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Eduard Franck: Symphony in A, Violin Concerto

EDUARD FRANCK (1817-1893): Symphony in A, Op. 47, Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 30. Another worthy romantic composer comes to light, thanks to the Fermate label (a previous disc offered his cello sonata). Eduard Franck was one of the few private students of Mendelssohn and teacher and pupil often performed together in public. Franck was also a friend of Schumann and Sterndale Bennett and this group of composers pretty much identifies his artistic aesthetic. Although the works here can't be dated exactly (not being published until the last decade of the 19th century), the concerto was first performed in 1855, revised and performed again in 1861. Critically well-received, it inhabits similar territory to Mendelssohn's violin concerto both with respect to movement tonalities and tempo indications. Predominantly lyrical with delicate harmonies and a lack of fiery virtuosity, the concerto has a nobility of utterance and a modest beauty which makes it stand out from the mid 19th century's virtuoso vehicles. The symphony was probably composed earlier; its style has much in common with symphonies by Mendelssohn, Schumann and Gade from the 1830s to 1850s. Like the concerto, its character is essentially stable and controlled rather than boisterous and emotional, sharing these attributes somewhat with many of Gade's symphonies and with Hamerik's first symphony. Especially striking is the constant and prominent use of winds and horns, lending all four movements a hearty, outdoorsy, pastoral character which grows upon the listener with repeated hearings. Christiane Edinger (violin), Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra; Hans-Peter Frank. Fermate 20025 (Germany) 07A001 $16.98

See also 07A013 for two violin sonatas by Eduard Franck.

JEAN SIBELIUS - Press Celebrations Music - World Premiere!

JEAN SIBELIUS (1865-1957): Press Celebrations Music, Karelia Music (completed and reconstructed by Jouni Kaipainen). Only last November we welcomed the BIS release of Sibelius' Karelia music with its reconstruction and completion of five items by Finnish composer Kalevi Aho (11-008); now, Ondine has released its own completion of this score by Finnish composer Jouni Kaipainen (the differences are minor - e.g. in Tableau V, Aho is more interventionist providing a richer middle texture for the music). But the real news here is the world premiere recording of Sibelius' complete suite of music for 1899's "Press Celebration" - a form of passive rebellion by Finns against censorship imposed by their Russian rulers. Some of this music was distilled into the Scènes historiques suite No. 1, Op. 25: what is now known as All'Overtura is here The Song of Väinämöinen, Scena is The Finns in the 30 Year War and Festivo is Duke John at Turku Castle. A prelude for winds opens the Press Celebrations Music and there are two other tableaux here: The Finns Are Baptised and The Great Hostility. The final tableau is what came to be known as Finlandia, heard here in its original form. A valuable experience, hearing these pieces in the context for which they were intended! Tellu Virkkala (soprano), Anna-Kaisa Liedes (soprano), Juha Kotilainen (baritone), Tampere Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra; Tuomas Ollila. Ondine ODE 913 (Finland) 07A002 $17.98

PAUL HINDEMITH (1895-1963): Sancta Susanna, Op. 21, Dances from Das Nusch-Nuschi, Suite from Tuttifäntchen, 3 Songs, Op. 9. All these works date from 1917-1922 when Hindemith was a provocative expressionist terrorizing the middle-class with his scandalous dramatic scenarios and generous introductions of popular music into his musical language. Sancta Susanna (1921) fits the bill - a 23 minute opera presenting explicitly the sexual fantasies of a young nun. The op. 9 songs of 1917 set expressionist texts while the excerpts from a play and a Christmas fairy tale range from raucously spiky to tersely lyrical. A valuable collection of the young Hindemith's maverick days. Susan Bullock (soprano), Della Jones (mezzo), Ameral Gunson (mezzo), Leeds Festival Chorus, BBC Philharmonic; Yan Pascal Tortelier. Chandos 9620 (England) 07A003 $16.98

PAUL HINDEMITH (1895-1963): In Kampf Mit Dem Berge - Music from the 1921 Silent Film. This 1921 film was believed to be lost until a few years ago although Hindemith's music for it survived in his Nachlass under the film's alternate title Im Sturm und Eis. 87 minutes long (the version here is for a final, 58-minute cut), it was composed in little more than a month while Hindemith took time off from the commotion surrounding the premieres of his operas Das Nusch-Nuschi and Mörder, Hoffnung der Frauen and uses 14 instrumentalists. Nothing avant-garde here: the necessity of matching music to action (an Alpine climbing expedition) let Hindemith to produce descriptive music as well as pure forms (a Passacaglia forms one of the cues). A very interesting rarity. Members of the North German Radio Orchestra; Helmut Imig. Koch Schwann 317722 (Germany) 07A004 $16.98

BORIS BLACHER (1903-1975): Concertante Musik, Op. 10, Suite from the Opera Fürstin Tarakanova, Op. 19a, Two Inventions, Op. 46, Music for Cleveland, Op. 53, Concerto for Clarinet and Chamber Orchestra. Blacher's music is consistently bright, rhythmically based and cheerful with transparent instrumentation and delicate colors; in fact, he's just about as far from the stereotype of the 20th century German composer as possible. This new release, offering CD premieres of everything except the 1937 Concertante Musik, demonstrates that from the composition of the latter through to 1971's clarinet concerto, Blacher's ethos remained the same (even with a sideways look at serialism in 1957's Music for Cleveland). This is highly approachable, charming and enjoyable music - it's well worth making its acquaintance. Dimitri Ashkenazy (clarinet), Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin; Vladimir Ashkenazy. Ondine ODE 912 (Finland) 07A005 $17.98

BORIS BLACHER (1903-1975): Concertante Musik, Op. 10, Cello Concerto, Orchester-Fantasie, Op. 51, Konzert-Ouverture, Hamlet, Op. 17. In his later years, Blacher investigated and made a highly personal use of serialism; the 1964 cello concerto shows how his native spirit for fun can translate into what is often thought of as a highly formal and severe technique. The "Orchestral Fantasy" of 1956, dedicated to the trustee of Schoenberg's estate is a major example of his playful, precise and graphic approach to serial composition. The brief 1931 overture is redolent of Hindemith and Weill; 1940's tone poem Hamlet is rigorous and abrasively tonal. Ramon Jaffe (cello), Frankfurt State Orchestra, Oder; Nikos Athinäos. Signum X91-00 (Germany) 07A006 $17.98

FRANZ SCHREKER (1878-1934): Complete Songs, Vol. 1 - Die Rosen und der Flieder, Des Meeres und der Liebe Wellen, 2 Lieder, Op. 2, 5 Lieder aus den "Mutterliedern", 2 Lieder auf den Tod eines Kindes, Op. 5, 5 Lieder, Op. 4, 5 Gedichte von Paul Heyse, Op. 3, 8 Lieder, Op. 7. Like Wolf, Mahler and Zemlinsky, Schreker was a student of conservative romantic Robert Fuchs whose Brahmsian qualities of classical balance and reserve are echoed here in this first volume of the composer's complete lieder. All the songs on this disc date from Schreker's student years (1892-1900) and are fluent and polished vehicles for lyric reflection and for tentative exploration of a new style. Collectors of late Romantic lieder will be thankful for this series and anxious to get to the more mature Schreker of volumes to come. German-English texts. Jochen Kupfer (baritone), Anne Buter (mezzo), Ofelia Sala (soprano), Reinild Mees (piano). Channel Classics CCS 12098 (Netherlands) 07A007 $17.98

JACOB AXEL JOSEPHSON - Another forgotten Swedish Romantic

JACOB AXEL JOSEPHSON (1818-1880): Symphony in E Flat, Op. 4, Festive March in G, Islossningen for Baritone, Tenor, Male Choir and Orchestra, 4 Songs. Josephson's only symphony was composed in 1846-47 while on a three-year study tour of Germany and Italy. His style throughout his life never departed much from his idols, Lindblad and Mendelssohn and this symphony has the fresh energy and tender melodiousness of those composers (and a typically elfin Mendelssohnian scherzo). The Festive March, from 1850, is Josephson's "Academic Festival Overture", written for doctoral ceremonies at Uppsala University and his cantata "The Melting of the Ice" dates from the same period. Two of the soprano songs sung here by Söderström (in 1964 recordings) were made famous by Jenny Lind; all the works here appear on CD for the first time and the orchestral works are world premiere recordings. Sterling has put us in their debt again with another unexpected resurrection! Kungliga Akademiska Kapellet; Per Åke Andersson, Rolf Leanderson (baritone), Christer Solén (tenor), Orphei Drängar, Gävle Radio Orchestra; Eric Ericson, Elisabeth Söderström (soprano), Jan Eyron (piano), Erik Sædén (baritone), Stig Westerberg (piano). Sterling 1003 (Sweden) 07A008 $15.98

NORBERT BURGMÜLLER - Romantic CD Premieres

NORBERT BURGMÜLLER (1810-1836): Symphony No. 2 in D, Op. 11, Piano Concerto in F Sharp Minor, Op. 1, Overture for Orchestra in F, Op. 5. "After Franz Schubert's death no other death could cause more sorrow than Burgmüller's...": so Robert Schumann who, in 1851, completed the third movement scherzo of Burgmüller's second symphony, left incomplete at the composer's death. The symphony, with its remarkable echo of Schubert's Ninth in its slow movement (a work the composer could not have known), has been available once before in the CD era. Not so the piano concerto of 1829, a full-scale exercise in Chopinesque romantic turbulence or the 1830 highly dramatic overture to a planned opera called Dionys. An indispensible sampling of the music of one of the greatest "what if"s of musical Romanticism. Leonard Hokanson (piano), Wuppertal Symphony Orchestra; Gernot Schmalfuß. MD&G 335 0817 (Germany) 07A009 $18.98

EDUARD KÜNNEKE - Piano Concerto

EDUARD KÜNNEKE (1885-1953): Piano Concerto No. 1 in A Flat, Op. 36, FELIX MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847): Serenade and Allegro giocoso, Op. 43, Capriccio brilliant, Op. 22. Six months ago it was Lehar's orchestral works (01-073); now here is another "serious" work by another famous operetta composer. The concerto dates from the 1930s (unhelpfully, no date is given in the notes) and has elements of jazz and blues in its large-scale first movement. The pianist is practically never silent in this demanding work which, although full of virtuosity and weighty orchestral writing, wears its true colors as a vehicle for sheer exuberance and musical fun. Tiny Wirtz (piano), South-West German Radio Orchestra; Wlodzimierz Kamirski, Emmerich Smola. Koch Schwann 313722 (Germany) 07A010 $16.98

