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Romantic Swiss

Orchestral Music

HERMANN SUTER (1870-1926): Symphony in D Minor, Op. 17, HANS JELMOLI (1877-1936): 3 Stücke

As might be expected, Suter's style is, broadly, in the same vein as Bruckner, Strauss and Franck. The 1914 symphony, although there is no extra-musical subtext, sounds for all the world like a Swiss equivalent of the Alpine Symphony, its first movement ("Nebuloso" is the apt performance direction for its cloudy, misty opening) seeming to evoke the majesty of the Alps. The unusual schezo ("Capriccio militaresco") is a satire of Swiss petty bourgeois attitudes and the slow movement returns to the majestic grandeur of the first although slow and with a sense of religiosity. The finale is a riot of folkloristic bustle, evoking the multiplicity of regional dialects and customs in Switzerland. Jelmoli is an almost completely forgotten Swiss composer who wrote much incidental music for stage plays and the three innocently charming, dance-based miniatures excerpted in 1912 as a suite for concert performance are infused with a balletic feel. Moscow Symphony Orchestra; Adriano. Sterling CDS-1052-1 (Sweden) 05E001 $16.98

Another wrong price in March catalogue:

At least this time, it's the distributor's fault. We received a note from Harmonia Mundi on April 17 telling us that Die Harmonie der Welt (03E076) was supposed to be 3 CDs for the price of 2. They were good enough to give us a credit for the copies we sold and now, each of the nine of you who bought it at $59.98 will receive a credit for $19.98 or a refund, whichever you wish. Please let us know.

QUINCY PORTER (1897-1966): Symphony No. 1, Symphony No. 2, Poem and Dance. Another month, another new recording of rarely heard American symphonic music on the Albany label. Porter's symphonies come from opposite ends of his career (1934 and 1962) but their idiom does not change much. The music is absolute (although the first has a definite pastoral quality to two of its three movements, courtesy of rocking strings and prominent woodwinds) and, unlike the massive blocks of sound which some of his compatriots were accustomed to maneuver in the orchestra, Porter was concerned more with individual voices, clarity of line, lyricism and expressiveness, often through intimate orchestration using small groups within the orchestra. The Poem and Dance, from 1932, shows the same inclinations in its two sections, one brooding and the other exuberant. Sinfonia Varsovia; Ian Hobson. Albany TROY 574 (U.S.A.) 05E002 $16.98

WLADIMIR VOGEL (1896-1984): 4 Etudes for Orchestra, Tripartita, Preludio-Interludio lirico-Postludio. Here is an indispensible release for those interested in early 20th century modernism. Vogel's Etudes date from 1931 and 1932, the first two premiered by Scherchen and also performed by Furtwängler, Ansermet, Reiner, Stokowski and Szell. They are richly orchestrated exercises in rhythm (Ritmica funebre, Ritmica scherzosa, Ostinato perpetuo and Ritmica ostinata are the titles), lasting over 38 minutes in all. Recordings made at the time were destroyed by the Nazis. Tripartita was finished in 1934 and is a more strict, polyphonic composition although its Russian expressivity recalls the early influence of Scriabin on Vogel while its concern with structure points to his teacher, Busoni. The final work here was dedicated to the latter on the 30th anniversary of his death in 1954 and is an example of Vogel's personal adaptation of twelve-tone form in which he uses tone-rows melodically (and the row is based on seven notes from Busoni's Toccata for piano). Basel Symphony Orchestra; Israel Yinon. Real Sound RS 051-0037 (Italy) 05E003 $16.98 >

ALBERTO GINASTERA (1916-1983): Ollantay, Op. 17, Pampeana No. 3, Op. 24, Overture to the Creole "Faust", Op. 9, Dances from Estancia, Op. 8a. Here is a rarity: Ollantay, a three-movement work of 14 minutes dating from 1947 and written for Erich Kleiber who premiered it in Buenos Aires. Inspired by a myth telling of the conflict between the son of the earth and the son of the sun, the piece contains some of the folkloric aspects of the well-known Estancia dances while being rather more austere and abstract. The Pampeana (1954) comes from the end of Ginastera's middle period of "objective nationalism" and its folk-like themes are original, not actual folk tunes, while its language is based on harmonies and interval sequences which look ahead to the composer's later period of neo-expressionist atonality. The overture (1943), also not abundantly recorded, is a fascinating Argentinification of Gounod's music with native folk elements mixed in as well. Odense Symphony Orchestra; Jan Wagner. Bridge 9130 (U.S.A.) 05E004 $16.98

RENÉ GERBER (b.1908): L'Imagier médiéval, Le Terroir animé, Le Moulin de la Galette. Here is a pleasant surprise! This long-lived Swiss composer writes music with a Gallic charm and grace which is tonal, often modal and, occasionally, polytonal. "The Medieval Image-Maker" is a three-movement suite ("The Garden of Paradise", "The Triumph of Death" and "The Virgin and Birds") which contains, respectively, plainsong and medieval popular musical references, the Dies irae in a construction of devilish humor, and a contrapuntal finale with representations of bird-song. "Animated Rural Scene" is a pair of acrobatic rondos sandwiched around a pastoral interlude while the finale, named after the café in Paris made famous by the Impressionist painters, is an 18-minute tone-poem with popular dance music of the "Belle Epoque" the main ingredient. 1990 recordings (issued somewhere else?) and two more CDs worth of Gerber orchestral music to come! Koszalin Philharmonic Orchestra; Silvano Frontalini. Gallo CD-975 (Switzerland) 05E005 $18.98

CRAIG RUSSELL (b.1951): Rhapsody for Horn and Orchestra, Middle Earth, Gate City - A Methodist Hymn. Russell's Rhapsody is a 42-minute-long piece in five movements which could be called Coplandesque were it not for the fact that two of its movements pay homage to Barber's violin concerto and the other two to the jazz and salsa musics of Tito Puente and Machito while the finale is a breakneck dash reminiscent, again, of the Barber concerto's finale. Middle Earth is a nine-movement series of character sketches based on Tolkien's characters - very short but very trenchant and fun to experience (Shelob's Lair and Orcs and Ring Wratihs are particularly picturesque) - while Gate City is a Coplandesque (that adjective again!) setting of a Methodist hymn-tune. Richard Todd (horn), San Luis Obispo Symphony Orchestra; Michael Nowak. Naxos American Classics 8.559168 (U.S.A.) 05E006 $6.98

HERBERT HOWELLS (1892-1983): Rhapsodic Quintet, Op. 31, ARNOLD COOKE (b.1906): Clarinet Quintet, ELIZABETH MACONCHY (1907-1994): Clarinet Quintet, BENJAMIN FRANKEL (1906-1973): Clarinet Quintet, Op. 28, JOSEF HOLBROOKE (1878-1958): Eilean Shona. Howells (1919) and Holbrooke produce works which breathe the pre-World War I air of Housman, melodious and poetic while the remainder of the disc showcases three different approaches to music in Britain in the 20th century. Cooke (1962) was a student of Hindemith and his style is contrapuntal and neo-classical but with rather more lyricism than could be found in his teacher; Maconchy (1963) is terse (four movements of three to three-and-a-half minutes), earthy and often a little wild although she, like Howells, produces singing lines, just not those of English Pastoralism; Frankel (1956) offers a highly dissonant yet supremely communicative quintet whose ending is one of the more inspired elegiac moments in English music (the piece was dedicated to Thea King's late husband and teacher, Frederick Thurston, the finest British clarinettist of his generation). Mid-price. Thea King (clarinet), Britten String Quartet. Original 1990 Hyperion release. Helios CDH 55105 (England) 05E007 $10.98

In Flanders' Fields, Vol. 31

ARTHUR MEULEMANS (1884-1966): Oboe Concerto, Overture to the Opera Adriaen Brouwer, 2 Movements for Violin and Orchestra, 2 Idylls for Oboe and Orchestra, Fantasia on 2 Popular Folk Tunes After David Teniers, 2 Rhapsodies for Clarinet and Orchestra, 2 Dances for Orchestra. Collectors of Marco Polo's Flemish Romantic Music series (and of the disc devoted entirely to this composer) will know Meulemans for his richly romantic style, often imbued with French Impressionism. This collection of shorter works will bring much pleasure with the 1942 oboe concerto having just the sort of pastoral freshness one would expect from a composer so influenced by the naturalism of Flemish Renaissance painters, of whom Teniers and Brouwer are two examples, the latter the subject of a 1935 opera whose ten-minute overture has some Straussian qualities in it as well. Ludmila Peterková (clarinet), Piet van Bockstal (oboe), JindÞich Pazdera (violin), Hradec Králové Philharmonic Orchestra; Herman Engels. Phaedra 92031 (Belgium) 05E008 $16.98 >

HILDING ROSENBERG (1892-1985): The Isle of Bliss. While the rest of Europe was burning in 1943, Rosenberg was writing the most gorgeously delicate and magically colored opera one could imagine. Based on an 1827 fairy play about a Hyperborean prince who flies off to the Isle of Bliss and marries its queen, only to eventually find himself back home, centuries later, to be claimed by the deathly figure of Time. There is plenty of work for the chorus and ballet scenes for the choreographer and Rosenberg provides brilliantly differentiated music for the icy Hyperborea and the sultry Isle of Bliss. The 98-page book contains not only full-color photos of last year's production but also photos from the 1945 premiere and its sets. 2 CDs. Swedish-English libretto. Patrick Forsman (tenor), Agneta Eichenholz, Lisa Gustafsson (sopranos), Children's Choir, Choir and Symphony Orchestra of Norrlands Opera, Kristian Järvi. Phono Suecia/Musica Sveciae PSCD 722 (1-2) (Sweden) 05E009 $33.98 >

LARS-ERIK LARSSON (1908-1986): Råå-rokoko, Op. 64, Gustaviansk Svit, Op. 28, A Winter's Tale, Op. 18, Pastoral Suite, Op. 19, Pastoral. Not all of Larsson's music is pastoral in nature but all of the music on this disc is. Collectors will be familiar with the evergreen Pastoral Suite, excerpted from music for a 1938 radio play and A Winter's Tale of the same year, but the "Gustavian" suite, from music for a 1944 film is of delightfully similar character while the oddly-titled Råå-rokoko, commissioned by the town of Råå in 1973 (the title is given on the CD as "Barococo" for reasons not mentioned), is an ingenious and fun-filled suite of six movements which meld baroque dance forms with a more 20th century musical sensibility which provokes comparisons with the lighter moments of Prokofiev, Britten and Stravinsky. New York Scandia Symphony; Dorrit Matson. Centaur CRC 2607 (U.S.A.) 05E010 $16.98

GOTTFRIED VON EINEM (1918-1996): String Quartets No. 1, Op. 45, No. 3, Op. 56 and No. 5, Op. 87. Von Einem was known for refusing to write complexicist music at a time when that is what one had to do to be accepted by European music critics. Recordings of his chamber works are rare, so this complete quartet cycle is doubly welcome. Although the music is tonal (freely tonal in places), is is generally not based on hummable melodies! The first quartet (1976) is rather cantankerously bristly for the most part for all that it contains a quote from a Schubert waltz in its third movement. However, the third (1980) is probably the most easily approachable of all the quartets in its structure and recognizable themes. The final work (1991) has a singing quality due not solely to its use of a Schubert song. Artis Quartet. Orfeo C 098 101 A (Germany) 05E011 $18.98

GOTTFRIED VON EINEM (1918-1996): String Quartets No. 2, Op. 51 and No. 4, Op. 63. The second quartet (1977) has much of the cussedness of its predecessor (see above), its rhythmic variety, play on the interval of a minor second and harmonic movement through its three movements accounting for its less-than-welcoming surface aspect. The fourth (1981) and the longest at 27 minutes continues the more approachable aspect of its predecessor and conveys an impression of magnanimity and good humor. Artis Quartet. Orfeo C 098 201 A (Germany) 05E012 $18.98

