January 2004  January 2003  January 2002  January 2001  January 2000  January 1999  January 1998  
 February 2004  February 2003 February 2002  February 2001  February 2000  February 1999  February 1998  
 March 2004  March 2003 March 2002 March 2001  March 2000  March 1999  March 1998  
 April 2004  April 2003 April 2002  April 2001  April 2000 April 1999  April 1998  
 May 2004  May 2003 May 2002 May 2001  May 2000  May 1999   May 1998  
 June 2004 June 2003  June 2002  June 2001  June 2000  June 1999  June 1998  
 July 2004  July 2003  July 2002  July 2001  July 2000  July 1999  July 1998  July 1997
 August 2004  August 2003  August 2002  August 2001  August 2000  August 1999  August 1998  August 1997
 September 2004  September 2003  September 2002  September 2001  September 2000  September 1999  September 1998  September 1997
   October 2003  October 2002 October 2001  October 2000  October 1999  October 1998  October 1997
    November 2003  November 2002 November 2001  November 2000  November 1999  November 1998  November 1997
   December 2003 December 2002 December 2001  December 2000  December 1999  December 1998  December 1997

Mieczyslaw Karlowicz

Rebirth Symphony

MIECZYSLAW KARLOWICZ (1876-1909): Rebirth Symphony in E Minor, Op. 7, Bianca da Molena - Symphonic Prologue from Music for the White Dove, Op. 6, Serenade for Strings in C, Op. 2. Previously available only on an old Muza recording licensed in the 80s by the apparently moribund Olympia label, the Rebirth symphony dates from 1903. The composer issued a long programmatic note for its second performance (excerpts of which are printed in the booklet) which describe its four movements as representing the profound disillusion and disappointments of an artist whose soul, assailed by doubts, languishes, exhausted, before re-entering the struggle and being triumphantly reborn. Although the program is Straussian, the music is very much indebted to the Tchaikovsky Fifth in its tonal progress, rhythmical procedures and, especially, the trumpet signal in the first movement representing Fate. Bianca da Molena (1900) is what's left of incidental music for a forgotten play and has a pronounced Wagnerian aspect. The Serenade, which has several other recordings, dates from 1897 and, despite expectations, was modeled not on the Tchaikovsky Serenade but on one by Robert Volkmann. BBC Philharmonic; Gianandrea Noseda. Chandos 10171 (England) 03F001 $17.98


The Arizona Chamber Music Society Arensky/Taneyev CD should be shipping with your March orders.

The Most Remarkable Symphonic Find in Years!

GORDON SHERWOOD (b.1929): Symphony No. 1, Op. 3, Sinfonietta, Op. 101, Piano Concerto, Op. 107. A Hollywood screenwriter would never dare to attempt fiction half as odd a this American composer's life. From studies with Copland at Tanglewood, Jarnach in Hamburg and at the Santa Cecilia Academy in Rome and the last two movements of the symphony recorded here (in its four-movement entirety) winning the George Gershwin Memorial Award Contest and being performed in Carnegie Hall by Mitropoulos and the New York Philharmonic in 1957, to living as a beggar in the streets of Paris, only to be rediscovered by an old acquaintance from his Hamburg days who makes a television documentary about him - leading the soloist on this disc, having seen the film, to contact him (resulting in the piano concerto recorded here) and to interest conductor Albert in his music... Well, that's Hollywood enough but Sherwood also seems to have travelled through practically every country on the face of the earth including stints playing piano in Beirut hotels and movie theatres, writing on commission for the Egyptian Ministry of Culture, spending eight years in Kenya composing and studying Swahili under the patronage of President Jomo Kenyatta... We won't even mention the time spent in Nepal, India, Singapore, Japan, China, Russia, South America and other stops. From his opus numbers, it's obvious he never stopped writing; how's the music? Wonderful! Tonal, using traditional forms, not sounding particularly American at all (Sherwood's personal note in the booklet was written in German) although the notes talk of jazz and blues influences (perhaps in other works?). These are bright, optimistic, often colorful works which come out of the European tradition of Stravinsky, Shostakovich and Bartók and anyone who collects 20th century music will be letting himself down if he doesn't investigate this fine music and marvel at this astounding story. Masha Dimitrieva (piano), Bavarian State Youth Orchestra; Werner Andreas Albert. CPO 777 012 (Germany) 03F002 $15.98

New in the Villa-Lobos Symphony Cycle!

HEITOR VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959): Symphony No. 7, Sinfonietta No. 1. Collectors of Villa-Lobos' symphony cycle will know that it is here (and in his string quartets) that he wrote his most "absolute" music and, although, this 1945 symphony has its share of dissonances and sprinkling of modern effects (nothing much more scary than glissandi, really), its orchestration is a give-away as to its provenance; at times, it suggests Martinu on steroids in its rhythmically manic delight. The Sinfonietta comes from the same year as the first symphony (1916) and has a Mozartean grace (its themes are suggested by that composer) and lightness of touch. Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra; Carl St. Clair. CPO 999 713 (Germany) 03F003 $15.98

Toch Symphony Cycle Completed!

ERNEST TOCH (1887-1964): Symphony No. 1, Op. 72, Symphony No. 4, Op. 80. It's taken nine years but, at last, cpo's Toch symphony cycle is finished. The first is his longest - 37 minutes - but its neo-classical, sometimes Hindemithian personality is just what one would expect. Dating from 1950, it is distinguished by a very transparent orchestration throughout and much ingenious motivic working-out of its themes. The fourth comes from 1957 and is rather shorter but demonstrates Toch's ability to create a broad expressive palette with very economical means (this recording includes the brief spoken texts in honor of the symphony's dedicatee, Edward MacDowell's widow Marian originally intended by the composer to preface the final two movements). Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra; Alun Francis. CPO 999 774 (Germany) 03F004 $15.98

ERNEST TOCH (1887-1964): Cantata of the Bitter Herbs, Op. 65, Jephta (Symphony No. 5), Op. 89. Toch's cantata for Passover celebrations was written in 1938 for the Fairfax Temple in Los Angeles using amateur forces. It contains no authentic melodies, rather, in the spirit of its universalist texts, Toch wrote simple, heartfelt and attractive music designed to appeal to listeners of all faiths. The symphony, of 1957, is a freely rhapsodic work in a single, 25-minute movement notable for its use of four solo violins and for its occasional echoes of Mahler. Texts included. Theodore Bikel (narrator), Carol Meyer (soprano), Elizabeth Shammash (mezzo), Richard Clement (tenor), Ted Christopher (baritone), Prague Philharmonic Choir, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Seattle Symphony; Gerard Schwarz. Naxos Milken Archive 8.559417 (U.S.A.) 03F005 $6.98

ELLIOTT CARTER (b.1908): Symphony No. 1, Holiday Overture, Piano Concerto. Those who only know the modernist Carter will surely enjoy this symphony (1943, rev. 1954), completely diatonic in harmony and using a small orchestra in music which conjures up the Cape Cod seascapes and New Mexico landscapes where the work was composed. The overture (1944) celebrates the liberation of France and is the most "populist", "American-sounding" piece he wrote. Mark Wait (piano), Nashville Symphony Orchestra; Kenneth Schermerhorn. Naxos American Classics 8.559151 (U.S.A.) 03F006 $6.98

KÔSÇAK YAMADA (1886-1965): Symphony in F "Triumph and Peace", Overture in D, The Dark Gate, Madara No Hana. This is a disc of firsts, as Yamada (having spent a few years around 1910 in Germany studying with various teachers, Max Bruch being the best-known) seems to have almost single-handedly pulled Japan into the orbit of European classical music. The overture is the first ever Japanese orchestral piece and the symphony is the first ever Japanese symphony, both dating from 1912. Both are firmly in the Viennese tradition from Mozart through to Brahms and Dvorák, Yamada using a quotation from the Japanese national anthem as a thematic device in the symphony, with some later tunes demonstrating why he was also popular in Japan as a popular songwriter. Although the two tone poems date from merely a year later, these works are infused with the spirit of Richard Strauss and Debussy, with a hint of Scriabin, showing Yamada's burning desire to make up for lost centuries of Western musical knowledge in his homeland. Ulster Orchestra, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra; Takuo Yuasa. Naxos Japanese Classics 8.555350 (New Zealand) 03F007 $6.98

REYNALDO HAHN (1875-1947): Violin Sonata in C, Piano Quartet No. 3 in G, Soliloque et Forlane for Viola and Piano, Nocturne in E Flat for Violin and Piano, Romance in A for Violin and Piano, Si mes vers avaient des ailes for Cello and Piano. Hahn never left the Belle Époque and the Second Empire although they left him. The Romance of 1901 and the piano quartet of 1947 could have been written in each other's year. Sweet melodies, gentle nostalgia, moderate tempos, only a few flashes of passion, everything charming and urbane in a style which never passed beyond the Fauré of, say, 1875. Absolutely gorgeous stuff - the stuff of dreams but what sweet dreams they are! Room-Music. Hyperion CDA 67391 (England) 03F008 $17.98

FRANK BRIDGE (1879-1941): String Quintet in E Minor, String Sextet in E Flat, Lament for 2 Violas. These early chamber works date from 1901 (the quintet, which is also a World Premiere Recording) to 1912 (the Lament) and, as expected, they show a young composer still working his way through influences. This is particularly evident in the 30-minute quintet which is colorful and structurally well-balanced throughout its four movements and shows Brahmsian echoes in its thematic manipulations of the first movement, a Dvorakian melodic flow and a Russian-like energy and rhythmic acuity in its scherzo. The sextet (1906-12) wraps up his early period and looks forward to a "middle period" with its richer harmonic palette while the nine-minute Lament foreshadows some of Bridge's most personal, slow-movement utterances. The Raphael Ensemble. Hyperion CDA 67426 (England) 03F009 $17.98

CHRISTOPHER ROUSE (b.1949): Violin Concerto, Der gerettete Alberich for Percussion and Orchestra, Rapture for Orchestra. Rouse has always written approachable music and this disc of new works, all receiving first recordings, is no exception. The 1997 percussion concerto presents the soloist as Alberich after the end of the Ring Cycle and imagines his thoughts and deeds after he realizes that he has no more gods to deal with. Tongue-in-cheek, it has much fun with various Ring motifs and it can both stand on its own as a piece of music or act as a game of "spot the distortion" of well-known Wagner motifs. The violin concerto (1991) is in two large movments, Barcarola and Toccata, and is cast in the grand romantic manner, firmly anchored in tonality and alluding to such composers as Mahler, Beethoven and Wagner. Rapture (2000) is a 13-minute work of shimmering, gorgeously consonant color which depicts the state of its title. Cho-Liang Lin (violin), Evelyn Glennie (percussion), Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra; Leif Segerstam. Ondine ODE 1016-2 (Finland) 03F010 $17.98

MICHAEL BERKELEY (b.1948): Baa Baa Black Sheep - A Jungle Tale. Taking Kipling's eponymous autobiographical short story of physical and psychological abuse he (at the age of five) and his sister suffered at the hands of his evangelical aunt and her brutish 13-year-old son, Berkeley conjured a series of character doubles from The Jungle Book to provide the means for the young Kipling to battle and defeat his tormentors - at least in his mind. The music is mostly tonal but modern, very expressive and vivid in its depictions both of the young character's fantasy world and of his real-life situation as it appears to a helpless young boy. 2 CDs. Libretto included. Malcolm Lorimer (boy soprano), William Dazeley (baritone), Ann Taylor-Morley (soprano), Chorus of Opera North, English Northern Philharmonia; Paul Daniel. Original 1994 Collins Classics release. Chandos 10186 (England) 03F011 $35.98

