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Ludwig Thuille


Piano Concerto

LUDWIG THUILLE (1861-1907): Symphony in F, Piano Concerto in D. The only two of Thuille's works in their respective genres are early (1885 and 1882 respectively) and owe much to earlier 19th century composers. You may disagree with the notewriter over who those composers are though; he finds Schumann the overriding influence on the 37-minute concerto but my thoughts immediately went to Mendelssohn and Litolff due to its glittering, heady delight in brilliant writing for brilliance's sake. This'll work a lot faster than Paxil! The 41-minute symphony charts a slightly more personal course (but you can hear some Schumann in its finale) with its slow movement the most noticeable while the trio of its sunny scherzo plays with a ländler-ish idea that foreshadows Mahler. Oliver Triendl (piano), Orchestra Haydn di Bolzano e Trento; Alun Francis. CPO 777 008 (Germany) 02H001 $15.98

Number of exclusive items in this month's catalogue: 18


1. By now almost everyone should have his Tellefsen and Bull CDs. What happened? The first batch spent 9 days on its distributor's porch waiting for a pick-up which never happened because DHL couldn't get through the snow and ice. Then, the shipment was destroyed in an industrial accident. A replacement was ordered overnight from Norway. Simax put an incomplete address on the box and it spent 72 extra hours in customs before I finally got it, paying through the nose for Saturday delivery, on Jan. 21, after which I did a week's work on Sat. and Sun. and shipped 47 orders out on the 23rd. (It would be really nice if nothing like this ever happens again.)

2. Next month should include the biggest batch of odd Russian repertoire on weird labels yet. Please note that if you're waiting for back-orders on any of the Russian titles in the January catalogue marked by the "hard to get" logo (>), these will probably arrive toward the end of February. It takes three to four weeks for the immense grain-sack like mail-bags, fastened with 19th century looking Czech post seals, to make their way from the city on the Vltava to the Sonoran Desert.

3. On page 9, I offer a dozen or so Etcetera and Globe titles which have either never been available in the U.S. (mostly the latter label) or have been unavailable for the better part of a decade. This is only about a fifth of the number of such items I had to choose from so, if the response is good enough - i.e. enough of you never got them the first time around - I'll offer more every month or so.

Danish Piano Concertos, Vol. 4

VICTOR BENDIX (1851-1926): Piano Concerto in G Minor, Op. 17, RUDOLPH SIMONSEN (1889-1947): Piano Concerto in F Minor. You've been waiting for this for a long time and it's worth it! Bendix's 1884 concerto, a magnificent 38-minute work which combines memorable, almost pre-Rachmaninovian themes with emotional depth and pianistic virtuosity, is as good as most of the concertos in Hyperion's "Romantic Piano Concerto" series (and better than more than a few). Simonsen (1915) is a little more withdrawn, his 31-minute concerto more firmly in the melancholic minor mode - serious in the first movement and quietly lyrical in the second - but its finale doesn't lack glittering virtuosity and it makes a good partner for the very impressive Bendix and leaves us wondering what riches could possibly come next from this little Scandinavian country. Oleg Marshev (piano), Aalborg Symphony Orchestra; Matthias Aeschbacher. Danacord DACOCD 641 (Denmark) 02H002 $16.98

Weingartner - Symphonic Works, Vol. 3

FELIX WEINGARTNER (1863-1942): Symphony No. 2 in E Flat, Op. 29, Das Gefilde der Seligen, Op. 21. More fabulous late Romantic music from this famous conductor and, it's becoming increasinly obvious, should-have-been-famous composer. Coming right after his overture König Lear, the 23-minute tone poem "The Elysian Fields" (1897), suggested by a Böckling painting, not only makes a perfect opposite for Rachmaninov's Isle of the Dead (also, of course, Böcklin-based) but also provides a 180-degree turn from the turmoil of Lear with its enchanting depiction of light, joy and untrammeled, everlasting bliss - all in rondo form with three themes contrapuntally elaborated. The 1900 symphony, a full 44 minutes long, is a surprisingly noisy (in a good sense, of course - it makes a mighty sound!), stalwart and robust stride through many influences (or homages?), principally Bruckner (surprising for a conductor who didn't conduct the composer) and Richard Strauss although the pastoral, folk-inspired Mahler is there also. Its scherzo would demand an immediate encore; although the whole symphony is great fun to listen to, this movement just bursts with energy and personality. Basel Symphony Orchestra; Marko Letonja. CPO SACD hybrid disc 777 099 (Germany) 02H003 $15.98

RICHARD WETZ (1875-1935): Requiem in B Minor, Op. 50. Searching for twenty minutes on the internet couldn't produce a date for this work (the note-writer was blissfully unconcerned) but, since the op. 48 third symphony dates from 1922, we can assume the second half of that decade contains the late style which Mr. Unconcerned refers to. Yes, there's still quite a bit of Bruckner here - especially in the dark and glowering Dies irae - but also a clear vision of the whole Austro-German line of composers dating back to Schubert. All is processed and somewhat transfigured by Wetz' own genius so that, unlike his symphonies, one feels one is listening to 20th century music here, if early 20th century. The choral writing is often austere and simple and the more affecting for that while pure orchestral interludes of varying length set the stage for the vocal liturgical drama. Sure to not disappoint collectors with all the other available orchestral Wetz on their shelves. Marietta Zumbült (soprano), Mario Hoff (baritone), Erfurt Cathedral Choir, Weimar Philharmonic Choir, Thuringian Chamber Orchestra Weimar; George Alexander Albrecht. CPO 777 152 (Germany) 02H004 $15.98

SIEGFRIED WAGNER (1869-1930): Sonnenflammen, Op. 8. The latest new Siegfried opera, completed in 1912 but not premiered until the last month of the war in 1918, is set in Byzantium, a court of dissipation, cowardice, hypocrisy and other less than attractive traits, whose soiled characters the composer manages to portray in all kinds of shades of gray, surprising us with all kinds of character nuance which we don't tend to expect in stage works set in the dim past. As always, the music is melodic and often comfortably lyrical, playing against the grain, so to speak, given the apocalyptic ending which approaches. Symbolism, double meanings, allusions (often musical) to his earlier operas - there's a lot here to appreciate beyond the notes and Peter Pachl continues to be a good, concise guide in his excellent notes. 2 CDs. German-English libretto. Roman Trekel (baritone), Michaela Schneider (soprano), Richard Brunner (tenor), Jürgen Trekel (bass), Chorus and Orchestra of the Halle Opera House; Roger Epple. CPO 777 097 (Germany) 02H005 $31.98

WILHELM PETERSON-BERGER (1867-1942): Symphony No. 1 "Banneret", Symphony No. 2 "Sunnanfärd", Symphony No. 3 "Same Ätnam", Symphony No. 4 "Holmia", Symphony No. 5 "Solitudo", Suite I somras, Earina Suite, Suite Törnrossagan, Frösöblomster Suite No. 1, Prelude to Sveagaldrar, Oriental Dance, Chorale and Fugue from Domedagsprofeterna, Violin Concerto, Romance for Violin and Orchestra. For those of you who wait for this sort of thing, you didn't have as long to wait as usual, the fifth disc in this box being only a year or so old. So, if you're interested in one of the more individual of the Scandinavian late Romantics (you've read enough about him in these pages as the CDs have come out over the years), there's not going to be a better time to buy! Mid-price. CPO 777 160 (Germany) 02H006 $43.98

GEORGE ENESCU (1881-1955): Oedipe. Without doubt the greatest opera by a Romanian composer (how many others can you name?), Oedipe took took over 20 years to complete and another four until its 1936 premiere in Paris. Only using parts of Sophocles, the work covers the whole of Oedipus' life and Enescu supplies a richly varied musical palette which ranges from serenely modal music representing palace festivities to tortured chromaticisms associated with several main themes (such as the "Parricide" and "Fate") producing a dramatically effective and, at times, overpowering narrative line. Now that the 1989 EMI is out-of-print, this is the only game in town! 2 CDs. English synopsis. Monte Pederson (bass-baritone), Egils Silins (bass), Davide Damiani (baritone), Marjana Lipovsek (mezzo), Vienna Boys' Choir, Vienna State Opera Chorus and Orchestra, Stage Orchestra of the Austrian Federal Theatres; Michael Gielen. Naxos 8.660163-64 (New Zealand) 02H007 $17.98

Tubin: Kratt - Complete Ballet

EDUARD TUBIN (1905-1982): Kratt. Tubin spent more time on this work than on any other, having to recreate it after the 1940 score was destroyed in the Soviet bombing of Talinn in 1944 after already having revised it once the year before. In 1960, further revisions followed to produce the 91-minute final version given here in a world premiere recording (only Neeme Järvi's 1985 BIS recording of the 24-minute suite has been available before). Everything in Kratt, a tale of a wealth-manufacturing goblin and the farmer who creates him by selling his soul to the devil, is based on authentic Estonian folk tunes and Swedish composer Maurice Karkoff describes it perfectly as "influenced by Stravinsky, Bartók and de Falla, colorful, rhyhmically vital, skillfully orchestrated, suggestive and full of contrasts." Even more gorgeous folk material follows in the disc's filler, the 1940 Sinfonietta written while he was working on Kratt. 2 CDs. Estonian National Symphony Orchestra; Arvo Volmer. Alba ABCD 195: 1-2 (Finland) 02H008 $33.98

NIKOS SKALKOTTAS (1904-1949): The Sea - Ballet Suite, 4 Images, Greek Dance in C Minor, DIMITRI MITROPOULOS (1896-1960): Cretan Feast (orch. Skalkottas). All very late, and very tonal, Skalkottas here. The 45-minute The Sea (no information in the notes as to whether this 1948-9 score was ever danced) is an 11-segment suite which, given the subject matter, not surprisingly uses folk styles (if not actual elements) amidst its depictions of the sea itself, fish, dolphins and a mermaid. Parts even suggest film music and Stravinsky. Somehow, Alexander the Great appears at the ballet's climax. The Images (1948) - "Harvest", "Sowing", "Vintage" and "Grape-stomping" - are simple in style and also use folk content while the stand-alone Greek Dance (1949?) is very conservative - more Dvorák than Bartók. The 1923/4 orchestration of a 1919 Mitropoulos piano piece is Skalkottas' earliest surviving score. Iceland Symphony Orchestra; Byron Fidetzis. BIS CD-1384 (Sweden) 02H009 $17.98

GEORGI SVIRIDOV (1915-1998): Chamber Symphony, Op. 14, MOISEI VAINBERG (1919-1996): Chamber Symphony No. 1 for String Orchestra, Op. 145, DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975): Chamber Symphony, Op. 110a (arr. Barshai). World premiere recording of Sviridov's 1940 chamber symphony. Known primarily for his vocal and choral music, he wrote early orchestral scores under the influence of Shostakovich. The manuscript of this work was lost for decades and Sviridov prepared a new edition for these artists shortly before his death. Lyrical and tuneful, with Jewish dance melodies in its scherzo, it is softer on the soul than Shostakovich and a valuable addition for 20th century Russian collectors. Vainberg's late (1986) chamber symphony (not to be confused with his early Sinfoniettas), is an "in Old Style" four-movement work marked by clarity of thought and expression and much of the light and joy which are lacking in his more youthful, Shostakovichian, works. Moscow Soloists; Yuri Bashmet. Onyx 4007 (England) 02H010 $18.98

