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Johann von Herbeck

Symphony No. 4

Symphonic Variations

JOHANN VON HERBECK (1831-1877): Symphony No. 4 in D Minor "Organ Symphony", Symphonic Variations in F. First to perform Schubert's Unfinished when Anselm Hüttenbrenner brought him the manuscript, instrumental in getting Bruckner appointed to the Vienna Conservatory in 1868 and early champion of Wagner, Herbeck was clearly a force to be reckoned with in mid 19th-century Vienna. This symphony, finished less than two months before his death from pneumonia is a fascinating tribute to Bach - the first movement is a an austere, canonically treated prelude which sounds rather like an orchestral transcription of a Bach chorale arrangment and the finale a fugue (the scherzo, the only fast movement, has some elements of Bruckner's love of folk-song in its trio). The organ, anticipating Saint-Saëns by some five years, is used predominantly in these outer movements. The orchestration, though, in influenced by Schumann and Mendlessohn. Even longer (at 31 minutes) is the 1875 Variations which seems to nod to practically every important musical landmark of the century whose seamless structure is evidence of Herbeck's compositional mastery. Irénée Peyrot (organ), Hamburg Symphony; Martin Haselböck. New Classical Adventure SACD hybrid 60150 (Germany) 01H001 $18.98 >


1. All Brana back-orders will be filled this month. 12H082 was out of stock in Australia; ABC Classics didn't bother to notify its distributor until he questioned its absence in my order. They will be repressing it in January so I hope to fill back-orders in February.

2. There are a number of Olympia titles in this month's catalogue which I got from my source in Prague. He only had 15-25 copies of each and I took between 7 and 15 of those. Three are original English Olympias and the others are Russian labels which also carry the Olympia logo. When they're gone, they're gone.

3. PRICE RISE NOTICE: Naxos has raised their wholesale price by $0.99 beginning with their January new releases (which, of course, due to their mid-month street date, will appear in next month's catalogue). Thus, my price will rise to $7.98 (the suggested retail, which you'll find most everywhere else, will be $8.98). The Naxos titles in this month's catalogue are December releases and will be the last I can sell at $6.98. Any orders from last year's catalogues will have to be sold at $7.98 unless I happen to still have stock on hand for which I paid the lower price.

4. New Delivery and Handling charges: As of Jan. 6, the Postal Service has raised its rates across all types of mail, from First Class to Express Mail and International. See the end of this catalogue for the new rates. UPS also raised their rates on Jan. 2. This is the second UPS rate hike since I last modified my D&H charges. In fact, I often lose money on shipping large orders UPS (which are insured and trackable), so this raise is designed to at least give me a chance at breaking even on larger shipments.

Special Note:

Naxos of America's January release has a quite astonishing number of great cpo titles, any one of which could be on my February cover. Of course, their Jan. 17 street date means that I can't offer them in this catalogue and, as you all know, a brief experiment with holding my catalogue until around the 10th of each month didn't work back in 2004 and the beginning of 2005, so I went back to my old schedule and continue to offer all Naxos-distributed titles in my catalogue of the following month. The problem is that I know that I am losing some sales because some customers have told me that they buy the new Naxos and cpos when they become available - during the two-week window between the Naxos street date and the appearance on-line of the next RI catalogue.

In order to attempt to limit such losses for this particularly fabulous January Naxos release, I'm going to have quantities of the new titles in hand by Jan. 10 for shipping to arrive on or after the date which they can first appear in stores - Jan. 17. So: if you are plugged into the Internet and watch the various web-sites for new releases each month and know what titles you want, you can get them from me this month by asking for them by title. For the majority of you, they will all be listed, as usual, in the February catalogue.

Ropartz - Complete Symphonies, Vol. 1 !

JOSEPH-GUY ROPARTZ (1864-1955): Symphony No. 1 in A Minor "sur un choral breton", Symphony No. 4 in C. Completed in 1895, this Breton composer's first symphony follows very much the path of his teacher Franck in its three-movement cyclical form (the Breton choral of its subtitle provides the theme which binds the whole work together), length (over 41 minutes), grave opening which suddenly bursts into flame, and typical Franckian chromaticism with the full version of the hymn appearing in the fervent and joyful finale. The cyclic form is still employed in the Fourth of 1911, the whole work (a slimmed-down 29 minutes this time) constructed from a four-note motive although Ropartz' orchestration is much more subtle and there is much more fragmentation of themes and tossing them around the orchestra. The finale is has as vehement a theme as one will find in this composer. Obviously a must-have for those who love the symphonies of Franck and Chausson. Orchestre Symphonique et Lyrique de Nancy; Sebastian Lang-Lessing. Timpani 1C1093 (France) 01H002 $18.98

KARL WEIGL (1881-1949): Symphony No. 6, Old Vienna. Like many other Jewish composers resident in Austria or Germany, Weigl's life was saved by a 1938 escape from the Third Reich and a move to New York but, also like many others, his career was ruined as he was forced to take teaching jobs in order to live. In June, 2002 we offered these artists in a recording of Weigl's Symphony No. 5, a large-scale Mahlerian work from 1945 and dedicated to the memory of FDR. As we said at that time: "This is a symphony Mahler might have written had he undergone the trials Weigl did." Well, exactly the same might be said of this somewhat shorter ("only" 39 minutes) piece from 1947 which has the same Viennese School, world-weary, slightly expressionistic, fin de siècle sound which many composers adopted - only 40 or 50 years previously. Old Vienna (1939) is a 20-minute sequence of echt Viennese dances somewhere between Straussian waltz and Mahlerian Ländler - a nostalgic and heartfelt homage to a vanished age. Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra; Thomas Sanderling, Alun Francis (Old Vienna). BIS CD-1167 (Sweden) 01H003 $17.98

THOMAS D.A. TELLEFSEN (1823-1874): Piano Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 8, Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Minor, Op. 15. Written between 1845 and 1847, Tellefsen's first concerto was under the supervision of his teacher Chopin and it is full of Chopinesque features throughout (firmly in the virtuoso concerto tradition of the beginning of the 19th century) although it also is the first known work to use Norwegian folk melodies (a bridal-march and a halling) in it finale. Dating from 1853, the second shows the same likenesses to Chopin and John Field but its finale uses a tarantella for its bit of exotic spice. Einar Steen-Nøkleberg (piano), Trondheim Symphony Orchestra; Terje Mikkelsen. Simax PSC 1232 (Norway) 01H004 $18.98

OLE BULL (1810-1880): Violin/Orchestra: Nocturne for Violin and Orchestra, The Herdgirl's Sunday, A Mountain Vision, A Mother's Prayer, In Moments of Solitude, Cantabile doloroso e Rondo Giocoso, Polacca Guerriera, Adagio sostenuto from Violin Concerto in E Minor, Grand March and Andante maestoso from Agiaco Cubano, Violin/Piano: Sigrid's Song from The Mountain Cottage, Barcarolle, Scotch Fantasy, Reminiscenses from the Concert in Fredriksværn. This tribute to ecccentric Norwegian violinist, theatre impresario and founder of a Norwegian colony in Pennsylvania features a few bleeding chunks but these, in style, are almost indistinguishable from the many short pieces for violin and orchestra/piano which Bull left (56 of the CD's 73 minutes are with orchestra). A lavishly produced 40-page booklet includes many interesting photographs, some in color and a wealth of information about this unusual figure still little-known outside of Norway. Arve Tellefsen (violin), Trondheim Symphony Orchestra; Eivind Aadland, Håvard Gimse (piano). Simax SACD hybrid PCS 1261 (Norway) 01H005 $18.98

HOWARD HANSON (1896-1981): Symphony No. 2, Op. 30 "Romantic", Symphony No. 4, Op. 34 "Requiem", Elegy in Memory of Serge Koussevitsky, Op. 44. Since Naxos isn't doing much, at least yet, for Hanson (only the first symphony), this new release fills a gap in the budget catalogue. The Second is so well-known that nothing more need be said about it and its rich, lush, film-score qualities (but, composed between 1928-30, it well anticipated that genre!) but the Fourth (1943 and winner of the Pulitzer Prize the following year) is a strikingly spare, dark work not accessible on first acquaintance. A requiem for his late father, its four movements ("Kyrie", "Requiescat", "Dies irae" and "Lux aeterna") contain several sections of striking lyrical beauty and reminiscences of Gregorian melody appear along with American-like hymn tunes but the overall sense is of brooding and unease with the driving and forceful Dies irae - depicting the tortures of the damned - its only fast movement. The 1956 Elegy is an equally heartfelt lament and farewell of just under 11 minutes, also rarely recorded. Jena Philharmonic Orchestra; David Montgomery. Arte Nova ANO 433060 (Germany) 01H006 $4.98

GEORGE ANTHEIL (1900-1959): Lithuanian Night, String Quartet No. 1, String Quartet No. 2, 6 Little Pieces for String Quartet, String Quartet No. 3. The complete works for string quartet include the first recording of 1931's Six Little Pieces, brief, colorful and charming numbers which total just under eight minutes in length. They represent a turning point in Antheil's quartet style, with the previous two quartets (1925 and 1927) and the three-and-a-half minute Lithuanian Night (1922) firmly in his "bad-boy" period. What appears to be trivial material, some derived from contemporary popular music, is layered into a rhythmically lively canvas with a cold, mechanistic drive which comes from Antheil's idol, Stravinsky and all of the quartets were savagely attacked by American critics although they are the most easy-to-like things you may want to hear today. The third quartet comes from Antheil's neo-romantic period, when he was both working in Hollywood and writing his group of patriotic symphonies and, though he still unabashedly quotes from popular tunes (or writes pop-sounding melodies), his motoric rhythms and distinctive harmonic coloring are still intact. Del Sol String Quartet. Other Minds Records OM 1008-2 CD (U.S.A.) 01H007 $17.98

EINOJUHANI RAUTAVAARA (b.1928): Symphony No. 1 (2003 revision), Adagio Celeste for String Orchestra (2000 revision), Book of Visions for Orchestra (2005 revision). This is the second revision and, thus, third version of Rautavaara's first symphony, originally a four-movement work of 1955 in a very Sibelian late Romantic style. In 1988, it was cut down into a two-movement version and now, the composer has added a new second movement between those, based on a song he wrote at roughly the same time as the original composition. Thus, if you have the Max Pommer recording of No. 1 (also on Ondine), you are missing the new second movement. The Adagio celeste is a 7-minute, deeply poetic work which belies its reliance on a twelve-tone row but the major piece here is the 40-minute Book of Visions of 2003 (nothing is said about what went into its revision two years later). Its four movements are titled "A Tale of..." with Night, Fire, Love and Fate being the subjects. This is gorgeous late Rautavaara, Romantic in spirit, full of psychological autobiography and richly evocative music which will allow each listener to conjure up images of his own to apply to the subjects of the movement titles. National Orchestra of Belgium; Mikko Franck. Ondine SACD hybrid ODE 1064-5 (Finland) 01H008 $17.98

EINOJUHANI RAUTAVAARA (b.1928): Isle of Bliss (original version), SEPPO POHJOLA (b.1965): Tapiolandia, ILKKA KUUSISTO (b.1933): Tapiola Today, KALEVI AHO (b.1949): Louhi. All these works were written for the youth orchestra which performs them here, Rautavaara's in 1995 and the other three in 2003, the year they were recorded. The suburb of the town of Espoo where the orchestra is located is Tapiola and the name's association with Finnish myth and, of course, Sibelius, made it a requirement for the younger composers' commissions. Aho's piece is rather troubled and unsettled (he claims the invasion of Iraq knocked all the fun out of his work for him at that time) but Pohjola and Kuusisto are generally full of explosive and merry energy with nods to the sound of Sibelius in his more bright moods. A little short at under 43 minutes but certainly pleasing for Finnish music collectors. Tapiola Youth Symphony; Markus Lehtinen. Alba ABCD 202 (Finland) 01H009 $16.98

