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Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3

LOUISE FARRENC (1804-1875): Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 32, Symphony No. 3 in G Minor, Op. 36. Unlike Fanny Mendelssohn and Clara Schumann, Louise Farrenc was not a performer first whose rare compositions were bound to the salon-type works which were deemed seemly for women who wanted to compose. Unfortunately, Farrenc also was not the wife or sister of a famous composer so, after her death, he works sank from sight. But while she lived, this student of Reicha and composer of fifty-one opus numbers, saw both of these symphonies performed to acclaim in public and private concerts both in France and abroad. The first symphony was finished in 1841 and is a strong, memorable, vital work in the manner of Mendelssohn and Schumann. Dating from 1847, Farrenc's third symphony (and last orchestral work), is even more memorable - wound tightly, throbbing with vigorous tension and, like the first symphony, using the wind instruments generously to give a richer and more varied texture to the orchestral color. The performances prove beyond a doubt that these original, multi-faceted works deserve all of the acclaim they received in their own time. Hannover Radio Philharmonic; Johannes Goritzki. CPO 999 063 (Germany) 08A001 $15.98

The CHANDOS Rubbra series continues -

EDMUND RUBBRA (1901-1986): Symphony No. 3, Op. 49, Symphony No. 7 in C, Op. 88. Rubbra's symphonies are straightforward in their musical language but always put development, melodic and polyphonic growth ahead of such niceties as orchestral color. The Third dates from 1939 and has been called "outwardly the most genial and relaxed" of the symphonies whose third movement adagio tranquillo carries the greatest depth of feeling. The Seventh (1957) has a powerful opening, seemingly evocative of the force of nature; it mines simple ideas for all they are worth and closes with an expressive passacaglia and fugue. Tonal but cerebral, Rubbra's symphonies amply repay repeated listenings. BBC National Orchestra of Wales; Richard Hickox. Chandos 9634 (England) 08A002 $16.98

THOMAS ARMSTRONG (1898-1994): A Passer-by: Rhapsody for Baritone, Chorus and Orchestra, Sinfonietta for Small Orchestra, Fantasy Quintet for Piano and Strings, Friends Departed for Chorus and Orchestra, Choral Works: Never Weather-beaten Sail, She is not Fair to Outward View, O Mortal Folk, New Year Carol, Sweet Day, With Margerain Gentle. Destined to spend most of his long life as a teacher and administrator, Armstrong wrote most of his compositions (and all of the orchestral ones) before 1930 or so. A Passer-by (1922) sets a metaphysical poem of Robert Bridges in a fashion in which Parry ,Elgar, Holst, Vaughan Williams, Wagner and Richard Strauss all appear; Friends Departed, from 1928 , is more mature and, in places, looks ahead to Howells. The lovely Sinfonietta (early 30s) fits comfortably into the English pastoral tradition of Vaughan Williams, Finzi and Howells while the 1925 Fantasy Quintet summons the spirits of Ravel and Fauré. Janice Watson (soprano), Stephen Varcoe (baritone), London Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra; Paul Daniel. Chandos 9657 (England) 08A003 $16.98

LORD BERNERS (1883-1950): Lieder Album, Le Poisson D'Or, Dispute entre Le Papillon et le Crapaud, 3 Chansons, 3 Petites Marches Funebres, 3 English Songs, Fragments Psychologiques, 3 Songs, Portsmouth Point, Dialogue between Tom Filuter and his man by Ned the Dog Stealer, Chorale prelude on "In Dulci Julbilo" (J.S. Bach), Polka, Valse, Red Roses and Red Noses, The Expulsion from Paradise, March, Come on Algernon. In all there are 29 items here, 14 for solo piano, comprising a treasure trove of wit and felicitous setting. German, French and English idioms are all tested (the songs are almost all from 1913-1920) while the piano pieces range from the avant-gardist expressionism of the 1916 Fragments Psychologiques to the subtle Polka and Chopinesque Valse (both from the early 1940s). As original and characteristic of Berners as any of his more popular ballet scores. Felicity Lott (soprano), Roderick Kennedy (bass), Peter Lawson (piano). Albany TROY 290 (England) 08A004 $16.98

GEORGE ENESCU (1881-1955): Symphony No. 3, Op.21, Romanian Rhapsody in A, Op. 11/1. Enescu's huge Third Symphony (begun in 1916), using an organ and wordless chorus in addition to six horns, piano and two harps, is possibly influenced by the war into which Romania plunged in August of that year. In three movements in typical European fin-de-siècle musical idiom, the symphony seems to trace a journey from struggle and upward aspiration, through a scherzo of hellish, brutal nightmarish intensity to a finale of Scriabinesque dreaminess. Here is the finest recorded performance yet of this intense work. Leeds Festival Chorus, BBC Philharmonic; Gennady Rozhdestvensky. Chandos 9633 (England) 08A005 $16.98

CHARLES IVES (1874-1954): The Celestial Country, ELINOR REMICK WARREN (1900-1991): Abram in Egypt. Begun in 1898, The Celestial Country is a product of the period of the Dvorakian First Symphony, i.e. conservative; more than that, it's a fulsome religious cantata in the Victorian tradition, marked, like the symphony, by youthful enthusiasm and a very un-Ivesian sentimentality. This recording was made in 1973 (Roger Norrington conducted the choir!). Warren's 1960 cantata was recorded the following year; this is its first stereo release. Cast in neo-romantic idiom, the work is dramatically effective, using the then-recently published Dead Sea Scrolls in addition to the usual passages from Genesis. Hazel Holt (soprano), Alfreda Hodgson (alto), John Elwes (tenor), John Noble (baritone), Schütz Choir of London, London Symphony Orchestra; Harold Farberman, Ronald Lewis (baritone), Roger Wagner Chorale, London Philharmonic Orchestra; Roger Wagner. Citadel CTD 88126 (U.S.A.) 08A006 $14.98

CLAUS OGERMANN (b.1930): Sarabande-Fantasie for Violin and Orchestra, Preludio and Chant for Violin and Orchestra, Concerto Lirico for Violin and Orchestra. Ogermann has lived in New York since 1959 and has written much ballet music and, since the 70s, much stand-alone orchestral music. He writes in a straightforward, romantic style - as he puts it "to reach the listener". The Sarabande-Fantasie and Preludio and Chant are predominantly contemplative with the soloist almost constantly in action in a musing, lyrically vocal vein. The concerto is much more diversified: a Hindemithian first movement is followed by a stylized tango, a melancholy valse lento and a lively finale which concludes with a section that sounds very much like Bernard Herrmann in his Hitchcockian style. Aaron Rosand (violin), LondonS ymphony Orchestra, National Philharmonic Orchestra; Claus Ogermann. Koch Schwann 364 522 (Germany) 08A007 $16.98

ALEKSANDR KOPYLOV - Symphony in C Minor

ALEKSANDR KOPYLOV (1854-1911): Symphony in C Minor, Op. 14, Scherzo in A, Op. 10, Concert Overture in D Minor, Op. 21. Kopylov was associated with none of the highly influential Russian schools of composition (Moscow or St. Petersburg Conservatories or Balakirev's "Free Music School"). He had private lessons from Lyadov and Rimsky-Korsakov and taught for 20 years at the Imperial Cappella - a center for church music. The symphony was premiered in 1889 and has much of Borodin's First in its first movement and a lovely andante which seems to demand choreography as well as a bustling scherzo and optimistic finale. The Scherzo's opening motif is quite like that of Beethoven's Eroica scherzo but the remainder of the work inhabits a late Russian Romanticism similar to that of the symphony. Unlike its fellows, the Concert Overture has a quasi-religious feeling (it was dedicated to the orchestra of the Imperial Cappella) and its first theme is announced by a horn and imitated by the strings like a sacred chant while its subsequent dramatic intensity and shifting accents recall Rimsky-Korsakov's Russian Easter Festival Overture. Moscow Symphony Orchestra; Antonio de Almeida. ASV DCA 1013 (England) 08A008 $16.98

HENRI COLLET (1885-1951): Concerto Flamenco for Violin and Orchestra, Symphonie de l'Alhambra for Orchestra, Concerto Flamenco for Piano and Orchestra. Collet is probably best known as the critic who coined the term Les Six for that group of young French composers in 1920. His life-long passion, however, was Spanish music and, in addition to studying composition under Falla and Pedrell, he lwft behind important writings on Albéniz and Granados. As a composer, most of his works are in Spanish idiom and styles. The two concertos here and the symphony are all late, dating from 1946 (the two concertos) and 1947. Far from being shallow pastiches, these pieces come from a lifetime's study of Spanish music but they are not pedantic; throughout, they ring out with the vivid colors, passionate emotions and sense of history which informs the finest Iberian music. Regis Pasquier (violin), Ricardo Requejo (piano), Royal Symphony Orchestra of Seville; Gary Brain. Claves 50-9801 (Switzerland) 08A009 $16.98

DAG WIRÉN (1905-1986): Symphony No. 4, Op. 27, Symphony No. 5, Op. 38, Ballet Suite, Op. 24 "Oscarsbalen". Standing apart from Swedish late Romanticism or any influences from Nielsen, Wirén's avowed models are Bach and Mozart. His music is cooly neo-classical in which the minimum of material is distilled for the maximum effect. He is known principally for his fresh and vernal string serenade of 1937 and some of that work's elegance and tunefulness are present in the 1949 ballet suite. The symphonies, however, show Wirén concentratedly working a few motifs (the fourth is based on a single theme) in compositions of a fundamental gravity and austerity which have the quality of exquisitely shaped art. Norrköping Symphony Orchestra; Thomas Dausgaard. CPO 999 563 (Germany) 08A010 $15.98

SERGEI PROKOFIEV (1891-1953): The Stone Flower - Ballet in 4 Acts, Op. 118. Prokofiev's last ballet (1950) receives its first complete digital recording here. (The classic Rozhdesvensky recording available on Russian Disc is on 2 CDs; the difference is solely in tempi - in the ballet's 46 numbers, Jurowski is markedly slower in all but two.) Working under the strictures resulting from Zhdanov's 1948 condemnation of most famous Soviet composers for straying from the path of Socialist Realism, Prokofiev here uses Russian folk-themes throughout. He seems to have genuinely wanted the work to be an homage to the Russian working people and there is not a whiff of the repressed or dutiful in his music - the orchestration is brilliant and vital and his inspiration and craftsmanship consistent. Jurowski's performance arguably fits the needs of actual dancers better than Rozhdestvensky's more breathless and excitable reading but the sound quality of this new version is unarguably superior. This ballet is still little-known outside Russia, making this an essential recording for collectors. 3 CDs for the price of 2. Hannover Radio Philharmonic; Michail Jurowski. CPO 999 385 (Germany) 08A011 $31.98

MARCEL DUPRÉ (186-1971): Organ Concerto in E Minor, Op. 31, Cortège et Litanie for Organ and Orchestra, Op. 19/2, Poème héroique for Organ, Trumpets, Trombones and Drum, Op. 33, Symphony in G Minor for Organ and Orchestra, Op. 25. Volume 3 of Dupré's works in Naxos' "Organ Encyclopedia" brings us the organ symphony of 1928 - his best-known work for organ and orchestra, full of contrasts with an immensely colorful romantic pallette of sounds; from the same year is his E minor concerto, scarcely less vivid and enjoyable. The Poème héroique (1936) is a moving, formal and austere memorial to the dead of Verdun. Daniel Jay McKinley (organ), Columbus Indiana Philharmonic; David Bowden. Naxos 8.553922 (Hong Kong) 08A012 $5.98

