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Karol Rathaus

Symphonies Nos. 2 & 3

KAROL RATHAUS (1895-1954): Symphony No. 2, Op. 7, Symphony No. 3, Op. 50. Remember the Erdmann, Tiessen and Böhnke symphonic discs conducted by Yinon which constituted the last flowering of the late, lamented Koch Schwann label? If you liked those, you will want this recording of Rathaus' two rather different symphonies. The second (1925) is firmly in the expressionistic, dark and tormented mode of so much music of that period while the third (1943-44), written without any thought of the public or performance, is surprisingly more conventional in style and in form and the antecedents the listener thinks of most are Mahler and Carl Nielsen. Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester Frankfurt; Israel Yinon. CPO 777 031 (Germany) 01G001 $15.98


The Dying Dollar, Part Two

1. Harmonia Mundi USA raises prices across the board on distributed labels.

As of next month's catalogue, I will have to charge $18.98 for the following labels (I list only the frequently offered ones): Hyperion, Dutton, Alia Vox, Ambroisie and Calliope. Harmonia Mundi and Praga will remain at $17.98. Even bigger price rises have occurred for Testament and Wergo (suggested retail prices of $21.98 and $20.98 respectively) but I will keep these labels at the same price point as Opera Rara (which also went up) - $19.98. Dutton, for instance, has gone up twice in the last year but I only recently raised it from $16.98 to $17.98.

2. Response to last month's cover note #4.

Many of you told me that you'd cheerfully pay anything for items you really want. Unfortunately, I have no way of knowing whether any title in particular will be something any number of you will really want. So, I'm going to import pretty much as in the past but will bring in much smaller quantities to begin with. This will mean back-orders for unexpectedly popular items but at least you'll get them!

3. Henze Symphony No. 10 on French Accord.

I expect to offer this in the February catalogue. The symphony is 38 minutes long and there are two couplings - 4 Poemi and La selva incantata (both orchestral) - for a total timing of just under 60 minutes. I'd like to know how many of you will want this disc. Do not send payment. Just tell me if you're going to order it so that I can bring in enough copies to satisfy demand.

e-mail: sales@recordsinternational.com

ROBERT CASADESUS (1899-1972): Symphony No. 1 in D, Op. 19, Symphony No. 5 "sur le nom de Haydn", Op. 50, Symphony No. 7 "Israël" for Vocal Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra, Op. 68. It will come as no surprise that the pianist known for his Gallic grace and clarity would also be a composer whose style would be far closer to Ravel and Roussel than to any of the other modern compositional trends of his day and this is particularly apparent in the attractive, sun-drenched first symphony of 1935. Unlike many works coming out of Europe at this time, everything in this four-movement, 27-minute work is bright, poetic, clothed in pastel colors which recall the sun-drenched Mediterranean and in which the most serious movement, the second, recalls the Ravelian world of, say, the Pavane pour une infante defunte. The tribute to the 150th anniversary of Haydn's death (1959) adheres to the Austrian composer's symphonies' proportions, form and orchestral forces while still speaking the same elegant French language and the Israël symphony (1970), partly inspired by the Six Day War although dedicated to George Szell, is quite remarkable for its almost constant use of wordless chorus and soloists which are treated as just other orchestral instruments. Natasha Jouhl (soprano), Alexandra Gibson (mezzo), Mark Wilde (tenor), Michael Druiett (bass), Gateshead Children's Choir, Northern Sinfonia Chorus, Northern Sinfonia; Howard Shelley. Chandos 10263 (England) 01G002 $17.98

GEORGE FREDERICK MCKAY (1899-1970): Violin Concerto, Sinfonietta No. 4, Song Over the Great Plains for Piano and Orchestra, Suite on Sixteenth Century Hymn Tunes. This third volume of music by Seattle composer McKay begins with a concerto (1940) of such conservative style and containing such soaring and lyrical melodies that it might be taken for a work by Bruch. The suite on music composed by Louis Bourgeois in the 1500s is an attractive addition to 20th century string meditations on hymn tunes (should appeal to lovers of Dello Joio's Meditations as well as to much English string music of the last century) while the 1942 Sinfonietta augurs the development of a later style with a terser quality and harder-edged sound but also a more "American" sound to it; this music and the 14-minute Song (1953) have much more of the open-air quality one associates with Copland and Harris than the earlier pieces on this disc. Brian Reagin (violin), Ludmila Kovaleva (piano), National Radio Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine; John McLaughin Williams. Naxos American Classics 8.559225 (U.S.A.) 01G003 $6.98

RODOLFO HALFFTER (1900-1987): Orchestral Works, Vol. 1 - Obertura concertante for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 5, Don Lindo de Almería, Op. 7b, La madrugada del panadero, Op. 12a, Obertura festiva, Op. 21, Paquliztli for 7 Percussionists, Op. 46. The music of this member of the Halffter family is most closely allied to Stravinsky in its off-beat accents and clear-cut rhythmic and tonal contrasts and to Milhaud in its frequent use of bitonality while the Spanish dance and folk material in the two ballet suites points to the crucial early influence on Rodolfo of Falla. Even the late (1987) Paquiliztli, for seven percussion players, belongs to this style, having nothing of the avant-garde about it whatsoever. THis should be a very colorful and attractive series. Orchestra of the Comunidad de Madrid; José Ramón Encinar. Naxos Spanish Classics 8.557623 (New Zealand) 01G004 $6.98

JOAQUÍN RODRIGO (1901-1999): Piano Music, Vol. 1 - A l'ombre de Torre Bermeja, 4 Pieces, Pastoral, Preludio de añoranza, 2 Berceuses, Bagatela, 4 estampas andaluzas, Sonada de adiós, Serenata española, Air de ballet sur le nom d'une jeune fille, Zarabanda lejana, 5 piezas del siglo XVI, Fantasía que contrahace la harpa de Ludovico. Rodrigo's piano music contains nostalgic miniatures, tributes to baroque Spanish music and some pieces with subtle employment of contemporary harmonies and textures in addition to the expected neo-Romantic excursions into Iberian folklore and this new series, with notes of greater extent than usual on Naxos, by a scholar with three books out on Rodrigo, must now be the best version to collect. Artur Pizarro (piano). Naxos Spanish Classics 8.557272 (New Zealand) 01G005 $6.98

LJUBICA MARIC (1909-2003): Byzantine Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, Ostinato Super Thema Octoïcha for Piano, Harp and String Orchestra, Songs of Space for Mixed Choir and Orchestra, Threshold of Dream for Soprano, Alto, Narrator and Chamber Orchestra. One of the most unusual releases ever to come from Chandos, this issue is devoted to one of Serbia's most prominent and important composers of the 20th century (recordings made by Serbian Radio in 1964 and 1977). Three of the four works here are from a cycle based on the eight modes of medieval Serbian (Byzantine Orthodox) church music: the 1959 concerto generally introverted and meditative with a bronzed, glowing orchestral accompaniment lacking woodwinds and heavy on brass, a nine-minute cantata (Threshold) from 1961 setting early 20th century Serbian surrealist poetry and the Ostinato (1963), a seven-minute piece with tortured string sounds and an eternally pearling, quite piano part. Songs of Space (1956) sets medieval Bosnian tombstone inscriptions in a dense tissue of expressive orchestral sound based on medieval modality (and using bimodality) which, with its long-breathed, contemplative chorus, has some affinities to the much later music of John Tavener. Serbian (Cyrillic)-English texts. Dragoslava Nikolic (soprano, alto), Olga Jovanovic, Ljubica Maric (pianos), Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra, RTV Belgrade Chamber Orchestra; Oskar Danon, RTV Belgrade Mixed Choir and Symphony Orchestra; Mladen Jagust. Chandos Historical 10267 (England) 01G006 $13.98

NIKOLAI LOPATNIKOFF (1903-1976): Symphony No. 3, Op. 35 (1/26/60), Violin Concerto, Op. 26 (3/12/45). Those who remember this composer's Festival Overture from our July 2003 catalogue can now hear two full-scale compositions courtesy of Pierian. The concerto (1941) has strongly contrapuntal outer movements surrounding a lyrical, faintly Russian Andante while the 1954 symphony is in four movements, in the same vigorous style, with plenty of lean melodies in the neo-Classical, Hindemithian style characteristic of this unjustly neglected composer. Joseph Fuchs (violin), National Orchestral Association; John Barnett, Leon Barzin. Pierian 0032 (U.S.A.) 01G007 $16.98

GUSTAF BENGTSSON (1886-1965): Violin Concerto in B Minor, Cello Concerto in A Minor. Some twenty years ago, Sterling issued a disc containing Bengtsson's Symphony No. 1 (the Sterling catalogue number was 1008). That was a much earlier work than the two concertos here but there is nothing in the 1941 violin concerto which couldn't have been written 80 years earlier with its nearly 18-minute-long, Brahmsian first movement whose prominent, rhythmic main theme is instantly memorable. The slow movement is a lovely outpouring of cantilena melody and the finale a rondo brillante of similar rhythmic insistence to the first movement. The cello concerto (1932), amazingly, was found by some critics at the time to be "modern" but, aside from a more overt virtuosity demanded of the soloist, this is equally conservative, richly romantic and sure to appeal to all collectors of Swedish Late Romanticism. Tobias Ringborg (violin), Malmö Opera Orchestra; Mats Rondin, Tobias Ringborg. Sterling CDS-1063-2 (Sweden) 01G008 $16.98

YORK BOWEN (1884-1961): Fantasie Quartet for 4 Violas, Rhapsody for Viola and Piano, Melody for the G String, Op. 47, ARTHUR BLISS (1891-1975): Viola Sonata, FRANK BRIDGE (1979-1941): Lament for 2 Violas. Some rare English viola music distinguishes this attractive new release (the Bliss sonata has only one recording we know of, on Chandos from 1991), the most unusual being Bowen's 1910 viola quartet in which he amazingly makes four of the same instrument sound almost like a string quartet in the form so popular among English composers of the period and in his warm, late Romantic style which carries through unchanged to his 1955 Rhapsody. Bridge's Lament was performed by the composer and Lionel Tertis and, Bridge being a violist himself, is all any pair of performers could ask for while the 25-minute Bliss sonata (1933) fits well with its disc-mates, being generally Romantic in nature and not without touches of darkness and anxiety. Doris Lederer (viola), Dariusz Korcz, Jennifer Cassin, Franklin Shaw (other violas), Bruce Murray (piano). Centaur CRC 2692 (U.S.A.) 01G009 $16.98

DOROTHY HOWELL (1898-1982): For Violin and Piano: Sonata, The Moorings, Rosalind, Phantasy, For Solo Piano: Sonata, Humoresque, 5 Studies. Howell taught at the Royal Academy of Music for 46 years and wrote over 130 works, most in the smaller forms (but her early tone-poem Lamia created a stir and made her famous overnight in 1919) of which we have 79 minutes of examples here. Late Romanticism of a sometimes Elgarian bent is tempered by suggestions of post-Romantic French music (not just Impressionism) in most of these works but the 1955 piano sonata tends mostly toward the former, as does the Phantasy which won Howell the Cobbett Prize in 1921. Lorraine McAslan (violin), Sophia Rahman (piano). Dutton Epoch CDLX 7144 (England) 01G010 $17.98

WALTER LEIGH (1905-1942): Student String Quartet, Sonatina for Viola and Piano, Trio for Flute, Oboe and Piano, Sonatina for Recorder and Piano, Music for String Orchestra, Reverie for Violin and Piano, Three Movements for String Quartet, Romance for Piano Quintet, Air for Treble Recorder and Piano. The exception to the rule of English composers being killed in the First World War, Leigh was killed in action in North Africa, leaving behind a small quantity of music ranging from a comic opera (Jolly Roger) to the somewhat well-known Concertino for harpsichord and strings which has been recorded several times. All of his chamber works are here and, with the exception of the early (1922) reverie and the undated Romance (a fine example of good salon music), they show the results of Leigh's studies in Germany with Hindemith (something only Arnold Cooke among English composers did at the time). Brief in length but pithy in content, laconic in the best sense of the term, they combine the Gebrauchtsmusik ethos of Hindemith with a natural English lyricism to attractive advantage. Locrian Ensemble. Dutton Epoch CDLX 7143 (England) 01G011 $17.98

