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Emil von Reznicek

Symphonies Nos. 2 & 5

EMIL NIKOLAUS VON REZNICEK (1860-1945): Symphony No. 2 in B Flat "Ironic", Symphony No. 5 "Dance Symphony". A Reznicek cycle seems to be in full-swing now at cpo, so collectors who still treasure their old Schwann LPs and CDs from the early 1980s will now be able to hear more of his symphonies. The Second (1905) seems to have been a response to criticism of his hour-long first symphony. This one is a short 25 minutes and its four movements offer a trove of reminiscences although the two most audible are Richard Strauss and Mahler (as often in Reznicek's two massive tone-poems, Schlemihl and Der Sieger). The way they are strung together and the motives of which they are composed are taken apart, put back together and worked out is pure Reznicek. The Dance Symphony (originally called 4 Symphonic Dances) dates from 1924; its Polonaise, Csárdás, Ländler and Tarantella perfectly fill the classical form of first movement-slow movement-scherzo and finale and the orchestration is a delight all the way through. The booklet also contains two photos from a danced version in 1927. Bern Symphony Orchestra; Frank Beerman. CPO 777 056 (Germany) 11H001 $15.98


NOTES:

1. I'll have more ABC Classics next month. Six titles were back-ordered (which is why you'll see no Carl Vine this month) and there was no room for five others. In addition, there should be a brand-new 2 CDs set of Vine's Symphonies Nos. 1-6.

2. In terms of distributors running out of titles, October was the worst month I can recall. The following are out-of-stock with no certain availability date unless noted: 10H001 (not until December!), 10H004, 10H049, 10H067, 10H084, 10H091, 10H093, 10H099 and 10H100. If I could have filled all the back-orders I have for these titles, October would not have been as bad as it was!

3. September back-order notes: 09H001 is also probably not going to be back in hand until December, although 09H064 might be back this month. All of the Russian titles are in limbo; I've not heard back from my source in Prague since I reordered over a month ago and have no idea why.

4. Phaedra fans will be happy to know that I'll have two more new releases in December (there were two others which I didn't offer since one was a cappella modern choral and the other a ten-composer bass clarinet disc). The next Lully volume on Accord should be here too by then.


EUGENE GOOSSENS (1893-1962): Symphony No. 1, Op. 58, Oboe Concerto (Joel Marangella [oboe]), Tam O'Shanter, Op. 17a, Concert Piece for Oboe/Cor Anglais, 2 Harps and Orchestra, Op. 65 (Marangella, Jane Geeson, Sebastien Lipman [harps], West Australian Symphony Orchestra; Vernon Handley), Symphony No. 2, Op. 62, Concertino for Double String Orchestra, Op. 47, Fantasy for 9 Wind Instruments, Op. 36 (Sydney Symphony Orchestra; Handley), Divertissement, Op. 66, Variations on a Chinese Theme, Op.1, The Eternal Rhythm, Op. 5, Kaleidoscope, Op. 18 (Melbourne Symphony Orchestra; Handley). Many of you have read the review of this set in the Gramophone Awards issue in October which singles out the second symphony of 1945: "the epic grandeur and turbulent demeanour of Goossens's admirably ambitious inspiration" and compares it with the Bax Second. But we also have the 19-year-old composer's Variations (using the same tune Hindemith uses in his Symphonic Metamorphoses) and the 20-minute tone-poem from 1913, The Eternal Rhythm, with strong echoes of Debussy, Ravel and Richard Strauss. The latter was a world premiere recording, as was the Concertino (1928), a brisk and invigoration neo-classical piece. Gramophone's last words sum it up: "a hugely entertaining, frequently engrossing survey; collectors with a taste for adventrue should most definitely lend an ear." 3 CDs. ABC Classics 476 7632 (Australia) 11H002 $38.98 >

MARGARET SUTHERLAND (1897-1984): Concerto for String Orchestra (Queensland Symphony Orchestra; Patrick Thomas), Concerto grosso for Violin, Viola, Harpsichord and Orchestra (Sybil Copeland [violin], John Glickman [viola], Max Cooke [harpsichord], Melbourne Symphony Orchestra; John Hopkins), Violin Concerto (Leonard Dommett [violin], Melbourne SO; Thomas, Haunted Hills (Melbourne SO; Hopkins). Unlike Miriam Hyde (see 11H009), Sutherland adopted a less conservative idiom - not unlike that of many English composers of her generation (as in the string concerto). Pre-serial Schoenberg, Debussy and Bartók figure into her style (Concerto grosso) and much of her work has a rigor and an intense, sinewy quality to it which produces bracing results while still being extremely approachable. ABC Classics Eloquence 465 734-2 (Australia) 11H003 $11.98 >

LEEVI MADETOJA (1887-1947): Complete Piano Works - Festive March, Op. 5/1, 6 Pieces, Op. 12, 3 Pieces, Op. 17, Miniatures, Op. 21, 4 Small Pieces, Op. 31, Suite pastorale, Op. 34, The Garden of Death, Op. 41, Freedom March, Op. 42/4, Piano Pieces, Op. 65, Lullaby. With the exception of 1931's op. 65 set, everything here was composed between 1910 and 1920. All miniatures, finely turned, delicate, most often with just a hint of melancholy and childlike charm, they occasionally rise to more spirited and boisterous moments. Standing alone among them, however, is The Garden of Death from 1918-19 whose first movement was inspired by news of Madetoja's brother's death by firing squad during the Finnish Civil War. This elegiac and austere Andante andantino was later followed by a Poco lento and a Berceuse which appear to trace the aspects of grieving and final acceptance. 2 CDs - special price. Mika Rännäli (piano). Alba ABCD 206 (Finland) 11H004 $22.98

RUED LANGGAARD (1893-1952): Antichrist. (We offered the first CD recording of this work exactly six years ago this month and we reprint that blurb with a few additions regarding the new format.) The odd life of Rued Langgaard - which would itself make a good subject for an operatic libretto - is by now fairly well documented, and his music is largely available to be heard. There can have been few composers who took so little notice of trends and fashions in music. In Langgaard's case, he pursued all sorts of mutually incompatible paths with apparently complete indifference to the incongruity to which some of these juxtapositions gave rise. Antichrist was rejected for performance several times, as being "an unsuitable subject for an opera". If this suggests an iconoclastic, shocking musical experience - the sort of thing Peter Maxwell Davies was doing in the 1970s - the music will come as a surprise; very Wagnerian and full of big, bold, conventionally operatic gestures (although this staging is up-to-date in its use of striking costumes and stage designs to highlight Langgaard's powerful statement about the moral decay of modernity). It is almost tempting to suggest that if you didn't know what the opera is about, you would never work it out from the music (but you sure will from the DVD with its subtitles!). The music itself is gorgeously lush and beautiful, a glowing late-romantic work out of its time. Bonus material includes "Langgaard and Antichrist - the rocky road from idea to world premiere" (film, 20 min.), and a commentary track by conductor Dausgaard and the stage director. Sten Byriel (baritone), Anne Margrethe Dahl (soprano), Helene Gjerris (mezzo), Danish National Symphony Orchestra and Choir/DR; Thomas Dausgaard. Dacapo DVD 2.110402 (Denmark) 11H005 $30.98

HEKEL TAVARES (1896-1969): Concerto in Brazilian Forms for Piano and Orchestra No. 2, Op. 105 (London Symphony Orchestra; Anatole Fistoulari. Mono), ISAAC ALBÉNIZ (1860-1909): Concerto fantastico, Op. 78 (Torino Orchestra; Alberto Zedda. Mono), Spanish Rhapsody, Op. 70 (Filarmonica Triestina; Luigi Toffolo). Repertoire collectors will want the (undated) recording of the Tavares, a three-movement piece which evokes Brazilian folksong and dance with a Modinha followed by a Ponteio and a final, rhythmically insistent Maracatu. Albéniz' 1895 Rhapsody continues with folk references while the earlier (1886) concerto is a Chopineque work in throw-back style. Felicja Blumental (piano). Brana Records BR 0002 (England) 11H006 $17.98

GERALD GARCIA (b.1949): Lorca Concerto for 2 Guitars and Orchestra, GHEORGHE ZAMFIR (b.1941): Concierto de Barcelona for Pan Flute, 2 Guitars and Orchestra, HORST-HANS BÄCKER (b.1959): Rhapsodia Mallorquina for Orchestra, JOAQUIN RODRIGO (1901-1999): Fantasia para un Gentilhombre. English, Romanian and German composers do the Spanish guitar concerto thing with appropriately colorful and enjoyable results. Garcia uses three folk songs collected and adapted by Lorca and Zamfir adds Romanian idioms to Spanish while Bäcker adds enough "modern" stylistic touches to pep up the genre a bit. Amadeus Guitar Duo, Gheorghe Zamfir (pan flute), Arad State Philharmonic; Horst-Hans Bäcker. Hänssler Classic CD 98.441 (Germany) 11H007 $17.98

WILLIAM SCHUMAN (1910-1992): Symphony No. 7, Symphony No. 10 "American Muse". There ought to be a new sub-genre recognized as the "Cold War Symphony"; the amount of tense, psychologically dark material in the 1960 Seventh, although leavened with a subtle shift toward the post-seralist new Romantic style which, say, George Rochberg was going to be known for, can't help but make one aware that this was the period of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the accelerating nuclear arms race. 1976 was a different matter, however, especially for a work commissioned as part of the whole Bicentennial brouhaha and the Tenth is predominantly optimistic and wholly "American" in tone with dissonances used only as seasoning. Seattle Symphony; Gerard Schwarz. Naxos American Classics 8.559255 (U.S.A.) 11H008 $6.98

MIRIAM HYDE (1913-2005): Village Fair (Sydney Symphony Orchestra; Dobbs Franks), Piano Concerto No. 1 in E Flat Minor, Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Sharp Minor. The concertos date from 1933 and 1935 while Hyde was studying at the RCM in London (Gordon Jacob was one of her composition teachers). Compendia of the characteristic components of the 19th century Romantic concerto from Rubinstein to Rachmaninov, they are hardly original but will certainly have wowed contemporary British audiences, coming from a slip of a girl from the old prison colony and they will certainly also appeal very much to collectors of the genre. The accompanying Village Fair (1943) is an 11-minute dance piece in "light music" style. 1975 and 1979 recordings. Miriam Hyde (piano), West Australian Symphony Orchestra; Geoffrey Simon. ABC Classics Eloquence 465 227-3 (Australia) 11H009 $11.98 >

GORDON JACOB (1895-1984): Trombone Concerto, PHILIP BRACANIN (b.1942): Trombone Concerto, NEIL CURRIE (b.1955): Tumbling Strains for Trombone and Orchestra, GEORG CHRISTOPH WAGENSEIL (1715-1777): Trombone Concerto. Some collectors may be familiar with Jacob's 1955 concerto which explores all aspects of the instrument's capabilities in urbane, attractive music. Bracanin's work (1976) is similar in effect if not in form (five short movements contrasting in tempo with the one which came before) while also employing a tonal language common to western classical composition. It takes the Canadian-born Currie to produce a work (1991) inspired by aboriginal singing techniques and he gives the soloist a group of orchestral winds (oboe, bassoon, alto sax, trumpet and another trombone) which interact with him as a "corroboree group" while he also uses extended playing techniques to evoke various didgeridoo sounds. Warwick Tyrrell (trombone), Adelaide Symphony Orchestra; Nicholas Braithwaite. ABC Classics 438 825-2 (Australia) 11H010 $17.98 >

MALCOLM WILLIAMSON (1931-2003): Complete Piano Works - Sonatas Nos. 1-4, 5 Preludes, Haifa Watercolours, The Bridge that Van Gogh painted and the French Camargue, Variations, Ritual of Admiration, Travel Diaries - Sydney, Naples, London, Paris, New York, Hymna Titu. Williamson's piano music falls into groups of concert pieces (the sonatas and Preludes) and teaching pieces - almost all dating from the 1950s and 1960s. The latter range from the fairly elementary Sydney diary to the almost virtuosic New York one although all furnish pieces of enough interest to be performed on stage while the Haifa and Camargue albums also explore the folk music of their regions, the former strikingly exotic-sounding. The sonatas range from the Stravinskian neo-classicism of the first through the rather tragic and astringent second (which uses serialism combined with a tonal center) and the third, à la Howells, for an amateur fortepianist in the style of Haydn, through to the little, eight-minute fourth with its jazzy second movement. All very approachable, many quite colorful pieces, well worth inspecting for contemporary piano collectors. 3 CDs. Antony Gray (piano). ABC Classics 472 902-2 (Australia) 11H011 $38.98 >

