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KURT ATTERBERG (1887-1974): Symphony No. 7, Op. 45 "Sinfonia Romantica", Symphony No. 8, Op. 48. Atterberg constructed his seventh symphony (1941-42) from music from his opera Fanal (like Prokofiev with his third symphony and The Fiery Angel or Vaughan Williams with his fifth symphony and The Pilgrim's Progress); with malice aforethought toward the composers and critics who championed atonal music to the exclusion of everything else, the composer gave it the title Sinfonia Romantica. Romantic it certainly is; its three movements (a long fourth movement was dropped by Atterberg when revising the work in 1972) are headed Drammatico, Semplice and Feroce, the latter an orgiastic dance-fantasy which brings a work seething with heart-on-sleeve melodies to a dizzying conclusion. This is its World Premiere Recording. The Eighth dates from 1944-45 and appears for the first time on CD here. Like the Fourth, all of the motivic material consists of Swedish folk motifs (which are listed in the notes). In the more traditional four movements, the work was composed with great care so as not to seem a rhapsodic collection of stitched-together folk tunes and its symphonic structure is amply appreciable. After its premiere in Helsinki in 1945, the following phone message was left at Atterberg's hotel: "Thank you for your wonderfully harmonious symphony. With warmest regards, Jean Sibelius." What better recommendation than this? Malmö Symphony Orchestra; Michail Jurowski. Sterling CDS 1026 (Sweden) 11A001 $15.98

NINO ROTA - the 2 Piano Concertos

NINA ROTA (1911-1979): Piano Concerto in E Minor, Piano Concerto in C. The Rota Extravaganza continues unabated with these piano concertos following September's symphonies and last month's violin/viola works. The E Minor concerto is from 1960 while the date of the other is not known; both works are shot through with delicate effects of light and shade, the piano singing a magical pianissimo in many places, tracing a glimmering trail of fantasy like that of one of Fellini's screenplays. It would be simple to call the works "cinematographic" in their easy and grateful accessibility to the ear, but their spontenaiety, crystalline transparence and dreamy eloquence are marks of a master composer. Massimo Palumbo (piano), I Virtuosi Italiani; Marco Boni. Chandos 9681 (England) 11A002 $16.98

AARRE MERIKANTO (1893-1958): Piano Concerto No. 2, Piano Concerto No. 3, 2 Studies for Small Orchestra, 2 Pieces for Orchestra. The two concertos date from 1937 and 1955 respectively - long after his decade-long flirtation with Scriabinesque modernism during the 20s. Both have audible connections to Bartók and Prokofiev in their motoric movements and to Rachmaninov in their freely rhapsodic opening movements. The short orchestral works show a gift for gracefully spun melodies and, in one, a shimmering Impressionism. Matti Raekallio (piano), Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra; Tuomas Ollila. Ondine 915 (Finland) 11A003 $17.98

HARALD SÆVERUD (1897-1992): Fanfare og Hymne, Op. 48, Piano Concerto, Op. 31, Symphony No. 9, Op. 45. Sæverud's ninth and last symphony (1966) has not been readily available on CD and this is its first digital recording. In four movements, the piece combines programmatic elements (the finale is subtitled Bells in the Mountains and is inspired by the rugged west coast of Norway) and abstract construction (the first movement is a large passacaglia with counterpoint reminiscent of the 1942 Sinfonia dolorosa). An elegant waltz which captures the magic of Scandinavian summer nights and an inward, serious andante sostenuto complete the final symphonic testament of the doyen of 20th century Norwegian music. The 1950 piano concerto's stripped-down form of neo-classicism and a programmatic fanfare for the city of Bergen's 900th anniversary complete this rewarding disc. Noriko Ogawa (piano), Stavanger Symphony Orchestra; Alexander Dmitriev. BIS 962 (Sweden) 11A004 $17.98

ROBERTO GERHARD (1896-1970): Symphony "Homenaje a Pedrell", Concerto for Harpsichord, Strings and Percussion. Gerhard's homage to his beloved teacher Felipe Pedrell dates from 1941; never performed, except for its final movement (in a revised form), this colorful, tonal and thoroughly enjoyable work receives its first recording here. Its first movement might have been written by a young Dvorák using Spanish folk tunes with Sibelian tremolos carrying the movement forward; the second contrasts the eerie stasis of an Andalusian-inspired section (where Gerhard knew his Bartók) with a lilting rhapsodic dance of Delian character. The finale presents elements from the first two movements in an almost breathless pace with a kaleidoscopic use of the orchestra and ends in a gorgeously romantic peroration. 35 and a half minutes of thrilling discovery! The 1956 concerto was written in emulation of De Falla; although serial, it sounds like Bartók and Szymanowski and it has a brooding, sinister adagio followed by a danse macabre of a finale in which all of the skeletons are Catalan or Spanish. Geoffrey Tozer (harpsichord), BBC Symphony Orchestra; Matthias Bamert. Chandos 9693 (England) 11A005 $16.98

DARIUS MILHAUD (1892-1974): Symphony No. 1, Op. 210, Symphony No. 4, Op. 281. For all his legendary prolificity, Milhaud was 47 before he wrote his first symphony in which his polytonality and elaborate and constantly changing textures do not conceal a languorous charm in its slow movement and an infusion of bright joy in its finale. The fourth symphony was a commission for the 100th anniversary of the 1848 revolution and its four movements alternate tragedy with popular rejoicing in colorful, thrilling and ardent music, punctuated at beginning and end with vigorous percussion. Basel Radio Symphony Orchestra; Alun Francis. CPO 999 539 (Germany) 11A006 $15.98

