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John Powell

"Virginia Symphony"

JOHN POWELL (1882-1963): Symphony in A "Virginia Symphony". Among other things, Powell was an ethnomusicologist and made a methodical collection of folk songs of the rural South. Many of these appear in this symphony (originally finished in 1945 and titled Symphony on Virginia Folk Themes and in the Folk Modes and then extensively revised in 1951) although, since much of his collection has never been published, we do not know what most of them are called or where they come from. Powell was educated in Vienna and toured Europe as a pianist extensively before World War I, so it comes as no surprise that the symphony is structured in the Germanic tradition and finds its models for the use of folk materials in Vaughan Williams. Lasting 55 minutes, the piece is in four movements, all of which use multiple examples of folk tunes (traditional Scottish elements in the first movement, reels in the finale, etc.), and is orchestrated in a manner which recalls not only Vaughan Williams but, sometimes, also Bax and Bantock. A short filler is conductor/arranger Carmen Dragon's version of the traditional folk song Shenandoah. Virginia Symphony; JoAnn Falletta. Albany TROY 589 (U.S.A.) 06E001 $16.98

HELEN TAYLOR (1915-1950): Symphony, Piano Sonata, Violin Sonata, Sonata for 2 Unaccompanied Flutes. Taylor was Grant Johannesen's wife, a budding composer killed in a collision in rural Utah just months after she had finished the symphony recorded here for the first time. This 27-minute work is in the tradition of Copland, Harris and Thomson and there are also moments where some of the other American idioms Taylor liked can be glimpsed - Indian chants and cowboy songs, among others. The symphony gestated over a period of five years and the conductor here has filled out and revised the orchestration of the earlier, first two movements, in light of what the composer did in the final one. The symphony combines grace with a bold, forward-striding confidence and powerful sonorities is notable for its rhythmic elan and contrapuntal richness. (Regarding the orchestra - LA East is a Salt Lake City recording studio and the orchestra is a pick-up group from the rich body of musicians who contribute to the city's orchestra, ballet, opera and chamber music life.) The couplings are a lean, again contrapuntally rich sonata (also from 1950) for two flutes, a 1942 violin sonata whose first movement employs some mild dissonances and atonality but whose slow movement is in a waltz rhythm and finale colored with blues and jazz, and a 1948 piano sonata whose march-like, Hindemithian first movement is followed by a theme-and-variations finale based on a lyric, elegiac melody. LA East Studio Orchestra; Ralph Laycock, Grant Johannesen (piano), Kelly Clark Parkinson (violin), Sally Humphreys, Jane Lyman (flutes). Tantara Records TCD0900DHT-HS (U.S.A.) 06E002 $16.98

VINCENT PERSICHETTI (1915-1987): Symphony No. 4, BENJAMIN LEES (b.1924): Passacaglia, MICHAEL DAUGHERTY (b.1954): Philadelphia Stories for Orchestra: South Street & Hell's Angels - Concerto for Bassoon Quartet and Orchestra. Lees' 1976 passacaglia is in the fine tradition of American symphonists such as Copland and Harris. Persichetti's four-movement symphony of 1951 is rhyhmically vital, springy and active rather than portentous and, not surprisingly, the wind instruments get plenty of showcasing. Those collectors who've enjoyed such cheeky pieces by Daugherty as the Metropolis Symphony or piano concertino Le Tombeau de Liberace will know what to expect here. South Street is a relatively normal seven-minute musical jaunt through the various nationalities one could find on that stretch of street in Philadelphia while Hell's Angels unleashes chains and thundersheet in the percussion section in its juxtaposition of "angelic" and "hellish" music, amply demonstrating the expresive and timbral possibilities of bassoon and contrabassoon, from low and raucous rumbling to plaintive high intensity. Oregon Symphony; James DePriest. Delos DE 3291 (U.S.A.) 06E003 $16.98

WALLINGFORD RIEGGER (1885-1961): Symphony No. 4, Op. 63, Variations for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 54 (1953; rec. 1954, mono), Variations for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 71 (1958; rec. 1959, mono). One of the most woefully undervalued American composers of the 20th century, Riegger was the only one of the five composers known as the "American Five" (Cowell, Ives, Ruggles and John J. Becker - a group which espoused independent American music free of European tradition) who was trained in Europe. These late works (from 1953 to 1960) show a free use of serialism and a personal twelve-tone technique (in which the series is often used to build up surprisingly lyrical and tuneful sequences) as well as a love for counterpoint and the old forms of passacaglia, fugue and canon. The sets of variations often pit the soloist against unusual combinations (in one series, the violin plays with contrabassoon and tuba, soliloquizes above harp chords and then faces off with harp and cymbals). The symphony (1960; rec. 1964, stereo) is more obviously tonal without stinting on counterpoint, iteration and additive processes, with a wide palette of orchestral color and sonority. The notewriter puts it well when he describes Riegger's music as "the vocabularies of Schoenberg and Bartók meeting with Copland and Harris". Benjamin Owen (piano), Sidney Harth (violin), Louisville Orchestra; Robert Whitney. First Edition Music FECD-0007 (U.S.A.) 06E004 $17.98

WALTER PISTON (1894-1976): Serenata for Orchestra, Symphonies Nos. 5, 7 & 8. 78 minutes of unfamiliar Piston, from the brilliant little 11-minute Serenata (1957) to the three symphonies (1956, 1960 & 1965). Logic, precision and an exquisite approach to form are the composer's hallmarks and when the music communicates as vividly and enjoyably as this, you have near perfection in music. Louisville Orchestra; Robert Whitney, Jorge Mester. First Edition Music FECD-0010 (U.S.A.) 06E005 $17.98

KAREL HUSA (b.1921): Apotheosis of this Earth for Chorus and Orchestra, Music for Prague 1968. Space prohibits the effusions one would like to pour forth upon first hearing Apotheosis but, suffice it to say, this 1970 work (amazingly, originally for school band and orchestrated in 1973) is an emotional roller-coaster whose second movement is nothing less than a depiction of the destruction of the planet and which concludes with the echoes of the dead planet receding into space. If you like Music for Prague, don't miss this! University of Louisville Concert Choir, Louisville Orchestra; Jorge Mester, Karel Husa. First Edition Music FECD-0009 (U.S.A.) 06E006 $17.98

LUKAS FOSS (b.1922): Griffelkin. Foss' only full-length opera was commissioned by NBC to capitalize on the success of Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors and the composer had a libretto written based on a story his mother had told him as a child. The title character is a little devil of ten years who gets the opportunity to visit earth equipped with a magic elixir which turns animate objects inanimate and vice versa. The poor little devil ends up doing a good deed and is condemned to be a real boy and live with the family he had come to love. Foss has always been known for his ability to assimilate influences and techniques from an astounding array of sources and those include, here, Mozart (in the opera buffa structure and an aria based on the piano sonata K 545), Hindemith, Stravinsky and the Broadway musical. Needless to say, this is very approachable, colorfully orchestrated, tuneful music which will appeal if not to "all ages", certainly to most. 2 CDs. Libretto included. Marion Dry (contralto), Kendra Colton (soprano), Back Bay Chorale, Members of Boston Children's Opera, Boston Modern Orchestra Project; Gil Rose. Chandos 10067 (England) 06E007 $33.98

Austin - Symphony in E

FREDERICK AUSTIN (1872-1952): Symphony in E, ARTHUR BLISS (1891-1975): Pyanepsion, HAMISH MACCUNN (1868-1916): The Land of the Mountain and the Flood, Op. 3, EDWARD ELGAR (1857-1934): In the South, Op. 50. Don't worry too much about Pyanepsion: this is merely the final movement of the Color Symphony (Green) in a slightly revised version which Bliss made and offered as a separate work the same year as the original work was published (1924). The major find here, of course, is Austin's symphony of 1913, whose score was only rediscovered in 1999 and whose recording here is only its third performance ever. Bax was one of Austin's best friends and it's probable that many of the echoes one hears in this work of the former's Spring Fire is a case of reverse influence as the two pieces were finished within 30 days of each other and Bax was the pianist who played through pieces for his circle of musical friends. In four identifiable movements yet played continuously, the symphony has the feel of a tone poem as there are no development and recapitulation anywhere, only constant use of a small number of themes which appear in different guises throughout the work. Its feel is very much that of Spring Fire and other Bax works of the period and even ends in a march, like most of the latter's symphonies. Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra; Douglas Bostock. Classico CLASSCD 1501 (Denmark) 06E008 $16.98

The Romantic Violin Concerto, Vol. 3

JENÖ HUBAY (1858-1937): Violin Concerto No. 3 in G Minor, Op. 99, Violin Concerto No. 4 in A Minor, Op. 101 "All' antica", Variations sur un thème hongrois, Op. 72. In November of 2001, we offered a Hungaroton double-CD set of all four Hubay violin concertos so the surprise and pleasure at discovering that Hyperion's "Romantic Violin Concerto" series is not dead in the water is mixed with some dismay at repertoire duplication. However, in addition to the concertos (the third Hubay's most popular and most performed in its four-section, single-movement Lisztian form and the fourth from the same period [1906-07] with its unusual, non-romantic structure based on baroque forms), there is a substantial addition in the 15-minute set of variations which offers the expected brilliance and showmanship for the soloist. Hagai Shaham (violin), BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra; Martyn Brabbins. Hyperion CDA 67367 (England) 06E009 $17.98

JOSEPH JOACHIM (1831-1907): Violin Concerto No. 2 in D Minor, Op. 11 "In the Hungarian Style", JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833-1897): Violin Concerto in D, Op. 77. Performed on the 1742 Guarneri del Gesu violin used by Marie Soldat (1863-1955), who was a member of Brahms' inner circle, chamber music partner and known for her performances of his concerto, with one of the world's finest orchestras, this is liable to be the finest recording of the Joachim concerto you are ever going to hear. Having the Brahms concerto with it at no extra cost helps the listener to appreciate the novelty of Joachim's work, which eschews empty virtuosity (although the solo part, given the composer's physical traits, is very difficult) and serves a higher artistic purpose - much like the work by Joachim's slightly younger friend, upon which its influence is great. Along with Joachim's cadenza for the Brahms, Rachel Barton's own cadenza is also offered. 2 CDs for the price of 1. Rachel Barton (violin), Chicago Symphony Orchestra; Carlos Kalmar. Cedille CDR 90000 068 (U.S.A.) 06E010 $16.98

PIERRE MAURICE (1868-1936): Perséphone, Op. 38, Pêcheur d'Islande, Op. 8, Francesca da Rimini, Op. 6, Fugue for Strings, Op. 20, Overture to the Opera La nuit tous les chats sont gris, Op. 35, Daphné, Op. 2bis. Sterling offers its first French-Swiss release in its Swiss Romantics series. Educated in Paris (Fauré for compositon), Maurice spent the years 1899-1919 in Munich and was a lifelong Wagnerian although his music would easily be mistaken for that of a Frenchman. His most successful piece was Pêcheur d'Islande (final version 1911), a four-movement piece suggested by the novel of the same name by Pierre Loti about a tragic Breton couple whose fisherman-husband dies in a shipwreck off the coast of Iceland (the same milieu as Ropartz' opera Le Pays!). The piece is in the late Romantic style of Franck or d'Indy but a hint of Impressionism comes through in its third movement. The orchestral suite Perséphone (1930) was later used as a ballet score and its two movements (27 minutes) reflect the synthesis Maurice effected between French and German music with the first one rather Straussian; the whole is a display of exuberant dance rhythms and orchestral color. Francesca (1899) is the other extended piece here (14 minutes) and Dante has inspired another vivid tone poem with a richly chromatic depiction of Hell and its whirlwinds and his two ill-fated lovers. Moscow Symphony Orchestra; Adriano. Sterling CDS-1053-2 (Sweden) 06E011 $16.98