YULY KONYUS (1869-1942): Violin Concerto in E Minor, KARL YULYEVICH DAVIDOV (1838-1889): Cello Concerto No. 2 in A Minor, Op. 14, ALEXANDER GLAZUNOV (1865-1936): Piano Concerto No. 2 in B, Op. 100. A coupling of rare Russian concertos brings Glazunov's richly opulent and bittersweetly charming second piano concerto of 1917, Davidov's 1863 Mendelssohn-influenced cello concerto full of technical difficulties and the only currently available version of Konyus'1896 violin concerto (like the Glazunov, in one movement) which is in the melodic Tchaikovskian tradition. L. Edvin Csüry (violin), Alexander Ziumbrovsky (cello), Matthew Herskowitz (piano), I Musici de Montréal; Yuli Turovsky. Chandos 9622 (England) 07A011 $16.98

LUDWIG BÖHNER (1787-1860): Grand Overture in D, Op. 16, Grand Symphony in D Minor, Op. 130, Fantasy and Variations on an Original Theme for Violin and Orchestra in E Minor, Op. 94, Overture to Die Dreiherrstein. Known in his youth as the "Thurinigian Mozart", inventor of the concert overture for orchestra, anticipator of Weber's Freischutz in the field of German folk opera by 10 years, Böhner has amazingly almost completely dropped from sight. This release will remedy that neglect somewhat, offering two early works from the period of his fame (the overture to the aforementioned opera from 1813 and an 1812 concert overture) and a symphony from 1844 (the brief variations date from 1830). All the orchestral works are in the Beethoven-Weber early-classical manner and - the early works especially - attest to a formidable talent which unfortunately went off the rails due to a complete nervous breakdown Böhner suffered in 1830. Viktor Barshevich (violin), Thüringen Symphony Orchestra; Hermann Breuer. Es Dur 2022 (Germany) 07A012 $17.98

EDUARD FRANCK (1817-1893): Violin Sonatas in C Minor, Op. 19 and in A, Op. 23, FELIX MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847): Violin Sonata in F Minor, Op. 4. Franck's sonatas are clearly in the genre of Schumann and Mendelssohn; finely wrought, expressive and passionate pieces of music that could easily be passed off as an unfamiliar work by one of the established masters of Romanticism, with the looming figure of Beethoven as present a model as in any better known case. Florian Meierott (violin), Thomas Hans (piano). Antes Edition BM-CD 31.9090 (Germany) 07A013 $16.98

SERGEI TANEYEV (1856-1915): John of Damascus, Op. 1, PETER TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893): Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 36. Owing nothing to Glinka and disapproving of contemporary nationalist composers, Taneyev forged a solitary path with distinctive, polished music such as this large-scale, three-movement monument to religious choral music based on a biblically inspired poem by Alexei Tolstoy which follows a path from world-weary resignation to jubilant evangelism. Russian State Symphonic Capella and Orchestra; Valeri Polyansky. Chandos 9608 (England) 07A014 $16.98

WILLIAM LLOYD WEBBER (1914-1982): Serenade for Strings, Invocation, Lento, 3 Spring Miniatures, Aurora - Tone Poem for Orchestra, Nocturne for Cello and Harp, Love Divine, All Loves Excelling for Choir and Organ, Benedictus for Violin and Organ, Mass: Princeps pacis for Choir and Organ, Jesus, Dear Jesus for Soprano, Organ and Children's Choir. Lloyd Webber was one of many 20th century English composers writing in a more-or-less "conservative style" whose only reward was hostility from the ascendent doctrinaires supporting post-Schoenbergian serialism. He had a penchant for the miniature and the ability to concentrate musical essentials within tight structural dimensions so that, for example, a tone poem like Aurora (1951) can paint an utterly convincing portrait of the goddess of the dawn in music which can recall Delius, Sibelius and Rachmaninov and feel absolutely the right length at slightly under 10 minutes. Such is the case with most of the works recorded here, from the hyper-expressive chromaticism of the 1957 Lento to the innocently charming Jesus, Dear Jesus Tasmin Little (violin), Julian Lloyd Webber (cello), Skaila Kanga (harp), Hollie Cook (soprano), Ian Watson (organ), Choir of the Arts Educational School London, The Westminster Singers, City of London Sinfonia; Richard Hickox. Chandos 9595 (England) 07A015 $16.98

JAMES YANNATOS: Symphony No. 4 "Tienanmen Square", Piano Concerto. Pleasingly tonal, Yannatos' music is appealing and speaks directly to the emotions. The Symphony No. 4 was inspired by the composer's strong reactions to the events in China in 1989. It makes use of actual Chinese folk melodies, and contrasts hopeful pentatonic melodic material with dissonant outbursts, and is clearly music "about" something, though there is no overt program. The piano concerto makes thorough use of the soloist in a variety of musical forms and gestures. William Doppmann (piano), Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra; James Yannatos. Albany TROY 278 (U.S.A.) 07A016 $16.98

EARL GEORGE (1924-1994): A Thanksgiving Overture, NORMA WENDELBURG (b.1918): Sinfonietta, WILLIAM ALEXANDER (b.1927): Salphynx, P. PETER SACCO (b.1928): Sketches on Emerson Essays, Flying Saucer Overture. George's Thanksgiving Overture was written for a 1949 competition, in which it was declared the winner, by no less a judge than Aaron Copland. With its outdoorsy, optimistic attitude and the use of the hymn tune Old Hundredth as primary thematic material, it is easy to see why it appealed to Copland. The real find here is Wendelburg's tough and uncompromising Sinfonietta, which belies its brevity - a mere quarter of an hour - by offering music of extreme concentration and dynamism in the outer movements, and harrowing emotional intensity in the slow movement, the heart of the piece. Alexander's Salphynx is energetic, witty and insouciant, and Sacco's brief character pieces are serious and serial (loosely), but make a strong appeal to the listener's emotions; it comes as no surprise to learn that they were composed during a difficult period in the composer's career, when he found solace in music and literature. St. Petersburg Philharmonia; Alexander Titov, Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra; Robert Stankovsky. MMC 2029 (U.S.A.) 07A017 $16.98

THEODOR BERGER (1905-1992): Symphonischer Triglyph, Concerto Manuale for Marimba, Vibraphone, 2 Pianos, Timpani and Strings, La Parola for Large Orchestra, Frauenstimmen im Orchester for Female Choir, 2 Harps, Percussion and Strings. Championed by no less a conductor than Furtwängler, this conspectus of works from the 50s shows an original composer whose language, while occasionally dissonant, makes no Darmstadtian break with tradition. The "Symphonic Triglyph" of 1957 uses three quotations from Schubert to build a work which contrasts a manic bustling and noisy activity (much like Rolf Liebermann's famous Furioso in effect) with periods of 19th century calm. The same high level of energy and bright, spiky sonorities characterizes the concerto of 1951 while La Parola (1954) takes a three-note fanfare motif and develops it in similarly intense, yet abstract, manner. Frauenstimmen (1959) is a tone poem, inspired by a newspaper report of a fisherman who had drowned in the Danube, which uses wordless women's voices to depict a "Dream on the River", "Vision in a Fever-Dream" and "Scene on the River" - a creation of a 20th century version of the Undine legend. Highly recommended to all collectors of 20th century tonal orchestral music. North German Radio Symphony Orchestra; Horst Stein, Bavarian Radio Chorus and Orchestra; Rafael Kubelik, Rudolf Alberth. Antes Edition BM-CD 31.9047 (Germany) 07A018 $16.98

CRISTÓBAL HALFFTER (b.1930): Preludio para Madrid '92, Daliniana, Fantasía sobre una sonoridad de G.F. Haendel, Veni Creator Spiritus. Halffter's "Prelude for Madrid '92" is a rousing, tonal, choral-orchestral work of ten minutes (ingeniously using and tranforming a fandango) which calls to mind the celebratory quality of Orff in its full-throated joy. Daliniana (1994) depicts three of Salvador Dali's paintings in glaringly bright music of uncompromising dissonance and great eruptive outbursts and 1981's Handel Fantasy is a brooding, severe meditation on a theme from one of the organ concertos which suddenly warms with a direct quotation in the middle of the score. This ear-opening disc closes with another choral-orchestral work from 1992 which echoes the optimistic spirits of the Madrid Prelude. Orfeón Donostiarra, Coro Santo Tomás de Aquino, Madrid Symphony Orchestra; Pedro Halffter-Caro. Marco Polo 8.225032 (Hong Kong) 07A019 $14.98

OPERA RARA - 3 New Releases

GIOVANNI PACINI (1796-1867): Maria Regina d'Inghilterra. Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, Mercadante and Pacini were all born between 1791 and 1801 and all became major names in the Italian operatic world. The most forgotten of them now receives more encouraging illumination (his L'Ultimo giorno di Pompei was offered by our predecessors in 1997 and a recording of Saffo also exists) from Opera Rara, purveyors of neglected operas sung by major artists with top-line orchestras and accompanied by lavishly documented and luxurious booklets (if one can call a 196-page item a "booklet"). Based on a Victor Hugo play, Maria Regina d'Inghilterra dates from 1843 - Pacini's "second period" when he had put away the compositional style heavily influenced by Rossini which led to his being known as "il maestro delle cabalette" - and shows a search for musical expression truer to the dramatic situations he was treating. This work is an excellent example of the transitional period in Italian opera between the "operas of agility" of the Rossinian period and the taut, driving and vigorous operas of Verdi in which conservatives mourned the loss of true bel canto. 3 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Nelly Mircioiu (soprano), Bruce Ford (tenor), Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, Philharmonia Orchestra; David Parry. Opera Rara ORC 15 (England) 07A020 $56.98

GAETANO DONIZETTI (1797-1848): Rosmonda d'Inghilterra. Originally released in England in 1997 but never distributed in the U.S., this revivial of Donizetti's 41st opera (1834) makes it more and more difficult to try to discover why some of his operas were forgotten and some have lasted to the present day. As the Gramophone review pointed out, it "is a very good opera, inferior to Lucia di Lammermoor but not annihilatingly so...audiences have been missingout on an opera that is a credit to its genre..." As always, the documentation is extensive and lavishly presented. 2 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Renée Fleming (soprano), Bruce Ford (tenor), Nelly Mircioiu (soprano), Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, Philharmonia Orchestra; David Parry. Opera Rara ORC 13 (England) 07A021 $37.98

GAETANO DONIZETTI (1797-1848): Arias from Enrico di Borgogna, Gabriella di Vergy, Alfredo il Grande, Francesca di Foix, Ugo Conte di Parigi, L'Assedio di Calais and Maria Padilla. This new recital of bel canto arias also includes duets and ensembles with Eiddwen Harrhy, Yvonne Kenny and Nuccia Focile among Jones' partners. The selection covers the period 1818-1841 and includes the usual fine documentation from this source. Italian-English texts. Della Jones (soprano), Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra; David Parry & Alun Francis. Opera Rara ORR 203 (England) 07A022 $18.98

FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886): Complete Piano Music, Vol. 10 - Scherzo and March, S177, Liebesträume: 3 Notturnos, S. 541, Berceuse (2nd Version), S174b, Albumblatt No. 1 in E, S164/1, Élégie sur des motifs du Prince Louis Ferdinand de Prusse, S168, Romance, S169, Feuilles d'Album in A Flat, S165, Berceuse (1st Version), S174a. Jenö Jandó (piano). Naxos 8.553595 (Hong Kong) 07A023 $5.98

