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Ferdinand Ries

Symphonies Nos. 4 & 6

FERDINAND RIES (1784-1838): Symphony No. 4. You're not going to need to hear much from us about this third release in the Ries symphony cycle. The composer who most sounds like Beethoven (student of Beethoven, friend of Beethoven, idolizer of Beethoven - what did you expect? Except that other composers have tried to sound like Beethoven but Ries succeeds!) delivers the goods again in these symphonies from 1818 and 1822. The latter was revised in 1826, Ries providing a new last movement with Turkish music, oddly enough, since the fad for that sort of thing had been gone for at least two decades by then. Still, both were widely popular with audience and critics in London where they were premiered. The fourth has more overt reminders of Beethoven (not quotes or cribs, but things like the rocking or swaying quality of the Andantino which is reminiscent of the Scene am Bach of the Pastoral or the triumphal character of the main theme of the first movement - like the theme beginning the finale of the Fifth and many other smaller, nuts-and-bolts occurrences in transitions) but both symphonies have the memorable themes, rhythmic drive and brilliant orchestration which Ries learned from his revered master. Still to come: Symphony No. 7, Op. 181 (1835) and Symphony in E Flat, WoO 30 (1822)! Zurich Chamber Orchestra; Howard Griffiths. CPO 999 836 (Germany) 03E001 $15.98

Note: The Malipiero item in last month's catalogue (02E060), which we listed as 2 for the price of 1 turns out not to be 2 for the price of 1. After shipping our initial order, and charging us for one disc, the distributor figured out that it had made an error. Thus, seven of you got a deal and we didn't lose any money.

International customers and U.S. customers who ordered this item and paid by check: please let us know if you still want this item at $35.98. If not, we will either credit your account or send you a refund of $17.98.

Also: Harmonia Mundi (the distributor of Hyperion, Dutton, Opus 111, Praga, Wergo) has raised its prices across the board. We are not adjusting our prices yet, but there may be a point at which we must. (It's also worth pointing out that the prices of Chandos, MD&G and ASV have gone up twice since we took over Records International in 1997 but our retail price has remained the same.) Hyperion, BIS, Chandos, MD&G and ASV have been selling in Tower Records stores for $18.98 and, sometimes, $19.98...

EDGAR BAINTON (1880-1956): Epithalamion, An English Idyll for Baritone and Orchestra, HUBERT CLIFFORD (1904-1959): A Kentish Suite, 5 English Nursery Tunes, Shanagolden, The Casanova Melody from The Third Man. The second volume of Chandos' Clifford/Bainton series offers two wonderfully rhapsodic pieces from Bainton, completely in the finest English pastoral tradition, the Epithalamion dating from 1929 before he left England for Australia and the English Idyll the work of a homesick Brit in Sydney in 1945 (to texts by Neville Cardus - no kidding!). Clifford was most widely known for his light music and while the 42 minutes of music recorded here may not technically qualify since they were not written specifically in the genre, they are right on the edge, well-orchestrated, full of tunes and easy on the ear. Texts included. Paul Whelan (baritone), BBC Philharmonic; Martyn Brabbins. Chandos 10019 (England) 03E002 $16.98

YORK BOWEN (1884-1961): Flute Sonata, Op. 120, LENNOX BERKELEY (1903-1989): Sonatina for Flute and Piano, MALCOLM ARNOLD (b.1921): Flute Sonata, Op. 121, NICHOLAS MAW (b.1935): Sonatina for Flute and Piano, DAVID MATTHEWS (b.1943): Duet Variations for Flute and Piano, Op. 30, IAIN HAMILTON (1922-2000): Spring Days. Bowen's 1946 sonata is a distinctive mixture of Fauréan modality, post-Wagnerian chromaticism and Rachmaninov piano textures while Berkeley's little sonatina from six years earlier is unmistakable French neo-classical in style. Arnold's piece, written for James Galway in 1977, is a much more dramatic work than the flute is usually associated with; Maw's early (1957) sonatina shows the French influence of his teacher at the time, Berkeley; Hamilton's three brief pieces (1996) are Delian and Poulenc-like in nature while the 1982 Duet Variations of Matthews are full of variety and ingenuity. Jeffrey Khaner (flute), Charles Abramovic (piano). Avie AV 0016 (England) 03E003 $16.98

GABRIEL DUPONT (1878-1914): La Cabrera. If you're a fan of Italian verismo with the seduced and abandoned heroine who dies in the arms of the lover who rejected her, this is right up your alley. Some collectors will remember Dupont for his sad, melancholic piano cycle Les heures dolents which appeared over a decade ago on the defunct Cybelia label. He was a winner of the Prix de Rome and La Cabrera was his first opera, produced in 1904 and a resounding success with critics and audience alike. The title character is a shepherdess in a Basque village and the beginning of the second scene paints a festive, local-color mood. The composer's native sadness and resignation gives an added poignancy to this music (already sick, he died of "consumption" ten years later). Italian-English libretto. Rossella Redoglia (soprano), Giovanna Lanza (mezzo), Renzo Zulian (tenor), Damiano Salerno (baritone), "Mezio Agostini" Chorus of Pesaro, "Forum Livii" Philharmonic Orchestra; Marco Berdondini. Bongiovanni GB 2314 (Italy) 03E004 $16.98

UMBERTO GIORDANO (1867-1948): Siberia. Premiered in place of the postponed Madama Butterfly in December of 1903, this was Giordano's favorite opera and it has many unusual aspects: it has more Russian music in it than any other Italian opera (you'll recognize a hymn used by Beethoven, Rimsky-Korsakov and Mussorgsky, a folk-tune quoted by Donizetti and Glinka, one of the tunes Tchaikovsky quoted in his 1812 and, most recognizable of all, the famous "Song of the Volga Boatmen" as a prisoners' chorus), it was the first Italian opera since Otello in 1894 to be offered in Paris (in French, of course) at which time Fauré pronounced it the best of all the composers of the "Giovane Scuola". 1975 live recording. 2 CDs. No libretto. Mono. Luisa Maragliano (soprano), Amedeo Zambon (tenor), Walter Monachesi (baritone), RAI Orchestra and Chorus, Milan; Danilo Belardinelli. Opera d'Oro OPD-1375 (U.S.A.) 03E005 $10.98

BENJAMIN BRITTEN (1913-1976): Albert Herring. The first of Britten's three comic operas dates from 1947 and deals with the lack of suitably chaste and proper young women in a Norfolk village which needs to crown a May Queen and the upright selection committee's decision to make the unprecedented choice of a May King instead. The libretto catered to everything Britten did best - parody, satire and the employment of musical set-pieces such as recitative (with piano accompaniment), aria, passacaglia, duet, trio, fugue and canon. Such forms are infused with a wonderful variety of source material: patriotic and jingoistic clichés, Anglican hymn-tunes, drawing-room ballads and there are allusions to everything from Spenser's poetry and the Bible to T.S. Eliot. This is a chamber opera, with a 12-piece orchestra yet it is remarkable how effective the music is and there is an interlude in the second act which is almost Mahlerian. Often witty and mocking but, at times, tender and profound, Albert Herring is an opera which will delight anyone who enjoys the "small-town, slice-of-life" genre. 2 CDs. Libretto included. James Gilchrist (tenor), Pamela Helen Stephen (mezzo), Roderick Williams (baritone), City of London Sinfonia; Richard Hickox. Chandos 10036 (England) 03E006 $33.98

BENJAMIN BRITTEN (1913-1976): Albert Herring. Mid-price reissue of the above which may be the best way for first-time listeners to get to know this work. 2 CDs. Christopher Gillett (tenor), Josephine Barstow (mezzo), Robert Lloyd (baritone), Northern Sinfonia; Steuart Bedford. Original 1997 Collins Classics release. Naxos 8.660107/08 (New Zealand) 03E007 $15.98

RICHARD STRAUSS (1864-1959): String Quartet in A, Op. 2, Metamorphosen (arr. for septet by Rudolf Leopold [b.1954]), String Sextet from Capriccio. The 16-year-old Strauss wrote his only string quartet in the same year as his first symphony and its beautiful melodies, demanding writing and command of form, while sometimes recalling Mozart and Beethoven, also have moments which look ahead to such works as Don Juan. Filling out the disc, besides the well-known sextet from Capriccio is the not so well-known arrangement for septet by cellist Leopold (of the Vienna String Sextet these days) of Metamorphosen (recorded once on the defunct Nimbus label). Leipzig String Quartet, Hartmut Rohde (viola), Michael Sanderling (cello), Christian Ockert (double bass). MD&G 307 1142-2 (Germany) 03E008 $17.98

A New Classical-Era Discovery: Riotte - Symphony No. 1

PHILIPP-JAKOB RIOTTE (1776-1856): Symphony No. 1 in C, Op. 25, Clarinet Concerto in B Flat, Op. 28, Flute Concerto in G, Op. 4. Riotte's operas were more performed in Vienna than Rossini's. Same old story though - he lived too long and didn't adjust well to changing trends and began to be forgotten long before he died. The symphony dates from 1812 (dedicated to Jerôme Bonaparte) and has its models in Mozart and Haydn's late symphonies (especially the latter's Nos. 101 & 102) while the trio in its rather Beethovenian scherzo is a ländler of the type Schubert would produce in time. Both concertos are early works (1803-04), written under the supervision of Riotte's then-teacher, the Kapellmeister, composer and publisher Johann Anton André, but are fully formed, with the obvious Mozart/Haydn models and with slow movements in which can be heard the stirrings of early Romanticism. Dieter Klöcker (clarinet), Kornelia Brandkamp (flute), Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra; Gernot Schmalfuß. Novalis 150168 (Switzerland) 03E009 $16.98

The Romantic Piano Concerto, Vol. 31 -

ROBERT FUCHS (1847-1927): Piano Concerto in B Flat Minor, Op. 27, FRIEDRICH KIEL (1821-1885): Piano Concerto in B Flat, Op. 30. A very good month for Robert Fuchs begins with his only piano concerto, dating from 1879/80. Does it sound like Brahms? Of course, this is Fuchs! (It was also written under Brahms' supervision but Fuchs was always to follow the master in his style and methods.) On a large scale, with a 17-minute first movement and a rondo finale which both test the skills of the soloist (Fuchs was a brilliant pianist in his youth), the piece has a still second movement chorale which has the same effect in the work as the slow movement in Beethoven's fourth concerto. Speaking of Beethoven, Kiel's 1864 concerto sounds like Beethoven in its turbulent, revolution-style first movement music while its Adagio has the dreamy quality of Chopin or Schumann while a bright and glittering rondo finale finishes the work in standard fashion. Martin Roscoe (piano), BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra; Martyn Brabbins. Hyperion CDA 67354 (England) 03E010 $17.98

ROBERT FUCHS (1847-1927): Complete Violin Sonatas, Vol. 1 - No. 1 in F Sharp Minor, Op. 20, No. 4 in E, Op. 77, No. 5 in A, Op. 95. Ah, F sharp minor for a first violin sonata! Must be full of youthful passion and weltschmerz, right? Wrong. Fuchs is as gently lyrical, calm and unruffled as a 30-year-old as he is in his late works. Lovely melodies, everything flowing, a few sparkles of virtuosity here and there but nothing showy; this goes for the 1905 fourth sonata as well and, especially, for the fifth, from 1912, when Fuchs was already a forgotten fossil of the past and he turned ever more full-heartedly to the past, with Schubert and Schumann being the most obvious models in this work. Sonatas 2, 3 & 6 to follow! Ursula Maria Berg (violin), Oliver Triendl (piano). Thorofon CTH 2511 (Germany) 03E011 $16.98

PHILIPP SCHARWENKA (1847-1917): Sonate Fantasia, Op. 106, ROBERT FUCHS (1847-1927): 6 Fantasiestücke, Op. 117, JOSEPH JOACHIM (1831-1907): Theme and Variations, Op. 10, CARL REINECKE (1824-1910): 3 Phantasiestücke, Op. 43. All of these rather unknown items have appeared on disc on a Music & Arts 2 CD compilation we offered a year or two ago but new to CD is the 17-minute 1899 Sonate Fantasia of Philipp Scharwenka, whose late Romantic credentials are the equal of his more recorded brother's. Jutta Puchhammer-Sédillot (viola), Élise Desjardins (piano). Eclectra ECCD-2060 (Canada) 03E012 $17.98