CARLOS GUASTAVINO (1912-2000): 10 Cantilenas Argentinas, Sonata, Tierra Linda, Estilo (a la manera popular). This influential Argentinian composer is still too-little recorded, making this 78-minute new release a must-have for piano collectors of Spanish/South American music. The deceptively simple title of "Ten Argentinian Cantilenas" obscures a large-scale, 52-minute cycle of often nocturnal, melancholy, nostalgic and poetic pieces (1956-58) where influences as widely separated as Chopin, Brahms and Fauré mingle with Argentine folk tonadas from the countryside and other examples of native, criollo, harmonies. The 19-minute sonata of 1947 has similar elements and often evokes the music of the earlier Argentine composer Ernesto Drangosch. Alma Petchersky (piano). Lorelt LNT120 (England) 01H010 $16.98

RENÉ TOUZET (1917-2003): Zapateo Cubano, La Trece, Recordando al Maestro, 3 Miniaturas, Siempre en Clave, Cervantina, IGNACIO CERVANTES (1847-1905): Picotazos, Los Tres Golpes, Ilusiones Perdidas, MANUEL SAUMELL (1817-1870): Los Ojos de Pepa, El Pañuelo de Pepa, Tu Sonrisa, ¿Pero por qué?, ERNESTO LECUONA (1895-1963): Malagueña and Andalucia from Suite Espagnole, La Compars and Danza Lucumí from Danzas Afrocubanas, En Tres por Cuatro and No Hables Más from Danzas Cubanas. A Cuban recital with more than the usual suspects: Touzet played with Xavier Cugat and Desi Arnaz in a long American career beginning in 1946 after his departure from Cuba and he wrote some 40 Cuban dances for piano, of which a selection of eight appears here. Saumell is only beginning to be recorded (he was considered the father of the Cuban nationalist musical movement) while Cervantes represents the European-educated aspect of Cuban talent (a friend of Rossini and Gounod, among others). Elena Casanova (piano). MSR Classics MS 1136 (U.S.A.) 01H011 $10.98

JAN PIETERSZOON SWEELINCK (1562-1621): Praeludium, Fantasia chromatica, Mein junges Leben hat ein End', Toccata (Aeolian), Pavana Lachrimae, Psalm No. 140, Fantasia on B-A-C-H, Echo Fantasia (Aeolian), Echo Fantasia (Dorian), Unter der Linden Grüne, Toccata (Ionian), Est-ce Mars, Vater unser in Himmelreich. I admit - this is here because Hungaroton has a "world premiere" siglum emblazoned on the cover. I leave it to specialist collectors to validate or deny the claim... Péter Ella (clavichord). Hungaroton HCD 32382 (Hungary) 01H012 $17.98

CHRISTIAN HERWICH (1609-1663): Sonata La Chilana for 2 Violins, Viola da Gamba and Continuo, Ruggiero for Viola da Gamba and Continuo, Prelude, Allemande and Courante for Lute, Allemande and Courante for Viola da Gamba, Derde for Harpsichord, Aria in G 2 Violins, Viola da Gamba and Continuo, CHRISTOPH BERNHARD (1627-1692): Songs: Da du wolltest von mir ziehn, Gleich wie ein junger Hirsch, Die sterbenden Lilien, Die Lieb ist wie der Tod, Süsser Christ, Rex Jesu admirabilis, Led ich oder leb ich nicht, Gute Nacht! Du eitles Leben, Ich bin gewiss, Herr, der du die Sternenbogen, Ach, wie entgeistert sich mein Geist, Gott ist mein Schild, Mein Jesus! Meine Lust!, Allein nach dir, Der Tag ist hin, Suite in D Minor. An example of instrumental music and sacred songs (very dark and often intense, these latter!) from 1652 Dresden. No texts. Klaus Mertens (bass-baritone), Hamburger Ratsmusik; Simone Eckert. New Classical Adventure 60147 (Germany) 01H013 $17.98 >

JOSEP ESCORIHUELA (1674-1743): Los celestes cortesanos, Al ver que María, Ruiseñores, garzotas del mayo, Arda el aire, Sagrado clarín, Dichosos dertusenses, JOSEP PRADAS (1689-1757): Trono sagrado de luces. Escorihuela's villancicos, composed between 1714 and 1737, are all dedicated to the "Virgin of the Ribbon", a local custom at the cathedral of Tortosa. They combine the old Iberian structure of refrains and stanzas with the newer, Italian, recitative-aria form (as does Pradas' contribution to the genre which probably dates from around 1725). Spanish texts. Harmonia del Parnàs; Marian Rosa Montagut. La Ma de Guido LMG 2066 (Spain) 01H014 $16.98

JEAN HOTTETERRE (d.1720): La nopce champêtre ou l'Himen Pastoral, JACQUES-MARTIN HOTTETERRE (1674-1763): Sonate en trio in G, Op. 3/6, Troisième Suite de Pièces à deux Dessus, OP. 8, La Guerre, 4 Préludes from L'art de Preluder. More French galant music for fans of the hurdy-gurdy and musette with Jean's 38-minute suite describing the events of a rustic wedding evoking 18th century French and Flemish genre paintings and his brother's works parcelled out to more than the usual transverse flute and continuo. Ensemble Le Berger Fortuné, Piroska Vitárius (violin), Ottó Nagy (viola da gamba), Ágnes Várallyay (harpsichord), Gábor Tokodi (theorbo, guitar). Hungaroton HCD 32334 (Hungary) 01H015 $17.98

JOHANN MATTHESON (1681-1764): 12 Trio Sonatas. It's only since 1998 that the majority of Mattheson's manuscripts, believed destroyed during World War II, have been unearthed and made available to us. This remarkable set of sonatas dates from 1720 and describes an almost dramatic arc from the happy and carefree early sonatas to increasingly cloudy and disturbed ones to an apparent catastrophe in the eleventh, after which life is restored in a sort of reworking of Corelli's Op. 5/7! 2 CDs. Trio Corelli (violin, organ and archlute). New Classical Adventure 60143 (Germany) 01H016 $25.98 >

GEORG PHILIPP TELEMANN (1681-1767): Heilig, heilig, heilig ist Gott, TVWV 2:6. First recording of this 78-minute oratorio composed for the dedication of a new church in a Hamburg suburb in 1747. An imposing monumentality characterizes the choruses especially but all aspects of the work indicate the ongoing shift in Telemann's style in the series of such works written between 1738-62 toward the evocation of a more intense emotional drama. Indicative of this is the fact that it was still being performed as a concert work more than 35 years later. German-English texts. Monika Mauch (soprano), Ralf Popken (alto), Andreas Post (tenor), Albrecht Pöhl (bass), Collegium vocale Siegen, Friedemann Immer Trumpet Consort, Honnoversche Hofkapelle; Ulrich Stötzel. Hänssler Classic CD 98.489 (Germany) 01H017 $17.98

GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL (1685-1759): Hercules. The production of this 1744 work debuted in 2004 at Aix-en-Provence and was recorded in December of that year in Paris at the Palais Garnier. 190 min. English subtitles, all-zone compatible; with 32-page, three-language booklet. William Shimell (baritone), Joyce DeDonato (mezzo), Toby Spence (tenor), Ingela Bohlin (soprano), Orchestra and Chorus of Les Arts Florissants; William Christie. 2 DVDs. Bel Air Classiques BAC 013 (France) 01H018 $40.98

GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL (1685-1759): Care selve, aure grate, HWV 68, Dolce mio ben, HWV 108, Allor ch'io dissi addio, HWV 80, Il Gelsomino, HWV 164a, Partì, l'idolo mio, HWV 147, Chi rapè la pace al core?, HWV 90, Partenza dè G.B. - Stelle, perfide stelle, HWV 168. Written between 1707-09 when he was in Rome, Handel's Italian cantatas had at their disposal the finest voices in the city and they demand the best from their performers both musically and technically. Italian-English texts. Anna Korondi (soprano), Rezso Pertorini (cello), Judit Péteri (harpsichord). Hungaroton HCD 32383 (Hungary) 01H019 $17.98

JOSEPH BODIN DE BOISMORTIER (1689-1755): 6 Sonatas for Harpsichord and Flute, Op. 91, 6 Préludes from Suites I-VI for Flute and Continuo, Op. 35, IVe Suite in A and La Veloutée from 4 Suites de pièces de clavecin, Op. 59. Dating from 1741, the flute sonatas are the height of galant elegance, tender, with bright tonalities and limpid sonorities. In keeping with the tastes of the period, they are introduced by slow, languid preludes suggesting the exquisite ennui so much a part of post-Sun King Parisian society. 2 CDs. Les Buffardins. Accent ACC 24168 (Belgium) 01H020 $35.98

ERMENEGILDO DELCINQUE (?-1778): 6 Sonatas for 3 Cellos. The archives of the Moscow Conservatory produced this acquisition of a Russian diplomat in Rome in the 1840s (helped by an Italian abbot who knew his way around the archives of unusual baroque music). The music is late baroque, in sonata da chiesa form and the use of three cellos is certainly rare. Viktor Kozodov, Sergei Sudzilovsky, Denis Shapovalov (cellos). Quadrodisc KTL04-975 (Russia) 01H021 $16.98 >

JOHANN MELCHIOR MOLTER (1696-1765): Concertos in A, F & in G for Discant Viola da Gamba, Strings and Continuo, Concertinos in D and in E Minor for Transverse Flute, Discant Viola da Gamba, Viola da Gamba and Continuo, Sonata in D for Discant Viola da Gamba, Violin, Viola and Continuo. Molter is remarkable for his smooth and steady stylistic growth from a baroque style akin to Vivaldi or Tartini through to the early Classical style of the Mannheim school. Both ends of the spectrum can be heard here, as well as the unusual use of the "dessus de viole" which, at the time, was popular only in Paris. Hamburger Ratsmusik and members of the Hannoverschen Hofkapelle; Simone Eckert (discant viola da gamba). New Classical Adventure 60141-215 (Germany) 01H022 $17.98 >

JOHANN GOTTLIEB GRAUN (1702/03-1771): Symphonies in F, C, D and B, Recorder Concerto in F, Sonata in G for Flute, Violin and Continuo. Like Molter above, Graun provides another hinge on a door swinging between late baroque and early classical style with Graun doing his work at the court of Frederick the Great for whom the two (conservative in style) flute concertos were written. The symphonies, for two horns and strings, are more in keeping with musical advances around 1750 - more than opera overture but less than fully fledged Classical symphony. Ensemble barock a.c.c.u.u.t.. New Classical Adventure 60131-215 (Germany) 01H023 $17.98 >

LEOPOLD MOZART (1719-1787): Symphonies in D (Eisnen D6), in F (Eisen F5), in D (Eisen D24) and in D (Eisen D11). Father Mozart wrote around 70 symphonies but very few have been recorded. The four here date from 1750-60 and show both the Italian opera-overture influence as well as the new South German/Austrian concert symphony (the latest being a full-fledged, four-movement work with minuet). Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra; Georg Mais. Arte Nova ANO 897710 (Germany) 01H024 $4.98

GIOVANNI MARIA RUTINI (1730-1797): 6 Harpsichord Sonatas, Op. 6. Published in 1760, these sonatas are much more "Classical" in their harmonies and language than the two earlier examples of 1748 which appeared in this catalogue three months ago (09H034) with the three-movement Sixth adding a slow first movement to the previous fast-minuet or fast-fast scheme and anticipating the early Romanticism of Clementi in many of its devices. Vladimir Radchenkov (harpsichord). IM Lab IMLCD081 (Russia) 01H025 $16.98 >