ROBERT MUCZYNSKI (b.1929): Piano Trio No. 1, Op. 24, String Trio, Op. 31, Piano Trio No. 2, Op. 36, Piano Trio No. 3, Op. 46, Gallery for Solo Cello. Collectors who picked up Naxos' disc of Muczynski's flute chamber music will know how richly communicative and approachable his style is. His piano trios date from 1967, 1975 and 1987 and, while each has its own personal color - jazz and Bartókian rhythms in the first, a concentrated, serious second which skirts atonality and a third again with jazz elements but this time sounding entirely American - they all provide brilliant and virtuosic piano writing. The 1972 string trio has similar virtues, alternating between a driving rhythmic vitality and the elegiac character of its slow movement while the brief, nine-minute Gallery contains nine short, atmospheric movements suggested by the paintings of Charles Burchfield, written for a documentary film about the painter. Adam Wodnicki (piano), Robert Davidovici (violin), Carter Enyeart (cello), Richard O'Neill (viola). Centaur CRC 2634 (U.S.A.) 03F012 $16.98

HERBERT HOWELLS (1892-1983): Requiem, Take Him, Earth, for Cherishing, FRANK MARTIN (1890-1974): Mass. Binding these works together is an intensely personal, confessional nature which caused both composers to refuse to issue them until decades after their composition (Martin's dates from 1922-26 and was first performed in 1963; Howell's Requiem of 1936 was not released for publication until 1980). The death of his nine-year-old son from spinal meningitis was Howells' impetus to compose his Requiem; Martin's Mass was, to paraphrase the composer, something between himself and God. Howells is rapt, radiant, almost ecstatic at times yet still simple and introverted; Martin shows his mature style in the work's limited tonal region, vocal melismas, fondness for counterpoint and modal/pentatonic scales. Texts included. Vasari Singers; Jeremy Blackhouse. Signum SIGCD503 (England) 03F013 $16.98

KENNETH LEIGHTON (1929-1988): Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis "Collegium Madgalenae Oxoniense", Give me the wings of faith, An Easter Sequence for Treble, Baritone, Trumpet and Choir, Veni creator spiritus, What love is this of thine?, Crucifixus pro nobis for Tenor and Choir, Rockingham: Chorale Prelude on "When I survey the wondrous Cross", Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis (The Second Service). Leighton writes music with rich, lush harmonies spiced with subtle dissonance, often energetically rhythmic and always quite lyrical with counterpoint skillfully applied. The two larger works here are two Canticle Settings, the Easter Sequence bright through the use of boys' voices, and the Crucifixus, an austere, miniature Passion setting. Texts included. Benjamin Durrant (treble), Gareth Jones (baritone), James Oxley (tenor), Crispian Steele-Perkins (trumpet), Choir of St. John's College, Cambridge; Christopher Robinson, Christopher Whitton (organ). Naxos 8.555795 (England) 03F014 $6.98

JUAN ARAÑES (d.1649): Chacona: A la vida bona, PEDRO GUERRERO (d. c.1520): Moresca: Di Perra Mora, MATEO FLECHA (1491-1553): Negrilla a 4: San Sabeya gugurumbé, JUAN PÉREZ BOCANEGRA: Ritual fomulario: Hanacpachap cussicuinin, JUAN HIDALGO (1612-1685): Tono humano: Ay que me río de amor, GASPAR FERNANDES (1750-1629): Mestizo e Indio: Tleycantimo choquiliya, FREI FILIPE DA MADRE DE DEUS (c.1630-1690): Negro a 5: Antonya Flaciquia Gasipà, TOMÁS DE TORREJÓN Y VELASCO (c.1644-1728: Rorro: Desvelado dueño mio, JUAN GUTIÉRREZ DE PADILLA (1590-1664): Negrilla: A siolo flasiquiyo, MELCHOR DE TORRES Y PORTUGAL (16th cen.): Juguete: Un juguetico de fuego, JUAN GARCÍA DE ZÉSPEDES (c.1619-1678): Juguete a 4: Convidando esta la noche, Guaracha: Ay que me abraso, JOAN CEREROLS (1618-1676): Villancico a 8: Serafín que con dulce. This new voyage of musical exploration (the first in a series called "La Ruta del Nuevo Mundo") concentrates on the genre of the villancico and creole dances (all but two items are vocal/instrumental) from the New World which show the mixture of European art music and the popular music of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Original language texts-English translations. La Capella Reial de Catalunya, Hespèrion XXI; Jordi Savall. Alia Vox AV 9834 (Spain) 03F015 $17.98

HANS LEO HASSLER (1562-1612): Missa super Dixit Maria, Vater unser im Himmelreich, Motets: Ad Dominum, A admirabile commercium, Usquequo, Domine, Domine Deus, Israel, LEONARD LECHNER (c.1553-1606): Si bona suscepimus. Both Venetian influences and contrapuntal technique and a homophonic, severe Lutheran style are on display in these choral pieces by Hassler, the first great German composer to study in Italy. Ensemble Vocal Européen; Philippe Herreweghe. Original 1992 Harmonia Mundi release. Harmonia Mundi Curiosita HMX 2901401 (France) 03F016 $8.98

GIOVANNI BATTISTA BUONAMENTE (1595-1642): Sonata seconda for 3 Violins, Sonata quinta "Poi che noi rimena", Sonata Quarta à 2, Sonata prima for 2 Violins and Continuo, Sonata Quinta à 2, Sonata quarta, Sonata à 2 violini e doi bassi, Balletto primo, Balletto secondo, Balletto terzo, Ballo del Gran Duca, Canzon Quarta, Canzon à 2, Brando quarto. Along with Carlo Farina, Biagio Marini and Giovanni Valentini, Buonamente was among the first group of composers to explore instrumental music for the violin and was also instrumental in carrying this new style north of the Alps. This recording features selections from two sets of works published in 1626 and 1637. Monica Huggett (violin), Bruce Dickey (trumpet), Galatea; Paul Beier. Stradivarius STR 33603 (Italy) 03F017 $17.98

FRANCESCO CAVALLI (1602-1676): Missa pro defunctis for 8 Voices, CLAUDIO MONTEVERDI (1567-1643): Missa "In illo tempore" for 6 Voices. Lasting nearly 50 minutes, Cavalli's mass was written as his own requiem in 1675 yet, in its overwhelming vitality, drama and expressivity (there is no otherworldly sound here and only small pockets of solemnity), it is obviously the work of a man who kept his full powers to the end. Cantica Symphonia; Giuseppe Maletto. Stradivarius STR 33665 (Italy) 03F018 $17.98

GIOVANNI LEGRENZI (1626-1690): Il Cuor humano all'incanto. This oratorio apparently dates from 1673 and is in the tradition of moralizing works in which the characters are abstractions such as The Human Heart, Guardian Angel, Vain Pleasure, etc. Legrenzi's mature style is synonymous with the highest point of the late baroque in northern Italy and it had significant influence on Alessandro Scarlatti and Handel. Italian texts. Carola Freddi (soprano), Paolo Costa (alto), Mario Cecchetti (tenor), Marco Scavazza (bass), Ensemble Legrenzi. Tactus TC 621201 (Italy) 03F019 $11.98

PIETRO ANTONIO CESTI (1623-1669): Cantatas: Pria ch'adori, Amanti io vi disfido, Lacrime mie, Mia tiranna, Orontea (excerpts). Another excursion into the genre of the pastoral cantata showing Cesti's gift for expression of tender emotions and for writing beautifully for the voice even if he is less bold and experimental than his contemporary Cavalli. Italian texts. Concerto Vocale; René Jacobs. Original 1982 Harmonia Mundi release. Harmonia Mundi Curiosita HMX 2901018 (France) 03F020 $8.98

BERNARDO PASQUINI (1637-1710): 2 Toccate in G, Toccata con lo Scherzo del Cucco, Partite diverse di Follia, Alemanda d'Ongheria, Partite del Salterllo, Toccata in F, Canzon Franzesa, Passgagli in C & in G, Bergamasca, Ricercare con la fuga in più modi, Partite di Bergamasca, Variationi Capricciose, Passgagli per lo Scozzese, 3 arie, Sonata XIV in A. Pasquini was the most important composer of keyboard music in Italy between Frescobaldi and Domenico Scarlatti. The dances and toccatas here are in the tradition of Frescobaldi; elsewhere he looks forward to the galant style. Roberto Loreggian (harpsichord, spinet), Francesco Ferranini (cello). Chandos Chaconne 0704 (England) 03F021 $17.98

NIKOLAUS BRUHNS (1665-1697): Prélude and Fugue in E Minor (small and large versions), Prélude and Fugue in G, Choralfantasie "Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland", HEINRICH SCHEIDEMANN (c.1596-1663): Choral "Christ lag in Todesbanden", Canzon in G "auf 2 Clavir Pedaliter", Choral "Erbarm dich mein, o Here gott", Magnificat II. toni. Reaching way back into their archives, Harmonia Mundi brings us the complete organ works of Bruhns, a pupil of Buxtehude also known as a brilliant violinist, performed on a historic organ restored not long before this recording was made to its status around 1730. Helmut Winter (organ of Saint-Nicolas d'Altenbruch). Original 1969 Harmonia Mundi release. Harmonia Mundi Curiosita HMX 290799 (France) 03F022 $8.98

ANTONIO CALDARA (c.1670-1736): Cantatas from Op. 3: Il silento, L'anniversario amoroso, La fama, Vicino a un rivoletto - Cantata for Alto, Violin and Cello Obbligto and Continuo, Sonatas for 2 Violins and Continuo in A, G Minor and in F, Op. 8, Chiacona, Op. 2/12. The Corellian trio sonatas are interspersed with short, pastoral cantatas in the style of Alessandro Scarlatti while Vicino - four times as long as any of the other cantatas, is a work striking for its use of violin (first aria) and cello (second aria) to aid the demands of word-painting. Italian-English texts. The Four Nations Ensemble; Andrew Appel (harpsichord). ASV GAU 347 (England) 03F023 $17.98

World Premiere Vivaldi!

ANTONIO VIVALDI (1678-1741): Sacred Music, Vol. 10 - Nisi Dominus, RV803, Gloria, RV589, Ostro picta, RV642, GIOVANNI MARIA RUGGIERI (fl.1690-1720): Gloria, RV Anh. 23. This Nisi Dominus with its never-before-seen RV number was only authenticated last year. Composed in 1739, it is the last of a group of five Psalms Vivaldi wrote on commission. Using three vocal soloists (soprano, mezzo and contralto) and solo turns for viola d'amore, chalumeau and a violin with bridge modified to sound like a "tromba marina", this has all of Vivaldi's vivacious audacity and, in addition, is clearly influenced by the new galant style. The Ruggieri Gloria dates from 1708, was in Vivaldi's private collection, and was the source for material used in the famous Gloria which opens this disc as well as in a couple of other works by the Red Priest. Carolyn Sampson, Joanne Lunn (sopranos), Joyce Didonato, Tuva Semmingsen (mezzos), Robin Blaze (countertenor), Hilary Summers (contralto), Choir of the King's Consort, The King's Consort; Robert King. Hyperion CDA 66849 (England) 03F024 $17.98

ANTONIO VIVALDI (1678-1741): Sacrum - Missa in C, RV586, Nisi Dominus - Psalm 126, RV608, Credo, RV592, Domine ad adiuvandum me festina, RV593. Making a nice appendix to Hyperion's complete edition, this release (on modern instruments, a rarity nowadays) includes two substantial works (the Credo and Sacrum) which are now recognized as probably not by Vivaldi but which are colorful and pleasing anyway (and there is plenty of coloratura in the Sacrum). Tünde Frankó (soprano), Klára Takács (contralto), Timothy Bentch (tenor), Tamás Bátor (bass), Budapest Madrigal Choir, Ferenc Erkel Chamber Orchestra, Hungarian State Orchestra; Ference Szekeres. Hungaroton HCD 32182 (Hungary) 03F025 $17.98

