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Felix Draeseke

Symphony No. 2

Serenade in F

FELIX DRAESEKE (1835-1913): Symphony No. 2 in F, Op. 25, Serenade in D, Op. 49. The second symphony is Draeseke's Beethoven Eighth - no slow movements. There is a Beethovenian quality in the heroic, forward-moving quality of the first movement whose principal theme seems to anticipate Richard Strauss' Don Juan while the second movement is an allegretto marciale whose instrumentation and military motifs anticipate Mahler. The scherzo and the presto leggiero finale both have scherzo-like characteristics, making this one of the more energetic symphonies you'll have on your shelf. Nor does the Serenade depart too much from the martial mood: in fact, it opens with a march and has a polonaise fourth movement. Relief is brought by a second movement entitled Ständchen with a lovely solo for cello and the third movement Liebesscene, a truly romantic andante but the finale is back in the hectic mode (this time prestissimo leggiero!), rounding off a disc of attractive brio and memorable motifs. North German Radio Philharmonic Hannover; Jörg-Peter Weigele. CPO 999 719 (Germany) 03D001 $15.98

DOPPER - Symphonies Nos. 3 & 6

CORNELIS DOPPER (1870-1939): Symphony No. 3 "Rembrandt", Symphony No. 6 "Amsterdam". It is part of the introduction to each disc in this series of Dutch orchestral works that the (Dutch) note-writer refers to the lack of chauvinsim among his people leading to the lack of recordings and promotion of Dutch music. Then, he goes on to criticize the third symphony for its length, thematic repetitions and lack of rhythmic variety (that certainly can't be called chauvinistic) while going on to tell us that, in its time, it was considered a major work of Dutch art, symbolising the character of the Dutch people, their art and geography. Since the symphony has no program (Rembrandt was an opportunistic sub-title given to it since it was to be premiered at a concert featuring Dutch music on the 300th anniversary of the painter's birth in 1906), it's hard to comment on that but the themes are memorable (and, yes, often repeated but not in a tiresome way) and the scherzo appears to have folk elements in it. As for length, it's shorter than the Amsterdam (1912) which, however, does have some programmatic elements, chiefly the hustle and bustle of a large city (all three fast movements show this), broken by an adagio which uses a couple of hymn-tunes to symbolise a tired pedestrian "entering a church to rest". These are attractive works which urge repeated listening and the hope that the other four symphonies will be along in good time. Residentie Orchestra The Hague; Matthias Bamert. Chandos 9923 (England) 03D002 $16.98

ALEXANDER GRECHANINOV (1864-1956): Piano Trio No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 38, Cello Sonata in E Minor, Op. 113, Piano Trio No. 2 in G, Op. 128. Dedicated to Taneyev, the first trio is an exciting, Russian sounding piece, which anyone who likes the Tchaikovsky trio will absolutely love. There are hints of Rachmaninov in the last movement, which concludes on a much more optimistic note than the Tchaikovsky. The cello sonata comes across as a more serious work with great lyrical outpourings guaranteed to please the most romantic of listeners. The second trio is characterized by Slavic sounding melodies, and a real tug of war between key signatures, which is one of this composer's most distinguishing, stylistic features. It ends highly energetically, and recalls material from the first movement in Franckian, cyclical fashion. The performances and recorded sound here couldn't be better and blow the previous competition (nla) away. Moscow Rachmaninov Trio. Hyperion CDA 67295 (England) 03D003 $17.98

FRANZ SCHREKER (1878-1934): Vorspiel zu einer großen Oper, Intermezzo for String Orchestra, Op. 8, Vorspiel zu einem Drama, Romantische Suite. Conlon, who has carried the Zemlinsky banner for EMI, now offers this Schreker disc. Collectors of Schreker will want to know that Conlon is uniformly faster (sometimes a lot faster) than Sinaisky on Chandos which, in the Vorspiel, makes for a more neurotically agiated feeling. Note: although the work titled here as Vorspiel zu einer großen Oper refers to Die Gezeichneten, it is a completely separate work which uses motives from that opera and is twice as long as the opera prelude itself which is on the Naxos disc we offered last month (01D062). Gürzenich-Orchester Cologne Philharmonic; James Conlon. EMI 556784 (Germany) 03D004 $17.98

NINO ROTA (1911-1979): Piano Concerto in C, Piano Concerto in E "Piccolo mondo antico". Who'd have thought you'd ever be able to compare and contrast Rota piano concerto recordings? And have one of them be on a major label? Well, even though Chandos offered this coupling a couple of years ago (right about the same time as this, apparently, since this was published in 1999 although it was quickly deleted in the U.S.), the music is so irrepressibly upbeat, infectiously melodic and rhythmically acute with the C major work which opens like Mozart and then shows the composer's assimilation of Bartók, Prokofiev, Ravel and practically anyone else of importance in the 20th century (from 1960 and dedicated to Michelangeli), and the E major which opens like Rachmaninov and goes on to pay homage to Romanticism in general (from 1978), we had to make this available! Giorgia Tomassi (piano), Filarmonica della Scala; Riccardo Muti. EMI 556869 (England) 03D005 $17.98

MIKIS THEODORAKIS (b.1925): Piano Trio, 2 Sonatinas for Violin and Piano. From the beginning, Theodorakis composed melodic and approachable music, although he stopped writing chamber music in 1960, making this release of early works quite useful to collectors. The first sonatina (1955) uses Cretan folk themes in a brief but infectiously memorable work which combines rhtyhmic drive and melodic vigor. The second sonatina (1958) comes from the time of his studies in Paris with Messiaen and Bigot and, although there is a more obvious sophistication present, the same attractive Greek folk motives are still there. The trio is the earliest piece here (1947), written while the composer was in exile and, surprisingly, it has the least to do with folk music and is characterized by a tense, uneasy lyricism. Trio Athénien. Intuition Int 3265 (Germany) 03D006 $17.98

DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975): 2 Pieces for String Octet, Op. 1/1, Adagio and Allegro for String Quartet, 5 Pieces for 2 Violins and Piano (arr. Levon Atovmian), Piano Quintet, Op. 57. In addition to the rarely-heard pieces for octet, from 1923 while the first symphony was being finished and, to us, farily harmless-sounding pieces which nonetheless horrified Shostakovich's teacher Maximilian Steinberg, we have two sets of transcriptions of music from films or ballets. The Adagio and Allegro Shostakovich did himself, taking the first movement from Katernina's aria from Act 1 of Lady Macbeth... and the second from The Golden Age while Atovmian (the director of the State Music Publishing House and, later, the Symphony Orchestra of the State Film Commission - in case you wondered why his name is so often fastened onto Shostakovich film music) put together five pieces from The Human Comedy, The Gadfly, The Tale of the Priest and His Servant Balda and (two) from The Limpid Stream. Brodsky Quartet, Jacqueline Shave, Roy Theaker (violins), Jane Atkins (viola), Alexander Baillie (cello), Christian Bradshaw (piano). Challenge Classics CC72093 (Netherlands) 03D007 $17.98


JOSEF OTTO af SILLÉN (1859-1951): Symphony No. 3 in E Minor, Violin Concerto in E Minor. The latest discovery from this extraordinarily dedicated Swedish label brings us music by a nobleman who was also an army officer, insurance executive, court chamberlain, conductor and theatre administrator! The symphony dates from his 78th year and the concerto (in the spirit of Wieniawski and Tor Aulin) from the early 1920s but Sillén's basic language never changed: firmly anchored in the 19th century, particularly Tchaikovsky, and with a fine sense for orchestral color and attractive melodies. A typically thorough Sterling production: the notes are by the composer's grandson and the painting on the cover by his elder brother. Christian Bergqvist (violin), Gävle Symphony Orchestra; Göran W Nilsson. Sterling CDS-1044-2 (Sweden) 03D008 $15.98

The Romantic Piano Concerto, Vol. 28 -

ZYGMUNT STOJOWSKI (1870-1946): Piano Concerto No. 1 in F Sharp Minor, Op. 3, Piano Concerto No. 2 in A Flat (Prologue, Scherzo and Variations), Op. 32. A couple of recent releases in the Hyperion Romantic Piano Concerto series have had some of us wondering whether they were running out of worthwhile material. This offering certainly allays those fears. These concertos are reminiscent of and on a par with similar works by two other Polish composers, Moszkowski and Paderewski. While the first is in conventional, three-movement, concerto form, the second consists of a prologue, scherzo and variations, which makes it all the more interesting. Some of the variations call to mind the music of Saint-Säens, d'Indy and Dukas, which is not surprising since Stojowski studied in France as well as Poland. Making his debut in this series, the pianist featured here specializes in Polish Romantic repertoire. Jonathan Plowright (piano), BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra; Martyn Brabbins. Hyperion CDA 67314 (England) 03D009 $17.98

JOSEF BOHUSLAV FOERSTER (1859-1951): Piano Trios No. 1 in F Minor, Op. 8, No. 2 in B Flat, Op. 38 and No. 3 in A Minor, Op. 105. Lovers of the "motivation through tragedy" school will enjoy this set of trios. Each was written in response to an early death in the composer's family: No. 1 (1882) is an eloquent, yet gloomily lyrical work inspired by the death of his mother when he was only 17 with optimism only in the dance-like finale but even that is toned down before the piece ends. The death of his younger sister at the age of 26 in 1894 produced the second trio, a multi-layered display of highly stylized, cultured, "poetic" grief, while the death of his only son motivated the third trio (1919-21), more elaborate in its harmony and refined in its polyphony with Foerster's characteristic lyricism alternating between woeful lament and quiet consolation. Mid-price. Foerster Trio. Supraphon SU 3603-2 (Czech Republic) 03D010 $10.98

KARL GOLDMARK (1830-1915): Cello Sonata in F, Op. 39, MIKLÓS RÓZSA (1907-1995): Duo for Cello and Piano, Op. 8, FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886): Consolations (arr. Jules de Swert [1843-1891]). Goldmark's sonata dates from 1890 and its first movement has a Scottish flavor with its dotted rhythm and pentatonic scale, after which Wagnerian chromaticism enters the picture. A broad, soulful andante is followed by a sonata-rondo finale with much repetition and variation of a dance-like motif. The 24-year-old Rozsa's duo, steeped in Hungarian rhythms and pentatonic scales in its first movement and using a Hungarian folk-song as the basis for its second movement variations, and the 1870 arrangement of Liszt's Consolations by a now-forgotten Belgian cellist (nevertheless highly thought of at the time - Liszt found the keys of this transcription better than his originals) make for attractive companions. Péter Szabó (cello), Adrenne Krausz (piano). Hungaroton HCD 32023 (Hungary) 03D011 $16.98