JOSEPH HAYDN (1732-1809): Complete Piano Trios (41). Brand new recordings made from 2003-5, the first complete cycle on period instruments (beating out cpo's slowly progressing series), this set uses a flute in place of violin for Hob.XV/15-17. Otherwise, only two items on the Beaux Arts Trio's Philips set are missing here, a D major work with no Hoboken number and Hob.XIV;C1. 10 CDs. Budget-price. Van Swieten Trio. Brilliant Classics 92794 (Netherlands) 01H026 $55.98

Contemporaries of Mozart

FRANZ ANTON HOFFMEISTER (1754-1812): Symphonies in G "La festa della Pace 1791", in E and in D. Two early pieces from around 1778 (19 minutes each with sparkling outer movements, slightly melancholy slow movements and graceful minuets) are coupled with a later work of 24 minutes which shows more adventurous harmonies and employs cymbals, triangle and bass drum for a "Turkish" finale as Haydn was also to do a few years later. London Mozart Players; Matthias Bamert. Chandos 10351 (England) 01H027 $17.98

FRANZ ANTON HOFFMEISTER (1754-1812): Clarinet Concerto in B, Sinfonia Concertantes Nos. 1 and 2 in E Flat for 2 Clarinets and Orchestra. More examples of why Hoffmeister's manuscripts were often attributed to Haydn or Mozart during his lifetime, brought to us by detective-clarinetist Klöcker (finding numerous copies of the concerto in order to correct errors and present a clean version for recording) and his Watson (Porgo just recently discovered the second Sinfonia concertante in an Italian library). Dieter Klöcker (clarinet), Giuseppe Porgo (second clarinet), Southwest German Chamber Orchestra Pforzheim; Johannes Moesus. Orfeo SACD hybrid C 622 051 A (Germany) 01H028 $18.98

GIOVANNI BATTISTA VIOTTI (1755-1824): Violin Concertos Nos. 1-29. For those of you who waited 14 years for this long-to-be-completed complete cycle to be recorded, here's the payoff - the whole wad with all three orchestras used but, of course, the same violinist/conductor, at budget price. 10 CDs for the price of 3. Viotti Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra da Camera Milano Classica, Symphonia Perusina; Franco Mezzena (violin). Dynamic CDS 498/1-10 (Italy) 01H029 $53.98

IGNAZ PLEYEL (1757-1831): 3 String Quartets, Op. 2. Now, after last month's transcriptions for string quartet of Mozart works (12H028), we have the first half of Pleyel's own second set of quartets, published in 1784 and dedicated to Haydn. Rich in melodic invention and technically ingenious and resourceful, they explain Mozart's quote that "it will be a lucky day for music if later on Pleyel should be able to replace Haydn." Enso Quartet. Naxos 8.557496 (New Zealand) 01H030 $6.98

Mozart - the Supreme Decorator

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756-1791): Non so d'onde viene, Ah se a morir mi chiamo from Lucio Silla, Voi che sapete from Le nozze di Figaro, Marten aller arten from Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Ah perdona al primo affetto from La clemenza di Tito, JOHANN CHRISTIAN BACH (1735-1782): Cara, la dolce fiamma from Adriano in Siria, Infelice in van m'affanno and Deh, quel pianto omai tergete from La clemenza di Scipione. One of Mackerras' specialities has been the investigation of authentic performing practices and, here, he concentrates on Mozart's way of ornamenting his arias to heighten their brilliance and expressivness by adding extra notes, effects and cadenzas. He also shows how Mozart borrowed music from J.C. Bach and transformed it into a work of his own quality of genius. Typically lavish packaging with full-color 60-page booklet in a box. Italian-English texts. Diana Montague (mezzo), Majella Cullagh, Elizabeth Futral (sopranos), The Hanover Band; Sir Charles Mackerras. Opera Rara ORR 232 (England) 01H031 $19.98

FERDINANDO CARULLI (1770-1841): Gran Duos in E Minor, Op. 86, in D, Op. 70, in A, Op. 45 and in A, Op. 63, 3 Petits Duos, Op. 92, 3 Valzer, Op. 32, Melange on Themes of Rossini, Op. 236, 2 Nocturnes, Op. 131, Nocturne, Op. 127, Notturno in A, Op. 208, 3 Sonatines, Op. 196b, Variations de Beethoven in F, Op. 169, Duos in D, Op. 37, in C, Op. 11, in D, Op. 134, in C, Op. 135, in C, Op. 130, in G, Op. 151, in A, Op. 65 and 3 Duos, Op. 189, 2 Duos sur des thèmes de Rossini, Op. 233, Rondo in D, Grande Marche composée pour Agathe in C, Op. 161, Grande Marche de Ries in D, Op. 168, Solo in D, Op. 207/1, Fantasie composée sur differents motifs de "Fiorella" de Auber in A, Choix de 12 ouvertures de Rossini - Parts One and Two. The combination of fortepiano and period guitar is undeniably charming and attractive although you probably don't want to try listening to all eight of these CDs at once. Carulli's complete works for the duo are here in a new recording from 2002 and many might find the high spot to be the two discs worth of transcriptions of Rossini overtures. 8 CDs. Budget-price. Massimo Palumbo (fortepiano), Leopoldo Saracino (guitar). Brilliant Classics 92269 (Netherlands) 01H032 $44.98

PRINCE LOUIS FERDINAND OF PRUSSIA (1772-1806): Complete Piano Trios, Vol. 1 - Trio in A Flat, Op. 2, Großes Trio in E Flat, Op. 10. A brilliant pianist as well as soldier and statesman, Prince Louis was truly one of the first Romantics and recognized as such by Schumann. His trios are marked by frequent modulation, dense harmony and long-range harmonic planning and motivic links between movements which lead to a cyclical sense of form which is part of Romanticism. Trio Parnassus. MD&G 303 1347-2 (Germany) 01H033 $17.98

JOHANN NEPOMUK HUMMEL (1778-1837): Fantasie in G Minor, Op. 123 (World premiere recording), Fantasie in E Flat, Op. 18, Rondo quasi una fantasia in E, Op. 19, Fantasie "Recollections of Paganini", Fantasina in C on "Non più andrai", Op. 124, La contemplazione in A Flat from 6 Bagatelles, Op. 107. The largest-scale work here is the op. 18 which is really a four-movement sonata that anticipates Chopin, Schumann and Schubert while the first recording of the late op. 123 is a tone-picture whose four sections, following an introduction, are titled "The Hunter's Song", "Marcia", "The Bloodhound" and "The Roaming Mariners". Madoka Inui (piano). Naxos 8.557836 (New Zealand) 01H034 $6.98

MARTIN JOSEPH MENGAL (1784-1851): Wind Quintets "'tirées' des oeuvres de Haydn", "des oeuvres de Mozart" and "des oeuvres de Beethoven", Premier quintette de Rossini. This horn player and first head of the Gent Conservatoire (thus a founder of a significant Flemish musical institution) published the first three quintets listed above in 1824. Taking movements from the above-named composers as starting points (three piano trios and a piano sonata for Haydn; three violin sonatas for Mozart and two movements of the Op. 12/2 violin sonata for Beethoven), Mengal expands and "updates" much of the music, making this exercise much more than a mere "arrangement". The latter is closer to what his Rossini piece is - a single-movement piece which uses three themes taken from Il barbiere di Siviglia and combined and refashioned in entertaining manner. A must for collectors of period wind instruments also. 2 CDs. Das Reicha'sche Quintett. New Classical Adventure 60138-310 (Germany) 01H035 $25.98 >

GIOACCHINO ROSSINI (1792-1868): Complete Works for Piano, Vol. 6 - from Album de Chaumière: Un Cauchemar, Plain-Chant Chinois, Valse Boiteuse, Une Pensée à Florence, Marche, from Album de Château: Spécimen de l'Ancien Régime, Prélude Pétulant-Rococò, Un Regret, Un Espoir, Bolero Tartare. The latest release from this ongoing complete Rossini piano music cycle (not to be confused with those on MD&G and Chandos) which, unlike the others, uses a period piano for authentic effect. Paolo Giacometti (1858 Erard piano). Channel Classics SACD hybrid CCS SA 22705 (Netherlands) 01H036 $22.98

GIOACCHINO ROSSINI (1792-1868): Péchés de Vieillesse, Vol. 5 - Prélude Blagueur, Prélude soitdisant Dramatique, Prélude Pétulant-Rococò, Prélude Inoffensif, Prélude Baroque, Prélude Semipastorale, Prélude Fugassé, Prélude Moresque, Bolero Tartare. And the latest from this series, on a more modern piano, but which will have its own following of collectors. Stefan Irmer (1901 Steinway D). MD&G 618 1353-2 (Germany) 01H037 $17.98

ALEXANDER VERSTOVSKY (1799-1862): Arias from the Operas Askold's Grave, Homesickness, Someone is the Brother, Someone is the Sister, The Petitioner and Fifteen Years in Paris, Romances: The Bell, A Gypsy Song, The Three Songs of the Skald, The Two Ravens, A Spanish Song, The Black Shawl, The Singer and The Maiden's Song, Songs from Incidental Music for the Plays The Marriage of Figaro, Kremnev, a Russian Soldier and Roslavlyev. The first time we've heard from Verstovsky since the Consonance release of the complete Askold's Grave which I produced back in better days in the mid 90s. While not a groundbreaker in any way, Verstovsky was a multi-talented composer, teacher and administrator and he laid the groundwork for the next generation of Russian composers. This release provides slices of his broader uvre. English translations (no Russian texts). Marina Pilippova (mezzo), Irina Donskaya (harp), Dmitri Barbashin (piano), Konstantin Ilgin, Alexander Yasnev (guitars), Alexander Kiskachi (flute), Dmitri Makhovikov (clarinet), Valentin Malinov (double bass), Nevsky String Quartet. IM Lab IMLCD080 (Russia) 01H038 $16.98 >

GAETANO DONIZETTI (1797-1848): Pia de' Tolomei. This 1837 tragedia lirica is the latest by this composer to receive the full Opera Rara luxury treatment: both endings and every note of music ever composed for subsequent productions is included and the monstrous booklet goes to 248 pages - most of the pound and a half weight of this release 3 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Majella Cullagh (soprano), Manuela Custer (mezzo), Bruce Ford (tenor), Roberto Servile (baritone). Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, London Philharmonic Orchestra; David Parry. Opera Rara ORC 30 (England) 01H039 $61.98

Vocal Teamwork - Rare Operatic Ensembles

Ensembles by Rossini (Bianca e Falliero, Ricciardo e Zoraide, Vallace), Meyerbeer (Dinorah, L'esule di Granata, Margherita d'Anjou), Mercadante (Emma d'Antiochia), Verdi (Macbeth), Mayr (Medea in Corinto), Mosca (Li sposi in cimento), Donizetti (Gianni da Calais, L'assedio di Calais), Paër (Agnese) and Coccia (Maria Stuart). A wide variety of ensembles, starting with the elaborate formality of the duet from Rossini's Bianca e Falliero and concluding with the emotionally charged nonet from Donizetti's L'assedio di Calais, for collectors who are attracted to the genre but don't want the whole operas. No texts. From previously existing complete recordings with Jennifer Larmore, Majella Cullagh, Laura Claycomb, Bruce Ford, Nelly Miricioiu, Rockwell Blake and many others, Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, BBC Concert Orchestra; David Parry, James Judd, Giuliano Carella, John Matheson. Opera Rara ORR 233 (England) 01H040 $19.98

ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810-1856): Papillons, Op. 2, Fantasiestücke, Op. 12, Carnaval, Op. 9. Utterly standard rep but I did promise to offer everything this pianist records. Marc-André Hamelin (piano). Hyperion CDA 67120 (England) 01H041 $18.98

