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Music for the Stage

JOHAN HALVORSEN (1864-1935): Gurre - Dramatic Suite for Orchestra, Op. 17, Suite from Askeladden, Suite from The Merchant of Venice. As director of music for the National Theatre in Oslo, Halvorsen composed the music for 32 stage productions during his 36 year tenure in the position. This new release, tantalizingly titled "Stage Music 1", offers a large-scale, 35-minute suite dating from 1900 taken from his music for Holger Drachmann's drama Gurre (based on the same tale as Schoenberg's Gurrelieder). Far more than mere background music while the curtain was down, this suite works more like a symphonic poem, opening with an Evening Scene followed by The First Encounter, Summer Night's Wedding and a lovely serenade before ending in grief and mourning with Woe, King Volmer! after Tove has been burned to death. Delightful, evocative stuff! The Merchant of Venice suite (1922) depicts the characters of Portia, Antonio, Basanio, Launcelot and Gobbo in four movements and an intermezzo while the children's play Askeladden (1930) was Halvorsen's last work, strongly influenced by Norwegian folk music and particularly by the slåtter, which are harmonized in an exotic, Impressionistic manner. One can only hope for more from this series! Latvian National Symphony Orchestra; Terje Mikkelsen. Simax PSC 1198 (Norway) 01B001 $18.98

Vladimir (Vernon Duke) Dukelsky - Zéphyr et Flore Ballet

VLADIMIR DUKELSKY (1903-1969): Zéphyr et Flore, Epitaphe for Soprano and Orchestra. Born in Kiev and a student of Gliere, Dukelsky is known in America for the Gershwinesque tunes he wrote as "Vernon Duke" during a few years in the 1920s. But the composer moved freely between light music and more serious composition: three symphonies, concertos for piano, violin and cello and ballet scores including the one receiving its first recording here. Zéphyr et Flore (1925) was written for Diaghilev and caught the ear of Prokofiev who wrote mentions it enthusiastically in contemporary writings. Clear and expressive melodies take on unexpected harmonic twists as Russian spirit fuses with a classicizing stylistic element in this attractive, 41-minute score. Epitaphe, from 1931, sets poems by Osip Mandelstam in a 14-minute piece which looks back at the vanishing world of the Russia of Dukelsky's youth and prophetically forsees the oncoming Soviet night. Ilma Achmadeeva (soprano), Netherlands Theatre Choir, Residentie Orchestra The Hague; Gennady Rozhdestvensky. Chandos 9766 (England) 01B002 $16.98

BENJAMIN BRITTEN (1913-1976): Paul Bunyan, Op. 17. Paul Bunyan is in a way Britten's last remaining great undiscovered work. Of course, it isn't entirely unknown, but it has never, at least until recently, achieved the same status as Britten's other great operas. A collaboration with Auden, it is a very "American" work from the composer's American years, full of lyrical appeal and melodic richness, and it is sad to report that following an unsatisfactory performance in 1941 it was withdrawn, not to see the light of day in any form until towards the end of Britten's life. The music is attractive, uncomplicated but not unsophisticated, overflowing with the spontaneous-sounding creativity that seemed to come so easily to Britten; not without a social conscience (both composer and librettist were very open to such considerations, and the late 1930s were after all a period of history in which many questions were asked), it combines the best elements of Britten's extraordinary technique with a popular element owing to its subject matter and Broadway associations. 2 CDs. English libretto. Kenneth Cranham (speaker), Peter Coleman-Wright (baritone), Susan Gritton (soprano), Kurt Streit (tenor), Royal Opera Chorus and Orchestra; Richard Hickox. Chandos 9781 (England) 01B003 $33.98

BENJAMIN BRITTEN (1913-1976): The Company of Heaven, WILL TODD: The Burning Road. The Company of Heaven was a BBC commission for incidental music to accompany readings of various texts in a programme for the festival of Michaelmas (which are included here as in the original broadcast). Britten provided some wonderful choral writing and a dramatic orchestral contribution for this purpose; admittedly it may fall between the restless inventiveness of some early works and the brilliantly fluent mature works, but nonetheless this contribution to the English choral tradtion is well worth hearing. Todd's work makes a surprisingly apt coupling, sounding remarkably in the tradition of mature Britten. A secular cantata on the subject of the Jarrow March, an episode in English political history with profound resonances in the area of labor rights, it is dramatic and impassioned, alternately lyrical and fiery, always in a readily approchable idiom. 2 CDs. Mid-price. Texts included. Fiona Shaw, Jonathan Pryce (speakers), Charlotte Kinder (soprano), Harry Nicholl (tenor), Paul Knappitt (organ), Matthew Turner (timpani), Jennifer Maybee (soprano), Graeme Danby (baritione), Crouch End Festival Chorus, National Sinfonia; David Temple. Silva Classics SILKD 6021 (U.S.A.) 01B004 $19.98

JACK SYDNEY GERBER (1902-1979): Balaton Rhapsody, Fiesta, Prelude-Stonehenge, The Sea, Requiem for Soprano, Contralto, Tenor, Chorus and Chamber Orchestra. Gerber was a South African who made his fortune in steel and horse training. Music remained a hobby all his life but he devoted himself to it consistently. The four small tone poems here are romantic in style, representing respectively Lake Balaton in Hungary, sun-drenched Spain, orgiastic Druidic rituals and the sea. The requiem is a contemplative, subtle work which eschews high drama in its personal response to death and the hereafter. Mid-price. Claremont Symphony Orchestra; Charles Vandezand. Patricia Clark (soprano), Jean Allister (contralto), Duncan Robertson (tenor), London Chamber Singers, Chamber Orchestra; Anthony Bernard. Prestige Classics PRCDSP 100 (England) 01B005 $10.98

CARLOS FRANZETTI (b.1948): Symphony No. 1, Piano Concerto No. 2. Argentine-born Franzetti's piano concerto is a transparently scored work in the tradition of Ravel with a languidly poignant, vocal-like Aria surrounded by a fast-paced first movement with toccata elements in the soloist's part and a finale influenced by the rhythms of Argentine folk dances. The symphony (1992-95) is an elegic work composed in memory of Franzetti's first wife, comprising an often somber Elegia, a nostalgic Vals and a brief hymn-like Adagio lirico before ending in a fiery and moving De profundis. A fine, extremely approachable disc which will please anyone interested in contemporary music in traditional forms. Allison Brewster Franzetti (piano), Janácek Philharmonic Orchestra; Dennis Burkh. Amapola Records AR 9801 (U.S.A.) 01B006 $16.98

EINAR ENGLUND (1916-1999): Symphony No. 2 "The Blackbird", Piano Concerto No. 1, Symphony No. 4 "Nostalgic". Perhaps this appearance of Englund on a budget-priced label will be a portent of better times and wider recognition of a fine symphonist who has been overlooked in recent decades. The second symphony (1947), in the composer's words, contrasts "Nature with urban machine culture". At the end of its dramatic slow movement, which alternates explosive outbursts and lyrical episodes, a fragment of birdsong appears, "a blackbird, perhaps, in a forest ravaged by pollution". The fourth symphony dates from 1976 and was envisaged by the composer as a memorial to two composer who died around the same time - Shostakovich and Stravinsky. It's an introspective work, with echoes of Sibelius in addition to reminescences of the Russian composers, and ends with a threateningly somber finale. The concerto dates from 1955 and derives its themes from the yoik - the vocal style of the Sámi people of Lappland - making use of them in Bartokian fashion throughout. Niklas Sivelöv (piano), Turku Philharmonic Orchestra; Jorma Panula. Naxos 8.553758 (New Zealand) 01B007 $5.98

ALFVÉN - Rare Cantatas

HUGO ALFVÉN (1872-1960): At the Turn of the Century, Op. 12 for Soprano, Choir and Orchestra, Cantata for the 1917 Reformation Festivities in Uppsala, Op. 36 for Baritone, Choir and Orchestra, The Bells, Op. 13 for Baritone and Orchestra. Alfvén's 1899 cantata is in four movments, one with solo soprano, and is clothed in the composer's finest orchestration. On a larger scale, the 1917 cantata celebrating the 400th anniversary of Martin Luther's church-door nail-job uses texts from the 1695 Hymn Book and a contemporary poem entitled "Luther's Hammer". The writing is predominantly homophonic with unison choral writing which lends the piece great weight and gravity. The Bells (1900) is a richly and imaginatively orchestrated ballad setting a contemporary Swedish text which lets Alfvén explore various ways of imitating bell-sounds in the orchestra. Swedish-English texts. Lena Hoel (soprano), Karl-Magnus Fredriksson (baritone), Stockholm Royal Philharmonic Choir, Gävle Symphony Orchestra; Stefan Parkman. Sterling CDS-1036-2 (Sweden) 01B008 $15.98


HAMISH MACCUNN (1868-1916): Land of the Mountain and the Flood, Op. 3, Highland Memories, Op. 30, MARCUS DODS (1918-1984): Highland Fancy, HUGH ROBERTON (1874-1952): All in the April Evening, IAIN HAMILTON (b.1922): Scottish Dances, Op. 32, BUXTON ORR (1924-1997): Fanfare and Processional, Celtic Suite, MUIR MATHIESON (1911-1973): From the Grampians, CEDRIC THORPE DAVIE (1913-1983): Royal Mile, Op. 106. This collection of music by Scottish composers often crosses the line between "light" and "serious" music, especially in MacCunn's pieces but Buxton Orr's fanfare also leans toward the former while his Celtic Suite inclines toward the latter. Particularly enjoyable is Matheson's suite from 1961; the composer will be known to film lovers as a composer, arranger and supervisor of the music for a ton of British films from the 40s through the early 70s. His four-movement suite is serious enough for some and light enough for others - no better praise than that! Royal Ballet Sinfonia; John Wilson, David Lloyd-Jones. ASV White Line WHL 2123 (England) 01B009 $11.98

RICHARD STRAUSS (1864-1949): The Unknown Richard Strauss, Vol. 8 - Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme. With Hugo von Hofmannsthal revising Molière's play and Strauss providing the music, Gentilhomme was originally premiered in 1912 with Ariadne auf Naxos wrapped into the package (making for a six-hour evening at the theatre!). The revised version - a three-act comedy with music, dance and a few sung numbers - dates from 1918. Peter Ustinov has adapted Hofmannsthal's libretto and translated it into English and, as he did for The Donkey's Shadow earlier in this series, plays practically all of the characters. The booklet includes extensive excerpts from the letters between composer and librettist, providing a fascinating look at the creative process. 2 CDs. Peter Ustinov (narrator), Bodil Arnesen (soprano), Christa Mayer (mezzo), Florian Cerny (baritone), via-nova-Choir, Munich Chamber Orchestra; Karl Anton Rickenbacher. Koch Schwann 3-6578-2 (Germany) 01B010 $33.98

