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Frederic Cliffe

Symphony No. 1

FREDERIC CLIFFE (1857-1931): Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 1, Orchestral Picture: Cloud and Sunshine. Born only a few months before Elgar, Cliffe was not so reticent in producing his first symphony. In fact, his 1889 essay in the genre (the first of two) was also the first work he felt worthy of publishing. A full-sized work of 43 minutes, it is full of instantly attractive and memorable themes and melodies, it, like the symphonies of Raff, also recalls Mendelssohn and Schumann but has a higher level of, er, testosterone, in its opening movement than was usual for the Swiss composer (Lenore aside). The slow movement is just as beautiful as anything Bruch produced and there are a couple of touches of Tristan audible as well. The finale has a phrase very similar to one in the same movement as Dvorák's Eighth but which predates it by three months and its close could be called Brucknerian in its majesty (only the Seventh Symphony by the Austrian had ever been heard in England and that two years before). The 14-minute "Orchestral picture" was composed the following year contains strong reminiscences of the symphony, its second subject recalling the lyrical theme of the slow movement and its Wagnerian echoes coming this time from Das Rheingold. Malmö Opera Orchestra; Christopher Fifield. Sterling CDS-1055-2 (Sweden) 11F001 $16.98

December is the month when only two domestic distributors offer new releases, so it's usually a hard month to fill a catalogue. But then, this has been a hard year all around both in terms of sales and in terms of quality new releases.

Still, you can look for many new Naxos and cpo releases next month as well as several attractive Chandos titles as well as the next Hyperion Romantic Piano Concerto release. We hope that we can find some more European labels which have no U.S. distribution like the Verlag Dohr and Dontrie labels we introduced last month.

DON GILLIS (1912-1978): Star-Spangled Symphony, Amarillo - A Symphonic Celebration, A Dance Symphony (Symphony No. 8). Although Albany have put the phrase "American Light" on the cover of this new release, one has to ask how many "light music" composers wrote twelve symphonies, seven operas and six string quartets? Both the symphonies here are four-movement works, the Star-Spangled lasting just short of 30 minutes and follow the traditional form with slow movements second, dance-like third movements and high-energy finales. Of course, most of what Gillis writes is "high energy", with blues, jazz and popular music themes rocketing off each other with hymns and other types of slow tunes brought in for contrast (Copland without any academicism? Ives without the "wrong notes"?). Much of his music has to do with Texas and the Southwest (Amarillo was written for the 75th anniversary of the city in 1962 and makes the city out to be a space-age, cosmopolitan super-city) but almost all of it is loud, brash, colorfully orchestrated and larger-than-life and this Polish orchestra with its English conductor obviously enjoyed the heck out of it. Sinfonia Varsovia; Ian Hobson. Albany TROY 618 (U.S.A.) 11F002 $16.98

GINO MARINUZZI (1882-1945): Symphony in A, Sicania, Preludio e Preghiera for Soprano and Orchestra. Known as a conductor, especially of Verdi and Wagner, to those who know him at all, Marinuzzi left few surviving recordings thanks to the destruction of German radio archives during the war but he also left a choice few original compositions, three of which receive their world premiere recordings here. In liner notes ten times the length of what Dynamic usually provides and delivered by their author at an unrelenting fever pitch, it is good to find out that not only did Marinuzzi have every opera in history memorized and perfectly realized each one in performance, but that he dwarfed Furtwängler as both a conductor and as a composer (you're really going to enjoy reading these). The music? The "Prelude and Prayer" dates from 1934 in response to the death of the composer's son and consists of a chromatically anguished opening and a heart-easing closing. Sicania (1942) is based on Sicilian folk-tunes but is much more angular and harsh in effect than many such "local color" rhapsodies. The symphony is a 42-minute work in three movements ("Overture", "Georgics" and "Dithyramb") which certainly has the air of a "war symphony" about it. The writing is often quite dense and both the final two movements have more than their share of fear, anxiety and sense of impending destruction which ends in a very uneasy quiet. Adela Golac-Rilovic (soprano), Croatian Radio and TV Symphony Orchestra; Niksa Bareza. Dynamic CDS 388 (Italy) 11F003 $17.98

GEORGE ANTHEIL (1900-1959): Piano Sonatas No. 3, 4 and 5, Woman Sonata, Sonate sauvage. The Sonate sauvage and Woman Sonata are from Antheil's futurist period where cross-rhythms, pounding ostinati, clusters, accretion techniques, contrasts in thematic materials, styles and dynamics are unsettling and which conclude with nightmarishly intense and virtuosic toccatas. African-American, ragtime and Creole music play a particular role in the sauvage. The other three sonatas date from 1948-50, the composer's more well-behaved period when he was known as the American Shostakovich and his idiom became more neo-romantic. In fact, the slow movement of each of the Fourth and Fifth sonatas is based on a Prokofiev theme and there is tenderness and expressivity as well as brutality in all three of the later works. World premiere recordings of the Third, Fifth and Woman sonatas. Guy Livingston (piano). Wergo WER 6661-2 (Germany) 11F004 $19.98

GERMAINE TAILLEFERRE (1892-1983): Piano Works - Impromptu, Romance, Pas trop vite, Pastorale in D, Hommage à Debussy, Très vite, Pastorale in A Flat, Sicilienne, Pastorale in D, Fleurs de France, Chiens, Pastorale Inca, Au Pavillon d'Alsace, Bretagne, Larghetto, Valse lente, Fugue du parapluie, Pièce en forme de samba, Partita, Rêverie. This collection, of concert pieces and of film music, covers 52 years of the composer's life and one can easily hear the influence of Fauré in the two earliest works and that of Debussy in the next several before the decade of the 1920s arrives in which she was most closely identified with the Groupe des Six. Nothing here, except for the 1957 Partita is in more than one movement or, except also for the eight-minute film music Bretagne, is longer than five minutes but everything has that quality of serenity and affection which led Milhaud to describe Tailleferre's music as "sweet-smelling". Cristina Ariagno (piano). Timpani 1C1074 (France) 11F005 $18.98

ALBERTO GINASTERA (1916-1983): Ollantay, Pampeana No. 3, Jubilum. Ollantay, a three-movement work of 14 minutes dating from 1947 and written for Erich Kleiber who premiered it in Buenos Aires, benefitted from a brand new recording only six months ago Inspired by a myth telling of the conflict between the son of the earth and the son of the sun, the piece contains some of the folkloric aspects of the well-known Estancia dances while being rather more austere and abstract. This recording: May 7, 1969. The Pampeana (1954 and a Louisville commission) comes from the end of Ginastera's middle period of "objective nationalism" and its folk-like themes are original, not actual folk tunes, while its language is based on harmonies and interval sequences which look ahead to the composer's later period of neo-expressionist atonality. This is its world-premiere recording (November, 1954, themonth following its first performance). Jubilum (1980) is an extended, brass-laden, virtuosic fanfare in three parts for the 400th anniversary of Buenos Aires. Louisville Orchestra; Robert Whitney, Jorge Mester, Akira Endo. First Edition Music FECD-0015 (U.S.A.) 11F006 $17.98

BOHUSLAV MARTINU (1890-1959): Symphony No. 5, Intermezzo, Oboe Concerto, Estampes. Intermezzo (1950, rec. March 26, 1953) and Estampes (1958, rec. April 28, 1959) were both Louisville Commissions and world premiere recordings and are immediately recognizable late Martinu with their swirling winds and alternating stretches of romantic lyricism. The other two works are, of course, much better known although the booklet claims that the Symphony No. 5's Feb. 18, 1966 recording was a world premiere. We'll leave that to you Martinu discographers out there and, if so, here's another reason to collect this newest First Edition reissue. Marion Gibson (oboe), Louisville Orchestra; Robert Whitney, Sidney Harth. First Edition Music FECD-0018 (U.S.A.) 11F007 $17.98

MAX D'OLLONE (1875-1959): Le Menétrier for Violin and Orchestra, Fantaisie for Piano and Orchestra, Lamento for Orchestra, Andante et Scherzo for 3 Cellos. D'Ollone's eleven operas make up the most important part of his uvre but the gift he had for writing gorgeous melodies for the human voice is present throughout his 1910 Le Menétrier, a three-movement tone poem which depicts a village violinist who, through being attracted by the songs of travelling gypsies, loses the folk heritage of his people and is unable to play for them any longer. The piece is generally lyrical, the melodies folk-influenced, the mood gently melancholic; the first movement is particularly evocative of rural village life. The Lamento of 1908 is an impressively grave funeral oration of nine minutes and D'Ollone won the first prize in the Prix de Rome competition of 1897 with his brilliant Fantaisie (more than a little of Saint-Saëns in its glitter and sparkle). Mark Kaplan (violin), François-Joël Thiollier (piano), Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya; Lawrence Foster. Claves CD 50-2301 (Switzerland) 11F008 $16.98

JEAN CRAS (1879-1932): Polyphème. As Opera Grove puts it: "With its impressionistic orchestral evocations of the sea and extended lyrical melodies, the work has a striking chromatic restlessness reminiscent of Chausson and Duparc." The libretto has Polyphemus as a wild hunter, unable to express the depth of his feelings for the nymph Galatea, not the one-eyed monster of mythology and the librettist (Albert Samain) has introduced more than a little Symbolism into his adaptation. The sea-side setting allows composer/naval lieutenant Cras to write more of his lush and vivid sea music while a third act divertimento peopled by all manner of wood nymphs and other creatures has an unbridled, hedonistic quality which recalls Rimsky-Korsakov via the Bax of Spring Fire. 3 CDs. French-English libretto. Sophie Marin-Degor (soprano), Yann Beuron (tenor), Armand Arapian (baritone), Chur Régional Vittoria d'Île-de-France, Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra; Bramwell Tovey. Timpani 3C3078 (France) 11F009 $56.98

GEORGE DYSON (1883-1964): St. Paul's Voyage to Melita for Tenor, Chorus and Orchestra, Agincourt for Chorus and Orchestra, Nocturne from Quo Vadis for Tenor, Viola, Strings, Harp and Organ. No, not from Chandos but from the little SOMM label come two more world-premiere recordings of choral-orchestral works by Dyson! St. Paul's Voyage (1933) is a half-hour long setting of Acts dealing with Paul's voyage and shipwreck which includes much exciting and evocative sea and storm-music while the 25-minute Agincourt is a late work (1956 - although Dyson's style hardly changed and was hopelessly out-of-date to modern British listeners at this time) whose six sections set texts from Henry V and, to close, the 15th century "Hymn after Agincourt". Texts included. Neil Mackie (tenor), Bournemouth Symphony Chorus and Orchestra; Vernon Handley, Royal College of Music Chamber Choir, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Sir David Willcocks. Nocturne - 1988 Unicorn-Kanchana release. SOMMCD 234 (England) 11F010 $17.98

FRANK BRIDGE (1879-1941): String Quartet No. 1 in E Minor, String Quartet No. 3. Bridge was a rarity among English composers in the distance he travelled, creatively and stylistically, during his career and his four string quartets are a good guide to that journey. The first (1906) is still full of late romantic fervor while the third (1926) is one of the first works of Bridge's new, expressionistic period whose links are to Berg and Bartók (the twelve semitones are there but not structured dodecaphonically) and which spins together short motifs in a rigorous style and with a driving momentum. Maggini Quartet. Naxos 8.557133 (New Zealand) 11F011 $6.98