DARIUS MILHAUD (1892-1974): 4 Poèmes de Paul Claudel, Op. 26, Les Soirées de Petrograde, Op. 55, Poème du Journal Intime de Léo Latil, Op. 73, String Quartets No. 6, Op. 77, No. 7, Op. 87, No. 8, Op. 121. Maarten Koningsberger (baritone), Rudolf Jansen (piano), Fanny Mendelssohn Quartet. Troubadisc TRO-CD 01411 (Germany) 11A007 $16.98

DARIUS MILHAUD (1892-1974): String Quartets No. 2, Op. 12, No. 7, Op. 87, No. 13, Op. 269 and No. 16, Op. 303. Quatuor Parisii. Auvidis/Valois V 4782 (France) 11A008 $18.98

The astonishingly prolific and versatile Milhaud wrote songs as varied and original as anything in his vast output. The 4 Poèmes are powerful and passionate works, full of expressive outbursts and with highly original piano accompaniments. The aphoristic little "Petersburg Evenings" have a spare, ironic quality, while the Léo Latil song is an intense, and intensely personal, work, rather dissonant and full of tension. The three quartets which fill up the CD, as well as the four on the second disc above, contain some remarkable quartet writing, much of the economy of Shostakovich and skillful use of polyphony and ambiguous shifting tonality.

HILDING ROSENBERG (1892-1985): Suite on Swedish Folk Tunes, Op. 36, Concerto No. 1 for Strings, Concerto No. 4 for Strings. Compared to his Scandinavian contemporaries, Rosenberg is strangely undervalued, for no good reason. Typically intense, and not so very far removed from the Shostakovich quartets in harmonic language and rhythmic vitality, these striking works for string orchestra contain folk inflections aplenty (especially of course in the Suite), but it is Rosenberg's orchestral use of his restricted pallette that is most remarkable. The two concertos are dynamically propelled works with an emotional range which would be remarkable in a full-scale symphony. Not easy listening by any means, but music with a directness of utterance that draws the listener in and doesn't let go until some time after the last note has sounded. Deutsche Kammerakademie Neuss; Johannes Goritzki. CPO 999 573 (Germany) 11A009 $15.98

KHACHATURIAN - Poem to Stalin

ARAM KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978): Ode in Memory of Lenin, Poem to Stalin, 3 Concert Arias. The first stereo recording of the Poem to Stalin (premiered in 1938) presents us with an intellectual conundrum but with obviously heartfelt music: three groups of related themes, some using Caucasian folk material build to a heroic chorus in praise of the USSR's monstrous dictator. The ode to Lenin dates from 1948 and comes from a film score; it impressively evokes the sense of catastrophic grief which gripped Moscow at the news of Lenin's death in 1924. The concert arias, free of political/ideological complications, date from 1944-47 and set three Armenian poems about love in the composer's best color-saturated folk style. Galina Boiko (soprano), Belarus State Chorus, State Cinematographic Symphony Orchestra; Walter Mnatsakanov. Citadel CTD 88131 (U.S.A.) 11A010 $14.98

ADOLPHE BIARENT - Belgian Late Romanticism

ADOLPHE BIARENT (1871-1916): Poème héroïque for Large Orchestra, Rapsodie wallonne for Piano and Orchestra, Contes d'Orient for Orchestra. The second disc from Cyprès devoted to this forgotten Flemish composer reveals more fascinatingly colorful, fiery and audacious music. The "Heroic Poem" (1907) and weaves the influences of Strauss and Wagner into a heady musical stew which depicts the death of a Viking warrior, surrounded by the corpses of his men, and the crow whom he askes to carry his heart to his fiancée. The post-romantic harmonies border on the territory of Scriabin and Raitio, among others. Quite different in effect is the 1910 Rhapsody which was written for de Greef and which skillfully weaves various Walloon folk songs into a concerto-sized work in three sections played attacca; it not only recalls D'Indy's Symphonie sur un chant montagnard in its general lines but was conducted by that master as well. The largest work here is the 38-minute suite "Tales of the Orient" (1909) which carries the listener on a musical tour from the Punjab to the Ukraine via Hindustan and Japan, using authentic melodies and rich, extravagantly colorful orchestration with many virtuosic opportunites for solo instruments. One of the discoveries of the year! Diane Andersen (piano), Liège Philharmonic Orchestra; Pierre Bartholomée. Cyprès CYP 7605 (Belgium) 11A011 $17.98

EDUARDO CABA (1890-1953): Aires Indios Nos. 2 & 4, CARLOS FARIÑAS (b.1934): 3 sones sencillos, EDUARDO FABINI (1882-1950): Estudio arpegiado, Triste No. 1, FRANCISCO MIGNONE (1897-1989): Valses de esquina Nos. 1 & 2, ERNESTO NAZARETH (1863-1934): Zenith (chôro), Ameno Resedá (polka), HEITOR VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959): A lenda do caboclo, Impressoes seresteira, Chôro No. 5, ALBERTO GINASTERA (1916-1984): Malambo, Milonga, 3 danzas argentinas. Irma Ametrano (piano). Mandala MAN 4930 (France) 11A012 $18.98