BORIS TCHAIKOVSKY (1925-1996): Piano Concerto, Concerto for Clarinet and Chamber Orchestra, Signs of the Zodiac for Soprano, Harpsichord and String Orchestra. The first release of this composer's music to appear at budget-price will provide a good entrée for anyone curious about him although Tchaikovsky's stylistic progress throughout his career is constant enough that one really won't be able to identify the composer from an early work if he only knows middle or late ones. The difference between the charming, lyrical clarinet Concertino of 1957 (almost English in its pastoral quality) and the 35-minute, five-movement piano concerto of 1971 with its striking, aggressively rhythmic (pounding one into submission in its first movement) fast movements and almost sublimely lyrical slow ones don't even sound like they could have come from the same pen. Only three years later, the cantata is an often gorgeously lyrical work which makes inspired use of the soprano and gives her endlessly beautiful music to sing and, alone of the three works, allows some hints of Russian folk music in one section. Russian-English texts. Olga Solovieva (piano, harpsichord), Anton Prischepa (clarinet), Yana Ivanilova (soprano), Russian Academy of Music Chamber Orchestra; Timur Mynbaev. Naxos 8.557727 (New Zealand) 02H011 $7.98

MARCELLE DE MANZIARLY (1899-1989): Trio for Flute, Cello and Piano, KATHERINE HOOVER (b.1937): Lyric Trio, LOUISE FARRENC (1804-1875): Trio in E Minor, Op. 45. The Farrenc is not unknown to disc and Hoover's bright, virtuosic and highly enjoyable trio has been recorded before also. This release is here for the French composer and friend of Nadia Boulanger's 16-minute trio of 1952 which follows the expected Gallic dictates of clarity of thought and expression with a generally carefree personality touched at its center by a passing cloud. Meininger Trio. New Classical Adventure 60130-215 (Germany) 02H012 $17.98 >

HANNS EISLER (1898-1962): Deutsche Sinfonie, Op. 50. Conceived and mostly composed during the late 1930s, Eisler only finished his massive choral-symphonic work in 1958 due to various political problems with the texts (even in the DDR... dodecaphony was banned!). Setting mostly Brecht texts, the anti-fascist fervor of the work pales today but a bit of imagination, casting one's mind back to Europe from 1935-45, will help bring it alive and there's no question that it's a landmark of political music-making. German texts. Sophie Koch (mezzo), Carolin Masur (alto), Eike Wilm Schulte (baritone), Kurt Rydl (bass), Jean-Louis Depoil, Pierre Roux (speakers), Chur et Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France; Eliahu Inbal. Naïve V 5031 (France) 02H013 $16.98

WILLIAM BRADE (1560-1630): Allemand and Gaillard, FRANZ TUNDER (1614-1667): Da mihi, Domine, O Jesu dulcissime, MATHAEUS MERKER (c.1620): Paduan and Gaillard, JOHANN SOMMER (b.1627): Paduan and Gaillard, JOHANN SELLE (1599-1663): Domine exaudi, JOHANN SCHOP (1590-1667): Nasce la pena mia, HEINRICH SCHÜTZ (1585-1672): Attendite, popule meus, legem meam, JOHANN STEFFENS (c.1560-c.1616): Paduan and Gaillard, MELCHIOR BORCHGREVING (c.1569-1632): Paduan and Gaillard, ANON. (17th cen.): Das ist je gewißlich wahr, Aus der Tiefe rufe ich, Herr, zu dir. Music by composers associated with Gotthorf castle in Schleswig-Holstein during its golden period - the first half of the 17th century - with Schütz and Tunder the "big" names and a rich collection of their lesser-known contemporaries and successors. No texts. Klaus Mertens (bass-baritone), Hamburger Ratsmusik; Simone Eckert. New Classical Adventure 60137 (Germany) 02H014 $17.98 >

ALESSANDRO SCARLATTI (1660-1725): Stabat Mater for Soprano, Alto, 2 Violins and Continuo, Concerto XXI for Flute, 2 Violins and Continuo. Commissioned by the same religious order which asked for Pergolesi's Stabat Mater, Scarlatti's is a striking late work (1724) in which the vocal ornamentation, of operatic quality, and audacious harmonic palette show a composer stretching the bounds of the genres of his time. The ten-minute flute work, probably inspired by a meeting with Quantz, dates from the same year and has similarly forward-looking qualities. Emma Kirkby (soprano), Daniel Taylor (alto), Francis Colpron (flute), Theatre of Early Music. Atma ACD2 2237 (Canada) 02H015 $16.98

ANTONIO CALDARA (1670-1736): Missa Dolorosa, Sinfonia "Morte e sepoltura di Christo", 8 Motets for 2 and 3 Voices and Continuo. The 1735 mass unites polyphonic-contrapuntal development with expressive harmonies to create a theatrical representation of Mary's suffering at the Cross while the earlier set of motets (1714) especially showcases his contrapuntal skills. Danila Aita, Giovanna Aita, Debora Parodi (sopranos), Gianlugi Ghiringhelli (alto), Filippo Pina Castiglioni (tenor), Riccardo Ristori (bass), Chorus of the Schola Cantorum S. Stefano, "Il Cimento degli Affetti" Baroque Orchestra; Valentino Ermancora (harpsichord, organ). Tactus TC 670303 (Italy) 02H016 $11.98

ANTONIO CALDARA (1670-1736): Vicino a un rivoletto, Soffrie mio caro Alcino, Astri di quel bel viso, Ahi! come quella un tempo, Citta di popol piena, Liberta cara e gradita, Sinfonia and Sonata for Cello Solo. This release seeks to approximate the sound of the vanished instrument, the "pantaleon", for which Caldara wrote two of the three cantatas here with a modern chromatic tenor dulcimer (it also replaces the violin line here in the third). Whether close in sound or not, it certainly provides a unique listening experience! Italian-English texts. Margit Übellacker (dulcimer), Emilia Gliozzi (cello), La Gioia Armonica; Jürgen Banholzer (alto). Ramée RAM 0405 (France) 02H017 $17.98

TOMASO ALBINONI (1671-1751): Cleomene. This serenata dates from 1718 and, as his stage works are not exactly thick on the trees, stands as an excellent example of his ability to pour unending flows of beautiful melody into his writing for voices. Italian-English texts. Isabelle Poulenard (soprano), John Elwes (tenor), Donimique Visse (countertenor), Ensemble Baroque de Nice; Gilbert Bezzina. Original 1988 Adda release. Accord 476 8662 (France) 02H018 $12.98 >

AZZOLINO DELLA CIAJA (1671-1755): 6 Harpsichord Sonatas, Op. 4. Among the earliest sonatas written for the harpsichord, these works of historical importance, published in 1727, comprise a toccata, a canzone and two binary movements but, within that form, Della Ciaja writes with an unusual freedom, leaping wildly among keys, writing speeds which even Domenico Scarlatti might have found unusual; he is also one of the first composers to use the glissando. Martin Derungs (harpsichord). Original 1990 release. Accord 476 8332 (France) 02H019 $12.98 >

ANTONIO VIVALDI (1678-1741): Tito Manlio, RV 738. The latest release in Opus 111's Vivaldi Edition (note that the label has been entirely swallowed up now by Naïve and is identifiable only by the prefix before its catalogue number) reveals a lavish production from 1719 which was written for an aristocratic wedding. The orchestra contains oboes, horns, trumpets and tenor recorders along with a sopranino recorder, bassoon and timpani (and one aria has a particularly elaborate viola d'amore accompniment in scordatura). Italian-English libretto. 3 CDs for the price of 2. Nicola Ulivieri (bass-baritone), Karina Gauvin (soprano), Ann Hallenberg (mezzo), Marijana Mijanovic (contralto), Accademia Bizantina; Ottavio Dantone. Naïve OP 30413 (France) 02H020 $33.98

ANTONIO VIVALDI (1678-1741): Tito Manlio, RV 738. What are the odds that the same distributor offers the same opera the same month on two labels with one at mid-price and one at full? (Which one do you think will sell more?). This one carries a tag reading "World premiere and Complete recording on period instruments." and it is ten minutes longer than the above but I bet this is entirely due to tempi and/or small edits to the music in the Naïve version. Since this was recorded in 2001 and the Naïve last July, the cpo is, chronologically, the "world premiere... etc.". Still, I have some of both and it's your decision! Italian-English libretto. Sergio Foresti (bass), Elisabeth Scholl (soprano), Rosa Dominguez, Lucia Sciannimanico (mezzos), Modo Antiquo; Federico Maria Sardelli. CPO 777 096 (Germany) 02H021 $50.98

GEORG PHILIPP TELEMANN (1681-1767): Singe-, Spiel- und Generalbaß-Übungen, TWV 25:39-85. Following on the example of Getreuer Music-Meister of 1728, Telemann produced a subscription series of 48 songs in 1733-4 aimed at the everyman singer with practicing and learning of thorough-bass an equal intention. An entertaining combination of pedagogy and plain enjoyment in singing, this makes an interesting companion to the more ambitious Oden of 1741 which these artists recorded on this label in 2003. German-English texts. Klaus Mertens (baritone), Ludger Rémy (harpsichord). CPO 777 045 (Germany) 02H022 $15.98

CHRISTOPH GRAUPNER (1683-1760): Partitas for Harpsichord, Vol. 5 - in A Minor, GWV 150, Partita VI in E, GWV 106 & 119), in C, GWV 109 & 126). The greatest baroque re-discovery in recent years continues with the latest set of partitas, full of what we now recognize as Graupner's erudtion and harmonic sophistication. The rather short partita VI is extended with the addition of two dances from the 1722 Monatlische Clavir Früchte which also provides four of the pieces in the C Major partita which, like the A minor work, is assembled from the 1720 Darmstädter Clavierbuch. Geneviève Soly (harpsichord). Analekta AN 2 9118 (Canada) 02H023 $16.98

JEAN-PHILIPPE RAMEAU (1683-1764): Les Paladins. Rameau's penultimate work dates from 1760 and might be the most important work of his career. Recorded live at the Théâtre du Châtelet in true surround sound in 2004, this spectacular multi-media staging does full justice of the composer's dazzling burlesque. Also contains an illustrated synopsis, cast gallery and a documentary film. 2 DVDs Topi Lehtipuu, Laurent Naouri (tenors), Stéphanie d'Oustrac (mezzo), Sandrine Piau (soprano), Les Arts Florissants; William Christie. Opus Arte OA 0938D (England) 02H024 $37.98

FRANCESCO BARSANTI (1690-1772): 6 Sonatas for Flute and Continuo. Dating from 1728, before his move to Scotland, these sonatas are considered among the finest in the repertoire, comparable to Handel and with some slow movements suggesting pre-Classicism. Maria Giovanna Fiorentino (recorder), Roberto Loreggian (claviorgan). Tactus TC 690202 (Italy) 02H025 $11.98

GIUSEPPE SAMMARTINI (c.1695-1750): Organ Concertos in A, F (Aline Zylberajch [harpsichord]), G and B Flat, Organ Sonata in G Minor, Op. 3/12. Written in the late 1740s, these concertos link Handelian style to the spirit of the Italian symphony and of Pergolesi's opera buffa. As the printed edition states "Organ or Harpsichord", one concerto is performed on the latter while the sonata of 1743 becomes a harpsichord concerto in all but name. Le Parlement de Musique; Martin Gester (organ). Original 1997 release. Accord 476 8333 (France) 02H026 $12.98 >

PIETRO ANTONIO LOCATELLI (1695-1764): 6 Violin Sonatas and 4 Trio Sonatas, Op. 8. This hybrid publication, mixing two genres, appeared in Amsterdam in 1744 with the six violin sonatas exhibiting Corellian form and style in half - but the other three are three-movement pieces, forward-looking in their prevalent homophony and with less pervasive virtuosity. The trio sonatas, not a popular one for Locatelli, also alternates innovation with conservatism, the first violin sometimes soloistic, other times the three instruments weaving polyphonic textures. 2 CDs for the price of 1. The Locatelli Trio, Rachel Isserlis (violin). Original 1996 release. Hyperion Dyad CDD 22057 (England) 02H027 $18.98

