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William Henry Fry

Santa Claus Symphony

WILLIAM HENRY FRY (1813-1864): Santa Claus - Christmas Symphony, Overture to Macbeth, Niagara Symphony, The Breaking Heart. What Fry called a symphony, we would call a symphonic poem - Santa Claus is a one-movement work of some 26 minutes in length, dating from 1853. Its composer was the first native-born American to write for large orchestra, the first to write a grand opera (Leonora) and Santa Claus is probably, as Fry says, "the longest instrumental composition ever written on a single subject, with unbroken continuity" up to that time. A sprawing, episodic work, Santa Claus is a succession of pictorial representations of the birth of Christ and the events at a Christmas Eve party complete with dancing adults, playing children (you'll hear Little Bo-Peep and Rock-a-bye-baby - the latter on the soprano saxophone, which may be the first use of this newly invented instrument in a symphonic context), a snowstorm, a dying traveler lost in the storm (a double bass solo!), the arrival of Santa, his stuffing of stockings with presents and Christmas morning, all ending with a grandiose rendering of Adeste fideles! What more could you want? Well, how about the 1864 Macbeth, with its brash and brilliant brass writing and instrumental text declamation? Or 1854's Niagara, written for a P.T. Barnum "Monster Concert" but never performed, with its 11 (!) timpani and extravagantly panoramic scope? Or The Breaking Heart, once thought lost, but now restored to us in all its melodramatic excess - longing trombones, willowy strings, coloratura flute solo - taking us from idyll to melancholy and back? At this price? Sheesh! Royal Scottish National Orchestra; Tony Rowe. Naxos American Classics 8.559057 (U.S.A.) 02C001 $5.98

Croatian Symphonic Poems!

JAKOV GOTOVAC (1895-1982): Symphonic Kolo, Op. 12, The Ploughers, Op. 18, Guslar the Fiddler, Op. 22, Song and Kolo from "Ero", Song and Dance from the Balkans, Op. 16, MARKO TAJCEVIC (1900-1984): 7 Balkan Dances. Gotovac was Croatian and he turned almost exclusively to the rhythms and meters of folk music for his compositions, rarely using actual folk melodies but creating his own in authentic folk style. His best-known work is the op. 12 Symphonic Kolo from 1926 and his first orchestral work. In it, he synthesizes the characteristics of a South Slavic folk dance and creates a (customary) three-part symphonic poem in the style of Enesco's or Bartók's Rhapsodies. His slightly longer symphonic poems Guslar and The Ploughers (1940 and 1937) use the same format, allowing for repetition structures, transpositions, orchestral layerings and highly effective dissonances through chromatic countersubjects, all clothed in rich orchestral colors. Tajcevic was Serbian and consciously tried to use a more modern, freer style, producing his Balkan Dances in 1926, a suite of short pieces which were performed in their piano version by Rubinstein and Friedmann and arranged for violin by Heifetz; this orchestration was prepared by a Slovenian conductor, Bogo Leskovic, sandwiching a slow dance between six more or less fast ones. North German Radio Philharmonic, Hannover; Moshe Atzmon. CPO 999 724 (Germany) 02C002 $15.98

MOISEI VAINBERG (1919-1996): String Quartets No. 7 in C, Op. 59, No. 8 in C Minor, Op. 66 & No. 9 in F Sharp Minor, Op. 80. By now it is well-known among collectors that Vainberg and Shostakovich share many of the same musical traits in their compositions, that the Borodin Quartet premiered many of each composer's quartets and that the two composers thought very highly of each other. This new volume (No. 17 in Olympia's ongoing series of Vainberg's music) offers three more quartets in very Shostakovichian style, the dominant impression being of uneasy introspection and predominantly slow tempos broken now and then by outbursts of anxiety. Dominant Quartet. Olympia OCD 686 (England) 02C003 $16.98

ALEXANDER TCHEREPNIN (1899-1977): Piano Music, Vol. 2 - Toccata No. 2, 5 Concert Studies, Op. 52, Sonata No. 2, Op. 94, 12 Preludes, Op. 85, Sunny Day. The Concert Studies (1934-36) reflect the composer's intensive exploration of Chinese music while the Preludes of 1952-53 show his Russian roots most particularly. The sonata (1961) is based around a manipulation of a symmetrical eight-step scale and runs the gamut from vigorous ostinato to introverted song. The 1922 Toccata is more delicate than pounding while Sunny Day, a brief children's piece, was written in 1977 and mailed off to a New York publisher on the day Tcherepnin collapsed and died. Murray McLachlan (piano). Olympia OCD 682 (England) 02C004 $16.98