FREDERIC DELIUS (1862-1934)/PETER WARLOCK (1894-1930): On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring, Summer Night on the River, In a Summer Garden, A Song Before Sunrise, North Country Sketches, Dance Rhapsodies Nos. 1 & 2. Warlock helped Delius with such matters as proof-reading and copying of his scores for a considerable period after 1911 when he first heard the latter's music performed and became an enthusiastic supporter. In addition, he undertook the necessary piano reductions which took the place of recordings in the pre-phonograph period. Half of these (complete) reductions were done in 1912-14 and the other half in 1921 and what is remarkable is how much of the quintessential Delian sound, its lushness and seductiveness, Warlock was able to capture with just a piano and two players. Noriko Ogawa, Kathryn Stott (piano four-hands). BIS CD-1347 (Sweden) 11F012 $17.98

FREDERIC DELIUS (1862-1934): Koanga, The Song of the Hill Hills. This opera stands apart from all of Delius' other works except, perhaps, the Florida Suite, which provided some of the music for it. The title character is a voodoo priest and a prince of Dahomey who is the catalyst for turmoil and destruction on an 18th century slave plantation in Mississippi. The music has a dark grandeur and its Wagnerian leanings are balanced by a Verdian gusto while there are several places whose evocation of nature are pure Delius. Rarely performed, this 1973 recording features the two leads who, the year before, participated in only the second staging the work had ever had in England. 2 CDs. Mid-price. No libretto. Eugene Holmes (baritone), Claudia Lindsey (soprano), John Alldis Choir, London Symphony Orchestra; Charles Groves, Liverpool Philharmonic Chorus, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra; Groves (Song). Original 1974 EMI release. EMI 5 85142 2 (England) 11F013 $24.98

ALFREDO CASELLA (1883-1947): 3 Lyriques, Op. 9, 2 chansons anciennes, Op. 22, Sonnet, Op. 16, Nuageries, La Cloche fêlée, Op. 7, L'adieu à la vie, Op. 26, 3 canzoni trecentesche, Op. 36, 4 favole romanesche, Op. 38. These songs date from three stylistic periods: the Fauré-influenced youthful period in Paris, the harmonic drifting and near atonality of L'adieu (1915) and the neo-classical period's archaicism of the Italian-language pieces with their diatonic tendencies and popular good humor. French-Italian/English texts. Tiziana Scandaletti (soprano), Riccardo Piacentini (piano). Nuova Era 7371 (Italy) 11F014 $17.98

CESARIO GUSSAGO (1550-1612): Sonata la Facca a 6, Sonata la Mallonia, Sonata la Porcelaga, Sonata la Fontana, Sonata la Terza, Sonata la Squizzerotta, Sonata la Luzzara, CLAUDIO MERULO (1533-1604): Canzon a 5, ANTONIO BERTALI (1605-1669): Sonata No. 1, Sonata da chiesa XVII, DARIO CASTELLO (early 17th. cen.): Sonata quarta in stilo moderno, LUDOVICO GROSSI DA VIADANA (c.1560-1627): Sinfonia la Ferrarese, Sinfonia la Bolognese, GIOVANNI BATTISTA GRILLO (d.1622): Canzon quartadecima capriccio, FLORENTINO MASCHERA (c.1540-c.1584): Canzon la Maggia, GIROLAMO FRESCOBALDI (1583-1643): Canzon No. 5, ORAZIO BENEVOLI (1605-1672): Sonata a 8, PIETRO LAPPI (c.1575-1630): Canzon decimaquarta la Diamante. A collection of wind music from 16th and 17th century Venice and Brescia based around the little-known Brescian composer Gussago. Sonatores Pannoniæ; László Borsódy. Hungaroton HCD 32159 (Hungary) 11F015 $17.98

ASCANIO MAIONE (1570-c.1627): Secondo libro di diversi Capricci per sonare. After recently being acquainted with the importance of Giovanni Maria Trabaci as a predecessor of Frescobaldi, we now can hear another important Neapolitan composer whose works help us understand the milieu from which the famous Frescobaldi emerged. Francesco Tasini (harpsichord). Tactus TC 571302 (Italy) 11F016 $11.98

JOHANN HIERONYMUS KAPSBERGER (c.1580-1651): Toccatas II, IX & X, Passacagias in A Minor & in D Minor, Canzone prima, Ballo primo, "Kapsberger", Arpeggiata, Canario, ALESSANDRO PICCININI (1566-c.1638): Toccatas III, VI, X & XIII, Partite variate sopra la folia aria Romanesca, Corrente prima, Gagliarda prima, Partite variate sopra quest' aria francese detta l'Alemana, Corrente VI sopra l'Alemana. The juxtaposition allows the exhibition of wildly different musical styles - Piccinini, although exploring various harmonies and chromaticism, remains expressive in traditional ways while Kapsberger's obsession with the unusual caused him to look for and to employ all sort of new playing devices and techniques in works of rather free form but striking individuality. Matthew Wadsworth (theorbo), Gary Cooper (harpsichord, organ), Mark Levy (viola da gamba, lirone, organ). Deux-Elles DXL 1044 (England) 11F017 $16.98

JOHN BLOW (1649-1708): Complete Keyboard Works, Vol. 1 - Organ: 23 Voluntaries, 5 Double Voluntaries, 2 Cornet Voluntaries, Harpsichord: 20 Dances. Many of Blow's Voluntaries are fugal in nature, being rather comparable to the Italian toccata although his five "double voluntaries" are borrowings of a Franco-Flemish genre while the Cornet Voluntary in G is a stunning piece for three manuals. Much greater in quantity are the harpsichord pieces - series of uncollected dances which the perfomer can put together into French-style suites. 2 CDs for the price of 1. Joseph Payne (harpsichord, organ). Musicaphon M 56852 (Germany) 11F018 $15.98

SAINTE-COLOMBE LE FILS (c.1660-1720?): Suites in E Minor, A Minor, B Minor, G Minor, F and F Minor. The son of the famous viol master lived in England and, unlike his father, wrote for the six-stringed viol and abandoned the pièces à titre although, in style, these are still very much in the French style. The recording closes with an impressive 13-minute Tombeau for his father. 2 CDs. Jordi Savall (viola da gamba). Alia Vox AV 9827 A+B (Spain) 11F019 $35.98

BERNARDO STORACE (late 17th cen.): Harpsichord: Balletto, Passacaglia sopra Fe fa ut per b, Ciaccona, corrente, Ballo della Battaglia, Romanesca, Aria sopra la Spagnoletta, Passagagli sopra D sol re per #, Corrente, Organ: Recercar de legature, 2 Toccatas & Canzones, Pastorale, Recercar. We have here the entire extant oeuvre of this mysterious northern Italian musician, the majority of which are sets of variations on ostinato basses (with two particularly big passacaglias standing out) while a third large-scale piece - a Pastorale with strong echoes of popular music - surprises with its hypnotic, "minimalist" style. Fabio Bonizzoni (harpsichord and 1751 organ of Petralia Sottana, Sicily). Glossa GCD 921506 (Spain) 11F020 $18.98

NICOLAS DE GRIGNY (1672-1703): La Messe, Les cinq Hymnes, NICOLAS LEBÈGUE (1533-1604): Élévation in G, Symphonie sur le bémol fa, LOUIS MARCHAND (1669-1732): Plain jeu, Fugue, Basse de Trompete, Quatuor, Fond d'Orgue, Grand Dialogue. Grigny's organ mass is the finest of its kind next to that of Couperin, rich in texture, complex in counterpoint, and intensely expressive and this 1972 recording has always been considered a classic. 2 CDs. Budget-price. André Isoir (Clicquot organ of St. Pierre, Poitiers and Isnard organ of St. Maximin, Provence). Original 1972 Arpège release. Calliope CAL 3911.2 (France) 11F021 $18.98

ROBERTO VALENTINI (1680-1759): Sonata V, ABATE RANIERI CAPPONI (18th. cen.): Sonata da camera, No. 3, GIROLAMO VENIER (18th. cen.): Sonatina ad uso della N.S. Maria Venier, GIOVAN BATTISTA GERVASIO (1725-1785): Sonata per camera, DOMENICO SCARLATTI (1675-1757): Sonatas K91, K89 & K81. Another rare example of mandolin repertoire which is rarely recorded these days. The instrument was at its height of popularity in Italy during the first two decades of the 18th century, where most of these pieces come from, although Gervasio's reminds us that both Beethoven and Hummel composed for the mandolin as well. Dorina Frati (mandolin), Daniele Roi (harpsichord). Dynamic CDS 375 (Italy) 11F022 $17.98

JACOB RIEHMAN (c.1680-1726): Sonate II in D Minor, CAREL HACQUART (c.1640-1701): Suite X in A Minor, JOHAN SCHENCK (1660-c.1720): Sonates II in A Minor and XV in F, JOHAN SNEP (1656-1719): Sonate I in D Minor. Very rare repertoire here: music for the viola da gamba from the Netherlands - hardly the first country you'd look to after France for music for this instrument! Yet, three generations of Dutch composers show that their country was far from a backwater. Hacquart wrote mainy for noble amateurs but Schenck produced works demanding great virtuosity and showing much originality withtheir passagework and broken chords. His example fired the imaginations of the remaining two composers here. Seredipitously, the only manuscript of this music was found in the same place (and by the same hand) as the Saint-Colombe (see left) - in Durham Cathedral in England. 't Uitnement Kabinet. NM Classics MCCL92111 (Netherlands) 11F023 $17.98

ALESSANDRO BESOZZI (1702-1793): 6 Trios for Oboe, Violin and Bassoon. Pleasingly melodious early classical trios with (the bassoon is not just a continuo instrument and is given melodic material as well) from one of the most distinguished Italian oboists of his generation. Luca Vignali (oboe), Pavel Vernikov (violin), Paolo Carlini (bassoon). Tactus TC 700202 (Italy) 11F024 $11.98

BALDASSARE GALUPPI (1706-1785): L'amante di tutte. Yet another example of Galuppi's unsurpassed skill in comic opera, this farce dates from 1760 and includes the usual melange of old man/young wife, snooping servants, solicitors of adultery, disguise and other tomfoolery of the genre, tightly constructed in three acts which come in just under 78 minutes. Italian-English libretto. Linda Campanella, Paola Antonucci, Paola Quagliata (sopranos), Filippo Pina Castiglioni (tenor), Roberto Tura (bass), Italian Philharmonic Orchestra of Piacenza; Marco Fracassi. Bongiovanni GB 2318 (Italy) 11F025 $16.98

Frantisek Benda (1709-1786): Sonatas for Violin and Basso Continuo in A Minor, B Flat, F, E Minor, F & in D. Benda spent much of his career at the court of Frederick the Great and, though Frederick's instrument was the flute, found plenty of time to write more than 100 works for violin. Self-admittedly not a great contrapuntalist, Benda composed to his strengths: an inherent Bohemian ability to write tuneful, song-like music not without passages of acrobatic passage-work, which is what is on offer here in these six three-movement sonatas. (We offered a Benda violin sonata disc in February of 1998 on the Lotos label but only two of these sonatas are common to both discs.) Czech Baroque Trio. Studio Matous MK 0052-2 (Czech Republic) 11F026 $14.98 >

Frantisek Benda (1709-1786): Flute Concertos in E Minor, A & in G, Flute Sonata in G, Violin Sonata in G. Here, of course, Benda is producing for his patron, King Frederick, who did not like anything beyond the bounds of galant nicety and so we have much ingratiating, peaceful and tuneful music which rarely goes beyond a graceful melancholy in emotional range (with the exception of a very Sturm und Drangish first movement in the E minor concerto which, however, quiets down immediately upon the soloist's arrival). Laurence Dean (transverse flute), Anne Röhrig (violin), Bernward Lohr (harpsichord, fortepiano), Hannoversche Hofkapelle. Christophorus CHT 77261 (Germany) 11F027 $17.98

