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Tone Poems

VICTOR DE SABATA (1892-1957): La notte di Platon, Gethsemani, Juventus. No - it doesn't sound like Respighi! Described, respectively as "Symphonic Picture", "Contemplative Poem" and "Symphonic Poem", these three orchestral works, dating from 1919-25, are closer to Ravel in their clarity of orchestration. La notte, after a work by the French writer Edouard Schuré, describes the philosopher Plato's last banquet - during which he dismisses his guests, burns his poetry and dedicates himself to philosophy. Thus, De Sabata has a fine opportunity to depict the wine-drenched, courtesan-attended symposium with its accompanying musicians with primitive and exotic Oriental modes before slowly ratcheting down and ending in a majestic sense of calm. Gethsemani, at 24:26, the longest work here, describes the moods and thoughts of Christ's disciples in the garden by using Gregorian chant for its entire thematic material and artfully transforming it while orchestrating with great beauty and refinement. Juventus is the earliest piece, an ode to Youth, and its mood is not unlike Strauss' Don Juan although not in any way an imitation, De Sabata providing music of marvellous brilliance, fantasy, drive and enthusiasm. London Philharmonic Orchestra; Aldo Ceccato. Hyperion CDA 67209 (England) 05C001 $17.98

GEORGE FREDERICK MCKAY (1899-1970): Evocation Symphony "Symphony for Seattle", Harbor Narrative, From a Moonlit Ceremony. The composer was born in Washington state and spent 41 years as a professor at the University of Washington and sought to develop a style which would be both individual and thoroughly American by using folk music and depicting the sounds of nature. Harbor Narrative (1934) is a 30-minute, nine-movement suite which depicts the sights, sounds and character of the Seattle area (titles include "Sea Horizon", "Gulls", "Chanty" and a nod to the machine-music of Antheil and Mossolov "Men and Machines"). Half as long, From a Moonlit Ceremony of 1945 moves away from European influences and uses Native American motives for the first time while the 1951 symphony shows McKay in full maturity, all influences assimilated into his own personal voice. Very attractive and entertaining music well worth visiting again and again. National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine; John McLaughlin Williams. Naxos American Classics 8.559052 (U.S.A.) 05C002 $5.98

GEIRR TVEITT (1908-1981): Prillar, Op. 8, Sun God Symphony, Op. 81. Two veritable orgies of ostinato rhythms, wildly shifting harmonies, extravagant orchestration and orchestral effects fill these two reconstructed scores. Prillar (a Norwegian folk-instrument made from a goat's horn) was written while Tveitt was still a student in Leipzig and the brisk rhythms and ostinati in its first movement are reminiscent of Sibelius. The calm second movement recalls Ravel's "oriental" style and the finale, a whirling dance similar in character to Alfvén's folkloristic pieces, shares orchestral colors with Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov and Glazunov. The score survived Tveitt's catastrophic house fire because, fed-up with a work which he had never been able to bring to performance, the composer tore the score up into halves which were found in a barn by his son in 1990; composer Jon Øyvind Ness made the necessary edition. Sun God Symphony consists of three pieces from an extravagant ballet, Baldur's Dreams which, again, was never mounted in its original version. The original 1934 score was revised into an orchestral suite in 1958. Recordings of that and of the ballet's 1938 full orchestral premiere were painstakingly analyzed, along with fire and water-damaged score parts by composer Kaare Dyvik Husby in order to make this recording possible. Tveitt's closness to the French orchestral style of the early to mid-20th century is quite evident here as the composer seeks to recreate a medieval Norse sound world. The final movement ends with an astounding mixture of bintonal effects and harmonic shifts which could only be paralleled at the time by the crunching end to Ravel's La Valse Stavanger Symphony Orchestra; Ole Kristian Ruud. BIS CD-1027 (Sweden) 05C003 $17.98

FREDERICK DELIUS (1862-1934): Paa Vidderne, 7 Songs from the Norwegian, On the Mountains, EDVARD GRIEG (1843-1907): Norwegian Bridal Procession (orch. Delius). World Premiere Recordings of the songs which date from 1889-90 in orchestrations by Delius (2), Beecham (2) an "R. Sondheimer" and two brand new ones by Anthony Payne and sung in English translations by Sir Peter Pears and of Paa Vidderne (1888), a melodrama which sets texts by Ibsen here spoken in an English version by Lionel Carley. Lewis Foreman researched and developed this whole project and provides fascinating notes in what is a fascinating glimpse of the young Delius' first musical output brought to fruition by his love of things Norwegian and his friendship with Grieg and other notable Norwegian artists. Jan Lund (tenor), Peter Hall (narrator), Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra; Douglas Bostock. Classico CLASSCD 364 (Denmark) 05C004 $15.98

LÁSZLÓ LAJTHA (1892-1963): Sérénade, Op. 9, Soirs transylvains, Op. 41. Dating from 1927, the Sérénade is a suite of six character pieces opening and closing with a march, in classic 18th-century sereande style and touched both by Hungarian folksong and by more European/American styles (i.e. Fox-trott). The "Transylvanian Nights" dates from 1945 and its four movements describe nights during each of the seasons. All but winter - a sleigh-ride in fog to a saltarello pulse - have a degree of melancholy often associated with the change of seasons; Lajtha's years of folksong-collecting in Transylvania provide him with the means to evoke the mood and the change of seasonsin the mountains and fields of this wild locale. Leila Rásonyi (violin), László Koloazvári (viola), Judit Kiss Domarkos (cello). Hungaroton HCD 31979 (Hungary) 05C005 $16.98

LEÓ WEINER (1885-1960): Piano Music, Vol. 2 - Carnival, Op. 5, Caprice, 3 Pieces, Op. 7, 8 Miniatures, Op. 12, Playing Soldiers, Op. 16b, Passacaglia, Op. 17, Variations on a Hungarian Folk Song for 2 Pianos, Op. 32, Fairies' Dance for Piano 4-Hands, 3 Little Piano Pieces for Piano 4-Hands, Op. 36, 3 Hungarian Folk Dances for Piano 4-Hands. This compendium of short piano pieces covers a wide variety of genres (from neo-Classicism to Hungarian folk song) and pays homage to a wide variety of influences: Chopin, Bach, Schumann, Debussy and... Hungarian folk song. Many were originally for orchestra (like the 1907 Carnaval); one was orchestrated later (the 1936 Passacaglia). All are indicative of the love of all aspects of Western European musical tradition which also made Weiner such an outstanding teacher. István Kassai (piano). Hungaroton HCD 31921 (Hungary) 05C006 $16.98

SIEGFRIED WAGNER (1869-1930): Sternengebot, Op. 5. The fifth of his operas to reach CD courtesy of Marco Polo, "The Commandment of the Stars" dates from 1906 and is the first to have an actual historical setting - the late 10th century at the royal city of Fritzlar. The principal male character is likely autobiographical: he gives up the opportunity to marry the king's daughter in order to devote himself to the raising of the young heir to the throne - much as Siegfried gave up the chance of achieving his own personal voice and reputation by devoting himself to the "family business" of Bayreuth and letting his compositons come as they might. More than in the earlier operas, there are episodes of almost, well, Wagnerian music and the writing for the lead soprano now and then makes one think of Richard Strauss. The abundance of lovely themes and melodic richness helps to overcome the somewhat muddled symbolist plot. 2 CDs. German libretto. Volker Horn (tenor), Ksenija Lukic (soprano), Adam Kruzel (bass), Bayerisches Singakademie & Landes-jugendorchester; Werner Andreas Albert. Marco Polo 8.225150-51 (New Zealand) 05C007 $29.98

P.E. LANGE-MÜLLER - Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2

PETER ERASMUS LANGE-MÜLLER (1850-1926): Symphony No. 1 in D Minor "Autumn", Op. 17, Symphony No. 2 in D Minor, Op. 33. The first symphony dates from 1879, a few years after his suite I Alhambra which we offered last year on the DaCapo label. Like Schumann, Lange-Müller was criticized for over-thick orchestration in this work and for its length (only 35 minutes but Niels Gade told him "It's long - Müller" - no kidding!). The composer added extra musical program notes depicting various aspects of autumn but the work stands on its own, richly romantic, full of a gentle melancholy with a real touch of Dvorák (the earlier symphonies) in the first movement; the conductor points out similarities in works by Fibich and Novák as well as noting passages that Carl Nielsen must have known when composing his first and fourth symphonies. The second (1889, rev. 1915) is more concentrated, with forward-looking, late-romantic harmonies in many places and Lange-Müller's characteristic despondency is most evident in the second movement Andantino although he struggles mightily against in the (however minor-key) first movement and finale. Chamber Philharmonic of Bohemia (Pardubice); Douglas Bostock. Classico CLASSCD 370 (Denmark) 05C008 $15.98

RICHARD WETZ - Symphony No. 3

RICHARD WETZ (1875-1935): Symphony No. 3 in B Flat, Op. 48. Yes, this is it! The East German recording made in 1981 by the conductor who did so much to keep Wetz' name somewhat alive and who edited this Urtext of the never-published score and which appeared in the West on a Deutsche Harmonia Mundi LP. Written between 1920-22, this hour-long work depicts, in a kind of psychogram (to use Alfred Brendel's term), the emotional crisis caused by a love affair with a younger woman who ended up marrying someone else and Wetz admitted as much in his writings later. The shadow of Bruckner, which hung so heavily over the second symphony, is still gloriously present in music which builds itself into long arches and which ebbs and flows like the primeval sea, glowing darkly like the embers of a tortured soul. In an astonishing act of solidarity with the CD buying public, the booklet notes the availability of the two cpo recordings of the other two symphonies! Berlin Symphony Orchestra; Erich Peter. Sterling CDS-1041-2 (Sweden) 05C009 $16.98

ALEXANDRE GUILMANT (1837-1911): Symphony No. 1 for Organ and Orchestra, Op. 42, Allegro for Organ and Orchestra, Op. 81, Marche Fantaisie sue deux chantes d'église for Organ, Harps and Orchestra, Méditation sur le Stabat Mater for Organ and Orchestra, OP. 63, Final alla Schumann sur un Noël Languedocien for Organ and Orchestra, Op. 83, LÉON BOËLLMANN (1862-1897): Fantaisie Dialoguée for Organ and Orchestra, Op. 35, FRANÇOIS-JOSEPH FÉTIS (1784-1871): Fantaisie-Symphonique for Organ and Orchestra. The fifth in this series of music for organ and orchestra brings predominantly meditative (Final alla Schumann, Méditation, Marche fantaisie) and quietly melodic (Allegro, Fantaisie Dialoguée) music, rising to full-throated Romantic splendor in the 82-year-old (!) Fétis' piece and in the Guilmant symphony. Franz Hauk (organ), The Philharmonic Ingostadt; Olaf Koch. Guild GMCD 7215 (England) 05C010 $16.98

FRANZ XAVER SCHARWENKA (1850-1924): Piano Concerto No. 1 in B Flat Minor, Op. 32, Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 56. Yes, there is now plenty of competition for the Scharwenka First but the Collins Classics series has died along with its label and this young French/American pianist will also be recording the Third and Fourth concertos for Centaur making available once again all four of these high points of late Romantic pianism. Laurence Jeanningros (piano), CzechNational Symphony Orchestra; Paul Freeman. Centaur CRC 2500 (U.S.A.) 05C011 $16.98