JEAN-PHILIPPE RAMEAU (1683-1764): Transcriptions for Harpsichord of Music from Dardanus, Castor et Pollux, Pygmalion and Les Indes Galantes. Although the notes tell us that Claude-Bénigne Balbastre (1727-1799) is responsible for the five-piece Pygmalion transcription, harpsichordist Weiss seems to claim it for himself in his separate note. He certainly did the Dardanus and Castor et Pollux while the longest set here - the 14 pieces from Les Indes Galantes - was Rameau's own transcription. Weiss plays on two harpsichords - a pre-1749 Goujon and a 1761 Hemsch. Kenneth Weiss (harpsichord). Satirino Records SR 031 (France) 03F026 $17.98

DOMENICO ZIPOLI (1688-1726): Cantatas: Dell'offese a vendicarmi, Mia bella Irene, O Daliso, Suite No. 4 in D Minor, Canzona in F, Suite No. 2 in G Minor, Sonata in A for Violin and Continuo. Dell'offese is an abandoned woman's aria, savage and violent in the tradition of baroque opera while the other two cantatas are pastoral, Arcadian pieces. Rarely heard instrumental music adds to our picture of this short-lived Jesuit composer. Italian texts. Elena Cecchi Fedi (soprano), Luigi Cozzolino (violin), Betinna Hoffmann (cello), Gian Luca Lastraioli (theorbo, chitarrina), Alfonso Fedi (harpsichord). Tactus TC 682603 (Italy) 03F027 $11.98

GIUSEPPE TARTINI (1692-1770): Concertos for Flute, Strings and Continuo in G, F, G, D & G. Two of these concertos probably date from Tartini's early period, given their Corellian stylistic features, and were written for the flute. The others are transcriptions of violin concertos from the middle part of the century made by the composer himself. Massimo Mercelli (flute), I Solisti dell' Ensemble Respighi. Tactus TC 692002 (Italy) 03F028 $11.98

CARL HEINRICH GRAUN (1704-1749): Der tod Jesu. Composed to the same text and premiered within a week in 1755 of an identical work by Telemann, Graun's Passion Oratorio was performed every year on Good Friday at court in Berlin until 1884. This work breathes the atmosphere of Italian opera with its lyricism and spontaneous melodies. There are no dialogues or dramatic personages, rather a sequence of versions of events from the Passion story followed by poetic reflections, the whole piece conveying a rather light-hearted vision which concentrates on the joy brought to mankind by Jesus' death rather than the suffering experienced in the process. 2 CDs for the price of 1. German-English texts. Uta Schwabe, Inge van de Kerkhove (sopranos), Christoph Genz (tenor), Stephen Genz (bass), La Petite Bande, Ex Tempore; Sigiswald Kuijken. Hyperion CDA 67446 (England) 03F029 $17.98

JOSEPH DE TORRES (c.1670-1738): Batalla, Partidos de 2o, 6o and 1o tono, Obra de mano derecha de medio registro, MANUEL BLASCO (1730-1784): 5 Versos al órgano en duo, LUIS ALVAREZ PINTO (c.1719-c.1789): Liçoes de solfejo, 10 Anonymous sones de órgano (1743). This will appeal both to collectors of South American baroque music (works here from sources in Mexico, Colombia, Brazil and Bolivia) and organ fanciers (the organ dates from c.1701 and was moved from Lisbon to Brazil in 1756 and was totally restored to its original specifications in 1984). Cristina García Banegas (Arp Schnitger organ, Mariana, Brazil). Motette CD 12901 (Germany) 03F030 $16.98

CHRISTOPH WILLIBALD GLUCK (1714-1787): Il Parnaso confuso. This serenata teatrale dates from 1765, written for the wedding of the Austrian Archduke Joseph. The libretto, by Metastasio, may be as silly as anything he wrote with the wedding being inserted into Parnassus with very human Gods and Muses acting like adolescents. Still, that's what makes this sort of thing fun and Gluck provides sparkling music and quite florid writing for two of the required four sopranos (one being replaced here by a treble for variety). Italian-English libretto. Julianne Baird, Mary Ellen Callahan, Danielle Munsell Howard (sopranos), Marshall Coid (male treble), The Queen's Chamber Band; Rudolph Palmer. Albany TROY 655 (U.S.A.) 03F031 $16.98

NICCOLÒ PICCINNI (1728-1800): Le donne vindicati. Described in the dedication accompanying its libretto as a "little farce", this 1763 work consists of a pair of intermezzi to texts by Goldoni which deal with the same two women who avenge insults received by men. At the time of its composition, Piccinni was the most popular opera composer in Rome, three years removed from the work that made his reputation, La Checchina, and before overwork led his quality to suffer and popularity to decline. 2 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Vincenzo Di Donato (tenor), Giuliana Castellani, Sylvia Pozzer (sopranos), Mauro Buda (baritone), I Barocchisti; Diego Fasolis. Chandos Chaconne 0705 (England) 03F032 $35.98

The "Original" Diabelli Variations!

Ignaz Aßmayer (1790-1862), Carl Maria von Bocklet (1801-1881), Leopold Eustache Czapek (fl. early 19th cen.), Carl Czerny (1791-1857), Joseph Czerny (1785-1842), Moritz Graf von Dietrichstein (1775-1864), Joseph Drechsler (1782-1852), Emanuel Aloys Förster (1748-1823), Franz Jakob Freystädtler (1768-1841), Johann Baptist Gänsbacher (1778-1844), Josef Gelinek (1758-1825), Anton Halm (1789-1872), Joachim Hoffmann (1788-c.1856), Johann Horzalka (1798-1860), Joseph Hugelman (1768-1839), Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1778-1837), Anselm Hüttenbrenner (1794-1868), Frédéric Kalkbrenner (1785-1849), Friedrich August Kanne (1778-1833), Joseph Kerzkowsky (1791-?), Conradin Kreutzer (1780-1849), Heinrich Eduard Josef Baron von Lannoy (1787-1853), Maximilian Joseph Leidesdorf (1787-1840), Franz Liszt (1811-1886), Joseph Mayseder (1789-1853), Ignaz Moscheles (1794-1870), Ignaz Franz Edler von Mosel (1772-1844), Franz Xaver Mozart (1791-1844), Joseph Panny (1794-1838), Hieronymus Payer (1787-1845), Johann Peter Pixis (1788-1874), Wenzel Plachy (1785-1858), Gottfried Rieger (1754-1855), Philipp Jacob Riotte (1776-1856), Franz de Paula Roser (1779-1830), Johann Baptist Schenk (1753-1836), Franz Schoberlechner (1797-1843), Franz Schubert (1797-1828), Simon Sechter (1788-1867), Serenissimus Rudolphus Dux (1788-1831), Maximilan Abbé Stadler (1748-1835), Joseph de Szálay (1800-1850), Vaclav Jan Tomasek (1774-1850), Michael Umlauf (1781-1842), Friedrich Dionysius Weber (1766-1842), Franz Weber (1805-1876), Charles Angelus de Winkhler (c.1800-1845), Franz Weiss (1778-1830), Johann Nepomuk August Wittassek (1770-1839), Jan Hugo Vorisek (1791-1825), 50 Variationen über einen Walzer von Diabelli. Here's what Diabelli originally had in mind (Beethoven decided to pig out on the idea and do an entire set of his own) when he issued his theme and invitation to a boatload of composers to write a single variation on it each in 1819. The complete set was finally published in 1823 (Liszt was 11 when he wrote his) and provides an interesting look at Viennese musical personalities, some still famous and many more now unknown, of the time. Doris Adam (piano). Camerata 28CM-662 (Japan) 03F033 $17.98

GIUSEPPE SARTI (1729-1802): Armida e Rinaldo. Composed for the opening of the new theatre in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg in 1786, this version of the ever-popular Armida story is in the style of the festa teatrale, shorter and more compact than a full-blown opera seria and, in its varied style and length of arias - few da capos, more of the newer rondo-style - prominence of the chorus and orchestra-accompanied recitatives, this is a work in the new, late 18th century style (and the vocal parts for the two leads demand incredible agility and technique). 2 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Anna Chierichetti (soprano), Gloria Banditelli (mezzo), Federico Lepre (tenor), Pro Arte Chamber Choir and Orchestra; Marco Berdondini. Bongiovanni GB 2351/52 (Italy) 03F034 $33.98

EMANUEL SIPRUTINI (1730?-1790?): 6 Sonatas for Cello and Thorough Bass, Op. 7. Apart from his 30 published cello sonatas and records of his many concert appearances in the Netherlands and London, we know Siprutini only through a letter of Leopold Mozart who describes him as a friend and great cello virtuoso. The latter can be deduced from these sonatas which date from the late 1770s, all in three movements, which approach Boccherini in the playing techniques required and J.C. Bach and the Mannheim school in style. Balázs Maté (cello), Lúcia Krommer (cello), György Janzsó (double bass), István Györi (guitar), Miklós Spányi (harpsichord, organ). Hungaroton HCD 32242 (Hungary) 03F035 $17.98

Jan KÞtitel Van hal (1739-1813): Bassoon Concerto in C, Clarinet Concerto in C, Oboe Concerto in F (arr. V. Tausky), Concerto for 2 Bassoons and Orchestra. The notes are utterly useless but the tray-card lets us know that this oboe concerto was "arranged" for Evelyn Rothwell (Baribirolli's wife). This was done in 1968; which of Vanhal's two oboe concertos got the treatment - and what sort of treatment - beats us. Also, the double bassoon concerto has been attributed to Anton Zimmermann (whose string quartets appeared in our January catalogue). Still, much to enjoy for lovers of high Classical wind concertos! François Baptiste, Luc Loubry (bassoons), Michel Lethiec (clarinet), Piet Van Bockstal (oboe), Prussian Chamber Orchestra; Hans Rotman. Talent 75 (Belgium) 03F036 $15.98

LUIGI TOMASINI (1741-1808): String Quartets in D, B Flat & in D Minor. Tomasini was Haydn's concertmaster in the Esterházy orchestra and he performed the violin concertos and was first violin for performance of Haydn's quartets. His own quartets are a mixture of the "quatuor brillant" and the "quatuor concertant"; there is plenty of virtuosic work for the first cello too (that would have been Anton Kraft) as well as the expected Haydnesque humor and joy in innovation. Quartetto Luigi Tomasini. Hungaroton HCD 32247 (Hungary) 03F037 $17.98

ANTONIO ROSETTI (c.1750-1792): Partitas for Wind Ensemble No. 8 in D, No. 9 in D, No. 11 in D, No. 14 in D & No. 15 in F. These big wind pieces were written for the court of Oettingen-Wallerstein between 1781-88 for a band of highly skilled players, especially the horn players, who have much virtuosic work to do. The size of the ensemble for three of the partitas is pairs of oboes, clarinets, horns, a bassoon and a string bass; No. 14 adds a pair of flutes and a bassoon while subtracting a clarinet while No. 15 has pairs of all winds but with a third horn added. First volume in a series of Oettingen-Wallerstein partitas. Consortium Classicum. CPO 999 961 (Germany) 03F038 $15.98

ALESSANDRO ROLLA (1757-1841): Symphony in D, Symphony for Strings in B Flat, Flute Concerto in D, Basset Horn Concerto in F. First recordings of symphonies by Rolla. These are short, three-movement works (each around 11 minutes) which blend Austro-German and French sensibilities while the longer concertos prove that Rolla could write for more than just the violin - the flute concerto being especially virtuosic and its companion providing a rare outing for a rare instrument. Mario Carbotta (flute), Denis Zanchetta (basset horn), Orchestra da Camera Milano Classica; Massimiliano Caldi. Dynamic CDS 429 (Italy) 03F039 $17.98

FERDINANDO CARULLI (1770-1841): 3 petits duos concertants for Violin and Guitar, Op. 309 , Nocturne in C for Flute, Violin and Guitar, Op. 119/2, 2 duetti for Viola and Guitar, Op. 137, Trios for Flute, Violin and Guitar in D & in E, Op. 9, Nos. 2 & 3. Music from the guitar-mad salons and concert halls of the Paris of the early 19th century, this amply filled (77 minutes) and amply documented (nine pages in each language) recording offering a mixture of the two styles on offer at the time: pieces for public performance requiring significant technique and artistry, and commercial works written for amateur performers. Giorgio Sasso (violin, viola), Stefano Cardi (guitar), Guido Sasso (transverse flute). Stradivarius STR 33586 (Italy) 03F040 $17.98