WALTER BRAUNFELS (1882-1954): Concerto for Organ, Chorus and Orchestra, Op. 38, ANTON HEILLER (1923-1979): Organ Concerto, MAX BAUMANN (1917-1999): Presto from Concerto for Organ, Strings and Trumpet, Op. 70. Braunfels' is the major piece here, premiered by Günter Ramin and Furtwängler in 1928 in Leipzig, eschewing winds and using brass only in the second and fourth movements when the chorus is employed in two short, sacred texts. The late Romanticism of Mahler and Wagner is present almost throughout and the work ends with Bachian double fugue. On the other hand, Heiller's 1963 concerto has a neo-classical orientation suggestive of Hindemith, a complex rhythmic structure à la Stravinsky and harmonies ranging from jazz to Messiaen and Jehan Alain. The five-minute excerpt from Baumann's 1964 concerto is a virtuosic, perpetual motion toccata. German-English texts. Thomas Schuster (Austin organ of St. Raymond Catholic Church, Detroit), Assumption Grotto Chamber Orchestra; Eduard Perrone. Grotto Productions (no catalogue number) (U.S.A.) 01G012 $12.98

ERNST TOCH (1887-1964): Capriccetti, Op. 36, Kleinstadtbilder, Op. 49, Sonata, Op. 47, Burlesken, Op. 31, Konzert-Etüden, Op. 55. Everything here was written between 1923-31, half of the works being suites of very short character pieces, almost all of which are less than 90 seconds in length. Although there is enough atonality and "modern" harmonic writing to make it plain that we're in the 20th century, the whole affect of these sets of pieces is that of similar Characterstücke by Schumann (the Kleinstadtbilder even have Schumannian titles). The sonata, three movements lasting barely eight minutes, is hardly more involved but the ten concert etudes are much more virtuosic although hardly less approachable harmonically and Toch, in all these pieces, relies first and foremost on melody. Christian Siebert (piano). CPO 999 926 (Germany) 01G013 $15.98

MARC-ANTOINE CHARPENTIER (1643-1704): Dialogues et Élévations, H. 253, 254, 259, 279, 407, 425, 438 & 439. This is a recording of a concert given by the artists below which focused on music for the adoration of the body of Christ during Mass. A couple of organ pieces by de Grigny and a Chaconne by Louis Couperin space out a series of four Elevations sandwiched between three Dialogues - all composed by Charpentier in an attempt not to recreate a religious service but to draw one's attention to the intensity and spirituality of the composer's response to the Mass elements. Latin-English texts. Edwige Parat, Noémi Rime (sopranos), François Bazola (bass), Jean-Louis Charbonnier (viola da gamba), Olivier Vernet (Scherrer organ of Saint-Antoine l'Abbaye). Ligia Digital Lidi 0202150-04 (France) 01G014 $17.98

ANTONIO VIVALDI (1678-1741): Arsilda, Regina di Ponto, RV 700. First recording of Vivaldi's third opera, with which, in 1716, he cemented his arrival on the Venetian scene, his oratorio Juditha Triumphans also being premiered that year at the Conservatory to equally great success. Lavishly orchestrated, alternating brilliant solo arias with large choral sections, Arsilda became the launching pad for the brief Venetian opera revival which Vivaldi almost single-handedly initiated. 3 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Simonetta Cavalli, Lucia Sciannimanico (mezzos), Elena Cecchi Fedi, Nicky Kennedy (sopranos), Joseph Cornwell (tenor), Coro da Camera Italiano, Modo Antiquo; Federico Maria Sardelli. CPO 999 740 (Germany) 01G015 $47.98

ANTONIO VIVALDI (1678-1741): Orlando furioso, RV 728. Not to be confused with Orlando finto pazzo, a 1713 piece we offered within the past year in this series, this Orlando dates from 1727 and uses the same libretto and a bit of the same music (from the end of Act 2). The music ranges from traditional to the latest in Neapolitan fashion with a high proportion of arioso and accompanied recitiative. 3 CDs for the price of 2. Italian-English libretto. Marie-Nicole Lemieux (contralto), Jennifer Larmore (mezzo), Veronica Cangemi (soprano), Philippe Jaroussky (countertenor), Chur "Les Éléments", Ensemble Matheus; Jean-Christophe Spinosi. Opus 111 OP 30393 (France) 01G016 $33.98

ANTONIO VIVALDI (1678-1741): Il Tigrane, RV 740. Dating from 1724, this was Act II of a compilation opera whose sandwiching acts (no longer extant) were written by Benedetto Micheli and Nicola Romaldi. Coming from the midway point of his operatic career, its full-length (68 minutes) provides mature but rare Vivaldi in a First Recording. Italian-English libretto. Artur Stefanowicz (countertenor), Timothy Bench (tenor), Mónika González (soprano), Savaria Baroque Orchestra; Pál Németh. Hungaroton HCD 32320 (Hungary) 01G017 $17.98

GEORG PHILIPP TELEMANN (1681-1767): Cantatas: Durchsuche dich, o stolzer Geist, Ergeuß dich zur Salbung der schmachtenden, Ach Seele, hungre, dürste, Erquicktes Herz, sei voller Freuden, Trio Sonata in A Minor, Recorder Sonata in A Minor. We wish we could tell you from what part of his career these four (of Telemann's 1400) cantatas date but the French-only notes are concerned only with describing them as French-sounding, lacking Germanic contrapuntal gravitas... Still, Telemann collectors won't mind the lack of documentation. German-French texts. Jean-Michel Fumas (countertenor), L'Ensemble Stravagance. Ligia Digital Lidi 0202091-00 (France) 01G018 $17.98

GEORG PHILIPP TELEMANN (1681-1767): Concerto in E Major for Transverse Flute, Oboe d'amore, Viola d'amore, Strings and Continuo, Concerto in A for Oboe d'amore, Strings and Continuo, JOHANN CHRISTOPH GRAUPNER (1683-1760): Concerto in G for Flauto d'amore, Oboe d'amore, Viola d'amore, Strings and Continuo, ANTONIO VIVALDI (1678-1741): Concerto in D for Viola d'amore, Strings and Continuo, RV 392. In addition to bringing us concertos specializing in the lower pitched "d'amore" family of instruments, this collection also brings us a first recording of another attractive Graupner concerto, continuing his recent renaissance via recordings (and how many recordings can there be of a flauto d'amore?). Ensemble Il Gardellino; Marcel Ponseele. Accent ACC 24151 (Belgium) 01G019 $17.98

GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL (1685-1759): Sosarme, Re di Media. An end-of-copyright reissue of a classic recording by the forces which performed this opera in 1948 for the first time since its 1734 revival (the original premiere was in 1732), containing several exquisite arias and duets for the two main characters (the first two singers listed below). 2 CDs. Mono. Italian libretto. Alfred Deller (countertenor), Margaret Ritchie (soprano), Nancy Evans (mezzo), William Herbert (tenor), Ian Wallace (bass), Saint Anthony Singers, Saint Cecilia Orchestra; Anthony Lewis. Original 1955 L'Oiseau Lyre LP release. Urania URN 22.270 (Italy) 01G020 $29.98

JOSEPH BODIN DE BOISMORTIER (1689-1755): Suite pour la viole, Op. 31, Suite de pièces que l'on peut jouer seul, Op. 40, Sonate VI à 4 parties, Op. 34, Sonate III for Bassoon, Op. 26, Sonate II for Cello, Op. 50, Sonate III à 2, Op. 14. After providing three discs of ballets and concertos for Naxos, this group now moves to the Spanish baroque specialist label for a disc of sonatas and suites for low-voiced instruments which follow Marais (the viola suite) and Forqueray and blend French harmonies with Italian vocal qualities. Le Concert Spirituel; Hervé Niquet. Glossa GCD 921609 (Spain) 01G021 $18.98

JOSEPH BODIN DE BOISMORTIER (1689-1755): Trio Sonatas in G, Op. 28/3 and in E Minor, Op. 12/5, Sonata in D, Op. 91/1, 5iéme Suite in D Minor, Op. 35, Suite in A, Op. 59/4, Sonata in E Minor, Op. 29/5, Gentilesse in G, Op. 45/5, Diverses Pièces de Violes in C, Op. 31. A perfect counterpart to the above, this disc contains several sonatas for two various types of recorder, two flutes, single flute, a short harpsichord suite and a suite for viola da gamba and bass (theorbo, chamber organ and baroque guitar are the instruments from which the continuo is chosen) to generally emphasize the instruments at the upper end of the pitch spectrum while giving us even more of this well-written, highly stylish music in the les goïts reunies style. Passacaglia. Linn Records SACD HybridCKD 204 (Scotland) 01G022 $17.98

CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH (1714-1788): Complete Keyboard Concertos, Vol. 13 - Concerto in D Minor, H.425, Sonatina in F, H.463, Sonatina in C, H.457. The concerto is from 1747, originally for flute and played here in a later keyboard arrangement; neither has ever been published and the piece is a strongly dramatic addition to the early Sturm und Drang repertoire. The two Sonatinas (all of which date from 1762-64), intended for popular performance, are simpler and more easily melodic. Miklós Spányi (tangent piano), Concerto Armonico. BIS CD-1307 (Sweden) 01G023 $17.98

GOTTFRIED AUGUST HOMILIUS (1714-1785): Da es nun Abend ward, Die mit Tränen säen, Was hast du, Mench?, Her, wenn Trübsal da ist, Die richtig für sich gewandelt haben, Ihr sollt nicht sorgen und sagen, Machet die Tore weit, Wünschet Jerusalem Glück, So gehst du nun, mein Jesu, hin, Siehe, das ist Gottes Lamm, Herr, lehre uns bedenken, Unser Leben währet siebenzig Jahr, Selig sind die Toten, Sehet, welch eine Liebe, Ob jemand sündiget, Seid fröhlich in Hoffnung, Unser Vater in Himmel. Almost unknown today, Homilius, Kantor of the Kreuzkirche in Dresden, was an important link between Bach and the Classical period, writing 62 motets (almost all of them dating from the 1760s) in the empfindsam Stil, relying on simplicity and melody, occasionally going beyond the bounds of normal motet composition by adding dramatic touches. German-English texts. Stuttgart Chamber Choir; Frieder Bernius. Carus 83.210 (Germany) 01G024 $17.98

JOSEPH HAYDN (1732-1809): String Trios, Vol. 2 - Nos. 6 in E Flat, No. 7 in A, No. 10 in F, No. 11 in E and No. 12 in B Flat. For the unusual (to us) combination of two violins and cello (perhaps a reference to the baroque trio sonata), Haydn's 18 surviving string trios all date from before 1767 and show the beginnings of classical sonata form. Vienna Philharmonic Trio. Camerata CMCD 28042 (Japan) 01G025 $17.98

JOHANN GOTTFRIED ECKARD (1735-1809): 6 Sonatas, Op. 1, 2 Sonatas, Op. 2, Menuet d'Exaudiet avec des variations. First recordings of the surviving keyboard works (published in 1763/4 and 1773) of a noted performer and teacher who spent almost his entire career in Paris. Two sonatas are dramatic, redolent of German Romanticism; the remainder have the broad melodies and slow harmonic changes of Italy and Italian opera. 2 CDs. Miklós Spányi (clavichord, tangent piano). Hungaroton HCD 32313-14 (Hungary) 01G026 $35.98

JOSEF MYSLIVECEK (1737-1781): 6 Symphonies (1772), Symphony in G Minor, Op. 1/5, Overtures to Il Demetrio, Romolo ed Ersilia, L'Olimpiade, Motezuma and Il Demofoonte. First period-instrument recordings for these pioneering symphonies of 1772 which had a significant influence on the young Mozart's Salzburg period symphonies of 1772-3. The overtures date from 1769 to 1778 and have the slightly more dramatic character which linked them to the following stage drama while the early (1764) Op. 1 symphony, Myslivecek's only such work in a minor key, seemingly pre-echoes the Sturm und Drang musical movement with its restless and emotional character. 2 CDs. L'Orfeo Baroque Orchestra; Michi Gaigg. CPO 777 050 (Germany) 01G027 $31.98

LUIGI BOCCHERINI (1743-1805): Cello Concertos, Vol. 3 - No. 9 in B Flat, No. 10 in D, No. 11 in C and No. 12 in E Flat. This final volume of 1760s concertos displays more of the youthful Boccherini's penchant for fast passage-work in the very highest register of the instrument, along with additional double-stopping to increase the difficulties. Also included is the newest concerto, the twelfth, discovered only in 1987. Raphael Wallfisch (cello), Northern Chamber Orchestra; Nicholas Ward. Naxos 8.557589 (New Zealand) 01G028 $6.98

Felicja Blumental Classical Piano Reissues

Collectors of rare Classical piano concertos will remember many of the recordings on the four discs below. Valuable reissues since many works remain otherwise unavailable.