ZDENùK FIBICH (1850-1900): Moods, Impressions and Reminiscences, Op. 57, Nos. 8-24. The twelfth volume of this massive uvre completes the remarkable sequence of 376 (!) character pieces tracing the composer's personal relationship with his student AneÏka Schulzová - a collection of peerless romantic miniatures. These final pieces show the beginning of Fibich's search for a new idiom: not as spontaneously dramatic as earlier in the cycle but full of lyric invention, charm and mystery. Marián Lapansk (piano) Supraphon SU 3255 (Czech Republic) 07A024 $16.98

JOHAN SVENDSEN (1840-1911): Symphony No. 1 in D, Op. 4, Symphony No. 2 in B Flat, Op. 15. It was no coincidence that, upon hearing Svendsen's first symphony (1867), Grieg sang its praises and withdrew his own youthful symphony of 1865; both these works fuse the legacy of the Viennese classics with Norwegian folk tradition with a liveliness and exuberance worthy of the best of Grieg. Latvian National Symphony Orchestra; Terje Mikkelsen. La Vergne Classics 260741 (Germany) 07A025 $17.98

JOHAN SVENDSEN (1840-1911): Norwegian Artists' Carnival, Op. 14, Romeo and Juliet, Op. 18, Carnival in Paris, Op. 9, Zorahayda, Op. 11, Festival Polonaise, Op. 12, Andante funèbre. Svendsen's burst of youthful creativity included a handful of tone poems and collections of orchestral dances, of which a representative collection is gathered here, guaranteed to hold one's interests and lift one's spirits with their generous helpings of local Norwegian folk color. Latvian National Symphony Orchestra; Terje Mikkelsen. La Vergne Classics 260741 (Germany) 07A026 $17.98

MAX REGER (1873-1916): Der 100. Psalm, for Mixed Choir, Orchestra and Organ, Op. 106, Der Einsiedler for Baritone, Choir and Orchestra, Op. 144a, Requiem for Baritone, Mixed Choir and Orchestra, Op. 144b. Reger's attempt to create a monumental choral-orchestral masterpiece failed but resulted in several chips from the compositon bench including the op. 144b Requiem, based on a poem by Hebbel dedicated to the German soldiers fallen in the first years of World War II as well as the op. 144a, based on a poem by Eichendorff ("The Hermit") in which the solitary one toils on his works of art uncaring of the bellicose turmoil in the war around him. The setting of the 100th Psalm, from 1908-09, is a four-movement work of symphonic proportions which represents (in retrospect) Reger's summit of achievement in the choral-orchestral genre. Wolf Kalipp (organ), Anselm Richter (baritone), Royal Tundbridge Wells Choral Society, Bach-Chor Wiesbaden, Bach-Orchester Wiesbaden; Klaus Uwe Ludwig. Opus/Melisma 7064 (Germany) 07A027 $17.98

JOHN CLERK OF PENICUIK (1676-1755): Dic mihi saeve puer, Leo Scotiae irritatus, Miserere mei, Deus, Sonata for Solo Violin, Eheu! quam diris hominis, Odo di mesto intorno. Lawyer, judge, architect, artist, poet and composer, John Clerk has a crucial place in the history of Scottish music. Here are the first ever complete recordings of any of his cantatas; his natural melodic gift and intense, sensuous and varied vocal writing make for spirited and highly enjoyable listening. It is regrettable that he abandoned composition before 1700 as unbefitting his judicial career. A fascinating baroque byway. Catherine Bott (soprano), Concerto Caledonia. Hyperion CDA 66707 (England) 07A028 $17.98

JOHANN FRIEDRICH FASCH (1688-1758): Concertos for Flute, Oboe and Strings in D & E Minor, Concertos for Oboe and Strings in G Minor & G, Concerto for Oboe, 2 Violins and Harpsichord in G, Concerto for 2 Oboes, Bassoon and Strings in C Minor. Six more sparkling examples of Fasch's brilliant writing for winds and his late Baroque cum early Classical transitionary language in which Vivaldi and late Telemann often coexist. Hans-Peter Westermann, Piet Dhont (oboes), Karl Kaiser (flute), Michael McCraw (bassoon), Mary Utiger, Paula Kibildis (violins), Hajo Bäss (viola), Hans Koch (violone), Harald Hoeren (harpsichord). MD&G 310 0309 (Germany) 07A029 $18.98

FRANCESCO BARSANTI (1690-1772): 6 Concerti Grossi (from Sonate notturne, Op. 6 by G.B. Sammartini). Like Avison in his arrangement of Scarlatti harpsichord sonatas and Geminiani in his of Corelli's violin sonatas, Barsanti acceded to English popular taste during the mid 1700s for orchestral arrangments of popular chamber works. Sammartini was on the cutting edge of "new" music at the time and these orchestrations have the same modern orientation towards the galant style. Banchetto Musicale - Il Piacere. Dynamic CDS 213 (Italy) 07A030 $16.98

GEORG ANTON BENDA (1722-1795): Overture to the Singspiel Der Dorfjahrmarkt, Concerto for Piano and Strings in G Minor, Sinfonia in D, Viola Concerto in F. Three of these early classical works are not otherwise available: the overture in three-part "Italian" style wraps two fast movements around a colorful alla polacca; the G Minor keyboard concerto features a concentrated intensity and the viola concerto contains elements of high Classicism. Rolf Plagge (piano), Tatiana Masurenko (viola), Landessinfonieorchester Thüringen-Gotha; Hermann Breuer. Es Dur ES 2027 (Germany) 07A031 $17.98

ANTON SCHWEITZER (1735-1787): Overture to Die Dorfgala, Symphony in D, Overture and Two Arias from Alceste, Polyxena - Lyrical Monodrama in One Act. Alceste was the first German national opera (1773) while Die Dorfgala (1772) was Schweitzer's most popular work. The symphony is in the Italian overture style while Polyxena (1775) is a series of recitatives and arias offering a sort of classical equivalent to the baroque cantatas with wronged female characters running the gamut of emotion. Margot Stejskal (soprano), Landessinfonieorchester Thüringen-Gotha; Hermann Breuer. Es Dur ES 2028 (Germany) 07A032 $17.98

CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH (1714-1788): Complete Keyboard Concertos, Vol. 7 - Concerto in A, W.29, Concerto in E Minor, W.24, Concerto in B Flat, W.28. Like the previous issue in this series, the bright, clear tones of the tangent piano serve these three world premiere recordings (the first and last works - 1751 and 1753 respectively - also exist in versions for flute and for cello). W.24 is earlier than the other two; all three show the early stages of C.P.E.'s developing highly expressive style, especially in the slow movements which draw on the style of the pathetic opera aria. Miklós Spányi (tangent piano), Concerto Armonico; Péter Szüts. BIS 857 (Sweden) 07A033 $17.98

BARTOLOMEO CAMPAGNOLI (1751-1827): Violin Concerto in B Flat, Op. 15, Flute Concerto in D, Op. 3/2, Sinfonia concertante for Violin and Flute in G. Campagnoli was one of the most important violinist-composers in the generation between Viotti and Paganini, combining Italian melodic line with German structural strength. His violin concerto (c.1820) shows signs of budding romanticism and its intense lyricism is similar to Spohr's. The flute concerto shows links to Nardini and Tartini while the 1790s sinfonia concertante is in the tradition of Viotti. Francesco Manara (violin), Mario Folena (flute), Orchestra de Padova e del Veneto; Giancarlo Andretta. Dynamic CDS 214 (Italy) 07A034 $16.98

GIOVANNI BATTISTA VIOTTI (1755-1824): Complete Violin Sonatas, Vol. 2 - Sonatas in E Flat, Op. 4/5, in B Flat Minor, Op. 4/6, in A, Book II/1 and in E Flat, Book II/2. These works all date from 1788-89, still part of the almost obsolete "violin and basso" genre. Their flowing and virtuoso violin writing seems to come straight from Viotti's concertos; polished, formally balanced classical jewels. Felix Ayo (violin), Corrado de Bernart (piano). Dynamic S 2003 (Italy) 07A035 $13.98

HYACINTHE JADIN (1769-1800): Piano Sonatas in B Flat, Op. 4/1, in F Sharp Minor, Op. 4/2, in C Sharp Minor, Op. 4/3 and in F, Op. 6/3. Jadin was one of the most talented precursors of French Romanticism and his sonatas are extraordinary forerunners of Schubert and Weber in their dark, richly shaded and highly personal language. Jean-Claude Pennetier (pianoforte). Harmonia Mundi musique d'abord 1901189 (France) 07A036 $9.98

WENZEL THOMAS MATIEGKA (1773-1830): Nocturne, Op. 21, Serenade, Op. 26. The Czech-born Matiegka made a comfortable living in Vienna performing as guitarist and composing and publishing just such Biedermeier-ish occasional works as the two recorded here on period instruments. These are melodious, colorful, pastel-tinted works somewhat near to the salon in style but perfect background music for summer evenings in the gardens of a upper-class Viennese maison. Jan Boland (flute), David Miller (viola), John Dowdall (guitar). Fleur de Son Classics FDS 57927 (U.S.A.) 07A037 $16.98

SILVESTRE REVUELTAS - La Coronela - World Premiere Recording

SILVESTRE REVUELTAS (1899-1940): La Coronela, Itinerarios, Colorines. Its final section left incomplete at Revueltas' death in 1940, the ballet La Coronela was completed for performance by Blas Galindo and orchestrated by Candelario Huízar. However, in 1957, it was discovered that this too had been lost and composer Eduardo Hernández Moncada provided a completion which also turned the music into an orchestral suite of four movements. The work depicts the triumph of the working class over the decadent bourgeoisie and contains all of the hallmarks which make Revueltas' music so exciting: brooding rhthmical menace and violence, the overturning of classical ideas of form and function and the celebration of popular music in all its vulgar vitality (trumpets blaring like those of a mariachi band). Itinerarios ("Travel Diary") of 1938 is a solemn work with a broad melodic sweep and deeply mournful saxophone solo while Colorines (1932) is a brief symphonic poem bursting with bright colors and rhythmic propulsion balanced with a meditative lyricism. Santa Barbara Symphony, English Chamber Orchestra; Gesèle Ben-Dor. Koch International Classics 7421 (U.S.A.) 07A038 $16.98

MARIO CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO (1895-1968): Cello Sonata, Op. 50, I Nottambuli, Op. 47/1, Chant hébriaque, Op. 53/3, Notturno sull'acqua, Op. 82a, Scherzino, Op. 82b, Toccata, Op. 83, Meditation "Kol nidre", R111a, Greeting cards, Op. 170/3. Beautiful melody and lyricism flowed from Castelnuovo-Tedesco's pen like water from a fountain. Dreamy, Italianate melody molded with Debussian harmonies and spiced with Latin American rhythms and elements of popular songs of the early 20th century (tangos, milongas, polkas and waltzes are all represented) make this collection of works (all but two from before his flight to the U.S. in 1939) irresistible. Vito Paternoster (cello), Giovanni Torlontano (piano). Dynamic 2013 (Italy) 07A039 $13.98