ERNESTO NAZARETH (1863-1934): Sarambeque, Fidalga, Retumbante, Vem cá, Branquinha, Confidências, Odeon, Apanhei-te Cavaquinho, Coraçâo que sente, Brejeiro, Ameno Resedá, Mercedes, Fon-Fon!, Floraux, Improviso. Marco Antonio de Almeida (piano). Klavier KD-77026 (U.S.A.) 11A013 $17.98

Two releases which survey the impressive variety of Latin-American piano music of the 19th and 20th centuries (Latin-American in its broadest sense, the first CD having composers from Cuba, Bolivia, and Uruguay as well as the known quantities from Brazil and Argentina). Many of the pieces come from indigenous popular music (Fariña's sones are of Hispano-African background, Caba's aires come from the natives of the Bolivian altiplano, Ginastera's Argentinian dances, Nazareth's tangos and Villa-Lobos' Afro-Brazilian numbers) but many more, especially of Nazareth's, are Latin adaptations of those European perennials: the waltz and the polka, transmuted into a kind of Brazilian ragtime. Much unusual repertoire, all of it, once heard, hard to dislodge from the memory.

PERCY GRAINGER (1882-1961): The Grainger Edition, Vol. 9 - Works for Chorus and Orchestra 3. The Power of Love, Love Verses from "The Song of Solomon", The Three Ravens, Danny Deever, Skye Boat Song, O Gin I Were Where Gadie Rins, Dollar and a Half a Day, Died for Love, Mock Morris, Early One Morning, Scherzo, The Merry King, Molly on the Shore, Random Round, Irish Tune from Couty Derry, Youthful Rapture, Shepherd's Hey!. Was there ever a composer who put more of himself into his music than Percy Grainger? It is only relatively recently that the arranger of the much-misinterpreted Country Gardens and other folk settings has been perceived as the tormented soul in his music that he was known to be in life. There are depths of passion and melancholy in these pieces - the longest of which, the oddly sinister Random Round, which in concept sounds like an innocuous enough experiment in partially aleatoric composition way ahead of its time) lasts a mere 6 minutes - that have to be heard to be believed. With his rich, sometimes almost suffocating chromatic harmony and slithering chromatic accompaniments (sometimes leading to startling dissonance in quite unexpected settings), Grainger stands as one of the great communicators of raw emotion in all music. Lest this all sound too grim, the mix is leavened - somewhat - by several of the folk-music tunes in unfamiliar arrangements, several receiving their first recordings here. Susan Gritton (soprano), Pamela Helen Stephen (mezzo), Mark Tucker (tenor), Stephen Varcoe (baritone), Tim Hugh (cello), Joyful Company of Singers, City of London Sinfonia; Richard Hickox. Chandos 9653 (England) 11A014 $16.98

HARALD GENZMER (b.1909): Piano Sonata No. 5, 10 Preludes, First Sonatine, Suite in C. Genzmer's piano music, especially the sonata, creates an even stronger impression than the orchestral music from last month's catalogue. The sonata is a strong piece, demanding considerable virtuosity, with a beautiful slow movement and an exhilarating perpetuum mobile finale. The composer's avoidance of rigid systems of composition give his music a free-wheeling quality, in which familiar territory is covered but without any sense of predictability. Genzmer's use of harmony is bold and colorful, and the music has a good deal of rhythmic variety and excitement. Oliver Triendel (piano). Thorofon CTH 2329 (Germany) 11A015 $16.98

More 18th Century Symphonic Discoveries from NAXOS

CARL DITTERS VON DITTERSDORF (1739-1799): Symphonies in D Minor, F and G Minor. This may be the finest volume yet in Naxos' series "The 18th Century Symphony": here we have, in the G Minor symphony (from the late 1760s), a work which can stand comparision with Haydn's finest Sturm und Drang symphonies. Nearly a half-hour in length, it plots a course through minor-key turbulence and intensity and is full of the unexpected musical surprises which inform Papa Haydn's works of the same period (one manuscript of the work is even attributed to Haydn). The F Major work (early 1760s) is like many of Dittersdorf's symphonies already in print - short and vivacious with Mannheim crescendos tempered by Austrian folk-elements while the D Minor, from the mid 1770s - again like some of Haydn's Sturm und Drang period pieces - begins unusually with an adagio first movement of remarkable intensity before metamorphosing into a more "normal" final three movements (with a finale, again, of Haydnesque quirky humor). Top shelf stuff which all collectors of Classical symphonies must have. Failoni Orchestra; Uwe Grodd. Naxos 8.553974 (New Zealand) 11A016 $5.98

CHRISTIAN CANNABICH (1731-1798): SymphoniesNos. 59, 63, 64, 67 and 68. Cannabich is probably the most egregiously neglected 18th century symphonic composer. One of the foremost composers of the Mannheim school, he trained and directed the Mannheim court orchestra during its greatest fame and was highly thought of by and a good friend of Mozart. These are the first recordings of his symphonies to be generally available since the early 70s or so and they are all well worth having. The famous "Mannheim crescendo" is in evidence as is marvellously varied scoring (No. 63, which opens with a grand, emphatic unison, has oboes, clarinets, bassoons, horns, trumpets and timpani), vigorously rhythmic fast movements and gracefully tuneful slow ones (all are in three-movement form). This release is a long overdue rescue from oblivion for one of the most significant symphonists of the last third of the 18th century. Lukas Consort; Viktor Lukas. Naxos 8.553960 (New Zealand) 11A017 $5.98

