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Ernst Boehe

Symphonic Poems

ERNST BOEHE (1880-1938): Tragische Ouvertüre, Op. 10, Aus Odysseus' Fahrten 1-3 The influence of Richard Strauss shows in much of the music presented here. "From Odysseus' Voyages" (1903-05) is comprised of four tone poems each lasting between 17-19 minutes (the fourth, lasting over half an hour, will apparently be forthcoming in a second Boehe release): "Departure and Shipwreck", "The Island of Circe" and "The Lament of Nausicaa" and the composer uses motifs for Odysseus and for his longing for his wife which run throughout the three segments and are transformed and altered in the expected late Romantic fashion. The first is all martial glory and fury of nature, the second vividly pictorial, using Strauss' "love key" of E major in its sensuous middle section while the third is elegiac. The overture is a sprawling, 19-minute exercise in a form which was widely popular during the last decades of the 19th century and the first of the 20th and Boehe's themes and orchestration can stand with the best of them. Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz; Werner Andreas Albert. CPO 999 875 (Germany) 11E001 $15.98

In this, our 65th catalogue since taking over Records International in 1997, we have for the first time had to cut its size by four pages for sheer lack of suitable new releases. The fact that this comes in the very month which normally produces the biggest releases of the whole year from the independent record labels we specialize in is doubly surprising. We have never had trouble filling the catalogue each month with 100+ new releases and hope that this is not a sign that the independents are catching the same malaise which has turned the major labels into back-catalogue recycling operations. But Chandos, instead of a bevy of goodies, offered one new release and a new re-issue series. BIS offered nothing close to a major release; only Hyperion, with the new volume in its Romantic Piano Concerto series, seems to be functioning as before.

In December, three of the five major independent U.S. distributors do not offer new releases so we may have a short catalogue again next month. We are planning to have more Acte Prealable titles from Poland, more Fontecs from Japan and other European imports to make up for this but only time will tell whether it will be enough for a full catalogue.

JOLY BRAGA SANTOS (1924-1988): Symphony No. 4, Symphonic Variations on a Popular Song from the Alentejo. This long-awaited final installment in Marco Polo's Braga Santos series contains the largest-scale work in the cycle, the 1951 Fourth. Lasting almost an hour, this was the last symphony to follow in the language and style which the composer had adopted from his teacher Freitas Branco before he began to study with figures of the post-war avant-garde. There is a sweep and grandeur throughout the four movements with echoes of Walton and Sibelius in the forcefully striding first movement and even more Sibelian reminiscences in the scherzo. The slow movement is a stately funereal march interrupted by an emotional outburst and the finale, the most complex movement, opens with a slow introduction, a bi-thematic section with folk-like character and a chorale-like epilogue which closes in grandeur. The coupling, from the same year, is a masterful exercise in the techniques of variation rather than being a set of actual variations, on a folk song from the rural south of Portugal. National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland; Álvaro Cassuto. Marco Polo 8.225233 (New Zealand) 11E002 $15.98

JEAN LANGLAIS (1907-1991): Concerto No. 3 for Organ, String Orchestra and Timpani "Reaction", ROBERT MAXIMILIAN HELMSCHROTT (b.1938): Concerto "Lamento" for Organ, String Orchestra and Percussion, FRANCIS POULENC (1899-1963): Concerto in G Minor for Organ, String Orchestra and Timpani. Langlais' 1971 work's subtitle refers to its rejection of the difficult-to-grasp forms of the contemporary music of its period. A long introduction contains the nucleus of the work in its first four measures, with a quick Vif section leading to a central fugue, a short cadenza and equally short conclusion - an 18-minute work of clarity and brevity. Helmschrott's 29-minute concerto (1993) is in the traditional three movements and is associated with a series of 12 "church sonatas" (for various instruments and organ) in which an 8-tone series forms the basis for the entire work. The music is tonal and demonstrates a character of restrained resignation which ends in a finale of more positive emotion. Franz Hauk (Klais organ of Liebfrauenmünster, Ingolstadt), Anno Kesting (timpani, percussion), Georgian Chamber Orchestra Ingolstadt; Markus Poschner. Guild GMCD 7240 (England) 11E003 $16.98

DAVID DIAMOND (b.1915): String Quartets, Vol. 2 - Nos. 2, 9 & 10. Contrapuntal craftsmanship, rhythmic vitality, rich diatonic writing, formal logic and distinctive lyricism characterize all of Diamond's music and all are on display in this second volume of Albany's complete quartet cycle. The Second, from 1944, is notable particularly for a powerful, fast, virtuosic finale while the Ninth (1965-8) was dedicated to Roger Sessions and its single-movement design utilizes traditional structural procedures in non-traditional ways, ending with a double canon and weaving into its design thematic references to Sessions' violin concerto. The Tenth (1968) is in Diamond's late style - more lyrically sustained and richly textured with mild atonality - and closes with a memorable double fugue. Potomac String Quartet. Albany TROY 540 (U.S.A.) 11E004 $16.98

HEITOR VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959): String Trio, Duo for Violin and Viola, 2 Chôros, Chôros No. 2. Lovers of counterpoint will enjoy the 1945 string trio which exhibits a great deal of imitation and motivic continuity (and dissonant harmony and texture) worked with a remarkable economy of means. The duo (1946) is another example of Villa-Lobos' affinity for Bachian counterpoint while the chôros pieces (1924 and 1929) are defined by their roots in popular melody. Deutsches Streichtrio. CPO 999 827 (Germany) 11E005 $15.98

NINO ROTA (1911-1979): 2 Valses sur le nom de Bach, Variations sur le nom de Bach, 7 Pièces pour enfants, Ippolito gioca, 15 Préludes, Concerto soirée for Piano and Orchestra, Balli for Small Orchestra, Fantasia soppra 12-note del "Don Giovanni" for Piano and Orchestra, Sonata for Chamber Orchestra. Although there is suddenly a lot of Rota on CD, most of what appears on this re-release is still unique, especially the first disc which is all for solo piano - pieces which are always lyrical, clearly laid-out and often ironic in manner. Also of note are the two early orchestral pieces on the second disc - the "Dances" of 1932 and the 1937 "sonata" for chamber orchestra - which have the joie de vivre of mature Rota and some of the naivety of youth. Mid-price. Danielle Laval (piano), Orchestra Città di Ferrara; Giuseppe Grazioli. Original 1993, 1995 & 1997 Valois recordings. Naïve V1003 (France) 11E006 $17.98

SILVESTRE REVUELTAS (1899-1940): Sensemayá, La noche de los Mayas, La Coronela (orch. Moncada; arr. Limantour). The vivid, highly rhythmic, often violent music of Revueltas was an extraordinary contribution to music in the Western Hemisphere during the 20th century and, in addition to his two best-known works, we have the third recording in four years of La Coronela. The latter is an unfinished ballet which was completed by the composer Blas Galindo, orchestrated by Candelario Huizar and then lost; José Limantour, who arranged the film-score of La noche de las Mayas into its commonly-known four movements, had to commission Eduardo Hernandez Moncada to re-orchestrate it. It treats four episodes from Mexican life at the beginning of the revolutionary movement at the beginning of the 20th century. Aguascalientes Symphony Orchestra, Mexico; Enrique Barrios. Naxos Latin-American Classics 8.555917 (New Zealand) 11E007 $6.98

SAMUEL BARBER (1910-1981): Die Natali, Op. 37, Commando March, Medea's Meditiation and Dance of Vengeance, Op. 29a, Piano Concerto. The least-known pieces on this new release are the 1960 tone poem on Christmas carols, Die Natali, which uses Veni, veni Emmanuel, Lo, how a rose e'er blooming, We three kings, God rest you merry, gentlemen, Good King Wenceslas, Silent Night and Joy to the world in a series of ingenious harmonic and contrapuntal workings-out before ending quietly with Silent Night, and the 1943 Commando March, written for army band and orchestrated later that year for Koussevitsky and the BSO. Stephen Prutsman (piano), Royal Scottish National Orchestra; Marin Alsop. Naxos American Classics 8.559133 (U.S.A.) 11E008 $6.98