FRANZ SCHREKER (1878-1934): Das Spielwerk und die Prinzessin. This was Schreker's third opera, premiered in 1913 right after Der ferne Klang (and revised from its prologue-and-two-act original to a one-act version for a 1920 performance - the only one Opera Grove deals with) and its catastrophic reception was equalled only by Der ferne Klang's success. The libretto (like all of his operas except for Flammen written by himself) is densely Symbolist, dealing with the power of music for both good and ill: the music-box of the title has a corrupting influence on the princess; the arrival of a flute-playing journeyman redeems her with his simple playing. The large orchestra in the pit is supplemented by a smaller one on stage for the music-box music and the idiom makes use of everything then new and current, with a large helping of overheated eroticism - all of which drove Julius Korngold to paroxyms of hatred and anger (gee, opera used to be a lot more fun to follow, didn't it?). 2 CDs. German-English libretto. Thomas J. Mayer (baritone), Julia Henning (soprano), Hans-Jürgen Schöpflin (tenor), Kiel Opera Chorus, Kiel Opera Children's Chorus, Kiel Philharmonic Orchestra; Ulrich Windfuhr. CPO 999 958 (Germany) 06E012 $31.98

ALFONSO FERRABOSCO I (1543-1588) & ALFONSO FERRABOSCO II (1578-1628): Fantasies, In Nomines, Pavans and other Consort Music. Ferrabosco father was a musician to Queen Elizabeth and had much influence on Byrd and other English composers of consort music. His son was equally successful and important, finishing his life as composer to King Charles I. Both produced fine examples of the viol consort genre: music of intimacy, intricacy, passion and flamboyance, generally dark in color but sometimes briefly abandoning melancholy for something a bit lighter. Rose Consort of Viols. CPO 999 859 (England) 06E013 $15.98

JACOB HANDL-GALLUS (1550-1591): Harmoniae morales, Missa super "Elisabethae impletum es tempus", Krytof Harant (1564-1621): Missa quinis vocibus, Maria Kron, Qui confidunt in Domino, Crucifixus trium vocum. These recordings of some of the oldest non-anonymous music from the Czech lands date from as long as 37 years ago and are given state-of-the-art remastering by Supraphon. Prague Madrigal Singers; Miroslav Venhoda, Musica Antiqua Vienna; René Clemencic. Supraphon SU 3716-2 (Czech Republic) 06E014 $10.98

JUAN GUTIÉRREZ DE PADILLA (1590-1664): Missa Ego flos campi, GASPAR FERNANDES (1570-1629): Xicochi conetzintle, JUAN DE ARAUJO (1648-1712): Los coflades de la estleya, Ut queant laxis, ALONSO LOBO (c.1555-1617): Versa est in luctum, HERNANDO FRANCO (1532-1585): Salve Regina, DOMENICO ZIPOLI (1668-1726): Kyrie and Gloria from Missa San Ignacio, JUAN GARCÍA DE ZÉSPEDES (1619-1678): Convidando esta la noche, ANON. (16th and 17th cen.): Hanaq pachap kusikuynin, Qhapaq eterno Dios. Hyperion finally dives into the rich repertoire of baroque music from Mexico and South America with this collection built around a complete mass of Padilla (whose flowing Old World polyphony combines with lively, syncopated, short phrases from the New World), interspersed with shorter items from a period of 125 years. Two are in Quechua, the anonymous first of which (listed first in the list above), was the first polyphonic work to be published in the Americas (1631), and another in Nahuatl while several others exhibit dance influences from Africa and Cuba. Ex Cathedra; Jeffrey Skidmore. Hyperion CDA 67380 (England) 06E015 $17.98

ALESSANDRO SCARLATTI (1660-1725): 6 Concerti grossi, 3 Sonatas for Cello and Continuo. These concertos were published posthumously in London in 1740 and represent the only published examples of Alessandro's instrumental music. Their language is conservative, with slow movements containing the emotive qualities and intensity of an opera aria and fast movements with a dance-like precision. Two of the cello sonatas are performed on the violoncello piccolo specified by Bach in his sixth suite, a practice which the cellist argues was more common than evidence indicates. Mauro Valli (cello), Accademia Bizantina; Ottavio Dantone. Arts 47616 (Germany) 06E016 $12.98

JOHANN CHRISTIAN SCHICKHARDT (1680-1762): 3 Concertos for 4 Treble Recorders and Continuo, JOSEPH BODIN DE BOISMORTIER (c.1691-1755): 2 Concertos for 5 Recorders, 2 Sonatas for Recorder and Continuo, GEORG PHILIPP TELEMANN (1681-1767): 2 Concertos for 4 Violins (4 Recorders). Die-hard baroque collectors will enjoy this collection which includes the Schickhardt pieces - actually written for multiple recorders - and the accompanying arrangements of Boismortier's transverse flute concertos and Telemann's violin pieces (both of which work rather well for recorder ensemble). Sirena Recorder Quartet, Dan Laurin (recorder), Mogens Rasmussen (viola da gamba), Fredrik Bock (baroque guitar, theorbo), Leif Meyer (harpsichord, organ). BIS CD-1234 (Sweden) 06E017 $17.98

GEORG PHILIPP TELEMANN (1681-1767): Orpheus. In this 1726 dramma per musica, Telemann not only affects a mixing of the German, Italian and French styles in his music but also in his texts. All three languages are used according to their appropriateness to the emotions expressed in the arias. The considerable variety this offers, coupled with Telemann's already fertile muse, makes for a consistently captivating and enjoyable two and a half hours. 2 CDs. Special price. German/French/Italian-English libretto. Dorothea Röschmann, Ruth Ziesak (sopranos), Roman Trekel (baritone), RIAS Chamber Choir, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin; René Jacobs. Original 1998 Harmonia Mundi release. Harmonia Mundi HMX 2901618.19 (France) 06E018 $25.98

GEORG PHILIPP TELEMANN (1681-1767): 6 Trios for 2 Violins and Basso Continuo, Sonatas for Violin and Bassoon in F and in B Flat, Bassoon Quartet in E Minor. The two-violin trios are a set from sometime in the 1720s and are coupled with a quartet from 1733 and two sonatas from 1718 in a collection which shows Telemann's evolution of the form which he inherited from Corelli but which he filled out with content ranging from the Italian to the Polish and everything else in between in Germany. Parnassi musici. CPO 999 934 (Germany) 06E019 $15.98

(NOT) JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (1685-1750): Mass in C, BWV Anh. 25, Mass in C Minor, BWV Anh. 26, Magnificat in A Minor, BWV Anh. 21. We now appear to know the authors of two of these works which have lived in the appendix to the august BWV lists: Francesco Durante (1684-1755) is the composer of the C Minor mass which Bach overhauled in 1727. The Magnificat, a work of chamber proportions for solo voice, flute, two violins and continuo belongs to Melchior Hoffmann (c.1679-1715) while the C major mass, copied out by Bach around 1740-42, is in the pre-Pergolesi Italian style, with a pair of trumpets emphasizing the high range of the music. Dorothee Mields (soprano), Henning Voss (alto), Henning Kaiser (tenor), Ralf Grobe (bass), I Febiarmonici, Alsfelder Vocal Ensemble; Wolfgang Helbich. CPO 999 834 (Germany) 06E020 $15.98

NICOLA PORPORA (1686-1768): Salve Regina in F, Sinfonia a tre No. 6 in B, Lamentazione II del Mercoledi, Sinfonia a tre No. 5 in E Minor. The 1744 Salve Regina, written for a girl singer from one of the Venetian Ospedali, is extremely complex and teems with vocal ornaments while the (probably) later set of lamentations is simpler and more concerned with sonority. The two sinfonias, with double bass emancipated from pure continuo service, are halfway to the early classical symphony. Michele Andalò (countertenor), Capella Teatina; Saverio Villa. SOMM Recordings SOMMCD 232 (England) 06E021 $17.98

CARL HEINRICH GRAUN (c.1703-1759): Cleopatra & Cesare. Frederick the Great was notoriously conservative when it came to instrumental music, as collectors will know from the voluminous series of flute concertos and sonatas produced by Quantz. Graun was his opera composer and the king's conservative, Italianate tastes actually helped to revive the opera seria in Berlin in the 1730s. This example of rigid recitative-da capo aria structure is also noteworthy for having been the opera which opened the opera house at Unter den Linden on Dec. 7, 1742. 3 CDs. Special price. Italian-English libretto. Janet Williams (soprano), Iris Vermillion (mezzo), RIAS Chamber Choir, Concerto Köln; René Jacobs. Original 1996 Harmonia Mundi release. Harmonia Mundi HMX 290161.63 (Germany) 06E022 $38.98

GEORG GEBEL (1709-1753): Johannes Passion. Gebel is the latest beneficiary of the former East German state of Thuringia's largess in researching and presenting its forgotten musical past. Very few of Gebel's hundred-plus compositions have survived, but this passion setting (performed in 1748 but probably adapted from a previously existing work) reveals a very talented, although conservative, composer who uses his small instrumental forces to telling effect and who emulates Bach in the dark expressiveness of the subject of his choosing. 2 CDs. German-English texts. Dorothee Mields (soprano), Henning Voss (alto), Jan Kobow (tenor), Klaus Mertens, Sebastian Bluth (basses), ensemble inCanto weimar, Weimar Baroque Ensemble; Ludger Rémy. CPO 999 894 (Germany) 06E023 $31.98

ALESSANDRO ROLLA (1757-1841): 6 Trio Concertante, Op. 1. Dating from around 1800, this set lives up to the "Concertante" in its title: the violinist is the main figure in all of these works although both viola and cello have some virtuosic parts as well. The form is that of the classical sonata - sonata form first movement, song or variation-form slow movement and rondo finale. 2 CDs. Budapest String Trio. Hungaroton HCD 32020-21 (Hungary) 06E024 $33.98

JOHANN CHRISTIAN BACH (1735-1782): 8 Key-board Sonatas with Violin Accompaniment, Sonata in A for Violin, Cello and Piano. First recordings of these early sonatas dating from around 1761 during the composer's Milan period. The accompaniment of these sonatas is remarkably more independent than in the subsequent London sonatas which point toward the omission of the violin part. 2 CDs. Erika Petöfi (violin), Miklós Spányi (tangent piano), Csilla Vályi (cello). Hungaroton HCD 32149-50 (Hungary) 06E025 $33.98

JOHANN CHRISTIAN BACH (1735-1782): Sonata for 2 Pianos in G, Op. 15/5, Sonatas for Piano Four Hands in C, Op. 15/6, in A, Op. 18/5 & in F, Op. 18/6, WILHELM FRIEDRICH ERNST BACH (1759-1845): Sonata for Piano Four Hands in C, Duets for Piano Four Hands No. 1 in D & No. 2 in G. These two-movement (allegro, minuet or rondo) works reflect some of the transitional phases between baroque suite design and classical sonata-form movements. All were attributed to Johann Christian until more recent scholarship established that three were the work of his nephew. Piano Duo Genova & Dimitrov. CPO 999 848 (Germany) 06E026 $17.98