LORENZO PEROSI (1872-1956): String Quartet No. 9 in D Minor, String Quartet No. 10 in A Minor, Piano Quintet No. 3 in A Minor, String Trio in E Flat, Elegia for Cello and Piano. Collectors of this quirky composer's chamber works - all composed between 1928 and 1931 when he was, shall we say, less than mentally stable - will not hesitate to acquire these quartets from about midway in his string quartet total. No work is like any other except, perhaps, the tendency to slow movements, meditative and meandering in style where an odd harmonic moment or catchy melody will suddenly pop up and then just as quickly disappear, never to be heard from again. Ensemble "L. Perosi". Bongiovanni GB 5108 (Italy) 05C012 $16.98

HANS HUBER (1852-1921): Präludien und Fugen in allen Tonarten für Pianoforte zu 4 Händen, Op. 100. It may not be another gloriously late romantic symphony from this fine Swiss composer but this release of 12 preludes and fugues adroitly mix Bach with Brahms and Schumann and will appeal to lovers of high pianistic Romanticism glazed with a cool Baroque exterior. Adrienne Soós, Ivo Haag (piano duo). Pan Classics 510 128 (Switzerland) 05C013 $17.98

MIKALOJUS KONSTANTINAS CIURLIONIS (1875-1911): 13 Preludes, Nocturne in F Sharp Minor, Impromptu in F Sharp Minor, Fugue in B Flat Minor, 3 Lithuanian Folk Songs, Concord, Our Father, Whitsunday Music, 3 Sets of Variations on Folk Songs. Never widely available, this 1995 recording was made by the pianist, Ciurlionis scholar, independence fighter and chairman of the Lithuanian parliament and licensed to EMI in 1998. His piano pieces blend Romanticism with rationalism, inventing personal types of polyphony and color and a progressive (at times, almost atonal) sense of tonality. Mid-price. Vytautas Landsbergis (piano). EMI CDM 5 66791 2 (England) 05C014 $11.98

HEINRICH SCHEIDEMANN (c.1595-1663): Organ Works, Vol. 3 - Praeambulum in D Minor, Kyrie summum, Verbum caro factum est, Jesus Christus, unser Heiland, der von uns II, Es ist das Heil uns kommen her, Canzona in G, Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ, Gott sei gelobet und gebenedeiet, Herzlich lieb hab ich dich, o Herr, Magnificat VII Toni, Jesu, wollst uns weisen, Vater unser im Himmelreich III, Praeambulum in F, Ego sum panis vivus, Wir glauben all' an einen Gott, Praeambulum in D Minor. More from this dominant composer of the early North German school, student of Sweelinck and Reincken's great predecessor in Hamburg. Julia Brown (Brombaugh organ, Central Lutheran Church, Eugene, OR). Naxos 8.554548 (New Zealand) 05C015 $5.98

JOHANNES SCHENCK (1660-after1712): Le Nymphe di Rheno, Op. 8, Vol. 2 - Sonatas Nos. 7-12. The second half-dozen of these sonatas for two viola da gambas, in a mixture of sonata da chiesa and da camera styles, composed by a Dutchman who seemed to have learned his virtuosic performing style from the English gamba school and who served most of his career at the court of Düsseldorf. Les Voix Humaines. Naxos 8.554415 (New Zealand) 05C016 $5.98

CARLO TESSARINI (c.1690-c.17676): Contrasto Armonico, Op. 10, Introducioi a 4, Op. 11, Book 1. Asymmetrical phrase lengths, colorful, almost hair-raising harmonies, grandiose and highly virtuosic violin solo parts, minutely elaborated articulation (even in the accompanying parts): these all point to a forgotten composer worth hearing. This period-instrument group recently brought us Valentini's Bizzarie; another strikingly original late Baroque Italian composer emerges again here. Aura Musicale; Balázs Máté. Hungaroton HCD 32025 (Hungary) 05C017 $16.98

NICCOLÒ JOMMELLI (1714-1774): Messe in D, Te Deum in D. Dating from 1763 and 1769 respectively, these compositions - and especially the mass - demonstrate Jommelli's position on the cusp of what might be called the "symphonic Mass" style which Haydn and Mozart brought to fruition. Both works are bound together by turns of phrase and harmony and, especially, by the recapitulation of earlier music in later parts of the mass. Judy Berry (soprano), Marta Benacková (mezzo), John La Pierre (tenor), Nikolaus Meer (baritone), Prague Chamber Choir, I Virtuosi di Praga; Hilary Griffiths. Orfeo C 453 001 A (Germany) 0C018 $18.98

CARL PHILIP EMANUEL BACH (1714-1788): Solo Keyboard Music, Vol. 6 - Leichte Claviersonaten Nos. 4-6, H. 182, 163 & 183, Sonata in C, H. 120, Sonata in G Minor, H. 118. Although (or perhaps because) written during years of war and privation the latter two sonatas (1757) show little tension but much elegant melodic detail and deliciously consonant harmonies. The remaining three "easy sonatas" come from 1762 and 1764; no easier than the average Bach sonata, these require well-developed technical skills and convey deep emotions no less than the majority of Emanuel's Empfindsamkeit compositions. Spányi plays printed Bach embellishments where they exist. Miklós Spányi (clavichord). BIS CD-978 (Sweden) 05C019 $17.98

DIETRICH BUXTEHUDE (c.1637-1707): Membra Jesu Nostri - Cantatas Nos. 1-7. This passion-meditation of 1680 is unique in Buxtehude's cantata output for not being in the German vernacular. Noble, plangent, gentle and relatively cool, the music sets the mystical texts with a dash of Italian strophic aria style leavening the North German severity. The Sixteen, The Symphony of Harmony and Invention; Harry Christophers. Linn Records CKD 141 (Scotland) 05C020 $17.98

GIOVANNI BENEDETTO PLATTI (1697-1763): 6 Sonatas for Flute and Basso Continuo. Dating from around 1743, these works are still in the four-movement sonata da camera sequence but have much of the galant style about them; their virtuosity can be attributed to the highly talented student for to whom they were dedicated. A richly varied continuo of chamber organ, harpsichord, viola da gamba, bassoon and guitar adds to the listening pleasure. Mid-price. Ensemble "Festina Lente". Tactus TC 691602 (Italy) 05C021 $11.98

ALESSANDRO SALVOLINI (c.1700-c.1770): Missa defunctorum, Missa brevis, Mass in D, 6 Hymns and Motet. Examples of late Baroque counterpoint (voices with two violins, cello and organ accomanying) from this Italian composer, not in Grove, who spent most of his career at the cathedral in Ravenna. Mid-price. "I Luoghi dello Spirito"; Maria Luisa Baldassare & Marnia Scaioli. Tactus TC 701901 (Italy) 05C022 $11.98

MICHEL CORRETTE (1709-1795): Premier Livre de Clavecin, Op. 12, Les Échoes de Boston, Le Combat Naval. Two ends of the composer's career: the Livre comes from 1734 and is the young composer showing that he can follow in the footsteps of Rameau and Couperin while the remaining two works date from 1779. The former is a three-movement sonata depicting life in the colonies while Le Combat is a fine example of the "battle-music" genre which would become very popular during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars (both with descriptive texts spoken here by the performer). Jean-Patrice Brosse (harpsichord). Pierre Verany PV700019 (France) 05C023 $17.98

ANTON KRAFT (1749-1820): 3 Grand Duos Concertants for Violin and Cello, Op. 3. Dedicatee of Haydn's D Major cello concerto and the intended soloist in Beethoven's Triple Concerto, Kraft was a virtuoso cellist who composed relatively little. This set of duos from c.1792 is firmly, entertainingly in the style of late Haydn/early Beethoven. Jan Mrácek (violin), Jirí Hosek (cello). Clarton CQ 0007-2 (Czech Republic) 05C024 $16.98

JOSEPH HAYDN (1732-1809): Notturni, Vol 1 - No. 1 in C, Hob. II/25, No. 2 in C, Hob. II/32, No. 6 in C, Hob. II/30 & No. 7 in F, Hob. II/28. The 1791 London versions of Notturni originally written for the "lira organizzata" for the King of Naples use flute and oboe to replace the liras and Haydn marvellously varies the accompanying instruments (two horns, cello and double bass being the only instruments common to all four works). Haydn Sinfonietta Wien; Manfred Huss. Koch Schwann 3-6482-2 (Germany) 05C025 $16.98

LUDWIG AUGUST LEBRUN (1752-1790): Oboe Concertos No. 1 in D Minor, No. 2 in G Minor & No. 4 in B Flat. Son of an oboist, Lebrun became a member of the Mannheim orchestra at 15 and his uninterruptedly successful life ended only with his early death at 38. His concertos are in the classic Mannheim style: powerful, ascending arpeggios (the "Mannheim rocket"), liberal use of wide dynamic effects and crescendos and, his own addition, a long, beautiful singing line for the soloist. Bart Schneeman (oboe), Radio Chamber Orchestra; Jan Willem de Vriend. Channel Classics CCD 16198 (Netherlands) 05C026 $17.98

FRANZ ANTON HOFFMEISTER (1754-1812): Notturni No. 1 in E Flat, No. 2 in F, No. 3 in E Flat & No. 6 in D for Oboe, Horn, Bassoon and 2 Violas. These quintets, with the odd inclusion of two violas, fulfill the Viennese Classical requirement of occasional, often outdoor music - grateful melodies portioned out in five movements: a sonata-form opening, minuet, andante, minuet and rondo finale. Simon Fuchs (oboe), Jakob Hefti (horn), Manfred Sax (bassoon), Michel Rouilly, Katja Richter (violas). Tudor 7075 (Switzerland) 05C027 $17.98

FRANZ KROMMER (1759-1831): Partitas in E Flat & C Minor for Wind Sextet and Double Bass, 5 Trios for 2 Clarinets and Viola, Variations on a Theme by Pleyel for 3 Clarinets, Partita in E Flat for Wind Sextet. Harmoniemusik at its Bohemian finest in these works for pairs of clarinets, horns and bassoons. Nachtmusique; Eric Hoeprich (clarinet). Glossa GCD 920604 (Spain) 05C028 $18.98

ÉTIENNE-NICOLAS MÉHUL (1763-1817): Symphony No. 1 in G Minor, Symphony No. 2 in D. These are strongly characterized works with a definite French sound to them for all that they speak the language of Mozart, Haydn and early Beethoven. Fully-fledged four-movement symphonies with memorable themes and melodies, these should be on the shelves of all serious Classical symphony collectors. Re-issue of a 1988 Marco Polo full-price original. Rhenish Philharmonic Orchesra; Jorge Rotter. Naxos 8.555402 (New Zealand) 05C029 $5.98

ANTON EBERL (1765-1807): Piano Trios in E Flat, B and C Minor, Op. 8. Friend and student of Mozart, friend of Haydn, treated by both as an equal, Eberl has suffered like so many late Classical composers erased by later scholarship. These trios, published in 1798, have practically everything which makes Mozart's and Haydn's late piano trios so attractive. Thanks to these Russian period-instrumentalists for letting us finally hear some of them! (See p. 6 for more Eberl.) Playel-Trio St. Petersburg. Christophorus CHR 77237 (Germany) 05C030 $17.98

