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EDWARD ELGAR (1857-1934): Symphony No. 3 (realised by ANTHONY PAYNE (b.1936). More than sixty years after Elgar died leaving his Third Symphony unfinished, the sketches have been brought back to life in Anthony Payne's masterly realisation. Haunted by the 130 pages of sketches since he first gained access to them in 1972, Payne describes his work as "building a frame - or rather a context - to display the exceptionally rich expressive qualities and the symphonic potential of Elgar's material." Although there can be no pretense that this is how the work would have sounded had Elgar finished it, this realisation allows us to hear the final thoughts of a great composer. The first movement opens with grim defiance, followed by a wistful second subject; the development builds to a climax of great power which seems to cast a glance back at the world of the oratorios. The second movement is an Allegretto of divertissement type with the main idea taken from Elgar's 1923 incidental music to Arthur. A world-weary, tragic Adagio solenne follows, suffused with the composer's inimitable sense of pained nobility while the finale begins with a rousing fanfare and strides on in brilliant, heroic fashion. After 56 minutes, one is left with the feeling of having participated in something very special. (A companion disc which features performances of more than 50 examples from the sketches in their original scoring as Elgar left them - some orchestral, some for violin and piano, will be offered next month.) BBC Symphony Orchestra; Andrew Davis. NMC D053 (England) 03-001 $15.98

PETER ERASMUS LANGE-MÜLLER (1850-1926): Music for Once Upon a Time. Holger Drachmann's play, premiered in 1887 (set in the 16th century), and making use of a common folk-tale motif became one of Denmark's most popular and enduring works. Lange-Müller's incidental music comprises 24 numbers, 8 for soloists and/or chorus; the scenes in the Illyrian court are shot through with a bright, Rococo light while the Danish scenes have a darker, more subdued folk-like tone. The concluding Midsummer Eve Song is an unofficial Danish national holiday tune still sung at Midsummer Eve bonfires. A welcome return to CD for a most enjoyable score! English-Danish texts. Lise-Lotte Nielsen (soprano), Michael Kristensen (tenor), Guido Paevatalu (baritone), Danish National Radio Choir and Symphony Orchestra; Michael Schønwandt. Marco Polo/Dacapo 8.224084 (Denmark) 03-002 $14.98

CHRISTIAN FREDERIK EMIL HORNEMAN (1840-1906): Aladdin (An Adventure Overture for Orchestra), Ballet Music from Act 3 of Aladdin, Act 1 Melodrama from Esther, Suite: The Struggle With the Muses, Gurre-Suite. Horneman was the son of a composer and a close friend of Grieg, with whom he set out to topple the conservative Danish musical establishment dominated by Hartmann and Gade. Nothing here will sound revolutionary to late 20th century ears but Horneman does have a distinctive personality which can be heard in the dramatic, galloping overture (1863), the evocative, muted and mysterious melodrama depicting the inhabitants of a sunken city (1889), the brilliant "Sunrise" and delirious "Bacchanale" from the Struggle With Muses (1897) and the entire Gurre-Suite (composed at the same time as Schoenberg's Gurrelieder!). Distinctive music, well worth discovering! Aalborg Symphony Orchestra; Owain Arwel Hughes. BIS 749 (Sweden) 03-003 $17.98

CHRISTOPH ERNST FRIEDRICH WEYSE (1774-1842): Christmas Cantata No. 3 "Sing and Rejoice, O World in Thy Gladness", Easter Cantata No. 1 "Hail O Hail, Thou Dawn of Life Arising". Weyse, the first significant Danish symphonist, is represented here by canatas from, respectively, 1836 and 1821. The latter begins and ends in jubilation with turbulent sections representing the Entombment and Resurrection while the former alternates between exultation and lyrical interludes addressing the Christ child. Danish-English texts. Bodil Arnesen (soprano), Dorthe Elsebet Larsen (soprano), Kirsten Dolberg (mezzo), Peter Grønlund (tenor), Stephen Milling (bass), Tivoli Concert Choir, Tivoli Symphony Orchestra; Michael Schønwandt. Marco Polo/Dacapo 8.224 049 (Denmark) 03-004 $14.98

FRIEDRICH KUHLAU (1786-1832): Complete Sonatas for Flute and Piano. Kuhlau is one of the main figures in early Danish Romanticism. These seven sonatas date from 1824-27 and show both classical influences as well as burgeoning Romanticism, especially in the E minor third sonata and in the final, Grande sonate concertante in A minor. 2 CDs. Eyvind Rafn (flute), Esther Vagning (piano). Marco Polo/Dacapo 8.224071-72 (Denmark) 03-005 $29.98

MICHAEL HAYDN (1737-1806): Incidental Music to Voltaire's Zaire (Sinfonia in D), P13, Notturno solenne in E Flat, Pdeest, Notturno in F, Op. 106. Dating from 1777, the Zaire music belongs to the fashion for "Turkish" music which was all the rage at the time; in five segments, this fresh-sounding entr'acte music demonstrates Haydn's skill for expressing special affects. Coupled are two Notturni for two horns and strings which are characteristic of the period's "outdoor music". Deutsche Kammerakademie Neuss; Johannes Goritzki. CPO 999 512 (Germany) 03-006 $15.98

LUDWIG AUGUST LEBRUN (1752-1790): Clarinet Concerto in B Flat, JOSEPH BEER (1744-1812): Clarinet Concerto in B Flat, FRANZ ANTON HOFFMEISTER (1754-1812): Concerto for 2 Clarinets and Orchestra in E Flat. Clarinettist Klöcker's archival rummaging has turned up three more world premiere recordings in this first volume of a series of clarinet concertos from the Imperial and Royal Court Orchestras of Vienna and Berlin. These works all come from the collection of clarinettist and composer Joseph Beer whose concerto (in one movement) crosses the Romantic threshold. Lebrun's work is stylistically close to Mozart as is Hoffmeister's which particularly exploits the low registers of the paired instruments. Dieter Klöcker, Waldemar Wandel (clarinets), Munich Chamber Orchestra; Hans Stadlmeier. Koch Schwann 364222 (Germany) 03-007 $16.98

JOHANN FRIEDRICH REICHARDT (1752-1814): Trio in B Flat, Op. 1/3, Three Trios, Op. 4. Almost forgotten today, Reichardt was an important figure in the history of the German lied and his stage works were equally influential. His instrumental compositions have sunk almost without trace however, making this new release of string trios particularly welcome. The op. 4 works, published in 1786, are in three movements of the typical sonata, song-like andante and final rondo form and the violin dominates. The other trio, from 1778, is in similar style but with a prominent role at times for the viola. All are conservatively "classical". Ensemble AGORA. MD&G 603 0731 (Germany) 03-008 $18.98

FRANTISEK BENDA (1709-1786): Violin Sonatas in A, B Flat, G, A Minor and A. Benda spent much of his career at the court of Frederick the Great and, though Frederick's instrument was the flute, found plenty of time to write more than 100 works for violin. Self-admittedly not a great contrapuntalist, Benda composed to his strength: an inherent Bohemian ability to write tuneful, song-like music which is on offer here in these five three-movement sonatas (the cello plays a "continuo" role). Shizuka Ishikawa (violin), Petr Hejny (cello), Josef Hála (piano). Lotos 0050 (Czech Republic) 03-009 $16.98

LEÓ WEINER - Csongor es Tünde - CD Premiere!

LEÓ WEINER (1885-1960): Csongor es Tünde (Suite), Op. 10/b, Hungarian Folk Dances for Orchestra, Op. 18. Appearing for the first time on CD, Weiner's suite of music composed for a nationlist Hungarian play in 1913 gives further impetus (after the string quartets which we offered two months ago) to an apparent attempt to reclaim a fine 20th century Romantic composer. In six parts, the suite comprises an atmospheric representation of Night, a characterization of one of the play's roles, Balga - a stuffing of the rhythmically coarse verbunkos into a minuet's bag - followed by Mendessohnian Fairy Dance. The center of the suite is a gravely beautiful portrayal in siciliano rhythms of The Sorrowing Tünde; a baleful, Witches' Kitchen (in Lisztian Mephisto fastion) comes next before the work ends in a dreamy barcarole-like The Golden Apple Tree. Although it has only one rival in the catalogue, the accompanying Hungarian suite of folk dances, based on actual folk melodies, shoud be as popular as any of Enesco's or Kodály's works in similar form. North Hungarian Symphony Orchestra, Miskolc; László Kovács. Hungaroton HCD 31740 (Hungary) 03-010 $16.98

ARNOLD BAX (1883-1953): Symphony No. 1 in E Flat, In the Faery Hills, The Garden of Fand. Bax's stormy, war-haunted first symphony of 1922 receives a more spontaneous, volatile reading than Bryden Thomson's monumental Chandos portrayal. More like Myer Fredman's 1971 Lyrita recording, this performance portrays the disillusioned, angry young man Bax was after the failed Irish Easter Uprising and the devastation of World War I. The two tone poems also benefit from the extra adrenaline in this first of Naxos' budget Bax series which promises to be a valuable complement to Thomson's different but equally authoritative series. Royal Scottish National Orchestra; David Lloyd-Jones. Naxos 8.553525 (Hong Kong) 03-011 $5.98

MARINUS DE JONG (1891-1984):Scherzo-Idylle uit Haiwadha's Lied, Op. 68, Nocturno "Schemeravond op Esschenhof", Op. 53, Three Van Gogh Pictures, Op. 58, PETER BENOIT (1834-1901): Troisième Fantaisie, Op. 18, Quatrième Fantaisie, Op. 20, LODEWIJK MORTELMANS (1868-1952): Minuet Varié, Het Wielewaalt en Leeuwerkt, JOSEPH JONGEN (1873-1953): 2 Pièces, Op. 33. VICTOR LEGLEY (1915-1994): Sonata No. 2 "Des", Op. 84/1, Sonata No. 4, Op. 107. A survey of Belgian piano music: from Benoit's ardent romanticism and Mortelmans' lyricism to the impressionism of Jongen, the colorful and evocative music of De Jong and the classical expressionism of Legley. Jozef De Beenhouwer (piano). Phaedra 92015 (Belgium) 03-012 $16.98

ERNST VON DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960): Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 27, Violin Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 43. Coupled for the first time on CD, these concertos bring much warm, Straussian and Brahmsian music to the collector of late Romantic music. The first concerto, from 1915, has structual affinities with Brahms' Symphony No. 1 and what sounds like a motif quoted from Strauss' Salomé. The second concerto, from 1950, brings solo writing of Kreislerian excitement and adds a dash of Reger to the mix as well. A happy addition to the catalogue! Vilmos Szabadi (violin), Budapest Symphony Orchestra; Tamás Vásáry. Hungaroton HCD 31759 (Hungary) 03-013 $16.98

LÁSZLÓ LAJTHA (1892-1963): Symphony No. 5, Op. 55, Symphony No. 6, Op. 61, Overture to the Ballet Lysistrata, Op. 19. Volume 6 of Lajtha's orchestral works brings two symphonies which follow the composer's typical pattern - an odd-numbered work (from 1952) which is dark and sometimes tortured in feeling, the unease broken by some choral-like sections which themselves are rather plaintive. The sixth symphony, from 1955, brings a mood of relaxation and diversion with an enlarged percussion section contributing to the playfulness and variety of the sound. The ballet overture (1937) is brilliantly scored and orchestrated and shows the composer's genial sense of humor. Pécs Symphony Orchestra; Nicolás Pasquet. Marco Polo 8.223672 (Hong Kong) 03-014 $14.98

