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Symphonies Nos. 3 & 5

FERDINAND RIES (1784-1838): Symphony No. 3 in E Flat, Op. 90, Symphony No. 5 in D Minor, Op. 112. On last month's cover we had symphonies by an English composer known as the "English Beethoven" but whose music sounded instead Mendelssohnian. Here we have symphonies by a Beethoven pupil (who wrote six of his eight symphonies in England) and colleague whose music sounds, well, Beethovenian. There are hardly any symphonists of that period who could summon up the fierce emotional power which fuels Beethoven's symphonies and Ries may not have such well-springs of creative turbulence in his own soul but, especially in the fifth symphony, which opens with a seeming combination of the opening motives of the Eroica and the "Famous Fifth", he uses Beethoven's grammar and syntax and builds a symphonic structure that, while indebted to the master in its desire to make its discourse weighty and serious rather than lyrical, still speaks with its own voice. Ries was only 29 when he wrote it and Beethoven's Fifth only 5 years old - this is more a case of an admiring, talented young composer modelling himself on the "avant-garde" of the day than a plagiarist with little to say on his own behalf. We forget how radical Beethoven's music was to his contemporaries and thus, how bold Ries' emulation would have seemed. The third symphony dates from two years later (the symphonies are numbered in order of publication, not composition) is even more original as Ries simplifies his use of themes in a way foreshadowing Schumann. The language is more personal and the effect always interesting and entertaining. Along with Louise Farrenc's (08A001), these are the worthiest symphonic discoveries from the late Classical/early Romantic period to have emerged in our 18 months of stewardship of Records International. Zürich Chamber Orchestra; Howard Griffiths. CPO 999 547 (Germany) 01A001 $15.98

NICOLAI TCHEREPNIN (1873-1945): Narcisse et Echo, Op. 40. The follow-up to 1909's Le pavillon d'Armide, Narcisse et Echo was also premiered (in 1911) by the Diaghilev Ballet Company. Karsavina and Nizhinsky danced the leads but the ballet was criticized for being "static". Regardless of the dramatic movement, Tcherepnin's score is a masterful and atmospheric work, showing a mastery of magical orchestration (the composer was a Rimsky-Korsakov student) and opulent tone-colors which suggest Lyadov and Debussy. A wordless chorus is used to represent Echo - a touch used again (remembered) later by Ravel in Daphnis et Chloë. A valuable addition to our knowledge of ballet scores of the turn of the century. Hague Chamber Choir; Residentie Orchestra The Hague; Gennady Rozhdestvensky. Chandos 9670 (England) 01A002 $16.98

PHILIP SAINTON (1891-1967): Moby Dick. Unusually for a film composer, Sainton was allowed by director John Huston to spend time on location with the film crew to work out timings, sketch musical ideas and make notes. The result was one of the most thrilling, remarkable and unjustly neglected scores in film music: a gorgeous and shimmering rhapsody of the sea. The 18 pages of notes and stills from the film also include a foreword by Ray Bradbury (who wrote the screenplay). Moscow Symphony Orchestra; William T. Stromberg. Marco Polo 8.225050 (New Zealand) 01A003 $14.98

ERNST VON DOHNANYI (1877-1960): Symphony No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 9, American Rhapsody, Op. 47. Dohnanyi's youthful first symphony (1900) has its second recording less than six months after its first and Bamert's reading is broader and more intense than Botstein's on Telarc. The 1953 rhapsody opens with hints of The Star-Spangled Banner and has sequences of African- and Native American style melodies before closing with an Irish-style jig. Bamert plays it for all it's worth. BBC Philharmonic; Matthias Bamert. Chandos 9647 (England) 01A004 $16.98

MICHELE ESPOSITO (1855-1929): Three Ballades, A la memoria de Bellini, 5 Irish Folk Tunes, Preludes Nos. 1, 2, 4, 5 & 9, Impromptu, 3 Piano Pieces, A Village Fête, Rêverie, Noctune and Waltz, Remembrance, Visione. This Italian pianist, composer, conductor and teacher might seem to be an odd find for an English independent label but the connection proves to be Irish. Esposito spent 46 years as a professor at the Royal Irish Academy of Music (where Hamilton Harty was his most famous pupil) and his piano works prove to have diverse influences, from Schumann and Chopin to Brahms and even Debussy while his identification with Irish melodies is apparent in his arrangements of five folk tunes. Míceál O'Rourke (piano). Chandos 9675 (England) 01A005 $16.98

NIKOLAI MEDTNER (1880-1951): Sonata in A Minor, Op. 30, Forgotten Melodies, Opp. 39 & 40. Tozer's Medner cycle reaches Volume 6 with the tense and concentrated A minor sonata, and the misleadingly, or at least ambiguously titled cycles of Forgotten Melodies (is it possible that Medtner's reputation is less than the quality of the music suggests it should be because of easily misunderstood titles like this? The music is always more serious and weighty than these titles suggest). A case in point is Op. 39, which includes the 10-minute Sonata Tragica, which if it were by Rachmaninov - and it might well be - would be under the fingers of every young Romantically-driven virtuoso participating in our highly-publicised piano competitions. Geoffrey Tozer (piano). Chandos 9692 (England) 01A006 $16.98

GYÖRGY LÁNG (1908-1976): Concerto ebraico for Violin and Orchestra, Violin and Piano: The Death of the Faun, Chanson d'automne, Love Song of the Cricket, Fleur du délice. A Romantic composer who would have fit into music history more readily had he been born a half-century earlier, to say nothing of being spared the horrors of the war years (he was intgerned in work camps because of his Jewish orgins) Láng was quite prolific and wrote music for a wide variety of forces. This disc concentrates on music for violin solo, and includes his heartfelt Concerto ebraico, conceived out of the despair of the Jewish internees and based on traditonal melodies of Hebrew and Hungarian origin. The concerto is passionate and stands firmly in the grand romantic tradition, and it is especially affecting to hear music which wears its ethnic background so openly promote itself so proudly. The works with piano accompaniment suggest Sarasate, Wienawski or Ysäye, and are again highly romantic and technically challenging and accomplished. Marvellous unabashed romanticism, and a real pleasure to recommend. Leila Rásonyi (violin), Budapest Symphony Orchestra; Ury Mayer, Erika Mayer (piano). Hungaroton HCD 31767 (Hungary) 01A007 $16.98

VLADIMÍR SOMMER (b.1921): String Quartet No. 1 in D Minor, String Quartet No. 2. Thirty years separate these two works. The first quartet was a graduation piece, extensively reworked in the first few years of its existence and finally emerging in its current form as a fine, rather melancholy, romantic work; much of it could be by Franz Schmidt, with barely a concession towards modernism of any kind. The second 1uartet is unmistakably from the same pen, more harmonically adventurous, maybe more expressionistic, with greater use of dissonance, but nonetheless respecting traditional forms and harmonic relationships, and ultimately conveying layers and depths of emotional content as ably as the first. Panocha Quartet. Panton 71 0357 (Czech Republic) 01A008 $16.98

SERGEI PROKOFIEV (1891-1953): Suite from the Music for Eugene Onegin, Op. 71bis, Music from Hamlet, op. 77. Prokofiev's music for a stage production of Eugene Onegin (never produced, Prokofiev's music was orchestrated and published in 1973) is among his most lyrically romantic. This 42-minute suite can be enjoyed like a series of cues from film music, each of the characters having a leitmotiv and the action of Pushkin's poem easily followed. Hamlet (1938) is more dramatic - marches and fanfares, the eerie spectre of Hamlet's father's ghost wrapped around the four archaically tinged Ophelia songs. Ludmilla Koroleva (soprano), Boris Stetsenko (baritone), Blagovest Choral Ensemble, Moscow "Maly" Symphonic Orchestra; Vladimir Ponkin. Russian Season RUS 788027 (France) 01A009 $12.98

THÉODORE GOUVY (1819-1898): Electra, Op. 85 - Scène dramatique for Soloists, Choir and Orchestra. Premiered in 1888 in its German version (this is the first performance of the French version), Gouvy's telling of the Orestes/Electra revenge story is one of a remarkable series of dramatic cantatas written between 1876 and the year of his death. This is not Richard Strauss' Electra; ardently lyrical, rising not at all to any suggestion of hysteria, this 100 minute work is a fine example of the sort of musical drama which competed with opera for audience's attention during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The chorus acts as various characters in direct communication with the four soloists, who each have much heartfelt and lyrical music (Orestes' recognition scene, the largest of the work and its emotional center, is a particularly successful sequence which reaches quasi-operatic levels). 2 CDs. French-English texts. Françoise Pollet (soprano), Cécile Eloir (mezzo), Michael Meyers (tenor), Marcel Vanaud (bass), La Psallette de Lorraine, Ensemble vocal Ars Musica, Chur de l'Opéra de Nancy et de Lorraine, Orchestre Symphonique et Lyrique de Nancy; Pierre Cao. K617 092/2 (France) 01A010 $28.98

ERNEST CHAUSSON (1855-1899): Le Roi Arthus. Chausson's only competed opera occupied the composer for 10 years from 1885 and was only premiered four years after his death. One of the greatest of the French Wagnerian operas, the work has many paralells with Tristan. Focusing principally on the love affair between Guinevere and Lancelot, this work features a striking love duet in the second act which strongly recalls the same scene in Tristan and, though many Wagnerian features are evident, the highly chromatic writing is always Chausson's own and he does not use the leitmotiv technique. The latest in Schwann's series of live recordings from the Bregenz Festival. 3 CDs. French-English libretto. Susan Anthony (mezzo), Philippe Rouillon (baritone), Douglas Nasrawi (tenor), Sofia Chamber Choir, Chorus of the Russian Academy, Moscow, Vienna Symphony Orchestra; Marcello Viotti. Koch Schwann 3-6542-2 (Germany) 01A011 $50.98

JEAN HURÉ (1877-1930): Cello Sonatas in F, F Sharp Minor and in F Sharp Major. Huré was an accomplished organist and teacher whose life was complicated and eventually shortened by tuberculosis. His first cello sonata (1903) was dedicated to Casals and is a powerful and fiery expression of youthful emotion; the second, from 1906, is much more lyrical yet with the same rhythmic impetus underneath and the third and last (1909) has elements of both its predecessors, ending in a contemplative adagio. These are late Romantic works, untouched by Impressionism or Modernism, but still identifiably French in their clarity and general restraint of expression. Raphaël Chrétien (cello), Maciej Pikulski (piano). Daphénéo 9812 (France) 01A012 $18.98

BERTRAND ROTH (1855-1938): Gondoliera, Op. 1, Capriccioso, Op. 3/1, Gavottina, Op. 3/2, Serenade, Op. 4/2, Variationen über ein eigenes Thema im Volkston, Op. 20, Walzer, Nocturno, Op. 26/2, Degersheimer Weisen, Op. 23. The Swiss Roth was one of Liszt's late pupils, studying with the master from 1878-80. He earned praise as a soloist and, indeed, performed for most of the rest of his life as well as embarking on a career as a teacher and founder of a concert series in Dresden. He did not begin composing until he was almost 40 and left practically only songs and solo piano pieces. Although the works here span the period 1893-1927, they are all in a late 19th-century Romantic style, with little of Liszt in evidence. The main works are the 1911 variations, ceremonious, serious and austere, and the 1927 set of three pieces based on folk songs from Degersheim, his home town. The dissonance of the final Ländler is a reminder of the proximity in time of Godowsky's and Friedman's waltz paraphrases. Fritz Ruch (piano). Swiss Pan 510 380 (Switzerland) 01A013 $17.98