XAVER SCHARWENKA (1850-1924): Piano Music, Vol. 3 - 4 Polish Dances, Op. 58, Scherzo in G, Op. 4, Barcarolle in E Minor, Op. 14, Novelette, Op. 22/1, Melodie, Op. 22/2, Variations, Op. 48. The Polish Dances here are late works (early 1880s) and show a greater use of chromaticism in their harmonies, more advanced modulations and more development of their thematic material but they are just as winning as the ones the 19-year-old produced in 1869 while the variations are, perhaps, Scharwenka's finest work, running a dark and somber theme masterfully through a dozen variations. Seta Tanyel (piano). Original 1993 Collins Classics release. Helios CDH 55133 (England) 03E013 $10.98

MORITZ MOSZKOWSKI (1854-1925): Piano Music, Vol. 3 - Fantaisie "Hommage à Schumann", Op. 5, 6 Morceaux, Op. 83, 3 Morceaux, Op. 886, Barcarolle, Op. 27/1, 3 Morceaux, Op. 87, Etude, Op. 67/2, Scherzo-Valse, Op. 40. The Hommage of the mid 1870s was a fitting tribute to the composer who most influenced Moszkowski's style and subsequent corpus of works while the majority of the disc is given over to the late Morceaux (1909-1911) in which the harmonies are more complex and a slight French influence is evident and the moods range from simple charm to expressive melancholy. Seta Tanyel (piano). Original 1998 Collins Classics release. Helios CDH 55143 (England) 03E014 $10.98

Basque Music Collection, Vol. 6

PABLO SOROZÁBAL (1897-1988): Symphonic Variations, 2 apuntes vascos, 7 Songs for Mezzo-Soprano and Orchestra, For Chorus and Orchestra: Euskalerria, Suite Vasca, Op. 5, Maite, Eguzki Eder, Gernika. Sorozábal is best known for his zarzuelas, writing 24 of them between 1941 and 1958; all of his other works are from before or after this period. Thus, Gernika (a funeral march for the city bombed during the Spanish Civil War) and Euskalerria (a popular song in the zortziko form) date from 1976 and 1963 respectively; everything else except Maite (another popular zortziko from 1946) is from the 1920s. The main work is the symphonic variations, a 24-minute work on a popular Basque melody. The orchestral songs set Basque translations of Heine (!) - a fascinating cultural mix which would be fun to experience if Claves didn't continue to treat consumers with such contempt by refusing to print texts, much less translations. Maite Arrubarrena (mezzo), Bilbao Choral Society, Basque National Orchestra; Cristian Mandeal. Claves 50-2205 (Switzerland) 03E015 $16.98

GIOVANNI MARIA TRABACI (c.1575-1647): Keyboard Music, Book II (1603) - 12 Ricercari, 7 Canzoni Francesi, 2 Capricci, 4 Canti Fermi, 8 Gagliarde, 8 Partite su Ruggiero, 10 Partite su Fedele, 2 Toccate, Durezze & ligature, Consonanze Stravaganti, Io mi son Giovinetto. One of the most important innovators of the 17th century, Trabaci's keyboard works stand out in their period for their technical accomplishment and harmonic experimentation, foreshadowing Frescobaldi; the toccatas in particular can be said to be the first truly "Baroque" keyboard compositions. 3 CDs. Sergio Vartolo (harpsichord and organ). Naxos 8.553550-52 (New Zealand) 03E016 $20.98

GIOVANNI MARIA TRABACI (c.1575-1647): Keyboard Music, Book II (1615) - Ricercate Tono I-XII, Cento Versi sopra li Otto finali Ecclesiastici, 5 Toccate, 2 Canti fermi, 4 Gagliarde à 4, 5 Gagliarde à 5, 12 Partite Artificiose, 3 Ancidetemi pur, 4 Partite Artificiose for Harp. The instrumentarium of these two releases is worthy of mention: four different organs (three in churches, one in the private possession of the performer), a spinettone, a regale and a harpsichord. A countertenor also performs in the Gregoriano sections of the Cento Versi in Book II and there is also a piece for tenor and continuo by Arcadelt tucked into the last disc of Book II. 4 CDs. Sergio Vartolo (harpsichord, organ), Andrew Lawrence King (harp). Naxos 8.553553-56 (New Zealand) 03E017 $27.98

DIETRICH BUXTEHUDE (c.1635-1707): Sacred Cantatas: Ich habe Lust abzuscheiden, Salve, Jesu, patris gnate unigenite, Jesu dulcis memoria, Mein Herz is bereit, Cantate Domino, Ich halte es dafür, Herr, wenn ich nur dich hab, Jesu, meine Freunde. These short (and shorter) cantatas set Lutheran chorale verses, Latin texts and Bible texts in German translation and they vary widely in style, from the Italianate style of Carissimi, with florid trio passages, to the simpler northern European style of the period (Ich halte es dafür has the unusual accompaniment of violin, viola, violone and continuo). German-English texts. Suzie LeBlanc, Emma Kirkby (sopranos), Peter Harvey (bass), The Purcell Quartet, Clare Salaman (violin). Chandos Chaconne 0691 (England) 03E018 $16.98

ALESSANDRO SCARLATTI (1660-1725): Il giardino d'amore, Su le sponde del Tebro. Two examples of the genre of the Serenade, one short (Su le sponde - the pastoral stereotype of the rejected maiden lamenting her unfaithful lover) and scored for trumpet with strings, its brazen sound mocking its usual employment in martial settings. Il giardino (c.1700-05) lasts almost 55 minutes and comes with introductory symphony prefacing a series of recitatives, arias and a central duet between its two characters, Venus and Adonis. A piccolo gets a lot of work as a nightingale and a guitar in places in the continuo adds to the rustic charm. Italian-English texts. Rosita Frisani (soprano), Amor Lilia Perez (contralto), Gabriele Cassone (trumpet), Alessandro Stradella Consort; Estevan Velardi. Bongiovanni GB 2327 (Italy) 03E019 $16.98

PIETRO ANTONIO LOCATELLI (1695-1764): L'arte del violino, Op. 3. This unusual publication of 1733 consists of 12 violin concertos with 24 caprices inserted in each of the two fast movements, right before a cadenza and the end of the movement. The caprices are often twice as long as the movements themselves, leading to a triple-CD set in which the shortest disc is 78:40! The outer movements of the concertos are fashioned after the manner of Vivaldi, alternating solo and tutti episodes, while the slow movements provide a lyrical change of pace. It is the caprices, however, which provide the real interest to collectors, with their varied bowing techniques (detached, staccato, spicato, mixed, slurred staccato, etc.) and fiendish left-hand difficulties (crossovers, extensions, finger stretches, changes of position, with a 17th position required at a time when contemporary treatises speak only of seven). 3 CDs. Reale Concerto; Luca Fanfoni (violin). Dynamic CDS 394/1-3 (Italy) 03E020 $53.98

GIUSEPPE MARIA JACCHINI (1667-1727): Cello Concerto in F, Op. 4/9, GIOVANNI BENEDETTO PLATTI (1697-1763): Cello Concertos in C and in C Minor, NICOLA ANTONIO PORPORA (1686-1768): Cello Concerto in A Minor, LEONARDO LEO (1694-1744): Cello Concerto in D Minor, ANTONIO VIVALDI (1678-1741): Concerto for 2 Cellos in G Minor, RV 531. An hour's worth of Italian baroque cello concertos in which there is a surprising variety of styles and forms with two claimed CD premieres (the obscure Jachini, who was Domenico Gabrieli's star pupil) and the two Platti concerti. Lucia Swarts (cello), Teatro Lirico; Stephen Stubbs. Challenge Classics CC 72021 (Netherlands) 03E021 $17.98

ARCANGELO CORELLI (1653-1713): Complete Sonatas for Strings, Opp. 1-4. The 48 trio sonatas by which all other baroque composers of the genre were judged, in well-received performances now reissued at mid-price. 4 CDs. Mid-price. The Purcell Quartet, Jakob Lindberg (theorbo, archlute). Original 1991-92 Chandos releases. Chandos Chaconne Classics 0692 (England) 03E022 $47.98

ANTONIO VIVALDI (1678-1741): String Concertos, Vol. 3 - in A, RV 158 "Concerto ripieno", in G, RV 151 "Concerto alla rustica", in E Minor, RV 134, in G, RV 145, in F, RV 142, in B Flat, RV 166, in G Minor, RV 156, in B Flat, RV 167, in D Minor, RV 129 "Concerto madrigalesco", in C, RV 115 "Concerto ripieno", in A Minor, RV 161, in C, RV 110 & in C Minor, RV 118. The third batch of Vivaldi's 40-odd concerti a quattro, a form which both followed in the primitive concerto tradition of the late 17th century and served as part of the heritage of the early Classical sinfonia da camera. Collegium Musicum 90; Simon Standage. Chandos Chaconne 0687 (England) 03E023 $16.98

CHRISTOPH GRAUPNER (1683-1760): Instrumental and Vocal Music, Vol. 1 - Cantata Ach Gott und Herr, Bassoon Concerto in B Flat, Sonata for Harpsichord and Violin in G Minor, Sonata a 4 in G, Recorder Concerto in F, 4 excerpts from the opera Dido, Königin von Carthago. It looks as though it will be Canada which finally delivers this fine, but far too modest, contemporary of Bach and Telemann. Volume One of his harpsichord works was recently issued and now we have the first in this series (already warmly received in the January Gramophone). Texts and translations included. Ingrid Schmitüsen (Sorpano), L'Ensemble des Idées heureuses; Geneviève Soly. Analekta Fleur de Lys FL 2 3162 (Canada) 03E024 $16.98

GIUSEPPE TARTINI (1692-1770): Violin Concertos, Vol. 10 - Concertos in A, D, G, A, D, B Flat, D and in A. All but two of the concertos in this new volume are from Tartini's early period (1721-35) with Vivaldian influences often present. Extraordinary depth of expression and pathos characterize many of the slow movements and two of the concertos contain alternate slow movements, both of which have been recorded here. 2 CDs. L'Arte dell'Arco. Dynamic CDS 399/1-2 (Italy) 03E025 $35.98

GIOVANNI BATTISTA SAMMARTINI (c.1700-1775): Sonata à più stromenti obbligati in G, Sinfonia in F, Overture in G Minor, Overture in D, Sinfonia in G, Sinfonia per Camera in E Flat. Of all the important "fathers of the symphony", G.B. Sammartini has been the most neglected in recordings, making this new release (if only the cover said "Vol. 1"...) a must-have. Half of these works are from the composer's middle period (1740-58) and the others from his final period (1759 to his death). The ones titled Sinfonia are more richly scored and depend more on melody (horns and oboes are used here) while the other works are simpler in scoring and more highly contrapuntal, witty and incisive in their outer movements and lyrical and cantabile in their slow ones. Mandatory for collectors of the classical symphony. Orchestra da Camera Milano Classica; Roberto Gini. Dynamic CDS 414 (Italy) 03E026 $17.98

MICHEL CORRETTE (1709-1795): Pièces pour la Musette, Op. 5 - Suites 1, 3 & 4, 6 Fantaisies, Op. 6 - No. 3, La belle vielleuse - Minuets, Ariettes, Contredanse, Variations and Suite No. 1. When dealing with the hurdy-gurdy and the small, French bagpipe, you know that there is no room for profound expressivity of musical language. So, just enjoy the coarse, nasal, quintessentially pastoral sounds of these two "popular" instruments in this series of works (mostly in the standard French suite form) which date both from the 1730s when both instruments were all the rage in French musical society and from 1780 when Corrette nostalgically looked back at the same period. Róbert Mandel (hurdy-gurdy), Jean-Christophe Maillard (musette), Pál Németh (flute), Ágnes Ratkó (harpsichord), Nóra Kállai (cello), Miklós Spányi (organ). Hungaroton HCD 32102 (Hungary) 03E027 $16.98

CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH (1714-1788): 8 Trio Sonatas for Flute, Violin and Continuo, Wq 144-151. Although the Wq numbers are consecutive, four of these sonatas are those of a 17-year-old (very much in Papa's style although these works were revised in the 1740s), one dates from 1735 and the other three from 1745 and 1747, showing how Bach emancipated himself from his father after taking up his position at the court of Frederick the Great. 2 CDs. Les Amis de Philippe. CPO 999 495 (Germany) 03E028 $31.98

CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH (1714-1788): Die Auferstehung und Himmelfahrt Jesu. Dating from 1774, this oratorio is a perfect example of the Empfindsamkeit style in which human reactions to the events of the Resurrection and Ascension are more important than the events themselves. Its dramatic depth and expressivity were influential especially for Haydn's late oratorios. German-English texts. Uta Schwabe (soprano), Christoph Genz (tenor), Stephan Genz (bass), Ex Tempore, La Petite Bande; Sigiswald Kuijken. Hyperion CDA 67364 (England) 03E029 $17.98

PIERRE HUGARD (1725/6 - ?): Suites Nos. 1-4, NICOLAS-G. LENDORMY: Second livre de Pièces. Suites of music by obscure composers for an instrument which Marais is credited with helping invent and which was all the rage in France during the mid-18th century among women from the middle class right up to the aristocracy. All five suites are poised stylistically between the Rococo and the early Classical periods. Simone Eckert (high treble viol), Hamburger Ratsmusik. Thorofon CTH 2460 (Germany) 03E030 $16.98

ESTEBAN SALAS (1725-1803): Salve Regina III, ¿Quién ha visto que en invierno?, Letania, Los bronces se enternezcan, Magnificat, Pues la fábrica de un templo, Salve Regina, Assumpta est Maria, Ave maris stella, Guerra viene declarando. Six Marian liturgical settings are interspersed with four villancicos in this recording of Cuban baroque music. Yes, baroque - the baroque, of course, lasted a lot longer in the somewhat cut-off Spanish colonies, so Salas' slow-moving, syllabic figuration, minor keys and richly contrapuntal polychoral writing will come as no surprise. The villancicos, in their popluar idiom and in the vernacular, provide a vigorous, earthy counterpoint. Spanish-French texts. K617140 (France) 03E031 $17.98

JOHANN ADOLPH SCHEIBE (1708-1776): Sinfonias in B Flat, D, B Flat & A, Sinfonias to Sörge- og Klagesange over Dronning Lovise and Der Tempel des Ruhmes. These were the first recordings of these valuable works by this Danish composer and theoretician which straddle the late Baroque and early Classical periods. Mid-price. Concerto Copenhagen; Andrew Manze. Original 1994 Chandos release. Chandos Chaconne Classics 0696 (England) 03E032 $13.98

CARL FRIEDRICH ABEL (1723-1787): 6 Piano Concertos, Op. 11. These two-movement concertos from the early 1770s by J.C. Bach's friend and business partner of nearly 20 years in London are remarkable little pieces not for their virtuosity - of which there is little - but for their familiar-sounding melodies, their amazing pre-echoes of early Romanticism and, in the third concerto, of Mozart's much later Rondo in D, K475. Sabine Bauer (fortepiano, harpsichord), La Stagione Frankfurt; Michael Schneider. CPO 999 892 (Germany) 03E033 $15.98

NICCOLÒ PICCINNI (1728-1800): Didon. This 1783 tragédie lyrique was Piccinni's most successful French opera and it is a fascinating mixture of Italianate expressiveness side by side with Gluckian terseness while the composer's rich orchestration and tight dramatic construction combine to make Didon a worthwhile listening experience. 2 CDs. French-English libretto. Sibongile Mngoma (soprano), Daniel Galvez-Vallejo (tenor), Chorus and Orchestra of the Teatro Petruzzelli; Arnold Bosman. Dynamic CDS 406/1-2 (Italy) 03E034 $35.98

JOHANN CHRISTIAN BACH (1735-1782): 6 Keyboard Sonatas with Violin Accompaniment, Op. 10. This 1773 set is one of five which Bach produced to supply London with the period's version of "light music" - easily appreciated and easily played music for amateurs as well as professionals. In keeping with the English tradition of the accompanied sonata, the violin actually has moments in which it takes over the piano's right-hand part (thus, the absence of "ad libitum" for the violin in the title of the score). Miklós Spányi (tangent piano), Erika Petöfi (violin). Hungaroton HCD 32036 (Hungary) 03E035 $16.98

GIOVANNI PAISIELLO (1740-1816): Il Divertimento dei Numi. This 72-minute scherzo rappresentativo per musica from 1774 is a four-character joke involving three people made to think they are Venus, Mars and Jupiter, for the gods' amusement. Though only a jeu d'esprit among Paisiello's many full-length operas, it does offer much contrasting music with some rather exciting choruses and intense arias from the fake Venus and the scoring is interesting also, giving much independence to the bassoon and to the viola section. Italian-English texts. Claudia Marchi (soprano), Alessandro Calamai (bass), Patrizio Saudelli (tenor), Chorus of the Teatro Sociale, Rovigo, Orchestra Filarmonia Veneta "G.F. Malipiero"; Franco Piva. Bongiovanni GB 2321 (Italy) 03E036 $16.98

CHEVALIER DE SAINT-GEORGES (c.1748-1799): Overture, Contredanse and 2 Ballets from the Opera L'amant anonyme, Violin Concerto in D, Op. 3/1, Symphony in G, Op. 11/1, FRANÇOIS-JOSEPH GOSSEC (1734-1829): Symphony in D, Op. 5/5 "Pastorella". A film about the life of the extraordinarily talented mulatto violinist (composer, swordsman, horseman... the list has been gone over in these pages for previous recordings) has produced this side-piece of period instrument performances of Saint-Georges' only two symphonies (one was also used as an overture for an opera), the first (we think) recordings of ballet music from that opera and one of his larger-scale violin concertos. The coupling of Gossec (and, unlisted above, a movement of a violin concerto by Leclair who was rumored to have taught the Chevalier) makes for a nice little collector's item. Linda Melsted (violin), Tafelmusik Orchestra; Jeanne Lamon. CBC SMCD 5225 (Canada) 03E037 $16.98

MICHAEL HAYDN (1737-1806): Mass in C, MH 42, 6 Salve Reginas, MH 29-34, Mass in C, MH 44, Te Deum, MH 28. This collection of works dates from the composer's place of first employment, Grosswardein (today Oradea in Romania), where he composed a few symphonies and concertos but mainly occupied himself with church music during his three year tenure which began in 1760. The masses are short (12 and 16 minutes), simple and would have been used at real services, unlike the large-scale concert-masses of later years and the six (varied) settings of the Salve Regina are similarly brief and trenchant with everything here in a mixture of early Viennese Classical style with late Baroquetext-setting. Edit Károly (soprano), Emese Tökési (contralto), Péter Gergely (tenor), Péter Cser (bass), Cantus Corvinus Vocal Ensemble, Savaria Baroque Orchestra; Pál Németh. Hungaroton HCD 32005 (Hungary) 03E038 $16.98

MICHAEL HAYDN (1737-1806): Divertimento a 4 in D for 2 Violins, Viola and Double Bass, Divertimento in G for 2 Violins and Double Bass, Quintet in E Flat for Violin, Viola, Clarinet, Horn and Bassoon. Oddities of chamber music from Michael Haydn. Only one work is dated (the D major, from 1782) but the use of a double bass is rather unusual for the period, and even more for the G major work which may be as early as 1754-47. The quintet has an apparently unique instrument line-up and it is in nine (!) movements, like a cassation, serenade or divertimento. Concilium musicum Wien. Cavalli Records CCD 252 (Germany) 03E039 $17.98

FRANZ XAVER SÜSSMAYER (1766-1803): Symphony in C, IGNAZ PLEYEL (1757-1831): Sinfonie concertante for Violin and Viola, Op. 35, JOSEPH HAYDN (1732-1809): Symphony No. 85 in B "La Reine", WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756-1791): German Dances Nos. 1 & 6 with Coda from K.571. The major find here is the symphony by Mozart's copyist and completer of the Requiem. Süssmayer's symphony dates from 1788-89 and was recorded here from the autograph manuscript. A four-movement work with horns and drums, it is in the style of Haydn's and Mozart's late symphonies although very much the work of a young composer seeking his own voice - certain parts of the outer movements sound like material from unknown Mozart overtures. Pleyel's 1791 sinfonia concertante is in the French two-movement form and provides the expected brilliance and light manner associated with Parisian taste of the period. Christoph Angerer (viola), Concilium Musicum Wien; Paul Angerer (violin). Cavalli Records CCD 422 (Germany) 03E040 $17.98

GIOACCHINO ROSSINI (1792-1868): Bassoon Concerto "Concerto da Espermiento", Variations in C for Clarinet and Orchestra (also version for Oboe), Introduction, Theme & Variations for Clarinet and Orchestra, Une Larme, thème et variations for Cello and Strings (arr. Giovanni Sollima). Composed around 1845 for a student at the Liceo Musicale of Bologna, this is a bold, striking work which uses a large orchestra and is in a colorful early Romantic style (Rossini composed very little at this point in his life). Une Larme, one of Rossini's Sins of Old Age, gets the Saint-Saëns Cygne treatment from contemporary Italian composer Sollima. Sergio Azzolini (bassoon), Lorenzo Guzzoni (clarinet), Diethelm Jonas (oboe), Wen-Sinn Yang (cello), Accademia d'Archi di Bolzano; Georg Egger. Arts 47634 (Germany) 03E041 $11.98

FERDINAND RIES (1784-1838): Piano Quartet in F Minor, Op. 13, Piano Quartet in E Flat, Op. 17. The F minor quartet opens with thunderous chords and goes off, whiplash-fashion, through echt-Beethovenian territory in its extended first movement before relaxing in an andantino with variations and a rondo finale. The E flat work has a first movement almost 15 minutes long which is practically a piano concerto (Mozartian). A minor key adagio mesto follows (with a Bachian piano subject) before another exuberant rondo finale. The piano writing is as glittering and satisfying as possible but the strings are also given plenty to do in these utterly enjoyable works which blend Classical logic with Romantic verve. Mendelssohn Trio Berlin, Daniel Raiskin (viola). CPO 999 885 (Germany) 03E042 $15.98

FERDINAND RIES (1784-1838): Clarinet Sonata in G Minor, Op. 29, CARL MARIA VON WEBER (1786-1826): Grand Duo concertant in E Flat, Op. 48, 7 Variations on a Theme from "Silvana" in B Flat, Op. 33. Another gripping piece from Ries (1809), here making excellent use of the "romantic" sound of the clarinet in a Byronic work which also has plenty of (expected) virutosity for the pianist. Pierre-André Taillard (clarinet), Edoardo Torbianelli (fortepiano). Harmonia Mundi HMC 905254 (France) 03E043 $17.98

LOUIS SPOHR (1785-1859): Duet for 2 Violins in F (Grand Duo), Op. 148, Duet for 2 Violins in D, Op. 150. The second volume of Spohr duos from this source brings a pair of four-movement works from the end of the composer's career, probably composed in 1853 for his last London tour. Suggestive more of the concert hall than domestic music-making, they treat the two voices as equals, offering much room for virtuosity in the transition and development phases of the first movements and generally suggesting a finely woven mixture of strict structures and improvisation. Péter Csaba, Vilmos Szabadi (violins). Hungaroton HCD 32119 (Hungary) 03E044 $16.98

ALBERT LORTZING (1801-1851): Die Himmelfahrt Jesu Christi. This oratorio appeared in 1828, before Lortzing was famous as a composer of light operas but there is already quite a bit operatic about it even if the overheated note-writer's comparison of Christ to Beethoven's Fidelio suggests that he should be on a shorter leash... German-English texts. Anneli Pfefer (soprano), Hedwig Fassbender (alto), Bernhard Schneider (tenor), Christian Hilz (baritone), Kay Stiefermann (bass), Cologne Radio Choir and Orchestra; Helmuth Froschauer. CPO 999 837 (Germany) 03E045 $15.98