GEORGE DYSON (1883-1964): Quo Vadis. The composer described this work as merely "a cycle of poems set to music" but it belongs to a mid-20th century group of similar pieces by Howells (Hymnus Paradisi), Finzi (Intimations of Immortality), Vaughan Williams (Sancta Civitas and Dona Nobis Pacem) and Howard Ferguson (Dream of the Rood and Amore Langueo), described succinctly by note-writer Lewis Foreman as "this movement of agnostics at prayer". Dyson doesn't exactly set poems - there are eight sections to this work but no fewer than 17 sources (15 poets, the Salisbury Diurnal and the Sarum Printer), from whom the composer sets the lines he likes and dumps the remainder. Thus, the work is a "voyage of the spirit", described aptly by the late Christopher Palmer as "mans' earthly pilgrimage, his spiritual odyssey and its consummation in Shelley's 'white radiance of Eternity'". 2 CDs. Texts included. Cheryl Barker (soprano), Jean Rigby (mezzo), Philip Langridge (tenor), Roderick Williams (baritone), Chamber Choir of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, BBC National Chorus and Orchestra of Wales; Richard Hickox. Chandos 10061 (England) 05E013 $33.98

ALAN RAWSTHORNE (1905-1971): Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2, Improvisations on a Theme by Constant Lambert for Orchestra. The two concertos differ both in size and scope, the first (1939) being generally lively and light in spirit (even the central Chaconne is gently rather than passionately sad) with much delicate writing in the opening Capriccioso and the final Tarantella. The second, written for Curzon and the 1951 Festival of Britain, is in four movements, three of them fast and full of uninhibited high spirits and brilliant writing for the soloist while the slow movement is gently nostalgic. The coupling is a 1960 work based on a theme from Lambert's last ballet, Tiresias, which Rawsthorne helped complete. Peter Donahue (piano), Ulster Orchestra; Takao Yuasa. Naxos 8.555959 (New Zealand) 05E014 $6.98

ERCOLE PASQUINI (16th-17th cen.): 30 Key-board Pieces. Pasquini's importance as a keyboard composer was only recognized by scholars in the late 1960s who realized that he probably had significant influence on Frescobaldi (who succeeded him as organist at St. Peter's). The longest piece here, a 10-minute set of variations on the Romanesca, rise to an early climax and wear down fragmentarily and with improvisatory figuration to a simple close. His toccatas exhibit a harshness and dissonance with much nervous figuration and are among the earliest examples of this genre. James Johnstone (harpsichord and organ). ASV Gaudeamus GAU 336 (England) 05E015 $16.98

ANTONIO SARTORIO (1630-1680): L'Orfeo. After the trail-blazing Monteverdi and his successor Cavalli, Sartorio was a member of the third generation of Venetian opera composers and his version of the Orpheus story was premiered in 1673. At this point in history, however, opera's purpose was not to recreate classical tragedy but to entertain the increasingly growing popular audience and the libretto for L'Orfeo makes the title character a jealous husband and provides him with an unstable brother with an estranged wife who is a rival for Eurydice! Brilliant singing, stock character types and a generous comic element were expected and are delivered here along with over 50 arias, among which is one of the most moving laments (from Orfeo in Act III) to come from any opera of the period or before. 2 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Ellen Hargis, Suzie Le Blanc (sopranos), Harry van der Kamp (bass), Teatro Lirico; Stephen Stubbs. Challenge Classics CC 72020 (Netherlands) 05E016 $35.98

MARC-ANTOINE CHARPENTIER (1634-1704): Caecilia, virgo et martyr, Filius prodigus, Magnificat. A private and a public oratorio, both showing Charpentier's allegiance to his teacher Carissimi, especially in Filius, with its sequences of narrative and action and its highly developed choruses which go beyond anything his master composed. Budget-price. Les Arts Florissants; William Christie. Original 1980 Harmonia Mundi release. Harmonia Mundi Musique d'Abord HMA 195066 (France) 05E017 $7.98

FERDINANDO ANTONIO LAZZARI (1678-1754): Sonata à 6 in D, MAURIZIO CAZZATI (c.1620-1677): Sonata à 4 in G Minor "La Sampiera", ANDREA GROSSI (late 17th cen.): Sonata à 5 in D, Op. 3/10, GIUSEPPE MARIA JACCHINI (v.1663-1727): Sonata à 5 in D, GIOVANNI BATTISTA VITALI (1644-1692): Sonata in A Minor, Op. 5/10 "La Sassatelli", ALESSANDRO MELANI (1639-1703): Sonata à 5 in C, GIOVANNI LEGRENZI (1626-1690): Sonata in E Minor, Op. 10/17, ALESSANDRO STRADELLA (1639-1682): Sinfonia in D from the serenata "Il barcheggio", GIUSEPPE TORELLI (1658-1709): Sonata à 5 in D, ALESSANDRO SCARLATTI (1660-1725): Sonata à 4 No. 1 in F Minor, ANTONIO VIVALDI (1678-1741): Concerto in C, RV537. Some of the earliest extant works for trumpet(s), strings and continuo are included in this survey of the genre during the Italian baroque period. Crispian Steele-Perkins, Alison Balsom (trumpets), The Parley of Instruments; Peter Holman (organ). Hyperion CDA 67359 (England) 05E018 $17.98

ADRIANO BANCHIERI (1568-1634): From L'organo Suonarino, Op. 13. Kenyon performs selections on Banchieri's own organ from the 1605 (and later editions) set of pieces written for performance during liturgical services according of Pope Clement VIII's Ceremonial of 1600. Mid-price. Paul Kenyon (organ of S.Michele, Bosco), Coro Tactus. Tactus TC 560202 (Italy) 05E019 $11.98

JOHANNES HIERONYMOUS KAPSBERGER (c.1580-1651): Apotheosis sive consecratio SS. Ignatii et Francisci Xavierii, DOMENICO ZIPOLI (1688-1726)/MARTIN SCHMID (1694-1772): San Ignacio de Loyola. These operas come from opposite ends of the baroque (1622 and circa 1755) but both were produced by Jesuits, Kapsberger's celebrating the canonization of Loyola and Xavier and Zipoli et al.'s an emblem of missionary activity in South America (it is the only surviving opera from the Jesuit missions in Paraguay). Apotheosis exists somewhere between early Roman opera and Jesuit drama while San Ignacio could be called multicultural inasmuch as it contains music from anonymous indigenous composers as well as by Zipoli and Schmid. (If you've never seen your CD player's track counter go up to 97, this release has something else to offer you too!) 2 CDs for the price of 1. Latin-English, Spanish-English libretti. Ellen Hargis (soprano), Mark McSweeney (baritone), John Elwes (tenor), Randall Wong (countertenor), Ensemble Abendmusik; James David Christie. Dorian DOR-93243 (U.S.A.) 05E020 $16.98

JOHANN PACHELBEL (1653-1706): Lobet den Herrn in seinem Heiligtum, Christ lag in Todesbanden, Der Herr ist König und herrlich geschmückt, Gott sei uns gnädig, Magnificat anima mea, Suite for Theorbo Solo. Pachelbel's sacred works are almost never heard anymore, making this new release particularly valuable Lobet den Herrn stands out with a magnificence which clearly had a great influence on Handel. German-English texts. Johann Rosen-müller Ensemble; Arno Paduch. Christophorus CHR 77257 (Germany) 05E021 $17.98

AGOSTINO STEFFANI (1654-1728): Scherzi Musicali: Filenos, Hai finito di lusingarmi, Il più felice, Lagrime dolorose, Guardati, o core, Spezza, Amor. Dating from the 1680s, these are pastoral cantatas in classic baroque style, full of exquisite sorrow, excruciating doubt and unrequited love. Each uses two obbligato instruments and the works are rich in highly decorated melodies of sensual beauty, interesting harmonic turns and stylized drama. Italian-English texts. Noémi Kiss (soprano), Éva Lax (alto), Timothy Bentch (tenor), Pál Benkö (bass), Affetti Musicali; János Malina. Hungaroton HCD 32078 (Hungary) 05E022 $16.98

JOHANN GEORG PISENDEL (1687-1755): Sonatas for Violin and Continuo in D & in E Minor, TOMASO ALBINONI (1671-1751): Sonatas for Violin and Continuo in B Flat & in G Minor, ANTONIO VIVALDI (1678-1741): Sonatas for Violin and Continuo in C Minor & in C, VIVALDI?/PISENDEL?: Serenata in C for Violin and Continuo. The works not by Pisendel here were dedicated to him, one of the greatest German violinists of his time and the difficulties which his Italian admirers (and, in the case of Vivaldi, his teacher) set him are testimony to the dazzling virtuosity he commanded (Bach's solo sonatas were probably also written for him). La Serenissima. Avie AV0018 (England) 05E023 $16.98

Bach's Contemporaries, Vol. 4

JAN DISMAS ZELENKA (1679-1745): Litaniae de Venerabili Sacramento, Regina coeli laetare, Salve Regina, mater misericordiae, From Officium Defunctorum: Lectiones and Invitatorium. The "admirable idiosyncrasy" of Zelenka's harmonic language and his "ornately entwined" voices (the quotes from the 18th century musicologist Friedrich Rochlitz) are on display throughout these works dating from 1726-33 with the three segments from the Officium Defunctorum particularly affecting in their gloom, grief and skillful use of instrumental colors (chalumeau, muted oboes, pair of recorders, respectively, in the three Lessons). Carolyn Sampson, Rebecca Outram (sopranos), Robin Blaze (countertenor), James Gilchrist (tenor), Michael George, Peter Harvey (basses), Choir of the King's Consort, The King's Consort; Robert King. Hyperion CDA 67350 (England) 05E024 $17.98

CHARLES DOLLÉ (18th cen.): Pieces de Viole aven La Basse Continüe, Op. 2. Unlike his contemporary Forqueray's pursuit of flamboyance and the Italian style, Dollé follows in the style of Marais, valuing clarity of expression, lucidity of thought and elegant and beautiful melody in this set, the only one he wrote for the gamba (later publications were for the insanely popular pardessus de viole). Character pieces intermingle with dance movements and much use is made of rondo form. Petr Wagner (viola da gamba), Jacques Ogg (harpsichord). Dorian DOR-93246 (U.S.A.) 05E025 $16.98

JOHANN ADOLPH SCHEIBE (1708-1776): Sonatas for Flute and Harpsichord Nos. 1-3, MORTEN RÆHS (1702-1766): Sonatas for Flute and Basso Continuo Nos. 2 & 3. Danish flute sonatas from the mid 18th century bring us both late Baroque styles - Ræhs' highly virtuosic pieces in the brilliant style of Quantz with the keyboard used as basso continuo, and Scheibe's more classical trio in which the harpsichord and flute are equal partners and the emphasis is on melody and expression. Maria Bania (flute), Lars Ulrik Mortensen (harpsichord). Dacapo 8.224213 (Denmark) 05E026 $15.98

JOHANNES SCHMIDLIN (1722-1772): Magnificat, Gloria, FRANCISCUS JOSEF LEONTI MEYER (1720-1789): Te Deum, JOHANN CASPER BACHOFEN (1695-1755): Schäfelein wo bleibst du doch?, Christi Tod, des Todes Tod, Wo ist Jesus meine Liebe?, JOHANN JAKOB WALDER (1750-1817)/JOHANN HEINRICH EGLI (1742-1810): Drittes Morgen-Lied, Auf meines Gottes treu. Sacred music of the late baroque/early Classical period in Switzerland, with Schmidlin (very economical use of resources) and Bachofen (a pleasingly pastoral quality in both his arias with, of course, all sense of eroticism, so endemic in the style, expunged!) providing three-quarters of the music. Meyer's 10-minute Te Deum is melodically and harmonically simple, with no counterpoint, as characterized much of the music from the South German Catholic tradition. German-English texts. Choir of Gonville & Caius College Cambridge, The Cambridge Baroque Camerata; Jonathan Hellyer Jones. Guild GMCD 7248 (England) 05E027 $16.98