SÁNDOR SZOKOLAY (b.1931): Violin Concerto, Op. 13, Concerto for 2 Violins and Orchestra, Op. 127, Solo Sonata for Violin No. 2, Op. 141. Szokolay's music inevitably recalls Bartók, the relatively early (1956) violin concerto more than the other two works, from the 1990s, which look back to pre-classical models, notably Bach, and achieve a gripping, rhapsodic air of pure delight in the expressive capabilities of the violin. Especially noteworthy is the beautiful variation-form slow movement of the two-violin-concerto, while the sonata, with its use of traditional forms in a modern idiom, is a major work which is a valuable addition to the violin repertory. Orsolya Szokolay, L. Edvin Csüry (violins), Savaria Symphony Orchestra; Robert Houlihan. Hungaroton HCD 31712 (Hungary) 03-015 $16.98

PIERRE OCTAVE FERROUD (1900-1936): Symphony in A, Types, Sérénade, Foules. Ferroud's symphony dates from 1930 and, opening with a banshee shriek, it continues in a bright, brassy and loud manner not out of keeping with its musical times. The slow movement, in contrast, is like a gravely tender sarabande while the finale returns tothe mood of the first movement with much glittering rhythmic play. Dating from the early 20s but orchestrated in 1931, Types is a three-movement satiric suite characterising, in turn, an old suitor (much humorous bassoon work) a Bourgeois de qualité (a rather correct, rigid waltz) and a businessman (dissonant, loud machine music). Foules ("Crowds"), from 1924 uses a huge orchestra in a steady accerlerando which shows off Ferroud's talent for orchestration while the 1927 serenade is a "classically" built suite of Berceuse, Pavane and Spiritual. A release which goes a long way towards rehabilitating a fascinating composer who died during his prime in a car accident. Orchestre National de Lyon; Emmanuel Krivine. Auvidis/Valois V 4810 (France) 03-016 $18.98

JESUS GURIDI - Basque Orchestral Works

JESUS GURIDI (1886-1961): 10 Melodias Vascas for Orchestra, Homeaje a Walt Disney for Piano and Orchestra, Una Aventura de Don Quijote, Euzko Irudiak for Chorus and Orchestra. The Basque Melodies date from 1941 and are orchestrations of folk songs ranging from dances and wedding song to love songs and religious melodies, all colorfully done and balm to the ear. The 1956 Homenaje (once available on a mono Hispavox recording reissued on EMI CD) is a free form fantasy which does not quote Disney cartoon melodies but which attempts to convey the sense of entertainment produced by them, resulting in much piquant and humorous use of percussion and wind instruments. The 1916 symphonic poem An Adventure of Don Quixote uses horn and cello to represent the battling knight-errant in impressionistically tinged music while the Euzko Irudiak is a three-movement work depicting a day in the life of a Basque fishing town from sunrise through storm at sea to the joyful return of the fishermen. Wide-screen color abounds! Ricardo Requejo (piano), Basque National Orchestra, Orfeon Donostiarra; Miguel A. Gomez Martinez. Claves 50-9709 (Switzerland) 03-017 $16.98

CHARLES KOECHLIN (1867-1950): Silhouettes de Comedie (12 Pieces for Bassoon and Orchestra), Op. 193, 3 Pièces, Op. 34 for Bassoon and Piano, Bassoon Sonata, Op. 71. Koechlin's Silhouettes (from 1943, although not premiered until 50 years later) are, like so much else from this unique composer, utterly delightful. These are character pieces which make use of a gigantic orchestra whose resources are used sparingly piece by piece to assemble a string of sketches of figures from commedia dell'arte, Molière and popular French drama. Brilliant writing for the soloist and wondrously imaginative orchestration make this a must for all fans of Gallic craftsmanship. The brief sonata (1913) and the Three Pieces (1907) show the same sensitivity to this difficult-to-write-for instrument. Eckart Hübner (bassoon), Inge-Susann Römhild (piano), South-West German Radio Symphony Orchestra; Roland Bader. CPO 999 434 (Germany) 03-018 $15.98

SIEGFRIED WAGNER (1869-1930): Symphony in C (Original Version), Ekloge (after Années de Pèlerinage No. 7 by Franz Liszt). Unlike many single symphonies, Siegfried's was written at the end of his life, in 1925 when he despaired of having his operas performed any longer and he still wanted to keep his name before the public. A curious construction, its first and fourth movements are original while the second movement consists of the prelude to his opera Der Friedensengel, Op. 10 and a stand-alone 1924 scherzo titled Hans im Glück became the third movement. This is the original version recorded here. (The 1986 Koch Schwann world premiere recording uses a newly composed slow movement from 1927.) Filling out the work is an orchestral transcription by the 21-year-old Siegfried of one of his grandfather's Années de Pelerinage. Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfaalz; Werner Andreas Albert. CPO 999 531 (Germany) 03-019 $15.98


VITESLAV NOVÁK (1870-1949): Piano Quintet in A Minor, Op. 12, Songs of a Winter Night, Op. 30, 13 Slovak Songs. This Slovak composer is still under-performed and -recorded, making this mixed recital the more valuable. The op. 30 piano suite (1903) consists of four mood pieces depicting moonlit, stormy, festive and holy nights while the piano quintet (1896) shows the influence of Dvorak and contains folk-inflected themes along with piano writing of great virtuosity. The Slovak folk songs, arranged over a period between 1900 and 1930, have a frank melodic appeal will delight the listener. Czech-English texts. Magdalena KoÏená (mezzo), Radoslav Kvapil (piano), Kocian Quartet. ASV DCA 998 (England) 03-020 $16.98

OTHMAR SCHOECK (1886-1957): Concerto for Horn and Strings, Op. 65, LOUIS FRANÇOIS DAUPRAT (1781-1868): Horn Concerto No. 1, PAUL HINDEMITH (1895-1963): Horn Concerto, FRANCESCO ANTONIO ROSETTI (1750-1792): Horn Concerto No. 2 in E Flat. Horn concertos from three centuries make up this attractive offering: Schoeck's 1951 work combines an autumnal feeling with clear harmonies and grateful melodies, contrasting with Hindemith's oddly brusque work of 1949. The Dauprat makes its CD premiere, one of five horn concertos by this composer/performer. No date is forthcoming but the work is solidly late Classical in style, making it a good companion for the Rosetti. Zbigniew Zuk (horn), Wroclaw Chamber Orchestra Leopoldinum; Jan Stanienda. Zuk Records 071088 (Poland) 03-021 $10.98

JEAN FRANÇAIX (b.1912): Divertimento for Horn and Orchestra, CHARLES KOECHLIN (1867-1950): Poème for Horn and Orchestra, Op. 70bis, EMMANUEL CHABRIER (1841-1894): Larghetto for Horn and Orchestra, PAUL DUKAS (1865-1935): Villanelle, CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921): Romance, Op. 36, EUGÈNE BOZZA (1905-1991): En Forêt, VINCENT D'INDY (1851-1931): Andante for Horn and Strings. Koechlin's Poème leads the way in recital of French horn music which, with the witty and jazzy exception of the Françaix, is redolent of the scented air of the forest and rooted in the hunt. Zbigniew Zuk (horn), Katowice Radio Symphony Orchestra; Zdzislaw Szostak. Zuk Records 070379 (Poland) 03-022 $10.98

FRANZ SCHUBERT (1797-1828)/MAX REGER (1873-1916): Der Erlkönig, Memnon, An die Musik, An den Mond, Du bist die Ruh', 3 Gesänge des Harfners, Im Abendrot, Litaney auf das Fest Aller Seelen, Gretchen am Spinnrad, Nacht und Träume, Greisengesang, Gruppe aus dem Tartarus, Prometheus. Reger's 1913-14 orchestrations bring Schubert into the plush surroundings of the late Romantic period yet there is still more of Schubert here than of Reger, whose instrumentation is sensible and restrained, using the strings as general accompaniment and woodwinds for characterization and underlining of emotional and psychological states. Well worth a collector's time! Camilla Nylund (soprano), Klaus Mertens (baritone), North German Radio Philharmonic Hannover; Werner Andreas Albert. CPO 999 510 (Germany) 03-023 $17.98

FRANCIS POULENC (1899-1963): Les Animaux Modèles, Sinfonietta. Here is Poulenc's largest orchestral work, more than 42 minutes of brilliantly crafted music for a ballet based on La Fontaine's animal fables and premiered in Paris in 1942. Animal and human figures interact in scenes of varying seriousness, ranging from the farce of "The Cicada and the Ant" to the violent darkness of "The Two Roosters" with a noble climax of moving music in "The Lumberjack and Death". On hearing a work such as this, sadly neglected in recordings, one regrets that Poulenc did not write more for the orchestra. The coupling, his 1948 Sinfonietta, is equally overlooked and equally delightful being, in effect, a four-movement "classical symphony" in which Poulenc's characteristic 20th century wit, clarity and gift for melody are used to fill the classical symphonic bottle with new wine. Sparkling! Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra; Jonathan Darlington. Timpani 1C1041 (France) 03-024 $17.98

FREDERIK VAN ROSSUM (b.1939): Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. 37, Symphony No. 3 "Le Souffle de Némésis", Op. 48, Réquisitoire for Brass and Percussion, Op. 28. Dramatic and powerful, van Rossum's music will appeal to all lovers of 20th century Romanticism: the concerto's tragic and mysterious atmosphere is laced with rich lyricism and melody while the symphony, from 1989 (subtitled "The Breath of Nemesis"), is a one-movement work lasting 30 minutes which depicts the Greek goddess of justice and retribution in an unbroken spiral of alternating crises and calm spells. André Siwy (violin), RTBF Symphony Orchestra; Frederik van Rossum. Koch Discover 920179 (Belgium) 03-025 $6.98

JOSEPH CALLAERTS (1838-1901): Gavotte, Op. 20, EMILE WAMBACH (1854-1924): Andante appassionata, PAUL GILSON (1865-1942): Suite, JAN BLOCKX (1851-1912): Sérénade de Milenka, EDWARD KEURVELS (1853-1916): A Childhood Ideal, EMMANUEL DURLET (1893-1977): The Refuge of Your Eyes, LEO VAN DEN BROECK (1896-1968): Poëma, JEF MAES (1905-1996): Impromptu, FRANZ CORNEEL D'HAEYER (1889-1971): Sarabande BEA. This recital pays homage to forgotten Flemish composers and teachers at the Antwerp Conservatory. The 19th century pieces are in the song-without-words or salon style ( a nice bouncy gavotte from Callaerts) but even the 20th century pieces are tonal and easy on the ear with little trace of passionate emotions (even for Wambach's piece written in London during WWI or Durlet's, written in 1945 during the Allied bombing of Antwerp); the mellow singing quality of the instrument is the main focus here. Beatrijs Schilders (cello), Urbain Boodts (piano). René Gailly 87135 (Belgium) 03-026 $16.98

LOUIS FRANÇOIS DAUPRAT (1781-1868): Grand Sextuor in C. Dauprat was the most influential horn player of his day and swept the Parisian public off their feet with his displays of virtuosity. This 41-minute work for 6 horns (in 6 movements too) is a breathtaking balancing act between acrobatic virtuosity and cantabile passages of "vocal" quality. Detmolder Hornisten. MD&G 324 0087 (Germany) 03-027 $18.98

