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Symphony No. 1

Piano Concerto

FELIX DRAESEKE (1835-1913): Symphony No. 1 in G, Op. 12, Piano Concerto in E Flat, Op. 36. With the exception of his piano sonata and his staggeringly huge oratorio Christus, Draeseke has been one of the most egregiously ignored of the late Romantic composers with not even a chamber work having been recorded on CD. This month that changes somewhat; in addition to this premiere recording of his first symphony, we have three instrumental CDs released under the auspices of the International Draeseke Society in our catalogue (see page 2). The symphony was completed in 1872 and its premiere proved to be one of the composer's first great successes. His orchestra is smaller than for some of his early symphonic poems and he uses the classical four-movement format yet his thematic linking and relating of the movements shows the influence of the New German School of Liszt and Wagner. Dating from 1885/86, the piano concerto was Draeseke's only published work in the genre (an 1881 violin concerto remains unpublished). The soloist is almost constantly busy throughout both with virtuosic passagework and in introducing thematic material and after a kinetic first movement and an emotionally urgent adagio, the work climaxes in a variation-form finale which ends in a cathartic, ecstatic conclusion. This is a crowd-pleasing, edge-of-the-seat concerto worth the price of the disc by itself. Claudius Tanski (piano), Wuppertal Symphony Orchestra; George Hanson. MD&G 335 0929-2 (Germany) 02B001 $17.98

FELIX DRAESEKE (1835-1913): Viola Sonata No. 1 in C Minor, WoO 21, Viola Sonata No. 2 in F, WoO 26. Dating from 1892 and 1902 respectively, both of these sonatas were written for the viola alta, an ephemeral instrument meant to fall between the viola and cello in sound and character. Thus, they have a little of the mien of Schubert's Arpeggione Sonata and, though performed here on a regular viola, the wistful melancholy and resigned lyricism of the latter work infuses both sonatas with the exceptions of their finales. Franco Sciannameo (viola), Eric Moe (piano). AK Coburg DR 0001 (U.S.A.) 02B002 $16.98

FELIX DRAESEKE (1835-1913): Cello Sonata in D, Op. 51, Ballade for Cello and Piano in B Minor, Op. 7, Barcarole for Cello and Piano in A Minor, Op. 11, Piano Pieces: Vision, Op. 21/1, Traum im Elfenhain, Op. 21/2, Rote Blätter fallen, Op. 14/1, Verweht, Op. 14/2, Valse-Scherzo, Op. 5/2. The cello sonata dates from 1890 and demands virtuoso ability from its performers as well as an intimate understanding of its shifting harmonies and intricate contrapuntal relationships. The 1866 Ballade is a study in elegiac melancholy while the Barcarole of 1872 is a classic example of the genre piece evoking undulating waves and gondolas plying Venetian lagoons. The selection of piano pieces shows a series of genre pieces which at times transcend those boundaries through their sophistication and difficulty. Barbara Thiem (cello), Wolfgang Müller-Steinbach (piano). AK Coburg DR 0002 (U.S.A.) 02B003 $16.98

FELIX DRAESEKE (1835-1913): Clarinet Sonata in B Flat, Op. 38, Scene for Violin and Piano, Op. 69, Violin Sonata in B Flat, Op. 38 (alt. version of clar. son.). Dating from 1887, the clarinet sonata is a lovely, pastoral work, full of light and good spirits. The notes make a case for this being the first duo sonata for clarinet of the Romantic period, predating Brahms, Reger and Saint-Saëns. Draeseke made a version for the violin at the same time (the two were published together) with a minimum of changes required by the string instrument. The Scene (1899) is the composer's only work for violin and piano and is a dramatic 11-minute work which makes use of two themes from Draeseke's unproduced opera Bertran de Born (1894). Martin Nitschmann (clarinet), Nanette Schmidt (violin), Wolfgang Müller-Steinbach (piano). AK Coburg DR 0003 (U.S.A.) 02B004 $16.98

JOHANN CARL ESCHMANN (1826-1882): String Quartet in D Minor, In Autumn for Horn and Piano, Op. 6, 2 Fantasy Pieces for Violin and Piano, Op. 9. A favored pupil of Mendelssohn and, later in life, a warmly respected colleague of Brahms, Eschmann produced only a small quantity of works and, were it not for the gift in 1997 of a batch of his manuscripts from his descendents to the Zurich Central Library, we would not have the opportunity to hear these works now. The quartet is undated and appears to be an early work, warm and sunny, laced with the benign influences of Mendelssohn and Schumann. The latter is even more apparent in the six-movement suite In Autumn (1849) while the 1851 Fantasy Pieces contain a first movement strongly reminiscent of Schumann's Op. 73 Fantasiestücke and also seem to recall certain Wagnerian themes. The Ceruti Quartet, Dave Lee (horn), Oliver Lewis (violin), Roy Howat (piano). Guild GMCD 7171 (England) 02B005 $16.98

HENRY VIEUXTEMPS (1820-1881): Violin Concerto No. 1 in E, Op. 10, Violin Concerto No. 4 in D Minor, Op. 31. Vieuxtemps' op. 10 concerto is actually his second, dating from 1840, while what we know as his second, the heavily Paganini-influenced No. 2, was composed in 1836. The E major concerto is on a massive scale, lasting over 40 minutes with a 24-minute first movement that embellishes and develops its themes at great length with much multiple stopping, rapid bowed staccato and octave passages. A brief adagio serves to introduce a long, brilliant rondo finale with many technical demands. Only CD recording currently available. Misha Keylin (violin), Janácek Philharmonic Orchestra; Dennis Burkh, Arnhem Philharmonic Orchestra; Takuo Yuasa. Naxos 8.554506 (New Zealand) 02B006 $5.98

JOSEPH JOACHIM RAFF (1822-1882): Suite No. 1 for Orchestra, Op. 101, Symphony No. 5 "Lenore", Op. 177. CD premiere of Raff's first orchestral suite from 1863. In five movements which include a scherzo and march from an early "Great Symphony" no longer extant, the piece is in Classical style with clear and attractive orchestration and echoes of Haydn, Beethoven and Mendelssohn. A lovely companion to Raff's most famous symphony - the Lenore of 1873 - which receives yet another fine recording. 80 minutes of gorgeously orchestrated music. Bamberg Symphony Orchestra; Hans Stadlmeier. Tudor 7077 (Switzerland) 02B007 $16.98

MAX BRUCH (1838-1920): Symphony No. 1 in E Flat, Op. 28, Violin Concerto No. 3 in D Minor, Op. 58. Bruch's first symphony and last (numbered) violin concerto are paired here. The symphony (1868) is a predominantly lyrical work except for its highly rhythmic scherzo while the 1891 concerto is in the classical three movements with a large-scale (20 minutes) first movement in broad and heroic manner and a perpetuum mobile finale. Lydia Mordkovitch (violin), London Symphony Orchestra; Richard Hickox. Chandos 9784 (England) 02B008 $16.98

JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833-1897): Complete Lieder, Vol. 2 - 5 Gedichte, Op. 19, 9 Lieder und Gesänge, Op. 32, 4 Gesänge, Op. 43, 4 Lieder, Op. 46. The five short songs of op. 19 (1862) are fine evocations of the nature poetry of Uhland, Hölty and Mörike; 1864's op. 32 is a cycle which opens in deepest depression and despair but brighten up until reaching Brahms' most famous early song, Wie bist du meine Königin, a love hymn par excellence. opp. 43 and 46 (1866 and 1868) continue the settings of folk songs mixed with poetry by Jölty. Mid-price. German-English texts. Juliane Banse (soprano), Andreas Schmidt (baritone), Helmut Deutsch (piano). CPO 999 442 (Germany) 02B009 $10.98

Richard Wetz - Symphony No. 2

RICHARD WETZ (1875-1935): Symphony No. 2, Op. 47, Kleist Overture, Op. 16. Think of this as Bruckner's Symphony No. 4-and-a-half; Wetz was a strong Bruckner partisan throughout his life and wrote a monograph on the elder composer in 1922. His second symphony dates from 1919 and the thematic and harmonic contours of the cliffs and crags of its first movement are unmistakeable in their source. Bruckner is less evident in the lamenting adagio second movement but (Wetz does without a scherzo) the finale, whose principal theme is introduced by four horns, returns us to the rough-hewn grandeur of the Austrian master. But Wetz is not a mere epigone; this symphony works on its own terms and will delight anyone interested in late Germanic Romanticism. The overture (1899) was one of Wetz' first big successes and is in the Lisztian tone-poem style. Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz; Werner Andreas Albert. CPO 999 695 (Germany) 02B010 $15.98

AARON AVSHALOMOFF (1895-1964): Orchestral Works, Vol. 2 - Symphony No. 1, Flute Concerto. If Vaughan Williams had been Chinese he would have sounded like... Well, Chinese and English folk music differ but Avshalomoff's use of pentatonic Chinese-style melodies with orchestration derived from Rimsky-Korsakov and using traditional Western musical forms have produced, in the 1940 first symphony, a sound and affect not unlike that of the great English symphonist in his pastoral mode. The 1948 flute concerto was the composer's first major work in the United States and, while not as obviously oriental in its general nature as the symphony, it is still a bright, attractive and often exotic-sounding work which makes use of Avshalomoff's experience with Chinese wind instruments. Nadine Asin (flute), Moscow Symphony Orchestra; David Avshalomov, Jacob Avshalomov. Marco Polo 8.225033 (New Zealand) 02B011 $14.98

AARON AVSHALOMOFF (1895-1964): Orchestral Works, Vol. 3 - Symphony No. 2, Piano Concerto, DAVID AVSHALOMOFF (b.1946): Elegy for Strings. The concerto dates from 1935, composed during a six-week stay at a Chinese resort and based entirely on Chinese themes and rhythms; a monster cadenza with wide-ranging mood swings and technical demands stands out in the first movement and a dreamily lyrical adagio is followed by a romping finale with a percussion-accompanied cadenza. The symphony was commissioned by the Koussevitzky foundation at Leonard Bernstein's prompting and employs a large orchestra with a battery of Chinese percussion instruments lending it a more overtly exotic character than the first symphony. Grandson David's Elegy is a jazzy and bluesy offering to Bernstein's memory. Larissa Shilovskaya (piano), Moscow Symphony Orchestra; Jacob Avshalomov, David Avshalomov. Marco Polo 8.225035 (New Zealand) 02B012 $14.98


JEF VAN HOOF (1886-1959): Symphony No. 2 in A Flat, ARTHUR MEULEMANS (1884-1966): Symphony No. 7 "Swan Fen - A Heathland Symphony", LODEWIJK MORTELMANS (1868-1952): The Myth of Spring, PETER BENOIT (1834-1901): In the Fields for Oboe and Strings. Van Hoof's symphony was written under Nazi occupation in 1941 and bears a marginal note in the manuscript "the whole world has gone - wiped from the face of the earth". A sadly elegiac first movement is followed by determined and rebellious scherzo before an adagio (marked "with bitterness") which delves further into gloom and suffering. The finale ("proceeding happily") appears to be a hope for the future in the form of a gentle processional march. Meuleman's symphony dates from 1940, when the occupation was occuring yet the music has no connection with actual historical events. This is one of three consecutive symphonies which form a nature triptych (preceeded by a "Sea Symphony" and succeeded by an "Autumn Symphony") and the work, in the classical four-movement form, has a pronounced impressionist slant to it with particularly rich and subtle orchestral colors. Mortelman's symphonic poem (1895) has a strong Wagnerian influence and it paints an atmospheric picture of a passage from the Norse Edda. Joost Gils (oboe), VRT Philharmonic Orchestra; Silveer Van den Broeck. Marco Polo 8.225101 (New Zealand) 02B013 $14.98