Jan KÞtitel Van hal (1739-1813): String Quartets in B Flat, Op. 2/3, in F, Op. 6/1, in E, Op. 6/2, in G, Op. 1/3, in B Flat, Op. 6/6 & in E Flat, Op. 13/1. These quartets date from 1769-73 and are all in three-movement form (sonata, cantabile slow movement and rondo finale) and around 10-12 minutes in length, making them more like Dittersdorf's quartets than, say, Haydn's. Now, only around 94 Vanhal quartets remain unrecorded... Kubín Quartet. Multisonic 31 0583-2 (Czech Republic) 05E028 $13.98

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756-1791): The London Sketchbook, K 15a-z & aa-ss. Containing 40 pieces in various stages of completion, the London Sketchbook dates from late 1764 and early 1765 and is rarely dipped into by performers. The pianist here has edited the work completely, completing some pieces, filling out others, correcting errors and attempting to fathom the mind of the 8-year-old Mozart in the very fragmentary ones. A small orchestra is used for an Andante poco adagio and a string quartet for the Fuga finale. Hans-Udo Kreuels (piano). Naxos 8.554769 (New Zealand) 05E029 $6.98

JOHANN SIMON MAYR (1763-1845): La Passione for Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra, Stabat Mater in C Minor for Soloists and Orchestra. Mayr's passion setting (in the Catholic tradition of a series of meditiations, unlike the Lutheran tradition of Bach) dates from 1794, making it quite early in his career. The piece is highly emotional and intense, in keeping with the local tradition of almost excessive devotion to Mary. The Stabat Mater is probably from around the same period, a fairly short 25 minutes which has a couple of original touches, including a soprano aria with violin obbligato. 2 CDs. Italian-English texts. Maria Jette (soprano), Claudia Schneider (contralto), Harmut Schröder (tenor), Robert Merwald (bass), Ingolstadt Vocal Ensemble, Georgian Chamber Orchestra, Ingol-stadt; Franz Hauk. Guild GMCD 7251/2 (England) 05E030 $33.98

JAKUB JAN RYBA (1765-1815): Missa Solemnis in C, Mass in E Minor. The 1810 Missa Solemnis is remarkable for its being scored for wind ensemble (3 trumpets, pairs of flutes, clarinets, bassoons and horns) and timpani. Ryba leaves complicated polyphony out, perhaps seeing open-air performances of this mass likely while employing many interesting touches (like a Mozartean use of flute and bassoon couplings). The 1802 Mass is consistenly contrapuntal at a time when such an approach was losing ground. These works are a valuable corrective to those who see Ryba solely as the composer of a pretty, rustic Christmas mass (according to his own count, Ryba had 1391 compositions in hand by 1798!). Andrea Kristel (soprano), Nadia Ladkany (mezzo), JiÞí Vinklárek (tenor), Jan Morávek (bass), Prague Radio Chamber Choir, National Theatre Wind Harmonia; Stefan Britvík, Andrea Dudáová (soprano), Marta Benaãková (contralto), ·tefan Margita (tenor), Peter Mikulá (bass), Coro di Praga, New Czech Chamber Orchestra; JiÞí Belohlávek. Multisonic 31 0568-2 (Czech Republic) 05E031 $13.98

GIUSEPPE SARTI (1729-1802): Enea nel Lazio. This was Sarti's 73rd (of 75) stage works and dates from 1799, at the end of his long stay at the Russian court in St. Petersburg. There are only four characters and very little action but the music is of the high standard expected of Sarti, very richly orchestrated and sounding, when using the full orchestra, not unlike late Haydn. First modern performance. 2 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Marat Galiakhmetov, Konstantin Nikitin (tenors), Jana Ivanilova (soprano), Marina Philippova (contralto), Youth Choir of St. Petersburg, Camerata St. Petersburg; Arcady Steinlucht. Bongiovanni GB 2334-35 (Italy) 05E032 $33.98

JOHN CHRISTOPHER SMITH (1712-1795): Overture and March from The Fairies, Overture and Dead March from The Enchanter, Overture and Hornpipe from The Tempest, ALEXANDER ERSKINE (1732-1791): Overture to The Maid of the Mill, JOHN ABRAHAM FISHER (1744-1806): Overture to The Syrens, THOMAS ARNE (1710-1778): Overtures to Thomas and Sally and Artaxerses. This incidental music comes from masques and English operas given at Covent Garden and Drury Lane in styles that range from Smith's somewhat old-fashioned Handelian pieces (although he appears in some to have recognized that of J.C. Bach as well) to Erskine's and Fisher's Mannheim school. Capella Savaria; Mary Térey-Smith. Dorian DOR-93251 (U.S.A.) 05E033 $16.98

ANTONIO ROSETTI (c.1750-1792): 3 Bassoon Concertos in B Flat, Bassoon Concerto in F. Rosetti, known for his fine horn concertos, provides equally attractive work for the bassoon in his five concertos for that instrument (three of the ones here are first recordings), with inventive and lively outer movements framing slow ones notable for their arching lyricism. Next month: 3 symphonies and a flute concerto from MD&G! Albrecht Holder (bassoon), New Brandenburg Philharmonic Orchestra; Nicolás Pasquet. Naxos 8.555341 (New Zealand) 05E034 $6.98

IGNAZ PLEYEL (1757-1831): Complete String Concertos, Vol. 1 - 4 Cello Concertos in C, Cello Concerto in D. Dating from 1784 to after 1797, these elegant and virtuosic concertos are in the style and spirit of similar works by Haydn and Boccherini, with long first movements, often equalling the length of the rest of the concerto, cantabile slow movements and witty rondo finales, often with rustic flavor. 2 CDs. Erdödy Chamber Orchestra; Péter Szabó (cello). Hungaroton HCD 32067-68 (Hungary) 05E035 $33.98

SAMUEL WESLEY (1766-1837): 5 Voluntaries from Op. 6, Voluntary in B Flat for Thomas Attwood, Short Pieces Nos. 8 & 9. Composed between 1805 and 1819, at a time when English organs were puny, one-manual jobs incapable of doing justice to Bach and other Continental composers, it is plain that Wesley was looking to the future. His harmonic subtlety, contrapuntal mastery and fondness of chromaticism make him unique among English composers of the period and these sonatas-in-all-but-name are vivid witnesses to his talent. David Herman (organ of Coventry Cathedral). Redcliffe Recordings RR 019 (England) 05E036 $16.98

Beethoven World Premieres (really!)

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827): Oboe Concerto in F, Hess 12 (reconstr. Jos van der Zanden and Cees Nieuwenhuizen), Wellington's Victory, Hess 97 (piano version of, Op. 91), Musik zu einem Ritterballett, Hess 89 (piano version of WoO 1), Allegretto in C Minor for Piano, Hess 69, Four-Part Fugue in E Minor for String Quartet, Hess 238/1, Allegretto in C Minor for Piano, Hess 66, Ecossaise in G for Piano, WoO 23, 12 Miniatures from Sketchbooks presented as piano pieces. This reconstruction of the slow movement of a 1795 oboe concerto is based on a continuity draft identified among Beethoven's papers in the 1960s. The piano versions of Wellington's Victory and the Ritterballett are Beethoven's own; the fugue is one of the composer's early efforts while studying with Albrechtsberger and Haydn; the Allegretto Hess 66 was originally intended for the sonata Op. 10/1 and the sketchbook miniatures include Hess numbers 57, 59, 61, 72-4 and six uncatalogued pieces, all dating before 1801 and needing only minor editorial work for performance. Alexei Ogrintchouk (oboe), Rotterdam Chamber Orchestra; Conrad van Alphen, Peter Kranen (piano), Raphael String Quartet. Raptus Records 302.02.01 (Netherlands) 05E037 $17.98 >

GIOVANNI BATTISTA VIOTTI (1755-1824): Complete Violin Concertos, Vol. 9 - Concerto No. 22 in A Minor, Concerto No. 24 in B Minor, Concerto No. 28 in A Minor. The ample orchestral introduction and melodic leaps of the first movement and the main theme of the nervous final movement of the Concerto No. 22 (c.1792) seem to foreshadow Paganini. No. 24 (1795) has a horn-led pre-Romantic slow movement and a folksy finale and No. 28 (1805), also often pre-Romantic in nature is suffused throughout its first two movements with a sadness which may reflect the contemporary Napoleonic wars. Symphonia Perusina; Franco Mezzina (violin). Dynamic CDS 425 (Italy) 05E038 $17.98

GIOACHINO ROSSINI (1792-1868): Robert Bruce. Here is Rossini's third and last pastiche, assembled with the collaboration of French composer Louis Niedermeyer (who provided the all-important French texts with their characteristic tone color and harmonies) and given in Paris in 1846. The majority of the music comes from La Donna del Lago and Zelmira but there is also material from Mosé, Torvaldo e Dorliska, Maometto II and Armida. 2 CDs. French-English libretto. Nicolas Rivenq (baritone), Iano Tamar (soprano), Simon Edwards (tenor), Bratislava Chamber Choir, Italian International Orchestra; Paolo Arrivabeni. Dynamic CDS 421/1-2 (Italy) 05E039 $35.98

PETER BENOIT (1843-1901): Benoit Collection, Vol. 2 - Messe Solennelle. Dating from 1861 and the second part of a larger Quadriologie religieuse, this is a mass on a solemn and grand scale in a personal style, not completely derived from late Classicism. (This may have been released on the defunct Discover International label in 1993.) Donald George (tenor), Royal Flemish Conservatory Choir, Royal Caecilia Chorale, Ars Muisca Merksem Mixed Choir, Zingende wandelkring Sint Norbertus, BRTN Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra; Alexander Rahbari. Talent 88 (Belgium) 05E040 $15.98

Berwald World Premieres!

FRANZ BERWALD (1796-1868): The Battle of Leipzig, Concerto for 2 Violins and Orchestra, The Queen of Golconda: Overture, March, Bridal Procession, Ballet and Folk Dance, Theme and Variations for Violin and Orchestra, Estrella de Soria: Overture and Polonaise. This 75-minute release offers 59 minutes of world premiere recordings, predominantly of early pieces such as the Theme and Variations of 1816 in the style of Rode (Berwald himself called it an "imitation"), the double violin concerto of 1817, in a single movement with slow introduction leading into a rondo in similar style and the 19-minute Battle of Leipzig of 1828 which is in the tradition of Beethoven's Wellington's Victory (although it doesn't sound like Beethoven, Berwald's unique ear for instrumental effects already showing his individual personality). The overtures from the two operas have been recorded before but this release fills out Golconda with over 10 minutes of extra music from the opera and Estrella de Soria provides a short polonaise. Johannes Lörstad, Andreas Hagman (violins), Malmö Opera Orchestra; Niklas Willén. Sterling CDS-1051-2 (Sweden) 05E041 $16.98

SAVERIO MERCADANTE (1795-1870): Zaira (highlights). Well, whether through high costs or low sales, it seems that Opera Rara have had to revise their luxurious release projects. This is the first offering in a series which will still have the lavish, full-color documentation with complete libretto (150 page book in this case) but which will present highlights of the unusual-repertoire, bel-canto opera in question (75 minutes worth here and the sung portions are printed in blue in the libretto). Zaira dates from 1831, the theme, from Voltaire, deals with the conflict between religion and love (Christian title character and Ottoman Sultan) and ends with a murder-suicide. Italian-English libretto. Majella Cullagh (soprano), Bruce Ford (tenor), Alastair Miles (bass), Garry Magee (baritone), Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, Philharmonia Orchestra; David Parry. Opera Rara ORR 224 (England) 05E042 $19.98

