January 2001   January 2000  January 1999  January 1998  
    February 2000  February 1999  February 1998  
    March 2000  March 1999  March 1998  
    April 2000  April 1999  April 1998  
    May 2000  May 1999  May 1998  
    June 2000  June 1999  June 1998  
   July 2000  July 1999  July 1998  July 1997
   August 2000  August 1999  August 1998  August 1997
    September 2000  September 1999  September 1998  September 1997
    October 2000  October 1999  October 1998  October 1997
   November 2000  November 1999  November 1998  November 1997
    December 2000  December 1999  December 1998  December 1997

Morton Gould:

American Ballads

Foster Gallery

MORTON GOULD (1913-1996): American Ballads, Foster Gallery, American Salute. Hearing this disc will convince you that Morton Gould is the quintessential purveyor of musical Americana. Copland and Harris flavored their symphonies with American seasonings and the former went a bit further in some of his ballets; but Gould probably wrote more purely American music than any other major composer, defined as taking American folk-songs, anthems, spirituals, etc. and creating monumental symphonic edifices from them. Foster Gallery (1939) is an excellent example: 15 Stephen Foster songs and dances are varied, combined, altered and given the full symphonic treatment as only a fabulously gifted 26-year-old chock-full-of-energy orchestrator like Gould could. American Salute is a 4-minute adaptation of When Johnny Comes Marching Home done up for a nation going to war at the beginning of 1942. American Ballads is as late as 1976 and, though still using American national melodies (The Star-Spangled Banner, America the Beautiful, Year of Jubilo, The Girl I Left Behind Me, We Shall Overcome and Taps), this is a deeper, more "considered" work in which the themes appear in recognizable contexts only subtly and which shows a master composer, late in his career, paying a serious and heart-felt tribute to the country that provided him and his immigrant parents with so much success. As Nicolas Slonimsky put it in Baker's "(Gould) was pregnant with the fertile sperm of musical Americana." National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine; Theodore Kuchar. Naxos 8.559005 (New Zealand) 07C001 $5.98

ALEXANDRE TANSMAN (1897-1986): Sinfonietta No. 1, Divertimento, Sinfonia piccola, Sinfonietta No. 2. Although born in Poland, Tansman lived a cosmopolitan life and his music was most influenced by Ravel, Les Six and Stravinsky and there are similarities to Martinu in some of the works recorded here. The two sinfoniettas practically bracket his entire career, dating from 1924 and 1979 respectively and like the other two pieces (from 1944 and 1952), demonstrate his personal characteristics of rich melodic invention, a warmth and sentiment in his lyrical slow movements (even fast movements often have slow, lyrical sections) and a high degree of rhythmic dynamism. Virtuosi di Praga; Israel Yinon. Koch Schwann 3-6593-2 (Germany) 07C002 $16.98

PABLO CASALS (1879-1973): El Pessebre for Soprano, Contralto, Tenor, Baritone, Bass, Chorus and Orchestra. This Christmas oratorio (the title means "The Manger") took form when Casals' Catalonian friend, poet Joan Alavedra won a Catalan poetry competition in occupied France in 1943 and the great cellist decided to set it to music. The piece was finally premiered in Mexico in December of 1960 when it became apparent that Franco's dictatorship was going to last exceedingly long. Firmly rooted in 19th century Romanticism (Casals said "The figures in a crêche are folk figures; why, they can't sing twelve-tone-music"!) except for two dramatic occasions where atonality obtrudes (an intimation of the Passion and the passing of a dark angel near the uplifting, optimistic close), Casals uses Catalan folk music and motifs frequently in giving us a work of charming, child-like simplicity. 2 CDs. Catalan-English texts. Ana Maria Sánchez (soprano), Raquel Pierrotti (contralto), Joan Cabero (tenor), Enric Serra (baritone), Stefano Palatchi (bass), Orfeó Català, Chamber Choir of the Palau de la Música, Orquestra Simfónica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya; Lawrence Foster. Auvidis-Naïve V 4866 (France) 07C003 $37.98

FRANZ SCHREKER (1878-1934): Suite from Der Geburtstag der Infantin, Melodrama Das Weib des Intaphernes. Two recordings of Das Weib des Intaphernes in two months... what are the odds? For those of you who didn't pick up last month's Schreker release, coupled with the youthful symphony, we have the Persian fable-based-melodrama with a female narrator instead of a male. Der Geburtstag was written as an outdoor ballet in 1908 and later turned into an opera. In 1923, Schreker produced a suite containing three-quartets of the music of the ballet but in a vastly supplemented orchestration, giving us the colossal concert suite with (at the time) unprecedentedly opulent orchestral scoring which is recorded here. Lena Stolze (narrator), Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin; Gerd Albrecht. Koch Schwann 3-6591-2 (Germany) 07C004 $16.98

LOUIS DUREY (1888-1979): Images a Crusoe for Soprano, Flute, Clarinet, Harp and String Quartet, Eloges for Vocal Quartet, Wind Quintet, String Quartet, Harp and Percussion, 6 Madrigaux for Tenor, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon and Piano, 3 Chansons basques for Soprano and String Quartet, String Quartet No. 1, Le bestiaire for Baritone and 12 Instruments, Concertino for Piano and Winds, Le printemps au fond de la mer for Soprano and 10 Instruments, 3 Chansons basques for Tenor and Winds, String Quartet No. 2. Durey is the least-known of Les Six but this new release attempts to help right that wrong with a couple of string quartets, a concertante work for piano and several song cycles which latter show his profound culture in his selection of texts and his exceptional comprehension of what music can bring to poetry; the songs are never abstruse, always evocative and atmospheric and take no notice of contemporary trends (such as "Orientalism"). These characteristics extend also to the instrumental works here; the booklet is particularly valuable for its extensive quotes of Durey's own analysis of his compositions. 2 CDs. French texts. Ensemble Erwartung; Bernard Desgraupes. Mandala MAN 4980/81 (France) 07C005 $37.98

KENNETH LEIGHTON (1929-1988): 4 Romantic Pieces, Op. 95, 5 Studies, Op. 22, Fantasia contrappuntistica, Op. 24, Pieces for Angela, Op. 47, Sonatina No. 2. Lucid writing and a wide emotional range characterize Leighton's piano music, the 1953 studies rich and intricate, the Fantasia (1956) urgent and full of bleak, percussive effects in its toccata and with a tortuous, angry fugue. The Romantic Pieces (1987) are rich and intense, the first struggling and tubulent, the second a tense, stop-and-go scherzo, the third pensive and elegiac and the finale a pulverising toccata. Well worth exploring. Margaret Fingerhut (piano). Chandos 9818 (England) 07C006 $16.98

WILLIAM ALWYN (1905-1985): Fantasy-Waltzes, Sonata alla toccata, Movements for Piano, Night Thoughts, Green Hills. The earliest piece here, 1935's Green Hills has a haunted, John Ireland quality to it while Night Thoughts (1939) is a moody little piece stemming from the composer's work on fire watch during the first years of the war. Movements (1961) followed the composer's mental breakdown and is colored by his distrubing psychological experiences; the Sonata alla toccata (1946) has echoes of Britten and Debussy while the major work, the 1956-7 waltzes show Alwyn capable of evoking a kaleidoscopic variety of colors and textures. Julian Milford (piano). Chandos 9825 (England) 07C007 $16.98

ALBERT SAMMONS (1886-1957): Bagatelle, Op. 3, Plantation Dance, Op. 24, Lullaby, Canzonetta, Op. 20, Roumanian Air and Gypsy Dance, Op. 23, Petite Chanson, Intermezzo, Op. 21, Bourrée, Op. 12, Rêve d'enfant, Op. 10, Dance Caprice, Op. 15, Berceuse, Op. 6, Sérénade de Printemps, Op. 5, Humoreske, Op. 13/2, A Song without Words, Op. 13/1, Cradle Song, Pensée capricieuse, Op. 9, Aubade, Op. 4, Air de Ballet, Op. 17/2, Minuet triste, Op. 17/1, The Faithful Bird. Sammons was arguably "The English Kreisler", the finest violinist of his generation and, like Kreisler, composer of many short pieces which he used to break up his recitals or as encores. This collection of his works shows what one would expect of the genre - catchy melodies, opportunities for virtuoso display and sentimental pieces which, however, go fairly light on the saccharine content. Paul Barritt (violin), Catherine Edwards (piano). Hyperion CDA 67096 (England) 07C008 $17.98

JÓN LEIFS (1899-1968): Guthrúnarkvitha, Op. 22 for Mezzo-Soprano, Tenor, Bass and Orchestra, Nótt, Op. 59 for Tenor, Baritone and Orchestra, Helga kvitha Hundingsbana, Op. 61 for Alto, Bass and Orchestra, Grógaldr, Op. 62 for Alto, Tenor and Orchestra. Three of these works set poetry from the Poetic Edda, a frequently used source for this composer whose music seems to drink the same Old Icelandic vitality and ferocity as those tales of Viking days. The Lay of Gudrun dates from 1940, written at a time when Leifs was stranded in Nazi Germany and increasingly worried about a possible Nazi invasion of his homeland. The scene of Gudrun sitting over the body of her husband, whom her brothers have killed, and her laments give dark voice to Leifs' worries. The other three pieces are late, dating from 1964-65 with Nótt ("Night") being his only non-Edda vocal work; it is a calm and introspective which gradually increases in tension as the unfettered love of the two protagonists becomes more agitated. "The Lay of Helgi the Hunding-Slayer" uses smaller forces than usual, its delicate scoring giving the piece a chamber-like texture while "Gróa's Spell" is powerful and dramatic, making heavy demands on soloists and orchestra. Vocal soloists, Reykjavík Chamber Orchestra; Johan Arnell. ITM 9-01 (Iceland) 07C009 $18.98

KRZYSZTOF MEYER (b.1943): Piano Concerto, Op. 46, Musica incrostata, Op. 70. The concerto was written for the soloist here in 1988/89 and is a four-movement work. Soloists and orchestra have equal importance in the first, the brief second is playful with jazz influences, the third of a concentrated and plangent quality and the finale a presto showpiece for the soloist. The idiom is modern but tonal and should appeal to anyone who collects concertos. The accompanying piece dates from 1988 and the title ("Encrusted Music") is explained by the composer as due to the fact that "short note values stand out against the tonal backdrop as if they were carved into the surface structure"; in practice we have a more "avant-garde" idiom yet still approachable to those who appreciate orchestral color. Pavel Gililov (piano), Katowice Radio Symphony Orchestra; Antoni Wit. Koch Schwann 3-1573-2 (Germany) 07C010 $16.98

YOUNG JO LEE (b.1943): Dance Suite, 5 Korean Legends, Variations on a Theme of Schubert, Variations: "3B". When Korean composers began to study European art music, they were naturally first attracted to those composers, like Debussy, who themselves were drawn by the East. Thus, it would be the wrong way around to say that Lee's music is influenced by the French Impressionists; rather, it makes use of some of the same Eastern musical techniques as the Impressionists. The Dance Suite is the major work here: in five movements ("Heaven", "Children", "Lovers", "Buddhists" and "Peasants") it portrays various aspects of Korean life using chromatically ornamented traditional harmonies and the rhythms of traditional Korean dance forms - all embodied in a Western pianistic idiom. My Kim (piano). ASV DCA 1088 (England) 07C011 $16.98

