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Richard Hol

Symphonies Nos. 2 & 4

RICHARD HOL (1824-1904): Symphony No. 2 in D Minor, Op. 44, Symphony No. 4 in A. Chandos complete the cycle of Hol's symphonies with this pair, the first of which dates from 1866 and the other from 1889 (not published and edited from manuscript for this recording). As in the previous release, Hol shows that, while he's a chronological contemporary of Brahms, he is a musical contemporary of Schubert, Mendelssohn and Schumann, especially in the Second. The surprising thing about the Fourth is its youthful, even operatic playfulness and slight influences of Dvorák may be possible in the scherzo's trio and the second theme of the first movement; there is also a slight Brahmsian feel to the Adagio non troppo before the festive finale looks back to, especially, Mendelssohn. Fine examples of mature Romantic symphonism from a country which has a lot more of them to offer... Residentie Orchestra The Hague; Matthias Bamert. Chandos 9952 (England) 10D001 $16.98


HANS VON BÜLOW (1830-1894): Nirvana, Op. 20, FELIX WEINGARTNER (1863-1942): Lustige Ouverture, Op. 53, ROBERT HEGER (1886-1978): Verdi Variations, Op. 23, GEORGE SZELL (1897-1970): Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 4. It's not surprising that conductors would be drawn to the variation form for original compositions since they are perfect vehicles for displaying their mastery of orchestration and this is exactly what the 18-year-old Szell delivers in his bright, chipper and flirtatious set while Heger's 1933 entry treats a theme from Un Ballo in Maschera in a similarly light fashion. Bülow's piece is a young man's passionate reaction to Schopenhauer's pessimistic philosophy (although it took 12 years from the work's genesis in 1854 for it to be completed). In the composer's own words, "This suicide attempt in sound..." is an almost totally unrelieved struggle drenched in darkness and pessimism whose philosophical and tonal relationships with Tristan und Isolde are hardly coincidental. Weingartner's overture dates from his fiftieth year and revels in sheer exuberant playfulness. National Philharmonic of Lithuania; Leon Botstein. Arabesque Z6752 (U.S.A.) 10D002 $17.98

ALAN HOVHANESS (1911-2000): Symphony No. 15 "Silver Pilgrimage", Op. 199, Mountain of Prophecy, Op. 195, Vision from High Rock, Op. 195, GREGORY SHORT (1938-1999): Mount Takhoma, MICHAEL YOUNG (b.1939): Secrets. Aficionados of Hovhaness' unique brand of musical mysticism, often centered on mountains (although the symphony takes its title from an Indian novel), will also enjoy Short's musical description of what is more commonly known as Mt. Rainier and Secrets, the second (slow) movement of Young's Mountain Symphony No. 1 of 1987-8. The former builds in linear fashion to a crescendo and back to diminuendo again with a blaze of polytonal harmony representing the eruption of Little Takhoma on the flank of the bigger mountain while the latter revolves around the pentatonic tuning of vibes, harp, flute and wind chimes, producing a haunting lyricism. Northwest Symphony Orchestra; Anthony Spain. Koch International Classics 7399 (U.S.A.) 10D003 $16.98

ERIK CHISHOLM (1904-1965): Piano Concerto No. 1 "Piobaireachd", Sonatina in G Minor, Elegies Nos. 1-4, Sonatina No. 4, Star Point, With Cloggs On. Erik Chisholm was a phenomenon in British musical life; the composer who as a young man persuaded Bartók, Szymanowski, Sorabji and Hindemith to appear in his concert series in Depression-era Scotland, and in general a whirlwind of energy, mainly on behalf of other people's music, though this did not prevent him from being a prolific composer and accomplished performer in his own right. His first piano concerto derives from his study of Scottish bagpipe music (he was quite the ethnomusicologist in all his spare time, of which he had none, apparently), and although this kind of Pibroch-derived concert music has been done more idiomatically and successfully, pre-eminently by Ronald Stevenson, this is certainly a work of considerable appeal in the tradition of big Romantic piano concertos, with a great deal of local color. The solo piano works are also all tonal and solidly written for the instrument, with again an abundance of rhythmic devices and modal harmonies laced with drone-like dissonance suggesting and evoking Scottish folk music without going as far as the concerto. NOTE: This CD will not play on DVD/Combo players! Murray McLachlan (piano), Kelvin Ensemble. Dunelm Records DRD0174 (England) 10D004 $16.98

FRANZ SCHREKER (1878-1934): Orchestral Works, Vol. 2 - Romantic Suite, Op. 14, Vorspiel zu einer großen Oper, 5 Gesänge for Mezzo-Soprano and Orchestra, Prelude to Das Spielwerk. Chandos' opulent sound is the perfect vehicle for another volume of the haunted, rich decaying Romanticism of Schreker. New is the prelude to an opera which premiered in 1911, just two years before Der ferne Klang; not quite new but still less-known are the five songs which date from 1909 but which were not orchestrated until 1922 whose dissonant harmonies, restless chromaticisms and more eerie effects clothe the musings of a woman seeking her missing lover, lamenting his absence, losing hope and finally looking forward to her own death in the final song whose iridescent harmonies summon up a Klimt-like image of incense, flowers and biers. German-English texts. Katarina Karnéus (mezzo), BBC Philharmonic; Vassily Sinaisky. Chandos 9951 (England) 10D005 $16.98

ERICH WOLFGANG KORNGOLD (1897-1957): Schauspiel Overture, Op. 4, Märchenbilder, Op. 3, Prelude and Carnival from Violanta, Op. 8, Straussiana, Theme and Variations, Op. 42, Tales of Strauss, Op. 21. The latest release in what appears to be an ongoing series from ASV pairs two works of Korngold's early teens with two post-war commissions (Straussiana reorchestrates Fürstin Ninetta, the "BittelSchön polka from Cagliostro in Wien and a waltz from Ritter Pasman while the Theme and Variations uses a simple, original theme with all of Korngold's mature orchestrational skill) and the first modern recording of Franz Kopriva's orchestration of a piano fantasia on Strauss themes which Korngold wrote in 1927 and whose orchestration he approved. Bruckner Orchestra Linz; Caspar Richter. ASV DCA 1108 (England) 10D006 $16.98

EDMUND RUBBRA (1901-1986): Symphonies Nos. 1-11. The symphonies without the fillers; for those of you who did not collect the whole cycle, this is very fiscally efficient way to have one of the 20th century's most remarkable and personal symphony cycles. 5 CDs for the price of 4. Lynne Dawson (soprano), Della Jones (contralto), Stephen Roberts (baritone), BBC National Chorus and Orchestra of Wales; Richard Hickox. Chandos 9944(5) (England) 10D007 $67.98

MAXIMILIAN STEINBERG (1883-1946): Symphony No. 1 in D, Op. 3, Prélude symphonique, Op. 7, Fantaisie dramatique, Op. 9. These works reflect Steinberg's St. Petersburg Conservatory training under such greats as Lyadov, Glazunov and Rimsky-Korsakov, whose daughter he would soon marry. The symphony, which is dedicated to Glazunov, shows not only his influence but also that of Tchaikovsky, Dvorák, and even early Scriabin and Rachmaninov. The Prélude commemorates his father-in-law's death and uses Russian Orthodox, liturgical motifs as well as some of Rimsky's themes. Can you guess where they come from? Fantaisie is a small symphonic poem depicting a mountain scene described in a passage from Ibsen's "Brand". It marks the end of Steinberg's first creative period and hints at the greater harmonic sophistication of his later works. This is an exciting release and an absolute must for all Russophiles. Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra; Neeme Järvi. Special European Import. Deutsche Grammophon 457 607-2 (Germany) 10D008 $21.98

ALEXANDER MOYZES (1906-1984): Symphony No. 7, Op. 50, Symphony No. 8 "21.08.1968", Op. 64. Moyzes' Seventh is a reaction to the early death of his daughter (shades of Suk's Asrael!). Composed between 1954-55, the work's first two movements are a Pastorale which echoes a Slovak folk song on a wistful flute and which, after development, flows attacca into a scherzo, also using Slovak folk idoms. So far, the work is in the typical "slow-fast" form of many Central European folk traditions. However, a Largo follows with a beautiful meditative melody which develops uneasiness and leads to outright despair and sorrow; the closing finale wraps up reminiscences of all three previous movements and works itself into a state of rejoicing and the necessary return to daily living. Where the Seventh looks back to Suk (and even Mahler), the Eighth was motivated by the event memorialized in its subtitle - the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia and its anger, depression, sadness and defiance have their inspirations in the symphonies of Shostakovich. Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra; Ladislav Slovák. Marco Polo 8.225091 (New Zealand) 10D009 $14.98

LEOPOLD GODOWSKY (1780-1938): Piano Music, Vol. 5 - Sonata in E Minor, Menuet No. 1, Au Jardin des Fleurs, Twilight Thoughts No. 2, Sérénade. The huge 1911 sonata has five movements, the outer of which are huge themselves (amounting to 36 of the work's 54 minutes in this performance), leading a path through passionate intensity, fine lyricism and gentle melancholy before, in the finale, culminating in a masterly fugue and a solemn march. The interior movements are lighter: a singing Andante, a bright scherzo and a waltz-tinged Allegretto grazioso e dolce. The companion pieces are closer to the salon although Au Jardin des Fleurs grows to a certain level of intensity. Konstantin Scherbakov (piano). Marco Polo 8.223899 (New Zealand) 10D010 $14.98

FRANZ LEHÁR (1870-1948): Ballet Music form Peter und Paul im Schlaraffenland, Zigunerfest (Ballet Scene), Marschund Palótas from Wo die Lerche singt, Preludium religioso from Rodrigo, Ein Märchen aus 1001 Nacht (Scène phantastique), Fata Morgana (Konzert-gavotte), Korallenlippen (Polka mazurka), Resignation from Fürstenkind, Suite de Danse, Chinesische Ballett-Suite. cpo's recent interest in Lehár extends further with this compendium of suites, dances and intermezzi from works which span his entire career, the longest being the 1906 suite of ten numbers from a magic fairy tale "Peter and Paul in Cockaigne". The waltz and Hungarian elements are often, as would be expected, to the fore but the Preludium religioso also shows the young composer using, in 1893, the Italian verismo style while the "Fairy Tale from 1001 Nights" actually turns out to be much more Spanish than Oriental. RSO Berlin; Michail Jurowski. CPO 999 761 (Germany) 10D011 $15.98

CHARLES VILLIERS STANFORD (1852-1924): Piano Quartet No. 1 in F, Op. 15, Piano Trio No. 1 in E Flat, Op. 35. Stanford's piano and string chamber music is just starting to appear on CD. Why so long in coming? These two works date from 1879 and 1889 respectively. The quartet is full of youthful high spirits with a Brahmsian adagio that melts in your mouth. The trio is mellower and more mature with a minuet to replace the slow movement. Both works display the consummate craftsmanship which was Stanford's hallmark. Highly recommended. Pirasti Trio, Philip Dukes (viola). ASV DCA 1056 (England) 10D012 $16.98

FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886): Cantate zur Inauguration des Beethoven-Monuments (reconstr. Günther Massenkeil), LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827): Fantasy for Piano, Chorus and Orchestra in C Minor, Op. 80. The Liszt is an oddity from 1845 which uses, in part, a paraphrase from Beethoven's Archduke trio. Only an early autograph version survived without performance markings; the reconstruction dates from 1988. Liszt's earliest piece for large-scale vocal soloists, chorus and orchestra, it is an occasional piece in the literal sense (for the unveiling of the Beethoven Memorial Statue in Bonn) and its 27 minutes lend considerable eloquence to a naively panegyric text. German-English texts. Diana Damrau (soprano), Jörg Dürmüller (tenor), Georg Zeppenfeld (bass), Paul Komen (fortepiano), Kölner Kantorei, Cappella Coloniensis; Bruno Weil. Special European Import. Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 05472 77535 2 (Germany) 10D013 $19.98

English String Miniatures, Volume 3

BRUCE MONTGOMERY (1921-1978): Concertino for String Orchestra, CARLO MARTELLI (b.1935): Persiflage, WILLIAM BLEZARD (b.1921): Duetto, MICHAEL HURD (b.1928): Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Orchestra, HAYDN WOOD (1882-1959): An 18th Century Scherzo, GERALD FINZI (1901-1956): Romance, Prelude, GUSTAV HOLST (1874-1934): Brook Green Suite. Montgomery was the coposer for the first four "Carry On" films and his 1950 Concertino (the longest work here at 15 minutes) combines echoes of the English pre-war tradition with a post-war realism. Hurd's Sinfonia Concertante is just what its title implies - a light-hearted, neo-classical piece. Some collectors will remember Martelli for a few soundtracks for Hammer horror films. Robert Gibbs (violin), Royal Ballet Sinfonia; David Lloyd-Jones. Naxos 8.555069 (New Zealand) 10D014 $5.98

ANTONIO CALDARA (1670-1736): 12 Sinfonie a 4. Each of these "symphonies" consists of the slow-fast introductions to an oratorio (whose titles are given in the booklet) and (in all but three) two further movements composed for completing the symphony. The dates of the oratorio parts are spread from 1718-1735 but as complete works, they all fit comfortably into the Corellian sonata da chiesa form although some daring harmonics and imaginative melodies look forward to the early Classical symphony. Orquesta Barroca de la Universidad de Salamanca; Ángel Sampedro. Verso VRS 2001 (Spain) 10D015 $18.98

TOMASO ALBINONI (1671-1751): 4 Violin Concertos without Opus Numbers Co 1-4, 8 Sinfonie a 4 without Opus Numbers Si 2-9. Here are some of the earliest independently composed sinfonie (no. 1 was an overture to an opera) and four of Albinoni's lesser-known concertos - all in a typically cheerful mood with pulsating rhythms in the fast movements which bracket brief adagios Albinoni's cool elegance contrsts nicely with his Venetian contemporary Vivaldi's passion. L'Orfeo Ensemble; Fabrizio Ammetto (violin). Bongiovanni GB 5608 (Italy) 10D016 $16.98

JEAN-PHILIPPE RAMEAU (1683-1764): Orchestral Suites from Naïs and Zoroastre. Live recordings by these noted artists who've spent their career on the now-moribund Philips label of half-hour suites of typically inventive, brilliant and innovative music from this master of stage music presented with Glossa's typical opulent elegance. Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century; Frans Brüggen. Glossa GCD 921106 (Spain) 10D017 $18.98

JOHANN ADOLF HASSE (1699-1783): Laudate pueri in A for Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, Chorus and Orchestra, Salve Regina in A for Mezzo-Soprano and Orchestra, Regina coeli in D for Alto, Chorus and Orchestra, Dixit Dominus in C for Chorus and Orchestra, Concerto in G for 2 Flutes and Orchestra, Domine ad adjuvandum me fistina in C for Chorus and Orchestra. A fine collection of the still-neglected Kapellmeister of the Court of Saxony whose fame in and beyond Dresden during his lifetime was matched only by the oblivion into which he fell with the eclipse of his specialty - the opera seria. Heike Hallaschka (soprano), Christa Bonhoff (mezzo), David Cordier (alto), Michael Achilles, Frank-Georg Jarke (flute), St. Barbara-Chor Geesthacht, Johann Adolf Hasse Chamber Orchestra; Wolfgang Hochstein. Carus 83.136 (Germany) 10D018 $17.98

JOHANN DAVID HEINICHEN (1683-1729): Missa No. 12 in D for Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra, JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (1685-1750): Magnificat in D. Heinichen's mass is a fine example of the "number mass" of the high-baroque era, each of the sections subdivided and with emotions running from solemn supplication of jubilation. Monika Frimmer, Kerstin Klein (sopranos), Kai Wessel (alto), Hermann Oswald (tenor), Andreas Scheibner, Egbert Junganns (basses), Dresden Chamber Choir Carl Maria von Weber School of Music, Dresden Baroque Orchestra; Hans-Christoph Radermann. Carus 83.152 (Germany) 10D019 $17.98

DIETERICH BUXTEHUDE (c.1637-1707): Magnificat primi toni, Schlagt, Kunstler! die Pauken, Sicut Moses exaltavit serpentem, Herzlich lieb hab ich Dich, o Herr, Jesu meiner Freuden Meister, Frolocket mit Händen alle Völker. Meant to evoke one of the Abendmusiks which Buxtehude put on in Lübeck Cathedral on five Sundays each year, this mixed program opens with an organ solo which is followed by an elaborate, concerto-style wedding cantata, a sacred concerto, a grand chorale setting, a funeral cantata and another sacred concerto (on a much grander scale that the previous one). The first, central and last works employ trumpets while the wedding cantata also adds timpani for an even grander effect while the other two works use only strings and continuo. A valuable selection showing the manifold aspects of the art of this still-underappreciated baroque master. German/English texts. Göteborg Baroque Arts Ensemble; Magnus Kjellson (conductor, organ). Intim Musik IMCD 070 (Sweden) 10D020 $16.98

MAURO D'ALAY (c.1687-1757): 6 Sonate a violino solo col basso. Another itinerant Italian violinist/composer, D'Alay's set of sonatas was published in London in 1728. His brilliant handling of characteristic Italian elements unite him with Locatelli and Tartini and his material is harmonically rich and often melodically dense with bold use of chromaticisms in a style close to the galant. Maurizio Cadossi (violin), Marco Frezzato (cello), Francesco Saverio Pedrini (harpsichord). Tactus TC 682901 (Italy) 10D021 $11.98

FRANCESCO GEMINIANI (1687-1762): 8 Concerti Grossi tratti dalle Op. 1, 3 & 5 di Arcangelo Corelli. A more extreme example of the "rehashing" which was done to some extent by most baroque composers (Bach with Vivaldi, for instance), Geminiani took a selection of his teacher's trio sonatas and orchestrated them for publication in London. Respectful and skillfully done (with a newly written viola part which sometimes becomes an independent voice), these are an odd little addition to the concerto grosso repertoire. Ensemble Risonanze. Tactus TC 680703 (Italy) 10D022 $11.98

CARL FRIEDRICH ABEL (1723-1787): 6 Sonatas for Harpsichord with Violin and Cello Accompani-ment, Op. 2. Published in London in 1760, Abel's sonatas give the violin equal billing with the keyboard instrument in music for domestic use: easy to play, easy to digest but abundant in deep lyricism and tranquil beauty. Miklós Spányi (tangent piano), László Paulik (violin), Balázs Máté (cello). Hungaroton HCD 31951 (Hungary) 10D023 $16.98

WILHELM FRIEDERICH ERNST BACH (1759-1845): Das Gesetzbuch, Duetto Comico - Der Dichter und der Komponist, Der Pfad des Lebens, Der Vorsatz, JOHANN CHRISTOPH BACH (1642-1703): Meine Freundin, du bis schön, JOHANN NIKOLAUS BACH (1669-1753): Der Jenaische Wein- und Bierrufer, JOHANN CHRISTIAN BACH (1735-1782): Der Weise auf dem Lande. Musical humor from four generatons of the Bach family: the ultimate example of Unusual Repertoire! German-English texts. Vocal soloists, Rheinische Kantorei, Das Kleine Konzert; Hermann Max. CPO 999 797 (Germany) 10D024 $15.98

JOHANN FRANZ XAVER STERKEL (1750-1817): Symphony in D, Piano Concerto No. 2 in D, Op. 26/1. Sterkel spent his career at the court in Mainz and is best known for being criticized by Mozart for the excessive tempos of his keyboard playing (1777) and for a meeting with Beethoven (1791) where the latter was reluctant to perform after Sterkel. His playing style was also damned by his enemies as effeminate; the positive side of this is that is was light, lyrical and graceful and this is the personality which pervades these two works which are at the other end of the spectrum from the highly impassioned North German school of his contemporaries. These are, however, full-length works (35 minutes for the symphony and 29 for the concerto) and they will be welcome in any collection of the Classical concerto and symphony. Kai Adomeit (piano), Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic Zlin; Peter Lücker. Bayer Records 100 226 (Germany) 10D025 $17.98

ANTONIO CALEGARI (1757-1828): La resurrezione di Lazzaro. The composer's first surviving work (1779), this combination of sacred drama and oratorio is essentially lyrical, with the sequence of recitative-narration and aria-embroidery firmly in the received tradition of high Classical sacred works. Italian-English texts. CD-ROM included. Robert Giua (soprano), Luca Dordolo (tenor), Rosita Frisani (soprano), Manuela Custer (contralto), Salvo Vitale (bass), Athestis Chorus, Academia de li Musici; Filippo Maria Bressan. Chandos 0673 (England) 10D026 $16.98

ALESSANDRO ROLLA (1757-1841): 6 Duets for Flute and Violin, 3 Capricci for Solo Viola. Rolla's duets are in the Classical style, characterized by concertante and virtuoso writing. Five are two movement works and one adds an intense, expressive sostenuto opening movement to the usual slow-fast pattern. The viola caprices remind you of Rolla's association with Paganini (whether he was actually his teacher or not): the third one is spectacularly virtuosic - very Paganinian in character. Mario Carbotta (flute), Luigi Alberto Bianchi (violin, viola). Dynamic CDS 371 (Italy) 10D027 $17.98

JOSEPH KÜFFNER (1776-1856): Introduction, Theme and Variations for Clarinet and String Quartet, Op. 32, Introduction, Theme and Variations on a Swiss Lied for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 190, 3 Duette for Clarinet and Oboe, Op. 80, Quintet for Flute, Clarinet, Basset Horn, Bassoon, Horn and Double Bass, Op. 40/3, Clarinet Quintet, Op. 33, Harmoniemusik über "Der Freischütz" und "Der Barbier von Sevilla" for Flute, Clarinet, Bassett Horn, 2 Bassoons, 2 Horns and Double Bass, Op. 138, 2 Serenades for Clarinet, Viola and Guitar, Op. 21 & 45, Serenade for Clarinet and Guitar, Op. 68, Potpourri über Themen aus Rossinis "Il Barbiere di Siviglia" for Piano, Bassett Horn and Guitar, Op. 198. Küffner played most of the solo instruments involved here in the court orchestra of Würzburg and his chamber music is purely for pleasure (his and the court's), abounding in simple melodies and ear-catching variations and all well-written for the individual qualities of each instrument. Luigi Magistrelli (A, B and C clarinets and bassett horn), Andriani String Quartet, Ensemble "La Variazione". 2 CDs. Bayer Records 100 330/31 (Germany) 10D028 $35.98