ERNÖ DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960): Winterreigen - 10 Bagatelles, Op. 13, Rhapsody in C, Op. 11/3, Pastorale - Hungarian Christmas Song, Gavotte und Musette, Capriccio, Op. 16/3, 6 Pieces, Op. 41. This offering brings two first recordings: the 1905 set of bagatelles which was inspired by the group of close friends which the composer had around him at that time. Like Schumann's cycles of character pieces, the work opens with a prelude and closes with an epilogue and the other items are either dedicated to individuals or are impressions of moods and places. Very much in the late Romantic tradition of Brahms. Rather different is the six piece set of op. 41 which was composed during the last weeks of World War II. The tribulations of the war years come out in reminiscences Liszt's late piano music and, in the Ländler, there is a touch of Schubertian nostalgia. László Baranyay (piano). Hungaroton HCD 31867 (Hungary) 01B011 $16.98

HEITOR VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959): Complete Piano Music, Vol. 4 - Amazonas, 3 Danças Caracteristicas Africanas, Lembrança do Sertão, Tristorosa, A Fiandeira, Ondulando, As Três Marias, Simples coletânea, Ibericarabê, Saudades das Selvas Brasileiras, Caixinha de Música Quebrada, Poema Singelo, Bailado infernal. This variegated collection is the most viscerally exciting in this series so far. Anchored around the 1929 piano arrangement of the wild tone-poem Amazonas, often described as impossible to play (yet played enthusiatically here), this release also includes one of Villa-Lobos' signature pieces - the 1915 African dances which may not be authentically African but which are certainly dances and exotic at that. Also notable (well, they're all "notable"!) is the 1927 diptych "Longing for the Brazilian Forests", one of the composer's most nationalistic pieces. A real winner for piano fanciers! Débora Halász (piano). BIS CD-1012 (Sweden) 01B012 $17.98

CARLOS CHÁVEZ (1899-1978): 10 Preludes, Piano Sonatas Nos. 2 & 6, 7 Pieces, 5 Caprichos. The only CD versions of the preludes, caprichos and the second sonata; in the 1937 preludes, Chávez departed from his then-current percussive, even combative music to produce a series based on the seven modes with a prelude and two additional pieces in bimodality and modality-tonality which have a classical purity despite their technical difficulties. The second sonata is the earliest piece here (1919-20) and was one of the composer's first works to be published in Europe. Dedicated to Ignaz Friedman, it predates the flavor of Chavez's nationalistic period but has a boldness of conception with its contrapuntal manipulation and endless vitality which are utterly compelling. The caprichos are Chávez's last piano compositions, dating from 1975 and are angular and severe in style. The 7 Pieces, composed between 1923 and 1930 were originally called Mexican Pieces and are marked by highly chromatic and astringent harmonies, extremes of register and polyrhythmic textures. Standing apart from the rest of the sonatas, the sixth (1961) has a classical feel to it with a playful and lucid first movement, a melodic slow movement and a long variation-form finale of intimate, folk-like simplicity. A second volume is already in the works. 2 CDs. Hsuan-Ya Chen (piano). Elan CD 82406 (U.S.A.) 01B013 $33.98

JOHANN CASPAR FERDINAND FISCHER (c.1670-1746): Musical Parnassus, Vol. 1 - Clio, Calliope, Melpomène, Thalia, Erato, Euterpe. Fischer brought elements of the Lullian French style to German keyboard music and his set of nine suites known as Musical Parnassus transfers French dances, simple yet colorful, from the orchestra to the harpsichord. Luc Beauséjour (harpsichord). Naxos 8.554218 (New Zealand) 01B014 $5.98

HEINRICH VON BIBER (1644-1704): Missa Bruxellensis XXIII vocum. Like the recently recorded Missa Salisburgensis, this work (wrongly attributed to Roman composer Orazio Benevoli) is a festive one composed for the Salzburg cathedral when the prince-archbishop was the celebrant. Double choir, strings, horns, trumpets and drums join a continuo of organ, strings and bassoons in a superb example of the grand mass of the golden age of the baroque (and the work itself, receiving its world premiere recording here, may be Biber's last). La Capella Reial de Catalunya, Le Concert des Nations; Jordi Savall. Alia Vox AV 9808 (Spain) 01B015 $18.98

GEORG CHRISTOPH WAGENSEIL (1715-1777): 6 Quartets for 3 Cellos and Contrabass or for 2 Violas, Cello and Contrabass. This set of quartets probably dates from around 1764 - about the time that Haydn was publishing his Op. 2 quartets. Like the later classical model (and unlike Haydn's first two publications) these are four movement works with a minuet in third or last place. Wagenseil wrote 96 symphonies and was a recognized master of the pre-Classical period and these works attest to that, looking ahead to Haydn more than they look back to the Baroque. 2 CDs. Piccolo Concerto Wien. Symphonia SY 99168-9 (Italy) 01B016 $37.98


4 Trios for 2 Violins and Basso Continuo, Sonata in F. Graun specialized in the trio form throughout his life and this release, covering most of his composing career, demonstrates his growth from the late 1730s sonata, in pure baroque style, to a late work from around 1755 in which the two violins are joined by the cello as individual voices - a prelude to the Classical string (and then, piano) trio in form. Mid-price. Les Amis de Philippe. CPO 999 623 (Germany) 01B017 $10.98

IGNAZ HOLZBAUER (1711-1783): Symphonies: in D, Op. 3/4, in D Minor, in A, Op. 2/4, in G & in E Flat, Op. 3/1. Holzbauer wrote almost 200 symphonies and concertos, most of them for the famous Mannheim orchestra and those on offer here exhibit many of the expected stylistic traits, including the well-known "Mannheim crescendo". All but Op. 3/4 are in three movements (those recorded here date from the 1750s and 1760s) and one is a single-movement, three-section opera overture. The former, in addition to adding a minuet to the mix, experiments with the use of motives across different movements, anticipating the high Classical period. On the evidence of this recording, we could stand to hear more of Holzbauer's symphonies! L'Orfeo Barockorchester; Michi Gaigg. CPO 999 585 (Germany) 01B018 $15.98

GIOACHINO ROSSINI (1792-1868): Moïse et Pharaon. No, the price is not a misprint. This is the first issue direct from the Rossini Opera Festival so one might argue that the price paid is like buying a ticket to the actual performance (and a lot cheaper not counting the airfare!); or one might just choke and cough. The work itself is an 1827 expansion of Rossini's 1819 Mosè in Egitto, translated into French with three added scenes and elaborate reordering of the musical and dramatic structures to make the grand, spectacular entertainment demanded by the large resources of the Paris Opera. 3 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Extraordinarily High Price (Special Order Basis). Michele Pertusi (bass), Eldar Aliev (baritone), Charles Workman (tenor), Mariana Pentcheva (soprano), Prague Chamber Chorus, Orchestra del Teatro Communale di Bologna; Vladimir Jurowski. Rossini Opera Festival (no number) (Italy) 01B019 $86.98

FRANZ ANTON HOFFMEISTER (1754-1812): 3 Quartets in D for Violin, Viola, Cello and Double-Bass. Published only in 1968, these quartets are a gift to lovers of the double-bass: it carries the melody for the majority of the time and what a suave, fine set of vocal-like melodies Hoffmeister gives it. Sheer delight! Norbert Duka (bass), Ernö Sebestyén (violin), Helmut Nikolai (viola), Martin Ostertag (cello). Koch Schwann Musica Mundi 3-6727-2 (Germany) 01B020 $6.98

ANTONÍN REICHA (1770-1830): Sonatas for Flute and Fortepiano in D, Op. 103 & in G, Op. 54, 4 Fugues for Fortepiano. To say that the flute sonatas are full-scale, Romantic works is not to overstate the case (the first movement of Op. 54 lasts 18 minutes!). These works are among the last full-scale, "serious" works for the instrument soon to be abandoned by Romanticism to the salon and they are important documents both of Reicha's well-known fecundity of melody and rhythm and of the early Romantic period. Separating them are four of the composer's convention-breaking 36 fugues for solo piano. Yoshimi Oshima (flute), Jaroslav Tuma (fortepiano). Arta F1 0096-2 (Czech Republic) 01B021 $16.98

MUZIO CLEMENTI (1752-1832): 3 Piano Sonatas, Op. 40. Collectors of the Arts series of Clementi's complete piano works now have a new budget option for these three sonatas of the composer's ripe maturity, played by the 1994 Géza Anda prize-winner. Pietro De Maria (piano). Naxos 8.553500 (New Zealand) 01B022 $5.98

CONRADIN KREUTZER (1780-1849): Wohin, Lebewohl, Sehnsucht, Würde der Frauen, Des Sängers Fluch, Die Post, Lied eines Armen, Schäfers Sonntagslied, Die Mühle ohne Wasser, Der Sänger, Heimkehr, Mein Leibchen, Der Ritter, Mädchen und Blumen. Kreutzer's life was restless and unsettled and his music was similarly romantic and melancholy. He set many poems by Ludwig Uhland and Schiller and Goethe are also well-represented. Purchaser's of last month's Schumann cantata Des Sängers Fluch will note its presence here - a 17-minute ballad whose intensity is worthy of late Schubert. A valuable link between Viennese post-classicism and German high romanticism. German-English texts. Christian Elsner (tenor), Eugen Wangler (piano). Orfeo C 421 991 A (Germany) 01B023 $18.98

EUGEN D'ALBERT (1864-1932): Die Toten Augen. Premiered in 1916, D'Albert's opera mixes symbolism, mysticism and realism in the most Wagnerian of all his stage works (Parsifal is its stylistic source), telling the tale of a blind woman in Jerusalem, a handsome young Roman captain and her ugly, deformed Roman husband (an envoy from the Roman Senate) and the negative aspects of getting what one wishes for when Jesus passes through the city and a miracle is accomplished. In addition to Wagner, there is more than a touch of Richard Strauss in its use of ensembles of Jewish men and women and even of Debussy in its orchestration. A very attractive example of late German Romanticism. 2 CDs. German-English libretto. Dagmar Schellenberger (soprano), Hartmut Welker (baritone), Norbert Orth (tenor), Dresden Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra; Ralf Weikert. CPO 999 692 (Germany) 01B025 $31.98

ANTONÍN DVO¤ÁK (1841-1904): Svatá Ludmila, Op. 71. Dating from 1886, when it was a great success in its premiere at the Leeds Festival in Englands, "St. Ludmila" is one of Dvorák's major works yet is generally forgotten outside of Czech lands today. Part of the reason for that is its reliance for portions on the sub-Handelian choral tradition which even Mendelssohn fell prey to, but there is much attractive and lyrical music here (especially for the pagans and in Dvorák's descriptive scenes) in this narration of the conversion of the Serbian spouse (who became the grandmother of Good King Wenceslas) of Bohemian Prince Borivoj. Only available digital (and studio) recording. 2 CDs. Czech-English texts. Lívia Ághová (soprano), Michelle Breedt (mezzo), Piotr Beczala (tenor), Ludék Vele (bass), Prague Chamber Choir, Cologne Radio Choir and Symphony Orchestra; Gerd Albrecht. Orfeo C 513 992 H (Germany) 01B026 $37.98