AMY BEACH (1867-1944): Ecstasy for Soprano, Violin and Piano, Op. 19/2, Chanson d'amour for Soprano, Cello and Piano, A Mirage and Stella Viatoris for Soprano and Piano Trio, Op. 100, Nos. 1 & 2, Rendezvous for Soprano, Violin and Piano, 3 Browning Songs for Soprano and Piano, Op. 44, Romance for Violin and Piano, 3 Shakespeare Songs for Soprano and Piano, Op. 37, Piano Trio in A Minor, Op. 150, Soprano and Piano: Nähe des Geliebten, Op. 35/3, Ich sagte nicht, Op. 51/1, Wir drei, Op. 51/2, Je demande à l'oiseau, Op. 51/4, Canzonetta, Op. 48/4, Elle et moi, Op. 21/3. Most of Beach's songs date from the early years of her marriage - roughly from 1885-1900 - and show an assimilation of a wide variety of models (Schubert and Schumann, Fauré and Debussy, Richard Strauss and Wagner) into a personal song-writing style. Some of these songs had the string instrument accompaniments added later but more were conceived that way originally; this new release brings a lovely mixture of songs and chamber works from what many collectors may see as an unlikely but very welcome source! Texts and English translations. Emma Kirkby (soprano), The Romantic Chamber Group of London. BIS CD-1245 (Sweden) 03D012 $17.98

MODEST MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881)/EMILE NAOUMOFF (b.1962): Pictures at an Exhibition - The Piano Concerto, EMILE NAOUMOFF (b.1962): Méditation for Piano and Orchestra. The pianist produced this orchestration in six days in 1994, galvanized by a concert-goer's comment that, when hearing the solo piano version, he missed the Ravel-orchestrated version and vice versa. Naumoff aims for the rustic approach of Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov, before Rimsky's embellishments, and the reviewer at Le Figaro, who attended the premiere, wrote of its "color, panache, radiance and supreme fidelity to the spirit of the original..." and its "...vibrating dialogue between the piano and the orchestra with superbly effective echoes...". Naumoff's 1982 Méditation is an 11-minute work which builds a three-part chorale to a climax while exploiting the extreme ranges of the piano but it is the Pictures orchestration which demands the attention of piano enthusiasts! Emile Naumoff (piano), Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin; Igor Blazhkov. Alcar ALC 5106-2 (Germany) 03D013 $19.98

JULIUS JOHANNES WEILAND (c.1605-1663): Laudate Dominum à 8, Veni Sancte Spiritus à 5, Wohl dem, der ein ugendsam Weib hat à 6, JULIUS ERNST RAUTENSTEIN (1590/95-1654): Ich schlafe,aber mein Herz wachet à 4, HEINRICH ALBERT (1604-1651): Auf und springet à 5, ANDREAS HAKENBERGER (1574-1627): Beati omnes, qui timent Dominum à 12, PHILIPP DULICHIUS (1562-1631): Omnis caro ut foenum à 7, Da pacem Domine à 6, CHRISTOPH BERNHARD (1628-1692): Surrexit Christus à11, DIETRICH BECKER (1623-1679): Canzon à 4, MATTHIAS WECKMANN (1621-1674): Es erhub sich ein Streit à 14, JACOB OBRECHT (c.1458-1505): Laudemus nunc Dominum à 5, T'Andernaken à 3, ORLANDO DI LASSO (1532-1594): Heroum soboles à 6, ANDRIES PEVERNAGE (1543-1591): Clio, chantons disertement à 6, Pleurez Muses à 5, CLEMENS NON PAPA (1510-1556): Ick weet een vrouken amoreus à 3, Fortuyne, wat heb dy ghebrouwen à 3. A selection of music for sacred and secular occasions, using widely varying combinations of voices and instruments, associated with the cities and towns of northern Europe who were members of the Hanseatic League, which fostered not only economic but also cultural prosperity of every form. Texts in original languages-English translations. Weser-Renaissance Bremen; Manfred Cordes. CPO 999 782 (Germany) 03D014 $15.98

GIACINTO CORNACCHIOLI (1599-after 1673): Diana Schernita. Discovered by Romain Rolland while writing his dissertation in 1892, this 1629 favola is based on a tale from Ovid, mixed up with other myths involving Diana, Pan, Cupid and Endymion. Predominantly arioso recitative, there are only two strophic arias; the complete lack of continuo information in the printed score has meant that everything needed to be rethought along current historical-performance lines. Good, well-translated (for once) notes, especially on the genre and whether this is a comedy or parody. Live performance. Italian-English libretto. Marilena Laurenza (soprano), Sara Mingardo (mezzo), Joan Cabero (tenor), I Solisti Cantori, Ensemble Da Ponte; Luigi de Filippi. Bongiovanni GB 2228 (Italy) 03D015 $15.98

FRANCESCO ANTONIO BONPORTI (1671-1749): Bonporti Edition, Vol. 3 - 10 Concerti a Quattro, Op. 11. Standing halfway between the Corellian concerto grosso and the Vivaldian solo concerto, this set (no publication date exists but probably prior to 1727) exhibits an expert contrapuntist while the music mainly adopts the stateliness and solemnity of the Corelli church style. 2 CDs. Accademia I Filarmonici; Alberto Martini. Dynamic CDS 353/1-2 (Italy) 03D016 $35.98

GEORG PHILIPP TELEMANN (1681-1767): 5 Overtures in F for 2 Oboes, 2 Horns, Bassoon and Double Bass. These wind overtures (which are undated) demonstrate Telemann's life-long interest in the style of the French suite, being in four, five or six movements with the usual sarabandes, gigues, menuets, passepieds, etc. but also with original movements inserted (rustic song in Les Paysans, guess what in La Chasse, and so forth). Consortium Classicum. MD&G 301 1109 (Germany) 03D017 $17.98

FRANCESCO GEMINIANI (1687-1762): 13 Pièces de clavecin Tirées des differens Ouvrages... When considering the sheer range of styles which Geminiani evokes here (from Couperin through Forqueray to Domenico Scarlatti and Locatelli), it's amazing to consider that these pieces are transcriptions (published in London in 1743) of sonatas for violin and continuo. Fabio Bonizzoni (harpsichord). Glossa GCD 921504 (Spain) 03D018 $18.98

GIOVANNI MARIA BONONCINI (1642-1678): Arie, Correnti, Sarabande, Gighe & Allemande, Op. 4. Elsewhere in Europe, the dance genre was accomodated by a solo keyboard instrument whereas here, in Italy, a violin usually took one of the voice parts. This collection of 24 stylized dances was published in 1671 and are distinguished by a synthesis of Italian and French traits, and by their easy and pleasant grace. Mid-price. Gianfranco Iannetta (violin), Daniele Proni (harpsichord). Tactus TC 640201 (Italy) 03D019 $11.98

BERNARDO STORACE (last half of 17th c.): Capriccio dopra Ruggiero, Passacagli, 2 Toccate & Canzoni, Corrente, Monica, Partita sopra il cinque passi, Aria sopra la Spagnoletta, Passagagli sopra A la mi re, Ciaconna. Storace devoted himself almost exclusively to sets of variations on popular songs in the forms of passacaglias, partitas or capricci. The two toccata-canzona pairs here are compact and clear, serving as small, introductory pieces in this collection published in 1674. For the sake of variation, the harpsichord is joined here by a continuo group of lute, baroque guitar, vihuela, viola da gamba and percussion. Ballo della Battalia, Annamari Pölhö (harpsichord). Alba ABCD 150 (Finland) 03D020 $16.98

DIETRICH BUXTEHUDE (1637-1701): 7 Suonate a due, Op. 1. Published in 1694, this set of sonatas exhibits a gradually increasing rate of eccentricity, formal bizarreness and instrumental virtuosity until, in the sixth sonata, the audacious harmonies, abrupt changes in style and uncompromising difficulty reach an unruly peak. If you don't have these sonatas and you enjoy similar works by Schmelzer, Fux and Biber, then don't hesitate! Manfred Kraemer (violin), Juan Manuel Quintana (viola da gamba), Dane Roberts (violone), Dirk Börner (harpsichord). Harmonia Mundi HMC 901746 (France) 03D021 $17.98

DIETRICH BUXTEHUDE (1637-1701): Cantatas Jubilate Domino, Gen Himmel zu dem Vater Mein, Sonatas for Violin, Viol and Continuo in A Minor & in B, Prelude in G Minor for Harpsichord, 4 Chorales for Organ, Klaglied ("Muss der Tod..), Toccata in D Minor for Organ. A Latin "sacred concerto", a Protestant chorale, an elegy to Buxtehude's own words and several chamber pieces: what do they all have in common? The viola da gamba, of which the North German composer was particularly fond... Short works for harpsichord or organ punctuate this imaginatively chosen program. German-English texts Ensemble Baroque de Limoges; Christophe Coin. Astrée E 8851 (France) 03D022 $17.98

ANTONIO LOTTI (1667-1740): Kyrie in B, Gloria in D, Missa del sesto tono. First recordings of these works of which the Kyrie and Gloria have the constant harmonic tension, brilliant technique and broad melodic lines of the Venetian school; the mass is a cappella and based on the Videntes stellam magi Epiphany Magnificat. Mária Zádori (soprano), Judit Németh (alto), Lotti Chamber Choir, Camerata Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra; Ferenc Rózsa. Hungaroton HCD 32042 (Hungary) 03D023 $17.98

WILLIAM WILLIAMS (?-1701): 6 Trio Sonatas, Op. 1, Duet in F for 2 Recorders, Recorder Sonata in D Minor. Except for a couple of fragments, these are the entire instrumental works of this English composer about whose life almost nothing is known but who, with his admixture of Italian with native English elements and styles, stands as a link between Purcell and Blow and the Corellian style popularised in England by Handel. Camerata Köln. CPO 999 813 (Germany) 03D0XX $15.98

CHARLES FRANÇOIS DIEUPART (after 1667-c.1740): 6 Suites for Flute and Basso Continuo. Although not much is known about Dieupart's life and he left very few compositions, this set of suites (overtures followed by French dances) published in 1701 caught the eye of J.S. Bach, who hand-copied the first and last suites; there are also thematic associations between several pieces in Bach's English Suites and these six works and it may be that when Bach used the name "English" for his suites, he was thinking of these very popular and widely appreciated works by the French composer working in London. 2 CDs for the price of 1. Francis Colpron (flutes), Susie Napper (viola da gamba), Skip Sempé (harpsichord). Atma ACD2 2234/35 (Canada) 03D024 $14.98

GIOVANNI BATTISTA SAMMARTINI (c.1700-1775): Memet. This Father of the Symphony wrote only three operas and this is first (1732). More Baroque than Classical in style, the music is highly driven rhythmically and the melodic style is indebted to Vivaldi and the Venetian school. The arias are da capo and accompanied recitative is kept to highly dramatic moments. A string orchestra is augmented by two trumpets for the several warlike arias. 3 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Mirko Guadagnini (tenor), Daniela Uccello (soprano), Camerata del Titano; Augusto Ciavatta. Dynamic CDS 386/1-3 (Italy) 03D025 $53.98

LOUIS GABRIEL GUILLEMAIN (1705-1770): 12 Caprices for Solo Violin, Op. 18. Published in 1762, these caprices (the only examples of concert caprices of their kind in France) demonstrate the highest capacity of technical bravura a violinist could aspire to at the time, abounding in double and triple stops, difficult string crossings and leaps and intricate rapid passages and bowings. A certain manic compulsiveness comes through which could illustrate the deteriorating mental faculties of the composer who died of 14 (count' em, 14) self-inflicted stab wounds eight years later. Gilles Colliard (baroque violin). EMEC E-048 (Spain) 03D026 $16.98