NICCOLÒ JOMMELLI (1714-1774): Il Vologeso. Jommelli's 1766 opera seria is set in Parthia where the title character has been defeated by the Roman co-emperor Lucius Verus who falls in love with Vologeses' beloved Berenice. The libretto is reasonably strong and Jommelli's artistry is gripping, with cunningly planned and executed ensembles ending each of the first two acts, rhythmic and textural complexity and remarkably independent use of violas, cellos, basses and wind instruments, which have obbligato roles in many of the recitaitves and arias. 3 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Jörg Waschinski (sopranist), Lothat Odinius (tenor), Gabriele Rossmanith (soprano), Helene Schneiderman (mezzo), Stuttgard Chamber Orchestra; Frieder Bernius. Orfeo C 420 983 F (Germany) 11A018 $56.98

GEORG ANTON BENDA (1722-1795): Romeo und Julie. Dating from 1776, Benda's singspiel was composed for the rather limited resources of the Gotha court theatre, necessitating the elimination of several characters, picking up the story after the wedding of the ill-fated couple and makes Juliet the center of attention. It also has a happy ending, Juliet awakening before Romeo can poison himself, which conflicts with the otherwise powerful, dark character of the work. Nonetheless, there is so much fine, dramatic music and vivid emotional expression in the score that anyone interested in 19th century singspiel will be grateful for this fine performance (on period instruments). 2 CDs for the price of 1. German-English libretto. Scot Weir (tenor), Heidrun Kordes (soprano), Vocal Ensemble of the Forum Alte Musik Bremen, La Stagione Frankfurt; Michael Schneider. CPO 999 496 (Germany) 11A019 $15.98

JOSEF MYSLIVEâEK (1737-1781): Flute Concerto in D, FRANTI·EK ANTONÍN RÖSSLER-ROSSETTI (1746-1792): Flute Concerto in G, FRANTI·EK BENDA (1709-1786): Flute Concerto in G. Myslivecek's concerto is in the high Classical style; collectors who know how Mozartian his violin concertos sound will know what to expect: graceful, lyrical melodies floated over a bed of judicious orchestral accompaniment culminating in an infectiously lilting finale. The Rössler is even better - signs of early Romanticism abound and anyone who loves the E Minor Mercadante flute concerto will want to have it. Benda's is the earliest work here in which elements of the late Baroque sit side-by-side with the vocabulary of the early Classical. Václav Kunt (flute), Prague Chamber Orchestra. Vars VA 0074-2 (Czech Republic) 11A020 $14.98

ANTONÍN VRANICK (1761-1820): Sextet No. 7 in G, PAVEL VRANICK (1756-1808): Sextets No. 3 in E Flat, No. 4 in C and No. 6 in D Minor. The Vranicky brothers represent late Classicism's side which stresses simplicity, clarity of form, lyricism and good humor. All of these sextets are for oboe and flute with string quartet (two violas); Antonín's is the longest and its adagio flirts with Romanticism in its harmonic boldness. Pavel's are his own transcriptions of three of his symphonies (following the common trend for gaining exposure for symphonic works); interestingly, the revival of interest in Handel during the 1790s can be heard in the slow introduction to his D Minor sextet. Jana BroÏková (oboe), JiÞí Válek (flute), Stamic Quartet. Panton 81 9002 (Czech Republic) 11A021 $16.98

JOHANN SCHOBERT (c.1735-1767): Keyboard Sonatas with Violin Accompaniment in C, Op. 1/2, in D, Op. 3/1 and in G, Op. 3/2. The same period instrument specialist who has been bringing us BIS' series of C.P.E. Bach's keyboard works appears here on his national label with three sonatas from the early 1760s by one of the two composers (J.C. Bach being the other) who had the most influence on the child Mozart. The D major sonata recorded here was imitated in several of Mozart's English and Parisian sonatas. Like Mozart's early "violin sonatas", the keyboard here is the solo instrument while the violinist accompanies and the works fall into the transitional period between the Mannheim character and the high Classical style of the last three decades of the 18th century. Miklós Spányi (tangent piano), Péter Szüts (violin). Hungaroton HCD 31771 (Hungary) 11A022 $16.98

CARL CZERNY (1791-1857): Piano Trio No. 4 in A Minor, Op. 289, GEORGES ONSLOW (1784-1853): Piano Trio in C Minor, Op. 26. Signum continues to explore the instrumental and symphonic music of Czerny with this release of his fourth piano trio (from the early 1830s). Its dark and stormy opening movement is succeeded by a capricious scherzo, a softly darkened adagio and a brilliant rondo finale in Viennese folk-style. It need not be said that the piano part is highly virtuosic! Onslow's trio, probably from the late 1820s, is his eighth and is a dramatically conceived work in concertante style, tailored for the sophisticated Parisian salon culture of that time. Two valuable additions in the tradition of Viennese Classicism. Göbel-Trio Berlin. Signum X94-00 (Germany) 11A023 $17.98

JOHANN SIMON MAYR (1763-1845): Cantatas for Basso Buffo: Il poeta immaginario, L'effetto delle ricchezze, Il secol d'oro, Il potrone, Sinfonias in D, C, E Flat and D. Mayr's four comic cantatas date from 1815-16 and concern respectively, a lack of artistic ability, position acquired through money, the deified power of money and cowardice; in operatic form with final cavatina or cabaletta, these witty, satirical works are a welcome oddity. Interspersed are four introductory "sinfonias" in high Classical style, dating from 1796-1816. Italian texts. Simore Alaimo (bass), Ensemble "Vox Aurae"; Pierangelo Pelucchi. Agora AG 175.1 (Italy) 11A024 $16.98