NIKOLAI RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908): Piano Trio in C Minor, MODEST MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881): Pictures at an Exhibition (arr. The Bekova Sisters). Rimsky's only piano trio is not an early work; it dates from 1897 and the deaths of many of his colleagues and contemporaries (Tchaikovsky, Borodin, Mussorgsky), along with the memorial purpose of Tchaikovsky's own trio, may have lent him the idea of making his trio elegiac in nature. The rough draft of the score, never "polished" by the composer, was finalized in the late 1930s by Maximilian Steinberg (who also had the unfinished Glazunov Ninth Symphony lying about his house). A large work of 45 minutes, it begins with a wistful, almost Brahmsian lamenting tone in its long first movement before a brief second movement of Schumannian lightness of touch. The slow movement is elegiac, reminiscent of Borodin while the finale develops the same idea in fugal manner and manages to arrive at a genuinely joyful conclusion. The Bekova Sisters have provided yet another version of Mussorgsky's old war-horse but, anchored by the original piano part, it manages to sound both natural and new. The Bekova Sisters. Chandos 9672 (England) 01B027 $16.98

DAVID POPPER (1843-1913): Romanze, Op. 5, Im Walde, Op. 50, Nocturne, Op. 42, Polonaise de Concert, Op. 14, Suite for 2 Cellos, op. 16, Requiem for 3 Cellos and Piano. Popper's compositions are in the romantic vein of Schumann's character-pieces with the sole exception that they are for cello and piano rather than for solo piano. The Romanze, Nocturne and the cycle Im Walde will delight anyone who has enjoyed such cycles as the Fantasiestücke or Waldszenen. The suite for two cellos harks back to the Classical divertimento while the F Sharp Minor Requiem is a melancholy piece performed by Popper's students at his funeral. Marc Moskovitz (cello), Michael Boyd (piano), Steven Shumway, Freya Samuels (cellos). VAI Audio VAIA 1109 (U.S.A.) 01B028 $16.98

FREDERIC CHOPIN (1810-1849): Variations in B Flat, Op. 2 for Piano and String Quintet, Etude in D Minor, Op. 25/7 for String Quartet (arr. Balakirev), Fantasia on Polish Themes in A, Op. 13 for Piano and String Quintet, Preludes, Op. 28, Nos. 4 & 6 for String Quintet, Andante spianato and Grand Polonaise in E Flat, Op. 22 for Piano and String Quintet, Krakowiak Rondo for Piano and String Quintet, Concertos No. 1 in E Minor, Op. 11 and No. 2 in F Minor, Op. 21 for Piano and String Quintet, Waltz, Op. 34/2 for String Quintet, Introduction and Polonaise in C, Op. 3 for Solo Piano, Etude in E Flat Minor, Op. 10/6 (transc. Godowsky for Left Hand), Waltz in D Flat, Op. 64/1 (paraphrase by Michalowski). All other arrangements by Tomasz Radziwonowicz. The arranging of orchestral works for solo or chamber instrumentalists and, conversely, the orchestration or arranging of solo piano works for other performing formations has long been a means by which knowledge of compositions has been disseminated to a wider audience. This collection of Chopin pieces, predominantly arranged for piano and string quartet by the brother of the pianist who performs the solo parts, offers the opportunity for intimate explorations of Chopin's genius. 3 CDs. Mid-price. Karol Radziwonowicz (piano), I Solisti di Varsavia. Tandem Classics TDM 99-09-2 (Canada) 01B029 $25.98

EMIL HARTMANN (1836-1898): Serenade, Op. 43, WILHELM BERGER (1861-1911): Serenade in F, Op. 102, RICHARD STRAUSS (1864-1949): Suite in B Flat for 13 Winds, Op. 4. This reissue of a deleted title brings three attractive works for winds back to the catalogue. Hartmann's (which adds cello and double-bass) is a sunny, Mendelssohnian work; Berger's (using double winds and four horns) is mostly carefree but with a melancholy adagio at its center. Swiss Chamber Orchestra; Christian Siegmann. Claves 50-9409 (Switzerland) 01B030 $16.98

TOR AULIN (1866-1914): Violin Concerto No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 14, WILHELM STENHAMMAR (1871-1927): 2 Sentimental Romances, Op. 28, FRANZ BERWALD (1796-1868): Violin Concerto in C Sharp Minor, Op. 2. Berwald's youthful (1820) concerto is in the spirit of Spohr or Weber, a charming work which unaccountably met with derision when it was premiered. Stenhammar's two romances are models of the genre and full of romantic feeling. They were premiered by Aulin, whose 1896 concerto finds its roots in composers such as Brahms and Vieuxtemps rather than in the Swedish National Romantic school. Tobias Ringborg (violin), Swedish Chamber Orchestra; Niklas Willén. Naxos 8.554287 (New Zealand) 01B031 $5.98

ALEXANDER GLAZUNOV (1865-1936): Orchestral Works, Vol. 12 - Symphony No. 3 in D Minor, Op. 33, Symphony No. 9 in D Minor (Orch. Gavril Yudin). The third symphony, dedicated to Tchaikovsky and reminiscent of that composer in many respects was premiered in 1890. Glazunov sketched out the first movement of the ninth symphony in 1910 but then abandoned it, possibly having in mind the early ends met by so many famous symphonists after their ninth symphonies were begun or completed (too bad he didn't think of Haydn instead). In 1947 the movement was orchestrated by Gavril Yudin (whose recording of it was released on CD by Olympia back in the 80s) and it remains thus, an 11-minute torso. Moscow Symphony Orchestra; Alexander Anissimov. Naxos 8.554253 (New Zealand) 01B032 $5.98

IGNAZ JAN PADEREWSKI (1860-1941): Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 17, Fantaisie polonaise sur des thèmes originaux, Op. 19, Overture. The echt-Romantic concerto and its youthful companion need no introduction to readers who probably have multiple versions already but Naxos does offer us a 10-minute overture (no date given) which opens plaintively and develops into a jolly dancing theme in a work which owes a lot to the early German romantics. Janina Fialkowska (piano), Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra; Antoni Wit. Naxos 8.554020 (New Zealand) 01B033 $5.98

EMMANUEL CHABRIER (1841-1894): España, Suite pastorale, Habanera, Danse slave and Fête polonaise from the Opera Le Roi malgré lui, Lamento, Prélude pastoral, Joyeuse marche. A couple of items not otherwise available spice up this release of Chabrier's delectable, brilliantly colored music: the part mazurka, part polonaise from Le Roi malgré lui and the Lamento. Dating from 1874 , its manuscript was found only a couple of years ago; using a solo cor anglais, it appears to have been a poignant reaction to his new wife's gradual loss of sight. Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra; Hervé Niquet. Naxos 8.554248 (New Zealand) 01B034 $5.98

VICTOR HERBERT (1859-1924): Toyland, Romany Life, Badinage, Kiss in the Dark, Art is Calling, Pan Americana, Molly, Al Fresco, Moonbeams, Italian Street Song, Thine Alone, Cannibal Dance, Kiss Me Again, When You're Away, Royal Sec, Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life. Titled "Beloved Songs and Classic Miniatures", this third Herbert release in Naxos' American Classics series brings a selection of vocal works punctuated by orchestral pieces soaked in that singular optimistic, sentimentally naive idiom which dominated areas of popular music around the turn of the century. One need not have lived at the time to feel nostalgic when this disc begins tracking! Virginia Croskery (soprano), Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra; Keith Brion. Naxos 8.559026 (New Zealand) 01B035 $5.98

FANNY MENDELSSOHN-HENSEL (1805-1847): Cavatina, Schwanenlied, Op. 1/1, Nachtwanderer, Op. posth. 7/1, 3 Byron Songs, Liederkreis on Poems by Johann Gustav Droysen, Ave Maria, FELIX MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847): Lieblingsplätzchen, Op. posth. 99/3, 2 Eichendorff Lieder, 4 Songs, 2 Byron Romances, 6 Songs, Op. 71 (Requiem for Fanny). Several world premiere recordings are included in this thoughtfully assembled recital of songs by brother and sister. They set two of the epitomes of Romanticism - Byron and Walter Scott - and Felix's selection of songs by Eichendorff and Lenau, among others, in his "requiem" for his sister, is deeply touching. Texts and English translations. Francine van der Heijden (soprano), Ursula Dütschler (fortepiano). Claves 50-9901 (Switzerland) 01B036 $16.98

JACINTO GUERRERO (1895-1951): Los Gavilanes. Dating from 1923, "The Sparrowhawks" is one of the most popular and frequently performed zarzuelas, telling the tale of a middle-aged man who returns to his home village and falls in love with his childhood sweetheart and her daughter. The score is richly tuneful (being up-to-date for its time, it includes a foxtrot and a tango) and can be enjoyed even without the benefit of a libretto. No texts. Spanish notes. Fernando Balaza (baritone), Inmaculada Egido (soprano), Milagros Poblador (soprano), Antonio Ordóñez (tenor), RTVE Chorus and Symphony Orchestra; Enrique García Asensio. RTVE 65085 (Spain) 01B037 $16.98

ROBERT CASADESUS (1899-1972): Sonata, Op. 23bis, MIGUEL YUSTE (1870-1947): Capricho pintoresco, Op. 41, Vibraciones del alma, Op. 45, ENRIQUE GRANADOS (1867-1916))/ALBERT GUINOVART (b.1962): Fantasía sobre Goyescas, EDUARD TOLDRÁ (1895-1962))/JOAQUÍN ZAMACOIS (1894-1976): 3 Sonets. Original and transcribed music for clarinet from Spain (Casadesus' family origins were Catalan): Yuste helped revive the clarinet's role in Spanish art music and both works here were written for competitions, following a slow, rhapsodic introduction, faster central section and brilliant coda format with the fast themes having a popular dance character. Casadesus' sonata not surprisingly shows influences of French Impressionism but also uses a Catalan dance, the sardana, in its slow movement. Joan Enric Lluna (clarinet), Artur Pizarro (piano). Harmonia Mundi HMI 987022 (Spain) 01B038 $17.98

Romantic Orchestral Music by Flemish Composers, Volume One

PETER BENOIT (1834-1901): Orchestral Suite from The Pacification of Ghent, LODEWIJK MORTELMANS (1868-1952): Elegie I. In Memoriam, Elegie II. Exultation, LODEWIJK DE VOCHT (1887-1977): Cello Concerto in D Minor. Benoit, the father of the romantic Flemish school of composers, provides a 28-minute suite of music from a stage prduction (1876) having to do with a revolt from the Spanish occupation in the 16th century. Indeed, the first (and longest) movement, "Struggle of the Dutch nobility and people against Spanish tyranny", could almost be an anticipation of Prokofiev's "Russia under the Mongol yoke" (although Beethoven's Egmont overture is probably a more apt comparison). The music is always striking and attractive and its finale brings in some local color with stylization of folk and dance tunes as the population celebrates the 1576 Treaty of Ghent. Mortelmans was Benoit's pupil and is represented by two of four laments he composed in 1917, a year when he lost his wife and two children. Vivid music of bold colors, thoroughly traditional yet clearly 20th century-sounding, characterizes the 1956 concerto by de Vocht, a pupil of Mortelmans. Roel Dieltiens (cello), VRT Philharmonic Orchestra; Silveer Van den Broeck. Marco Polo 8.225100 (New Zealand) 01B039 $14.98

WOLDEMAR BARGIEL (1828-1897): Violin Sonata in F Minor, Op. 10, Suite in D, Op. 17, FELIX MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847): Violin Sonata in F. Bargiel's impassioned 1854 sonata receives its second recording in a year; new to the catalogue is his 1859 suite: a five-movement set of short character pieces which reflect the influence of Schumann. Mendelssohn's only mature violin sonata (from 1838 but only published in the middle of this century) makes for an apt coupling. Josef Suk (violin), Susan Kagan (piano). Koch International Classics 7492 (U.S.A.) 01B040 $16.98