JOSÉ MARÍA DAMUNT: Sueño de Gloria (Zarzuela in One Act), Romanzas & Dúos of Zarzuelas by Millán, Usandizaga, Sorozábal, Guridi, Soutullo y Vert, Torroba and Guerrero. Damunt's 1975 two-scene zarzuela follows in the tradition of the famous composers in the genre excerpts of whom make up two-thirds of this delightful disc which functions an introduction both to this form of Spanish light opera and to a contemporary practitioner. Spanish-English texts. María Angeles Damunt (soprano), Raquel Pierotti (mezzo), Ignacio Encinas (tenor), Alícia Ferrer (soprano), Antonio Comas (tenor), Symphony Orchestra; José María Damunt. Moraleda 7477 (Spain) 07A040 $16.98

JOAQUIN TURINA (1882-1949): Complete Piano Music, Vol. 5 - Sevilla, Op. 2, Mallorca, Op. 44, Siluetas, Op. 70, Bailete, Op. 79. The fifth of this projected sixteen-CD series opens with a youthful work, Sevilla, a three-movement suite which follows Albéniz' advice to concentrate on Spanish folk-song. Like this work, Mallorca (1927) and "Silhouettes" (1931) are miniature tone poems describing geographical locations but now in Turina's mature style while Bailete (1933) is a suite updating five folk songs and dances of the 18th century. Antonio Soria (piano). Moraleda 6405 (Spain) 07A041 $16.98

ISAAC ALBÉNIZ (1860-1909): Complete Piano Music, Vol. 1 - Iberia (Book One), 12 Piezas Características, Op. 92, Mallorca (Barcarola), Op. 202. BIS' latest integrale takes on the massive, only semi-catalogued piano uvre of this brilliant pianist-composer who is known primarily for his transcendently complex Iberia (presented in this series on a book-by-book basis). The character pieces of op. 92 date from 1888-89 and are highly diverse dance types, several of which are of the salon variety and which provide a clue to the composer's early musical ambience. Mallorca is a noble barcarolle from around 1891 which looks ahead to the pioneering set called Iberia. Miguel Baselga (piano). BIS 923 (Sweden) 07A042 $17.98

HEITOR VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959): Première Sonate-Fantaisie, Deuxième Sonate-Fantaisie, Troisième Sonate, Sonhar-Melodia, Improviso No. 7, Capriccio No. 1, Berceuse, Elegie, O Canto de Cisno negro. The freely rhapsodic and sentimental first sonata is in single-movement form while its companion second (both from 1915) is one of Villa-Lobos' first pieces with clear nationalistic connotations. The third sonata, from 1920, is a large-scale work of symphonic proportions and one of the composer's first masterpieces. The miniatures filling out the disc are all of "encore" type and all date from the mid to late Teens. Paul Klinck (violin), Claude Coppens (piano). Cyprès CYP 2619 (Belgium) 07A043 $17.98

HEITOR VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959): Cello Sonata No. 2, Op. 66, ALBERTO GINASTERA (1916-1983): Pampeana No. 2, Op. 21, ASTOR PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992): Le Grand Tango. Villa-Lobos' 1916 sonata dates from just prior to his adoption of nationalistic language and is romantic in conception, not without echoes of Fauré while the two Argentinian pieces are the very image of passionate, throbbing nationalism, Ginastera's informed by folk elements and Piazzolla's a veritable translation of popular music into the "classical" format. Clemens Malich (cello), Ivone Bambirra (piano). Es Dur/Charade CHA 3017 (Germany) 07A044 $17.98

HEITOR VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959): Complete Piano Music, Vol. 3 - Francette et Pià, Histórias de Carochinha, Petizada, Brinquedo de roda, Suite infantil No. 1, Suite infantil No. 2, Bailado infantil, Cirandinhas. The third volume of this series contains almost entirely music new to the CD catalogue. Half of Villa-Lobos' piano music (and all of it here) belongs to the enchanted world, merry and playful, superstitious and bizarre, of Brazilian children. Iberian, African and native Indian features combine in a rich mix and the choreographic element is always present in these consistently fresh and attractive miniatures. Debora Halasz (piano). BIS 912 (Sweden) 07A045 $17.98

More Swiss Music from Musica Helvetica - Our exclusive imports!

PAUL JUON (1872-1940): Violin Concerto No. 2 in A, Op. 49, WILLY BURKHARD (1900-1955): Violin Concerto, Op. 69, RAFFAELE d'ALESSANDRO (1911-1959): Violin Concerto, Op. 41. Juon's 1912 concerto is a product of German late romanticism whose slow movement, subtitled "White Nights", contains typically Russian colors (of the country of the composer's birth, one must recall) while its outer movements contain much brilliant writing for the soloist; the lively dance rhythms of the finale are particularly memorable. Burkhard's concerto (1943) shows the French side of Swiss compositional life with its neo-classical transparent textures. d'Alessandro's work dates from 1941 but received its premiere only in association with this recording last October. In one movement, it displays a penchant for ostinati in its fast sections and an expressive grave portion, all informed by a neo-classical ethos. Sibylle Tschopp (violin), Stadtorchester Winterthur; Nicholas Carthy. Musica Helvetica MH CD 114.2 (Switzerland) 07A046 $16.98

RICHARD FLURY (1896-1967): Three Pieces for Violin and Piano, ALOYS FORNEROD (1890-1965): Concert for 2 Violins and Piano, Op. 16, CASPAR DIETHELM (b.1926): Schönster Tulipan: Suite of Variations on a Swiss Folk Song for 2 Violins, Op. 294, GASPARD FRITZ (1716-1783): Sonata for Violin and Basso Continuo, Op. 2/4, ERNEST BLOCH (1880-1959): Poème mystique (Sonata No. 2) for Violin and Piano. Bloch's calm, Gallic sonata of 1927 with its use of a Gregorian-like theme is the center of this collection of Swiss music for violin and piano. Flury's pieces radiate a characteristic warmth and humor while Diethelm's variations are lively and humorous, whimsical and witty. Fritz' baroque sonata is followed by the modally colored tonalities of Fornerod's lovely neo-baroque Concert. Sibylle Tschopp (violin), Mirjam Tschopp (violin), Isabel Tschopp (piano). Musica Helvetica MH CD 90.2 (Switzerland) 07A047 $16.98

OTHMAR SCHOECK (1886-1957): 2 Klavierstücke, Op. 29, WILLY HESS (b.1906): Suite in B Flat for Piano, Op. 45, HEINRICH SUTERMEISTER (b.1910): Sonatine in E Flat for Piano, PAUL MÜLLER-ZÜRICH (1898-1993): Capriccio for Flute and Piano, Op. 75, WILLY BURKHARD (1900-1955): Suite en miniature for Flute and Piano, Op. 71/2, KLAUS HUBER (b.1924): Ein Hausch von Unzeit I for Flute. Hess is the Beethoven scholar whose name appears after some works without opus number; he contributes a neo-Baroque suite of charming proportions to this collection of Swiss music for piano and/or flute. Schoeck's and Sutermeister's piano works partake of a blend of neo-classicism and late romanticism as does Burkhard's Suite while Müller-Zürich's Capriccio has impressionistic tints. Huber's work - the most extended here - begins by quoting Purcell's Chaconne from Dido and Aeneas and proceeds to dissolve the tune into a labyrinth of fragmented activity. Andrea Kollé (flute), Desmond Wright (piano). Musica Helvetica MH CD 85.2 (Switzerland) 07A048 $16.98

ALBERT MOESCHINGER (1897-1985): The Clementi Cabin 3000m Above Sea Level, 3 Songs after Christian Morgenstern, 3 Folk Song Arrangements for Mixed a cappella Choir, Wind Quintet on Swiss Folk Songs. The Clementi Cabin is a musical joke from 1940 written for the festivities marking the Bern Conservatory's move to new premises. Moeschinger created a visitor's book (as is found in mountain cabins which climbers sign as they pass through) with 27 entries "composed" by great names from the past (from Adam de la Halle in 1540 to Ravel in 1910). Written texts are followed by musical fragments, all done in appealingly, freshly humorous fashion. The wind quintet dates from 1941, its four movements mining Switzerland's rich repertoire of folk song. Michael Schacht (speaker), Hansjürg Kuhn (piano), Chamber Orchestra La Strimpellata Bern, Hans-Jürg Rickenbacher (tenor), Vocal Ensemble Cantemus; Helene Ringgenberg. Musica Helvetica MH CD 113.2 (Switzerland) 07A049 $16.98

MALCOLM ARNOLD (b.1921): Symphony No. 3, Op. 63, Symphony No. 4, Op. 71. The Naxos Arnold symphony cycle continues with the predominantly exuberant Third whose despairing isolation in its lento slow movement is blown away by its upbeat finale which shares the mood with the opening movement. The Fourth is remarkable for its inclusion of Afro-Caribbean rhythms (and percussion instruments) and it produces typically winning lyricism, jagged dissonances and a riotous finale. Two excellent examples of Arnold's unique ability to weave a web including both high spirits and a sense of unease - in a sense, the ability to represent life in music. National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland; Andrew Penny. Naxos 8.553739 (Hong Kong) 07A050 $5.98

HANS KOX (b.1930): Violin Concerto No. 1, Violin Concerto No. 2, Violin Concerto No. 3. Kox is a fruitful eclectic, grounded in tonality although he makes much use of chromaticism and polytonality. All three of these concertos (from 1963, 1978/81 and 1993 respectively) are in the classical three-movement form and combine a rhapsodic form of writing for the violinist with a consistent use of small-interval motives. Brilliant and agile writing with moto perptuoish fast movements and true, melodious adagios inform all three works and the effective yet spare instrumentation is clean and fresh. Reminiscenses of Bartók's rhapsodic quality and Berg's harmonic expressiveness can be found in the first two concertos the third contains a striking tribute to Bach, its slow movement based entirely on the presto from the Sonata No. 1 for solo violin, BWV 1001. Silvia Marcovici (violin), Netherlands Chamber Orchestra; Philippe Entremont. Donemus CV 68 (Netherlands) 07A051 $18.98

More Scandinavian Symphonic Discoveries from Sterling

NATHANAEL BERG (1879-1957): Symphony No. 4 "Pezzo Symphonico", Piano Concerto in C Sharp Minor, Suite from the Birgitta. Berg, like Atterberg and Rangström had a career and composed in his spare time (he was an army vet), also helping found the predecessor of the current Swedish composers society and copyright agency. Unlike his fellows, he tended toward a continental European musical style rather than national romanticism except in his fourth symphony of 1918 whose mild, lyrical warmth and rhythmic vitality speak in an elegant, almost impressionistic manner. The 1931 concerto is in the European late romantic tradition as are the three excerpts from his 1940 oratorio Birgitta. Jacob Moscovicz (piano), Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra; Göran W Nilson & Stig Westerberg, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra; Per Borin. Sterling 1019 (Sweden) 07A052 $15.98