HEITOR VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959): As Três Marias, A Prole do Bebê - Suites Nos. 1 & 2, Rudepoêma. All piano collectors will want to hear Hamelin in Villa-Lobos' hypervirtuosic "Savage Poem" of 1921-6 while the two suites of "The Baby's Family" offer their own obstacles to unwary pianists, being rather a series of etudes than the charming miniatures one might expect from their titles. Marc-André Hamelin (piano). Hyperion CDA 67176 (England) 07C012 $17.98

GERMAINE TAILLEFERRE (1892-1983): Violin Sonatas Nos. 1 & 2, Sonatina, Berceuse, MAURICE RAVEL (1875-1937): Violin Sonata. Influenced by Fauré and by Ravel, with whom she studied, Tailleferre's style is characterized by an ever-present freshness, spontaneity, delicacy and refinement. Her first sonata (1921) proceeds lightly and elegantly through a variety of unconventional rhythmic and harmonic situations; the second (1948) has most of the same traits as, indeed, does the Sonatina (a late work from1974). In fact, her directness, clarity and complete lack of pretense sum up the ideals of that famous group of which she was the only woman member - Les Six. Franco Mezzena (violin), Bruno Mezzena (piano). Dynamic CDS 223 (Italy) 07C013 $17.98

BORIS TCHAIKOVSKY (1925-1996): String Quartet No. 6, Sextet for Winds and Harp in F, Piano Trio in B Minor. This is a splendid disc, of full-blooded, very Russian chamber music, irrepressible, emotional and ultimately irresistible. Tchaikovsky, like Sviridov, Slonimsky and Shchedrin, wrote powerful and compelling, tonal music in the Shostakovich vein, and if this is your thing, you need not hesitate over this disc. The worst thing one might say is that the composer breaks no new ground technically, but within his clearly defined idiom he finds so much to say, and says it so eloquently that one does not miss a sense of experimentation, but accepts whole-heartedly the boldness and genuineness of the composer's inspiration. Various artists. Boheme 907084 (Russia) 07C014 $16.98

AARON COPLAND (1900-1990): 2 Pieces for String Quartet, Movement for String Quartet, Piano Quartet, Sextet for Clarinet, Piano and String Quartet, Vitebsk for Piano Trio. This collection of mostly early Copland includes a work discovered only in 1983 - the Movement whose dissonances and edge foreshadow the composer's self-described "hard-bitten", serial phase. The 1928 Two Pieces juxtapose an homage to Fauré with a consciously "American" piece which invokes New England psalmody before leading to the gritty and dramatic Vitebsk of the same year. The sextet is a reduction (1937) of the Short Symphony, inspired by Stravinsky's rhythmic virtuosity and dry, non-Romanticism while the 1950 piano quintet is a serial work in which Copland amusingly (?) uses an 11-note row. The Vanbrugh Quartet, Michael Collins (clarinet), Martin Roscoe (piano). ASV DCA 1081 (England) 07C015 $16.98

Contemporaries of Mozart - Wesley

SAMUEL WESLEY (1766-1837): Symphony in D "Sinfonia obligato", Symphonies in A, D, E Flat & in B Flat. Only five symphonies by Wesley survive and four of those are from around 1781-4 meaning that they are the work of a youth, although a greatly gifted one. The Sinfonia obligato has a prominent organ part to set it apart from many of its contemporary symphonies and it, as well as the A, D and E Flat works are in the three-movement Italian style with quite a bit of Mozartian influence. The B Flat work, however, dates from 1802 and is quite spectacular with its Haydnesque monothematic and contrapuntal outer movements, eloquent Andante and sturdy minuet with woodwinds prominent throughout. London Mozart Players; Matthias Bamert. Chandos 9823 (England) 07C016 $16.98

CARL CZERNY (1791-1857): 3 Brillante Fantasien for Horn and Piano, Op. 339, Introduction et Variationes concertantes, Op. 248, Andante e Polacca. The op. 248 makes use of a valved horn but also uses hand-stopping (for reasons the detailed booklet notes elucidate) in its four-segmented course which ends in a bouncy alla Polacca. Lasting 52 minutes all together, the fantasies take 20 Schubert lieder, one of his opera cavatinas and a theme from his four-hand piano fantasy and weave a bewitching web of sound. The horn doesn't always have the vocal part so, obviously, the piano doesn't always accompany, leaving plenty of instances where great virtuosity is required of both artists. This and the Andante e Polacca are played on the natural horn. Mid-price. New Recording. Andrew Clark (natural horn, valved horn), Geoffrey Govier (fortepiano). Helios CDH 55074 (England) 07C017 $10.98

JAN K¤ITITEL VAHAL (1739-1813): 6 Quartette Concertante for Oboe and String Trio, Op. 7. Dating from around 1770 these are four-movement works in the high classical style, written for occasional use and, thus, full of gentle melodies with intimations of Bohemian folk music in their graceful finales. Mid-price. New Recording. Sarah Francis (oboe), Tagore String Trio. Helios CDH 55033 (England) 07C018 $10.98

DMITRI BORTNYANSKY (1751-1825): Sinfonia concertante in B Flat, Piano Sonata No. 2 in C, Quintet in C for Piano, Harp, Violin, Viola da Gamba and Cello. Archival recordings (1984, 1951 & 1950 respectively) of little heard Russian instrumental muisc of the Classical period from this composer better known for his vocal works. Moscow Chamber Orchestra, Nadezhda Golubovskaya (piano) and other artists. Mono/Stereo. Multisonic 31 0252-2 (Czech Republic) 07C019 $12.98

NORBERT BURGMÜLLER (1810-1836): Piano Concerto in F Sharp Minor, Op. 1, ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810-1856): Konzertstück for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 92, Konzertstück for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 134. This new recording of the brilliant concerto by the short-lived Burgmüller is coupled with two pieces by his great admirer. Nikolaus Lahusen (piano), Halle State Philharmonic Orchestra; Heribert Beissel. Koch Schwann 3-1794-2 (Germany) 07C020 $16.98

BENEDETTO MARCELLO (1686-1739): Arianna. One of only three stage works Marcello composed, this dramma per musica was first performed in 1726 in Venice and uses a libretto which tells the familiar story of Theseus abandoning Ariadne and her rescue by Bacchus. Marcello pulled out all the stops in his desire, as an amateur musician, to outshine his professional colleagues (one of whom, Joseph Fux) presented a La Corona d'Arianna the same year. The overture and many choruses are resplendent with trumpet-and-drums magnificence, Ariadne's arias are pathetic, Bacchus' grand and Theseus' heroic. Much fun for collectors of late Baroque stage music. 3 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Anna Chierichetti (soprano), Gloria Banditelli (contralto), Mirko Guadagnini (tenor), Sergio Foresti (bass), Athestis Chorus Academia de li Musici; Filippo Maria Bressan. Chandos Chaconne 0656 (England) 07C021 $50.98

JAN DISMAS ZELENKA (1679-1745): Miserere in C Minor, Psalm 130 "De Profundis" in D Minor, Requeim in C Minor. These are three striking works from Zelenka's late period, opening with a 1738 Miserere which begins and ends with movements of scalding intensity and which surround sentimental soprano aria and a contrapuntal ricercare. Not quite as intense, the De profundis (1724) is still rich and dark-hued and the requiem (probably from the mid 1730s) is a marvel of concision demanded by the time limit for the event it commemorates - the death of Kaiser Joseph I. Avoiding declamation and keeping the polyphony transparent, the whole mass runs less than 45 minutes and still manages to display Zelenka's personal fingerprints. Il Fondamento; Paul Dombrecht. Passacaille 9528 (Belgium) 07C022 $17.98

CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH (1714-1788): The Solo Keyboard Music, Vol. 5 - Sonatas in B Flat, H. 116 and in G, H. 119, Leichter Clavier-sonaten in C, H. 162, B Flat, H. 180 & in A Minor, H. 181. Bach wrote a large number of solo keyboard compositions during the Seven Years War (1756-1763) largely due to the lack of perfomance possibilities for larger scale pieces; all of the works recorded here date from that period and, whether easy (as in the three "Easy Sonatas") or more advanced, the cleverness and elegance of Bach's melodies and keyboard textures are always evident. Miklós Spányi (clavichord). BIS CD-964 (Sweden) 07C023 $17.98

CARL MARIA VON WEBER (1786-1826): Mass in E Flat, FRANCESCO MORLACCHI (1784-1841): Offertorium "Tui sunt coeli" for Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra, JAN K¤TITEL KUCHA¤ (1751-1829): Fantasia in D Minor, CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH (1714-1788): Fantasia und Fuga in C Minor, Wq. 119/7. Recorded for East German radio in 1986, this CD offers a unique look at the performing tradition at the Catholic Church in Dresden where Weber wrote his mass in 1817 for the name day of the king's patron saint and where Morlacchi was one if his colleagues, in charge of Italian opera. Andrea Ihle (soprano), Brigitte Pfretzschner (mezzo), Krzysztof Moleda (tenor), Horan Freidrich (bass), Dresdner Kapelknaben, Dresden Cathedral Choir, Members of the Dresden Staatskapelle; Konrad Wagner. Motette CD 50701 (Germany) 07C024 $16.98

EMI Special Imports - (Unavailable inthe U.S. for several years)

CÉSAR FRANCK (1822-1890): Rédemption The first complete recording of this work, this was a Gramophone Editor's Choice in May of 1995. More a symphonic poem with a chorus which helps to illuminate the situation depicted by the music (and including spoken-word recitatives usually omitted in performance) than an oratorio, this 1874 work is not to be confused with its sugary, limp namesake by Gounod. French-English texts. Lambert Wilson (reciter), Béatrice Uria-Monzon (mezzo), Orféon Donostiarra, Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse; Michel Plasson. EMI 7243 5 55056 2 0 (France) 07C025 $17.98

CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921): Spartacus, Romance for Horn and Orchestra, Op. 36, Romance for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 48, Morceau de concert for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 62, Morceau de concert for Horn and Orchestra, Op. 94, Caprice andalou for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 122, Morceau de concert for Harp and Orchestra, Op. 154. The main attraction here is Spartacus a prize-winning competition piece from 1863 which recalls Beethoven in its key (C minor) and the inversions, extensions and transpositions of themes which the latter used in the Fifth Symphony but which has a typically lyrical French second subject. The remainder of the disc is devoted to some of the many mini-concertos which Saint-Saëns was so adept at writing for various instruments, always capturing the essence of whichever one he chose. Olivier Charlier (violin), Radovan Vlatkovic (horn), Marielle Nordmann (harp), Ensemble Orchestral de Paris; Jean-Jacques Kantorow. EMI 7243 5 55587 2 5 (France) 07C026 $17.98

HENRI DUTILLEUX (b.1916): Piano Sonata, 3 Préludes, Tous les chemins... mènent à Rome, Bergerie, Blackbird, Résonances, Au gré des ondes, Figures de résonances for 2 Pianos. It is good to have Dutilleux' complete output for piano gathered together on one CD - it fits comfortably, as this most self-critical of composers has never been over-prolific, nor has he been drawn to the piano for its own sake (which many might regard as a shame, given the quality of his limited output for the instrument). Indeed, the composer has now rejected some of the early works included here - works which many a lesser composer would probably be very proud of having produced. The CD starts with the highly accessible and appealing Sonata, continues with his most recent essay in the medium- the Preludes from the 1970s and 1980s, and concludes with the other works - mostly early, from around the same time as the sonata - that demonstrate clearly what we might have had had Dutilleux decided to turn his attention in a slightly different direction throughout his career. Is it too late to hope for a second Sonata, one wonders? Anne Queffélec (piano), Christan Ivaldi (second piano). Virgin Classics 7243 5 45222 2 2 (England) 07C027 $17.98