LUIGI BOCCHERINI (1743-1805): 6 Duetti for 2 Violins. Dating from the year before Guille-main's maniacal caprices (above), Boccherini's duets were, unlike many works in this genre, written for professionals and provide the listener with moments of great originality and invention. The instruments are almost equal, with the accompanying violinist given double stops, arpeggios and rather daring harmonies. Mid-price. Marco Rogliano, Gianfranco Iannetta (violins). Tactus TC 740204 (Italy) 03D027 $11.98

LUIGI BOCCHERINI (1743-1805): Giuseppe Riconosciuto. This is the last of three large-scale oratorios which Boccherini produced before 1765 and it shares about 90% of its music with La confederazione dei Sabini con Roma (also issued on this label). An increased psychological depth is present here in setting the text (Metastasio, on Joseph's recognition by his brothers who had sold him into slavery) when compared to Gioias, his first oratorio. In fact, if Boccherini had not left Lucca, his home town, shortly after these works were performed, the enormous sensitivity to the voice and feeling for theatrical music suggest that he may have become a gifted theatrical composer. 2 CDs. Italian-English texts. Barbara Vignudelli, Laura Crescini (sopranos), Mario Zeffiri (tenor), Nicola Mugnaini (bass), Polifonica Lucchese, Orchestra Ausermusici; Herbert Handt. Bongionvanni GB 2298/99 (Italy) 03D028 $33.98

FRANCESCO GUERINI (fl. 1740--1770): 6 Cello Sonatas. Another London-based Italian, Guerini's sonatas were published in 1765 (and were edited from manuscript for this recording by the cellist) and are in three-movement, slow-fast-slow form, straddling the formal and stylistic line between Baroque and early Classical. Sarah Freiburg (cello), Byron Schenkman (harpsichord, fortepiano). Centaur CRC 5234 (U.S.A.) 03D029 $16.98

ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810-1856): The Songs of Robert Schumann, Vol. 6 - Spanisches Liebespiel, Op. 74, 5 Lieder, Op. 40, Spanische Libeslieder, Op. 138, CLARA SCHUMANN (1819-1896): 6 Lieder from Jucunde, Op. 23. Now that this series has reached some of the more obscure of Schumann's large lieder uvre, we've included this sixth volume which also contains a half-dozen of Clara's songs (it seems that her entire output will be mixed in throughout this series). The ten-song cycle of op. 74 and the nine of op. 138, all setting Geibel's translation of Spanish poems, were composed in 1849 but the second batch was not published until 1857 (so you need not worry about Schumann's health affecting their quality - the opus number is a chimera). Graham Johnson carries on his note-writing in the same manner as in the Schubert Edition; the booklet runs to 88 pages - and that's English-only notes! The previous five volumes and their contents are listed on the final two pages of the booklet; let us know if you want any of them! German-English texts. Geraldine McGreevey (soprano), Stella Doufexis (mezzo), Adrian Thompson (tenor), Stephan Loges (baritone), Graham Johnson, Stephen Hough (pianos). Hyperion CDJ 33106 (England) 03D030 $17.98

DOMENICO SCARLATTI (1685-1757): 5 Sonatas for Mandolin and Basso Continuo, 14 Keyboard Sonatas. These five sonatas are all in three movements and much longer than the other several hundred, although they have Kirkpatrick numbers like the rest, and were clearly meant for solo instrument and continuo, here charmingly provided by the mandolin (five different copies are used, along with two different harpsichords and a spinet). Delightful music and a great bargain! 2 CDs for the price of 1. Sergio Vartolo (harpsichord), Ugo Orlandi (mandolin). Bongiovanni GB 5122/23 (Italy) 03D031 $16.98

FRANZ XAVER DUSSEK (1731-1799): Symphonies in G, E Flat & in F. Very few of Dussek's symphonies have been recorded before, so this new volume in the "18th Century Symphony" series is doubly welcome, bringing, as it does, three fine four-movement works which compare well to those by the composer's Viennese and Prague contemporaries, Vanhal, Dittersdorf and Hofmann. Helios 18; Marie-Louise Oschatz. Naxos 8.555878 (New Zealand) 03D032 $6.98

PAVEL VRANICKY (1756-1808): Flute Concerto in D, LEOPOLD MOZART (1719-1787): Flute Concerto in G, FRANZ ANTON HOFFMEISTER (1754-1812): Flute Concerto in E Flat, WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756-1791): Flute Concerto in D (after the Violin Concerto, K.211). This program was the idea of Arimany's teacher, Rampal, who provides the cadenzas for the Mozart transcription (who provided the transcription is not divulged: Rampal, Hoffmeister?). Vranicky and Hoffmeister were both members of the same Masonic lodge as Mozart and they each provide a concerto with grandeur in the opening movements, delicate slow movements and catchy, tuneful finales (Vranicky's uses a folksy Bohemian-style tune and Hoffmeister a hunting theme). Mozart Dad's concerto was not published until 1993 and, predictably, its three shorter movements speak a language which looks back to the late Baroque. Claudi Arimany (flute), Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra; Janos Rolla. Novalis 150 162-2 (Germany) 03D033 $16.98

FRANZ KROMMER (1759-1831): String Quartets, Op. 18 in D, A & E Flat. The leading quartet composer after Haydn, Krommer left us 76 extant works in the genre, so it's good to finally have a few of them on CD. Krommer was also a brilliant violinist and these quartets (published in 1800) are in the concertante style with a prominent top part informed both by elements of Spohr's technique (complicated ornaments, leaps, chromatic figurations) and Paganinian lyricism. Quartetto di Milano. Tudor 7083 (Switzerland) 03D034 $16.98

FRANZ KROMMER (1759-1831): Clarinet Quintet in B Flat, Op. 95, Clarinet Quartet in E Flat, Op. 69, 13 Stücke for 2 Clarinets and Viola, Op. 47. Krommer also wrote a lot for the clarinet (three concertos, two double concertos and many quartets); this recital shows the progression of his art from the 1804 set of pieces in the Viennese classical style, recalling Mozart while bearing folk-like traits, through the 1810 quartet, in which the string parts attain more equality with the soloist, through to the later (no exact date) quintet, which is an utterly mature work, pre-Romantic, with all parts treated equally. Eduard Brunner (clarinet), Marcel Lallemang (second clarinet), Diemut Poppen (viola), Amati Quartet. Tudor 7089 (Switzerland) 03D035 $16.98

CLARA SCHUMANN (1819-1896): 6 Lieder, Op. 13, 6 Lieder aus "Jucunde", Op. 23, 3 Lieder from Liebesfrühling, Op. 12, Walzer, Der Abendstern, Am Strande, Sie liebten sich beide, Volkslied, Ihr Bildnis, Mein Stern, Oh weh des Scheidens, das er tat, Die gute Nacht, die ich dir sage, Lorelei, Das Veilchen, Der Wanderer, Der Wanderer in der Sägemühle, Beim Abschied. Most of Clara's lieder were not published and it was only in 1992 when a large number were made available by Breitkopf (more continue to be discovered). These are fine works in the traditional German Romantic traditions - songs of nature, love, melancholy, separation death with lyrical and joyous melodies as well as powerful pieces of pain and tragedy. German-English texts. Susan Gritton (soprano), Stephan Loges (baritone), Eugene Asti (piano). Hyperion CDA 67249 (England) 03D036 $17.98

GAETANO DONIZETTI (1797-1848): Complete Piano Works, Vol. 1 - Adagio and Allegro in G, Allegros in C and in F Minor, Presto in F Minor, La Ricordanza, Allegro vivace in G, Larghetto in A, Capriccio in Sinfonia. These piano pieces were composed between 1813 and 1825. The unprepossessing tempo-titles in many cases mask works which could just as well have been called "fantasies" or "impromptus"; of the first three on this disc, the first is a fantasy in the style of late Haydn, the second like a Schubert Impromptu with Italian flavoring and the third a stormy, pre-romantic tempest. A few items do sound like arias for the piano, it's true, but the majority of the works on these three CDs couldn't possibly be identified as works by a famous opera composer; they'll fit very well in the collection of anyone who enjoys piano works from the Classical-Romantic transition period. Adriano Paolini (piano). Well Music IDC 99902 (Italy) 03D037 $17.98

GAETANO DONIZETTI (1797-1848): Complete Piano Works, Vol. 2 - Allegro in C, 2 Motivi del celebre M. Päer messi in suonata, Fuga in G Minor, Pastorale, 4 Valzer, Larghetto in C, Sinfonias in C, A & in D. See above. Adriano Paolini (piano). Well Music IDC 99903 (Italy) 03D038 $17.98

GAETANO DONIZETTI (1797-1848): Complete Piano Works, Vol. 3 - Variazioni in B Flat, in B and in G, Sinfonia in D "La Partenza", Sinfonia in C, Grande Offertorio, Valzer in C, Gran Valzer in A, "Giuseppina" Polka-Mazurka. See above above. Adriano Paolini (piano). Well Music IDC 99904 (Italy) 03D039 $17.98

NIELS W. GADE (1817-1890): Sextet in E Flat, Op. 44, Octet in F, Op. 17. Those who know the 1848 octet, full of Mendelssohnian charm and liveliness, will also enjoy the much later sextet. Dating from 1864, the work exists in two versions and the second is performed here (published only in 1995). The seventh symphony comes from the same period but Gade never seemed to age and his sunny, youthful and lyrical voice is still evident here. Philharmonic String Octet Berlin. MD&G 308 1102 (Germany) 03D040 $17.98

CHARLES GOUNOD (1818-1893): La Reine de Saba. This opera's Paris premiere in 1862 was a spectacular failure, Gounod's perceived "Wagnerism" wreaking havoc even before the first performance. The only really Wagnerian thing about the opera is the use of motifs to clarify characters' motivations but, at a time when France was still looking for exotic, "Oriental" works in which to indulge its appetites for the unusual, the story of King Solomon, Queen Belkis and her love for the King's architect managed to confuse rather than appeal. Still, there's a lot of attractive music here and it's certainly a long way from the interminably pious English oratorios yet to come! 2 CDs. French-English libretto. Francesca Scaini (soprano), Jeon-Won Lee (tenor), Luca Grassi (bass), Bratislava Chamber Choir, Orchestra Internazionale d'Italia; Manlio Benzi. Dynamic CDS 387/1-2 (Italy) 03D041 $35.98

FELIX MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847): Church Music, Vol. 4 - Psalm 114, Op. 51, Psalm 42, Op. 42, Lauda Sion, Op. 73. World premiere recording of the 1845-46 Lauda Sion, commissioned for a Catholic festival and which departs from Mendelssohn's usual style in the less complex contrapuntal texture, with the orchestral writing suggesting the simpler structures of Italian Catholic church music of the time. Bach and Handel are still present as influences (as they are prominent in Psalm 114) but Cherubini appears also. Mendelssohn's most important, and best-known, psalm setting completes a disc full of orchestral splendor and melodic genius. German-English texts. Ruth Ziesak (soprano), Helene Schneidemann (alto), Christoph Prégardien, Jan Kobow (tenors), Gotthold Schwarz, Adolph Seidel (basses), Stuttgart Chamber Choir, Deutsche Kammer-philharmonie; Freider Bernius. Carus 83.202 (Germany) 03D042 $17.98

