some intrusion of expressionistic intensity, though the later works, from the 1930s adopt a more refined, melancholy but understated tone, with no progression towards a more experimental language. Budget-price. Vardo Rumessen (piano). Pro Piano PPR224520 (U.S.A.) 02A071 $7.98

MARY JEANNE VANAPPLEDORN (b.1927): Terrestrial Music for Violin, Piano and Strings, Les hommes vides for Unaccompanied Chorus, STEPHEN WEBER: Eclectic-Set for Percussion Quartet, DONALD KEATS (b.1929): String Quartet No. 2. vanAppledorn's evocative scores, harmonically rich and full of surprising references and devices, form a tableau of powerful imagery. She is not afraid to use unorthodox playing techniques, as in Terrestrial Music, a double concerto for violin and piano with orchestra, which incorporates direct contact on the piano strings, and the screams of the orchestra (!) in what is substantially a tonal work. Les hommes vides (the text a French translation of Eliot) similarly hides its modernism in a highly approachable harmonic context. Weber's Eclectic set incorporates a marimba quartet, a solo improvisation (which here suggests tribal drumming), a group improvisation, a movement for voices, an unpitched fugue...it is ingenious and a lot of fun. Keats' harmonically ambiguous quartet is rather intense, alternately somber and driven, and makes a lasting impression. Richard Luby (violin), Barry David Salwen (piano), Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra; Joel Eric Suben, Texas Tech University Choir, Texas Tech University Percussion Quartet, Beaux Arts Quartet. Opus One CD 173 (U.S.A.) 02A072 $11.98

BOUDEWIJN BUCKINX (b.1945): Four-way Crossroads, PETER CABUS (b.1923): 4 Studies for Left-Hand Piano, RAYMOND SCHROYENS (b.1933): Gaia or the Four Elements of Nature, WILFRIED WESTERLINCK (b.1945): Preludio per una danza antica, FRITS CELIS (b.1929): Musica a quattro mani, Op. 1b, WERNER VAN CLEEMPUT(b.1930)/LUC BREWAEYS (b.1959): Namk'cotss. Buckinx' "postmodern" music is tonal, though rather unconventionally so - less harmonically functional than composed of juxtapositions of tonal ideas. Cabus' Etudes are studies in cross rhythms, and produce a kind of impressionistic effect. Schroyens' work rises from a mysterious opening through mysterious chord-progressions reminiscent of Scriabin; a kind of mystical post-romanticism, not unlike the music of Dane Rudhyar. The program notes invoke Debussy's Prelude à l'apres-midi. . . in relation to Westerlinck's Preludio, but another Debussy prelude - The Engulfed Cathedral - might be a more apposite comparison. The Celis is an arrangement by the composer of his early Music for Strings, and is lively and appealing, punctuated by staccato outbursts which do not dispel the cheerful mood. Namk'cotss is an interesting collaborative work, in which the two composers wrote sections in response to passages provided by the other - the result is a not entirely serious duel between the two pianists, each contributing their salvos of shots or weighty arguments in turn, interrupting each other. Pianoduo Kolacny. Eufoda 1244 (Belgium) 02A073 $18.98

BINNETTE LIPPER: Three for Five, JOEL FEIGIN: Nexus, MARILYN BLISS: Fantasies, CHESTER BISCARDI (b.1948): Piano Sonata, HAYD BOYADJIAN: Evocations. These five works by living American composers were presented at the Moscow Autumn Festival in 1995, and the present recording was made immediately afterwards. Bliss has written a virtuosic, highly varied work, fantastic and wide-ranging. Boyadjian's six Evocations also cover a considerable expressive range, from the dramatic to the macabre, the mysterious and the melancholy. Feigin's Nexus for flute and piano is a homage to Bach, light and airy in texture, and tonal. Also painted with a light touch is Lipper's chatty and delightful woodwind trio-with-piano-and-percussion. Biscardi's Sonata, which uses a basically tonal language of some harmonic richness is brief but tightly organised, and manages to say a good deal in its brief span. Elena Ivanina (piano). North/South N/S R 1017 (U.S.A.) 02A074 $15.98

