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Franco Alfano

Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2

FRANCO ALFANO (1875-1954): Symphony No. 1 "Classica", Symphony No. 2. Collectors who know Alfano solely for his operatic endeavors should not think of his symphonies as either early works or as trifles which he jotted down while taking a break from the stage. In fact, he revised the first symphony three times, the last time only a year before his death; it marked a change in his style as he left behind the verismo of Risurrezione and moved toward the post-impressionist sumptuousness of his masterpiece Sakuntala. The first symphony (1910/23/53) is a powerful work which drags you into a rushing torrent of sound and rhythm from its first notes. There is a dark hint of menace about its first movement but the slow movement is broad, noble and elegiac before the finale returns to a juggernaut style although less dark in nature than the first movement. You'll probably want to hear the whole thing over again immediately. The second (1932) couldn't be more different - the first movement has a bucolic, pastoral quality with a main theme that you can't keep out of your head while the largo has a gorgeous, calm autumnal glow before the finale bursts out with an Elgarian march figure which rattles on good-naturedly to the end. Almost 74 minutes of intriguing, surprising music from a completely unexpected source which every symphony collector needs to hear. Brandenburg State Orchestra, Frankfurt; Israel Yinon. CPO 777 080 (Germany) 04G001 $15.98


1. Aurora: for those of you waiting patiently (and otherwise) for the Aurora discs from January (the Kleiberg and the Söderlind for the most part): Aurora's new distributor cannot legally ship product until April 15. so some of you will get your back-orders this month and some next month, depending on the date your order is received.

2. Tudor: unfortunately, Tudor has apparently chosen a U.S. distributor who neither sends me new-release information, fills my orders completely, can get me re-orders promptly nor sends me invoices (really!). Between my oblivious European source for the label and Tudor's apparent new U.S. source, I don't know how long it's going to take to get that new release of Raff's Cello Concertos into the catalogue but I will try my utmost to get someone to take my money and ship me the discs....

JEAN FRANÇAIX (1912-1997): Le roi nu, Les damoiselles de la nuit. Here are the second and third of Françaix's dozen or so ballets to be recorded by Hyperion. Le roi nu, based on "The Emperor's New Clothes", is an early work, written in 1935 for Serge Lifar and, not surprisingly, full of the brash and colorful neo-classicism of Stravinsky. Ten minutes longer (at 37 minutes), Les demoiselles comes from 1948 and the women of the night of its title are cats, one of whom transforms into a human out of love for a penniless violinist; all, of course, does not go well and he dies and she returns to cat-form. A darker, more nuanced ballet, it drew a more widely-varied score from Françaix with a particularly evocative Nocturne, with horn solo, which begins and punctuates the action and much music of tender, romantic quality (but, yes, there are a few string glissandi of the meow-type). Ulster Orchestra; Thierry Fischer. Hyperion CDA 67489 (England) 04G002 $18.98

Václav Dobiá (1909-1978): Symphony No. 2, JARMIL BURGHAUSER (1921-1997): 7 Reliefs for Large Orchestra. This particularly apt coupling deals with two different breaks with tradition. Dobiás' symphony was written in 1956-7 and was among the first to depart from Communist requirements of Socialist Realism in music. The years from 1948 until the recent liberalization in Czechoslovakia had been rough and this was one of the first musical works to comment on them - all the more shocking since Dobiás had written many songs for "the masses" and cantatas for the "proletariat". Its 51 minutes contain much music which recalls Shostakovich, more in its general mood than in actual style - Dobiás has his own strong voice and style, the neurotically busy first movement, the malevolently sardonic scherzo, a sullen, anxious andante and a finale which actually does seem to win through some forced rejoicing to a genuinely positive outcome. Burghauser also left Socialist Realism behind but in 1962, his Seven Reliefs took note of western avant-garde music. Couched in a style the composer called "harmonic serialism", the short segments of this 17-minute work, in their melodic, rhythmic, harmonic, timbral and articulational aspects, evoke the carving of reliefs out of space. Czech Philharmonic Orchestra; Karel Ancerl. Supraphon SU 3700-2 (Czech Republic) 04G003 $10.98

Jan Hanu (1915-2004): Symphony No. 2 in G, Op. 26, Salt is Better Than Gold - Suite No. 1, Op. 28a. Unlike the pair of works above, Hanus' pieces date from 1951-2 and are firmly in the approachable style of the period which was compatible with "music for the people". However, given that the symphony, with its sunny, untroubled disposition, with no trace of drama or conflict, was intended by the composer to express the ideals of St. Francis of Assisi, shows how easy it could be to get a work past the censors and critics. The ballet is the more dramatic of the two works since there is a maiden to get lost in the dark woods and a good woodsman to rescue her from the designs of a shady hunter (scary forest music and a rousing, crudely rhythmic woodsmen's dance). Sheer delight, both in startlingly vivid and clear mono sound from 1955-6. Czech Philharmonic Orchestra; Karel Ancerl. Supraphon SU 3701-2 (Czech Republic) 04G004 $10.98

LUBOR BÁRTA (1928-1972): Viola Concerto, DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975): Cello Concerto No. 1 in E Flat, Op. 107, FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886): Les Préludes. Bárta's concerto dates from 1957 and is firmly in the required, approachably melodic style of the Hanus works above. It lasts 23 minutes and is a particularly virile work of warm orchestral colors and memorable motifs for the soloist. At mid-price, it's still a necessary acquisition for the collector of 20th century Czech music. Jaroslav Karlovsk (viola), Milo Sádlo (cello), Czech Philharmonic Orchestra; Karel Ancerl. Supraphon SU 3702-2 (Czech Republic) 04G005 $10.98

FRANCISCO ESCUDERO (1913-2002): Illeta. This unusual work is a 59-minute oratorio which depicts a funeral in Basque folk style. The five movements are "Wake", "Procession to the Church", "Funeral", "Procession to the Cemetary" and "Burial and Final Farewell". While a five-note Gregorian motif is present in much of the music, the overall effect one has is as if Stravinsky of Les noces, Carl Orff and Silvestre Revueltas had gotten together to write an exotic, yet serious funeral service. Not a minute passes that one isn't fully gripped by the drama and the sonorities (the unfamiliar sounds of the Basque language only add to the effect) and the fact that there is a "Basque symphony" and a "Basque piano concerto" by Escudero excites anticipation. Basque-English texts. Ricardo Salaberria (baritone), Coral Andra Mari, Bilbao Symphony Orchestra; Juan José Mena. Naxos 8.557629 (New Zealand) 04G006 $6.98

FRANCISCO MIGNONE (1897-1986): Fantasia Brasileira No. 3 for Piano and Orchestra, HEITOR VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959): Bachianas Brasileiras No. 9 for String Orchestra, As Três Marias for Piano, BARROZO NETTO (1881-1941): Minha Terra for Piano, MARLOS NOBRE (b.1939): Concertante do Imagiário for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 74, ROLANDO MIRANDA (b.1948): Concertino for Piano and Strings, EDINO KRIEGER (b.1928): Sonatina for Piano. Titled "Brazilian Mosaic" this 2002 release offers uniformly attractive, melodic, often infectiously rhythmic and utterly approachable music from a variety of Brazilian sources. Mignone will be fresh in the minds of those who bought the latest BIS release of his music two months ago; his Fantasia (1935) is a 13-minute work soaked in the melodies and rhythms of popular music and could easily have been written by Villa-Lobos. Miranda's Concertino (1986) marked a move for the composer to a "new tonal" style and is equally delightful - warm, poetic and transparently orchestrated. Nobre's 1989 piece continues the trend with a slow movement with the haunting melancholy lyricism of Piazzolla. Krieger's short Sonatina (1957) and Netto's two-minute "My Country" round out a disc of wonderful (predominantly) new discoveries. Clélia Iruzun (piano), Lontano; Odaline de la Martinez. Lorelt LNT 115 (England) 04G007 $16.98

MALCOLM ARNOLD (b.1921): Beckus the Dandipratt, Op. 5, The Smoke, Op. 21, A Sussex Overture, Op. 31, Tam o'Shanter, Op. 51, A Grand Grand Festival Overture, Op. 57, Peterloo, Op. 97, Anniversary Overture, Op. 99, The Fair Field, Op. 110, A Flourish for Orchestra, Op. 112, Robert Kett, Op. 141. Why didn't anyone do this before? Arnold is one of the most witty composers of the 20th century yet he could write symphonies with the most "serious". His ten overtures combine both aspects of his personality, from the Grand Grand Festival of 1956 - for a Hoffnung Festival - which has three vacuum cleaners and a floor polisher as obbligati instruments (the cleaners are in B flat, the polisher in G), to the 1967 Peterloo - a tribute to the victims of an 1819 political protest brutally crushed by authorities. Included is the first recording of the 1990 Robert Kett (a 16th century Norfolk rebel leader). BBC Philharmonic; Rumon Gamba. Chandos 10293 (England) 04G008 $17.98

WILLIAM WALTON (1902-1983): Christopher Columbus: A Musical Journey (ed. Carl Davis & Patrick Garland), Hamlet and Ophelia (arr. Mathieson). Walton's music for this radio play done by the BBC in 1942 for the 450th anniversary of Columbus' arrival in America has been excerpted once, by Christopher Palmer in 1990 - eleven minutes worth which Chandos recorded in its Walton series. In 2002, for the composer's centenary, this 59 minute cantata was put together which includes all of Walton's music. Amongst the recitation and declamation, there are nuggets of affecting song and orchestral music which, even at Chandos' "stick-'em-up!" SACD price, will be a mandatory acquisiton for Walton collectors. The coupling is Muir Matheson's 1967 "poem for orchestra" - 12 minutes of music arranged from Olivier's 1947 film Hamlet. Texts included. Julian and Jamie Glover (speakers), Caroline Carragher (soprano), Jean Rigby (mezzo), Tom Randle (tenor), Roderick Williams (baritone), BBC National Chorus and Orchestra of Wales; Richard Hickox. Chandos SACD Hybrid CHSA 5034 (England) 04G009 $24.98

ÉMILE JAQUES-DALCROZE (1865-1950): Tableaux Romands, 1914 - Impressions Tragiques for Chorus and Orchestra, Prélude and Danse Villageoise from the Opera Janie. The main piece here is the 49-minute set of Tableaux ("L'Alpe", "Un clocher...au loin", "Travail", "Le Lac" and "Kermesse"), dating from 1903-05 and refashioned from music for a huge celebration of the centennial of a canton's joining the Swiss Confederation. Necessarily, there is much Swiss folk and popular music alluded to in the several movements but they have independent personalities too: Un clocher with its luminous, chamber-like evocation of bells, Travail an almost grim and brutal depiction of weary day-labor and Kermesse a kaleidoscopically colorful recreation of a medieval feast. 1914 is a 17-minute tragic funeral march ending in a sunny hymn to children while the excerpts from the 1894 opera are also full of local, Swiss color. Moscow Capella and Symphony Orchestra; Adriano. Sterling CDS-1065-2 (Sweden) 04G010 $16.98

CAMARGO GUARNIERI (1907-1993): Piano Concertos Nos. 1-3. This is a riot of color, pianistic virtuosity and endless melody. Each concerto is in three movements, with the second possessing beautiful lyrical themes and the finales (in order, an embolada, a frevo and a modinha) based on Brazilian dance genres. The first movements are the most classical in form but, as in the 1931 first concerto with its primitive, rhythmically pounding power, this doesn't mean that they are less fiery while Guarnieri's multi-layered rhythmic textures - a kind of rhythmic polyphony - are his most original contribution to these works (the later two are from 1946 and 1964). Presumably, the other three piano concertos will follow in the near future. Max Barros (piano), Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra; Thomas Conlin. Naxos 8.557666 (New Zealand) 04G011 $6.98