NICCOLÒ JOMMELLI (1714-1774): L'Uccellatrice. The title character of this two-person intermezzo per musica is a female birdcatcher who uses her cunning to capture a naïve young nobleman. Dating from 1753, it has all of the expected ingredients of the genre and comes with not one, but two, overtures - one for each part. Italian-English libretto. Emanuela Galli (soprano), Luciano Grassi (tenor), Milano Classica Chamber Orchestra; Vanni Moretto. Dynamic CDS 436 (Italy) 11F028 $17.98

NICOLA PICCINNI (1720-1800): Sinfonia in G, Salve Regina for Soprano and Orchestra, Dixit Dominus for Soprano, Contralto, Tenor, Bass and Orchestra. The "symphony" is just a six-minute trifle in the typical three-movement form but the other two works are impressive, large-scale pieces which share many stylistic elements with Piccinni's internationally popular opera serias; the 42-minute Dixit is even more formally complex than the Salve with a rich orchestral palette, flamboyant vocal decoration and the tender sentimentality typical of the composer. Maria Luigia Borsi, Elena Cecchi Fedi (sopranos), Marco Lazzara (alto), Gregory Bonfatti (tenor), Francesco Facini (bass), Capella "S. Cecilia" of Lucca Cathedral, "Città Lirica" Orchestra; Gianfranco Cosmi. Bongiovanni GB 2338 (Italy) 11F029 $16.98

ARMAND-LOUIS COUPERIN (1727-1789): 6 Duets for Keyboard and Violin, Op. 2, 3 Trios for Harpsichord, Violin and Cello, Op. 3. Despite his family name and position as church organist (usually a guarantee of conservatism), Couperin's op. 2 (1768) are among the first accompanied sonatas in which the keyboard takes precedence. Likewise, the op. 3 (1770) are similar to Haydn's piano trios - not quite fully classical but not baroque trio sonatas either. Fine and rare examples of early Classicism from France. 2 CDs. Miklós Spányi (tangent piano), Erika Petöfi (violin), Csilla Vályi (cello). Hungaroton HCD 32143 (Hungary) 11F030 $35.98

MICHAEL HAYDN (1737-1806): String Quintets (Notturni) in G, P109, in C, P108 and in F, P112/159. The first two works listed above date from 1773 and were Haydn's first (of four) in the genre. Far more advanced than other pieces in this new genre, they both have sonata-allegros, richly textured slow movements, folk-like minuets and fast finales; skillful part-writing and fine craftsmanship carry the day. The third work, from 1786, is in seven movements, concluding with a march - as was typical for a piece which may have been composed for an academic ceremony. Das Wiener Philharmonia Quintett. Camerata CMCD-28013 (Japan) 11F031 $17.98

LUIGI TOMASINI (1741-1808): 4 Trios for 2 Violins and Cello. Tomasini was a colleague of Haydn at the Esterhazy court and was first violin in a string quartet with him as well. These trios are, not surprisingly, very similar to similar works by Haydn from the same period with rich and varied thematic material and diversified melodic ideas. Gianfranco Iannetta, Marco Rogliano (violins), Luigi Puxeddu (cello). Tactus TC 742001 (Italy) 11F032 $11.98

CHEVALIER DE SAINT-GEORGES (1745-1799): 6 Quartetti Concertants. Dating from 1777, these quartets are unusual in a couple of ways. The title is misleading; these are not "concertante" quartets in the genre of Spohr. All four instruments can carry melodic lines. They are all in two-movement form but not the expected fast-minuet sequence either. The second (G Minor) quartet has a lamenting Adagio followed by an Aria - Andantino, although the remaining five do have fast first movements. These were among the first string quartets written in France and show the experimentation attendant upon such early stages of shaping a genre. Coleridge String Quartet. Afka SK-557 (U.S.A.) 11F033 $16.98

VOJTECH JIROVEC (Gyrowetz) (1763-1850): Notturno in E Flat for Violin, Cello and Piano, FRATISEK VINCENC KRAMAR-KROMMER (1759-1831): Trio in F for Viola, Cello and Piano, Op. 32, LEOPOLD KOZELUH (1747-1818): Sonata in G Minor for Piano, Violin and Cello, Op. 12/3, Jan KÞtitel Van hal (1739-1813): Sonata in A for Piano, Violin and Cello. Although two of these composers lived well into the 19th century, none of them adapted to post-Classical styles and they all continued to produce elegant, tuneful pieces which (except, possibly for Kozeluh) never went beyond middle-period Haydn in style. Czech Baroque Trio. Studio Matous MK 0053-2 (Czech Republic) 11F034 $14.98 >

ANTONÍN REJCHA (1770-1836): 20 Fugues from 36 Fugues, Op. 36. Sometime before 1799 and 1805, Reicha published the whole set of fugues of which we have a representative selection here. He was concerned with nothing short of revamping the whole concept of the genre as known in Bach's day by introducing metrical and rhythmic complexities, pre-Romantic harmonies and tonal colors, making the latter the principal points of interest while never neglecting the proprieties of counterpoint. Mid-price. Milan Langer (piano). Supraphon SU 3750-2 (Czech Republic) 11F035 $10.98

VACLAV JAN TOMASEK (1774-1850): Requiem in C Minor, Op. 70. Worthy of standing with any of its contemporaries, this requiem dates from 1820 and alternates elegicac sections with highly dramatic ones (the Dies irae was inspired by the devastation caused by a flood in a rural village), all carried forward by remarkable harmonic and melodic invention. Live recording from St. James' Church in Prague gives a real sense of atmosphere. Magdaléna Hajóssyová (soprano), Marta Benaãková (contralto), Vladimír DoleÏal (tenor), Milan Bürger (bass), Kühn Mixed Choir, Prague Philharmonic; Bohumil Kulinsk. Multisonic 31 0395-2 (Czech Republic) 11F036 $14.98 >


VACLAV JAN TOMASEK(1774-1850): 3 Gesänge, Op. 77, 13 Goethe Lieder, Op. 53/1-3, Op. 54/1-3, Op. 55/4 & 5, Op. 56/4, Op. 57/1, Op. 58/1 & 4, Op. 60/2, 3 Gesänge, Op. 33, 3 Gesänge, Op. 92, Die Erwartung, Das Lied. How often does one read in the New Grove about this or that lesser-known composer that one of his songs is considered finer than Schubert's setting of the same text? At last, one can hear why the Tomásek article-writer likes his Nähe des Geliebte better than Schubert's! (Tomásek was one of Schubert's teachers...) And that's not an odd one-time happening. Almost everything here is truly beautiful and necessary for everyone who loves German Romantic lieder to hear. The Goethe settings (from a total of 41) were done in 1815 while the latest pieces here date from 1820 and 1823, proving that Tomásek was a most important part of the early Romantic musical movement (as those of you who know his piano Eclogues, Rhapsodies and Dithyrambs already are aware). German texts. Magdaléna Hajóssyová (soprano), Marián Lapansk (piano). Multisonic 31 0248-2 (Czech Republic) 11F037 $14.98 >


JOSEPH WÖLFL (1773-1812): Piano Sonata in C Minor, Op. 25, Piano Sonatas in C, D Minor & in E, Op. 33. "Van Cliburn Competition Medal Winners Discover Unusual Repertoire" reads the headline this month (see also 11F0) as the 1997 Gold Medalist offers these fascinating works by a pianist/composer highly respected by Beethoven himself and fabulously successful on the European concert circuit. The C minor work is remarkable for its unusual Adagio-Fugue introduction before its standard three movements which breathe a marked Romantic air. The three op. 33 works (previously offered in these pages on fortepiano on the no-longer-available Mandala label) are on a smaller scale but no less accomplished and notable for that. Jon Nakamatsu (piano). Harmonia Mundi HMU 907324 (U.S.A.) 11F038 $17.98

GIACOMO MEYERBEER (1791-1864): Margherita d'Anjou. Dating from 1820, this melodramma semiseria is an important work in the history of "opera semiseria" and, thus, provides context for similar works by Bellini and Donizetti and is a fine example of Meyerbeer's Italian output coming, as it does, only one opera away from his first smash hit Il crociato in Egitto which was written more with an eye on the Parisian stage than on the Italian audience. 3 CDs. Italian-English libretto (in the usual 200-page, four-color book). Annick Massis (soprano), Bruce Ford (tenor), Daniela Barcellona (mezzo), Alastair Miles (bass), Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, Philharmonia Orchestra; David Parry. Opera Rara ORC 25 (England) 11F039 $59.98

JUAN CRISÓSTOMO ARRIAGA (1806-1826): String Quartets No. 1 in D Minor, No. 2 in A and No. 3 in E Flat. A welcome new recording of these astonishingly accomplished, quite original quartets which the 17-year-old Basque produced while studying at the Paris Conservatory. While based on Haydn and, to a lesser extent, his teacher Cherubini, these quartets also contain hints of Romanticism as well as the occasional dash of Spanish folk music (like the bolero in the minuet of the D minor work). Like his symphony from a year later, these quartets are eloquent testimony to a genius who might have changed the course of European Romanticism had he not died ten days before his twentieth birthday. Cuarteto Casals. Harmonia Mundi HMI 987038 (Spain) 11F040 $17.98

DANIEL GOTTLIEB STEIBELT (1755-1828): Sonata in G, JOHANN BAPTIST CRAMER (1771-1888): Sonata in F, FERDINANDO BONAZZI (1764-1845): Pastorale in E Flat, Sonata in C, SEVERO GIUSSANI (?-1765): Sonata concertata in G, TOMMASO GIORDANI (1733-1806): Duettino in D, MUZIO CLEMENTI (1752-1832): Sonatas in A & in C, ANONYMOUS ITALIAN (19th cen.): Sonata in E Flat. Moving a new, portable organ into a village church some 20 miles outside Budapest enabled the performers to make this recording of charming, small-scale, often rustic pieces in the Italianate tradition. (The Giussani was originally for harpsichord and organ and the C major Clementi and the Giordani for organ duet.) Miklós Spányi (organ of the Lutheran Church, Tordas, Hungary), János Sebestyén (portable chest organ). Hungaroton HCD 32167 (Hungary) 11F041 $17.98

JOACHIM RAFF (1822-1882): Cello Concerto in D Minor, Op. 193, JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (1685-1750)/RAFF: Chaconne in D Minor for Large Orchestra, CARL REINECKE (1824-1910): Cello Concerto in D Minor, Op. 82, 4 Biblische Bilder from Bilder aus dem Neuen Testament, Heft II, Op. 220 for Orchestra. Both cello concertos were dedicated to the same soloist, both are in D minor and both are predominantly lyrical with Reinecke's 1864 work somewhat more dramatic overall than Raff's more genial one from 1874. The Bach transcription and the four (of seven orchestral transcriptions made by Reinecke of 14 original piano pieces) "Biblical Pictures" - character sketches à la Schumann - make for a well-filled disc of unusual romantic repertoire. Thomas Blees (cello), Tübingen Physicians' Orchestra; Norbert Kirchmann. RBM CD 465 108 (Germany) 11F042 $17.98 >

LOUIS FERDINAND (1772-1806): Piano Quartet in F Minor, Op. 6, ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810-1856): Piano Quartet in C Minor (1829). This is the first of three releases which will couple works by these two composers and concentrate on the great influence the music of the Prussian Prince had on the young Schumann. The Prince's quartet, strikingly forward-looking romantic in its affect (and, to a lesser extent, Schubert) are behind the 19-year-old Schumann's early piano quartet which was only rediscovered in the late 1970s and which already shows some of the mature composer's traits such as the obsessive repetition of the finale's main theme and the immediately identifiably Schumannesque melodies of its minuet and slow movement. Context (on period instruments). Zephyr Z-123-03 (U.S.A.) 11F043 $16.98

FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886): Orpheus for 2 Pianos, Orpheus for Organ, Orpheus for Orchestra, R.415, Les Préludes for 2 Pianos, Les Préludes for Orchestra, R.414. The "Janus Series" recouples previously existing recordings in order to juxtapose works in different versions by the same composer. The pianists here made their own arrangement for two pianos of Liszt's original Les Preludes piano duet version and, while originally done by Gottschalk in 1860, the organ version of Orpheus was considerably modified by Liszt himself. Budapest Piano Duet, Sándor Margittay (organ), Hungarian State Orchestra; János Ferencsik. Hungaroton Janus Series HCD 32203 (Hungary) 11F044 $17.98

FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886): Les Préludes, R.359, Hungaria, R.365, Hunnenschlacht, R.367, Tasso (Lamento e triunfo), R.358, Héroïde funebre, R.364, Die Ideale, R.368, Orpheus, R.360, Hamlet, R.366, Ce qu'on entend sur la montaigne, R.357, Mazeppa, R.362, Prometheus, R.361, Festklänge, R.363. Or, if it's only the piano duet material you're interested in and you don't have the Cedille full-price recordings, these discs, originally released singly in 1996, 1998 and 1999, will fill the bill. 4 CDs for the price of 2. Budapest Piano Duet. Hungaroton HCD 41005 (Hungary) 11F045 $35.98

JOSEF RHEINBERGER (1839-1901): Piano Sonatas No. 1 in C "Symphonic", Op. 47, No. 2 in D Flat, Op. 99, No. 3 in E Flat "Romantic", Op. 135. Previously, Rheinberger's piano and organ sonatas have only been available on the no-longer-attainable Prezioso label, so that this rather miraculous release from Centaur in New Orleans will, we hope, slake the thirst of collectors from around the world. Pompa-Baldi is not only a Silver Medalist of the 2001 Van Cliburn Competition, but, he actually chose Rheinberger to record! Needless to say, he copes with all of the composer's technical requirements and proves to be as receptive to the emotional aspects of the composer's muse as to the virtuosic. Let's hope that this is only a first volume! Antonio Pompa-Baldi (piano). Centaur CRC 2648 (U.S.A.) 11F046 $16.98

ZDENEK FIBICH (1850-1900): Concert Melodramas: For Reciter(s) and Piano - Christmas Eve, Op. 9, The Flowers' Revenge, Eternity, Op. 14, The Water-Sprite, Op. 15, Queen Emma, Hakon, Op. 30, For Reciter(s) and Orchestra - Christmas Eve, Op. 9, The Water-Sprite, Op. 15, Hakon, Op. 30. For the curious, here are Fibich's contributions to this unusual genre.

2 CDs. No texts. Various reciters, Daniel Wiesner (piano), Hradec Králové Philharmonic Orchestra; Frantiek Vajnar. Sound Studio HF 0014-2 (Czech Republic) 11F047 $29.98 >

RICHARD FRANCK (1858-1938): Piano Trio in B Minor, Op. 20, Piano Trio in E Flat, Op. 32. Eduard Franck's son gets his first disc all to himself (his two cello sonatas appeared in couplings with pieces by his father in this Franck family series) with these piano trios from 1893 and 1900. With the exception of the rather passionate first movement of the B minor trio and the insistently rhythmic scherzo of the second, Richard's muse is a very lyrical one, concerned with beautiful melodies dressed in equally attractive harmonies in a conservative style which will appeal to all collectors of 19th century Romanticism. Christoph Schickedanz (violin), Thomas Blees (cello), Bernhard Fograscher (piano). Audite 97.487 (Germany) 11F048 $16.98

JENÖ HUBAY (1858-1937): Works for Violin and Piano, Vol. 6 - Fantaisie tziganesque, Op. 4, Plaines arabes, Op. 6/1, Chant polonais, Op. 6/2, Rózsa csárdás, Op. 59/1, Huszárenlied, Op. 59/2, Mosaïque - 10 Morceaux, Op. 49, 2 Fantaisies tziganesques, Op. 55, Cantilène, Op. 70, Ballade, Op. 104/1, Humoreske, Op. 104/2. Another well-filled (77 minutes) installment in this series brings a sandwich of exoticism (Arab, Polish and Hungarian/"Gypsy" tunes from both early and later on in Hubay's career) surrounding the ten-piece Mosaïque (1894) whose atmosphere is that of the French salon. And there should still be plenty more to come! Ferenc Szecsödi (violin), István Kassai (piano). Hungaroton HCD 32155 (Hungary) 11F049 $17.98

FRANZ STRAUSS (1822-1905): Fantasie über den Sehnsuchtswalzer von Schubert, Op. 2, Les Adieux, Nocturno, Op. 7, Empfindungen am Meere, Op. 12, Theme and Variations, Op. 13, RICHARD STRAUSS (1864-1949): Andante, ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810-1856): Phantasiestücke, Op. 73. Recordings of the music of Richard's father are still fairly rare, so it's good to have his five published works collected together here along with his son's silver anniversary tribute which was not published until 1973. John Ericson (horn), Gail Novak (piano). Summit DCD 372 (U.S.A.) 11F050 $17.98

GIUSEPPE VERDI (1813-1901): Organ Transcriptions - From Requiem: Dies irae (S. Molardi), Lacrimosa, Requiem, Rex tremendae and Recordare (A. Lebeau), Agnus Dei (Liszt), Overtures to La Forza del Destino, La traviata, Stiffelio (C. Fumagalli) and Aida, Finale of Act II of Aida, Offertorio from Giovanna de Guzman (C. Fumagalli), Di tale amore che dirsi from Il Trovatore (G. Foschini). The very exacting and precise notes to this issue uncover, for those who didn't know, the extent and importance of the performance of opera arias and orchestral excerpts on organs in 19th century Italy and the problems faced by transcribers regarding the original (human) voice-type and corresponding (organ) register-type. The two organ builders represented here were pioneers in the construction of instruments which would make possible particularly such transcriptions. (We assume that, where no transcriber is named, that the composer was responsible.) Stefano Molardi (Serassi organ of Santa Maria di Campagna, Piacenza and Bossi organ of RoncoleVerdi, Busseto, Parma). Tactus TC 812201 (Italy) 11F051 $11.98

XAVER SCHARWENKA (1850-1924): Piano Music, Volume 4 - 4 Polish Dances, Op. 47, 2 Klavierstücke, Op. 65, 6 Waltzes, Op. 28, Variations on a Theme by C.H., Op. 57, 3 Klavierstücke, Op. 86, 2 Erzählunen am Klavier, Op. 5. Another batch of these scintillating, tuneful and utterly conservative Romantic dances and character pieces shows that Scharwenka's outlook changed little from his 1870 Erzählungen (showing his early affinity to Schumann) to the 1913 Klavierstücke where the melodies are as fresh and strong as ever and the musical commitment is firmly to the 19th century. Seta Tanyel (piano). Original 1996 Collins Classics release. Helios CDH55134 (England) 11F052 $10.98

A Collection of (Mostly) Unknown Piano Nocturnes

KAZIMIERZ HENISZ (late 19th cen.): B Flat Minor, Op. 9, MIKHAIL GLINKA (1804-1857): F Minor, ADOLPH GUTMANN (1819-1882): A Flat, Op. 8/1, LEOPOLD GODOWSKY (1870-1938): Nocturnal Tangier from Triakontameron, WALTER NIEMANN (1876-1953): Singende Fontäne Nocturne in D, Op. 30, IGNACY JAN PADEREWSKI (1860-1941): B Flat, Op. 16/4, ETHELBERT NEVIN (1862-1901): A Major from May in Tuscany, Op. 21, FREDERIC CHOPIN (1810-1849): No. 1 in B Flat Minor, Op. 9/1, MORTON GOULD (1913-1996): Indian Nocturne from Americana, Mood Sketches, ABRAM CHASINS (1903-1987): G Minor, Op. 6/1, JOHN FIELD (1782-1837): No. 5 in B Flat, ALEXANDER GRECHANINOV (1864-1956): A Major, Op. 3/5, IGNACY KRZYZANOWSKI (1826-1905): G Minor, Op. 50/1, GIOVANNI SGAMBATI (1841-1914): Notturno in B Minor, Op. 20/1, JULIUS BENEDICT (1804-1885): A Flat Major, Op. 82/2, PETER TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893): F Major, Op. 10/1, SERGEI RACHMANINOV (1873-1943): A Minor, Op. 10/1. A novel idea and, well, what else can one say about such an abundance of unrecorded or rarely-recorded Nocturnes? Listen (although maybe not all the way through at one sitting) and enjoy! A future release from the same pianist and label promises the same concept applied to the Impromptu. Jungran Kim Khwarg (piano). Cambria 1137 (U.S.A.) 11F053 $16.98

JOSEPH HAYDN (1732-1809): Sonata in C, Hob.XVI:48 (Seydel Pianoforte 1799; Vojtek Spurn), VACLAV JAN TOMASEK (1774-1850): Eclogue No. 25, Op. 63/1 (Short piano in a Secretary, after 1810; Hanus Barton ), Jan Václav JAN VACLAV HUGO VORISEK (1791-1825): Le Désir, Op. 3 (Pyramid piano, 1810-20; Hanus Barton), FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886): Hussitenlied nach der Melodie von Josef Theodor Krov (Streicher Pianoforte 1935-38; Jan Panenka), Bedrich Smetana (1824-1884): 4 Polkas (Balley Grand Pianoforte after 1830; Karel Friesl), Polka in F Sharp, Op. 7/1 (Ullrich Grand Pianoforte 1863; Jan Novotn), Antonín Dvorák (1841-1904): Humoresque in G Flat, Op. 101/7, Legend, Op. 56/6 (Bösendorfer Salon Grand 1879-80; Frantisek Ku°da, Miroslav Langer [second player in Legend]), ZDENEK FIBICH (1850-1900): Moods, Impressions and Reminiscences, Nos. 65, 139, 193 & 281 (Schreiber Grand Piano 1874; Tomás Vísek), Alois Hába (1893-1973): Fantasia No. 10, Op. 31 (Quarter-Tone Grand Piano by August Förster 1924; Karel Reiner), JAROSLAV JEZEK (1906-1942): Tempo di Polka from Piano Sonata (Steinway Baby Grand 1927-28; Jan Novotn). A previous Czech import offered performances of violin pieces on instruments from the period of each composer represented. Now, we do the same for the fortepiano with about 150 years represented in music and instruments, each of which comes with photograph (mostly color) and notes. The music is fairly unusual also and there are brief notes for it as well. For both repertoire collectors and those who love the sound of period pianos. Sound Studio HF 0005-2 (Czech Republic) 11F054 $14.98 >

GUSTAV MAHLER (1860-1911)/BRUNO WALTER (1876-1962): Symphony No. 1 in D. The young conductor was employed by Mahler in 1894 as co-repetiteur of the chorus and orchestra of the Hamburg Opera and was later entrusted with the piano reduction of the first two symphonies. These are not "re-creations" in the manner of Zemlinsky's celebrated transcriptions but study aids for conductors and interested musicians. Prague Piano Duo. Praga Digitals SACD Hybrid PRD/DSD 250 197 (Czech Republic) 11F055 $17.98

ILDEBRANDO PIZZETTI (1880-1968): Assassinio nella catedrale. This is the world-premiere performance of the elderly Pizzetti's adaptation of an Italian translation of T.S. Eliot's play "Murder in the Cathedral". Its choral writing was judged to be the best aspect of the opera, praised for its intensity and variety while the character of Becket was also compelling in his depiction of his moral dilemmas although critics found fault with many other aspects of it. 2 CDs. Budget-price. No libretto. Nicola Rossi-Lemeni (bass), Chorus and Orchestra of La Scala; Gianandrea Gavazzeni (March 1, 1958). Opera d'Oro OPD-1396 (U.S.A.) 11F056 $10.98

A Feast of Mid-Price Bax Re-issues on CHANDOS

The first label to devote a complete series to the music of Arnold Bax, Chandos began this still-ongoing project back in 1983 with an LP of four tone-poems (which soon became one of the first CDs to be released by an independent label) and they are still going - a disc of film music will be in next month's catalogue.