VINCENT D'INDY (1851-1931): Fantasy on French Folk Tunes for Oboe and Orchestra, Op. 31 (Lajos Lencsés [oboe], RSO Berlin; Hans E. Zimmer), JACQUES IBERT (1890-1962): Flute Concerto (Michael Faust [flute], Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra; Serge Baudo), JEAN FRANÇAIX (1912-1997): Concerto for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon and Orchestra (Martin Ulrich Senn [flute], Marie Luise Moderson [oboe], Jörg Fadle [clarinet], Hans Lemke [bassoon], Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin; Zimmer), ANDRÉ JOLIVET (1905-1974): Concertino for Trumpet, String Orchestra and Piano (Reinhold Friedrich [trumpet], Thomas Duis [piano], DSO Berlin; Lutz Köhler), CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921): Romance in C for Violin and Orchestra (Michael Erxleben [violin], New Berlin Chamber Orchestra). The repertoire is very rare, obviously all French and, with the exception of the D'Indy and Saint-Säens, in the bracing, neo-classical style so many French composers embraced in the 20th century. NOTE: These are all reissues, compiled from multiple previous releases, remastered in SACD Surround Sound. Capriccio don't mention this, give recording dates or publication dates but, given their spotty U.S. distribution over the last decade or more, it's very likely many of you won't have seen the originals, making this compilation attractive nonetheless. Capriccio SACD hybrid disc 71 028 (Germany) 11H012 $22.98

KEVIN PUTS (b. circa 1972): Dark Vigil, MICHAEL TORKE (b.1961): Corner in Manhattan, CARTER PANN (b.1972): Love Letters, PAQUITO D'RIVERA (b.1948): The Village Street Quartet. A collection of works for string quartet inspired by various aspects of the American experience: Cuban jazz artist D'Rivera providing a mix of Arabic, Brazilian, African and Latin American music which one can easily hear strolling the streets of Greenwich Village, Torke a triptych strongly influenced by late 20th century American minimalism, Puts a single-movement work inspired by the aftermath of the Columbine shootings which is by turns mournful, wrenching, angry and valedictory, and Pann a kaleidoscope of styles from 19th century Romanticism to modern-day pop music in his quartet inspired by Janácek's Intimate Letters quartet. Ying Quartet. Quartz QTZ 2003 (England) 11H013 $17.98

SAMUEL SCHEIDT (1587-1654): 24 Selections from Ludi Musici I-IV. Roland Wilson has completed as many of the pieces from Scheidt's second through fourth collections of Ludi Musici, accounting for 57 of the 76 minutes of music here, much of which reflects the sad times of the devastation caused by the Thirty Years' War but with a few lively dances and canzonas interspersed to raise the spirits a bit. Musica Fiata; Roland Wilson. CPO 777 013 (Germany) 11H014 $15.98

CHRISTOPH BERNHARD (1628-1693): 6 Geistliche Harmonien (1665), 6 other sacred concertos. Best remembered for his musical treatises, Berhard as a composer was an assistant to Schütz in Dresden and a colleague of Weckmann in Hamburg. This collection is evenly divided between six of the Geistliche Harmonien, written before leaving Dresden for Hamburg, and six other works from his Hamburg period, including a funeral piece from 1669. Self-recommending for those interested in the early to middle period of the sacred German baroque. German/Latin-English texts. Soloists of Rheinische Kantorei, Das Kleine Konzert; Hermann Max. CPO 777 046 (Germany) 11H015 $15.98

GIOVANNI BATTISTA BASSANI (1647-c.1716): Balletti, Correnti, Gighe e Sarabande, Op. 1. Well, they're really just trio sonatas but that's how Bassani wanted them published. All 12 sonatas are in this order and, what will surprise most collectors of this period, almost all movements are fast - even the Sarabands. They date from 1677 and each movement within each work is linked by various types of thematic imitation or reminiscence. Ensemble Armonico Cimento. Tactus TC 642701 (Italy) 11H016 $11.98

MARTINO BITTI (1656-1743): 8 Sonatas for Violin and Bass, NICOLA FRANCESCO HAIM (1678-1729): 4 Sonatas for Violin and Continuo. Bitti is yet another unknown composer whose sonatas are heavily influenced by Corelli. The English writer of his Grove entry finds him "of modest talent and limited imagination"; a late 50's Italian scholar, quoted in the booklet, "of admirable taste and extreme naturalness" and possessed of a "spontaneous and rich vein of melodic invention". Ah, academia! The German-born Haim's pieces (c. 1710) incorporate their Corellian influence into a more original voice. Alessandra Talamo (violin), Ensemble Respighi. Tactus TC 652701 (Italy) 11H017 $11.98

HENRY DESMAREST (1661-1741): Grands Motets, Vol. 2 - De profundis, Veni Creator, Cum invocarem. The first volume in this new series appeared back in March (03G024). Here are three works from the composer's 20s, when he was selling his compositions to the older, unscrupulous Nicolas Goupillet, who was passing them off as his own for performance in the King's chapel at Versailles. Refined, elegant, with the majesty and gravity required by their texts, they can be compared with Lully's late Grands motets or Lalande's early motets. Le Concert Spirituel; Hervé Niquet. Glossa GCD 921610 (Spain) 11H018 $18.98

CHARLES DESMAZURES (1669-1736): Suite No.1 , JAUME DE LA TÉ Y SAGAU (c.1680-1736): Cantata Tiorba Cristalina, MICHEL PIGNOLET DE MONTÉCLAIR (1667-1737): Cantata Europe, JOSÉ HERRANDO (c.1720-1763): Sonata El jardín de Aranjuez, ALESSANDRO SCARLATTI (1659-1725): Cantata Augellin, GIACOMO FACCO (1680-1753): Balletto No. 2 in G, JOSÉ DE SAN JUAN (c.1670?-1747): Cantata de Eurotas y Diana, SEBASTIÁN DURÓN (1660-1716): Tonada "Corazón, causa tenéis". Vocal and instrumental music at the court of the Spanish King Philip V, chosen to reflect the French (Philip was the son of Louis, the Sun King) and Italian (both the king's successive wives) influences which were sometimes layered upon native Spanish styles - all with an unusually useful (and well-translated) historical and musical booklet essy. Spanish, Italian, French texts. La Folía; Pedro Bonet. Dahiz 028-CD (Spain) 11H019 $18.98

WILLIAM CROFT (1678-1727): Te Deum in D, The Burial Service, Rejoice in the Lord, O Ye Righteous, Jubliate in D. Although his stage music plans may have been torpedoed by the founding of the Italian opera house which Handel presided over, Croft remained known for his sacred works and his 48-minute Te Deum and Jubilate of 1713 are fine examples of post-Purcell English baroque compositons. Choir of St. Paul's Cathedral, The Parley of Instruments; John Scott. Original 1993 Hyperion release. Helios CDH 55252 (England) 11H020 $10.98

VALENTIN RATHGEBER (1682-1750): Tafel-Confect - Selections. This collection of popular German songs, including solos, duets and choruses, was published in three installments (1733, 1737 and 1746). all firmly rooted in the baroque. They're acompanied here by two concertos for two trumpets, two violins and continuo from a collection published in 1728. German-English texts. canto tanto, Das Neu-Eröffnete Orchestre; Jürgen Sonnentheil. CPO 999 995 (Germany) 11H021 $15.98


Johann Sebastian Bach -

World Premiere Recording

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (1685-1750): Alles mit Gott und nichts ohn' ihn, BWV 1127 for Soprano, 2 Violins, Viola, Cello and Continuo, Selections from the "Bach Cantata Pilgrimage". Well, stuff like this is bound to turn up eventually what with all the unexplored archives, unattributed manuscripts and copies of manuscripts... So, here we have a a 1713 birthday ode to Duke Wilhelm Ernst of Saxe-Weimar, discovered in June of this year and rushed to disc, with a booklet full of supporting scholarship. And, if any of you are collecting - I will be happy to fill orders for the ongoing Gardiner Cantata series (famously dumped by DG and picked up at Gardiner's own expense - three releases are already available and the fourth is coeval with this CD); just let me know! German-English texts. Elin Manahan Thomas (soprano, BWV 1127) and other soloists, The Monteverdi Choir, The English Baroque Soloists; John Eliot Gardiner. Soli Deo Gloria SGD 114 (England) 11H022 $18.98


SANTIAGO DE MURCIA (1685-1732): Pasacalles in D, Gallardas, Folías gallegas, La Jotta, Marionas, Marizápalos, Una Giga de Corelli, PIETRO ANTONIO LOCATELLI (1695-1764): Sonata VI Pietro, PUCHINGER (? - ?): Flute Sonata, ANON.: 12 Sonatas. Music found in three manuscripts from Mexico City (and the Murcia from the British Museum), documenting the sort of chamber music which might have been heard during the middle of the 18th century in Mexico. The 12 "sonatas" are little single-movement pieces grouped into three sets of four which have many stylistic traits of the galant type. La Fontegara. Urtext UMA 2017 (Mexico) 11H023 $17.98

FRANCESCO MARIA VERACINI (1690-1768): 12 Sonate a violino solo e basso, Op.1 - Nos. 1-6. All in minor keys, these sonate da camera from 1721 (the remaining six are sonate da chiesa) show both Veracini's brilliance with regard to technique and a rich and varied sense of melody. Enrico Casazza (violin), Francesco Ferrarini (cello), Roberto Loreggian (harpsichord). Tactus TC 692201 (Italy) 11H024 $11.98

GIUSEPPE TARTINI (1692-1770): Sonate a tre, Brainard D2, C3, G3, D10, d2, G1, D11 & D1. Overshadowed by his virtuosic concertos and single violin sonatas, these trio sonatas (Tartini wrote over forty of them) show a different side of the composer, concerned with mood, melody and the conversation between the two violins with the bass rarely doing anything other than providing support. La Magnifica Comunità. Tactus TC 692003 (Italy) 11H025 $11.98

GIOVANNI BENEDETTO PLATTI (1697-1763): Keyboard Concertos No. 1 in G (Torino Symphony Orchestra; Alberto Zedda; 1967) and No. 2 in C Minor (Salzburg Symphony Orchestra; Theodor Guschlbauer; 1968), GIOVANNI BATTISTA VIOTTI (1755-1824): Violin Concerto No. 19 in G Minor (transcr. Daniel Steibelt [1765-1823] (Salzburg Symphony Orchestra; Theodor Guschlbauer; 1968). Viotti's late 1780s concerto becomes a fascinating pre-Romantic concerto in the hands of pianist Steibelt while Platti's two works (originally for the harpsichord although he is known to have had much interest in early fortepianos) show the soloist looking forward to Classicism while the orchestra remains fairly firmly in the Baroque. Felicja Blumental (piano). Brana Records BR0025 (England) 11H026 $17.98

SEBASTIAN BODINUS (c.1700-c.1760): Quartets in D, A & E, D, G and D. Perhaps dating from sometime in the mid to late 1730s, these quartets may be modeled on those of Telemann but Bodinus varies his instrumentation (two quartets for violin, flute, horn, two for violin and two flutes and two for flute, violin and viola - all, of course, with continuo) and gives the violin soloistic opportunities. Camerata Köln. CPO 999 945 (Germany) 11H027 $15.98

THOMAS ARNE (1710-1787): Harpsichord Concertos in C and G Minor, Organ Concertos in G and B Flat, Piano Concertos in A and in B Flat. Most interesting for Arne to have written concertos for three types of keyboard and, dating as they do from throughout his career (although printed posthumously only in 1793), they show a development (although still wholly Germanic) from Handel to Haydn and J.C. Bach. The Parley of Instruments Baroque Orchestra; Paul Nicholson (keyboards). Original 1992 Hyperion release. Helios CDH 55251 (England) 11H028 $10.98