The Romantic Piano Concerto, Vol. 30

SERGEI LYAPUNOV (1859-1924): Piano Concerto No. 1 in E Flat Minor, Op. 4, Piano Concerto No. 2 in E, Op. 38, Rhapsody on Ukrainian Themes for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 28. First recording of the Piano Concerto No. 1! Lyapunov was not a prodigal composer and he spent several years working with Balakirev during the 1880s and early 1890s with the elder composer closely supervising his first symphony and first piano concerto among other early compositions. Completed in 1890, the concerto is, like its disc companions, in single-movement form with several sections in cyclic form, like Rimsky-Korsakov's concerto (and, of course, Liszt's Second) and the biggest influence which can be heard is Borodin, the work often sounding like pieces of that composer's two symphonies arranged for piano and orchestra. The Rhapsody, from 1907, came just after the Transcendental Studies and demands an extraordinary virtuoso technique as it deals scintillatingly with three Ukrainian themes. Hamish Milne (piano), BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra; Martyn Brabbins. Hyperion CDA 67326 (England) 11E009 $17.98

ERICH WOLFGANG KORNGOLD (1897-1957): Tomorrow, Op. 22, Einfache Lieder, Op. 9, Prayer, Op. 32, Much Ado About Nothing, Op. 11, Abschiedslieder, Op. 14. The third release in ASV's Korngold series offers some rarities. Tomorrow has only been recorded once before; it is a six-minute piece for mezzo, female choir and orchestra which was composed as a set piece for the 1942 film "The Constant Nymph". Prayer is a world premiere recording, a 1941 commission for church performance whose four-and-a-half minutes are hauntingly lovely. Also claimed as a first recording is the Act 3 prelude from Much Ado About Nothing, which otherwise exists in the violin and piano suite drawn from the score. German-English texts. Gigi Mitchell-Velasco (mezzo), Stephen Gould (tenor), Ladies of the Mozart Choir, Linz, Bruckner Orchester Linz; Caspar Richter. ASV DCA 1131 (England) 11E010 $16.98

CHARLES MARTIN LOEFFLER (1861-1935): 2 Rhapsodies for Oboe, Viola and Piano, 5 Songs for Baritone, Viola and Piano, GABRIEL PIERNÉ (1863-1937): Sonata da camera for Flute, Cello and Piano, Op. 48, MAURICE DURUFLÉ (1902-1986): Prélude, Récitatif et Variations for Flute, Cello and Piano, Op. 3. Loeffler's 1894 songs were not published until 1988; they show every aspect of his expressive range, from a sumptuous waltz to witty irony and the voice performs with the viola like a duo. The two Rhapsodies started life as songs and their grisly imagery, akin to Ravel's Le Gibet, is audible in brilliantly conceived sound effects. Pierné's work (1927) is pellucid in scoring and elegiac in feeling with Debussian touches as well as some polytonality and deft counterpoint. Duruflé's piece, from the following year, is a memorial which begins in grief-stricken manner, rises to a passionate climax and then goes into the variations which are developed with much contrapuntal skill. French-English texts. Conchord, William Dazeley (baritone). ASV DCA 1139 (England) 11E011 $16.98

JOAQUÍN RODRIGO (1901-1999): Complete Orchestral Works, Vol. 2 - Concierto de Aranjuez for Guitar and Orchestra, Fantasía para un gentilhombre for Guitar and Orchestra, Concierto Andaluz for 4 Guitars and Orchestra. No unusual repertoire here (the Concierto Andaluz, written for the four Romero family members in 1967 is the closest thing to unusual) but we offer it for those of you who will be collecting the entire Rodrigo series. Ricardo Gallén (guitar), EntreQuatre Guitar Quartet, Asturias Symphony Orchestra; Maximiano Valdés. Naxos 8.555841 (New Zealand) 11E012 $6.98

ENRIQUE GRANADOS (1867-1916): Piano Quintet in G Minor, Op. 49, Marcha oriental, Ecos de la parranda, Zambra, Danza española No. 10, Romanza for String Quartet, Moresca, Coral de Bach. This new Catalan label (see elsewhere in this catalogue their Montsalvatge series) offers first recordings of the 1895 piano quintet and the Romanza in their original autograph versions, demonstrating how much "editing" was done by the publishers of the Unión Musica Española (half of the first movement of the quintet was missing from the latter!). The remainder of the disc is comprised of transcriptions by Granados himself for piano and strings of various other works. Glinka Quartet, Mac McClure (piano). Columna Musica 1CM0082 (Spain) 11E013 $18.98

FREDERICK DELIUS (1862-1934): Eventyr, Sleigh Ride, 5 Songs from the Norwegian for Soprano and Orchestra (orch. Holten), The Song of the High Hills for Tenor, Soprano, Chorus and Orchestra. This follow-up to last year's "Danish Masterworks" contains conductor/composer Holten's orchestration of the first five songs which Delius wrote and dedicated to Grieg's wife in 1888. Originally set in German translations of Norwegian poems, the original texts are restored and sung here. Sleigh-ride dates from the previous year, a piano piece Delius subsequently orchestrated which was another gift to the Griegs. Eventyr (Norwegian for "folk tales") dates from 1915 and is a robust, inventive tone poem while The Song of the High Hills, of 1912, expresses the composer's joy and exhilaration in the Norwegian mountains and uses a wordless chorus to represent man in nature. Norwegian-English texts. Henriette Bonde-Hansen (soprano), John Kjøller (tenor), Helle Høyer Hansen (soprano), Aarhus University Choir, Hummerkoret, Aarhus Chamber Choir, Aarhus Symphony Orchestra; Bo Holten. Danacord DACOCD 592 (Denmark) 11E014 $16.98

JOHN ALDEN CARPENTER (1876-1951): Violin Sonata, String Quartet, Piano Quintet. A nostalgic quality informs all three of these late Romantic chamber works with the 1913 sonata having a ruminative Delian quality to its first movement while the 1927 quartet recalls Bax or Bridge with its searching, restless atmosphere and chromatic writing while the late (1937) piano quintet features even richer, more expressive harmonies which seem to look back at a cherished yet lost world. Paul Posnak (violin), Sergiu Schwartz (violin), Vega Quartet. Naxos American Classics 8.559103 (U.S.A.) 11E015 $6.98

ANDREA GABRIELI (c.1510-1586): Psalmi Davidici. Published in 1583 and comprising the seven famous "penitential" psalms of David, this collection represents the lesser-known Gabrieli's fine artistry at its height, richly recorded in a resonant hall in the Benedictine Abbey of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice with the accompaniment of alto, tenor and bass trombones and soprano, tenor and bass gambas. Capella Ducale Venetia; Livio Picotti. CPO 999 863 (Germany) 11E016 $15.98

L'ORCHESTRE DE LOUIS XIII (1601-1643): This recording is based on a manuscript containing a large series of dances compiled by Philidor the Elder and which were performed at court throughout the reign of Louis XIII. Included are examples of the pavan, galliard, branle, bourrée, gavotte, saraband and courante; at this time, these dances still had no fixed form so they won't be exactly what collectors will expect. Ensembles performing consist of Cornets et Grand hautbois (which also includes recorders, trumpets, sackbuts and bassoons), 24 Violons (which also include gambas and violones) and a basso continuo includes harpsichord, positiv organ, guitar, theorbo and percussion. Le Concert des Nations; Jordi Savall. Alia Vox AV 9824 (Spain) 11E017 $18.98

MICHEL-RICHARD DE LALANDE (1657-1726): Te Deum laudamus, S32, Venite, exsultemus, S58, La grande pièce royale, S61, Panis Angelicus from Sacris solemniis, S74. Two grands motets from the composer later most credited with their creation as a special musical genre: the Te Deum is from 1684 and the Venite from 1700, the former opening thrillingly with jubilant trumpets and drums and mellowing only slightly for moments of exquisite expressiveness while the latter, equally celebratory, is less military in its splendor. Carolyn Sampson, Natalie Clifton-Griffith (sopranos), James Gilchrist (countertenor), Paul Agnew (tenor), Jonathan Gunthorpe, James Mustard (baritones). French-English texts. Ex Cathedra; Jeffrey Skidmore. Hyperion CDA 67325 (England) 11E018 $17.98

GEORG PHILIPP TELEMANN (1681-1767): Overture in A Minor, Recorder Concerto in F, Concerto in A Minor for Recorder and Viola da Gamba, Recorder Concerto in C. More from the literally thousands of compositions Telemann produced during his 75-year career - these concentrating on works employing the recorder and performed by a new (to CD, anyway) Polish period instrument band. Dan Laurin (recorder), Mark Caudle (viola da gamba), Arte dei Sonatori. BIS CD-1185 (Sweden) 11E019 $17.98