HISATO OHZAWA (1907-1953): Symphony No. 3 "of the Founding of Japan", Piano Concerto No. 3 "Kamikaze". This composer studied in Boston (Converse and Sessions) and Paris (Boulanger) for six years before returning to Japan, so don't expect any "oriental" exoticism. These two works, from 1937-8 are oriented more toward the French school of Roussel and to American jazz (especially the slow, bluesy movement of the concerto) than to anything Japanese; the only Japanese melody occurs in the slow movement of the symphony while Japanese rhythmic patterns are employed in parts of the rest of the symphony. That said, these very approachable pieces should appeal to anyone who collects early 20th century European symphonic music and the dashes of pentatonicism will add a bit of flavor. Ekaterina Saranceva (piano), Russian Philharmonic Orchestra; Dmitry Yablonsky. Naxos Japanese Classics 8.557416 (New Zealand) 04G012 $6.98

WILLIAM GRANT STILL (1891-1952): Africa, In Memoriam, Symphony No. 1 "Afro-American". Two world premiere recordings justify another version of the Afro-American symphony. Dating from the same year as the symphony (1930) Africa is a three-movement tone-poem lasting 28 minutes which depicts the "dark continent" in music of film-score cum Rimsky-Korsakov orchestral richness (the movements are titled "Land of Peace", "..of Romance" and "..of Superstition") while the 1943 In Memoriam's sub-title tells all: "The Colored Soldiers Who Died for Democracy". Fort Smith Symphony; John Jeter. Naxos American Classics 8.559174 (U.S.A.) 04G013 $6.98

WILLIAM GRANT STILL (1891-1952): Highway One, USA. Still wrote eight operas and wanted to be recognized as an opera composer, yet only three were produced during his lifetime. This modest, two-act opera dates from 1963. Set in a gas station on the eponymous road, the characters are a husband and wife, the husband's layabout brother whom they've put through college and an elderly neighbor. A little slice of life, conveyed with music of consistent lyricism with moments of mild dissonance at the peak of the drama, only a hint here and there of African-American popular influence. Libretto included. Louise Toppin (soprano), Robert Honeysucker (baritone), Ray M. Wade, Jr. (tenor), Pamela Dillard (mezzo), Vocal Essence, St. Olaf Orchestra; Philip Brunelle. Visionary Records VIS734 (U.S.A.) 04G014 $16.98

ANTONIO VALENTE (fl.1565-1580): Intavolatura di cimbalo. Very early examples of keyboard music; published in Naples in 1576, Valente's collection contains lively rhythmically pointed dance music and more sober, often contrapuntal Recercatas and Canzone. Francesco Cera (harpsichord, spinet, organ). Tactus TC 532201 (Italy) 04G015 $11.98

ANDREAS RAUCH (1592-1656): Currus Triumphalis Musicus (Festive Cantatas). This set of 13 festive canatas, mostly to psalms of David, was composed in 1648 to celebrate the Peace of Westphalia and employs the Venetian polychoral style to striking effect. Amazing what can be dsicovered in small Hungarian towns like Sopron! Budapest Tomkins Vocal Ensemble, Ars Longa Chamber Ensemble; János Dobra. Hungaroton HCD 32232 (Hungary) 04G016 $17.98

FRANCESCO CAVALLI (1602-1676): Messa concertata, 4 Canzonas, 2 Motets. Probably dating from 1644, the mass is conservative and Monteverdian, with scoring almost identical to the latter's Selva morale of 1641 with Cavalli's personal voice most evident in quiet and reflective moments. Seicento, The Parley of Instruments; Peter Holman. Original 1997 Hyperion release. Helios CDH 55193 (England) 04G017 $10.98

GIACOMO CARISSIMI (1605-1674): Historia di Jephte, Historia di Ionas, Serenade. Great examples, at budget price, of the oratorios of this Roman composer who was the first important composer in the genre. Alternating simple recitative passages with elevated, highly affective moments (like the ending lament in Jephte which Handel later used in Samson), Carissimi produced emotionally involving works intellectually linked to the contemporary art of rhetoric. The Serenade is a secular cantata which uses the recitative-aria form later to transform into the early bel canto style. Latin/Italian-English texts. Consortium Carissimi. Naxos 8.557390 (New Zealand) 04G018 $6.98

LOUIS COUPERIN (1626-1661): Suites pour clavecin in F, D Minor, G & A. A cousin of the most famous Couperin, Louis is the next-best and was the first composer of keyboard pieces to break out of the prevailing polite regularity of form and produce striking and intricate harmonies and rhythms of significant complexity. His preludes and chaconnes/passacailles are particularly arresting and grand. These two discs, arranged from manuscripts which are ordered by type and key, present suites with one prelude and chaconne each, sandwiching various courantes, sarabandes, allemandes and occasional examples of other dance forms. There are 27 pieces on this first volume. Noëlle Spieth (harpsichord). Original 1993 Adès release. Accord 465 936-2 (France) 04G019 $12.98

LOUIS COUPERIN (1626-1661): Suites pour clavecin in C, F, D Minor, G & D. And 33 more here, the second volume providing, at 76 minutes, ten minutes more than the first. Spieth uses three different models of 17th century harpsichords on these releases. Noëlle Spieth (harpsichord). Original 1993 Adès release. Accord 472 235-2 (France) 04G020 $12.98

JEAN-BAPTISTE LULLY (1632-1687): Lully Edition, Vol. 2 - Ballet Royal de Flore. This is one of those rare works which can categorically said to have ended one era and begun another. The last of the traditional ballets de cours, this 1669 piece was the last in which Louis XIV himself danced and it was the point on the balance from which French theatrical music moved from ballet-song to opera. Here trumpets and timpani make their first appearance in an orchestra while the forces involved - 50 dancers, 12 solo singers, chorus, 44 strings, theorbos, harpsichords, recorders, oboes and various percussion instruments - cries out for DVD. Live recording made in the Opéra Royal at Versailles. French texts. Françoise Masset, Julie Hassler, Raphaële Kennedy (sopranos), Emmanuel Bardon (counter tenor), Renaud Tripathi (tenor), Jean-Louis Georgel (baritone), Philippe Roche (bass), La Simphonie du Marais; Hugo Reyne. Accord 461 804-2 (France) 04G021 $17.98

DIETRICH BUXTEHUDE (c.1637-1707): Toccata in G, La Capricciosa, Chorale Partita "Auf meinen leben Gott", Preludes in G and G Minor, Air with 2 Variations in A Minor, Suite in G Minor, Canzonetta in G. Like Bach 70 years later, Buxtehude took the French suites, Italian toccatas and canzonas and Sweelinck variation-techniques and transformed them into a personal keyboard style whose importance for the high German baroque is somewhat obscured by the predominance given to his organ uvre. Glen Wilson (harpsichord). Naxos 8.557413 (New Zealand) 04G022 $6.98

JUAN GARCÍA DE SALAZAR (1639-1710): Vespers of Our Lady. This reconstruction of a contemporary Vespers service adds plainchant, organ verses by de Olagüe and a Batalla by Ximénez to extant liturgical pieces by one of Spain's most important baroque composers. Capilla Peñaflorida, Ministriles de Marsias; Josep Cabré. Naxos 8.555907 (New Zealand) 04G023 $6.98

GIUSEPPE TORELLI (1658-1709): Concerto Estienne Roger, Sonatas, G. 1-7, 11, & 15, Sinfonias G. 8-11, 14, 16, 20-24, Concerto con Trombe, G. 18. All of Torelli's works for concertante trumpet(s) are included in this newly-recorded, budget-priced box: 99 minutes of innovative compositions both with respect to their instrument (although performed here entirely on modern instruments) and to the beginnings of the classical concerto genre. 2 CDs. Thomas Hammes, Peter Leiner (trumpets), European Chamber Soloists; Nicol Matt. Brilliant Classics 92401 (Netherlands) 04G024 $10.98

JOHANN CHRISTOPH PEZ (1664-1716): Ouverture in D, Concerto Sinfonia in A Minor, Concerto Sonata in F, Ouverture in G Minor. Pez, along with Kerll, was one of the first German musicians to bring the Italian concertato style back from his studies in Italy. These works are orchestral in origin, transcribed by the organist on this recording - which is, of course, just what Bach did for several Vivaldi orchestral works... Laura Cerutti (organ of Weissenau Kirche, Ravensburg). Centaur CRC 2700 (U.S.A.) 04G025 $16.98

JEAN-FERRY REBEL (1666-1747): 7 Trio Sonatas. Some collectors will recall a recording from the late 80s of Rebel's famous Les Elemens of 1737 (a representation of Chaos to do Haydn proud); these sonatas date from 1695 and demonstrate that, almost 30 years before François Couperin and his Goûts Réunis, this composer was already mixing French and Italian styles with these works which are based on the sonata da chiesa form but which slip in French dance forms (although the movement headings give only tempi). Ensemble Variations. 1992 release. Accord 465 944-2 (France) 04G026 $12.98

JEAN GILLES (1668-1705): Requiem, Motet "Beatus quem elegisti". This requiem became one of the most popular works in 18th century France, being performed for Rameau's death in 1764 and for Louis XV's ten years later. Making it stand out from other pieces in the genre is Gilles' use of sensibilité to produce orchestral effects which might be called pre-Romantic if they weren't so utterly French Baroque. The motet (1701) is a much more seductively Italian-type work, with plenty of ear-catching devices to help illustrate its psalm text. Véronique Gens (soprano), Jean-Paul Fouchecourt, Hervé Lamy (tenors), Peter Harvey, Jean-Louis Paya (basses), Le Concert Spirituel Chorus and Orchestra; Hervé Niquet. 1989 release. Accord 465 924-2 (France) 04G027 $12.98

TOMMASO ALBINONI (1671-1751): 12 Concerti, Op. 5, 12 Concerti, Op. 7, Concerti, Op. 9, Nos. 1-3 and 5-12. Although these works came out on Chandos on period instruments in 1997-8, this very inexpensive reissue (on modern instruments for those of you who prefer them) is a great bargain, especially as Naxos has covered fewer than half of these attractive concertos. 4 CDs. Budget-price. Lajos Lences, Miklos Bartha (oboes), Budapest Strings; Bela Banfalvi (violin). Capriccio 67126/29 (Germany) 04G028 $31.98

ANTONIO CALDARA (1671-1736): Chiacona, Cantatas: Amante recidivo, Non v'è pena, Vedrò senz' onde il mare, Da tuoi lumi, Sempre mi torna in mente. These are all Arcadian pastoral cantatas, full of unrequited love although the mood is hardly one of unrestrained gloom; chalumeau, flauto dolce, recorder and violin provide attractive extra color for several arias. Italian-English texts. Max Emanuel Cencic (countertenor), Ornamente 99; Karsten Erik Ose. Capriccio 67 124 (Germany) 04G029 $16.98

JOHANN LUDWIG BACH (1677-1731): Missa brevis, Cantatas: Der Herr wird ein Neues im Lande erschaffen, Die Weisheit kömmt nicht in eine boshafte Seele, Ich will meinen Geist in euch geben. After several years, Capriccio continues its service to this neglected member of the Bach family (from a different branch of the line than J.S.) with a mass from 1716 and four cantatas, both with mixtures of conservative and forward-looking characteristics, written for the church year of 1714/15, one of which is striking for its substitution of oboes with a pair of high horns. German-English texts. Maria Zadori (soprano), Susanne Norin (alto), Wilfried Jochens (tenor), Stephan Schreckenberger (bass), Rheinische Kantorei, Das Kleine Konzert; Hermann Max. Capriccio 67 131 (Germany) 04G030 $16.98