IWAN MÜLLER (1780-1845): Harp, Clarinet and Bassoon: Grande Polonaise, Fantasy on Themes from Operas by Rossini, Op. 27, Duo Concertant, Duet on 3 Arias from "Armida" by Rossini, Clarinet and Harp: Romanza di Blangini, First Fantasy on a Barcarolle, Variations on the Aria "O Dolce Concento" by Mozart for Harp, Clarinet, Alto Clarinet and Bassoon. Born in what is now Estonia, Müller was a clarinet pedagogue and one of the contributors to the instrument's design while also leaving a significant amount of music dedicated to his instrument such as the fantasies and salon pieces presented here in their first recordings. Rachel Talitman (harp), Lub Loubry (bassoon), Olivier Dartevelle, Emmanuel Chaussade (clarinets). Talent 84 (Belgium) 03F041 $15.98

NICCOLÒ PAGANINI (1782-1840): Adagio in E for Violin and Orchestra. This sweetly lyrical adagio with two cadenzas is found on the same manuscript as the Violin Concerto No. 2, so it may date to 1826. The disc also includes drawings, photos and various PDF files compatible with both Mac (8.5) and PC (400 Mhz Intel Pentium). Budget-price. Orchestra del Teatro Carlo Felice, Genoa; Massimo Quarta (violin). Dynamic CDS 438 (Italy) 03F042 $7.98

FRANZ XAVER MOZART (1791-1844): Cello Sonata in E, Op. 19, Rondo for Flute and Piano, JOHANN NEPOMUK HUMMEL (1778-1837): Trio for Flute, Cello and Piano, Op. 78, Grand Rondo Brilliant for Flute and Piano, Op. 126. Mozart fils' big sonata, redolent of the world of Beethoven and Schubert and his five-minute Rondo spice up this new release along with Hummel's better-known lighter pieces, a flute trio and duo, both in his glittering, virtuosic (for both flute and piano) fashion. Christian Gurtner (flute), Tamás Varga (cello), Manon Liu Winter (piano). Cavalli Records 251 (Germany) 03F043 $17.98

FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886): Mass in C Minor, R. 485, Psalm No. 18, R. 490, Domine salvum fac regem, R. 504, Licht! mehr Licht!, R. 554, The Hungarians' God, R. 214. The Mass (18560 exists in three versions; this is the first recording of the one for wind band accompaniment (done by the conductor Johann von Herbeck to Lizst's instructions). The Hungarians' God is a late piece, from 1881 and is in Liszt's spare, late style while the others are all from the Weimar period - the Domine fac instrumented by Raff to explicit instructions by the composer. German/ Hungarian-English texts. Honvéd Ensemble Male Choir, Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music Symphonic Band, Budapest; László Marosi. Hungaroton HCD 32217 (Hungary) 03F044 $17.98

Raff Premieres: Piano Suites

JOACHIM RAFF (1822-1882): Suite No. 2 in C for Piano, Op. 71, Suite No. 5 in G Minor for Piano, Op. 162, JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (1685-1750)/RAFF: Suite No. 1 in G for Solo Cello, BWV 1007. All seven of Raff's original piano suites will be recorded in this series along with his piano transcriptions of the Bach solo cello suites. The original suites are in four or five movements, in the sequence prelude-dance(s)-slow movement-fugal finale and, although superficially neo-baroque, these are harmonically and melodically of the Romantic period and will appeal to anyone who knows Raff's style from his symphonies or chamber music. For the Bach suites, Raff remains as faithful to the original as the keyboard will allow, adding no Romantic virtuosity in the Lisztian manner but providing the brief melody or accompaniment where necessary. Alexander Zolotarev (piano). AK Coburg DR-0006 (U.S.A.) 03F045 $16.98 >

PETER CORNELIUS (1824-1874): Requiem, Liebe, Op. 18, Trauerchöre, Op. 9, 3 Chorgesänge, Op. 11, Absolve Domine, 3 Psalmlieder nach Klaviersätzen Johann Sebastian Bachs, Op. 13, So weich und warm, Die Könige from Weihnachts-lieder, Op. 8. Choral collectors will rejoice that this important, yet neglected master of Romantic choral music, influenced by Liszt and Wagner, has gotten a brand-new disc all to himself from Carus, whose newest titles have excellent notes as well as the previously lacking texts and translations. German-English texts. Saarbrücken Chamber Choir; Georg Grün. Carus 83.163 (Germany) 03F046 $17.98

CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921): Violin Sonata No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 75, Violin Sonata No. 2 in E Flat, Op. 102, Triptyque, Op. 136, Elégie, Op. 160. The two sonatas are often overlooked by Saint-Saëns collectors and performers but they, too, have the facility and ease of melody which all of this master's works do. The even more rare couplings are the 1910 Triptyque which has a startlingly rumbustious "Vision congolaise" central movement with drum-like ostinatos and a Cole Porter-like melody, and the 1920 Elégie which is right in the sphere of Elgar's Salut d'amour. Ulf Wallin (violin), Roland Pöntinen (piano). CPO 999 946 (Germany) 03F047 $15.98

Antonín DvoÞák (1841-1904): The Stubborn Lovers. Dvorák's third opera (after Alfred and The King and Charcoal Burner) is his only one-acter and the only one without ballet music. Composed in 1874 but not premiered until 1881, it follows the Czech folk/national operatic tradition newly established by Smetana with The Bartered Bride, set in a village in which two sweethearts, whom their parents actually want to marry to each other, need to be persuaded away from knee-jerk contrarianism to do so by the boy's rustic godfather. Although early, one can hear in this work the future composer of the Slavonic Dances and of the mature folk operas The Jacobin and The Devil and Kate. This recording is not from the Supraphon archives; it is brand-new, thus, much more costly to make and carries a special, higher price (1 CD - 77 minutes). Czech-English libretto. Zdena Kloubová (soprano), Jaroslav BÞezina (tenor), Roman Janál (baritone), Jana Skora (contralto), Prague Philharmonic Choir, Prague Philharmonia; JiÞí Belohlávek. Supraphon SU 3765-2 (Czech Republic) 03F048 $19.98

Antonín DvoÞák (1841-1904): Symphony No. 9 in E Minor "From the New World", BedÞich Smetana (1824-1884): Vltava. Transcription fans will enjoy the opposite ways the composers went about transforming their works: Dvorák (not a great pianist) looking to provide an overview of his symphony's architecture and doing away with material too difficult to try to put under the pianists' fingers and the virtuoso Smetana producing a scintillating piece of finger-busting complexity. CD/SACD Hybrid. Prague Piano Duo. Praga PRD/DSD 250 189 (Czech Republic) 03F049 $17.98

GIOVANNI SGAMBATI (1841-1914): Complete Piano Works, Vol. 2 - 3 Notturni, Op. 20, Notturno in D, Notturni in D Flat, Op. 33 & in E, Op. 33 6 Pièces Lyriques, Op.23, Bendizione Nuziale in A Flat, Canzone Lituana in F, Mélodie de Gluck in D Minor, Minuetto von Beethoven in G Flat, Sérénade Valsée in A Flat. The second issue in this interesting series from the Neeme Järvi of Italian keyboard recording offers a half-dozen nocturnes which blend a native Italian lyricism with German (and Lisztian influences) and a set of lyric pieces with both northern European and, in its second piece - À la fontaine - even French Impressionism. Pietro Spada (piano). Arts 47588-2 (Germany) 03F050 $9.98

ROBERT FUCHS (1846-1927): Piano Concerto in B Flat Minor, Op. 27, Serenade No. 5 in D "In Honor of Johan Strauss". Fuchs' very Brahmsian concerto dates from 1879/80 (and was in Hyperion's Romantic Piano Concerto series's Vol. 31 which we offered a year ago this month). 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. The Serenade, the last of five, comes from 1895 and celebrated Strauss' 50th anniversary as a musician. Like Fuchs' late works, it is a predominantly mellow, genial work with a sepia-tinged quality of nostalgic regret in its first movement adagio which is followed by three dance movements. Franz Vorraber (piano), Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra; Alun Francis. CPO 999 893 (Germany) 03F051 $15.98

JOHAN HALVORSEN (1864-1935): Suite in G Minor, Elegie, Suite Mosaique, 6 Stimmungsbilder, The Old Fisherman's Song. Dating from 1890-98, these violin pieces are a testament to Halvorsen's superb reputation as a performer and encompass both Norwegian Romanticism and broader European musical styles (found side-by-side in the Suite Mosaique), all performed here on Halvorsen's own 1699 Rogeri violin. Per Kristian Skalstad (violin), Tor Espen Aspaas (piano). 2L 16 (Norway) 03F052 $17.98

UMBERTO GIORDANO (1867-1948): Siberia. Exactly one year ago, we offered a 1975 live pirate recording of this opera (03E005). Now, a brand-new, digital version with good notes and complete libretto! 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) and 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". 2 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Francesca Scaini (soprano), Jeong-Won Lee (tenor), Vittorio Vitelli (baritone), Bratislava Chamber Choir, Orchestra Internazionale d'Italia; Manlio Benzi. Dynamic CDS 444/1-2 (Italy) 03F053 $35.98

FRIEDRICH VON FLOTOW (1812-1883): Alessandro Stradella. Premiered in 1844, this comic-romantic opera is based on one of the Italian baroque composer's many romantic escapades (which ended up with his murder at the age of 37), which provides Flotow with the opportunity to create a Venetian barcarolle, an atmospheric nocturne, some buffo action, hearty drinking songs and a stirring, hymn-like climax. Good mono sound, certainly no problem with the cast! The supplement is really unusual - Lortzing's only serious opera whose libretto was based on actual events during the revolutionary month of March 1848 in Vienna. Including liberal-oriented songs Lortzing had recently composed, it, not surprisingly, was never published or performed in his lifetime. 2 CDs. Budget-price. No libretto. Also contains 49 minutes of excerpts from a 1951 recording of Lortzing's Regina. Werner Hollweg (tenor), Helen Donath (soprano), Bavarian Radio Chorus and Orchestra; Heinz Wallberg (7/3/77). Gala GL 100.733 (Italy) 03F054 $10.98

RUGGIERO LEONCAVALLO (1857-1919): Zazà. The impassioned "Giovane Scuola" rubs shoulders with Parisian café music in this slice-of-life premiered by Toscanini in 1900 (Pagliacci is never too far away). Includes 21 minutes of excerpts from an undated recording of Alberto Franchetti's Germania. 2 CDs. Budget-price. No libretto. Lynne Strowe (soprano), Luciano Saldari (tenor), Angelo Romero (baritone), RAI Symphony Chorus and Orchestra; Maurizio Arena (7/6/78). Gala GL 100.732 (Italy) 03F055 $10.98

Reznicek Orchestral Premieres!

