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Xaver Scharwenka

Symphony in C Minor

XAVER SCHARWENKA (1852-1921): Symphony in C Minor, Overture, Andante religioso. This is the sixth volume in Sterling's Romantic German Music series. While often referred to as a Polish/German pianist -composer, Scharwenka and his brother Phillip lived most of their lives in Berlin. Xaver is relatively well known for his piano music, in particular his famous Polish Dance Op 3 No.1 and his Piano Concertos, Nos. 1 - a delightful, dashing work first recorded by Earl Wild for RCA (now available on Elan), and 4, perhaps his most admired and technically proficient composition. In addition to some very well written chamber music and the opera, Mataswintha, he also wrote three purely orchestral pieces, all of which are included here. The opening, melodious Overture is the work of a 19-year-old which can trace its lineage back to Beethoven. After a dark and brooding opening, the rhythms pick up and lead to a vigorous uplifting ending. The 41-minute symphony contains some beautiful melodies particularly in the first and third movements. The piece contains numerous Slavic elements and is strong on passion and often seems to pre-echo Richard Strauss' mature work. The gem of this album is Xaver's own orchestration of his cello sonata (Andante Religioso) which is scored for strings, organ and harp. A favorable comparison can be made with Albinoni's Adagio. Gävle Symphony Orchestra; Christopher Fifield. Sterling CDS-105-2 (Sweden) 06F001 $16.98

This month, three of our distributors were unable to supply a total of 17 June new releases (several more than usually attractive) in time for our catalogue to go to print (thus, messages like this instead of CD notes). Since July and August are the most fallow months for top-quality new releases, we suppose this is a minor blessing in disguise...

Next month, we plan to offer a selection of budget-priced box-sets on the Brilliant Classics label from the Netherlands. We've had some inquiries about this label, which deals both in licensed material (often from now defunct labels) but which also has access to Dutch (and other) radio productions of what appear to be very high quality (like the award-winning Shostakovich cycle with Rudolf Barshai). There's quite a back-catalogue, whose availability we don't know yet but, if enough of you let us know that you're interested, we'll pursue the matter further.

Paul Kletzki - Symphony No. 3

PAUL KLETZKI (1900-1973): Symphony No. 3 "In memoriam", Concertino for Flute and Orchestra. Completed in October 1939, it's unclear in memoriam of what Kletzki's symphony is - the Nazis had just invaded Poland a month earlier - but, whether he meant the end of German culture as he knew it or whether he was just prescient (after all, as a Polish Jew, he had already fled Germany, Italy and Russia by the time he finished the piece in Switzerland), Kletzki produced a huge symphony (46 minutes) in the finest German form and style. A massive sonata-form first movement, a slow movement with three subjects, a nine-part rondo scherzo and another sonata-form finale are woven throughout with often dense counterpoint and a feeling of tension and tragedy hangs over almost the entire edifice. What does it sound like? A combination of Furtwängler and Hindemith would come close but this Polish conductor/composer had a personal voice and his symphony never sounds anything other than his own. The Concertino was finished early in 1940 and its 17 minutes are an almost exact opposite of the symphony - light and almost casual with a rhapsodic slow movement between two bright and busy fast ones. Sharon Bezaly (flute), Norrköping Symphony Orchestra; Thomas Sanderling. BIS CD-1399 (Sweden) 06F002 $17.98

AHMED ADNAN SAYGUN (1907-1991): Symphony No. 3, Op. 39, Symphony No. 5, Op. 70. Although a folk-song collector who learned that science from Bartók, Saygun did not produce exotic, "oriental" symphonic concoctions. The Turkish and other eastern influences in his music are found in the instruments he sometimes adds to the western orchestra (a Turkish drum in the Symphony No. 3), in the cast of some of the melodies he assigns to woodwind instruments, in the glittering percussion which he uses sparingly in the Symphony No. 3 and in the general harmonic style he uses. These are often used with western form, the second movement of the third symphony (1953) being a passacaglia for instance, the third a scherzo/dance in a stylized form and the finale a free-form motoric movement while the first has the more obvious non-Western elements although used contrapuntally. The fifth symphony, his last (1984) follows the same paths only in a much more stripped-down, streamlined manner (24 mintes as opposed to 39), as often happens in composers' old age. Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz; Ari Rasilainen. CPO 999 968 (Germany) 06F003 $17.98

ROBERT KURKA (1921-1957): Music for Orchestra, Op. 11, Serenade for Small Orchestra, Op. 25, Julius Caesar - Symphonic Epilogue after Shakespeare, Op. 28, Symphony No. 2, Op. 24. The second recording of Kurka's symphony we've had in 11 months (see 07F008) is accompanied by 40 more minutes of world- or CD-premieres. Music for Orchestra, of 1949, is a 14-minute, single-movement piece which is, in effect, a tone poem with muscular fast sections separated by slower ones; the Serenade (1954) is a four-movement piece suggested by lines from Walt Whitman and Julius Caesar a 1955 concert overture of nine minutes whose motifs can be guessed at with relation to Shakespeare's characters. Everything is full of Kurka's energetic rhythms, jazz-influenced syncopations, ingenious thematic development, tonal but often spiky harmonies and colorful orchestration. Grant Park Orchestra; Carlos Kalmar. Cedille CDR 90000 077 (U.S.A.) 06F004 $16.98

LOWELL LIEBERMANN (b.1961): Piano Works, Vol. 2 - Gargoyles, Op. 29, Piano Sonatas No. 1, Op. 1 & No. 2, Op. 10 "Sonata Notturna", Variations on a Theme of Anton Bruckner, Op. 19, Album for the Young, Op. 43. Liebermann is one of the most attractive and interesting composers out there who writes music which is approachable without being facile and who makes use of many aspects of classical traditon to synthesize a unique personal form. This new release is particularly valuable for the first two sonatas (1976 and 1983) where the composer's brand of lyricism, mastery of counterpoint and texture and varieties of virtuosity point toward such later pieces as Gargoyles (1989) and works from the first volume in this series. (No, you won't know the Bruckner theme unless you're intimate with his Aequali for 3 trombones.) David Korevaar (piano). Sonatas and Variations released in 1989 on Musical Heritage Society. Koch International Classics 7552 (U.S.A.) 06F005 $16.98

HUGO WEISGALL (1912-1997): T'kiatot: Rituals for Rosh Hashana for Orchestra, Psalm of the Distant Dove for Soprano and Piano, 4 Choral Etudes, A Garden Eastwards for Soprano and Orchestra. A student of Sessions, Weisgall's music is highly chromatic and dissonant, a characterization which applies to three of the four pieces here, only A Garden Eastward (1952), a rhapsodic creation from his earlier days as a composer, standing apart. However, modernists will appreciate the sense for drama which informs all three of the other works, widely though they very in genre. English texts included. Seattle Symphony; Gerard Schwarz, Ana Maria Martinez (soprano), Kristen Okerlund (piano), BBC Singers; Avner Itai, Phyllis Bryn-Julson (soprano), Barcelona Symphony/National Orchestra of Catalonia; Jorge Mester. Naxos Milken Archive 8.559425 (U.S.A.) 06F006 $6.98

ABRAHAM ELLSTEIN (1907-1963): Act II - Finale from The Golem, ROBERT STRASSBURG (1915-2003): Scenes 2-5 from Chelm, DAVID TAMKIN (1906-1975): 6 Excerpts from The Dybbuk. These three operas deal with timeless Jewish legends and character types and are presented in completely approachable and often folk-inflected language. Ellstein's The Golem (1662) is in a general European romantic idiom while Strassburg (1956) uses many original Yiddish folk tunes in his tale of stereotypical hilarious nitwits from the Polish town of Chelm and Tamkin (1951) is the most American-sounding of the three, due no doubt to his long career as an arranger, orchestrator and composer in Hollywood. Texts included. Vocal soloists, University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra; Kenneth Kiesler, Chamber Opera Ensemble; Paul Hostetter, Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra; Stephen Gunzenhauser. Naxos Milken Archive 8.559424 (U.S.A.) 06F007 $6.98

Bohuslav Martinu° (1890-1959): On tourne!, Le Raid merveilleux, La Revue de cuisine - Ballet pour 6 Instruments. These three mini-ballets all date from 1927 and the composer's residency in Paris. La Revue, a ballet of kitchen utensiles, appears in its complete form for the first time (edited by the conductor) - 10 scenes as opposed to the four of the suite - and On tourne! ("Roll 'em!"), a half-hour long look at film-making, has its first CD recording. Both these scores have the spiky, hard-edged, Stravinskian, jazz-influenced sound of the time while "The Amazing Flight", a tribute to two Frenchmen who died at sea while trying to fly across the Atlantic, has a touch less of the current avant-garde and a touch more of lyricism. Daniel Wiesner (piano), Czech Philharmonic Orchestra; Christopher Hogwood. Supraphon SU 3749 (Czech Republic) 06F008 $16.98

LORENZO PEROSI (1872-1956): Suite No. 7 for Orchestra "Torino", Stabat Mater for Soprano, Contralto, Tenor, Bass, Chorus and Orchestra. The 1904 Stabat Mater is a 20th century equivalent of the 18th century Czech pastoral masses - honest, simple, unaffected and straight-forward music-making with emotion conveyed but never forced in a quasi-naive, tuneful and lyrical style. The 38-minute suite (dates for these ten works, each named for an Italian city or town, appear to be unknown) is a three-movement piece in which Perosi expands his musical horizons to north of the Alps, as practically everyone from Mozart to Wagner adds to Italianate melody to produce a work which manages to remain simple and unaffected. Mid-price. Francesca Rotondo (soprano), Galia Tchernova (contralto), Aldo Di Toro (tenor), Carlo De Bortoli (bass), Chorus and Orchestra of the Accademia Stefano Tempia; Massimo Peiretti. Nuova Era 7383 (Italy) 06F009 $12.98

HEITOR VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959): Piano Trios No. 2 & No. 3. Early works from 1915 and 1918, these trios have none of the complexity of the string quartets to come and, equally, none of the rich local color of the composer's tone-poems. Rather, they have plenty of touches of Brazilian popular music but filtered through a French Impressionist style which Villa-Lobos would soon grow out of. With the Marco Polo recordings of these trios deleted, this is as good an opportunity as any for collectors who don't have these works and to whom the sensibility appeals. Richard Milone (violin), Tânia Lisboa (cello), Miriam Braga (piano). Meridian CDE 84475 (England) 06F010 $17.98

GEORGE DYSON (1883-1964): 10 Epigrams for Piano, Cello Sonata, Prelude and Ballet for Piano, Bach's Birthday for Piano, Melody, Intermezzo and Reverie for Solo Violin, My Birthday for Piano, Twilight - 4 Preludes for Piano, 3 Lyrics for Violin and Piano, Primrose Mount for Piano, 3 War Pieces for Piano. The majority of Dyson's surviving piano pieces are contained here, many of them occasional pieces (as, indeed, are the six violin/piano ones - all arrangements of solo piano pieces) but with the 10 Epigrams standing out for their having been composed while Dyson was in the trenches in 1915-16; certain of these brief pieces are quite light-sounding but others, particularly a con fuoco, sense the hand of Fate nearby. The 12-minute cello sonata, a student work, predates the war (1904) and is in Romantic style. David Owen Norris (piano), Joseph Spooner (cello), David Juritz (violin). Dutton Epoch CDLX 7137 (England) 06F011 $16.98