Frantiek Benda (1709-1786): Sonata in C, BedÞich Smetana (1824-1884): Moderato and Andantino from From My Homeland, Zdene k Fibich (1850-1900): Sonatina, Op. 27, Bohuslav Martinu°(1890-1959): Sonatina, WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756-1791): Sonata in E Minor, K 304. What's unusual here is that each of these works is performed on a violin made in Prague during the composer's lifetime. For violin collectors, here's the list: Benda: Eberle (1737); Smetana: Sitt (1868); Fibich: Homolka (1882); Martinu: ·pidlen (1993!) and Mozart: Willer (1790). Jaroslav Svecen (violins), Marie Synková (piano). Musica Pragensis MP 0014-2921 (Czech Republic) 05E043 $12.98 >

CHARLES-VALENTIN ALKAN (1813-1888): 48 Esquisses, Op. 63. Alkan's last cycle of miniatures, published in 1861, consists of a variety of simple dances, airs, odd little fragment-like pieces, brilliant and concise etudes and many character pieces in the tradition (but not the style!) of Rameau and Couperin. These pieces run the gamut from touching naivety to the schizophrenic, bizarre and just plain weird which we lovingly associate with this composer. Steven Osborne (piano). Hyperion CDA 67377 (England) 05E044 $17.98

RICHARD WAGNER (1813-1883): Overtures to König Enzio, Tannhaüser and Der fliegende Holländer, Preludes to Acts 1 & 3 of Lohengrin, The Ride of the Valkyries, Prelude to Act. 1 of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Introduction to Act 3 of Tannhäuser (first Dresden version). Stifling the obvious complaint that there is much more unusual Wagner to couple a world premiere recording with, we satisfy ourselves with the information that König Enzio was a play for which the 19-year-old Wagner provided incidental music, including this 9-minute overture which is firmly in the style of Weber with some echoes also of the Beethoven of Coriolan or Egmont. Robert Schumann Philharmonie Chemnitz; Oleg Caetani. Arts 47635 (Germany) 05E045 $12.98

FRIEDRICH KIEL (1821-1885): Works for Cello and Piano, Vol. 2 - Viola or Cello Sonata in G Minor, Op. 67, Cello Sonata in D, WoO, Kleine Suite in A for Violin and Piano, Op. 77 (arr. Lübeck). The D major sonata dates from around 1868 (the same period as the sonata in volume one of this set) and has a Brahmsian first movement, a swaying Siciliano second and a finale looking back to Viennese Classicism. The G minor sonata (the composer wrote it for either instrument) is highly emotional and predominantly lyrical, Schumann being the comparandum here while the "Little Suite" of 1881 is a slight, four-movement work of salon character. Hans Zentgraf (cello), Christoph Ullrich (piano). MD&G 612 1161-2 (Germany) 05E046 $17.98

BedÞich Smetana (1824-1884): Ma Vlast. Published shortly after he finished work on the orchestral cycle, the four-hands version of this evergreen masterpiece holds interest for the student of the orchestral score in order to see what Smetana considered structurally essential and what was intended as coloristic (or added by later hands like Václav Talich and other well-meaning conductors!). Igor & Renata Ardaev (piano). Supraphon SU 3712-2 (Czech Republic) 05E047 $16.98

Unusual Violin Pieces and Transcriptions

BACH/BRAHMS/RICCI: Presto from the Sonata BWV 1001 for 2 Violins (Carsten Neumann, second violin), ROSSINI/RICCI: Andante with Variations from Tancredi, CHOPIN/RICCI: Souvenir de Paganini, CHOPIN/BURMEISTER: Etude, Op. 25/2, CHOPIN/SPALDING: Waltz, Op. 70/1, POULENC/URAI: Pastorale, BARTÓK/URAI: Burlesque, PERGOLESI/TONINI: "Tre giorni son che Nina...", R. STRAUSS/ PRIHODA: Waltz from Der Rosenkavalier, PAGANINI/THIBAUD: La Chasse, ALBÉNIZ/ PEREDIAZ: Rumores de la Caleta, FRANZ VON VECSEY: Motus Barbarus, JOSEF SUK: Love Song, MÜLLENBACH: Capriccio for Solo Violin, WILLIAM WALTON: Canzonetta e Scherzetto, HEITOR VILLA-LOBOS: O canto do cysne negro, GIOVANNI BATTISTA VIOTTI: Duet for Solo Violin. Ten of the 17 pieces here are claimed as world premiere recordings and, although the notes are next to useless, providing no information about the little-known transcribers (not even first names), we offer this delightful basket of oddities to our violin collectors. Ruggiero Ricci (violin), Noriko Shiozaki (piano). Dynamic CDS 298 (Italy) 05E048 $17.98

JOSEPH GUY-ROPARTZ (1864-1955): La chasse du Prince Arthur, Soir sur les chaumes, La cloche des morts, 4 Odelettes for Soprano and Orchestra, 4 Poèmes for Baritone and Orchestra. Collectors who purchased Le Pays, Ropartz' opera which we offered a year or so ago, will be aware of this Breton's deep affinity for the sea, for nature and for the mist-shrouded legends of his Celtic forebears. Here is another glorious example of it: Prince Arthur's hunt (1912) is in the tradition of Franck's Le chausseur maudit but the dreamlike Celtic quality of Ropartz' response makes the work as Impressionistic as it is Romantic. Soir (1913) may have the Vosges mountains as its subject but the endless undulation of the dark, forest-shrouded peaks activates the composer's sea muse while producing a greyer, more northern equivalent of D'Indy's Jour d'été à la montagne while the earlier La cloche (1887) is a vividly realistic portrayal of a Celtic funeral procession in Brittany. The two short song-cycles are just as evocative: the Odelettes (1913) provide music of a Delian impressionism for texts which mingle classicism with Symbolism. The baritone songs are Ropartz' own translations of poems from Heine's Liederbuch and the composer provides music which seems to have more of the biting sarcasm and irony of the original texts than Schumann, for instance, ever chose to recognize. French-English texts. Cécile Perrin (soprano), Vincent Le Texier (baritone), Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra; Emmanuel Krivine. Timpani 1C1073 (France) 05E048A (Please note funny catalog number and take care when ordering) $18.98

Vite slav Novák (1870-1949): The Corsair, Marys a, Op. 18, Serenade in F, Op. 9. Completed while the composer was still a member of Dvorák's composition class in 1892, The Corsair was suggested by Byron's poem of the same name and is a classic example of the dark, brooding, dramatic overture which comes from the same stable as Tchaikovsky's and Liszt's shorter tone-poems and overtures. The Serenade, one of two works by this name (both were offered on Marco Polo many years ago) is from only three years later and emulates Dvorák in its use of folk melodies and Brahms in its style. Marys a dates from 1898 and is another "dramatic overture", this time suggested by a Czech drama; an oboe cantilena represents the title character, in love with a poor soldier but doomed to marry a rich miller, the whole affair sketched out in music of vivid and dramatic pictorialism. Bergisch Symphony; Romely Pfund. MD&G 601 1159-2 (Germany) 05E049 $17.98

JACQUES IBERT (1890-1962): Persée et Andromède, La Ballade de la Geôle de Reading, Sarabande pour Dulcinée. A major addition to Ibert's recorded uvre, this release presents three early works. Persée is a 40-minute opera from 1921, ironic, satirical and in the sparkling, carefree style which characterized the composer for his entire career. A conceited Perseus rescues a distracted and bored Andromeda by killing the monster guarding her only to find the maiden suddenly realizing that she was in love with it. The story ends with a handsome prince springing from the corpse of the monster and the couple going off to live happily ever after. In a more serious vein, La Ballade (1920) is a sort of symphony in three movements based on Wilde's poem, evoking the horror and and emotional torment the poet experienced watching the preparations for and the execution of a convicted murderer. The disc ends with a brief, tender Sarabande from the 1935 ballet Le chevalier errant. French-English libretto. Annick Massis (soprano), Philippe Rouillon (bass-baritone), Yann Beuron (tenor), Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra; Jan-Latham Koenig. Avie AV 0008 (England) 05E050 $16.98 [See also the Ibert piano disc offered last month, as this unjustly neglected composer finally starts to get his due]

Bohuslav Mate j âernohorsk (1684-1742): Fugues in F and in C Minor, ANONYMOUS: Fugues in D, C & in E Minor, Prelude and Fugue in D, Jan Zach (1699-1773): Fugue in D, Frantiek Xaver Brixi (1732-1771): Fugues in C Minor and in A Minor, Jan KÞtitel Van hal (1739-1813): Fugue in C, BedÞich Smetana (1824-1884): Preludes in C Minor and in G Minor, Antonín DvoÞák (1841-1904): Prelude in D, Fugue in G Minor, Leo Janáãek (1854-1928): Adagio, BedÞich Antonín Wiedermann (1883-1951): Christmas Elegy, Chorale Prelude, Josef Bohuslav Foerster (1859-1951): Impromptus. This survey of historical Czech organs brings some very unusual repertoire along with it, especially the two pieces by virtuoso organist/composer Wiedermann. Eleven organs are used, ranging from a c.1720 Sieber organ in a monastery church at Îd'ár nad Sázavou (used for some of the anonymous fugues) to the 1902 Kobrle single manual in the Pilgrims' Church on the hill of Tábor (how much more picturesque can you get?) used, of course, for the Smetana. Josef Popelka, Václav UhlíÞ, Ale Barta, Jan Hora, Zuzana Nemeãková (organs). Cesky Rozhlas CR 0017-2 (Czech Republic) 05E051 $14.98 >

EUGÈNE GIGOUT (1844-1925): Complete Organ Works, Vol. 2 - Suite de 6 Pièces, Pièces pour Orgue: En forme de Legende, Marche des Rogations, Interludium, Meditation. The 1881 suite is full of memorable pieces from the opening Introduction et Thème Fugué in its majestic B flat minor which could have served as a movement in an organ symphony to a somber, grief-stricken Marche Funèbre and, perhaps his most popular piece, the final Grand Chur dialogué with its juxtaposition of two organ "choirs", this is late Romantic French organ music at its richest. Gerard Brooks (organ of St. Ouen, Rouen). Priory PRCD 762 (England) 05E052 $16.98

CHARLES WILLIAM PEARCE (1858-1928): Creator of the Starry Night, Op. 25/1, Corde natus ex parentis, A Symphonic Poem, Op. 27, WILLIAM SPARK (1823-1897): The Ancient Vesper Hymn (Theme, Variations and Fugue), GEORGE ALEXANDER MACFARREN (1813-1887): Variations on the Psalm Tune "Windsor", EDWARD SILAS (1827-1909): Fantasia on St. Ann's Hymn, Op. 93, OLIVER KING (1855-1923): Prelude for Lent, Op. 10/2, CHARLES STEGGALL (1826-1905): Postlude (Jerusalem on High), FELIX MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847): Overture from St. Paul (arr. W.T. Best [1926-1897]). With the exception of Best's Mendelssohn transcription, this collection brings together organ voluntaries and concert pieces from the Victorian period based on hymns, chorales and psalm tunes, all of which partake of the style of high Romanticism, often with knowledge of German and other Continental styles. Graham Barber (organ of Tewkesbury Abbey). Hyperion CDA 67356 (England) 05E053 $17.98

CHARLES KOECHLIN (1867-1950): La course de printemps, Op. 95 (from Le livre de la jungle), Le buisson ardent, Op. 303 & 171. It's good to be reminded of Koechlin's consummate skill at orchestration, the ability to create a dazzling variety of colors through the mixing and combining of instruments which led conductor Holliger to describe him as an "alchemist in sound". Koechlin was also among the first to use the ondes Martenot and the second of his late tone-poems based on Rolland's novel "Jean-Christophe" (1938 and 1945) employs it as a singing voice in his remarkable depiction of a burned-out soul who retires to remote nature and is then reborn through the approach of spring. Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra; Heinz Holliger. Hänssler Classic 93.045 (Germany) 05E054 $15.98

