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VITEZSLAV NOVÁK (1870-1949): South Bohemian Suite, Op. 64, 8 Nocturnes for Voice and Orchestra, Op. 39. The more "serious" of the Bohemian duo represented here, Novák is perhaps best-known for his Slovak Suite of 1903. The less well-known South Bohemian Suite is a work of Novák's maturity - 1936-37 - and is in four movements of symphonic proportions in which Bohemian folk elements are fused with a conservative kind of impressionism. Currently available only in an elderly Ultraphon recording, this new digital performance is all the more welcome. The premiere recording of 8 Nocturnes brings us a half-hour's work (from 1908) which sets texts by seven German poets and one from Des Knaben Wunderhorn in rich Straussian/Mahlerian late-Romantic style. Novák's star shines the brighter due to Bostock's fervent advocacy. Daniela Straková (soprano), Carlsbad Symphony Orchestra; Douglas Bostock. Classico 191 (Denmark) 05-001 $14.98

OSKAR NEDBAL (1874-1930): Romance for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 6/1, Serenade for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 6/2, Forest Bells (Waltz), Scherzo capriccioso, Op. 5, Suite mignonne, Op. 15, Lullaby, The First Dance Steps, March of the Little Soldiers, Dance of the Porcelain Figures and Chinese Waltz from "Andersen", Czech Polka, Romance for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 12/1, Overture to Die Keusche Barbara, Overture to Die Winzerbraut. Nedbal was widely known in his day as a composer of operettas which rivalled those of Lehar and Strauss in popularity. Previous Supraphon recordings have offered several of his ballets; now, this thoroughly enterprising and imaginative Danish label has given us a CD full of (mostly) premiere recordings showing every aspect of Nedbal's compositional style. From the Straussian waltz Forest Bells, through the Czech Polka (inspired by Smetana), the overtures to two of his operettas, to the 5 excerpts from another (unrecorded) ballet, the multi-faceted talents of Nedbal's light music style are delineated. The three romances for violin and for cello (1893 and 1899 - orchestrated by the composer's nephew Karel Nedbal) and the Dvorakian Scherzo capriccioso (1892) show his more "serious" side. Indeed, his revered teacher, Dvorák would certainly have greatly admired the 18-year-old Nedbal's homage in the latter work. An altogether scintillating release! Carlsbad Symphony Orchestra; Douglas Bostock. Classico 192 (Denmark) 05-002 $14.98

ANDREI ESHPAI (b.1925): Symphony No. 2 "Praise to Light", Violin Concerto No. 4, Symphonic Dances on Mari Themes. Eshpai was an ethnic Mari and his origins are put to musical use in the Symphonic Dances (1952) which use traditional themes in a bright, colorfully orchestrated rhapsodic work. The 1994 violin concerto, dedicated to the soloist who performs it here in a live (mono) recording, is a terse, one-movement work in which the chromaticism of Shostakovich and rhythmic drive of Prokofiev surround a lyrical center. The symphony, from 1962, is in three sections played continuously and is in the manner of Borodin: rich in melody and with an epic feeling, using Mari folksongs througout. USSR Large Symphony Orchestra; Konstantin Ivanov, Jennifer Koh (violin), St. Petersburg Cappella Symphony Orchestra; Vladislav Chernushenko, USSR Radio and TV Symphony Orchestra; Leonid Nikolaev. Albany TROY 286 (U.S.A.) 05-002B $16.98

ARNOLD VAN WYK (1916-1983): Primavera, Symphony No. 1, Symphony No. 2. This South African composer's youthful first symphony (1941-43) was influenced in form and sound by Sibelius' Seventh. Also a single-movement work, the second symphony (1952) is predominantly contrapuntal and is characterized by a harsh, uncompromising harmonic language. The suite Primavera, from 1960, is in four movements without break and derives much of its material from a 13th century minnelied ("Der May"). The longest work here, it depicts the arrival of spring through bird-song, dances and the ever-present material from the lied. These approachable works will appeal to collectors of tonal 20th century music. Cape Town Symphony Orchestra; Omri Hadari. Claremont GSE 1509 (South Africa) 05-003 $16.98

LORD BERNERS (1883-1950): The Triumph of Neptune (complete ballet), L'uomo dai baffi, Valses bourgeoises, Polka. Here is the first recording of the full score of Berners' best-known score - his 1926 music for Sitwell's Triumph of Neptune, suggested by toy-shop prints and choreographed by Balanchine (in 19 numbers lasting 43 minutes). "The Man With the Moustache" comprises seven numbers written for a puppet theater performance in 1918 while the three waltzes are orchestrations by Philip Lane of piano works from 1919. Rounding off the program is a Polka from 1941, composed for a Christmas pantomime. English Northern Sinfonia, Royal Ballet Sinfonia; David Lloyd-Jones. Marco Polo 8.223711 (Hong Kong) 05-004 $14.98

ALBERT W. KETÉLBEY (1875-1959): In the Moonlight, In a Persian Market, Bells Across the Meadows, The Cockney Suite, Wedgewood Blue, The Clock & The Dresden Figures, In a Lovers' Garden, In a Chinese Temple Garden, Sanctuary of the Heart, Jungle Drums. Ketélbey was one of England's most famous and successful composers of light music during the 20s. His brief tone poems and suites were theatrical, exotic, wildly romantic - music with a cinematic vividness. This new collection brilliantly recreates the elan and flair of the period, making for a valuable addition to other collections of British light music. Palm Court Theatre Orchestra; Anthony Godwin. Chandos Flyback FBCD 2002 (England) 05-005 $16.98

IVOR NOVELLO (1893-1951): Songs from the operettas Glamorous Night, Careless Rapture, The Dancing Years, Arc de Triomphe, Perchance to Dream, King's Rhapsody, Gay's the Word and Valley of Song. Ivor Novello was the Andrew Lloyd Webber of mid-century Britain with seven operettas dominating the West End stages during the period of 1935-52. The expansive melodic lines, lush harmonies and rich orchestration of Novello's songs (this selection covers the entire period mentioned above), like Ketélbey's works above, define the English popular music experience of the time. Marilyn Hill Smith (soprano), The Chandos Concert Orchestra; Stuart Barry, Gordon Langford (piano). Chandos Flyback 2006 (England) 05-006 $16.98

ERICH WOLFGANG KORNGOLD (1897-1957): Prelude, Serenade and Entr'acte from Der Schneemann, Schauspiel-Ouvertüre, Op. 4, Sinfonietta, Op. 5, Much Ado About Nothing, Op.11, Symphonic Overture "Sursum Corda", Op. 13, Piano Concerto for the Left Hand, Op. 17, Baby Serenade, Op. 24, Cello Concerto, Op. 37, Symphonic Serenade, Op. 39, Symphony, Op. 40, Theme and Variations, Op. 42, Straussiana. cpo was the label which effectively instigated the Korngold renaissance in 1991 which has been picked up by all sorts of independent and major labels since. This specially priced box-set of these recordings still contains works not yet recorded by anyone else and makes a ridiculously inexpensive way to introduce oneself to the "serious" works of a major composer whose only crime was to have to earn a living for himself and his family by scoring films. 4 CDs for the price of 2. Steven de Groote (piano), Julius Berger (cello), North-West German Philharmonic; Werner Andreas Albert. CPO 999 150 (Germany) 05-007 $31.98

WALTER BRAUNFELS (1882-1954): String Quartet No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 60 "Verkündigung", String Quartet No. 2 in F, Op. 61. Braunfels, classified as a "half-Jew" by the Nazis was forced into silence by 1938 and spent the war years in "internal exile", devoted to composition. These two quartets followed one another during 1944. The horrible events of that year seem to have been completely stifled by the relative remoteness of Braunfels' residence in a quiet town on the shores of Lake Constance since neither quartet exhibits anything close to fear, anger or angst. The first quartet, subtitled "Annunciation" borrows themes from his opera of the same name and, although the composer himself described it as "somewhat melancholy", it has a pastoral charm and sense of repose which is quite relaxing (or startling, depending on how one looks at it!). The second quartet is, if anything, even more comfortably calm, placid and serene. Regardless of the external circumstances of these works' composition, they are well worth rediscovery by all lovers of 20th century, romantic tonality. Auryn Quartet. CPO 999 406 (Germany) 05-008 $15.98

PAUL KLETZKI - Symphony No. 2 - world premiere recording!

PAUL KLETZKI (1900-1973): Symphony No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 18, FRANK MARTIN (1890-1974): Ballade for Saxophone and Orchestra, ROLF LIEBERMANN (b.1910): Furioso for Orchestra. Kletzki, known as a fine conductor especially of the Russian repertoire whose recordings with EMI in the late 50s and early 60s are beginning to circulate once again, was, as were many conductors of his generation, also a composer in his youthful years. The second symphony dates from 1928. Believed lost during the bombing of Milan in 1943, the score was discovered two years later and given by Toscanini at La Scala in 1946. As were many young composers of the period, Kletzki was greatly influenced by Mahler although none of this work comes close to rank imitation; the second movement has a Brahmsian tone, updated to the milieu of 20s Berlin. The brief, volcanic scherzo is followed by the most obvious influence of Mahler - a final movement which sets a melancholic, resigned poem by Karl Stamm "Sleep, Sleep, O World". Frank Martin's angst-tinged Ballade makes the perfect lead-in for Lieberman's explosive lava-flow of "duck and cover" perpetual motion, second only to Mosolov's Iron Foundry in my list of "leave 'em breathless" orchestral works. René Koch (baritone), Christian Roellinger (saxophone), Berne Symphony Orchestra; Dmitri Kitaenko. Musica Helvetica MH CD 99.2 (Switzerland) 05-009 $16.98

FRITZ BRUN (1878-1959): Symphony No. 2 in B Flat, SÁNDOR VERESS (1907-1992): 4 Transylvanian Dances for Strings, ERNEST BLOCH (1880-1959): Symphony for Trombone and Orchestra. Brun wrote 10 (!) symphonies influenced heavily by Brahms, Bruckner and Wagner. The second, from 1911, shows all of these influences in its four movements: a pastoral, tranquil first movement is followed by a powerful, angry scherzo while a gentle longing touches the slow movement; the finale is a flowing romantic delight with tinges of folk music evident. Veress' Transylvanian dances date from 1943 and 1949 and contain a mixture of Romanian and Hungarian elements while not quoting actual folk material. Stanley Clark (trombone), Berne Symphony Orchestra; Dmitri Kitaenko. Musica Helvetica MH CD 86.2 (Switzerland) 05-010 $16.98

KRZYSZTOF MEYER - Symphony No. 6 - CD premiere

KRZYSZTOF MEYER (b.1943): Symphony No. 6, Op. 57 "The Polish", Canti Amadei: Concerto da camera for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 63. Meyer's sixth symphony was written in 1982 under the influece of the outlawing of "Solidarity" and declaration of martial law in Poland. The massive adagio first movement takes several minutes to rouse itself from muffled mutterings and veiled exclamations before it erupts into a full-throated and angry lament much in the manner of Shostakovich. A manic allegro molto follows, dancing on the edge of parody as if the music were a citizen forcing a show of good manners and feigning adherence to the party line. A subdued, somewhat numb andnate follows, preparing the way for a final movement which begins with an allegro of desperate high spirits but which ultimately slows down and returns to a largo in which the spirit of the symphony's opening returns. The completely opposite coupling is a cello concerto written for classical-sized forces and using four quotations from works by Mozart which are used in an entirely convincing and entertaining manner to produce a highly listenable synthesis of classical and modern. Cracow Radio Orchestra; Antoni Wit, Ivan Monighetti (cello), Capella Cracoviensis; Stanislaw Galonski. Pro Viva (Germany) 05-011 $18.98

DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975): Film Music from New Babylon, From Jewish Folk Poetry, Op. 79. The oddly under-recorded song cycle "From Jewish Folk-Poetry" is the main reason to acquire this disc, and it is a very good reason at that. Shostakovich's identification with a persecuted race surfaces again and again in his works, and this cycle, heard here in its original orchestral guise, is one of the finest examples of Shostakovich at his most mordant and satirical. The references to the string toccata in the Fourth Symphony, long since suppressed when this cycle was written, are surely not coincidental. New Babylon was Shostakovich's first film score, and it contains some interesting insights into his musical preoccupations in the late 1920s, as he was preparing to write the great fourth symphony and Lady Macbeth. There is a rich vein of satire in this music too, with quotations from Offenbach and Tchaikovsky cunningly (not to say viciously) woven into the fabric of the score. Tatiana Sharova (soprano), Ludmila Kuznetsova (mezzo), Alexei Martynov (tenor), Russian State Symphony Orchestra; Valeri Polyansky. Chandos 9600 (England) 05-012 $16.98

ERIK NORBY (b.1936): Cortège for Orchestra, 5 Södergran Lieder for Mezzo-soprano and Orchestra, Corps celeste for Orhcestra, Illumination for Flute and Orchestra. A student of Per Nørgard, Norby has renounced serialism in favour of a strongly evocative music full of vivid imagery, basically tonal in the sense of the Schoenberg of Gurrelieder, or Pettersson, and with a rough-hewn elemental quality reminiscent of late Sibelius. There is, indeed, a sense of the overwhelming grandeur of the Nordic landscape running like an idée fixe throughout this music. Both in the richly graphic vocal music, in which the composer's gift for melodic invention is readily evident, and the purely orchestral works, there is a strong programmatic element, and the composer is skilled in leading the listener to perceive precisely the imagery he intends. Enthusiastically recommended. Anne-Lise Berntsen (mezzo), Toke Lund Christiansen (flute), Aalborg Symphony Orchesta; Owain Arwel Hughes. Marco Polo/Dacapo 8.224064 (Denmark) 05-013 $14.98

GIAN CARLO MENOTTI (b.1911): Martin's Lie - opera da chiesa, Canti della lontanaza, Five Songs. Martin's Lie, here receiving its world premiere recording, is a moving little parable of trust and tolerance set in the morally ambiguous world of the clash between the tenets of organised religion. Leanly scored and with but a few characters, it tells its story of an innocent child's resistance to the inexorable power of dogma-inspired inhumanity with Menotti's familiar direct, melodic, overtly emotional expressiveness. The two sets of songs here demonstrate that Menotti is a major song composer; exquisitely drawn little fragments of experience beautifully cast for the voice and with ideal piano accompaniments which enhance but never distract from the vocal line. Alan Opie (baritone), Connor Burrowes (treble), Robin Leggate (tenor), Matthew Best (bass), Pamela Helen Stephen (mezzo), Tees Valley Boys' Choir, Northern Sinfonia; Richard Hickox, Judith Howarth (soprano), Robin Leggate (tenor), Malcolm Martineau (piano). Chandos 9605 (England) 05-014 $16.98

HENRY COWELL (1897-1965): Symphonic Set, Op. 17, CHARLES IVES (1874-1954): Symphony No. 2, SAMUEL BARBER (1910-1981): Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Op. 24. Cowell's work of 1938-39 says a lot in its five short movments; tonal, it contains traces of nonspecific mideastern music in its central movement, has a memorable threnodic second movement and a rhythmically tricky finale. Identifiably American at first hearing this piece holds the attention and demands rehearing. It fills out a well-planned program opened by Ives' hugely enjoyable turn-of-the-century symphony in which Brahms and Dvorak are suddenly confronted by American popular and hymn tunes in irreverent and provocative fashion before Barber's nostalgia-drenched vocal setting restores our equilibrium. Linda Hohenfeld (soprano), Nürnberg Symphony Orchestra; Stephen Somary. Claves 50-9806 (Switzerland) 05-015 $16.98

ANDRÉ PREVIN (b.1929): Trio for Piano, Oboe and Bassoon, Peaches for Flute and Piano, Triolet for Brass, Variations on a Theme by Haydn for Solo Piano, A Wedding Waltz for 2 Oboes and Piano. The multi-faceted Mr. Previn makes guest appearances here in two of his chamber works, all of which demonstrate admirably his diversity and consummate craftsmanship as composer. Like the late Leonard Bernstein, here is a born creator who can turn his hand to anything, in any style or idiom, and make it work. And like Bernstein, Previn has nailed his colors as a tonal composer unshakably to the mast. Appealing, lively and inventive throughout. St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble. Arabesque Z6701 (U.S.A.) 05-016 $16.98

JEFFREY JACOB: At the Still Point, Symphony No. 2, De Profundis, Piano Concerto No. 1. Jacob as composer is a relative newcomer to the catalogue, though Jacob the contemporary music pianist has been with us, and most valuably, for some time. His music turns out to be romantic, lush even, skillfully utilising established forms and techniques, and always emotionally expressive. The piano plays a big role in all the works on this CD. De Profundis is especially moving, sounding like a cross between the first Bloch Concerto Grosso and something by Arvo Pärt. The first Piano Concerto (with the composer an admirable soloist) is somewhat reminiscent of Prokofiev, and deserves the wide currency that it almost certainly will not get as a staple of the repertoire. Moscow Symphony Orchestra; Joel Spiegleman, Orquestra de Baja California; Eduardo Garcia Barrios, Chamber Orchestra of the Rhine; Heiner Frost, Jeffrey Jacob (piano), St. Petersburg Academic Philharmonic; Alexander Titov. Centaur 2346 (U.S.A.) 05-017 $16.98

EUGENE ANDERSON (b.1944): The Perception of War, Tuba Concerto No. 1 in B Minor, Lyri-Tech for Solo Tuba, Baroque 'n Brass for Trumpet and Tuba. Anderson's tone poem, completed in 1973, describes nothing less than the destruction of mankind by nuclear war in a grim (tonal) progression of growling low strings and stabbing brass. The concerto, from 1970, is either a fabulous gift to tuba players or, given its 37-minute length, a cruel assault on their lungs! The work is symphonic in nature, the orchestra as involved in thematic development as the soloist in music which utilizes 19th century romantic harmony and is melodically driven from beginning to end. Very enjoyable! Sam Pilafian (tuba), Timothy Morrison (trumpet), Arizona State University Symphony Orchestra; Timothy Russell. d'Note Classics DND 1027 (U.S.A.) 05-018 $16.98


MANUEL PONCE (1882-1948): Sinfonia Ferial, JOSÉ PABLO MONCAYO (1912-1958): Tierra de Temporal, Huapango, SILVESTRE REVUELTAS (1899-1940): La Noche de los Mayas. Making their CD premieres here are Ponce's "Fair Symphony" a single-movement, 15-minute work which paints a colorful, loud and highly rhythmic picture of a Mexican fiesta, and Moncayo's "Land of the Storm", a highly dramatic 12-minute tone poem which describes his native land in brushstrokes somewhat more intimate than those which comprise Huapango. Revueltas' ever-popular "Night of the Mayas" still compels with its sense of dark and strange menace, making for a real bargain for the collector of splashy Mexican orchestral music. Orquestra Sinfonica de la Sociedad Filarmonica de Conciertos; Eduardo Alvarez. Global Classics GECDC 9123 (Mexico) 05-019 $10.98

EASLEY BLACKWOOD (b.1933): 5 Concert Etudes, Op. 30, 2 Nocturnes, Op. 41, 7 Bagatelles, Op. 36, Piano Sonata in F Sharp Minor, Op. 40. The composer performs his own recent piano compositions here. The word "recent" is of the essence, because after decades of researching unorthodox, even microtonal tunings, Blackwood returned to a language of highly accessible, even classical, tonality in the 1980s. This music may in consequence be academically unfashionable - but it is involving and beautiful, and that is what counts. Isn't it? Easley Blackwood (piano). Cedille CDR 90000 038 (U.S.A.) 05-020 $16.98

CHARLES TOMLINSON GRIFFES (1884-1920): 3 Sketches on Indian Themes for String Quartet, Sonata for Piano, The Kairn of Koridwen (concert version), 3 Japanese Melodies (arr. Griffes). Those who know Griffes only through the dreamy Impressionism of The White Peacock or The Pleasure Dome of Kubla Khan will be enriched by this well-chosen program which begins with a late-Romantic set of pieces for string quartet which uses authentic Indian melodies (the first movement recieves its first recording here). Also premiered here are the Japanese Melodies, authentic pieces arranged for winds, strings and tom-tom and. The largest work here is the concert version of The Kairn of Koridwen, a dance-drama about a doomed Druid priestess and her warrior lover scored for flute, two clarinets, two horns, harp, piano and celeste and which contains some strikingly original music like nothing else Griffes ever wrote. Perspectives Ensemble; Sato Moughalian (flute), Diane Walsh (piano). Newport Classic NPD 85634 (U.S.A.) 05-021 $16.98

CHARLES MARTIN LOEFFLER (1861-1935): Timbres oubliées, Dansons la gigue!, Le son du cor s'afflige vers les bois, Harmonie du soir, Adieu pour jamais, Boléro triste, La cloche fêlée, A une femme, La chanson des Ingénues, Les soirs d'automne, Rêverie en sourdine, Le rossignol, Sérénade, La lune blanche, Les paons. French-born, Loeffler emigrated to the U.S. in 1881. Known for a few mystical and visionary tone-poems for orchestra, his song output has been totally neglected. Drawn especially to the Symbolist poets, Loeffler composed nine songs in the 1890s for voice, viola and piano, all of which are recorded here. The macabre and melancholy are never far from the surface in Loeffler's songs and their whole affect was certainly seemed quite decadent to turn of the century audiences. This new recording restores a valuable period in the history of American music. French-English texts. Deidra Palmour (mezzo), Noel Lester (piano), Noah Chaves (viola), RoseAnn Markow (violin). Koch International Classics 7428 (U.S.A.) 05-022 $16.98

AMY BEACH (1867-1944): Valse-caprice, Op. 4, Prelude and Fugue, Op. 81, A Hermit Thrush at Eve, Op. 92/1, A Hermit Thrush at Morn, Op. 92/2, Ballad, Op. 6, A Cradle Song of the Lonely Mother, Op. 108, The Fair Hills of Éire, O!, Op. 91, Les Rêves de Columbine: Suite Française, Op. 65. The second volume in Arabesque's series of Beach's solo piano works brings pieces from a forty year span in the composer's life. The finely-sculpted brilliance of the Valse-caprice (1889) and its close successor - the song-like late Romanticism of the Ballad (a transcription of one of Beach's own songs), are set off by the impressionistic atmosphere of the two Hermit Thrush pieces (1921) and the technically brilliant, craggy and impressive prelude and fugue from 1912. Suffering and desolation inform the Cradle Song and Fair Hills (1922-24) but the recital ends with the high spirits of the commedia dell'arte in the Columbine suite. Joanne Polk (piano). Arabesque Z6704 (U.S.A.) 05-023 $16.98

