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Orchestral Music from Belgium

FRANK VAN DER STUCKEN (1858-1929): Symphonic Prologue to Heinrich Heine's Tragedy "William Ratcliffe", Op. 6, MICHEL BRUSSELMANS (1886-1960): Scènes Breugheliennes, LODEWIJK MORTELMANS (1868-1952): Lyrical Poem for Small Orchestra, RENAAT VEREMANS (1894-1969): Night and Dawn at the Nete, FLOR ALPERTS (1876-1954): Salome's Dance of the Seven Veils. The largest work here is by an alumnus of the LPs of the Society for the Preservation of the American Musical Heritage: van der Stucken was born in Texas but moved back to his parents native Belgium while still a child. Lasting nearly 30 minutes, his Heine-inspired piece uses a huge orchestra (four harps and two pianos!) in music richly influenced by Liszt, Wagner and Berlioz. Brusselmans' work of 1911, inspired by five Brueghel paintings of village life, is colorful and brilliantly orchestrated, with echoes of folk tunes. Alperts' go at the Salome topos is languorous and full of longing, with a sinuous oboe melody, rather than hot-blooded; Mortelmans' Lyrical Poem (1897) is just that - rich, measured and lushly orchestrated and Veremans' tone poem (1957) is in his characteristic late Romantic idiom with seasonings of Impressionism. Flemish Radio Orchestra; Bjarte Engeset. Klara MMP 029 (Belgium) 09E001 $16.98 >

NOTE: Records International will be on the road Sept. 10-Oct. 23.

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e-mail: sales@recordsinternational.com).

TURE RANGSTRÖM (1884-1947): The Witches for Soprano and Orchestra, Divertimento elegiaco, Partita for Violin and Orchestra in B Minor, Song of the Sea. A fabulous disc full of Rangström rarities! The Witches (1938) is a four-movement song-cycle with (literally) devilish texts set in a mixture of national Nordic romanticism and nature mysticism. The Song of the Sea (1913) is a tone poem whose content is obvious from its title and whose rich and dense orchestration is practically fattening. The Partita (1933) is a four-movement neo-baroque piece while the Divertimento (a 1974 recording - all the others are 1999 or 2001), for string orchestra, is full of bittersweet lights and shadows. Swedish-English texts. NOTE: We were short-shipped on this item. Most orders will probably be back-ordered. Karin Ingebäck (soprano), Bernt Lysell (violin), Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra; Hannu Koivula, Leif Segerstam, Niklas Willén. Phono Suecia/Musica Sveciae Modern Classics PSCD 712 (Sweden) 09E002 $16.98 >

RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958): Norfolk Rhapsody No. 2 in D Minor (compl. Hogger), Norfolk Rhapsody No. 1 in E Minor, The Running Set, Symphony No. 3. The rare treat in this next volume of Hickox's VW cycle is the first Norfolk Rhapsody, heard here for the first time since its last performance in 1914. Like the second (and too bad the score of the third is lost), this uses several folk tunes, slow, fast and scherzo-like, to build a miniature, 10-minute tone poem. The Running Set (1933) is also rare - a six-and-a-half minute orchestration of four English folk songs composed for the National Folk Dance Festival of that year. Rebecca Evans (soprano), London Symphony Orchestra; Richard Hickox. Chandos 10001 (England) 09E003 $16.98

FERDE GROFÉ (1892-1972): Hollywood Suite, Hudson River Suite, Death Valley Suite. Three of Grofé's lesser-known descriptive suites, Hollywood being an early (1932) ballet later developed into a six-movement suite which depicts the building of a set, the shooting of a scene and the lot of a poor stand-in. The shorter, four-movement Death Valley was a commission for the California centennial in 1949 and is probably the second-best known of the composer's suites while Hudson River (1955), based on the legends of the Hudson River (and ending with a garish and turbulent depiction of the city at its southern end), contains a 1932 tone-poem, Rip van Winkle. Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra; William Stromberg. Naxos American Classics 8.559017 (U.S.A.) 09E004 $6.98

VÍTÉZSLAV NOVÁK (1870-1949): The Lantern, Op. 56. This 1984 recording makes its first appearance on CD. Premiered in 1923, the third of Novák's stage-works is a fairy-tale opera which, coming as it did at a time when Schoenberg, Berg, Honegger, Stravinsky and Prokofiev were offering their varying types of musical modernism, stands out for its late-Romantic idiom. Imbued with a sense of well-being, lyricism and good humor, the setting of a nocturnal forest with water-sprites and wood nymphs recalls the world of Dvorák and Smetana. Atmospheric orchestration verges on Impressionism (a celesta helping make a suitably watery picture) while a wide variety of characters from supernatural ones to peasants to the local aristocracy allow the composer to use a full pallette of melody and orchestral color as the vocal numbers vary from simple arioso to full-fledged aria (there is even a section of melodrama) and the music ranges from simple homophony to complex polyphony. A gorgeous piece which will charm anyone who loves Rusalka, The Kiss, The Bartered Bride and so forth. 2 CDs. Mid-price. Czech-English libretto. Eva Depoltová, Jana Jonáová (sopranos), Vladimír DoleÏal (tenor), Prague Radio Chorus and Symphony Orchestra; Frantiek Vajnar. Supraphon SU 3642-2 (Czech Republic) 09E005 $21.98

FRANZ LEHÁR (1870-1948): Tatjana. This was the 26-year-old Lehár's attempt at storming the bastions of grand opera, having been premiered under the title Kakuschka and gaining excellent reviews in Budapest and Leipzig. Unfortunately, Mahler, who had been impressed by the libretto, found the music to be "that of a beginner" and the crushed Lehár's path to deathless fame in operetta lay open to him. Set in the 1840s in Russia on the Volga River, it concerns a stereotypical love-triangle which has two of its members dying in the Siberian snows at the opera's end. Much of the composer's later style is already present and the work strings one idea after another, in the fashion of versimo although the work really takes flight when Lehár produces "Russian" music and we can hear his debts to the Slavic tradition of Dvorák and Tchaikovsky. 2 CDs. German-English libretto. Dagmar Schellenberger (soprano), Herbert Lippert (tenor), Karsten Mewes (baritone), Berlin Radio Choir and Symphony Orchestra; Michail Jurowsky. CPO 999 762 (Germany) 09E006 $31.98

CAMILLO DE NARDIS (1857-1951): Universal Judgement, OTTORINO RESPIGHI (1879-1936): Huntingtower, ALFREDO CASELLA (1883-1947): Introduzione, Corale e Marcia, ARTHUR HONEGGER (1892-1955): La Marche sur la Bastille, DARIUS MILHAUD (1892-1974): West Point Suite, CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921): Orient et Occident, Op. 25. Here's a really unusual collection of music for symphonic band by famous composers (except for De Nardis, whose 1878 symphonic poem is the longest work here and which is a fine example of Lisztian Romanticism which almost makes orchestral collectors forget that there are no strings involved!). Saint-Saëns' piece (1869) uses typical pseudo-Oriental themes of the type common in French opera of the period while Respighi's mournful piece seems to have been inspired by a stay at Huntington Castle in Scotland. Casella added four double basses and a piano to stretch the possibilities of the idiom, Honegger's brief march is part of a multiple-composer composition of theatre music for a play by Romain Rolland in 1936, and Milhaud's 1951 suite is the most well-known item here. Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music Symphonic Band, Budapest; László Marosi. Hungaroton HCD 32066 (Hungary) 09E007 $16.98

BOHUSLAV MARTINU(1890-1959): Suite Concertante for Violin and Orchestra (second version), Violin Concerto No. 1. Both of these works were composed for Samuel Dushkin, the concerto in 1933 and the suite in 1938-9. The composer turned the latter from a three- into a four-movement piece in 1945 (this is the world premiere recording of that version); originally to have been titled "Czech Dances for Violin and Orchestra", it is a suite of stylized Bohemian and Moravian dances. The concerto, although dating from the Paris period (and whose manuscript was only rediscovered in 1978), has many of the identifying characteristics of Martinu's symphonies of the 1940s. Bohuslav Matouek (violin), Czech Philharmonic Orchestra; Christopher Hogwood. Supraphon SU 3653-2 (Czech Republic) 09E008 $16.98

BOHUSLAV MARTINU (1890-1959): Concerto for Oboe and Small Orchestra, Concerto for Harpsichord and Small Orchestra, Piano Concerto No. 3. Although the oboe and harpsichord concertos are twenty years apart, they are both in the composer's high-spirited, infectious, rhythmically vital neo-classical style (the 1935 harpsichord concerto has an orchestral piano to help the identification with the concerto grosso on which it is modeled). The piano concerto (1948), while in the same style, has a more anxious and tragic tone to it which derives from the serious head injury Martinu suffered in 1945 and which colored much of his music for several years thereafter. Mid-price. Original 1989, 1990 and 1995 Supraphon releases. Ivan Séquardt (oboe), Zuzana R°uÏiãková (harpsichord), Josef Páleníãek (piano), Czech Philharmonic Orchestra; Václav Neumann. Supraphon SU 3622-2 (Czech Republic) 09E009 $10.98

BOHUSLAV MARTINU (1890-1959): Serenade No. 1 in A Minor for Clarinet, Horn, 3 Violins and Viola, Serenade No. 2 for 2 Violins and Viola, Serenade No. 3 for Oboe, Clarinet, 4 Violins and Cello, Divertimento (Serenade No. 4) for Violin, Viola and Chamber Orchestra, Serenade for Chamber Orchestra, Serenade for Violin, Viola, Cello and 2 Clarinets. Martinu wrote more pieces in this "Classical" genre than most 20th century composers and he intended them to be appreciated in their historical way - as light, diverting entertainments which could easily function as background music for a social event. The four numbered serenades and the one for chamber orchestra all date from 1930 or 1932 and they are classical in their harmony and generally homophonic. The serenade for string trio and two clarinets, however, is a different matter. Composed in 1951, it is three times longer than the earlier pieces and has frequent polyphonic passages and rich harmony and exudes a sense of quiet peace and comfort. Mid-price. Members of the Suk Quartet and Prague Chamber Orchestra; OldÞich Vlãek. Supraphon SU 3643-2 (Czech Republic) 09E010 $10.98

POUL SCHIERBECK (1888-1949): Symphony, Op. 15, Radio Rhapsody, Op. 49. This boisterous, youthful work of 1921, Schierbeck's only symphony, has been out-of-print for several years and Danacord has just remanufactured. While the first movement has a rollicking, unbuttoned bonhomie which suggests some of Langggaard's earlier symphonic outbursts in a similar mood, the second and fourth movements (the latter is a 17-minute set of variations) suggest Mahler while the little scherzo, less than four minutes long, is an intermezzo-like gem of delicate instrumentation and an infectiously memorable tune. The coupling is a 17-minute suite of music from a radio production of "Adriana Lecouvreur" (1939), whose nine short movements work remarkably well as absolute music. Original 1993 Danacord release. Artur Rubinstein Philharmonic Orchestra; Ilya Stupel. Danacord DACOCD 417 (Denmark) 09E011 $16.98

JOSEPH JONGEN (1873-1953): 3 Études de Concert, Op. 65, Crépuscule au lac Ogwen, Op. 52, Sérénade, Op. 19, Sarabande triste, Op. 58, LODEWIJK DE VOCHT (1887-1977): Sonata in A Minor, LODEWIJK MORTELMANS (1868-1952): 12 Miniatures. The Jongen pieces take up just over half of this recital, the etudes merging Impressionism with Romanticism in a rich broth of color, charm and warmth, Crépuscule a poetic, impressionistic tone-painting of a Welsh lake at sunset and the Sarabande a grave, trance-like funeral march. The Serenade (1901) is much earlier than the other pieces and is redolent of Franck. De Vocht's 10-minute sonata of 1940, for all its brevity, is still firmly in the late Romantic tradition while Mortelmans' Miniatures, a selection from three sets of such pieces written between 1929-50, are generally in a transitional style between Romanticism and Impressionism, evocative pieces, lyrical and poetic and ultimately going back in genre to the character pieces of Schumann. Hans Ryckelynck (piano). Phaedra 92027 (Belgium) 09E012 $16.98 >