SEBASTIANO CALTABIANO (1899-1987): Sonatina for Piano in D, Cello Sonata in C, Piano Trio in E. One of Caltabiano's teachers was Pizzetti and there is much of his teacher's full-throated Romanticism in these works. The cello sonata and the trio date from 1930 and 1932 respectively and are both full-scale works lasting about a half hour with a constant flow of melody, often wistful or tinged with melancholy (the sun is shining but it is a late afternoon's sun) and with tempi remaining in a relatively tightly restricted range (the outer movements are not precipitous and the lentos are not extremely slow). The Sonatina (1952), an homage to Ravel, employs more daring harmonies and impressionistic textures, with a toccata-like finale. Simone Soldati (piano), Franco Maggio Ormezowsky (cello), Mauro Tortorelli (violin), Giuseppe Bruno (piano). Bongiovanni GB 5104 (Italy) 02C005 $16.98

RICHARD STRAUSS (1864-1949): The Unknown Richard Strauss, Vol. 11 - Parergon sur Symphonia Domestica for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 74, Panathenäenzug for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 73. Composed in 1928 for the one-armed Austrian pianist Paul Wittgenstein, the Parergon's raison d'être was Strauss' son Franz' illness and Franz' theme from the Symphonia Domestica is one of the works most important elements. However, there is allusion to several other of Strauss' tone poems as well, making this a kind of concerto-self-tribute in honor of the composer's past successes. The Panathäenzug is a large-scale set of symphonic etudes in passacaglia form in which the difficult and complicated solo part rides on a sea of brilliant, glowing orchestral splendor. Anna Gourari (piano), Bamberg Symphony; Karl Anton Rickenbacker. Koch Schwann 3-6571-2 (Germany) 02C006 $16.98

HUGO DISTLER (1908-1942): 3 Kleine Choralmotetten, Op. 6/2, Choralkantaten, Op. 11, 10 pieces from Liturgische Sätze, Op. 13, 6 pieces from Jahrkreis, Op. 5. At the forefront of the revisionist movement which sought to clean out the "unhealthy" romanticisms from German Protestant church music, Distler looked back to Schütz as his model for a clean, fresh-scrubbed, polyphonic and transparent means of musical communication. The two op. 11 pieces use a force of strings, oboes and harpsichord and they frame the other works - much shorter settings, often of texts from Luther's age. This should appeal to collectors of the German baroque as much as to those interested in German music during the Third Reich. German texts, English synopses. Leipzig University Choir, Pauline Chamber Orchestra; Wolfgang Unger. Thorofon CTH 2420 (Germany) 02C007 $17.98

WILHELM MIDDELSCHULTE (1863-1943): Contrapuntal Symphony, Toccata on "Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott", 2 Studies on the Chorale "Vater unser in Himmelreich", Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue, Chaconne, Perpetuum mobile. Middelschulte spent the greater part of his life (1891-1939) in Chicago; Busoni called him a "master of counterpoint" and his works share with Gothic architecture the combinaton of large-scale design with a miniaturist's attention to detail. The tension between his Baroque contrapuntal tendencies and the Romantic language of his period produce a fascinating uvre in which themes of Bach are almost constantly used in a more modern manner of composition. Jürgen Sonnentheil (Gerald Woehl organ, St. Petri, Cuxhaven). CPO 999 739 (Germany) 02C008 $10.98

JAN DISMAS ZELENKA (1679-1745): Complete Orchestral Works, Vol. 3 - Ouverture a 7 Concertanti in F, ZWV 188, Symphonia from Melodrama de S. Wenceslao in D, ZWV 175, Capriccio IV in A, ZWV 185. The third and last volume of Zelenka's orchestral music brings more highly memorable, very original and often eccentric music with the Capriccio being especially noteworthy for the paces it puts its two corni di caccia through. Das Neue-Eröffnete Orchestre; Jürgen Sonnentheil. CPO 999 697 (Germany) 02C009 $15.98

GEORG PHILIPP TELEMANN (1681-1767): 6 Overtures for Harpsichord, TWV 32: 5-10, Concerto in B Minor TWV App. 33:1. Dating from the late 1740s, these "overtures" are three-movement pieces with French style opening movements which all then move into a fugato, a slow movement all but one of which are marked ...e scherzando and freestyle closing fast movements. The concerto, originally for violin and orchestra, has come down to us only in this harpsichord version by the composer himself. Harald Hoeren (harpsichord). CPO 999 645 (Germany) 02C010 $10.98