GEORG PHILIPP TELEMANN (1681-1767): Complete Trumpet Concertos - 4 Concertos in D, Suite No. 1 in D, Sonata in D, 2 Ouvertures in D, Concerto in E Flat from Tafelmusik III, Tafelmusik in D, Tafelmusik Conclusion, Hamburger Trauermusik, 2 Concertos without key indication. 193 minutes of Telemann for trumpet, including every piece he wrote for single, double or triple trumpets, again (like the Torelli box offered on page 4) on modern instruments, recorded just last year at a ridiculously inexpensive price. 4 CDs. Otto Sauter, Franz Wagnermeyer, Kenji Tamiya (trumpets), Kurpfälzisches Chamber Orchestra Mannheim; Nicol Matt. Brilliant Classics 92402 (Netherlands) 04G031 $21.98

JOHN ERNEST GALLIARD (1687-1749): Pan and Syrinx, HENRY PURCELL (1659-1795): The Masque of Cupid and Bacchus from Timon of Athens, Dido and Aeneas. Galliard was most successful with his pantomimes, a genre not often considered by record companies, but he also wrote a few full-length operas which Handel found attractive and also this masque from 1718 which treats the same theme as Purcell's Dido - love's destructive power - only Pan and Syrinx is a comic treatment with one tragic aria while Purcell's is exactly the opposite. The bargain price of this box makes the acquisition of Galliard's work painless. 2 CDs. Libretti included. Vocal soloists, Musica ad Rhenum; Jed Wentz. Brilliant Classics 92464 (Netherlands) 04G032 $10.98

DOMENICO ZIPOLI (1688--1726): Beatus Vir, In hoc Mundo, ANON. (18th cen.): Sonata Chiquitanas XVIII, Aqui Ta Naqui Iyai, La Folia, Aria "In hac Mensa Novi", Motet "Caima, Iyaî Jesus", Pastoreta Ychepe Flauta, Aria "Ascendit Deus in jubilatione", Exalate Regem Regum. Outside of the two Zipoli pieces, this disc concentrates on material found in two Bolivian archives, both sonatas and vocal pieces, some of which were certainly written by Indians in 18th century Bolivia. Florilegium & Bolivian Vocal Soloists. Including a bonus 45-minute DVD (playable in the U.S.) about the making of this recording. Channel Classics SACD Hybrid CCS SA 22105 (Netherlands) 04G033 $22.98

SEBASTIAN BODINUS (c.1700-1759): Trio Sonata in E Flat, Quartet in D for Violin, 2 Flutes and Continuo, THEODOR SCHWARTZKOPFF (1659-1732): Chaconne in C, Sonata in D Minor for 2 Recorders, SIG. DETRI (18th cen.): Recorder Sonata in C Minor, ANON. (18th cen.): 8 Contredanses parisiennes, 8 Balleti di Venezia. Anonymous popular music and works from composers at the Stuttgart court in the first quarter of the 18th century. Ensemble Caprice; Matthias Maute. Atma ACD2 2344 (Canada) 04G034 $16.98

CHRISTOPH WILLIBALD GLUCK (1714-1787): Orphée et Euridice (1774 Paris version). The most neglected (and most popular until Berlioz' 1859 revision) of the three versions of this masterpiece has a high tenor singing Orpheus while Gluck added quite a bit of ballet music (the famous "Dance of the Blessed Spirits" among it). 2 CDs. French-English libretto. Jean-Paul Fouchécourt (haut-contre), Catherine Dubosc, Suzie Le Blanc (sopranos), Opera Lafayette Orchestra and Chorus, Ryan Brown. Naxos 8.660185-86 (New Zealand) 04G035 $15.98

CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH (1714-1788): St. Matthew Passion. Another exhumation from the archives of the recently recovered Berlin Singakademie, this last of many St. Matthew Passions by Emanuel Bach dates from 1785. Performed during Sunday services, the length was necessarily kept around an hour. Bach used a few melodies from his father's great Passion and kept the structure while adding a fair share of his own innovations, well discussed in the ample and useful notes. German-English texts. Thomas Dewald (tenor), Daniel Jordan, Jochen Kupfer (baritones), Zelter Ensemble of the Berlin Sing-Adademie; Joshard Daus. Capriccio 60 113 (Germany) 04G036 $16.98

CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH (1714-1788): Solo Keyboard Music, Vol. 13 - Sinfonias in G, W.122/1 & in F, W.122/2, Sonatas in D, W.65/24 & in E, E.65/29, Fantasia and Fugue in C Minor, W. 119/7, Allegretto con variazioni, W. 118/5. A grab-bag of forms in this collection of pieces dating from 1741-55, including two of the eight orchestral sinfonias which Bach, always looking to keep the keyboard-playing consumer well-stocked, transcribed himself at later dates. Miklós Spányi (fortepiano). BIS CD-1328 (Sweden) 04G037 $17.98

MICHAEL HAYDN (1737-1806): Requiem pro defuncto archiepiscopo Sigismundo, Missa in honorem Sanctae Ursulae. The 1771 requiem is a dark, grief-stricken work written for the death of the composer's patron but also for the death of his barely year-old daughter. It appears to have had a significant influence on Mozart when the latter wrote his Requiem, well documented in the notes. The companion piece, from 1793, is another splendid piece with a much more uplifting and, finally, jubilant effect. 2 CDs for the price of 1. Carolyn Sampson (soprano), Hilary Summers (alto), James Gilchrist (tenor), Peter Harvey (bass), Choir of the King's Consort, The King's Consort; Robert King. Hyperion CDA 67510 (England) 04G038 $18.98

JOSEF MYSLIVECEK (1737-1781): La Passione de nostro Signore Gesu Cristo. These forces offer their second setting of this Metastasio text (Salieri's appeared in our July 2004 catalogue). Less overtly dramatic and operatic, there are still strikingly beautiful arias and the few choruses have a Baroque weight to them. This was one of the most popular works of its kind in the last decades of the 18th century. 2 CDs. Italian-English texts. Sophie Kartäuser, Jörg Waschinski (sopranos), Yvonne Berg (contralto), Andreas Karasiak (tenor), Chorus Musicus Köln, Das Neue Orchester; Christoph Spering. SACD hybrid discs. Capriccio 71 025/26 (Germany) 04G039 $33.98

JOHANN BAPTIST VANHAL (1739-1813): Symphonies, Vol. 3 - in D, C Minor, A Flat & G. More bold and powerful symphonies from the mid 1760s to the early 1770s, one of which (the C Minor) was misattributed to Haydn in one source. One can see why as Haydn admired Vanhal and performed some of these works in Esterhazy. Toronto Camerata; Kevin Mallon. Naxos 8.557483 (New Zealand) 04G040 $6.98

GEORG DRUSCHETZKY (1745-1819): Concerto for 6 Timpani and Orchestra, Concerto for Oboe, 8 Timpani and Orchestra, Partita for 6 Timpani and Orchestra, Gran Sinfonia, Ungaria. A great party disc: timpani as a melody instrument? That's why there are 6-8 of them - each with a different tuning so that they can function as such. Even the Gran Sinfonia has half a dozen timpani in it but will still be of interest to historians of the symphonic genre while Ungaria, with its "gypsy" solo violinist, is a slice of "local color" which adds to the curiosity value of this fascinating disc. Zoltán Rácz (timpani), Lajos Lencsés (oboe), Erdödy Chamber Orchestra; György Vashegyi. Hungaroton HCD 32236 (Hungary) 04G041 $17.98

GIOVANNI BATTISTA VIOTTI (1755-1824): Complete Violin Concertos, Vol. 10 - No. 21 in E, No. 29 in E Minor. Containing echoes of but generally eschewing the brilliant virtuosity of his earlier concertos, Viotti's No. 29, written around 1801, is a beautifully lyrical work, full of pre-Romantic traits while No. 21, published the same year but obviously composed somewhere during the previous decade, is a similarly melodically-based and song-like work. Orchestra da Camera Milano Classica; Franco Mezzena (violin). Dynamic CDS 479 (Italy) 04G042 $17.98

JAN LADISLAV DUSSEK (1760-1812): Piano Sonatas No. 19, Op. 45/1 and No. 22, Op. 47/1, Fantaisie, Op. 76. Collectors will not need to be instructed about the large Bohemian's importance to the history of the piano sonata and concerto. The Fantaisie is a half-hour long work of somber solemnity and deserves to be better-known while the two sonatas sit on the balance between Mozartian Classicism and the Romanticism of Chopin. Accord will delete this disc at the end of this year (see the Woelfl disc just below for details). Mid-price. Laure Colladant (fortepiano). Accord 461 647-2 (France) 04G043 $12.98

JOÃO DOMINGOS BOMTEMPO (1771-1842): Symphony No. 1, Op. 11, Symphony No. 2. Previously only available on the Portuguese labels Portugalsom and Movieplay (go figure), this Naxos release marks the first ready availability of this staggeringly gifted composer whose symphonies sound as much like Mozart as Ferdinand Ries' do like Beethoven. If you've never heard Bomtempo's symphonies or piano concertos, there is no excuse now that you can have them at budget-price! Algarve Orchestra; Álvaro Cassuto. Naxos 8.557163 (New Zealand) 04G044 $6.98

JOSEPH WOELFL (1773-1812): Piano Sonatas, Op. 15, Nos. 1 in E Flat, 2 in B Flat & 3 in E, Grande Sonate in C Minor. This pianist has recorded chamber music by Woelfl on the Mandala label (no longer available); these op. 15 sonatas, from 1798, are from the composer's period when he and Beethoven were the pianists to hear in Vienna. Clementi is also a comparandum. There is no date given for the equally large-scale and equally impressive C Minor piece. Accord deletes discs on a five-year cycle; Collandant has already had two more Woelfl CDs, a Boëly and a Benda disc deleted. Don't wait too long on this one! Mid-price. Laure Colladant (fortepiano). Accord 472 727-2 (France) 04G045 $12.98

FERDINAND RIES (1784-1838): Piano Trios in E Flat, Op. 2 and in C Minor, Op. 143. Yet more from cpo who continue to do justice to this friend of Beethoven and impressive late Classical/early Romantic composer in his own right. The early trio opens with a slow introduction, something Haydn never did in his trios but continues in high Classical fashion while the later one, from the early 1820s, is more reminiscent of Beethoven with its harmonic novelty, unexpected turns of phrase and other compositional felicities. Mendelssohn Trio Berlin. CPO 777 053 (Germany) 04G046 $15.98

FRANZ SCHUBERT (1797-1828): Complete Dances for Piano - German Dances D. 128, 139, 365, 366, 420, 643, 722, 769, 783, 790, 820, 841, 971-75, Ecossaises D. 145, 158, 299, 421, 511, 529, 643, 697, 734, 735, 781-83, 816, 977, Waltzes, D. 145, 146, 718, 779, 924, 969, 978-80, Ländler, D. 145, 354, 378, 681, 734, 970, 980B, 980C, Minuets, D. 2, 41, 91, 335, 380, 600, Galops, D. 735, 925, Cotillon, D. 976, Trio, D. 610. That's a lotta dances and we wouldn't recommend listening to all of them consecutively but this inexpensive collection will appeal to both piano collectors and to explorers of Schubert's minutiae. 5 CDs. Mid-price. Michael Endres (piano). Capriccio 49 242 (Germany) 04G047 $37.98

GAETANO DONIZETTI (1797-1848): Concertinos in C Minor for Flute, in F for Oboe, in D Minor for Violin and Cello, in G for cor anglais and in B Flat for Clarinet, Sinfonia for Solo Wind Instruments in G, Sinfonia in D per la Morte de Capuzzi. These early, short concertante works and single-movement "symphonies" demonstrate a carefree, infectiously Rossinian style which was, of course, to flower in a greater way on the stage. Soloists, Camerata Budapest; László Kovács. Original 1994 Marco Polo release. Naxos 8.557492 (New Zealand) 04G048 $6.98