MORITZ MOSZKOWSKI (1854-1925): Piano Works, Vol. 3: Fantaisie "Hommage à Schumann", Op. 5, 6 Morceaux, Op. 83, 3 Morceaux, Op. 86, Barcarolle, Op. 27/1, 3 Morceaux, Op. 87, Etude, Op. 67/2, Scherzo-Valse, Op. 40. The majority of Collins Classics' latest volume of Moszkowski is taken up by three sets of morceaux dating from 1909-11 which a French influence and more chomatic and complex harmony. The homage to Schumann is a brilliant imitation from Moszkowski's student days. Seta Tanyel (piano). Collins Classics 15192 (England) 05-024 $16.98

JOAQUIN NIN (1879-1949): 3 Danzas Españolas, Canto de Cuna, Cadena de Valses, Mensaje a Claudio Debussy, 1830 Variaciones sobre un tema frivolo, Danza Ibérica. It is astonishing that these beautifully atmospheric and exciting piano works are not better known. As full of Spanish sunlight as anything by Albeniz, Granados, or de Falla, they have a ready appeal that belies their sophistication as pianism; the effect of hearing this music is to be transported into the hot Mediterranean sun, to taste the dust and feel the hot-blooded emotions of the native people. There are lively dances in typical Spanish rhythms, sentimental melancholic little episodes like peasant songs, and ingenious and touching variations on a simple little theme. A delightful CD throughout. Nicholas Unwin (piano). Centaur CRC 2362 (U.S.A.) 05-025 $16.98

ALBERT ROUSSEL (1869-1937): Symphony No. 1, Op. 7 "Le poème de la forêt", Piano Concerto, Op. 36, Pour une fête de printemps, Op. 22. A welcome coupling of rare Roussel brings his early, impressionistic symphony from 1904-06, the exotic romanticism of the 1920 tone poem and the concise, incisive, neo-classical piano concerto (1928): in essence, an encapulized summary of his progression as a composer. The symphony, rarely available on disc, has long been a favorite here so, if you don't have this work, don't delay. The deletion axe is swift! Jan Michiels (piano), Flanders Symphony Orchestra; Fabrice Bollon. Cyprès 2620 (Belgium) 05-026 $17.98

JOSEF SUK (1874-1935): String Quartet No. 2, Op. 31, BOHUSLAV MARTINU (1890-1959): String Quartet No. 7 "Concerto da camera". Suk's single-movement, 30-minute long romantic quartet from 1911 and Martinu's 1947 neo-classical work make for a coupling of rarely recorded works in fine performances from the 60s by this distinguished Czech quartet. Vlach Quartet. Panton 71 0533 (Czech Republic) 05-027 $16.98

JOSEF SUK (1874-1935): Piano Trio in C Minor, Op. 2, VÍTùZSLAV NOVÁK (1870-1949): Trio quasi una ballata in D Minor, Op. 27, ZDENùK FIBICH (1850-1900): Piano Trio in F Minor, LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827): Piano Trio in D, Op. 70/1 "Geistertrio". A handy reissue coupling three hard-to-find late Romantic Bohemian piano trios (all composed between 1872 and 1902). Novák's piece is particulary rare, a dark, tragic and sarcastic work which fuses folk melody with a fin-de-siècle musical atmosphere to produce an entirely new synthesis. New Prague Trio. Panton 71 0534 (Czech Republic) 05-028 $16.98

JOHANN BAPTIST VANHAL (1739-1813): Symphonies - in G Minor, D and C Minor. Vanhal wrote at least 76 symphonies so it can be thought a pity that this recording doubles two which appeared on Supraphon in a 1989 release. However, that recording is long deleted and this one introduces a C minor work from before 1770 whose tense and agitated outer movements, stately andante and stern minuet partake of the same Sturm und Drang feeling as the undated G minor which opens the disc. The D major work is predominantly festive and makes a fine foil for its partners. London Mozart Players; Matthias Bamert. Chandos 9607 (England) 05-029 $16.98

JIRÍ ANTONÍN BENDA (1722-1795): Symphonies in D, G, C, F, G and E Flat. These are the symphonies which appeared on Naxos 8.553408; here they are played on period instruments (the only available such recording) by a group which uses theorbo, organ and harpsichord as a continuo group and which uses a 4-3-2-1-1 string body, giving the music the original chamber character which Benda would have expected from the forces he had at hand when he composed these works. A complementary, rather than competitive, issue. Ensemble Stradivaria; Daniel Cuiller. Adès 206162 (France) 05-030 $16.98

JOHANN STAMITZ (1717-1757): Missa Solemnis in D, Motetto de Venerabili Sacramento, Litaniae Lauretanae in C. Stamitz wrote little sacred music; here is the vast majority of it - the mass is an outstanding example of the festive missa with its rich wind instrumentation and jubilant overall character, crafted especially for the unique Mannheim orchestra. By contrast, the Litaniae is an apparently early work whose style depends on Italian models. Monika Frimmer (soprano), Sylvia Schlüter (alto), Harry van Berne (tenor), Tom Sol (bass), Alsfelder Vokalensemble, Bremen Baroque Orchestra; Wolfgang Helbich. CPO 999 471 (Germany) 05-031 $15.98

LUIGI BOCCHERINI (1743-1805): Domine ad adjuvandum, Laudate Pueri, FILIPPO MANFREDI (1729-1777): Vexilla Regis, Sacerdos et Pontifex. The two Boccherini pieces may belong to a lost Vespers; given the somewhat careful writing for the voices, this may be a work of the composer's youth, but his trademark melodiousness is already apparent. Manfredi was a violinist, friend and colleague of Boccherini. These conservative sacred settings are the only such works known to us by Manfredi and, like the Boccherini, receive their world premiere recordings here. Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra of Duomo di Castelnuovo Garfagnana; Luca Bacci. Kicco Classic 008 (Italy) 05-032 $16.98

JAN LADISLAV DUSÍK (1760-1812): Grande Sonate in C, Op. 48 for Piano 4-Hands, Three Progressive Sonatas, Op. 67 for Piano 4-Hands, Sonata in F Sharp Minor, Op. 61 "Élégie harmonique", Sonata in F Major, Op. 65 for Piano with accompaniment of Flute and Cello. Dusík's scintillating piano writing is on display throughout this disc which presents CD premieres of the op. 65 (an elegant late Classical piece in which flute and cello accompany the hard-working pianist) and op. 67 - didactic pieces whose catchy tunes bely their purpose. Hanu BartoÀ, (piano), Jana Macharáãková, (piano), Jan Ostr, (flute), Jitka Vlaánková (cello). Studio Matous MK 0046-2 (Czech Republic) 05-033 $16.98

WILLIAM BOYCE (1711-1779): The Secular Masque, Overtures from The King's Ode for the New Year, Ode for St. Cecilia's Day and Birthday Ode for George III. Composed around 1745, The Secular Masque sets an allegorical text by Dryden commenting on the events and times of the 17th century. It and the accompanying world premiere recordings of three other overtures to Boyce odes are entirely characteristic of the composer's delightful, conservative high Baroque style. Judith Howarth (soprano), Kathleen Kuhlmann (mezzo), Charles Daniels (tenor), Timothy Robinson (tenor), Stephen Varcoe (baritone), David Thomas (bass), Choir of New College Oxford, The Hanover Band; Graham Lea-Cox. ASV Gaudeamus 176 (England) 05-034 $16.98

GIOVANNI BATTISTA VIOTTI (1755-1824): Duetti concertanti in D, G67 and in D Minor, G68, Serenata No. 4 in E Flat, G148, Serenata No. 6 in E, G150. The duets date from 1784, the serenades from 1815. Written for private use the works demonstrate Viotti's deep font of melody and fluent mastery of this, his own instrument. The serenades, multi-movement works in the late Classical style are particularly gratifying, full of sweet melodies and imagination. Duo Deschka. Dynamic 2008 (Italy) 05-035 $13.98

JOHANN FRIEDRICH FASCH (1688-1758): Sonata in G for Transverse Flute, 2 Recorders and Basso Continuo, Aria "Sei nicht mehr der Sünde Knecht" for Soprano and Strings, Sonata in B Flat for Recorder, 2 Violins and Basso Continuo, JOHANN CHRISTOPH GRAUPNER (1683-1760): Aria "Kommst du großer Welterretter" for Mezzo, Recorder and Strings, Aria "Tobet nur ihr Prüfungswellen" for Mezzo and Strings, Concerto in F for Recorder and Strings, JOHANN GOTTLIEB GRAUN (1702-1771): Concerto in C for Recorder, Violin and Strings. This series has concentrated on the late Baroque/early Classical transitionary works of Fasch and Graupner. Now Graun (whose deeply expressive works for viola da gamba were offered in last month's catalogue) joins in with a cheerful, sprightly concerto in galant style. The three arias extend our picture of the two more familiar composers in this series. Texts and translations of arias included. Susanne Kelling (mezzo), Collegium Pro Musica; Stefano Bagliano (flute, recorder). Dynamic CDS 186 (Italy) 05-036 $16.98

PIER DOMENICO PARADIES (1707-1791): 12 Sonate di Gravicembalo. Published in 1754, these sonatas, praised by Mozart and Clementi, anticipate J.C. Bach in aspects of their sonata construction and form an important step between the works of Scarlatti and those of Cimarosa in the history of the classical keyboard sonata. Enrico Baiano (harpsichord). Symphonia 95140 (Italy) 05-037 $18.98

ELISABETTA DE GAMBARINI (1731-1765): 6 Lessons for the Harpsichord, Op. 1, Lessons for the Harpsichord, Op. 2. A singer who created several roles for Handel and also a painter, the Englishwoman Gambarini also composed odes and these two sets of "lessons" - simple two- and three-movement sonatas mostly in binary form in late Baroque style. Paule van Parys (harpsichord). Pavane ADW 7395 (Belgium) 05-038 $10.98

JOSÉ DE SAN JUAN (fl. 18th cen.): Missa a 8 con violines, trompas y clarines. Almost nothing is known of this composer who is referred to in contemporary Spanish sources as a leading musician and many of whose works have been found in Mexico in the city of Puebla. What we have here is a mass made up of segments with San Juan's autograph interspersed with anonymous 18th century vocal and instrumental pieces to make up the missing parts. The style is conservative, redolent of the composer's probable Iberian education and makes for another stimulating volume in Urtext's México Barroco series. Irasema Terrazas (sprano), Gabriela Thierry (messo), Flavio Becerra (tenor), Emilio Carsi (bass), Coro y Conjunto de Cámara de la Ciudad de México; Benjamín Juárez Echenique. Urtext UMA 2007 (Mexico) 05-039 $16.98

JOHANN NEPOMUK HUMMEL (1778-1837): Nocturno in F, Op. 99, Sonate on Divertissementin E Flat, Op. 51, Grande Sonate in A Flat, Op. 92. This collection of Hummel's rarely performed and rarely recorded music for piano four-hands conatins all but one of his works for the genre. Stanislav Zamborsky, Pavol Kovác (piano). Opus 91 2604 (Slovakia) 05-040 $10.98

GAETANO DONIZETTI (1797-1848): Complete Piano Music, Vol. 3: Fugue in G Minor, Pastorale, Grande Offertorio, Variations in E Flat, Variations in G, Variations in E. This final volume of Donizetti's complete piano works presents a fugue and pastorale from his early years, a brilliant , very secular "Offertory"and three sets of variations which must have been used as exercises for compositional experimentation as they are difficult for the performer and probably never meant to be published. Pietro Spada (piano). Arts 47383 (Germany) 05-041 $10.98

MUZIO CLEMENTI (1752-1832): Complete Piano Music, Vol. 10: Sonatas in F, Op. 26, in A, Op. 33/1, in F, Op. 33/2, in C, Op. 33/3 and in F, ohne opus. The reissue of this massive series reaches its two-thirds point. Pietro Spada (piano). Arts 47232 (Germany) 05-042 $10.98