FRANÇOIS FRANCUR (1698-1787): Violin Sonatas in E Minor, A and D Minor, Book II, Arias from the Operas Scanderberg, Pirame et Thisbé and Tarsis et Zélie. A predecessor to the brilliance of Leclair in the French violin school, Francur's two sonatas (c.1730) are notable for their finesse and subtlety but the selections from his three tragédies lyriques show both Italian style and the effects for which Montéclair and Clérambault were celebrated. French-English texts. Isabelle Desrochers (soprano), Mira Glodeanu (violin), Ausonia. Alpha 76 (France) 02H028 $17.98

JOHANN ADOLF HASSE (1699-1783): L'Armonica for Soprano, Glass Harmonica and Orchestra, La Gelosia for Soprano and Orchestra, Symphonie à 4 in G Minor, Op. 5/6. In 1769, Hasse wrote the first work to make use of Benjamin Franklin's invention - the glass harmonica. Metastasio supplied the text (for a royal wedding in Austria) and Franklin's two nieces sang and played the instrument. La Gelosia is slightly earlier (1762) but both pieces are very tuneful, attractive and firmly in Classical style. Italian-English texts. Véronique Dietschy (soprano), Dennis James (glass harmonica), Ensemble Stradivaria; Daniel Cuiller. Original 1989 release. Accord 476 8374 (France) 02H029 $12.98 >

JOHANN ADOLF HASSE (1699-1783): L'Armonica for Soprano, Glass Harmonica and Orchestra, KARL LEOPOLD RÖLLIG (1754-1804): Rondeau in A for Glass Harmonica and Strings, WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756-1791): Adagio and Rondo for Glass Harmonica, Flute, Oboe, Viola and Cello, K. 617, Arminda's Aria from La finta giardiniera, K. 196, JOSEPH HAYDN (1732-1809): Symphony No. 48 in C, "Maria Theresia". And, for those of you who want more glass harmonica, here's a live recording from Munich last May with a larger-scale instrument (two players!) to help cope with the size of the church in which the concert was given. Italian texts. Ursula Fiedler (soprano), Sascha Reckert, Philippe Marguerre (glass harmonica), Concilium musicum Wien; Paul Angerer. Cavalli Records CCD 448 (Germany) 02H030 $17.98

JOHANN ADOLF HASSE (1699-1783): Requiem in E Flat, Miserere in D Minor. World premiere recording of Hasse's last mass of his 30-year tenure in Dresden (1764) which is in his late style, almost Classical-sounding, with a Lacrimosa which sounds as if Mozart may have remembered it over 25 years later. Simona Hourda-Saturová (soprano), Britta Schwarz (alto), Eric Stokloßa (tenor), Gotthold Schwarz (bass), Dresden Chamber Choir, Dresden Baroque Orchestra; Hans-Christoph Rademann. Carus 83.175 (Germany) 02H031 $17.98

CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH (1714-1788): Solo Keyboard Music, Vol. 14 - Sonatas in A, B Flat and E Minor, H.214-6), Menuets I & II in C, H. 159, in D, H.214 and in E Flat, H.171, Alla polaccas in C, H.215 and in D, H.217, Polonaise in E Flat, H.172. All these pieces date from 1756-66, the period of the Seven Years' War, when musical life in Potsdam and Berlin was suspended and Bach needed to write pieces which required the least number of performers. Needless to say, everything is of the amazingly high level of quality which he was able to produce no matter what his external circumstances. Miklós Spányi (clavichord). BIS CD-1329 (Sweden) 02H032 $17.98

CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH (1714-1788): Sonatas in D Minor, H.128, F Sharp Minor, H.37, A, H.186, C, H.248 and E, H.83, Rondos in D Minor, H.290 and B Flat, H.267, Cantabile in B Minor from Sonata, H. 245. Although BIS' huge ongoing cycle of solo keyboard music by C.P.E. will be the library standard for years to come, we offer this one-off which covers 43 years of the composer's career because of its relative oddness - it's performed on a modern grand! Christopher Hinterhuber (piano). Naxos 8.557450 (New Zealand) 02H033 $7.98

KARL VON ORDONEZ (1734-1786): Symphonies in A, Brown A4, in G Minor, Gm7, in C, C2, in B Minor, Bm1 & in G Minor, Gm8. Nothing is known about Ordonez' early life or education (Grove has him as an illegitimate child, the Naxos notes as "minor nobility") but he wrote 74 symphonies whose popularity is attested to by a fairly wide manuscript spread in Central Europe. He fits in well with such contemporaries as Dittersdorf, Vanhal and Leopold Hofmann and, now and then, does something unexpected, like the obbligato violin/cello writing in the slow movement of the C2 work. Toronto Camerata; Kevin Mallon. Naxos 8.557482 (New Zealand) 02H034 $7.98

ANDRÉ-ERNEST-MODESTE GRÉTRY (1741-1813): 6 String Quartets, Op. 3. Dating from the early 1760s, these light-hearted, attractive pieces value singing melody over adventurous harmonies although some contrapuntal skill is demonstrated. Quatuor Thaïs. Musica Ficta MF 8004 (Belgium) 02H035 $16.98

ANTONIO SALIERI (1750-1825): La grotta di Trofonio. Commissioned by the emperor for the same event in 1785 as Mozart's Così fan tutte, Salieri's work pays tribute to Gluck but also prefigures the kind of dramma giocoso which Mozart was to produce in Don Giovanni. Colorful orchestration and masterly use of winds help conductor Rousset to judge it Salieri's "masterpiece". 2 CDs (and bonus DVD). Italian-English libretto. Olivier Lallouette (baritone), Raffaella Milanesi, Marie Arnet (sopranos), Nikolai Schukoff (tenor), Lausanne Opera Chorus, Les Talens Lyriques; Christophe Rousset. Ambroisie AMB 9986 (France) 02H036 $37.98

?WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART? (1756-1791): Partitas in E Flat, K.Anh.C 17.01, in B Flat, K.Anh.C 17.02, in E Flat, K.Anh.C 17.03, in E Flat, K.Anh.C 17.04 (with unnumbered Rondo) and in F, K.Anh.C 17.05, Adagio/Allegro in E Flat, K.Anh.C 17.07, LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827): Rondino in E Flat, WoO 25. There is questionable Mozart on this pair of discs which did not appear on the six volumes of MD&G's ?Mozart? series of several years ago: K.Anh.C 17.01 and 17.02, amounting to 35:15, were not included on the German label, making this a highly attractive release for fanciers of Classical wind octet music (w/double bass). 2 CDs. The Festival Winds. CBC Musica Viva MVCD1173-2 (Canada) 02H037 $33.98

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756-1791): La finta giardiniera. Mozart's early comic opera as recorded live at the Drottningholm Court Theatre in 1988. Britt-Marie Aruhn (soprano), Stuart Kale, Richard Croft (tenors), Chorus and Orchestra of the Drottningholm Court Theatre; Arnold Östman. Arthaus Musik DVD 102 007 (Germany) 02H038 $28.98

Early Danish Romantic Symphonies

FRIEDRICH LUDWIG AEMILIUS KUNZEN (1761-1817): Symphony in G Minor, GEORG GERSON (1790-1825): Symphony in E Flat, Overture in D. Every symphony collector will need this disc, without exception. Kunzen, known best for his singspiel Holger Danske, wrote his only symphony sometime in the early 1790s and, as his stage works were much influenced by Mozart, so was this by the latter's G minor symphony. Overall, one might say that if Mozart had written a Sturm und Drang symphony, it would sound like this. Gerson's dates from 1817, is much longer (33 as opposed to 21 minutes), is very much in the early Romantic vein (think of early Schubert and Vorisek), using the full woodwind complement to great effect and having a compelling fugal finale. Concerto Copenhagen; Lars Ulrik Mortensen. CPO 777 085 (Germany) 02H039 $15.98

Eybler - Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2

JOSEPH EYBLER (1765-1846): Symphony No. 1 in C, Symphony No. 2 in D Minor, Overture. Eybler's only symphonies date to the end of the 1780s and, not surprisingly, they are redolent of late Haydn (who had recommended the publication of three of Eybler's keyboard sonatas to Artaria in 1787). These are full-scale symphonies with trumpets and drums prominent in the first (martial Haydn!) while the second is rare in having five movements (two minuets and a lovely andante with prominent horn solos). New to us, this Swiss orchestra plays on period instruments. Geneva Chamber Orchestra; Michael Hofstetter. CPO SACD hybrid disc 777 104 (Germany) 02H040 $15.98

FERDINAND RIES (1784-1837): String Quartets, Vol. 1 - in C, WoO 37 and in E Flat, WoO 10. Apparently not the beginning of a complete series (there are 26 quartets), this nonetheless will prove a popular cycle for Classical chamber music collectors. The Beethovenian aspects of his symphonies are not found in his chamber music but these quartets (from 1805 and 1827) are captivating, full of tuneful motifs and fine craftsmanship with the earlier quartet (oddly) having pre-Brahmsian thematic qualities. Schuppanzigh Quartet. CPO 777 014 (Germany) 02H041 $15.98

FRIEDRICH KUHLAU (1786-1832): Piano Concerto in C, Op. 7, Concertino for 2 Horns and Orchestra, Op. 45, Overture and Act V Ballet Music from Everhøj, Op. 100. At the time Kuhlau wrote his piano concerto in 1810 he was mostly self-educated so we can't be surprised that he seems to have been very taken by Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1 but there are also points in this work which anticipate the not-yet-composed Emperor. The Everhøj music (1828) and the Concertino (1821) are firmly in the early Romantic world of Spohr, Weber and Marschner. Michael Ponti (piano), Ib Lanzky-Otto, Frøydis Ree Wekre (horns), Odense Symphony Orchestra; Othmar Maga. From original 1991 and 1992 Unicorn-Kanchana releases. Regis Forum FRC 9108 (England) 02H042 $8.98

J.P.E. HARTMANN (1805-1900): Sonata in G Minor, Op. 58, Fantasia in A, Fantasia in F Minor, Op. 20, Funeral March for Thorvaldsen (w/cornet, alto, tenor and bass trombones, tuba and gong), Good Friday - Easter Morning, Op. 47, Funeral March for N.P. Nielsen, NIELS GADE (1817-1890): 3 Pieces, Op. 22, 3 Chorale Preludes, Ceremonia Prelude on the Chorale "Lover den Herre" (w/trumpet and trombone). These 75 minutes of attractive, conservative, Germanic Romantic music comprise, with the exception of a few very small pieces, the entire uvres of these two towering Danish composers. Hartmann's funeral march for the sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen, with its sonorous group of accompanying instruments, is still played at royal funerals (as it was at Hartmann's) and, though short at five minutes, is a rather unique sound combination which one doesn't hear everyday! Hans Fagius (Marcussen organ of Haga Church, Gothenburg). Dacapo 8.226026 (Denmark) 02H043 $15.98

FELIX MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847): Complete Organ Works, Vol. 2 - Sonatas, Op. 65, No. 2 in C Minor and No. 6 in D Minor, Fugues in G Minor, in C Minor and in B Flat, Fugue pro Organo pleno in D Minor, Allegro in D, Adagio in A Flat, Allegro moderato maestoso in C, Allegro con brio in B Flat, [Andnate. Recitativo] in F Minor, [Chorale in D Minor with Variations] (compl. Bate). What will be a five-volume series continues with selections from Mendelssohn's entire career using various English organs chosen for the period and genre of the music. This series includes many first recordings of previously unknown works, lost since the Second World War, all now being edited for publication by Breitkopf & Härtel. Jennifer Bate (organs of All Saints Church, Margaret Street, London; St. John's Church, Upper Norwood, London; St. Matthew's Church, Bayswater, London; St. Stephen's Church, Bournemouth; The Temple Church, Fleet Street, London and Wimborne Minster). SOMM CD 051 (England) 02H044 $17.98