JOSEPH JOACHIM RAFF (1822-1882): Works for Violin and Piano, Vol. 2 - Sonata No. 2 in A, Op. 78, 6 Morceaux, Op. 85, Duo on Motifs from Wagner's "Lohengrin", Op. 63/3. The latest in a now-burgeoning industry of Raff resurrection. The melody never stops (but you knew that already) in the sonata and the Morceaux (of which No. 3 is the famous Cavatina - which sounds much less attractive than the other five pieces, but that's a Records International mentality talking...). The Wagner motif most dwelled upon in Op. 63/3 is the "Here Comes the Bride" one and, in its first few appearances, it even has an eerie, creepy Schnittke quality to it! Ingolf Turban (violin), Jascha Nemtsov (piano). CPO 999 768 (Germany) 03E046 $15.98

CORNELIUS GURLITT (1820-1901): Kindersym-phonie, Op. 169, BERNHARD ROMBERG (1772-1841): Kindersymphonie, Op. 62, CARL REINECKE (1824-1910): Kinder-Symphonie, LEOPOLD MOZART (1719-1787): Cassatio ex G. A perfect way to check out of the serious music business for an hour or so: each of these pieces calls for toy instruments manufactured in the Berchtesgaden area in addition to a small string complement so that, by the time you're through with the disc, you will have heard the cuckoo, toy trumpet, quail, nightengale, rattle, triangle, glass bell, windmill, whistle, toy drum and scrubbing board, as well as many folk and children's songs. Southwest German Chamber Orchestra Pforzheim; Vladislav Czarnecki. EBS 6116 (Germany) 03E047 $17.98

NIELS GADE (1817-1890): Symphonies, Vol. 4 - Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 5, Symphony No. 5 in D Minor, Op. 25. Although there are no premiere goodies on this last volume in Chandos' Gade cycle, we offer it for collectors who may be buying the whole set. Ronald Brautigam (piano), Danish National Symphony Orchestra/DR; Christopher Hogwood. Chandos 10026 (England) 03E048 $16.98

JOHANNES VERHULST (1816-1891): Mass, Op. 20. Verhulst was the most accomplished, prestigious and acclaimed musician in the Netherlands during the 19th century, introducing the works of Bach, Brahms, Gade, Schumann and others, setting exacting orchestral standards and, before about 1851, composing some imposing and attractive pieces of his own. This mass, finished in 1843, displays a melodic talent and contrapuntal technique most reminiscent of the composer who helped start Verhulst's career as his teacher - Mendelssohn. In other places, the example of Beethoven's Ninth is evident but Verhulst's sophisticated choral writing and feel for orchestral color are all his own, making this a must-have for all collectors of Romantic music. Nienke Oostenrijk (soprano), Margriet van Reisen (contralto), Marcel Reijans (tenor), Hubert Claessens (bass), Netherlands Concert Choir, Residentie Orchestra The Hague; Matthias Bamert. Chandos 10020 (England) 03E049 $16.98

PETER TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893): The Seasons, Op. 37b, Chanson triste, Op. 40/2, Mazurka, Op. 40/4, Chant sans paroles, Op. 40/6, Danse russe, Op. 40/10, Rêverie interrompue (all arr. Peter Breiner). More harmless fun from Breiner, who turns all of these solo piano pieces into tasteful violin/orchestra arrangements. Takako Nishizaki (violin), Queensland Symphony Orchestra; Peter Breiner. Naxos 8.553510 (New Zealand) 03E050 $6.98

PETER TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893): The Queen of Spades (adapt. Gabriel Thibaudeau). This 80 minute ballet is more than "opera without words" - Thibaudeau uses extra instruments to underline dramatic high-points and composes the 11-minute final scene from Tchaikovsky's music but with Prokofiev as his animating force. Orchestre des Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal; Jacques Lacombe. Analekta AN 2 8816 (Canada) 03E051 $16.98

BENEDICT RANDHARTINGER (1802-1893): Unglückliche Liebe, Der Troubadour, Erloschene Liebe, Sehnsucht, Der Verlassene, Wonne der Wehmut, Ein seliges Wörtchen, An die Sterne, Schmidlied, Suleika, Mitgefühl, Elfengesang, Beruhigung, Der Veilchenkranz, Liebesglück, Die Wolken, Du bist, wie eine Blume, Auf dem St. Wolfgang-See, Ständchen, Vergiss mein nicht, Die nächtliche Heerschau. This friend of Schubert can be seen standing right behind the composer in Moritz von Schwind's famous picture "A Schubert Evening" and, like the Lachners, he lived three times as long as his friend leaving 2217 compositions behind (the notes are quite precise on this...). So, we have just under 0.1% of them here, classic Biedermeyer songs peopled with unhappy lovers and other solitaries searching their innermost souls in what always seems to be the darkest hour of the night (and ending with an 8-minute ghostly nightmare of Napoleon and his dead army). Great fun for lovers of early German Romanticism! German-English texts. Andrea Meláth (mezzo), Emese Virág (piano). Hungaroton HCD 32105 (Hungary) 03E052 $16.98

HERMANN GOETZ (1840-1876): Symphony in F, Op. 9, Violin Concerto in G, Op. 22, Overture to Der Widerspenstigen Zähmung, Piano Concerto No. 1 in E Flat, Piano Concerto No. 2 in B Flat, Op. 18, Nenie, Op. 10 for Choir and Orchestra, Psalm 137, Op. 14 for Soprano, Choir and Orchestra, Spring Overture, Op. 15, Overture "Francesca da Rimini". From the early days of cpo, Goetz's orchestral works are well worth discovering if you never got them the first time around a decade ago and more. There is no sturm und drang in Goetz; his muse is lyrical. The first piano concerto, a graduation exercise, is the only work to employ flashy virtuosity. Nänie is more grief-stricken than Brahms' later setting but everything else breathes a Mendelssohnian cantabile. 3 CDs. Mid-price. German-English texts. Volker Banfield (piano), Gottfried Schneider (violin), Stephanie Stiller (soprano), North German Radio Choir, North German Radio Philharmonic Hannover; Werner Andreas Albert. Original 1990/1 and 1993/4 CPO releases. CPO 999 939 (Germany) 03E053 $26.98

JENÖ HUBAY (1858-1937): Works for Violin and Piano, Vol. 5 - Scènes de la Csárda No. 1, Op. 9, Scènes de la Csárda No. 2, Op. 13, Elégie, Larghetto & Contemplation, Op. 14, Scènes de la Csárda No. 3, Op. 18, Scènes de la Csárda No. 4 "Hejre Kati", Op. 32, 3 morceaux caractéristiques, Op. 46, 2 mazurkas de concert, Op. 54, Fantaisie élégiaque, Op. 62, Scherzo, Op. 80. The Scènes de la Csárda were Hubay's most popular series of pieces, all packed full of Hungarian folk and folk-like tunes and his most famous one, the fourth, still has 10 followers, so there is plenty more to come in this series! The other 60% of the disc contains typical Romantic character and salon music although the 1896 Fantaisie is dark and Lisztian. Ferenc Szecsödi (violin), István Kassai (piano). Hungaroton HCD 32060 (Hungary) 03E054 $16.98

ANDRÉ CAPLET (1878-1925): Épiphanie (D'après une légende éthiopeinne) for Cello and Orchestra, GABRIEL FAURÉ (1845-1924): Élégie in C Minor for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 24, EDOUARD LALO (1823-1892): Cello Concerto in D Minor. At budget-price, it's well worth it to collectors to acquire the extremely rare 21-minute work by Caplet from 1923 which depicts the journey of the Magi to Bethlehem and which mixes late Romanticism with Impressionism and a touch of oriental exoticism. Xavier Phillips (cello), Bavarian Chamber Philharmonie; Emmanuel Plasson. EMI Debut 5 73503 2 (France) 03E055 $7.98

EDWARD GERMAN (1862-1936): Merrie England. Premiered in 1902, German's operetta has become the most performed British opera or operetta of the 20th century. The composer never lived up to expectations that he was the next Sullivan but his orchestration is as good and his lyrical ballads are distinctive in their romantic warmth. Merrie England, contrived out of the relationship between Queen Elizabeth I and Sir Walter Raleigh exploit's German's "Olde English" style and produces much delightful music, both lyrical and robust. 2 CDs. Synopsis included. Budget-price. William McAlpine (tenor), June Bronhill (soprano), Peter Glossop (baritone), Monica Sinclair (contralto), The Williams Singers, Michael Collins & His Orchestra. Original 1960 EMI release. EMI Classics for Pleasure 5 75767 2 (England) 03E056 $15.98

ALEXANDER GRECHANINOV (1864-1956): 3 Pieces, Op. 159, ALEXANDER GLAZUNOV (1865-1936): Prelude and Fugue in D, Op. 93, Prelude and Fugue in D Minor, Op. 98, Fantasy, Op. 110, SERGEI TANEYEV (1856-1915): Choral Varié, REINHOLD GLIERE (1874-1956): Fugue on a Russian Christmas Song, MIKHAIL GLINKA (1804-1857): 3 Fugues, DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975): Credo and Cathedral Service from the music to The Gadfly, Op. 97, SERGEI RACHMANINOV (1873-1943): Andante in F for Harmonium (from first edition of Trio élégiaque, Op. 9). There is a dearth of Russian organ music, from any period, for reasons dating to the Orthodox Church's banning in the early 18th century of any instruments in cathedrals. Still, Chandos offer world premiere recordings of Grechaninov's Adagio, Berceuse and Musette from 1939, Shostakovich's only works for solo organ (although from film music) and an organ performance of a section in Rachmaninov's early piano trio which he had impractically intended to be performed by the pianist on a harmonium. Iain Quinn (organ of Winchester Cathedral). Chandos 10043 (England) 03E057 $16.98

FRANCESCO CILEA (1866-1950): Romanza, Il mio canto, Serenata ("l'aere imbruna"), Non ti voglio amar, Serenata ("mormorante di tenero desio"), Bionda Larva, Alba novella, Lontananza!, Mazurka, Nel ridestarmi, Vita breve, Ninna nanna savoiarda, Salute o genti umane affaticate, Lontananza! (second version), Dolce amor di povertade, 6 vocalizzi. These songs span over 60 years of Cilea's career, from the earlier, parlor-style pieces, concerned solely with vocal melody to later pieces with a more independent piano part (as well as some French Impressionistic influences). Most virtuosic are the vocalises which close the recital (commissioned by Ricordi) and which show the composer's profound knowledge of vocal technique. Italian-English texts. Anastasia Tomaszewska Schepis (soprano), Leonardo De Lisi (tenor), Fausta Cianti (piano). Bongiovanni GB 2336 (Italy) 03E058 $16.98

GIUSEPPE VERDI (1813-1901): Credo for Tenor, Bass, Male Chorus and Orchestra, Capriccio for Bassoon and Orchestra, Versions for Band of Overture to Un Giorno de Regno, Cavatina from Attila, Scena, Romanza e Terzetto from Attila, GIACOMO MORI (early 19th cent.)/VERDI: Introduzione, Andante e Tema con variazioni on a Theme from Bellini's "La Straniera" for Oboe and Orchestra. The first three items seem to have been composed by Verdi between 1834 and 1838 (Mori was a musician in the Ducal Orchestra of Parma and we have Verdi's letter to him suggesting that he write variations on some Bellini theme, send it to him and that he would finish and orchestrate it). The band arrangements may or may not be by Verdi but the latter did arrange much music, both his own and that of other composers, for the wind band of the Società Filarmonica of Busseto. Fausto Tenzi (tenor), Antonio Abete (bass), Rino Vernizzi (bassoon), Alberto Negroni (oboe), "G. Verdi" Chorus and Orchestra, Busseto; Fausto Pedretti. Arts 47574 (Germany) 03E059 $11.98