GIACOMO PUCCINI (1858-1924): Preludio Sinfonico in A, Salve del Ciel Regina for Soprano and Organ, Vexilla regis prdeunt for 2 Voices and Organ, Mottetto per San Paolino for Baritone, Chorus and Orchestra, Kyrie & Agnus Dei from Messa di Gloria for Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra, MICHELE PUCCINI (1813-1864): Ave Maria for Baritone and Strings, Qui tollis, qui sedes e quoniam for Tenor, Chorus and Orchestra. Puccini's father wrote these two sacred works probably in the 1830s or 40s; the vocal parts are strongly characterized in operatic fashion as was common in that period and the forms are traditional. His son, the opera composer, did his share of sacred composing very early; these works all date from 1876-1880 (as does the orchestral prelude) and show a youthful facility with melody and a warm expressiveness. Giorgio Casciarri (tenor), Mauro Buda (baritone), Shan Wang (soprano), Cappella "S. Cecilia" of Lucca Cathedral, Orchestra Lirico Sinfonica del Teatro del Giglio; Gianfranco Cosmi. Bongiovanni 2189 (Italy) 05-043 $16.98

GIOVANNI BOTTESINI (1821-1889): String Quartet No. 1 in B Flat, Op. 2, No. 2 in F Sharp Minor, Op. 3 and No. 3 in D, Op. 4. Although known primarily as a double-bass virtuoso and composer for that instrument, Bottesini also wrote 11 string quartets. These three, dating from 1858, show a Mediterranean warmth and a native, Italian melodic style, especially in the aria-like slow movements while the outer movements and scherzos are bright, sunlit and cheerful. Quartetto Elisa. Dynamic S 2006 (Italy) 05-044 $13.98

STEPHAN KREHL (1864-1924): Clarinet Quintet in A, Op. 19, JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833-1897): Clarinet Quintet in B Minor, Op. 115. Known (if at all) as a music theorist and head of the Leipzig Conservatory from 1921-24, Krehl is also the other composer to dedicate a clarinet quintet to the virtuoso Richard Mühlfeld. Dating from 1901, ten years after Brahms' work, Krehl's quintet inhabits a similar world of nostalgia though its key softens the melancholy and there are melodies of pastoral charm throughout. Performed on period instruments and (in the Brahms) adhering to the original manuscript, this is a worthy discovery containing much heart-easing music-making. Stadler Quintet. K617 084 (France) 05-045 $17.98

WILHELM FITZENHAGEN (1848-1890): Perpetuum mobile, Op. 24, Notturno, Op. 44, KARL DAVYDOV (1838-1889): Waltz, Op. 41/2, Sunday Morning, Op. 20/1, Adieu, Op. 17/1, Solitude, Op. 9/1, In the Morning, Op. 41/1, By the Fountain, Op. 20/2, CÉSAR CUI (1835-1918): Barcarolle, Op. 81, Cantabile, Op. 36/2, PETER ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893): Pezzo capriccioso, Op. 62, ANTON ARENSKY (1861-1906): Chant triste, Op. 56/3, Oriental Melody, Op. 56/1, Humoresque, Op. 56/4, Little Ballad, Op. 12/1, Capriccioso Dance, Op. 12/2, ALEXANDER GRECHANINOV (1864-1924): Nocturne from Suite, Op. 86, Lullaby, Op. 108, ALEXANDER GLAZUNOV (1865-1936): Chant de Menestrel, Op. 71, FELIX BLUMENFELD (1863-1931): Elegy, Op. 19/1, Capriccioso, Op. 19/2, NIKOLAI SOKOLOV (1859-1922): Prelude, Op. 26/1, SERGEI RACHMANINOV (1873-1943): Oriental Dance, Op. 2/2, Vocalise, Op. 34/14. A musical cabinet bursting at the seams with tasty Russian bon-bons, many new to CD - a cellist's dream! Leonid Gorokhov (cello), Colin Stone (piano). Olympia OCD 641 (England) 05-046 $16.98

ROBERT VOLKMANN (1815-1883): Cavatine, Op. 19/1, Barcarolle, Op. 19/2, Gemütliches Wandern, Op. 23, Intermezzo, Op. 25/b, Nocturne, Op. 8, Variations on a Theme of Handel, Op. 26, Buch der Lieder, Op. 17, Nos. 1, 2, 5, 7 & 9, 2 Märsche, Op. 22. Although Hungarian by birth (and having written much music with Hungarian flavors), this disc presents Volkmann steeped in High German Romanticism with Schumann an influence particularly in the op. 23 set of travel pictures and Schumann and Brahms in the uncharacteristically large-scale set of variations (dedicated to von Bülow). Perfectly in tune with their times, the character pieces especially offer much pleasure to lovers of piano Romanticism. Ilona Prunyi (piano). Hungaroton HCD 31735 (Hungary) 05-047 $16.98


This selection of new titles not previously available in the U.S. is based on the conducting skills of Pedro de Freitas Branco (and one disc devoted to Fernando Cabral). Of the more than 12 volumes in this series, 6 have performances of Portuguese and other unusual repertoire and we thought that these titles would find some interest. The recordings are mono, made between 1953 and 1961, but have good sound quality.

LUÍS DE FREITAS BRANCO (1890-1955): Symphony No. 4 in D, PETER TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893): Piano Concerto No. 1 in B Flat Minor, Op. 23. This magnificent symphony (1952) frows from a Gregorian-based "root theme" into a cohesive edifice of Beethovenian thematic interrelationships marked by muscular dynamism, vivid orchestral color and a decidedly Lusitanian accent. Emil Gilels (piano), National Symphony Orchestra; Pedro de Freitas Branco. Strauss/Portugalsom SP 4111 (Portugal) 05-048 $10.98

JOLY BRAGA SANTOS (1924-1988): Symphony No. 1 in D, Op. 8, WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756-1791): Piano Concerto No. 21 in C, K. 467. Emil Gilels (piano), National Symphony Orchestra; Pedro de Freitas Branco. Strauss/Portugalsom SP 4112 (Portugal) 05-049 $10.98

CLAUDIO CARNEYRO (1895-1963): Portugalesas, SERGEI RACHMANINOV (1873-1943): Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 18. Carneyro's 1949 Portugalesas, a five-movement suite based on popular Portuguese themes, exhibits a characteristic delicacy of touch. Naum Starkman (piano), National Symphony Orchestra; Pedro de Freitas Branco. Strauss/Portugalsom SP 4162 (Portugal) 05-050 $10.98

LUÍS DE FREITAS BRANCO (1890-1955): Paraísos Artificiais, ERNESTO HALFFTER (1905-1989): Rapsódia Portuguesa, BOHUSLAV MARTINU (1890-1959): Concerto de Camera, RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958): The Wasps. Freitas Branco's 1910 tone poem, suggested by de Quincey's "Confessions of an Opium Smoker", evokes the visions and sensations of a drugged mind in music of exotic impressionism. Ravel's influence is evident in Halffter's 1940 Portuguese Rhapsody for piano and orchestra. Leonor Prado (violin), Regina Cascaes (piano), Marie Antoinette Levéque Freitas Branco (piano), National Symphony Orchestra; Pedro de Freitas Branco. Strauss/Portugalsom SP 4115 (Portugal) 05-051 $10.98

VIANNA DA MOTA (1868-1948): Vito, ALBERT ROUSSEL (1869-1937): Bacchus et Ariane - Suite, RICHARD WAGNER (1813-1883): Prelude, Dance of the Apprentices, March of the Corporations and Apotheosis of Hans Sachs from Die Meistersinger, FRANZ SCHUBERT (1797-1828): Overture in Italian Style. Vianna da Mota's Vito is a brief Portuguese dance reminiscent of Albéniz or Granados. National Symphony Orchestra; Pedro de Freitas Branco. Strauss/Portugalsom SP 4116 (Portugal) 05-052 $10.98

LUÍS DE FREITAS BRANCO (1890-1955): Symphony No. 1 in F, ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810-1856): Cello Concerto in A Minor, Op. 129, RICHARD WAGNER (1813-1883): Prelude to Act I of Die Meistersinger, WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756-1791): Overture to The Magic Flute. With his first symphony, Freitas Branco moved away from the impressionism of his early works and adopted the mainstream Classical symphonic form in which the influence of Franck is thoroughly assimilated into his own musical personality. Cabral takes a much more measured, weighty view of the symphony than the Hungarian conductor of the stereo versio and it suits the work. Pedro Corostola (cello), National Symphony Orchestra; Fernando Cabral. Strauss/Portugalsom SP 4147 (Portugal) 05-053 $10.98

ZINO FRANCESCATTI (1902-1985): Works for Violin and Piano: Berceuse sur le nom de Ravel, Petite Histoire, Polka, Op. 22, Tranquille et douloureux, Aria for Violin and Chamber Orchestra, 9 Portraits for Piano, Works for Violin and Orchestra: TARTINI/FRANCESATTI: Variations sur un thème de Corelli, Concerto in D Minor, VITALII/FRANCESATTI: Chaconne. This surprising release brings out more facets to the great violinist: written between 1919 and 1922, the nine Portraits are preludes for the piano, each named after a painter (Van Gogh, Utrillo, Dufy, Braque, Rouault, Sisley, Modigliani, Cézanne and Gauguin) - a vibrant youthful tribute to the visual arts and to musical impressionism. From a similar period is the violin/piano Berceuse. The majority of the disc is taken up by transcriptions of three baroque works for violin and orchestra, works of his maturity, which are finely performed here by Francescatti's disciple and favorite student. Gaëtane Provost (violin), Noël Lee (piano), Philharmonie de Lorraine; Jacques Houtmann. L'Empreinte Digitale ED 13075 (France) 05-054 $18.98

SVEND HVITDFELT NIELSEN (b.1958): Flowerfall for Flute, Clarinet, Trumpet, Violin, Viola, Cello, Harp and Piano, Into the Black for Piano, Bassoon and Bass Clarinet, Serenade for Clarinet, Viola, Cello, Harp and Harpsichord, White Light for Flute, Violin, Cello and Piano, Crossing Styx for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn and Piano. These works appear to be typical of the composer's work during recent years, with an increasing emphasis on chamber music for relatively unusual ensembles. A common characteristic in these diverse and appealing free-form fantastic works is the juxtaposition of slow-moving independent melodic lines against bright rustling effects in the treble registers, giving the effect of the musical material being brilliantly illuminated and casting strong shadows. The title work of the CD is almost all shadows, of course, and in common with the other works here is of exemplary clarity and utilises the unusual combination of sonorities to telling effect. Danish Chamber Players; Henrik Vagn Christensen. Marco Polo/Dacapo 8.224079 (Denmark) 05-055 $14.98

ANTON ARENSKY (1861-1906): Violin Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54, NIKOLAI RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908): Concert Phantasy on Russian Themes in B Minor for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 33, PETER ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893): Violin Concerto in D, Op. 35. Arensky's 1891 concerto has been receiving some welcome recorded attention lately; its single-movement form, full of brilliant writing for the soloist and grateful Chopinesque and Tchaikovskian melody make for an entertaining 20-odd minutes. The real rarity here is Rimsky's 1867 "phantasy" which takes two meaty, contrasting Russian themes and weaves a three movement, 15-minute work out of them. A youthful work, to be sure, but it is Rimsky's only piece for violin and his talent for melody and color is already evident. A rarity worth exploring. Mark Lubotsky (violin), Estonian National Symphony Orchestra; Arvo Volmer. Globe GLO 5174 (Netherlands) 05-056 $16.98

