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Leo Sowerby

symphony No. 2

orchestral works

LEO SOWERBY (1895-1968): Symphony No. 2, Concert Overture, Passacaglia, Interlude & Fugue, All on a Summer's Day. Cedille's Sowerby rehabilitation project continues with three world premiere recordings: the second symphony dates from 1927-28 and, like his first and third symphonies, was written for and premiered by the Chicago Symphony under Frederick Stock. Its brevity and concision (three movements and 24 minutes) have probably contributed to it being the most performed of Sowerby's symphonies and it has two of the composer's hallmarks: brilliant orchestration (practically a "concerto for orchestra") and virtuosic counterpoint. A first movement Sonatina (marked "Sprightly") is followed by a Recitative which contains a heart-on-sleeve romantic horn solo and the work finishes with a stirring Fugue which was singled out by audiences and critics as the high point of the symphony. There's not a wasted note or a whiff of stale academism in this bracing, spirited work. The Passacaglia, Interlude & Fugue dates from 1932 (and is, in fact, the first orchestral passacaglia by an American composer) and provides a form which Sowerby was to use often throughout his career in both orchestral and instrumental works. The piece has a certain romantic, craggy grandeur which may suggest late German Romanticism although the composer credited Hindemith with some of his inspiration. The Concert Overture (1941) bears a certain resemblance in spirit to Walton's Scapino overture which Sowerby will have heard as it was commissioned for the CSO's 1940-41 season. Another program overture closes this release: All on a Summer's Day, a later work (1954) which was commissioned by the Louisville Orchestra and which is meant to express as Sowerby puts it: "... the sense of the joy which June brings... music which should mirror the sunny moods of exhilaration most of us experience 'all on a summer's day'". A slight infusion of jazz-tinged music helps the composer succeed in doing so admirably. Czech National Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Sinfonietta; Paul Freeman. Cedille 90000 039 (U.S.A.) 06-001 $16.98

JOLY BRAGA SANTOS - A new symphony cycle on Marco Polo

JOLY BRAGA SANTOS (1924-1988): Symphony No. 1, Symphony No. 5. One of Europe's finest 20th century symphonists, known until now only to those fortunate enough to find recordings on the Portugalsom label, will now reach a much broader audience with this first in a set of recordings of all six symphonies. Those who have never heard Braga Santos will immediately be struck by the first symphony (1946), dedicated to the fallen of World War II, whose black, brooding opening eventually erupts into a Waltonian allegro whose rhythmic and incisive character (not without hints of Vaughan Williams in the slow movement) also permeates the third and final movement. The fifth symphony dates from 1966 and the composer's late period, when he employed modern techniques such as tone-clusters and masses of mysteriously floating sound. Subtitled Virtus Lusitaniae, it uses a massive percussion section in its very original scherzo which evokes native Mozambiquan music. Its freely expressive and compelling use of orchestral color will have you thinking now of Messiaen, now of Respighi, now of ...? This one is not like much else you've possibly heard before. Portuguese Symphony Orchestra; Álvaro Cassuto. Marco Polo 8.223879 (Hong Kong) 06-002 $14.98

MORTON GOULD (1913-1996): Quickstep from Symphony on Marching Tunes, Cotillion from Fall River Legend, Philharmonic Waltzes, Latin American Symphonette, Festive Music, Fanfare for Freedom, Windjammer (Main Title), ALBERTO GINASTERA (1916-1983): Estancia - Suite. This is probably the most spectacular digital recording we've ever heard, both for imaging, clarity and dynamic range. It's astonishing that it was made in 1978, using the "Soundstream" system which lost out to other, large-corporately-financed systems. The repertoire is (strangely) still under-represented in the catalogue but, in recordings like these, it wouldn't matter if there were dozens of versions available! London Symphony Orchestra; Morton Gould. Citadel CTD 88130 (U.S.A.) 06-003 $14.98

GORDON JACOB (1895-1984): Mini Concerto for Clarinet and Strings, Concertino for Clarinet and Strings (after Tartini), Clarinet Quintet, Clarinet Trio. Resolutely tonal and Romantic in style, these pieces, even the apparently ludicrously brief Mini Concerto, display a depth of feeling that is all too often lacking in 20th-century music. There is more than a hint of English pastoral throughout, but the music never sounds like the more familiar composers associated with that phrase, except fleetingly and superficially, and there is much beauty to savor here. Warmly recommended. Charles Russo (clarinet), Premier Chamber Orchestra; David Gilbert. Premier PRCD 1052 (U.S.A.) 06-004 $16.98

IGOR STRAVINSKY (1882-1971): Le Rossignol, MAURICE DELAGE (1879-1961): 4 Poèmes Hindous, Berceuse Phoque. The reissue of this classic recording of Stravinsky's short opera of 1913 not only serves as a reminder of what a brilliant piece it is but also of how strangely neglected it has been (there is no listing in the current Opus!). Delage was one of Stravinsky's closest friends during the period of Le Rossignol, making the coupling of his exotically scored Hindu poems, composed in1912, particularly apt. Berceuse phoque is a charming 1935 excerpt from Delage's "Three Jungle Songs" to texts by Kipling. Mono. Texts and translations included. Janine Micheau (soprano), Jean Giraudeau (tenor), French National Radio Orchestra and Chorus; André Cluytens, Martha Angelici (soprano), Orchestra; Cluytens. Testament SBT 1135 (England) 06-005 $17.98

DARIUS MILHAUD (1892-1974): Concerto for Marimba, Vibraphone and Orchestra, BERTHOLD HUMMEL (b.1925): Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra, Op. 70, PAUL CRESTON (1906-1985): Concertino for Marimba and Orchestra. Two light-hearted works (Milhaud's characteristic simplicity and transparent melodies and Creston's rhythmic emphasis derived from baroque models) surround Hummel's large-scale concerto from 1982. In four movements, serially derived, Hummel provides highly rewarding material for the percussionist (with predominantly metallic sounds in the opening movement followed by a scherzo dominated by wood and drumskin sounds) and for the audience - the heart of the work is a Lamentation which creates a 12-tone scale from the musical notations of Bach's and Shostakovich's names. Peter Sadlo (percussion, marimba), Bamberg Symphony; Wolfgang Rögner, Hessian Radio Orchestra; Peter Falk. Koch Schwann 364 152 (Germany) 06-006 $16.98

PETER MAXWELL DAVIES (b.1934): Mavis in Las Vegas, An Orkney Wedding with Sunrise, Carolisima - Serenade for Chamber Orchestra, Ojai Festival Overture, A Spell for Green Corn: The Macdonald Dances. Mavis, the new work on this disc, comes from an episode when the composer was on tour in Las Vegas and registered under that name in his hotel, apparently to avoid the press. When an English reporter found him anyway and reported the odd deception, Davies was inspired to write a theme and variations, full of great, pastiche, pseudo-American tunes ("like Gershwin on Prozac" said the journal Tempo) which describe an imaginary Mavis and her wonderful adventures in the desert city's glitzy environment. The couplings are re-releases of a series of Davies' other lighter, occasional pieces. BBC Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra; Peter Maxwell Davies. Collins Classics 1524 (England) 06-007 $16.98

PETER SCULTHORPE (b.1929): Irkanda IV, Small Town, String Quartets Nos. 6-9. Almost all of Sculthorpe's compositions are informed by a strong feeling for the desolation and isolation of the Australian wilderness which comes through in music which is brooding and meditative yet not without a sense of lurking, possibly hostile, energy not far beneath the surface. The composer's interest in Asian music is demonstrated in the seventh and eighth quartets where ostinato patterns of Balinese origin are added to the mix. All these pieces are absorbing evidence of a singular voice which will be explored further (this is Volume 1 of the complete string quartets). Goldner String Quartet. Tall Poppies TP 089 (Australia) 06-008 $18.98

AARRE MERIKANTO - Orchestra Works

AARRE MERIKANTO (1893-1958): Lemminkäinen, Op. 10, Pan, Op. 28, Four Compositions for Orchestra, Andnate religioso, Scherzo. Son of Oskar Merikanto, Finland's first opera composer, Aarre determined to stay as far out of his father's path as possible. He studied in Leipzig with Reger but was most influenced by a stay in Moscow where he was overwhelmed by the orchestral colorism of Scriabin and his Russian compatriots. Lemminkäinen, the earliest work here (1916) starts off with a rocking ostinato that seems right out of Sibelius and the work gallops along in late Romantic style with a quieter, sylvan middle section. Pan (1924) is an impressionistic tone poem with Scriabineque qualities which veers from ethereal delicacy to raging outburts of frenzy. Merikanto's late period is represented by the remaining works (1932, 1933 and 1937), miniature character pieces which show a compression of form and instrumentation in which the memory of Impressionism is still evident. Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra; Tuomas Ollila. Ondine 905 (Finland) 06-009 $17.98

ALLAN PETTERSSON (1911-1980): Symphony No. 8, Symphony No. 10. The second Pettersson symphony cycle on CD continues with this third volume coupling 1969's eighth symphony - a rarity in that it is in two movements although the composer's forbidding, angry and accusatory persona remains unchanged - and the tenth, written during Pettersson's stay in a hospital in 1972 and perhaps his most bitter, spare, rage-filled composition which approximates a huge passacaglia in form. Norrköping Symphony Orchestra; Leif Segerstam. BIS 880 (Sweden) 06-010 $17.98

HALVOR HAUG (b.1952): Symphony No. 3 "The Inscrutable Life", Silence, Insignia, Song of the Pines. The symphony dates from 1991-93 and affords an excellent introduction to Haug's neo-romantic vocabulary which he uses along with highly personal syntax to produce music which has the same individualistic, yet recognizably Scandinavian stamp that we recognize in composers such as Sæverud or Lundqvist. Haug is his own man and never sounds like anyone else in this powerful 37-minute work which repays concentrated listening. Silence (1977) and Song of the Pines (1987) are for string orchestra and show a similar concern with sound and form while Insignia (1993) was a commission from the Norwegian Winter Games Olympic Organizing Committee and owes its dissonant cragginess to the impression made on Haug by the mountainous coastline of northern Norway. English Chamber Orchestra, Norrköping Symphony Orchestra; Ole Kristian Ruud. Simax (Norway) 06-011 $19.98

MAGNUS LINDBERG (b.1958): Feria, Corrente II, Arena. This gifted composer's latest orchestral spectacular is Feria from 1995-97. Its title means "festival" or "fair" in Spanish - not a depiction of same but an evocation whose introductory three rhythmic fanfares serve as a recurring motive in expressive music which rides a rich orchestral wave to a climax that subsides into quiet music of chamber textures in which a Monteverdi madrigal is recalled. The piece then works its way to another brilliant climax which produces a broad Lutoslawskian melody before sinking to a close. Arena, from 1995 and written for a conductor's competition, moves through a rich world of musical events and harmonic landscapes with melody even more important. An intense cello solo inhabits its center and the romantic glow of its climax suggests Berg or Mahler. Corrente II (1992) is an expansion of a chamber orchestra work which trades in ostinato rhythmic patterns which condense and expand (not without its more serene passages to balance out the surges) and end in a quasi-minimalist dance scene. Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra; Jukka-Pekka Saraste. Ondine 911 (Finland) 06-012 $17.98