RAFAEL ANGLES (1730-1826): Adagietto, Fugato in B Flat, ANTONIO SOLER (1729-1783): Sonata in G Minor, MATEO FERRER (1788-1864): Sonata in D, JOSEPH FREIXANET (b.c. 1730): Sonata in A, ANON.: Toccata in C, CARLOS SEIXAS (1704-1742): Fugue in A Minor, Minuet in A Minor, Toccata in D Minor, Sonatas in C, F Minor, C Minor & D Minor. Felicja Blumental (piano). Brana Records BR 0022 (England) 01G029 $17.98

MUZIO CLEMENTI (1752-1832): Piano Concerto in C (Prague Symphony Orchestra; Alberto Zedda. 1980), WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756-1791): Piano Concerto No. 9 in E Flat "Jeunehomme", K.271 (Mozarteum Orchestra of Salzburg; Leopold Hager. 1976). Felicja Blumental (piano). Brana Records BR 0008 (England) 01G030 $17.98

FRANZ ANTON HOFFMEISTER (1754-1812): Piano Concerto in D, (Prague Chamber Orchestra; Alberto Zedda. 1967), LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827): Piano Concerto No. 1 in C, Op. 15 (Vienna Symphony Orchestra; Robert Wagner. 1962). Felicja Blumental (piano). Brana Records BR 0009 (England) 01G031 $17.98

CARL STAMITZ (1745-1801): Piano Concerto in F (Württemberg Chamber Orchestra; Jörg Faerber), GEORG JOSEPH VOGLER (1749-1814): Variaions on "Marlborough, s'en va-t-en guerre"(Prague New Chamber Orchestra; Alberto Zedda. 1963), CARL CZERNY (1791-1857): Variations on a Theme by Haydn for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 73 (Vienna Chamber Orchestra; Helmut Froschauer. 1968). Felicja Blumental (piano). Brana Records BR 0024 (England) 01G032 $17.98

CARL STAMITZ (1745-1801): 6 Duos for Violin and Viola, Op. 18, Duo in F. First recordings of middle-period Stamitz duos, early Classical in style with instruments equally treated. Vilmos Szabadi (violin),Péter Bársony(viola). Hungaroton HCD 32282 (Hungary) 01G033 $17.98

NARCISO CASANOVAS (1747-1799): Mass, 2 Salve Reginas, Lauda Sion, Ego sum, Genitori II, O, quam suavis, Correado and Partita for Organ. A reconstruction of a late 18th century Mass in Catalonia based on music by the last pre-Classical chapel master at the renowned monastery of Montserrat. Escolania de Montserrat, Capella de Monjos and Capella de Musica de Montserrat; Jordi-Agustí Pigué. Discant CD-E 1007 (Spain) 01G034 $18.98

ANTONIO ROSETTI (c.1750-1792): Flute Concertos in G, C, F and in G. First recordings of all four concertos, all but one dating from the late 1770s and the first listed above from around 1782.. The quality Rosetti captures is caught perfectly by the compoer's contemporary, musicologist Ernst Ludwig Gerber: "...his works are remarkable for their peculiar and agreeably ingratiating, sweetly dallying tone, with his writing for wind insturments in particular often proving to be divinely beautiful." Everything is perfectly and tastefully proportioned, with proper injections here and there of a melancholy mood and with bright, dancing finales, often inspired by Bohemian folk music. Prague Chamber Orchestra; Bruno Meier (flute). Orfeo C 095 031 A (Germany) 01G035 $18.98

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756-1791): Ascanio in Alba, K.111. Mozart's second Milan opera followed Mitridate in October of 1770 and, though its pastoral plot is slender, it shows the young composer improving by leaps and bounds, with several brilliant arias for solo characters and very distinctive choral writing. 3 CDs. Budget-price. Italian libretto. Maaike Beekman, Claudia Patacca, Nicola Wemyss, Claron McFadden (sopranos), Tom Allen (tenor), Coqu Vocal Ensemble, Musica ad Rhenum; Jed Wentz. Brilliant Classics 92347 (Netherlands) 01G036 $16.98

BERNAT BERTRAM (1774-1815): Symphony in E Flat, ANSELM VIOLA (1738-1798): Bassoon Concerto. Bertran is a real discovery - a Catalan composer who left only two non-sacred works, his symphony of 1798 being a fully-fledged, four-movement work lasting 30 minutes and reminiscent of, say, middle-period Haydn. Viola's concerto dates from 1791 but is more conservative, at times, pre-Classical, though still a valuable addition to the repertory. Josep Borràs (bassoon), Musica Aeterna Bratislava; Peter Zajícek. Discant CD-E 1005 (Spain) 01G037 $18.98

ALBERT LORTZING (1801-1851): Der Waffenschmied. Premiered in 1846, this comic opera with the usual lover-in-disguise, unsure young maiden and crabby old father, has some of the finest orchestral writing in Lortzing's uvre and is generally in the character of and laid out like Zar und Zimmermann. This may have had little or no U.S. distribution at the time of its release, so Romantic collectors, check your shelves! 2 CDs. No libretto. John Tomlinson (bass), Ruth Ziesak (soprano), Boje Skovjus (baritone), Bavarian Radio Chorus, Munich Radio Orchestra; Leopold Hager. Original 1996 Calig release. Profil PH04081 (Germany) 01G038 $33.98

ALESSANDRO NINI (1805-1880): La Marescialla d'Ancre. Nini wrote all seven of his operas in a space of only ten years and his second, recorded here, was premiered in 1839 and remained very popular throughout Italy for twenty more years. It should interest all collectors of Italian opera with its similarities to both late Donizetti and early Verdi. 2 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Chiara Taigi (soprano), Maurizio Comencini (tenor), Marzio Giossi (baritone), Coro Lirico Marchigiano "Vincenzo Bellini", Orchestra Filarmonica Marchigiana; Fabrizio Maria Carminati. Bongiovanni GB 2362/63 (Italy) 01G039 $33.98

ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810-1856): Songs, Vol. 9 - Liedchen von Marie und Papa, WoO 26/3, Liederalbum für die Jugend, Op. 79, Soldatenlied, WoO 6, From Klavieralbum für die Jugend, Op. 68: No. 14, Kleine Studie, No. 20 Ländliches Lied, No. 23 Reiterstück, No. 13 Mai, lieber Mai, No. 9 Volksliedchen, No. 16 Erster Verlust, No. 29 Fremder Mann, No. 6 Armes Waisenkind, No. 12 Knecht Rupprecht, No. 42 Figurierter Choral, No. 7 Jägerliedchen, No. 38 Winterzeit I, No. 35 Mignon, No. 36 Lied Italenischer Marinari, No. 21 * * *. Since the songs of this cycle (generally overlooked by performers and recording artists due to their lack of drama) and the piano pieces of Op. 79 have several shared themes and the song cycle has too few piano postludes and preludes to vary the fairly modest and simple songsetting, pianist Johnson has interspersed 15 of the 43 piano pieces amongs the lieder in order to provide a performing edition. German-English texts. Felicity Lott, Ann Murray (sopranos), Graham Johnson (piano). Hyperion CDJ 33109 (England) 01G040 $17.98

ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810-1856): Andante and Variations for 2 Pianos, 2 Cellos and Horn, JAN LADISLAV DUSSEK (1760-1812): Concerto in B Flat for 2 Pianos and Orchestra. Every now and then a release comes along from a source which makes the whole thing totally mystifying: here is a 1968 recording (previously issued? who knows?) of duo pianists who studied during World War II under Robert Casadesus. The Dussek is otherwise available but Schumann completists may not have the original version (1843) of the op. 46 Andante for two pianos whose extra original instrumentation proved bothersome enough to coordinate that the composer ditched the cellos and horn. Toni and Rosi Grünschlag (pianos), Vienna Volksoper Orchestra; Paul Angerer. Centaur CRC 2635 (U.S.A.) 01G041 $16.98

FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886): Solo Piano: La Notte, Wiegenlied, Nuage gris, Am Grabe Richard Wagners, Czardas obstinée, Abschied, Unstern! Sinistre, Disastro, Cello and Piano: Schlummerlied im Grabe, Elégie No. 2, Romance oubliée, Die Zelle in Nonnen-werth, La lugubre gondola. We offer this new recording for the sounds offered by period Erard pianos - an 1886 for the solo pieces and an 1897 "baby grand" for the pieces with cello (Liszt was a lifelong champion of Erard and friend of its founders in his younger years) - which heighten the unusual harmonies and extended tonality of these funereal late pieces. Jos van Immerseel (Erard pianos), Sergei Istomin (cello). Zig Zag Territories ZZT 040902 (France) 01G042 $18.98

MAX BRUCH (1838-1920): Serenade for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 75, Scottish Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 46. Collectors will want the almost unknown Serenade, a late work from 1900 which lasts 40 minutes and whose four movements of equal length came originally from an attempt to write a fourth violin concerto. It's as attractive as anything Bruch wrote and as conservative - its date would not be suggested by the Schumannian and Mendelssohnian early Romanticism on display here. Maxim Fedotov (violin), Russian Philharmonic Orchestra; Dmitry Yablonsky. Naxos 8.557395 (New Zealand) 01G043 $6.98

JACQUES OFFENBACH (1819-1880): Concerto militaire, Concerto Rondo, Deux âmes au ciel, élégie, Op. 25, Introduction et Valse mélancolique, Op. 14, Réverie au bord de la mer, La course en traîneau . Along with the two concertos (the militaire having been recorded by Ofra Harnoy almost 20 years ago and dating from 1847-8; the Concerto Rondo coming from 1851, a kaleidoscopic crazy-quilt of every register and emotion the cello is capable of), we are presented with four shorter pieces originally composed for cello and piano. The two with opus numbers were co-written by Friedrich von Flotow; all were orchestrated by Heinz Geese (a cross-over orchestra conductor and arranger a la Naxos' Peter Breiner). In order, they are a weepy salon tear-jerker, a charming little waltz, a rocking barcarolle and another in the genre of "musical sleigh-ride". Guido Schiefen (cello), Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra; David de Villiers, Gérard Oskamp. CPO 777 069 (Germany) 01G044 $15.98

PETER TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893): Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 36 (transcr. S. Taneyev [1856-1915]), Romeo and Juliet (transcr. Nadezhda Purgold [1948-1919]), Russian Folk-Songs, Nos. 10, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 23, 27, 31-34, 42, 47-49. Transcription collectors will love this release - one can't get more authentic than, in Taneyev, Tchaikovsky's student and Moscow premiere soloist in the first piano concerto and who was Nadezhda Purgold? Mrs. Rimsky-Korsakov, a brilliant pianist and arranger whom Tchaikovsky used more than once. The folk-songs were commissioned by the publisher Jurgenson and the perfomers here have chosen a selection including several which will be instantly recognizable as the sources for themes in works by Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky himself. Goldstone and Clemmow (piano four hands). Divine Art 25020 (England) 01G045 $16.98

