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ALAN HOVHANESS (b. 1911): Symphony No. 3, Op. 148, Mystery of the Holy Martyrs, Op. 251. Alan Hovhaness is one of those few composers of whose music it is entirely legitimate to say that it really doesn't sound like anyone else. The discovery, or rediscovery, of a major work by Hovahness is thus a real event. The Third Symphony was written in 1956, after the success of the second, "Mysterious Mountain", but never achieved the same success. The composer regards the work as one of his enduring personal favourites, and it is not difficult to see why. The symphony opens with a solemn invocation, which soon gives way to a vigorous presto which sounds surprisingly structured and "symphonic", yet with the modal inflections and melismatic nature of the melodic lines that unmistakably identify the composer. The second movement is a hymn-like prayer, described by the composer as "music of compassion", and consisting of the kind of achingly beautiful solemn chorales familiar to those who know the slow sections of the uneven Odysseus Symphony. The finale is a tightly organised and energetic sonata allegro, propelled by Hovhaness' highly original use of irregular meter, bringing the work to an ecstatic conclusion. Mystery of the Holy Martyrs is a meditational work, inspired by the slaughter of 1000 Armenian Christians in 451 AD by the nation's Persian conquerors. It takes the form of seventeen "Prayers" in which the solo guitar acts as celebrant of the ritual, while the orchestra provides the solemn plainchant, making this one of Hovhaness' most moving and profound works, elevating music, as Sorabji said, to a point where it can be "no longer performed, but celebrated like a religious ritual . . . surrounded with an atmosphere of peculiar sanctity and reverence". Such is the effect of this great work. Michael Long (guitar), KBS Symphony Orchestra; Vakhtang Jordania. Soundset SR 1004 (U.S.A.) 08-001 $16.98


LEO SOWERBY (1895-1968): Comes Autumn Time, Prairie, Theme in Yellow, From the Northland. This treasure-trove of compact disc premieres is a long-awaited tonic to revive the fortunes of American composer Leo Sowerby - who was probably the most-performed American composer of the 20s and 30s but who is known now, if at all, for his organ and liturgical works (see below). Come Autumn Time, a brief, 5-minute overture from 1916 originally written for organ, colorfully expresses Sowerby's delight in his favorite season. Prairie, from 1929, shares with its successor on this disc the subtitle "Poem for Orchestra after Carl Sandburg" and suggests the "hush and perhaps monotony of vast stretches of farm...whose beauty mid-westerners too seldom appreciate"; the lines from the poem published in the score are suitably descriptive of the music: "Have you seen a red sunset drip over one of my cornfields, the shore of night stars, the wave lines of dawn up a wheat valley?". Theme in Yellow, from 1937, receives its world-premiere recording here; consistently named by the composer as one of his favorite works, this is a virtuosic piece bursting with energy, humor and jazz-inspired riffs (as well as Sowerby's love of autumn) which describes the subject of Sandburg's poem in both its guises - the pumpkin and the jack-o'-lantern. From the Northland (1923) is the orchestration of a five-movement piano suite (with one movement omitted), subtitled "Impressions of the Lake Superior Country": "Forest Voices" is an American take on the primeval mystery of the green, dark forest, "Cascades" a scherzo-like depiction of a fast-running brook, "Burnt Rock Pool" an inward meditation on the great joy of being "one with nature's self" and "The Shining Big-Sea Water" a kind of La Mer of the Great Lakes. Czech National Symphony Orchestra; Paul Freeman. Cedille CDR 90000 033 (U.S.A.) 08-002 $16.98

LEO SOWERBY (1895-1968): The Throne of God, Interlude, Thy Word is a Lantern Unto My Feet, Ad te levavi animam meam, God Mounts His Throne, Come, Risen Lord, Fanfare No. 3. The organist/liturgical composer Sowerby is represented here by the large, 46-minute choral/orchestral work The Throne of God from 1956-7 and written for the 50th anniversary of Washington (D.C.) Cathedral. Setting texts from the Revelation to John, this work if filled with brilliant choral and orchestral writing and sums up Sowerby's daring inventiveness and heartfelt sincerity found in all his compositions, sacred and secular. The Interlude is a solo organ work added later by Sowerby to his Matthew Passion while the remaining pieces are all commissions for chorus, most notably, the Thy Word... which was written in 1964 in memory of John F. Kennedy. Live recordings. William Ferris Chorale, Thomas Weisflog (organ), Composer Festival Orchestra; William Ferris. Albany TROY 232 (U.S.A.) 08-003 $16.98

GARDNER READ (b. 1913): Symphony No. 4, Op. 92, Los Dioses Aztecas, Op. 107,Toccata Giocosa, Op. 94, Night Flight, Op. 44. CD premieres of remasterings of Louisville and CRI LPs bring a welcome reminder of what a brilliant composer and orchestrator Gardner Read is: the Toccata (1953) is an all-stops-out display piece, Night Flight (1944) attempts to express the loneliness and beauty of the space through which planes fly while the Fourth Symphony (1958) is a two-movement, half-hour long exercise in pure composition, untouched by any programmatic intent. Not so the seven-movement suite for percussion ensemble of 1959, "The Aztec Gods", which boils, crashes, cooks, whispers and dances in a wild ride for 6 percussionists and 60 (!) instruments. Cleveland Orchestra; Lorin Maazel, Paul Price Percussion Ensemble; Paul Price, Louisville Orchestra; Robert Whitney. CRI CD 742 (U.S.A.) 08-004 $16.98

GARDNER READ (b. 1913): Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 130, Epistle to the Corinthians, Op. 144, The Hidden Lute, Op. 132, By-Low My Babe, Op. 138. The major work here is the piano concerto, written between 1973 and 1978 but not premiered until this past January 31. In four movements, the work alternates between quiet meditative passages from either piano or orchestra alternating with highly dramatic outbursts from the opposing entity except for the second movement, a headlong scherzo. Largely polyharmonic and bitonal in texture, the music is rhythmically very complex. The couplings are a biblical setting for chorus, brass and organ from 1985, a setting for soprano, alto flute, harp and percussion of Chinese poetry of the 8th century (The Hidden Lute) and a setting of an anonymous Anglo-Saxon poet for chorus, flute, English horn and harp. Randall Hodgkinson (piano), Eastman Philharmonia; David Effron, Cornell Chorale, Brass Choir and Organ; Thomas Sokol, other artists. Albany TROY 245 (U.S.A.) 08-005 $16.98

JAMES YANNATOS: Trinity Mass. This massive (74-minute) work was composed in 1984, using prose and verse from 33 sources and several languages; poems, children's words, public speeches, words of Hiroshima survivors, and scientists' accounts of the first A-bomb explosion are combined with passages from the Bible along with the Mass texts in an individual, sprawling and ultimately, moving expression of faith in a time of the threat of possible nuclear extinction. Live recording. Lucy Shelton (soprano), Milagro Vargas (mezzo), Jon Humphrey (tenor), Sanford Sylvan (baritone), Robert Honeysucker (bass), Jason Robards (narrator), multiple choral groups, Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra; James Yannatos. Albany TROY 241 (U.S.A.) 08-006 $16.98


TAN DUN (b.1957): Symphony 1997 (Heaven Earth Mankind). Commissioned to write a work celebrating the reunification of Hong Kong with China, Tan Dun sought what he calls "the unity between the eternal and the external". "Heaven", the first movement, explores the traditional past of the Chinese people using orchestra, cello, bianzhong bells and children's choir. Included within this movement are "Dragon Dances" representing the colorful paper serpents of Chinese New Year celebrations, "Phoenix" symbolizing good luck, "Jubilation" collectively reproducing Chinese folksongs and "Opera in Temple Street" as a tribute to the Emperor. Movement two, "Earth" is an independent concerto for bianzhong, cello and orchestra, which musically explores the equilibrium between nature and the elements in the three sub-movements "Water", "Fire" and "Metal". "Mankind" is the work's final movement and commemorates those who fought and suffered in wars. "Lullaby" portrays a parent's song to his child and "Song of Peace" culminates in the concluding anthem representing the reunification of nature and soul in an enduring, harmonious world order. Yo-Yo Ma (cello), Imperial Bells Ensemble of China, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra; Tan Dun. Sony SK 63368 (U.S.A.) 08-007 $16.98

WALTER PISTON (1894-1976): Symphony No. 4, ROY HARRIS (1898-1979): Symphony No. 7, WILLIAM SCHUMAN (1910-1992): Symphony No. 6. Three more welcome returns of classic CBS recordings licensed by Albany Records from Sony! Only the Piston 4th is otherwise available on CD but this recording, made in 1954, has the finest orchestra and best performance of a work which the composer himself felt showed "a greater sense of ease... than I have ever felt before". A peacefully flowing first movement gives way to a dancing second movement with a central section "reminiscent of country fiddling". A contemplative adagio flirts with atonality and dissonance before the final Energico finishes off the work in rugged, rhythmic and rousing fashion. Both the Harris 7th and the Schuman 6th are couched as one-movement passacaglias in which the shape of a traditional four-movement symphony can be traced. But resemblances end there as the Schuman (1949, recorded in 1953) is a grim, tragic work, described by a critic at its premiere performance as "...terrifying in its psychological implications, relentless as a Greek tragedy..." whereas the Harris (1952-55, recorded in 1956) conveys a mood of vigorous, rugged optimism whose gathering momentum draws the listener onward. Mono. Philadelphia Orchestra; Eugene Ormandy. Albany TROY 256 (U.S.A.) 08-008 $16.98

MEYER KUPFERMAN (b. 1926): The Three Faces of Electra, Rhapsody for Guitar and Orchestra. Roberto Limón (guitar), Lithuanian State Symphony; Gintaras Rinkeviãius. Soundspells CD 120 (U.S.A.) 08-009 $16.98

MEYER KUPFERMAN (b. 1926): Fourth Symphony, Little Symphony. Louisville Orchestra; Robert Whitney, Vienna State Opera Orchestra; Franz Litschauer. Mono. Soundspells CD 121 (U.S.A.) 08-010 $16.98

"The music I love to write often crosses over a broad spectrum of styles usually characterized by tonal and atonal positions... the notion of mixing opposing elements... has included thematic and athematic materials, jazz and non-jazz ideas and a host of rhythmic and textural opposites that I would prefer to describe as dynamic or creative polarization". Thus the composer's credo. The works presented here are undoubtedly tonal, and exhibit less of this eclecticism and more of a concentrated, structured syle than the composer's statement suggests. Three Faces of Electra is a score "for an imaginary ballet" in neo-romantic style, bold and dramatic. The rhapsody for guitar and orchestra of fifteen years earlier makes an appropriate coupling, popular romanticism in a decidedly modern idiom at its best. Volume 8 consists of reissues of two 1950s recordings: the Fourth Symphony, based on a chapter of Dostoyevsky, is dark, brooding and powerful, while the Little Symphony is lighter and more classical.