PERCY GRAINGER (1882-1961): The Grainger Edition, Vol. 19 - Lullaby from Tribute to Foster (2 versions), One More Day, My John, A Bridal Lullaby, Knight and Shepherd's Daughter, Children's March "Over the Hills and Far Away", Bridal Lullaby Ramble, Spoon River, Ramble on the Last Love-Duet from Strauss' "Der Rosenkavalier", Danish Folk-Music Suite, To a Nordic Princess, Blithe Bells, Walking Tune, Proud Vesselil, Rimmer and Goldcastle, Irish Tune from County Derry, Country Gardens, The Immovable Do, Beautiful Fresh Flower, Now, Oh Now I Needs Must Part. Rumors of the demise of this series are proved at least temporarily unfounded as this new release attests! Among the highlights are a version of A Bridal Lullaby which was transcribed from a piano roll Grainger made in 1918, about three times the length of the original and full of florid writing and overt sentimentality. Penelope Thwaites (piano). Chandos 10205 (England) 06F012 $17.98

ALEXANDER ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942): Symphony in B Flat, Sinfonietta, Op. 23, Prelude to Es war einmal... (original version), Prelude to Act 3 of Der König Kandaules (orch. Beaumont). Along with perhaps the finest performance yet of the fiery, Dvorakian symphony of 1897, this new release brings the more mellow, psychologically ambivalent Sinfonietta from 1936 as well as two opera preludes, that of Es war einmal... restoring Mahler's cut of its central section. Beaumont himself prepared the unfinished Kandaules for its world premiere in 1996 (he also completed the missing parts of Busoni's Doktor Faust) and the prelude to Act III of that opera is an atmospheric five minutes of unease and impending disaster. Czech Philharmonic Orchestra; Antony Beaumont. Chandos 10204 (England) 06F013 $17.98

HAVERGAL BRIAN (1876-1972): Symphony No.1 "Gothic". Originally demanding nearly 1000 singers and orchestral players (note the seven choirs and two orchestras employed here), Brian's Gothic was always a creature of legend for record collectors until the Aries Records pirate of Boult's performance came out back in the late 60s or early 70s. Incorporating musical influences from medieval plainsong to early 20th century techniques, the symphony is in two parts - a 40-minute, purely orchestral three movements, and then a setting of the Te Deum which lasts another 75. This was the first modern recording of the piece (and probably likely to be the last) and its reappearance at budget-price gives collectors no excuse not to have it. 2 CDs. Eva Jenisová (soprano), Dagma Pecková (alto), Vladimír Dolezal (tenor), Peter Mikulás (bass), Slovak Opera Chorus, Slovak Folk Ensemble Chorus, Lúcnica Chorus, Bratislava City Choir, Bratislava Children's Choir, Youth Echo Choir, Slovak Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra, Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra; Ondrej Lenárd. Original 1990 Marco Polo release. Naxos 8.557418-19 (New Zealand) 06F014 $13.98

WILLIAM BYRD (1543-1623): Rejoice unto the Lord, Ah silly Soul, An aged dame, O dear life, when may it be, Come to me, grief, for ever, Who likes to love, O that most rare breast, All as a sea, Ye scred Muses, Constant Penelope, O God that guides the cheerful sun, Lullaby: My sweet little baby, How vain the toils. Unlike the lute songs of Dowland or Campion, Byrd's consort songs eschew localized word-painting and vocal effects, concentrating instead on a true marriage of texts and accompaniment, rhetoric-free and always based solidly on polyphony - all in keeping with his reputation for gravity and seriousness, not to say severity. Texts included. Robin Blaze (countertenor), Concordia. Hyperion CDA 67397 (England) 06F015 $17.98

HEINRICH SCHÜTZ (1585-1672): Musicalische Exequien, SWV 279-281, Die sieben Worte Jesu Christi am Kreuz, SWV 478, Die mit Tränen säen, SWV 378, So fahr ich hin zu Jesu Christ, SWV 379. One of Schütz' best-known pieces (Exequien - 1636) and an equally powerful, dark and intense work (Die sieben Worte - 1645) are coupled with two excerpts from the Geistliche Chor-musik of 1648. German-English texts. Veronika Winter, Bettina Pahn (sopranos), Henning Voss (countertenor), Jan Kobow, Henning Kaiser (tenors), Ralf Grobe, Ulrich Maier (basses), Alsfelder Vocal Ensemble, Himlische Cantorey, I Febiarmonici Baroque Orchestra; Wolfgang Helbich. Naxos 8.555705 (New Zealand) 06F016 $6.98

ALESSANDRO SCARLATTI (1660-1725): La Colpa, il Pentimento e la Grazia. The text of this 1708 oratorio paraphrases the Lamentations of Jeremiah, later weaving in the details of the Passion of Christ, is probably by Cardinal Ottoboni. Scarlatti responded with a rich orchestration (perhaps to make up for the similarity of the voice types) including four trumpets, trombone and a varied continuo (exactly specified in the score) which goes a long way toward evoking the mournful "theatre of sorrow" atmosphere (see the title for the personifications who sing) which is broken only occasionally by the brighter contributions of La Grazia. 2 CDs. Italian-English texts. Lola Casariego (mezzo), Martín Oro (countertenor), María Espada (soprano), Seville Baroque Orchestra; Eduardo López Banzo. Harmonia Mundi Iberica HMI 987045.46 (Spain) 06F017 $31.98

ANTONIO VIVALDI (1678-1741): Violin Sonatas, Op. 2, Nos. 1-6. Published in 1709, Vivaldi's Op. 2 is in the tradition of Corelli's influential Op. 5, sequencing various dance-movements with others of non-dance origin. Not recognizably mature Vivaldi, they nevertheless, as the booklet notes put it, "occasionally burst forth [with] a furious energy and a manic zest for experiment and effect". Elizabeth Wallfisch (violin), Richard Tunnicliffe (cello), Malcolm Proud (harpsichord). Hyperion CDA 67467 (England) 06F018 $17.98

GEORG PHILIPP TELEMANN (1681-1767): Trios for Oboe and Violin, for Recorder and Violin, for Flute and Violin, for 2 Violins, for Violin and Viola da Gamba & for Violin and Cello (all with Basso Continuo). This colorfully varied set of trio sonatas dates from 1718, while Telemann was in Frankfurt, are written for highly skilled performers and are among his first published compositions. Camerata Köln. CPO 999 957 (Germany) 06F019 $15.98

DOMENICO SCARLATTI (1685-1757): Stabat mater for Chorus, Cello, Double Bass and Organ, Salve regina for Treble, Countertenor and Organ, 5 Organ Sonatas. The rich textures and unexpected harmonies of the Stabat mater, dating from between 1713 and 1719, combine with the emotive texts to produce a work in common with Pergolesi's famous setting of this text. Five of the keyboard sonatas which were intended for organ (or possible on both) are included along with a simple, early little Salve regina. Charles Harris (treble), Nicholas Clapton (countertenor), Anthony Pleeth (cello), Chi-Chi Nwanoku (double bass), Timothy Byram-Wigfield (organ), Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford; Francis Grier (organ in sonatas). Original 1985 Hyperion release. Helios CDH 55172 (England) 06F020 $10.98

SILVIUS LEOPOLD WEISS (1687-1750): Concerto a 5 in C, SC 90, Concerto in D Minor, SC 58, Concerto for Lute and Flute in F, SC 9, Concerto grosso in B Flat, SC 57, Concerto in F, SC 53, Concerto for Lute and Flute in B Flat, SC 6. Who knew that this author of more than 600 pieces for solo lute also wrote concertos? The problem is that only the lute part survives in manuscripts and Stone has reconstructed these concertos based on the sorts of music Weiss would have known and, especially, performed in as part of the great Saxon court orchestra. Tempesta di Mare; Richard Stone (lute). Chandos Chaconne 0707 (England) 06F021 $17.98

GIUSEPPE BRESCIANELLO (1690-1758): Ouverture in G Minor for 2 Oboes, 2 Violins, Viola and Continuo, Concertos in G Minor for Violin, Oboe, Strings and Continuo, in B for Violin, Bassoon, Strings and Continuo and in E Minor for Violin, Strings and Continuo, Sinfonie in F & in D for 2 Violins, Viola and Continuo, Chaconne in A for 2 Violins, 2 Violas and Continuo. Italian-born but resident in Stuttgart for most of his career, Brescianello's music is a mixture of older and newer elements (the symphonies, from around 1738, look forward to the early classical period), of French and Italian tradition (the Ouverture is in the French style as used by German contemporary composers and the concertos show the Venetian influence of Vivaldi), full of elegance and vitality and with a real feel for orchestral timbre. La Cetra Baroque Orchestra Basel; David Plantier and Vaclav Luks. Harmonia Mundi HMC 905262 (France) 06F022 $17.98

PAOLO BENEDETTO BELLINZANI (c.1690-1757): 12 Sonate da Chiesa a 3. Known primarily for his secular-leaning (i.e. operatic) sacred music, Bellinzani's instrumental works were heavily indebted to Corelli, as in this set of four-movement sonatas whose lapidary qualities are as concise as those of his compatriot Laurenti, below. I Solisti dell'Ensemble Respighi. Tactus TC 682703 (Italy) 06F023 $11.98

GOTTFRIED HEINRICH STÖLZEL (1690-1749): Cantatas for Pentecost 1737 - Werdet voll Geistes, Siehe da, eine Hütte Gottes, Wollte Gott, daß alle das Volk weissagete, Daran ist erschienen die Liebe Gottes gegen uns, So denn ihr, die ihr arg seid, Lehre mich tun nach deinem Wohlgefallen, Er heißet Fridefürst (for Quasimodogeniti Sunday 1732). This new release, along with Stölzel's Christmas Oratorio and the first two volumes of his chamber cantatas, has convinced us that he is one of the most attractive baroque discoveries made in recent years. These cantatas are lightly but tellingly scored, with many prominent accompaniments by horn(s), oboe, bassoon and violin, and their personality is genial, bright and full of goodwill. Utterly disarming! German-English texts. Dorothee Mields (soprano), Martin Wölfel (alto), Jan Kobow (tenor), Christian Immler (bass), Telemannisches Collegium Michaelstein; Ludger Rémy. CPO 999 876 (Germany) 06F024 $15.98

LODOVICO FILIPPO LAURENTI (1693-1757):12 Suonate da camera for Cello and Continuo. Published in 1721, this set of three- or four-movement sonatas - none lasting longer than6:20 - is a group of miniature jewels whose felicities (usually one stylized dance movement per sonata) pass by so quickly one must go back and listen again. Sarah Freiberg (cello), Michael Sponseller (harpsichord, cello). Centaur CRC 2675 (U.S.A.) 06F025 $16.98

JACQUES DUPHLY (1715-1789): Pièces de Clavecin, Book 3. These sets of pieces from 1756, grouped by key, are in the rococo style with nobility and elegance existing alongside grandeur and melancholy. Dance-derived forms are almost absent although many of the pieces still carry the names of mytholgical characters or of contemporary persons. An increasing taste of the time - the accompaniment by violin - is evident in six of the 17 pieces which make up the set. Tony Millán (harpsichord), Ángel Gampedro (violin). Verso VRS 2011 (Spain) 06F026 $17.98

TOMMASO GIORDANI (1730-1806): 6 Harpsi-chord Concertos, Op. 23, 3 Harpsichord Concertos, Op. 33. Resident in London and Dublin for most of his long career, it is not surprising to find that Giordani emulated J.C. Bach in his first set of keyboard concertos (1785) which are evenly divided between two and three movements. The later set (c.1789) shows the influence of Haydn in the outer concertos while returning to the galant style in the central one. 2 CDs. Accademia dei Solinghi; Rita Peiretti (harpsichord). Dynamic CDS 428/1-2 (Italy) 06F027 $35.98