19th Century Maltese Sacred Music, Vol. 2

LUIGI FENECH (1834-1905): Preludio religioso, GIUSEPPE VELLA (1827-1912): Qui tollis, ANTON NANI (1842-1929): O Salutaris Hostia, Laudate pueri, PAOLO NANI (1814-1904): Lamentaztione: Incipit oratio, VINCENZO BUGEJA (1805-1860): Vade Anania, EMANUELE GALEA (1790-1850): Sinfonia Pastorale. In 19th century Malta, there were only two kinds of music - opera and liturgical. The fervor for the former meant that the latter was often distinguishable from opera only by its actual religious texts. Such works as Paolo Nani's Lamentazione of 1840 and his son's Laudate pueri (1882) are powerfully dramatic in the Italian operatic tradition and the latter uses an extravagantly large orchestra to great effect. Joseph Aquilina (tenor), Alfred Camilleri (baritone), Anthony Montebello (bass), Jubal Male Voice Choir and Orchestra; John Galea. Gega GR 96 (Bulgaria) 02H045 $16.98

JOSEF RHEINBERGER (1839-1901): Vom Goldenen Horn for Chorus and Piano, Op. 182, In Sturm und Frieden, Op. 170, Liebesgarten, Op. 80. This disc of secular choral music is a bit broader than that generic description: the half-hour long Vom Goldenen Horn of 1895 is a nine-song, piano-accompanied love story set during a single day in which four songs are lieder, four are choral and one is a duet. No Turkish musical orientalisms here, though. Rheinberg sticks to solid construction, clear forms and very memorable melodies. This should appeal to lieder collectors as well. The remaining two cycles are for unaccompanied mixed chorus, from 1874 and 1892. German texts. Silke Schwarz (soprano), Christine Müller (alto), Hans Jörg Mammel (tenor), Markus Volpert (bass), Freiberg Vocal Ensemble; Wolfgang Schäfer, Chia Chou (piano). Carus 83.177 (Germany) 02H046 $17.98

EMILE MATHIEU (1844-1932): Le Roi des Aulnes, Le Fidèle Eckart, Le Barde, Le Pêcheur, SYLVAIN DUPUIS (1856-1931): Mon cur sera joyeux!, Bonsoir, Mignonne, Elégie, Aubade, Matin, ADOLPHE BIARENT (1871-1916): Lied, Désire de mort, Chanson, La Lune blanche, from Ballades au hameau, RICHARD WAGNER (1813-1883): Tout n'est qu'images fugitives, Mignonne, Extase, Dors, mon enfant, Attente, La tombe dit à la rose... Titled "Wagnerian Songs", this release contains works by three Belgian composers who were influenced in various ways, some more than others, by the towering German composer. Mathieu's songs are in the German ballad style and have very busy and difficult piano parts while Dupuis and Biarent are less obviously Germanic, the latter mixing Wagner with Franck, Debussy and D'Indy. The very rare Wagner songs, written in 1840 and, like the others, receiving their world premiere recordings, give an early glimpse of his embryonic "Leitmotiv" system and of the dramatic power of later opera characters (two songs have been completed by Liège composer Berthe di Vito-Belvaux [1915-2005]) French texts. Patrick Delacour (baritone), Diane Andersen (piano). Etcetera KTC 1276 (Netherlands) 02H047 $17.98

PABLO DE SARASATE (1844-1908): Complete Works, Vol. 1 - Zigeunerweisen, Op. 20, Concert Fantasy on Weber's "Der Freischütz", Op.14, Concert Fantasy on Gounod's "Faust", Op.13, Introduction and Tarantella, Op 43, Nocturne-sérénade, Op 45, Introduction and caprice-jota, Op 41, Jota de Pablo, Op 52. This could be a fairly long series or a moderately short one since the Spanish-only notes do not tell us whether the series is only of originally orchestrated works of whether Sarasate's whole corpus will be presented with orchestral accompaniment. Either way, each disc will be a mixture of well-known and unknown works, which will certainly appeal to collectors. Angel Jesús García (violin), Orquesta Pablo Sarasate; Miquel Ortega. RTVE 65042 (Spain) 02H048 $17.98

RUPERTO CHAPÍ (1851-1909): Margarita la tornera. Spain's most prolific zarzuela composer (over 160) wrote only 8 operas. This is his last, premiered a month before his death presented in a live recording from 1999. Influences to be glimpsed include Richard Strauss and Saint-Saëns although Puccini is the most pervasive (although not overwhelming) while one scene in the second act suggests the direction Falla was to take in El amor brujo. 2 CDs. Spanish libretto. English synopsis. Elisabeta Matos (soprano), Plácido Domingo (tenor), Madrid Symphony Chorus and Orchestra; García Navarro. RTVE 65169 (Spain) 02H049 $35.98

The Romantic Piano Concerto, Vol. 39 - Delius Original Version Premiere

FREDERICK DELIUS (1862-1934): Piano Concerto in C Minor, JOHN IRELAND (1879-1962): Legend, Piano Concerto in E Flat. Actually, even what's recorded here isn't Delius' original original version: that was a single-movement Fantasy which dated from 1897 and which was revised and expanded into the 1904 work in three discrete movements which gets its first recording here (the work has been reconstructed from the original orchestral parts and from those bits of the full score which survive). Most of the material in the first two movements was used in the final version (in which the entire piano part was rewritten by pianist and Busoni student Theodor Szántó, with Delius' approval) but the third movement is completely new although it does contain a bit of familiar music - the beginning of the cadenza was reused in the Violin Concerto of 1916. Less overtly virtuosic than Szántó's piano part, the original fits better with the restrained and refined orchestration and restores a work to the Delius canon whose later version always seemed to not quite fit with his later Double Concerto and Violin Concerto. Piers Lane (piano), Ulster Orchestra; David Lloyd-Jones. Hyperion CDA 67296 (England) 02H050 $18.98

EUGÈN D'ALBERT (1864-1932): Tiefland, Op. 34. D'Albert's biggest operatic hit (and only one on CD until cpo recorded Die Tote Augen in 1997) is also that seeming oxymoron: a German verismo opera. Based on a Catalan play, it melds that Italian idiom with a typical Germanic concern for believable character and motivation. 2 CDs. German libretto. Hanne-Lore Kuhse, Rosemarie Rönisch (sopranos), Ernst Gutstein (baritone), Theo Adam (bass), Dresden State Opera Chorus, Staatskapelle Dresden; Paul Schmitz. Original 1965 Eterna release. Berlin Classics 0032982BC (Germany) 02H051 $18.98

CHARLES KOECHLIN (1867-1950): Épitaphe de Jean Harlow for Flute, Saxophone and Piano, Op. 164, Trio for 2 Flutes and Clarinet, Op. 91, Suite en quatuor for Flute, Violin, Viola and Piano, Op. 55, Trio for Flute, Clarinet and Bassoon, Op. 92, Sonata for 2 Flutes, Op. 75, 2 Nocturnes for Flute, Horn and Piano, Op. 32bis, Sonatine modale for Flute and Clarinet, Op. 155a, Pièce de flûte pour lecture à vue for Flute and Piano, Op. 218. With a clarinet disc last November, a memorable orchestral release before that and a two-CD set of orchestral songs coming next month, Hännsler is proving to be the Koechlin label! The composer's very forward-looking harmonic palette and his pre-Milhaud polytonality as well as the fine gradations of color he produces with his unusual instrumental combinations make this disc of music based on the flute another ear-opener for collectors. Tatiana Ruhland (flute), Yaara Tal (piano), Members of the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra. Hänssler Classic 93.157 (Germany) 02H052 $17.98

KARL GOEPFART (1859-1942): Wind Quartet in D Minor, Op. 93, AUGUST REUSS (1871-1935): Wind Octet in B, Op. 37, HEINRICH KASPAR SCHMID (1874-1953): Wind Quintet in B Flat, Op. 28. Uncharted byways of late Romantic German wind music produce unalloyed and simple pleasure with these works of 1907, 1918 and 1919, respectively (when, in the last two cases, there was certainly not much pleasure to be had in Germany!). Two of the composers studied with Thuille, including Reuss, whose work, the longest here at 26 minutes and a first recording, also nods to Richard Strauss. Renaissance City Winds. Centaur CRC 2594 (U.S.A.) 02H053 $16.98

CÉCILE CHAMINADE (1857-1944): Piano Music, Vol. 2 - Arlequine, Op. 53, Pièce romantique, Op. 7/1, Chanson bretonne, Op. 76/5, Divertissement, Op. 105, Consolation, Op. 87/5, Passacaille, Op. 130, Nocturne, Op. 165, Scherzo-valse, Op. 148, Sous bois, Op. 87/2, Étude symphonique, Op. 28, Élégie, Op. 98, Gigue, Op. 43, Au pays dévasté, Op. 155, Pastorale, Op. 114, Libellules, Op. 24, Valse tendre, Op. 119, Tristesse, Op. 104, Impromptu, Op. 35/5, Tarentelle, Op. 35/6. The second of three volumes of little piano pieces made for domestic consumption and marked by graceful melody, simple forms and clear textures - utterly civilized music for the salons and drawing-rooms of the late 19th century. Peter Jacobs (piano). Original 1994 Hyperion release. Helios CDH 55198 (England) 02H054 $10.98

Quartetti Italiani - from Boccherini to Malipiero at super-budget price!

LUIGI BOCCHERINI (1743-1805): String Quartets G. 165-170, 248-9, 213-15 and 232-35 (1994-96 releases), ANTONIO BAZZINI (1818-1897): String Quartets Nos. 1-6 (2002 release), GIUSEPPE VERDI (1813-1901): String Quartet in E Minor, GIACOMO PUCCINI (1858-1924): Crisantemi, RICCARDO ZANDONAI (1883-1944): String Quartet in G (2004 release), OTTORINO RESPIGHI (1879-1936): Quartetto dorico, String Quartet in D Minor (2000 release), GIAN FRANCESCO MALIPIERO (1882-1973): String Quartets No. 1 "Rispetti e Strambotti", No. 2 "Stornelli e ballate", No. 3 "Cantàri alla madrigalesca", No. 4, No. 5 "Dei Capricci", No. 6 "L'Arca di Noè", No. 7 and No. 8 "per Elisabetta" (1996 release). The history of the Italian string quartet, covering almost 200 years. This was the only complete cycle of the eight Malipiero quartets, themselves covering 44 years of the composer's life and, like his symphonies, an important guide to his many stylistic changes. The Bazzini quartets were first recordings and stand alone in the field, written after his retirement from the concert stage (they date from 1864-92). As the Austro-German tradition was practically the only one to look to for guidance in the genre, these quartets are predominantly in the mood, style and manner of Schumann, Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Brahms. The other very rare work is Zandonai's - full of bold, virile melodies in its outer movements, with a catchy presto scherzo and a long adagio whose density of texture and depth of emotion is remarkable for a 21-year-old composer. 10 CDs. Quartetto di Venezia. Dynamic CDS 486-1-10 (Italy) 02H055 $53.98

Etcetera and Globe - These titles have either not been offered in the U.S. or have long been unavailable. They are in somewhat limited quantities but, if I run out, I will probably be able to get more.