CHARLES KOECHLIN (1867-1950): Les Heures Persanes, Op. 65. This 68-minute journey of the imagination through Persia was composed between 1913 and 1919. Almost all of the music is slow, meditative, tranquil (there are no fewer than three representations of moonlight) and the dynamic range is generally p to ppp. Koechlin's performance instructions, in both Italian and French, also make clear the character of the pieces: "transparent", "luminous", "very calm", "sustained", "translucent" and "nostalgically expressive" as just some examples. The language is modal and often polytonal and the interweaving of melodic lines is meant to suggest the intricacies of Islamic decorative art; the result, filtered as it is through a French sensibility, is both original and in the tradition of Debussy and of Satie. Kathyrn Stott (piano). Chandos 9974 (England) 05E055 $16.98

ZOLTÁN KODÁLY (1882-1967): Complete Works for Cello - Cello and Piano: Romance lyrique, Adagio, Sonata Movement, Capriccio, Sonatina, 9 Epigrams, Rondo from Hungarian Folksongs, Duo for Violin and Cello, Op. 7, Sonata for Cello and Piano, Op. 4, Sonata for Solo Cello, Op. 8, BACH/KODÁLY: 3 Chorale Preludes, Prelude and Fugue (from The Well-Tempered Klavier, I/8). Almost 90 minutes of music which is almost never heard or recorded, makes this collection of Kodály's complete cello works a valuable addition to the CD library. The majority of the short pieces are early (the Romance as early as 1898) and are still influenced by Brahms and salon style although the folk elements which infuse Kodály's work are obviously present in the 1917 Hungarian Rondo. The Chorale Preludes (1923) are in the late Romantic, Regerian style of transcription while the 1951 Well-Tempered Clavier transcriptions show the mature composer's delight in explicating Bach's contrapuntal genius. The 1954 Epigrams are short, enigmatic fragments halfway between exercises and the musings of an aging composer on a dying tradition. 3 CDs. Miklós Perényi (cello), Dénes Várjon (piano), Gábor Takács-Nagy (violin). Hungaroton HCD 32196-98 (Hungary) 05E056 $50.98

TURE RANGSTRÖM (1884-1947): Melody, Summer Night, The Last Hour, The Wind and the Tree, The Girl Beneath the New Moon, Pan, WILHELM STENHAMMAR (1871-1927): Adagio, Op. 20/5, Melody, Op. posth., In the Forest, Moonlight, Op. 20/4, Midsummer Eve, Op. 4/2, The Daughter Asked, Op. 8/2, The Girl Comes from Meeting Her Lover, Op. 4/1, EMIL SJÖGREN (1853-1918): 6 Lieder aus Julius Wolff's "Tann-häuser", Op. 12, GÖSTA NYSTROEM (1890-1966): Soul and Landscape, On the Reef, That Is All There Is from Sinfonia del mare. Songs by Swedish composers with Sjögren (who sets German texts) represented in what was his finest genre: fastidiously crafted pieces and the set here, in particular, with a Grieg-like freshness. Rangström wrote even more songs than Sjögren and the ones recorded here, in late Romantic style, are direct, pure and poignant. Stenhammar's somewhat reserved nature mixes some of Fauré's reticence with Elgar's nobility in shongs short yet pointed while Nystroem evinces a fine ability at intensifying and evoking the atmosphere of his texts, all of which deal with his great love, the sea. Swedish/German-English texts. Miah Persson (soprano), Roger Vignoles (piano). Hyperion CDA 67329 (England) 05E057 $17.98

LEEVI MADETOJA (1887-1947): Complete Lieder, Vol. 2 - Windy Weather, Op. 25/3, Hypnos Smiled, Op. 9/2, Take My Hand, Op. 9/3, Prayer, Op. 9/4, Geisha, Op. 9/5, Crystal Flowers, Op. 16/2, Lullaby, Op. 16/3, Farewell, Op. 26/1, Soft Wing, Op. 26/2, Sea Wind, Op. 26/3, By Winter Moonlight, Op. 26/5, Father, Whither Fly the Hens?, Op. 44/2, The Golden-White Light of Heaven, Op. 44/3, Spring Song, Op. 44/4, Romance Without Words, Op. 36, 2 Songs from "Okon Fuoko", Op. 58, Swing, Swing, Op. 60/1, To an Unfaithful One, Autumn Song Cycle, Op. 68. His orchestral music may be influenced by French Impressionism but Madetoja's songs show much more of the austerity one associates with Finland. 15 of these 25 songs are to texts by the composer's wife and these often deal with the ecstasy of nature in northern climes, producing settings of an icy, yet richly emotional richness. The Danish songs retreat more to a late 19th century Romanticism while the one French setting (Verlaine) is as atmospheric a rainscape of the soul as one could find in Debussy. Finnish/Danish/French-English texts. Helena Juntunen (soprano), Gustav Djupsjöbacka (piano). Ondine ODE 995-2 (Finland) 05E058 $17.98

CECIL ARMSTRONG GIBBS (1889-1960): The Bells, Op. 14/2, To one who passed whistling through the night, Summer Night, The fields are full, Take heed, young heart, When I was one-and-twenty, The Birch Tree, Lullaby, The Sleeping Beauty, The Ballad of Semmerwater, Tom o' Bedlam, The Mad Prince, Hypochondriacus, Neglected Moon!, The Rejected Lover, Arrogant Poppies, Sailing Homeward, The Tiger-Lily, The splendour falls, Titania, Danger, Nightfall, Silver, Op. 30/2, Mistletoe, The Oxen, In the Highlands, Op. 9, By a Bierside, Araby, Op. 20/2, Ann's Cradle Song, Op. 20/1, Five Eyes, Op. 15/2, The Wanderer, The Flooded Stream, Four Songs for a Mad Sea Captain, Op. 111. Although he wrote three symphonies and some large-scale choral/orchestral works, it was the song which will preserve Gibbs' place in English musical history. A quarter of his 162 songs are to poems by de la Mare and 11 of these are included here: wonderfully atmospheric settings of the poet's fanciful, mysterious and disturbing creations, matched with music of deceptive simplicity. Texts included. Geraldine McGreevy (soprano), Stephen Varcoe (baritone), Roger Vignoles (piano). Hyperion CDA 67337 (England) 05E059 $17.98

EMIL NIKOLAUS VON REZNICEK (1860-1945): Ritter Blaubart. First produced in 1920 and very popular in Berlin for the next six years, this work based on the Bluebeard tale is described as a "fairy-tale opera" and that is an apt description if one thinks of the unexpurgated fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm. For this is a dark, psychological study of a mad wife-murderer painted in lurid, larger-than-life tones and macabre shadings and any stage designer would get to use buckets of blood for the scenes in which Bluebeard secretes himself in his off-limits chamber with the severed heads of his previous wives. The score mixes Straussian opulence (and decadence too) in the title character's solo scenes with music of a Mendelssohnian lightness in the wedding-scene toward the end of Act I and will satisfy anyone interested in the excesses of German late Romanticism. 2 CDs. German-English libretto. David Pittman-Jennings (baritone), Celina Lindsley (soprano), Robert Wörle (tenor), Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra; Michail Jurowski. CPO 999 899 (Germany) 05E060 $31.98

CARLO ALFREDO MUSSINELLI (1871-1955): Il sogno di Rosetta, Padre nostro for Mezzo-Soprano, Chorus and Orchestra, Barcarola & Il Mare for Piano. Mussinelli does not appear in Grove or Opera Grove and, reading the short note here is like walking into the fifth week of a late 19th century Italian literature class - you're expected to know all about the poet and the libretto of this 40-minute opera of 1901. Still, the music is lovely (harmonies of the Fauré-Franck school), evoking a dream state for the first two-thirds of the piece and brightening for the finish; a somewhat naive yet heartfelt setting of "Our Father" follows the mini-opera and two brief piano pieces close this curious little tribute to a blind composer from Spezia. Italian-English texts. Nicoletta Zanini (soprano), Leonardo De Lisi (tenor), Boys' Chorus of Chiesa di Santa Rita di Viareggio, "C.A. Mussinelli" Symphony Orchestra Spezia; Marco Balderi, Fernanda Piccini (mezzo), "Unione Chorale" Spezia, "D. Lipatti" Philharmonic Orchestra; Oliviero Lacagnina, Cecilia Bresciani (piano). Bongiovanni GB 2331 (Italy) 05E061 $16.98

JEAN SIBELIUS (1865-1957): Complete Sibelius, Vol. 51 - The Oceanides, Op. 73, (Yale version), The Oceanides, Op. 73, (final version), Fragments from a Suite for Orchestra (Predecessor of The Oceanides), Cassazione, Op. 6 (first version), Spring Song (1895 version), Cortège, Musik zu einer Scène, Coronation March from the Cantata for the Coronation of Nicholas II, Morceau romantique sur un motif de M. Jakob de Julin, Porilaisten marssi. The series that never ends continues with (just to mention the substantial pieces) three versions of the tone-poem The Oceanides (and, yes, they do sound different), the first version of the so-called Cassazione (1904) which is a lot more boisterous and rousing than the 18th century genre whose name it took, a five-minute Musik zu einer Scène which sounds positively Spanish in its central part and a more harmonically bold version of the Spring Dance (1895) which seems more striking than the original. Lahti Symphony Orchestra; Osmo Vänskä. BIS CD-1445 (Sweden) 05E062 $17.98

ALEXANDER ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942): Incidental Music to Shakespeare's "Cymbeline", Lyric Symphony, Op. 18. Zemlinsky completists will want to have the world premiere recording of the complete music and spoken German translations of Shakespeare's original texts. Most of the music was written in 1914 but, by the time the play was to be staged, the world was at war and Cymbeline, extolling the heroism of the ancient Britons, could not be staged in Germany. There are eleven "cues", lasting 26:30 and the parts which underlay actors speaking are included here. German-English texts (Lyric Symphony); Shakespeare-German acted version (Cymbeline). Jaroslav BÞezina (tenor), Members of the Bremen Shakespeare Company, Turid Karlsen (soprano), Franz Grundheber (baritone), Czech Philharmonic Orchestra; Antony Beaumont. Chandos 70069 (England) 05E063 $16.98

JOAQUÍN RODRIGO (1901-1999): Complete Orchestral Works, Vol. 6 - Palillos y panderetas, 2 danzas españolas for Castanets and Orchestra, Per la flor del lliri blau, A la busca del más allá, 3 viejos aires de danza. Some real rarities here, with the 1966 danzas españolas offering a castanet soloist (written for the performer on this recording) in very conservative, folk-influenced music; "Castanets and Tambourines" (but no soloist here...) dates from 1982 and its three short movements are full of color and optimism while the viejos aires (1929) are stylized ancient dances. Of larger scale (but still under-recorded) are "For the Flower of the Blue Lily", a 1934 symphonic poem based on a medieval Valencian legend and constructed around two themes, one epic and one lyrical, and the 1976 commission from the Houston Symphony, "In Search of What Lies Beyond", dedicated to NASA and very unlike the typical Rodrigo in its fragmented discourse, complex writing and unusual timbres alluding to space exploration. Lucero Tena (castanets), Castile and León Symphony Orchestra; Max Bragado Darman. Naxos Spanish Classics 8.555962 (New Zealand) 05E064 $6.98

JOAQUÍN RODRIGO (1901-1999): Violin and Piano: 7 canciones valencianas, Sonata pimpante, Solo Piano: Pastoral, Album de Cecilia, Como un tiento, Soprano and Piano: 4 madrigales amatorios, 3 canciones sefardíes, Canción del Duero, Cançó del grumet, Pastorcito santo. A nice selection of the rarely-heard, non-orchestral Rodrigo here: the songs are in the same folk vein as those offered recently on this label by Nin, Nin-Culmell and Albéniz and the piano pieces (and the violin/piano canciones) ranging from the descriptive to the neo-classical. The 19-minute violin sonata (1966) is in the same high spirits as Rodrigo's famous concertos. Spanish-English texts. Ala Voronkova (violin), Isabel Monar (soprano), Mac McClure (piano). Columna Musica 1CM0077 (Spain) 05E065 $18.98