JEAN ROGISTER (1879-1964): String Quartet No. 2 in F Minor, String Quartet No. 6 in C Minor. Rogister was a viola virtuoso, who, among other accomplishments was first viola in Stokowski's Philadelphia orchestra for a time. A prolific if intermittent composer, he left a number of large-scale works, including three symphonies. As a string player it seems natural that he would have been drawn to the string quartet, a form to which he returned repeatedly throughout his career. Influenced by Franck as a young man, the composer retained a classical sense of form and a romantic feel for development and harmony, apparently having little to do with the musical experimentation of the early decades of the century. Both these quartets are finely crafted and balanced with an ideal feel for quartet textures, and in their somewhat conventional way they are extremely satisfying. Gong Quartet. Cyprès CYP1620 (Belgium) 02B014 $18.98

YRJÖ KILPINEN (1892-1959): Kanteletar-Lauluja, Op. 100. Kilpinen was perhaps the most fecund song composer of the 20th century with more than 600 to his credit with texts in both German and Finnish. This delightful release chooses 26 of the 64 songs from the Kanteletar, a collection of old Finnish folk poems which Kilpinen set in 1953-54. His harmonies are based on old church modes and on the pentatonic scales of Finno-Ugric folk music which give the settings a timeless, simple yet appealing style. As an introduction to what will be unknown repertoire to many collectors, this disc is highly recommended. Finnish-English texts. Mid-price. Camilla Nylund (soprano), Hans Lydman (baritone), Peter Stamm (piano). CPO 999 575 (Germany) 02B015 $10.98

ADALBERT GYROWETZ (1763-1850): Symphonies: in E Flat, Op. 6/3, in F, Op. 6/3 & in D, Op. 12/1. Gyrowetz was friendly with all three of the big names in the symphonic literature of his period: Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven. His more than forty symphonies are not often heard but if these three are characteristic of the rest, this is a shame. These are first recordings of all three symphonies (which seem to date from around 1790 - Gyrowetz wrote almost all of his works in this genre before 1800) and they fall most closely into the late Haydn category. Indeed, the English impressario Salomon also commissioned symphonies from Gyrowetz around the same time that Haydn's first batch of "London" symphonies was being premiered. A must for collectors of the classical symphony. London Mozart Players; Matthias Bamert. Chandos 9791 (England) 02B016 $16.98

JOHANN BAPTIST VANHAL (1739-1813): Symphonies: in D Minor, A, G Minor & in F. Four symphonies new to the CD catalogues, offering more evidence of why Vanhal was one of the most highly-respected composers in Vienna at the end of the 18th century. He was not an innovator; he knew the taste of the public and produced symphonies with lyrical allegros, soaring melodies and graceful minuets. The minor-key works are in the tradition of Haydn's Sturm und Drang period. Heidelberg Philharmonic Orchestra; Thomas Kalb. Koch Schwann Musica Mundi 3-6715-2 (Germany) 02B017 $6.98

CHRISTOPH WILLIBALD GLUCK (1714-1782): Die Hochzeit von Herkules und Hebe. Dating from 1747 when Gluck was still mostly unknown, this "serenata" is a pastoral idyll with eloquently learned dialogues, whose recitatives round out the characters while the arias are vocal showpieces. Gluck recycled music from several of his Milan and London operas - common practice at the time and still valuable since those works are next to unknown today also. Sung in German. No libretto. Jutta Vulpius (soprano), Rosemarie Rönisch (soprano), Gertraud Prenzlow (contralto), Peter Schreier (tenor), Berlin Chamber Orchestra; Helmut Koch. Berlin Classics 9155 (Germany) 02B018 $10.98

GIOVANNI BATTISTA VIOTTI (1755-1824): Complete Violin Concertos, Vol. 7 - Concerto No. 9 in A, No. 15 in B Flat & No. 17 in D Minor. This series continues with two fine late concertos from around 1788/89, the D Minor having Mozartian weight and drama and the B Flat lyrical and expressively intense in its slow movement. By contrast, the 1783 A Major is relaxed, bucolic and graceful with many galant traits. Symphonia Perusina; Franco Mezzena (violin). Dynamic CDS 243 (Italy) 02B019 $17.98

BARTOLOMEO CAMPAGNOLI (1751-1827): Flute Concerto in G, Op. 3/3, Dueto primo in A for Flute and Violin, Duo for Flute and Violin in C, Op. 6/2. This second CD of Campagnoli's works offers a flute concerto similar to that on the first: a smoothly elegant allegro, a French-like romance and a rondo finale with fanciful and variegated thematic material. The accompanying duets are brilliant and effective. Mario Ancillotti (flute), Christiano Rossi (violin), I Virtuosi Italiani. Dynamic CDS 273 (Italy) 02B020 $17.98

LUIGI BOCCHERINI (1743-1805): 6 Flute Quintets, Op. 55. Collectors should note that these are not the flute quintets listed in Schwann/Opus and recorded by Rampal; these late works date from 1797 and are in two-movement form with all of the melody and sprightly content which are associated with this composer. Michael Faust (flute), Auryn Quartet. CPO 999 382 (Germany) 02B021 $10.98

LUIGI BOCCHERINI (1743-1805): Cello Concertos, Vol. 2 - No. 5 in E Flat, No. 6 in A, No. 7 in D & No. 8 in D. The middle volume of this series brings more of Boccherini's alluring mixture of winning melodies and exciting virtuosity. Tim Hugh (cello), Scottish Chamber Orchestra; Anthony Halstead. Naxos 8.553572 (New Zealand) 02B022 $5.98

FRANZ SCHUBERT (1798-1827): The Schubert Edition, Vol. 34 - Der Alpenjäger, D524, La pastorella al prato, D513, Frohsinn, D520, Das Grab, D569, Die Einsiedelei, D563, Atys, D585, Das Dörfchen, D598, Der Kampf, D594, Die Geselligkeit (Lebenslust), D609, Sing-Übungen, D619, Das Abendrot, D627, Abend, D645, Das Mädchen, D652, Cantate zum Geburtstag des Sängers Michael Vogl, D666, Prometheus, D674, Über allen Zauber Liebe, D682, Die gefangenen Sänger, D712, Grenzen der Menschheit, D716, Wandrers Nachtlied II, D768. Comprising songs from 1817-21, this newest release in the Hyperion Schubert series contains a mixture of familiar pieces, unknown masterpieces, rarities and fragments. Particularly enjoyable and unusual is the wordless singing exercise for two sopranos Singübungen. German-English texts. Lorna Anderson, Lynne Dawson, Patricia Rozario (sopranos), Marjana Lipovsek (mezzo), Martyn Hill, Philip Langridge, Daniel Norman, Michael Schade (tenors), Gerald Finley, Matthias Goerne, Thomas Hampson, Simon Keenlyside, Stephan Loges, Christopher Maltman (baritones), Neal Davies (bass), The London Schubert Chorale; Graham Johnson (piano). Hyperion CDJ 33034 (England) 02B023 $17.98

GIOACCHINO ROSSINI (1792-1868): Otello. This is the first recording of the critical edition of this opera which includes several alternate arias and the first recording of the 1820 "Happy Ending" required when the opera was performed in Rome, where tragic endings in opera were frowned upon. Although once available in its traditional form on Philips, this is currently the only version of Otello of any type on CD. 3 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Bruce Ford (tenor), Elizabeth Futral (soprano), Ildebrando D'Arcangelo (bass), Juan José Lopera (tenor), Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, Philharmonia Orchestra; David Parry. Opera Rara ORC 18 (England) 02B024 $56.98

LEWIS MERCY (c.1695-c.1750): 6 Sonatas for Bassoon and Basso Continuo, Op. 3, GIROLAMO BESOZZI (1713-1786): Bassoon Sonata in B Flat. Mercy was a celebrated English recorder player of French origin who left only three sets of compositions; these bassoon sonatas (published around 1735) combine an Italianate melodic sensitivity with a French refinement while making use of several Scottish-style airs. Paolo Tognon (bassoon), Pietro Bosna (cello), Paola Frezzato (continuo bassoon), Pietro Prosser (theorbo, guitar), Roberto Loreggian (harpsichord). Tactus TC 691301 (Italy) 02B025 $16.98

HANS HUBER - Symphonies Nos. 3 & 6 Premiere recordings!

HANS HUBER (1852-1921): Symphony No. 3 in C "Heroic", Op. 118, Symphony No. 6 in A, Op. 134. Two more wonderfully satisfying symphonies from this Swiss master! The third was premiered in 1902, its first movement arranged from an orchestral ode "To the Fatherland" of three years earlier. Its heroic motif becomes the principal motif of the whole work. Dedicated to Richard Strauss, this symphony premiered the same year as Ein Heldenleben and a bit of Don Juan is quoted in the finale. Yet the work doesn't sound like Strauss; Huber's strong rhythmic drive and use of typically Swiss melodic types give the music a personal quality that is unmistakeable. A second-movement "Funeral March" is edifying and proud, never melancholy while the third movement Totentanz uses the Dies irae as a basis for several rather frisky variations before the finale comes storming back with the "Hero theme" and builds to a powerful climax when a solo soprano with a lyrical Sanctus to organ accompaniment. The sixth (1911) is the first of Huber's symphonies to have no programmatic associations - work of youthful freshness with a boisterous first movement, daintily dancing second and profound third before a finale in typical variation form which culminates in a fantastical bacchanale. Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestra; Jörg-Peter Weigle. Sterling CDS-1037-2 (Sweden) 02B026 $15.98

The Romantic Piano Concerto, Vol. 23

JOSEPH HOLBROOKE (1878-1958): Piano Concerto No. 1 "The Song of Gwyn ap Nudd", Op. 52, HAYDN WOOD (1882-1959): Piano Concerto in D Minor. Here are two examples of dozens of English late Romantic piano concertos which were written between 1895 and 1915 when the spirit of the Grand Concerto was still carried throughout Europe by virtuoso pianist/composers. Holbrooke's work (1909), originally titled "Orchestral Poem" depicts a Welsh folk tale (the poem is printed in full with track points marrying music to text) in music in the grand style ranging from dreamy introspection to brilliant exhibitionis. Wood, known primarily as a "light music" composer, wrote his concerto in the same year nor will it disappoint the collector who loves pianistic bravura and full-blooded Romanticism. Hamish Milne (piano), BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra; Martyn Brabbins. Hyperion CDA 67127 (England) 02B027 $17.98


RUED LANGGAARD (1893-1952): The End of Time for Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra, From the Song of Solomon for Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra, Carl Nielsen, Our Great Composer! for Chorus and Orchestra, Interdict for Organ and Orchestra. The End of Time is a compressed concert version of the opera Antikrist and contains some of the more striking ideas from the opera while avoiding some of the larger work's occasional pseudo-Wagnerian longeurs. Along with From the Song of Solomon, also receiving its first recording here, it is a work of very considerable musical substance. One is occasionally left with the impression that while Langgaard's embittered isolationism and deliberately ironic use of bombastic utterances and self-parodying gestures was an essential part of a highly individual musical personality, had he been able to put autobiographical considerations to one side more often, he might well have been one of the great composers of our century, whereas he now only seems to be one of the more interesting. Danish-English texts. Nina Pavlovski (soprano), Stig Andersen (tenor), Per Høyer (baritone), Per Salo (organ), Danish National Radio Choir and Symphony Orchestra; Gennady Rozhdesvensky. Chandos 9786 (England) 02B028 $16.98