JOHANN CHRISTIAN BACH (1735-1782): Overtures to the Operas Artaserse, Gli Uccellatori, Alessandro nell'Indie, La Giulia, Il tutore e la pupilla, Catone in Utica, La Cascina, La calamita de cuori, Gioas, re di Giuda, La clemenza di Scipione, Adriano in Siria, Zanaida, Carattaco, Orione, Endimione, Temistocle, Lucio Silla, Overture and Ballet Music from Amadis de Gaules, Overture to the Cantata a tre voci for the Birthday of King Charles III of Spain,Symphony in D, Schmitt op. 18/1. The earliest of these three discs contains material from 1759-63, the pieces in the typical three-movement form of the Italian overture but shorter and simpler than the pieces which make up the two later CDs. 3 CDs. Special price. The Hanover Band; Anthony Halstead. Original 1994, 1996 & 2001 CPO releases. CPO 999 963 (Germany) 06E027 $26.98

JAMES HOOK (1746-1827): Piano Concerto No. 5 in D, PHILIP HAYES (1738-1797): Piano Concerto in A, CARL FRIEDRICH ABEL (1723-1787): Piano Concerto in B Flat, Op. 11/2, JOHANN CHRISTIAN BACH (1735-1782): Piano Concertos in E Flat, Op. 7/5 & in G, Op. 7/6, WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756-1791): Piano Concerto in D, K107 (from J.C. Bach: Sonata, Op. 5/3). "The World's First" claims the booklet for the concerto by Hayes (1769). The argument is that the square piano was the first true piano and that, upon much study and consideration, Hayes' collection of six concertos contains the first written expressly for such an instrument. The damping levers on the square piano were operated by hand, leaving the strings to resonate until a hand could be freed to damp them; this led to some of J.C. Bach's most unusual and inventive harmonic writing which is accentuated (and made musical sense of) by using this instrument. Another hook for buyers: the Mozart/J.C. Bach concerto is recorded on an instrument signed by J.C. Bach which there is good reason to believe the two composers played on when they spent time together in France in 1778 and which probably inspired Mozart to the pounding chords and harmonic sleight-of-hand in his unique A minor sonata. David Owen Norris (square pianos), Sonnerie. Avie AV0014 (England) 06E028 $16.98

GIOVANNI PAISIELLO (1740-1816): Le due contesse, Il duello comico. Coming from the end of Paisiello's first stylistic period (Le due contesse an intermezzo from 1776 and Il duello a commedia per musica from 1774), these two works are fully in opera buffa style with the usual barrage of disguises, challenges to duels and other typical situations but they contain several parodies of opera seria, principally of Gluck's Orfeo which had been premiered in Italy in 1774. The live recordings are from the Festival of Martina Franca which, with the demise of the Taranto Festival, is apparently going to offer more Paisiello (Proserpine may be coming next year on CD). 3 CDs. Italian-English librettos. Stefania Donzelli (soprano), Daniele Zanfardino (tenor), Italian International Orchestra; Giuliano Carella. Dynamic CDS 420/1-3 (Italy) 06E029 $53.98

LUIGI GATTI (1740-1817): Oboe Quintet in C, Sextet in E Flat for English Horn, Bassoon, Violin, Viola, Cello and Double Bass, Settimino concertante in F for Oboe, 2 Horns, Violin, Viola, Cello and Double Bass. This Mantuan composer wrote stage works and vocal music during the first half of his career but finished up in Salzburg where he produced lovely chamber works like these, all dating from the late 1780s or early 1790s. Gatti is fond of unusual instrumental pairings and each final movement is in the popular manner with imitations of drone instruments to add to the local flavor. Zefiro. Ambroisie AMB 9925 (France) 06E030 $17.98

FRIEDRICH LUDWIG AEMILIUS KUNZEN (1761-1817): Sonata in C Sharp Minor, Musical Pastime for the Fair Sex, Musical New Year's Gift for the Fair Sex, Divertimento in A, Scherzando in G, Larghetto in G. This collection represents about all of the extant solo piano music by a composer known as a keyboard soloist. Everything except the sonata and the Divertimento consists of little scherzando, andante etc. movements probably written for pupils or for amateur performance (the two Fair Sex collections are made up of these and Theme and Variations pieces; oddly, no mention is made in the notes as to why these titles are used here for these collections). The sonata, perhaps dating from 1788, is unique in its four-movement form (only Haydn in 1766 had written a four-movement piano sonata but it was not published until after 1800) while the Divertimento may be a final movement from a missing set of six sonatas or sonatinas. Thomas Trondhjem (piano). Dacapo 8.224228 (Denmark) 06E031 $15.98

E.T.A. HOFFMANN (1776-1822): Grand Piano Trio in E, Harp Quintet in C Minor, 6 Duettini italiani for Soprano, Tenor and Piano. The harp quintet (1807) has a particularly difficult part for the soloist (at least for that period) and exemplifies Hoffmann's earlier style of highly unified, little contrasted but beautifully crafted music. Dating from 1809, the trio shows some Beethovenian aspects in its motivic-thematic concentration and elaborate counterpoint. The Italian duets of 1812 are excitable and passionate settings of Metastasio (2) and anonymous poets. Italian-English texts. Beethoven Trio Ravensburg, Isabelle Moretti (harp), Parisii-Quartett, Dorothee Mields (soprano), Jan Kobow (tenor), Wolfgang Brunner (piano). CPO 999 309 (Germany) 06E032 $15.98

ANTONÍN REICHA (1770-1836): Leonore. You know Raff's symphony which was inspired by the poet Bürger's ballad; now, you can hear the entire ballad as set by Reicha around 1805. Leonore, her mother, her dead husband and a narrator are the four characters in a 78-minute work which moves stylistically somewhere between Italian opera, German singspiel and French opera. German texts, English synopsis. Camilla Nylund (soprano), Pavla Vykopalová (mezzo), Corby Welch (tenor), Vladimír Chelo (bass), Prague Chamber Choir, Virtuosi di Praga; Frieder Bernius. Orfeo C 244 031 A (Germany) 06E033 $18.98

ANTONIO ROSETTI (c.1750-1792): Orchestral Works, Vol. 2 - Symphonies in D "La Chasse", in B Flat and in D, Flute Concerto in G. Except for La Chasse, all of these works receive their first recordings here and every movement of each of them contains something memorable, surprising, witty or otherwise unusual, making it obvious why Rosetti's contemporaries put him on a par with Haydn and Mozart with respect to his sense of form, contrapuntal ability, bold chromaticism and highly imaginative instrumentation. The real surprise is how so much gorgeous music was forgotten so soon after 1800. Susanne Barner (flute), Hamburg Symphony; Johannes Moesus. MD&G 329 1164 (Germany) 06E034 $17.98

GIOACCHINO ROSSINI (1792-1868): Complete Works for Piano, Vol. 4: Quelques reins pour album. Here 18 of the 24 little character pieces which Rossini titled "An Album of Trifles" (the other six should be on the next disc in this series). Unlike many items in the composer's "Sins of Old Age", only three of these have titles and the pieces are more closely related to each other. Regardless, there is a strongly pictorial sensibility behind these pieces which put them at the head of Rossini's late pianistic uvre and the charming sound of the period piano enhances the listening experience. Paolo Giacometti (1837 Erard piano). Channel Classics CCS 18098 (Netherlands) 06E035 $17.98

VINCENZO BELLINI (1801-1835): Fragments from Ernani, Ombre Pacifiche for 2 Tenors and Soprano. Ernani dates from 1830, between I Capuleti and La sonnambula, and exists in seven manuscript fragments plus an overture which here gain their first recordings. In addition, the terzetto, Ombre Pacifiche, has been shown to be an integral part of an 1824 cantata Ismene written for the wedding of friends. Italian-English texts. Patricia Morandini, Rosanna Savoia (sopranos), Paolo Pellegrini, Patrizio Saudelli (tenors), Oltenia Philharmonic Orchestra; Franco Piva. Bongiovanni GB 2337 (Italy) 06E036 $16.98


FERDINAND RIES (1784-1838): String Quartet in E Minor, Op. 150/1, Piano Sonata in E Flat, Op. 11/1, LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827): Fugue in E Minor, Hess 238/1. With the plethora of Ries recordings, symphonic and chamber, pouring out lately, we decided to re-offer this disc (which first appeared over four years ago, in our February 1999 catalogue) for Ries collectors who may not know it. Rapahel String Quartet, Peter Kranen (piano). Raptus Records 397.02.89 (Netherlands) 06E037 $17.98

CARL LOEWE (1796-1869): Lieder & Balladen, Vol. 18 - Brautkranzlied, Des Glockenthürmers Töchterlein, Op. 112a, Canzonette, Paria, Op. 58, Abendgesang, Op. 10 H.II, 6, Die Herzensrose, Op. 130/2, Frühlingsankunft, Op. 130/5, Jerusalems Zerstörung durch Titus, Op. 14/5, Thränen und Lächeln, Op. 4/6, Der Papagei, Op. 111, Der große Kurfürst und die Spreejungfrau, Op. 7/1, Der Sturm von Alhama, Op. 54, Der Hirt auf der Brücke, Op. 130/4, Das Schifflein. Nine years into the cycle, more Loewe rolls out in the usual, well-chosen combination of short, Schubertian lieder, longer, strophic ballad settings and one monster, often with a grotesque touch - here a 16-minute dramatic presentation of Goethe's Paria, which recounts the creation of the Indian goddess of the pariah caste through the combination of two women's corpses. German-English texts. Jan Kobow (tenor), Cord Garben (piano). CPO 999 806 (Germany) 06E038 $15.98

NORBERT BURGMÜLLER (1810-1836): Complete String Quartets, Vol. 2 - String Quartet No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 4, String Quartet No. 3 in D Minor, Op. 9. These quartets come from the composer's fifteenth and sixteenth years and show the obvious influences of his teacher Spohr and possibly of Weber. However, the lyrical facility which was one of the reasons Schumann described Burgmüller's early death as the greatest catastrophe since that of Schubert, is present through out these quartets as are pieces of the quatuor brillant style with quasi-soloists parts for the first violinist and cellist (elder brother Friedrich was a virtuoso on the latter instrument). Mannheim String Quartet. MD&G 336 0994 (Germany) 06E039 $17.98

MARCIAL DEL ADALID (1826-1881): A sorte, Canto de berce, Fourseira, triste Frouseira, Los dos miedos, Non te quero por bonita, Soedades, 4 Petits riens, MARIANO RODRIGUEZ DE LEDESMA (1791-1883): O sí, o no, Las señas del amor, Ya tengo dueño, Placido zeffiretto, Se mai turbo, Un fanciullin tiranno, In te spero, o sposo amato, RAMÓN CARNICER (1789-1855): 3 odas anacreónticas, El Caramba, MANUEL GARCÍA (1775-1832): Rosal, LÁZARO NÚÑEZ ROBRES (19th cen.): El cigarro. The majority of the songs here are by Adalid and come from the second half of the 19th century. These are the most Romantic in nature and occasionally carry echoes of Schubert and other German lied (they also succeed in exploiting the inherent musical qualities of the Galician language). Second in number are the much earlier songs of Ledesma, whose settings in Italian offer a more operatic approach than the intensely regional offerings of García and Robres. Spanish/Gallego/ Italian-English texts. Marta Almajano (soprano), Michel Kiener (fortepiano). Harmonia Mundi HMI 987032 (Spain) 06E040 $17.98

JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833-1897): Four Hand Piano Music, Vol. 8 - Symphony No. 4 in E Minor, Op. 98, Tragic Overture, Op. 81. The latest in this series completes the symphonies, as always, in Brahms' own four-hand arrangements. Silke-Thora Matthies, Christian Köhn (piano). Naxos 8.554117 (New Zealand) 06E041 $6.98