EMIL NIKOLAUS VON REZNICEK (1860-1945): Schlemihl - A Symphonic Life Story for Orchestra and Tenor Solo, Raskolnikoff - Phantasy Overture. To put it as simply as possible, Schlemihl is a combination of Ein Heldenleben and the Sinfonia Domestica with a few sprinkles of Mahler thrown in. The character of the Jewish luckless loser was adopted by Reznicek at a time when his second wife was seriously ill. His first wife and two children had already died, he had been driven out of one position by malicious press attacks and he felt that another catastrophe was about to occur. In the event, she recovered, but Schlemihl appeared in 1912 as a kind of psychological snapshot. Lest this sound too grim and serious, Reznicek was nothing if not self-aware, and most of the over-the-top sections in this 44-minute tone-poem (the tenor only appears with four minutes remaining, to usher in the apotheosis) come across as having been meant that way. The notes provide a down-to-the-minute account of the goings-on represented by the music, track by track, and are helpful for cataloging the various musical references to other composers which you might have missed otherwise. Raskolnikoff dates from 1929 and, in its musical references and biographical design, is a smaller version (23 mintues) of the same genre as Schlemihl. Nobuaki Yamamasu (tenor), Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra; Michael Jurowski. CPO 999 795 (Germany) 03F056 $15.98

RICHARD STRAUSS (1864-1949): Die Liebe der Danae, Op. 83. This was the most neglected of all Strauss' operas until Telarc released Leon Botstein's version with the American Symphony Orchestra of New York a couple of years ago. Both that and this new Kiel live recording, made on two days in April of last year, claim to be complete and uncut performances. Since we didn't offer the Telarc, we don't know what that meant then. The only information this set provides is that, since the time when Clemens Krauss, at the 1952 premiere, had to make some cuts in Jupiter's role and to transpose it due to Hans Hotter's inability to handle to role's high register, the piece was sung with his alterations. Grundheber here sings the entire role - no cuts - at the original pitch. If you don't have the Telarc version, this one is less expensive and no Strauss collector will want to be without his last full-scale, old-fashioned opera, full of his prodigal creativity and vocal flights of every kind. 3 CDs. Mid-price. German-English libretto. Manuela Uhl (soprano), Robert Chafin, Hans-Jürgen Schöpflin (tenors), Franz Grundheber (baritone), Kiel Opera Chorus, Kiel Philharmonic Orchestra; Ulrich Windfuhr. CPO 999 967 (Germany) 03F057 $26.98

JOSEPH JONGEN (1873-1953): String Quartets No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 3 and No. 2 in A, Op. 50. These two quartets sound pretty much like what you'd expect from a Belgian composer of his period. The first was a prize-winning student work from 1894 whose influences are Franck and D'Indy while the second, written in England during war exile in 1916, is a shorter, three-movement piece in which Chausson and the Impressionists are trace influences in Jongen's ongoing maturation process. Mid-price. Quatuor Gong. Pavane ADW 7483 (Belgium) 03F058 $10.98

SAMUIL FEINBERG (1890-1962): Piano Sonata No. 7, Op. 21, Piano Sonata No. 8, Op. 21a, Piano Sonata No. 9, Op. 29, Piano Sonata No. 10, Op. 30, Piano Sonata No. 11, Op. 40, Piano Sonata No. 12, Op. 48. Although Feinberg's Scriabinesque personality is evident in all of these remaining sonatas, only the first two, from 1924-5 and 1933-4, belong to the same heady period of the first six. The highly chromatic and original harmonies begin to fade somewhat in the ninth and tenth sonatas (1939 and 1940-44) which may be due both to official disapproval of the composer's earlier style and to the fact that they were composed during the war (an apparent battle scene, followed by a Wagnerian funeral march, occur in the tenth as well as a very Prokofievian theme). The eleventh (1952) is a shadowy, somber 11-minute work while the twelfth, Feinberg's last composition (1962) ends in a poignant, evanescent, dream-like way a fascinating career which should now become better appreciated. Nikolaos Samaltanos, Christophe Sirodeau (piano). BIS CD-1414 (Sweden) 03F059 $17.98

ERNEST JOHN MOERAN (1894-1950): Violin Concerto, Lonely Waters, Whythorne's Shadow, Cello Concerto. Finished in 1942, the violin concerto is inspired throughout by Irish folk material and Irish landscapes while the cello concerto of three years later is similarly influenced and full of singing, lyrical material for the soloist. Mid-price. Lydia Mordkovitch (violin), Raphael Wallfisch (cello), Ulster Orchestra; Vernon Handley, Bournemouth Sinfonietta; Norman Del Mar. Original 1986 and 1990 Chandos releases. Chandos 10168 (England) 03F060 $12.98

ERNEST JOHN MOERAN (1894-1950): Symphony in G Minor, Overture for a Masque, Rhapsody for Piano and Orchestra in F Sharp. The symphony (1934-7) was Moeran's first orchestral work and is redolent with the music of the Irish and of the Norfolk countryside; these influences are a bit less forward in the Rhapsody, written for Harriet Cohen (for whom Bax wrote so many piano works) in 1943. Mid-price. Margaret Fingerhut (piano), Ulster Orchestra; Vernon Handley. Chandos 10169 (England) 03F061 $12.98

ERNEST JOHN MOERAN (1894-1950): String Quartet No. 1 in A Minor, Fantasy Quartet for Oboe and Strings, Violin Sonata in E Minor. Two of these chamber works are early pieces, the quartet - drawing on English folk modalities from 1921 and the sonata (1922)- a more chromatic and dissonant piece, while the Fantasy Quartet is from 1946 and shot through with the folk music of Norfolk. Mid-price. Melbourne String Quartet, Sarah Francis (oboe), members of the English String Quartet. Chandos 10170 (England) 03F062 $12.98

ERICH WOLFGANG KORNGOLD (1897-1957): Piano Sonata No. 1 in D Minor, Piano Sonata No. 2, Op. 2, Piano Sonata No. 3 in C, Op. 25, Don Quixote - 6 Character Pieces after Cervantes, Der Schneemann - Pantomime in Two Scenes, 7 Märchenbilder, Op. 3, 4 kleine fröhliche Waltzer, 4 kleine karikaturen für Kinder, Op. 19, Was der Wald erzählt, Intermezzo from Act 3 of Das Wunder der Heliane, Potpourri from the Opera Der Ring des Polykrates (arr. L. Ruffin), 3 Pieces from Much Ado About Nothing, Op. 11, Schach Brugge! - Burleske Nachtszene am Minnewasser from the Opera Die Tote Stadt, Op. 12, Geshichten von Strauss, Op. 21, Der Schneemann - Four Easy Pieces, Große Fantasie aus der Oper "Die Tote Stadt", Op. 12 (arr. Ferdinand Rebay [1880-1953]), Schauspiel Overture, Op. 4 for Piano Four Hands (arr. Rebay), Piano Trio in D, Op. 1 for Piano Four Hands. One of Nimbus' most impressive issues since their return from the Land of the Dead, this five-hour-long set of piano music was recorded in 2000 and 2001 and sat in the can during the label's difficulties. You don't need us to tell you about the young Korngold's prodigal talents or bottomless fund of melody. This is a steal at the price and piano collectors will note the four-hand arrangements of the first piano trio and the arrangements by other hands of material from Korngold's operas - produced to meet the ever-present demand for opera potpourris of the time. 4 CDs. Budget-price. Martin Jones (piano), Richard McMahon (secondo). Nimbus NI 5705/8 (England) 03F063 $31.98

GUSTAV HOLST (1874-1934): Two Psalms for Choir, String Orchestra and Organ, 6 Choruses for Male Voices and String Orchestra, Op. 53, The Evening Watch for Mezzo-Soprano, Tenor and Eight-Part Choir, Op. 43/1, 7 Partsongs for Female Voices and String Orchestra, Op. 44, Nunc dimittis for Soprano, Tenor and Eight-Part Choir. The refinement and intricate texture of much of Holst's choral music is present especially in his last major work, the 1932 Six Choruses where, however, the emotional distance also characteristic of this composer is also obvious, creating a detached yet fascinating viewpoint. Occasionally, as in the second Psalm or in a couple of the part-songs, the texts inspire a response which contains joy and liberating spontaneity. A fine microcosm of a composer's personality. Texts included. Holst Singers, Holst Orchestra; Hilary Davan Wetton. Original 1989 Hyperion release. Helios CDH 55170 (England) 03F064 $10.98

FREDERICK DELIUS (1862-1934): Marche Caprice, Summer Evening, Winter Night (Sleigh Ride), Spring Morning, American Rhapsody, The Walk to the Paradise Garden, On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring, Summer Night on the River, A Song before Sunrise, Fantastic Dance. Fresh off his Bax cycle, Lloyd-Jones gives us this chronologically ordered collection of short orchestral works which span most of Delius' career and which illustrate the influences four particular countries had on him - England, the United States, Norway and France. This is the first budget-price appearance of the American Rhapsody (thus, not to be confused with the less idiomatic Slovak Radio Symphony recording done decades ago for Marco Polo). Royal Scottish National Orchestra; David Lloyd-Jones. Naxos 8.557143 (England) 03F065 $6.98

BENJAMIN BRITTEN (1913-1976): The English Song Series, Vol. 7 - The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, Op. 35, 7 Sonnets of Michelangelo, Op. 22, Winter Words, Op. 52, If it's ever Spring again, The Children and Sir Nameless. The three major song cycles are an important part of Britten's uvre, so having them at budget-price is very welcome. The Michelangelo poems, dealing with aspects of love, date from 1940 while the Donne sonnets (1945) are an intense experience, a product of a time when Britten was quite interested in Purcell and coming just after a tour of German concentration camps with Yehudi Menuhin. Winter Words, of 1953, is leaner, more economical but no less masterful and creative. Texts included. Philip Langridge (tenor), Steuart Bedford (piano). Original 1996 Collins Classics release. Naxos 8.557201 (New Zealand) 03F066 $6.98

Budget-price Delius & Holst EMI recordings reissued

GUSTAV HOLST (1874-1934): St. Paul's Suite, Op. 29/2, A Fugal Concerto, Op. 40/2, Brook Green Suite, A Somerset Rhapsody, Op. 21/2, Ballet Music from The Perfect Fool, Op. 39, 5 Choruses from 6 Choruses for Male Voices and String Orchestra, Op. 53, A Dirge for Two Veterans for Chorus and Brass Ensemble. The op. 53 chorus which demands trebles is not offered here but the 1914 Dirge, a powerful work in which one can hear the tread of Mars (The Planets was yet to come) is good compensation. English Chamber Orchestra; Yehudi Menuhin, Baccholian Singers of London, English Chamber Orchestra; Ian Humphris, Philip Jones Brass Ensemble. Original 1975 and 1994 EMI releases. Classics for Pleasure 5 75981 2 (England) 03F067 $7.98

FREDERICK DELIUS (1862-1934): Brigg Fair - An English Rhapsody, In a Summer Garden, Eventyr (Once Upon a Time), A Song of Summer, Summer Night on the River, A Song before Sunrise, The Walk to the Paradise Garden. Naxos has covered some of this repertoire (except A Song before Sunrise, The Walk and Summer Night) but collectors of fine British conductors will want to have Handley as well as David Lloyd-Jones. Hallé Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra; Vernon Handley. Original 1979 and 1982 EMI releases. Classics for Pleasure 5 75315 2 (England) 03F068 $7.98

FREDERICK DELIUS (1862-1934): Paris - The Song of a Great City, Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra, Cello Concerto. There are no other available recordings of the two concertos at any price, making this budget reissue particularly attractive. Both are single-movement works of around 20 minutes and, unlike the typical concerto in which soloists and orchestra contend or converse, these soloists are just primae (both were written for the string-playing Harrison sisters) inter pares of, as the note-writer puts it most felicitously, "a shared rhapsodic outpouring of melody" Tasmin Little (violin), Raphael Wallfisch (cello), Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra; Charles Mackerras. Original 1991 EMI release. Classics for Pleasure 5 75803 2 (England) 03F069 $7.98

ANDRÉ JOLIVET (1905-1974): Piano Sonata No. 1, Piano Sonata No. 2, 5 Danses rituelles. Jolivet's credo was "...to give back to music its original, ancient role, when it was the magic and incantatory expression of the religiosity of human communities." and all three pieces on this disc have a primitive rhythmic dynamism in their outer movements which suggests the ritual dances which the Danses treat explicitly while the slow movements of the sonatas evoke the timeless sentience of ancient forests and holy places. The recently deceased Bartók was the dedicatee of the first sonata (1945) and the second (1957) uses some serial techniques which will be audible only to the committed scholar, while the Danses are the earliest work here, dating from 1939. Philip Adamson (piano). Centaur CRC 2641 (U.S.A.) 03F070 $16.98