CARL CZERNY (1791-1857): Piano Sonatas No. 1 in A Flat, Op. 7, No. 2 in A Minor, Op. 13, No. 3 in F Minor, Op. 57 & No. 4 in G, Op. 65, Variationen über einen bekannten Wiener Walzer, Op. 12, Fantaisie suivie d'une Romance variée, Op. 37. These four huge sonatas (two are in five movements and the shortest is 29 minutes) are a must-have for any collector of proto-Romantic piano music. Dating from 1819-24, they start, stylistically from the Beethoven Op. 101 (not surprisingly, given Czerny was his student) but there is also much Schubertian delicacy and Romantic feeling. 2 CDs. Daniel Blumenthal (piano). 1994 release. Etcetera KTC 2023 (Netherlands) 02H056 $35.98 >

CARL CZERNY (1791-1857): 3 Brilliant Fantasies on Themes by Franz Schubert for Piano and Horn, Op. 339, Andante e Polacca for Horn and Piano, Op. posth. Dating from around 1836, the 53-minute Brilliant Fantasies use 22 Schubert themes, 20 from lieder, one from the opera Alfonso und Estrella and one from the four-hand piano fantasy in F Minor, D. 940 Barry Tuckwell (horn), Daniel Blumenthal (piano). 1992 release. Etcetera KTC 1121 (Netherlands) 02H057 $17.98 >

FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886)/CARL TAUSIG (1841-1871): Les Préludes, Hamlet, Orpheus, Tasso. The impetuous and extravagantly gifted Tausig pumped out these ultra-virtuosic transcriptions (along with at least seven others, not all of which have survived) in 1858 and their mammoth technical demands have left them neglected or ignored practically ever since. Daniel Blumenthal (piano). 1992 release. Etcetera KTC 1133 (Netherlands) 02H058 $17.98 >

STEPHEN HELLER (1813-1888): Promenades d'un solitaire, Op. 78, Wanderstunden, Op. 80, In Wald und Flur, Op. 89. These nature pictures, in Schumannian spirit, composed between 1851-56, do not have descriptive titles but one can hear rushing water, rustling leaves, sounds of the hunt, a storm, all the same. Daniel Blumenthal (piano). 1992 release. Etcetera KTC 1116 (Netherlands) 02H059 $17.98 >

FELIX DRAESEKE (1835-1913): Große Messe in A Minor, Op. 85, ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810-1856): 4 doppelchörige Gesänge, Op. 141. Draeseke's huge mass (1908) combines contrapuntal mastery with expressive harmony and marries old polyphonic techniques with modern sound resources to produce a richness of sound which serves a demanding but rewarding treatment of the texts. Schumann's 1849 work, for eight-part mixed choir, is his supreme achievement in the genre. Netherlands Chamber Choir; Uwe Gronostay. 1996 release. Globe GLO 5147 (Netherlands) 02H060 $17.98 >

PAUL JUON (1872-1940): Violin Sonatas in A, Op. 7, in F, Op. 69 & in B Minor, Op. 86. Spanning most of Juon's career (1898 to 1930) these sonatas demonstrate his affinity with both Rachmaninov and Brahms - late Romanticism with a marked Slavic spirit. Alla Voronkova (violin), Evelyne Dubourg (piano). 1996 release. Etcetera KTC 1194 (Netherlands) 02H061 $17.98 >

IGNAZ FRIEDMAN (1882-1948): Menuett from "Le Judgement de Pâris", Studien on a Theme by Paganini, Op. 47b, Tempo di Minuetto (second movement of Mahler's Sym. No. 3), 2 Children's Pieces, 6 Mazurkas, Op. 85, Firenze, Tabatière à Musique, Op. 33/3, Wiener Tanzen Nos. 3 & 6, Frühlingstimmen. An hour's worth of original compositions and transcriptions or arrangements by this famous pianist. Peter Froundjian (piano). 1991 release. Etcetera KTC 1117 (Netherlands) 02H062 $17.98 >

BENJAMIN DALE (1885-1943): Suite for Viola and Piano, Op. 2, Phantasy for Viola and Piano, Op. 4, Impromptu for Piano, Op. 3, Prunella for Piano. A youthful prodigy who, like others of his generation, never fulfilled his promise after World War I, Dale wrote several eloquent, deeply-felt and highly taxing chamber works (of 1906 - the 37-minute suite - and 1911), of which, these viola/piano pieces (written for Lionel Tertis) are excellent examples. Simon Rowland-Jones (viola), Niel Immelman (piano). 1991 release. Etcetera KTC 1105 (Netherlands) 02H063 $17.98 >

IANNIS CONSTANTINIDIS (1903-1984): 8 Dances from the Greek Islands, Sonatinas Nos. 1-3, Children's Pieces, Books 1-3, From the Dodecanese, Vol. 1. Everything, including the Sonatinas, is based on folk music from throughout the Greek-speaking areas in the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas. Matthew Koumis (piano). 1995 release. Etcetera KTC 1183 (Netherlands) 02H064 $17.98 >

HERMAN STRATEGIER (1912-1988): Pavane, Sonata, Sonatinas Nos. 1 and 2, Tema con variazioni for the Left Hand, Variations on an old Dutch St. Nicholas Song, Little Pastorale on an old Christmas Song, Variations on an old French Christmas Song, 3 Miniatures, 6 Etudes, 6 Preludes. This Dutch composer's elegiac personality and great sensitivity to tone color place him close to such French composers as Fauré, Debussy and Ravel and these elegant, often polyphonic, sometimes cantabile, short pieces and suites will delight anyone with an appetite for Gallic charm. David Mannesse (piano). 1994 release. Globe GLO 5124 (Netherlands) 02H065 $17.98 >

LEX VAN DELDEN (1919-1988): Concerto for 2 String Orchestras, Op. 71 (3/7/68), Piccolo Concerto for 12 Winds, Timpani, Percussion and Piano, Op. 67 (2/20/64. mono), Musica Sinfonica for Orchestra, Op. 93 (10/12/69), Symphony No. 3 "Facets", Op. 45 (12/15/57. mono). One of the Netherlands' most performed composers of the 50s and 60s, van Delden eschewed atonality and the avant-garde, writing serious but approachable music marked by clarity of orchestration and freely expressed emotion, often with profoundly dramatic episodes alternating with intensely lyrical passages. Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra; Eugen Jochum, Bernard Haitink, George Szell. 1993 release. Etcetera KTC 1156 (Netherlands) 02H066 $17.98 >

MARCEL TOURNIER (1878-1951): Le lettre du jardinier, ANDRÉ CAPLET (1878-1925): 2 sonnets, HENRI DUPARC (1848-1933): L'Invitation au voyage, Chanson triste, GABRIEL FAURÉ (1845-1924): Nell, Op. 18/1, Clair de lune, Op. 46/2, Notre Amour, Op. 23/2, Une Sainte en son auréole, Op. 61/1, For Solo Harp: Impromptu, Op. 86, Une châtelaine en sa tour, Op. 110 (transcr. Mathieu), FRANCIS POULENC (1899-1963): A sa guitare, JEAN-MICHEL DAMASE (b.1928): Epigrammes et Madrigaux, BERNARD ANDRÈS (b.1941): Le jardin gris. Voice and harp seems a quintessentially French combination, suggesting romance, reverie and Celtic dreaming. Those are more are on offer here and collectors will not be disappointed by the non-transcriptions which form the majority of the repertoire here. Andrès, a harpist himself, provides long solos in his songs which create marvellous and unusual atmospheres (including playing techniques in one song which mimic the koto). Damase is a bit less exotic which only makes his cycle of texts by 18th century French poets seem that much more Gallic. No texts. Doron DRC 3036 (Switzerland) 02H067 $16.98

JEAN CRAS (1879-1932): Maritime, Au Fil de l'eau, CHARLES KOECHLIN (1867-1950): Sur la Falaise, Promenade vers la mer, Chant des pêcheurs, Ceux qui s'en vont pêcher au large dans la nuit, LÉON BOËLLMANN (1862-1897): Sur la Mer, GIAN-FRANCESCO MALIPIERO (1882-1973): La Siesta, AUBERT LEMELAND (b.1932): Seagulls, Convoy, Greenland, Great South Bay, This is Alaska, Indian Creek, CLAUDE DEBUSSY (1862-1918): Ce qu'a vu le vent d'ouest, L'Isle Joyeuse, Voiles, MAURICE RAVEL (1875-1937): Une Barque sur l'Océan, JEAN-PIERRE FEREY: L'Appel de la mer, En plongée. An attractive collection of French sea music with only 21 of its 64 minutes from the usual suspects. The Boëllmann is particularly attractive in its mesmerizing undulations and the Koechlin, Cras and Malipiero are rather unknown. Lemeland's pieces, inspired by American servicemen's letters from World War II, have also been recorded on this label on an all-Lemeland disc. The pianist adds his own transcriptions of thousand-year old Arabian pearl-diver songs. Jean-Pierre Ferey (piano). Skarbo DSK 1049 (France) 02H068 $18.98

SHOLOM SECUNDA (1894-1974): String Quartet in C Minor (Bochmann String Quartet), DARIUS MILHAUD (1892-1974): Études sur des thèmes liturgiques du Comtat Venaissin (Julliard Quartet), ABRAHAM WOLF BINDER (1895-1967): 2 Hassidic Moods (Bochmann String Quartet), RUTH SCHONTHAL (b.1924): String Quartet No. 3 "In Memoriam Holocaust" (Bingham String Quartet), JOHN ZORN (b.1953): Kol Nidre (Ilya Kaler, Perrin Yang [violins], Brenda Stewart [viola], Steven Doane [cello]). The richest release for chamber music collectors in this series brings the world premiere recording of a very late work (1973) by Milhaud, nine minutes in three movements, based on original synagogue melodies of Provençal Jews and, at the other end of the time-length spectrum, Secunda's 1945 piece (31 minutes) which is woven from a rich collection of Ashkenazi sacred melodies. Schonthal's quartet of 1997 has an expressionist, often dissonant intensity in its first movement and uses a mode associated with Ashkenazi prayer, but not actual melodies, in its "Lament and Prayer" finale. Binder's 1934 pieces are full of authentic color and we even visit the avant-garde with Zorn's six-minute exploration of motifs associated with the best-known Yom Kippur chant (typically lengthy, the almost 22 pages of very detailed notes allot five and a half pages to Zorn and his short piece!). Naxos Milken Archive 8.559451 (U.S.A.) 02H069 $7.98

ERICH ZEISL (1905-1959): Vor meinem Fenster, Die du so fern bist, Jannette, Vergissmeinnicht, Der Fiedler, Komm, heil'ge Nacht, So regnet es sich langsam ein, Der Schäfer, Armseelchen, Gigerlette, Sehnsucht, Der Weise, Die Sonne sinkt, Ecce Homo, Das trunkene Lied, Nachts, Sonnenlied, Auf dem Grabstein eines Kindes in einem Kirchgang im Odenwald, Im Frühling, wenn die Maiglöckchen läuten, Grabschrift, Die Nacht, Stilleben, Armkräutchen, Kein Ton mehr klingt, Mondbilder I-IV. Zeisl's hundred-odd lieder are the heart of his compositional uvre, all of the written before he had to flee Austria at the Anschluss in 1938. Many are miniature dramas, with word-painting accomplished by masterful manipulation of melody, rhythm, harmony and tone-color. The composer is a true recipient of the great German lied tradition and, at varying times, one can hear his tributes to Schubert, Brahms, Mahler and even Pfitzner comes to mind in the dark, brooding Vor meinem Fenster. German-English texts. Wolfgang Holzmair (baritone), Cord Garben (piano). CPO 777 170 (Germany) 02H070 $15.98

CLAUDIO SANTORO (1919-1989): 13 Love Songs for Soprano and Piano, 12 Preludes and 7 Paulistas for Piano. Hardcore collectors will remember a Santoro disc on the Brazilian Soarmec which appeared in this catalogue over 6 years ago. Here's a bit more to represent this fecund composer, from his middle period in which he abandoned dodecaphonic composition in order to submerge himself in Brazilian popular and folk elements. The songs and Preludes date from 1958-9 and are interleaved since they often share thematic material while the set of musical impressions of São Paolo date from 1955 and convey the broad diversity of that urban area's musical culture. No texts. Rosana Lamosa (soprano), Marcelo Bratke (piano). Quartz QTZ 2030 (England) 02H071 $17.98