ERICH WOLFGANG KORNGOLD (1897-1957): Schauspiel Overture, Op. 4, Märchenbilder, Op. 3, Der Schneemann, Act 1, Prelude and Carnival Music from Violanta, Op. 8. Chandos' Korngold series continues with the premiere recording of the orchestral version of his op. 3 "Fairy-Tale Pictures". Orchestrated by the 13-year-old composer, the premiere was given in 1911 and not heard again until this recording. Full of attractive and distinctive melodies, it yet again allows us to wonder at the talent of this prodigy. Also of great interest is the recording not only of the Prelude but of the full Act One of "The Snowman", a ballet-pantomime from 1910, originally orchestrated by Zemlinsky but revised by Korngold in 1913. A disc full of magical, colorful and enchanting music - all composed before the age of 18! BBC Philharmonic; Matthias Bamert. Chandos 9631 (England) 07A053 $16.98

ALEXANDER ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942): Die Seejungfrau, Sinfonietta, Op. 23, Overture to Sarema. Zemlinsky's sumptuous orchestral fantasy after Andersen's "The Mermaid" (1903) is almost exactly coeval with Schoenberg's Pelleas and Melisande and both works, besides being unique in their composers' output, strove to resolve the difference between programmatic and absolute music which was symbolized for their generation by the works respectively of Wagner and Brahms. Like Schoenberg's work, Die Seejungfrau is full of richly orchestrated, highly picturesque music which seethes with passionate life. The Sinfonietta, from 1935, wraps two compact and harshly showy "new music" movements around an oppressively melancholy slow movement Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra; Thomas Dausgaard. Chandos 9601 (England) 07A054 $16.98

ALEXANDER VON ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942): String Quartet No. 1 in A, Op. 4, String Quartet No. 4, Op. 25, 2 Movements. This is the first of two discs containing Zemlinsky's complete works for string quartet: the late-romantic, Brahmsian op. 4 of 1896 and the late op. 25 of 1936 - a six-movement, suite-like work carrying its composer's unique, mature brand of late Romanticism filtered through Berg and Schoenberg with echoes of Mahler. The two "movements" (1927) are concise, precise and leavened with a dry humor. Prazák Quartet. Praga 250 107 (Czech Republic) 07A055 $17.98

A miniature Gouvy celebration!

THÉODORE GOUVY (1819-1898): Requiem, Cantate Le Printemps, Stabat Mater, Cantate Egill, Piano Quintet, Op. 24, 6 Mélodies, String Quartet, Op. 68. In honor of the 100th anniversary of Gouvy's death, K617 has repackaged these three discs at a special price. The Requiem was in response to his mother's death (1880) and is a large-scale, hour-long work, very expressive whose grandeur is touched by a deep religiosity; its profondeurs and those of the coeval Stabat Mater are lightened by the 1882 cantata celebrating spring. The chamber works show Gouvy's characteristic conservatism with attractive and often lively melodies. Sheri Greenawald (soprano), Elsa Maurus (mezzo), Gérard Garino (tenor), Manfred Hemm (bass), Chur de la Schola de Vienne, Inva Mula (soprano), Sophie Pondjiclis (mezzo), Huw Rhys-Evans (tenor), Thierry Félix (baritone), Evangelische Kantorei Saarlouis, Chur d'Hommes de Hombourg-Haut, Lorraine Philharmonic; Jacques Houtmann & Oliver Holt, Quatuor Denis Clavier, Dimitris Saroglou (piano), Cyrille Gerstenhaber (soprano), Hélene Lucas (piano). 3 CDs. K617 085/3 (France) 07A056 $28.98

THÉODORE GOUVY (1819-1898): Piano Trio No. 2 in A Minor, Op. 18, Piano Trio No. 3 in B, Op. 19. Born in Lorraine and caught between German and French musical identities, Gouvy opted to live in Germany for an extended period and his music derives mostly from the German romantic tradition. The piano trios require a demanding, virtuoso technique and are conspicuous for their concentrated motivic treatment, giving the music inner vitality and tension. Munich Piano Trio. Orfeo C 444971 (Germany) 07A057 $18.98

MAX REGER (1873-1916): Piano Chamber Music, Vol. 1 - Violin Sonata in C, Op. 72, Violin Sonata in C Minor, Op. 139. The C major sonata of 1903 aroused no small consternation due to Reger's use of two main themes in all four movements which, in German notation, read S-C-H-A-F-E and A-F-F-E (sheep and monkey). The work breaks up into conflict laden, complex outer movements with a scurrying, grotesque scherzo and a melancholy, self-absorbed largo con gran espressione as the "meat" in the sandwich. The C minor dates from 1915 and has the same alternating mixture of agitato and espressivo segments but the Debussian harmonies of the large final movement Andantino con variazioni point in the direction the composer may have taken but for his early death. Renate Eggebrecht (violin), Wolfram Lorenzen (piano), Siegfried Mauser (piano). Troubadisc TRO-CD 01413 (Germany) 07A058 $16.98

RUGGERO LEONCAVALLO (1857-1919): Romanesca, Sérénade-valse, 2 Pièces de style arabe, Tarantelle, Gondola, Pantins vivants, Barcarola veneziana, Menuet d'Arlequin, Valse mignonne, cortège de Pulcinelle, Au bord du lac, Papillon, Invocation à la Muse, Valse à la lune. This collection of brief, salon-style pieces shows that Leoncavallo was very close to the French school of piano writing at the end of the 19th century, evidenced by the exoticism of the Arab pieces, the treatments of popular songs and dances and the works inspired by characters and situations of commedia dell'arte. What is delightful is the crisp, bright voice which the composer brings to these pieces, whose brevity does not preclude very original language, idiomatic writing and natural beauty of sound. Dario Müller (piano). Dynamic 2014 (Italy) 07A059 $13.98

JOSEPH JONGEN (1873-1953): Rhapsodie, MICHEL LYSIGHT (b.1958): Sextuor, JEAN JADIN (b.1962): Sextuor. These works are all for piano and wind quintet: Jongen's single-movement work of 1922 begins with a sinuous impressionist introduction which leads into a languorous habanera interlaced with a rhythmical farandole followed by an energetic march and very lyrical passages. Lysight is a Belgian-Canadian whose 1990 sextet draws on the minimalism of Reich and Glass but whose elaborate construction and play of rhythms and timbres obviates any sense of mere repetition. Jadin is not a minimalist but uses ostinati and obsessive rhythms to create a work of an intense and suspenseful character. Claventi Ensemble. René Gailly 87147 (Belgium) 07A060 $16.98

PIERRE VELLONES (1889-1939): Au Jardin des Bêtes Sauvages, Une Aventure de Babar for Piano 4 Hands, Invitation à la Musique for Piano 4 Hands, Théâtre des Marionnettes. Vellones is absent from the major music dictionaries and Cyprès tells us nothing about the man either. What we have here are piano pieces for children written between 1929 and 1937. Following the tradition of Schumann and Saint-Säens, Au Jardin... is a series of 16 character pieces with texts by the composer describing each animal (the texts are included). The other works have the same qualities of gentleness, grace and humor which make them, though written for children's capabilities, thoroughly enjoyable for adults too. Thérèse Malengreau (piano), Luc Devos (second piano). Cyprès 1611 (Belgium) 07A061 $17.98

ALBERT HUYBRECHTS (1899-1938): Sonatine for Flute and Viola, Violin Sonata, Trio for Flute, Viola and Piano. Like Lekeu another Belgian composer who died young, Huybrechts made his mark with the 1925 violin sonata which won the Coolidge Prize. It and the trio from the following year are very Debussyan indeed, and none the worse for that. The Sonatine, unusually scored, shows some influence of Bartók, maybe also of Hindemith, and has an agitated, astringent quality which may be related to the composer's bitterness due to his largely unsatisfactory life. Marc Grauwels (flute), Véronique Bogaerts (violin), Jacques Dupriez (viola), Dominique Cornil (piano). Syrinx CSR 98101 (Belgium) 07A062 $16.98

PAUL JUON (1872-1940): Viola Sonata in D, Op. 15, Viola Sonata in F Minor, Op. 82a, ALEXEI GANTSHER (1895-1937): Sonatina in E Minor, Op. 5 "Triolet erotique", SERGEI PROKOFIEV (1891-1953): 5 Mélodies, Op. 35b (arr. V. Toporov). Juon's D major sonata of 1901 is still redolent of Brahms while the single-movement F minor (1924) combines Slavonic elements with biting harmonies and jazz-influences. Gantsher, entirely unknown (who apparently couldn't adapt to the requirements of Socialist Realism), is a real discovery; his piece, from sometime in the 1920s, bears the distinct stamp of the same Symbolist influence that informs Scriabin: spiritual languor, sumptuous texture, romantic ardor and the savor of decadence. Russian Viola. Russian Disc RD CD 11 060 (U.S.A.) 07A063 $16.98

BOHUSLAV MARTINU (1890-1959): Piano Trio No. 2 in D Minor, Piano Trio No. 3 in C, Nocturnes for Cello and Piano, Czech Rhapsody for Violin and Piano. Martinu's second trio, from 1950, has a Brahmsian felling behind his typical rhythmic, melodic and harmonic treatment in its first movement, a lyrical scherzo and typically motoric finale. Trio No. 3 (1951) is on a relatively epic scale for Martinu with the familiar motor rhythms tinged by a feeling of foreboding and a sense of intensity and sombreness prevails throughout. The Czech Rhapsody dates from 1945 and, like the fourth symphony of that year, is a work charged with the optimism of newly arrived peace in which Martinu revisits his native folk idioms. The Bekova Sisters. Chandos 9632 (England) 07A064 $16.98

PERCY GRAINGER (1882-1961): Grainger Edition, Vol. 8 - The Power of Rome and the Christian Heart, Children's March, Bell Piece, Blithe Bells, The Immovable Do, Hill Songs I and II, Irish Tune from County Derry, Marching Song of Democracy. The second volume of works for wind orchestra in the ongoing Chandos Grainger series focuses on original compositions; The Power of Rome..., his longest and most ambitious, was inspired by the sight of young recruits at bayonet practice during the First World War. Hill Song I (1929) appears here in its original scoring (2 piccolos, 6 each of oboes, cor anglais and bassoons and double bassoon) for the first time and Marching Song is a sprawling tone poem combining late Romanticism with Grainger's own original techniques. Vocal Soloists, Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra; Timothy Reynish & Clark Rundell. Chandos 9630 (England) 07A065 $16.98