MOSCHELES - Piano Concertos Nos. 3 & 5

IGNAZ MOSCHELES (1794-1870): Piano Concerto No. 3 in G Minor, Op. 58, Piano Concerto No. 5 in C, Op. 87. After years of delay, this second volume finally appears! The Third dates from 1820 and its somber undertones and deeply-felt lyricism were inspired by the composer's first view of the North Sea and the melancholy chimes of a nearby church tower. The Fifth was begun in 1826 but its Adagio was only completed five years later. The work is more thoughtful and exploratory than its predecessors, the Adagio being one of Moscheles' most beautiful creations, seeming to join the worlds of the slow movements of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony and Mendelssohn's Italian. Sinfonia da Camera; Ian Hobson (piano). Zephyr Z-119-01 (U.S.A.) 10D029 $16.98

JAN VACLAV HUGO VORÍSEK (1791-1825): Mass in B Flat, Symphony in D. The 32-minute mass dates from 1824 and is on a somewhat smaller scale than the great late masses by Haydn but is permeated by rich harmonies (reminiscent of Schubert's sacred works) and is more homophonic and less fugal than many late Classical works in the genre while still delivering its message of devotion, exultation and quiet contemplation in lovely fashion. Patrice Michaels (soprano), Tami Jantzi (mezzo), William Watson (tenor), Peter Van De Graaff (bass), Prague Chamber Choir, Czech National Symphony Orchestra; Paul Freeman. Cedille CDR 90000 058 (U.S.A.) 10D030 $16.98

VINCENZO BELLINI (1801-1835): Mass in G Minor for Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra (rev. F. Pastura), Mass in D for Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra (rev. P. Spada), Salve Regina for Baritone and Orchestra. Bellini wrote most of his sacred works before 1825 although the G minor work here seems to date from his late Neapolitan period. Melodiousness is, not surprisingly, the hallmark of all three of these works which value lyricism over drama. Patrizia Cigna, Agnès Bastian (sopranos), Anna Maria Chiuri (contralto), Romano Emili (tenor), Mauizio Scarfeo (baritone), Capella "S. Cecilia" della Cattedrale di Lucca, Orchestra del Teatro del Giglio di Lucca; Gianfranco Cosmi. Bongiovanni GB 2295 (Italy) 10D031 $16.98

ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810-1856): Manfred, Op. 115 for Actors, Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra. Here is a rare opportunity to experience Schumann's "dramatic poem" complete (and at budget price!). The composer shortened Byron's poem for dramatic effect but this is still Byron's poem with music, not Schumann's dramatization of Byron's poem. To that end, some sections combine the text with singing voice and others, principally Manfred himself are presented as (spoken-word) melodrama and the overture itself is the most dramatic use of music after which the music assumes a subordinate role to the poetry. German texts. Actors, Gudrun Sieber (soprano), Gabriele Schreckenbach (contralto), Alejandro Ramirez (tenor), Harald Stamm (bass), RIAS Chamber Choir, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin; Gerd Albrecht. Koch Schwann Musica Mundi 3-6774-2 (Germany) 10D032 $6.98

EDUARD FRANCK (1817-1893): String Quartets in E Flat, Op. 54 & in C Minor, Op. 55. The dates of these quartets are uncertain (as are most of Franck's works) and could come anywhere between 1847 and 1870. The C Minor opens with a driving movement reminiscent of those of Mendelssohn's op. 80 and Beethoven's op. 95 and is followed by a gentle serenade, a Hungarian-flavored scherzo and an urgent, impetuous finale. The accompanying work is stylistically complex with Haydn and Beethoven present in the first movement, a funereal slow movement which quotes Es ist vollbrach from the St. John Passion of Bach, a "hunting" trio and a variation finale on a march theme which takes its cue from Beethoven's "Harp" Quartet finale. Edinger Quartet. Audite 20.032 (Germany) 10D033 $16.98

GIOVANNI SIMONE MAYR (1763-1845): Bassoon Concerto, ALESSANDRO ROLLA (1757-1841): Bassoon Concerto, FERDINANDO LIZIO (?-1778): Bassoon Concertos in C and in B Flat, ANTONIO VIVALDI (1678-1741): Bassoon Concerto in C, RV 468. First recordings: Rolla's work (first published in 1998) is very Mozartian in character; Mayr's "concerto" is a first movement fragment without coda whose harmonically dense scoring and virtuoso solo part make the loss of its remainder the more lamentable. Lizo's two works are in the style of the early 18th century Neapolitan school while the Vivaldi represents two movements of a fragmentary concerto not recorded before. Paolo Carlini (bassoon), Accademia I Filarmonici; Marco Zuccarini. Bongiovanni GB 5609 (Italy) 10D034 $16.98

IGNAZ HOLZBAUER (1711-1783): Missa in C for Soloists, Chorus, Orchestra and Organ, WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756-1791): 3 geistliche Hymnen For Soloists, Chorus, Orchestra and Organ after Choruses from Thamos, König in Ägypten, K345. Holzbauer's splendid mass was written for the famous Mannheim orchestra at the height of its fame and powers which enabled him to score it for forces whose richness even Mozart and Haydn sometimes couldn't call on in their late masses. Formally progressive, the mass follows the Neapolitan tradition of division into sectons only in the Gloria and the Kyrie is through-composed; all the Mannheim effects are used (impressive crescendos, subtle instrumentation and dynamics, etc.) to produce a work decidedly symphonic in character. The coupling is an arrangement (probably not by Mozart himself) of three choruses from his failed Thamos transmuted into sacred hymns which will make this release even more desirable for the collector of Classical sacred music. Latin-English texts. Monika Meier-Schmid (soprano), Isolde Assenheimer (alto), Berthold Schmid (tenor), Thomas Pfeiffer (bass), St. Thomas'Chorschule Wettenhausen, camerata vocale Günzburg, Johann Christian Bach-Akademie Köln; Jürgen Rettenmaier, Harald Hoeren (organ). Carus 83.141 (Germany) 10D035 $17.98

JOSEPH HAYDN (1732-1809): Complete Piano Trios, Vol. 3 - In A, Hob. XV:18, in B Flat, Hob. XV:20, in B Flat, Hob. XV:19, in G, Hob. XV:5. The latest in the first complete period-instrument recording of Haydn's piano trios. Mid-price. Trio 1790. CPO 999 468 (Germany) 10D036 $10.98

Variations on a Waltz by Anton Diabelli by Joseph Dreschler, Carl Maria von Bocklet, Ignaz Moscheles, Czapek, Joseph Mayseder, Gottfried Rieger, Franz Weber, Conradin Kreutzer, Johann Horzalka, Franz Roser, Franz Liszt, Joseph Kerzkowsky, P.J. Riotte, Joseph Czerny, Ignaz Aßmayer, Carl Czerny, J.F. von Mosel, W.A. Mozart (sohn), M.J. Leidesdorf, Gottfried Rieger, Jan Vaclav Vorisek, Anton Halm, Freidrich Kanne, Anselm Hüttenbrenner, Panny, Frederic Kalkbrenner, Franz Schubert, S.R.D., Jan Vaclav Tomasek, Jacob Freystädtler, Michael Umlauff, Ch. de Winkhler and Johann Vitasek. Publisher/composer Diabelli commissioned 50 Viennese composers to write variations on the same tune which Beethoven used. Over five years passed before all were ready for publication in 1824, apparently so that some editing and rewriting could be done also. The pianist has selected 33 variations and a coda by Carl Czerny with Beethoven's model in mind (also allowing 17 less worthy variations to be omitted). Each is discussed in notes which provide a thumbnail sketch of the composer (where such information is known); a must-have for Classical piano collectors! Ian Fountain (piano). Meridian CDE 84424 (England) 10D037 $17.98

NICCOLÒ P[CCINNI (1728-1800): Roland. Piccinni left his native Italy in the 1770s for Paris and Roland (1778) was his first opera produced in Paris. Energetic and melodic, it clearly anticipates Mozart both in its orchestral and vocal writing. The plot concerns the unrequited love of Roland, nephew of Charlemagne, for the Princess Angelique, It's a tragedie lyrique... but hold your horses - it has a happy ending and it's not what you think! 3 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Luca Grassi (baritone), Alla Simoni (soprano), Stefania Donzelli (soprano), Bratislava Chamber Choir, Orchestra Internazional d'Italia; David Golub. Dynamic CDS 367/1-3 (Italy) 10D038 $53.98

NICCOLÒ PICCINNI (1728-1800): La Cecchina. When La Cecchina [The Good Daughter] opened in Rome in 1760, it was an instant hit. It spreadthroughout Europe. The story is about a gardener who falls in love with her employer, the Marquis. Of course her love is unrequited because of her station in life, or is it? Piccinni's Mediterranean sunny style here is tinged with a melancholic and mournful shading which makes this work a Dramma giocoso. Italian-English libretto. 2 CDs. Serena Farnocchia (Soprano), Danilo Formaggia (Tenor), Piero Terranova (Bass), La Lyra di Anfione; VitoPaternoster. Bongiovanni GB 2293/4 (Italy) 10D039 $33.98

CARL LOEWE (1796-1869): Lieder und Balladen, Vol. 15 - 7 Polish Ballads after Poems by Adam Mickiewicz, Opp. 49-51, Saul und Samuel, Op. 14/1, Saul vor seiner letzten Schlacht, Op. 5/6, Sanheribs Niederlage, Op. 13/1, Saul, Op. 14/4, Eliphas' Gesicht, Op. 14/2, Der Komet, Op. 69/6, Deutsche Barcarolle, Op. 103/3, Bauernregel, Op. 9, H.V,3, Der alte König, Op. 116/2. Like the Energizer bunny, the Loewe edition keeps on going; there are rumored to be three or four more to go. And that's not counting the ones which series editor and pianist Garben finds too nauseatingly nationalistic to record! German-English texts. Urszula Kryger (soprano), Thomas Mohr (baritone), Cord Garben (piano). CPO 999 412 (Germany) 10D040 $10.98

ARTHUR SULLIVAN (1842-1900): The Golden Legend. Premiered at the Leeds Festival of 1886, this cantata is one of Sullivan's two finest "serious" works (along with the opera Ivanhoe). Its popularity for the remainder of Sullivan's life was such that only Messiah was produced more frequently in England (which means it surpassed even Elijah). However, its plunge into oblivion was sudden and lasting; now that the Victorian musical scene is being investigated more closely, this and other of Sullivan's oratorios and canatas (a couple of which have been issued in live recordings by Symposium) can be better appreciated. The Golden Legend's text is an abridgement of Longfellow's poem which tells the story of the selfless Elsie who is willing to die to save the life of Prince Henry and whom Lucifer cannot tempt away from her desire. Oddly, the solo writing is more striking than the choral music and the Prince and Elsie have a duet in the last scene whose yearning romantic intensity would not be out of place in a Tchaikovsky opera. Texts included. 2 CDs for the price of 1. Janice Watson (soprano), Jean Rigby (mezzo), Mark Wilde (tenor), Jeffrey Black (baritone), The London Chorus, The New London Orchestra; Ronald Corp. Hyperion CDA 67280 (England) 10D041 $17.98

SERGEI TANEYEV (1856-1915): String Quartets, Vol. 1 - String Quartet No. 1 in B Flat Minor, Op. 4, String Quartet No. 2 in C, Op. 5. Taneyev wrote much more chamber music than most of his 19thcentury Russian colleagues and this will be the first complete cycle of the quartets in the digital era. Quartets 7-9 are actually earlier than these - opus numbers mean nothing in Taneyev's output. No. 1 dates from 1890 and is dedicated to Tchaikovsky. It's a five-movement work with an Intermezzo added to the traditional four movements. The odd-numbered movements are in free sonata-form; dance-based; and in rondo-finale form while the other two are outpourings of melody. The second (1895) is back in four movements and here there are traces of the influence of folk music as well as harmonic and rhythmic touches slightly reminiscent of Dvorák. Krasni Quartet. Olympia OCD 697 (England) 10D042 $16.98