GAETANO PUGNANI (1731-1798): Sonatas for Violin and Continuo in A, Op. 5/2 & in C, Op. 5/3, Sonata in A for 2 Violins, Op. 4/1, Sonata in G for 2 Violins, Op. 4/3, Trios for 2 Violins and Continuo in C, Op. 1/6 & in G, Op. 1/1. These chamber works are generally quite conservative (although some elements of Classicism can be found), op. 1 ideal for convivial musical evenings amongst fellow professionals, op. 4 well suited to amateurs and only op. 5 showing more virtuosic writing. L'Astrée. Stradivarius STR 33677 (Italy) 11H029 $17.98

VINCENZO MANFREDINI (1737-1799): Piano Concerto in B Flat (Mozarteum Orchestra of Salzburg; Michiyoshi Inoue. 1972), GIOVANNI PAISIELLO (1741-1816): Piano Concertos in F (Torino Symphony Orchestra; Alberto Zedda), and in C (Würtemberg Chamber Orchestra; Jörg Faerber). More Vox-Turnabout LP nostalgia with Manfredini's c. 1769 early Classical concerto (originally, of course, for harpsichord) getting the full Romantic treatment. Felicja Blumental (piano). Brana Records BR0026 (England) 11H030 $17.98

LUIGI BOCCHERINI (1743-1805): Flute Quintets in G, G. 438, in F, G. 440 and in B Flat, G. 442. World premiere recording of the F Major quintet which, like its fellows here, is among the composer's last works. Like mini sinfonia concertanti, these three-movement pieces are based on brilliant ensemble writing, virtuosic possibilities for flute and first violin and have the melodic richness and variety one expects from Boccherini. Nicola Guidetti (flute), Nuovo Quartetto Italiano. Tactus TC 740205 (Italy) 11H031 $11.98

LUIGI BOCCHERINI (1743-1805): String Sextets, G. 454, 456, 457 & 459 (Mayumi Seiler, Iris Juda [violins], Diemut Poppen, Werner Dickel [violas], Richard Lester, Howard Penny [cellos]), String Quartets G. 177, 194, 213 & 248 (Petersen Quartet), String Quintets G. 280, 393, 326 & 401 (Petersen Quartet, Ulrich Knörzer [viola], Guido Schiefen [cello]), String Quintet G. 324 "La Musica Notturna delle strade di Madrid", String Quartet, G. 223 "La Tiranna", Notturno, G. 62 "La bona notte", String Quintet G. 336 "Quintetto dello Scacciapensiero" (Seiler, Silvia Walch [violins], Poppen, Lester, Penny), Oboe Quintets, G. 431-436 (Lajos Lencsés [oboe], Parish Quartet), Divertimenti for Flute, String Quintet and Double Bass, G. 461 & 464-466 (Eckart Haupt [flute], Mi-Kyung Lee, Walch [violins], Poppen, Ludwig Quandt, Götz Teutsch [cellos], Esko Laine [double bass]), Symphonies, G. 515 and 517-522 (New Berlin Chamber Orchestra; Michael Erxleben), Guitar Quintets, G. 445-450 (Jean-Pierre Jumez [guitar], Dimov String Quartet). From Capriccio's "Boccherini Edition" (all but the guitar works were originally issued in 1992-3) and beyond - the guitar quintets are Balkanton productions which never appeared on Capriccio before now - all the Boccherini you can shake a stick at and at a ridiculously low price. We had to offer this just for the fabulous value! 10 CDs. Capriccio 49463 (Germany) 11H032 $56.98

LUIGI BOCCHERINI (1743-1805): The 12 Cello Concertos. Even cheaper than the Naxos single-disc versions, this new release (recorded in spring of this year) is on period instruments so collectors are now really spoiled for choice. 3 CDs. Accademia i Filarmonici di Verona; Enrico Bronzi (cello). Brilliant Classics 92618 (Netherlalnds) 11H033 $16.98

WILLIAM SHIELD (1748-1829): Rosina (Margreta Elkins [mezzo], Elizabeth Harwood [soprano], Monica Sinclair [contralto], Robert Tear [tenor], The Ambrosian Singers, London Symphony Orchestra; Richard Bonynge. Decca 1965), EDWARD ELGAR (1857-1934): Sea Pictures, Op. 37 (Queensland Symphony Orchestra; Werner Andreas Albert. ABC 1983), MALCOLM WILLIAMSON (1931-2003): The Altar is Adorned for the Sacrifice from The Growing Castle (Bamberg Symphony; Hans Gierster. West German Radio, c. 1971). Rosina (1782) was Shield's most popular "afterpiece", a genre of rougghly hour-long comic operas which followed other stage business at Covent Garden. Its overture and ten of the 18 numbers are Shield's with the others borrowed from other stage works or harmonized folksongs. Libretto included. ABC Classics 461 922-2 (Australia) 11H034 $17.98 >

JOSEPH MARTIN KRAUS (1756-1792): Sonatas for Fortepiano and Violin in D, C, E Flat and C, Sonata in D for Keyboard, Violin and Cello, Piano Sonata in E Flat. Kraus' chamber works have been neglected but are every bit as strikingly unusual, full of cascading emotions, taking classical forms and stretching and compressing them as if overwhelmed by the emotion of the moment but obviously the art of a brilliant and still underappreciated composer. 2 CDs. Vaughan Schlepp (fortepiano), Antoinette Lohmann (violin), Frank Wakelkamp (cello). Fineline Classics FL 72404 (Netherlands) 11H035 $31.98

THOMAS LINLEY THE YOUNGER (1756-1778): A Lyric Ode "The Shakespeare Ode". This 1776 hour-long piece is wildly eclectic, with everyone from Purcell, Handel and the French baroque to J.C. Bach making appearances and also striking premonitions of Weberian Romanticism. Texts included. Julia Gooding, Lorna Anderson (sopranos), Richard Wistreich (bass), The Parley of Instruments Baroque Orchestra and Choir; Paul Nicholson. Original 1993 Hyperion release. Helios CDH 55253 (England) 11H036 $10.98

ANTONÍN REICHA (1770-1836): Requiem. Reicha's response to the invasion of Vienna and the battle of Jena in 1805-6, this darkly dramatic work has all of this innovative composer's hallmarks: two fugual sections, chromaticism, rich modulations, colorful instrumentation (much work for the winds and telling use of trombones). Venceslava Hrubá-Freiberger (soprano), Anna Barová (contralto), Vladimír Dolezal (tenor), Ludek Vele (bass), Prague Philharmonic Choir, Dvorák Chamber Orchestra; Lubomír Mátl. Original 1989 Supraphon release. Supraphon SU 3859-2 (Czech Republic) 11H037 $10.98

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827): Symphony No. 7 in A, Op. 92 (arr. Hugo Ulrich [1827-1872]), Sonata in D, Op. 6, Variations, WoO 74, 3 Marches, Op. 45, Variations, WoO 67. Here's something fresh for transcription collectors: Ulrich (an award-winning symphony composer himself) did piano duet versions of all Beethoven's symphonies, scrupulously free of added virtuosity and dedicated to the decanting of the original work into its new form (unlike Scharwenka, who used every aspect and color of the modern piano to "update" Beethoven into the 20th century). Prague Piano Duo. Praga SACD hybrid disc PRD/DSD 250 219 (Czech Republic) 11H038 $18.98

JOHANN NEPOMUK HUMMEL (1778-1837): Grandes Serenades en Potpourri for Piano, Violin, Guitar, Clarinet and Bassoon in G, Op. 63 & in C, Op. 66, Potpourri for Piano and Guitar in G, Op. 53. Dating between 1810 and 1815, these pieces were written for pure fun, the op. 66 being performed in Vienna's Imperial Gardens and all of them the rage in Viennese salons. The piano/guitar Potpourri contains themes by Grétry, Boieldieu, Spontini, Mozart and Paisiello while the two larger works add Joseph Weigl and Cherubini to that group, Hummel always giving pride of place to his one-time teacher, Mozart. Since these works are sheer entertainment, Hummel was free to give rein to his greatest fancies, including, in op. 66, having players moving around at its climax (the changing perspectives this gives are faithfully captured in the recording). Consortium Classicum. MD&G 301 1344-2 (Germany) 11H039 $17.98

ANTON DIABELLI (1781-1858): Rondo militaire for 2 Pianos, Op. 150, Scherzo in C for Guitar and Piano, Op. 151/1, Sonatine in A for Guitar and Piano, Op. 68, Sonatine in D "Jugendfreuden" for 2 Pianos, Op. 163/6, 3 Pieces for Guitar and Piano, Op. 10, Grand Sonate brillante for Guitar and Piano, Op. 102, Funeral March on the Death of Michael Haydn for Guitar, Op. 20, Guitar Sonata, Op. 29/1, 2 Waltzes for Piano. A tuneful little slice of Biedermeyer culture ranging from salon-style pieces for amateurs to the more imposing Grand Sonate. Klaus Jäckle (guitar), Wolfgang Brunner, Leonore von Stauss (fortepianos). Profil PH04085 (Germany) 11H040 $16.98

EDUARD VON LANNOY (1787-1853): Quintet for Piano and Winds in E Flat, Op. 2, LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827): Quintet for Piano and Winds in E Flat, Op. 16. Dating from 1812, Lannoy's quintet is both modeled closely on Beethoven's and quite different in that, with a six-octave piano available at that date, the keyboard carries the lion's share of the music, the piece being a pocket-sized piano concerto. Halcyon Ensemble. Passacaille 939 (Belgium) 11H041 $17.98

CARL CZERNY (1791-1857): Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 214 (Vienna Chamber Orchestra; Helmut Froschauer. 1968), FERDINAND RIES (1784-1838): Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Sharp Minor, Op. 55 (Salzburg Chamber Orchestra; Theodor Guschlbauer. 1968). Czerny's works are hard to date but the style of this concerto - a dark and stormy opening but soon developing into the brilliant virtuosity of Hummel - probably places it in the 1830s while Ries (again no date given) is much more serious and, as in his symphonies, very close to Beethoven in style if not in the absolute depth of utterance. Felicja Blumental (piano). Brana Records BR 0005 (England) 11H042 $17.98

SAVERIO MERCADANTE (1795-1870): La vestale. Produced in 1840, this, along with Elena da Feltre and Il bravo are Mercadante's most important contributions to the reform of Italian opera, creating a bridge from Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti to Verdi and the later 19th century Italian composers. There are many parallels in the action with Aida and, even musical similarities to the famous "Ritorna vincitor" (over 30 years later!) 2 CDs. Libretto available on-line. Doriana Milazzo (soprano), Dante Alcalá (tenor), Agata Bienkowska (mezzo), Davide Damiani (baritone), Wexford Festival Opera Chorus, Cracow Philharmonic Orchestra; Paolo Arrivabeni. Marco Polo 8.225310-11 (New Zealand) 11H043 $19.98

CESARE PUGNI (1805-1870): Esmeralda. Filmed in 1994, this adaptation of Hugo's Hunchback of Notre Dame premiered in London in 1844 and its lead character, the ill-fated gypsy dancer, attracted many of the great dancers of the 19th and 20th centuries. Here Esmeralda is danced by Elvira Khabibullina, the leading soloist of the St. Petersburg company during the 1990s. 55 minutes. Mussorgsky State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre of St. Petersburg; Andrei Anikhanov. Immortal DVD 960006 (Netherlands) 11H044 $23.98

SIGISMUND THALBERG (1812-1871): Gran Duo concertant sur "Sémiramide" de Rossini, Gran Duo sur "Beatrice di Tenda" de Bellini, Gran Duo sur des motifs des "Huguenots" de Meyerbeer, FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886): Romance oubliée, 2 Élégies, Benedictus and Offertorium from Hungarian Coronation Mass, 2 Waltzes, Die Zelle in Nonnenwerth. The Liszt, we know (except, perhaps the two early - 1827 -waltzes), mostly fascinating, harmonically searching late works. But the Thalberg pieces also carried the names of violinists - Heinrich Panofka in the Beatrice and Bériot in the others - and it's not known how much they contributed to the violin line (all of it, part of it?). The piano is, of course, all virtuosic and heaven-stormng Thalberg and these are claimed as world premiere recordings. Mauro Tortorelli (violin), Costantino Catena (piano). Nuova Era 7395 (Italy) 11H045 $12.98