CHARLES VILLIERS STANFORD (1852-1924): Grandeur, Thief of the World, A Soft Day, Little Peter Morrissey, The Bold Unbiddable Child, Irish Skies, The Fairy Lough, An Irish Lullaby, JOHN F. LARCHET (1884-1967): The Wee Boy in Bed, Wee Hughie, A Stoirin Ban, An Ardglass Boat Song, Padraic the Fiddler, CARL HARDEBECK(early 20th cen.): The Song of Glen Dun, A Dandlin' Song, GERALD VICTORY (1921-1995): An Old Woman of the Roads, VINCENT O'BRIEN (late 19th-early 20th cen.): The Fairy Tree HAVELOCK NELSON (b.1917): Dirty Work, The Little Pets of Mochua, TRAD. ARR ARNOLD BAX (1883-1953): Oh Dear! What Can the Matter Be?. This "sheaf" or associated collection of Irish songs contains many pieces of surprising beauty, inspired by the folk traditions of Ireland. Larchet's songs are a real find; as idiomatic and memorable in their way as the better known traditional "songs of the north" - Scotland - arranged by many composers, including Grainger, these original compositions sound exactly like part of an ancient folk tradition. Stanford's songs seem to have been written more in the English concert tradition, but are also very fine. There are unexpected gems too, in the work of the really obscure composers on the disc, like the Hardebeck, of whom we learn from the notes only that he was active in the early part of the century; these are first-rate, rather traditional and very moving songs, beautifully written and harmonised. Bernadette Greevy (mezzo), Hugh Tinney (piano). Marco Polo 8.225098 (New Zealand) 02A075 $14.98

KAREL HUSA (b.1921): Reflections (Symphony No. 2), JEFFREY RYAN: Ophélie for Soprano Solo, 3 Accompanying Sopranos and Large Orchestra, CHRIS THEOFANIDIS (b.1967): On the Edge of the Infinite for Violin and Orchestra, SAMUEL ADLER (b.1928): Requiescat in Pace, DON FREUND (b.1947): Radical Light, MARILYN SHRUDE: Into Light. An interesting and stimulating collection, and a further demonstration, if any were needed, of the quality and diversity of 20th-century American music. Albany is performing a most valuable service by their recent "samplers" of this type, showcasing single works by a number of composers whose music we do not get to hear on a regular basis in our concert halls. Adler's deeply felt Requiescat in pace for President Kennedy, and Theofanidis' striking, middle-eastern inflected work, with its gorgeous violin solo, are highlights of the disc, as is Husa's compact and tautly argued symphony - a genuine symphony despite its brevity. Shrude's and Freund's brief, energetic works open and close proceedings with vigor, while Ryan's Ophélie is a disturbing dramatic centerpiece to the collection. Myra Merritt (soprano), Movses Pogossian (violin), Bowling Green Philharmonia; Emily Freeman Brown. Albany TROY 321 (U.S.A.) 02A076 $16.98

MEYER KUPFERMAN (b.1926): Poetics #9 for Orchestra, Concerto for 4 Guitars and Orchestra, Symphony for Six. More pieces demonstrating the truly astonishing range - imagination and lateral thinking as applied to composition - that characterises Kupferman's work. Poetics # 9 is a fairly straightforward little orchestral scherzo inspired by the Don Quixote story. The concerto uses the soloists - amplified to hold their own against orchestral textures, allowing a greater range of interaction between guitar and orchestra than is normally the case - in music of great dynamism, with a good deal of jazzy syncopated writing, which builds considerable excitement. The symphony really is, even though scored for just 6 players; a virtuosic celebration of instrumental technique that incorporates many expressive ideas and contrasts. Orquesta de Baja California; Eduardo Garcia Barrios, David Starobin, Owen Fader, Mark Delprioria, David Leisner (guitars), Manhattan Chamber Sinfonia; Glen Barton Cortese. Soundspells Productions CD124 (U.S.A.) 02A077 $16.98