MARCO ENRICO BOSSI (1861-1925): Organ Concerto in A Minor, Op. 100, Chant du soir, Op. 92, Ave Maria, Op. 104, JOSEPH-GABRIEL RHEINBERGER (1839-1901): Organ Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 177. Although dating from within a year of each other (1894-5), Bossi's concerto with its virtuoso solo part and chromatic excursions reminiscent of Reger contrasts strongly with Rheinbeger's simply laid out, mostly diatonic exercise in dialogue between organ and orchestra. Two solo items serve to demonstrate why Bossi was considered the finest Italian organist and composer for organ of his time. Martin Haselböck (Voit organ of the Stadthalle, Heidelberg), Heidelberg City Philharmonic Orchestra; Thomas Kalb. New Classical Adventure MA 96 12 826 (Germany) 08A013 $16.98

WOLDEMAR BARGIEL (1828-1897): Complete Piano Trios, Volume One - Trio No. 2 in E Flat, Op. 20, Trio No. 3 in B Flat, Op. 37. After Marco Polo's 1996 recording of some of his piano works, this new release is the second CD entirely devoted to the music of Clara Schumann's half-brother, friend of Brahms and noted pedagogue (he collaborated with the latter on the complete Chopin and Schumann editions). Bargiel's first trio was written under Schumann's supervision; the second, from 1857, is a work of half-lit mellowness and moderate tempos: a dreamy Romanticism rather than that of a young "Kreisler". The third trio (1869) is in a similar mold - lyrical, touched now and again by a light melancholy but punctuated by a rhythmically vital scherzo. Quintessential Schumannian Romanticism from an unjustly forgotten artist. Trio Parnassus. MD&G 303 0805 (Germany) 08A014 $18.98

EDWARD MACDOWELL (1861-1907): 12 Virtuoso Studies, Op. 46, JOHN KNOWLES PAINE (1839-1906): Fuga Giocosa, Op. 41/3, Romance, Op. 12, ETHELBERT NEVIN (1862-1901): Étude in Form of a Scherzo, Op. 18/2, HENRY HOLDEN HUSS (1862-1953): Prelude II, Op. 17/2, HENRY F. GILBERT (1868-1928): Mazurka, ADOLPH MARTIN FOERSTER (1854-1927): On the Sea, HORATIO PARKER (1863-1919): Valse Gracile, Op. 49/3. All the works here were written between 1884 and 1902 by American composers who studied in Europe and represented the first significant "wave" of native composers who wrote in abstract, European forms. Frager's 1978 recording allows most of these works back into the catalogue and demonstrates the variety which this first American golden age of composition produced: from the eccentric fugue of Paine via the quasi-salon waltzes and mazurkas of Parker and Gilbert to the Schumannesque character pieces of MacDowell, it is good to have this music available again. Malcolm Frager (piano). New World 80206 (U.S.A.) 08A015 $16.98

AMY BEACH (1867-1944): Canticle of the Sun, Op. 123, Invocation for the Violin for Violin and Piano, Op. 55, Choral and Vocal Works: With Prayer and Supplication, Op. 8, Te Deum from Service in A, Op. 63, Constant Christmas, Op. 95, On a Hill (1929), 3 Communion Responses, Op. 122, Spirit of Mercy (1930), Evening Hymn, Op. 125, I Will Give Thanks, Op. 147, Peace I Leave with You, Op. 8. St. Francis of Assisi's ode to the visible universe and to God beyond it inspired Beach to write the 1928 Canticle in only five days. For four vocal soloists and orchestra, the work is a 22-minute hymn of praise and jubilation set in majestic Romantic melodies but with the chromaticisms and shifting tonalities which demonstrate that the composer was aware of 20th century musical techniques. The choral works all set texts which link images of nature, heavenly and earthly love and life and death - characteristic of Beach's profound religious committment and love of nature. Capitol Hill Choral Society and Orchestra; Betty Buchanan, Paul Hardy (organ, piano), Terry Lazar (violin). Albany TROY 295 (U.S.A.) 08A016 $16.98

ERMANNO WOLF-FERRARI (1876-1948): Piano Trio No. 1 in D, Op. 5, Piano Trio No. 2 in F Sharp, Op. 7, Piano Quintet in D Flat, Op. 6, String Quintet in C, Op. 24. Made 10 years ago and out-of-print for some time, this collection of Wolf-Ferrari's chamber music exhibits two piano trios redolent of Brahms and Dvorak (op. 5 - 1896) and the heavily chromatic worlds of Franck and Liszt (opp. 6 &7 - both around 1900); the string quintet (two violas) is from 1942 and shows the clear-cut, lucid style of his mature works. 2 CDs. Munich Piano Trio, Leopolder-Quartett München, Wolfgang Sawallisch (piano). MD&G 308 0310 (Germany) 08A017 $37.98

MAX REGER (1873-1916): Piano Quartet in A Minor, Op. 133, Three Duos (Canons and Fugues) for 2 Violins, Op. 131b. Volume four of MD&G's Reger chamber music series brings the only current CD version of the late (1914) piano quartet which demonstrates the beginning of what Reger called his "free Jena style". Density of texture and contrapuntal ingenuity give way to a clarified tonal idiom, chamber-music clarity and tuneful, easy-to-follow motifs and the work is a polar opposite to the dark, dense piano quartet of 1910 (op. 113) which appeared in the previous volume of this series. The duos of op. 131 bear the subscription "in the Old Style", specifying the strict counterpoint and stylistic imitation of Bach, whose music always formed the basis of Reger's music for organ, chorus and solo string instruments. Claudius Tanski (piano), Mannheim String Quartet. MD&G 336 0714 (Germany) 08A018 $18.98

PERCY GRAINGER (1882-1961): Suite on Danish Folk-Songs, Colonial Song, Country Gardens, Irish Tune from County Derry, Green Bushes, Ye Banks and Braes o' Bonnie Doon, Shepherd's Hey, My Robin is to the Greenwood Gone, To a Nordic Princess. For those not yet acquainted with Grainger's remarkable way of transmuting folk-song into weird, wonderful, colorful, poignant, fascinatingly personal statements, this budget-priced Naxos collection is a perfect place to start, containing such familiar items as Irish Tune from County Derry ("Danny Boy") and Shepherd's Hey to less well-known but equally inviting pieces. Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra; Keith Brion. Naxos 8.554263 (Hong Kong) 08A019 $5.98

WILLIAM WALTON (1902-1983): Henry V (adapted by Christopher Palmer). Palmer made his adaptation of the glorious music from the Olivier film in 1991, providing a clear narrative sequence and leaving the music as far as possible as it was in the film (a five-movement suite by Muir Matheson did much violence to sequence and music). For reasons of economy, a second narrator is used in place of a chorus (and for other characters except the King). The result is an extremely inexpensive way to enjoy some of the most colorful and thrilling music Walton ever composed for the cinema. Michael Sheen, Anton Lesser (narrators), RTE Concert Orchestra; Andrew Penny. Naxos 8.553343 (Hong Kong) 08A020 $5.98

LEOPOLD GODOWSKY (1870-1938): Toccata in G Flat, Op. 13, ALEXANDER SCRIABIN (1872-1915): Poème tragique, Op. 24, 2 Poèmes, Op. 71, MARC-ANDRÉ HAMELIN: Etudes Nos. 9 "d'après Rossini", No. 10 "d'après Chopin" and No. 12 "Prelude and Fugue", SAMUEL FEINBERG (1890-1962)/JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH: Schübler Chorale No. 6, FEINBERG: Berceuse, Op. 19a, CHARLES-VALENTIN ALKAN (1813-1888)/FRANZ JOSEPH HAYDN: Andante from Symphony No. 94, ALKAN: Esquisses, Op. 63: Le Premier Billet Doux, Scherzetto, FERRUCCIO BUSONI (1866-1924): Fantasia nach J.S. Bach, SERGEI RACHMANINOV (1873-1943): Moment Musical in E Flat Minor, Op. 16/2, Etude-Tableau in E Flat, Op. 33/4, NIKOLAI MEDTNER (1880-1951): Improvisation No. 1 in B Flat Minor, Op. 31/1, KAIKHOSRU SHAPURJI SORABJI (1892-1988): Pastiche on the Hindu Merchant's Song from "Sadko" by Rimsky-Korsakov. Hamelin's playing of his own Etudes is very accomplished, and the music is very difficult. The four-minute Sorabji Pastiche is an exercise in opulent delicacy, and it is good to see some attention paid to Samuel Feinberg, a fine post-Scriabinesque composer and accomplished transcriber. The Medtner Improvisation - actually a set of variations - is a real find for those unfamiliar with it, and Godowsky's slight but sprightly Toccata makes a welcome, rarely heard, curtain-opener. Marc-André Hamelin (piano). Hyperion CDA 67050 (England) 08A021 $17.98

ASTOR PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992): La muerte del ángel, Amelitango, Meditango, Retrato de Alfredo Gobbi, Michelangelo 70, ALBERTO GINASTERA (1916-1983): 3 danzas argentinas, Op. 2, Suite de danzas criollas, Op. 15, ARIEL RAMIREZ (b.1921): Carnavalito, Bailecito, Cueca, Alfonsina y el mar, CARLOS GUASTAVINO (b.1912): Romance de Cuyo, CECILIA PILLADO: Malambo percu-piano. A recording of Argentine piano music by five composers who all turned to Argentinian folk music for inspiration. Ramirez (noted for his Missa criolla) is represented by three studies from a series of fifteen based on traditional forms and rhythms and Alfonsina y el mar, from a series entitled "Women of Argentina", which has attained the status of a real Argentinian folk song. Guastavino's virtuosic piece is based on a local dance and the pianist offers a Malambo (a Gaucho dance) which makes full use of the piano's percussive qualities. At the center of the recital are classic pieces by Argentina's greatest classical composer and its most popular tango composer. A fine, unhackneyed journey through much piquant, memorable repertoire. Cecilia Pillado (piano). Berlin Classics 1180 (Germany) 08A022 $16.98

JOAQUIN RODRIGO (b.1901): Sones en la Giralda for Guitar, Cello and Orchestra, Concierto in modo galante for Cello and Orchestra, Concierto de Aranjuez for Guitar and Orchestra. Rodrigo wrote many fine concertos which keep being crowded out by his ubiquitous Concierto de Aranjuez which is forced to share space with one of them here: the 1949 cello concerto which features flamenco dance forms, a central arietta and a finale in zapateado form. Sones en la Giralda (1963), originally for harp and orchestra, was inspired by the ancient tower of Seville Cathedral, a time-hallowed meeting place for lovers which offers an opportunity for the musical depiction of amourous and nostalgic reminiscences. Eugène Hölzer (guitar), Sebastian Hess (cello), Radio-Philharmonie Hannover des NDR; Israel Yinon. Koch Schwann 315 362 (Germany) 08A023 $16.98

