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Felix Weingartner

Symphony No. 4

FELIX WEINGARTNER (1863-1942): Symphonic Works, Vol. 2 - Symphony No. 4 in F, Op. 61, Serenade for String Orchestra, Op. 6, Overture and Suite from Der Sturm. What an absolutely genial work the fourth symphony is! Weingarter himself suggested that he would have called it "the Bucolic" and that's right on the nose. An opening movement with the feel of the breaking of winter and the arrival of spring leads to shorter andante and comodo, grazioso central movements of a gauzy, pastel comfort before the finale suggests both the finale of the Brahms First and Beethoven's Pastoral. Hard to believe that tens of thousands of young men were being consumed in the meat-grinder of the Great War as it was being composed in the summer of 1916. The Serenade is the work of a 19-year-old and can stand with similar early works by Suk and Karlowicz while the incidental music for a staging of Shakespeare's "The Tempest"offers another blissful 24 minutes of music with Weingartner successfully channeling Mendelssohn through his own voice. Basel Symphony Orchestra; Marko Letonja. SACD hybrid disc. CPO 777 098 (Germany) 07H001 $15.98


NOTES:

1. As you'll see, the Raff Cello Concertos are in this catalogue. I don't have them yet but it's more likely than not that they'll be here by Friday July 8 at the earliest or, at latest, the week beginning July 11, barring an Act of God or Act of Customs.

2. The third volume of the Concertgebouw Orchestra's historical series (1960-1970) has been released, now on the orchestra's own label, RCO. It is, like the previous volume (in our March 2004 catalogue), 14 discs and costs $194.98. This is $3.00 more expensive per disc but, of course, the Concertgebouw can charge what it likes - it owns the recordings. There was no room for it in the catalogue but I'll take orders for it on a special-order basis and I'm happy to take requests for the contents, by phone, e-mail or written request (I have a set in hand). So, whether it's unusual Dutch repertoire you're interested in or more standard repertoire and famous conductors (lots of Boulez), I'll be happy to let you know what's on it.

www.recordsinternational.com e-mail: sales@recordsinternational.com


Bicentenary of Chilean Symphonic Music - 2 Volumes

ALFONSO LENG (1884-1974): La muerte del Alfonso, ENRIQUE SORO (1884-1954): 3 aires chilenos, DOMINGO SANTA CRUZ (1899-1987): Preludios drammaticos, Op. 23. Soro and Leng produced some of the earliest orchestral works in Chile (unfortunately neither of their symphonies is here) and the former is represented here by a 21-minute tone poem from 1920 which, based as it is on a Chilean novel, has a musical layout in which one cannot attempt to attach the themes to the characters which is part of the pleasure of such compositions. Nonetheless, its late romantic language, spiced with pungent chromaticism, will appeal to all collectors of the genre. Soro's short 1942 set develops rhythms and melodies associated with the "cueca" and the "tonada" while Santa Cruz' preludes, of similar length, are solemn meditations on the death of his first wife twenty years before the work's composition in 1946 (the movements are titled "Presentiments", "Desolation" and "Tragic Prelude"). Orquesta Sinfónica de Chile; David del Pino Klinge. SVR ABA-SVR-7000-1 (Chile) 07H002 $16.98 >

ALFONSO LETELIER (1912-1994): Guitar Concerto, Op. 31, GUSTAVO BECERRA (b.1925): Concerto for Flute and Strings, RENÉ AMENGUAL (1911-1954): Preludio sinfônio. Amengual's agreeable symphonic prelude, heavily indebted to the Ravel of 'Daphnis' makes an attractive curtain-raiser, but Becerra's flute concerto, while still composed in a fairly conservative, tonal language, is a far more interesting work. Maybe almost irrespective of one's national origins it was impossible to write orchestral music in this idiom in the mid-20th century without acknowledging a debt to Shostakovich, so pervasive was the influence of the Soviet master, but certainly here there seems to be some shared inspiration in the economy and acerbity of gesture coupled to a paradoxical generosity of lyrical expression. Letelier's guitar concerto is a more easy-going work, and the only one here with obviously 'Latin' characteristics to its musical outlines. Using classical and pre-classical forms, the composer has crafted a work of considerable beauty and ingenuity, with an especially telling, songful slow movement. Luis Orlandini (guitar), Guillermo Lavado (flute), Orquesta Sinfónica de Chile; David del Pino Klinge. SVR ABA-SVR-7000-2 (Chile) 07H003 $16.98 >


Bicentenary of Chilean Piano Music, Vol. 1

ALFONSO LENG (1884-1974): 5 Doloras, RENÉ AMENGUAL (1911-1954): 10 preludios breves, CARLOS BOTTO (1923-2004): 6 piezas breves, Op. 19b, CARLOS RIESCO (b.1925): Semblanzas chilenas, SANTIAGO VERA-RIVERA (b.1950): 3 asonantástikas. Part of an ambitious project to showcase Chilean music, this recital of mostly very short pieces suggests a certain conservatism, restraint and craftsmanship on the part of the five composers represented. Leng's cycle, interspersed with spoken texts, suggests that not much has happened since Schumann, and Amengual's preludes, spare and economical, have something of impressionism and something of neoclassicism about them. A similar purity, in a slightly more modern (still very tonal) idiom is also characteristic of Botto's tiny pieces, while Riesco's lively and open-textured pieces display some folk-influence. The most original and ambitious works are Vera-Rivera's, displaying some impressionist influence and invoking traditional Latin forms through the use of modal scales and a free, improvisatory quality. Armands Abols (piano). SVR ABA-SVR-6000-1 (Chile) 07H004 $16.98 >


AHMED ADNAN SAYGUN (1907-1991): Symphony No. 4, Op. 53, Violin Concerto, Op. 44, Suite, Op. 14. The 1976 symphony, like its concerto discmate of nine years before, is written predominantly within the musical paradigms of Central European tradition with any eastern flavor limited to sparing employment of various special systems of scale formation (especially in the symphony). Tonal and approachable but not facile or neo-anything, both works seem to depict various events happening against a now-epic, now-intimate backdrop (predominantly of a psychological nature) or, as the notes put it, a "concentrated music drama". For true "local color" one can turn to the suite (1934) which shows the young composer in Bartók mode, using either collected Turkish folksong or creating the rhythms, melodies and modes of such folk music. Mirjam Tschopp (violin), Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz; Ari Rasilainen. CPO 777 043 (Germany) 07H005 $15.98

KAMRAN INCE (b.1960): Symphony No. 3 "Siege of Vienna", Symphony No. 4 "Sardis", Domes. From a serious Turk, we move to a more easily approchable Turkish-American. As one can see by the titles of these symphonies (from 1995 and 2000), they are essentially large-scale, multi-sectional musical tone poems which describe, respectively, a historical event and an archaeological site. There is much of the film score about this music (extensive percussion batteries and electric bass guitar in both with an additional electric guitar in Sardis and a synthesizer in Vienna) although it sounds rather more modern than a film composer could get away with while remaining easy on the ear and high in the exoticism sweepstakes. Domes (1993) is a 13-minute, nocturne-like piece of abstract music which employs similar ranges of orchestral color. Prague Symphony Orchestra; Kamran Ince. Naxos 8.557588 (New Zealand) 07H006 $6.98

FRITS CELIS (b.1929): Elégie pour un faon for Flute and String Quartet, ROLAND CORYN (b.1938): Eléphantasia for Double Bass, MARC MATTHYS (b.1956): Camel Caravan for Flute, Piano Quintet and Double Bass, JAN HUYLEBROECK (b.1956): Cortège des espèces bien mortes for Violin, Viola and Percussion, YVES BONDUE (b.1966): Chameleon for 2 Pianos, Flute, Clarinet, String Quartet, Double Bass and Percussion, LUCIEN POSMAN (b.1952): Peacock for 2 Pianos, Flute, Clarinet, String Quartet and Percussion, PETRA VERMOTE (b.1968): Dragonette for 2 Pianos, Flute, Clarinet, String Quartet, and Double Bass, BOUDEWIJN BUCKINX (b.1945): Rabbit for 2 Pianos, Flute, Clarinet, String Quartet, and Double Bass, CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921): Carnival of the Animals. A project basedon Saint-Saëns' well-known zoographical work, with several Dutch and Flemish composers depicting various creatures, living or extinct, in various styles and combinations of styles, from classical through jazz to popular music. Arco Baleno Ensemble. Etcetera KTC 1266 (Netherlands) 07H007 $17.98


Albany's Gillis series continues - more premiere recordings!

DON GILLIS (1912-1978): Symphony No. 5 "In memoriam", Symphony No. 6, "Mid-century U.S.A.", Paul Bunyan: An Overture to a Legend. As this cycle goes on, we come to realize more and more that Gillis was not just a great composer of joke-music like Symphony No. 5 and a half, Tulsa: A Portrait in Oil and Shindig. These two symphonies (1945 and 1948) show someone who could write "serious" music which could stand with Copland and Harris in its evocation of broad American landscapes and tributes to American culture, both sacred and secular. Even if the Fifth, a tribute to the spirit of his country at war, can sometimes sound like film music, it also sounds like film music written by a serious composer. The fourth has more of the boisterousness (often coming out in the extra percussion instruments, wittily used) and high spirits normally associated with Gillis but it, too, is a serious work, having not only infectous vigor and attractive tunes but a truly epic sweep. The short overture (1964) earns its place on this disc through its similar qualities. For all true symphony collectors. Sinfonia Varsovia; Ian Hobson. Albany TROY 768 (U.S.A.) 07H008 $16.98


ERNEST BLOCH (1880-1959): America (An Epic Rhapsody for Orchestra), Suite hébraïque for Violin and Orchestra. Composed in 1926, the mammoth, 50-minute America describes the history of the nation by concentrating on three periods (1620; the Civil War and "The Present - The Future"), using elements from Native Americans, the Pilgrims, Celtic, African-American, Creole and other popular musics. Throughout, the germ cells of the concluding choral anthem, as fulsome a bit of musical praise as any American immigrant ever wrote, build until their final, climactic revealing. Text included. Lucnica Chorus, Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra (America), Hagai Shaham (violin), Atlas Camerata Orchestra; Dalia Atlas. Naxos 8.557151 (New Zealand) 07H009 $6.98

JACOB WEINBERG (1879-1956): Piano Concerto No. 2 in C, String Quartet, Op. 55, Shabbat Ba'aretz, Op. 41 (excerpts). Born in Odessa, Weinberg studied with Taneyev and Ippolitov-Ivanov and was a founding member of the Russian group of Jewish composers known as The Society for Jewish Folk Music. The concerto (1944) is a 23-minute work which showcases the ideals of the Society, modeled on Russian Romantic piano concertos, using classically established techniques but employing historically Judaic melodic and rhythmic materials and motifs. The 1950 quartet's first two movements ("Rosh Hashana" and "Yom Kippur") draw on two of the oldest and most significant melodies in the Ashkenzic rite and the finale uses various Hassidic melodies and dance tunes. Jorge Federico Osorio (piano), Barcelona Symphony/National Orchestra of Catalonia; Karl Anton Rickenbacher, Bingham String Quartet, Patrick Mason (baritone), Christopher Bowers-Broadbent (organ), BBC Singers; Kenneth Keisler. Naxos Milken Archive 8.559457 (U.S.A.) 07H010 $6.98