EMILIE MAYER (1812-1883): String Quartet in G Minor, Op. 14, FANNY MENDELSSOHN-HENSEL (1805-1847): String Quartet in E Flat, LAURA LOMBARDINI (1745-1818): String Quartet No. 2 in B Flat, String Quartet No. 3 in G Minor. Fanny Mendelssohn's only string quartet (not otherwise available on CD) dates from 1834 and was the product of a period of characteristic artistic exchange with her brother, whose op. 12 and 13 quartets it resembles in its thematic material, sequence of movements and keys. However, it is in the ways it departs from Felix's piece which gives it a distinctive stamp. Very little is known about the life of Emilie Mayer who was from a middle-class family and apparently never married and was able to live off of her concert appearances. Her quartet, whose date is unknown, is a well-crafted work which follows the generic tradition and is of early Romantic style. Mid-price. Erato Quartett Basel. CPO 999 679 (Germany) 01B041 $10.98

KARL GOLDMARK (1830-1915): String Quartet in B Flat, Op. 8, String Quintet in A Minor, Op. 9. Goldmark's 1860 string quartet (same year as his first symphony) was his first work to receive popular and critical success and receives its first CD recording here. Memories of the folk idioms of the composer's youth and of Jewish rituals combine with the role models of Mozart, Schumann and (especially) Mendelssohn produce an attractive, good-humored work with undertones of melancholy. The 1862 quintet shows an advance in the young composer's confidence but the shadows of Mendelssohn and Schumann are still present. Fourth Dimension String Quartet, David Smith (cello). ASV DCA 1071 (England) 01B042 $16.98

SIGFRID KARG-ELERT (1877-1933): Piano Works, Vol. 1 - Hexameron, Op. 97, 6 Bagatellen, Op. 17, Arabeske, Op. 5, Partita, Op. 113, 3 Walzer-Capricen, Op. 16 for Piano Duet, Schwere Düfte. This promises to be an interesting series as most collectors know Karg-Elert for his organ music (or the many pieces he wrote for harmonium which CPO has also recorded). Piano music occupies third place in the amount of works devoted to it and the pieces here fall into two groups. The Bagatelles, Arabeske and the waltz-caprices are in Romantic character, descended from Schumann via Brahms while the other works belong to a period marked by the influence of Debussy, Scriabin and other members of the then avant-garde. Mid-price. Ernst Breidenbach (piano), Werner Hoppstock (second pno). CPO 999 683 (Germany) 01B043 $10.98

ITALO MONTEMEZZI (1875-1952): L'amore dei tre Rei. Hailed on its first performance in New York as one of the great masterpieces of the 20th century, equal to the operas of Richard Strauss, Montmezzi's 1913 tragedy has all but slipped out of sight. There is much fine music here, the density of the orchestral writing and the harmonic language are Wagnerian while the enigmatic atmosphere evoked and the trance-like states created at times refer back to Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande. Set in the Middle Ages in a remote area of Italy, the libretto concentrates on a woman and her lover (her husband being conveniently away fighting most of the time) and her blind, hateful father-in-law who brings about the destruction of everyone at the end. The lovers have a rapturous desire for death which recalls Tristan and symbolist elements along with the presence of an apparently impersonal destiny point again to Debussy but there is much striking orchestral writing and a couple of very effective arias which mark Montemezzi out as a composer whose fall into oblivion has perhaps not been entirely deserved. 2 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Denia Mazzola-Gavazzeni (soprano), Kurt Rydl (bass), Marcus Haddock (tenor), Bregenz Festival Chorus, Moscow Chamber Choir, Vienna Symphony Orchestra; Vladimir Fedoseyev. Koch Schwann 3-6570-2 (Germany) 01B044 $33.98

HANS PFITZNER (1869-1949): Complete Lieder, Vol. 4 - 5 Lieder, Op. 22, 4 Lieder, Op. 24, 5 Lieder, Op. 26, 4 Lieder, Op. 29. 1907's op. 22 brought Pfitzner's first true masterpiece, In Danzig, whose gloomy mystery is dispelled by the remaining songs in the cycle which are bright and charming. Each of the remaining cycles has its high points but what is really striking is the consistency of the composer's inspiriation. German-English texts. Julie Kaufman (soprano), Donald Sulzen (piano), Iris Vermillion (mezzo), Axel Bauni (piano), Christoph Prégardien (tenor), Michael Gees (piano), Andreas Schmidt (baritone), Robert Holl (bass), Rudolf Jansen (piano). CPO 999 490 (Germany) 01B045 $15.98

HANS PFITZNER (1869-1949): Complete Lieder, Vol. 5 - 4 Lieder, Op. 30, 4 Lieder, Op. 32, Alte Weisen, Op. 33, 6 Liebeslieder, Op. 35, 6 Lieder, Op. 40, 3 Sonette, Op. 41. This ear-opening series ends with this final volume which closes with the Sonette of 1931 which, along with its opus predecessor of the same year, show a reserved, simple and spare style. However, the remainder of the disc has ample power and emotion and only serves to confirm Pfitzner's status as a great lied composer. German-English texts. Mid-price. Julie Kaufman (soprano), Donald Sulzen (piano), Iris Vermillion (mezzo), Axel Bauni (piano), Robert Holl (bass), Rudolf Jansen (piano). CPO 999 490 (Germany) 01B046 $10.98

FREDERIC MOMPOU (1893-1987): Piano Music, Vol. 2 - 12 Préludes, Suburbis, Dialogues, Cants màgics, Chanson de berceau, Fêtes lointaines. Deceptively innocent, seemingly lightweight, Mompou's early works (such as Cants màgics) are imbued with a sense of mystery and wonder, later adding a profounder contemplation and mysticism alongside an ingenuous lyricism. The first volume of this series was critically acclaimed and there couldn't be a better (or less expensive) way to get to know this utterly unique, other-worldly music than this. Jordi Masó (piano). Naxos 8.554448 (New Zealand) 01B047 $5.98

ERIC COATES (1886-1957): Music for Wind Band, Vol. 1 - London Calling, The 8th Army March, The 3 Elizabeths, Rhodesia, The 7 Seas, Men of Trent, Holborn, Over to You, High Flight, London Bridge, Salute the Soldier, Calling All Workers, The Dam Busters March. Coates was the best-known name around the world for British light music and many of his marches were used as signature tunes to long-running radio programs and he is still a particular favorite with military bands. Of great interest here is his 1944 suite The Three Elizabeths - symphonic in conception and in form. Royal Artillery Band; Major Geoffrey Kingston. Naxos 8.554488 (New Zealand) 01B048 $5.98

NINO ROTA (1911-1979): The Godfather, The Glass Mountain, Fanciulle di lusso, Death on the Nile, Romeo and Juliet, Fantasmi a Roma, Obsession, Otto e mezzo, Il gattopardo, Giulietta degli spiriti, The Taming of the Shrew, Quel bandito sono io. An hour of excerpts from Rota's film scores performed either in their original versions or in the composer's own transcriptions, including music for unpublished soundtracks from "minor" films such as "Luxury Girls", "Ghosts in Rome" and "Her Favourite Husband". Massimo Palumbo (piano). Chandos 9771 (England) 01B049 $16.98

WITOLD LUTOSLAWSKI (1913-1994): Partita, GRAZYNA BACEWICZ (1909-1969): Sonata No. 2 for Solo Violin, WITOLD SZALONEK: Chaconne-Fantaisie, KAROL SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937): Violin Sonata in D Minor, Op. 9. Bacewicz was a noted violinist herself, and her brilliant sonata transcends the limitations of the unaccompanied instrument in its endlessly inventive presentation of material - not unlike the Bartók solo sonata, and of similar technical ferocity. Likewise, Szalonek's work, which seems to look back further, to the polyphonic violin writing in the Partitas of Bach, takes violinistic inveniveness to its limits. Veronica Kadlubkiewicz (violin), Elizabeth Wright (piano). Gasparo GSCD-338 (U.S.A.) 01B050 $16.98

RODOLFO HALFFTER (1900-1987): Violin Concerto, Op. 11, HEITOR VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959): Chôros No. 10 for Mixed Chorus and Orchestra, CARLOS CHÁVEZ (1899-1978): Sinfonía India, ALBERTO GINASTERA (1916-1983): Dances from Estancia, Op. 8 This collection of music from Mexico and South America offers two fairly rare pieces - Villa-Lobos' 1926 spectacular which attempts to characterize both the rain forest and the European-style Brazilian cities; and Halffter's 1942 violin concerto which, in a polytonal style, antedates this composer's use of serialism. Ángel Jesús García (violin), RTVE Chorus and Symphony Orchestra; Enrique García Asensio. RTVE 65029 (Spain) 01B051 $16.98

FERRUCIO BUSONI (1866-1924): Indian Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra, Sarabande and Cortége from Doktor Faustus, Violin Concerto in D, Op. 35a, MOZART/BUSONI: Overture to Idomeneo. The Dec. 28, 1941 concert at Carnegie Hall was a memorial to Busoni and also included two movements of his orchestral suite, Op. 34a, of which no air-check has survived. The remainder of the concert is presented here thanks to recordings preserved by the New England Conservatory of Music and Dimitrios Antsos, the latter producing a computer program to correct the wildly fluctuating pitches which resulted from the varying speeds of the original turntables on which the 78s were cut. Egon Petri (piano), Joseph Szigeti (violin), New York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra; Dimitri Mitropoulos. Music & Arts CD-1052 (U.S.A.) 01B052 $16.98


WIM FRANKEN (b.1922): Polyrhythmic Etude, Der Rebbe Tantst, EDWARD ELGAR (1857-1934): Memorial Chimes, SAMUEL BARBER (1910-1981): Dirge, JACQUES A. MAASSEN (1887-1946): Nocturne II in D, HENK BADINGS (1907-1987): Toccata, Etude II, ALBERT DE KLERK (b.1917): Sweelinck Fantasy, JACQUES MAASSEN (b.1947): Sakura, DAAN MANNEKE (b.1939): The Master's Harpsichord and arrangements of music by Granados, Satie, Messiaen and Bizet. The Netherlands has had composers writing for carillon since the 17th century; all of the works listed above (yes, including the Elgar and Barber) were written for this instrument (a collection of tuned bells varying in size and weight - in this recording, 49 of them). So you thought you had all things unusual in your collection? Jacques Maassen (carillon of the Great Tower at Breda). Erasmus WVH 094 (Netherlands) 01B053 $10.98

Three New Releases from East German Archives on HASTEDT

FRITZ GEIßLER (1921-1984): Piano Concerto, Kammersinfonie 1954, Ode an eine Nachtigall for Nonet. Geißler's music is incisive and propulsive, full of sharp contours outlined with exceptional clarity. There are echoes of Schoenberg and especially, Bartók, but the composer's voice is unmistakably individual. He has declared it an aim of his compositional philosophy to remain communicative and acessible in his music, and he achieves this without denying himself the full pallete of 20-century techniques. He views the symphony as a viable structure within which to express ideals and dramatic-philosophical arguments - a very nineteenth-century idea - but his third symphony could only be of our time (it was composed in the late 1960s). Like all the works here, it has a great sense of momentum, of movement in a definite direction, and this aids in maintaining a sense of progression and dyanamism, however abstract the material may sometimes be. Rolf-Dieter Arens (piano), Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra; Herbert Kagel, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra; Rolf Kleinert, Wind Quintet and Members of the Leipsig RSO. Hastedt HT 5312 (Germany) 01B054 $13.98

