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Alexander Moyzes:

Symphonies Nos. 9 & 10

ALEXANDER MOYZES (1906-1984): Symphony No. 9, Op. 69, Symphony No. 10, Op. 77. This is the penultimate, Marco Polo offering of symphonies by this great Slovak composer. The ninth is leaner and meaner than its predecessors, probably because of the Russian invasion and domination of Czechoslovakia at the time of its creation. Ironically some may even detect a wartime, Shostakovichian quality to it. The tenth is a more relaxed, pastoral offering, which is more idyllic in spirit, and may remind some of the Myaskovsky (06C001) and possibly even the Tchaikovsky fifth symphonies. Both works should appeal to those who like conservative, late romantic music, but they will require repeated listening to appreciate all of their subtleties. The performances are definitive, and the sound is excellent. This release is a must for Moyzes enthusiasts, and a good starting point for those unfamiliar with his music. Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra; Ladislav Slovák. Marco Polo 8.225092 (New Zealand) 01D001 $14.98

JOLY BRAGA SANTOS (1924-1988): Concerto for Strings in D, Sinfonietta for Strings, Variations Concertantes for Strings and Harp, Concerto for Violin, Cello, Strings and Harp. Yes, even post-symphony Braga Santos! These works for string orchestra are presented in chronological order, allowing an easy overview of the composer's development: the conceto (1951) is modal and has an extraordinarily expressive slow movement (which Braga Santos' widow asked the conductor here to perform at her husband's funeral); the Sinfonietta (1963), formally condensed, has a theme in its first movement influenced by Portuguese folk music but also a playing with tone colors in its second which reflects the influences of the Second Viennese School; the variations of 1967 are densely contrapuntal and the double concerto of the following year, while in the traditional three movements and basically tonal, also contains a wealth of harmonic complexity. Bradley Creswick (violin), Alexander Somov (cello), Sue Blair (harp), Northern Sinfonia; Álvaro Cassuto. Marco Polo 8.225186 (New Zealand) 01D002 $14.98

HILDING ROSENBERG (1892-1985): Den heliga natten, LARS-ERIK LARSSON (1908-1986): Förklädd gud. Larsson wrote his half-hour long "God in Disguise" in 1940 in order to inspire a sense of calm and confidence in the Swedish public who had just seen Norway and Denmark occupied by the Nazis. The mood is pastoral, the message optimistic: truth and right would eventually prevail. It was from a series of such works for narrator, soloists and orchestra, written for the radio, that Larsson excerpted the instrumental sections to make up his eternally popular Pastoral Suite. Oddly, only the narrated texts are provided here; the sung portions have neither texts nor translation in either work. Rosenberg's "Holy Night" is a work in the same genre with texts by the same poet and dates from 1936; by this time, his early expressionist style had been metamorphosed into a neo-classisicm mixed with Swedish folk song and elements of the choral tradition dating back from Bach to Palestrina and Gregorian chant. Karin Engbäck (soprano), Anna Larsson (mezzo), Anders Larsson (baritone), John Erik Eleby (bass), Frej Lindkvist (narrator), Amadei Chamber Choir, Swedish Chamber Orchestra; Petter Sundkvist. Marco Polo 8.225123 (New Zealand) 01D003 $14.98

JANIS IVANOVS (1906-1983): Volume 6 - Symphony No. 8 in B Minor, Music from the Film The Late Frost in Spring, Lacplesis. After a long delay, Campion brings us the next volume in the Ivanovs series from Latvian Radio. The film score is from 1955 and makes use of motifs from the then-lost Symphony No. 2; Lacplesis is a 1956 symphonic poem whose title character is a Latvian freedom-fighter created by a 19th century poet and it shares the brooding, oppressive and combative character of the eighth symphony (of the same year). This 1961 recording of the symphony is in mono but is a much finer performance - taut, gripping and thoroughly heartfelt - than the Marco Polo recording with a Moscow orchestra. Latvian National Symphony Orchestra; Edgars Tons, Imants Resnis, Vassily Sinaisky. Campion Cameo 2012 (England) 01D004 $13.98

EDUARD TUBIN (1905-1982): Complete Symphonies, Vol. 2 - Symphony No. 3, Symphony No. 6. This second complete cycle of Tubin's symphonies continues with the 1940-42 Third which is a grand, patriotic work whose first movement resonates, much like the Sibelius of En Saga, with the dark, primeval power of the Northern forests (although it turns out to be a large-scale fugue!). It is followed by a stormy, passionate scherzo and wrapped up by a finale whose backbone is a steadily expanding triumphal march (remember that Estonia had been "liberated" by the Nazis from the Soviets...). The Sixth dates from 1952-54 and was motivated by Tubin's despair at what he saw as the moral decline of civilization, epitomized for him by the spread of jazz. Funny now; funnier still that jazz elements appear in not unpleasant ways and that he gives much important music to the saxophone! Regardless of its putative basis, it is another powerful, emotion-filled and expressive essay which moves from darkness, if not to light, at least to a place of philosophical calm. Estonian National Symphony Orchestra; Arvo Vollmer. Alba ABCD 147 (Finland) 01D005 $16.98

ARNOLD BAX (1883-1953): String Quartet No. 1 in G, String Quartet No. 2 in A Minor. Dating from 1918, the first quartet has a cheerful, serenade-like first movement and a wild, jig-like finale which is wrapped around a gorgeous, slower Irish tune; only the second movement shows the composer's depressed state of mind at the time - a sorrowing threnody lamenting the passage of time and the loss of friends in the Irish revolt. The second (1924-25) was written during the composition of the despairing second symphony and it shares that mood until the infectious, dancing finale. Maggini Quartet. Naxos 8.555282 (New Zealand) 01D006 $5.98

JOSEF SUK (1874-1935): 6 Pieces, Op. 7, Of Mother, Op. 28, Moods, Op. 10. The first recording of Suk piano music at budget-price, offering an entry to a fine world of intimate, often charming pieces which express deep personal emotions. Of Mother is a prime example, a five-movement suite written for his infant son after the death of his mother. The other works are collections of character pieces, sometimes spiced with folk-like tones, ranging from pastoral idylls to reminiscences of heroic deeds in the past. Risto Lauriala (piano). Naxos 8.553762 (New Zealand) 01D007 $5.98

RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958): Mass in G Minor, 5 Motets, O how amiable, Come down, O love divine. The mass of 1921 is in the great tradition of unaccompanied church music in England dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries, balancing between spiritual serenity and emotional involvement The motets, especially Lord, Thou has been our refuge, are often recognizably that of the symphonic composer, the organ in the just-mentioned work providing some thrilling support. Elora Festival Singers; Noel Edison, Thomas Fitches (organ). Naxos 8.554826 (New Zealand) 01D008 $5.98

SAMUEL BARBER (1910-1981): Capricorn Concerto, Op. 21, Adagio for Strings, Op. 11, Serenade for Strings, Op. 1, ARTHUR FOOTE (1853-1937): Air & Gavotte, Suite in E, Op. 63, CHARLES IVES (1874-1954): The Unanswered Question, AARON COPLAND (1900-1990): Quiet City. Some relative rarities in this program of favorite American short pieces: Barber's Capricorn Concerto (1944) is more harmonically astringent, more dissonant and rhythmically complex than most of his work; Foote's 1886 suite is a three-movement work with two neo-baroque outer movements and a more freely composed slow movement and his Air & Gavotte is even more reminiscent of Bach in the Air. Rheinhold Freidrich (trumpet), Lajos Lencsés (oboe, english horn), János Bálint (flute), Budapest Strings; Béla Bánfalvi. Capriccio 10 505 (Germany) 01D009 $16.98

SAMUEL BARBER (1910-1981): Violin Concerto, Op. 14, Souvenirs, Op. 28, Serenade for Strings, Op. 1, Music for a Scene from Shelley, Op. 7. The Shelley music (1933) is a 10-minute slice of neo-Romanticism (as, of course, is the Serenade, an arrangement of a string quartet written when Barber was 18) which provides the contrast for the well-known violin concerto, which marked the composer's move toward a more modern style. Souvenirs is a 1952 orchestration of an earlier piano suite which evokes popular dances of pre-World War I Europe and America. James Buswell (violin), Royal Scottish National Orchestra; Marin Alsop. Naxos American Classics 8.559044 (U.S.A.) 01D010 $5.98

FRITZ KREISLER (1875-1962): String Quartet in A Minor, ERICH WOLFGANG KORNGOLD (1897-1957): String Quartet No. 2 in E Flat, Op. 26. Composed 20 years apart but linked by their creators' Viennese origins, these two quartets are both commentaries on dark times: Kreisler's 1914 work dates from his move to the U.S. to sit out World War I and is generally bright and upbeat in tone although the Vienna of Schoenberg and Zemlinsky is very much present. Korngold's 1934 quartet comes from the early shadow of Hitler and has all of his mature sense of color and melody while managing a sense of backward-looking, Mahlerian nostalgia. Brodsky Quartet. Challenge Classics CC 72052 (Netherlands) 01D011 $17.98

GUSTAV MAHLER (1860-1911): Symphony No. 4 in G (arr. Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, String Quartet, Double Bass, Piano, Harmonium and Percussion by Erwin Stein [1921]), Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (arr. Flute, Clarinet, String Quartet, Double Bass, Piano and Harmonium by Arnold Schoenberg [1920]). Transcriptions made for Schoenberg, Berg and Webern's "Association for Private Musical Performances" which gave 118 concerts in Vienna from 1919-21 of music which its founders felt had not been given the attention it deserved either through prejudice or poor performances. Alison Browner (soprano), Olaf Bär (baritone), Linos Ensemble. Capriccio 10 863 (Germany) 01D012 $16.98

HEITOR VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959): Piano Music, Vol. 2 - Cirandinhas, A Prole do Bebê No. 2, Valsa da Dor, Ondulando, A Lenda do Caboclo. Villa-Lobos came to international prominence first through his piano works inspired by scenes of childhood and this new release offers the 32-minute suite "The Baby's Family No. 2" - nine portraits of toy animals (1921) as well as the 1925 "Little Round Songs", a 12-movement set of children's songs and dances which has a slightly darker tone. Sonia Rubinsky (piano). Naxos 8.554827 (New Zealand) 01D013 $5.98

HERBERT HOWELLS (1892-1983): Lambert's Clavichord, Op. 41, Howells' Clavichord. These works are the result of the composer's discovery of the sound of the clavichord and a life-long love of Tudor music. He undertook to write a set of pieces in the style of the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book for Herbert Lambert, the clavichord-maker, in 1927 and the result was a 12-piece suite with each movement dedicated to a friend or colleague (many famous and easily recognized today). Howell's Clavichord came in two books of ten pieces each (1941 and 1961), the original impetus being a dedication to Lambert's successor Thomas Goff. Hyperion released a recording in 1994 of John McCabe playing these sets on a piano and the notes, while trying to justify the use of a medium-sized grand and judicious sustaining pedal, note that "there is still, of course, a case to be made via a recording using a clavichord, which would be a fascinating juxtaposition to this one." Well, here it is. Paul plays a double manual lautenwerk (a lute-harpsichord strung with gut) whose delicate touch and flexibility are what this music was made for. (McCabe's CD ran to 79 minutes; Paul is almost always slower and more expressive and, thus, six pieces have had to be omitted from Howell's Clavichord for time reasons.) John Paul (lautenwerk). Centaur CRC 2536 (U.S.A.) 01D014 $16.98