NED ROREM (b. 1923): Eight Etudes, GEORGE PERLE (b. 1915): Six Etudes, VINCENT PERSICHETTI (1915-1987): Mirror Etudes. Titled "20th Century Etudes", this release brings together piano studies by three American composers not usually first thought of for their piano music. The etude is an exercise in challenging the performer to leap various types of technical hurdles and, by its nature, almost inexhaustible in its possibilities. Each composer brings his own manner to the exercise: Rorem's 1975 set and Perle's from 1973-6 bring typical challenges of speed, fingering, touch and dynamics while Persichetti's 1979 group has one hand mirror the other's actions in inversions. Frances Renzi (piano). Centaur CRC 2301 (U.S.A.) 08-011 $16.98

ELIE SIEGMEISTER (1909-1991): Symphony No. 3, ROGER GOEB (1914-1997): Symphony No. 4, HOMER KELLER (b. 1915): Symphony No. 3. Three symphonies from the 1950s by three students of Nadia Boulanger: Siegmeister's dramatic and rhythmically vital work from 1957, Goeb's exuberant and exhilarating 1954 piece with liberal use of percussion and Keller's, from 1950, the most obviously "American" sounding in idiom. Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra; Elie Siegmeister, Japan Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra; Akeo Watanabe, William Strickland. Citadel CTD 88121 (U.S.A.) 08-012 $14.98


CHARLES VILLIERS STANFORD (1852-1924): Stabat Mater, Op. 96, Bible Songs, Op. 113, Te Deum laudamus. Stanford's Stabat mater was premiered in Leeds in 1907. Subtitled "A Symphonic Cantata" by the composer, the work makes use of the opening themes and their development throughout. An anguished allegro e feroce first section has a contrasting, flowing second subject leading into the setting of the Stabat mater text itself. Stanford creates complex textures of both solo and choral forces in a central development which leads to a dramatic finale of celebration culminating in a succession of sustained climaxes. The "Bible Songs", from some years later, are for the unusual combination of baritone and organ and set psalm texts in four of their six while the Te Deum is an orchestration of a piece from Stanford's E Flat "Morning and Evening Service" made especially for the 1902 coronation. Ingrid Attrot (soprano), Pamela Helen Stephen (mezzo), Nigel Robson (tenor), Stephen Varcoe (baritone), Leeds Philharmonic Chorus, BBC Philharmonic; Richard Hickox. Chandos CHAN 9548 (England) 08-013 $16.98


PHILIP SAINTON (1891-1967): Nadir, The Dream of the Marionette, PATRICK HADLEY (1899-1973): La belle dame sans merci, One Morning in Spring, Lenten Meditations. World premiere recordings of everything but One Morning in Spring. Sainton's Nadir, a piece premiered in 1949 but suggested by the death of a child which the composer witnessed during a bombing raid in Bristol during WWII. In the a somber B Flat Minor, Nadir is a meditation on the nature of personal grief and acceptance whose melodic and harmonic material is related to Holst and Vaughan Williams. An unstaged ballet from 1929, The Dream of the Marionette is a ligh piece telling of a marionette in love with a fairy who rejects him because he has no soul. Hadley's La belle dame..., from 1935, is his most important work outside of his masterpiece The Hills so High; its emotional intensity and superb craftsmanship create a lasting impression although this setting of Keats' poem is barely ten minutes long. Lenten Meditations was written in 1962 when Romantic music was in full eclipse and was Hadley's last orchestral work. Setting various texts including psalms, New Testament and poetry, it has an intimate, valedictory nature. Neill Archer (tenor), Stephen Richardson (bass), Philharmonia Chorus and Orchestra; Matthias Bamert. Chandos CHAN 9539 (England) 08-014 $16.98

CHRISTOPHER HEADINGTON (1930-1996): Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, The Healing Fountain (In Memoriam Benjamin Britten), Serenade for Cello and String Orchestra. Headington died tragically in a skiing accident shortly after he had attended the recording sessions for this disc. Completed in 1991, the Piano Concerto opens in gently rocking fashion, moves on to a brighter, more rhythmic development before sinking back into the gentleness of its beginning. The second movement is a passacaglia interrupted by a vigorous central section while the finale reverses the quiet/vigorous order while quoting from Headington's Violin Concerto. The Healing Fountain, composed in 1978, which the composer believed to be his best composition, sets poetry by Owen, Sassoon and Auden whose imagery refers to the healing and peacemaking force of music and the music itself quotes from several of Britten's works. The fairly brief cello serenade, from 1994, and written for Julian Lloyd Webber, rounds out the program on the same cultured, civilized and life-affirming note as the rest of this fine composer's compositions. Gordon Fergus-Thompson (piano), Andrew Carwood (cello), Alexander Baillie (cello), The Britten Sinfonia; Nicholas Cleobury. ASV DCA 969 (England) 08-015 $16.98

RICHARD ADDINSELL (1904-1977): Warsaw Concerto, Greengage Summer - Suite, Under Capricorn, Blithe Spirit, Highly Dangerous, Out of the Clouds and more. Aside from the ever-popular Rachmaninovian pastiche of the Warsaw Concerto, from the 1941 film Dangerous Moonlight, this attractive new release offers music from 10 more films Addinsell scored, all but one of which are unavailable on CD. Most in evidence is the 20-minute long suite from Greengage Summer of 1961. Also included (not from films) are an Invocation and a stirring March of the United Nations. Mid-price. Martin Jones (piano), Royal Ballet Sinfonia; Kenneth Alwyn. ASV WHL 2108 (England) 08-016 $12.98

HAYDN WOOD (1882-1959): A May-Day Overture, A Manx Rhapsody, Suite: Paris, Suite: Frescoes, Soliloquy, Variations on a Once Popular Song, Roses of Picardy, An Evening Song, Dance of a Whimsical Elf, The Horseguards, Whitehall.. Filled with nature evocations, sumptuous sonorities and rich orchestral colors, Haydn Wood's light music is often as close to Delius and Bax as to Coates, and these romantic small tone poems mostly from the 20s and 30s make for a delectable experience. Slovak Radio Symphony (Bratislava); Ernest Tomlinson. Marco Polo 8.223605 (Hong Kong) 08-017 $14.98


ARAM KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978): Music from the Films Pepo, Undying Flame, Secret Mission, Admiral Ushakov and Prisoner No. 217. This first CD completely devoted to film scores written by Khachaturian does not disappoint. One will not come to this disc expecting subtlety and understatement and one will not get it. These are (mostly) loud, lurid, massively orchestrated examples of what we used to call "Technicolor Spectacular" music. The subjects of the films are delightfully eclectic. In the order listed above: the adventures of an Armenian Huckleberry Finn, the biography of the 16th century Italian philosopher and pantheist Giordano Bruno (who ended up being burned at the stake by the Inquisition - bound to appeal to the atheistic Soviets!), a bizarre Battle of the Bulge story in which gallant Soviet spies infiltrate the headquarters of the insane Germans and the incompetent Allies in order to bring about Allied victory, a huge two-part biography of the 18th century Russian Admiral Ushakov which treated the Turkish Wars of Catherine the Great, Lord Nelson, William Pitt the Younger and, as they say, a cast of thousands, and finally a "compelling story of love and murder set against the background of the German invasion of Russian in 1941". Take a deep breath and hit the play button! Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra; Loris Tjeknavorian. ASV DCA 966 (England) 08-018 $16.98


DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975): Incidental music to the play King Lear, Op. 58a, 6 Romances on Verses by British Poets, Op. 140, 4 Verses of Captain Lebyadkin, Op. 146, 2 Romances on Texts from Krokodil, Op. 121, Antiformalistic Rayok. Almost everything here has only one other available recording (namely, everything but the King Lear music) but the exception is what makes this disc unusual: Antiformalistic Rayok. Completed around 1958, shortly after the Second Congress of Soviet Composers attacked Shostakovich for "formalism", this appears to have been solely a means of letting off steam for the beleaguered composer and was never published in his lifetime. A 17-minute long piece, Rayok (which means "gallery" in Russian) features three Party Officials (here called "NumberOne", "NumberTwo" and "NumberThree" and performed by the same soloist) who have a meeting to discuss the theme of "Realism and Formalism in Music Today". Bitingly broad satire ensues, explaining why, even though Stalin had been dead several years, Shostakovich only performed it privately for friends. It's fortunate that he did since informal copies made by his friends are the main source for what we can at last hear today. Alexei Mochalov (bass), Orchestra of the Moscow Chamber Music Theatre; Anatoly Levin. Triton 17 008 (Japan) 08-019 $16.98

ALFRED SCHNITTKE (b. 1934): Concerto for Piano and String Orchestra, Violin Concerto No. 3, Sonata No. 3 for Violin and Piano. Here is the world premiere recording of Schnittke's third violin sonata, composed in 1994 and premiered by the artists here recorded. Laconic and expressive to the extreme, this single-movement piece explores a series of borderline states between sound and silence and Schnittke uses the device of the musical anagram to translate the personal into symbolic form. Its couplings are by no means readily available either. They date from 1979 and 1978 respectively and are part of the highest flourishing of Schnittke's famous polystylistic period where Prokofiev rubs shoulders with blues and Russian Orthodox church music bumps into German Romanticism. Ralf Gothoni (piano), Mark Lubotsky (violin), Irina Schnittke (piano), Virtuosi di Kuhmo; Ralf Gothoni. Ondine ODE 893 (Finland) 08-020 $16.98

PAUL JUON (1872-1940): Violin Sonatas in A, Op. 7, in F, Op. 69 and in B Minor, Op. 86. Known as the "Russian Brahms", Juon was born in Moscow but spent most of his adult life in Germany and Switzerland, where he died in 1940. His first violin sonata (1898) blends a Brahmsian romanticism with Russian elements while the second (1920) shows more cosmopolitan elements although a Russian-sounding bell motive appears in the slow movement. Both of these sonatas receive their world premiere recordings here. The third sonata, from 1930, is a one-movement work in three sections, masterly concise and extremely condensed, yet still redolent of a certain Russian spirituality. Alla Voronkova (violin), Evelyne Dubourg (piano). Etcetera KTC 1194 (Netherlands) 08-021 $17.98

ALEXANDER GRECHANINOV (1864-1956): Piano Trio No. 1, Op. 38, Piano Trio No. 2, Op. 128. Dating from 1906, Grechaninov's first piano trio was dedicated to his teacher Taneyev and is post-Tchaikovskian both in the quotation of a fragment from the master's Fourth Symphony as well as in the melancholy yet serene cantilena of the slow movement and the chorale-like affirmation of the second theme of the virile finale. The second trio, coming from 1930, by which time the composer was living in Paris, inhabits a totally different world. Little more than half the length of its predecessor, it exhibits a child-like blend of innocence and gentle grotesquerie in its central intermezzo while the outer movements have a Gallic grace and charm. The Bekova Sisters. Chandos CHAN 9461 (England) 08-022 $16.98