VAGN HOLMBOE (1909-1996): Chamber Concerto No. 11 for Trumpet and Chamber Orchestra, Op. 44, ERIK NORBY (b.1936): Capriccio for Trumpet, Strings and Piano, KNUDÅGE RIISAGER (1897-1974): Concertino for Trumpet and Strings, HILDA SEHESTED (1858-19??): Septet for Cornet, Piano and Strings, MOGENS ANDRESEN (b.1945): Suite Danica for Brass Quintet, CARL NIELSEN (1865-1931): 5 Preludes for Brass Quintet. Holmboe's 1949 concerto heads this disc of Danish works for trumpet, a lean textured, neo-classical work quite unlike his symphonies. Riisager's 1933 concertino is also neo-classical and bursting with Gallic-inspired good spirits. Hilda Sehested is unknown to us; unfortunately the meager liner notes omit her date of death but this septet (the longest here at 2 minutes, dating from 1904) shows an attractive late Romantic spirit and will make one curious to know more about her. Ketil Christensen (trumpet), Collegium Musicum Copenhagen, Royal Danish Brass Quintet. Rondo Grammophon RCD 8351 (Denmark) 08A024 $18.98

ALAN RAWSTHORNE (1905-1971): Fantasy Overture: Cortèges, Violin Concerto No. 1, Violin Concerto No. 2. Still fairly ignored among 20th century British composers, Rawsthorne had no truck with the "cow-pat", pastoral tradition. His music is fastidiously crafted, often inward and private with a melancholy not far from most works. Cortèges was premiered in 1945, a 13-minute depiction of two processions, one funereal and wistful, the other a tarantella. The first concerto, from 1948, is a big, romantically oriented work while the second (1956) is more astringent and mysteriously epigrammatic. Rebecca Hirsch (violin), BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra; Lionel Friend. Naxos 8.554240 (Hong Kong) 08A025 $5.98

WITOLD LUTOSLAWSKI (1913-1993): Livre pour Orchestre, Cello Concerto, Novelette, Chain No. 3. Volume 4 of Naxos' Lutoslawski series brings the 1970 cello concerto which is distinguished by its use of what the composer called "limited random choice" in which chance elements are admitted into a single-movement work pitting the soloist against the orchestra in a wide variety of colors, lyrical and contemplative passages alternating with sharply accentuated ones. Livre (1968) is a piece rich in colors and moods which change like chapters in a book; the composer's "chain-style" in which short sections of different, unrelated music overlap with each other is demonstrated by the latest work here, 1986's Chain 3 while 1979's Novelette, in five brief movements, has the character of a fictional narrative. The remarkable thing about Lutloslawski is that no matter the techniques he may have been using at the time, he creates music which is rich, communicative and mostly listener-friendly, even for those who are chronically allergic to contemporary music. Naxos' budget price makes it easier to make the leap and experience this quality for oneself. Andrzej Bauer (cello), Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra; Antoni Wit. Naxos 8.553625 (Hong Kong) 08A026 $5.98

EMANUEL ALOYS FÖRSTER - A late classical revelation!

EMANUEL ALOYS FÖRSTER (1748-1823): Fantasie und Sonate for String Quintet, String Quintets in C Minor, Op. 19, in A Minor, Op. 20 and in E Flat, Op. 26. Förster was acquainted with Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, the latter recommeding him highly as a composition teacher; Beethoven's op. 18 quartets may show some influence from Förster (who wrote 48 string quartets of his own!). All three of his published quintets are powerful and dramatic, with forward-looking intermezzo-ish movements in place of traditional slow movements and fast movements which are lively, effervescent and dazzling, full of surprising modulations and daring chromaticisms as well as abundant melodic invention. Förster was an important link between the mature styles of Mozart and Haydn and early Beethoven and these pieces are guaranteed to delight all lovers of late classical chamber music. 2 CDs. Special price. Les Adieux. New Classical Adventure MA 97 10 831 (Germany) 08A027 $25.98


(1756-1792): 6 Violin Sonatas K.C 23.01-23.06. Formerly listed as K.55-60, these sonatas are generally thought no longer to be by Mozart but by someone of the same period, possibly associated with the young master and certainly of significant talent. Their indulgence in minor keys, powerful dynamic contrasts, bold outbursts, tender melodies and original new developmental elements allowed earlier scholars to place them within Mozart's so-called "Romantic period" of 1772-1773 in which he composed the opera Lucio Silla and the symphony K.96. Regardless of their authorship, these are fine and striking examples of the classical "piano-accompanied-by-violin" sonata. Anton Steck (violin), Robert Hill (fortepiano). MD&G 620 0804 (Germany) 08A028 $18.98

NICCOLÒ JOMMELLI (1714-1774): Overture to Temistocle, Sinfonia from Mass in D, GIOVANNI BATTISTA PERGOLSEI (1710-1736): Sinfonia in D from Lo frate 'nnamurato, NICOLA FIORENZA (d.1764): Sinfonia in A Minor, ANTONIO SACCHINI (1730-1786): Sinfonia in D, NICCOLÒ PICCINNI (1728-1800): Sinfonia in D, PASQUALE ANFOSSI (1727-1797): Sinfonia Venezia, PIETRO GUGLIEMI (1728-1804): Sinfonia in G, DOMENICO CIMAROSA (1749-1801): Sinfonia concertante for 2 Flutes and Orchestra. This collection of classical Neapolitan symphonies contains world premiere recordings of all but the Cimarosa and Pergolesi pieces. Except for the Cimarosa, these are short pieces, mostly in three movements, showing the same style one finds in Mozart's earliest Italianate sinfonias. Most of these composers are mere names in encyclopedias, making this disc is a valuable collector's item. Orchestra da camera di Napoli; Enzo Amato. Antes Concerto BM-CD 981042 (Germany) 08A029 $16.98

MUZIO CLEMENTI (1752-1832): Complete Piano Works, Vol. 11 - Sonata in C, Op. 34/1, Sonata in G Minor, Op. 34/2, Capriccio in A, Op. 34/3, Capriccio in F, Op. 34/4. The two 1795 sonatas are large-scale works in every way - the G Minor of almost symphonic proportions; the Capricii are very free fantasies, unlike the earlier works of this title which are more like virtuosic potpourris. Pietro Spada (piano). Arts 47233 (Germany) 08A030 $10.98

CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH (1714-1788): Keyboard Sonatas in G, Wq. 65/22, in A, Wq. 65/37, in A, Wq. 70/1, in B Flat, Wq. 62/6, in E Minor, Wq. 65/30 and in G, Wq. 65/48, Rondo in E Flat, Wq. 61/1. Dating from 1748-1786, this collection of sonatas spans Bach's styles from early Empfindsamkeit to high classicism, making for a valuable overview of his remarkably fecund keyboard uvre. François Chaplin (piano). Naxos 8.553640 (Hong Kong) 08A031 $5.98

FERDINAND RIES (1784-1838): Clarinet Trio, Op. 28, LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827): Clarinet Trio, Op. 38 (after the Septet, Op. 20). Ries was a brilliant pianist and it shows in this vivacious trio which also gives much delightful melody to clarinet and (in the adagio) to the cello. It is late Classical in style and a perfect discmate for Beethoven's 1803 arrangment of his extremely popular 1799 Septet. Jürgen Demmler (clarinet), Markus Tillier (cello), Peter Grabinger (piano). Naxos 8.553389 (Hong Kong) 08A032 $5.98

CHRISTOPH SCHAFFRATH (1709-1763): Overtures in A and A Minor, Symphony No. 12 in G Minor, Flute Concerto in E Minor, Harpsichord Concerto in E Flat. Schaffrath was harpsichordist at the court of Frederick the Great but, unlike his illustrious colleagues Quantz and C.P.E. Bach, he did not embrace the North German style of Empfindsamkeit. His orchestral works are in the less emotional style of Hasse and the concertos follow Vivaldian formal methods allied to galant features. Konrad Hünteler (flute), Armin Thalheim (harpsichord), Handel Festival Orchestra of the Halle Opera House; Howard Arman. New Classical Adventure MA 96 04 818 (Germany) 08A033 $16.98

JOHANN LUDWIG KREBS (1713-1780): 4 Sonata da camera per il cembalo obligato con flauto traverso. A Bach student and scholar, Krebs keeps the master's memory alive in these flute sonatas modeled on Bach's flute and violin sonatas with obbligato harpsichord. In multiple movements (5-7 here), these elegant works combine Baroque counterpoint with the gracious melodic style of early Classicsim. Ildikó Kertész (flute), Geoffrey Thomas (harpsichord). New Classical Adventure MA 95 05 809 (Germany) 08A034 $16.98

SIGISMUND NEUKOMM (1788-1858): Clarinet Quintet in B Flat, Op. 8, CARL MARIA VON WEBER (1786-1826): Clarinet Quintet in B Flat, Op. 34. Neukomm was a confidant and helpmate of Haydn's during the composer's last years and, though he lived into the second half of the 19th century, Haydn and Mozart remained the basis for his own compositions (1265 of which exist in the composer's own work-list!). This clarinet quartet is a fine example, dating from c.1808, whose perfectly shaped Classicism is thrown into contrast by its discmate's intimations of wild Romanticism. Eric Hoeprich (clarinet), Les Adieux. New Classical Adventure MA 95 03 804 (Germany) 08A035 $16.98

NICCOLO PICCINI (1728-1800): Overture to La Buona Figliuola, IGNAZ PLEYEL (1757-1831): Sonatinas in C, D, F and A, ERNST EICHNER (1740-1777): Sonata in A, Op. 3/1, MUZIO CLEMENTI (1752-1832): Sonatinas in G, Op. 36/2, in C, Op. 36/3 and in G, Op. 36/5, FRANZ JOSEPH HAYDN (1732-1809): Sonata in D, Hob. XVI/4, Sonata in C, Hob. XVI/1. This recital of late Classical piano pieces has been taken direct from Jane Austen's own collection - a delightful idea realized on two pianos (one of which, an 1807 Stodart square piano, is identical to one owned and played by the author herself). Better yet is the repertoire, much of which is new to the catalogue, especially Pleyel's sparkling little salon pieces. Martin Souter (fortepiano). Isis 024 (England) 08A036 $16.98

ANDREA ZANI (1696-1757): 5 Concerti da chiesa, Op. 2. Zani appears to be an interesting discovery: apparently having been acquainted with Vivaldi in 1718-20, he produced a series of works remarkably Vivaldian in form and idiom. These concertos (with a part for solo violin) date from 1729 and have expressive, cantabile slow movements sandwiched between technically difficult allegros, all concocted with a great harmonic richness and refinement. Compagnia de' Musici; Alessandro Ciccolini (violin). Symphonia SY 98158 (Spain) 08A037 $18.98

JOSEPH BODIN DE BOISMORTIER (1689-1755): Concerto à 5, Op. 37, Sonate V, Op. 34, Troisième Sonate, Sonate II, Op. 34, Sonate VI, Op. 34, ANTOINE DORNEL (1680-1756): Première Suite en Trio, Sonate en quatuor, Deuxième Concert. Boismortier's facility at composition produced a huge number of works in all genres but he showed a marked propensity toward wind instruments and these works make use of recorders, flute and oboes in his typically clear, pleasant and graceful style. Dornel's works reflect his academic background as a renowned contrpuntalist. Tripla Concordia. Dynamic CDS 198 (Italy) 08A038 $16.98