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827): 12 Minuets, WoO 7, Rondo in A, WoO 49, 2 Rondos, Op. 51, 2 German Dances, Hess 67, Andante favori, WoO 57, Rondo a Capriccio in G, Op. 129. Many of these little dances and bagatelles are only available in the multi-disc release embedded in DG's Beethoven Edition, so it is useful (and cheap!) to have them separately here at Naxos' budget price! Jenö Jandó (piano). Naxos 8.553799 (New Zealand) 05C031 $5.98

CARLO PAESSLER (1774-1865): Clarinet Concertos in B Flat and in C Minor, Concerto for Clarinet, Oboe and Orchestra, Pot-pourri for Clarinet and Strings, Concerto con variazioni in E Flat for Clarinet and Strings, Divertimento for Clarinet and Strings on the Arias "Cimentando i venti e l'onde" and "Se ancor tu m'ami". AlthoughPaessler was an oboe virtuoso, who made his name and his fortune as a travelling soloist as well as playing in opera orchestras throughout Italy, his clarinet compositions were discovered by the clarinettist on this recording. Coming from an archive of the Colloredo family, they demonstrate the same alternation of Italian cantabile and bravura playing, in the time-honored sequence of Introduction-Theme-Variations, which characterize already known samples of the genre by Rossini and Mercadante. Nicola Bulfone (clarinet), Matej Sarc (oboe), Collegium Musicum; Walter Themel. Agora AG 276.1 (Italy) 05C032 $18.98

JOHANN NEPOMUK HUMMEL (1778-1837): Mass in D, Op. 111a, Te Deum. First recording of most of the mass (its Graduale, carrying the opus number of 88 and the virtuosic Offertorium, Op. 86 - the only appearance of the solo soprano, were found together with the music of the mass and were likely performed with them) which dates from 1808 Latin texts. Hummel's first two masses, like Haydn's last six and Beethoven's C Major work, were all written for the name-day of Princess Maria of Eisenstadt; Hummel also was in the habit of consulting Haydn after the performance but before the publication of these masses - all of which should give you an idea of the style and the quality of this work. The Te Deum dates from 1805 and its military character adumbrates the peace treaty between Austria and France which it was commissioned to commemorate. Éva Bodrogi (soprano), Choir "Jeunesses Musicales", Erdödy Chamber Orchestra; Domonkos Héja. Hungaroton HCD 32004 (Hungary) 05C033 $16.98

CARL LOEWE (1796-1869): Grand Trio, Op. 12, CHARLES AUGUSTE DE BERIOT (1802-1870): Piano Trio No. 2, Op. 58. Taking up more than two-thirds of the time on this release, Loewe's trio dates from around 1830. Its first movement rather mirrors the composer's famous ballads; the piano appears to be telling a story which the remaining two instruments are allowed to comment upon periodically. The second movement is a robust, rustic dance of more than ten minutes' length while the larghetto slow movement is brief but with a winning cantabile quality. The finale is chock-full of rollicking virtuosity and rhythmic fun. Beriot's trio, by contrast, comes off as a low-key, generally peaceful and self-contained exercise with, not surprisingly, the string instruments carrying on most of the conversation until the piano gets its turn in the virtuosic finale. Göbel-Trio Berlin. Signum SIG X115-00 (Germany) 05C034 $17.98

CARL OESTREICH (c.1800-1840): 6 Quartets for Horns in F, 5 Quartets for Horns in E, 6 Trios for Horns in F, 3 Trios for Horns in E. The latest release from this reliable source for natural horn maniacs... Deutsche Naturhorn Solisten. MD&G 6051029 (Germany) 05C035 $17.98

ANTON EBERL (1765-1807): Piano Concerto in C, Op. 32, Piano Sonata in C Minor, Op. 1. It's particularly good to have these recordings available since Eberl was generally considered to be equal to Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven by many contemporaries (see Eberl: Piano Trios on p.5). The concerto dates from 1803 (when his and Beethoven's E Flat symphonies were given on the same concert and his was by far the more popular than the Eroica) and is comparable in style to Mozart's late concertos or to Beethoven's first two. The sonata was published many times under Mozart's name (well into the 19th century) and Eberl had to move mountains to finally have it issued as his own work. Dating from 1792, its long adagio introduction bears a striking resemblance to the beginning of Mozart's Fantasy K.475 and, in its key and general character, it may have influenced Beethoven's Pathétique sonata of six years late. James McChesney (piano), Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra; Karl Kemper. Koch Schwann Musica Mundi 3-6763-2 (Germany) 05C036 $6.98

BALDASSARE GALUPPI (1706-1785): Il filosofo de Campagna. Although one of the few of Galuppi's operas which received somewhat regular performances, this 1754 work to a Goldoni libretto bore only slight resemblance to the original manuscript. Bongiovanni commissioned this recording's conductor to basically start from scratch (a manuscript in the British Museum) and remake the work in its original image, restoring two characters and the orignal three-act structure and throwing out arias not contained in Goldoni's libretto. Instead of the usual live recording, the result was taped over several days in March 1999 in an abbey - making this one of the most expensive productions ever done on behalf of a neglected Classical composer. 3 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Paola Antonucci (soprano), Patrizio Saudelli (tenor), Alessandro Calamai (bass), Intermusica Ensemble; Franco Piva. Bongiovanni GB 2256/58 (Italy) 05C037 $50.98

CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH (1714-1788): Complete Keyboard Concertos, Vol. 10 - in G, H.419, in B Flat, H.447, Sonatina in F, H.452. H. 419 is from 1745 and wraps two galant outer movements around a pathetic, minor-key Adagio; the B flat concerto, from 1762, has a musical expressiveness and formal sophistication which suggests performance before a select kind of audience. The Sonatina, from the same year (and like its two fellows in Vol. 9 of this series), was designed for a public concert and based on the binary forms of dances and solo sonatas - the better to entertain an audience some of whom would have minimal musical training. Concerto Armonico; Miklós Spányi (tangent piano). BIS CD-914 (Sweden) 05C038 $17.98

JOSEF BENGRAF (1745-1791): 6 String Quartets. Bengraf's quartets - all three-movement works except for the last one - are quartet-divertimenti related to Vanhal's and Dittersdorf's homophonic chamber music. An interesting, early Classical byway from the composer who wrote the first ever Hungarian Dances! Festetics String Quartet. Hungaroton HCD 31943 (Hungary) 05C039 $16.98

SILVIUS LEOPOLD WEISS (1686-1775): Suite in F "Le fameux Corsaire" for Lute, JEAN BAPTISTE L'OEILLET DE GANT (1688-?): 4 duos for Glass Harmonica and Lute, JOHANN FRIED-RICH REICHARDT (1752-1801): Grazioso for Glass Harmonica, JOHANN GOTTLIEB NAUMANN (1741-1801): Sonatas Nos. 8 & 10 for Glass Harmonica, Duo for Glass Harmonica and Lute, HEINRICH SUTERMEISTER (1910-1995): Bühnenmusik for Glass Harmonica, BRUNO HOFFMAN (1913-1991): 2 Chorals, Gavotte. Old and new music for the most ethereal instrument ever created before the theremin, including two works by its most famous 20th century practicioner, Bruno Hoffman. Sutermeister's pieces are from four works which were either radio dramas, stage music, film music or TV operas (the brief notes give us the titles but no other help). Ingeborg Emge (glass harmonica), Pierre Gross (lute). Gallo CD-1045 (Switzerland) 05C040 $18.98

JÁN JOZEF RÖSLER (1771-1813): 3 String Quartets, Op. 6. Opera director to the Lobkowitz court from 1802 until his death, Rösler's quartets are in the style of early Beethoven/late Mozart - full length, four-movement works which will give pleasure to Classical chamber music collectors Stamic Quartet. Panton 81 9031-2 (Czech Republic) 05C041 $16.98

GIUSEPPE TARTINI (1692-1770): Violin Concertos, Vol. 8 - in D, D 17 A,, D 90 E, D 47 & B Flat, D 116, Allegro, D 116a. Four more from Tartini's first creative period (c.1721-35) with two featuring embedded capricci as cadenzas and the E Major work containing a bizarre slow movement in B major with five sharps in the key signature. L'Arte Dell'Arco; Giovanni Guglielmo, Carlo Lazari (violins). Dynamic CDS 355 (Italy) 05C042 $17.98

LE CHEVALIER DE SAINT-GEORGES (c.1739-1799): Violin Concertos in C, Op. 5/1, in A, Op. 5/2 & in G, Op. 8. Anyone who didn't take the plunge last August and September when we offered the complete Saint-Georges sinfonie concertantes and violin concertos on Avenira, can now sample the refined and tuneful delights of this remarkable French mulatto violinist, athlete, conductor, swordsman and military commander. Takako Nishizaki (violin), Cologne Chamber Orchestra; Helmut Müller-Brühl. Naxos 8.555040 (New Zealand) 05C043 $5.98

JOACHIM RAFF (1822-1882): String Quartet No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 77, String Quartet No. 7 in D, Op. 192/2 "Die Schöne Müllerin". The first quartet (1855) has a first movement right out of early Brahms and a fairy-type Mendelssohian scherzo followed by a surprising slow movement whose dissonances and suspensions seem to point ahead to Verklärte Nacht before ending in a finale reminiscent of Schubert in a contrapuntal fever. The last quartet (1874) is in six movements which depict the young man, the mill, the miller's daughter and the tempestuous feelings of love in what seems a never-ending flow of seamless, gorgeous melody. This last quartet is less daring than the first - which was Raff's problem... as the musical world grew more complicated, he grew more simple and old-fashioned: to our great benefit! Quartetto di Milano. Tudor 7079 (Switzerland) 05C044 $16.98

ALEXANDER GLAZUNOV (1865-1936): String Quartet No. 5 in D Minor, Op. 70, 5 Novelettes for String Quartet, Op. 15. The 1886 Novelettes are character-piece/musical travelogues ("Alla Spagnuola", "Orientale", "All' Ungherese"...) which predictably show the melodically gifted young composer at his best while the quartet, dating from between the sixth and seventh symphonies (1898), provides us with music of similar charm with the usual highly catchy and memorable scherzo. St. Petersburg String Quartet. Delos DE 3262 (U.S.A.) 05C045 $16.98

ANTONÍN DVORÁK (1841-1904): Legends, Op. 59, From the Bohemian Forest, Op. 68. The original, four-hand piano versions of these pieces have a simplicity which seems to take them closer to their folk origins than the later orchestrations. Full of lovely and memorable melodies, Legends wends its way through ten suggestions of Czech character and countryside with heart-easing warmth. The six sections of From... paint more solid pictures ("In the Spinning-Room", "By the Black Lake", "Witches' Sabbath", "On the Watch", the famous "Silent Woods" and "In Troubled Times") of Bohemian folklore and country life. Igor & Renata Ardasev (piano four hands). Supraphon SU 3536-2 (Czech Republic) 05C046 $16.98