JOSEF MYSLIVECEK (1737-1781): Symphonies in C, inA, in F, in D, in B Flat & in G, F 26-31. Never have such short symphonies seemed to pack into themselves such variety of invention. Only two of these pieces get near to eleven minutes in length but they are so full of festive, bustling and dynamic first movements, shimmering, elegant and exquisite slow movements and breathlessly rushing presto finales that you don't feel shorted. These are world premiere recordings of works published in London in 1772 for strings, horns and oboes (the better for orchestral color!). London Mozart Players; Matthias Bamert. Chandos 10203 (England) 06F028 $17.98

GAETANO PUGNANI (1731-1798): Quartet for Orchestra in B Flat, CHRISTIAN ERNST GRAAF (1723-1804): Flute Quartet in D Minor, Op. 12/3, FRANZ XAVER RICHTER (1709-1789): Symphony in D, Op. 2/6, ANTONIO SACCHINI (1730-1786): String Quartet in A, Op. 2/6, ANTONIO ROSETTI (c.1750-1792): Flute Concerto in G. This program was assembled from scores in the possession of an 18th century Finnish clergyman and is relatively unhackneyed, with Richter's Mannheim Rocketry perhaps the best piece here, with Pugnani's unusual four-movement piece (slow-fast-slow-minuet) showing elements of both late baroque and Classical styles and Sacchini's lyrical quartet an example of the little instrumental music this opera composer left. Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra; Juha Kangas, Mikael Helasvuo (flute), The Kokkola Quartet Alba ABCD 186 (Finland) 06F029 $16.98

ANDREA LUCHESI (1741-1801): Overture from the Opera L'Ademira, Sinfonia and Two Arias from the Passione di N.S. Gesù Cristo, Aria from the Opera L'Inganno Scoperto, 4 Excerpts from Requiem and Dies Irae. Luchesi beat out Beethoven's father for a position in Bonn in the early 1770s and his instrumental music was highly thought of by Germans at time when even Italians themselves didn't think much of their own music in this genre. This live recording of vocal and orchestral pieces introduces collectors to his not insignificant gifts. Vocal soloists, Piccoli Cantori di Brianza, Civic Chorus "M. Boni" of Viadana, Cremona Baroque Orchestra; G. Battista Columbro. Tactus TC 741200 (Italy) 06F030 $11.98

FRANZ KROMMER (1759-1831): Partita in F, Op. 57, Harmonie in C, Op. 76, Partita in E Flat, Op. 69. Here's a little bonanza for wind collectors: two discs of Krommer works for wind octet recorded in the same country in the same month of the same year (June, 2001)! The Amphion plays period instruments (using two bassoons and contrabassoon, making ten players) and adds a serpent to stand in for contrabassoon in the Harmonie as this was an option in the manuscripts. Amphion Wind Octet. Pan Classics 510 142 (Switzerland) 06F031 $17.98

FRANZ KROMMER (1759-1831): Harmonie in C, Op. 76, Partita in D Sharp "Concerto for 2 Horns", Partita in B Flat, Op. 9, Partita in D Sharp "La Chasse". This group plays modern instruments (and only one bassoon plus contrabassoon giving nine players). Only the Harmonie is on both discs and the D Sharp Concerto here offers extremely virtuosic work for the horns (leading one to wish one might have heard it on period instruments also!). La Gran Partita. Tudor 7107 (Switzerland) 06F032 $16.98 >

NICOLÒ PAGANINI (1782-1840): 6 Sonatas, Op. 9, 6 Sonatas, Op. 10, Entrata d'Adone nella reggia di Venere, Allegro vivace a movemento perpetuo. These are more Lucca sonatas, two-movement works (slow-fast) dating from 1805-09 (the opus numbers given by Paganini and by his publisher are confusing so note that none of these are the same as those recorded by this duo for Dynamic some years ago) Luigi Alberto Bianchi (violin), Maurizio Preda (guitar). Dynamic CDS 411 (Italy) 06F033 $17.98

JOHANN NEPOMUK HUMMEL (1778-1837): Missa Solemnis in C, Te Deum. World premiere recordings of the 45-minute Missa Solemnis from 1806 composed, like his earlier masses, for Prince Nikolaus Esterhazy. In its brilliant orchestration, flexible choral writing and technical resourcefulness, it need not stand too much in the shadow of Haydn's similar pieces for the same patron (all of which can also be said for the Te Deum of three months earlier). Patricia Wright (soprano), Zan McKendree-Wright (alto), Patrick Power (tenor), David Griffiths (bass), TOWER Voices New Zealand, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra; Uwe Grodd. Naxos 8.557572 (New Zealand) 06F034 $6.98

FRANZ BERWALD (1796-1868): Symphony in A (fragment), Sinfonie Sérieuse in G Minor, Sinfonie capricieuse in D, Sinfonie singulière in C, Sinfonie naive in E Flat, Overtures to Estrella de Soria and The Queen of Golconda. The best Berwald bargain currently available now, released for the 200th anniversary of the composer's death and with the special treat of the completion of the first movement of the A major symphony from 1820. This was a significant work, Duncan Druce completing the final section of a movement which lasts over 16 minutes; one can only wonder what the rest of the symphony sounded like, and marvel that Berwald didn't attempt the genre again for 22 years! 2 CDs for the price of 1. Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra; Roy Goodman. Original 1996 Hyperion release. Hyperion Dyad CDD 22043 (England) 06F035 $17.98

FRIEDRICH KUHLAU (1786-1832): Sonatas, Variations and Rondos, Vol. 1 - Piano Sonatas No. 1 in E Flat, Op. 4 & No. 2 in D Minor, Op. 5a, Variations in C, Op. 14, Rondos in A, Op. 97 & Op. 113. First of all: this new release (actually published in 2002 - why it took this long to reach the U.S. is beyond us) is not to be confused with two volumes by the same pianist from 1999 which covered Kuhlau's Sonatinas. The two sonatas (one in five movements, the other in four - none of which are minuets or scherzos) date from 1809 and 1811 and are in a simple, easily appreciable and playable Classical style while the the Rondos come from 1829-30, on themes from Hèrold, Rossini and Isouard. (Kuhlau's work-list tells us that op. 97 consists of two Rondos and op. 113 of three; Nuova Era's notes tell us nothing about which of these are recorded here; in fact, they tell us next to nothing at all.) Mid-price. Loredana Brigandì (piano). Nuova Era 7379 (Italy) 06F036 $12.98

GEORGE ONSLOW (1784-1853): String Quintets in A Minor, Op. 34 & in G, Op. 35. In these works from 1829 a double bass replaces one of the cellos, allowing the other cello occasionally to share in the melodic and thematic work with the first violin. Otherwise, Onslow's rich melody and fidelity to Classical form with much soloistic interplay and varied voice grouping remain as attractive as one would expect. Quintett Momento Musicale. MD&G 603 1253 (Germany) 06F037 $17.98

CARL LOEWE (1796-1869): Complete String Quartets, Vol. 1 - in G, Op. 24/1 & in G, Op. 24/2. The three quartets of Op. 24 date from 1821 and were apparently written for Loewe's private use with friends. They resemble Haydn's quartets in their formal structure and contrapuntal elements. The fourth quartet, which, along with the third of Op. 24, we hope will come next month, will show Loewe getting in tune with the Romantic world. Hallensia Quartet. Musicaphon M 56840 (Germany) 06F038 $15.98

FRANZ LACHNER (1803-1890): Herbst, Op. 30, Waldvöglein, Op. 28/1 (both w/cello), HEINRICH PROCH (1809-1878): Addio (Lebewohl), Op. 35 (w/cello), Schweitzer's Heimweh, Op. 38 (w/clarinet), Glockentöne, Op. 21, LOUIS SPOHR (1784-1859): 6 Lieder for Clarinet and Soprano, Op. 103, FRANZ SCHUBERT (1797-1828): Auf dem Strom for Voice, Horn (Cello) and Piano, D943, Herbst, D945, Der Hirt auf dem Felsen for Soprano, Clarinet and Piano, D965. Proch, totally forgotten today, is credited with introducing the popular Biedermeyer custom of accompanying lieder with a melody instrument along with the piano (although Schubert obviously had gotten there first). Although it might be regretted that something other than the rather well-known Spohr set had been recorded, the inclusion of the Proch and Franz Lachner songs will appeal to collectors of the forgotten byways of the German lied. German texts. Helena Dearing (soprano), Ortrun Grahe (piano), Andreas Schablas (clarinet), Tobias Stosiek (cello). Preiser PR 90589 (Austria) 06F039 $16.98

CLARA SCHUMANN (1819-1896): Piano Trio in G Minor, Op. 17, MAX BRUCH (1838-1920): Piano Trio in C Minor, Op. 5, ANTONIN DVORAK (1841-1904): Piano Trio No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 26. Clara's 1847 trio is a four-movement work lasting nearly half an hour which was greatly admired by Mendelssohn - his Songs without Words style is evident in the slow movement - while resembling the music of her husband in the other three (although Robert did not write his first trio until a year later). Bruch's shorter work (three movments, 17 minutes) dates from 1858 and, as one might expect from a 20-year-old of that period, it breathes the air of Schumann, Mendelssohn and Weber. Yuval Trio. Roméo Records 7225 (U.S.A.) 06F040 $17.98

FEDERICO RICCI (1809-1877): Highlights from La Prigione del Edinburgo. The (gigantic book)-let notes tell us that this melodrama semiserio (based on Walter Scott's "Heart of Midlothian") was the most performed opera of the 1838 season in Italy, outdistancing Maria de Rudenz and Elena da Feltre. Opera Grove suggests that it would be the most likely candidate of Ricci's 19 stage works for revival for its "delicate balance between pathos and comedy" and offers a favorable comparison to Mercadante, in the Bellini tradition. Opera Rara continues its complete-libretto but highlights-only (79 minutes of them) series, of which the first was Mercadante's Zaira almost a year ago. Italian-English libretto. Nuccia Focile, Elisabetta Scano (sopranos), Nicola Rossi Giordano (tenor), Dean Robinson (bass), Geoffrey Mitchell Choir Philharmonia Orchestra; Gabriele Bellini. Opera Rara ORR 228 (England) 06F041 $19.98

19th century Maltese sacred music

PIETRO PAOLO BUGEJA (1772-1828): Sinfonia in C "Nella trame deluse", FRANCESCO DECESARE (1837-1905): Salve Regina for Tenor and Orchestra, VENCENZO BUGEJA (1805-1860): Opresset me dolor for Chorus, ANTON NANI (1842-1929): Veritas mea for Bass and Orchestra, PAOLO NANI (1814-1904): Beata Mater for Baritone, Chorus and Orchestra, GIUSEPPE SPITERI FREMOND (1804-1878): Symphony No. 3. Maltese musicin the 19th century consisted solely of opera and liturgical music and examples of the two prevailing schools of the latter are presented in this live recording from December 2002. A conservative school founded by the members of the Bugeja family wrote music looking back to the Classical style while a progressive school under the Nani family introduced operatic qualities to sacred music. Fremond's symphony (both symphonies were used to preface church services) shows traits of both styles. Elias Cassar (tenor), Anthony Montebello (bass), Alfred Camilleri (baritone), The Jubal Male Choir and Orchestra; John Galea. Gega GR 88 (Bulgaria) 06F042 $16.98