HALVORSEN - Stage Music, Volume 2

JOHAN HALVORSEN (1864-1935): Suite from The King, Suite from Vasantasena, Suite from Tordenskjold, Festival March. The second volume in this series brings music from three works written between 1896 and 1902: Vasantasena is a 4th century Indian epic and Halvorsen uses all of the "orientalisms" available to western composers, especially in the third movement "Still Life, Dance and Bacchanalia" where pentatonic clarinet themes and expanded percussion ensemble accentuate the exotic. Tordenskjold was a Danish-Norwegian sea hero and the central movement of this suite "Tordenskjold Goes into Action" portrays a great sea batle with vivd effects. The King's music is on a particularly grand scale and its Symphonic Intermezzo has Wagnerian overtones. Latvian National Symphony Orchestra; Terje Mikkelsen. Simax PSC 1199 (Norway) 02B029 $18.98

KURT ATTERBERG (1887-1974): Symphony No. 1 in B Minor, Op. 3, Symphony No. 4 in G Minor, Op. 14 "Sinfonia piccola". A second recording of this coupling! The ultra-romantic first symphony, with its influences of Bruckner, Brahms and Strauss, announced its youthful composer's arrival on the European musical scene and the work dwarfs its discmate, the 1920 Sinfonia piccola which makes great use of many Swedish folk tunes in its transparent, classical texture. Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra; Ari Rasilainen. CPO 999 639 (Germany) 02B030 $15.98

GIUSEPPE VERDI (1813-1901): Preludes, Overtures & Ballet Music, Vol. 3 - Preludes to Acts 1 and 3 of La treaviata, Overture and Ballet of the Four Seasons from Les Vèpres siciliennes, Prelude to Un ballo in maschera, Prelude (1st version) to Simon Boccanegra. A premiere recording of the first version of the prelude to Simon Boccanegra highlights this penultimate disc of the (somewhat delayed) series of Verdi's operatic orchestral music. Over half of the disc is devoted to the ballet music from Les Vèpres siciliennes... BBC Philharmonic; Sir Edward Downes. Chandos 9696 (England) 02B031 $16.98

GIUSEPPE VERDI (1813-1901): Preludes, Overtures & Ballet Music, Vol. 4 - Prelude and Overture to La forza del destino, Prelude and Ballet Music from Act 3 of Don Carlos, Ballet Music from Act 3 of Otello, 2 Preludes (Italian premiere and Cairo premiere), Ballet Music and Dances from Aida. The fourth and final volume of this series offers the premiere recording of the Aïda overture which was composed for the opera's 1872 Italian premiere and then withdrawn. BBC Philharmonic; Sir Edward Downes. Chandos 9788 (England) 02B032 $16.98

French Symphonies for Organ and Orchestra

FÉLIX ALEXANDRE GUILMANT (1837-1911): Symphony No. 2 in A for Organ and Orchestra, Op. 91, CHARLES-MARIE WIDOR (1844-1937): Symphony No. 3 for Organ and Orchestra, Op. 69, CÉSAR FRANCK (1822-1890): Choral No. 2 in B Minor. The mighty organ of Liverpool Cathedral provides a thrilling ride in the loud portions of these now-rollicking, now-meditative symphonies by two of the finest organist-composers of the 19th/20th centuries. In Widor's 1894 work, the organ rises like a leviathan from the orchestral depths and takes us on a high-octane journey culminating in a grand hymn of praise. Guilmant's work is a transcription of his eighth organ sonata and is eclectic yet often as powerful as that of Widor and it ends in a great fugal flurry. Ian Tracey (organ of Liverpool Cathedral), BBC Philharmonic; Yan Pascal Tortelier. Chandos 9785 (England) 02B033 $16.98


JEAN SIBELIUS (1865-1957): Cantata for the Conferment Ceremony of 1894, Coronation Cantata, Academic March, Andante festivo, Finlandia, Op. 26/7. Sibelius completists will be surprised to find that BIS has not achieved a total monopoly on rare scores! The 1894 cantata was the composer's first and was performed at graduation ceremonies at the University of Helsinki, setting texts of national romantic motifs although the the music itself could perhaps better be termed "solemn romantic" in nature. In 1896, Sibelius's second cantata celebrated the crowning of Tsar Nicholas II in lofty manner, setting texts full of the hope and aspirations of the Finnish people (to no issue as Nicholas shortly began his program of Russification of the Finns). The program begins with a 1919 march for graduation ceremonies again and uses the Andante festivo as an intermezzo between the cantatas before finishing rousingly with Finlandia. Soile Isokoski (soprano), Jaakko Kortekangas (baritone), Finnish Philharmonic Choir, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra; Leif Segerstam. Ondine ODE 936 (Finland) 02B034 $17.98

JOAQUÍN TURINA (1882-1949): El Jueves Santo a media noche for Piano and Chamber Orchestra, La Anunciación, Op. 27 for Piano and String Orchestra, Rapsodia sinfónica, Op. 66 for Piano and Orchestra, Danza Ritual, Op. 55/3, Serenata, Op. 87, Tango No. 2, Op. 8, La oración del torero, Op. 34. Several rarities receive their first CD recording: the atmospherically charged El Jueves Santo is an arrangement of a piece from Turina's 1908 Op. 2 piano cycle Sevilla which the composer set for piano and orchestra in 1937; La Anunciación is a short stage work from 1924 with its simple harmonies and artless melodies touched by a sense of mystery; the serenade dates from 1943 and was intended to form a musical unity with the ever-popular La Oración del Torero. An appealing collection of gently colorful Iberian byways. Chamber Orchestra of L'Empordá; Isidro Barrio (piano). Koch Schwann 3-1258-2 (Germany) 02B035 $16.98

ERNEST BLOCH (1880-1959): Hiver-Printemps, Poèmes d'Automne for Mezzo-Soprano and Orchestra, In the Night, 2 Psaumes for Soprano and Orchestra, Psaume 22 for Baritone and Orchestra. A cornucopia of orchestral color and splendor pours forth from this release concentrating (with one exception) on pre-World War I works. Hiver-Printemps (1905) is a diptych of vivid impressionism, depicting the arid, frozen wastes of winter followed by a voluptuous and ecstatic representation of spring; the Poèmes (1906) set (rather self-regarding and insipid) texts of youthful disaffectedness and self-torment with gloriously powerful, evocative and richly orchestrated music which puts the texts to shame; In the Night is a brief tone-poem (1922) with echoes of the over-ripe Romanticism of Zemlinsky or Szymanowski while the psalms (1912-14) veer from brazen, barbaric splendor to anguished despair, often recalling the powerful settings of psalms by Lili Boulanger. French-English texts. Mireille Delunsch (soprano), Brigitte Balleys (mezzo), Vincent Le Texier (baritone), Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra; David Shallon. Timpani 1C1052 (France) 02B036 $18.98

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (1685-1750)/MAX REGER (1873-1916): Suite in G Minor, Suite for Flute and Strings, Aria O Mensch, bewein dein Sünde Groß. At a time when Stokowski's transcriptions of Bach are being frequently performed and recorded, it is good to have a reminder of the individual who, perhaps beyond all others in the last century, loved and revered Bach's music - but who also loved to perform it in "modern", heavily romanticized orchestrations. The "Suite in G Minor", published at Reger's request as "Bach-Reger-Suite", takes six pieces from the keyboard Partitas and English Suites and orchestrates them, adding new voices and imitations as well as many dynamic and articulatory nuances. The second orchestral suite is recorded here with Reger's continuo realization of 1911. Jean-Claude Gérard (flute), Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra; Dennis Russell Davies. MD&G 321 0940 (Germany) 02B037 $17.98

REYNALDO HAHN (1875-1947): String Quartet in A Minor, String Quartet in F, Piano Quintet in F. The first quartet (1939) is a light-hearted, lovely, relaxed piece with much of Ravel and Debussy in it; dating from 1943, the second is a bit more serious, larger in scale and surprisingly Franckian in style and texture. The 1921 piano quintet is evocative of Fauré in its full harmonies and coloring and is much more animated than either of the quartets. More evidence that Hahn was a lot more than just a song or operetta composer! Quatuor Parisii, Alexandre Tharaud (piano). Auvidis Valois V 4848 (France) 02B038 $18.98

JACQUES CASTÉRÈDE (b.1926): Cello Sonata, 3 Paysages d'Automne for Cello, String Orchestra and Harpsichord, Dona Nobis Pacem for Soprano, and 8 Cellos. The 1996 sonata is a strongly rhythmical (and tonal) work with oriental touches in its intriguing scherzo and which has a strong, attractive personality. The 1980 triptych paints vivid pictures of autumnal scenes while the 1992 Dona nobis opens in a hellish discordant polyphony and works its way to an ecstatically expressive conclusion. Liu Wei (cello), Philippe Muller (cello), Françoise Masset (piano), Atelier Musique, Ville d'Avray; Jean-Louis Petit. REM 311331 (France) 02B039 $16.98

Welsh Classical Favorites !

GRACE WILLIAMS (1906-1977): Fantasia on Welsh Nursery Tunes, SIR HENRY WALFORD DAVIES (1869-1941): Solemn Melody, GARETH WALTERS (b.1928): Overture: Primavera, A Gwent Suite, TREVOR ROBERTS (b.1940): Pastorale, ALUN HODDINOTT (b.1929): Folksong Suite, MERVYN BURTCH (b.1929): Overture: Aladdin, WILLIAM MATHIAS (1934-1992): Serenade, IAN PARROTT (b.1916): Fanfare Overture (for a Somerset Festival). Welsh music, traditionally choral in nature, only began instrumentalizing in the 20th century; here is a fine collection of orchestral music in the "light" vein, led off by Grace Williams, probably the finest Welsh composer (and certainly the finest orchestrator) of the century whose fantasia rings the changes on seven little-known Welsh tunes. The remainder of the disc continues in much the same fashion - light, bustling and brilliant pieces with an occasional quiet pastoral interlude. Sure to appeal to anyone who has been collecting the English and Scottish light music releases on this label and on ASV. Royal Ballet Sinfonia; Andrew Penny. Marco Polo 8.225048 (New Zealand) 02B040 $14.98

VIRGIL THOMSON (1896-1989): Symphony on a Hymn Tune, Symphony No. 2 in C, Symphony No. 3, Pilgrims and Pioneers. That Virgil Thomson was, along with Aaron Copland, one of the great personalities of 20th-centuy American music is beyond question at this point. His ingratiating and largely easy-going music; resolutely tonal, unfashionable, even old-fashioned, sits somewhat incongrously alongside his mordant prose and outsized personality. Thus these symphonies are conventionally structured, exquisitely proportioned and orchestrated, basically cheerful and optimistic pieces, immediately attractive both in their delightful material and the evident craftsmanship with which they are assembled. "Pilgrims and Pioneers" is a film score, almost pictorially descriptive in its own right. New Zealand Symphony Orchestra; James Sedares. Naxos 8.559022 (New Zealand) 02B041 $5.98