CARL STAMITZ (1746-1801): Clarinet Concerto No. 1 in C, Basset Horn Concerto in B Flat, Clarinet Concerto No. 7 in E Flat, Concerto in B Flat for Clarinet and Bassoon. Amiable works with expressive slow movements surrounded by sonata-type first movements and nimble rondo finales, these concertos don't have the pre-romantic expressiveness of Mozart but nonetheless bring much listening pleasure. Sabine Meyer (clarinets, basset horn), Sergio Azzolini (bassoon), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields; Iona Brown. EMI 7243 5 55511 2 2 (Germany) 07C028 $17.98

JOSEF MYSLIVECEK (1737-1781): Wind Octets Nos. 1-3, ANTONÍN DVORÁK (1841-1904): Serenade in D Minor, Op. 44. Myslivecek's pieces, which make up 60% of this disc all have especially charming larghetti, slight but deftly done with the spirit of the composer's good friend, Mozart, always present. Sabine Meyer Wind Ensemble, Manuel Fischer-Dieskau (cello), Christoph Schmidt (double bass). EMI 7243 5 55512 1 2 (Germany) 07C029 $17.98

GUSTAV HOLST (1874-1934): Savitri, The Dream-City. Savitri, based on a love-conquers-death tale from the Mahabharata, dates from 1908 and couldn't be more different from Holst's previous, three-act, grand and Wagnerian Sita of 1906. Taking his cue from the simplicity and homely quality of the tale, Holst produced music of the same type, using an orchestra of only 12 players and expressing emotion with a directness and economy of means. The Dream-City is a ten-song cycle from 1929, originally with piano accompaniment but orchestrated for this 1983 recording by Colin Matthews. Although Matthews admits that the orchestration is more elaborate than Holst may have produced, it lends a richness and color to these impeccably crafted poems and is a valuable work in its own right. Mid-Price. Texts included. Felicity Palmer (soprano), Philip Langridge (tenor), Stephen Varcoe (bass), The Richard Hickox Singers, Patrizia Kwella (soprano), The City of London Sinfonia; Richard Hickox. Helios CDH 55042 (England) 07C030 $10.98

The Latest Brian - Now Available with our Blurb (in case you're still pondering)

HAVERGAL BRIAN (1876-1972): Symphony No. 11, Symphony No. 12, Concert Overture: For Valour, Comedy Overture: Doctor Merryheart. While it is probably legitimate to suggest that nothing he did later in his career matched the audacious magnificence of the first few symphonies, especially the Gothic, anyone termpted to suggest that Brian played out his hand in these great works would be making a serious mistake. The eleventh symphony is a good case in point; a noble work, less hectic in its presentation of ideas than the (not entirely fair) stereotype of Brian's later music. The orchestration is surprisingly spare, though not lacking in sumptuousness - an instructive exercise is to compare the big middle movement with your copy (you do have one, don't you?) of the Elgar Third, which seems uncannily to point the way towards Brian. For Valour is like occasional Elgar, and Dr. Merryheart is a grand exposition of just how much Richard Strauss' orchrestral technique mattered to Brian in the early years of the century. The 1960 Symphony No 15 is a capricious work, flinging ideas around, but with a great underlying nobility and, indeed, tenderness. National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland; Tony Rowe, Adrian Leaper. Marco Polo 8.223588 (New Zealand) 07C031 $14.98

Moszkowski - Violin (yes, Violin) Concerto

MORITZ MOSZKOWSKI (1854-1925): Violin Concerto in C, Op. 30, BENJAMIN GODARD (1849-1895): Violin Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 131. Moszkowski was a gifted violinist as well as a pianist and he wrote his only violin concerto in 1883. On a large Romantic scale (lasting almost 40 minutes), it opens with one of those tunes which you're sure you've heard before and proves difficult to get out of your head afterwards and the solemn and pensive slow movement is followed by brilliant, perpetuum-mobile finale interrupted once by a Hungarian-sounding dance. Godard's concerto dates from 1892 and is equally well written for the soloist with much brilliant figuration with a somber slow movement bracketed by high-spirited outer movements. A must for dyed-in-the-wool Romanticists. Thomas Christian (violin), Bamberg Symphony; Christian Simonis. Koch Schwann 3-1367-2 (Germany) 07C032 $16.98

FELIX BLUMENFELD (1863-1931): 24 Preludes, Op. 17, 2 Impromptus, Op. 13, Impromptu in B, Op. 28, 4 Preludes, Op. 12, 2 Impromptus, Op. 45, Valse-Impromptu, Op. 16. The op. 12 preludes date from 1890 and are graceful miniatures, unpretentious and elegant, brief and naive; but the composer's magnum opus is the op. 17 (1892). Blumenfeld was the first composer to publish a set such as this, modelled after Chopin's famous opus. Given the composer's fame as a piano virtuoso, it would be impossible to describe such a 49-minute set; suffice it to say that any Romantic piano collector will need to have this collection on his shelves. Philip Thomson (piano). Ivory Classics 64405-71002 (U.S.A.) 07C033 $16.98

LUIGI MANCINELLI (1848-1921): Paolo e Francesca. Barbara De Maio (soprano), Donato Tota (tenor), Lyric Chorus "Mezio Agostini" - Fano, Orchestra "Pro Arte" - Marche; Marco Berdondini. Manicnelli was probably the most important opera conductor before Toscanini. This one-act version of the famous Paolo-Francesca tale dates from 1884 and, in contradiction to the prevailing trend of verismo, is divided into sequences which make up a series of uninterrupted musico-dramatic tableaux, each well-defined and flowing into the following. Italian-English libretto. Bongiovanni GB 2245 (Italy) 07C034 $16.98

MARCIAL DEL ADALID (1826-1881): El lamento, 6 Petits riens, El último adiós, ADOLFO DE QUESADA (1830-18??): 6 grandes estudios, Allegro de concierto, MARTÍN SÁNCHEZ ALLÚ (1825-1858): El peregrino, TEOBALDO POWER (1848-1884): Barcarola, EDUARDO OCÓN (1901-??): Bolero. Flickering hearth-flames, dancing shadows, white-breasted maidens sighing passionately, candlelit recitals before a room of fan-flicking, elaborately gowned ladies and their cigar-smoking, ramrod-stiff gentlemen... this recital on a period piano evokes all of these images and more, depending on the listener... Patrick Cohen (fortepiano). Glossa Reprise GCD 2K0501 (Spain) 07C035 $10.98

GIOACCHINO ROSSINI (1792-1868): Petite Polka chinoise, ABRAM CHASINS (1903-1987): Rush Hour in Hong Kong, PERCY GRAINGER (1882-1961): Beautiful Fresh Flower, ANTON ARENSKY (1861-1906): Étude sur un thème chinois, ALEXANDER TCHEREPNIN (1899-1977): Five (Chinese) Concert Études, CYRIL SCOTT (1879-1970): Lotus Land, FERRUCCIO BUSONI (1866-1924): Turandots Frauengemach, MORTON GOULD (19013-1986): Pieces of China, JACQUELINE WAEBER-DIAZ (b.1967): Improvisation on a Chinese Folk Song, JOHN ADAMS (b.1947): China Gates, LEO ORNSTEIN (b.1892): À la Chinoise, BOHUSLAV MARTINU (1890-1959): The Fifth Day of the Fifth Moon, ALBERT KETÈLBEY (1875-1959): In a Chinese Temple Garden. A companion release to the Japonisme which we offered a couple of months ago, this CD offers a similar recital: music composed by Westerners (although Tcherepnin and Chasins actually lived in the Far East for portions of their lives) evoking and sometimes quoting Chinese folk and imperial music in a collection which spans almost two centuries. Fabulous fun, whether for musicologists or just for collectors who enjoy the intimations and insinuations of the Orient. Jenny Lin (piano). BIS CD-1110 (Sweden) 07C036 $17.98

CÉSAR FRANCK (1822-1890): Prélude, fugue et variation, Pastorale (both transc. Harold Bauer), Pièce héroïque, Fantaisie No. 1 in C (both transc. Jacques Durand), Fantaisie No. 2 in A, Final (both transc. Blanche Selva), Cantabile (transc. J. Jemain). This disc of transcriptions of Franck's organ music provides a more intimate, yet no less valid picture of the composer's muse; in many ways, the more quiet, more intimate voice of the piano brings out a quality of communion and repose, even of long-breathed contemplation which the organ cannot match. Recom-mended to not just Franck, but also piano fanciers. Michael Frohnmeyer (piano). Cyprès CYP1622 (Belgium) 07C037 $18.98

JEAN SIBELIUS (1865-1957): Complete Youth Production for Violin and Piano, Vol. 2 - Suite in E, [2 Pieces], [3 Pieces], Allegretto in C, [Tempo di Valse] in A, Allegro [Sonata Exposition] in A Minor, Sonata in F, [Largamente, Fragment] in E Minor, [Adagio] in D Minor, [Larghetto, Fragment] in D Minor, [Grave, Fragment] in D Minor, Solo Violin: [Étude] in D, [Allegretto] in A, Romance in G, A Happy Musician. In addition to four solo violin works from various periods in his career, this second volume contains youthful works from 1887-92, all but the Suite and Sonata being world premiere recordings. Jaakko Kuusisto (violin), Folke Gräsbeck (piano). BIS CD-1023 (Sweden) 07C038 $17.98

JOHAN VESQUE VON PÜTTLINGEN (1803-1883): Die Heimkehr, Vol. 1. Vesque is an important link between the generations of Schubert/Loewe and Schumann/Mendelssohn and may be the most important Austrian composer before Wolf, with whom he shares a scrupulous respect for his texts and a sense of irony, satire and symbolism. German-English texts. Markus Schäfer (tenor), Christian de Bruyn (piano). Signum X104-00 (Germany) 07C039 $17.98

FRANCESCO ANTONIO BONPORTI (1672-1749): Complete Works, Vol. 1 - 6 Motetti a canto solo, Op. 3. Of noble extraction, Bonporti did not have to write for patrons and thus was able to indulge his natural inclinations and produced much very striking music which actually belongs to none of the prevailing musical schools. His instrumental music often borders on the bizarre but this, his only vocal work, is not as unusual. Dating from 1702, these motets consist of two or three arias each, recitatives and a final, virtuosic alleluia. Very effective, musically, they are a very useful contribution to 18th century sacred music. Latin texts. Gemma Bertagnolli (soprano), Accademia I Filarmonici; Alberto Martini. Dynamic CDS 280 (Italy) 07C040 $17.98

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827): Complete Works for Winds and Brass, Vol. 2 - 3 Marches and Trios for Wind Ensemble, WoO 18-20, Polonaise in D, WoO 21, Ecossaise in D, WoO 22, March in B Flat for 2 Clarinets, 2 Horns and 2 Bassoons, WoO 29, Quintet for Oboe, 3 Horns and Bassoon in E Flat, Hess 19, Adagio for 3 Horns in F Minor, 3 Equale for 4 Trombones, WoO 30, Trio for 2 Oboes and English Horn in C, Op. 87, Variations in C on Là ci darem la mano for 2 Oboes and English Horn, WoO 28, Allegro and Minuet for 2 Flutes in G, WoO 26. Beethoven completists (who don't have the massive DG set) and wind instrument fanciers will be delighted with this collection of little-known chips from the master's workbench. Ottetto Italiano, Members of the Genoa Chamber Orchestra; Antonio Plotino. Arts 47551 (Germany) 07C041 $10.98