JOSEPH JONGEN (1873-1953): Concerto à 5 for Harp, Flute and String Trio, Op. 71, 2 pièces en trio for Harp, Flute and Cello, Op. 80, Introduction et Danse for Harp and Viola, Op. 102, Danse Lente for Harp and Flute, Op. 56bis, Valse for Harp, Op. 73. The instrumentation will recall similar works by Debussy and Ravel and those are exactly what these works will remind you of, often poetic and dreamy, often shimmering as with summer heat with rippling arpeggios glittering like the sun on the still surface of a lake. As enchantingly atmospheric as you could want, from a composer still too closely associated with only organ compositions. Ensemble Harppegio. Talent 74 (Belgium) 09E013 $15.98

JOSEPH JONGEN (1873-1953): Flute Sonata, Op. 77, 2 pièces en trio for Flute, Cello and Harp, Op. 80, Danse lente for Flute and Harp, Op. 56bis, Elégie for 4 Flutes, Op. 114, 2 paraphrases sur des Noëls wallons for 3 Flutes and Alto Flute, Op. 114. With only two short duplications from the disc above, this further example of Jongen's flute chamber music includes the 1924 sonata (in the same lovely impressionistic style as those works mentioned above) and a couple of charming pieces for multiple flutes. Marc Grauwels (flute), Dalia Ouziel (piano), Marie Hallynck (cello), Sophie Hallynck (harp), Flute Quartet of the Royal Conservatory of Brussels. Naxos 8.557111 (New Zealand) 09E014 $6.98

GASPARO ZANETTI (fl.1626?-1645?): Saltarello detto il Rolla, Il Spagnoletto, Alemana, Caccia amorosa e correnta, Saltarello della battaglia, Speranza d'amore, gagliarda, correnta, Saltarello della Frascada, La Bella Pedrina, Balletti, Intrata del marchese di caravazzo, Pavaniglia, Todescha, Gagliarda, La Bergmasca, Corrente, Suite de Danses, Alemana, Galleria d'Amore, Canario, Saltarello detto Il Fior di Lino, La Mantovana. Although all of these dances have come down to us under Zanetti's name, he may have been a compliler of older pieces as well as composer of some of them. Much in the Renaissance spirit, these pieces are filled with fantasy, freedom and vivacity. A 13-member ensemble performs (strings, winds, plucked instruments). Ensemble Musica Antique Provence; Christian Mendoze. Claves CD 50-2103 (Switzerland) 09E015 $16.98

GIOVANNI BATTISTA BASSANI (1657-1716): La morte delusa. Composed in 1686 to celebrate Pope Innocent XI's victory over the Turks three years before, this is an oratorio of the allegorical variety, its five characters being Lucifer, Death, Justice, Glory and Piety. It has a regular aria-recitative sequence with da capo arias often interspersed with short instrumental sections (three violins and cello, supported by the usual continuo and with the addition of a horn used liberally in the instrumental sections). Italian-English texts. Emanuela Galli (soprano), Daniela Del Monaco, Philippe Jaroussky (altos), François Piolino (tenor), Jean-Claude Sarragosse (bass), Ensemble La Fenice; Jean Tubéry. Opus 111 OP 30332 (France) 09E016 $17.98

NIKOLAUS BRUHNS (1665-1697): Preludes in E Minor (2), G and in G Minor, Fragment of a Prelude in D, Choral Fantasy on Nun komm der Heiden Heiland, ARNOLD MATTHIAS BRUNCKHORST (1670-c.1725): Prelude in E Minor, DIETRICH BUXTEHUDE (1637-1707): Nun komm der Heiden Heiland, Choral Fantasy on Gelobet seist de, Jesu Christ. Bruhns is yet another of the threads in the web of mutual musical influences in Northern Germany which stands behind the towering figure of J.S. Bach as he and Buxtehude both appear frequently in contemporary mentions of the young Bach's important models. Lorenzo Ghielmi (Ahrend organ, San Simpliciano, Milan). Winter & Winter 910 070-2 (Germany) 09E017 $17.98

ANTONIO VIVALDI (1678-1741)/FRANCESCO CORSELLI (1705-1778): Farnace. Around fifteen composers set various librettos dealing with Pharnaces, the son of Mithridates, King of Pontus and Savall chose to take several excerpts from the version by the French composer Corselli (known best by the Italian version of his name) which had its debut in 1739 in Madrid and weave them into Vivaldi's opera which originated in 1727. This mixture of composers was, along with insertion of "spurious" arias, a commonplace of the period and Savall's staging of this combination last October was designed to replicate a lavish, bel canto production of the Madrid of Farinelli. 3 CDs. Italian-English libretto (actually six languages, the vehicle being a thick, hard-bound, lavishly illustrated book with the CDs in folders inside front and back covers - makes the Opera Rara offerings look like cheap paperbacks!). Furio Zanasi (baritone), Adriana Fernández (soprano), Sara Mingardo, Gloria Banditelli (contraltos), Chorus of El Teatro de la Zarzuela, Le Concert des Nations; Jordi Savall. Alia Vox AV 9822 A/C (Spain) 09E018 $53.98

ANTONIO VIVALDI (1678-1741): Sacred Music, Vol. 8 - Sum in medio tempstatum, RV632, Laudate pueri, RV600, Cur sagittas, cur tela, RV637, Sanctorum meritis, RV620, Salve Regina, RV616. The latest in this ongoing series of Vivaldi's practically unknown sacred works, selecting items from both early and middle periods (the former restrained in expression and simple in texture, the latter often flamboyant and contrapuntally ostentatious with a bit of the opera house included), all showing the composer's unmistakable individuality and exhibiting remarkably subtle word-painting and sensitivity. Latin-English texts. Susan Gritton (soprano), Tuva Semmingsen (mezzo), Nathalie Stutzmann (contralto), The King's Consort; Robert King. Hyperion CDA 66829 (England) 09E019 $17.98

CHRISTOPH GRAUPNER (1683-1760): Ouverture in E for 2 Oboe d'amore, 2 Violins, Viola and Continuo, Ouverture in E Flat for 2 Violins, Viola and Continuo, Sinfonia in D for 2 Flutes, 2 Horns, 2 Violins, Viola and Continuo, Sinfonia in G for 2 Horns, 2 Violins, Viola and Continuo, Concerto in E Minor for 2 Flutes, 2 Violins, Viola and Continuo. Graupner's symphonies (1748 and 1752), are full of the joy of exploration of a new style, influenced by the Mannheim school while his orchestral suites (the ones here from the 1730s) are as enjoyable as Telemann's, with just as much personality and odd sense of humor. The 1742 flute concerto is another experiment in mixing the old with the new. Nova Stravaganza; Siegbert Rampe (harpsichord). MD&G 341 1121-2 (Germany) 09E020 $17.98

GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL (1685-1759): Harpsichord Suites, Set 1, Nos. 6-8, Set 2, Nos. 7, 8 & Preludio from No. 9. The last three suites from the first set published in 1720 show an evident admiration of Rameau and explore dark, minor keys while the two suites from the 1733 publication are more obviously teaching material (Princess Anne was the object of these keyboard suites) although no less charming for that. Sophie Yates (harpsichord). Chandos 0688 (England) 09E021 $16.98

JAN DISMAS ZELENKA (1679-1745): Complete Orchestral Works. This fine series now available at a special price. 3 CDs. Special price. Das Neue Eröffnete Orchester; Jürgen Sonnentheil. CPO 999 897 (Germany) 09E022 $23.98

GOTTFRIED HEINRICH STÖLZEL (1690-1749): German Chamber Cantatas, Vol. 1 - Aurora weinete, Die grausame, doch schöne Sylvia, Ein Augenblick ist eine kurze Zeit, Die Rose bleibt der Blumen Königin, Nur vor euch, ihr schönsten Augen, Dies is der Tag, dies ist die Stunde, Kann die Liebe auch erfreuen, Der arma Sylvio. Examples of the rare German secular cantata, in which themes of love and the pastoral ideal are set for voice and basso continuo - a practice highly popular in Italy but frowned upon by most Germans who saw the cantata as suitable only for church music. German-English texts. Dorothee Mields (soprano), Jan Kobow (tenor), Les Amis de Philippe; Ludger Remy. CPO 999 814 (Germany) 09E023 $15.98

WILHELM FRIEDEMANN BACH (1710-1784): Flute Concerto in D, Sinfonia in D Minor, Keyboard Concerto in E Minor, Concerto for 2 Harpsichords in E Flat. World premiere recording of the flute concerto which was part of the holdings of a Berlin archive which the Soviets plundered after the war and which was only discovered in Kiev in 1999. Bach's individuality and virtuosity are particularly evident in the two-harpsichord concerto. Karl Kaiser (transverse flute), Michael Behringer (fortepiano, harpsichord), Robert Hill (harpsichord), Freiburg Baroque Orchestra; Gottfired von der Goltz. Carus 83.304 (Germany) 09E024 $17.98

PIETRO NARDINI (1722-1793): Violin Concertos in C, G, D & in A. World premiere recordings of three of this famous Italian violinist/composer's concertos. Known for his grace and expressivity (and praised for the same by Leopold Mozart and Charles Burney), Nardini did not write finger-busting virtuosic music, preferring instead melody, nobility of tone and expressive emotion. Orchestra da Camera Milano Classica; Mauro Rossi (violin). Dynamic CDS 392 (Italy) 09E025 $17.98

JOHANN G. MÜTHEL (1728-1788): Sonata in B Flat, Sonata in C, Arioso with 12 Variations in C Minor, Arioso with 12 Variations in G. Introverted and a bachelor, Müthel produced some of the most bizarre and expressive music of the Sturm und Drang period, striving for self-expression especially in his slow movements (the virtuosity required elsewhere tells us about his gifts as a performer) while the variations are among the most bold and original such pieces between Bach and Beethoven. Zane Stadyna (piano). Christophorus CHR 77247 (Germany) 09E026 $17.98

NICCOLÒ PICCINNI (1728-1800): Le finte gemelle. In this 1771 farsa for four voices, Piccinni blends the Venetian comic style of his previous work with the lyric and stylistic features of Naples and continuing to influence the following generation of composers of the dramma giocoso. 2 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Eliana Bayon, Célia Cornu-Zozor (sopranos), Valeri Tsarev (tenor), Camille Reno (baritone), Geneva Chamber Orchestra; Franco Trinca. Dynamic CDS 378/1-2 (Italy) 09E027 $35.98

MICHAEL HAYDN (1737-1806): Symphonies No. 1C in E Flat,P1, No. 22 in D, P43, No. 23 in F, P14 & No. 33 in D,Pdeest. Two very early and two late symphonies, separated by around 20 years, show the development of Haydn's style as well as that of the symphony itself. The D major lacking a Perger number and the E Flat date from 1758-60, are in four movements and have a youthful vigor and simplicity of style. The F major work (1779) is much longer (over 22 minutes) although it like its cohort, is in only three movements, but the richness of Haydn's melodic imagination is matched by rich, original harmonies, making for much more personal, memorable symphonic statements. Deutsche Kammerakademie Neuss; Johannes Goritzki. CPO 999 380 (Germany) 09E028 $15.98

JOHANN GEORG ALBRECHTSBERGER (1736-1809): 6 Duets for Violin and Cello, ANTON ALBRECHTSBERGER (1729-?): Divertimento in F, JOSEPH HAYDN (1732-1809): Duet for Violin and Cello in D, Hob. VI:D1. Examples of "practical" music, composed for amateur and, often, family performance on Sunday afternoons and, thus, mainly light, witty, brief pieces in two or three movements. The elder Albrechtsberger joins the world premiere parade here with a four-movement piece which adds the double bass to the violin and cello. Mária Zsiri Szabó (violin), György Deri (cello), Alajos H. Zováthi (double bass). Hungaroton HCD 32039 (Hungary) 09E029 $16.98