ANTON WEBERN (1883-1945): Passacaglia, Op. 1, 5 Movements for Strings, Op. 5, 6 Pieces, Op. 6, 5 Pieces, Op. 10, Symphony, Op. 21, Variations, Op. 30. An excellent budget-priced introduction to Webern's orchestral music, beginning with the late Romantic Passacaglia of 1908 which flirts with atonality, through atonality and into serialism, music of brief concision and often extreme delicacy. The minute calculations of timbre and color, delicate orchestral effects and the telling use of silence are fingerprints of all Webern's works. Compared to the sterility of the Darmstadt composers who followed Webern and Schoenberg, this music sounds like Schubert. Ulster Orchestra; Takuo Yuasa. Naxos 8.554841 (New Zealand) 01D015 $5.98

ANTON WEBERN (1883-1945): 11 Frühe Lieder, 5 Dehmel Lieder, 5 George Lieder, Op. 3, 5 George Lieder, Op. 4, 4 Lieder, Op. 12. Webern's first 16 songs date from 1900-08, before he abandoned tonality, and the painstaking accuracy with which they follow the rhythm and meter of the poems recalls Wolf although theie rapt, inward, introverted personality is Webern's own and something which was characteristic of the vast majority of his works. The 1908 and 1909 George songs are the composer's first atonal compositions and their lyrical intensity and textual rigor are quite in keeping with Webern's personality although the means he uses to convey them are new. German-English texts (Frühe & Dehmel songs) German texts (rest). Mitsuko Shirai (soprano), Hartmut Höll (piano). Capriccio 10 862 (Germany) 01D016 $16.98

SALAMONE ROSSI (1570-c.1630): Motets, Madrigals and Instrumental Music for the Synagogue and the Royal Court. A collection of 23 pieces from the above-listed genres from various collections published between 1589 and 1622 which demonstrate the apex of Jewish participation in the Italian Renaissance. The nine motets from HaShirim of 1622 were the most daring innovations in synagogue music for centuries. Zamir Chorale of Boston, Early Music Ensemble of Boston, The Collegium de Rossi; Joshua Jacobson. HaAzmir HZ 910 (U.S.A.) 01D017 $16.98

JAN DISMAS ZELENKA (1679-1745): Gesù al Calvario. World premiere recording of this 1735 work by the always unusual and interesting Czech composer who was best-known in his own time for his church music although very little of it has been recorded yet. The sudden harmonic twists and turns, unconventional modulations and chromaticisms are still here but have now been integrated with an Italian style like that of Alessandro Scarlatti or Lotti. 2 CDs. Italian-German texts. David Cordier (alto), Ingrid Schmithüsen, Larissa Malikova (sopranos), Lena Susanne Norin (contralto), Kai Wessel (alto), Rheinische Kantorei, Das Kleine Konzert; Hermann Max. Capriccio 10 887/88 (Germany) 01D018 $27.98

GEORG PHILIPP TELEMANN (1681-1767): Du, o schönes Weltgebäude, Jesus, meine Zuversicht, Christus, der ist mein Leben, Jesu, meine Freude, Ich bin ja, Herr, in deiner Macht. These "chorale cantatas" were written for the city of Danzig in 1754 and use large-scale forces in a rich, almost operatic style which reveal themselves as major works of Telemann's old age. German-English texts. Ingrid Schmithüsen (soprano), Claudia Schubert (contralto), Howard Crook (tenor), Klaus Mertens (bass), Rheinische Kantorei, Das Kleine Konzert; Hermann Max. Capriccio 10 853 (Germany) 01D019 $16.98

ANGELO RAGAZZI (1680?-1750): Sonate a 4, Op. 1, Nos. 4-9, Ricercario sopra il sesto tono, FRANCESCO BARBELLA (1692-1732): Concertino a 4, PIETRO MARCHITELLI (1643-1729): Sonata a 4. The majority of these works belong to Ragazzi, a pupil of Fux who was influenced both by his master and by the violin concertos of Vivaldi. His pieces have a wildly varied range of stylistic and textural effects and his art must be ranked among the most ambitious products of the high Italian baroque. Acca-demia per Musica; Christoph Timpe (violin). Capriccio 10 875 (Germany) 01D020 $16.98

JOHANN CASPAR FERDINAND FISCHER (1656-1745): Missa Inventionis Sanctae Crucis, Concertus de Sancta Cruce, O Crux Venerabilis, Offertorium de Dedicatione Templi. World Premiere Recordings of sacred music by this Bohemian composer and the first in a series from the archives of the Prague Knights of the Cross, full of unpublished treasures. Fischer takes his place now beside his illustrious countryman Zelenka. Anna Hlavenková, Gabriela Eibenová (sopranos), Markus Forster (countertenor), Jaroslav Brezina (tenor), Michael Pospísil (bass), Boni Pueri, Musica Florea; Marek Stryncl. Supraphon SU 3534-2 (Czech Republic) 01D021 $16.98

GIACOMO FACCO (1676-1753): 6 Concerti a Cinque, Op. 1, Libro II. This music from an unknown Paduan who held posts in Italy, Sicily and finished his life and career at the Spanish court and whose manuscripts have been found as far afield as Mexico anticipates that of Vivaldi in remarkable fashion, the first violin being given much bright, virtuosic solo work. Mid-price. Ensemble Albalonga; Anibal E. Cetrangolo. Pavane ADW 7434 (Belgium) 01D022 $10.98

TOMASO ALBINONI (1671-1751): Vespetta e Pimpinone, 6 Balletti a Cinque. The comic intermezzo Pimpinone is historically important for the influence it had on the 40-odd year history of this little genre. It was first performed in 1708 and features a clever, husband-hunting maid and the rich title character - characters right out of commedia dell'arte. The Balletti are undated little four-movement suites of slow introductions followed by three dance movements. Italian-English libretto. Edit Károly (soprano), Viktor Massányi (baritone), Savaria Baroque Orchestra; Pál Németh. Hungaroton HCD 32006 (Hungary) 01D023 $16.98

JACQUES ANDRÉ FRANÇOIS D'AGINCOUR (1684-1758): Pièces de Clavecin Dédiées à La Reine, Ordres 1-3 & extracts from Ordre 4. Dating from 1733, this is the composer's only surviving work for harpsichord and it generally follows the style of his illustrious predecessor Couperin (to whom D'Agincourt pays tribute both in the written preface and in one of the pieces), often tender and gravely introspective, although a couple of more light-hearted and majestic items look ahead to the Rococo style of his pupil, Duphly. Hervé Niquet (harpsichord), Caroline Delume (baroque guitar). Glossa GCD 921702 (Spain) 01D024 $18.98

CHARLES DIEUPART (c.1688-1740): Suites Nos. 1, 3 & 5, JACQUES HOTTETERRE (c.1680-1761): Préludes, Première Suite, ANNE DANICAN-PHILIDOR (1681-1728): Recorder Sonata in D Minor, FRANÇOIS COUPERIN (1668-1733): L'Amazone, Menuet, La Linote éfarouchée. The recorder in France was very much the stepchild to the transverse flute; these two discs offer a selection of the repertoire which does exist for it and the use of three different instruments (flûte de voix, flûte du quatre and recorder) provides a useful variance in sound. One of Dieupart's suites in each of these two volumes is performed on solo harpsichord. Michael Schneider (recorder), Rainer Zipperling (viola da gamba), Sabine Bauer (harpsichord), Yasunori Imamura (lute). Capriccio 10 828 (Germany) 01D025 $16.98

CHARLES DIEUPART (c.1688-1740): Suites Nos. 2, 4 & 6, JACQUES HOTTETERRE (c.1680-1761): 3 Préludes, PIERRE DANICAN-PHILIDOR (1681-1731): 5ième Suite in G Minor, CHARLES BUTERNE (c.1700-1750): Sonata No. 4 in C Minor, JEAN DANIEL BRAUN (18th cen.): Excerpts from Pièces sans basse. Volume 2 - see above. Michael Schneider (recorder), Rainer Zipperling (viola da gamba), Sabine Bauer (harpsichord), Yasunori Imamura (lute). Capriccio 10 829 (Germany) 01D026 $16.98

GEORG PHILIPP TELEMANN (1681-1767): Sonatas for 2 Violins, 2 Violas, Cello and Basso Continuo in B, F Minor and G Minor, Sonata for 2 Violins, 2 Violas and Basso Continuo in E Minor, Partie polonaise in B for 2 Lutes, Partie in G Minor for 2 Lutes. After so much attention has been paid to Telemann's late works, it is nice to have this recital of trio sonatas which, due to their sonata da chiesa form, cannot date from much later than 1716. In their five-part writing (almost exclusively a French trait) and Italian form, they show Telemann's life-long effort to combine the dominant European musical styles. The lute suites are similarly early and are in the "overture-suite" form of Overture and sequence of dance movements. Freiburg Baroque Consort. Carus 83.300 (Germany) 01D027 $17.98

NICOLÓ PORPORA (1686-1768): Arianna in Nasso. Porpora was brought to London by a group of English nobles who founded an opera company to compete with Handel's and Arianna was its first production (Dec. of 1733). In its greater use of accompanied recitative and use of ariettas in addition to da capo arias, it provided much greater variety than was the case with Porpora's Italian operas. 2 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Tiziana Fabbricini (soprano), Anna Maria Di Micco (contralto), Christophoros Stamboglis (bass), Savona Symphony Orchestra; Massimiliano Carraro. Bongiovanni GB 2250/51 (Italy) 01D028 $33.98

JOHANN GOTTLIEB JANITSCH (1708-c.1763): Quadro in F minor for Oboe, Violin, Viola and Continuo "O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden", Sonata da Camera in C for Transverse Flute, Oboe, Violin and Continuo, Op. 4, Kammersonate in D for Transverse Flute, Oboe, Viola da Gamba and Continuo, Op. 5 "Echo", JOHANN GOTTLIEB GRAUN (1698-1771): Trio in F for Oboe, Violin, Cello and Continuo, CHRISTOPH SCHAFFRATH (1709-1763): Sonata in A for Harpsichord and Viola da Gamba. Music from the court of Frederick the Great by three important court musicians who have lately been eclipsed on record by Quantz, C.P.E. Bach and the Bendas. Each is represented by his specialty: Graun wrote over 150 trios, Janitsch was renowned for his expressive and contrapuntally dense quartets while Schaffrath's sonata was written for one of the last European gamba virtuosi. Il Gardellino. Accent ACC 20143 (Belgium) 01D029 $17.98

FRANÇOIS-JOSEPH KRAFFT (1721-1795): De Profundis, Levavi Oculos Meos. Two psalm-motets dating from 1766 but in a conservative style from this Flemish composer which alternate solo and choral passages with a fairly large orchestral accompaniment. La Sfera del Canto, Il Fondamento; Paul Dombrecht. Passacaille 934 (Belgium) 01D030 $17.98