NIKOLAI RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908): The Maid of Pskov (Ivan the Terrible). Rimsky's very first opera receives its first digital recording from the highly-acclaimed Gergiev and his Kirov forces. Completed in 1872, The Maid of Pskov tells of Ivan the Terrible's arrival at the town of Pskov during his campaign of terror, having just destroyed the city of Novgorod. On the verge of doing the same to Pskov, the Tsar recognizes Olga, his daughter from an assignation in the town 17 years before and ceases his hostilities. The usual operatic traditions are upheld by Olga's lover, who organizes the resistance to the Tsar and her betrothal to an old Boyar. Listeners will find many similarities to Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov in structure and orchestration: the two composers were sharing an apartment at the time both operas were written! 2 CD set. Russian-English libretto. Vladimir Ognovienko (bass), Galina Gorchakova (soprano), Vladimir Galusin (tenor), Nikolai Gassiev (tenor), Kirov Opera Chorus and Orchestra; Valery Gergiev. Philips 446 678 (Netherlands) 08-023 $33.98

SERGEI BORTKIEWICZ (1877-1952): Lamentations and Consolations, Op. 17, Aus Andersens Märchen, Op. 30, Ten Preludes, Op. 33. Stephen Coombs (piano). The life of Sergei Eduardovich Bortkiewicz epitomises the romantic image of the nineteenth-century artist in Europe; an honoured guest in the salons of the wealthy, teacher at the great conservatories and to the children of wealthy patrons. Unlike Paderewski, Bortkiewicz never became a great piano virtuoso, but Liszt looms large in the background to his æsthetic, as in the case of the Polish master. The Lisztian Lamentations and Consolations are the major find here, but the smaller, lighter works are also very appealing. Anyone exploring the byways of Romantic piano music will find this essential listening. Hyperion CDA 66933 (England) 08-024 $17.98


LUDWIG WILHELM TEPPER VON FERGUSON (c.1775-c.1823): Sonata for Four Hands, JOHN FIELD (1782-1837): Rondeau, H. 43, Variations on a Russian Air, H. 10, Grand Waltz, H. 19, JOHANN WILHELM HÄSSLER (1747-1822): Grand Sonata for Three Hands, DANIEL STEIBELT (1765-1823): Sonata for Four Hands, CHARLES MAYER (1799-1862): Grand Overture, Mazurka-Caprice, Nocturne, Galop militaire. A charming handful of four-hand salon pieces (and one for three!) composed by some of the many foreign pianist-composers who flocked to the court of St. Petersburg at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries. Although many of the pieces were written with the modest capabilities of the nobility and aristocracy in mind, these pieces are unfailingly delightful and capture the essence of Russian court life. Alexander Bakhchiev, Elena Sorokina (piano duet). Chandos CHAN 9418 (England) 08-025 $16.98

FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886): Complete Music for Solo Piano, Vol. 45: Grosse Concert-Phantasie über Spanische Weisen, La romanesca (2 versions), Rapsodie espagnole, Feuille morte - Élégie d'après Soriano, Rondeau fantastique.. The latest volume in the Hyperion Liszt series conccentrates on pieces with Spanish themes and includes the first recording of the first version of La romanesca Only the Rapsodie espagnole has any competition to speak of in the current catalogue and it is especially good to have the young Liszt's (1837) Rondeau, a hair-raising paraphrase of a well-known zarzuela aria by Manuel García. Leslie Howard (piano). Hyperion CDA 67145 (England) 08-026 $17.98

LEOPOLD GODOWSKY (1870-1938): Transcriptions of Violin Sonatas by Bach: Sonatas No. 1 in G Minor, No. 2 in B Minor, No. 3 in A Minor. Described by the composer himself as "very freely transcribed", these versions of Bach's first two sonatas and first partita for solo violin are less translations from one medium to another than highly concentrated intensifications of the source material. Monumental pianism is evident throughout, along with an obsessive passion for re-creation through variation, embellishment and textural discourse. 20th century Bach on a grandiose scale! Konstantin Sherbakov (piano). Marco Polo 8.223794 (Hong Kong) 08-027 $14.98

MÉLANIE BONIS (1858-1937): Près du ruisseau, Romance sans paroles, Berceuse, Five Pieces, Menuet, Pavane, La cathédrale blessée, Sevilliana Bourrée Ballade Barcarolle La chanson du rouet, Barcarolle-etude, Il pleut!. Bonis was a fellow-student of Debussy and Pierné under Franck and won several prizes in harmony and accompaniment. She also wrote chamber, choral and orchestral works and her Piano Quartet was praised by Saint-Saëns, but, like other female composers of the 19th century, she wrote mainly for her own pleasure and for those of her intimate circle. Fauré's melodic and harmonic influence shimmers through many of these pieces but the shadows of Debussy, Ravel are often present also. Madeleine Stucki (piano). Relief CR 961040 (Switzerland) 08-028 $18.98


ERICH WOLFGANG KORNGOLD (1897-1957): Die tote Stadt. This was the young Korngold's fourth and most celebrated opera, Produced in 1920, the opera was based on a symbolist play set in the decaying city of Bruges where the protagonist, Paul, mourning for his dead wife Marie meets and becomes obsessed with a woman who strongly resembles her. Korngold's sumptuous orchestration, using a Straussian-sized orchestra, supports bel canto brilliance and display in the vocal writing, all of which leads to an feverishly intense emotional experiece. Live recording. 2 CD set. German libretto. Thomas Sunnegårdh (tenor), Katarina Dalayman (soprano), Anders Bergström (baritone), Tomtberga School Children's Choir, Royal Swedish Opera Chorus and Orchestra; Leif Segerstam. Naxos 8.660060-1 (Hong Kong) 08-029 $15.98


NINO ROTA (1911-1979): La Visita Meravigliosa. Composed in 1968, based on a story by H.G. Wells and set in 1900 in a small English town, this opera tells of an English vicar who, while searching for a nearly extinct bird, instead discovers an angel "from a celestial country". The plot gets further involved as the angel loses his ability to fly, a cruel landowner turns villainous, and a fire threatens to destroy the rectory and those caught within. A mystical ending, full of pseudo-religiosity (and typical of Rota's musical associations with Federico Fellini) brings the work to a climax. 2 CD set. Special price. Italian libretto, English synopsis. Danilo Rigosa (bass), Maurizio Frusoni (tenor), Antonella Trevisan (contralto), Chorus and Orchestra of the "Teatro Sociale" of Rovigo; Giuseppe Grazioli. La Bottega Discantica DISC 02/03 (Italy) 08-030 $29.98

NINO ROTA (1911-1979): La notte di un nevrastenico, Nonet. A "drama buffo" in one act (and 34 minutes) originally conceived for Italian Radio, La Notte follows the adventures of a wealthy hotel guest who has booked three adjoining rooms to assure himself of some privacy and a greedy hotel porter who, allied with some mischievous guests, plays a nasty trick on the guest and makes it a night to remember! The nonet, completed in 1974 is Rota at his instrumental best, generally reminiscent of 20th century French music while occasionally looking back at "fin de siécle" Vienna. Italian libretto. English notes. Nicola Ulivieri (tenor), Paolo Pellegrini (tenor), Monica Colonna (soprano), Chorus "Solisti Cantori", Calabrese Symphony Orchestra; Denise Fideli. Gruppo Strumentale "Ricercare". La Bottego Discantica DISC 09 (Italy) 08-031 $16.98

RUDOLF KAREL (1880-1945): Death Godmother, Op. 30. Anna Bárova (contralto), Richard Novák (bass), Leo Marian Vodiãka (tenor), Brno Janáãek Opera Orchestra; Petr Vronsky (selected scenes - stereo). Three Hairs of the Wise Old Man. Ladislav Mráz (bass), Antonín Zlesák (tenor), Ivo Îídek (tenor), Chorus and Orchestra of the National Theatre, Prague; Zbynûk VostÞák (selected scenes - mono). Karel was DvoÞák's last student whose early works were greatly influenced by his master. Death Godmother (1932), subtitled "Fairy-tale Comedy of Life and Death", is a typical tale of Death, come to Earth and having a hard time tricking a travelling fiddler. Three Hairs, heard in a historical recording from 1954, was written while Karel was interned at Terezin (where he died) and is based on a fairy tale by Erben involving a king, a charcoal burner, fairy godmothers and a lowly child forecast to marry the king's daughter. It was completed and orchestrated by the conductor who performs it here. Supraphon 3266 (Czech Republic) 08-032 $16.98

STEFANO GOBATTI (1853-1913): Excerpts from the operas I Goti, Luce and Massias and four salon songs. A remarkable reclamation effort for the composer whose first opera "The Goths", set in 534 at the court of Pavia during the Gothic invasion, was a sensation in Bologna where it was premiered and whose people acclaimed him as a rival to Verdi but about which Verdi himself said "the most monstrous musical miscarriage ever composed". Two subsequent operas Luce (set in Naples in 1660 during Spanish rule and patriotic in its tone) and Cordelia failed even in Bologna while these excerpts from Messias (set in Cordova in 1450 and whose namesake was a legendary Galician poet and knight) may be the first ever heard since that opera went unperformed. A remarkably well-balanced analysis of Gobatti is included along with English synopses of the excerpts heard. Vocal soloists, Zagreb Radio-TV Symphony Orchestra; Stefano Mazzoleni. Bongiovanni 5057 (Italy) 08-033 $16.98

KURT WEILL (1900-1950): Der Neue Orpheus, Concerto for Violin and Winds, Op. 12, Excerpts from Der Silbersee and Street Scene. "The New Orpheus" is the last of Weill's major works to receive its first recording. An expessionist work from 1925, the subject matter and style are close to the world of Berg's Lulu. The concerto, Busoni-influenced like the early symphonies, and arias from two of Weill's more stylistically typical works complete this fine disc. Carole Farley (soprano), Michael Guttman (violin), Rheinische Philharmonie; José Serebrier. ASV DCA 987 (England) 08-034 $16.98


NINO ROTA (1911-1979): Piccola offerto musicale, Sarabanda e toccata per arpa, Trio for Flute, Violin and Piano, Ippolito gioca for Piano, Il Presepio for Soprano and String Quartet, Intermezzo for Viola and Piano, Cantilena for Piano, Puccettino nella giungla for Piano, Nonet. Charming and exquisitely crafted works in a variety of chamber media by a prodigiously gifted composer who is only now beginning to receive his due recognition, other than for his famous film soundtracks at any rate. The Trio for flute, violin and piano and the Nonet for winds and strings are the most substantial works here, and both deserve to be regarded very highly. The presence of such luminaries as Heinz Holliger and Gidon Kremer among the performers - all of whom are excellent, in fact - in these live recordings from the 1996 Lockenhaus Festival is a bonus in the appreciation of this fine music. KREMERata MUSICA. BIS CD 870 (Sweden) 08-035 $17.98

ALFREDO CASELLA (1883-1947): La Giara, Op. 41, Serenata, Op. 46bis. Both of these pieces receive their world premiere recordings here. La Giara "The Jug" is based on a short story by Pirandello and dates from 1924, when Casella abandoned his avant-garde period and returned to using Italian folk elements in his work. Set in Sicily and subtitled "a choreographic comedy", the action concerns an old jug repairman and the being imprisoned in an old jug in his possession. Contained therein is a tenor song about a girl carried off by pirates, performed on this recording by Enrico Caruso's great-grandson. The Serenade, from 1930, is a five-movement work of neo-classical refinement and clarity. Ricardo Caruso (tenor), Orchestra I.C.O. Lecce; Marco Balderi. La Bottega Discantica DISC 23 (Italy) 08-036 $16.98