JOHANN FRIEDERICH EDELMANN (1749-1894): 4 Quartets for Keyboard and Strings, Op. 9. Dating from 1781, these quartets are very much in the "accompanied keyboard piece" style, everything the strings do being contained in the piano part (as one would expect of this famous fortepianist who introduced the instrument to Parisians almost single-handedly). The works themselves are in an almost orchestral style, full of the Sturm und Drang of Haydn or C.P.E Bach. Miklós Spányi (tangent piano), Erika Petöfi, László Paulik (violins), Balázs Bozzai (viola). Hungaroton HCD 31878 (Hungary) 09E030 $16.98

IGNAZ PLEYEL (1757-1831): Symphonie concertante No. 5 in F for Flute, Clarinet, Horn, Bassoon and Orchestra, FRANZ DANZI (1763-1826): Concertante in B Flat for Flute, Clarinet and Orchestra, Op. 41, ANTONIO SALIERI (1750-1825): Concerto in C for Flute, Oboe and Orchestra. This re-release of an 11-year-old, out-of-print title offers three examples, with widely varying solo instruments, of the sinfonia concertante, that confection so popular in Paris and Mannheim in the Classical period which provided endless opportunities for seemingly effortless virtuosity and the blends of new tone colors through combining various solo instruments. Original 1991 MD&G release. Dagmar Becker (flute), Lajos Lenczès (oboe), Wolfgang Meyer (clarinet), Bruno Schneider (horn), Rainer Schottstädt (bassoon), Württemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn; Jörg Faerber. MD&G 321 0396-2 (Germany) 09E031 $17.98

JEAN XAVIER LEFÈVRE (1763-1829): Clarinet Concertos No. 3 in E Flat & Nos. 4 & 6 in B Flat. Lefèvre is a real rarity - a Swiss composer from the Classical period. Born in Lausanne, he spent his entire life in Paris as a clarinet virtuoso and pedagogue and, among other concertante works, left six concertos for his own instrument which date from the mid 1790s to around 1805 and which are all in the traditional three movements with longer, often virtuosic first movements, songful adagios and playful rondo-finales. Eduard Brunner (clarinet), Munich Chamber Orchestra; Reinhard Goebel. Tudor 7098 (Switzerland) 09E032 $16.98 >

CARL LOEWE (1796-1869): Lieder & Balladen, Vol. 17 - Die Schwanenjungfrau, Op. 129/3, Am Klosterbrunnen, Op. 110/1, Blumenballade, Die verliebte Schäferin Scapine, Op. 9, H.IX,3, Der Mummelsee, Op. 116/3, Der Gesang, Op. 56/2, Der kleine Schiffer, Op. 127, Jungfräulein Annika, Op. 78/1, Die Göttin im Puzzimmer, Op. 73, Die Elfenkönigin, Op. 9, H.1,5, Wechsel, Menschenlose, Op. 103/2, Gulhinde am Putztische, Op. 10, H.II, 5. German-English texts. Julie Kaufmann (soprano), Cord Garben (piano). CPO 999 415 (Germany) 09E033 $15.98

GIOACCHINO ROSSINI (1792-1868): Piano Works, Vol. 3 - Un Sauté, Un Rêve, Etude Asthmatique, Prélude prétentieux, La Pesarese, Prélude convulsif, Un Petit Train de Plaisir, Prélude religieux, Valse Torturée. An overture to a non-existant opera, an etude which literally runs out of steam, hommages to Bachian counterpoint, a train-trip which ends in death and destruction and trips to heaven and hell - it must be more of the aging Rossini's "Sins of Old Age"... Stefan Irmer (piano). MD&G 618 1108-2 (Germany) 09E034 $17.98

NIELS W. GADE (1817-1890): Symphonies, Vol. 3 - Symphony No. 3 in A Minor, Op. 15 (incl. discarded first movement), Symphony No. 6 in G Minor, Op. 32, Echoes of Ossian, Op. 1. The original first movement of the 1847 third symphony was a dramatic and stormy allegro with a slow introduction and which was dropped either because the composer felt it was in a "Nordic" style which he was trying to put behind him or because its vehemence and restless chromaticism would have put off the conservative Leipzig audience for whom the symphony was to be premiered. Danish National Symphony Orchestra/ DR; Christopher Hogwood. Chandos 9795 (England) 09E035 $16.98

EDOUARD LALO (1823-1892): Works for Violin and Piano - Fantaisie Originale, Op. 1, Allegro maestoso in C Minor, Op. 2, 2 Impromptus, Op. 4, Pastorale in G, Op. 8, Scherzo alla Pulcinella, in E Flat, Sonata in D, Op. 12, Soirées Parisiennes, Arlecchino in G, Guitare in B Minor, Op. 28. World premiere recordings of all but Guitare, mostly works from 1848-59 although the 1853 violin sonata, the first modern sonata for violin and piano by a French composer, was reworked in 1873. It is in three-movement form and in the style of the Austro-German composers of whom the young composer was so fond; the remaining pieces are generally in the salon/character piece style, even the 1848 Fantaisie, which is really four character pieces strung together. Luigi Alberto Bianchi (violin), Dubra Kovacevich (piano). Dynamic CDS 356 (Italy) 09E036 $17.98

PETER BENOIT (1834-1901): Love in Life for Baritone and Piano, Tragedy of Love for Baritone and Piano, From Henriette's Album for Piano. Both the song cycles and the piano cycle were composed in 1872, the latter revised from its use as accompaniment to a melodrama. Love in Life sets 15 poems by Flemish poet Emanuel Hiel, mostly sad or tormented songs of lost or unrequited love. Tragedy of Love combines five Shakespeare settings (in translations by Hiel) with five other songs to texts by a little known Flemish poet. The settings of the latter five songs contain remarkable sharp dissonances, surprising harmonies and bold rhythmic and metrical innovations which Benoit never approached again in his career. Minute counters will want to know that there is a total of 49-and-a-half minutes of solo piano music on these two discs. 2 CDs. Dutch texts, English summaries. Werner van Mechelen (bass-baritone), Jozef de Beenhouwer (piano). Phaedra 92026/2 (Belgium) 09E037 $33.98 >

Fête de Ballet -

A Compendium of Ballet Rarities

RICCARDO DRIGO (1846-1930): La Flûte Magique, Le Réveil de Flore, Pas de deux from La Esmeralda, Le Corsaire, Diane et Actéon, Pas de trois, FRIEDRICH BURGMÜLLER (1806-1874): La Péri, DANIEL-ESPRIT-FRANÇOIS AUBER (1782-1871): Marco Spada, Pas classique, Les Rendez-vous, LÉON MINKUS (1826-1917): Grand pas and Pas de deux from Paquita, Pas de deux from Don Quixote, La Bayadère, JULES MASSENET (1842-1912): Ballet music from Le Cid, Entr'acte (Act V) and Valse (Act III) from Le Roi de Lahore, Scènes alsaciennes, Scènes dramatiques, Marche des princesses from Cendrillon, Valse très lente from La Cigale, JACQUES OFFENBACH (1819-1880): Le Papillon, ALEXANDRE LUIGINI (1850-1906): Ballet égyptien, AMBROISE THOMAS (1811-1896): Françoise de Rimini, CHARLES LECOCQ (1832-1918): Mam'zelle Angot (arr. Gordon Jacob), DOMENICO SCARLATTI (1685-1757)/VINCENZO TOMMASINI (1878-1950): The Good-humoured Ladies, GIOACCHINO ROSSINI (1792-1868): Ballet Music from Guillaume Tell, GAETANO DONIZETTI (1797-1848): Ballet Music from La Favorite, HECTOR BERLIOZ (1803-1869): Ballet Music from Les Troyens, GIACOMO MEYERBEER (1791-1864)/CONSTANT LAMBERT (1905-1951): Les Patineurs, EDUARD HELSTED (1816-1900): Pas de deux from Flower Festival at Genzano, CESARE PUGNI (1802-1870): Pas de quatre (arr. William McDermott), HERMANN LØVENSKJOLD (early 19th cen.): Pas de deux from La Sylphide, ADOLPHE ADAM (1803-1856): Danse des vignerons - Pas seul - Peasant pas de deux and Grand Pas de deux from Giselle, PETER TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893): The Black Swan from Swan Lake, Bluebird Pas de deux from Sleeping Beauty, Pas de deux from The Nutcracker, Melody, Op. 42/3 December: Christmas from The Seasons, Op. 37b (arr. Gamley), PAUL LINCKE (1866-1946): Gavotte Pavlova, BORIS ASAFYEV (1884-1949): Papillons, LÉO DELIBES (1836-1891): Intermezzo from Naïla, ALFREDO CATALANI (1854-1893): Danza delle ondine from Elda, FRITZ KREISLER (1875-1962): The Dragonfly (arr. Gamley), ALPHONS CZIBULKA (1842-1894): Love's Dream after the Ball (arr. Gamley), ANTON RUBINSTEIN (1829-1894): Danses des fiancées de Cachemir from Feramors, CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS (1834-1921): The Swan, GIOACHINO ROSSINI (1792-1868)/BENJAMIN BRITTEN (1913-1976): Soirées musicales, Matinées musicales, FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN (1810-1849): Les Sylphides (orch. Roy Douglas), JOHANN STRAUSS I, JOHANN STRAUSS II, JOSEF STRAUSS, EDUARD STRAUSS/ROGER DESORMIÈRE (1898-1963): Le Beau Danube, TRAD: Maxurka (arr. Krupinski), Bolero 1830 (arr. O'Turner). Around 780 minutes of mostly very unusual ballet repertoire collected from Decca recordings made as early as 1962 and as late as 1988. 10 CDs. Mid-price. Special European Import. National Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Richard Bonynge. Decca 468 578-2 (England) 09E038 $95.98 >

JOACHIM RAFF (1822-1882): Symphony No. 2 in C, Op. 140, Suite for Orchestra "Aus Thüringen". Geniality, thy name is Raff... Tudor's complete Raff cycle continues with the early 1866 symphony, absolute music as are most of the even-numbered symphonies, and the 1875 suite, both of which surpass their previous recordings on Marco Polo. Bamberg Symphony; Hans Stadlmair. Tudor 7102 (Switzerland) 09E039 $16.98 >

JOACHIM RAFF (1822-1882): Works for Violin and Piano, Vol. 1 - First Grand Sonata, Op. 73, Duo, Op. 59, 2 Fantasy Pieces, Op. 58, Duo on Motifs from Wagner's "Tannhäuser", Op. 63/2. These pieces date from 1848-53 and show the young composer's enthusiasm for the violin and piano pieces of Schumann; at the same time, he made the acquaintance of the young Brahms who also had just finished a violin sonata. In the Grand Sonata, the piano is given pride of place and Mendelssohnian lightness also appears in its scherzo while the duo on Wagner's themes seems to contain implied criticism of that composer, tidying up his longueurs. Ingolf Turban (violin), Jascha Nemtsov (piano). CPO 999 767 (Germany) 09E040 $15.98

JÁN LEVOSLAV BELLA (1843-1936): String Quartets in E Minor "Hungarian" & in C Minor, Fantasia-Sonata in D Minor for Organ. Bella was the first Slovak national composer and produced the first Slovak opera in 1926. These two quartets, however, are firmly in the Germanic tradition, with no folk music influences apart from the generic "Hungarian" alla zingara third movement of the generally genial E Minor work from 1871. The other quartet is from 1880 and shows a more personal voice although Schubert is not far away from its finale. The organ sonata is not dated in the notes but it is a late work and is in a concise, three-movement form lasting less than 15 minutes which is more reminiscent of the Classical period than the Romantic. Opus recordings from 1982 in their first CD release. Kosice Quartet, Vladimír Rusó (organ). Opus 91 2673-2 (Slovakia) 09E041 $16.98 >

