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Eduard Franck

(again - like 07A001 only entirely different)

Symphony and Violin Concerto

EDUARD FRANCK (1817-1893): Symphony in B Flat, Op. 52, Violin Concerto in D, Op. 57. In July of 1998, we offered a similar coupling - a different violin concerto and a different symphony by this composer. This is now the fourth disc of music by the Franck brothers on Audite and two more of chamber works by Eduard are on their way. The concerto (neither work can be securely dated) mixes Mendelssohnian lyricism with Beethovenian gesture and has a particularly lovely, melodic slow movement. The symphony appears to have been written in 1856 but thoroughly revised in 1888; it wraps three boisterously rhythmic movements of easy-going charm around an adagio of great melodic beauty and harmonic richness Christiane Edinger (violin), Saarbrücken Symphony Orchestra; Hans-Peter Frank. Audite 20.034 (Germany) 03C001 $16.98

WILHELM PETERSON-BERGER (1867-1942): Symphony No. 4 in A "Holmia", Törnrossagan - Orchestral Suite, Frösöblomster - Suite No. 1. The symphony is an odd creation: a three-movement work with scherzo wrapped into the slow movement Berwald-style and with a marked lightness of material and, in the last movement especially, a sense of episodic disconnectedness. Stig Jacobsson's liner notes suggest that, after the pinnacle of his symphonic uvre - the third symphony "Same Atnam"- Peterson-Berger was looking to do something different and created a sort of superior "light music". This certainly describes the symphony quite well - an homage to and depiction of life in Sweden's capital city. The following suite is none other than "Sleeping Beauty" in a humorous, Swedish-folk tinged milieu; the suite of ten movements was excerpted in 1934 from a 1903 ballet and the music is Peterson-Berger at his most tuneful. The same year brought the orchestration of five of the composer's most famous piano works. Norrköping Symphony Orchestra; Michael Jurowski. CPO 999 669 (Germany) 03C002 $15.98

GEORGES ENESCU (1881-1955): String Quartets Nos. 1 & 2. Enescu's quartets come from different ends of his career (1916-1920 and 1951 respectively) yet both have the same sort of quiet, deep ruminative quality with the sophisticated chromaticism and thematic transformations of Fauré, one of Enescu's teachers. These are works which do not reveal themselves even in the first several hearings but which should repay repeated acquaintance, which Naxos' price makes ridiculously easy. Quatuor Ad Libitum. Naxos 8.554721 (New Zealand) 03C003 $5.98

SAMUEL BARBER (1910-1981): Orchestral Works, Vol. 2 - Cello Concerto, Op. 22, Medea - Ballet Suite, Op. 23, Adagio for Strings, Op. 11. The 1945 cello concerto is unaccountably less well-known than Barber's violin concerto yet it carries the same winning combination of strong, up-front lyricism and rhythmic energy. The latter is especially prevalent in many parts of the 7-movement suite of music from the 1947 ballet whose Medea-theme has a hard-edged theme which resolutely refuses to leave the listener's mind very soon afterward. Wendy Warner (cello), Royal Scottish National Orchestra; Marin Alsop. Naxos American Classics 8.559088 (U.S.A.) 03C004 $5.98

HAMILTON HARTY (1879-1941): An Irish Symphony, With the Wild Geese, In Ireland. The earliest work is the 1904 symphony, which makes use of no fewer than six well-known Irish melodies in its four-movement course. With the Wild Geese (1910) is a tone-poem about an Irish regiment which fought with the French against the English in 1745 and In Ireland is a 1935 arrangement for flute,harp and strings of a 1918 work for flute and piano which portrayed two itinerant Dublin street musicians. Harty's considerable flair for vivid orchestration is everywhere present in these splendid works. National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland; Proinssías Ó Duinn. Naxos 8.554732 (New Zealand) 03C005 $5.98

ALEXANDER GLAZUNOV (1865-1936): Orchestral Works, Vol. 16 - Oriental Rhapsody, Op. 29, Fantasy: The Sea, Op. 28, Ballade, Op. 78, Cortège Ssolennel, Op. 91. Two very substantial, less-known works head this latest volume of Glazunov's large orchestral uvre, both written in 1889: The Sea is a22-minute fantasy in high Wagnerian fashion which tells the tale of a man sitting on the seashore who experiences both the rage of the storm and the calm of the purling waves in sunlight. Colorful, vivid and evocative as it is, it is superseded in sheer exoticism by the rhapsody composed the same year. Following the vein of eastern exoticism so dear to Rimsky-Korsakov, this is a five-movement, nearly half-hour long exquisite wallow which ends, literally, in what the score describes as "Unbridled Orgy". 1902's Ballade seems to have some sort of programmatic aspect in its tripartite form, with a martial center surrounded by slower music while Glazunov's third and last solemn processional dates from 1910. Moscow Symphony Orchestra; Igor Golovchin. Naxos 8.553512 (New Zealand) 03C006 $5.98

THEA MUSGRAVE (b.1928): Excursions, YORK BOWEN (1884-1961): 3 Pieces, Suite, LENNOX BERKELEY (1903-19): Palm Court Waltz, PHILIP LANE (b.1950): Scherzo Burlesco, PETER WARLOCK (1894-1930): Capriol Suite, WILLIAM WALTON (1902-19): Façade Suite (arr. Lambert). Lambert's arrangement of the Capriol Suite occupies a third of the disc; dating from the 1930s, it was produced, presumably, for the home duet market although its difficulties would defeat most amateur pianists. The material is layed out effectively and allows the actual music to speak more clearly without its orchestral color. Musgrave's early 60s suite is utterly out of character for her, being a set of eight vignettes of car drivers and things to do with driving... Peter Lawson, Alan MacLean (piano duet). Campion RRCD 1353 (England) 03C007 $16.98

JOHN PHILIP SOUSA (1854-1932): Music for Wind Band, Vol. 1 - Suite: Looking Upward, Marches: Hands Across the Sea, Manhattan Beach, The Invincible Eagle, Hail to the Spirit of Liberty, Imperial Edward, Foshay Tower (Washington Monument), Daughters of Texas, Kansas Wildcats, Power and Glory, Humoresque on George Gershwin's "Swanee". Universally acknowledged as the best of their genre, Sousa's marches are known for their vigorous melodic line and unrelenting drive while employing innovative instrumentation and use of tone color. Looking Upward (1902) is a "serious" work of three movements ("By the Light of the Polar Star", inspired by the heavens on a South Dakota night; "Beneath the Southern Cross", inspired by an ad for the steamship of the same name; and "Mars and Venus" with Mars as a wild west cowboy and Venus as his love interest. Royal Artillery Band; Keith Brion. Naxos American Classics 8.559058 (U.S.A.) 03C008 $5.98

Two More Musical Casualties of the Third Reich

HEINZ TIESSEN (1887-1971): Symphony No. 2 (Stirb und Werde!), Op. 17, Hamlet-Suite for Orchestra, Op. 30, Vorspiel zu einem Revolutionsdrama, Op. 33, Salambo - 2 Orchesterstücke nach einem Tanzdrama, Op. 34a. Regarded during the 1920s as one of Germany's leading and most original young composers, Tiessen and contemporaries such as Hessenberg, Philipp Jarnach and Paul Höffer vanished almost without trace as the ethos of Expressionism and Neue Sachlichkeit, suppressed by the Nazis, became regarded as old-fashioned after the war and were swept aside by the burgeoning wave of Darmstadt. The second symphony (1912) is a half-hour-long, single-movement work to be experienced as a continuous flow of emotion, leading through struggles and passions to the climax of life - a Straussian program if there ever was one. The Hamlet incidental music dates from 1919-22 and features a stormy prelude leading into a gentle oboe melody depicting Ophelia and then a return to the storm and a slow funeral march. The Vorspiel of 1921/28 is tormented, with its own march-like themes, and rises to a hectic climax while the Salambo music (1922 but distilled into this suite in 1956) is deeply rooted in polyphony yet with dissonant harmonies and a passionate intensity. The latter two works were performed in the late 1950s by the Berlin Philharmonic under Tiessen's most loyal pupil - Sergiu Celibidache. Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra; Israel Yinon. Koch Schwann 3-1490-2 (Germany) 03A009 $16.98