GEORG PHILIPP TELEMANN (1681-1767): Trios for 2 Violins and Continuo in D Minor and in G, Trios for 2 Flutes and Continuo in E Minor and in D Minor, Trio for Oboe, Violin and Continuo in F, Trio for 2 Scordatura Violins and Continuo in D Minor, Trio for Flute, Viola da Gamba and Continuo in G Minor. So many recent Telemann releases have been of orchestral music or of concertos that it is good to have this collection of trio sonatas (all claimed as first recordings) which probably date from 1708-12 and which still look back to the Corellian style. The Publick Musick. Centaur CRC 2592 (U.S.A.) 11E020 $16.98

ANTONIO VIVALDI (1678-1741): Overtures from the Operas La Fida Ninfa, Arsilda, Il Giustino, Bajazet, L'Olimpiade, La Sena festeggiante (Sinfonia and Ouverture), La Griselda, Il Teuzzone, L'Ottone in villa, Il Farnace, L'incoronazione di Dario, Armida, La Dorilla. All 14 of the overtures which can be attached to specific operas are collected here, all in three-section form with brilliant allegros embracing lyrically enchanting slow centers. Modo Antiquo; Federico Maria Sardelli. Frame FRO 139 (Italy) 11E021 $16.98

NICOLA PORPORA (1686-1768): Mass in D for Soprano, Contralto, Tenor, Bass and Orchestra, Dixit for Soloists, Chorus and Strings, Duetto II from Passione de Gesù Cristo, Sinfonia from Il Verbo in carne. Porpora's mass and Dixit, although no dates are given, clearly anticipate the early masses of one of his most famous students - Joseph Haydn - although the floridly colorful style is purely of the Neapolitan school. Anna Laura Longo (soprano), Gianluca Belfiori Doro (contralto), Leonardo de Lisi (tenor), Francesco Facini (bass), Capella "S. Cecilia" of the Cathedral of Lucca, Orchestra "Città Lirica"; Gianfranco Cosmi. Bongiovanni GB 2330 (Italy) 11E022 $16.98

UNICO WILHELM VAN WASSENAER (1692-1766): Concerti Armonici, Nos. 1-6. First attributed to Carlo Ricciotti, then included in Pergolesi's uvre, these concertini for four violins, written in an idiosyncratic style after the manner of Corelli, have finally been properly identified as the work of this talented Dutch nobleman. Aradia Ensemble; Kevin Mallon (violin). Naxos 8.555384 (New Zealand) 11E023 $6.98

MICHEL PIGNOLET DE MONTECLAIR (1667-1737): Jephté. When this setting of a story from the Old Testament was premiered in 1728, it was perceived as avant-garde for the architecture of its movements and acts and the treatment of the orchestra and its instrumentation. Montéclair was particularly fond of special touches of instrumental color which were illustrative and served no structural purpose and these and other features were credited by Rameau as inspiration for the path he was later to take. 2 CDs. Special price. French-English libretto. Jacques Bona (bass-baritone), Sophie Daneman (soprano), Mark Padmore (tenor), Les Arts Florissants; William Christie. Harmonia Mundi HMX 2901424.25 (France) 11E024 $25.98

JOSEPH BODIN DE BOISMORTIER (1689-1755): Daphnis et Chloé. Often disparaged by contemporary critics and biographers for the sheer amount of music he wrote and the wealth it brought him, Boismortier is beginning to gain esteem purely as a composer these days. This opéra-ballet, based on the quintessential Greek pastoral myth, was premiered in 1747 and shows the composer's strong points: everything is bright, colorful and cheerful and new uses for instrumental color are explored to find the most picturesque effects. 2 CDs. French-English libretto. Gaëlle Méchaly (soprano), François-Nicolas Geslot (tenor), Le Concert Spirituel; Hervé Niquet. Glossa GCD 921605 (Spain) 11E025 $37.98

CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH (1714-1788): Flute Concertos in A Minor, B Flat, A and G, Wq. 166-169, Flute Concerto in D Minor, Wq. 22, Sonata for Solo Flute in A Minor, Wq. 132. Three of the five concertos here were originally for harpsichord or organ and one was subsequently turned into a harpsichord concerto. All dating from the late 1740s to the mid 1750s, during Bach's tenure in Berlin but, due to their technical requirements, appear not to have been written for Frederick the Great. 2 CDs. Patrick Gallois (flute), Toronto Camerata; Kevin Mallon. Naxos 8.555715-16 (New Zealand) 11E026 $13.98

JOSEF FERDINAND NORGERT SEGER (1716-1782): 8 Toccatas and Fugues, JAN K¤TITEL KUCHA¤ (1751-1829): Partita in C, KAREL BLAÎEJ KOP¤IVA (1756-1785): Fugues in D Minor & in A Minor, BOHUSLAV MARTINÒ (1890-1959): Vigilie, LEOS JANÁCEK (1854-1928): 2 Adagios, Postludium from Glagolitic Mass. This collection of Czech organ music brings a set of toccatas and fugues (in late baroque style) from the most prolific Czech composer of organ music of the 18th century, a student of Cernohorsky and teacher of both KuchaÞ and KopÞiva, the former of whose work is the only example of rococo style in Czech music. Martinu's serene, contemplative piece dates from four months before his death while Janácek's two adagios - his only works for solo organ - are tuneful and dramatically rhapsodic respectively and date from 1884. Ale Bárta (organ of St. Anthony Church, Novy Hradec Králové). Multisonic 31 0564-2 (Czech Republic) 11E027 $13.98

JIRI ANTONÍN BENDA (1722-1795): Keyboard Sonatas in G, C, F, C Minor, F and C Minor. It is unknown when these sonatas were composed (they were gathered and published by the retired composer in 1780) but the style and affect point most often to Benda's compositional model, C.P.E. Bach and they also show affinities with the early sonatas of Haydn. All are in three movements (sonata, lied-form and variation or rondo finale) and their quality and success is attested to by the 2000 people who subscribed to their first publication, including both Leopold Mozart and his son. András Szepes (harpsichord). Hungaroton HCD 32080 (Hungary) 11E028 $16.98

CARL STAMITZ (1745-1801): 6 Duos for Violin and Viola, Op. 1. Probably composed around 1773, these duos give the viola as much virtuoso work as the violin and are one of 30 publications for violin and viola by a composer noted as a great master of both. Gabriela Demeterová (violin, viola). Supraphon SR 3645-2 (Czech Republic) 11E029 $16.98

GEORG DRUSCHETZKY (1749-1819): Oboe Quartet in G Minor, Oboe Quintet in C, Serenata for Horn, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, String Trio and Double Bass in E Flat. These late works (1806-09) show a experimental mood and strong personality which make the composer's lack of exposure on disc (he wrote two operas as well as symphonies and concertos and masses) the more mystifying. Sure to appeal to collectors of late Classicism and early Romanticism! Zefiro. Ambroisie AMB 9925 (France) 11E030 $17.98

JOSEPH HAYDN (1732-1807): Arianna a Naxos, Das Leben ist ein Traum, Auch die Sprödeste der Schönen, Sailor's Song, Recollection, The Wanderer, A Pastoral Song, Piercing Eyes, Despair, Sympathy, Pleasing Pains, She Never Told Her Love, The Mermaid's Song, Content, Fidelity, The Spirit's Song, O Tuneful Voice. This is all late Haydn, two German songs from collections of 12 each composed in 1871 and 1784 and his 12 English Canzonettas, published in two sets in 1794 and 1795. In addition, there are two more English songs which probably date from the same period The English songs range far more widely in mood than the German and are full of colorful touches with texts ranging from breezy and playful to Gothically gloomy. Texts and translations included. Lisa Milne (soprano), Bernarda Fink (mezzo), John Mark Ainsley (tenor), Roger Vignoles (piano). Hyperion CDA 67174 (England) 11E031 $17.98

FRANTI·EK VINCENC KRAMÁ¤-KROMMER (1759-1831): Oboe Quartets in C and in F, Bassoon Quartet No. 2 in E Flat, Flute Quartet in D, Partita a 10 in B Flat, Partita a 8 in E Flat "La Chasse", Partita a 8 in B Flat, Partita a 9 in E Flat. Originally recorded in 1981-2, 1989, 1973 and 1969, these chamber works represent the flip-side of the coin to Druschetzky's in the left-hand column. Kramar's oboe quartets are early works, written for competent amateurs (as are the bassoon and flute quartets) in the prevailing Classical style. The wind partitas, however, were composed for professional wind bands and are the main reason for the composer's fame both then and now. 2 CDs. Mid-price. JiÞí Mihule (oboe), JiÞí Seidl (bassoon), Members of the Suk Quartet, Petr Brock (flute), Members of the Vlach Quartet, Collegium musicum Pragense, Czech Philharmonic Wind Ensemble. Supraphon SR 3620-2 (Czech Republic) 11E032 $21.98