ANTONÍN DVORÁK (1841-1904): 7 Intermezzi for Small Orchestra, B15, American Suite, Op. 98a, Mazurka for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 49, Rondo for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 94, Silent Woods for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 68/5, Polonaise in E Flat, B100, Nocturne in B, Op. 40, Polka in B Flat, Op. 53A/1, 5 Prague Waltzes, B99. Very few of us will have known of the existence of the Intermezzi of 1867; these prove to be very dramatic and accomplished pieces in the style of operatic entr'actes and, at 24 minutes in length, make for very pleasurable listening. A couple of other almost unknown pieces are also included in this desirable collection. Alexander Trostianski (violin), Russian Philharmonic Orchestra; Dmitry Yablonsky (cello). Naxos 8.557352 (U.S.A.) 01G046 $6.98

ALAN GRAY (1855-1935): Sonata No. 2 in A Flat, WILLIAM WOLSTENHOLME (1865-1931): Sonata No. 1 in F, EDWARD HOPKINS (1818-1901): Sonata in A, WILLIAM FAULKES (1863-1933): Sonata in D Minor. This second volume of "Victorian Organ Sonatas" brings works composed between 1886 and 1900, three of them the sort of robust, grand and substantial musical equivalents of roast beef one would expect from the era and Hopkins' more understated, refined and gently lyrical work. John Kitchen (Hill organ of Coats Memorial Church, Paisley, Scotland). Priory PRCD 805 (England) 01G047 $16.98

A New Raff Bonanza

JOACHIM RAFF (1822-1882): Symphony No. 4, Op. 167, Concert-Ouvertüre, Op. 123, Overtures: Benedetto Marcello, Dame Kobold, Die Parole. The fourth was Raff's shortest symphony (only 32 minutes here) and, perhaps, the most full of his easily flowing melodies. The three comic opera overtures are really more Italian than German in nature with their broad cantilenas and rhythmically pointed themes while the concert overture is more "Germanic" but only as far as Mendel-ssohn! Bamberg Symphony; Hans Stadlmair. Tudor 7113 (Switzerland) 01G048 $17.98 >

JOACHIM RAFF (1822-1882): 4 Overtures to Shakespeare's Plays: The Tempest, Othello, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Elegie for Orchestra, WoO 48, Fest-Ouvertüre, Op. 117. Only two of the four 1879 Shakespeare overtures (Macbeth and Romeo) were recorded in the Marco Polo series; The Tempest is the most striking of them all, starting out in medias res with violent, turbulent music which then is succeeded by several winning themes depicting various aspects and characters of the play. Othello, with its three main characters is the easiest in which to identify the themes with the figures but all four are virtually miniature tone poems in which the fun is in trying to guess which part of the play Raff is depicting at the time. The Elegie was the original slow movement of the Symphony No. 10 while the Fest-Ouvertüre of 1864 is glittering public music written to garner prestige for both Raff and its dedicatee, which it does brilliantly. Bamberg Symphony; Hans Stadlmair. Tudor 7128 (Switzerland) 01G049 $17.98 >

JOACHIM RAFF (1822-1882): String Quartet No. 2 in A, Op. 90, String Quartet No. 6 in C Minor "Suite Älterer Form", Op. 192/1. The second quartet (1857) has stylistic traits similar to Mendelssohn (as in much early Raff) throughout its four-movement, 38-minute length as well as the expected marvellous melodic invention with the cello being gifted with lovely solo melodies in two of the movements. Dating from 1874, the sixth is in five-movement neo-baroque suite form ("Prelude", "Menuet", "Gavotte and Musette", "Aria" and "Gigue") in which archaic elements such as fugues and chorales rub shoulders with romantic introductory and bridge passages with the Aria being practically a miniature violin concerto. Quartetto di Milano. Tudor 7116 (Switzerland) 01G050 $17.98 >

JOACHIM RAFF (1822-1882): Violin Sonata no. 1 in E Minor, Op. 73, Chromatische Sonate for Violin and Piano in G Minor, Op. 129 (Violin Sonata No. 4), Violin Sonata No. 3 in D, Op. 128. Tudor begins its violin sonata series with one work yet to appear on cpo - the 1867 Chromatic Sonata, a single-movement work of 15 minutes whose harmonic asperity and unusual piano writing suggest a reduction of an orchestral piece. It was dedicated to Vieuxtemps and suggests such other Romantic experiments as Spohr's Violin Concerto No. 8 and the Weimar composers Liszt and Draeseke. Ariadne Daskalakis (violin), Roglit Ishay (piano). Tudor 7122 (Switzerland) 01G051 $17.98 >

Danish Piano Concertos, Vol. 3

OTTO MALLING (1848-1915): Piano Concerto in C Minor, Op. 43, LUDVIG SCHYTTE (1848-1909): Piano Concerto in C Sharp Minor, Op. 28, SIEGFRIED SALOMON (1885-1962): Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54. Malling's 1890 concerto, which has some instantly memorable melodic invention and whose Romanticism is the progressive sort espoused by Grieg rather than the conservative sort of Gade, was recorded three or so years ago (and offered by us) on Dacapo. Pianist Marshev, who's been recording the big, virtuoso concerto standard repertoire for Danacord also, tells us that Schytte's 1884 concerto is the most technically demanding of all the great romantic piano concerti (!); not highly personal in style, the piece has turbulent and stormy outer movements with multiple opportunities for display and a quiet, melodic Intermezzo for contrast. Salomon's piece dates from as late as 1947 but the reason he is not known these days is because at that time he was still writing in a very Rachmaninovian style; in fact, his first movement could also have been from a soundtrack for a contemporary Hollywood drama and is followed by a dreamy andante espressivo and a scherzando finale. Oleg Marshev (piano), Aalborg Symphony Orchestra; Matthias Aeschbacher. Danacord DACOCD 597 (Denmark) 01G052 $16.98

ARTHUR SULLIVAN (1842-1900): The Contrabandista, The Foresters. Dating from 1867 and coming the year after Cox and Box, The Contrabandista helped cement Sullivan's reputation for being a brilliant comic opera composer. Not only did it lay the groundwork for his immortal collaboration with Gilbert but it also was one of the first three native English comic operas ever composed at a time when Offenbach's popular operettas were being heard in bleeding chunks in England and English composers were looking for a way to create a native tradition. The Foresters was play by Tennyson which was produced in 1892 and for which Sullivan provided the 20 minutes of attractive song and choral music recorded here and which fill out a good, long (76 minute) disc of rarities. Libretto and texts included. Claire Rutter (soprano), Frances McCafferty (alto), Ashley Catling (tenor), Donald Maxwell, Richard Suart (baritones), Geoffrey Moses (bass), The New London Orchestra; Ronald Corp. Hyperion CDA 67486 (England) 01G053 $17.98

HENRY WALFORD DAVIES (1869-1941): Everyman. Premiered in 1904, this oratotio had a rapturous reception and was performed all over Britain for the next several years but fell into oblivion after the First World War. Davies was a student of Parry and a member of the musical establishment in every way so the piece's resemblance now to Elgar and now, especially in orchestration, to Richard Strauss, is to be expected. The subject of the oratorio, a human soul crossing from life to death and his enlightenment as to what things are of true and lasting value, is very similar to Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius (1900) and, as just noted, this piece will appeal to collectors of Elgar and of other Romantic British choral music. Texts included. Pauls Putnins (bass), Andrew Staples (tenor), Elena Ferrari (soprano), Jennifer Johnston (contralto), London Oriana Choir, Kensington Symphony Orchestra; David Drummond. Dutton Epoch CDLX 7141 (England) 01G054 $17.98

LORENZO PEROSI (1872-1956): La Risurrezione di Lazzaro, Il gran Sasso d'Italia. It seems hard to believe that, when this oratorio was premiered at La Fenice in Venice in late July of 1898, that extra performances had to be added for the train-loads of people coming in from surrounding towns and cities as far away as Milan and that thousands of people had to be turned away from the theatre even so. Unlike his first few oratorios, Perosi added women's voices to this one (Maria and Martha, Lazarus' sisters) which provide a much greater variety not only to the sound but to the range of emotions. Still, Perosi's muse remains simple, devout and direct though this 84-minute work and collectors of his burgeoning rediscovery via CD will not hesitate. Dating from 1936, Il Gran Sasso (for which no information whatsover is provided in the notes, although the texts and translations are included) is a 23-minute lyric cantata addressed to a mountain which recalls much of the history of its region of Italy and much description of natural beauty (free of any Fascist associations, too), showing that late, secular Perosi is not markedly different from early, sacred Perosi. 2 CDs. Italian-English texts. Gianni Puddu (tenor), Marco Camastra (baritone), Emidio Guidotti (bass), Francesca Gavarini (soprano), Annamaria Popescu (mezzo), "I Polifonici" Chorus of Genoa, "Nuova Cameristica" Symphony Orchestra of Milan; Arturo Sacchetti. Bongiovanni GB 2364/65 (Italy) 01G055 $33.98

HUGO ALFVÉN (1872-1960): Symphony No. 4 "From the Outermost Skerries", Op. 39, Festival Overture, Op. 52. Alfvén's most opulent symphony (1919) tells a tale of youthful love in its four movements, from youthful male longing and the musings of a young girl to the consummation of their passion and the destruction of love (with voiceless soloists appearing first separately and then intertwined in the third movement and not present in the "break-up" music) - a sure bet for anyone who hasn't yet discovered this fine Romantic symphonist. The 1944 overture shows Alfvén's "public" side, a well-constructed occasional piece turned out in excellent formal style. Arndis Halla (soprano), Johann Valdimarsson (tenor), Iceland Symphony Orchestra; Niklas Willén. Naxos 8.557284 (New Zealand) 01G056 $6.98

JOAQUÍN TURINA (1882-1949): Piano Music, Vol. 1 - Danzas fantásticas, Op. 22, 3 danzas andaluzas, Op. 8, Danzas gitanas, Op. 55, Danzas gitanas, Op. 84, 2 danzas sobre temas populares españoles, Op. 41, Bailete: Suite de danzas del siglo XIX, Op. 79. Collectors who did not indulge in the complete 16-volume set of Turina piano works on the defunct Catalan label Editions Moraleda back when we offered them in the late 1990s will find this newly-begun series much more affordable and Turina's wider vision of the world, going beyond mere Iberian local color (although there is plenty of that too), should appeal to collectors of not only Spanish Romantic piano music. Jordi Masó (piano). Naxos Spanish Classics 8.557150 (New Zealand) 01G057 $6.98

RICHARD WETZ (1875-1935): Violin Concerto in B Minor, Op. 57, Hyperion for Baritone, Mixed Choir and Orchestra, Op. 32, Traumsommernacht for Female Choir and Orchestra, Op. 14. Works from opposite ends of Wetz' career tell us even more about this odd late Romantic. The short (six-minute) Traumsommernacht of 1904 is a gossamer-light little dream which floats on the æther but Hyperion (1912) dates from the composer's maturity and his almost-obsession with the poetry of the mentally disturbed poet Hölderlin. Lasting just over 16 minutes in this recording, this sounds like a mixture of Brahms' Alto Rhapsody, Mahler's choral-symphonic music and the finale of the Ring. The 30-minute concerto (1933) is a single-movement work in four sections whose seemingly chaotic flood of motifs, variations and transformations of material suggests that a deeper understanding of Hölderlin's effect of Wetz still needs to be studied. To the untutored listener, though, there is the same mixture of styles and echoes as in Hyperion, except that there is also a several-minute long segment which suggests that this is what a Bruckner violin concerto might have sounded like! German-English texts. Ulf Wallin (violin), Markus Köhler (baritone), Chamber Choir of the Musikhochschule Augsburg, Staatsphilhar-monie Rheinland-Pfalz; Werner Andreas Albert. CPO 999 933 (Germany) 01G058 $15.98

SERGEI RACHMANINOV (1873-1943): The Miserly Knight. One of Pushkin's "Little Tragedies", this almost complete setting of the original poet's text (1905) depicts the conflict between a miserly baron and his son and contains Rachmaninov's most accomplished scene as an opera composer - the 23-minute monologue second scene of the baron gloating in a dark cellar over his piles of gold. The composer favors the orchestra throughout in richly colored and sometimes viscerally exciting music of near-expressionistic intensity. Russian (Cyrillic)-English libretto. Mikhail Guzhov (bass), Vsevolod Grivnov (tenor), Andrei Baturkin (baritone), Russian State Symphony Orchestra; Valeri Polyansky. Chandos 10264 (England) 01G059 $17.98