RUGGERO LEONCAVALLO (1857-1919): La nuit de Mai for Tenor and Orchestra. A real ear-opener for everyone who thinks only of verismo when hearing this composer's name! Dating from 1887, after Leoncavallo had spent several years in Paris, this is a tone-poem which sets a text by the French poet Musset. The unusual thing is that only the poet in the poet-Muse dialogue sings the texts; the orchestra "speaks" the Muse's part (the complete text of the poem is printed). The style is a fascinating mixture of Wagner, Berlioz, Gounod and Massenet. French texts. Gustavo Porta (tenor), Savona Symphony Orchestra; Paolo Vaglieri. Dynamic CDS 423 (Italy) 06E042 $17.98

LORENZO PEROSI (1872-1956): Missa Pontificalis Segunda, Missa in honorem SS. Gervasii et Protasii. Two more pious, naively straightforward, simple and tuneful turn-of-the-century masses from this little priest who seems to have been a bottomless well of inspiration. Coro Polifonico Castelbarco di Avio, I Virtuosi Italiani; Arturo Sacchetti. Bongiovanni GB 2297 (Italy) 06E043 $16.98

IGNAZ MOSCHELES (1794-1870): Concertante in F for Flute, Oboe and Orchestra, GAETANO DONIZETTI (1797-1848): Concertino in D, JULES MOUQUET (1867-1949): Pan et les oiseaux, Op. 15, EUGÈNE DAMARÉ (1840-1919): Le merle blanc, Op. 161, CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921): Tarentelle for Clarinet, Flute and Orchestra, Op. 6, MAURICE RAVEL (1875-1937): Pièce en forme de Habanera (orch. A. Hoeré), GABRIEL FAURÉ (1845-1924): Berceuse, Op. 16, Morceau de concours, Sicilienne, Op. 78, Fantaisie, Op. 79 (all orch. Yoav Talmi). Recorded at the beginning of 1990, this appears not to have been released by Marco Polo but may have appeared on a small Belgian label (?). The title, "Romantic Flute Concertos", is obviously expanded by other wind soloists and Damaré's piece is a polka for piccolo and orchestra while Mouquet's seven-minute tone-poem is more romantic than impressionistic (the useless notes tell us nothing about the two obscure composers). Marc Grauwels (flute, piccolo), BRT Symphony Orchestra; André Vandernoot, Joris Van den Hauwe (oboe), Guy Vanderborght (clarinet). Naxos 8.555977 (New Zealand) 06E044 $6.98

ISAAC ALBÉNIZ (1860-1909): Piano Music, Vol. 4 - Iberia (Book 4), 6 pequeños valses, Sonata No. 3, Suite ancienne No. 1, Serenata árabe. Baselga completes his Iberia in this fourth volume and collectors are in his debt for the 48 minutes of lesser-known Albéniz which fill out the disc, from the early waltzes to the academic character of the two-movement suite and the lyrical, almost Weberian sonata. Miguel Baselga (piano). BIS CD-1243 (Sweden) 06E045 $17.98

AMY BEACH (1867-1944): Symphony in E Minor, Op. 32 "Gaelic", Piano Concerto in C Sharp Minor, Op. 45. This is the first time that Beach's two large-scale works have appeared coupled and it's particularly good to have a new recording of the concerto (the soloist, known especially for modern American music, may be a surprise), a four-movement, hyper-romantic work of Brahmsian weight and seriousness from 1899. Alan Feinberg (piano), Nashville Symphony Orchestra; Kenneth Schermerhorn. Naxos American Classics 8.559139 (U.S.A.) 06E046 $6.98

PAUL JUON (1872-1940): Episodes concertants for Piano Trio and Orchestra, Op. 45, Mysterien for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 59. There's been a bit of a Juon renaissance in recent years but this is the first release to offer orchestral compositions and it's a fabulous addition to the late romantic repertoire. Juon's Russian birth and German domicile happen to overlay a similar romanticism to that of another composer of the same origins, Nikolai Medtner (although Juon was a violinist) and it was fellow-student Rachmaninov who dubbed Juon "the Russian Brahms". However, in the 39-minute triple concerto of 1910, the atmosphere is less Germanic than Russo-Scandinavian. The composer himself described his music as "austere with gloomy, Nordic colors", which may partially describe the concerto (although its finale, reminiscent of a Russian or Ukrainian folk dance, dispels the brooding atmosphere of the first two movements), but the 21-minute, single-movement "Mysteries" (1914) has a much warmer, more Mediterranean feel to it. Suggestions of everything from Dvorak and Janacek to Bloch and Scandinavian folk music inhabit this lovely, often pastoral work. European Fine Arts Trio, Pi-Chin Chien (cello), Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra; Tomasz Bugaj. Musiques Suisses MGB 6202 (Switzerland) 06E047 $18.98

UUNO KLAMI (1900-1961): Symphonie enfantine, Op. 17, Intermezzo for English Horn and Orchestra, Incidental Music to the Play The Prodigal Son, TOIVO KUULA (1883-1918): South Ostrobothnian Folk Songs II for Baritone and Orchestra (orch. Nils-Eric Fougstedt [1910-1961]), EERO KESTI (b.1959): Spring - Fantasia for Orchestra. World premiere recording of Klami's incidental music to a 1945 Croatian (!) play, the music having been recently rediscovered by composer Kalevi Aho. The music includes three orchestral act preludes and three songs (orchestratedby Eero Kesti). The symphony (1929) is predominantly lyrical with quite a bit of the languid impressionism which demonstrates Debussy's early influence on Klami. Kuula's song cycle dates from 1910 and marries full-blooded Romanticism to authentic Ostrobothnian folk material while Kesti's 1995 Fantasy is a nine-minute exercise in airy, pastoral and vernal neo-romanticism. Finnish-English texts. Timo Karjalainen (english horn), Jorma Hynninen (baritone), Kymi Sinfonietta; Juha Nikkola. Alba ABCD 171 (Finland) 06E048 $16.98

In Flanders' Fields, Vol. 30

JOSEPH JONGEN (1873-1953): Cello Sonata, Op. 39, Aria & Moto Perpetuo, Op. 68, Dans la douceur des pins & Caprice impromptu, Op. 51, Habanera, Op. 86, Feuille d'Album, Valse, Op. 35. Dating from 1912 and dedicated to Casals, Jongen's sonata, lasting just under 40 minutes, is a large-scale work in full-blooded Romantic style, brimming with passionate rhetoric and gloomy melancholy. The rest of the pieces here are rather of the salon type and range from the 19-year-old composer's Feuille d'Album to the 1928 Habanera, all very easy on the ear and adding over another half hour of music to this latest Flemish offering. Karel Steylaerts (cello), Piet Kuijken (piano). Phaedra 92030 (Belgium) 06E049 $16.98 >

JOSEPH MARX (1882-1964): Leuchtende Tage, Bitte, O süßer Tod, Die Begegnung, Die Lilie, Wie reizend bist du, Sendung, Am Fenster, Venetianisches Wiegenlied, Die tote Braut, Durch Einsamkeiten, Verklärtes Jahr, Schieße mire die Augen beide, Wie einst, Sonnenland, Ein Fichtenbaum steht einsam, Der Ton, Schlafend trägt man mich... Working in the Viennese lied tradition of Schubert and Wolf, Marx sets poems dealing mainly with the ephemeral nature of beauty and love and the ephemeral character of happiness, in a language of harmonic richness which brings out a voice of sensuality and mellowness. Nostalgia and lyrical effusions far outweigh emotional outbursts these (mostly early) songs. The execption is the later (1935-7) cycle Verklärtes Jahr, an orchestral five-song cycle here recorded in Marx' later, very difficult piano version. This is the composer's lied equivalent to the rapt and ecstatic nature poetry which ran through his Natur-Triolgie which was our cover item in April, with the final song, Auf der Campagna, a monumental glorification of Nature vibrating with a sensual ecstasy. German-English texts. Marie-Paule Milone (soprano), Denis Pascal (piano). Solstice SOCD 904 (France) 06E050 $16.98 >

PIETRO MASCAGNI (1863-1945): Pena d'amore, Ballata, Rosa, Spes Ultima, Stornelli Marini, Sintome d'amore, Serenata, Ave Maria, Bimba Bionda, M'ama, non m'ama, La tua stella, Allora ed ora, Messaggio d'amore, Resveglio, Ascoltiamo!..., La luna, A Lilia, La Ballata de Maggio, Ave Maria (on the Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana). Most of these works are from the composer's early twenties and belong squarely in the genre of, to quote the notewriter: "gushing sentimentality, embellished with gallantry", but there are several later songs which are quite different, like the light and witty M'ama, non m'ama, or the Debussian La luna. Italian-English texts. Fausto Tenzi (tenor), Roberto Negri (piano). Arts 47636 (Germany) 06E051 $12.98

ERNÖ VON DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960): Serenade in C for String Trio, Op. 10, Sextet in C for Piano, String Trio, Clarinet and Horn. These two chamber works are chock-full of melody and personality and this is a no-brainer for collectors who may not know both of them. The 1902 Serenade has plenty of Hungarian tang while the 1935 sextet is as Brahmsian as one could like; every out-of-touch, hide-bound, conservative composer in the 20th century should have written works like this one! Spectrum Concerts Berlin. Naxos 8.557153 (New Zealand) 06E052 $6.98

ERIK SATIE (1866-1925): Piano Music, Vol. 3 - Pièces froides, Caresse, Verset laïque et somptueux, Petite ouverture à danser, 3 Sarabandes, 6 Gnossiennes. The latest in the Satie cycle by this noted interpreter of the 20th century avant-garde. Schleiermacher's notes discuss Satie's musical directions and tempo markings (arguing that although almost everything Satie wrote has the tempo marking of Lent, most pianists play his works far too slow) instead of his well-recounted eccentricities and end up making the composer somehow seem both more and less strange than before. Steffen Schleiermacher (piano). MD&G 613 1065 (Germany) 06E053 $17.98

GRACE WILLIAMS (1906-1977): Sea Sketches, GARETH WALTERS (b.1928): Divertimento for Strings, WILLIAM WALTON (1902-1983): Sonata for Strings, 2 Pieces for Strings from Henry V, PETER WARLOCK (1894-1930): Serenade for Strings. Half of this disc of music for string orchestra comes from Welsh composers and conductor Goodman recalls hearing both works on an old LP by the English Chamber Orchestra when he was starting his career. Neither is widely heard, Williams' Sea Sketches (1944) a marvel of orchestration depicting various maritime moods and events ("High Winds", "Sailing Song", "Channel Sirens", "Breakers" and "Calm Sea in Summer") with some reminiscences of Vaughan Williams and Britten. Walters' piece (1960) bases his five-movement suite on short rhythmic or melodic phrases common in Welsh folk music. Manitoba Chamber Orchestra; Roy Goodman. CBC SMCD 5227 (Canada) 06E054 $16.98

ARTHUR BLISS (1891-1975): Piano Quartet, Viola Sonata, Oboe Quintet. Bliss' relatively brief (15 minutes) and early piano quartet of 1915 is a lovely, conservative work whose infusion of English folk-song looks back at Vaughan Williams. The 1927 oboe quintet offered the composer the opportunity to explore the oboe's potential as an instrument, from soft and vocal-like to a fierce and penetrating quality in its higher register. Regardless, its first two movements are predominantly lyrical and pastoral and the finale a strongly rhythmical dance movement. The 1933 viola sonata is a similar exercise in instrument-exploitation with its dark and somber quality on display in the first movement and a fiendishly difficult Furiant third movement whose high range tests the soloist to the utmost. Maggini Quartet, Nicholas Daniel (oboe), Peter Donohoe, Julian Rolton (piano). Naxos 8.555931 (New Zealand) 06E055 $6.98