The Romantic Piano Concerto, Vol. 38

ANTON RUBINSTEIN (1829-1894): Piano Concerto No. 4 in D Minor, Op. 70, XAVER SCHARWENKA (1850-1924): Piano Concerto No. 1 in B Flat Minor, Op. 32. No collector of this genre doesn't already have at least one other version of both these works but, of course, the raison d'être of this release is Hamelin and the scintillating review is already in the November Gramophone. Marc-André Hamelin (piano), BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra; Michael Stern. Hyperion CDA 67508 (England) 11H046 $18.98


HEINRICH SCHULZ-BEUTHEN (1838-1915): Alhambra Sonata, Op. 34, HERMANN GOETZ (1840-1876): Lose Blätter, Op. 7, Genrebilder, Op. 13. Goetz' two cycles of character pieces are firmly in the Schumann, Kirchner tradition while Schulz-Beuthen's "sonata" - really a suite of six mini tone-poems - makes use of a great range of pianistic textures to imaginatively evoke many places which Spanish composers would do much more authentically (his "Arabic-style" rhythms are very faint to the modern ear) a few decades later. Kirsten Johnson (piano). Guild GMCD 7282 (Switzerland) 11H047 $16.98

JULES MASSENET (1842-1912): Le Roi de Lahore. This 1877 mélange of exotic Orientalism and Grand Opera clichés has its share of gorgeous Massenet melodies and characteristic word-setting but is really a warm-up for his later successes such as Hérodiade and Le Cid. Still, this should be the first digital recording of the piece and collectors may want a fresh version at hand. 2 CDs. French-English libretto. Ana María Sánchez (soprano), Giuseppe Gipali (tenor), Vladimir Stoyanov (baritone), Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro La Fenice; Marcello Viotti. Dynamic CDS 487/1-2 (Italy) 11H048 $35.98

CÉCILE CHAMINADE (1857-1944): Chaconne, Op. 8, Pièces humoristiques, Op. 87/4 - Autrefois, Callirhoë - Air de Ballet, Poèmes provençales, Op. 127, No. 2 - Solitude and No. 4 - Pêcheurs de nuit, Romance in D, L'Ondine, Op. 101, Études de concert, Nos. 1 - Scherzo in C and No. 2 - Automne, Thème Varié in A, Op. 89, Sérénade in D, Op. 29, Romances sans paroles, Op. 76, Nos. 1 - Souvenance and No. 2 - Élévation in E, Étude mélodique in G Flat, Op. 118, Étude pathétique in B Minor, Op. 124, La lisonjera, Valse romantique, Op. 115, Deuxième valse, Op. 77, Étude scholastique, Op. 139. The first of three volumes of little piano pieces made for domestic consumption and marked by graceful melody, simple forms and clear textures - utterly civilized music for the salons and drawing-rooms of the late 19th century. Peter Jacobs (piano). Original 1992 Hyperion release. Helios CDH 55197 (England) 11H049 $10.98

JOSEF BOHUSLAV FOERSTER (1859-1951): Eva. Recorded once also by Supraphon, Eva (1895-7) is a realistic and psychological drama closer to the French lyric drama of, say, Massenet with local color subdued in favor of characterization through traditional European operatic forms. 2 CDs. Libretto available on-line. Iveta Jiríková (soprano), Kostantin Andreyev (tenor), Denisa Hamarová (mezzo), Igor Tarasov (baritone), Wexford Festival Opera Chorus, Cracow Philharmonic Orchestra; Jaroslav Kyzlink. Marco Polo 8.225308-09 (New Zealand) 11H050 $19.98

GUSTAV JENNER (1865-1920): Trio in E Flat for Clarinet, Horn and Piano, Clarinet Sonata in G, Op. 5. Although a young man when he wrote them in the first few years of the 20th century, these are autumnal works very like Jenner's teacher and model, Brahms. Martin Litschgi (clarinet), Nadja Helble (horn), Iryna Krasnovskaya (piano). MD&G 603 1343-2 (Germany) 11H051 $17.98

FRANCESCO CILEA (1866-1950): L'Arlesiana. Hard to believe that two versions of this rarely heard work, premiered in 1897 and dealing with romantic tragedy in the idyllic, pastoral setting of southern France (Caruso made his reputation in it at the premiere), should show up the same month (the other was on Bongiovanni), so we picked this one, with somewhat better-known soloists and Accord's highly professional recording and packaging quality. Italian-English libretto. Angela Maria Blasi (soprano), Marianne Cornetti (mezzo), Giuseppe Gipali (tenor), Montpellier National Opera Chorus, Montpellier National Orchestra; Friedemann Layer. Accord 476 7644 (France) 11H052 $35.98


Richard Bonynge - Rare Decca Recordings

JULES MASSENET (1842-1912): Cigale (Enid Hartle [mezzo], London Voices, National Philharmonic Orchestra), Fantasy for Cello and Orchestra (Jascha Silberstein [cello], Orchestre de la Suisse Romande), 20 Mélodies (Huguette Tourangeau [mezzo], Reginald Kilbey [cello], Richard Bonynge [piano]), DANIEL FRANÇOIS ESPRIT AUBER (1782-1871): Cello Concerto No. 1 (orch. Douglas Gamley), DAVID POPPER (1843-1913): Cello Concerto in E Minor, Op. 24 (both Silberstein & OSR), JOHANN CHRISTIAN BACH (1735-1782): Sinfonia Concertante in C for Flute, Oboe, Violin, Cello and Orchestra (ed. Bonynge - Richard Adency [flute], Peter Graeme [oboe], Emanuel Hurwitz [violin], Keith Harvey [cello], English Chamber Orchestra), Symphony in E Flat, Op. 9/2 (ed. Bonynge - ECO), ANTONIO SALIERI (1750-1835): Sinfonia Veneziana, Concerto in C for Flute, Oboe and Orchestra (both ed. Bonynge - Adency [flute], James Brown [oboe], ECO), Arias from Ildegonda nel Carcere by Michael William Balfe (1808-1870), Djamileh by Bizet, L'assedio di Calais by Donizetti, Le cheval de bronze by Auber, Herodiade by Massenet, Oberto by Verdi, Giulietta e Romeo by Nicola Vaccai (1790-1848), Les Dragons de Villars by Louis-Aimé Maillart (1817-1871) (all Huguette Tourangeau [mezzo], OSR), Giulio Sabino by Giuseppe Sarti (1729-1802), Alcina and Serse by Handel, Il Pirro e Demetrio by A. Scarlatti, Alceste and Paride ed Elena by Gluck, La Molinara and I zingari in fiera by Paisiello, La Serva Padrona by Pergolesi, Gli tre cicisbei ridicoli by Vincenzo Ciampi (1710-1762), Jean Paul Martini (1741-1816): Piacer d'amor, Giovanni Battista Bononcini (1670-1747): Deh più a me non v'ascondete (all Renata Tebaldi [soprano], New Philharmonia Orchestra). Much unusual repertoire and good notes (with color reproductions of the original Decca albums) 4 CDs. ABC Classics 475 070-2 (Australia) 11H053 $47.98 >


ROSALIND ELLICOTT (1857-1924): Piano Trio No. 2, ALICE VERNE-BREDT (1868-1958): Phantasie Trio, ERNEST AUSTIN (1874-1947): Piano Trio No. 4, Op. 26, THOMAS DUNHILL (1877-1946): Piano Trio in C. Four world premiere recordings of trios written by English composers between 1890 amd 1910 with Dunhill's a torso first movement of what may be an unfinished composition and Ellicott's four-movement, 33-minute piece being the most conservative, looking back to the Romanticism of continental Europe (but full of lush, beautiful melodies any collector of this genre will cherish). Verne-Bredt's ten-minute piece won a supplementary prize in the inaugural Cobbett Competition of 1906 while Austin's work, in the same telescoped, single-movement form (it may have been intended for a Cobbett contest as well) shows some stylistic similarities to Cyril Scott and Holbrooke. Summerhayes Piano Trio. Meridian CDE 84478 (England) 11H054 $17.98

CHARLES KOECHLIN (1867-1950): Clarinet Sonata No. 1, Op. 85, Clarinet Sonata No. 2, Op. 86, Les Confidences d'un joueur de clarinette for various combinations of Solo Clarinet, Horn and Clarinet and Clarinet, Horn and Cello - excerpts, Op. 147, Idylle for 2 Clarinets, Op. 155bis, 14 Pièces for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 178, Monodies for Solo Clarinet, Op. 216 - excerpts. The 14 Pièces, from 1942, are the most substantial collection here and seem to be evocations of various ports of call from the composer's many travels while experiencing the dense sonatas (only nine minutes each) is like exploring a jungle's luxuriant undergrowth. Dirk Altmann (clarinet), Florian Henschel (piano), Rudolf König (second clarinet) and other artists. Hännsler Classic CD 98.446 (Germany) 11H055 $17.98

JOAQUÍN TURINA (1882-1949): Piano Music, Vol. 2 - Sonata romántica sobre un tema español, Op. 3, Sonata Fantasía, Op. 59, Rincón mágico, Op. 97, Concierto sin orquesta, Op. 88. The early (1909?) sonata, dedicated to Albéniz, attempts to unify Debussian impressionism with the counterpoint and formal studies Turina had had from D'Indy and Rincón Mágico, subtitled(1943) depicts local characters as seen from the window of the composer's favorite café while the shorter Fantasía also has Impressionist character. Jordi Masó (piano). Naxos Spanish Classics 8.557438 (New Zealand) 11H056 $6.98

MARION BAUER (1882-1955): A Lament on an African Theme, Op. 20a for Ensemble, Concertino for Oboe, Clarinet and Strings, Op. 32b, Trio Sonata for Flute, Cello and Piano, Op. 40, Symphonic Suite for Strings, Op. 33, Duo for Oboe and Clarinet, Op. 25, American Youth Concerto, Op. 36. Bauer constantly experimented stylistically, with the results on this disc including Impressionism (trio sonata) and Romanticism (Concertino). There is some chromatic anguish in the Symphonic Suite which, dating from 1940, is "war music" while the Youth Concerto (1943) is a piano concerto (written for the High School of Music and Art in New York) which uses cakewalk, blues and hoe-down to vigorous effect in its mini-parade of popular American song styles. Diana Ambache (piano), Ambache Chamber Orchestra and Ensemble. Naxos American Classics 8.559253 (U.S.A.) 11H057 $6.98

WALTER BRAUNFELS (1882-1954): Prinzessin Brambilla, Op. 12. Premiered in 1909 but performed here in a 1930 revision, Brambilla is based on a novella by E.T.A. Hoffman which itself was based on copper engravings of commedia dell'arte provenance. The difficulty in describing the style is caught by Andrew Cooper who reports on each Wexford Festival on a web-site; he mentions Rimsky-Korsakov, Richard Strauss, Busoni (who admired the work), Nielsen, Stravinsky and Prokofiev (!). Still, evidence of its approachability and general neo-classical feel - much lighter than later Braunfels. 2 CDs. Libretto available on-line. Elena Lo Forte (soprano), Ekaterina Gubanova (mezzo), Eric Show (tenor), Enrico Marabelli (baritone), Wexfor Festival Children's and Opera Chorus, Cracow Philharmonic Orchestra; Daniele Belardinelli. Marco Polo 8.225312-13 (New Zealand) 11H058 $19.98

MANUEL PONCE (1882-1942): Canciones mexicanas, Estudios de concierto, Nos. 3, 7 & 12, 4 Excerpts from Trozos romanticos, Legende, Mazurkas Nos. 3, 8, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16 & 23, Suite cubana, 2 Études. Ponce was a pianist first, based in 19th century traditions which come through in every piece on this disc, especially the etudes, with nods to his period of exile in Cuba during WW I and the folk melodies and rhythms of his native Mexico (the mazurka has been a favorite dance form there since its first appearance in the 1850s). Jorge Federico Osorio (piano). Cedille CD 90000 086 (U.S.A.) 11H059 $16.98