NIKOLAI MEDTNER (1880-1951): Piano Works, Vol. 8 - 3 Arabesques, Op. 7, 2 Fairy Tales, Op. 8, Romantic Sketches for the Young, Op. 54, Second Improvisation, Op. 47. This series continues at last with a remarkable program. The 1904 Arabesques pulsate with bizarre, terrifying music which reflects the social and political disorder which the composer only had to look out of his window to appreciate while the following Fairy Tales continue with intimations of tragedy and disaster. The Romantic Sketches (1932) expectedly offer music of a calmer manner although they are neither comfortably "Romantic" nor really for "the Young". Even so, the most remarkable work here has to be the Improvisation which lasts half an hour and whose theme, 15 variations and conclusion may overtly be claimed to deal with sprites, water nymphs and other mythological characters but which seems to be rather more autobiographical at heart. Geoffrey Tozer (piano). Chandos 10266 (England) 01G060 $17.98

JOSEPH BONNET (1884-1944): Complete Works, Vol. 3 - 12 Pièces, Op. 10, Chorus and Organ: Ave Maria, Op. 2, 3 Pièces, Op. 6, 2 Pièces, Op. 8. The 20 minutes worth of sacred choral pieces, with their refined simplicity and depth of spirituality, contrast greatly with the improvisatory creativity of the dozen pieces (of which, two are particularly interesting - Poème tchèque, using several melodies based on popular Czech themes, and In Memoriam Titanic). Frédéric Ledroit (organ of Angoulême Cathedral and the Chapel of the College Sainte-Marie d'Antony [choral pieces]), Maîtrise Saint-Louis de Gonzague de Paris; Rémi Gousseau. Skarbo DSK 2038 (France) 01G061 $18.98

Robert Craft conducts 20th Century Classics

ARNOLD SCHOENBERG (1874-1951): Gurrelieder. Apparently, the Schoenberg-Stravinsky series which Craft had been engaged in for Koch International Classics is now moving to Naxos with previously issued discs being reissued and new ones released. The reissues begin with this release of Schoenberg's most popular choral-orchestral work, part oratorio and part dramatic cantata, both opulently expressive and atonal, which details the obsessive love of King Valdemar for his dead Tove. No texts. 2 CDs. Stephen O'Mara (tenor), Melanie Diener (soprano), Jennifer Lane (mezzo), David Wilson-Johnson (bass), Martyn Hill (tenor), Ernst Haefliger (speaker), Simon Joly Chorale, Philarmonia Orchestra; Robert Craft. Original 2002 Koch International Classics release. Naxos 8.557518-19 (New Zealand) 01G062 $13.98

IGOR STRAVINSKY (1882-1971): Oedipus Rex (Edward Fox [speaker], Jennifer Lane [mezzo], Martyn Hill, Joseph Cornwell [tenors], David Wilson-Johnson [bass-baritone], Andrew Greenan [bass], Simon Joly Male Chorus, Philharmonia Orchestra; Robert Craft), Les Noces (Alison Wells [soprano], Susan Bickley [mezzo], Martyn Hill [tenor], Alan Ewing [basso profundo], Simon Joly Chorale, International Piano Quartet, Tristan Fry Percussion Ensemble; Robert Craft). Oedipus represents Stravinsky's 1920s neo-classicism at its peak while the 1923 version of Les Noces (for smaller ensemble) is a colorful representation of Russian folklore, depicting a peasant wedding. Craft is probably the most important living source we have for Stravinsky (sometimes controversially so) and his participation makes this recording of particular historical importance. Latin-English and Russian-English texts. Original 2001 Koch International Classics release. Naxos 8.557499 (New Zealand) 01G063 $6.98

ANTON WEBERN (1883-1945): Symphony, Op. 21, 6 Pieces for Large Orchestra, Op. 6 (revised version), 5 Canons for Soprano and 2 Clarinets, Op. 16, 3 Traditional Rhymes for Soprano, Op. 17, 3 Songs, Op. 18, Trio, Op. 20, Quartet, Op. 22, Variations for Piano, Op. 27, 4 Pieces for Violin and Piano, Op. 7, 3 Pieces for Cello and Piano, Op. 11, Concerto for 9 Instruments, Op. 24, SCHUBERT/WEBERN: 6 German Dances. Not previously released, this collection brings three of Webern's most well-known orchestral pieces with several very rarely heard vocal pieces and several of his most significant chamber works, all discussed with clarity and concision by Craft in his notes. Latin-English and German-English texts. Jennifer Welch-Babidge (soprano), Twentieth Century Classics Ensemble, Philharmonia Orchestra; Robert Craft. Naxos 8.557530 (New Zealand) 01G064 $6.98

LENNOX BERKELEY (1903-1989): Piano Concerto, Op. 29, 4 Poems of St. Teresa of Avila for Contralto and String Orchestra, Op. 27, MICHAEL BERKELEY (b.1948): Gethsemane Fragment, Trestessa for Cor Anglais, Viola and Orchestra. Volume 5 of this series continues with a very enjoyable piano concerto from father Lennox (1947), full of bravura writing and lyrical melodies in its outer movements with a lovely, quiet Andante. From the same year, the settings of a 16th century Spanish nun capture the variety of religious responses in the poetry, from anguished, almost erotic love in the first, to the pastoral joy of shepherds in the second and fourth with an intensely emotional third as the heart of the cycle. Son Michael's Gethsemane Fragment (1990) is a ten-minute tone poem suggested by part of the scene in the eponymous garden with his characteristic dissonance, aleatory writing and hard-won melody. Tristessa (2001) a 22-minute in memoriam piece which manages to combine a melancholy in the tradition of Dowland with the furious energy and intensity which recall the novelist to whom it is dedicated. Texts included. Howard Shelley (piano), Catherine Wyn-Rogers (contralto), Celia Craig (cor anglais), Steven Burnard (viola), BBC National Orchestra of Wales; Richard Hickox. Chandos 10265 (England) 01G065 $17.98

DAVID DIAMOND (b.1915): String Quartets, Vol. 4 - String Quartets Nos. 4 & 7, Night Music for Accordion and String Quartet. The 1951 fourth quartet is Diamond's longest at nearly 39 minutes and Harold Schonberg captured both it and the composer's quartet style in general very well in a piece written after its premiere in 1957: "...violent, strenuous, long, complicated and dissonant...undeniable power and intensity. It may be that a small-sized book could be written about the formal construction of the work; its thematic inter-relationships, its voice leading and its unusual technical devices." Much the same, of course, can be said for the seventh quartet of 1964 although there is more of a relaxed feel to many segments of the work. Completely different from the series of string quartets is 1961's Night Music, a nine-minute work with a surprisingly sweet and poignant character which makes it instantly approachable. Carmelo Pino (accordion), Potomac String Quartet. Albany TROY 727 (U.S.A.) 01G066 $16.98

DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975): Anti-formalistic Rayok for Bass, Chorus and Orchestra, Prelude and Scherzo, Op. 11, Chamber Symphony, Op. 110 (arr. Barshai), ALFRED SCHNITTKE (1934-1998): Prelude in memory of Dmitri Shostakovich. We offer this new release for the very unusual Anti-formalistic Rayok (offered by us in August of 1997 on a Japanese label of very short availbility). Completed around 1958, shortly after the Second Congress of Soviet Composers attacked Shostakovich for "formalism", this appears to have been solely a means of letting off steam for the beleaguered composer and was never published in his lifetime. Lasting 19 minutes here, Rayok (which means "gallery" in Russian) features three Party Officials (here called "NumberOne", "NumberTwo" and "NumberThree" and performed by the same soloist) who have a meeting to discuss the theme of "Realism and Formalism in Music Today". Bitingly broad satire ensues, explaining why, even though Stalin had been dead several years, Shostakovich only performed it privately for friends. It's fortunate that he did since informal copies made by his friends are the main source for what we can at last hear today. No Russian text but English translation. Alexei Mochalov (bass), Choir of the Academy of Choral Art, Moscow Virtuosi; Vladmir Spivakov. Capriccio 67 115 (Germany) 01G067 $16.98

DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975): Jazz Suite No. 1, Jazz Suite No. 2, Overture on Russian and Kirghiz Themes, Op. 115, Novorossiisk Chimes, Festive Overture, Op. 96, Ballet Suites from The Bolt, Op. 27a, The Limpid Stream, Op. 39a and The Golden Age, Op. 22a, Film Score Suites from The Gadfly, Op. 97a and Hamlet. Although the suite from The Gadfly may be identical with the same forces' recording of it availble on Naxos, everything else here appears for the first time (the recording date on the box gives the month and days, but not the year!). Several items are quite rarely heard and, at a price per disc less than Naxos, this box is self-recommending to collectors who don't have the full-price Chandos recordings from 15 or so years ago. 3 CDs. Budget-price. National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine; Theodore Kuchar. Brilliant Classics 6735 (Netherlands) 01G068 $16.98

BENJAMIN BRITTEN (1913-1976): Canticle I, Op. 40, Canticle II, Op. 51, Canticle III, Op. 55, Canticle IV, Op. 86, Canticle V, Op. 89, The Heart of the Matter (rev. Pears). Volume 9 of the "English Song Series" deals with Britten's vivid, dramatic works which are part cantata and part song-cycle, all to texts with religious meaning though not all from scriptural sources and all intended for the high voice of Peter Pears, whose 1983 revision and expansion of Heart (a setting of Edith Sitwell poetry) received its first recording here. Texts of all but the last two Canticles in cluded. Philip Langridge (tenor), Jean Rigby (contralto), Gerald Finley (baritone), Derek Lee Ragin (countertenor), Dame Judi Dench (narrator), Steuart Bedford (piano), Frank Lloyd (horn), Osian Ellis (harp). Original 1996 Collins Classics release. Naxos 8.557202 (New Zealand) 01G069 $6.98

BENJAMIN BRITTEN (1913-1976): Simple Symphony for Strings, Op. 4, Temporal Variations for Oboe and Orchestra (orch. Colin Matthews), A Charm of Lullabies for Mezzo-Soprano and Orchestra, Op. 41 (arr. Matthews), Lachrymae for Viola and Orchestra, Suite on English Folk Tunes, Op. 90. Aside from the 1934 Simple Symphony, the remainder of the works here are fairly rare: the 1936 Temporal Variations, for oboe and piano orchestrated in 1993, an attractive piece which may have been a trial run for the Frank Bridge Variations, A Charm (1947), simple and attractive settings orchestrated in 1990, the better-known Lachrimae, Britten's 1976 orchestration of a 1950 work for viola and piano based on two Dowland songs, and the earthy, anything-but-sentimental folk song suite from 1974 whose style is quite unlike the received English pastoral tradition. Texts included. Nicholas Daniel (oboe), Catherine Wyn-Rogers (mezzo), Philip Dukes (viola), Northern Sinfonia; Steuart Bedford. Original 1998 Collins Classics release. Naxos 8.557205 (New Zealand) 01G070 $6.98

Aurora Special Imports - not released in the U.S.