BOHUSLAV MARTINU (1890-1959): 2 Dances for Piano from the Ballet Spalicek, Violin Sonata No. 2, Ritounelles for Piano, Sonata for 2 Violins and Piano, 2 Chansons for Contralto andPiano, Serneade No. 2 for 2 Violins and Viola, String Sextet. Titled "Paris, Spring of 1932", this release contains works which Martinu produced in this particularly fecund year. Czech-Moravian folk music, modal harmony and Debussian techniques of development via brief motives, Renaissance English madrigal counterpoint and modern transpositions of the old concerto grosso form inform all seven of these urbane, clearly constructed and thoroughly enjoyable pieces of chamber music. Olga Svobodová (mezzo), Kocian Quartet, Boris Krajny, Daniel Wiesner (pianos), Josef Kluson (viola), Michal Kanka (cello). Praga PRD 250111 (Czech Republic) 05-057 $17.98

DARIUS MILHAUD (1892-1974): Scaramouche, Op. 165b, Kentuckiana, Le Bal Martiniquais, Op. 249, Les Songes, Op. 237, carnaval à la nouvelle-orléans, Op. 275, La Libertadora, Op. 236a, Le Boeuf sur le Toit, Op. 58a. Spanning the period from 1919 (Le Boeuf sur le Toit) to 1948 (Kentuckiana), this release brings us the majority of Milhaud's works for two pianos and piano duet. Making their CD premieres are the last mentioned title - a divertissement based on Kentucky folk songs and, thus, containing elements of Country and Western and Bluegrass music! La Libertadora is a suite of five dances excerpted from Milhaud's large-scale opera Bolivar of 1943, all based on authentic South American folk tunes; and carnaval à la nouvelle-orléans, a 1947 four-piece suite which unites French, Latin-American and Negro jazz elements. Stephen Coombs, Artur Pizarro (pianos). Hyperion CDA 67014 (England) 05-058 $17.98

ERNEST CHAUSSON (1855-1899): Poème, Op. 25 (version for Violin, String Quartet and Piano), Piano Trio in G Minor, Op. 3, Andante et Allegro for Clarinet and Piano, Pièce for Cello and Piano, Op. 39. Chausson's chamber works have never attracted as much attention as those of his elder, Franck, which is unfortunate when such a melancholically passionate and turbulent work out of the same mold as the 1881 piano trio is so gripping and satisfying. The Andante et Allegro, from the same year, shows a Franckian density of texture and a lyricism worthy of Massenet. Here also is the world premiere recording of Chausson's own arrangement of the famous Poème with piano and string quartet replacing the orchestra. Discovered only in 1996, this version solves many of the problems which the solo violin had trying to sound through the original, rather heavy orchestration. Pascal Devoyon (piano), Philippe Graffin (violin), Gary Hoffman (cello), Charles Neidich (clarinet), Chilingirian Quartet. Hyperion CDA 67028 (England) 05-059 $17.98

JOHN CORIGLIANO (b.1938): Etude Fantasy, AARON COPLAND (1900-1990): Piano Variations, BEN WEBER (1916-1979): Fantasia (Variations), GEORGE TSONTAKIS (b.1951): Ghost Variations. This recital ingeniously couples piano works in variation form by four American composers all of whom are better known for writing in other media. Corigliano's work is a set of formidably virtuosic studies which explore the material through the elaboration of different intervals. Copland's relatively familiar Piano Variations, acerbic and concentrated, is one of his most convincing works; away from the "Americana" of much of his most popular music, the workings of his formidable compositional intellect are fascinating to observe. Weber absorbed serialism and atonality, but as in this appealing Fantasy, harmonic richness abounds, as do tonal references throughout. The Tsontakis is a real find. From its arresting opening onward, this basically tonal work is an epic journey of real stature. Teeming with imagination, both in material and piano technique, this half-hour work deserves to enter the repertoire of many of our present-day virtuosi - those with the technique and understanding to cope with its demands - as a matter of urgency. Stephen Hough (piano). Hyperion CDA 67005 (England) 05-060 $17.98

NIKOS SKALKOTTAS (1904-1949): Ten Sketches for Strings, YORGOS SICILIANOS (b.1920): Metamorphoses for Strings, Op. 55, Piano Concerto, Op. 52. These sketches from Skalkottas' years of isolation and adherence to the dodecaphony he found so liberating (and manages to make sound as spontaneous and expressive as any other compositional system) - "sketches" does not imply incompleteness; brief album-leaves is what these really are - suggest what Shostakovich might have done had he embraced serial composition. Strong, coherent music this; not at all academic. Sicilianos also writes serial music; his Metamorphoses - actually a set of variations on a dodecaphonic theme - are constructed with great skill, though perhaps they do not have quite the appeal of the Skalkottas. The piano concerto is another matter; instantly appealing and classical-sounding (until one reminds oneself that the thematic material is far from tonal) it is irresistably suggestive of an atonal answer to Shostakovich's first piano concerto. Danae Kara (piano), La Camerata-Friends of Music Orchestra; Alexandros Myrat. Agora AG 127.1 (Italy) 05-061 $16.98

JEAN FRANÇAIX (1912-1997): String Quartet, Sonatina for Violin and Piano, Thème et Variations for Clarinet and Piano, Divertissement for Piano and String Trio, Dixtuor for Wind Quintet and String Quintet, 8 Bagatelles for Piano and Wind Quartet, Nonet - d[aprè le Quintette K. 452 de Mozart for 4 Winds and String Quintet. 2 CDs. Known mostly for his compositions for winds (see p. 14), Françaix also wrote for other chamber combinations and this set offers much gratefully written music for strings which will broaden the collector's knowledge of the composer. The works tend to fall into the composer's earliest years (the tautly constructed quartet of 1933, the slightly earlier sonatina and the 1935 Divertissement, here heard in a later transcription in which the piano replaces the original orchestra) and his high maturity (the Dixtuor of 1986 and the 1980 Bagatelles). All come with Françaix's inimitable grace, charm and high spirits mixed with gentle irony. Yuriko Naganuma (violin), Jean-Louis Sajot (clarinet), L'Octuor de France; Jean Françaix (piano). Erol 96004 (France) 05-062 $37.98

JEAN FRANÇAIX (1912-1997): Scuola di Ballo, 8 danses exotiques, EMMANUEL CHABRIER (1841-1894): 3 valses romantiques, Bourrée fantasque, España, FRANZ SCHUBERT (1797-1828): Andantino varié in A Minor, Variations in B. Françaix' own works form the centerpiece of this recital: Elegant and fluent, Scuola di ballo is a lively and entertaining pastiche of themes by Boccherini, expanded wittily, but not distorted or sneered at; the result is a classical-sounding work of immense charm. More rhythmically complex, the dances are equally ingratiating to the ear; one might detect a touch of Milhaud, perhaps of Poulenc here and there. And maybe also of Chabrier himself, whose music is also finely interpreted on this disc, rounding off a delightful recital in extrovert good spirits. Claude & Jean Françaix (pianos and piano four-hands). Erol 96006 (France) 05-063 $18.98

THANOS MIKROUTSIKOS (b.1947): For Sax and Strings and Love and Dreams for Saxophone and Orchestra, Warna for Soprano, Percussion, Keyboards and Strings, Irreproachable Death for Soprano and Wind Sextet. For some reason, the booklet contains a picture of Mikroutsikos with Xenakis. Apart from their nationality and the fact that (apparently) they were once in the same room, there would not appear to be any connection between them. Although Mikroutsikos studied mathematics before turning to composition, his music is quite the reverse of the precisely calculated torrents of sound, every pebble in the avalanche tracked to ten places of decimals, of the older composer. Rather, this music is warmly, emotionally expressive, and it comes as no surprise to learn that the composer has written extensively for the stage, film, and, like Theodorakis (whose music this somewhat resembles, at least in the overtly emotional folk-element which is often present), in the medium of song. Theodoros Kerkezos (saxophone), Sonia Theodoridou (soprano), La Camerata-Friends of Music Orchestra; Alexandros Myrat, Wind Sextet Nikos Tsouchlos. Agora AG 130.1 (Italy) 05-064 $16.98

LUIS DE PABLO (b.1930): Ritornello, TOMAS MARCO (b.1942): Miró, JOSE LUIS TURINA (b.1952): Divertimento, Aria y Serenata, CRISTÓBAL HALFFTER (b.1930): Fandango. What a fascinating world of sonority emanates from this apparently restricted ensemble! De Pablo's Ritornello is percussive and virtuosic. Marco's music sounds more like cello music, with much use of pizzicato glissandi; the effect is of a single huge cello being played with impossible richness of timbre and virtuosity. It is poetic and highly colored, and it comes as no surprise to discover the connection to Joan Miró, for whose centenary it was written. Turina uses the ensemble to suggest - most successfully - an orchestra, and the music is accordingly multilayered and dynamic. Halffter's work is a re-creation of the Soler Fandango on which it is based, in the sense that the original is thoroughly deconstructed and then re-assembled with perhaps surprising respect for the original; complex as the interweaving parts become the effect is of a grand romantic transcription, à la Stokowski, of the keyboard original. Cello Octet "Conjunto Ibérico". Channel Classics CCS 11597 (Netherlands) 05-065 $17.98

NICOLAS BOLENS (b.1963): ... et derrière moi marchent les étoiles for Violin and Orchestra, 3 Sonetos de Amor for Soprano and Piano, Musique pour Orchestre de Chambre, Sur quelques mots de Rainer Maria Rilke for String Quartet, Jeux d'Ombres for Violin, Viola, Cello andPiano, 3 Tableaux for PianoTrio. This is an admirable introduction to the music of a young Swiss-born composer. The music is directly appealing and playful, although written in a modern idiom; Bolens is not afraid to use elements of folk music, or to pit sections of an ensemble against each other in a kind of game. His vocal writing is particularly distinguished; he always writes for the voice, never against it, and his accompaniments, harmonically sophisticated yet with a well-attuned ear for beauty of sound, enhance the vocal line in a manner that has become unfashinable at this end of our century. A composer of sophistication and diversity, with an individual voice, who has not lost sight of the artist's obligation to his interpreters or his audience. Mirijam Contzen (violin), Orchestre de la Suisse Romande; Michel Swierczewski, Brigitte Hool (soprano), Nicolas Bolens (piano), Lausanne Chamber Orchestra; Jesus Lopez-Cobos, Ortys Quartet, Ensemble Contemporain du Conservatoire de Genève, Trio Arthur Grumiaux. Cyprès 1609 (Belgium) 05-066 $17.98

GEORGE CRUMB (b.1929): Songs, Drones and Refrains of Death, ROGER SESSIONS (1896-1985): Concertino for Chamber Orchestra. The Crumb, one work in an immense cycle based on poems of Lorca, is typically dark and intense, rich in expression and evocation of the stifling and bizarre mood of the poetry. Crumb has always shown an unerring skill in finding strange new instrumental timbres to evoke exactly the atmosphere he wants; this work is no exception, and an especially fine example of Crumb's technique at its best. Sessions' typically concise, concentrated style is also shown to good advantage in this Concertino. Sessions does not, of course, invoke unconventional playing techniques, but within the confines of traditional instrumental writing his remarkable imagination, confined by no set "school" or "method" of composition, produced, as here, works of great content and concision. Lawrence Weller (baritone), Philadelphia Composers' Forum; Joel Thomé, Contemporary Chamber Players of the University of Chicago; Ralph Shapey. Phoenix PHCD 137 (U.S.A.) 05-067 $13.98