FRANTISEK BENDA (1709-1786): Flute Concerto in E Minor, Flute Sonata in F, FRANTISEK ANTONÍN RÖSSLER-ROSETTI (1746-1792): Flute Concerto in D, CARL STAMITZ (1745-1801): Flute Concerto in G. Rampal was in his early 30s when he made these recordings in Prague in 1955 and 1956 so this release (Benda's conservative, galant-style pieces and Rosseti's and Stamitz' Classical ones) has a real historical value now in the days of authentic performance practice with original instruments. Mono. Mid-price. Jean-Pierre Rampal (flute), Viktorie ·vihlíková (harpsichord), Prague Chamber Orchestra; Milan Munclinger, Václav Neumann, Martin Turnovsky. Supraphon SU 3648-2 (Czech Republic) 11E033 $10.98

JOSEPH MARTIN KRAUS (1756-1792): Complete Symphonies, Vol. 4 - Sinfonia per la Chiesa in D, VB 146, Symphonies in F, VB 145, in D, VB 143, Alternate slow movement of Symphony in E Flat, VB 144, Riksdagsmarsch, VB 154. These two symphonies are remarkable for their many unusual harmonic surprises, extreme textural contrasts and sense of drama - forward-looking as one would expect from this remarkable composer. The Sinfonia per la Chiesa is a brief one-movement work written for the opening of the Swedish Parliament in 1789. Swedish Chamber Orchestra; Petter Sundkvist. Naxos 8.555305 (New Zealand) 11E034 $6.98

JAKUB JAN RYBA (1765-1815): Czech Christmas Mass, My Lovely Nightengale - Pastorella for Soprano, Flute, Organ and Orchestra. This pastoral mass became a symbol of Czech Christmas during the 1960s, the Communist government condescendingly tolerating its simple and naive piety as an expression of "the common people". This 1966 recording is now available for the first time at budget-price. Jaroslava Vymazalová (soprano), Marie Mrázová (contralto), Beno Blachut (tenor), Zdenek Kroupa (bass), Czech Philharmonic Chorus, Prague Symphony Orchestra; Václav Smetácek. Supraphon SU 3658-2 (Czech Republic) 11E035 $7.98

GEORGES ONSLOW (1784-1853): String Quartets No. 4 in C Minor, Op. 8/1, No. 20 in F, Op. 46/2 & No. 25 in B Flat, Op. 50. Why are there 5-year gaps between this quartet's Onslow recordings? This third volume couples an early work (c.1817) which, for all the fire and vigor of its themes, is still anchored in the Classical period while its disc-mates of some 15-18 years later show Onslow making much original use of brief motifs and smoothing out the differences between thematic and transitional parts as a personal Romanticism takes over. Mandelring Quartet. CPO 999 793 (Germany) 11E036 $15.98

CARL GOTTLIEB REISSIGER (1798-1859): Flute Concerto in D, Op. 60, CARL REINECKE (1824-1910): Flute Concerto in D, Op. 283, Ballade for Flute and Orchestra, Op. 288. Reissiger succeeded Weber as music director in Dresden and also conducted the premiere of Parsifal in 1842; his flute concertino dates from 1829 and uses quite a large orchestra and is distinguished by a particularly idyllic pastorale for a slow movement and a rhythmically infectious polacca finale. 1983/84 original recordings. Peter-Lukas Graf (flute), Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra; Bernhard Geller, Pinchas Steinberg. Claves 50-2108 (Switzerland) 11E037 $16.98

ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810-1856): Songs, Vol. 7 - 4 Duets, Op. 34, 4 Duets, Op. 78, John Anderson, Op. 145/4, Myrten, Op. 25. The op. 34 duets and Myrten are works of 1840, the year of Schumann's marriage to Clara, the former being a set of portraits of happy domesticity, the latter being an intricate portrayal of various aspects of love. The later duets and the part-song date from 1849, the latter touchingly imagining the long-lasting love of a wife for her aging husband. Even the duets are argued into an autobiographical possibility by the indefatigable pianist/note-writer in the customary 120-page "booklet". German-English texts. Dorothea Röschmann (soprano), Ian Bostridge (tenor), Graham Johnson (piano), Polyphony; Stephen Layton (op. 145/4). Hyperion CDJ 33107 (England) 11E038 $17.98

EDUARD FRANCK (1817-1893): String Quartet in F Minor, Op. 49, Piano Quintet in D, Op. 45. As we've noted in the previous releases in this series, there is no way to date Franck's chamber works since they were mostly published en masse after 1880 and possibly revised at that time. Still, the quartet here would seem to date from around 1850 since it is indebted to Mendelssohn in design, full of vivid contrasts of the type shown in the latter's early, opp. 12 and 13 quartets. The adagio evokes those of late Beethoven quartets and the third movement is an elegiac waltz while the finale returns to the turbulent world of the first movement. The piano quintet may be from 1853 and its more relaxed manner and classically balanced structure suggest domestic music-making of high quality. Edinger Quartet, James Tocco (piano). Audite 20.033 (Germany) 11E039 $16.98

GEORGES BIZET (1838-1875): Ivan IV. This was Bizet's first opera which, however, was never produced in his lifetime. The genre of the grand romantic opera was in decline and the young composer's lack of name recognition prevented him from getting it staged at the Opéra; meanwhile, while working on it, he produced Les pêcheurs de perles and began La jolie fille de Perth. Full of the traditional ingredients of grand opera (confrontations between power and honor, love and hate, the human and the divine) there are also dances, processions and crowd scenes and some of the music from Ivan was later to turn up in Les pêcheurs as well as in Jeux d'enfants. 2 CDs. French-English libretto. Inva Mula (soprano), Julian Gavin (tenor), Ludovic Tézier (baritone), Paul Gay (bass), Chur de Radio France, Orchestre National de France; Michael Schønwandt. Naïve V 4940 (France) 11E040 $35.98

GIOACCHINO ROSSINI (1792-1868): Overture from Il Barbiere di Siviglia (arr. Schoenberg), ALBERT LORTZING (1801-1851): Overture from Der Waffenschmied (arr. Schoenberg), OTTO NICOLAI (1810-1849): Overture from Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor (arr. Zemlinsky), MAX REGER (1873-1916): Eine vaterländische Ouvertüre, Op. 140 (arr. Reger), WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756-1791): Overture to Die Zauberflöte, K. 620 (arr. Zemlinsky), XAVER SCHARWENKA (1850-1924): Bilder aus dem Süden, Op. 39/2, KARL HERMANN PILLNEY (1896-1980): Eskapaden eines Gassenhauers - Parodistische Variationen für Hörer mit Sinn für musikalische Eulenspiegeleien. Piano fanciers will enjoy this collection of transcriptions of famous opera overtures by Schoenberg (1909 or after) and Zemlinsky (probably around 1900), both of whom did them as piece-work for Universal Edition (they transcribed the whole operas too...). Reger's overture, of which we don't know a recording in its original orchestral guise, was written at the outbreak of war in 1914 and uses the tunes "The Watch on the Rhine" and "Ich hab mich ergeben" along with "Deutschland über alles" (which did not become the national anthem until 1922) and the chorale "Nun danket alle Gott" and was premiered along with his Mozart Variations). Pillney's 22-minute long musical joke takes a theme through the styles of Bach, Mozart, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Rossini, Verdi, Puccini, Reger, Schoenberg and Liszt while also quoting fragments from many of the same composer's most famous works. Piano Duo Trenkner-Speidel. MD&G 330 1134-2 (Germany) 11E041 $17.98

JOAN MANEN (1883-1971): Concierto Espagnol for Violin and Orchestra, Op. A-7, EDOUARD LALO (1823-1892): Symphonie Espagnole, Op. 21. Manen revised much of his uvre and renumbered it later in life, which explains the odd-looking opus number for this concerto which he wrote in his teens for his own performance and rewrote substantially 30 years later. Unlike the Technicolor Spanishisms of Lalo's celebrated showpiece, the Iberian folk influences here are more subtle (often Catalan like the composer) and more authentic, the sardana being just one example of the less familiar dance-types the composer makes use of. Although tonal throughout, Manen makes much use of chromaticism to give the music a unique flavor and his harmonization of the melodies is much more individual than Lalo and other non-Spanish composers could offer. Mark Kaplan (violin), Orquestra Simfonica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya; Lawrence Foster. Koch International Classics 7531 (U.S.A.) 11E042 $16.98

CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921): Caprice brilliant, L'air de la pendule, Fantaisie after Weber's "Oberon", Fantaisie for Violin and Harp, Op. 124, SAINT-SAËNS/EUGÈNE YSAE (1858-1931): Caprice d'après l'Etude en forme de valse, CHOPIN/ SAINT-SAËNS: Nocturne in E, Op. 62/2, Nocturne in E Flat, Op. 55/2, CHOPIN/YSAE: Waltz in E Minor, Op. posth., Ballade No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 23. Although Hyperion's "Romantic Violin Concerto" series died in its infancy, the label's association with this French violinist is still producing releases of rarities. Here are two early works by Saint-Saëns - the 15-year-old's humorous and virtuosic play on Oberon and the 1859 Caprice, written for Sarasate and later turned into the final movement of the Violin Concerto No. 3. The Chopin transcriptions come from around 1915 when the Polish composer was being rediscovered; Saint-Saëns' manage to integrate the two instruments while Ysaÿe's are a window into the idiosyncratic art of a brilliant violinist. Philippe Graffin (violin), Pascal Devoyon (piano), Catherine Benyon (harp). Hyperion CDA 67285 (England) 11E043 $17.98

EDVARD GRIEG (1843-1907): Complete Songs, Vol. 4 - 5 Poems to Texts by John Paulsen, Op. 26, 12 Melodies to Poems by A.O. Vinje, Op. 33, Min lille Fugl, EG 126, Blåbæret, EG 145, Til L.M. Lindemans Sølvbryllup, EG 135, Til Kirken hun vandrer, EG 123, Den hvide, røde Rose, EG 137, Odalisken synger, EG 131, På Hamars Ruiner, EG 140, Jenta, EG 141, Til Generalkonsul Chr. Tønsberg, EG 136. 300 BIS catalogue numbers separate this new release from Volume Three in this series (same soprano, but Vignoles is the third accompanist), in case you can't remember when the first three came out. The two song cycles date from 1876 and 1880, hard years for the composer with the death of his parents, marital troubles and creative blocks tormenting him constantly and the struggle he was involved in comes out most obviously in the half-hour long Vinje set. Accompanying are nine songs without opus number from as early as 1864 to 1896, providing snap-shots, as it were, of various stages in his musical development. Norwegian-English texts. Monica Groop (mezzo), Roger Vignoles, (piano). BIS CD-1257 (Sweden) 11E044 $17.98

WILLIAM WALTON (1902-1983): The English Song Series, Vol. 1 - The Winds, Tritons, Beatriz's Song, Under the Greenwood Tree, 3 Façade Settings, Anon in Love, A Song for the Lord Mayor's Table, 3 Façade Settings. Naxos has rescued the unfortunately foreshortened "English Song" series from the defunct Collins Classics label. The first volume contains Walton's most famous songs - Anon in Love, a setting of Elizabethan love lyrics originally written for Peter Pears and Julian Bream in 1960 and A Song for the Lord Mayor's Table, premiered by Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Gerald Moore in 1962. A rarity is the inclusion of Christopher Palmer's transcription of three Façade pieces for voice and piano (the earlier three-piece set recorded here is originally by the composer). Texts included. Felicity Lott (soprano), Martyn Hill (tenor), Craig Ogden (guitar - Anon in Love), Graham Johnson (piano). Naxos 8.557112 (New Zealand) 11E045 $6.98

ARTHUR SOMERVELL (1863-1937): The English Song Series, Vol. 2 - O Mistress Mine, Orpheus with His Lute, Sweet Kate, Songs of Innocence, 3 Songs from the cycle Maud, James Lee's Wife, The Bargain, Fain Would I Change that Note, Shepherd's Cradle Song, Come to Me in My Dreams, Dainty Little Maiden, When Spring Returns, The Shropshire Lad. Somervell was one of the pioneers of English song and the ingenuity of his piano writing and memorable vocal lines allow these settings of Shakespeare, Blake, Tennyson, Browning and Housman to remain fresh today. Texts included. Patricia Rozario (soprano), Catherine Wyn-Rogers (mezzo), Christopher Maltman (baritone), Graham Johnson (piano), The Duke Quartet (James Lee's Wife). Naxos 8.557113 (New Zealand) 11E046 $6.98

ARNOLD SCHOENBERG (1874-1951): Dank, Op. 1/1, 4 Songs, Op. 2, Warnung, Op. 3/3, Die Aufgeregten, Op. 3/2, Geübtes Herz, Op. 3/5, Lockung, Op. 6/7, Traumleben, Op. 6/1, 2 Ballades, Op. 12, Das Buch der hängenden Gärten, Op. 15. Rarely performed and rarely recorded, Schoenberg's early lieder begin in Brahmsian fashion (Dank of c. 1898 which turns Tristanesque about halfway through) and there are examples of the golden romanticism of Richard Strauss but, for the most part, they inhabit an uneasy, dark, expressionistic world (and a few of them have really creepy texts to add a poisonous atmosphere). By the time we get to the better-known "Book of the Hanging Gardens", we are listening to an avant-garde composer; and are shocked to realize that this is still only 1909 that Schoenberg was to do what he was about to do. German-English texts. Sarah Conolly (mezzo), Roderick Williams (baritone), Iain Burnside (piano). Black Box BBM 1072 (England) 11E047 $17.98

XAVIER MONTSALVATGE (b.1912): Cuarteto Indiano, Pregaria a Santiago for Viola and Piano, Cuadrivío para Stradivarius for String Trio, Piano Trio. This Catalonian composer has been one of the most neglected of significant 20th century figures and this new label from Barcelona aims to put that right with an extensive series devoted to his music. The earliest work here, the string quartet from 1952, is an example of his "West Indian" musical style, which makes use of rhythms and melodies from a region which, after all, had acquired them from Spain beginning over four hundred years ago. Polytonality appears more prominently in the later works but it is also present in the quartet, giving it a feeling not unlike some of the music of Milhaud's period in Brazil. The Cuadrivío, of 1984, is an example of Montsalvatge's ability to write terse, elegant abstract music, its four brief movements addressing form, rhythm, harmony and mathematical construction. Tàlia Quartet, Ala Voronkova (violin), Josephine Fitzpatrick (viola), Mac McClure (piano), Manuel Martínez del Fresno (cello). Columna Musica 1CM0063 (Spain) 11E048 $18.98

XAVIER MONTSALVATGE (b.1912): Paráfrasis Concertante for Piano and Violin, Fantasía for Guitar and Harp, Variations for Harp, Adagietto spirituale for Guitar, 3 Divertimentos, Calidoscopio, Barcelona Blues. Composed at various times from the 50s on, these are small pieces or suites of small pieces, resolutely tonal, mostly commissioned, finely wrought, often jewel-like in their perfection with a hint of the Mediterranean about them although not through the quoting of folk songs (although the Divertimentos are in that style). Magdlanea Barrera (harp), Raimon Garriga (piano), Jaume Torrent (guitar), Ala Voronkova (violin). Columna Musica 1CM0054 (Spain) 11E049 $18.98

XAVIER MONTSALVATGE (b.1912): Una Voce in Off - Romantic Opera in One Act. This little opera in three scenes and an intermezzo dates from 1962 and involves a love triangle, one of whose members is dead and whose voice is heard only on tape (the "voice in off"). In style, it is not far off from Menotti with enough mild dissonance to suggest its period. Includes 20 minutes of video and multi-media on the CD. Italian libretto. Rosa Mateu (soprano), Àngel Òdena (baritone), Antonio Comas (tenor), Chorus and Symphony Orchestra of the Gran Teatre del Liceu; Antoni Ros Marbà. Columna Musica 1CM0087 (Spain) 11E050 $18.98

ARTHUR BLISS (1891-1975): String Quartet No. 1 in B Flat, String Quartet in A, Conversations for Flute, Oboe, Violin, Viola and Cello. The early, un-numbered quartet (1914) suggests Bliss' early admiration for Ravel and also uses English folk song in its slow movement. Conversations is a playful homage to Les Six which also contains some reaction to the horrors of World War I while the 1941 Quartet No. 1 is in the composer's mature style, completely idiomatic in its string-writing, attractive and deeply felt. Maggini Quartet, Nicholas Daniel (oboe), Michael Cox (flute). Naxos 8.557108 (New Zealand) 11E051 $6.98