STÅLE KLEIBERG (b.1958): The Bell Reef (Symphony No. 1), Kammersymfoni (Symphony No. 2), Lamento: Cissi Klein in memoriam. Inexplicably, Aurora's distributor has not offered this in the U.S. yet it is one of the most satisfying and exciting symphonic releases in years. Those who bought Kleiberg's requiem on Simax last month (11G069) have the appetizer; here is the main course! The composer's symphonic style blends the sensuousness of Debussy in its finely-wrought textures and its nuances of sound with the unmistakeable sound of the sea which pulses through almost all Scandinavian symphonists while also, in the "Chamber Symphony" of 1997, evolving a melody from haziness to ever greater definition in the manner of Sibelius. A Yiddish song is the basis for the Lamento, another of the trilogy of works dedicated to victims of the Nazis, along with last month's requiem, which winds its way through textures now reminiscent of the Polish modernism of Penderecki and now reminiscent of an updated Impressionism. The longest work here is the second symphony, whose three movements ("Departure", "Shipwreck" and "The Bell Reef") suggest the elements of a typical storm-at-sea tone poem and which, in addition to the influences noted above, has a brief reminder or two of Britten's Peter Grimes storm music. Trondheim Symphony Orchestra; Christian Eggen, Rolf Gupta, Eivind Aadland. Aurora ACD 5032 (Norway) 01G071 $17.98 >

ROLF WALLIN (b.1957): Ground for Cello and String Orchestra, Clarinet Concerto, Boyl for Ensemble, Concerto for Timpani and Orchestra. These orchestral works reveal a composer with a markedly individual voice, unafraid of confrontational argument and making free use of the resources of modernism. The works are sumptuously orchestrated, with many felicitous and original touches of instrumentation. The clarinet concerto is strongly dramatic, exposing two contrasting characters of the solo instrument; the rough Balkan folk instrument, and the refined classical concertante model. Boyl is a high-energy tour de force, an alchemical treatise expounded in music that is itself an alchemical combination of chaos theory and tightly organised structural construction. The timpani concerto is especially impressive, a work of great dynamism and cumulative dramatic power. Øystein Birkeland (cello), Norwegian Chamber Orchestra; Terje Tønnesen, Leif Arne Tangen Pedersen (clarinet), Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra; Christian Eggen, Oslo Sinfonietta; Eggen, Tom Vissgren (timpani), Oslo PO; Rolf Gupta. Aurora ACD 5011 (Norway) 01G072 $17.98 >

RAGNAR SÖDERLIND (b.1945): Cello Concerto, Op. 54, Symphony No. 4 "Sedimenti musicali", Op. 50. The concerto is a big-boned virtuosic vehicle, making considerable technical and expressive demands on the soloist. The music inhabits a very Romantically expressive world, heightened by the composer's integration into the work of autobiographical elements of personal and public loss and tragedy that occurred while the work was in progress. The symphony is somewhat in the Nielsen mode, a large and powerful symphonic canvas recalling also Pettersson, Rosenberg, and Romantic models, especially Mahler. A fine addfition to the Scandinavian symphonic tradition. Øystein Birkeland (cello), Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra of Radio Moscow; Vladimir Fedoseyev. Aurora ACD 5014 (Norway) 01G073 $17.98 >

RAGNAR SÖDERLIND (b.1945): String Quartet No. 2, Op. 71, MAGNAR ÅM (b.1952): The Silver Cord, LASSE THORESEN (b.1949): Aion. Åm's extended mystical meditation, contrapuntally intricate and rhythmically very flexible, is far richer and less austere than the apparently similarly motivated meditations of the post-minimalists of the Pärt and Tavener type. Söderlind's is more classically constructed, in three distinct movements which fulfill traditional rôles, and the work builds tension in a manner very obviously based in the Romantic tradition of musical argument and narrative progression. A leading academic figure in Norwegian music, Thoresen is also moved by his religious faith, and this is another meditative work. Here, however, his thorough researches in microtonality, spectralism and the intervallic relationships in Norwegian folk music produce a very different effect from Åm's work, and here the disorienting effects of the 'new' tonal language is integrated into a rich and seductive timbral context. Oslo String Quartet. Aurora ACD 5028 (Norway) 01G074 $17.98 >

CECILIE ORE (b.1954): A. - A Shadow Opera. This work has more in common with literature than most music, and certainly most opera. There is no singing, there are no melodies, and such harmony as is implied arises from the overlapping of ambiguously pitched electroacoustically transmuted gong sounds. The texts treat a wide range of subjects drawn from the shadowy, sinister underbelly of history - hence the work is described by its creators as a 'shadow opera'. War, death, atrocity, the obscenity of 'ethnic cleansing' are all treated here, against an ominous and oppressive background of strange sounds. The voices, speaking a variety of languages, are also transmuted and multi-tracked electronically, immersing the listener in an obsessively insistent clamor of humanity's inhumanity - ultimately a harrowing listening experience, and quite impossible to tear one's attention away from. Norwegian-English libretto. Joachim Calmeyer, Anneke von der Lippe, Tilman Hartenstein, Henrik Inadomi, Lakis Kanzakis, Rob Waring (voices). Aurora ACD 5034 (Norway) 01G075 $17.98 >

RAGNHILD BERSTAD (b.1956): Anstrøk (Kyberia), Krets (Norwegian Radio Orchestra; Christian Eggen), Respiro (Lars Hilde [clarinet]), Zeugma (Affinis Ensemble), Toreuma (Arditti String Quartet), Verto (Berit Opheim [voice], Lene Grenager [cello], Cathrine Nyheim [percussion]), Emutatio (Opheim [voice], Oslo Chamber Choir, Norwegian Radio Orchestra; Eivind Aadland). An interesting and original composer, Berstad writes intricate and detailed music with a highly attuned ear to the possibiklities of timbre, making use of clusters and spectral harmonic techniques. The works thus emerge with an organic sense of unity and growth, and a pulsating, living energy. Like much of contemporary timbre-based music, Berstad's works place more emphasis on ephemeral, evolving quasi-improvisatory structures than tightly organised proportions and formal architecture, but her use of sound is so original that this is never perceived as a weakness. Aurora ACD 5021 (Norway) 01G076 $17.98 >

ASBJØRN SCHAATHUN (b.1961): Triplis+ for Mezzo-Soprano and Ensemble, JON ØIVIND NESS (b.1968): 1-2-3 Happy Happy Happy! for Piano and Ensemble, KETIL HVOSLEF (b.1939): Clarinet Quintet, NILS HENRIK ASHEIM (b.1960): Genesis for String Quartet, ALFRED JANSON (b.1937): November 1962 for Piano. These pieces by mostly younger Norwegian composers cover a wide range of territory in an eclectic variety of styles. Schaathun's song-cycle is formed of independent layers, sometimes literally performed in an order determined by the performers who thereby determine the structure of the work. The work that gives the disc its slightly irritating title is a lighthearted and ironic essay in popular styles which tweaks conventional expectations of harmony to amusingly disorienting effect. The Hvoslef is a more conventional piece of chamber music with folk-like associations and an infectious vitality, while Asheim's quartet is a slow-moving essay in closely-organised clusters, a kind of Nordic analogue of Louis Andriessen. Janson's piano piece nods in the direction of jazz and minimalism, and rounds out the disc with unpretentious accessibility and lucid brevity. Stavanger New Music Ensemble. Aurora ACD 5023 (Norway) 01G077 $17.98 >

EMMA KODÁLY (1863-1958): Piano Pieces: Variations, Valses viennoises, Berceuse, Gavotte, Scherzo, Songs: Gekommen ist der Mai, Wandl' ich in dem Wald, ich lieb' eine Blume, Dass du mich liebst, Ballade - Jung Niklas, Irgendwo, All' meine Herzgedanken, Röslein, Ohne Liebe, Betrogen, Seelied, Die helle Sonne leuchtet. Emma divorced her husband after meeting the much younger Zóltan in 1905. Subsequently the couple fell in love and married. Her first song dates from 1891 and all of them, setting German poetry, are in a melodious salon-style while the piano pieces are a cut higher; her Variations perhaps a response to her teacher Dohnányi's Op. 4 Variations and Fugue on a Theme by E.G. (the "G" being Gruber, her married name at the time). German-English texts. Ildikó Czerna (soprano), Erika Gál (mezzo), Ilona Prunyi (piano). Hungaroton HCD 32289 (Hungary) 01G078 $17.98

BRUNO WALTER (1876-1962): 3 Tragödien, Op. 12, Nos. 4-6, Waltrauts Lieder, Op. 11, Nos. 3 & 4, Liebeslust, Op. 11/6, Des Kindes Schlaf, Die Lerche, Elfe, JOSEPH MARX (1882-1964): Hat dich die Liebe berürht, Ein Drängen ist in meinem Herzen, Traumgekrönt, Und gestern hat er mir Rosen gebracht, RICHARD STRAUSS (1864-1949): Mädchenblumen, Op. 22, Hat gesagt-bleibt's nicht dabei, Op. 36/3, Du meines Herzens Krönelein, Op. 21/2, Traum durch die Dämmerung, Op. 29/1, Schlechtes Wetter, Op. 69/5, Freundliche Vision, Op. 48/1, Das Rosenband, Op. 36/1, Nachtgang, Op. 29/3, Muttertändelei, Op. 43/2. Cut pretty much from the same cloth as songs by Schreker, Zemlinsky and Richard Strauss, a seletcion of Walter's lieder gets a rare hearing here along with a group of four by Marx (who, at least, had one CD devoted to his songs during the last two decades); the rarely-heard Mädchenblumen add to the attractiveness of this disc although the remainder of the Strauss lieder are much better-known. German-English texts. Emma Bell (soprano), Andrew West (piano). Linn Records SACD Hybrid CKD 238 (Scotland) 01G079 $17.98

CARL ORFF (1895-1982): Klage der Ariadne, Tanz der Spröden. These two (of three) Monteverdi "recastings" were created originally in 1925 and revised later in 1940. Orff did the German poetic setting/ translations himself. The Klage is, of course, the Lamento d'Arianna of 1608, here clothed in an orchestration of organ-like tone-color (two basset-horns, two harps and three double-string lutes are added to the strings) which convey a powerful sense of doom and mourning which is, yet, oddly faithful to its baroque roots in its total affect. The accompanying work is the Ballo dell'ingrate rappresentativo (also from 1608), a pungent, satirical tail to the two preceding "tragedies" (Orpheus is on another disc in this series) and Orff performs similar orchestral magic, with a lighter touch, for its much longer, 31-minute, duration. 1974 composer-authorized (German RCA?) recording. German texts. Lucia Popp (soprano), Rose Wagemann (contralto), Karl Ridderbusch (tenor), Hanna Schwarz (mezzo), Bavarian Radio Chorus, Munich Radio Orchestra; Eurt Eichhorn. Arts Archives 43004-2 (Germany) 01G080 $11.98

IVOR GURNEY (1890-1937): The Western Playland, Ludlow and Teme, RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958): On Wenlock Edge. This well-received recital of A.E. Housman settings contrasts Vaughan Williams' better-known 1909 cycle, dramatic, emotionally intense and symphonic in conception, with Burney's two groups from 1919 where the vocal line is all-important, with much subtlety of harmony, but the instrumental parts are more generalized. Texts included. Adrian Thompson (tenor), Stephen Varcoe (baritone), Delmé Quartet, Iain Burnside (piano). Original 1990 Hyperion release. Helios CDH 55187 (England) 01G081 $10.98

SUSAN SPAIN-DUNK (1880-1962): Phantasy Quartet in D Minor, ETHYL SMYTH (1858-1944): String Quartet in E Minor, AMY BEACH (1867-1944): String Quartet. The 13-minute quartet by Spain-Dunk, a professor at the Royal Academy of Music, is probably from the 1910s or 1920s (dates are given in the notes for many of her other works but not for this one!) as it fits in stylistically with the Cobbett Competition works of that form by so many English composers of the period. This quartet gave us the Salzedo quartets on Dutton, so it's unfortunate that this is the only otherwise unavailable work here but let's not be churlish! Archaeus Quartet. Lorelt LNT114 (England) 01G082 $16.98

ERIK SATIE (1866-1925): Parade, Mercure, Relâche, 3 Gnossiennes, 3 Gymnopédies. Since the French EMI budget-price set of orchestral Satie is no longer available in the U.S., this new re-issue containing three lesser-known ballets is the more attractive. Parade (1917) and Mercure (1924) are both to Cocteau scenarios, the former bizarrely absurd, the latter depicting stylized Greek Classical figures, and Satie's last work, Relâche from 1925, to another nonsense scenario. New London Orchestra; Ronald Corp. Original 1989 Hyperion release. Helios CDH 55176 (England) 01G083 $10.98