ALFREDO CASELLA (1883-1947): Five Symphonic Fragments for Soprano and Orchestra, Op. 19, GIAN FRANCESCO MALIPIERO (1882-1973): Symphonic Excerpts from Tre commedie goldoniane, VINCENZO TOMMASINI (1878-1950): Il Carnevale di Venezia: Variations after Paganini, CARLO PEDROTTI (1883-1947): Sinfonia from Tutti in maschera. Venice is the common thread linking the rarely heard orchestral works on this program, from Pedrotti's highly inventive and tuneful overture (1856), to Casella's vocal excerpts from his 1912-13 ballet Le couvent sur l'eau (or Il Convento Veneziano) to the neo-classical orchestral excerpts from Malipiero's operatic triptych written between 1920-22 and finally to Tommasini's brilliant 1928 variations on Paganini's famous theme. All works otherwise unavailable. Anna Maria Chiuri (soprano), Orchestra Sinfonica dell'Emilia Romagna "Arturo Toscanini"; Massimo de Bernart. Ermitage 429 (Italy) 08-037 $16.98

GIAN FRANCESCO MALIPIERO (1882-1973): Sinfonia dello Zodiaco, Dialogho No. 1 "Con Manuel de Falla, in memoria", MANUEL DE FALLA (1876-1946): Balada de Mallorca, Trois Mélodies. A combination of old and new, with important historical recordings of Malipiero's (1951) "Zodiac Symphony" conducted by Bruno Maderna in 1958 along with a recording from the same year of the composer's tribute to Manuel de Falla who himself is represented, quite unusually, by a work for unaccompanied chorus in homage to Chopin and three sparkling little mélodies from 1909. Mono-stereo. RAI Orchestra, Turin; Bruno Maderna, RAI Orchestra Domenico Scarlatti of Naples; Dean Dixon, Southwest German Radio Choir; Marinus Voorberg, Nuccia Focile (soprano), Ingrid Surgenor (piano). BMG Ricordi 1033 (Italy) 08-038 $19.98


The following 5 titles make up a series titled Isolamenti and contain works by Italian and German/Jewish composers who were persecuted or suppressed by the Nazi and Fascist authorities during (and just before) World War II.

GIAN FRANCESCO MALIPIERO (1882-1973): Preludio, Aria e Danza funebre for Piano and String Quartet, LUIGI DALLAPICCOLA (1904-1975): 3 Episodes from Marsia, HANS KRASA (1899-1944): Passacaglia and Fugue for String Trio, KARL AMADEUS HARTMANN (1905-1963): String Quartet No. 2. All of these works were composed during World War II by composers either interned (Krasa) or forced underground by their anti-Fascist politics. Malipiero's is an arrangement of a segment of the opera Hecuba (1940), Dallapiccola's an arrangement of segments of his last diatonic work, a ballet on classical themes from 1942-43, while Krasa's was written in Terezin and Hartmann's in 1945-6, serving as a pendant to his Dachau-liberation inspired piano sonata 27.III.1945 (see next release). Matteo Liva (piano), Venice String Quartet. Fonit Cetra 2033 (Italy) 08-039 $16.98

KARL AMADEUS HARTMANN (1905-1963): Sonata 27.III.1945, VICTOR ULLMAN (1898-1944): Piano Sonata No. 7, LUIGI NONO (1924-1990): Ricorda cosa ti hanno fatto in Auschwitz. Hartmann's sonata, written in reaction to his witnessing of the liberation of Dachau, is coupled with the last of Ullman's piano sonatas, written in Terezin just before his deportation to Auschwitz and death there in 1944. Nono produced his condemnation of Nazi war criminals in 1966, a work for tape which conveys outrage and anguish. Fonit Cetra 2034 (Italy) 08-040 $16.98

HANS KRASA (1899-1944): Overture to Brundibar, PAVEL HAAS (1899-1944): Study for Strings, GIDEON KLEIN (1919-1945): Partita for Strings, VICTOR ULLMANN (1898-1944): 3 Choruses in 3 Parts "su testi ebraici". Ullmann's choruses on Hebrew texts receive their first recording and distinguish this collection of works by Jewish composers murdered by the Nazis: Krasa's charming overture to a children's opera from 1939 and the two works for strings written in Terezin by Haas and Ullmann. Mladinski Choir of RTV Slovenia, Padova and Veneto Orchestra; Nada Matosevic. Fonit Cetra 2035 (Italy) 08-041 $16.98

GIAN FRANCESCO MALIPIERO (1882-1973): Le sette allegrezze d'amore, Quattro vecchie canzoni, LUIGI DALLAPICCOLA (1904-1975): Ciaccona, Intermezzo and Adagio for Solo Cello, KARL AMADEUS HARTMANN (1905-1963): Concerto funebre for Violin and Strings. Malipiero's two song cycles date from 1945 and 1940 respectively. Dallapiccola's 1945 work for solo cello represents a dirge for the victims of the war - a bookend to Hartmann's despairing and anguished work from 1939 which prefigured in music the horrors to come. Mario Brunello (cello), Gabriella Costa (soprano), Mauro Loguercio (violin), Padova and Veneto Orchestra; Maffeo Scarpis. Fonit Cetra 2036 (Italy) 08-042 $16.98

LUIGI DALLAPICCOLA (1904-1975): Sonatina canonica, GIAN FRANCESCO MALIPIERO (1882-1973): Li sette peccati mortali, KARL AMADEUS HARTMANN (1905-1963): Anno '48/Friede, VICTOR ULLMANN (1905-1963): 3 Lieder. Dallapiccola's sonatina for piano dates from 1943 and represents one of his rare pieces of "pure music" written during the war. Malipiero set texts by a 14th century Tuscan poet in his "The Seven Mortal Sins" for chorus and piano in 1946. Hartmann's cantata, for soprano, chorus and piano, is the largest work here, composed in 1936-7 to poetry written during the Thirty Years War, again oddly prefiguring the catastrophe to come Carola Freddi, Maricla Rossi (sopranos), Marina d'Ambroso, Matteo Liva (piano), Athestis Chorus; Filippo Maria Bressan. Fonit Cetra 2037 (Italy) 08-043 $16.98

GOFFREDO PETRASSI (b. 1904): Concerti for Orchestra, Nos. 1-8. Although not new, this set has not been available in the U.S. for several years and, since it provides an important document of one of the most important and influential Italian composers of his generation, we offer it again for those who may not yet have it. Only the first concerto (1933-34) comes from Petrassi's early period of optimistic and diatonicism; the remainder span the period 1951-1972. Concertos 2-6 delve deep into atonality while still containing a personal mix of grace, Stravinskian color and incisiveness while the last two exhibit respectively a dark intensity and a retreat from the radicalism of the 60s. 4 CDs. Zoltán Peskó. Fonit Cetra 103 (Italy) 08-044 $67.98

GIORGIO GHEDINI (1892-1965): Setti ricercari for Piano Trio, Divertimento contrapuntistico, Capriccio, Ricercare super"Sicut cervis", Canoni for Violin and Cello. These works come from 1940-46, the period of Ghedini's ripe maturity. Most important are the 7 ricercari whose neo-Baroque framework allows an individual transformation or archaic idioms which foreshadows the composer's subsequent masterpiece, Concerto dall'albatro. The other works (the Divertimento and Ricercare are for piano solo), explore much the same idiom. Aldo Orvieto (piano), Rodolfo Bonucci (violin), Arturo Bonucci (cello). Stradivarius 33395 (Italy) 08-045 $16.98

ABEL EHRLICH (b. 1915): Das Buch der Zeichens, Thou Knowest Not, Flee to the Mountains Like a Bird, Music for Orchestra. Born in East Prussia and having emigrated to Israel in 1939, Ehrlich has had a career as both teacher and composer and has more than 1000 compositions to his credit. One CD can hardly encompass such a lifetime, so here we concentrate on works written since 1979. In the order listed above, there are: an oppresively dark work for strings based on a mystic medieval poem, a setting of text from Ecclesiastes for the unusual combination of violin and children's choir, a chamber work in a post-Webern style and a work for full symphony orchestra redolent with melancholy quasi-expressionism and memories of post-romanticism. Ensemble Oriol Berlin; Sebastian Gottschick, "Ankor" The Rubin Conservatory Children's Choir, Jerusalem; Arnon Meroz, Israel Contemporary Players; Paul Mefano, Israel Symphony; Noam Sheriff. Music in Israel MII-CD-21 (Israel) 08-046 $17.98

PAUL BEN-HAIM (1897-1984): Serenade for Flute Quartet, MENACHEM ZUR (b. 1942): Quartet for Flute and Strings, AMI MAAYANI (b. 1936): Poem for Flute Quartet, OEDOEN PARTOS (1907-1977): Maqamat for Flute and String Quartet. The oldest and middle generations of Israeli composers are represented here in works using a flute soloist. Ben-Haim's work evokes associations of Mediterranean pastorality while Partos' was one of the first to explore the scale system of Arab music. Maayani shares Ben-Haim's pastoral ethos but with a new density and chromaticism while Zur's work refuses to be characterized as "Israeli" in national identity and instead looks to Alban Berg. Noam Buchman (flute), Israel String Quartet. Music in Israel MII-CD-20 08-047 $17.98


ROBERTO GERHARD (1896-1970): Pandora: suite, Soirées de barcelone: suite, Ariel. The three ballets, from which suites and excerpts are recorded here, were composed between 1936 and 1944 but two were never staged. Ariel was written for a one-act surrealist ballet to be choreographed by Massine, who rejected the music as "too symphonic". Premiered in suite form in the same year, it has not been heard since. Two neo-Mahlerian movements with a generalized Spanish character precede a neoclassical conclucion. Written between 1936-38, Soirées de barcelone was to have been an ethnographical ballet based on the Catalan celebrations of St. John's Eve (again the production never occurred). The suite heard here was extracted by the conductor David Atherton in 1972 and, in four movements, depicts the bustling crowd in the town square, a civic procession, dances of dwarves and maidens and closes with a rousing fire-dance. Pandora (1943) is an anti-Fascist ballet which is saturated with Catalan folk music. Orquestra Simfónica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya; Edmon Colomer. Auvidis Montaigne (France) 782105 08-048 $18.98


BRIAN BOYDELL (b. 1917): In memoriam Mahatma Gandhi, Violin Concerto, Masai Mara, Op. 87, Megalithic Ritual Dances for Large Orchestra. CD premieres of the most important of the orchestral compositions of Ireland's most important 20th century composer. Influenced by Hindemith but having his own unique style, Boydell writes in a tonal idiom and uses conventional forms. In memoriam Mahatma Gandhi (1948) is a short work of concentrated expressive power; the concerto (1953) is in the traditional three movements, again intensely expressive, with a final movement using the modes of Irish folksongs. The Megalithic dances, from 1956, are inspired by pagan rituals but do not pretend to use any "ancient" melodies. The newest work here, Masai Mara (around 1990), was inspired by a visit to the great game park of that name in Kenya. Maighread McCrann (violin), National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland; Colman Pearce. Marco Polo 8.223887 (Hong Kong) 08-049 $14.98