JOHANN NEPOMUK HUMMEL (1778-1837): Piano Sonatas No. 2 in E Flat, Op. 13, No. 3 in F Minor, Op. 20 and No. 5 in F Sharp Minor, Op. 81. The second sonata (1805) is cool and classically poised, befitting its dedication to Haydn, No. 3 (1807) is characterized by moody tempo changes and other musical tricks which seem to recall the improvisatory quality of C.P.E. Bach while No. 5 (1819) abounds with passionate gestures and marries spontaneous expression with strict sonata form. First of two volumes of all six sonatas. Hae-won Chang (piano). Naxos 8.553296 (New Zealand) 11A025 $5.98

JOHANN CHRISTIAN BACH (1735-1782): Four Flute Quartets, Op. 19. These four works for two flutes, violin/viola and bass date from around 1780 and are supreme examples of the mature Bach's elegant, supremely civilized high Classical style. Sure to delight anyone who loves Mozart; their first recording on period instruments helps add to their charm. Camerata Köln. CPO 999 579 (Germany) 11A026 $15.98

ANTONIO LOTTI (1667-1740): Mass for 3 Choirs in E Minor, O vos omnes, Crucifixus, Trio Sonata in A. Lotti's mass exists only in manuscript and receives its first modern performance in this recording. Most of his works date from his many years at St. Mark's in Venice, but this mass comes from 1717-19 while he was at Dresden. It is of generous dimensions and grand style, rare among Lotti's sacred works in its use of an orchestra and probably meant for a special occasion. Its marriage of local styles and Lotti's own contrapuntal, yet fluid and elegant style shows the mixing of Italian and German late baroque elements in its most agreeable fashion. Harvard University Choir, Harvard University Baroque Chamber Orchestra; Murray Forbes Somerville. Centaur CRC 2376 (U.S.A.) 11A027 $16.98

CARLO TESSARINI (1690-1766): 6 Sonatas for Flute and Basso Continuo, Op. "2", Nos. 1, 6-9 and 12. Tessarini was an accomplished violinist and like others of his kind (e.g. Locatelli), he also wrote for flute. Interestingly, the set of 12 sonatas from which these works come antedates Locatelli's highly successful 1732 publication of 12 flute sonatas which seemed to show an unusual originality and freshness. Now, Tessarini can be seen as a forbear, liberating the flute from Corellian counterpoint and giving it graceful, vocal-quality melodies with rich ornaments and exquisite refinement. Giorgio Bernabò (flute), Alan Curtis (harpsichord). Bongiovanni GB 5051 (Italy) 11A028 $16.98

ANDRÉ CHÉRON (1695-1766): Sonates en trio, Op. 1/2 in D Minor, Op. 1/3 in G, Op. 2/2 in G Minor, Op. 2/3 in E Minor and Op. 2/7 in D. Cherón taught harmony and counterpoint to the violin virtuoso Leclair; in addition he conducted many premieres of ballets and operas by Leclair, Rameau and Pergolesi, among others. A selection of his opp. 1 and 2, dating from around 1729, now lets his instrumental music see the light - conservative, in the manner of Corelli and Couperin, these works will appeal to lovers of the late Baroque. Affetti Musicali. Thorofon CTH 2359 (Germany) 11A029 $16.98

NICOLO' PORPORA (1686-1768): 12 Sonatas for Violin and Basso Continuo (1754). Known primarily for his sacred and operatic works, this release shows Porpora playing the Goûts Réunis game, uniting French and Italian, old and new characteristics in works of noble grandeur and a retrospective quality. The first six are severe and archaic (with a fugue in each) while the second six are lighter and more "modern" in character, with galant elements evident. 2 CDs. Giovanni Guglielmo (violin), Pietro Bosna (cello), Andrea Coen (harpsichord). Dynamic CDS 101/1-2 (Italy) 11A030 $33.98

JAN BAPTIST VANHAL (1749-1813): Sonata in C, Sonata in B, GREGORIO SCIROLI (1722-1781): Sonata for Clarinet and Basso Continuo, XAVIER LEFEVRE (1763-1829): Sonata No. 1 for Clarinet and Basso Continuo, GIUSEPPE GHERARDESCHI (1759-1815): 4 Movements from 10 Sonatas for 3 Clarinets, WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1763-1829) (Arr. S.K. Kreutzer): Sonata, K.378. A disc full of beguiling sounds as these classical clarinet sonatas are performed on four different instruments of 19th and 20th century make. Luigi Magistrelli (clarinet), Sumiko Hojo (piano), Laura Magistrelli, Sergio Del Mastro (clarinets - Gherardeschi). Bayer 100 223 (Germany) 11A031 $17.98

CHARLES BOCHSA (?-1821): Andante amabile with Variations for Clarinet and Harp, Op. 52, Duo No. 1 for 2 Clarinets on Voi che sapete from Le Nozze di Figaro, NICHOLAS CHARLES BOCHSA (1789-1856): 2 Notturni, Op. 5, Pot-pourri, Notturno No. 1. Yes, this is the same Bochsa listed in last month's catalogue as Robert Bochsa... The finest harpist of his day, his music is not profound but it is quite brilliant and often adventurous. Two pieces by his father fill up this disc of light occasional compositions. Luigi Magistrelli (clarinet), Elena Gorna (harp), Laura Magistrelli (clarinet - Duo). Bayer 100 105 (Germany) 11A032 $17.98