GIOVANNI BATTISTA VIOTTI (1755-1824): Violin Sonatas, Vol. 3 - Sonata No. 3, Book 2 in B Flat, Sonata No. 4, Book 2 in E, Sonata No. 4, Book 2 in G, Sonata No. 6, Book 2 in C Minor. The final volume in this series of Viotti's polished and formally balanced sonatas contains more works from 1789 in the composer's characteristic blend of virtuosity and lyricism. Felix Ayo (violin), Corrado de Bernart (piano). Dynamic S 2004 (Italy) 08A039 $13.98

JOHANN PHILIPP KRIEGER (1649-1725): Arias from Flora, Ceres und Pomona, Der grossmütige Scipio, Cecrops mit seinen drey Töchtern, Cepahlus und Procris, Die wiederkehrenden Phöbus and Der wahrsagende Wunderbrunnen. Krieger wrot e 18 operas (all of which are lost); the only surviving fragments are two published collections of arias. There is no Italian influence in these arias; they are strophic, with simple harmonies and rhythms. Interspersed with movements from instrumental works, they form a window onto a little-known area of German opera. German texts. Mona Spägele (soprano), Wilfried Jochens (tenor), Wolf Matthias Friedrich (bass), Lautten Companey; Wolfgang Katschner. New Classical Adventure MA 96 02 816 (Germany) 08A040 $16.98

GEORG PHILIPP TELEMANN (1681-1767): Matthäuspassion 1754, TWV 5:53. Telemann wrote 46 passions - one per year from 1722-67 - more than half of which are lost. This Matthew Passion was only discovered in the mid-1980s when it was also discovered that the work was written not for Hamburg but for Danzig, explaining the unusual construction: 34 chorales inserted into the Gospel text and no arias. The result is a terse, highly personal account laid out in simple, straightforward fashion. German texts. Martin Klietmann (tenor), Klaus Mertens (bass), "cantamus" Chamber Choir Halle, Cappella Savaria; Pál Németh. New Classical Adventure MA 905 03 806 (Germany) 08A041 $16.98

DOMENICO CIMAROSA (1749-1801): L'Italiana in Londra. This 1779 melodramma giocoso has a frothy plot concerning the conflict between filial obligations and freedom of choice whose melodies exude lightness, verve and humor. Cimarosa was a central figure in comic opera during the period and his freshness and vigor set him apart from his Italian contemporaries. This release - only the fifth opera by Cimarosa currently in the catalogues - testifies amply to these qualities. 2 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Patrizia Orciani (soprano), Maurizio Comencini (tenor), Armando Ariostini (baritone), Bruno Praticò (bass), Piacenza Symphony Orchestra; Carlo Rizzi. Bongiovanni GB 2040/41 (Italy) 08A042 $33.98

FRANÇOIS RENÉ GEBAUER (1773-1845): Wind Quintet No. 3 in C Minor, ANTONIN REICHA (1770-1836): Wind Quintet in C, Op. 91/1. Gebauer was one of five talented brothers; he was a bassoonist himself (and wrote 13 concertos for his instrument). Whereas Reicha's many quintets can seem like symphonies in transcription, Gebauer's three quintets (from the 1820s) are in concertante style with plenty of opportunites for virtuoso display and unexpected tonal colors and instrumental combinations. Performed on period instruments. Das Reicha'sche Quintett. New Classical Adventure MA 95 03 805 (Germany) 08A043 $16.98

DAVID MORTIZ MICHAEL (1751-1827): By a Spring (Suiten bey einer Quelle zu blasen), Parthias 3-5. Michael was another of the musically gifted amateur members of the Moravian community centered in Bethlehem, PA which produced such a large body of music (mostly religious) from 1760-1840. These compositions were the finest being produced by Americans at that time and their craftsmanship and musicality were high. Michael wrote By a Spring probably in 1810 - outdoor music (for Whitmonday celebrations on the banks of the Lehigh River) in the same vein as the serenades and parthias which were played throughout Europe at outdoor events by wind bands. Scored for pairs of clarinets, horns and bassoons with contrabass, all these works here are full of lively charm and beauty. Performed on period instruments. Pacific Classical Winds. New World 80531 (U.S.A.) 08A044 $16.98

The Marco Polo LUMBYE Edition begins

HANS CHRISTIAN LUMBYE (1810-1874): Salute to August Bournonville, Queen Louise Waltz, (Berlin) Vauxhall Polka, King Christian IX'a March-Past, Copenhagen Steam Railway Galop, A Summer Night at the Møn Cliffs, Cæcilie Waltz, Columbine Polka-Mazurka, Britta Polka, Cannon Galop, Amélie Waltz, Dagmar Polka, Deborah Polka-Mazurka, Artist Dreams, Otto Allin's Drum Polka, Champagne Galop. Marco Polo embark on another massive project: this time the complete orchestral works of the "Nordic Strauss", only a fraction of whose compositions have ever been recorded. From 1843 to 1872, Lumbye directed the orchestra at the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, founding the traditions kept alive by the orchestra on this recording and made concert tours throughout Europe where he was applauded everywhere as a worthy rival to the Viennese Strausses. Tivoli Symphony Orchestra; Giordano Bellincampi. Marco Polo 8.223743 (Hong Kong) 08A045 $14.98

JACOB GADE (1879-1963): Jalousie - Tango Tsigane, Leda and the Swan - Legende d'amour, Suite d'amour, Rhapsodietta, Romanesca - Tango, Wedding at Himmelpind - Rustic Suite, Valse Capriccio, Copenhagen Life - Waltz, Douces Secrets - Valse lente. Gade is known widely for his tango Jalousie which opens this disc and has been performed around the world in every imaginable arrangement. As a violinist, Gade played in many entertainment and dance bands (and even spent two years with the predecessor of the New York Philharmonic in 1919-20) but what he really wanted to do was to compose waltzes, tangos and other popular dance forms of the period. This he did with originality, verve and great success throughout the 20s and 30s. In addition, he wrote much light classical music; both genres are represented here, the latter particularly memorably in Wedding at Himmelpind (1937) and Leda and the Swan (1939). Bjarne Hansen (violin), Odense Symphony Orchestra; Matthias Aeschbacher. Marco Polo/Dacapo 8.224090 (Denmark) 08A046 $14.98

BERNARD HERRMANN (1911-1975): Garden of Evil - Complete Film Score, Prince of Players - Suite. One doesn't associate Bernard Herrmann with Westerns; in fact, this 1954 recycling of The Treasure of Sierra Madre was his only score for this genre. Long sought-after by film score collectors, the score is recorded here complete (including cues which were left out of the final film), lasting just over 52 minutes. Herrmann's trademark restless intensity is ever-present; some cues seem right out of a Hitchcock suspense thriller, others transform stereotypical "Western music" in quite original ways (also, look for the appearance of the Dies irae - what contemporary film composer would even know how, much less dare, to do something like this?). The coupling is an eleven-minute suite, also from 1954, of the Edwin Booth biography Prince of Players - a fine, characteristic score from a film which was a dismal failure. Moscow Symphony Orchestra; William T. Stromberg. Marco Polo 8.223841 (Hong Kong) 08A047 $14.98

MICHAEL EASTON (b.1954): Concerto on Australian Themes, An Australian in Paris, Beasts of the Bush, Concerto for Piano Accordion, Piano and Strings, Overture to an Italiante Comedy. A brief look at the preceding titles will give one pause: is this guy serious or does he have a sense of humor? Well, he has a sense of humor: Easton is actually English (which may have helped here...), only resident in Australia where this collection of pieces demonstrates his ability to walk the fine line between classical and light music. The Concerto on Australian Themes uses three (Botany Bay, Click go the Shears (!) and the expected Waltzing Matilda) in a vivacious 19-minute work which, near the end of the final movement, takes a phrase from the sheep-shearing tune and, in a flash, metamorphoses it into the Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde! Easton has a predilection towards the French school, particularly Milhaud, Poulenc and Ravel, and this comes to the fore in the Carnival of the Animals-like Beasts of the Bush - an ecological sermon in which Australian fauna teach pretentious yuppies a lesson - as well as the brief nod to Gershwin and the Overture. Finally, the accordion has never seemed so apt a partner in a concerto as it does here. Tons o' shameless fun and we'll resist cheap beer, Outback car and steakhouse jokes. Margaret Haggart (soprano), Len Vorster (piano), Bernadette Conlon (piano accordion), State Orchestra of Victoria; Brett Kelly. Naxos 8.554368 (Hong Kong) 08A048 $5.98

GANG CHEN & ZHANHAO HE: The Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto, XIAOGU ZHU: Love in Spring, XIAOGU ZHU & XIAOFENG ZHANG: Parting of the Newly Wedded, (Arr.) HUICHANG YAN: Street Musician. Nishizaki's fifth (!) recording of the Butterfly Lovers concerto appears in Naxos' "Romantic Violin Concerto" series and, yes, this is Romantic music, even if it's Chinese music channeled through Western compositional techniques. Written by two students at the Shanghai Conservatory in 1959, this concerto uses melodies from the opera of Shanghai and Western orchestral media to tell a tale of two ill-fated lovers who are united in death, as butterflies. Love in Spring, written for Nishizaki, is a poignant, tender and sensuous treatement of traditional Chinese melodies; Parting of the Newly Wedded is a 1980 tone-poem in three sections based on a Tang Dynasty poem while Street Musician is based on a traditional folk art form from Hunan and Tianmen which depicts the bitter and wretched life of folk musicians. Definitely not the same old stuff, even for those who already have a recording of the concerto! Takako Nishizaki (violin), Shanghai Conservatory Symphony Orchestra; Fan Chengwu. Naxos 8.554334 (Hong Kong) 08A049 $5.98

LOU HARRISON (b.1917): Concerto for Violin with Percussion Orchestra, Canticle No. 1, Suite for Percussion, Canticle No.3 for Ocarina, Guitar and Percussion, Fugue for Percussion, Song of Quetzalcoatl, Concerto in Slendro for Violin, Celesta, 2 Tack Pianos and Percussion. The 1959 concerto features a soloist who plays only three melodic intervals throughout over the backdrop of more odd percussion instruments than you can shake a stick at (whack with a stick?); the Concerto in Slendro (1961) adds two tack pianos to the gamelan-imitating mixture. These two works embrace the remaining five: all for ensembles of both usual and highly unusual percussion instruments (the guitar in Canticle 3 adding a Hispanic mode to the colorful goings-on). Enrico Balboni (violin), Támmittam Percussion Ensemble; Guido Facchin. Dynamic CDS 221 (Italy) 08A050 $16.98

JOAQUIN TURINA (1882-1949): Complete Piano Works, Vol. 6 - Rincones sevillanos, Op. 5, La procesión del rocío, Op. 9, Sinfonia sevillana, Op. 23, El barrio de Santa Cruz, Op. 33. Volume six in Moraleda's Turina series deals solely with Seville: the op. 5 of 1911 evokes four aspects of life in that city and El barrio de Santa Cruz (1925) which consists of seven variations on an original theme. Adding to the completeness of this series are the composer's piano transcriptions of two of his rare orchestral pieces. Antonio Soria (piano). Moraleda 6406 (Spain) 08A051 $16.98