DARON HAGEN: Night, Again, Concerto for Flügelhorn and Winds, Concerto for Cello and Winds, Sennets, Cortege and Tuckets. The title piece of the CD is an unnervingly vivid representation of the unsettling impressions of a lifetime insomniac in the small hours of the night. The flugelhorn concerto is a real crossover piece, using popular and film music influences in a luscious and appealing - and very clever - concert piece context. Sennets also pulls in a lot of references, some of them extramusical (Shakespeare. Monty Python. The University of Wisconsin. Yes, really) in a lighthearted and humorous piece based around the idea of trumpet-calls for various applications. The final work, like the first, is a more serious piece, which again evokes night visions and dreamlike (sometimes nightmarish) thoughts. The composer has a wonderful sense of instrumental color, and an accessible harmonic language. Vern Sielert (flügelhorn), Robert La Rue (cello), Baylor University Wind Ensemble; Michael Haithcock. Arsis CD 112 (U.S.A.) 02A078 $16.98

ANTHONY NEWMAN (b.1941): Absolute Joy. This oratorio deals with many facets of the subject of angelic manifestations, using texts from the Torah, the Bible, Milton, Blake, etc. Musically it is resolutely tonal, and many passages fit into a recognisably Bachian æsthetic, apart from the intrusion of some modern harmonies and instrumentation. The furthest it ever strays into the 20th century is occasionally to resemble Oedipus Rex, and that not for long. The music is attractive and ebullient, and the whole work is approachable and leaves an unfailingly positive and upbeat impression. Chorus and Orchestra of Musica Antiqua New York; Mary Jane Newman. Albany TROY 327 (U.S.A.) 02A079 $16.98

LARRY SITSKY (b.1934): Concerto for Violin, Orchestra and Female Voices "Mysterium Cosmographicum", Violin Concerto No. 3 "I Ching: The Eight Kua (Trigrams)". Sitsky is one of Australia's most prominent musical personalities as composer, pianist, and writer on music - he is a noted authority on Busoni. These concerti are played by the soloist for whom they were written. Sedivka has become an important part of Australian musical life since the 1960s when he arrived from Europe. Sitsky's concerti are very much vehicles for the soloist - not just in the sense of virtuosic showpieces, though there is virtuosity aplenty, but also in the degree to which they stretch the expressive capacity of the instrument, with little in the orchestra to rival the soloist's centre-stage position - indeed, much of the first concerto sounds like an extended accompanied cadenza. Thematically, the first concerto draws its material from Busoni's Doktor Faust (but not at all in the manner of a transcription like Ronald Stevenson's great Prelude Fugue and Fantasy - here structures and harmonies are all that is borrowed, and Sitsky's language is far more atonal, eclectic and fragmentary than Busoni's). The third concerto has a mystical quality and some inflections drawn from Chinese music, though as in the first, these are used as inspiration and influence, rather than direct quotations. Jan Sedivka (violin), Female Voices from the Tasmanian Opera Company Chorus, The Lyric Singers, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Vanco Cavdarski, Christopher Lyndon Gee. Tall Poppies TP124 (Australia) 02A080 $18.98

HUIB EMMER (b.1951): Crawling up the Wall for Instrumental Ensemble, Singing the Pictures for 10 Instrumentalists, Pulse Palace for Orchestra, Memory Drums for LOOS and Live Electronics. Emmer's inspirations, we are told, are drawn from such intriguing sources as B movies, the "cut-up" literary techniques of William Burroughs and Bryon Gysin, and visual influences such as demolished buildings or dramatic photographs of such scenes. So it comes as no surprise to discover that the music is a strident, even dissonant mechanism which nonetheless runs with the uncanny precision of a well-oiled machine. Think of a non-minimal Michael Nyman, with nastier harmonies. The monumental, block-like chordal structures, especially in the orchestral music encompasses a suggestion of Messiaen as well. The most recent work, Memory Drums uses electronics, and incorporates elements drawn from "techno" music - an unusually aggessive and politically incorrect piece of "crossover" music. Doelen Ensemble; Arie van Beek, Hoketus, Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra; Stefan Asbury, LOOS. Donemus CV 72 (Netherlands) 02A081 $18.98