PAUL CHIHARA (b.1938): Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra with Trumpet Obbligato, Mistletoe Bride, Grass (Concerto for 2 Double Basses and Orchestra). These works, all written in the 1970s when Chihara was a young composer, were extensively revised in the past few years. The concerto is unusually structured insofar as the soloist spends a great deal of time in dialogue with the orchestra, frequently alternating with it rather than actually playing together. Mistletoe Bride is a ballet score for a tragic and ghostly story, and evokes the world of Chihara's beloved scary movies, a genre for which he has composed extensively. It is much more uncomplicatedly tonal than the concerto. The other concerto is a haunting and mysterious score, playing off the highly unusual timbres available to two contrasting contemporary soloists in orchestral textures both surreal and hallucinatory. Although in a very modern idiom the work is so theatrically vivid and entertaining that one is really never conscious of the gleeful abandon with which the composer exploits the array of compositional techniques available to him. Pepe Romero (guitar), Jens Lindemann (trumpet), Jon Deak, Buell Neidlinger (double basses), London Symphony Orchestra; Neville Marriner. Albany TROY 724 (U.S.A.) 01G084 $16.98

PEGGY GLANVILLE-HICKS (1912-1990): Concertino da camera, COLIN BRIGHT (b.1949): Red Earth, DAVID LUMSDAINE (b.1931): 8 Bagatelles, VINCENT PLUSH (b.1950): On Shooting Stars, ROSS EDWARDS (b.1943): Shadow D Zone, NEIL CURRIE (b.1955): Ortigas Avenue. Glanville-Hicks' Concertino is a lively, fairly conventional work of Stravinskian neo-classicism, while both Bright and Edwards evoke the stark and distinctive landscape of Australia in their atmospheric works, the one bold and brightly lit, the other shadowy and slightly sinister. Lumsdaine's miniatures also evoke wide-open spaces in spare-textured fragments for various combinations of instruments drawn from an ensemble of six. Plush's strikingly orchestrated tribute to Chilean folksinger-poet Victor Jara, martyred in the 1973 Chilean military coup. Incorporating elements of minimalism and music by Jara himself (eerily reminiscent at times of the protest song elaborated by Rzewski in his People United variations), this is a work of serious purpose and undeniable impact in eclectic style, never losing touch with the emotions of the listener. Tall Poppies Ensemble. Tall Poppies TP133 (Australia) 01G085 $18.98

SEPPO POHJOLA (b.1965): String Quartet No. 3, New York, New York for Piano Quartet, Game Over for Flute, Clarinet, Percussion and Piano Quartet, A Night at the Opera for Soprano and String Quartet, Liebelei for Wind Septet, Piano and String Quintet. Pohjola writes music that is entertaining without patronising the listener or sacrificing compositional sophistication. Even in the serious New York New York, a 9/11 piece, alternating dogged and insistent rhythms with elegiac and somber music reminiscent of Pärt, the music remains instantly accessible, heightening the direct effect on the emotions of the expressions of pain and sorrow inherent in the music's subject matter. The other works are lighter in touch and expression, with textures and timbres often reminiscent of Ravel and a driving momentum derived from minimalism. Whether intentionally humorous as in A Night . . . (an overwrought monodrama gently poking fun at the tragic heroines of opera), or lively absolute music like the quartet or Lorelei, Pohjola's works freely explore many moods and styles while reaching out to involve the audience to a degree rare even in these days of stylistic inclusiveness. Minttu Pesu (soprano), Zagros Ensemble; Dmitri Slobodeniouk. Alba ABCD 187 (Finland) 01G086 $16.98

LUKAS FOSS (b.1922): 3 American Pieces, VINCENT PERSICHETTI (1915-1987): Parable XII for SoloPiccolo, MARK LOUIS LEHMAN (b.1947): 3 Souvenirs for Flute and Piano, GARY SCHOCKER (b.1959): A Fond Farewell - Meditations on September 11, Airheads for Flute and B Flat Clarinet, KATHERINE HOOVER (b.1937): Medieval Suite for Flute and Piano. Foss' pieces are relatively early, tonal, somewhat Coplandish works. Similarly conservative is Schocker's 9/11 work, which avoid any depiction of horror, anger or similar emotions, concentrating instead on wistful nostalgia. The 3-minute Persichetti miniature is relaxed and playful, which may also be said of Schocker's amusing duo. Lehman incorporates subtle stylistic references to three major early 20th-century composers (Fauré, Prokofiev and Puccini) into his agreeable and unpretentious little hommages. Hoover's Mediæval Suite, a varied set of character pieces each inspired by some historical detail of 14th-century France, was offered four months ago in its orchestral version. Jeannine Dennis (flute, piccolo), Dawn Henry (clarinet), Philip Amalong (piano). Albany TROY 718 (U.S.A.) 01G087 $16.98

MARK LOUIS LEHMAN (b.1947): Pilgrim Songs, RICHARD HUNDLEY (b.1931): The Astronomers, Isaac Greentree, My Master Hath a Garden, Birds, U.S.A., Come Ready and See Me, Sweet Suffolk Owl, I Do, Bartholomew Green, DAVID BAKER (b.1931): Song Cycle, NED ROREM (b.1923): The Silver Swan, In a Gondola, Song for a Girl, Pippa's Song, Alleluia, GIAN CARLO MENOTTI (b.1911): Monica's Aria from The Medium, JOAQUIN TURINA (1882-1949): Poema en forma de canciones. Rorem's songs are the most Romantic, constrained by his typical neoclassical restraint, and it is tempting to detect a direct influence on Lehman's song-writing, which also seems to pay homage to earlier folk-like models. Baker is a jazz musician, but his succinct Song Cycle, some bluesy harmonies aside, is a very classical-sounding piece. Texts included. Budget-price. Jennifer Poffenberger (soprano), Lori Piitz (piano). Enharmonic ENCD93-012 (U.S.A.) 01G088 $6.98

ÖDÖN PARTOS (1907-1977): Fantasia for Piano Trio, In memoriam for Cello and Piano, FRANZ CRZELLITZER (1905-1979): Little Suite for Cello and Piano, MORDECAI SETER (1916-1994): Piano Trio, DANIEL SHALIT (b.1940): Divertimento for Piano Trio, SERGIU NATRA (b.1924): Trio in One Movement. These varied and attractive trios and duos by Israeli composers of the older generation are all largely based in tonality, Shalit's Divertimento being the most conventional in this respect, followed closely by Crzellitzer's Suite and all contain elements of identifiable elements of traditional Jewish music, to a greater or lesser extent. Even Partos' use of some extended playing techniques and microtonal glissandi does little to undermine the basic conservatism of the work, and here as in all the works on the disc there is a strong emphasis on mellifluous and ornamented melodic lyricism, tinged with melancholy. The Yuval Trio. Roméo Records 7231 (U.S.A.) 01G089 $17.98

IANNIS XENAKIS (1922-2001): Orchestral Works, Vol. 4 - Erikhthon for Piano and Orchestra, Ata for Large Orchestra, Akrata for 16 Winds, Krinoïdi for Orchestra. Given the complexity of these compositions, which require advanced degrees in music to understand, it's refreshing to find a visceral description of the sort the note-writer provides for Erikhthon (1974), one of three Xenakis pieces for piano and orchestra and coming from his "arborescences" phase where the horizontal and vertical graphics used to represent the music look like growing and spreading trees: "...a hurricane in music...a colossal manifestation of joyful, controlled frenzy, of a healthy, athletic euphoria, a prodigious and highly vegetal burst of vigour" (vegetal!). Akrata, the earliest piece here (1965) and the most austere, comes from the composer's "mathematical" period and is based on group theory while the two remaining pieces are late (1987 and 1991), lacking almost entirely the glissandi and arborescences of Erikhthon and constructed from "Cyclopean polyphonies in counterpoint of clusters", as the notes colorfully put it. Music which touches the inner savage and which many enjoy without knowing intellectually why; also music for really pissing off the neighbors and frightening young children... Hiroaki Ooï (piano), Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra; Arturo Tamayo. Timpani 1C1084 (France) 01G090 $18.98

IANNIS XENAKIS (1922-2001): Okho for 3 Djembés, Psappha, Rebonds A & B. One of Xenakis' late works (he stopped composing in 1997), Okho (1989) was a commission for the bicentenary of the French Revolution and, ironically (?), makes use of African percussion instruments from former French colonial territories while the pair of Rebonds (1987-89) use groups of membranophones in "A" with woodblocks added in "B". Psaphha (1975) is already a classic of its genre. The notes make the point that listening to a Xenakis percussion work is only half of the fun; the extreme virtuosity demanded of the performer(s) can simulate performance of some primeval religious rite. If your DVD player can play discs made only for the Europe region, you can see a clip of Rebonds B and a "Making of" video which is on the other side of the CD part of this release. Pedro Carneiro (djembé, percussion), Matthew Rich, Stephen John Gibson (djembés). Zig-Zag Territories ZZT 040901 (France) 01G091 $18.98

GIACINTO SCELSI (1905-1988): The Piano Works, Vol. 2 - Suite No. 2 "The Twelve Minor Prophets", Action Music. First recording of the second suite, one of the earliest Scelsi works you'll hear (1930). In twelve movements (lasting about 47 minutes), it inhabits a very Scriabinesque sound world of dissonant chromaticism and individual sonority while showing signs of the composer's trademark interest in rhythm and repetition of motives and chords while varying them through dynamics, registers and tempi. Action Music (1955) is one of Scelsi's improvised compositions (noted down exactly from a tape of his improvisation) and is full of velocity and violence with much use of fists and forearms to produce single pitches, chords, clusters and glissandi. An exhilarating listening experience; just get Grandpa safely out of the house first. Stephen Clarke (piano). Mode 143 (U.S.A.) 01G092 $17.98

GIACINTO SCELSI (1905-1988): Suite No. 9 "Ttai", Suite No. 10 "Ka". Both of these suites have been recorded before but we offer this 1996 release since it has not been very easily found in the U.S. until now. Ttai, 38-minutes in length here, calm, meditative and mysterious, was described by Scelsi as "a succession of episodes alternately expressing Time and Man, as symbolized by cathedrals or monasteries, with the sacred sound of Om" while Ka ("Essence") is 22 minutes of carefully measured sound, silence and hovering tone producing an effect of musical pointillism. Markus Hinterhäuser (piano). col legno WWE 1CD 31889 (Germany) 01G093 $19.98

KRZYSZTOF PENDERECKI (b.1933): Ubu Rex. Note that this set is ridiculously expensive (and my price is $8.00 below suggested retail); CD Accord's new distributor assures us that this is a special price, only for this lavishly documented set. There are many color photos in the libretto-booklet and the work was recorded live last Oct. 2 as part of the 70th birthday celebrations of the composer. The bizarre nature of Jarry's play certainly strikes a note with Penderecki, who supplies the most kaleidoscopically varied music, ranging from mock-Wagnerian choruses to Weill-like musical comedy tunes. It must have been a vivid theatrical experience and, since you're not likely to see it being staged in a town near you anytime soon, this well-documented set is well worth the price for collectors of modern opera and of this exuberantly idiosyncratic composer. 2 CDs. Polish-English libretto. Anna Lubanska (mezzo), Pawel Wunder (tenor), Chorus and Orchestra of the Polish National Opera, Warsaw; Jacek Kaspszyk. CD Accord ACD 133-2 (Poland) 01G094 $47.98

DIMITRI TERZAKIS (b.1938): Daphnis und Chloe for Soprano and Viola, Von Engeln und Dämonen for Solo Viola, Lieder ohne Worte, Cycle Two for Solo Voice, Pensées for Piano. Terzakis has adopted a compositional æsthetic rooted in antiquity, extremely linear, narrative and mostly composed of monophonic vocal or instrumental lines. This avoidance of conventional harmony and rich textures, and the unusual temperaments adopted to heighten the archaism of the instrumental timbres evokes a music of great antiquity. Terzakis feels free to depart this evocation of antiquity when his expressive needs call for it ­ but not very often, so when harmony does intrude, it is with a distinct frisson ­ even a shock. Nothing, however, sounds like a dryly ethnomusicological reconstruction ­ sensuous beauty is omnipresent throughout the works presented here. HélèneLindqvist (soprano), Vanya Tantikova (viola), Alfons Kontarsky (piano). col legno WWE 1 CD 20066 (Germany) 01G095 $19.98