JON WARD BAUMAN (b.1939): Symphony No. 2, Divertimento for String Orchestra, Horizons for Orchestra, Horizons for String Orchestra. Even more conservative than the Smith, Actor and Wallace discs from last month's catalogue, Bauman's symphony (2003) immediately calls to mind Copland's film scores of the 30s and 40s, as do the two versions of Horizons while the Divertimento (everything else here dates from 2000) has a touch of 20th century English string-orchestra style to it with the expected early 20th century American references. Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra; Joel Suben. Diskant DK-0078-2 (Czech Republic) 02H072 $16.98

WILLY BURKHARD (1900-1955): 7 Lieder, Op. 4, 6 Lieder, Op. 5, 4 Lieder, Op. 6, 10 Lieder, Op. 25, 9 Lieder, Op. 70. In the first three groups of these songs, composed between 1922 and 1926, Burkhard follows closely in the footsteps of Schubert, Brahms and Wolf in the historic tradition of the German lied but gains a more personal voice in the op. 25 set of 1930 and produces his most original creation in the first connected cycle, the op. 70 songs to texts of Christian Morgenstern (1944) where he is still in the tradition but is in the position of extending it rather than following it. Anyone interested in the Lied tradition will want to have both this and the Zeisl collection above (02H070). German texts. Annemarie Burkhard (soprano), Simon Burkhard (piano). Musiques Suisses MGB CD 6235 (Switzerland) 02H073 $18.98

STEFAN WOLPE (1902-1972): Passacaglia for Large Orchestra, Op. 23 (Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra; Johannes Kalitzke), Bühnenmusik zu Molière's "Le malade imaginaire", 3 kleinere Kanons, Op. 24a, Suite im Hexachord, Op. 24b, Konzert für 9 Instrumente, Op. 22. Everything here dates from Wolpe's four years in Palestine (1934-38) and all but the short op. 24 pieces are world premiere recordings. The orchestral work, the Passacaglia, resembles Josef Matthias Hauer in its use of dodecaphony rather than Webern or Schoenberg but the biggest work, the Konzert, is an extremely dense and complicated work which Wolpe had begun years earlier while studying with Webern and which duplicates the instrumentation of the latter's op. 24. A must-have release for anyone interested in the history of twelve-tone technique. ensemble recherche; Werner Herbers. Mode 156 (U.S.A.) 02H074 $17.98

BENJAMIN BRITTEN (1913-1976): Phaedra for Mezzo-Soprano, Harpsichord, Timpani, Percussion and Strings, Op. 93, Lachrymae for Viola and String Orchestra, Op. 48a, Sinfonietta, Op. 1, The Sword in the Stone - Concert Suite for Flute, Clarinet, Bassoon, Trumpet, Trombone, Harp and Percussion, Movement for Wind Sextet, Night Mail - End Sequence. A fascinating collection of rare Britten with the biggest work being one of his last, the 1975 Phaedra, written for Janet Baker in Handelian form with cello and harpsichord "continuo" to underline the homage, as well as the very early sextet movement from 1930 which is under Schoenberg's influence. The ten-minutes of music from a BBC radio score accompanying the tale of King Arthur cheekily parodies Wagner almost throughout. Texts included. Jean Rigby (mezzo), Roger Chase (viola), The Nash Ensemble; Lionel Friend. Original 1996 Hyperion release. Helios CDH 55225 (England) 02H075 $10.98

DAVID DIAMOND (1915-2005): Even Though the World Keeps Changing, As Life what is so Sweet, Anniversary in a Country Cemetary, Souvent j'ai dit à mon mari, Sister Jane, My Little Mother, I Have Longed to Move Away, Music, when soft voices die, Somewhere, Epitaph, My Spirit Will Not Haunt the Mound, This World is Not My Home, The Shpherd Boy Sings in the Valley of Humiliation, Brigid's Song, Be Music, Night, Chatterton, Love Is More, My Papa's Waltz, Homage to Paul Klee, I Am Rose, Don't Cry, 4 Hebrew Melodies. This welcome selection - Diamond wrote over 100 songs, marking them as a significant part of his output, and a form to which he was drawn throughout his career - presents a survey of his settings of a wide range of poets in works dating from 1941 to 1983. The composer remained committed to tonality throughout his life, and although a progression from the diatonic conservatism of the earlier songs to a more chromatic language later (especially from the 1960s onward) is certainly detectable, none of these delightful works suggests any modernist tendencies whatsoever. The eloquent lyricism of the vocal lines and uncluttered clarity of the accompaniments serve to present the varying character of he texts to their maximum effect; the composer's skill evident in his self-effacing yet exquisitely framed presentation of the words. Texts included. Helene Williams (soprano), Leonard Lehrman (piano). Albany TROY 817 (U.S.A.) 02H076 $16.98

PETR EBEN (b.1929): Landscapes of Patmos for Organ and Percussion, Windows for Trumpet and Organ, For Solo Organ: Prelude 1, Gloria, Triptychon, Campanae gloriosae. Eben has not been exactly ignored on CD and we offered a complete cycle on a Czech label around 1998-99 so we haven't been following this new Hyperion series until now when four new pieces appear which had not yet been composed back then. The Prelude 1 and Gloria (2000) are shorter, occasional pieces but the Triptychon (also 2000) is an 11-minute suite based on organ pieces by the 17th century Swiss orgainst Johann Benn clothed in Eben's own style, while the Campanae (1999) is a colorful 8-minute fantasy based on the notes of the five bells of the commissioning Cathedral of Trier. Halgeir Schiager (organ of Hedvig Eleonora Church, Stockholm), Eirik Raude (percussion), Jan Fredrik Christiansen (trumpet). Hyperion CDA 67198 (England) 02H077 $18.98

EDWARD GREGSON (b.1945): Tuba Concerto, JOHN GOLLAND (1946-1993): Tuba Concerto, Op. 46, ROGER STEPTOE (b.1953): Tuba Concerto, RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958): Tuba Concerto in F Minor. Looking like this should have been on ASV Whiteline and entitled "British Tuba Concertos" (which, of course, it is here also), this new release seeks to prove that there is much life beyond Vaughan Williams for the instrument. Golland actually played something like a tuba (the euphonium) so one might consider his posthumously premiered work of uncertain date the most idiomatically concieved. Gregson wrote much music for brass and wind band and his might be the most overtly virtuosic while Steptoe's is actually twelve-tone, though in that disarmingly melodic manner one associates with another English composer, Benjamin Frankel. James Gourlay (tuba), Royal Ballet Sinfonia; Gavin Sutherland. Naxos 8.557754 (New Zealand) 02H078 $7.98

MARGARET BROUWER (b.1940): Aurolucent Circles for Percussion and Orchestra, Mandala, Remembrances, Pulse: a 50th Anniversary Fanfare, SIZZLE. Circles is a 27-minute percussion concerto written for Glennie in 2002 which makes much use of the softer, shimmering percussion sounds (while still providing punchy sections for drumming) and of spatial movement around sections of the orchestra. Spatiality also motivates Mandala (2001), suggested by the Buddhist meditation symbol, as brass positioned in the auditorium help accentuate the feeling of circling sound. A softer, more melodic side of the composer is on display in Remembrances (1996), an elegiac tribute to a dead friend while the remaining two pieces are short commissioned showpieces. Evelyn Glennie (percussion), Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra; Gerard Schwarz. Naxos American Classics 8.559250 (U.S.A.) 02H079 $7.98

BRUCE BROUGHTON (b.1945): The Fingerprints of Childhood, ÁRNI EGILSSON (b.1939): In the Twilight, MAX REGER (1873-1916): Serenade in G, Op. 141a. For collectors of the "serious music" of film composers, we offer Broughton's Finerprints, an abstract work sounding nothing like film music which opens with a movement in which the composer recorded any musical idea which occurred to him, and two more in which he varies and transforms them, all in a very approachable but not facile tonal idiom. The latter describes Egilsson's 14-minute work as well, a kind of mood-picture of that period when it's not quite light or dark (the alto flute and silky viola being particularly good at evoking this), either on the earth or in the mind. Cynthia Ellis (flute), Jeanne Evans Skrocki (violin), Janet Lakatos (viola). Centaur CRC 2778 (U.S.A.) 02H080 $16.98

DAN WELCHER (b.1948): Haleakala: How Maui Snared the Sun (Richard Chamberlain [narrator]), Prairie Light: Three Texas Watercolors of Georgia O'Keeffe, Clarinet Concerto (Bil Jackson [clarinet]). I know there are very few of you out there who can take narration, if you can get by that, Haleakala (1991), using ancient Hawaiian chant-tunes, authentic percussion instruments and Polynesian scales, is a very attractive 22 minutes in a film-musicky kind of way. Prairie Light (1984) uses much bright percussion to color its impressions of its bright O'Keeffe subjects and the concerto (1989) is an amiable two-movement piece with the expected nods to jazz and popular music. Honolulu Symphony; Donald Johanos. Original 1992 Marco Polo release. Naxos American Classics 8.559287 (U.S.A.) 02H081 $7.98

PETER BREINER (b.1957): ...there must be something... - Concerto for Piano, Violin, Cello and Orchestra, Sonata Ostinata for Piano Trio, To Dear Mr. Bach on his Birthday for Piano Trio. Having had several Naxos discs of Breiner as arranger and transcriber of other people's or of folk music, we now have him as composer in his own right with two chamber works from 1984 and 1985 and a triple concerto from 2001. The piano trio pieces are solidly in the Minimalist language of that period, busy, bright and relentlessly cheerful, with only one slow movement among eight. In 2001, Breiner is still influenced by the arpeggiated ostinato-drive of the earlier days but the breadth of his canvas has enlarged (the concerto is just over 38 minutes long) and there is a strong whiff of Argentine tango in much of this work as well. There are no notes on the works; the title is ...there must be something... There must be a reason... Trio Animæ, Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra, Kosice; Peter Breiner. Cascavelle VEL 3079 (Switzerland) 02H082 $15.98

RICHARD BLACKFORD (b.1954): Voices of Exile for Mezzo-Soprano, Tenor, Baritone, Chorus and Orchestra. Nothing if not ambitious, and ably espousing a noble cause - to give voice to the oppressed, tortured, executed, abandoned individuals of the world - this is a big, bold cantata which aims for direct emotionalism in a readily accessible style. Taking his texts from many cultures around the world, the composer has not attempted to incorporate elements of ethnic musics into a work whose vocabulary stays firmly within the English choral tradition. Avoiding modernism of any sort, the music inhabits a world in which Vaughan Williams and Geoffrey Burgon coexist, with occasional excursions in the direction of Bernstein and Hollywood (only rarely straying into Aled Jones territory). The inclusion of field recordings made by the composer as brief introductions to several sections (à la David Fanshawe) do not qualify the work as 'electroacoustic', but do add to its sense of atmosphere. Catherine Wyn-Rogers (mezzo), Gregory Kunde (tenor), Gerald Finley (baritone), New London Children's Choir, The Bach Choir, Philharmonia Orchestra; David Hill. Quartz QTZ 2018 (England) 02H083 $17.98