RICHARD STRAUSS (1864-1949): Die ägyptische Helena. One of Strauss' least-recorded operas (in the 1933 revision), based on Stesichorus' legend (the Helen in Troy was a phantom and the real one secreted in Egypt during the Trojan War) in a performance of some historical interest at super-budget price. Live recording from Monaco, 8/10/56. 2 CDs. No libretto. Budget-price. Leonie Rysanek (soprano), Bernd Aldenhoff (tenor), Annelies Hupper (soprano), Hermann Uhde (baritone), Bavarian State Opera Chorus and Orchestra; Joseph Keilberth. Opera d'Oro OPD-1381 (U.S.A.) 05E066 $10.98

CESK ROZHLAS - The Label of Czech Radio

Václav Lídl (b.1922): String Quartet No. 3 , Jan Grossmann (b.1949): Music for Paintings by Karel Haruda, Sylvie Bodorová (b.1954): Dignitas Homini, Václav Kuãera (b.1929): The Awareness of Context, Lubo Fier (1935-1999): String Quartet. Lídl's 1969 quartet is full of the ghosts of the horror of the preceding year and the anxiety which would have held all Czech artists (who were not Communist stooges) in its grip at that time. The music is tonal but stretching tonality's bounds and uses eerie playing techniques throughout to convey its composer's feelings (complete with jaunty, smiling-through-gritted-teeth finale we all know so well from Shostakovich). Grossmann's 1982 piece is inspired as much by the expressive use of colors by the artist as by pictorial representation and his work shuns atonality for a synthesis of melody and abstract sonic expression. Bodorová uses what many call "the new tonality" in combination with some traditional formulas and some methods used by the post-war avant-garde to produce an attractive,unique personal style and her 1988 work also has some echoes of Janáãek (her wonderful harp quintet, commissioned for this year's Tucson Chamber Music Festival and which we heard last month will appear on the Festival's own label and we'll offer it as soon as it becomes available). Kucera's quartet dates from 1976 and is a gripping 13-minute piece which takes a concise motif and works it through variation, ending with a fugue (the work is an homage to a Czech writer who was murdered in the Holocaust) while Fiser, one of the finest composers nobody knows, gives us a terse, 10-minute piece which is based on a brief motif and whose rhetoric (probably unintentionally) recalls Beethoven's Grosse Fuge. Dolezal Quartet, Kubín Quartet, Stamic Quartet, Kocian Quartet. Cesky Rozhlas CR 0151-2 (Czech Republic) 05E067 $14.98 >

Václav Riedelbauch (b.1947): String Quartet No. 1, JiÞí Matys (b.1927): String Quartet No. 3, Ve roslav Neumann (b.1931): String Quartet, Ivo Jirásek (b.1920): String Quartet No. 3 "Meditation", Miroslav Kubiãka (b.1951): Conversation for 2 Violins, 2 Violas and Cello. Riedelbauch's 1987 quartet is the longest here (a still relatively short 21 minutes) and was inspired by a collection of poems written by a concentration camp inmate whose impression on the composer is expressed by two short movements - distracted and nervous & dramatic (the tempo indication is eloquent: Furioso, con precisione d'una macchina) - and a much longer finale which works its way through darkness to an understated transfiguration. Matys (1963), Jirásek (1989) and Kubicka (1983) produce 10-13 minute quartets which are in the now-recognizable Czech tradition of using avant-garde techniques for seasoning rather than as the bases of language while melodic fragments and traditional modes of address are still in charge. Neumann (1969) is not too far off this pattern either although his quartet makes discreet use of aleatoric techniques and sounds somewhat more aligned with the Western European avant-garde of that date. Kocian Quartet, Moravian Quartet, Martinu Quartet. âesk Rozhlas CR 0105-2 (Czech Republic) 05E068 $14.98 >

Arnot Parsch (b.1936): Concerto for Dulcimer and Orchestra, Jan Slimáãek (b.1939): Concertino for Accordeon, Electravox and Orchestra, Pavel âotek (b.1922): Concerto for 2 Percussionists and Orchestra, Michal Kout (b.1954): Jan Santini Aichel for Orchestra. This disc of concertos for unusual instruments begins with a 23-minute, single-movement work for dulcimer which combines the composer's life-long interest in Moravian folk music with techniques of avant-garde and electronic music to produce an approachable work whose unusual sound qualities are appealing throughout. Slimacek makes effective use of the electrovox (much thrill-show eerieness) in his short (and all the more effective thereby), 12-minute, four-movement concerto of 1971 which also mixes a love of folk music with a career partly spent in the electronic studio of Plsen Radio. Cotek's 1967 concerto is in two movements: Timbres (serially organized and concerned with colors) and Rhythms (quite tonal and, well, rhythmic) while Kosut's work (1979) is an homage to a baroque-period architect which mixes baroque musical formulas with more modern techniques to produce rather attractive soundscapes. Helena âervenková (dulcimer), Brno State Philharmonic Orchestra; Petr Vronsk, Jarmila Jankovcová (accordeon), Jaroslav Vlach (electrovox), Plsen Radio Orchestra; Josef Black, JiÞí Hudec, Václav Voják (percussion), Moravian Philharmonic Olomouc; Jaromír Nohejl. âesk Rozhlas CR 0149-2 (Czech Republic) 05E069 $14.98 >

Frantiek KovaÞíãek (b.1924): Piano Sonata No. 2, Karel Pexidr (b.1929): Contrasts, JiÞí Pauer (b.1919): Monoliths, Elena Petrová (b.1929): 4 Impromptus, Karel Reiner (1910-1979): Rudiments, âestmír Gregor (b.1926): Sonata in tre tempi. These piano pieces cover a period of more than 20 years with two, Kovaricek's and Gregor's, dating from the late 60s, the former's perhaps reflecting somewhat the turbulence of its year of composition (1968) but both reflecting a free use of then-existing pan-European "New Music" techniques (no formal serialism anywhere on this disc) along with elements of long-recognized tradition. This could be said for the rest of the program as well, Petrová's 1988 Impromptus being the only work which seems to intentionally recall the past with its modal and melodic traits. No collector of 20th century piano music will be disappointed with these varied compositions, all of which have their own distinct personality, etched with fine detail and often with a sense of the dramatic. Josef Hála, Vera Müllerová, BoÏena Steinerová, Jana Palkovská, Daniel Wiesner, Jan Marcol (piano). âesk Rozhlas CR 0124-2 (Czech Republic) 05E070 $14.98 >

HIROSHI OHGURI (1918-1982): Violin Concerto, Legend for Orchestra - After the Tale of Ama-no-Iwayado, Rhapsody on Osaka Nursery Rhymes, Fantasy on Osaka Folk Tunes. A horn player in his native city's orchestra, Ohguri composed music reflecting the folk songs and nursery tunes of the Osaka area, Buddhist and Shintoist music. His 1963 concerto uses these elements in a way suggestive of Bartók, Kodály and Khachaturian. Kazuhiro Takugi (violin), Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra; Tatsuya Shimono. Naxos Japanese Classics 8.555321 (New Zealand) 05E071 $6.98

JindÞich Feld (b.1925): Flute Concerto, Concertino for Flute, Piano and Orchestra, Fantasia Concertante for Flute, Strings and Percussion. Here is one of the most impressive flute concertos of the 20th century and who's ever heard it? You should! Even if you don't like the flute... Feld's concerto dates from 1954 and is a full-scale piece of 32 minutes, premiered by Jean-Pierre Rampal in a radio broadcast in 1956. The first movement is one of those dark, bracing, wind-swept utterances which one associates with the string works Honegger and others produced for Paul Sacher before the war (the orchestra is only strings and percussion but with a very active piano), followed by a tragic Largo, punctuated by heavy timpani beats, which is an elegy for Feld's recently deceased father. The finale is upbeat and cheerfully neo-classical, bringing a fine piece to its much-enjoyed conclusion. The 10-minute Fantasia Concertante of 1980 (commissioned by Rampal for a competition) is dodecaphonic, with rhythm and virtuosity taking the primary place (and contemporary playing techniques are called for as well) but those discomfited by any departure from tonality will rejoice again in the 1994 Concertino (this time commissioned by James Galway for himself and his recital pianist Philippe Moll) which is quite tonal, cheerful and shot through with carefree virtuosity; its orchestra is the largest of any of these works and, at 25 minutes, really earns its diminutive title not from length but from its esprit. Mid-price. Carlo Jans (flute), Daniel Blumenthal (piano), Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra; Vladimir Valek. Pavane ADW 7469 (Belgium) 05E072 $10.98

PAUL MÜLLER-ZÜRICH (1898-1993): Concerto for Organ and String Orchestra, Op. 28, Toccata in C for Organ, Op. 12, ADOLF BRUNNER (1901-1992): Pfingstbuch über den Choral "Nun bitten wir den Heiligen Geist" for Organ, WILLY BURKHARD (1900-1955): Sonatina for Organ, Op. 52, HANS SCHAEUBLE (1906-1988): Praeludium for Organ (from Op. 15). Müller-Zürich's bracingly neo-classical concerto of 1938 leads off a program of 20th century Swiss organ music which generally reveals its composers' roots in both the Germanic tradition of Bach and the then-prevalent style of neo-classicism. Brunner's "Whitsun Book" (1937) is based on baroque models and is very linear and transparent while Müller-Zürich's Toccata shows Bach looming large in its ancestry. Schaeuble (1930) is influenced by the baroque too but his love for sound and effects dominates; Burkhard also is neo-baroque, basing the structure of his Sonatina (1938) on the trio sonata. Jeremy Bines (Alte Tonhalle organ, Neumünster, Zürich), Basel Chamber Orchestra; Christopher Hogwood. Guild GMCD 7253 (England) 05E073 $16.98

HANS GÁL (1890-1987): Violin Sonata, Op. 17, Cello Sonata, Op. 89. Gál's star continues to shine with this new recording of chamber works. The violin sonata (not the same one on the 03E067 compilation) dates from 1920 and has a striking rhapsodic opening movement, an eerie second movement scherzo with a cantabile center and a molto esspresivo adagio finale while the cello sonata, though coming from 1954, still is demonstrably in the same style (and the same form, with scherzo second movement and predominantly slow finale), in which intricate and subtle motivic structures, contrapuntal melodic interplay, harmonic piquancy and extended tonality are the ingredients in music which is always clear, understandable and communicative. Annette-Barbara Vogel (violin), Fulbert Slenczka (cello), Réne Lecuona (piano). Cybele 360.901 (Germany) 05E074 $16.98

KAIKHOSRU SHAPURJI SORABJI (1892-1988): Passeggiata Veneziana, Quasi habanera, Variation 56 from Symphonic Variations, Pasticcio capriccioso sopra Op. 64 No. 1 dello Chopin, Transcription in the Light of Harpsichord Technique for the Modern Piano of the Chromatic Fantasia of J.S. Bach, Followed by a Fugue, MAURICE RAVEL (1875-1937)/ SORABJI: Rapsodie espagnole. Thirty years ago, as Sorabji's music started to be put before the public, mostly in homeopathic doses, it would have seemed surreal to suggest that now we would have access to a very respectable cross-section of his output at the hands of an increasing band of performers of exceptional dedication and accomplishments. This disc, based around the idea of transcription or allusion to other composers, adds to the recorded repertoire the Chromatic Fantasia transcription, which is obviously in the tradition of the great Busoni-Bach transcriptions, though with a keyboard extravgance that has more in common with Grainger. The Ravel transcription is more literal - almost an arrangement. One variation from the vast Symphonic Variations for Piano - related to the idea of the finale of the Chopin 2nd Sonata - is included (we may not have to wait as long to hear the whole work as might have seemed inevitable just a few years ago) - to give a further taste of the increasingly evident range of expression of one of the major figures of 20th-century music. Michael Habermann (piano). BIS CD-1306 (Sweden) 05E075 $17.98