ANTONIO SALIERI (1750-1825): 25 Songs. Salieri's song output was composed mostly for home entertainment and the pieces have the characteristics of opera arias or of exercises in vocal techniques. 21 of them (14 in Italian) are punctuated here by four marches for keyboard. Italian, French, German-English texts. Krisztina Laki (soprano), Gábor Kósa (fortepiano). Hungaroton HCD 31920 (Hungary) 01D031 $16.98

FRANZ GRILL (c.1756-1792): 6 String Quartets, Op. 7. First Josef Bengraf last May; now another set of quartets by an unknown composer working in Hungary. Grill's works were published in 1791 and show signs of familiarity with the idiom of Mozart's late quartets but without the concentration and organization of those and of Haydn's, being intended probably for domestic music-making by talented amateurs. Festetics String Quartet. Hungaroton HCD 31944 (Hungary) 01D032 $16.98

World Premiere Mozart? Mass

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756-1791): Mass in C, K Anhang C.1.20, Exultate, jubilate, K.165 (158a), Ergo interest - Quaere superna for Soprano, Orchestra and Organ, K.143 (73a). This full-length (53-minute) mass is in the finest Austrian Catholic church style and, if not by Mozart, would not be an embarassment to him. The score was copied by Mayr for a performance which he conducted; another score exists giving credit to Leopold Mozart. This is the first performance since 1976 when Leslie Head gave its first modern performance in London. Inessa Galante (soprano), Silke Asmussen (mezzo), Pavol Brslik (tenor), Mads Thiemann (bass), Female Chorus Jitro, Hradec Králové Male Choir, Czech Chamber Philharmonic; Douglas Bostock, Antonio Piricone (positive organ). Classico CLASSCD 396 (Denmark) 01D033 $15.98

MARCOS ANTÓNIO PORTUGAL (1762-1830): Lo Spazzacamino. The second opera by this Portuguese composer to appear in the last year or so, "The Chimney-sweep" was premiered in Venice in 1794 and is typical of Portugal's buffa operas: firmly in the Neapolitan tradition of Cimarosa, conservatively orchestrated and reliably professional rather than forward-looking or adventurous. 2 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Ilaria Torciani, Silvia Lorenzi (sopranos), Sergio Spina (tenor), Orchestra da Camera Milano Classical; Álvaro Cassuto. Dynamic CDS 385/1-2 (Italy) 01D034 $35.98

LUIGI CHERUBINI (1760-1842): Gli Abencerragi. Set in 15th-century Spain, Les Abencérages (to give it its original, French title although it is performed here in Italian) deals with a Moorish family defending Granada against the attacking Spanish (with the predictable central love interest, of course). Premiered in the presence of Napoleon in 1813, it was one of Cherubini's greatest successes. Mono 1956 recording. 2 CDs. English synopsis. Anita Cerquetti (soprano), Louis Roney, Alvino Misciano (tenors), Mario Petri (bass), Chorus and Orchestra of the Teatro Communale of Florence; Carlo Maria Giulini. Gala GL 100.577 (Italy) 01D035 $10.98

C.E.F. WEYSE (1774-1842): Symphony No. 1 in G Minor, Symphony No. 7 in E Flat. DaCapo released 3 CDs years ago containing all seven of Weyse's symphonies (1795-99) - fine examples of the late classical symphony and pioneers in Danish symphonic literature. This recording comes out of a concert series in Copenhagen dedicated to early Danish symphonies and, thus, is probably not the first of a period-instrument Weyse series - regrettable since these are fine, passionate performances. Concerto Copenhagen; Lars Erik Mortensen. Classico CLASSCD 399 (Denmark) 01D036 $15.98

JOHANNES HEINRICH ROLLE (1716-1785): Thirza und ihre Söhne. In this 1779 "musical drama" set during the Maccabean revolt, Rolle makes much of the opposition between cruel and tender and savage and sensitive both amongst the martyred Jews as well as between the humanistic advisor and the despotic Syrian king. This allows for much dynamic contrast and the scene painting in the accompaniment makes much use of wind instruments, striking harmonies and rhythms. 2 CDs. German texts, English synopsis. Ingrid Schmithüsen (soprano), Hans Jörg Mammel (tennor), Kai Wessel, (alto), Markus Schäfer (tenor), Rheinische Kantorei, Das Kleine Konzert; Hermann Max. Capriccio 10 868/69 (Germany) 01D037 $27.98

GIOVANNI PLATTI (before1692-1763): Concerto in G Minor for Oboe, Strings and Continuo, CARLO BESOZZI (1738-after 1798): Oboe Concerto No. 1 in C, ANTONIO ROSETTI (c.1750-1792): Rondeau in F, ANTONIO SALIERI (1750-1825): Concerto in C for Flute, Oboe andOrchestra. This second volume of Italian oboe concertos brings a lovely work by Platti, whose second movement is an aria of liquid tone and tender emotions in the best Italian vocal style; Besozzi impressed Leopold Mozart with his playing and his enjoyable concerto is in the high Classical style. Anthony Camden (oboe), Peter Lloyd (flute), City of London Sinfonia; Nicholas Ward. Naxos 8.554772 (New Zealand) 01D038 $5.98

HEINRICH MARSCHNER (1759-1861): Piano Trio No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 111, Piano Trio No. 5 in D Minor, Op. 138. Everyone who has heard the two Mendelssohn piano trios only wishes that he had written more. Well, here's the next best thing. These from Marschner, who was for the most part a composer of German, romantic operas, are very much in the same vein, and in many ways even surpass Felix's. Using some clever musical devices, Marschner interlinks the movements of each trio to give them a sense of cyclical unity somewhat similar to Franck. For a more detailed analysis of just how he accomplishes this, make sure you read the outstanding album notes. Also, of more than passing interest are the simply gorgeous, lyrical slow movements, which could only have come from the pen of an opera composer. This is great music, and Marschner wrote seven of them, so we have five more to look forward to! Beethoven Trio Ravensburg. CPO 999 721 (Germany) 01D039 $10.98

JOHANN SIMON MAYR (1763-1845): Mass in C Minor, WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756-1791): Salve Regina in F, K Anh. C. 3.01, Quis te comprehendat in E Flat, K Anh. B zu 370a, In te Domine speravi in E Flat, K Anh. B zu 505. World Premiere Recording of Mayr's 1825 mass, a big, 48-minute work some of whose parts were recycled from earlier works but most of which is original and in the dramatic style of Haydn's late masses. Two of the Mozart couplings are sacred settings which use existing melodies (which you will recognize). Marina Ulewicz (soprano), Christa Meyer (alto), Thomas Cooley (tenor), Thoams Gropper (bass), Vokalensemble Ingolstadt, Georgian Chamber Orchestra, Ingolstadt; Franz Hauk. Guild GMCD 7231 (England) 01D040 $16.98

C.E.F. WEYSE (1774-1842): The Sleeping Draught. This, the first of Weyse's six operas, was premiered in 1809 and is still popular in Denmark. The plot (amorous intrigues, of course) is incredibly convoluted and there are nine soloists, meaning little space for true characterization but the music is charming and fresh and can be compared to the singspiels of Dittersdorf. 2 CDs. Danish-English libretto. Guido Paevatalu (baritone), Eva Hess Thaysen (soprano), Sokkelund Sangkor, Danish Radio Sinfonietta; Giordano Bellincampi. Dacapo 8.224149-50 (Denmark) 01D041 $29.98

E.T.A. HOFFMANN (1776-1822): Dirna. This is an 1809 melodrama set in India. There is a 6-minute overture, an 8-minute Intermezzo and three minute-long instrumental introductions to each act along with the addition of a chorus for the end of the final scene. The music behind the words is fairly continuous although limited to motifs and accentuation of events and character development. German-English texts. Angelika Krautzberger, Martin Herrmann, Werner Klockow (actors), "Cantemus" Chamber Choir, Deutsche Kammerakademie Neuss; Johannes Goritzki. CPO 999 607 (Germany) 01D042 $15.98

HEINRICH JOSEPH BAERMANN (1784-1847): Clarinet Sonata in D Minor/F Major, Op. 33, Concertinos in E Flat and in C Minor, Op. 29 for Clarinet and Orchestra, Concertstück in G Minor for Clarinet and Orchestra, Op. 23 Four original works for clarinet and orchestra by the instrumentalist for whom Weber and Mendelssohn wrote multiple compositions, all in the liquid, singing style which Baermann pioneered and, thus, in the style of his great composer friends. Dieter Klöcker (clarinet), Prague Chamber Orchestra; Milan Lajcik. Orfeo C 065 011 A (Germany) 01D043 $18.98

GAETANO DONIZETTI (1797-1848): Concerto for Violin, Cello and Chamber Orchestra in D Minor, Allegro for Strings in C, String Quartet No. 17 in D, GIUSEPPE VERDI (1813-1901): String Quartet in E Minor. Donizetti's six-minute Allegro is Haydnesque in technique and the 13-minute concerto a virtuosic little gift for its soloists. Unlike Verdi's quartet, the Donizetti comes off as well in this "orchestrated" form for string orchestra as in its original guise, sounding more than a bit like one of Rossini's string sonatas. Kleif Carnarius (cello), New Berlin Chamber Orchestra; Michael Erxleben (violin). Capriccio 10 844 (Germany) 01D044 $16.98

FRANZ LACHNER (1803-1890): Nonet in F for Wind Quintet, String Trio and Double Bass, Octet in B Flat for Flute, Oboe, 2 Clarinets, 2 Horns, 2 Bassoons and Double Bass, Op. 156. Although 25 years separate these two works (1875 and 1850 respectively), Lachner's muse was overwhelmingly lyrical and fixed in the period of his greatest joy - the 1820s when he and Schubert were the closest of friends and he composed lieder in vast quantities along with his friend. Volume 8 in cpo's "Dieter Klöcker Edition". Original 1974 EMI release never issued on CD. Mid-price. Consortium Classicum; Dieter Klöcker. CPO 999 803 (Germany) 01D045 $10.98

ALBERT RUDOLPH FÄSY (1837-1891): Columbus: Dramatische Suite, Sempach: Symphonische Dichtung, Der Triumph der Liebe, Götz von Berlichingen. Thank Marco Polo for another musical revelation in the form of these orchestral works by this unknown, Swiss, romantic composer! Resurrected from original manuscripts by conductor Adriano, this music sounds basically Wagnerian, but with some interesting harmonic surprises. The Götz features a stirring march, while the Triumph contains a moving hymn. The next work glorifies the Swiss victory at the battle of Sempach with very effective, dramatic orchestration, syncopated rhythms and strange, prolonged modulations. Columbus, Fäsy's magnum opus, is a cyclical, symphonic poem in six sections honoring the explorer's journey to the New World. Scored for a very large orchestra, you'll find this music arrestingly different and a real curiosity. Moscow Symphony Orchestra; Adriano. Marco Polo 8.225134 (New Zealand) 01D046 $14.98