GOETHE Lieder - Settings of Erlkönig by Gottlob Bachmann (1763-1840), Carl Friedrich Zelter (1758-1832), Carl Loewe (1796-1869), Vaclav Jan Tomasek (1774-1850), Ann Sheppard Mounsey (1811-1891), Julius Schneider (1905-1885), Louis Spohr (1784-1859), Émile Mathieu (1844-1932), Louis Schlottmann (1826-1905), Cornelia Schröter (18th cen.?), Settings of Gretchen am Spinnrade and Gretchens Bitte by Loewe, Richard Wagner (1813-1882), Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901). A fascinating look at several generations of Romantic European composers' settings of Goethe lieder made famous by Schubert (whose versions are also included), including one by an actress, Schröter, whose dates are entirely unknown, but who appeared in the play Die Fischerin, from which the poem derives. German/Italian-English texts. Andrea Meláth (mezzo), Anatoly Fokanov (baritone), Emese Virág (piano). Hungaroton HCD 32323 (Hungary) 04G049 $17.98

FELIX MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847): Symphony No. 3 in A Minor "Scottish", Op. 56, ANTONÍN DVORÁK (1841-1904): Symphony No. 9 in E Minor "From the New World", Op. 95. For you many collectors of piano transcriptions; both are by the composers themselves. Goldstone & Clemmow (piano duo). The Divine Art 25028 (England) 04G050 $16.98

The Romantic Piano Concerto - 36

IGNAZ MOSCHELES (1794-1870): Piano Concertos No. 4 in E, Op. 64 and No. 5 in C, Op. 87, Recollections of Ireland, Op. 69. A powerful and expansive first movement, dispensing with empty glitter, introduces the 1823 Fourth, followed by an increasingly elaborate slow, variation movement and a jaunty finale based on a British marching tune. The Fifth, begun in 1826 but completed only five years later, is more thoughtful and exploratory than its predecessors, seeming, especially in its Adagio, to link the worlds of Beethoven's Seventh with Mendelssohn's Italian. Recollections (1826) is a 15-minute fantasia on the Irish tunes "The Last Rose of Summer", "Garry Owen" and "St. Patrick's Day" and, here, showmanship and virtuosity are the order of the day. Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra; Howard Shelley (piano). Hyperion CDA 67430 (England) 04G051 $18.98

CHARLES GOUNOD (1818-1893): Mireille. Premiered in 1864, this opera, based on a Provençal epic poem of love set among class differences in a rural, agrarian society, didn't take hold in the reperoire until an 1889 revision. The version recorded here, now to be considered "historical", is based on a further edition from 1939 by the composer Henri Busser. 2 CDs. French-English libretto. Renée Doria (soprano), Michel Sénéchal (tenor), Paris Symphony Orchestra and Choir; Jésus Etcheverry. Original 1962 Vega (stereo) release. Accord 472 145-2 (France) 04G052 $28.98

CHARLES GOUNOD (1818-1893): Polyeucte. Treating the same subject as Donizetti's Poliuto, this 1878 work is almost more oratorio than opera, a quasi-sacred piece in the grand style of Meyerbeer while still containing acknowledgements of the opéra-comique style so dear to the French public of the time; this will appeal not only to collectors of French opera but also to lovers of Gounod's late-period oratorios. 2 CDs. French-English libretto. Giorgio Casciarri (tenor), Luca Grassi (baritone), Nadia Vezzù (soprano), Bratislava Chamber Chorus, Orchestra Internationale d'Italia; Manlio Benzi. Dynamic CDS 474/1-2 (Italy) 04G053 $35.98

JACQUES OFFENBACH (1819-1880): Piano Works, Vol. 1 - Décaméron dramatique, Les Roses du Bengale, Dernier Souvenir, Bella Notte. The Décaméron (1854) is a 43-minute sequence of ten waltzes, polkas and other dances dedicated to important women of musical Paris (with original poems by famous poets appended to the score) and is a good example of Offenbach's piano music - arrangements of existing compositions, sometimes pieces he was to use later in his stage music, composed to flatter, to pass the time, mostly between 1836-55. Marco Sollini (piano). CPO 777 079 (Germany) 04G054 $15.98

JOSEPH RHEINBERGER (1839-1901): 6 Pieces for Violin and Organ, Op.150, Suite for Violin and Organ, Op. 166. This unusual combination of instruments will appeal to collectors of late Romantic organ or chamber music as there are opportunities for display on the part of both players. Line Most (violin), Marie Ziener (organ of David's Church, Copenhagen). Naxos 8.557383 (New Zealand) 04G055 $6.98

ANTON BRUCKNER (1824-1896): String Quartet in C Minor, String Quintet in F. The 1879 quintet is mature Bruckner and has received several recordings which set out its problematic qualities - a lack of thematic development which is always less of a problem in a symphony with huge orchestral forces but which sounds rather different with only four voices. The quartet is much less recorded. Dating from 1862, it comes from the same study book as the so-called Symphonies Nos. "0' and "00", produced while Bruckner was studying under a cellist and conductor ten years his junior. A solid piece of craftsmanship, it follows carefully all of the procedures taught to composers at the time (follow Schubert, Beethoven and Mozart!) with very little of the mature Bruckner adumbrated in it. Leipzig String Quartet, Hartmut Rohde (viola). MD&G 307 1297-2 (Germany) 04G056 $17.98

FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN (1810-1849): Nocturnes, Op. 9/2 & Op. 27/2, Waltzes, Op. 34/2, 34/3 & 64/3 (arr. Sarasate), Waltzes, Op. 64/2 and Op. 70/1, Nocturne, Op. 37/2, Mazurka, Op. 7/3 (arr. Bronislaw Hubermann [1882-1947]), Mazurka, Op. 68/4 (arr. Zino Francescatti [1902-1991]), Lithuanian Song, Op. 74/16 (arr. Leopold Auer [1945-1930]), Nocturne, Op. 55/2 (arr. Joan Manén [1893-1971]), Nocturne, O. op. (arr. Nathan Milstein [1903-1992]), Mazurka, Op. 33/2 (arr. Kreisler), Berceuse, Op. 57 (arr. Charles Cerné [1897-1943]). Since piano virtuosi were all the rage during most of the 19th century, violinists had to either compose their own showpieces or arrange other composers' music. Here is a full hour of Chopin transcriptions which kaleidoscopically reflect the personal tastes, technical strengths, education and national origins of their composers. Joanna Madroszkiewicz (violin), Paul Gulda (piano). MD&G 603 1296-2 (Germany) 04G057 $17.98

JULES MASSENET (1842-1912): Quelques chansons mauves, Dans le sentier, parmi les roses, Tu l'as bien dit, Roses d'octobre, À Colombine, Sérénade de Molière, Marquise!, Les Alcyons, Voici que les grands lys, Poème d'amour, L'improvisateur, Nuit d'Espagne, Élégie, Déclaration, À mignonne, Souhait, Un Adieu, Sérénade d'Automne, Sonnet, Si tu veux, mignonne, Pensée d'Automne, Soir de rêve, on dit, Souvenez-vous, Vierge Marie!. A French author, in his book on the French mélodie, characterizes Massenet's contributions to the genre as containing "... the expression of a delicate sentimentality realised with extreme refinement.". The 31 titles here, many of which received their first recordings at the time, represent less than 10% of the composer's song uvre but we assume they were selected to be representative and, while there are no texts, each song is discussed separately in the surprisingly good notes. No texts. Mid-price. Francis Dudziak (baritone), Catherine Dubosc (soprano), Jean-Bernard Dartigolles (piano). Original 1993 release. Accord 465 808-2 (France) 04G058 $12.98

GEORGE WHITEFIELD CHADWICK (1854-1931): 5 Pieces, 3 Waltzes, 6 Charcteristic Pieces, Op. 7, 2 Caprices, 3 Pieces for Children, Chanson Orientale, Nocturne in D Flat, The Aspen. Ranging across his entire career, from the early Characteristic Pieces of 1882 to the late The Aspen of 1925 (with harmonies suggestive of Rachmaninov or Scriabin), these are all "character pieces" of the type whose origin is traced to Schumann. Outside of a hint of Impressionism, Le Ruisseau from the 5 Pieces (1905), this is solidly constructed north European Romanticism, with a trio of Golden Age salon waltzes thrown in as well, by an American composer whose chamber and solo music has been long neglected. Peter Kairoff (piano). Albany TROY 745 (U.S.A.) 04G059 $16.98

GEORGY L'VOVICH CATOIRE (1861-1926): Piano Trio in F Minor Op. 14,, Piano Quartet in A Minor, Op. 31, Elegy in D Minor for Violin and Piano, Op. 26. After Marc-André Hamelin's Hyperion disc of piano music, we now get more wonderful, moody and melancholy Romantic music from this most neglected of Russian composers. The trio (1900) opens with a melody which will have you ready to open your veins, a melody Rachmaninov or Medtner could have written (but didn't!) and contains piano writing of a character normally associated with a concerto. The later quartet (1916) exhibits its virtuosity in its remarkable harmonic shifts and rhythmic subtlety while evoking the dream-like languor of mature Scriabin. Room-Music. Hyperion CDA 67512 (England) 04G060 $18.98

JOSEPH-GUY ROPARTZ (1864-1955): Requiem for Chorus and Orchestra, Psaume 129 "De Profundis" for Chorus and Orchestra, Messe Breve "en l'honneur de Sainte Anne" for Chorus and Organ. Anyone fond of Fauré's ultra-popular Requiem will finally have something else to love - Ropartz' work dates from 1936 and has the same sort of quiet, austere dignity cloaking a deeper, heart-felt emotion although we don't know what that might have been in the older composer's case since, as the booklet notes here point out, he was an atheist while the intensity of religious feeling palpable in Ropartz' work is that of a true believer. Both of the shorter works accompanying it have a similar personality, even 1941's De profundis setting not using the text or current events to justify any raw emotional outbursts. No texts. Mid-price. Catherine Dubosc (soprano), Jacqueline Mayeur (mezzo), Vincent Le Texier (baritone), François-Henri Houbart (organ), Chur Regional Vittoria d'Ile de France, Ensemble Instrumental Jean-Walter Audoli; Michel Piquemal. Original 1991 release. Accord 472 345-2 (France) 04G061 $12.98

ALEXANDER GLAZUNOV (1865-1936): Complete String Quartets, Vol. 2 - No. 2 in F, Op. 10, No. 4 in A Minor, Op. 64, Elegy, Op. 105. Like his first quartet, the second is a work of Glazunov's teen-age years (1883-4) and partakes of symphonic thinking (one can almost hear how it would sound with winds and brass adding color) and, thus, wonderfully sung Russian-tinged melodies with a memorable scherzo and a beautifully lyrical adagio while the finale prefigues his symphonic "festival"-type final movements. The fourth quartet, from 1895, is more dramatic than epic in nature and the movements are all connected motivically, abandoning the suite-like construction of the first two quartets. The Elegy (1928), written for the 25th anniversary of Glazunov's patron Belyayev's death in 1903, ends in a funeral march. Utrecht String Quartet. MD&G 603 1237-2 (Germany) 04G062 $17.98

FRANCESCO CILEA (1866-1950): Gloria (Margherita Roberti [soprano], Flaviano Labò [tenor], Lorenzo Testi [baritone], RAI Turin Chorus and Orchestra; Fernando Previtali (rec. 1969), Songs: Il mio canto, Alba novella, Nel ridestarmi, Vita breve, Dolce amor di povertade (Anastasia Tomaszewska Schepis [soprano], Leonardo De Lisi [tenor], Fausta Cianti [piano]), Cello Sonata in D (Francesco Pepicelli [cello], Angelo Pepicelli [piano]). Dating from 1907, this ambitious opera was Cilea's next after Adriana Lecouvreur. Some of its leisurely pace and medieval pagentry were cut in a 1932 revision, leaving a tighter structure lasting a bit less than 80 minutes. The story is another variation of the Montague-Capulet theme but there is a Wagnerian use of leitmotifs and the harmony can be rather more chromatic than one might expect from a verismist. Also of interest is the coupling of five songs in the Tosti tradition (from as early as 1886 and as late as 1943) and the 1888 cello sonata, influenced, through his teacher, Martucci, by the French school of Gounod, Saint-Saens and Massenet. 2 CDs. Italian-English libretto and texts. Bongiovanni GB 2375-76 (Italy) 04G063 $33.98