New Liszt Discoveries - 2

FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886): Préludes et Harmonies poétiques et religieuses, S171d, "Concerto sans orchestre", S524a, Album-Leaf: Magyar in B Flat Minor, S164e/2, Ungarischer Marsch in B Flat, S229a, Pensées "Nocturne", S168b, Album-Leaves in D, S164h, in A Flat, S166l, "Preludio", S164j & S167h, O lieb, so lang du lieben kannst!, S540a. The two big items here are the eight preludes from an 1845-47 Weimar sketchbook (lasting 46 minutes), containing only one piece with material which was to make it all the way through to the Harmonies poétiques et religieuses final version of 1853, and the first finished draft of what was to become the Piano Concerto No. 2 (20 minutes - the title here was given by Howard since the manuscript is untitled). Leslie Howard (piano). Hyperion CDA 67455 (England) 06F043 $17.98

RICHARD WAGNER (1813-1883): Overtures to Rienzi, König Enzio, Das Liebesverbot, Die Feen, Christoph Columbus, Faust. Here's a no-brainer: well-performed, budget-priced recordings of very early Wagner overtures - all but Faust dating from before 1842 - with the Fidelio-esque König Enzio and the play-overture Christopher Columbus being exceedingly rare. Malaga Philharmonic Orchestra; Alexander Rahbari. Naxos 8.557055 (New Zealand) 06F044 $6.98

JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833-1897): Sarabandes in A Minor and in B Minor, Gigues in A Minor and in B Minor, Gavottes in A Minor and in A, Theme and Variations in D Minor, Transcription of a Gavotte by Gluck, Study after an Impromptu by Schubert, Op. 90/2, Hungarian Dances Nos. 11-21. The six Bach- and baroque-inspired student pieces date from 1854-55 and the Schubert transcription is also probably an early work. With the Variations from the slow movement of the Op. 18 string sextet (1860), this release offers over 40 minutes of really unusual Brahms. Louis Demetrius Alvanis (piano). Meridian CDE 84435 (England) 06F045 $17.98

JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833-1897): Four Hand Piano Music, Vol. 11 - String Quartet No. 3 in B Flat, Op. 67, String Quintet No. 1 in F, Op. 88. OK, die-hard piano fans - by this point, nothing we could possibly say would either prevent you from buying this or force you to buy it. How much more of this can there be? Silke-Thora Matthies, Christian Köhn (piano). Naxos 8.554272 (Nw Zealand) 06F046 $6.98

EUGÈNE GIGOUT (1844-1925): Complete Organ Works, Vol. 3 - 10 Pièces, 3 Poèmes Mystiques, Pièce Jubilaire. The latest volume includes, among the 10 pièces published in 1892, a large-scale Prélude, Choral et Allegro which could have been the first movement of a symphony, a charming rhapsody on Christmas songs, a toccata which proved to be his most popular piece and an Andante Relgioso en forme de canon which pushes the boundaries of harmony for its time. The Poèmes mystiques (1893) have Gigout's most experimental writing while the Pièce Jubilaire (1918) was one of the composer's favorites as a recitalist. Gerard Brooks (organ of St. Etienne, Caen). Priory PRCD 763 (England) 06F047 $16.98

ANTON RUBINSTEIN (1829-1894): Orchestral Works, Vol. 2 - Symphony No. 2 in C, Op. 42 "Ocean", Ouverture Triomphale, Op. 43, Trot de Cavalerie, Sérénade Russe, No. 1, Op. 93 & Valse Caprice (both arr. Karl Müller-Berghaus [1829-1907]). Russian Disc's 1993 recording being out-of-print and Marco Polo's (now reissued on Naxos) being of the later, seven-movement version, this new release of Rubinstein's 1851 Ocean symphony is welcome. In the standard four movements, this is pure early German Romanticism with, perhaps, a touch of Russian folk music in the slow movement. The Ouverture comes from the following year and is a splashy, colorfully orchestrated celebratory piece for an unknown purpose while the arrangements of popular piano pieces by Müller-Berghaus (an excellent arranger whose other works included Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2) make for unusual fillers. Wuppertal Symphony Orchestra; George Hanson. MD&G 335 1240 (Germany) 06F048 $17.98

AMILCARE PONCHIELLI (1834-1886): I promessi sposi. One of many failed attempts to adapt one of the most famous Italian novels of the 19th century, the 22-year-old Ponchielli's opera received acclaim for its music and was vilified for its (anonymous) libretto. A revised version was given in 1872 (the one recorded here); collectors today won't be so troubled by its inability to capture the epic sweep of the novel and can enjoy the curious conservatism of a work which sounds like Donizetti and Rossini with its outbreaks of coloratura and vocal cadenzas. 2 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Natalia Margalit (soprano), Marcello Bedoni (tenor), Maurizio Zanchetti (baritone), Chorus and Orchestra of the Ukrainian National Opera of Dniepropetrovsk; Silvano Frontalini. Bongiovanni GB 2356/57 (Italy) 06F049 $33.98

Loads o' Raff - and more next month too!

JOACHIM RAFF (1822-1882): Symphony No. 8 in A, Op. 205 "Frühlingsklänge", Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, Op. 208 "Im Sommer", Symphony No. 10 in F Minor, Op. 213 "Zur Herbstzeit", Symphony No. 11 in A Minor, Op. 214 "Der Winter". This set includes the final recording made by the famous Philharmonia Hungarica, founded in 1957 and made up of refugees from the crushing of the 1956 Hungarian uprising against Communism. The orchestra died a slow death due to the cut-off of funding by the German government in 1998; it was awarded the 2001 European Culture Prize posthumously the same year. These recordings (made in 1992-94) were part of a series of Raff orchestral works which, rumor has it, included (or were to include) four tone poems, originally to be coupled with each of these symphonies. We can only hope that they will see the light of day if they were in fact recorded. In the meanwhile, this set by a "name" orchestra is a strong recommendation for collectors who don't have the Marco Polo recordings (only one of which has been re-issued on Naxos so far). 2 CDs. Mid-price. Philharmonia Hungarica; Werner Andreas Albert. CPO 999 536 (Germany) 06F050 $17.98

JOACHIM RAFF (1822-1882): Symphony No. 7 in B Flat "in den Alpen", Op. 201, Abends Rhapsodie, Op. 163b, JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (1685-1750)/RAFF: Chaconne in D Minor, BWV 1004. The latest release in this new Tudor cycle includes Raff's Bach transcription which appeared on the release we offered in November of last year (11F042) with an amateur orchestra. It is appearing unlikely that we will be able to fill the back-orders we have on this disc (although we won't give up hope), so collectors interested primarily in that work should look here. Otherwise, we have a fine new reading of the 1875 "Alpine symphony" with its unusual "pre-echoes" of Tchaikovsky and the "Evening Rhapsody" of 1874, with its overt Wagnerian allusions, adapted from a movement from his sixth piano suite of three years before (offered on Vol. 1 of the complete piano suites (04F063). Bamberg Symphony; Hans Stadlmair. Tudor 7117 (Switzerland) 06F051 $16.98 >

JOACHIM RAFF (1822-1882): 10 Sonatillen, Op. 99, 6 morceaux de salon for Violin and Piano, Op. 85. The Sonatillen were originally solo piano sonatinas, of three, four and three movements respectively (which explains why Nos. 4-7 appeared together on last month's cpo Raff violin disc), which were written in 1861. Raff arranged them in 1880 for violin and piano and they work equally well as stand-alone pieces since there is almost no thematic connections across the movements. In their character they are much like the Morceaux of 1859 - a cross between character pieces and salon-style pieces in which Raff's gift for beguiling cantilena (the ridiculously famous Cavatina is No. 3 of the Morceaux) and sparkling passagework (there are fiery tarantellas in each set). Pianist Le Van contributes a well-argued, clearly written (and translated!) encomium to Raff which effectively answers all of the absurd criticisms of this wonderful craftsman who created so many memorably gorgeous pieces of music in almost every possible genre. Michaela Paetsch Neftel (violin), Eric Le Van (piano). Tudor 7109 (Switzerland) 06F052 $16.98 >

ANTONIN DVORÁK (1841-1904): Complete Piano Works - 2 Minuets, Op. 28, Dumka in D Minor, Op. 35, Theme with Variations in A Flat, Op. 36, 3 Album Leaves, 8 Waltzes, Op. 54, 2 Furiants, Op. 42, 4 Eclogues, Op. 56, 6 Pieces, Op. 52, Allegro molto in F, Allegretto in G, Moderato in A, Moderato in G, Dumka and Furiant, Op. 12, 2 Little Pearls, 13 Poetic Tone Pictures, Op. 85, 8 Humoresques, Op. 101, 6 Mazurkas, Op. 56, 12 Silhouettes, Op. 8, Polka in E, Scottish Dances, Op. 41, Humoresque in F Sharp, Impromptu in D Minor, Suite in A, Op. 98, 2 Pieces, Op. posth. Dvorák favored dances and suites of character pieces in his piano oeuvre, with only the Theme and Variations (1876) being of significant size. His personal voice comes through most strongly in such late works as the Poetic Tone Pictures (1889) and, of course the original version of the "American Suite" (1894) and American influences also can be found in the Humoreques of the same year while the earlier Silhouettes (1879) make use of some themes from the Symphony No. 1. 5 CDs. Stefan Veselka (piano). Naxos 8.505205 (New Zealand) 06F053 $34.98

ANTONIN DVORÁK (1841-1904): Mass in D for Soloists, Mixed Choir and Organ, Op. 86, Ave Maria for Contralto and Organ, Op. 19B, Hymnus ad laudes in festo Sacntissimae Trinitatis for Contralto and Organ, Ave maris stella for Baritone and Organ, Op. 19A, O sanctissima for Contralto, Baritone and Organ, Op. 19A. This mass, often recorded in its later (1892) orchestral version, was originally written for the dedication of a small chapel on the grounds of the house of a friend in 1887 and, although not without a certain amount of Romantic drama, evokes the more simple atmosphere of Czech country churches. The rarely recorded accompanying pieces date from 1877-79 and, again, are simple expressions of faith and piety, written for a personal friend. Natálie Romanová (soprano), Anna Barová (contralto), Miroslav Kopp (tenor), Ludek Vele (bass), Josef Kica (organ), Prague Philharmonic Choir; Lubomír Mátl, Drahomíra Drobková (contralto), Richard Novák (baritone), Kica (organ). Original 1992 Supraphon release. Supraphon SU 3787 (Czech Republic) 06F054 $10.98

DAVID POPPER (1843-1913): 15 leichte Etüden for Cello with Accompaniment, Op. 76 I, 10 mittelschwere große Etüden, Op. 76, Hohe Schule des Violoncellospiels, Op. 73. This comprehensive school of cello technique (published between 1901-05) by the 19th century's premiere cello pedagogue and performer consists of "easy" etudes which can be enjoyed solely for the cantabile character of their melodies and the "moderately difficult" set of ten is similar in fashion. The major set takes up two CDs and was intended to deal with not only the advancement in the technical aspects of the instrument and its playing technique but also for any possible difficulty which might be thrown at the budding professional cellist (sometimes by composers who didn't know the instrument all that well). 3 CDs for the price of 2. Martin Rummel (cello), Sebastian Hartung (second cello). Musicaphon M 56858 (Germany) 06F055 $31.98