ROLF WALLIN (b.1957): Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra. Wallin sets an almost vocally communicative clarinet solo against a landscape of percussive volcanism and glacial string tone. The composer points out the dual nature of the soloist's part; the rough masculinity of folk music contrasted with the genteel classical concert tradition - but in fact, the concerto sounds more like a human protagonist, with all the facets that that implies, in a life's journey through a wide range of contrary experiences as represented by the dissonant, even violently overwhelming, orchestra. In any case, the whole adds up to a powerful listening experience. CD single - special price. Leif Arne Tangen Pedersen (clarinet), Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra; Christian Eggen. Aurora ACD 5002 (Norway) 06-013 $7.98

SVEN-ERIC JOHANSSON: Symphony No. 12 "Sinfonia da camera", Fancies for Pianoand Vocal Quartet, 10 Epigrams for Piano, Piano Sonata No. 2, Sonata for Solo Flute. A striking characteristic of Johansson's style is the apparent ease with which the composer can match his vocabulary to the demands of his material. Thus, Fancies, setting texts of Shakespeare for vocal ensmble and piano are tonal and melodic, written for, rather than against, the voice. But the serial Piano Sonata is altogether a tougher piece, brittle and dramatic, and the same might be said of the "Chamber Symphony". The wind quintet "Variations" have an open, outdoorsy quality in the wind writing of which Percy Grainger, that great devotée of the wind ensemble, might well have appreciated. Notes in Swedish only. Musik i Västs Chamber Ensemble; P. Sundkvist, Henrik Löwenmark (piano), Bo Nyberg (flute), other artists. Proprius PRCD 9122 (Sweden) 06-014 $17.98

HUGO ALFVÉN (1872-1960): Notturno Elegiaco, Op. 5, RICHARD SENNELS (b.1912): Levavi oculos meos in montes, Op. 49, EBERHARD BÖTTCHER (b.1934): Canzona & Capriccio, RUTH BAGGE (b.1947): Meditation, GEORG HØEBERG (1872-1950): Andante, WERNER WOLF GLASER (b.1910): Dialog, SIXTEN SYLVAN(b.1914): Largo, Op. 10/1, HANS ABRAHAMSEN (b.1952): Mit grønne underlag. Horn and organ is a little-encountered pairing; this disc offers a fair review of what can be done with the combination, from Alfvén's and Høeberg's simple and lyrical works through Bagge's more adamantinely modern idiom all the way up to the largest work here, Abrahamsen's 1970 work, inspired by hearing the powerful blasts and drones of Tibetan temple horns, which has more than a little of the minimalist ethos about it. Jens Juul (horn), Christian Blomqvist (organ). Classico 185 (Denmark) 06-015 $14.98

NINO ROTA - Another Opera Premiere!

NINO ROTA (1911-1979): Il cappello di paglia de Firenze. Composed in 1945 but not premiered for ten more years, "The Florentine Straw Hat"is, perhaps, Rota's best-known opera. His mother, Ernesta, provided the libretto for the piece which is set in Paris in 1850 and revolves around a missing hat which produces the usual combinations of mistaken identities among several married (and about to be married) couples. Related in style to vaudeville and 19th century opera buffa, the work quotes not only 19th century composers such as Rossini but also Rota's own film scores (including Fellini's The White Sheik). A work of immediate appeal, completely tonal and with a fine balance of music and dramatic elements. 2 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Ugo Benelli, Alfredo Mariotti, Viorica Cortez, Orchestra Sinfonica e Coro di Roma; Nino Rota. BMG Ricordi 1092 (Italy) 06-016 $37.98

RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958): The Pilgrim's Progress. This is the first digital recording of what the composer termed a "morality"; agnostic though he himself was, he was powerfully attracted to John Bunyan's work, in which a character ("Christian" in the original) makes his way through various experiences and temptations to pass across the River of Death and enter the Celestial City, since he saw in it a universal dramatic allegory. The music (composed at various times between the dates of 1925 and 1951) is predominantly meditative but of often rapturous quality, with the Vanity Fair scene providing a respite of vivid color. 2 CDs. Gerald Finley (baritone), Royal Opera Chorus, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House; Richard Hickox. Chandos 9625 (England) 06-017 $33.98

UUNO KLAMI - Orchestral Works from Naxos

UUNO KLAMI (1900-1961): Kalevala Suite, Sea Pictures, Lemminkäinen's Adventures on the Island of Saari, Suomenlinna Overture. Klami freshened Finnish national romanticism with a healthy dose of the modern primitivism of the Stravinsky of The Rite of Spring and of Ravel's sophisticated orchestration in his Kalevala Suite (1929-43). Ravel also looms as a large influence in the 1932 Sea Pictures, whose final movement (Force 3) bears a strong resemblance to Boléro. Also included are Lemminkäinen's Adventures, originally planned as a scherzo-like movement for the Kalevala Suite and the 1944 concert overture inspired by a group of rocky islands which guard the approach to Helsinki. For those not already acquainted, this is a great introduction to Klami at budget price! Turku Philharmonic Orchestra; Jorma Panula. Naxos 8.553757 (Hong Kong) 06-018 $5.98

GUSTAV HOLST (1874-1934): Beni Mora, Somerset Rhapsody, Hammersmith, Egdon Heath, Invocation for Cello and Orchestra, Fugal Overture. A valuable conspectus of under-recorded Holst: the piquant 1923 neo-classical Fugal Overture and the 1909 Algerian-inspired exoticism of Beni Mora contrast with the 1906 Somerset Rhapsody, steeped in local folk tunes and the boisterous scherzo that was inspired by the Hammersmith section of West London. All contrast with the bleak, anxiety-ridden landscape of Egdon Heath - a 1927 work inspired by a quotation from Hardy's The Return of the Native Tim Hugh (cello), Royal Scottish National Orchestra; David Lloyd-Jones. Naxos 8.553696 (Hong Kong) 06-019 $5.98

GRACE WILLIAMS (1906-1977): The Dancers, 2 Choruses, Ave maris stella, 6 Gerard Manley Hopkins Poems. This CD reissue of a 1983 recording offers a captivating richness of texture and freshness of melody and rhythm in these choral works reminiscent of the opulent ecstasy of early Tippett and the strongly shaped melody of Britten. Eiddwen Harrhy (soprano), Helen Watts (contralto), Caryl Thomas (harp), Richard Hickox Singers, City of London Sinfonia; Richard Hickox. Chandos 9617 (England) 06-020 $16.98

MARIE-JOSEPH CANTELOUBE (1879-1957): Chants des Pays Basques, Chants d'Auvergne (selections). Although you wouldn't know it from the catalogues Canteloube collected and arranged folk songs not only from all over France (not just his native Auvergne) but also from dozens of European and Western Hemisphere countries. This release takes a small step in expanding our knowledge of this vast output with five Basque songs first performed in 1949 which exhibit all the delightful ingredients which have made the "Songs of the Auvergne" so popular. The majority of the disc returns to the latter, in delicious performances by a Spanish soprano who has been receiving much acclaim in the international classical music press lately. María Bayo (soprano), Orquesta Sinfónica de Tenerife; Víctor Pablo Perez. Auvidis Valois V 4811 (France) 06-021 $18.98

XIAN XING-HI: Yellow River Concerto, AH BING (XUA YAN-JU) (transcr. Chu Wang-Xua): The Moon's Reflection Over the Second Spring, CENTRAL CONSERVATORY: Chinese Youth Piano Concerto, WANG LI-SAN: Sonatina, TRADITIONAL: Flute and Drum at Sunset, 100 Birds Singing in Homage to the Phoenix, Autumn Moon Mirrored in the Lake, 2 Yili Folk Songs, Happy to Meet, Celebration. The Yellow River Concerto comes and goes from the catalogues and its origin as a eulogy to the People's Struggle against the Japanese invaders (originally it was a 1930s marching song) may seem quaint at the turn of the millenium but its marriage of Chinese folk melodies with western orchestral techniques, seasoned with the use of traditional Chinese instruments, still falls pleasantly on the ear. The Moon's Reflection has a shimmering, impressionistic quality thanks to traditional instruments and the Youth Piano Concerto (apparently an institutional composition) mixes the intense rhythms of a northern step-dance with a lyrical folk song (also incorporating traditional instruments). The remainder of the disc contains piano solos arranged from traditional melodies (the Sonatina, an original composition, uses more contemporary techniques while still being strongly based in Chinese folk music). A bracing disc of exotic colors and rhythms. Eileen Huang (piano), China Central Philharmonic Orchestra, China Central Traditional Orchestra; Hu Bing Xu. ASV DCA 1031 (England) 06-022 $16.98

RICHARD STRAUSS (1864-1949): Suite from Schlagobers, München - ein Gedächtniswaltzer. The 1922 ballet "Whipped Cream" was written by Strauss as a reaction to the complex symbolism of Die Frau ohne Schatten and to the general post-war depression and despair. The eight movements excerpted here are by no means as sugary or fattening as the title might suggest; relaxed and scored with great skill and charm, this is music which should never have been so overlooked. The filler began life as a 1938 waltz for a film about Munich. Banned by the Nazis, Strauss reissued the waltz after the war after adding a stormy middle section depicting the city's devastation. A fascinating rarity! Detroit Symphony Orchestra; Neeme Järvi. Chandos 9606 (England) 06-023 $16.98

NIKOLAI MEDTNER (1880-1951): Dithyramb in E Flat, Op. 10/2, Ophelia's Song in F Minor, Op. 14/1, Skazka Sonata in C Minor, Op. 25/1, Sonata in E Minor, Op. 25/2 "Night Wind", Sonata-Idylle in G, Op. 56. Volume 4 of Chandos' Medtner series contains his greatest sonata - the "Night Wind": extraordinarily difficult to play, dedicated to Rachmaninov and taking a poem by Tyutchev as a motto for a series of overwhelmingly vehement tempests which builds to a frantic climax. Medtner's final sonata, the op. 56, has some of his most happy, care-free music while its companions are from the composer's highly colored and imaginative "fairy-tale" mode. Geoffrey Tozer (piano). Chandos 9618 (England) 06-024 $16.98

OSCAR ESPLÁ (1886-1976): Complete Works for Piano, Vol. 1: Sonata Española, Op. 53, Levante: Melodías y Temas de Danza para Piano, 3 Movimientos, Crepusculum, Op. 15 Romanza Antigua, Cantos de Antaño. A prolific composer of wide cultural interests, Esplá was a pupil of Reger and of Saint-Saëns and absorbs into his musical language the idioms of his native Alicante in works that at times suggest the influence of Debussy or Stravinsky. Pedro Carboné (piano). Marco Polo 8.225045 (Hong Kong) 06-025 $14.98

XAVIER MONTSALVATGE (b.1912): Sonatine pour Yvette, Sketch, 3 Divertimentos, 3 Obras para la mano izquierda, Alegoría a la memoria de Joaquín Turina, 4 Dialegs amb el piano a la memoria de Ricardo Viñes, Elegêa a Maurice Ravel, Divagación, El arce de Noë. Montsalvatge's preference for the well-shaped miniature puts him closer to the school of Les Six than to Catalan nationalist composers. Stravinsky's influence is also evident, along with a constant interest in West Indian music (Spanish music exported there which returned in purer form than native Spanish music) and in music for (but not intended to be performed by) children. This collection covers 56 years of composition and contains much of grave beauty and child-like high spirits. Benita Meshulam (piano). ASV DCA 1022 (England) 06-026 $16.98