GEORGES ONSLOW (1784-1853): Grand Quintetto for Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello and Double Bass, Op. 76, Grand Sextuor for Piano, Flute, Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn and Double Bass, Op. 77bis. Berlioz said that Onslow "bears the sceptre of instrumental music since Beethoven's death" and Schumann, reviewing a Cherubini quartet named Onslow and Mendelssohn as the last in a list of great quartet composers. In the 1848 Grand Quintetto, it is Beethoven who is behind the opening fast movements and the scherzo and Mendelssohn behind the lovely Romance but the finale is one of the first pieces of French program music - subtitled "A Breath of Wind", it takes us through another Beethovenian scene reminiscent of the Pastoral symphony. From 1849, the sextet offers all the wind instruments soloistic turns along with the piano and even, at the end of its theme-and-variations slow movement, four bars for the double bass. Horst Göbel (piano), Members of the Deutsches Symphony-Orchester Berlin and the Orchester-Akademie of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Signum SIG X119-00 (Germany) 01D047 $17.98

AUGUST ENNA (1859-1939): The Little Match Girl, The Shepherdess and the Chimney-Sweep. Of Sicilian and German-Jewish descent, Enna was a Danish opera composer influenced by Wagner and Italian verismo as well as the Danish national romantic tradition. Cosmopolitan enough for you? The delightful little "Musical Fairy-Tale" about the poor matchseller of Hans Christian Andersen's story dates from 1897, consisting primarily of dreams and visions of the title character conveyed in a late Romantic idiom which mostly steers clear of sentimentality. The 1900 Shepherdess is a ballet for orchestra and narrator, also based on an Andersen fairy tale, which has similar musical charms. Danish-English libretto and texts. Henriette Bonde-Hansen, Gitta-Maria Sjöberg (sopranos), Frits Helmuth (narrator), Sokkelund Sangkor, Danish Radio Children's Choir, Danish Radio Sinfonietta; Roman Zeilinger. CPO 999 595 (Germany) 01D048 $15.98

FELIX DRAESEKE (1835-1913): Quintet in A for 2 Violins, Viola, Violotta and Cello, WoO 25 Stelzner, Quintet in F for 2 Violins, Viola and 2 Cellos. This fourth release under the auspices of the International Draeseke Society brings two late string quintets (the violotta was an invention of a Prof. Stelzner and did not survive the beginning of the 20th century - a cello takes its part in the A major quintet). Dating from 1897 and 1901 respectively, they are works generous in lyrical melodies with an air of melancholy and nostalgia often present although a Brahmsian fire still burns beneath the veneer of oncoming old age. Acantus String Quartet, Magdeburg, Johannes Hartmann (second cello). AK Coburg DR-0004 (U.S.A.) 01D049 $16.98

EDVARD GRIEG (1843-1907): Album für Männerchor, Op. 30, Western Wind, My Sweetest Thought, Evening Mood, The Bear Hunt, In Heaven, Impromptu, The Lonely Rose, Inga Litamor, To Ole Bull, Voting Song. Like Schumann, Brahms and Schubert, Grieg devoted extensive time to composing for male choruses and anyone who has collected and enjoyed the releases we have offered from various sources of the part-songs of those composers will find kindred spirits evoked in this collection of drinking songs and melancholy evocations of life and love from Norway. Danish/German-English texts. Mid-price. Die Singphoniker. CPO 999 835 (Germany) 01D050 $10.98

CARL LOEWE (1796-1869): Lieder & Balladen, Vol. 16 - Der alte Schiffsherr, Op. 125/2, Meerfahrt, Op. 93, Geisterleben, Op. 9, Goldschmieds Töchterlein, Op. 8/1, Feuersgedanken, Op. 70, Belsazars Gesicht, Op. 13/2, Die wilde Gazelle, Op. 5/3, Die Kaiserjagd im Wienerwald, Op. 108/1, Todtenklage, Op. 4/5, Himmelsblüthen, Abschied, Op. 9, Der Lappländer, Op. 63/2, Gruß an Züllchow, Op. 69/1, Wär' ich wirklich so falsch?, Op. 4/3, Karl der Grosse und Wittekind, Op. 65/3, Carl V. im Wittenberg, Op. 99/2. Yes, another one... but Loewe wrote so much wonderful Romantic balladry, who can complain? Besides, they aren't even intending to record all of it... German-English texts. Mid-price. Roman Trekel (baritone), Cord Garben (piano). CPO 999 562 (Germany) 01D051 $10.98

LOUIS LEWANDOWSKI (1821-1894): Mah Tovu, Lecho Dodi, Tov LeHodos, Enosh Kechotsir Yomov, Kalleluyoh, SALOMON SULZER (1804-1890): Mizmor Shir, Ki Hiney Oyevecho, Vayhi Binso'a Ho'oron, Yehalelu Es Shem, Hashkivenu, Halleluyoh, JACQUES HALÉVY (1799-1862): Min HaMeytsar, Somachti, SAMUEL NAUMBOURG (1815-1880): Mizmor LeSodo, FRANZ SCHUBERT (1797-1828): Tov LeHodos. As Jews became increasingly assimilated into the various European cultures, they began to embrace the majestic splendor of the Christian world around them and adapted their liturgy accordingly, accomodating the prevailing harmonies, scales and rhythms of their neighbors. Lewandowski modeled his compositions after the Psalm settings of Mendelssohn, Sulzer emulated the part-song style of Schubert and Naumbourg brought to his liturgy the theatricality of the Paris Grand Opera. Translated texts. Dr. Jules Rosenberg, Hazzan Charles Osborne (solos), Zamir Chorale of Boston; Joshua Jacobson, Edwin Swanborn (organ). HaZamir HZ912 (U.S.A.) 01D052 $16.98

JACQUES OFFENBACH (1819-1880): Les Brigands. Offenbach, the unofficial court jester of the Second Empire, wrote this sparklingthree-act comic opera in December 1869, just a few months before the Franco-Prussian War ended the empire. The world of finance is satirised here, set against a bandit background familiar from Auber's Fra Diavolo. The sound and tone of Offenbach's work is almost identical to Auber's and clearly this is a tribute to that composer. In typically zany fashion the precise setting is the border of Italy and Spain!! 2 CDs. French-English libretto. Original 1989 EMI release. Colette Alliot-Lugaz (soprano), Tibère Raffalli (tenor), Chorus and Orchestra of the Lyon Opera; John Eliot Gardiner. EMI CDS 7 49830 2 (France) 01D053 $35.98

JACQUES OFFENBACH (1819-1880): Pomme d'Api, Monsieur Choufleuri restera chez lui le..., Mesdames de la Halle. Three one-act operettas by a master of the genre. Pomme D'api (1873) is a droll romance with a rare ingenuity and a melodic sense which has lost nothing of its impact and vivacity. Monsieur Choufleuri (1861) parodies Italian opera and the bourgeois drawing-rooms of France's citizen king, Louis-Philippe. Mesdames De La Halle (1858) is an extravagant farce set in the earthy atmosphere of the Halles (Paris' former main food market), and is a sort of caustic commentary on this savory little world. All three works share the composer's sense of delight. 2 CDs. French-English libretti. Original 1983 EMI release. Mady Mesplé (soprano), Jean-Philippe Lafont (baritone), Ensemble Orchestral Jean Laforge, Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra; Manuel Rosenthal. EMI CDS 7 49361 2 (France) 01D054 $35.98

CHARLES LECOCQ (1832-1918): La Fille de Madame Angot. Premiered in Brussels in 1872, this opéra comique features politics and anti-government plots in its first two acts before tending to romantic business. It became Lecocq's most popular work by far and, in Britain, it was such a success that previous, lesser-known works by the composer were mined by unscrupulous producers to fabricate "new" Lecocq operettas. 2 CDs. No libretto. Budget-price. Original 1973 EMI release. Mady Mesplé (soprano), Bernard Sinclair, Charles Burles (tenors), Churs du Théâtre National de l'Opéra de Paris, Orchestre du Théâtre National de l'Opéra Comique; Jean Doussard. EMI 5 74082 2 (France) 01D055 $17.98

FELIX MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847): Sacred Music, Vol. 6 - Psalm 115, Op. 31, O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden, Wer nun der lieben Gott läßt walten, Christe, du Lamm Gottes, Verleih uns Frieden. Fired by his intense study of Bach, the young Mendelssohn (who conducted the first revival of the St. Matthew Passion in 1829) composed eight chorale-cantatas on Lutheran hymn texts between 1828-32, four of which are presented here. Psalm 115 was begun on Mendelssohn's English trip in 1829, perhaps inspired by copying out Handel's Dixit Dominus and was finished a year later; it is the first musical Psalm setting of its kind and the only one the composer set in Latin instead of German. German-English texts. Ruth Ziesak, Sabine Ritterbusch (sopranos), Christoph Prégardien (tenor), Gotthold Schwarz, Michael Volle (basses), Stuttgart Chamber Choir, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra; Frieder Bernius. Carus 83.204 (Germany) 01D056 $17.98

JOSEF RHEINBERGER (1839-1901): Sacred Music, Vol. 5 - Missa brevis in F, Op. 117, 5 Motets for Mixed Choir, Op. 40, Passionsgesang, Op. 46, 3 geistliche Gesänge, Op. 69, Osterhymne for 8 Voices, Op. 134. This latest volume in Carus' Rheinberger series offers two later works - the 1880 Missa brevis with its echoes of ancient vocal polyphony and the "Easter Hymn" of 1881/3 - along with others all dating from before 1870 in which baroque traditions appear alongside simple, meditative pieces (the 1855 Abendlied of op. 69), fresh, high-spirited songs with early Romantic harmonies (the 1858 Morgenlied, also of op. 69) and straightforward folksong style (the 1870 Passionsgesang). German-English texts. Vancouver Camerata Singers; James Fankhauser, Bryn Nixon (organ). Carus 83.146 (Germany) 01D057 $17.98

HANS PFITZNER (1869-1949): Violin Sonata in E Minor, Op. 27, 5 Klavierstücke, Op. 47, 6 Studien für das Pianoforte, Op. 51. The sonata comes on the heels of Palestrina, and the first two movements, with their reserve and introspection, are very reminiscent of that operatic masterpiece. The final, third movement provides a delightful contrast, with a Straussian exuberance rarely found in Pfitzner's music. The effect is quite overwhelming, and you'll probably think this is one of the greatest, late romantic, violin sonatas you've ever heard. The two, solo piano opuses are out of Schumann, but have the understatement so typical of this composer. A variety of moods characterize the Klavierstücken, the last of which was dedicated to Gieseking, who considered all of them romantic masterpieces. The six studies, although concerned with piano technique, are equally engaging. Mid-price. Ulf Wallin (violin), Roland Pöntinen (piano). CPO 999 704 (Germany) 01D058 $10.98

ANTON BRUCKNER (1824-1896): Sonata in G Minor (fragment), Stille Betrachtung an einem Herbstabend, Steiermärker, Lancier-Quadrille Nos. 1-4, Klavierstück in E Flat, Fantasie in G, Erinnerung, Adagio from Symphony No. 7. World Premiere Recordings of Bruckner the popular musician (melodies by Lortzing and Donizetti with variations and coda - Lancier Quadrille); Bruckner the song-without-words artist (Stille Betrachtung and Steiermärker); Bruckner the student and teacher and, finally, Bruckner's only two "real" piano pieces (the Fantasy and Erinnerung). The symphony movement is a transcription by his student Cyrill Hinais, showing, unlike most of his students and "friends", a conscientious integrity. Fumiko Shiraga (piano). BIS CD-1297 (Sweden) 01D059 $17.98