BOHUSLAV MARTINU (1890-1959): Symphony No. 1, Symphony No. 6 "Fantaisies symphoniques". First digital recordings at budget price of Martinu's symphonies. The First Symphony was written in New England during 1942, full of the composer's inimitable motoric rhythms and swirling orchestral colors with an impassioned Largo inspired by the Nazis' recent destruction of the Czech town of Lidice while the Sixth was completed in Paris in 1953 ultimately to become Martinu's most acclaimed work. National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine; Arthur Fagen. Naxos 8.553348 (Hong Kong) 03-028 $5.98

LEO· JANÁâEK (1854-1928): The Eternal Gospel, Our Father, Lord Have Mercy, Elegy on the Death of My Daughter Olga, âarták on the SoláÀ. Janacek's 1914 cantata, The Eternal Gospel, sets a poem by Jaroslav Vrchlicky on the vision of a kingdom of the spirit governed by eternal love. The score is pure mature Janacek of the late period, rising to a grand climax reminiscent of moments in the Glagolitic Mass. Lord Hav e Mercy, from 1896 (for soloists, choir, harp and organ) sets an ancient Czech chant in music of alternating ethereal calm and rhythmic vigor while the Elegy (1903), for tenor, choir and piano is filled with painful resignation. Rare and top-drawer Janacek! Jadwiga Wysoczanska (soprano), Beno Blachut (tenor), Prague Philharmonic Choir, Prague Radio Choir, Prague Symphony Orchestra; JiÞí Pinkas. Supraphon SU 3314 (Czech Republic) 03-029 $6.98

PIERRE DE BRÉVILLE (1861-1949): 7 Esquisses, Sonata in D Flat, TRISTAN KLINGSOR (1874-1966): Sonatine Viennoise, Impromptus de Montsouris, Bouquet d'Olivier Métra. Teacher and pupil, Pierre de Bréville and evocatively pseudonymous Tristan Klingsor (his real name was Arthur Leclare) are virtually forgotten today. Franck looms large in the background to both, and by extension, Wagner, and there are many Debussyian and Ravelian touches in the piano writing. Klingsor was a renaissance man born out of his time - published writer and poet as well as exhibited painter, he was truly a man in love with Art in all its forms. While acknowledging the same antecedents as his teacher, his music is more modern, but there is always a light lyrical buoyancy and modality, sometimes (coincidentally) recalling John Foulds, and more often (not coincidentally), Ravel. Carole Carniel (piano). Ligia 0103056 (France) 03-030 $16.98

GAETANO DONIZETTI (1797-1848): Allegro in F Minor, La Ricordanza, Allegro vivace in G, Allegro in C, Larghetto in A Minor "Una Furtiva Lagrima", Presto in F Minor, Larghetto in C, Allegro in C, Adagio ed Allegro in G, Due motivi del celebre Maestro Faër messi in suonata. Having given Donizetti's chamber music its due, Arts now begins a series of the even rarer solo piano music, again championed by the indefatigable Pietro Spada (whose Clementi series still continues apace on this label). Most of the works are undated but this first (of three) volumes contains items believed, do to their refinement and complexity, to date from Donizetti's maturity. Pietro Spada (piano). Arts 47381 (Germany) 03-031 $9.98

ERVIN SCHULHOFF - Two Symphonies Premiered!

ERVÍN SCHULHOFF (1894-1942): Symphony No. 4, Symphony No. 6 "Symphony of Freedom". These two symphonies are powerhouse compositions which differ in fascinating ways. The fourth was inspired by the Spanish Civil War. Schulhoff was an ardent Communist and wrote music which might have been written by Soviet composers had they not been forced into ersatz folk-realism by the Stalin regime. This music is constructivist and moves like a metallic juggernaut, crushing all in its path with opening and closing march movements. The second movement sets a contemporary poem, Dying in Madrid, for baritone and an angry Beethovenian scherzo follows while a sullen andante leads back to the final punishing march. Astoundingly, given its composition during 1940-41 when, as both a Communist and a Jew, Schulhoff had to struggle to make ends meet, the sixth symphony strikes a far more optimistic tone. Another opening march reappears in the finale, sounding for all the world like a Hollywood epic film score (Spartacus comes to mind) and introducing in exact Beethovenian fashion a final chorus setting a poem by Chamisso which carries the work to a brilliant, hopeful conclusion. Roman Janál (baritone), Kühn Mixed Choir, Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra; Vladimír Válek. Supraphon 11 2162 (Czech Republic) 03-032 $16.98

FIKRET AMIROV (1922-1984): Kürd Ovshari - Azerbaijam Mugam No. 2, Azerbaijan Capriccio, Shur - Azerbaijan Mugam No. 1, Symphonic Dances. The 1964 Symphonic Dances make their CD debut here; dedicated to Khachaturian, they represent Amirov in a more traditionally western-oriented mode. Make no mistake, there is plenty of exoticism still here in this suite of five dances, but when encountering the menacing and urgent Capriccio (1961) or the passionate recitatives and woodwind adornments of the improvisationally vocal-like mugams, you know that your're not in Europe anymore! Moscow Symphony Orchestra; Antonio de Almeida. ASV CDA 1014 (England) 03-033 $16.98

NIKOLAI MEDTNER (1880-1951): Piano Concerto No. 2, Piano Quintet, Op. posth. Medtner's invigorating second concerto, dedicated to Rachmaninov, who reciprocated with a typically self-doubting dedication of his own fourth concerto, leading to the famous comment from Medtner "is music then such a terrible thing that the less of it, the better?" is coupled with Medtner's last, and in some ways most problematic chamber work, which occupied him through a period of decades. Konstantin Scherbakov (piano), Moscow Symphony Orchestra; Igor Golovschin, Ewald Danel, Milan Tedla (violins), Zuzana Bourová (viola), Jozef Podhoransky (cello). Naxos 8.553390 (Hong Kong) 03-034 $5.98

SIGISMOND THALBERG (1812-1871): Les Soirées de Pausilippe, Op. 75. These delightful miniatures are not the stuff of which the legendary rivalry between Thalberg and Liszt was made; the emphasis here is on melody and Mendelssohnian charm. Thalberg's music often emphasises the differentiation of a singing melodic line and accompaniment, nowhere more so than here, and it is a tribute to the sensitive playing of Francesco Nicolosi that these pieces come off so well on this disc. Francesco Nicolosi (piano). Marco Polo 8.223807 (Hong Kong) 03-035 $14.98

MAX BRUCH (1838-1920): String Quartet in C Minor, Op. 9, String Quartet in E, Op. 10. Bruch's only two quartets are youthful works, the first from his student period (1856), the second from four years later. Both are in the classic four-movement form and are full of vigorous and graceful tunes with a use of tarantella rhythms which look ahead to Bruch's folk-inspired compositions of his later years. Mannheim String Quartet. CPO 999 460 (Germany) 03-036 $15.98


JEAN SIBELIUS (1865-1957): Complete Piano Music, Vol. 2: Valse triste, Op. 44/1, Spagnuolo, Till trånaden, Mandolinato, Morceau romantique par Jacob Julin, arrangé par Jean Sibelius, Kavaljeren, Pensées lyriques, Op. 40, 6 Finnish Folksongs, 10 Piano Pieces, Op. 58. In the main work here, op. 58, Sibelius abandoned the romantic style of his early piano works for a youthful classicism with impressionistic elements. The op. 40 set shows this more romantic side with echoes of Tchaikovsky and Schumann while the remainder of the disc is devoted to brief rarities. Annette Servadei (piano). Olympia OCD 632 (England) 03-037 $16.98

JEAN SIBELIUS (1865-1957): Complete Piano Music, Vol. 3: Piano Sonata in F, Op. 12, Kyllikki (Three Lyric Pieces), Op. 41, 3 Sonatinas, Op. 67, 2 Rondinos, Op. 68, 4 Lyric Pieces, Op. 74. More dramatic, large-scale works are collected here with Sibelius incorporating some of the devices associated with baroque, classical and romantic music but integrating them with his own unmistakable language. Annette Servadei (piano). Olympia OCD 633 (England) 03-038 $16.98

OTTORINO RESPIGHI (1879-1936): Ancient Airs and Dances, 6 Pieces for Solo Piano, Sonata in F Minor, 3 Preludes on Gregorian Themes. Respighi's inventiveness and originality as a composer for the piano has too long been overshadowed by his mastery of orchestral sonorities. The harmonically respectful yet pianistically ingenious arrangements of early Italian lute music are a delight, while the 6 Pieces display a range of talents, from simple salon elegance to a very French Romantic sense of atmosphere. The lyrical sonata gives an unadulterated view of Respighi's prodigious melodic gifts; at times the piece sounds like a fantasia on themes from an imaginary opera! The Gregorian Preludes became the first three movements of Church Windows; in their original piano form they are equally striking works, though quite different from their more familiar version. Konstantin Scherbakov (piano). Naxos 8.553704 (Hong Kong) 03-039 $5.98

VICTOR HERBERT - Eileen: First Recording!

VICTOR HERBERT (1859-1924): Eileen. Originally titled Hearts of Erin and premiered in 1917, this most Irish of Herbert's operettas is set on the western coast of Ireland in 1798 during the rebellion against England. The title character is the niece of an English landowner who falls in love with Barry O'Day, a leader of the rebellion. Smugglers, informers and the English army are involved as well as a subsidiary love plot, all ending, of course, happily. One of Herbert's better librettos and a strong score make for a delightful entertainment. Recorded live with complete dialogue. 2 CDs. Complete libretto. Ohio Light Opera; Michael Butterman. Newport Classic NPD 85615/2 (U.S.A.) 03-040 $33.98

ANTHONY HEDGES (b.1931): Four Breton Sketches, Cantilena, Overture: Heigham Sound, Four Miniature Dances, Scenes from the Humber, Kingston Sketches. The latest offering in Marco Polo's British Light Music series. Like many of his colleagues, Hedges has written much "serious" music which has been little noticed since his commissions from radio, television and city councils have resulted in "light" music which has become well-known via broadcasts. The first of his "light" music works, the Four Miniature Dances of 1967 reflects the character of each of his children; 1981's Scenes from the Humber is a four-movement piece illuminating various aspects of local history as a commission for the opening of the Humber bridge; the Breton Sketches (1980), written after a holiday in Brittany, sound like light film music while Kingston Sketches, from 1969, has proved to be one of Hedges' most enduringly popular scores. RTE Sinfonietta; Anthony Hedges. Marco Polo8.223886 (Hong Kong) 03-041 $14.98

ALFRED NEWMAN - The Hunchback of Notre Dame

ALFRED NEWMAN (1901-1970): All About Eve - Suite, Beau Geste, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Newman effectively set the tone for much of the film music in Hollywood of the 40s and 50s, allowing those composers who chose not to emulate his Straussian style (such as Korngold, Hermann, Tiomkin and Steiner) to stand out all the more. Now Marco Polo's film music series gives Newman his due with a brief suite from 1950s All About Eve which manages to encapsulate the dynamism and frenzy of the Broadway scene into less than five minutes of trenchant music and a 20-minute suite from 1939's Beau Geste whose three motifs - representing the Foreign Legion, the Geste brothers and the Sahara Desert and its marauding Arabs - are marvelously worked out in combinations leading up to a frantic battle scene and funereal aftermath with wordless women's chorus. The masterpiece, however, is the score to The Hunchback of Notre Dame (also 1939) in which music of red-blooded vigor, passionate emotionalism and fervent piety combine to offer one of the most powerful film scores ever to come out of Golden Age Hollywood. As always in this series, the music comes with copious documentation, stills from the films and details concerning the reconstruction of these dazzling scores. Moscow Symphony Orchestra and Chorus; William T. Stromberg. Marco Polo 8.223750 (Hong Kong) 03-042 $14.98

NOSFERATU: A SYMPHONY OF HORRORS!