CHARLES GOUNOD (1818-1893): Par une belle nuit, Fleur des bois, Sérénade, Au printemps, Sous le feuillage - La sieste, Donne-moi cette fleur, Mignon, D'un cur qui t'aime, Le Banc de pierre, Les vacances, L'Arithmétique, O ma belle rebelle, CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921): Rêverie, Le Rossignol, Pastorale, Viens, Dans les coins bleus, El Desdichado, Clair de lune, Le soir descend sur la colline, EDOUARD LALO (1823-1892): Puisqu'ici bas, Aubade, Dansons. Mid and late 19th century mélodies, duets and solos, dealing with the usual topics: evenings in a lover's arms, drowsing in the afternoon's warmth, open air celebrations, breathless confessions - ah, the rarified (and a bit stifling) atmosphere of the French salon, getting Alpha's first-rate attention as, perhaps, it deserves. French-English texts. Sophie Marin-Degor (soprano), Claire Brua (mezzo), Serge Cyferstein (piano). Alpha 033 (France) 01H042 $17.98

ANTON BRUCKNER (1824-1896)/GUSTAV MAHLER (1860-1911): Symphony No. 3 in D Minor. From before my time here at RI but offered again since it has two points of interest: it's Mahler's first published work (even though fellow Bruckner student Rudolf Krzyzanowski did the fourth movement) and it's of the very rare second, 1877, version of this symphony. Piano Duo Trenkner-Speidel. Original 1995 release. MD&G 330 0591-2 (Germany) 01H043 $17.98

BEDRICH SMETANA (1824-1884): Piano Works, Vol. 1 - Macbeth and the Witches, Der Neugierige, Ball-Vision, Bettina Polka, Concert Etude in C, Souvenirs de Bohême en forme de polkas, Op. 12-13, On the Seashore, Op. 17, Fantasie concertante on Czech Folk Songs. All the pieces here date from 1858-62 and vary between Lisztian programmatic or virtuoso pieces and the ever-present Czech polkas so dear to the composer's heart. Since the complete Kontrapunkt Smetana piano series was never completely available here, it's good to have a bright young pianist like this getting full backing from the "home" label, as it were. Jitka Cechová (piano). Supraphon SU 3841-2 (Czech Republic) 01H044 $16.98

AMILCARE PONCHIELLI (1834-1886): I Lituani. Generally considered to be the composer's most ambitious work, this adaptation of the Polish poet Mikiewicz's ballad "Konrad Wallenrod" has massive ensembles in each act with elaborate part-writing, effective choral writing and much minor tonality (which didn't help it with the Italian public). 1979 live recording in clear but very close stereo. 2 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Ottavio Garaventa (tenor), Alessandro Cassis (baritone), Yasuko Hayashi (soprano), Carlo de Bortoli (bass), Chorus and Symphony Orchestra of RAI Turin; Gianandrea Gavazzeni. Bongiovanni GB 2390/91-2 (Italy) 01H045 $33.98

ARRIGO BOITO (1842-1918): Nerone. This will appeal to collectors who don't have the old Hungaroton recording from 1982, or who have it and want one with an Italian cast in good stereo (an Opera d'Oro version from 1957 is in decidedly murky mono). In fact the sound is as good as on any of this label's brand-new recordings. 2 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Bruno Prevedi (tenor), Ilva Ligabue (soprano), Agostino Ferrin (baritone), Chorus and Symphony Orchestra of RAI Turin; Gianandrea Gavazzeni. Original 1975 recording. Bongiovanni GB 2388/89-2 (Italy) 01H046 $33.98

GABRIEL FAURÉ (1845-1924): Complete Songs, Vol. 4 - Le papillon et la fleur, Op. 1/1, Rêve d'amour, Op. 5/2, Dans les ruines d'une abbaye, Op. 2/1, L'aurore, La rançon, Op. 8/2, Aubade, Op. 6/1, Ici-bas!, Op. 8/3, Aurore, Op. 39/1, Le pays des rêves, Op. 39/3, Les roses d'Ispahan, Op. 39/4, Nocturne, Op. 43/2, La rose, Op. 51/4, Soir, Op. 83/2, Le parfum impérissable, Op. 76/1, Arpège, Op. 76/2, Mélisande's song from Op. 80, Le plus doux chemin, Op. 87/1, Vocalise-étude, La chanson d'Ève, Op. 95. The final volume of this new Hyperion "French Song Edition" series continues, as before, with a cross-section of Fauré's songs from throughout his career and containing his last major cycle, La chanson d'Éve (1906-10), lasting 24 minutes and presenting Eve as a cosmic figure (and even including the voice of God, unusual in the song repertoire). French/English texts. Jennifer Smith, Geraldine McGreevy, Felicity Lott (sopranos), Jean-Paul Fouchécourt (tenor), Stephen Varcoe (baritone), Graham Johnson (piano). Hyperion CDA 67366 (England) 01H047 $18.98

PIETRO MASCAGNI (1863-1945): In Filanda for Soprano, Baritone, Tenor, Chorus and Orchestra. First recording of a cantata by the 17-year-old composer which he later expanded into his first opera, Pinotta. Lasting 47 minutes, it is an idyll set in rural Lombardy whose pastoral, lyric elegance defies one to believe that Cavalleria was only a few years away. Italian-English texts. Rossella Redoglia (soprano), Massimilano Fichera (baritone), Antonio de Palma (tenor), Chorus and Orchestra of I Solisti di Napoli; Susanna Pescetti. Bongiovanni GB 2374-2 (Italy) 01H048 $16.98

RICHARD STRAUSS (1864-1949): Piano Quartet in C Minor, Op. 13, Festmarsch, Ständchen, Liebesliedchen and Arabischer Tanz. The piano quartet, probably from 1885, is remarkable for the young Strauss' assimilation of Brahmsian sound (he himself described this period as one of "Brahmsian fervor") while still maintaining something of his own voice. The shorter accompanying pieces (from 1881, 1884 and 1893) are as simply appealing as their names might suggest and are very rarely heard, much less recorded. Mozart Piano Quartet. MD&G 643 1355-2 (Germany) 01H049 $17.98

ALEXANDER GLAZUNOV (1865-1936): Complete Solo Piano Music, Vol. 1 - Sonata No. 1 in B Flat Minor, Op. 74, Suite on the Name "SASCHA", Op. 2, 3 Miniatures, Op. 42, Valse de salon, Op. 43, Grande valse de concert, Op. 41, Waltzes on the Theme "SABELA", Op. 23, Petite valse, Op. 36. The 1900 sonata is one of only three large-scale piano works by this composer and its level of difficulty is demonstrated by Felix Blumenthal's transcription of it for two pianos (although the work is never over-emotional and rather suggests the austerity of Taneyev). The remainder of the disc offers what Glazunov produced in profusion - dance pieces and suites of dance movements or character pieces whose virtuoso technique is in the glittering and showy manner common to the period. Stephen Coombs (piano). Original 1996 Hyperion release. Helios CDH 55221 (England) 01H050 $10.98

FERRUCCIO BUSONI (1866-1924): Fantasia Contrappuntistica, Improvisation on the Bach Chorale "Wie wohl ist mir, o Freund der Seele", Fantasie für eine Orgelwalze (Mozart/Busoni), Duettino Concertante nach Mozart. Everything here is based on either Mozart or Bach and ranges from modest alterations to the magisterial Fantasia which Busoni arranged for two pianos since, as he put it, it was "a disproportionate task for ten fingers." Allan Schiller, John Humphreys (pianos). Naxos 8.557443 (New Zealand) 01H051 $6.98

LOUIS VIERNE (1870-1937): Complete Chamber Music - Violin Sonata, Cello Sonata, Quintet for Piano and Strings, String Quartet, Soirs étrangers for Cello and Piano, 2 pièces for Viola and Piano, Largo et canzonetta for Oboe and Piano, Rhapsodie for Harp. Vierne's life was a ceaseless procession of wrenching heartbreak, melancholy and solitude but, while these negative qualities are often evident in his music, they inspired him to write music of inspiring loftiness in which the struggle is what makes life worth living, not the unattainable joys and pleasures which other men had. The dark beauty of the piano quintet, written on the death of his son in battle in 1917, is his most impressive accomplishment but everything here is worth getting to know (and the 1894 string quartet is even bright, witty and free of tensions). 2 CDs. François Kerdoncuff, Olivier Gardon (piano), Alexis Galpérine (violin), Yvan Chiffoleau (cello), Odile Carracilly (viola), Christian Moreaux (oboe), Pascale Zanlonghi (harp), Quatuor Phillips. Original 1990-92 Timpani releases. Timpani 2C2098 (France) 01H052 $37.98

ARNOLD SCHOENBERG (1874-1951): Suite in G for String Orchestra (Twentieth Century Classics Ensemble; Robert Craft), String Quartet No. 2 (Jennifer Welch-Babidge [soprano], Fred Sherry String Quartet), 6 A Cappella Mixed Choruses (Simon Joly Singers). This third volume of Craft's Schoenberg cycle for Naxos includes two relative rarities - the choruses, 16th century German folk-songs harmonized by the composer according to his own dictates (half from 1928, the other three from 1948) and the 1934 Suite, an "in the old style" piece for students but which remains practically unknown due to its technical difficulty. Naxos 8.557521 (New Zealand) 01H053 $6.98

HEALY WILLAN (1880-1968): Prelude and Fugue in C Minor, Introduction, Passacaglia and Fugue, 5 Preludes on Plainchant Melodies, Passacaglia and Fugue No. 2 in E Minor, Chorale Prelude on a Melody by Orlando Gibbons, Aria from A Fugal Trilogy, Prelude on "Aberystwyth", Epilogue. Born in London but a Canadian from 1913, Willan is known for his choral and, especially, for his organ music, of which two of his most impressive works are presented here - the 1916 Introduction, Passacaglia and Fugue and the Passacaglia and Fugue No. 2 of 46 years later, both remarkable syntheses of the contrapuntal and the Romantic. Patrick Wedd (organ of Église Saint-Jean-Baptiste, Montreal). Naxos 8.557375 (New Zealand) 01H054 $6.98

ZOLTÁN KODÁLY (1882-1967): Works for Mixed Choir, Vol. 2 - The Peacock, Our Father, Hymn to St. Stephen (2), Evening Song, Greeting on St. John's Day, Do not Grieve, Norwegian Girls, First Communion, The Forgotten Song of Bálint Balassi, Cohors generosa, Advent Song, Geneva Psalm 121, Beseeching, Song from Gömör, To the Transylvanians, Battle Song, The Hungarian Nation, Lament. The majority of Kodály's uvre was written for unaccompanied chorus and anyone who wants truly to know the depth of his love for and knowledge of Hungarian folk-song, poetry and language will eventually need to investigate it. So we offer this new series, of which this volume contains works written between 1937-47 and includes several deeply emotional and patriotic pieces from the depths of the war years. Hungarian-English texts. Debrecen Kodály Chorus; Péter Erdei. Hungaroton HCD 32365 (Hungary) 01H055 $17.98

ZOLTÁN KODÁLY (1882-1967): Choral Works for Male Voices - The Peacock, The Watchman of Nándor, The Ruins, Bandi Büngözsdi, The Son of an Enslaved Country, God's Mercy, Evening Song, The Bachelor, The Filly, Songs from Karád, Solders' Song, Jesus Appeared, Hymn to St. Stephen, To the Changes in France, In A. Fáy's Album, National Song, Appeal, Justum et tenacem, La Marseillaise, Song of Faith. Kodály detested the male voice choirs which Hungarians had begun to set up in the early 19th century, aping the German liedertafel traditoin. So, even though he would have liked to have stamped them out wholesale, he felt they were a necessary transition to a true Hungarian mixed choir tradition, so he wrote 24 works for them, 17 original compositions, all of which are here, along with one Latin source and, of course, the Marseillaise. Hungarian-English texts. Béla Bartók Male Choir, Pécs, Male Choir of the Mecsek Choir of Pécs; Tamás Lakner. Hungaroton HCD 32322 (Hungary) 01H056 $17.98