KURT HESSENBERG (1908-1994): Symphony No. 2 in A Minor, Op. 29, Concerto for Orchestra No. 1 (Concerto grosso), Op. 18. Tiessen was a director of a socalist workers' chorus which put paid to his career throughout the Third Reich. He was allowed to keep his teaching position but performances of his works were impossible. Hessenberg, on the other hand, had no less a champion than Furtwängler, who, originally attracted by the composer's Concerto grosso (1937), gave the premiere of the second symphony in late 1944. Hessenberg was not a Nazi but he was not their enemy either, winning the National Composition Prize in 1940. He suffered from the same de-Nazification problems which Furtwängler did after the war and, not being anywhere near as famous, slipped into oblivion although he taught and composed for much of the rest of his life. His Concerto grosso is a neo-Classical work in the manner of Hindemith only rather warmer in feel while the 42-minute symphony is a masterful work based on the eternal Germanic musical verities of polyphony and counterpoint. Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra; Leland Sun. Cassandra Records CR 201 (U.S.A.) 03A010 $16.98

TADEUSZ BAIRD (1928-1981): Psychodrama, Oboe Concerto, Scenes for Cello, Harp and Orchestra, Canzona for Orchestra, Concerto lugubre for Viola and Orchestra. Next to Lutoslawski and Penderecki, Baird was the most outstanding of the "Polish School" of avant-garde music which emerged in the late 1950s. Although his language is modern, Baird still writes in a subjective manner, leading some to call him the most "romantic" of the contemporary Polish composers of the time. Psychodrama (1971) is a good example in its brief yet emotionally varied course. His works of the 70s increasing became pessimistic in mood, no more so than in 1976's Concerto lugubre, inspired by the death of his mother; Scenes (1978) is a quarrelsome and opinionated duel between the two solo instruments while Canzona (1980), Baird's last orchestral work is inward-looking and dispassionate. Anne Leek (oboe), Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz; Peter Gülke, Rainer Schmidt (viola), Helga Storck (harp), Klause Storck (cello), Philharmonie de Lorraine; Jacques Houtmann. Koch Schwann Musica Mundi 3-6770-2 (Germany) 03A011 $6.98

OEDOEN PARTOS (1907-1977): Concertino for Strings: Allegro, YEHEZKEL BRAUN (b.1922): ...et laetitia cordis, NOAM SHERIFF (b.1935): Prayers for Strings, THEODOR HOLDHEIM (b.1923): Chaconne for Strings. Partos' concertino dates from 1932 while he was still in Hungary and is in the Bartók, Kodály school; Braun's 1985 work - the only one not for strings only - shows his interest in Gregorian chorale while Holdheim - a mathematician, physician, chemical engineer and philosopher in addition to his musical talents - provides a dense, highly expressive chaconne from 1977. Sheriff (the only Israeli-born composer here) give us a relatively dissonant work (1983) which yet clearly shows the influence of Middle Eastern melismas. Israel Kibbutz Chamber Orchestra; Shalom Ronly Riklis. Koch Schwann Musica Mundi 3-6747-2 (Germany) 03A012 $6.98

NIKOLAI ROSLAVETS (1881-1944): Cello Sonatas Nos. 1 & 2, Meditation for Cello and Piano, Dance of the White Girls for Cello and Piano, 5 Preludes for Piano. Both sonatas and the Meditation date from 1921-22; the latter is in simple ternary form while the two sonatas combine late Romantic expressiveness, a very compact structure and the composer's new technique based on one mode (his "synthetic chord" which was similar both to Scriabin's "Prometheus chord" and to Schoenberg's 12-tone row although Roslavets does not derive a "theme" from it). Dance (1913) is an Impressionistic piece in the manner of Debussy while the piano preludes develop ideas found in Scriabin's op. 74 preludes. Alexander Ivashkin (cello), Tatyana Lazareva (piano). Chandos 9881 (England) 03A013 $16.98

CZESLAW MAREK (1891-1985): Volume 6 - Lieder - 6 Lieder, Op. 1, 2 Lieder, Op. 12, 5 Lenau-Lieder, Op. 17, Ländliche Szenen - 7 Lieder, Op. 30, Dorfgesänge - 7 Lieder, Op. 34a, Annemarie-Foxtrot. The earlier songs here, through op. 17, are in the Austro-German late-Romantic tradition, the Lenau settings being particularly depressive - a comment on Marek's mood in 1917 at the beginning of his Swiss exile. The other two collections are settings of Polish folk poetry (which also appeared in Vol. 3 of this series in their orchestral guise), bright and delightful songs in Marek's new, neo-Classical manner. The foxtrot is Marek's only vocal work in a jazz idiom and, dating from 1937, shows the composer as a possible rival to Schulhoff and Weill. An odd compendium of German texts and English paraphrases, Polish texts with no translation and German-English texts - but of songs sung in Polish!. Elzbieta Szmytka (soprano), Jean Rigby (mezzo), William Dazeley (baritone), Iain Burnside (piano). Koch Schwann 3-6575-2 (Germany) 03A014 $16.98

REINHARD KEISER (1674-1739): Der geliebte Adonis. After the Harmonia Mundi release of Croesus, complete with big publicity push, which we offered a couple of months ago, there comes "under the radar" this nearly four-hour long singspiel telling of the love of the goddess Venus for Adonis which dates from 1697. 35 of the 58 arias are basso continuo and the motivic independence of the voice and accompaniment are always stressed while Keiser employs all possible combinations of the traditional orchestra. A great bargain for devotees of the high Baroque. 3 CDs for the price of 2. German-English texts. Ralf Popken (alto), Marietta Zumbült (soprano), Capella Orlandi Bremen; Thomas Ihlenfeldt. CPO 999 636 (Germany) 03C015 $31.98

LEONARDO LEO (1694-1744): Cello Concertos Nos. 1-5, Sinfonia concertata in C Minor (Concerto No. 6). It is good to have a new, fresh recording of music by a composer who was venerated by his contemporaries and well into the 19th century as one of the greatest Italian masters. From Burney to E.T.A. Hoffman, Europeans sang Leo's praises; how did he wind up a historical footnote? Can't tell from these bright, vibrant, enjoyable concertos from 1737-38! Hidemi Suzuki (cello, piccolo cello), Orchestra "Van Wassenaer"; Makoto Akatsu (violin). BIS CD-1057 (Sweden) 03C016 $17.98

GEORG PHILIPP TELEMANN (1681-1767): De Danske, Norske of Tydske Undersaatters Glaede, Lad, o Herre, Ordets Saed riigelig til os uddeeles, Ha-ha! wo will wi hüt noch danzen, Herre lad til Hviile, mig din Tiener iile. World-premiere recording of the last three cantatas listed above. Danish-English texts. Else Torp (soprano), Rasmus Tofte-Hansen (baritone), Ulla Munch (alto), Bente Vist (soprano), Rasmus Gravers Nilesen (tenor), Convivium, Con Strumenti; John Frandsen. Classico CLASSCD 350 (Denmark) 03C017 $15.98

ALESSANDRO SCARLATTI (1660-1725): Sedecia, Re di Gerusalemme. Dating from 1705, Scarlatti's oratorio uses the same Biblical history which Verdi later used in Nabucco in a work whose secular, humanistic appeal is well-cloaked by its origins to escape the then-prevailing papal bans of "comedies, revelry and all sorts of carnival amusements", which included anything not overtly pietistic. Italian-English texts. 2 CDs. Amor Lillia Perez (alto), Alessandra Capici (soprano), Mario Cecchetti (tenor), Marco Vinco (bass), Ars Cantica Choir, Alessandro Stradella Consort; Estevan Velardi. Bongiovanni GB 2278/79 (Italy) 03C018 $33.98

GIOVANNI BENEDETTO PLATTI (1697-1763): 4 Trios for Violin, Cello and Basso Continuo, Sonatas for Solo Cello Nos. 2-4, Sdegni e disprizzi, Già libero già sciolto. Platti benefitted from the prevailing German interest in Italian music to attain a good post in Wurzbürg; these compositions come from the Wurzbürg library. The trios use the cello as second melody instrument (the count was an amateur cellist) while the two brief vocal works give an idea of Platti's secular vocal style. Full-color, richly illustrated booklet in non-jewel-box packaging; the opposite of Koch's usual procedure. Why? We can only guess... Ruth Liebscher (soprano), Parnassi musici. Koch Schwann 3-6585-2 (Germany) 03C019 $16.98

