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Issay Dobrowen

Piano Concerto

Piano Sonatas

ISSAY DOBROWEN (1891-1953): Piano Concerto in C Sharp Minor, Op. 20, Jugend-Sonate, Op. 5b, Sonata-Skazka, Op. 5a, Deuxième Sonate, Op. 10. Collectors who know Dobrowen (the notes show how Itschok Zorachovich Barabeitchik eventually became Issay Dobrowen) at all know him from his 1950s EMI recordings of mostly Russian repertoire. He was also a brilliant pianist (in the USSR, he was famous for having played the Appassionata to Lenin in 1920) and, just ahead of trouble, moved frequently - from Russia to Germany to Norway to Sweden where he survived the Second World War. His concerto is the only work he composed with orchestra and, although begun at the conservatory in 1911, he didn't finish it until 1926. Its four movements are equally redolent of Rachmaninov and the Gallic period of Prokofiev, with plenty of melody, wit and brilliant pianism required. His Deuxième sonata (1915), written just after Scriabin's death, is completely under the latter's influence; the Sonata-skazka (1911), not surprisingly, is a Russian folk-tale in musical form à la Medtner while the "Youth Sonata", counterintuitively from 1926, is in the same Rachmaninov-Medtner style. Jørn Fossheim (piano), Academic Orchestra of the St. Petersburg Philharmonia; Alexander Dimitriev. Simax PSC 1246 (Norway) 06G001 $18.98 >


NOTES:

1. New Labels: BNL, Hortus and Syrius have had almost no distribution in the U.S. for an indefinite period. Many of the offerings in this catalogue are from a ten-year period dating back to 1994-5 but I'm pretty sure that few of you will have found them at the time of their release (unless while travelling abroad!).

2. Another Hungarton special import is within, along with several new Auroras. Thus, most of you should be getting your Kleiberg and Söderlind back-orders (and the other January Aurora titles). However, Aurora ran out of the Kleiberg and I'm still a half-dozen or so CDs short of filling all of them. This should be taken care of in June or July.

3. The Raff Cello Concertos did not arrive in time for this month. It will definitely be in the July catalogue.

4. I should have three new Chilean CDs for July and possibly a load of Caprice, Phono Suecia, Daphne and a few other Swedish labels if my supplier can be successfully dealt with during June!


EGON WELLESZ (1885-1974): Symphony No. 3, Op. 68, Symphony No. 5, Op. 75. This landmark series ends with the Third (1951), a work which is still quite tonally anchored and which is firmly in the tradition of Viennese Classicism (with a strong aroma of Bruckner, especially in its outer movements), while the Fifth (1956) is Wellesz's first symphony to make use of dodecaphony although he freely shifts over to free tonality when it suits him, the work pointing toward the later style which increasingly tended toward compression and atonality while remaining strongly expressive (if Benjamin Frankel hadn't written the film score for Curse of the Werewolf, this symphony could have nicely served the purpose!). Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra; Gottfried Rabl. CPO 999 999 (Germany) 06G002 $15.98

YORK BOWEN (1884-1961): Viola Concerto in C Minor, Op. 25, CECIL FORSYTH (1870-1941): Viola Concerto in G Minor. Written for Lionel Tertis and premiered in 1908, Bowen's concerto is a full-scale work of 35 minutes which has its moments of full-throated romantic ardor but which is most strikingly characterized by its sense of good humor and singing melody, the latter a particular concern of its dominating soloist; the writing can be very virtuosic but it is never un-singable. Forsyth's concerto dates from 1903 and may have been the first full-scale British viola concerto. Tertis seems to have conspicuously ignored this piece yet, looking at it from over a hundred years later, it seems hardly to vary from Bowen's in its singing lyricism and its jolly finale has a theme which Dvorak could have wished he'd written. Lawrence Power (viola), BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra; Martyn Brabbins. Hyperion CDA 67546 (England) 06G003 $18.98

HERMANN SUTER (1870-1926): Violin Concerto in A, Op. 23, WLADIMIR VOGEL (1896-1984): Violin Concerto. Two quite different Swiss violin concertos, Suter's work (1921) a generally relaxed, lyrical piece of almost 29 minutes with many beautiful melodies, which was written for Adolph Busch, and where the score's moments of drama and tension serve to highlight the prevailing mood of peace and contentment. Vogel, one of the 20th century's most important avant-garde composers, wrote his four-movement piece in 1937 and strikingly combines a Slavic emotionalism with Western European formal strictures and forays into dodecaphonic technique (in the third and final movements, although he uses consonant intervals in his row which will make the technique all but unrecognizable to the average listener), producing a powerful, gripping work of 36 minutes with widely varying emotional states which will appeal to anyone who has enjoyed, say, cpo's Wellesz symphonic cycle. Bettina Boller (violin), Lausanne Chamber Orchestra; Mario Venzago, Jürg Wyttenbach. Musikszene Schweiz MGB CD 6169 (Switzerland) 06G004 $18.98 >

CYRIL SCOTT (1879-1970): Complete Piano Music, Vol. 1 - Valse caprice, Op. 74/7, Requiescat, Soirée Japonaise, Op. 67/4, Vistas, Cherry Ripe, Autumn Idyll, Notturno, Op. 54/5, 3 Old Country Dances, 2 Alpine Sketches, Op. 54/4, Sphinx, Op. 63, Vesperale, Op. 40/2, 3 Pastorals, 3 Dances, Op. 20, Twilight-tide, A Pageant: 3 Dances, 3 Miniatures, 3 Little Waltzes, Deuxième Suite, Op. 75, Pastoral Suite, Indian Suite, Handelian Rhapsody, Op. 17. Bravura pieces, exotic works based on non-Western themes, Impressionism, didactic works, children's pieces, folksongs and patriotic works, salon miniatures and, in his later period, modernistic pieces it's impossible to easily characterize this composer who has been tabbed as a reactionary miniaturist due to the enduring popularity of a few pieces like Lotus Land. This multiple-volume series will certainly help us understand Scott better and the second disc here also contains 19 minutes of the composer himself playing eight of his pieces, recorded for Columbia and HMV in 1928-30. 2 CDs for the price of 1. Leslie De'Ath (piano). Dutton Epoch CDLX 7150 (England) 06G005 $18.98

HAVERGAL BRIAN (1876-1972): Violin Concerto in C, Symphony No. 18, Comedy Overture - The Jolly Miller. With a bravura solo part and memorable, folk-like tunes wrapped around an imposing central passacaglia, Brian's 1935 concerto is a good example of the composer in the full blossoming of his early period (i.e. the concerto is over 35 minutes long), before the intensely distilled style of his late period which is demonstrated here by his 1961 symphony (the 85-year-old only had another 14 symphonies left in him!) which, though concentrated, exudes a bright and optimistic atmosphere. Marat Bisengaliev (violin), BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra; Lionel Friend. Original 1993 Marco Polo release. Naxos 8.557775 (New Zealand) 06G006 $6.98

PHILIP SAINTON (1891-1967): The Island, Nadir, The Dream of the Marionette, PATRICK HADLEY (1899-1973): The Trees So High for Baritone, Chorus and Orchestra, La Belle Dame sans merci for Tenor, Chorus and Orchestra, Lenten Meditations for Tenor, Bass and Orchestra, One Morning in Spring. Both these composers worked within the Parry, Elgar, Holst, Vaughan Williams, Delius tradition - the sea-scapes of The Island suggest why John Huston wanted Sainton to write the score for Moby Dick while Hadley's 1931 The Trees is an affecting work of gentle pessimism, a late reaction to the horrifying war experiences the composer suffered in 1918. 2 CDs for the price of 1. Texts included. Neill Archer (tenor), David Wilson-Johnson (baritone), Stephen Richardson (bass), Philharmonia Chrous and Orchestra; Matthias Bamert. Original 1993 and 1997 releases. Chandos 241-22 (England) 06G007 $17.98

ARNOLD BAX (1883-1953): Piano Works, Vol. 2 - Sonata No. 3 in G Sharp Minor, Sonata No. 4 in G, Water Music, Winter Waters, Country-Tune, O Dame Get Up and Bake Your Pies. The large-scale sonatas (1926 and 1932, respectively), of symphonic conception and treatment, are coupled with atmospheric miniatures which are redolent of the worlds of Debussy and Scriabin. Collectors will, again, surely want to have these new versions even if they already have the Chandos recordings since the performances are so vastly different in conception (Wass' third sonata, at 33:56 is over 8 minutes longer than Parkin while the 20:57 fourth is more than 2 minutes longer). Ashely Wass (piano). Naxos 8.557592 (New Zealand) 06G008 $6.98


WIlliam Schuman symphony cycle begins!

WILLIAM SCHUMAN (1910-1992): Symphony No. 4, Symphony No. 9 "Le fosse ardeatine", Orchestra Song, Circus Overture. With all brand-new recordings made in 2003-4, not Delos-era reissues, this first in a Schuman symphony cycle brings the CD premiere of the 1967 Ninth. Inspired by a visit to the site of a Nazi atrocity outside of Rome, Le fosse... does not attempt to depict events, but to suggest the composer's state of mind and thoughts and is a freely composed but tonal, three-movement work whose patches of austerity in the outer movements give way to a more active, eventful central section. The quintessentially American sound of the Fourth (premiered at the end of January, 1942), with its echoes of Copland and Harris, gives a misleading impression of jaunty optimism at the beginning of war-time, whereas the work was completed before the U.S. entry into the conflict. The short couplings are from 1963 and 1944, respectively, and serve to demonstrate the breadth of Schuman's oeuvre. Seattle Symphony; Gerard Schwarz. Naxos American Classics 8.559254 (U.S.A.) 06G009 $6.98


CHARLES JONES (1910-1997): Symphony No. 3 (Gävleborgs Symphony Orchestra; Michael Adelson), Piano Sonata No. 2 (William Masselos [piano], mono), 5 Melodies for Violin and Piano (Curtis Macomber [violin], Blair McMillen [piano]). Despite a distinguished career as composer, performer and educator spanning a good part of the 20th century, Jones is inexplicably a newcomer to the catalogue, all commerically released recordings being posthumous. Better late than never. There is a noticeable element of Coplandish open-ness of texture and Stravinskian neo-classicism throughout these works, but Jones' voice is very much his own. The musucular, big-boned sonata (a welcome addition to the all-too-limited recorded legacy of William Masselos, incidentally) is a highly concentrated work of considerable power and a somewhat driven quality that seems somewhat to compress its event-filled 22 minute span. The composer's works of the 1960s took a more opulent turn, and the richly but beautifully clearly scored symphony acknowleges more obviously Romantic inspirations, more tonal, culminating in a deceptively simple and tragic epilogue in which subtle dissonance prevents any sense of repose or easy conclusion. A very welcome addition to the catalogue. Albany TROY 752 (U.S.A.) 06G010 $16.98

MIKLÓS RÓZSA (1907-1995): Sinfonia concertante for Violin, Cello and Orchestra, Op. 29, Tripartita, Op. 33, Notturno ungherese, Op. 28. Just released now, these recordings with the now-defunct Philharmonia Hungarica were made in 1998 and 2000, bringing a new version of the 1958 Sinfonia concertante. Written for Heifetz and Piatigorsky, the 31-minute work is suffused with the Hungarian color and rhythms which permeate practically all of Rózsa's concert scores and its slow movement, although a theme-and-variations formally, is a nocturne-like counterpart to the Notturno ungherese of the year before. The Tripartita (1972) was offered most recently in last December's catalogue. András Agoston (violin), László Fenjö (cello), Philharmonia Hungarica; Werner Andreas Albert. CPO 999 839 (Germany) 06G011 $15.98