ALBERT HURWIT (b.1931): Symphony No. 1 "Remembrance". This symphony, an obviously deeply felt personal statement, is a work with an interesting background. The composer was a successful medical professional who took to composition after retiring at the age of 55. The conductor on the present recording has acted as Hurwit's mentor for the past few years, assisting in the organisation and orchestration of his larger works. (This is not be confused with the 'classical' aspirations of certain writers of various types of popular music whose orchestral compositions are blatantly ghost-written by hired composers.) The ideas, juxtaposition of styles, and even a certain endearing clumsiness of expression are plainly Hurwit's own. The work depicts the enforced exodus of Hurwit's ancestors from Prague in the Diaspora, in music of unadulterated tonal romanticism. Not a few gestures seem to have wandered in from Ma Vlast, diverse works of Dvorak and Tchaikovsky and occasional fragments of Mahler - not inappropriate influences given Hurwit's family's migration from Prague to Russia. Describing the work as 'homespun' is to do it an injustice - it's better crafted than that would suggest - but it is fair to say that it neither attempts nor achieves the bursting of any musical boundaries. But as a far more sophisticated composer, Ronald Stevenson, once said in a lecture: 'an ounce of true emotion is worth a ton of clever technique', and Hurwit's symphony pays eloquent tribute to the truth of this aphorism. Mid-price. Klezmer band, Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra; Michael Lankester. MSR Classics MS 1134 (U.S.A.) 07H011 $10.98

NED ROREM (b.1923): Miss Julie, Aftermath for Baritone and Piano Trio. Strindberg's bitter little play gets an appropriately astringent operatic treatment from the grand old man of American tonality. Rorem largely avoids romantic lushness - he always has - relying on his lyrical gifts in an idiom of neoclassical economy to drive the narrative forward, eschewing grand operatic gestures in favor of a chamber-style presentation that almost resembles a song-cycle rather than a full-blown stage work (the piece is entirely successful on CD and would work in concert performance without staging for this very reason). The tortured and self-torturing characters emerge all the more vividly in this uncluttered narrative style. The autumnal Aftermath, a post-9/11 piece, achieves even greater impact through even more economical means, and it is hard not to see this as a late chapter in the composer's melancholy relinquishment of the joys and responsibilities of his long, full and prolific life. Reading his choice of texts in the booklet is alone a pleasure for connoisseurs of poetry, even without the added dimension of his meticulous and eloquent musical settings. 2 CDs. Libretto and texts included. The Curtis Opera Theatre and Symphony Orchestra; David Agler, James J. Kee (baritone), Mikael Eliasen (piano), Nicholas Canellakis (cello), José Maria Blumenschein (violin). Albany TROY 761/62 (U.S.A.) 07H012 $33.98

TARQUINIO MERULA (1594-1665): 24 Canzoni, Danze and Variazioni. These ensemble pieces, taken from two books published in 1615 and 1637, show Merula's progression from simple four-part polyphony to compositions which are very close to the early sonate da chiesa of Legrenzi and Cazzati. Many of the nine pieces from Book I have not been recorded before and there are seven extra works recorded from manuscript. Musica Fiorita; Daniela Dolci. Tactus TC 591303 (Italy) 07H013 $11.98

MICHELANGELO ROSSI (1602-1656): Toccate e Correnti d'Intavolatura d'organo e cembalo. First budget-price release of the twenty toccatas and correntes of this individual composer whose style is based on his teacher Frescobaldi's contrapuntal mastery while making use of sudden modulations and chromaticism, the latter especially in the very dramatic and energetic seventh toccata. Sergio Vartolo (harpsichord). Naxos 8.557321 (Italy) 07H014 $6.98

JOHANN THEILE (1646-1724): 20 Weltliche Arien und Canzonetten for Voices, Strings and Continuo. Although they are the work of a 21-year-old student, the thirty songs published in this collection - mostly love-songs, some in a broader sense than others - are rightly recognized as among the most original and important such works written in Germany during the 17th century. German-English texts. Schirin Partowi (soprano), Werner Buchin (alto), Henning Kaiser (tenor), Matthias Vieweg (bass), Les Amis de Philippe; Ludger Rémy. CPO 777 002 (Germany) 07H015 $15.98

FRANÇOIS COUPERIN (1668-1733): Les Nations (complete), Concerts Royaux, Les Goûts-Réünis (complete), Le Parnasse ou l'Apothéose de Corelli, L'Apothéose de Lully, La Sultanne, La Superbe, La Steinquerque, Pièce de violes, Le rossignol. Couperin's complete chamber music (368:48 if you want the complete timing) in brand new (2004) recordings by this prolific and brilliant young period instrument group - a release which may appeal to collectors specializing in other periods who have not felt able to afford excursions into the golden and rarified world of the Sun King and Versailles! 7 CDs. Musica ad Rhenum; Jed Wentz. Brilliant Classics 92178 (Netherlands) 07H016 $38.98

GASPARD CORRETTE (c.1671- before 1733): Messe du 8e ton pour l'orgue à l'usage des dames religieuses. The father of the more famous Corrette had this mass published in 1703. It is simple yet elegant and includes notes specifiying certain aspects of performance which are followed here. Since the mass, intended for a convent, includes no plainchant melody, this was added for the recording by a three-man vocal ensemble from the Baroque Music Center of Versailles. Les Chantres du Roy, Yves-G. Préfontaine (Tribuot organ of St. Martin de Seurre, France). Atma Classique ACD2 2345 (Canada) 07H017 $16.98

ANTONIO VIVALDI (1678-1741): Bassoon Concertos in E Flat, RV 483, in D, RV 481, in F, RV 488, in B Flat, RV 502, in F, RV 489, in C, RV 474 and in B Flat, RV 501 "La notte". If you love Vivaldi's bassoon concertos and haven't heard them on original instruments, you're in for a treat as the period bassoon is deeper and warmer in tone, making it even more obvious why it's sometimes said to be most like the human voice of all the wind instruments. Roberto Giaccaglia (bassoon), Ensemble Respighi. Tactus TC 672242 (Italy) 07H018 $11.98

GEORG PHILIPP TELEMANN (1681-1767): Concertos and Chamber Music, Vol. 3 - Bassoon Sonatina in C Minor, TWV 41: c2, Recorder Sonatina in A Minor, TWV 41: a4, Sonate corellisante in B Minor, TWV 42: h3, Ouverture in F for 2 Violas and Continuo, TWV 55:F2, Concerto di camera in G Minor for Recorder, 2 Violins and Continuo, TWV 43: g3, Concerto in D for 2 Violins, Viola and Continuo, TWV 43: D4. Because you can never have enough Telemann. From now on, we'll print the TWV numbers for collectors who want to manage their burgeoning Telemann shelves. Musica Alta Ripa. MD&G 309 1314-2 (Germany) 07H019 $17.98

GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL (1685-1759): Partenope, HWV 27. The third production of Handel's first "Second Academy" season (1730), Partenope had only seven performances but many present-day scholars consider it one of the best librettos Handel ever set and its amused look at the frailty of love and its irreverent treatment of the "serious style" make for a refreshing listening experience. 3 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Rosemary Joshua (soprano), Kurt Streit (tenor), Stephen Wallace (countertenor), Andrew Foster-Williams (bass-baritone), Hilary Summers (contralto), Early Opera Company; Christian Curnyn. Chandos Chaconne 0719 (England) 07H020 $53.98

CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH (1714-1788): Keyboard Concertos, Vol. 14 - Concertos in A Minor, H.430 and in E Flat, H.467, Sonatina in C, H.460. After 13 volumes, this series moves from Hungary to Finland with a new, smaller orchestra which is still historically accurate given the variety of formations possible in Berlin. The concertos (1750 and 1765) were originally for cello and oboe while the sonatina (1762) is another one of this unique genre intended largely for amateur players. Miklós Spányi (tangent piano), Opus X; Petri Tapio Mattson. BIS CD-1487 (Sweden) 07H021 $17.98

JACQUES DUPHLY (1715-1789): Pièces de clavecin, Book II. The changing times of post-Louis XIV France can be heard throughout this 1748 publication as recollections of the weighty tradition of Rameau and Couperin sit side by side with exuberant "pre-classical" pieces which bear comparison with Domenico Scarlatti as well as a few touches of a C.P.E. Bachian sentimental expressivity. Byron Schenkman (harpsichord). Centaur CRC 2714 (U.S.A.) 07H022 $16.98

JOSEPH HAYDN (1732-1807): The broom of Cowdenknows, She rose, and let me in, Waly waly, The wee, wee man, Robin Adair, Rattling roaring Willy, Thro' the wood, laddie, The old highland laddie, O'er the hills and far awa, Craigieburn Wood, The lea-rig, William and Margaret, What can a young lassie do, Down the burn, Davie, The sutor's doughter, My Love she's but a lassie yet, The ewe-bughts, Up in the morning early, Morag, The east neuk o' Fife, The maid that tends the goats, The lass of Patie's mill, Oran gaoil, The flowers of Edinburgh, Willie was a wanton wag, Logan water, Macpherson's farewell. The cover says, "Scottish Songs for George Thomson, Volume I"; if they're doing a complete set, that means there's only about 375 more to do! At the price, any collector interested in Haydn can afford to begin subscribing... Texts included. Lorna Anderson (soprano), Jamie MacDougall (tenor), Haydn Trio Eisenstadt. Brilliant Classics 92278 (Netherlands) 07H023 $5.98

ANDREA LUCHESI (1741-1801): Requiem, Sinfonia from Passione di N.S. Gesù Cristo. Student of, among others, Galuppi, Luchesi was thought of highly enough to succeed Beethoven's grandfather at a post in Bonn where he wrote music in most of the genres. Neefe described him as "light, agreeable and lively", adjectives which neatly describe this requiem of 1771, fully in Classical style but lacking the weight which a German might have provided, from just before his departure from Italy. Nadia Mantelli (soprano), Alessandrea Vavasori (alto), Emanuele D'Aguanno (tenor), Francesco Azzolini (bass), Little Singers of Brianza, "M. Boni" Civic Choir of Viadana, Cremona Baroque Orchestra; Giovanni Battista Columbro. Tactus TC 741201 (Italy) 07H024 $11.98

CHEVALIER DE SAINT-GEORGES (1745-1799): 6 String Quartets, Op. 14. After several years of silence, this Swiss label which issued a big biography and five CDs covering the mulatto composer's complete violin concertos and symphonies concertantes, issues his final set of quartets. Dating from 1785, they are in the two-movement concertante quartet genre, with no tempos slower than andante and with much repetition of melodies and dialogue between instruments, all four of which get soloist opportunities. Apollon Quartet. Avenira AV 276011 (Switzerland) 07H025 $17.98

CARL STAMITZ (1745-1801): Viola Concertos in D and in A, Sinfonia concertante in D for Violin and Viola, Sinfonia concertante in C for 2 Violins. Brought up among the members of the Mannheim orchestra, the youngest Stamitz specialized in concertos and orchestral works which followed the trend started by his father, the founder of the orchestra, and which led to Mozart and the peak of Viennese Classicsm. Gabriela Demeterová (violin, viola), Czech Philharmonic Collegium; Ondrej Vrabec. Supraphon SU 3814-2 (CzechRepublic) 07H026 $16.98

AMÉDÉE RASETTI (1759-1799): 3 Trios for Flute, Bassoon and Piano, Op. 13. The son of an Italian musician who was one of the 24 Violins du Roi in Paris, Rasetti had a brilliant career as a harpsichordist and pianist. These trios, dating from the year of his death, give all instruments ample soloistic work and, in their virtuosity, harmonies and sound effects, anticipate the Romantic era. Trio Amédée. MD&G 603 1332-2 (Germany) 07H027 $17.98

NIKOLAUS ZMESKÁLL (1759-1833): String Quartets in G Minor & in D. From the surviving letters, it's plain that Zmeskáll was one of Beethoven's closest friends throughout his life (the Choral Fantasy and one string quartet were dedicated to him and he helped Beethoven in many aspects of his professional and private lives) but few people know that he was also a composer of 15 string quartets. None were published and these two are among the latest, each around 36 minutes in length, in full Classical style. Anyone interested in Ries' chamber music will want to have these works which stand comparison with his chamber works and which, sometimes, as in the finale of the G minor quartet, suggest the romantic world of late Schubert. Authentic Quartet. Hungaroton HCD 32332 (Hungary) 07H028 $17.98

GEORG HEINRICH BACKOFEN (1768-1830): Clarinet Concertos in B Flat, Op. 3, in E Flat, Op. 16 and in E FLat, Op. 24. These are three fine, serious clarinet concertos dating from 1797-1816, the same period when Spohr and Weber were writing their own memorable works in this genre and Backofen has the same pre-Romantic sensibility, most obviously in his slow movements while his finales, unusually, all use Spanish-like themes and rhythms. Dieter Klöcker (clarinet), Kaiserslautern Radio Orchestra; Johannes Moesus. CPO 777 065 (Germany) 07H029 $15.98


WITT - Symphonies Nos. 6 & 9!