JOHANN GOTTFIRED WALTHER (1684-1748): 3 Chorale Preludes, Chorale Partita, Concerti: del Sig. Vivaldi, del Sig. Luigi Manzia, del Sig. Blamr, del Sig. Taglietti, del Sig. Torelli (3). A distant relation of Bach, Walther spent his career from 1707 to his death in Weimar and was known as one of the greatest organists of his day. There was much interest in Italian concerti in Germany in the early 18th century and Bach and Walther may have made an exercise of such transcriptions - Bach having done his organ transcriptions of Italian concertos while he was in Weimar. Craig Cramer (Hofmann organ of Mariankirche, Mechterstäde in Thüringen). Naxos 8.554317 (New Zealand) 02C011 $5.98

FRANZ XAVER HAMMER (1741-1817): Sonatas for Viola da Gamba in D, A, D, A & D, CARL FRIEDRICH ABEL (1723-1787): Adagio and Allegro in D Minor for Solo Gamba. Known as "The Last Gambist", Hammer succeeded in forging together the empfindsam style with Classical form. His works have catchy melodies in their fast movements and personal soliloquies for slow movements with a technique far beyond what had previously been demanded from performers. Hamburger Ratsmusik. Christophorus CHR 77223 (Germany) 02C012 $17.98

LEOPOLD KOZELUCH (1747-1818): Sinfonia concertante in E Flat for Mandolin, Trumpet, Double Bass, Piano and Orchestra, FRANZ ANTON HOFFMEISTER (1754-1812): Double Bass Concerto No. 1 in D. Kozeluch's unique piece is the only one in history using this combination of instruments while Hoffmeister's concerto is one of the most catchy collections of melodies one could ask for. Original 1977 and 1978 recordings which may be familiar to collectors from LP days. Takashi Ochi (mandolin), Helmut Erb (trumpet), Günter Klaus (double bass), Siegbert Panzer (piano), Frankfurt Radio Symphony; Eliahu Inbal, Othmar F. Màga. Bayer Records 100 323 (Germany) 02C013 $17.98

FRANZ BERWALD (1796-1868): Piano Trio in C, Piano Trio in E Flat (fragment), Piano Trio in C (fragment), Piano Trio No. 4 in C. A re-release of a 1991 Marco Polo original, this second volume contains both an 1845 C major trio and a new work using much of its material (the No. 4 from around 1853 although not published until 1896). An earlier attempt at revision is the C major fragment while the other fragment dates from 1849. The music for the strings is always idiomatic and lovingly shaped with expressive piano parts which, due to Berwald's being a string player, vary in their manner of integration. Kálmán Dráfi (piano), Jozsef Modrian (violin), György Kertész (cello). Naxos 8.555002 (New Zealand) 02C014 $5.98

ANTOINE-BARTHELEMY BRUNI (1757-1821): Duo concertant in E Flat for Violin and Viola, ANDREAS LIDEL (1740-1789): Duo in G for Violin and Viola, Op. 3/3, JOHANN WENZEL KALLIWODA (1801-1866): Duo in C for Violin and Viola, Op. 208, MAX BRUCH (1838-1920): Fantasy Pieces for Piano Trio, Op. 83, Nos. 1, 4 & 6, ROBERT FUCHS (1847-1927): 3 Pieces from 7 Fantasiestücke, Op. 57. A fine collection of classical and romantic string duos, leavened with the Bruch works for piano trio. The Joiner Duo, Martha Thomas (piano). ACA Digital CM20061 (U.S.A.) 02C015 $16.98

GEORGES HÜE (1858-1948): Gigue and Nocturne, PIERRE VILLETTE (1926-1969): Complainte, HENRI BÜSSER (1872-1973): Andalucia, Op. 86, BENJAMIN GODARD (1849-1895): Suite for Flute and Orchestra, Op. 116, ALBERT PÉRILHOU (1846-1936): Ballade, CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921): Romance, Op. 37, Odalette, Op. 162, MAURICE RAVEL (1875-1937): Pièce en forme de Habañéra (orch. Hoérée), GABRIEL FAURÉ (1845-1924): Fantaisie, Op. 111 (orch. Albert), CHARLES-MARIE WIDOR (1844-1937): Scherzo and Romance from Suite for Flute and Piano, Op. 34 (orch. Beckett, Widor). This collection of French music for flute and orchestra contains many little-known pieces of great attractiveness and will little hint of the salon about them. These pieces are romantic in the full sense of the word and are evocative of light, warmth and contentedness. Edward Beckett (flute), London Festival Orchestra; Ross Pople. Black Box BBM 1049 (England) 02C016 $17.98