ARNOLD BAX (1883-1953): Symphony No. 3, The Happy Forest. Containing some of the richest melodic invention of any of Bax's seven symphonies, the third (1929) receives its finest recording here. Gramophone called this recording "the most judiciously pace and satisfyingly cogent Bax Third we've had since Sir John Barbirolli's pioneering 1943-44 Hallé account". The same review described the coupling (1914 but only orchestrated in 1921) as "a performance of bounding, almost Coatesian vigour..."; if you've ever heard Coates conduct, say, the Russian romantic repertoire, you'll know exactly what they mean. As a confirmed Baxian, I can only eloquently say "Yeah... what they said!" Royal Scottish National Orchestra; David Lloyd-Jones. Naxos 8.553608 (New Zealand) 02B042 $5.98

ALBERTO WILLIAMS (1862-1952): Music for Piano, Vol. 1 - Primera Sonata Argentina, Op. 74, 3 Hueyas, Op. 33, 3 Berceuses, Op. 47, Milongas, Op. 64, Nos. 11-20. The father of the Argentinian nationalist school has appeared already on Arte Nova with symphonic works but the vast majority of his more than 300 compositions were for the piano and this new release brings us a sampling. The "first Argentine sonata" (1917) is just that (Williams wrote only the one) and the work is to Argentina what Grieg's sonata is to Norway. In four movements loosely tied together thematically, the work has a strong nationalistic flavor, using folk-like material and, in the third movement an Indian dance, the Malambo. Williams wrote 42 Milongas (a ballroom dance from the Rio de la Plata region) in 1913; they are miniature tone poems with programmatic titles. The old Gaucho dance, the Hueya, brings more nationalism in three examples from 1893 while the 1906 Berceuses are an example of Williams' European style. Valentín Surif (piano). Marco Polo 8.223799 (New Zealand) 02B043 $14.98

ERNEST BLOCH (1880-1959): Suite hébraïque, Violin Sonata No. 1, Abodah, Melody, Violin Sonata No. 2 (Poème mystique). The Suite hébraïque, dating from 1950, is an excellent example of Bloch's life-long preoccupation with Jewish melodies and is eloquent and direct, stemming from the composer's succinct, late style. Everything else here dates from the 1920s where a youthful impulsiveness and directness fuel an instantly communicative style in which, even in the sonatas, the Jewish element is often present in the background. The 1924 Poème mystique, with its yearning sense of desire and mysterious unease, will appeal to anyone who loves Szymanowski while the Melody and Abodah, both dating from 1929 and the latter subtitled "A Yom Kippur Melody" find Bloch in a supplicative and ruminative mood. A fine introduction to this composer's chamber music. Miriam Kramer (violin), Simon Over (piano). Naxos 8.554460 (New Zealand) 02B044 $5.98

OLE BULL (1810-1880): The Herd-Girl's Sunday, La Mélancolie, Adagio from Violin Concerto in E Minor, CHRISTIAN SINDING (1856-1941): Suite im alten Stil, Op. 10, JOHAN SVENDSEN (1840-1911): Romance in G, Op. 26, JOHAN HALVORSEN (1864-1935): Norwegian Dances Nos. 1 & 2, Maiden's Song, The Old Fisherman's Song, Wedding March, Andante religioso, EDVARD GRIEG (1843-1907): Last Spring, I Love Only You. More than last month's disc of Swedish works for violin and orchestra, this release offers more "popular" pieces such as the Bull and Svendsen works. Even the Halvorsen compostions fit comfortably into this genre while the Sinding (once quite popular in concert and recorded as late as the 1970s by Itzhak Perlman) and Svendsen anchor the "serious" portion of this utterly enjoyable and winning collection of Norwegian listening pleasure. Henning Kraggerud (violin), Razumovsky Symphony Orchestra; Bjarte Engeset. Naxos 8.554497 (New Zealand) 02B045 $5.98

BOHUSLAV MARTINU (1890-1959): Les Larmes du Couteau, The Voice of the Forest. It is astonishing to discover that there are still works of Martinu only now receiving their premiere recordings, and immensely gratifying finally to have the opportunity to discover them. These two brief operatic works are typical Martinu; tonal, rhythmically incisive and snappily succinct, drawing on jazz and cabaret styles as appropriate. The "Knife's Tear"s represents the composer's brief flirtation with the Dadaist movement in 1920s Paris, and contains all the elements that this would lead one to expect, in music of winking knowingness and sinister charm. The radio opera The Voice of the Forest is a beautiful piece, open and tuneful, avoiding the cosmopolitan sophistication of "The Knife's Tears" while being by no means musically naïve, and using reminiscences of Czech folk music ingeniously and tellingly. Vocal Soloists, Chamber Choir, Prague Philharmonia; JiÞí Bélohlávek. Czech-English libretto. Supraphon SU 3386-2 (Czech Republic) 02B046 $16.98

BOHUSLAV MARTINU (1890-1959): Works for Cello and Piano, Vol. 1 - Sonatas Nos. 1-3, Ariette, 7 Arabesques. Martinu's cello sonatas date from the period 1939-52, when his mature style had crystallized and jazz, neo-classical and Czech folk influences had been thoroughly digested. Each of the works has the composer's characteristic rhythmic vitality and economy of expression and, at budget price, will make it easy for collectors who may not have gone beyond the symphonies to acquaint themselves with Martinu's cool, clear and satisfying style. Also included are cello transcriptions of the earlier violin Arabesques in which one can hear some of the influences mentioned above. Sebastian Benda (cello), Christian Benda (piano). Naxos 8.554502 (New Zealand) 02B047 $5.98

ALEXANDER TCHEREPNIN (1899-1977): Cello Sonatas No. 1, Op. 29 & Nos. 2 & 3, Op. 30, The Well-Tempered Cello, Op. 38, Songs and Dances, Op. 84, Ode. World-premiere recordings of everything but the Ode: Tcherepnin's sonatas date from 1919 and 1924 and are based on his personal nine-note scale which he created while living in Tiflis and studying Georgian folk music. The Well-Tempered Cello (1926) also uses this scale which lends these compact, dynamic works an unnamable exotic quality. The Songs and Dances (1953) are transcriptions of Georgian, Tatar, Russian and Kazakh folk pieces. Unusual and highly enjoyable stuff! Alexander Ivashkin (cello), Geoffrey Tozer (piano). Chandos 9770 (England) 02B048 $16.98

NINO ROTA (1911-1979): Sonata for Flute and Harp, Clarinet Trio, String Quartet, Quintet for Flute, Oboe, Viola, Cello and Harp, Trio for Flute, Violin and Piano, Piccola Offertà Musicale for Wind Quintet. Rota's amiable brand of neo-classicism, laced with his easy melodic talent, is on display throughout this recital which covers the period 1935 to 1973 (the latter year's clarinet trio showing influences from Stravinsky and Shostakovich). Good humor, optimism and a touch of nostalgia here and there make for a very pleasant release. Ex Novo Ensemble. ASV DCA 1072 (England) 02B049 $16.98

MARLOS NOBRE (b.1939): 3 canções negras, Op. 88, Desafio XXXII, Canto a García Lorca, Op. 87, 3 canções de Beiramar, Op. 21bis, HEITOR VILLA LOBOS (1887-1959): Bachianas Brasileiras Nos. 1 & 5. Nobre's two sets of songs have all of the intoxicating elements of Brazilian folk music: charm, obsessive rhythms and moments of languid tenderness. The Desafio (a kind of folk poetry contest) is characterized by its improvisatory nature and its virtuosity while the Canto was composed in celebration of Lorca's 100th birthday in 1998 is a highly dramatic piece with a virtuosic vocal part. All of these pieces were written especially for the present performers. Portuguese texts. Cello Octet Conjunto Iberico; Elias Arizcuren, Pilar Jurado (soprano). Channel Classics CCS 15598 (Netherlands) 02B050 $17.98

ALAN RAWSTHORNE (1905-1971): Piano Quintet, Piano Trio, Viola Sonata, Cello Sonata, Concertante for Violin and Piano. Rawsthorne remains something of an oddity in English music, and this in a nation famous for its eccentrics is something of an achievement in itself. His music has never achieved wide popularity, for reasons that are rather hard to define precisely. Rather modern-sounding in the early part of the century; viewed as reactionary by the time he died, he was never unduly concerned with fashion, writing music which fulfilled his personal ideals of concision, precision and tautly structured argument. The late Piano Quintet has very little "English" sound about it - just here and there, a Moeran-like modal phrase - but it is a deeply introspective and rewarding work which continues to fascinate and yield glimpses of previously obscure layers of meaning on repeated acquaintance. Special mention must be made of the magnificent Cello Sonata of 1949, a work of profound psychological depth, by turns sombre and agitated, masterfully written for both instruments by a composer well acquainted with both as performer. Various artists. Naxos 8.554352 (New Zealand) 02B051 $5.98

SÁNDOR VERESS (1907-1992): Sonata for Solo Cello, Sonatina for Cello and Piano, LEÓ WEINER (1885-1960): Romance for Cello and Piano, Op. 14, ANDRÁS MIHÁLY (1917-1993): Mouvement for Cello and Piano, FERENC FARKAS (b.1905): Ballada for Cello and Piano, GYÖRGY LIGETI (b.1923): Sonata for Solo Cello, ERNÖ DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960): Ruralia Hungarica, Op. 32d, FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886): Elegy No. 2, Die Zelle in Nonnenwerth. Miklós Perényi (cello), Dénes Várjon (piano). This collection of Hungarian cello music runs the gamut from Liszt's Romanticism to Veress' solo sonata, which makes sparing use of 12-tone technique. But his earlier Sonatina is a bright, neo-classical piece and Ligeti's are early works, rooted in Hungarian folk music. Weiner and Dohnanyi add their own colorful touches of late Romanticism. Hungaroton HCD 31835 (Hungary) 02B052 $16.98

FERNANDO LOPES-GRAÇA (1906-1994): 24 Preludes. Composed between 1950 and 1955, this set of preludes (lasting over 71 minutes in this performance) presents a compelling picture of Lopes-Graça's stylistic plurality and his importance in Portuguese music. Not adhering to any key structure, these pieces have a variety of influences, perhaps Bartók most of all in their awareness of the ingredients of Lusitanian folk music although the Shostakovich of the 24 Preludes and Fugues comes to mind as well. Rich in contrasting gestures, they run the gamut from brilliant idiomatic virtuosity to intimate vocal monologues. Miguel Henriques (piano). Strauss/Portugalsom SP 4216 (Portugal) 02B053 $13.98

JIRÍ ANTONÍN BENDA (1722-1795): 6 Harpsichord Sonatas. The works recorded here date (two each) from 1757, 1781 and 1787 and the latter two have been performed on the piano but the harpsichord seems to fit all of these pieces just as well if not better. Benda, after all, was heavily influenced by the expressive style of C.P.E. Bach and mixed in a Scarlattian brilliance with his own native Bohemian folk influences. These works are sure to appeal to anyone who enjoys C.P.E. Bach and the other composers of the Sturm und Drang movement. Tamara Franzová (harpsichord). Panton 81 9011-2 (Czech Republic) 02B054 $16.98