LOUIS GLASS - Symphonies No. 1 & 5

LOUIS GLASS (1864-1936): Symphony No. 1 in E, Op. 17, Symphony No. 5 in C "Sinfonia Svastica", Op. 57. Danacord's Glass symphony cycle is completed with this set. First symphonies are often less original than later ones in a composer's opus and this is no exception. Dating from 1894 (two years after Nielsen's First), it is clearly modeled on Bruckner and Tchaikovsky: the second movement is a funeral march which has a Schubert-via-Bruckner character while the scherzo is more simply Brucknerian while the surrounding movements are in a sort of "generic" northern European symphonic style. The Fifth (1921) needs no introduction here, having already at least three recordings and still one of the most important late Romantic symphonies from Scandinavia. 2 CDs. Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra; Nayden Todorov. Danacord DACOCD 544 (Denmark) 01D060 $33.98

FRANZ SCHREKER (1878-1934): Flammen. This is the recording premiere of the original version of Shrecker's first opera. It belongs in every neo-romantic enthusiast's collection. While stylistically similar to Wagner's operas, it is much shorter, more harmonically advanced, and features a huge orchestra, which Schreker handles with aplomb second to none. In fact the orchestral element is so overwhelming that it should even appeal to those who normally don't like opera. This is a combination fairy tale, myth and legend, combinig Wagnerian music drama and French grand opéra. Recorded live, the performance could not be more committed, and extraneous noise is minimal. It far surpasses a previous CD version of doubtful artistic value. German-English libretto. Jörg Sabrowski (baritone), Manuela Uhl (soprano), Robert Chafin (tenor), Hans Georg Ahrens (bass), Kiel Opera Chorus, Kiel Philharmonic Orchestra; Ulrich Windfuhr. CPO 999 824 (Germany) 01D061 $15.98

FRANZ SCHREKER (1878-1934): Overture to Ekkehard, Fantastic Overture, Preludes to Die Gezeichneten and Das Spielwerk, Interlude from Act 3 of Der Schatzgräber. Schreker's music can be considered the supernova of late romantic, German music. It calls for huge orchestral forces, which Schreker uses with absolute mastery. His music is highly chromatic to the point of almost being atonal at times, and in the process it will make your hair stand on end. The selections included here are from some of his greatest operas, and aptly demonstrate these claims. If you don't have the earlier Marco Polo and like late romantic music, by all means treat yourself to this re-release. It provides a maximum of emotional bang for the buck, and the performances and recordings have never sounded better. Original 1987 Marco Polo release. Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra; Edgar Seipenbusch. Naxos 8.555246 (New Zealand) 01D062 $5.98

RICHARD WETZ (1875-1935): Symphony No. 3 in B Flat, Op. 48, Gesang des Lebens for Chorus and Orchestra, Op. 29. We were somewhat startled to see this appear, having been fooled by Sterling's generous advertisement of cpo's recordings of Wetz One and Two into thinking that they knew something we didn't about this series when they released the remastered 1981 East German recording. New here is the nine-minute choral/orchestral Gesang of 1908 which manifests a distinct Schumannesque influence. German-English texts. Landesjugendchor Rheinland-Pfalz, Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz; Werner Andreas Albert. CPO 999 818 (Germany) 01D063 $15.98

FRANZ WAXMAN (1906-1967): Athanael the Trumpeter - Comedy Overture for Trumpet and Orchestra, JEAN FRANÇAIX (1912-2000): Quadruple Concerto for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon and Orchestra, HEITOR VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959): Ciranda des sete notas for Bassoon and Orchestra, WALTER PISTON (1894-1976): Fantasy for English Horn, Harp and Strings, ALEXANDER ARUTIUNIAN (b.1920): Trumpet Concerto, RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958): Tuba Concerto in F Minor, FRANK MARTIN (1890-1967): Ballade for Flute, Piano and Strings. This collection of 20th-century concertos for wind and/or brass instruments contains a few rarities: Waxman's piece is adapted from his music for the 1944 film "The Horn Sounds at Midnight" with Richard Strauss and Prokofiev the influences; Villa-Lobos' Ciranda (1933) presents a C major scale and develops into a quite elaborate work and Françaix's 1935 quadruple concerto is in his usual irrepressible style, bursting with vigorous rhythms, pungent accents and infectious gaiety. Joachim Pliquett (trumpet), Richard Nahatzki (tuba), Kornelia Brandkamp, Martin Ulrich Senn (flutes), Marie Luise Moderson (oboe), Peter Hollerbuhtl (english horn), Jörg Fadle (clarinet), Hans Lemke, Jörn Maatz (bassoons), Marianna Schmidt (harp), Zinaida Tovba (piano), Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin; Hans E. Zimmer, Stefan Soltesz. Capriccio 10 522 (Germany) 01D064 $16.98

LEOPOLD GODOWSKY (1870-1938): Studies on Chopin Etudes, Vol. 1 (Nos. 1-22). Kevin Hadsell (digitally-sampled Steinway C piano). Private label (CD-R - check your player's compatibility). 01D065 $15.98

LEOPOLD GODOWSKY (1870-1938): Studies on Chopin Etudes, Vol. 2 (Nos. 22-48). Kevin Hadsell (digitally-sampled Steinway C piano). Private label (CD-R - check your player's compatibility). 01D066 $15.98

Every so often, something unusual enough comes along to require inclusion in our catalogue (like the baroque and early classical keyboard concertos performed entirely - orchestra and solo alike - by synthsizer which a private label in Idaho offered). And so here: although unable to sample these discs (the DVD player I use won't play CD-Rs), the idea of using digital sampling (MIDI recording) to produce technically perfect recordings of maximally difficult piano works was to fascinating to pass up.

For a preview of what to expect, see www.kevinhadsell.com

WILHELM PETERSON-BERGER (1867-1942): 8 Songs for Mixed Choir, Op. 11, AUGUST SÖDERMAN (1832-1876): Sacred Songs for Mixed Choir and Organ, LUDVIG NORMAN (1831-1885): 7 Songs for Mixed Choir, Op. 15, Jordens oro viker, Op. 50, EDVARD GRIEG (1843-1907): Ave maris stella, WoO 156/2, Blegnet, slegnet, Op. 39/5, Våren, Op. 33/2. A useful overview of the rich romantic choral tradition of the Scandinavian countries where Nordic nationalism is influenced by German romanticism. Norwegian, Swedish-German texts, English summaries. Junges Vokalensemble Hannover; Klaus-Jürgen Etzold, Hans Bäßler (organ). Carus 83.147 (Germany) 01D067 $17.98

World Premieres... CD Premieres and other rare RODRIGO from Spanish EMI!

JOAQUÍN RODRIGO (1901-1999): El hijo fingido. This zarzuela was composed for a state competition (it did not even place) in 1955 and was based on a comedy by Lope de Vega. Revised with the help of the composer's wife, it finally received its premiere in 1964 (photos of which are in the booklet) and was not heard again until this recording. Its neo-classcial, Spanish-tinged score and bright, cheerful mien will endear it to any collector of comic opera, operetta or zarzuela. Spanish libretto. Mid-price. María Rodríguez (soprano), Miquel Ramón (baritone), Lola Casariego (mezzo), Chorus and Orchestra of la Communidad de Madrid; Miguel Roa. EMI CDC 5 57127 2 (Spain) 01D068 $11.98

JOAQUÍN RODRIGO (1901-1999): Ausencias de Dulcinea for 4 Sopranos, Bass and Large Orchestra, Música para un códice Salmantino for Bass, Chorus and 11 Instruments, Himnos de los Neófitos de Qumrán for 3 Sopranos, Chorus and Orchestra, Cántico de San Francisco de Asís for Chorus and Orchestra. None of the above have appeared on CD and the last two are World Premiere Recordings. Ausencias (1948) was commissioned for the 400th anniversary of Cervantes and encapsulates Don Quixote with complete mastery in 13 minutes. Música (1953) sets excerpts of Unamuno's "Ode to Salamanca" for the 700th anniversary of that city's University. Himnos (1965/74) sets poetic adaptations by Rodrigo's wife of the Dead Sea Scrolls with music of mystic serenity, evoking the austere pre-Christian world of Qumran and the St. Francis work (1982) has a spiritual kinship to the former through its profound serenity and significant silences. Spanish-English texts. Mid-price. Gerard Quinn (bass), Natalie Clifton-Griffith, Nicki Kennedy, Sinéad Pratschke, Alison Smart (sopranos), Exeter Philharmonic Choir, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Raymond Calcraft. EMI CDC 5 57116 2 (Spain) 01D069 $11.98

JOAQUÍN RODRIGO (1901-1999): Soleriana (excerpts) for Orchestra, 3 viejos aires de danza for Chamber Orchestra, Aria Antigua for Flute and Orchestra, 2 miniaturas Andaluzas for Chamber Orchestra, Cançoneta for Violin and Strings, Zarabanda lejana y villancico for Strings, Fantasía para un gentilhombre for Flute and Orchestra. Rodrigo provided alternate versions for several of his solo works and some are newly recorded here: the 1926 Zarabanda (guitar) was orchestrated and provided with its Villancico in 1929; likewise for the Pastoral of 1926 which had two more dances added in 1929 and became 3 Viejos Aires. The Fantasía is James Galway's transcription, authorized by the composer. The Miniaturas were only discovered and performed in 1999. Mid-price. Juana Guillem (flute), Joaquín Rodrigo Chamber Orchestra; Agustín León Ara (violin). EMI CDC 5 57117 2 (Spain) 01D070 $11.98

CHARLES-MARIE WIDOR (1844-1937): Piano Trio in B Flat, Op. 19, Piano Quintet in D Minor, Op. 7. For those of you who don't like solo organ music, this will be a marvellous introduction to the appealing delicacy of texture and color which Widor brings to his chamber music. The keyboard writing shows considerable virtuosity and harmonic richness, the 1890 quintet being particularly richly romantic in gesture with a luxuriant part for the pianist. Original 1989 Marco Polo release. Ilona Prunyi (piano), New Budapest Quartet. Naxos 8.555416 (New Zealand) 01D071 $5.98

ANATOL LIADOV (1855-1914): Baba Yaga, Op. 56, Intermezzo, Op. 8, Ballade, Op. 21b, The Enchanted Lake, Op. 62, Mazurka, Op. 19, Nénie, Op. 67, Polonaises, Opp. 49& 55, Kikimora, Op. 63, Fragment from the Apocalypse, Op. 66. Rhythmically fresh, colorful and vital little pieces which encapuslate the brilliant talent of this fine Russian miniaturist. Original 1990 Marco Polo release. Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra; Stephen Gunzenhauser. Naxos 8.5552442 (New Zealand) 01D072 $5.98

HEITOR VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959): Chôros No. 8, Chôros No. 9. Barbaric intensity, exotic scoring and insistent dance rhythms characterize these 1920s essays in orchestral virtuosity. Original 1985 Marco Polo release. Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra; Kenneth Schermerhorn. Naxos 8.555241 (New Zealand) 01D073 $5.98

ANTON RUBINSTEIN (1829-1894): Symphony No. 2 in C, Op. 42 "Ocean". Composed in 1851 (four movements) and revised in 1880 to its final seven-movement form (representing the Seven Seas), this symphonic sprawl offers Rubinstein plenty of opportunities for graphic musical scene painting and atmosphere which he accomplishes through great skill in orchestration, structure and melodic inspiration. Original 1987 Marco Polo release. Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra; Stephen Gunzenhauser. Naxos 8.555392 (New Zealand) 01D074 $5.98