LOUIS MOREAU GOTTSCHALK (1829-1869): Piano Music, Vol. 5 - Sospiro, Op. 24, Marguerite, Op. 76 , Bataille, Op. 64, Réponds-moi (Dí que sí), Op. 50 (arr. Wachtmann), Solitude, Op. 65, 8ème Ballade, Op. 90, tremolo, Op. 58, Orfa, Op. 71, El Cocoyé, Op. 80, Polka de salon, Op. 1, Rayons d'azur, Op. 77, La chasse du jeune Henri, Op. 10. Another round of brilliant pianism and dazzling virtuosity with several pieces exhibiting Gottschalk's most famous combination: local tune, the European classical discipline and Afro-Cuban rhythms (El Cocoyé - Lisztian virtuosity with repeated notes and very high writing; and Réponds-moi - anticipating Gershwin and Scott Joplin). Several other works could have passed scrutiny under Chopin's name while Tremolo, one of the composer's last works, is also one of the most cruelly difficult. Philip Martin (piano). Hyperion CDA 67248 (England) 10D043 $17.98

CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921): Piano Concertos No. 1 in D, Op. 17, No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 22, No. 3 in E Flat, Op. 29, No. 4 in C Minor, Op. 44, No. 5 in F, Op. 103, Wedding Cake for Piano and Strings, Op. 76, Rapsodie d'Auvergne, Op. 73, Allegro appassionato, Op. 70, Africa, Op. 89. Although Volume 27 of Hyperion's The Romantic Piano Concerto does not offer us unusual repertoire, we have already had many requests for it and, so, offer it here for Stephen Hough fans and completists. 2 CDs. Stephen Hough (piano), City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra; Sakari Oramo. Hyperion CDA 67331/2 (England) 10D044 $35.98

GEORGES BIZET (1838-1875): L'Arlésienne, Op. 23 - Complete Incidental Music. The orchestra Bizet used for L'Arlésienne was limited to 26 players, a limitation cast aside when the composer produced the first suite of music from this work (the second was done by Ernest Guiraud). This recording restores the original lightness of sound, delicate tone colors and luminous textures. Original 1986 EMI release. Orféon Donostiarra, Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse; Michel Plasson. EMI CDC 7 47460 2 (France) 10D045 $17.98

PETER CORNELIUS (1824-1874): Weihnachtslieder, Op. 8, ENGELBERT HUMPERDINCK (1854-1921): Der Stern von Bethlehem, Altdeutsches Weihnachtslied, Das Licht der Welt, Christkindleins Wiegenlied, Weihnachten, RICHARD TRUNK (1879-1968): Weinachtslieder, Op. 61, JOSEPH HAAS (1879-1960): Krippenlieder, Op. 49, MAX REGER (1873-1916): Morgengesang, Uns ist geboren ein Kindelein, Op. 137/3, Christkindleins Wiegenlied, Op. 137/10, Maria am Rosenstrauch, Op. 142/3, Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe!. Germany and Austria have a rich tradition of Christmas songs and carols and both Catholic and Protestant traditions are represented in this collection of little-known lieder by mostly little-known composers. Mainly simple, tuneful and affecting, these pieces nevertheless are not without imaginative rhythmic and harmonic touches (especially, not surprisingly, in the Reger but also in the Haas). Original 1996 EMI release. German-English texts. Olaf Bär (baritone), Helmut Deutsch(piano). EMI 7423 5 56204 2 (Germany) 10D046 $17.98

HUGO ALFVÉN (1872-1960): Symphony No. 2 in D, Op. 11, The Prodigal Son - Suite. The ballet music is the work of an 85-year-old composer who could still deliver the goods, although here Alfvén is in light-music mode with three of the seven movements being delightful Swedish polkas. The 54-minute symphony (1899) was one of the first Swedish orchestral works to move beyond national romanticism, inhabiting a more pan-European style although its inspiration - as with much Swedish music - remains the sea, from its tranquillity to its turbulence. National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland; Niklas Willén. Naxos 8.555072 (New Zealand) 10D047 $5.98

CHARLES-VALENTIN ALKAN (1813-1888): 12 Études dans tous les tons majeurs, Op. 35, Le festin d'Esope, Op. 39/12, Scherzo diabolico, Op. 39/3. Budget-priced reissue of an original 1993 Marco Polo release. Bernard Reingeissen (piano). Naxos 8.555495 (New Zealand) 10D048 $5.98

PIETRO MASCAGNI (1863-1945): Prelude and Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana, Intermezzos from L'Amico Fritz & Isabeau, Barcarola from Silvano, Sinfonia from Lo Maschere, Danza esotica, Sogno from Guglielmo Ratcliff, Inno a Rosaura & Furlana from Le Maschere, Preludio & Inno del sole from Iris. For those of you who have always wanted the orchestral and choral high points of Mascagni's operatic output on one CD, this is the disc of your dreams. You'll make some marvelous discoveries among the excerpts from his lesser-known operas featured here. The non-operatic Danza esotica is quite interesting. It stems from Europe's fascination with the orient towards the end of the 1800s, which gave rise to operas like The Pearl Fishers and Aida. The performances are very committed, which is not surprising since they are from a concert commemorating the 50th anniversary of the composer's death. Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro Lirico Giuseppe Verdi di Trieste; Tiziano Severini. Dynamic CDS 379 (Italy) 10D049 $17.98

RICHARD STRAUSS (1864-1949): The Unknown Richard Strauss, Vol. 13 - Josephslegende - Symphonic Fragment, Op. 63, Schlagobers - Orchestral Suite, Op. 70. The ballet on the legend of Joseph, premiered in Paris in 1914, was not a failure but not much of a success either so Strauss, as he was to do often later on, decided to save some of the music which he thought might otherwise fall into oblivion, by arranging it into a "symphonic fragment" in 1947. What we have here is a 27-minute score in which the order of dances is rearranged, some dances shortened others omitted but which works as a real symphonic whole whose musical coherence is guaranteed by the underlying framework provided by the Joseph themes. Schlagobers was a downright fiasco at its 1924 Vienna premiere and the composer soon turned his attention to making a suite from it, although the final version did not reach the concert hall until 1932. Fortunately, Strauss' dance music was worthy of anything else like it he ever composed and the eight-section suite show him at the height of his powers. Bamberg Symphony; Karl Anton Rickenbacher. Koch Schwann 3-6559-2 (Germany) 10D050 $16.98

JENÖ HUBAY (1858-1937): Works for Violin and Piano, Vol. 4 - 10 pièces caractéristiques, Op. 79, Pensée triste, Op. 74/1, Berceuse, Op. 74/2, Perpetuum mobile, Op. 88, Frühlings-Liebeslieder, Op. 120, BRAHMS/HUBAY: Hungarian Dances Nos. 1-10. Hubay's association with Brahms' music began when he worked closely with the composer on the composition of the Violin Sonata No. 3 which he premiered with Brahms at the piano. In 1911, he produced the first ten of Brahms' Hungarian Dances in his own version, designed to meet the needs of violinists who were unable to play the demandingly virtuosic version of Joachim (but who were by no means amateurs either). The remainder of the disc is given over to romantic character pieces - waltzes, mazurkas, barcarolles, serenades and, in op. 79, descriptions of emotions and natural phenomena - all produced with impeccable taste and in the long tradition of such pieces which began with Schumann. Ferenc Szecsödi (violin), István Kassai (piano). Hungaroton HCD 31970 (Hungary) 10D051 $16.98

VÍTEZSLAV NOVÁK (1870-1949): Sonata eroica, Op. 24, 5 Barcarolles, Op. 10, At Dusk, Op. 13, 4 Serenades, Op. 9, 4 Bagatelles, Op. 5. The Barcarolles, Serenades, Bagatelles, and At Dusk all date from 1895-99 and are halfway between the light, salon-style works of Novák's early years which ultimately derive from the Romanticism of Schumann and the mature, folk-influenced style which began with the composer's momentous summer journey in 1896 to an out-of-the-way corner of Slovakia. The sonata of 1900 is the first major work of Novák's maturity, adding heroic accents and extreme pathos to the earlier lyricism and taking a Slovak folk hero, the bandit Jánosík, as a universal representative of the striving for freedom. Martin Vojtísek (piano). Supraphon SU 3575 (Czech Republic) 10D052 $16.98

EUGEN D'ALBERT (1864-1932): Suite, Op. 1, 5 Bagatellen, Op. 29, Albumblatt, TERESA CARRENO (1853-1917): Petite Valse ("Teresita"), o.op. D'Albert was, perhaps, the finest composer among the many virtuoso pianist/composers of the high Romantic period and the prodigious Suite, written in his late teens, shows that his talent sprang full-grown. Lasting nearly a half-hour, it is in the form of a five-movement baroque suite (Allemande, Courande, Sarabande, Gavotte & Musette and Gigue) which pays tribute to Bach with all the tools of the Romantic keyboard. The Bagatelles (1905) take Brahms as their starting point and slide close to the salon tradition without slipping over; the salon style leaves its mark in the Albumblatt which derives from operatic pathos cut down to size for the piano. Alexandra Oehler (piano). Ars Musici AM 1290 (Germany) 10D053 $18.98

SERGEI BORTKIEWICZ (1877-1952): Selections from 10 Etudes, Op. 15, 4 Klavierstücke, Op. 65, 12 Etudes nouvelles, Op. 29, 3 Morceaux, Op. 24, Lamentations et Consolations, Op. 17, 7 Preludes, Op. 40, 10 Preludes, Op. 33, Im 3/4 Takt, Op. 48, Elégie, Op. 46. Katsaris ranges widely in his selection of pieces from this negleted Russian composer/pianist for this 77-minute recital. Bortkiewicz, like Rachmaninov and Medtner, belonged to a lost generation - those Russian late Romantics (Romanticism came late to Russia, leaving them somewhat adrift in a world where Schoenberg and his disciples were gaining sway) who were forced into exile by the Revolution and who eked out a living conducting, performing their own and others' works and always composing when time was available. Like his colleagues also, Bortkiewicz was fond of the minor keys and there is almost always a sense of loss, of longing for the homeland which he knew he would never see again, in these rich, sensitive and highly emotional piano pieces. Cyprien Katsaris (piano). 21 Piano 21004 (France) 10D054 $17.98

MAX REGER (1873-1916): The Piano Works, Vol. 11 - Träume am Kamin, Op. 143, "Grüße an die Jugend", o. op., Mariä Wiegenlied, Op. 76/52, An der schönen blauen Donau, o. op. "Dreams at the Fireside" is a late work but one still in the long line of collections of piano pieces written for less technically advanced pianists. Lyrical, introspecive and expressive, the cycle contains many haunting (and haunted) pieces which make it one of Reger's most esoteric piano cycles. On the other hand, Grüße..., from 1898, is in the Nordic tradition of Grieg with echoes of Chopin in places. The Johann Strauss transcription (1898) was not printed until 1930 and is an extremely virtuosic, Lisztian work which was dedicated to Teresa Carreño. Markus Becker (piano). Thorofon CTH 2321 (Germany) 10D055 $16.98