JOSEPH JONGEN (1873-1953): Complete Piano Works, Vol. 1 - Suite pour piano en forme de sonate, Op. 60, Petite Suite, Op. 75, Sonatine, Op. 88, 2 pièces, Op. 33, 2 Rondes Wallonnes, Op. 40, Crépuscule au Lac Ogwen, Op. 52, Impromptus, Op. 87, 99 & 126/1, 24 petits Préludes dans tous les Tons, Op. 116. Jongen's earlier works are rather in the vein of Franck and Pierné, but when we reach the first three items listed above (composed between 1918-29), the influence of Ravel and Debussy becomes prominent. Twilight belongs to this period as well while the second Impromptu mixes Impressionism with a love for Chopin while the late works (the third Impromptu, from 1943 and the 24 preludes, from 1940/41) show a more personal language, compressed, yet elegant and expressive, the Impromptu inspired, perhaps, by Fauré, and the preludes offering exquisitely shaped homages to various styles and influences. 2 CDs. Mid-price. Diane Andersen (piano). Pavane ADW 7475/6 (Belgium) 03E060 $21.98

HEITOR VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959): The Emperor Jones, Uirapurú, Bachianas Brasileiras No. 4. First stereo recording of the 1956 ballet The Emperor Jones (the score was unpublished and the parts were believed lost until the conductor here found them in the archives of the Limón Institute, whose namesake choreographed and danced the role), based on O'Neill's modernist play about an escapee from a chain-gang who sets himself up as emperor and brutalizes the population of a Caribbean island - a setting which gave Villa-Lobos the chance to produce more of his signature "jungle music". The orchestration is rich and colorful and ostinato rhythms suggest both tribal dancing and the teeming life of the jungle. The early ballet Uirapurú (1917) was one of the first of the composer's works to visit the jungle atmosphere and is less obscure now that it was a decade ago, at least for CD collectors, full of brilliant and pastel shadings and making use of a large percussion section of native instruments. Odense Symphony Orchestra; Jan Wagner. Bridge 9129 (U.S.A.) 03E061 $16.98

ALEXANDER VON ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942): Symphony No. 1 in D Minor, Symphony No. 2 in B Flat. For anyone who still may not know these lusciously late Romantic symphonies, rooted firmly in the Viennese Classical tradition and with traces of Mahler and Wagner still present in the youthful composer's still-evolving style. Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra (Bratislava); Ludovít Rajter, Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra; Edgar Seipenbusch. Original 1986 and 1990 Marco Polo releases. Naxos 8.557008 (New Zealand) 03E062 $6.98

KAROL RATHAUS (1895-1954): Piano Sonata No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 2, JERZY FITELBERG (1903-1951): Piano Sonata No. 1, GRETE VON ZIERITZ (1899-2001): Piano Sonata. Vol. 2 of the series "Franz Schreker's Master Classes in Vienna and Berlin" brings a dark, orchestral sounding four-movement work by Rathaus (1920), based on Rachmaninov and Scriabin - a nightscape of angst and harmonic instability with a demonic scherzo to "lighten" matters up. Fitelberg (the son of the famous conductor) wrote his extremely condensed seven-minute sonata in 1926 and it's the opposite of Rathaus: crystal-clear neo-baroque polyphony with touches of jazz and popular music. Von Zieritz (1928) uses late romantic language in a personal way, juxtaposing ecstatic, jaggedly atonal sections with sections of an almost nostalgic charm and her final movment builds to a apocalyptic firestorm of a coda. Not for the faint-hearted! Kolja Lessing (piano). EDA 019-2 (Germany) 03E063 $16.98

JULIUS WEISMANN (1879-1950): Lass scharren deiner Rosse Huf, Op. 4/6, Grabhügel, Op. 6/3, Nachtlied, Op. 5/7, Der Maler, Op. 5/2, Spanisches Volkslied, Op. 6/2, Das zerbrochene Krüglein, Op. 5/4, Des Heimatlosen Erwachen, Op. 4/8, Das Dorf, Op. 82/2, Bodensee, Am Oleanderbaum, Op. 5/1, Sommer, Op. 6/4, Juli, Op. 6/7, Schwarzschattende Kastanie, Op. 18/1, Abendwolke, Op. 4/7, Gleich und gleich, Op. 5/3, Chanson romande, Op. 5/6, Die Nachtigallen, Op. 43/3, Geistesflug, Op. 2/6, Elfenliedchen, Op. 4/9, Schlaflied, Op. 6/1, Das Kornschiffchen, Op. 16/3, Morgendämmerung, Op. 4/2, Es liegt im Tale, Op. 4/4, Der blühende Steig, Op. 4/2, Steu'st du Dornen, Op. 3/7, Der Vogel, Op. 5/8, Ich hört ein himmlisch Lachen, Op. 6/9, Das Kätzchen, Op. 4/5, Sonnenlied, Op. 53/4. Half of the 30 songs recorded here come from the 1900 Toskanische Lieder of Weismann's opp. 4 & 5 and these are solidly in the Schubert-Schumann tradition, with accompaniments which bespeak a fine pianist-composer, melodious and charming, about two-thirds in wistful, melancholy vein. Only Das Dorf and Bodensee, which set Rilke texts, are as late as 1918 and there is an increase in harsh expressivity but still nothing like what, say, Pfitzner was doing at the same time. Will appeal to dyed-in-the-wool German Romantic Lied lovers! German texts. Yvi Jänicke (soprano), Birgitta Wollenweber (piano). MD&G 603 1112-2 (Germany) 03E064 $17.98

RUDOLF MAUERSBERGER (1889-1971): Wie liegt die Stadt so wüst for Mixed Choir, Dresdner Requiem for Soloists, 3 Choirs, Brass, Percussion, Double Bass, Celesta and Organ. The Kantor of the Dresden Kreuzchor from 1930 until his death wrote this requiem, inspired by the destruction of Dresden in February 1945's Allied fire-bombing in 1947-8 . The work makes sparing use of its instruments, instead concentrating on its liturgical texts as performed by three choirs, one distanced, representing the dead. German-English texts. Dresden Kreuzchor, Members of the Dresden Philharmonie; Matthias Jung. Carus 83.116 (Germany) 03E065 $17.98

The British Symphonic Collection, Vol. 12

EDWARD ELGAR (1857-1934): With Proud Thanksgiving for Chorus and Orchestra, FRANK BRIDGE (1879-1941): A Prayer for Chorus and Orchestra, HERBERT HOWELLS (1892-1983): Sine Nomine, Op. 37 for Soprano, Tenor, Chorus and Orchestra, GEORGE DYSON (1883-1964): The Blacksmiths for Tenor, Piano, Chorus and Orchestra, HAVERGAL BRIAN (1876-1972): Psalm XXIII for Chorus and Orchestra, HENRY PURCELL (1659-1695): Jehova, quam multi sunt hostes mei (orch. Elgar) for Tenor, Baritone, Chorus and Orchestra. World premiere recordings of everything but the Bridge and Brian in this tribute to the English choral/orchestral tradition as embodied by Elgar, who synthesized Mendelssohn and Wagner and brought opposing poles together in his style which was to be emulated by so many composers who followed. With Proud Thanksgiving is an orchestrated portion of a larger choral work from 1920 in memorial of the dead of World War I and Bridge's 1916 setting of texts by Thomas à Kempis is also in response to the same stimulus. Howells' Sine Nomine of 1922 is a work of ecstatic nature mysticism with influences of Holst, Ravel and Debussy and Dyson's piece dates from 1934, also a work affected by the war (Dyson was shell-shocked and invalided home) although its text is adapted from a 14th century Middle English poem. Brian's work was highly praised by Elgar in 1905 when he saw the score although it was not orchestrated until 40 years later and Elgar finishes the disc with his 1929 orchestation of Purcell's verse motet in the expected sonorous and massive style. Texts included. Elizabeth Donovan (soprano), Kevin Matthews (tenor), William Prideaux (baritone), Pauline Alston (piano), Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Chorus and Orchestra; Douglas Bostock. Classico CLASSCD 456 (Denmark) 03E066 $16.98

HANS GÁL (1890-1987): Violin Sonata No. 2 in D, KAROL RATHAUS (1895-1954): Suite, Op. 27, FREDERICK ROSSE (1867-1940): Suite: The Merchant of Venice (arr. Sammons), ADOLF BUSCH (1891-1952): Suite in G Minor, Op. 38, EGON WELLESZ (1885-1974): Suite, Op. 56, IVOR GURNEY (1890-1937): The Apple Orchard, Scherzo, WILLIAM WALTON (1902-1983): Toccata, KURT WEILL (1900-1950): 7 Pieces from The Threepenny Opera (arr. Frenkel), ERICH WOLFGANG KORNGOLD (1897-1957): Suite: Much Ado About Nothing, Op. 11. Music from 1918-1938 by composers who knew each other and who were either forced to flee from Nazi Germany or who represented countries which gave them shelter and many of which are receiving their first recordings here. The largest work here is Gál's 1933 sonata which was composed during the summer after his dismissal from his teaching post in Mainz. Amazingly, there are no intimations of danger or trouble in this predominantly warm and lyrical work. Rathaus (1929) is tonal but hard-edged, with neo-baroque elements and the latter also appear in Wellesz's 1937 work which is in a more severe, Schoenbergian idiom. Walton's Toccata is unrecognizable as by that composer - in 1922-3, the young Englishman was obviously influenced by Szymanowski, Bartók and even (according to a contemporary notice of the work by Constant Lambert) Sorabji. Busch's 1927 suite is by turns, witty, melodious and passionate with the expected brilliant violin writing while Rosse's suite of light miniatures combine voluptuous late Romantic harmonies with sentimental lyricism. Gurney's two miniatures bring the recital to a light ending. The violinist, in his notes, promises us "more to come"! 2 CDs. David Frühwirth (violin), Henri Sigfridsson (piano). Avie AV 0009 (England) 03E067 $33.98

JOSEF MATTHIAS HAUER (1883-1959): 8 Hölderlin Lieder, Opp. 6 & 12, ERNST KRENEK (1900-1991): Ô Lachrymosa, Op. 48, FRANZ SCHREKER (1878-1934): 2 lyrische Gesänge, 5 Lieder, Op. 4, MAX REGER (1873-1916): An die Hoffnung, Op. 124, ARNOLD SCHOENBERG (1874-1951): 4 Lieder, Op. 2. Titled "Roots and Branches", this is a useful song recital which is based on the circle of composers associated with Schoenberg's "Association for Private Music Performances". Nothing here is atonal. Hauer's Hölderlin settings date from 1914, five years before his discovery of the 12-tone system and their mystically exotic style suits the poet perfectly and Krenek's nine-minute Rilke setting (1926) may not be luxuriantly late Romantic but it is tonal in a personal sort of way (his first three symphonies, among other items, predate this work). Schreker's, Schoenberg's and Reger's songs will be more familiar to collectors. German texts. Regina Klepper (soprano), Fritz Schwinghammer (piano). Cavalli Records CCD 310 (Germany) 03E068 $17.98

SERGEI PROKOFIEV (1891-1953): Semyon Kotko, Op. 81. This is a 1960 studio recording with soloists from the USSR Radio and Moscow theatres, conducted by the man who premiered the opera in 1940. The story is set in post-World War I Ukraine where a simple soldier is educated by the Bolsheviks, falls in love with the daughter of a counter-revolutionary and, well, you know how this is going to turn out. Twisted, dissonant marching music represents the counter-revolutionaries and their German henchmen while simple, diatonic Russian and Ukranian folk music depicts Semyon and the good-guy Bolsheviks. While we can't tell you exactly why, since we don't have Gergiev's Philips recording of this opera, this is 46 minutes longer although they are both in five acts and have the same number of scenes. 3 CDs. Mono. Russian-English libretto. Mid-price. N. Gres (tenor), T. Antipova (soprano), N. Panchekhin (bass), USSR Radio Choir and Symphony Orchestra; Mikhail Zhukov. Chandos 10053 (England) 03E069 $41.98

JOAQUÍN RODRIGO (1901-1999): Complete Orchestral Works, Vol. 5 - Concierto para una fiesta for Guitar and Orchestra, Concierto Madrigal for 2 Guitars and Orchestra. The first work has the distinction of being Rodrigo's last concerto as well as the more dubious one of having been commissioned by rich Texans for their daughters' debutante ball in 1982. Still, it's enjoyable and has echoes of the Concierto de Aranjuez in its slow movement. The other concerto (1966) takes a Renaissance madrigal as the basis for a series of variations, some archaic in quality, others more folk-inspired. Ricardo Gallén, Joaquín Clerch (guitars), Asturias Symphony Orchestra; Maximiano Valdés. Naxos Spanish Classics 8.555842 (New Zealand) 03E070 $6.98

Koppel: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2

HERMAN D. KOPPEL (1908-1998): Orchestral Works, Vol. 2 - Symphony No. 1, Op. 5, Symphony No. 2, Op. 37. Koppel's first symphony, premiered in 1930, was excoriated by critics, one of whom said "There was not a bar in it that was by Herman D. Koppel; every single theme was by Carl Nielsen - except one that was by Fini Henriques." At Records International, this is an unqualified rave; and it's true - if you like Carl Nielsen, you'll love playing this symphony for a friend and asking him to guess who it's by. The second symphony is sterner stuff - one of three "war symphonies" - dating from 1943 when Denmark had been under three years of Nazi occupation. Lasting almost 41 minutes, the work is predominantly elegiac and fateful, its spacious first movement using neo-classical elements but to create an atmsophere of tension and doubt. The molto espressivo slow movement is reminiscent of war works by Shostakovich and Bartók while the finale opens contemplatively but soon develops into an implacable march with two lyrical interludes and which ends on a question mark. Aalborg Symphony Orchestra; Moshe Atzmon. Dacapo 8.224205 (Denmark) 03E071 $15.98

Finally! - First Edition Arrives...