SAMUEL ADLER (b.1928): Symphony No. 5 "We Are the Echoes" for Soprano and Orchestra, 5 Sephardic Choruses for Vocal Soloists, and Choir, Nuptial Scene for Mezzo-Soprano and Ensemble, Excerpt from The Binding for Soprano, Tenor, Baritone and Orchestra, 7 short liturgical pieces for Cantor, Organ and Choir. The symphony (1975) sets five poems relating to various aspects of Jewish experience in a fairly modern, often atonal, style which also makes use of some sprechtstimme-like passages for the soloist. From the same period, the Nuptial Scene, to Catalan and Hebrew texts is of similar style. Only the Sephardic Choruses (excerpted for stand-alone performance from a larger oratorio) use identifiable folk material - traditional Jewish melodies from Spain and from other traditions. Translated texts included. Phyllis Bryn-Julson (soprano), Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra; Samuel Adler, Rutgers Kirkpatrick Choir; Patrick Gardner, Margaret Bishop Kohler (mezzo), Eastman Players; Samuel Adler, Freda Herseth (soprano), Joseph Evans (tenor), Raphael Frieder (baritone), Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra; Samuel Adler, Alberto Mizrahi, Roslyn Jhunever Barak, Richard Botton (cantors), Barbara Harbach (organ), Rochester Singers; Samuel Adler. Naxos Milken Archive 8.559415 (U.S.A.) 03F071 $6.98

ROBERT HELPS (1928-2001): Piano Quartet, Shall We Dance for Piano, Postlude for Horn, Violin and Piano, Nocturne for String Quartet, JOHN IRELAND (1879-1962): The Darkened Valley for Piano. Helps was known as both pianist and composer and his own instrument takes pride of place in the 1997 piano quartet whose ten-minute long opening movement is for solo piano, a hypnotically slow piece whose material returns in the fourth movement with the strings joining in. Shall We Dance (1994) is an 11-minute piece whose dance rhythms disintegrate and regenerate during the course of the work which requires a lot of pedal (the composer describes it as "paying special homage" to it) and which often suggests an updated Ravel or Scriabin. The shorter Postlude and Nocturne are very evocative mood pieces from the early 60s, the latter especially evoking the nocturnal worlds of Mahler and Bartók. Spectrum Concerts Berlin, Daniel Blumenthal (piano - quartet and Postlude), Robert Helps (piano). Naxos American Classics 8.559199 (U.S.A.) 03F072 $6.98

HERMAN BERLINSKI (1910-2001): Avodat Shabbat. Here is the third of the only three complete Sabbath services written for large orchestra, soloists and chorus, the only one written for the evening Sabbath and the only one to use European Ashkenazy melodies throughout (with one Sephardic exception). Berlinsky got a commission to orchestrate the original service (the orchestration was premiered in 1963) after Leonard Bernstein, among others, was favorably impressed by its original version. The harmonic structure reflects the major-minor tension between two traditional Ashkenazic modes and the use of a particular motif (derived from biblical cantillation and traditional psalmody), first heard in the orchestral introduction, throughout the work, helps bind the piece together. Translated texts included. Robert Brubaker (tenor), Constance Hauman (soprano), Elizabeth Shammash (mezzo), Ernst Senff Choir, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra; Gerard Schwarz. Naxos Milken Archive 8.559430 (U.S.A.) 03F073 $6.98

MARVIN DAVID LEVY (b.1932): Masada for Tenor, Chorus and Orchestra, Canto de los Marranos for Soprano and Orchestra, 6 excerpts from Song of Moses for Tenor and Chorus. The cantata Masada was originally commissioned for tenor Richard Tucker and the National Symphony Orchestra and was premiered in 1973; one revision dates from 1987 and the one recorded here is a third version, done specifically for the Milken Archive series. In two parts lasting 36 minutes, this is a strongly dramatic piece with much declaratory singing from the tenor (who represents the leader of the Sicarii on Masada) and some thrilling and quietly evocative music for the chorus, all couched in an easily approachable, tonal idiom without particular use of Jewish motifs. The Canto (1977, but again completely rewritten for this recording) is similar, with the exception of the use of a Ladino song about two-thirds of the way through while helps add color to the story of the Spanish Jews who, after forced conversion, had to practice their religion in secret. Short excerpts of the same evening Sabbath service as Berlinsky set above make up the balance of this attractive disc. Ladino/Hebrew-English texts. Richard Troxell (tenor), Ernst Senff Choir, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra; Yoel Levi, Ana María Martínez (soprano), Barcelona Symphony/National Orchestra of Catalonia; Jorge Mester, Vale Rideout (tenor), BBC Singers; Kenneth Kiesler. Naxos Milken Archive 8.559427 (U.S.A.) 03F074 $6.98

DAVE BRUBECK (b.1920): Chromatic Fantasy Sonata, 5 Pieces from Two-Part Adventures, Tritonis, The Salmon Strikes, Rising Sun. After appearing in the Milken Archive Jewish Music series, Brubeck now moves over to American Classics with this disc of solo piano music. It goes without saying that jazz predominates here but the largest piece, the 29-minute Chromatic Fantasy Sonata starts with Bach literally and refers back to him again and again throughout the work and Bach again is the inspiration for the selection from Two-Part Adventures. In Tritonus, Brubeck notes the similarity between the role of the tritone in his own improvising and in his teacher Milhaud's use of two chords a tritone apart to create his characteristic polytonal textures. John Salmon (piano). Naxos American Classics 8.559212 (U.S.A.) 03F075 $6.98

HENRI LAZAROF (b.1932): In Celebration (Symphony No. 4) for Mixed Chorus and Orchestra , Symphony No. 5 for Baritone, Mixed Chorus and Orchestra. In Celebration (1996) was a commission for the opening of the Seattle Symphony's new concert hall and Lazarof took full advantage of the resources available with this setting of various English texts concentrating on joy, rejoicing and the transformative power of music. Using a huge orchestra and chorus for maximum impact, the composer wraps two boisterous and raucous movements around a mostly a cappella short slow central movement. The fifth symphony sets two French texts by the composer himself and one by Rimbaud in a three-movement piece preceded by an Intrada for winds alone. The orchestral forces are as large as in the previous symphony but Lazarof grades their employment, building up, movement by movement from the winds at the beginning and arriving at the full complement only in the last movement with its visionary tone (the language of both works is tonal but often very chromatic). Texts and translations included. Richard Zeller (baritone), Seattle Symphony and Chorus; Gerard Schwarz. Centaur CRC 2657 (U.S.A.) 03F076 $16.98

FLORENCIO ASENJO (b.1926): Instrumental Dialogues: A Maximalist Symphony, Cavalcade of Cubes, Danza de los Secretarios. The rousing, thoroughly Latin-flavored Danza, is bright and attractive and simply a lot of fun. The other, more substantial works follow suit, harmonically conservative, though this is not to say unoriginal. Asenjo has made much of his antipathy toward repetition in western 'classical' music, but this has not, on the evidence here led to a late-Havergal Brian-like tendency toward constant, almost hectic exposition of new material throughout a piece with little development; for one thing, Asenjo's music is nothing like that complex or 'modern'-sounding. The music is resolutely tonal and achieves its clear sense of forward motion through conventional harmonic tension and release, and rhythmic vitality, while the orchestration is straightforward and attractive. Certainly the introduction and development of new or metamorphosed material throughout a work holds the attention without difficulty. Most appealing! Slovak State Philharmonic Kosice; Kirk Trevor. MMC 2126 (U.S.A.) 03F077 $16.98

JOHN BIGGS (b.1932): Symphony No. 1, Symphony No. 2, The Ballad of William Sycamore for Narrator and Orchestra. The two symphonies are separated by 27 years (1965 and 1992) and the former is in the standard three-movement form with a slow introduction while the latter is a multi-sectional piece in a single-movement but both speak the same language, a tonal language based on late romanticism in the same way that Copland and Harris based their 1930s and 40s symphonic works. The same broad horizon is here, the uniquely American sense of striding optimism and big, open spaces, making Biggs a must-hear for all who prize this sound. The Ballad (1995), setting a text by Stephen Vincent Benet, is even more apt for Biggs' musical personality as William Sycamore was a mythical mountaineer and Benet's text is the poetical equivalent to the composer's big-hearted music. Text included. Jonathan Dunn-Rankin (narrator), Czech National Symphony Orchestra; Paul Freeman. Albany TROY 635 (U.S.A.) 03F078 $16.98

ELLIOTT SCHWARTZ (b.1936): Voyager, Mehitabel's Serenade for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra, Jack O'Lantern for Chamber Orchestra and Lights, Celebrations/Reflections: A Time Warp for Orchestra, Timepiece 1974 for Chamber Orchestra. This is a most attractive disc. Unlike much modern music, in which one is made uncomfortably aware of the compositional mechanisms involved, Schwartz has an unusual abiity to write accessible, tonal music while deriving his material sometimes mathematically or through the use of serial techniques of various kinds ­ he also enjoys the use of musical monograms derived from names or words translated into musical notation. But the results are then integrated into works of such delightful richness of texture and harmonic invention that one is really not aware of this at all, hearing instead warmly Romantic music with direct appeal to the senses and emotions. Timepiece also makes use of quotations from necessarily tonal music from centuries ago, woven into the texture, and one comes away from the whole with the impression of serious and expertly written works by a composer who doesn't take himself too seriously, who has a light, humorous touch alongside his seriousness of purpose, and definitely isn't trying to make a point. Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra; Toshiyuki Shimada, Kenneth Radnofsky (sax), New England Conservatory Honors Orchestra; Richard Hoenich, Cleveland Chamber Symphony; Edwin London, Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra Bratislava; Szymon Kawalla. Albany TROY 646 (U.S.A.) 03F079 $16.98

JOHN WILLIAMS (b.1932): Tuba Concerto, DANIEL S. GODFREY (b.1949): Lightscape, JENNIFER HIGDON (b.1962): blue cathedral, BRAXTON BLAKE (b.1954): Dorothy Parker Songs for Mezzo-Soprano and Orchestra. Higdon's reflective tone-poem is richly sonorous, an uplifting portrayal of an imaginary cathedral as metaphor for spiritual journey. Blake's settings of Parker's acerbically humorous poetry are appropriately witty, in concert-cabaret style, recalling Bolcom, Britten and Bernstein in similar mood. Godfrey's Lightscape makes an appropriate companion-piece for the Higdon, as it, too, suggests a light-painting, with similar quasi-onomatopic suggestions of the shimmer of light on reflecting surfaces and through stained glass. Finally, Williams' familiar and attractive Tuba Concerto rounds out this attractive disc of approachable, tonal music. Velvet Brown (tuba), Freda Herseth (mezzo), Bowling Green Philharmonia; Emily Freeman Brown. Albany TROY 633 (U.S.A.) 03F080 $16.98

JOHN WOOLRICH (b.1954): Ulysses Awakes for Viola and 10 Solo Strings, It is Midnight, Dr. Schweitzer for 11 Strings, The Theatre Represents a Garden: Night for Orchestra, A Leap in the Dark for String Ensemble, 4 Concert Arias for (variously) 2 Sopranos, Mezzo-Soprano and Orchestra. Woolrich enjoys reimagining music of the past in (somewhat) contemporary terms, and he likes to create musical 'machines' - it is probably best not to look for anything especially 'mechanical' in the works which claim this as their inspiration, though. Closer to the truth, and linking both concepts, is a clear, clean, sharp-edged precision, as of a finely functioning piece of mechanism. It is Midnight takes the titles of its movements from those of metal sculptures by Jean Tinguely, but the inspiration could equally well be Klee's painted constructions, or even elaborations of Calder's mobiles. This unmechanical mechanism seems somehow also to relate to Mozart's formal perfection, as reflected in the extended fantasia on Mozartian themes (written for the Mozart bicentenary) The Theatre... In all cases, a wry and teasing wit is in evidence, a sense of the fantastic - even the grotesque - always alloyed with a subtle melancholy, however active the intricate surface textures may appear to be. Jane Atkins (viola), Eileen Hulse, Adele Eikenes (sopranos), Christine Cairns (mezzo), Orchestra of St. John's Smith Square; John Lubbock. Black Box BBM 1091 (England) 03F081 $17.98