MAX REGER (1873-1916): The Piano Works, Vol. 12 - Variationen und Fuge über ein Thema von J.S. Bach, Op. 81, 4 Spezialstudien für die linke Hand, In der Nacht, 4 Klavierstücke. Bach's music was the model for Reger's highly chromatic harmony, free-flowing melody and rigorous polyphonic technique and his large-scale set of variations which were published in 1904 were recognized as the bold and daring composition it is. As Reger himself put it, "...I believe I have written a devilishly difficult piece of music!" Its companion pieces are the 1898 studies for the left hand, sensationally virtuosic, the darkly rumbling "In the Night" and four brief piano pieces without opus number (or mention in the booklet). Markus Becker (piano). Thorofon CTH 2322 (Germany) 10D056 $16.98

OTTORINO RESPIGHI (1879-1936): Adagio con Variazioni for Cello and Piano, 2 Preludes on Gregorian Melodies for Piano, 9 Liriche for Soprano and Piano, Complete Organ Works: 4 Preludes, Aria, Elevazione. This eclectic collection represents several different aspects of Respighi the chamber composer with the piano preludes foreshadowing his mature interest in Gregorian melodies and the Liriche helping show the understanding of vocal technique and the wedding of music with poetry which he learned as accompanist in a singing class in Berlin. Italian texts. Mid-price. Lorna Windsor (soprano), Mauro Valli (cello), Stefano Malferrari (piano), Andres Macinanti (organ). Tactus TC 871808 (Italy) 10D057 $11.98

MARION BAUER (1882-1955): Fantasia Quasi Una Sonata for Violin and Piano, Op. 18, Prelude and Fugue for Flute and Piano, Op. 43, Solo Piano Works: Dance Sonata, Op. 24, 6 Preludes, Op. 15, Aquarelle, Op. 39/1, A Fancy, Op. 21/1. Bauer's music is influenced by her years of study in Paris with, first, Nadia Boulanger and then with André Gédalge, the result being refined and well-crafted works with tinges of Impressionism. Her 1925 Fantasia was marked down from first to second place in a competition for its "modern tendencies": its last two virtuosic movements have no key signatures! Sure to appeal to lovers of Ravel, Tailleferre and Lili Boulanger. Virginia Eskin (piano), Deborah Boldin (flute), Irina Muresanu (violin). Albany TROY 465 (U.S.A.) 10D058 $16.98

ERICH WOLFGANG KORNGOLD (1897-1957): Piano Sonata No. 1 in D Minor, Piano Sonata No. 2 in E, Op. 2/2, Piano Sonata No. 3 in C, Op. 25. Korngold's first two sonatas are the products of an extravagantly gifted child - it's hard to believe that the first sonata is the work of an 11-year-old with its twisting chromaticisms and Mahlerian style. The second sonata is only two years further on and it throws declamatory heroic gestures against passages of Ländlerish sweetness with a Largo con dolore of great emotion at its center. The third sonata (1929-31) quotes from his 1922 string quartet and is generally cooler and less tortured in gesture. André de Groote (piano). Talent 73 (Belgium) 10D059 $15.98

ALEXANDER ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942): Symphony in B Flat, Prelude to Es war einmal (original version), Sinfonietta, Op. 23. Zemlinsky's second symphony, dating from 1897, has influences of Dvorák but its use of motto themes and the economy and inner logic of the work point toward his mature style. This performance uses a new score which corrects many misinterpretations and outright mistakes in the 1977 Universal Edition publication. The Library of Congress provided the manuscript which allows the first recording of the Es war einmal prelude (1897-99); Mahler had cut a third of it at the premiere and this version had remained the only one to be used. The hard-edged 1934 Sinfonietta also benefits from a new score since the previous conductor's score was often at variance with the orchestral parts. Czech Philharmonic Orchestra; Antony Beaumont. Nimbus NI 5682 (England) 10D060 $17.98

VICTOR HELY-HUTCHINSON (1901-1947): Carol Symphony, ERNEST TOMLINSON (b.1924): Suite of English Folk Dances, ROGER QUILTER (1877-1953): Children's Overture, Op. 17, PETER WARLOCK (1894-1930): Bethlehem Down, Adam lay y-bounden, RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958): Fantasia on Christmas Carols for Baritone, Organ and Strings, (arr.): Wassail Song, And All in the Morning. Hely-Hutchinson is remembered only for his late 1920s symphony which ingeniously uses four of the most well-known Christmas carols in a work of irresistably vivid orchestration. Vaughan Williams' 1912 Fantasia is serenely beautiful, using lesser-known regional English carols. Mid-price. Original 1991 EMI re-issue; recordings from 1966 and 1969. Pro Arte Orchestra; Barry Rose, Light Muisc Society Orchestra, Sir Vivian Dunn, John Barrow (baritone), Gavin Williams (organ), Choir of Guilford Cathedral; Barry Rose. EMI CDM 7 64131 2 (England) 10D061 $11.98

ANTONÍN DVORÁK (1841-1904): Arrangements for Organ by Zsigmond Szathmáry: Symphon No. 9 in E Minor "From the New World", Op. 95, Silhouette, Op. 8/2, Poetic Tone Pictures Nos. 1 & 3, Op. 85. A completely guiltless pleasure both for organ fanciers and for lovers of the New World: Szathmáry's registrations often bring out characteristics of the music which allow us to see it in a new light (especially the religious qualities of the adagio) and the play of colors is probably more widely varied than it is using an orchestra. Also a salutary reminder of the sort of transcriptions virtuoso organists used to make their bread and butter in the 19th century! Zsigmond Szathmáry (Woehl organ of St. Petrus Canisius, Friedrichshafen/Bodensee). BIS CD-1168 (Sweden) 10D062 $17.98

ALEXANDER TANSMAN (1897-1986): Suite pour deux pianos avec accompagnement d'orchestre, KAROL SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937): Symphonie Concertante for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 60. The premiere work here is Tansman's sparkling suite, in reality a double piano concerto. A brash, flashy first movement is succeeded by a song-like intermezzo, followed by a perpetuum mobile scherzo and concludes with a variations-double fugue-finale on a Slavic theme. All of this is in a clear-cut, neo-classical style which makes it one of the composer's most ingratiating works. Andrzej Pikul, Ewa Wolak-Moszynska (pianos), Lublin Philharmonic Orchestra; Piotr Wijatkowski. Dux 0320 (Poland) 10D063 $16.98

JOAQUÍN NIN (1879-1949): Cadena de Valses, 3 Danzas Españolas, "1830" Variaciones sobre una tema frivolo, Mensaje a Claudio Debussy, Danza Ibérica, Canto de cuna para los Huérfanos de España, JOAQUÍN NIN-CULMELL (b.1908): 3 Impresiones. Overshadowed by such 20th century Spanish composers as Rodrigo, De Falla and Turina, the Cuban-born Nin wrote little solo piano music and this new release contains all of it. Full of melodic charm, rhythmic vitality and folksy warmth, they combine a traditional Spanish flavor with touches of French Impressionism. Nin's son's "Three Impressions" were his first composition. He employs rather more dissonant harmonies than his father but the French Impressionism is still there as is the Spanish heart. First recording. Thomas Tirino (piano). Koch International Classics 7516 (U.S.A.) 10D064 $16.98

ROBERT KAJANUS (1856-1933): Aino, JEAN SIBELIUS (1865-1957): En Saga, Pohjola's Daughter, Impromptu, Rakastava, Andante festivo. Known as Sibelius' most devoted promoter, Kajanus was also a composer and his tone-poem Aino (1885, rev. 1900-16) may have inspired the young Sibelius. Not surprisingly, the dominant influence is Wagner, even after its late revision, and it has a strong sense of flow and rich sonority, ending with the contribution of a male voice choir (the recording dates from 1991 and was originally issued on a University of Helsinki CD). The other notable item here is the only recording of Sibelius conducting his own music, a 1939 performance of the Andante festivo (Note: since 1972 a wrongly identified performance was published on various occasions by another composer whose identity remains unknown.) Helsinki University Male Voice Choir, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra; Jorma Panula (Kajanus), Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra; Mikko Franck (En Saga), Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra; Tuomas Ollila (Pohjola's Daughter), Virtuosi di Kuhmo; Peter Csaba (Impromptu, Rakastava), Finnish Radio Orchestra; Jean Sibelius (Andante festivo - 1/1/39). Ondine ODE 992 (Finland) 10D065 $17.98

LEONARD BERNSTEIN (1918-1990): Jeremiah (Symphony No. 1) for Soprano and Orchestra, The Age of Anxiety (Symphony No. 2) for Piano and Orchestra, Divertimento for Orchestra. Bernstein's first two symphonies which both deal with loss are given the full Chandos treatment (24-bit recording). The Divertimento, less well-known, is a light-hearted filler celebrating the Boston Symphony's centenary. All performances compare favorably with Bernstein's own recordings. Texts included. Michelle DeYoung (mezzo), James Tocco (piano), BBC Symphony Orchestra; Leonard Slatkin. Chandos 9889 (England) 10D066 $16.98

MALCOLM ARNOLD (b.1921): Symphony No. 7, No. 113, Symphony No. 8, Op. 124, Symphony No. 9, Op. 128, Concerto for Oboe and Strings, Op. 39. Begun many years ago with the Symphonies Nos. 1-6 conducted by Richard Hickox, Chandos finally finish their Arnold cycle with this mid-price set containing the last three symphonies as well as the lovely oboe concerto of 1952 which comes from the same period as the English Dances when the composer was involved in what one writer called his "unique recovery of innocent lyricism". The symphonies, of course, are another matter: the 1973 Seventh is a hard-hitting and challenging work which sometimes reflects the surreal sound world of Mahler's Sixth Symphony; the Eighth (1978) was partly conceived as a farewell to the composer's prolific film scoring career, using a theme from his last film score in it and paying tribute to his adopted Irish home; the Ninth (whose premiere recording was issued a couple of years ago by Naxos in their Arnold cycle) was Arnold's most controversial work: rarified and highly economical with a final Lento longer than the preceding three movements together, it pleased neither critics nor the public and remains a very tough nut to crack. All the better to have another recording of it to study. 2 CDs for the price of 1. Jennifer Galloway (oboe), BBC Philharmonic; Rumon Gamba. Chandos 9967(2) (England) 10D067 $16.98

ARNOLD SCHOENBERG (1874-1951): String Quartet No. 1, Op. 7, String Quartet No. 2, Op. 10, String Quartet No. 3, Op. 30, String Quartet No. 4, Op. 37, Verklärte Nacht, Op. 4, Phantasy for Violin with Piano Accompaniment, Op. 47, Ode to Napoleon Bonaparte, Op. 41, String Trio, Op. 45, 6 Little Piano Pieces, Op. 19 (arr. Guittart), Quintet for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Horn and Bassoon, Op. 26 (arr. Guittart), String Quartet in D, Chamber Symphony No. 1, Op. 9 (arr. for Piano Quintet by Webern), Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra. Chandos celebrates the signing of the 25-year-old Schoenberg Quartet, a Dutch group renowned for their performances and recordings of 20th century music, particularly of the Second Viennese School, by offering this specially-priced box-set of all of Schoenberg's music involving strings. In addition to the usual suspects, note the arrangements by the quartet's violist of the op. 19 piano pieces and of the op. 26 wind quintet as well as the little-recorded Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra, a free transcription from 1933 of Handel's Concerto grosso, Op. 6/7. 5 CDs for the price of 4. Schoenberg Quartet, Susan Narucki (soprano), Jan Erik van Regeren Altena (viola), Taco Kooistra (cello), Sepp Grotenhuis (piano), Michael Grandage (reciter), Arnhem Philharmonic Orchestra; Roberto Benzi. Chandos 9939(5) (England) 10D068 $67.98