TAN DUN (b.1957): Out of Peking Opera for Violin and Orchestra, Death and Fire, Orchestral Theatre II: Re for Bass, Divided Orchestra and Audience with Two Conductors. Out of Peking Opera is a violin concerto, which ingeniously suggests Chinese musical culture within a framework of the composer's chosen vocabulary, which is unmistakably that of Western classical music. Tan's music sounds more western than oriental - a few pentatonic suggestions apart, there is no overt "Chinoiserie" about this very European music. This is even more the case in Death and Fire which suggests the composer's reactions to paintings of Paul Klee, and Orchestral Theatre II; all three works have a strong sense of the dramatic, of an almost visual sense of color, and of a powerful response to the works' implied internal program. Cho-Liang Lin (violin), Kalevi Olli (bass), Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra; Muhai Tang & Kari Kropsu. Ondine ODE 864 (Finland) 07A066 $17.98

JAMES PRIMOSCH (b.1956): Piano Quintet, String Quartet No. 2, Fantasy-Variations for Piano Trio, Icons for Clarinet, Piano and Tape. The music of James Primosch is as Romantic in outlook and feeling as it is eclectic and modern in execution. The quintet joins other illustrious members of the genre as a large-scale work, almost symphonic in scope, with immediate appeal and a high seriousness of purpose -until, that is, the jazz elements with which the composer admits a preoccupation enter in the finale, as skilfully grafted into a concert piece as any other example that comes to mind. The quartet is compelling and intense; inspired by a depiction of the holy family by Zurbarán, it achieves a kind of quasi-religious ecstasy in music. Fantasy-Variations is a direct, compelling work, full of passion, and the early electro-acoustic Icons blends the instrumental lines with the tape part in a manner that is both satisfying and profoundly musical. James Primosch (piano), Cavani String Quartet, Leonardo Trio, Jean Kopperud (clarinet), Aleck Karis (piano). New World 80523 (U.S.A.) 07A067 $16.98

SAMUEL ADLER (b.1928): Sonatina, Sonata Breve, The Road to Terpsichore: A Suite of Dances, Canto VIII, ROBERT EVETT (1922-1975): Chaconne, GEORGE PERLE (b.1915): 6 Etudes, HENRY COWELL (1897-1965): Exaltation, WENDELL KEENEY (1903-1989): Sonatina, FREDERIC GOOSSEN (b.1927): Fantasy, Aria and Fugue. This is a collection of American piano music by composers of widely differing styles who all acknowledge the vitality of the past in their search for evolution. Adler's music is marked by an urgent, communicative nature and, in Canto VIII, by the use of sensational playing techniques; Evett's Chaconne is neo-Baroque but harmonically 20th century; Perle's dissonantly harmonic etudes are expressive, exciting and spontaneous; Cowell's brief piece uses left-arm clusters while combining radical "noise" and catchy modal tunes; in Keeney's 1943 Sonatina the 18th and 20th centurys co-exist easily and Goossen's 1973 pieces synthesizes Baroque forms and Romantic emotional expression. Bradford Gowen (piano). New World 80304 (U.S.A.) 07A068 $16.98

SCOTT JOPLIN (1868-1917): The Collected Piano Works, Vol. 1 - Great Crush Cotillion - March, Combination March, Harmony Club Waltz, Original Rags (arr. Charles N. Daniels), Maple Leaf Rag, Peacherine Rag, Augustan Club Waltz, The Easy Winners - A Ragtime Two Step, Cleopha - March and Two Step, A Breeze from Alabama - A Ragtime Two Step, Elite Syncopations, March Majestic, The Strenuous Life - A Ragtime Two Step, JOPLIN/ARTHUR MARSHALL: Swipesy - Cake Walk, JOPLIN/SCOTT HAYDEN: Sunflower Slow Drag - A Ragtime Two Step. The first of three CDs which will explore Joplin's pianistic legacy contains works copyrighted between 1896 (the remarkable Great Crush Cotillion which contains a musical representation of two trains crashing head-on) and 1902 when he was acknowledged at the "King of Ragtime Writers". An hour's worth of joyous syncopation! Richard Glazier (piano). Centaur CRC 2403 (U.S.A.) 07A069 $16.98

NORMAN DELLO JOIO (b.1913): Songs of Abelard, PAUL CRESTON (1906-1995): Celebration Overture, VINCENT PERSICHETTI (1915-1987): Bagatelles, PETER MENNIN (1923-1983): Canzona, MARK CAMPHOUSE (b.1954): Watchman Tell Us of the Night, WILLIAM BERGSMA (1921-1994): March with Trumpets, TIMOTHY MAHR (b.1956): Fantasia in G, MORTON GOULD (1913-1996): Fanfare for Freedom. Persichetti's 1969 work for baritone and wind ensemble juxtaposes medieval melodies with modern rhythms and harmonies; Creston's and Bergsma's works are celebratory overtures from the mid 50s of a typically jaunty and jubilant American type while the other big work here, by Camphouse, is a somber hymn dedicated to abused children. Curt Scheib (baritone), Keystone Wind Ensemble; Jack Stamp. Citadel 88128 (U.S.A.) 07A070 $14.98

DAVID FROOM (b.1951): Chamber Concerto, Piano Suite, Quintet for Oboe, Strings and Piano, To Dance to the Whistling Wind for Solo Flute, String Quartet. Dating from 1990-1996, these works show Froom's edgy and primarily dissonant voice evolving through a wider range of harmonic colors and even some use of consonance. The chamber concerto of 1991, for Pierrot ensemble, revels in some particulary voluptuous harmonic language while the eight pieces of the 1995 piano suite embrace a wide variety of characters and gestures from brutality to gossamer lightness. The quintet (1994) is the most neo-tonal of the works here and the piece for solo flute drifts freely between tonal, atonal and modal harmonic languages. The string quartet, however, is diverges markedly from its disc-mates in its angry expressionism, aggressive restlessness and rigorous motivic development . New York Music Ensemble, Eliza Garth (piano), Twentieth Century Consort, Jayn Rosenfeld (flute), Ciompi String Quartet. Arabesque Z6710 (U.S.A.) 07A071 $16.98

VANGHELIS PETSALIS: Symphony No. 1, Adagio and Fuga for Strings, 9 Preludes for Piano. This young Greek composer (a practising radiologist) writes lushly tuneful, colorful music in a vivid, neo-romantic vein. The 1995 symphony has four movements, three of them persistently somber, troubled and grave in a Rachmaninovian fashion which form a striking contribution to the contemporary symphonic canon. The Adagio and Fuga and the piano preludes inhabit the same world: immersed in a profound melancholy with moments of unease, never anguished or tragic, but rather gently sad and searching for serenity. A very personal voice and a very enjoyable disc. Ester Berberian (piano), Symphony Orchestra of Bulgaria; Alkis Panayotopoulos. Agorá Musica 072.1 (Italy) 07A072 $16.98

ISANG YUN (1917-1995): Clarinet Quintet No. 2, String Quartet No. 5, Oboe Quartet. Memories of his childhood and yearning for his South Korea home inspired the 1994 clarinet quintet in which the colors and impressions of the autumn landscape are translated into a somewhat nostalgic musical montage; from the same year, the oboe quartet aims at teh forming of a Taoist unity from the blending of the yin and yang of the nasal oboe and the homogeneous string group while the fifth string quartet dates from 1990 and has the same preoccupation with the alternation of the active and the inactive in its compressed, single-movement span. Seiki Shinohe (clarinet), Hiroshi Shibayama (oboe), Sawa Quartet. Camerata 30CM-363 (Japan) 07A073 $17.98

ISANG YUN (1917-1995): Trio for Flute, Violin and Oboe, Sori for Flute Solo, Köngliches Thema for Violin Solo, Piri for Oboe Solo, 4 Inventionen for Flute and Oboe. The works recorded here date from 1972 to 1988 and provide a good overview of Yun's unique synthesis of European musical language with the thought and culture of his native Korea in which the music moves in a linear fashion, free of western formal strictures and where the sound of the instruments takes on an organic life, inviting the listener to be led toward a sensory experience Verena Bosshart (flute), Saskia Filippini (violin), Omar Zoboli (oboe). Jecklin Edition JD 718 (Switzerland) 07A074 $18.98

WOLFGANG LUDEWIG (b.1926): String Trio No. 1, Konfigurationen for Violin, Viola, Cello and Percussion, Fantasie for Violin and Percussion, Mouvement for Marimba, 3 Fantasiestücke for Viola and Percussion, String Trio No. 2. Ludewig studied under Liebowitz, Varese and Krenek at Darmstadt; his two string trios (1948 and 1949/50 but revised in 1993) show his early use of dodecaphonic techniques à la Schoenberg and Webern. The remaining works, all from the mid 1990s, show his mature, personal style in which a non-doctrinaire, freely atonal style of writing for the string instruments is gently and intriguingly colored by a variety of percussion instruments to produce a rich means of expression. Deutsches Streichtrio, Edith Salmen-Weber (percussion). Pro Viva ISPV 183 (Germany) 07A075 $18.98

ARNOLD SCHOENBERG (1874-1951): Variations on a Recitative, Op. 40, HUGO DISTLER (1908-1942): Organ Partita, Op. 8/1 "Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland", HEINRICH KAMINSKY (1886-1946): Toccata über den Choral "Wie schön leucht't uns der Morgenstern", ERNST KRENEK (1900-1991): Organ Sonata, Op. 92, PAUL HINDEMITH (1895-1963): Organ Sonata No. 2. This recital concentrates on works by German composers written between 1920 and 1940 and spans the stylistic gamut from Kaminski's conservatism to Hindemith's sunny functionalism and Krenek's rigorous serialism. Schoenberg's only organ work is one of the peaks of 20th century literature for the instrument and Distler's 1933 partita exalts the melody of the chorale in a fresco of mighty grandeur. Arturo Sacchetti (Muracher organ, church of Saints Filippo e Giacomo, Cortina d'Ampezzo). Arts 47392 (Germany) 07A076 $10.98

Classical late arrivals

CARL CZERNY (1791-1857): Duo concertante, Op. 129 for Flute and Piano, Introduction, Variations Brillantes et Rondeau de Chasse, Op. 202 for Solo Piano, Rondo Facile et Brillante, Op. 374/3 for Flute and Piano, Chanson sans Paroles, Op. 795/1 for Solo Piano, Grande Serenade Concertante, Op. 126 for Piano, Clarinet, Horn and Cello. Expressive lyricism and bravura writing for the piano inform all of these pieces by the incredibly prolific Czerny. Everything sparkles with exuberant life with Beethoven's influence evident in the duo and Mendelssohn in the "song without words". The largest work is the Grande Serenade which offers each instrument a solo in its "Theme and Variations" movement and has brilliant and highly decorated piano writing throughout. Clive Conway (flute), Christine Croshaw (piano), Nicholas Bucknall (clarinet), Christina Shillito (cello), Stephen Stirling (horn). Meridian CDE 84310 (England) 07A077 $16.98