RICARDO LLORCA (b.1962): 3 piezas for Piano and Orchestra (Miguel Baselga [piano], RTVE Symphony Orchestra; José De Eusebio), 3 piezas académicas for Piano (Ricardo Descalzo). Here, RTVE's Spanish-only notes reach a new level of ridiculousness - the notes are by an American musicologist at NYU and are translated into Spanish for the booklet. Ah, parochialism, ain't it grand? From the music itself we can tell you that Llorca uses a personal combination of tonal, traditional musical building-blocks (rhythms or melodies which suggest folk music on a couple of occasions) associated with Iberian or, more broadly, Mediterranean musical cultures, and other more modern techniques, which produce a pleasing mixture of post-Romantic sensibility with a "contemporary" cutting edge. There is no use of any formal academic "ism" and, when Llorca is partaking of modernity, it is freely tonal rather than rigidly atonal and the effects serve a dramatic purpose (the 40 minute piano/orchestra 3 Pieces come with the movement headings "Wounded Time", "The End of Innocence" and "The Avalanche", which go a ways toward indicating a dramatic action) and for the 27 minute long solo piano pieces, whose headings, at least, are transparent: "Sarao" (i.e. "Soirée"), Chorale and Fuga. RTVE 65227 (Spain) 02H084 $17.98

JUKKA LINKOLA (b.1955): The Journey. Based on literary works by Toivo Pekkanen, much of this opera consists of characters solilioquising or discussing various aspects of the human condition, without much in the way of events or action. Fortunately, the texts contain much food for thought, and Linkola's music sustains interest throughout. Harmonically and vocally conventional, resolutely tonal and attractively lyrical throughout, the music is thoroughly satisfying on its own terms, as well as eloquently underpinning the philosophical musings of the characters. Shades of Busoni (who seems to get everywhere in 20th century music) rub shoulders with a more popular style which may leave you thinking of Bernstein, while the directness of expression and uncluttered clarity of musical argument are not so very far removed from Eisler or Weill. 2 CDs. Finnish-English libretto. Hannu Jurmu (tenor), Katriina Kerppola (soprano), Lise Holmberg (mezzo), Peter Nordman (baritone), Kotka Opera Choir, Kymi Sinfonietta; Juha Nikkola. Alba ABCD 200:1-2 (Finland) 02H085 $33.98

JUDITH WEIR (b.1954): The Consolations of Scholarship (Janice Felty [soprano]), King Harald's Saga (Judith Kellock [soprano]), Piano Concerto (Xak Bjerken [piano]), Musicians Wrestle Everywhere for Ensemble. The two operas on this disc make a virtue of brevity and economy of means (Consolations uses one singer and nine instrumentalists, and King Harald is for unaccompanied solo soprano, adding a whole level of meaning to the term 'chamber opera'). The extreme compression of these narratives allows Weir to experiment with musical drama as storytelling - as direct and personal as possible. While the musical material is unquestionably contemporary, she excels in evoking the sense of speechlike cadences and characterisation through the use of succinct fragments of instrumental texture, often mimicking the actual vocal lines. The concerto is also an economical work, and a most appealing one; the piano carries much of the argument, playing what sound like fragments of neoclassical or Romantic material, while nine solo strings provide timbral and sustaining reinforcement, in an intimate, chamber-music setting. Libretti included. Ensemble X; Steven Stucky, Mark Davis Scatterday. Albany TROY 803 (U.S.A.) 02H086 $16.98

FLORENCIO ASENJO (b.1926): Effusions: A Symphony of Transitions, Figures Taking Form, The Supplicants (Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra; Kirk Trevor), WILLIAM THOMAS MCKINLEY (b.1938): Concerto in Two Movements for Piano and Orchestra (David Pihl [piano], Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra; Vit Micka). Asenjo's music, by design, keeps the listener constantly involved through his avoidance of repetition and the ceaseless introduction of new thematic ideas in a kind of evolving argument, in which rather than evolviing in the technical sense, successive ideas are related in mood or substance. This could become bewildering or frighteningly complexicist were it not for the fact that the composer's material is unashamedly tonal, and his textures clear and uncluttered, allowing direct emotional involvement in the pieces to become their most important characteristic. Effusions is a fine example of this technique at its best, with ideas that sometimes recall (but do not quote) Mahler, or Shostakovich, co-existing in a fabric of considerable variety and direct appeal. The other works are similarly evocative and colorful. McKinley's vital and often jazzy concerto, in his familiar, accessible, though never panderingly populist style, is increasingly dynamic and driven after a meditative introductory dialogue between piano and orchestra, with ingenious syncopated rhythm and colorful istrumentation, and much exciting piano virtuosity. MMC 2141 (U.S.A.) 02H087 $16.98

MARK-ANTHONY TURNAGE (b.1960): This Silence for Octet, True life stories for Piano, Slide stride for Piano and String Quartet, 2 Baudelaire Songs for Soprano and Ensemble, Eulogy for Viola and Ensemble, 2 Vocalises for Cello and Piano, Cantilena for Oboe and String Quartet. These chamber works showcase a mature and reflective side of Turnage's musical personality (though quasi-expressionistic outbursts marking the climaxes of several of the works are dramatically effective; he is in no danger of turning into a new-age meditationist). The nervous energy and avoidance of relaxation that have always characterised his music are constantly present and the uneasy chromaticism of his musical language maintains tension throughout. The Nash Ensemble. Onyx Classics 4005 (England) 02H088 $18.98

BEN JOHNSTON (b.1926): String Quartets No. 2, No. 3 "Verging", No. 4 "Amazing Grace" & No. 9, The Silence. This is a release of great significance, and should immediately be acquired by enthusiasts for individuality in contemporary music. Johnston's cycle of string quartets are works of immense theoretical interest, as the composer has, throughout his career, made an exhaustive study of acoustics and the physical foundations of music, leading him to employ tuning scales other than the familiar equal temperament, and the microtonality they imply. He was apprenticed to Partch for a while, and studied with that most eclectic of teachers, Milhaud, and that most experimental, Cage. So, an anti-establishment, ivory-tower academic complexicist, then, writing music accessible, and of interest to, about 15 musicologists, worldwide? Not a bit of it. The overwhelming impression, created by all the works in this diverse programme (diversity, within a recognisable consistency of style, is - as might be expected of a composer drawing on so varied a palette of compositional technique - very much a feature of these pieces) is of immediate accessibility - even of popular appeal, unlikely as it might seem. In fact, the composer employs his formidable array of techniques with such virtuosity that one is frequently initially unaware of them, finding instead apparently familiar traces of Bartók, let us say, or Sibelius, or a familiar tune ('Amazing Grace' in its flamboyantly Ivesian treatment in the 4th Quartet) - and only gradually start to realise that there is something odd going on; the harmonies are unexpectedly rich, the intervallic relationships more complex and interesting than they 'should' be. The inventiveness of the works on this disc alone suggest that Johnston is one of the major figures of American music in our time, and he gains additional distinction by using his technical resources to produce music of profound (and sometimes searingly direct) emotional content and stimulating argument, simultaneously. Kepler Quartet. New World 80637-2 (U.S.A.) 02H089 $16.98

JOHAN HAMMERTH (b.1953): Preludium 3, Preludium 7, PERMAGNUS LINDBORG (b.1968): Runs and resonances, PÄR LINDGREN (b.1952): Winding Threads, ANDERS NILSSON (b.1954): Les Cloches de la Nuit, ROLF MARTINSSON (b.1956): Libra, Op. 36, Leo, Op. 44, Gemini, Op. 46. Hammerth's two hypnotic preludes frame this recital, which mostly consists of music providing greater opportunity for virtuoso display. Lindborg's piece alternates fast passage-work - tonal and consonant - with dissonant outbursts and ingenious manipulation of sustained resonances. Lindgren's extended work returns to a more meditative mood, though his uneasy, irregular metres in what is essentially a freely atonal two-part invention, allows little sense of repose, and demands close attention throughout. Nilsson's bell-piece is atmospheric and impressionistic. Martinsson's three Zodiac pieces have a free, improvisatory quality, highly active and complex music alternating with richly neo-Romantic textures and harmony. Anders Kilström (piano). Daphne 1018 (Sweden) 02H090 $16.98

SANDRA FRANCE (b.1968): Heritage Overture (Sydney Symphony Orchestra; Colin Piper), 3 Miniatures for Piano Trio (Kate Bowan [piano], Barbara Gilby [violin], David Pereira [cello]), What Goes Around Comes Around (Clarity Quartet), Fluctuating States of Calm for Cello (Pereira), String Quartet No. 1 (Gilby, Max Holtzner [violins], Catherine Owen [viola], Pereira [cello]), Monism for Violin and Marimba (Pal Eder [violin], Gary France [marimba]), Duo for Flute and Cello (Virginia Taylor [flute], Pereira [cello]), Miss Mugwort for Flute, Clarinet, Piano Trio and Percussion (Taylor [flute], Nicole Canham [clarinet], Gilby [violin], Charlotte WInslade [cello], Bowan [piano], France and Wyana Etherington [percussion]; Tor Fromyhr [conductor]), Kroger March for Wind Ensemble (Lawrence University Wind Ensemble; Robert Levy). This varied selection of brief and attractive works introduces a composer of considerable range, within a fairly conventional 20th-century framework. Romantic and post-Romantic influences are certainly present - Brahms (in the quartet, Shostakovich, explicitly in the overture, less so in the quartet and the cello work) - but a quirky individuality frequently exerts itself, catching the listener off guard. Whether this has something to do with the composer's evident enthusism for jazz, or the stereotype of the Australian as tough-minded pioneering individualist isn't quite clear - but the odd dialogue between the instruments in Monism, the ebullient eccentricity of Miss Mugwort (the most obviously jazzy piece here), or the bracing silliness of the Kroger March, is endearing, and ingeniously constructed. Tall Poppies TP177 (Australia) 02H091 $18.98

WILLY MERZ (b.1964): Mftir for Viola da Gamba (Hille Perl), Mizmor for Piano (Cristina Barbuti), Le Divan oriental - occidental for Voice and Piano (Linda Campanella, Barbuti), Dhil for Double Bass (Willy Merz), Pardes for Percussion (Thierry Miroglio), Dung for Bassoon (Diego Chenna), Mizmor for Viola (Danilo Rossi). A series of pieces for different instruments which evoke aspects of the timbre and atmosphere of certain oriental and middle-eastern music, without imitating them. Le Divan, setting four poets, two Arabic and two German, forms the centrepiece to the collection, and on account of the flowing melodic lines allotted to the singer, comes closest to resembling a conventional vocal cycle. For the other pieces, Merz displays a fondness for bass instruments in their lower registers, to sonorous effect (being a contrabass player may have something to do with this). The style of the music is free, improvisatory in effect, broadly atonal but not generally dissonant, with much emphasis on the evocative potential of the specific timbres employed, only the song-cycle displaying an obvious narrative musical, as well as (obviously) verbal thread. Stradivarius STR 33699 (Italy) 02H092 $17.98

NICOLA CAMPOGRANDE (b.1969): Danze del rido e dell' oblio fot Accordion and Piano. Here is a fine example of why the accordion belongs perfectly well in the world of concert music - elegant and delightful dances in duo partnership with the piano. The dance forms are clearly recognisable, the language tonal; broadly speaking, these sophisticated but not too terribly serious works bear much the sort of relation to one's accustomed idea of 'dances to be danced to' as Piazolla's elaborations of the Tango, or Lecuona's concert pieces enlarging on the street music of pre-revolutionary Cuba. The range of dance forms borrowed by the composer, and the ingenuity of his treatments, guarantees more than enough variety that the unusual instrumentation is never in danger of becoming a mere novelty; in short, a thoroughly satisfying recording. Alberto Fantino (accordion), Antonio Valentino (piano). Stradivarius STR 33712 (Italy) 02H093 $17.98