JOSEPH RHEINBERGER (1839-1901): Organ Sonata No. 14 in C, Op. 165, Fantasie-Sonate No. 17 in B, Op. 181, Miscellaneen für Orgel, Op. 174, Nos. 1-3, 6, 8, & 10. Composed between 1890 and 1894, these works are typically rich in artistry and ideas, grounded in the composer's mastery of style and imbued with the spirit of contrapuntal thinking. Wolfgang Bretschneider (Walcker organ of St. Jakobus, Ilmenau). Motette CD 12221 (Germany) 02C017 $16.98

MAX REGER (1873-1916): Clarinet Quintet in A, Op. 146, String Quartet in E Flat, Op. 109. The quintet is Reger's last completed work and displays all his resources of chromaticism while the quartet is noteworthy for its expressive and romantic slow movement. Wenzel Fuchs (clarinet), Philharmonia Quartett Berlin. Naxos 8.554510 (New Zealand) 02C018 $5.98

FERDINAND RIES - Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2

FERDINAND RIES (1784-1838): Symphony No. 1 in D, Op. 23, Symphony No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 80. The chamber works are delightful in their way but when Ries wrote symphonies, he sounded like Beethoven. Early Beethoven, to be sure, but still Beethoven. Four of his eight symphonies are now recorded on cpo and these two, dating from 1809 and 1814 respectively have the characteristic rhythmic vitality and motivic construction coupled with memorable melodies in the slow movements and minuets which are scherzos in all but name. Zurich Chamber Orchestra; Howard Griffiths. CPO 999 716 (Germany) 02C019 $15.98

SPOHR - Unpublished Violin Concertos

LOUIS SPOHR (1784-1859): Violin Concerto in G, WoO 9, Violin Concerto in E Minor, WoO 10, Concerto Movement in D, WoO 16, Potpourri for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 23. Collectors wondering what may have happened to the unpublished concertos mentioned in the notes to previous volumes of cpo's series of Spohr's violin concertos can now rest fulfilled. The G major work is Spohr's first attempt at a violin concerto, dating from 1798 or 1799, and has a fresh, unspoiled character - dainty in its brief adagio and naive in its alla polacca finale. The E minor piece dates from 1804 and draws on Parisian models, especially on Rodolphe Kreutzer. Its first movement has the tension-filled forboding of much French revolutionary music and of Beethoven's early symphonies while the central romanza has a rapt, cantabile line interrupted by more of the first movement's tensions while the rondo finale finishes matters up in cheerful fashion. The 1809 concerto movement uses a full-sized orchestra in an experiment which develops the whole thematic design from its first two measures (Spohr later recycled the extended adagio introduction in his Concerto No. 10, Op. 62); the 1808 Potpourri is a sophisticated application of the genre of embellished operatic melodies so popular at the time and uses a motif from Mozart's Entführung. Ulf Hoelscher (violin), Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra; Christian Fröhlich. CPO 999 751 (Germany) 02C020 $15.98

ADOLPHE ADAM (1803-1856): La Jolie Fille de Gand (Complete Ballet). Adam is known principally for Giselle but this, his next ballet (1842) enjoyed equal popularity to the former. With bright melodies, striking rhythms and colorful orchestration, La Jolie Fille tells the story of Beatrice and Benedict in three acts of three tableaux each - 133 minutes of delightful music! 2 CDs. Queensland Symphony Orchestra; Andrew Mogrelia. Marco Polo 8.223772-73 (New Zealand) 02C021 $29.98


LUDOLF NIELSEN (1876-1939): The Tower of Babel, Op. 35 for Soprano, Tenor, Baritone and Orchestra, Forest Walk, Op. 40. Like Scriabin and fellow Danes Langgaard and Louis Glass, Nielsen came under the influence of Symbolism; Langgaard and Scriabin went in for Theosophy while Nielsen and Glass adhered to Anthroposophy and it is the latter which is given voice in the 1914 oratorio The Tower of Babel which depicts the struggle and final success of the human race to be enobled by the power of the spirit. The first of two sections recounts the tale of the overweening humans who force God to divide and scatter men by means of different languages. Archaic modes, hard triads and simple, regular rhythms evoke this "primal age"; the second part uses a women's chorus and ethereal scoring to depict the time when man comes to his senses and his soul is able to walk the righteous path. Greek mythology was also in the musical air of the time and the five-movement suite Forest Walk, finished in 1922 depicts "Echo and Narcissus", "Pan Walks the Forest", "The Death of the Dryad" and "Towards Daybreak" (originally called Eos), with the Norse "By the Elf-Marsh" shoe-horned in for local flavor. Sure to appeal to all collectors of late Romanticism! Danish-English texts. Iréne Thorin (soprano), Johnny van Hal (tenor), Per Høyer (baritone), Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir; Owain Arwel Hughes. Marco Polo/Dacapo 8.224157 (Denmark) 02C022 $14.98