HANS-GEORG BURGHARDT (1909-1993): Double Concerto for 2 Pianos and Orchestra, GÜNTER RAPHAEL (1903-1960): Toccata for 2 Pianos, Op. 45, CESAR BRESGEN (1913-1987): Totentanz nach Holbein. Burghardt's concerto for two pianos and orchestra frames a central, sombre largo - somewhat Shostakovich-like - with two lively and energetic outer movements. This piece is a real discovery - most accessible, tonal, energetic and eventful. Raphael's Toccata falls into a similar category, rather Busonian, disciplined and at the same time revealing extraordinary reserves of pent-up energy. Bresgen's Totentanz - after woodcuts by Holbein the younger depicting Death in many manifestations - adopts a romantic sensibility but with an edge that declares it to be a post-war work with acknowldgement of Busoni, Bartók and pre-serial Stravinsky. These 15 character pieces are compelling and combine into a narrative as picturesque as it is chilling. Radio broadcasts from the 1950s and 1960s, with clear, sligthtly congested but perfectly acceptable sound, with minimal hiss and pitch instability. Juliane Lerche & Ingeborg Herkomer (pianos). Hastedt HT 5317 (Germany) 01B055 $13.98

GERHARD ROSENFELD (b.1931): Ognuno sta solo for Solo Mezzo-soprano, 3 sonnets français for Mezzo and Piano, Salamandrine voices for Mezzo and Guitar, Mnemosyne for Mezzo and Orchestra. These four works were written for the present performer, so the performances may presumably be regarded as definitive, at least at present. Powerfully atmospheric, Rosenfeld's music sets a scene of quasi-mystic otherworldliness in which to present texts of Baudelaire and Hölderlin, among others. Rosenfeld's long, melismatic phrases, while outside the bounds of conventional tonality have a lush richness which lends a mysterious beauty to this highly evocative music. Christina Ascher (mezzo), Alan Marks (piano), Lucille Thoyer (guitar), Members of the Badischen Staatskapelle; Frithjof Haas. Hastedt HT 5316 (Germany) 01B056 $13.98

VICTORIA BOND (b.1945): Black Light, JOAN TOWER (b.1938): Piano Concerto, DAVID OTT (b.1947): Piano Concerto No. 2. Written in 1988 but revised and expanded for the present pianist in 1997, Bond's concerto's title refers to the various influences of African-American music in the work which was inspired by Ella Fitzgerald's scat singing in its final movement and by jazz and blues more generally in its first movment "Aggressively Driving". The "Forcefully" second movement is based on a Jewish liturgical chant. Tower's 1985 concerto is inspired by themes from several Beethoven piano sonatas but which are worked in such a modern, Stravinsky-esque way as to cause one reviewer to call the piece Rite of Beethoven. Ott's hyper-romantic piano concerto (1994), written in the grand 19th century manner but with 20th century attitude, was offered in these pages earlier this year. Paul Barnes (piano), Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic; Kirk Trevor. Koch Schwann 3-1333-2 (Germany) 01B057 $16.98

ERNST KRENEK (1900-1991): Cello Concerto No. 1, Op. 133, Cello Concerto No. 2, Op. 236, Capriccio for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 145, Duophonie for 2 Cellos, Op. 241, Suite for Cello Solo, Op. 84. This month we are presenting 2 discs of music by that most versatile and prolific conundrum among 20th century composers, Ernst Krenek. This disc gathers together the complete works for cello as soloist. The two concerti and the Capriccio follow Krenek's return to a more approachable idiom, after his embracing of strict dodecaphony, the first concerto especially so, the composer obviously expousing quite a tonal idiom at this stage in his career. The priniciples of dodecaphony never ceased to be central to Krenek's thinking, though, and the highly original second concerto of 1982 achieves a most satisfying fusion of early 20th-century experimental thinking, a nodding acknowledgement of much that has passed by since, and above all a lyrical gift that never deserted Krenek whatever his chosen idiom of the moment - this undoubtedly refers back to his early immersion in the æsthetics of the great romantic figures of the late 19th century - Mahler, Zemlinsky, Schrecker and the like. David Geringas, Emil Klein (cellos), Deutsches Symphonieorchester Berlin; Hanns-Martin Schneidt. Koch Schwann 3-1078-2 (Germany) 01B058 $16.98

ERNST KRENEK (1900-1991): Italian Ballads, Op. 77b, Durch die Nacht, Op. 67, Doppelfuge for Piano, Op. 1a, Two Silent Watchers, Op. 222, Albumblatt, Op. 228, And die Verstummten, The Ballad of the Railroads, Op. 98, Tanzstudie for Piano, Op. 1b, 4 Gesänge nach alten Gedichten, Op. 53. This vein of melodic lyricism also runs through the songs on the Orfeo disc, which cover most of Krenek's long creative career. The songs are above all vocally grateful and appealing, and beautiful - whether the idiom is dodecaphonic and incorporating some direct contact of the piano strings as in the works from the 1970s, or tonal and relatively conventional (though not without the composer's trademark harmonic ambiguity) as in those from the 20s and early 30s. Katherine Arthur (soprano), Reinhard Schmiedel (piano). Orfeo C 383 991 A (Germany) 01B059 $18.98

MIECZYSLAV VAINBERG (1919-1996): Chamber Symphonies - No. 1, Op. 145, No. 3, Op. 151 & No. 4, Op. 153. Vainberg's chamber symphonies date from 1986-92, pages from the last chapter of a life of persecution, official shunning and personal torment yet the first of them practically brims with good spirits and youthful spontaneity although its slow movment is a bit melancholy and somber. This dichotomy persists in the other two works recorded here: serenity and introspection, naivete and wisdom, elegy and celebration. The fourth - dedicated to the composer Boris Tchaikovsky - has the structure of a rhapsody with a solo clarinet and string solos alluding to Jewish folk music. Chamber Orchestra Kremlin; Misha Rachlevsky. Claves 50-9811 (Switzerland) 01B060 $16.98

GONZALO DE OLAVIDE (b.1934): Orbe-Variations, Sinfonía "Homenaje a Falla", Cante in Memoriam Garcia Lorca. Olavide's biographical note mentions, inter alia, associations with Boulez, Stockhausen, Berio, Darmstadt - and work in the field of electronic music. However, if this suggests a composer in search of ways to make sounds unrelated to any previous music, the big, colorful, dramatic gestures of these splendid symphonic works will come as a surprise. Certainly the language is atonal, though thematically and motivically structured enough to provide a shape that can be followed readily - the variations really are, quite clearly, just that, for example - and not infrequently, like a broad swath of a bright primary color in a complex abstract design, a boldly orchestrated gesture not vastly removed from Turangalila. Exciting and rewarding music of our time. RTVE Symphony Orchestra; Antoni Ros Marba, Madrid Symphony Orchestra; Arturo Tamayo. RTVE 65088 (Spain) 12B061 $16.98

MICHAEL TIPPETT (1905-1998): Piano Concerto, Ritual Dances from The Midsummer Marriage. Both works come from 1955, the concerto a towering, virtuosic score whose roots are in the Romantic piano concerto and which moves inexorably with passion, a wealth of invention and imaginative use of the orchestra. The dance excerpts from Tippett's unconventional love story represent the elements (Earth, Water, Air and Fire) in the four seasons and are generally warm and lyrical. Benjamin Frith (piano), BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra; George Hurst. Naxos 8.553591 (New Zealand) 01B062 $5.98

MORTON FELDMAN (1926-1987): For Samuel Beckett. From the year of the composer's death, this piece reflects the bond between two masters of artistic reduction. Feldman once felt irritated reading the "libretto" to Beckett's "opera" Neither: the special and unique suspension between stasis and motion, identity and change. He finally noticed that each line expressed the same idea differently and his homage to the author does the same with its claustrophic sounding shifting sound blocks and layers shifting in and out of phase with each other. Irritating? Hypnotic? Mid-price. Kammerensemble Neue Musik Berlin; Roland Kluttig. CPO 999 647 (Germany) 01B063 $10.98

WILHELM KAISER-LINDEMANN: Hommage à Nelson M., Op. 27. At cellist Maria Kliegel's behest, the composer wrote this 40-minute piece for cello and percussion as a tribute to the great South African statesman. In four movements - Robben Island (depicting the humiliation, brutality and indignity of imprisonment), Hunting (a scherzo-like piece based on jazz be-bop style which alludes to the tracking down and capture of black nationalists), Metamorphosis (an expression of the native African joy of living) and Lullaby (hope for the future of South Africa) - Kaiser-Lindemann fuses Western classical music, jazz and folk music into a virtuoso score for his two players. Maria Kliegel (cello), Stephan Froleyks (percussion). Naxos 8.554485 (New Zealand) 01B064 $5.98

STEVEN WINTEREGG: Pastiche for Horn Sextet, 3 Moods for Horn and Piano, Divertimento for Flute, Horn and Double Bass, Flights of Imagination for Horn and String Quartet, Vignettes for Flute, Horn and Piano, Capital Dances for Brass Trio, Blue Soliloquy for Solo Horn. The composer is a tuba player and obviously exceedingly well versed in the possibilities of the wind and brass instruments. These appealing pieces, written expertly to exploit to the full the capabilities of the instruments, especially the horn, have an incisive rhythmic quality combined with an accessible harmonic language that makes them appealing to listen to (and, one suspects, to play) without ever sounding like empty technical showpieces. A must for brass enthusiasts. Richard Chenoweth (horn), various artists. Equilibrium EQ 23 (U.S.A.) 01B065 $16.98

CONLON NANCARROW (1912-1997): Studies for Player Piano - Complete. All five volumes of the American maverick's player piano recordings are repackaged in this deluxe slipcase with a 140-page booklet which includes numerous unpublished photographs, an essay by producer Charles Amirkhanian and a probing musical analysis by James Tenney. Recorded in 1988 at Nancarrow's Mexico City studio, using the composer's own custom-altered Ampico reproducing piano, these Studies are exercises in dazzling acrobatic complexities, well beyond any human technique, both amazingly beautiful and strangely unsettling. 5 for the price of 3. Wergo WER 6907-2 (Germany) 01B066 $59.98

YORGOS ZERVOS (b.19): Studio, ANASTASIOS VASILIADIS (b.19): Pícra (Amarezza) String Quartet No. 1, FILIMON GINALIS (b.19): String Quartet No. 1, LEONTIOS HADJILEONTIADIS (b.19): Quartet No. 1, KOSTAS KLAVVAS (b.19): PHIS (Enunciazioni) String Quartet, CHRISTOS SAMARÀS (b.19): String Quartet No. 1. That the string quartet is alive and well in our century is pretty well established by this point, but this disc just reconfirms the enduring quality of this most respected and venerable form. None of these works strays far from the conventions of polyphonic writing for four strings, and they all inhabit a harmonic world that Shostakovich would have had no problem with - no piece here, despite their recent composition dates (the oldest is Samaràs', from 1984, the most "modern"-sounding work here), goes anywhere near the territory of the quartets on this month's offering from Donaueschingen. Yet they all achieve the customary level of concentrated musical thought and directly communicative content that the quartet medium has always inspired, whether folk-inspired (the Hadjilleontiadis, for example) or not. New Hellenic Quartet. Agora AG 143.1 (Italy) 01B067 $18.98