CÉSAR CUI (1835-1918): A Feast in Time of Plague, 3 Scherzos, Op. 82, Les Deux Ménétriers for Soprano and Orchestra, Op. 42, Fair Spring for Mezzo-Soprano and Orchestra, Op. 66/4, Budrys and His Sons for Baritone and Orchestra, Op. 98. Dating from 1900, A Feast is a setting of one of Pushkin's "Little Tragedies" (the other three were set by Dargomyzhsky [The Stone Guest], Rachmaninov [The Miserly Knight] and Rimsky-Korsakov [Mozart and Salieri]), adapted by the poet from an Scottish poem apparently set in London during the 1665 plague. Lasting just over half an hour, the work is mostly couched in expressive melodic recitative with two pieces which sound more conventionally operatic. Three orchestral songs of moderate size and three scherzos with much of the appeal of Glazunov round out a very unusual release. Russian (Cyrillic)-English libretto. Tatiana Sharova (soprano), Alexei Martinov (tenor), Ludmila Kuznetsova (mezzo), Andrei Baturkin (baritone), Russian State Symphony Orchestra; Valeri Polyansky. Chandos 10201 (England) 06F056 $17.98

EDWARD JOSEPH COLLINS (1886-1951): Volume 7 - Ballet Suite The Masque of the Red Death, Set of Four, Irish Rhapsody. This new release in the ongoing Collins series is probably the best since the symphony and third piano concerto (Vol. 3). This recording is probably the first ever performance of the Masque ballet suite which dates from 1940 (although apparently conceived as early as 1926). In four movements "Propos subtil et mysterieux", "Valse seduisante", "Chez le Sultan" and "Orgie" with a brief "Invocation Profane", the music drips with exotic Orientalisms - a sinuous oboe melody in the Propos and english horn, tambourine and subtle bass pulses suggestive of sensual languor in Chez le Sultan - although they are well on the right side of kitsch (more Bolero and La Valse than music for The Sheikh). The Set of Four dates from 1925, consisting of a prelude, "Moonlight and Dance" (half the length of the whole set and full of delicate, evocative night musics), "To Her" (a luminous and mysterious piece) and a passacaglia while the Irish Rhapsody of 1927 is the first of several works in this vein using a folk song from the Irish potato famine days. Gorgeous, colorful stuff! Royal Scottish National Orchestra; Marin Alsop. Albany TROY 657 (U.S.A.) 06F057 $16.98

JEAN SIBELIUS (1865-1957): Complete Piano Trios, Vol. 2 - in D "Korpo", in C "Lovisa", Andantino in G Minor, [Allegretto] in A Flat, [Allegro] in D Minor (compl. Aho), [Allegretto] in E Flat (compl. Kuusisto), [Alla marcia] in C. No, not another disc full of bitty, two-minute fragments! The Korpo trio (named after the summer manor house on whose grounds the Sibelius family stayed during the summer of 1887 when it was written) is a three-movement work lasting 36 minutes, whose character is quite Romantic, unlike the many Haydnesque trios and trio fragments which made up the first volume of Sibelius' piano trio compositons. The Lovisa has been recorded before, a 16-minute work full of youthful good humor from 1888 while the remaining fragments date from 1887 to 1895, the latter being the [Alla marcia] which may have thematic connections with both the second Humoresque for violin and orchestra and with two lost orchestral pieces. Jaakko Kuusisto (violin), Marko Ylönen (cello), Folke Gräsbeck (piano). BIS CD-1292 (Sweden) 06F058 $17.98

PABLO CASALS (1876-1973): Violin Sonata in D, GASPAR CASSADÓ (1897-1966): Violin Sonata, EDUARD TOLDRÀ (1895-1962): 6 Sonets. Casals' sonata is a real find: incomplete, with the final movment not written, this work, begun in 1945 and, apparently, last worked on in 1972, is one of the most melodious violin sonatas we've ever heard. And, at 17:34, it's also got one of the longest movements (the first). Followed by a scherzo and a lento, equally full of romantic melody (although not identifiably Spanish), it's hard to imagine it not becoming a favorite for collectors of this genre. Cassadó's sonata (no date given) is shorter than that first movement of Casals' but also has much in the way of winning melody while Toldrà's Sonets are equally tuneful and more liberally sprinkled with Iberian flavor. Agustín León Ara (violin), Albert Attenelle (piano). Columna Musica 1CM 0106 (Spain) 06F059 $17.98

ARNOLD BAX (1883-1953): Baritone and Piano: Youth, Parting, The Fairies, The Enchanted Fiddle, Far in a Western Brookland, To Eire, The White Peace, When we are lost, When I was one and twenty, Roundel, Market Girl. Mezzo-Soprano and Piano: A Celtic Song Cycle, Song in the Twilight, Lullaby, A Milking Sian. His songs are the last of Bax's uvre to make it to CD and it's good that they are finally here. All but five of the 19 songs here date from before the First World War, when Bax was writing the wild, Celtic-inspired music whose piano parts with their romantically exaggerated style demand a virtuoso technique. The Celtic Song Cycle (1904), five songs lasting 23 minutes, is the earliest material here and The Market Girl (1922) the latest. There is quintessential Bax here and no collector of his music should be without it, for it explains and anticipates much which one finds in his earliest orchestral scores. No texts. Ian Partridge (tenor), Jean Rigby (mezzo), Michael Dussek (piano). Dutton Epoch CDLX 7136 (England) 06F060 $16.98

FRANCO ALFANO (1875-1954): 3 Poemi di Tagore, 3 Liriche di Tagore, Non partire, amor mio, Perché siedi là?, Non nascondere il secreto del tuo cuore, T'amo, diletto mio, Si addensano le nubi, Venne e mi sedette accanto, Il giorno non è più, Sì, lo so. After discs of Ghedini and Casella, this duo now brings us 14 of the 26 Tagore texts which Alfano set (almost half of his entire liriche out put, and covering the period 1919-48). The intense, chaste eroticism of the Indian's poetry brings a response strongly reminiscent of Debussy although Alfano's personal touch is always evident. Italian-English texts. Tiziana Scandaletti (soprano), Riccardo Piacentini (piano). Nuova Era 7388 (Italy) 06F061 $12.98

Vítezslav Novák (1870-1949): In the Tatras, Klement Slavick (1910-1999): Moravian Dance Fantasies, Rhapsodic Variations. In what must have been his first (or one of his first) recordings with his new orchestra - he took over the Czech Philharmonic on October 20, 1950 - Ancerl produced a white-hot reading of Novák's mountain-storm-and-nocturnal-calm tone-poem (Dec. 11-12, 1950) which ought to be in the collections of anyone who loves Czech music. The real rarities, of course, are the Slavicky pieces; the Dance Fantasies date from 1951 and are in the vein of Bartók and Janácek. Using no actual folk melodies but their characteristic modality, rhythms and meters and a wealth of orchestral color, the composer produced a three-movement work of 24 minutes chock-full of drama and lyricism which really deserves a new recording (good though this mono one from 1953 is). Dating from 1953, the Rhapsodic Variations (stereo recording from 1959) take a Moravian dance theme and subjects it to 16 seamlessly joined variations whose originality and assurance earned the composer the opprobrium ("formalistic!", "subjective!", "counter to the norms of Socialist Realism!") of the party-hack critics - a further mark of its quality. Mono-stereo. Czech Philharmonic Orchestra; Karel Ancerl. Supraphon Anãerl Gold Edition SU 3688 (Czech Republic) 06F062 $10.98

Pavel BoÞkovec (1894-1972): Piano Concerto No. 2, PAUL HINDEMITH (1895-1963): Violin Concerto, Cello Concerto. Borkovec was influenced early on by Hindemith, Stravinsky and Les Six but, by the time he came to write the concerto recorded here (1949-50), his style had moderated from the brittle neo-classicism and objectivity of those composers. Moderated somewhat, for the motoric rhythms are still present in the toccata-like outer movements but there is much more Romantic-based lyricism both here and in the delicate, withdrawn slow movement although there is still not a trace of sentimentality. All the themes in the work are derived from a Czech folk-song. Stereo-mono (the mono is the Hindemith Cello Concerto). Antonín Jemelík (piano), André Gertler (violin), Paul Tortelier (cello), Czech Philharmonic Orchestra; Karel Ancerl. Original 1958, 1961 & 1968 Supraphon releases. Supraphon Ancerl Gold Edition SU 3690 (Czech Republic) 06F063 $10.98

PAUL HINDEMITH (1895-1963): String Quartets No. 1 in F Minor, Op. 10, No. 2 in C, Op. 16, No. 3, Op. 22, No. 4, Op. 32, No. 5 in E Flat & No. 6 in E Flat. Originally released as part of a 3 CD set in 1996 (with the Quartet No. "0", omitted here to get the standard six quartets onto two CDs), these critically acclaimed recordings (winner of the Diapason d'Or) have been unavailable since 1998. Spanning the period from 1919-45, these lively, often exuberant works, always in Hindemith's characteristic virtuosic polyphonic style, can take their place alongside Bartók's and Shostakovich's contributions to the genre and the price will appeal to collectors who may not have acquired them yet. 2 CDs. Mid-price. Kocian Quartet. Original 1996 Praga release. Praga PRD 350 113-14 (Czech Republic) 06F064 $25.98

REYNALDO HAHN (1875-1947): Le Bal de Béatrice d'Este for Winds, 2 Harps and Piano, FRANCIS POULENC (1899-1963): Sinfonietta, Aubade for Piano and 18 Instruments. Although neither of Poulenc's two works - the witty yet often melancholy 1929 Aubade and the utterly sunny and light-hearted Sinfonietta of 1948 - are over-recorded, the value of this recording was in Hahn's 1905 suite of nostalgically elegant and stylized archaic dance tunes from some fuzzy Renaissance/baroque period which evokes an evening at the palazzo of an Italian noblewoman. The New London Orchestra; Ronald Corp. Original 1989 Hyperion release. Helios CDH 55167 (England) 06F065 $10.98

RENÉ GERBER (b.1908): For Two Pianos: Sonata No. 1, Sonata No. 2, Suite, Valse lente, Danses anglaises, Solo Piano: Balletto, Claudia, La pêche dans le vivier, Ritornello, Cavalcade, Dinarzade, Le jardin d'amour. Like his orchestral pieces, Gerber's piano works are mostly short (or sonatas with short movements), imbued with folk-like themes (or, as often here, popular dance music of the 30s and 40s - all the two-piano pieces were written between 1935 and 1944). Charming, almost ephemeral, these are delightful little diversions while a few of the solo piano pieces are a shade more substantial and serious. Catherine Aubert, Beatrice Schild-Kurth (pianos). Gallo CDE-1092 (Switzerland) 06F066 $18.98

THOMAS PASATIERI (b.1945): Letter to Warsaw. This 2003 work sets six poems written by Polish poet/cabaret artist Pola Braun which were written in the Warsaw Ghetto and in the concentration camp of Majdanek (the original music for them did not survive). The ensemble consists of violin, viola, two cellos, double bass, flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, trumpet and harp and the music is richly romantic and conservative (Pasatieri's operas have always followed this route, sometimes to the excoriation of the scratch-and-squeak critics of the 60s and 70s) - think Menotti cum film music. The poems are divided by seven instrumental segments, which add up to 30 of the disc's 70 minutes. Texts included. Jane Eaglen (soprano), Mina Miller (piano), Music of Remembrance; Gerard Schwarz. Naxos American Classics 8.559219 (U.S.A.) 06F067 $6.98

WILLIAM BOLCOM (b.1938): Inventing Flight, STEVEN WINTEREGG (b.1952): To Fly Unbounded for Soprano, Chorus and Orchestra, MICHAEL SCHELLE (b.1950): Wright Flight for Piano and Orchestra, ROBERT XAVIER RODRIGUEZ (b.1946): Flight: The Story of Wilbur and Orville Wright for Narrator and Orchestra. Bolcom is one of the most inventive of contemporary composers, with a gift for writing music which sounds wholly original while avoiding altogether self-conscious novelty for its own sake. Winteregg's four-movement work for chorus and orchestra evokes the sound-world of Vaughan Williams' Sea Symphony, with which it also shares the poetry of Whitman, the most musically settable of poets. Schelle's rhythmically insistent, Prokofiev-like piece combines an evocation of the mechanism of flight with the sepia-tinted nostalgia of an age in which the idea of flying was romanric and exciting. Rodriguez' work, tonal like the other works here, uses a kind of multimedia presentation, eloquently suggesting a soundtrack to an imaginary documentary on the Wright brothers. Mary Elizabeth Southworth (soprano), Andrew Russo (piano), Allison Janney (narrator), Dayton Philharmonic Chorus and Orchestra; Neal Gittleman. Albany TROY 672 (U.S.A.) 06F068 $16.98

Hungaroton Special Imports - not released in the U.S.