VINCENT PERSICHETTI (1915-1987): Symphony No. 6, Op. 69, Parable IX, Op. 121, Masquerade, Op. 102, Serenade No. 11, Op. 85, Divertimento, Op. 42, Psalm, Op. 53, Pageant, Op. 59. A very valuable collection of the best works of Persichetti's uvre for band (and, of course, very creative use of a large variety of percussion), from the 1950 Divertimento, representing the lighter aspect of the genre (along with the Serenade from 1960) to 1972's Parable, which best shows how weighty and serious music can be written for an orchestra without strings which will seem to lack nothing in impact even to those not particularly inclined toward what they might perceive as a marginal sub-genre (which it most emphatically is not in Persichetti's mind!). North Texas Wind Symphony, Cincinnati Wind Symphony; Eugene Migliaro Corporon. GIA CD-627 (U.S.A.) 06G012 $17.98

EINAR ENGLUND (1916-1999): Piano Quintet, String Quartet. Englund's star has seemed to be declining on disc in recent years, so it's good to see these two world premiere recordings newly issued. The piano quintet is his diploma work (1941), in its youthful vigor showing an engaging mixture of late Romanticism and the neo-classical style which the composer was to keep to the rest of his career and Englund himself described it as a mix of Franck, Reger, Brahms and Ravel. The quartet (1986) is balanced and serene, a fine example of this approachable composer's mature style. Sinfonia Lahti Chamber Ensemble, Peter Lönnqvist (piano). BIS CD-1197 (Sweden) 06G013 $17.98

BORIS BLACHER (1903-1975): Orchestral Ornament, Op. 44 (1968 - mono), Orchestra Fantasy (1966 - stereo), Studie im Pianissimo, Op. 45 (1954 - mono), Orchestral Variations on a Theme by Paganini, Op. 26 (1985 - stereo). While his Paganini variations (on that theme, of course) are somewhat known, the rest of this collection concentrates on works written in 1953 and 1956 which use varying degrees of twelve-tone technique, when the composer was experimenting with what he called "variable meter" (discussed in the notes); thus, an important disc for collectors of 20th century techniques. Louisville Orchestra; Robert Whitney, Jorge Mester, Lawrence Leighton Smith. First Edition Music FECD-0040 (U.S.A.) 06G014 $12.98

CARL RUGGLES (1876-1971): Evocations: 4 Chants for Piano, Visions, March, Parvum Organum, Valse Lente, Angels, Exaltation, Organum for 2 Pianos, Mood for Violin and Piano, Songs: Toys, Ich fühle deinem Odem, Windy Nights, Prayer. When a composer publishes as little as Ruggles did, a whole CD's worth of first recordings is rarely expected. Mostly piano pieces (four songs and a violin/piano work excepted), all of the 16 items here were transcribed or realized by John Kirkpatrick, whose work on Ives was matched only by his friendship and work on Ruggles. Rugged and uncompromising, these compositions help shine further light on another great American individualist. Donald Berman (piano), Daniel Stepner (violin), Susan Narucki (soprano), Christopher Oldfather (second piano). New World 80629-2 (U.S.A.) 06G015 $16.98

GIOVANNI MARTINO CESARE (c.1590-1667): 28 Musicali Melodie for Voices and Instruments. Half vocal, half instrumental, this collection from 1621 adds extra cornets and sackbuts as well as strings, organ and harpsichord in order to provide as wide a variety of mixture of voices (both vocal and instrumental) in these sacred songs and instrumental pieces. Guillemette Laurens, Marie-Claude Valin (sopranos), Jean-Louis Comoretto, Jean-Yves Guerry (altos), John Elwes, Bruno Botterf (tenors), Bernard Fabre-Garrus, Yves Berge (basses), Les Saqueboutiers de Toulouse. 2003 release. Accord 476 064-2 (France) 06G016 $12.98

ADAM VACLAV MICHNA (c.1600-1676): St. Wenceslas Mass (Odile Pietti [soprano], Christiane Courmont [mezzo], Danièle Michel [alto], Jean-Pierre Maurer [tenor], Jacques Bona [baritone], Christina Treguier [bass], Michèle Guyard [organ], Chorale Franco-Allemande de Paris, Jean Barthe Chamber Orchestra; Bernard Lallement), Requiem (Edith Flé [soprano], Danièle Michel [alto], Gilles Vitale [tenor], Maurice Bourbon [bass], Chorale Franco-Allemande de Paris, Nouvel Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France Chamber Orchestra; Bernard Lallement). Michna was the most important Czech composer of the 17th century and these two large-scale masses (from 1660 and 1654, respectively) demonstrate his melodic gift, his surprising knowledge of Italian harmonic styles (especially expressive chromaticism in the requiem) and his forward-looking exploitation of soloist-choir contrasts. 2002 release. BNL 112758 (France) 06G017 $17.98 >

JEAN-BAPTISTE LULLY (1632-1687): Edition, Vol. 4 - Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme. Dating from 1670, this was originally a dual-author composition, Lully's music being inseparable from Molière's text and this live recording re-establishes the connection. The acmé of the comedie-ballet, this work has all of the airs de cur, duets, trios, choruses, dance suites, entrées de ballet, drinking songs and ceremonial marches (plenty of Turkish percussion, too) which were to participate in the birth of French opera. 2 CDs. Special price. Françoise Masset, Julie Hassler (sopranos), Renaud Tripathi, François-Nicolas Geslot (countertenors), Bruno Boterf, Yves Coudray (tenors), Jean-Louis Georgel (baritone), Philippe Roche (bass), La Simphonie du Marais; Hugo Reyne. Accord 472 512-2 (France) 06G018 $21.98

JEAN-BAPTISTE LULLY (1632-1687): 4 Trios pour le Coucher de Roi, JEAN NICOLAS GEOFFROY (?-1694): Dialogue pour le clavessin et les violes, LOUIS COUPERIN (1626-1661): Simphonie, Dialogue, FRANÇOIS COUPERIN (1668-1733): La Superbe, GASPARD LE ROUX (1660-1707): Suite No. 2 in D, LOUIS-NICOLAS CLÉRAMBAULT (1676-1749): Sonata in G "La Félicité", MARIN MARAIS (1656-1728): Suite in G from Pièces en Trio, JEAN-FÉRY REBEL (1666-1747): Tombeau de Monsieur Lully. In their ongoing series of lesser-known trio sonatas, London Baroque bring us some very unusual French repertoire, much of it from composers known for genres quite different from this. London Baroque. BIS CD-1465 (Sweden) 06G019 $17.98

JOHANN HEINRICH BUTTSTETT (1666-1727): Praeludium-capriccio in D Minor, Praeludium-Fugae in G & in D, Praeludium-canzona in D Minor, Praeludium-ricercar in C, Fugues in G Minor and in D, Aria and 12 Variations, 5 Chorale Preludes, 2 Partitas. Remembered more for the pasting he took in a theoretical argument with Johann Mattheson, Buttstett's music has been neglected for centuries. Successor to Pachelbel in Erfurt, his music follows that composer's synthesis of German and Italian styles. Helga Schauerte (Weisse organ of the Stiftskirche, Römhild; Silbermann organs of the Georgenkirche and Marienkirche, Rötha). 1998 release. Syrius SYR 141334 (France) 06G020 $17.98 >

JEAN GILLES (1668-1705): Motet à St. Jean-Baptiste, Lamentations du mercredi, jeudi et vendredi soir. Dating from later than 1697, the "motet à grand chur", scored for oboes and flutes as well as strings, gives Gilles a chance to show off his skill in instrumental color while the Lamentations, probably early works from 1692, are sober pieces devoted solely to the liturgical function of the texts. Véronique Gens (soprano), Jean-Paul Fouchécourt, Douglas Nasrawi (tenors), Jean-Louis Paya (baritone), Le Concert Spirituel Chorus and Orchestra; Hervé Niquet. 1989 release. Accord 465 926-2 (France) 06G021 $12.98

LOUIS MARCHAND (1669-1732): Messe, Te Deum, Motet Exulatate Deo, Hymn Iste confessor, Magnificat pour la Nativité de St. Jean-Baptiste, Repons Venient and Manus Meas. The Te Deum is the only sacred piece we have as a complete work by Marchand but the artists here have assembled, from the composer's organ books, a mass sequence and paired them with plainsong to produce a sacred piece which might easily have been heard in the Royal Chapel (as well as a couple of motets and shorter pieces). 2 CDs. Jean-Paul Fouchécourt (tenor), Helmut Schmitt (serpent), Ensemble Alternatim, Bernard Coudurier (organ of the Royal Convent of Saint-Maximin). BNL 112851 A/B (France) 06G022 $30.98 >

GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL (1685-1759): L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato. Dating from 1732, this oratotio, based on Milton texts, marked a new stage in the development of the English oratorio with its exhilarating Italianate melodies and new concentration on choruses which could also be performed by amateur groups. Live recording from a 2002 German festival concert. 2 CDs. No texts. Linda Perillo, Barbara Hannigan (sopranos), Knut Schoch (tenor), Stephan MacLeod (bass), Junge Kantorei, Frankfurt Baroque Orchestra; Joachim Carlos Martini. Naxos 8.557057-58 (New Zealand) 06G023 $13.98

JOHANN JOACHIM QUANTZ (1697-1773): Trio Sonatas for Flute and Violin, 2 Flutes, Viola da Gamba and Cello Piccolo, Recorder and Flute, Flute and Harpsichord, Oboe and Bassoon, Flute and Oboe d'Amour, Duetto for 2 Flutes. Like Telemann, Quantz was able to play almost every instrument of his time in existence and he wrote for far more of them than the flute (although recording companies seem not to be aware of this), making this collection of duets and trio sonatas a truly unusual item for collectors of this composer or his period. Ensemble Baroque "Le Rondeau". 1997 release. Syrius SYR 141335 (France) 06G024 $17.98 >

LEONARDO VINCI (1690-1733): Overture to Elpidia, Sinfonia and 2 arias from Didone abbandonata, GIUSEPPE SAMMARTINI (1693-1751): Concerto No. 2 for Harpsichord, 2 Violins and Continuo, ALESSANDRO SCARLATTI (1660-1725): Aria Amar per forza, Sonata in A for 2 Recorders, 2 Violins and Continuo, NICOLO PORPORA (1686-1725): Cantata Fille, oh Dio for Soprano and Flute, LEONARDO LEO (1694-1744): Concerto in D for 4 Violins and Continuo, JOHANN ADOLF HASSE (1699-1783): Concerto in D for Flute, Strings and Continuo, Aria Splende un balen di luce for Soprano and Orchestra, ANTONIO VIVALDI (1678-1741): Cantata All'ombra di sospetto for Soprano, Flute and Continuo, Sonata in C for Organ obbligato, Violin, Oboe and Bassoon, GIUSEPPE TARTINI (1692-1770): Concertino for Recorder, 2 Violins and Continuo, FRANCESCO MANCINI (1672-1737): Concerto in G Minor for Recorder, Strings and Continuo. This release attempts to recreate one of the musical evenings at a wealthy Neapolitan patron's dwelling around the year 1725 which travellers such as Burney have documented. The composers were either resident in Naples at the time or had connections which made it likely that their music would have been performed there; some real unusual nuggets are included (a Vivaldi organ sonata?). 2 CDs. Italian-English texts. Ensemble Baroque "Le Rondeau"; Jean-Pierre Boullet. 1999 release Syrius SYR 141350 A/B (France) 06G025 $30.98 >

LOUIS-CLAUDE DAQUIN (1694-1772): Pièces de Clavecin - Premier Livre. The harpsichord composers of the end of the baroque and the beginning of the classical period are the most neglected and Daquin is no exception (I can think of one other Daquin CD in the last eight years), which is a shame since his music is so infectiously witty, descriptive and diverting. Anne Robert (harpsichord). 1991 release. BNL 112809 (France) 06G026 $17.98 >