MORTON FELDMAN (1926-1987): Triadic Memories. Stasis and the random variations imposed on reality by memory were constant preoccupations in the work of Feldman, just as the subtle shifts in perception caused by the juxtaposition of precisely determined non-representative blocks of color fascinated the painters with whom he formed close friendships. This extended solo piano work explores just these ideas; a phrase, a chord, a sequence of notes will be repeated - always slowly, always dispassioately, an aural analogy for the reinforcement of memory traces in the brain. Then there will occur a sudden shift; the pattern will change, a different sequence of neurons will fire, and the analogy with memory is complete. 2 CDs. Markus Hinterhäuser (piano). Col Legno 31873 (Germany) 05-068 $37.98

EDDY DE FANTI (b. 1949): Djembé, TERRY RILEY (b.1935): In C. Riley's seminal work of early minimalism needs no introduction, save to say that this is a vividly recorded version for percussion instruments only, which heightens the music's gamelan-like associations. De Fanti's work extends this air of ethnicity in a more rhythmically complex piece which pays tribute to African drumming among many other "primitive" (actually very sophisticated, of course) percussion styles. The work is scored for a bewildering array of percussion instruments and synthesizers, all played by the composer and multi-tracked. The result is extremely effective and no less approachable than the older work which accompanies it. Ensemble Persussione Ricerca. Materiali Sonari MASO CD 90070 (Italy) 05-069 $16.98

GIANCARLO CARDINI: O Quieta e Dolce Mattina d'Ottobre, Ultimi Fiori, Verso Sera, Musica per Medeamaterial. Minimalism? Yes, of a sort. Certainly, there is a static, meditative quality to this music, which lends it a ritualistic, formal, archaic quality. One has the sensation of wandering through the traces of an ancient civilisation, half understanding what one encounters, as in a dream. All these works have a melancholic, inward-looking character, and while the harmonic language may be reminiscent of Messiaen, the absence of ecstatic propulsion places this music in diametrical opposition to the French master. If Messiaen contemplated life in extravagant cathedrals full of stained glass, light and color, Cardini's search for truth involves the slow ascetic contemplation of the grey-robed monk in his cell and cloisters. Giancarlo Cardini (piano), Marion D'Amburgo (narrator), Sandro Lombardi (narrator), Jonathan Faralli (percussion). Materiali Sonari MASO CD 90061 (Italy) 05-070 $16.98

JOHN CAGE (1912-1992): In a landscape for Solo Piano, Solo for piano with bassoon, SYLVANO BUSSOTTI (b.1931): Aquila imperiale for Piano, Aquila imperiale con l'allodola e il topino for Bassoon and Piano. Cage's In a landscape is not new to the catalogue, but in the light of his most well known work, it is still surprising; this meandering, impressionistic atmosphere piece. The Bussotti works are full of alternative instrumental techniques, with an emphasis on sound for its own sake much as one would automatically associate with Cage, in fact. And so it is, in the bassoon and piano version of Concert for piano and orchestra, in which individual sounds are invested with a significance which is as much the responsibility of the listener as the composer. Bussotti's sounds are more sensually appealing, but both composers are essentially making the same point (which is quoted in the booklet: "Whatever we do, it always ends up being a melody." Paolo Carlini (bassoon), Mauro Castellano (piano). Materiali Sonari MASO CD 90083 (Italy) 05-071 $16.98

FRANCO DONATONI (b.1927): Refrain III, Etwas Ruhiger im Ausdruck, Lumen, For Grilly, Spiri, Le Ruisseau sur l'escalier. These performances give an excellent cross-section of Donatoni's works for small ensembles. One of the "grand old" figures of the Italian avant-garde, Donatoni has always written music that is more accessible, more fun to listen to than many of his earnest Teutonic Darmstadt colleagues. Highly energetic, rhythmically and instrumentally inventive, all these works give the impression of lightness, airiness, joyful propulsion. Not particularly dissonant for the most part, the musical texture uses the instrumental timbres in a pointillist way, with little splashes of vivid colour illuminating the whole in unexpected and enchanting ways. Ensemble Fa; Dominique My. Accord 206232 (France) 05-072 $16.98

AZIO CORGHI (b.1937): Un petit train de plaisir - Ballet for 2 Pianos and Percussion on Music of Rossini. Un petit train de plaisir is a ballet score that essentially consists of transcriptions of Rossini for two pianos. Since the actual music is by Rossini it is as melodic and approachable as one might expect; what Corghi has done is to separate the sections with splintered fragments of one piece - the title movement - played on diverse percussion instruments, and heighten the irony and sarcastic wit of the original by recasting it in virtuosic modern terms, while also enhancing the choreographic and spatial possibilities by adding the percussion sections, with the instruments spread around the audience (or across the stereo soudstage in a recording). Bruno Canino, Antonio Ballista (pianos), Les Percussions de Strasbourg. BMG Ricordi 1022 (Italy) 05-073 $18.98

LUCA LOMBARDI (b.1945): Primo Quartetto for Strings, Für Flori for Violin and Piano, Gruss for Cello, 5 Instantanee for Double Bass, A chi fa notte il giorno for Voice and Double Bass, Addii for Piano Trio. Sparse, long instrumental lines characterise this music, which expresses depths of emotion through restraint punctuated by intense but brief dissonant outbursts. Although the melodic lines are not "melodies" in the conventional sense, they have the effect of enhanced or expanded lyrical music; the contrast between this profound stillness and warm expressiveness, and the sudden outbursts of violent passion is all the more heightened because both are so extreme. The mechanistic and overwhelming sonorities of double bass (as Lombardi uses it) and human voice (the narrator here is the composer) in A chi notte il giorno makes this perhaps the most remarkable piece in this fascinating collection. Auryn Quartet, Lavard Skou-Larsen (violin), Andreas Fröhlich (piano), Stefano Scodanibbio (double bass), Piano Trio Salzburg. BMG Ricordi 5047 (Italy) 05-074 $18.98

LEOPOLD GODOWSKY (1870-1938): Studies after the Études of Chopin Nos. 44-48, Passacaglia (44 Variations, Cadenza and Fugue on the opening of Schubert's "Unfinished" Symphony), Transcriptions of Waltzes by Chopin: Op. posth. in D Flat, Op. 69/1 in A Flat, Op. 70/2 in F Minor and Op. 64/3 in A Flat. Grante concludes his scintillant traversal of the notorious Studies after the Etudes of Chopin with the final six, including the two delightful "combination" studies in which, improbably, Godowsky coerces two separate Chopin etudes to co-operate as components of one piece, to challenging yet harmonious and ingenious effect. The mighty Passacaglia follows, in which Godowsky's knowledge of the piano, as exemplified in the studies, and as complete as that of any pianist in history, is put to the service of a 20-minute through-composed work as gripping and compelling as any in the piano literature, each variation a voyage of discovery into realms of piano expression that would be impossible without an almost unheard-of level of virtuosity from composer and performer alike. This highly successful series concludes with four of Godowsky's transcriptions of Chopin waltzes, overlain with chromatic flavorings and a sly yet affectionate humor. Carlo Grante (piano). Altarus AIR-CD-9094 (U.S.A.) 05-075 $17.98

PAUL HUBER (b.1918): Concerto for Hammered Dulcimer and Strings, ROLF LIEBERMANN (b.1910): Suite on 6 Swiss Folk Songs, JEAN DAETWYLER (1907-1994): Concerto No. 1 for Alphorn and Orchestra, MELCHIOR ULRICH (b.1945): Ethnophony for Ländler Ensemble and Orchestra. Huber's (1994) and Daetwyler's (1970) concertos forego the use of "folk influence" by using actual folk instruments peculiar to Switzerland in concertos which delight the ear (and amaze anyone who's actually seen an alphorn). Liebermann's suite (1944) sets real folk songs for orchestra while Ulrich's work (1997), somewhat like Schweitzer's below only on a smaller scale, combines a chamber orchestra with a Swiss folk instrument ensemble in a suite of dances. Benno Bernet (hammered dulcimer), Martin Roos (alphorn), Swiss Chamber Philharmonic; Patrice Ulrich. Musica Helvetica MH CD 103.2 (Switzerland) 05-076 $16.98

HEINRICH SCHWEITZER (b.1943): East West Symphony, Historical Symphony - Suite, 5 Days in Avignon, Swiss Panorama, Suite for Flute, Bassoon and Piano, The New Sound, Hadlaub, Variations for Oboe and Orchestra. The 1992 East West Symphony puts both Chinese and Western orchestras on the same stage, expanding the palette of orchestral sonorities and demonstrating the complexity and the harmony of a dialogue between cultures. Schweitzer's astoundingly eclectic and imaginative uvre is represented by a further 7 works and excerpts which astound the mind as well as delight the ear. Various artists incl. China Broadcasting Orchestra of Traditional Musical Instruments, Zurich Symphony Orchestra; Bian Zushan. Musica Helvetica MH CD 102.2 (Switzerland) 05-077 $16.98

ERIC TANGUY (b.1968): Piano Sonata, Le jardin des délices for Soprano, Flute and Cello. This specially priced CD "Single" contains two works: the tumultuous piano sonata, reminiscent of Messiaen when energetic and Satie when in repose, and full of rhythmic shifts and strikingly contrasting material, and Le jardin des délices, a strange, phantasmagorical song with chamber accompaniment, emphasizing melody above all, to a text by Michel Onfray which inhabits something of the highly colored yet strangely unreal world of Rimbaud. François-Frédéric Guy (piano), Delphine Collot (soprano), Juliette Hurel (flute), Henri Demarquette (cello). Chamade CHCD 5654 (France) 05-078 $6.98

PAUL JUON (1872-1940): Fairy Tale for Cello and Piano, Op. 8, Moments lyriques for Piano, Op. 56/5, Satyrs and Nymphs for Piano, Op. 18/7, Cello Sonata No. 2 in A Minor, Op. 54, HANS HUBER (1852-1921): Cello Sonata No. 4 in B Flat, Op. 130, ERNEST BLOCH (1880-1959): Visions and Prophecies for Piano, Suite No. 1 for Cello. Juon's Russian origins are to the fore in his folk-tinged Fairy Tale and brief piano pieces while Huber (who wrote 9 symphonies!) represents late German Romanticism in his 1909 sonata which follows the Schumann-Brahms tradition while also incorporating Regerian chromaticism. Bloch (see right for Visions and Prophecies) wrote 3 suites for solo cello for Zara Nelsova in 1956-7; standing in sharp contrast to his Jewish-flavored work, these hark back to the Baroque suite and Bach's model although of quite shorter duration. Esther Nyffenegger (cello), Desmond Wright (piano). Musica Helvetica MH CD 98.2 (Switzerland) 05-079 $16.98

FRANZ REIZENSTEIN (1911-1968): Cello Sonata in A, Op. 22, Elegy, Op. 7, Cantilene, Op. 18, ERIC ZEISL (1905-1959): Cello Sonata. This coupling of works by German-speaking Jewish composers who fled to England and the U.S. respectively presents one composer (Zeisl) passionately Hebraic in sound and one who adhered to the tenets of late Romanticism filtered through the idiomatic string writing and counterpoint of his teacher Hindemith. All the works are recording premieres. Duo Hebraique. ASV Quicksilva QS 6225 (England) 05-080 $10.98

ERNEST BLOCH (1880-1959): Visions and Prophecies, Ex-Voto, PAUL BEN-HAIM (1897-1984): 5 Pieces for Piano, TZVI AVNI (b.1927): Epitaph (Piano Sonata No. 2), STEFAN WOLPE (1902-1972): 4 Pieces from Palestinian Yearbook, ARNOLD SCHOENBERG (1974-1951): 3 Klavierstücke. This recital also concentrates on 20th century Jewish composers and does a good job of showing how "Jewish music" can be hard to define. Bloch's modally inflected suite from 1936 is redolent of Old Testament tales while Ben-Haim's uses rich impressionistic color and folk-like melodies to recreate pre-Israeli Palestine. Avni's sonata, from 1974-79, uses quasi-cantorial phrases along with slow-moving harmonies and ostinato rhythms to create a mystical sense of timelessness; Wolpe's Palestinian Yearbook (1939) contained arrangements of popular Palestinian songs and dances and stand out as an anomaly amongst his avant-garde compositions. Schoenberg's 1909 piano pieces, from the period of his break with tonality yet still full of emotional expression, serve to underline the premise mentioned in the first sentence above! David Holzman (piano). Albany TROY 283 (U.S.A.) 05-081 $16.98

Special European Imports - Limited Quantities

Trusting that the majors have not suddenly decided to import titles which have been available in Europe for months, we have decided to import small quantities of the following titles - mostly in response to requests from individual customers. The usual caveat applies: if we run out of stock, back-orders are possible but may not be possible with the desired alacrity. So - order early!