CZESLAW MAREK (1891-1985): Volume 5 - Suite, Op. 40, 2 Foxtrots, Op. 35, Chant varié d'après Chopin-Liszt, 3 Dances, Op. 39, Echos de la Jeunesse, Op. 9, 3 Jazz-Caprices, Op. 29. The Suite is a masterly transcription of four movements of the orchestral suite, Op. 25, already available on Koch, and comparison of the two reveals just how complete was Marek's mastery of the piano, and how great his skill in realising orchestal textures in pianistic terms. Rather unexpectedly, Marek composed quite a few pieces in jazz idoms (pretty mild examples of the genre - more Debussy than Martinu - but delightful and tuneful without exception. A most appealing disc for lovers of the Romantic piano repertoire. Marie-Catherine Girod (piano). Koch Schwann 3-6519-2 (Germany) 01B068 $16.98

VALENTIN SILVESTROV (b.1937): Stufen for Voice and Piano, Usnaya Musica for 2 Pianos. Jana Ivanilova (voice), Alexei Lubimov (piano), Valentin Silvestrov (second piano). If a composer of great skill had been asked to produce a song-cycle to sum up, almost in stereotype, the image of the Russian character - melancholy, profound, a little sentimental, philosophical and perhaps a little cynical in the face of suffering or triumph - this composer might well have come up with something like Silvestrov's Stufen - ("Degrees"). Subtle, like faded watercolors or snapshots of long-vanished lovers, relatives, dreams from long ago, these songs, with no suggestion of neoromantic self-consciousness or the incorporation, Schnittke-style, of disparate modern techniques, extend the tradition of Russian song of which Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov were the greatest exemplars of the preceding generations. Megadisc MDC 7832 (Belgium) 01B069 $18.98

KARLHEINZ STOCKHAUSEN (b.1928): Helikopter-Streichquartett. Here is what happens when the four separate members of the world's most renowned performers of contemporary music for string quartet are stuffed each into their own helicopter, miked at the mouth (for counting in German), on the bridge of their instruments and outside their copters (to catch the heavily rhythmic rotor noise which inspired Stockhausen - as he claims - in a dream) and then sent into the air for a 31-minute "performance"/ride. Headphones provide the players with a "click-track" so that they can synchronize their parts with each other while the audience watches below on large screens set atop four separate towers of speakers, each of which broadcast each player's part while showing him close-up in the helicopter while he plays. No, we're not making this up and you know what? I listened to the whole thing and rather liked it... Special Price. Arditti String Quartet. Auvidis/Montaigne MO 782907 (France) 01B070 $10.98

C.P.E. BACH (1714-1788)/ALEXANDER RABINOVICH (b.1945): Concerto in B Flat, LUIGI BOCCHERINI (1743-1805)/MARK PEKARSKY (b.1952): Concerto in B Flat, GEORG MATTHIAS MONN (1717-1750)/ARNOLD SCHOENBERG (1874-1951): Concerto in G Minor, ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810-1956)/DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975): Concerto, Op. 129 in A Minor. Schoenberg's and Shostakovich's transcriptions of the Monn and Schumann concertos are fairly well-known and each remains rather close to the style of the original (some late 19th century chromaticisms from Schoenberg apart). However, Pekarsky is a percussionist and his rescoring of the Boccherini uses marimba and bird sounds to create a wonderfully strange background for the soloist; Rabinovich uses a practically unchanged solo part and superimposes on it a bizarre collage of astonishing colors which are provocative, disturbing and, perhaps, fascinating, depending on the individual listener. Mark Drobinsky (cello), Ekaterinburg Orchestra; Dimitri Liss. Gallo CD-994 (Switzerland) 01B071 $18.98

GEORGES IVANOVITCH GURDJIEFF (1866-1949)/THOMAS DE HARTMANN (1886-1956): Piano Works, Vol. 3 - Hymns, Prayers and Rituals. This third of four volumes devoted to the complete piano pieces of music provided by Gurdjieff and harmonized and notated by de Hartmann will stand out from the previous two significantly for those collecting the series. The first two were based on folksong and revealed a human warmth and personal emotion. These pieces, as the subtitle demonstrates, are marked by the inner feeling and sensitivity of the philosopher, evoking a sense of the sacred, expressing inner states in which man confronts his inmost self. In several, Russian Orthodox liturgical traditions are audible, elsewhere, Dervish monodies obtrude. Yet, no matter the provenance, everything here is compelling, often mysterious, suggesting feelings and thoughts which words cannot convey and which may be a perfect set of companions for one's own thoughts and meditiations. 3 CDs. Charles Ketcham (piano), Laurence Rosenthal (piano). Wergo WER 6625 2 (Germany) 01B072 $59.98

GEORGES IVANOVITCH GURDJIEFF (1866-1949)/THOMAS DE HARTMANN (1886-1956): Music for the Movements - Selections from The Struggle of the Magicians and De Hartmann's White Movements Book. Different from the series of piano works published by Schott and recorded by Wergo is this collection of piano pieces composed (in the usual dictation/notation fashion) for the corpus of dances or "Movements" which Gurdjieff created during the early 1920s. Unpublished (and not to be published), these pieces were specifically designed for a series of more than 200 Movements or dance exercises and are performed here by a pianist who has worked hard to revitalize Gurdjieff's teachings in this area. Most were composed prior to 1924 (the Wergo/Schott series dates from 1925-27) while a few were added between 1950 and 1953 by de Hartmann. Conceived for dance movements, this collection will appeal to anyone who enjoyed the first two volumes of the Wergo series which themselves were largely based on ethnic dances from a wide geographical area stretching from Africa to Central Asia. 2 CDs. Wim van Dullemen (piano). Channel Classics CCS 15298 (Netherlands) 01B073 $35.98


TOSHIO HOSOKAWA (b.1955): Silent Flowers (Arditti Quartet), JAMES DILLON (b.1950): String Quartet No. 3 (Arditti Quartet), KLAUS HUBER (b.1924): Ecce Homines (Arditti Quartet, Garth Knox, viola), YOUNGHI PAGH-PAAN (b.1945): SOWON ... Borira (Mireille Capelle, soprano; SWR SO; Jürg Wyttenbach), CHRISTIAN WOLFF (b.1934): John, David (Robyn Schulkowsky, percussion; Christian Wolff, piano; SWR SO; Wyttenbach), FREDRIK ZELLER (b.1965): Babylon (SWR SO; Hans Zender), WOLFGANG RIHM (b.1952): Styx und Lethe (Lucas Fels, cello; SWF SO; Zender), ROLF RIEHM (b.1937): Die Tränen des Gletschers (SWF SO; Zender), HANSPETER KYUBURZ (b.1968): Malstrom (SWR SO; Zender), HELMUT OEHRING (b.1961)/IRIS TER SCHIPHORST: Requiem (David Newman, Arno Raunig, Jean Nirouet, countertenors; Ensemble Ictus). The first disc of this set is devoted to the Arditti Quartet, who, as usual, give immaculate renderings of the complex and challenging works of Hosokawa, Dillon and Huber. The remaining discs are orchestral, with the last given over to Oehring and Schiphorst's Requiem for soloists and ensemble. This is a cumulatively powerful work in which darkly glimmering textures are overlain on rhythmically insistent grounds or washes of undifferentiated dark tones, the whole taking on a very abstract quality, immersing the listener rather than demanding to be listened to objectively. Pagh-Paan's work has a sung text and a serious, philosophical intent. Wolff's is a double memorial tribute - to Cage and David Tudor. It contains a virtuoso percussion part, and consists of short, overlapping motifs, some simple, some not, in a kind of collage effect. Zeller's Babylon simultaneously constructs and demolishes a complex edifice of orchestral texture. Rihm's sense of rich orchestral texture is a rarity nowadays, and his work, with its almost perpetual cello part, a dark thread running through his abstract-expressionist fabric, is a powerful binding motif for the piece. Incidentally, the booklet gives a website address, www.swr-online.de/donaueschingen, which is said to contain an exchange of letters between Rihm and the director of the festival n "the sense and nonsense of introductory notes written by composers". This is certainly a topic which will bear further investigation. Rolf Riehm's apocalypic work builds a powerful sense of foreboding and generates some extremely impressive orchestral sonorities, as does Kyburz' Maelstrom (after J.M.W Turner and Poe), which pretty much does what the title would lead one to expect. 4 CDs. col legno 20050 (Germany) 01B074 $75.98

PEHR HENRIK NORDGREN (b.1944): Symphony No. 3, Op. 88, Symphony No. 5, Op. 103. Nordgren's third symphony (1994) will appeal to anyone who enjoys Allan Pettersson's extended essays in misery and torment: in six movements (two of which are interludes for solo piano), the work begins with a bleak Lamentations, continues after one interlude with an angst-ridden Choral and concludes with a lamenting Epilogue. Only the fifth movement Defiance moves quickly and its rhythmically martial mood is never less than unsettling. The fifth symphony (1997) is a 32-minute, single-movement piece which presents a Karelian lament in its archaic sounding opening and then processes the lament, constantly changing illumination and environments in music which ranges from massive orchestral outbursts to quiet sections written for solo instruments. Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra; Sakari Oramo. Ondine ODE 924 (Finland) 01B075 $17.98

MEYER KUPFERMAN (b.1926): Jazz Quartet, Moon in Blue for String Quartet, Runnin' Hot, Jack? for String Quartet, Sonata on Jazz Elements for Piano, In Slow Blues Tempo for Piano, Quick Fugue for Piano, Moonfingers Demon for Orchestra. These ingenious pieces show Kupferman's prodigious imagination operating at full strength. Rather than opting for an "easy" jazz-classical fusion style, these works might almost be open to a charge of being "not jazzy enough", but that would be a misunderstanding of the composer's intentions. What Kupferman has done is take jazz "elements" and compose works for classical ensembles which represent some of his most uninhibited work so far recorded. The piano sonata, bristling with virtuosic challenges and bravura, is especially arresting. The Uptown Boys, Ariel String Quartet, Kazuko Hayami (piano), Orquesta de Baja California; Meyer Kupferman. Soundspells Productions CD126 (U.S.A.) 01B076 $16.98

RICHARD FIJNVOS (b.1964): Le redeau se baisse lentement durant toute la musique suivante for 5 Players, Stalker for Percussion Solo, Stanza: Diatonic Version for Music Box, Stanza: Chromatic Version for Positive Organ and 8 Instruments, Stanza: Microtonal Version for Bass Flute and 8 String Players, Palomar: 27 Pieces for 9 Violins, Atlantique: Quadraphonic Music for 4 Identical Groups of 16 Instruments. The Ives Ensemble. Donemus CV 82 (Netherlands) 01B077 $18.98