FRANÇOIS-JOSEPH GOSSEC (1734-1829): Grande Messe des Mort, Symphonie à 17 partes. With its novel instrumental effects, the Messe, written in 1760, was an influential precursor of the later requiem of Berlioz. The symphony (1809) reflects the style of the 1790s. 2 CDS. Latin-English texts. Roberta Invernizzi (soprano), Maite Arruabarrena (mezzo), Howard Crook (tenor), Claude Darbellay (bass), Gruppo Vocale Cantemus, Chorus and Orchestra of Swiss-Italian Radio; Diego Fasolis. Naxos 8.554750-51 (New Zealand) 03C020 $11.98

GIOVANNI BATTISTA VIOTTI (1755-1824): Complete Violin Concertos, Vol. 8 - No. 10 in B Flat, G56, No. 25 in A, G124 & No. 26 in B Flat, G121. Viotti's last nine violin concertos date from his London period where the use of a large orchestra, deeply felt slow movements and less virtuosic solo writing mark the style; cnocertos 25 and 26 date from 1792-97 and fulfill the above descriptions - no. 26 being particularly lyrically introverted. From the Paris years of 1783-86, the tenth concerto positively bristles with energy, optimism and technical and musical creativity. Symphonia Perusina, Franco Mezzena (violin). Dynamic CDS 364 (Italy) 03C021 $17.98

ANTONIO SALIERI (1750-1825): Overtures to Cublai, gran kan de' Tartari, Angiolina, ossia Il matrimonio per sussuro, Falstaff, ossia Le tre burle and La locandiera, 26 Variations on "La folia di Spagna", Sinfonia Veneziana in D, Sinfonia "Il giorno onomastico" in D. Although two of the works here are first recordings (the overtures to Cublai and La locandiera - both festive and attractively scored), the most striking piece is the late (1815) set of variations on La folia. Using a very large orchestra (harp, three trombones, timpani and tambourine in addition to the usual), it rings the rhythmic changes on the theme while giving many solo instruments their moment in the spotlight. Brilliant and sparkling fun! London Mozart Players; Matthias Bamert. Chandos 9877 (England) 03C022 $16.98

ANDRÉ-ERNEST-MODESTE GRÉTRY (1741-1813): Overtures to Le jugement de Midas, L'Épreuve villageoise, Le tableau parlante, Le huron, L'amitié a L'épreuve, L'ami de la maison, Le magnifique and Guillaume Tell, Suites from Céphale et Procris, Lucile and Zémire et Amor. Grétry was a fabulous tunesmith in the fashion of 20th century Broadway songwriters but his orchestration technique was lacking. Many of the suites and overtures heard here were reworked by such varied hands as Felix Mottl, Beecham and Antonio de Almeida to produce the rich orchestral clothing which shows off the tunes to their best advantage. Orchestre de Bretagne; Stefan Sanderling. ASV DCA 1095 (England) 03C023 $16.98

JOHANN CHRISTIAN BACH (1735-1782): Piano Concertos, Op. 13, Nos. 4-6 & Op. 14. Op. 13/4 was Bach's most popular keyboard concerto, containing as it did a finale based on the Scotch song The Yellow Hair'd Laddie; op. 14 (1776), Bach's longest keyboard concerto, least characteristic of his maturity, exploits a keyboard compass of five octaves. The Hanover Band; Anthony Halstead (fortepiano). CPO 999 691 (Germany) 03C024 $15.98

JOHANN BAPTIST VANHAL (1739-1813): Symphonies, Vol. 2 - in B Flat, D Minor and in G. Three more of Vanhal's 80-odd symphonies - sure to delight all collectors of 18th century symphonies - especially the D minor work which makes use of 5 (!) horns and was possibly written for Prince Esterházy's orchestra. City of London Sinfonia; Andrew Watkinson. Naxos 8.554138 (New Zealand) 03C025 $5.98

JOHANNES MATTHIAS SPERGER (1750-1812): Symphonies in C, F and B Flat. Born in what is now Slovakia, Sperger wrote most of his 45 symphonies while he was employed in Pressburg (Bratislava now). These works receive their world premiere recordings here from this Slovakian period-instrument group; although later editions added winds and brass, these original versions are for strings only. Musica Aeterna Bratislava; Peter Zajécek. Naxos 8.554764 (New Zealand) 03C026 $5.98

GIACOMO MEYERBEER (1791-1864): Robert le Diable. Based very loosely on a half-demonic figure of Norman legend, Meyerbeer's two main characters are echoes of Max and Caspar in Der Freischütz and the opera was designed to appeal to the afficionados of the supernatural who had just made Boieldieu's La dame blance a great success. First produced in 1831, it secured Meyerbeer's success as one of the pre-eminent opera composers of his day. Italian-English libretto. 3 CDs. Warren Mok (tenor), Patrizia Ciofi (soprano), Giorgio Surian (bass), Bratislava Chamber Choir, Orchestra Internazionale d'Italia; Renato Palumbo. Dynamic CDS 368/1-3 (Italy) 03C027 $53.98

ANTONÍN REICHA (1770-1836): L'Art de Varier, Op. 57. This remarkable work was published in 1801 - which makes the Schumannesque theme all the more astonishing, to say nothing of the 56 variations which develop mainly in a polyphonic and contrapuntal way with the latter sometimes as thick as four voices. Only four variations are titled (and only one descriptively - a March funèbre) and there are few dynamic and expressive indications, leaving the pianist to interpret it as freely as he/she likes. This version clocks in at 76 minutes and is like a 57-course musical banquet for Classical/Romantic piano music fanciers. Mauro Masala (piano). Dynamic CDS 363 (Italy) 03C028 $17.98

LOUISE FARRENC (1804-1875): Nonet for Wind Quintet, Violin, Viola, Cello and Double Bass, Op. 38, Sextet for Piano and Winds, Op. 40. Unusual in their instrumental combinations for mid-19th century France, these are two lovely works full of early Romanticism. The nonet was written in 1849 and has some symphonic pretensions in the two adagio introductions to the first movement and to the finale as well as a particularly orchestral-sounding scherzo. The busy and virtuosic solo violin part was written for the 15-year-old Joachim, who took part in the work's premiere in 1850. The 1851 sextet marries a virtuosic piano part (for Farrenc herself) to the wind quintet style of the composer's teacher, Antonín Reicha. Chamber Soloists of the Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz. Bayer Records 100 325 (Germany) 03C029 $17.98

ADOLPH HENSELT (1814-1889): Piano Trio in A Minor, Op. 24, Duo for Piano and Horn in B Minor, Op. 14, Solo Piano: Berceuse, Op. 13/1, 2 Nocturnes, Op. 6, Variations de Concert, Op. 1. Henselt's virtuoso career was torpedoed by his personal reticence about appearing in public and his compositional career was impeded by his teaching duties at the Russian court in St. Petersburg. He left only four works not for solo piano and two of them are here - the 1851 trio, dedicated to Liszt, in which extra-musical virtuosity in the piano part is largely eschewed, and the 1842 duo which shows the other side of that coin. The three piano pieces are in the romantic "Song Without Words" style while the op. 1 variations helped shoot the young Henselt into fame on waves of enthusiasm from Schumann and his circle. Claudius Tanski (piano), Benjamin Schimd (violin), Clemens Hagen (cello), Vincent Lévesque (horn). MD&G 312 1022 (Germany) 03C030 $17.98

HEINRICH VON HERZOGENBERG (1843-1900): Piano Trio No. 1, Op. 24, Piano Trio No. 2, Op. 36. As we've noted in previous issues of this composer's music, Herzogenberg had an admiration of Brahms which approached actual fixation. The perceptive notes to this issue ask whether Brahms' cool reaction to Herzogenberg's works was perhaps due to the uncanny resemblance to his own - a resemblance which may have confronted the older composer with self-doubt or self-criticism. Regardless, it's certain that one could easily think that one was listening to a newly discovered work by the mature Brahms in either one of these gorgeous trios which date from 1877 and 1882 Arensky Trio. Antes Edition 31.9152 (Germany) 03C031 $17.98