ALEXANDER GRIBOYEDOV (1795-1829): 2 Waltzes, LEV GOURLIEV (1770-1844): Variations on a Russian Folk-Song, VASILY KALINNIKOV (1866-1901): 7 Piano Pieces, ALEXANDER BORODIN (1833-1887): Scherzo in A Flat, Petite Suite. More unusual Russian piano music from Olympia: Griboyedov was a poet, dramatist and diplomat who left behind only these two charming waltzes; Gourilev was a serf, referred to as the "Russian Beethoven", who composed these variations in 1814; Kalinnikov wrote these seven piano pieces between 1890 and 1894 and they are the antithesis of his vigorously powerful symphonies. Victor Ryabchikov (piano). Olympia OCD 649 (England) 02B055 $16.98

FRANZ BERWALD (1796-1868): Piano Quintet No. 1 in C Minor, Piano Quintet No. 2 in A, Piano Quintet in A (unfinished). It's a sign of Berwald's originality that his symphonies don't really sound like anyone else's of the same period and one can say that of his chamber music as well. Liszt recognized the Swedish composer's original talent but rightly also saw that it would not be appreciated in his lifetime. The C Minor quintet was inspired by a talented young pianist and so offers much more sparkling piano writing than Berwald was prone to concoct; the second quartet shows a more equal balance between piano and strings. The "unfinshed" quintet actually consists of two movements originally meant for the other A major work. Bengt-Åke Lundin (piano), Uppsala Chamber Soloists. Naxos 8.553970 (New Zealand) 02B056 $5.98

LOUISE FARRENC (1804-1875): Flute Trio in E Minor, Op. 45, FELIX MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847): Flute Trio in D Minor. Farrenc's elegance, sense of formal balance and lack of virtuosic mannerism are showcased in this trio from 1862. The coupling is Mendelssohn's own rare transcription of his first piano trio for the flute, made in 1840 at the request of a London publisher. Gian-Luca Petrucci (flute), János Devich (cello), Jenö Jandó (piano). Tudor 7074 (Switzerland) 02B057 $16.98

GUILLAUME LEKEU (1870-1894): Piano Trio in C Minor, Piano Quartet (unfinished). The hyper-sensitive and fervently emotional Lekeu would have been an important composer had he lived a full life and this mid-price recording of one of his most characteristic works - the 1890 piano trio - is an excellent introduction to his intensely emotional style, depicting the struggles of a tormented soul in writing which matches its compositional resources with its depth of feeling. Spiller Trio, Oscar Lysy (viola). Arts 47567 (Germany) 02B058 $10.98

LOUIS MOREAU GOTTSCHALK (1829-1869): Symphonie romantique "A Night in the Tropics" (arr. & completed Rosenberg), Piano and Orchestra: Célèbre Tarantelle, Op. 67/5, Souvenir de Porto Rico, Marche des Gibaros, The Dying Poet, Tournament Galop, O! Ma charmante, Le Bananier, Manchega, Célèbre Tarantelle, Op. 67/4 for 2 Pianos, Berceuse for Baritone and Piano. The conductor performs his completion of A Night in the Tropics (1859) made carefully using the original manuscript. The remainder of the program consists of transcriptions of piano pieces - some by Jack Elliott in 1982 on a commission by the American Ballet Theater and the rest by colleagues of Gottschalk known collectively as the "Creole Romantics": Nicolas Ruiz Espadero (1832-1890), Sidney Lambert (1838-1909) and Lucien Lambert (1858-1945). Look for more from the Lambert family and from the Dédé family in Naxos' American Classics Series soon! Hot Springs Music Festival; Richard Rosenberg. Naxos 8.559036 (New Zealand) 02B059 $5.98

LOUIS MOREAU GOTTSCHALK (1829-1869): Piano Works, Vol. 4 - La Colombe, Op. 49, La Moissonneuse, Op. 8, Le songe d'une nuit d'été, Op. 9, Pensée poétique, La Scintilla, Op. 20, Souvenir de Cuba, Op. 75, La Gitanella, Op. 35, Marte!!, Op. 55, Polonia, Op. 35, Fantôme de bonheur, Op. 36, Forest Glade Polka, Op. 25, Ossian, Op. 4, Ricordati, Op. 26, Reflets du passé, Op. 28, Apothéose, Op. 29. Hyperion's latest collection of polkas, mazurkas, caprices and marches from America's first internationally famous pianist. The detailed notes on each piece are extrememly valuable and more often than not, fun and interesting too, not stinting in their praise of the finest pieces nor refraining from calling a spade a spade in the more meretricious ones. A fine series continues! Philip Martin (piano). Hyperion CDA 67118 (England) 02B060 $17.98

THOMAS "BLIND TOM" WIGGINS (1849-1908): Cyclone Galop, The Rainstorm, Sewing Song, Battle of Manassas, Improvisation on "When This Cruel War is Over", Wellenklänge, Oliver Galop, Virginia Polka, Water in the Moonlight, Grand March Resurrection, Vivo Galop, Daylight, March Timpani, Rêve Charmant. This astonishing talent was born blind and in slavery in Georgia. By 1860, he was earning (well, earning his owners) on average $100,000 a year through his piano playing tours. Having heard anything once, Tom could play it note-for-note and remember it forever. The incredible stories of his capabilities are recounted in the copious and fascinating notes. But Tom also composed around 100 pieces of his own and this is the first commercial recording of any of them; they show a man well-versed in the European classics, especially Liszt, Chopin and Mendelssohn, as well as in the homely popular tunes of mid-century America. A winning lyricism prevails in most of the pieces although, like Gottschalk, torrents of virtuosity can burst out at any moment also. A fascinating release. John Davis (piano). Newport Classic NPD 85660 (U.S.A.) 02B061 $16.98


FRANCISCO MIGNONE (1897-1986): Piano Concerto, 19 Canções. The piano concerto is reminiscent of Rachmaninov at times, Liszt at others, and is an enjoyable if rather conventional Romantic piece, big and lush and exciting. There is real feeling and pathos in the slow movement, and some thrilling moments in the first. The finale has a popular feel and a hint of Prokofiev. Apparently both Richard Strauss and Toscanini conducted works of Mignone at one time or another, and it is interesting to encounter a composer of such stature who is now virtually unknown outside his native country. The songs are straightforward and characterful; tonal and if anything more conventional than the concerto. Mono. Maria Josephina Mignone (piano), Radio MEC National Symphony Orchestra; Alceo Bocchino, Glória Queiroz (mezzo), Francisco Mignone (piano). Soarmec S003 (Brazil) 02B062 $13.98

RADAMÉS GNATTALI (1906-1988): Concerto Romântico for Piano and Orchestra, Concerto for Cello, Piano and Orchestra, Accordion Concerto, Brasiliana No. 1. Of the three concerti on this disc, only the piano concerto is actually called "Romantic Concerto", but in their lush orchestration and treatment of the form as a virtuoso showcase, this description sums all three pieces up accurately. Colorful and bold, sometimes suggesting Hollywood as much as the concert hall, all three pieces are most enjoyable. The piano concerto has unmistakable traces of Ravel about it; the accordion concerto is entertaining and easy-going, less sinister than the Argentinian Piazzolla's introduction of the bandonéon into the concert hall, but not dissimilar in vocabulary. The cello concerto also has a good deal of "local color" and a virtuoso, agile solo part, often in partnership with the piano, which has a concertante part in its own right, accompanying the 'principal' soloist. Variable late 1960s sound, not up to the best modern standards but not unpleasant. Mono. Radamés Gnattali (piano), Iberê Gomes Grosso (cello), Chiquinho (accordion), Radio MEC National Symphony Orchestra; Alceo Bocchino. Soarmec S004 (Brazil) 02B063 $13.98

EDINO KRIEGER (b.1928): Suite for Strings, Divertimento for Strings, Ludus Symphonicus, Estro Armônico, Canticum Naturale. The two works for strings from the 50s are acessible and pleasing, bringing to mind the Concerti Grossi of Bloch, or some works of Bartók, cast in a classical mold. The substantial Ludus Symphonicus (1966) is a more individual work, more modern in style, incorporating some astonishing sounds which at times suggest Varèse more than the models previously mentioned. Rhythmically complex and making full use of the orchestral pallette, it is a very powerful and challenging work, though by no means obscure in expression. The 1970s pieces which conclude the disc continue in this vein, becoming perhaps a litlle more abstract, but no less striking in their sometimes barbaric sound-world. Mono. Radio MEC Chamber Orchestra; Mário Tavares, Roberto Schnorrenberg, Radio MEC National Symphony Orchestra; Rinaldo Rossi, Edino Krieger, Eleazar de Carvalho. Soarmec S006 (Brazil) 02B064 $13.98

CLAUDIO SANTORO (1919-1989): Piano Concerto No. 3 "Para a Junventude", Music for String Orchestra, Canto de Amor e Paz, Cello Sonata No. 3, Piano Sonata No. 3, Oboe Sonatina, Sonata for Solo Violin, Vocalise. Works for a wide selection of different forces, which combine to give the impression of a naturally gifted, fluent composer with a talent for writing melodic, charming music using themes and rhythms of recognisably Brazilian character, but within an European concert tradition. The Piano Concerto has definite echoes of Prokofiev, while there is a French sensuousness and melancholy in the slow movements of several of the instrumental sonatas. This is not to deny the excitement and drama in Santoro's fast movements, however; these satisfyingly balanced short works are all enjoyable and familiar-sounding enough to become favourite unchallenging listening. Mono. Various artists. Soarmec S007 (Brazil) 02B065 $13.98

CAMARGO GUARNIERI (1907-1993): Piano Concerto No. 2, Homenagem a Villa-Lobos, Canto No. 1 for Violin and Piano, Viola Sonata, 8 Ponteios for Piano, 5 Poemas de Alice for Soprano and Piano. The concerto is a 20th-century romantic concerto, somewhat in the mould of Prokofiev's third, with similar toccata-like piano figuration in the first movement. It is an appealing and lively piece with a dance-like, and occasionally hectic and tumultuous, feel. The songs are coolly restrained, brief to the point of aphorism and gently melodic, while the piano works, also brief, are little character pieces in contrasting moods, straightforward but effective. The viola sonata is a more extended work, lyrical and romantically expressive. The other orchestral work, Homenagem a Villa-Lobos, sounds like movie music, in exotic dance rhythms; an apparently affectionate tribute, and great fun. Mono. Various artists. Soarmec S008 (Brazil) 02B066 $13.98

ALCEO BOCCHINO (b.1920 - our guess; he's shy about it): Seresta Suburbana for Chamber Orchestra, 6 Canções for Soprano and Piano, Suite Brasileira for Cello and Piano, Sonatina for Piano, Seresta for Violin and Piano, 2 Canções do Folclore for Vocal Quartet and Piano, Theme and Variations on "Boneca Italiana Quebrada" for Bassoon and Piano, Nanynöel for Solo Bassoon. Very Brazilian-sounding music, with Wagner and Verdi hovering somewhere in the background, is a glib but not entirely inaccurate way to describe Bocchino's music. Above all it is characterised by passion and boldness of gesture. The works do not, on the whole, sound self-consciously "folky", having more in common with the grand gestures of the Italian operatic tradition. The piano Sonatina also betrays some common ground with Bartók, and also cannot resist big dramatic outbursts. Mono. Various Artists. Soarmec S009 (Brazil) 02B067 $13.98