RICHARD STRAUSS (1864-1949): Dances from Capriccio, Op. 85, Piano Trios Nos. 1 in A, AV 37 and No. 2 in D, AV 53, Romance for Clarinet and Piano, Romance for Cello and Piano, Introduction, Theme and Variations for Horn and Piano. Straussian chamber arcana (except that it seems the very early piano trios are starting to attract attention from performers!) in top-class performances anchored by the venerable Sawallisch at the keyboard. Anna Kandinskaya (violin), Sebastian Hess, Wen-Sinn Yang (cellos),Karl-Heinz Steffens (clarinet), Johannes Ritzkowski (horn), Wolfgang Sawallisch (piano). Arts 47267 (Germany) 06-027 $10.98

EUGENE D'ALBERT (1864-1932): Piano Concerto No. 1 in B Minor, Op. 2, Piano Concerto No. 2 in E, Op. 12, Overture to Esther. The massive, Wagnerian-Lisztian first concerto (clocking in at 43 minutes here) and its slim successor (less than half the length) are joined by the CD premiere of D'Albert's 1888 symphonic poem, again influenced by Wagner and Liszt. Joseph Banowetz (piano), Moscow Symphony Orchestra; Dmitry Yablonsky. Naxos 8.553728 (Hong Kong) 06-028 $5.98

COURTLY HUNTING MUSIC: We can't list the 35 (!) pieces on this disc by mostly unknown composers (although Kozeluch and Rossini are present and Paul Walter Fürst [b.1926] provides the only piece over 2 minutes in length - Jäger tot - Almenraus(ch)); suffice it to say that if you're a horn fancier, this compendium of music for the chase, performed on historic parforce and natural horns, will be an utterly sinful wallow! Horn Ensemble of the Hochschule "Mozarteum"; Hansjörg Angerer. Koch Schwann 364512 (Germany) 06-029 $16.98

EUGENE D'ALBERT (1864-1932): Tiefland. This classic example of German verismo opera was never equalled by its composer but this classic recording, formerly available on the defunct Acanta has now reappeared at mid-price: a boon to collectors and fine introduction to those unfamiliar with the work. 2 CDs. Eva Marton (soprano), René Kollo (tenor), Bernd Weikl (baritone), Kurt Moll (bass), Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra; Marek Janowski. Arts 47501 (Germany) 06-030 $21.98

THÉODORE GOUVY (1819-1898): 14 mélodies from 40 poésies de Pierre de Ronsard (opp. 37, 41, 42-44 and 47), La Pléiade française, Op. 48, Nos. 3, 5 & 9, 6 poésies allemandes de Mortiz Hartmann, Op. 21. Unlike his French compatriots, Gouvy's song-writing blazed its own trail, adhering more to German romanticism, on view especially in the Ronsard and "Pléiade" settings of poems revolving around love and wine in which a rhythmically pointed, lively tone is often characterized by a theatrical tinge as well as a rapturous lyricism and passion for nature. Texts and English translations included. Yaron Windmüller (baritone), Thomas Hans (piano). Orfeo 451 981 (Germany) 06-031 $18.98

GIOVANNI SGAMBATI (1841-1914): Piano Quintet No. 1 in F Minor, Op. 4, 2 Pieces for Violin and Piano, Op. 24, Gondoliera for Violin and Piano, Op. 29, Romanza for Cello and Piano, Op. 23. Customers primarily interested in the quintet and who are back-ordered on 03-074 may want to consider this fine new release, coupled with CD premieres of other characteristic, short pieces. Francesco Caramiello (piano), Ex Nova Quartet. ASV DCA 1029 (England) 06-032 $16.98

CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH (1714-1788): Solo Keyboard Music, Vol. 1: Sonatas in A Minor, H.4, F, H.24, B Flat, H. 25, E, H. 26 and C Minor, H. 27. The clavichord was Bach's own instrument and it uniquely conveys his highly expressive music with its strong contrasts of texture and dymanic. This is the first volume in C.P.E. Bach's complete solo keyboard music series from BIS (and there are 150 sonatas alone!). Miklós Spányi (clavichord). BIS 878 (Sweden) 06-033 $17.98

LEOPOLD I (1640-1705): Psalmus Miserere, Motetto de septem doloribus Beatae Maria Verginis, 3 Lectiones I. nocturni. A contemporary noted that Leopold composed his best melodies for sad texts; these penitential works show such a talent with beautifully sorrowful use of chromaticism in expressively intense music whose use of gamba consort (the instrumentation is much like Buxtehude's) provides a dark richness. Soloists, Wiener Akademie; Martin Haselböck. CPO 999 567 (Germany) 06-034 $15.98

FRANCESCO GASPARINI (1668-1727): Santa Maria Egiziaca. Published in 1713, this remarkable oratorio tells the story of Mary of Egypt, the prostitute who, after selling herself to sailors to achieve a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, is unable to enter the temple and goes into exile in the desert for 47 years until she receives communion and dies. The structure is a simple recitative-aria sequence (55 tracks in all!) with only three other characters - Lucifer, Penitence and Pleasure - but Gasparini's considerable theatrical talent creates an operatic scenario of intense emotions and moving scenes. Italian-English texts. Constanze Backes (soprano), Joachim Diessner (counter-tenor), Christoph Burmester-Streffer (tenor), Ensemble CORYDON Cologne. Bongiovanni GB 2220 (Italy) 06-035 $16.98

PAVEL VRANICK (1756-1808): String Quartets in E Flat, G and F, Op. 23, Nos. 4-6. The new independent Czech labels continue the refurbishing of the reputations of semi-forgotten compatriots. Here are three delightful high Classical quartets by one of Haydn's students which will appeal to anyone who loves that master's quartets. And, since op. 23 was written for Friedrich II - that enthusiastic amateur cellist - each piece contains much extra work for the cello (even, in the G Major, a full-blown cadenza in the final movement!). Pro arte antiqua Praha. Arta 0078 (Czech Republic) 06-036 $16.98

GAETANO DONIZETTI (1797-1848): Parisina. Dating from 1833, Parisina is in the transitional period of Donizetti's career where his music was departing from the sweet, pure and idealized sounds of Bellini and Rossini and moving in a more dramatic, pre-Verdian, direction. This tragedy is set in 14th century Ferrara, based on a poem by Byron, and offers a plot devoid of moralism but full of fiery conflicts in which extreme passions are expressed in vocal techniques new to the Italian theatre at that time. The work was both praised and condemned in its time but is an important milestone in Donizetti's career. 2 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Carmelo Corrado Caruso (baritone), Sonia Dorigo (soprano), Amedeo Moretti (tenor), Coro Associazione Culturale M.A.S.T.E.R., Orchestra del Teatro Rossini di Lugo; Paolo Carignani. Bongiovanni 2212/13 (Italy) 06-037 $33.98

First Recordings -

Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel

FANNY MENDELSSOHN-HENSEL (1805-1847): Allegro molto vivace ma con sentimento in E Flat, Adagio in E Flat, Allegro molto vivace in A Flat, Introduction and Capriccio in B Minor, Serenata in G Minor, Largo und Allegro con fuoco in G Minor, Villa Medicis in A Flat, Abschied von Rom in A Minor. All the works here are first recordings, direct from manuscript. Five of the eight come from Fanny's 1839-40 trip to Italy. Only the Serenata uses local color; the rest are rigorous, urgently moving compositions with unusual modulations and distinctive harmonies. A valuable addition to our knowledge of a significantly original composer. Elzbieta Sternlicht (piano). Ars Musici 1180 (Germany) 06-038 $17.98

LUIGI CHERUBINI (1760-1842): Symphony in D, Overtures to Lodoiska and Il Giulio Sabino. Cherubini's only symphony, from 1815, never had much success with audiences or on record (although Toscanini performed and recorded it!). Being neither fish nor fowl in its mixture of Viennese classical tradition and the composer's own grounding in opera and sacred music, it stands as an important example of a classical symphony outside the Haydn-Beethoven continuum. Il Giulio Sabino's overture, however, complies utterly with Italian sinfonia fast-slow-fast form, as befits its early (1786) date; from 1791, Lodoiska's passionate and suspenseful overture already has some of the trappings of early romanticism. Zurich Chamber Orchestra; Howard Griffiths. CPO 999 521 (Germany) 06-039 $15.98

JAMES OSWALD (1711-1769): Airs for the Seasons (selections from Sets 1 & 2). Published in 1756, this work consists of 48 short trio sonata movements, in four groups of twelve, each named after a different flower. Oswald was Scottish and is known for his many collections and arrangments of Scottish folk tunes, many of which make their way into these delightful little suites. The Broadside Band; Jeremy Barlow (harpsichord). Dorian Discovery 80164 (U.S.A.) 06-040 $13.98

SIMON LEDUC (before 1748-1777): Symphonies in D, D and E Flat. These symphonies probably date from the early 1770s and their inventive, expressive and chromatic harmonies, frequent dynamic contrasts and expressive harmonic progressions contributed to a style known as the "French Sturm und Drang". Lovers of C.P.E. Bach and middle-period Haydn will want to investigate! Chamber Orchestra of Versailles; Bernard Wahl. Arion 55408 (France) 06-041 $13.98

GEORGES ONSLOW (1784-1853): String Quartets in B Flat, Op. 4/1, in G, Op. 10/1 and in G Minor, Op. 46/3. After a gap of five years, a second volume (numbered this time, betokening a continuing series) has appeared of these good-natured, lively early romantic quartets composed in the tradition of Haydn and Reicha. Castigated by musicologists for decades for not being an immortal genius, Onslow's time seems to be returning given the recent flow of recordings of his music. A cellist, his own instrument makes many soloistic appearances in these genuinely collaborative examples of warm music-making. Mandelring Quartet. CPO 999 329 (Germany) 06-042 $15.98


GIACOMO MEYERBEER (1791-1864): Struensee: Incidental Music, Les Patineurs from Le Prophète, Prelude to L'Africaine. Struensee was a play written by Meyerbeer's younger brother, Michael, concerning the rise and fall of an ambitious parvenu at the Danish court. Inspired by a recent hearing of Beethoven's Egmont, Meyerbeer composed incidental music for the play in the summer of 1846. Lasting 52 minutes, it consists of a long overture, entr'actes depicting a revolution, a ball and a scene at a village inn and several marches and choruses. The music is in the early Romantic idiom of Schumann and Mendelssohn with enough theatrical flair to remind us of who the composer is and without longeurs. Worth discovering (and there's more where this came from). North German Radio Choir, Hannover Radio Philharmonic; Michail Jurowsky. CPO 999 336 (Germany) 06-043 $15.98

FRANCESCO PAOLO TOSTI (1846-1916): Tantum ergo for Baritone andOrchestra, Piccolo quia vidisti for Tenor and Orchestra, CAMILLO DE NARDIS (1857-1951): Preludio allo "Stabat Mater" del celebre Mo Pergolesi for Violin and Piano, Preludio Religioso sopra motivi dello "Stabat Mater" di Traetta for String Quartet, FRANCESCO MASCIANGELO (1823-1906): Ave Maria for Tenor and Piano, Miserere for Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra. This release of unpublished 19th century sacred music from Abruzzan composers turns up a simple, unalloyed delight in Masciangelo's Miserere (actually a compendium of pieces written between1847 and 1868 and still performed during Holy Week). Simple, pure devotional melodies are set in traditional 19th century Italian style - i.e. as if they were operatic ballads. Flute and clarinet obligato furnish four of the sections with a Classical, pastoral sort of naive charm. Utterly without pretense and delightful! Fans of Tosti's popular ballads will find his two brief sacred pieces in much the same style (as is Masciangelo's Ave Maria) while De Nardis' two instrumental compositions employ a more academic style (fugues in both) which, nevertheless, still have a touching simplicity. Na Seungseo (tenor), Paolo Speca (baritone), Ettore Pellegrino (violin), Roberto Rupo (piano), Chorus "Zaccaria da Teramo", I Solisti Aquilani; Vittorio Antonellini. Bongiovanni 5055 (Italy) 06-044 $16.98