PAUL COOPER (1926-1996): Sinfonia for Piano Solo, SAMUEL JONES: Piano Sonata, DONALD KEATS (b.1929): Piano Sonata. Cooper's music is serial, without making a virtue of the fact per se; in practice it sounds economical and tightly constructed. The Sinfonia is a substantial work in three movements, with marked contrasts inn tempo and dynamics, and clear, open and sharply etched contours. Jones' sonata is basically tonal, veering into bitonality and spicy chromaticism at will, but never beyond. The slow movment, a somber, dreamy siciliano, is especially telling in its emotional appeal. Keats' work is the most easy-going, with straightforward textures and appealing energy; the language is tonal though some use is made of note-rows. John Perry (piano). ACA Digital Recordings CM20029 (U.S.A.) 01B078 $16.98

LEONARDO BALADA (b.1933): Zapata: Images for Orchestra, Columbus: Images for Orchestra, Reflejos for Flute, String Quartet and Contrabass, Divertimentos for String Orchestra. Balada is a Catalan composer who came to New York in the 1950s and is now resident in Pittsburgh. His music presents a fascinating amalgam of folk elements with abstract, modern techniques, each presented full-bloodedly and without apology, much as apparently tranquil and mundane images of Spanish village life appear as elements in the bizarre fantasies of Salvador Dalí - a not inappropriate comparison, as the two collaborated in New York in the 1950s. To continue the analogy perhaps a bit further than it should go, there is a similar seamless (and therefore disorienting) transition between the romantically, lushly picturesque and the sudden intrusion of an expressive discontinuity, allowing the composer to manipulate the perceptions of his listeners to marvellous effect. Most recommendable. Orquesta de Valencia; Manuel Galduf, Orquesta Sinfónica de la RTVE; Sergiu Commissiona, Alberto Almarza (flute), Cuarteto Latinoamericano, Anthony Bianco (contrabass), Carnegie Mellon Contemporary Ensemble; Eduard Alonso-Crespo. Albany TROY 343 (U.S.A.) 01B079 $16.98

LORENZO FERRERO (b.1951): Capriccio for Piano and Strings, Concerto for Violin, Cello, Piano and Orchestra, Piano Concerto. The neo-Romanticism of Ferrero made its first appearance in our June 1998 catalogue with a symphonic poem, a suite and an overture. Here the classical forms of solo instrument(s) and orchestra are used with the same all-inclusive use of musical elements from our own time (hip-hop rhythms in one movement of the triple concerto; a bass player in the capriccio who, in the composer's own words "played until yesterday in a rock band") back to the baroque to create a totally inclusive, infectiously melodic compendium of sound which is far more approachable than much recent tonal music and no less original. Villa-Lobos would have approved. Vaclav Remes (violin), Michal Kanka (cello), Riccardo Caramella (piano), Slovenian RTV Symphony Orchestra; Anton Nanut. BMG Ricordi CRMCD 1054 (Italy) 01B080 $18.98

STEPHEN FROST (b.1959): Bassoon Concerto, Oboe Concerto, The Lesson for Voice and Orchestra. Like Ferrero above, Frost uses bits and pieces of all sorts of contemporary music to construct his bassoon concerto: minimalism, rock, jazz are all mixed together in an often compelling goulash of sound (loud enough to have necessitated amplification for the soloist). The 1989 oboe concerto (apparently a much earlier work), on the other hand, evokes both neo-classicism and English pastoralism in its tuneful, sylvan, sprightly and faintly minimalist-touched three movements. Collectors who respond the pastoral character of Vaughan Williams or Butterworth will find this most congenial. The Lesson sets a 1942 poem by Auden, making ingenious use of tuned percussion and using a Norwegian vocalist trained in his country's traditional "kveding" style of singing which lends a completely unique character to the work. Simon Emes (oboe), Ensemble 2000; Tony Harrison, Sigyn Birkeland (bassoon), Arve Moen Bergset (voice), Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra; Tony Harrison. Chandos 9763 (England) 01B081 $16.98

KEITH JARRETT (b.1945): Elegy for Violin and String Orchestra, RODDY ELLIAS (b.1949): Whale Spirit Rising for Baritone Saxophone and Orchestra, MARJAN MOZETICH (b.1948): Fantasia... sul linguaggio perduto. The unifying concept here is that of elegy, Jarrett's piece being in memory of his grandmother and dating from 1985. Its mournful yet lyrical themes are made more plaintive by effective use of chromaticism and its melancholy sentiments are obviously heartfelt. Ellias' work is in memory of his father while culminating years of experimentation with the transcription and composition of whale music. No actual whale songs are used here; the voice of the baritone sax rather is used to portray the character of those hauntingly beautiful sounds. Mozetich's piece is a lament for the lost language of musical romanticism which yet uses unmistakably modern tone colors. David Mott (sax), Eleonora Turovsky (violin), I Musici de Montréal; Yuli Turovsky. Chandos 9748 (England) 01B082 $16.98

HAROLD SCHIFFMAN (b.1928): Symphony, Concerto for Oboe d'Amore and String Orchestra, Piano Concerto. Schiffmann's splendid symphony of 1961 is clearly tonal, though it begins in a highly chromatic idiom that suggests the possbility of movement in the direction of atonality or tonality, increasingly establishing its progress towards the latter as it develops. Distant echoes of Mahler, perhaps closer ones of his teacher, Sessions, are discernable, though his is unmistakably a most individual voice. The oboe d'amore concerto is lighter in mood, with a warmly lyrical solo part and a briskly incisive orchestral accompaniment. Like the symphony, the piano concerto also charts a progression of sorts, from a somber opening through a series of dramatic episodes to a lively conclusion, all in one unbroken span composed of linked sections of clearly discernable character. Julie Ann Giacobassi (oboe d'amore), Jane Perry-Camp (piano), Györ Philharmonic Orchestra, Hungarian Symphony Orchestra; Mátyás Antal. North/South Recordings N/S R 1021 (U.S.A.) 01B083 $16.98

BERNARD RANDS (b.1934): 5 Madrigali, Metalepsis II, Triple Concerto for Cello, Piano, Percussion and Chamber Ensemble. Rands' uneasy, ambiguous music is far from easy listening, but not in the sense that it is "difficult" music; it is challenging and thought-provoking, serious and discursive. Take for instance the Triple Concerto, for the unusual combination of soloists, cello, piano and percussion. Beginning with an extended soliloquy for the soloists, it is almost four minutes before there is any orchestral contribution at all, but the concentration of argument in this first section is extraordinary. Not tonal, the music is nonetheless highly structured and harmonically rich. Metalepsis II, described by the composer as a non-denominational requiem for those oppressed by tyranny, is again a challenging work, with vocal writing recalling Berio and a bold, confrontational style. Cleveland Chamber Symphony; Edwin London, The CORE Ensemble, The Ineluctable Modality, Rickie Weiner (mezzo). Albany TROY 355 (U.S.A.) 01B084 $16.98

PETER SCHAT (b.1935): Mosaics for Orchestra, Entelegy I for 5 Instrumental Groups, Dances from the Labyrinth for Orchestra, On Escalation for 6 Solo Percussion Players and Orchestra, Clockwise and Anti-clockwise for 16 Winds. Schat puts forward an interesting analogy in the notes, between a biological organism's exoskeleton or endoskeleton, and a musical work's note-row and tonality. This analogy works well for Schat's own music, anyway, and gives a clue as to his view of the relative roles of the two processes in his compositional æsthetic. Like his theories, Schat's music is always provocative and challenging, and his expanded concept of tonality, as well as his unabashed use of whatever timbral possibilities seem required by the moment give his music a most individual, quirky, active quality, restless and constantly questing. Netherlands Ballet Orchestra; Thierry Fischer. Donemus CV 83 (Netherlands) 01B085 $18.98

WALTER WINSLOW (1947-1998): Concertati Veneziani for 4 Violins, Viola and Cello, A Voice from Elysium for Flute and Piano Trio, Mirror of Diana for Clarinet, 6 Paripari for Soprano and Piano. Winslow's career was cut short by his untimely death at the age of 50, which deprived American music of a highly accomplished, mature and complete composer at the height of his powers. A preoccupation with ancient history is apparent in the extramusical influences on these fine works, which draw their inspiration from the Venetian Republic, an ancient tomb inscription, traditional Tahitian music and sites of antiquity. These influences do not imply an eclectic collage of material of questionable provenance, however, but rather serve to provoke the composer into music to express an atmospheric sense of time and place. Winslow's music is fundamentally tonal, and in all these beautifully clear and eloquent chamber works, his individual voice is easy to discern, even as he pays homage to music of the past, and of other cultures. Various Artists. CRI CD 842 (U.S.A.) 01B086 $16.98

JAN WELMERS (b.1937): Sequens, Passacaglia, Litanie, Lecht en Donker II, Invocazioni. Notably 20th-century in style - far more so than Albert de Klerk (see below) - Welmers' music uses some process-music techniques, especially in the later pieces, while the earlier Passacaglia has something in common - as does so much 20th-century organ music - with Messiaen (of Diptyque, for instance). The "minimalistic" works might be better described as using repetition in a larger context, in order to interact with the acoustics of a large church (these pieces would definitely not work in a dry hall, but in a large resonant building, as here, they build textures of great subtlety and beauty, plainly as the composer intended. Berry van Berkum, Jan Hage, Jetty Podt, Willem Tanke, Ko Zwanenburg (König Organ of St. Stevenskerk, Nijmegen). Lindenberg Productions LBCD 89 (Netherlands) 01B087 $17.98

ALBERT DE KLERK (b.1917): Prelude and Fugue, Sontata for Organ, Christ, qui Lux es et Dies, Variations on "Heer Jezus heeft een hofken", Canzona primi toni, Variations on the Sequence "Laudes Organi", Partita on "O zalig, heilig Bethlehem", Partita on Psalm 43, 3 Meditationes Sacrae. A distinguished church organist all his life, who received his early tuition from his father, organist-composer Jos de Klerk, and from Henrik Andriessen, from whom he inherited the position he holds to this day, Albert de Klerk writes with the kind of fluency that one would expect of a musician in daily contact with his instrument. His music is relatively conservative, eschewing the spectacular effect-making that the possibilities of the organ suggest to some 20th-century composers; much of the music is based on chorales and falls squarely into the tradition of church organ music of the 19th century and earlier. This is not to suggest that it is unimaginative, however; solidly constructed and finely wrought, it is strong, uplifting music which achieves splendidly the composer's intentions. Wolfgang Baumgratz (the three organs of the St. Peter's Cathedral, Bremen). Lindenberg Productions LBCD 65 (Netherlands) 01B088 $17.98

WILLIAM THOMAS MCKINLEY (b.1938): Piano Trio No. 2, ROMEO MELLONI (b.1963): Piano Trio, GREGORY BULLEN (b.1949): Piano Trio, DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975): Piano Trio No. 2, Op. 67. This program of 20th-century piano trios makes a very satisfying coupling and demonstrates yet again what a versatile and musically complete chamber ensemble the piano trio is. McKinley's tonal, romantic idiom is well suited to this medium, and indeed his trio, with its use of dance rhythms and dramatic gestures seems to have a strong narrative (though non-programmatic) content. Melloni's trio is harmonically rich, resolutely tonal again, and cast in classical forms. The Bullen is free and rhapsodic in nature, with soaring, lyrical sections and a free-flowing gestural style. All three make intriguing and appropriate companions to the Shostakovich, one of the great chamber works of the 20th century. Solati Trio. MMC 2058 (U.S.A.) 01B089 $16.98