MANUEL CASTILLO (b.1930): 5 Sonetos Lorquianos, Cello Concerto, Symphony No. 2. An important figure in his native land, Castillo has all the hallmarks of a world-class composer besides. Writing in a tonal, chromatic idiom - the Cello Concerto has much in common with the first of Shostakovich, for example - Castillo has produced a considerable body of work in most forms, of which we have a representative sample here. The 2nd Symphony is a strong and serious work, in which Busonian harmonic tension intermingles with the drive and economy of Shostakovich and an almost Nordic brooding intensity - the one thing that might be expected that the composer avoids is "local colour". In every way an intriguing and masterful composer. Manuel Cid (tenor), Pedro Corostola (cello), Seville Symphony Orchestra; Vjekoslav Sutej. Almaviva DS 0109 (Spain) 02A082 $18.98

GERALD BARRY (b.1952): String Quartet No. 1, Piano Quartet No. 2, Things that Gain for Piano, Water Parted for Counter-tenor and Piano, 5 Chorales for 2 Pianos, Before the Road for 4 Clarinets, ø for 2 Pianos. Barry specialises in aggressively modern music that is surprisingly simple, and therefore easily assimilated. For instance, in the Piano Quartet the opening consists of banged-out rhythms in semipitched clusters, based on the composer's childhood memories of Chopin waltzes. But the effect is of a percussion instrument playing pleasing rhythms. Elsewhere, Barry avoids complex modern harmony, often allowing intervallic harmonisation or even unison writing to underline his melodic material. Several of the pieces here are related to the composer's music for his opera The Intelligence Park, expanded or compressed and expressed through different instrumental media - for example, the Chorales for two pianos correspond to texts in the opera (which are reproduced in the booklet). The Xenia Ensemble, Gerald Barry (piano), Kevin Volans, (piano), Nicholas Clapton (counter-tenor), Catherine Edwards (piano), Kevin Volans & Gerald Barry (pianos), Clarinet Quartet. Black Box BBM1011 (England) 02A083 $16.98

Contemporary Irish Works for Strings

GERALD BARRY (b.1952): La Jalousie Taciturne, RAYMOND DEANE (b.1953): Dekatriad, FERGUS JOHNSTON (b.1959): "Je goûte le jeu...", JOHN BUCKLEY (b.1951): Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Strings, FRANK CORCORAN (b.1944): Mikrokosmoi (Scenes from My Receding PAST...), ELAINE AGNEW (b.1967): Strings A-Stray. Both the Deane and the Johnston make use of unusual scales, giving them an oddly alien yet recognisable tonality. In the case of the Deane this manifests as rich but strange harmony; the Johnston is less concerned with harmony and more with the fluid movement of thematic material via irregular meters, glissandi and a kind of structured organic growth. Buckley's flexible and energetic concerto maintains an extraordinary momentum throughout, seeming to be conceived and delivered in one breath. Barry uses string clusters as a semi-tuned percussion instrument, alternating with pointillistic pizzicati of the utmost delicacy. Corcoran's Mikrokosmoi is the only piece here that makes explicit reference to traditional Irish melodies, recasting them in a modern vocabulary to fascinating effect. The Agnew is vigorous and percussive, from a process-music æsthetic, but with something of dance music through the ages suggested intriguingly throughout. Irish Chamber Orchestra; Fionnuala Hunt. Black Box BBM1013 (England) 02A084 $16.98