RONALD STEVENSON (b.1928): Prelude, Fugue and Fantasy on themes from Busoni's "Doktor Faust", Peter Grimes Fantasy, GEORGE GERSHWIN (1898-1937)/PERCY GRAINGER (1882-1961): Love Walked In, The Man I Love, RICHARD STRAUSS (1864-1949)/GRAINGER: Ramble on Love, CHRISTOPH WILLIBALD GLUCK (1714-1787)/CHARLES-VALENTIN ALKAN (1813-1888): Gavotte d'Orphée, FREDERIC CHOPIN (1810-1849)/LEOPOLD GODOWSKY (1870-1938): Étude No. 18a, FRANZ SCHUBERT (1797-1828)/FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886): Du bist die Ruh', S558/3, JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (1685-1750)/FERRUCCIO BUSONI (1866-1924): Chaconne. This is the first time a live Ronald Stevenson recital has been commercially released, and very welcome it is too. We are fortunate that Stevenson's sadly limited discography as performer principally consists of the series of recordings he made about a decade after this 1976 recital from Vancouver, when he was at the height of his extraordinary interpretive and technical powers - some of what we encounter on those recordings simply has to be heard to be disbelieved. Stevenson has always been a 'live' performer (even in the studio), and the real pleasure here is to hear his infectious enthusiasm for every note of these relatively rarely performed transcriptions (repertoire-wise, unfortunately, the major pieces here duplicate his studio recordings) - for example, his delightfully coy, insouciant way with Grainger's affectionately (slightly) embellished version of Gershwin's The Man I Love or the lovely Schubert and Gluck transcriptions by Liszt and Alkan, eschewing heavy-duty virtuosity entirely in transcription and performance. Private tapes and airchecks of live Stevenson performances have achieved an almost cultish status among a small circle of aficionados (containing, among a vast diversity of other repertoire, revelatory performances of Janacek, Beethoven, Mozart and of course, much Busoni and Grainger) and this disc usefully illustrates why that enthusiasm is amply justified. Ronald Stevenson (piano). APR 5630 (England) 01H057 $17.98

GÉZA FRID (1904-1989): Concerto for Piano and Choir, Op. 14, 12 Sayings and Quotes for Mixed Choir, Op. 36/a&b, 4 Mixed Choruses, Op. 34, 10 Lamentations for Ladies' Choir, Op. 35, Suite for Mixed Choir and Piano, Op. 48. Born in Hungary but a Dutch resident from 1929, Frid was best known as Erna Spoorenberg's accompanist and as a fecund composer in most genres. Studies under Kodály (composition) and Bartók (piano) and a lifelong loyalty to the music of his native land combine with the wide experience of modern European music which he gained after moving to Holland to produce works which are very hard to characterize. The 1934 concerto is quite unusual for its use of a vocalizing choir while the choruses use styles from quite contemporary and modern to folk-inspired. Latin, English, Dutch, German, French, Italian texts. Hanna Devich (piano), Liszt Ferenc Chorus (Amsterdam); Peter Scholcz. Hungaroton HCD 32362 (Hungary) 01H058 $17.98

CARLOS SALZEDO (1885-1961): Short Stories in Music, Books 1 and 2, Suite of Eight Dances, Prelude for a Drama, Préludes intimes, Variations sur un thême dans le style ancien, Op. 30. Salzedo was one of the harp's best friends. Not only did he play the instrument professionally and teach it, he wrote real music for it as well, employing coloristic sonorities, tapping on the soundboard, glissandos in rhythmical patters and other effects. The Short Stories and Dances are especially good examples of the gorgeous colors and sonorities Salzedo conjures from this neglected solo instrument. Sarah Schuster Ericsson (harp). Cambria CD-1151 (U.S.A.) 01H059 $16.98

GERMAINE TAILLEFERRE (1892-1983): String Quartet, DARIUS MILHAUD (1892-1974): String Quartet No. 4, MAURICE RAVEL (1875-1937): String Quartet. Sad to have the four thousandth version of the Ravel take up over half of a 51-minute disc but it's also nice to have a top-drawer quartet playing the rather Ravelian Tailleferre (at only 9:34 it seems far too short for its beauty and charm) and the un-Ravelian Milhaud with its almost vestigial outer movements, each less than three minutes but each full of extra-European energy, surrounding an eight-minute Funèbre which combines funeral march and slow lament. Leipzig String Quartet. MD&G 307 1359-2 (Germany) 01H060 $17.98

HENRI DUTILLEUX (b.1916): Orchestral Works, Vol. 1 - Symphony No. 2 "Le Double", Métaboles, The Shadows of Time. Dutilleux is generally agreed to be one of the giants of 20th century music and, since Naxos has ignored himso far, this series from Arte Nova is a boon to timid collectors who may be intimidated by his reputation. The thing about Dutilleux is that one can instantly find many of his orchestral compositions appealing on a visceral level (and, perhaps even on a hidden, intellectual level of which you are completely unaware at the time) while reading the booklet notes' analysis of his style and of the particular work in question (his pieces do not sound like each other as the composer attacks different aspects of the art of composition in every new piece he writes) will flummox you unless you have an academic background in music. Bordeaux Aquitaine National Orchestra; Hans Graf. Arte Nova ANO 807860 (Germany) 01H061 $4.98

HENRI DUTILLEUX (b.1916): Orchestral Works, Vol. 2 - Symphony No. 1, Tout un monde lontain... for Cello and Orchestra, Timbres, Espace, Mouvement. The easiest thing one can say about Dutilleux is that he is always concerned with clarity of sound and that he is interested in exploring novel combinations of sound. His second symphony (above) uses two different orchestral groups to bounce ideas and sounds off each other and his first, here, contrasts single instruments with instrumental groups, always producing novel tonal blends, contrasting juxtapositions and shifting tonal surfaces. If it sounds dry and academic, you can find out for yourself how interesting it sounds, as sound, and you won't find any way to do it cheaper than this! Bordeaux Aquitaine National Orchestra; Hans Graf. Arte Nova ANO 928130 (Germany) 01H062 $4.98

Anthology of Belorussian Music

OLEG KHODOSKO (b.1964): Symphony No. 4 "White Russian", VIKTOR VOITIK (b.1947): From Symphonic Suite "The Funs" - Round Dance and Christmas Carol Singers, DIMITRI SMOLSKY (b.1937): Symphonic Variations, ANDREI MDIVANI (b.1937): Ostinato for Orchestra, Symphony No. 6 (movement 1), YURI SEMENYAKO (1925-1990): Svetlana's Aria from the opera The Thorny Rose, SERGEI KORTES (b.1935): Overture to a Spanish Comedy, YEVGENI GLEBOV (1929-2000): Adaigio of Rose and the Little Prince from the ballet The Little Prince, ANATOLY BOGATYREV (1913-2003): Nina's Waltz from the incidental music to the play Masquerade, VLADIMIR BABKOV (b.1960): Symphony No. 1 (movements 2 and 3), GALINA GORELOVA (b.1951): Concerto for Oboe and Strings (movement 3), YEVGENI POPLAVSKY (b.1959): Dea luna, VYACHESLAV KUZNETSOV (b.1955): Adagio from an Imaginary Ballet, IGOR LUCHENOK (b.1938): Ave Maria, VLADIMIR SOLTAN (1953-1997): Concert Waltz. Lesya Lyuth (soprano), Russian State Symphony Orchestra of Radio and TV; Michael Snitko. A few bleeding chunks on the second disc but this collection is mostly of complete, if short, orchestral works from three generations of Belorussian composers (three of whom are also on the Olympia Belorussian series which we have a few pieces left of on page 11). Practically everything is readily approachable, for obvious political reasons, and the attractive, full-color booklet provides biographical sketches and brief notes on each of the pieces recorded here. 2 CDs. Mid-price. Mezhdunarodnaya Kniga MKM 163 (Russia) 01H063 $23.98 >

When the Empire Calls

Barrack-Room Ballads of Rudyard Kipling - GERARD F. COBB (1838-1904): To T.A., Gunga Din, Op. 29/4, Ford o' Kabul River, Op. 26/2, The Young British Soldier, Op. 24/1, Lichtenberg, Fuzzy-Wuzzy, Op. 24/5, Belts, Op. 29/1, Oonts, Op. 29/5, Snarleyow, Op. 29/6, J.P. MCCALL (1882-1961): Boots, Route Marchin', Cells, W. WARD-HIGGS (1866-1936): Troopin', The Widow's Party, Bill 'Awkins, GORDON SUTHERLAND: The Widow at Windsor, MAURICE BELL: Follow Me 'Ome, WALTER DAMROSCH (1862-1950): Danny Deever, Op. 2/7, OLEY SPEAKS (1874-1948): On the Road to Mandalay, MARY CARMICHAEL: Tommy, PERCY GRAINGER (1882-1961): Soldier, Soldier.

Popular Songs of the Boer War - ALFRED HILL (1870-1960): When the Empire Calls, ARTHUR SULLIVAN (1842-1900): The Absent-Minded Beggar, GEORGE F. ROOT (1820-1995): The Vacant Chair, Tramp! Tramp! Tramp!, ARTHUR SOMERVELL (1863-1937): The Handy Man, THEODORE F. MORSE (1873-1924): Blue Bell, Two Little Boys, CHARLES K. HARRIS (1867-1930): Break the News to Mother, PAUL DRESSER (1859-1906): The Pardon Came Too Late, REGINALD DE KOVEN (1859-1920): Recessional, LESLEY STUART (1864-1928): Soldiers of the Queen, MARIE COWAN (1864-1941): Waltzing Matilda, PAUL BARNES: Good-bye, Dolly Gray, FELIX MCGLENNON: Comrades, JOSEPH GILLOTT: Sons of the Southern Sea, LT. A.L. HARRINGTON KYLE: Strathcona's Horse: Regimental Song, C.W. MURPHY: The Baby's Name, J.L.H. SCHUMANN: The Boer Prisoner's Prayer, JOHN BRADFORD: Sons of Our Empire, ALFRED H. WEST: Mafekin' Night, JOHN FINUCANE: Just Knock at the Door, and Ask for Us, W.C. ROBEY: The Pretoria Dinner Party, or In Walked England, J.D. WHEELER: Bravo! Dublin Fusiliers!, GEORGE EVERARD: Good-bye, Daddy, SEP WINNER: Sarie Marais. Collected here, from an obviously wide variety of sources are 15 settings of Kipling's original 21 Ballads from the 1892 publication, as well as five more from his later collections, in all their vibrancy, earthiness, and music-hall style, complete with political incorrectness. The songs in the Boer War collection come from the Johannesburg Public Library and were chosen for having been mentioned in contemporary and later writings as having been popular during the time (although some originate in our Civil War, which shows the easy flow of popular culture even back then.) 2 CDs. Texts included. Michael Halliwell (baritone), David Miller (piano). ABC Classics 476 8063 (Australia) 01H064 $25.98 >