OTTO BARBLAN (1860-1943): 5 Stücke, Op. 5, Canon in C Minor, Op. 21/3, Toccata in G Minor, Op. 23, Chaconne über B-A-C-H in G Minor, Op. 10, Andante mit Variationen, in D, Op. 1, Fantasie in G Minor, Op. 16, Passacaglia in F Minor, Op. 6, Vaterlandshymne. Barblan, together with Ernest Ansermet, is credited with introducing much new music to Geneva. As a composer, he wrote mainly organ and choir music and this, the first CD devoted to his organ works, shows his veneration for Bach especially and, in his op. 1, for Mendelssohn. Indeed, all of these works have something of the neo-Baroque about them and make for an interesting recital for the collector of obscure organ music. Esther Sialm & Stephan Thomas (Kuhn/Goll organ of St. Martin's Church, Chur). Swiss Pan 510 307 (Switzerland) 01A014 $17.98

ALEXANDER GRIBOYEDOV (1795-1829): 2 Waltzes, VLADIMIR REBIKOV (1866-1920): Christmas Tree Waltz, Mazurka, VASILY KALINNIKOV (1866-1901): Nocturne, Elegy, MILI BALAKIREV (1837-1910): Polka, Islamey, ALEXANDER BORODIN (1833-1887): Petite Suite, ALEXANDER SCRIABIN (1872-1915): Mazurkas, Op. 25,/2&3, Désir, Op. 57/1, Caresse Dansée, Op. 57/2, MIKHAIL GLINKA (1804-1857): Barcarolle. This recital brings us several rarities: the waltzes by Gribodeyov (a poet and playwright) are classically based but with a tinge of Romantic lyricism; Rebikov's sad, bittersweet waltz comes from a children's opera and his mazurka is quite Tchaikovskian; Kalinnikov's two pieces are quietly yet strongly communicative. It is also good to have the Petite Suite in its original form, its blend of Russian and Orental melodies, chromaticisms and refined harmonies unmistakeably Borodin's. Vladimir Leyetchkiss (piano). Centaur CRC 2398 (U.S.A.) 01A015 $16.98

JOHANN LUDWIG BACH (1677-1731): Trauermusik. A scion of a minor branch of the Bach family, Johann Ludwig wrote this Funeral Music for the Duke of Sachsen-Meiningen in 1724. In three parts, it traces the path of the newly dead soul, step by step from it release from the "fetters and prison of life" through its ascent to heaven with the final part taken up by the thanks expressed by all souls taken into heaven. The music is highly sensitive to the words and the first part is full of baroque pathos. Choral sections are in a style similar to the famous Bach's cantatas while the arias are of an expressive, operatic character which makes us regret the entire loss of J.L.'s stage works. Each part opens and closes with a large chorus and Bach's use of double orchestra and double chorus throughout is highly effective. Mária Zádori (soprano), Lena Susanne Norin (alto), Guy de Mey (tenor), Klaus Mertens (bass), Rheinische Kantorei, Das Kleine Konzert; Hermann Max. Capriccio 10 814 (Germany) 01A016 $11.98

JOHANN LUDWIG BACH (1677-1731): Motets: Uns ist ein Kind geboren, Wir wissen, so unser irdisches Haus, Das Blut Jesu Christi, Ich habe dich ein klein Augenblick verlassen, Gott sei uns gnädig, Sei nun wieder zufrieden, Ich will auf den Herren schauen, Gedenke meiner, mein Gott. Bach's motets are plain and unpretentious, conservative throwbacks in an age when the cantata was supplanting this form but the very simplicity and unvarnished feeling in these motets offer a window onto the emotions and daily lives of the common citizens of Meiningen at the turn of the 18th century. Rheinische Kantorei; Hermann Max. Capriccio 10 560 (Germany) 01A017 $11.98

JOHANN HEINRICH ROLLE (1716-1785): Der Tod Abels. Rolle's "musical drama" dates from 1769 and is close in form to a (religious) Singspiel with recitatives and arias punctuated by choruses. Emphasizing the sensitive and the emotional in his music, the composer's work seems to anticipate the Romantic religious oratorios and, indeed, his religious dramas were often still performed in the 19th century. Harry van der Kamp (bass), Ingrid Schmidthüsen (soprano), Stephan Schreckenberger (bass), Rheinische Kantorei, Das Kleine Konzert; Hermann Max. Capriccio 10 825 (Germany) 01A018 $11.98

JOHANN CHRISTIAN BACH (1735-1782): Sinfonie concertanti, Vol. 4 - Oboe Concertos in F, T 290/7 and in F, T 287/4, Sinfonia concertante in B Flat for Piano, Oboe, Violin and Cello, T 289/7, Sinfonia concertante in D for 2 Flutes, 2 Violins and Cello, T 287/4. Lajos Lencsés (oboe), Budapest Strings. Capriccio 10 811 (Germany) 01A019 $11.98

JOHANN CHRISTIAN BACH (1735-1782): Bassoon Concertos in E Flat, CW 36/139 and in B Flat, CW 36/195, JAN ANTONÍN KOÎELUH (1738-1814): Bassoon Concerto in C. Milan Turkovic (bassoon), Budapest Strings. Capriccio 10 585 (Germany) 01A020 $11.98

Bach's sophisticated, brilliant and gently charming sinfonie concertanti are joined on these two discs by his only two oboe concertos and bassoon concertos, equally notable for their play of tone color, Italianate melodies and contrasting ideas. The Bohemian Kozeluh's concerto fits right in alongside with its fluent melodies and easy charm.

?WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART!: Quintet in B Flat for Oboe, Violin, 2 Violas and Cello after KV 458, Octet in E Flat for Oboe, Clarinet, Horn, Bassoon, Violin, Viola, Cello and Bass after KV 452, Clarinet Quartet in E Flat, KV deest. The fifth volume of MD&G's entertaining "is it Mozart or isn't it?" series contains two anonymous transcriptions: one of the third string quartet dedicated to Haydn and one of the quintet for piano and winds. In the latter, the addition of strings in place of the piano completely changes the character of the work with expanded tone color and a virtuosic violin part. The clarinet quartet may have been written by Fiala or Winter but , in any case, it's an enjoyable work which speaks a Mozartian language. Consortium Classicum. MD&G 301 0498 (Germany) 01A021 $17.98

GIUSEPPE TARTINI (1692-1770): Violin Concertos, Vol. 3 - in D, D 21 "Il Crudel", in G Minor, D 86, in G, D 72 and in A Minor, D 112. All but "Il Crudel" are world premiere recordings and all four of these works are believed to date stylistically from Tartini's early period (1721-35). The characteristic virtuoso writing, fanciful allegros (with some Vivaldian influence), intensely lyrical slow movements and unique melodic and harmonic developments whet the appetite for succeeding volumes of Tartini's 135 (!) violin concertos. L'Arte dell'Arco. Dynamic CDS 196 (Italy) 01A022 $16.98

FRANZ LACHNER (1803-1890): Frauenliebe und -leben, Op. 59, Neuer Frühling, Waldwärts, Op. 28/2, Die Seejungfern, Waldvöglein, Op. 28/1, Wanderers Gebet, Op. 27/2, Fragen, Op. 27/4, Herbst, Op. 30, HEINRICH PROCH (1809-1878): Das Alpenhorn, Op. 18, Die Mutter wird mich fragen, Op. 159, Unter den dunkeln Linden, Op. 122, Aria di Concerto, Op. 110, FRANZ SCHUBERT (1797-1827): Auf dem Strom, D 943. This ray of musical light not only brings us a whole collection of lieder accompanied by the inimitably rustic sound of the horn but also provides us with the only CD versions of any of Franz Lachner's lieder and introduces us to Heinrich Proch, a Viennese whose career was dominated by vocal music (he also wrote the texts for three of the four pieces recorded here). His works are placid and contemplative while Lachner's eight songs positively drip with a honeyed gemütlichkeit. German texts. Aríon Trio (Andrea Weigt, soprano; Stefan Henke, horn; Rainer Gepp, piano). Antes Edition 31.9120 (Germany) 01A023 $16.98

OTTO NICOLAI (1810-1849): Overtures to The Merry Wives of Windsor, Der Tempelritter and Die Heimkehr des Verbannten, Kirchliche Festouvertüre for Chorus, Organ and Orchestra, Trauermarsch, Fantasie et Variations Brillantes über ein Thema aus "Norma" for Piano and Orchestra. Although the Fantasie et Variations were just recently offered on an MG&G CD, this mid-priced release offers 45 minutes of other orchestral pieces, most of them new to CD and all showcasing Nicolai's stylistically broad pallette, from the Funeral March written for Bellini's 1835 funeral to the "Church Festival Overture" of 1844 (making a splendid, majestic noise) in the long tradition of German church music. Friedrich Höricke (piano), Cologne Radio Orchestra; Michael Jurowski. Capriccio 10 592 (Germany) 01A024 $11.98

CARL LOEWE (1796-1869): Die drei Wünsche, Op. 42. The only one of Loewe's six stage works to be published, "The Three Wishes" was produced in 1843 and is based on an Oriental fairy-tale. The singspiel has practically no recitatives, the action being carried on by cantabile arioso parts with everything from duets to a sextet and even ballet scenes. Loewe apparently wanted to use the work as a calling card for his complete repertoire of compositional ideas; the language is that of early Romanticism but the composer's models are Mozart and Spontini. A thoroughly charming work whose orchestration (and use of instrumental soloists to occasionally accompany arias) is a constant pleasure. 2 CDs. English synopsis; German libretto. Franz Hawlata (baritone), Regina Klepper (soprano), Hermine May (soprano), Florian Prey (tenor), Stuttgarter Choristen, Southwest German Radio Orchestra; Peter Falk. Capriccio 60 074 (Germany) 01A025 $16.98

FRIEDRICH KIEL (1821-1885): Missa solemnis, Op. 40, Ouverture à grand Orchestre, Op. 6. Kiel is definitely the most forgotten of Romantic composers to be receiving recordings lately. Not a word about him in the New Grove, a bare paragraph in Slonimsky, yet no less a figure than Hans von Bülow was effusive in praise for him (he wasn't wrong about Brahms, was he?). The mass is apparently from the 1860s (no date is given in the notes) and shows an integration of Romantic aesthetics (the Gloria opens with an almost Bacchanalian frenzy) with a dense, polyphonic complexity from the historical tradition of German church music and the chorus takes center stage throughout. The Mendelssohnian overture dates from the 1850s. Brigitte Lindner (soprano), Regine Röttger (mezzo), Elisabeth Graf (alto), Thomas Dewald (tenor), Karl Fäth (bass), Cologne Radio Choir, Cologne Radio Orchestra; Helmuth Froschauer. Capriccio 10 587 (Germany) 01A026 $11.98

VÁCLAV JAN TOMÁSEK (1774-1850): Eclogues, Op. 35, Nos. 2, 5 & 6, Op. 39, Nos. 3-6, Op. 47, Nos. 1, 2, 4 & 6, Op. 63, Nos. 1-6, Op. 66, No. 4 and Op. 83, No. 5. One of the most egregious gaping holes in the catalogues is now partially filled. Tomasek was one of the fathers of the short Romantic character piece, writing 42 Eclogues in seven sets as well as 15 rhapsodies and 3 Dithyrambs. The Eclogues are generally, light, lyrical pieces with some influence from folk melodies; many of the musical traits found in them anticipate Schubert's language, especially in his Impromptus. Given that Tomasek's first volume of Eclogues was published in 1807 - 20 years before Schubert's Impromptus - one can see the pioneering importance of this fine, neglected Bohemian composer. We can only hope for the symphonies and piano concertos! Milan Langer (piano). Panton 81 9006 (Czech Republic) 01A027 $16.98