JOSEF LABOR (1842-1924): Sonata, Op. 15, Prelude Tui sunt, 2 Improvisations, Op. 13, 6 Preludes, Fantasia on the Austrian National Hymn, Op. 9, 3 Interludes, Fantasia for Organ Duet. Known primarily as one of Schoenberg's teachers, Labor's organ music deserves to be ranked alongside that of Reger and Rheinberger in the German late-Romantic style. The sonata (1912) is somber and troubled and the unusual duet inhabits the same sound world. The largest work is the Fantasia, written for Emperor Franz Josef's diamond jubilee in 1908, is impressively constructed and ends with a blaze of glory. Ian Coleman (organ of St. Ignatius, Stamford Hill, London), Ann Carey (duet organist). Priory PRCD 688 (England) 07C042 $16.98

GIACOMO PUCCINI (1858-1924): Piccolo valzer, Adagio, Scossa elettrica, Foglio d'album, Piccolo tango, Calmo e molto lento, PIETRO MASCAGNI (1863-1945): Novellina, Sulle reive di Chiaja, Intermezzo, Pifferata di Natale, Tema di Andante, La gavotta delle bambole, La prima bagnante, Sunt lacrymae rerum!, Visione lirica, Tomina, UMBERTO GIORDANO (1867-1948): Minueto, Alla gavotta, Idillio, Gerbes de feu, Nel deserto, Natale dei bambini, Cocktail, Violettes de Parme, Tci-yang, Valzer sentimentale, Valzer serenata, Lamento, Organetto di Barberia, Carillon, Squillo "Giornale radio", Caffé notturno. What did opera composers do in their spare time? Well, these three famous Italians wrote piano music for amateurs and for the salon imbued here and there with melodies reminiscent of the stage. No earth-shattering revelations here but plenty of agreeable melodies. Marco Sollini (piano). Bongiovanni GB 5100 (Italy) 07C043 $16.98

FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886): 6 Hungarian Rhapsodies for Piano Four Hands, Mephisto Waltz for 2 Pianos. Liszt made additional versions of six of his original fifteen Rhapsodies, changing their numbering and occasionally transposing keys in versions for piano duo and for orchestra. The brilliance and virtuosity of the original versions is matched and sometimes exceeded by these pieces which make one wonder how the pianists can do what they do without injuring each other! Georgia & Louise Mangos (pianos). Cedille CDR 90000 052 (U.S.A.) 07C044 $16.98

FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886): Complete Symphonic Poems (transcr. Liszt) for 2 Pianos. This specially-priced box is a useful supplement to Hyperion's mammoth Liszt edition which did not include the two-piano works. 3 CDs for the price of 2. Georgia & Louise Mangos. Cedille BOX 101 (U.S.A.) 07C045 $33.98

ALEXANDER GLAZUNOV (1865-1936): Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 92, Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 100, Variations on a Russian Theme. The concertos are in the style of Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov, demanding a high degree of virtuosity in an intensely lyrical context. The Variations are the work of a number of composers in honor of conductor Nikolai Galkin. Glazunov contributed the sixth and last; the others are by Rimsky-Korsakov, Lyadov, Nikoali Sokolov, Jazeps Vitols and Nikolai Artsybushev. Oxana Yablonskaya (piano), Moscow Symphony Orchestra; Dmitry Yablonsky. Naxos 8.553928 (New Zealand) 07C046 $5.98

ARTHUR FOOTE (1853-1937): Chamber Music, Vol. 3 - Piano Trio No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 5, Piano Trio No. 2 in B Flat, Melody for Violin and Piano, Op. 44, Ballade for Violin and Piano, Op. 69. From the early first trio (1882) to the Dvorakian Ballade (1910), Foote's chamber works are distinguished by their exquisite writing for string instruments and imaginative piano textures. Arden Trio. Naxos 8.559039 (New Zealand) 07C047 $5.98

PETER TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893): String Quartets, Vol. 1 - No. 1 in D, Op. 11, No. 2 in F, Op. 22. Tchaikovsky's quartets have been relatively neglected even though they also contain his characteristically beautiful and deeply expressive melodies (the famous Andante cantabile is the second movement of his first quartet), so this new budget-priced release is very welcome. New Haydn Quartet, Budapest. Naxos 8.550847 (New Zealand) 07C048 $5.98

CHARLES VILLIERS STANFORD (1852-1924): Songs, Vol. 2 - Tragödie, Op. 14/5, The Clown's Songs from "Twelfth Night", Op. 65, The Pibroth, Op. 157/1, Phoebe, Op. 125/3, Songs of the Sea, Op. 91, For Ever Mine, Windy Nights, Op. 30/4, A Lullaby, Op. 19/2, To the Rose, Op. 19/3, 2 Songs of Faith, Op. 97/4&6, The Fairy Lough, Op. 77/2, Tom Lemminn, A Fire of Turf, Op. 139. Stanford's ability to respond to a wide variety of poetry remains marvellous in this second volume, annotated extensively in the manner of the Hyperion Schubert Edition. Stephen Varcoe (baritone), Clifford Benson (piano). Hyperion CDA 67124 (England) 07C049 $17.98

More Unknown Richard Strauss (Yes, that's right... MORE!)

RICHARD STRAUSS (1864-1949): The Unknown Richard Strauss, Vol. 10 - Festmarsch, Op. 1, Romance for Clarinet and Orchestra, Romance for Cello and Orchestra, Konzertouvertüre, Music from Romeo and Juliet, 4 Tableaux vivants. Beginning with the 12-year-old composer's Festmarsch, via the two Romances (1879 and 1883 respectively) we reach the fiery, impetuous Concert Overture (also 1883) which was inspired by Beethoven's Coriolan. The Romeo and Juliet music comes (with singers) in four brief sections and dates from 1887 while the Tableaux vivants have the biggest slice of the CD. Dating from 1892, these pieces were music written for a Gesamtkunstwerk uniting actors, musicians, Kapellmeisters, theater directors and scenic designers - the whole affair being a celebration of the golden wedding anniversary of the Grand Duke of Weimar and his wife. Strauss wrote music for four scenes while the others were handled by Bronsart and Eduard Lassen and, though not terribly echt-Straussian, there is much to enjoy in his musical depictions of several events in Northern European history. Karl-Henz Steffens (clarinet), Sebastian Hess (cello), Bodil Arnesen (soprano), Jennifer Crohns (mezzo), Christa Mayer (alto), Michael Suttner (tenor), Via Nova Choir, Bamberg Symphony, Munich Chamber Orchestra; Karl Anton Rickenbacker. Koch Schwann 3-6540-2 (Germany) 07C050 $16.98

LOUIS VIERNE (1870-1937): Piano Quintet, Op. 42, String Quartet, Op. 12. The composer's desolation and pain are almost palpable in his 1917 quintet which he wrote in memory of his 17-year-old son who was killed in action in the trenches. The style may be indebted to his teacher Franck but the raw emotion leaps out of this score and is entirely Vierne's. The quartet dates from 1894 while the composer was still a student of Widor and Franck's influence is more clearly present although the tension and rich harmonies foreshadow much of Vierne's mature uvre. Gabriel Tacchino (piano), Quatuor Athenaeum Enesco. Pierre Verany PV700011 (France) 07C051 $17.98

PAUL LADMIRAULT (1877-1944): String Quartet, Fantaisie for Violin and Piano, Chevauchée - Fantaisie sur des "féels" écossais for Piano Trio, Romance for String Quartet, Piano Trio in E "Le Fleuve". World War I had its deleterious effect on Ladmirault also - after fighting in the trenches he abandoned any possible further career in Paris and went back to his native Brittany. His Celtic roots are everywhere present in these works; even the 1918 quartet uses Scottish melodies while hints of Breton folk music may be found in the piano trio which traces the course of the Loire River from its source to the sea just past Nantes. Quatuor Liger, Louis-Claude Thirion (piano). Skarbo D SK 4001 (France) 07C052 $16.98

VINCENT D'INDY (1851-1931): String Quartet No. 1 in D, Op. 35, ERNEST CHAUSSON (1855-1899): String Quartet in C Minor (compl D'Indy), Op. 35. D'Indy's first quartet is in the time-honored Germanic tradition of sonata-form first movement followed by lied, dance and rondo finale and he uses the Bell motif from Parsifal as the basis for his sonata structure. Chausson's quartet was left unfinished at his death and offers two surprising quotes - from Debussy's quartet in its first movement (the men had quarrelled in 1894 and not spoken since) and from Das Rheingold in the second (Chausson detested Wagner). The notes speculate intriguingly on this and more... Chilingirian Quartet. Hyperion CDA 67097 (England) 07C053 $17.98

HERMANN ZILCHER (1881-1948): Piano Trio in E Minor, Op. 56, Piano Quintet in C Sharp Minor, Op. 42. Zilcher was a confirmed conservative and these two works clearly show that Brahms and Schumann are the most important influences in his chamber music although there is also an extra darkness, a sense of a malign presence which can only come from someone who has lived through the First World War. The 1927 trio is in only two movements and is lightened by its final movement variations on a Welsh folk-song. The 1918 quintet is rich, intense and pained; its second movement funeral march confirms the work's elegiac aspect and the final movement uses a song which Zilcher wrote about an Austrian cavalryman during the war. Sure to appeal to all hyper-romanticists. Carl-Heinz März (piano), Nicolay Quartet. Largo 5144 (Germany) 07C054 $17.98

ERNÖ DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960): 3 Concert Etudes, Op. 28, Albumblatt, Variations and Fugue on a Theme of E.G., Op. 4, 3 Singular Pieces, Op. 44, Fugue for Left Hand, LÉO DELIBES (1836-1891)/DOHNÁNYI : Waltz from the Ballet Coppélia, Waltz from the Ballet Naila, JOHANN STRAUSS JR. (1825-1899)/DOHNÁNYI : "Du und Du" - Walzer, Schatz - Walzer. Everything here is claimed as a first recording save the Coppélia waltz and the Strauss transcriptions, the most unusual being the 1897 Variations on a tune by Kodály's first wife which were compared to those of Brahms at the time of their premiere. Ilona Prunyi (piano). Hungaroton HCD 31910 (Hungary) 07C055 $16.98

GASPAR CASSADÓ (1897-1966): Requiebros, Sonata nello stile antico spagunolo, Suite for Solo Cello, Sérénade, Danza del diablo verde, Arrangements: Frescobaldi (1583-1644): Toccata, Schubert (1797-1828): Allegretto grazioso, F. Couperin (1668-1733): Pastorale, Paderewsky (1860-1941): Minuetto, Albéniz (1860-1909): Cádiz (Serenata española), Granados (1867-1916): Intermezzo. Cassadó did for the cello what Kreisler did for the violin, commissioning many works but also composing many pastiches and transcriptions in the aesthetic of the 19th century. This collection, performed by one of his last students, is an excellent sample. Marco Scano (cello), Daniela Ghigino (piano). Ensayo ENY-CD-9801 (Spain) 07C056 $16.98

DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975): The Execution of Stepan Razin, Op. 119 for Bass, Chorus and Orchestra, 2 Fables after Krylov, Op. 4 for Mezzo-Soprano, Women's Voices and Orchestra, 5 Intermezzi from Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. Two years after the Babi Yar symphony angered the Soviet hierarchy, Shostakovich struck again with Stepan Razin. Outwardly, this tale of a 17th century peasant being executed for leading an uprising against the Tsar was politically correct but the author of the text was Yevtushenko (also of Babi Yar, of course) and one man's Tsar is another's commissar... The coronation scene from Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov is evoked at the beginning but accusatory emotionalism and blunt crudeness are the order of the day for the remainder of this vivid work. The Krylov fables are the work of a 16-year-old student yet, again, they unintentionally and prophetically tweak the Soviet system. No Russian texts; English translations provided. Stanislav Suleimanov (bass), Tamara Sinyavskaia (mezzo), Cologne Radio Choir and Symphony Orchestra; Michail Jurowski. Capriccio 10 780 (Germany) 07C057 $11.98

ALEXANDER ARUTIUNIAN (b.1920): Trumpet Concerto, Variations for Trumpet and Orchestra, ALEXANDRA PAKHMUTOVA (b.1929): Trumpet Concerto, MOISEI VAINBERG (1919-1996): Trumpet Concerto. New to CD are Arutiunian's Variations whose preponderance of slow tempi require legato playing of great skill, and Pakhmutova's 1955 concerto. The latter is in single-movement form, like Arutiunian's concerto of 1950 but unlike his sharply contrasting succession of episodes in a Kabalevskian style, she owes her inspiration both to Myaskovsky and late Rachmaninov and to Soviet lyrical song. Vainberg's 1967 work unfolds like a psychological drama with a jerky, garishly grotesque first movement followed by a slow movement full of strange and anxious forebodings before a raucous finale full of quotations from various Romantic-era works (à la the Shostakovich Symphony No. 15). Bibi Black (trumpet), Moscow Chamber Orchestra; Constantine Orbelian. Chandos 9668 (England) 07C058 $16.98

CAMARGO GUARNIERI (1907-1993): Chôro for Cello and Orchestra, FEDERICO IBARRA (b.1948): Cello Concerto, CARLOS CHÁVEZ (1899-1978): Cello Concerto, Madrigal for Celo and Piano, Sonatina for Cello and Piano. Ibarra's 1989 concerto is a vibrant and passionate work in which the soloist seems to be a protagonist sometimes supported and sometimes contradicted by the orchestra (some of whose material has a dark, threatening quality reminiscent of Bernard Herrmann). Guarnieri's Chôro (1961) offers two contrasting movements - passionate and sad - in vivid, yet non-pictorial fashion followed by the explosion of a folk-music drenched final movement. A single movement is all that Chávez finished of his concerto before dying and this is its premiere recording, a piece of great dramatic force which leaves one wondering how the final three movements would have gone. Carlos Prieto (cello), Orquesta de las Américas; Carlos Miguel Prieto, Edison Quintana (piano). Urtext JBCC 023 (Mexico) 07C059 $17.98

GIDEON KLEIN (1919-1956): Partita for Strings (instr. Saudek), VIKTOR ULLMANN (1898-1944): Piano Sonata No. 7, 3 hebräische knabenchöre, 3 Hölderlin Lieder for Soprano and Piano, PAVEL HAAS (1899-1944): Studies for String Orchestra, HANS KRÁSA (1889-1944): Passacaglia and Fugue for String Trio, Overture for Small Chamber Orchestra, Brundibar, KARL AMADEUS HARTMANN (1905-1963): Piano Sonata 27. April 1945, Concerto funèbre for Violin and Orchestra, String Quartet No. 2. This 3-CD set usefully and fascinatingly showcases the music of five composers, only one of whom survived the war, and whose music was subject to censorship and in some cases, total loss or fragmentation. Reconstruction of this path not so much not taken as brutally blockaded demonstrates that the Second-Viennese influence was more widespread than might otherwise have been apparent. It is apparent from the quality of these works by murdered composers just to what extent history influenced the tide of music in our century, and hearing these serious and often beautiful works suggests that the development of 20th-century music was to have been a far more organic and rational process than it now appears to have been, had it not been so harshly derailed - and the sense of loss, thinking of the works destroyed or never written - is heartbreaking. Aldo Orvieto (piano), Orchestra di Padova e di Veneto; Nada Matose Vic, Venice String Quartet. 3 CDs. Budget price. Hommage 7001890 (Germany) 07C060 $16.98

HENRY COWELL (1897-1965): Exultation, Aeolian Harp, The Lilt of the Reel, Tiger, Dynamic Motion, What's This, Amiable Conversation, Advertisement, Antinomy, Time Table, The Banshee, LOU HARRISON (b.1917): Piano Sonata No. 3, Prelude for Grandpiano (to Henry Cowell), Homage to Milhaud, 3 New York Waltzes, Largo Ostinato, May Rain, Saraband, CHARLES IVES (1874-1954): The Alcotts, 3 Improvisations, Study No. 22, The Celestial Railroad. Titled "Wizards & Wildmen" (and using a font created by Lou Harrison), this new recording celebrates the piano music of three of America's most original and forward-looking composers, who also knew and supported each other through most of their lives. With the exception of Harrison's waltzes and Milhaud homage, these pieces date from 1914-37. Cowell's have the whole range of his pianistic language, from the ethereal strumming of strings inside the piano (Aeolian Harp and The Banshee) to tone-clusters played with the forearm (Dynamic Motion) while Harrison's early sonata (1938) and Prelude and Saraband (1937) show how ultramodern his idiom was before he discovered the gamelan. Anthony De Mare (piano). CRI CD 837 (U.S.A.) 07C061 $16.98

ROBERT STARER (b.1924): String Quartets Nos. 1-3. Robert Starer's first string quartet, from 1947, a very European work, with elements of Shostakovich, Bartok and Hindemith clearly audible, remained his sole essay in the medium for nearly 50 years, until he heard the present performers play the piece, which prompted composition of the second and third. The consistency of musical vocabulary across this timespan is noteworthy. There is a classical sense of form and structure - if anything this is most noticeable in the second. Starer's typical use of clean rhythmic outlines and the lyrical eloquence of his slow movements are common features of all three of these fine quartets. Miami String Quartet. CRI CD 856 (U.S.A.) 07C062 $16.98

YORK HÖLLER (b.1944): Der Meister und Margarita. It is hard to say what musical style would be best suited to presenting Bulgakov's tumultuous, relentlessly satirical, sometimes absurd, sometimes profoundly disturbing novel. Holler's declamatory and confrontational score, to the composer's own libretto (rearranging - well, you'd have to, wouldn't you? - the sequence of events of the novel) wastes no time in presenting the characters and their surreal dialogue - at times the work feels as though it is a play with background music (except that Höller's music hardly stays in the background). On CD at least, the diabolic aspects are emphasized at the expense of the social/political satire, but the opera succeeds on its own terms as a constantly gripping and unsettling dramatic experience 3 CDs. German-English libretto. Cologne State Opera, Gürzenich Orchestra; Lothar Zagrosek. col legno 20059 (Germany) 07C063 $56.98

WILLIAM MAYER (b.1925): A Death in the Family. Based on James Agee's novel of the same name, A Death in the Family tells the story of a family of "ordinary" people who, through the intrusion of a senseless tragedy into their lives become vehicles for the contemplation of the human condition, birth, death and the significance of religion, as seen from several divergent viewpoints. The music is direct in expression, to match the narrative drama of the story and its retelling in the composer's libretto - in this respect the opera resembles those of Britten. Vernacular musical styles are used skillfully as scene-setting, and in general the strong vein of lyricism and sonorous harmony makes this a most appealing work, even as its thought-provoking subject matter is underlined by the music's strong emotional appeal. 2 CDs. Libretto included. Bert K. Johnson, Deborah Lifton, Jennifer Goode, Manhattan School of Music Opera Theater; David Gilbert. Albany TROY 395 (U.S.A.) 07C064 $33.98

WILLIAM BOLCOM (b.1938): Scherzo Fantasy for Piano and Wind Quintet, Five Fold Five for Piano and Wind Quintet, Haunted Labyrinth for Piano, 3 Donald Hall Songs for Medium Voice, Flute, Clarinet, Horn, Cello and Piano, Session II for Violin and Viola, Virtuosity Rag for 2 Trumpets, 2 Horns and Trombone. With his colossal technique and willingness to incorporate the vernacular into his intricate and sophisticated compositions, Bolcom is an unique institution not only in American music, but in music altogether. This collection of ensemble works traces his development from early French-influenced (and already incorporating popular elements in the form of jazz inflections, likely in response to his teacher and mentor, Milhaud) composition through somewhat self-consciously modern works of the 1960s, to his mature style, a return to tonality though with a teasing "I don't care, I do it like this" sense of incorporating whatever style he felt like at the time. There is a delightful rag - a Eubie Blake/Scott Joplin-ish work that borrows nothing literally from either - for those who especially enjoy this aspect of Bolcom's work (and who can resist it?); as a one-disc exposition of the multitudinous talents of this remarkable composer this is as good as it gets. Joan Morris (mezzo), Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings; H. Robert Reynolds. Koch International Classics 7395 (U.S.A.) 07C065 $16.98

JØRGEN PLAETNER (b.1930): Sonatinas Nos. 1 & 2, Op. 80, Sonata in One Movement, Op. 65 (Sonata No. 7), Sonata No. 5, Op. 49, Sonata No. 3, Op. 7, Sonata No. 6, Op. 64, Sonata No. 4, Op. 9, Sonata No. 2, Op. 3. A former student of Vagn Holmboe and Niels Viggo Bentzon, Plaetner has composed piano music throughout his career. As one might expect from his background, these works are rooted in tonality, though with a strong chromatic component, and frequent adoption of classical and pre-classical forms. If you enjoy the highly pianistic extended-tonality school that developed in the 20th century in acknowldgement of Busoni - Stevenson, Bentzon, Luening, Marek - then these cogent, expressive and thoroughly musicianly and expressive works will certainly appeal to you. 2 CDs. Erik Kaltoft (piano). Classico CLASSCD 322-23 (Denmark) 07C066 $29.98

ANDERS BRØDSGAARD (b.1955): Dreamfragment for Violin, Joker for Piano, Requiem for Piano, Traumfunken for Violin and Piano, Hymn I for Piano, Prelude for Cello, Hymn II for Piano, Piano Trio. The composer uses mathematical progressions based on overtone harmonics as a foundation for his works presented here, but if this sounds abstruse and hard to follow, it is necessary to remember that such series follow precise, ordered and relatively simple ratios, which lend themselves well to the construction of cells and series which can then be used in quasi-minimalist structures - which is much what we have here. The pieces share a liveliness and openness of texture, in which the overlapping fragments - full of tonal material, by the way - can be readily followed, making the works accessible an appealing in a way that belies the mathematical precision of their origins. Den Danske Trio. Classico CLASSCD 321 (Denmark) 07C067 $14.98

LUC VAN HOVE (b.1957): Wind Quintet, Op. 10, 3 Guilford Dances for Piano, Op. 19, Septet, Op. 24, Nonet, Op. 31. Van Hove is a 'modern' composer by intention and design - the latter word being especially apposite, as his works are designed meticulously, based on note groups or sets. If this suggests a dusty academicism, the music actually sounds freely atonal with perhaps a surprising degree of consonance. The Guildford Dances are especially approachable (and tonal) having been written in response to an impetus apart from the composer's usual approach. The more recent works - those from the late 1980s and 1990s - have a characteristic restlessness in their abrupt contrasts of consonance and dissonance, though always with a lively and clear-textured sound, never opaque or obscure. Geert Callaert (piano), Prometheus Ensemble; Etienne Siebens. René Gailly CD87 164 (Belgium) 07C068 $16.98