THEA MUSGRAVE (b. 1928): Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra, The Seasons, Autumn Sonata: Concerto for Bass Clarinet and Orchestra. Two large-scale works for clarinet and orchestra, the second making great expressive use of the unusual and massive sonority of the bass clarinet, and an orchestral suite in four movements inspired by paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, paint a vivid portrait of the dramatic range and compositional skill of the Scottish-born, U.S.-resident Musgrave, an individual and exciting voice in contemporary music. Showing not the least reluctance to use big sonorities and orchestral color to the maximum, Musgrave's music is as full of visual imagery as anything written in our time. Victoria Soames (clarinets), BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra; Thea Musgrave. Cala CACD 1023 (England) 08-050 $16.98

JOACHIM STUTSCHEWSKY (1891-1982): 3 Movements from Landscapes of Israel, MENAHEM AVIDON (1908-1995): Four Impressions, PAUL BEN-HAIM (1897-1984): Five Pieces, Op. 34, MORDECAI SETER (1916-1994): Chaconne and Scherzo, YEHEZKEL BRAUN (b. 1922): Sonata, TZVI AVNI (b. 1927): Sonata No. 1. Interesting short piano pieces by Israeli composers, all writing in a tonal idiom, and all finding ways to inflect this with the culture and traditional music of the region. Stutschewsky's Landscapes of Israel opens with an ostinato movement eerily (and certainly coincidentally) reminiscent of the Landscape movement of Eckhardt-Gramatté's Second Sonata - there must be something about sun-drenched Mediterranean landscapes that inspires this sort of thing! The two Sonatas are especially strong and substantial works. Pnina Salzman (piano). Music in Israel MII-CD-19 08-051 $17.98

PAUL BEN-HAIM (1897-1984): Nocturne, Op. 20, Khamsin, Sephardic Lullaby, Music for the Piano, ALBERTO HEMSI (1897-1975): Allusioni ad un tema sconosciuto, SHLOMO YOFFE (1909-1996): Metamorphoses, OSKAR GOTTLIEB BLARR (b. 1934): Remembering Janusz Korczak and Stefania Wilczynska, STEFAN WOLPE (1902-1972): Dance in Form of a Chaconne. Taken from a live concert given by the pianist and polymath Varda Nishry, who made the promotion of Israeli music a lifetime's mission, until her untimely death in 1995, this CD presents four substantial works by Israel's most famous composer, Paul Ben-Haim, as well as other works dedicated to or associated with the pianist. Basically tonal, if harmonically adventurous, the music is all deeply felt and emotionally charged (especially the Blarr, written in memory of victims of the Holocaust). Informative booklet, in English and Hebrew. Varda Nishry (piano) Beth Hatefutsoth BTR 9701 (Israel) 08-052 $17.98

HANNS EISLER (1898-1962): 3 Choruses, Op. 10, 4 Pieces for Mixed Choir, Op. 13, 2 Choruses, Op. 14, To Be Sung in the Streets, 2 Choruses, Op. 17, 2 Pieces, Op. 19, 2 Pieces, Op. 21, 2 Choruses, Op. 35, Freedom Song, Dictator's Song, etc. These striking choruses from the 20s and 30s show clearly how Eisler used his music to vent his political conscience. Various choruses. Berlin Classics 9236 (Germany) 08-053 $11.98


MINNA KEAL (b. 1909): Cantillation for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 4, Symphony, Op. 3, String Quartet, Op. 1, Wind Quintet, Op. 2. Minna Keal's story is one of those oddities with which musical history is littered. Stranger even in a way than that of George Lloyd, but paralleling it in the fact that after a promising start, the young composer gave up music for commerce for decades (46 years in Keal's case), and then recommenced a compositional career at a rather advanced age. Unlike Lloyd, Keal (née Nerenstein) had not even had time to achieve any success beyond that of an extremely promising student, when she had to give up composition for what would be a working lifetime for many. So it is all the more remarkable that she resumed her musical studies - with Oliver Knussen and Justin Connolly (her early studies had been with William Alwyn) at the age of 70, and went on to produce a number of accomplished large-scale works. So what is the music actually like? It belongs in the tradition of tough, no-compromise "absolute" music, earnest and serious, which has become a British trademark, but is derived more from Austrian, German and Slavic traditions than anything further south in Europe - the string quartet owes not a little to Bartók and Shostakovich, and the orchestral writing has something in common with Havergal Brian, but with more economy of means, and perhaps a less profligate imagination, or with one of the Scandinavian symphonists. Stephen Bryant (violin), BBC Symphony Orchestra; Nicholas Cleobury, Archaeus String Quartet, Lontano; Odaline de la Martinez. Lorelt LNT 110 (England) 08-054 $16.98

ARTHUR BLISS (1891-1975): Clarinet Quintet, ALAN RAWSTHORNE (1905-1971): Clarinet Quartet, FRANCIS ROUTH (b. 1927): Clarinet Quintet. Alternately pastoral lament and astringent protest, the Bliss, a wartime reminiscence of the First World War, is typical of British music of this century, with its undertones of deep emotion, too disturbing to express - what many find to be the central characteristic of Elgar - and a tradition that British composers have carried on to great advantage. The Rawsthorne, from 1946, is a lyrical work, strong in melody, but with an underlying toughness too. Routh's five-movement quintet of 1994 may recall Shostakovich for some, a not uncommon British compositional characteristic - think of Malcolm Arnold or Hoddinott. Redcliffe Ensemble. Redcliffe RR 010 (England) 08-055 $16.98

EDMUND RUBBRA (1901-1986): Symphony No. 4,Op. 53, Piano Concerto in G, Op. 85, Soliloquy for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 57. These live recordings were made at the BBC's 75th birthday tribute to the composer and, along with the wartime, yet serene Fourth Symphony and the Soliloquy, a miniature cello concerto in its own right, we have here the only available recording of the 1956 Piano Concerto, dedicated to the Indian composer and sarod player Ali Akhbar Khan, and influenced by certain Eastern improvisatory idioms. Malcolm Binns (piano), Raphael Sommer (cello), London Symphony Orchestra; Vernon Handley. BBC Radio Classics 5691922 (England) 08-056 $13.98

ALAN RAWSTHORNE (1905-1971): Violin Concertos Nos. 1 and 2, Improvisation on a Theme of Constant Lambert, Divertimento. The first concerto is a big, romantic work with a prevailing sombre mood, over which the brilliant solo part provides a commentary. The second concerto is thornier and astringent, more epigrammatic and mysterious, built on variation form and thus allowing many opportunities for a dialogue which seems to be searching for some vital truth which is never made manifest. The other two works are characterful and ingenious, with little of the "English Pastoral" about them. Theo Olaf, Manoug Parikian (violins), New Philharmonia Orchestra; Sir Adrian Boult, BBC Symphony Orchestra; Rudolf Schwarz, BBC Concert Orchestra; Frank Shipway, BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra; Bryden Thomson. BBC Concert Classics 5691952 (England) 08-057 $13.98

ARTHUR BLISS (1891-1975): Morning Heroes. Bliss' choral symphony, dedicated to "my brother and all other comrades killed in battle" was conceived as a requiem for the victims of the First World War and sets texts ranging from Homer to Wilfred Owen. This 1985 concert performance is in the finest British choral tradition. Richard Baker (narrator), BBC Symphony Chorus and Orchestra; Sir Charles Groves. BBC Concert Classics 5691992 (England) 08-058 $13.98


JOHN TAVENER (b. 1944): Akhmatova Requiem, 6 Russian Folk Songs. Composed in 1981, the requiem sets anguished verses of the Stalin years by the great Russian poet, interspersed with Orthodox funeral texts, and is one of the finest of all Tavener's works. Bleak yet offering the possibility of eternal peace, the work is a harrowing yet ultimately consoling statement. The Six Russian Folk Songs make an appropriate coupling, capturing the melancholy national character to perfection. Phyllis Bryn-Julson (soprano), John Shirley-Quirk (baritone), BBC Symphony Orchestra; Gennady Rozhdestvensky, The Nash Ensemble. BBC Concert Classics 55691972 (England) 08-059 $13.98


MIKIS THEODORAKIS (b. 1925): Symphony No. 1, Adagio. One of Theodorakis' early works, the first symphony was written between 1948-52. The composer called the work a "liturgy of consolation" and it attempts to exorcize the painful experiences he suffered in Greece during the Nazi occupation. The first movement is full of upheaval and revolt with the spirit of Shostakovich quite near; the second is an "Elegy and Threnody" while the final movement's insistent rhythms and sudden opening up of abysmal depths midway through represent the exorcism of the dead. The Adagio, for flute, clarinet, trumpet and strings, is a lament dedicated to the victims of the Bosnian war. St. Petersburg State Academic Capella Symphony Orchestra; Mikis Theodorakis. Intuition 3176 (Germany) 08-060 $16.98

WERNER EGK (1901-1983): Kleine Symphonie, Tango from the Opera Peer Gynt, Triptychon from the Ballet Joan von Zarissa, French Suite, Overture to the Opera Die Zaubergeige. The Kleine Symphonie - the composer was 25 when he wrote it - is a powerful statement from a strong musical personality, full of sound and fury, but actually signifying a good deal, and the final peroration is as magnificent as it is unexpected. The other works on this disc are all big, bold orchestral statements, the French Suite in particular demonstrating the extent to which motivic fragments from the 18th century can be transmuted into something completely different through the alchemy of the modern orchestra and an unbridled imagination. Staatsorchester Frankfurt (Oder); Nikos Athinäos. Signum SIG X86-00 (Germany) 08-061 $17.98

KALEVI AHO (b. 1928): Symphony No. 10, Rejoicing of the Deep Waters. One of Finland's leading composers, and a member of that surprisingly large band of Scandinavian symphonists (what is it about that part of the world?) who have spent this century turning out muscular, big-boned symphonic works using all the musical vocabulary at their disposal without ever becoming subsumed into any passing facet of trendy modernism, Aho continues to write orchestral music of dramatic tension, with that apparent concision of means reminiscent of Sibelius. The Tenth Symphony is probably one of his most important works, given its world première recording here by the orchestra for which it was written, and of which Aho is composer-in-residence. Lahti Symphony Orchestra; Osmo Vänskä. BIS CD 856 (Sweden) 08-062 $17.98

VISSARION SHEBALIN (1902-1963): Concertino for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 14/1, Concertino for Horn and Orchestra, Op. 14/2, Sinfonietta on Russian Folk Themes, Op. 43, Symphony No. 5, Op. 56. The two concertinos date from 1930 and 1932 and are colored by the expressionistic language then current in Europe (these are in stereo). The Sinfonietta, from 1949-51, is in keeping with Communist musical ideology in its use of folk elements while the Symphony, Shebalin's last (1962) is in clean, clear, classical style, utterly free of Soviet bombast. Mono/stereo. Boris Shulgin (violin), Boris Afanasiev (horn), USSR Academic Symphony Orchestra; Gennady Provatorov, USSR Radio and TV Symphony Orchestra; Nikolai Anosov, Alexander Gauk, USSR State Symphony Orchestra; Evgeni Svetlanov. Olympia OCD 599 (England) 08-063 $16.98