OTTO NICOLAI - Symphony in D

OTTO NICOLAI (1810-1849): Symphony in D , WoO 99, Fantaisie avec Variations brillantes sur Norma, Op. 25. Like every other young composer of his generation, Nicolai struggled with the problem of how to continue the symphony in the wake of Beethoven's nine masterpieces; his D major symphony (actually his second) dates from 1845 and is a long (44 minutes), serious work with much of Beethoven in it, in orchestration in general mood and in structure. This work stands apart from Schumann, Mendelssohn and the other Germanic composers of the 1830s and 40s, being much closer in aspect to Schubert's Tenth. The Fantaisie is a brilliant example of the ubiquitous show-piece on popular opera arias which so densely populated the musical landscape of the 19th century. Claudius Tanski (piano), Südwestfälische Philharmonie; David Stern. MD&G 601 0832 (Germany) 11A033 $17.98

ZDENùK FIBICH (1850-1900): Piano Quartet in E Minor, Op. 11, Quintet for Violin, Clarinet, Horn, Cello and Piano in D, Op. 42. The 1893 quintet is a useful pendant to Supraphon's recordings of Fibich's immense piano cycle Moods, Impressions and Reminiscences since it, too, reflects the composer's intense love affair with his pupil Anezka Schulzova. According to a Fibich biographer, the first movment is a portrait of the composer, the second of Anezka, the third a dialogue between the lovers and the fourth a hymn of love; the music is an endless flow of Brahmsian and Schumannian melody. The piano quartet (1875) is a now solemn, now restless piece which may stem from the loss of one of Fibich's twin children and the young composer's homesickness and unhappiness at his current post teaching music in Lithuania (making it a cousin to Smetana's op. 15 piano trio of twenty years earlier, inspired by the death of his own daughter.) Ensemble Villa Musica. MD&G 304 0775 (Germany) 11A034 $17.98

ANTON RUBINSTEIN (1829-1894): The Demon. Rubinstein's most popular opera receives its second recording in 3 years, this time with all the singers native Russians (or with Russian as a native tongue). There is a Byronic quality (as well as that of the Flying Dutchman) to the story of the Demon who pursues Tamara, whose lover he has murdered, to a convent, hoping to redeem himself through her love. His seductive lurings which the maiden is fleeing provide much of the finest music in the opera; the supernatural tale and exotic settings combine with the desire to portray the title character psychologically to provide a satisfying dramatic package. 2 CDs. Sung in Russian; German-English libretto. Egils Silins (baritone), Marina Mescheriakova (soprano), Ilya Levinsky (tenor), Moscow Chamber Choir, Sofia Chamber Choir, Vienna Symphony Orchestra; Vladimir Fedoseyev. Koch Schwann 3-6543-2 (Germany) 11A035 $33.98

MILY BALAKIREV (1837-1910): Symphony No. 1, Overture King Lear, Symphonic Poem In Bohemia. Now that Svetlanov's Hyperion version of the First Symphony has been deleted, this new Chandos release offers the finest performance of Balakirev's attractive, richly scored and melodious work begune in youth and finished in old age. King Lear dates from 1859 and displays a young composer working with facility in romantic idiom while the overture (1866-67 as Overture on Czech Themes but in this form dating from 1906) is an irresistable treatment of three Czech songs in the full panoply of orchestral color of the composer's maturity. BBC Philharmonic; Vassily Sinaisky. Chandos 9667 (England) 11A036 $16.98

EBENEZER PROUT (1835-1909): Sonata in D, Op. 26, GEORGE ALEXANDER MACFARREN (1813-1887): Traditions of Shakespeare, 2 Songs with Clarinet Obbligato, HENRY LAZARUS (1815-1895): Fantasia on Favorite Scotch Melodies, CHARLES HARFORD LLOYD (1849-1919): Bon Voyage!, OTTO GOLDSCHMIDT (1829-1907): Evening, ALGERNON ASHTON (1859-1937): Tarantella, EDWARD GERMAN (1862-1936): Romance. Titled "The Victorian Clarinet Tradition", this release gathers together works from c.1845 (Lazarus, who was 19th century England's most famous clarinettist) to 1900 (Goldschmidt) which give an overview of the conservative, buttoned-down romanticism of the times. The works are designed to show off the virtuosity and singing quality of the perfomer and that is just what these pieces do; the only sonata, Prout's from 1882, conforms to the just-mentioned requirement while sounding as if it could have been written 40 years earlier. Colin Bradbury (clarinet), Oliver Davies (piano), Elaine Barry (soprano). Clarinet Classics CC0022 (England) 11A037 $17.98

FRANZ LEHÁR (1870-1948): Lieder, Vol. 1 - Aus längst vergang'ner Zeit, 7 Karst-Lieder, Reiterlied 1914, Nur einer, Erste Liebe, Der Thräne Silberthau!, Op. 63, Sehnsucht, heimliches Verlangen, Die du mein alles bist, Das lockende Lied, Schau mich an, sei mir gut, Shillernder Falter, Ich liebe dich!, Frauenherz - du bist ein kleiner Schmetterling, Wenn eine schöne Frau befiehlt, Liebesglück, Geträumt!, Die ganze Welt dreht sich um die Liebe. Lehár's song uvre numbers over 100 and ranges from "serious" lied to operetta-like "hit tunes" and it was through his songs that his transformation from a serious composer into a specialist in light music occurred. This volume has examples of both: coloratura polkas and waltzes as well as an excerpt from a cycle inspired by his brother's serious war wound in 1915. It will thus appeal both to lovers of Lehár the operetta master and to those intrigued by Lehár the serious composer (for whom CPO have already done a service in releasing a disc of orchestral works - 01-073). Heidi Wolf (coloratura soprano), Gabriele Rossmanith (soprano), Iris Vermillion (mezzo), Jürgen Sacher (tenor), Cord Garben (piano). CPO 999 432 (Germany) 11A038 $15.98

FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886): Hungarian Rhapsodies Nos. 2, 13-15 & 19, Csárdás macabre. Even collectors with multiple copies of the piano or orchestral versions of these works on their shelves should have room for this disc of arrangements for folk ensemble. Strings are joined by folk instruments as well as traditional woodwinds played with an authentic Hungarian tang and free rhapsodic fervor which gets the blood racing and transforms Liszt's inspired creations into freshly-minted vehicles of nationalistic exuberance. Oszkár Morzsa (cimbalom), Orchestra of the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble; István Albert, László Berki. Hungaroton HCD 10104 (Hungary)11A039 $16.98

JOSEPH ("PEPI") HELLMESBERGER (1855-1907): Kleiner Anzeiger, Unter vier Augen, Auf Wiener Art, Für die ganze Welt, Elfenreigen, Valse espagnol, Valse lento, Leichtfüssig, Vielliebchen, Danse diabolique, Gavotte, Wiener Couplet Quadrille, JOSEPH HELLMESBERGER (1828-1893): Ballszene, Gewitterszene. The Hellmesbergers were one of the most important musical families in Vienna - Georg (1800-1873) established the Vienna school of violin playing and taught Joachim, Auer and Ernst; Joseph (above) founded an eponymous string quartet which played together for 42 years and also was first violin at the Vienna Hofoper for 17 years. "Pepi" was the most successful: conductor of the Vienna Philharmonic and a rival of Mahler and a greatly successful violinist and composer of operetta and dance music. This release marks the first devoted to his waltzes and quadrilles, a boon to collectors of this quintessentially Viennese genre since Hellmesberger at his best is redolent of the finest music produced by the Strauss family. Göttingen Symphony Orchestra; Christian Simonis. Marco Polo 8.225021 (New Zealand) 11A040 $14.98

EMILE WALDTEUFEL (1837-1915): The Best of Waldteufel, Vol. 9 - Violettes, Op. 148, Rococo, Op. 232, Vision, Op. 235, Ma charmante, Op. 166, Dans le champs, Op. 125, Valse militaire, Op. 207, La fauvette du temple, Térésa (Antoinette), Op. 163, LOUIS WALDTEUFEL (1801-1884): La Malle-Post. More sparkling waltzes, polkas and mazurkas from the "French Strauss" with, as is becoming traditional in the series, an additional work (a galop) by Father Louis! Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra; Alfred Walter. Marco Polo 8.223687 (New Zealand) 11A041 $14.98

JOHAN STRAUSS II (1825-1899)/ARNOLD SCHOENBERG (1874-1951): Kaiserwaltzer, Rosen aus dem Süden, JOHAN STRAUSS II (1825-1899)/ANTON WEBERN (1883-1945): Schatzwaltzer, JOHAN STRAUSS II (1825-1899)/ALBAN BERG (1885-1935): Wein, Weib und Gesang, ARNOLD SCHOENBERG (1874-1951): Weihnachtsmusik, THEODOR HERMANN LESCHETITZKY (1896-1948): Variations for String Quartet. It is by now fairly well-known that Schoenberg, Berg and Webern shared a love for the dance music of Johan Strauss and that their "Society for Private Musical Performances" transcribed several of the latter's works for odd-instrumented chamber ensembles but few will know Schoenberg's own "Christmas Music" (1921) for two violins, cello, harmonium and piano which applies counterpoint to Silent Night and Es ist ein Ros' entsprungen with a naive harmony in pure C major. Your friends will never guess the composer! Not to be confused with the piano virtuoso of the same name, this Leschetitzky is a little-known music publishing company employee whose variations on Viennese song were published in 1931; the work touches on Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Wagner and Schoenberg and has a pungent sense of humor - especially concerning the difference between "light" and "serious" music. Vienna String Quartet, Leonore Aumaier (piano), Alfred Mitterhofer (harmonium), Wolfgang Schultz (flute), Norbert Taübl (clarinet). CPO 999 588 (Germany)11A042 $15.98

ERIC COATES (1886-1957): Sleepy Lagoon, Springtime Suite, Saxo-Rhapsody, Footlights Waltz, Four Ways Suite, 8th Army March, Lazy Night, Last Love, High Flight March. A new Coates volume in Marco Polo's "British Light Music" series shares only Springtime Suite, Lazy Night and High Flight with last month's ASV release. Most of the rest of this disc contains works available only in historical recordings from the 30s and 40s, the largest being 1927's Four Ways Suite which marks out the points of the compass with a Scottish march, Italian-sounding waltz ,Chinese-sounding dance and American-type jazz rhythms. Kenneth Edge (saxophone), Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra; Andrew Penny. Marco Polo 8.223521 (New Zealand) 11A043 $14.98