HANS WERNER HENZE (b.1926): Symphony No. 9 for Mixed Choir and Orchestra. This is a masterpiece. It is a musical appreciation of those who resisted and ultimately gave their lives in the name of liberty during the Nazi reign of terror in Germany. It is divided into seven movements whose texts deal with a number of wartime issues including the feelings of an escaped prisoner, his persecution and ultimate hope for survival. The combination of thought provoking poetry and powerful music found here produces a tremendous emotional response in the listener. You will find yourself playing this over and over again in order to discover all the nuances in this amazing score. The performance and recorded sound are absolutely superb. If you like Henze this is a must. If you don't know him, or haven't been able to connect with him, you're advised to try this release; otherwise, you'll be missing out on some great music. Special European Import. Rundfunkchor Berlin, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra; Ingo Metzmacher. EMI 5 56513 2 (Germany) 10D069 $21.98

HANS WERNER HENZE (b.1926): 6 Songs from the Arabian, 3 Auden Songs. It was Bostridge's performance of the 1982 Auden songs which led Henze to write this new cycle for the English tenor. These are big songs (the cycle lasts 46 minutes) and they are full of demanding vocal lines as well as a frequently virtuoso piano technique (the cycle is dedicated both to Bostridge and to Drake). The "Arabian" song-texts are all by Henze himeself, except for one which is by Hafiz trans. Rückert; the tropical colors and bold imagery they convey will appeal to collectors beyond Henze fans since they are very atmospheric and quite approachable. Special European Import. German-English texts. Ian Bostridge (tenor), Julius Drake (piano). EMI CDC 5 57112 2 (England) 10D070 $21.98

KARL AMADEUS HARTMANN (1905-1963): Wachsfigurenkabinett: 5 kleine Opern - Leben und Sterben des heiligen Teufels, Der Mann, der vom Tode auferstand, Chaplin-Ford-Trott, Fürwahr...?!, Die Witwe von Ephesus. These five brief chamber operas ("Waxworks") occupy a similar territory - sardonic, acerbic and concise - to certain works of Weill, Eisler, and perhaps Milhaud. The spare instrumentation - piano, harmonium, winds and percussion - the presentation of characters who are not develped via action (hence 'waxworks' - three-dimensional character-studies who do not act) and unsentimental, cynical commentary on social matters of the time make these pieces an ideal companion to Eisler's more overtly political social studies in music, and the musical vocabulary, spiced with Stravinskyan neoclassicism, is also strikingly similar in some ways. The use of popular musical forms also roots these works firmly in the vernacular, which belies their actual musical sophistication, which operates at a very high level throughout. German-English libretti. Claudia Barainsky (soprano), Michelle Breedt (mezzo), Tom Harper (tenor), Michael Kraus (baritone), Frank Maus (piano), Jonathan Alder & Kevin McCutcheon (piano, harmonium), Members of Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin; Roger Epple. Wergo WER 6640-2 (Germany) 10D071 $19.98

KARL AMADEUS HARTMANN (1905-1963): Symphonies Nos. 1-8. These are high points in modern, German classical music. The 1st is a kind of requiem based on words by Walt Whitman. The only one with a vocal part, it has a section "When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom'd", like Hindemith's Requiem of the same name. The 2nd is an extended adagio for large orchestra. The 3rd,4th, 5th and 6th are derived from previous works of his, but are so well crafted that they have a cohesiveness and solidarity rarely found in the symphonic literature. Many consider the 4th for string orchestra to be one of his most powerful utterances. The 7th and 8th are from new beginnings, but incorporate 16th and 17th century polyphonic and structural devices. Casual listeners might dismiss these symphonies as academic, but serious ones will find them indispensable. Every modern music enthusiast should have them. 3 CDs. Cornelia Kallisch (alto), Arno Bornkamp (saxophone), Bamberg Symphony; Ingo Metzmacher. EMI 5 56911 2 (Germany) 10D072 $53.98

PETER WARLOCK - World Premiere Recordings

PETER WARLOCK (1894-1930): 6 English Tunes, 6 Italian Dance Tunes, Serenade for Strings, Capriol Suite, The Curlew. One of Warlock's specialties (in his original persona as Philip Heseltine) was the editing for performance of early English (and other) music. The English Tunes and Italian Dance Tunes are excellent examples of his approach: quite non-interventionist for the time, allowing the original music to speak with the minimum of interference and with the same affinity for it as made his Capriol Suite such a favorite. The 1922 Serenade is a fine yet brief example of the English "pastoral" tradition. All but Capriol and The Curlew are world premiere recordings. Special European Import. Martyn Hill (tenor), London Festival Orchestra; Ross Pople. Arte Nova 74321 37868 2 (Germany) 10D073 $7.98

IAN KROUSE: Trí Chairde, 3 Canciones sobre Lorca, Cinco Canciones Insólitas, Lullaby, BRUCE BROUGHTON: Tyvek Wood. These attractive works for harp, viola and flute (accompanying in the case of Krouse's song cycles) are tonal (with modal inflections where suggested by the ethnicity of Lorca's texts or an Irish tune in Lullaby. Krouse in particular, having absorbed the many idioms and styles of the 20th century, has in these works settled on a generally gentle and impressionistic style, perhaps influenced by working with the Debussy trio. Broughton, as a film composer, is completely at ease in evoking a sense of place with a few musical gestures, and his work is a set of 'dramatic impressions' of an imaginary place and the feelings associated with it. Both composers have achieved a fine synthesis of conventional styles and harmony without producing music that sounds derivative or outdated. The Debussy Trio (flute, viola, harp), Suzanna Guzman (mezzo). RCM 12003 (U.S.A.) 10D074 $17.98

SIRVART KARAMANUK (b.1912): For the Girl in Love, Ani, You Don't Complain About the Tears, The Hard Year, The Song of Bedros Turian, Love, Do Not Fear, Little Flock, Holy Keghart, My Heart Wide as the Sky, Let Me Kiss Your Clear Forehead, Harvesting, Akhtama. A composer deeply influenced by her Armenian heritage, Karamanuk writes deeply felt, emotionally extrovert music in full-blooded textures, both instrumental and choral. This is a lot closer to folk music in melodic outline than her most famous compatriot, Khachaturian - there is a greater sense of 'authentic' folk melody, less Soviet grandiosity, and a closer kinship with the East, though the sense of color and warm vibrant harmony is equally as striking. This is music that is easy to enjoy, to bask in, while retaining an individuality and unexpectedness that never allows it to fall into predictability or 'easy-listening' folkiness. Armenian-English texts. Komitas Chamber Choir, Opera Studio Symphony Orchestra of the Komitas State Conservatory of Armenia; Hovhannes Mirzoyan. Albany TROY 478 (U.S.A.) 10D075 $16.98

GALINA USTVOLSKAYA (b.1919): Piano Sonatas Nos. 1-6. Although 30 years separate the first four sonatas (1949-57) from the final two (1986 and 1988), they are a fairly homogeneous group in terms of language although they vary wildly in form. From the second sonata onward, the bar-lines disappear and the relentless, hammering rhythms so familiar to collectors of Ustvolskaya's work become dominant. The fifth sonata is completely dominated by clusters, the music not so much played as hammered with specific indications about how to attack the keyboard (i.e. numbers of fingers striking each key, use of the palm or of the knuckle, etc.). The solitary, granitic quality of the music is an excellent musical portrait of the composer's personality. Oleg Malov (piano). Megadisc MDC 7876 (Belgium) 10D076 $18.98

MIKHAIL NOSYREV (1924-1981): Piano Concerto, Capriccio for Violin and Orchestra, 4 Preludes for Harp, Skazka for Orchestra. Nosyrev's "Fairy Tale" was composed in 1947 and is a fine addition to the late Romantic Russian tradition of short tone poems, its language influenced by Rachmaninov and Scriabin; what makes its quality the more remarkable is that it was written during the composer's ten-year term in a Siberian prison camp. The Capriccio (1957) was also written in Siberia, this time after Nosyrev's release, and it also is in the late Romantic tradition. The piano concerto, however, dates from 1974 and its style reflects the influence of Western avant-garde music, particularly in the use of the percussion although the Russian tradition is still at the heart of the piece; its second movement Ritmo ostinato is particularly striking, the wildness of the piano writing slightly reminiscent of Prokofiev's Toccata. Igor Uryash (piano), Mikhail Gantvarg (violin), Irina Donskaya (harp), Mussorgsly Opera and Ballet Theatre Orchestra, St. Petersburg; Andrei Anikhanov. Olympia OCD 696 (England) 10D077 $16.98

VYACHESLAV ARTYOMOV (b.1940): Concert of the 13 for Piano and Orchestra, Awakening for 32 Violins, Mattinate I & II for Soprano, Violin, Flute and Guitar, A Garland of Recitations for Flute, Oboe, Saxophones, Bassoon and Orchestra. Many elements of musical language come together in Artyomov's works, all illuminating aspects of a spiritual meditation with profound, archaic roots. The songs with small instrumental ensemble have a folk-like feel to them, although they do not sound in any sense rustic. The Concert of the 13 with its dissonant outbursts is a more avant-garde work, though always with that peculiarly Russian sense of solidity and momentum, breathing in long paragraphs. Then there is the meditative aspect, a warm glow of religious, or certainly mystical, feeling, as exemplified in the opening of A Garland of Recitations, which progresses from a Pärt-like stasis to something far more active and Romantic with the emerging contributions of the soloists. An intriguing and multifacted composer of highly satisfying music which feels like part of a tradition while standing somewhat apart from it in both inspiration and technique. Piotr Meshaninov (piano), State Symphony Orchestra; Gennadi Rozhdesvensky, Oleg Krysa & Tatiana Grindenko (violins), Various Soloists, Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra; Virko Baley. Boheme CDBMR 010127 (Russia) 10D078 $16.98

WOJCIECH KILAR (b.1932): Missa pro pace. If you like the Gorecki Symphony No. 3, you will probably love this mass. There are great similarities between the two, particularly the hauntingly beautiful, Slavic sounding, Gorecki-like vocal passages found here. The work is conventionally structured for four soloists (SATB), four part chorus and standard orchestral forces. The choral writing has a Gregorian quality, which underscores the composer's desire for simplicity. The harmony is based on diatonic triads, with only an occasional use of dissonance. The Gloria is quite striking with rhythms and melodies reminiscent of folk music from the southern, Tatra region of Poland. Kilar highlights the Credo as the pivotal section of the work by scoring it solely for tenor solo and a cappella chorus. Izabella Klosinska (soprano), Jadwiga Rappé (alto), Charles Daniels (tenor), Romuald Tesarowicz (bass), Warsaw Philharmonic-National Orchestra & Choir of Poland; Kazimierz Kord. CD Accord ACD 079 (Poland) 10D079 $17.98