JOHAN LINDEGREN (1842-1908): String Quintet in F, OSCAR BYSTRÖM (1821-1909): Quartetto svedese (String Quartet in C Minor & Intermezzo), EMIL SJÖGREN (1853-1918): 2 Lyrical Pieces for Violin and Piano, Morceau de concert for Violin and Piano, Op. 45. A CD reissue is welcome for two examples of very untrodden romantic paths - Lindegren's 1906 quintet, which is one of the longest and most complex chamber works of Swedish Romanticism (complex in the sense of thematic and motif-related working-out), and Byström's 1856 quartet under the influence of Berwald (to which he added an intermezzo based on Swedish chorale tunes in 1895). Original recordings from 1972, 1984-86. Berwald Quartet, Björn Sjögren (viola), Christer Thorvaldsson (violin), Elisif Lundén-Bergfelt (piano), Dan Almgren (violin), Stefan Bojsten (piano). Artemis/Musica Sveciae, ARTE CD 7122 (MSCD 510) (Sweden) 09E042 $16.98 >

CESAR FRANCK (1822-1890): Prelude, Chorale and Fugue, Prelude, Fugue and Variation, Op. 18, Pastorale, Op. 19, Violin Sonata. This interesting release offers an original piano work by Franck (the Prelude, Chorale and Fugue) along with three transcriptions. English pianist Harold Bauer transcribed two organ works and French pianist Alfred Cortot did the same for the famous violin sonata, allowing us to see how two great performers viewed the music of this masterly composer. Alexander Paley (piano). Marco Polo 8.225044 (New Zealand) 09E043 $15.98

FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886): 6 Grandes Études de Paganini, S141, Franz Schuberts Märsche für das Pianoforte übertragen, S426. For a break from unknown composers, Hamelin offers his interpretation of the 1851 version of Liszt's Paganini Etudes and the much more rarely-heard Schubert marches. But next month - Hamelin plays Ornstein! Marc-André Hamelin (piano). Hyperion CDA 67370 (England) 09E044 $17.98

SERGEI TANEYEV (1856-1915): Symphony No. 2 in B Flat, Symphony No. 4 in C Minor, Op. 12. The rarely recorded second symphony, a very early work from 1877, shows little of the obsession with counterpoint which marks most of Taneyev's compositions (and the 1898 fourth symphony), its three movements (a 15-minute long first with a long slow introduction and vigorous main body, an epic song of an Andante and a stout finale with hunting-calls) more often in the Germanic vein of Rubinstein's symphonies, with no scherzo and only hints of Slavonic musical qualities. Russian State Symphony Orchestra; Valeri Polyansky. Chandos 9998 (England) 09E045 $16.98

ANTONÍN DVORAK (1841-1904): Cello Concerto in A (original cello/piano version), Polonaise in A, Rondo in G Minor, Op. 94, Silent Woods, Op. 68/5, Slavonic Dances in G Minor, Op. 46/8 and in A, Op. 46/3. This is the 1865 first cello concerto which Dvorák wrote on commission but never orchestrated. Günther Raphael orchestrated it in 1929 and Jarmil Burghauser did a more authentic version in the 1970s and the work was recorded with Milos Sádlo as soloist. Here is the world premiere recording of the manuscript version of this dramatic, colorful and youthful work of the young Dvorák. Its 56 minutes are augmented by 31 more of shorter pieces for cello and piano, of which the two Slavonic Dances (one transcribed by Dvorák and the other, incomplete one, by the editors of the modern critical edition of the composer's works) will be new to most collectors. 2 CDs for the price of 1. JiÞí Bárta (cello), Jan âech (piano). Supraphon 11 1467-2 (Czech Republic) 09E046 $16.98

MAX BRUCH (1838-1920): Symphony No. 3 in E, Op. 51, Suite on Russian Themes, Op. 79b. Bruch's last symphony is a romantic evocation of his native Rhineland and the Russian suite (1903) is an orchestration of four items from a suite of Swedish and Russian Dances for violin and piano. Hungarian State Symphony Orchestra; Manfred Honeck. Original 1987 Marco Polo release. Naxos 8.555985 (New Zealand) 09E047 $6.98

ANTON ARENSKY (1861-1906): 24 Pieces, Op. 36. World premiere recording of this cycle of miniatures from 1894 when the composer was staying in Caucasia for health reasons. Composed of typical character pieces (dances, preludes, nocturnes, barcarolles, etc.) they are arranged in the same ascending chromatic order as Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier. Mid-price. Anatoly Sheludiakov (piano). Angelok ANG-CD-8803 (U.S.A.) 09E048 $11.98

Acte Prealable New Releases from Poland

Karol KurpiÒski (1785-1857): Clarinet Concerto in B Flat, Overture to Czorsztyn Castle, Franciszek Lessel (1780-1838): Piano Concerto in C, Op. 14, St. Cecilia Cantata. The generation before Chopin - the cusp of Romanticism - is documented here with an overture from one of Kurpinski's most successful operas (1819) and his single-movement clarinet concerto from 1823, brilliant and full of virtuosic passagework. Lessel's first concerto is lost but his second (1810) is firmly established in the lyrical vein of late Mozart. The brief cantata is in the tradition of gentle, pastoral cantatas of the Bohemian school. Pawe Stolarczyk (clarinet), Emilian Madey (piano), Polish Choir and Orchestra Jeunesses Musicales; Lukasz Borowicz. Acte Prealable AP0055 (Poland) 09E049 $16.98

Ignacy Feliks Dobrzynski (1807-1867): String Quintet No. 1 in F, Op. 20, String Quintet No. 2 in A Minor, Op. 40. Here is one of several Polish romantic composers whom Acte Prealable will be introducing to the world (many are not in English-language music encyclopedias) as they continue their program of unearthing worthy compatriots from both the 19th and 20th centuries. Dobrzynski's quintets (no dates are given but the use of the Polish national anthem in the slow movement of the first suggests 1848 or thereabouts) are mainly concerned with melody, lyricism and lightly dancing minuet movements. Even that national anthem movement, marked Doloroso ma non troppo lento, is, at the most, wistful as a Mendelssohnian sunniness spreads warmth throughout these two engaging 35-minute pieces. Wilanów Quartet, Tomasz Strahl (cello). Acte Prealable AP0048 (Poland) 09E050 $16.98

Thomas D.A. Tellefsen (1823-1874): Piano Works, Vol. 1 - Sonata in C Minor, Op. 13, 4 Mazurkas, Op. 1, Grande Mazurka in B Flat, Op. 24, Walhallafesten, Op. 40, Nocturne in G Flat, Op. 39, 3 Valses, Op. 5, 2 Grandes Valses, Op. 30, Au travers d'un Songe, Op. 34, Le petite Mendiante, Op. 23. The Norwegian Tellefsen was a student and close friend of Chopin and spent his entire adult life in Paris where he was also highly sought-out as a teacher and performer. His piano works are not pale imitations of Chopin; Norwegian dance types are alluded to in the earliest of his collections of mazurkas and, as the title would lead you to expect, in Walhallafesten. The other salon pieces included here are fine examples of their type from the period and even the sonata (1848) has much more of the dance and the salon about it than the sonatas of the German romantics. Magorzata Jaworska (piano). Acte Prealable AP0049 (Poland) 09E051 $16.98

Wadysaw ðZelenski (1837-1921): Songs, Vol. 1 - 5 Songs from the Collection of the King's Court, Op. 10, My Little Flower, Op. 14/1, Message, Op. 14/2, Black Brow, Op. 7/1, A Girl in Love, Op. 7/2, Spring Dreams, Op. 13, Black Dress, Op. 12/1, To the Polish Women, Op. 13/2, My Little Darling, Op. 2, Jaruha's Song, Swallow, Op. 19/2, A Young Girl Engaged, Op. 19/1, Tears, Op. 19/3, Spider's Web, Op. 6, Wild Dreams, Op. 24, In S.B.'s Album, Op. 8/2. In setting almost exclusively (only one of his hundred songs does otherwise) Polish poems, Zelenski, who also wrote four operas based on Polish historical or folk themes, follows in the tradition of Chopin and Moniuszko, producing a corpus of deeply-felt, predominantly lyrical, often melancholy and melodically rich songs which are an important monument of Polish musical culture. Polish texts. Anna Michalska-Przybysz (soprano), Magorzata WielgoliÒska (piano). Acte Prealable AP0040 (Poland) 09E052 $16.98

Jozef Surzynski (1851-1919): 7 Sacred Songs, For Organ: Prelude and Fugue in C Minor, Op. 12, Andante, Op. 88, Fughetta, Op. 12/3, Postlude in D, 7 Chorale Preludes. Surzynski was a priest, editor and publisher and musicologist who led the reform of Catholic church music in Poland during the late 19th century. This collection features seven sacred songs, each of which is preceded by its organ elaboration and which are characterized by simple homophony and melodious cantilena. A pair of preludes and fugues open and close this sacred recital. Collegium Posnaniense; Barbara Nowak, Collegium Cantorum; Magorzata Kwanik-Chmielewska, Julia Smykowska (organ of the Church of the Carmelite Fathers, Poznan). Acte Prealable AP0050 (Poland) 09E053 $16.98

Jan Tarasiewicz (1889-1961): Piano Solo: Prelude and Toccata in C Sharp Minor, Suite No. 1 in D, 3 Pieces from Suite No. 2, Polka in E, Sad Waltz in E Minor, Nocturne in A Flat, Love Song in B Flat Minor, 6 Mournful Songs for Choir, The Song & Autumn Song for Baritone and Piano, Why Are Boys Sad?, My Motherland, Lullaby & Kasienka for Soprano and Piano. Born in what is today Belarus, this Polish composer and teacher was buffeted by the winds of war throughout his life, being forced to move after both World Wars. He was an arch-conservative musically and was refused admisison to the Polish Composers' Union several times (presumably because he did not write avant-garde music). This recording of a live concert in his memory in 1999 offers a fascinating Prelude and Toccata, one of his first published works, two suites of simple children's tunes (looking back at his childhood, although Tarasiewicz also wrote much for children) and three lovely, melancholy piano pieces from his late maturity which are full of the sad, Slavic soul. The remainder of the recital consists of five songs and seven pieces for unaccompanied chorus, all grounded in simple, folk-like romanticism. No texts. Irinia Shumilina, Igor Olovnikov (solo piano works), Students' Choir of the Belarussian Academy of Music, Viktor Skorobogatov (baritone), Tatyana Tsybulskaya (soprano), Anna Korzenevskaya (piano). Acte Prealable AP0047 (Poland) 09E054 $16.98

Grazyna Bacewicz (1909-1969): Trio for Oboe, Harp and Percussion, Sonatina for Oboe and Piano, Oboe Sonata, Trio for Oboe, Violin and Cello. Dating from 1937 and 1955 respectively, the sonata and sonatina are sprightly, fresh works in the French neo-classical vein with syncopated rhythms, ostinato passages and the mixture of the serene and the grotesque which are characteristic of the genre; the 1936 trio for oboe, violin and piano has all the insousiance of Poulenc (the composer wrote it while studying in Paris). Coming from the composer's last period (1965), the oboe-harp-percussion trio has much of the spirit of her neo-classical works while having a different sound world, where each instrument searches for coloristic sound possibilities while still remaining very approachable. Mariusz P<edzialek (oboe), Piotr Grodecki (piano), Barbara Stuhr (violin), Agata Zaj<ak (cello), Anna Sikorzak-Olek (harp), Jan Pilch (percussion). Acte Prealable AP0043 (Poland) 09E055 $16.98