ENRIQUE GRANADOS (1867-1916): Piano Music, Vol. 8 - Carezza-Vals, Dolora, Clotilde, La sirena, Dans le bois, Marcha Real, Soldados de cartón, Elvira, Álbum de melodías, París, 1888. These are all works of the composer's youth, five are first recordings, and the major set is the 43-minute Álbum - a 21-piece series of sketches and short pieces showing the 21-year-old Granados reacting to the huge number of musical influences available to him in Paris at that time. Douglas Riva (piano). Naxos 8.557142 (New Zealand) 04G064 $6.98

CHARLES TOURNEMIRE (1870-1939): 12 Études-Poèmes, Op. 58. Recorded in 1989 but not issued until six years later, this was the first recording of this 1932 cycle of pieces which trace the ascension of Man from his birth towards his Creator. Such individual titles as "Birth of Man", "Human Passions" and "Preparing for Death" mark out the first eight preludes while the final four ("Meditations" on "God the Father", "the Son", "the Holy Ghost" and "Glorification of the Trinity") go further into Catholic mysticism. In fact, this cycle can easily be seen to prefigure the work of Messiaen and Tournemire's use of Hindu modes and concern with piano resonance as part of the music were at the cutting edge along with such other French composers as Maurice Emmanuel (whose Sonatines were offered in last month's catalogue), Koechlin (Les Heures Persanes), Schmitt (Mirages) and, unrecorded still, Migot (Zodiaque). Mid-price. Georges Delvallée (piano). Original 1995 release. Accord 465 805-2 (France) 04G065 $12.98

CHARLES TOURNEMIRE (1870-1939): Rhapsodie, Op. 39, Poème mystique, Op. 33, Cloches de Châteauneuf-du-Faou, Op. 62, Études de chaque jour, Op. 70. And further excursions into realms of experimental piano sonority with the 1933 Cloches, a bell-piece which also anticipates sound techniques soon to be associated with Messiaen and with the Études (1936, but not published until the year this recording was made - 1989) with their Hindu modes and other pianistic exoticisms. The Poème, on the other hand, is a very Franckian piece from 1908 in its cyclic form and use of the chorale (it was the last piano piece Tournemire wrote before the above Études-Poèmes) while the Rhapsodie, with its Normandy folk tune (1904), is often somewhat reminiscent of Chabrier. Mid-price. Georges Delvallée (piano). Original 1995 release. Accord 465 806-2 (France) 04G066 $12.98

HAKON BØRRESEN (1876-1954): The Royal Guest. This chamber opera from 1919 was probably the most popular stage work in Denmark during the 20th century (in fact, the tenor who sang the premiere, performed the role for 45 years [!], the piece falling back into oblivion only after his death in 1964). Based on a short story by a Danish Nobel laureate, the action is set in a country house at Shrovetide with a mysterious visitor who reawakens a sense of joy and magic in their boring lives. The singing is parlando with some excursions into arioso when the occasion demands, but with no arias or recitative. The music recalls Richard Strauss more than anyone else and the sense of fantasy and possibility is carried by Børrensen's zestful and witty orchestration rather more than by the voices. Danish-English libretto. Tina Kiberg (soprano), Stig Fogh Andersen (tenor), Guido Paevatalu (baritone), Odense Symphony Orchestra; Tamás Vetö. Dacapo 8.226020 (Denmark) 04G067 $15.98

ANDRÉ CAPLET (1878-1925): Panis Angelicus for Mezzo-Soprano, Cello, Harp, Organ and Women's Choir, 14 Mélodies, Les Prières for Mezzo-Soprano, Harp and String Quartet, Pie Jesu for Mezzo-Soprano and Organ, Messe à 3 voix "des Petits-de-St.Eustache-La-Forêt" for Women's Choir. Debussy's only genuine disciple, Caplet wrote the majority of his works in the short space left to him after his master's death (and service in World War I) in 1918 and his early death from which everything on this (except for a couple of mélodies from the war years) comes. The main work is the 17-minute mass which is a personal adaptation of Gregorian and other medieval devices. No texts. Mid-price. Hanna Schaer (mezzo), Noël Lee (piano), Ravel Quartet, Soloists of Les Churs de Lyon; Bernard Tétu. Original 1994 release. Accord 465 813-2 (France) 04G068 $12.98

JEAN CRAS (1879-1932): Cinq Robaiyat, La Flûte de Pan (w/Pan Flute and String Trio), Fontaines, L'Offrande lyrique, Douceur du soir, Soir sur la mer, Image, 2 Chansons. All but two of these mélodies date from between 1924 and 1932. Delighting in the vogue of nostalgia for pagan antiquity, the five Rubiyat settings, La Flûte de Pan and Fontaines breathe a rarefied atmosphere of exalted pantheism and sensuality which is impossible to resist. Equally sensual, through its pentatonicism and general Impressionistic traits is L'Offrande, a setting of Gitanjali, which celebrates earthly love. Among the remaining five songs, the two Chansons most closely reflect another aspect of Cras: his love for the folklore of his native Brittany. French-English texts. Catherine Estourelle (soprano), Lionel Peintre (baritone), Alain Jacquon (piano), Simon Stanciu (pan flute), Jean-Marc Phillips (violin), Pierre Lenert (viola), Henri Demarquette (cello). Timpani 1C1085 (France) 04G069 $18.98

FRANK BRIDGE (1879-1941): String Quartet in B Flat, String Quintet in E Minor. Student Bridge from 1900 and 1901 - full of youthful vigor and exuberance and, as might be expected, influences ranging from Dvorak and Richard Strauss to Mendelssohn (the quicksilver scherzo of the quartet especially but also its vernally fresh opening movement) and German Romantics. There's no question that there's no real sense of the mature composer here, but these pieces will, nonetheless, bring delight to chamber music collectors. Bridge String Quartet, Ivo-Jan Van der Werff (viola). Meridian CDE 84525 (England) 04G070 $17.98

FRANK BRIDGE (1879-1941): String Quartet No. 2 in G Minor, String Quartet No. 4, Phantasy for Piano Quartet in F Sharp Minor. Bridge's first mature piece, the second quartet (1915) mixes the unclouded diatonicism of his early style with chromaticism and more complex writing. The fourth quartet (1937) is the most radical of Bridge's quartets harmonically but has a flow of lyrical energy and an optimism which were lacking in the more clouded third quartet. As a bonus the fairly early (1910) Phantasy piano quartet shows the composer still embracing the late 19th century language of the two earlier works listed in the entry above. Maggini Quartet, Martin Roscoe (piano). Naxos 8.557283 (New Zealand) 04G071 $6.98

DOMENICO ALALEONA (1881-1928): Mirra. Composed between 1908-12, this setting of a tale from Ovid about the title character's incestuous passion for her father fits chronologically right in with such other "shocking" contemporary works as Strauss' Salome and Elektra, Schreker's Der ferne Klang and Schoenberg's Erwartung. There are some traces of expressionism in the music which, however, is much too eclectic to be easily described. Mirra's uncontrollable passion comes out in broken utterances, her music discordant, rhythmically syncopated, compared with, say, that of her husband-to-be's almost effusive lyricism and the quasi-archaic diatonicism of the choruses celebrating the marriage but as events move to their horrifying ending, abundant chromaticism, painful appogiaturas, diminished chords and many other subtle elements musically accentuate the looming denouement. 2 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Denia Mazzola-Gavazzeni (soprano), Julia Gertseva, Hanna Schaer (mezzos), Mario Malagnini (tenor), Franck Ferrari (baritone), Chur and Maîtrise de Radio France, French National Orchestra; Juraj Valcuha. Naïve V 5001 (France) 04G072 $33.98

ADOLF BUSCH (1891-1952): String Sextet in G, Op. 40, JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833-1897): String Sextet No. 1 in B, Op. 18. Dating from 1928 but substantially revised in 1933, Busch's sextet is patently in the tradition of the Brahms although its harmonies are more advanced and its mood a little more brittle, uneasy and crepuscular but, then, the world of the 1920s was not as warm and comfortable a place as it was for Brahms in 1860. Cologne String Sextet. SACD Hybrid disc. Raum Klang CMN 006 (Germany) 04G073 $18.98

CHARLES IVES (1874-1954): 3 Quarter-Tone Pieces for 2 Pianos, 5 Take-offs for Piano, For Soprano, 2 Pianos and Ensemble: TheHousatonic at Stockbridge, Soliloquy, or a Study in 7ths and Other Things, On the Antipodes, For Piano Quintet: The Gong on the Hook and Ladder, In Re Con Moto et al, Hallowe'en for Piano Quintet and Bass Drum, For Soprano, Violin and Piano: Sunrise, Remembrance, Aeschylus and Sophocles for 2 Sopranos and Piano Quintet. Some of the more wild, atonal (or microtonal) and ferociously complex pieces Ives ever wrote (which are not often recorded for obvious reasons) are included in this very welcome reissue. Texts included. Continuum. Original 1986-7 MHS releases. Naxos American Classics 8.559194 (U.S.A.) 04G074 $6.98

MAURICE RAVEL (1875-1937): Le tombeau de Couperin, Menuet antique, Pavane pour une infante defunte, Alborada del gracioso, RAVEL/MARIUS CONSTANT (1925-2004): Gaspard de la nuit. Collectors of orchestral transcriptions (very rare as the transcription process usually goes the other way!) will be delighted by Marius Constant's 1990 orchestration of what might be considered the most pianistic of Ravel's works. The prose poems of Aloysius Bernard are read before each segment by actress Carole Bouquet (and a recording by Tzimon Barto of Ondine in its original version is included - this due to the name of the label which is celebrating its 20th anniversary and was originally named by its founder after Ravel's piano piece). Using the exact orchestral forces of La Valse, Constant has succeeded beyond expectation in creating the kind of exquisite orchestral sonority which Ravel himself provided both in transcribing his own piano works those of Debussy, Satie, etc. An aural delight! Carole Bouquet (speaker), Orchestre de Paris; Christoph Eschenbach. Ondine ODE 1051-2 (Finland) 04G075 $17.98

MARCEL DUPRÉ (1886-1971): Le Chemin de la Croix, Op. 29 for Organ, Gregorian Chants for Passiontide. Originally a series of improvisations performed in concert in 1931 after readings of Paul Claudel's Chemin de la Croix poems, Dupré wrote them down the following year for publication. Here, they are interspersed with the corresponding Gregorian chant which recreates the experience of contemplation originally intended. Latin-English texts. Friedhelm Flamme (Mühleisen organ of Stiftskirche, Bad Gandersheim), Gregorian Schola of Marienmünster; Hans Hermann Jansen. SACD Hybrid disc. CPO 777 128 (Germany) 04G076 $15.98

DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975): Symphony No. 4, Op. 43. There is more than the usual specialist collector's interest in this transcription since, not only is it by Shostakovich himself, but it is also the only version of the symphony which was available at all from the time it was withdrawn during rehearsals in 1936 (Moisei Vainberg and the composer performed it in 1945) and its premiere in 1961. A small number of copies of this version was published and composers such as Boris Tishchenko were able to make its acquaintance. Rustem Hayroudinoff, Colin Stone (pianos). Chandos 10296 (England) 04G077 $17.98