FRANZ BERWALD (1796-1868): Symphonies, Vol. 1 - Sinfonie singulière in C, Sinfonie naïve in E Flat, Elfenspiel. This new Berwald cycle is notable for its inclusion of the six "tone paintings" of the early 1840s, to give them the composer's name. Elfenspiel is a nine-minute piece which opens with a melody reminiscent of Nordic folk music before transforming itself into a Mendelssohnian scherzo. Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra; Thomas Dausgaard. Chandos 9921 (U.S.A.) 03D043 $16.98

CARL REINECKE (1824-1910): Piano Quartet in E Flat, Op. 34, Piano Quartet in D, Op. 272, Piano Quintet in A, Op. 83. It was both Reinecke's glory and curse that his musical language never really advanced beyond Schumannian romanticism; it allowed him to produce hundreds of tuneful and attractive works in most genres but it also drew the fire of innovative critics and eventually got him fired from his 35-year post as conductor of the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig. This lovely Schumannian manner is most evident in the two earlier works: the 1853 quartet, which has particularly memorable and infectious melodies in its intermezzo and finale, and the 1866 quintet. The second quartet, from 1905, is a pedagogically designed work to help introduce piano students to the world of the contemporary virtuoso concerto while making but modest demands on their technique. Music of unobtrusive charm, stamped by an often idyllic tone sure to ingratiate itself with listeners. Linos-Ensemble. CPO 999 618 (Germany) 03D044 $15.98

JOACHIM RAFF (1822-1882): Symphony No. 1 in D, Op. 96 "An das Vaterland". Collectors of the Tudor Raff cycle will want to have this brand-new recording of the First. The recording is much better - full color as opposed to the washed-out pastels of the Marco Polo/Naxos version - the orchestra is better (and profits from recordings made over a period of preparation for a broadcast performance on Bavarian Radio) and Stadlmair, immersed in an ongoing Raff cycle, is more incisive (especially in the third movement Larghetto). The notes are not only 10 times the length of the Naxos, but they print the complete preface which Raff attached to the score, characterizing in some detail his intentions in each of the five movements. Bamberg Symphony; Hans Stadlmair. Tudor 7099 (Switzerland) 03D045 $16.98

CÉSAR CUI (1835-1918): 25 Préludes, Op. 64. Cui's preludes date from 1903 and, unlike many such collections, numbers 25 rather than 24 (the cycle ends where it started, in C major). Although Scriabin at this time was producing things like the Poème satanique, Cui remains pretty close to Chopin in his language and expression, from exquisitely whispered dreams, through Schumannesque marches, walzes, promenades, etudes, pseudo folk-dances and melancholic meditations. Among the dedicatees were Ossip Gabrilovich and Paderewski, always a key to style and manner. Jeffrey Biegel (piano). Naxos 8.555557 (New Zealand) 03D046 $6.98

SERGEI LYAPUNOV (1859-1924): 12 Transcendental Études. This is the extremely rare 1949 English Columbia recording (made under the auspices of the Maharajah of Mysore's Musical Foundation, which allowed Medtner to record so much of his own music around the same time) of which perhaps fewer than 100 copies were ever pressed. Kentner was at the height of his powers at the time and he doesn't disappoint in this set of etudes which was designed to complete the remaining keys in the tonal cycle which Liszt began with his famous 12. A recording from the same period of Balakirev's sonata is promised in the near future. Louis Kentner (piano). Pearl GEM 0154 (England) 03D047 $17.98

GIACOMO PUCCINI (1858-1924): Messa di Gloria, Preludio Sinfonico, Crisantemi. The Messa marked the end of Puccini's apprenticeship in Lucca (1880) and foreshadows his later operatic style in several places, not least in the Agnus Dei which was later transferred to Manon Lescaut as the madrigal in its second act. Antonello Palombi (tenor), Gunnar Lunberg (baritone), Hungarian Radio Choir, Hungarian Opera Orchestra; Pier Giorgio Morandi. Naxos 8.555304 (New Zealand) 03D048 $6.98

GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL (1685-1759): Deborah. Late arrival! This 1733 oratorio is noteworthy for its abundant Italianate melodies, stirring choruses and strong sense of drama. 3 CDs. Libretto included. Elisabeth Scholl (soprano), Natacha Ducret (mezzo), Lawrence Zazzo (tenor), Junge Kantorei, Frankfurt Baroque Orchestra, Joachim Carlos Martini. Naxos 8.554785-87 (New Zealand) 03D049 $20.98

JOSEPH-GUY ROPARTZ (1864-1955): Le Pays. This opera has some of Ropartz's greatest music. It centers around the love affair between a Breton fisherman, who is shipwrecked on Icelandic shores, and the daughter of a trapper who saves him. These are the only three characters in the opera, which makes it reminiscent of the last act of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde and sections of Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande. The music with all its French, late romantic, subtlety may remind you of Magnard's Guercoeur, which was reconstructed by Ropartz after the score was severely damaged by fire. More of an extended symphonic poem, where the voices are treated like instruments, this music is devoid of excesses and is some of the most beautiful and lyrical that Ropartz ever wrote 2 CDs. French-English libretto. Mireille Delunsch (soprano), Gilles Ragon (tenor), Olivier Lallouette (baritone), Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra; Jean-Yves Ossonce. Timpani 2C2065 (France) 03D050 $37.98

WILHELM STENHAMMAR (1871-1927): String Quartets No. 1 in C, Op. 2, No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 14, No. 3 in F, Op. 18, No. 4 in A Minor, Op. 25, No. 5 in C, Op. 29 "Serenade" and No. 6 in D Minor, Op. 35. These quartets originally appeared on LP in the early 80s as part of the Musica Sveciae series and continued to open the ears of collectors to the Romantic composers of the Swedish national school. The three single CDs have now been boxed for a bargain price. Imperative for anyone who loves romantic chamber music and who never purchased these fine works the first two times around. 3 CDs for the price of 2. Fresk Quartet, Copenhagen String Quartet, Gotland Quartet. Caprice 21536 (Sweden) 03D051 $33.98

MARIO CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO (1895-1968): Notturno Adriatico, Op. 34, 3 canti all'aria aperta, Ritmi, Signorine, Sonata quasi una fantasia, Op. 56, Capitan Fracassa, Op. 16. In these pieces for violin and piano, the composer uses modality tied to an archaizing sense (much like Respighi was doing at the same time) while creating melodies of French and Italianate lyricism. Some Impressionistic influences are present in the Notturno of 1924 and Ritmi of 1930 explores dance rhythms but in the Tre canti - free-form interpretations of archaic poetry from 1919 - and the sonata (1929), Castelnuovo-Tedesco's personal muse, archaizing and intensely lyrical, come through strongly. Francesco D'Orazio (violin), Giovanni Torlontano (piano). Well Music IDC 99907 (Italy) 03D052 $17.98

NIKOLAI MEDTNER (1880-1951): 2 Pieces for 2 Pianos, Op. 58, Sonatina in G Minor, Moment Musical in C Minor, Op. 4/3, Prelude in E Flat, Op. 4/4, Sonata-Skazka in C Minor, Op. 25/1, Piano Quintet in C, Op. Posth. This late supplement to Hamish Milne's Medtner cycle brings 25 minutes of rare music: the Sonatina was composed around 1898 while the composer was still at the Moscow Conservatory but its two brief movements show a confident handling of traditional forms and some of the rhythmical intricacies which would later be part of his mature style. The two pieces for two pianos were published together but the former, a Russian Round Dance, was composed in England around 1940 (engaging and light-hearted, alive with exuberant rhythms) while the second, a 12-minute piece titled Knight Errant, may have been a reworking of a more youthful piece intended for orchestra; it combines the narrative quality of the Skazki with the structural and tonal organization of the sonatas. Pro Arte Piano Quartet, Boris Berezovsky (second piano). CRD 3515 (England) 03D053 $16.98

ARNOLD BAX (1883-1953): Violin Sonata in G Minor, Violin Sonata No. 1 in E, Ballad for Violin and Piano, Legend for Violin and Piano. We have here the very early (1901) single-movement sonata which Bax wrote during his fourth term at the RAM and which he later suppressed along with many other early works (it was revived for the composer's centenary in 1983) and two other under-heard short pieces - the Legend and Ballad date from 1915 and 1916 respectively and the former reflects Bax's horror at the slaughter in the trenches in Flanders while the latter seems to be another expression of shock and grief at the suppression of the Easter Rising in Dublin. The better-known first sonata (1910 but with two sets of revisions) had its source in the composer's impulsive trip to Russia under the influence of unrequited love and, revisions or no, the intensity of his emotions still comes through loud and clear. Robert Gibbs (violin), Mary Mei-Loc Wu (piano). ASV DCA 1127 (England) 03D054 $16.98

E.J. MOERAN (1894-1950): 3 Piano Pieces, On a May Morning, 3 Fancies, 2 Legends, Theme and Variations, Stalham River, Toccata, Irish Love Song, Summer Valley, The White Mountain, 2 Pieces, Bank Holiday. Although our predecessors offered this disc on its publication in 1994, it has never had regular U.S. distribution, so we offer it again to customers who may not have acquired it before. Everything here except two items was composed between 1919-27 and it amounts to all of Moeran's extant piano works. The spirits and influences of Bax, Ireland, Warlock, Delius and the folk songs of Norfolk and Ireland are here in abundance, worked into an early personal idiom. Eric Parkin (piano). J. Martin Stafford JMSCD 2 (England) 03D055 $18.98

WILHELM KIENZL (1857-1941): Süßes Verzichten, Op. 16, Erfüllung, Op. 18/2, Deingedenken, Op. 18/5, Traumesahnung, Op. 18/6, Gesunden, Op. 18/8, Abendlied, Op. 55/6, Der unsichtbare Flöter, Op. 55/5, Maria auf dem Berge, Op. 55/3, Eine Abendstimmung, Op. 55/4, 4 Japanische Lieder, Op. 47, Wiegenlied der Bilitis, Op. 66/1, Augenblicke, Op. 55/2, Deine Träume, Op. 71/1, Frieden, Op. 71/2, Stille, Op. 71/7. Kienzl has been quite neglected as a Lider composer, so this new collectionis very welcome. The five-song cycle Süßes Verzichten and the op. 18 pieces reflect his admiration for Schumann; the Japanese songs are light and airy, impressionistic miniatures, while the op. 55 songs date from just after his only international success, the opera Der Evangelimann in 1901. The op. 66 songs had Emmy Destinn's voice in mind and she contributed a composition to the op. 71 set which was, in turn, probably written with the voice of Julia Culp in mind. German-English texts. Dagmar Schellenberger (soprano), Peter Stamm (piano). CPO 999 763 (Germany) 03D056 $15.98