Miosz Magin (1929-1999): Piano Works, Vol. 1 - Sonata No. 2, Triptyque Polonais, 3 Pièce Caractéristiques, Miniatures Polonaises, Images d'Enfants, 5 Préludes. Magin was a multiple prize-winning pianist at several major competitions and, after recovering from an arm injury in the mid 1960s, recorded a Chopin intégrale for Decca. His piano works are often based on national Polish elements (the Triptyque and the Miniatures are suites of Polish dances) and his language is derived from Szymanowski and the French post-impressionists, often pushing the bounds of tonality but always remaining approachable. Ranging from thoughtful to violently virtuosic, these pieces (dating from 1948-82) should please piano collectors in general and Polish music collectors in particular. Magdalena Adamek (piano). Acte Prealable AP0052 (Poland) 09E056 $16.98

Wadysaw Sowinski (b.1930): Concertino for Harpsichord and String Quartet, Espressivo sempre for Flute and String Quartet, Miniatures for Piano, Serio e buffo for Solo Flute, Suite for the Royal Castle "Baroque Reminiscences" for Flute and String Trio. Except for the 1967 set of piano pieces, these are later works (1987-96). The concertino and the suite combine baroque form and modern musical language; the harpsichord is often used percussively and the flute uses modern playing techniques (both here and in the Espressivo sempre, where the expressivity is often of a sardonic, ascerbic sort and the string writing has hints of Shostakovich) while fragments of baroque harmony, rhythms and ornamentation peek out from the more complex modern language used. The Miniatures are a set of five pieces which border on atonality and which provide room for both virtuosity and expressiveness. Elzbieta Gajewska (flute), Wadysaw Kosiewicz (harpsichord), Krzysztof SowiÒski (piano), Wilanów Quartet. Acte Prealable AP0051 (Poland) 09E057 $16.98

Wadysaw Sowinski (b.1930): Works for String Quartet - Passionato, Doloroso in memoriam Witold Lutoslawski, Quartetto piccolo in memoriam Tadeusz Szeligowski, Elegy, 3 Bourlesques. The string quartet is the composer's favorite chamber genre. A quick glance at the titles of these works will show that all but one are memorials, either specific or general, and one might expect intensity of expression, slowness of tempo and depictions of sorrow. This is exactly what one gets (you might not want to listen to all four pieces in succession), along with an overview of quartet writing in the late 20th century, from Bartók and Shostakovich to Penderecki and Lutoslawski. Wilanów Quartet. Acte Prealable AP0031 (Poland) 09E058 $16.98

Tadeusz Szeligowski (1896-1963): Flute Sonata, Piotr Perkowski (1901-1990): Flute Sonata, Bolesaw Woytowicz (1899-1980): Flute Sonata, Constantin Regamey (1907-1982): Sonatina for Flute and Piano. Eclecticism and neo-classicism with a dash of Impressionism are the rule for this collection of Polish flute sonatas (Regamey was Polish although, after his liberation from a concentration camp, he moved to Switzerland and became a Swiss citizen. He was also the first well-known Polish dodecaphonist although his sonatina does not employ that technique.) Choppy, perky fast movements are wrapped around pastoral slow ones (Szeligowski adds an extra fast movement), hints of Polish national color appear here and there, along with some polyphony - sure to please collectors who like their Prokofiev and Poulenc flute sonatas. Elzbieta Gajewska (flute), Barbara Halska (piano). Acte Prealable AP0026 (Poland) 09E059 $16.98

Galina Gorelova (b.1951): Oboe Concerto, Sonata for Solo Clarinet, Trombone Concerto, 3 Portraits of Radoslava for Flute and Piano, 4 Sentimental Reminiscences for Piano, Small Triptych for 4 Trumpets. This Belarussian composer speaks the increasingly wide-spread language of neo-romanticism, lightly seasoned with minimalism, of which the latest example was Elisabetta Brusa in last month's catalogue (08E005). Gorelova is less sunny and brassy than Brusa, her Slavic soul showing itself in a minor-key, brooding quality which informs many of the six movements of her two concertos but, as in the last movement of the oboe concerto and in the second of the trombone concerto, Slavic folklore and clear, high spirits come into play also. In the solo instrument pieces and in the Portraits, some atonality appears, along with extended playing techniques but these are meant as fodder for the soloists and the general mood in these pieces is rather neo-classicism. This should appeal to all collectors of readily communicative modern music. Alexander Pikhodzko (oboe), Minsk Chamber Orchestra; Igor Golovchin, Piotr Naumienko (clarinet), Viacheslav Chumachenko (trombone), Belarussian Radio and TV Symphony Orchestra; Anatoly Lapunov, Jakov Geller (flute), Tatyana Tarutina (piano), Oleg Krimer (piano), Andrey Kovalinsky, Yevgeny Liatte, Sergey Petrashkievich, Dimitry Makarievich (trumpets). Acte Prealable AP0042 (Poland) 09E060 $16.98


FRANCISCO ESCUDERO (b.1912): El Sueño de un Bailarín, Concierto Vasco for Piano and Orchestra, Cello Concerto, Sinfonía Sacra, Aranzazu, Joan Bautista for Tenor, Chorus and Orchestra. As described in the May Gramophone review, this is fascinating and highly enjoyable music which manages to combine lyrical melody with dissonance, tonal ambiguity and, in the cello concerto, a bit of microtonality. The Concierto vasco is every bit as colorful and charming as advertised and everything else is well worth a hearing. 2 CDs. Marta Zabaleta (piano), Asier Polo (cello), Angel Pazos (tenor), Coral Andra Mari, Basque National Orchestra; Arturo Tamayo. Claves CD 50-2110/11 (Switzerland) 09E061 $33.98

Musique Française - Two Midprice reissues from Naïve-Valois

When originally released, many of these were first recordings and most of them remain the only ones of this repertoire and their re-release by new Valois parent Naïve is a great opportunity for collectors who may have missed some of them the first time around.

FLORENT SCHMITT (1870-1958): Symphonie Concertante for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 82, Rêves, Op. 65, Soirs, Op. 5. Hüseyin Sermet (piano), Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra; David Robertson. CHARLES TOURNEMIRE (1870-1939): Symphony No. 6, Op. 48 for Tenor, Chorus, Organ and Orchestra. Daniel Galvez-Vallero (tenor), Luc Ponet (organ), Namur Symphonic Choir, Polyphonia Choir of Brussels, Liège Philharmonic Orchestra; Pierre Bartholomée. HENRI VIEUXTEMPS (1820-1881): Violin Concertos No. 6 in G, Op 47 & No. 7 in A Minor, Op. 49 (orch. Hubay), Greeting to America for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 56. Gérard Poulet (violin), Liège Philharmonic Orchestra; Pierre Bartholomée. EDOUARD LALO (1832-1892): Namouna. Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra; David Robertson. PIERRE-OCTAVE FERROUD (1900-1936): Symphony in A, Types for Piano and Orchestra, Foules, Sérénade. Elisabeth Laroche (piano), Orchestre National de Lyon; Emmanuel Krivine. 5 CDs. Mid-price. Original Valois releases from 1992-95, 1997-98. Naïve V 4912 (France) 09E062 $53.98

CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921): Fantaisie for Violin and Harp, Op. 124, Suite for Cello and Piano, Op. 16, Piano Quartet in B Flat, Op. 41. Gérard Poulet (violin), Isabelle Moretti (harp), Christoph Henkel (cello), Hüseyin Sermet (piano), Régis Pasquier (violin), Bruno Pasquier (viola), Roland Pidoux (cello), Hüseyin Sermet (piano). HYACINTHE JADIN (1776-1800): String Quartets in C, Op. 3/1 & in E Flat, Op. 2/1, LOUIS-EMMANUEL JADIN (1768-1853): String Quartet No. 2 in F Minor. Quatuor Mosaïques. VINCENT D'INDY (1851-1931): Piano Trio No. 2 "en forme de Suite", Op. 98, String Quartet No. 2, Op. 45, String Sextet, Op. 92. Quatuor Prat, Jean Dupouy (second viola), François Michel (second cello), Kun Woo Paik (piano). REYNALDO HAHN (1875-1947): 3 préludes sue des airs irlandais, Pièce en forme d'un aria et bergerie, 7 berceuses, Caprice mélancolique, Pour bercer un convalescent, Le ruban dénoué. Hüseyin Sermet, Kun Woo Paik (piano duet). CHARLES-VALENTIN ALKAN (1813-1888): Préludes, Op. 31, Esquisses, Op. 63, Barcarolle, Op. 65, Toccatina, Op. 75. Hüseyin Sermet (piano). 5 CDs. Mid-price. Original Valois releases from 1992, 1995. Naïve V 4906 (France) 09E063 $53.98

KENNETH LEIGHTON (1929-1988): String Quartet No. 1, Op. 32, String Quartet No. 2, Op. 33, 7 Variations for Quartet, Op. 43. The next in what is now identified as being a series of the complete chamber works by this composer (one is also promised for those of Hans Gál) brings us two quartets written a year apart in 1956-57. Leighton's love of contrapuntal techniques is everywhere apparent while the second quartet has many spots which recall passages from several of Bartók's quartets (without really ever sounding like Bartók). The composer's expressive harmonies and richly colored melodic lines produce music which is deeply felt, often greatly moving and often potently atmospheric. A sense of unease and tension is often present but there are also movements containing simple diatonicism which is the more powerful for its juxtaposition with the more troubled music. The variations of 1964, commissioned as a memorial with each variation expressing different aspects of grief, contain more of the same productive tension between anxiety and calm. Edinburgh Quartet. Meridian CDE 84460 (England) 09E064 $17.98

GEORGE FREDERICK MCKAY (1899-1970): For Piano: Caricature Dance Suite, From My Tahoe Window - Summer Moods and Patterns, Americanistic Etude, Op. 27, An April Suite, Op. 3, Dance Suite No. 2, Every Flower That Ever Grew, Dancing in a Dream for 2 Pianos, 3 Songs for Soprano and Piano, Suite for Viola and Piano. Much of these pieces, which date from 1924 to 1969, have their basis in American popular song, from the Charleston and jazz to show tunes although the April Suite is romantic-impressionist and the viola suite an 18-minute composition which shows the composer's "serious" credentials. William Bolcom, Logan Skelton, Sanford Margolis (piano), Joan Morris (mezzo), Mahoko Eguchi (viola). Naxos American Classics 8.559143 (U.S.A.) 09E065 $6.98

ALFRED REYNOLDS (1884-1969): Alice Through the Looking-Glass, The Toy Cart, Overture to The Taming of the Shrew, 1066 and All That, 5 Dances from The Duenna, Overture for a Comedy, The Sirens of Southend, Swiss Lullaby and Ballet, Marriage à la Mode, 3 Pieces for Theatre, Festival March. This series moves back to the first generation of British light music composers with Reynolds, who studied for six years in Berlin with Humperdinck. Most of his output was of incidental music for the theatre, five suites of which are presented here. Royal Ballet Sinfonia; Gavin Sutherland. Marco Polo British Light Music 8.225184 (New Zealand) 09E066 $15.98

ROBERT HERBERIGS (1886-1974): Tria Cantica for Women's Choir and Organ, 4 Old Flemish Songs for Chorus, Flute, Oboe, English Horn, Clarinet, 2 Bassoons, Horn and Percussion, 6 Mixed Choruses. A selection of the choral works of one of the 20th century's most prolific Flemish composers in simple, conservative style with a wind band added to evoke the late Medieval atmosphere of the Old Flemish Songs. Flemish, French texts/English paraphrases. Flemish Radio Choir, Peter Thomas (organ). Phaedra 92021 (Belgium) 09E067 $16.98 >