FRIEDRICH WITT (1770-1836): Symphony No. 6 in A Minor "Sinfonie turque", Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Flute Concerto in G. At last, one of the "major" minor symphonists of Beethoven's time (an exact comteporary, of course) gets a disc to himself! Witt wrote 23 symphonies with the final nine, printed by André, being numbered 1-9. Thus, we have here his last work in the genre. Although both are in minor keys, they are not precursors of tempestuous Romanticism. Witt remained wed to Classical ideals, with Haydn the epitome of style. In keeping with the current rage for all things Eastern, his sixth symphony includes the bells and drums of Turkish percussion but the symphony would be just as attractive were they not present. All three of these works are richly and attractively orchestrated and Witt shows himself a fine creator of melody as well. While not approaching the impact one of Ries' symphonies made on you the first time you heard it, Witt's will entertain you quite nicely and will demand and repay repeated hearings. Too bad the cover doesn't say "Volume One", but we can hope! Susanne Barner (flute), Hamburg Symphony; Johannes Moesus. MD&G 329 1299-2 (Germany) 07H030 $17.98


MAURO GIULIANI (1781-1829): Guitar Concerto No. 1 in A, Op. 30, Guitar Concerto No. 2 in A, Op. 36, Concerto No. 3 for Guitar "terzina" and Orchestra in F, Op. 70, Guitar Quintet in C, Op. 65, Variations on "Nume perdonami in tale istante" from Generali's "Baccanali di Roma" for Guitar "terzina" and String Quartet, Op. 102. The complete works for guitar and strings/orchestra by the most important composer for the instrument of the Classical period, all performed here on period instruments. The "terzina" guitar was a smaller instrument which, paradoxically, due to its higher tuning, could better be heard through the much larger orchestra (full winds, horns, two trumpets and timpani) which Giuliani used for his groundbreaking third concerto. See below for more on the instruments. 2 CDs. Claudio Maccari (guitar), Paolo Pugliese (guitar terzina), Ensemble Ottocento. Brilliant Classics 92621 (Netherlands) 07H031 $10.98

MAURO GIULIANI (1781-1829): Concerto No. 3 for Guitar "terzina" and Orchestra in F, Op. 70, Guitar Quintet in C, Op. 65, Variations on "Nume perdonami in tale istante" from Generali's "Baccanali di Roma" for Guitar "terzina" and String Quartet, Op. 102, Variations on "Deh calma oh ciel" from Rossini's "Otello" for Guitar "terzina" and String Quartet, Op. 101, Variations on a "Valse favori" for Guitar "terzina" and String Quartet, Op. 103. Two sets of variations, totalling 17 minutes, are not on the budget-box above. However, the "terzina"guitar used here is identified (a 19th century creation by Enrico Rocca) while the one used above is not (although every other period instrument on the Brilliant release has its pedigree in the leaflet). In addition, the guitar quintet is played on Giuliani's own, 1825 Pons l'Aîné instrument. This issue also complements the first two concertos which we offered on this label more than a year ago. Edoardo Catemario (guitars), Wiener Akademie; Martin Haselböck. Arts 47689-2 (Germany) 07H032 $12.98

FRANZ SCHUBERT (1797-1828): Trout Quintet, D 667 (arr. Joseph Czerny [1785-1831]), Overture to Rosamunde, D 644 (arr. Josef Hüttenbrenner [1796-1882]), Adagio from String Quintet in C, D 956 (arr. Hugo Ulrich [1827-1872]), Waltzes (arr. Sergei Prokofiev [1891-1953]), Polonaise in B Flat, D 618a (arr. Anthony Goldstone [b.1944]), EDE POLDINI (1869-1957): Study for 2 Pianos from Impromptu in E Flat, D 899/2. A particularly interesting transcription disc, ranging from friends and contemporaries of Schubert, past the odd stop at Prokofiev to the male pianist on this disc. The Czerny (no relation) is particularly well-turned but everything is enjoyable and, for those of you who like this sort of thing, this is exactly the sort of thing you'll like. Goldstone & Clemmow (pianos). Divine Art 25026 (England) 07H033 $16.98

ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810-1856): 6 Lieder, Op. 33, Jagdlieder for Male Choir and 4 Horns, Op. 137, 3 Lieder, Op. 62, Ritornelle, Op. 65, Deutscher Freiheitsgesang, Schwarz-Rot-Gold, Zu den Waffen. Some pretty rare male choir pieces (one with horn quartet) are joined here by three very rare, utterly jingoistic choruses without opus number dating from the revolutionary year of 1848. German-English texts. Detmolder Hornisten, Neue Detmolder Liedertafel; Thorsten Roth. MD&G 622 1316-2 (Germany) 07H034 $17.98


Nocturne Box with Rare Repertoire

CAMILLE PLEYEL (1788-1855): Nocturne Alla Field in B Flat, FRÉDÉRIC KALKBRENNER (1785-1849): Les Soupirs de la Harpe Eolienne, Op. 121/1, Nocturne in F for 3 Hands, Op. 121/2 (w/Agnieszka Chabowska [third hand], CLARA SCHUMANN (1819-1896): Nocturne in F, Op. 6/2, LOUIS LEFÈBURE-WÉLY (1817-1870): Les Cloches du Monestère, Op. 54, EDMOND WEBER: Première Pensée, CHARLES-VALENTIN ALKAN (1813-1888): Nocturne in B, Op. 22, Notturnino Innamorato in F Sharp Minor, Op. 63/43, MIKHAIL GLINKA (1804-1857): Nocturne in E Flat, MARIA SZYMANOWSKA (1789-1831): La Murmure, IGNACY FELIKS DOBRZYNSKI (1807-1867): 2 Nocturnes, Op. 21, 2 Nocturnes, Op. 24, Nocturne in G Minor (all the above on 1837 Erard), JOHN FIELD (1782-1837): 15 Nocturnes (complete; 1823 Broadwood), FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN (1810-1849): 21 Nocturnes (complete; 1837 Erard and 1842 Pleyel). Three different period pianos will add to the pleasure of hearing the complete Chopin and Field again but, of course, the real catch here is the fourth disc of rare repertoire by various Romantic composers who followed in their footsteps. Even if you want this disc alone, the price is not much more than many regular full-price labels are selling for these days! Bart van Oort (fortepianos). 4 CDs. Brilliant Classics 92202 (Netherlands) 07H035 $21.98


ROBERT FRANZ (1815-1892): 32 Lieder. Franz must be one of the most unknown lieder composers who published 283 songs! This being so, we've not listed the titles since that, and their opus numbers, would have taken up the rest of this column. A quarter of his output sets Heine and the other famous German Classical and Romantic poets are well-represented also. Franz was a miniaturist (almost all of these songs last under two minutes) and his songs are delicate, tinged with melancholy and, in the composer's own words "My lieder are not meant to arouse, but to create peace and tranquillity." German texts. Yves Saelens (tenor), Jan Vermeulen (1851 Bösendorfer piano). Etcetera KTC 1260 (Netherlands) 07H036 $17.98

JOACHIM RAFF (1822-1882): Cello Concertos No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 193 & No. 2 in G, Op. posth., Duo for Cello and Piano in A, Op. 59, Begegnung for Cello and Piano, Op. 86/1. Collectors will surely find this newest Raff release from Tudor to be worth the wait (assuming it's actually in stock by the time they read this - see cover note). The second concerto was not performed until 1997 although famous soloist David Popper was anxiously awaiting its delivery to him in 1876 (no one knows what happened...) and, like its predecessor from 1874, it's full of the melodic invention and lovely orchestration we expect from Raff. While Begegnung (1854) is a high-quality salon piece, the duo, from 1848, brims over with youthful energy and passion and has an almost virtuosic piano part. Daniel Müller-Schott (cello) Robert Kulek (piano - Op. 59 & 86/1), Bamberg Symphony; Hans Stadlmair. Tudor 7121 (Switzerland) 07H037 $17.98

THEODOR KIRCHNER (1823-1903): Piano Quartet in C Minor, Op. 84, ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810-1856): Piano Quartet in E Flat, Op. 47. One of only two chamber works by this miniaturist, Kirchner's 1888 quartet is distinguished by its elegant, brilliant and transparent piano writing in an idiom which mostly looks back at Schumann but sometimes to his friend and contemporary, Brahms. Fauré Quartet. Ars Musici AM 1384-2 (Germany) 07H038 $17.98

CARL BAERMANN (1810-1885): Souvenirs de Bellini, IWAN MÜLLER (1786-1854): 3 Fantasias on Cavatinas by Rossini, PAUL JEANJEAN (1875-1929): 2 Pièces, GIACOMO MILUCCIO (b.1928): Rhapsody for Solo Clarinet, ALFRED PRINZ (b.1930): Clarinet Sonata. Compositions by famous clarinettists (Prinz was solo in the Vienna Philharmonic for decades) across the centuries - styles vary but the need for lyrical, singing melody remains the same, making for a attractively varied menu of very approachable music. András Horn (clarinet), Anna Granik (piano). Hungaroton HCD 32309 (Hungary) 07H039 $17.98

PETER HEISE (1830-1879): 11 Songs, C.E.F. WEYSE (1774-1842): 6 Songs, AKSEL AGERBY (1889-1942): 3 Songs, FINN HØFFDING (1897-1997): De lyse Nat. One of Denmark's leading tenors performs a miniature overview of Danish art-song, from Classicism to the present day with nature romanticism particularly prominent, especially in Heise's set. Danish-English texts. Peter Grønlund (tenor), Tove Lønskov (piano). Preiser PR 90582 (Austria) 07H040 $16.98