JOHANN GOTTLIEB GRAUN (1702-1771): Violin Concertos in D Minor & in A, Viola da Gamba Concerto in A, Sinfonia Grosso in D. Although Graun worked for Frederick the Great, whose musical tastes were reactionary, to put it mildly, these works recorded here show some signs of developing Classical style while the gamba concerto (c.1750) offers us the rarest solo instrument in the concerto repertoire. Ilja Karol, Daniel Sepec (violin), Vittorio Ghielmi (gamba), Wiener Akademie; Martin Haselböck. CPO 999 887 (Germany) 06G027 $15.98

JOSEPH-HECTOR FIOCCO (1703-1741): 5 Leçons de ténèbres, PIETRO ANTONIO FIOCCO (c.1653-1714): Recorder Sonatas in C & G Minor. In the tradition of Charpentier and François Couperin, the Flemish Fiocco's Leçons (1733) have a cello both supporting accompanying the singer, sometimes entering into contrapuntal dialogue with her. His father's recorder sonatas are in the Corellian sonata da chiesa style. Anne Mertens (soprano), Wieland Kuijke, Richte van der Meer (cellos), Kris Verhelst (organ), Peter van Heyghen (recorder). 2001 release. Eufoda 1302 (Belgium) 06G028 $17.98

WILLIAM BOYCE (1711-1779): 8 Symphonies, Op. 2. First budget-price recording of these "symphonies", published in 1760, which consist of compilations of instrumental movements from various odes and theatre pieces in late Baroque style. Aradia Ensemble; Kevin Mallon. Naxos 8.557278 (New Zealand) 06G029 $6.98

CHRISTOPH WILLIBALD GLUCK (1714-1787): 7 Trio Sonatas. The first six of these were published in London in 1746; the other, titled "Sonata VIII" is from manuscript. Coming at the very end of the lifespan of the genre, these are conservative and traditional works whose most striking aspect is that they came from the pen of one of the most innovative and ground-breaking operatic composers of his time. Musica Antiqua Köln. Challenge Classics CC72122 (Netherlands) 06G030 $15.98

CHARLES-JOSEPH VAN HELMONT (1715-1790): Missa Solemnis Sanctae Gudilae, PIERRE-HERCULE BRÉHY (1673-1737): Resurrexit amor meus, Scapulis suis, Iubilate Deo, Isti sunt triumphatores, PIETRO ANTONIO FIOCCO (c.1653-1714): Fuge, demon, fuge lepra. Van Helmont's mass (1745) is distinguished by its ample vocal ornamentation, making performance technically quite difficult, and for its alternation of soli and ripieno passages in the orchestra à la Handel or Corelli. Bréhy, one of Van Helmont's teachers, provides four motets in French grand motet style but with plenty of Italian color. Capella Currende, Concerto Currende; Erik van Nevel. 1997 release. Eufoda 1259 (Belgium) 06G031 $17.98

JOHANN PHILIPP KIRNBERGER (1721-1783): Flute Sonatas in G, C, B Flat, G Minor & E Flat Minor, Trio Sonatas in C & G Minor, Fugue in F for Harpsichord, Prelude and Fugue in E Minor for Harpsichord. Published between 1761 and 1769, these sonatas combine the composer's natural gift for counterpoint with elements of the galant style, their slow movements being particularly subtle harmonically and deep emotionally. Frank Theuns (flute), Richte van der Meer (cello), Ewald Demeyere (harpsichord). 1998 release. Eufoda 1264 (Belgium) 06G032 $17.98

JIRI ANTONÍN BENDA (1722-1795): Harpsichord Concertos in F, F Minor, G & B Minor. Benda's eight concertos are in the empfindsamkeit style of C.P.E. Bach. This release, on period instruments, offering over 77 minutes of music, will be a useful complement or replacement for the old Supraphon recordings from the 1960s or 70s. Arnaud Pumir (harpsichord), Académie Sainte-Cécile; Philippe Couvert. 1994 release. Syrius SYR 141306 (France) 06G033 $17.98 >

PIETER VAN MALDERE (1729-1768): Symphonies No. 18 in A, No. 23 in E Flat, No. 38 in D & No. 43 in D. This relatively unknown Flemish composer is a legitimate link to the Classical symphonic tradition, his symphonies having a fully developed bass and independent oboes and horns. The earlier two here have three movements and the later ones four with minuets and inchoate trios and the general atmosphere is that of Haydn's Esterhazy symphonies of the 1750s. Collegium Instrumentale Brugense; Patrick Peire. No publication date. Eufoda 1206 (Belgium) 06G034 $17.98

JOSEPH HAYDN (1732-1809): 12 Scottish and Welsh Songs, 6 Original Canzonettas, Hob. XXVIa: 31-36, Piano Trios in A & E FLat, Hob. XV:35-6. A small helping of the more than 400 Scottish, Irish and Welsh songs which Haydn set between 1791 and 1804, often using newly composed texts for the authentic folk songs, are coupled with the lesser-known Canzonettas of 1794, the last of which looks forward to Schubert. English texts. James Taylor (tenor), Munich Piano Trio. Orfeo C 117 051 A (Germany) 06G035 $18.98

LUIGI BOCCHERINI (1743-1805): 6 Harpsichord Sonatas. Boccherini keyboard sonatas? Yes! The performer here discovered the manuscript of these works at a Besançon library not long before this recording. In two or three movements, they date from 1768 and a visit to Paris and,thus, show an early, pre-Spanish side to this influential composer. Anne Robert (harpsichord). 2000 release. BNL 112909 (France) 06G036 $17.98 >

DOMENICO CIMAROSA (1749-1801): Giannina e Bernardone. Very unusual repertoire was apparently not foreign to some Italian stages in the 50s as evidenced by this production of a 1781 comedy with the usual beautiful young wife, insanely jealous old husband and his route to comeuppance, cast rather lavishly as well! 2 CDs. Mono. No libretto. Sena Jurinac, Graziella Sciutti (sopranos), Sesto Bruscantini (bass-baritone), Chorus and Orchestra of RAI Milan; Nino Sanzogno (7/26/53). Great Opera Performances 66.322 (Italy) 06G037 $31.98

JEAN-BALTHASAR TRICKLIR (1750-1813): Cello Concertos No. 3 in C, No. 4 in D, No. 5 in A & No. 6 in G. You can tell the importance of a little-known musician if his entry in The New Grove II is longer than it was in the mid-70s version and this is the case for the French-born Tricklir. These concertos date from the 1780s and 90s, all having infectious rondo finales, slow movements similar to operatic arias and first movements in the finest Classical sonata form. A worthy addition to the repertoire of the high Classical period. Musica Viva Chamber Orchestra; Alexander Rudin (cello). Cello Classics CC1015 (England) 06G038 $19.98

LOUIS SPOHR (1784-1859): Complete String Quartets, Vol. 11 - No 32 in C, Op. 141 & No. 34 in E Flat, Op. 152. The 1849 C major work is a warmly optimistic piece whose rich harmonies point toward Brahms while the E flat piece, coming from 1855 (and a period of political repression), is a sad, unsettling work with some surprising shots of dissonance which embody Spohr's regret at the failure of the 1848 liberal revolutions across Europe. Moscow Philharmonic Concertino String Quartet. Marco Polo 8.225307 (New Zealand) 06G039 $9.98

CARL STAMITZ (1745-1801): Flute Concertos in G, Op. 29 and No. 3 in D Minor, FRANZ XAVER RICHTER (1709-1789): Flute Concerto in E Minor, IGNAZ HOLZBAUER (1711-1783): Flute Concerto in E Minor, FRANÇOIS DEVIENNE (1759-1803): Flute Concerto No. 4 in G, FRANTISEK BENDA (1709-1786): Flute Concerto in E Minor, FRANZ DANZI (1763-1826): Flute Concerto in D Minor, Op. 31, FRANZ KROMMER (1759-1831): Oboe Concerto in F, Op. 52, LUDWIG AUGUST LEBRUN (1752-1790): Oboe Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, GIUSEPPE FERLENDIS (1755-1810): Oboe Concerto No. 1 in F, JOHANN NEPOMUK HUMMEL (1778-1837): Introduction, Theme and Variations for Oboe and Orchestra in F Minor, Op. 102. A flute and oboe concerto orgy from the late Classical period containing several rarely heard works in period instrument recordings probably from the 1990s. 3 CDs. Mid-price. Carlos Bruneel, Erik Dequeker (flutes), Joris van den Hauwe (oboe), Sinfonia; Dirk Vermeulen, Collegium Instrumentale, Brugense; Patrick Peire. Previously issued singly - no publication dates. Eufoda 1345 (Belgium) 06G040 $30.98 >

CAROLINE VON BRANDENSTEIN (1754-1813): Sonata in D, GIUSEPPA AUERNHAMMER (1758-1820): 6 Variations on Mozart's "Der Vogelfänger bin ich ja", MARIA TERESA D'AGNESI PINOTTINI (1720-1795): Sonata in G, ANNA BON DI VENEZIA (c.1738-after1765): 3 sonata movements, MARIA THERESIA VON PARADIS (1759-1824): Fantaisie in G, SOPHIE MARIA WESTENHOLTZ (1759-1838): Adagio from Grande Sonate in C Minor, JULIANE REICHARDT (1752-1783): Sonata in G, MADEMOISELLE LAPIERRE (c.1680-?): Prélude in D Minor, 2 Rigaudons in C, Canaris in C, HELENE LIEBMANN (?1796-?): Tempo di minuetto from Sonata in G Minor, Op. 15, CECILIE MARIA BARTHÉLEMON (c.1770-after 1826): Sonata in E, Op. 1/3. The second volume in this series continues its survey of "Women Composers at the Courts of Europe", this time with harpsichord-only works, mostly sonatas, and covering a period from late Baroque (Ms. Lapierre - originally finger exercises for the virginals) to the early Romantic (Liebmann). An interesting note: Juliane Reichardt was the daughter of Frantisek Benda - yet another composing member of that fecund family! Fine Zimmermann (harpsichord). Stadt Unna UBC 1802 (Germany) 06G041 $16.98

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827): For String Quartet: Quartet Fragment in B Minor, Minuet in F, Hess 30, Prelude & Fugue in F, Hess 30, Fugue from Handel's overture to Solomon, Hess 36, Arr. of Piano Sonata, Op. 14/1, Hess 34, For String Quintet: Fugue inD, Op. 137, String Quintet in C, Op. 29. 32 minutes of rare or unrecorded Beethoven: a two-minute fugue and 34-second quartet fragment from 1817, an 1801-2 arrangement of a piano sonata, a 1798 Handel arrangement, a minuet from 1790-2 and a prelude and fugue from 1794-5 will add to the shelves of hardened collectors. Quatuor Ysaÿe, Shuli Waterman (viola). Aeon AECD 0533 (France) 06G042 $18.98

FRANZ SCHUBERT (1797-1828)/FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886): Schwanengesang (arr. Jacques Drillon). For collectors of the truly unusual, here is a modern French composer's transcription of Liszt's transcription of Schubert's last song-cycle. Generally, the piano leads and the viola accompanies (odd enough you might think) but sometimes the voices are switched, mingled and switched around again depending on what Drillon feels might go best at the time. Lots of fun for true lovers of the lieder cycle! Edward Oganessian (piano), Gennady Fredin (viola). Accord 476 7194 (France) 06G043 $17.98

GAETANO DONIZETTI (1797-1848): Pietro il grande. Well, here's another rare Donizetti opera which Opera Rara didn't get to first! Only the young composer's third work to be staged (December of 1819), its indebtedness to Rossini goes without saying but it also was a sign to those in the know that a prodigiously talented composer was on his way up. 2 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Vito Priante (baritone), Rosa Anna Peraino (soprano), Eufemia Tufano (mezzo), Bratislava Chamber Chorus, Orchestra Internazionale d'Italia; Marco Berdondini. Dynamic CDS 473/1-2 (Italy) 06G044 $35.98