RADAMÉS GNATTALI (1906-1988): Brasiliana No. 8, Suite Coreográfica, ERNESTO NAZARETH (1863-1934): Fon-fon, Improviso, Pairando, Elegantissima, Apanhei-te Cavaquinho, Gotas de ouro, Fidalga, Confidências, Digo, Vitorioso. Half this disc is given over to Gnattali's 2-piano arrangements of a selection of delightful miniatures by Ernesto Nazareth, full of sparkle, syncopation, sentimentality and wit. More than mere arrangements, Gnattali subtly fleshes out, and adds ornamentation to, the originals. HIs own works are in similar vein; very accessible, even "light", but skillfully put together with an appealing, easy-going fluency. 1960s mono recording quality inoffensive; condition of pianos, offensive. Radamés & Aída Gnattali (pianos). Soarmec S010 (Brazil) 02B068 $13.98

LORENZO FERNÂNDEZ (1897-1948): String Quartet No. 1 in F Minor, Suite for Wind Quintet, Suite Brasileira No. 3 for Piano, 2 Invenções Seresteiras for Flute, Clarinet and Bassoon, Noturno, Op. 3 for Piano, 7 çanções for Soprano and Piano. These chamber works share an easy-going, genial air, rather French-influenced, especially the earlier pieces such as the quartet. There is a strong Brazilian flavor to the music, even where this is not explicitly suggested by the title. The recordings, from the 1960s, might best be described as "historical", but this need not deter anyone intrigued by this fine nationalist-romantic music. Mono. Various artists. Soarmec S011 (Brazil) 02B069 $13.98

LORENZO FERNÂNDEZ (1897-1948): Symphony No. 2, 6 Canções for Soprano and Piano, For Piano Solo: Valsa Suburbana, Sonata Breve, 3 Estudos em Forma de Sonatina. The symphony of 1946-7 is a serious and large-scale work which draws on rhythms and motifs from Brazilian folk music. There is something of Villa-Lobos' exuberant sense of color and almost cinematic drama about this work, and a heart-on-sleeve emotionalism which sets it somewhat apart from the developments which were taking place in music history in the middle of the century. The piano works again display rhythmic traits typical of their latin origins and a lively dramatic sense, all in a fairly conventional tonal language. The songs could be folk songs, though they are not, so easy and unaffected are they in style. Mono. Brazilian Symphony Orchestra; Alceo Bocchino, Maria de Lourdes Cruz Lopes (soprano), Gerardo Parente (piano), Leonor de Macedo Cost (piano). Soarmec S012 (Brazil) 02B070 $13.98

CÉSAR GUERRA-PEIXE (b.1914): Concertino for Violin and Chamber Orchestra, Symphonic Suite No. 2 "Pernambucana", Suite for String Orchestra, Roda de Amigos for Flute, Clarinet, Oboe, Bassoon and Orchestra, Moda e Rasqueado for Orchestra, Ponteado for Orchestra, Trovas Capixabas & Trovas Alagoanas for Soprano and Piano. Guerra-Peixe's music gives the odd imnpression that one is listening to classical music - meaning, music of the classical era - yet oddly brought up to date. The economy of his forms, the elegance of his constructions, undoubtedly contribute to this impression. Always tonal, rhythmically quirky and full of unexpected twists and turns, Guerra-Peixe's works have an immediate appeal. There are unexpected depths as well, as in the "Moda", and outbursts of Villa-Lobos-like colour, the best exmple here being the exuberant Symphonic Suite. Mono. Various artists. Soarmec S014 (Brazil) 02B071 $13.98

HEITOR VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959): Violin Sonata No. 3, Piano Trio No. 1, 11 Canções for Vocal Quartet and Piano. Villa-Lobos effortless melodic gift and singing lyricism shine through the delightful, Romantic early First Trio of 1911. There is not much in the way of nationalistic flavour here, but the piece is a warm and most appealing exercise in the European romantic tradition. The songs sometimes sound like arias from 19th century operas - rather good ones, mind you - and sometimes have a definite south-American atmosphere, especially in the piano accompaniments, which are worthy of study in their own right. The 3rd Violin Sonata is more individual in style, and is a darker work, less ingratiating but no less accessible. A most enjoyable disc. Mono. Oscar Borgerth (violin), Ilara Gomes Grosso (piano), Radio MEC Piano Trio, Radio MEC Vocal Quartet, Velma Richter (piano). Soarmec S001 (Brazil) 02B072 $13.98

JEHAN ALAIN (1911-1940): Litanies (Two Piano version by Olivier Alain), Fugue for String Quintet, Intermezzo for 2 Pianos and Bassoon, Children's Corner for Piano, Post-Scriptum (arr. M.-C. Alain) for Organ, Invention for Flute and Piano, Lamento for Bassoon and Organ, Messe Gregorienne de Mariage for Tenor and String Quartet, Complainte de Jean Renaud for 4 Mixed Voices. We offer this third volume of Alain's works since it contains material beyond the organ works which are generally available. Some of these pieces are transcriptions of organ works made by his younger brother Olivier and his sister Marie-Claire while others are new to the catalogue, like his 1937 mass. Many of these pieces have the inward intensity which characterizes so much of the composer's remarkable organ oeuvre while others have a delicate, child-like wonder. Various artists. Arion ARN 68447 (France) 02B073 $16.98

ALFREDO BARILI (1854-1935): Valse caprice, Op. 2, Romanza & Impromptu, Op. 5, Valse Gracieuse, Op. 6, Cradle Song, Op. 18, Menuet, Op. 20, Tambourin, Op. 21, The Song of the Blacksmith, Op. 22, Dance Caprice, Op. 23, Impromptu, Op. 24, Gavotte & Minuet, Op. 25, Moment Musical & Mazurka, Op. 26, Modern Minuet, Op. 28, The Butterfly, Op. 30/2, 5 Songs. Half-nephew of the singer Adelina Patti, Barili was born in Italy but spent most of his life in the U.S., where he wrote much salon music which captures the nature and spirit of Southern society at and around the turn of the century. A good companion to the disc of piano pieces by "Blind Tom" offered elsewhere in this catalogue. William Ransom (piano), Victor Floyd (tenor), Eric Nelson (baritone). ACA Digital CM20071 (U.S.A.) 02B074 $16.98

VICTOR HERBERT (1859-1924): Al Fresco, ETHELBERT NEVIN (1862-1901): Water Scenes, Op. 13, WARREN STOREY SMITH (1885-1971): Festival Suite, Op. 21, HENRY F. GILBERT (1868-1928): 3 American Dances, SAMUEL BARBER (1910-1981): 5 Piano Pieces, ARTHUR BIRD (1856-1923): Amerikanische Weisen, Op. 23, 3 Char-acteristic Marches, Op. 11. A collection of four-hand piano music from the turn of the century (mostly), this disc offers more salon-style American music by little-known composers. Nevin has been heard from before in these pages as has Gilbert (Barber is every bit as "amateur" in his pieces); Bird was born in Massachussetts but lived in Berlin as a violent musical reactionary while Smith was a music critic for the Boston Post for 29 years and also rather conservative! Nadia & Vladimir Zaitsev (piano). Fleur de Son Classics FDS 57928 (U.S.A.) 02B075 $16.98

KRZYSZTOF PENDERECKI (b.1933): Orchestral Works, Vol. 2 - Symphony No. 1, Symphony No. 5. The first two volumes of Naxos' Penderecki series gives us the odd-numbered symphonies (to date), and are a most welcome addition to the catalogue, serving to demonstrate how this most revolutionary composer has succeeded in surviving his notoriety and rediscovering himself in works which remain as original as ever while nowadays largely eschewing the avant-garde shock tactics of the 1960s. Thus the fifth symphony is a grand, dark work, Romantic in mood and very reminscent of Shostakovich, and sometimes Sibelius, in language. It is quite surprising to consider that this brooding yet "representational" landscape is by the same composer who 20 years earlier produced the mechanistic, brutal even, abstract soundscape of the First Symphony, with its saurian bellowings and percussive assaults. National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra; Antoni Wit. Naxos 8.554567 (New Zealand) 02B076 $5.98

KRZYSZTOF PENDERECKI (b.1933): Orchestral Works, Vol. 1 - Symphony No. 3, Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima, Flourescenses, De natura sonoris II. The third symphony has more in common with the fifth than the first, or with the three earlier works, including Penderecki's most famous - and most shocking, the Threnody, which accompany it on the disc. Shostakovich again comes to mind when listening to the 3rd, a bold work of great drama and expression. There is really nothing quite like the works of the 1960s, with their fierce clusters and unbridled assault on the senses, using whatever means the composer thought necessary, and it is the sheer consistency of Penderecki's imagination and his ability to enthral and assault the emotions in whatever vocabulary he chooses, that mark him out as one of the great musical personalities of our century. National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra; Antoni Wit. Naxos 8.554491 (New Zealand) 02B077 $5.98

ANDREI ESHPAI (b.1925): Symphony No. 1, Flute Concerto, Concerto for Double Bass and String Orchestra, Songs of the Mountain and Meadow Mari. You like Shostakovich and Khachaturian? Buy this. Eshpai has the fluency of expression and well-nigh flawless sure-footedness in the handling of his forces of both these better-known masters. He may not plumb the depths of a Shostakovich - though he has his moments, to be sure - but his music always has the dramatic intensity, vividness of color and three-dimensionality of characterisation that admirers of the music of the former Soviet states know and love. Songs of the mountain . . . is unforgettably haunting, while the double-bass concerto treats that often neglected instrument as a singing, soulful soloist of surprising seriousness, subtlety and sophistication. The overtly theatrical symphony in two contrasting sections - it might as well be subtitled "Requiem and Celebration", though it is not - is a minor masterpiece which will continue to delight and impress after repeated acquaintance. USSR State Large Symphony Orchestra; Konstantin Ivanov, Vitaly Shapkin (flute), Tchaikovsky Large Symphony Orchestra; Alexander Vedernikov, Rifat Komachkov (double bass), Moscow Conservatory Orchestra; Gennady Cherkasov, USSR State Large SO; Vasily Sinaisky. Albany TROY 367 (U.S.A.) 02B078 $16.98

MANFRED SCHUBERT (b.1937): Tanzstudien for Orchestra, Nachtgesänge for Baritone and Orchestra, Symphony No. 1. As with the previous CD of Schubert's music which we offfered, the composer, in a manner of which his name is punningly emblematic, finds in classical and traditional models a source of preconceptions about music which it is both entertaining and fruitful to disturb and which provide a useful point of departure for his own ideas. So the dances really are dances that his namesake would have recognised a century and a half earlier, but expressed in a modern vocabulary. With the songs, we go one step further; these are transcriptions, exquisitely done, of Carl Friedrich Zelter's Goethe settings, gently coaxed into orchestral garb which enriches their color and incorporates two intermezzi of more modern flavor without ever seeming inappropriately or incongruously modern. The symphony is a large-scale work of serious intent and some programmatic content; again the sense of structure is flawless, and serves to make the uneasy, and at times violent, narrative that much more telling. Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra; Günter Blumhagen, Siegfried Lorenz (baritone), Berlin Sinfonietta, Berlin Symphony Orchestra; Hans-Peter Frank. Hastedt HT 5318 (Germany) 02B079 $13.98