MILY BALAKIREV (1837-1910): Islamey, Fantasia on Themes from Glinka's "A Life for the Tsar", Fantasiestück, 3 Nocturnes, Capriccio, Sonata in B Flat Minor, Op. 5, Sonatina, Sonata in B Flat Minor, 7 Waltzes, Polka, Tarantella, 2 Valse-Caprices (after A.S. Taneyev), 7 Mazurkas, 3 Scherzos, Dumka, Au jardin, Gondolied, Berceuse, The Lark, Spanish Melody, Spanish Serenade, La fileuse, Tyrolienne, Chand du pêcheur, Humoresque, Rêverie, Novelette, Toccata, Transcriptions: Kamarinskaya, Jota aragonesca & Ne govori (Glinka), Romance from Piano Concerto No. 1 (Chopin), Cavatina from String Quartet in B Flat, Op. 150, Allegretto from String Quartet in E Minor, Op. 59/2 (Beethoven), Introduction to La Fuite en Egypte (Berlioz), Pustinya & Impromptu on the Themes of Two Preludes by Chopin (Balakirev), Rêverie (Zapolsky). More Balakirev than you knew existed - the third disc of transcriptions being particularly interesting... 6 CDs. Alexander Paley (piano). Original 1992 Essay recordings. Brilliant Classics 92617 (Netherlands) 07H041 $33.98

JOSEPH RHEINBERGER (1839-1901): Organ Concertos No. 1 in F, Op. 137 & No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 177. Dating from late in his career, these two concertos for organ and strings (with a trio of horns in the first and paris of trumpets and horns in the second), use masterful motivic development and have several very effective climaxes. Paul Skevington (organ of St. Luke Catholic Church, McLean, VA), The Amadeus Orchestra; Timothy Rowe. Naxos 8.557787 (New Zealand) 07H042 $6.98

PHILIPP WOLFRUM (1854-1919): Organ Sonatas in B Flat Minor, Op. 1, in E, Op. 10 & in F Minor, Op. 14. Dating from 1879-83, these works are, in turn, wild and impetuous, gently cheerful and melancholy with much Rheinberger influence in the first two (as well as Liszt in the difficult fugues) and that of Brahms in the third. Martin Sander (Voit organ, Stadthalle, Heidelberg). MD&G 606 1319-2 (Germany) 07H043 $17.98

ALEXANDER MACKENZIE (1847-1935): Pibroch Suite, Op. 42, JOHN BLACKWOOD MCEWEN (1868-1948): Scottish Rhapsody "Prince Charlie", PABLO DE SARASATE (1844-1908): Airs écossais, Op. 34, MAX BRUCH (1838-1920): Scottish Fantasy, Op. 46. Although Hyperion has already recorded Mackenzie's 1889 Pibroch Suite - a work which can stand with Bruch's evergreen masterpiece in quality - McEwen's single-movement, 13-minute rhapsody (1915 but only orchestrated in 1941) is an invigorating and very welcome addition to the genre and Sarasate's piece (1894) is a seven minute burst of virtuoso fireworks sure to dazzle. Barton and Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser play a six-minute medley of Scots tunes and there is a video documentary of the making of the recording on the "Enhanced CD" second disc (for both Windows and Macs). 2 CDs for the price of 1. Rachel Barton Pine (violin), Scottish Chamber Orchestra; Alexander Platt. Cedille CDR 90000 083 (U.S.A.) 07H044 $16.98

RUGGIERO LEONCAVALLO (1857-1919): Chatterton. Written when he was 19 but never produced, the composer returned to his libretto which was based on a play by de Vigny after the success of Pagliacci and, with some revisions, saw its premiere in 1896. Unlike thelatter, Chatterton is a romantically nostalgic work with its eponymous lead a poverty-stricken English poet in love with the wife of his rich landlord. Of course, nothing good can come of this and nothing does. 2 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Renato Zuin (tenor), Tiziana Scaciga Della Silva (soprano), Pesaro Philharmonic Chorus, Orchestra of the Ukraine Opera of Dniepropetrovsk; Silvano Frontalini. Bongiovanni GB 2372/73 (Italy) 07H045 $33.98

LOUIS GLASS (1864-1936): String Sextet in G, Op. 15, Piano Quintet in C, Op. 22. Both works have the characteristic sequenced themes and repeated rhythmic figures, used in block-like fashion which so remind one of Bruckner. However, the early 1890s sextet has a warmth and melodic charm which makes one think of trans-Alpine regions while the 1896 quintet, with its massive character and difficult piano writing, often suggests an orchestral quality which makes its Brucknerian aspects more insistent. Christina Bjørkøe (piano), Copenhagen Classic. CPO 777 062 (Germany) 07H046 $15.98

ALEXANDER GLAZUNOV (1865-1936): 5 Songs, Op. 4, 2 Pushkin Songs, Op. 27, 6 Songs, Op. 59, 6 Songs, Op. 60, From Hafiz, The Belle, Hey You, My Free Song!, Shakespeare's Sonnet LXVI, Nina's Song, Op. 102, Stifling!, Spanish Romance, Whenever I Hear Your Voice, My Songs are Venomous. Glazunov was never much attracted to vocal music and this new recording offers all but two (very early) of his corpus of songs. Earlier ones have much Russian folk influence via early 19th century Romance models while the two sets of mature pieces (1898) show a fully realized world of lyrical emotion, tenderness, carefully wrought and beautifully set for the voice. Russian (Cyrillic)-English texts. Victoria Evtodieva (soprano), Lyudmila Shkirtil (mezzo), Mikhail Lukonin (baritone), Yuri Serov (piano). Northern Flowers NF/PMA 9925 (Russia) 07H047 $16.98

FLORENT SCHMITT (1870-1958): Sonate libre en deux parties enchaînées for Violin and Piano, Ombres for Piano, Op. 64. Schmitt's aesthetic owed more to Wagner and Richard Strauss than to his French Impressionist coevals and it would be difficult to find anything particularly Impressionistic in most of his works. The two here, written between 1917 and 1920 and, thus, under the influence of the catastrophic war, are direct, expressively emotional and sound like no other French composer of Schmitt's generation. NOTE: We offered this in the September 2001 catalogue (09D042) Jean Fournier (violin), Ginette Doyen (piano), Werner Bärtschi (piano, Ombres). Original 1959 Musidisc and 1982 Accord releases. Accord 461 759-2 (France) 07H048 $12.98

ALEXANDER ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942): Ländliche Tänze, Op. 1, Albumblatt, Fantasien über Gedichte von Richard Dehmel, Op. 9, 4 Ballades, Menuett from Das gläserne Herz, Skizze, Ein Lichtstrahl. Zemlinsky wrote all of his published piano music between 1891 and 1901 and, thus, it has almost none of the expressionistic and color-drenched quality of his later operatic and orchestral music (except, perhaps, in the four short Fantasies). But, for collectors of 19th century German Romanticism, this will be a valuable acquisition for the echoes of every major German composer of the century which are briefly on display in the 11 "Rustic Dances" and the Brahmsian Ballades while the "Ray of Light", a 17-minute accompaniment to a never-performed mime drama, went unperformed until 1992, although the difficulty of its piano writing is only part of the reason. Silke Avenhaus (piano). Naxos 8.557331 (New Zealand) 07H049 $6.98

ARNOLD SCHÖNBERG (1874-1951): Friede auf Erden (versions for Choir and for Choir and Orchestra), Op. 13, Farben from 5 Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 16/3 (choral transcr. Franck Krawczyk), 3 Volksliedsätze for Choir, Verbundenheit for Male Choir, Op. 35/6, Dreimal tausend Jahre for Choir, Op. 50a, De profundis for Choir, Op. 50b, Chamber Symphony, Op. 9. His last completed work, a 1950 setting of the De profundis and its predecessor of the previous year, show how freely Schoenberg was treating serial technique by the end of his life. The notes point out how the rare a capella choral pieces seemed to come at crucial times in the composer's development; Friede auf Erden (1907 and heard here also in the rarely-encountered orchestral version of 1911), the three folk song settings (1929) and the excerpt from Op. 35 (1930) are further examples. German-English texts. Chur de Chamber Accentus; Laurence Equilbey, Ensemble Intercontemporain; Jonathan Nott (op. 9). Naïve V 5008 (France) 07H050 $16.98

FRANK BRIDGE (1879-1941): Orchestral Works, Vol. 6 - Berceuse, Chant d'espérance, Serenade, A Royal Night of Variety, The Pageant of London for Wind Orchestra, Tenor and Orchestra: Blow out, you bugles, Adoration, Where she lies asleep, Love went a-riding, Thy hand in mine, Mezzo-Soprano and Orchestra: Berceuse, Mantle of blue, Day after day, Speak to me, my love!. What appears to be the last volume of this series includes nine orchestral songs, only two of which are from Bridge's mature period (settings of Tagore eloquent in their power and more exotic than anything else here). Three Edwardian orchestral miniatures, a brief sign-off written for the BBC in 1934 and one of the composer's only two works for winds (a 1911 suite written for themulti-day "Pageant of England" given that year at the Crystal Palace) make up the remainder. Texts included. Sarah Connoly (mezzo), Philip Langridge (tenor), BBC National Orchestra of Wales; Richard Hickox. Chandos 10310 (England) 07H051 $17.98

NIKOLAI OBUKHOV (1892-1954): 7 Preludes (Prayers), NIKOLAI ROSLAVETS (1881-1944): 5 Preludes, ARTHUR LOURIÉ (1892-1966): 5 Preludes fragiles, Op. 1, ALEXEI STANCHINSKY (1888-1914): 5 Preludes, Prelude en mode lydique, Prelude, SAMUEL FEINBERG (1890-1962): 4 Preludes, Op. 8, ANATOLY ALEXANDROV (1888-1982): 4 Preludes, Op. 10, IVAN WYSHNEGRADSKY (1893-1979): 2 Preludes, Op. 2, REINHOLD GLIERE (1875-1956): Prelude, Op. 26/1, ANATOL LYADOV (1855-1914): Prelude in D Flat, Op. 57/1, ALEXANDER SCRIABIN (1872-1915): 5 Preludes, Op. 74. One of the most useful discs of its type allows the listener to follow the development of the Russian avant-garde in the microcosm of the genre of the Prelude, as composed between the years 1906 and 1922. Much has been recorded before but standing out for repertoire collectors are Alexandrov's gloomy and passionate pieces from 1916, Feinberg's extraordinarily difficult preludes of 1919 which are anxiety-ridden and expressive, Wyschnegradsky's early, Scriabineque pair from 1916 and, longest set of all, Obukhov's seven from 1915 which burst with a mystical vitality and a kaleidoscopic wash of colors. Jenny Lin (piano). Hännsler Classic CD 98.480 (Germany) 07H052 $17.98

Klassizistische Moderne, Vol. 2 - IGOR STRAVINSKY (1882-1971): Suites Nos. 1 & 2 for Small Orchestra, Pastorale, Lied ohne Name for 2 Bassoons, Fanfare for a New Theatre, Aria & Cabaletta from The Rake's Progress, 3 Songs from William Shakespeare (Emma Kirkby [soprano]), MICHAEL TIPPETT (1905-1998): Divertimento on "Sellinger's Round", BENJAMIN BRITTEN (1913-1976): Sinfonietta, Op. 1. This series highlights 20th century composers' responses to the baroque heritage with this volume bringing several pretty rare Stravinsky pieces (the micro-suites are particularly enjoyable but gone before you realize it). Basel Chamber Orchestra; Christopher Hogwood. Arte Nova ANO 926500 (Germany) 07H053 $4.98