AZIO CORGHI (b.1937): Ricordando te, lontano, LUIGI DALLPICCOLA (1904-1975): 3 Poemi, DOMENICO GUACCERO (1927-1984): 2 Liriche di Montale, GOFFREDO PETRASSI (1904-2003): 3 liriche di Saffo, RICCARDO PIACENTINI (b.1958): Mano mobile clic, GIACINTO SCELSI (1905-1982): 3 Canti di primavera. Billed as 'Vol. 1', this varied collection demonstrates, if such a thing were necessary, that the art of writing gorgeous vocal music was alive and well in Italy in the second half of the 20th Century. If your reaction to this is 'well, duh', then you will want this CD simply to enjoy unfamiliar gems like Dallapiccola's Tre poemi, sounding like fragments from Canti di prigionia, or Guaccero's appropriately rich-textured Montale settings. Here and elsewhere, the emphasis on clarity of text-setting and relatively conventional (though never routine) vocal writing, in some cases from composers known for their pioneering work in the avant garde and electronic music, may come as a surprise. The Petrassi, its piano writing quasi-orchestral, is especially rewarding. The Scelsi songs are early, from his years as a thoroughly decent composer of 'normal' early 20th-century music, before all the late mystical stuff kicked in, if you were wondering. Piacentini's work is the most 'modern' and incorporates what seems to be a tape part (the booklet is a bit obscure), but the work is nonetheless very approachable, though more theatrical, less songlike, than the rest of the program. Italian-English texts. Tiziana Scandaletti (soprano), Riccardo Piacentini (piano). Stradivarius STR 33708 (Italy) 02H094 $17.98

Donaueschinger Musiktage 2004

ANDREAS DOHMEN (b.1962): Lautung for Large Orchestra and Solo Voices (Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart), REBECCA SAUNDERS (b.1967): miniata for Accordion, Piano, Chorus and Orchestra (Teodoro Anzelotti [accordion], Nicolas Hodges [piano], SWR Vocal Ensemble Stuttgart), MICHEL VAN DER AA (b.1970): Second Self for Orchestra and Soundtrack, PIERLUIGI BILLONE (b.1960): Mani. De Leonardis for 4 Automobile Springs and Glass (Christian Dierstein [percussion]). Dohmen explores the relationships of tempo, volume and texture, in a rich and rapidly flowing tapestry of orchestral sound, against which five solo voices blend with, or stand out from, the continuously changing orchestral background, which ebbs, flows, shimmers and erupts like an accelerated film-collage of some natural process. Saunders' work is a study in extreme contrasts, fluid and elliptical in meaning. van der Aa's work has a subtext of internal, psychological conflict, expressed through the literal conflict between the orchestra, string quartet, and tape part. Menacing and shadowy, composed of blocks of sound like highly dissonant, distorted Messiaen, the music is less abstract, more conventional in its delineation of character and event than the other works here. Speaking of unconventionality, Billone's work is for car springs (with accompanying vocalisations and a glass played with a mallet). The booklet notes mention the performer resonating along with the heavy piece of hand-held metal being played, suggesting that perhaps this work is more fun to play than to listen to. The rhythmic insistence and unusual timbres of these unorthodox percussion 'instruments' sustain interest throughout the work's 15-minute span. SWR Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden and Freiburg; Roland Kluttig, Hans Zender (Saunders). col legno 1CD20245 (Germany) 02H095 $19.98

BENEDICT MASON (b.1955): felt|ebb|thus|brink|here|array|telling visual : aura : acoustical : sculptural music. The pieces here explore the acoustical phenomena which can be discovered and exploited within a variety of large spaces by placing performers in various locations throughout. This differs from the usual concept of 'spatial' music insofar as Mason's sounds are all acoustic - there is no computer-co-ordinated distribution of sounds through loudspeakers here - and unlike 'staged' music from Gabrieli through Mahler and Bartók to Stockhausen, where instruments are placed for spatial effect, Mason's works have more to do with drawing attention to the acoustical behavior of the space than in presenting a musical 'argument' as such. The sounds that are employed range from what sound like fragments of conventional music performed on normal instruments, but played in various locations around the auditorium, to the sounds produced by exciting various kinds of resonating objects. As you might anticipate, if you can't actually be there, the 5-channel surround version on this hybrid SACD is the way to go. col legno SACD hybrid disc 1SACD 20604 (Germany) 02H096 $19.98

ENNO POPPE (b.1969): Holz for Clarinet and Small Ensemble (Christian Vogel [clarinet], Ensemble Mosaik), 17 Etudes for Violin, 2nd Volume (Khachatur Kanaian), Gelöschte Lieder for Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Piano (Ensemble Mosaik), Tier for String Quartet (Kairos Quartet), Rad for 2 Keyboards (Ernst Surberg, Benjamin Kobler). Poppe has a preoccupation with microintervals, which are used in a precisely structured manner but with almost playful intent, undermining apparently stable intervallic relationships, and thereby achieving a disorienting effect for the listener. The element of virtuosity - also treated exuberantly - is also frequently present, highlighted by the glittering clarity of the composer's characteristic textures and sonorities. This an individual voice, even among the many younger composers of the Darmstadt persuasion, and he is distinguished from many of his peers by the dynamism of his procedures, and by not relying too exclusively on the production of 'interesting' sounds by extended playing techniques. Rad for two electronic keyboards playing sampled piano sounds but capable of producing them in any one of a vast range of alternative tunings, is at once the clearest exemplar of Poppe's methods and the most viscerally exciting work here, as the bravura gestures race and collide as from great distances and in microscopic detail as the scales shift kaleidosopically; a kind of sonic fractal patterning. col legno 1CD 20237 (Germany) 02H097 $19.98

SALVATORE SCIARRINO (b.1947): Quaderno di strada for Baritone and Instruments. These texts are brief aphorisms - fragments employed not so much for their meaning as their mood; some are extracts from poems, inscriptions found on walls, phrases from letters or other documents. As always with Sciarrino, the emphasis is on color and luminosity - subtle, shifting contrasts of light and shade, light made tangible as by some skilled painter. The vocal syllables are treated as part of this dappled fabric, incorporating also breath sounds and the rustling of leaves, distant thunder, sobbing and sighing evoked through the highly economical yet always perfectly judged use of instrumental resources. The cumulative effect of the work is a kind of meditation - not in the usual sense of slow, repetitive music which evokes an hypnotic state, but the effect of total immersion in the contemplation of a constantly changing landscape, and the sometimes unexpected juxtaposition of thoughts and feelings that this may bring about. Italian texts. Otto Katzameier (baritone), Klangforum Wien; Sylvain Cambreling. Kairos 0012482KAI (Austria) 02H098 $15.98

LOTHAR VOIGTLÄNDER (b.1943): Visages for Soprano, 3 Speakers, 3 Dancers and 8 Instrumentalists. This electroacoustic music-theatre piece is based on poems by Eugène Guillevic, whose oblique, concise verbal imagery has become a guiding principle for the composer. The spatial aspects of the composition are of especial importance, the texts subjected to a kind of collage effect, whereby phrases are distributed between three separate speakers which leads to a musical effect of overlapping rhythms and textures. The tape part, which accompanies dance episodes in live performance, is also spatially projected, and the precise disposition of the 8 instrumentalists is also precisely judged to envelop the listener, an effect heightened by the blurring of the boundaries between instrumental and electronic sound. Eiko Morikawa (soprano), Ernst Surberg (piano), Dirk Beiße (cello), Khachatur Kanaian (violin), Mathias Badczong (clarinet), Matthias Jann (trombone), Marc Gosemärker, Carsten Langer, Ralf Zartmann (percussion). New Classical Adventure 60135-215 (Germany) 02H099 $17.98 >

JOHANN STRAUSS I (1804-1849): Edition, Vol. 7 - Mittel gegen den Schlaf, Op. 65, Jugendfeuer-Galopp, Op. 90, Emlék Pestre, Op. 66, Cachucha-Galopp, Op. 97, Gabrielen-Walzer, Op. 68, Boulogner-Galopp, Op. 104, Pfennig-Walzer, Op. 70, Der Carneval in Paris Galopp, Op. 100, Iris-Walzer, Op. 75, Original-Parade-Marsch, Op. 73, Erinnerungen an Berlin, Op. 78. Slovak Sinfonietta Zilina; Ernst Märzendorfer. Marco Polo 8.225283 (New Zealand) 02H100 $9.98

CARL MICHAEL ZIEHRER (1843-1922): Vol. 2 - Dances: Kulturbilder, Op. 563, Lachen, kosen, tanzen!, Op. 416, Hat ihn schon, Op. 100, Wo meine Wiege stand, Op. 468, Die kleine Witwe, Op. 487, Männerherz, Op. 54, Schlagfertig, Op. 198, Phonographen Walzer, Op. 423, Goldene Jugendzeit, Op. 523, In's Herz, Op. 95, Duets: Märchen der Liebe from Ball bei Hof, Mein schönes Ungarland from Der schöne Rigo, Das war der erste Walzer from Der Husarengeneral, Freundin und Freund from Das dumme Herz, Verliebt from König Jérôme, Op. 319. Although this new release comes with "Volume 2" on its cover, it's the first we've been offered. Since Marco Polo stopped at three in its releases of music by this Viennese composer, we can hope that this new series will continue (and that Vol. 1 will appear)! In addition to the polkas, waltzes and marches, there are several duets from Ziehrer's operettas and each number is given its own paragraph of notes, as in Marco Polo's J. Strauss series. No texts. Julia Koci (soprano), Martin Mühle (tenor), Original C.M. Ziehrer Orchestra; Hans Schadenbauer. Preiser PR 91132 (Austria) 02H101 $16.98

HENRY MANCINI (1924-1994): Peter Gunn, Moon River, Baby Elephant Walk, String on Fire, Dear Heart, Dream of a Lifetime, The Great Race March, Days of Wine and Roses, The Pink Panther, Two for the Road, Pie in the Face Polka, Ballerina's Dream, Life Force Theme, The Glass Menagerie, Charade, The Thorn Birds, Drummer's Delight, March with Mancini, Beaver Valley '37. 75 minutes of prime Mancini - all film or TV scores but with the addition of the 1970's Beaver Vallley '37, a 14-minute suite ("The River", "Black Snow" and "The Sons of Italy") inspired by the Western Pennsylvania area where he was raised. Richard Hayman and his Orchestra. Original 1991 Naxos International release. Naxos 8.557825 (New Zealand) 02H102 $7.98

ARIEL RAMÍREZ (b.1921): Missa Criolla, Navidad Nuestra, arr. Guido Haazen: Missa Luba. Two wildly popular "cross-over" works from the 60s are now available at budget-price for those of you who either weren't interested back then or just didn't see what the fuss was about. Missa Criolla (1964) is based on various South American folk musics and uses Andean percussion instruments while Missa Luba (1958), described by its creator, a missionary, as a "collective improvisation" uses African percussion. Navidad Nuestra, also from 1964, depicts the Mystery of the Incarnation as seen by folk society in northern Argentina. Instrumental and Percussion Ensembles, The Choral Arts Society of Washington; Joseph Holt. Naxos 8.557542 (New Zealand) 02H103 $7.98

YVAR MIKHASHOFF (1945-1992): Virtuoso Fantasies, Paraphrases and Transcriptions: Verdi: Caro nome from Rigoletto, Bellini: Casta Diva from Norma, Puccini: Portrait of Madame Butterfly, Trittico Fantasy, Vissi d'Arte from Tosca, Debussy: Intermezzo and Final Scene from Pelléas et Mélisande, Berg: Wirtshauswalzer from Wozzeck, Sylvano Bussotti (b.1931): Pianobar pour Phèdre from Le Racine, Kevin Volans (b.1949): Striding Dance from The Man with the Footsoles of Wind. Known as both a composer of and performer of avant-garde music, Mikhashoff might not be the first source you'd imagine a disc of operatic keyboard transcriptions to come from but he came to it through a Cage piece which required him to select three existing works in the genre (and not play most of their notes). You'll also note that the works transcribed are certainly not the usual suspects. For that special sort of piano collector... 2 CDs. Special price. Yvar Mikhashoff (piano). Mode 154/55 (U.S.A.) 02H104 $21.98