JOHN CORIGLIANO (b.1938): Tournaments Overture, Elegy, Gazebo Dances, Piano Concerto. These works date from 1965-74, before the composer's achievement of his greatest reknown (all recordings are stereo and the last two works listed were issued on CD in 1994), offering an early look at his style. Whatever it is that makes Copland, Barber, Harris and others of that ilk American-sounding is present in the other three works on this CD, whether it's a certain generosity of spirit, folk-tinged yet original melodies (Gazebo Dances was suggested by the joy of summer and the small-town band concerts in the town's gazebo), a kind of austere grandeur that creeps in now and then or whatever. The concerto (the only non-first recording here) is virtuosic and theatrical and one theme in the large-scale first movement is memorably haunting, ranging in use from melancholy to savage and the fact that there are atonal and dodecaphonic segements present (which you may not know unless you read the notes) takes nothing away from the sheer energy and color of this work. James Tocco (piano), Louisville Orchestra; Sidney Harth, Lawrence Leighton Smith. First Edition FECD-0002 (U.S.A.) 03E072 $17.98

HENRY COWELL (1897-1965): Hymn and Fuguing Tune No. 3, Ongaku, Symphony No. 11 "Seven Rituals of Music", Thesis (Symphony No. 15). The Hymn and Fuguing Tune (1954; 1967 stereo recording) and Ongaku (1957; 1958 mono recording) demonstrate Cowell's universal musical interests, the former based on minstrel show rhythms and tunes used at revival meetings in the deep South and the latter on ceremonial Japanese music. The Symphony No. 11 (1954; 1954 mono recording) is in seven short movements which follow man from birth to death ranging from magically quiet music for times of love mysticism to garish percussion-driven music for times of war with all six themes combining in a fugue before the final lament of death. The Symphony No. 15 (1961; 1961 mono recording) is wholly abstract, five mini-sections making up the first movement, followed by a sonata-form second and final movement. Louisville Orchestra; Robert Whitney, Jorge Mester. First Edition FECD-0003 (U.S.A.) 03E073 $17.98

ALAN HOVHANESS (1911-2000): Concerto No. 7 for Orchestra, Op. 116, Symphony No. 15, Op. 199 "Silver Pilgrimage", Magnificat for 4 Solo Voices, Chorus and Orchestra, Op. 157. Like Cowell, Hovhaness assimilated foreign musical elements into his language but, unlike him, Hovhaness produced a language which is unmistakably his alone. The concerto for orchestra (1953; 1954 mono recording) has outer movements of neo-Renaissance polyphony embracing a central one in a Hindustani mode. The symphony (1963; 1965 stereo recording) synthsizes elements of both Japanese Gagaku and Indian traditions with the first three of its four movements using modes which approximate ragas. The Magnificat (1957; 1961 mono recording) is in 12 sections and Byzantine incantations, organum, pastoral interludes, Hovahness' own "free rhythm" (akin to what Ligeti would do in the 60s) and other contrasting idioms succeed in evoking what the composer called "the mystery, inspiration and mysticism of early Christianity". Audrey Nossaman (soprano), Elizabeth Johnson (contralto), Thomas East (tenor), Richard Dales (baritone), University of Louisville Choir, Louisville Orchestra; Robert Whitney. First Edition FECD-0006 (U.S.A.) 03E074 $17.98

GEORGE CRUMB (b.1929): Variazioni, Echoes of Time and the River (Echoes II). These were the world premiere recordings of both works at the time they were made, Variazioni in 1980, a work which will be unrecognizable to Crumb devotees since it comes from a transitional period in his development. Using pitch sets in the manner of 12-tone music (yet not dodecaphonic), the work abounds in chamber-like textures while revealing a sense of dramatic atmosphere which looks ahead. Echoes is probably Crumb's most famous work and little need be said about its use of music as ritual and its mythic dimensions (not to mention the workout orchestral members can get as they walk around the stage muttering and whispering texts). This recording dates from 1970, three years after its composition. Louisville Orchestra; David Gilbert, Jorge Mester. First Edition FECD-0008 (U.S.A.) 03E075 $17.98

PAUL HINDEMITH (1895-1963): Die Harmonie der Welt. Like Cardillac and Mathis der Maler, the theme here is the artist's responsibility to the world in which he lives, here taken into mystical spheres. The astronomer/astrologer Johannes Kepler is the main character and the work is set against the backdrop of the Thirty Years War but this is not a through-composed work - many characters interact with Kepler over five acts and 15 scenes, each self-contained. Not easily absorbed in the theater, this world premiere recording is the best way to gain access to the composer's philosophical and musical beliefs, of which this work can be considered his final testament. 3 CDs. German-English libretto. François Le Roux (baritone), Arutiun Kochinian (bass), Robert Wörle (tenor), Michlle Breedt (mezzo), Tatiana Korovina (soprano), Berlin Radio Choir and Symphony Orchestra; Marek Janowski. Wergo WER 6652-2 (Germany) 03E076 $59.98

TOBIAS PICKER (b.1954): Piano Concerto No. 2 "Keys to the City", And Suddenly It's Evening, Cello Concerto. Keys to the City was commissioned for the centenary of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1982. A single-movement work of around 20 minutes, the piece displays the influence of Gershwin both in the prominent use of jazz elements throughout and in its rhapsodic character as a plethora of ideas rushes impatiently by. A jubilant and festive work which cannot fail to appeal. And Suddenly... dates from 1994 and was suggested by a poem by Quasimodo on the evanescence of youth. Commissioned by a consortium of youth orchestras, the work is, nevertheless, hardly easy to play, its outer movements full of youthful energy but also a striking rhythmic complexity (the central movement is a mini-violin concerto) while an overall atmosphere of wistful elegy underlines the concept of the loss of youth. The 1999 cello concerto is in four movements - two scherzos (one sharp-edged and one grimly deliberate) and two recompositions of earlier songs which are open-hearted and noble in character. Jeremy Denk (piano), Paul Watkins (cello), Russian Philharmonic Orchestra; Thomas Sanderling. Chandos 10039 (England) 03E077 $16.98

DAVE HEATH (b.1956): Sirocco - Concerto for Violin, Oboe and Chamber Orchestra, The Celtic - Concerto for Violin and String Orchestra, Home from the Storm for Flute and Chamber Orchestra, The Sapphire for Oboe and Chamber Orchestra, Requiem: The Beloved for Soprano, Treble, Oboe, Choir and Organ, Lochalsh for Solo Violin. Collectors who purchased the Linn recording featuring The Celtic will pretty much know what to expect from the majority of works on this disc - the use of folk music, driving rhythms, heart-on-sleeve neo-romanticism, here and there the hint of rock music. Sirocco does for Middle Eastern music what The Celtic, The Sapphire and Lochalsh do for Celtic while Home from the Storm is a pictuesque little piece written especially for William Bennett. At some 23 minutes, the requiem is the longest work here and was inspired in 2000 by the death of a 5-year-old playmate of the composer's sons in which the use of a solo treble and only organ accompaniment acknowledges the English choral tradition in music whose mixture of ethereality and representations of tortured grief aims for direct emotional appeal. Ittai Shapira (violin), John Anderson (oboe), William Bennett (flute), English Chamber Orchestra; Dave Heath, Angela Tunstall (soprano), Jonathan Rendell (treble), David Thomas (oboe), Simon Nieminski (organ), Choir of St. Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh; Matthew Owens. Black Box BBM 1083 (England) 03E078 $17.98

KRZYSZTOF PENDERECKI (1895-1963): Concerto grosso for 3 Cellos and Orchestra, KRZYSZTOF MEYER (b.1943): Mass for Mixed Choir and Orchestra, Op. 68, WITOLD LUTOSLAWSKI (1913-1994): Mi-parti. Meyer's 1986 mass is a fabulously expressive, completely tonal yet modern work which one can easily see both thrilling concert audiences and working just as completely in a cathedral. The Kyrie and Gloria are based on a stylized medieval organum and point toward the central Credo, whose power is driven both by the massed brass and organ and by the intensity of the religious expression in the performance. The Sanctus rises to an almost Glagolitic level of ecstatic, wild intensity before the almost motionless, soothing Agnus Dei. Penderecki's new composition (2000) is a 35-minute single-movement piece in three sections which has a general character of seriousness by the soloists and a buffo attitude on behalf of the orchestra (galumphing, Till-style episodes, pseudo-Rota film music, parodies of Shostakovich parody-marches, etc.), with a carousel of constantly changing rhythmic, motivic, melodic and textural episodes. Ivan Monighetti, Adam Klocek,Kazimierz Koslacz (cellos), Warsaw Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra; Antoni Wit. CD Accord ACD 096-2 (Poland) 03E079 $17.98

HERMAN D. KOPPEL (1908-1998): Sextet for Piano and Wind Quintet, Op. 36, NILS VIGGO BENTZON (1919-2000): Sextet for Piano and Wind Quintet, Op. 278, Wind Quintet No. 5, Op. 116. Along with Holmboe, these two composers were the leading lights of Danish music of the post-war generation and Koppel and Bentzon shared a mutual respect and sympathy. Koppel was the more traditional of the two, his music in general and this piano sextet (1942) in particular showing characteristic lively rhythms and a plain-spokenness in the neo-classical style of Hindemith and Stravinsky. Bentzon, like Koppel, was a remarkable pianist but, unlike him, devoted himself almost exclusively to playing his own compositons which were strikingly original in terms of form and which were not influenced by any particular composers of the early 20th century but rather by the early 20th century in toto so that one can find echoes not only of Hindemith and Stravinsky, but also of Bartók, Carl Nielsen, Berg and Schoenberg. The maverick pianist in Bentzon is particularly evident in the 1971 sextet whose tonal idiom is traditional but whose timbres and harmony are quite modern. Nikolaj Bentzon (piano), Wind Quintet of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. Dacapo 8.224208 (Denmark) 03E080 $15.98

JAVIER ALVAREZ (b.1956): Metro Nativitas, TUNDE JEGEDE (b.1972): String Quartet No. 2, KAREN TANAKA (b.1961): At the Grave of Beethoven, SALLY BEAMISH (b.1956): Opus California, DIMITRI SMIRNOV (b.1948): String Quartet No. 6, Op. 106, ELENA FIRSOVA (b.1950): La Malinconia - String Quartet No. 10, Op. 84, LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827): 6 String Quartets, Op. 18. Six composers were invited to compose works for string quartet, based on one of Beethoven's op. 18 quartets to reflect on. Alvarez uses Beethoven's recurring use of motifs which appear in new shapes in a nine-minute work which has salsa and other Latin American flavors. Jegede uses reggae as Beethoven would have used a waltz and translates Beethoven's rhythmic complexity into the rhythmic complexity of African music. Tanaka and Beamish both use themes or transitions from their respective Beethoven quartets as inspiration for works which attempt to capture the same perceived spirit as Beethoven's. Smirnov is more wide-ranging, using snippets of his Beethoven quartet, but also inviting composers from Bach and Handel to Tchaikovsky and Xenakis into his freely conceived two-movement quartet while Firsova takes the superscription to the slow opening to the final movement of Beethoven's final quartet - "La Malinconia" - and elaborates a modern equivalent of its intense, mournful melancholy. (Total time of modern quartets: 64:35) 3 CDs. The Brodsky Quartet. Challenge Classics CC 72009 (Netherlands) 03E081 $53.98