FELIX MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847): Complete Organ Works, Vol. 1 - Prelude and Fugue in C Minor, Op. 37/1, Sonata No. 1 in F Minor, Op. 65, Prelude in D Minor, Choral Prelude in E Minor, Fugues in E Minor & in D, Fughetta in A, Andante and Variations in D, 4 Studies, Allegro assai in C (compl. Bate). This new five-volume series is based on the brand-new Breitkopf edition of Mendelssohn, a third of which contains only organ works, many items newly discovered (mislaid or stolen during World War II) and others with corrections of previous errors. Jennifer Bate (six English organs). SOMM Céleste Series SOMMCD 050 (England) 06G045 $17.98

FRANZ VON SUPPÉ (1819-1895): Requiem. Dating from 1855, years before he began writing the operettas which made his fortune, Suppé produced a full-scale requiem (66 minutes in this performance) which includes the entire Catholic liturgy. Very melodic, lovely to listen to, the writing has echoes of both Berlioz and of Italian bel canto and will certainly make collectors look differently at this composer. Uliana Tchaikovsky (soprano), Danielle Michel (alto), Gilles Vitale (tenor), Jean-Louis Bindi (bass), Chorales Franco-Allemandes de Lyon et de Paris, Bonn City Youth Symphony Orchestra; Wolfgang Badun. 2001 release. BNL 112774 (France) 06G046 $17.98 >

JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833-1897): Four Hand Piano Music, Vol. 14 - Piano Quartet No. 2 in A, Op. 26 (piano duet), 5 Waltzes, Op. 39 (two pianos). Surely, we must be nearing the end... (we're not nearing the end, and don't call me Shirley!). Silke-Thora Matthies, Christian Köhn (pianos). Naxos 8.554821 (New Zealand) 06G047 $6.98

THÉODORE DUBOIS (1837-1924): Toccata, Verset de procession, "Suite latine pour le temps pascal", Introduction, Fantaisie, Fughetta et Coda, Évocation, Déploration, Praeludium grave, "Suite pour le temps de Noël", Offertoire, Grand Chur. Conservative and self-effacing, Dubois also never wrote symphonies, sonatas or suites, which may also have helped his path to obscurity. The organist on this recording has assembled a couple of suites and has chosen from the whole of Dubois' uvre which demonstrates a willingness to move with the times somewhat - Wagnerian harmonies and expressive chromaticism à la Vierne both appear. Helga Schauerte (Merklin organ, Cathedral of Moulins). New release. Syrius SYR 141382 (France) 06G048 $17.98 >


Saint-Saëns Piano and Chamber Music Orgy

CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921): Piano Trios No. 1 in F, Op. 18 and No. 2 in E Minor, Op. 92 . The composer's only two piano trios date from 1863 (graceful, witty and fresh with both scherzo and finale modeled on Beethoven) and 1892 (a five-movement work of more adventurous form and compositon). Mid-price. Michael Ponti (piano), Robert Zimansky (violin), Jan Polasek (cello). Original 1986 release. Accord 465 811-2 (France) 06G049 $12.98

CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921): 6 Études, Op. 52, Souvenir d'Ismailia, Op. 100, Le rouet d'Omphale, Op. 31, Une nuit à Lisbonne, Op. 63, Mazurka No. 3, Op. 66, Feuillet d'album, Op. 169, Caprice sur les airs du ballet d'Alceste de Gluck, Valse mignonne, Op. 104. His solo piano music is his least-recorded. This collection provides examples of various genres: salon pieces, "travel" pieces - rhapsodic little tone-poems and virtuosic etudes and prelude/fugue combinations. The works here cover 50 years of Saint-Saëns' career and will be prized acquisitons for Romantic piano collectors. Mid-price. Bernard Ringeissen (piano). Original 1976 Adès release. Accord 472 309-2 (France) 06G050 $12.98

CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921): Tarantelle in A Minor for Flute, Clarinet and Piano, Op. 6, Piano Quintet in A Minor, Op. 14, Piano Quartet in B Flat, Op. 41, Septet in E Flat for Piano, Trumpet, String Quartet and Double Bass, Caprice sur des airs danois et russes for Piano, Flute, Oboe and Clarinet, Op. 79, Oboe Sonata in D, Op. 166, Clarinet Sonata in E Flat, Op. 167, Bassoon Sonata in G, Op. 168. The piano is present in every one of these chamber works too, albeit with varying degrees of required virtuosity. These chamber works are less neglected than the composer's solo piano pieces but this label and these performers are very popular and I suspect that collectors will be happy to have sparkling new versions of these pieces. 2 CDs. The Nash Ensemble. Hyperion CDA 67431/2 (England) 06G051 $37.98


JOHN STAINER (1840-1901): The Crucifixion. If there's anyone out there who has seen the previous, much-reissued recording of this work in EMI (and its various mid- and budget-priced labels) and has wondered about it without buying it, this new digital budget-version will tell them all they need to know about pious Victorian religiosity. This may be the sort of work which will never travel well much beyond the British Isles but, at very little lay-out, you can now find out for yourself quite painlessly! James Gilchrist (tenor), Simon Bailey (bass), Choir of Clare College, Cambridge; Timothy Brown, Stephen Farr (organ). Naxos 8.557624 (New Zealand) 06G052 $6.98

ALFONSO RENDANO (1853-1931): Consuelo. A well-known pianist, Rendano wrote his only opera in 1903, the libretto based on a long Romantic novel by George Sand whose difficulty in being adapted to the stage is part of the reason the work had little success in Italy (although the Germans liked it a lot more). The orchestral writing is especially effective and Rendano proves himself a rich source of melody. 2 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Elmira Veda (soprano), Sebastian Na (tenor), Damiana Pinti (mezzo), Chorus "Solisti Cantori", Mediterranean Philharmonic Orchestra; Marcello Bufalini. Bongiovanni GB 2312/13 (Italy) 06G053 $33.98

HANS ROTT (1858-1884): Symphony No. 1 in E, Prelude to Julius Caesar, Orchestra Prelude in E. Yes, it's the third! recording of this Brucknerian symphony by the soon-to-go-wacko young Austrian composer (maybe Brahms did plant a bomb on that train and it just didn't go off!). The Julius Caesar prelude was on BIS' recording but the 71-bar other prelude here dates from 1876, has never been recorded before, and was probably a study for the symphony. At this price, why not? Munich Radio Orchestra; Sebastian Weigle. Arte Nova ANO 577480 (Germany) 06G054 $4.98

GUSTAV MAHLER (1860-1911): Titan. As far as we know, Wyn Morris' Peters International LP was the only previously available recording of the 1893 Weimar version of this work which, three years later, was to become simply, Mahler's Symphony No. 1. The orchestra in this verson is smaller, the "Frère Jacques" allusion in the funeral march movement is less bitingly sarcastic, the "Blumine" movement is, of course, in its place as second movement; other, more subtle variations will be present for Mahlerians to notice as well. Pannon Philharmonic Orchestra; Zsolt Hamar. Hungaroton HCD 32338 (Hungary) 06G055 $17.98


Bach Transcriptions, Volume 5

ALEXANDER SILOTI (1863-1945): Prelude in B Minor, BWV 855a, Prelude from Cantata No. 35, Air from Orchestral Suite No. 3, BWV 1068, Adagio from Violin Sonata in F Minor, BWV 1018, Andante from Solo Violin Sonata in A Minor, BWV 1003, Siciliano from Flute Sonata n E FLat, BWV 1031, ALEXANDER GOEDICKE (1877-1957): Prelude and Fugues in G, BWV 541 and in D Minor, BWV 539, Fugue in C Minor, BWV 575, GYORGY L'VOVICH CATOIRE (1861-1926): Passacaglia in C Minor, BWV 582, DMITRI KABALEVSKY (1904-1987): Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 538. An all-Russian volume in this ongoing series, with Siloti's intimate and delicate transcriptions are intermingled with the thundering grandeur of the other three composers. Hamish Milne (piano). Hyperion CDA 67506 (England) 06G056 $18.98


RICHARD STRAUSS (1864-1949): Complete Songs, Vol. 1 - Zueignung, Op. 10/1, Die Georgine, Op. 10/4, Breit' über mein Haupt, Op. 19/2, Wie sollten wir geheim sie halten, Op. 19/4, Glückes genug, Op. 37/1, Ich liebe dich, Op. 37/2, Hochzeitlich Lied, Op. 37/6, Leises Lied, Op. 39/1, Befreit, Op. 39/4, Wiegenlied, Op. 41/1, In der Campagna, Op. 41/2, Frühlingsfeier, Op. 56/5, Dei heiligen drei Könige, Op. 56/6, Gesänge des Orients, Op. 77, Allerseelen, Op. 10/8. Yet another new "complete songs" series begins at Hyperion as they make the well-founded observation that, although Strauss wrote 200 songs, only a dozen are well-known and maybe 30 regularly appear in recitals. So, here we go again, this time with notes that are much more concise than Graham Johnson's and with the songs chosen for the strengths of each volume's singer(s). German-English texts. Christine Brewer (soprano), Roger Vignoles (piano). Hyperion CDA 67488 (England) 06G057 $18.98

ROBERT KAHN (1865-1951): Clarinet Trio in G Minor, Op. 45, PAUL JUON (1872-1940): 3 Trio Miniatures, Op. 18, JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833-1897): Clarinet Trio in A Minor, Op. 114. There do seem to have been clarinet chamber works by unknown composers in autumnal, late Brahmsian style leaking out of small labels over the last three or so years. Here is the latest. Kahn was obviously devoted to the master in his style (he specialized in songs and chamber music) and this three-movement work of some 23 minutes dates from 1906, bringing all the beauty, warmth and contrapuntal mastery one would expect from Brahms himself. Trio Bornalie. Edition Hera 02113 (Germany) 06G058 $16.98

ALBÉRIC MAGNARD (1865-1914): Violin Sonata, Op. 13, 3 pièces for Piano, Op. 1, Suite dans le style ancien for Piano Four Hands, Op. 2, En Dieu, mon esperance for Piano. The 42-minute sonata from 1901 is the major work here, exceptionally difficult to play both for the violinist and for the pianist (a very rich, orchestral piano sound) with its four movements spanning emotions from youthful passion to autumnal nostalgia. The very early piano pieces show a young composer getting his feet wet, working in generic forms. Mid-price. Robert Zimansky (violin), Christoph Keller (piano), Katharina Weber (piano, Op. 2). Original 1984 and 1989 releases. Accord 461 760-2 (France) 06G059 $12.98

ALBÉRIC MAGNARD (1865-1914): Cello Sonata, Op. 20, String Quartet in B Minor, Op. 16. Unlike the violin sonata above, the cello piece (1909), his penultimate composition, is distinguished by its concision (its four movements take just over 24 minutes) although its lyrically romantic mood is only slightly cooler than its predecessor. The 38-minute quartet (1903) has an abundance of imagination and its fertility of ideas, complex rhythms and difficult polyphony made performers of the time shy away from it but, along with his Symphony No. 4, it stands as one of Magnard's two most important compositions. Mid-price. Thomas Demenga (cello), Christoph Keller (piano), Artis Quartet. Original 1986 release. Accord 465 789-2 (France) 06G060 $12.98