GEORGE FLYNN (b.1937): Trinity (Kanal, Wound, Salvage). Trinity is, as the titile suggests, a tripartite work of linked material and subject-matter. Kanal refers to the sewers in which Polish freedom-fighters sought refuge and were slaughtered in World War II. Wound takes as its subject-matter, the Vietnam War, and Salvage attempts to draw some reconciliation from the wreckage. The music is ferociously difficult to play - Finnissy's English Country-Tunes is not greatly dissimilar in æsthetic or technical demands. By design, this is the reverse of easy listening, though it is far from academically obscure - it is a great deal more approachable, for instance, than much of Babbitt's music, and the work will undoubtedly speak eloquently even to those who would not ordinarily count themselves as members of the natural audience for an hour-and-a-half piece of contemporary piano music. Provocative, viscerally arousing and pianisticallly remarkable, and refreshingly unlike a good deal of modern music in its unrestrained use of technical prowess for the maximum expressive effect. 2 CDs. George Flynn (piano). Southport Composers SC 5001-2 (U.S.A.) 01B080 $18.98

NORMAN DELLO JOIO (b.1913): Suite for Piano, Salute to Scarlatti, Diversions, Introduction and Fantasies on a Chorale Tune, Short Intervallic Etudes, Concert Variants. Dello Joio's music is always tonal, accessible and above all, lyrical. He has never been a composer who follows fashion or a particular school of composition. In all these brief pieces, whether based on poetry and tradition of America, classical keyboard traditions of Europe, or the composer's own prodigious and inventive imagination, the charm and melodic gifts native to Dello Joio's compositional æsthetic shine through every bar. Debra Torok (piano). Albany TROY 359 (U.S.A.) 02B081 $16.98

ANTHONY NEWMAN: Nicole and the Trial of the Century. A curious mixture of styles by a composer who is a Baroque specialist as a performer, Nicole is at the very least entertaining. Sometimes suggesting Broadway theatre, sometimes Baroque operatic styles, more than occasionally neoclassical Stravinsky, the opera tells the story of O.J. and Nicole Brown Simpson's relationship from Nicole's point of view; thus without drawing any explicit conclusions about the murder it makes a strong statement about violence against women. The second act, depicting the trial, is deliberately farcical, and is presented as an operatic parody, ingenious and sarcastic throughout. Soloists, Musica Antiqua New York; Anthony Newman & Mary Jane Newman. Albany TROY 351 (U.S.A.) 02B082 $16.98

HUGO PFISTER (1914-1969): Ägäisches Tagebuch for Oboe, String Orchestra and Percussion, HANS SCHAEUBLE (1906-1988): Music for 2 Solo Violins and String Orchestra, Op. 18, PAUL MÜLLER-ZÜRICH (1898-1993): Concerto for 2 Violins, String Orchestra and Harpsichord, Op. 61. Pfister only had a 10-year career after deciding to dedicate himself to composition and his 1963 "Aegean Diary" is a very enjoyable nine-movement suite which depicts various landmarks and impressions; all of the music is ingeniously derived from one tone-row but in an approachable language with tonal implications. Anyone who enjoys Skalkottas or, perhaps, Benjamin Frankel, should warm to this. The accompanying works are neo-classical (or in Müller-Zürich's case it may be better to say "new-baroque" considering his use of harpsichord continuo) in style, often severe and astringent, sometimes highly chromatic but not atonal. Sibylle and Mirjam Tschopp (violins), Barbara Zumthurn-Nünlist (oboe), Camerata Zürich; Räto Tschupp. Musikszene Schweitz MGB CD 6160 (Switzerland) 02B083 $18.98

STEFANO BATTAGLIA: il Cerchio interno. These piano works are improvisations, part of a project consisting of a large number of such pieces recorded in a two-day period in a kind of 'stream of consciousness' expressed in pianistic terms. Though the composer has had jazz experience in his background, these pieces do not, for the most part, sound like jazz. They are far too pianistically complex and virtuosic, and contain much too much rapid figuration to be classified as "new age", though in mood they have something in common with the meditative preoccupations of much music of this kind. With a tendence toward modal scales and ostinati for propulsion, they suggest an improvisational extension of the eastern-influenced piano works of John Foulds - which is presumably a total coincidence, though at times the similarity is rather uncanny. Stefano Battaglia (piano). Symphonia SYO 99701 (Italy) 02B084 $18.98

GIACINTO SCELSI (1905-1988): Piccola Suite, Quays for Flute, Preghiera per un ombra for Clarinet, Pwyll for Flute, Rucke di guck, Ko-Lho, 3 studi for Clarinet, Xnoybis, Krishna e Radha, Maknongan for Bass Clarinet, L'âme ouverte, L'âme ailée. Scelsi's fascination with music of the east, his exploitation of microtonal intervals, sometimes in ingenious and unexpected ways (as for instance in using the beats between two adjacent notes as a musical element), rhythmic complexity and the requirement of virtuosity - sometimes extreme - are all exhibited to great advantage in these pieces for one or two wind instruments with or without piano accompaniment. Some of the works are arranged for these combinations by the clarinettist and pianist on this recording, and they work very effectively in his transcriptions. Ebony-Duo (Stefan Fischer - flute & piccolo; Michael Raster - clarinets). col legno 20035 (Germany) 02B085 $18.98

ZSOLT DURKÓ (1934-1997): Assonanze, ISTVÁN LÁNG (b.1933): Organissimo, MÁTÉ HOLLÓS (b.1954): 4 Meditations, ZSIGMOND SZATHMÁRY (b.1939): Strophen for Organ and Tape, GYÖRGY KURTÁG (b.1926): 8 Movements from Játékok, Vol. 6, JÓZSEF SÁRI (b.1935): ...ma non troppo. As one might expect, the sonorous potential of the organ is the characteristic most frequently exploited by composers of our time, and so it is for the most part here. The performer's own composition goes one step further, augmenting the organ with a tape part. The ability of the organ to play in any musical register and to produce a wide range of sounds and dynamics under the control of one player makes it an instrument uniquely qualified for the kind of soundscapes these composers have invented. The Hollós and Kurtág contain the most conventional organ textures, but even here the music is not for the most part contrapuntal, being based on short, simple motifs. The music is surprisingly accessible despite the modern idioms used, and those who enjoy the sonic magnificence of the instrument will find these unfamiliar pieces a welcome addition to their collections. Zsigmond Szathmáry (organ of St. Martin Parish Church, Tauerbischofsheim, Germany). Hungaroton HCD 31858 (Hungary) 02B086 $16.98

STEPHEN SCOTT (b.1944): Rainbows I, Rainbows II, Music Three for Bowed Strings, Music One for Bowed Strings, Resonant Resources, Arcs. If "music for bowed piano" suggests slow, dreamy, rhythmless investigations of overtones and harmonics, going on for hours (interesting as those might be), then think again, at least in the case of Stephen Scott. There are some overlapping sustained chords, sounding rather like a strange organ with a lot of swell boxes, but there are also fast, rhythmic minimalistic passages using hocketing between small cells - the sounds here might be of the amplified instruments of a small string ensemble, or even an accordion (everything you hear was produced by contact on the strings of a piano, unamplified). The results are rather like music from a decade or so ago by Reich or Nyman. The composer has found an ingenious and unusually satisfying alternative means of playing a conventional instrument, without it sounding like an uneasy attempt to make the instrument do something it wasn't designed for, as is often the case. And with multiple players and the resources of an 88 key piano, the possibilities exist for music of considerable complexity, including sustained melodies against staccato accompaniment, drone effects and a full and rich harmonic language, all of which Scott exploits to the full. Enjoyable, sophisticated and very clever. Recommended for anyone in search of something new and unfamiliar to enjoy. Colorado College New Music Ensemble. New Albion NA 107 (U.S.A.) 02B087 $16.98

IRWIN BAZELON (1922-1995): Symphony No. 4, For Tuba...with Strings Attached for Tuba and String Quartet, A Quiet Piece for Violent Times. Big bold gestures and the continuous presence of a propulsive percussion part are the most obvious characteristics of Bazelon's symphony. There are echoes of the Big Band tradition in American music here, though only in the sense that a percussion pulse and massive wind and brass sonorities characterise Bazelon's fast movements. In his slow movements, a tender lyricism and long line emerge, again with much of the weight carried by the winds. At 45 minutes, this is an impressive symphonic statement in an unmistakable though elusive American vocabulary. The other two works each has a definite character and a sense of drama, the one through the opposition of contrasting forces - tuba and string quartet, and the other, through the rhythmic unease which is belied by its deliberately restrained dynamics. Rousse Philharmonic; Harold Farberman. Albany TROY 363 (U.S.A.) 02B088 $16.98

HANS ZENDER (b.1936): Schumann-Fantasie for Large Orchestra, CLAUDE DEBUSSY (1862-1918): Jeux, MAURICE RAVEL (1875-1937): Rhapsodie Espagnole. Zender's Schumann-Fantasie, which goes beyond transcription in terms of the orchestra of a piano work, is more like a free fantasia in unmistakably 20th-century terms on Schumann's Op. 17 Fantasy. On one level, it is ingeniously and originally orchestrated. But Zender has also written a kind of musical commentary, which is presented by other instrumental groups spatially removed from the main orchestra. The result is like an architectural completion on the foundations of the earlier work (like Busoni's Fantasia Contrappuntistica, except that the Schumann was not, of course, an incomplete work requiring reconstruction). The result is as satisfying as it is ingenious. Junge Deutsche Philharmonie; Hans Zender, Pierre Boulez, Kyrill Kondrashin. Berlin Classics 2159 (Germany) 02B089 $10.98

PETER RONNEFELD (1935-1965): Orchestral Suite from the Opera Die Ameise, BERND ALOIS ZIMMERMAN (1918-1970): Sinfonie in einem Satz for Large Orchestra, WITOLD LUTOSLAWSKI (1913-1994): Chain I, DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975): Symphony No. 9 in E Flat, Op. 70, IGOR STRAVINSKY (1882-1971): 4 Etudes for Orchestra. A trenchant and incisive Shostakovich 9 with no less a figure than Kondrashin (dedicated Shostakovich collectors will want this one on its own merits), alongiside Lutoslawski conducting his own Chain I and B.A. Zimmermann's expressionistic and apocalyptic, sometimes nightmarish work, possibly the high point of the disc. And the rediscovery of Peter Ronnefeld, who died at age 30, having been Karajan's assistant and a published composer of considerable reputation, is a real bonus (these two brief extracts are from the suite to the most extensive and ambitious work achieved in his all too brief life). Junge Deutsche Philharmonie; Christof Prick, Witold Lutoslawski, Kyrill Kondrashin. Berlin Classics 2157 (Germany) 02B090 $10.98

SÔMEI SATOH (b.1947): Listening to the Fragrances of the Dusk for Strings, God Sells Own Body for Soprano, Tubular Bells and Strings, Glimmering Darkness for Clarinet and Strings, Firefly Garden for Strings. God Sells Own Body - a poem using the image of a church converted into apartments as a metaphor for decay and change within life - is a stately and beautiful meditation, surprisingly tonal for a composer who has worked in more experimental musical arenas. There is something of Pärt in the slow chordal progressions, and something of Vaughan Williams' Tallis Fantasia in the textures and harmonic richness. The piece is simply gorgeous. The other works have a great deal of subtlety in the string writing; the composer is fond of exquisitely subtle shading expressed through gently dissonant, slow moving textures, like the washes of ink and barely perceptible color in Japanese painting. For the most part there is no explicit "orientalism" in the music, a tendency towards pentatonic melody (in a sense) apart, but in its sense of intricate landscapes without a horizon, there is something obviously non-western about the æsthetic from which the music has evolved. Midori Minawa (soprano), Shigemitsu Eiso (bells), Makoto Chiba (clarinet), Kusatsu Festival String Ensemble; Toshiyuki Kuto. Camerata 30CM-535 (Japan) 02B091 $18.98