VITTORIO GIANNINI (1903-1966): Psalm 130 for Double Bass and Orchestra, JOHN CARBON (b.1951): Endangered Species, WILLIAM THOMAS MCKINLEY (b.1938): Passacaglia, Variations and Finale for Double Bass and Orchestra. Gianinni is one of the 20th century's most neglected American composers and, though he wrote seven symphonies, we must be thankful for this recording of his 1963 concertante work written for double bass virtuoso Gary Karr. Coming at a period in his life when his health and his second wife were abandoning him, it obviously offered an emotional outlet - an impassioned cry of pain and fear in a manner which suggests Bloch's Schelomo. Carbon's piece is an engaging, tonal and colorful contest between solo instrument, caricatured by the composer as a wild beast, and the orchestra which seems to represent encroaching civilization while McKinley's Passacaglia is predictably well-crafted with his usual touches of ingenuity in dealing with a centuries-old form. Richard Fredrickson (double bass), Slovak Radio Orchestra; Kirk Trevor. MMC 2138 (U.S.A.) 01H065 $16.98

Ernst Levy's Son

FRANK EZRA LEVY (b.1930): A Summer Overture, Cello Concerto No. 2, Symphony No. 3, Rondo Tarantella. The younger Levy counts his father and his teacher, Hugo Kauder, as his most important influences and, like them, he has nothing to do with avant-garde currents of the 20th century and, though his music is less dissonant than his father's, he uses the same general methods of linear counterpoint, rhythmic flexibility and modality often constructing an entire work (like the 1977 symphony) from the clarinet melody with which it begins, varying his motifs through shfting textures and different orchestral lights and colors. The other works all date from 1997-2003 and make up a very attractive disc which all 20th century symphonic collectors will prize and listen to more than once. Scott Ballantyne (cello), RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland; Takuo Yuasa. Naxos American Classics 8.559234 (U.S.A.) 01H066 $6.98

ALFRED SCHNITTKE (1934-1998): Music from the Films The Story of an Unknown Actor, Sport, Sport, Sport, Agony, Music for and Imaginary Play. First released in 1994. This Russian edition has a page of not terribly useful English notes and four pages in Russian in its all-color booklet. The booklet itself is dual-language: turn it over and it's a Cyrillic cover, with different art, for sale in Russia. USSR Cinematographic Orchestra; Emin Khachaturian. Limited quantities; out-of-print item; no back-orders! Mezhdunarodnaya Kniga/Olympia MKM 126 (Russia) 01H067 $16.98 >

VALERY GAVRILIN (1939-1999): Buffoons for Soloist, Male Choir and Orchestra, War Letters for Soloist, Childrens' Choir, Mixed Choir and Orchestra. These dramatic oratorios address serious social issues - the first deals with general themes of 'the people' shrugging off various forms of unpleasant repression caused by Tsarist or, er, possibly other totalitarian regimes (nudge nudge, wink wink); the second is a WWII memorial piece. The musical means of expression is exactly what you were expecting - bold and dramatic gestures traceable directly to Shostakovich in acerbic, sardonic mode, interspersed with 11th-Symphony scene-setting and sombre pathos. War Letters extends the vocabulary somewhat with some recorded sound effects and what seem to be recorded or electronic instruments (unspecified in the uninformative booklet), which suggests something of a staged narrative. If you enjoy the vast legacy of mainstream Soviet-era music, this will be exactly your thing. Eduard Hil (baritone), Taisia Kalinchenko (soprano), Symphony Orchestras; Anatoly Badkhen, Stanislav Gorkovenko. IM Lab IMLCD079 (Russia) 01H068 $16.98 >

VALERY GAVRILIN (1939-1999): String Quartets Nos. 1 & 3, 3 Ophelia Songs, 3 Romances, Suite-Fantasy on Themes from the ballet Anyuta. The first quartet is a genial and uncomplicated work in three movements, bucolic, then lively, then a soulful slow introduction which gives way to a vigorous finale. The third is less structurally conventional, opening with a somber recitative. The music increases in tension, builds an impassioned climax, and subsides. The shorter secoond movement is a conventional finale, with a central slow section. The Suite-Fantasy consists of 10 brief numbers from a ballet Anyuta which are attractive and lively in a crowd-pleasing, divertimentoesque sort of way. Marina Poplavskaya (soprano), Andzhei Beletsky (baritone), Ensemble Concertino. Quadro Disc KTL03-753 (Russia) 01H069 $16.98 >

VALERY GAVRILIN (1939-1999): Russian Song-Book, Evening. These song-cycles utilise the full range of familiar gestures of Russian song, with the customary tolling bells in the piano part, muted ostinati suggesting dogged persistence and the interminable winter landscapes, dramatic declamatory vocal introductions, and here and there, touches of the kind of sentimental charm that seems to work in Russia and that would sound unbearably arch from any other source. You know the kind of thing, and you know it well. This unaffected and conventional aspect of Gavrilin's music - there really isn't much here that Mussorgsky might not have done - is readily appealing, though, and it is impossible to deny the skill with which he adds to the repertoire bequeathed to us by his forebears, without exactly extending the genre a great deal. Recorded 1970-71. Mid-price. Zara Dolukhanova (mezzo), Nina Svetlanova, Vladimir Khvostin (piano). JMR CD 004 (Russia) 01H070 $12.98 >

Three Belorussian Composers

DMITRY SMOLSKY (b.1937): Symphony No. 6, Overture, Dulcimer Concerto No. 1, Cello Concerto, Violin Concerto. Colorful and bold, lively and immediately appealing, this selection of orchestral works suggests a Byelorussian Kabalevsky, with a touch of Khachaturian in the saturated hues of the orchestration. Byelorussian folk music is also a noticeable thematic device, most obviously in the dulcimer concerto, with its gypsy/folk allusions. The symphony strikes a more serious note, tense and conflicted, lacking a sense of ready resolution. Eugene Gladkov (dulcimer), Eugene Ksaveriyev (cello), Leo Gorelic (violin), Belorussian State TV and Radio Orchestra; Boris Raisky, Valery Leonov. Limited quantities; out-of-print item; no back-orders! 1992 release. Olympia OCD 551 (England) 01H071 $16.98 >

YEVGENI GLEBOV (1929-2000): Symphony No. 5, 5 Fantastic Dances, Suite from the ballet The Little Prince. Tonal and conventional in layout and vocabulary, Glebov's symphony is bold and readily accessible, with more than occasional suggestions of Prokofiev, though a combination of Soviet-Realist catch-all appeal and an almost Hollywoodised popular element are also to be detected. Some of the best ideas here and in the Dances are borrowed a little too closely from Shostakovich, but hey, there are many worse models. The ballet suite is charming and lively, with many felicitous touches of original and lucid instrumentation. Limited quantities; out-of-print item; no back-orders! Belorussian State TV and Radio Orchestra; Boris Raisky. 1992 release. Olympia OCD 552 (England) 01H072 $16.98 >

VLADIMIR SOLTAN (1953-1997): Symphony No. 2, Symphonic Poem, Cello Concerto (Eugene Ksaveriyev [cello]), Melody and Chorale for Cello and Piano (Vladimir Soltan [cello], Valentina Vavilova [piano]). The three fine large-scale orchestral works are characterised by a pervasive mood of somber sobriety, interspersed with episodes of powerful dramatic effect. The symphony, with its veiled Dies irae references is a War Requiem in all but name: the eloquent and structurally original concerto also inhabits a dark-hued, tragic world, a major work of its genre. Limited quantities; out-of-print item; no back-orders! Belorussian State TV and Radio Orchestra; Boris Raisky. 1992 release. Olympia OCD 553 (England) 01H073 $16.98 >

TOSHIRO MAYUZUMI (1929-1997): Symphonic Mood, Bugaku - Ballet in Two Parts, Mandala Symphony, Rumba Rhapsody. As a student in war-time Japan, jazz and blues, two of Mayuzumi's favorite exotic musics, were banned and he turned to South American and Indonesian music for pleasure, both of which are reflected in the 1950 Symphonic Mood (Rumba Rhapsody was an unperformed piece from 1948 which was cannibalized for the second movement of Mood). The transparent orchestration of his mature works comes via his studies at the Paris Conservatoire in 1951-2 but the sources for the other two pieces on this disc are varied: Bugaku is a Balanchine ballet commission (1962) which is based on two forms of Japanese gagaku court music while the Mandala Symphony of 1960 provides two audio mandalas for meditation which are based on six-note rows derived from the acoustic analysis of overtones of a bell in a Buddhist temple. A must-have for all collectors of orchestral exotica! New Zealand Symphony Orchestra; Takuo Yuasa. Naxos Japanese Classics 8.557693 (U.S.A.) 01H074 $6.98

ALVA HENDERSON (b.1940): Nosferatu. Based on the 1922 silent movie, this approachable addition to the canon of contemporary opera is cast in the conventional mold - always tonal, based on narrative directness, clear linear storytelling and grateful vocal writing in arias and ensemble pieces. The story is presented as a human drama, notwithstanding the supernatural element, and the musically conventional vocabulary creates highly sympathetic characters in whose fates we are genuinely interested by the time the supernatural element of the story is introduced. Dramatic tension is maintained through the emphasis on the text while the Romantic warmth of Henderson's harmonic language - some lovely passages could almost be by Smetana or Tchaikovsky, elsewhere the popular musical or film music are suggested - renders the entire work entirely accessible throughout. 2 CDs. Libretto included. Susan Gundumas (soprano), Robert McPherson (tenor), Douglas Nagel (bass-baritone), Rimrock Opera Chorus and Orchestra; Barbara Day Turner. Albany TROY 794/795 (U.S.A.) 01H075 $33.98

PETER WESTERGAARD (b.1931): Moby Dick - Scenes from an Imaginary Opera. This is a series of studies of the character central to the hunt - and the story and interactions of the principals are dealt with in recitatives with evocative scene-setting music for accompaniment, and richly detailed and descriptive dialogue. As this would imply, the emphasis placed upon the vocal writing is of great importance, and sure enough, the clear, eloquent and strongly characterised delineation of the individuals form one of the opera's greatest strengths. Westergaard's harmonic vocabulary is conventional, and the rich counterpoint of voices is thus expressed in terms of clear, lyrical sung lines forming a tremendously approachable tonal matrix. 2 CDs. Libretto included. Robert Baker (tenor), William Parcher (bass), Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia; Michael Pratt. Albany TROY 806/807 (U.S.A.) 01H076 $33.98

FINNUR TORFI STEFÁNSSON (b.1947): Movements '98 for Violin and Piano (Sigrún Ethvaldsdóttir [violin], Snorri Siftús Birgisson [piano]), Movements '98 for String Quartet (Ethos Quartet), Piece IV for Orchestra (Iceland Symphony Orchestra; Bernharthur Wilkinson), Suite from the opera The Shinbone and the Shell (Caput Ensemble; Guthmundur Óli Gunnarsson). A varied career, including a substantial period outside the world of professional music, seems to have resulted in a compositional style which one might describe as a sophisticated kind of 'outsider art'; there is a certain detached naivété, a sense of not being terribly interested in what is 'supposed' to be important in contemporary music. (Studies with Ferneyhough certainly resulted in no envelope-pushing avant-gardism.) The chamber works are basically tonal, with a certain acerbity of texture and harmony; Stefánsson's textures tend to be open, his natural lyricism tempered by an economy of gesture, though lively movement maintains momentum throughout. The Shinbone suite is extracted from an opera in deliberately accessible style, and is lighter in style, though not without lyrical pathos. The orchestral Piece in three movements shares with Stefánsson's chamber works a lucidity and transparency, while generating greater dramatic weight, especially in the final movement, an unsettled elegy. Skifan FCD 002 (Iceland) 01H077 $18.98