DAVID KRAEHENBUEHL (1923-1997): Diptych, Toccate per Cembalo, A Formal Triad, Toccata sopra B-A-C-H: Tombeau de Bach, Random Walks: Studies in Controlled Randomness, Looking Back: 12 Images from my Past. Music as ingenious as this has no right to be this entertaining - the program notes make much of the composer's intellectual brilliance and speed of thought - though his ready wit and humor are also paid tribute to, and it is perhaps to these that we need to look for a clue as to the appealing character of these highly sophisticated works. Described by Hindemith as his most talented student, Kraehenbuehl succeeded him at Yale. In common with his teacher there is a tendency towards thoroughly worked out contapuntal arguments, densely chromatic, though in Kraehenbuehl's case the mix is leavened somewhat by his concern with brevity and the illumination of frequent flashes of humor, both musical and sophisticated and downright funny (as in the adaptations of a young student's tune in Looking Back). Very clever, yes, but also music with a very human heart, which succeeds in appealing on many levels simultaneously. Martha Braden (piano). New World 80584 (U.S.A.) 07C069 $16.98

SOPHIE-CARMEN ECKHARDT-GRAMATTÉ (1899-1974): 10 Caprices, GARY KULESHA (b.1954): 3 Caprices. Eckhardt-Gramatté is now claimed by Canada, where she moved with her second husband in the 1950s, but as is apparent from her music - whether it be the piano sonatas recorded by Marc-André Hamelin a few years ago (Altarus AIR-CD-9052) or these violin caprices (the composer was a fluent performer on both instruments, so not surprisingly the music is idiomatically written) - she was basically a middle-European composer displaying all the influences one would expect from a musician developing in the European environment of the early part of the 20th century. Mostly tonal and somewhat conservative, if her music occasionally gives the impression of a "Cook's Tour" of European influences, maybe lacking the strongest features of an individual personality, it is nonetheless deeply felt and emotionally secure. Kulesha is a Canadian composer, and his three caprices, half a century later than Gramatté's, are more modern and perhaps more aggressive - extrovert might be a better word - and are more virtuosic but less stylistically ecelctic. Jasper Wood (violin). Analekta Fleurs de Lys FL 2 3149 (Canada) 07C070 $16.98

PÉTER EÖTVÖS (b.1944): Psalm 151 (in memoriam Frank Zappa) for Percussion Solo, Psy - Trio for Marimba, Flute and Cello, Triangel for a Creative Percussionist and 27 Musicians. These three compositions feature percussion prominently, and incorporate extended playing techniques, amplification to allow normally unheard sonorities to emerge from conventional instruments, and aleatoric and improvisatory elements. Contemporary percussion music frequently has an element of the "sonic spectacular" about it, and so it is here, which will appeal to some; as experimental music, it is firmly in the joint æsthetic of IRCAM/Darmstadt/Donaueschingen, and is an exceptionally well crafted example of the output of this school. Zoltán Rácz (percussion), UMZE Chamber Ensemble, Budapest; Péter Eötvös. BIS CD-948 (Sweden) 07C071 $17.98

LUC BREWAEYS: Jacquerie - Jacques qui rit, OBAN, Dirge for Dina, Le Chant de la Sirène, Nobody is Perfect!, Attention: Alto Solo!, Per Roberto F., Due cose belle ha il mondo: l'amore e la morte, Last Minute Piece, Talisker. These solo and ensemble pieces reveal a composer perfectly at ease with the instrumental innovations of the second half of the 20th century - multiphonics, extended playing techniques, prepared instruments, the incorporation of electric instruments and electronic sound processing - while possessing two timeless elements in musical composition; a sense of structure, and a sense of humor. The overriding impression is of a stream of musical inspiration, a river of flowing sound, revealing in every ripple and eddy a fascination with the texture of sound itself. Two of the works here are named for single malt whiskies, and while this might seem an unusual choice at first sight, it makes sense, because as the subtle and slowly revealed levels of taste and after-taste in a good single malt combine in a multi-layered and complex texture as evocative of time and place as any visual stimulus, so Brewaeys' music unfolds in layers of association and memory, expressed in sonic streams of consciousness. 2 CDs. Champ d'Action; Koen Kessels. Megadisc MDC 7827/28 (Belgium) 07C072 $37.98

MICHAEL MAUTNER (b.1959): United Colours for Alto Saxophone, Piano, Percussion and String Orchestra, ERWIN SCHULHOFF (1894-1942): Symphony No. 2, Double Concerto for Flute, Piano and Strings. Schulhoff's second Symphony was his last composition that the composer was to hear performed before he wound up in the Nazi extermination system. Very clever and sophisticated jazz combiined with pretty good "Shostakovich-at-not-quite-his-best" make for music which is full of unexpected turns and excitement. Both elements are shared with Mautner's much later music - the vocabulary is more modern - one thinks of Lutoslawski instead of Shostakovich - but there is a similar unstuffy freedom of approach even while the compositional technique - this time involving dodecaphony and mathematical constructs (and some very lush harmony for balance) - remains tremendously accomplished. Erwin Klambauer (flute), Clemens Zeilinger (piano), Peter Rohrsdorfer (sax), Austrian Chamber Symphony; Ernst Theis. Musicaphon M 56829 (Germany) 07C073 $15.98

NOAM SHERIFF (b.1935): Psalms of Jerusalem. This work sets texts from the Book of Psalms in both Hebrew and Latin, immediately establishing the composer's intention of setting the ideas presented in an historical perspective reaching back to antiquity. His musical language is of our time, though the principal impression it creates is of a wholly successful synthesis of the middle east and western concert tradition. Dissonant modality is a broad summing-up of the impression created by the orchestral and choral background, which is rich in both detail and content, while the foreground solo parts are more explicitly related to Hebrew liturgical forms. An impressive work with a haunting sense of archaic beauty and a wealth of tradition. Adam Zdunikowski (tenor), Ignas Misiura (bass), Siauliai University Choir, Vilnius Mixed Choir, Vilnius Municipal Choir, Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra; Noam Sheriff. col legno 20061 (Germany) 07C074 $18.98

MANFRED GURLITT (1890-1973): Soldaten. Gurlitt departed Germany later than many of his colleagues - in 1939, after apparently trying to wait out the Nazi regime while maintaining his current conducting job, but made an odd choice of country of exile - Japan - where his career as composer did not exactly flourish. His music is certainly not as advanced as Berg's, nor (unsurprisingly) does it have the shocking impact of Zimmermann's extravagant and harrowing vision, but it is nonetheless of very high quality indeed. Fundamentally tonal, though with frequent Busoni-like tweaking of the listener's expectations, it is perhaps to Strauss and Brahms that one must turn for the best comparison. The text's indictments of social ills is used less as a soapbox for reformist rhetoric than as an opportunity for development of the characters in music of great sensitivity and human drama. As in popular Italian operas, the characters' music is so appealing and so expressive of personality that one immediately comes to sympathise with their plight - and there are many elements of this work that suggest that, given an opportunity, it could achieve wide popularity. 2 CDs. German-English libretto. Claudia Barainsky (soprano), Michael Burt (bass), Berlin Radio Choir, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin; Gerd Albrecht. Orfeo C 482 992 H (Germany) 07C075 $37.98

HARALD GENZMER (b.1909): Symphony No. 4, Piano Concerto No. 3, Prolog II. Much like Hindemith, Genzmer wrote a lot of music, much of it utilitarian and often in much the same stripped-down neo-classical style of the former composer's mature period. However, Genzmer seems to have a predilection for percussion and brass as each of these works (dating from 1974-91) gives those sections a lot of solo opportunities, creating a sound world quite different from many Hindemithian composers. The concerto is in four movements and has a Bartokian slow movement while the symphony is in five, with an intermezzo added to the traditional movements. All these works are tonal, easily approachable, often rhythmically exciting and insistent and should prove a worthy addition to collectors of 20th century orchestral music. Oliver Triendl (piano), Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz; Theodor Guschlbauer. Thorofon CTH 2401 (Germany) 07C076 $16.98

IRWIN BAZELON (1922-1995): Symphony No. 6, Short Symphony (No. 2), Overture to Taming of the Shrew. Equally at home in the sphere of film music as the concert hall, as at ease writing jazz-influenced Americana as dodecaphonic music, Bazelon is an unusually versatile composer, whose music is always accessible, whatever facet of his idiom is currently to the fore in any given work. There is something of Bernstein's more "serious" scores in the restless energy and eclectic influences of these orchestral pieces, and the presence of a programmatic element also suggests a composer very much in touch with his fellow man in general and his audience in particular. Never simplistic, the music is bracing and extrovert, alternating with passages of profound tenderness (often in astringent atonality, which makes them the more telling), and never fails to make an impact. Rousse Philharmonic; Harold Farberman. Albany TROY 370 (U.S.A.) 07C077 $16.98

ANDRÉ SOURIS (1899-1970): Symphonies, Le Marchand d'Images - Rural Cantata, Danceries de la Renaissance française. Despite the general antipathy of the Surrealists towards music, Souris was nonetheless a dedicated member of this movement. An authority on Elizabethan music, among his other accomplishments, he incorporated elements of early music, as well as impressionistic textures and Stravinskian neo-classicism into his works. These works are for the most part extremely accessible, with 16th-century material transformed, not musicologically accurately, but neither yet framed in deliberate incongruity - this is not musical Magritte, but more in the nature of a very free work of restoration. Anne-Catherine Gellet (soprano), Christine Solhosse (alto), Claude Flagel (tenor), Patrick Ringa-Daxhelet (bass), Gérard Duquet (reciter), Namur Chamber Choir, Children's Chorus of La Monnaie, Liège Philharmonic Orchestra; Patrick Baton. Cyprès CYP7607 (Belgium) 07C078 $18.98

ROLF SCHWEIZER (b.1936): Requiem 23.02.1945 Für Tote und Lebende. Texts in German and Latin. This large and powerful work functions as a war requiem, as opposed to a liturgical one, though unlike the Britten it is the Second World War that provides the textual inspiration. The underlying message is similar - a lamentation ond deploration of the waste of life and destruction implicit in war. The interjection of massive blocks of tonal material into an overall rather free vocabulary anchors the work in the tradition of the early 20th-century, and provides an unshakable structure, like the columns and arches of a great cathedral. The use of sprechstimme narration of the non-liturgical texts, contrasting with the massed choral texture creates a powerful contrast of attention, and in general the work is one of strong contrasts and seriousness of purpose. Sometimes the abruptness of presentation of deliberately clashing ideas is oddly reminiscent of Havergal Brian. A very striking work, brooding and magnificent,and most recommmendable. 2 CDs. Christine Brenk (soprano), Constanaze Schweizer (organ), Ulrike Götz & Felix-B. Sprung (speakers), Oratorio-, Motet-Choirs Pforzheim, Jugendkantorei Pforzheim, Bachorchester Pforzheim, South-west German Windsoloists and Percussion Ensemble; Rolf Schweizer. Cadenza CAD 800 871/2 (Germany) 07C079 $35.98