CARL STAMITZ (1745-1801): 2 Concertos in D for Viola d'Amore and Orchestra, HEINRICH IGNAZ FRANZ VON BIBER (1644-1704): Partita VII from Harmonia artificiosa-ariosa for 2 Violas d'Amore and Continuo, LÉON PILLAUT (1833-1903): Pièce caractéristique for Viola d'Amore and 7 Strings, LOUIS-TOUSSAINT MILANDRE (18th cen.): Duo avec basse for Baroque Cello. The sweet, melancholy sound of the viola d'amore is chronicled here in works spanning 200 years, from Biber's baroque partita through the early classical concertos of Stamitz all the way through the 19th century to Pillaut's 1892 piece: an ardent, passionate adagio suffused by Wagnerian harmony. Jean-Philippe Vasseur (viola d'amore), Ensemble Instrumental de Grenoble; Stéphane Cardon. Arion ARN 60354 (France) 07A078 $13.98

ALEXANDER GOEHR (b.1932): Arianna (Lost Opera by Monteverdi) in Eight Scenes. Arianna was an opera composed by Monteverdi in 1608, of which the entire score, with the exception of one climactic scene, has long since vanished. In 1993, Alexander Goehr "recomposed" the lost work, incorporating the vocal line of the surviving scene, but otherwise interpreting the text through music entirely his own, with no attempt to produce pastiche Monteverdi. Goehr's influences, especially Schoenberg and Messiaen, are evident, but the small ensemble and the treatment of the soloists give an air of historical authenticity to this curious but satisfying example of the next step beyond reconstruction of a lost work. 2 CDs. Timothy Dawkins, Andrew Hewitt, Angela Hickey, Ruby Philogene, The Arianna Ensemble; William Lacey. NMC D054 (England) 07A079 $35.98

HOWARD SKEMPTON (b.1947): passing fancy, Drum Cannon 2, Bends, Call, Fire, Melody, Recessional, Tree Sequence, Surface Tension I and II, Three Pieces for Oboe, Moto Perpetuo, Lament, Small Change, The Gipsy's Wife's Song, Gemini Dances #6, Lullaby, Bagatelle, Prelude, Intermezzo, Under the Elder, African Melody, Agreement, Truce. This CD showcases another side to this British minimalist, which may surprise those drawn to his slow chordal minimalism: miniatures, some with a decidedly perky, folky flavor. The disc features an appealing curiosity; the composer playing accordion (and in Recessional, appropriately enough, imitating a wheezy if portentous church organ). There is quite a range of styles here, as the pieces were written for a wide diversity of forces and occasions; there are slow melismatic meditations, little instrumental exercises, and oddly appealing chromatic quasi-minimalist music, of which the best here is Surface Tension I which gives the disc its title. Sarah Leonard (soprano), Ensemble HCD-Productions; Howard Skempton (accordion). Mode 61 (U.S.A.) 07A080 $16.98

MINNA KEAL (b.1909): Cello Concerto, Ballade for Cello and Piano. This disc couples two works from opposite ends of the remarkable interrupted compositional career of an extraordinarily determined woman. The Ballade is a transcription by the composer of a work originally written for viola and piano at the age of 19 while she was studying at the Royal Academy of Music. The work is tonal and romantic, and recalls Vaughan Williams. The concerto, completed in 1994, is a product of her renaissance as a composer, which began when she was nearly 70, with some private study with Justin Connolly and Oliver Knussen. Harmonically the idiom is far more modern, although the solo instrument is treated very expressively, from its sustained opening soliloquy against dramatic orchestral scene-setting to the final brooding adagio, finally interrupted by a more vigorous coda that is somewhat reminiscent of Shostakovich. Alexander Baillie (cello), Martina Baillie (piano), BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra; Martyn Brabbins. NMC D048S (England) 07A081 $10.98

HARRISON BIRTWISTLE (b.1934): Pulse Sampler, MELINDA MAXWELL: Elegy, SIMON HOLT (b.1958): Banshee. In Birtwistle's 1981 piece for oboe and claves, pulse and melody alternate as the flexible melody of the wind instrument interacts with the stark clackings of the claves, generating a friction which provides prodigious energy. Holt's 1994 nightmare piece conjures up the the "mournful screaming that haunts the Irish night and the Scottish highlands" of the creature who foretells someone's death while oboist Maxwell's Elegy (1994 - for oboe and piano) is an economical, reflective and restrained piece which conjures a rich line of sound from the solo instrument. Melinda Maxwell (oboe), Richard Benjafield (percussion), Jan Gruithuyzen (piano). NMC D042S (England) 07A082 $10.98

HAUKUR TÓMASSON (b.1960): Gudrun's 4th Song. This hour-long opera takes motifs and tales from the Old Icelandic Poetic Edda which deal with the title character and depicts the events in music of spare, often harsh but vividly colored and highly expressive music performed by a small instrumental ensemble heavy on winds and percussion. Tómasson succeeds admirably in creating a stark atmosphere in which the grief and horror of the events depicted resounds in a timeless, ritualistic fashion and creates a pall which settles over both characters and listeners and which leads to a dramatic and cathartic conclusion. Icelandic-English texts. Berit Mæland (soprano), Isabel Piganiol (mezzo), Sverrir Gudjonsson (counter-tenor), Rudi Sisseck (bass-bartione), Fóstbrædur Male Choir, Caput Ensemble; Christian Eggen. BIS 908 (Sweden) 07A083 $17.98

ALAIN PAYETTE (b.1953): 12 Préludes (Confidences Poétiques). Melody is Payette's most important musical component and this series of preludes (premiered late last year) is a richly communicative, hyper-romantic and deeply expressive set of works which contain a powerfully melancholic vein in the manner of Rachmaninov and Medtner. This is music of great candor, accessible and affecting and, on the technical side, demanding of a brilliant technique. Conservative and romantic? Yes. Substantial? Absolutely! Alain Lefèvre (piano). Koch International Classics 7434 (U.S.A.) 07A084 $16.98

KAREL BOLESLAV JIRÁK (1891-1972): Little Piano Suite, Op. 12, On the Divide, Op. 24, Sonata No.1, Sonata No. 2, 5 Miniatures, Op. 75. Composer, conductor, critic and pedagogue, Jirák's uvre has yet to gain much exposure (there are 6 symphonies among other orchestral works). This release gives us a broad conspectus of his style via piano compositions - from the conservative Little Suite of 1916 through On the Divide (1923) and first sonata (1926) which have expressionist and impressionist flavors to two works from his exile in the United States (1950 and 1955) which still show Jirák's characteristic succinctness but which contain more modern harmonies. Daniel Wiesner (piano). Panton 71 0523 (Czech Republic) 07A085 $16.98

URMAS SISASK (b.1960): Christmas Oratorio, Christmas Mass. Sisask's two Christmas pieces (1992 & 1993) use a variety of material alluding to everything from Gregorian chant to disco and Orffian percussiveness to produce a simple, transparent expression of Christmas joy. The oratorio uses the Latin canonic text with sermons in Estonian and the use of the small instrumental ensemble (trumpet, oboe, recorders and organ) shows great skill. The mass uses only alto recorder, baritone, male chorus and organ and is based on the traditional dialogue between priest and congregation as represented by recitative and (mostly) polyphonic chorus. Academic Male Choir of Tallinn Technical University, Nakja Kurem (soprano), Mati Körts (tenor), Mati Palm (baritone), Piret Aidulo (organ), Instrumental Soloists; Jüri Rent. Antes Edition BM-CD 31.9061 (Germany) 07A086 $16.98

RENÉ EESPERE (b.1953): Ritornells in F, D Minor/Major, D Minor and G Minor, Spieldosen I and II, 6 Preludes, Concentus in B Minor, 4 Ostinati. The piano works of this Estonian minimalist are sharply chiselled, brightly sparkling jewels, often with an imitation of bell-tones, driven by ostinati whose rhythms are often varied ingeniously to prevent any sense of boring repetition. Abandonment to the effect produces a meditative state not unlike that gained by gazing by night at a cloudless sky. Tarmo Eespere (piano). Antes Edition BM-CD 31.9058 (Germany) 07A087 $16.98

PEETER VÄHI (b.1955): To His Highness Salvador D., Mystical Uniting, Digital Love, Concerto Piccolo, 4 Engravings of Reval. Vähi's background includes stints with rock and jazz-rock groups. In addition, he is a Buddhist and has spent recent years in collaboration with musicians from Siberia, India, China and other parts of Asia. All of these experiences influence the music heard here - To His Highness uses typical Hispanicisms coupled with jazz and minimalist influences while Mystical Uniting and Digital Love have a jazz-influenced improvisatory feel with oriental flavor. The Concerto Piccolo is a refraction of a baroque concerto grosso through a prism containing all of the above-mentioned elements; the 4 Engravings, in contrast, come off as the most purely "classically" conceived pieces, achieving a sort of "post-Modern" neo-Baroque quality. Camerata Tallinn; Jaan Öun, Ivo Sillamaa (harpsichord), Hortus Musicus; Andres Mustonen. Antes Edition BM-CD 31.9086 (Germany) 07A088 $16.98

JAAN RÄÄTS (b.1932): Sonata for 2 Pianos, Op. 82, Piano Trio No. 6, Op. 81, Piano Quintet No. 3, Op. 38, Concerto for Violin and Chamber Orchestra No. 2, Op. 63. Although these works are separated by almost a generation (the quintet dates from 1970 and the sonata from 1990), Rääts' stylistic profile remains: immense rhythmic vitality often manifested in animated ostinato figures (what would today be called simply "minimalism" but which, especially in the sonata, manifests itself in almost irresistible bell-like pealing tones), extremes ranging from shrill dissonances to a luxurious quasi-impressionism, dosed here and there (i.e. in the slow movement of the fairly early piano quintet) with a shot of Shostakovich. Estonian folk-song and improvisation are also represented in these very original works of profound emotional impact. Various soloists including Yevgeni Zhuk (violin), Soloists Ensemble of the Moscow State Philharmonic Orchestra; Valentin Zhuk. Antes Edition BM-CD 31.9065 (Germany) 07A089 $16.98

NOAM SHERIFF (b.1935): Mechaye Hametim (Revival of the Dead). Premiered in 1987, Sheriff's work is in four movements ("Jewish Life in the Diaspora", "The Holocaust", "Kaddish and Yishor" and "Revival and Reminiscence") based on a single Judaic theme which begins with an archaic blast of the shofar on horns and which ends with a contemporary Israeli representation of the same archaic Hebrew call on percussion - the whole piece representing the irrepressible vitality of the Jewish people, its attempted extermination by the Nazis and its eventual triumph in the founding of the state of Israel. Joseph Malovany (tenor), Lieuwe Visser (bass), Dutch Men's Choir, "Ankor" Children's Choir, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra; Arnon Meroz. Carrière Classics 21.002 (Israel) 07A090 $5.98