PAMELA DECKER (b.1955): Flores de Desierto, Río abajo río, Passacaglia on B-A-C-H, Kairos, Fantasy on the Name of Marilyn Keiser. Decker's colorful and elegantly conceived music will appeal to any collector of modern, approachable organ music. The two suites are especially inviting: Flores is a set of three tangos, a tribute to Piazzolla but one in which the last movement turns into a fugue and, finally, a bracing toccata while Río... is based on Latin American popular and sacred melodies given sophisticated harmonic treatment. The more "academic" pieces retain a clarity and freshness foreign to the German passacaglia or fantasy school and Kairos is a very interesting and dramatic picture which alludes to a personal program but whose transition from a quiet unease to a flurry of action tells a tale which each listener can supply images for. Pamela Decker (Flentrop organ of St. Mark's Cathedral, Seattle, WA). Loft Recordings LRCD 1076 (U.S.A.) 01H078 $15.98

GABRIEL IRANYI (b.1946): Bird of Wonder for Piano (Yoriko Ikeya), Quartet for Flutes (Arcadie Flute Quartet), Laudae for Piano Duet (Beer-Sheeva Piano Duet), Scroll Fragments I for Saxophone (Christian Peters), 5 Haiku for Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Viola, Cello and Piano (Modern Art Sextet, Berlin). Inevitably, there will be a tendency for a contemporary composer writing a solo piano work 'about' Mediterranean birdsong to resemble Messiaen, at least in decorative gesture. There seem to be birds present in the quartet as well, though the composer's varied background contributes a wide range of influences including fragmentary invocations of Jewish prayers, incorporating some microtonal and extended-technique material, though also juxtaposed with mellifluous and consonant, straightforwardly rhythmic excursions. Similarly disconcerting stylistic dissonances occur in Laudae - highly active and complex decorative textures presented as if a counterpoint to richly consonant fragments of traditional Jewish melody. Scroll Fragments also derives its material from early Jewish music, here woven into an eclectic tapestry of active and varied textures. The Haiku are enigmatic studies in frozen meditation, static and oblique of utterance; even where there is intermittent frenetic activity or dense textures based on dissonant overtone clusters, a sense of timeless contemplation pervades these strange and provocative works. Hungaroton HCD 32053 (Hungary) 01H079 $17.98 >

STANISLAW SKROWACZEWSKI (b.1923): Concerto for Orchestra, Concerto Nicolò for Piano Left Hand and Orchestra. Skrowaczewski's Concerto Nicolò, using the famous Paganini theme, is predominantly tonal, with much chromatic inflection, and conforms to the Romantic model, with Prokofiev-like tendencies on display here and there. The orchestration is rich and ingeniously varied and original, and both here and in the piano writing there is an avoidance of bombast, lending chamber textures to a good part of the proceedings. The concerto is a complete reworking - effectively a new piece - of an earlier work, which the composer felt lacked economy in orchestration. This version is certainly not lacking in orchestral variety and color, and like other similarly titled works, provides a stunning showpiece for a suitably equipped ensemble. Gary Graffman (piano), Minnesota Orchestra; Stanislaw Skrowaczewski. Reference Recordings RR-103CD (U.S.A.) 01H080 $17.98

MICHAEL TORKE (b.1961): Strawberry Fields - Opera in One Act, Pentecost for Soprano and Orchestra. This chamber opera set in the area of Central Park named in honor of John Lennon tells a simple and touching tale of an old woman with dementia who believes she is at the opera, and the ways in which various New Yorkers interact with her, before she dies, contentedly, still in her private fantasy world. Torke's familiar energetic post-minimalist style is largely absent here; as befits the gentle, human-scaled drama, the composer adopts a straightforward tonal idiom, sometimes propelled by ostinato motifs, but we are some distance from actual minimalism. Economical and attractive, the work avoids sentimentality while succeeding in generating genuine sympathy and emotional involvement with the characters. Pentecost is likewise gentler and more tranquil than much of Torke's earlier music, but it gains in sophistication what it may have lost in impact, as the constantly subtly shifting meters underpinning the Biblical texts are clearly delineated. The work emerges as a kind of paradoxical post-minimal neo-Baroque oratorio, with a consoling, genuinely devotional sensibility which is unexpectedly moving. Margaret Lloyd (soprano), John Hancock (baritone), Joyce Castle (mezzo), Albany Symphony Orchestra; David Alan Miller. Ecstatic Records ER092208 (U.S.A.) 01H081 $17.98

SALLY BEAMISH (b.1956): String Quartet No. 1, String Quartet No. 2 "Opus California", LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827): String Quartet in C Minor, Op. 18/4. Beamish wittily adopts elements of Beethoven's work in a sunny, California-inspired work. The eleven-minute piece is approachable and attractive, in a fairly conventional four-movement layout, with a genial first movement, an atmospheric second, a gentle lullaby-intermezzo, and a piece of energetic and evocative scene-painting for a finale. The first quartet is more 'serious', and incorporates elements of Ukrainian, African and Turkish folk musics, in open textures not so very far from a Coplandish idiom. The overall layout of the work is a conventional 4-movement one, with the third, slow movement an especially effective, moving lament. The music is restless, and a good deal less simple and straightforwardly tonal than the second quartet, though like all Beamish's music, never less than accessible and demanding of the listener's attention through its closely argued, directly communicative approach. Emperor String Quartet. BIS CD-1511 (Sweden) 01H082 $17.98

ROBIN IRELAND (b.1954): String Quartet No. 1 - Fantasia on Sheffield, Pairings I for Violin and Cello, Pairings II for 2 Violas, Pairings III for Violin and Viola. These attractive and rather unconventional works for various combinations of strings have no apparent pretensions to profundity, and yet achieve an unusual level of communicative eloquence. Pairings are brief studies or genre pieces in different styles, but the whole is generally greater than the sum of the parts. Baroque and Classical forms, Beethovenian humor, Bartókian or Vaughan Williamsish folk material rubs shoulders with references to more modern repertoire - all seamlessly integrated an co-existing most genially. In general, there is a tendency toward greater harmonic pungency and more serious musical expression as the works become more recent, as though the composer became increasingly aware of the serious expressive potential of what started out as an agreeable technical exercise. The quartet continues in the same vein of resolute tonality treated with considerable chromatic abandon and stylistic and formal ingenuity, leading to a work of wit and humor with underlying tension and drama. The Lindsays. Meridian CDE 84528 (England) 01H083 $17.98

GUNNAR DE FRUMERIE (1908-1987): Suite for Wind Quintet, HILDING ROSENBERG (1892-1985): Quintetto, ROLF MARTINSSON (b.1956): Coloured Flames, DANIEL BÖRTZ (b.1943): Winter Pieces 2. Rosenberg's is the earliest of this collection of Swedish wind quintets, dating from 1959. Coming right after his completion of his series of twelve string quartets, it is similarly freely constructed out of twelve-tone material and can be seen as a sequel to the quartet cycle. De Frumerie's, from 1973, is the most conservative of them, quite pastoral and often neo-romantic (although its movement headings, "Introduction and Fugue", "Sarabande", "Siciliano" and "Tarantella" are mostly neo-baroque). Börtz (1982, rev. 2004) wrote his when he had just begun to change from a difficult, "modern" style to his later songlike and melodic style; there is much frigidity and biting winter feel in this 11-minute piece. Martinsson's 12-minute piece (2004) is freely tonal and concerned with expressivity achieved through the play of instrumental color. Amadé Quintet. Daphne 1019 (Sweden) 01H084 $16.98

CONLON NANCARROW (1912-1997): String Quartet No. 1, For Piano: Prelude, Blues, Sonatina, for Prepared Piano: Piece for Tape, Studies Nos. 30, 50, 51, Contraption No. 1, Para Yoko. Titled "Lost Works, Last Works", this disc collects three player piano recordings made by the composer in Mexico City in 1977 and adds six other realizations by the single-named sound sculptor Trimpin on pianola and on another proprietary instrument he calls "Conloninpurple" recorded in San Francisco in 1999. A short tape piece made by Nancarrow makes up the musical element of this disc. Slightly more than half of its 59-minute length is taken up by a conversation between Nancarrow and Charles Amirkhanian, also from Mexico City, 1977, and Kyle Gann provides a seven-page essay on the composer. Other Minds OM 1002-2 (U.S.A.) 01H085 $17.98

LARRY ALAN SMITH (b.late 1950s): Symphony No. 2 "Genesis/Antietam", 3 Movements for Orchestra, Crucifixus for Soprano and Orchestra, Serenade for String Orchestra. From the impressive opening of the Three Movements, the composer announces his skill in conjuring evocative moods and potent visual imagery. Apart from the gentle and unassuming Serenade, most of these works have some spiritual or explicitly religious inspiration, from Smith's expansive and eloquent treatment of a hymn tune in the second movement of the Movements to the elegaic outer movements of Crucifixus. The symphony, its three movements suggested by biblical texts, its elegaic mood enhanced by the composer's intense personal response to the experience of visiting the battle-site, consists of an extended central movement of emotional turbulence bracketed by a prelude and postlude suggesting a world predating and surviving the intrusion of man. Katja Beer (soprano), Wroclaw Philharmonic; Larry Alan Smith. Albany TROY 796 (U.S.A.) 01H086 $16.98

REZA VALI (b.1952): String Quartets Nos. 2 & 3, Calligraphies. With a background in Iran, further studies in Vienna and then the USA, where he has been active since the late 1970s, it is not particularly surprising to hear elements of 'Middle Eastern' modality combined with complex harmonic structures - the second quartet spends a lot of time in early Schoenberg territory (this is intended as a high compliment). The music never sounds like some uneasy east-west 'crossover' exercise, though; it is invariably rigorously structured and completely integrated. Impassioned solo lines plainly derived from traditional Persian music soar over dense accompaniments of Tristanesque lusciousness or Shostakovich-like terseness and trenchancy. Occasionally, where dictated by the traditional material used, tunings and non-western intervals smaller than the semitone are to be heard, heightening harmonic tension while highlighting the superimposition of cultures suggested by the music. These pieces pack a high emotional charge - there is seldom much relaxation of tension - here earlier Schoenberg is again the most readily apparent model. Cuarteto Latinoamericano. Albany TROY 790 (U.S.A.) 01H087 $16.98

JORGE LIDERMAN (b.1957): Wind-up Toys for 2 Pianos (Bugallo-Williams Piano Duo), Tropes IV (Sonia Rubinsky [piano]), That is already...(Gloria Cheng [piano]). These works fall into the general category of music in which repeated gestures form a structural basis for the works, and like much music of this kind, rhythmic incisiveness and harmonic accessibility are present, as expected. But it would be inaccurate to call these pieces 'minimalist' and leave it at that. Wind-up Toys certainly begins with a very Nymanesque gesture, but as its three substantial movements unfold we hear material that is a good deal closer to 'classic' minimalism of early Glass or Riley, but also music that uses repeated elements in much more old-fashioned ways - phrases that seem to have wandered in from Jamaican Rumba or Scaramouche. The earlier, solo works also uses repeated figuration, but here too, the repeated cells are often relatively complex and asymmetrical, and the results frequently suggest impressionism or the kind of slightly obsessive, harmonically free expressiveness of late Scriabin rather than motoric or meditative minimalism. Albany TROY 797 (U.S.A.) 01H088 $16.98

MAX SCHUBEL (b.1932): Aurora Angelica, Cellophonica, April's Ascension into Blue Eternity, Aquirelle for English Horn, Cello and Orchestra. These evocative soundscapes cover a wide range of emotional and technical territory, while undoubtedly remaining grounded in tonality, and not at all difficult to assimilate or be moved by. Especially effective is the three-movement Aurora Angelica, alternating music of great mystery and tenderness with passages of considerable drive and rhythmic alacrity. Generally speaking, a rich vein of Romanticism runs through these works - the extended 'Cellophonica' opens with an accompanied cello soliloquy of almost Elgarian richness and melancholy, and throughout what is really a highly evocative and atmospheric tone poem with cello obbligato this impression remains, even as the music transitions through sections of impassioned argument. Arkadiusz Krupa (english horn), Zdzislaw Lapinski (cello), National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra; David Oberg. Opus One CD 195 (U.S.A.) 01H089 $11.98