JEAN SIBELIUS (1865-1957): Complete Edition, Vol. 56 - String Quartets: 33 Small Pieces, Quartet in E Flat, Molto moderato - Scherzo, [Scherzo] in B Minor, 4 Themes, 3 Pieces, Allegretto in D, Andantino in C, Theme and Variations in C Sharp Minor, [Allegro] in G Minor, Andante-Allegro molto in D, Andante molto sostenuto in B Minor. The latest bonanza of fragments and short pieces from the composer's youth, everything here dating from 1885-89 and only the quartet in E flat having been recorded - the rest are performed here from manuscript. The last two pieces in the list above could work as movements in a larger piece, the final one having an affecting poignance. The 33 small pieces are remarkable also for the amount of personality which Sibelius can express in 8 to 22 bars. Tempera Quartet. BIS CD-1376 (Sweden) 06G061 $17.98

CHARLES KOECHLIN (1867-1950): Le Docteur Fabricius, Op. 202, Vers la Voûte étoilée, Op. 129. Both of these ruminative, thought provoking pieces by this modern, French composer are world premiere recordings. Vers la Voûte étoilée is billed as a nocturne, but it's a fascinating, neo-romantic and at times impressionistic-sounding, musical journey to other worlds envisioned by the composer, who originally wanted to be an astronomer. You'll find it's reminiscent of Mahler in places. Le Docteur Fabricius is a musical, philosophical dissertation that begins pessimistically describing nature's indifference to man and ends on a more hopeful note in a state of joyful serenity. It's much more adventurous than the previous piece and may remind some listeners of Messaien's Turangalila-Symphonie, which was written several years later. Both works call for the spooky sounding ondes martenot. Do you suppose Messiaen got the idea from Koechlin? The performances are excellent and the sound is superb. This disc is a must for all fans of this underrated, French composer. Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra; Heinz Holliger. Hänssler Classic CD 93.106 (Germany) 06G062 $17.98

REINHOLD GLIERE (1875-1956): 12 Album Leaves, Op. 51, Waltz, Op. 45, ALEXANDER GRECHANINOV (1864-1956): Lullaby, Op. 108, Cello Sonata, Op. 113, Nocturne, Op. 86. Gliere's Album Leaves all exploit the singing quality of the cello, both bright and melancholy, and many are richly spiced with the intonations and rhythms of Russian folk music. The cello sonata, which appeared in these pages in March of 2002 on Hyperion, is a "serious" work with great lyrical outpourings guaranteed to please the most romantic of listeners. Kousay H. Mahdi Dadduri (cello), Peter Nagy (piano). Hungaroton HCD 32211 (Hungary) 06G063 $17.98

GABRIEL DUPONT (1878-1914): Complete Melodies - La Pluie, Chanson d'automne, Le Foyer, Monsieur Destin, Mandoline, Le jour des morts, Annie, À la nuit, Les Effarés, En aimant, Poèmes d'automne, Journée d'hiver, Le jardin mouillé, Les caresses, Chanson des noisettes, 2 Mélodies, 2 Poèmes d'Alfred de Musset, Les Caresses, Crépuscule d'été. Collectors who've bought Dupont's chamber and piano music on this label will know that his tuberculosis, which killed him on the very day World War I started, colored practically everything he wrote, bringing out a preternatural sense of loss, regret and melancholy normally only available to a much older composer. This affected the poems he set - a quarter are by Rimbaud or Verlaine while others, less attractive as literature, will have appealed to him solely through the emotions or scenes they express and receive the same heartfelt response as the high quality texts. French-English texts. Florence Katz (mezzo), Lionel Peintre (baritone), Marie-Catherine Girod (piano). Timpani 1C1089 (France) 06G064 $18.98

JEAN CRAS (1879-1932): String Quartet No. 1 "A ma Bretagne", CHARLES GOUNOD (1818-1893): String Quartet in A Minor. Fans of the Breton admiral/composer will be delighted by his only string quartet, a four-movement work of some 37 minutes which gives a predominant impression of absolute music (Cras carried Beethoven's string quartets with him wherever he went and he obviously subscribes to the idea of a string quartet being four people having a conversation of varying degrees of passion) although folk elements may exist in the motives from which it is constructed. Gounod's genial 20-minute work (published two years after his death) has a contrupuntal, Beethovenian first movement, followed by a melancholy, nocturnal Allegretto, a humorous scherzo and a bright and brisk finale, all in a spirit as far removed from his late choral works as imaginable. Chartres String Quartet. 1998 release. BNL 112860 (France) 06G065 $17.98 >

WILLIAM HURLSTONE (1876-1906): 4 Characteristic Pieces, ARNOLD BAX (1883-1953): Clarinet Sonata, MALCOLM ARNOLD (b.1921): Sonatina, JOSEPH HOROVITZ (b.1926): Sonatina, CHARLES VILLIERS STANFORD (1852-1924): Clarinet Sonata, Op. 129. Romantic British clarinet compositions from Hurlstone and Stanford and, even, from Bax who is at his most pastoral and relaxed in this piece are juxtaposed with two newer works of which, Horovitz' 1981 Sonatina, is the least-known, a 12-minute piece influenced by jazz and neo-classicism. Sylvie Hue (clarinet), Roger Boutry (piano). 2001 release. Syrius SYR 141349 (France) 06G066 $17.98 >

CARL ORFF (1895-1982): Prometheus. Dating from 1968, this work is characteristic of Orff's late period in which declaimed text is supported sparingly by odd percussion combinations but not much more. The text is (Aechylus)' original Ancient Greek (with some very Germanic diphthongs, unfortunately!) which is rhythmically declaimed, often without any musical support at all, Orff relying on the majesty of the dead language to strike the listener, so that the result is rather like an audio-only version of the starkest scenes from one of Cacoyannis' film versions of Greek tragedy. 2 CDs. English translation only (you'll need your OCT, Teubner or Budé for the Greek). Josef Greindl, Keith Engen (basses), Roland Hermann (bass-baritone), West German Radio Women's Choir, Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra; Ferdinand Leitner. Original 1973 release. Arts Archive 43007-2 (Germany) 06G067 $25.98

ORESTE RAVANELLO (1871-1938): Preludio, Op. 50/4, Allegro vivace, Op. 100, 3 Pieces from 12 Studi, Op. 125, MARCO ENRICO BOSSI (1861-1925): Studio Sinfonico, Op. 78, Im Treibhaus (after Wagner), Moto perpetuo (after Paganini), Studio, Studie, Impromptu, Op. 49/3, RAFFAELE MANARI (1887-1933): Studio da Concerto, ULISSE MATTHEY (1876-1947): Andante, Studio di concerto per il pedale, ROBERTO REMONDI (1851-1938): Tema con variazioni for the Pedals from Op. 115, PIETRO ALESSANDRO YON (1886-1943): Concert Study. Beyond a couple of recent Bossi releases, the fathers of the modern Italian organ school are still mostly completely unknown, making this new recording of half a dozen of their concert and didactic pieces a welcome arrival for organ buffs. Fausto Caporali (Mascioni organ of the Basilica S. Gaudenzio, Novara). New release. Syrius SYR 141385 (France) 06G068 $17.98 >

DESIRÉ EMILE INGHELBRECHT (1880-1965): La métamorphose de Ève, La Nursery - 3rd Suite, JACQUES IBERT (1890-1962): Divertissement, FRANCIS POULENC (1899-1963): Aubade for Piano and 18 Instruments, DARIUS MILHAUD (1892-1974): La création du monde, Op. 81. Collectors who know Inghelbrecht as a fine conductor of the 20th century French repertoire may find the 23 minutes of his music on this disc of live performances attractive enough to warrant purchasing. The Nursery suite contains six arranged children's songs while Éve (1928) is a 12-minute ballet written for the composer's wife. Philharmonia Virtuosi; Richard Kapp. Essay CD 1086 (U.S.A.) 06G069 $15.98

JOSEPH MARX (1882-1964): Castelli Romani for Piano and Orchestra, Romantisches Klavierkonzert. While the "Romantic Piano Concerto" of 1920 has appeared in Hyperion's "Romantic Piano Concerto" series, this is the world premiere recording of the 1930 Castelli Romani, a three-movement work (Villa Hadriana, Tusculum and Frascati) whose blend of Impressionism and pentatonicism in the first movement evoke the storied history of ancient Rome. Tusculum is a fragrant forest nocturne and the third movement - an evocation of southern joie de vivre in Campania - will surely make you think of one of Marx's friends, Ottorino Respighi. David Lively (piano), Bochum Symphony Orchestra; Steven Sloane. ASV DCA 1174 (England) 06G070 $17.98

GIAN FRANCESCO MALIPIERO (1882-1973): Piano Concerto No. 3 (1960 - mono), Notturno de Canti e Balli (1966 - stereo), Fantasie de Ogni Giorno (1954 - mono). The existing discography of Malipiero is extended by these works from his later years (1948-57), two of them Louisville commissions (the "Fantasies of Everyday", a kind of tone-poem describing the rhythms of a day in the composer's life, and the 16-minute concerto whose animated and agitated outer sections surround a brooding Lento). The third is an old man's fond reminiscence of the dances of the Venice of his birth, both sad and happy. Benjamin Owen (piano), Louisville Orchestra; Robert Whitney. First Edition Music FECD-0036 (U.S.A.) 06G071 $12.98

DARIUS MILHAUD (1892-1974): Cantique du Rhône, Op. 155, Les deux cités, Op. 170, Naissance de Vénus, Op. 292, Devant sa main nue, Op. 187, 3 Psaumes de David, Op. 339, Promesse de Dieu, Op. 438. Covering the period between 1933 and 1971, these works - whether in the radiance of the Cantique, the chaste charm of Naissance or the late Biblical settings - show the Gallic refinement and clarity of a Poulenc, something one might not always associate with Milhaud (given his love of polytonalism). French/Latin-English texts. Netherlands Chamber Choir; Stephen Layton. Globe GLO 5206 (Netherlands) 06G072 $17.98

RUED LANGGAARD (1893-1952): Gitanjali Hymns, Fantasy Sonata, Insanity Fantasy, Night on the Sound, Hél-Spheres Music. Four world premiere recordings highlight this recital from the eccentric Dane whose mental stability was a question throughout his life. The ten Gitanjali Hymns (1918) are marked by an ecstatic longing for death inspired by Tagore's poetry (the texts are supplied also) but, far from being a monomaniacal cycle, Langgaard finds a whole kaleidoscope of moods and voices to express the Eastern longing "to die into the deathless". The Fantasy Sonata (1916), inspired by Schumann and partly based on Schumann themes, is a torrent of agitated emotion through which, at times, ineffably lovely melodies waft at times; two short pieces from different ends of Langgaard's life are equally mesmerizing - the 1907 Night, which, at only 1:15, displays a frightening amount of intensity for a 13-year-old and the 1948 Hél-Spheres Music, a frantic galop to oblivion in less than two minutes whose score bears the motto "I ran through the streets. The horror whipped me on." This is a perfect introduction to the final work, 1949's Insanity Fantasy, another identification with Schumann's madness and suicidal tendencies which ends with eruptions of wild madness which die out in mental collapse. Berit Johansen Tange (piano). Dacapo 8.226025 (Denmark) 06G073 $15.98

JÓN LEIFS (1899-1968): Gróa's Spell for Alto, Tenor and Orchestra, Op. 62, Iceland Cantata for Mixed Choir and Orchestra, Op. 13, Landfall for Male Chorus and Orchestra, Op. 41, The Lay of Helgi the Hunding-Slayer for Alto, Bass and Small Orchestra, Op. 61, Spring Song for Mixed Choir and Orchestra, Op. 46, Viking's Answer for Winds, Percussion, Violas and Double Basses, Op. 54. The presence of Leifs' first major work, 1930's Iceland Cantata already contains all of the stylistic traits which the remainder of the pieces on this disc (composed between 1955 and 1965) contain: parallel fifths, irregular meters and extremes of dynamic, register and texture. Unlike some of his more notorious works (like Hekla), some of these later pieces are predominantly quite and spare-textured which makes the punctuations of violence and volume the more telling. Icelandic-English texts. Gudrun Edda Gunnarsdóttir (alto), Finnur Bjornson (tenor), Ólafur Kjarta Sigurdarson (bass), Hallgrímskirkja Motet Choir and Schola Cantorum, Fósbrædur Male Choir, Kársnesskóli Boys' Choir, Iceland Symphony Orchestra; Hermann Bäumer. BIS CD-1080 (Sweden) 06G074 $17.98