Although Naxos has embarked on a well-received symphony cycle, the vast majority of the orchestral works in the six mid-price volumes listed below have no other recording available. This is an excellent opportunity to fill in gaps in your collection or, if you don't have any Bax (God forbid!), to dive in head-first!


Vernon Handley's new Bax symphony cycle on 5 mid-priced CDs including Tintagel and Rogue's Comedy Overture. The fifth disc is a series of interviews with conductor Handley about Bax's symphonies done by BBC Radio 3.


ARNOLD BAX (1883-1953): Orchestral Works Volume 1 - Violin Concerto, Cello Concerto, Morning Song. Lydia Mordkovich (violin), Raphael Wallfisch (cello), London Philharmonic Orchestra; Bryden Thomson. Chandos 10154 (England) 11F057 $12.98

ARNOLD BAX (1883-1953): Orchestral Works Volume 2 - Spring Fire, Symphonic Scherzo, Northern Ballad No. 2 (Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Vernon Handley), Northern Ballad No. 3 (Prelude for a Solemn Occasion). London Philharmonic Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra; Bryden Thomson. Chandos 10155 (England) 11F058 $12.98

ARNOLD BAX (1883-1953): Orchestral Works Volume 3 - November Woods, The Happy Forest, The Garden of Fand, Summer Music, Tintagel. Ulster Orchestra; Bryden Thomson. Chandos 10156 (England) 11F059 $12.98

ARNOLD BAX (1883-1953): Orchestral Works Volume 4 - The Tale the Pine Trees Knew, Into the Twilight, In the Faery Hills, Roscatha, A Legend, On the Sea Shore (London Philharmonic Orchestra; Vernon Handley). Ulster Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra; Bryden Thomson. Chandos 10157 (England) 11F060 $12.98

ARNOLD BAX (1883-1953): Orchestral Works Volume 5 - Festival Overture, Christmas Eve, Dance of Wild Irravel, Nympholept, Paean, Overture to a Picaresque Comedy, Cortège. London Philharmonic Orchestra; Bryden Thomson. Chandos 10158 (England) 11F061 $12.98

ARNOLD BAX (1883-1953): Orchestral Works Volume 6 - Russian Suite, 4 Songs for Tenor and Orchestra, Golden Eagle, Saga Fragment for Piano and Orchestra, Romantic Overture. Martyn Hill (tenor), Margaret Fingerhut (piano), London Philharmonic Orchestra; Bryden Thomson. Chandos 10159 (England) 11F062 $12.98

ARNOLD BAX (1883-1953): Complete Piano Music - Sonata No. 1, Sonata No. 2 in F Sharp Minor, Sonata No. 3 in G Sharp Minor, Sonata No. 4 in G, Lullaby (Berceuse), Country-Tune, Winter Waters, Water Music, A Hill Tune, In a Vodka Shop, 2 Russian Tone Pictures, The Maiden with the Daffodil (Idyll), The Princess's Rose Garden (Nocturne), Apple-Blossom-Time, On a May Evening, O Dame Get Up and Bake Your Pies (Variations on a North Country Christmas Carol), Nereid, Sleepy-Head, A Romance, Burlesque, Whirligig, What the Minstrel Told Us (Ballad), Legend, Dream in Exile (Intermezzo), A Mountain Mood, Mediterranean, Serpent Dance, Ceremonial Dance, The Slave Girl, In the Night, Toccata, Paean, Lento expressivo from "Salzburg" Sonata in B Flat Major. 4 CDs. Eric Parkin (piano). Chandos 10132 (England) 11F063 $39.98

ERIK SATIE (1866-1925): Piano Music, Vol. 4 - Vexations, Carnet d'esquisses et de croquis, 6 Pièces, Musiques intimes et secrètes, Le Piège de Méduse. The notorious Vexations - a series of tones and/or chords meant to be repeated 840 times - is given 39 minutes here (it can last 20 hours!), broken-up with the other tiny pieces or fragments listed above intermingled with them. Minimalists or Feldman collectors must see an odd fellowship with this strange little composer... Steffen Schleiermacher (piano). MD&G 613 1066-2 (Germany) 11F064 $17.98

HENRI TOMASI (1901-1971): Le Tombeau de Mireille for Oboe and Tambourine, Solo Oboe: PIERRE DE BRÉVILLE (1861-1949): Maneh, LOUIS DUREY (1888-1979): 3 pièces brèves, EUGÈNE BOZZA (1904-1991): Fantaisie Pastorale, Air de Vielle, Conte Pastorale, Aria (for Solo Oboe), GEORGES HUGON (1904-1980): Chant de la Solitude, JACQUES MURGIER (1912-1986): Capriccio, GERMAINE TAILLEFERRE (1892-1983): Rondo, GEORGES AURIC (1899-1983): Impromptu, PAUL LADMIRAULT (1877-1944): Adagio, JOSEPH GUY ROPARTZ (1864-1955): Lamento, ALBERT ROUSSEL (1869-1937): Aria, CESAR FRANCK (1822-1890): Pièce V. This Hungarian oboist does for his instrument what Dieter Klöcker does for the Classical clarinet and he finds another hour's worth of unknown (often unpublished) oboe music by French composers which is often pastoral (in keeping with the instrument's nature) and sometimes perkily neo-classical. Lajos Lencsés (oboe), François Killian (piano), Leo Lencsés (tambourine). Audite 97.502 (Germany) 11F065 $16.98 >

European Late Romanticism from Japan

SADAO BEKKU (b.1922): Symphony No. 5, Piano Concerto, 2 Prières for Orchestra. Bekku studied in France with Messiaen and Rivier and his 1956 Prières do have plenty of Gallic influence of that sort but the big surprise here is the 1981 piano concerto which sounds more like Rachmaninov than anyone else (there are also some Mahlerian overtones in its slow movement). It's a large-scale work, lasting around 35 minutes with a big, 16-minute first movement and it breathes the lush, romantic spirit of many concertos written a century earlier. The symphony (1999) is trimmer and more compact and there is a modal theme in its first movement, a pastoral sounding scherzo, the slow movement has something of a funeral march about it while the finale, remarkably enough, takes a near-clone of the Beethoven "Fate" motive and works it in similar obsessive manner (although a bit more dance-like than its model). Ikuyo Kamiya (piano), Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra; Hiroshi Wakasugi. Camerata 28CM-665 (Japan) 11F066 $17.98

BENJAMIN BRITTEN (1913-1976): Suite from The Prince of the Pagodas, Op. 57, COLIN MCPHEE (1900-1964): Tabuh-Tabuhan, Balinese Ceremonial Music for 2 Pianos (transcr. McPhee). A perfect coupling, given that it was only when visiting Bali in 1955 that Britten, stumped in his work on a ballet score whose due date was approaching, gained the necessary stimulus through his first-hand encounter with gamelan music. In fact, his orchestration in the central passage "The Arrival and Adventures of Belle Rose in the Kingdom of the Pagodas" is almost identical to that of McPhee in his Tabuh-Tabuhan of 1936 (itself using jazz and Latin-American elements in addition to its Balinese base). Rounding out the release is a seven-minute recording of three actual Balinese pieces transcribed for two pianos by McPhee and recorded by him and Britten for his publisher G. Schirmer in New York in 1941. BBC Symphony Orchestra; Leonard Slatkin, Benjamin Britten, Colin McPhee (pianos). Chandos 10111 (England) 11F067 $16.98

BENJAMIN BRITTEN (1913-1976): Paul Bunyan, Op. 17 (with Appendix consisting of Overture [orch. Colin Matthews], Inkslinger's Song and Lullaby of Dream Shadows with London Philharmonic Choir and English Chamber Orchestra; Brunelle). Originally mounted in 1941, this socially conscious (man vs. nature, man's impact on the ecology of the planet, order vs. disorder, youth vs. age) mix of Broadway and popular idioms and more serious, lyrical music was revived by the composer in the final year of his life. No libretto but a remarkably long (15-page) discussion of all aspects of the work's history by Donald Mitchell. 2 CDs. Mid-price. No libretto. Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra of the Plymouth Music Series; Philip Brunelle. Original 1988 Virgin Classics release. EMI 5 85139 2 (England) 11F068 $24.98

NIKOS SKALKOTTAS (1904-1949): Piano Trio, 8 Variations for Piano Trio (on a Greek Folktune), For Cello and Piano: Largo, Bolero, Serenata, Sonatina, Tender Melody. Although all of these works are dodecaphonic, the series of short works for cello and piano have the paradox of being quite atmospheric, approachable and attractive to the ear, in a few cases using tonal material with dodecaphonic foundations. The piano trio of 1936 is strictly serial and will appeal to collectors of Schoenbergian compositional theory while the Variations again use a folk-tune or a folk-like theme which is developed dodecaphonically. Maria Kitsopoulos (cello), Maria Asteriadou (piano), Georgios Demertzis (violin). BIS CD-1224 (Sweden) 11F069 $17.98

LOU HARRISON (1917-2003): Homage, Vol. 4 - Concerto for Organ with Percussion Orchestra, Varied Trio for Violin, Piano and Percussion, Fifth Simfony for Percussion Quartet, Air for the Poet for Chamber Orchestra, May Rain for Voice, Piano and Percussion, Elegy for Chamber Orchestra, Tributes to Charon for Percussion Trio. The fourth and final volume of this Italian percussionist's tribute to Harrison includes the first recordings of a couple of small works and the usual goulash of tuned and untuned percussion instruments. The three major works are the organ concerto of 1973 (Harrison cheerfully said that since the organ makes so much noise, let's couple it with a percussion orchestra and see what happens...), the Varied Trio of 1987 (whose synthesis of Indian music, the French baroque, the gamelan and dance is typical) and the Fifth Simfony, which, back in 1939, would have made quite an impression with its dozens of usual and unusual percussion instruments. Enzo Porta (violin), Pierpaolo Turetta (organ), Marina de Liso (mezzo), Adriano Ambrosini (piano), Támmittam Percussion Ensemble; Guido Facchin (percussion). Dynamic CDS 401 (Italy) 11F070 $17.98

VIRGIL THOMSON (1896-1989): String Quartet No. 1, DAVID L. POST (b.1949): String Quartet No. 1, MITCH HAMPTON (b. early 1960s): String Quartet No. 1 "The Universal Cycle", WILLIAM THOMAS MCKINLEY (b.1938): String Quartet No. 9. Thomson's 1931 quartet was written in Paris and has all of the cheek, wit and energy one would expect from that location at that time. Brimming with fragments of American hymn tunes, French chansons and various other types of popular music, it is also full of unexpected harmonic twists and turns, "wrong notes" and odd modulations of the "musical joke" variety. Although revised in 1957, this recording (the only one currently available) is of the original version. McKinley's quartet (1991) is in the form of eleven "moments musicals" which cover a wide variety of moods and styles; Post (1992) writes in an approachable, moderately modern style in which melody is still important and Hampton (1989) aligns movements of jazz and bluegrass with ones containing homophonic, chorale-like melodies, Schoenbergian chromaticism and romantic cantabile in his eclectic work. The Boston Composers String Quartet. MMC 2084 (U.S.A.) 11F071 $16.98