MILOSLAV KABELÁC (1908-1979): The Mystery of Time - Passacaglia for Large Orchestra, Op. 31, A Hamlet Improvisation for Large Orchestra, Op. 46, JAN HANU· (b.1915): Symphony Concertante for Organ, Harp, Timpani and Strings, Op. 31. Volume 11 of Supraphon's projected 42-volume tribute to the great conductor Karel Anãerl brings wonderful, unknown music as well. Mystery of Time (1957) is a huge arc of a passacaglia, lasting almost 24 minutes, a slowly moving crescendo, climax and diminuendo based on modal motifs. Hamlet Improvisation (1963) is half the length of its predecessor; not a symphonic poem but rather a psychological depiction of the contradictions in the famous character's mind, it is a tour de force of motivic development and contrast. Hanu' 1954 Symphony Concertante is a monumental work which builds on late Romanticism with its dramatic outer movements and lyrical center and was dedicated to Anãerl, who made this mono recording the year after its premiere. Mid-price. Stereo-mono. JiÞí Reinberger (organ), BedÞich Dobrodinsk (harp), Robert Mach (timpani), Czech Philharmonic Orchestra; Karel Anãerl. Supraphon SU 3671-2 (Czech Republic) 11E052 $10.98

EDWARD THOMAS (b.1924): Desire Under the Elms. This adaptation of Eugene O'Neill's play took the composer five years to complete and was premiered in 1978. Thomas has written orchestral scores, Broadway shows and has received awards for producing records for such varying artists as Leontyne Price, Julie Andrews and the Vienna Choir Boys; his librettist, Joe Masteroff, wrote the book for the Kander-Ebb musical Cabaret. Thus, one would expect (and one gets) a highly professional, thoroughly well-thought-out work which falls into the genre of the American "folk opera" (think of Floyd's Susanna, Thomson's The Mother of Us All, etc.); in fact, Thomas uses the term in his subtitle for the work. O'Neill's story of fraternal and filial jealousy, adultery and infanticide, originally produced on stage in 1924, obviously supplies all of the necessary ingredients for opera and Thomas, his librettist and a strikingly top-notch cast deliver the musical and emotional goods. A ridiculous bargain at this price! 2 CDs. Libretto included. Jerry Hadley (tenor), James Morris (baritone), Victoria Livengood (mezzo), London Symphony Orchestra; George Manahan. Naxos American Classics 8.669001-02 (U.S.A.) 11E053 $15.98

GEORGE LLOYD (1913-1998): Requiem, Psalm 130. The Requiem was Lloyd's final work, completed in late January 1998, a little over four months before his death. Scored for small chorus, counter-tenor and organ, its simple scale may reflect Lloyd's realisation that he did not have enough time left to score it for larger forces and the piece itself, unlike the ebullience which characterizes so many of his works, is simple, quite and reflective in tone (the idiom being modal and Romantic in turns), the counter-tenor voice (the only time Lloyd wrote for it) providing a timeless and spiritual quality. Stephen Wallace (countertenor), The Exon Singers; Matthew Owens, Jeffrey Makinson (organ). Albany TROY 450 (England) 11E054 $16.98

NINA KOTOVA: Cello Concerto, ERNEST BLOCH (1880-1959): From Jewish Life, Schelomo, MAX BRUCH (1838-1920): Kol Nidrei. Kotova is a cellist in her 30s and her concerto, in her own words, covers the period "from pagan Russia to the Young Pioneers!". The latter refers to the Communist youth Girl Scout equivalents and the trumpet cue at the very beginning of the work comes from those days. The second theme of the concerto refers to the Eastern influences brought to Russian culture by the Tatar invasions of the 13th century and while the work as a whole is in the musical tradition of the "Mighty Five", the language is quite up-to-date, tonal yet not without dissonance and succeeding in providing the characteristic Russian mixture of light and dark, playful at times, poignant in its adagio slow movement but always eloquent and entertaining. Nina Kotova (cello), Philharmonia of Russia; Constantine Orbelian. Delos DE 3305 (U.S.A.) 11E055 $16.98

JEROME MOROSS (1913-1983): Frankie and Johnnie - Complete Ballet, Those Everlasting Blues - Cantata, Willie the Weeper - Dance Cantata. Except for a couple of Bay Cities CD reissues, Moross' non-film music has been neglected, making this release recorded at last year's Hot Springs Music Festival very welcome. The earliest work is Those Everlasting Blues, a six-minute "cantata" composed in 1932 set in what Moross considered the style of the "Negro Popular Song". Frankie and Johnnie came the year following and is one of the first American ballets in true "popular" form. Three singers play a trio of Salvation Army girls who comment on the action of the ballet (prostitute loves but then kills her pimp/lover whom she catches cheating on her). Willie the Weeper (1948) was one of three "Ballet Ballads" which Moross intended to blur the lines between opera and dance and which combine dance, song and story-telling in a through-composed form without dialogue. Melisa Barrick, Denise Edds (sopranos), Diane Kesling (mezzo), John DeHaan (tenor), Hot Springs Muisc Festival Chamber Chorus and Symphony Orchestra; Richard Rosenberg. Naxos American Classics 8.559086 (U.S.A.) 11E056 $6.98

BECHARA EL-KHOURY (b.1957): Symphonie "Les ruines de Beyrouth", Op. 37, Méditation symphonique "Colline de l'étrange", Op. 53, Harmonies crépusculaires, Op. 55, Poème symphonique No. 4 "Le vin des nuages", Op. 59. This Lebanese composer, trained in France, specializes in large-scale orchestral works in which there is much virtuosic writing for the brass instruments in particular. Using a wide variety of the compositional techniques available to modern composers, El-Khoury's music is often somber and tragic - the symphony ("The Ruins of Beirut") reflects upon the civil war which broke out in Lebanon in 1975 and its stridency and tortured chromaticism convey the anguish of one who watched his country come to the brink of destruction - but moments of delicacy are also on offer, as in "Twilight Harmonies". Unlike many young composers these days, El-Khoury does not take the easy road of minimalism or neo-romanticism and it will be interesting to see how his personal language progresses. National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine; Vladimir Sirenko. Naxos 8.557043 (New Zealand) 11E057 $6.98

RICHARD YARDUMIAN (1917-1985): Symphony No. 2 for Medium Voice and Orchestra "Psalms", Violin Concerto, Armenian Suite. Although he was championed throughout his career by Ormandy, Yardumian never became widely popular as an American composer even though he wrote tonal music and was influenced by ancient Armenian music and by regional American composers. Chromatically inflected modality characterizes both the violin line of the concerto (1949 with revisions in 1960 and 1985) and the vocal line of the symphony (1947 as Psalm 130 for Tenor and Orchestra; a second movement, twice as long, was added in 1964). There is little visceral excitement in these works; Yardumian was preoccupied by religion and mysticism and the melodic lines in both works are mellifluous and flowing. The Armenian Suite of 1937 (with a seventh section added in 1954), based entirely on actual folk songs, combines Middle Eastern melodic elements with Western musical influences and ranges from the melancholy to the wildly festive in character. Nancy Maultsby (mezzo), Alexandr Bulov (violin), Singapore Symphony Orchestra; Lan Shui. BIS CD-1232 (Sweden) 11E058 $17.98

RICK SOWASH (b.1950): Sunny Days for Violin, Clarinet and Piano, Convivial Suite for Violin and Cello, Impressionist Suite #1 for Oboe, Clarinet and Bassoon, Eroica (Piano Trio No. 5). This composer would very likely enjoy being described as an 'amateur' in the very best sense. He has kept his compositional activities as a passionate avocation, preferring to earn his living in a variety of perfectly respectable, utterly non-musical professions. His music is thus entirely free of academic preoccupations and self-consciousness. Less experimental and more congenial than Ives, he nonetheless shares with the earlier composer a wide-eyed homespun quality; less darkly-hued and stormy beneath the sunny surface than Grainger, there is something of the latter's breezy generosity of spirit. The Eroica trio is very much a Romantic work, having not a little in common with models a century and more old - Tchaikovsky especially - and of more recent Romantics - Barber, perhaps, or Vaughan Williams. Various artists. 11E059 $11.98 >

RICK SOWASH (b.1950): A Little Breakfast Music for Oboe, Clarinet and 2 Violins, Cape May Suite for Oboe, Violin, Cello and Piano, Une Pavane Americaine: Hommage à Ravel for Flute and Piano, The Cliffs above the Clear Fork for Cello and Piano, Harvest Hymn & Harvest Dance: Homage to Willa Cather for Cello and Piano. This disc continues Sowash's delightfully unabashed individualism, with a musical depiction of a breakfast meal, with nationalistic allusions to the various dishes, and a depiction of events occurring during a vacation at the popular quasi-Victorian seaside resort of Cape May, New Jersey. It's all so refreshingly unassuming - and, it must be said, expertly crafted - that only the most sour of musicologists could possibly complain of a lack of Serious Musical Intent or an attendant surfeit of naïvété. The rest of us can just enjoy it. Who said 'serious' music can't be fun? Various artists. Private label. 11E060 $11.98 >

Tonal 20th Century Orchestral Music -

Don't say it doesn't exist! There's plenty of it here and it's uniformly attractive and approachable!