LLUÍS BENEJAM (1914-1968): Concerto grosso in G, Baile, Elegia sobre un tema incaic, Wind Quintet in F, AGUSTÍ BORGUNYÓ (1894-1967): 2 Pieces for String Orchestra. Benejam (who spent two-thirds of his career outside his native Catalonia in Ecuador and Alabama [!]) writes clear, neo-classically oriented music with a touch of pentatonic melody and his works for strings and the wind quintet fall nicely into the Franco-English "string serenade" sort of music - a tinge of pastoral mood, a bit of folk-inspired dance - all lovely stuff redolent of a fresh spring day. Borgunyo spent almost his entire career in the U.S. and his short string pieces are in the same attractive general style. Orquestra del Maresme; Jordi Colomer. La Mà de Guido LMG 2063 (Spain) 06G075 $16.98

YASUSHI AKUTAGAWA (1925-1989): Trinita Sinfonica, Ellora Symphony, Rapsodia per orchestra. The Trinita (1948) shows the influence on the young composer of Shostakovich and Kabalevsky while the Ellora Symphony (1958), suggested by erotic cave sculptures from India and the Rapsodia (1971) are the sort of wild, rhythmically intoxicating works which collectors of Japanese music will associate with Ifukube. Not for the faint of heart but not to be missed by anyone who collects 20th century music on the wild side! New Zealand Symphony Orchestra; Takuo Yuasa. Naxos Japanese Classics 8.555975 (New Zealand) 06G076 $6.98

AULIS SALLINEN (b.1935): Symphony No. 8, Op. 81 "Autumn Fragments", Violin Concerto, Op. 18, The Palace Rhapsody for Winds, Percussion, Harp and Piano, Op. 72, Shadows, Op. 52. The second offering in cpo's Sallinen Edition brings the first recording of the 2001 symphony. Like the majority of his works (and like everything else on this disc as well), it features Sallinen's characteristic juxtaposition of contrasting material tied together by repeating motifs and the employment of woodwinds and brass as blocks of sound to contrast with the strings with often exposed percussion writing. The mood in the symphony, as in Shadows, a 1982 "prelude for orchestra" which shares some thematic material with the opera The King Goes Forth to France, is one of dark unease punctuated both by outbursts of anger and by more lyrical themes which tend to be defeated by the overall sense of menace and danger. Jaakko Kuusisto (violin), Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz; Ari Rasilainen. CPO 999 972 (Germany) 06G077 $15.98

GEORGE PERLE (b.1915): Transcendental Modulations, ROGER SESSIONS (1896-1985): Symphony No. 8, BERNARD RANDS (b.1934): ...where the murmurs die..., AARON COPLAND (1900-1990): Inscape. Copland's Inscape, his last major orchestral work, is a severe and introspective, highly chromatic and serious piece, with echoes of Mahler, Franz Schmidt and Shostakovich seen through late 20th-century American eyes. Sessions' symphony appropriately follows, combining similar characteristics of brooding chromaticism, harmonic richness and determined virility in the rhythmically free and complex, driven finale. Perle's 1993 work is firmly of his neo-Romantic period ­ Mahler and Berg are not too distant in the background here ­ though Perle had by this time reached a wholly individual voice which is quite unmistakable, incorporating traces of jazz and a huge range of meticulously delineated characterizations. Rands' delicate, shadowy work, reflecting on a typically evasive but evocative fragment of a Samuel Beckett poem, is not so very far removed from Dallapiccola in sound and effect, and weaves a fascinating web out of diverse musical fragments which coalesce into a tapestry of increasing complexity and elaboration. American Symphony Orchestra; Leon Botstein. New World 80631-2 (U.S.A.) 06G078 $16.98

BERNARD RANDS (b.1934): Canti del Sole, Canti Lunatici, Canti dell'Eclisse. Setting a bewildering but oddly logical range of 42 texts in 5 languages, the trilogy treats the subject of light in all its manifestations, literal and metaphorical. Appropriately diverse in musical styles as befits the range of subject matter, the vocal writing is predominantly lyrical and eloquently melodic, incorporating elements of operatic and song-cycle conventions, folk inflections, sprechstimme, falsetto singing and notated speech, but avoiding avant-garde 'extended' techniques. Ultimately, the three sections of the work form a rmarkably cogent dramatic narrative, amply sustaining interest over its hour and a half duration. The skilled blending of the economical and innovative instrumentation with the voices, intimately blended and blurring the line between solo and accompaniment contributes in no small part to the work's sense of consistency and logical structure 2 CDs for the price of 1. Texts and English translations. Douglas Ahlstedt (tenor), Lucy Shelton (soprano), Thomas Paul (bass), Boston Modern Orchestra Project; Gil Rose. Arsis CD 156 (U.S.A.) 06G079 $16.98

HAROLD SCHIFFMAN (b.1928): String Quartets Nos. 1 & 2, Capriccio. These finely wrought examples of the genre will be self-recommending to collectors of music in this rarefied yet uniquely intimate and communicative musical form. Schiffman studied with Sessions and Dohnanyi, and especially in the second quartet, by a distance the most recent work on the disc, it is the latter's influence that is most strongly apparent, the earlier works displaying a greater degree of Sessions-like economy and acerbity. It is with the middle-period quartets of Shostakovich, though, that the most obvious comparisons suggest themselves. The composer's contrapuntal craftsmanship is displayed to good advantage throughout, and the disc should provide much pleasure to those interested in traditional chamber music unmistakably of our time. Auer Quartet. North/South Recordings N/S R 1039 (U.S.A.) 06G080 $15.98

PAOLO TRONCON (b.1959): 6 Preludes and Fugues, FERRUCCIO BUSONI (1866-1924): Fantasie nach J.S. Bach, Prélude et étude en arpèges, Perpetuum mobile, Trills Etude. Troncon's Preludes and Fugues are fairly conventional in style, though interestingly constructed in a free and harmonically wide-ranging idiom which is nonetheless grounded in tonality. The preludes are imaginatively improvisatory in style, while the fugues are more tightly controlled, clear of texture and largely avoiding Romantic massed piano sonorities - in this respect they recall similar sets of works by Alan Bush or Shostakovich (and much less so, Bach, despite the 'Inspired by Bach' concept of the CD and the use of the B-A-C-H motif in the final piece). Rippling sonorities and rich harmony sometimes suggest a beguiling post-impressionistic sensuousness. Carlo Grante (piano). Music & Arts CD-1157 (U.S.A.) 06G081 $16.98

JOHN PERSEN (b.1941): Over Cross and Crown for Orchestra. This piece is derived from Persen's still-unperformed opera of 1985, an appropriately tragic and dark-hued work, plainly reflecting in purely instrumental terms the tragic narrative that inspired it (a localised and thoroughly nasty little episode of brutal religious and political repression of the Saami populace of Lapland in the mid-19th century). Full of pounding rhythms and insistent, even hectoring musical rhetoric, at times the piece seems related to a Pettersson symphony, though Persen's vocabulary is freer of tonality than the best-known works of the great Swedish composer. The most obvious difference, though, is the overtly programmatic scene-setting, plainly derived from the work's operatic origins - thus we hear representations of hectic fanfares, battles and the fury of the mob, and the characterisation of the suffering of the Saami in musical gestures so explicit as nearly to constitute operatic leitmotifs. The cumulative power and intensity of protest inherent in this seventy-minute tragic scena is undeniable, and the work provides an uneasy but totally compelling listening experience, drawing the listener inexorably into the sufferings of the abused populace and uttering a cry of protest to reverberate back through the past 150 years. Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra; Christian Eggen. Aurora ACD 5029 (Norway) 06G082 $17.98 >

KJELL FLEM (b.1943): Piano Concerto, Ultima Thule for Orchestra, Solar Wind for Strings. From its magical and haunting opening through its increasingly energetic exposition, it is clear that Flem's concerto is an important essay in the genre. Written in a freely tonal vocabulary, the most obvious comaprisons that occur to the listener will probably be Lutoslawski and Prokofiev, and also Bartók and Flem's teacher, Rautavaara. The composer makes use of modes and scales developed by Messiaen, frequent ostinato figuration and a degree of controlled aleatory, heightening the comparison to Lutoslawski. Nature and landscape are important to Flem, and in all these works one senses the vast spaces of the Nordic lands and the limitless skies above them. An important and compelling addition to the catalogue, well worth getting to know. Sergei Uryvaev (piano), St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra; Alexander Kantorov, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra; Terje Boye Hansen. Aurora ACD 5026 (Norway) 06G083 $17.98 >

FRANK TVEOR NORDENSTEN (b.1955): 24 Preludes and Fugues for Piano, 5 Axioms for String Sextet. This large cycle is characterised by its clear and precise textures and rhythmic variety and inventiveness. Harmonically spare, and largely avoiding grand romantic piano-gesture, these meticulously crafted miniatures (very few movements exceed 2 minutes in duration) are constantly on the move, traversing a wide range of moods, always underlaid with tension and a lack of repose. Here and there one detects a jazzy rhythm, a post-impressionistic harmonic ambiguity, or Bartókian incisiveness. Four of the five Axioms for strings are transcriptions of preludes from the piano cycle, introducing a degree of sensuousness into the material which contrasts intriguingly with the more austere piano textures. 2 CDs. Jørgen Larsen (piano), ter Jung Sextet. Hemera HCD 2941 (Norway) 06G084 $31.98 >

KETIL HVOSLEF (b.1939): Toccata, Organo Solo, Easter Variations, Revised Revelation, Passacaglia. Hvoslef's elegant works are distinguished by their rhythmic flexibiliy and avoidance of bombast; in fact, the emphasis on counterpoint and the interaction of clearly defined lines in different registers makes these works sound curiously conventional, on a certain level at least, and formally tightly organised. Dissonance, where it occurs, is mostly subtle and coloristic, and the use of material derived from church music (chant and previously existing conventions in organ writing) and Bach casts a sense of archaic tonality over much of the proceedings. So, by emphasizing form and thematic and narrative structure, Hvoslef succeeds in sounding further from the mainstream of 20th-century organ music than many of his contemporaries. Karstein Askeland (Rieger organ of Bergen Cathedral). Hemera HCD 2943 (Norway) 06G085 $17.98 >

SÁNDOR SZOKOLAY (b.1931): Piano Concerto, Op. 17 (MATÁV Symphony Orchestra; András Ligeti), Déploration for Soprano, Baritone, Chorus, Piano and Orchestra, Op. 25 (Júlia Pászthy [soprano], István Berczelly [baritone], Hungarian State Chorus and Orchestra; Géza Oberfrank), Pastorella for Flute and Piano, Op. 8 (Orsolya Kaczander [flute]), Solo Piano: Blood Wedding - Suite, Op. 52a, 2 Portraits, Op. 49, 2 Sonatinas, Op. 9, from Tarhos, Op. 1: 4 Bagatelles, 3 Christmas Miniatures, Recited Litany, Musical Clock, Chirping, Ostinato in Bulgarian Rhythm, At the Playground, 2 Bagatelles, Teeny-Weeny Piano Pieces, Pál Perge, Mocking, Tom Thumb. Everything here is in the Kodaly-Bartók line, the former represented in the couple of dozen short piano pieces which date from as early as 1947. The 1958 piano concerto shows Szokolay reaching full maturity in that regard and going further in the very powerful and striking Déploration. Dating from 1962, this is a 19-minute requiem for Poulenc which has the savage rhythmic bite of Janacek and the Gallic clarity and neo-classicism of its subject, all spiced with Hungarian folk melos. Balázs Szokolay (piano). Hungaroton HCD 32250 (Hungary) 06G086 $17.98 >