HERBERT HOWELLS (1892-1983): The B's, Op. 13, In Green Ways for Soprano and Orchestra, Op. 43, 3 Dances for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 7, Pastoral Rhapsody, Fantasia for Cello and Orchestra, Paradise Rondel, Op. 40, Threnody for Cello and Orchestra, Procession, Op. 36, King's Herald for Organ and Orchestra. All of these are early works but the pieces on the second disc, written in 1914-15, are the astonishingly fresh and vibrant creations of a composer yet to lose close friends in the war and, much later, his son to polio. While there is never any doubt that they are by an English composer, it is the first disc, of works from the 20s and 30s, which has two heartfelt laments as well as two other pieces (Paradise Rondel and Pastoral Rhapsody) which are two particularly gorgeous cows looking over two sets of picturesque fencing at stunning scenery. 2 CDs for the price of 1. Yvonne Kenny (soprano), Lydia Mordkovitch (violin), Moray Welsh (cello), London Symphony Orchestra; Richard Hickox. Original 1995 and 1997 releases. Chandos 241-20 (England) 04G078 $17.98

WOJCIECH KILAR (b.1932): Triptych. Consisting of the pieces Bogurodzica (1975), Angelus (1981) and Exodus (1984), this triptych was put together by the composer for the 1997 Wratislavia Cantans festival at which this live recording was made. The final two works were also recorded by these forces (with different soprano) by Naxos several years ago. Both religious and patriotic feelings were distilled into these pieces (Exodus having been written expressly for the Solidarity movement) which use a wide dynamic range in both chorus and orchestra to create sound effects of striking character, from whispering to truly frightening intensity. Even those who own the Naxos recording might want to hear this live recording made in a spacious cathedral and, of course, get the earliest piece here, the 12-minute Bogurodzica. Polish-English texts. Izabela Klosinska (soprano), Warsaw Philharmonic Choir, National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra Katowice; Antoni Wit. Dux 0484 (Poland) 04G079 $16.98

DARIUS MILHAUD (1892-1974): Les malheurs d'Orphée, Op. 85, Le pauvre matelot, Op. 92. These two little operas (the second is formally called "Complainte"), both in three even smaller acts, date from 1926 and 1927 and are scored for 13 instruments. The former has Orpheus as a peasant in the Camargue whose Euridice is a recently arrived gypsy; the latter (libretto by Cocteau) a long-missing sailor who arrives home but, Odysseus-like, decides to test his faithful wife's loyalty (to shocking and unexpected effect). The music is, as expected, in Milhaud's characteristic eclectic style with much popular music employed, often with great lyrical effect - it's amazing what depth of feeling the composer can pack into a two-and-a-half minute chorus or a 90-second aria. No texts. Mid-price. Vocal soloists and members of l'Orchestre du Théâtre National de l'Opéra de Paris; Darius Milhaud. Mono. Original 1956 Vega releases. Accord 476 159-1 (France) 04G080 $12.98

DARIUS MILHAUD (1892-1974): Service sacré pour le samedi matin, Op. 269. Although we offered the Naxos Milken Series recording of this work recently, we thought that the historical value of this early stereo recording with the composer conducting, justified making it available to collectors as well. No texts. Mid-price. Heinz Rehfuss (baritone), RTF Chorus, Orchestre du Théâtre National de l'Opéra de Paris; Darius Milhaud. Original 1958 Vega release. Accord 476 159-0 (France) 04G081 $12.98

GORDON JACOB (1895-1984): Oboe Quartet, 6 Shakespearian Sketches for String Trio, 7 Bagatelles for Solo Oboe. The oboe is the pastoral instrument par excellence and the English probably love it more than any other nationality except, perhaps, the French. Jacob wrote his Arcadian quartet in 1938 for Leon Goossens and his Bagatelles in 1969 for Sarah Francis, the latter being a suite of brief dance movements (with a "Limerick" stuck in the middle) while the Sketches (1946) have a Shakespeare quote appended to each which the music illustrates. We offer this for Jacob collectors and Anglophiles but note that the playing time is only 42:29. Ensemble Più. Audite 97.517 (Germany) 04G082 $16.98

ANDRÉ MATHIEU (1929-1968): Concerto de Quebec (arr. Lefèvre), Printemps canadien, Été canadien, Prélude No. 5 (Prélude romantique), Berceuse, Bagatelles Nos. 1 & 4, Les Mouettes, Tristesse, Dans la nuit, Abeilles piquantes, BORIS PETROWSKI (b.1963): Fantasy "Hommage à Mathieu" in G Minor, WALTER BOUDREAU (b.1947): Valse de l'Asile. Last year, we offered the Concerto de Quebec by this mysterious Canadian prodigy-composer (the piece of that title here appears to have been a single-movement, solo piano sketch for the larger-scale work) who wrote around 200 pieces by the time he was 21 and then vanished. Four of the pieces here were written in 1933-4 (that's right!); all are exceedingly virtuosic although the eclectic nature of the influences (certainly understandable for a composer in his single digits and teens), which ranges from Rachmaninov and Scriabin to Ravel and Debusy, precludes establishing in our minds what Mathieu's personal style may have been. Petrowski's companion piece was commissioned for this recording. Alain Lefèvre (piano). Analekta AN 2 9275 (Canada) 04G083 $16.98

HUMPHREY SEARLE (1915-1982): Symphonies No. 1, Op. 23, No. 2, Op. 33, No. 3, Op. 36, No. 4, Op. 38 and No. 5, Op. 43, Night Music, Op. 2, Overture to a Drama, Op. 17. England's most noted dodecaphonic composer - even his very earliest compositions are noticeably indebted to the Second Viennese School (Night Music was written for Webern's 60th birthday and is very Webernian in style) - was a strangely paradoxical figure, clearly a Romantic at heart. Although the symphonies show a trend towards increasing strictness of serial technique and greater austerity, they are nonetheless truly symphonic and eloquent in a manner that composers of the generation before Searle would have had no trouble recognising. It is no coincidence that the other great enthusiasm of his musical life was Liszt; high Romantic drama and a sense of the macabre combined with an intellectual mastery of form produced in Searle's finest works a type of dramatic expressionism rare in British music of his day. 2 CDs. Special price. CPO 777 131 (Germany) 04G084 $17.98

NIKOS SKALKOTTAS (1904-1949): Piano Concerto No. 2, Tema con variazioni, Little Suite for Strings, 4 Images. Skalkottas' untimely death interrupted his work on a second orchestral suite, of which the Theme and Variations was to have been the fifth movement. Based on a series of note-rows, the work sounds disconcertingly like a hybrid of Schoenberg and Busoni, and it probably isn't stretching a point to suggest that neither of these masters would have been at all embarrassed to have written it. The concerto is an important work of the composer's middle period, combining dodecaphonic austerity with a distinctly Romantic sense of the dramatic, alternately tense, lyrical and hard-driven. The freely atonal Little Suite is a miracle of concision, compressing a great deal of musical material into a very short span, while the far more expansive Four Images is disconcertingly tonal and has all the characteristics that suggest a sophisticated but thoroughly appealing work that could very easily achieve considerable popularity. Geoffrey Douglas Madge (piano), BBC Symphony Orchestra; Nikos Christodoulou. SACD Hybrid disc. BIS SACD-1484 (Sweden) 04G085 $17.98

BORIS TCHAIKOVSKY (1925-1996): Sebastopol Symphony, Music for Orchestra, The Wind of Siberia. Although this is in Chandos' "Historical" series, the recordings (as could be deduced by the dates of the compositions) are in stereo. Boris Tchaikovsky's late period - after 1980, the date of the Sebastopol Symphony - shows an almost complete absence of the influences and echoes of Shostakovich which had informed his works up to 1976 when he took a four-year break from composition. These three works are all single-movement in form and are made up of little motifs which are not so much developed as succeed each other, some reappearing, others not, while the orchestral sound is more bright and transparent than before and the overall impression of the pieces is of a hard-won optimism (a few hints of minimalism suggest Tchaikovsky was quite aware of the Baltic composers). Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra; Vladimir Fedoseyev. Chandos Historical 10299 (England) 04G086 $13.98

YORITSUNE MATSUDAIRA (1907-2001): Theme and Variations for Piano and Orchestra, Danza Rituale e Finale (Enbou), Sa-Mai, U-Mai, Danza Rituale e Finale (Chogeishi). A lifelong anti-romanticism, anti-sensualism and love of artificiality eventually drew Matsudaira to the ancient Japanese Gagaku music, a rarified music played only in temples and which stands aloof from time and popular ephemeralities. It's slightly odd, then, that the Theme and Variations of 1951, which uses a Gagaku theme, is the most approachable and "oriental"-sounding work on the disc. The remaining pieces (1957-9) are experiments in combining Gagaku with dodecaphony, serialism and other modern Western techniques. These works, which last 53 of the disc's 71 minutes, use mostly high winds and percussion (to imitate Japanese instruments); when strings are employed, they too imitate plucked-string Japanese instruments or other Japanese techniques. Students of the Darmstadt and other avant-garde schools will be fascinated by the melding of cultures here. Ichiro Nodaira (piano), Osaka Century Orchestra; Ken Takaseki. Naxos Japanese Classics 8.555882 (New Zealand) 04G087 $6.98

IVO MALEC (b.1925): Sonoris causa for Orchestra, Ottava alta for Violin and Orchestra, Exempla for Orchestra. These three vast, slow-moving orchestral landscapes shift and evolve with a tectonic inevitability, as inexorable and mysterious as a geological or astronomical process in nature. Thematic relationships and 'argument' there are none, but these pieces invoke a sense of awe, a suggestion of overwhelming scale and grandeur thanks to the composer's finely judged sense of harmony (which places him far closer to Varèse than to Cage or Feldman or others content to gaze enraptured at the harmonic content of a single note). Paradoxically, the works assume an aspect not so very far removed from the Romantic tone-poem, an intriguing example of arriving at a familiar destination by a wholly unexpected route. Raphael Oleg (violin), Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra; Arturo Tamayo. Timpani 1C1086 (France) 04G088 $18.98

Ukraine Composers Series - Set One

ILYA POLSKY (b.1924): Overture, VOLODIMIR PODGORNY (b.1928): Domra Concerto (Boris Michaev [domra]), ALEXANDER MAMONTOV (b.19): Concert Polonaise, DIMITRO KLEBANOV (1907-1987): Suite No. 2 for String Orchestra, 4 Preludes and Fugues for Orchestra, GRIGORY TSITSALUK (1923-1995): Elegy for Horn and String Orchestra (Mikkola Ostrovsky [horn]), NIKOLAI STETSUN (b.1942): Youth Overture, ANATOLY GAYDENKO (b.1934): Kursky Karagody, VITALY GUBARENKO (b.1934): Kupalo, Chamber Symphony No. 2, Choreographic Scenes from "Zaporozhtsy". A certain conservatism pervades these works, all of which are solidly tonal, and in some cases occupy harmonic territory that would not have been unfamiliar to Borodin, say, or Rimsky-Korsakov. In a slightly picture-book sense, all contribute to a musical portrait of Ukraine rather than "Russia", replete with the heroic strife and struggle, nature-painting, ebullient extroversion and pervasive melancholy familiar to us from many better-known composers of the former Soviet Union. There is a pleasing range of expression, from lively orchestral showpieces like Polsky's and Stetsun's overtures to works of greater scope, of which Klebanov's Preludes and Fugues, and the Chamber Symphony (with eloquent violin obbligato) and the colorful choreographic scenes by his former student Gubarenko are the most substantial. All told, an appealing release offering much to enjoy while not containing anything to shock or disturb the listener's sensibilities. 2 CDs. Mid-price. Kharkov Philharmonic Orchestra; Vakhtang Jordania. Angelok CD-7710/11 (U.S.A.) 04G089 $22.98

MORTEN LAURIDSEN (b.1958): Lux aeterna for Chorus and Orchestra, For Unaccompanied Chorus: Madrigali: 6 "Fire Songs" on Italian Renaissance Poems, Ave Maria, Ubi caritas et amor, O magnum mysterium. These unerringly beautiful choral works (of which Lux aeterna, with orchestra, is the most substantial) are less austere and more harmonically lush and varied in texture than the familiar works of Pärt, and are also more conventional, which is not to imply a lack of originality. Predominantly consonant (and always resolutely tonal), the composer finds room for subtly dissonant harmonies to underscore the meaning of his texts, especially noteworthy in the Madrigali. Polyphony, Britten Sinfonia; Stephen Layton. Hyperion CDA 67449 (England) 04G090 $18.98