AGATHE BACKER GRØNDAHL (1847-1907): 6 Études de Concert, Op. 11, 3 Morceaux, Op. 15, 5 Skizzer, Op. 19, Suite, Op. 20, 3 Études, Op. 22. Norway's only major composer in the 19th century who was a woman, Grøndahl was also a brilliant pianist who studied under Kullak, von Bülow and Liszt. Her etudes are ambitious pieces filled not only with poetry but with a masculine power, drama and passion, making heavy demands on technique, melodic and harmonic beauty and pianistic brilliance. From the other side of her output come the Skizzer and Morceaux - genre pieces written for the diletanttes of the living room and the salon. Geir Henning Braaten (piano). BIS CD-1106 (Sweden) 03C032 $17.98

GABRIEL PIERNÉ (1863-1937): Cydalise et le chèvre-pied - Complete Ballet. World Premiere Recording of this 1914-15 ballet which, looking nostalgically back to the "Fêtes Galantes" of Versailles in the 18th century, is set in that evocative milieu of parks, aristocratic residences, nocturnal reveries, moonlight, basins and fountains, serenades, madrigals and pavanes which was so dear to not only composers but also artists of the late 19th century. In three acts, the tale is set in the park of Versailles and tells of the young faun Styrax who is smitten with love for the maiden Cydalise. The score is awash with luminous tone colors, atmospheric orchestration (generally very clear light-textured and transparent) and sparklingly fresh invention. Collège Vocal de la Cathédrale de Metz, Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra; David Shallon. Timpany 1C1059 (France) 03C033 $18.98

SIR JOHN BLACKWOOD MCEWEN (1868-1948): Violin Sonatas Nos. 2 & 6, Sonata-Fantasia (No. 5) for Violin and Piano, Prince Charlie - A Scottish Rhapsody for Violin and Piano. This is the first in a series of recordings which will encompass all of McEwen's published piano music and nine of his seventeen string quartets. The second sonata was written in 1914 while the composer was on leave from the Royal Academy of Music for health reasons and living near Bordeaux. The work is like a compressed, leaner version of Franck - three movements played attacca, frequent modulations, a very chromatic, F minor tonality but less luxuriant, with the cyclic form compressed. The Sonata-Fantasia is a joyful piece from 1921 with an impressionistic evocation of ringing cathedral bells and Scottish dance music with Franckian and Impressionist harmony convincingly synthesized while the sixth sonata (1924) lacks the passions and innovations of form of its predecessors. The first movement is in a traditional sonata-allegro form with harmonies somewhere between early Debussy and Fauré, a surprisingly stark, pain-filled slow movement which showed that McEwen knew what Schoenberg, Bartók and Prokofiev were doing around the same time and a sprightly, toccata-like finale Olivier Charlier (violin), Geoffrey Tozer (piano). Chandos 9880 (England) 03C034 $16.98

OTTORINO RESPIGHI (1879-1936): String Quartet in D Minor, Quartetto dorico. The 1909 D minor quartet is Respighi's first completed work in the genre although there are many movements and movement fragments extant from works prior to it. There are places in the piece which look ahead to Respighi's devotion to Gregorian chant and to his interest in Rossini but, for the most part, this is a late Romantic work of some eclecticism. The 1924 Dorico is, of course, a single-movement work based on the home key of E minor which, refers to the first ancient tone of Gregorian chant, and which, nevertheless, still falls into four easily comprehensible sections. Quartetto d'archi di Venezia. Dynamic CDS 276 (Italy) 03C035 $17.98

EDE POLDINI (1869-1957): Farsangi Lakodalom - Comic Opera in 3 Acts. Hungarian-born, Poldini spent his life after 1908 in Switzerland, where he wrote this opera, which proved to be his greatest success, in 1923. In it, Poldini combined the French-German comic opera tradition with the Hungarian opera idiom of the 19th century. The verbunkos is used cunningly to insinuate a sense of Hungarian tone to the music and it is well merged with German diatonicism. The setting is a Hungarian manor house of the 18th century and, to complete the image, scenes, genre pictures and lyrics of Biedermeyer atmosphere are added to the libretto. 2 CDs. Hungarian-English libretto. György Melis (baritone), Júlia Pászthy (soprano), József Hormai Horváth (tenor), Hungarian Radio and Television Chorus, Budapest Symphony Orchestra; Tamás Breitner. Hungaroton HCD 31974-75 (Hungary) 03C036 $33.98

VINCENT GAMBARO (late 17th cen. - early 18th. cen.): 4 Quatuors Concertants for Flute, Clarinet, Horn and Bassoon. The latest excavation from Dieter Klöcker and his Consortium Classicum is of wind quartets from a Genoese musician whose brother ran a successful publishing company in Paris. Three of these quartets are dedicated to the noted clarinettist Charles Dunervoy and are typical of the many such works composed in the 1790s and first decade of the 19th century: generally light, full of charming and gracious melodies and giving each instrument its opportunity to shine. Consortium Classicum. MD&G 301 1009 (Germany) 03C037 $17.98

FLORENT SCHMITT (1870-1958): Suite en Rocaille for Flute, Viola, Cello and Harp, Op. 84, ALBERT ROUSSEL (1869-1937): Sérénade for Flute, String Trio and Harp, Op. 30, Impromptu for Harp, Op. 21, Trio for Flute and String Trio, JACQUES IBERT(1890-1962): Trio for Violin, Cello and Harp. All of these works are evocative of spring - vernal, sun-drenched works which meander between pastoral idyll and lively, dance-like celebrations of joy. (As I write this, the East Coast is preparing for another Nor'easter - I've more than served my time there, including the 24-inches of snow in 12 hours of Feb. 7 - permit me to indulge in one muted sigh of relief/satisfaction... it was 72F here today in Tucson). Marie-Claire Jamet (harp), Christian Lardé (flute), Quatuor Rosamonde. Pierre Verany PV700014 (France) 03C038 $17.98

FELICE LATTUADA (1882-1962): Le preziose ridicole. Written in 1929, this one-act opera is in a deliberately old-fashioned style, as befits its subject, a tale by Molière of the social pretensions of the minor aristocracy. Much of the music could be minor Mozart, and that which could not never ventures this side of Puccini. So, a charming divertimento, then, which makes its ironic points that much more surely through the adoption of an idiom in which such matters have traditionally been treated. Budget-price. Italian-English libretto. Vocal Soloists, Coro del Teatro Comunale Rossini di Lugo, Orchestra Sinfonia dell'Emilia Romagna "Arturo Toscanini"; Gianfranco Masini. Aura AUR 410-2 (Italy) 03C039 $5.98

GERALD FINZI (1901-1956): Concerto for Small Orchestra and Violin, Prelude, Op. 25, Romance, Op. 11, In Years Defaced for Tenor and Orchestra. First recording of the violin concerto of 1925-27, a three-movement work whose first movement caused its composer no little trouble, prompting him ultimately to lay it aside and to publish the second movement separately as the Introit in 1935. This recording uses his revision of the first movement, abstract and contrapuntal; the slow movement is rapt and paved the way for similar works like the Prelude and Romance on this disc while the hornpipe finale is breezy and folksy. In Years Defaced is a pseudo-song-cycle commissioned by the Finzi trust for the composer's centenary which features five songs orchestrated by Judith Weir, Colin Matthews, Anthony Payne, Christian Alexander and Jeremy Dale Roberts in addition to one which Finzi himself set (four of the poems are by Hardy, making for a somewhat connected sequence). English texts. Tasmin Little (violin), John Mark Ainsley (tenor), City of London Sinfonia; Richard Hickox. Chandos 9888 (England) 03C040 $16.98

PERCY GRAINGER (1882-1961): The Grainger Edition, Vol. 16: Piano Works I - Preludes in G and C, Gigue, Andante con moto, 4 Klavierstücke, Peace, Saxon Twi-Play, Eastern Intermezzo, English Waltz, At Twilight, Train Music, Sailor's Song, Walking Tune, 3 Scotch Folksongs, Scotch Strathspey and Reel, Seven men from all the world, Paraphrase on Tchaikovsky's Flower Waltz, Irish Tune from County Derry, Near Woodstock Town, In Dahomey. The first of who-knows-how-many volumes of Grainger's piano music opens with three world premiere recordings of pieces from the composer's eleventh year (the first already shows his life-long love of Bach). Another first recording is that of Seven men... a "Kipling Setting"of 1901 which oozes with bar-room vulgarity and the scent of the music-hall. The longest piece here is the Tchaikovsky paraphrase of the same year which concluded Grainger's debut recital; the remainder are of the (un)predictably, kaleidoscopically varied collection of piano originals, orchestral or chamber reductions or sketches and jottings which continuously poured forth from this incredibly fecund mind. Penelope Thwaites (piano). Chandos 9895 (England) 03C041 $16.98