Symphonic Music from Luxembourg

JULES KRUGER (1899-1976): Suite picturale, RENÉ MERTZIG (1911-1986): Rapsodie chorégraphique, NORBERT HOFFMANN (b.1916): 3 élégies, RENÉ HEMMER (b.1919): Symphony No. 2. The first three composers here represent the first generation of Luxembourg composers, those who did not merely orchestrate folk melodies and write operettas. Kruger's 1948 suite is a depiction of four paintings ("Sunny Path", "Mischief", "Dreams" and "Danse") whose vivid descriptions show the influence of Debussy and Franck. Mertzig's work (1947) is a fantasy on three dances - a Viennese waltz, a Spanish dance and a Slavonic dance - in Germanic style. Hoffmann's triptych (1946) uses Straussian orchestration to depict the trauma of young Luxembourgers being impressed into the Wehrmacht during World War II while Hemmer's 1962 symphony is firmly in the neo-classical style with Prokofiev and Honegger as major influences. Orchestre Symphonique de Radio-Télé-Luxembourg; Marcel Wengler. Anthologie de Musique Luxembourgoise Vol. 1 (Luxembourg) 09E068 $16.98

MARCEL WENGLER (b.1946): Symphony No. 2, JEANNOT HEINEN (b.1937): Konzerstück for Violin and String Orchestra, Op. 37, Polarisation, Op. 56, JOHNY FRITZ (b.1944): Mouvement for Strings and Percussion. Volume 2 moves firmly into the late 20th century with Wengler's 1982 symphony, a single-movement work of nearly half an hour which is composed of elements and motifs which constantly appear, transform, develop, change each other or, sometimes, disappear without a trace. A large orchestra is well-handled with many fine touches of chamber-like transparency in the orchestration in a work where timbre is of the greatest importance. Heinen's 11-minute Konzertstück of 1970 features a soloist who converses in a tense, chromatic language with the orchestra; his Polarisation of the same year deals in the collisions of various instrumental groups "polarized" by their different qualities of timbre. Fritz' six-minute piece subjects two contrasting themes to a dense and expressive harmonic treatment which builds to an explosive climax. Dora Entcheva (violin), Orchestre Symphonique de Radio-Télé-Luxembourg; Marcel Wengler. Anthologie de Musique Luxembourgoise Vol. 2 (Luxembourg) 09E069 $16.98

CAMILLE KERGER (b.1957): Ekatvam, WALTER CIVITAREALE (b.1954): Cello Concerto, MARCO KRAUS (b.1955): Suite concertante for Saxophone and Orchestra, LUC ROLLINGER (b.1969): Arion for Saxophone and Strings. Kerger's 1988 piece is an intense, freely atonal expression of suffering, evoking polar emotions of hope and despair, resistance and resignation, with a large orchestra and broad brush strokes. Civitareale's 1986 concerto is in memory of Luxembourg composer Mertzig (see Vol. 1 above) and is tonal if often dissonant, especially in its Andante elegiaco first movement; the Scherzo-Finale mixes gaiety with melancholy. Kraus' suite (1987), also freely atonal, has the soloist changing saxophones after each of five movements, moving up in pitch from baritone to sopranino in a constantly changing relationship with the orchestra. Rollinger was only 20 years old when he wrote his 12-minute piece, an endless melody which takes advantage of the vocal quality of the instrument. Georges Mallach (cello), Marco Pütz (baritone, tenor, alto, soprano, sopranino saxes), Orchestre Symphonique de Radio-Télé-Luxembourg; Marcel Wengler. Anthologie de Musique Luxembourgoise Vol. 3 (Luxembourg) 09E070 $16.98

ALEXANDER MULLENBACH (b.1949): Flugsand for Large Orchestra, VICTOR FENIGSTEIN (b.1924): Seventeen Millions for Soprano, Narrator and Orchestra. "Flying Sands" is a five-movement work based on a dodecaphonic cell which combines the name of Bach with that of the artist Escher. Each movement has an "intellectual background" ranging from Lem's "Solaris" and Chinese landscape art to the works of Calder and Mondriaan; in fact, we have here the creation of blocks of sound, fields of density and color, in the spirit of similar works by Ligeti, which build out of silence, coalesce, reach a hammering climax and dissipate into the aether again. Fenigstein's work comes with complete lack of notes but lengthy texts, among which are German translations of portions of "Paradise Lost", a letter to UNICEF and a poem entitled "Mengele"; what's happening here is anyone's guess but the music is mostly tonal, colorful and impassioned. German texts. Céleste Barrett (soprano), Charles Müller (narrator), Orchestre Symphonique de Radio-Télé-Luxembourg; Léopold Hager, David de Villiers. Anthologie de Musique Luxembourgoise Vol. 4 (Luxembourg) 09E071 $16.98

MARCEL WENGLER (b.1946): Konstellationen for Large Orchestra, Die weisse Wildnis for Baritone and Orchestra, GEORGES LENTZ (b.1965): "Caeli enarrant..." I. Die weisse Wildnis is a dodecaphonic memorial to a young deceased artist which has an element of Schoenbergian expressionism in it and "Constellations" is another work in the genre of contrasting elements of melody, timbre and rhythm which blend and collide. Lentz, who now lives in Australia, uses serial techniques, the influence of Tibetan Buddhist music and the importance of silence in his attempt to depict the stars and galaxies. Louis Landuyt (baritone), Orchestre Symphonique de Radio-Télé-Luxembourg; Marcel Wengler. Anthologie de Musique Luxembourgoise Vol. 5 (Luxembourg) 09E072 $16.98

JOHNY FRITZ (b.1944): Konzertstück for Tuba, String Orchestra, Harp and Timbales, EDMOND CIGRANG (1922-1989): Aux fraiches lueurs... for Soprano, Flute, English Horn and Strings, NORBERT HOFFMANN (b.1916): Concerto for Orchestra, JOS KINZÉ (b.1918): Kleine Lustspielouvertüre, RENÉ MERTZIG (1911-1986): Konzertstück for Trombone and Orchestra. Like Vol. 1, chock-full of enjoyable, tonal music which is, nevertheless, still of the 20th century. Hoffmann's 1952 concerto is Germanically robust and memorable, Fritz' work a fine addition to the tuba's repertoire, Kinzé's brief jeu d'esprit in the Korngold spirit (but updated), Cigrang's in the post-impressionist French style and Mertzig's still the closest to German Romanticism. Patrick Krysatis (tuba), Charlette Boulet-Fourot (harp), Bonnie Lynn Adelson (timbales), Etienne Plasman (flute), Marc Bouchard (horn), Gilles Héritier (trombone), Orchestre Symphonique de Radio-Télé-Luxembourg; Marcel Wengler. Anthologie de Musique Luxembourgoise Vol. 6 (Luxembourg) 09E073 $16.98

HANS KOX (b.1930): War Triptych: In those Days for 2 Choirs and Orchestra, Requiem for Europe for 4 Choirs and Orchestra, Anne Frank Cantate (A Child of Light) for Soprano, Contralto, Bass, Choir and Orchestra. The first two works are close together in origin (1969 and 1971), the former commemorating the battle of Arnhem. Although Kox does not use dodecaphony or other post-war musical structures which he finds "dehumanising", In those Days still features quasi-aleatoric string parts and esoteric, Ligeti-like "sound fields" while also using a quote from Bach's St. Matthew Passion as a symbol of the hope of redemption. Kox was blackly pessimistic about humanity's future when these three works were written (one wonders how much worse he feels about it now) but this despair struggles with the artist's need to hope for better and the Requiem has moments of ecstatic beauty as well as stunned grief (with a solo organ making powerful contributions), the '60s Penderecki coming to mind as often as Ligeti. In the Anne Frank cantata of 1984, Kox uses such avant-garde techniques sparingly, as punctuation for his relentless description of the anti-Semitism of the Nazis and the actual gassing techniques in Auschwitz. Otherwise, his language has become more simple and emotionally expressive, the oratorio sounding as if it were being acted out on stage. The texts range from Old Testament excerpts to Hitler's speeches with poetry by Celan and Rilke included among other sources and the 44-minute work describes an arc, generally speaking, from oppressive, brutal directness (first movement "Nox" and much of the second "Mors") to a bleached-out simplicity and lack of emotion. Live recordings of the premieres of each work. 2 CDs. Original language texts included. Radio Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Choir; Hans Kox & Edo de Waart, Lucia Meeuwsen (soprano), Glenda Maurice (contralto), Lieuwe Visser (bass), Netherlands Radio Choir and Philharmonic; Kenneth Montgomery. Donemus CV 98/99 (Netherlands) 09E074 $37.98

ELLEN TAAFFE ZWILICH (b.1939): Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra, Piano Concerto, Triple Concerto for Violin, Cello, Piano and Orchestra. The concerto has been Zwilich's favorite large-scale form, there currently being fourteen of them in existence, as the composer finds the opposition of solo instrument with orchestra, or, more precisely, the interplay of soloist with orchestra or with other soloists and orchestra (since her concertos are not of the "heroic protagonist vs. opposing forces" stamp) a stimulating form in which to work. The double concerto (1991) is relatively short, only 17 minutes, and works out motivic interplay between the two string players while the piano concerto (1986 and premiered by Marc-André Hamelin) is on a larger scale although the soloist still has much chamber-like interaction with the orchestra. The triple concerto of 1995 is the most easily approachable of these works (although the other two are by no means difficult), as Zwilich's language turns neo-romantic with some similarities in two of the four movements to the ostinato-driven style of Martinu. Kalichstein, Laredo, Robinson Trio, Florida State University Orchestra; Michael Stern. Koch International Classics 7537 (U.S.A.) 09E075 $16.98

HERMAN D. KOPPEL (1908-1998): Composer and Pianist, Vol. 2 - Piano Sonata in E Minor, Op. 1, Variations and Fugue, Op. 3, Piece, Op. 7, 10 Pieces, Op. 20, Suite, Op. 21, Piano Sonata No. 1, Op. 50, 15 Miniatures, Op. 97a, FRANZ SCHUBERT (1797-1828): Sonata in D, D.850, JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833-1894): Variations on a Theme by Paganini, Op. 35, Capriccio in B Minor, Op. 76, FRANZ LISZT (1811-1883): Au Lac de Wallenstadt, Sonetto 123 del Petrarca. Over 76 minutes of Koppel's own compositions take up the first disc in this second volume with sources either Danish Radio or the composer's own (huge) personal tape archive. The pieces range from the angular, Hindemithian E minor sonata of 1928 to the set of Miniatures of 1976. The latter, a highly varied selection of pieces, many of which require a virtuosic piano technique, may recall Prokofiev's similar sets of miniatures in general spirit if not in actual musical sound, and the 1950 Sonata No. 1, inspired by Niels Viggo Bentzon and Prokofiev, are the major works but the earlier sets of short pieces or variations are also intriguing for their portrait of the influences at work on an avid pianist/composer in the first half of the 20th century. Excellent, copious notes; excellent to good sound quality. 2 CDs. Herman D. Koppel (piano). Danacord DACOCD 563/564 (Denmark) 09E076 $33.98

JAN JANCA (b.1933): Organ Versets on Hilf, Herr meines Lebens, Gott liebt diese Welt, Soland es Menschen gibt auf Erden, Brich dem Hungrigen dein Brot, Suite in 7 Movements, Triptych for Organ Ite missa est, Toccatina on "Hört, der Engel helle Lieder", Meditation for Advent "Maria durch ein' Dornwald ging", Sortie. Born in Danzig, Janca studied with Johann Nepomuk David and with Marcel Dupré. These works from 1979-95 are in the tradition of German church music going back before Bach and are harmonically colorful, generally meditative and peaceful, often charming in an unpretentious way. Ludger Lohmann (Rieger organ, St. Johannes Tübingen). MD&G 606 1104-2 (Germany) 09E077 $17.98