MANUEL DE FALLA (1876-1946): Suite popularire espagnole (transcr. for violin & piano by Paul Kochanski), Dance of the Corregidor from El Sombrero de tres picos (transcr. for harp by David Watkins), 2 Dances from El Amor Brujo (transcr. for cello and piano by Charles Schiff), Concerto for Harpsichord, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Violin and Cello, Mazurka, Serenata, Canción (for Piano), Psyché for Soprano, Flute, Harp and String Trio, Homage to Claude Debussy for Guitar, Soneto a Córdoba for Soprano and Harp. The familiar sits cheek-by-jowl with the unusual in this program of transcriptions and original works by Falla, all combining to provide a satisfying recital which more than does justice to the composer's originality. The Schirmer Ensemble; Brett Kelly. Naxos 8.554366 (Hong Kong) 08A052 $5.98

RUGGERO LEONCAVALLO (1857-1919): Piano Works, Vol. 2 - Flirt-Walzer, Sérénade, Dolce notte, Chanson d'Amour, Notturno, Nights of Italy, Primo bacio, Sarabande, Gagliarda, Minuetto, Tema di Marcia Trionfale per l'eroica armata italiana di Tripoli, Brise de mer, Barcarola veneziana, Spanish Album - Airs de ballets espagnols, Invocation à la Muse, Marche Yankée. The two Italian labels doing battle over the Leoncavallo piano works are so far being complementary in their programming: only three items here were included in last month's Dynamic release and it is good to have more of the these evocative, crisp and bright salon-style pieces. Marco Sollini (piano). Bongiovanni GB 5599 (Italy) 08A053 $16.98

GUSTAV HOLST (1874-1934): The Planets, Op. 32, Ballet from The Perfect Fool, Op. 39. Why bother, you might ask? "The grinding dissonances of 'Mars' sound even more menacing and avant garde... the cool beauty of 'Venus' is utterly captivating on two pianos...most astonishing of all is how Holst has managed to suggest the off-stage voices of 'Neptune'...'Mercury" sounds Debussian..."(from a Gramophone review of an older, 1990, recording of this version of The Planets). These are Holst's own versions and, as with Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, they are as important an alternative as the orchestral versions. Len Vorster, Robert Chamberlain (pianos). Naxos 8.554369 (Hong Kong) 08A054 $5.98

FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886): Complete Piano Works, Vol. 51 - Paralipomènes à la Divina Commedia, S158a, Sposalizio, S157a, Grand Solo de concert, S175a, Élégie pour piano seul, S534i, Romance oubliée, S527bis, Prolégomènes à la Divina Commedia, S158b, Präludium und Fuge über das Motiv B-a-c-h, S529i, Weihnachtsbaum, S185a, À la chapelle Sixtine - Miserere d"allegri et Ave verum de Mozart, S461i, Ungarische National-Melodien (Im leichten Style bearbeitet), S243bis, Ungarische National-Melodie, S242/13bis, Après une lecture du Dante - Fantasia quasi Sonata, S158c. Seven of the twelve items here have been prepared from unpublished manuscripts by Howard and the other five are first recordings as Hyperion delves deep into Liszt's first thoughts and second drafts. Included are the original two-movement Dante Sonata as well as its second and third versions. This is where the obsessive quality of scholarship and record collecting intersect in a mutually beneficial way! 2 CDs. Leslie Howard (piano). Hyperion CDA 67233/4 (England) 08A055 $35.98

SERGEI RACHMANINOV (1873-1943): Transcriptions and Arragements - The Star-Spangled Banner, BACH: Prelude, Gavotte & Gigue, SCHUBERT: Wohin, MENDELSSOHN: Scherzo from A Midsummer Night's Dream, LISZT: Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, MUSSORGSKY: Gopak, RIMSKY-KORSAKOV: Flight of the Bumble-bee, TCHAIKOVSKY: Lullaby, RACHMANINOV: Daisies, Lilacs, Dance of the Young Gypsy Maidens from Aleko, KREISLER: Liebesleid, Liebesfreud, FRANZ BEHR: Polka W.R. As a pianist, Rachmaninov kept up with his competition in the highly popular transcriptions which spiced up the recitals of those times but present-day record companies have not concentrated on his art of transcription. Now, Biret offers a fascinating collection of Rachmaninov's transcriptions, showing how music from the baroque to the late romantic can be transformed when filtered through the intelligence and unique temperament of one of history's finest pianists. Idil Biret (piano). Naxos 8.550978 (Hong Kong) 08A056 $5.98

WILHELM STENHAMMAR (1871-1927): 3 Fantasies, Op. 11, Late-Summer Nights, Op. 33, Impromptu in G Flat, 3 Small Piano Pieces, Sonata No. 4 in G Minor. Stenhammar's 1890 sonata, his first mature such piece, is a big-boned, Brahmsian piece with some of the vitality of his Excelsior! overture; the Late-Summer Nights date from 1914, the period of the second symphony, and contain five richly romantic evocations. Niklas Sivelöv (piano). Naxos 8.553730 (Hong Kong) 08A057 $5.98

FRANZ SCHUBERT (1797-1828): Schubert Edition, Vol. 31 - Die Allmacht, D875A, Hagars Klage, D5, Dem Unendlichen, D291, Himmelsfunken, D651, Des Mädchens Klage, D6, Im Abendrot, D799, Die Gestirne, D444, Der 13. Psalm, D663, Der 23.Psalm, D706, Der 92. Psalm, D953, Mirjams Siegesgesang, D942. After a significant hiatus, this marvellous series continues with several songs which add a chorus to the soloist. Christine Brewer (soprano), Holst Singers, Graham Johnson. Hyperion CDJ 33031 (England) 08A058 $17.98

OTHMAR SCHOECK (1886-1957): Elegie, Op. 36 for Baritone and Chamber Ensemble. Schoeck's eclipse is all the more unbelievable when one hears a work like this. Dating from 1922-23, it gives the lie to those who characterise him as a mere late Romantic; there is a distinct style here with harmonies of uneasy and quasi-expressionist bent. The cycle contains 24 poems, 18 by Lenau and 6 by Eichendorff, which deal with themes of love, memory, sorrow, melancholy and loneliness and which form a subdued lament which can stand as an elegy not only on the subtext - Schoeck's unrequited love for a young pianist - but also for a style, musical language and way of life that had been destroyed forever by World War I and its aftermath. German texts. Klaus Mertens (baritone), Mutare Ensemble; Gerhard Müller-Hornbach. New Classical Adventure MA 95 04 808 (Germany) 08A059 $16.98

PANTCHO VLADIGEROV (1899-1978): Nocturno, Op. 59/4, Prelude, Op. 15/1, Perpetuum mobile, Op. 59/5, Andantine from Sonatina concertante, Op. 28, Rhythmic Movement, Op. 37/6, Autumn Elegy, Op. 15/2, Rhapsody "Vardar", Op. 16, Chant, Op. 25/1, ALEXANDER VLADIGEROV (1933-1994): Variations on "Dilmano, Dilbero", Op. 2. The father of the modern Bulgarian composing school, Vladigerov's compositional style combines colorufl melodic and rhythmic patterns, often derived from native folk songs, with stark modern harmonies, embodying the flavors and colors of Eastern European, Arabic and Greek music. His fast pieces require an electrifying technique and show dazzling energy and spirit and the slow pieces a meditative mood and elegiac pensiveness. Vladigerov's son, Alexander's 1955 variations on a Bulgarian folk-tune show a similar impetuous bravura, exotic lyricsm and dramatic intensity. Krassimira Jordan (piano). Albany TROY 296 (U.S.A.) 08A060 $16.98

JACOB AVSHALOMOV (b.1919): City Upon a Hill, Inscriptions at the City of Brass, Symphony: The Oregon, Up at Timberline: "The Action". City Upon a Hill is a 1965 setting of John F. Kennedy's speech of the same name and Inscriptions is 1956 setting of the 339th of Sheherezade's Tales of 1001 Nights. Both use Avsholomov's personal, oriental-sounding scales but whereas the former retains an identifiably American celebratory formality, the latter makes use of a richly enhanced percussion section to underline its exotic nature (its first reviewer, in the New York Herald-Tribune, said he "expected Fu Manchu to appear any minute"). The Oregon Symphony consists here of its final two movements (the composer withdrew the first two), dates from 1960-62, containing a mystically tinged representation of the rose - the emblem of the city of Portland, and a brilliant evocation of the city gleaming in the sun after a rain. Gov. Tom Lawson McCall (speaker), Choruses from University of Oregon, Lewis & Clark College, Portland State University and Oregon State University, Mara Stahl (narrator), Portland Youth Philharmonic; Jacob Avshalomov. Albany TROY 296 (U.S.A.) 08A061 $16.98

MARION BAUER (1897-1955): From the New Hampshire Woods, Op. 12, Turbulence, Op. 17/2, Viola Sonata, Op. 22, 4 Piano Pieces, Op. 21, RUTH CRAWFORD SEEGER (1901-1953): Kaleidoscopic Changes on an Original Theme Ending with a Fugue, Selections from 19 American Folk Songs for Piano, Suite No. 2 for Four Strings and Piano. Bauer's works are issued on CD for the first time, from Northeastern LPs of the early 1980s. The impressionism of the op. 12 pieces is transmuted into a Scriabinesque atonality in Turbulence (1924) while the four pieces of op. 21 (1930) explore bitonality, chromatic saturation and synthetic chords. The 1932 viola sonata is slightly more conservative, its rhythmic language evoking American popular music. New recordings of new Seeger: the Kaleidoscopic Changes are a student work of 1924, full of jazzy and bluesy influences with striking dissonances and bold harmonies. The Suite was written in 1929, under the influence of the musical esthetics of Scriabin, Dane Rudhyar and Henry Cowell. In the late 1930s, she arranged a group of American folk-songs in an interesting rapprochement between modernist idioms and oral tradition. Virginia Eskin (piano), Arnold Steinhardt (viola), Charleston String Quartet. Albany TROY 297 (U.S.A.) 08A062 $16.98

MORTON GOULD (1913-1996): Pieces of China, DAVID DIAMOND (b.1915): Sonatina No. 1, Sonatina No. 2 , ERNST BLOCH (1880-1959): Poems of the Sea, VINCENT PERSICHETTI (1915-1987): Poems for Piano, Vol. 1, Op. 4, Poems for Piano, Vol. 2, Op. 5, Poems for Piano, Vol. 3, Op. 14. This collection of 20th century American piano music is new to the current catalogues. Gould's 1985 pieces reflect an American's view of China rather than any use of Chinese idioms or melodies; Diamond's two brief sonatinas (1935 & 1987) are neo-classical gems; Bloch's Poems of the Sea has been recorded in its symphonic format but in the piano version, their Impressionist influence is clearer still. Persichetti is known mostly for his wind music, making these three sets of Poems a valuable item to own. Dating from the late 1940s, they are suggested each by the first line of a poem; Persichetti's style juxtaposes a wide diversity of emotional states in a tightly woven musical structure permeated by color, rhythm and lyricism. Mirian Conti (piano). Albany TROY 299 (U.S.A.) 08A063 $16.98