ARTHUR SHEPHERD (1880-1958): Piano Quintet, 5 Songs, Piano Solo: Two-Step, Exotic Dance No. 1, From a Mountain Lake, Gigue Fantasque. Our second offering from this Utah label which focuses on Mormon composers brings the strong and striking 1940 quintet, rich in chromatic harmonies and inhabiting a world influenced by Bloch and Bartók. This is a work which belongs in the performance repertoire and which repays repeated hearings. The songs range from a Brahmsian late romanticism to a more hard-edged sensibility while the piano pieces range from Shepherd's own "Golliwog's Cakewalk" equivalent to the nostalgic nature impression of ...Mountain Lake. Abramyan String Quartet, JoAnn Ottley (soprano), Grant Johannesen (piano). Tantara TCD039808HS (U.S.A.) 03C042 $16.98

POUL SCHIERBECK (1888-1949): Sonata in G Minor, Op. 5, Southwest, Sweater and Shag, Op. 31, 2 Fantastic Etudes, Op. 4, Intermezzo, Op. 8, 3 Pieces, Op. 7, Rhapsodic Piece. All but one of these pieces (Schierbeck's complete output for piano) date from the years around World War I, with the sonata probably having been begun in 1913 but finalized only in 1915. There is a touch of Russian exoticism about the first movement while the second is a set of variations on a stark D minor theme while the finale is a prelude and fugue. The op. 4 etudes (previously offered by us on the Classico label) are a joy ride of fright and exuberance; the 1915 op. 7 pieces are a drawing-room waltz, a more harmonically disturbing waltz and a dark, Szymanowskian mazurka; the Rhapsodic Piece is the original finale to the sonata and the Intermezzo Franckian in its form and theme. Dating from 1932, op. 31 is a vividly descriptive set of maritime impressions ("Ship's Tackle", "Choppy Sea", "The Ocean's Lullaby", "Ship's Wake" and "Accordion") which show a great development in Schierbeck's harmonic language. Tove Lonskov (piano). Kontrapunkt 32310 (Denmark) 03C043 $16.98

PANCHO VLADIGEROV (1899-1978): Sonatina Concertante, Op. 28, ALEXANDER TANEV (1928-1996): Sonata, PENCHO STOYANOV (b.1931): Sonata, Metamorphoses, PLAMEN DJOUROV (b.1949): Sonata. More Vladigerov for those of you who've been asking: although it's not folk-inspired, nationally colored Vladigerov - his 1935 Sonatina is generally neo-classical in style with intimations of Bulgarian origins in its rhythms rather than in its melodies. Stoyanov's sonata is also informed by a bright, easy -flowing neo-classicism while Tanev's work from the mid-60s is dissonantly tonal, with motoric rhythms the base of its outer movements which surround a poetic Largo. Djourov's brief, seven-minute sonata is a concentrated triptych with hushed, gloomy bell-sounds embracing a rushed, whirling center. Ivan Eftimov (piano). Gega GD 234 (Bulgaria) 03C044 $16.98

ALEXANDER SCRIABIN (1872-1915): Symphony No. 3 in C, Op. 43 "Le Divin Poème", Le Poème de l'extase, Op. 54. These two-piano transcriptions were made by Lev Konyus, one of Scriabin's teachers, to help conductors fully grasp the intricacies of the scores. Once thought to be lost, these transcriptions have evoked considerable admiration as powerful (and difficult to play) works in their own right. Ilona Prunyi and Sándor Falvai (pianos). Naxos 8.555327 (New Zealand) 03C045 $5.98

HANS PFITZNER (1869-1949): Lieder - Complete Edition. German-English texts. 5 CDs. Special price. With some of the finest of today's young singers, this edition looks set to be the touchstone for studies and appreciation of Pfitzner's entire uvre. Julie Kaufmann (soprano), Iris Vermillion (mezzo), Christoph Prégardien (tenor), Andreas Schmidt (baritone), Robert Holl (bass), Donald Sulzen, Axel Bauni, Michael Gees, Rudolf Jansen (piano). CPO 999 789 (Germany) 03C046 $41.99

ALAN HOVHANESS (1911-2000): Khaldis - Concerto for Piano, 4 Trumpets and Percussion, Op. 91, Mount Katahdin - Sonata for Piano, Op. 405, Fantasy for Piano, Op. 16. This recording of Khaldis (a pre-Armenian god of the universe) appeared on a Poseidon Society LP back in 1972. Composed in 1951, it suggests the origins of music in a primitive culture yet does so using severe contrapuntal discipline while the ideas it uses are all Near Eastern in nature. Mount Katahdin dates from1987 (this is a brand new recording) and its longest movement, the first, returns again to Hovhaness' fascination with the majesty of mountains - "man's attempt to know God"; a lullaby and a ceremonial evocation lead to a final heroic movement. The composer recorded the Fantasy in 1970; this early work, like some Cage of the same period, uses mallet instruments of various types as well as the hand itself to play the strings inside the piano (the keyboard is used as well) and is dedicated to the Indian god of music. Martin Berkofsky (piano), William Rohdin, Dan Cahn, Francis Bonny, Patrick Dougherty (trumpets), Neal Boyar (percussion), Alan Hovhaness (piano - op. 16 - mono). Crystal Records CD814 (U.S.A.) 03C047 $16.98

REZSÖ SUGÁR (1919-1988): Hunyadi. Sugár was a student of Kodály and followed in his master's footsteps, devoting himself mostly to Hungarian national topics. Hunyadi (1951) was his first major success and won him the Kossuth Prize in 1954. An oratorio in the fashion of Honegger, it tells the story, through recitative, chorus and solos, of the hero János Hunyadi who defeated a Turkish invasion in 1456. Powerful music, identifiably Hungarian, skillfuly handled; first CD issue of a 1969 recording. Hungarian texts. Gabriella Déry (soprano), Erzsébet Komlóssy (contralto), József Simándy (tenor), György Melis (baritone), Budapest Chorus, Children's Chorus of the Hungarian Radio and Television, Hungarian State Orchestra; Miklós Forrai. Hungaroton HCD 31794 (Hungary) 03C048 $16.98

FERENC FARKAS (1905-2000): Fruit Basket for Soprano, Clarinet, Viola and Piano, Omaggio a Pessoa for Tenor, Mixed Choir and Orchestra, Rose Madrigal for Mixed Choir, Correspondances for Piano, Aspirationes Principis - Rákóczi-Cantata for Tenor, Baritone and Orchestra. This collection celebrating one of Hungary's grand old men of music ranges from the brief, playful and simple nursery rhyme-inspired Fruit Basket (1947) to the grand and dramatic 1975 cantata celebrating the 300th anniversary of the birth of Ferenc Rákóczi; the 1957 Correspondances shows Farkas' modernist side with its use of 12-tone style. Hungarian-English, Portuguese-Hungarian, Latin-English texts. Mária Zempléni (soprano), Ferenc Farkas (piano), Jenö Jandó (piano), other soloists, Hungarian Radio and Television Chorus, Budapest Symphony Orchestra; András Ligeti, Ádám Medveczky. Hungaroton HCD 31978 (Hungary) 03C049 $16.98

LALO SCHIFRIN (b.1932): Hommage à Ravel, GUNTHER SCHULLER (b.1925): Piano Trio, GERALD M. SHAPIRO (b.1942): Piano Trio. Schifrin's 1995 piece is an eclectic mixture of impressionism, African and South American elements, jazz and Middle-Eastern scales; Schuller's trio (1984) is an example of the "third stream" movement in which the boundaries between classical and jazz are removed while Shapiro's work (1992) reflects the post-impressionism and contrapuntalism of his teachers Milhaud and Boulanger while mixing in a bit of post-Webernian serialism and jazz. Eaken Piano Trio. Naxos American Classics 8.559062 (U.S.A.) 03C050 $5.98