GEIRR TVEITT (1908-1981): 100 Hardanger Tunes, Op. 151 - Suites Nos. 2 "15 Mountain Songs" & 5 "Troll-tunes". World premiere recording of the fifth suite of these Hardanger fiddle tunes from remote climes of Norway. The troll symbolizes magic and the whole "otherworld" beyond our own, so some of these fifteen melodies tell eerie stories (and the final one is titled "Doomsday", complete with clangorous bell-sounds and seven hammering timpani, evoking Judgement Day itself) as well as provide the expected dance pieces. The second suite (first recorded many years ago by BIS) has its own unique pieces: "With Wolves and Reindeer" uses animal sounds and "Old Nick, His Lament" is a devilish evocation of Lucifer. Wonderful to have more of these unique orchestrations! Royal Scottish National Orchestra; Bjarte Engeset. Naxos 8.555770 (New Zealand) 03D057 $6.98

BOHUSLAV MARTINU (1890-1959): Cello Sonatas Nos. 1-3, Cello Concerto No. 2, Variations on a Theme of Rossini for Cello and Piano, Variations on a Slovak Folksong for Cello and Piano. This vintage release features a cellist and pianist, in 1966 and 1968 recordings, who were renowned for their affinity with Martinu's music (they also formed two-thirds of the Czech Trio which regularly performed all of Marinu's piano trios as well). The first sonata, written in 1939 Paris under the gathering clouds of war, has a deeply introspective lyricism, set off by the composer's characteristic rhythmic tautness while the other two sonatas, dating from Martinu's U.S. residence, demonstrate his rediscovery of Czech folksong. Vectomov premiered the second cello concerto - in 1965, twenty years after its completion - which is a larger-scale version of the language spoken by the second two sonatas. 2 CDs. Mid-price. Sasa Vectomov (cello), Josef Pálenícek (piano), Prague Symphony Orchestra; Zdenek Kosler. Supraphon SU 3586 (Czech Republic) 03D058 $21.98

LAZAR NIKOLOV (b.1922): Piano Sonatas Nos. 2, 6 & 7. Along with Konstantin Iliev (1922-1986), Dimitar Christoff (b.1933) and Ivan Spassov (1934-1996), Nikolov was a standard-bearer of the avant-garde in Bulgaria. These sonatas date from the period of the worst suppression by the Communist Party to the new freedom and recognition of recent years. The second (1951) uses a fluid, dissonant contrapuntal style which verges on the atonal although it is in the classical three-movment form. The sixth (1982) is based on sonic abstraction, influenced by Boulezian serialism, in which the colors and sonorities of the piano play a major role, with all manner of playing techniques (outside of thepiano itself) being utlized. The seventh (1991) is a refinement of the same language but with the addition, here and there, of an angular lyricism. Angela Tosheva (piano). Labor Records LAB 7035-2 (U.S.A.) 03D059 $17.98

ARNOLD COOKE (b.1906): Concerto for Clarinet and Strings, ALAN RAWSTHORNE (1905-1971): Concerto for Clarinet and Strings, GORDON JACOB (1895-1984): Mini-Concerto for Clarinet and Strings. This 1981 recording was one of the first Hyperion issued on CD and it is still a valuable item for collectors since Cooke is one English composer whose time has yet to come (four symphonies and five other concertos). This 1956 work is the longest here, lasting just under a half-hour; the English pastoral tradition lives in its lovely slow movement and the first movement has a similar character although there are undertones of anxiety while the finale is a light, playful conclusion. Jacob wrote his Mini-Concerto in 1980 for the soloist here and its 11 minutes exploit the entire range of the instrument admirably. Rawsthorne's work dates from 1948, written for Thea King's husband, Frederick Thurston, and it is typically bittersweet in its harmonies, the strings having moments of equality with the soloist in a more intense and rigorous work than its genial companions. Thea King (clarinet), Northwest Chamber Orchestra of Seattle; Alun Francis. Helios CDH 55069 (England) 03D060 $10.98

GUSTAV HOLST (1874-1934): First Choral Symphony for Soprano, Chorus and Orchestra, Op. 41, A Choral Fantasia for Soprano, Chorus, Organ, Strings, Brass and Percussion, Op. 51. Separated by six years, these two works mark Holst's highest achievement as a choral composer. The symphony (1924) sets a veritable rag-bag of texts by Keats (including many with Greek subjects, like the famous "Ode to a Grecian Urn", which uses archaic open fifths) and the music is particulary challenging for the singers, with chromatic phrases and bitonal chords especially noteworthy in its scherzo (with orchestral reminiscences of Mercury from The Planets). The Fantasia uses the organ as an equal partner to help express an aura of transcendental and powerful mystery, fully translated to the listener by a performance in Guildford Cathedral's spacious acoustic. Texts included. Lynne Dawson (soprano), Guildford Choral Society, John Birch (organ of Guildford Cathedral), Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Hilary Davan Wetton. Helios CDH 55104 (England) 03D061 $10.98

MALCOLM ARNOLD (b.1921): English Dances, Opp. 27 & 33, Serenade for Small Orchestra, Op. 26, Sinfoniettas Nos. 1-3, Opp. 48, 65 & 81, 4 Cornish Dances, Op. 91. It is, generally, the relaxed, witty and genial Arnold who is on display throughout these short pieces. Although there are no violent outbursts as can occur in the symphonies, the second two Sinfoniettas have their moments when you are aware that serious matters and emotions are motivating the composer. Several of the dance movements, too, are slow, fraught with menace (as in the third Cornish Dance) but, overall, this is enjoyable, even life-affirming music in recordings from many EMI sources and collected together for the "British Composers Series" only last year. Mid-price. Original 1973, 1977-8 and 1980 releases. Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra; Sir Charles Groves, Bournemouth Sinfonietta; Ronald Thomas, Philharmonia Orchestra; Neville Dilkes, City of Birmngham Symphony Orchestra; Sir Malcolm Arnold. EMI CDZ 5 74780 2 (England) 03D062 $11.98

GERMAINE TAILLEFERRE (1892-1983): Harp Concertino, JOHN WILLIAMS (b.1932): Tuba Concerto, HENRI TOMASI (1901-1971): Saxophone Concerto, TOSHIRO MAYUZUMI (1929-1997): Xylophone Concerto. This welcome CD is the first in a promised series of 20th century orchestral works, offering three concertos for less common instruments to go along with the well-known Gallic virtues of Tailleferre's harp concertino. John Williams traces his love for the tuba back to a Dick van Dyke movie-score (Fitzwilly) and he also indulges some of his other pet orchestral sections in this concerto: there are prominent parts for horn quartet, trumpets and flute and English horn. The idiom is modern yet tonal (yes, a few places occur which sound like his film music) and now the tuba has another fine work by someone whose final name is Williams! Tomasi's concerto (1949) has insnuating, exotic rhythms and there is a Dionysiac quality about the mellow voice of the soloist which, however, works its way through a period of darkness before the final orchestral climax. Mayuzumi's work dates from 1965 and, like the previous two, is in a single-movement form. His characteristic eclecticism is on full display here, with influences from traditioanl Japanese music freely rubbing shoulders with Messiaen and other western idioms. Gabriella Dall'Olio (harp), Marc Easener (tuba), Duncan Ashby (sax), Johanne May (xylophone), Foundation Philharmonic Orchestra; David Snell. ASV DCS 1126 (England) 03D063 $21.98

JAROSLAV RÍDKY (1897-1956): Cello Sonata No. 1, Op. 2, LUBOS SLUKA (b.1928): Cello Sonata, D-S-C-H, A Cage of Nightingales, 2 Compositions, In Memory of Jaroslav Jezek for 2 Cellos and Piano. Works by teacher and pupil: Rídky was a student of Foerster and his 1923 dates from his period of study with that composer, a single-movement piece which contrasts festive exuberance with calmer passages. His student, Sluka, produced his sonata in memory of Rídky's death and its two movements are characterized by a lyricism which ranges from calm to virile while more of an agitated tone creeps into the D-S-C-H piece which similarly memorializes Shostakovich's death. Another memorial, that to Jezek, is a cycle of six minatures which employs the dance, jazz and blues rhythms so beloved of that short-lived composer. Jirí Hosek (cello), Ludek Sabaka (piano), Dominika Hosková (second cello). Vars VA 0136-2 (Czech Republic) 03D064 $16.98

RUDOLF ESCHER (1912-1980): Sonata No. 1, Sonatina, Arcana, Habanera, Capriccio, Non troppo, Due voci. These are Escher's complete piano works and they will come as an eye-opener to piano collectors who have never heard of him. Even though the sonata comes from 1935 and Arcana from 1944-45, the spirits of Scriabin and the Russian Constructivist composers like Mosolov and Deshvov flit throughout these pieces like dark angels, spreading splashes of neon onto backdrops of jagged metal buildings in a hellishly dark night. Non troppo (1949) is a series of ten pieces for advanced students which is a bit more adventurous than might seem apparent at first look while the Due voci of 1949-50 are brief, polyphonic dance-like pieces. Sepp Grotenhuis (piano). Ottavo OTR 90075 (Netherlands) 03D065 $16.98

ANDRÉ JOLIVET (1905-1974): Pastorale de Noël, JEAN-MICHEL DAMASE (b.1928): Trio for Flute, Harp and Bassoon, A.H. VET DU BOISBAUDRY (18th cen.): Sonata for Flute, Harp and Bassoon, Op. 1, MAURICE RAVEL (1875-1937): Sonatine (arr. Salzedo). Flute, harp and bassoon bring a strikingly enchanting sound to Carlos Salzedo's arrangement of Ravel's sonatina, evoking the softer colors of an underwater landscape rather than the sunlit brilliance of the original piano version. Damase's trio (1946) is gratefully melodic and harmonically piquant and witty with the shadows of Ravel, Poulenc and Ibert smiling benignly while Jolivet's 1943 suite of vignettes is richly evoked. The Boisbaudry stands out as being the first printed work for this combination of instruments and, though undated, probably was published between 1795 and 1805. In high Classical style, it has a songful Adagio and spirited rondo finale which must have been based on a popular song of the day. (At 19 minutes, it is the longest of the works on the disc.) Mid-price. Harpeggio. ASV Quicksilva QS 6252 (England) 03D066 $10.98

RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958): The House of Life, Songs of Travel, JOHN IRELAND (1879-1962): The Land of Lost Content, IVOR GURNEY (1890-1937): Down by the Salley Gardens, An Epitaph, Desire in Spring, Black Stitchel, PETER WARLOCK (1894-1930): A Prayer to St. Anthony, The Sick Heart, My Own Country, Passing By, Pretty Ring Time, GEORGE BUTTERWORTH (1885-1916): 6 Songs from A Shropshire Lad. Rare, early Vaughan Williams: The House of Life (1903) sets poems by Dante Gabriel Rossetti and, although it has no characteristics of the mature composer, it did produce a song "Silent Noon" which has since had a very successful life on its own. Songs of Travel (1905-07) set R.L. Stevenson poetry and the set works as an integrated cycle. Ireland's cycle (1920) is allusive, flirts with melody without embracing it , its haunted quality all the more unusual in that the Houseman poems it sets, seemingly so redolent of the psychological damage of the war, were written long before the conflict. Although Gurney survived the trenches only to die in a mental hospital, these four songs are all happily melodious. One of Warlock's songs, "The Sick Heart" has a similar sense of desolation to his famous cycle The Curlew although the other four seem untouched by grief or tragedy. 2 CDs. Mid-price. No texts. Original 1974 and 1975 EMI releases. Anthony Rolfe Johnson (tenor), David Willison (piano). EMI CZS 574785 (England) 03D067 $23.98