JAMES BERNARD (b. 1925): Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horrors. Bernard is the Bernard Herrmann of English suspense and horror films. Creator of the instantly recognizable Dracula theme which introduces Christopher Lee's appearances in many 60s and 70s Hammer horror films, Bernard has had a carrer of more than 40 years which began with study under Herbert Howells and Imogen Holst as well as a period as assistant to Britten during the formulation of Billy Budd. Now, for the 1998 re-release of the newly refurbished (and tinted, as it was originally in 1922) classic Dracula film Nosferatu by F.W. Murnau, Bernard was commissioned to provide a new orchestral score. Since the film is silent, the music is constant and this disc contains, in effect, the film itself in music (63 minutes). In classic form, Bernard creates a Nosferatu motif of Brucknerian type with powerful effect, played by trombones, trumpets and tuba which appears whenever the vampire does. But, of course, there are sympathetic characters also and this gives the composer a chance to create themes of pastoral charm and open-air rusticity too. It all comes together in a combination of film and sound which, in these days of rock soundtracks and distracting special effects, is literally unique. City of Prague Philharmonic; Nic Raine. Silva America SSD 1084 (England) 03-043 $16.98

JAMES BERNARD (b. 1925): Music from Kiss of the Vampire, She, Frankenstein Created Woman, The Devil Rides Out, Scars of Dracula and Quatermass Suite. A broad cross-section of music from adventure and horror films which Bernard scored between the late 50s and the mid-70s shows his inimitable touch whether on the epic scale of H. Rider Haggard's She (Ursula Andress was the title character) or in the intimate, eerie chamber textures of the series of Quatermass science-fiction films. Full-color booklet with stills, posters, notes and commentary by the composer. Westminster Philharmonic Orchestra; Kenneth Alwyn, City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra; Nic Raine & Paul Bateman. Silva America SSD 1059 (England) 03-044 $16.98

MIKLÓS RÓZSA (1907-1995): Music from The World, The Flesh and the Devil, Because of Him, El Cid, Young Bess, Julius Caesar, Sodom and Gomorrah, King of Kings, Ben Hur and The Story of Three Loves. A selection from some of Rózsa's most refulgently memorable film scores digitally recorded in 1984 and 1985 in demonstration sound. "Caesar's Procession" from Julius Caesar and the suite from the biblical film epics will bring down the house! Accompanied by a lavishly illustrated and annotated full-color booklet. Utah Symphony Orchestra; Elmer Bernstein, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Rainer Padberg. Citadel STC 77111 (U.S.A.) 03-045 $14.98

ALEXANDER KREIN - ... after Scriabin

ALEXANDER KREIN (1883-1951): Symphony No. 1, Op. 35, Jewish Sketches (Second Suite), Op. 13, Little Poem for Piano, Op. 30/2, Ornaments for Voice and Piano, Op. 42, Piano Sonata, Op. 34. This release we hope represents the beginning of a systematic rediscovery of a lost generation of Russian Jewish composers who were in or close to the circle of Scriabin. Krein's symphony (1922-25) inhabits the heady, voluptuous world of Scriabin, especially its second movement with its intoxicating interplay of flute and low brass instruments amongst the strings of the orchestra. Another point of contact is Szymanowski's Symphony No. 3 with the exception that, whereas the oriental, north African elements in the Polish composer's score were "exotic", Krein's are innate, Jewish, from a long tradition of folk and religious music (his father was a klezmer violinist). The 1925 sonata is an inseparable companion to the symphony - a single-movement work of great virtuosic demands whose main theme is based on an ancient Jewish chant and whose extremely chromatic and dissonant harmonies work their way to an ecstatic lyrical summit. The 1910 Jewish Sketches mirror the klezmer ensemble in their scoring for clarinet and string quartet and the Little Poem of 1922 is a Scriabinesque little jewel while the 1927 Ornaments are literally "songs without words". A release of major musical interest! London Philharmonic Orchestra; Martyn Brabbins, Cambridge New Music Players, Helen Lawrence (mezzo), Jonathan Powell (piano). Largo 56617 (Germany) 03-046 $16.98

BERTHOLD GOLDSCHMIDT (1903-1996): String Quartet No. 4, Retrospectrum, Variations on a Palestinian Shepherd's Song, 2 Capricci, Little Legend, Scherzo, From the Ballet, Encore. Goldschmidt has been referred to as "The Lost Composer", and although he is certainly not the only one, his is a particularly striking case. As a young composer in Europe between the wars he established a considerable reputation, but the upward trajectory of his career was cut short by the Nazi seizure of power, and he left Germany for England in 1935. He then lived in straitened circumstances, eking out a living by teaching and composing, and withdrew from active composition for 25 years, until his rediscovery and the recommencement of his work as composer in the 1980s. Thus this disc contains a fascinating juxtaposition of works from the 1920s and 30s, with several from the 1990s. The composer's economical style, with never a note wasted, reminds one of Alan Bush, especially in the works from before Goldschmidt's career was interrupted. Tense and polyphonically eventful, the music avoids any suggestion of academicism, always emphasizing melody even when the counterpoint is at its thorniest and the juxtaposition of keys at its most kaleidoscopic and bewildering. This is charted through the years in the composer's masterly string quartets, of which the fourth, on this disc, is a fitting summary of a remarkable life's work. Mandelring Quartet, Gaede Trio Berlin, Kolja Lessing (piano), Hansheinz Schneeberger (violin). Largo 56622 (Germany) 03-047 $16.98

BERTHOLD GOLDSCHMIDT (1903-1996): String Quartet No. 1, Op. 8, Piano Sonata, Op. 10, Clarinet Quartet. Two early works, and the one that signalled the composer's resumption of his career. The first quartet is a highly accomplished work which was admired by Schoenberg after its first performance (though it is not cast in a language that suggests great sympathy with the father of dodecaphony, and Goldschmidt never studied with him). The sonata is a tough work (and difficult without being showily virtuosic), and shows the young composer developing an individual voice - which remains remarkably in evidence in the clarinet quartet, with which the 80-year-old composer continued where he had left off, 25 years earlier; without knowing the history you could easily believe that the two works were composed within a few years of each other, at either end of the century, by a composer whose individuality transcended the passage of time or of fashion. Mandelring Quartet, Kolja Lessing (piano), Ib Hausmann (clarinet). Largo 56621 (Germany) 03-048 $16.98

BERTHOLD GOLDSCHMIDT (1903-1996): String Quartet No. 2, String Quartet No. 3, Last Chapters, Belsatzar. This was the first commercial recording of Goldschmidt's music, and includes the tense second quartet, his first work written in exile, and probably his best known at this point. Goldschmidt's predilection for strict archaic structural forms in music, as a solid foundation on which to base content of the utmost expressiveness - passacaglias, chaconnes and ostinato figures abound - is reminiscent of Sorabji, who also delighted in extending traditional structures to unimaginable heights of expressive intensity, though the music could not sound more different. Mandelring Quartet, Ars Nova Ensemble and Chorus Berlin; Peter Schwarz, Alan Marks (piano). Largo 56620 (Germany) 03-049 $16.98

NIKOLAI ROSLAVETS (1881-1944): Piano Trio No. 3, GERMAINE TAILLEFERRE (1892-1983): Piano Trio, DARIUS MILHAUD (1892-1974): Piano Trio, DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975): Piano Trio No. 1, Op. 8. Fine performances of underperformed repertoire. Shostakovich's first trio may lack the epic scope of the second but it intriguingly foreshadows the prodigious young composer's first symphony. Roslavets' work of two years earlier is a true successor of the harmonic sound-world of late Scriabin, which the Shostakovich, for all its harmonic freedom, is not. The two trios by former members of Les Six also have less in common than one might expect: the Tailleferre is elegant and basically tonal and melodic; the Milhaud looks back to Second Viennese techniques, bypassing his entertaining popular works of the intervening decades. Clementi Trio. Largo 56618 (Germany) 03-050 $16.98

JAN BLOCKX (1851-1912): Piano Quintet, MARINUS DE JONG (1891-1984): String Quartet No. 2. Blockx' 1886 quartet is lyrical work of vernal charm from its opening Allegretto Pastorale through its songful andante, pithy scherzo to its warm-hearted finale. De Jong's work, from 1926, looks back to impressionism along with its late romantic character and, in its slow movement - a chorale - reveals its composer's great love of Bach. Vol. 16 of the series "In Flanders' Fields". Jozef De Beenhouwer (piano), Ensor String Quartet. Phaedra 92016 (Belgium) 03-051 $16.98

VAGN HOLMBOE - 4 Symphonic Metamorphoses - CD Premiere

VAGN HOLMBOE (1902-1996): Four Symphonic Metamorphoses - Epitaph, Op. 68, Monolith, Op. 76, Epilog, Op. 80, Tempo variabile, Op. 108. Metamorphosis was important to Holmboe as a means of composition; as opposed to variation where a theme inevitably returns at the end, this process transforms musical material into something different without losing its basic characteristics. Regardless of one's ability to follow such things through a score intently, these four works, like Holmboe's dynamic and riveting symphonies, instantly command one's attention and hold it easily for the duration. Composed between 1954 and 1972, these four pieces range in size from the chamber-sized Monolith (less than nine minutes) through the multi-movement Epitaph and Tempo variabile to the nearly half-hour long single-movement Epilog. All of this is top-drawer Holmboe and doubly valuable since the symphony cycle is now complete. Aalborg Symphony Orchestra; Owain Arwel Hughes. BIS 852 (Sweden) 03-052 $17.98

NIKOS SKALKOTTAS (1904-1949): Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, Largo Sinfonico, Seven Greek Dances. Skalkottas was one of Schoenberg's favorite pupils but he went his own way in developing a personal usage of serial technique; the two major works here are the 1938 concerto, a bold, dramatic work with an exceedingly demanding part for the soloist which demonstrates the composer's personal expressionism and the 1944 Largo, a work of Brucknerian breadth (originally part of the Second Symphonic Suite which was left incomplete at Skalkottas' death) which announced the creation of a musical universe entirely his own. Both are world premiere recordings as are two of the dances, tonal works for strings which date from 1931-36 and are Skalkottas' best-known pieces. Georgios Demertzis (violin), Malmö Symphony Orchestra; Nikos Christodoulou. BIS 904 (Sweden) 03-053 $17.98

A ROMANTIC SWEDISH OPERA PREMIERE!