JOSEF PETER HEINZER (b.1935): String Quartet "Strait of Juan de Fuca", Weiterdinger Duo for Violin and Cello, String Trio. Heinzer's idiom is modern but approachable: extended tonality and bits of atonality are blended in with practically everything one might absorb from 20th-century composers - especially Bartók - but not excluding a thin vein of American minimalism as well. The sea is Heinzer's major inspiration; the slow movement of the quartet is an impression of underwater life in the eponymous bit of water separating the Olympic peninsula from Vancouver, Canada but each movement of the duo was inspired by a type of fish and the seven movements of the trio have subtitles such as "School of Bigeye Perch", "Ray" and "Sea Horse". Collectors of approachable contemporary chamber music should not be disappointed. Lea Gabriela Heinzer, Cordelia Hagmann (violins), Stéphanie Bozzini (viola), Doris Maria Sigrist (cello). Quantaphon/Swiss Pan 51.700 (Switzerland) 10D080 $16.98

THANOS MIKROUTSIKOS (b.1947): The Return of Helen. Dating from 1993, this opera deals with the Helen of Troy myth. The composer draws a psychological portrait of his heroine using a psychoanalytical approach: Helen is split into three personalities - Helen of Troy, of Egypt and of Sparta - which eventually merge into a single individual again. Mikroutsikos uses a polyharmonic idiom: chromaticism, modality, whole-tone scales, atonality, etc. All of it is approachable in a post "Wagnerian" style. Special European Import. 2 CDs. Greek-English libretto. Pamela Pantos (mezzo-soprano), Tassis Kristojannis (baritone), Mata Katsuli (soprano), Christophoros Stamboglis (bass), Chorus of Greek Radio-Television, Camerata - Orchestra of the Friends of Music; Alexandros Myrat. EMI Classics 5 56854 2 (England) 10D081 $39.98

JENÖ KENESSEY (1905-1976): The Gold and the Women. Kenessey was known mainly for his ballets; his only opera was this one-acter from 1943 in which French Impressionism blends poetically with Hungarian folk-influenced melody in the vein of Kodály in a traditional love triangle interwoven with another, more modern conflict: the power of money over love. 1957 (stereo) recording. Hungarian-English libretto. György Losonczy (baritone), Júlia Osváth (soprano), Róbert Ilosfalvy (tenor), Male Chorus of the Hungarian State Opera, Budapest Symphony Orchestra; Jenö Kenessey. Hungaroton HCD 31983 (Hungary) 10D082 $16.98

JON ØIVIND NESS: Darey Tilih!, Aztec Snap, KAARE DYVIK HUSBY: Over Grind, EIVIND BUENE: Fragmentarium II, LENE GRENAGER: Zyklus, SVENLYDER KAHRS: 5 Intermezzi, MARK ADDERLEY: Jester. This CD contains works written especially for the Ametri Quartet, an enterprising ensemble which habitually presents multimedia concerts in collaboration with designers, graphic artists and video artists, as well as composers interested in working within these disciplines. Of course, these elements are missing from a CD recording (though as the Saariaho offering elsewhere in this catalogue demonstrates, they need not be), so we are left with seven works with some common characteristics. There is a great deal of energy to them. Several of the composers, especially Ness, have used fragments of non-classical songs (but they are fragments - this is not a 'fusion' exercise) and in general there is a sense of the kind of direct involvement common to non-classical idioms, and an absence of academic navel-gazing. Some extended playing techniques are used, though not for the most part the most extreme or unfamiliar. Having said which, the music is generally not bounded by tonality, apart from some references and theatrical coups in which one is set up to believe that a certain procedure may be used, only to have one's expectations abruptly shattered. This may not be the most sophisticated quartet music of the avant garde in our time (for that, see under "Arditti"), but it is refreshingly vital. Ametri String Quartet. Aurora ACD 5025 (Norway) 10D083 $17.98

IANNIS XENAKIS (1922-2001): Mycenae Alpha for UPIC, Polytope de Cluny for Tape, BRIGITTE ROBINDORÉ (b.1962): L'AUtel de la Perte et de la Transformation for 2 Percussionists and UPIC, Comme Etrangers et Voyageurs sur la Terre for 2 Percussionists and UPIC, JEAN-CLAUDE RISSET (b. 938): Saxatile for Soprano Saxophone and UPIC, NICOLA CISTERNINO (b.1957): Xöömij for Bass Voice and Tape, JULIO ESTRADA (b.1943): eua-on for UPIC, eua-on-ome for Orchestra, DANIEL TERRUGI (b.1952): Gestes de l'écrit for UPIC, TAKEHITO SHIMAZU (b.1949): Illusions in Desolate Fields for Voice, San-Gen and UPIC, CURTIS ROADS (b.1951): Purity for Tape, Sonal Atoms for Tape, GÉRARD PAPE (b.1955): Le Fleuve de Désir III for String Quartet and UPIC. This set consists mainly of works of electronic or electroacoustic music composed using the "UPIC" computer music synthesizer conceived and developed by Xenakis in the 1950s. A system which allowed extremely free transformation and synthesis of sounds, through its use of a system of graphic, non-keyboard using playing techniques, this might be seen as a realisation of the ideals that Percy Grainger was working on in his 'free music' around the same time, using more homespun means (and producing music that, of course, sounds nothing like any of these compositions, all of which sound 'electronic', with predominantly metallic and 'distorted' timbres much to the fore). As one might expect, continously evolving timbres and spatial analogues of sculpture (some of the works were conceived as elements of installations, in fact) are more important here than musical argument, though the Risset (with soprano saxophone) is surprisingly melodic. A fascinating piece of music history as well as an example of the creative possibilities of even a relatively restricted electronic 'instrument'. 2 CDs. Roland Auzet, Claire Talibart (percussion), Daniel Kientzy (sax), Nicholas Isherwood (bass), SWF Baden-Baden; Olaf Henzold, Kazuko Takada (san-gen & voice), Arditti Quartet. Mode 98/99 (U.S.A.) 10D084 $33.98

TAN DUN (b.1957): On Taoism, Orchestral Theatre I, Death and Fire - Dialogue with Paul Klee. These three orchestral works showcase the familiar preoccupations of the composer, whose æsthetic paradoxically seems to derive from his extensive studies in the west, while his vocabulary, especially in terms of timbre, consistently evokes his native China. Having orchestral musicians wordlessly vocalise seems to have become an important element of the composer's style, suggesting the oblique meanings of Chinese theatre. But this is not music of impressionistic brushwork, which might be said of other composers of eastern origin (Takemitsu, for instance); Tan Dun not infrequently makes use of the full somorities and driving rhythms of western orchestral styles, especially those of the 80s, when the composer was reaching artistic maturity. The pieces after Klee are especially ingenious, vividly suggesting the artist's styles ('twittering machine' is an easy target, but the other works are similarly effective). Budget-price. BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra; Tan Dun. Koch Schwann Musica Mundi 3-6761-2 (Germany) 10D085 $6.98

OTTO KETTING (b.1935): Capriccio for Violin and 12 Players, Cheops for Horn and Orchestra, Summer Moon for Soprano and Orchestra, RAVEL/KETTING: 3 Mélodies for Soprano and Orchestra. The three very attractive orchestrations of Ravel songs are note-faithful to the original and yet avoiding any suggestion of slavishly trying to emulate Ravel's instrumental textures - while remaining as opulent and sensuous as one might wish, the timbres at times have an almost Sibelian austerity. This same economy and unsentimentality appears even more strongly in Ketting's original compositions, and the eloquent solo lines against rustling, impersonal background textures suggest Sibelius again, and also John Adams, though the harmonic language is typically more second-Viennese than the one, and the rhythmic structure more varied than the other. Vera Beths (violin), Jacob Slagter (horn), Claron McFadden (soprano), Limburg Symphony Orchestra; Lucas Vis. Donemus CV 96 (Netherlands) 10D086 $18.98

ERKKI-SVEN TÜÜR (b.1959): Architectonics. Here are all of Tüür's Architectonics to date. Spanning a ten-year period in the composer's creative output, these 5-13 minute pieces are scored for a chamber ensemble, which includes electric guitar and synthesizer in addition to conventional instruments. Although well structured and classically oriented, rhythmically this music sometimes has a rocklike insistence and improvisational quality, which probably stem from Tüür's early associations with rock music. Melodically it has a Baltio-Slavic sound in keeping with Tüür's Estonian roots. Stylistically there are times when renaissance and other early music influences are in evidence. These very imaginative and beautifully scored pieces are guaranteed to take you on a musical journey, which will elicit a variety of emotional responses. This is contemporary music, which is listener friendly, and certainly worth your attention. Absolute Ensemble; Kristjan Järvi. CCn'C 01812 (Germany) 10D087 $18.98

KAIJA SAARIAHO (b.1952): Lonh, Près, NoaNoa, 6 Japanese Gardens. This is an interesting two-disc set which breaks new ground in the presentation of contemporary music, possibly demonstrating a way forward in multimedia presentation of music for listeners and musicological researchers alike. The first disc is a CD containing four electroacoustic works. The second is a CD-ROM playable on any decent home computer (PC or Mac) with interviews, scores, analyses of pieces, video art associated with the music, film clips and the like - a lot of material, apparently some 15 hours worth all told. Saariaho's music suggests this kind of approach, as her compositions tend to function in the manner of sound-scultptures which cross the boundaries of media and style in a free-ranging and innovative way. There is a strong visual element, a sense of impression and atmosphere at the expense of rigorous musical structure in all the works on the CD - the multimedia presentation is merely an obvious next step. There are some very beautiful sounds and textures woven from the diverse instrumental timbres used by the composer, enhanced further by her creative yet un-gimmicky use of the possibilities of electronic processing. 1 CD + 1 CD-ROM. Dawn Upshaw (soprano), Anssi Karttunen (cello), Camilla Hoitenga (flute), Florent Jodelet (percussion). Montaigne/Naïve MO 782.87 (France) 10D088 $35.98

HARRISON BIRTWISTLE (b.1934): Entr'Actes and Sappho Fragments for Soprano, Flute, Oboe, Violin, Viola, Harp and Percussion, JOHN TAVENER (b.1944): To a Child Dancing in the Wind for Soprano, Flute, Viola and Harp. At first sight, these two roughly contemporary British composers might seem odd bedfellows; Taverner the Orthodox composer of spiritual meditations accessible to a wide audience; Birtwistle the uncompromising avant-gardist, content to express his own ideas, if necessary almost at the expense of the audience. Certainly, the Tavener, to texts by another accessible mystic, Yeats, is the more obviously approachable work. Birtwistle's music is more harmonically obscure and oblique, fragmentary and pointillistic, but in vocal and melodic style both share a common ground in monodic music from mediæval times and indeed, far earlier. The Birtwistle has a strange delicacy without gentleness; an etched quality. As one might expect, Tavener's idiom is warmer, though no less evocative of a world detached from everyday modern reality. Auréole, John Ferrillo (oboe), Jacqui Carasco (violin), James Baker (percussion), Paul Hotstetter (conductor). Koch International Classics 7486 (U.S.A.) 10D089 $16.98

MARK-ANTHONY TURNAGE (b.1960): 2 Memorials, Sleep On, Cortège for Chris, 2 Elegies Framing a Shout, 3 Farewells, Tune for Toru, An Invention on "Solitude". The chamber works on this disc may come as a surprise to those who associate Turnage with big, loud, and above all aggressive works with driving jazz-derived rhythms and a certain tendency to shocking effects. Many of these works were not commissioned but arose as a direct response to a personal loss, bereavement or tribute. Some elements of jazz are present, especially in the works with clarinet, but this is a soulful, tender side of the composer which in some ways rings more true than the sometimes orgiastic aggression in his orchestral commentaries on his preoccupation with painter Francis Bacon. Perhaps these works have less of an individual voice too, but they are touching, tender and finely crafted on their own terms, and well worth getting to know. The Nash Ensemble. Black Box BBM 1065 (England) 10D090 $17.98