MAX BAUMANN (1917-1999): Organ Works, Vol. 2 - Invocation, Op. 67/5, Organ Suite, Op. 67/1, Sonatine, Op. 74, 7 Pieces from Op. 100, 9 Intonationen from Op. 86. The seven pieces from op. 100 which appear here complete the ten piece set (the other three appeared on Vol. 1 of this series) of music designed specifically for liturgical peformance. Far from being little yawners to get from one section of the liturgy to another, they are like miniature fantasies and the Intonationen are similarly meatier than their title appears. The other works are concert pieces which again demonstrate Baumann's mixture of Germanic rigor and a French sensuousness of sound in a freely tonal language, using an organ at a basilica which the composer often attended. Rosalinde Haas (Rieger organ, Basilica Vierzehnheiligen). MD&G 315 1085 (Germany) 09E078 $17.98

MIKHAIL CHEKALIN (b.1959): Concerto Grosso #2, The Fragment of Movie Music, The Dream to Accompaniment with Voice and Symphonic Transformation. Space-age batchelor-pad music for the New Millennium. Using sampled and synthesized sounds, Chekalin creates soundscapes of some originality (though hardly to the ground-breaking degree suggested by the booklet notes). Agreeable and very accessible, owing something to non-classical genres (of the Jean-Michel Jarre or Vangelis type), this music represents the end of the electronic-music spectrum that will appeal to the widest audience (and, one suspects, was written with exactly this aim in mind). Leaving aside all pretensions, an unquestionably enjoyable disc, not without humour (when everyday sounds and sci-fi sound effects find their way into the mix). Electronic music. Boheme CDBMR 012189 (Russia) 09E079 $16.98

ELLIOTT CARTER (b.1908): Enchanted Preludes, Con leggerezza pensosa, Triple Duo, Gra, Reconoscenza per Goffredo Petrassi, 90+, Esprit rude/Esprit doux, Esprit rude/Esprit doux II, Concerto for Clarinet. The two main works here are the Triple Duo and the Clarinet Concerto, but there is much to delight in the smaller works, dedication and occasional pieces for the most part, of the type that have peppered Carter's long and industrious (and fortunately, continuing) compositional career. Triple Duo is one of the finest examples in recent years of Carter's ability to invoke the most complex cross-rhythms and yet preserve a crystalline clarity in which every nuance is perfectly audible. The Clarinet Concerto, a light and accessible piece, takes this principle even further, the textures extraordinarily transparent, the highly expressive solo line never obscured by the constantly evolving ensemble part (the work is broken up into sections each with their own timbral textures, in a kind of Young-at-heart person's guide to the Orchestra. Lighter in weight than Carter's finest scores, this piece represents an easy way in to the composer's mature æsthetic (much like the Variations for Orchestra of years before). Nouvel Ensemble Moderne; Lorraine Vaillancourt. Atma ACD2 2280 (Canada) 09E080 $14.98

LEPO SUMERA (1950-2000): Quasi improvisata for Violin and Piano, BBB - Für Boris Bjön Bagger und seinen Freund for Flute and Guitar, 2 Stücke for Solo Violin, Walzer for Violin and Piano, 2 Capricci for Solo Clarinet, Tanzende Odaliske, Singende Odaliske, Traurige Odaliske (these three for Flute, Cello and Guitar), Schweigende Odaliske for Solo Flute, Senza metrum - Senza metro for Clarinet and Piano, Trauriger Toreador for Piano, Lupus in fabula for Saxophone Quartet. "Lepo Sumera was the first Estonian composer after Pärt who dared to be 'radically outmoded'" says the traycard. Perhaps it loses something in translation. The comparison with Pärt makes sense, though, especially in the slower works, which have something of the same hypnotic, meditative quality. In general, though, the material is more sophisticated, and is developed along more conventional lines, and the more active music - the two clarinet pieces, or several of the Odalisque set, for instance - have a rhythmic vitality which owes more to familiar classical idioms. The language is very tonal throughout, with some modal inflections in the Odalisque pieces which hint at an eastward-looking perspective. Various artists. Antes Edition BM-CD 31.9165 (Germany) 09E081 $17.98

KARSTEN FUNDAL (b.1966): Ritornello al contrario for Percussion and Sinfonietta, The Ways of Lightness and Falling for Clarinet, Piano and Cello, Traces for Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Piano, Two Simple Movements for Flute, Violin, Cello and Piano, The Wings of a Butterfly for Clarinet, Violin, Viola and Accordion, Zoom. The composer, who admits in his booklet notes to being unskilled at mathematics, is nonetheless drawn to some of the popular tenets and visual analogues generated by chaos theory, and this provides a convenient point of departure for suggesting how the music actually sounds. Repeated figuration (not obsessively so, in a minimalistic sense) suggest endlessly repeating patterns in mathematically generated diagrams, while the freely atonal material adds an element of human commentary, not infrequently of a somewhat melancholy nature. Lightness and transparency (both words used frequently in the composer's titles and directions) are expressed through the openness of the instrumentation, for various unorthodox groupings of instruments. Thomas Sandberg (percussion), ATHELAS Sinfonietta Copenhagen; Giordano Bellincampi. Dacapo 8.224164 (Denmark) 09E082 $15.98

JO THOMAS (b.1972): Wolfie, DAVID HORNE (b.1970): Broken Instruments, FRASER TRAINER (b.1967): The Colour of Scars, ROLF HIND (b.1964): Solgata, LARRY GOVES (b.1980): walking underground, TANSY DAVIES (b.1973): Small Black Stone, LUKE BEDFORD (b.1978): Abstracts Nos. 2, 4 & 5, JOE CUTLER (b.1968): Without Fear of Vertigo, RICHARD AYRES (b.1965): No. 24 Noncerto, PETER BATCHELOR (b.1974): Steamin'. "State of the Nation" (the title of this release) is a contemporary music festival in the UK, under the auspices of the ever-enterprising London Sinfonietta. The aim is to showcase the talents of the younger generation of British composers. As one might expect, the range of styles is quite wide, mostly tending toward the experimental in one sense or another. Two of the pieces are electronic; the rest are for ensembles drawn from the Sinfonietta. In concert, several had a visual component as well, which is missing here, and some works are present as an extract, which the composers presumably regard as representative. So the disc functions as a kind of sampler of the sort of talent and the prevailing trends in British music today. Neo-anything (romanticism, classicism) seems to be out of fashion, and complexicism has also apparently become the preserve of a slightly earlier generation of composers, as these works mostly share a starightforward clarity of texture. This is by no means a 'difficult' disc, as contemporary showcases go, and can be enjoyed on its own merits or for its implications of suggested further listening. Rolf Hind (piano), London Sinfonietta; Pierre-André Valade. NMC D078 (England) 09E083 $17.98

KAIJA SAARIAHO (b.1952): Graal théâtre for Violin and Chamber Orchestra, Solar, Lichtbogen for 9 Musicians and Live Electronics. A colorful and rich palette of sound has characterized all of Saariaho's work, no matter what the forces are for which she writes. Inspired by the Northern lights, Lichtbogen, of 1986, began as a single cello harmonic, analyzed by computer and transposed to nine players and electronics becoming a 16-minute work of mysteriously flickering sonorities and glimmering colors. Solar (1993) is based on two juxtaposed harmonic models but the result - changing sonorities of radiant brightness and pounding rhythmic frameworks - suggests the intense violence of the life of the sun. Lately, melody has become important to the composer and Graal théâtre (1994) contains not only the colorful and multi-dimensional string writing of Saariaho's earlier works but also melodic elements in a piece whose two movements juxtapose lyricism and restraint with dynamism and drama. John Storgårds (violin), Avanti! Chamber Orchestra; Hannu Lintu. Ondine ODE 997 (Finland) 09E084 $17.98

JAMES MACMILLAN (b.1959): The Birds of Rhiannon, The Gallant Weaver, Màiri, Magnificat, Nunc dimittis, Exsultet. MacMillan's newest work, The Birds of Rhiannon, is described by its composer as "a dramatic concerto for orchestra with a mystical coda for choir". Inspired by the tale of King Bran of Welsh legend and the birds which appear to prophesy at his death, this piece has much of MacMillan's typical eclecticism about it, the music going through various stylistic adventures including a wild Celtic dance with bass drum, three thunder-sheets and timpani before the 6-minute choral/orchestral conclusion brings an exultant end. The Magnificat and Nunc dimittis (1999 and 2000) juxtapose simple and consonant choral writing with an ntrospectively dissonant orchestra; Màiri and The Gallant Weaver are for solo chorus (both 1997), the former virtuosic and pushing the singers to their limit and the latter touching in its folk-like simplicity. Texts included. Jonathan Scott (organ), BBC Singers, BBC Philharmonic; James MacMillan. Chandos 9997 (England) 09E085 $16.98

STEFAN MEYLAERS (b.1970): Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano, Suite for Clarinet and Piano, Nocturne and Lament for Oboe and Piano, Meditation for Horn and Piano, Elegy and Waves for Cello and Piano, A Hungarian Summer for Piano, Deserts and Evening Waltz for Cello Quartet and Piano, 3 Love Songs for Baritone and Piano. This young Flemish composer writes uncomplicated music with rich, warm and attractive melodies. These are new-millenium neo-romantic character pieces - a sort of 21st century Schumann - in small forms (even the two trios are more sequences of character pieces) to which Meylaers seems to be particularly drawn. Except for the eight­minute Deserts, no single movement or piece here lasts more than six minutes yet this is all Meylaers needs to pull you in, create a mood... and then, as quick as that, it's over. It will be interesting to see what he can do with larger forms and greater ensembles. Kurt Gysen (bass-baritone), New Art Trio and other artists. Phaedra 92024 (Belgium) 09E086 $16.98 >

DEXTER MORRILL (b.1938): Saxophone Concerto, Trombone Concerto, Concerto for Cornet and 17 Instruments. These splendid concertos deserve to become staples of the repertoire for their respective instruments, as they must surely be as gratifying to play as they are to listen to. They have very individual characters, each related to the special associations of the solo insruments. The Trombone concerto suggests jazz and marching band music, with something of Grainger's feel for wind textures and breezy, open-air material. The Saxophone Concerto, also very idiomatically written for the instrument, contains the novel device of an improvised solo part in some sections, in the context of a tonal work which functions very like a Romantic-era virtuoso concerto. The Cornet Concerto starts with a very Shostakovich-like march, and continues with a lovely, lyrical slow movement (with violin obbligato) and a perpetual motion finale, both consisting of music that has all the features required for easy popularity, without ever sounding over-familiar. Steve Duke (soprano sax), John Mindeman (trombone), Mark Ponzo (cornet), Northern Illinois Philharmonic; Steve Squires, Brian Groner. Centaur CRC 2604 (U.S.A.) 09E087 $16.98

PHILIP GLASS (b.1937): Itaipu for Chorus and Orchestra, ESA-PEKKA SALONEN (b.1958): 2 Songs to Poems of Ann Jäderlund for Unaccompanied Chorus. Dating from 1989, Itaipu sets Guaraní texts (the language of the native inhabitants of what is now Paraguay) to describe the Paraná river which provides the border between Paraguay and Brazil. The vast landscapes and the huge hydroelectric dam at Itaipu prompted Glass to use the largest forces for which he had yet written at the time. Lasting just over 36 minutes, in four movements which trace the course of the river from the Mato Grosso highlands to the Atlantic Ocean, the work successfully conveys the majesty of the subject in music which is nowhere near as monotonously minimal as much of Glass' oeuvre. The Salonen songs (2000) pay homage in texture and tonality to the contemporary Swedish school of choral singing, while bearing the rhythmic propulsion and vitality evident in Salonen's recent orchestral works. Itaipu sung in Guaraní with English translations. Swedish/English texts. Los Angeles Master Chorale and Orchestra; Grant Gershon. RCM 12004 (U.S.A.) 09E088 $17.98