GERALD FINZI (1901-1956): To a Poet, Op. 13a, Oh Fair to See, Op. 13b, ROBIN MILFORD (1903-1959): If it's ever spring again, The Colour, So sweet love seemed, IVOR GURNEY (1890-1937): Sleep, Down by the Salley Gardens, Hawk and Buckle, HARRY GILL (1897-1987): In Memoriam, ERNEST FARRAR (1885-1918): O mistress mine!. This reissue of a 22-year-old recording is valuable for its collection of several settings by composers who were Finzi's friends and whom he endeavored to assist by promulgating their works. Like Finzi's own settings, the others tend to be serious, thoughtful and often shadowed by death or other forebodings and the music matches the words perfectly. Texts included. Ian Partridge (tenor), Stephen Roberts (baritone), Clifford Benson (piano). Original 1981 Hyperion release. Helios CDH 55084 (England) 06E056 $10.98

PETER WARLOCK (1894-1930): The English Song Series, Vol. 4 - The Curlew for Tenor, Flute, Cor Anglais and String Quartet, Lillygay, Peter Warlock's Fancy, Peterisms (two sets), My gostly fader, Bright is the ring of words, Saudades, The cloths of Heaven, The frostbound wood, Bethlehem Down, Sweet and twenty, And wilt thou leave me thus?, Mr. Belloc's Fancy, The Bachelor, Away to Twiver, Captain Stratton's Fancy. This was an excellent survey of Warlock's songs which covered a wide range of moods, from boisterous drinking songs to the restraint of his later works, with the famous five-song cycle of The Curlew in its heartfelt and atmospheric melancholy, at the center of the program. Adrian Thompson (tenor), Christopher Maltman (baritone), John Constable (piano), The Duke Quartet, Philippa Davies (flute), Christine Pendrill (english horn). Original 1997 Collins Classics release. Naxos 8.557115 (New Zealand) 06E057 $6.98

CARL NIELSEN (1865-1931): 5 Jacobsen Songs, Op. 4, 5 Songs and Verses of Jacobsen, Op. 6, 6 Songs, Op. 10, Oft am I Glad, Bow Down Your Head Now, Flower, Nature Study, Bright Are the Leaves in the Woods Now, O Strange Evening Breezes!, Italian Pastoral Aria, Duet from Maskarade. Many of Nielsen's songs have become Danish national treasures and this collection, spanning most of his composing career, includes some of them. What is remarkable about Nielsen's songs, though, is their simplicity. As he got older (and more concerned with recreating a Danish national song heritage), he increasingly stuck to strophic settings with stepwise motion in the singing part, relatively simple harmony and a simple piano accompaniment. Through this surface simplicity, however, breathes the soul of Danish poetry and folk song. Danish-English texts. Inger Dam-Jensen (soprano), Morten Ernst Lassen (baritone), Ulrich Stærk (piano). Dacapo 8.224218 (Denmark) 06E058 $15.98

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (1685-1750)/IGNAZ FRIEDMAN (1882-1948): Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, My Heart ever Faithful, Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 (first movement), Morning Song (Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme), Bourée from Violin Partita No. 1, Sheep May Safely Graze, Gavotte from Violin Partita No. 3, Siciliano from Flute Sonata in E Flat, BWV1031, Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV565, BACH/WILLIAM MURDOCH (1888-1942): Concerto in D Minor, BWV596 (after Vivaldi), BACH/PERCY GRAINGER (1882-1961): Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV565, Blithe Bells (Sheep May Safely Graze), Fugues in A Minor and in E from The Well-Tempered Clavier, BWV865 & 878. The connection in Hyperion's third volume of Bach transcriptions is actually Australia (Friedman spent his final years and died there while Murdoch was born in Melbourne and moved to England at 18). Friedman has the majority of the disc and his transcriptions bristle with thirds and sixths and octaves and his D minor Toccata and Fugue is fun to compare with Grainger's - not as grandiose but more elegant pianistically. Murdoch's concerto transcription is less individual that either but his ear for color and sonority and his way of expressing Romantic nobility and depth of emotion are quite enjoyable. Piers Lane (piano). Hyperion CDA 67344 (England) 06E059 $17.98

JESÚS GURIDI (1886-1961): 10 melodías vascas, Así cantan los chicos for Chorus and Orchestra, Una aventura de Don Quijote, En un barco fenicio, Canta el gallo tempranero for Soprano and Orchestra. Collectors will remember the Ten Basque Melodies from old LP days but the remainder of this disc is new to the ear: while Así cantan is, like the Basque Melodies, based on folk-songs (and children's songs in this case) and has the naive nature of folk music about it, the two tone-poems are in a more pan-European style. Although the Don Quixote work of 1916 is based on both Basque and Castillian folk music, both it and the 1927 "On a Phoenician Bark" (inspired by Greek mythology) have a rich, glowing orchestration which, especially in the latter work, suggests a film-score to a 1940s Hollywood epic. The brief "The early cock is crowing" (1942) is an orchestral setting of a generic Spanish song-type - that of the two lovers caught by surprise by dawn. Spanish-English texts. Isabel Álvarez (soprano), Chorus of the Conservatory of the Bilbao Choral Society, Bilbao Symphony Orchestra; Juan José Mena. Naxos Spanish Classics 8.557110 (New Zealand) 06E060 $6.98

NIKOLAI MYASKOVSKY (1881-1950): Symphony No. 24 in F Minor, Op. 63, Symphony No. 25 in D Flat, Op. 69. These late symphonies embody the dying embers of European romanticism, the twenty-fourth written during the war in 1943 and its companion after its end in 1947. These are not the works in which you will find surprises or cloaked innovations; here, you seem to hear the thoughts and broodings of an old man, beaten down by history, quietly grief-stricken and nostalgically remembering happier times. The twenty-fifth has a long adagio opening movement and a rather slow second movement, in the character of an intermezzo, before a finale which contains a few flashes of the old fire amidst the general solemnity (passages of the first movement have a valedictory, late Mahlerian quality about them and in the final movement there are moments which are pure Rachmaninov). It should be noted, though, that the young Yablonsky's interpretation is four minutes faster than Svetlanov's and it is the latter who really seems to empathize with the aging Myaskovsky. Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra; Dmitry Yablonsky. Naxos 8.555376 (New Zealand) 06E061 $6.98

SERGEI PROKOFIEV (1891-1953): Pushkiniana (ed. Rozhdestvensky), Dance of the Oprichniks from Ivan the Terrible, Op. 116, Ghost of Hamlet's Father from Music to Shakespeare's Hamlet, Op. 77, Alexander Nevsky, Op. 78. Here is the first budget-priced recording of the 20-minute suite of eight pieces from various sources which conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky crafted in 1962 under the generic title Pushkiniana. Stage adaptations of Eugene Onegin and Boris Godunov never panned out but they contributed three pieces from the former (a minuet, polka and mazurka from the Larins' ball-scene) and a polonaise which depicts the Imposter during the fountain scene of the latter. Character representations of Hermann and Liza and a polonaise from the ball-scene of a projected film version of The Queen of Spades provide the other three pieces. Other little rarities are the appearance of Hamlet's father's ghost from the 1938 stage production of Hamlet and the dance of Ivan's ruthless bodyguard from the music to Eisenstein's ill-fated film "Ivan the Terrible". Russian-English texts. Irina Gelahova (mezzo), Stanislavsky Chorus, Russian State Symphony Orchestra; Dmitry Yablonsky. Naxos 8.555710 (New Zealand) 06E062 $6.98

MANUEL MARTÍNEZ-SOBRAL (1879-1946): 5 piezas características y una romanza, 4 series de valses autobiográficos, Sonata for 2 Pianos. Even the "characteristic pieces" are mazurkas, minuets and gavottes, giving us a total of nine salon style dance movements in this third release of music by the Guatemalan composer. Although these pieces were written during the first two decades of the 20th century, they are decidedly backward-looking and will appeal to anyone who enjoys the genre of the ballroom dance. The sonata for two pianos is actually the third of three versions of Acuarelas chapinas, whose 1907 orchestral version was a landmark in Central American symphonic composition. Not merely a transcription, this version has extra material added and is carefully organized in sonata form although the pictorial representation of the original ("The Promenade", "High Mass", "Cocktail Hour" and "By the Window") is still present. Suzanne Husson (piano), Michel Bourdoncle (second piano). Marco Polo 8.225188 (New Zealand) 06E063 $15.98

JEAN SIBELIUS (1865-1957): Piano Music, Vol. 4 - 4 Lyric Pieces, Op. 74, 5 Pieces, Op. 75, 13 Pieces, Op. 76, 5 Pieces, Op. 85, 6 Pieces, Op. 94. For a non-pianist, Sibelius wrote a lot of little character and salon pieces. The reason for this was mostly financial - these sets of little pieces were a source of regular income during hard times, as publishers were able to capitalize on his fame. This release offers five such sets, made up of attractive, sometimes moody, miniatures dating from the period of the first World War, when Sibelius was cut off from the income produced by his regular concert tours abroad. Håvard Gimse (piano). Naxos 8.555363 (New Zealand) 06E064 $6.98

HUGH WOOD (b.1932): Violin Concerto, Op. 17, Cello Concerto, Op. 12. This reissue usefully couples two fine concertos by one of the UK's senior composers; a gifted proponent of long-breathed lyricism and adherence to tightly organised classical forms. The Violin Concerto is in three movements with a shadowy and energetic scherzo placed second and with an extended soliloquy of a cadenza acting as a prelude to the finale, which functions as a slow movement, though with a brief, energetic allegro by way of a coda. The Cello Concerto consists of a large-scale sonata form movement, played continuously for its 25-minute span. The orchestral texture is fuller than in the Violin Concerto, despite the larger forces for the latter, and the orchestration more conventionally late-Romantic/early 20th-century. There are deliberate allusions to the Elgar Cello Concerto, and in some ways the work occupies a far from dissimilar æsthetic niche, though in recognisably considerably more modern garb. Manoug Parikian (violin), Moray Welsh (cello), Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra; David Atherton. Original 1978 Unicorn-Kanchana release. NMC Ancora D082 (England) 06E065 $15.98

HERMAN D. KOPPEL (1908-1998): Composer and Pianist: Chamber Music - String Quartets No. 2, Op. 34 & No. 3, Op. 38, Piano Quintet, Op. 57, Ternio for Cello and Piano, Op. 53b, Cello Sonata, Op. 62, Suite for Solo Cello, Op. 86, Piano Trio, Op. 88. This third release of archival material from Danish radio and the Koppel family archives brings important CD premieres of Koppel's chamber music. The two quartets are quite different in aspect, as befits their composition dates: the second, from 1938, is a cheery little piece whose first movement has a can't-get-it-out-of-my-head tune reminiscent of Wolf's Italian Serenade while the second, composed in 1944-45 while the Koppels were refugees in Sweden, is a larger-scale work, with the expected tension and melancholy, especially in its slow second movement. The quintet (1953) gives equal importance to pianist and strings and has the expected affinities with Prokofiev and Bartók which also inform, in greater or lesser ways, the cello sonata (1956) and the neo-classical Ternio (1951). The last two works, from 1971, are more avant-garde in their techniques (but still quite tonal in their language), being largely constructed of little, mosaic-like motives which are constantly varied and developed. 2 CDs. Mono-stereo (rec. 1956-73). The Koppel Quartet, Erling Blöndal Bengtsson (cello), Béla Detreköj (violin), René Honnens (cello - trio), Herman D. Koppel (piano). Danacord DACOCD 565-566 (Denmark) 06E066 $33.98