GERHARD ROSENFELD (b. 1931): Music for Willy Brandt, Violin Concerto No. 2, Freidensgloria Music for Willy Brandt was written to a commission for the opening of the Willy-Brandt-Haus in celebration of the return of a democratic government to Berlin. Alternating rhythmically marked passages with reflective, thoughtful music, the work paints a vivid and accessible portrait of a determined political figure. This directness of utterance is typical of Rosenfeld's music, as can be heard in the concerto, dramatic and emotionally accessible within a post-Bergian modern idiom. The largest work on this CD is the 40-minute "Gloria for Peace", more experimental in style than the other works, the whole making a powerful statement in response to the cold war years. Chamber Soloists of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Gustav Schmahl (violin), Staatskapelle Dresden; Siegfried Kurz, Helga Termer (soprano), Berlin Radio Choir, RSO Berlin; Heinz Rögner. Thorofon CTH 2344 (Germany) 08-064 $17.98

ALFRED SCHNITTKE (b. 1934): Symphony No. 2 "St. Florian", ALFRED SCHNITTKE (b. 1934), EDISON DENISOV (1929-1996), ARVO PÄRT (b. 1935), GENNADY ROZHDESTVENSKY: Pas de Quatre. Another big eclectic orchestral work by Schnittke? Well, no, actually; this "symphony" is really a setting of the mass for choir and large orchestra, and it relies very little upon Schnittke's polystylism. This piece belongs in the canon of Russian liturgical music, and it sounds like a celebration of the mass, albeit one cast in the vocabulary of one with sophisticated twentieth-century methods at his disposal. Pas de Quatre is an interesting oddity, and perhaps rather more than that; a collective composition with overtones of political satire, carried out with great technical skill and tongue firmly in cheek; a musical equivalent of the paintings of Komar and Melamid. Jean Temperley (contralto), Paul Esswood (counter-tenor), Neil Jenkins (tenor), Jonathan Roberts (bass), BBC Singers, BBC Symphony Orchestra; Gennady Rozhestvensky. BBC Radio Classics 5691962 (England) 08-065 $13.98


LUDWIG SPOHR (1784-1859): Violin Concertos No. 1 in A, Op. 1, No. 14 in A Minor, Op. 110 and No. 15 in E Minor, Op. 128. The subtitle of the fourteenth concerto, Sonst und Jetzt (Then and Now), could serve as the motto for this final volume of this series which contains both the first and last of Spohr's fifteen violin concertos. Like Spohr's Symphony No. 6, which aped the baroque, classical and romantic styles of composition, the concerto No. 14 contrasts the "Now Generation"'s striving for virtuoso effects with the "Then" of "true art". An encore recording of two concertante works for two violins and orchestra is promised! Ulf Hoelscher (violin), RSO Berlin; Christian Fröhlich. CPO 999 403 (Germany) 08-066 $15.98

HANS PFITZNER (1869-1949): String Quartet in D Minor, String Quartet in C Sharp Minor, Op. 36. Pfitzner's early student quartet, composed in 1876, is the Brahmsian-Regerian-Straussian exercise one might expect. His third quartet, Op. 36 from 1925, is a high-voltage affair full of inner turmoil which pushes the limits of traditional harmony. Franz Schubert Quartet. CPO 999 526 (Germany) 08-067 $15.98

JOSEPH SERVAIS (1850-1885): String Quartet, ADRIEN-FRANÇOIS SERVAIS (1807-1866): Souvenir de Spa, Op. 2. A-F.'s reputation as the Paganini of the cello was sealed by his Souvenir de Spa, a virtuoso display recorded here in its original version for cello and string quartet. His son Joseph, also a devoted cellist, has been completely forgotten. Here is the world-premiere recording of his string quartet of Brahmsian manner with brilliant writing for all of the instruments. Adrien-François Servais Ensemble. René Gailly 99003 (Belgium) 08-068 $16.98

JOSEPH STRAUSS (1827-1870): Complete Orchestral Works, Vol. 7: Jucker-Polka, Op. 27, Parade-Quadrille, Op. 45, Streichmagnete,, Op. 141, Die Idylle,, Op. 163, Minerva,, Op. 67, Bouquet-Polka , Op. 188, Erherzog Karl-Marsch, Op. 86, Friedenspalmen, Op. 207, Frohsinn, Op. 264, Hesperus-Bahnen, Op. 279, Irenen-Polka, Op. 113. Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra (Koice); Mika Eichenholz. Marco Polo 8.223567 (Hong Kong) 08-069 $14.98

JOSEPH STRAUSS (1827-1870): Complete Orchestral Works, Vol. 8: Sylphide, Op. 28, Die Amazone, Op. 49, Saus und Braus, Op. 69, Debardeurs-Quadrille, Op. 97, Seraphinen-Polka, Op. 125, Die Clienten, Op. 156, Mailust, Op. 182, Expensnoten, Op. 194, Arm in Arm, Op. 215, Wiener Stimmen, Op. 239, En passant, Op. 273. Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra (Koice); Mika Eichenholz. Marco Polo 8.223568 (Hong Kong) 08-070 $14.98 Two further volumes from the most sophisticated of the Strauss family, whose more serious romantic spirit was touched by Schubert, Chopin, Berlioz, Liszt and Wagner.

FLOR ALPAERTS (1876-1954): James Ensor Suite, ARTHUR MEULEMANS (1884-1954): Pliny's Fountains, HENRY GEORGES D'HOEDT (1885-1936): Chroniques breves de la vie bourgeoise. Meulemans' luscious, impressionistic suite of water music is joined here by world-premiere recordings of Alpaert's suite depicting four paintings of the 19th century Belgian painter. In order are: "Entrance of Christ into Brussels" depicting the arrival of Christ at a drunken city festival, "Skeletons Quarrelling Over a Hanged Man", a xylophone-pumped scherzo, "Love Garden", a dialogue between lovers punctuated by sarcastic remarks from a satyr, and "Infernal Procession: Sabbath", a rondo depicting flying witches and all sort of howling animals and monsters. D'Hoedt's suite "A Brief Chronicle of Middle Class Life" is a satiric look at contemporary society, from a prelude, through a carnival and military parade, 5 o'clock tea (watch out for those swarming gigolos!), a bombastic offical's speech (try to keep those eyes open!) and a nocturnal rumba interrupted by the arrival of Death and the gaping open of Hell! BRTN Philharmonic Orchestra Brussels; Alexander Rahbari. Koch Discover International DICD 920321 (Belgium) 08-071 $6.98

AMY BEACH (1867-1944): Variations on Balkan Themes, Op. 60, Scottish Legend, Op. 54/1, Gavotte fantastique, Op. 54/2, Scherzino: A Peterborough Chipmunk, Op. 128/1, Young Birches, Op. 128/2, A Humming Bird, Op. 128/3, Far Awa', Out of the Depths, Op. 130, By the Still Waters, Op. 114 Trois morceaux caractéristiques, Op. 28. The half-hour Variations on Balkan Themes is a deeply affecting piece that stands comparison with the very best of MacDowell. Sombre in mood, the eleven sections add up to a satisfying whole of cumulative emotional effect, much like the Grieg Ballade. The other short works which fill up the disc share with MacDowell the kind of open-air, wide-eyed Romantic picture-painting which typified the best post-Lisztian piano writing from the New World. Joanne Polk (piano). Arabesque Z6693 (U.S.A.) 08-072 $16.98

KARL GOLDMARK (1830-1915): Piano Trios in B Flat, Op. 4 and in E Minor, Op. 33. Strong, spirited performances of trios which follow a fairly conventional classical-romantic pattern; sonata-form outer movements, Mendelssohnian scherzi, and lyrical slow movements with a strong leaning towards the vocal tradition. Bartos Trio. Hungaroton HCD 31709 (Hungary) 08-073 $16.98

ANTONIO SALIERI (1750-1825): Emperor Mass in D, Organ Concerto, Magnificat in C, Dixit Dominus. The world-premiere recording of Salieri's 1788 mass brings us a smaller-scale, more rural sort of piece than might be imagined from the august title. The use of children's choir and small orchestra lend an intimacy and pastoral quality which is also reflected in the Magnificat and Dixit Dominus. The organ concerto of 1773 is Salieri's only work in the genre and is in two bustling, vivacious movements. St. Florian Boys' Choir, Anton Gansberger (organ), Leondinger Symphony Orchestra; Uwe Christian Harrer. Koch-Schwann 312882 (Germany) 08-074 $16.98

E.T.A. HOFFMANN (1776-1822): Symphony in E Flat, Miserere in B Flat. Unlike Salieri's mass (above), Hoffmann's liturgical work (1809) is quite a bit more sophisticated, blending Italianate operatic lyricism with early Romantic drama foreshadowing Weber and Schubert. Hoffmann's only symphony, from around 1806, takes Mozart's E Flat symphony as a model in its weighty, serious slow introduction and ensuing allegro. The slow movement is early Romantic in a Beethovenian way, the minuet is forceful and mostly in the minor while the last movement, a rhapsodic allegro molto is the furthest from the classical tradition. Camilla Nylund (soprano), Arantxa Armentia (mezzo), Lioba Braun (alto), Rodrigo Orrego (tenor), Johannes Schmidt (bass), South German Vocal Ensemble, Concerto Bamberg; Rolf Beck. Koch-Schwann 311482 (Germany) 08-075 $16.98

IGNAZ JOSEPH PLEYEL (1757-1831): Cello Concerto in C, FRANZ JOSEPH HAYDN (1732-1809): Cello Concertos Nos. 1 and 2, Hob. VIIb/1 and 2. Haydn's pupil Pleyel receives the first CD recording of one of his cello concertos, dating from 1797. Pleyel was a facile and prolific composer and his works generally are written in an uncomplicated and brilliant style. This concerto fits the description with much grateful writing for the solo instrument and a tuneful rondo finale to send the crowd away happy. Ivan Monighetti (cello), Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin. Harmonia Mundi HMC 901599 (France) 08-076 $17.98

JOHANN CHRISTIAN BACH (1735-1782): Harpsichord Concertos in F Minor, E and G. The second volume of harpsichord concertos written by the young J.C. Bach while living as the ward of C.P.E. Bach in Berlin reveal the same brilliant, multifaceted and multiform music which characterized the first volume offered in our last catalogue. The Hanover Band; Anthony Halstead (harpsichord). CPO 999 462 (Germany) 08-077 $15.98

WILHELM FRIEDEMANN BACH (1710-1784): 12 Polonaises, Fantasy in C Minor, Fantasy in A Minor. The fantasies are very brief but difficult and unique. The polonaise was a genre all the rage in Dresden and Saxony during the second half of the 18th century. Bach here takes the dance character of the piece and idealizes it, beginning the path to the creation of the Romantic "character piece". Harald Hoeren (fortepiano). CPO 999 501 (Germany) 08-078 $15.98