GUNTHER SCHULLER (b.1925): Sonata-Fantasia, ROBERT HELPS (1928-2001): Shall We Dance, GEORGE PERLE (b.1915): 6 Celebratory Inventions, RALPH SHAPEY (1924-2002): Sonata Profondo, ARNOLD SCHOENBERG (1874-1951): 6 Pieces, Op. 19. All but Perle's piece (among the American composers here) were written for the pianist here and they all share a source in serialism and dodecaphony although these composers are of the generation which still saw Schoenberg's, Berg's and Webern's innovations in light of the influences on those composers by Scriabin, Debussy and others. Thus, there is no dry, academic serialism here; brittle lyricism is evident, gestures of virtuosity which can only be called romantic and intricate weavings of gossamer sounds to counterbalance them. Plenty for all collectors of more rugged 20th century piano music. Russell Sherman (piano). GM Recordings GM2071CD (U.S.A.) 09E089 $17.98

LUCA FRANCESCONI (b.1956): Viaggiatore Insonne for Soprano and Ensemble, Plot in Fiction for Oboe, Cor Anglais and Ensemble, ENRICO CORREGGIA (b.1933): Già l'Eolia di Notte... for Ensemble, ADA GENTILE (b.1947): In un Silenzio Ordinato for Ensemble, DARIO MAGGI (b.1944): Im finsteren Wald for Soprano and Ensemble, GIACINTO SCELSI (1905-1988): Kya for Clarinet and Ensemble. These concert recordings present an interesting, loosely-knit program of ensemble pieces by Italian composers of the 20th century. Francesconi's "Viaggiatore" is particularly beautiful, with extended lyrical lines and direct expression, while his "plot in Fiction" suggests a frenetic stroytelling, falling over itself to present its narrative. The Scelsi belongs to his later period, inwardly meditative, with limited variations in pitch and rhythm around a one-note basis, which suggests a kind of spiritual stasis, a search for profundity. The Correggia is much more energetic, a densely-textured work of considerable dynamism. The Gentile is highly rarefied and subtle, and the Maggi sets its suggestively disturbing text in music of appropriately dreamlike (sometimes nightmarish) expressiveness. The whole program adds up to a varied and intense experience, as stimulating as it is unusual. Alison Wells (soprano), Firebird; Barrie Webb. Metier MSV CD92018 (England) 09E090 $16.98

HARRISON BIRTWISTLE (b.1934): The Woman and the Hare for Soprano, Reciter and Ensemble, 9 Settings of Lorine Niedecker for Soprano and Cello, Duets for Storab for 2 Flutes, An Interrupted Endless Melody for Oboe and Piano, Entr'actes and Sappho Fragments for Soprano and Ensemble. Birtwistle's fragmentary approach to melody, in which a splinter of text, a tiny shard of lyrical material is made to stand for, and suggest, the hidden structure of great import and meaning, is shown to great advantage in these works. The Niedecker settings and Sappho Fragments are all exceedingly brief and aphoristic, and yet, like all Birtwistle's best work, suggest a shadowy, primitive world of nature, alien and strange. That this disturbing an effect can be generated with such extraordinarily economical resources suggests that the composer has an uncanny ability to tap into resonant archetypes, dormant in the human experience yet able to be awakened by the right stimulus. Claron McFadden (soprano), Julia Watson (reciter), The Nash Ensemble; Martyn Brabbins. Black Box BBM 1046 (England) 09E091 $17.98

THOMAS WILSON (1927-2001): Sonata, Sonatina, 3 Pieces, Incunabula. Scottish composer Thomas Wilson wrote music deeply influenced by the traditions of the first part of the 20th century, at least as exemplified by his relatively small output for solo piano, all of which is presented on this CD. The Sonata and Sonatina, from the late 50s and early 60s, show the influence of Bartók. Both are concise in form and direct, even abrupt, in expression. Conventional harmonic relations (extended to bitonality and well spiced with dissonance and unexpected chords) are the norm here. The central movement of Three Pieces is a tribute to Berg, but uses a highly simplified 'row' in a charming little waltz - again, concise and uncomplicated. In his beautiful slow movements (and the slow variations in the second part of the Sonata, and especially the quasi-improvisatory (though actually highly structured) Incunabula, the composer's sense of color and atmosphere is readily apparent. Johannes Wolff (piano). Hastedt HT 5322 (Germany) 09E092 $16.98

IRIS SZEGHY (b.1956): Preludio e Danza for Bass Clarinet, Midsummer Night's Mystery for 2 Percussionists, Perpetuum mobile for Piano, Afforismi II for Flute, Oboe/English Horna nd Bass Clarinet, Ciaconna for Viola, In Between for Oboe and Tape, Musica folclorica (Hommage à Bartók) for Clarinet, Percussion and Piano. For much of the time, Szeghy's pieces for small ensembles and soloists inhabit a world of subtle - sometimes extremely subtle - sound, often produced through extended playing techniques. But there is also another side to her compositional voice, exemplified in the fast, dance-like movements (the middle movement of Midsummer, for instance, or Perpetuum Mobile which uses an extensively prepared piano - strongly rhythmic and dynamic, recalling the excitement (if not so much the actual vocabulary) of free jazz. The incorporation of little fragments or allusions to much earlier musical styles is strangely at odds with the predominantly avant-garde techniques used - sometimes these gestures seem ironically intended; at others, they suggest genuine hommages. Various Artists. Hastedt HT 5321 (Germany) 09E093 $16.98

PETER GARLAND (b.1952): Another Surprise for 2 Pianos and 4 Percussionists, Dreaming of Immortality in a Thatched Cottage for Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, Baritone, Harpsichord and 6 Percussionists, I Have Had to Learn the Simplest Things Last for Piano and 3 Percussionists. Peter Garland had important friendships with John Cage and Harry Partch, and also invokes Lou Harrison and Jerry Garcia in his notes, which also attribute a good deal of his creative energy to falling in love. These influences will suggest quite accurately to the experienced music enthusiast what the music is like. Harmony is consonant and frequently consists of repeated and evolving patterns of chords. Rhythmically (and percussion plays a leading role in these works, involving concert instruments and "ethnic" percussion) irregular patterns suggest musics of different ethnicities, as does the chant-like nature of the vocal lines in Dreaming. Very easy to listen to and approachable, these personal statements in music break no new ground, while remaining atmospheric, colorful and pleasingly exotic - a package tour to distant emotional landscapes, rather than a hazardous expedition, let us say. Aki Takahashi (piano, harpsichord), Essential Music; John Kennedy & Charles Wood. Mode 110 (U.S.A.) 09E94 $16.98

JOHN CAGE (1912-1992): Complete Piano Music, Vol. 9 - Etudes Australes. Written for Grete Sultan in the late 70s, this set of 24 etudes in three sets of 8 is based on star charts of the Southern Hemisphere, elaborated according to the I Ching. Since there is a maximum of opportunity for the performer to influence the outcome of the performance through interpretive decisions, it is probably safe to say that no two pianists would produce remarkably similar recordings of the cycle. Schleiermacher discusses his performance decisions in the detailed and excellent notes which we have come to expect of this series. 3 CDs. Steffen Schleiermacher (piano). MD&G 613 0795-2 (Germany) 09E095 $53.98

British String Miniatures, Vol. 1

GARETH WALTERS (b.1928): Divertimento, MICHAEL ROBERTS (1927-1996): Suite, ANTHONY HEDGES (b.1931): Fiddler's Green, JOHN ADDISON (1920-1998): Partita, FREDERICK DELIUS (1862-1934): 2 Aquarelles (arr. Fenby), WILLIAM WALTON (1902-1983): 2 Pieces from Henry V, EDWARD ELGAR (1857-1934): Elegy, Op. 58. Not to be confused with Naxos' "English String Miniatures" series... (There does seem to be no end to the material available in this genre, does there?) Odd man (or work) out would be the Addison (composer of the scores for "Tom Jones", "Sleuth" and "A Bridge Too Far" among others), which dates from 1961 and has a somewhat strident, more uncompromising profile than the suite of music in Welsh dance style by Walters (1960) and the suite of typical dances, pastiches and sentmental interludes by Hedges (collected from various years). Royal Ballet Sinfonia; Gavin Sutherland. ASV WHL 2134 (England). 09E096 $11.98

JOSEF STRAUSS (1827-1870): Edition, Vol. 23 - Cabriole Polka, Op. 145, Crispino-Quadrille, Op. 224, Helden-Gedichte, Op. 87, Concordia, Op. 257, Vergissmeinnicht, Op. 2, Neue Welt-Bürger, Op. 126, Fest-Marsch, Op. 142, Die Kokette, Op. 70, Aus dem Wienerwald, Op. 104, Kadi-Quadrille, Op. 25, Zeitbilder, Op. 51. Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra, Kosice; Manfred Müssauer. Marco Polo 8.223625 (New Zealand) 09E097 $15.98

Viennese Dances and Songs 1760-1860

MICHAEL PAMER (1782-1827): Wiener Walzer, VINZENZ STELZMÜLLER (mid. 19th cen.): S is a Red!, JOHANN BAPTIST MOSER (1799-1863): Das Brillenlied, Lied an den Handelstand, ANTON DIABELLI (1781-1858): Fortsetzung der Rossini-Walzer, PHILIPP HAFNER (1731-1764): Der kroatische Bauer und dsa Weiner Mädgen, FERDINAND KAUER (1751-1831): Hungarian Dances, SILBERBAUER (fl.1850-60): 4 Linzer Tänze, ANON.: Nouvelle Collection d'Hongrois, Napoleons Beicht', Potpourri of Inn Dances. A look at the instrumentation below will tell you right off that this is something out of the ordinary - Viennese popular songs and dances performed on original instruments. The earliest pieces here date from the pre-Lanner and pre-Strauss period when two violins and double bass were the only instruments one would normally hear in the inns and restaurants of Austria. An oversize 64-page booklet is full of fascinating information about the evolution of popular dance music and performance practice. German/English texts. Die Eipeldauer (Manfred Equiluz - tenor, Rainer Ullreich & Rudolf Hopfner - violins, Tommaso Huber - double bass and bells, Eberhard Kummer - bass and hurdy-gurdy, Junko Tsuchiya - fortepiano, Maria Jenner - rope-tensioned drum and friction drum). Extraplatte EX 443-2 (Austria) 09E098 $16.98 >

PHILIPP FAHRBACH I (1815-1855): Strapazir Polka, Op. 63, Lustige Sprüng, Op. 307, Die Schmeichler, Op. 13, "Rastlos" Blitzschnelle Polka, Op. 295, Magdalenen-Walzer, Op. 235, Der Flote Postillion!, Op. 167, Eine Grille, Op. 206, Lulu-Polka, Op. 292, Katzenmusik-Walzer, Op. 67, PHILIPP FAHRBACH II (1843-1894): Wiener Gemüt, Op. 144, Sechsundsechz'ger Polka, Op. 82, Auf Urlaub, Op. 66, Liliput-Polka, Op. 120, Marsch Persanè, Op. 135, Marsch Hungarese, Op. 98, FAHRBACH I or II: Schmachtlocken Walzer im Ländlerstyle, Op. 111. The second volume of music by the Viennese father-son combination who rivaled Lanner and Johann Strauss I in popularity. Wiener Biedermeier Solisten, Reinhold Ambros (trumpet), Peter Schmidl (clarinet), Peter Totzauer (percussion), Gerlinde Jelinek, Susanne Laub, Halina Piskorsky (sopranos - op. 67). Camerata 28CM-575 (Japan) 09E099 $17.98

ALAN JAY LERNER (1918-1986)& FREDERICK LOEWE (1901-1988): Music from My Fair Lady, Gigi, Paint Your Wagon, Brigadoon and Camelot. Naxos' "Light Classics" series offers this collection of music from the American and Viennese collaborators who got together in 1942 and won many Tonys and Oscars (as well as a Pulizer Prize for My Fair Lady). Richard Hayman and His Orchestra. Naxos 8.555015 (New Zealand) 09E100 $6.98

ERICH WOLFGANG KORNGOLD (1897-1957): Anthony Adverse - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. Tsunami Tsu0143 (Germany) 09E101 $16.98 >