HANS WERNER HENZE (b.1926): Undine - Ballet in 3 Acts. Henze wrote his ballet for Frederick Ashton in 1958 (Margot Fonteyn was the title character) and produced possibly the most instantly accessible music of his entire career. Especially indebted to Stravinsky, this is a rich, evocative score with particulary iridescent music for Ondine herself and it is a credit to the composer's orchestration that it never seems as if only a chamber orchestra is involved. London Sinfonietta; Oliver Knussen, Peter Donohoe (piano). Deutsche Grammophon 453 467-2 (Germany) 05-082 $39.98

MICHAEL TIPPETT (1905-1998): The Rose Lake, The Vision of St. Augustine. The Rose Lake was Tippett's last orchestral work (1995) and describes the impression made on him by a lake in Senegal whose milky-green color changes to bright pink in the midday sun. There is a magical, shimmering quality to much of the music, accentuated by much tuned percussion and glittering ostinatos; a beautiful work, extremely approachable. The coupling is a reissue of a 1974 RCA recording of one of Tippett's thorniest, most visionary works: a 1965 setting for baritone, chorus and orchestra of texts from St. Augustine in which the latter describes his vision of eternity. John Shirley-Quirk (baritone), London Symphony Orchestra; Sir Colin Davis, Sir Michael Tippett. Conifer Classics 51304-2 (England) 05-083 $19.98

FRANK BRIDGE (1879-1941): Enter Spring, Summer, Christmas Dance "Sir Roger de Coverley", JOHN FOULDS (1880-1939): "April-England", FREDERICK DELIUS (1862-1934): On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring, PERCY GRAINGER (1882-1961): Harvest Hymn, ARNOLD BAX (1883-1953): November Woods. Unaccountable not released in the U.S., this imaginatively planned program, titled "English Seasons - A Year in Music", assembles mostly under-recorded tone poems by 20th Century English composers inspired by seasons of the year. Sheerly beautiful music, gorgeously recorded! Academy of St. Martin in the Fields; Sir Neville Marriner. Philips 454 444-2 (Netherlands) 05-084 $19.98


MIKHAIL S. GNESIN (1883-1957): "D'après Shelley" - Symphonic Fragment in D, Op. 4, Requiem for Piano Quintet, Op. 11, Piano Trio, Op. 63, Songs of a Knight Errant for Harp and String Quartet, Op. 28, Adigeya - Sextet for Violin, Viola, Cello, Clarinet, Horn and Piano, Op. 48, The Jewish Orchestra at the Ball at Nothingtown, Op. 41, ALEXANDER MOSOLOV (1900-1973): String Quartet No. 1, Op. 24, NIKOLAI ROSLAVETS (1881-1944): String Quartet No. 1, String Quartet No. 3, LEV KNIPPER (1898-1974): String Quartet No. 3. The first disc of this set highlights Mikhail Gnesin, to whom the term "futurist" seems oddly applied. Much of this music could be by Tchaikovsky - rather good Tchaikovsky at that - and there is also a strong French influence; isolated pages could easily be by Debussy or Ravel. The music has a Romanticism and delicacy that has nothing to do with the avowed intent of the Futurists to incorporate the scientific and industrial advances of the new century into art. Fortunately, we now have access to enough of Mosolov's music in recordings not to mistakenly define him by Iron Foundry - but nonetheless he, like the other composers on the second disc, is a far more representative ambassador of the new æsthetic in music. His first quartet has elements of the mechanistic drive of Iron Foundry, and a spiky angularity of rhythm which makes it sound very "modern" - the sort of thing Shostakovich was doing thirty years later. The two succinct Roslavets works, and the one by Knipper (the latter divided into four vanishingly brief movements) are less suggestive of machine-influenced æsthetics, and have more to do with the dissolution of post-Scriabin tonality. 2 CDs. Russian Philharmonic Orchestra; Konstantin Krimets, Moscow Soloists Ensemble, Novosibirsk "Filarmonica" String Quartet. Arte Nova 48722 (Germany) 05-085 $15.98

JAN ZACH (1699-1773): Missa Solemnis in D, Requiem in C Minor, Stabat Mater in G Minor, Miserere in C Minor, Offertorium "Terra tremit" in C, Prelude and Fugue in C Minor for Organ, Prelude in A Flat for Organ, Fugue in G Minor for Organ. Except for the brief organ pieces, all of these sacred works are world premiere recordings. Zach was another talented Bohemian composer who made his mark in Germany. His works reflect the stylistic transition from late Baroque to early Classical; the works here show his characteristic fondness for chromaticism and daring harmonies. The Requiem is particulary dramatic in its expressiveness. A welcome introduction to the sacred works of an outstandingly individual composer. 2 CDs. Soloists, Mainzer Domchor, Mainzer Domorchester, SWF Radio Orchestra; Mathias Breitschaft, Wilhelm Krumbach (organ). Arte Nova 54241 (Germany) 05-086 $15.98

MAX BRUCH (1838-1920): Symphony No. 1 in E Flat, Op. 28, Symphony No. 2 in F Minor, Op. 36, Symphony No. 3 in E, Op. 51, Works for Violin and Orchestra: Romanze in A Minor, Op. 42, Adagio apassionato, Op. 57, In Memoriam, Op. 65, Konzertstück in F Sharp Minor, Op. 84. The companion disc to last month's Duo containing the violin concertos and Scottish Fantasy brings not only Bruch's three colorful and romantic symphonies, but also the remaining four short works for violin and orchestra. 2 CDs for the price of 1. Salvatore Accardo (violin), Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig; Kurt Masur. Philips Duo 462 164-2 (Netherlands) 05-087 $16.98

WERGO special imports

limited quantities: back-orders dependent on demand

ARIBERT REIMANN (b.1936): Das Schloss. It was probably inevitable that a composer so drawn to dark colors and tragic literary subjects as Reimann would sooner or later turn his attention to Kafka (we can only hope for an eventual operatic realisation of the ultimate literary work in this genre - Nabokov's "Bend Sinister" - from his pen). Reimann's icily atmospheric music highlights the absurd yet terrifying events which befall the protagonist, and like the events in Kafka's novel, the music is kaleidoscopic, changing unexpectedly and without explanation, always against a strange and unsettling background. 2 CDs. German libretto. Soloists, Bavarian State Orchestra; Michael Boder. Wergo 6614 (Germany) 05-088 $39.98 (new release)

WOLFGANG RIHM (b.1952): Kolchis for Harp, Piano, Percussion and Double Bass, Antlitz for Violin and Piano, Klavierstück No. 6 "Bagatellen", von weit - version of Antlitz for Cello and Piano, Dritte Musik for Violin and Orchestra. This music is very concrete, yet abstract, and thus it mirrors the suggestive yet anonymous artifacts to be found in the plastic and graphic art of Kurt Kocherscheidt, with whom the composer carried on a kind of mutual exchange of inspiration until the artist's death in 1992. As in an abstract impressonist painting, the very brushstrokes - in this case, isolated sounds, related to and flowing into each other - assume a degree of significance beyond their obvious intrinsic value, and generate a whole which turns out to be far more than the sum of its component parts (which could be taken for pieces of board and oddly painted shapes, or unrelated sonorities and intervals, were they not juxtaposed in such a way as to make their interaction inevitable). ensemble recherche, Sarah O'Brien (harp), Frank Reinecke (double bass), Gottfried Schneider (violin), Southwest-German Radio Symphony Orchestra; Michael Gielen. Wergo 6623 (Germany) 05-089 $19.98 (new release)

GEORGES IVANOVITCH GURDJIEFF (c.1866-1949)/THOMAS DE HARTMANN (1885-1956): Music for the Piano, Volume One: Asian Songs and Rhythms. During Gurdjieff's many years of travel throughout the world (primarily Central Asia and North Africa), absorbing eastern philosophies and religions, he also encountered much indigenous music, from simple peasant melodies to sacred chant, which he collected. The Ukrainian musician de Hartmann provided form and harmonies for these melodies (many of these works must be impressions of places and peoples rather than actual recovered melodies, which only increases their musical interest), resulting in a fascinating ethno-musicological collection which will fill 8 CDs when this series is completed. The 49 pieces contained in Vol. 1 range from Greece, Kurdistan, Armenia and Persia to Tibet, Afghanistan and Arabia. This series will appeal to all collectors of folk-influenced piano compositions. Linda Daniel-Spitz, Charles Ketcham, Laurence Rosenthal (piano). 2 CDs. Wergo 6284 (Germany) 05-090 $39.98 (new release)

CAROLA BAUCKHOLT (b.1959): Treibstoff for Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass, Piano and Percussion, Clarinet Trio, Luftwurzeln for Flute, Clarinet, Viola and Cello, mehr oder weniger for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass, Piano and Percussion, String Trio, Zopf for Flute, Oboe and Clarinet, sottovoce for 2 Cellos, Schraubdichtung for Voice, Contrabassoon, Cello and Percussion. Bauckholt's music translates, or transfigures, the everyday sounds of "real life" into music. There is a preoccupation with pure sound, with timbre for its own sake, that occasionally leads to the incorporation of sounds not made by musical instruments, Cage-like, into the performance; sometimes onomatapic imitation is used - a rhythmic section may suggest the ticking or chiming of clocks; a rhythmically free passage resembles insect or nature sounds. As the booklet notes would have it: "it is the beauty and variety of noise, with its many subtle nuances, that forms the bedrock of her music." Members of the Thürmchen Ensemble and of ensemble recherche. Wergo 6538 (Germany) 05-091 $19.98 (DM - new release)

JOACHIM KREBS (b.1952): String Quartet No. 2 "Quartettomanie", RHIZOM II for 6 Percussion Instruments, Offene Ringe - Klangskulptur für Orchester. Krebs has worked in a bewildering variety of different musical styles and contexts, and has achieved a musical language which is direct and accessible while remaining as uncompromisingly modern as one would expect from one who studied in Darmstadt in the 1970s. Unorthodox instrumental techniques and a powerfully organic structure; percussion rhythms that sound as though they belong in World Music, rubbing shoulders with sustained screaming dissonances of which Stockhausen himself would be proud - all these diverse elements are allowed to retain their identities and coexist, if not peacefully, at least without compromising each other and being subsumed into a politically correct grey synthesis. The orchestral piece is particularly compelling. A really interesting CD. Brahms Quartet, Robyn Schulkowsky (percussion), Junges Philharmonisches Orchester Stuttgart; Manfred Schreier. Wergo 6526 (Germany) 05-092 $19.98 (DM)