ALEXANDRE GUILMANT (1837-1911): Symphonie tirée de la Symphonie-Cantate "Ariane", Op. 53, Pastorale in A, Op. 26, Scherzo capriccioso in F Sharp Minor, Op. 36, Finale alla Schumann sur un noël languedocien in A, Op. 83, Elégie Fugue in F Minor, Op. 44/2, Marche triomphale in E Flat, Op. 34, Prière in F, Op. 16/2, Final in E Flat, Op. 40/4. Most of these pieces exist in versions for orchestra, for organ and for piano and harmonium; the Symphonie, four movements excerpted from an unpublished cantata written in 1875-80, comes off extraordinarily well as a stand-alone symphonic work. The remaining items each have their own interest, the Scherzo capriccioso (again an orchestral original) perhaps being the most memorable. Ernst Breidenbach (piano), Johannes Matthias Michel (harmonium). Signum SIG X112-00 (Germany) 05C047 $17.98


EDWARD ELGAR (1857-1934): Vesper Voluntaries, Op. 14, OTTORINO RESPIGHI (1879-1936): Preludes in D, A & B Flat, BEDRICH SMETANA (1824-1884): 6 Preludes, CHARLES GOUNOD (1818-1893): Offertoire, VINCENZO BELLINI (1801-1835): Organ Sonata in G. As might be expected, some of these are juvenilia - Smetana's from his 17th year, Bellini's from sometime between 1819-25 (long on melody, short on formal structure). But Elgar's from 1890 contain some intense and evocative moods and Respighi's (1910) first is a tireless working out of possibilities while the two others are based on Bach chorales; Gounod's is undated, an unceasingly restful piece. Hans-Ola Ericsson (Gerald Woehl organ of St. Petrus Canisius, Friedrichshafen/Bodensee, Germany). BIS CD-1102 (Sweden) 05C048 $17.98

Three EMI Special Import Elgar Oratorio Reissues

EDWARD ELGAR (1857-1934): The Light of Life, Op. 29. In retrospect, this work can be seen as the prelude to the uncompleted trilogy whose recordings appear beneath. Dating from 1896 the work, though hobbled by its libretto, contains many moments which point toward The Dream of Gerontius and The Apostles, with marvelous orchestral writing and imaginative use of the choir. Texts included. Margaret Marshall (soprano), Helen Watts (contralto), Robin Leggate (tenor), John Shirley-Quirk (baritone), Liverpool Philharmonic Choir, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra; Sir Charles Groves. EMI CDM 7 64732 2 (England) 05C049 $11.98

EDWARD ELGAR (1857-1934): The Apostles, Op. 49, Meditation from The Light of Life. Dating from 1902-03, right after The Dream of Gerontius and Cockaigne and with In the South and the symphonies not far away, this is Elgar at his most eloquent and colorful and, as always, the music of Judas produces the finest work of a composer who always understood uncertainty and anguish better than joy or repentance. Lengthy, detailed notes completely reproduced from the 1974 LP release. 2 CDs. Texts included. Sheila Armstrong (soprano), Helen Watts (contralto), Robert Tear (tenor), Benjamin Luxon, Clifford Grant, John Carol Case (basses), Choir of Downe House School, London Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra; Sir Adrian Boult. EMI CMS 7 64206 2 (England) 05C050 $23.98

EDWARD ELGAR (1857-1934): The Kingdom, Op. 51, Coronation Ode, Op. 44. Sequel to The Apostles, The Kingdom (1905-06) is like a reflective slow movement to a trilogy which was left unfinished. The rousing ode to Edward VII's coronation uses the optional 36-piece military band to great effect. 2 CDs. Texts included. Margaret Price (soprano), Yvonne Minton (contralto), Alexander Young (tenor), John Shirley-Quirk (bass), London Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra; Sir Adrian Boult, Felicity Lott (soprano), Alfreda Hodgson (contralto), Richard Morton (tenor), Stephen Roberts (bass), Cambridge University Musical Society, Choir of King's College, Cambridge, New Philharmonia Orchestra, Band of the Royal Military School of Music; Philip Ledger. EMI CMS 7 64209 2 (England) 05C051 $23.98

Janacek Opera Premiere!

LEOS JANÁCEK (1854-1928): Sárka. Most composers are fiery in their youth and mellow with age. Janácek, of course, was just the opposite and this, his first opera (1887, revised three times and finally premiered in 1925), is more restrained than his later efforts. Even so there is no doubt as to who wrote it. Frequently the tiger's claws show through, and one feels the dramatic intensity so typical of his later operas. With Mackerras at the helm, this should be considered a definitive performance (and is definitely the first complete performance) of this work which is based on the same Czech legend which furnished Fibich with the subject for his (longer) work. Czech-English libretto. Eva Urbanová (soprano), Peter Straka (tenor), Ivan Kusnjer (baritone), Prague Philharmonic Choir, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra; Sir Charles Mackerras. Supraphon SU 3485-2 (Czech Republic) 05C052 $16.98

ERMANNO WOLF-FERARRI (1876-1948): Sly. About a year ago a recording of this opera turned up on the Arts label, at mid-price, in German and with no translation. You all were singularly unmoved - and rightly so as it turns out. Here is a brand new version, recorded last June in Barcelona and featuring a fairly well-known tenor in the title role. Taking off from the "Induction" to The Taming of the Shrew, this tale of the cruel hoax perpetrated on the drunken title character and his tragic end shows influences from Verdi, Wagner and Dvorák. It has remained neglected since its 1927 premiere except, lately, in Germany but that's where we started... Italian-English libretto. 2 CDs. José Carreras (tenor), Isabelle Kabatu (soprano), Sherrill Milnes (baritone), Chorus and Orchestra of the Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona; David Giménez. Koch Schwann 3-6449-2 (Germany) 05C053 $33.98

JOHANN GUSTAV EDUARD STEHLE (1839-1915): Saul, JULIUS REUBKE (1834-1858): 94th Psalm, FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886): Fantasy and Fugue on "Ad nos, ad salutarem undam". Liszt was Reubke's model and Reubke was followed by the German/Swiss Stehle in 1877 with a work described by an enthusastic contemporary as "the first symphonic poem for organ". Since it is very difficult to figure out what is going on in the music without benefit of a text (the score comes with a synopsis which doesn't always seem to fit with the musical events), the organist here has worked up a new one and Saul is recorded here with and without the narration. Regardless, the work remains probably the dead end of a nameless tradition which began with Liszt's transcription of Schubert's Wanderer Fantasie: a huge piece which recycles, adapts and reworks a particular motif and sub-motives in order to tell a story in music and, as such, is a remarkable dinosaur of the Liszt-Wagner school of progressive romanticism. 2 CDs. David Fuller (Fisk organ at SUNY Buffalo, New York). Loft Recordings LRCD 1030/1031 (U.S.A.) 05C054 $33.98

HENRI VIEUXTEMPS (1820-1881): Cello Concerto No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 46, Cello Concerto No. 2 in B Minor, Op. 50. Composed for Joseph Servais after a stroke put an end to his performing career, Vieuxtemps wrote what may be the most melodic cello concerto of them all 1876. No conflict here - just acres of noble and exalted cantabile melody which will make you wonder why no one ever performs it. The second concerto (1880 and also for Servais) is more traditional in its masculine-feminine apportioning of themes in the first movement and it closes with a witty and memorable rondo theme for its finale. Re-issue of a 1987 release. EMI Special Import. Heinrich Schiff (cello), Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra; Neville Marriner. EMI CDC 7 47761 2 (Germany) 05C055 $17.98

EMMANUEL CHABRIER (1841-1893): Une éducation manquée, 4 Mélodies. A charming little 41-minute operetta which involves a young man (a soprano in a travesty role), just married, who doesn't know quite how to proceed on his wedding night. His tutor, learned in many fields, can't help him in this one, so the couple find out by themselves... Odd that its first public performance was 20 years after Chabrier's death. EMI Special Import. No texts. Jane Berbié (soprano), Liliane Berton (mezzo), Jean-Christophe Benoit (bass), Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire; Jean-Claude Hartmann, Jean-Christophe Benoit (baritone), Henriette Puig-Roget (piano). EMI CDM 5 65155 2 (France) 05C056 $11.98

HALFDAN KJERULF (1815-1868): Wiegenlied, Op. 4/3, Menuett, Op. 12/2, Caprice, Op. 12/4, Impromptu, Op. 12/9, Albumblatt, Op. 24/1, Allegro, Op. 24/2, Springtanz, Op. 27/2, 6 Skizzen, Op. 28, Scherzo, Op. 29, EMIL SJÖGREN (1853-1918): Erotikon, Op. 10. One of the very first Norwegian composers of art music, Kjerulf was greatly influenced by Mendelssohn and Schumann, in time inflitrating his work with Norwegian folk elements (such as in the Springtanz). One could say with justice that he helped prepare the way for his great successor in Norway's musical history, Edvard Grieg. This 1974 LP was and still is one of very few recordings of any of Kjerulf's music and, thus, particularly welcome back on CD. Gerald Robbins (piano). Genesis GCD 115 (U.S.A.) 05C057 $16.98

EMIL VON SAUER (1862-1942): Suite Moderne, Dialogo, Le Retour, Barcarolle, Boîte à Musique, Concert Etudes Nos. 3 "Murmur de Vent", 5 "Près du Ruisseau", 6 "Frisson de Feuilles" and 7 "Flammes de Mer". Not yet covered in the ongoing series from Danacord, the Suite Moderne is a 32-minute long work in five movements ("Prélude passionée", "Air lugubre", "Scherzo grotesque", "Gavotte" and "Thème varié"), the first of which recalls Lisztian martellato technique and the last complex, Schumannian textures. Good to have this brand new recording from a label fondly remembered from its 1970s releases of unusual Romantic piano repertoire. María Eugenia Tapia (piano). Genesis GCD 112 (U.S.A.) 05C058 $16.98

ALBERTO GINASTERA (1916-1983): Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 28, Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 39. This appears to be the first CD appearance of the second concerto, a 1972 work which runs to over 38 minutes and which is dodecaphonic in Ginastera's usual personal, non-dogmatic manner, using a chord from the fourth movement of Beethoven's Ninth and adding five more notes to make the tone-row which lies at the heart of the work. To a lesser extent than in the first concerto (1962), the second has its moments of strong, obsessive rhythms, meditative slow passages and magical, mysterious sonorities but in the first they are more concentrated, in closer touch with Argentinian folk traditions (the malambo is at the heart of the savage and virtuosic finale and the slow movement has a Bartókian "night music" quality to it). Both will appeal to collectors of modern piano concertos but will prove not unfriendly to adventurous romanticists. Dora De Marinis (piano), Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra; Julio Malaval. Naxos 8.555283 (New Zealand) 05C059 $5.98

JOAQUÍN TURINA (1882-1949): Complete Piano Works, Vol. 14 - Trilogia: El poema infinito, Op. 77, Ofrenda, Op. 85, Hipócrates, Op. 86, Ciclo Plateresco: Tema y variaciones, Op. 100, Linterna mágica, Op. 101, Homenaje a Navarra, Op. 102, Fantasía cinematográfica, Op. 103. The antepenultimate volume of this series contains two cycles, the former from the mid 1930s and the latter from the very end of Turina's life. Most is very original, "European" music, untouched by intentional Iberianisms and the Fantasía, inspired by the composer's film-scoring experiences, is bright and witty. Antonio Soria (piano). Moraleda 6414 (Spain) 05C060 $16.98