LUIGI DALLAPICCOLA (1904-1975): Variazioni per Orchestra (rec. 1958), ELLIOTT CARTER (b.1908): Variations for Orchestra (rec. 1954), AARON COPLAND (1900-1990): Orchestral Variations (rec. 1956), WILLIAM SCHUMAN (1910-1992): Variations on "America" (rec. 1964). Only the first three works here were Louisville commissions, all done between 1954-7 and all highly modernist, using serial techniques and formalist processes, guaranteed to put hair on your teeth. The evil twin of the composer of Appalachian Spring and Rodeo orchestrated his 1930 Piano Variations in 1957, based on a five-note row but with some of the wide-open intervals which characterize his tonal works. Dallapiccola also orchestrated a set of piano variations (which inspired Copland to do the same) in 1954, juxtaposing moments of serenity with strange and disorienting ones. Carter's set (1955), almost twice as long as either of the first two, is better-known today than either also, a dramatic, highly complex virtuoso tour-de-force which makes Schuman's 1963 orchestration of Ives' original organ piece seem like "American Light Music" in comparison. Mono. Louisville Orchestra; Robert Whitney. First Edition FECD 0001 (U.S.A.) 05E076 $17.98

KALEVI AHO (b.1949): Symphony No. 3 (Sinfonia concertante) for Violin and Orchestra, MODEST MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881)/AHO: Songs and Dances of Death for Bass and Orchestra. Aho's early works continued the tradition of Shostakovich and, although the form of his third symphony is more original - a slow-fast-slow-fast movement sequence and a violin soloist representing the individual, pitted against the orchestral mass - much of the musical invention is still reminiscent of the Russian symphonist, especially the second movement march rhythms which gradually build up into a crescendo which obliterates the soloist and the bleak, elegiac third movement in which the soloist is silent. A virtuoso cadenza for violin and percussion marks the finale, which seems to end with a small ray of hope for the individual. The accompanying transcription was made in 1984 for the soloist here and contains vivid depictions of the snowstorm in Trepak and the battle at the beginning of the final The Field Marshal. Russian (Cyrillic)-English texts. Jaakko Kuusisto (violin), Matti Salminen (bass), Lahti Symphony Orchestra; Osmo Vänskä. BIS CD-1186 (Sweden) 05E077 $17.98

ANDERS HILLBORG (b.1954): Clarinet Concerto (Peacock Tales), Liquid Marble, Violin Concerto. The two concertos are closer to the traditional concept of a virtuoso dialogue between soloist and orchestra than many works of concertante type written in the past century, in which composers often seem to be deliberately avoiding the form for reasons that sometimes appear more related to political correctness of some sort than actual musical concerns. Anyway, there's none of that here; both clarinettist and violinist are kept fully occupied in striking relief against orchestral textures that range from Nielsenesque to Ligetian. Motoric ostinati propel the music forward with an insistence and dogged determination not far from the sound-worl of Pettersson or Sallinen. Liquid Marble is a brooding soundscape - Tapiola as re-imagined by Penderecki. If you're into Scandinavian music with big bones and epic drama, these works are guaranteed to satisfy. Martin Fröst (clarinet), Anna Lindal (violin), Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra; Esa-Pekka Salonen. Ondine 1006-2 (Finland) 05E078 $17.98

ALAIN BANCQUART (b.1934): Le livre du labyrinthe. 2 CDs. French composer Bancquart is one of the leading composers of microtonal music in Europe. Labyrinthe explores the myth of the Minotaur and the Labyrinth. This large scale piece constantly delves into microtonal and harmonic relationships together with a lyrical polyphony. It is based on texts by his wife, author Marie-Claire Bancquart. The unusual instrumental ensemble incorporates pianos in quarter- and sixteenth-tones, electric guitar, two violas d'amore, harp, two percussionists, five cellos, and magnetic tape. The recording is of the world première of the complete version, at Radio-France, May 27, 2000. Liner notes are by the composer and full texts in English and French are included. Pierre-Yves Artaud (flute), Pascal Gallois (bassoon), Carol Robinson (clarinet), vocal ensemble Voxnova, Martine Joste (piano), Gerard Pape (sound projection), Nicholas Isherwood (bass), and Roland Auzet (cymbalum), and others. Mode 120/21 (U.S.A.) 05E079 $35.98

MORTON FELDMAN (1926-1987): Three Clarinets, Cello and Piano, Bass Clarinet and Percussion, Clarinet and String Quartet. The first piece (1971) is really short for Feldman - nine and a half minutes - Feldman thought of this piece as a still life, and indeed its calm is immediately striking to the listener. Shimmering clusters resonate, solo lines of utter simplicity emerge expressively. Noteworthy are the extreme dynamics, particularly the loud moments, highly unusual for Feldman. Bass Clarinet... (1981) is among his most mysterious and otherworldly works: music of a floating quality with rhythms that expand and contract against a steady but unheard pulse. The 42-minute Clarinet and String Quartet of 1983 has a meandering clarinet line which blends into and colors the string quartet sound, generating a hybrid timbre, almost as if the clarinet were taking on the identity of a string harmonic. Without melody, the listener somehow reaches a momentary solemnity, and even, elation. Carol Robinson (solo clarinet), Pierre Dutrieu, Olivier Voize (clarinets), Elena Andreyev (cello), Vincent Leterme (piano), Françoise Rivalland, Peppie Wiersma (percussion), Quatuor Diotima. Mode 119 (U.S.A.) 05E080 $17.98

JOHN CAGE (1919-1992): The Works for Violin, Vol. 5 - One6, Chorals. The Chorals have their origins in Satie's Douze petits chorals and its notation calls for precise microtonality. One6 is, perhaps, the most unusual of Cage's violin works. The first note, a single F, is sustained for an extremely long duration. This note is followed, after a short silence, by another F, and then another! Other notes appear eventually, but the result is one of the listener losing all sense of relating one to another, verging on a kind of trance. Irvine Arditti (violin). Mode 118 (U.S.A.) 05E081 $17.98

BENT LORENTZEN (b.1935): Colori, Goldranken, Abgrund, 5 Easy Piano Pieces, Nachtigall for Piano and Bass Clarinet. The composer has suggested that he is almost naïvely fascinated by sounds for their own sake, but for the most part this has not translated, at least in the piano music presented here, into structureless meditations around the overtones of a very limited range of instrumental sounds. The set of pieces depicting colors have quite specific programmatic intent - 'red', for instance is a fluttering flag or pennant; 'gold' the ornamentation in churches. Lorentzen believes in communicating with his audience, at any level of musical comprehension, so none of this music is in any way complicated, and some unorthodox playing techniques are simply used within the context of the rhythmically vibrant musical structure for coloristic effect. So, even as the idiom remais somewhat modern (sometimes quite tonal - Abgrund for example is not unlike certain works of Rzewski - and sometimes bypassing tonality altogether), and unusual sonorities are discovered and exploited, the pieces all share an attractive surface texture which renders them approachable, entertaining and easy to listen to. Erik Kaltoft (piano), Jens Schou (bass clarinet). Dacapo 8.224246 (Denmark) 05E082 $15.98

MEYER KUPFERMAN (b.1926): Violin Concerto: The Voyager, Quantum Symphony, Piano Concerto No. 3 "Foxfire", New Space for Oboe, Violin and Guitar, Sonata Occulta for Piano. This fecund composer continues to pour out large-scale orchestral works at a pace which shames rock bands in turnover time between albums. Kupferman fans will already want this new double-disc set which features a 29-minute, single-movement piano concerto (2002) which the composer describes as "a totally athletic conception for the keyboard" and which has a relentless quality of endless energy (with the piano taking quite a pounding - literally - in the last section with its chord clusters); the 2001 violin concerto which surrounds an atonal framework with tonal harmonies in a three-movement form which approximates a Toccata-Arioso-Perpetuum Mobile sequence; and in the 2000 symphony, each of whose three movements begins with a tiny motif, shorter than a bar, from which Kupferman grows a typically protean mass of material (again atonal but not serial). For dramatic relief, the 1998 New Space uses a personally derived tone-row for vigorous contrapuntal treatment with much ostinato accompaniment and the (ancient, for this composer) 1979 Sonata Occulta is a combination of chaconne and sonata forms based on a highly chromatic eight-note scale which offers a much more atmospheric and colorful experience than that description might suggest. 2 CDs. Gregory Fulkerson (violin), Christopher Vassiliades (piano), Czech National Symphony Orchestra; Paul Freeman, Cygnus Ensemble. Soundspells Productions CD 134 (U.S.A.) 05E083 $33.98

LOU HARRISON (1917-2003): Marriage at the Eiffel Tower (original septet version), The Only Jealousy of Emer for Flutes, Cello, Bass, Tack-Piano and Celesta, Arias from Young Caesar for Soprano, Tenor and Ensemble, Music for Remy for Flute and Percussion, Kyrie and Gloria from Mass for St. Anthony (original version for Chorus and Percussion), Vestiunt Silve for Soprano, Flute, 2 Violas and Harp, Short Set from Lazarus Laughed for Flute, Cello and Celesta, Easter Cantata for Contralto, Tenor, Chorus and Ensemble. Unintentionally, this new release from Mode becomes a testimonial to the recently deceased composer. The largest works here are Marriage (1949), a score reminiscent of Paris in the 1920s and the style of Les Six, The Only Jealousy of Emer (1949), which reflects Harrison's style of the early 1950s with expansive melodies often accompanied by ostinato patterns or drone figures, and the Easter Cantata of 1966 in which there is a greater emphasis on counterpoint than on harmony. The chorus is in a contrasting chorale style; lush chordal harmonies create a neo-baroque effect. Soloists, UCSC Chamber Singers, California Parallèlle Ensemble; Nicole Paiement. Mode 122 (U.S.A.) 05E084 $17.98

THEA MUSGRAVE (b.1928): Memento Vitae, Helios for Oboe and Orchestra, Night Music, The Seasons. Memento Vitæ, commissioned for the Beethoven bicentenary, contains many allusions to his works - more or less explicit, in an overall abstract structure with dramatic elements. Both here and in the recent Helios, an oboe concerto and dramatic retelling of the Greek myth of the charioteer of the sun, Musgrave's musical language is readily accessible, and the strong narrative content of the works makes their dramatic progression seem as inevitable as it is clear. The concertante and spatial element in Night Music shifts to two horn players, playing their parts like actors. Finally, The Seasons takes its cues from works of visual art, using the seasons themselves as metaphors for destruction, tyranny, freedom and rebirth. Nicholas Daniel (oboe), Scottish Chamber Orchestra; Nicholas Kraemer, BBC Symphony Orchestra; Jac van Steen. NMC Ancora+ D074 (England) 05E085 $15.98

JOHN RUTTER (b.1945): Requiem (original ensemble version), Advent Anthem for Choir and Organ, Anthem for Double Choir, Anthem for Choir and Flute, 2 Blessings for Choir and Organ, Toccata in Seven for Organ, Variations on an Easter Theme for Organ Duet. Britain's most popular choral composer makes his debut on Naxos with his radiant Requiem of 1985 (over 500 performances in America alone within six months of its publication), three examples of his additions to Anglican liturgical music, two simple and tender Blessings and two rarely performed organ pieces. Texts included. Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, City of London Sinfonia; Timothy Brown, Nicholas Collon & Nicholas Rimmer (organ). Naxos 8.557130 (New Zealand) 05E086 $6.98

ARVO PÄRT (b.1935): Passio Domini Nostri Jesu Christi secundum Johannem. This setting of the St. John Passion dates from just after the composer's emigration to Germany in 1980 and makes use of his celebrated "tintinnabuli" principl. The narrative is given to a quartet accompanied by violin, oboe, cello and bassoon, centering around the note A while Jesus's words are set at a slower pace and accompanied by organ and Pilate vacillates between F and B; the crowd is sung by choir based around a triad of E major. Each part is allocated a constant set of notes and durations throughout - even the silences between sections have a specified duration - leading to a simplicity and exactitude which takes nothing away from the cumulative power and refinement of the work. Latin-English texts. Robert Macdonald (bass), Mark Anderson (tenor), Tonus Peregrinus; Antony Pitts. Naxos 8.555860 (New Zealand) 05E087 $6.98