IRWIN BAZELON (1922-1995): Woodwind Quintet, Imprints...on Ivory and Strings for Piano, Sound Dreams for Chamber Ensemble, 5 Pieces for Piano, Brass Quintet. The composer's own summary of his style applies nicely to these fine and vibrant chamber and instrumental works: "Prominence of musical line depends on dynamics, impact accents, phrasing, rhythmic propulsion, color and contrast. There are certain 12-tone and jazz elements present, neither strict nor formal. And,the triplet is my musical heartbeat". So, as one would expect from this, the music abounds in unexpected rhythmic changes and abrupt and exciting dynamic strokes. The brass quintet is especially thrilling and dramatic, while the introspective Sound Dreams - an in memoriam piece - is serious and plumbs some genuinely sombre depths. Various artists. CRI CD-871 (U.S.A.) 03C051 $16.98

HRÓDMAR INGI SIGUBJÖRNSSON (b.1958): Stokkseyri for Countertenor and Chamber Orchestra, Septet for Flute, Clarinet, Percussion, Piano, Violin, Viola and Cello. Sigurbjörnsson started his musical career in pop music, then underwent an intensive course of study of avant-garde techniques, encompassing serialism and the theories of Stockhausen, Boulez and Ligeti. Then in the 1990s he rediscovered Romanticism, and these two very tonal works were among the first results of this new direction. The orchestral song cycle sets poems of Isak Hardarson, which conjure a strange personal mythology, and the settings are boldly harmonised and make full use of the unusual timbre of the countertenor, while the instrumental parts seem to hint at folk music without any apparent conscious borrowings from any tradition. The septet is full of evocative nature-sounds, warmly and Romantically expressed, with a central-European sense of harmony. Sverrir Gudjónsson (countertenor), Caput. ITM-7-13 (Iceland) 03C052 $17.98

BUNYA KOH (1910-1983): Sonata festosa, Op. 17, KASUO YAMADA (1912-1991): Notturno, Op. 23, MEIRO SUGAWARA (1897-1988): La joueuse de flute for Declamation and Flute, KIKUKO KANAI (1906-1986): Variations on "Tensagunu-hana", RYUTARO HIROTA (1893-1952): Variations on "Kutsuga-naru", SHIGEAKI SAEGUSA (b.1942): The Blue Angel, KOSAKU YAMADA (1886-1965): Variations on "Kono-michi", TAKASHI YOSHIMATSU (b.1953): Digital Bird Suite, Op. 15, YOSHINAO NAKATA (1923-2000): Japanese Autumn Song. This release contains a history of Japanese flute music from 1930 to 1999, the earlier pieces calling to mind the sounds of the shakuhachi and other traditional Japanese flute-like instruments and making use of folk elements, the later ones showing a wide variety of influences, from French Impressionism to neo-Romanticism. Manuela Wiesler (flute), Noriko Ogawa (piano, recitation). BIS CD-1059 (Sweden) 03C053 $17.98

GIACINTO SCELSI (1905-1988): The Orchestra Works I - Hymnos for Organ and 2 Orchestras, Hurqualia for Large Orchestra, Konx-Om-Pax for Large Orchestra and Choir, Canti del Capricorno Nos. 1, 2, 14, 15, 18 & 19. If you like Xenakis, chances are you like Scelsi too; this first volume of the reclusive Italian composer's orchestral works will draw enthusiastic praise from the initiated.. Only Konx-Om-Pax was available recently (on the French Accord label, which is sorting itself out after acquisition by Warner Classics) on CD; the Canti del Capricorno were available on Wergo with the Japanese vocalist they were written for but not in their orchestral guise. Hymnos (1963) is Scelsi's longest single movement and it divides a large orchestra into equal parts to work over an obsessive unison D. Huqualia (1960) was the composer's first orchestral work of his compositional maturity: each of its four movements obsesses on a single note. The work's sub-title "A Different Realm" is not kidding - this music is violent, impuslive, loud and fast. The fact that this music is performed by a college choir and orchestra (who have introduced both Scelsi's and Xenakis' music to Carnegie Hall) is a matter of wonder. Pauline Vaillancourt (soprano), Douglas Ahlstedt (tenor), Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic and Concert Choir; Juan Pablo Izquierdo. Mode 95 (U.S.A.) 03C054 $16.98

LESLIE BASSETT (b.1923): Concerto Lirico for Trombone and Orchestra, Concerto for Orchestra, Thoughts that Sing, Breathe, and Burn for Orchestra. Adept at writing for large symphony orchestra, Bassett composes scores that teem with color and orchestral detail while retaining an exemplary clarity of line. The concerto for orchestra is the largest and most impressive example of this on this disc. While not sounding particularly like its illustrious forebears in the form, it shares with them the property of using the orchestra as a large group of smaller ensembles, each with its own character. The compositional devices and harmony are both original and accessible; while this is not a 'simple' work, one always feels the presence of structure and a clearly defined progression; the music is genuinely exciting, with great momentum and exuberance. Most recommendable. Seattle Symphony Orchestra; Gerard Schwarz, Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra; Vít Micka. MMC 2090 (U.S.A.) 03C055 $16.98

LEON LEVITCH (b.1927): Symphony No. 2, Op. 18 "The Taos", Elegy for Strings, Op. 20, Suite for Flute, String Orchestra and Harp, Op. 7. Leon Levitch's music is solidly crafted and full of genuine depth of feeling and emotion. There is perhaps a certain naïveté in his avoidance of any suggestion of the avant-garde, but his adherence to romantic models seems totally genuine and there is no doubt that the music expresses very real feelings. The Taos Symphony suggests an extended tone poem in symphonic form suggested by the impressive natural surroundings in which the composer found himself at the time of composition. The elegy is a heartfelt in memoriam piece for a friend killed in an accident. A Holocaust survivor, Levitch seems to use his compositional gifts to celebrate the most important aspects of his life, and this gives the scores a definite ring of sincerity. American Youth Symphony, UCLA Student Chamber Orchestra; Mehli Mehta. Cambria CD-1123 (U.S.A.) 03C056 $16.98

ELENA KATS-CHERNIN (b.1957): Purple Prelude, Russian Rag, Sonata Lost and Found, Alexander Rag, Stur in Dur, Variations in a Serious Black Dress, Suburban Rag, Schubert Blues, Get Well Rag. Here is an interesting case indeed - a composer who came out of the Soviet regime, with the background of Russian culture that this implies, who studied extensively with Helmut Lachenmann, and who writes approachable and original, and highly entertaining, piano pieces, often on the lighter side and frequently with a wry hint of self-mockery, whenever she catches herself being too serious. Her rags are delightfully appealing - not 'light', but the very opposite of 'heavy, and each with its own character and a story to tell. The piano tradition of Rachmaninov and Prokofiev is certainly there in the background, but the music often seems to have less to do with the serious concert tradition than this would suggest, and even minimalism has its place in her personal vocabulary. Definitely a disc to enjoy. Lisa Moore (piano). Tall Poppies TP 147 (Australia) 03C057 $18.98

GEORGY DMITRIEV (b.1942): The Testament of Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol for Reader, Soloists and Mixed Unaccompanied Choir. This large-scale composition is a major work to be added to the already distinguished Russian choral tradition. Taking as its point of departure writings of Gogol, Dmitriev's work sets Gogol's texts interspersed with liturgical texts from various sources, the whole representing a powerfully expressed spiritual journey in music. The musical language owes much to Russian liturgical writing; predoominantly slow-moving as befits serious music intended for performance in a large reverberant space, modal and with a preponderance of minor-key harmonies; one can easily imagine oneself as participant in some solemn ritual of the Orthodox church. Powerful and moving. Nikolay Burlyaev (reader), Greater Choir of the Academy of Choral Art; Viktor Popov. Boheme CDBMR 911109 (Russia) 03C058 $16.98

THEO LOEVENDIE: Esmée. A story of a (somewhat ambiguous) heroine of the Dutch resistance during the World War II, Esmée is a very suitable subject for an opera exploring the themes of fate, love and the equivocal motivations that lead to people's actions in extreme circumstances, and that is what the composer has provided here. Using a personal technique derived from serialism, in which intervals both of pitch and time are flexible but remain in similar relation from one event to the one adjacent to it, Loevendie has produced a score which sounds vaguely Second Viennese - more Berg than the others - and which incorporates as appropriate fragments and allusions relating to other periods of music history. The work is an undoubted dramatic and narrative success, with strongly delineated and grateful vocal writing and powerful characterisation. Soloists, Chor und Extrachor de Bühnen der Stadt Bielefeld, Das Philharmonische Orchester; Geoffrey Moull. Donemus CV 74/75 (Netherlands) 03C059 $37.98