GIOACHINO ROSSINI (1792-1869): Adina. This one-act work dates from 1818 (although not performed until 1826); its tone is rather sad, the tale telling of the slave-girl whom the Caliph wishes to marry but who flees with her one-time lover. Adina's music is elaborate and tender, the orchestration a pleasure. Susanne Blattert (mezzo), Olaf Haye (baritone), Eberhard Lorenz (tenor), Chorus and Orchestra of the Rossini Opera Festival Rügen; Wilhelm Keitel. Canterino 1082 (Germany) 01A028 $17.98

GIOACHINO ROSSINI (1792-1869): La Gazzetta. The plot here concerns an ambitious nobleman who advertises in the local newspaper for a husband for his daughter; the score borrows from La pietra del paragone and Il turco in Italia and its overture was rewritten for La Cenerentola! The twisted farcical plot is anchored by the buffo role of the nobleman and is a diverting look at fairly early (1816) Rossini. 2 CDs. Italian libretto. Eva Czapò (soprano), Giuseppe Baratti (tenor), Chorus and Orchestra of Swiss-Italian Radio; Bruno Rigacci. Nuova Era 1172 (Italy) 01A029 $33.98

LOUIS SPOHR (1784-1859): Piano Sonata in A Flat, Op. 125, Rondoletto, Op. 149, FRANZ SCHUBERT (1797-1828): Piano Sonata in D, D. 850. These are the only available recordings of Spohr's only two piano works. The sonata dates from 1843 and combines a plangent and mellow mien with outbursts of scintillating fingerwork and harmonic adventurousness while the 1848 Rondoletto sandwiches an intense middle section with a gracious and charming initial theme. Donald Isler (piano). KASP Records 57591 (U.S.A.) 01A030 $12.98

GAETANO DONIZETTI (1797-1848): Olivo e Pasquale. Donizetti's 1827 romantic comedy contrasts two brothers of opposing temperaments and centers on Olivo's attempts to marry his daughter to someone not her choice. 2 CDs. Italian libretto. Mario Chiappi (bass), Gastone Sarti (bass), Eva Czapò (soprano), Chorus and Orchestra of Swiss-Italian Radio; Bruno Rigacci. Nuova Era 1112 (Italy) 01A031 $33.98

FRIEDRICH KUHLAU (1786-1832): Piano Concerto in C, Op. 7, EDVARD GRIEG (1843-1907): Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 16. Kuhlau's 1810 concerto makes a welcome return to the catalogue, very much influenced by Beethoven's C Major piano concerto yet with its own freshness and grace. Amalie Malling (piano), Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra; Michael Schønwandt. Chandos 9699 (England) 01A032 $16.98

MUZIO CLEMENTI (1752-1832): Complete Piano Works, Vol. 13 - 3 Sonatas, Op. 40, in G, B Minor and D, Sonata in E Flat, Op. 41. Pietro Spada reaches Volume 13 of his extremely valuable complete edition of Clementi's sonatas here. What emerges, the more one becomes acquainted with Clementi's music, is the sophistication and emotional depth of his sonatas, once he had discarded his early galant style. The slow movements of many of these mature sonatas sound for all the world as though they might have come from Beethoven's pen, and the structure of the works suggests a romantic narrative aesthetic, a far cry from the bouncy little early-classical sonatas which actually form only a small part of Clementi's output. Pietro Spada (piano). Arts 47235 (Germany) 01A033 $10.98

RAFAEL KUBELIK - Historical recordings of Czech Baroque and Classical Music

FRANTI·EK IGNÁC TÒMA (1704-1774): Partita in D Minor, FRANTI·EK VÁCLAV MÍâA (1694-1744): Sinfonia in D, JAN DISMAS ZELENKA (1679-1745): Hipocondria, PAVEL JOSEF VEJVANOVSK (c.1640-1693): Sonata venatoria. Here is a collector's delight: 1946 recordings made by the great Czech conductor in his first flush of nationalistic activity after World War II, promoting Bohemian baroque and early Classical composers who would have been known to practically no one but music scholars at that time. These Ultraphon records have been carefully remastered and give an excellent sound picture; of course, the approach is relatively plush and well-upholstered with tempos much broader than would be the case even in the late 50s but Kubelik was obviously engaged in a labor of love and he has real feeling for the music - this is not like Knappertsbusch conducting Handel! Czech Philharmonic Orchestra; Rafael Kubelik. Supraphon SU 3381 (Czech Republic) 01A034 $10.98

BENEDEK ISTVÁNFFY (1733-1778): Messa dedicata al patriarcha Santo Benedetto, JOSEPH MARTIN KRAUS (1756-1792): Requiem. Hungaroton issued their first Istvánffy disc over a year ago, bringing to our attention a talented composer from rural Transdanubia who probably never set foot in Vienna and whose education is unknown. Only two of his masses survive and this is the second to be recorded: dating probably from the early 1770s, it is on a smaller scale than the Sancta Dorothea mass, forgoing a large-scale slow introduction by plunging right into matters and continuing with the wit, elegance and formal mastery which so struck us in his first recorded work. Pairing a mass by a Haydn contemporary with a work by a Mozart contemporary was a good idea; Kraus' Requiem dates from 1775 and is a youthful work, composed before he moved to Stockholm where he gained what fame he has today. The work combines an inspired Sturm und Drang sensibility with snatches of Mozartian grace and adds gratefully to the Kraus catalogue. Szilvia Hamvasi, Noémi Kiss (sopranos), Judit Németh (alto), Péter Drucker (tenor), István Kovács (baritone), Pál Benkö (bass), Purcell Choir, Orfeo Orchestra; Gyögry Vashegyi. Hungaroton HCD 31782 (Hungary) 01A035 $16.98

JOHANN NEPOMUK HUMMEL (1778-1837): Mandolin Sonata in C, Op. 37a, VINCENT NEULING (17??-18??): Mandolin Sonata in G, LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827): Sonatine in C Minor, WoO 43a, Adagio in E Flat, WoO 43b, Sonatine in C, WoO 44. This Italian instrument had its greatest popularity in the mid to late 18th century, where even such luminaries as Beethoven and Hummel wrote for it. As might be guessed, there is no great depth of feeling or pathos in these works, the mandolin being better at joyous dancing and wistful reflection, but the period instruments offer a window onto a short-lived musical genre which is never less than charming. Richard Walz (mandolin), Viviana Sofronitzki (fortepiano). Globe GLO 5187 (Netherlands) 01A036 $16.98

JOHANN CHRISTIAN BACH (1735-1782): Vauxhall Songs - 4 Collections. First recordings of a genre hitherto rather untouched - the songs composed for outdoor performance in one of London's pleasure gardens, where tradesmen and royalty mingled from six in the evening to ten or eleven at night listening to every sort of music from symphonies to choruses and songs. Unlike the simple strophic compositions of native English composers, Bach brought virtuoso operatic singing style to his songs. This collection of 15 composed between 1766 and 1779 contains a wide stylistic variety with much coloratura and other virtuosic demands and makes for a great introduction to this uniquely English Classical tradition. English texts. Mária Zádori (soprano), Capella Savaria; Pál Németh. Hungaroton HCD 31730 (Hungary) 01A037 $16.98

NICCOLÒ PAGANINI (1782-1840): Centone di sonate for Violin and Guitar (4 Sonatas), Romance in A Minor, Introduction and Variations on "Nel cor più non mi sento" for Solo Violin, Op. 38, Cantabile in D, Op. 17, Sonata in E Minor, Op. 3/6, Sonata concertata in A, Op. 61. By now most collectors will be aware of the large body of music by Paganini which uses the guitar. This collection not only provides fine performances of a selection of these pieces but includes a couple of versions of pieces by the great Czech violinist Váa PÞíhoda. Václav Hudeãek (violin), Lubomír Brabec (violin). Supraphon SU 3395 (Czech Republic) 01A038 $16.98

ELISABETH JACQUET DE LA GUERRE (c.1664-1729): Pièces de Clavecin (1687). Known to her contemporaries primarily as an astonishingly gifted improviser, Jacquet de la Guerre left behind few compositions which survived; this collection of four suites was believed lost until 1982 and is recorded in its entirety for the first time here. There are 35 independent dance pieces in all, with the occasional menuet or canarie joining the traditional allemande, courante, sarabande and gigue in a valuable look at what this female contemporary of Couperin was up to. Szilvia Elek (harpsichord). Hungaroton HCD 31729 (Hungary) 01A039 $16.98

FRIEDRICH KUHLAU (1786-1832): Theme and 9 Variations on the Celebrated Danish National Anthem in F, Theme and 8 Variations on an Old Danish Folk Song in D, 6 Divertissements en Forme de Valses, Theme and 11 Variations on an Old Swedish Folk Tune in E Minor, Introduction and Rondo Brilliant on Old Danish Melodies in D, Rondo on a Theme of Rode in A Minor. Titled "The Charms of Copenhagen", this collection concentrates on that early Romantic pianists staple: the Theme and Variations on a popular melody. Here they are all folk or national melodies and they have all the formidable glitter and sparkle which one would want, adding greatly to our very small recorded catalogue availability of Kuhlau's very large keyboard output. Thomas Trondhjem (piano). Rondo Grammophon RCD 8353 (Denmark) 01A040 $18.98

LEOPOLD KOZELUCH (1747-1818): Wind Symphony in D, Oktett concertant: Parthia in B Major, Sextet No. 3 in E Flat, Oktett: Parthia in F, Cassation in E Flat. Bright, spirited wind pieces of outdoors spirit and in the style of Haydn and Mozart in fresh performances from this group so resourceful in digging up works of neglected Classical composers. Consortium Classicum. Orfeo C 442 981 A (Germany) 01A041 $18.98

MÁRK RÓZSAVÖLGYI (1789-1848): First Hungarian Round Dance, Hear! Hear!, Slogan, Mazurka, Spur, Polonaise in A, Censorship, Sounds of Hope from the East, Uniting, Mazurka of Pétervár, Souvenir of Nógrád, Stinning Tune, Polonaise in C, Circle of Opposition, The Dream, Polonaise in G, Diet Dance. Rózsavölgyi was the outstanding representative of Hungarian verbunkos music, the dances used at recruitment events for the army, as well as a prolific composer of various other dance forms including Hungarian ballroom dances. This collection includes a wide variety of dance music which could have been heard in many venues of Hungarian life in the first half of the 19th century (and which would also have furnished Liszt with the basis for many of his Hungarian-inflected material), performed on period instruments. Festetics Quartet. Hungaroton HCD 31781 (Hungary) 01A042 $16.98

CHRISTOPH ERNST FRIEDRICH WEYSE (1774-1842): Piano Sonatas, Vol. 1 - in E Flat, in A, in F & in C. As is the case with his seven symphonies, most of Weyse's piano music is early. These four sonatas date from 1790-94 and show a young composer whose major influence is understandably the North German style descending from C.P.E. Bach. There is Haydenesque wit in some movements, much steely brilliance and, in some movements, a Beethovenian desire to make much out of small thematic units. That said, this is music firmly anchored in the late Classical period with no hints of incipient Romanticism. Morten Mogensen (piano). Kontrapunkt 32284 (Denmark) 01A043 $16.98

IGNAZ JOSEPH PLEYEL (1757-1831): Piano Trios in G, Op. 16/1, in E Minor, Op. 16/5, Grand Trio in D, Op. 29. Another Mozart contemporary begins to be seen more clearly with this new recording. Pleyel's op. 16 dates from 1788 and the style is very close to Haydn's works for the same combination - violin most important, cello doubling piano left-hand. The Grand Trio of around 1795 is a different matter, its incisive allegro, warmly lyric andante and playful and charming rondo of an almost Mozartian affect. Trio Joachim. Dynamic S 2017 (Italy) 01A044 $13.98