Many releases of 20th century Hungarian composers on this label are not imported by their distributor for general release. We will offer six per month for an indefinite period, with orchestral discs predominating at the beginning. The majority of these CDs were released between 1999 and 2003 although many are compilations of archival recordings (some mono) from both Hungaroton itself and from the Hungarian Radio archives.

JÁNOS VISKI (1906-1961): Enigma for Orchestra (Hungarian State Orchestra; Gyula Németh, 1963), Violin Concerto (Ede Zathureczky [violin], Budapest Symphony Orchestra; Miklós Lukács, 1953), Piano Concerto (Lajos Hernádi [piano], BSO; Tamás Bródy, 1958). A student of Kodály who later took over his master's position at the Academy of Music, Viski remained a conservative late-Romantic. His tone-poem Enigma (based on a 16th century poem) is in the Lisztian traditions of the genre and can be compared to Bartók's similar youthful work, Kossuth. Dating from 1939, it was Viski's most successful composition. The two concertos, from 1947 and 1953 respectively, are also firmly in the Kodály tradition, although there is a touch of the more modern, Bartókian idiom in the outer movements of the violin concerto (whose slow movement is a gorgeous, langourous romance which recalled Rodrigo to this listener); the piano concerto seems to be consciously more conservative in its heroic National Romanticism and pianistic virtuosity. Hungaroton HCD 31988 (Hungary) 06F069 $17.98 >

JENÓ TAKÁCS (b.1902): 8 Miniatures for Orchestra, Op. 53, Concerto for Piano, Strings and Percussion, Op. 60, Song of Creation for Mixed Chorus and Orchestra, Op. 44. The note-writer who claims Takács as the "longest living composer of all times" has obviously never heard of Leo Ornstein but no matter since he might be the second-longest... And wonderfully approachable and enjoyable too as anyone will know who collected the five volumes of his piano music which we offered in the late 90s on the little Austrian Pepperland label. Takács was often a miniaturist and his 1944 Miniatures exhibit that aspect of his uvre - eight short pieces excerpted from music for a puppet play, most with a pronounced Hungarian folk accent. The concerto (1947) is a full-length (26 minutes) work in three movements which has its share of Bartókian drama in the first movement and a finale with echoes of Egyptian music (Takács had held a post in Cairo) tinted with French Impressionism. The 17-minute cantata (1944) recalls Kodály as well as Bartók and the pentatonic scale is prominent in its construction. Attractive booklet with color photos and scene reproductions. 2003 recordings. Hungarian-English texts. Aima Maria Labra-Makk (piano), Savaria Symphony Orchestra; Tamás Pál. Hungaroton HCD 32278 (Hungary) 06F070 $17.98 >

SÁNDOR VERESS (1907-1992): Symphony No. 1, 4 Transylvanian Dances for String Orchestra, Clarinet Concerto. Like Szervánszky below, Veress' career fell into two parts - pre-Communist in Hungary and post-Communist as an emigré in Switzerland. The first two works here are from his Hungarian period, the symphony (1940), a three-movement piece, has the expected influences of Kodály (his teacher) but also, in the first movement, has pre-echoes of the symphonies of Martinu with its swirling winds and blocks of brass and strings. The Transylvanian dances (1943 with a fourth added six years later) are original compositions in peasant style while the late clarinet concerto (1982) is in the two-movement slow-fast form of Hungarian music, highly chromatic in the short introductory one and motoric, dynamic and rhythmically active in the second, providing a dance character without any actual folkdance music. 2002 recordings. László Horváth (clarinet), Savaria Symphony Orchestra; Tamás Pál. Hungaroton HCD 32118 (Hungary) 06F071 $17.98 >

ENDRE SZERVÁNSZKY (1911-1977): Serenade for Strings, Flute Concerto, Variations for Orchestra, Clarinet Concerto. This composer's style fell into two distinct periods, the first of which is represented here by the Serenade (1947) and the flute concerto (1953). This adheres to the Bartókian school of employment of folk tradition (if not actual folk melodies), producing a delightful four-movement Serenade which can take its place with any other of its genre in the same time period, and a 28-minute concerto full of melody and soloistic bravura. Szervánszky then turned to serialism and the final two works (both from 1965), shorter and more concise, contain a striking virtuosity of orchestration with winds and percussion particularly to the fore. The Variations, in five brief movements, are particularly rich in these while the clarinet concerto (each work is around 14 minutes in length) keeps the three-movement form typical of the genre. 1961 and 1974 recordings. Zoltán Jeney (flute), Béla Kovács (clarinet), Hungarian Chamber Orchestra; Vilmos Tátrai, Budapest Symphony Orchestra; Gyula Borbély, Ádám Medveczky. Hungaroton HCD 31987 (Hungary) 06F072 $17.98 >

SÁNDOR BALASSA (b.1935): Pécs Concerto for Violin, Cello, Oboe, Bassoon, Harp and String Orchestra, Op. 61, 4 Portraits for Orchestra, Op. 56, Parcel No. 301 for Orchestra, Op. 58. These recent works from 1996-98 are clearly structured pieces in the Hungarian tradition of Bartók and Kodály with audible folk influences in a couple of the movements of the four-movement, 29-minute Pécs Concerto (performed by the orchestra -and its soloists- for whom it was written in this live recording). In the tradition of Liszt's Hungarian National Portraits, the 4 Portraits are musical representations of a 19th century linguist and a poet, composer (Szervánszky - see above) and philosopher, rich in invention and color and with the folk melos never far away. Parcel No. 301 is the long-hidden plot where the government buried the bodies of the people killed during the 1956 revolution and Balassa's work is a noble, powerful and, ultimately, cathartic tribute to them. 1998 recordings. Pécs Symphony Orchestra, Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra; Howard Williams. Hungaroton HCD 32161 (Hungary) 06F073 $17.98 >

ANDRÁS SZÖLLÖSY (b.1921): III. Concerto for 16 Strings, Tristia (Maros-lament) for 16 Strings, Fabula Phaedri for 6 Voices, Miserere for 6 Voices, 5 Fragments for Mezzo-Soprano, Flute and Viola, Paesaggio con morti for Piano, Passacaglia Achatio Máthé in memoriam for Cello and String Quartet. A composer of the generation of Ligeti and Kurtág, Szöllösy has remained relatively obscure by comparison largely, perhaps, because he remained behind the Iron Curtain after his mature style developed in the 1960s. On the basis of this CD, though, there may be another reason; the intensely personal and intimate nature of Szöllösy's compositions. Whether by accident or deisgn, all but one of these are in memoriam works, laments or in some way concerned with death. Such is their musical inventiveness that they avoid any suggestion of wilful morbidity, and drama is certainly not lacking in the larger ensemble pieces, as in the abrupt and jagged dynamic contrasts present in Concerto III. The work for the King's Singers is a witty parody of madrigal and plainchant styles and stands somewhat apart from the other works here. In general, while less theatrical and less self-consciously avant-garde than Ligeti, and here and there making explicit use of earlier models (chorales of Bach, for instance), Szöllösy's music is cautiously contemporary and makes use of dodecaphony without making a point of the fact, thus remaining consistent in style and serious in content, and well worth investigating. Latin/Hungarian-English texts. Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra; Péter Gazda, The King's Singers, Adrenne Csengery (soprano), István Matuz (flute), László Bársony (viola), Péter Frankl (piano), Miklós Perényi (cello), Auer String Quartet. Hungaroton HCD 31727 (Hungary) 06F074 $17.98 >

PETER MAXWELL DAVIES (b.1934): Missa parvula for Unison Upper Voices and Organ, Mass for Full Choir and 2 Organs, Veni Creator Spiritus for Organ, Reliqui domum meum for Organ, Veni Sancte Spiritus for Choir, Dum complerentur for Choir. The use of plainsong has been an almost constant feature of Davies' compositional methods since he emerged as an iconoclastic enfant terrible in the 1960s. His study of early music has always been detailed and has pervaded much of his music throughout his career but the uses to which he put his models have changed out of recognition in the output of the "new" Max, the neo-Romantic who accepted the post of Master of the Queen's music. So, these recent liturgical works, richly chromatic and employing the polyphonic possibilities of the material to the full, are really quite conservative; much of the music is no more avant-garde than Britten. Occasional dissonant outbursts from the accompanying organ notwithstanding, these works have a sincerity of utterance and a genuine sacred, liturgical feel which is as approachable as it is moving. Choir of Westminster Cathedral; Martin Baker, Robert Quinney, Robert Houssart (organs). Hyperion CDA 67454 (England) 06F075 $17.98

JAMES MACMILLAN (b.1959): Cantos Sagrados, Christus Vincit, Tremunt videntes angeli, Seinte Mari Moder Milde, The Gallant Weaver, Divo Aloysio Sacrum, So Deep. It isn't much of a surprise to discover that a oomposer as steeped in the liturgy of the Catholic Church as James MacMillan would be drawn to writing heartfelt choral music to scared texts, and that the results would be as compelling as these. Apart from the two brief, simple and beautiful Burns settings, and the poems condemning political repression used in Cantos Sagrados, which are illuminated by Latin texts from the liturgy and set to music employing the bold drama familiar from MacMillan's orchestral music (which has often addressed religious themes in music of direct human experience, conflict and emotional extroversion) the works are predominantly devotional and liturgical in mood, evoking the lofty spaces and spiritual ideals embodied in the architecture of the great cathedrals. Elysian Singers; Sam Laughton. Signum Records SIGCD507 (England) 06F076 $17.98

RICK SOWASH (b.1950): For Clarinet, Cello and Piano: Voyage de l'Esprit, Enchantement d'Avril, Ombres de Novembre. Maybe more professional composers should give Rick Sowash's method a try. By deliberately avoiding a career as a professional musician, he has freed himself from the need to conform to any school, doctrine or fashion, and to write just exactly whatever music gives him pleasure. It so happens that his chosen idiom is one that would have seemed familiar over a hundred years ago, resolutely tonal classical-romanticism, and presented with a kind of wide-eyed innocence that is as astonishing to encounter nowadays (when musically, anything goes) as it is appealing and welcome. And his skill in handling his musical material is beyond reproach, so these delightful and unabashedly emotional and personal works will give as much pleasure to the listener as their creation obviously did to the composer. Mid-price. Trio les Gavottes. Private issue. (U.S.A.) 06F077 $11.98 >

RICK SOWASH (b.1950): Sanctuary at 3 AM for Clarinet and Piano, Lullabye for Kara for Cello and Piano, Variations on a Hiking Song for Piano, Impressionist Suite #2 for Oboe, Clarinet and Bassoon, The View from Carew for Clarinet, Cello and Piano. The second disc also contains a selection of Sowash's heartfelt and genuinely moving chamber compositions, from the gentle and comforting Sanctuary and Lullabye to the ingenious and elegant Variations for piano, in various styles including an infectious jazzy one, like a less deliberately funny relative of Reizenstein's Lambeth Walk variations (and concluding in serious mood, the last variation being an elegy for the composer's father, who died while Sowash was composing the piece). All the works are finely crafted and immensely appealing. Phil Amalong (piano), Jeff Schoyen (cello), Anthony Costa, Ron Aufmann (clarinet), Mark Ostoich (oboe), Mark Ortwein (bassoon). Private issue. (U.S.A.) 06F078 $11.98 >