ERNESTO HALFFTER (1905-1989): Complete Piano Works - Danza de la pastora, Danza de la gitana, Sérénade à Dulcinée, 2 piezas cubanas, L'espagnolade, Crepúsculos, Marche joyeuse, Llanto por Ricard Viñes, Gruss, Nocturno otoñal: recordado a Chopin, 3 Hommages, Preludio y danza, Sonate: Homenaje a Domenico Scarlatti, Sonata, El cuco. Halffter's complete piano music (from a six-year-old's cuckoo impression of 1911 to the three Hommages of 1988) certainly covers the composer's entire career. Almost everything here is recognizably Iberian in its use either of existing folk music or in Halffter's ability to seamlessly invent folk-style melodies of his own. Here and there, elements of other European influences appear (the El viejo reloj del castillo - first of 1920's Crepúsculos - is slightly Impressionistic while the 18th century comes to the fore in the brief, seven-minute sonata of 1926-32 and, of course, the homage to Scarlatti) but the Spanish muse predominates in music of easy approachability, ingratiating charm and memorable melodies. Adam Kent (piano). Bridge 9106 (U.S.A.) 05C061 $16.98

GASPAR CASSADÓ (1897-1966): Piano Trio in C Minor, JOAQUÍN TURINA (1882-1949): Piano Trio No. 2 in B Minor, Op. 76, Círculo... Fantasia for Piano, Violin and Cello, Op. 91, ENRIQUE GRANADOS (1867-1916): Piano Trio, Op. 50. World premiere recording of Cassadó's 1926 trio, a powerful and virtuosic work suffused with Spanish rhetoric and giving the showcase to the cello. Granados' trio of 1894 is cyclical in construction, the piano part particularly brilliant while the string instruments' parts are rhythmically and melodically inspired by Spanish folk music. Turina's Círculo describes a day's cycle from dawn to dusk with impressionistic textures and harmonies. The Bekova Trio. Chandos 9834 (England) 05C062 $16.98

HENRIQUE OSWALD (1852-1931): Violin Sonata, EDINO KRIEGER (b.1928): Soñancias II, RONALDO MIRANDA (b.1948): Recitativo, variações e fuga, HEITOR VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959): Sonata Fantasia No. 1 (Désespérance), Sonata Fantasia No. 2. Oswald studied in Italy and spent most of his life outside his native Brazil. His musical personality is more late 19th century French than anything else, with Fauré, Debussy and Saint-Saëns being the more recognizable influences. First recordings also of the Krieger and Miranda - both short works under ten minutes, the former abstract and atonal, the latterabstract and chromatic with a hint of folk melody in the closing section. Claudio Cruz (violin), Nahim Marun (piano). Dynamic CDS 354 (Italy) 05C063 $17.98

MANUEL PONCE (1882-1948): 3 Preludes, Cello Sonata, MANUEL ENRÍQUEZ (1927-1994): Sonatina for Cello Solo, 4 Pieces for Cello and Piano, SILVESTRE REVUELTAS (1899-1940): 3 Pieces for Cello and Piano (arr. Enríquez), MIGUEL BERNAL JIMÉNEZ (1916-1956): 3 Danzas Tarascas for Cello and Piano (arr. Enríquez), ALFONSO DE ELÍAS (1902-1984): Chanson triste. Ponce's 1915-17 sonata, richly Brahmsian in texture but with the lightness of figuration of Fauré or Debussy, also has its Latin elements, making for a truly cosmpolitan work. Enríquez's 4 Pieces are close to neo-Baroque in style but infused with Latin passion; his transcriptions of Revueltas and Jiménez works for violin and piano add fascinating Mexican music to the cellist's repertoire. Carlos Prieto (cello), Edison Quintana (piano). Urtext JBCC 033 (Mexico) 05C064 $17.98

JOSÉ SIQUEIRA (1907-1985): 3 Etudes, CAMARGO GUARNIERI (1907-1993): Sonatina, BRENNO BLAUTH (1931-1993): Sonata T.5, OSVALDO LACERTA (b.1927): Sonata, Poemeto, FRANCISCO BRAGA (1868-1945): Serenata, RADAMÉS GNATTALI (1906-1994): Sonatina, PATTAPIO SILVA (1881-1907): Margarida, Zinha. As the favored melody instrument of the Brazilian street musicians who performed the chôros and other native forms of popular music, the flute became one of the most widely composed-for instruments in Brazil. The pieces presented here are consistent in adopting dance forms derived from the chôro and northeastern folk traditions for the fast, outer movements and modal song elements in the slow movements. Marcelo Barboza (flute), Lédia Bazarian (piano). Meridian CDE 84426 (England) 05C065 $17.98

JEAN FRANÇAIX (1912-1997): Trio for Clarinet, Viola and Piano, GORDON JACOB (1895-1984): Trio for Clarinet, Viola and Piano, WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756-1791): Trio in E Flat "Kegel-stadt", K498. Françaix' tart, often dissonant 1990 trio receives its world premiere recording, coupled with Jacob's appealingly lyrical work from 1969 and, well, you know... Jerry Kirkbride (clarinet), Jesse Levine (viola), Rex Woods (piano). Summit Records DCD 287 (U.S.A.) 05C066 $17.98

ALEXANDRE TANSMAN (1897-1986): Symphony No. 4, Bric à Brac. Bric à Brac is a 1937 ballet set in a French flea market which is sort of Tansman's Petruschka: a variety of odd figures selling various items rub shoulders with each other, a policeman and two crooks and the music is charming, colorful, spiked with jazz , exotic rhythms and oriental colorings and rich in wit and fun. It's kind of hard to imagine that the predominantly slow, dark symphony dates from almost the same year. An extended adagio introduction leads to a tense allegro which ends in a contrapuntal fashion; a lush, quiet adagio follows before a finale perks up with excursions into jazz and fairground musics. Bamberg Symphony Orchestra; Israel Yinon. Koch Schwann 3-6558-2 (Germany) 05C067 $16.98

ALEXANDRE TANSMAN (1897-1986): Cello Concerto, Fantasie for Cello and Orchestra, The Ten Commandments. The difficulty in pinning Tansman down to anything like a personal "style" is made evident here by the fact that the first three movements (of five) of the concerto and the Fantasie could easily have come from the same work although they date, respectively from 1937 and 1962. In essence Tansman uses a huge grab-bag of 20th-century musical styles, dipping into it as he sees fit; the condensed tone poem The Ten Commandments dates from 1979 and conveys the clash between destructive force and rational thought with the opposition of massive blocks of sound to calm, contrapuntal passages whose clarity wins out in the end. Sebastian Hess (cello), Hannover Radio Philharmonic; Israel Yinon. Koch Schwann 3-6405-2 (Germany) 05C068 $16.98

EINAR ENGLUND (1916-1999): Symphony No. 4 "Nostalgic", Symphony No. 5 "Fennica", The Great Wall of China. The spirit of Shostakovich hangs over this disc: the fourth symphony (1976) was dedicated "to the memory of a great composer" and, although Englund pointed out that both Stravinsky and Shostakovich died in the early 70s, it is the great Russian symphonist who most often comes to mind - especially in the bittersweet third movement "Nostalgia". In 1977, Englund wrote his personal "war symphony", a one-movement work in four sections which bristles with martial, dotted rhythms and abrupt outbursts; the composer himself said that this work "contains the dark and terrible experiences that everyone who was in the war carries inside himself". For something completely different, there is the 1949 incidental music to a surrealist play which evokes the bomb-throwing, nose-thumbing young Shostakovich with its rumba, jazz elements, tango and, quite openly, the "March à la Shostakovich". A release which will appeal not only to collectors of this unique Finnish composer but also to Shostakovich lovers. Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra; Eri Klas. Ondine ODE 961-2 (Finland) 05C069 $17.98

FRANK MARTIN (1890-1974): Piano Concerto No. 1, Piano Concerto No. 2, Ballade for Piano and Orchestra, Danse de la peur for 2 Pianos and Small Orchestra. World premiere recording of the 1935 "Dance of Fear": a 14-minute excerpt from an unperformed ballet (Die blaue Blume) which depicts the encirclement of a lost traveller by a band of gypsies, his struggle to escape and his collapse. Like the first piano concerto (1933-34), the musical material is serial but the 12-note sequences in each are used for melodic purposes only, Martin never having embraced full-blown Schoenbergian dodecaphony. Sebastian Benda, son of the conductor and both in direct descent from the famous Bohemian composer family, was a pupil of Martin. It was Badura-Skoda for whom the second piano concerto was composed in 1970 and it has all of the indefinable characteristics which make Martin's music so unique and personal yet hard to describe in terms of influences. Paul Badura-Skoda, Sebastian Benda (pianos), Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana; Christian Benda. ASV DCA 1082 (England) 05C070 $16.98

FRANK MARTIN (1890-1974): Le Mystère de la Nativité. This "scenic oratorio" (1957-59) has action on three separate levels: Hell, where the music is atonal and the devils shout but loutishly, not frighteningly; Heaven, where the angels sing in an utterly pure and simple style; and Earth, which is in between the extremes. A touchingly simple work whose enjoyment creeps up on you stealthily. 2 CDs. French-German texts. Barbara Locher (soprano), Liliane Zürcher (alto), Christoph Einhorn (tenor), Philippe Huttenlocher (baritone), Mozart-Ensemble der Musikhochschule Luzern, Akademiechor Luzern, Mädchenchor inVOICE, Städische Musikschule Luzerne, Lucerne Symphony Orchestra; Alois Koch. Musikszene Schweiz MGB CD 6173 (Switzerland) 05C071 $37.98

BENJAMIN LEES (b.1924): Piano Concerto No. 2, ALLEN SHAWN (b.1948): Piano Concerto, PAUL CRESTON (1906-1985): Dance Overture, ANDREW BISHOP (age-shy): Crooning. Lees' concerto (1968) has two outer movments of wild, rhythmically intense, highly virtuosic music wrapped around a second movement which is more still in a Bartókian "night music" fashion. Shawn's work (1999) was written for Oppens and its four movements provide a wide variety of (tonal) material for the piano to discuss with the orchestra. Each work is introduced by an overture: Bishop's (1998) intentionally deriviative of popular song and Creston's more well-known piece from 1955. Ian Hobson (piano), Ursula Oppens (piano), Albany Symphony Orchestra; David Alan Miller. Albany TROY 441 (U.S.A.) 05C072 $16.98

CARL NIELSEN (1865-1931): Cupid and the Poet, Symphonic Rhapsody, Genrebillede, Op. 6/1, Ariel's Song, Hjemlige Jul, Symphony No. 4, Op. 29 "The Inextinguishable". In this third volume of orchestral works employing the new Carl Nielsen Edition, Classico once again gives us several world premieres: four pieces from the music for Cupid and the Poet (the overture has been recorded before) which is in Nielsen's late style, dating from 1930 and three songs originally for tenor and piano but orchestrated later by the composer. The Symphonic Rhapsody (1887) was the first movement of an unfinished symphony and wraps up this useful collection. Danish-English texts. Jan Lund (tenor), Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra; Douglas Bostock. Classico CLASSCD 298 (Denmark) 05C073 $15.98