LENNOX BERKELEY (1903-1989): Horn Trio, Op. 44, 6 Preludes for Piano, Op. 23, 4 Poems of St. Teresa of Avila for Contralto and String Orchestra, Op. 27, Baritone and Piano: 3 Greek Songs, Op. 38, 5 Auden Poems, Op. 58, Polka for 2 Pianos, 3 Hands, Op. 1, I sing of a maiden and The Lord is my shepherd, Op. 91/1 for Choir. This compendium of recordings made as long ago as 1949 (the Preludes) and as recently as 1991 (The Lord is My Shepherd) is a fine pendant to Chandos' new orchestral series and gives a pretty good sample of Berkeley's approachable craft in chamber, instrumental and vocal music. Mono (except The Lord, I sing and Polka). Manoug Parikian (violin), Dennis Brain (horn), Colin Horsley (piano), Pamela Bowden (contralto), Colegium Musicum Londinii; John Minchinton, Thomas Hemsley (baritone), Ernest Lush (piano), Cyril Smith & Phyllis Sellick (piano three hands), Choir of King's College Cambridge; Sir David Willcocks, Stephen Cleobury. Original 1955, 1960, 1967 EMI releases. EMI 5 85138 2 (England) 11F072 $11.98

HENRI TOMASI (1901-1971): Concerto for Clarinet and String Orchestra, JACQUES BONDON (b.1927): Concerto d'Octobre for Clarinet and String Orchestra, Concerto des Offrandes for Clarinet and String Orchestra. At a time when their most successful colleagues were plumbing the depths of serialism, aleatory techniques and electronic music, both Tomasi (as we already know) and Bondon remained faithful to melody and this release of clarinet concertos is a gorgeous reminder of how much good music from the 50s and later still remains to be heard. Tomasi's is the earliest (1956) but Bondon (1976 and 1998 respectively) equals him in music of optimistic, highly contagious rhythmic drive (especially the first movment of Octobre) as well as in music of a more beautifully cantabile nature, as in Offrandes. Jean-Marc Fessard (clarinet), Poznan Philharmonic Orchestra; José Maria Florêncio Júnior. Dux 0397 (Poland) 11F073 $16.98

LINO LIVIABELLA (1902-1964): Sonatina, Riderella (with narrator), La musica nostra, Righetti e Ferro, Occhistella e il paradiso, Suite giocattolo. Liviabella was a composition student of Respighi and, given that he won a composition prize for a symphonic poem for the Berlin Olympics (called, not surprisingly, Il Vincitore) in which he conducted the BerlinPhilharmonic and, in 1943, won an Italian national prize for a symphonic poem (La mia terra), he would be an interesting subject of study for those interested in composers who did not suffer under fascist governments. However, the music here is mostly pre-war (the 1953 Suite giocattolo is a children's piece and 1942's Occhistella shows no particular effects of the outside world), in neo-classical style and paints psychological portraits or, in Riderella, portraits of nature (as much as we can gather from the almost non-existent notes) in a very pleasing, colorful style, not without touches of gentle melancholy, which should appeal to anyone interested in piano repertoire of the time and place. Sabrina Alberti & Catia Zaccaria (piano four hands), Lucio Liviabella (narrator). Nuova Era 7382 (Italy) 11F074 $17.98

NICHOLAS MAW (b.1935): Odyssey, Dance Scenes. At the time of its original release, the 95-minute Odyssey was hailed in England as a remarkable piece both for its structure and for its approachability. Composed over a six-year period between 1973-79, this four-part work (with Introduction and Epilogue) is of truly Brucknerian proportions and its concept of epic form can be found in Bruckner as well. For lovers of good old motivic working-out, this will certainly appeal since most of the score stems from a 44-bar theme heard at the beginning of Part I. The 1995 Dance Scenes is a set of four concert dances which will appeal to anyone who enjoys similar pieces composed by Malcolm Arnold. 2 CDs. Mid-price. City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra; Simon Rattle, Philharmonia Orchestra; Daniel Harding. Original 1991 and 1996 EMI releases. EMI 5 85145 2 (England) 11F075 $24.98

CHARLES CAMILLERI (b.1931): Clarinet and Piano: 4 Greek Songs, Dirge 11/09/01, Duo Sonata for Bass Clarinet and Piano, Divertimento No. 2, 3 Folk Songs from Malta, Shomyo for Solo Clarinet, Trio No. 2 for Clarinet, Cello and Piano. The early sets of folk songs, based on actual Greek and Maltese folk melodies, have all the color and easy approachability you would expect. The Divertimento of 1957 is freely tonal in a jazzy, bluesy idiom, the duo sonata of 1998 more abstract still, focusing on the colors the instruments are capable of while the largest-scale piece, the Trio No. 2, while sounding abstract, upon closer inspection uses element s of folk music to produce its language and effeects. David Campbell (clarinets), Julian Jacobson (piano), Zoë Martlew (cello). Meridian CDE 84470 (England) 11F076 $17.98

PHILIP GLASS (b.1937): Orphée Suite, Trilogy Sonata, Epilogue from Monsters of Grace. The pianist on this recording met Glass in 1995 and, since that time, has collaborated with the composer in piano transcriptions of various pieces from his theater music. The Trilogy Sonata was created in 1998 from the Knee Play No. 4 from Einstein on the Beach, the Act III Conclusion of Satyagraha and the Dance from Act II, Scene III of Akhnaten and the result seems to follow the psychological progression of a Classical piano sonata. The Orphée Suite contains seven excerpts from that work while the Epilogue provides a powerfully hypnotic close. Paul Barnes (piano). Orange Mountain Music OMM 0008 (U.S.A.) 11F077 $17.98

PAUL DESSAU (1894-1979): Einstein. First conceived in 1955 upon hearing of Einstein's death, Dessau only finished the music to this opera in 1973 for a Berlin premiere the following year. The famous physicist, having escaped the Nazis, is tormented by having to work on the atomic bomb for his new country, the U.S.A and he is visited by Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo and Giovanni Bruno, who can offer no solution to his problem. Dessau uses everything from direct Bach and Richard Strauss quotations to dance-band music and Schoenbergian tone-rows in this eclectic mix. 2 CDs. Budget-price. No libretto. Theo Adam (baritone), Eberhard Büchner (tenor), Reiner Süss (bass), Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale; Otmar Suitner (May 30, 1976). Opera d'Oro OPD-1371 (U.S.A.) 11F078 $10.98

Music of Max Stern

Stern was born on Long Island, studied at the Eastman School of Music and moved to Israel in 1976. He has lived in Beer-Sheva, in the Negev Desert, since 1979. We offer five of his ten self-produced CDs this month and will offer the other five in December. Note: Nos. 1-3 were offered by our predecessors pre-1997.

MAX STERN (b.1947): Symphoniae for Orchestra, Song of Hannah for Soprano, Oboe and Strings, Epiludes for Solo Double Bass. A young man's work, written between 1971-74 before his move to Israel, the 36-minute Symphoniae is in four movements: "Streets", "Night", "Dawn" and "Ascent". The first and third movements seem to evoke a big American city (imitations of car horns and traffic noise, American pop musical references) at evening and at dawn with a short, quiet but sometimes darkly intense respite. The fourth movement has a bit in common with the aspiring, optimistic music of Copland's best-known works as it slowly gathers force before ending in a blaze of glory. The 1995 Song of Hannah is a luminous and joyful eight-minute Biblical setting while the 15 Epiludes (1996) were originally musical interludes for a 1977 play and, using an Ashkenazic synagogue prayer motif as bass, employs extended instrumental techniques in a synthsis of tradition and the contemporary. English translation included. Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra; David Robertson, Kristyna Valouskova (soprano), Yuri Likin (oboe), Collegium Musica Sacra; Vitezslav Podrazil, Max Stern (double bass). Max Stern MS 3 (Israel) 11F079 $16.98 >

MAX STERN (b.1947): Quartet from the East for Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Piano, Piano Sonata, Gematria for Bassoon Ensemble, String Quartet "In Grief and Rage". The half-hour long Quartet from the East (1993) is a richly textured work which uses eight sacred songs of Jews from Muslim lands in its three movements, providing a synthesis of Eastern melody and texture with Western instrumental techniques while conveying the eternal longing of a people separated from their homeland. The other works are much earlier, two dating from Stern's U.S. days: the ten-minute sonata (1967) is an expressive, dramatic narrative, the string quartet of 1971 (mono) another single-movement piece but abstract and atonal, built on metamorphosing motifs. Gematria (1984) is aleatoric, based on numerical permutations of a Hebrew text and performed here by a solo bassoonist with pre-recorded and delay-track tape. Nicola Bulfone (clarinet), Mariko Matsuda (violin), Marco Dalsass (cello), Dario Sepini (piano), David Hollander (piano), Leon Sonnenblit (bassoons), no string quartet identified. Max Stern MS 5 (Israel) 11F080 $16.98 >

MAX STERN (b.1947): 3 Bedouin Impressions for Solo Cello, Terezin Songs for Soprano, Flute, Oboe, Guitar and Cello, Mosaic: 6 Synagogue Tesserae for Flute, English Horn, Violin, Cello and Synthesizer, Yobel for Orchestra, 3 Pastorals for Flute, Bassoon and Piano, 3 Motets on Chanukah Songs for Women's Choir. The majority of these works use various Jewish melodies and folk material as sources, with the Pastorals (1969/84) being more abstract, almost pointillistic in nature and the Terezin Songs (1969/2000) a freely composed response to the poems by Jewish children in the infamous concentration camp while Yobel (1998) is a 13-minute orchestral work inspired by the blasts of the shofar but whose rhythmic animation and flow transcend and extend the ritual associated with the instrument. Various artists incl. Israel Sinfonietta Beer-Sheva; Uri Mayer, Trio Seneca, Musica Gaudeans. Max Stern MS 7 (Israel) 11F081 $16.98 >

MAX STERN (b.1947): Messer Marco Polo - Prelude and Scene: The Chinese Garden from Act II, 3 Songs on Texts by American Poets for Soprano and Piano. This opera, based on the novel of the same name by Donn Byrne (1889-1928), was finished in 1999 and offered Stern much opportunity to produce exotically colored music, including his characteristically employed Jewish folk and liturgical music. Act Two contains a single scene (lasting almost 40 minutes), set in the Chinese garden of the female character Golden Bells, accompanied by the famous poet Li Po and Sanang, the court magician. Mostly delicately scored, in chamber-like texutes, the music is romantically tonal, colorful and very enjoyable (the Czech soloists sing the English texts in pretty good manner), while the prelude contains musical material from the entire opera in its eleven-minute span. Libretto included. Kristna Valouková (soprano), Robert ·icho (tenor), JiÞí Kalendovsk (bass), Talich Chamber Orchestra; Max Stern, Hanu Barton (piano). Max Stern MS 8 (Israel) 11F082 $16.98 >