JEAN-FRÉDÉRIC EDELMANN (1749-1794): Harpsichord Sonatas in D, Op. 1/3, in A, Op. 1/4, in F Sharp, Op. 1/6, in C, Op. 2/1, in F, Op. 2/2, in B Flat, Op. 2/6 and in C, Op. 2/3. This world-premiere recording rehabilitates the memory of a Strasbourg musician guillotined during the Reign of Terror and condemned by later commentators (wrongly, as it turns out) for treachery leading to the deaths of others. Edelmann was one of the piano's premier supporters in France and he produced a significant series of keyboard works which are passionate, theatrical and expressive - prophetic, even of early Romanticism (he was also praised by the 21-year-old Mozart about the time these pieces were composed). The pieces recorded here date from 1775 and 1776 and will appeal to anyone who is interested in this period of French music, much of which still is murky and unknown. Sylvie Pecot-Douatte (harpsichord). Calliope CAL 9237 (France) 01A045 $17.98

MIKHAIL GLINKA (1804-1857): Complete Piano Music, Vol. 2 - Variations on an Original Theme in F, Variaitons on a Theme from the Opera "Faniska" by Cherubini in B, Variations on the Romance "Benedetta sia la madre" in E, Variations on the Russian folk-song "In the Shallow Valley" in A Minor, Variazioni brillanti on a Theme from the Opera "Anna Bolena" by Donizetti in A, Variations on 2 Themes from the Ballet "Chao-Kang" in D, Rondino brillante on a Theme from the Opera "I Capuleti e i Montecchi" by Bellini in B Flat, Variations on a Theme from the Opera "I Capuleti e i Montecchi" by Bellini in C, Variations on the Song "The Nightingale" by Alexander Alyabiev in E Minor. The second of three volumes of Glinka's solo piano music concentrates on variations written between 1822 and 1834. The earliest have a elegant nobility and simplicity reminiscent of John Field (from whom Glinka took some classes while at university) while the later ones, dating from the composer's sojourn in Italy are more brilliant, imitating the voices of the famous singers of the day in the famous operas by Donizetti and Bellini. Victor Ryabchikov (piano). BIS CD-980 (Sweden) 01A046 $17.98

BALDASSARE GALUPPI (1706-1785): Il mondo della luna. This is the 41st of Galuppi's 101 stage works, dating from 1750, the beginning of a decade in which he was the most popular opera composer in Europe (he and Carlo Goldoni, who provided the libretti for many of his works, are credited with the invention of the ensemble finale which was widely imitated, not least by Mozart and Haydn). A clever satire on contemporary relationships and customs, the institution of marriage and human pretension and falsehood, the work is typical of Galuppi's early drammi giocosi with expressiveness achieved via melodic and textural change, with words shaping musical form. 3 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Giorgio Gatti (baritone), Gastone Sarti (baritone), Paola Antonucci (soprano), Patrizia Cigna (soprano), Entermusica Ensemble; Franco Piva. Bongiovanni GB 2217/19 (Italy) 01A047 $50.98

ANTONIO VIVALDI (1678-1741): La Griselda. Set by no fewer than 15 composers in the first two decades of the 18th century, this tale (which goes back to versions in both The Canterbury Tales and Il decamerone) of a king's cruel tests of his peasant wife to prove to his rebellious nobles her suitability to be queen was revised, augmented and rearranged by the young Goldoni to Vivaldi's instructions. There is much vocal viruosity and pictorial writing with a relentlessly rhythmic aria for Griselda at the end of Act I and a fine trio which closes Act. II. 3 CDs for the price of 2. Italian libretto. Maria Gabriella Cianci (soprano), Elizabeth Lombardini-Smith (mezzo), Gabriella Morigi (soprano), Soloists Montpellier-Moscow; Francesco Fanna. Agora AG 091.3 (Italy) 01A048 $33.98

CZESLAW MAREK (1891-1985): Polish Hymn, Death Melody, Greeting, A Look Backwards - all for Male Chorus a cappella, 7 Songs for High Voice and Orchestra, Op. 30, 7 Songs for High Voice and Orchestra, Op. 34. This disc brings us to Volume 3 of Koch's invaluable series of the orchestral works of Marek, a composer scandalously neglected on recordings until Ronald Stevenson presented an early masterwork on a recital disc in the early 1990s. Unabashedly Romantic and tonal in idiom, Marek's music brings to mind Pfitzner and Franz Schmidt, and does not suffer by the comparison. The Rural Scenes for soprano and orchestra share the atmospheric tone-painting of Strauss' Four Last Songs and are quite masterly in both their vocal writing and imaginative and unobtrusive orchestration. Aficionados of European post-Mahlerian high romanticism will not want to miss this one. German-English texts. Elzbieta Szmytka (soprano), The Philharmonia Chorus and Orchestra; Gary Brain. Koch Schwann 3-6441-2 (Germany) 01A049 $16.98

LEOS JANÁCEK (1854-1928): Sounds in Memory of Förchtgott-Tovaãovsk for 3 Violins, Viola and Cello, Ave Maria for Male Chorus a cappella, 3 Speech Melodies, Zdrávas Maria for Soprano, Mixed Chorus, Violin and Organ, To the Mrtík Brothers for Piano, To Retired Teachers after 50 Years of School-Leaving Examinations for Male Chorus a cappella, String Quartet No. 2 "Intimate Letters" for 2 Violins, Viola d'Amore and Cello. Janácek's second quartet was originally titled "Love Letters", and in keeping with that idea, was written with viola d'amore instead of the normal viola. The change was made only later when the composer was rehearsing with the Moravian quartet. This original version also shows some differences, both minor and more substantial, with the version now performed, changes which may have been made by Janácek himself or by other hands after his death and before the work's premiere. Also included are a number of brief works, including the 1875 Sounds..., composed while still at the Prague Organ School and violinist Iva Bittová's three "arrangements" for violin, small percussion instruments and voices of speech melodies noted down by the composer in Hukvaldy between 1898 and 1899 (a complete edition is on its way). Fascinating byways here in this fourth volume of Supraphon's "The Unknown Janácek". John Anthony Calabrese (viola d'amore), members of the Kubín Quartet and other artists. Supraphon SU 3349 (Czech Republic) 01A050 $16.98

FERRUCCIO BUSONI (1866-1924): Elegy in E Flat Minor from Suite, Op. 10 for Clarinet and Piano, Serenade No. 2 for Clarinet and Piano, Variationen über ein Minnesägerlied aus dem 13. Jahrhundert, Op. 22, Märchen for Cello and Piano, Duo in E Minor for 2 Flutes and Piano, Op. 43, Serenata in B for Cello and Piano, Op. 34, 4 Bagatelles for Violin and Piano, Op. 28, Kultaselle for Cello and Piano, Albumblatt for Flute and Piano, Elegie for Clarinet and Piano, Divertimento in B for Flute and Small Orchestra, Op. 52. Excellent: the Busoni discography is extended once again. Not that any of these chamber works was ever exactly over-represented in the catalogue. To be fair, Busoni's chamber music is for the most part the most conventional part of his output, but it is good to have, for example, the beautifully crafted Variations available, so that we can marvel at the easy virtuosity with which the gifted young composer emulated his classical models while beginning already to hint at the Faustian contrasts and contradictions with which his fully mature works were to be increasingly preoccupied. This disc affords a fascinating glimpse of an extraordinary prodigy on the brink of a level of innovative greatness which may yet come to be recognised as unique in our century; not there yet, but disturbingly foreshadowing the lofty ideals soon to be approached. Michael Faust, Vukan Milin (flutes), Reiner Wehle (clarinet), Matthias Lingenfelder (violin), Françoise Groben (cello), Ira Maria Witoschynskyj (piano). Capriccio 10 794 (Germany) 01A051 $11.98

JOSEPH BONNET (1884-1944): In Memoriam "Titanic", Op. 10/1, Poèmes d'automne, Op. 3, Ariel, Op. 10/2, Légende symphonique, Op. 5/10, Intermezzo, Op. 5/7, Dieuxième légende, Op. 7/10, Chant triste, Variations de concert, Op. 1. Bonnet was a student of Guilmant and had a very successful career as a soloist both in Europe and in North America. All of his compositions are youthful works, written prior to 1915; his pictorial and evocative memorial to the victims of the Titanic disaster is full of atmosphere, as are all of these selections, from the pastoral charm of the "Autumn Poems" to the large-scale Légende symphonique. A new page for the catalogues of collectors of French organ music. Vincenzo Ninci (organ of St. Antoine des Quinze-Vingt, Paris). Dynamic CDS 230 (Italy) 01A052 $16.98

ERNESTO LECUONA (1895-1963): Danzas cubanas, 19th Century Cuban Dances, Polka de los Enanos, Crisantemo, Vals del Sena, Vals del Nilo, Zambra Gitana, Aragonesa, Granada, Aragón (Vals España). Another sparkling recital of the music of the "Cuban Gershwin", with the 10 19th Century Cuban Dances a delighful collection of popular character pieces. Cristiana Pegoraro (piano). Dynamic S 2019 (Italy) 01A053 $13.98

JEAN LANGLAIS (1907-1991): 8 Chants de Bretagne, Cantique, Complaint de Pontkalleg, Pour une Sainte de légende, Offertoire, Nativité. This enterprising release collects together the works inspired by Breton songs with a Breton vocalist singing the songs unaccompanied before each organ version, allowing the listener to clearly hear the melody before Langlais colors it with characteristic dense harmony or decorates it with fine ornaments. Andréa Ar Gouilh (voice), Jacques Kauffmann (Cavaillé-Coll organ of l'Eglise Sainte-Croix de Saint-Servan). Skarbo D SK 1973 (France) 01A054 $16.98

HENRY HADLEY (1871-1937): Piano Trio, Op. 132, DANIEL G. MASON (1873-1953): Sentimental Sketches, Op. 34, CHARLES WAKEFIELD CADMAN (1882-1946): Piano Trio in D, Op. 56, ERNEST BLOCH (1880-1959): 3 Nocturnes. Hadley and Mason's works receive first recordings here and the disc as a whole provides a useful look at a generation of late American Romantic composers. The Hadley dates from 1936 and is a conservative work in late Straussian idiom while Mason's four sketches (1935) are sentimental, nostalgic Americana based on simple, folk-like themes. Cadman, known for his study and use of American Indian themes, uses none in this trio from 1914 which instead is a fine piece of late European Romanticism. Bloch's brief Nocturnes are the most striking works here, neo-classical pieces from 1924 which carry a lot of emotional weight in a brief time-span. The Rawlins Piano Trio. Albany TROY 305 (U.S.A. ) 01A055 $16.98

SAMUEL COLERIDGE-TAYLOR (1875-1912): Fantasiestücke for String Quartet, Op. 5, 5 Negro Melodies for Piano Trio, Op. 59/1, Nonet in F Minor, Op. 2. The 20-year-old Coleridge-Taylor's Fantasiestücke are a gorgeous set of five pieces steeped in a Dvorakian folk-imbued Romanticism. The Nonet (winds, strings and piano) is a year earlier and Dvorak's influence is, if anything, greater - understandably so as the Bohemian composer had made a visit to London while Coleridge-Taylor was a student at the Royal College of Music. The Negro Melodies are from a group of 24 written for piano in 1904 (these were transcribed in 1906) and are rich, evocative and expressive elaborations of four spirituals and one South African song. All are premiere recordings and are further testimony to the still underappreciated talent of this fine composer. The Coleridge Ensemble. AFKA SK-543 (U.S.A.) 01A056 $15.98