HANS-JOACHIM HESPOS (b.1938): splash for Double Bass and Percussion, duma for Alto Flute, kitara for Spanish Guitar, monske for Mobile Timpani in C, leija for Harp, pico for Piccolo Recorder, ãang for Cymbal, -Z... for One Pianist. One's first impression, on hearing much of Splash is that Hespos' music might have something in common with the spirit, if not the letter, of avant-garde jazz. The works here are all very different - different in mood, different in timbre, and different in their degree of apparent modernity. The pointillistic opening of the work for Spanish guitar seems to allude to a fractured impression of the kind of music more commonly associated with the instrument. Elsewhere, noise seems as valid a part of the musical vocabulary as musical tones (Cage would have been delighted). Each piece suggests vivid if ambiguous imagery, a fact reflected in the unconventional booklet notes, which eschew program notes as such in favor of a word-salad of associative impressions from (young) listeners and some of the directions provided by the composer to the performers. L'Art pour l'Art. CPO 999 890 (Germany) 05E088 $15.98

Donaueschingen Musiktage 2001

WOLFGANG MITTERER (b.1958): Concerto for Piano, Orchestra and Electronics (Thomas Larcher [piano], SWR Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden and Freiburg; Johannes Kalitzke), CLEMENS GADENSTÄTTER (b.1966): Polyskopie for Small Orchestra (Hilversum Radio Philharmonic Orchestra; Peter Eötvös), JÖRG WIDMANN (b.1973): Implosion for Orchestra (SWR Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden and Freiburg; Sylvain Cambreling), MICHEL VAN DER AA (b.1970): here [to be found] for Voice, Chamber Orchestra and Soundtrack (Barbara Hannigan [voice], Hilversum Radio Chamber Orchestra; Peter Eötvös), BEAT FURRER (b.1954): Orpheus' Bücher I for Voices and Orchestra (Vokalensemble Nova, SWR Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden and Freiburg; Sylvain Cambreling), DIETER SCHNEBEL (b.1930): N.N. for Mobile Corporeal Voices and Stationary Instruments. Mitterer's concerto blends orchestral sounds, electronicaly altered instrumental sounds and a solo piano part, organised according to cues in a pre-prepared tape part and spatially determined by computer. Many interesting combinations of sonorities result. Gadenstatter's work similarly presents a tapestry of sonorous fragments, but scored without resorting to electronics. Widmann's Implosion uses every form of cluster and closely-spaced microtones to suggest an organic, or even pre-organic natural process; a sonic depiction of entropy. The second disc features music with voices; van der Aa's work subtly presents its limited musical material and then elaborates it through electronic sounds and transmogrified instrumental timbres on the tape part, accompanying a dreamlike text of the composer's, suggesting wandering and loss. Furrer's work is typically busy and energetic, in the composer's trademark overlapping and fluid textures. Motion in space is also characteristic of Schnebel's N.N. in which the fluidity of voices is directed around the solid forms of percussion 'sound objects', sometimes synchonising to develop the insistent pulse of rock music; sometimes as distinct from each other as water and the rocks over which it flows. col legno WWE 2CD 20215 (Germany) 05E089 $39.98

FRANCISCO GUERRERO (1951-1997): Coma Berenices for Orchestra, Ariadna for 10 Violins, 5 Violas and 5 Cellos, Sáhara for Orchestra, Oleada for String Orchestra, Antar Atman for Orchestra. Honk if you love Xenakis and Ligeti! The actual methods used by this short-lived Spaniard are not identical yet they produce many of the sound qualities one associates with those composers. Oleada (1993), for instance, is based on the fractal movement of a wave but it bears a striking resemblance to Ligeti's micro-polyphony. The oldest piece here, Antar Atman (1980), does use the Xenakis-like technique of the acumulation of blocks of sound which are then placed in tension against each other across the orchestra and this and the other works here seem to lead up to the monumental explosion of Coma Berenices (1996) which is notable for its extreme complexities and summing-up of Guerrero's whole catalogue of compositional techniques, resulting in the impression that what we are listening to has a density and tangibility which would allow us to reach out and touch it, break off chunks and feel the musical texture in a tactile manner. A primordially savage central outburst for percussion is particularly memorable in Coma as is the Scelsian employment of a gong. Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia; José Ramón Encinar. col legno WWE 1CD 20044 (Germany) 05E090 $19.98

NORBERT MORET (1921-1998): Triptyque pour les Fêtes for Choir, Gastlosen for Organ, Mendiant du Ciel bleu for 2 Soloists, 2 Childrens' Choirs, Women's Choir, Large Chorus and Orchestra. Moret is well described in the lengthy booklet notes as a 'mystic', although of precisely what kind is not immediately quite clear. A highly ambitious one, obviously; the main work here requires forces not unlike those of Mahler's 8th or Brian's Gothic. The texts? Christian symbolism, the Prometheus myth, and reflections on the possibility of redemption of the sorry figure of mankind in the contemporary world. The musical language? Tonality and modality are certainly present in the choral writing, and the long-breathed solo voice lines are not especially unconventional, but the orchestral writing is often freely atonal, underlined by much untuned percussion. The organ writing (three organs are required in this work, each accompanying a separate choir) often recalls Messiaen. This impression is reinforced by the composer's only organ work, though the vocabulary is somewhat freer - some might say, more diffuse. The a cappella triptych reinvents the purity of choral scared music in complex harmonies, while adhering to the rapt and contemplative spirit of plainchant. All in all, a most unusual achievement, in which ambition may overreach actual accomplishment, but with ambitions as heaven-storming as these, this is small wonder. The Tallis Scholars, Fritz Muggler (organ), Béatrice Haldas (soprano), Philippe Huttenlocher (baritone), Nederlands Omroep Stichting, Hilversum, Maîtrise de Saint-Pierre-aux-Liens, Bulle, Chur de femmes, Düdingen, Basel Radio Symphony Orchestra; Armin Jordan. Musiques Suisses MDB CD 6199 (Switzerland) 05E091 $18.98

OLGA NEUWIRTH (b.1968): Clinamen/Nodus for Orchestra, Construction in Space for 4 Soloists, 4 Ensemble Groups and Live Electronics. Clinamen/Nodus was commissioned for a concert in which the other works were Berg's 3 Orchesterstücke and Mahler 6, and an odd stipulation was the avoidance of winds, in order to spare the musicians for the other pieces - this does not sound to have been a limitation in practice. Incorporating much microtonal writing - interestingly, less for coloristic purposes than to act as a diffusing commentary on the omnipresent pedal-note present - and a couple of small but readily identifiable references to the Mahler symphony, the work is at once full of the ominous suggestion of imminent catastrophe and disturbingly insistent in the clarity of its argument. The much more extended Construction apparently encircles the audience in sound, relying on spatial elements to produuce a feeling of claustrophobia; in a 2-channel recording this is rendered as a disorienting density of sensory input, culminating in an apparent threat of overload. The appearance of insistent interludes of quasi-minimalistic looping of material only heightens this sense of unease. Disturbing and dramatic in equal measure, this music is unlikely to leave one unmoved. London Symphony Orchestra; Pierre Boulez, Eva Furrer (bass flute), Ernesto Molinari (bass and double bass clarinets), Rico Gubler (saxes), Hannes Haider (tuba), Peter Böhm (live electronics), Klangforum Wien; Emilio Pomàrico. Kairos 0012302KAI (Austria) 05E092 $15.98

British Clarinet Concertos

ALAN PAUL (1905-1968): Clarinet Concerto, JOSEPH HOROVITZ (b.1926): Concertante for Clarinet and Strings, GUY WOOLFENDEN (b.1937): Clarinet Concerto, GEOFFREY BUSH (1920-1998): Rhapsody for Clarinet and Strings, MALCOLM MACDONALD (1916-1992): Cuban Rondo, ADRIAN CRUFT (1921-1987): Concertino for Clarinet and Strings, ALAN RIDOUT (1934-1996): Concertino for Clarinet and Strings. Although appearing in ASV's "British Light Music" series, most of these works lean rather toward "serious" music, with only MacDonald's Cuban Rondo and Ridout's three-movement (but only 7-minute-long) Concertino in the bright and frothy style that title has come to suggest. Paul's concerto is a significant addition to the British repertoire, its first movement bathing in the pastoral waters of Vaughan Williams and Delius, its second a lush and unashamedly romantic wallow before the third provides a neo-baroque rondo. Mid-price. Ian Scott (clarinet), Royal Ballet Sinfonia; Gavin Sutherland. ASV White Line WHL 2141 (England) 05E093 $11.98

ARTHUR SULLIVAN (1842-1900): The Beauty Stone. This 1898 opera was Sullivan's first solo effort after his split with Gilbert and he intended it to be midway in style between his highly romantic Ivanhoe and the familiar G&S operettas. This is what he accomplished but, as often happens, the public found it to be neither fish nor fowl and it did not succeed. This is the first CD release of a stereo recording which Pearl made over 20 years ago. 2 CDs. No libretto (synopsis included). Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Edinburgh, The Prince Consort; David Lyle. Pearl GEMS 0190 (England) 05E094 $35.98

BedÞich Smetana (1824-1884): Richard III, Op. 11, Wallenstein's Camp, Op. 14, Hakon Jarl, Op. 16, Vite slav Novák (1870-1949): South Bohemian Suite, Op. 64. Supraphon continues to release valuable early Kubelík recordings, with the Novák being one of the last he made before choosing exile after the Communist coup in Czechoslovakia in 1948. Smetana (Dec. 10, 13 & 15, 1943), Novák (Feb. 2, 1948). Mid-price. Czech Philharmonic Orchestra; Rafael Kubelík. Supraphon SU 3710-2 (Czech Republic) 05E095 $10.98

KAROL SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937): Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. 35, Violin Concerto No. 2, Op. 61, Mandragora, Op. 43, Stabat mater, Op. 53, Litania do Marii panny, Op. 59, Demeter, Op. 37bis, TADEUSZ BAIRD (1928-1981): Colas Breugnon - Suite, HENRYK GÓRECKI (b.1933): 3 Pieces in the Old Style. These concerto performances have long been considered among the finest in their capturing of the rich, heady and sensuous atmosphere of the pieces while the whole second CD offers 69 minutes of Szymanowski's rarer vocal/choral-orchestral works. 2 CDs for the price of 1. Konstanty Kulka (violin), Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra; Jerzy Maksymiuk, Kazimierz Pustelak (tenor), Zdzislaw Lapinski (cello), Cracow Radio Symphony Orchestra; Antoni Wit (Mandragora), Jadwiga Gadulanka (soprano), Jadwiga Rappé (alto), Andrzej Hiolski (baritone), Cracow Radio Chorus, Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra; Antoni Wit (rest of Szymanowski), Polish Chamber Orchestra; Jerzy Maksimiuk (Górecki and Baird). Original 1977, 1979, 1982 & 1984 EMI releases. EMI Double Forte 5 75670 2 (England) 05E096 $17.98

Music of Ancient Egypt - Music composed, arranged and conducted by Rafael Pérez Arroyo. Not knowing anything about the music of the ancient Mediterranean world, we can't comment on the quality of Arroyo's research (he's been at it for ten years now) or the authenticity of his results but that may not be the point. Basing his compositions on such sources as Coptic chant and dance rhythms of Nubia and the western oases, Coptic liturgical melodies and what is known of Ancient Egyptian modes from the (often very exact) musical signs and other representations in tomb inscriptions, Arroyo has at least produced evocative and beautiful music which has a certain quality of the sacred. Exact reproductions of seven- and four-stringed harps, flutes, a clarinet-like instrument and various types of percussion (from membranophones to bronze sistras and crotales to wooden clappers) are used for performance and a very informative 52-page booklet is included with color photos of the instruments. Natural Acoustic Recordings NAR-0010-01 (Spain) 05E097 $15.98