JOACHIM RAFF (1822-1882): Symphony No. 1 "To the Fatherland", Op. 96. There were king-size symphonies being written before Bruckner and even before this first effort from Raff in 1859-61 (Anton Rubinstein's first three lengthy symphonies were out by 1854). But the cathedral-like splendor and monumentality of Bruckner are not to be found in Raff. His symphonies look back to the "heavenly length" of Schubert's Ninth, with Mendelssohn as a stylistic starting point and with the composer's own gifted orchestrational talents providing a grand romantic sweep to his symphonies. This five-movement work is a good place to start if you still don't know the wonderful melodic capabilities of this fine composer. Original 1988 Marco Polo release. Rhenish Philharmonic Orchestra; Samuel Friedman. Naxos 8.555411 (New Zealand) 01D075 $5.98

FRIGYES HIDAS (b.1928): Oboe Concerto, GYÖRGY RÁNKI (1907-1992): Don Quixote y Dulcinea, FERENC FARKAS (1905-2000): Aria e Rondo all'ungherese, JENÖ TAKÁCS (b.1902): Meditation, ZOLTAN KODÁLY (1882-1967): Epigramme for English Horn and String Orchestra (orch. Lencsés). This collection of 20th century Hungarian music for the oboe or its cousin is a thoroughly enjoyable example of lovely, folk-inflected melody. The mood is pastoral for the most part, often contemplative, with Hidas' work the only one requiring a full orchestra and also providing the widest variety of tempos and moods. Kodály's Epigrams were composed for either voice or solo instrument and piano and they go well here in the soloist's transcription. Lajos Lencsés (oboe, english horn), Budapest Strings, Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra; Alan Gilbert. Capriccio 10 894 (Germany) 01D076 $16.98

TAKASHI YOSHIMATSU (b.1953): Symphony No. 4, Op. 82, Trombone Concerto "Orion Machine", Op. 55, Atom Hearts Club Suite No. 1, Op. 70b. The symphony (2000) is described by the composer as a "pastoral toy symphony" meaning that it uses children's-style melodies and motifs (not toy instruments) to achieve a sunny, "feel-good" manner which is not only attractive but which does so without sounding contrived or superficial. The 1993 concerto is an eclectic whirlwind which veers from tinkly percussion/spacy sound paintings to jazz and swing while Atom Hearts Club is a 10-minute suite for strings based on several progressive rock groups' work of the 70s. Ian Bousfield (trombone), BBC Philharmonic; Sachio Fujioka. Chandos 9960 (England) 01D077 $16.98

DARIUS MILHAUD (1892-1974): String Quartet No. 1, Op. 5, GUILLAUME LEKEU (1870-1894): Nocturne and Fragment for Soprano, String Quartet and Piano, ERNEST CHAUSSON (1855-1899): Chanson perpétuelle, Op. 37 for Soprano, String Quartet and Piano, MAURICE RAVEL (1875-1937): String Quartet in F. Milhaud's quartet dates from 1912 and is drenched in Debussy's harmonies and arabesque-like lines although the rhythms of the folk music of the composer's Provence home are already present nearly throughout and the sensuality of the sun-lit south of France imbues it throughout. This is the original version; Milhaud deleted the third movement in a later revision. Lekeu's two short vocal works are chamber revisions of orchestral works; Fragment is part of his cantata Andromede (which won him the Belgian Prix de Rome) and it partakes of the same romantically morbid atmosphere as Chausson's Chanson perpétuelle. French-English texts. Petersen Quartet, Juliane Banse (soprano), Wolfram Rieger (piano). Capriccio 10 860 (Germany) 01D078 $16.98

KURT WEILL (1900-1950): Der Protagonist. This is Weill's first extant opera (1926 and with a libretto by the expressionist playwright George Kaiser after his play of the same title) and is set in Elizabethan England around a company of actors of whom the leader is the title character. The work is quite similar in style and affect to Hindemith's early Expressionist operas with musical language of late Romanticism, bordering on atonality. However, two pantomimes are also part of the work and in these the music is neo-classical, almost Stravinskian. German-English libretto. Robert Wörle (tenor), Amanda Halgrimson (soprano), Alexander Marco-Buhrmester (baritone), Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin; John Mauceri. Capriccio 60 086 (Germany) 01D079 $16.98

KURT WEILL (1900-1950): String Quartet in B Minor, String Quartet, Op. 8, PAUL HINDEMITH (1895-1963): Minimax. Weill's early quartet (1918 or 1919 and in the first recording of its autograph which was only discovered in 1995) is a fun piece of spot the influence - Mahler, Richard Strauss, Reger, early Schoenberg - and will appeal to collectors of late Romantic quartets. The op. 8, of course, is an example of the Neue Sächlichkeit which Weill learned under Busoni and whose spirit of cool objectivity was soon to be adopted as his mature style by Hindemith. The latter's 1923 spoof of military music itself was not rediscovered until the early 1970s. Leipzig String Quartet. MD&G 307 1071-2 (Germany) 01D080 $17.98

FRIGYES HIDAS (b.1928): Kammermusik, EUGÈNE BOZZA (1905-1991): Suite, JAN KOETSIER (b.1911): 5 Nouvelles, Op. 34a, MICHAEL TIPPETT (1905-1998): Sonata, PAUL HINDEMITH (1895-1963): Sonata. Horn fanciers will want to hear the Hidas: a 1981 work which combines Hungarian elements with jazz rhythms and traditional hunting-horn motifs. Its discmates were all composed between 1947 and 1955 and are standards in the repertoire, all quite melodic and approachable, making the disc a good place to start for those who may not have tried this marvellously expressive instrumental combination. Leipzig Horn Quartet. Capriccio 10 898 (Germany) 01D081 $16.98

ERNEST BLOCH (1880-1959): 6 Preludes, PAUL BEN-HAIM (1897-1984): Calmo, KAREL SOLOMON (1897-1974): 6 Pieces, SHLOMO DUBNOV (b.1962): Prelude, Aria & Fugue, HAIM ALEXANDER (b.1915): De Profundis, Ostinato, YUVAL RABIN (b.1973): Smirot, Récit de Cornet. This recital of music by Jewish composers ranges from Bloch's 1948-50 Preludes, French-Romantic in character and style, through the mixtures of European traditions and the modal music of the Middle East heard in the works by the emigrés from Germany, Ben-Haim, Solomon and Alexander, to Dubnov's and Rabin's experimentations with dodecaphony, extended tonality and oriental modality (often all coexisting in the same work). Yuval Rabin (Mathis organ, St. Martin's Church, Olten, Switzerland). MD&G 606 1072-2 (Germany) 01D082 $17.98

HENRY COWELL (1897-1965): Suite for Small Orchestra, Heroic Dance, Sound Form No. 1, 3 Ritounelles from "Marriage at the Eifel Tower", Reel No. 2, Dance of Sport, Atlantis, 4 Combinations for 3 Instruments, Suite for Wind Quintet. Everything here is a first recording exccept for the 4 Combinations and the Wind Quintet and, in keeping with the disc's title "Dancing with Henry", the vast majority are either choreographic pieces or pieces which could easily be such. The longest work is also the most bizarre - the 16-minute Atlantis which employs a soprano, mezzo and baritone (along with an instrumental ensemble) in wordless vocalizing which runs the gamut from grunts, groans, moans, and ecstatic squeals to titters, chuckles and wails (the booklet provides the scenario being depicted). Only the brief orchestral suite ventures into Cowell's experiments with tonality; the remainder are delightful miniatures, brimming with rhythmic vitality and unusual but charming instrumental combinations. The California Parallèle Ensemble; Nicole Paiement. Mode 101 (U.S.A.) 01D083 $16.98

BERNARD STEVENS (1916-1983): Theme and Variations for String Quartet, Op. 11, Lyric Suite for String Trio, Op. 30, String Quartet No. 2, Op. 34. The Theme and Variations (1949) is really Stevens' first quartet and its richly communicative nature will appeal to anyone who enjoys the music of, say, Rubbra or Britten. The second quartet (1962) is much more expansive (four movements) shows what happens when a strongly tonal composer ventures into Schoenbergian serial techniques: elegant, lucid and passionate music whose basis in a note-row will probably be completely unapparent to most listeners. The string trio (1958) is a serious and dark-hued work in five short movements, the last two of which are polyphonic: a Passacaglietta and a bright, capricious fugue. Delmé String Quartet. Albany TROY 455 (U.S.A.) 01D084 $16.98

ROBERT FUCHS (b.mid 1950s): Where Have You Been? (String Quartet No. 2), Whispers of Heavenly Death (String Quartet No. 3), String Quartet No. 4 "Bergonzi". Dating from 1993, the second quartet is a five-movement work which takes its form from collages by the artist Robert Motherwell. Fuchs uses the collages as a starting-off point for exploring the use of pitch classes, minimalism, diatonicism and serialized musical elements. This sounds academic but each movement of this 25-minute work has a definite sense of drama and atmosphere which make it approachable with a bit of effort. The third quartet (1996) was suggested by three Whitman poems about death and afterlife - the first movement jagged and propulsive, the second meditative and ethereal and the finale buoyant and optimistic, while the fourth (1998) is a purely abstract, single-movement piece of just under eleven minutes with two vigorous outer sections embracing a lyrical center. American String Quartet. Albany TROY 480 (U.S.A.) 01D085 $16.98

JOHN MCCABE (b.1939): Maze Dances for Violin, Star Preludes for Violin and Piano, ALAN RAWSTHORNE (1905-1971): Violin Sonata, Theme and Variations for 2 Violins. Rawsthorne's taut, highly economical musical language is displayed to great advantage in these two large-scale works for violin(s), of which the sonata, written originally to a commission from Szigeti, is the more mature and emotionally rich. The Theme and Variations ingeniously explore the contrapuntal possibilities of two matched voices in ren short movements of contrasting character and technical restraint, elegance and craftsmanship. McCabe admires Rawsthorne, and a certain confluence of thinking is evident in the comparison between his works on this disc and Rawsthorne's. The other interesting common factor is the Hungarian influence - the D'Aranyi sisters and Szigeti feature in the history of the Rawsthorne works, and there is an element of the Gypsy violin in the McCabe, especially the sprightly Maze Dances. Peter Sheppard Skærved (violin), Tamami Honma (piano), Christine Sohn (second violin). Metier MSV CD92029 (England) 01D086 $17.98

ALEXANDER TANSMAN (1897-1986): Sonata for 2 Violins, MICHAL SPISAK (1914-1965): Suite for 2 Violins, PIOTR MOSS (b.1949): 5 Intermezzi for 2 Violins, HENRYK MIKOLAJ GÓRECKI (b.1933): Sonata for 2 Violins, Op. 10. Anyone who might suspect that the expressive capablilities of an ensemble consisting of two violins might be limited will receive a welcome surprise on acquaintance with this disc (and see also the Rawsthorne Theme and Variations above). The Tansman is a fully fledged sonata, with a broad emotional range and a particularly beautiful, melancholy slow movement. Spisak's suite - also tonal - has something of a Bartókian feel, while the Górecki alternates rhythmically incisive, spiky minimalism and Pärt-like slow minimalism. The Moss is the most 'modern' work, exploiting the natural overtones of the high strings in a rustling, mysterious series of imaginary landscapes. Krzysztof Wegrzyn, Tomasz Tomaszewski (violins). Dux 0144 (Poland) 01D087 $16.98