VÍTEZSLAV NOVÁK (1870-1949): Youth, Op. 55, Reminiscences, Op. 6, Songs on Winter Nights, Op. 30. These three works provide an overview of Novák's entire career: the Reminiscences youthful works full of passion, composed in 1894 and in the Schumann-Liszt school of turbulent Romanticism; the Songs on Winter Nights (1903) a souvenir of the composer's discovery of a distant area of Slovakia where he became enchanted by the inhabitants folk songs and speech melodies, leading to a life-long use of Slovak elements in his music; and the 1920 suite (his last work for solo piano) which contains 21 pieces of charming, often slightly melancholy evocations of youth as remembered in middle-age, still with much Slovak folk music (and ending with three brilliant folk dances). Martin Vojtíek (piano). Panton 81 9007 (Czech Republic) 01A057 $16.98

JOAQUÍN TURINA (1882-1949): Dedicatoria, Nunca olvida, Cantares, Los dos miedos, Las locas pro amor, Rima, Saeta en forma de Salve, Farruca, El Fantasma, La Giralda, JOAQUÍN NIN (1879-1949): Canciones populares españolas, ENRIC MORERA (1865-1942): Melangia, XAVIER MONTSALVATGE (b.1912): 5 canciones negras. Much rarely heard Spanish song is revived here in transcriptions for soprano and cello ensemble (fair enough when one notes that some of Nin's songs have been recorded in transcriptions for string instrument and piano). Montsalvatge's Afro-Cuban saturated set is perhaps the most familiar; Nin's seven songs are part of a 1924 cycle which used existing Spanish folk songs; Turina's come from across the breadth of his uvre, again based on Spanish and Catalan folk material while Morera's piece, composed around 1900 and in the late Romantic idiom of Wagner and Strauss, was written for cello ensemble and dedicated to Casals. Spanish texts. Young Hee Kim Peral (soprano), Cello Octet Conjunto Iberico. Channel Crossings CCS 13298 (Netherlands) 01A058 $17.98

HUBERT PARRY (1848-1918): Songs of Farewell, Part-Songs: There rolls the deep, If I had but two little wings, Love is a sickness, Tell me, O love, Phillis, How sweet the answer, What voice of gladness, My delight and thy delight, La belle dame sans merci, Sorrow and Pain, Music, when soft voices die. Belying the Victorian stereotype of buttoned-up repression, Parry's Songs of Farewell contain some of his most achingly personal, deeply moving music. The accompanying part-songs, while not as intense, are just as satisfying and provide a valuable comparison to Elgar's works in the same genre. The Rodolfus Choir; Ralph Allwood. Herald HAVPCD 217 (England) 01A059 $18.98

WILHELM STENHAMMAR (1871-1927): 6 Songs, TURE RANGSTRÖM (1884-1947): 8 Songs, PETER HEISE (1830-1879): 11 Songs. Although this release contains neither texts nor translations, we offer it for those of our customers who specialize in Scandinavian Romanticism, from Heise's mostly strophic, backward-looking pieces to Rangström's romantic works, some infused with a heady nature mysticism. Margit Mørkve (soprano), Per Arne Frantzen (piano). Pro Musica PPC 9036 (Norway) 01A060 $19.98

BED¤ICH SMETANA (1824-1884): Piano Works, Vol. 4 - 4 Polkas, 3 Impromptus, The Curious One, 6 Characteristic Compositions, Op. 1, Duet, Forest Impressions and Emotions, Romance in G Minor. These are predominantly youthful and practically unknown works: the 1841-2 Impromptus are modelled after Schubert (appealingly so) and the 1848 op. 1 is an homage to Schumannian turbulent Romanticism while the polkas (from the 1850s) cover a wide array of emotional territory. Ivan Klansky (piano). Kontrapunkt 32276 (Denmark) 01A061 $16.98

JOHANN SVENDSEN (1840-1911): Symphonic Prelude to "Sigurd Slembe", Op. 8, Last Year I Was Tending the Goats, Op. 31, Norwegian Rhapsodies Nos. 1-4, Opp. 17, 19, 21 & 22. Svendsen's ever-fresh Norwegian Rhapsodies are joined by two items new to CD - the op. 31 small set of variations on a Norwegian folk-song and 1872's programmatic overture based on a Norwegian medieval hero of the restless, wandering, fighting mode so popular in Romantic art. Latvian National Symphony Orchestra; Terje Mikkelsen. La Vergne Classics 260748 (Germany) 01A062 $17.98

RENÉ EESPERE (b.1953): Concerto ritornello for Chamber Orchestra, Concerto for Flute and Chamber Orchestra, Concerto for Viola and Chamber Orchestra. Eespere's music has somewhat in common with that of Arvo Pärt - works like Fratres in particular. The earliest work here - the Concerto ritornello - has an affinity with Baroque forms, and a minimalist bounce and momentum; the later works are more reflective, meditative, Pärt-like. Throughout the language is tonal and the works are very approachable and rather moving in their simplicity and directness of emotional utterance. Neeme Punder (flute), Jouko Mansnerus (viola), Hortus Musicus Academic Orchestra; Andres Mustonen. Antes Edition 31.9129 (Germany) 01A063 $16.98

RAIMO KANGRO (b.1949): Clicking Symphony, Op. 49, URMAS SISASK (b.1960): Comet Hyakutake, TÕNU KÕRVITS (b.1968): The Unforgettable, YASUO KUWAHARA (b.1946): The Song of Japanese Autumn, EDVARD GRIEG (1843-1907): Norwegian Dances, Op. 35. This disc presents music written for an orchestra of plucked instruments, and the conductor's arrangement of the Grieg Op. 35, an interesting curiosity that works surprisingly well on account of the "folky" sound of the ensemble - balalaikas, mandolins and the like - imparts an appropriately rustic air to Grieg's familiar music. The Korvits is also folk-like, tonal, easy-going and pastoral in mood. Also tonal-modal, gentle and picturesque is the Kuwahara, subtle and delicate wash paintings as implied by the title. The Sisask and Kangro works sound more modern - minimalist in the case of the Sisask, and in the Kangro - the most ambitious work here - the addition of some percussion and occasional striking dissonances lend an almost Bartókian feel to the motoric and momentum-filled composition. Mülheim Zupforchester; Detlef Tewes. Antes Edition 31.9128 (Germany) 01A064 $16.98

THEODORE ANTONIOU (b.1935): Circle of Thanatos and Genesis for Narrator, Tenor, Orchestra and 4 Percussion Groups, East-West for Chamber Orchestra, Ode for Soprano and Chamber Orchestra, Chorochronos II for Baritone, Chamber Orchestra and 2 Percussion Groups. Antoniou's music is concerned with bridging gaps in time and space: in Circle, the words of the old Orthodox Mass are immersed in modern orchestral sounds; in Ode, an ancient Greek poem is presented in a modern composer's search for ancient timbres and sounds; in East-West, the sounds of Byzantine music collide with Chinese sounds. The music is powerfully communicative and vibrates with inner tension in a musical language which, while echoing Ligeti or Messiaen here and there, is grippingly personal. Plamen Atanasov Prokopiev (tenor), Iliana Selimska (soprano), Peter Odajiev (baritone), Symphony Orchestra of Bulgaria; Alkis Panayotopoulos. Agora AG 153.1 (Italy) 01A065 $16.98

MINAS ALEXIADIS (b.1960): Cantus infirmus, DIMITRIS DRAGATAKIS (b.1914): Essay, JACOVOS HALIASSAS (b.1920): Horizons, PERICLIS KOUKOS (b.1960): In memoriam Y.A. Papaioannou, DIMITRIS MARAGOPULOS: Efesos, HARIS XANTHOUDAKIS (b.1950): Terra Dove, SAVVAS ZANNAS (b.1952): Kalanda. The common thread running through this collection of orchestral works by contemporary Greek composers - apart from the strikingly high quality of the music - is the seriousness of purpose and gripping play of tensions that all the composers achieve, whatever their chosen vocabulary. Haliassas' music is probably the most apparently atonal, but even here the shifting dissonances produce a sense of movement through harmonic tension - none of the works here rely on sonorous effect alone to make their point, though there is sonorous orchestration aplenty. The Dragatakis and Koukos works are especially powerful and emotionally gripping. Carlsbad Symphony Orchestra; Byron Fidetzis. Agora AG 135.1 (Italy) 01A066 $16.98

ANDRÉ JOLIVET (1905-1974): Concertino for Trumpet, Strings and Piano, Trumpet Concerto No. 2, EDISON DENISOV (1929-1996): Con Sordino for Trumpet and Piano, JAAN RÄÄTS (b.1932): Concerto for Trumpet, Piano and Strings, Op. 92, DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975): Concerto No. 1 for Piano, Trumpet and Strings, op. 35. The combination of piano, trumpet, and string orchestra is an especially, perhaps surprisingly, successful one, allowing the composer ample opportunities for aggression, tenderness, pathos and wit. The Jolivet continues where Shostakovich left off, and resembles the earlier work to a degree. His second concerto (which features the piano as a member of the extensive percussion section) is jazzy and vital, with a large jazz ensemble feeling that recalls the Milhaud of La Création . . . The rhythmically vital Rääts is a whirlwind of motoric excitement, and builds a real momentum throughout its quarter-hour span. Reinhold Friedrich (trumpet), Thomas Duis (piano), Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin; Lutz Köhler. Capriccio 10 575 (Germany) 01A067 $11.98

TORU TAKEMITSU (1930-1996): Between tides for Piano Trio, Landscape I for String Quartet, Distance de fée for Violin and Piano, Rocking mirror daybreak for Violin Duo, Hika for Violin and Piano, A Way a Lone for String Quartet. Takemitsu's subtle, understated style of composition is well suited to the medium of small chamber ensembles, and all of these wistful, impressionistic pieces, in which even the composer's characteristic gentle dissonances sound muted and coloristic, rather than shocking or confrontational, resonate with a restrained beauty, like the French Impressonist works that they sound like updates of. Takemitsu was always a master of color and shading, and these works all show these traits to great advantage. Ensemble Kaï. BIS CD-920 (Sweden) 01A068 $17.98

MARCO DI BARI : 6 Studi nuovo-classici sulla fisiologia della percezione, Prima Sonata for Piano (with Celesta, Bells, Tam Tam and Gong), (Un)Heavenly Lullaby, Prelude No. 1 for Piano, Frammento Primo for Soprano, Piano and Live Electronics. There is something of Nono and something of Webern in Di Bari's spare yet event-filled, pointillistic music - and definitely echoes of Messiaen in his piano textures and coloristic harmonic effects, especially evident in the Six Studies. The extension of the timbral possibilities of the piano through the addition of percussion or live electronics again brings to mind Nono, or possibly even John Cage, with great emphasis being placed on isolated "sound events" with their own significance frozen in, or isolated out of, time. Luisa Castellani (soprano), Massimiliano Damerini (piano). BMG Ricordi CRMCD 1052 (Italy) 01A069 $18.98

KATHERINE HOOVER (b.1937): 2 Sketches, Eleni: A Greek Tragedy, Double Concerto for 2 Violins and Orchestra, Night Skies. Hoover is a versatile composer of vivid and colorful scores, whether using idioms drawn from Greek folk music to set the scene for her "Greek Tragedy", which has the poignancy and drama of the best film music, but without requiring a visual component to justify its existence, or writing a purely orchestral score with powerful visual, even programmatic overtones, as in Night Skies an intensely evocative symphonic nocturne with something of Vaughan Williams Antartica about it, something of Sibelius, and perhaps an obsessiveness reminiscent of Pettersson. Ms Hoover's music certainly grabs the listener's attention and relinquishes it only reluctantly. David Perry, Suzanne Beia (violins), Wisconsin Philomusica; Vartan Manoogian, Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra; Joel Eric Suben. Parnassus PACD 96019 (U.S.A.) 01A070 $14.98