THEO BRUINS (1929-1993): Piano Concerto, Piano Sonata, 6 Pièces brèves for Piano, 6 studi for Piano, Quartet '84 for Piano, Tremani for Piano Three Hands, Sincope for Harpsichord. One of the few Dutch composers to embrace serial technique, Bruins never left it, crafting a series of highly individual works which, like his 1952 concerto whose transparent orchestration, extremely melodic character and preference for elegance over virtuosity, draw the listener's attention away from the means of composition (the same could be said for his sonata of three years later). Pianistic difficulties can be found, however, in the Studi of 1963 which also deal with rhythm and meter. Sincope (1992), Bruins' only composition not for the piano, is a game of melody and chords which produces a driving, motoric effect. Theo Bruins (piano), Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra; Otto Ketting, Maarten Bon (piano - Pièces brèves), Fred Oldenburg (third hand), Liesbeth Hoppen (harpsichord). Stereo/mono. Q Disc Q97045 (Netherlands) 06F079 $17.98

HANS WERNER HENZE (b.1926): The Bassarids. This is a live recording of the world premiere performance at the Salzburg Festival of Henze's setting of Euripides via the (English language) libretto of W. H. Auden and Chester Kallman. Set in a symphonic-like four movements (one act), the first is in sonata form with rough Pentheus material set off by more sensuous music for the Bassarids; the second is a scherzo with a sequence of dances; the third is a slow movement which culminates in the hunt and killing of Pentheus and the finale based on a long theme which turns into a passacaglia at the end. Rather early Henze, this is still quite approachable music which should appeal to all but the least adventurous collectors of 20th century opera. A studio recording from 1991, on Koch Schwann, is, of course, no longer available as the label is defunct and the four-minute intermezzo in the third movement was cut for that recording. 2 CDs. Mono. No libretto. Loren Driscoll (tenor), Kostas Paskalis (baritone), Peter Lagger (bass), Ingegborg Hallstein (soprano), Kerstin Meyer (mezzo), Chorus of the Vienna State Opera, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra; Christoph von Dohnanyi. Orfeo C 605 032 I (Germany) 06F080 $33.98

JESPER KOCH (b.1967): In Memoriam, Alice under Skies, Memory of a Summer Day, Aria Interrupted for Soprano and Orchestra, Earth My Likeness. A Danish journal review of this disc captures its qualities succinctly, "Idyll, dream and nostalgia cross paths with grotesque wit in these Late Romantic-sounding, brilliantly written works with their beautiful sonorities". Late Romantic only in the sense that Koch uses large orchestral forces in a fashion which Mahler might appreciate if he were alive today. While the sensibility is Romantic, the musical language is modern and tonal (sometimes freely so) where fragments of melody tantalize the ear but pure sonority is equally important. Should appeal to even moderately adventurous 20th century collectors. Susanne Elmark (soprano), Odense Symphony Orchestra; Fedor Glushchenko, Justin Brown. Dacapo Open Space 8.226502 (Denmark) 06F081 $9.98

TAKASHI YOSHIMATSU (b.1953): The Age of Birds, Op. 25, Cello Concerto, Op. 91 "Centaurus Unit", Chikap, Op. 14a. Chikap (1981/2003) and The Age of Birds (1986) are two parts of a "bird trilogy" and represent bird-calls as well as more abstract impressions of flight in a neo-Impressionist, pointillist manner which should appeal to those who like Takemitsu and Messiaen. The concerto is brand-new and written for the performer here. A full-scale work in three movements lasting almost 33 minutes, it has an often dream-like quality to it, especially in its slow movement which opens with the cello evoking an Japanese lute-like instrument and in a shimmering finale (again laced with birdsong from the flutes), but its long, eclectic first movement, with its central section of pastiches of waltzes, marches and other early 20th century European dance music, has its own sense of dreamy unreality. Peter Dixon (cello), BBC Philharmonic; Sachio Fujioka. Chandos 10202 (England) 06F082 $17.98

NIELS ROSING-SCHOW (b.1954): Piseq - Ritus III for Saxophone and Percussion, Spiral Ladder II for 2 Accordions, Ritus II for Percussion, Windgeboren for 4 Trumpets. The sonorous sound-world of these compositions suggests a musical analogue of the graphic art of abstract expressionism. The music has a freely organic sense of growth, unrelated to conventional musical development, and as easily incorporates stately, harmonically rich archaic-sounding brass chorales as the spatial abstractions of constructions for tuned and untuned percussion ensembles. In general, the works progress either through free process-music-related evolution, organic rather than mechanical (closer to Riley than Reich) or through faux-naïf evocations of 'spiritual' slow minimalism. Difficult to classify; easy to listen to. DuoDenum, Geir Draugsvoll and James Crabb (accordion), Touché, Die Michaelstrompeter. Dacapo Open Space 8.226506 (Denmark) 06F083 $9.98

LARS HEGAARD (b.1950): Triptych with Objects for 9 Instruments, 13 Short Pieces for Flute, Viola and Harp, Twine for 9 Instruments, The Four Winds for Clarinet, Cello and Piano, Ambient Voices for Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Piano. A natural miniaturist, Hegaard writes music for small ensembles of instruments in which a collage of diverse musical material forms short-lived, sometimes uneasy alliances. Sometimes, as in the 13 Short Pieces, inspired, we are told, by an encyclopædia entry on amino acids, the musical argument is oblique and aphoristic in the extreme, suggesting the 'strange slidings and collidings of matter' with unexpected eloquence. Traditional dance-forms in tonally naïve, simple harmonies rub shoulders with freely atonal abstraction, and dreamlike references to a bewildering range of twentieth-century influences, from Weill to popular song to the 'new spirituality' to quasi-documentary program music. The effect is of a sequence of intricate musical puzzle-boxes, with multiple levels of meaning each concealed within another. Danish Chamber Players; Henrik Vagn Christensen. Dacapo Open Space 8.226501 (Denmark) 06F084 $9.98

EINO TAMBERG (b.1930): Cyrano de Bergerac, Op. 45. This is one of the most delightful 20th century operas we have offered - bright, full of optimism, neo-Romantic (or, perhaps, neo-Classical) in its language, which is apparently Tamberg's own and not one forced on him by Soviet "socialist realism" demands (the work dates from 1974). In three acts with an 18-minute epilogue, structured in an old-fashioned recitative-aria sequence with self-contained scenes with the use of leitmotifs suggesting the influence of Romanticism, Cyrano is nevertheless a 20th century opera with Tamberg's excellent sense of orchestral color weaving a captivating atmosphere. 2 CDs. Estonian-English libretto. Sauli Tiilikainen (baritone), Mia Huhta (soprano), Mati Körts (tenor), Orchestra and Chorus of the Estonian National Opera; Paul Mägi. CPO 999 832 (Germany) 06F085 $31.98

JOHN MCCABE (b.1939): Tenebrae, Variations, Intermezzi, Studies: No. 1 "Capriccio", No. 2 "Sostenuto", No. 4 "Aubade", No. 7 "Evening Harmonies - Hommage a Dukas", No. 8 "Scrunch - Omaggio a Domenico Scarlatti". John McCabe is a rare species, nowadays in our age of ever-increasing specialisation; a composer who is equally at home as performer, both of his own music and that of many others, both of our own time and of earlier centuries. Thus, a thorough understanding of the possibilities of the keyboard informs every measure of his economical yet eloquent output for his own instrument, the piano. Tonal, and succinct of utterance, clear and open of texture, eschewing easy and superficial virtuosity, the solid integrity of McCabe's piano music recalls another fine Britsh conposer-pianist, Alan Bush, with whose music McCabe's shares a quality of never wasting a note or taking a long way around to make a point. Tenebrae is the largest work here, and the most emotionally wide-ranging, inhabiting a shadowy realm of mortality, memorial and ambiguity. Tamami Honma (piano). Metier MSC CD92071 (England) 06F086 $16.98

JAMES DILLON (b.1950): The Book of Elements - Volumes I-V. Dillon has been conveniently grouped with the "British Young Complexicists", but his is a relatively tenuous connection to such a group, if in fact any such group exists. In terms of the cross-rhythms and polyrhythms present in this cycle of piano works divided into various shorter sections (except the last, which plays continuously), there is a free, Finnissy-like exploitation of the immense technical resources of the instrument. However, much of the music is a good deal more tonality-based and harmonically rich than much of what has passed under the complexicist banner in past years, and there is little of the strict adherence to serialism which characterises the Ferneyhough (and now, most unfashionably extreme) branch of the school. Dillon's awareness of his Scots heritage no doubt partly accounts for this, in his use of recognisable dance and folk idioms (some of which would not sound out of place coming from the doyen of Scots-internationalist composers, Ronald Stevenson). And his background in non-classical musics is also apparent. In terms of the actual piano writing, Messiaen, an arch-conservative by the standards of the garde most avant of past decades, is likely to be the composer most frequently invoked for comparison by most listeners. There is a great deal of variety and invention in these pieces, and they form a coherent and satisfying contribution to the piano music of our time. 2 CDs. Noriko Kawai (piano). NMC D091 (England) 06F087 $35.98

STAFFAN BJÖRKLUND (b.1944): 12 Modulationen, 3 Reminiszenzen, Palindrom. A sense of pleasure in the possibilities inherent in the piano pervades this substantial set of piano works, and the works have a free, improvisatory quality, as though the composer is thoroughly enjoying himself in the spontaneous act of creation. While widely ranging and conforming to no perceptible harmonic scheme, the music has strong tonal elements, and sometimes sounds frankly tonal for extended passages. Although there is a great deal of keyboard bravura involved, it would be a mistake to invoke Stockhausen's Klavierstücke or piano works of the British 'complexicists' for comparison; these pieces are far less about pushing the envelope of piano technique than in using the full possibilities of the instrument in what are effectively brief and dramatic tone poems, though obviously without explicit programmatic content. The expressive quotient of the works is raised considerably by extended melodic sections in relatively simple textures, the linear melodic lines possessing an almost vocal, lyrical quality. 2 CDs for the price of 1. Staffan Björklund (piano). Nosag CD 2090 (Sweden) 06F088 $16.98

PETER FARMER (b.1941): Symphony No. 1, Concertino for Tenor Saxophone and Orchestra, DAVID L. POST (b.1949): Concerto for English Horn and Orchestra, Divertimento for Reed Trio. A disc full of approachable and enjoyable music without any nods to -isms of any sort. Farmer's symphony (1996) is a three-movement work of 27 minutes whose general mood is of unease, couched in dusky orchestral colors and with repetitive ostinatos often employed (although nowhere near minimalist in nature) - one might say Pettersson with not quite large enough a dose of Prozac and a little more orchestral color. His 11-minute Concertino is based on a hymn tune but full of blues- and jazz-inflected material. Post's concerto is surprisingly dramatic although the pastoral quality of the solo instrument is never far from the foreground in its three movements of 19 minutes' length while his Divertimento has a geniality and wit which place it in the Stravinsky/Prokofiev arena. Peter Farmer (sax), Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra; Vladimir Valek, Warsaw National Philharmonic; Jerzy Swoboda, Donna Marie Cobert (english horn), Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra; Vit Micka, Moravian Chamber Players. MMC 2125 (U.S.A.) 06F089 $16.98