Klassizistische Moderne, Vol. 3 - IGOR STRAVINSKY (1882-1971): Pulcinella Suite, GIAN FRANCESCO MALIPIERO (1882-1973): Ricercari for 11 Instruments, ALFREDO CASELLA (1883-1947): Scarlattiana. Although Pulcinella is common repertoire, the two Italian pieces are much less so. Malipiero's 1925 work is freely inspired by early Italian forms and is full of good spirits while Casella (1926) followed Stravinsky's route of "recomposing" pre-existing baroque material. Anthony Spiri (piano), Basel Chamber Orchestra; Christopher Hogwood. Arte Nova ANO 927650 (Germany) 07H054 $4.98

BOHUSLAV MARTINU (1890-1959): Concerto for Harpischord and Small Orchestra, Promenades for Transverse Flute, Violin and Harpsichord, 2 Pièces for Harpsichord, Harpsichord Sonata, 2 Impromptus for Harpsichord, MANUEL DE FALLA (1876-1946): Concerto for Harpsichord, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Violin and Cello. Only the second recording to use Martinu's prescribed nonet of accompanying players, the 1935 concerto also benefits here from corrections to the printed edition (made from the manuscript) and the use of a Pleyel harpsichord, which Martinu specified. It, the Promenades and the Pièces of 1939 are brilliant examples of the composer's neo-baroque style while the 1958-9 pair of remaining compositions are full of free fantasy and remarkable sound effects. Monika Knoblochová (harpsichord) and supporting soloists. Supraphon SU 3805-2 (Czech Republic) 07H055 $16.98

LENNOX BERKELEY (1903-1989): Sonatina for Violin and Piano, Op. 17, 5 Short Pieces for Piano, Op. 4, Andantino for Cello and Piano, Op. 21/2a, 3 Pieces for Solo Clarinet, Mazurka for Piano, Op. 101b, Duo for Cello and Piano, Op. 81/1, 6 Preludes for Piano, Op. 23, Concertino for Flute, Violin, Cello and Piano, Op. 49. The distinctive clarity, grace, transparency and elegance which stem from his studies with Nadia Boulanger and his affinities to French culture in general inform all of these chamber pieces which cover most of Berkeley's career, dating from the 1936 Short Pieces to 1982's Mazurka. Schirmer Ensemble. Naxos 8.557324 (New Zealand) 07H056 $6.98

LEO SOWERBY (1895-1968): Comes Autumn Time, Madrigal, Fanfare, CHARLES ALBERT STEBBINS (1869-1947): When Dusk Gathers Deep, HAROLD STOVER (b.1946): Nocturnes, Book I, Mountain Music, LOUIS ALTER (1902-1980): Manhattan Serenade (transcr. Rosa Rio), GEORGE GERSHWIN (1898-1937): Embraceable You (arr. Mark Laub). Organist Stover plays a program whose first half exemplifies the kind of music inspired by and written for the Skinner organ which he plays, from full-blooded mini tone poems like Sowerby's to transcriptions of popular tunes. His own music ranges from the improvisational wash of organ color of "Starry Night", first of his Nocturnes, to Mountain Music, whose three movements are based on traditional Shaker tunes. Harold Stover (Skinner organ of St. Luke, Portland, ME). Albany TROY 765 (U.S.A.) 07H057 $16.98

IGOR STRAVINSKY (1882-1971): Apollo, Agon, Orpheus. Apollo is a 1947 revision of the 1928 Apollon musagète, Stravinsky's homage to the ancient Greek concept of music, dance, painting and poetry as a unified whole; Orpheus (1948) is rather more lyrical than much of Stravinsky's music while Agon (1953) dates from the beginning of the composer's experimentation with serialism. London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke's; Robert Craft. Original 1992 Musicmasters and 1995 Koch International Classics releases. Naxos 8.557502 (New Zealand) 07H058 $6.98

ZOLTÁN KODÁLY (1882-1967): Works for Mixed Choir, Vol. 1 - Miserere, Evening, See the Gypsies Munching Cheese, A Christmas Carol, A Birthday Greeting, Mátra Pictures, The Aged, Too Late, Jesus and the Traders, Horatii Carmen II. 10, Transylvanian Lament, Annie Miller, Ode to Liszt, Song of Faith. Collectors interested in the folk music of Central Europe know that many gems are preserved in the solo choral music of Bartók, Kodály, Martinu, Smetana, etc. This new series from Hungaroton will be valuable for Kodály's folk-song settings, certainly, but his choral oeuvre goes far beyond that and there are several large-scale Romantic compositons here (such as the Annie Miller setting - a Transylvanian version of the Bluebeard tale - and the big Ode to Liszt) which are equally compelling. Hungarian-English texts. Debrecen Kodály Chorus; Péter Erdei. Hungaroton HCD 32364 (Hungary) 07H059 $17.98

DARIUS MILHAUD (1892-1974): L'Homme et son désir, Op. 48 for Wordless Singers and Orchestra, Suite provençale, Op. 152d, Le Buf sur le toit, Op. 58, La Création du monde, Op. 81a. Composed in 1917-8, the 20-minute ballet L'Homme was for a while considered Milhaud's most radical and influential work due to its polytonal and polyrhythmic subtlety and its primitive and ritualistic qualities (using a huge percussion section). Tomoko Makuuchi (soprano), Jian Zhao (mezzo), Mathias Vidal (tenor), Bernard Deletré (bass), Orchestre National de Lille-Région Nord/Pas de Calais; Jean-Claude Casadesus. Naxos 8.557287 (New Zealand) 07H060 $6.98

FRANZ VECSEY (1893-1935): 3 Morceaux, Conte passionné, Valse triste, Chanson triste, 2 Preludes and Fugues, Souvenir, A Toi, Devant un tombeau, Nuit du Nord, Valse lente, Caprice fantastique, Pourquoi, Cascade, Chanson nostalgique, REGER/VECSEY: Mariä Wiegenlied, PAGANINI/VECSEY: La campanella. Hungaroton continues its service to Hungarian virtuoso violinists of the past with this new release dedicated to the original pieces of the short-lived Vecsey which, as you might expect, have just the right mixture of sentiment, humor and virtuosity with, perhaps, the nine-minute long Devant un tombeau the most striking example - a lament framed by funeral marches which is actually a miniature tone poem. Vilmos Szabadi (violin), Zsuzsana Homor (piano). Hungaroton HCD 32333 (Hungary) 07H061 $17.98

BENJAMIN BRITTEN (1911-1976): Friday Afternoons for Unison Voices and Piano, Op. 7, The Golden Vanity for Boys and Piano, Op. 78, Beware for Medium Voice and Piano, 3 Two-Part Songs for Boys' or Female Voices and Piano. The very good notes deal with Britten's ambiguous response to childhood, both his own and in the abstract, a life-period whose echoes stayed with him throughout his life and which caused him to write a lot of music for children's voices. The largest work here is The Golden Vanity, a miniature opera commissioned in 1966 by the Vienna Choir Boys and whose folk-like melodies, offset by grinding dissonances, embody the bleak moral of the tale. The dozen songs of Friday Afternoons (1933-4) have a diversity easily matched by Britten's inventiveness and Beware, written when the composer was only ten, is one of those shocking evidences of talent beyond one's years which still manage to occur centuries after the example of Mozart. Texts included. Monnaie Children's Choir, Maîtrise de la Monnaie, Het Kinderkoor van de Munt; Denis Menier, Bruno Crabbé (piano). Fuga Libera FUG 507 (Belgium) 07H062 $17.98

TAUNO PYLKKÄNEN (1918-1980): Mare and her Son. Pylkkänen wrote nine operas (including a couple of short radio pieces) and, especially after this one which was written in 1942-3 and premiered after the war, was widely seen in Finland as the "golden boy" of Finnish opera. Of course, like many others from all over Europe who wrote compelling, dramatic music with full-throated melodies to similarly exciting libretti, his star was extinguished by serialism and its post-war allies. Today, one can recognize how great the influence of Puccini is on Pylkkänen (another of his operas has been compared to Menotti's The Consul) but this matters less now than his dramatic sense, his ability to write gorgeous melodies and his large-scale orchestration (tinged with conscious archaisms in this story which is set in 14th century Estonia) can be enjoyed for the sheer pleasure they bring to the listener. 2 CDs. Finnish-English libretto. Kirsi Tiihonen (soprano), Raimo Sirkiä (tenor), Estonian National Opera Chorus and Orchestra; Hannu Lintu. Ondine ODE 1055 (Finland) 07H063 $35.98

LEX VAN DELDEN (1919-1988): Flute Quartet, Op. 58, String Sextet, Op. 97, Duo for Flute and Harp, Op. 27, Nonetto per Amsterdam for Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn, String Quartet, Double Bass and Piano, Op. 101, Introduzione e Danza for Flute, Clarinet and Piano Quartet, Op. 26. van Delden made much of his living on commissions from various Dutch organizations and, especially, the Concertgebouw Orchestra, whose members make up the Viotta Ensemble and by whom all the works here were either commissioned or premiered. Entirely self-taught, van Delden wrote in a clear, direct and tonal style with some debt owed to 20th century neo-classicism. Everything here is fundamentally optimistic in nature, often exuberant but with a slight vein of melancholy often apparent. Viotta Ensemble. MD&G 603 1317-2 (Germany) 07H064 $17.98

GISELHER KLEBE (b.1925): Sonatas for Solo Violin Nos. 1, Op. 8 & No. 2, Op. 20, Violin Sonatas Nos. 1, Op. 14 & No. 2, Op. 66, Capriccio for Solo Violin "Von dem Gewitter", Op. 128 , Fantasia Incisiana for Violin and Piano, Op. 137. This third volume Marco Polo has devoted to Klebe reinforces his as an attractive voice, all the more surprising for most of the works having been written using serial technique; Klebe's individual use of melody is what makes them (and all of his music) expressive and easily approachable. Eckhard Fischer (violin), Christian Köhn (piano). Marco Polo 8.225304 (New Zealand) 07H065 $9.98


Henze - Complete Violin Concertos

HANS WERNER HENZE (b.1926): Violin Concerto No. 1, Violin Concerto No. 2 for Solo Violin, Recorded Tape, Bass-Baritone and 33 Instruments, Violin Concerto No. 3. These three concertos mark out obvious watersheds in Henze's life, the first coming from 1948 when he was still a student. A four-movement work of 26 minutes, it has a strong resemblance in its fragile, pale lyricism to Berg's concerto as Henze, without yet knowing the rules of dodecaphony, used a twelve-note series which ends up being a unifying factor and provides thematic material as much of the piece itself deals in tonal harmonies. The 37-minute long second (1971) comes from his overtly political period whose poem, although by a mathematician and logician, has its own politically didactic undertone; the six sections are often patched together in a collage of ironical references to various musical periods and styles and, while there is much dissonance, there is also, of course, much consonance which has its own surprise value. The third concerto dates from 1997 and was revised in 2002 to give the soloist's part more emphasis; the latter portrays three characters from Thomas Mann's "Doctor Faustus" in a kind of stylized tone-painting whose overall character of uneasy lyricism looks back across the gap of fifty years to his first violin concerto. 2 CDs. Torsten Janicke (violin), Ulf Dirk Mädler (baritone), Magdeburg Philharmonic Orchestra; Christian Ehwald. MD&G 601 1242-2 (Germany) 07H066 $35.98