PAUL HINDEMITH (1895-1963): Wir bauen eine Stadt - A Play for Children, Kinderlieder. "Making music is better than listening to music". So said Hindemith around the time when, as a composer of international acclaim and a viola virtuoso of similar renown, he wrote this charmingly accessible theatre piece, with the intention - successfully carried out - of producing music performable by children of limited technical capabilities which would nonetheless provide a musically satisfying result when performed. It isn't "great" music, but as a non-patronising exercise in music-making for kids (it sounds like Hanns Eisler "Lite"), it's as convincing as anything else out there. Leipzig Radio Choir, Instrumental Group; Hans Sandig. Berlin Classics 9199 (Germany) 02B092 $10.98

LEO SOWERBY (1895-1968): Suite for Organ, Fantasy for Trumpet and Organ, Ballade for Flügelhorn and Organ, Rhapsody for Organ, Pageant for Organ. Sowerby was much connected with church, and especially organ, music, and it is in this field that much of his finest music was written. His use of the instrument is both idiomatic and imaginative; his textures clear, his harmonic language, while occasionally inflected with a jazzy or bluesy tinge, generally consonant and appealing. The Suite - four unrelated pieces assembled into a whole by the composer - shows the composer's love of established forms - passacaglia, fugue, variations and ostinato; one always has a sense of a well-defined structure in Sowerby's compositions. The works with trumpet and flugelhorn have a bright quality of jubilant ceremonial, the Ballade (a much-arranged piece in the composer's output) having a more jazz-tinged flavor. There is grand organ virtuosity aplenty to enjoy in the bold and colorful Rhapsody and Pageant (the latter written for the great Fernando Germani). Faythe Freese (Skinner organ of Trinity Episcopal Church, Toledo OH), Bobby Lewis (trumpet, flügelhorn). Albany TROY 368 (U.S.A.) 02B093 $16.98

ROBERTO GERHARD (1896-1970): String Quartets Nos. 1 & 2. This is an important release, as these major works of Gerhard have to date received scant acknowledgement, for no good reason. Rhythmically vital, energetic and propulsive, they demonstrate to perfection that the string quartet in the 20th century is a viable, exciting form, not a classical throwback or an academic exercise. Both works are in Gerhard's recognisable dodecaphonic system, overlain with tonal implications so rich and so amply used as to suggest that the formal system on which they are based is utterly irrelevant. The first is the more conventional in playing technique - not that either does anything outlandish - but the second is inflected with percussive sounds which suggest the rusticity of Spanish folk music (without sounding anything like it) and, simultaneously, a search for means of expanding the impact of the quartet medium. Both works draw heavily on the rhythmic vitality of traditional Spanish music, not an uncommon feature of Gerhard's music. Kreutzer Quartet. Metier CD92032 (England) 02B094 $16.98

MICHAEL FINNISSY (b.1946): Seven Sacred Motets. This is Finnissy in non-complexicist mode, writing simple and unaffected church music of great beauty, and acknowledging models centuries old. Plainchant and Renaissance polyphony are the obvious influences here, and Finnissy is apparently comfortable writing within these styles without 20th-century elaboration. There does not seem to be a parodistic element to these pieces, and the use of traditional forms, drone underpinning and extended melismatic melodies have long been a feature of the composer's music; what may surprise some is enccountering these elements stripped of the habitual hectic activity and performing challenges (the challenges to the performers here are of another kind altogether). Voces Sacrae; Judy Martin. Metier CD92023 (England) 02B095 $16.98

CHRISTOPHER FOX (b.1955): More Light, Paired Off, Prime Site, Complimentary Forms, More Things in the Air Than Are Visible. Using the keyboard conventionally, and writing fast passage-work and recognisable chords, Fox nonetheless avoids the conventional in his piano textures. It is, especially, texture that emerges as the principal point of interest in these works; sounds are presented for their own sensual quality, and the reiterated patterning - not so much in the usual sense of minimalism, more the establishment of a fluid yet sculptural quality to the sound - converts the sonorities of the piano into objects in their own right. As a logical extension of this preocuupation with sound, More things . . . incorporates a "found" tape part - sounds recorded out of doors within a certain distance of the performing venue. Ian Pace (piano). Metier CD92022 (England) 02B096 $16.98

FRANCISCO GUERRERO (1951-1997): Zayin (I-VII). The extraordinary Arditti Quartet in yet another complex modern work; a cycle of 7 pieces (plus an encore written by the composer for these performers) which require the members of the quartet to appear in various combinations. Guerrero bases his structures on mathematical principles, especially fractal geometry; what this means in (musical) practice is an emphasis on detail, activity and complexity of texture. Even the slow-moving music is subdivided by trills and rapid ornamentation, while glissandi and dissonant, rough-textured agglomerations of cluster chords abound. Imagine a journey - sometimes at breakneck speed, sometimes in almost suspended animation - through the crystalline matrix of some rough-textured granitic stone, to gain a feeling for the cumulative effect of this music. Arditti String Quartet. Almaviva DS-0127 (Spain) 02B097 $18.98

CHRISTOPH NEIDHÖFER (b.1967): Schichtung for 15 Instruments, Ixion for 6 Instruments, String Quartet, Interplay for 8 Instruments, Zeitbogen for 12 Players. These ensemble pieces are characterised by the composer's restless experimentalism, the will to take chances and to ignore boundaries and conventions. Having at an early stage established his ability to write in any style he chose, with fluency, Neidhöfer consciously turned away from academic formalism and conventional models, seeking instead a new vocabulary, which is as free, or chaotic, as it needs to be. An obvious comparison is Lachenmann, and it is fair to suggest that admirers of the older composer's work will likely find Neidhöfer's music to their taste. Klangforum Wien; Johannes Kalitzke. Musikszene Schweiz MGB CTS-M 59 (Switzerland) 02B098 $18.98

URO· ROJKO (b.1954): Molitve for Accordion and Viola, Bagatellen for Accordion and Piano, Tangos for Accordion and Piano, Elegia per Hugo for Accordion and Viola. These intense compositions, all featuring the accordion in combination with other instruments, have a kind of abstract sensuousness in their soundworld, which contrasts oddly with their largely non-melodic, non-harmony based structure. The presence of the accordion is largely attributable to Rojko's interest in elements of folk music, and the instrument's rough timbres (it frequently emulates a drone instrument or adds texture, rather than thematic material, to the composition) suggest, rather than imitating, the rhythmically complex yet monodic nature of central european folk music. High, piercing sounds against bass drones are a characteristic of Rojko's music, suggesting a distorted, almost abstract portrayal of a female voice and folk ensemble, refracted through the prisms of perception and memory. A similar process seems to be at work in his Piazzolla hommages, as applied to Piazzolla's own style. Hugo Noth (accordion), James Creitz (viola), Stefan Hussong (accordion), Mika Yamada (piano). col legno WWE 1CD 20017 (Germany) 02B099 $18.98

ERICH WOLFGANG KORNGOLD (1897-1957): Suites from Juarez, Elizabeth and Essex, The Sea Wolf. 1939's Juarez - a biopic of the Mexican revolutionary - is a rare score in which Korngold made use of an actual folk song (La Paloma - to symbolize the love between Emperor Maximilian and his wife Carlotta). Other than that, there battle scenes, a dream sequence, a funeral march and many other opportunities for Korngold to indulge his melodic and orchestrational talent. The score for The Sea Wolf (1941), on the other hand, is the antithesis of what one usually thinks of when hearing "Korngold film score". The music is grim and emotionally grey as befits an eerie and searing film set on a boat which spends much of its time enshrouded in fog. A 6-minute sequence from Elizabeth and Essex demonstrates the composer in his roof-rattling pageant/processional mode. New Zealand Symphony Orchestra; James Sedares. Koch International Classics 7302 (U.S.A.) 02B100 $16.98

ROBERT STOLZ (1880-1975): Frühling in Wien, Mein Liebeslied muß ein Walzer sein, Im Frühling-im Mondschein-im Prater in Wien, Overture to Frühjahrsparade, Scheint denn die Sonne nimmermehr, Wenn die Vöglein musizieren, Die Glocken von St. Stephan, Auch Du wirst mich einmal betrügen, Ich möcht' einmal wieder verliebt sein, Träume an der Donau, Wien wird bei Nacht erst schön, Du sollst der Kaiser meiner Seele sein, Frag nicht, warum ich gehe, Marsch der Vereinten Nationen. Charming songs by one of operetta's finest exponents, covering a period dating from 1914 to 1972, offering a comprehensive portrait his elegant and sparkling melodies. German texts. Brigitte Lindner (soprano), North-West German Philharmonic; Herbert Mogg. MD&G 641 0938 (Germany) 02B101 $17.98


A Records International Exclusive

SIGISMUND THALBERG (1812-1871): L'art du chant appliqué au piano, Op. 70, Series I and II. These two discs are the beginning of a series which will encompass the complete solo piano music by Thalberg. L'art du chant... , which is offered complete here in two volumes, dates from 1853-54 and contains 25 transcriptions of vocal works, mostly from operatic contexts. Actually written with pedagogical designs, these pieces present a deceptive simplicity while often making even greater technical demands than Thalberg's brilliant, virtuoso fantasies on operatic themes. The melodic burden is given to both hands, which must form one seamless mechanism. This disc contains music by Bellini, Pergolesi, Beethoven, Stradella, Mozart, Rossini, Mercadante, Meyerbeer, Weber and Schubert. Victoria Power (piano). Polymnia Records CDP 96001 (Sweden) 01B102 $16.98

SIGISMUND THALBERG (1812-1871): L'art du chant appliqué au piano, Op. 70, Series III and IV, 3 mélodies de Franz Schubert transcrites, Op. 79a, Romance dramatique, Op. 79b, Romance variée. This second volume contains transcriptions of works by Rossini, Mozart, Donizetti, Grétry, Bellini, Weber and Haydn in addition to three transcriptions of Schubert songs and two original romances. Victoria Power (piano). Polymnia Records CDP 96001 (Sweden) 01B103 $16.98

FRANZ VON SUPPÉ (1819-1885): Einzugsmarsch from Prinz Liliput, Herrjegerle-Polka, Colletta-Walzer, In der Hinterbrühl, Tiroler Tanz und Frischka, Le Voyage in Afrique, L'Orientale, Bellman-Marsch, Romankapitel, Glückswalzer from Die Jagd nach dem Glück, Erherzog Wilhelm-Marsch, Danza delle Charlotte, Liebeswalzer from Lohengelb oder Die Junfgrau von Dragant. Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra; Christian Pollack. Marco Polo 8.223864 (New Zealand) 02B104 $14.98

CONSTANT LAMBERT (1905-1951): The Rio Grande, Music from the Ballets Horoscope, Apparitions, Dante Sonata. For collectors of historical esoterica, we offer this new Pearl release which contains Lambert's orchestration of Liszt's Dante Sonata with the fine Lisztian Louis Kentner at the keyboard in a recording from 1940, less than two months after the ballet's premiere. Also taken from Liszt are two movements from the 1936 ballet Apparitions. Kyla Greenbaum (piano), Gladys Ripley (contralto), Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus, Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Louis Kentner (piano), Sadlers' Wells Orchestra; Constant Lambert. Pearl GEM 0069 (England) 02B105 $17.98