SALVADOR BROTONS (b.1959): Stabat Mater, Op. 73, Obstinació (Symphonic Movement No. 7), Op. 56. This setting of the Stabat from 2000 is one of the most powerful and traditionally composed choral-orchestral works we've heard in recent years. The elemental power of a Penderecki is contained in the movements which express pain and suffering although none of the Polish composer's techniques are used. Equally moving is the quiet intensity of the inward looking movements and the glowing, ethereal moments which deal with the transfiguration of the soul. Brotons uses a traditional vocabulary which is sprinkled with 20th century techniques where appropriate and creates a listening experience which couldn't be more approachable. His 1991 "Symphonic Movement" is a kinetic cannonball of a piece (a little like Rolf Liebermann's Furioso), highly rhythmic in its insistence on minimal thematic material and using, here and there, serial, minimalist and aleatory techniques as the means to a very enjoyable end. Joana Llabrés (soprano), Josep Pieres (baritone), Corals Càrmina i Lieder Càmera, Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya; Edmon Colomer, Salvador Brotons (Obstniació). Columna Musica 1CM0100 (Spain) 06E067 $18.98

KRZYSZTOF PENDERECKI (b.1933): Te Deum for Soprano, Tenor, Baritone, Choir and Orchestra, Lacrimosa for Soprano, Choir and Orchestra. This is a 1983 recording (not the same as the EMI?) of the hugely dramatic work which was inspired by the election of Pope John Paul II in 1979. In two movements, the first anguished, threatening and awe-inspiring and the second both joyous and solemn, the Te Deum is a good example of Penderecki's mixing of his early sonorous constructions with a quasi-tonal harmony which was to lead to his late, neo-Romantic period. Jadwiga Gadulanka (soprano), Ewa Podles (mezzo), Wieslaw Ochman (tenor), Andrzej Hiolski (baritone), Polish Radio Symphony Chorus and Orchestra Krakow; Krzysztof Penderecki. Dux 0402 (Poland) 06E068 $16.98

LUDVIG IRGENS-JENSEN (1894-1969): Soprano and Orchestra: Japanischer Frühling, Op. 2, I Blodet Hans Blømde, Bols Vise, Altar, Lutad mot Gärdet; Soprano and Piano: 3 Songs from Fabler og Barnerim, 2 Songs from Rosenstaden, Guldskyen, Besværgelse, Das Mädchen auf der Brücke. The second new recording of "Japanese Spring" in a year from Norway is accompanied by four orchestral songs excerpted from various incidental music of the 1930s and eight early piano-accompanied pieces from 1918-24. Late Romanticism, a touch of Mahler in the orchestral songs and a bit of whimsy in the three children's rhymes make for a well-rounded recital and one which brings welcome new repertoire from this little-known Norwegian. Norwegian-English texts. Solveig Kringelborn (soprano), Norrköping Symphony Orchestra; Lü Jia, Einar Henning Smebye (piano). NMA 2 (Norway) 06E069 $17.98

CARL FRÜHLING (1868-1937): Clarinet Trio, Op. 40, LUDWIG SPOHR (1784-1859): 6 deutsche Lieder for Soprano, Clarinet and Piano, Op. 103, ARCHDUKE RUDOLPH (1788-1831): Clarinet Trio. There's always a place for another late Romantic clarinet trio or quartet! We don't know the date of Frühling's piece but the expected influences of Brahms and Wagner are there but the nostalgic, autumnal character is not as strong as in many similar works. The second movement is a lilting dance, the slow movement a love-duet between the soloist and the cello and the finale high-spirited and robust with the first movement having slightly more of a sentimental, warm and relaxed character. German-English texts. Amici. CBC MVCD 1158 (Canada) 06E070 $16.98

BERYL RUBINSTEIN (1898-1952): Flute Sonata, ELDIN BURTON (1913-1979): Sonatina for Flute and Piano, LOWELL LIEBERMANN (b.1961): Flute Sonata, JENNIFER HIGDON (b.1961): Autumn Reflection, WALTER PISTON (1894-1976): Flute Sonata, AARON COPLAND (1900-1990): Duo for Flute and Piano. American flute works performed by the principal flutist of the Philadelphia Orchestra include such premieres as Rubinstein's 1941 sonata, happy and genial in all three of its movements, Burton's equally sunny and joyful little sonatina from 1947 and Higdon's brief, six-minute impressionistic snapshot of autumn in the Appalachians while Liebermann's 1988 sonata, one of the finest flute pieces in decades, gets at least its third recording. The elder statesmen's sonatas are well-known and need no comment here. Jeffrey Khaner (flute), Hugh Sung (piano). Avie AV 0004 (England) 06E071 $16.98

Piano Music of the Weimar Republic

HANNS EISLER (1898-1962): Sonata, Op. 1, Klavierstücke, Op. 3, ISSAY DOBROWEN (1894-1953): Jugend-Sonate, Op. 5, PAUL DESSAU (1894-1979): 10 Kinderstücke, NIKOS SKALKOTTAS (1904-1949): 15 Little Variations, EGON WELLESZ (1885-1974): 2 Tanzstücke, ERNST KRENEK (1900-1991): Sonata, Op. 2/1, PAUL HINDEMITH (1895-1963): 1922 Suite, NIKOLAI MEDTNER (1880-1951): 3 Fairy Tales, Op. 42, BÉLA BARTÓK (1881-1945): Bulgarian Rhythm and Bagpipe from Mikrokosmos. Everything offered here was written in Germany during the Weimar period except for Dessau's suite, which was finished in Paris just after he fled the country in 1932 (and, of course, the Bartók). The variety of the collection emphasizes the fertile and fervid atmosphere of Weimar Germany: Eisler's Schoenbergian dodecaphony; the conductor Dobrowen's Scriabinesque late Romanticism, Dessau's neo-classicism, Skalkottas' early personal atonality, Krenek's grand sonata in highly contrasting late Romantic style (twice as long, at 30 minutes, as anything else here) and Hindemith's suite of popular dance forms. It's strange to think that the pianist who made this recording in 1999 was born only seven years after Skalkottas! 2 CDs. Elisabeth Klein (piano). Classico CLASSCD 460 (Denmark) 06E072 $33.98

MAURICE OHANA (1913-1992): 4 Improvisations for Solo Flute, Neumes for Oboe and Piano, Syrtes for Cello and Piano, Sarc for Solo Oboe, Noctuaire for Cello and Piano, Satyres for 2 Flutes, Kypris for Oboe, Viola, Double Bass and Piano. Ohana's solos and duos for flute and oboe are generally monodic and whose rarified atmosphere, often austere, does not lead to quick acquaintance. The light and heat of the Mediterranean are evoked in almost all of these works and Classical mythology inspired several of them. A major exception is the 1970 Syrtes, which is a 16-minute long tour de force not only for the cello, all of whose playing techniques are exploited, but also for the pianist, who plays inside the piano and uses hard and felt sticks as well. Kypris (1985) is unusual both for its being for larger than duo forces and for the odd combination of instruments from which Ohana wrings sounds of a Debussian sensuality and nocturnal poetry. Members of the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra, Pascal Devoyon (piano). Timpani 1C1071 (France) 06E073 $18.98

EUGÉNE BOZZA (1905-1991): Suite, Rhapsodie niçoise, Aria, Prélude et divertissement, Pulcinella, Caprice-Improvisation, Épithalame, Claribel, Idylle, Fantaisie italienne, Boucolique. Although he wrote four symphonies and other orchestral works, Bozza remains known in the U.S. as a composer of music for winds, principally the saxophone. This well-filled (77 minutes) disc offers music for the sax's older cousin from throughout the composer's career in styles ranging from impressionism (Épithalame and Claribel) and neo-classicism (Pulcinella and the Suite) to national-tinged romanticism (Fantaisie italienne) and virtuoso exercises. Csaba Klenyán (clarinet), Maki Yamamoto (piano). Hungaroton HCD 32114 (Hungary) 06E074 $16.98

ERNESTO HALFFTER (1905-1989): Complete Songs - 2 canciones, L'Hiver de l'Enfance, Señora, 6 canciones portuguesas, Canción de Dorotea, Canto Inca, Pregón, Seguidilla calesera, Canciones del niño de cristal, Cançao do berço. Only one of these songs was written after 1947 and Halffter's muse wanders among many of the influences available in the first half of the 20th century: Stravinsky, Ravel, the composer's revered master Falla, and the simplicity of Spanish and Portuguese folk music (over half the total in this latter category). Warning: The "translations" of the French set turn fairly straightforward French poems into Symbolist poetry. French/Spanish/Portuguese-English texts. Elena Gragera (mezzo), Antón Cardó (piano). Columna Musica 1CM0086 (Spain) 06E075 $18.98

ATTILA BOZAY (1939-1999): String Quartets No. 1, Op. 9, No. 2, Op. 21 & No. 3, Op. 40. The composer acknowledges the influence of Beethoven on the structure of the first quartet; the vocabulary is more plainly derived from Bartók and Kodaly, though with occasional excursions into a greater degree of modernity. By the second of some seven years later, a form of organisational serialism had come to preoccupy the composer, along with an increasing awareness of aleatoric techniques, within rigidly predetermined boundaries. The third, written only a few years before the composer's death, progresses considerably further along this path, though still employing bittersweet harmonic progressions, evoking the moods and seasons suggested by the movements' subtitles. It may be a little difficult to define a wholly original voice in these quartets, but the works succeed admirably on their own terms. Bartók String Quartet, Kodály String Quartet, Somogyi String Quartet. Hungaroton HCD 32117 (Hungary) 06E076 $16.98

RODION SHCHEDRIN (b.1932): Cello Sonata, Menuhin-Sonata for Violin and Piano, Im Stil von Albéniz for Violin and Piano, Echo-Sonate for Solo Violin. These four works - three large-scale sonatas and a chamber version by the composer of his popular piano work in homage to Albeniz (which also exists in other transcriptions) all make reference to a particular composer or performer important to Shchedrin (Menuhin, Bach, Rostropovich and Albeniz), and all display an intimacy, an introspectiveness which one might not immediately associate with the composer of the highly extrovert and colorful ballets and orchestral works for which he is most well known. The violin sonatas in particular are spare and economical, almost ascetic in mood, suggesting a deeply felt in memoriam to the musicians they refer to, stripped of public display. The cello sonata, first performed by its dedicatee, is in some ways a less emotionally restrained work, warmer of texture, yet still speaking very directly to inward emotions, very Shostakovich-like (again, in the more personal expression of the chamber works) in parts. Dmitri Sitkovetsky (violin), David Grigorian (cello), Rodion Shchedrin (piano), Ludmila Lissovaya (piano, cello sonata). Ars Musici AS 1356 (Germany) 06E077 $17.98