FRÉDÉRIC VAN ROSSUM (b.1939): Sinfonietta, Op. 7, Divertimento for Strings, Op. 15, Epitaphe for Strings, Op. 25, Catharsis for 2 Pianos, Op. 42, Ricercare festivo for Mixed Choir, Op. 52. van Rossum writes a very attractive neo-classical music in his early pieces (the Sinfonietta is from 1963 and Divertimento from 1967) which also has a lyrical intensity which puts one foot into the yet-to-be formed neo-romantic school of the late 60s and early 70s although it might be better to think of him as a continental counterpart to those 20th century English composers who never abandoned tonality are were particularly gifted at writing for string orchestra (but the Sinfonietta handles the addition of winds and brass with equal aplomb). Latin texts included. Brussels Chamber Choir and Orchestral Ensemble; Jacques Van Herenthals, Muhiddin D. Demiriz, Eugène Galand (pianos). Pavane ADW 7499 (Belgium) 07H067 $15.98

RUTH CRAWFORD (1901-1953): 9 Preludes, DANE RUDHYAR (1895-1985): Tetragram No. 8: Primavera, CARL RUGGLES (1876-1971): Angels, Evocations, Organum, HENRY COWELL (1897-1965): Piece for Piano, The Snows of Fujiyama, Hommage a Rudhyar, The Harp of Life. The prolific Schleiermacher moves now to the "American Ultramodernists". Except for Ruggles' Evocations and Organum, everything here dates from between 1922 and 1928, a time when these composers were crystallizing their philosophies of the spiritually transcendental powers of dissonance, which were also put into print by the French immigrant Rudhyar. Pulsating waves of sound and thickly textured chords make use of the resonance left after the notes have been played in almost all these works, of which Seeger's 29-minute long set of preludes is the most neglected in the catalogues. Steffen Schleiermacher (piano). MD&G 613 1265-2 (Germany) 07H068 $17.98

GIAN CARLO MENOTTI (b.1911): Canti della lontananza, 5 Songs, Cantlena and Scherzo for Harp and String Quartet, Violin Concerto in A Minor. Amazingly, there are still very few recordings of this wonderful concerto which may not plumb the depths of the human psyche but which is one of the most engagingly melodic, song-like and appealing works in its genre in the 20th century. The Cantilena is equally gorgeous, a nostalgic preamble giving way to a fleet-footed scherzo. Both sets of songs (1967 and 1981) deal with loss and longing in a manner which often rises to operatic intensity, especially in the earlier, Italian-language Canti (both are to Menotti's own texts). No texts. Christine Brewer (soprano), Roger Vignoles (piano), Gillian Tingay (harp), Vanbrugh Quartet, Ittai Shapira (violin), Russian Philharmonic Orchestra; Thomas Sanderling. ASV DCA 1156 (England) 07H069 $17.98

NINO ROTA (1911-1979): Concerto soirée for Piano and Orchestra, Suite from La strada, Dances from The Leopard. Presented as an 84-page, hard-bound book with the CD in a sleeve on the final page, with a dozen photos from the films and from their sets and original film one-sheets, this makes for a very attractive addition for collectors who will probably already have the concerto (Lupo recorded it for Nuova Era under less lavish circumstances). Film-score collectors will want it since the concerto contains motifs from several Rota film scores and because the expense Harmonia Mundi have gone to make this an obvious labor of love (and the interview with pianist Lupo makes clear his attachement to Rota, who was the head of the Bari Conservatory when Lupo was a student there). Benedetto Lupo (piano), Orquesta Ciudad de Granada; Josep Pons. Harmonia Mundi HMC 901864 (France) 07H070 $17.98

CONLON NANCARROW (1912-1997): Pieces Nos. 1 & 2 for Small Orchestra, String Quartet No. 1, Trio Movement for Clarinet, Bassoon and Piano, Toccata for Violin and Player Piano, Prelude and Blues for Piano, Tango? for Piano, Study No. 15 and Sonatina (both transcr. piano four-hands by Yvar Mikhashoff). Truly rare repertoire here - that is, Nancarrow compositions actually played by real humans in traditional formations! The earliest pieces are the Toccata and Prelude and Blues (both 1935), wild fusions of blues and counterpoint while most of the rest date from the 1940s, before the composer retired to mechanical music-making, but the second Piece and Tango? are from the mid 1980s when he returned. Plenty of energy in all these works and at the budget price a real no-brainer for adventurous collectors. Continuum. Original 1991 Musical Heritage Society release. Naxos American Classics 8.559196 (U.S.A.) 07H071 $6.98

MICHAEL TORKE (b.1961): An Italian Straw Hat. Anyone who likes (as we do) Torke's post-modern, post-minimalist (really important there!) style, and who have bought his original Argo releases or the first compilation of those works reissued on his own Ecstatic label, will be happy to encounter a new, hour-long ballet with all of his characteristic virtues: brilliant, attractive, colorful music which, even in non-ballet scores, seems to beg for dancing! National Ballet of Canada Orchestra; Ormsby Wilkins. Ecstatic Records ER 092207 (U.S.A.) 07H072 $17.98

AARON COPLAND (1900-1990): Piano Fantasy, Piano Sonata, Piano Variations. Three of Copland's large-scale piano pieces from which all listeners who know him only as the composer of Appalachian Spring, the Third Symphony, etc. will run in horror. The 1930 Variations are rigorous and uncompromisingly austere and, while the sonata (1941) is tonal, with jazz elements in its slow movement, it is predominantly solemn and inward-looking while the Fantasy (1957) comes from the beginning of a period when Copland employed serial procedures although there are snatches of his more populist voice from the 1930s as well. Benjamin Pasternack (piano). Naxos American Classics 8.559184 (U.S.A.) 07H073 $6.98

WILLIAM BOLCOM (b.1938): The Last Days of Mankind, Songs to Dance, I Will Breathe a Mountain, Tillinghast Duo, Mary, 3 Songs from The Wind in the Willows, When We Built the Church from Dynamite Tonight, My Father the Gangster and Night, Make My Day from Casino Paradise, The Digital Wonder Watch, You Cannot Have Me Now - or, The Military Orgy from Greatshot. Covering forty years of Bolcom's song-writing career, these 34 songs include 20 first recordings and run the stylistic gamut from Broadway parody to sophisticated art-song. Texts included. Carole Farley (soprano), William Bolcom (piano). Naxos American Classics 8.559249 (U.S.A.) 07H074 $6.98

ANDRÁS SZÖLLÖSY (b.1921): Musica per orchestra, Sonorità, Musica concertante, Elegia. Amid the dense orchestral textures which at first somewhat misleadingly suggest typical Donaueschingen large-orchestra manouevring, on close inspection we find that a rich tapestry of free counterpoint, incorporating material directly comparable to Bartók, Kodaly, even Bach. To be sure, the subtly dissonant background not infrequently suggests a more recent figure in Hungarian music - Ligeti - though the obsessive micropolyphony adopted by the latter is largely avoided as an end in itself here. The presence of muttering ostinati underpinning Szöllösy's often frankly melodic polyphonic elements (not infrequently we encounter phrases that are clearly related to well-known works of Bartók) again provides a link to the past, and avoids the impression of formlessness that can be suggested by modern orchestral music that places most of its weight on the assumption that the listener can perceive thematic series based on the analysis of spectral series. BBC Symphony Orchestra; Péter Eötvös, Budapest Chamber Symphony; András Wilhelm. BMC CD 080 (Hungary) 07H075 $16.98

WOLFGANG RIHM (b.1952): String Quartets, Vol. 3 - No. 7 "Veränderungen", No. 8 & No. 9 "Quartettsatz". String quartets have been an important part of Rihm's output from his first eruption into the European avant garde until the present. These three works span the decade from the mid-80s to mid-90s, and have in common the avoidance of tonal harmony (except for a few unexpected, sudden and consequently shocking instances) and the adoption of sounds not related to the quartet medium (percussion, vocalisation). Fragmentary, brittle sounds form the basic texture, with an eerily insistent, impersonal, insect dynamism - the music is virtually never static - out of which violently contrasting masses of sound suddenly appear with hectic insistence. Freely atonal in the best post-Webernian sense, Rihm constantly surprises by suddenly indulging in a moment of passionate lyricism or rhythmic ostinato, perpetually keeping the listener's expectations off balance. Minguet Quartet. col legno WWE 1CD 20213 (Germany) 07H076 $19.98

KALEVI AHO (b.1949): Flute Concerto (Lahti Symphony Orchestra; Osmo Vänskä), HAUKUR TÓMASSON (b.1960): Flute Concerto No. 2 (Iceland Symphony Orchestra; Bernharthur Wilkinson), CHRISTAN LINDBERG (b.1958): The World of Montuagretta for Flute and Chamber Orchestra (Swedish Chamber Orchestra; Christian Lindberg). Three contemporary flute concertos might strike some people as a bit much, but the works are so varied and so original that they form a satisfying program which can be listened through in one sitting without fatigue. It probably helps that Aho's concerto, on a symphonic scale, is quite simply breathtakingly beautiful in its evocations of nature and human feeling, without ever suggesting picture-postcard prettiness. Contrasting glowing warmth in Aho's familiar lush extended tonality with the constant presence of a kind of brooding melancholy, glimpsed, as it were, in the shadows, the concerto occupies similar emotional territory to the Sibelius Violin Concerto, without sounding very much like it except in the general harmonic techniques employed. Tómasson's work is more modern and more bleak, though the richness of his orchestral textures and colors belie the ambiguity of the harmonic language. Although suggested by serious subject-matter, Lindberg's work is lively and optimistic, an irresistible divertimento and virtuoso showpiece, sophisticated yet instantly likable. Sharon Bezaly (flute). BIS CD-1499 (Sweden) 07H077 $17.98

GIYA KANCHELI (b.1935): Simi - Bleak Reflections for Cello and Orchestra, Mourned by the Wind. Mourned by the Wind has become Kancheli's signature item of his post-Soviet Union career and will be well-known to collectors who admire this composer (although they may not have heard the work on the cello, it originally having been written for the viola). So we offer this disc for Kancheli's fans since Simi appears to be new to CD. No date is given for the work anywhere in the notes. It is in the familiar single-movement form (lasting almost 27 minutes) and conforms completely to the composer's style - slow-moving, meditative, searching for consolation amidst seemingly insufferable grief, often quiet to the point of inaudibility but every now and then exploding with fortissimo expressions of pain and anger. Alexander Ivashkin (cello), Russian State Symphony Orchestra; Valeri Polyansky. Chandos 10297 (England) 07H078 $17.98

MORTON FELDMAN (1926-1987): Projections I-V, Intersections I-IV, Marginal Intersection, The Straits of Magellan, In Search of an Orchestration, Out of "Last Pieces". We have now reached volume 9 of this enterprising series, and if you have the previous 8, you presumably need no encouragement to acquire this one as well. This CD contains the important graphically notated scores of the early 1950s, to which he returned in the 1960s. They provide perhaps the clearest examples of Feldman's contribution to the idea of 'ungluing', or dissociating, sounds from each other, a reversal of the trend which has existed throughout music history toward organisational systems. The idea is to achieve a kind of emancipation of timbre, in which sounds are perceived purely as themselves, without necessarily implying any connection between them other than that generated by the preconceptions of the listener, an idea also extensively explored by Cage. As works, they may be more of a phase through which the composer passed than a final musical statement in and of themselves, but they also demonstrate the single-minded pursuit of his beliefs which came to full fruition in the extended and highly original works of his final years. The Barton Workshop; James Fulkerson, Jos Zwaanenburg. Mode 146 (U.S.A.) 07H079 $17.98