RICHARD RODNEY BENNETT (b.1936): Sonata after Syrinx for Solo Flute, 6 Tunes for the Instruction of Singing-birds for Solo Flute, NICOLAS MAW (b.1935): Flute Quartet, Roman Canticle for Mezzo-soprano, Flute, Viola and Harp, Night Thoughts for Solo Flute. The largest work here, Maw's Flute Quartet (1983) shows the influence of French music, particularly Ravel. Bennett's Sonata after Syrinx is based on Debussy's work of the same name for solo flute (one of five works by the composer with the same inspiration) and shows the composer's self-professed rebellion against Boulez' cerebral methods and evinces a personal, neo-Romantic serialism closer to Berg and Debussy. Roman Canticles is a lush, evocative setting of Robert Browning; Bennett's 6 Tunes is a primer of song practice by six young birds while Maw's Night Thoughts is the most abstract of the works recorded here, focusing on the structuring of pitch relations. Mary Nessinger (mezzo), Curtis Macomber (violin), John Whitfield (cello), Auréole Trio. Koch International Classics 7355 (U.S.A.) 07A091 $16.98

LORENZO PEROSI (1872-1956): La risurrezione di Cristo. The premiere of this dramatic oratorio in Paris in 1899 had such names as D'Indy, Bruneau and Massenet glorifying its young composer as a musical genius. Much of Perosi's life was spent suffering from mental illness but he left a legacy of large-scale religious oratorios which struck a common chord in the music-loving public of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Simple, self-effacing, devotional, full of warm, sentimental melodies, Perosi's music is perhaps ripe for rediscovery now during the post-Modern period. Latin-English texts. Soloists, Coro Polinfonico di Milano, Orchestra dell'Angelicum di Milano; Carlo Felice Cillario. Sarx Angelicum 97028 (Italy) 07A092 $16.98

LUC FERRARI (b.1929): Cellule 75 for Piano, Percussion and Magnetic Tape, Place des abbesses for Magnetic Tape. These two electroacoustic compositions from the 1970s have an immediate and direct appeal; they are worlds away from some of the more abstract experimentation in electronic music that took place in the previous two decades. Place des abbesses is an evocative musical impression of a place, realised in the techniques of musique concrete, using overwhelmingly tonal material in its sound-matrix. Cellule 75 is if anything even more accessible; a minimalist composition with the rhythmic framework that that implies, provided by a virtuoso percussion part and overlain by evolving piano "cells" against a musique concrete tape background. Oddly evocative of "world music" yet as technically sophisticated and imaginative as any experimental music of the '70s, this CD is as much fun to listen to as it is challenging to try to analyse. Chris Brown (piano), William Winant (percussion). Tzadik TZ 7033 (U.S.A.) 07A093 $16.98

SANDRO GORLI (b.1948): Novellette, Studi in forma di Variazione, Ja Lily, Il Mulino di Amleto, FRANCO DONATONI (b.1927): Françoise Variationen. Donatoni's variations, in 7 sets composed between 1983 and 1996, use the technique of "total variation" as defined by Berio inth 50s - each cycle contains seven variations each of which is a variation of the previous variation, each succeeding variation focusing on a different aspect of piano technique. Gorli's pieces cover the same time period and concern themselves with similar small-scale, successive sequences of transformations. Maria Grazia Bellocchio (piano). Stradivarius STR 33486 (Italy) 07A094 $16.98

DAVID TUDOR (1926-1996): Rainforest (version I), Sliding Pitches in the Rainforest in the Field (Rainforest version IV). David Tudor is widely remembered as the pianist who pioneered John Cage - and a good deal of other avant-garde piano music - but he was also a composer, and an innovator in the field of electroacoustic composition. Using sounds channeled through suspended resonant objects, mostly metallic, and then subjecting the vibrations of the objects to various kinds of electronic treatment, Tudor creates a sound world of extraordinary diversity and complexity. The title - Rainforest - is very apposite, as the tumultuous layers of twittering, howling, screeching, scurrying insect noises and deep, profound earth sounds, create a primitive landscape of the imagination. The first version heard here was created as a dance piece for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company; the second is an "environmental" account of the installation as heard at a workshop in New Hampshire in 1973. David Tudor & Takehisa Kosugi (live electronics). Mode 64 (U.S.A.) 07A095 $17.98

JOHN CAGE (1912-1992): Credo in Us, Quartet, Second Construction, She's Asleep, Third Construction. These works for percussion are all early (those here dating from 1925-43), before the beginning of Cage's experimentation with chance operations. Thus, they can appear to a modern listener to be relatively conservative pieces compared with what has gone on in the last 50 years; the Constructions and She's Asleep are based on mathematical relationships but can be listened to sheerly as catchy, rhythmically intricate and pleasing music. Credo in Us has a part for phonograph or radio in which Cage anticipated the rap movement by sampling a famous classical work; these German performers have updated matters by including rap and pop music along with Beethoven's Fifth. Cage certainly would have approved! Percussion Ensemble Mainz; Markus Hauke. Col Legno 20015 (Germany) 07A096 $18.98

JOHN CAGE (1912-1992): Complete Piano Music, Vol. 2 - Music for Piano 1-85, Electronic Music for 2 Pianos, Music for 5 Pianos, Music for 4 Pianos, Music for 3 Pianos, Music for 2 Pianos I & II. Music for Piano 1-3 (1952-53) were Cage's first piano works based on chance - pitches chosen by the location of imperfections on the paper on which staves were drawn. Music for Piano 4-19 took the process one step further by making sure that the pieces would be truly random, changing from performance to performance by giving the performer the option of performing pages of randomly derived notes in whatever sequence he desired; Music for Piano 21-36 and 37-52 were written to be performed separately, with each other or along with 4-19 and so on with the rest of the series. Abandoning oneself to this music for the extended period of time it takes to get through each CD allows it to work its strange spell of compelling indeterminacy. And, of course, you can buy other recordings of the same works since no two will be performed exactly alike! Was Cage a marketer too? 2 CDs. Steffen Schleiermacher (piano). MD&G 613 0784 (Germany) 07A097 $37.98

BENJAMIN BRITTEN (1913-1976): Thema 'Sacher', CRISTÓBAL HALFFTER (b.1930): Variation über das Thema eSACHERe, HANS WERNER HENZE (b.1926): Capriccio per Paul Sacher, CONRAD BECK (1901-1989): 3 Epigramme, HEINZ HOLLIGER (b.1939): Chaconne, HENRI DUTILLEUX (b.1916): Hommage à Paul Sacher, WITOLD LUTOSLAWSKI (1913-1994): Sacher-Variation, WOLFGANG FORTNER (1907-1987): Thema und Variationen, KLAUS HUBER (b.1924): Transpositio ad infinitum, LUCIANO BERIO (b.1925): Les mots sont allés..., ALBERTO GINASTERA (1916-1983): Puneña No. 2, PIERRE BOULEZ (b.1925): Message(s) for Solo Cello and 6 Celli. These twelve hommages were composed for the 70th birthday of famed conductor Paul Sacher (the first eleven are for solo cello). Differing in scope and weight, as characteristic of their authors, they are a compendium of the main aspects of musical development in the 1970s. David Geringas and his cello class of the Musikhochschule Lübeck. Es Dur ES 2020 (Germany) 07A098 $17.98

VIKTOR ULLMANN (1898-1944): Der zerbrochene Krug, Op. 36, Slavic Rhapsody for Saxophone and Orchestra, Op. 23. "The Broken Jug", an 18th century play by Heinrich von Kleist set in a village courtroom, was set as a half-hour long musical comedy by Ullmann in 1942. Its witty and parodistic elements allowed the composer to satirize the perversion of justice in Nazi Germany in a way that censors could not get; believed lost, the work was rediscovered and premiered in 1996. The saxophone rhapsody dates from 1940 is full of catchy themes and has what seems to be an homage to Dvorak within; it also was a political statement for a composer in occupied Prague whose Slavic culture was considered to be sub-human. German-English texts. John-Edward Kelly (saxophone), Roland Hermann (baritone), Claudia Barainsky (soprano), Deutsches Symphonieorchester Berlin; Gerd Albrecht. Orfeo C 419 981 (Germany) 07A099 $18.98

OLIVIER MESSIAEN (1908-1992): Saint François d'Assise: Tableaus 3 &6-8. This live (stereo) recording from the 1985 Salzburg Festival presents four of the most important scenes from what is a four-hour plus opera (the 77-year-old composer was present at this experiment) concerning the life of the famous saint. As there is no current recording available of the whole opera, this makes a valuable witness to to the devout Messiaen's mystery-play in which, through the figure of St. Francis, the composer symbolically represents the path to divine life. 2 CDs. French texts, English synopsis. Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone), Rachel Yakar (soprano), Kenneth Riegel (tenor), ORF Choir, Arnold Schönberg Choir, Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra; Lothar Zagrosek. Orfeo C 485 982 (Germany) 07A100 $33.98

MICHAEL HAYDN (1737-1806): Missa Hispanica in C. Dating from 1786, this grand mass was commissioned by the Spanish court, allowing Haydn to avoid the restrictions on celebratory masses imposed by Archbishop Colloredo in Salzburg. So, back come the closing fugues in the Gloria and Credo movements and the work lengthens to almost an hour. This brilliant, dynamic work only adds to our increasing appreciation of the talent and mastery of craft of Joseph's younger brother. Mária Zádori (soprano), Judit Németh (mezzo), Péter Drucker (tenor), István Kovács (bass), Debrecen Kodály Chorus, Capella Savaria; Pál Németh. Hungaroton HCD 31765 (Hungary) 07A101 $16.98

LILI BOULANGER (1893-1918): Clairières dans le ciel, 3 Morceaux for Piano, 4 Mélodies. The latest release in Timpani's valuable La Mélodie Française series brings us the frightfully talented and short-lived Boulanger's first known work (one of the 4 Mélodies) as well as three short piano pieces, all of which frame the large song-cycle "Clearings in the Sky" (1914), from texts taken from Tristesses by the poet Francis Jammes. This is nothing less than a French Frauenliebe und Leben as the 13 songs trace a dramatic voyage from joy to desolation in the voice of the poet who is abandoned by the woman he loves. Along with her three Psaumes, this cycle remains Boulanger's masterpiece. Jean-Paul Fouchécourt (tenor), Sonia de Beaufort (mezzo), Alain Jacquon (piano). Timpani 1C1042 (France) 07A102 $17.98

BRONISLAU KAPER (1902-1983): Lord Jim - Original Soundtrack. Kaper managed to convey the epic scale this film and its location's lush, menacing and alluring tropical paradise in music of vivid pictorialism (using in places the instruments of the gamelan orchestra). Tarantula 9108 (Germany) 07A103 $13.98

MAX STEINER (1888-1971): John Paul Jones, The Last Command, Come Next Spring - Original Soundtracks. Three varying examples of Steiner's craft: two historical epics (The Last Command - from 1955 - is an Alamo movie) and a romantic drama. Tarantula 9109 (Germany) 07A104 $13.98

FRANZ WAXMAN (1906-1967): Taras Bulba - Original Soundrack. Obviously, no one will be expecting Janácek in this stirring, pulsating, almost over-the-top wallow in exotic Hollywood musical Romanticism! Tarantula 9107 (Germany) 07A105 $13.98