GERARD SCHURMANN (b.1929): Piano Quartet No. 2, ERWIN SCHULHOFF (1894-1942): Sextet for Strings, BÉLA BARTÓK (1881-1945): String Quartet No. 2, Op. 17. Schurmann's work is somewhat romantic in conception and language, though with a tough edge that suggests Prokofiev. There is lyricism aplenty, and the composer plainly revels in the opportunity to dress up broad melodic ideas in astringent modern harmonies. Schulhoff went through so many stages of self re-invention that it is important to know of any particular work which period it hails from: the answer in the case of the Sextet is the early Schoenberg period; this piece is not a million miles from Schoenberg's D minor Quartet or Verklärte Nacht. Los Angeles Piano Quartet, Carmit Zori, Ayako Yoshida (violins), Katherine Murdock, Nicole Divall (violas), Christopher Costanza, Peter Rejto (cellos), Chicago String Quartet. Arizona Friends of Chamber Music F98 (U.S.A.) 02A085 $16.98

WILLIAM THOMAS MCKINLEY (b.1938): Concerto Domestica for Trumpet, Bassoon and Orchestra, MARGA RICHTER (b.1926): Spectral Chimes/Enshrouded Hills - Muisc for 2 Orchestral Quintets and Orchestra, Quantum Quirks of a Quick Quaint Quark. Both of these composers fall, roughly speaking, into a classification that might be described as postmodern American romanticism - a description in which each word is of equal significance. The music is very American: McKinley's background in jazz assures us of this factor in his work, and while nothing is that explicit in Richter's music, it is nonetheless clearly cast in the same mold that gave us Howard Hanson, Samuel Barber, William Schuman At times suggesting Pettersson in her use of driving, even obsessive, ostinato patterns, Richter's Spectral Chimes is a work of considerable cumulative power. McKinley's updated "Sinfonia Domestica" - here a double concerto for trumpet and bassoon - is a lighter work, full of skillfully woven programmatic references to everyday events in the life of a married couple. Aside from jazz - mainly in the trumpet writing - occasionally McKinley sounds a little like recent John Adams, and the piece is attractive and approachable throughout. Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra; Gerard Schwartz. MMC 2066 (U.S.A.) 02A086 $16.98

SAMUEL BARBER (1910-1981): Piano Sonata, Op. 26, Excursions, Op. 20, Nocturne, Op. 33, 3 Sketches, Interlude I ("For Jeanne"), Ballade, Op. 46, Souvenirs, Op. 28. This valuable collection usefully assembles Barber's complete published output for solo piano. The famous and formidable Sonata and Excursions receive compelling performances, and there is much to enjoy in the smaller, early works, and the late, sombre and disturbed Ballade. While always eschewing the outrageous or avantgarde, Barber's musical language has an instantly identifiable personal stamp, and this is as evident in his piano music as anywhere else in his output. Daniel Pollack (piano). Naxos 8.559015 (New Zealand) 02A087 $5.98

GILBERT AMY (b.1936): Ecrits sur toiles for Reciter and Ensemble, ...d'un desastre obscur for Mezzo-Soprano and Clarinet, apres "...d'un desastre obscur" for Mezzo-Soprano and Ensemble, Echos XIII for Horn, Trombone, Harp, Piano and 9 Musicians, Variations for Flute, Clarinet, Cello and Piano, La variation Ajoutée for 17 Instruments and Tape. The composer has stated that he regards music as a "means of communication", and it is apparent that he takes this consideration very seriously, as his music succeeds in remaining lyrical and poetic even though his chosen idiom - post Webernian, utilising note-rows and incorporating innovative vocal and instrumental techniques and even electronic media (in La Variation Ajoutée) - is unmistakably and unashamedly modern. The two works from the 1980s - Ecrits, which uses texts of Rilke in which the poet describes and comments on paintings, and La Variation show a tendency in the direction of greater freedom, expansiveness and lyrical expressiveness, without any suggestion of retrograde thinking in historical terms. Jeanne-Marie Levy (mezzo), Dominique Reymond (reciter), Ensemble Orchestral Contemporain; Daniel Kawka. 2e2m 1015 (France) 02A088 $19.98