HERMAN BERLINSKI (b.1910): Sinfonia No. 10 for Cello and Organ, Return for Baritone and Piano. Return is a song-cycle on the subject of travel, exile, and eventual return, not necessarily to the remembered point of origin. As one might anticipate, from a composer who was forced to flee Europe at the onset of the Nazi regime, the work is deeply felt and highly personal in tone. The same might be said for the Sinfonia, for the fascinating combination of full (not chamber) organ and cello. A kind of Hebrew de Profundis, the cello expresses the striving of a human soul towards faith in the face of an initially impenetrable and hostile world; the second movement makes use of a melody by the 19th century Russian-Jewish composer Abraham Dunayevsky, as the theme for a set of variations, again with the idea of a prayer prevailing and reaching out towards its destination. Donald Boothman (baritone), Herman Berlinski (piano), Lori Barnet (cello), Herman Berlinski (organ). CRI CD 839 (U.S.A.) 01B090 $16.98

MARTIN BOYKAN (b.1931): City of Gold for Flute Solo, Piano Trio No. 2, Echoes of Petrarch for Piano, Flute and Clarinet, String Quartet No. 2. Boykan studied with Piston and Copland, and also ackowledges some influence of the Second Viennese School. The music is spare and economical, tightly argued, with a constant sense of dialogue between equal voices in the trio and quartet. The latter work - the earliest here - is the most tense and explicitly atonal and modern-sounding; the works of the 1990s, while retaining something of the same terseness are less aggressively angst-ridden. Fenwick Smith (flute), The Auros Group for New Music, Pro Arte Quartet. CRI CD 841 (U.S.A.) 01B091 $16.98

ROLV YTTREHUS (b.1926): Symphony No. 1, Gradus ad Parnassum for Soprano and Orchestra, Music for Winds, Percussion, Cello and Voices, Angstwagen for Soprano and Percussion. It comes as no surprise to discover that Yttrehus' music and methods have been performed and explicated in Darmstadt, as the European influence - the post-Webernian influence - lies heavily on his works. He also uses tape and synthesizers in order to realise his meticulously determined aims - for example, in introducing a note so low that the individual cycles of frequency are heard as a pulse which then determines the tempo of the following section. Clever as it is, the music also achieves an expressionistic effect, sometimes of controlled abandonment, through its uninhibited use of diverse modern techniques. Polish National Radio Orchestra; Joel Suben, Catherine Rowe (soprano), Louisville Orchestra; Peter Leonard, other artists. CRI CD 843 (U.S.A.) 01B092 $16.98

NICOLAS MAW (b.1935): Hymnus for Mixed Choir and Orchestra, Little Concert for Oboe, 2 Horns and Strings, Shahnama for Small Orchestra. These three works are strongly contrasted, having been written under different circumstances for different reasons. Hymnus is a grand and atmospheric addition to the English choral tradition, rising from an opening oddly reminiscent of a similar mood expressing a similar idea in the Alpine Symphony, and progressing along Brittenesque lines. The Little Concert is a lyrical little gem, relatively uncomplicated and emphasizing the oboe's singing quality against a background of economical means and pastoral mood. Shahnama illustrates in music the illustrations of the Persian national epic of that name, requiring considerable virtuosity from the players in music of great character and elegant narrative content. Nicholas Daniel (oboe), Oxford Bach Choir, BBC Concert Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia; Nicholas Cleobury. ASV DCA 1070 (England) 01B093 $16.98

NICHOLAS UNDERHILL (b.1953): Piano Concerto, Piano Sonata, Passacaglia. The current exhibition at the Whitney in New York is all about the American Century in the fine arts. Someone should assemble something along the same lines in music, because a very convincing case could be made that this has been America's century in music, too. Underhill would certainly warrant a place in such an exposition; here we have another highly individual composer, sufficiently post-everything that it doesn't really matter (though he uses elements of serialism, minimalism and a very definite tonality as aspects of his vocabulary with complete ease and naturalness). The "American-ness" of the music consists of some allusions to jazz and some textures and rhythms that will remind some of Bernstein. Underhill is certainly not afraid of traditional forms - sonata form and ostinato-driven structures both have their place here - but within them he has composed music of great individuality and expressive force. Nicholas Underhill (piano), Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra; Vladimír Válek. MMC 2077 (US.A.) 01B094 $16.98

S.M. CLARK: Cyranoverture, ROGER PRICE: Rhapsodies for Piano and Orchestra, CARLTONGAMER: Arkhè, SCOTT ROBBINS: Micro-Symphony, ROSS MOYER: Kaddish, Fantasia. Stephen Clark's Cyranoverture starts the CD with splendid swagger, with a central section of lyrical tenderness. It is unmistakably tonal; Price's Rhapsodies is rather less so, and also freer in form, a set of free variations with a scintillant piano part which both contributes much of the thematic argument and the elaboration of it. Arkhe goes further still, a kinetic whirlpool suggesting the formation of structure out of chaos. Robbins' Micro-Symphony is just that - an exercise in fantastically compressing symphonic form into a work that last barely 8 minutes. Moyer's two works are very approachable, the one traversing several moods, the other predominantly somber, though lightened by an ostinato-driven central section. Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra; Vit Micka, Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra; Jerzy Swoboda. MMC 2075 (U.S.A.) 01B095 $16.98

ETHAN HAIMO (b.1950): Symphony for Strings, STEVEN D. BLOCK (b.1952): Shadows, J. WINDEL BROWN: Piano Concerto, PAULA DIEHL: Right of Way, LEWIS NIELSON (b.1950): Crosscurrents on the Vertical River. Another diverse and appealing showcase of American talent, beginning with Haimo's appealing and contrapuntally ingenious Symphony for Strings. Block's Shadows, as the title suggests, is a restless and ambiguous work, full of glittering percussion effeccts that highlight the work's underlying seriousness. Brown's two-movement concerto is an easy-going work with a vibrant, open-air quailty and a tinge of jazz in its rhythmic vitality. Diehl's work is serious, a web of psychological undercurrents represented by linked fragmentary material; it is related to a poem by the composer, whose graphic or plastic structure is also demontrated in its layout in the CD booklet. The Nielson is a showpiece for orchestra, full of unusual textures and rhythmic suggestions of the Crosscurrents of the title. Michael Kramer (piano), Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra; Róbert Stankovsky. MMC 2064 (U.S.A.) 01B096 $16.98

JOHN CAGE (1912-1992): Complete Piano Music, Vol. 4 - Winter Music, Arolsen, February 8, 1998, For M.C. and D.T., For P. Taylor and A. Dencks, TV Koeln, Waiting, 7 Haiku, Haiku, Music Walk, Solo for Piano, 34'46.776 for 2 Pianists. Volume 4 in MD&G's complete Cage piano music series gathers together pieces from the 1950s and 60s, the time when indeterminacy, chance procedures, the flexible interpretation of written material (often graphic in nature) and the incorporation of purely random extramusical sounds were becoming the most important factors in Cage's experimental thinking. 2 CDs. Steffen Schleiermacher (piano). MD&G 613 0787 (Germany) 01B097 $35.98

DAVID COPE (b.1941): Symphony (after Mozart - 1995), Piano Concerto (after Mozart - 1995). Cope fed his computer program - "Experiments in Musical Intelligence" - 25 Mozart symphonies and 16 Mozart piano concertos and it produced the two works which are performed here by a band playing on period instruments. Of course, it sounds like Mozart - there isn't a note or a phrase or a movement here which Mozart couldn't have written. Mozart probably wouldn't have written these pieces but that doesn't make them any less interesting to listen to as we wonder what more in this field computers will be able to do in the coming century... Linda Burman-Hall (fortepiano), Orchestra; Nicole A. Paiement. Centaur CRC 2452 (U.S.A.) 01B098 $16.98

EINOJUHANI RAUTAVAARA (b.1928): Magnificat, Communion, Ave Maria, Missa Duodecanonica and 9 other sacred works for Mixed Chorus. Glacially clear and devotionally intense, these unaccompanied choral works to sacred texts are moving and meditative, certainly, but also musically complex and ambiguous enough to achieve a certain sense of dislocation, of disorientation, the better to make one comtemplate the texts - and arguably, no composer seeking to express mystical or religious ideas through music could hope for a better result. Bringing together monodic and polyphonic techniques from the earliest church music and dodecaphony is a bold step, but Rautavaara achieves this unlikely union to produce music which is utterly convincing. Literally unforgettable, and unlike any other choral music of our time. Finnish Radio Chamber Choir; Timo Nuoranne. Ondine ODE CD 935 (Finland) 01B099 $17.98

NIGEL HESS (b.1953): Thames Journey, East Coast Pictures, Stephenson's Rocket, Global Variations, The Winds of Power, Scramble!, The TV Detectives, To the Stars!. Hess' most familiar work is in the field of television, film and stage, but these works for symphonic wind band succeed admirably on their own terms. Rich and sumptuous in texture, and full of allusions and familiar themes woven ingeniously into the fabric, making them most entertaining and diverting fare, this is a recording that can be enjoyed on many levels. The Winds of Power is a more "serious", concert-oriented work - but the degree of additional harmonic adventurousness involved serves to display the composer's skill and musical imagination to even better effect than the lighter fare, and this piece too is more than approachable. London Symphonic Wind Orchestra; Nigel Hess. Chandos 9764 (England) 01B100 $16.98

FRANZ DRDLA (1868-1944): Fantasia on "Carmen" by Bizet, DORA PEJACEVIC (1885-1923): Minuet, Op. 18, CLAUDE DEBUSSY (1862-1918): Beau Soir, DANIEL VAN GOENS (19th cen.): Scherzo, Op. 12/2, JULES MASSENET (1842-1912): Meditation from Thaïs, AGATHE BACKER-GRÖNDAHL (1847-1907): Valse Caprice, NADIA BOULANGER (1887-1979): Prière, GEORGE BOULANGER (?): Pizzicato Waltz, CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921): Romance, Op. 36, PETER TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893): Barcarole, Op. 37/6, PABLO SARASATE (1844-1908): Zapateado, Op. 23, MARIA THERESIA VON PARADIS (1759-1824): Sicilienne, CÉSAR A. DE CASELLA (?): Valse, Op. 52, JOHAN SVENDSEN (1840-1911): Romanze, Op. 26, EDUARD FRANCK (1817-1893): Scherzo, Op. 11. The Vienna Bohème Quartet is an all-woman group consisting of two violins, cello and piano and they play virtuoso transcriptions of dances, fantasies and romances from the height of 19th century Romanticism. The line between salon music and "serious music" becomes blurred here as the group performs a sequence of what would, in other hands, be considered encore pieces but which they specialize in and which one could imagine hearing in the ballroom at a spa in the Austrian Alps while taking the waters in the early years of this century. Wiener Bohème Quartet. Koch Schwann Musica Mundi 3-6718-2 (Germany) 01B101 $6.98