ARNOLD ROSNER (b.1945): Orchestral Music, Vol. 1 - A Millenium Overture, Op. 112, A Sephardic Rhapsody, Op. 95, Concerto for 2 Trumpets, Strings and Timpani, Op. 107, The Tragedy of Queen Jane, Op. 78. Mostly self-taught, Rosner writes in a tonal, approachable style which stays away from minimalism as well as atonality, his language being somewhat of a Hindemith/Bloch mixture, especially in his Sephardic Rhapsody which, as in similar works by Enescu and others, does not use actual folk songs but conveys an ethnic flavor through modes and rhythm. Hindemith is more to the fore in the concerto, which has a neo-Baroque spareness and severity; Queen Jane is a suite of music from an unperformed opera which lasts half an hour whose four sections ("Prelude", "Masque", "Clarion" and "Dirge") show Rosner using old formal structures into which he pours music full of modern (though still tonal) effects while the Millenium Overture is another example of the exuberant works with which the year2000 was greeted by so many composers. Altoona Symphony Orchestra, Robert Murray, Jonathan Martin (trumpets), Glenn Northern (timpani), Owensboro Symphony Orchestra; Nicholas Palmer. Albany TROY 548 (U.S.A.) 11E061 $16.98

YVES RAMETTE (b. around 1925): Symphony No. 3 for String Orchestra, Symphony No. 5, Prélude, Fugue et Postlude for Piano, String Orchestra and Kettledrums. We offered a disc of Ramette's piano works several months ago and were struck by the originality of his impressionistically tinged writing, very much in the French style but with his own personal voice. Now, MMC offers this disc of orchestral pieces written between 1948 and 1956. The Prélude... and the third symphony are condensed, single-movement works with a predominantly tense, grey atmosphere of unease, broken here and there by bursts of nervous action (the composer describes the 18-minute symphony as expressing "sadness, revolt and calming") in a manner which recalls Honegger in particular and other composers' works of the immediate pre-World War II period in general. The fifth symphony (much longer at just over 29 minutes) and constructed in cyclical form, was posthumously dedicated to Honegger and inhabits much the same expressive world. Eric Himy (piano), Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra; Vladimír Válek, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra; Jan Stulen. MMC 2108 (U.S.A.) 11E062 $16.98

WILLIAM THOMAS MCKINLEY (b.1938): Concerto for Orchestra No. 2, Tango, Intermezzo and Dance for Violin and Chamber Orchestra, IGOR KORNEITCHOUK (b.1956): Viola Concerto "Coaxing the Shadows to Move of Their Own Volition", Everything That Rises Must Converge, The Disqualification of Harry Semantix as Trial Juror for East County for Soprano Saxophone and Chamber Orchestra. Maybe the Korneitchouk doesn't belong under the above rubric since the viola concerto uses sound-masses against which the melismatic solo line is outlined but there is a sense of humor in his equally atonal and dissonant Everything and Disqualification which lets us know he is having great fun with his complex structures. McKinley will be well-known to collectors for his emotionally resonant compositions and although there is a goodly amount of dissonance in his turbulent, angry orchestral concerto, none of it really goes beyond early Stravinsky and the dramatic intensity of the work is emotionally satisfying. The Tango, Intermezzo and Dance is a sort of violin concerto, whose title belies its own depths of emotion, especially in the Tango movement. Andrew Kohji Taylor (violin), Karen Dreyfus (viola), James Romeo (sax), Seattle Symphony Orchestra, New York Chamber Symphony; Gerard Schwarz, Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra; Vladimír Válek. MMC 2116 (U.S.A.) 11E063 $16.98


JAN BACH (b.1937): Concerto for Steelpan and Orchestra, MORTON GOULD (1913-1996): Concerto for Tap Dancer and Orchestra, GUSTAVO LEONE (b.1956): Harp Concerto, RICARDO LORENZ (b.1961): Pataruco: Concerto for Maracas and Orchestra. With the exception of Gould's 1952 piece, inspired by the percussive quality of the tap medium and suggested by the composer's lifelong connection with American popular music and Broadway, all of these concertos take their inspiration from the Caribbean or South America. Bach's 1994 work uses one of the steel instruments which make up the larger ensemble of the Trinidadian steel-bands and falls into two sections: one of pealing, bell-like sounds and a toccata-like second of machine-rhythm speed and virtuosity. Gould's work also includes pantomime and choreography but can be appreciated almost as well in sound-only form and the exuberant idiom breathes 50s Americana. Lorenz (1998) demonstrates the depth and breadth of sound quality of which the national instrument of Venezuela is capable and the music is never pseudo-tropical . The Argentinian Leone provides the most cosmopolitan work with his 1994 harp concerto, all three movements based on song or dance but in an abstract sense. Liam Teague (steelpan), Lane Alexander (tap dancer), Jana Bouskova (harp), Ed Harrison (maracas), Czech National Symphony Orchestra; Paul Freeman. Albany TROY 521 (U.S.A.) 11E064 $16.98

DAN LOCKLAIR (b.1949): Hues, Dayspring for Guitar and Orchestra, In the Autumn Days for Chamber Orchestra, Creation's Seeing Order - Prelude for Orchestra, "Ere long we shall see..." - Concerto brevis for Organ and Orchestra, When Morning Stars Begin to Fall - Tone Poem for Orchestra. Composed between 1984 and 1995, most of these works are based on pentatonic melodies which make for easy apprehension on first appearance, but use other techniques (chromaticism, string harmonics, a bit of bitonality, the occasional extended playing technique on one or two instruments) which prevent them from sounding anachronistic. Lyricism, dance and jazz are embedded in much of this music (and When Morning Stars... quotes a folk tune from the North Carolina mountains along with a hymn from a 19th century collection) which often has a bright, luminous, wondering quality that grows on the listener very quickly. Jozef Zsapka (guitar), Gregory D'Agostino (Rieger-Kloss organ of Radio Hall, Bratislava), Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra; Kirk Trevor. Albany TROY 517 (U.S.A.) 11E065 $16.98

IANNIS XENAKIS (1922-2001): Orchestral Works, Vol. 3 - Synaphaï for Piano and Orchestra, Horos, Eridanos, Kyania. Synaphaï (1969) was the first "concerto" composed by Xenakis and, while giving the soloist ten staves to often play simultaneously with even greater density, he also tells him "The pianist plays all the lines if he can"! This is one of the earlier works in which the composer superposes multiple melodic lines which he would later name "arborescence". Eridanos (1972) is explained in the score in terms of DNA (!) as well as metaphorically (the name is that of an ancient river and a constellation and means "quarrelsome" and two orchestral groups represent the two aspects of the name-title). Horos and Kyania are later works (1986 and 1990 respectively) and they are examples of Xenakis' technique of the alternation or superposition of blocks of orchestral sound which move at different speeds and can achieve great density. However he achieves it, Xenakis provides a riveting listening experience not for the faint of heart. Hiroaki Ooï (piano), Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra; Arturo Tamayo. Timpani 1C1068 (France) 11E066 $18.98

HARRISON BIRTWISTLE (b.1934): Duets for Storab, Linoi, Berceuse de Jeanne, Verses, Chorale from a Toy-Shop, Sad Song, An Interrupted Endless Melody, Oockooing Bird, 5 Distances, Hoquetus Petrus, Refrains and Choruses, Hector's Dawn. These brief - some, very brief - works for small wind ensembles or soloists, or solo piano, occupy a region of Birtwistle's output some distance removed from the forbidding landscapes of his large-scale works, the ones for which he will most likely be remembered - The Triumph of Time and Earth Dances especially. Some of them are slight, some playful; some are occasional pieces, dedication pieces or children's pieces (and - a real surprise, this - the closest available comparison here is Satie); the flute duets are educational works and accordingly challenging in execution. The composer's identity is seldom in doubt; if Earth Dances is an apocalypic canvas in oils, even the duets suggest tiny watercolor sketches, but definitely of the same scenes. The Galliard Ensemble (flute, oboe, horn, clarinet and bassoon), Richard Shaw (piano). Deux-Elles DXL 1019 (England) 11E067 $16.98