GABRIEL PIERNÉ (1863-1937): Cello Sonata in F Sharp Minor, Op. 46, CHARLES KOECHLIN (1867-1950): Cello Sonata, Op. 66, Chansons Bretonnes, Op. 115. Pierné's 1919 sonata broods poetically and tragically enough to soothe the melancholy soul of any lover of Franck or Chausson (although it has a rhythmically sprightly episode in its final movement). Koechlin, true to his idiosyncratic nature, provides a three-movement work; the first two movements are placid and undisturbed (the piano flirts with atonality) while the finale comes across like a mix of Milhaud and Ives. The "Breton Songs" date from 1931, resulting from Koechlin's interest in modality and his discovery of a collection of folk songs dealing with King Arthur, druids, the Crusades and more which offered him an excuse to find new ways of writing for the cello. Mats Lidström (cello), Bengt Forsberg (piano). Hyperion CDA 66979 (England) 06-045 $17.98

FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886): Complete Piano Music, Vol. 50: Liszt at the Opera V. Réminiscences des Huguenots, Souvenir de "La Fiancée", Einzug der Gäste auf der Wartburg, Tarantella (di bravura) d'après la Tarantelle de la "Muette de Portici" d'Auber, Réminiscences de "La juive" - Fantaisie brillante, Grande fantaisie sue des thèmes de l'opéra "Niobe", Festspiel und Brautlied (Aus Richard Wagners Lohengrin - I), Fantaisie sur des motifs favoris de l'opéra "La sonnambula", Ouverture de l'opéra "Guillaume Tell", fantaisie sur des motifs de l'opéra "Lucrezia Borgia" de G. Donizetti. 2 CDs. Leslie Howard (piano). Hyperion CDA 67231 (England) 06-046 $35.98

ALEXANDER GLAZUNOV (1865-1936): Symphony No. 1 in E, Op. 5, Symphony No. 4 in E Flat, Op. 48. Naxos's seventh volume in their Glazunov series brings the Slavically inflected, melodically stuffed first symphony by the teen-age composer coupled with the vernal and sun-kissed fourth whose scherzo is one of the most joyous things ever committed to paper. Moscow Symphony Orchestra; Alexander Anissimov. Naxos 8.553561 (Hong Kong) 06-047 $5.98

SALVADOR BROTONS: Viola Sonata, LLUÍS BENEJAM: Moments musicals, NARCÍS BONET: Sonatina, R. LAMOTE DE GRIGNON: Scherzino. This release of Catalonian works for viola and piano comes without a single word about the composers (just bios of the artists in three languages)! Attempts to contact the label in Barcelona brought no response. However the music is so attractive (all tonal) that we've decided to offer it anyway. Brotons' work is sweetly mournful and lugubrious in its first two movements before a brighter finale winds matters up. Benejam offers three heart-easing jewels tinged with late romanticism while the remaining two pieces are brief and bright. Paul Cortese (viola), Àngel Soler (piano). Moraleda 7373 (Spain) 06-048 $16.98

WILHELM PETERSON-BERGER (1867-1942): Frösöblomster. The first book of "Frösö Flowers", published in 1896, was an important milestone in the maturity of Swedish national romanticism. The subsequent two books (1900 and 1914) make up the balance of a collection of 21 pieces which celebrate the floral splendor, long twilights, fragrance of forest and lake and the wild country of Frösö and Jämtland, the composer's native area. Amazingly, this new release is the only available recording of the complete set of these beautiful, romantic nature pieces. Noriko Ogawa (piano). BIS 925 (Sweden) 06-049 $17.98

ZOLTÁN KODÁLY (1882-1967): 9 Piano Pieces, Op. 3, 7 Piano Pieces, Op. 11, Méditation sur un motif de Claude Debussy, Dances of Marosszék. The op. 3 pieces, from 1909, show Kodály seeking new colors and modes of expression with elements of late romanticism, impressionism and the first instances of the use of folk music elements. The predominantly gloomy op. 11 (all but one written in 1917-18) moves farther along that path with some examples of Kodály's mature style while the 1927 dance suite (orchestrated later) is the peak of the composer's piano compositions. Mary Warnecke (piano). Tall Poppies TP104 (Australia) 06-050 $18.98

HENRY HOLDEN HUSS (1862-1953): 3 Pieces, Op. 26, 6 Pieces, Op. 23, Nos. 1-4 & 6, For the Piano, Op. 27, Lake Como by Moonlight, Étude Mélodique, G. 199/1, The Optimist, Op. 32/1, Sans Souci, Op. 25/2, Menuet, Op. 18/1, 3 Intermezzi, G. 203, The Joy of Autumn, Op. 32/7, Valse, Op. 20/1, The Rivulet, G. 200/2, Albumblatt, G. 199/2, Valse Petite, G. 288. His piano was given its premiere recording last year by Hyperion (our catalogue number 09-001); now a disc full of Huss' echt-Romantic solo piano works appears. The Huss revival must be well underway! A concert pianist himself as well as a teacher, Huss wrote much solo piano music, ranging from flights of Lisztian bravura for the platform to didactic works for the classroom. Both are included here since the musical quality of the latter often overshadows their pedagogical origins. Any collector of late Romantic piano music will find a treasure-trove of delights here. Brian Kovach (piano). Albany TROY 287 (U.S.A.) 06-051 $16.98

MARIE JAËLL (1846-1925): Feuillet d'Album, 6 Esquisses romantiques, 6 Valses mélancoliques, Impromptu, Pièces pour enfants. Jaëll studied under Saint-Saëns and Franck and was a friend of Liszt, spending several weeks each year with him at Weimar (in a note to her, the great composer/pianist said "If your music had a man's name on it, it would be found on every piano"). A pedagogue, she also wrote several theoretical treatises on piano technique. These works show the influences of Schumann (in her "Children's Pieces"), Liszt and Brahms and contain much that is technically exacting (she was also a brilliant concert pianist) as well as grandly romantic in character. Another fine woman composer has been rescued from oblivion! Alexandre Sorel (piano). Solstice SOCD 156 (France) 06-052 $16.98

JEAN SIBELIUS (1865-1957): Complete Piano Music, Vol. 4: Melody for the Bells of Kallio Church, Op. 65b, 5 Pieces, Op. 75, 13 Pieces, Op. 76, 5 Pieces, Op. 85, 6 Pieces, Op. 94, 6 Bagatelles, Op. 97. Annette Servadei (piano). Olympia OCD 634 (England) 06-053 $16.98

JEAN SIBELIUS (1865-1957): Complete Piano Music, Vol. 5: 3 Pieces, Op. 96, 8 Petits Morceaux, Op. 99, 5 Morceaux romantiques, Op. 101, 5 Characteristic Impressions, Op. 103, 5 Esquisses, Op. 114, Finlandia, Op. 26. Annette Servadei (piano). Olympia OCD 635 (England) 06-054 $16.98

This series is completed with these two final volumes. The fourth contains miniatures dating from roughly the period of the fifth symphony and the fifth the final sets of miniatures (the last coming from 1929) as well as the composer's own transcription of his powerful Finlandia. About as far removed from his brooding, powerful and innovative orchestral music as you could imagine, the piano works have been unduly neglected for they contain much simple, sincere, plain-spoken music which Sibelius himself insisted came up to his own standards and would have a future someday.

ROBERT KURKA (1921-1957): Suite: The Good Soldier Schweik, PETER MENNIN (1923-1983): Cello Concerto, WALTER PISTON (1894-1976): Symphony No. 1. This is a newly remastered reissue of an out-of-print "First Edition Series" which Albany licensed from the old Louisville Orchestra label. It continues to be the only recorded source for Mennin's 1956 dark-hued, lyrically virtuosic cello concerto and for Piston's 1937 spiky, tautly rhythmic, neo-Baroque influenced symphonic debut. Janos Starker (cello), Louisville Orchestra; Jorge Mester, Robert Whitney. Albany TROY 044 (U.S.A.) 06-055 $16.98

WALLINGFORD RIEGGER (1885-1961): Wind Quintet, HENRY COWELL (1897-1965): Quartet Romantic for 2 Flutes, Violin and Viola, 7 Paragraphs for String Trio, RUTH CRAWFORD SEEGER (1901-1953): Suite No. II for Piano Quintet, LOU HARRISON (b.1917): String Trio, JOHN J. BECKER (1886-1961): The Abongo. Vigorous, peppery and Stravinskyan, Riegger's Wind Quintet is an attractive work, in a slightly astringent way. Cowell's Quartet Romantic, not at all what the title suggests, is actually a demonstration of his theories about the relationships between harmony and complex rhythms. Considered unplayable by the composer, it was achieved on this recording through the use of modern studio techniques to assist the musicians. "Seven Paragraphs" is a more attractive work, but both are interesting for the light they shed on the composer's "workshop". Ruth Crawford Seeger's Suite is arguably the most successful music on the record; oddly this is its first recording, as the work is serious, individual, thoughtful, and written expertly for a conventional ensemble. Harrison's brief String Trio points up the diversity of styles in which this composer feels at home - this work is conventionally played on a standard ensemble, and has a very Second Viennese feel to it. Becker's primitive dance piece, composed in 1933, and sounding like something you might hear at a World Music festival today, is an exercise in pure rhythm, and viscerally, if not intellectually, exciting. Paul Lustig Dunkel, Susan Palma (flutes), Stephen Taylor (oboe), Virgil Blackwell (clarinet) , Frank Morelli (bassoon), Stewart Rose (horn), Rolf Schulte, Linda Quan, Evan Paris (violins), Lois Martin (viola), Madeleine Shapiro (cello), Aleck Karis (piano), New Jersey Percussion Ensemble. New World 80285 (U.S.A.) 06-056 $16.98

KOSAKU YAMADA (1886-1965): Karatachino Hana, Chanson Triste Japonaise, KISHIO HIRAO (1907-1953): Violin Sonata, HISATADA OTAKA (1911-1951): Violin Sonata, KOICHI KISHI (1909-1937): Taketoris Erzählung, Fischerlied, Drachentanz. This unusual release offers violin music by Japanese composers who studied in Europe. Yamada, who founded the Tokyo Philharmonic, studied in Berlin; the two works here (the second of which was composed for a trip to Japan by Mischa Elman in 1921 combines traditional Japanese melodies with western compositional techniques. Hirao studied in Paris and his 1947 sonata shows a French elegance and refinement. Otaka's schooling came in Vienna; his unfinished 1932 sonata is of the orthodox German Romantic school. Kishi studied in Switzerland and his three character pieces, regardless of their German titles, use Japanese modes, a vague sense of tonality and bold harmonies to produce shimmering impressionistic miniatures. Sonoko Numata (violin), Akemi Tadenuma (piano). Camerata 30CM-477 (Japan) 06-057 $17.98