RÓBERT WITTINGER (b.1945): Concerto for Oboe, Harp and Strings, Op. 24, FRIGYES HIDAS (b.1928): Oboe Sonata, JENÖ TAKÁCS (b.1902): Sonata Missoulana for Oboe and Piano, PAUL ARMA (1905-1987): Soliloque for Solo Oboe, AGNÈS SZENDI (b.1963): Arabesque for Solo Oboe, MIKLÓS KOCSAR (b.1933): Saltus Hungaricus, MÁTYÁS SEIBER (1905-1960): Improvisation for Oboe and Piano. Lences has gone into several radio archives to put together this collection of 20th century Hungarian oboe music which starts with Kocsar's transcriptions of several songs from the 1729 Lányi Manuscript. Two sonatas show the expected influences of Bartók and Kodaly while the two solo pieces are more abstract in form and content. Wittinger's concerto was written for Heinz and Ursula Holliger and is the most virtuosic of the works presented here. Lajos Lencses (oboe), Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra; Peter Eötvös, Konrad Richter, Karl Bergemann, Karl-Heinz Lautner (piano). Bayer 100 340 (Germany) 06E078 $17.98

LOU HARRISON (1917-2003): Threnody for Carlos Chavez for Viola and Gamelan, Simfony #13 for Percussion, Muisc for Violin with Various Instruments - European, Asian & African, Fugue for Percussion, Song of Quetzalcoatl for Percussion, Canticle #3 for Ocarina, Guitar and Percussion, Solo to Anthony Cirone for Tenor Bells. This collection of percussion music includes four items written in 1941-2 for performance in San Francisco (the Fugue was so difficult it wasn't performed until the 60s), one from 1967 and two from the 70s. Dates hardly matter though since Harrison's priorities never really changed: the primary importance of melody and intricate rhythms and, in his mixture of Western and Eastern instruments and modes, a committment to cross-cultural interaction. William Winant Percussion Group, Geraldine Walther (viola), David Abel (violin). New Albion NA 122 (U.S.A.) 06E079 $17.98

FÉLIX MOREAU (b.1922): Genèse, Suite Modale, Incarnation, Hymnal for 2 Organs and Choir, Toccata - Cri d'Espoir. There's a little bit here for every collector of 20th century French organ music since Moreau moves between the relative conservatism of the 1957 Suite Modale, when he was still studying with Duruflé, the freely atonal Genèse (1973 and dedicated to the organist here) and Cri d'Espoir (1992), to the rather Messianesque Incarnation of 1961. Marie-Thèrése Jehan, Félix Moreau (organs of Saint-Pierre, Nantes), Chur Grégorien de Nantes. Solstice SOCD 209 (France) 06E080 $16.98 >

JOHN HARBISON (b.1938): Variations for Violin, Clarinet and Piano, Four Songs of Solitude for Solo Violin, Twilight Music for Violin, Horn and Piano. Variations is quintessential Harbison; economical, exquisitely crafted and sure-footedly incorporating many overlapping compositional devices and forms. Sophisticated yet appealingly concise and uncomplicated, the work orginated as a set of dances, and retains much of this character throughout its wide-ranging moods. The four songs - the composer insists that they are literally songs - for solo violin are characterised by long phrases and a wide melodic range. The pieces are serious and introspective, though especially in the last, not lacking in intricacy and virtuosity. Twilight Music, in four movements, embodies a dialogue between horn and violin, amply exploring the unique characteristics of each. Janine Jansen (violin), Lars Wouters van den Oudenweijer (clarinet), Bernhard Krug (horn), Daniel Blumenthal (piano). Naxos American Classics 8.559173 (U.S.A.) 06E081 $6.98

PETER SCULTHORPE (b.1929): Irkanda I for Solo Violin, Irkanda IV for Violin, Strings and Percussion, Lament for Cello and Strings, Second Sonata for Strings, Cello Dreaming, Djilile. Much of this music has had multiple recordings on various labels but this new release brings the 1998 Cello Dreaming, a piece inspired by the landscape and cultures of Australia's north coast and in which aboriginal melodies mingle with Javanese music. Sculthorpe's concern for the environment only strengthens as he ages and this piece is in a direct line from 1955's Irkanda I which was inspired by a mountain-side view of Canberra. The mixture of native melodies and, in the later pieces, a type of gentle minimalism, movingly conveys the emotions of loss, grief, joy in natural beauty and desperate hope which are at the base of Sculthorpe's musical consciousness. Australian Chamber Orchestra; Richard Tognetti. Chandos 10063 (England) 06E082 $16.98

FREDERIC RZEWSKI (b.1938): De Profundis for Piano and Voice, North American Ballads. The 1992 De Profundis is an updating of the melodrama genre using texts written by Oscar Wilde while in Reading jail. A curiously affecting work with the pianist required not only to recite the (sometimes metered, sometimes free) texts but also to supply rhythmic and other kinds of wordless noises (expressive but nothing bizarre - mostly rhythmic in nature) as well as whistling toward the end (it sounded almost like a theremin, conjuring up images of Ed Wood films!). There are two instrumental "breaks", the first for a surprisingly neo-baroque, prelude-like insertion and another one later of a more modern, freely atonal quality. Texts included. Lisa Moore (piano, voice). Cantaloupe CA21014 (U.S.A.) 06E083 $16.98

TERRY RILEY (b.1935): Cantos Desiertos, ROBERT BEASER (b.1954): 4 Mountain Songs, LOWELL LIEBERMANN (b.1961): Sonata for Flute and Guitar, Op. 25, JOAN TOWER (b.1938): Snow Dreams, PETER SCHICKELE (b.1935): Windows. This unlikely collection of disparate styles turned out to be one of the most interesting finds of the month, especially to someone who doesn't jump for joy at seeing the instrumentation and at least one of the composers. First, the Riley pieces (1998) are not minimalist! One of the five pieces is based on an melody from India but the other four are Latin-based, including a tango! Beaser's arrangements are Appalachian ballads and a fiddle tune, given only a little dressing-up; Liebermann's 1989 sonata is neo-romantic but with a smooth, ingratiating sensualism which is absolutely delicious; Schickele's three brief pieces from 1966 consist of an antique Pavane, a folk-like Cantilena and an African-influenced Refrain while Tower's piece is the only abstract one here, likening the multiform aspects of snow to the possibilities for treating the two instruments. Alexandra Hawley (flute), Jeffrey McFadden (guitar). Naxos American Classics 8.559146 (U.S.A.) 06E084 $6.98

Onute Narbutaite (b.1956): Symphony No. 2, Liberatio, for 12 Winds, Cymbals and 4 Strings, Metabole for Chamber Orchestra. We have had occasion to wax enthusiastic about Narbutaite's music before, and this fine disc provides yet another, even greater, reason to do so. The large-scale, powerful symphony sounds like a continuation of the kind of thinking familiar from its Scandinavian adherents Sallinen, Pettersson and their great antecedent, Sibelius. The shade of Mahler is detectable in the not so distant background, too. The music has an epic sweep and grandeur, and unremitting tension due to its harmonic progression without obvious resolution for minutes at a time (very Tapiola, this). The shorter works for chamber orchestra from a decade or so earlier, radiate a shadowy, volatile unease. Liberatio (1989) does not attempt the tectonic grandeur of the symphony, but occupies a shadowy realm of the psyche, while Metabole shares some of the brooding intensity of the later work, with elements familar from late Sibelius, via Pärt. Narbutaite thinks in long paragraphs, and these richly imaginative works place her in the vanguard of European composers today. Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra; Robertas ·ervenikas. Finlandia 0927-49597-2 (Finland) 06E085 $19.98 >

Vytautas Laurusas (b.1930): Symphony of Prayers for Chamber Orchestra, String Quartet No. 1, Concerto for Voice and String Quartet, Concento di corde for 2 Violas. Laurusas' uvre fits into three stylistic periods, the first (of which there are no examples here) late romantic, the second (everything here but the Symphony) uses various modern techniques - dodecaphony, aleatory, sonorism while the third synthesizes both styles. Regardless of the actual techniques he uses, Laurusas' music is always expressive, emotionally intense and full of contrasts. A particularly rich example is the 1983 concerto for voice and string quartet where the soprano uses nonsense syllables and various advanced vocal techniques in such an expressive way, lacking any showiness, that she becomes just another instrument in a richly communicative piece. The Symphony (2000), a 20-minute work in one movement, contains fragments of romantic motivic development along with its tone-clusters and imitiation and linear polyphony along with its aleatory passages and sonoristic episodes to provide a very satisfying emotional experience. Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra; Saulius Sondeckis, Vilnius String Quartet, Liubov Chuchrova (soprano). Lithuanian Music Information Center LMIPC CD 016 (Lithuania) 06E086 $16.98 >

Algirdas Martinaitis (b.1950): Gija for Solo Oboe, Musical Offering for Solo Oboe, Vytautas Juozapaitis (b.1936): Pastorale for Oboe and Musical Saw, Juozas Indra (1918-1968): Largo for Oboe and Piano, Julius Juzeliunas (1916-2001): Litanies for Solo Oboe, Antanas Raciunas (1905-1984): Sonatine No. 1 for Oboe and Piano, Jurgis Juozapaitis (b.1942): Aphrodite for Solo Oboe, Balys Dvarionas (1904-1972): Scherzo for Oboe and Piano, Feliksas Bajoras (b.1934): Elegy for Balys Dvarionas for Solo Oboe, Benjaminas Gorbulskis (1925-1986): Concerto No. 2 for Oboe and String Quartet, Vytautas Barkauskas (b.1931): Monologue for Solo Oboe, Intimate Composition for Oboe and Orchestra, Vytautas Jurgutis (b.1930): Sonata for Oboe and Piano, Antanas Rekasius (b.1928): Sonata for Solo Oboe, Osvaldas Balakauskas (b.1937): Nine Springs for Oboe and Harpsichord, Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra, Loreta Narvilaite (b.1965): Your Eyelashes Touch the Lips of my Memories for Solo Oboe, Raminta Serksnyte (b.1975): Adieu for Solo Oboe. By now you've figured out that this is an oboe disc, more specifically, a Lithuanian oboe disc. The soloist here is responsible for every one of these compositions (they amount to about half of all those he has either commissioned or had dedicated to him) and they range from the folk-influenced neo-classicism of Indra and Raciunas to the neo-romanticism of Navilaite and the more abstract offerings of Martinaitis, Juzeliunas and Balakauskas. 2 CDs. Juozas Rimas (oboe), Alfreda RimienÎ (piano), Vilnius String Quartet, Julius Andrejevas (harpsichord), Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra; Saulius Sondeckis. Lithuanian Music Information Center LMIPC CD 017-018 (Lithuania) 06E087 $33.98 >

ALAN RIDOUT (1934-1996): Concerto No. 1 for Cello, Strings and Percussion, Concerto for Cello and Voices, Cello Concerto No. 3 "The Prisoner" for Cello Solo and 8 Cellos, The Emperor and the Bird of Paradise for Narrator and Flute. Ridout's cello concertos are predominantly lyrical, melodious works with only a flash here and there of unease or distress. The two later concertos were written for the cellist who performs them here, the one making effective use of a wordless chorus which also shouts and claps (always melodiously, never dissonantly) and the other basically a chamber work which uses an "orchestra" of eight cellos who represent the prison in which the soloist is locked and from which he works himself free during the piece's 12-minute length. Gérard Leclerc (cello), Laudibus, Joanna Lumley (narrator), Paul Edmund-Davies (flute), English Chamber Orchestra; Stephen Barlow. Black Box BBM1037 (England) 06E088 $17.98