MAURO CARDI (b.1955): Manao Tupapau for Flute, Percussion, Tape and Live Electronics, e la notte rischiarava la notte for 3 MIDI players and Live Electronics, Fil rouge for Piano and String Trio, Trama for Solo Violin, Wind for Flute and Harp, The Spark to the Flame for 6 Instruments, Calendari Indiani for Soprano and 10 Instruments. Manao Tupapau opens with a burst of sonic virtuosity, and throughout the work both the instrumental and electronic components of the score teem with sonorous inventiveness. This kind of preoccupation with sound is typical of the composer's recent work, and accounts for the increasing appearance of electronic media in his music, but timbre, as well as a powerful kinetic dynamism permeates his works for conventional instruments as well, both recent (Fil rouge, 1997, for Piano Quartet) and earlier (Calendari Indiani, of 1990, which uses Native American folk texts woven into a rich tapestry of instrumental sound). Various soloists. BMG Ricordi CMRCD1053 (Italy) 02A089 $18.98

CESARE PICCO (b.1969): Lupa. Lupa is a ballet score for instrumental ensemble, based on a short story by Verga, adapted by Aurelio Grimaldi. The composer's note explains that he is "well acquainted with the story" - those of us who are not will find a synopsis in the booklet. Themes of family, love, and death are central to the action, and the composer uses musical themes to evoke Sicilian life, some obviously folk-like. There are minimalistic elements in Picco's style, popular elements and music-theatre, and the readiness with which the composer moves between diverse methods may be related to his success as a crossover artist in the fields of jazz and the avant-garde. This score is neither of these things, however; colorful and characterful, it succeeds admirably in creating a sense of place and telling a story. Sonata Islands Ensemble; Cesare Picco (piano). Agora AG 194.1 (Italy) 02A090 $16.98

HUBERT STUPPNER (b.1944): FolkSongs & Dances. Appealing and joyously tongue-in-cheek, these arrangements of folksongs and traditional dances from around Europe in styles which recall Weill and sometimes Bernstein are great fun to listen to, and have enough of a parodistic edge to avoid any suggestion of "Palm Court" gentility - or rather, they suggest it, and then promptly point out the leering gargoyles on the walls with an extravagant gesture. The folk melodies are presented unadulterated, so there is nothing avant-garde about the musical material, but the arrangements veer between cabaret, Broadway, and downright "popular", but all with the winking knowingness of a composer who knows his European art music from Mahler to Darmstadt. Sophisticated fun at its best. Nina Pawlowski, "Musica d'Oggi"; Hubert Stuppner. Agora AG 156.1 (Italy) 02A091 $16.98

ALESSANDRO MELCHIORRE (b.1951): Fables, That Time Invents, Ctonios for Contrabass and Electronics, Halos for Solo Violin, Terra Incognita for 11 Instruments and Live Electronics. A student of Ferneyhough, Melchiorre shares with his teacher a preoccupation with multi-layered textures in which the individual strands are themselves of considerable rhythmic complexity and instrumental virtuosity, and of necessity independent yet rigorously organised. The two compositions for solo instruments (the one, for double bass, with electronics, the one for violin without) also weave complex textures through the efforts of virtuoso performers. The most recent work, Terra Incognita marks something of a departure from the principles of his teacher, as Melchiorre allows the music more time to develop and places greater emphasis upon sound and the construction of "sound figures" or "objects" to be observed and appreciated by the listener in their own right. Nieuw Ensemble; Ed Spanjaard, Stefano Scodanibbio (contrabass), Irvine Arditti (violin), Elision Ensemble; Denis Cohen. BMG Ricordi CRMCD 1027 (Italy) 02A092 $18.98

GERHARD STÄBLER (b.1949): Co - wie Kobalt for Contrabass and Large Orchestra, Rachengold for Vocalists, Water Glass and Stopwatch, JC/NY for 3, 4, 5 or 7 Players with Manipulators and Public, Heiß! for Organ, [APPARAT] for Mixed Choir, Clarinet, Accordion, Contrabass and Percussion. The borderline between improvisation and annotated composition becomes blurred in these works, all of which contain aleatoric elements, several of which really are improvisations by the composer - on organ, or in John Cage-like "live events" in which everyday sounds produced by the performers are amplified and transmuted. The auditory equivalent of a surrealist canvas, or an absurdist theatre piece, in which nothing is explained but there are many symbols and images apparently demanding explanation, the whole is a sometimes humorous, sometimes disturbing collage of effects. Stefano Scodanibbio (bass), SWF Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden; Michael Gielen, Gabrielle Müller & Gerhard Stäbler (organ), Südfunk-Chor Stuttgart, Klangforum Wien; Kwamé Ryan. Col Legno 20021 (Germany) 02A093 $18.98