IVAR HALLSTRÖM (1826-1901): Den Bergtagna (The Bride of the Mountain King). Hallström was the only prominent opera composer in Sweden during the 19th century, also winning much popularity for his songs. Den Bergtagna was produced in 1874 and was performed 84 times over the next thirty-five years, becoming Sweden's national opera. The heroine of the title, rebelling against a planned marriage, falls victim to a stranger who is revealed to be the Mountain King. Hallström's music contains strong French influence while his gift for writing in folk style and his colorful orchestration make for a striking dramatic and musical language (which contains moments of reminiscence of Wagner and Verdi). 2 CDs. Swedish-English libretto. Monica Sjöholm, Hillevi Martinpelto, Lars Billengren, Norrland Opera Choir, Umeå Symphony Orchestra; Alan Hacker & B. Tommy Andersson. Sterling 1001/2 (Sweden) 03-054 $31.98

FRIEDRICH AUGUST REISSIGER (1809-1883): String Quintet, Op. 59, CARL ARNOLD (1794-1873): Grand Sextuor, Op. 23. This valuable series of premiere recordings from the Norwegian Cultural Council finally resumes with Reissiger's 1862 quintet whose first movement is based on a popular Norwegian patriotic song, followed by a brief andante and a folk music tinged scherzo. The finale is also based on folk tunes. Arnold's work dates from 1825 and is almost a chamber-sized piano concerto whose lyricism and hints of Romanticism place it between Beethoven and Schubert in style. Norwegian String Quartet, Hans Josef Groh (cello), Dan Styffe (double bass), Einar Steen-Nøkleberg (piano). NKF 50035 (Norway) 03-055 $16.98

MICHAEL HAYDN (1737-1806): Missa Sancti Hieronymi, Timete Dominum, Sancti Dei, Christus factus est, Veni Sancte Spiritus, Ave Regina cælorum. With over 400 religious compositions to his name, it's hard to know where to start with Michael Haydn but this attractive offering, featuring a mass accompanied only by winds, as well as three world premiere recordings of shorter pieces, is a good place to begin as if offers music of much charm by a composer whose contemporary fame, sadly, far outstripped his current status. Soloists, St. Jacob's Chamber Choir, Ensemble Philidor; Eric Baude-Delhommais & Ulf Söderberg. BIS 859 (Sweden) 03-056 $17.98

HERMANN GOETZ (1840-1876): Sonata in G Minor, Op. 17, ALAN RICHARDSON (1904-1978): On Heather Hill, AMARAL VIEIRA (b.1952): Haha: Fantasy on a Japanese Melody, Op. 271, Concert Paraphrase on Johann Strauss's "La vie d'Artiste", Op. 151, ERNESTO NAZARETH (1863-1934): Four Pieces (tr. Vieira). A large-scale Romantic sonata with more than a few echoes of Schumann, Chopin and Mendelssohn, an evocation of a Scottish landscape (which presumably coincidentally - though they were inspired by the same mountains!) has something in common with Grainger's Hill Song No. 1, especially in the Ronald Stevenson transcription, two attractive and tuneful fantasias by Vieira, and four elegant Brazilian impressions - who could ask for anything more? A satisfying and most enjoyable disc. Yara Ferraz, Marina Brandão (pianos). Paulus 11101-5 (Brazil) 03-057 $16.98

HENRY COWELL (1897-1865): The Voice of Lir, Advertisement, Anger Dance, Amiable Conversation, The Tides of Manaunaun, Aeolian Harp, The Hero Sun, Tiger, 6 Ings, Dynamic Motion, The Harp of Life, What's This?, Sinister Resonance, Fabric, Antinomy, The Trupet of Angus Og, The Banshee, Maestoso, The Lilt of the Reel. Cowell's piano music is fascinating - the impression it gives is basically tonal for the most part, and yet with the famous use of tone-clusters augmenting the sound of the piano like a battery of unpitched percussion, while the direct contact on the strings adds some strident primitive harp to the ensemble; the uncanny aspect of the whole thing is the skill with which he makes his compositions for piano and virtual percussion section sound entirely natural and integrated. Clusters or no, the music is exceedingly listener-friendly, and the cross-rhythms and sheer inventiveness of material make it at once individual in style and always interesting, not to say eerily beautiful. Sorrel Doris Hays (piano). Town Hall TH-48 (U.S.A.) 03-058 $17.98

JOHN KINSELLA (b.1932): Symphony No. 3 "Joie de Vivre", Symphony No. 4 "The Four Provinces". Dublin-born Kinsella is a composer whose gifts cannot be overstated. There is a ruggedness and power, an exhilaration of light and landscape in his music which recalls the finest Scandinavian symphonists; indeed, both Sibelius and Nielsen loom large in Kinsella's compositional universe. His language encompasses a similar use of propulsive, progressive functional harmony as that espoused by Nielsen, and his disciple, the late Robert Simpson. The Third Symphony is subtitled Joie de vivre, but it is a more dramatic, tougher work than that might suggest. There is a notable absence of "picturesque Irishness" in this music, no overt folk influences and "folk tunes", the composer's principal concern being a tautly argued dialectic of memorable ideas. In five movements, played without a break, the symphony progresses from a meditative, even a little mournful, opening through a kaleidoscope of moods as it approaches a forthright and emphatic conclusion. The Fourth Symphony is even more the reaction of a human spirit in a dramatic landscape - in this case, the four provinces of Ireland, from the wide-open mountains and grasslands of Connacht to the tragedy and violence inevitably associated with Ulster - all this without any suggestion of political or social commentary; the work generates its own drama in purely musical terms. Kinsella is without question more than eligible to take his place in the pantheon of 20th-century symphonists - Pettersson, Simpson, Sallinen, Brian - among whose works are the pillars on which the edifice of orchestral music of our time is supported. This issue deserves the highest recommendation. National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland; Proinnsías Ó Duinn. Marco Polo 8.223766 (Hong Kong) 03-059 $14.98

GERALD BARRY (b.1952): Of Queen's Gardens, Chevaux-de-frise, Flamboys, Sur les pointes, Hard D, Diner. Barry's penchant for regular, percussive, galloping rhythms, and large blocks of fortissimo orchestral outbursts, generates considerable visceral excitement, not to say exhilaration. The music is powerful, and though dissonant, it is organised according to sufficiently obvious principles as to render it approachable and accessible at first hearing. National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland; Robert Houlihan. Marco Polo 8.225006 (Hong Kong) 03-060 $14.98

SVEND NIELSEN (b.1937): Carillons for Sinfonietta, Sinfonia concertante for Cello and Chamber Orchestra, Nightfall for Chamber Orchestra. Nielsen's music is defined by its utmost refinement, its economy, lucidity and exquisitely balanced use of color. Carillons presents interactions between impressionistic fragments of themes, fleeting and evocative, with a sense of nostalgia or memories evoked by their transient nature. The fragments themselves sound like fugitive impressions of tonal, even romantic, works, but redrawn in subtle, pastel shades. Even in the Sinfonia Concertante the composer constructs a mosaic of subtle impressions in which no egoistic concertante monologue is permitted to disrupt the mood-painting. When, as in the last movement, or in Nightfall the composer adopts a more conventional rhythmic dynamism coupled to a more insistent tonal center the effect is of a thrill of excitement which provides a welcome contrasting element to the music. Århus Sinfonietta; Elgar Howarth. Marco Polo/Dacapo 8.224078 (Denmark) 03-061 $14.98

JOHN FERNSTRÖM (1897-1961): String Quartet No. 3, Op. 23, String Quartet No. 6, Op. 81b, String Quartet No. 8, Op. 93. These delightful string quartets, in a very Romantic idiom yet unmistakably of the twentieth century - one thinks of Carl Nielsen as a valid comparison - not only have a great deal to say, but display great assurance in the means used to express it; the quartet writing is more than accomplished. While not, perhaps, plumbing the emotional depths of the Shostakovich quartets, they are nonetheless very personal works, full of emotional resonance and scintillating and imaginative writing. Vlach Quartet Prague. Marco Polo 8.225040 (Hong Kong) 03-062 $14.98

ARNO BABADJANIAN (1921-1983): Violin Sonata in B Flat Minor, Piano Trio in F Sharp Minor, Impromptu for Solo Piano. Few other composers of our century have produced chamber works as gripping, as symphonic in scope, as epic in conception despite their conventional duration, as Arno Babadjanian - Shostakovich, certainly, Simpson, perhaps Prokofiev and Bartók, but few others. Inflected with the modes of Armenia's national music, tonal yet harmonically distinctive and never conventional or predictable, these masterly works deserve to take their place on the programs of the great chamber music series of the world. Full of contrasts and the dramatic interplay of intense dynamism alternating with the most profound soul-searching introspection, these are major works of our century. Very highly recommended. Ani Kavafian (violin), Suren Bagratuni (cello), Avo Kuyumjian (piano). Marco Polo 8.225030 (Hong Kong) 03-063 $14.98

MILKO KELEMEN (b.1924): Archetypon II "Für Anton" for Orchestra, Nonet for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon and Strings, Composé for 2 Pianos and 3 Orchestral Groups, Die Richter for Double Chorus a capella, Infinity for Orchestra. Croatian composer Milko Kelemen was a student of Messiaen, and has written music in a wide variety of different, ambitious forms - although some of his works may be short, like the paradoxically titled Infinity on this CD, he is not a miniaturist. His concerns are epic, and the music matches them. "Anton" in Archetypon für Anton is Bruckner, the 19th century's predominant seeker after cosmic truths as expressed in symphonic form. Apart from en extended quotation from the 7th Symphony, Kelemen's music does not resemble Bruckner's. There is a hint of Messiaen in the saturated upper partials of the orchestration, and of Mahler in the white-hot romanticism of the composer's expression, but the language is generally more dissonant than either, without straying into the realms of the avant garde. RTV Orchestra Zagreb; Niksa Bareza, Ensemble 2e2m; Paul Méfano, South-West German Radio Orchestra Baden-Baden; Ernest Bour, Chorus of the North German Radio Hamburg; Helmut Franz. BIS 842 (Sweden) 03-064 $17.98

BENJAMIN FRANKEL (1906-1973): Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 24 "In Memory of the Six Million", Viola Concerto, Op. 45, Serenata concertante for Piano Trio and Orchestra, Op. 37. Frankel's violin concerto - as one might expect from its subtitle - is devoid of empty virtuoso display - which is not to say that it does not require a soloist of formidable technique and sensitivity. In mood, though not musical language, it is perhaps related to Vaughan Williams' 4th and 6th Symphonies. Predating Frankel's adoption of serial technique by a decade, the work is tough and uncompromising,and gripping throughout. The later viola concerto is a surprise, in that at the height of his exploration of serialism Frankel would write such a full-bloodedly Romantic work as this, moreover without betraying his technical ideals at all. The colorful and entertaining Serenata Concertante is like a most charming divertimento, full of little scenes and impressions captured in sparkling, winning music. Ulf Hoelscher (violin), Brett Dean (viola), Stephen Emmerson (piano), Alan Smith (violin), David Lale (cello), Queensland Symphony Orchestra; Werner Andreas Albert. CPO 999 422 (Germany) 03-065 $15.98

JOHN BIGGS (b.1932): Concerto for Oboe and Strings, Concerto for Violin and Classical Orchestra, Triple Concerto fro Horn, Trumpet, Trombone and Orchestra. Three concertos, very classically conceived and romantically expressive - Sibelius and Bartók come to mind - even if the triple concerto is for the unusual combination of three brass soloists and orchestra. Biggs is clearly a composer who cares not a jot for being fashionable - he even admits to the influence of Korngold in a 1993 work; not an admission many contemporary composers would care to make! All three pieces are clear-sighted and approachable without being condescending, with the triple concerto having, perhaps, the most dramatic content. Jana Brozková (oboe), Jana Herajnová (violin), Blanka Vojtískova (horn), Josef Saldílek (trumpet), Stanislav Penk (trombone), Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra Olomouc; Vit Micka. MMC 2055 (U.S.A.) 03-066 $16.98