WENDELL LOGAN (b.1940): Roots, Branches, Shapes and Shades (of Green) for Piano and Orchestra, T.J. ANDERSON (b.1928): Chamber Concerto (Remembrances), LEROY JENKINS (b.1932): Wonder Lust for Violin, Saxophone and Orchestra, DOLORES WHITE: Crystal Gazing, DAVID BAKER (b.1931): Parallel Planes for Saxophone and Orchestra. This exhilarating collection of works by African-American composers touches on the jazz influences felt by the composers from many angles - from Logan's jazzy, Bernsteinesque concertante work to Jenkins' more free-jazz derived style. White's Crystal Gazing is the most "concert-music" sounding piece here, but it also could only have originated in this country from an African-American perspective. All these works are basically tonal - very overtly so, as in the Baker, or more ambiguously and overlain with jazz inflections, as in the Anderson - but in no case is the music ever anything but accessible and warmly expressive. Neal Creque (piano), Leroy Jenkins (violin), Howie Smith (saxophone), Cleveland Chamber Symphony; Edwin London. Albany TROY 303 (U.S.A.) 01A071 $16.98

MAX SCHUBEL: Junk and Jubilee: An Epidrama, Rubber Court III: The Final Solution. Junk and Jubilee is an orchestral tone-poem, a kind of extended divertimento in which fragments of many styles of music are thrown together; these are mostly atonal, post-Second-Viennese fragments, but occasionally the texture is leavened with a snatch of something jazzy, pop-derived, lounge-like, or romantic-sounding, which makes the whole experience far more accessible than it might seem! Rubber Court III is a theatre piece, a protest about injustice in the legal system, both related to events in Schubel's own life and to the clash between art and law in society. The music here is less exuberantly eclectic, darker-hued and much closer to tonality; the political satire is barbed and obviously springs from the composer's deeply-felt personal experience. Theresa Treadway Lloyd (mezzo), Aardvark Voices, Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra; Joel Eric Suben. Opus One CD 178 (U.S.A.) 01A072 $11.98

KAMRAN INCE (b.1960): Fantasie of a Sudden Turtle for Piano Quartet, Tracing for Cello and Piano, Lines for Violin and Piano, Kaç! for Alto Saxophone, Percussion and Piano, Köçekçe for Violin and Piano. Vital and exciting, with an almost angry rhythmic insistence and a love of strong contrasts; this is music of passion and aggression, with an almost raw edge and a concern to appeal to and play on the emotional responses of the listener. There are influences and inflections from the composer's Turkish background, and stubborn and insistent syncopated rhythmic passages which propel the music forward. The Fantaisie is especially gripping, a helter-skelter dream sequence with seldom a breathing space in its 20-odd minute span. Susan Waterbury (violin), Leonard Schranze (viola), Paul Gmeinder (cello), Allen Rippe (saxophone), James Baird (percussion), Kamran Ince (piano). Albany TROY 310 (U.S.A.) 01A073 $16.98

PETER CHILD (b.1953): Tableaux II for Ensemble, String Quartet No. 1, Trio. Child moves between styles and genres with the ease of one who thoroughly understands all the techniques involved and has at his disposal great technical skill - from the quasi-minimalistic harmonic sensuousness of the first of the Tableaux, to the stylized jazz idiom of the last. The quartet looks back to earlier models, containing counterpoint that sounds simultaneously modern and archaic, with material that sounds subliminally (as the composer suggests) Bach-like. The genial trio, positive-spirited and harmonious, is the most classical, or neoclassical-sounding work, written to commission for friends of the composer. Boston Musica Viva, Lydian Quartet, MIT Chamber Players. Neuma 450-98 (U.S.A.) 01A074 $16.98

ELLIOT CARTER (b.1908): Cello Sonata, Piano Sonata, DAVID DEL TREDICI (b.1937): Fantasy Pieces for Piano, ROBERT HELPS (b.1928): Portrait for Piano, VINCENT PERSICHETTI (1915-1987): Serenade No. 10 for Flute and Harp. It is good to welcome back these long-unavailable Desto recordings to the catalogue, especially the fine performances of the early Carter sonatas, which, while not typical of the direction the composer's later music has taken, nonetheless prefigure it in boldness and expressive directness. The Persichetti is a lovely and lyrical piece, while the del Tredici is a study in the extremes of piano expressiveness. Bernard Greenhouse (cello), Anthony Makas (piano), Beveridge Webster (piano), George Bennette (piano), Samuel Baron (flute), Ruth Maayani (harp). Phoenix USA PHCD 141 (U.S.A.) 01A075 $15.98

JOHANN HAMMERTH (b.1953): Stockholm Cantata. This large-scale, ambitious work, for soloists and narrator, choir and large symphony orchestra, is a portrait of the city of Stockholm, using texts and images that evoke the city in many moods and episodes of its history. The basic musical material is tonal, but the composer surrounds it with dissonances and clusters to heighten the atmosphere and provide striking special effects of almost visual intensity. Sometimes the choir and orchestra provide a shifting harmonic wash as a background to narration or solo voice; sometimes they take centre stage in music of considerable power and drama. A kaleidoscope of images and impressions as multifaceted as this or any great city itself, the work is ultimately satisfying in its very diversity. Katarina Dalayman (soprano), Loa Falkman (baritone), Swedish Radio Choir, Eric Ericsson's Chamber Choir, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra; Leif Segerstam. Phono Suecia PSCD 121 (Sweden) 01A076 $16.98

JOSEPH WOOD (b.1915): Divertimento for Piano and Chamber Orchestra, HAROLD MORRIS (1890-1964): Piano Concerto, EDWARD MACDOWELL (1860-1908): Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 23. These historical recordings, taken from late 50s/early 60s concert broadcasts (or in the case of the MacDowell, a pre-concert rehearsal with occasional verbal interjections by the conductor) showcase the remarkable pianistic talent of Claudette Sorel, who plays with exceptional fleetness and accuracy, without sacrificing flexibility or a wide range of feeling. The Romantic MacDowell is very well served, as is the spiky, Bartókian Wood, which calls for, and receives, pianism of considerable virtuosity and insight. The immensely appealing and approachable Morris Concerto, which draws on African-American material and achieves a synthesis with the jazz-band derived orchestral music of a Gershwin or Grofe is in itself ample reason to acquire this splendid and unusual, disc. The sound is vivid and clear, with only a degree of hiss and "noises off" to suggest its live broadcast provenance. Claudette Sorel (piano), WNYC Festival Orchestra; Emerson Buckley, Orchestra of America; Richard Korn, New York Philharmonic Orchestra; Franco Autori. EMSCO Productions CS 98003 (U.S.A.) 01A077 $9.98

ROY HARRIS (1898-1979): American Ballads, RUBIN GOLDMARK (1872-1936): Prairie Idylls, QUINCY PORTER (1897-1966): Piano Sonata, JOHN WORK (1901-1967): Scuppernong, NATHANIEL DETT (1882-1943): In the Bottoms, A.H. MALLOTTE/DONALD DUMPSON: Variation on "The Lord's Prayer", GEORGE GERSHWIN (1898-1937): Rhapsody in Blue. This well-chosen collection demonstrates admirably the breadth of expression contained in music the "American-ness" of all of which is perhaps its most immediately apparent feature. The Harris pieces use folk-songs, arranged in idiomatic pianistic terms of which Grainger or Guion might be proud. Both Goldmark and Porter were somewhat harmonically conservative for their time, but especially in Porter's case, wrote exceptionally well for the piano - indeed, the Porter sonata is quite a technical tour-de-force. John Work was an important researcher in the field of African-American music, and his fine little suite is powerfully atmospheric in its depiction of rural African-American life in the 19th century. The Dett and Gershwin works are more familiar, but none the worse for that, and present two more facets of the hugely varied reprtoire of American pre-modern piano music of our century. Clipper Erickson (piano). Direct-to-Tape Recording Co. DTR 9807 (U.S.A.) 01A078 $17.98

MARK VIGIL (b.1954): Octet "Wildflowers", Fantasy for Solo Piano, Trio for Flute, Viola and Harp (Dew Drop Dares to Play with the Light of the Sun), Ich habe Babus Geschnitten for Soprano and Chamber Ensemble, Interlude for Solo Guitar, In Expression for Javanese Gamelan, 2 Flutes and Three Part Women's Choir, Trio for Violin, Clarinet and Piano, String Quartet No. 1, The Sun and the Sunflower for Balinese Gamelan, Bell Tree and Assorted Bells, The Secret Sky for Balinese Gamelan, 2 Flutes and Bell Tree, And Yet There Could Be Love for Acapella Choir. With his use of Gamelan textures (whether writing for Gamelan ensemble, as in In Expression or for Western chamber ensemble), and somewhat minimalist material, as well as a certain new-age turn to his aesthetic, Vigil brings to mind Lou Harrison in a number of these pieces. Strictly minimalist they are not; a kind of New Romanticism pervades his work, and all the pieces here are very much tonal and readily accessible on first hearing. The incorporation of Eastern instrumental timbres adds a fascinating dimension to the music, and the composer's skillful use of his unusual forces adds to the appeal of these obviously highly personal and deeply felt expressions of the composer's æsthetic. 2 CDS. Various soloists incl. Metolius Quartet, Nuju Laras Javanese Gamelan, University of Oregon "Pacific Rim Gamelan". NPM 70004 (U.S.A.) 01A079 $35.98

DONALD WHEELOCK (b.1940): Viola Sonata, Violin Sonata, Cello Sonata. Wheelock is an unregenerate tonalist, with little time for the manisfestations of the avant garde. He acknowledges his classical models, but does not lean on them too heavily and thereby avoids the trap of neoclassical dogma, too often fallen into by composers of reactionary bent. He is content for his music to be fluid and discursive, with a strong sense of direction (towards a tonal center) and emphasis on emotional content - often in these works with more than a tinge of melancholy - and a sense of striving that recalls music of the romantic era, especially Schumann. Definitely works worth getting to know. Jonathan Bagg (viola), Jane Hawkins (piano), Veronica Macchia-Kadlubkiewicz (violin), Elizabeth Wright (piano), Dorothy Lewis (cello), Cary Lewis (piano). Gasparo GSCD-316 (U.S.A.) 01A080 $16.98

OTTO LUENING (1900-1996): The Soundless Song for Soprano, String Quartet, Flute, Clarinet and Piano, Suite for Soprano and Flute, Selected Songs, ROBERT STARER (b.1924): Images of Man for Soprano, Flute, Cello and Piano, Letter to a Composer for Soprano, String Quartet, Flute and Clarinet, The Ideal Self for Soprano, Flute and Piano. Why, exactly, one of this country's finest composers tends to be taken for granted, or regarded as a figure of historical importance who wrote an autobiography that is practically a history of 20th-century music, while scant attention is paid to his considerable output, is a slightly distasteful mystery, but nonetheless, this seems to be the fate that has befallen Otto Luening. Luening was a student of Busoni, pioneer of electronic music, and a composer of finely wrought, expressive music which flirts cleverly with atonality and modern techniques while remaining lyrical, ultimately tonal, and deeply satisfying. The songs on this CD demonstrate plainly what a major composer for the voice he was; the variety and range of expression is simply astounding. Starer - who also lends his authority to his own accompaniments here - is another figure who has been with us for many decades, and has created a sixeable body of high quality work which is less acknowledged than it might be. This disc showcases both composers to their advantage, and is much to be recommended. Danielle Woerner (soprano), Hudson Valley Philharmonic String Quartet, Robert Starer & Sylvia Buccelli (piano), Patricia Spencer & Marcia Gates (flute), Jean Kopperud (clarinet), Susan Seligman (cello). Parnassus PACD 96012 (U.S.A.) 01A081 $14.98