MANOLO SANLÚCAR (1903-1971): Aljibe: Sinfonía Andaluza. Aljibe is a large-scale concertante symphonic poem, subtitled Sinfonia Andaluza, and featuring the composer in this recording on his own instrument, the guitar, on which he has been a recognised virtuoso since childhood. As a flamenco guitarist, Sanlúcar absorbed the uniquely colorful idiom of the instrument; later as a composer of concert works featuring the guitar he contributed major works to the repertoire. More ambitious but no less colorful than the well-known Rodrigo works for this combination, Aljibe makes use of folk-like idioms, and incorporates voices and a second solo guitar into its vibrant texture. Manolo Sanlúcar, Isidro Muñoz (guitars), José Mercé, Charo Manzano (singers), Orquesta Ciudad de Málaga; Enrique García Asensio. ASPA Records A1AC0101 (Spain) 02A094 $17.98

RIC GRAEBNER: Venus in Landscape, Fulminar, Resurge, Divertimento of the Statues. All four of these tape works (dating from 1993-7) were originally conceived as the musical components of audio-visual works. Unlike many works for this medium, Graebner freely uses traditional compositional techniques including references to acoustic instruments as an anchor against which to gauge more recondite sounds; so the familiarly sensuous rubs shoulders with the eccentric, esoteric and astringent. Metier MSV CD92019 (England) 02A095 $17.98

Back catalogue METIER titles now available again:

HERBERT HOWELLS (1892-1983): Piano Quartet in A Minor, Op. 21, Phantasy String Quartet, Op. 25, Rhapsodic Quintet for Clarinet and String Quartet, Op. 31. Andrew West (piano), Michael Collins (clarinet), The Lyric Quartet. Metier MSV CD92003 (England) 02A096 $17.98

MICHAEL TIPPETT (1905-1998): Piano Sonata No. 3, JOHN MCCABE (b.1939): Fantasy on a Theme of Liszt, PAUL PATTERSON (b.1947): A Tunnel of Time, Op. 66, NIGEL CLARKE (b.1960): Solstice. Graham Caskie (piano). Metier MSV CD92004 (England) 02A097 $17.98

WILLIAM MATHIAS (1934-1992): String Quartet No. 1, Op. 38, String Quartet No. 2, Op. 84, String Quartet No. 3, Op. 97. Medea Quartet. Metier MSV CD92005 (England) 02A098 $17.98

ARNOLD BAX (1883-1953): Sonata for Flute and Harp, STEPHEN DODGSON (b.1924): Duo for Flute and Harp, HAMILTON HARTY (1879-1941): In Ireland, WILLIAM ALWYN (1905-1985): Naiades, NICHOLAS MAW (b.1935): Night Thoughts. Emily Beynon (flute), Catherine Beynon (harp). Metier MSV CD92006 (England) 02A099 $17.98

MICHAEL TIPPETT (1905-1998): Piano Sonata No. 2, NICHOLAS SACKMAN (b.1950): Piano Sonata, ROBERT SAXTON (b.1953): Chacony for Left Hand, JUSTIN CONNOLLY (b.1933): Sonatina in Five Studies, Op. 1. Steven Neugarten (piano). Metier MSV CD92008 (England) 02A100 $17.98

MICHAEL TIPPETT (1905-1998): Piano Sonata No. 4, ROBERT SAXTON (b.1953): Piano Sonata, COLIN MATTHEWS (b.1946): 11 Studies in Velocity, CONSTANT LAMBERT (1905-1951): Elegy. Nicholas Unwin (piano). Metier MSV CD92009 (England) 02A101 $17.98

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