WILLIAM WALTON (1902-1983): Coronation Te Deum, A Litany: Drop, drop slow tears, Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis, Where does the uttered music go?, Jubilate Deo, Cantico del Sole, The Twelve, Set me as a seal upon thine heart, Antiphon, Missa Brevis, 2 Organ Solos from Henry V. Although the corpus is relatively small, Walton's choral works include some of the finest pieces of their genre, with The Twelve, Coronation Te Deum and Set me as a seal... enduring masterpieces heard in churches and cathedrals througout the English-speaking world. Christopher Whitton (organ), Choir of St. John's College, Cambridge; Christopher Robinson. Naxos 8.555793 (New Zealand) 03D068 $6.98

JAMES MACMILLAN (b.1959): Visions of a November Spring (String Quartet No. 1), Why is This Night Different? (String Quartet No. 2), Memento for String Quartet, Tuireadh for Clarinet and String Quartet. World premiere recordings of all but Tuireadh (the 1991 lament for the oil-workers lost in a rig explosion in the North Sea, whose expressions of grief range from quietly dignified to frenzied). Visions predates the latter by only three years and it is similar in its violence (edgy, obsessive rhythms) and lyricism (intensely heterophonic). The second quartet (1998) shows a simplified language, with less prodigal use of coloristic effects but there is a gain in expressive sophistication and dramatic clarity as it follows the ritual observance of Seder on the first night of Passover. Emperor String Quartet, Robert Plane (clarinet). BIS CD-1269 (Sweden) 03D069 $17.98

GLORIA COATES (b.1938): String Quartets Nos. 1, 5 & 6. Coates' music is a wash of melting, indistinct textures which often use simple forms like canons or palindromes to underpin the gently swirling waves of sound. She is notorious for her love of glissandos - the entire third movement and most of the second of the fifth quartet (1989) are in glissandos and the fragments of a hymn tune can just be glimpsed amid them. This quartet lasts half an hour but her first quartet (1966) is an elaborately chromatic canon lasting only 5:43. The sixth (1999) is a further distillation of her techniques which make her one of the most intriguing musical voices around. Kreutzer Quartet. Naxos American Classics 8.559091 (U.S.A.) 03D070 $6.98

EDMUND VON BORCK (1906-1944): Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra, FRANK MARTIN (1890-1974): Ballade for Saxophone and Orchestra, ERWIN SCHULHOFF (1894-1942): Hot-Sonate for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra (orch. Bensmann), DARIUS MILHAUD (1892-1974): Scaramouche for Saxophone and Orchestra, Op. 165c. All these works were written in the 1930s, two of great verve and impudence (Schulhoff and Milhaud) and two which are more disturbed by their times. von Borck was a fine conductor and successful composer who was able to conduct under the Nazi regime but whose music, influenced by Hindemith and Berg, was not promoted (he was drafted in 1940 and died on the Italian front in 1944). His concerto (1932) has a sense of urgency and biting sarcasm, delivered rather laconically and, like the other works except for Martin's, uses jazz elements (here in the finale). Bensmann was commissioned to orchestrate Schulhoff's Hot Sonata in 1993 and he turns the rather repetitive piano chords of the accompaniment into authentic jazz melodies while giving a different percussion instrument a workout in each of the four movements (washboard, marimba and vibraphone, snare drum played with the hands, and timpani and tomtoms). This is a notable addition to the saxophone concerto repertoire - more than a mere transcription. Detlef Bensmann (sax), North German Radio Philhamonic Hannover; Florian Merz. Koch Schwann 3-6597-2 (Germany) 03D071 $16.98

DAVID DIAMOND (b.1915): String Quartets, Vol. 1 - Concerto for String Quartet, String Quartet No. 3, String Quartet No. 8. Unlike many of his symphonies, which are imbued with a romantic flavor, Diamond's string quartets are generally well-worked out with contrapuntal lines which relate to each other thematically and motivically. The austere lyricism which is also a part of his symphonies inhabits most of his quartets as well; while the works are not programmatic, the long adagio of the third quartet (1946) was written under the influence of the suicide of the young woman Diamond had been living with and, in addition to receiving high praise from Leonard Bernstein, the work also won the New York Music Critics' Circle Award. The early "concerto" (1936) is a brash, high-energy piece which Diamond composed in Paris before and during his studies with Nadia Boulanger, while 1964's eighth quartet is a fine example of the composer's mature compositional technique. Potomac String Quartet. Albany TROY 504 (U.S.A.) 03D072 $16.98

FRANK MARTIN (1890-1974): String Quartet, WLADIMIR VOGEL (1896-1984): Colori e Movimenti, HERMANN HALLER (b.1914): String Quartet No. 2, KAROL SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937): String Quartet No. 2, Op. 56. This reissue provides rare recordings of Martin's 1967 quartet, a rhythmically charged work whose bleak, gray and tense atmosphere recalls certain German-language films of the same period, Haller's 1971 quartet, which has an intensely expressionistic character and the old Russian avant-gardist Vogel's single-movement piece of 1983 which uses progressive playing techniques to produce unusual sound atmospheres. Original 1984 and 1988 releases. Amati Quartet, Zürich. Divox CDX 25231 (Switzerland) 03D073 $13.98

WLADIMIR VOGEL (1896-1984): Klangexpressionen, HERMANN HALLER (b.1914): String Quartet No. 3, JOSEPH HAYDN (1732-1809): String Quartets in G and in F, Op. 77, Nos. 1 & 2. Haller's third quartet, from 1992, is a densely compacted, 12-and-a-half minute block of freely tonal expressionism while Vogel's work, again from 1983, continues in the vein of his Colori e movimenti (see above). Amati Quartet, Zürich. Divox CDX 25230 (Switzerland) 03D074 $13.98

LOUIS MOYSE (b.1912): Flute Sonata No. 1, Flute Sonata No. 2, Introduction, Theme and Variations for Flute and Piano. Son of the famous French flutist, co-founder of the Marlboro music festival, editor of widely-used flute pedagogical publications, Moyse also has composed close to 100 pieces. He gratefully acknowledges Martinu as a major influence (finding French music too light and German too heavy) and the rhythmic vitality associated with the Czech composer is to be found throughout these late works (the sonatas from 1974 and 1998 and the variations from 1980) with the added influence of Japanese music and the shakuhachi in the in the Introduction, Theme & Variations. Each of the sonatas has four movements and each has a devilshly virtuosic scherzo, and the second sonata follows it with a full-fledged toccata, but Moyse's slow movements are also gripping, serious utterances not normally associated with the flute. Three major works for the flute which should appeal even to those who don't normally search out that instrument. Karen Kevra (flute), Paul Orgel (piano). CRI CD 888 (U.S.A.) 03D075 $17.98

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PAVEL VRANICKY (1756-1808): String Quartets, Op. 16, Nos. 1-4. Stamic Quartet. Panton 81 1124 (Czech Republic) 03D076 $8.98

ANTONÍN VRANICKY (1761-1820): Mass in E, VÁCLAV JAN TOMÁSEK (1774-1850): Missa solemnis, Op. 81. Jana Jonásová (soprano), Marie Mrázová (contralto), Vladimír Dolezal (tenor), Richard Novák (bass), Kühn Mixed Chorus, Prague Chamber Orchestra; Pavel Kühn. Supraphon 11 2138-2 (Czech Republic) 03D077 $8.98

ANTONÍN VRANICKY (1761-1820): Quintet for Oboe, String Trio and Double Bass in G Minor, ANTONÍN REICHA (1770-1836): Octet, Op. 96. Czech Nonet. Bonton 71 0145-2 (Czech Republic) 03D078 $8.98

FRANZ XAVER RICHTER (1709-1789): Sinfonia in B, JAN KRTITEL VANHAL (1739-1813): Sinfonia in C, FRANZ SCHUBERT (1797-1828): Overture in C Minor, ANTONÍN DVORÁK (1841-1904): Bagatelles for Violin and Viola, Op. 75a, BOHUSLAV MARTINU (1890-1959): Serenade No. 4, FERENC FARKAS (1905-2000): Piccola musica di concerto. Eva Lustigová (violin), Libor Novácek (viola), Czechoslovak Chamber Orchestra Prague; Otokar Stejskal. Panton 81 1224-2 (Czech Republic) 03D079 $8.98

FRANTISEK VÁCLAV MÍCA (1694-1744): Easter Meditations. Le Monde Classique. Supraphon 11 2187-2 (Czech Republic) 03D080 $8.98

JAN VÁCLAV HUGO VORÍSEK (1791-1825): Sonata for Piano and Violin in G, Op. 5, Rondo for Piano and Violin, Op. 8, Variations for Piano andCello, Op. 9. Ivan Klansky (piano), Cenek Pavlík (violin), Marek Jerie (cello). Supraphon 11 1333-2 (Czech Republic) 03D081 $8.98

JAN VÁCLAV HUGO VORÍSEK (1791-1825): Piano Works, Vol. 1 - Fantaisie, Op. 12, Sonata in B Flat Minor, Op. 20, Variations in B Flat, Op. 19, Impromptus, Op. 7. Artur Pizarro (piano). Collins Classics 14582 (England) 03D082 $11.98

JAN VÁCLAV HUGO VORÍSEK (1791-1825): Piano Works, Vol. 2 - 12 Rhapsodies, Op. 1, Le Désir, Op. 3, Le Plaisir, Op. 4. Artur Pizarro (piano). Collins Classics 14772 (England) 03D083 $11.98

OSKAR NEDBAL (1874-1930): Andersen, From Tale to Tale. Dvorák Chamber Orchestra; Miroslav Homolka. Supraphon 11 1413-2 (Czech Republic) 03D084 $8.98

OSKAR NEDBAL (1874-1930): Princess Hyacinth, The Tale of Honza. Dvorák Chamber Orchestra; Miroslav Homolka. Supraphon 11 1414-2 (Czech Republic) 03D085 $8.98

IVAN REZÁC (1924-1977): Angel on the Rubbish-Heap, IVANA LOUDOVÁ (b.1941): Choral for Orchestra, BOHUSLAV MARTINU (1890-1959): Symphony No. 6 "Fantaisies Symphoniques". Prague Symphony Orchestra; Ladislav Slovák. Panton 81 1373-2 (Czech Republic) 03D086 $8.98

VOJTECH SAUDEK (b.1951): Piano Concerto "In Memory Gideon Klein", LADISLAV SIMON (b.1929): Piano Concerto. Tomás Vísek (piano), Brno State Philharmonic Orchestra; Frantisek Babicky, Jan Simon (piano), Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra; Vladimír Válek. Panton 81 1012-2 (Czech Republic) 03D087 $8.98

VLADIMÍR SOMMER (b.1921): String Quartet No. 1 in D Minor, String Quartet No. 2. Panocha Quartet. Panton 71 0357-2 (Czech Republic) 03D088 $8.98

JOSEF GABRIEL RHEINBERGER (1839-1901): Piano Sonatas No. 3 in E Flat, Op. 135, No. 4 in F Sharp Minor, Op. 184 "Romantic", Toccatina in G Minor, Op. 19, Toccata in C Minor, Op. 115. Jürg Hanselmann (piano). Prezioso CD 800.009 (Germany) 03D089 $6.98

JOACHIM RAFF (1822-1882): Symphony No. 10 in F Minor, "In Autumn", Op. 213, Eine feste Burg is unser Gott, Op. 127. Basel Radio Symphony Orchestra; Francis Travis, Pinchas Steinberg. Tudor 786 (Switzerland) 03D090 $8.98

SIMON LE DUC (1742-1777): Symphonies No. 1 in D, No. 2 in D & No. 3 in E Flat. Versailles Chamber Orchestra; Bernard Wahl. Arion ARN 55408 (France) 03D091 $6.98

WILLIAM MATHIAS (1934-1992): Fanfare, Processional, Invocations, Op. 35, Fantasy, Op. 78, Berceuse, Op. 95/3, Jubilate, Op. 67/2, Antiphonies, Op. 88/2, Fenestra, Recessional, Op. 96/4, Chorale. John Scott (organ of St. Paul's Cathedral). Nimbus NI 5367 (England) 03D092 $6.98

Looking for excellent new contemporary orchestral works?