JOHN WOOLRICH (b.1954): Toward the Black Sky for Piano Trio, Sestina for Piano Quartet, 5 Chorales for Piano Quintet, A Shadowed Lesson for Piano Quintet, A Presence of Departed Acts for Clarinet and Piano Trio, Adagissimo for Piano Quartet. These chamber works demonstrate yet again Woolrich's striking ability to create moving and passionate music in a wide range of forms, sometimes derived from earlier music, sometimes wholly original. The darkly-hued Bach transcriptions inhabit the world of somber melancholy which lies never far beneath the surface in much of Woolrich's work; the gathering shadows of the past here and in the allusions to earlier composers in Sestina contribute to the haunted feel of these finely wrought, brief yet compelling pieces. Shadows and half-light pervade even more completely the works in which Woolrich makes less overt reference to previous models; his bittersweet harmony, liberally infused with pungent dissonance contributes to a very Romantic sense of longing and loss, of emotional as well as musical tension. The Schubert Ensemble. Black Box BBM 1092 (England) 03F082 $17.98

DANIEL ASIA (b.1953): String Quartet No. 2, Woodwind Quintet, Brass Quintet. These attractive, eloquent and mostly uncomplicated chamber works are based on a strong vein of neoclassicism, most evident in the more recent music; the quartet of 1985 being the most eclectic, though all the works have a directly appealing consonant self-assurance. The brief bagatelles (the composer's description) which form the movements of the wind quintet have a lively attractiveness, while the timbrally rich Brass Quintet (the most recent) has a more romantic, serious feel to it, tonality well to the fore but with grinding dissonances reminiscent of the dark ambiguity lurking a the heart of Grainger's Lincolnshire Posy and other wind music, with which it shares some textural and harmonic affinities. Cypress String Quartet, Dorian Wind Quintet, American Brass Quartet. Summit DCD 385 (U.S.A.) 03F083 $17.98

MICHAEL HERSCH (b.1971): Recordatio for Piano, 2 Pieces for Piano, After Hölderlin's "Hälfte des Lebens" for Viola and Cello, Octet for Strings. The notes contain a sketch of the composer which makes him sound like a made-up character from an early novel by Aldous Huxley or Anthony Burgess. Entertaining as it is, it gives no clue as to how the music sounds. Austere and economical, almost pathologically withdrawn, the pieces exude a deep, affectless melancholy, and when the pervading tension, present from the first note of each piece, is temporarily broken, it is only by the fleeting intrusion of a bright flash of hectic activity which serves only to highlight the depth of the surrounding gloom. This all sounds very forbidding and negative, but bleak as it may be, the music is likely to strike resonances in many listeners who will find their dark nights of the soul easier to navigate in the company of one who is so obviously familiar with the shadowy terrain. Michael Hersch (piano), String Soloists of the Berlin Philharmonic. Vanguard Classics ATM-CD-1240 (U.S.A.) 03F084 $14.98

POUL ROVSING OLSEN (1922-1982): Belisa. Olsen's opera, its libretto a play by Lorca, is simply summarised; a prosperous older man takes a young and sensuous wife who deceives him, failing to renounce her lovers; the husband tricks her, pretending to be one of them, paying court to her in secret, and ultimately kills himself. Stylistically the work places great emphasis on the melodic material given to the small, chamber-sized cast, the long, lyrical melodies often very beautiful, much of the music emphasizing the nocturnal, elegiac atmosphere of the drama. Occasional dodecaphonic techniques and the use of music from other cultures based on Olsen's extensive studies in ethnomusicology are not particularly evident, the over-riding impression being of a fairly conventional musical narrative, rather than seeking to break new musical ground. Danish-English libretto. Eir Inderhaug, Anna Margarethe Dahl (sopranos), Marianne Rørholm (mezzo), Sten Byriel (baritone), Vocal Group Ars Nova, Odense Symphony Orchestra; Tamás Vetö. Dacapo 8.226013 (Denmark) 03F085 $15.98

JOHN CORIGLIANO (b.1938): Etude Fantasy, Fantasia on an Ostinato, FREDERIC RZEWSKI (b.1938): North American Ballads. This is an attractive disc of thoroughly and unmistakably modern piano music that proves (yet again; this idea is by no means as revolutionary as it would have been a few decades ago) that it is possible to write piano works in a 20th century idiom without their necessarily being harmonically abstruse nor indulging in complexity as an end in itself. Corigliano's "Fantasia" with its elements of minimalism (sparingly used) and its basis in Beethoven (the ostinato pattern is derived from the 7th Symphony) is the most obviously ingratiating work here, but his fearsomely virtuosic Etudes scarcely make for difficult listening (their demands on the player are another matter). Highly chromatic but nowhere near atonal, these dramatic little piano tone-poems go far beyond their function as exercises in specific piano techniques as the Chopin, Godowsky, Yedidia or Ligeti works of similar title. Rzewski's inventive re-imaginings, or re-settings of American folk-ballads, especially the chilling "Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues" with its evocation of the impersonal machinery against which the impoverished human workers were treated more as pieces of disposable mechanism than the equipment they served, are more familiar, but no less worthwhile for that. All the melodies are songs connected in some way with the Labor movement, so there is an underlying political agenda (as in Rzewski's other great piano work, the "People United" variations). The folk tunes are adapted into a pianistically inventive context of far-reaching techniques, while always present as a down-to-earth tonal anchor amidst the composer's technical and harmonic sophistication. David Jalbert (piano). Endeavour Classics ECD 1011 (U.S.A.) 03F086 $17.98

KALEVI AHO (b.1949): Symphony No. 11 for 6 Percussionists and Orchestra, Symphonic Dances - Hommage à Uuno Klami. Collectors of BIS' Aho series will already be familiar with the work the composer has done on the unfinished Kalevala ballet by Uuno Klami (1900-1961) called Whirls, orchestrating the first act which BIS recorded along with the extant music of the second act. Here, we have Aho's reconstruction of the third and final act from 2001, titled Symphonic Dances since, in the event, the ballet version was not to be performed. Using Klamian harmonies and melodies, Aho does not quote the older composer directly but produces a beautiful set of five dances which sound as Scandinavian and danceable as anyone could like. Back to his personal voice in the 1998 symphony, which uses lots of percussionists and lots of percussion instruments yet never turns into a crash-and-thrash kind of piece. The percussion is used for tonal color in the first movement and drums are used in the second (first played by hands, later by sticks), which is the most rhythmically insistent of the three while the third movement is a curiously static, almost minimalist meditation - quiet, mystical, with a sort of ritual quality. Kroumata Percussion Ensemble, Lahti Symphony Orchestra; Osmo Vänskä. BIS CD-1336 (Sweden) 03F087 $17.98

HANS WERNER HENZE (b.1927): Pollicino. This children's opera is a children's opera in more than the usual way. It is a re-telling of the Tom Thumb story, based on an Italian version with some more grisly material from the always-reliable Brothers Grimm but, unlike many attempts at the genre, this one uses children (well, mostly of high-school age) to perform the work as well. Originally meant to be a quickly dashed-off piece, Pollicino eventually forced Henze to postpone work on The English Cat in 1979 and the opera was given the following year. Opera Grove cheerfully ignores it in its article (although it rests in the work-list right before The English Cat where it belongs), perhaps because, in its simplicity and ease of performance, it's a lot less interesting to bother with than Henze's political-action pieces of previous decades. The orchestra uses what was available to the school at Montepulciano at the time of composition: multiple recorders, a few strings, many percussion instruments, a prepared piano, a regular piano, a couple of guitars. Henze being Henze, however, even easily performed music still sounds like the mid-20th century, especially in the four atmospheric intermezzi (no, he doesn't inflict any complexicist material on the little dears). 2 CDs. German-English libretto. Vocal soloists, chorus and orchestra of students from Berlin music schools; Jobst Liebrecht. Wergo WER 6664-2 (Germany) 03F088 $39.98

HORATIU RADULESCU (b.1942): Piano Sonata No. 2, Op. 82 "being and non-being create each other", Piano Sonata No. 3, Op. 86 "you will endure forever", Piano Sonata No. 4, Op. 92 "like a well... older than God". A pioneer of 'Spectralism' in composition ­ the use of overtones of given notes in a particular instrument as musical material ­ Radulescu avoided the piano for many years because of the difficulties inherent in reconciling this approach with the even-tempered tuning of the modern grand piano. These sonatas, recent works from the 1990s, reflect ideas from the Tao te Ching of Lao Tzu, and mark a return to the 'conventional' piano for the composer, who had previously made use of highly unconventional playing techniques and tunings. Hypnotically repeated cells, intervals and repeated notes draw the listener's attention to the sonorities of the instrument, though from time to time melodic material with an almost folk-like character is used in what appears to be a conscious acknowledgement of conventional piano music. Ortwin Stürmer (piano). CPO 999 880 (Germany) 03F089 $15.98

TERUYUKI NODA (b.1940): Monodrama, Ode capricious, 3 Développements, 3 Klavierstücke, Piano Album for Children. The first two pieces on this disc are highly virtuosic, demonstrating the composer's very real affinity for the piano. Harmonically, most of the works on this disc occupy territory slightly to the modern side of impressionism, nicely spiced with dissonance, though never suggesting atonality. Indeed, at climactic moments he indulges in what sound suspiciously like full-blown Romantic gestures, while a fondness for ostinato patterns and repeated motifs give these mainly brief pieces a clearly discernible shape. There is little of the navel-gazing microscopic examination of the overtones of pointillistically presented single notes that tends to afflict a certain proportion of recent piano music, Noda preferring long-breathed melodies, which, however harmonically ambiguous they may seem, always end up anchored by conventional harmonisation. Not quite a Romantic throwback, then, but a composer unafraid of working within a tradition, though extending it through an emphasis on technique and, possibly, a non-Western view of Western music (though nothing here 'sounds like' Japanese music per se). Hiromi Okada (piano). Camerata CMCD 28016 (Japan) 03F090 $17.98

ALEXANDER GOEHR (b.1932): Sing, Ariel, Op. 51 for 3 Sopranos and 5 Instruments, The Mouse Metamorphosed into a Maid, Op. 54 for Soprano, The Death of Moses for Counter Tenor, Baritone, Soprano, Tenor, Bass, Chorus and Instrumental Ensemble. And yet more - in this case, more valuable Unicorn-Kanchana recordings reissued in NMC's increasingly encyclopædic 'Ancora' series. Goehr has long been associated with vocal music - opera and oratorio - but Sing Ariel is one of only a small handful of song cycles for concert performance. Setting a wide range of English texts, compiled by Frank Kermode, the work presents a kind of narrative, with considerable dramatic content, as might be anticipated from so successful a stage composer. Both here and in "The Death of Moses", Goehr's debt to the Second Viennese School is evident ("Moses" actually contains an homage to Schönberg in the form of allusions to "Moses und Aron"). The ensemble writing in the song cycle is a model of clarity and precision; the richer scoring of "Moses" relates it more closely to the English choral tradition - echoes of Britten here and there - and to earlier musical models as well. 2 CDs. Lucy Shelton, Sarah Leonard, Eileen Hulse (sopranos), Michael Chance (counter tenor), Stephen Richardson (baritone), Gautam Rangarajan (tenor), Paul Robinson (bass), Sawston Village College Chamber Choir, Cambridge University Musical Society Chorus, instrumental ensemble; Oliver Knussen, Stephen Cleobury (Moses). Original 1991 and 1993 Unicorn-Kanchana releases. NMC D096 (England) 03F091 $31.98