JOHN CAGE (1912-1992): The Piano Works, Vol. 6 - Suite for Toy Piano, 7 Haiku, Music of Changes. The major work here, of course, in 1951's Music of Changes, in which Cage for the first time assigned significant responsibility for the form and shape of the composition to chance: durations, frequencies, amplitudes, tempos, contrapuntal densities are all determined by the I Ching, producing a density and complexity which required 80 pages of corrections by David Tudor, the pianist who premiered it. Martine Joste (pianos). Mode 147 (U.S.A.) 07H080 $17.98

PEHR HENRIK NORDGREN (b.1944): Transe-Choral for 15 Strings, Op. 67, Cello Concerto No. 1, Op. 50, Rock Score for 19 Strings, Op. 100. Rock Score (rock as in stone, not roll) incorporates elements of Pärtian meditative minimalism and an appealing folk-fiddle-type passage - Grieg in a Ligetian matrix - this presumably referring to the fact that the work was commissioned by the Folk Arts Centre in Kaustinen, Ostrobothnia. The concerto is largely cast in a conventional meditative mold, more harmonically free than many examples of the genre, but never really atonal, and reaching a resolution of unquestionable tonality. Dynamic relief is provided by the second section of the work, a vigorous 'prelude'. The Transe-choral inhabits darker territory and is the most harmonically and texturally varied work here. Episodes of dramatic intensity, dissonant and dense, alternate with choral-like music of quasi-liturgical solemnity, which come into the ascendant in the second movement and bring the work to a satisfyingly consonant conclusion, with a sense of liberation or resolution. Marko Ylönen (cello), Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra; Juha Kangas. BIS CD-1356 (Sweden) 07H081 $17.98

JOHN CORIGLIANO (b.1938): Phantasmagoria on "The Ghosts of Versailles", To Music, Fantasia on an Ostinato, 3 Hallucinations from "Altered States'. The witty orchestral fantasia on music from Corigliano's highly successful Met opera, The Ghosts of Versailles, is a flawlessly crafted amalgam of Mozart allusions and 20th-century techniques, resulting in music of richness and depth, wholly approachable and simultaneously challenging. To Music does similar things using Schubert as a point of departure in a melancholy, elegiac score. Fantasia is Corigliano's take on romantic minimalism ­ Beethoven in the background this time ­ shadowy and darkly dramatic, very tonal and exploiting the cumulative, obsessive quality of minimalism without ever falling prey to its repetitive nature. The Hallucinations are more 'modern' in keeping with the surreal nature of the film, and there is greater use of aleatory and strange timbres than in the more recent works, but even here the directly communicative elements of Corigliano's style shines through the odd and disturbing, hallucinatory landscapes of the mind that he so ably conjures. Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra; Eri Klas. Ondine ODE 1058-2 (Finland) 07H082 $17.98

CHARLES WUORINEN (b.1938): The Blue Bamboula, Ave Christe: Josquin, Piano Sonata No. 3, Bagatelle, Self-Similar Waltz, Album Leaf, Capriccio. Wuorinen is one of our finest living composers, and it is far from surprising that the uniquely expressive capabilities of the piano, the least democratic polyphonic musical tool (and thus the one most suitable for the most direct expression of a composer's thoughts into sound) would evoke a degree of concentrated musical argument of the highest order, even given the high expectations one already has of Wuorinen. The extraordinarily concentrated sonata will be the work to which most people will turn first, to discover great rewards; occupying a middle ground between Sorabjian eventfulness and Rzewskian clarity, this work, like the best of Wuorinen's music presents an ideally expressive human face on music of mathematical precision of organisation. There are great rewards throughout the disc, even in the small occasional pieces, where the composer's complete understanding of much earlier polyphonic forms create an indissoluble link to the past, expressed entirely in contemporary terms. Also refreshing is Wuorinen's unashamed exploitation of the virtuosic potential of instrument and performer; no cynical post-something-or-other avoidance of the sheer excitement of piano virtuosity here. Alan Feinberg (piano). col legno WWE 1CD 20236 (Germany) 07H083 $19.98

FREDERIC RZEWSKI (b.1938): Pocket Symphony, Les Moutons de Panurge, Coming Together. The hugely enjoyable but far from lightweight Pocket Symphony is very tonal but harmonically and rhythmically unpredictable, containing some improvisational elements (which Rzewski has always regarded as an important part of the compositional and performance process) in cadenzas for the members of the ensemble. Throughout, Rzewski displays a gleeful disregard for conventional schools of composition, while borrowing whatever he wants from them and somehow making the whole thing fit together as though it were obvious and inevitable that it should do so. The much earlier (1969) Les Moutons, the title borrowed from Rabelais and portraying the lemming-like enthusiasm of sheep for jumping into the sea to follow their leader, is a process piece pure but not especially simple, suggesting a direction inwhich Reichian and Glassy minimalism might have gone had they not become overlain with neo-romanticism in the past several decades. Coming Together is explicitly socio-political in intent, referring to the Attica prison uprising of 1971, and achieves a haunting and melancholy effect, overlapping pulsating, and increasingly agitated, figuration behind an insistent narration of the text, a letter of Sam Melville, in a piece of music theatre of considerable cumulative power. Eighth Blackbird. Cedille CDR90000 084 (U.S.A.) 07H084 $16.98

LEIFUR THÓRARINSSON (1934-1998): In Cyprus - Concerto for Chamber Orchestra, Rent for String Orchestra, Spring in My Heart for 12 Instruments, A Dream of the "House" for Harp and Strings, Angelus Domini for Mezzo-Soprano and Chamber Orchestra, Styr - Notturno Capriccioso for Piano and Chamber Orchestra. An intriguing mixture of styles characterises Thórarinsson's music, which nonetheless ultimately emerges as possessing a voice of considerable individuality. The three main influences that are readily detectable are Schoenberg, Stravinsky (but very much the neoclassical Stravinsky, not the late serialist), and Hindemith, a mentor 'in absentia' via the composer's teacher, Jón Thórarinsson. Here and there, though, a rich modal strain (the concluding episode of the oddly titled "Rent" could almost have wandered in from Vaughan Williams' Tallis fantasia) is evident, as is a characteristically 'Nordic' mode of expression. Styr ("Conflict"), a piano concerto with the instrumentation of Schoenberg's first Chamber Symphony) is especially noteworthy, combining clarity and precision with the drama of extreme contrasts and confrontation. This and the other, late chamber concertos In Cyprus and Spring,, suggest that the energy and originality of Thórarinsson's inspiration were in the ascendant at the time of his death. Guthrún Edda Gunnarsdóttir (mezzo), Anna Guthny Guthmundsdóttir (piano), Reykjavik Chamber Orchestra; Bernharthur Wilkinson. Smekkleysa SMK27 (Iceland) 07H085 $18.98

CHRIS DENCH (b.1953): driftglass, funk, ruins within, ik(s)land[s], e'/meth, the blinging access of the grace of flesh. One of the original British 'new complexicists' (though domiciled in Australia for over a decade now, which seems to have brought a sense of wide-open spaces and heat-haze to his recent music) Dench has never backed away from the labyrinthine structures and abstract textures which first led to the notion of 'new complexity'. These works, especially ik(s)land[s] (even Dench's titles are designed to refer to the structures in the music) demonstrate these preoccupations very clearly. Even within moments of hiatus in the musical argument there is always something going on, enriching the tapestry of sound and providing a feeling of forward movement that would once have been provided by the functional use of harmony, largely absent here (though the soaring vocal lines in ik(s)land[s] are surprisingly melodic and underpinned by accompaniment of unexpected harmonic richness). Deborah Kayser (mezzo), Peter Neville (percussion), Stephen Robinson (oboe), Elision; Sandro Gorli & Franck Ollu. NMC D089 (England) 07H086 $17.98

BRIAN ELIAS (b.1948): Fantasia, STUART JONES: Kothektche, MICHAEL NYMAN (b.1944): On the Fiddle, JAMES MACMILLAN (b.1959): Kiss on Wood, A Different World, NIGEL OSBORNE (b.1948): Taw-Raw, STEPHEN MONTAGUE (b.1943): Folk Dances, JOHN WOOLRICH (b.1954): ...that is Night, ANTHONY POWERS (b.1953): In Sunlight. All these pieces were written for, commissioned by or otherwise directly associated with the violinist here, a vital force in British contemporary music. Apart from that, the other common thread apparent throughout the CD is a lyrical quality, sometimes at odds with our expectations of some of the composers. Having said that, the range of expression and the diversity of style are both considerable. Elias' extended Fantasia is perhaps the most emotionally diverse work here, sharing with the Woolrich a shadowy and ambiguous atmosphere. Both Nyman and Montague, known as 'process' composers, depart somewhat from this genre; Montague's piece is largely atmospheric and melancholy, and Nyman introduces the three sections of his adaptations from familiar episodes in his Greenaway film scores with music which in isolation sounds quite uncharacteristic, though in both cases the expected driven energy surfaces sooner or later. MacMillan's works, despite the absence of large orchestral forces, are both wholly characteristic, expressing a mood of ecstatic yearning sublimated into a directly religious experience. A satisfying program in itself, and a useful 'sampler' for further investigation of the composers, on NMC and elsewhere. Madeleine Mitchell (violin), Andrew Ball (piano). NMC D098 (England) 07H087 $17.98

CASPAR RENÉ HIRSCHFELD (b.1965): Chant of the Night for Voice, Op. 37, Makyo for Piano, Op. 43, Solo for Bass Clarinet, Op. 33. These pieces examine aspects of the concept of solitude in several different ways. Most obviously they are written for one performer, and in the case of the vocal work, set texts of Whitman that, typically, dwell on the relationship between a single introspective individual and the cosmos. Even the piano work makes little use of the instrument's polyphonic capabilities, generally consisting of freely flexible single lines, very like those encountered in the other pieces here. The nearest thing to an objectively observed public expression of event or emotion is the funeral march movement of Makyo, underpinned by ostinato and the spare, syncopated 'dance'; elsewhere we perceive, as though eavesdropping on private thoughts, a very inner landscape, atmospheric but emotionally detached. Solo takes this approach even further, consisting of an eloquent monologue with no 'meaning' beyond the interplay of sound and silence, meditative, serene and melancholy. Grit Díaz de Arce (soprano), Matthias Badczong (bass clarinet), Andreas Göbel (piano). col legno WWE 1CD 20058 (Germany) 07H088 $19.98

IVAN FEDELE (b.1953): Tar (String Quartet No. 3), Pentagoion Quartet (String Quartet No. 2), Primo Quartetto ("Per accordar"), Viaggiatori della notte for Solo Violin, Electra Glide for 2 Violins and Viola. Tightly organised with an emphasis on precisely notated polyrhythms, Fedele's quartets occupy a middle ground in contemporary quartet writing, largely avoiding the extended technique clichés of the avant-garde while never sounding like neo-anything nostalgic throwbacks to earlier traditions. The third alternates freely expressive meditative movements with dynamic ostinato-driven sections, providing dynamism and excitement. Similar contrasts abound in the earlier quartets, rapid insect scurrying in scale fragments providing momentum to suggest a sense of direction while the harmonics and overtone series employed (the composer has made extensive use of electronic analysis and synthesis in other works, though not in the works on the present disc) create an harmonic language both rich and original. Especially in the two works for solo and duo there is a strong suggestion of tonality, and throughout an indebtedness to Bartók (an acknowledged influence) can be felt pervading the musical argument. Arditti String Quartet. Stradivarius STR 33702 (Italy) 07H089 $17.98