FRANK MARTIN (1890-1974): Complete Piano Works - 8 Preludes, Esquisse, Clair de lune, Étude rythmique, Guitare, Fantaisie sur des rhtymes flamenco, Ouverture et foxtrot for 2 Pianos, Pavane couleur du temps for Piano 4 Hands, Au claire de la lune for Piano 4 Hands, 2 Pièces faciles for 2 Pianos, Études for 2 Pianos. Martin's solo pieces are few but well-turned, the Preludes (for Lipatti, who died before performing them) mixing dodecaphonic technique with a Ravelian clarity and sense of sonority. Esquisse, Clair de lune and the Etude rythmique are short pieces dealing with a technical aspect or other; Guitare is a transcription of a piece for Segovia (1933) effectively mixing both French and Spanish elements and pointing the way to the late, 1973, Fantaisie, which takes off from an opening rumba rhythm. The second disc contains duet and two-piano works, the Études a transcription of a work for strings of 1956 which works brilliantly on two pianos, being the main work (the Pavane is also a transcription of a 1920 work for string quintet). 2 CDs. Julie Adam (piano), Christine Logan (second piano). ABC Classics 476 2601 (Australia) 11H060 $25.98 >

ALOS FORNEROD (1890-1965): Le Voyage de printemps for Orchestra, Op. 28 (Lausanne Chamber Orchestra; Armin Jordan. 5/16/75), Piano Concerto, Op. 29 (Jacqueline Blancard [piano], Lausanne CO; Victor Desarzens. 10/29/62), Concert No. 2 for Chamber Orchestra, Op. 35 (Lausanne CO; Arpad Gerecz. 9/5/80), Messe brève for Chorus and Organ, Op. 12 (Du Puy Vocal Ensemble of St. Sulpice, Aline Demierre [organ]. 5/20/71), Te Deum for Soloists, Chorus and Chamber Orchestra, Op. 37 (Maria Stader [soprano], Lise de Montmollin [mezzo], Hugues Cuenod [tenor], André Vessière [bass], Lausanne CO; André Charlet. 2/11/55), Messe solenelle for Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra "Ancilla Domini", Op. 38 (Juliette Bise [soprano], Lucienne Devallier [mezzo], Charles Jauquier [tenor], Roland Fornerod [bass], Fribourg Choral Society, OSR; Pierre Kaelin. 6/20/57), Divertissement pastoral for Oboe, Clarinet and Bassoon, Op. 31 (Trio de Convivium Musicum Geneva. 4/14/61), 4 pièces brèves for Flute and Piano, Op. 46b, Sonatine for Piano, Op. 39, 2 petites pièces for Piano, Op. 14, Cello Sonata, Op. 24, String Quartet, Op. 47 (Pierre Wavre [flute], François Guye [cello], Christian Favre [piano], Quatuor Sine Nomine. 9/23/2000 and 4/8/2000 - quartet). Composer, professor, critic and musicographer, it's amazing Fornerod had time for 47 opus numbers. His orchestral and chamber works (all the ones recorded here are post-1940) are very much in the style of Ravel while the disc of sacred music shows the academic, paying tribute to the Gregorian element in French musical history. The orchestral and chamber works except the concerto and Divertissement are stereo; the rest are sharp, clear mono. A real discovery. 3 CDs. Budget-price. Cascavelle RSR 6143 (Switzerland) 11H061 $21.98 >

ARTHUR BLISS (1891-1975): Discourse for Orchestra (cond. Robert Whitney. 1957. Mono), EDMUND RUBBRA (1901-1986): Improvisation for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 89 (Sidney Harth [violin], Whitney. 1955. Mono), MALCOLM ARNOLD (b.1921): Concerto for 2 Violins and String Orchestra (Paul Kling, Peter McHugh [violins], Jorge Mester. 1973), JOHN ADDISON (1920-1998): Concerto for Trumpet, Strings and Percussion (Leon Napier [trumpet], Mester. 1969. Stereo). Bliss withdrew Discourse - a 20-minute working-out of a deceptively small and simple iambic motive - and substantially modified it in 1965, making this original recording truly a collector's item. Along with Arnold's 1962 neo-classical concerto, more subdued than many pieces from this often-boisterous composer and Addison's 1958 trumpet concerto, a brisk, bustling and sometimes dissonant piece, this makes the first volume of a series called "British Modern" by First Edition Music (a French release will appear next month). Louisville Orchestra. First Edition Music FECD-1904 (U.S.A.) 11H062 $12.98

EDMUND RUBBRA (1901-1986): Violin Concerto, Op. 103, Improvisation for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 89, Improvisations on Virginal Pieces by Giles Farnaby, Op. 50. The concerto (1959) is a work of imaginative,powerful lyricism with a freely rhapsodic part for the soloist and a deeply felt slow movement full of rapt meditation and yearning with the earlier (1955) Improvisation a good example in small form of Rubbra's construction of a whole work from a relatively small, initial statement. Krysia Osostowicz (violin), Ulster Orchestra; Takuo Yuasa. Naxos 8.557591 (U.S.A.) 11H063 $6.98

THOMAS PITFIELD (1903-1999): Piano Concerto No. 1 in E Mnor, Piano Concerto No. 2, Studies on an English Dance-Tune for Piano, Arietta and Finale for Piano, Toccata for Piano, Xylophone Sonata. Obviously, most collectors will want this for the incredibly virtuosic six-minute xylophone concerto but the regular-size first concerto (1947) with its reminiscences of Poulenc and Ravel and the 12-minute second (1960), written as a perfomance audition piece for an American publisher will equally repay attention. Anthony Goldstone (piano - concertos), Peter Donohoe (piano, xylophone), Royal Northern College of Music Orchestra; Andrew Penny. Naxos 8.557291 (U.S.A.) 11H064 $6.98

WITOLD LUTOSLAWSKI (1913-1994): 20 Polish Christmas Carols for Soprano, Female Choir and Orchestra, 5 Songs for Female Voice and 30 Solo Instruments, Lacrimosa for Soprano, Choir and Orchestra. Anyone interested in the subject matter will be able to enjoy the Carols, a cycle lasting 40 minutes which dates from 1946 and is in a conservative, approachable idiom; the Five Songs (1957) begin to show signs of the composer's later, more experimental idiom. No texts. Olga Pasichnyk (soprano), Jadwiga Rappé (alto), Polish Radio Chorus Cracow, Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra (Katowice); Antoni Wit. Naxos 8.555997 (New Zealand) 11H065 $6.98

AKIRA IFUKUBE (b.1914): Sinfonia Tapkaara, Ritmica Ostinata for Piano and Orchestra, Symphonic Fantasia No. 1. Collectors who've shelled out in the past for expensive Japanese imports know that Ifukube writes some of the most primitively exciting music in existence. Inspired to become a composer by The Rite of Spring, it could have been no other way. The 1954 Sinfonia is inspired by primitive dances and songs of the Ainu and the 1961 Ritmica Ostinata carries all you need to know in its title but the innocent looking Symphonic Fantasia is a 1983 arrangement of music from Ifukube's most famous film score - Godzilla - and five others in the series. Ekaterina Saranceva (piano), Russian Philharmonic Orchestra; Dmitry Yablonsky. Naxos Japanese Classics 8.557587 (New Zealand) 11H066 $6.98

DAVID LUMSDAINE (b.1931): Hagoromo, Salvation Creek with Eagle, Shoalhaven, Mandala 5. Passionate about nature (and skilled in the recording and archiving of natural sounds) there is in some of Lumsdaine's works - like the impressive, half hour Hagoromo, a sense of nature painting not entirely removed from Sculthorpe's. By contrast Shoalhaven reminds one of Lumsdaine's long-time association with the British musical establishment and his love of the richness of the western classical-romantic tradition; there is much in the piece that might almost be by Vaughan Williams. Between these extremes lie works like the other two presented here, in which the quasi-onomatopic suggestion of birdsong and other sounds of the outback are placed in a context of rich, freely tonal harmony - an all-instrumental equivalent of Rautavaara's Cantus Articus perhaps. These conmparisons are not especially helpful; in the last analysis, Lumsdaine is a composer with a strikingly individual and personal voice, and his music is compelling and involving on its own terms. West Australian Symphony Orchestra; Diego Masson, Albert Rosen. ABC Classics 426 994-2 (Australia) 11H067 $17.98 >

PETER SCULTHORPE (b.1929): Port Essington for String Trio and String Orchestra, 3 Sonatas for Strings, Lament for Strings, Irkanda IV for Solo Violin, Strings and Percussion. Derived from a score for a TV program about an ill-fated 19th-century settlement in Northern Australia, Port Essington suggests an impersonal and alien landscape, contrasting directly with deliberately trite 'salon' music, representing the hapless European colonists, completely out of their depth in a hostile environment. A similar melancholy and alienation pervades Lament, which also suggests a 'civilised' mind overwhelmed by the vastness and strangeness of the land. The three "sonatas" - orchestrations of string quartets - share with the Lament a brooding, late-Mahlerian atmosphere, contrasted with rustling nature-sounds and the vivid evocation of stifling heat-haze - the 'program' is less spelled out than in the soundtrack-derived work, but the use of aboriginal melodies, abstract 'non-musical' sounds and music of tragic despair make the 'meaning' of the music perfectly clear. Irkanda IV, by far the earliest work here (1961) reflects a similar theme of loneliness and isolation - this time, the composer's own, at the death of his father. The work is a moving elegy, an inner landscape as desolate as any depicted in the other works in this emotionally wrenching but ultimately profound sequence of pieces. Australian Chamber Orchestra; Richard Tognetti. ABC Classics 454 504-2 (Australia) 11H068 $17.98 >

PETER SCULTHORPE (b.1929): Sun Music I-IV, Sun Song, Memento mori, From Uluru. Sculthorpe's characteristic Sun pieces portray, with graphic intensity, the harsh and impersonal natural world of his homeland. The evocation of shimmering heat-haze is palpable in the dense string clusters which form the backdrop to these works - in this respect the music is comparable to the kind of textures conjured by Ligeti and Penderecki in the 1960s. But in his use of percussion and chant-like pentatonic lines, Sculthorpe evokes primitive cultures,archaic and alien, and as removed from modern civilisation as the landscape they inhabit. Memento Mori is a meditation on death, and uses the Dies Irae as an ostinato, underpinning the work's somber, meditative mood of resignation. Adelaide Symphony Orchestra; David Porcelijn. ABC Classics 454 505-2 (Australia) 11H069 $17.98 >

PETER SCULTHORPE (b.1929): Cello Dreaming, Quamby, Nourlangie for Guitar and Orchestra, Music for Bali. Aboriginal chant, plainchant and the 'orientalism' of the indigenous musics of the south Pacific pervade these characteristic examples of Sculthorpe's evocative and typically elegiac and sombre orchestral writing. The co-existence of a modally-inflected Romanticism of considerable warmth and fullness of texture - not entirely unlike the darker passages of the Vaughan Williams symphonies - and dissonant, almost pitchless clusters in a far more modern idiom, lend Sculthorpe's music its unique quality, perfectly evoking the forbidding aspects of the landscapes out of which the music is born. The works on this disc, especially the powerful, brooding 'Quamby' (a mountainous region of Tasmania) and 'Nourlangie' (with its very non-Southern-European use of the solo guitar, suggesting a Graingeresque folk song connection, though more aboriginal than English provincial) tend more towards a Romantic kind of nature-painting with definite echoes of Mahler and late Sibelius, though scurrying insect sounds and haunting bird calls leave us in no doubt as to the nature of the landscape to which the music transports us. Sue-Ellen Paulsen (cello), Karin Schaupp (guitar), Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra; Richard Mills. ABC Classics 476 7627 (Australia) 11H070 $17.98 >

RICHARD MILLS (b.1949): Aeolian Caprices, Soundscapes for Percussion and Orchestra, Seaside Dances, Fantastic Pantomimes. Composer/conductor Mills studied under Rubbra and is also a percussionist. The latter often comes to the fore in his compositions and not just the gorgeous and richly evocative Soundscapes - a four-movement concerto whose primary impulses are rhythm and color and whose magical nocturne, evoking Brisbane gardens, is full of fantastical soundscapes. Percussion is also highlighted in the Pantomimes, a work written to showcase orchestral soloists on a Far East tour, supporting string and wind soloists but Mills also shows in the strings-only Seaside Dances, an often whimsical, sometimes contemplative ballet suggested by an e.e. cummings poem, that he can produce rewarding music which holds the attention even without it. Queensland Symphony Orchestra; Richard Mills, Werner Andreas Albert. ABC Classics Eloquence 476 7595 (Australia) 11H071 $11.98 >