LARS-ÅKE FRANKE-BLOM (b.1941): Symphony No. 3 "Fire on Earth", Web of Yearning - Symphonic Poem, Endymion. This will appeal to collectors of a certain type of 20th century Scandinavian music. Mostly self-taught, Franke-Blom adopts a coloristic approach to his compositions, using whatever procedures succeed best in getting across his ideas. Each of these works is based on a non-musical subject: Endymion (1997) on the 19th century Swedish poet Stagnelius' poem from Greek mythology (very Pettersson-like in its musical language); Web of Yearning (1984) describes Norrköping's former industrial district and its workers (mixing more Petterssonesque torment with the machine-music of Mosolov and early Prokofiev with moments of Ivesian musical cacophony only to have a truly beautiful chorale appear towards the end) while the symphony (1998) is a triptych suggested by paintings of Anselm Kiefer ("Jacob's Dream", "Elisabeth von Österreich" and "Journey into the End of Night") with two movements of nervous, often bleak intensity surrounding a somewhat calmer central one. Norrköping Symphony Orchestra; Tuomas Ollila, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Michail Jurowski. Phono Suecia PSCD 054 (Sweden) 06E089 $16.98 >

INGVAR LIDHOLM (b.1921): Rites, Motus-colores, Notturno-Canto from Skaldens natt for Soprano and Orchestra, Mutanza. BIS' Lidholm retrospective continues with works from 1958-63, the composer present at recordings as with the first issue a couple of months ago. The longest piece here, 1959's Rites, is a ballet whose main characteristic is its insistent rhythmic pulse, counterpointed by static, expressionistic sequences, makes for a much more approachable work than one would expect from this source. The remaining three pieces, however, are far more complex in their language although only one - Motus-colores - is formally serial, setting up an antithesis between movement (rhythmic cells) and orchestral color. Mutanza plays with timbre and dynamic ebbing and flowing while the composer revisited his cantata "The Poet's Night" in 2000 for the revised two movements Notturno and Canto. Swedish-English text. Lena Nordin (soprano), Norrköping Symphony Orchestra; Lü Jia. BIS CD-1200 (Sweden) 06E090 $17.98

ELLIOTT CARTER (b.1908): Volume Five - Steep Steps for Bass Clarinet, 2 Diversions for Piano, Oboe Quartet, Figment No. 2 (Remembering Mr. Ives) for Solo Cello, Au Quai or Viola and Bassoon, Of Challenge and Love for Soprano and Piano, Figment No. 1 for Solo Cello, Retrouvailles for Piano, Hiyoku for 2 Clarinets. This collection of recent, mainly short, works demonstrates yet again the extraordinary breadth of Carter's inspiration and the remarkable fluency that he has achieved in all forms in the past few decades. The clear and lucid Diversions for piano, with their material in constant flux and continually changing meter, are especially arresting. The Oboe Quartet, in a manner familiar from Carter's other chamber works, maintains an intricate texture in which pairings of instruments have their own episodes which advance the musical argument, framed by more static passages of chordal texture. The song cycle is almost symphonic in scope, setting evocative texts of American poet John Hollander with an unfailing ear for the cadences of the verses, enhanced by complex and intricate piano textures. The other works are all brief, occasional or dedication works of clarity, wit and sometimes, surprising depth. Speculum Musicae, Charles Rosen (piano), Fred Sherry (cello) and other artists. Bridge 9128 (U.S.A.) 06E091 $16.98

BEAT FURRER (b.1954): Aria for Soprano and Ensemble, Solo for Cello, Gaspra for Ensemble. Aria functions as a piece of music theatre, constantly in motion and presenting its textual argument (concerning loss, farewell and isolation" as a kind of fragmentary kaleidoscope, in which many elements are presented simultaneously, as though many emotions and responses are constantly experienced, or moved beween with such rapidity as to be almost instantaneously felt. The fragmentary rustling and percussive sounds which make up the texture give way to sung sounds, suggesting an inner resolution for the protagonist. The extended Solo for cello, using many extended techniques, also progresses from tiny fragmentary sounds through a build-up of tension in an eloquent soliloquy. Gaspra (named for an asteroid, apparently) also overlaps material in a manner comparable to rapid intercutting between film scenes of disparate subject matter, again utilising instrumental and non-musical noises in patterns which constantly shift, break down and re-establish themselves - continuing the astronomical analogy in a musical representation of entropy, perhaps. Petra Hoffman (soprano), Lucas Fels (cello), ensemble recherche. Kairos 1112311KAI (Austria) 06E092 $15.98

HELMUT LACHENMANN (b.1935): Ein Kinderspiel, Wiegenmusik, Guero, Echo Andante, Serynade. Children's music by the doyen of the European avant-garde? - the sheer improbability of the idea is surely worth the price of admission! Actually, although simple, and playable by a child-pianist, the title "Children's game" is the clue to the idea of this set of pieces; the works play with memories of the familiar, seemingly partially understood or interpreted through the developing mind of a child. As such, they present a pleasingly off-kilter view of a familiar world. Elsewhere, we see to a greater or lesser extent, the familiar preoccupations of the composer with timbre and the re-invention of instrumental sound for its own sake - expressed with surprising gentleness in the pedal-sustained harmonics of "Cradle Music" more forcefully demonstrated in the sound-collage (owing almost nothing to conventional piano technique) of the study "Guero". Serynade, which occupies more than a third of the CD, is the most recent work (1997-8), and might be seen as an attempt to condense the composers experimentation into an actual piece of piano music. Single notes, silences, chords (both surprisingly consonant and expectedly dissonant) and clusters speak for themselves; textures range from the most rarefied to the brutal. Marino Formenti (piano). col legno WWE 1CD 20222 (Germany) 06E093 $19.98

BEAT FURRER (b.1954): Voicelessness - The Snow Has No Voice, SALVATORE SCIARRINO (b.1947): Perduot in una citt`a d'acque, Notturno crudele No. 2: Rage, Metal, ROMAN HAUBENSTOCK-RAMATI (1919-1994): Pour Piano, ALVIN LUCIER (b.1931): Music for Piano with Amplified Sonorous Vessels, Nothing is Real (Strawberry Fields Forever), GEORG FRIEDRICH HAAS (b.1953): Hommage à Ligeti for Two Pianos Tuned a Quarter-Tone Apart, JOHN CAGE (1912-1992): Music Walk, One. Subtitling the disc "CD for the Bathtub" and putting hot pink strawberries on the cover suggest a Dadaist agenda, but it soon becomes apparent that there isn't really an agenda beyond collecting together a wide range of things that are possible on or around a piano, and for the most part, the music is serious and not deliberately 'funny' or bizarre for its own sake. Furrer's work is subtle and meditative, but Sciarrino's "Cruel Noctune No. 2" is well described by its title, and things go on getting stranger from there. Extended playing techniques (even extending outside the piano, with Cage's radios and other sound-producing implements (Haubenstock and Lucier), or microtonally tuned pianos (Haas). The Lucier works make particularly inventive use of amplified resonances and acoustic sound-modifying techniques (yes, the piece with the teapot is included). Marino Formenti (piano). col legno WWE 1CD 20223 (Germany) 06E094 $19.98

British Film Composers In Concert

ERIC ROGERS (1921-1981): Palladium Symphony, BRUCE MONTGOMERY (1921-1978): Scottish Aubade, Scottish Lullaby, LEIGHTON LUCAS (1903-1982): Ballet de la Reine, ANTHONY COLLINS (1892-1964): Eire Suite, CLIFTON PARKER (1905-1989): Overture - Thieves' Carnival, Two Choreographic Studies. Some collectors will recognize Collins as the conductor of a pioneering, early 50s Sibelius cycle in England while the first two composers listed above are known for scoring the majority of the "Carry On" and "Doctor" films. Rogers' Palladium Symphony is a four-movement work lasting over 24 minutes but its similarity to a "real" symphony stops there since it sounds like a suite of superior film music (surprise!). Lucas (who scored Stage Fright and The Dam Busters gets away from film music with his suite from an unperformed 1949 ballet which comes off like a mix of Warlock and Ravel. Royal Ballet Sinfonia; Gavin Sutherland. ASV White Line WHL 2145 (England) 06E095 $11.98

JOSEF STRAUSS (1827-1870): Volume 24 - Aus der Ferne, Op. 270, Liebesgrüsse, Op. 56, Unbekannter Marsch (arr. Pollack), Glückskinder, Op. 124, Sternschnuppen, Op. 96, Fortunio-Quadrille, Op. 103 (arr. Pollack), Transactionen, Op. 184, Blitz-Polka, Op. 106, Die Ersten und Letzten, Op. 1, Cyclopen-Polka, Op. 84, Amanda, Op. 72. Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra (Kosice); Christian Pollack. Marco Polo 8.223626 (New Zealand) 06E096 $15.98

JOSEF STRAUSS (1827-1870): Volume 26 - Bachanten-Quadrille, Op. 8, Tarantel-Polka, Op. 6, Mille fleurs, Opp. 4a & b, Die Zeisserln, Op. 114, Gallopin, Op. 237, Prinz Eugen-Marsch, Op. 186, Sturm-Polka, Op. 75, Das musikalische Österreich. This is the final volume of the Josef Strauss series. Many of its contents are from the earlier days of his career, with all the works arranged by the conductor from surviving parts (often piano parts where scores are not extant). "Musical Austria"(1864) is a20-minute potpourri containing 27 songs and dances from the various regions of the country. Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra (Kosice); Christian Pollack. Marco Polo 8.223679 (New Zealand) 06E097 $15.98

HANS CHRISTIAN LUMBYE (1810-1874): Complete Orchestral Works, Vol. 7 - Juliette Galop, Moler Polka-Mazurka, Mac Mahon March, Tågebilder, Souvenir de Hamourg, Catharina Vals, Diana Galop, La Polonaise, Souvenir de Jenny Lind, Venetiansk Tambour Polka, Echo fra Balsalen , Nordisk Union Galop. Tivoli Symphony Orchestra; David Riddell. Marco Polo 8.225255 (New Zealand) 06E098 $15.98

FEDERICO ELIZALDE (1907-1979): Violin Concerto, IVAN SEMENOFF (b.1917): Double Concerto, JOAQUÍN RODRIGO (1901-1999): Concierto de estío. Testament now mines Decca's archives as well as those of EMI and here bring us two unknown concertos from the mid-century. Semenoff's odd, single-movement piece opens with an almost two-minute long piano solo before being joined by the violin for another couple of minutes; the orchestra is not heard for almost five minutes. Episodic, the work includes several sections in different moods and was written for the pair who recorded it here in 1951. Elizalde was born in the Philippines and was a major figure in establishing jazz in the UK during his youth. This concerto dates from 1943 (the recording is from 1947) and has quite a bit of Bloch (Elizalde's most influential teacher) about it as well as a strongly Spanish flavor in some episodes. Mono. Christian Ferras (violin), Pierre Barbizet (piano), London Symphony Orchestra; Gaston Poulet (Elizalde), Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire; Georges Enesco and Ivan Semenoff. Testament SBT 1307 (England) 06E099 $17.98

IANNIS XENAKIS (1922-2001): Kraanerg for Orchestra and Tape. This is not the first recording of the 1969 ballet score but it may be the only one currently available (made in 2001). Lasting 74 minutes, this is another fine example of the composer's creation of massive constellations of sound from blocks built up out of little musical events and his conducting of them through various alternations, transformations and collisions. The tape part is made up almost entirely of orchestral sounds slightly altered in pitch which lessens the contrast between orchestra and tape. Basel Symphony Orchestra; Alexander Winterson. col legno WWE 1CD 20217 (Germany) 06E100 $19.98