GEIRR TVEITT (1908-1981): 100 Folk-Tunes from Hardanger, Suites Nos. 1 and 2. Each of these suites contains fifteen folk-tunes (there are four suites in all - Tveitt did not orchestrate all 100 pieces before they were lost in a fire) collected at various times in the composer's life from the Hardanger area. This is not a sequence of toe-tapping, happy-rustic-villager dance music; many of the tunes are are religious or ceremonial, some are comic, some imitate folk instruments and they describe a vast array of situations. Tveitt's orchestration is just as wide-ranging, using ingenious means to imitate the overtones, drones, double stops and arpeggios of the various folk instruments and clothing other pieces in his own unique combination of Impressionist and Bartokian garb. The second suite (1955) - a world premiere recording - is the more bold and modernistically oriented and Tveitt's originality is most evident here. Stavanger Symphony Orchestra; Ole Kristian Ruud. BIS CD-987 (Sweden) 01A082 $17.98

NIELS VIGGO BENTZON (b.1919): The Tempered Piano, Vol. 1-13. This mammoth set of pieces - thirteen volumes each consisting of 48 preludes and fugues, composed over some 40 years - comprises a kind of compositional backbone to the career of the prolific Danish composer-pianist. Thorough and solidly crafted, inventive and pianistically ingenious (the composer is his own able interpreter here), eschewing empty virtuosity in favour of tautly argued musical structures, Bentzon's music breaks no new ground here - in fact, for a composer who has used 12-note techniques and been influenced by non-classical forms, his self-imposed restriction to tonality and conventional playing techniques is all the more remarkable. So this is not an encyclopaedic survey of everything the composer knows about the piano, nor a freak show of elephantine giganticism; it is just a very, very large set of small pieces any and all of which are well worth hearing for their own sake, such is the compelling nature of Bentzon's vision. In fact, staying with the pieces for as long as one can spare reveals ever more to capture the attention and delight; not many contemporary composers could achieve this over a span of this many hours! 15 CDs for the price of 7. Niels-Viggo Bentzon (piano). Classico CLASSCD 210-25 (Denmark) 01A083 $104.98

RUED LANGGAARD (1893-1952): Music of the Abyss, Insectarium, Mad Fantasy, Flower Vignettes I & II, Le Béguinage. Langgaard's titles sure do draw one's attention, don't they? There is less of the asylum here than meets the eye, of course: 1924's Music of the Abyss started out as a fantasy suggested by passages from Revelations but ended up a two-movement piece which uses the main theme of Liszt's sonata as an idée fixe and whose style ranges from Nielsen to pre-echoes of Messiaen and (gulp!) Ligeti. An always gripping, metallically insistent work (whose movements are headed "Monstrously Inflexible" and "Frenetico quasi rondo"), this will keep your attention and disturb the neighbors. The Mad Fantasy (1947-49) refers to Schumann's unhappy fate and melds pastiche with material from Langgaard's Fantasi-Sonate of 1914-16 in a wholly original blend of homage, empathy and originality. The Flower Vignettes and Insektarium share the abstract depictions of plant and insect life and though the earliest is from 1913 and the latest from 1951, the stylistic gamut remains as wild as ever - Schumann, Scriabinesque Expressionism, Impressionism... The 1948-49 Le Béguinage is a particularly violent, disjointed and manic piece which includes, among other things, instructions to beat the piano until it is out of tune! Rosalind Bevan (piano). Classico CLASSCD 240 (Denmark) 01A084 $14.98

JOHAN KVANDAL (b.1919): Violin Concerto, Op. 52, Variaitons and Fugue for Orchestra, Op. 14, Sinfonia Concertante, Op. 29, Triptychon, Op. 53. Kvandal's compositions are approachable and moderate in tone, often neo-classical in style (the composer cites Mozart, Stravinsky and Shostakovich as his models) and frequently reflect the inspiration of Norwegian folk music, as in the violin concerto of 1979 which fuses elements from Hardanger fiddle technique with classical concerto form and in the 1954 Variations and Fugue. The Triptychon (also 1979) paints a musical picture of the Trondheim region while the 1968 Sinfonia concertante is again a neo-classical inspiration with soloistic writing for various sections of the orchestra. Isaac Shuldman (violin), St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra; Alexander Kantorov. Hemera HCD 2929 (Norway) 01A085 $17.98

EGIL HOVLAND (b.1924): Violin Concerto, Op. 81, Trombone Concerto, Op. 76, Concerto for Piccolo Flute and Strings, Op. 117. If Shostakovich, in a combination of fifteenth symphony and second piano concerto moods, had decided to write a trombone concerto, the result might have sounded rather like this highly appealing, yet ambiguous enough to keep you guessing where it's going next, piece. To some extent it is the composer's ability to sustain momentum through succeeding or overlapping ideas that suggests this comparison, and this is also characteristic of the brilliantly virtuosic violin concerto, a real showpiece for the soloist in the romantic concerto tradition, with maybe a Bartókian edge. The music seldom steps outside the chromatic edge of euphonious tonality, which makes Hovland's achievement in maintaining a constant sense of the unexpected all the more considerable. Highly recommended. Isaac Shuldman (violin), Moscow Symphony Orchestra; Igor Golovchin, Per Brevig (trombone), Andrew Cunningham (piccolo flute), Stavanger Symphony Orchesta; Alexander Dmitriev. Aurora ACD 5004 (Norway) 01A086 $17.98

LASSE THORESEN (b.1949): Illuminations: Concerto for 2 Cellos and Orchestra, Symphonic Concerto for Violin and Orchestra. Thoresen's conversion to the Baha'i faith in 1971 helped further his interest in oriental music and his acquaintance with the music of Pierre Schaeffer and with the "spectral music" of Tristan Murail, combined with his attraction to Norwegian folk music has produced an individual sound world. Often meditative yet using richly faceted rhythms, marrying acoustic analysis with elements of folk music, Thoresen creates large-scale soundscapes which evoke a quality of timelessness and which should appeal to collectors interested in contemporary French music (and, in certain respects, those who respond to the Western/Oriental synthesis of, say, Messiaen). Liv Opdal Eggestad, Aage Kvalbein (cellos), Stig Nilsson (violin), Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra; Marcello Viotti. Hemera HCD 5008 (Norway) 01A087 $17.98

MARGARET SUTHERLAND (1897-1984): Violin Sonata, Nocturne for Violin andPiano, Contrasts for 2 Violins, 6 Bagatelles for Violin and Viola, Divertimento for String Trio, The World and the Child for Voice and String Trio. There is a vein of passionate, lyric intensity running through all these works which links Sutherland's style with the Celtic-influenced British school, especially Bax, with whom she studied. This is especially true of the earlier works; there is even a lushness of harmonic thinking which owes some indebtedness to Scriabin. Later works have more neoclassical restraint and austerity, while being no less harmonically adventurous (and remaining firmly rooted in tonality). Marina Marsden (violin), Justine Wickham (viola), Susan Blake (cello), Christopher Latham (violin), Robert Chamberlain (piano), Elizabeth Campbell (mezzo). Tall Poppies TP116 (Australia) 01A088 $18.98

HANS CHRISTIAN BARTEL: Concerto for Viola and Small Orchestra, Concerto for Orchestra, Konzertstück for Cello and Chamber Orchestra. Bartel's music is somewhat Second-Viennese, with a Bergian romanticism and expansiveness, though exhibiting a free polytonality rather than any obvious adherence to a dodecaphonic system. Dramatic and expressionistic, here as in the concerto for orchestra the composer succeeds in producing powerful dramatic effects and telling contrasts between introspective lyricism and stormy passion. All in all this is conservatively modern music in which the message is far more important than the latest trend or fashion. Hans-Christian Bartel (viola), Jürnjakob Timm (cello), Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra; Jörg-Peter Weigle, Marek Janowski, Rolf Reuter. ITM Classics 950025 (Germany) 01A089 $16.98

YOSHIHIRO KANNO (b.1953): A Cluster of Stars II, HIROHISA SHONO (b.1957): Z-Paraphrase, TORU TAKEMITSU (1930-1996): Orion, MAKOTO MOROI (b.1930): Ordre, Op. 18, KOZABURO Y. HIRAI (b.1910): Sakura-Sakura. Orion is vintage Takemitsu, its magical sonorities conjuring up a sensation of weightlessness while Kanno's piece has similar qualities in its representation of meteorites in the vastness of space colliding to form a new planet. Moroi's Ordre (1958) represents his generation's response to 12-tone composition, a six-movement suite in strictly symmetrical structure while Hirai's and Shono's pieces both deal with Japanese song - Shono's a euphonic working of fragemented motives from a children's song while Hirai's 1953 work (representing the nationalistic, pre-avant-garde generation) is a simple, effective transcription of one of the most popular Japanese folk-songs. Torleif Thedéen (cello), Noriko Ogawa (piano). BIS CD-876 (Sweden) 01A090 $17.98

IVAN KURZ (b.1947): Inclined Plane for Symphony Orchestra, Emergence - Symphonic Picture, Parable - Composition for Symphony Orchestra, The Gospel's Folly - Picture for Mixed Chorus and Orchestra. These four large-scale, dramatic orchestral works have a very post-modernist feel to them; there is almost a return to the philosophical concerns expressed in music of the late 19th century. Once can clearly hear the result of the melting-pot that forged Czech music - and history - in our century; but composers of Kurz' generation are now in a post-experimental phase, and throughout these pieces there is a strong feelng of a search for for stability; harmonic refinement and tonal referents which allow a sense of resolution are central to this music. Inclined Plane and Emergence taken together indeed, form a kind of narrative structure in which order arises out of chaos. Prague Philharmonic Chorus, Prague Symphony Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra; Jirí Bûlohlávek. Panton 71 0521 (Czech Republic) 01A091 $16.98

ARNOLD SCHÖNBERG (1874-1951): Die Jakobsleiter for Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra, Friede auf Erden for Mixed Chorus, Op. 13. Here we have two religious choral works of Schönberg that are not commonly performed, but which turn out to be moving and powerful, and deeply spiritual. Die Jakobsleiter is incomplete, and a product of the composer's expressionistic, atonal, pre-dodecaphonic, pre-WWI years. As in Erwartung and Pierrot Lunaire, the music is disturbing and emotionally charged - romantically so, for all the modernity of the idiom; Gurrelieder was not that far behind the composer at this point. The consonant, if harmonically expanded "Peace on Earth" is a bit of a surprise, but it shouldn't be; it is straightforward, sincere and affecting, and a reminder that for all his reputation and notoriety, Schönberg was a composer of beautiful and expressive music, inspired by the best motives that any composer could want. German-English texts. Siegfried Lorenz (baritone), Tokyo Symphony Chorus and Orchestra; Kazuyoshi Akiyama. Auvidis Montaigne MO 782112 (France) 01A092 $18.98