KAIJA SAARIAHO (b.1952): 5 Reflets for Soprano, Baritone and Orchestra, Nymphea Reflection for String Orchestra, Oltra Mar for Orchestra and Choir. 5 reflets adapts music from Saariaho's opera "Love from Afar" composed two years earlier, recasting key scenes from the stage work as a symphonic song cycle of brooding seriousness and considerable mystery and power. The opera's key themes are love and death, and the music inhabits a shadowy and chilly Sibelian world. Nymphea Reflection - the title refers in part to Monet's series of water lily paintings - is based more obviously on the composer's trademark spectralism, with complex and discordant harmonies based on the higher partials of string sounds. Oltra Mar is an especially impressive example of Saariaho's typical use of slow-moving massed sounds, again utilising the dense textures resulting from spectral analysis of instrumental sounds, and suggesting the organic flow of natural processes and specifically the inexorable power and inexhaustible cumulative, ponderous energy of the ocean, across which this imaginary journey is undertaken. Pia Freund (soprano), Gabriel Suovanen (baritone), Tapiola Chamber Choir, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra; Jukka-Pekka Saraste. Ondine ODE 1049-2 (Finland) 04G091 $17.98

GERARD LEVINSON (b.1951): For the Morning of the World for Chamber Orchestra, Time and the Bell.. for Piano and Chamber Ensemble, Chant des rochers for 11 Winds, Harp, Piano and Percussion. Chant des rochers was written for Messiaen's 70th birthday, but Time and the Bell from 20 years later is the work that most audibly derives inspiration from Messiaen's highly colored sound-world. The other important influence which is present throughout is Asian, and especially Balinese, traditional music, of which the composer has made an especial study. The sounds of bells and gongs permeate the texture of Time, while constantly shifting meters and intricate melismatic melodic lines (reminiscent of Indian ragas) dominate the musical vocabulary. The sound of the Gamelan is also present in fast-moving textures of modal and pentatonic character, assembled from sounds of richly glowing, primarily percussive textures. Orchestra 2001; James Freeman. Albany TROY 742 (U.S.A.) 04G092 $16.98

ODALINE DE LA MARTINEZ (b.1949): Canciones, JUDITH WEIR (b.1954): Airs from Another Planet, MELINDA MAXWELL (b.1953): Pibroch, HILARY TANN (b.1947): Winter sun, Summer rain, ELEANOR ALBERGA (b.1949): Suite from Dancing with the Shadow. Martinez draws heavily on Spanish folk idioms, with rhythmic vitality provided by imginative use of percussion in colorful and idiomatic settings. Weir's Airs empolys traditional Scottish forms, dances, bagpipe drones, etc., refracted through a distorting lens which renders them intermittently recognisable while retaining a kind of collective memory of their origins. Pibroch imaginatively reconfigures the haunting music of the Highland pipes for Maxwell's own instrument, the oboe. Tann's evocative and atmospheric nature-music inhabits a world not so very far removed from Delius, with a sense of modality that also recalls Vaughan Williams, though the idiom is naturally somewhat more modern - a very beautiful work. Of Jamaican origins and with a background in dance, Alberga contributes the most quirky and rhythmically incisive music here, full of narrative drama and restless energy. Lontano; Odaline de la Martinez. Lorelt LNT 103 (England) 04G093 $16.98

KATIA TCHEMBERDJI (b.1960): Clarinet Sonata, Atem und Puls for Cello, Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano, Tag und Nacht for Piano, Widmung for Soprano and Prepared Piano. These chamber and instrumental works have an improvisatory feel, not obviously related to any particular compositional school or doctrine. Freely atonal melodic lines are frequently accompanied by clusters and excitable gestural punctuation, with some use of extended instrumental techniques, in clear-textured and expressive music of intuitive naturalness. Eduard Brunner (clarinet), Katia Tchemberdji (piano), Natalia Gutman (cello), Mieko Kanesugi (soprano). col legno WWE 1CD 20203 (Germany) 04G094 $19.98

THIERRY ESCAICH (b.1965): Scènes du bal for String Quartet, Les litanies de l'ombre for Piano, La ronde for Piano and String Quartet, Jeux de doubles for Piano, Nocturne for Cello and Piano, Chorus for Clarinet, String Quartet and Piano. It turns out that February's offering of orchestral works by this composer wasn't some sort of fluke, and we weren't imagining things. These chamber and instrumental pieces demonstrate clearly that Escaich is capable of directly communicative and vital music in any medium. There is an almost hyper-Romantic sense of drama in the way he builds tension and plays unashamedly on the listener's emotions. But make no mistake - there is no nostalgic wallowing here; the cumulative tension of the central section of the piano quintet or the cortège that builds towards the end of Litanies could only have originated in our uneasy times. The prevailing mood is darker and more tense than the general impression left by the orchestral disc, but all the music, and perhaps especially the superb Chorus, achieves a seamless blend of originality, accessibility and depth of content that recalls no less a figure than the 20th century's pre-eminent musical communicator, Shostakovich. Ludwig Quartet, Bertrand Chamayou, Thierry Escaich, Claire-Marie LeGuay (piano), Xavier Phillips (cello), Florent Héau (clarinet). Accord 467 1282 (France) 04G095 $17.98

ROMAN HAUBENSTOCK-RAMATI (1919-1994): Cathédrale I for Harp, Cathédrale II for Harp and Tape. Two versions of the same basic musical material, the second enormously elaborated by the addition of fifteen additional harp parts on tape, ingeniously manipulated spatially and overlapping in a dense polyphony which remarkably suggests the vast spaces and acrhitectural detail implied by the title. Indeed, the cumulative sense of scale as the work progresses is as impressive as it is unexpected. A pioneer in electroacoustic composition and graphic notation, Haubenstock-Ramati has produced a rich and complex additon to the harp repertoire - and it must be said that the solo, acoustic version, despite its necessarily sparer textures, sustains interest and holds the listener's attention as surely as the 'orchestrated' form, such is the inventiveness with which the instrument is treated. Giovanna Reitano (harp). col legno WWE 1CD 20220 (Germany) 04G096 $19.98

ZULEMA DE LA CRUZ (b.1958): Piano Concerto No. 1 "Atlántico", La Luz de Aire for Ensemble, Latir Isleño for Piano, Soledad for Ensemble. The pulsating, insistent opening of the concerto sounds like the curtain-raiser to a thrilling drama, and the rest of the work does not disappoint. Based on rhythms derived from Spanish folk music, the first and third movements have a tense, driven quality, propelled by the obsessive rhythms. The central movement is more freely rhapsodic, though all three share this obsessive quality. The language is basically tonal, though somewhat expanded and with some unusual inflections derived from the composer's assembly of his harmonic material from intervals associated with folk music of the Canary Islands. The unusually scored La Luz - effectively a percussion concerto - occupies similar territory, as does Soledad, which vividly evokes an Easter procession amid scene-setting music which progresses from abstract background to lyrical melody and the irresistible underlying rhythmic ostinato patterns. Guillermo González (piano), Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra; Leif Segerstam, Proyecto Gerhard, Czech Virtuosi; José de Eusebio. col legno WWE 1CD 20242 (Germany) 04G097 $19.98

JOSHUA FINEBERG (b.1969): Streamlines for 2 Flutes, Clarinet, Piano, Percussion, 2 Violins, Viola and Double Bass, Tremors for Piano, A Ripple-Ringed Pool for Violin obbligato, Flute, Clarinet, Violin and Cello, Paradigms for Flute, Clarinet, Piano, Percussion, Violin, Cello and Tape, Breathe for Flute, Recueil de Pierre et de Sable for 2 Harps, 2 Flutes, Clarinet, Violin, Viola and Cello. Taking his inspiration from meticulously analyzed harmonic spectra, Fineberg writes music of great spontaneity and vitality. Timbre is of course of great importance, as is necessarily the case in spectralism, with gradually changing textures and micro-intervallic relationships as important characteristics of the music's structure. Only one work - Paradigms - actually employs electronic resources, but so precisely are the microtonal relationships determined that it is often hard to determine what is electronic, and what is acoustic. Even the solo piano work, skillfully employing the complex resonances of the (conventionally tuned) instrument, produces an impression of unfamiliar harmonic structures. Ensemble Court-Circuit; Pierre-André Valade. 2002 release. Accord 472 363-2 (France) 04G098 $17.98

MICHAËL LEVINAS (b.1949): Ouverture pour une fête étrange, Les rires du Gilles, Concerto pour un piano-espace No. 2, Clov et Hamm, Contrepoints irréels-rencontres. These strange sonic landscapes exploit the full resources of modern instrumental and electroacoustic techniques to create a surreal, dreamlike effect which is perhaps as far from conventional musical structures as one can get. Indeed, the works function more like a kind of music theatre, with sounds and textures as 'characters' than concert music. Here and there, hectically hyperactive instrumental 'vocalizations' recall the most extreme forms of free jazz, but the overwhelming impression is of pure sonority, suggesting natural processes unformed by human preoccupations or limitations. Nouvel Orchestre Philharmonic de Radio-France; Gilbert Amy (piano), Hubert Soudant (conductor), Soloists of Ensemble 2E2M, Ensemble l'Itinéraire; Yves Prin. Original 1985 Adès release. Accord 465 606-2 (France) 04G099 $17.98

HUGUES DUFOURT (b.1943): Erewhon for 6 Percussionists and 150 (Percussion) Instruments. Vivid and visceral, this work for a huge ensemble of percussion instruments played by 6 performers plunges the listener into a swarm of timbral detail, in which a cohesive large-scale structure turns out to be assembled from the meticulously observed details of chaotically interacting sounds, as a spiral galaxy is made up of its component myriad points of light. Unfailingly inventive in the generation of novel sounds and combinations of sound, the work evokes an imaginary world at once disconcertingly unfamiliar and delineated in such detail as to suggest a more conventional kind of musial tone-painting - and, incidentally, providing the percussion ensemble with perhaps one of its most challenging and satisfying repertory works. Les Percussions de Strasboug; Lorraine Vaillancourt. 2000 release. Accord 465 716-2 (France) 04G100 $17.98

MICHAEL DENHOFF (b.1955): In unum Deum - Credo for Soprano, Baritone, Chorus, Organ and Small Orchestra, Op. 93, Aus tiefer not for Organ, Op. 41, Credo for Mixed Choir, Op. 93a. The principal works on this disc are the commissioned Credo, for the Forum on Music and the Church" (2000), and the a cappella variant on it, which omits the soloists and added texts incorporated into the original, and is scored in a manner more reminiscent of traditional church music. As a work intended explicitly for church use, and for which one of the requirements was accessibility to, and participation by, the congregation, Credo contains much vocal writing which is resolutely and unequivocally tonal, and soaring lines which have nothing to do with trends in vocal writing in the European avant garde. One senses a strong and deeply committed religious feeling to the work, firmly placing it in the liturgical tradition. The dramatic and lamenting organ work is genrally more dissonant and modern-sounding, though not excessively so, occupying a middle ground somewhere between Messiaen and Ligeti. Irene Kurka (soprano), Alban Lenzen (baritone), Michael Hoppe (organ), Orchester der Kölner Kammermusiker; Chorus of the St. Gregorius Catholic Hochschule for Church Music, Aachen; Steffen Schreyer. Cybele SACD Hybrid 860.301 (Germany) 04G101 $16.98