NED ROREM (b.1923): Trio for Flute, Cello and Piano, GEORGE CRUMB (b.1929): Vox balaenae, BOHUSLAV MARTINU (1890-1959): Trio for Flute, Cello and Piano. Crumb's 1971 Voice of the Whale shows his ability to create unique soundscapes at its most haunting, evoking the sounds of exotic percussion using only flute, cello, piano and amplification. Its odd discmates are Martinu's neo-classical, divertimento-like trio from 1944 which incorporates elements of Czech folk modalities; and Rorem's atonal 1960 trio which is based on the metamorphosis of a single motive throughout its four brief movements. shawnigan-trio. Antes Edition BM-CD 31.9045 (Germany) 08A064 $16.98

ROBIN HOLLOWAY (b.1943): Serenade in C, Fantasy-Pieces on the Heine "Liederkreis" of Schumann. Holloway's Serenade, written for the same forces as Schubert's Octet, pays affectionate homage to the classical tradition while using enough recognisable 20th-century material and styles in passing that nobody would mistake it for a "real" classical-romantic era work. The Fantasy-pieces arose out of Holloway's long-term preoccupation with Schumann's songs, and form an ingenious 20th-century instrumental commentary on Schumann's Liederkreis, included in its entirety on this CD, framed by Holloway's Praeludium and the remaining pieces in his commentary. Fragments from the Liederkreis songs, and other Schumann works, flit around in an ethereal dreamscape which forms an entirely apposite and telling accompaniment to the Schumann cycle. Toby Spence (tenor), Ian Brown (piano), The Nash Ensemble; Martyn Brabbins. Hyperion CDA 66930 (England) 08A065 $17.98

COLIN MATTHEWS (b.1946): The Great Journey, Fuga, The Night's Mask. The Great Journey tells the story of a sixteenth-century tragedy that befell one Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca, who was part of an unsuccessful attempt at Spanish colonialization of Florida. Using musical material based on that of the earliest known Mexican composer, Fernando Franco, and with a quasi-minimalist propulsiveness and massiveness and harmonic complexity typical of British 20th-century composition, the work develops a compelling narrative thrust. Fuga is adapted from the section "Flight" of The Great Journey, and Night's Mask is an extended setting of a sonnet by the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa, in a wispy, harmonically ambiguous style. David Wilson-Johnson (baritone), Patrizia Kwella (soprano), The Nash Ensemble; Lionel Friend. NMC D033 (England) 08A066 $17.98

JOHN MAXWELL ANDERSON: String Quartet (1997), Piano Trio (1997), Violin Sonata (1998). These three recent chamber works are striking and characterful. The composer's vocabulary is tonal, and an affinity with Shostakovich is evident; the music is passionate and dramatic, expressing strong emotional content through expert exploitation of the possibilities of the chamber forces used. The Piano Trio, always a highly satisfactory instrumental combination, here achieves a strength and unity of dramatic purpose which quite belies the work's modest scale and instrumental forces. Private Recording. (U.S.A.) 08A067 $12.98

GUUS JANSSEN (b.1951): Streepjes (2nd String Quartet), Voetnoot for Solo Piccolo, Veranderingen for 2 Pianos, Temet for Flute, Violin, Cello and Harp, Octet for Winds, Klotz for Violin and Ensemble. This music is concise, almost laconic in expression, yet within its very economical means, highly concentrated and full of content. The most extended work "Changes" for 2 pianos, runs the kaleidoscopic gamut of styles, sometimes jazzy and humorous, sometimes serious and obviously derived from Boulez or Stravinsky; sometimes epic and harmonically rich, recalling Messiaen. Another comparison worth making is with Louis Andriessen, more in terms of instrumental textures in the ensemble pieces than actual compositional devices. A wide-ranging and fascinating composer, well worth investigating. Mondrian String Quartet, Eleonore Pameijer (piccolo), Gerard Bouwhuis & Cees van Zeeland (piano duo), Gijsbrecht van Aemstel Quartet, Netherlands Wind Ensemble; Geert van Keulen, Marleen Asberg (violin), Ebony Band; Werner Herbers. Donemus CV 61 (U.S.A.) 08A068 $18.98

BRETT DEAN: One of a Kind - Music for Nederlands Dans Theater. This is contemporary dance music, which probably makes a quite different impression with accompanying stage action from the effect of the CD. Here we have a kind of ambient music, full of string harmonics and sampled sounds (including David Hykes, Gesualdo, Cage and Britten), from which a solo cello line emerges like the protagonist in an unseen drama. Not everything here is meditative and reposeful; the action is punctuated by episodes of a kind of tribal percussion which add energy to the misty landscape. Intriguing and effective stuff. Peter Wisplewey (cello), Brett Dean (viola, sampler), Simon Hunt (sampler), Michael Askill (percussion), Stefan de Leval Jezeriski (horn), Members of the Nederlands Kamerkoor, RIAS Kammerchor; Brett Dean. Channel Classics Channel Crossings CCS 12898 (Netherlands) 08A069 $17.98

SYLVANO BUSSOTTI (b.1931): Il Preludio, Pour Clavier, Bartok-Busoni, Caprice des 34 Mikrokosmos, Brillante, Sonatina Gioacchina, Musica per amici, Petit bis. Bussotti's piano works typify this multifaceted composer's range, and range of inspiration. Like the graphic art they so closely resemble (and in some cases, actually are) his scores create a dialog with the performer, and by extension, with the listener; All of these piano works thus become not only accomplished and dynamic music in the most advanced modern idiom, but also a commentary on the act of composing for and performing on the piano, and an invitation for the listener to be drawn into a kind of "living theatre". Martine Joste (piano). Mode 65 (U.S.A.) 08A070 $16.98

MORTON FELDMAN (1926-1987): Trio (1980). Trio was one of the first of Feldman's late pieces which were characterized by extraordinarily long duration in which he developed a completely new way of dealing with the phenomenon of time. Lasting 89 minutes in this performance, Trio moves entirely in the dynamic range ppp-ppppp except for one short piano fff chord, as if reminding us of the world outside this mesmerizing exercise in pianissimo. 2 CDs. Special price. Kristina Radcke (violin), Adelheid Schloemann (cello), Albert Breier (piano). New Classical Adventure MA 96 12 824 (Germany) 08A071 $25.98

SIEGFRIED MATTHUS (b.1934): Judith. Matthus is probably the finest dramatic composer of his East German generation. He took Friedrich Hebbel's 1840 drama Judith as his basis for his own libretto for this highly dramatic, vividly realized tale of Judith's deception and murder of the Babylonian Holofernes who was besieging her city, Betulia. There is a filmic quality to the work as it moves smoothly from one tableau to the next, zooming in on arias and duets, zooming out for barbarous musical depictions of the Babylonian camp or the terrified citizens of Betulia. Matthus' instrumental timbres range from impressonistic waves of woodwinds and strings to brutal, percussion-laden outbursts by orchestra and choir, painting a vivid and gripping tale, easily followed through the English synopsis. 2 CDs. German libretto, English synopsis. Eva-Maria Bundschuh (soprano), Werner Haseleu (baritone), Chorus of the Berlin Comic Opera, Men's Choir of the Berlin Radio Choir, Orchestra of the Berlin Comic Opera; Rolf Reuter. Berlin Classics 9339 (Germany) 08A072 $21.98

PAUL HINDEMITH (1895-1963): Concerto for Trumpet, Bassoon and Strings, HENRI SAUGUET (1901-1989): Non morietur in aeternum for Trumpet and Organ, BERND FRANKE (b.1959): Chagall-Impressionen for Trumpet and Brass Ensemble, SIEGFRIED THIELE (b.1934): Music for Organ and Trumpet, REINER BREDEMEYER (b.1929): DiAs (+-) for Trumpet and Oboe, SIEGFRIED MATTHUS (b.1934): Concerto for Trumpet, Timpani and Orchestra. This collection of contemporary trumpet music ranges from Hindemith's neo-classical concerto of 1949 to Matthus' highly dramatic work commissioned for the centenary of the Berlin Philharmonic in which the trumpet and timpani compete with each other over five movements, the former supported by eleven brass instruments, the latter by two percussion ensembles with the strings in the middle. Sauget's work is a touching memorial to Jolivet and Thiele's an urgent, austere work with Bachian counterpoint. Bredemeyer uses the two dissimilar instruments in a technique not unlike that of Scelsi, both playing the note a in various manners at the same time. Ludwig Güttler (trumpet), Friedrich Kircheis (organ), Burkhard Glaetzner (oboe), Ludwig Güttler Brass Ensemble, Dresden Philharmonic; Herbert Kegel. Berlin Classics 9057 (Germany) 08A073 $10.98

JEAN FRANÇAIX (1912-1997): A huit for Clarinet, Horn, Bassoon, String Quartet and Double Bass, Divertissement for Bassoon and String Quintet, Clarinet Quintet, L'heure du berger for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn and Piano. The gentle, urbane, fresh and engaging music of Françaix is quintessentially Gallic and this collection of works spanning thiry-five years (from the irrepressible Divertissement improbably written in Paris in 1942 under Nazi occupation to the 1977 clarinet quintet - alternately pastoral and graceful and jolly and peppery) is utterly endearing, distinguished by an unerring sense of style and charm. Gaudier Ensemble, Susan Tomes (piano). Hyperion CDA 67036 (England) 08A074 $17.98

DARIUS MILHAUD (1892-1974): 2 Pieces for Viola and Piano (arr. Lévy from Saudades do Brasil), Viola Sonata No. 1, Op. 240, Viola Sonata No. 2, Op. 244, Sonatine for Viola and Cello, Op. 378, Sonatine for Violin and Viola, Op. 226, Suite for Violin, Viola and Piano, Op. 157b, 4 Visages for Viola and Piano, Op. 238. The two sonatas and the op. 226 sonatine date from 1941 and 1944 and Milhaud's years at Mills College in Oakland, the first sonata playing at Baroque styles and the second a more dramatic, wide-ranging piece. The 1936 Suite mixes post-Brazilian swing with Provençal glee while the 4 Visages (also from 1944 and California) wittily describes four women: from California, Wisconsin, Brussells and Paris. Another delightful collection from this prodigiously fertile composer. Paul Cortese (viola), Michel Wagemans (piano), Joaquín Palomares (violin), Frank Schaffer (cello). ASV DCA 1039 (England) 08A075 $16.98

CARL NIELSEN (1865-1931): Little Suite, Op.1 (arr. Zapolski), String Quartet No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 13, String Quartet No. 4 in F, Op. 44. Still relatively neglected, Nielsen's quartets have much to offer, even if they are predominantly early works. The G Minor (1889) owes much to Brahms and Svendsen with little, if any, mature Nielsen, but is still a fine and enjoyable work nonetheless. The F major work, written at the same time as the opera Maskerade (1906) and shares the same joyful spirit, looking forward in places to the Sinfonia espansiva. Zapolski Quartet. Chandos 9635 (England) 08A076 $16.98