EMIL PETROVICS (b.1930): C'est la Guerre, Cantata No. 6 "We Shall Rest!". These two choral works with orchestra and soloists are respectively a one-act opera on the subject of the reactions of individuals to each other in the face of imminent war, and a cantata to a text from "Uncle Vanya" of Chekhov. The music-drama owes much to the European operatic tradition, even to Puccini, though in terms of musical language the most apparent and obvious comparison is Bartók, especially Bluebeard. The cantata is in a more restrained, ascetic style, almost resembling devotional music, though in its own way it packs as much dramatic punch as the more obviously extrovert music drama. The music is freely tonal and sumptuously harmonised and orchestrated. Most recommendable. Vocal soloists, Hungarian State Opera Chorus and Orchestra; Tamás Blum, Debrecen Kodály Choir, Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra; Emil Petrovics. Hungaroton HCD 31958 (Denmark) 03C060 $16.98

PÉTER EÖTVÖS (b.1944): 2 Monologues for Baritone and Orchestra, Harakiri for Reciter, 2 Shakuhachi and Wood-Cutter, Tale for Voice and Electronics, Insetti Galanti for Ensmeble, Cricketmusic for Organized Nature Sounds. An element of the theatrical has always been present in Eötvös' music, so it comes as no surprise that these vocal works, in some cases derived from stage music, are especially striking and successful. Two Monologues draws from music from Eötvös' opera Three Sisters, and is perhaps surprisingly free of avant-garde effects, relying more on powerful and somber orchestral textures and vocal writing not so very far removed from Gurrelieder. The other works are more 'theatrical' in a performance-art sense, and make use of 'non-musical' sounds in their aural 'staging', as well as electronic effects and extended playing techniques. Whatever their sources and techniques, all these works make a powerful dramatic impact, highly suggestive of their respective subjects. Various Artists. Budapest Music Center BMC038 (Hungary) 03C061 $17.98

ALEXANDRE RABINOVITCH (b.1945): La Triade - Sinfonia concertante for Amplified Violin and Orchestra, Das tibetanische Gebet for Chorus and Ensemble. This music is most unusual in that it is both immediately accessible and unmistakably modern, without being patronisingly simple or overly ingratiatring. Elements of Romanticism rub shoulders with minimalism without suggesting the retrospective throwbacks of the one or the over-ready appeal which does not hold up under repeated examination of much of the other. La Triade is effectively a violin concerto; the violin is amplified, but much of what it actually plays could have wandered in out of a greatest hits of the romantic violin repertoire sampler. Sparkling textures and lush harmony contribute to the appeal. The cantata is in a similar language, and again exerts a ready appeal without oversimplification. Most enjoyable while not lacking seriousness of purpose, and an unexpected pleasure for those suspicious of music from the latter part of the 20th century. Yoyoi Toda (violin), Orchestra di Padova e Veneto; Alexandre Rabinovitch, Chamber Chorus of the Tallinn Academy of Music, Ensemble "Hortus Musicus"; Alexandre Rabinovitch. Doron DRC 3033 (Switzerland) 03C062 $17.98

ANTHONY GILBERT (b.1934): Dream Carousels, Quartet of Beasts, Igórochki, Six of the Bestiary, Towards Asavari. It is difficult to say which is the most iimpressive characteristic of Gilbert's music - the endless inventiveness of his sonorities, the crisp eccentricity of his characterisations, or the effortless ease with which he incorporates techniques from the entire history of 20th century music into his compositions. The most obvious model is neoclassical Stravinsky, in rhythmic vitality and clarity of line - but this does not account for the occasional appearance of microtones, minimalism and multiphonics. Influenced by Indian music, the composer again incorporates elements that may be recognised as belonging to traditions outside Western concert music, but these are more in the nature of inflections than quotations. All in all, a marvellously vital oeuvre with abundant humor and energy. John Turner (recorders), Peter Lawson (piano), RNCM New Ensemble and Wind Orchestra; Clark Rundell, Timothy Reynish. NMC D068 (England) 03C063 $17.98

PAUL ARCHBOLD (b.1964): 5 Études en mouvement for Piano, Of Crossed Destinies for Harp, Pas de Deux for Viola and Piano, Disenchanted Voices for Flute, Viola and Harp, FABRICE FITCH (b.1967): Commentaire en forme de Prologue sur "Filigranes pour les Frères Limbourg" for Flute, Recorder, Oboe, Viola and Cello, Structures en Bronze for Trombone and Percussion, Filigranes pour les Frères Limbourg for Ensemble, 3 Pieces from Wind-Up for Piano. Not exactly complexicist, but some distance from new simplicity or neo-Romanticism, these solo and chamber works by two youngish UK-domiciled composers share an eclectic view of developments in 20th-century music. Fitch is an authority on early music, though this only shows when he expressly wants it to. S ome extended instrumental techniques are in evidence; for the most part these works occupy the realm of free atonality familiar to us from a good deal of music written by the younger generation of European composers. Peter Hill (piano), Hugh Webb (harp), Ensemble Exposé; Roger Redgate. Metier MSV CD 92042 (England) 03C064 $17.98

JAMES SELLARS: Piano Sonatas Nos. 1-6, Sonatina. The composer has expressed a view that it is redundant for one composer to adopt a style and always write in it, and so these six sonatas and one sonatina run the gamut of piano styles from neoclassicism through lush evocative post-impressionism, to a kind of "avant-garde lite". In order to emphasise these differences in style, each work is performed by a different pianist. Between the kaleidoscope of different piano techniques and the variety of performance styles of the pianists, this disc redefines the term "multifaceted". None of the works is unapproachable by any means, though obviously some have more direct appeal at first acquaintance than others. It seems that there may be more uniformity of language here than the composer suggests - certainly it does not sound as though this is a rag-bag of unrelated work by different composers of totally unrelated outlooks on their craft. Fermin Bernetxea, Anthony de Mare, Julian Jacobson, Aki Takahashi, Scott Dunn, Lisa Moore, Jean-Pierre Dupuy (piano). CRI CD 869 (U.S.A.) 03C065 $16.98

STEPHEN DANKNER (b.1944): Song of Solomon (Symphony No. 3), Hurricane for Orchestra, Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra. Dankner is another American composer whose works emphasize melody, rich textures and colorful, emotionally direct music. Each of these three works was premiered by the orchestra here recorded (formed by musicians in 1991 at the disbanding of the former New Orleans Philharmonic and self-managed since): Hurricane (1996) is in the Romantic tradition of orchestral tone poems or symphonic movements inspired by the majesty of nature and its evokation of elemental force is Straussian in conception and in the size of the orchestra. The other two works both date from 1998 - the concerto a half-hour long, four-movement work which sets out to use Adolphe Sax's instrument for the classical purposes for which it was invented; the first movement is melodic and rich in beauty of tone and is followed by a brief scherzo, a slow movement with a hymn-like tune and a waltz-inflected finale. The symphony (in three movements) is inspired by the love poetry of its title, rapturous and sensual in its first movement, martial and majestic in its second and languorous and mysterious in its finale. Lawrence Gwozdz (saxophone), Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra; Klauspeter Seibel. Albany TROY 429 (U.S.A.) 03C066 $16.98

CARLOS FRANZETTI (b.1948): Tango Fatal. A full-length ballet using instrumental forces of seven strings, bandoneon, electric guitar and piano, this work consists of fourteen original tangos and milongas composed by this Argentine-American composer. The hauntingly sad but beautiful sound of the bandoneon is present almost throughout and the sense of morbidly fascinating desperation, edged with violence, is all-pervasive. Authentic and moody, this will appeal to collectors of Piazzolla and other 20th century Argentine tango-inspired composers. Orchestra conducted by Carlos Franzetti. Amapola Records AR 9803 (U.S.A.) 03C067 $16.98