BRETT DEAN (b.1961): Ariel's Music for Clarinet and Orchestra, Amphitheatre, Beggars and Angels. First chair violist in the Berlin Philharmonic from 1985-2000, Dean has now returned to Australia as a full-time composer. The two main works here are 1995's Ariel's Music, inspired by the deaths of American Elsiabeth Glaser and her daughter from AIDS, which exhibits effective string writing, a strong sense of drama and effective handling of motivic material in its ebbing and flowing first movement and tense and desperate "dance of death" successor. Beggars and Angels (1999) was suggested by a Berlin exhibition of sculpted beggars and painted angels and falls into two sections, one of frequent mood shifts and violent climaxes and one much calmer, more sparse and dreamy. This should repay listening by serious collectors not looking for neo-Romanticism. Paul Dean (clarinet), Melbourne Symphony Orchestra; Markus Stenz. ABC Classics 476 160-6 (Australia) 11H072 $17.98 >

HERBERT HOWELLS (1892-1983): Missa Sabrinensis for Soprano, Contralto, Tenor, Baritone, Chorus and Orchestra, Stabat Mater for Tenor, Chorus and Orchestra. Howell's huge mass from 1954, infamous for performance problems that year and in 1956, was not successfully given until 1982. Lasting 76 minutes and using huge orchestral forces (with a phenomenally intense and brilliant Gloria making quite unusually intensive use of trumpets), this is a visionary work which transcends its religious texts and can stand as the ultimate achievement of the line of English vocal-orchestral works by Vaughan Williams, Holst and Finzi. The Stabat Mater (finally finished in 1965 although begun seven years earlier) was influenced by the apparent march to nuclear holocaust of those years and Howells produced music of extraordinary desolation and dereliction of spirit which could also turn into sudden flashes of beatific glory. 2 CDs for the price of 1. Janice Watson (soprano), Della Jones (mezzo), Martyn Hill (tenor), Donald Maxwell (baritone), Neill Archer (tenor - Stabat Mater), London Symphony Chorus and Orchestra; Gennady Rozhdestvensky. Original 1994 and 1995 Chandos releases. Chandos 241-27 (England) 11H073 $17.98

RANDALL THOMPSON (1899-1984): The Place of the Blest for Treble Voices and Chamber Orchestra, DAN LOCKLAIR (b.1949): Brief Mass and Pater Noster for Chorus, WALTER PISTON (1894-1976): Prelude and Allegro for Organ and Strings. Locklair's a cappella mass of some 17 minutes is a simple, spare work for the Anglican service which, in some ways, recalls the work of the holy minimalists while Thompson's 1969 cantata - more expansive at 21 minutes - is a lovely, pastorally-inclined piece more likely to make one think of English composers. Texts included. Judith Hancock (organ), Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys, Orchestra of St. Luke's; Gerre Hancock. Koch International Classics 7576 (U.S.A.) 11H074 $16.98

RENÉ GERBER (b.1908): Le Songe d'une nuit d'été. To suggest that René Gerber's 'Midsummer Night's Dream' opera is conservative or conventional is to miss the point completely. Gerber's language is entirely tonal, but never in a point-proving, return-to-romanticism-after-the-excesses-of-the-avant-garde manner. If the idea of an opera that could quite well have been written by Saint-Saëns being composed in 1981 doesn't offend you, then sit back and luxuriate in the rich pleasures afforded by this beautiful, classically elegant, romantically warm score. The composer's concern that the solo voices be clearly audible and comprehensible throughout is amply realised in the exemplary clarity of his orchestration and the grateful and graceful characterisation of his vocal lines - one can easily imagine that this charming work affords as much pleasure to its performers as to its audience. 2 CDs. French libretto. Vocalists, Neuchâtel Symphony Orchestra; Théo Loosli. Musiques Suisses MGB CD 6210 (Switzerland) 11H075 $37.98

KURT SCHWERTSIK (b.1935): Irdische Klänge, Op. 37, Der irdischen Klänge 2. Teil, Op. 45, Das Ende der irdischen Klänge, Op. 60, Inmitten der irdischen Klänge, Op. 64, Baumgesänge, Op. 65. You may ask what this Austrian chameleon composer is doing on ABC Classics and I'll draw your attention to opus 64, whose subtitle, Uluru, is the aboriginal name for the famous Ayers Rock. An 18-minute work, it richly evokes the desolation and mystery of the Australian outback and begins and ends with the song of the indigenous butcher bird. The piece itself is part of a series with "Earthly Sounds" in their titles (dateing from 1980 to 1992), pieces with a wide variety of origins and Schwertsik's characteristic widely eclectic mixture of styles. Although the earliest was inspired by his teacher Stockhausen's 1971 Trans (for orchestra and tape) and has some modernistic features, the vast majority of the music here is tonal, approachable and often deeply involving since Schwertsik can create a mood with the best and always wants to communicate with his audience. Adelaide Symphony Orchestra; David Porcelijn. ABC Classics 476 735-2 (Australia) 11H076 $17.98 >

ELENA KATS-CHERNIN (b.1957): Piano Concerto No. 2, Wild Swans - Concert Suite, Mythic. Most of the music on this disc may be broadly characterised as 'romantic post-minimalism' in the best sense of the term. If you enjoyed the Alexandre Rabinovich discs we offered in the past few years, or if Glass' best film and stage scores are your sort of thing, then this disc will be self-recommending. However, Kats-Chernin casts her net a bit wider than this might suggest; the fifth movement of the Wild Swans ballet suite, for example, has something of jazz-derived Milhaud about it, and although the bulk of the music is of the consonant but with ambiguously dissonant undertones variety that has become a staple of post-minimalism, some passages are more harmonically free-ranging, with fleeting echoes of Ravel, Prokofiev, even Sibelius. Applying these principles to a piano concerto produces very much what one might expect; a hugely appealing and unashamedly populist work - Prokofiev meets Michel Legrand. Mythic is a brooding tone-poem, the most conventionally Romantic work here, for a good part of its duration rather incongruously suggesting Michael Nyman in full 'Draughtsman's Contract' mode basing a piece on fragments of Rachmaninov rather than Purcell. A very enjoyable disc. Ian Munro (piano), Jane Sheldon (soprano - Wild Swans), Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra; Ola Rudner. ABC Classics 476 7639 (Australia) 11H077 $17.98 >

GORDON KERRY (b.1961): Nocturne for Double Chamber Orchestra, Concerto for Cello, Strings and Percussion, Bright Meniscus, Heart's Clarion for Trumpet and Strings, Harvesting the solstice thunders. These works are all commissions and often have extra-musical subtexts but, at their best, they conjure a sense of drama and pull the listener into a compelling, individual sound world (as in Bright Meniscus which pictures Canberra floating in its vast surrounding landscape as if on water and harvesting, a different kind of turbulent sea-scape). The music is freely tonal and generally approachable; even mildly adventurous collectors will find much to enjoy here. Sue-Ellen Paulsen (cello), Geoffrey Payne (trumpet), Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra; David Porcelijn. ABC Classics 476 226-8 (Australia) 11H078 $17.98 >

ROGER SMALLEY (b.1943): Oboe Concerto, Kaleidescope, Cello Concerto, ALEXANDER SCRIABIN (1872-1915): 10 Poems for Chamber Orchestra (transc. Smalley). British-born composer-pianist Smalley has been involved in many aspects of contemporary music throughout his active career. The oboe concerto has an easy-going liveliness, often suggesting Bartók and a contemporary interpretation of folk idioms, then disconcertingly introducing more modern-sounding material, including the subtle employment of quarter-tones. The recent Kaleidoscope (2003) is a glittering polyphonic elaboration of a solo flute piece from 12 years earlier; similarly, the cello concerto was completed some ten years after the first parts of it were written. Allusions to music of the Romantic period (a device used not infrequently by Smalley) provide a tonal underpinning to a work of tense harmonic ambiguity. T he disc concludes with elegant transcriptions for chamber orchestra of ten piano pieces by Scriabin, faithfully preserving the wandering harmonic ambivalence of the originals while highlighting the coloristic potential that they suggest. Joel Marangella (oboe), Raphael Wallfisch (cello), West Australian Symphony Orchestra; Roger Smalley. ABC Classics 980 047-5 (Australia) 11H079 $17.98 >

ROSS EDWARDS (b.1943): White Ghost Dancing, Veni Creator Spiritus, Concerto for Guitar and Strings, Mountain village in a Clearing Mist, Chorale and Ecstatic Dance. This disc forms an ideal introduction to his styles. One is a meditative, Pärt-like mood, in which elements of plainchant are to be found - Veni Creator Spiritus is predominantly of this type. Then there are the works with an active, optimistic feel, which incorporate dance-like elements (and have, in fact, frequently been choreographed). The outer movements of the delightful concerto and the dance section of Enyato I, with their modality and attractive surface textures, fall into this category. Edwards' music seems to be among the most successful examples of East-West fusion, born of a very Romantic æsthetic which renders the works more eventful than much of the Western 'new spirituality' which all too often takes on an over-familiar and excessively reverential aspect. Karin Schaupp (guitar), Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra; Richard Mills. ABC Classics 476 227-0 (Australia) 11H080 $17.98 >

ROSS EDWARDS (b.1943): Maninyas - Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, Symphony Da Pacem Domine, Yarrageh - Nocturne for Solo Percussion and Orchestra. In his more recent music, Edwards has departed from at least some of the conventions of Western concert music, incorporating influences from the East in an attempt to explore the spiritual and regenerative power of music. For all its meditative nature and the modal and pentatonic scales employed, the evocation of the gamelan and so on, the concerto sounds like a violin concerto, with a florid (though not especially showy) solo part, including a cadenza. The symphony sounds at least like a symphonic poem, again rich in orchestration and refusing to linger statically within a limited range of expression. In this sense the music is closer to Hovhaness than Pärt or Tavener, for example. Yarrageh continues this ritualistic style, suggesting both the vast expanses of the Australian landscape and an inner, spiritual landscape that transcends the merely physical. Dene Olding (violin), Ian Cleworth (percussion), Sydney Symphony Orchestra; Stuart Challender, David Porcelijn. ABC Classics 438 610-2 (Australia) 11H081 $17.98 >

ROSS EDWARDS (b.1943): Piano Concerto (Dennis Hennig, Queensland Symphony Orchestra; Myer Fredman), MALCOLM WILLIAMSON (1931-2003): Concerto for 2 Pianos and Strings (Williamson, Simon Campion, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra; Barry Tuckwell), PETER SCULTHORPE (b.1929): Piano Concerto (Anthony Fogg, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra; Fredman). All three of these works are instantly appealing on first hearing and full of memorable melodies and orchestration. Thus, all were savaged by critics on their first performances with the notes providing some memorable quotes. But collectors will delight in the exuberant rhythms in the outer movements and the pentatonic, Japanese flavor of the slow movement of Edwards' concerto, Sculthorpe's mix of Rachmaninov and Ravel with gagaku melody and gamelan imitations and Williamson's pan-Northern Hemisphere flashes of reminiscences from Bartok and Messaien to Britten and Hindemith to Richard Rogers and Bernstein. ABC Classics Eloquence 426 483-2 (Australia) 11H082 $11.98 >

LARRY SITSKY (b.1934): The Golem. The Golem story is Sitsky's largest and most ambitious work to date, a grand opera in every sense of the term, amply illustrating the dark and menacing aspects of this cautionary tale. The music, despite the huge forces involved, is frequently spare and economical, small groupings of instruments and even solo and chamber textures predominating. This has the effect of placing the emphasis of the drama on the soloists and the chorus. Harmonically speaking the music is predominantly freely chromatic, often nearing the boundaries of atonality, though the composer's frequent use of leitmotifs and recurring gestures to underline key words and phrases in the libretto provides a clearly assimilable structure to guide the listener through the narrative. Libretto included. Limited edition, numbered and signed by the composer. 3 CDs. Mid-price. Raymond Myers, Kerry Henderson (baritones), Linda Thompson (soprano), Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra; Christopher Lyndon Gee. ABC Classics 472 311-2 (Australia) 11H083 $38.98 >