YURI FALIK (b.1936): Concerto della Passione for Cello and Orchestra, Symphonic Etudes for Orchestra. Opening with an exended soliloquy for the soloist, all but unaccompanied for the first section of the work, the concerto is a deeply felt work of great eloquence, effectively an instrumental requiem mass, with sections conforming to those of the Catholic liturgy. In its extended and lyrical, questing solo lines, there is an obvious affinity with Shostakovich, also recalled in mood and harmonic language. Both here and in the Etudes, which functions symphonically (shades of Nielsen here), the prevailing impression is of tension and emotional intensity, a reluctance to release the music's grip on the listener until every last implication of the argument has been played out. Even as the sheer volume of high quality music from the Soviet years continues to amaze, this disc suggests that there is still no shortage remaining to be discovered. Natalia Gutman (cello), St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra; Alexander Dmitriev. Northern Flowers NF/PMA 9924 (Russia) 06G087 $16.98

THIERRY ESCAICH (b.1965): Le Dernier Évangile for Double Choir, Orchestra and Organ (Maîtrise Notre-Dame de Paris, Chur Britten, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris; John Nelson, Olivier Latry [Cavaillé-Coll organ of Notre-Dame]), 3 Danses improvisées, Poème symphonique improvisé (Thierry Escaich [Cavaillé-Coll organ of Notre-Dame]). We have already extended the most enthusiastic welcome to the orchestral and chamber music of this unusually versatile composer, whose music seems as consistent in quality as it is immediately communicative and accessible in idiom, without ever sounding stale or overly familiar. Now we have an opportunity to hear music derived from the inspiration which has most profoundly moved the composer; music of the church. Escaich achieves a most unusual balancing act here; the music is lively and exultant, yet never trivial or lacking in appropriate seriousness. Throughout he invokes luminous textures and exquisitely judged colors as vivid and inspiring as the play of sunlight through the stained glass windows of a great cathedral, bringing the full resources of his own instrument, the organ, as well as marvellously clear and incisive orchestration and lucid vocal writing tellingly into play. Those who delight in the finest 20th-century choral tradition as exemplified by the best of Britten, Duruflé and even Stravinsky will find 'Le Dernier Évangile' more than worthy to stand alongside these exalted figures. As you might expect, the four solo organ works with which the disc is rounded out are crafted with consummate skill; more remarkable is the fact that they substantially avoid over-dependence on the legacies of Messiaen or Duruflé French texts. Hortus 024 (Belgium) 06G088 $17.98 >

BERNARD LALLEMENT: Cantate pour l'Acadie for Soloists, Mixed Choir, Strings, Wind Quintet, Percussion and Piano, Chant de Bienvenue, Viens voir l'Acadie. An assemblage of traditional popular songs of the Acadian region of Canada in settings that faithfully represent the performance traditions of the region, richly arranged for concert choir, soloists and instrumental ensemble with the sequence of material providing a kind of narrative of the history of the divided region and its period of adversity suffered under the English in the 18th century. An essentially pastoral and uncomplicated work, then, but tremendously attractive and readily appealing. No texts. Nathalie Paulin (soprano), Claudette Magee-Fortin (mezzo), René Hugron (tenor), Jean-Louis Serre (baritone), Chorale Franco-Allemande de Paris, Ensemble Orchestral de Saint Quentin en Yvelines, Wind Quintet of Pays de France, Bruno Gosset (piano). BNL 112805 (France) 06G089 $17.98 >

HRÓDMAR INGI SIGURBJÖRNSSON (b.1958): Skálholt Mass for Soprano, Tenor, Bass and Chamber Orchestra. Intimately linked to the Icelandic church of that name, which the composer characterises as possessing an unique atmosphere of intimacy and warmth allied to a sense of antiquity and distinguished historical tradition, the music reflects these characteristcs, being economically scored for three soloists and small ensemble prominently featuring the harpsichord. Elements of hymns, Latin plainchant, folk music and delicate nature-music, gently rocking figuration suggesting the movement of waves, all combine to produce an atmosphere of delicate repose, while the chromatic richness of the accompaniment provide a degree of Romantic sensuousness which modulates the archaic austerity of the restrained and delicate counterpoint of the melodic lines of the part-singing. Marta Gudrún Halldórsdóttir (soprano), Finnur Bjarnsson (tenor), Benedikt Ingólfsson (bass), CAPUT Ensemble; Gunnsteinn Ólafsson. Smekkleysa SMK 25 (Iceland) 06G090 $16.98

YAN MARESZ (b.1966): Metallics for Trumpet and Electronics, Eclipse for Clarinet and 14 Instruments, Entrelacs for 6 Instruments, Sul segno for Harp, Guitar, Cimbalom, Double Bass and Electronics, Metal Extensions for Trumpet and Instrumental Ensemble. Maresz incorporates live electronics into instrumental works or emulates them in pieces for instrumental ensemble alone (2001's Metal Extensions is an extended non-electroacoustic reworking of 1995's thrilling and impactful Metallics) and sounds not unlike the mainstream as practiced by established electroacoustic composers of the previous generation such as Tim Souster or Stephen Montague, with whose works Maresz' share a quality of propulsive motion that is highly appealing. The indebtedness to the free, direct and improvisatory quality of some types of modern jazz - Miles Davis' experimental phase is an apparent influence - adds to the direct appeal of this sophisticated yet approachable music. Ensemble intercontemporain; Jonathan Nott. Accord 476 7200 (France) 06G091 $17.98 >

JOHN CASKEN (b.1949): Golem. A striking operatic retelling of the widely varied traditional Jewish legend, metaphorically treats the subjects of creation, life, death, intolerance and persecution - Faustian concepts all. Casken's lucid and economical treatment conforms to the operatic tradition for the most part, though readily incorporating elements of Lutoslawskian controlled aleatory and a pre-recorded tape part (sparingly used to add a textural dimension). All in all the emphasis here is on the direct and uncomplicated confrontation of the listener by the narrative and its implications, and in its clarity of narration and avoidance of bombastic operatic rhetoric the work succeeds in making a powerful and thought-provoking emotional impact. 2 CDs. Music Project London; Richard Bernas. Original 1991 Virgin Classics release. NMC D113 (England) 06G092 $31.98

MICHAEL FINNISSY (b.1946): Maldon, Palm-Sunday, Anima Christi, Vertue, Forget-me-not, Descriptive Jottings of London. The choral part of Finnissy's compositional uvre, drawing on his deep knowledge of mediævalism and church music is less open to the charge of 'complexicism' than his more familiar style, and is certainly likely to make a more general and direct appeal to a wider public, while making no concessions in terms of musical sophistication or individuality. Maldon - an epic reflection on war based on an important fragment of Anglo-Saxon poetry, and Anima Christi, which layers a range of religious texts and ensembles each in their own perspective (the effect is not unlike that achieved by Britten in the War Requiem, though the music is of course in a more modern idiom) are the largest and most profound works here, though there is much of interest in the shorter pieces too. Exaudi. NMC D110 (England) 06G093 $17.98

MICHAEL JARRELL (b.1958): Congruences for Midi Flute, Oboe, Ensemble and Electronics, Rhizomes for 2 Percussions, 2 Pianos and Electronics, ...chaque jour n'est qu'une trêve entre deux nuits... ...chaque nuit n'est qu'une trêve entre deux jours for Cello and 4 Instrumental Groups, Assonance IV for Tuba, Viola and Electronics. This disc provides yet another example of the diversity and quality of inspiration to have emerged from the musical world's most distinguished experimental laboratory, IRCAM, and its attendant demi-monde. Jarrell makes use of electronics in all but one piece, generally by way of enriching textures and adding spatial and timbral effects rather than as an integral part of the compositional material. Actual musical material tends to consist of small cells, though a fragmentary impression is avoided by frequent diversions into motoric rapid-moving patterings and patternings which propel the music dynamically, conventional harmonic progression being largely absent. Ultimately, though, it is the composer's acute sense of tone color and the delicate and sensitive treatment of timbre that provide the music's most compelling qualities. Ensemble Intercontemporain; Peter Eötvös. 1994 release. Accord 465 309-2 (France) 06G094 $19.98

PIERRE CHARVET (b.1968): 9 études aux deux mondes for Piano and Dispositif Informatique, Qohelet for Voice and Dispositif Informatique, Brandenburg for Violin and Dispositif Informatique, L'invitation au voyage for 3 Voices and Dispositif Informatique, L'ombre de la lune for Voice and Dispositif Informatique, Épilogue. These works make continuous, almost obsessive use of computer synthesis and resynthesis of sounds, which the composer regards as the natural replacement for the traditional, acoustical orchestra for composers of his generation. The rich and complex textures Charvet creates are unusually coherent in their adoption of electronics as an integral part of the instrumental medium; the computer effects never feel like special effects grafted on as an afterthought, but are an essential component of the musical material. We enter a sound-world unusually alien even in the annals of avant-garde music of our time, and a most involving and all-encompassing one it turns out to be. Armelle Orieux, Julie Hassler, Béatrice Mayo-Felip, Els Janssen, Billie Lee Hart (voices), Michael Abramovich (piano), Roland Auzet (percussion), Jacques Prat (violin). 2002 release. Accord 472 515-2 (France) 06G095 $17.98

ALEXANDRE RABINOVITCH-BARAKOVSKY (b.1945): 6 etats intermediaires for Orchestra (Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra; Alexandre Rabinovitch-Barakovsky), La triade for Amplified Violin and Orchestra (Yoyoi Toda [violin], Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto; R.-B.), 3 Invocations for String Quartet and Amplified Celesta (Filarmonica Quartet Novosibirsk, R.-B. [celeste]), Musique Populaire for 2 Amplified Pianos (Martha Argerich, R.-B.), La belle musique No. 4 for 4 Amplified Pianos (Mikhail Adamovitch, Alexei Ieriomine, Anton Batagov, R.-B.). Rabinovich's exceedingly likeable music gets a welcome outing in this comprehensive and varied collection, deserving an enthusiastic welcome. Incorporating elements clearly definable as minimalist or process-derived, and always exploiting rich neo-Romantic harmony, Rabinovich may be perceived as fulfilling the promise suggested by Glass in his best film scores and stage works but somewhat subsumed in the more portentous works that have followed in more recent years. A preoccupation with various kinds of spirituality (Eastern, and not preachily defined) is a common philosophical thread; an attractively active and glittering surface overlaid on a substrate of slow harmonic progression suggesting serious and fundamental organic or even cosmological processes is the preponderant musical one. The works we have had before get more vital (live, concert) performances here than the earlier recordings. This is definitely the feel-good contemporary disc of this month! 2 CDs. Megadisc MDC 7812/11 (Belgium) 06G096 $35.98

LADISLAV KUBÍK (b.19): String Quartet No. 1, Divertimento for Wind Octet, Piano Trio, Invention for Piano, 2 Episoden for Bass Clarinet, Piano and Percussion, 2 Inventionen for Flute and Guitar, Worte - 3 Lieder for Mezzo-soprano and Orchestra. Kubik's earlier works are more conventionally of the modern mainstream of the post-war period, which is not to deny their unmistakable quality. The more recent pieces are likely to make a more direct emotional impact, though, combining a greater emphasis on melodic content and textural and harmonic richness with greater expressive content and a greater variety of form and color. The three orchestral songs and the shadowy, dark-hued trio are especially striking. It is also unusual to hear a bass clarinet used in its intended repertoire and playing actual notes in a melodic context, as opposed to the indignities to which it is all too frequently subjected by the avant-gardistes. The complete score of the three songs is published in the booklet, an unusual and welcome bonus for those interested in deeper study of this fine music. Various artists incl. Panocha Quartet, Collegium Musicum Pragense, Trio Rivinius, Dagmar Pecková (mezzo), Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra; Jiri Belohlávek. col legno AU-031 814 CD (Germany) 05G097 $19.98