KENT KENNAN (b.1913): Retrospectives, RUSSELL RIEPE: The Philosopher's Path, DAVID ASHLEY WHITE: 5 Glimpses, KATHRYN MISHELL: 5 Preludes, WAYNE OQUIN (b.1979): Nightfall, DAN WELCHER: The Digital Watch, Pachel's Bells. A collection of modern American piano works, mostly in the etude/prelude form; from Kennan's 12 Retrospectives (1938-51) which are very much etude-like in their demands on the player (both loud and soft demands) to Mishell's 1991 preludes, these are all in the general Bartók/Prokofiev vein (and the latter two are specifically honored in the latter's preludes) except for Welcher's two pieces from his High Tech Etudes. The former is a depiction of someone trying to reset a digital watch and the latter takes Pachelbel's Canon to places it's never gone before; Riepe's Philosopher's Path (1991) is a three-movement set of miniature tone-poems suggested by three images from Japan. Timothy Woolsey (piano). Centaur CRC 2525 (U.S.A.) 01D088 $16.98

GEORGE BARATI (1913-1996): Symphony No. 1 "Alpine Symphony", Chant of Light, Chant of Darkness. Although in the Naxos "American Classics" series, this music sounds European, which is not surprising since Barati was born and educated in Hungary, and didn't came to the US until age 25. The symphony sounds haltingly prickly and is polystylistc with influences as diverse as Beethoven, Bartok and Stravinsky, replete with miniscule motifs differentiated by solo or small groups of instruments. The Chants, written some 30 years later, are more cohesive, and of greater emotional import. Chant of Light is a well-orchestrated, three-part, symphonic song. Chant of Darkness is a somber, symphonic mourning over the death of his daughter. Barati was basically a tonal composer who used the twelve-tone row as spice rather than a compositional device. Budapest Symphony Orchestra; Lászlo Kovács, Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra; Vladimir Válek. Naxos American Classics 8.559063 (U.S.A.) 01D089 $5.98

YVES RAMETTE (b. around 1925): Variations sur un Thème d'Honegger, Naïades, Pastels, Fontaines et Cascades, Sonate, Humoresque. The notes (by the composer himself) state that these are not descriptive or impressionistic works (the titles Naïades, Pastels and Fontaines... seem to come right out of Debussian Impressionism) and that they interpret emotions with the titles being applied after the composition. Nevertheless the last three mentioned items do have more than a little of the Impressionist tinge in their harmonies and rhythmic freedom. However, Messiaen is just as apt a comparison since Ramette obviously is fascinated by the pure sound of the piano and the wide possibility of colors he can coax from it and there are many places where bell sounds or even birdsong seems possibly to be evoked. At 20 minutes, the sonata is the longest work, a single-movement piece largely lyrical, somber and meditative, built on traditional thematic transformation and reaching a violent climax before a calmer resolution. Eric Himy (piano). MMC 2109 (U.S.A.) 01D090 $16.98

25 New Short Works for Piano by Peteris Plakidis, Param Vir, Karen Tanaka, Javier Alvarez, Detlev Glanert, Sohrab Uduman, Victoria Borisova-Ollas, Aulis Sallinen, Joyce Bee Tuan Koh, Gerald Barry, Lyell Cresswell, Toek Numan, Julia Wolfe, Alexandre Lunsqui, Peter Sculthorpe, Poul Ruders, Faidros Kavallaris, Naji Hakim, Jean-Marc Singier, Sylvie Bodorová, Julian Yu, Rodney Sharman, Ramon Lazkano, Haflidi Hallgriímsson and Kevin Volans. This collection (Spectrum 3, part of a series of commissions from this pianist) is designed to show how 25 composers from around the world (25 countries are represented) have absorbed and adapted for their own use the traditions of Western classical music, whether or not these traditions were part of the culture into which they were born (many no longer live in the country of their birth). Thalia Meyers (piano). Metronome MET CD 1053 (England) 01D091 $17.98

JEAN-JOËL BARBIER (1920-1994): 13 Mélodies, JEAN WIENER (1896-1982): 21 Chantefleurs, ERIK SATIE (1866-1925): 15 Mélodies. Three generations of composers who subscribed to the same basic aesthetic which Satie precipitated: small, exquisitely wrought little pieces which depend on simplicity and clarity of utterance, lacking any pretentions or rhetoric. Barbier recorded the complete Satie piano music for Musidisc (with Wiener in the four-hands pieces) and wrote all of his mélodies in 1941 before the German occupation (and Debussy's influence is apparent as well as Satie's). Wiener's interests extended to jazz and the Second Viennese School but his 1955 set of the 30 Chantefables and 50 Chantefleurs by the poet Robert Desnos (who died in Terezin) are faux-naïf tributes to Satie's style. French texts. Catherine Martinet (soprano), Otto Georg Linsi (tenor), Dominique Swarowsky (piano). Gallo CD-1003 (Switzerland) 01D092 $18.98

VELJO TORMIS (b.1930): 2 Songs after Ernst Enno, 3 Songs from the "Kalevipoeg", 3 Setu Work Songs, 4 Game Songs from Sangaste, 6 Estonian Children's Songs, 9 Estonian Harvest Songs, 13 Estonian Lyric Folk Songs, Heaps of Songs. The vast majority of Tormis' compositions are for chorus and their roots are in age-old Estonian runo song (the versification is heavily alliterative and assonant and bears a close relationship to, for example, the Finnish texts set by Sibelius in his Kullervo symphony). Except for the Enno songs of 1948 and the Kalevipoeg set from 1960, all of the other 36 songs recorded here are devoted to Estonian folk songs or to folk songs of smaller Finno-Ugric ethnic groups. The writing is colorful, almost orchestral in its style and the rhymes and layered writing can provide a dazzling, mesmerizing experience, like looking through a window into the distant past of the Estonian people. Estonian-English texts. Carus 83.400 (Germany) 01D093 $17.98

PETERIS VASKS (b.1946): 3 Poems by Czeslaw Milosz, Zemgale, Dona nobis pacem, Mate saule, Madrigal. The composer selected these works for this recording, deeming them the best he had to offer in this genre. His now-famous "white diatonicism" is early evident in the 1975 "Mother Sun" but harsh bitterness can obtrude as well, especially in Zemgale, a 1988 work which explored Latvia's history of oppression at a time when independence again seemed a possibility, and in 1993's Litene - a small village which, in 1941, became Latvia's Lidice, at least for its military officers who were either massacred on the spot or deported to Siberia. The Milosz poems (1994) are set in an English translation and are, by turns, mystical, tragically dramatic and nostalgic. The Dona nobis pacem is the longest single movement here - almost 15 minutes - and sets only those three Latin words, but the work has a great spiritual force which sums up the power of this unique Latvian composer's personal voice. Latvian-English texts. Latvian Radio Choir; Sigvards Klava, Kaspars Putnins, Aivars Kalejs (organ). BIS CD-1145 (Sweden) 01D094 $17.98

GARRETT FISHER (b.1970): The Passion of St. Thomas More. This unusual work - a kind of chamber opera, originally performed with a dancer as a silent 'narrator' - uses very economical forces (three singers and four instrumentalists) to tell the story of Thomas More, sometime intimate of and advisor to King Henry VIII, eventually beheaded at the behest of his royal mentor. Fisher has been influenced by music of the Middle East, and in his use of percussion, Indian harmonium and slow, chant-like vocal lines, the work presents a remarkable amalgam of the Mediæval and the exotic in a slow, stately dance expressing stasis, calm and dignity as befits the tragedy of one of history's most intriguing, powerful and ultimately tragic figures. Anna Vinten-Johansen, Christina Högman (sopranos), Olle Person (baritone), Taina Karr (cor anglais), Sven Åberg (guitar), Garrett Fisher (Indian harmonium), Göran Månsson (percussion). BIS CD-1158 (Sweden) 01D095 $17.98

AXEL JØRGENSEN (1881-1947): Suite for Trombone and Orchestra, EGIL HOVLAND (b.1924): Trombone Concerto, Op. 76, JAN SANDSTRÖM (b.1954): Cantos de la Mancha for Trombone andOrchestra, CHRISTIAN LINBERG (b.1958): Mandrake in the Corner for Trombone and Orchestra. Four very enjoyable and approachable works for trombone and orchestra from Scandinavia featuring the first major composition by the intrepid soloist who has premiered around 60 concertos already. His 15-minute work is in three brief movements and he winningly characterizes it as sounding like music from a second-rate TV thriller; throw in the comic-strip character of Mandrake the Magician which also occurred to him and you have some idea of the piece's mood. The Dane Jørgensen's suite dates from 1926 and is in the Danish national romantic tradition of Gade and Hartmann. Hovland's 1972 concerto is bracingly neo-classical with a solo part that was quite difficult in its time while Sandström's Cantos is a sort of sequel to his Don Quixote, vividly painting four scenes from the mad Knight's career. Christian Lindberg (trombone), Singapore Symphony Orchestra; Lan Shui. BIS-CD-1128 (Sweden) 01D096 $17.98

OSVALDO GOLIJOV (b.1960): La Pasión según San Marcos. This work is one of four Passions that were commissioned from four different composers to celebrate the "Bach Year 2000" (the other three were Rihm, Gubaidulina and Tan Dun). Golijov was born and brought up in South America, and his antecedents are central European and Jewish. It is the South American heritage that is most apparent in this Passion setting, with its Brazilian and Cuban drumming, rhythmic chanting, and dancing rhythms. The piece sounds 'folkloristic', though it is hard to pin down a specific folk style; in its eclecticism and approachable, even bouncy and 'popular' (in the sense of 'non-classical') style, it recalls Fanshawe's African Sanctus. There are also elements of minimalism, and the piece is not without an appropriate seriousness and its shadowy moments, but it entirely lacks the portentousness of comparably large-scale religious works in the European tradition - and if it seems at times a little irreverently close to the world of Buena Vista Social Club, it can certainly be enjoyed on the same terms as that group's music. A fresh and intriguing take on a theme that has occupied artists and composers throughout history. 2 CDs. Multi-language texts and English translations. Luciana Souza (singer), Schola Cantorum de Carácas, Cantoría Alberto Grau, Orquesta La Pasión; Maria Guinand. Hännsler Classic CD 98.404 (Germany) 01D097 $26.98

STEPHEN PERILLO: Piano Concerto No. 1, Napoli!, Hangoverture, Antique Suite. Napoli! is a colorfully orchestrated tone-poem which is based on original Neapolitan-type popular melodies phantasmagorically recollected through a kind of circus fever-dream. Hangoverture was written for a New Year's Day 2000 concert (Perillo was sick of hearing the word "Millenium") and it is a musical escapade through the popular, film and classical musical styles of the preceding century. The suite is an orchestration of a woodwind quintet which has a French quality to its sequence of dance-type movements. The piano concerto is a 20-minute work in Classical form (meaning sonata form in the first movement, a theme-and-variations slow movement and a rondo finale) although its thematic material makes use of polytonality and some atonality along with a healthy dose of good old-fashioned consonance and percussiveness of the Prokofiev/Bartók variety. St. Petersburg Festival Orchestra; Yuval Waldman. Centaur CRC 2544 (U.S.A.) 01D098 $16.98