KRZYSZTOF PENDERECKI (b.1933): A Polish Requiem. Composed over a period of 13 years (beginning with the Lacrimosa, for the Solidarity movement in 1980), this large-scale requiem for large chorus and large orchestra combines Penderecki's late 1970s neo-romanticism with reminiscences of some of his earlier, more avant-garde works to produce a work of great power and communication. 2 CDs. Izabela Klosinska (soprano), Jadwiga Rappé (alto), Ryszard Minkiewicz (tenor), Piotr Nowacki (bass), Warsaw National Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra; Antoni Wit. Naxos 8.557368-87 (New Zealand) 01G096 $13.98

HARRISON BIRTWISTLE (b.1934): The Triumph of Time, Ritual Fragment, Gawain's Journey. It is very good to welcome "The Triumph of Time" back to the catalogue; this was one of Birtwistle's most important and striking early orchestral scores, and packs the same emotional wallop now as it did 30 years ago. A vast, ponderous funerary procession, darkly glittering with the despoiled and corroded ephemera of life, this musical depiction of Breughel's vision of Time as a remorseless destroyer remains a seminal work in Birtwistle's output. "Ritual Fragment" is the in memoriam work for Birtwistle's colleague, Michael Vyner of the London SInfonietta, a more intimate funeral ode than the earlier work, but strikingly similar in its uneasy progression of jagged sounds embedded in a slow-moving magma of instrumental texture. Gawain's Journey, drawn from Birtwistle's opera, is more conventionally dramatic, with distant echoes of Britten and at times almost Mahlerian orchestral sweep and scope. It is not for nothing that Birtwistle is now hailed as pre-eminent among his generation of British conposers, and on the strength of this disc alone it is easy to see why. Philharmonia Orchestra, London Sinfonietta; Elgar Howarth. Original 1993 Collins Classics release (except Ritual Fragment - 1992 NMC release). NMC Ancora D088 (England) 01G097 $15.98

WOLFGANG RIHM (b.1953): Bann, Nachtschwärmerei, PETER RUZICKA (b.1949): Z-Zeit, MORTON FELDMAN (1926-1987): Principal Sound, GIACINTO SCELSI (1905-1988): In nomine lucis, HANS JOACHIM HESPOS (b.1938): SNs. Here is a selection of pieces mostly in the timbral/spectral/new-simplicity mold; you would of course expect this kind of slow meditation on harmonics and overtones from late-period Scelsi or any-period Feldman, but both Rihm and Ruzicka are both in their best New Simplicity mode here (the Rihm in particular containing some ravishing, if surprisingly conventional, textures and harmonies). The Hespos is in most respects the odd piece out, and easily the most avant garde, making copious use of alternative playing techniques (the sort of thing that would be key-slaps and the like if this were a contemporary work for bass clarinet) as well as the effects of (intentional) variations in wind pressure, and so on. It certainly suggests the potential for a wider range of textures from the organ than is suggested by most contemporary use of the instrument. Friedmann Herz (organ of the Kreuzkirche, Essen). Aulos AUL 66097 (Germany) 01G098 $17.98 >

MICHAEL FINNISSY (b.1946): Eadweard Myubridge - Edvard Munch, PAUL WHITTY (b.1970): De-coding Skin, MAX WILSON (b.1973): Zeitlin [on], IANNIS XENAKIS (1922-2001): Evryali, PAUL NEWLAND (b.1966): ...Butterfly Dreaming..., MORTON FELDMAN (1926-1987): Palais de Mari. This is a loosely-knit program of music that broadly seems to have some bearing on 'complexicism' and unconventional pianistic modernism of some sort or another, though in fact much of the music is relatively open in texture and slow in tempo - especially of course the longest work here, the Feldman - his last piano piece, typically intimate, slow and meditative, in sequences of overlapping single tones. Finnissy's bipartite piece, from his 'History of Photography' series actually links to the Feldman more than one might expect, exploring the frozen nature of photographic images expressing elements of motion or shifting psychological states in music that is often more static (though still mostly contrapuntally involved and rhythmically varied) than that for which Finnissy is typically known. Only the first three works really exploit the high-velocity leaping around the keyboard, and the Wilson generally adheres to close-knit jazz-like textures as suggested by its subject-matter. Philip Howard (piano). Divine Art 25021 (England) 01G099 $16.98

ERIC VERBUGT (b.1966): Verknipte Episoden for Piano, Fragment for Percussion, Stiemen for Musette, Verval for Oboe and Percussion, Sterrenskelet - Ecliptica for Oboe d'amore and Piano. Radically departing from the commonly held stereotype of much Dutch contemporary music, with its elements of minimalism, imitative part-writing and bouncy dynamism, Verbugt composes in a more abstract style, made up of building blocks assembled in a manner that suggests literary cut-up techniques. The literary analogy is important, as the composer freely admits to the influence of literature on many of his works, generally taking as a point of departure formally experimental contemporary works. The solo instrumental works here are necessarily non-programmatic, but the tense and complex, largely atonal and serious polyphony of the music certainly suggests a definite narrative element underpinning the seemingly abstract surface textures and ornamentation. Gerard Bouwhuis (piano), Johan Faber (percussion), Ernest Rombout (oboes, musette). Cavalli Records CCD 258 (Germany) 01G100 $17.98

The Witten "In nomine" Broken Consort Book

Commissions of the In nomine by John Taverner/Gérard Pesson, Brian Ferneyhough, Klaus Huber, Georg Kröll, Toshio Hosokawa, Wolfram Schurig, Matthias Pintscher, Stefano Gervasoni, Johannes Schöllhorn, Robert HP Platz, Henry Purcell/Brice Paucet (2), György Kurtág, Cornelius Schwehr, Stuart MacRae, Franz Martin Olbrisch, Rainer Peters, Picforth/Johannes Schöllborn, Brice Paucet (2), Sebastian Claren, Walter Zimmermann, Hans Zender, Bryn Harrison, Rolf Riehm, Yuval Shaked, Xu Shuya, Jörg Birkenkötter, Mark André, Caspar Johannes Walter, Andrew Digby, Emilio Pomàrico, Gérard Pesson, Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf, Georg Friedrich Haas, Gösta Neuwirth, Günter Steinke, Thomas Tallis/Gérard Pesson, Isabel Mundry, Ian Vine, Salvatore Sciarrino, Wolfgang Rihm. 42 settings by contemporary composers (obviously, no room to print all of their dates), commissioned by the ensemble who recorded them here, of the English instrumental compositions of the 16th and 17th centuries based on the Sarum antiphon Gloria tibi Trinitas cantus firmus. Flute, oboe, cor anglais, clarinet, bassoon, piano, celeste and string trio are the instruments among which the composers chose; the titles of the works mostly include In nomine but some are different (no room to print all of them either). Contemporary collectors won't mind the abbreviation (abbreviation? Look how much space this took!) 2 CDs. Ensemble Recherce. Kairos 0012442KAI (Austria) 01G101 $31.98

RON GOODWIN (1925-2003): Main Themes and Suites from the Films 633 Squadron, Frenzy, Lancelot and Guinevere, Deadly Strangers, Battle of Britain, Whirlpool, The Trap, Of Human Bondage, Monte Carlo or Bust, Submarine X-1, Operation Crossbow, Clash of Loyalties, Beauty and the Beast, Force Ten from Navarone, Where Eagles Dare, Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines, Miss Marple Theme. This was a particular labor of love for Chandos since its founder, Brian Couzens, worked with Goodwin for ten years, helping him orchestrate his film scores under great pressure of time from the film studios. Brief descriptions of the films and plenty of stills are included in the booklet; 76 minutes of memorable themes and brilliant orchestration will appeal to all collectors of film music, especially since a few rarities are included, among them the first recording of Goodwin's own suite from Battle of Britain. BBC Philharmonic; Rumon Gamba. Chandos 10262 (England) 01G102 $17.98

IOSIF IVANOVICI (1845-1902): Carmen Sylva, Waves of the Danube, Mariana, Incognito, Farewell Focsani, Agatha, Lovely Sounds, Wild Flowers, Evening Dream, Magic of Mountains, Storm, Romanian's Heart. This Romanian composer has become known, if at all, as a "one-hit wonder" for his eternally popular Waves of the Danube (Donauwellen) but he wrote more very attractive dance music in the style of Johann Strauss, flavored with the musical tradition of his native land. This special issue was made with the support of The Johann Strauss Society of Great Britain, from whom we've gotten a small supply. Patricia Seymour (soprano), "Banatul" Philharmonic Orchestra; Ion Iancu. Electrecord EDC 600 (Romania) 01G103 $17.98 >

EMMERICH KÁLMÁN (1882-1953): Die Csárdásfürstin, Orchestral Excerpts from the Operettas Der Zigeunerprimás, Die Faschingsfee, Das Hollandweibchen and Der Teufelsreiter. Not that it's by any means "unusual repertoire", but we found it notable that Richard Bonynge was in charge of this new (recorded 2002-03) budget version of Kálmán's evergreen operetta while offering almost a half hour of orchestral excerpts from four of his lesser known works in the genre. 2 CDs. English synopsis; libretto available online. Yvonne Kenny (soprano), Michael Roider (tenor), Slovak Philharmonic Choir, Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra; Richard Bonynge. Naxos 8.660105-06 (New Zealand) 01G104 $15.98

KARL HEINZ WOLTERS (1929-1987): Hubertus Messe for Male Choir, Horn Quartet and Organ, GUS ANTON (b.1938): 2 Interludes for Horn Quartet, 4 Hunting Songs for Male Choir and Horn Quartet, In des Waldes heil'gen Hallen for Baritone, Male Choir, Horn and Piano, ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810-1856): Waldlied and Jagdlieder, Op. 137 for Male Choir and Horn Quartet. Another bracing dose of German music for horn and voices, including the so-called "Hunting Mass" which has been recorded before but also including several pieces by the conductor which will surely appeal to fans of the genre, as well as six Schumann pieces which are rarely recorded due to their odd (but entirely normal on this disc!) instrumental demands. Frank Blees (baritone), Sigrid Althoff (piano), Wolfram Gehring (organ), "Freischütz" Horn Ensemble, Camerata Vocale Gummersbach; Gus Anton. VMS 145 (Austria) 01G105 $17.98 >

ERNST VON DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960): The Complete HMV Solo Piano Recordings 1929-1956 - Pastorale, Waltz ("Coppélia" Delibes), Schatzwalzer and Du und Du (J. Strauss II), 6 Pieces, Op. 41, Winterreigen, Op. 13, Variations on a Hungarian Folk Song, Op. 29, Pastorale, Intermezzo in F Minor, Op. 2/3, Ruralia Hungarica No. 6, Op. 32/A, Gavotte and Musette in B Flat, Pavane with Variations, Op. 17/3, Suite in the Olden Style, Op. 24, 6 Pieces, Op. 41, Burletta, Op. 44/1, Nocturne (Cats on the Roof), Op. 44/2, Valses nobles (Schubert, D.969). Includes a previously unpublished Op. 41 from Nov. 18, 1946 as well as stereo recordings (the last seven items in the list above) published for the first time. 2 CDs. Ernst von Dohnányi (piano). APR 7038 (England) 01G106 $35.98

MAURICIO KAGEL (b.1931): Exotica for Non-European Instruments. Exotica is a piece for six instrumentalists playing a wide range of traditional instruments from a variety of non-western cultures (and also vocalising in a number of different styles). Not one sound or gesture here has anything to do with western concert music, and if the result tends to sound like ambient music for an exhibition on the Rain Forest at Epcot, or background music for an IMAX film on a similar subject, it is never less than entertaining. Ensemble Modern; Mauricio Kagel. Aulos AUL 66099 (Germany) 01G107 $17.98 >