MAX STERN (b.1947): Beer-Sheva - Four Scenes for Orchestra, Nevel Asor - Psalterion of 10 Strings for Solo Harp, Galumph - Ballet for Narrator and Ensemble, The Philosophy Lesson - Comic Dialogue for Bass from Moliere's The Bourgeois Gentleman, Baritone and Orchestra. Beer-Sheva (1999) cultivates the same territory as the Quartet from the East above, its four movements ("Abraham's Well", "Bedouin Tent", "Turkish Railway Station" and "Shouk") based again on sacred songs of Jews from Muslim lands and creating textures and colors which evoke the desert landscape of the Negev. Nevel Asor (1987) is a song of praise which evokes King David's harp and we are back in Rochester during student days for the 20-minute Moliere setting (1967) - lyrical and comical by turns - and 1968's modern dance fantasy for winds (no horn) and percussion, an equally diverting and approachable fifteen minutes (both mono). Israel Sinfonietta Beer-Sheva; Menachem Nebenhaus, Brigitte Langnickel-Kohler (harp), Joseph Bias (narrator), instrumental ensemble; Max Stern, Phillip Kirk (baritone), Jay Stearns (bass), chamber orchestra; William Shookhoff. Max Stern MS 9 (Israel) 11F083 $16.98 >

ANDERS NILSSON (b.1954): Concerto grosso for Saxophone Quartet and Orchestra, KETIL HVOSLEF (b.1939): Concerto for Saxophone Quartet and Orchestra, JOUNI KAIPAINEN (b.1956): Vernal Concerto "From Equinox to Solstice", Op. 53. Nilsson's work is an intriguing mixture of fixed and free elements in which opulent orchestral sound cushions the improvisatory-sounding group of soloists in music which has a touch of minimalism as well as the expected dashes of jazz. Hvoslef's concerto is a single-movement piece which is based around repetitions and constantly varied tone colors. Thematic development is not important and the work often takes on a static, meditative tone. Kaipainen's half-hour long concerto is also in a single-movement and has a narrative flow with periodic climaxes punctuated by percussion; the freely tonal music is again distinguished by tone color. Raschèr Saxophone Quartet, Swedish Chamber Orchestra; Petter Sundqvist. BIS CD-1203 (Sweden) 11F084 $17.98

JOHN CASKEN (b.1949): Darting the Skiff, Maharal Dreaming, Cello Concerto, Vaganza. Casken's individual style - reminiscent of the best of Tippett while avoiding the longeurs that afflicted some of Tippett's later works - marks him out as one of the major figures in conemporary British music. His avoidance of experimentalism and complexicism on the one hand and catch-all ececticism on the other gives his works a thoroughgoing integrity which contributes in no small measure to their sense of cohesion and tautness of argument. The concerto, with its long-breathed soliloquy suggesting an emotionally complex figure in an uneasily shifting orchestral landscape, is especially fine; the suggestion of (in this case, unspecified) narrative content relates this work to Maharal Dreaming, based on material from the composer's opera Golem in which the struggle of the protagonist against unwittingly unleashed supernatural forces is explicit; this story-telling ability is another link to Tippett. Heinrich Schiff (cello), Northern Sinfonia; John Casken. Original 1993 & 1995 Collins Classics releases. NMC Ancora D086 (England) 11F085 $15.98

JUDITH LANG ZAIMONT (b.1945): Piano Sonata, Jupiter's Moons, Nocturne - La Fin de Siècle, "Hesitation" Rag. The sonata is a fairly conventional, but not unoriginal, example of the genre, with a loosely interpreted sonata-form first movement, a cantabile slow movement, incorporating two scherzando sections by way of variety, and a rapid-running, rhythmicallly jerky perpetuum mobile for a finale. With its vaguely unidentifiable open-air "American" quality, the work is a fine example of the fact that one can still write tonal music in familiar forms at the beginning of the 21st century without sounding hopelessly old-fashioned. The attractive suite of atmospheric character-pieces based on both the astronomical characteristics and mythological associations of the names of five of Jupiter's moons invokes impressionism and mid-20th century American traditions - Copland, Piston - in a rhythmically quirky, modally-inflected tonality, as accessible as it is enjoyable. Joanne Polk (piano). Albany TROY 617 (U.S.A.) 11F086 $16.98

AURELIO DE LA VEGA (b.1925): Complete Piano Works - 3 Preludios, Rondó in E Flat, Epigrama, Danza Lenta, Toccata, Minué, Antinomies, Homenagem ("In Memoriam Heitor Villa-Lobos"). The Cuban-American de la Vega's compositions fall into four chronological categories with the Preludios and Rondo of the mid to late 1940s still in a broadly traditional, tonal European style (although often chromatic and dipping into atonality). Chromaticism increases markedly in the next three works (1953-57) with the Epigrama eschewing melody for atmosphere and texture, the Danza Lenta moody and introverted while the Toccata is a motoric, brilliant virtuoso piece. The largest work here, Antinomies (1967) is also the most avant-garde and uses spatial notation, serialized pitches and extended instrumental effects but whose uncanny use of the piano's sonorous capabilities makes it a gripping work nonetheless. The tribute to Villa-Lobos (1986) uses Latin and Cuban dance elements and American jazz rhythms in a less avant-garde but still modern style. Mid-price. Martha Marchena (piano). Musicians Showcase MS 1088 (U.S.A.) 11F087 $10.98

SAMUEL ADLER (b.1928): 4 Dialogs for Euphonium and Marimba, JAN BACH (b.1937): Concert Variations, DEREK BOURGEOIS (b.1941): Euphoria, TORSTEIN AAGAARD-NILSEN (b.1964): Lokk from the Green Island, DREW FENNELL: Prescott Poem, CHARLES MURCHISON: Ev'ryone But Me and transcriptions of well-known works by Mahler, Gershwin, Mussorgsky and Ravel. Mellifluous and flexible, the euphonium is such a natural solo instrument that it is surprising that more original works have not been written for it. Having said that, it has acquired some first-rate repertoire over the years, of which the finest can certainly stand alongside anything in the more familiar brass repertory. The marvellous Concert Variations of Jan Bach, a technical and expressive tour de force requiring the utmost virtuosity from both performers (and receiving it here), is one of the most striking works for this combination. Adler's inventive work introduces marimbas as accompaniment by way of variety, in a work of intriguing intricacy and direct appeal, while the Bourgeois, originally with orchestra, is entertaining and characterful. The wide range of transcriptions are also worthy of note; from the very unusual -a Mahler song from the Rückert Lieder, suggesting a rich baritone voice ofnunusal lung capacity, to the appealing and surprisingly sprightly Gershwin preludes, based on Heifetz' violin transcription, they all sound perfectly natural and idiomatic as interpreted by this delectable instrumental combination. Matthew Murchison (euphonium), Donna Amato (piano), Tim Adams (marimba), Lance LaDuke (euphonium). Mulholland Records MURCH 2607 (U.S.A.) 11F088 $16.98 >

JIRI TEML (b.1935): Symphony No. 2 "War with the Newts", Concerto No. 2 for Organ, Brass, Strings and Percussion, Jubilee Variations for Orchestra. Like the majority of Czech composers of his generation, Teml uses pieces of practically every compositional technique available to him at the time he was working on his compositions to produce an ever-changing personal style. Tonality, atonality, free tonality, Czech folk traditions, aleatoric techniques - all were fair game for these three works which date from 1987, 1994 and 1989 respectively. The Martinu tribute evokes the dynamic ebb and flow of tension and dance rhythms of the great composer; the organ concerto uses Gregorian elements in addition to the other elements and has a wonderfully still, almost Bartók-like slow movement while the symphony - suggested by, but not depicting in any way, Karel âapek's science-fiction novel - employs more avant-garde techniques than its fellows. Ale Bárta (organ), Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra; JiÞí Malát, Lutz Herbig, Vladimír Válek. Cesky Rozhlas CR 0103-2 (Czech Republic) 11F089 $14.98 >

ZDENEK LUKAS (b.1928): 3 Rondos for Flute, Cello and Piano, SYLVIE BODOROVÁ (b.1954): Hélios for Flute, Violin, Cello and Piano, Otomar Kve ch (b.1950): Shakespearean Echoes for Flute, Violin, Cello and Piano, ILJA HURNÍK (b.1922): Sonata da camera for Flute, Violin, Cello and Piano, Bohuslav Martinu° (1890-1959): Madrigal Sonata for Flute, Violin and Piano, Antonín DvoÞák (1841-1904): 4 Slavonic Dances from Op. 46. These compositions share the inspiration of forms of the past (technically, that is even true of the Dvorák, who used older folk melodies, in this transcription from 1870 altered to add a flute to the texture). Lukás' rondos from 1974 are lucid and lyrical pieces, Classically inspired; both Martinu and Kvech (1974) took their inspiration from the Renaissance while Hurník, in 1957, turned to baroque form since, in Czechoslovakia at least, one could still escape the Communist demands for "socialist realism" in "classical" musical forms. Bodorová's is the newest work here (1998) and has her characteristic optimism, energy and approachability in this eight-minute piece inspired by Phaëthon's ill-fated chariot test-drive. Ensemble Martinu. Triga EM-ART 0001-2131 (Czech Republic) 11F090 $14.98 >


MILAN SLAVICKY (b.1947): Ich dien for Chamber Orchestra, The Eyes for Organ, Synergy for Wind Quintet and Strings, Shading for Clarinet, Violin and Cello, Beatus Vir for Chorus and Organ, Invocation III for Solo Flute, Approaching II for Violin and Cello, Veni, Sancte Spiritus for Soprano and Chamber Ensemble. The notes that the composer provides about these diverse works for ensembles and soloists of various kinds suggest a generally optimistic and sometimes religion-based outlook on the extramusical - social and historical - preoccupations behind the music. Thus it is perhaps unsurprising that his musical vocabulary avoids the avant garde, and generally eschews sonic effects for their own sake. Grounded in tonality, overlain with coloristic chromaticism (the organ work is not unrelated to Messiaen, a few clusters notwithstanding), the music is approachable and undeniably Romantic in outlook, seeking, and often finding, harmony that it both musical and philosophical, even allowing for the diversions and uncertainties along the way that attend both life and art in the modern world. Soloistes européens Luxembourg; Jack Martin Händler, Susan Landale (organ), Camerata Zürich; Räto Tschupp and other artists. Studio Matous MK 0051-2 (Czech Republic) 11F091 $14.98 >


LARRY BELL (b.1952): Idumea Symphony (Symphony No. 2), Op. 40, Song and Dance - Divertimento for Chamber Orchestra, Op. 44, Short Symphony for Band, Op. 47, The Sentimental Muse - Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra, Op.45. In the argot of one recent generation or another, "If I'm lyin', I'm dyin'" if the Idumea Symphony isn't one of the most gorgeous, non-pastiche examples of a blend of Late Romanticism and French Impressionism... ! The Song and Dance blends Late Romanticism with 20th Century Americanism (i.e. Copland, Harris, etc.) in an extremely agreeable way while the symphony for band has some spicy echoes of Janácek in addition to the expected American influences. The bassoon concerto is so melody-rich and lyrical that one wonders why so few other composers can provide it with such gorgeous material. Kathryn Sleeper (bassoon), Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra; Joel Eric Suben, Jordan Winds; William Drury. North/South Recordings N/S R 1031 (U.S.A.) 11F092 $15.98

LARRY BELL (b.1952): Reminiscences and Reflections, Op. 46 (12 Preludes and Fugues). Composed between 1993 and 1998, this set of preludes and fugues is predominantly tonal (technically, certain aspects of certain pieces are serial but the atonal-hating will never notice it) and often neo-Romantic sounding with hints of popular music here and there although the fugal parts will satisfy the committed contrapuntalists among collectors. Jonathan Bass (piano). North/South Recordings N/S R 1032 (U.S.A.) 11F093 $15.98