HANS WERNER HENZE (b.1926): 3 Sinfonische Etüden, 4 Poemi for Orchestra, Nachtstücke und Arien for Soprano and Orchestra, La selva incantata - Aria and Rondo for Orchestra. The first three works date from 1956 and 1957 while the final one is a 1991 revision of a work König Hirsch from the same period. Even at this early age, Henze was not in complete thrall to the hide-bound rigidity of the Darmstadt Iron Maiden. In fact, many customers will probably find the best reason to buy this disc the fact that, in 1957, at the premiere of "Nocturnes and Arias", Boulez, Nono and Stockhausen got up and noisily left the hall before sixteen bars had been played. Yes, even though this work and the "Four Poems" use a serial technique, it is freely applied and there are - cover your children's eyes - elements of melody (Neapolitan folksong and the Spanish fandango which was to so preoccupy Henze in many later works). The "Symphonic Etudes" would have been more to the above illustrious trio's liking; Hermann Scherchen dressed Henze down at a rehearsal for writing notes which could not possibly be played (in this case by the poor bassoonist) but which Darmstadt theory demanded (sometimes, the score is better read than performed). La selva... is just as approachable as its other two fellows: an orchestration of the final scene of an opera, its rondo uses the tarantella as a model and helps to show why Henze is still a viable force on the modern musical scene while the trio are now a part-time recomposer and full-time conductor, dead, and apparently quasi-retired. German texts. Michaela Kaune (soprano), North German Radio Symphony Orchestra; Peter Ruzicka. Wergo WER 6637 2 (Germany) 05C074 $19.98

LUKAS FOSS (b.1922): Piano Concerto No. 1, Piano Concerto No. 2, Elegy for Anne Frank. The first concerto, from 1943, was originally written for clarinet in 1939 while Foss was studying with and completely under the influence of, Hindemith. A lively and lyrical first movement gives way to a much longer, romantic andante while the finale has a Hungarian folk flavor. Composed between 1949-51 and revised the following year, the second concerto is a bigger work, almost half again as long as its predecessor. By this time, Stravinsky had replaced Hindemith as Foss' favorite composer and his brand of neo-classicism is especially evident in the fierce, toccata-like finale which includes an obsessive cadenza although it is also present in the long first movement where it is shared with a characteristically American "open-air" quality. The Elegy (1989) was composed to celebrate the diarist's 60th birthday anniversary. For piano and orchestra, the work is brief, sandwiching an ominous center between a wistful, nostaglic opening and conclusion; it is included here in versions with and without narrator. Jon Nakamatsu, Yakov Kasman (pianos), Eliza Foss (narration), Lukas Foss (piano), Pacific Symphony Orchestra; Carl St. Clair. Harmonia Mundi HMU 907243 (U.S.A.) 05C075 $17.98

MALCOLM ARNOLD (b.1921): Phantasy for String Quartet "Vita Abundans", String Quartet No. 1, Op. 23, String Quartet No. 2, Op. 118, Quintet for Flute, Violin, Viola, Horn and Bassoon, Op. 7. The title will tell you that Vita Abundans was up for a Cobbett prize, and Arnold placed second in 1941 with this work which has an insinuating, syncopated main theme which automatically (knowing the mature Arnold's work) makes you think of the Caribbean. Probably too good to win... The quintet dates from 1944 and is another example of the youthful confidence and verve of this composer - the diabolus in musica has its fun in the second movement. In contrast, the two quartets (1949 and 1975) give us the serious and, in the Second, sometimes the angry Arnold in works whose juxtaposition of rhythmic bite and anxiety and gentle stasis can only be compared to Shostakovich in his works in the same genre. The Ceruti Ensemble. Guild GMCD 7216 (England) 05C076 $16.98

HENRYK GÓRECKI (b.1933): Symphony No. 2 "Copernican", Op. 31, Beatus Vir, Op. 38. Astonishing - from a commercial standpoint - as the chart-topping sales of Gorecki's third symphony have been, it is a little difficult to see what makes that work essentially more popular or 'successful' than its predecessor. A large-scale and impressive choral symphony, celebrating the 500th anniversary of the revolutionary astronomer Copernicus, it shares with other works of Gorecki the preoccupation wirth sonority, the blocks of sound hewn out of tonal material and presented in a simplicity of structure that suggests minimalism without the preoccupations of process; here there is a greater sense of forward movement in the conventional symphonic sense, overlain with an emotional fervor which suggests the litanies of some undefined (yet unmistakably eastern-European) church. As one might expect, the psalm-setting Beatus Vir, though a much later work, shares this aspect of devotional inspiration, and again sets slow-moving lyrical vocal lines, which contrast with massive, granitic ostinati. Zofia Kilanowicz (soprano), Andrzej Dobber (baritone), Polish Radio Choir, Silesian Philharmonic Choir, Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra (Katowice); Antoni Wit. Naxos 8.555375 (New Zealand) 05C077 $5.98

PANCHO VLADIGEROV (1899-1978): 3 Pieces, Op. 15, Sonatina concertante, Op. 28, Improvisation and Toccata, Op. 36/4&5, Vardar, Op. 16. Dating from 1922, the op. 15 pieces are drenched in Romantic atmosphere, leavened with Impressionism (the Prelude sounds like middle-period Scriabin; Autumn Elegy starts off like Ravel's Le gibet while the Humoresque lightens things up a bit); Vardar is heard its 1934 piano transcription, the Bulgarian folk elements possibly even more clearly experienced as a result. The Sonatina is larger than the title indicates and also uses modal ideas in a mix of bravura and lyricism; the two op. 36 pieces evidence an ability to embrace the rigidity of toccata form as well as to create freely. No collector of romantic piano music will want to be without this release. Dessislava Shtereva (piano), Rada Chomakova (piano). Gega GC 239 (Bulgaria) 05C078 $16.98

MIKIS THEODORAKIS (b.1925): Electra, Antigone, Medea. These three operas based on tragic female characters of classical antiquity were offered singly over the past couple of years. If you didn't bite then, this limited edition, mid-price box is a great bargain! 8 CDs. Limited edition. Special price. Vocal Soloists, St. Petersburg Academic Capella Orchestra and Choir; Mikis Theodorakis, Alexander Chernushenko. Intuition Int 3311-2 (Germany) 05C079 $78.98

BRENTON BROADSTOCK (b.1952): Toward the Shining Light (Symphony No. 1), Stars in a Dark Night (Symphony No. 2), Voices from the Fire (Symphony No. 3), Born from Good Angel's Tears (Symphony No. 4), Dark Side (Symphony No. 5). Australian composer Broadstock is a part of the Romantic symphonic tradition in a manner not unlike Havergal Brian or Robert Simpson, to the output of both of which composers his music sometimes bears a passing resemblance. An extramusical theme which runs through all his symphonic works is the contrast and opposition of opposing forces, specifically identified as those of light and dark, good and evil. Symphonic form lends itself to this sort of conflict and contrast, of course, though Broadstocks symphonies achieve their analogy of symphonic form through the opposition of timbres, dynamics and relative activity, as well as degrees of harmoonic tension, rather than the traditional key relationships. Nonetheless, the works are tonal, and function like extended tone-poems. As to the content; the battle between light and dark has been a staple of Western art since time immemorial, and Boadstock continues the tradition with individuality and emotional power, whether his subject is the struggle of the individual against mental illness (the 2nd Symphony refers to the tragic history of English composer Ivor Gurney), or more global concerns. These are powerful pieces indeed, and should appeal to anyone who responds to the 20th-century symphonic traditions which include figures as diverse as Sibelius, Panufnik, Brian or Sallinen. 2 CDs. Krasnoyarsk Academic Symphony Orchestra; Andrew Wheeler. Etcetera KTC 2026 (Netherlands) 05C080 $37.98

DAVID MATTHEWS (b.1943): In the Dark Time, Op. 38, Chaconne, Op. 43. Matthews' music is tonal, with recognizable melodic lines and purposeful harmonic movement and, unlike many of his fellows even in the "approachable" category of modern music, he still writes in the traditional forms: five symphonies and nine string quartets so far along with a handful of symphonic poems, of which two are presented here. In the Dark Time (1983-84) followed 1979's September Music in following the progression of the year from autumn to winter to the beginning of spring. The music is not pictorial in the English pastoral sense - more a internal mood-scape with external implications - but the course of its 26-minute journey is clear. Chaconne (1986-87) is a slow, meditative piece with several faster episodes, one of which was suggested by and evokes a poem by Geoffrey Hill with the same title and which deals with a battle during the Wars of the Roses. "A florid, grim music broken by grunts and shrieks" was the poet's description of his verse and came to Matthews to suggest the general character of this piece which can be appreciated both as a symphonic poem and as an updating of a 17th-century genre piece. BBC Symphony Orchestra; Jac van Steen. NMC D067 (England) 05C081 $17.98

BRIAN ELIAS (b.around 1948): 5 Songs to Poems by Irina Ratushinskaya, Laments. Elias belongs to the generation of British composers, now in their 50s, who are finally beginning to emerge onto the worldwide stage, having for years been "BBC composers" or "Proms composers". The influence of the BBC, and its, shall we say, highly individual "Controller, Music", William Glock, cannot be underestimated. It is only now, free from the extravagant promotion or equally virulent censure of those years, that we can begin to assess the music in its own right. Elias was a student of Humphrey Searle, a pioneering British serialist, and Bernard Stevens, a passionate post-romantic, unafraid of modern techniques and not at all afraid to be unfashionable; he acknowledges Elisabeth Lutyens, an extremely individual and unclassifiable compsoer, as his most influential teacher. These orchestral song cycles, to texts of an emotionally stirring, and sometimes harrowing, nature, are by turns lyrical and dramatic, with more than a whiff of expressionism about them. They create an emotionally charged atmosphere, through compositional means of etched clarity, and musically illuminate the texts with vividness and potency. Highly recommendable. Russian (Cyrillic)-English and Grico-English texts. Mary King, Catherine Wyn-Rogers (mezzos), BBC Symphony Orchestra; Martyn Brabbins, Tadaaki Otaka. NMC D064 (England) 05C082 $17.98

GEOFFREY POOLE (b.around1948): String Quartet No. 3, Septembral for Ensemble, The Impersonal Touch for 2 Pianos, Firefinch for Oboe and Piano. Poole's music is difficult to classify, as the stylistic variation between works - or even within a work - are pronounced and take place quicksilver-fast and with a stubborn refusal to stay still long enough to be pinned down. Sometimes one gets the impression that different instruments within an ensemble are playing music inspired by completely different aspects of music history. What is remarkable is that this sounds not like a half-baked pastiche, but a coherent and satisfying whole. To give some of the more obvious examples; a piano may be playing chords which sound somewhat like Messiaen and then venture into more remote harmonic territory - Sorabji, perhaps - while strings play gliding tones that have more to do with Darmstadt; then a motoric ensemble passage may emerge in the manner of some of the minimalist-inflected contemporary music of 1980s Holland. Tonal referents are not infrequent, but one has to classify the music, somewhat reluctantly, as 'modern' and 'atonal'. It is very striking stuff, though, and amply repays close attention. The Lindsays, Gemini, Joanna Porter & Geoffrey Poole (pianos), Jinny Shaw (oboe), Anne-Marie Hastings (piano). Metier MSV CD92061 (England) 05C083 $17.98