GRAEME KOEHNE (b.1956): Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra, 2 Nocturnes, 3 Poems of Byron for Mezzo-Soprano and Orchestra, Powerhouse, Unchained Melody. Those of you who discovered Koehne last May (05G088) when we offered a Naxos disc with two of these compositions (Powerhouse and Melody), will want to hear his earlier work as well. The Nocturnes and Capriccio date from the two years Koehne spent in the U.S. studying with Virgil Thomson and represent the transitionary period between his youthful Boulezian modernity and the popular culture, American cartoon-music, Xavier Cugat-inspired delirium on the the Naxos disc. Capriccio is quite neo-classical, as indebted to Mozart as to Stravinsky while the lush, nocturnal textures of Nocturnes are derived from the French school of Ravel and Debussy as filtered down through Nadia Boulanger and Thomson. The three Byron settings are neo-Romantic in the best way. Gorgeous stuff! Elizabeth Campbell (soprano), Adelaide Symphony Orchestra; David Porcelijn, Janos Furst. ABC Classics 442 349-2 (Australia) 11H084 $17.98 >

ELLIOTT CARTER (b.1908): Violin Concerto, Holiday Overture, 4 Lauds for Solo Violin. The concerto of 1990 was one of the first works from Carter's very productive late period. While unmistakably in his mature style, with characteristic counterpoint of simultaneous lines and polyrhythms, the presence of the long-breathed and almost continuous violin line provides a sense of continuity that entirely belies the complexity of the work, rendering it as accessible and appealing as the much earlier Variations for orchestra. The delightful Holiday Overture, an under-rated early work (1944) full of joie de vivre and a genial open-air quality, suggests the most elegant Stravinskyan neoclassicism brought to bear on Coplandish Americana. The sophisticated virtuosity of the four Lauds demonstrate clearly that even when constrained by the limitations of a single instrument and a five-minute timescale for each, Carter's prolific imagination is by no means compromised; the pieces are as distinct one from another and as expressive as one might wish, and, almost incidentally, provide a formidable technical tour de force for the suitably equipped soloist. Rolf Schulte (violin), Odense Symphony Orchestra; Justin Brown, Donald Palma (overture). Bridge 9177 (U.S.A.) 11H085 $16.98

FRANCO DONATONI (1927-2000): L'ultima sera for Female Voice, Violin, Cello, Flute, Clarinet and Piano, Lied for 2 Violins, 2 Violas, 2 Flutes, 2 Clarinets, Celesta, Piano, Harp and Vibraphone, Arpège for Violin, Cello, Flute, Clarinet, Piano and Vibraphone, Ash for String Trio, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Harpsichord and Piano, For Grilly for String Trio, Flute, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet and Percussion, Lumen for Viola, Cello, Piccolo, Bass Clarinet, Celesta and Vibraphone. These works chart a quarter-century in the development of Donatoni's highly individual compositional style, beginning with the subtle, whispering pointillism of For Grill. Twelve years later, the textures of Lied are more continuous, as is the meticulous use of dissonance - the work contains almost no single notes, every sound being harmonised at a close and dissonant inteval. Lumen and Ash continue this trend; the works are still highly structured and consist of tiny droplets of instrumental sound, but by now a kind of obscure continuous thread that one might suspect of being intended as a melody is beginning to emerge. Luisa Castellani (soprano), Gruppo Musica Insieme de Cremona; Andrea Molino. Stradivarius STR 33315 (Italy) 11H086 $17.98

JOHN CASKEN (b.1949): Infanta Marina for Cor Anglais and Small Ensemble (Rachel Pankhurst [cor], Ensemble 10/10; Clark Rundell), Après un silence for Violin and Piano (Lesley Hatfield [violin], Andrew Ball [piano]), Firewhirl for Soprano and Ensemble (Patricia Rozario [soprano], Ensemble 10/10; Rundell), Piano Quartet (Psappha), Après un silence for Violin and Large Ensemble (Kyra Humphries [violin], RNCM New Ensemble; Rundell), Salamandra - Fire-Haunt for 2 Pianos (Ball, Julian Jacobson [pianos]), Amarantos for Ensemble (Ensemble 10/10; Rundell), Distant Variations for Saxophone Quartet and Wind Orchestra (Apollo Saxophone Quartet, RNCM Wind Orchestra; Rundell). Infanta Marina is characteristically restrained and serious in mood, avoiding bravura display in favor of eloquent discourse between the soloist and ensemble. Après is tense, questioning, offering little in the way of repose or resolution; the same might be said of Firewhirl, setting a poem of George Macbeth, vividly portraying a kind of Finnish 'rite of spring', in music of gritty concentration. The piano quartet, in common with the other works here is largely freely tonal and tightly organised, with a passionate intensity achieved without resorting to avant-garde special effects, relying instead on the closely argued working of the material to make its impact. Salamandra is a virtuosic and eruptive evocation of fire imagery, a common theme in Casken's output, while Amaranto alternates between a mood of elegiac sobriety and one of harmonically ambiguous unease. Sharing the musical argument more or less equally between the 'solo' group of saxophones and the wind ensemble lends Distant Variations the air of a Baroque concerto grosso, in which a constant tension and dialogue is present in the organic dialogue between the protagonists, suggesting more an interaction of natural forces than human discourse. An essential collection for the full appreciation of one of Britain's most accomplished and recognised composers of his generation. 2 CDs. Metier MSV CD92076 (England) 11H087 $33.98

BEAT FURRER (b.1954): 3 Klavierstücke, Voiceslessnes: The snow has no voice, Phasma. Furrer's succinct output for solo piano might usefully be described as a series of anatomical studies of the piano in the twentieth century. The Klavierstücke explore, briefly but obsessively, details of the piano's capabilities - detached simple chords and intervals at precisely graduated dynamics; repeated rapid figuration in the highest register, or colorful chord sequences, as though illustrating the concept behind certain gestures in composers as diverse as Sorabji, Finnissy or Messiaen; pedal effects. The early Voicelessness with its distant bell-sounds suggests a very specific kind of Impressionistic winter landscape. The subtle underpinning of muted clusters in Phasma provides a backdrop to an increasingly complex spiral of gestures, suggesting time standing still while space expands. At the very least this music is provocative, and in the case of Phasma especially, it points to the development of a very personal and unusual æsthetic in piano writing. Nicolas Hodges (piano). Kairos 0012382KAI (Austria) 11H088 $15.98

GERD ZACHER (b.1929): 7 Stationen eines Textes nach Jeremia 36, Szmaty, Vocalise, Diferencias, Realisation über Cage's "Variations I", Ré for Organ and Intonateur. Zacher's compositions betray only the slightest influence of his teacher Messiaen, limited to certain characteristic gestures and chord structures, being in general more abstract, less tonal and frequently suggesting free improvisation rather than the meticulously organised formal schemes of the master of 20th century organ music. The resources of the organ are exploited to the full, with innovative use being made of the swell-box and unusual registration in wide-ranging clusters and extreme bass and treble sounds, quite frequently suggesting 'extended' performing techniques, not strictly possible on an entirely mechanical instrument (though varying wind pressure and half-opening valves certainly extend the organ's familiar vocabulary). Serial techniques and updated formal structures from the Baroque and before (cantus firmus, variation form) are more a part of the "composer's workshop" than necessarily audible features of the actual sound of the works. Gerd Zacher (organ of the Evangelical Church, Essen-Rellinghausen), Ingo Vinck (intonateur). Cybele SACD hybrid disc 060.501 (Germany) 11H089 $16.98

LUCIANO BERIO (1925-2003): Stanze, Rendering. Berio's final work, Stanze (2003) sets five texts treating the subject of death and its meaning in a world that may or may not be the concern of a benevolent or vengeful God. Musically it joins the canon of Berio's highly personal and unmistakable output for voices and orchestra, dating back to the 1960s, especially the seminal Sinfonia. Less vehement and more elegiac than the earlier work, the shade of Mahler looms large in the background, though here it is the Mahler of Das Lied and the Ninth Symphony. Late 20th-century as Berio's vocabulary may be it is far more closely related to early Schoenberg than to his Darmstadt contemporaries. A deeply moving and major work by one of the towering figures of our time. Dietrich Henschel (baritone), French Army Chorus, Orchestre de Paris; Christoph Eschenbach. Ondine ODE 1059 (Finland) 11H090 $17.98

LEO KRAFT (b.1922): Clarinet Concerto, Symphony in One Movement, Jacob Wrestles with the Angel for Large Orchestra, Pacific Bridges for String Orchestra and Clarinet Obbigato. The concerto is a lively and rhythmically propulsive work in which the solo instrument's long association with American 'popular' music is allowed a prominent role. The result is somewhat reminiscent of Bernstein. Although played continuously, the symphony falls into four sections which conform more-or-less to the familiar symphonic outline. Like the other works here it is not especially modern, falling somewhere between Bernstein and Shostakovich in overall harmonic language. Jacob employs a somewhat more dissonant idiom, at least in part, as befits the drama of the Old Testament story, but here too, the language is very tonal. Pacific Bridges is an American's attempt to express a neighbourly connection to Japan, and to this end he employs some elements of a whole-tone inflected scale, without deliberately imitating 'oriental' music. The work's six brief movements are somewhat contrasted in mood, though all share a gentle seriousness, as befits their 'bridge-building' intention. Roger Salander (clarinet), Zbigniew Kaleta (clarinet - Pacific Bridges), Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra; Joel Eric Suben, Jerzy Kosek (Pacific Bridges). Centaur CRC 2756 (U.S.A.) 11H091 $16.98

ROSS LEE FINNEY (1906-1997): Violin Sonata No. 2, Violin Sonata No. 3 in A, Fantasy in Two Movements for Solo Violin, Fiddle-doodle-ad: 8 American Folk Tunes for Violin and Piano. Finney's violin works, as presented here, strike a particularly happy balance between compositional sophistication and readily appealing stylistic approachability. Finney embraced a highly personal version of serialism in the 1950s, in which he ingeniously manipulates his note-rows to embrace a very clear sense of tonal centres. The layout of both sonatas is clear and concise, the lively and contrasting material contained within precisely defined traditional structures. The third sonata is especially expressive, a driven and emotionally ambiguous journey through a shadowy landscape. The composer had a lifelong fascination with American folksong, and in his respectful and affectionate arrangements (recalling Bartók's and, especially, Grainger's pioneering ethnomusicological work), the roots of the lyrical eloquence that informs his concert works can clearly be found. Miranda Cuckson (violin), Thomas Sauer (piano). Centaur CRC 2757 (U.S.A.) 11H092 $16.98

CARLOS CHÁVEZ (1899-1978): Complete Chamber Music, Vol. 3 - Xochipilli, An Imaginary Aztec Music for Piccolo, Flute, Clarinet, Trombone and Percussion, Toccata for Percussion, 4 melodíás tradicionales for Mezzo-Soprano and Ensemble, Tambuco for Percussion, Lamentaciónes for Mezzo-Soprano, Piccolo, Oboe and Percussion, Cantos de México for Large Ensemble, Antígona, apuntes para la sinfonía for Piccolo, Oboe, English Horn, Clarinet, Trumpet, Harp and Percussion, 3 exágonos and Otros 3 exágonos for Soprano, Flute/Piccolo, Oboe/English Horn, Viola, Bassoon and Piano, Partita for Solo Timpani. These works for, or prominently featuring, percussion demonstrate once again the remarkable compositional range of Mexico's most famous composer. They are very diverse in style, from the profoundly lyrical 4 Songs to the Toccata andTambuco, which make full use of a wide range of pitched and unpitched pecussion, including a number of colorful and unfamiliar traditional instruments. From the subtlest whispering sounds to intensely dramatic, driving, explosive climaxes, the wealth of invention exhibited here is nothing short of astonishing. The level of instrumental virtuosity required is often of a very high order indeed - the Partita is a thrilling tour de force, elevating timpani writing to almost unprecedented levels. Spanish-English texts. Southwest Chamber Music; Jeff von der Schmidt. Cambria CD 8852 (U.S.A.) 11H093 $16.98