JEREMY DALE ROBERTS (b.1934): Oggetti - Omaggio à Morand for Piano, Winter Music for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Trumpet, Celeste and Bells, Croquis for String Trio, Hamadryad for Alto Flute, Viola and Guitar, Layers for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet and Trumpet, Wieglied for Viola. These luminous and intriguing works - the impression of lightness and clarity enhanced by the composer's fondness for high pitches and instruments playing in their upper registers - form an important body of work by an oddly unrecognised British composer of considerable individuality. Having received early encouragement from Vaughan Williams and Finzi, Roberts appears to have moved away from these influences toward a more eclectic and economical, and significantly more modern idiom. Roberts' style not infrequently resembles the diverse assemblages of still life in painting, leading to even the larger works functioning as collections of small images - miniatures, even sketches, expressed in the minimum number of highly expressive brush-strokes. Hiroaki Takenouchi (piano), Dimitri Murrath (viola), Lontano; Odaline de la Martinez. Lorelt LNT 118 (England) 05G098 $16.98

LUCA FRANCESCONI (b.1956): Terre del rimorso for Soprano, Chorus and Orchestra, Let me Bleed for Mixed Chorus. The surprisingly tender and consonant Let me Bleed - a requiem for a young man killed in a peace demonstration - is nonetheless a work of considerable dramatic tension. Terre del rimorso, at twice the size and employing large orchestral forces, is closer to the accustomed large canvases of European contemporary music, though here too there is a thread of lyrical richness running through the tapestry of the work. While tension remains throughout at a consistently high level, heightened by pulsing, dissonant textures in choir and orchestra parts, the solo soprano writing in particular has an emotionally direct quality, almost a romantic melodic sense which lends the work a brooding and consistently flowing quality. The work certainly cannot be described as conventional, but it acknowledges traditional oratorio practice and styles while reworking them in a contermporary idiom. Françoise Kubler (soprano), Swedish Radio Choir, SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart, Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra; Peter Eötvös. Stradivarius STR 33683 (Italy) 06G099 $17.98

SALVATORE SCIARRINO (b.1947): La perfezione di uno spirito sottile, Raffigurar Narciso al fonte, Il motivo degli oggetti di vetro, Il silenzio degli oracoli. If you are already an admirer of Sciarrino's work you will certainly find this disc a worthwhile addition to your collection. The music builds a rich tapestry of woodwind sounds (including the keyslaps and breath noises, so say nothing of the sustained and potent extended silences, that one would expect of the composer) alongside conventional playing techniques. If truth be told, this is rather less rarefied than much of Sciarrino's music, which sometimes seems to whisper its way through the greater part of ts duration; there are passages of violent contrast and harsh cluster-driven impacts which interrupt the plangent animal moans and vegetable stasis which constitute the greater part of the work's unsettling atmosphere. Alter Ego; Sonia Turchetta. Stradivarius STR 33647 (Italy) 06G100 $17.98

TRISTAN MURAIL (b.1947): Territoires de l'oubli for Piano, Allégories for 6 Instruments, Vues aériennes for 4 Instruments. "Murail's music is based on the acoustic properties of sound itself, rather than upon any arcane, abstract theory, or on any notions of what 'chamber music' or 'piano music' should be." say the notes. Well, we figured that out a while ago, but this combination of pieces showcases this approach admirably. Only Allégories actually uses electronics; a computer-controlled triggering mechanism functioning like an updated version of a pre-recorded tape part - co-ordinated in real time it permits greater flexibility than a fixed recording could. Vues explores a range of timbres, analogous to the play of changing light on a complex façade, and is as atmospheric as one might expect from a master colorist such as Murail. The surprise is the extended solo piano work, which has a more continuous and structured feel (over quite a long span of time - 26 minutes) than we are used to from Murail, while nonetheless appearing to give up nothing in terms of richness of color-texture despite the relatively limited resources of a solo instrument. Ensemble Fa; Dominique My (piano). 1990 release. Accord 465 899-2 (France) 06G101 $17.98

EMMANUEL NUNES (b.1941): Lichtung I and II for Ensemble and Electronics. Insofar as precise spatialization, using the most sophisticated computer techniques, is an integral part of Nunes' compositional method, a two-channel recording can only tell part of the story. Having said which, the sophistication with which the composer makes use of the resources made available by the current generation of high-speed computer signal processing makes these works (part of a larger cycle) especially consistent and satisfying within the principles governing electroacoustic music. It should also be said that IRCAM's developments in spatialization technology allows a convincing simulation of the three-dimensional nature of the music that a live audience would experience. Nunes has pioneered the use of spatial information as an integral part of the music, on an equal footing with timbre and thematic material, and these pieces demonstrate ably the validity of such an approach. Ensemble Intercontemporain; Jonathan Nott. 2003 release. Accord 472 964-2 (France) 06G102 $19.98

JONATHAN HARVEY (b.1939): One Evening... for Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, Ensemble and Electronics, Death of Light/Light of Death for Harp, Oboe and String Trio, Advaya for Cello, Digital Piano and Electronics. With his familiar and seamless blend of the mystical and the meticulously controlled, Harvey has become one of the most immediately recognisable voices in the increasingly crowded field of contemporary music. His use of electronics is also unusually well judged, enhancing and extending his sound-world without sounding like an end in itself. It is also worth noting that his vocal writing is often exceedingly beautiful, as in One Evening which sets a wide range of contemporary and ancient texts in settings of luminous transparency. Death is an instrumental telling of the Passion, appropriately passionate and somewhat expressionistic in style, with many moments of lyrical sensuousness amongst the uneasy glitter of the composer's surface textures. Sarah Leonard (soprano), Mary King (mezzo), Ensemble Intercontemporain; Stefan Asbury. 1999 release. Accord 465 281-2 (France) 06G103 $19.98

DENIS COHEN (b.1952): Jeux for Midi Piano and Ordinateur, Il sogno di Dedalo for Ensemble, Transmutations for Double Bass and Ensemble. The complex multi-layering of these works requires absolute notational control, thus recalling the seminal works of the age of strict serialism, but in the most extended - and in many ways the most individual - work, Jeux, the use of MIDI-triggered live electronics permits a degree of freedom in performance, as in the Murail works above, a strategy to which electroacoustic composers have increasingly turned in the past decade or so. Cohen's music, while expoiting a range of unusual and striking timbral textures, is not by any means as dependent upon sounds in and of themselves, or the construction of musical material from the analysis of sound as is the current fashion in contemporary music, the most obvious comparison probably being Stockhausen. Frédéric Stochl (double bass), Florent Boffard (piano), Ensemble Intercontemporain; Denis Cohen. 1994 Adès release. Accord 465 304-2 (France) 06G104 $19.98


British Light Music Premieres, Vol. 2

ANTHONY HEDGES (b.1931): Festival Dances, Op. 64, HAYDN WOOD (1882-1959): British Rhapsody, CARLO MARTELLI (b.1935): Romance, Greensleeves, Aubade, PHILIP LANE (b.1950): Overture on French Carols, RICHARD ADDINSELL (1904-1977): Harmony for False Lovers (arr. Sutherland), NIKOLAI RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908): Variations on a Theme of Glinka (arr. Philip Lane), JOHN FIELD (1782-1837): Concertino for Flute and Small Orchestra (arr. Philip Lane), GEORGES BIZET (1838-1875): Pas de deux from Carmen (arr. Leonard Salzedo [1921-2000]). The two largest-scale items here are Bridges' 19-minute set of dances from 1976 (a three-movement piece rather in the manner of a symphony, with fast-slow-fast characters) and Wood's 1945 British Rhapsody, which contains only original themes but covers the styles of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland in about nine minutes. Jennifer Stinton (flute), Royal Ballet Sinfonia; Gavin Sutherland, Neil Thomson and his orchestra (Martelli), City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra; Julian Bigg (Bizet). Dutton Epoch CDLX 7151 (England) 06G105 $18.98


LENNOX BERKELEY (1903-1989): The Judgement of Paris, FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886)/GORDON JACOB (1895-1984): Apparitions, DOMENICO SCARLATTI (1685-1757)/CONSTANT LAMBERT (1905-1951): Mars and Venus, JOHN LANCHBERY (1923-2003): 5 Excerpts from Tales of Beatrix Potter. 80 minutes of first recordings or CD premieres, all of which, except Berkeley's only ballet score (a 15-minute piece from 1938 in his characteristic neo-classical manner with Gallic flavor), are transcriptions of existing works. Although usually listed as "Lambert/Liszt", the orchestrations of the late Liszt piano pieces (many of which come from the obscure suite The Christmas Tree) were made by Gordon Jacob; Lanchbery's music comes from (un-named in the booklet) music by Sullivan, Michael Balfe and Minkus. Royal Ballet Sinfonia; Barry Wordsworth. Dutton Epoch CDLX 7149 (England) 06G106 $18.98

JACQUES IBERT (1890-1962): Music from the Films Macbeth, Golgotha and Don Quichotte (incl. 4 Chansons de Don Quichotte). Collectors who didn't buy the original, full-price issue are urged not to miss this opportunity; Macbeth and Golgotha both last more than 30 minutes and contain powerful, involving music which no one hearing blindfolded would ever connect with Ibert, so greatly have the breezier, more insouciant parts of his style been stereotyped. Henry Kiichli (bass), Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra; Adriano. Original 1989 Marco Polo release. Naxos 8.557607 (New Zealand) 06G107 $6.98


Accord Operette

French-only notes and no libretti. Excerpts in quotes are from Raymond Walker's on-line reviews of the series at www.musicweb.uk.net.

MAURICE YVAIN (1891-1965): Là-Haut. "...more exactly an opérette-bouffe... This 1953 recording was lucky to catch Maurice Chevalier before his voice took on its later raspy characteristic. His rendering of the show's hit fox-trot number, 'Le Premier Paradis, c'est Paris' is both elegant and engaging. In fact this and others were numbers Yvain tailored especially for Chevalier so it is good we hear them as intended." 2 CDs for the price of 1. Mono. Maurice Chevalier (tenor), Marina Hotine (soprano), Roméo Carles (baritone), Orchestra and Chorus; Jacques-Henri Rys. Original 1953 French Decca release. Accord Operette 461 967-2 (France) 06G108 $17.98

ROGER DUMAS (1897-1951): Ignace. "Not really an operetta, Ignace is much more a series of revue numbers linked by dialogue. The music carries a strong rhythm and is of the easy going, easy listening variety..." 2 CDs for the price of 1. Fernandel (baritone), Robert Piquet (tenor), Eliane Varon (soprano), Orchestra and Chorus; André Grassi. Original 1967 French Decca release. Accord Operette 472 877-2 (France) 06G109 $17.98

VINCENT SCOTTO (1878-1953): Excerpts from Au Pays du Soleil, Trois de la Marine, Arènes Joyeuses, Un de la Canebière. There is no competition for these delightful Marseilles operettas, whose songs are impossible to get out of your head, from 'Pescadou de la Martiale' to the extremely popular 'Adieu, Venise provençale' . A more-than-welcome ray of sunshine from the South of France. 2 CDs for the price of 1. Janine Ervil, Pierre Denain, René Sarvil, Orchestra and Chorus; André Grassi. Original 1964 Vega release. Accord Operette 476 2107 (France) 06G110 $17.98