BO NILSSON (b.1937): Arctic Air for Winds, Strings and Piano, 2 Stücke for Flute, Bass Clarinet, Piano and Percussion, Frequenzen for 2 Flutes, Marimba, Vibraphone, Guitar, Double Bass and Percussion, Zeitpunket for 10 Winds, Doppelspiel for 9 Percussionists, Buch der Veränderungen for Small Flute, Violin, Marimba, Vibraphone, Viola, Guitar and Percussion, Zwanzig Gruppen for Small Flute, Oboe and Clarinet, Déjà vu for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet and Bassoon, Fräulein Julie for Violin, Clarinet and Piano, Plexus for Winds, Brass, Piano and Percussion, GUNNAR VALKARE (b.1939): Réflexion - Hommage à Bo Nilsson for 12 Players. The first work on this disc of 'unknown works' by Bo Nilsson will have you reaching for the CD booklet to make sure that you haven't been sent the wrong disc - surely this exquisite little romance is an early work of Sibelius, not a piece from last year by the darling of 1950s Darmstadt? Well, it's OK - the rest of the disc is what you were expecting, but the presence - the existence - of Arctic Air is an index of just how this most enigmatic and kaleidoscopically varied of composers has always been able to astonish with the sheer audacity of his compositional imagination. The piece for (mostly) untuned percussion sounds melodic; the ensemble piece Frequenzen, written at the height of Nilsson's supposed adherence to Serial Pointillism sounds romantically expressive and is, in fact, not serial at all; the works with aleatoric components sound logically through-composed, and so on. The folk- and jazz-inflected flavor of occasional moments in the works of thorniest modernism merely serve to spice up the mixture and add a different element of surprise. Twenty years before Arctic Air, the apparently logical connection between romantic/harmonic and experimental expression is already part of the composer's paradoxical and extraordinarily satisfying eclecticism, as is evinced by the remarkable Plexus. Various Artists. Caprice CAP 21653 (Sweden) 11E068 $16.98

ATLI HEIMIR SVEINSSON (b.1938): Time and Water. A huge orchestral song cycle with soloists and chorus, to the strange, obliquely evocative and aphoristic poetry of Steinn Steinaar (1908 - 1958), an important figure in modern Icelandic literature. The composer has assembled an almost bewilderingly varied palette of instrumentation, which he then proceeds to use in almost every available combination, from solo violin or guitars through a cappella chorus to full ensemble augmented by various keyboards and much percussion. This variety suits the quicksilver changes of imagery in the poetry, and paradoxically escapes the trap of becoming a melange of unrelated sonic episodes (though it is a little difficult to explain how). There is something of the theatricality of Stockhausen, the lyrical avant-gardism of Berio, the extravagant expressionism of B.A. Zimmermann in Sveinsson's language; the overall effect is not particularly avant-garde, however, as the composer seems intent on retaining an approachable degree of consonance and harmonic richness amid the teeming experimentalism, especially in the choral writing, which frequently fills the interstices between the jagged components of the musical/poetical argument with interludes of the utmost calm and repose. 2 CDs. Icelandic-English texts. Marta G. Halldórsdóttir (soprano), Sverrir Gudjónsson (countertenor), Bergthór Pálsson (baritone), Reykjavík Chamber Orchestra and Chorus; Paul Zukofsky. CPO 999 865 (Germany) 11E069 $31.98

JOSEP SOLER (b.1935): 12 Nocturnes, Nocturne Poem. This Catalan composer's Nocturnes are written in a dodecaphonic style very reminiscent of Berg, meaning that they seem to be just barely removed from the world of early 20th century German expressionism and not all that far removed, say, from late Scriabin (although the first six come from 1985-6 and the second six from 1988-92 with the Nocturne Poem as late as 1998). Most of the pieces come with tempo indications lento or tranquillo; these often give the impression of a frozen nocturnal landscape, desolate, with the music tending toward immobility. Three others, agitato, provide the comparisons to late Scriabin with their molten eruptions of jagged emotion which stand out in vivid contrast. Jordi Masó (piano). Marco Polo 20th Century Spanish Composers 8.225235 (New Zealand) 11E070 $15.98

British by Arrangement

PETER TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)/JOHN LENNON (1940-1980)/PAUL MCCARTNEY (b.1942): Beatlecracker Suite (arr. Arthur Wilkinson [1924-1968]), ALEXANDER BORODIN (1833-1887): Nocturne from String Quartet No. 2 (arr. Sir Malcolm Sargent [1895-1967]), ALLAN GRAY (1902-1973): The African Queen (arr. Philip Lane), PHILIP LANE (b.1950): Mendelssohniana, MICHAEL PRAETORIUS (1571-1621): Dances from Terpsichore (arr. Philip Lane), GAETANO DONIZETTI (1797-1848): Donizetti Variations (arr. Robert Irving [1913-1992] and Peter March). ASV finds yet another aspect of light music from Britain with this collection of arrangements of works by famous composers in a more popular style and, rather more unique, Arthur Wilkinson's 1965 arrangement of eight Beatles tunes with a liberal dash of Tchaikovskian spice for the appearance on television of the ballerina Doreen Wells. (Wilkinson also arranged the Beatles Symphony.) Included is a song by Lennon and McCartney but recorded by Cilla Black ("It's for You"). The Donizetti Variations were a Balanchine commission and are based on the ballet music of Dom Sébastien. City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra; Gavin Sutherland, Daryl Griffith. ASV White Line WHL 2142 (England) 11E071 $11.98

VICTOR HERBERT (1859-1924): Sweethearts. First complete recording of this 1913 romantic comic operetta which was one of five Herbert operettas to achieve over 100 first-run performances on Broadway along with lengthy tours (Babes in Toyland, Naughty Marietta, Mlle Modiste and The Red Mill are the others). Libretto included. 2 CDs. Libretto included. Cassidy King, Suzanne Woods, Ohio Light Opera; J. Lynn Thompson. Albany TROY 546/547 (U.S.A.) 11E072 $33.98

A German Romantic Christmas

EDUARD KARL NÖSSLER (1863-1943): Tröstet mein Volk, Op. 39, MAX REGER (1873-1916): Mach hoch die Tür, Unser lieben Frauen Traum, Op. 138/4, Es kommt ein Schiff geladen, Vom Himmel hoch, da komm ich her, Kommt und laßt uns Christum ehren, In dulci jubilo, Schlaf mein Kindelein, Das Wort ward Fleisch, O Jesulein süß, FELIX MENDELSOHN (1809-1847): Lasset uns frohlocken, Op. 79/5, Frohlocket, ihr Völker auf Erden, Op. 79/1, ALBERT BECKER (1834-1899): Das Volk, das im Finstern wandelt, Op. 84/2, FRIEDRICH SILCHER (1789-1860): Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe, Herbei, o ihr Gläub'gen, ROBERT FUCHS (1847-1927): O freudenreicher Tag, MAX BRUCH (1838-1920): Laßt uns das Kindelein wiegen, WILHELM KIENZL (1857-1941): Mein Herz will ich dir schenken, Auf, auf, ihr Hirten, CARL RIEDEL (1827-1888): Kommet, ihr Hirten, FRANZ WÜLLNER (1832-1902): Kindelein zart, EUSEBIUS MANDYCZEWSKI (1857-1929): Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht, HERMANN RIEDEL (1847-1913): O du fröhliche. A collection of Christmas songs from German Romanticism featuring both original pieces and arrangements for a cappela choir with Reger providing about half of the total. German-English texts. RIAS Chamber Choir; Uwe Gronostay. Harmonia Mundi HMC 901794 (France) 11E073 $17.98

KAIJA SAARIAHO (b.1952): Laconisme de l'aile for Flute Solo, L'Aile du songe - Concerto for Flute and Orchestra, English and French Poems by Saint-John Perse from "Oiseaux" for Reader and Sonic Environment. The poetry of Saint-John Perse brings all of these works together - the piece for solo flute (1981) and the concerto (2001) being inspired by lines from his collection "Birds" - and six poems themselves, read both in French and in English with Saariaho's "sonic environment" of mixed bird-song and flute sounds run through a computer providing an aetherial cushion to the texts. The concerto, like the solo work and the poems, deal with birds not in terms of their song but as symbols of mediation between earth and sky, dream and reality, body and spirit, the soloist representing the bird and the orchestra terrestial things, all constructed through Saariaho's characteristic rich and complex harmonies and sense of orchestral color which makes her music so involving and moving even if you don't know technically what she's doing or how she got there. French-English texts. Camilla Hoitenga (flute and narrator), Amin Maalouf (narrator), Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra; Jukka-Pekka Saraste. Naïve/Montaigne MO 782154 (France) 11E074 $17.98