JOHANN CHRISTIAN BACH (1735-1782): Six Sonatas for Piano Forte, Op. 16. Written in 1779, these are two-movement works (fast-moderate tempo) which are in essence piano sonatas with accompanying flute or violin. Salzburger Hofmusik alternate between the two. These are classic works in the galant style, naturally flowing and light in manner: in fact, what one might call "Mozartian". Salzburger Hofmusik. CPO 999 494 (Germany) 08-079 $15.98

JAN K¤TITEL VAHAL (1739-1813): 4 Sonatas for Viola and Harpsichord, Op. 5, Sonata for Viola and Piano in E Flat. Like the above offering, these sonatas feature keyboard with accompanying string instument but what sets them apart is that that instrument is the viola, for which there is a paucity of music from the late 19th century. The works, unlike Bach's, are in three movements and are closer to the high classical style. Karel ·pelina (viola), Josef Hála (harpsichord/piano), Ladislav Pospíil (cello). Supraphon 3285 (Czech Republic) 08-080 $16.98

LEOPOLD KOÎELUH (1747-1818): 3 Trio Sonatas, Op. 12. Similar to the later Paër below, the violin is often liberated to sing its own lines and the works themselves (in three movements) are on a larger scale, more in keeping with the model favored at this time and later in the century by Haydn. Trio Cristofori . Hungaroton HCD 31665 (Hungary) 08-081 $16.98

FERDINANDO PAËR (1771-1839): 3 Grandi Sonate for Piano, Violin and Cello. The emerging supremacy of the piano as the predominant chamber-music instrument of the 18th and 19th century led to the innovation of the solo keyboard sonata as a self-contained virtuoso form, following the lead of Clementi. The addition of ad libitum accompanying roles for strings and wind was a Clementine practice which the renowned operatic composer Paër follows scrupulously here in these elegant and attractive works which epitomise the classical style of the time, before Beethoven's innovations ushered in Romanticism. Trio Brahms. Bongiovanni GB 5538 (Italy) 08-082 $16.98

JEAN JOSEPH CASSANÉA DE MONDONVILLE (1711-1772): Les Fêtes de Paphos. Produced in 1758, this opéra-ballet is in three sections in which Venus, Bacchus and Cupid reminisce about and celebrate their first loves. Mondonville was a colleague of Rameau but did not compete with him in the genre of the high tragic style. A contemporary captured the two genres: a vast canvas by Michelangelo or Raphael compared to a group of pretty Watteaus. Mondonville was an acknowledged master at producing the musical equivalent of those pretty Watteaus and this, the first CD recording of any of his opéra-ballets, finally gives him credit for his considerable talent. 3 CD set. French-English texts. Sandrine Piau (soprano), Veronique Gens (soprano), Agnès Mellon (soprano), Jean-Paul Fouchécourt (tenor), Olivier Lallouette (baritone), Peter Harvey (baritone), James Oxley (tenor), Chur de Chambre Accentus, Les Talens Lyriques; Christophe Rousset. L'Oiseau Lyre 455 084 (England) 08-083 $47.98

JEAN-PHILIPPE RAMEAU (1683-1764): Overtures to Les Fêtes de Polymnie, Les Indes galantes, Zaïs, Castor et Pollux, Naïs, Platée, Les Talens lyriques, Zoroastre, Dardanus, Les Paladins, Hippolyte et Aricie, Le Temple de la Gloire, Pigmalion, Les Surprises de l'Amour and Acante et Céphise. While collections of classical and romantic composers' overtures proliferate, this appears to be the only collection of Rameau's overtures available on CD, played in sparkling fashion by the finest European period instrumentalists of today. Les Talens Lyriques; Christophe Rousset. L'Oiseau Lyre 455 293 (England) 08-084 $16.98

JOHANN ADOLF HASSE (1699-1783): Salve reginas in A and in E, Motet Chori angelici laetantes, Fugue and Grave in G Minor, Sinfonia in D, Sinfonia in F, Op. 3/5. As in their previous work on behalf of Heinichen, Goebel and MAK here again go to bat for an unjustly slighted composer who flourished in Dresden. Almost no composer in his time had greater success or fame in the capitals of Europe than Hasse and his elegance and eloquence, beauty and clarity are demonstrated here in a variety of instrumental and vocal works rescued from unworthy oblivion. Barbara Bonney (soprano), Bernarda Fink (mezzo), Musica Antiqua Köln; Reinhard Goebel. DG Archiv 453 435 (Germany) 08-085 $16.98

GEORG PHILIPP TELEMANN (1681-1767): Der neumodische Liebhaber Damon oder Die Satyrn in Arkadien, TWV 21:8. Only nine of Telemann's 35 or so operas survive so CPO's resurrection of one of them is an event to celebrate. Premiered in 1724, "The Newfangled Lover Damon or The Satyrs in Arcadia" is in singspiel fashion with hardly any da capo arias. The libretto, possibly by Telemann himself, concerns the title character, a satyr from Thessaly who barges back into Arcadia (from which he had been banished) and attempts to claim the love of all the nymphs inhabinting the place for himself. After many intrigues, adventures and disguises leading to mistaken identity, this ill-mannered (and rather Don Giovanni-like) lover is again banished and the Arcadian nymphs and their shepherds live happily ever after. 3 CDs for the price of 2. German-English libretto. Vocal soloists including Mechtild Georg (mezzo), Ann Monoyios (soprano), Michael Schopper (bass), La Stagione Frankfurt; Michael Schneider. CPO 999 429 (Germany) 08-086 $31.98

PADRE JOÃO DE DEUS CASTRO LOBO (1794-1832): Mass and Credo for Eight Voices. This contemporary of Schubert was born and died in his native Brazil. Little is known of his life and work and this mass was only discovered in this century and received its first performance in 1979. Listeners who respond to the masses of Haydn and Schubert will find Germanic influences at work here alongside original uses of native and Portuguese elements. Soloists, Associação de Canto Coral, Camerata Rio de Janeiro; Henrique Morelenbaum. Arcobaleno 94032 (Belgium) 08-087 $13.98

GIOVANNI BATTISTA VIOTTI (1755-1824): Violin Concertos No. 4 in D, No. 22 in A Minor and No. 24 in B Minor. The undisputed master among violin virtuosi of the 18th century, Viotti defined the development of the modern violin tradition in much the same way that Clementi may be said to have done for the piano tradition. The 29 violin concerti are light, intended for display and entertainment. The 22nd, probably his most popular and best known, was a favourite of Brahms. Mark Kaplan (violin), Padova Chamber Orchestra; David Golub. Arabesque Z6691 (U.S.A.) 08-088 $16.98

GIOVANNI BATTISTA SAMMARTINI (1701-1775): Concertini a quattro in G, E Flat and B Flat, Quintets Nos. 2 and 3. Sammartini's importance to the formation of the symphony as a classical genre has yet to be completely understood. These quartets and quintets evince the same type of quasi-classical symphonic language which Haydn was using in Esterhazy. Period instruments. Ensemble Aglaia. Stradivarius STR 33426 (Italy) 08-089 $16.98

GIOVANNI BATTISTA PERGOLESI (1710-1736): Livietta e Tracollo, JOHANN ADOLF HASSE (1699-1783): Il tutore. World-premiere recordings of two one-act operas from the 18th century, the former involving two farm-hands in search of a third and the latter with the typical old teacher in love with his young pupil, both giving opportunities for colorful farce. Italian libretto. Soloists, Milano Classica Chamber Orchestra; Massimo Zanetti. La Bottega Discantica DISC 08 (Italy) 08-090 $16.98

IANNIS XENAKIS (b. 1922): Waarg, Charisma, Analogiques A+B, Thallein, Herma, Palimpsest. Ataxic point clouds? Must be Xenakis! As the note writer to this issue, recorded the day after it was performed at the composer's 75th birthday concert, puts it: "Xenakis is primarily a composer of ancient memory and primordial impulse in liquid cyber wrapping." That about says it all except to note that Analogiques, a 1958 work originally written in two versions (for strings and for tape) and then blended together, receives its first CD recording, as does the brief Charisma for clarinet and cello, suggested by a line from Homer about the soul escaping the body and flowing into the earth. ST-X Ensemble U.S.A.; Charles Zacharie Bornstein. Vandenburg 0003 (U.S.A.) 08-091 $16.98

HENRI POUSSEUR (b. 1929): Dichterliebesreigentraum. A long-standing devotion to the music of Schumann, and the Dichterliebe in particular, led Pousseur to this re-creation of the world of Heine's poems and their relation to Schumann's own life in lyrical post-Stockhausen terms. The music uses a pattern of tonal centres, and achieves a surprising synthesis of the most modern instrumental gestures and expressive vocal writing. German libretto. Marianne Pousseur (soprano), Peter Harvey (baritone), Alice Ader, Brigitte Foccroulle (pianos), Namur Chamber Choir, Liege Philharmonic Orchestra; Pierre Bartholomée. Cyprès 7602 (Belgium) 08-092 $17.9

GIACOMO MANZONI (b. 1932): Scene sinfoniche per il Doktor Faustus, Ode for Orchestra, 12 Versi di Emily Dickinson. Highly expressionistic and expressive, emphasizing the dramatic potential of the vocal line above all, even in the context of a purely instrumental work like Ode for orchestra, which manages to sound like a coherent whole despite the fact that it is built of "fugitive impressions" and melodic fragments, and the extensive use of percussion, Giacomo Manzoni's music demonstrates once again that national characteristics are important and unavoidable in music - the Italian operatic tradition is there in the background, for all this music's modernity. The Symphonic Scene is based on Thomas Mann's novel and might do very well as an exposition of the music of the fictitious Leverkühn. Lilia Shalomei (soprano), Moldovan Chamber Orchestra, Moldovan National Chorus and Orchestra; Daniel Pacitti. BMG Ricordi 331442 (Italy) 08-093 $18.98

CARL NIELSEN (1865-1931): 5 Piano Pieces, Op. 3, Symphonic Suite, Op. 8, Humoreseke-Bagateller, Op. 11, Chaconne, Op. 32, Theme with Variations, Op. 14, The Dream of a Merry Christmas. Volume One of Nielsen's complete piano music available for the first time at super-budget price. Peter Seivewright (piano). Naxos 8.553574 (Hong Kong) 08-094 $5.98

HUGO FREIDHOFER (1902-1981): Music from The Adventures of Marco Polo, The Lodger, The Rains of Ranchipur and Seven Cities of Gold. Freidhofer was a colleague of Korngold and Max Steiner at Warner Brothers and scored over 70 films. Three of the four suites here show him at his full-throttle "Technicolor" best while The Lodger shows how effective he could be with a psychological suspense thriller. Moscow Symphony Orchestra; William T. Stromberg. Marco Polo 8.223857 (Hong Kong) 08-095 $14.98

JOAQUIN TURINA (1882-1949): Mujeres españolas (2 sets, Opp. 17 and 73), Mujeres de Sevilla, Op. 89, La adultera penitente, Op. 18b. Turina describes 14 types of Spanish women in these pellucid sketches shot through with lyricism, humor and great musicality. Volume Two of a complete series of Turina's piano music. Antonio Soria (piano) Moraleda 6402 (Spain) 08-096 $16.98