IVO VAN EMMERIK: Documents pour servir de canevas for Chamber Ensemble, Birdstone for 15 Instruments. Emmerik acknowledges Feldman and Cage as influences, though his music has a momentum, a continuousness of flow that owes more to the music of the Netherlands in the 20th century wth which we are all broadly familiar. The point of contact with the two American icons is in the sense of abandonment of linear time, though this is never taken to the point of abstraction as it has sometimes been in avant garde pointillism. The system of repetitions on which Emmerik's music is based allows a degree of freedom from linear narrative, but the material repeated is sometimes surprisingly tonal, and in another context altogeher some of it could be used as the building blocks of a minimalist composition (which could not be further from the actual sound of these pieces). Musically more appealing than the philosophical preoccupations that underly it make it sound, this is another example of the wealth of intriguing music that has come out of the Netherlands in the latter part of the 20th century. Ives Ensemble. Donemus CV 97 (Netherlands) 10D091 $18.98

MIKHAIL CHEKALIN (b.1959): Last Seasons, Black Square. As a follow-up to their recent, fascinating Martynov release, the CCn'C label now gives us music by a composer whose compositions were acclaimed by Moscow underground intellectuals during the repressive Soviet years. Last Seasons, written in 1997-1998, is for chamber orchestra. It inhabits a sound world all of its own, but at times it will remind you of Ives's Unanswered Question, minus the interrogatory trumpet, and Schnittke's more subdued, mystical works. Dating from 1996, Black Square is actually a concerto grosso for full orchestra. Again a mystical quality prevails, but its presto movement could almost be out of a Khachaturian ballet. All who loved the Martynov release (08D079) or have a penchant for the sublime and mysterious are encouraged to try this CD. Moscow Chamber Music Orchestra; Vladislav Bulakhov. Grand State Symphony Orchestra of St. Petersburg; Alexander Polischuk. CCn'C 01612 (Germany) 10D092 $18.98

HANS ZENDER (b.1936): Lo-Shu I for 3 Flutes, 3 Cellos and 3 Percussionists, Lo-Shu II - Mondschrift for Solo Flute, Lo-Shu III for Flute and 24 Instruments, Lo-Shu VII - 4 Enso for 2 Instrumental Groups. Zender's Lo Shu cycle resulted from visits made by the composer to Japan in the 1970s. The pieces do not sound like 'oriental' music in any way, bearing instead the hallmarks of the western concert contemporary instrumental and orchestral tradition with which Zender is associated both as composer and conductor. The connection to Asian music instead is in the approach to time and the sequence of events; the rejection of cause and effect and the functional relationships of harmony and development. All these pieces have a curiously static quality, in which action occurs through the simultaneous presentation of elements of musical material but not through a sequance of events in time. The compositional principles involved include numerical relationships - 'magic' squares and the like - and an evocation of the beautiful calligraphic artistry of written Eastern poetry. The combination of the instrumental techniques of the western avant-garde and Oriental stasis and calm produces a remarkable and telling effect; music that is both involving and timelessly meditative. Mid-price. Helen Bledsoe (flute), musikFabrik; Hans Zender. CPO 999 771 (Germany) 10D093 $10.98

EMMA LOU DIEMER: Santa Barbara Overture, ROGER BRIGGS: Tarot: Three Movements from the Major Arcana, MITCH HAMPTON: Symphony No. 1 for Piano and Orchestra, RAY BOKHOUR: New York, 1999, GREG BULLEN: The Parable of the Iliad. This is a most appealing disc with much to recommend it. All the works, scored for large and exuberantly used symphony orchestre, are very "American" each in their own way, though we hear a wide cross-section of styles, all within a basically tonal, neo-romantic framework. Diemer's ebullient Santa Barbara Overture makes a vivid curtain-raiser, followed by Briggs and Bullen's evocative tone poems based on the Tarot and a Breughel painting respectively. Bokhour's musical portrait of New York does for that city what Vaughan Williams' London Symphony does for its subject, in not dissimilar language. Hampton's symphony (more a sinfonietta with piano obbligato) presents a condensed history of American popular styles in a concert context, an appropriately energetic piece with echoes of Bernstein. Mitch Hampton (piano), London Symphony Orchestra; Roger Briggs, Brynmore Llewelyn Jones. MMC 2111 (U.S.A.) 10D094 $16.98

NORMA WENDELBURG: Mosaic, MARILYN SHRUDE: Le Chanson de Printemps, Passage of Years, ANNA LARSON: Dance for Orchestra, JANICE MISURELL-MITCHELL: Luminaria, PAULA DIEHL: Tillthe Walls Fall. An astonishing diversity of styles and inspirations here. Shude's La Chanson has something in common with a Panufnik slow movement, with hints of the Barber Adagio. Her Passage of Years and Larson's Dance do just that - dance, Larson's work being especially intriguing due to its tonal ambiguity and modal referents. The Misurell-Mitchell is dense and complex, and atonal, but not as forbidding as that might suggest; the piece has a strength and vitality that links it to the post-romantic 20th century tradition of which Carter is probably the pre-eminent example in this country. The Diehl is an intriguing essay in the interplay of intervals - perhaps less revolutionary than the liner notes suggest, but a source of fascinating textures and processes nonetheless. Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra; Vladimír Válek. MMC 2101 (U.S.A.) 10D095 $16.98

PEGGY GLANVILLE-HICKS (1912-1990): Profiles from China, 3 Songs, Mimic Heaven: 5 Songs by A.E. Houseman, Harp Sonata, 13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird, Letters from Morocco. An intriguing figure, born in Australia, educated in England, later domiciled in America, Glanville-Hicks was an individual voice within a conservative tradition. Refusing to have anything to do with dodecaphony or avant-garde techniques, she wrote music which above all reminds one of her British contemporaries, Holst, Vaughan Williams, and the like, though with an accent that is all her own. Letters from Morocco to texts by Paul Bowles, is especially impressive, with many felicitous touches of orchestration and a strong sense of place in the context of a most impressive orchestral tone-poem. Gerald English (tenor), Roland Peelman (piano), Marshall McGuire (harp), Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra; Antony Walker. Tall Poppies TP112 (Australia) 10D096 $18.98

GUNNAR HAHN: Dans i Älvros, Leksands skänklåt, Rovlåten, Skotska danser, 2 polska danser, 2 polskor från Älvros, Variationer över en knäpplåt, Hornlåt från Skeberg. These pieces, for the intriguing, outdoorsy combination of violin, clarinet, bassoon and piano, directly evoke the northern European folk dances and idioms on which they are based. The timbres available to the group, while not actually those that one might typically encounter in 'authentic' folk performance, produce a convincing and evocative simulacrum of folk style (like Mahler's Ländler and marching bands for symphony orchestra), and the harmonic language is similarly authentic - tonal/modal. Most of the pieces sound like folk arrangements (of Scottish folksongs, polkas etc) whether they are or not; the "Variations" evoke the atmosphere of the gathering of spontaneous improvisers in a structured piece of concert music. Spelmanskvartetten. DB Productions dBCD 42 (Sweden) 10D097 $18.98

GAVIN GORDON (1901-1970): The Rake's Progress, GEOFFREY TOYE (1889-1942): The Haunted Ballroom, WILLIAM BOYCE (1711-1779)/CONSTANT LAMBERT (1905-1951): The Prospect Before Us, SIR ARTHUR BLISS (1891-1975): Checkmate. Titled "Tribute to Madam", this is a collection in honor of the dancer and choreographer Ninette de Valois (1898-2001) which not only does honor to her memory as a brilliant choreographer but also offers us three CD premieres of English ballets and the first ever commercial recording of the complete ballet score of Checkmate. Gordon's Rake dates from 1935 and his music draws on 18th century sonatas and dance-forms (the period of Hogarth's famous paintings); Toye's is based on Poe's tale of the same name and the haunting waltz at its center became a best-seller and a staple on the BBC Light Programme after its 1934 premiere. More 18th century music makes up The Prospect Before Us, a 1940 short work suggested by a contemporary print, which allowed Lambert, who had edited several of Boyce's symphonies and trio sonatas, to rescue the music from two centuries of oblivion. 2 CDs. Mid-price. Royal Ballet Sinfonia; Barry Wordsworth. ASV White Line WLS 255 (England) 10D098 $23.98

STELLAN SAGVIK (b.1952): Music from the Films Le Voyeur, Op. 78, Ritualen, Op. 73, Paidorch, Op. 141b and Metamora, Op. 130. Some hard-core film score collectors won't even need to know anything about the films whose scores are on offer; this release is for those collectors! These Swedish films date from 1978, 1977, 1988 and 1984 respectively and one-paragraph synopses are given (a couple are bizarre enough to demand seeing). The music is freely atonal and makes full use of a very large orchestra. Metamora stands apart from the group; the fractured liner note calls it a symphony and it may be so - arranged from the film music. Anyway, it's 24 minutes are not far off from the idiom of Eklund or Pettersson and it works as a single-movement symphony or tone poem. Cluj Philharmonic; Mika Eichenholz. Nosag CD 011 (Sweden) 10D099 $16.98

BACH TRANSCRIPTIONS BY: Wilhelm Kempff (1895-1991): Sinfonia in D, Siciliano in G Minor, Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme and Ich ruf' zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, Mary Howe (1882-1964): Sheep May Safely Graze, Myra Hess (1890-): Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, Lord Berners (1883-1950): In dulci jubilo, Harriet Cohen (1895-1967): Sanctify us by Thy goodness, William Walton (1902-1983): Herzlich tut mich verlangen, John Ireland (1879-1962): Meine Seele erhebt den Herrn, Herbert Howells (1892-1983): O Mensch, bewein dein Sünde gross, Harold Bauer (1873-1951): Die Seele ruht in Jesu Händen, Eugen d'Albert (1864-1932): Passacaglia in C Minor and Angela Hewitt: Wenn wir in höchsten Nöten sein, Das alte Jarh vergangen ist and Alle Menschen müssen sterben. A tribute to the irrepressible interest in and joy in playing Bach, this collection of piano transcriptions by (mostly) pianists hearkens back to Busoni certainly but even more early, to Mendelssohn, who himself played piano transcriptions of Bach works. Angela Hewitt not only offers three of her own transcriptions but also provides 16 pages of what can only be described as Hyperion-Schubert-Editon type notes, rich in appreciation of both the music and its transcribers. Angela Hewitt (piano). Hyperion CDA 67309 (England) 10D100 $17.98

JOHN JEFFREYS (b.1927): Fantasia, Flourish, Affirmation, Meditation & 6 Variations, Christ in Majesty, Entrada, Otten Fanfares & Processional and nine shorter works. Although of Welsh extraction, Jeffreys writes organ music, which seems tailor made for the magnificent instrument where this recording was made. Some of the selections here are large scale, sonorous, ceremonial pieces, while others are smaller, more contemplative works, two of which even pay tribute to the lowly church mouse. The CD opens with Otten Fanfares & Processional which is a powerful piece evoking the majestic expanse of a great cathedral. Fantasia exploits the full range of this organ, while Flourish shows off all of its solo colors. This music was written between 1985 and 1993, yet it is late romantic in character. If you like the organ music of Widor, Parry, Stanford and Howells, you'll probably want this CD. Michel Bourcier (Cavaillé-Coll organ at Saint-Antoine des Quinze-Vingts, Paris). SOMM 019 (England) 10D101 $17.98