MICHAEL DENHOFF (b.1955): Hauptweg und Nebenwege - Aufzeichnungen, Op. 83 for Piano and String Quartet. This expansive (nearly 160 minutes) chamber work for the customary piano quintet ensemble is named after its inspiration, a painting by Klee which is reproduced on the cover, allowing one to relate its shimmering textures and sense of vast distance and depth to their musical analogues in the piece. The huge span of the work and its predominantly spare, sparse textures suggest Feldman, but its building blocks are harmonically richer (sometimes surprisingly tonal) than is often the case with Feldman, suggesting rather a Second-Viennese-derived expressionistic Romanticism. Each of the twelve movements has a distinct character and the impression of the work as a whole is of a journey through enigmatic and shadowy interior landscape, often dreamlike and unsettling. 2 CDs. Birgitta Wollenweber (piano), Vogler Quartet. col legno WWE 2CD 20029 (Germany) 04G102 $39.98

PASCAL DUSAPIN (b.1955): Perelà, uomo di fumo. This is a kind of dreamlike parable about a mysterious protagonist who inspires irrational devotion, acclaim and love, is embraced as an important figure, perhaps even a savior, and subsequently rejected, accused and imprisoned - and all without having undertaken any action save existing. The opera is Dusapin's most ambitious work to date, and makes full and virtuosic use of a huge orchestra in music of great and diverse character. The music, though obviously modern, is closely related to the traditions of opera - without being mistakable for any of them, one is constantly reminded of the operas of Berg, Richard Strauss, Busoni and Shostakovich - and especially, of their most extreme successor, Zimmermann's Der Soldaten. The richness of Dusapin's textures and the narrative drama of this complex score provide a powerful and involving listening experience of great emotional impact. 2 CDs. Italian-English libretto. John Graham-Hall (tenor), Isabelle Philippe (soprano), Montpellier National Opera Chorus, Orchestre National de Montpellier; Alain Altinoglu. Naïve /Montaigne MO 782168 (France) 04G103 $33.98

MARC-ANDRÉ DALBAVIE (b.1961): Violin Concerto, Color, Ciaccona. A leading exponent of spectralism, following the work of Murail and Grisey, Dalbavie has blended these techniques with a newfound sense of tonality, especially to be felt in Color, which employs dramatic use of foreground tonal chordal writing against an abstract background of spectrally-derived quasi-Ligetic texture. The concerto from a few years earlier also makes use of spatialisation of the instrumental groups, but also treats the musical material in a figure (soloist) and ground (gently dissonant orchestral texture) relationship. Once again, a strong sense of tonality is present, and the work surprisingly resembles a traditional concertante vehicle. Ciaccona derives from the traditional form, but extends the concept of variation form over a ground bass by incorporating the timbral variations available through the spectralist methods of composition, again leading to a slow-moving and organically developing texture in which the theme appears in shadowy relief against a somber - and sometimes surprisingly tonal-sounding - orchestral backdrop. Eiichi Chijiiwa (violin), Orchestre de Paris; Christoph Eschenbach. Naïve/Montaigne MO 782162 (France) 04G104 $16.98

MARC-ANDRÉ DALBAVIE (b.1961): Seuils for Soprano, Ensemble and Electronics, Diadèmes for Alto, Ensemble and Electronics. Seuils is arguably the best example to have reached disc so far of what makes Dalbavie such a significant figure in contemporary music, incorporating the most advanced techniques of spectralism, spatialisation and electroacoustic music - and, it must be said, a richness and sensuousness of sound and texture that is quite seductive and draws the listener in, in a manner that one might not suspect of a work written using techniques in the forefront of musical technology and theoretical research. Dalbavie also has an acute sense of musical spectacle, so to speak - suddenly, with apparent incongruity and delightful timing, a gesture which seems to have wandered in unbidden from something by Stravinsky or Martinu. Sensuousness is also present in the beautiful, soaring vocal lines of the singer in Seuils and the viola in Diadèmes, an earlier and somewhat more abstract work which nonetheless paradoxically recalls recognisable concertante traditions. Rié Ramada (soprano), Christophe Desjardins (alto), Ensemble Intercontemporain; Pierre Boulez. 1996 release. Accord 465 313-2 (France) 04G105 $17.98

ANTOINE BONNET (b.1958): La Terre Habitable for 3 Instrumental Groups, Nachtstrahl for Voice and 5 Instruments, Épitaphe for Large Ensemble and Electronics. La Terre is a work in five movements, each of distinct character, written for three ensembles arrayed separately on stage. Spatial localization is less important than the interplay between the groups, which produces a complex and evocative sense of an inner landscape, richly varied and delineated with sonorous precision. Épitaphe has simpler textures despite the addition of electronics, relying less on dazzling surface brilliance to generate its sense of brooding unease. Nachtstrahl sets a poem of Celan, in a very 2nd-Viennese-derived vocal style, including extended passages of Sprechstimme, while the instrumental ensemble provides a fragmentary commentary of unearthly clarity and atmospheric descriptiveness. Katherine Ciesinski (mezzo), Ensemble Intercontemporain; Pierre Boulez, David Robertson. 2000 release. Accord 465 771-2 (France) 04G106 $18.98

MARTIN MATALON (b.1958): Monedas de Hierro for 10 Instruments and Electronics, Formas de arena for Flute, Viola and Harp, Dos formas del tiempo for Piano, ... del matiz al color... for 8 Cellos, Las siete vidas de un gato for 8 Musicians and Electronics. Owing relatively little to conventional musical forms or referents, apart from extended episodes with a persistent metric pulse which provides a sense of continuity, these ensemble works nonetheless achieve a vividness of imagery which is as striking as it is original. The piano work, with its suggestion of a kind of minimalism in the first section, occupies the most familiar ground; elsewhere the glittering, hyperactive surface textures, with much use of extended playing techiques and highly unusual combinations of instrumentation combine to produce the effect of an imaginary soundtrack to a surrealist film. Ensemble Court-Circuit; Pierre-André Valade, Trio Nobis, Dimitri Vassilakis (piano), Beauvais Cello Octet, Ensemble Ictus; Georges-Elie Octors. 2003 release. Accord 476 070-2 (France) 04G107 $18.98

TRISTAN MURAIL (b.1947): Serendib for Large Ensemble, L'esprit des dunes for Ensemble and Electronics, Désintégrations for Ensemble and Tape. These three works share the highly colored and vivdly evocative sound-world which Murail has made his speciality. L'Esprit exploits the full resources of modern computer-driven electronic signal processing and transmuted sampling of diverse sources to evoke a desert landscape of unearthly beauty and disconcerting unfamiliarity. Desintegrations, is a spectralist work in which the disintegration of the title refers to the dissection of instrumental sounds into their timbral components. Serendib, a most impressive orchestral canvas on a large scale is the most sonically conventional work here and the richly colored orchestration occasionally suggests Messiaen in the use of looming blocks of sound and the suggestion of birdsong. Ensemble Intercontemporain; David Robertson. 1996 release. Accord 465 305-2 (France) 04G108 $18.98

JOHANN STRAUSS I (1804-1849): Edition, Vol. 6 - Fra Diavolo-Cotillons, Op. 41, Wiener Bürgermarsch No. 2, Alexandra-Walzer, Op. 56, Polka in E Flat, Zampa-Walzer, Op. 57, Jäger-Polka, Mein schönster Tag in Baden, Op. 58, Quadrille nach Motiven aus der Oper "Anna Bolena", Die vier Temperamente, Op. 59, Reise-Galopp, Op. 85, Carnevals-Spende, Op. 60. More dance music from the first Strauss, the stuff here dating from the early 1830s, including pieces using melodies from operas by Auber, Donizetti and Hérold. Slovak Sinfonietta Zilina; Christian Pollack. Marco Polo 8.225282 (New Zealand) 04G109 $9.98

GEORGES AURIC (1899-1983): 8 poèmes de Cocteau, DARIUS MILHAUD (1892-1974): 3 poèmes de Cocteau, Pièce de circonstance, Chat, FRANCIS POULENC (1899-1963): Cocardes, ARTHUR HONEGGER (1892-1955): 6 poèmes de Cocteau, HENRI SAUGET (1901-1989): Îles, LOUIS DUREY (1888-1979): Chansons basques, ERIK SATIE (1866-1925): Danseuse, JEAN WIENER (1896-1982): 2 poèmes de Cocteau, MAXIME JACOB (1906-1977): 6 poèmes de Cocteau, MAURICE DELAGE (1879-1961): Sobre las olas, GUY SACRE (b.1948): Cartes postales, Clair-obscur, L'exécution, 6 poèmes de "Vocabulaire", LES SIX: Les Mariés de la Tour Eiffel. Although lacking in texts, this is an important historical document of the 1921 collaboration by Les Six (except for Louis Durey) in Cocteau's self-titled "Spectacle", danced by the Ballet Suedois and conducted by one of the composers. The accompanying 70 minutes of songs by various composers associated with Les Six and/or Cocteau is provided with detailed notes which help make up for lack of the poetic texts. 2 CDs. No texts. Mid-price. Jean-François Gardeil (baritone), Billy Eidi (piano), Orchestre National de l'ORTF; Darius Milhaud. Original 1989 Adda and 1966 Adès (Les Mariés) recordings. Accord 476 159-2 (France) 04G110 $17.98

EMMERICH KÁLMÁN (1882-1953): Der Zigeunerprimas. The title character of this 1912 operetta was Pali Rácz, a famous gypsy violinist of the 19th century and the work is Kálmán's most Hungarian, balancing dance numbers and carefully constructed finales, Hungarian color and Viennese form, temperament and sentiment. 2 CDs. English synopsis. Edith Lienbacher, Gabriele Rossmanith (sopranos), Zoran Todorovich, Roberto Saccà (tenors), Bavarian State Opera Children's Choir, Slovak Philharmonic Choir, Munich Radio Orchestra; Claus Peter Flor. CPO 777 058 (Germany) 04G111 $31.98

Accord Opérettes

The notes are brief, French-only and there are no libretti but this will not deter seasoned collectors who may not have many of these recordings. We provide excerpts (in quotes below) from Raymond Walker's on-line reviews of this series at www.musicweb.uk.net for orientation.

ADOLPHE ADAM (1803-1856): Si j'étais Roi. Opera Grove finds that this opéra comique of 1852 "can lay claim to being Adam's finest and most enduring opera" due to its "feeling of elegiac tenderness... while the delicacy of the orchestration si even more nitceable thanin earlier works." 2 CDs for the price of 1. Liliane Berton (soprano), André Mallabrera (tenor), René Bianco (baritone), Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire; Richard Blareau. Original 1960 French Decca release. Accord Opérette 472 210-4 (France) 04G112 $17.98

LOUIS-AIMÉ MAILLART (1817-1871): Les Dragons de Villars. Premiere: 1856. "...one of the earliest examples of the genre. It also fascinates because it was composed by a competent musician, now almost forgotten and not mentioned in the usual operetta books... [Maillart] is inventive with colour, and from the evidence here incorporates lush harmony, catchy rhythms and novel decorative phrases. If you like Offenbach, Lecocq, or Sullivan you'll enjoy this music." 2 CDs for the price of 1. Suzanne Lafaye (mezzo), Andrée Esposito (soprano), André Mallabrera (tenor), Orchestra and Chorus; Richard Blareau. Original 1961 French Decca release. Accord Opérette 472 865-2 (France) 04G113 $17.98

HENRI CHRISTINÉ (1867-1941): Phi-Phi. Premiered in 1918, "...this must surely be regarded as one of the first comic musicals of the century. The music contains those theatrical and orchestral elements often associated with stage musicals of the 1920s... [The] songs and dance rhythms were so up-to-date the piece might well be regarded as a revue." 2 CDs for the price of 1. Max de Rieux (baritone), Colette Riedinger, Mireille (sopranos), Bernard Alvi (tenor), Orchestra; Edouard Bervilly. Mono. Original 1956 French Decca release. Accord Opérette 465 886-2 (France) 04G114 $17.98