CHRISTOPH HEMPEL (b.1946): Concerto for Electronic Clarinet and Orchestra, JÖRN ARNECKE (b.1973): Frage for Orchestra, TOBIAS ROKAHR (b.1972): Gegenfeuer for Orchestra, G. BERNHARD F. MERGNER (b.1953): Vitalisation for Jazz Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra. The Hempel concerto stars an unusual solo instrument; a synthesizer played like a wind instrument rather than a keyboard. Its unusual timbres and wide register are well exploited in this accessible and sonorous work. The Arnecke has an intense, brooding quality, and functions like a modern tone-poem, seeking resolution and fulfilment, while the Rokahr similarly treats ideas of conflict and resolution. Mergner's work is an ideal disc-mate to Hempel's, in that it blends unfamiliar sonorities, though in a completely different way - here the unorthodox addition to the symphony orchestra is the odd juxtaposition of big-band jazz - not playing its accustomed material, but making its identity unequivocally felt as a foil to the orchestral textures. Alexander Stein (clarinet), Göttingen Symphony Orchestra; Christian Simonis, Jörn Arnecke, Tobias Rokahr, G. Bernhard F. Mergner. Thorofon CTH 2413 (Germany) 07C080 $16.98

INDRA RISE (b.1961): Atgriesanas for Soprano, Flute, Cello and Accordion, ØISTEIN SOMMERFELDT (1919-1994): Cloverleaf for Soprano and Accordion, KERSTIN JEPPSSON (b.1948): Love Song for Soprano and Accordion, Mater Mea for Soprano, Flute, Cello and Accordion, SELGA MENCE (b.1953): Contrasts for Flute and Cello, BIRGITTE ALSTED (b.1942): Haiku-Wärme for Soprano, Flute, Cello and Accordion, ANDY PAPE (b.1955): Leonora Songs for Soprano, Flute, Cello and Accordion. The accordion, which occupies a more serious position in concert music in Scandinavia than is the case in much of the rest of the world, is prominent in this programme of music by composers of or associated with, this part of the world. Rise's songs are very fine - expressive and lyrical, and subtly different and individual, thanks in part to the unconventional instrumentation. The brief and aphoristic Alsted songs share this creative use of unusual sonorities to underline the vocal point - the accordion turns out to be very good at this sort of thing, incisive and flexible, combining features of organ, piano and wind ensemble under the control of a single player. Pape's work, an extended "study" for a full-length operatic composition, is more harmonically challenging, an expressionistic character-study of considerable power. By contrast the Sommerfeldt and Jeppsson are romantic and more conventionally tonal, appealing and tuneful in an idiom closer to the Lied, though made exotic by the instrumentation. Eva Bruun Hansen (mezzo), Pia Kaufmanas (flute), Inger Guldbrandt Jensen (cello), Marie Wärme Otterstrøm (accordion). Danacord DACOCD 532 (Denmark) 07C081 $17.98

HENRI DUTILLEUX (b.1916): 3 strophes sur le nom de SACHER, HANS WERNER HENZE (b.1926): Sérénade, GEORGE CRUMB (b.1929): Sonata, GYÖRGY LIGETI (b.1923): Sonata, NICOLAS BACRI (b.1961): Suite No. 4. These works by major 20th-century composers remain true to the lyrical qualities with which the instrument is conventionally associated. This means that the avant-garde boundary-pushing for which some of these composers are fêted is not really in evidence here; the Ligeti is a tender and lovely work, with more of Bach in the first movement and Kodály in the last than one might predict. All the pieces share a common ground in tonality, and are played in the conventional fashion (a few glissandi on vibrating strings and the like here and there notwithstanding), and enhance the repertoire of the instrument without exploring new sounds and playing techniques, while definitely expanding the repertory of what it has to say through the quality of the composers' imaginative skills. Mid-price. Emmanuelle Bertrand (cello). Harmonia Mundi Les Nouveaux Interpretes HMN 911699 (France) 07C082 $12.98

PHILIP CASHIAN (b.1963): Dark Inventions, Musica Meccanica, So Lonely, Blue Circus, ...in the still hours, Chamber Concerto. A quasi-minimalistic use of repeated phrases in a restless continuum of slightly tense, off-kilter effects seems to be the most characteristic element of Cashian's music. Unlike many ensemble pieces by "minimalist'" composers, the element of concertante solo virtuosity is often to the fore here. Agile instrumental lines weave a highly varied (and therefore most un-minimalist) tapestry, against which frequently an eloquent solo voice is heard, sometimes pleading most movingly, sometimes dancing ecstatically. Patterned but impressionistically colored - or should that be expressionistically emotional but mechanically organised? Mary King (mezzo), Mark van de Wiel (clarinet), Birmingham Contemporary Music Group; Stefan Asbury. NMC D061 (England) 07C083 $17.98

ROBERT SAXTON (b.1953): Processions and Dances, Chacony, Fantazia, Invocation, Dance and Meditation, Eloge, Arias, A Yardstick to the Stars. Rather like Nigel Clarke (see below) Saxton is a composer who has stuck uncompromisingly to his personal vision as a composer without much regard for fashionable accessibility. Saxton's music is more classically structured, incorporating formal devices from pre-classical times especially, as well as intervallic and rhythmic processes specifically of our own times. The craftsmanlike ingenuity with which these pieces are formed is remarkable in itself, but more so is the extent to which the composer's obvious delight in the skills and crafts of composing results in music which, though somewhat complex and never patronising the listener, is nonetheless taut and gripping from beginning to end. Teresa Cahill (soprano), John Constable, John McCabe (pianos), Paul Silverthorne (viola), Brunel Ensemble; Christopher Austin. NMC D065 (England) 07C084 $17.98

NIGEL CLARKE (b.1960): Lindisfarne Stone for Violin and Piano, Echo and Narcissus for Flute, Spectroscope for Cello, Solstice for Piano, Premonitions for Trumpet, Pernambuco for Violin, Chinese Puzzles for Flute and Piano. Clarke is one of the generation of younger British composers whose music stands in defiant opposition to the modern trend towards easy accessibility and instant assimilation. This is not to suggest that it is "complexicist" for its own sake, though in his collaboration with specialists in the performance of contemporary music the composer has demonstated a willingness to 'push the envelope' of performance practice the better to express extremes of emotion or thought. These works for soloists or small ensemble have enigmatic titles which seem designed to hint at, and then obscure, the details of the passions contained in the music itself. Various artists. Metier MSV CD92024 (England) 07C085 $17.98

CHRISTOPHER FOX (b.1955): A-N-N-A Blossom Time, You, Us, Me (Habañera), Louisiana, MERZsonata, Second Eight, Block, Cylinders Barn, 1947, I sing for the Muses and Myself. Fox is an inventive composer who does not readily fit into the fashionable trends or pigeon-holes - complexicist, new simplicity, and the like. He enjoys allusions to other artists' work - musical, literary, visual - and relates his ideas to theirs without explicitly transcribing them. Thus the song-cycle A-N-N-A Blossom-time uses Fox's recompositions in English of Schwitters' German nonsense-texts, incorporating other allusions, some musical, some not. In general, Fox makes use of tonal material - sometimes very straightforwardly, perhaps ironically - but with frequent transformations, not excluding the use of electroacoustic constructions and prepared instruments, the whole suggesting a collage of ideas, or a kind of mechanical sculpture assembled in the composer's mind, of which we see different facets appearing in different compositions. As multifaceted as it is, this output may not appeal across the board to everyone, but it is refreshingly original and thought-provoking. Amanda Crawley (soprano), Ian Pace (piano). Metier MSV CD92031 (England) 07C086 $17.98

JOHN CAGE (1912-1992): The Orchestral Works, Vol. 2 - Etcetera, Etcetera 2/4 Orchestras. These two Etcetera pieces are very much what Cage is all about - they contain very little that functions as music in a conventional sense, but display to great advantage much of the process and experimentation for which he is justly famous. In both pieces, a tape part (in the one case, of nature sounds, in the other, city sounds) plays in the background. Music is provided for various instruments, the players of which file in and move around ad libitum, either playing in accordance with the conductor's beat, or not. Tapping sounds, finger snaps and extended technique sounds from instruments are also included, and the notated instrumental parts are in some cases extended temporally to the point where individual notes cannot be heard in any rhythmic context. So if you are into Cagean experimentation, or want to find out what it is all about, this is an ideal disc for you. Callithumpian Consort of New England Conservatory; Tamara Brooks, Stephen Drury, Charles Peltz (conductors), New England Conservatory Orchestra, Tamara Brooks, Marsha Hassett, Charles Peltz, Laurie K. Redmer (conductors). Mode 86 (U.S.A.) 07C087 $16.98

LUIGI NONO (1924-1990): Volume 1: Voices of Protest - A floresta è jovem e cheja de vida, Donde estás hermano?, Djamila Boupachà. Broadly speaking, these three works are political protests from a very socially aware composer, on the subject of oppression and the loss of freedom of the individual in the face of totalitarian aggression of one sort or another. From a musical standpoint they summarise what Nono was about very well; musical textures became, for him, a plastic substance to be formed and moulded, the process becoming as much a part of the musical experience as the material. In the two shorter pieces, voices are accompanied by other voices, or orchestra in a moving (in both senses) collage of text fragments. In the large and ambitious "A Floresta . . .", live vocal sounds are embedded in a matrix of tape and abstract (yet precisely determined) instrumental sound, the tape part also carrying textual material essential to both the message and the musical form. Elisabeth Girard (soprano), Carol Robinson (clarinet), Gerard Pape (sound direction/live mix), Sophie Boulin (soprano), Voxnova (voices). Mode 87 (U.S.A.) 07C088 $16.98

GIORGIO GASLINI: Big Bang Poema for Orchestra, Adagio is Beautiful for 16 Strings, Chants-Songs for Flute and Orchestra, Sinfonia breve. Gaslini is another of the generation of highly accomplished polymaths in Italian music, of whom we have started to hear more since CDs increased the possibility of hearing the less commercial output of composers better known for their work in jazz, or film (in both of which, Gaslini has a considerable reputation). Not surprisingly, elements of jazz, of show tunes, the lush orchestration and heated drama of the scoring stage, all make their appearance in these concert works. Although serialism is a part of Gaslini's vocabulary, for the most part the harmony tends towards a slightly astringent tonality. Orchestra Sinfonica Internazionale Giovenile "F.Fenaroli", Robert Fabbriciani (flute), Chamber Orchestra "Amadeo Modigliani"; Giorgio Gaslini, Tomsk Philharmonic Orchestra; Boguslav Davidov. Agora Musica AG 243.1 (Italy) 07C089 $18.98

KEITH GATES: Suite comique for Flute, Piano and Strings, Sonatina for Flute and Piano, Concertino for Flute and Wind Ensemble, Je m'en dors for Flute and Guitar. These works for flute with various accompaniments are all accessible and most appealing. There is a good deal of French influence - Poulenc and Ravel - to be heard here, and a lyrical tenderness interspersed with light and lively movements of greater energy. If the musical language is conventional, the infectious good spirits of the music and freshness of inspiration prevent the pieces ever sounding hackneyed or over-familiar, and opportunities for virtuoso display by the soloist abound. Judy Hand (flute), Keith Gates (piano), Lake Charles Wind Symphony and other artists. Summit DCD 254 (U.S.A.) 07C090 $17.98

ALLA PAVLOVA: Symphony No. 2 "For the New Millenium", Music from The Old New York Nostalgia for String Orchestra, Percussion, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone and Trumpet, Elegy for Piano and Strings. Pavlova is a Russian composer who has successfully integrated into American musical life, having lived in the USA for the past decade. While recognisably from a Russian background, there is something easily assimilable across cultural boundaries about her music, perhaps deriving from her work in film and dance, as well as for children. These works are purely musical structures, but they seem to have a programmatic quality, as though as to suggest the idea of Russian music from Rimsky-Korsakov to Rachmaninov retold in contemporary terms. Soloists, International Symphony Orchestra "Globalis"; Konstantin D. Krimets. Albany TROY 397 (U.S.A.) 07C091 $16.98