PHILIPPE BOESMANS (b.1936): Violin Concerto, Conversions for Orchestra, Piano Concerto. These three opulent, even extravagant, orchestral works give a very good impression of the post-romantic possibilities of post-Darmstadt orchestral thinking. The two concertos are virtuosic showpieces for their respective soloists, and it is characteristic of Boesmans' style that orchestral textures composed of harmonic material that easily deflects into dissonance, even to the extent of cluster chords, suddenly resolve into romantic gestures of considerable power and magnificence, just when the listener may be suspectiing an unhealthy Darmstadt-like preoccupation with process. Inventive and fascinating, these works will not disappoint. Richard Pieta (violin), Marcelle Mercenier (piano), Liège Philharmonic Orchestra; Pierre Bartholomée. Cyprès 7604 (Belgium) 08A077 $17.98


JOHN PHILIP SOUSA (1854-1932): The Washington Post, FREDERICK ALLEN MILLS (1869-1948): Whistling Rufus, MORTON GOULD (1913-1996): Pavanne, FELIX ARNDT (1889-1918): Nola: A Silhouette, ARTHUR PRYOR (1870-1942): The Whistler and his Dog, LEROY ANDERSON (1908-1975): Belle of the Ball, Plink, Plank, Plunk!, TRADITIONAL: The Arkansas Traveller, JOHN W. BRATTON (1867-1947): The Teddy Bears' Picnic, EDWARD MACDOWELL (1861-1906): To a Wild Rose, ABE HOLZMANN (1874-1939): Blaze Away!, RUDOLF FRIML (1879-1972): Chanson "In Love", "RAYMOND SCOTT" (HARRY WARNOW) (b.1909): The Toy Trumpet, GEORGE GERSHWIN (1898-1937): Promenade, VICTOR HERBERT (1859-1924): The March of the Toys, DAVID ROSE (1910-1990): Holiday for Strings, ETHELBERT NEVIN (1862-1901): Narcissus, DON GILLIS (1912-1978): Symphony No. 5 1/2 "A Symphony for Fun", RICHARD RODGERS (1902-1979): The Carousel Waltz. Fresh from their success with British light music, Hyperion now turn their attention to this side of the Atlantic with predictably successful results. Most everything here is instantly recognizable whether you know its name and composer or not (try Arndt's Lola for example). It's especially nice to welcome back Don Gillis' Symphony No. 5 1/2 - a "Classical Symphony" in four movements: "Perpetual Emotion", "Spiritual?", "Scherzofrenia" and "Conclusion!". The New London Orchestra; Ronald Corp. Hyperion CDA 67067 (England) 08A078 $17.98

MOONSTRUCK - Edwardian Theatre Music

PERCY FLETCHER (1879-1932): 2 Parisian Sketches, HAYDN WOOD (1882-1959): Montmartre, EDWARD GERMAN (1862-1936): O Who Shall Say that Love is Cruel, Nell Gwynn Dances, ERNEST BUCALOSSI (1863-1933): The Grasshoppers' Dance, MONTAGUE PHILLIPS (1885-1969): Sail My Ships, SYDNEY BAYNES (1879-1938): Destiny, LIONEL MONCKTON (1861-1924): Moonstruck, The Pipes of Pan, Soldiers in the Park, IVAN CARYLL (1861-1921): The Pink Lady, HERMAN FINCK (1872-1939): In the Shadows, CHARLES ANCLIFFE (1880-1952): Nights of Gladness. An elegant sampling of the British light music which flourished during the reign of Edward VII (1901-1910) - a style which still owed everything to European traditions rather than to the syncopated American dance styles soon to invade the Home Countries (see below). Everything here reflects the rhythmic style, richness of melody and elegance of orchestration that characterized the light music of the time. Marilyn Hill Smith (soprano), Southern Festival Orchestra; Robin White. Chandos Flyback 2005 (England) 08A079 $16.98


Salon, Theatre and Dance Orchestra Music 1900-40

GILBERT B. HAY: Down Peacock Alley, J. GILBERT & HORATIO NICHOLS: Say a Little Prayer for Me, FRANZ LÉHAR (1870-1948): Gigolette, JULIUS LENZBERG: Haunting Rag, JACOB GADE (1879-1963): Jealousy, WILL DONALDSON: Tell Her at Twilight, ROGER ECKERSLEY: Fire-flies, JACK GLOGAU & ROBERT KING: Fashionette, ARTHUR PRYOR (1870-1942): Coon Band Contest, COLE PORTER (1891-1964): Love for Sale, DAVID COMER: Yankyana, ZDENEK FIBICH (1850-1900): Poem, W.H. MIDDLETON: Down South - American Sketch, MONTAGUE EWING: The Policeman's Holiday, ALWYN GREEN: Vintage Galop, SCOTTO & CHRISTINÉ: La petite tonkinoise. A selection of delightful original arrangements of then-new and daring dances which swept into Edwardian England from the U.S. (foxtrots, tangos, two-steps and waltzes are included), performed by a recreation of the hotel orchestras of England which one might find playing among the Tiffany lamps and potted palms of an ornate Edwardian lobby. The Palm Court Theatre Orchestra; Anthony Godwin. Chandos Flyback 2007 (England) 08A080 $16.98

HANS J. SALTER (1896-1994): Maya - Original Television Soundrack, Horror Rhapsody - Suite incorporating music from Son of Frankenstein, The Mummy's Hand, Black Friday, Man-Made Monster. Salter is best-known for his 1940s Universal horror film scores (some of which have been newly recorded by Marco Polo in their film music series); here is a 1941 recording of a suite from four of them, full of images of fogbound London streets at night, moonlight filtering through graveyards and shadows in the tombs of ancient Egypt (very well-restored sound). Maya was a short-lived TV series about an English boy, his Indian friend and the latter's elephant Maya (cancelled in 1967). Bizarrely, Salter had to compose all the music before any scripts had even been provided! Using research into Hindu music he had done for the 1948 film Man-Eater of Kumaon, Salter produced evocative cues for crowded streets, beast-infested jungles, mysterious doings, nostalgic interludes and chase sequences - all in a style highly reminiscent of his 1940s Universal work. Graunke Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra; Hans J. Salter. Citadel STC 77115 (U.S.A.) 08A081 $14.98

IGOR STRAVINSKY (1882-1971): Pribaoutki for Mezzo-Soprano and 8 Instruments, 3 Easy Pieces for Piano Duet, Suite from L'Histoire du Soldat, Les Cinq Doigts for Piano, Berceuses du Chat for Mezzo-Soprano, Concertino for Piano Duet, 5 Easy Pieces for Piano Duet, 4 Russian Songs for Mezzo-Soprano, Flute, Harp and Guitar. These miniatures were all composed within a seven-year period between 1914 and 1921 during which Stravinsky began to experiment with combining Russian folk music with a more individual harmonic style. Russian-English texts. Ingrid Silveus (mezzo), Len Vorster, Siro Battaglin (piano), The Schirmer Ensemble; Brett Kelly. Naxos 8.554367 (Hong Kong) 08A082 $5.98

ANTI MARGUSTE (b.1931): Fantasy and Fugue, Op. 31, 3 Frescoes (Green, Red & Blue), Op. 65, Oreleelo, Op. 54, Orelend, Op. 57, Oreloits, Op. 53, A Late Tribute to Duke de Croy, Op. 71, Organ Notes for Organ and Orchestra, Op. 37. Marguste's solo organ works have a striking, colorful personality which seems to adopt certain qualities of color and rhythm from Messiaen and Janacek (especially in the Frescoes of 1991, which depict symbolic qualities of colors and whose third "Blue" deals with the vault of heaven and birdsong). The three mid-op. 50 works as well as the Organ Notes are founded on Estonian folk songs (imitations of the Estonian bagpipe in the Notes). Ines Maidre (Rieger Kloss organ of St.Nicholas Church, Tallinn), Rolf Uusväli (organ), Estonian Radio Orchestra; Neeme Järvi. Antes Edition BM-CD 31.9099 (Germany) 08A083 $16.98

PEETER VÄHI (b.1955): 2000 Years after the Birth of Christ. A lesson in historical contrasts in music, this work pits mostly authentic-sounding early music, played on original instruments, against modern commentary on synthesizers and voice - strident interjections and strongly rhythmic passages - at times suggesting the electronic improvisations of Pink Floyd or the British jazz keyboard wizard Django Bates. How does this extraordinary juxtaposition work? It doesn't - and that's the point. Interesting and provocative stuff. Hortus Musicus, The "Bad" Orchestra, Kaia Urb (soprano), Peeter Vähi (keyboards, drum machine, voice). Antes Edition BM-CD 31.9059 (Germany) 08A084 $16.98

MATI KUULBERG (b.1947): Sonata for 2 Pianos, Sonata No. 4 for Solo Violin, Saxophone Quartet, Piano Trio No. 2 "Alla svedese", Concerto for Flute and Orchestra. Kuulberg's musical language draws on an imaginative blend of pronounced rhythm and Estonian folk melodies and ranges from medieval plyphony to aleatory techniques with a particular inclination toward impressionist harmonies. The solo violin sonata is based on ancient Inca folk tunes; the saxophone quartet uses tunes from a small Estonian ethnic group, the Setu; the piano trio incorporates south Swedish folk tunes while the concerto contains, among much else, a waltz. The two-piano sonata is a monumental work exploiting the two instruments to the full and culminating in a four-part fugue. Nata-Ly Sakkos & Toivo Peäske (pianos), Tallinn Trio, Jaan Oun (flute), Estonian Radio Orchestra; Antoine Mitchell. Antes Edition BM-CD 31.9087 (Germany) 08A085 $16.98

JEAN FRANÇAIX (1912-1997): L'Apocalypse selon St. Jean. Those who think of Françaix as, in some way, a superficial composer will be astounded at this masterful oratorio. Completed in 1939 and premiered during the Nazi occupation in 1942, Françaix evokes an atmosphere of miracle and of religious ecstasy in the fluid orchestral colors, sweet cantilenas and choral psalmody of the music of heaven. A second orchestra using electric guitar, accordion and instruments of either very high or very low pitch represents Hell. This is in every way a striking achievement, given deluxe pacakging and supporting documentation by Wergo. French-English texts. Eva Lind (soprano), Waltraud Hoffman-Mucher (alto), Kurt Azesberger (tenor), Robert Holzer (bass), Herbert Bolterauer (organ), J. Jacobi-Kantorei Göttingen, Jeunesse-Chor Linz, Göttingen Symphony Orchestra; Christian Simonis. Wergo 6632 (Germany) 08A086 $19.98

JOSEF SCHELB (1894-1977): Concerto for Bass Clarinet and 10 Soloists, Clarinet Quintet, String Trio, Concerto for English Horn and Strings. Schelb's career spans a good part of our century, and his chosen techniques and vocabulary do too - from early Romanticism, as exemplified in the beautiful and lively bass clarinet chamber concerto, to the tough and economical, yet expressive 12-note methods employed in the 1956 string trio. The clarinet quintet, though densely polyphonic and linear, is still a very approachable work, full of fin-de-siècle shadows (though written halfway through this century). The most recent work, the cor anglais concerto of the composer's old age, is marvellously expressive and surprisingly Romantic in outlook, using the haunting voice of the solo protagonist in music which seems to have transcended the necessity of adherence to any school or doctrine. Anton Hollich (bass clarinet), Southwest German Chamber Ensemble; Roger Epple, Sepp Fackler (clarinet), Bus Quartet, Diego Pagin (violin), Jean-Eric Soucy (viola), Martin Ostertag (cello), Helmut Koch (english horn), Southwest German Chamber Orchestra Pforzheim; Paul Angerer. Antes Edition 31.9080 (Germany) 08A087 $16.98