BACH - 5 Versions of the Passacaglia BWV 582

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (1685-1750): Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor, BWV 582 in its original version (Christian Rieger - organ), for Solo Piano by EUGENE D'ALBERT (1864-1932) (Ernst Breidenbach - piano), for Organ by FRANZ LISZT(1811-1886)/JOHANN GOTTLOB TÖPFER (1791-1870) (Johannes Matthias Michel - organ), for Piano Four Hands by MAX REGER (1873-1916) (Oliver Kolb & Ernst Breidenbach) and for Orchestra by LEOPOLD STOKOWSKI (1882-1977) (Staatsorchester Frankfurt [Oder]; Nikos Athinäos). What a great idea! Take a well-known Bach organ piece and trace its (ab), (mis) -use through the centuries! Liszt shows the difference between "baroque organ" and "romantic organ" while D'Albert's commendably "straight" transcription contrasts with Reger's density of texture while only Stokie could color such a structure the way he does. Signum X93-00 (Germany) 06-058 $17.98

CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921): Oratoio de Noël, Op. 12, PAUL HINDEMITH (1895-1963): Tuttifäntchen - Suite. A work of Saint-Saëns' youth (1858), this oratorio is a little jewel of lyrical faith which uses widely different musical styles to attempt to capture the innocence of 18th century religious musical miniatures. The result is a fascinating and entertaining work which seems somewhere between Rossini's Petit Messe and Verdi's Requiem. Julia Souglakou (soprano), Marina Fideli (mezzo), Marina Ferreira (contralto), Vanghelis Hatzisimos (tenor), Christoforos Staboglis (baritone), Martin Haselböck (organ), Greek Radio and Television Choir, La Camerata-Friends of Music Orchestra; Alexandros Myrat. Agora AG 129.1 (Italy) 06-059 $16.98

PAUL HINDEMITH (1895-1963): Sonata for 2 Pianos, Sonata for Bassoon and Piano, Sonata for Harp, Sonata for Piano Four Hands, Sonata for Horn. Hindemith composed sonatas for every member of the wind instrumentarium in 1938 and 1939, adding a harp sonata for good measure. Although written primarily as exercises in composition and secondarily to help instruments which had almost no solo repertoire, these works attest the more to Hindemith's amazing facility at composition and unerring sense of what befits each instrument. It's a further measure of his mastery that listeners can derive nearly as much pleasure from these works as their performers. Helga Storck (harp), Klaus Thunemann (bassoon), Radovan Vlatkovic (horn), Piret Randalu, Kalle Randalu (pianos). MD&G 304 0694 (Germany) 06-060 $18.98

PAUL COOPER (1926-1996): Cycles, 4 Intermezzi, Piano Sonata, Frescoes, Sinfonia for Solo Piano. Cooper's music is immediately communicative and often powerful, with exquisite craftsmanship (the Intermezzi have a crystalline clarity and precision; even the pedagogic work Cycles, written to teach young pianists new notation and keyboard techniques, comes across as twelve finely cut jewels) and high passion (the 1989 Sinfonia enfolds a dirge-like Mesto in two driving, virtuosic movements) while the 1962 sonata fuses chromaticism with lyricism to fine effect. Cooper uses the space between the notes to great effect as well, often drawing the listener into a rapt, inner world where sound becomes color. John Hendrickson (piano). CRI 776 (U.S.A.) 06-061 $16.98

MARTIN BOYKAN (b.1931): Elegy for Soprano and Ensemble, String Quartet No. 4, Epithalamion for Baritone, Violin and Harp. A student of Piston, Copland and Hindemith, Boykan sets seven disparate poems in his 1982 Elegy in two-part progression from uncontrollable despair to memorialization, self-containment and acceptance in music of freely atonal expressiveness. Epithalamion (1986), as befits a wedding hymn, in more modest and genial in its setting of three poetic fragments for a baritone who must sing widely ranging melismas. The 1996 quartet proceeds from agitation to contemplation in two linked movements via a rich and vivid constellation of small structural relationships. Jane Bryden (soprano), Brandeis Contemporary Chamber Players; David Hoose, Lydian String Quartet, James Maddalena (baritone), Nancy Cirillo (violin), Virginia Crumb (harp). CRI 786 (U.S.A.) 06-062 $16.98

STEFANIA DE KENESSEY: Sunburst for Piano, Beating Down for Piano Trio, NANCY BLOOMER DEUSSEN: 2 Pieces for Violin and Piano, Piano Trio, BETH ANDERSON (b.1950): Trio: dream in d, Net Work. De Kenessey's pieces are in 19th century romantic idiom and sonata form, attractive for both performers and listeners (as befits the music of the founder of "The Derriere Guard", an alliance of traditionalist contemporary artists!). Bloomer Deussen writes in a more contemporary, neo-romantic mode and her works are equally pleasant to hear. Anderson's language is sweetly melodic and contains some minimalism in a broadly romantic base. A fine program for conservative collectors who still want to hear contemporary composers. Teri Lazar (violin), Marcio Botelho (cello), Mary Kathleen Ernst (piano). North/South 1015 (U.S.A.) 06-063 $15.98

JÖRG DEMUS (b.1928): Sonate poétique in G Minor, Op. 8, Amour, Op. 21, Cello Sonata in C Minor, Op. 35 "Il Tramonto", Nuie d'étoiles. Attracted by Debussy and Verlaine through much of his life, Demus wrote a series of works for cello and piano which exude a post-Impressionist fragrance. Op. 35's inspiration was Schumann's final tragic years in the insane asylum at Endenich and its first movement filters Schumann's yearning romanticism through a Gallic prism. Both sonatas have four movements and each one carries a programmatic description ("Sad Waves", "Autumn Violets", etc.); the generally elegiac, wistful quality of the music encourages reverie and reflection and is highly recommended. Maria Kliegel (cello), Jörg Demus (piano). Marco Polo 8.225036 (Hong Kong) 06-064 $14.98

FRIEDRICH SCHENKER (b.1942): Michelangelo-Sinfonie. Schenker is one of the most provocative, productive and interesting of the composers who came out of East Germany. For him, Michelangelo symbolizes unchanging human concerns and endeavors directed toward self discovery through the search for truth, love and beauty. The symphony is based on a selection of sonnets and madrigals by the artist and Schenker uses a complex body of heterogeneous stylistic layers of expression: tonal, serial, modal, mixures of speech and noise combine in a technique of montage and collage which is occasionally interrupted by outbursts of ragtime and rock 'n' roll. 2 CDs. German texts. Wolfgang Dehler (speaker), Latvian State Academic Choir, Gewandhaus Children's Choir, Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig; Kurt Masur. Berlin Classics 2120 (Germany) 06-065 $21.98

HANNS EISLER (1898-1962): Deutsche Symphonie, Op. 50 for Soloists, Speakers, Chorus and Orchestra. Completed between 1935-39, Eisler's sequence of mini-cantatas and instrumental movements is an anti-Fascist, deeply-felt lament for the German people as it collaborated with and sacrificed itself to sustain the most monstrous regime in history. The texts by Brecht may seem outdated and posturing in their idological tone today but Eisler's music shows great sensitivity in setting it with clear orchestration and no tub-thumping rhetoric. His teacher Schoenberg is evident but so are others of his era such as Hindemith, Weill, Mahler and Webern. Decca unearthed this score for its Entartete Musik series in 1995; those who hesitated then can make its acquaintance at mid-price here. German texts. Gisela Burkhardt (soprano), Uta Priew (mezzo), Rosemarie Lang (contralto), Andreas Sommerfeld (baritone), Tomas Möwes (bass), Martin Seifert, Stefan Lisewski (speakers), Berlin Radio Choir, RSO Berlin; Max Pommer. Berlin Classics 9326 (Germany) 06-066 $10.98

HANNS EISLER (1898-1962): 14 Ways to Describe the Rain, Op. 70, Divertimento, Op. 4, ARNOLD SCHOENBERG (1874-1951): Quintet for Flute,Oboe, Clarinet, Horn and Bassoon, Op. 26. Eisler's variations, from 1940 and for the same instrumental combination as Pierrot Lunaire, is a tight-knit, close-textured piece where the theme is so evanescent that the sections seem to be variations on each other. His early wind quintet is completely overshadowed by his teacher's massive, 40-minute work for the same forces from 1924 whose contrasts between surface lyricism and inner agitation make for a tour de force for wind players (and for listeners). Chamber Music Group of the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, Danzi Wind Quintet. Berlin Classics 9255 (Germany) 06-067 $10.98

NICOLAE BRETAN (1887-1968): Horia. Declared a non-person by the Communist Romanian government in 1948, Bretan's works were banned and he was forced to cease composition for the final 20 years of his life. This is the fourth of his operas to appear on Nimbus (only The Heroes of Rovine remains). Bretan's musical language goes no further than Wagner and Rimsky-Korsakov and depends mostly on melody - melodies of great beauty, freshness and charm steeped in Hungarian and Romanian folk music (the composer himself was also a singer). This opera is set during the 1784 revolution (one of whose leaders is the title character) and was premiered in 1937. 2 CDs. Mono. Romanian-English libretto. Gheorghe Crasnaru (bass-baritone), Cornelia Pop (soprano), Marcel Angelescu (tenor), Emil Iurascu (baritone), Orchestra and Chorus of the Romanian Opera, Bucharest; Cornel Trailescu. Nimbus NI 5513/4 (England) 06-068 $33.98

ALEXANDRE TANSMAN (1897-1986): Bassoon Sonata, Sonatine transatlantique for Piano, Suite for Oboe, Clarinet and Bassoon, Suite for Bassoon and Piano, 3 Préludes en forme de blues for Piano. The prolific Tansman remained close to the ideals of Les Six and to the Stravinsky of the 20s and 30s, as is evident even in the late works here: the 1952 sonata and 1960 Suite for Bassoon and Piano. The 1930 "Transatlantic Sonatina" uses the fox-trot, Charleston and spirituals to effect an American-French meeting of musical minds as does the 1937 set of preludes. A welcome addition to a not very impressive recorded catalogue for a composer who should be appreciated at least as much as Milhaud and Françaix. Jean-Michel Alhaits (bassoon), Antoine Beaudoin (oboe), Jean-Marc Bernaud (clarinet), Iva Vaglenova (piano). Arion ARN 55401 (France) 06-069 $13.98

NED ROREM (b.1923): 6 Variations, Sicilienne, Dance Suite (all for 2 Pianos), JOHN CORIGLIANO (b.1938): Gazebo Dances for Piano Four Hands, Kaleidoscope for 2 Pianos. World premiere recordings of all three Rorem pieces: the Variations are brand new (1995) and written for the Murray Dranoff Competition in Miami while the Dance Suite and Sicilienne go back to 1949 and 1950 respectively. Both were written in Morocco and the Suite includes ragtime, eccentric rhythms and play with jazz clichés. Gazebo Dances (1972) is a four-movement suite of dances dedicated to several of Corigliano's friends while the 1959 Kaleidoscope is a high-spirited, energetic work of the composer's student days at Columbia. This is well-crafted, light piano music at its best. Arianna Goldina, Rémy Loumbrozo (pianos). Phoenix PHCD 138 (U.S.A.) 06-070 $13.98

MICHAEL NYVANG (b.1963): Movements for a Monument to the Loneliness of Our World. Unlike many young Danish composers, Nyvang's greatest influence came from abroad, from study in France with Tristan Murail and absorbtion of his "spectral music" mode of composition. Later studies with Per Nørgård and Karl Aage Rasmussen and their fractal melodic row structures led Nyvang to attempt to combine both methods. This seven-movement, hour-long piano work is the result. Begun in 1986 but not reaching its final form until 1994, Nyvang describes the work as an attempt "to be within the music as the mind is within life". Movements of great simplicity share space with ones of great complexity, some even of compelling rhythmic dynamism. Anyone interested in 20th century piano music will want to hear this. Erik Kaltoft (piano). Marco Polo/Dacapo 8.224074 (Denmark) 06-071 $14.98