Music from Lithuania

Onute Narbutaite (b.1956): Winterserenade for Flute, Violin and Viola, The Eight String for Violin and Viola, Mozartsommer 1991 for Flute, Violin, Viola and Harpsichord, Autumn Ritornello for Piano Quartet, Hoquetus for Violin, Cello and Double Bass. Three of these works skilfully reimagine music of other, earlier composers - Schubert, Mozart and Chopin - in Narbutaite's typically subtle and delicate musical language. They are not transcriptions, though each, in different ways, pays homage to the style and mood of the earlier work. Thus Winterserenade, based on fragments of "Gute Nacht" is predominantly lyrical and melancholy in mood: the more pointillistic Mozartsommer embodies the "shimmering merriment" of Mozart, even though thematic quotations as such are exceedingly fragmentary. Autumn Ritornello, the most ambitious and extended work here, is very much "about" Chopin, and demonstrates Narbutaite's understanding and love of that great composer, in music which "sounds like" Chopin while almost never imitating him literally (in a similar sense, Lutoslawski's Piano Concerto is much the concerto Chopin might have written had he been a 20th-century composer). The other two works are "pure" music, The Eight String being unusually atonal and dissonant for Narbutaite, a duo tour de force of instrumental and compositional virtuosity. AudronÎ PibilskienÎ (viola), Ingrida ArmonaitÎ (violin), M°za RubackytÎ (piano), Rimantas Armonas (cello), Valentinas Gelgotas (flute), Gediminas Kviklys (harpsichord), Arnoldas Gurinavi°cius (double bass). Vilnius Recording Studio VSCD-075 (Lithuania) 03E082 $16.98 >

Onute Narbutaite(b.1956): Open the Gate of Oblivion (String Quartet No. 2), Drawing for String Quartet and Returning Winter (String Quartet No. 3), Opus Lugubre for Strings, Sinfonia col triangolo for Strings and Triangles. These works for strings all have a muted and brooding intensity which is as emotionally draining as it is satisfying. The composer's use of dissonant textures which are nonetheless closely related to the functional harmony on which they are based makes these works entirely accessible at first hearing, while avoiding any suggestion of "easy listening". The palindromic Sinfonia is the largest work and the most immediately gripping; Opus Lugubre from five years earlier has less homogeneous textures and is more pointillistic and fragmentary, and consequently sounds more "modern", while still very coherent, and as recognisably by the same composer. All these works share a shadowy, autumnal mood, which alongside a penchant for a finely delineated sense of line and contrast, seems to be a consistent characteristic of this fine and fascinating composer. Vilnius String Quartet, Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra; Juha Kangas. Finlandia 0927-43072-2 (Finland) 03E083 $19.98 >

Onute Narbutaite (b.1956): Interludium for Flute, Cello and Organ, June Music 1981 for Violin and Cello, Climber for 2 Pianos, Monogramme for 3 Percussions. These works for various small ensembles share a quality of fragile delicacy and introspectiveness, even the percussion piece, which largely avoids big demonstrative gestures in favour of a subtly stated interplay of rhythmic patterns. June Music 1981 is an atmospheric series of time and place impressions, inspired by a particular landscape at a given point in the composer's life, replete with quasi-onomatapic suggestions of travel and nature sounds. Interludium is an exercise in Pärt-like meditativeness, serenity and comtemplation, though the musical material is both more varied and more comprehensively treated than this might suggest. The same is true of Climber, which is built of scalar passagework divided between two pianos, but the variety of textures achieved and the interplay of material (none of which could really be called "thematic') produces an organic whole (one possible interpretation of the title suggests a climbing plant) consideraby more varied and interesting than the material might at first suggest. Valentinas Gelgotas (flute), Edmundas Kulikauskas (cello), J°ratÎ LandsbergytÎ (organ), AudronÎ Vaini°taitÎ (violin), Augustinas Vasiliauskas (cello), R°ta and Zbignevas Ibelhauptas (pianos), Saulius Astrauskas, Zenoras Bagavic°ius, Vladas ­eibokas (percussion). Finlandia 0927-43437-2 (Finland) 03E084 $19.98 >

90 Years of Lithuanian String Quartets

Vytautas Bacevic° ius (1905-1970): String Quartet No. 3, Op. 48, Jeronimas Kac° inskas (b.1907): String Quartet No. 4, Vladas JakubÎnas (1904-1976): String Quartet, Julius Gaidelis (1909-1983): String Quartet No. 4, Juozas Naujalis (1869-1934): The Dream, Juozas Pakalnis (1912-1948): Little Prelude, Juozas Gruodis (1884-1948): String Quartet in D Minor, Jonas Nabaas (b.1907): String Quartet No. 2, Stasys Vaini°nas (1909-1982): Piano Quintet No. 2, Op. 34, Mikalojus Konstantinas »iurlionis (1875-1911): 2 Canons. Several of the works here are that true rarity - Lithuanian music from before the Second World War. The first four composers listed above lived in the U.S. and Jakubenas' 1929-30 work is cognizant of Ravel and other French influences. Bacevicius (1949) and Gaidelis (1954) construct their through motivic development, not more atonal than anything you'd find in, say, David Diamond, while Kacinskas (1997) is made of sterner stuff, freely atonal, polyrhythmic and highly concentrated. The second disc offers more early works - mostly miniatures: Ciurlionis is comparatively well-known now, Naujalis (1920) and Pakalnis (1939) write three-minute pieces in late Romantic style while Gruodis (1924) offers an eight-minute graduation exercise with Impressionistic influences. Nabazas (1984) is a string of mood miniatures with folkloric resonances which are not developed but varied in color while the piano quintet by Vainiunas (1966) is in the general style of Shostakovich and Bartók with an admixture of folk elements. 2 CDs. Vilnius String Quartet, Rokas Zubovas (piano). Vilnius Recording Studio VSCD-079 (Lithuania) 03E085 $33.98 >

Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis (1875-1911): Impromptu in D Minor, Prelude, Piece in A, Mazurka in B Flat Minor, Vladas JakubÎnas (1904-1976): Legend, Op. 2/2, Julius Juzeli°nas (1916-2001): Sonata No. 2, Vidmantas Bartulis (b.1954): 9 Glimpses of Early Autumn, Zigmas Virkas (1946-2001): Like the Sunrise, Leonas Povilaitis (b.1934): Sonata No. 2, Antanas Jasenka (b.1965): Me. Ka, Vytautas Montvila (b.1935): Freedom Sonata. The largest work here is the 1986 sonata of Juzeliunas, a concise single-movement work in three sections in a neo-classical style with the expected echoes of Bartók and some of the Czech composers of the mid-20th century. Jakubenas' 1938 Legend is luscisously late Romantic, Bartulis' Nine Glimpses an aphoristic set of quite, melancholy mood pieces and Povilaitis' sonata is dodecaphonic. The remaining three composers work in various aspects of minimalism: Virksas' sonata full of light and pealing bell-sounds, Jasenka's more motorically ostinato-driven and Montvila sounding closer to the school of Pärt. BirutÎ Vaini°naitÎ (piano). Vilnius Recording Studio VSCD-092 (Lithuania) 03E086 $16.98 >

Juozas Tallat Kelpa (1889-1949): A Fairy Tale, Impromptu, Juozas Karosas (1890-1981): 3 Preludes, Antanas Rac° i°nas (1905-1984): Ballad, Balys Dvarionas (1904-1972): Mirage, Rondino-Humoresque, At the Old Belfry, Aledsandras Kac° anauskas (1882-1959): 2 Preludes, Opp. 22 & 23, Vytautas Barkauskas (b.1931): Vision, Op. 86, Mirror, Op. 91, Julius Andrejevas (b.1942): The Doom, Ballad in Memoriam Balys Dvarionas, Raminta ­erknytÎ (b.1975): Fantasy, Passacaglia. This volume will appeal particularly to collectors of late Romanticism as Kelpsa, Karosas, Raciunas, Dvarionas and Kacanauskas are all in the tradition represented by Rachmaninov and Medtner with Kelpsa a bit more bright and brittle, with more use of folk-song. There is no minimalism or dodecaphony on the rest of the disc in which freely rhapsodic works mingle with free atonality, intensive motivic development, and with tinges of a folk-inspired lyricism in Andrejevas' two pieces. BirutÎ Vaini°naitÎ (piano). Vilnius Recording Studio VSCD-106 (Lithuania) 03E087 $16.98 >

PETER RACINE FRICKER (1920-1990): Symphony No. 2, Op. 14, ROBERT SIMPSON (1921-1997): Symphony No. 1, ROBIN ORR (b.1909): Symphony in One Movement. Collectors of late 20th century English symphonic music will probably have Hyperion's complete Simpson symphonic cycle but there will still be historic interest in this 1956 recording made by Boult just five years after the Symphony No. 1 was written, the huge edifice in single-movement form having that monolithic unity and clear sense of goal throughout its widely varied invention which is so characteristic of the composer. Fricker's symphony dates from the same year and Simpson fans will recognize a kindred spirit. Another one-movement work, this one falls into three sections - all of which are in rondo form - and which are imbued with a sinewy counterpoint, often dense chromaticism, with a strong rhythmic pulse underlying the whole scheme (Pritchard's recording dates from 1954). Fricker was the antithesis of the English pastoral tradition and this is what made him the most prominent British composer of his generation to appear after the war. The Scot Orr's single-movement symphony is the shortest here, falling into four concise, distinct sections and whose somber initial figure (coming from earlier incidental music to a theater production of Oedipus at Colonus) returns balefully at the end while a languorous second section in siciliana rhythm offers respite from the general grim intensity. Mono/Stereo. Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra; Sir John Pritchard, London Philharmonic Orchestra; Sir Adrian Boult, Scottish National Orchestra; Sir Alexander Gibson. Original 1955, 1957 & 1966 EMI releases. EMI British Composers 5 75789 2 (England) 03E088 $11.98

GEIRR TVEITT (1908-1981): Sinfonietta di soffiatori, Op. 203, The Old Mill on the Brook, Op. 204, EINOJUHANI RAUTAVAARA (b.1928): A Soldier's Mass, Op. 40, AULIS SALLINEN (b.1935): Chorali for 32 Winds, Percussion, Harp and Celesta, Op. 32, OLE SCHMIDT (b.1928): Hommage à Stravinsky for Symphonic Winds, Timpani and 3 Percussion, HUGO ALFVÉN (1872-1960): Festival Overture for Large Military Band, Op. 26 (rev. G. Johansson), CARL NIELSEN (1865-1931): Paraphrase on "Nearer My God to Thee". "Norwegian Wind Band Classics" as the title has it although several of these pieces are, of course, rather unknown. Alfvén's 1925 work is predictably lyrical and folk-tinged and Nielsen's is probably the best-known of the pieces here. The remainder are all "modern" works, all pretty approachable, with Sallinen's Chorali the largest-scale. Dating from 1970, it has much of the haunting melancholy of his first symphony which was to follow a year later although the overall emotional aspect of the piece is pretty bleak, comemmorating the deaths of the composer's parents. Rautavaara's 1968 A Soldier's Mass has a not dissimilar harshness while Tveitt's Sinfonietta is redolent with Norwegian folk music yet predominantly nostalgic and brooding in character with occasional glimmers of light and hope. Schmidt's Stravinsky hommage is a riot of surreally juxtaposed quotations which captures the Russian composer's sound world with skill and finesse. Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra; Clark Rundell. Chandos 10038 (England) 03E089 $16.98