ALEXANDER BLECHINGER (b.1956): Violin Concerto, Op. 87, Piano Concerto, Op. 35. Blechinger is another young composer who has returned to consonant, approachable music and is the founder of a Vienna group of composers called "Harmonia Classica" dedicated to the same ideal. His 1987 piano concerto is in three movements: dramatic, lyrical and dance-like in turn, with jazz-like themes in the rondo finale. From 1995, the violin concerto combines Austrian and Latin American stylistic elements (all of which appear in the first movement, along with a Slavic-sounding theme as well) in the standard three-movement structure. An Alpine yodel (!) appears as the culmination of the slow movement and the bright and cheerful finale has both waltz elements and an occasional excursion into the world of Bach. A happy discovery for fans of 20th century tonal music. Elisabeth Jess-Kropfitsch (violin), Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic; Paul Polivnick, Igo Koch (piano), ORF Symphony Orchestra; Polivnick. Antes Edition BM-CD 31.9102 (Germany) 08A088 $16.98

QUINCY PORTER (1897-1966): The Unpublished Manuscripts for Violin and Piano - Sonata in D Minor: Allegro moderato, Molto moderato, Allegro appassionato, Sonata in E Minor, Berceuse (To Little Helen), Piece for Violin (To Lois), 4 Pieces for Violin and Piano, Improvisation for Violin and Piano (To Lois Porter), Variations for Violin and Piano (To Oscar Shumsky). There would appear to be no good reason why these attractive, accessible and by no means unoriginal works for violin and piano, spanning much of the creative career of an acknowledged composer (1919 through 1963) remain unpublished. An able performer on both instruments, the composer writes fluently and idiomatically in this idiom, and the larger works - the warmly expressive E minor Sonata (1926) and the Variations (written for Oskar Shumsky in 1963, in a more astringent, less Romantic but no less direct and communicative style) have a real depth and passion, and a full-blooded strength of purpose. Highly recommendable. Fritz Gearhart (violin), John Owings (piano). Koch International Classics 7439 (U.S.A.) 08A089 $16.98

ROBERT SAVAGE (1951-1993): An Eye-Sky Symphony, Florida Poems, AIDS Ward Scherzo, Frost Free, Sudden Sunsets, Cowboy Nocturne. Savage died at the age of 42 from AIDS, and the fact of his awareness of his illness and impending death invests several of the works on this disc with a special poignancy. Aids Ward Scherzo, for example, alternates nostalgia with defiance, while Sudden Sunsets encompasses a wide span of emotions in an equally wide range of musical styles, ranging from jazzy through minimalist to a kind of uneasy modernist scene-setting that always gives way to something more consonant and emotionally explicit. The Florida Poems recall Rorem (with whom Savage studied), and the most ambitious work here An Eye-Sky Symphony progresses from atonal tragedy to tonal resignation and ambiguous acceptance. Polish National Radio Sympony; Joel Eric Suben, Musicians Accord, Christine Schadeberg (soprano), Sara Laimon (piano), David Del Tredici (piano). CRI 790 (U.S.A.) 08A090 $16.98

STEPHEN LUCKY MOSKO (b.1947): Psychotropes, renderings, Rais Murad, Indigenous Music II. These works explore sonorities and textures, and sound like a kind of compressed, dynamic Morton Feldman. Mosko acknowledges a debt to the strange indigenous music of Iceland, with its rhythmic freedom and lack of fixed pitches and intervallic relationships. Even in the piano music here, there is a kind of freedom that suggests non-semitonal harmonic thinking, or even birdsong. There is a textural economy here that recalls Webern, and a sense of music theatre that may remind some of Cage. California EAR Unit. O O Discs 39 (U.S.A.) 08A091 $16.98

JOHN CAGE (1912-1992): The Seasons - Ballet in One Act, ASLSP, Cheap Imitation. This is Cage with no funny noises (and not a hint of "preparation" - except on the part of the pianist!). These pieces all demonstrate a tremendous awareness of sonority - perhaps to be expected - but also, of the function of harmony and melody, and piano technique, to produce mellifluous and appealing sounds. The Seasons, written for Merce Cuningham, is especially approachable and enjoyable as - dare I say it - "conventional" piano music. The sparse, pointillistic ASLSP - the title contains a reference to "Finnegan's Wake" - is less obviously melodically conceived, but very approachable, and Cheap Imitation, which mimics the rhythmic structure of Satie's Socrate, is a single, extended meandering melodic line, very consonant in its effect. Stephen Drury (piano). Mode 63 (U.S.A.) 08A092 $16.98

XAVER PAUL THOMA (b.1953): String Trio, Hölderlin Fragments for Tenor and Orchestra, ...wie ein zerissen Saitenspiel: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra. Thoma's musical vocabulary is spiky and dissonant, yet allowing the possibility of moments of surprising tenderness and lyricism. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the psychologically complex Holderlin Fragments, with their ambiguous shifting perspectives. The trio is a large-scale work of epic scope, and the concerto, a single span lasting nearly a half-hour separated into three sections by cadenzas, is a serious work which plunges the listener into the action from the very first gesture, and through a terse dialogue between soloist and orchestra maintains tension throughout. Trio coll'arco, Wolfgang Bünten (tenor), Joachim Schall (violin), Stuttgart State Orchestra; Michael Gielen, Philippe Auguin. Antes Edition 31.9074 (Germany) 08A093 $16.98

EUGEN WERNER VELTE (1923-1984): Violin Sonata, Vision I for Violin, Piano, Strings and Winds, Zum Andenken und zur Errinerung...: Grave II for Chamber Orchestra, Arietta II for Solo Flute, Nachtstück IV for Solo Piano, Studie I for 2 Pianos, ANDREAS RASEGHI (b.1964): Trio unter dem Weinstock for Viola, Trumpet and Clarinet, URSULA EUTENEUER-ROHRER (b.1953): Music for String Quartet, Wind Ensemble and Percussion, VOLKER HEYN (b.1938): Break for 4 Percussionists, JOACHIM KREBS (b.1952): Doubles and Echoes for 11 Instruments and Tape, WOLFGANG RIHM (b.1952): Chiffre I for Piano and 7 Instruments. Velte's style is by no means that of the avant-garde, being set firmly in the tradition of Webern - and not the most aphoristic and remote Webern at that. His five most illustrious students certainly do not shy away from the clusters, the alternative instrumental techniques, of the modernists, but they have obviously inherited a feeling for clarity of texture from their illustrious Viennese mentor-once-removed. There is a wide diversity of styles here. Heyn's work, for four percussionists, is the most obviously avant-garde, with some suggestions of Stockhausen's theatricality. The Krebs is the longest work here, the most musically intricate, and the only one to include an electronic (tape) part. Rihm, probably the best known composer here, is represented by his dynamic, motoric Chiffre I, a highly effective and exciting work. Various instrumentalists. Antes Edition BM-CD 14.9002 (Germany) 08A094 $33.98

ROBERT SIMPSON (1921-1998): String Quartet No. 1, String Quartet No. 2, String Quartet No. 3. Simpson's first three quartets (1951-54) were dedicated to the Element Quartet and these performances, from private acetates (Qt. No. 1) and tapes in the composer's collection, date from c. 1953/54. Those who have been collecting Hyperion's series of all fifteen of the quartets will enjoy investigating the evolution of playing style and interpretive convention as well as the warmth and conviction which the close association between composer and the Element Quartet engendered. Mono. Element String Quartet. Pearl GEM 0023 (England) 08A095 $17.98

EDWARD ELGAR: The Sketches for Symphony No. 3. The companion disc to March's cover item of Elgar's Symphony No. 3 as completed by Anthony Payne has 70 minutes of discussion by Payne with over fifty musical examples, including the sketches for violin and piano which Elgar would play through with violinist Billy Reed (Robert Gibbs uses Reed's own instrument here), sketches laid out as piano score, several unused fragments as well as orchestral drafts. Commentary by Anthony Payne. Robert Gibbs (violin), David Owen Norris (piano), BBC Symphony Orchestra; Andrew Davis. NMC D052 (England) 08A096 $14.98

RONALD STEVENSON (b.1928): A Child's Garden of Verses, 9 Haiku, Border Boyhood. Finally! Those of us who have admired Ronald Stevenson's music, from the mammoth Passacaglia on DSCH and his other extraordinary piano works, the product of a creative combination of composer and pianist the like of which has not occurred since Stevenson's mentor "in absentia", Busoni, to the all-too-infrequent occasions for hearing his orchestral music adequately represented, have known for decades that in many ways the most significant part of his output is his many songs, which have hitherto not been available in recordings. Stevenson's æsthetic is one in which the voice, the melody, the vocal line, is of paramount importance; the composer never forgets that all music is derived from singing, either in his own pianism, or in whatever medium he is writing for. Border Boyhood, a symphonic song-cycle setting texts of Hugh MacDiarmid, is a profoundly evocative picture of Scottish life, imagined in the most vivid terms, both musical and textual, and incorporates a piano part that could only have come from the pen of a master pianist. Stevenson has always felt a great affinity for the open, uncluttered receptiveness of a child's mind, so it comes as no surprise to find him setting R. L. Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses with such uncanny responsiveness to the vivid sensations of the child's world described in the poems. The aptly aphoristic Haiku, with their subtle inflections of the Orient due to the composer's use of unfamiliar modes and scales (and yet, as in all Stevenson's music, the language is universal), encapsulate profundity in brevity, yet another facet of this unique composer's communicative achievement. Moira Harris (soprano), Wills Morgan (tenor), Richard Black (piano). Musaeus MZCD 100 (England) 08A097 $16.98

ROGER BOUTRY (b.1932): Interférence I, MARCEL BITSCH (b.1921): Concertino, WILLSON OSBORNE (1906-1941?): Rhapsody für Fagott allein, EUGÈNE BOZZA (1905-1991): Récit, Sicilienne et Rondo, MICHAEL STÖCKIGT (b.1957): Odeo-nihonbashi, Zui zui zukkorobashi, Soranbushi, Sakura (Fantasia), HENRI DUTILLEUX (b.1906): Sarabande et cortège, MALCOLM ARNOLD (b.1921): Fantasy, Op. 86, OLEG MIROSHNIKOV (b.1925): Scherzo. This collection of 20th century bassoon music is all tonal and richly exploits the instrument's potential to produce cantabile tone. It finds pleasure in fast music (Boutry's highly rhythmic piece) as well as slow (Dutilleux' Sarabande et cortège) and sings the Japanese based works by Stöckigt most affectingly. An ear-opening disc for those not yet convinced of the bassoon's efficacy as a solo instrument... Akio Koyama (bassoon), Iva Navratova (piano). New Classical Adventure MA 97 12 834 (Germany) 08A098 $16.98