AKIRA IFUKUBE (b.1914): Godzilla, King of the Monsters - Main Title & Finale, Ghidrah, The 3-Headed Monster - Godzilla Rises From the Sea, Destroy all Monsters - Main Credits, Terror of Mecha-Godzilla - Mecha-Godzilla 2, Godzilla vs. Monster Zero - Monster Battle March, MAX STEINER (1888-1971): King Kong - Overture, JOHN BARRY (b.1933): King Kong - Prelude & Love Theme, JOHN SCOTT: King Kong Lives - Return to Borneo/End Credits, MARIO NASCIMBENE (b.1916): One Million Years B.C. - Suite, When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth - Main Theme & Storm Over the Sea, Creatures the World Forgot - Life of the Tribe/Finale, JERRY GOLDSMITH (b.1929): Baby: Secret of a Lost Legend - Baby's Alive/End Titles, JAMES HORNER (b.1953): The Land Before Time - End Credits, We're Back - A Dinosaur Story - A Special Visitor, also includes Main Theme from Theodore Rex (Robert Falk) and Mesozoic Music/Meet the Flintstones from The Flintstones Movie (David Newman). Ifukube is a distinguished composer in his native Japan whose style has been described as "ethnic exoticism"; this comes through in some of the cues included here which are melancholy dirges based on traditional folk melodies. His relentless block-chord terror sequences, however, are almost purely Hollywood. The King Kong portion offers one cue each from original, remake and never-should-have-been-done (Scott's score may have been the best thing about King Kong Lives). Especially welcome is the generous sampling of Nascimbene's music for Hammer "Stone-Age" films which sound not dissimilar to the epic, brazen scores he contribted to so many Biblical epics and adventure films. Crouch End Festival Chorus, City of Prague Philharmonic; Nic Raine. Silva America SSD 1086 (U.S.A.) 06-072 $16.98

ALEX NORTH (1910-1991): Journey into Fear - Original Soundtrack, Music from the Films Unchained, The Racers, Viva Zapata!, The Bad Seed, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Bachelor Party, The 13th Letter, Stage Struck, I'll Cry Tomorrow, Les Miserables, The Rose Tattoo, Desirée. From massive spectaculars like Spartacus to westerns like Viva Zapata! to thrillers like Journey into Fear and The Bad Seed, to dramas like A Streetcar Named Desire, Alex North's scoring career covered about as many genres as possible and more than many composer's who became stereotyped by genre. This coupling of an extended suite from Journey Into Fear, made in Munich in 1975, with early stereo excerpts from a dozen other films recorded in Hollywood in 1959, makes for a fine tribute to a versatile composer whose "serious" music deserves rediscovery (three symphonies, among others!). Hollywood Studio Orchestra, Graunke Symphony Orchestra; Alex North. Citadel STC 77114 (U.S.A.) 06-073 $14.98

RICHARD RODNEY BENNETT (b.1936): Clarinet Quintet, NINO ROTA (1911-1979): Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano, DICK HYMAN (b.1927): Sextet for Clarinet, Piano and Strings. Hmm. Chamber music, featuring clarinet, of composers better known for their film scores. Well, OK then. Bennett's piece is warmly romantic and predominantly lyrical, lushly scored, alternating a tender melodiousness with sprightly syncopation. Rota is beginning to be recognised as a first-rate composer quite apart from his justly famous film scores, and this splendid neoclassical trio, full of ingenious harmonic and rhythmic twists and turns, can only enhance his reputation. Hyman's piece is a most accomplished piece of "chamber jazz", with whiffs of Palm Court, television theme music, and (occasionally) the concert hall or jazz club about it. Very easy to listen to (without falling into the trap of "easy listening"), and like the rest of this enjoyable CD, a delightful blend of the comfortingly familiar and enticingly unexpected. Charles Russo (clarinet), Various Artists. Premier PRCD 1062 (U.S.A.) 06-074 $16.98

ERNESTO LECUONA (1896-1963): Danzas Cubanas, Danzas Afro-Cubanas, Andalucia. Called by some the"Cuban Gershwin", Lecuona wrote volumes of glittering, brilliant and fluent dance pieces in the popular vein. Andalucia is his most popular work, the Afro-Cuban dances by turns teasing and tumultuous and the not-often-recorded Cuban dances worthy of their place in this company. Polly Ferman (piano). Talent DOM 2910 44 (Belgium) 06-075 $10.98


ASTOR PIAZZOLA (1921-1992): Río Sena, Contrastes, Coral, ERNESTO NAZARETH (1863-1934): Odeón - Tango brasileño, CARLOS GUASTAVINO (b.1912): Preludio No. 1 - El Patio, ARIEL RAMÍREZ (b.1921): Milonga uruguaya, Cajita de música criolla, Alfonsina y el mar, MARIANO MORES: Taquito militar, Tanguera - Momento de tango, CARLOS GARDEL: El día que me quieras, GERARDO MATOS RODRÍGUEZ: La cumparsita, ENRIQUE DELFINO: Griseta, FRANCISCO LOMUTO: Muñequita, JUAN CARLOS COBIÁN: Shusheta, La casita de mis viejos, AGUSTÍN BARDI: El gallo ciego. Drama, dark, sexuality, melancholy, poetry, passion and the intimation of barely suppressed violence - all this makes up the tango and all these emotions and qualities are on display in this set of 17 Argentinian and Uruguayan pieces, a third of which were given their opulent, glittering piano form by Horacio Salgán, one of the tango's most famous exponents. Amidst all the brooding are sprinkled two or three examples which (such as the one by Nazareth) recall a more light-hearted version of the tango's folk-dance origins. Edison Quintana (piano). Urtext JBCC 016 (Mexico) 06-076 $16.98

SERGEI PROKOFIEV (1891-1953): Visions Fugitives, Op. 22, Nos. 1-6 & 8-16 (arr. Barshai), Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. 19, Symphony No. 1 "Classical", Op. 25. The only available complete recording of Rudolf Barshai's arrangement of 15 of Prokofiev's 20 Visions fugitives, made in 1962 for this very orchestra, preserves the withdrawn, elliptical, introspective quality of these original piano pieces in a way that makes them seem made for an orchestra. Ilya Grubert (violin), Moscow Chamber Orchestra; Constantine Orbelian. Chandos 9615 (England) 06-077 $16.98

MICHAEL FINNISSY (b.1946): Folklore II, Three dukes went a-riding, My Love is like a red red rose, How dear to me, Willow Willow, Vieux Noël, Op. 59/2, Australian Sea Shanties, Set 2, Nos. 1 & 2, 4 Polskie Tances, Op. 32, Terekkeme, Lylyly li, Svatovac. These piano works, virtuosic and very rhythmically complex (to the point of sounding like extremely accomplished free improvisations much of the time), are "based on" folk music, in the sense that folk melodies turn up in the texture, as do technical references to devices from early and primitive musics. But they do not "sound like" folk music - apart from a skilfully captured archaic quality in frequently occurring monodic recitatives - they sound like sophisticated piano works by Michael Finnissy, who, by the way, is his own ideal interpreter here, with all the technique it takes to play his polyrhythmic and multi-layered (and sometimes volcanically bravura) compositions. Michael Finnissy (piano). Metier MSV CD 92010 (England) 06-078 $17.98

ROBERTO GERHARD (1896-1970): Piano Trio, Cello Sonata, Chaconne for Solo Violin, Gemini for Violin and Piano. The sensuous warmth of Gerhard's 1918 piano trio owes much to Ravel, accentuating the stylistic gulf which lies between it and the remaining three works from the other end of his career. The 1956 cello sonata shows the composer's method of leaving dodecaphonic technique with Spanish turns of phrase; the 1959 Chaconne is an uncompromising, ingenious piece of violin writing while Gemini, dating from 1966, treats the players as antagonists with frenetic violin scurryings impacting with keyboard clusters and plucked piano strings in an exercise in sound experimentation. Cantamen. Metier MSV CD 92012 (England) 06-079 $17.98

LYLE CRESSWELL (b.1944): Prayer for the Cure of a Sprained Back, Words for Music, Sextet, EDWARD HARPER (b.1941): Fantasia III, Ricercari in memoriam Luigi Dallapiccola, BYRD/HARPER: Laetentur Coeli, Timor et Hebetudo, In Resurrezione Tua. Creswell's Prayer and Words are for solo soprano, the former setting a florid text from an 1859 army surgeon's history of New Zealand, recalling Berio's works for Cathy Berberian. The longest piece here, the Ricercari, is a predominantly sober, reflective tribute referring to the apparently spontaneous musical expression and rigidly applied technique which was an important aspect of Dallapiccola's style. The remaining works are for brass sextet, Cresswell's a pulsating piece with much glissandi ostinati and shifting clusters. Jane Manning (soprano), The New Music Group of Scotland. Metier MSV CD 90214 (England) 06-080 $17.98

EDWARD HARPER (b.1941): Fanny Robin. This is a half-hour chamber opera derived from episodes in Thomas Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd and Wessex Poems with the title character a luckless village girl caught in an untoward chain of events. Characterization is idiomatically drawn and the music inspired by metrical psalmody and English folksong. Special price. Jane Manning (soprano), Nigel Waugh (baritone), Scottish Opera Chorus, Scottish Chamber Orchestra; Edward Harper. Metier MSV CD 92015 (England) 06-081 $13.98

GEORGE CRUMB (b.1929): Gnomic Variations, Processional, Ancient Voices of Children. Nobody else sounds like Crumb; nobody else has ever made tone-clusters sound so tonal or extended piano timbres sound so natural an extension of the instrument's normal vocabulary. The aptly titled Gnomic Variations is a terse and concise work, yet epic in scope. Processional also does what the title suggests; an obsessive pulse and shimmering harmonies suggest a distant procession viewed through the distortion of distance and intervening miles of heat-haze. Last comes the remarkable song-cycle Ancient Voices of Children, with its bewildering array of timbral effects creating a quasi-visual, almost tactile setting for the Lorca texts. Marie-Louise Bourbeau (mezzo), Veronika Schaff (boy soprano), Ensemble New Art; Fuat Kent (piano). Col Legno 31876 (Germany) 06-082 $18.98

MORTEN GAATHAUG (b.1955): Violin Sonata, Op. 30, String Quartet No. 1, Op. 7, Clarinet Sonata, Op. 34. Gaathaug's music is remarkable in its expressiveness and emotional involvement. Based on quite traditional, even classical, models, the works nonetheless have an originality and freshness which guarantee that they will not fall on the ear with any sense of the over-familiarity of slavery to convention. Rather, Gaathaug sets up the listener's expectations with obvious classical gestures, and then proceeds to upset them by alluding to something else - also tonal, and reminiscent of music already encountered elsewhere, but oddly juxtaposed with what has gone before. Deeply satisfying, surprising, and well worth getting to know. Hemera HCD 2925 (Norway) 06-083 $17.98

LUCIANO BERIO (b.1925): Ricorrenze for Wind Quintet, Sequenza I for Flute, Sequenza VII for Oboe, Sequenza IX for Clarinet, Opus Number Zoo for Wind Quintet. This disc usefully collects together five works for wind instruments by Berio; the three woodwind Sequenze, Ricorrenze - recurrences - which, as the title suggests, adopts an almost minimalist position in building a complex structure out of small cells, together with Opus Number Zoo, four satirical texts by Rhoda Levine accompanied by music of pungent sophisication and knowing complexity masquerading as childish simplicity. Mario Ancillotti (flute), Paolo Pollastri (oboe), Giovanni Riccucci (clarinet), Paolo Carlini (bassoon), Paolo Faggi (horn). Materiali Sonori 90075 (Italy) 06-084 $16.98