OTTO LUENING (1900-1996): Songs of Emily Dickinson, Joyce Cycle, 19 other Songs. Otto Luening's death a few years ago closed a chapter in 20th-century music history that started 100 years ago and summarised a good deal of what has happened since. A student of Busoni, Luening tried (not self-consciously, one feels) to encompass as much as possible of his teacher's "new æsthetic". These songs, which encompass most of his working career (the earliest from 1917, the last from 1993) demonstrate a remarkable consistency of utterance - there is no sense of the composer moving from one fashionable æsthetic to another. They are written with a profound understanding of the possibilities of the voice, and always for it, never against. The best of them are unforgettably beautiful. As this collection encompasses only about a third of the composer's song output, it seems possible that, if the rest is of this quality, a major reassessment of Luening's position as American song composer is in order, and he may in time come to be regarded as one of the finest song composers from these shores, Rorem notwithstanding. Judith Bettina (soprano), James Goldsworthy (piano), Susan Palma-Nidel (flute). CRI CD 840 (U.S.A.) 07C092 $16.98

POUL RUDERS (b.1949): Concerto in Pieces (Purcell Variations), MELINDA WAGNER (b.1957): Concer-to for Flute, Strings and Percussion. If the textures of Wagner's concerto sometimes suggest those of Bartók's Music for SP&C, this is no accident, the composer having written for a trimmed-down orchestra deliberately in order to allow the flute soloist to act as the central protagonist without having to assume a mock-heroic role for which the instrument is not ideally suited. So it is that this lively work makes all of its expressive points with the clarity and precision of the most finely-drawn etching. Ruders' work was a BBC commission to celebrate the Purcell tercentenary and the 50th anniversary of Britten's Young Person's Guide. Ruders deliberately chose a Purcell theme considerably diffferent in character from that used by Britten but this work shares with Britten's a delight in orchestral brilliance and sonority. Frequent use of hocketing in short phrases and a sheen of high percussion and unusual sonorities add to the feeling of constant exploration of and excitement in the possibilities of the symphony orchestra. BBC Symphony Orchestra; Andrew Davis, Paul Lustig Dunkel (flute), Westchester Philharmonic; Mark Mandarano. Bridge 9098 (U.S.A.) 07C093 $16.98

MORTON FELDMAN (1926-1987): Piano Piece, 3 Pieces for Piano, Extensions 3, Intermassions 2 & 6, Last Pieces, Piano Piece 1956 A, Piano Piece B, Intermission 5, Piano Piece 1955, Piano Piece 1964, 2 Intermissions, Vertical Thoughts 4, Intersection 3, Piano Piece 1952, Piano 77, Palais de Mari, Triadic Memories, For Bunita Marcus. This set - a limited edition, apparently - should represent an eiphany of sorts for admirers of Feldman's gently sonorous, slow progressions of subtle, shifting touches, points, suggestions and hints, expressed through the instrument most suited to such finely-shaded expressions of instrumental pointillism, the piano. The first disc collects together early pieces from the 1950s; the others contain the much longer works of the 1980s, in which the pulse or heartbeat has become imperceptible as rhythm as the expanses of time become as expressive as the notes that punctuate them. The set also contains an introductory essay by Howard Skempton, a composer uniquely positioned to comment on Feldman's æsthetic. John Tilbury (piano). London Hall/Extraplatte do13 (Austria) 07C094 $67.98

KEVIN VOLANS (b.1949): Cicada for 2 Pianos, Duets for Multiple Pianos on Tape, Natural and Electronic Sounds. Volans is the South African minimalist (domiciled in Ireland since the 1980s), who has become associated with the "new simplicity" - the move away from the hectic scramble of overlapping cells common to much of the early minimalist movement. There is a peaceful,meditative quality to these two-piano works, that remain rhythmically quirky enough to avoid getting too far into New Age-ism. There is rather more going on here than in most of Howard Skempton's output, but that is the general area it inhabits. Mathilda Hornsveld, Jill Richards (pianos), Kevin Volans, Matteo Fargion (pianos). Black Box BBM1029 (England) 07C095 $17.98

PHILIP GRANGE (b.1956): Des fins sont des commencements, On this Bleak Hut, As It Was, In Spectre Search, A Puzzle of Shadows, The Dark Labyrinth. Of the generation of British composers after that of the "Manchester School" (Maxwell Davies, Birtwistle etc.), Grange has established himself as one of the most individual and memorable, who has stuck uncompromisingly to the principles laid down in the years when experimentation and complexity were still fashionable, and intellect not yet a questionable attribute to incorporate into art. So these works frequently have a literary or other extramusical basis, and a structure which does not render up its secrets glibly. There is a certain preoccupation with shadowy textuires and somber, puzzling subject matter, and this is matched in music of great subtlety and sometimes ambiguity, ominously ebbing and flowing in layers and levels of sound and meaning that slip away as fast as one tries to grasp them. Somber and beautiful, and disturbing in the sense of thought-provoking, these haunting works will repay amply the attention they demand of the listener. Gemini. Black Box BBM1038 (England) 07C096 $17.98

ASHOT ZOGRABIAN (b.1945): Serenade, DMITRI SMIRNOV (b.1948): The River of Life, Abel, ALEXEI ZHIVOTOV (1904-1964): Fragmente, VLADIMIR DESHEVOV (1889-1955): Exotic Suite, ROMAN LEDENEV (b.1930): 10 Sketches. The Zivotov and Ledenev are made up of very short movements of dramatically contrasting character. The Desevov, as the title suggests, is a piece of orchestral 'exoticism' which is colorful without being especially alien to the 20th-century western orchestral tradition of short character-pieces. Zograbian's serenade is the most extended work, and has passages of real intensity, and a somewhat Hovhaness-like sound-world, though less straightforward. The two works by Smirnov - the first featuring a somewhat concertante piano part, as do several other works here - are also very approachable, and very much of their part of the world - we must not call them "Russian", but they could not have been written in any other cultural climate. Strong, brooding and melancholy, they round out this highly satisfying disc which collectors of Soviet-era orchestral music will find irresistible. Klassik-Avantgarde. Quantaphon 25.926 (Germany) 07C097 $16.98

THEODOR HOLTERDORF (1910-1991): Concertino, WAWRZYNIEC ZULAWSKI (1916-1957): Aria con variazioni, GERHARD MAASZ (1906-1984): Divertimento, JULIO PERCEVAL (1903-1963): Serenata, JOHANNES SIMON MAYR (1763-1845): 6 Bagatelles. Designed as a showcase for the featured ensemble, this disc presents a programme of fine, unusual and unfamiliar music. Whether bracketing the 18th and 19th centuries or early or late 20th century all these pieces are very accessible and enjoyable, the Zulawski perhaps having the most depth, the Perceval the only work that really sounds 'modern' and 'serious' - and then not very much. A most enjoyable disc, that cannot be described as 'light' because of the sophistication of the music, but the very opposite of 'heavy' nonetheless. Trio à Vent (flute, clarinet and bassoon). Zuk Records 318 (Germany) 07C098 $10.98

ANTON KARAS: The Third Man - Original Soundtrack. The Sound Track Factory SFCD33538 (Andorra) 07C099 $12.98

BERNARD HERRMANN (1911-1975): Jane Eyre - Original Soundtrack, ALEX NORTH (1910-1991): A Streetcar Named Desire - Suite. Composed and conducted by Bernard Herrmann, Suite composed by Alex North and conducted by Ray Heindorf. The Sound Track Factory SFCD33519 (Andorra) 07C100 $12.98


Music by - James Bernard (Nosferatu, Dracula, The Devil Rides Out, Taste the Blood of Dracula), Jerry Goldsmith (The Omen, Alien, Poltergeist, The Haunting), Franz Waxman (The Bride of Frankenstein), Dimitri Tiomkin (The Thing), Akira Ifukube (Godzilla), Gerard Schurmann (Horrors of the Black Museum), Humphrey Searle (The Haunting), Wojciech Kilar (Bram Stoker's Dracula, The Ninth Gate), Pino Donaggio (Dressed to Kill) and much more. This compilation of music previously released on Silva concentrates exclusively on horror and sci-fi and offers most of the finest composers who have worked in those genres over the past half century (and a couple from earlier too...) 2 CDs. City of Prague Philharmonic, Crouch End Festival Chorus; Nic Raine, Westminster Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra; Carl Davis, Neil Richardson, Kenneth Alwyn. Silva America SSD 1111 (U.S.A.) 07C101 $33.98

DAVID FELDER (b.1953): 6 Poems from Neruda's "Alturas..." for Orchestra, a pressure triggering dreams for Electronics and Orchestra, Coleccion Nocturna for Clarinet/Bass-Clarinet, Piano and Tape. Little needs to be said about Felder's orchestral compositions except that he definitely knows his business, he takes inspiration from extramusical sources but you don't need to know that in order to enjoy the music, and that the music is first-rate and well worth getting to know. If you like 20th century music but don't insist that it be either the Latest New Thing nor unrelentingly 'retro' and uncompromisingly tonal, do as Mr Felder suggests, and just give this a listen on its own terms. I doubt that you will be disappointed. June in Buffalo Orchestra; Magnus Martensson, Harvey Sollberger (conductors), David Felder (electronics), Jean Kopperud (clarinets), James Winn (piano). Mode 89 (U.S.A.) 07C102 $16.98

SALVATORE SCIARRINO (b.1947)/CARLO GESUALDO (1561-1613): Gagliarda del Principe de Venosa, Tu m'uccidi, o crudele, Canzon francese del Principe, Moro, Lasso, Infinito nero. Theatre pieces in which speaking voices and reinterpretations of early music combine to give a sense of the presence of the past as evocative and personal as any play are typical of Sciarrino's work, and these Gesualdo recreations interspersed with readings from Tasso are no exception. "Infinito Nero" uses the musical vocabulary that one might more readily associate with a leading Italian avant-gardiste in a strange yet equally evocative rendering of the inner world of Ýhe 17th-century mystic Maria Maddalena de'Pazzi. Sonia Turchetta (mezzo), Carlo Sini (recitation), ensemble recherche. Kairos 0012022KAI (Germany) 07C103 $16.98

EDOUARD LALO (1823-1892): Cello Concerto in D Minor, Cello Sonata, Chants russes for Cello and Piano. Luscious Romanticism tinged here and there with Spanish and (obviously) Russian melody in these three neglected works by the Frenchman Lalo. The concerto (1877, with brilliant virtuosity in the outer movements and a yearningly intense Intermezzo) preceded his Concerto russe for violin of which the Chants russe recorded here is a transcription of the second movement. The sonata dates from 1856 and is predominantly lyrical. Maria Kliegel (cello), Bernd Glemser (piano), Nicolaus Esterházy Sinfonia; Michael Halász. Naxos 8.554469 (New Zealand) 07C104 $5.98

JOHANN CASPAR FERDINAND FISCHER (c.1670-1746): Musical Parnassus, Vol. 2 - Suites Nos. 7-9 (Terpsichore, Polymnia, Uranie), Musicalisches Blumen-Büschlein, Op. 2 - Suites Nos. 2 and 8. The conclusion of the set of suites which transfer French dances from the orchestra to the harpsichord - simple, colorful works which mix fashionable dance forms of the time. Luc Beauséjour (harpsichord). Naxos 8.554446 (New Zealand) 07C105 $5.98