SADIE HARRISON (b.1965): Taking Flight for String Quartet, Impresa Amorosa for Piano, Traceries and Arcosolia for Violin and Piano, Aster for Soprano, Flute and String Trio. Intense concentration is the first concept to come to mind when listening to this music. Not so much the concentration required of the listener, though there is undoubtedly such a requirement, as this is not 'easy listening' by a distance, but the sense of distillation, of the concentration of the essence of a musical argument. Sometimes the textures are exceedingly open and deceptively simple; sometimes a good deal of surface activity serves to illuminate the emotional intensity flowing just beneath. The combination of surface sensuality and intense and rigorous content produces tensions that constantly fluctuate and flow, drawing the listener into a slightly uneasy sound world, individual and unusual. Kreutzer Quartet, Aaron Shorr (piano), Peter Sheppard Skærved (violin), Shorr (piano), Lesley-Jane Rogers (soprano), Nancy Ruffer (flute), Gordon MacKay (violin), Bridget Carey (viola), Neil Hyde (cello). Metier MSV CD92053 (England) 05C084 $17.98

WILLIAM SCHUMAN (1910-1992): Violin Concerto, New England Triptych, CHARLES IVES (1874-1954): Variations on "America" (orch. Schuman). Dating, in its final, two-movement form, from 1959, Schuman's violin concerto is a powerful and emotional work in which the orchestra participates vigorously almost throughout, never merely an accompanist. Theatrical in nature, evoking strong emotions in its highly charged atmosphere, the work is probably Schuman's most poetic and most romantic as well as giving both soloist, conductor and various orchestral sections a thorough work-out. Philip Quint (violin), Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra; José Serebrier. Naxos American Classics 8.559083 (U.S.A.) 05C085 $5.98

DOMINICK ARGENTO (b.1927): Te Deum, MAURICE DURUFLÉ (1902-1986): Messe "Cum Jubilo", Op. 11. Argento's 1987 work is a big-hearted, large-scale piece which strikingly juxtaposes the Latin text of the Te Deum with Middle English lyric which treats the theology of the original text in vivid and popular language. The intent was to prevent any possibility of an all-pervading solemnity with the vernacular providing a sometimes lusty and humorous, sometimes pastoral and contemplative commentary and it works very well as Argento produces a soundscape of brilliant colors and arresting textures. Less than half the length and much smaller in its forces, Duruflé's 1966 mass interweaves Gregorian plainchant with the original mass texts. Texts included. Rodney Gilfry (baritone), Los Angeles Master Chorale and Sinfonia Orchestra; Paul Salamunovich, Frederick Swann (organ). Rubedo Canis Musica RCM 12002 (U.S.A.) 05C086 $17.98

ELLIOTT CARTER (b.1908): 3 Occasions for Orchestra, Violin Concerto, Concerto for Orchestra. Starting, as many of Carter's works seem to, in media res, the immensely appealing violin concerto is probably, along with the Variations for Orchestra, among the best ways to make an initial approach to Carter's uncompromising and challenging, yet invariably rewarding, uvre. The Concerto for Orchestra is one of the high points of his output, and exemplifies to perfection his multilayered yet always admirably clear orchestral writing. The violin concerto is a more linear work, and this relates it more closely to the concerto tradition of the 19th and early 20th century. If you didn't acquire this disc first time around, don't let anything stop you now. Ole Böhn (violin), London Sinfonietta; Oliver Knussen. Virgin Classics 7592712 2 (England) 05C087 $17.98

DOMINIC MULDOWNEY (b.1952): Piano Concerto, Saxophone Concerto. These two concerti are characterised by their dazzling, virtuosic surface brilliance and the gleeful ecelcticism with which the composer throws a variety of textures and techniques into the mix. One minute jazzy, the next atonal, neoclassical or unabashedly romantic, with dazzling orchestation and a strong sense of the theatre (Mul-downey is a successful composer for the stage and acreen, and it shows in the ready accessibility and sense of contact with the audience no matter the specific techniques used), these concerti are easy to enjoy and a constant source of surprises and excitement. Peter Donohoe (piano), BBC Symphony Orchestra; Mark Elder, JohnHarle (saxophone), London Sinfonietta; Diego Masson. EMI CDM 5 66528 2 (England) 05C088 $11.98

PAUL READE (1943-1997): Suite from The Victorian Kitchen Garden, GERHARD WUENSCH (b.1925): In Modo Antico, GYÖRGY ARANYI (b.1923): Rapszodia, DON HADDAD: Andante and Allegro, FRANCIS POULENC (1899-1963): Clarinet Sonata, MALCOLM ARNOLD (b.1921): Sonatina. There is a great deal to enjoy in this recital of tuneful and mellifluous, readily accessible and tonal music for clarinet and piano. The clarinet's capacity for humor is shown to great advantage in the witty and scintillating Arnold and the ingenious Wuensch; its almost vocal lyrical capacity in the Reade and Poulenc; its pungency and demonstrative tone in the Aranyi. For the most part, its jazz traditions are played down here in favour of its capacity for folk-like dancing and soulful singing, though a bluesy section in the Haddad reminds us of the instrument's sheer versatility. Jerome Summers (clarinet), Robert Kortgaard (piano). Marquis Classics 81273 (Canada) 05C089 $17.98

JAMES MACMILLAN (b.1959): Mass, A New Song, Christus vincit, Gaudeamus in loci pace for Solo Organ, Seinte Mari moder milde, A Child's Prayer, Changed. A mass from MacMillan is such an obvious concept that one wonders why it has taken until last year for him to be commisisoned to write his first full-scale setting for fully professional performers. Joining the canon of liturgical music throughout the ages, this piece shares with the composer's religiously-inspired concerti and symphonies, which we have had the pleasure of welcoming in these pages before, the total sincerity and ecsatsy of faith that has been MacMillan's driving force since he erupted onto the European stage a mere couple of deacdes ago. Written for the strange and yet impressive lofty spaces of Westminster Cathedral, London, the work fulfils all the expectations of a large-scale work celebrating the Mass, and establishes a sense of the profound and the uplifting from its first note to its last. Devotional mysticism is a common factor in the other choral (and one solo organ) works which round out this fine disc. Choir of Westminster Cathedral; Martin Baker, Andrew Reid (organ). Hyperion CDA 67219 (England) 05C090 $17.98

MANUEL PONCE (1882-1948): String Trio, EDUARDO ANGULO: Para los kioscos, fuentes globos y arboledas for Harp and String Trio, SAMUEL PASCOE: String Trio, ALEJANDRO VELASCO: String Trio No. 1. This attractive disc presents four works which share a robust and picturesque Spanish-Mexican flavor, expressed through tonal and modal musical vocabularies with a strong folk element. Traditional forms and dances are represented, and a feeling that these composers are concerned above all with song as a medium, and that these works are transcriptions for strings of pieces that might have been overheard in a folk setting (though these are all original concert works of considerable sophistication). Trio Coghlan. Urtext JBCC 035 (Mexico) 05C091 $17.98

HOWARD FERGUSON (b.1908): Amore langueo for Tenor, Semi-Chorus, Chorus and Orchestra, Op. 18, Concerto for Piano and String Orchestra, Op. 12, GERALD FINZI (1901-1956): Eclogue for Piano and String Orchestra, Op. 10. The main work here is the lovely and passionate Amore Langueo; Ferguson is very much a late-romantic composer, and a mood of ecstatic melancholy permeates this work, not unlike one of the greatest British choral works of the 20th century, Lambert's "Summer's Last Will". The piano is the composer's own instrument, so it comes as not surprise that the elegantly-proportioned little concerto displays exquisite craftsmanship and manages to traverse a wide range of emotional territory using very economical means. The disc is filled out by Finzi's Eclogue, which Ferguson edited for performance after Finzi's death; the spiritual kinship between these two outstanding British composers is very apparent in this coupling. Martyn Hill (tenor), Howard Shelley (piano), London Symphony Chorus and Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia; Richard Hickox. EMI CDM 7 64738 2 (England) 05C092 $11.98

WALTER LEIGH (1905-1942): Concertino for Harpsichord and String Orchestra, HAMILTON HARTY (1879-1941): A John Field Suite, JOHN FIELD (1782-1837): Nocturnes Nos. 1-6, 9, 10, 12, 13 & 17, JOHN IRELAND (1879-1962): The Holy Boy. Leigh's 11-minute piece is a delightful, neo-Bachian exercise whose interest is not so much the basic material as the composer's unorthodox and witty treatment of it. Recorded in 1978, these were some of the earliest recordings of Field's nocturnes and Harty's suite was certainly unusual repertoire when this recording was made in 1971. Daniel Adni (piano), English Sinfonia; Neville Dilkes (harpsichord). EMI CDM 5 67431 2 (England) 05C093 $11.98

BENJAMIN BRITTEN (1913-1976): Holiday Diary, Op. 5, 3 Character Pieces, Night Piece, Moderato & Nocturne, 12 Variations, 5 Waltzes, 2 Lullabies for 2 Pianos, Maxurka elegiaca, Op. 23/2 for 2 Pianos, Introduction and Rondo alla burlesca, Op. 23/1 for 2 Pianos. With the exception of the 1963 Night Piece, all of these works were composed before the composer was 29; some were re-issued by Britten himself (the 1923-5 waltzes in 1969), the op. 5 (1934) is one of the earliest published pieces while the rest were mined from the archives by Donald Mitchell and Colin Matthews and were recorded here for the first time in 1990. Stephen Hough (piano), Ronan O'Hora (second piano). EMI CDM 5 67429 2 (England) 05C094 $11.98

GRANVILLE BANTOCK (1868-1946): Hebridean Symphony, Russian Scenes, Old English Suite. This was the first recording of the 1915 Hebridean Symphony, a powerful, lyrical, brooding and violent work showing the influences of Sibelius and Strauss. The suite (1909) arranges five Elizabethan works by Gibbons, Dowland, Bull, Farnaby and Byrd while the Russian Scenes (1899) are a suite of typical Slavic dances, full of energy. Re-issue of a 1989 Marco Polo original recording. Czecho-Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra (Kosice); Adrian Leaper. Naxos 8.555473 (New Zealand) 05C095 $5.98

RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958): String Quartet No. 1 in G Minor, String Quartet No. 2 in A Minor, Phantasy Quintet. Although the first quartet, of 1908, may have some French Impressionist influences, it also has that inimitable sound of English folk-song which makes Vaughan Williams' works so instantly identifiable. Such pentatonic thematic material appears immediately in the 1912 Phantasy Quintet and the brief, 16-minute piece is mature VW all through. Dating from 1942-43, the second quartet shows the composer in all his glorious serenity while using a theme from the film The 49th Parallel as well as material from a proposed film about Joan of Arc. Maggini Quartet, Garfield Jackson (viola). Naxos 8.555300 (New Zealand) 05C096 $5.98