JEAN FRANÇAIX (1912-1997): Elégie, Petite valse européenne, JEAN FRANÇAIX/FRANZ SCHUBERT (1797-1828): 3 Marches Militaires, JEAN FRANÇAIX/FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN (1810-1849): 3 Ecossaises et Variations sur un Air populaire allemand, JEAN FRANÇAIX/EMANUEL CHABRIER (1841-1894): 3 pièces pittoresques. Here's something completely different! Françaix transcribed these works between 1984 and 1989 (one to celebrate the Amadé Ensemble's director's 25th anniversary with Schott publishers - owners of the Wergo label). Known especially for his aptitude at composing for winds, these arrangements (for 10 winds) contain both the piquant spice of the 20th Century Françaix and the charm of the original works themselves (careful choice was made of pieces which were, in any case, of an "occasional" nature). In addition, there are two original works by the French composer in his own inimitable style making for a truly unusual wind music feast. Amadé Wind Ensemble; Klaus Rainer Schöll, Jean Françaix (speaker). Alcra (Wergo) ALC 5104 (Germany) 05-093 $19.98

YORK HÖLLER (b.1944): Mythos for 13 Instruments, Percussion and Electronics, Antiphon for String Quartet (on Tape), Traumspiel for Soprano, Large Orchestra and Electronics, Improvisaion sur le nom de Pierre Boulez for 17 Instrumentalists. Strange as it may seem to say of the music of a Darmstadt "graduate", whose music is not by any stretch tonal, and for whom alien electronic sounds are as much a part of his everyday musical vocabulary as the timbre of a flute, Höller's music is, in the effect it makes on the mind of the listener, astonishingly romantic. Full-bodied textures, a downright sensuous use of sound in all registers; this music is actually quite approachable, and sounds a good deal less complex than it actually is. The reason may be in no small part the direct appeal to the senses, rather than the structuralism which was regarded as a sine qua non at Darmstadt. This is very much the approachable face of the avant-garde. Members of the Southwest German Radio Orchestra; Johannes Kalitzke, Saarbrücken String Quartet, RSO Berlin; Lothar Zagrosek, Ensemble Intercontemporain; Peter Eötvös. Wergo 6515 (Germany) 05-094 $19.98 (DM)

STEPHAN SCHLEIERMACHER (b.1960): Gesang des Apsyrtos for Oboe, Clarinet, Piano and Percussion, Zeremonie for Chamber Ensemble, Klavierstück 1990, Music for Timpani and Orchestra. Schleiermacher is a pianist of note in contemporary music circles, as well as being a highly successful composer. His music is concentrated and terse, and may be likened to "sound sculptures" in that the textures frequently resolve themselves into "objects" composed of sound, which take on a life, or existence, of their own. All of these works have an archaic element (most noticeably Zeremonie, which has the immeasurably unfamiliar and alien detachment, and the raw power, of the monumental ruins of a lost civilisation) - a certain monolithic quality, a sense of something ancient and powerful, perceived in parts, the whole being slightly outside our capacity for understanding. Ensemble Avantgarde Leipzig, Gruppe Neue Musik "Hanns Eisler", Stephan Schleiermacher (piano), Karl Mehlig (timpani), Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig; Kurt Masur. Wergo 6530 (Germany) 05-095 $19.98

PETER RUZICKA (b.1948): Metastrofe for 87 Instrumentalists, ...fragment... for String Quartet, Stress for 8 Percussion Groups, In processo di tempo... for Cello and 26 Instrumentalists, Bewegung for Tape. The cover of this CD - the composer's name rendered in vivid colors apparently pulsing with light - the computer graphic age's equivalent of Van Gogh's hallucinatory illumination of objects - is a good visual metaphor for the way the music sounds. Intense and feverish, uncompromisingly dissonant to the point where any tonal referent has the shock value of a murder in a sanctuary (and the sudden intrusion of an extended literal quotation from Mahler's 6th Symphony into the headlong and hectic activity of Metastrofe has exactly that sense - that if this can happen here, then anything might), this music is the very reverse of easy listening. But you may find that it stirs you more than music that "approaches you wreathed in smiles and hails you as an old acquaintance". RSO Berlin; Michael Gielen, Westphal Quartet, Siegfried Fink Percussion Ensemble, Claus Kanngiesser (cello), RSO Berlin; Peter Ruzicka. Wergo 6071 (Germany) 05-096 $19.98

JOHN CAGE (1912-1992): Sonatas and Interludes (1946-48). This set of brief pieces turns the piano into a percussion ensemble. One of Cage's last works for prepared piano, the score is meticulously notated as to precisely the timbres the composer wants and the means by which they may be achieved. "Sonata" here, as one might expect, does not imply any measure of musical argument or formal structure - such concepts were antithetical to Cage's æsthetics - but rather a sounding of ideas of great timbral freedom within a simple structure that contains no element of conflict or confrontation. Markus Hinerhäuser (piano). Col Legno 20001 (Germany) 05-097 $18.98

UROS ROJKO (b.1954): Godba, MIKLÓS MAROS (b.1943): Burattinata, TRISTAN KEURIS (1946-1996): Canzone, MICHAEL DENHOFF (b.1955): Unverändert verändert, DIMITRI TERZAKIS (b.1938): Der Hölle Nachklang. The saxophone is such an expressive instrument that it comes as no surprise to discover that it retains its powers of communication whatever the musical idiom in which a given composer writes for it. Maros' Burattinata and Denhoff's work make expecially fine use of the instrument's ability to "speak" with almost the expressiveness of the human voice, while Rojko's Godba covers an enormous emotional and expressive range. Terzakis' piece generates great atmosphere, having a strong flavor of the east and a hollow, haunted sound, at once fascinating and unnerving. It goes without saying that a wide variety of instrumental techniques of great virtuosity are called for - and provided by the excellent soloist. John-Edward Kelley (saxophone), Bob Versteegh (piano). Col Legno 31891 (Germany) 05-098 $18.98

ARMAND FRYDMAN (b.1952): Steppe Canticle for Children's Choir, Dumka for Chamber Orchestra, Atlas for Violin and Piano, Enlil for Flute and Orchestra, Classical Trio. The notes to this CD, which refer to the composer's preoccupation with the sensuality of instrumental timbres and his wide range of influences, from popular music forms to ethnic musics from around the world, do not do justice to the raw emotional power of the music, which at times rivals that of Shostakovich. There is a Schnittke-like eclecticism to the "Classical Trio" dedicated to the memory of Ravel - and the piece is witty and appealing, to be sure - but the other works on the CD suggest that Frydman actually is what Schnittke, with his colossal talent, ought to be; a composer who has followed in Schostakovich's footsteps while establishing an original yet tonal and directly appealing musical language of great expressive power. Bolshoi Children's Choir, Joseph Suk (violin), Frantisek Maxian (piano), Christian Lardé (flute), Suk Chamber Orchestra; Mario Clemens, Moscow Trio. Solaris SOL 112 (France) 05-099 $18.98

ROBERT M. HELMSCHROTT (b.1938): Metamorphose - Symphonic Dialogue for Organ and Percussion. Helmschrott's huge virtuosic composition was composed over a period of seven years from 1967-74; this recording is of its premiere in Munich Cathedral in 1984. Of Brucknerian length (77 minutes in this performance), the work sprawls over all periods and styles, from Gregorian models to late 20th century compositional techniques of various types. A cornucopia of rhythmic structures and multi-harmonic spectra emerge in a work which makes for compelling listening, truly symphonic in its concept and not at all difficult to warm to. Robert M. Helmschrott (organ), Hermann Gschwendtner (percussion). Col Legno 20012 (Germany) 05-100 $18.98

ROBERT BAKSA (b.1938): Sonata for Alto Sax, Oboe Sonata, Clarinet Quintet, Bassoon Quintet. These harmonically rich, tonal works, based on classical models but with a ready acknowledgement of the importance of winds in popular music styles (particularly in the effervescent alto sax sonata, with its echoes of jazz and ragtime, and tarantella finale), are really quite delightful. There is almost a trace of Nielsen in the skilled, lucid wind writing of the works with string accompaniment, and the oboe sonata has a pastoral elegance which is at once touching and profoundly appealing. A most enjoyable disc. Paquito D'Rivera (alto sax), Pablo Zinger (piano), Marsha Heller (oboe), Elizabeth Wright (piano), Paul Gallo (clarinet), William Scribner (bassoon), Bronx Arts Ensemble. Newport Classic NPD 85624 (U.S.A.) 05-101 $16.98

ZOLTÁN HORUSITZKY (1903-1985): Sonata for Piano "The Mountain", Op. 45, 6 Chinese Songs, Op. 13, 3 Shakespeare Sonnets, Op. 19, 2 French Songs, Op. 58/3 & 4, Sonata for 2 Pianos, Op. 51, 1940 - Piano Piece, Op. 12/2. Horusitzky's 1968 sonata, dedicated to Cziffra, is a striking work with a granitic first movement and a motoric, ostinato-driven finale wrapped around a still center. The two-piano sonata is altogether different, predominantly slow with a Gallic transparency to its textures. The early song cycles are finely etched miniatures with impressionistic influences (op. 13) and boldly colored, expressive declamations (op. 19). A distinctive composer well worth hearing. Margit László (soprano), Boldizsár Keönch (tenor), Zoltán Horusitzky, Imre Rohmann, Ferenc Röczey Sr., Ferenc Röczey Jr. (pianos). Hungaroton HCD 31670 (Hungary) 05-102 $16.98

Hyperion Dyad Late Arrivals!

LOUIS SPOHR (1784-1859): Double Quartets: No. 1, Op. 65, No. 2, Op. 77, No. 3, Op. 87 and No. 4, Op. 136. Spohr's double quartets opened up new horizons of ensemble interaction (and stereo imaging!). The first quartet's second ensemble is reduced to accompaniment for the first which is led by a virtuoso first violin part but succeeding works more closely integrate both ensembles. Charming music and a joy to listen to. Academy of St Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble. 2 CDs for the price of 1. Hyperion Dyad CDD 22014 (England) 05-103 $17.98

BOHUSLAV MARTINU (1890-1959): 5 Madrigal Stanzas for Violin and Piano, 4 Madrigals for Oboe, Clarinet and Bassoon, 3 Madrigals for Violin and Viola, Madrigal Sonata for Flute, Violin and Piano, Nonet, Trio in F for Flute, Cello and Piano, Sonatina for 2 Violins and Piano, La Revue de Cuisine for Clarinet, Bassoon, Trumpet, Cello and Piano. At the time the Dartington's recording of the nonet, trio and La Revue came out in 1983, it was a pioneering effort on behalf of Martinu: the high comedy of 1927's Revue de Cuisine (Martinu catching the tone of 1920s popular music just right), the cheerful and uncomplicated 1930 trio and the rich nonet from the year of the composer's death made for a great introduction to his brand of neo-classicism. The "madrigal" pieces date from 1937 to 1948 (with the Stanzas written for the unlikely performing combination of Albert Einstein and Robert Casadesus!) and are slighter pieces but still enjoyable for their slight Czech accent and influences of Stravinsky and others. 2 CDs for the price of 1. The Dartington Ensemble, Krysia Osostowicz & Ernest Kovacic (violins), Susan Tomes (piano). Hyperion Dyad CDD 22039 (England) 05-104 $17.98