ERIC EWAZEN (b.1954): Classical Concerto for Tenor Saxophone and Orchestra, Ballade for Clarinet, Harp and String Orchestra, Concerto for Flute and Chamber Orchestra, Chamber Symphony. Ewazen creates the kind of contemporary symphonic music which you feel must be the analogue to the creations of Mozart and Haydn: an easy-flowing stream of new compositions with fine, but never facile, melodies, fast movements of great rhythmic elan and slow movements of honest lyricism, a range of expression from dramatic and declamatory to witty and playful. Each of the concertos is in the classical three-movement form and each was written with a brilliant soloist in mind (the current disc's sax soloist and Julius Baker, solo flute of the New York Philharmonic) who is given music both virtuosic and grateful to the listener as well as never being busy or showy for its own sake. The Chamber Symphony has a prominent solo piano part, like the harpsichord in Baroque music, and here there is a touch of Martinu in the insistent, pulsating rhythms of the first movement. Orchestral color is vivid and everything comes wrapped in fine performances and an excellent recording. If you ignore composers like Ewazen, you aren't entitled to complain about a perceived paucity of enjoyable contemporary symphonic music. James Houlik (sax), Charles Neidich (clarinet), Marya Martin (flute), Eric Ewazen (piano), Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra; Paul Polivnick. Albany TROY 477 (U.S.A.) 03D093 $16.98

ANTONÍN TUCAPSKY (b.1928): Violin Concerto, Viola Concerto. Although written in the 1990s, these two very engaging works sound either late romantic or early modern. By a Moravian composer who studied with a former pupil of Janácek and Novák, this music is quite delicate and certainly has a Czech aura about it. The violin concerto might be described as whimsical, but it is well constructed and really holds the listener's attention. The viola concerto is more down to earth, and very melodic with a real Slavic soul. At times it may sound like Janácek, Martinu, Prokofiev or maybe even Shostakovich. These are live performances, which probably explains why they're so committed. The audience is extremely quiet, and must have been enthralled by the music. You will be too with this most welcome discovery! Víteszlav Kuzník (violin), Janácek Philharmonic Orchestra; Petr Vronsky, Pavel Perina (viola), Prague Symphony Orchestra; Elli Jaffe. Somm Recordings SOMMCD 221 (England) 03D094 $17.98

GERARD SCHURMANN (b.1924): Concerto for Orchestra, Violin Concerto. A splendid pair of works which will appeal to collectors of the 20th century English tradition or orchestral music in general. The concerto was written in 1978 for Ruggiero Ricci's golden jubilee as a soloist and is in two-movement form with the second being a theme-and-variations. Schurmann says that he modeled the piece on the Berg violin concerto, meaning that he is ever vigilant about the relationship between soloist and orchestra and the latter never obliterates the former with loud outbursts. Instead, for the most part, only instrumental groups accompany or interact with the soloist. The concerto dates from 1996 and was commissioned by Lorin Maazel for the Pittsburgh Symphony. Bartók is the composer's avowed model here, in matters of scoring and texture rather than musical material. Although there are echoes of the Javanese gamelan here and there (Schurmann was born in the Dutch East Indies), there is also an explicitly American sound in the writing for strings and brass. The notes contain the composer's descriptions of the five movement titles: "Summa Ferri", "Moonbird", "A Spirit in Mourning", "Aubade" and "Le Grand Concert". A vivid, exciting orchestral spectacular! Olivier Charlier (violin), BBC Philharmonic; Gerard Schurmann. Chandos 9915 (England) 03D095 $16.98

DIRK BROSSÉ (b.1960): Principals for Orchestra, Hope from Artesia for Soprano and Orchestra, Elegy for Cello and Orchestra, The Millenium Overture, Sophia Symphony for Violin and Orchestra. Principals is a kind of concerto for orchestra in which every first-chair player gets a chance to solo. Brossé is a communicative composer who also writes film-scores and music for plays and musicals and most of the music on this CD is couched in the wide-screen, Technicolor manner but also with a sense of irony and humor (some of the "principals" get a bit unruly as the 17-minute piece moves on). Artesia is a symphony which uses dozens of world-music instruments alongside a traditional symphony orchestra; Hope is a movement from this in which a child sings nonsense syllables to the backdrop of exotic instruments and western orchestra. Sophia is the longest work here - 34 minutes - and its title comes from a children's hospital, one of whose patients is represented in her struggles against cancer by the solo violin. Claron McFadden (soprano), Julian Lloyd Webber (cello), Liza Ferschtman (violin), London Philharmonic Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra; Dirk Brossé. Maestro Music Productions MMP 026 (Belgium) 03D096 $16.98

ROBERT WARD (b.1917): Roman Fever. Ward's setting of the Edith Wharton short story had its premiere in 1993. Like some of his other stage works, the line between Broadway and "the opera" is blurred, the 1927 setting in Rome allowing the composer to write a jazz duet for the two fortyish women, an Italian-like ballad for the only male role, a waiter, a truly operatic aria for one of the women and a soaring quartet for the women and their teenage daughters. (The work is sung all the way through.) Sure to appeal to collectors of both American genres. Libretto included. Manhattan School of Music Opera Theater; David Gilbert. Albany TROY 505 (U.S.A.) 03D097 $16.98

DANIEL LENTZ (b.c.1948): wolfMASS. Almost as though intended as a companion work to Schroeder's Pagan Mass (see below), Lentz' work uses the structure and concept of the Mass as a springboard for ideas, both philosophical and musical, which stray some way outside the accepted boundaries of the Catholic liturgy. Lentz' New-Age-ish conceit is the relation of the contrasting character of the sections of the mass to endangered animal species - well, OK, this is more apparent in the titles than the music itself, which is strongly rhythmic, very tonal and highly accessible, while retaining a refreshing originality of concept and style (for this is unquestionably very stylish music, whatever its eccentricities of conceptual origin). Jessica Karraker (voice), Pacific Mozart Ensemble, Daniel Lentz Group. Aeode Records AR 103 (U.S.A.) 03D098 $17.98

PIERRE SCHROEDER (50ish): Pagan Mass. As the title might suggest, this is effectively an essay in the World Music genre, broadly speaking. A celebratory work, it is completely non-denominational, a kind of New Age celebration of human potential and aspirations. Sampled and synthesized sounds as well as percussion and instrumental timbres suggesting (sometimes explicity) jazz and popular idioms are used in a tonal and consonant framework which evokes a kind of comforting spirituality. The strong rhythmic pulse of many sections and the uncomplicated harmony contribute to the effect of familiarity and accessibility of the composer's chosen idiom. Annie Kim (soprano), Renee Souza (mezzo), Kira Vollman (Eastern voice), David Kress (baritone), Pierre Schroeder (synthesizers), L.A.C.G. Chamber Orchestra; Harry Manfredini. Centaur CRC 2543 (U.S.A.) 03D099 $16.98

ARNOLD DREYBLATT (b.1953): International Dateline, The Adding Machine, Lapse, House of Twang, Meantime. Strongly rhythmic and with even the pitched strings used as a kind of extended percussion instrument, this piece is effectively an extended essay in Riley-like minimalism. It is probably heard to its greatest advantage in a basement theatre with black-painted brick walls and exposed pipework in New York City, and viewed in this light it provides a pleasing nostalgia trip back to the days when experimentalism and performance art were hip and non-mainstream, Laurie Anderson hadn't signed to a major record label, and so on. Oh, and to further enhance the illusion, it's packaged rather like one of those wonderful old Giorno Poetry Systems LPs, so don't expect to learn anything about it from the booklet. The Orchestra of Excited Strings. Canteloupe Music CA21006 (U.S.A.) 03D100 $16.98

RONALD STEVENSON (b.1928): Scots Suite for Violin, KLEMENT SLAVICKY (1910-2000): Partita for Violin, LUBOS FISER (1935-2000): Crux for Violin and Timpani, JAN HANUS (b.1915): Chut' zít - Fantasy for Violin Solo, Op. 127. The solo violin, so powerfully expressive and timbrally complete in the hands of Bach and Paganini, continues as a most fruitful medium in the music of contemporary composers. Slavicky's Partita is composed within a framework of Baroque models in a musical vocabulary which suggests the early-mid 20th-century style of Bartók or Enescu, and makes similar technical demands on the performer. Stevenson's Scots Suite displays the astonishingly broad range of the composer's inspiration, always within a framework which is identifiably Scottish, making him simultaneously Scotland's greatest composer of his generation, and its most cosmopolitan. Using traditional Scottish dances and bagpipe figuration, and then incorporating dodecaphonic elements into what is otherwise largely a modal work, Stevenson creates a vital piece of modern folklore in music, charged with atmosphere and memory. The two remaining works explore spiritual concerns, but in very different ways. Fiser's Crux has the drama of a setting of the Passion, which belies its small scale and economy of instrumentation. The Hanus is a slow, melodic meditation, with a quasi-improvisational feel. Petr Macecek (violin). Waldmann JW 014 (Czech Republic) 03D101 $16.98

ALEJANDRO ERLICH OLIVA (b.1948): 8 Estampas Portuguesas, CLOTILDE ROSA (b.1930): Contornos, ANTÓNIO VICTORINO D'ALMEIDA (b.1940): Rock n'Roll, Op. 108, EURICO CARRAPATOSO (b.1962): 7 Epigramas a Francisco de Lacerda, LAURENT FILIPE (b.1962): In Memoriam, SÉRGIO AZEVEDO (b.1968): Ricordo. These brief works, all written for the Opus Ensemble - an unusual instrumental formation - cover a wide range of territory, from the immediately accessible, even naive little song transcriptions of Oliva to the questing instability of Rosa's work, effectively an in memoriam piece for one of the founders of the ensemble, like the explicitly so titled pieces by Filipe and Azevedo. Filipe's In Memoriam is the most conventionally elegiac work of the three. Also in Romantic vein, and most attractive, is Carrapatoso's suite of seven tiny movements in contrasting moods. An most appealing and unusual disc of unfamiliar music in familiar styles. Opus Ensemble (viola, piano, double-bass). Strauss/Portugalsom SP 4350 (Portugal) 03D102 $14.98