IGNAZ FRIEDMAN (1882-1948): Volume One - Studies on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 47b, Passacaglia, Op. 44, Polish Lyrics Book 3, Op. 72, Tabatière à musique, Op. 33/3, Ballade, Op. 66, Transcriptions and Concert Arrangements: Ballet des ombres heureuses (Gluck), Les Fifres (Dandrieu), Romance (Dalayrac), Le Rappel des oiseaux (Rameau), Old English Minuet (Shield), Frühlingsstimmen (Johann Strauss II). Like von Sauer, Friedman was a pianist whose virtuosity was never in question but who was a master of nuance and a singing line - no keyboard pounder. His transcriptions and concert arrangements are remarkable for their delicacy; his original compositions are in a 19th-century Romantic style. Valerie Tryon (piano). APR 5592 (England) 02C023 $18.98

EDWARD MACDOWELL (1860-1808): Piano Concerto No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 14, Piano Concerto No. 2 in D Minor, Op. 23, Hexentanz, Op. 17/2, Romance for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 35. The richly romantic, Lisztian concertos, half dzzling pianism and half melodic lyricism, are joined here by CD premieres of the piano and orchestra version of "The Witches' Dance"and the brief 1888 cello Romance. Stephen Prutsman (piano), Aisling Drury Byrne (cello), National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland; Arthur Fagen. Naxos American Classics 8.559049 (U.S.A.) 02C024 $5.98

EDWARD MACDOWELL (1860-1808): Suite No. 1, Op. 42, Suite No. 2, Op. 48 "Indian", Hamlet and Ophelia, Op. 22. The suites are a lush collection of melodic freshness and colorful scoring, the first have the following titles: "In a Haunted Forest", "Summer Idyll", "In October", "The Shepherdess Song" and "Forest Spirits", the second "Legend", "Love Song", "In War-time", "Dirge" and "Village Festival" - all puporting to use actual collected North American Indian melodies. The tone-poem is a psychological characterization of Shakespeare's two characters, rather than an attempt to depict actions in the play. Ulster Orchestra; Takuo Yuasa. Naxos American Classics 8.5590475 (U.S.A.) 02C025 $5.98

JOLY BRAGA SANTOS (1924-1988): Symphony No. 2 in B Minor, Crossroads - Ballet in One Act. Lasting almost 50 minutes, the sprawling 1947 symphony is a muscular work which derives much later material from a leitmotive at its very beginning and which leads to much music which sounds cinematic in its vivid melodiousness and colorful scoring (knights in medieval Spain crossed my mind more than once...) Crossroads, in contrast, is a 17-minute, five-movement score from 1967 which uses Portuguese folk music in every movement although a polytonal treatment lends the music a strong expressionistic atmosphere. Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra; Álvaro Cassuto. Marco Polo 8.225216 (New Zealand) 02C026 $14.98

LÁSZLÓ LAJTHA (1892-1963): Orchestral Works, Vol. 7 - Symphony No. 8, Op. 66, Symphony No. 9, Op. 67. Lajtha's last two symphonies are anguished works with fresh memories of the Russian tanks in the streets of Budapest in 1956. Dating from 1959, the seventh charts a heartbreaking course from light to darkness with a a brightly colored, diaphanously orchestrated piano-pianissimo first movement which is followed by a second movement which, while predominantly relaxed, hears some frightening developments in the distance. The third movement is filled with shocking fortes and powerful brass and percussion effects while the finale ends in hellish tragedy without consolation. The ninth (1961) opens in heart-wrenching fashion with a sobbing melody followed by resignation, more lamentation and a close in a melody reminiscent of Gregorian chant. The middle movement alternates themes of purity and beauty with evil and anxiety while the finale moves through the gamut of emotions before ending in an ecstatic coda. Powerful works which demand rehearing. Pécs Symphony Orchestra; Nicolás Pasquet. Marco Polo 8.223673 (New Zealand) 02C027 $14.98

ALEXANDER MOYZES (1906-1984): Symphony No. 3 in B Flat, Op. 17a, Symphony No. 4 in E Flat, Op. 38. The third symphony is a reworking of a 1933 wind quintet and its six movements are generally light in texture and mood although a somewhat strident scherzo lurks at its center. The fourth is a large-scale work of heroic proportions dating from 1947 and revised ten years later. Some of the music is associated with a radio play on the bloodthirsty subject of Herod and Herodias and with another one on a 19th-century Slovak nationalist. There is material of folk-like origin in the second movement while the outer movements now and then recall Sibelius' textures, particularly his "forest music" and there are also hints of Mahler throughout. Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra; Ladislav Slovak. Marco Polo 8.225089 (New Zealand) 02C028 $14.98