GEORGE ANTHEIL (1900-1959): La femme 100 têtes, ERIK SATIE (1866-1925): Sports et divertissements. These two sets of brief piano pieces by futurist outsiders whose careers overlapped in Paris as their æsthetics overlapped in the irreverant caricature-pastiche clearly demonstrated here, make highly appropriate companions. Satie's pieces are based on drawings by illustrator and caricaturist Charles Martin (1883 - 1934), for which the composer also wrote brief texts, reproduced in the booklet - and each is like a cartoon panel, full of mocking irony in miniature. More musically sophisticated, Antheil's little pieces, the completed 45 of an intended 100, also have an ironic, even bitter, edge to them, as well as an assumed naiveté; they contain elements of autobiography and an astute sense of how to put much musical material into a small space. Benedikt Koehlen (piano). Col Legno 20010 (Germany) 06-085 $18.98

ELLIOTT CARTER (b.1908): 5th String Quartet, 90+ for Piano, Sonata for Cello and Piano, Figment for Cello Alone, Duo for Violin and Piano, Fragment for String Quartet. Carter's fifth quartet (1994-95) receives its world premiere recording here. Lasting 20 minutes, it is in 12 movements whose even-numbered members, described with tempo indications, suggest a suite-like succession of character pieces while the odd-numbered movements (Introduction and Interludes I-V) are random-sounding, evoking the sound of musicians practising snippets in rehearsal - all offering a sort of double focus in which the same material is heard in contexts of order and disorder. The other two premieres are both from 1994: Figment is a brief exploitation of characteristic cello sonorities, gestures and playing techniques while Fragment's suspended texture of glacial harmonics memorializes an untimely death. Ursula Oppens (piano), Arditti String Quartet. Auvidis Montaigne MO 782091 (France) 06-086 $18.98

ELLIOTT CARTER (b.1908): Woodwind Quintet, Esprit rude/esprit doux I for Flute and Clarinet, 8 Etudes and a Fantasy for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet and Bassoon, Enchanted Preludes for Flute and Cello, Sonata for Flute, Oboe, Cello and Harpsichord. This disc collects together a fascinating group of chamber pieces by America's greatest living composer. The Wind Quintet dates from 1948, and is genial and approachable; like the 8 Etudes and a Fantasy of the year later, or the Piano Sonata from the sme period, it foreshadows the composer's later music while retaining a strong vein of what sounds like romantic thinking. It is not surprising that Carter, with his preoccupation with detail, structure and the complex interplay of diverse thematic material, would be drawn to wind writing, and these pieces all exemplify his great skill in ensemble writing to great advantage. Particularly striking is the 1952 "Sonata" with its fascinating pallette of tone colours and subtle shifting rhythmic and thematic relations, in a context of expanded tonality the mastery of which few composers today can match. Ensemble Contrasts. CPO 999 453 (Germany) 06-087 $15.98

PÁLL ÍSÓLFSSON (1893-1974): Impressions, Humoresques. Ísólffson was one of the first Icelandic musicians to study abroad (including under Reger in Leipzig) and first made his name as an organist. As might be expected from a composer coming from an island in the storm-tossed North Atlantic, the sea and its moods and rhythms are never far from most of his music. Impressions is a group of fourteen character pieces (prelude, impromptu, waltz, etc.) written at various times through Ísólffson's life and collected together to be published as a group. As such they might be looked upon as an Icelandic Bunte Blätter; although rooted in late romantic language, the austere grandeur of the North comes through almost throughout. The two Humoreques are vigorous and lively works dating from the composer's student years in Leipzig. Örn Magnússon (piano). ITM 7-10 (Iceland) 06-088 $18.98

SERGE GARANT (1929-1986): Quintet for Flute, Oboe, Piano, Percussion and Cello, Offrande I for Soprano and Ensemble, Amuya, ...chant d'amours for Cello, Soprano, Mezzo-soprano, Baritone and Ensemble. Garant became fascinated very early on with the music of Webern, Boulez and Stockhausen and himself began composing in serial style. These works (weighted toward winds, brass and percussion), composed between 1968 and 1978 use some aleatoric principles, indefinite notation and close organization to produce a complex, intense, concise and often shimmering music which manages to be both jagged and lyrical as often as not. Alain Aubut (cello), Yolande Parent, Pauline Vaillancourt (sopranos), Marie Laferrieère (mezzo), Michel Ducharme (baritone), Contemporary Music Society of Quebec; Walter Boudreau. Analekta AN 2 9804 (Canada) 06-089 $16.98

GÉRARD GRISEY (b.1946): Vortex temporum for Flute, Clarinet, Piano, Violin, Viola and Cello, Taléa for Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Piano. Vortex temporum is a large-scale and ambitious work, lasting over 40 minutes, which incorporates elements of microtonal music (in the piano part, providing an unsettling harmonic flavor to the piece), and minimalism, in that the work is propelled by the repetition of motivic fragments, or suspended by the contemplation of harmonics or subtle sounds over an expanded timescale. Talea is a study in contasts - between hectic activity and almost total immobility, between quasi-random outbursts and strict metre, between loud dynamic levels and almost inaudible stillness. Ensemble Recherche. Accord 206352 (France) 06-090 $16.98

HARVEY J. STOKES: String Quartets Nos. 1-3. Stokes is a young composer who teaches at Hampton University and founded the Computer Music Laboratory there. However, this series of quartets, all dedicated to the performers here (dating from 1990-1995) does not use computers nor any particularly outré techniques. The composer uses pitch-class set relations to build his works but to the lay ear, these works are lucidly elaborated, easy to follow, very rhythmic (sometimes in the manner of Shostakovich) and lyrical in the slow movements. Oxford String Quartet. Albany TROY 288 (U.S.A.) 06-091 $16.98

DANIEL TOUSSAINT (b.1958): Onde for Ondes Quartet, TRISTAN MURAIL (b.1947): Mach 2.5 for Ondes Quintet, JEAN LESAGE (b.1958): Les mystères de la clarté for Flute and Ondes, SERGE PROVOST: Les jardins suspendus for Piano and Ondes Quartet, OLIVIER MESSIAEN (1908-1992): Oraison for Ondes Quartet, CLAUDE VIVIER (1948-1983): Pulau Dewata for Ondes Quintet. Provost's Les jardins suspendus is a marvellous work, melding the strange, otherworldly sonorities of the Ondes with extended piano techniques in a manner that suggests a soloist accompanied by a veritable orchestra, both used to the limit of their sonic resources. The Murail and Messiaen have both appeared on CD before, but they are welcome here, as both, in their very different ways, demonstrate the profoundly musical qualities of this strange electronic instrument. Claude Vivier's tragically brief life left a limited legacy of completed compositions. This piece, composed after a visit to Bali, has something of Terry Riley about it, and the Ondes sonority (approved by the composer - the piece has no specified instrumentation) is highly effective, suggesting a common ground between minimalism and Messiaen's organ music. Ensemble d'Ondes de Montréal, Lise Daoust (flute), Serge Provost (piano). SNE 574 (Canada) 06-092 $16.98

JEAN BARRAQUÉ (1928-1973): Concerto, Le temps restitué, ...au delà du hasard, Chant après chant, Etude, Séquence, Piano Sonata. This comprehensively annotated set presents all the works that Barraqué acknowledged, six large-scale pieces, of which the earliest, the 55-minute Piano Sonata of 1952 is in some ways the most astonishing; the 24-year-old composer demonstrating his mastery of serial technique by producing a work that takes up the challenge thrown down by Beethoven in the Hammerklavier and formidably addresses it in the language of Boulez. Also included is his tape Etude, a piece of musique concrète quite unlike anything else in his output. Concerned as he was to find the expressive voice - the romantic soul, even in the vocabulary of the 20th century, Barraqué found his inspiration in the human voice and the interplay of instruments in ensemble works above all. The large scale, the long line, the lyricism of the voice and the emotional impact of his chosen texts speak of a composer who was above all a romantic, but a romantic born out of his time, and compelled to find a way, in his brief and complicated lifespan, to master the arcana of modern composition in order to find a personal voice. 3 CDs for the price of 2. Stefan Litwin (piano), Klangforum Wien; Sylvain Cambreling, Jürg Wyttenbach, Peter Rundel. CPO 999 569 (Germany) 06-093 $31.98

EARLE BROWN (b.1926): Centering for Violin and Ensemble, Windsor Jambs for Voice and Ensemble, Tracking Pierrot, Event: Synergy II for 2 Ensembles. The most recent work here, Tracking Pierrot (1992), inspired by the instrumental writing in Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire contains moments of sheer beauty with one soloist or another soaring on a thread of partially improvised melody set off by contrasting moments of harmonic ecstasy in the supporting ensemble. Windsor Jambs (1980) uses the wordless voice of La Barbara as an instument of other-worldly magic in a work which interweaves melodic materials and polyphonic juxtapositions, setting voice, flute and clarinet against combinations of string trio and of percussion. The oldest works (Centering is from 1973, synergy II from 1968) exhibit the more classic use of Brown's "open form" technique in which much creative responsibility is left to performers and conductor. Roy Malan (violin), Joan LaBarbara (mezzo), San Francisco Contemporary Music Players; Earle Brown and Stephen L. Mosko. Newport Classic NPD 85631 (U.S.A.) 06-094 $16.98

PHILIPPE MANOURY (b.1952): Pluton for Midi Piano and Electronics. Pluton is the second in a series of compositions by Manoury under the general title Sonus ex machina. Composed in 1987, it served as the departure point for subsequent theoretical (and compositional) work on what the composer calls "virtual scores". Here, the computer follows the pianist (whose score is written precisely) by analysing what he plays; this reacts with elements already composed and in the memory of the computer. Although the work's title is unexplained by the composer (the planet and, thus, the depths of space? or the god and, thus, the depths of the underworld?), anyone interested in the marriage of live performer and electronics will be entertained by this "virtual score". Ilmo Ranta (Midi piano), Philippe Manoury (sound projection). Ondine ODE 888 (Finland) 06-095 $17.98

THEO VERBEY (b.1959): Triade for Orchestra, Notturno for Oboe, 2 Horns and Strings, De Peryton for 7 Winds, Sunless for Voice and Orchestra, Conciso for Orchestra. To listen to these vital and readily approachable compositions, it is hard to believe that they are based on precisely pre-ordained mathematical relationships, yet that is the case. The works are unequivocally tonal, and have a dancing rhythmic dynamism based on syncopated rhythms which propel the music in a most unacademic, unmathematical way. Also included is Verbey's masterly orchestration of Mussorgsky's song-cycle Sunless, a literal orchestration of the piano part, adding color and texture without tampering with the songs' inherent melancholic economy. Pauline Oostenrijk (oboe), Marion del Campo (mezzo), Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra; Mark Foster. Donemus CV 66 (Netherlands) 06-096 $18.98

ADRIANO GUARNIERI (b.1947): Omaggio a Mino for High Voice, Soprano and Orchestra, Orfeo Cantando... Tolse... for 2 Sopranos, 2 Guitars and Flute. These dramatic vocal works, with the voices accompanied by a large orchestra lavishly employed in somewhat post-Darmstadt fashion, were written with specific spatial relationships in mind; in live performance they are presented in "surround sound" by electronic means. Much is made of the way in which this spatial information is presented on the CD, as this area of psychoacoustics is of especial concern to the composer. The results are certainly striking, acoustically unusual and succeed in drawing the listener into the drama through the sonic mechanisms employed. Soloists, Tuscan Regional Orchestra; Pietro Borgonovo. BMG Ricordi 6802 (Italy) 06-097 $18.98