TONINO TESEI (b.1961): 6 marchigiane, 3 valzer, Preludi ostinati. The marchigiane (1998) are based on folk melodies from the Marche in Italy which are usually accompanied the concertina and the attempt to imitate the drone quality of the instrument gives these short pieces a minimalist character. Although Tesei states that he uses Pärt's "tintinnabulation" method of composition in the waltzes of 1998, they seem less minimal than their disc-mates, offering a dreamy, melancholic break between the marchigiane and the motoric studies in ostinato (1999/2000) whose natural minimalistic qualities are mitigated by their complex polyrhythmic structures. Fausto Bongelli (piano). New Albion NA 121 (U.S.A.) 03E090 $16.98

MAURICIO KAGEL (b.1931): Schwarzes Madrigal for Choir and Instruments, Trio in Three Movements for Violin, Cello and Piano. The surprisingly Romantic-sounding trio, much of which would not have given Shostakovich any cause for complaint whatsoever, contrasts strongly with the highly theatrical "Black Madrigal", which uses African place-names and a few German words as text in a polystylistic fantasia for voices and mixed instrumentation which suggests a half-forgotten narrative (even though there isn't one) with an almost operatic sense of drama and spectacle. Much of the material is surprisingly tonal, though the overall effect is less so than the sum of its parts might suggest. The trio is described by the composer as functioning like a web of character pieces, related to his "Music Epic" about the devil, Oral Treason. What it sounds like is a fairly conventional piano trio, lugubrious and melancholy in mood, containing a series of contrasting mood-pictures, many of which you will swear you've heard before, though this seems to be mainly because of the composer's skill in tweaking the very Romantic concept of the depiction of characters in music (à la Schumann especially), the whole adding up to a highly approachable and enjoyable tongue-in-cheek piece of black humor. Berlin Radio Choir; Simon Halsey, Christopher Dicken (trumpet), Mark Reynolds (tuba), Thomas Ringleb, Matthias Dölling (percussion), Schönberg Ensemble. Winter & Winter 910 090-2 (Germany) 03E091 $17.98

FRANCO DONATONI (1927-2000): Orchestral Works, Vol. 2 - Arie for Female Voice and Orchestra, Voci, Prom, Doubles II. The sustained vocal arabesques - highly virtuosic at that - that make up the bulk of Arie, against orchestral textures that shimmer and glitter with energy, are a fine example of the supple, mobile fluidity which marks the best of Donatoni's music. A similar virtuosic treatment of the orchestra, with aleatoric elements amid big, bold blocks of sound, is also exhibited in the tense and inventive Voci. The most recent work, Prom, written for the BBC promenade concerts, has a darker aspect, and a sense of energy running out, though still 'raging against the dying of the light' with almost Petterssonian intensity. Although the shortest work here, this is also the most intense and gripping, and worth the price of admission on its own. Pilar Jurado (soprano), Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra; Arturo Tamayo. Stradivarius STR 33628 (Italy) 03E092 $17.98

FRANCO DONATONI (1927-2000): Leoncavallo, "...a Renzo e Marcella", A Françoise, Rima, Estratto, 3 Improvvisazioni, Composizione in 4 movementi, For 2 Pianos: Cloches II, Black and White No. 2. These piano works are mostly brief and succinct, and marked by rhythmic verve and nervous, jerky metrical structures. The earliest works, from the 1950s and 1960s, show the strong influence of Boulez, as one might expect, especially the seminal Second Sonata. Later, more extreme chance elements (the directions sometimes bordering on the surreal) became more characteristic of the composer's style, along with increasing brevity, a lighter, less serious touch and a fondness for sustained, perpetuum mobile textures. Donatoni's piano output may not be as ground-breaking as some other notable avant-gardistes, and it certainly adds little to the pianistic tradition, but in its own right it is an interesting and enjoyable facet of the output of this notable composer. Maria Isabella De Carli (piano), Mariarosa Bodini (second piano). Stradivarius STR 33627 (Italy) 03E093 $17.98

WOLFGANG RIHM (b.1952): Tutuguri for Speaker, Chorus and Large Orchestra. A large-scale orchestral work, which can be performed either as a dance score or without staging, Tutuguri is based on a radio play by Antonin Artaud. The text treats a somewhat abstract apocalytic vision in stunningly visual imagery. Rihm matches this in a typically virtuosic orchestral display - his handling of large forces is always brilliantly assured - with passages of violent drumming, effectively turning the orchestra into a huge percussion instrument, and relentless activity on a vast scale, a "Rite of Winter" for the end-times. Atonal in the broadest sense, more than flirting with tonal referents within the textures, the score exudes visceral impact and quasi-cinematic vividness of tone-painting in a tour de force of the best kind of modern expressionistic impact. It must be devastating in the concert hall. French-English texts. Rupert Huber (speaker), SWR Vokalensemble, Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra; Fabrice Bollon. 2 CDs. Hänssler Classic 93.069 (Germany) 03E094 $31.98

JOAN GUINJOAN (b.1931): Magma for 16 Soloist, Cadenza for Solo Cello, Nexus for Instrumental Ensemble, Barcelona 216 for Instrumental Ensemble, Homenaje a Carmen Amaya for 6 Percussionists. Guinjoan typically writes highly colorful and organic music, free and improvisatory-sounding, drawing on a wide range of styles. Although the vocabulary is largely atonal, even utilising microtones, it is not easy to explain the ready accessibility of a work like Magma, a structured flow of elemental material, not a mere molten mass, which suddenly, like crystalline accretions within the lava flow, resolves onto blocks of tonality, a stunning effect. Elsewhere, as in the Flamenco homage, the appearance of jazzy and yes, flamenco clichés in an otherwise very modern-sounding percussion ensemble piece produce the same disorienting yet highly appealing sense of surprise and shock. Enjoyable on both a cerebral and visceral level, these works cover a very broad range of emotional communication, and are well worth getting to know. Piotr Karasiuk (cello), Proyecto Gerhard; Josep Pons. Harmonia Mundi HMI 987035 (Spain) 03E095 $17.98

BRIGHT SHENG (b.1955): China Dreams, 2 Poems from the Sung Dynasty for Soprano and Orchestra, Nanking! Nanking! - A Threnody for Orchestra and Pipa. China Dreams is a very attractive and approachable four-movement suite using either authentic Chinese folk songs or written in their style. The first Poem is a brief expression of tormented regret for a failed marriage, the second, lasting 10 minutes an expressionistic lament both for private misfortune and for the poet's nation, then being invaded by the Mongols. Rounding out the disc is Sheng's "A Survivor of Nanking" a grim, often disturbing depiction of the individual's struggle to hold onto his humanity (represented by the Chinese pipa) against the backdrop of barbarity represented by the 1937 Japanese atrocities committed in the city of Nanking. Chinese-English texts. Juliana Gondek (soprano), Zhang Qiang (pipa), Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra; Samuel Wong. Naxos 8.555866 (New Zealand) 03E096 $6.98

British Light Overtures, Vol. 2

JOHN ANSELL (1874-1948): Plymouth Hoe (A Nautical Overture), DAVID GOW (1924-1993): Overture One-Two-Five, RICHARD RODNEY BENNETT (b.1936): Farnham Festival Overture, WILLIAM ALWYN (1905-1985): The Moor of Venice (orch. P. Lane), JOHN GARDNER (b.1917): A Scots Overture, MICHAEL GRYSPEERDT (1927-2000): The Lamprey, PETER HOPE (b.1930): Scaramouche, ANTHONY HEDGES (b.1931): A Cleveland Overture, GARETH GLYN (b.1951): A Snowdon Overture. Only one of these overtures was intended for the seaside or spa orchestras whose needs created the genre - Ansell's Plymouth Hoe of 1914. Gardner's A Scots Overture was written in 1941 for an RAF wind band and orchestrated 1954. The rest date from the 60s up to the present day and the occasions which prompted their composition are usually present in their titles: Gow's 1976 piece was for the first trip of British Rail's 125mph bullet train, Gryspeerdt's for the pub near Gloucester Cathedral where the doctor and amateur orchestral musician used to play in concerts, Hedges' for the Cleveland Youth Orchestra, and so forth. However, they all still admirably fulfill the genre's demands for bright, high-spirited music tempered briefly here and there with quieter contemplation whose goal is simple entertainment. Mid-price. Royal Ballet Sinfonia; Gavin Sutherland. ASV White Line WHL 2137 (England) 03E097 $11.98

RICHARD ADDINSELL (1904-1977): Music from Goodby, Mr. Chips, Love on the Dole, Blith Spirit, The Black Rose, Scrooge, Tom Brown's Schooldays, The Admirable Crichton, The Flame Tango from Out of the Clouds, Warsaw Concerto from Dangerous Moonlight. The latest in Chandos' British film music series brings much more by the composer known primarily for the Warsaw Concerto. Martin Roscoe (piano), Chetham's Chamber Choir, Manchester Cathedral Choir, BBC Philharmonic; Rumon Gamba. Chandos 10046 (England) 03E098 $16.98

JOHN PHILIP SOUSA (1854-1932): Music for Wind Band, Vol. 3 - The Corcoran Cadets, Semper Fidelis, Selections from The Free Lance, The New York Hippodrome, La Flor di Sevilla, Waltzes from El Capitan, A Century of Progress, Suite: The Last Days of Pompei, The White Rose, With Pleasure - Dance Hilarious, The Belle of Chicago, The National Game. Royal Artillery Band; Keith Brion. Naxos American Classics 8.559092 (U.S.A.) 03E099 $6.98

ARNE DØRUMSGAARD (b.1921): Sanger under stjernene, Op. 17, Gudrid stod ved stoveglas, Op. 11/2, Natt, Op. 4/1, Songs from the Anthology Canzone scordate arranged by Dørumsgaard: 4 Sacred German Songs from the Schemelli and Freylinghausen Gesangbuchs, Johann Crüger and Georg Böhm, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788): Die Güte Gottes, Busslied, Passionslied, Preis sei dem Gotte, Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750): Vergiss mein nicht, O finstre Nacht, Liebster Herr Jesu, Komm, süsser Tod, Dir, dir Jehova, Wolfgang Franck (1641-1700): Wie seh' ich dich,mein Jesu, bluten, Sei nur still, Auf, auf! zu Gottes Lob!, Giacomo Carissimi (1605-1674): Soccorretemi ch'io moro, Johann Löhner (1645-1705): O Ewigkeit. Flagstad's fidelity to this fellow Norwegian produced these two CDs worth of recordings which certainly fit Records International's unusual repertoire niche. EMI recordings, 1950 and 1952. English translations. Kirsten Flagstad (soprano), Gerald Moore (piano). Testament SBT 1267 (England) 03E100 $17.98

ARNE DØRUMSGAARD (b.1921): Regn, Op. 6/2, Salme, Op. 5/2, Kvelding, Op. 1/1, Blaakveld, Op. 16/3, Korn og guld, Op. 16/1, Det er fjord imillom frendar, Op. 8/3, Hjuring-lokk, Op. 8/5, Spinnvettir, Op. 10/1, Kvitveis i sudröna, Op. 12/1, Snölyse, Op. 12/5, Sövnen, Op. 6/1, Et barn, Op. 7/1, En hustavle, Op. 5/1, Baan sull, Op. 11/1, 2 Norwegian Folksongs, Op. 21, EDVARD GRIEG (1843-1907): En Drøm, Op. 48/6, Tak for dit råd, Op. 21/4, Våren, Op. 33/2, Fra Monte Pincio, Op. 39/1, Guten, Op. 33/1, Eros, Op. 70/1, Ven Rondane, Op. 33/9, En svane, Op. 25/2, Den Særde, Op. 33/3, Med en vandlilje, Op. 25/4, Prinsessen. 9 of the 11 Grieg songs are with orchestra; remainder piano accompanied. EMI recordings, 1948 and 1952. English translations. Kirsten Flagstad (soprano), Gerald Moore (piano), Philharmonia Orchestra; Warwick Braithwaite, Walter Susskind. Testament SBT 1268 (England) 03E101 $17.98