JOHN IRELAND (1879-1962): In Those Days, Sarnia, Prelude in E Flat, London Pieces, Ballade, Columbine. Ireland's music is not often given its due nowadays; a pity, since he was a masterful miniaturist and a skilled craftsman. All of these pieces generate a strong sense of atmosphere, in the shadowy, understated chromatic language which he made his own (and passed on to his student, Alan Bush). Several of these pieces are not included in the Eric Parkin Chandos series. John Lenehan (piano). Naxos 8.553700 (Hong Kong) 03-067 $5.98

MARY HOWE (1882-1964): Stars for Orchestra, Sand for Orchestra, Castellana for 2 Pianos and Orchestra, Suite for String Quartet and Piano, Interlude Between Two Pieces for Flute and Piano, 3 Pieces After Emily Dickinson for String Quartet, Spring Pastoral for Orchestra. Like Amy Beach, Howe was a woman composer who managed to overcome the prejudice and obstacles placed in the way of female career composers until relatively recently to produce a sizeable body of music that was taken seriously at the time of composition and can hold its own today. Howe's orchestral music was performed by Stokowski, and she had a long professional association with William Strickland, who recorded the orchestral pieces here in the 1950s. Howe's style is tonal, Romantic and lyrical, warmly expressive in the manner of MacDowell or Beach. Mono. Celius Dougherty, Vincenz Ruzicka (pianos), The Vienna Orchestra, The Imperial Philharmonic of Tokyo; William Strickland, Members of the Chamber Arts Society of the Catholic University of America. CRI 785 (U.S.A.) 03-068 $16.98

ARTHUR SHEPHERD (1880-1958): Piano Sonata No. 2, Capriccio II, Lento amabile, In modo ostinato, Exotic Dance No. 1, Exotic Dance No. 3, Eclogue No. 4, Gigue Fantasque, 12 Songs. Shepherd was a composer of the generation that bridged the gap between the turn of the century Romantics (MacDowell, Chadwick, Griffes etc.) and the recognised founders of "American" music - pre-eminently Copland. His forthright and economical piano music has stood the test of time, being dramatic, purposeful and free of "padding". Especially fine is the slow movement, a theme and variations on a beautiful theme. The other piano works demonstrate the same economy of means allied to dramatic intensity, with enough harmonic ambiguity to keep the listener intrigued. The songs display a strong gift for simple melodic word-setting and thoughtful accompaniments. Mono. Vivien Harvey Slater (piano), Marie Simmelink Kraft (mezzo), Marianne Matousek Mastics (piano). CRI 783 (U.S.A.) 03-069 $16.98

ALFREDO CASELLA (1883-1947): Toccata, A notte alta, 11 Pezzi infantili, 2 Ricercari sul nome "B.A.C.H.", Pagine di guerra (Piano Duet, Op. 25). Casella's early Toccata is very Debussian, and extremely enjoyable, but it is the remarkable 20-plus minute A Notte Alta that is the real find here. Mysterious and dark, highly chromatic, it is probably one of Casella's finest piano works. By the time of the Children's Pieces, a mere three years later, the decision not to take the path suggested by A Notte Alta, towards atonality, had been made, and the langauge here is more that of Neoclassicism. This acerbic yet expressive vocabulary is seen in its full maturity in the two BACH pieces, the first an archaic meditation, the second a humorous collage of accreted material surrounding the BACH motif, present throughout. The duet pieces form a brief but telling war requiem, conceived after the composer saw footage of the conflict of WW I in 1915. Sandro Ivo Bartoli (piano), Marcello Guerrini (duet piano). ASV DCA 1023 (England) 03-070 $16.98

CHARLES VALENTIN ALKAN (1813-1888): Symphonie for Piano, Op. 39, Nos. 4-7, ALBÉRIC MAGNARD (1865-1914): Promenades. The Magnard Promenades are utterly charming and definitively French, with their unmistakable echoes of Franck and Debussy. A series of atmospheric character-pieces depicting scenes of Paris as evocative as Monet streetscapes, they form a remarkable contrast to the provocative coupling, Alkan's bizarre, unsettling (when not downright demonic) symphonie from the 12 minor-key studies of - 36 years earlier! Also included is one of Alkan's most popular grotesqueries, the deceptively simple yet disturbing Song of the Mad Woman on the Seashore. Stephanie McCallum (piano). Tall Poppies TP 081 (Australia) 03-071 $18.98

GIOVANNI SGAMBATI - Complete Works, Vols. 2-5

GIOVANNI SGAMBATI (1841-1914): Fogli Volanti, Op. 12, Gavotte, Op. 14, 4 Pezzi di Seguito, Op. 18, 3 Morceaux, Op. 42. Volume 2 of the solo piano works contains three sets of short pieces: the "Flying Leaves" (1880) are 8 romantic character studies both general (Romanza, Canzonetta...) and specific (Vecchio Castello - "The Old Castle" and Campane a Festa "Bells at a Feast") while the "4 Pieces in Succession" are a prelude, minuet, lament and toccata, all with a touch of dark melancholy, even when the Mediterranean sun is shining. Also included are piano roll recordings from the 1910s of three of these pieces. Daniela Morelli (piano). Fonoteca FT-97.10.01 (Italy) 03-072 $16.98

GIOVANNI SGAMBATI (1841-1914): Symphony No. 1 in D, Op. 16, FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886)/GIOVANNI SGAMBATI: Die Ideale (Symphonic Poem No. 12). Sgambati made only two duet transcriptions, one of his 1880 symphony, a five-movement work which inserts a serenata between scherzo and finale and which comes off well in this version (the only one, alas, which can be heard as yet). The other is a transcription of that great transcriber, Liszt, whose philosophical tone poem after Schiller becomes a piano-rarity-fancier's delight! Daniela Morelli, Riccardo Risaliti (piano duet). Fonoteca FT-97.10.02 (Italy) 03-073 $16.98

GIOVANNI SGAMBATI (1841-1914): String Quartet in C Sharp Minor, Op. 17, Piano Quintet No. 1 in F Minor, Op. 4. The 1866 quintet was dedicated to Liszt and is mostly stormy, yearning, passionately "serious" music which young composers write in emulation of great masters. Its mercurial scherzo, however, in 5/8 time, shows some daring originality! The quartet (1882), once internationally popular, is freely rhapsodic and contains much writing of symphonic exuberance. Quartetto Santa Cecilia, Daniela Morelli (piano). Fonoteca FT-97.11.04 (Italy) 03-074 $16.98

GIOVANNI SGAMBATI (1841-1914): Piano Quintet No.2 in B, Op. 5, 2 Pieces for Violin and Piano, Op. 24. The second piano quartet, dating from around 1874, shows a little more maturity and less passion shouted to the skies; over 45 minutes long, the work was dedicated to Hans von Bülow and contains, unusually, a charming barcarole as a second movement. Also includes three historical recordings of the Serenata napoletana (op. 24/2) by Jan Kubelik (1910), Alberto Poltronieri (1930) and Gaspar Cassadó (also 1930, in its rare, original version for cello). Quartetto Santa Cecilia, Daniela Morelli (piano), Manfred Croci (violin). Fonoteca FT-97.11.05 (Italy) 03-075 $16.98

FRANCESCO ANTONIO BONPORTI (1672-1749): Concerti in D, Op. 11/8, in F, Op. 11/5, in A, Op. 11/1, In F, Op. 11/6, in B Flat, Op. 11/3, Serenate in A, Op. 12/6 and in F, Op. 12/8. Like the other famous Italian priest who wrote violin concertos, Bonporti is extraordinarily talented and composes virtuosic pieces; his solo violin invenzionii were long thought to be authentic Bach. This release is one of several recent discs to finally make this brilliant composer available to the listening public. Bloomington Baroque; Stanley Ritchie (violin). Dorian Discovery DIS-80160 (U.S.A.) 03-076 $13.98

JOHANN CHRISTIAN BACH (1735-1782): 6 Sonatas for Piano Forte, Op. 5, Symphony No. 53 in D by Joseph Haydn: arrangement for Pianoforte attr. J.C. Bach. Published in 1766 the second, third and fourth of these early classical piano sonatas enjoyed a second lease of life as Mozart's keyboard concertos K.107. The odd coupling was published in the late 1780s and is an arrangement of three of the four movements of Haydn's "L'Imperiale" symphony by an uncertain hand. Harald Hoeren (fortepiano). CPO 999 530 (Germany) 03-077 $15.98

JAN VÁCLAV VORISEK (1791-1825): Fantasia in C, Op. 12, Impromptus, Op. 7, Nos. 1 & 4-6, Rhapsodies, Op. 1, Nos. 2, 3, 5, 7 & 9, Eclogue in C. This Bohemian composer's early Romantic music, whose forms mirror those of his contemporary Schubert, and whose emotional outbursts are quite Beethovenian, is presented here for the first time on a period instrument which, in our opinion, adds greatly to the charm and style of these lovely pieces. Randall Love (fortepiano). Titanic Ti-234 (U.S.A.) 03-078 $16.98

ANTONIO VIVALDI (1675-1742): Concertos for 2 Horns and Strings F.X. 1 & 2, SAVERIO MERCADANTE (1795-1870): Concerto for Horn and Chamber Orchestra, GAETANO DONIZETTI (1797-1848): Concerto for Horn and Strings, AGOSTINO BELLOLI (1778-1839): Concerto for Corno da Caccia, LUIGI CHERUBINI (1760-1842): Sonata No. 2 in F for Horn and Strings, VINCENZO BELLINI (1801-1835): Concerto for Horn and Strings, NINO ROTA (1911-1979): Castel del Monte - Ballatta for Horn and Orchestra. Zbigniew Zuk (horn), Jacek Muzyk (2nd horn), Wroclaw Chamber Orchestra Leopoldinum; Jan Stanienda. Zuk Records 160528 (Poland) 03-079 $10.98

GABRIEL FERNANDES DA TRINDADE (c.1790-1854): 3 Duets for 2 Violins. The oldest known instrumental chamber works produced in Brazil, these three duets (c.1814) are in the Italian classical style characteristic of the late 18th century. Their language is simple, brilliant and playful, with apparent Portuguese-Brazilian dance melodies incorporated in several movements. Maria Ester Brandão, Koiti Watanabe (violins). Paulus 11100-7 (Brazil) 03-080 $16.98

JOHANN GEORG ALBRECHTSBERGER (1736-1809): Concerto in B Flat, GEORG CHRISTOPH WAGENSEIL (1715-1777): Concerto in E Flat, MICHAEL HAYDN (1737-1806): Concerto in D, LEOPOLD MOZART (1719-1787): Concerto in G. Practically all of the authenticated solo trombone literature written before the 19th century in CD premieres (except for the Wagenseil). These works demonstrate the instrument's lyrical capabilites admirably. Northern Sinfonia; Alain Trudel (trombone). Naxos 8.553831 (Hong Kong) 03-081 $5.98