WILLIAM WALLACE (b.1933): Second Dance Suite, Cantilena, Concerto for Viola and Chamber Orchestra (Joel Rosenberg [viola], Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra; Kirk Trevor), Concerto Variations (London Symphony Orchestra; Boris Brott). Wallace's solidly constructed, tonally accessible works in an unashamedly neo-Romantic idiom will be welcome additions to any collection of contemporary orchestral canvases in styles firmly rooted in tradition. The most ambitious work here is the Concerto Variations, with their shades of Bliss' film music, of Sibelius, and here and there Martinu and Prokofiev; soloistic writing for various sections of the orchestra suggests earlier Concertos for Orchestra. The concertino is a most attractive work, with an easy-going but restless energy - among contemporary American composers, one thinks of Nancy Galbraith for comparison. Wallace's lush interpretations of traditional dance forms, suggesting scenes from a vivid but unspecified screenplay round out this appealing disc. Albany TROY 799 (U.S.A.) 01H090 $16.98

LEE ACTOR (b.1952): Symphony No. 1, Prelude to a Tragedy, Variations and Fugue, Redwood Fanfare. This is one of the best new symphonic discs to have come our way which uses the good, old-fashioned symphonic forms and genres and which still sounds like music of the 20th century. Actor's most immediately noticeable traits is the employment of steady rhythmic ostinatos which run through much of the textures of his music, usually helping to screw up the dramatic tension so that when it stops or changes, you know something is about to happen. He mixes and blends the orchestral families quite expertly too, creating very attractive colors and moods which accentuate the drama of the music and help draw in the listener. While the Prelude has more than a bit of good film music about it, the 34-minute,three-movement symphony stands quite comfortable as pure music in the best examples of its genre. Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra; Kirk Trevor. MMC 2140 (U.S.A.) 01H091 $16.98

SLAMET A. SJUKUR (b.1935): Svara, Yu Taha, SOE TJEN MARCHING (b.1971): Kenang, PAUL GUTAMA JOEGIJO (b.1934): Klavierstudie, MICHAEL ASMARA (b.1956): A Piece for Piano No. 10, A little piece for pianoforte, DODY SATYA EKAGUSTIMAN (b.1961): Langendria. The five Indonesian composers here have all had thorough exposure and training in Western contemporary music, but all retain strong ties to their native culture as well. However, the piano is a Western instrument, so unsurprisingly it is to the Western avant garde piano schools that these works are most obviously connected. Sjukur's pieces, with their elaboration of lines of single notes, have a vaguely 'Eastern' hypnotic feel, and his scales and transitions between repeated cells sometimes suggest modalities outside the Western diatonic system, but these are subtle distinctions. Soegijo's active 'study' is in some ways the most 'conventional' piano work here. Asmara's pieces employ serial techniques, and have a reductive simplicity of texture which begins to approach the sound-world of Feldman. Rarefied textures are taken even further in Marching's Kenang, with its extended silences and pointillistic methodology, employing direct contact on the strings as well as via the keyboard. Ekagustiman's Langendria employs isolated intervals in a strict mathematical framework, again sounding as a piece of Western contemporary music. The general impression given by this selection is that when Indonesian composers remove themselves from the traditional collective approach to indigenous Indonesian music, they are most drawn to sonorous pointillism and reductivism in the Scelsi - Feldman axis. Interesting. Steffen Schleiermacher (piano). MD&G 613 1322-2 (Germany) 01H092 $17.98

WOLFRAM SCHURIG (b.1965): Ultima Thule for 5 Ensembles, Augenmaß for Chamber Orchestra, Hoquetus for Violin and Chamber Orchestra, Gespinst for 6 Instruments with Bass Clarinet. Schurig's ambitious Ultima Thule, for five discrete ensembles, is undoubtedly complex, but the composer maintains remarkable clarity and structural integrity, and there is never any sense of massed sound effects for their own sake. Augenmaß similarly generates a structurally sound construction from what sounds like freely improvised beginnings - it is as though we watch the work growing organically, only to realise that everything is meticulously planned. Hoquetus, as the title suggests, plays up the spatial aspect of Schurig's ensemble music - the fracturing of lines within the busy complex textures again creates a new sense of musical space by breaking the bounds of conventional instrumental layout - again with great precision and clarity. Although a wide range of methods are employed and the textures are frequently complicated, there is an unusual degree of continuity in these works, rendering them more accessible than their frank atonality and ambitious envelope-pushing intentions might suggest. Annette Bik (violin), Ernesto Molinari (bass clarinet), Klangforum Wien; Sylvain Cambreling, Emilio Pomário, Beat Furrer. Kairos 0012492KAI (Austria) 01H093 $15.98

PIERLUIGI BILLONE (b.1960): Me a an for Voice and Ensemble, Iti ke mi for Viola. Me a an uses fractured fragments of vocal sound - barely even syllables any more - to evoke a dislocation from conventional listening and to suggest echoes of a civilisation so remote that its traces are barely recognisable ruins. The ensemble's contribution likewise consists as much of 'noise sounds' as actual musical ones, though some climatic passages are startlingly richly textured, as though wandering through ruins that have almost returned to nature, one suddenly encounters a preserved pedestal or column. Iti ke mi deconstructs viola sound to an even greater extent - unconventional tuning and extended playing techniques are only the beginning of this extraordinary half-hour of sounds evoking everything from animal and bird noises to the screeching of our modern mechanisms in their final breakdown agonies. Frank Wörner (baritone), Barbara Maurer (viola), Ensemble Recherche. Stradivarius STR 33716 (Italy) 01H094 $17.98

LUCIANO BERIO (1925-2003): Canticum Novissimi Testamenti for 4 Clarinets, Saxophone Quartet and 8 Voices, A-ronne - A Radiophonic Documentary for 5 Actors. The obvious connection between these two works, separated by 15 years in Berio's output, is the use of texts by his long-time collaborator, Edoardo Sanguineti. Naturally, being Berio, the transformation of word into music is the real point, carried out with dazzling virtuosity and limitless imaginative resources. Canticum, a summing-up, retrospective work in some senses, contains an abundance, perhaps surprisingly, of mellifluous and homogeneously integrated instrumental and vocal sounds, against which illustrative flourishes scintillate. A-ronne is more fragmentary, as befits the phonological preoccupations (and general air of protest common to both at the time) of the collaborators; both works are equally inventive and original, though. This version is performed without live electronics, as sanctioned by the composer very late in life. Italian texts. Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart, Newears 4 Clarinets, Xasax - Ensemble de Saxophones Modulable; Peter Rundel. Wergo WER 6678 2 (Germany) 01H095 $19.98

GIACINTO SCELSI (1905-1988): Trilogia (Triphon, Dithome, Igghur), FRANGIS ALI-SADE (b.1947): Ask Havasi. This is only the second complete recording of Scelsi's trilogy since Frances-Marie Uitti's long out-of-print version. Composed in 1956, 1957 and 1965, it is an "autobiography in sound", according to the composer, Triphon describing excess energy and drive (much virtuosity, extrovert and often aggressive with strong tendencies toward a tonal center), Dithome the assurance of maturity and the onset of retrospection (a palindrome, still virtuosic but the music is more quiet and sonorous with exploration of quarter-tone dissonances) and Igghur the catharsis of old age and release from the world (a system of notation for each string, with much precisely notated vibrato, strings plucked with a plectrum and a central section of Scelsi's single-note music). Jessica Kuhn (cello). Thorofon CTH 2480 (Germany) 01H096 $16.98

WILLIAM ALWYN (1905-1985): Film Music, Vol. 3 - Suites from The Magic Box, Swiss Family Robinson, Geordie, Penn of Pennsylvania and The Running Man, Waltzes from The Million Pound Note and The Cure for Love, Marches from The Way Ahead and The True Glory, "The Ride" from The Rocking Horse Winner. After a bit of a hiatus, Chandos provide another volume of Alwyn's film scores which includes both his first (Penn of Pennsylvania of 1941) and his last (The Running Man from 1962) efforts in the genre. Nine pages of detailed notes but only two stills from the films although there is a fascinating one of Alwyn, Muir Matheson and Alan Rawsthorne at the recording sessions for the 1944-45 war documentary The True Glory which shows the latter in sergeant's uniform. BBC Philharmonic; Rumon Gamba. Chandos 10349 (England) 01H097 $17.98

STEPHEN MCNEFF (b.1951): Four Tales from Beatrix Potter: The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin, The Tale of Samuel Whiskers. Poet and playwright Adrian Mitchell arranged these four suites from Beatrix Potter's famous stories for performances at the Unicorn (childrens') Theatre in 2002 and 2004. McNeff provides music which recalls British Light Music in the overtures, musical theatre in the songs (highly regarded actress Staunton also has experience in musical theatre and enjoyably characterizes all the characters who appear in these enjoyable fables) and richly colored film music in the dramatic climaxes and denouements of the tales. So, given that you probably aren't going to be buying this disc for the children for whom it is primarily meant, I can happily recommend it to collectors of the musical stage and of lighter regions of British orchestral music. Imelda Staunton (narrator, singer), BBC Singers, BBC Concert Orchestra; Clark Rundell. Chandos 10352 (England) 01H098 $17.98

GILBERT & SULLIVAN: The Sorcerer. First complete CD recording of this 1877 work with complete Sullivan score and Gilbert spoken dialogue. Live recording from Ohio Light Opera 2005 Festival. 2 CDs. Ohio Light Opera; Steven Byess. Albany TROY 814/15 (U.S.A.) 01H099 $33.98

EMMERICH KÁLMÁN (1882-1953): The Violet of Montmartre (Paris in Spring). Contains complete dialogue of the 1930 Vienna premiere version, with bonus tracks of songs which Kálmán inserted into a later Berlin production. 3 CDs. Mid-price. Live recording from Ohio Light Opera 2004 Festival. 2 CDs. Ohio Light Opera; Steven Byess. Operetta Archives OA 1011 (U.S.A.) 01H100 $28.98 >

CHARLES KALMAN (b.1929): Ein Tag in Kurort, 2 Histoires d'Amour, Hudson Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, Times Square Fantasy, Marjorie-Walzer from the Operetta Wir reisen um die Welt, Glamour! - Galopp, Intermezzo from the musical Rendezvous mit dem Leben, Main Title from the film Nach Mitternacht. Son of the above, Charles went to high school in the U.S. and to Columbia University during which time he produced his first musical (1951). However, after his father's death, he moved back to Europe and spent the rest of his career in Germany where he wrote more musicals, film scores and stage music. So, while I'd like to call this release a rare example of "German Light Music", Gershwin and Cole Porter are so embedded in Kalman's genes that the American aspect of it is undeniable. German Symphonic Pops Orchestra; Reto Parolari. Amos 6008 (Switzerland) 01H101 $13.98 >

HERMANN GOETZ (1840-1876): Violin Concerto in G, Op. 22 (Roman Schimmer [violin]. 4/10/53), ROBERT VOLKMANN (1815-1883): Richard III, Op. 68 (9/12/52), EDVARD GRIEG (1843-1907): In Autumn, Op. 11 (12/2/54), MAX BRUCH (1838-1920): Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 26 (Hansheinz Schneeberger [violin]. 9/15/60). It's rare to find unusual repertoire in conductor's series so we offer Vol. 9 of Hänssler's Schuricht Collection since it's rather full of material which would not be commercially recorded for decades (when did you first hear In Autumn, for instance?) Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra; Carl Schuricht. Hänssler Classic 93.149 (Germany) 01H102 $17.98



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