FELIX PETYREK (1892-1951): Variations and Fugue in C, Wurstelprater, Official reception, A Nocturnal Adventure, Suite on the Name "Szegoe", Irrelohe Foxtrott, Sonata No. 3. This is the first of at least 3 CDs under the title "Franz Schreker's Masterclasses in Vienna and Berlin"; Petyrek was one of Schreker's most accomplished students and this collection of pieces composed between 1915 and 1928 shows an eclectic array of influences, not least that of Eastern European folksong, a special affinity for Bach in particular and baroque form and counterpoint in general and an off-key, biting and grotesque humor (the second through fourth items listed above are part of a series of 6 Grotesques but the humor is present in most of these pieces, especially in the mordant foxtrot and in the sonata). Krenek and Haba were fellow students of Petyrek's and the latter was a life-long friend. In fact, as an anthroposophist, Petyrek himself might have ended up as subject-matter for the "Entartete Musik" series but for the fact that he joined the Nazi Party at a time when the loss of his teaching position was threatened and he was in the throes of a bankrupting divorce. Kolja Lessing (piano). EDA 017-2 (Germany) 02C029 $17.98

ISAAC ALBÉNIZ (1860-1909): Iberia (orch. Breiner). This new orchestration of Albéniz' great piano cycle comes courtesy of Slovak-born composer, conductor Peter Breiner and, not only does it provide the entire set (Arbós left three out of his orchestration), but does so with a lovely sense of propriety with ethereal delicacy where needed and bold Iberian, sun-drenched brush-strokes in the livelier, dance-inspired music. No need to think twice! Moscow Symphony Orchestra; Igor Golovschin. Naxos 8.553023 (New Zealand) 02C030 $5.98

DAVID POPPER (1843-1913): Im Walde for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 50, Wie einst in schöner'n Tagen, Op. 64/1, Gavotte, Op. 67/2, Papillon, Op. 3/4, Requiem for 3 Cellos and Orchestra, Op. 66, Spanish Dance, Op. 54/1, Vito, Op. 54/5, Wiegenlied, Op. 64/3, Spinnlied, Op. 55/1, Ungarische Rhapsodie, Op. 68. Im Walde, the largest work here, is a six-movement suite of Romantic character pieces in Schumannian style which use practically all of the stereotypes of romantic forest music (hunting horns, dancing gnomes, festival dances, etc.) to delightful effect. Standing apart from the remaining salon-style pieces are the 1891 Requiem, a seven-minute sentimental, nostalgic piece and the 1894 Hungarian Rhapsody which is the most lively and virtuosic piece here. Maria Kliegel (cello), Nicolaus Esterházy Sinfonia; Gerhard Markson. Naxos 8.554657 (New Zealand) 02C031 $5.98

CHARLES VALENTIN ALKAN (1813-1888): Grand Duo concertant in F Sharp Minor, Op. 21, Sonate de concert in E, Op. 47, Piano Trio in G Minor, Op. 30. Formerly released in 1991 on Marco Polo, this collection of Alkan's only three chamber works, with their uncompromising piano-oriented creativity, trancendental challenges and, in the slow movement of the Grand Duo ("L'enfer"), an unprecendented depiction of the darkest abyss. Anyone who never bought the Marco Polo or the expensive two-CD set on APR from last year which contained solo piano works in addition to these pieces has no fiscal reason not to sample Alkan now, at budget-price! Trio Alkan. Naxos 8.555352 (New Zealand) 02C032 $5.98

VAGN HOLMBOE (1909-1996): String Quartets, Vol. 6 - No. 17, Op. 152 "Mattinata", No. 19, Op. 156 "Serata", No. 20, Op. 160 "Notturno". Written between 1982 and 1985, these quartets are, unusually, each in six movements while still encompassing the composer's trademark sharply formulated elegance, economical mastery of the art of musical communication, discreet humor and a balanced refinement in treating the quartet medium which goes back to one of Holmboe's models - Haydn. Although the last four of Holmboe's quartets have subtitles of "Morning", "Daytime", "Evening" and "Night", they were switched between works prior to publication, meaning that one should just enjoy the mastery of the composer's art without worrying about any possible pictorial representations. Kontra Quartet. Marco Polo/Dacapo 8.224128 (Denmark) 02C033 $14.98