DONAUESCHINGER MUSIKTAGE 1996

ROBERT HP PLATZ (b.1951): Nerv II (Irvine Arditti [violin], Kristi Becker [piano], Netherlands Radio Orchestra; Peter Eötvös), Turm/Weiter (SWF Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden; Robert Casteels), NICOLAUS A. HUBER (b.1939): To "Marilyn Six Pack" (French National Orchestra; Lothar Zagrosek), JAMES TENNEY (b.1934): Diapason (SWF; Kwamé Ryan), LUCIANO BERIO (b.1925): KOL OD (Chemins VI) (Gabriele Cassone [trumpet], SWF; Roland Kluttig), HELMUT OEHRING (b.1961)/IRIS TER SCHIPHORST: Polaroids (Ensemble Modern; Jürg Wyttenbach), MARC ANDRÉ (b.1964): Un-Fini (Ensmeble Modern; Jürg Wyttenbach), GYÖRGY KURTÁG (b.1926): STHLH (Stele), Op. 33 (SWF; Michael Gielen), IANNIS XENAKIS (b.1922): Ioolkos (SWF; Kwamé Ryan), GUUS JANSSEN (b.1951): Verstelwerk (Peter van Bergen [tenor sax], Gerard Bouwhuis [piano], Paul Koek [percussion], Netherlands Radio Orchestra; Peter Eötvös), MARÍA CECILIA VILLANUEVA (b.1964): Partida (Ensemble Modern; Jürg Wyttenbach), LOUIS ANDREISSEN (b.1939): Tao (Der Weg) (Tomoko Mukaiyama[piano], Netherlands Radio Orchestra; Peter Eötvös). This issue presents the world-premiere performances of all works, in a fine variety of accomplished masters and new young composers, recorded live at the 1996 Donaueschingen Festival. 3 CDs. Col Legno 20008 (Germany) 03-082 $56.98

GYÖRGY KURTÁG (b.1926): Praeludium und Choral for Piano, Tamás Blum in memoriam for Viola, Antiphone in fis for Piano, 4 Mikroludien, Op. 13/4, 6, 10 & 5 for String Quartet, Il pleut sur la ville for Soprano and Piano, Lebewohl, Op. 26/4 for Soprano and Piano, Les Adieux, Op. 12/7 for Soprano and Violin, János Pilinszky: Gérard de Nerval for Cello, The Answered Unanswered Question, Op. 31b for 2 Cellos, 2 Violins and Celesta, Double Concerto for Piano, Cello and 2 Ensembles, Op. 27/2, Requiem po drugu, Op. 26, Samuel Beckett: What is the Word, Op. 30b for Reciter, Vocal Ensemble and Chamber Ensemble, Grabstein für Stephan in memoriam Stephan Stein, Op. 15c for Guitar and Instrumental Groups, Játékok (Selection) for 2 Pianos, 3 alte Inschriften, Op. 25 for Soprano and Piano, ...quasi una fantasia..., Op. 27/1 for Piano and Instrumental Groups. This CD documents an all-Kurtág concert from the 1993 Salzburg Festival with over an hour and a half of the composer's meticulously crafted post-Webernian works for a variety of soloists and ensembles. Some of the music is subtle and epigrammatic, but the larger-scale pieces - the Double Concerto, the Requiem for a Friend (even this has a conciseness that Webern would have recognised), What is the Word (Beckett) have considerable expressionistic power. 2 CDs. Adrienne Csengery (soprano), Zoltán Kocsis (piano, celesta), Zoltán Gál (viola), Keller Quartet, András Keller (violin), Miklós Perenyi (cello), Jürgen Ruck (guitar), Márta and György Kurtág (pianos), Members of the Budapest Festival Orchestra; Peter Eötvös. Col Legno 31870 (Germany) 03-083 $37.98

IANNIS XENAKIS (b.1922): A Colone for Male or Female Choir and Instrumental Ensemble, Nuits for 12 Mixed Voices A Cappella, Serment for Mixed Choir, Knephas for Mixed Choir, Medea for Men's Chorus and Instrumental Ensemble. Xenakis' Greek heritage is most passionately audible in his vocal works of which this selection offers four CD premieres (all but Nuits). Medea (1967) and A Colone (1977) are close cousins, both pieces setting ancient tragic texts, the former a section of Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus, the latter excerpts of Seneca's Latin version of the Medea tale, sung in the original Ancient Greek and Latin and producing music of archaic atmosphere and a primitive, raucous monumentality. Knephas ("Darkness",1990) is produced from made-up phonemes - a vast, angry lament which shares its building blocks partially with Nuits (1967) which uses wordless phonemes derived from Sumerian and Old Persian. Splendorous, awe-inspiring works of towering individuality. New London Chamber Choir, Critical Band; James Wood. Hyperion CDA 66980 (England) 03-084 $17.98

REINHARD DAVID FLENDER: Aurora for Wind Quintet, String Quartet, Piano, Harp and Double Bass, Threnos IV for 2 Pianos, Percussion, String Quartet, Double Bass and Violin Solo, Pirkei Tehillim: 3 Hebrew Psalms for Soprano and Piano, Memorare for Violin, Viola, Double Bass and Piano. Threnos, written in memory of the composer's father, is a particularly striking work, ominous and full of foreboding, ingenously scored. Like the other works here, it uses tonality, but as part of a larger vocabulary that also includes atonal elements and fleeting ideas that suggest a discipline other than "classical" music. The Hebrew Psalms arose from the composer's study of ethnomusicology in Israel, and demonstrate a complete understanding of the idiom and great skill in vocal writing, and the chamber work Memorare is a strongly Romantic work - probably more so than anything else on this disc - which suggests a dual fin de siècle summation of the Romantic influences and preoccupations in music which are now more than a century old. Various artists. Col Legno 20007 (Germany) 03-085 $18.98

MORTON SUBOTNICK (b.1933): Liquid Strata for Piano and Electronics, FREDERICK LESEMANN (b.1936): Nataraja for Prepared Piano, WILLIAM KRAFT (b.1923): Requiescat for Rhodes Electric Piano, RALPH GRIERSON: Sometimes...not Always (excerpt). This is a reissue of a 1979 LP which at the time provided a sampler of the kinds of electronic and electroacoustic music associated with the multifarious keyboard talents of Ralph Grierson. All of these works were written for and premiered by Grierson, and recorded in close collaboration with the composers. While Lesemann uses the possibilities of transformed piano sound to suggest - vividly - ethnic Indian instrumentation, while Kraft, a percussionist, produces a soundscape consisting entirely of bell sounds; a huge, pulsating, mourning tintinnabulation unachievable by conventional means. Grierson's own piece is an extract from a larger multimedia work, providing ample opportunity for high-energy synthesizer pyrotechnics. Subotnick's aptly named Liquid Strata takes layers of piano sound and transforms them, allowing them to flow around and over each other, creating a surrealist's vision of a piano in sound. Ralph Grierson (piano). Town Hall TH-24 (U.S.A.) 03-086 $17.98

NORMAN DELLO JOIO (b.1913): Homage to Haydn, PETER SCHICKELE (b.1935): Pentangle: 5 Songs for French Horn and Orchestra, VINCENT PERSICHETTI (1915-1987): Symphony No. 8. Albany's invaluable "American Archives" series continues with three pieces from the Louisville Orchestra legacy. Dello Joio's Homage to Haydn sounds not at all like Haydn - it sounds like Dello Joio - but the spirit of the earlier composer, from the sombre introduction giving way to a lively allegro to the giocoso finale, is certainly present. Schickele is better known as PDQ Bach, but here he appears as a composer in his own right, and as one might expect from his alter ego's ingenious parodies, one of no mean accomplishments - the music is guaranteed to put a smile on your face throughout (without making you laugh out loud in the manner of the infamous PDQ). Persichetti's symphony is a strong piece, owing something to Sibelius and Mahler, tightly structured and full of energy. Kenneth Albrecht (horn), Louisville Orchestra; Leonard Slatkin, Jorge Mester. Albany TROY 024 (U.S.A.) 03-087 $16.98

DONALD ERB (b.1927): Evensong, Concerto for Orchestra, Solstice. Erb is essentially a Romantic composer who has absorbed elements of non-classical music and the avant-garde into a personal idiom that is almost a throwback to late 19th-century Romantic expressiveness. His music sounds big and full-blooded, and deals with very Romantic preoccupations - death, memory, overt emotionalism - and it is only by concentrating on the details that the listener will realise that the composer is employing techniques that simply did not exist until the second half of our century. The music is so vital and dynamic, one is never left with the impression of reactionary conservatism. A very individual achievement, and a powerful contemporary voice. New Zealand Symphony Orchestra; James Sedares. Koch International Classics 7417 (U.S.A.) 03-088 $16.98

JACOB DRUCKMAN (1928-1996): Windows for Orchestra, Dark Upon the Harp for Mezzo-Soprano, Brass Quintet and Percussion, Animus II for Mezzo-Soprano, Percussion and Electric Tape. Druckman's atonality acknowledges the possibilities of tonal relationships, and introduces them at key moments in a knowing, sophisticated way - a means of catching the listener unawares to heighten his or her involvement in the drama of the music. And the music is dramatic, above all else; that and psychologically challenging. Nowhere is this shown to better effect than in Windows for orchestra; these are windows into the psyche, through which memories, dreams and imagination can be glimpsed through the fabric of experience. Druckman used electronic means to expand the vocabulary available to him, and Animus II is a fine example of his richly textured and voluptuous electroacoustic writing. The cycle Dark upon the Harp, to texts from Psalms, is a work of almost operatic drama, juxtaposing a kaleidoscopic range of styles to great effect. Orchestra of the 20th Century; Arthur Weisberg, Jan DeGaetani (mezzo), New York Brass Quintet. CRI 781 (U.S.A.) 03-089 $16.98

CHARLES IVES (1874-1954): Violin Sonata No. 4, AARON COPLAND (1900-1991): Violin Sonata, BENJAMIN LEES (b.1924): Violin Sonata No. 2, LEON KIRCHNER (b.1919): Sonata concertante. Each in its own way, these four works are all quintessentially American. Whether in Copland's wholesome New England hymnody and jaunty rhythms, or Ives' inclusion of every vernacular influence that seemed like a good idea at the time, there is a common thread here that defines a good deal of what is recognisably American about American music of our century. Lees' robust and forthright sonata is a valuable addition to the genre, while Kirchner's piece is direct and passionately communicative, despite the strangeness of his harmonic thinking, which toys with dodecaphony but is never rigorously bound by it. A challenging and enjoyable recital. Jaime Laredo, Rafael Druian (violin), Ann Schein, Ilse von Aplenheim, Ruth Laredo (piano). Phoenix PHCD 136 (U.S.A.) 03-090 $13.98

THOMAS OBOE LEE (b.1945): The Mad Frog!, Third String Quartet, GUNTHER SCHULLER (b.1925): Symbiosis (Music for Violin, Piano and Percussion). Whimsical and above all, entertaining, The Mad Frog! is eclectic and enigmatic - one is never quite sure whether one is listening to serious contemporary music, free jazz or a highly sophisticated leg-pull. The same composer's quartet is a highly successful contemporary excursion into that time-honored medium, which injects sufficient traditional harmony and comforting rhythms into an unmistakably modern matrix to render what is actually quite a complex work immediately accessible and emotionally satisfying. Schuller's Symbiosis was originally conceived as the musical part of a dance piece, exploring relationships between fully non-pitched events (dance) through a continuum to exclusively musical phenomena, in the pitched instruments, with the points between expressed through the rhythmic possibilities of percussion. Fredric T. Cohen (oboe), Robert Annis (bass clarinet), Ann Hobson Pilot (harp), Kronos Quartet, Anahid Ajemian (violin), Maro Ajemian (piano), Walter Rosenberger (percussion). GM Recordings 2007 (U.S.A.) 03-091 $16.98