NANCY GALBRAITH (b.1951): Concerto for Piano and Wind Ensemble, Missa Mysteriorum for Chorus and Wind Ensemble. The Mass is one of Galbraith's most ambitious works to date, and simultaneously one of her finest and most immediately appealing. As in the chamber and solo works we have had occasion to welcome in these pages previously, the composer's idiom of choice is a postmodern blend of twentieth-century styles, richly tonal and modal, and rhythmically vital, with nods in the direction of minimalism and neoromanticism. Its five movements setting the traditional Latin text of the Mass, the work's title refers to the mystery of faith viewed from a very personal standpoint and celebrated in music of grandeur and eloquent tenderness. The splendid concerto (her second) has a divertingly quirky energy and wit, tinged with the inflections of jazz and blues, framing a soulful slow movements with exuberant studies in sheer musical joie de vivre, tempered with an insistent, driven and at times almost hectic gaiety. The combination of these two works demonstrate Galbraith's standing as an individual contemporary communicator more surely even than the fine previous releases of her music. Donna Amato (piano), Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh; Robert Page, Carnegie Mellon Wind Ensemble; Denis Colwell. Carnegie Mellon Record Label CMRL 03-0006 (U.S.A.) 06F090 $13.98 >

SOMEI SATOH (b.1947): From the Depth of Silence for 2 Tubular Bells and Orchestra, Burning Meditation for Baritone and String Orchestra, Kyokoku for Baritone and Orchestra, Kisetsu for Orchestra. Satoh's background lies in experimentalism, and in his early compositions he employed extended playing techniques and electronics. However, before any of the works here were written, he had embraced a warmer, more Romantic idiom. The spiritual symbolism suggested by his works has led, as with many other composers, to a leisurely rate of utterance; phrases are very long, the music mostly slow - in some passages, extremely static. But Satoh's orchestral palette is warm and varied, and his use of tonality in a real, functional sense provides a genuine sense of progression and drama. For comparison, one might think of Pärt's least austere utterances, or Hovhaness' more extended slow movements. Thomas Buckner (baritone), Janácek Philharmonic; Petr Kotik. Mode 135 (U.S.A.) 06F091 $17.98

SOMEI SATOH (b.1947): Kisetsu for Orchestra, Kyokoku for Baritone and Orchestra, Violin Concerto. Contemporary composers should all be this fortunate; second recordings of large-scale orchestral works hard on the heels of the first. Curiously, a different composition date is given for Kyokoku from that on the disc above, but it is the same work. The performances of this and Kisetsu are sufficiently different in matters of tempo and balance to provide additional insight into the works. The concerto is the most recent of any of the works on the two discs, and continues Satoh's current preoccupation with a kind of very slow, meditative and mystical minimalism. The soloist provides the work with a kind of Romantic protagonist, though, and although extended passages exist on the edge of silence, there is drama, even passion, in the separation of the 'human' solo part from the glacial passivity of the unchanging natural world, suggested by the orchestra's slow-moving, soft yet dissonant accompaniment. Katsunori Kono (baritone), Anne Akiko Meyers (violin), Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra; Tetsuji Honna. Camerata CMCD 28032 (Japan) 06F092 $17.98

HANS ZENDER (b.1936): Schubert-Chöre 1-4: Coronach for Womens' Choir and Orchestra, D 836, Der 23 Psalm for Womens' Choir and Orchestra, D 706, Der Gondelfahrer for Male Choir and Orchestra, D 809, Nachthelle for Tenor, Male Choir and Orchestra, D 892, KURT SCHWERTSIK (b.1935): Epilog zu "Rosamunde", Op. 33, ARIBERT REIMANN (b.1936): Metamophosen über ein Menuett von Schubert (D 600) for Horn, 4 Winds and 5 Strings, HANS WERNER HENZE (b.1926): Der Erlkönig - Orchesterfantasie aus "Le Fils de l'air", LUCIANO BERIO (1925-2003): Rendering per Orchestra. Berio's is the largest work here, a 34-minute exploration of the fragments of Schubert's Symphony No. 10, the vast majority of which is a straight reconstruction (as attractive as either the Bartholomée or Marriner recordings) of three of the four movements but with episodes of ghostly wandering into more modern uses of tonality in the spots where the fragments have lacunae. Zender's 1986 orchestration of four choruses uses modern techniques to achieve what you might call an updated Romanticism - very approachable and often lovely. Schwertsik (1978) uses Schubert themes to create an 11-minute theme-and-variations which, again, is quite tonal, dramatic and approachable. The only avant-garde pieces are Reimann's 8-minute Metamorphosen (still with recognizable Schubertian fragments in it) and Henze's five-minute "fantasy", a headlong chase into the night. Carsten Süss (tenor), Bamberg Symphony Choir, Bamberg Symphony; Jonathan Nott. Tudor 7131 (Switzerland) 06F093 $16.98 >

TOD MACHOVER (b.1953): Forever and Ever for Hyperviolin and Chamber Orchestra, Song of Penance for Hyperviola, Computer Voice and 17 Instruments, Begin Again Again for Hypercello Solo. The "hyperinstruments" here are connected to computers which react not only to the sounds but to the gestures of the soloists as they bow. Although the viola and cello works do have their occasional explosions of electronic noise (and the vocalist can assume frightening proportions), those people allergic to electronic music ought to hear Forever and Ever; there is little that they could call "unmusical" as the computer-generated sounds often appear to be a percussion ensemble or, at worst, a synthesizer. In fact, during its length, the computer sounds blend so effortlessly with the orchestra that you think you might be listening to a Lou Harrison concerto for violin and gamelan orchestra - and the music is that melodic, tonal and gloriously sunny! Karol Bennett (voice), Ani Kavafian (hyperviolin), Kim Kashkashian (hyperviola), Matt Haimovitz (hypercello), Boston Modern Orchestra Project; Gil Rose. Oxingale Records OX2003 (U.S.A.) 06F094 $15.98

JOHANN STRAUSS I (1804-1849): Edition, Vol. 4 - Schwarz'sche Ball-Tänze im Saal zum Sperl: Cotillons nach beliebten Motiven aus der Oper "La muette de Portici", Op. 32, Charmant-Polka, Vive la Danse!, Op. 47, Fortuna-Galopp, Op. 69, Heiter auch in ernster Zeit, Op. 48, Original Parademarsch (Wiener Bürger-Marsch No. 1), Das Leben ein Tanz oder Der Tanz ein Leben!, Op. 49, Launen-Polka, Cotillons nach beliebten Motiven aus der Oper "La Straniera", Venetianer-Galopp, Op. 74, Hof-Ball-Tänzer, Op. 51, 2 Galopps aus "La muette de Portici", Bajaderen-Walzer, Op. 53. Middle-period Strauss, from 1828-34, at the height of his fame in Biedermeier Vienna's ballrooms. Slovak Sinfonitta Zilina; Ernst Märzendorfer. Marco Polo 8.225254 (New Zealand) 06F095 $9.98

Enescu and Lipatti perform Enescu and Lipatti

GEORGE ENESCU (1881-1955): Suite No. 1 for Orchestra in C, Op. 9, Suite No. 1 for Piano in G Minor, Op. 3 (fragments), Suite No. 2 for Piano in D, Op. 10, Violin Sonata No. 2 in F Minor, Op. 6, Violin Sonata No. 3 in A Minor "dans le caractère roumain", DINU LIPATTI (1917-1950): Concertino in stile classico for Piano and Chamber Orchestra (Berlin Chamber Orchestra; Hans Benda), Sonatina for the Left Hand for Piano. Romanian archives have turned up a few rarities to go with the fairly well-known recordings on this recently issued set. Maddeningly, no dates are given but there is a suggestive photo of the two artists in a Bucharest Radio studio in March of 1943 (recording? recording what?). 2 CDs. Mid-price. Bucharest Philharmonic Orchestra; George Enescu (piano - op. 3 and first two movements of Op. 10; violin), Dinu Lipatti (piano). Electrecord EDC 430/431 (Romania) 06F096 $25.98

COCHEREAU - Organ Improvisations on Easter Themes

Symphonie en 4 mouvements (April 11, 1971), Introduction, Choral, Fugue et Variations (March 26, 1978), Prélude, Adagio, Fugue et Choral varié (April 19, 1981). Variously used throughout these three improvisations are four themes associated with Easter: O filii et filiae (a 15th century song) and the Gregorian Haec dies, Victimae paschali and Regina caeli. There's nothing totally lily-scented about these improvisations, though - Cochereau will also curl your hair and fry your brain with the help of the incomparable (fortunately, some might say) instrument he served for almost 30 years in Notre-Dame Cathedral. Pierre Cochereau (organ of Notre-Dame, Paris). Solstice SOCD 206 (France) 06F097 $16.98 >

MAURICE DURUFLÉ (1902-1986): Suite, Op. 5, Chant Donné - Hommage à Jean Gallon, Méditation, Prélude sur l'Introît de l'Éphiphanie, Op. 13, Scherzo, Op. 2, Fugue sur la thème du Carillon des Heures de la Cathédral de Soissons, Op. 12, Prélude, Adagio et Choral varié sur le thème du "Veni Creator", Op. 4, Prélude et fugue sur le nom d'Alain, Op. 7. Duruflé's small but exquisitely crafted set of organ pieces is not a newcomer to disc by any means but we offer this new release for its audiophile quality promised by the format and recording techniques. Friedhelm Flamme (Mühleisen organ of the Stiftskirche, Bad Gandersheim). SACD Hybrid. Surround Sound. CPO 777 042 (Germany) 06F098 $15.98

Organ Landscape Pomerania

Works by Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707), Theophil Andreas Volckmar (1686-1768), Johann Fischer (1646-1716), Johann Friedrich Alberti (1642-1710), Hinrich Gustav Scheffel (17th cen.), Christian Ritter (c.1645-c.1725), Johann Christoph Schmügel (1727-1798), Christian Michael Wolff (1709-1789), C.P.E. Bach (1714-1788), Johann Wilhelm Hertel (1727-1789), Heinrich Scheidemann (1595-1663), Johann Martin Rubert (1615-1680), Anton Ludwig Ernst Trutschel (1787-1869), Wilhelm Rudnick (1850-1927), Georg Riemenschneider (1848-1913), Max Wagenknecht (1857-1922), Georg Scheel (1866-1945), Karl Kühn (1851-1930), August Wilhelm Bach (1796-1869), Carl Adolf Lorenz (1837-1923), Gustav Flügel (1812-1900), Rudolf Ewald Zingel (1876-1944), Albert Steinicke, (first half 19th cen.), Hermann Bendix (1859-1935), Carl Loewe (1796-1869), Ernst August Großmann (1831-1889), Friedrich Wilhelm Sering (1822-1901), Otto Voigt (second half 19th cen.), Eberhard Wenzel (1896-1982), August Wagner (1816-1894), Erich Sümnich (1882-after 1934), Ulrich Hildebrandt (1870-1940), Otto Wangemann (1848-1914) and Gustav Hecht (1851-1932). The vast number of unknown composers (necessarily consisting mostly of chorale preludes) convinced us to offer this organ survey. 3 CDs. Martin Rost (organs of churches in Stralsund, Greibenow, Wartin, Deyelsdorf, Zettemin, Darlowo, Gingst, Slupsk, Saal, Gützkow, Patzig, Bialogard, Ustka, Kenz, Greifswald, Szczeglino, Szczecin, Gristow, Koszalin, Nehringen and Demmin). MD&G 319 1214 (Germany) 06F099 $53.98