LEO SAMAMA (b.1951): String Sextet, Op. 55, Clarinet Quintet, Op. 51, En Hollande for Soprano and String Quartet, Op. 56. This Dutch composer's blend of diatonicism, minimalist-tending repetitions and late Romanticism make for a very approachable, rich-sounding style which often has a lyrically joyful quality whose source is indefinable. The three works here are quite recent (1998-2001) and the sextet, at over 40 minutes is the longest. Described by Samama as "a Brahmsian divertissement", there are also jazz elements present in its fast second movement while the clarinet quartet is constructed around a motive from a Jewish synagogue chant and the composer manages effortlessly to evoke the lyricism of clarinet quartets of the Romantic period while never forgetting that the solo instrument is the definitive klezmer instrument. French texts. Valerius Ensemble, André Kerver (clarinet), Nienke Oostenrijk (soprano), Daniel Quartet. Donemus Composers Voice CV 106 (Netherlands) 11F094 $18.98

CARLOS H. VEERHOF (b.1926): Symphony No. 6 "Desiderata" for Soprano, Baritone, Bass, Orchestra, Choir and Speaker, Op. 70, Pater Noster for Six-Voice Choir and Orchestra, Op. 51, Alpha-Zeta for Six -Voice Choir, Op. 54. A celebration of the alphabet for a cappella chorus, Alpha-Zeta suggests a musical version of Toch's Geographical Fugue, though with (slightly) more serious purpose; vastly entertaining, certainly. The symphony, making equally inventive use of fragments of languages tossed around the choir, is a tougher proposition altogether, and carries a weightier philosophical message, which, setting texts by, and dedicated to, Nobel Peace Prize winners boils down to the idea that the human race had better start behaving itself, as if we don't rescue ourselves from oblivion, nobody else is likely to do it for us. The music is bold, dramatic and colorful, bordering on atonality much of the time, though resorting to passages of frank tonality, especially in the choral writing, for purposes of rhetorical emphasis. The Pater Noster, a setting of the traditional Latin text, is more conventional in both religious sentiment and musical language - like the texts set in the symphony, the music is an eclectic mixture of 20th-century styles, whereas the prayer-like setting of the Pater Noster has a simpler directness of utterance. Texts given in the languages spoken or sung, with translations into German only where the translation is also part of the material heard. Elizabeth Hagedorn (soprano), Andreas Scheibner (baritone), Hermann Christian Polster (bass), Boris Carmeli (speaker), Middle German Radio Choir and Symphony Orchestra; Leopold Hager, Michael Gläser, Howard Arman. col legno WWE 1CD 20039 (Germany) 11F095 $19.98

MAURICIO KAGEL (b.1931): Transición II for Piano, Percussion and Live Electronics, Phonophonie for 2 Voices and other Sound Sources. Even by the standards set by the ever-unpredictable Kagel, these two works seem, even at some decades remove from their composition, wildly experimental. Both make highly original use of electronics, both incorporate meticulously annotated material which is to be used in freely improvisatory fashion ("rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty" might almost be Kagel's motto, but actually Douglas Adams said it first). Unsurprisingly, both share a strongly theatrical element - as when the percussionist plays on the piano strings in Transicion II, thereby modifying the timbres of the piano part being simltaneously played. Phonophonie is explicitly a theatrical work, in which a solo singer depicts the disintegration of a personality and of the rigid constraints and forms of opera in a kind of schizophrenic monologue - sometimes frightening, sometimes comical - with other sound effects accompanying, both on stage, offstage and prerecorded. Aldo Orvieto (piano), Dimitri Fiorin (percussion), Alvise Vidolin (tapes and electronics), Nicholas Isherwood (bass), Stefano Bassanese (tapes and sound direction). Mode 127 (U.S.A.) 11F096 $17.98

HENRI LAZAROF (b.1932): Violin Sonata, Sonatina for Flute and Piano, Solo for Alto Flute, String Quartet No. 7. These chamber works succeed admirably in making a direct appeal to the senses and emotions, without being in any way concerned with belonging to any particular school or dogma in compositional technique. They are all recent works, from the late '90s through the early 2000s, and this sort of musical egalitarianism is, of course, a great deal easier to carry off nowadays than, say, 30 years ago. So, the two instrumental sonatas follow a fairly conventional plan, and adopt a language steeped in tonality, in which a high degree of emotional drama is readily expressed. Despite the freedom of interpretation written into the score of the alto flute Solo, this work is even more so, a direct monologue in an idiom that wouldn't have given Debussy much cause for alarm. The quartet, a substantial work of some 20 minutes, makes a substantial dramatic impact, and again, concessions to modernism don't really go far beynd early Schoenberg and Bartók; the work encompasses a considerble range of emotional territory, with the tense and melancholy slow movement being especially telling. Christiane Edinger (violin), Klaus Hellwig (piano), Marco Fregnani-Martins (flutes), Lukas Kuen (piano), Sine Nomine Quartet. Centaur CRC 2629 (U.S.A.) 11F097 $16.98

WALTER ZIMMERMANN (b.1949): Beginner's Mind, Wüstenwanderung, Abgeschiedenheit, Wanda Landowska, Barn Snail Dance, When I'm 84. An exponent of the "new simplicity", and with an overlay of Zen abstraction and ambiguity (or, as its adherents would have it, precision), Zimmermann has written piano music which suggests a tradition (which probably does not exist) encompassing Satie by way of John Cage. The deliberate naïvété of much of the material, and the incorporation of sometimes apparently incongrous reminiscences of earlier material - music played by Landowska in "Wanda Landowska (Wanda Landowska's Lost Instruments)", Schubert, The Beatles - invites a kind of philosophical reflection on the part of the listener, though the precise nature of this is never spelled out. Some of the pieces incorporate vocalisations and music-theatre elements (the latter unavailable on an audio-only CD) which again suggest the legacy of Cage, and provide a dimension to the music that is perhaps of greater importance than the sounds themselves. 2 CDs. Ian Pace (piano). Metier MSV CD92057 (a+b) (England) 11F098 $33.98

WOLFGANG RIHM (b.1952): Klavierstücke Nos. 1, Op. 8a, No. 2, Op. 8b, No. 4, No. 5 "Tombeau" and No. 7. Calling a series of piano works "Klavierstücke" with numbers, if one is a German composer of avant-garde persuasions, sounds like an hommage to Stockhausen, but surprisingly, that seems to be about as far as the comparison can be taken. These pieces are surprisingly tonal! And not only that, they contain not a few suggestions of models in the piano literature such as Liszt and Beethoven. Whatever are we to do? Seriously, though; Rihm's pieces, while containing passages of wild virtuosity, are generally of relatively open texture, with rhythmic incisiveness one of their predominant characteristics, and abrupt contrasts of dynamics being another; the material being readily identifiable intervals and chords - yes, octaves, even! - rather than the explosively fragmentary pointillistic textures emancipated by Boulez in the mid-1940s. In mood, much of this music is related to Romantic preoccupations of a hundred years ago, and while the style could only be that of our time, the music is less 'revolutionary' than much 20th-century piano music from decades earlier. Bernhard Wambach (piano). Kairos 0012372KAI (Austria) 11F099 $15.98

ERICH WOLFGANG KORNGOLD (1897-1957): The Adventures of Robin Hood. At last, the complete score from one of cinema's most famous and beloved films arrives in this series from Marco Polo. Saturated with melody and orchestral color (courtesy of his preferred orchestrator Hugo Friedhofer, with whom he worked simultaneously), this is all but an opera with each character given a motif of truly vocal quality (actually, there are motifs for abstract things to, such as "The Oppression of the Saxons"). Previously, the longest recording of Robin Hood music lasted only 43 minutes (Varese Sarabande in 1983); here, the complete score runs to just over 78 minutes. As usual, John Morgan had much work to reconstruct every minute of music (some bars were restored which Korngold had taken out of the score for various technical reasons) and he provides two and a half pages of notes about this. In addition, the 28-page booklet contains an overview of the making of the film and the hiring of Korngold (by Rudy Behlmer, author of a book on Warner Bros. movies) and copious notes on the scoring process, the score itself, a track-by-track "listening guide" to the score and, finally, a postscript - all from Korngold biographer Brendan G. Carroll. Moscow Symphony Orchestra; William Stromberg. Marco Polo 8.225268 (New Zealand) 11F100 $15.98

Organ Spectacular in SACD/CD Hybrid Surround-Sound

SAMUEL BARBER (1910-1981): Toccata Festiva for Organ and Orchestra, Op. 36, FRANK ZABEL (b.1968): Touching Colours for Organ and Large Orchestra, RICHARD STRAUSS (1864-1949): Feierlicher Einzug der Ritter des Johanniterorderns for Brass Ensemble, Timpani and Organ (arr. Reger & J.H.E. Koch), CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921): Symphony No. 3, Op. 78. Only one of the usual suspects being here makes this a possible acquisition not only for organ and sound buffs but also for repertoire collectors since the Barber - virtuosic, colorful and subtle as well as powerful - is hardly over-recorded. Zabel's work was written for this organist and is a 13-minute exercise in organ and orchestral tone color with melody and harmony pushed to the rear while the Strauss transcription closes the disc in true Germanic splendor. Christian Schmitt (organ of the Collegiate Church of St. Arnual, Saarbrücken), Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra; Johannes Wildner. Audite 92.506 (Germany) 11F101 $16.98

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827): Cantata on the Death of Emperor Joseph II, Fantasia in C Minor for Piano, Orchestra and Chorus, Op. 80, FRANZ SCHUBERT (1797-1828): Gesang der Geister über den Wassern, D874. For collectors who enjoy the true oddity of a famous conductor in unusual repertoire and who may even have known the old Vox LPs. at the time. Mono. Ilona Steingruber (soprano), Alfred Poell (baritone), Friedrich Wuehrer (piano), Akademie Kammerchor, Chorus of the Vienna State Opera (Schubert), Vienna Symphony Orchestra; Clemens Krauss. Original 1950 Vox releases. Preiser 90553 (Austria) 11F102 $16.98

ARMAS JÄRNEFELT (1969-1958): On Sunday, Twilight, A Flower is Purest When Blossoming, To the Kantele, Summer Shore, When All Clocks Have Struck Twelve, The Poor One, Lullaby (Rock, O Cradle), A Dreamer's Song to Life, You, The Face of the Fatherland, Lullaby to a Breaker, At Sunset, Sing, Sing!, Sunshine, Dream, Lina, A Fiddling and Dancing Tune, Titania, Lullaby (Soft, soft), My Hope, The Lark. Järnefelt's songs are a notable example of Finnish National Romanticism with his earlier songs often having the flavor of folk music (and melodic figures typical of the kantele) while later ones contain Impressionist and even Expressionist influences. Everywhere there is cantabile melody, colorful harmonies and that typical Nordic freshness which you know when you hear it. Finnish/Swedish-English texts. Jorma Hynninen (baritone), Camilla Nylund (soprano), Ilkka Paananen (piano). Ondine ODE 1029-2 (Finland) 11F103 $17.98

MILOSLAV KABELAC (1908-1979): 7 Compositions, Op. 14, Passacaglia T.G.M., Op. 3, Motifs from Exotic Lands, Op. 38, 8 Preludes, Op. 30. We were going to formally offer this title but were not able to get a sufficient quantity so, collectors, we have only four copies and likely will not get any more. Daniel Wiesner (piano). Panton 81 9012-2 (Czech Republic) 11F104 $14.98 >