HANSPETER KYBURZ (b.1960): Cells for Saxophones and Ensemble, CHRISTOPH STAUDE (b.1965): Obduktion for Solo Alto Saxophone, ISABEL MUNDRY (b.1963): Komposition for Alto Saxophone and Tape, WALTER ZIMMERMAN (b.1949): Fragmente der Liebe for Tenor Saxophone and String Quartet. Kyburz's Cells places the solo saxophone in the context of an ensemble piece, and creates musical structures by forming connections between disparate elements of texture and dynamics. Staude's work places the burden of creating a cohesive whole squarely on the soloist alone, and the result is an extended improvisational work with extended intrumental techniques which would not sound out of place coming from an improvising jazz saxophonist. Mundry's work takes the saxophone into the electroacoustic world, with another improvisational solo pitted against a musique concrete background which is highly effective in this context. Finally, Zimmermann presents a shadowy collage of fragmentary motifs for saxophone and string quartet, whose apparent immobility and surface activity create an interesting paradox. Johannes Ernst (saxophones), Ensemble UnitedBerlin; Peter Hirsch. Col Legno 31890 (Germany) 06-098 $18.98

JOSEP MARIA MESTRES QUADRENY (b.1929): Symphony in E Flat, Double Concerto for Ondes Martenot, Percussion and Orchestra, Branca de Branques for Orchestra, Vara per 4 for Piano Eight Hands, Vara per 2 for Piano Four Hands. Prevented by Franco fascism from free access to contemporary musical developments, Mestres' subsequent career became a constant search for means of self-expression (his discovery of serialism struck him as too confining). Thus, the works on this disc show an individual response to the musical currents of the mid and late 20th century in which aleatoric techniques, combined with a very personal expressionism and the odd dash of Catalan folk reference, add up, in the 1983 symphony, to a remarkably approachable and likeable work. The earliest work here, the concerto (from 1970) is the most aggressively aleatoric - blocks of orchestral sound moving in extreme disorder while the soloists act in opposition - while 1997's Branca de Branques is an interior landscape in which swirling fragments eventually coalesce into an ostinato-driven, ritualistic finale. The works for piano, multiple-hands, exercise simultaneous exploitation of the whole range of the instrument. Barcelona Symphony Orchestra; Franz-Paul Decker, Konstantin Simonovitch, "City of Palma" Symphony Orchestra of the Balearic Islands; Salvador Brotons, Esther Gómez, Carme Olivella, Ester Vela, Eulàlia Vela López (pianos). Ars Harmonica AH 038 (Spain) 06-099 $19.98

IANNIS XENAKIS (b.1922): Windungen, ANTOINE TISNÉ (b.1932): Edenic's Events, CHRISTOPHE LOOTEN (b.1958): Nocturnal, ARTHUR THOMASSIN (b.1958): Analecta III, PIERRE BOULEZ (b.1925): Messagesquisses. The variety of sounds and textures and colors which can be achieved with a group of eight cellos is not to be believed if you haven't heard the previous two volumes in Channel Classics' series of recordings by this brilliant group of young cellists based in Spain (and most of our contemporary music fans haven't! We're not asking our classical and early romantic specialists out there to risk aural suicide...). The reason for the astounding variety of sounds in this series is that many composers have been attracted by these players' virtuosity and have either written new works for them or - in the case of Xenakis and Boulez on this disc - either adapted pre-existing works or given the Octet's music director, Elias Arizcuren, permission to do the same. So, come on! Take a chance; this is great stuff!!! Cello Octet Conjunto Ibérico; Elias Arizcuren. Channel Classics CCS 11798 (Netherlands) 06-100 $17.98

NEW ROMANTICISM - colorful symphonic works

LORENZO FERRERO (b.1951): La Nueva España, Championship Suite, Palm Beach Overture. Given Ferrero's age and experience with the "New Romanticism" and minimalism, it may be easiest to describe his symphonic diptych La Nueva España as the tone poems Revueltas might have written if he had been born two generations later. In two sections - La ruta de Cortéz and La Noche Triste (1992 and 1996 respectively) - this piece depicts the conquistadors' journey from Veracruz to Tenochtitlan and the Aztecs' attack on the Spaniards which did nothing to forestall their subsequent slaughter and enslavement. It uses no real or assumed folk or ethnic tunes, merely romantically expressive music played by a large symphony orchestra (with a couple of extreme dynamic contrasts). Championship Suite is a 1996 work commissioned for the 1997 World Skiing Championships, which, in five movements, depicts the transformation of a mountain locality into a big tourist and sporting center while the overture (1995), commissioned for the opening of a new theater in Florida, is characterized by the same lively orchestal virtuosity and irrepressible rhythmic impulse as its discmates (and which sounds for all the world like film music for something Hitchcockian/Hermannian where nothing very nice is going on!). Slovenian RTV Symphony Orchestra; Anton Nanut. BMG Ricordi Oggi 8032 (Italy) 06-101 $18.98

NICOLAUS A. HUBER (b.1939): La Force du Vertige for Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Piano, Vor und zurück for Solo Oboe, Offenes Fragment for Soprano, Flute, Guitar and Percussion, Mit Erinnerung for Solo Bassoon, Don't Fence Me In, for Flute, Oboe and Clarinet. Huber studied with Stockhausen and Nono, among others, so it comes as no surprise to discover that his music is highly theatrical and very modern-sounding. Using diverse materials as starting points - a rhythm from Beethoven, a poem by Friedrich Hölderlin, Kitty Kelley's book about Frank Sinatra - Huber creates sonic installations through which the listener is free to wander, continually confronted by new sensations and variations on the life experiences that gave rise to the musical material in the first place. Ensemble Aventure. Ars Musici AM 1224 (Germany) 06-102 $17.98

PHILIPPE BOESMANS (b.1936): Summer Dreams (String Quartet No. 2), Love and Dance Tunes, Ornamented Zone. Boesmans' quartet is a sequence of 7 "dreams" of uneasy, unearthly character, full of præternatural colors and impressions. The composer's harmonic language is very free, and his somewhat extended use of instrumental technique (without requiring any wholly unorthodox use of the instruments, however), serves to heighten the atmosphere of shimmering unreality. Love and Dance Tunes is an alternating sequence of piano pieces and Shakespeare settings for baritone and piano, in which the solidly melodious vocal line is illuminated by a highly ornamented piano part. The ensemble piece "Ornamented Zone" extends this idea even further, to a point where ornamentation becomes the raison d'être of the work, again achieving a texture like the play of light and shadow in a dream. Arditti Quartet, Dale Duesing (baritone), Jean Luc Plouvier (piano), Ensemble Musique Nouvelle. Ricercar 206492 (Belgium) 06-103 $17.98

ANTON BRUCKNER (transcr. Rogg) (1824-1896): Symphony No. 8 in C Minor. It is said now and again that Bruckner's symphonies were obviously composed by an organist with that instrument in mind and there can be few lovers of his oeuvre who cannot have wished at some point to hear what one of them would sound like on the organ. You may not get another chance! Lionel Rogg (van den Heuvel organ, Victoria Hall, Geneva). BIS 946 (Sweden) 06-104 $17.98

EMIL SJÖGREN (1853-1918): Fantasie, Op. 15, Prelude and Fugues in G Minor, Op. 4, in A Minor, Op. 49, in C, Op. posth., in C, Op. posth, Kanon in A Minor, Preludes in D, C and A Minor, Fugue in A Minor, 2 små förspel till André Pirro, Johannes Elmblad in Memoriam, 24 Legender, Op. 46. Sjögren's early works follow the style of Bach and Mendelssohn in their classicism while the Legends of 1905 are more chromatic with French-sounding harmony. Lyric/elegiac and pastoral/idyllic by turn this cycle creates an authentically dreamy romanticism. 2 CDs. Ralph Gustafsson (organ of the St. Maria Magdalena Church, Stockholm). Swedish Society SCD 1083-84 (Sweden) 06-105 $35.98

JOHANNES HAARKLOU (1847-1925): Organ Symphony No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 106, Organ Symphony No. 2 in D Minor, Op. 116, Fantaisie triomphale, Op. 61, Prelude and Fugue on B.A.C.H., Op. 121. In contrast to Sjögren's works (above), Haarklou writes in a large-scale style and with the grandeur characteristic of the French romantics like Widor and Guilmant. Kåre Nordstoga (organ of the Kristine Church, Jönköping). NKF 50036 (Norway) 06-106 $16.98

ALLAN PETTERSSON (1911-1980): Barefoot Songs, 6 Sånger. The soul-withering circumstances of Pettersson's childhood need no rehearsing; this release brings two of his earliest works which, through their texts, paint a picture of his straitened youth. The six songs of 1935 set texts dealing with death and despondency; the 24 Barefoot Songs (1943-45), to Pettersson's own difficult texts, have the simple melodiousness of strophic folk song but speak obliquely of autobiographical matters in a bleak wistfulness. Monica Groop (mezzo), Cord Garben (piano). CPO 999 499 (Germany) 06-107 $15.98


This small label, based in Idaho, presents a series of premiere recordings of 18th century music for the harpsichord, organ and fortepiano - - - but with a difference. Both solo instruments and orchestral accompaniments are computer-realized. The creators of this label, Roderick E. Simpson and Robert N. Vassar, make the point that, with the newest synthsizing technology, the ability to reproduce an "acoustical instrument's harmonic series accurately at varying dynamic levels, the nuances of its attack, the sonic flavors of its decay times, etc." has been vastly improved over the technology available in the 1980s. The final line of Fanfare magazine's review of the first three issues below (Jan/Feb. 98 issue): "...anyone interested in music's future possibilities and/or directions ought to acquire these three at once illuminating, enjoyable and, on some levels, unsettling discs."

JOHANN CHRISTOPH MANN (1726-1782): Harpsichord Sonatas No. 1 in A, No. 3 in F, No. 5 in D, GEORG CHRISTOPH WAGENSEIL(1715-1777): Divertimento da Cembalo Vol. 1, No. 6 in A. Initium CD-A001 (U.S.A.) 06-108 $13.98

JOHANN CHRISTOPH MANN (1726-1782): Harpsichord Sonatas No. 2 in G, No. 4 in E Flat, No. 6 in B Flat, GEORG CHRISTOPH WAGENSEIL(1715-1777): Divertimento da Cembalo Vol. 1, No. 4 in E Flat. Initium CD-A002 (U.S.A.) 06-109 $13.98

GEORG MATTHIAS MONN (1717-1750): Concerto in A for Fortepiano and Strings, Concerto in B Minor for Harpsichord and Strings, Concerto in B Flat for Organ and Strings. I Suoni Assaggiati (Synthesized Ensemble). Initium CD-A003 (U.S.A.) 06-110 $13.98

GEORG MATTHIAS MONN (1717-1750): Concerto in G Minor for Harpsichord and Strings, Concerto in B Flat for Harpsichord, Flute, Violin and Basso, Organ Sonata in G Major, GEORG CHRISTOPH WAGENSEIL (1715-1777): Concerto in C for Harpsichord and Strings, JOHANN CHRISTOPH MANN (1726-1782): Concert Piece in B Flat for Fortepiano. Initium CD-A004 (U.S.A.) 06-111 $13.98