JOHN CAGE (1912-1992): One for Piano Solo, Two2 for 2 Pianos, One for Piano Solo (alternate version). In his last years, Cage wrote a number of pieces in which he specified the number of musicians involved, some indication of the instrumentation, and pitch guidelines, but the principal characteristic of which is the organization of events in time - in other words, the sequencing of notes or chords, the spaces between them or tempo in which they arrive being left to the discretion of the performer. In these pieces for piano the performers play isolated notes or intervals, which may remain isolated or become part of a continuum, depending on the tempo and pedalling chosen by the pianist, or in the case of Two2, the interaction between the players. Josef Christof, Steffen Schleiermacher (pianos). ITM Classics 950031 (Germany) 01A093 $16.98

JOHNNY GRANDERT (b.1939): Symphony No. 5, String Quartet No. 4. A self-taught composer - and painter - Grandert belongs to no discernable school of composition, and in this, as well as his collisions of rugged, rough-hewn material he resembles a kind of Swedish Charles Ives. Less wildly experimental than Ives at his most extreme, he nonetheless echoes that stubborn individuality and uncompromising toughness, bringing also a Nordic brooding atmosphere to his volcanic, vital works. Certainly there are moments of repose - or at least, of a suspension of activity - but even these are fraught with pent-up tension, and it is a relief, if no surprise, when the bombardment of activity begins again. Grandert is a real original, and an exhilarating composer to boot. Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra; B. Tommy Andersson, Vilnius String Quartet. Phono Suecia PSCD 111 (Sweden) 01A094 $16.98

WILLIAM SCHUMAN (1910-1992): Judith, Night Journey, In Sweet Music for Soprano, Flute, Viola and Harp. Why there isn't a Schuman symphony to be heard once every two weeks in every major city in the United States is one of the great unsolved mysteries of our musical times. From the first bars of the "choreographic poem" Judith, written for Martha Graham, one cannot help feeling that one is in the presence of a master composer. The piece is simply stunning; dramatic, powerful, leading inexorably from one idea to the next; wholly original without resorting to freakish special effects, this is music of a composer whose technique was such that he was able to express exactly whatever he wanted through his music. The other works show similar mastery in their handling of material, creating a musical narrative as compelling as it is original. Eastman Philharmonia; David Effron, Endymion Ensemble; Jon Goldberg, Rosalind Rees (soprano), Orpheus Trio. CRI CD 791 (U.S.A.) 01A095 $16.98

SEYMOUR SHIFRIN (1926-1979): 3 Pieces for Orchestra, String Quartet No. 4, Serenade for 5 Instruments. Shifrin's music is tough and chromatic, quasi-atonal even, but with so sure-footed a use of structure and form that the listener is pulled ineluctibly into the drama as surely as if conventional key-relationships were used. The composer's skill in orchestration is also remarkable. The densely chromatic quartet is a masterpiece of tautly argued material, exploiting to the full the quartet medium's discursive qualities, while the Serenade is again tightly organised, spare and economical, and somewhat Stravinskian in texture and sonority. London Sinfonietta; Jacques Monod, Fine Arts Quartet, Melvin Kaplan (oboe), Charles Russo (clarinet), Robert Cecil (horn), Ynez Lynch (viola), Harriet Wingreen (piano). CRI CD 793 (U.S.A.) 01A096 $16.98

ROBERT PARRIS (b.1924): Concerto for Trombone, Concerto for Percussion, Violin, Cello and Piano, Fantasy and Fugue for Solo Cello, The Book of Imaginary Beings for Flute, Violin, Cello, Piano, Celesta and Percussion. Parris' trombone concerto grows from a mysterious opening with muttered interjections by the soloist to a showcase for the trombone requiring flexibility and virtuosity, combined with lyrical abilities, well beyond the normal scope of the instrument. The orchestral texture is refined and resembles chamber groupings in the first movement, and more vigorous in the virtuosic second movement. Likewise, the other "concerto" actually is a chamber piece, in which the unusual combination of instruments is imaginatively used. The Fantasy and Fugue is a strong work, which expands musically beyond the bounds of the solo instrument without requiring any expanded playing techniques), and the Book of Imaginary Beings is another highly imaginative ensemble work, making full use of a variety of instrumental timbres. Roman Siwek (trombone), Polish National Radio Orchestra; Ldzistan Szostak, Joel Berman (violin), Evelyn Elsing (cello), Evelyn Garvey (piano, celesta), Ronald Barnett (percussion), Lori Barnet (cello). CRI CD 792 (U.S.A.) 01A097 $16.98

DAVID JOHNSON: 12 Preludes and Fugues. Like other composers of cycles of preludes and fugues, Johnson has used motivic links to add homogeneity to the cycle; individual characterisation to add variety, and references to well-known themes, providing a humorous touch (The Animals went in 2 by 2! and Bobby Shafto - which invites comparison with Ronald Center, whose piano sonata veers near this theme also). There is something of Center (an Aberdonian composer, whereas Johnson is Edinburgh-based) in the rhythmic energy and harmonic clarity of these works, which may also remind some of the piano music of Alan Bush. Prelude 6 is a transcription of the composer's setting of a MacDiarmid poem, and is dedicated to MacDiarmid's great friend, and Scotland's premier living composer, Ronald Stevenson - who has also been a champion of Center, and Bush which will give you an idea of where this CD fits into the picture? Ian Hobson (piano). Zephyr Z113-98 (U.S.A.) 01A098 $16.98

CORNELIS DE BONDT: The Broken Ear for 13 Instruments, Doors Closed for Large Ensemble, La fine d'una lunga giornata for Orchestra, Grand Hotel for Piano, Singing the Faint Farewell for Large Ensemble and Dance Performance ad libitum. The teasing way in which de Bondt draws together strands from many different periods of musical history - was that a scrap of Purcell I just heard? Something that Stravinsky borrowed from somewhere else? A long-drawn tone standing for nothing but itself - did Louis Andriessen have that idea first? But in that case, where did that bouncy little American-minimalism sequence come from? - is paradoxically the characteristic that makes his music most personal and identifiable. By deconstructing tonal references - all these pieces are about that, in one sense or another; this is one of the meanings of The Broken Ear, which is also the title of a series of works by the composer, of which this is the opening - and then recombining them in a kind of post-modern collage, de Bondt offers us a rather disturbing view of musical history, in which perspectives shift and mutate even as one examines them. This music is provocative, but it is not unapproachable - indeed, part of its subversive charm is the ready accessibility with which it tempts you in, and then throws an intractable paradox in your face. Challenging, but fun! 2 CDs. Schönberg Ensemble; Michal Hamel, Netherlands Wind Ensemble; Thierry Fischer & Micha Hamel, Orkest de Volharding; Jurjen Hempel, Gerard Bouwhuis (piano). Donemus CV 70/71 (Netherlands) 01A099 $37.98

PHILIP GLASS (b.1934): Mishima, STEVE REICH (b.1936): New York Counterpoint, GAVIN BRYARS (b.1943): Alaric I or II, MICHAEL NYMAN (b.1944): Songs for Tony, TERRY RILEY (b.1935): Tread on the Trail. The list of composers represented on this disc reads like a Who's Who of the minimalist movement, with the three Americans and two English composers whose names are most strongly associated with the development of process music as a style. The Reich and Glass are arrangements (in the latter case transcribed from the string quartet version of the composer's music for the film Mishima which contained some of Glass' most striking work to date). Nyman's music, as often drawing on earlier musical influences and reminscent of his remarkable score for The Draughtsman's Contract (minimalism has certainly given us some of the best film scores of our time), was written in memory of a friend aand colleague. Bryars' "slow minimalism", as opposed to the rhythmic-cell-driven vitality of much of the other music here provides a welcome and otherworldly contrast. Delta Saxophone Quartet. Clarinet Classics CC0024 (England) 01A100 $17.98

WALTER JURMANN (1903-1971): Excerpts from the Original Motion Picture Scores of Ihre Majestät, die Liebe, That's a Good Girl, San Francisco, Ich glaub nie mehr an eine Frau, Melodie der Liebe, Le nuites moscovites, Mutiny on the Bounty, Ein Lied für Dich, Ich will dich Liebe lehren, His Butler's Sister, A Night at the Opera, A Day at the Races and from the Musical Windy City. It's safe to assume that more people know Jurmann's music than his name. He wrote the song known now as "San Francisco, Open Your Golden Gate" which featured in the 1936 film San Francisco. Before he left Germany in 1933, he had had scores of Top Ten hits performed by such singers as Richard Tauber and Jan Kiepura and also by the Comedian Harmonists; in Hollywood from 1935, his songs were realized by Jeanette MacDonald, Deanna Durbin, Judy Garland and Kathryn Grayson, among others. He formed a composing duo both before and after leaving Germany with Bronislaw Kaper and most of the pieces recorded here (in orchestral versions) come from this fruitful collaboration. A thoroughly delectable release which will appeal to anyone who loves "light music". Cologne Radio Symphony; Klaus Arp. Capriccio 10 737 (Germany) 01A101 $11.98

Puttin' on the Ritz - Nostalgia from Chandos Flyback

Puttin' on the Ritz, It Must be True, Toot, Toot, Tootsie!, The Sheik of Araby, Let's Get Friendly, Honeymoon Lane, Happy Feet, Oh! What a Night!, Roll Along Covered Wagon, Ain't Misbehavin', She's a Latin from Manhattan, Horatio Nicholl's Californian Serenade, Loving You, Tiger Rag. These nostalgic songs are performed in genuine dance arrangements from the 20s and 30s by a violin trio, saxophones and brass which conveys the unique, evocative period sound of the great dance band days. The Stardust Trio, The Palm Court Theatre Orchestra; Anthony Godwin. Chandos Flyback 2011 (England) 01A102 $16.98

The Hungarian Hammered Dulcimer

Transcribed works by Picchi, Paix (1556-c.1623), Ignác Ruzitska (1777-1833), Haydn, Weber, Brahms and Sarasate. FERENC FARKAS (b.1905): Feast from Esztergom, ZOLTÁN GYÖRE: Dances from Pannonhalma, Shepherd Songs from the Tisza Area, Palots Suite, Traditional: Dulcimer Solo from Köröspatak, Transdanubian Dances, Transdanubian Czardas Dances for Dulcimer. One of the members of the zither family, the Hungarian hammered dulcimer figured greatly in the 19th century flourishing of Hungarian National Romanticism. This recording features traditional accompaniments in many of the items, some of which are of Hungarian origin and some of which are echoes of Hungarian music from abroad. Viktória Herencsár (hammered dulcimer), István Zsolnai, Lajos Tóth (violins), Antal Molnár (viola), Zoltán Víg (three-stringed viola), Enikö Szödényi-Nagy (cello), Mihály Huszár (double bass), Zsolt Tassonyi (clarinet). Hungaroton HCD 31799 (Hungary) 01A103 $16.98


COLE PORTER (1891-1964): I'm Yours, There's a Fan, The Emigrants, My Broth of a Boy, Ah Fong Lo, Auf Wiedersehn, Si Vous Aimez les Poitrines, Agua Sincopada Tango, My Spanish Shawl, Gypsy Song, Make a Date with a Great Psychoanalyst, Why Marry Them?, A Humble Hollywood Executive, We Shall Never Be Younger, Once Upon a Time, It All Seems So Long Ago, When I Found You, When You and I Were Strangers, At Last In Your Arms, So Long. Over 400 unpublished songs were left behind when Porter died. All 20 recorded here were intended for specific films or musicals but were dropped either because of a changed story line, because they didn't fit a particular performer's talent or because their shows failed to be produced (although four here did make it to Broadway or London's West End). The notes provide dates of composition, works and singers for which the songs were intended and the performers are long-time specialists in American musical theater and, in the case of the pianist, Porter himself. Paulina Stark (soprano), Judy Brown (piano). Centaur CRC 2387 (U.S.A.) 01A104 $16.98