DANIEL BÖRTZ (b.1943): Trumpet Concerto "Songs and Dances", JAN SANDSTRÖM (b.1954): Trumpet Concerto No. 2, FOLKE RABE (b.1935): Sardine Sarcophagus. These three concerti are all dedicated to the remarkable soloist on this disc. It goes without saying that there are some extraordinary displays of trumpet pyrotechnics to be encountered here. But it is the real musical quality, and contrasting character, of the works that stands out. The Börtz is a work in romantic, narrative mood, though more modern vocabulary. The trumpet plays the part of dramatic protagonist, and although there is no program, the music leads one inexorably through the struggles of the 'narrator' until one is convinced that there probably is one. The Sandström is a relatively lighthearted work, rhythmically vital and engaging, playfully jazzy. The Rabe work is strange, subtle and sinister; it is a conscious tribute to Mahler, and occupies something of the shadowy world of the earlier composer's nocturnal movements, though the mysterious mechanisms that seem to propel the music (against which the soloist spins an almost constant narrative) belong decidedly in the latter part of the 20th century. Håkan Hardenberger (trumpet), Malmö Symphony Orchestra; Gilbert Varga. BIS CD-1021 (Sweden) 02C034 $17.98

GIUSEPPE G. ENGLERT (b.1927): Chacones pour orchestre et piano concertant, FRANZ SCHUBERT (1797-1928): Sonata in C, D 613, Fragments for Piano, D 900, 346-349, 605 & 980C. This disc will principally be of interest to collectors for the Englert Chacones, though the Schubert fragments and unfinished works will defintely appeal to Schubert scholars, and are not without musical merit of the rest of us. The 35-minute Englert is atonal and somewhat aleatoric, within precisely set out parameters. It is based on repeated figures, hence the title, though the form is more a serial construct than a traditional chaconne or passacaglia. Christophe Keller (piano), Basel Symphony Orchestra; Mario Venzago. Musikszene Schweiz MGB CTS-M 74 (Switzerland) 02C035 $18.98

JEAN FRANÇAIX (1912-1997): Concerto for Contrabass and Orchestra, JULIEN FRANÇOIS ZBINDEN (b.1917): Hommage à Johann Sebastian Bach, Op. 44 for Contrabass Solo, GUNTHER SCHULLER (b.1925): Quartet for Double Basses, PAUL HINDEMITH (1895-1963): Sonata for Contrabass and Piano. Of the major orchestral strings, the Double Bass is the instrument which has had by far the least solo music written for it, but as this disc demonstrates, it is far from being an instrument of limited range. Françaix' little concerto has all the wit and charm that one traditionally associates with the composer, and we laugh along with the soloist's wry commentary, rather than at his antics. The Zbinden uses the BACH motif in an hommage of great sonority, full of complicated double stops and technical bravura. Schuller's quartet for double basses takes virtuosity even further, suggesting the textures and tautly constructed argument of a contemporary string quartet, except that the sonorities of all four instruments are unmistakably those of the largest member of the family. This is a tough, incisive piece, alternating closely-argued textures with an unquestionable frisson due to the strange timbres. This piece alone is worth acquiring the CD for. The Hindemith sonata, with its unusual scordatura tuning is typical of the meticulous craftsmanship and idiomatic challenges of the composer's many sonatas for every instrument known to man and piano. Günter Klaus, Wolfgang Nestle, Alfred Sapper, Rudolf Neudörfer, Timm-Johannes Trappe (basses), Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra; Hiroyki Iwaki, Oda Klemann (piano). Bayer Records 100 324 (Germany) 02C036 $17.98


ALDO CLEMENTI (b.1925): Composizione No. 1, FRANCO EVANGELISTI (1926-1980): proiezioni sonore, KARLHEINZ STOCKHAUSEN (b.1928): No. 2. Klavierstücke I-IV, No. 4 Klavierstück V, OLIVIER MESIAEN (1908-1992): Cantéyodjayâ, PIERRE BOULEZ (b.1925): Piano Sonata No. 3. Darmstadt was the watchword for all that was new and innovative in music - when did it become a faded album-leaf in music history? Is this what time is doing to us all? Starting the disc with Messiaen's Cantéyodjayâ underlines the point - his non-retrogradeable rhythms, virtuosic outbursts interspersed with total stasis, and free-ranging use of the keyboard can now be seen clearly as the model for so much of what came later. Most of the rest of the music here adheres more or less to some sort of serial model, and in the case of the Boulez, some choices are left to the performer. Strict serialism, and its later disintegration, was a thread running through Darmstadt over the years, and charting Stockhausen's process of coming to terms with it through his Piano Pieces is fascinating, as is the difference in sound world between his and that of Aldo Clementi, using similar serial techniques around the same time. Steffen Schleiermacher (piano). MD&G 613 1004 (Germany) 02C037 $17.98

DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975): 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87. Practically unknown to collectors only ten years ago, we now have a brilliant Russian pianist providing us with a budget-price recording of this landmark composition of 20th century piano literature. Inspired by Bach, written in 1950-51, after the Zhdanov decree had crushed the availability of performances of Shostakovich's music in the Soviet Union, these preludes and fugues became one of the composer's most personal and uncompromising works, as wide ranging in emotion as they are in form. As compelling and absorbing in their own way as Bach's "48". Konstantin Scherbakov (piano). Naxos 8.554745-46 (New Zealand) 02C038 $11.98

LORENZO FERRERO (b.1951): La Nueva España. Back in 1998, we offered a BMG Ricordi disc of Ferrero's music which contained two of the six symphonic poems which make up La Nueva España. At the time, all six had not yet been written; now, here they are, amounting to a musical description of Cortés' conquest of Mexico. In a rich, neo-romantic, cinematic style with only a dash of minimalism, Ferrero's narration consists of: "Presagios" - Aztec prophecies of disaster; "Memoria del Fuego" - Cortés' burning of his ships upon landing; "La Ruta de Cortés" - the march inland; "El Encuentro" - the meeting between Cortés and Montezuma; "La Matanza del Templo Mayor" - the massacre of the Aztecs during their religious celebration; and "La Noche Triste" - the short-lived Aztec revolt and their final defeat. National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine; Takuo Yuasa. Naxos 8.555044 (New Zealand) 02C039 $5.98


JESÚS GURIDI (1886-1961): Amaya. It took Guridi ten years to write Amaya; he was conscious of the importance of producing an opera of national character derived from Wagnerian lyric drama and the work did not get finished until 1920. Set in the eighth century at a time when the Basques were threatened by both secular invaders and the religious advance of Christianity, the opera opposes the old and the new with warriors from each striving for the hand of the eponymous heroine whose choice will mark the destiny of the Basque people. In telling a story based on the history, mythology and literature of the Basque country, Guridi uses vigorous, typically Basque forms of popular music. An epilogue portrays the epiphany of St. Michael to the hero Teodosio in the mountains and his slaying of a dragon, after which the Basque people adopt Christianity. 2 CDs. Basque-English libretto. Rebecca Copley (soprano), César Hernández (tenor), Rosendo Flores (bass), Bilbao Choral Society and Symphony Orchestra; Theo Alcántara. Marco Polo 8.225084-85 (New Zealand) 02C040 $29.98

BILL WORLAND (b.1921): Suite: Tres Señoritas, Shopping Spree, Latin Lover, In the Shadow of Vesuvius, Pepita, Scottish Power, Sombrero, Brighton Ride, Happy Hacienda, Bossa Romantica, Dreaming Spires, Rhapsodie Tristesse, Millenium - A Celebration March, Amaro Dolce, It's Spring Again, Leeds Castle, To Eleanor. The latest in Marco Polo's "British Light Music" series brings more high quality material, ranging from tangy Spanish portraits to a set of Scottish pictures and a mini-tone poem describing Naples and its environs. Millenium was written for Jan. 1, 2001 - proof if any were needed that "light music" has made its comeback and is flourishing again! RTÉ Concert Orchestra; Gavin Sutherland. Marco Polo 8.225161 (New Zealand) 02C041 $14.98

JOHN TAVENER (b.1945): Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis, Svyati, 2 Hymns to the Mother of God, God is with us: Christmas Proclamation, Song for Athene, The Tiger, Funeral Ikos, Love bade me welcome, As one who has slept, The Lord's Prayer. A useful collection of all kinds of choral compositions from Tavener, from the sacred works inspired by his Greek Orthodox faith to secluar works such as The Tiger (to Blake's famous poem) or Love bade me welcome which sets George Herbert but with overtones of Orthodox chant. Svyati perhaps stands out with a solo cellist intoning a musical incantation against the hushed voices of the choir. Tim Hugh (cello), Choir of St. John's College, Cambridge; Christopher Robinson. Naxos 8.555256 (New Zealand) 02C042 $5.98

PAUL HINDEMITH (1895-1963): Complete Orchestral Works, Vol. 2 - Kammermusiken 1-3, 5 Pieces for Strings, Op. 44/4, Suite französischer Tänze, Konzertmusik, Op. 49, Music from the Film In Sturm und Eis, Selections from Plöner Musiktage, Cello Concerto, Op. 3, Cello Concerto (1940), The Four Temperaments, Piano Concerto, Ballet Hérodiade, Der Dämon, Op. 28. The second reissue of the pioneering complete Hindemith from cpo includes many rare works, outstanding among which, perhaps, is the lovely, romantic op. 3 cello concerto from 1916. 5 CDs. Special price. Siegfried Mauser (piano), David Geringas (cello), Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Queensland Symphony Orchestra; Werner Andreas Albert. CPO 999 783 (Germany) 02C043 $40.99