FRANK BRIDGE (1879-1941): Phantasie Trio in C Minor, Phantasy Piano Quartet in F Sharp Minor, Piano Trio No. 2. This reissue of a 1988 Hyperion release usefully juxtaposes two works associated with W.W. Cobbett (one a competition winner, one a commission) which excellently sum up Bridge's early style - refined and eloquent in language and concise in construction and identifiably "English" in the sense that his coevals were "English" - Vaughan Williams, Bowen, Dale, etc. The 1929 second trio, though, as an example of the mature Bridge, excited attacks from the critics which bordered on the personal (when Scriabin and Schoenberg were excellent sticks to beat your opponents with); its flirtations with atonality and its inwardness and long stretches of very quiet music require concentrated listening but repay it very well. The Dartington Piano Trio. Helios CDH55063 (England) 05C097 $10.98

HUBERT PARRY (1848-1918): Nonet in B Flat for Flute, Oboe, Cor Anglais, 2 Clarinets, 2 Bassoons and 2 Horns, CHARLES VILLIERS STANFORD (1852-1924): Serenade in F, Op. 95 for Flute, Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn, String Quartet and Double Bass. Parry's youthful (1877) wind nonet belies his image as a stuffy composer of "correct" oratorios with a typically classical, outdoor vigor which recalls the young Brahms. Although written in his full maturity (1905), Stanford's piece fully lives up to its "serenade" title with its light mood and textures. Capricorn. Helios CDH55061 (England) 05C098 $10.98

GUSTAV HOLST (1874-1934): The Planets, Op. 32, Toccata, Chressemas Day in the Morning, Op. 46/1, O! I hae seen the roses blow, The Shoemakker, Nocturne, Jig. Unearthed in the very school where Holst wrote The Planets (St. Paul's Girls' School) by the husband-and-wife team here recorded (one of whom teaches there now), this four-hand version of the famous suite was dicatated by Holst to two women assistants (both of whom lived into their 90s - would that he'd been so lucky) who helped out with such things when his neuritis prevented him from writing. Instrumental colors may be lost but there is a gain in rhythmic detail and harmonic subtlety in this version; the accompanying pieces are all associated with the School and the two ladies mentioned above, making for a particularly apt coupling. York2 (piano four hands). Black Box BBM 1041 (England) 05C099 $17.98

AZIO CORGHI (b.1937): Divara - Wasser und Blut. This opera on theological and historical themes is structured in three acts and scored for soloists, chorus and conventional orchestra (with a small but important electroacoustic component), but its treatment of musical material is highly original, as befits a work the principal argument of which is the complex and interwoven issues of conflicting religious beliefs and their impact upon society. Specifically, the story deals with the Anabaptist revolution in 16th-century Münster. In its use of leitmotifs and specific timbres and styles of music to represent particular characters and their psychology and actions, the work is related to operatic tradition, and there are many passages of dramatic and lyrical impact, and soaring vocal lines which would not be out of place in Romantic and neoclassical opera. But the eclecticism of styles and music-theatre elements relate the piece equally strongly to post-Darmstadt Italian avant-gardism, and ultimately it is the raw and harrowing theatrical portrayal of the inhumanities and incomprehension visited upon people of differing beliefs in the cause of religious intolerance that provides the opera with its intense emotional impact. Vocal Soloists, Chorus and Additional Chorus of the Münster City Theatre, "Musikverein" Chorus Münster, Münster Symphony Orchestra; Will Humburg. Naxos 8.554818-19 (New Zealand) 05C100 $11.98

MILTON BABBITT (b.1916): Allegro penseroso, MICHAEL FINNISSY (b.1946): North American Spirituals, JEFF NICHOLS (b.1957): Chelsea Square, JASON ECKARDT (b.1971): Echoes' White Veil. All four pieces on this disc were written for Nonken in the last decade. Broadly speaking, they belong to some complexicist school or other, and all have a source of inspiration beyond the obvious musical material, but in other respects they are strikingly different. For the Babbitt the performer suggests an appealing image which is also most apposite - that of multiple Calder mobiles superimposed one on the other - abstract, elegant forms interacting in unpredictable and complex patterns. Finnissy's work is based on Spirituals from Tippett's A Child of our Time, and suggests the free-ranging transcriptive fantasias familiar from the composer's Verdi and Gershwin transcriptions. All these pieces may be characterised as experimental, but texturally and polyphonically so, rather than in the sense of alternative playing techniques and prepared instruments. Satisfying and stimulating. Marilyn Nonken (piano). CRI CD 877 (U.S.A.) 05C101 $17.98

SALVATORE SCIARRINO (b.1947): Perseo e Andromeda. This is an opera in the sense that it tells a story through singing, and that voices represent the characters, but as is often the case with Sciarrino, the term 'music thaetre' seems more appropriate, as the musical accompaniment is sparse, designed to create an atmosphere and set the scene, rather than consisting of musical material as such, and is comprised of electronic and transmuted sound effects predominantly. Against this backdrop the voices - representing Andromeda, Perseus and the monster - weave a haunting narrative, employing the extended vocal techniques one might anticipate. Sharon Cooper, Sonia Tuchetta, Per Vollestad, Carsten Stabell (singers), electronic processing directed by Carmen Maria Carneci. BMG Ricordi CRMCD 1059 (Italy) 05C102 $18.98

DAVID LANG: The Passing Measures for Bass Clarinet, Amplified Orchestra and Women's Voices. This is a 40-minute work for orchestra, voices and bass clarinet, which plays without pause. In place of booklet notes, one is invited to read more about the work at the record company's website, which for reasons of time is not going to happen before this month's catalogue is printed, so we can't tell you anything about the genesis or inspiration of the work. It consists of slowly undulating or pulsating textures, decorated with tinkling untuned percussion. The whole effect is very consonant, and somewhat mesmerising, in the manner of much 'slow minimalism'; the use of large forces lends this particular example a solemnity and sense of scale which makes it one of the more satisfying examples of the genre. Marty Ehrlich with the Birmingham Contamporary Music Group and Members of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra; Paul Herbert. Canteloupe Muisc CA21003 (U.S.A.) 05C103 $16.98

RICARD LAMOTE DE GRIGNON (1899-1962): Goya - 6 peces desagrabales per a 10 solistes, Melodia, Impromptu, Bagatelles de final de segle, Tocata. The main work here is the set of 6 pieces - "Unpleasant Pieces" after Goya. Lamote was a composer who was greatly concerned with the visual image, and it comes as no particular surprise to learn that he was also a successful composer for film. These ensemble pieces are finely wrought, with meticulous attention to detail, and scored ingeniously for predominantly dark-timbred instruments to heighten the sense of shadow and unease suggested by the original etchings (which apparently the composer copied in india ink prior to commencing work on this composition). An advanced specie of tonality, a great feeling for orchestral color and a soulful lyricism (with the cello, Lamote's own instrument, given much promminence in this and several of the other works on the disc) round out a portrait of a fine and unusual composer of considerable individuality. Barcino Ensemble; Adolf Pla. La Ma de Guido LMG 2040 (Spain) 05C104 $17.98

HANS CHRISTIAN LUMBYE (1810-1874): Complete Orchestral Works, Vol. 4 - Happy New Year! galop from Christmas and New Year, Ball-Bouquet, Adolphine Polka, March in C, Christian Polka, Dagmar Waltz, Laura Polka, My Farewell to Berlin, Constituition Celebration Galop, Cora Polka-mazurka, Alice Polka, The Battle at Idsted, La Constance - Polka, Helga Polka-mazurka, Congratulations Galop. Tivoli Symphony Orchestra; Giordano Bellincampi. Marco Polo 8.225170 (New Zealand) 05C105 $14.98

Valses Mexicanos 1900

ANGEL J. GARRIDO (1880-1924): Cuando escuches este vals, ENRIQUE MORA (1876-1913): Alejandra, CARLOS ESPINOSA DÍ LOS MONTEROS (1902-1972): Noche azul, Ann Harding, JOSÉ DE JESÚS MARTINEZ (1888-1916): Magdalena, RODOLFO CAMPODÓNICO (1866-1929): Club verde, ALBERTO M. ALVARADO (1864-1939): Río Rosa, Recuerdo, MACEDONIO ALCALÁ (1831-1869): Dios nunca muere, JUVENTINO ROSAS (1868-1894): Carmen, Sobre las olas, FRANCISCO CÁRDENAS (1872-1945): Viva mi desgracia. A collection of late 19th and early 20-century waltzes from Mexico, a place not normally associated with the genre but where it was the music of elegant salon gatherings and tow-drawer soirées. Usually composed by struggling artists with tragic lives (check the life span of the above composers!), these waltzes are slower, more melancholic than the European model. Recorded in 1994 and available for the first time in the U.S., this has been a top-selling recording for several years in Mexico. Cuarteto Latinoamericano, Miguel Pacheco (psaltery), Victor Flores (double bass), Alberto Cruzpietro (piano). Dorian DOR-93224 (U.S.A.) 05C106 $17.98


BRONISLAU KAPER (1902-1983): Them!, MISCHA BAKALEINI-KOFF (1900-1960): It Came From Beneath the Sea, HERMAN STEIN (b.1915)/IRVING GERTZ (b.1915)/HENRY MANCINI (1924-1994): It Came From Outer Space, STEIN/HEINZ ROEMHELD (1901-1985): The Mole People. Cracow Radio Symphony Orchestra; Masatoshi Mitsumoto. Monstrous Movie Music MMM-1950 (U.S.A.) 05C107 $18.98

FRANCESCO LAVAGNINO (1909-1987): Gorgo, HERMAN STEIN/ HENRY MANCINI (1924-1994): Tarantula, DAVID BUTTOLPH (1902-1985): The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, IRVING GERTZ (b.1915): The Monolith Monsters. Cracow Radio Symphony Orchestra; Masatoshi Mitsumoto. Monstrous Movie Music MMM-1951 (U.S.A.) 05C108 $18.98

IRVING GERTZ (b.1915): The Alligator People, HERMAN STEIN/ HENRY MANCINI/MILTON ROSEN (1906-1994)/HANS J. SALTER (1896-1994)/ROBERT EMMETT DOLAN (1906-1972): Creature from the Black Lagoon, HERBERT STOTHART (1885-1949)/SOL LEVY (1881-1920)/WILLIAM AXT (1888-1959)/DANIELE AMFITHEATROF (1901-1983): Music from 5 M-G-M Tarzan Films. Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra; Masatoshi Mitsumoto. Monstrous Movie Music MMM-1952 (U.S.A.) 05C109 $18.98

Whereas Marco Polo has concentrated on the early, classic horror films from Universal in the 30s and 40s, this enterprising little label from Burbank has decided to devote itself to what might be described as the "Mystery Science Theatre" area of the genre. Since these films were often scored by multiple composers, not all of whose music may have been written for the film at hand (the use of cues from other music in the studio's library, or "tracking", was very common and sometimes composers were not credited at all; "Musical supervision by Joseph Gershenson" was often all one saw in many Universal credits), we are even more grateful to MMM for teasing out all the tangled threads music. Also unlike Marco Polo, MMM has chosen to record these scores (which have been put together with painstaking care by composer Kathleen Mayne) with the smaller, studio-sized orchestras for which they were written. The booklets are 32-, 32- and 40-page behemoths, respectively, and are absolutely stuffed with information about music, composers and films and liberally sprinked with photos, musical examples, posters and publicity shots (many in color). The ultimate in guilty pleasure for those of us who grew up frightened of Communism, atom bombs and giant insects during the 1950s.