ZYGMUNT KRAUZE (b.1939): Monody and Fugue, 2 Inventions, 3 Studies, Intermezzo, 5 Piano Pieces, Gnomes' Dances, La chanson du mal'aimé, 6 Folk Melodies, Triptych, Music Box Waltz, Refrain, Nightmare Tango. Krauze (himself a pianist) plainly sees himself as part of the piano tradition stretching back to the earliest years of the 20th century (Debussy, Ravel) and before (Chopin) though his economical textures avoid too close an affinity with the highest piano-Romanticism. In writing predominanly tonal and highly pianistic music for his instrument, clearly of our time, Krauze invites comparison with composers such as Ronald Stevenson and (especially, in view of the lucidity and unfussy clarity of the writing) Alan Bush. The elements of folk-derived idioms in several of the shorter pieces renders them exceedingly approachable; the two largest works here, 1964's Triptych and the more recent Refrain allow more scope for the freely fantastic and more challenging and original aspects of the composer's imagination, while still preserving the astringent harmonic sense and openness of texture common to all the works. Iwona Mironiuk (piano). Dux 0477 (Poland) 11H094 $16.98

MOYA HENDERSON (b.1941): Lindy. The subject of Henderson's opera is the 'dingo took my baby' case which became a public and media witch-hunt in the 1980s. Appropriately dramatic and dark-hued as befits the telling of this disturbing tale, the music is tonal and vocally expressive, most readily comparable to Prokofiev and Britten among composers of 20th-century opera. 2 CDs. Libretto included. Joanna Cole (soprano), David Hobson (tenor), Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra; Richard Gill. ABC Classics 476 7489 (Australia) 11H095 $25.98 >

KLAUS HUBER (b.1924): Tenebrae for Large Orchestra, Protuberanzen for Orchestra, James Joyce Chamber Music for Harp, Horn and Chamber Orchestra, Intarsi for Piano and 17 Instruments. Huber's chosen æsthetic is not an 'easy' one, but amply rewarding to those prepared to put some effort into their listening. Not only do the works make use of complex, interwoven note-rows, but also of 'non-musical' instrumental sounds, microtones and aleatory. The spiritual concerns which underlie much of Huber's output - Tenebrae refers to the Passion, James Joyce not only to the poet's oblique poetic muse but also to a kind of personal spiritual quest - add an element of narrative to music of formidable abstraction and uncompromising formal austerity. These two earlier works incorporate elements of the kind of massed orchestral effects that we have come to associate with Lachenmann and his followers; by disconcerting contrast, Intarsi, paying obvious and overt tribute to Mozart, blends classical restraint with intricate and elegant contemporary polyphony and a complete avoidance of Romanticism-derived bombast. Protruberanzen was a response to an unusual commission, for a short work for large orchestra; in the version played here this result is achieved by overlapping the works' three sections to achieve a dense but by no means impenetrable or confused texture. Giovanna Reitano (harp), Miklós Nagy (horn), Michael Wendeberg (piano), Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra; Arturo Tamayo. Timpani 1C1075 (France) 11H096 $18.98

MICHAEL JARRELL (b.1958): Assonance III for Bass Clarinet, Cello and Piano, Eco IIb for Soprano and 6 Instruments, Aus Bebung for Clarinet and Cello, Trei II for Soprano and 5 Instruments, Essaims Cribles for Bass Clarinet/Contrabass Clarinet and Ensemble. Alternately somber and glittering, these ensemble works share a sensuous opulence which belies their apparent economy of resources. Especially in the vocal works, the influence of the Second Viennese school can be clearly felt; it is not for nothing that Trei II utilises the same forces as Pierrot Lunaire, and thoughout the composer expresses his thoughts with Webernian precision. For all its apparently abstract textures, and avoidance of reliance on tonality, the music is timbrally and harmonically rich, with a strong vein of lyricism in the eloquent vocal and clarinet writing. Françoise Kubler (soprano), Armand Angster (clarinets), Ensemble Accroche Note, Ensemble Linea; Jean-Philippe Wurtz. Accord 476 7196 (France) 11H097 $17.98

GERALD BARRY (b.1952): The Intelligence Park. A chamber opera which functions as a series of dramatic scenes ostensibly dealing with the subjects of creative inspiration and the conflict (and occasional co-operation) between intellect and emotion in a disjointed, absurdist and occasionally surreal manner, but less concerned with narrative coherence than with character-studies of the grotesques with whom the drama is populated. Barry is one of the most highly regarded British composers, critically lauded and much commissioned by the BBC and music festivals in the UK. While unmistakably of our time and mostly atonal, his idiom notably avoids the outer reaches of European abstraction, and his frequent recourse to rhythmically driven passages of music and a general avoidance of the level of complexity with which a number of his contemporaries challenge their listeners, renders his stage works in particular surprisingly assimilable even by those who might be wary of the more extreme aspects of contemporary music. 2 CDs. Libretto included. Richard Jackson (bass-baritone), Paul Harrhy (tenor), Stephen Richardson (bass), Angela Tunstall (soprano), Nicholas Clapton (countertenor), Buddug Verona James (contralto), Almeida Ensemble; Robert Houlihan. NMC D122 (England) 11H098 $37.98

JOHN LUTHER ADAMS (b.1953): Strange and Sacred Noise for Percussion. The vast and alien lanscapes of the composer's native Alaska, fractal geometry and chaos theory, and ancient, little-understood lost cultures all play a part in the genesis of this music. Scored for different groups of percussion, much of it unpitched, the work traverses a wide range of moods and effects, from the murmuring of massed marimba sounds, uncannily suggestive of the effect of speeded-up film of changing cloudscapes, to the unbridled and insistent violence of side drums and bells, visceral, hypnotic and intense. The imagery vividly suggested by these unabashedly eccentric combinations of sounds includes all manner of evocations of the natural world - rock, fire, water and ice, air, cloud and vacuum - evoking a sense of the insignificance of mankind in the face of the impersonal vastness of nature. Percussion Group Cincinnati. Mode 153 (U.S.A.) 11H099 $17.98

LEPO SUMERA (1950-2000): Concerto per voci e strumenti for Chorus and String Orchstra, Island Maiden's Song from the Sea for Chorus, Actors, Flute, Piano and Bass Drum, Mushroom Cantata for Chorus, Flute, Piano and Percussion, Though Your Homeland May Be in Dark For Long for Chorus. Sumera's music is like a breath of fresh air in contemporary music; serious, even profound, it does not take itself too seriously: sophisticated and exquisitely crafted, it is instantly assimilable and appealing: original and unique in style, it carries enough resonances of other, more familiar music to orient the first-time listener to the composer's sound-world. The treatment of language in these choral works is of interest; words are used for sound, not predominantly for meaning - the Concerto uses unconnected real words and nonsense syllables; the Mushroom Cantata uses the Latin names of Estonian fungi. Sumera is not the first composer to do this - one thinks of Toch's Geographical Fugue, or the mellifluous but essentially meaningless sound-poetry of the Sitwells in works by Walton and Lambert - but Sumera's usage is among the most successful and accomplished. His frequent use of insistent rhythms and ostinati and the sometimes ambiguous but always present tonality of his musical vocabulary is familiar from other established figures of the Baltic states and Scandinavia. Here and there one finds echoes of Orff, Shostakovich (the flute solo at the end of the first section of the Mushroom Cantata - very cheeky!), Stravinsky, Sibelius - but all integrated into a wholly original æsthetic. The Island Maiden sets a narrative text, an evocative tragedy expressed in sounds suggestive of waves and wind, fully demonstrating the affecting, emotional capabilities of the composer's unusual and innovative style. Estonian-English texts. Estonian Phiharmonic Chamber Choir, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra; Tonu Kaluste. BIS CD-1560 (Sweden) 11H100 $17.98

HANS CHRISTIAN LUMBYE (1810-1874): Complete Orchestral Works, Vol. 11 - Finale Galop from the Ballet Napoli, Eugénie Waltz, Polka militaire, Mjølner Galop, Greeting to Stockholm, Holger Danske, Maritana, The Alléenberg Steam Carousel Galop, The Paris Student, The Dream of the Young Mother, Echo from Denmark, Finale Galop from Il trovatore, Anna Waltz from the suite Julefestgave, Hopsa Galop from the suite Børneballet. Tivoli Symphony Orchestra; David Riddell. Marco Polo 8.225266 (New Zealand) 11H101 $9.98

SIGMUND ROMBERG (1887-1951): Maytime. First complete CD recording of the beloved romantic-comic operetta (1917) set in Artistic Director Stephen Daigle's version in 19th century New Orleans with musical reconstruction by Amanda Jacobs. 2 CDs. Libretto included. Ohio Light Opera; Steven Byess. Albany TROY 808/09 (U.S.A.) 11H102 $33.98

ALFRED SCHNITTKE (1934-1998): Film Music Edition, Vol. 1 - Suites from the films The Commissar and The Story of an Unknown Actor. Since much of Schnittke's concert music was contrary to the demands of Soviet Realism and he could not earn a living on its merits, the composer did so by writing film scores (more than 60 between 1961 and 1984). This new series derives from concert suites being made by the conductor at Schnittke's request and with the cooperation of his widow and publisher (Sikorski). Needless to say, collectors will not be familiar with these films and so, Schnittke specialists will be the primary target of the series. Generally, his polystylistic language fits the needs of films perfectly although the big, 47-minute score to The Commissar also uses pieces from his Fourth Symphony and this score has the widest variety of styles, from syrupy weepie to circus-music a la Shostakovich, to atonal mood music, to straight Romanticism - all quite fun to listen to although what may have been going on in the film is quite impossible to imagine! RSO Berlin; Frank Strobel. Capriccio SACD hybrid disc 71 041 (Germany) 11H103 $22.98

MICHEL LEGRAND (b.1932): Selections from the Films The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The Young Girls of Rochefort, The Summer of '42, Never Say Never Again, Best Friend, The Thomas Crown Affair, The Happy Ending, The Three Musketeers, Wuthering Heights, Brian's Song, Dingo, Yentl and The Go-Between. Composer of over 200 films scores and winner of three Academy Awards, Legrand was one of the most important film scorers of the last four decades of the 20th century and a look at the titles above reminds us that he worked in practically every genre possible and produced equally memorable results no matter what kind of film it was. These recordings were made last December. Flemish Radio Orchestra; Michel Legrand. Silva Screen SILCD1185 (England) 11H104 $16.98

LEROY ANDERSON (1908-1975): Piano Concerto in C, The Typewriter, The Waltzing Cat, Fiddle-Faddle, A Trumpeter's Lullaby, Horse and Buggy, Plink, Plank, Plunk!, Belle of the Ball, The Irish Washerwoman, The Last Rose of Summer, The Phantom Regiment, Pyramid Dance, Blue Tango, Bugler's Holiday, Sleigh Ride, The Syncopated Clock, Chicken Reel. Withdrawn after its premiere in 1953 for a revision which never took place, Anderson's piano concerto - his only large-scale work besides the musical Goldilocks - was only published in 1989. Its motives have the same good-humored, optimistic spirit of the rest of his popular uvre but allow for the more extended development demanded by the genre. Of the accompanying works, five are not on the Naxos collection, totalling roughly 35 minutes of music. Simon Tedeschi (piano), Melbourne Symphony Orchestra; Paul Mann. ABC Classics 476 158-9 (Australia) 11H105 $17.98 >

GEORGE PALMER (b.1947): Toccata for Double String Orchestra, 2 Waltzes, Threnody 1 (Supplication), Threnody 2 (Consolation), The Ruritanian Dances, Vocalise for Alto Sax. Collectors of music by Supreme Court justices (here, in New South Wales) will enjoy Palmer's sturdy and impressive Toccata, a 20-minute piece with equal amounts of homage paid to Beethoven and Bach and, in lighter style, the fictional Ruritanian Dances which seem to have elements from most American and European folk musics embedded. The shorter pieces are attractive essays in various types of emotion, couched in easily approachable idioms not far, sometimes, from light music. Andrew Robson (sax), The Cove Chamber Orchestra; Stephen Williams. ABC Classics 476 261-2 (Australia) 11H106 $17.98 >