JOHN CAGE (1912-1992): The Works for Saxophone I - Five for 2 Saxophones, Accordion and 2 Pianos, Ryoanji for Saxophone, 3 Pre-recorded Saxophones and Percussion, Four5 for Saxophone Quartet, Five4 for 2 Saxophones and 3 Percussions, Hymnkus for 2 Saxophones, Accordion, 2 Pianos and 2 Percussions. The sustained, static sounds of these pieces suggest electronic music, and all the works here, composed beween the mid-1980s and 1991, demonstrate one of Cage's principal preoccupations - music completely lacking in implied meaning, metre, pulse or functional musical progression of any kind. In these late works, Cage succeeded as completely as he ever did in freeing his work from the constraints of Western musical form, and the result is probably as close to pure sound as has ever been achieved by human means, even by those composers deliberately avoiding 'musical' methods by exploiting electronic means. Ulrich Krieger (saxes) with other artists. Mode 104 (U.S.A.) 03D103 $16.98

NIELS VIGGO BENTZON (1919-2000): Variations on "The Volga Boatmen", Op. 354, ARNE NORDHEIM (b.1931): Clamavi, ATLI HEIMIR SVEINSSON (b.1938): Dal regno del silenzio, HILDING ROSENBERG (1892-1985): Intermezzo, JEAN SIBELIUS (1865-1957): Theme and Variations. This disc presents a cross-section of diverse styles from Scandinavia for the soulful singing of the cello, and a very appealing one it is too. Sibelius is not principally thought of as a composer of chamber music, but the Tchaikovskian Theme and Variations, while not at all representative of the composer's mature orchestral style, is a fine melodic work in its own right. Bentzon's variations are based on the "Song of the Volga Boatmen", which is taken through a bewildering array of stylistic changes, incorporating much dazzling virtuosity and sly humor. The Sveinsson and Nordheim are in a more modern idiom, yet both conform to the melodic and overtly emotional style with which the cello has always been associated. The Rosenberg, adapted by the composer from his first cello concerto, is an uncomplicatedly lyrical piece, evocative and tenderly beautiful. Erling Blöndal Bengtsson (cello). Danacord DACOCD 554 (Denmark) 03D104 $16.98

RUDOLF KELTERBORN (b.1931): Cello Concerto, Chamber Concerto for Clarinet and 14 Instruments, Namenlos for Large Ensemble and Electronics. The two concertante works here display an urgent need to communicate, within a clearly defined structural context. Kelterborn's music is dramatically expressive, and freely atonal, without venturing far into the realm of extended playing techniques - in fact, the lyricism and long solo lines given to the cello and clarinet convey a cogent sense of narrative argument, even as the music is difficult to anticipate in conventional terms. "Nameless" is if anything even more extrovertly dramatic, creating textures teeming with activity in the orchestral parts, and then melding them into the electronic components in a fashion as seamless as it is emotionally intense and stirring. So the overall impression, although the idiom is definitely modern, is of dramatic storytelling in an expressionistic, almost Romantic sense. Ivan Monighetti (cello), Liège Philharmonic Orchestra; Jan Krenz, Matthias Müller (clarinet), Ensemble Collegium Novum Zürich; Jürg Wyttenbach, Basel Symphony Orchestra; Howard Griffiths. Musikszene Schweiz MGB CD 6182 (Switzerland) 03D105 $18.98

PETER-JAN WAGEMANS (b.1952): String Quartet, Ewig for Piano and Percussion, Frage: worauf hoffen? for 2 Cellos. Wagemans' music represents an interesting paradox, but more importantly than this, it is indisputably fine music with an unwavering emotional core and directness of communication in almost colloquial terms, while retaining musical sophistication. Mahler's name is invoked several times in the booklet notes - one might be more inclined to think of early Schoenberg, especially in the rich, chromatic string writing. Although Wagemens has worked in the medium of electronic music, he seems uninterested in funny noises for their own sake, and where he uses prepared instruments or unusual percussion, the richness of harmony and attendant warmth of sonority are the most apparent features, not the avant-garde acceptability of the unorthodox techniques. With an apparent grasp of popular culture and of the emotional power of music, Wagemans comes over as a reactionary in philosophy and an innovator in technique - a rare combination. Doelen Quartet, Paul Hermsen (piano), Richard Jansen (percussion), Monique Bartels, Monique Heidema (cellos). Cybele 660.701 (Germany) 03D106 $16.98

FRANK LEWIN (b.1925): Burning Bright. This opera is based on a play by John Steinbeck, which was not well received on Broadway, but which highly impressed the composer when he saw it in Yale University while still a composition student. A character study concentrating on the small ambitions of ordinary people, never destined to make a mark on history, with a limited cast set against a backdrop of provincial Americana, the story is both typical of Steinbeck's protrayals of the common man, and an ideal subject for operatic treatment. The story - of a circus performer who longs for a child to continue his line, unable to father one; his younger wife, the suitor by whom she becomes pregnant in order to give her husband the heir he desires, and the friend who helps and advises them, is slight, but the charactarisation and vivid scene-setting both in the story and the music are what makes this work so dramatically compelling. The first act is set against a complete circus performance, heard in offstage music; elsewhere too the incorporation of folk idioms, hymns and diverse styles paint a fully textured picture of the lives of the characters. More consonant and lyrical than the Ivesian conglomeration that this description might suggest, the opera is firmly tonal, with great emphasis on the all-important vocal lines which are drawn with great sensitivity to word-setting and the moods and personalities of the four protagonists. 3 CDs. Libretto included. Sherry Overholt (soprano), Rinde Eckert (tenor), Lee Velta (baritone), Scott Altman (bass-baritone), Westminster Choir College, New Symphony Orchestra of Sofia; Rossen Milanov. Albany TROY 469/71 (U.S.A.) 03D107 $50.98

BERNADETTE SPEACH (b.1948): Woman without Adornment for Reciter, Voice, Guitars, Bass and Piano, Viola for Viola and Piano, les ondes pour quatre for String Quartet, Chosen Voices for Prepared Guitar and Toy Piano, Angels in the Snow and When It Rains, Lleuve for Piano, Trio des Trois for Viola, Cello and Piano. These deceptively simple-sounding works are essentially introspective and Romantic in nature, for all that the composer acknowledges Cage as an influence and, like him, uses (in one piece here) a toy piano and elsewhere, aleatoric gestures within a composed framework. The quartet work must be one of the least avant-garde 20th-century works the Ardittis have ever played! A sense of improvisation, and familiar elements (such as the Spanish rhythms in When it Rains, Lleuve give these works a lively sense of original discovery. Various artists incl. Arditti Quartet, Bernadette Speach (piano), Rozanna (viola), Anthony de Mare (piano), Jeffrey Schanzer (guitars). Mode 105 (U.S.A.) 03D108 $16.98

NICO DOSTAL (1895-1981): Fröhliches Spiel, Spanische Skizzen, Wiener Errinerungen, Blues-Fantasie for Piano and Orchestra, Ein Mond für Verliebte, In meinen Bergen. Dostal was a very popular and successful operetta composer in Berlin both before, during and after the war but this 1979 recording offers selections of his non-operetta orchestral music. The Viennese and Spanish pieces are well-crafted and enjoyable genre pieces of a familiar type and the Blues-Fantasie also belongs to the type but the four-movement suite "In My Mountains" and the "Scherzo Overture" called Fröhliches Spiel are a fun mixture of Richard Strauss, folk sentimentality and film scores (of which Dostal also composed many). Oh, you don't have to worry about the quality of the orchestral playing... Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra; Nico Dostal. CPO 999 811 (Germany) 03D109 $15.98

PHILIP LANE (b.1950): London Suite, Diversions on a Theme of Paganini, Cotswold Dances, Divertissement for Clarinet, Harp and Strings, 3 Christmas Pictures, A Mritime Overture, 3 Nautical Miniatures, Prestbury Park. And "Brit Lite - The Younger Generation": 73 minutes of typically fresh-sounding, melodious light pieces in the fine tradition of Coates, Torch, Haydn Wood, etc. Royal Ballet Sinfonia; Gavin Sutherland. Marco Polo British Light Music 8.225185 (New Zealand) 03D110 $15.98

JOSEF RIXNER (1902-1973): Blauer Himmel, LUIGI DENZA (1846-1922): Funiculi, funicula, GEORGES BOULANGER (1893-1958): Avant de mourir, ERNST FISCHER (1900-1975): Südlich der Alpen, LEROY ANDERSON (1908-1975): Blue Tango, Belle of the Ball, A. FERRARIS: Schwarze Augen, GERHARD WINKLER (1906-1977): Medley, EDGARDO DONATO: A media luz, OSCAR FETRAS (1854-1931): Mondnacht auf der Alster, MIHALY ERDÉLYI (b.1928): Puszta Fox, RALPH ERWIN (1896-1943): Ich küsse Ihre Hand, Madame. Evocations of the hotels and resorts in cities and by the sea during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, each of which had a salon orchestra and a large quantity of light music to serenade their fashionable guests, from the latest popular tunes to well-loved older compositions. Salonorchester Schwanen; Georg Huber. Naxos 8.555344 (New Zealand) 03D111 $6.98

HUBERT STUPPNER (b.1944): La Chanson Française. If it's Stuppner, it must be different, right? In the past, we've offered at least two other Stuppner CDs which exhibit a playful, witty mind at work with the materials of Western pop culture and the mechanism of the classical orchestra. Here he's at it again, although the pop culture aspect is on the ascendant. The singer here (another story - she's 62 but look at the photos; I didn't think surgeons could do this... maybe she's a vampire?) performs twelve famous French pop songs of the Aznavour-Piaf-Montand-Juliette Greco genre (yes, La vie en rose is one of them) with feverishly rich orchestral backing, accordion to the front for authenticity. Stuppner has composed paraphrases (meditations?, improvisations?) on eight of the songs, also richly and lavishly scored, like a fever dream of smoke-filled French night-clubs of the 50s and 60s. Just the right amount of over-the-top, post-modern fun! French texts. Milva (chanteuse), Haydn Orchestra; Peter Keuschnig. Agora AG 288.1 (Italy) 03D112 $18.98

MARCO BETTA (b.1964), FABRIZIO DE ROSSI RE (b.1960), CARLO GALANTE (b.1959), CARLO PEDINI (b.1956), GIOVANNI SOLLIMA (b.1962), GIAMPAOLO TESTONI (b.1957), MARCO TUTINO (b.1954), PAOLO UGOLETTI (b.1956): Missa Giubilare di Resurrezione. This is a large, full-scale setting of the Mass, a collaborative composition by seven composers. All the conposers are distinguished by their melodic gifts; the language throughout is tonal, and the idioms, while individually identifiable, are all accessible. Hommages to Baroque and Classical models, in rather big, bold Romantic dress, seem to be the major unifying factor here. What is perhaps the most surprising aspect of the work is the way in which it hangs together as a complete whole, and a moving work of some magnificence and depth at that. 2 CDs for the price of 1. Francesco Marcacci (tenor), Chorus and Orchestra of the Sagra Musicale Umbra; Fabio Maestri. Agora AG 196.2 (Italy) 03D113 $18.98