GEORGI SVIRIDOV (b. 1915): Piano Sonata, Partita Nos. 1 and 2, Children's Album. Georgi Sviridov is one of the most highly respected and honored composers of the former Soviet Union, yet he is very little known in the west, other than for his choral music and song cycles. Indeed, Sviridov is primarily thought of, if at all, as a song composer, but his own instrument is the piano and his writing for it is powerful and original. Echoes of Shostakovich and Prokofiev there may be, but his is an unmistakably personal idiom. The Sonata is a tremendous tour de force, progressing from a determined opening, very reminiscent of symphonic Shostakovich, through a dramatic, lamenting slow movement to a whirlwind perpetuum mobile finale. Nikita Fitenko (piano). Altarus AIR-CD-9053 (U.S.A.) 08-097 $17.98

CHARLES CAMILLERI (b. 1931): Circus Music, Sonatina Iberiana, Sonatina Pastorale, Sonatina Monodica, Sonatina di Wooley, Sonatina Populaire, Solitude, Pieces for Anya, Piano Sonata No. 2, 5 Episodes, 5 Children's Dances, 3 Pieces for Piano. Camilleri is Malta's leading composer, and a very prolific one. Straightforward and attractive, rhythmically quirky (a characteristic absorbed from Maltese folk-music) these are all early works, from the period when the composer was concerned to explore nationalistic characteristics in his music, which is tonal, with modal inflections, rather like the lighter John Foulds. Murray McLachlan (piano). Olympia OCD 465 (England) 08-098 $16.98

CÉSAR GUERRA PEIXE (1914-1993): Prelúdios Tropicais Nos. 1, 4 and 7, JUAN JOSÉ CASTRO (1895-1968): Corales Criollos No. 1, ORLANDO JACINTO GARCÍA: Recuerdos de otra música para piano, ALFREDO RUGELES (b. 1948): Tanguitis, TANIA LEÓN: Ritual, CARLOS A. VÁZQUEZ (b. 1952): Imágenes Caribeñas, MARIIZA REZENDE (b. 1944): Ressonâncias, MARTA CARCIA RENART (b. 1942): Tres Momentos, ISABEL ARETZ (b. 1913): Por la Senda de Kh'asana, ALICIA TERZIÁN (b. 1934): Toccata. This disc provides a fascinating sampler of the enormous diversity of music that has been written in Latin America this century. This recital of short pieces explores impressionistic idioms as refracted through the cultures of South America. Tania León's "Ritual", the centerpiece of the CD, recalls something of the ecstatic dance-rhythms of Messiaen's "Vingt Regards", while the Vázquez works are striking mood-pictures. Aficionados of non-"experimental" contemporary piano music will find much to enjoy here. Martha Marchena (piano) Albany TROY 242 (U.S.A.) 08-099 $16.98

BED¤ICH SMETANA (1824-1884): Complete Polkas. These extremely appealing Polkas would grace any recital of Romantic piano music. The polka has an unmistakable national character, and who better to write in this form than the great nationalist composer of Ma Vlast? Within the basic dance form Smetana produces an amazing range of character pieces, comparable to the Mazurkas of Chopin, surprisingly sophisticated and written for the instrument with great skill. Petr JiÞíkovsk (piano). Studio Matous (Czech Republic) 08-100 $16.98

BERNARD REICHEL (b. 1901): Sonata for Cello and Piano, 9 Preludes, Fantasia, Pieces faciles, Recueil d'Images, Suite, Le Petit Album. Reichel's music (all the works save the sonata are for solo piano) is tonal, deeply felt and well crafted, and may strike some as having a surprisingly Celtic inflection, due to the composer's absorption of modal systems of traditional music of northern Europe, which left their influences over a wide area. Admirers of Czeslaw Marek or Ronald Stevenson will find this vocabulary familiar and the music highly appealing. François Guye (cello), Christiane Montandon (piano). Gallo CD 912 (Switzerland) 08-101 $18.98

HERBERT HOWELLS (1892-1983): Hymnus Paradisi, Fantasia for Cello and Orchestra. Hymnus Paradisi is an intensely personal work - in fact, for twelve years after its completion, the composer kept it to himself. It was written as part of the grieving process for Howells' 9-year old son, who died suddenly of polio in 1935. A requiem in all but name, it expresses an almost unbearable intensity of grief and quest for hope and salvation. The Fantasia for cello and orchestra is also an in memoriam work for the composer's son and for Elgar. Less racked with pain than the choral work, it remains a somber elegy, full of suppressed emotion. April Cantelo (soprano), David Johnston (tenor), Three Choirs Festival Chorus, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Donald Hunt, Alexander Baillie (cello), BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra; Norman del Mar. BBC Radio Classics 5691982 (England) 08-102 $13.98

WEN DEQING (b. 1958): Qi, String Quartet No. 1, Wu, Complainte, Ji I & Ji II. Wen Deqing is a young Chinese composer who emerged from the stifling oppression of the Cultural Revolution to achieve rapid artistic growth in his homeland, and then after absorbing western idioms during studies in Europe, reached an artistic maturity that allows him to comment on Chinese culture using the most sophisticated compositional techniques. None of these pieces sounds "oriental", and they are tightly, even mathematically, organised, yet they have an exotic, improvised quality, and a purity seldom heard in "avant-garde"music. The unusual instrumental and vocal sounds combine to form an almost theatrical commentary on the human condition and experience. Ensemble Contrechamps; Giorgio Bernasconi, Quatuor du Temps, Sébastien Risler (piano). Stradivarius STR 33471 (Italy) 08-103 $16.98

AZIO CORGHI: La Cetra Appesa. Here is a 41-minute dramatic cantata for solo soprano, chorus and large orchestra, with a potent message of the human condition expressed in a modern idiom that pays direct homage to the vocal traditions of Italian operatic writing, and logically extends them without undermining their unparalleled power of direct emotional statement. Eva Lind (soprano), Orchestra Sinfonica dell'Emilia-Romagna "Arturo Toscanina"; Will Humburg. BMG Ricordi 1037 (Italy) 08-104 $18.98

THEODORE MOSES TOBANI (1855-1933): A Trip to Coney Island, Columbus, DAVID WALLACE REEVES (1838-1900): The Evening Call, C.L. BARNHOUSE (1865-1929): The Battle of Shiloh, THOMAS ROLLINSON (1844-1928): The Hunting of the Snark, ALBERT C. SWEET(1876-1945): The Battle of San Juan Hill. These programmatic and highly colorful works depict scenes and ideas from American life, from holiday outings and excursions to famous battles, using the favorite form of entertainment in the late 19th century: the brass band. The New Columbian Brass Band; George Foreman. Dorian Discovery 80153 (U.S.A.) 08-105 $13.98

HEINRICH VON BIBER (c. 1644-1704): Fidicinium sacro-profanum, Serenada "Nightwatchman's Call", Passacaglia, Balletti lamentabili, Battalia, Laetatus sum, Nisi Dominus. Biber's extravagant, extrovert compositions are like almost nothing else in the entire baroque period. Contained here are his depiction of a battle, using scordatura tuning and violent plucking of the strings, a work (balletti lamentabili) which seems to chart the return to life from a serious illness, complete with a hammering forte, double forte, triple forte and then a tièrce de Picardie at the conclusion. In the Fidicinium Biber demonstrates a new emphasis on form and harmony and moves away from early Baroque style. 2 CD set. The Purcell Quartet, Peter Harvey, Richard Wistreich (basses). Chandos CHAN 0605 (England) 08-106 $33.98

JOHANN CASPAR KERLL (1627-1693): Missa pro defunctis. This "Mass for All Souls' Day" is presented as it might have been heard in Southern Germany in 1690, with liturgical texts in the proper place between musical sections of the mass. Kerll was Bohemian and studied under Carissimi in Italy and he brings an Italian vocal idiom into this work with the tonal registers ranging from a hushed, introverted Hostias to a horrifying and unforgetful Dies irae. Hassler Consort; Franz Raml. MD&G 6140739 (Germany) 08-107 $19.98

GIUSEPPE TORELLI (1658-1709): Five Concerti and Five Sinfonias, Op. 5. Published in 1698, this series of works shows a marked shift from chamber forces to larger orchestral numbers. The number of movements varies from three to five, with slow movements usually being vestigial - hinges on which to hang the allegros while the concerto style, with conversation back and forth between instruments, predominates in both genres. Insieme Strumentale di Roma. Stradivarius STR 33461 (Italy) 08-108 $16.98

GAETANO DONIZETTI (1797-1848): Le convenienze ed inconvenienze teatrali. 'The Usages and Misusages of the Stage" finds buffo humor at the expense of the members of a provincial opera company. The seconda donna is displeased that the prima donna's role is more conspicuous and she calls in her harridan of a mother who proceeds to create utter chaos. Among the wounded is Rossini, whose Willow Song from Otello is badly butchered by this inept crew. Originally produced in 1827, this has become one of Donizetti's most performed early operas in the late 20th century. Italian-English libretto. Cristina Rubin (soprano), Maria Costanza Nocentini (soprano), Bruno de Simone (baritone), Orchestra dei Pomeriggi Musicali; Fabrizio Maria Carminati. BMG Ricordi 5872 (Italy) 08-109 $18.98

CARL LOEWE (1796-1869): Lieder und Balladen, Vol. 7: Herr Oluf, Op. 2/2, Der Pilgrim vor St. Just, Op. 99/3, Die Uhr, Op. 123/2, Kaiser Ottos Weihnachtsfeier, Op. 121/1, Der Mohrenfürst, Op. 97/1, Die Mohrenfürstin, Op. 97/2, Der Mohrenfürst auf der Messe, Op. 97/3, Hueska, Op. 108/2, Trommel-Ständchen, Op. 123/2, Graf Eberstein, Op. 9 H. VI,5, General Schwerin, Op. 61/2, Landgraf Ludwig, Op. 67/3, Die Gruft der Liebenden, Op. 21. This valuable series continues with several striking ballads, especially the trilogy of Op. 97 involving a Moorish king and his queen. Wagner was a great admirer of Loewe's lieder and ballads and this series shows just how important they were to the burgeoning Romantic tradition. Andreas Schmidt (baritone), Cord Garben (piano). CPO 999 305 (Germany) 08-110 $15.98

DARIUS MILHAUD (1892-1974): Trois chansons de négresse, Op. 148b, Chansons bas, Op. 44, Deux petits airs, Op. 51, Catalogue de fleurs, Op. 60, Poemes juifs, Op. 34, Poeme, Op. 22, Poeme, Op. 73, Les soirées de Pétrograde, Op. 55. Milhaud is well-known for his ability to write practically any type of music anywhere and his wide travels offered him countless opportunities to react to local color. As a look at the titles above show, this collection travels from Brazil to Russia and from Provence to Palestine. Milhaud was an amazingly prolific composer yet this is the only CD currently available devoted entirely to his songs. Györgyi Dombrodi (mezzo), Lambert Bumiller (piano). CPO 999 408 (Germany) 08-111 $15.98