MICHAEL FINNISSY (b.1946): This Church. Written to celebrate the 900th anniversary of an English church - St Mary de Haura - this piece uses texts and musical material to evoke the chill and remote sense of history familiar to anyone who has spent any time absorbing the atmosphere of the varied architectural antiquity of England, redolent of the religious intolerance, stratification of class and acceptance of hardship and cruelty which occupy the worn flagstones and shadowy crypts and tombs like unquiet ghosts. Finnissy has used fragments of chorales, plainchant, hymns, organ music, bells and spoken and sung texts in a tapestry of images which avoids the instrumental complexity familiar from his instrumental music in favour of clear, graphic story-telling. Texts included. Richard Jackson (baritone), Jane Money (mezzo), Tony Potter and Larry Yates (narrators), Philip Adams (organ), Chiro of Saint Mary de Haura Church, Saint Mary de Haura Handbell Ringers, Ixion; Michael Finnissy. Metier MSV CD92069 (England) 03F092 $16.98

JOHANNES MARIA STAUD (b.1974): A map is not the territory for Large Ensemble, Bewegungen for Piano, Polygon - Music for Piano and Orchestra, Black Moon for Bass Clarinet, Berenice - Lied vom Verschwinden for Soprano, Small Ensemble and Tape. Although his music is worked out in the most meticulous detail, the first thing that will strike the listener about these works ­ especially the ones for large ensembles ­ is the direct appeal to the senses, both through the unashamed use of big, dramatic gestures and the adoption of beautiful, irridescent instrumental textures. Thus, although the music plainly comes from the tradition well known to us from the Darmstadt-Donaueschingen expositions of the avant garde from the 1960s to the present, it is a good deal more ingratiating to the ear than much of what goes on under the general banner of 'Central European Avant Garde". It is no less intellectually rigorous, though. The concertante Polygon, in which the solo piano part sometimes seems to pay tribute to Prokofiev by way of Messiaen, is especially striking, as is the intricate electroacoustic piece, Berenice. Klangforum Wien; Sylvain Cambreling and Emilio Pomarico, Thomas Larcher (piano), Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra; Bertrand de Billy. Kairos 0012392KAI (Austria) 03F093 $15.98

JUAN ALLENDE-BLIN (b.1928): Transformations IV, Sonatine, Zeitspanne, Dialogue for 2 Players. While Allende-Blin is credited as having been in the vanguard of the delayed recogntion of the post-Scriabin Russian futurists, it has to be said that only the early Sonatine really betrays any close ties to late Scriabin. By Transformations IV (1960), the most audible debt is to Webern, and the more recent, more extended works that round out the CD make much use of silence and sustained tones and their overtones in a plastic, concrète and above all, pointillistic manner. Dialogue in which the composer himself makes a kind of cameo appearance, takes the emphasis on the 'microscopic' examination of sound further still, with extended playing techniques, involving the use of objects to excite the strings inside the piano to produce an extended sound-world. Thomas Günther (piano), Juan Allende-Blin (second piano). SACD/CD hybrid. Cybele SACD 160.401 (Germany) 03F094 $16.98

CORNELIS DE BONDT (b.1953): Die wahre Art for Piano and Orchestra, Dame Blanche for Recorder and Orchestra. If you enjoy the peculiarly Netherlandish brand of eclecticism that allows strict and austere serialism, bouncy minimalism and cheeky appropriation of every musical style from the Classical, Baroque and earlier periods of music history, you will need no further incentive to buy this disc than an assurance that in these two works, de Bondt does everything you want him to with expert precision. The piano concerto, with its extrovert exuberance expressed in propulsive compound rhythms and overt tonality belies both its complexity and the serialism and electronics that are used in its construction, both almost imperceptibly. The recorder concerto takes its material from further back still - Mediæval melodies, again glimpsed as the faintest traces behind an accretion of every contemporary compositional device imaginable, the whole succeeding in achieving an unlikely dynamic coherence and ready accessibility. Gerard Bouwhuis (piano), Walter van Hauwe (recorder), Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra; Peter Eötvös. Donemus CV113 (Netherlands) 03F095 $18.98

CSABA DÉAK (b.1953): Symphony No. 2, DANIEL BÖRTZ (b.1943): Sinfonia 10, B TOMMY ANDERSSON (b.1964): Intrada, CARIN BARTOSCH EDSTRÖM (b.1965): Cyd Cyberosnix meets Webby Web Webster, CATHARINA PALMÉR (b.1963): Tones. Börtz' symphony is a tense and serious work, progressing from a dark and shadowy opening through a large-scale dramatic structure, before subsiding once more into the depths. Despite its silly title (the piece supposedly has a plot, something to do with an internet romance), Bartosch's piece is an inventive piece of music-drama, full of dynamic drive and pulsating, propulsive rhythm. Deák, like Börtz, a Rosenberg pupil, also contributes a large-scale symphonic structure, perhaps more tautly argued than the Börtz, less of a tone-poem, though no less dramatic and full of the most felicitous touches of orchestration. The Palmér is richly sonorous, using the rich overtone series of wind instruments as a point of departure for its musical material, while conductor Andersson's curtain-raiser is a noble processional honoring the composer's father. Stockholm Wind Symphony; B Tommy Andersson. Nosag CD 085 (Sweden) 03F096 $16.98

IANNIS XENAKIS (1922-2001): Nyuyo for Flute and 3 Guitars, Zyia for Flute, Soprano and Piano, Dmaathen for Flute in B Flat and Percussion, PASCAL DUSAPIN (b.1955): Ici for Flute in C, Shin'-Gyô for Piccolo and Soprano, Laps for Flute and Double Bass, I Pesci for Flute in C. Non-European music played on European instruments is the story here. Xenakis' Nyuyo and Dusapin's Shin'-Gyô are Japanese in inspiration (Xenakis transcribed the original work for shakahachi, sangen and two kotos) while most of the other works suggest musics of both Near and Far East. Quite unusual for Xenakis collectors is the early (1952) Zyia - a piece influenced by Bartók which explores both Oriental- and Romanian-sounding material. Cécile Daroux (piccolo, flutes), Yumi Nara, Françoise Kubler (sopranos), Dimitri Vassiliakis (piano), Johannes Faber (percussion), Jean-Paul Céléa (double bass), Jean-Marie Trehard, Jean Horreaux, Christian Rivet (guitars). Original 1996 Disques Montaigne release. Naïve/Montaigne MO 782173 (France) 03F097 $13.98

Salon Orchestra Favorites, Vol. 3

Julius Fuãík (1872-1916): Florentiner Marsch, BENJAMIN GODARD (1848-1895): Berceuse from the opera Jocelyn, OSCAR STRAUS (1870-1954): Leise, ganz leise klingt's durch den Raum from A Waltz Dream, FRANZ VON SUPPÉ (1819-1895): Teufelsmarsch, RICHARD HEUBERGER (1850-1914): Im chambre séparée from The Opera Ball, EDWARD ELGAR (1857-1934): Salut d'amour, Chanson de nuit, Chanson de matin, EMMERICH KÁLMÁN (1882-1953): Potpourri from Die Csárdásfürstin, Antonín DvoÞák (1841-1904): Humoresque, JOSEF STRAUSS (1827-1870): Die Libelle, KAREL KOMZÁK (1850-1905): Storm Galop, FRITZ KREISLER (1875-1962): Liebesleid, Liebesfreud, JULES MASSENET (1842-1912): Méditation from Thaïs. Focusing mainly on dance music and operetta from late 19th and early 20th century Vienna, Prague and Budapest, arranged for the salon band of violin, cello, double bass, flute/piccolo, two clarinets, accordion, piano and percussion. Schwanen Salon Orchestra; Georg Huber. Naxos 8.557048 (New Zealand) 03F098 $6.98

Bernstein's Kaddish with new narration

LEONARD BERNSTEIN (1918-1990): Symphony No. 3 "Kaddish", Missa Brevis for Mixed Chorus, Counter-Tenor and Percussion, Chichester Psalms for Chorus, Boy Soprano and Orchestra. This next issue in Slatkin's Bernstein series for Chandos includes not only the first recording of the 1988 Missa Brevis in its extended, liturgical form, but also a new narration for the Kaddish symphony, revised and performed by the composer's daughter. Texts included. Jamie Bernstein (speaker), Pablo Strong (treble), Ann Murray (mezzo), Simon Baker (counter-tenor), The London Oratory School Schola, BBC Singers, BBC Symphony Chorus and Orchestra; Leonard Slatkin. Chandos 10172 (England) 03F099 $17.98

YRJÖ KILPINEN (1892-1959): Fjeld Lieder (Berlin State Opera Orchestra; Hanns Udo Müller [1/36]), Lieder der Liebe, Op. 61, Lieder um den Tod, Op. 62, Spielmannslieder, Op. 77 (Nos. 4, 5 & 8), Mondschein, Elegie an die Nachtigall, Op. 21/1, Der Skiläufer, Vergissmeinnicht, Op. 39/3, Venezianisches Intermezzo, Op. 79/4, Marienkirche zu Danzig I, Gerüst, Op. 79/7. Hüsch not only recorded some of the finest Schubert lieder ever done but he was one of the very few singers to champion the lieder of this Finnish composer (Kim Borg and Jorma Hynninen being the others) who eschewed the rich harmonies of National Romanticism for an austere, neo-classical tone which could sometimes reach a Mussorgskian intensity. Included are the contents of the 1935 Kilpinen Song Society records by HMV as well as six orchestral songs recorded the following year and also released on HMV. No texts. Gerhard Hüsch (baritone), Margareta Kilpinen (piano) [2/8/35, 3/5, 7-9/35]). Dutton CDBP 9741 (England) 03F100 $8.98

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Anthology- Vol. 2: 1950-1960

SEM DRESDEM (1881-1957): Dansflitsen (Rafael Kubelik), MATTHIJS VERMEULEN (1888-1967): Symphony No. 2 "Prélude à la nouvelle journée", Passacaille et Cortège from De vliegende Hollander (Otto Ketting), HANS HENKEMANS (1913-1995): Harp Concerto, Violin Concerto (Phia Berghout [harp], Theo Olof [violin], Eduard van Beinum), ANTON VAN DER HORST (1899-1965): Symphony No. 1, Op. 23 (van Beinum), ALEXANDRE TANSMAN (1897-1986): Musique pour Orchestre (Kubelik) and, Standard Repertoire by Conductor: Pierre Monteux (Brahms Violin Cto. [Milstein], Ravel Daphnis et Chloe, Wagner Siegfried Idyll), Rafael Kubelik (Dvorak 7th, Rachmaninov Piano Cto. No. 2 [Katchen], Janácek Taras Bulba, Mendelssohn Violin Cto. [Stern], Bruckner 3rd), Leopold Stokowski (Debussy Prélude à l'après-midi, Berlioz Roman Carnival, De Falla Suite from El amor brujo, Brahms 2nd), Otto Klemperer (Beethoven Ah, perfido [Gré Brouwenstein], Bartók Viola Cto. [Primrose], Schoenberg Verklärte Nacht, Mozart Ch'io mi scordi di te [Schwarzkopf]), Josef Krips (Beethoven 7th), Bruno Walter (Mozart 40th, Mahler 4th [Schwarzkopf], Richard Strauss Don Juan), Eduard van Beinum (Mozart PianoCto. No. 22 [Annie Fischer], Mahler 3rd [Maureen Forrester]), George Szell (Chausson Poème [Grumiaux], Walton Partita, Ravel La valse), Dimitri Mitropoulos (Richard Strauss Also sprach Zarathustra), Hans Rosbaud (Webern 6 Pieces, Op. 6, Schoenberg Variations, Op. 31), Bernard Haitink (Bruckner 2nd), Antal Dorati (Bartók Miraculous Mandarin Suite). Every bit as valuable as the many exclusive boxes being produced in house by major orchestras - and quite a bit less expensive too! Volumes pertaining to the decades of the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s are promised also. 14 CDs. Mid-price. Q Disc MCCL 97018 (Netherlands) 03F101 $151.98