RUTH CRAWFORD SEEGER (1901-1953): 5 Preludes, 4 Preludes, Kaleidoscopic Changes on an Original Theme, Theme and Variations, Sonata, Piano Study in Mixed Accents, 5 Canons, Little Waltz, Little Lullaby, Jumping the Rope (Playtime), Caprice, Whirligig, Mr. Crow and Miss Wren Go for a Walk, We Dance Together, The Adventures of Tom Thumb for Piano with Narrator. Everything here is a World Premiere Recor-ding except for the Piano Study of 1930; in fact, nothing else is later than 1928, giving us an interesting look at the early creative life of this important, neglected American composer. From the 1922 Little Waltz, it is only three years to the first set of preludes which represent her artistic breakthrough into the avant-garde. Between the early, simple children's works and the latter come a set of four works in which Crawford experiments with the European musical traditon; the 1925 Tom Thumb, to texts by the composer herself, has a humor and narrative simplicity reminiscent of Peter and the Wolf. Jenny Lin (piano), Timothy Jones (narrator). BIS CD-1310 (Sweden) 01D099 $17.98

BENEDICT MASON (b.1954): Trumpet Concerto, CASPAR JOHANNES WALTER (b.1964): 4 Stücke gegen den Stillstand for Trumpet and Orchestra, WOLFGANG RIHM (b.1952): Marsyas for Trumpet, Percussion and Orchestra. Collectors of Rihm's music will certainly want to have his 1998 Marsyas, an 18-minute "rhapsody" which produces a motif out of a chaotic slow music which gradually moves toward a more agitated form and then regresses to tranquillity (three times in all) and which uses every imaginable playing technique for the soloist whose stylistic spectrum even includes some jazz elements. However, the other two works are a bit more striking in form and concept: Walter uses no motifs or melodies, rather layering sound polyphonically, manipulating it through color and volume, weaving and separating blocks of it in the same general way as, say, Ligeti, Xenakis or Scelsi although not sounding particularly like any of those composers. Mason's concerto presents the soloist seemingly alone at the back of the stage where the top rows of the chorus would sit; orchestras of single wind and 19 strings are placed behind and on left and right of the audience, outside of the hall itself and a group of brass and percussion are secreted in rooms, corridors and stairwells behind the soloist. Mason is after stimulating the audience's critical perception of acoustics and the recording was made live in order to capture the spatial vastness of the work (most of which takes place at levels ranging from moderate to quiet), which it succeeds in doing rather better than you might expect. Reinhold Friedrich (trumpet), Robyn Schulkowsky (percussion), Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra; Lukas Vis, Sian Edwards. Capriccio 10 880 (Germany) 01D100 $16.98

STEVE MARTLAND: Horses of Instruction, Kick, Beat the Retreat, Mr. Anderson's Pavane, Principia, Thistle of Scotland, Eternal Delight, Re-Mix, Terminal. The first recording by Martland and his band since they parted company with BMG, this release offers seven first recordings and the works date from re-Mix of 1986 to Terminal of 1998. The line-up of piano, bass guitar, drums, electric/acoustic guitar, violin, marimba and four brass instruments executes Martland's complex rhythmic structures and reproduces their high energy levels with brillian accuracy. Steve Martland Band. Black Box BBM 1033 (England) 01D101 $17.98

JOHN CAGE (1912-1992): Four Walls for Piano, A Flower for Voice and Closed Piano, Experiences II for Voice, She is asleep for Voice and Prepared Piano, The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs for Voice and Closed Piano, Nowth upon Nacht for Voice and Piano. Although entitled "Voice and Piano", 59 of the 77 minutes on this disc are occupied by 1944's Four Walls, a choreographic piece for solo piano (with one brief vocal interlude) written on short notice for Merce Cunningham. The work employs only the white keys of the piano with the same chords and chordal connections recurring again and again in a ritualized slowness with repetitions slightly modified, grouped and regrouped in constantly changing ways. In A Flower and The Wonderful Widow, the pianist only drums on the closed lid while the 1984 Nowth upon Nacht will especially curry favor with the neighbors as the pianist merely slams the piano lid three times after which the soloist begins to scream. Pity it only lasts 1:33... Anna Clementi (voice), Steffen Schleiermacher (piano). MD&G 613 1076-2 (Germany) 01D102 $17.98

JOHN CAGE (1912-1992): Credo in US, Imaginary Landscapes 1 & 3, Inlets, but what about the noise of crumpling paper which he used to do in order to paint the series of "papiers froissés" or tearing up paper to make "papiers déchires?" arp was stimulated by water (sea, lake and flowing waters like rivers), forests. Even though the early percussion works on this disc, which date from 1939 and 1942, are not tuneful in any regard (employing frequency oscillators, LPs, tin cans and buzzers along with prepared pianos, gongs and cymbal), Inlets (1977 and for three water-filled conch shells, one conch-blower and fire sounds) and But but what about... (1986 and for anything you like but, here, "slightly resonant instruments, water, paper..." to quote the instrumentarium) make them sound like sets of Strauss waltzes. Quatuor Hêlios. Wergo WER 6651-2 (Germany) 01D103 $19.98

MORTON FELDMAN (1926-1987): The Straits of Magellan for Flute, Horn, Trumpet, Amplified Guitar, Harp, Piano and Double Bass, 2 Pieces for 6 Instruments, Projections, Durations. This new release in Mode's Feldman series chronicles a period from 1950-61 when the composer was working out various approaches to his indeterminacy theories, adopted in large part from Cage but also with input from his contemporaries Earle Brown, Christian Wolff and David Tudor. Projections (1950-51) and Straits (1961) used "graph" notation to notate pitch and rhythm, the other two works (1956 and 1960) conventional staff paper but still exploring flexible duration and the free development of sound in time. The Turfan Ensemble. Mode 103 (U.S.A.) 01D104 $16.98

MORTON FELDMAN (1926-1987): Palais de Mari, Piano. Both of these pieces were offered last month (see 11D095 for details) but since Feldman's music offers the pianist such a wide latitude in performance, we offer these versions for avid collectors, noting that on last month's col legno release Piano had a timing of 29:41 while here it is 39:12 and Palais de Mari was 27:10 there and 39:51 here. Ronnie Lynn Patterson (piano). L'Empreinte Digitale ED 13137 (France) 01D105 $17.98

YEHOSHUA LAKNER (b.1924): 3 Small Piano Pieces, 5 Birthdays, Fermatas, Cornerstones, Alef Beth Gimmel, Circles and Signals for 2 Pianos. Lakner's later music also has elements of choice which are left up to the performer; Circles and Signals (1985) allows the player to influence the way the piece sounds through dynamics and time and is presented in two different versions here while Alef Beth Gimmel (1992) varies between "fixed" and "open" sections. The ultra-brief Birthdays of 1965 show some influence of Schoenberg; the other two works (both early - 1946-7) are essays in polyphony. Tomas Bächli (piano), Petra Ronner (second piano). Guild GMCD 7214 (England) 01D106 $16.98

ALFRED SCHNITTKE (1934-1998): Music from the Films My Past and Thoughts, Agony, The End of St. Petersburg and The Master and Margarita. Even if you don't like Schnittke's symphonies, concertos and other orchestral works, you're bound to like these suites from four of his film scores. Yes, some of the pieces in the scores are taken from pre-existing orchestral works but they are very small and, in general, the music works wonderfully for the dark, obsessive and grim dramas which they adorn: Agony is about the struggle between Rasputin and the Tsar's bureaucracy for the latter's attention (the work was banned in the Soviet Union and this suite was painstakingly reconstructed by Schnittke 13 years later in Germany in 1987), The End of St. Petersburg a silent 1927 film for which Schnittke was commissioned to provide a new score (a young boy bumping around St. Petersburg in the perid from 1913-7) while The Master and Margarita, for those who don't know the book already, deals with a persecuted author whose wife sells her soul to the devil in order to rescue him. Schnittke's son Andrei provided the electronic contributions to this film and to The End of St. Petersburg. Berlin Radio Choir and Symphony Orchestra; Frank Strobel. CPO 999 796 (Germany) 01D107 $15.98

MARIENBADER ELEGIEN- Music from the Bohemian Spa

JOSEPH LABITZKY (1802-1881): Charlotten-Polka, Op. 169, Liebesbriefe, Op. 184, T. HOCH: Golf von Mexiko, C. TISCHNER: Frohsinn-Polka, FRANZ DRDLA (1869-1944): Serenade No. 1 in A "Kubelik", P. DIETRICH: Auf der Wacht, OSCAR FETRÁS (1854-1931): Mondnacht auf der Alster, J. HELLMESBERGER JR. (1855-1907): Teufelstanz, T. KRÜTTNER: Ave Maria for Clarinet and Orchestra, LUDWIG SPOHR (1784-1859): Erinnerung an Marienbad, F. MANNER/R. GLEMBOTZKI: Marienbad, hoch!, F. HILMAR (1803-1881)/R. GLEMBOTZKI: Marienbader Polka, BEDRICH SMETANA/E. SMOLA: Beseda Polka. This program of marches, dances and serenades pays tribute to the famous spa at Marienbad which not only hosted every imaginable illuminary from throughout the world at its baths but also was a center of European culture with a fine orchestra for which many of the famous composers who came to take the cure left short works in appreciation. (Three of the dateless gentlemen listed above - Manner, Krüttner and Tischner - were conductors of the orchestra). Cologne Radio Orchestra; Alfred Walter. Capriccio 10 848 (Germany) 01D108 $16.98

WERNER BOCHMANN (1900-1993): Music from the Films Wunschkonzert, Ein ganzer Kerl, Wer küßt Madelaine, Liebeskomödie, Junge Herzen and others, 4 Tangos. Bochmann wrote scores for over 120 German and other European films and several tunes from them became evergreens in his homeland. This music is drenched in the spirit of the 30s and 40s - nostalgic or peppy, dance-based tunes seeking escape from the drudgery and violence of everday life - and should appeal to collectors of nostalgia and light music. Cologne Radio Orchestra; Thomas Gabrisch. Capriccio 10 885 (Germany) 01D109 $16.98

RICHARD DANIELPOUR (b.1956): An American Requiem. Although this requiem is dedicated to the victims of Sept. 11 (he received the package containing the orchestral engraving on the morning of that date), the composer had had it in mind since 1998 when he began to make contacts with American veterans of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Juxtaposing sections of the Latin Requiem Mass with poetry by Whitman, Emerson, Michael Harper and Hilda Doolittle, the work, richly orchestrated and tonal, as collectors who are familiar with Danielpour will know, examines both global and political issues as well as personal and philosophical ones. The performance is by the orchestra and music director who commissioned it. Texts included. Stephanie Blythe (mezzo), Hugh Smith (tenor), MarkOswald (baritone), Pacific Chorale and Symphony Orchestra; Carl St. Clair. Reference Recordings RR-97CD (U.S.A.) 01D110 $17.98