DAVID WARD-STEINMAN: Cello Concerto, Cinnabar Concerto for Viola and Chamber Orchestra, Chroma Concerto for Multiple Keyboards, Percussion and Chamber Orchestra. The cello concerto sets a florid and flowing solo line against cluster-oriented orchestral textures in a manner intended to evoke paintings by Mark Rothko, though in fact the effect of much of the music is surprisingly tonal and un-abstract, with not infrequent suggestions of Bernstein, among other 'representational' composers. The incorporation of 'unorthodox' keyboard instruments and a large percussion battery into the Chroma Concerto suggests a greater degree of modernity, and indeed the material is somewhat more modern-sounding, though with an underlying core of tonality and a bright, accessible, easy-going approachability. The Cinnabar Concerto is perhaps the work which makes the least concession to immediate appeal, though in its tautly argued and economical language it is perhaps the one with the most depth. All three are fine additions to the concerto repertoire of our time, and well worth getting to know. Howard Coll (cello), Karen Elaine Bakunin (viola), David Ward-Steinman (fortified piano, Prophet-5 synthesizer), Loie Flood (celeste), Patrice D. Madura (toy piano), John Flood (percussion), Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra, Olomouc; David Amos. Fleur de Son FDS 57946 (U.S.A.) 03C068 $17.98

GORDON JACOB (1895-1984): Variations, EDMUND RUBBRA (1901-1986): Sonatina, Op. 128, Passacaglio Sopra "Plusieurs Regrets", Op. 113, Meditazioni Sopra "Curs Désolés", Op. 67, FRANZ REIZENSTEIN (1911-1968): Partita, CYRIL SCOTT (1879-1970): Aubade, ANTONY HOPKINS (b.1921): Suite, JOHN GARDNER (b.1917): Little Suite in C, Op. 60, COLIN HAND (b.1929): Sonata breve. This CD presents music directly associated with Carl Dolmetsch and his efforts to expand the contemporary repertoire for the recorder. As one might be forgiven for expecting, the predominant mood is one of tonal, pastoral gentleness, the recorder not being an instrument ideally suited to expressionistic sturm und drang. Within these parameters, though, the music is varied and inventive. The most serious piece is probably the Rubbra Sonatina, a work of some harmonic ambiguity and genuine melancholy. Cyril Scott's Aubade carries the composer's familiar trademark langorous exoticism, and Reizenstein's ingeniously contrapuntal Partita is meticulously crafted and tuneful. Ross Winters (recorder), Andrew Ball (piano). British Music Society BMS425CD (England) 03C069 $16.98

SAMUEL JONES (b.1935): Cello Sonata, AUGUSTA READ THOMAS (b.1964): Chant, GEORGE ROCHBERG (b.1918): Sonata-Aria, PIERRE JALBERT (b.1967): Dual Velocity. These four works were written for the present performers, who are very fortunate to have had such grateful and high quality music provided especially for them. Jones conforms pretty closely to classical models, an impression reinforced by the appearance of quotations from Beethoven's 7th Symphony in the middle movement. Chant is an impassioned work in a more contemporary idiom, less explicity tonal and more expressionistic. The Rochberg, like all his music of the past few decades, is predominantly tonal, though in a rather expanded sense; it is an in memoriam piece of considerable power, more tragic than merely melancholy. The lyrical Jalbert explores the cello's singing abilities while incorporating elements of jazz and non-classical idioms as well. The Fischer Duo. Gasparo GSCD-349 (U.S.A.) 03C070 $16.98

NIELS ROSING-SCHOW (b.1954): Archipel des solitudes for Mezzo-Soprano, Choir and Orchestra, Windshapes for Orchestra. Rosing-Schow is a very individual voice in Danish music. Acknowledging Murail and Xenakis as influences), he has adopted a modernist idiom which nonetheless allows a strong harmonic, even quite consonant, component. This can have an unsettling effect, as in Archipel, which contains both fractured vocal lines and a powerful underpinning of orchestral and choral chordal writing. The title Windshapes for the three 'orchestral pictures' provides a clue as to the motivation for this kind of writing; the composer has succeeded in suggesting natural processes - both random and highly structured, in a kind of musical organic synthesis. French-English texts. Hanne Fischer (mezzo), Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir; Leif Segerstam. Marco Polo/Dacapo 8.224163 (Denmark) 03C071 $14.98

MAX STEINER (1888-1971): Son of Kong, The Most Dangerous Game. Made one after the other in 1932 and 1933, these two RKO films used the same sets as King Kong, many of the same actors and, of course, the same composer. Many feel Son of Kong is an even better accomplishment due to the stringent budgetary and time restrictions Steiner suffered but also because of the Runaway Blues - a motif created for Kong's discoverer at the beginning and beguilingly wrapped into the later music in intriguingly resourceful ways to produce a certain all-American feel to the music. The Most Dangerous Game features a score of thrilling excitement which mirrors and enhances the non-stop, breathtaking action sequences of the film immensely. Moscow Symphony Orchestra; William T. Stromberg. Marco Polo 8.225166 (New Zealand) 03C072 $14.98

HAYDN WOOD (1879-1958): Fantasy - Concerto, GEOFFREY BUSH (1920-1998): Consort Music, RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958): Charterhouse Suite, FRANK BRIDGE (1879-1941): Sally in Our Alley, Cherry Ripe, Sir Roger de Coverley, EDWARD ELGAR (1857-1934): Sospiri, JOHN IRELAND (1879-1962): The Holy Boy, PETER WARLOCK (1894-1930): Serenade for the 60th Birthday of Frederick Delius, FREDERICK DELIUS (1862-1934): Air and Dance. Much here is fairly familiar but Bush's Consort Music, a series of songs rescored for strings in 1989, and Wood's Fantasy-Concerto, an arrangment of a string quartet which won him the Cobbett Prize in 1905, are valuable additions to the 20th century English "light" repertoire. English Northern Philarmonia; David Lloyd-Jones. Naxos 8.555068 (New Zealand) 03C073 $5.98

Unusual Repertoire in Historical Recordings

QUINCY PORTER (1897-1966): String Quartet No. 7, HEITOR VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959): String Quartet No. 6 in E, PAUL HINDEMITH (1895-1963): String Quartet in F Minor, Op. 10. Porter's 1943 quartet is the hook here: the recording was never issued and Porter himself is woefully underserved by record companies for all his use of tonality even if his rhythmic complexities and subtle shifts in meter are not conducive to "easy listening". Stuyvesant String Quartet (rec. 1948-50). Parnassus PACD 96026 (U.S.A.) 03C074 $15.98

DARIUS MILHAUD (1892-1974): Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 127, Concertino for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 134, String Quartet No. 7 in B Flat, Op. 87, 6 Chants populaires hebraïques, Op. 86, La Création du Monde, Op. 81, Suite Française, Op. All of these pieces are full of the sunshine and good spirits of Provence, the song cycle excepted, and the remastering is good. Recordings from 1931-32, 1934-35 and 1946. Darius Milhaud (piano), Orchestre National; Milhaud, Yvonne Astruc (violin), Orchestra; Milhaud, Galimir String Quartet, Martial Singher (baritone), Milhaud (piano), Orchestra; Milhaud, Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra of New York; Milhaud. Pearl GEM 0124 (England) 03C075 $17.98


GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL (1685-1759)/SIR THOMAS BEECHAM (1879-1961): Suite de Ballet - The Origin of Design, The Gods Go A'Begging (excerpts), Piano Concerto in A. A blast from the classical past here with this compendium of Handel/Beecham arrangments in recordings (unissued except for several Gods Go A'Begging) tracks from the 30s and 40s. Included are the first ever recordings made by Sir Thomas with his new London Philharmonic Orchestra in December of 1932. The notes list the sources for everything except, unfortunately, the "Piano Concerto". Lady Betty Humby Beecham (piano), London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Sir Thomas Beecham. Somm Recordings SOMM-BEECHAM 7 (England) 03C076 $17.98

LUIGI CHERUBINI (1760-1842): Der Wasserträger. Time to play "What is this opera?": Opera Grove has no listing of any title like the German version sung here; the booklet states that the libretto is by J.N. Bouilly, but the only libretto by him which Grove lists for Cherubini is a three-act piece... This one-act comedy may be a work attributed to Cherubini at the time of its performance here (1962) but which has been alotted to its rightful author. Nothing if not obscure! Fritz Wunderlich (tenor), Hildegard Hillebrecht (soprano), Stuttgart Radio Orchestra; Hans Müller Kray. Myto 1 MCD 011.237 (Italy) 03C077 $15.98