JOHNNY REINHARD (b.1956): Odysseus. Blending polymicrotonality and improvisation, Reinhard takes a novel approach to the question of depicting characters and events in a (mostly) non-vocal musical narrative. The story is, of course, Homer's 'Odyssey', and this version depicts the most familiar characters and episodes of the epic tale. Key figures are depicted by specific instruments (Odysseus is Eggar's cello, the work having been conceived for him); scenes are evoked by groups of instruments each with a distinct timbral character. An especially unusual and striking feature of this instrumental characterisation is the adoption of a different microtonal tuning for the material played by each instrument. The result is oddly disorienting, and proves a highly effective means of transporting the listener to an archaic world of legend which intersects with our own familiar one just enough to emphasise the fundamental discontinuity between the two. Dave Eggar (cello), American Festival of Microtonal Music Orchestra. Pitch P-200201 (U.S.A.) 07H090 $16.98

TOMÁS MARCO (b.1942): Symphony No. 4 "Broken Space", Symphony No. 5 "Models of the Universe". This is one of the most exciting neo-Romantic symphonic discs to have come our way for quite a long time. The opening of the fifth quotes two of the most iconic gestures of the Romantic orchestral tradition - Beethoven's Fifth and Strauss' Zarathustra - and proceeds through seven linked movements of epic scope, with the general principle of relating the literal islands of Marco's native Canaries to the metaphorical islands of light in the universe, separated by unimaginably great distances. To be a little uncharitable, one might suggest that Marco has deliberately and with a devastating sense of irony (and great skill) produced a post-Romantic Symphony for All Seasons, traversing all the techniques that you want to hear revisited if you are already sated with your Mahler, Shostakovich, Pettersson, early Stravinsky ballets, etc. But so eloquent is the composer's achievement that such cynicism is rapidly swept aside and it is easy to accept the work as an entirely successful one on its own terms. The fourth likewise does all 'the right things' just when you want them to happen - here a little Turangalîla, there a suggestion of Franz Schmidt, Strauss again - and so skillfully are they dovetailed together that the work is entirely convincing, serious in intent and paradoxically, entirely original - even as you amuse yourself by playing 'spot the influence' you will find yourself swept along by the cogency of the composer's argument and the bravura ebullience of his technique. Enjoy! Tenerife Symphony Orchestra; Victor Pablo Pérez, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra; Jíri Belohlávek. col legno AU 31812 CD (Germany) 07H091 $19.98

MILKO KELEMEN (b.1924): Grand jeu classique for Violin and Orchestra, Varia melodia and Spintery for String Quartet. Grand jeu is a large-scale concerto which gives the impression of being cast in a fairly traditional mold despite its eclecticism of techniques. The composer makes use of serial techniques and various other '-isms' to be sure, and there are many innovative touches of instrumentation, but his structured use of intervallic relationships produces an unmistakable link to tonality, and the eloquent and prominent presence of the soloist throughout relates the work unmistakably to the Romantic model. The two works for string quartet are constructed from micro-cells of melody presented in a highly organized fashion, enabling a degree of expansiveness of gesture rare in recent quartet writing. Ulf Hoelscher (violin), Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra; Jacques Mercier, Studio-Ensemble Stuttgart. col legno AU 31803 CD (Germany) 07H092 $19.98

CRISTÓBAL HALFFTER (b.1930): Don Quijote. Written when the composer was approaching seventy, and interpreting for the umpteenth time Cervantes' multifaceted text which has already inspired countless works of art in all genres, the first question that occurs when encountering this new Quixote is: can anything original possibly be said on the subject? The answer seems to be a resounding 'yes', and this opera may well come to be regarded as the already distinguished composer's finest work. Complex, simultaneously presenting many layers of meaning as befits its subject, the opera confronts the question of the perception of reality and the genesis of myth through a largely literal retelling of the well-known episodes from the novel. It is the music's passionate lyricism and boldness of gesture that make this depiction of the tragic knight so especially telling, in perhaps one of the fullest treatments of the rich tapestry of symbolism present in the story since Cervantes' original. Incorporating a kaleidoscopic array of musical genres, seamlessly integrated into a whole which gives the impression of being less consciously modern than some of Halffter's music, the score is in fact easily as sophisticated as anything else the composer has achieved, and it is mainly its extraordinary dramatic impact that renders the uncompromising musical vocabulary as accessible as it is. 2 CDs. Spanish-English libretto. Josep Miquel Ramón, Enrique Baquerizo (baritones), Eduardo Santamaria (tenor), Diana Tiegs (soprano), Spanish National Chorus, Madrid Symphony Orchestra; Pedro Halffter Caro. Glossa GSP 98004 (Spain) 07H093 $44.98

BRIAN FERNEYHOUGH (b.1943): Flurries, String Trio, In nomine a 3, Streichtrio, Incipits. Ferneyhough has always delighted in operating at or near the limits of notational conventions, performability and the capacity of the listener to assimilate the material. Instrumental technique is frequently pushed to extremes, though typically Ferneyhough avoids the kind of 'extended' techniques which employ instruments in a manner for which they were not originally designed. Thus the music emerges as almost pure dialectic, elaborating upon forms, performance practice and other aspects of music history without the distractions of conventional harmony or timbral concerns of the type that relate even the most complicated computer-assisted spectralist or mathematically determined music of our time to classical and romantic models. Ensemble Recherche. Stradivarius STR 33694 (Italy) 07H094 $17.98

OLGA NEUWIRTH (b.1968): Akroate Hadal for String Quartet, Quasare/Pulsare for Violin and Piano, ...?risonanze!... for Viola d'amore, ...ad auras...in memoriam H. for 2 Violins and Wood-drum, incidendo/fluido for Piano and CD Player, settori for String Quartet. Neuwirth firmly occupies here what we have come to expect of 'Arditti territory'. Abrupt contrasts and violent juxtapositions of harsh, aggressive sounds are only the beginning of the story; microtonal tunings, extended playing techniques and detailed preparation of the instruments mark a deliberate attempt to remove the music a far as possible from the accepted tonalities of chamber music for strings. Her love of, and skill in, the transformation of sound is especially striking in the works incorporating piano, in which by means of various mechanical or electromechanical processes, the timbral possibilities of the instrument are considerably extended. One senses that, paradoxically, by roughening the sounds of genteel western 'classical' instruments and ensembles through the use of sophisticated temperaments and preparation, Neuwirth succeeds in bringing the music back to its primitive, viscerally arousing roots. Nicolas Hodges (piano), Irvine Arditti (violin), Garth Knox (viola d'amore), Arditti String Quartet. Kairos 0012462KAI (Austria) 07H095 $15.98

LEONARD BERNSTEIN (1918-1990): Peter Pan. Conductor Frey has spent several years in his spare time reconstructing Bernstein's incidental music and songs for this Broadway show which premiered in 1950. An original cast recording from that year is of music predominantly composed by Alec Wilder; here, everything is by Lennie, including songs in the original (and, as a bonus, a song written for a stillborn version of Wilder's By the Skin of Our Teeth). A valuable addition to our knowledge of Bernstein's oeuvre and loads of fun on its own. Linda Eder (soprano), Daniel Narducci (baritone), Amber Chamber Orchestra; Alexander Frey. Koch International Classics 7596 (U.S.A.) 07H096 $16.98

MODEST MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881)/LEOPOLD STOKOWSKI (1882-1971): Pictures at an Exhibition, Symphonic Synthesis of "Boris Godunov", A Night on Bare Mountain, Entr'acte to Act IV of "Khovanshchina", PETER TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)/ STOKOWSKI: Solitude, Op. 73/6, Humoresque, Op. 10/2, STOKOWSKI: Traditional Slavic Christmas Music. These wildly enjoyable, lavishly orchestrated, brilliantly turned transcriptions have been funded by the Leopold Stokowski Society and the Boston Symphony Orchestra Endowment Trust. Don't feel guilty; at this price, just kick back and enjoy! Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra; José Serebrier. Naxos 8.557645 (New Zealand) 07H097 $6.98

FRANZ LEHÁR (1870-1948): Zigeunerliebe. Claimed as the first complete recording of the first version of 1910 (but including an alternate number for Ilona in the third act which, although written in 1909, was not published until later), this work further blurs the line between operetta and romantic opera, a line which Lehár had been erasing with his previous several pieces before Zigeunerliebe. Unlike previous issues from cpo, this has a complete German-English libretto as well as the customary detailed synopsis. 2 CDs. Johanna Stojkovic, Dagmar Schellenberger (sopranos), Zoran Todorovich, Bernhard Schneider (tenors), Markus Köhler (baritone), North German Radio Choir and Philharmonic; Frank Beerman. CPO 999 842 (Germany) 07H098 $31.98

GEORGE GERSHWIN (1898-1937)/EARL WILD (b.1915): Fantasy on "Porgy and Bess", 7 Études on Song Melodies, Improviation in the form of Theme and Variations on "Someone to Watch Over Me". There really isn't anything to say about a disc of fascinating transcriptions such as this, which will necessarily tell us something about Earl Wild as much as it tells us about Gershwin (unless it tells us something about Bryce Morrison, who writes trenchant reviews of piano releases for Gramophone, but whose notes appear to have been unedited and unpunctuated). Martin Jones (piano). Nimbus NI 5743 (England) 07H099 $15.98


Complete Recordings of Franz Schreker as Conductor

FRANZ SCHREKER (1878-1934): Suite from Der Geburtstag der Infantin (2 versions: ?1927 and ?1924; Berlin State Opera Orchestra), Ein Rokoko-Tanzspiel (Berlin State Opera Orchestra, Feb. 17, 1926), Kleine Suite for Chamber Orchestra (Berlin Philharmonic, 1932), Vocal excerpts (Maria Schreker [soprano]) from Der Ferne Klang (Berlin State Opera Orchestra, Jan. 17, 1927), Das Spielwerk (Berlin Radio Choir and Orchestra, March 3, 1032), Die Gezeichneten (Berlin State Opera Orchestra, 1928) and Der Schatzgräber (Berlin Philharmonic, 1923, 1927), Der rote Sarafan (Russian Folksong) and Russian Lullaby (both w/Maria Schreker and Orchestra, 1930), Grieg: Peer Gynt, Suite No. 1 (Berlin Philharmonic, 1932), Bizet: L'Arlésienne, Suites Nos. 1 & 2 (2 versions: Berlin State Opera Orchestra, 1926, and Berlin Philharmonic, 1928). A fascinating document not only for collectors of composer/conductors, but also for the study of early recording techniques. The Geburtstag suites are acoustic and electrical while the two versions of the Grieg, both electrical, show Schreker coping with problems of the placement of musicians and blend and balance. Ten pages of excellent notes, the translation of the composer's original note for the Kleine Suite recording, and photographs make for one of the most sumptuous releases ever from this source. 3 CDs for the price of 2. German-English texts. Symposium 1271/2/3 (England) 07H100 $35.98


New release - live unusual opera repertoire

GIACOMO MEYERBEER (1791-1864): Dinorah. 2 CDs. No libretto. Stereo, Luciana Serra, Angelo Romero, Teatro Verdi di Trieste; Baldo Podic (2/8/83). Living Stage LS 1127 (Italy) 07H101 $31.98

GAETANO DONIZETTI (1797-1848): Les Martys. 2 CDs. Mono. No libretto. Leyla Gencer, Ottvio Garaventa, Renato Bruson, Ferruccio Furlanetto, Teatro La Fenice; Gianlugi Gelmetti (6/24/78). Living Stage LS 1128 (Italy) 07H102 $31.98