EZRA SIMS (b.1928): "String Quartet No. 2" for Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Viola and Cello, String Quartet No. 3, Elegie - nach Rilke for Soprano and Ensemble. On the one hand, Ezra Sims writes almost exclusively microtonal music. On the other, "String Quartet No. 2 "(1962) is scored for flute, clarinet, violin, viola and cello, and was composed in 1974. So here we have a composer who writes what he can hear - which happens to be be 1/12s of a tone - because that is what composers do and who is also blessed with a sense of humor (his trenchant observations on performance practice, among other topics, in the notes, bear this out). This work was written in reponse to an error in Baker's Biographical Dictionary, which credited the composer with a non-existent work of this title. Once you get acclimatised to Sims' unfamiliar temperament - and this is easy to do, because the music is beguiling and effective - the effect is rather like that of immersing yourself in early keyboard music in unequal temperaments; familiar music in equal temperament sounds odd, if not downright wrong, for a while. A fascinating experience, but don't say we didn't warn you! Elsa Charlston (soprano), Boston Musica Viva; Richard Pittman, The Lenox Quartet. CRI 784 (U.S.A.) 03-092 $16.98

GEORGE BENJAMIN (b.1960): Upon Silence, Sudden Time, Three Inventions, Octet. Famous as a pupil of Messiaen, and for being the youngest composer ever to have a work performed at the London "Proms" (he was 20 when Ringed by the Flat Horizon was premiered), Benjamin is a vital and provocative force in European music today. This disc provides an interesting cross-section of his music, including two contrasting versions of Upon Silence, one for the unusual sonority of viols, the other for string ensemble. Sudden Time, with its expanded orchestra and the wide range of unusual chamber-music sonorities is especially striking, and may be the composer's finest orchestral work since Ringed... Susan Bickley (mezzo), Fretwork, London Sinfonietta, London Philharmonic Orchestra; George Benjamin. Nimbus NI 5505 (England) 03-093 $16.98

COLIN MCPHEE (1900-1964): Tabuh-tabuhan, Symphony No. 2, Concerto for Wind Orchestra, Transitions for Orchestra, Nocturne. Canadian-born McPhee's best-known work is his 1936 toccata for two pianos and orchestra Tabuh-tabuhan which adapts the musical traditions of Bali to the western orchestra with results that sound amazingly like the modern-day minimalism of John Adams. The rest of the works here are from 1954-60: the earliest is Transitions, a musical picture of the sea (whose original titles were Marine Horizons or Atlantis) in Debussian manner while the Nocturne and symphony return to Balinese influences with their gently ostinati and use of high woodwinds and tuned percussion (the symphony itself has the peaceful, quiet character of a nocturne as well). Esprit Orchestra; Alex Pauk. CBC 5181 (Canada) 03-094 $16.98

PETROS SHOUJOUNIAN (b.1957): Odzouni for Ondes Martenot, Horn, Trombone, Bass Trombone, Tuba and Percussion, Horovèle for Clarinet, Mashtotz for 2 Pianos, Arévagale for Bassoon, Horn and Viola, Sassouni for 2 Flutes and Harpsichord. There is a haunting quality to the indigenous religious and folk-music of Armenia, as anyone familiar with the works of Hovhaness knows. Shoujounian does not sound especially like Hovhaness, but the strong national identity of the music, and a similar mystical sensibility is a common factor. Odzouni entrusts the 7th-century folk melody at its heart to the plaintive, more-than-vocal sound of the Ondes Martenot. Interesting, rich sonorities abound throughout this collection, whatever the combination of instruments for which the composer is writing, and the music is always predominantly modal, with a certain rhythmic solemnity underpinning the activity, giving it a timeless, archaic quality. Various artists. SNE 623 (Canada) 03-095 $16.98

IVAN WYSCHNEGRADSKY (1893-1980): Transparences I, Op. 36, Transparences II, Op. 47 (both for Ondes Martenot and 2 Pianos), Composition in Quarter-Tones for Ondes Martenot Ensemble, Cosmos, Op. 29 for 4 Pianos, SERGE PROVOST: Ein Horn for Soprano and Ondes Martenot Ensemble, BRUCE MATHER (b.1939): Yquem for 4 Pianos and Ondes Martenot Ensemble. More acknowledgement of the 70th anniversary of the Ondes Martenot and the centenary of its inventor. Good. The Ondes is a remarkably expressive instrument, and who better to have taken it up than the master of microtonal music, Ivan Wyschnegradsky? Between the unearthly sonority of the Ondes and the strangely disturbing sound of the composer's cunning method of implying microtones by tuning conventional pianos microtonal intervals apart (heard to great effect on Cosmos (1939) the only piece on the disc that does not use the Ondes), these strange textures are more transporting, more original, than much of what has been done since with rooms full of digital synthesizers. The disc also includes microtonal works featuring Ondes by Provost and Mather, completing a cycle of tributes to a composer whose innovations are only now beginning to be appreciated. Jean Laurendeau (Ondes Martenot), Pierrette Le Page, Bruce Mather, Marc Couroux, François Couture, Paul Helmer (pianos), Pauline Vaillancourt (soprano), Ensemble d'Ondes de Montréal. SNE 589 (Canada) 03-096 $16.98

LENNOX BERKELEY (1903-1989): Horn Trio, Op. 44, DON BANKS (1923-1980): Horn Trio, JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833-1897): Horn Trio in E Flat, Op. 40. Berkeley's romantic and superbly crafted work, with its big theme and variations finale, is one of his finest chamber works while Banks' trio was a commission for the 1962 Edinburgh Festival, from the years when Banks was based in England. In four movements, and by no means avant garde, the work is a contemporary showpiece for horn, requiring considerable technique and great expressive capabilities. Zbigniew Zuk (horn), Jan Stanienda (violin), Peotr Folkert (piano). Zuk Records 310 (Poland) 03-097 $10.98

ERNST KRENEK (1900-1991): 12 Short Piano Pieces Written in the 12-Tone Technique, Op. 83, 8 Piano Pieces, Op. 110, 20 Miniatures, Op. 139. From post-Mahlerian beginnings, via a flirtation with atonality and a whole-hearted embracement of jazz idioms, Krenek finally arrived at his mature style, indebted to Schoenberg's theories. Perhaps because of their compositional antecedents, these delightful little pieces (from 1938, 1946 and 1954 respectively) do not advertise their 12-note structure, strict as most of them are. The first set, indeed, have evocative titles, making one think of the Debussy Preludes - The Sailing Boat, Reflected in the Pond and the like - and throughout, the composer ably demonstrates a style which is the very reverse of a mathematical, academic discipline in composition. Robert Blumenthal (piano). Gasparo Gallante GG 1016 (U.S.A.) 03-098 $11.98

GEORGE ROCHBERG (b.1918): Caprice Variations for Unaccompanied Violin. This set of variations on Paganini's 24th caprice, dating from the years after Rochberg renounced serialism and rediscovered tonality explores the long history of violin variation writing through music of dazzling virtuosity, often encompassing passing, punning, references to other famous violin works, or to variations on the well-known theme, or to the music of the Romantic era that Rochberg was drawn to as he rediscovered the potential of tonal composition. Zvi Zeitlin (violin). Gasparo Gallante GG 1010 (U.S.A.) 03-099 $11.98

Note: The following two titles - "Col Legno Deluxe" - come with separate booklets in slipcases.

WOLFGANG RIHM (b.1952): Ins Offene... for Orchestra (Second Version), sphere: Counter-structure with Piano Contra-Body for Piano, Winds and Percussion. Rihm's intention here is to envelop the listener in sound - sound full of the most extreme dynamic contrasts and changes in the frequency with which sound "events" are presented, much like some of the large-scale works of Stockhausen and others of the Darmstadt persuasion. With their precisely calculated and structured accumulation of actvity, both works have a powerful cumulative effect. Czech Philharmonic Orch.; Gerd Albrecht, Siegfried Mauser (piano), Bavarian Radio Symphony; Alexander Lazarev. Col Legno Deluxe 31883 (Germany) 03-100 $23.98

SOFIA GUBAIDULINA (b.1931): Y: la fiesta está en pleno apogeo - Concerto No. 2 for Cello and Orchestra, 10 Preludes for Cello. And: The Feast is in Full Progress is Gubaidulina's second cello concerto. The odd title comes from an apocalyptic poem with hidden political allegories, by Gennadi Aigi. While the music does not attempt to depict specific images in Aigi's poem, there is a strong symbolic element, as there so often is in Gubaidulina's work, and the unifying voice of the cello, used as a voice crying out in an unimaginable wilderness of snarling orchestral sonorities, provides the piece with a compelling narrative element, often harrowing as the lone protagonist is pitted against seemingly insuperable odds. The 10 preludes started life as etudes, but their expressive character led to the change in title to demonstrate the emphasis on emotional rather than technical display. David Geringas (cello), Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra; Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Vladimir Tonkha (cello - preludes). Col Legno Deluxe 31881 (Germany) 03-101 $23.98

FRANÇOIS VERCKEN: Une face de Janus for 11 Strings, 3 Idéaux-Grammes for Organ, D'un jour l'autre for 12 Strings, In illo tempore for 15 Strings, Concerto for Organ and Instrumental Ensemble. Vercken has professed an affinity with both the organ and the string ensemble because of their ready subdivisibility coupled to the retention of a certain homogeneity of sound however diverse the part-writing. This disc couples a set of three brief organ works, which are certainly related to Messiaen, with three for string groups and a concertante work in which again the organ writing recalls Messiaen while the instrumental accompaniment does not, having something of the insistent quality which imbues the string works. These are the most individual pieces here, using dogged, even aggressive rhythmic figures to propel music whose spiky angularity and dissonant outbursts speaks of a profound disquiet sublimated through action. Hervé Désarbre (organ), Ensemble Orchestral Stringendo; Jean Thorel. De Plein Vent 9784 (France) 03-102 $14.98

JOEP FRANSSENS: Echo's for Orchestra, Phrasing for Choir and Orchestra, Sanctus for Orchestra. The slow minimalism of Howard Skempton or Louis Andriessen (with the latter of whom Franssens studied) is probably the best comparison for the three large-scale orchestral works on this CD. Harmonies and textures drift like clouds or mists, sometimes gently dissonant (in fact, sometimes in clusters, but oh! such soft and gentle ones), always subtly metamorphosing, over long timescales. The occasional moment of lyricism or climax stands out against this timeless landscape like a winter tree or mountain range invested with some strange, half-understood significance. Netherlands Theatre Choir, Netherlands Ballet Orchestra; Thierry Fischer. Donemus CV 65 (Netherlands) 03-103 $18.98

ANDRZEJ DUTKIEWICZ: Music for Two for 2 Pianos, Suite for Piano, Three Sketches in Retrospect for Piano, A-la for Piano, Tango for Cello and Piano, Sophie's Music for Four for Piano Trio and Electronic Tape. Music for Two is rhythmic and makes use of energetic, Bartókian dance rhythms from Eastern Europe. The brief Suite and the 3 Sketches incorporate folk melodies and Classical and Romantic elements - diatonic chorales, rich chordal textures - in a framework of modern chromaticism, dissonance, cluster chords, even a taste of minimalism. Tango is a virtuoso showpiece for piano and cello, while Sophie's Music displays a fine sense of the sonorous possibilities inherent in its electronic medium. Andrzej Dutkiewicz (piano), The Lanier Trio. Gasparo GSCD 240 (U.S.A.) 03-104 $16.98