LORENZO PEROSI (1872-1956): String Quartet No. 4 in F Sharp Minor, String Quintet No. 1 in F, String Trio No. 1 in C. No sooner did we say "Now let's hear the rest!" in our look at last month's Perosi release featuring the first three string quartets (10A055) than here comes more. An astonishing amount of music poured out of this tormented individual between 1900 and 1930 (all 16 string quartets appear to date from 1928-30) and these works abound in flowing, dark-tinged melodies (the quintet is dedicated - as were all three others as well as four string quartets - "Endless Sadness On The Death of my brother the Cardinal"). Although backward-looking in style, this corpus is a major contribution to 20th century Italian chamber music. Ensemble "L. Perosi". Bongiovanni GB 5079 (Italy) 11A044 $16.98

ALFREDO PIATTI (1822-1901): Cello Sonatas No. 1 in C, Op. 28, No. 2 in D, Op. 29 and No. 3 in F, Op. 30. Piatti was the 19th century's "Paganini of the Cello" and a famous photo shows him posing in suitably starry company with Wieniawski, Joachim and Ernst. He wrote six cello sonatas and these three (dating from 1884-1889) show both the expected difficult virtuoso writing and a graceful Mendelssohnian influence although the third has a marked "Northern" character with its passionate first movement and poetically inspired finale. Claudio Ronco (cello), Brenno Ambrosini (piano). Dynamic CDS 200 (Italy) 11A045 $16.98

LEÓ WEINER (1885-1960): Piano Music, Vol. 1 - 3 Hungarian Rural Dances, Hungarian Wedding Dance, Op. 21a, Hungarian Peasant Songs I-V, Series Opp. 19/1, 19/2, 22, 33 & 34. Unlike Bartók, Weiner cleaved unto traditional European Romanticism and collected folk tunes based on how well they would transfer to "classical" compositional formats. Thus, the pieces here stand closer to Dvorak's use of folk melodies than to Bartók's wholly individual recreation and stylization of the same. István Kassai (piano). Hungaroton HCD 31777 (Hungary) 11A046 $16.98

ANTONÍN DVO¤ÁK (1841-1904): Piano Music, Vol. 1 - 8 Walzes, Op. 54, 4 Eclogues, Op. 56, 6 Piano Pieces, Op. 52, Album Leaves in F Sharp Minor, F and G, Moderato in A. Kvapil's invaluable late 60s set of the Dvorak complete piano music continues with this collection of pieces which sprinkle Brahmsian romanticism with the spice of Bohemian folk music. Mid-price. Radoslav Kvapil (piano). Supraphon SU 3376 (Czech Republic) 11A047 $10.98

ALBERTO WILLIAMS - Romantic Argentine Suites

ALBERTO WILLIAMS (1862-1952): Three Argentine Suites for Strings, ALBERTO GINASTERA (1916-1984): Concerto for Strings, Op. 33. The founder of Argentine musical nationalism, Williams was a very prolific composer and he has only recently received a few recordings (notably on the Arte Nova label about a year ago). This new release brings us three works dating from 1923 which embody gaucho song, dance and spirit. Each is in four movements, and each movement is a representation of an Argentine song-form: hueya (a fast folk dance), milonga (the predecessor to the tango), vidalita (sad love songs), gato, arrorró and waltz-like cielito. These are nostalgic, tuneful works which will appeal to anyone who likes the atmospheric dramatics of, say, Piazolla. Ginastera's 1965 reworking of his second string quartet makes a useful contrast with its mix of Bartok, serialism and national character. New Century Chamber Orchestra; Stuart Canin. d'Note Classics DND 1035 (U.S.A.) 11A048 $16.98

KORNGOLD - Die Kathrin - A forgotten Romantic opera

ERICH WOLFGANG KORNGOLD (1897-1957): Die Kathrin, Op. 28. Die Kathrin was Korngold's last opera, and it was a casualty - almost literally - of historical events in Europe in the 1930s. Originally intended as a political allegory overlain on a simple love story, first the libretto was stripped of its political overtones, leaving a naive, almost operetta-like subject, then the publication (by Schott) was rendered impossible by the Nazis, then the premiere was cancelled. . . Large and lushly orchestrated, with a "sonic spectacular" component already appearing in the orchestral textures, the composer already having started to work in Hollywood, this opera combines many of the best qualities of Korngold's stage and film scores. 3 CDs. German-English libretto. Melanie Diener (soprano), David Rendall (tenor), Robert Haywood (bass-baritone), BBC Singers, BBC Concert Orchestra; Martyn Brabbins. CPO 999 602 (Germany) 11A049 $47.98

CHARLES HUBERT HASTINGS PARRY (1848-1918): Job. Parry's 1892 oratorio, a work whose influence can be seen in Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius of ten years later, receives its first recording here. A Utilitarian Rationalist (i.e. an "unbeliever"), Parry was drawn to the universal human passions and reaction to undeserved suffering which inform the Book of Job. Hence, this is as far as one can get from the pious oratorios of, say, Gounod. Set in four scenes, the work revolves around a huge soliloquy "The Lamentation of Job" - one of the most taxing and physically exacting vocal scenes ever written in British music up to that time and in which Parry assimilates Wagnerian declamation and leitmotivic transformation to bear on an internalized dramatic situation. The final scene is an appropriately massive counterpart in which God's appearance as a whirlwind and his demands upon Job (conveyed by the full chorus) lead to an impressive climax to Job's glorious restoration. A landmark in English oratorio can now be appreciated by posterity. Peter Coleman-Wright (bass), Toby Spence (tenor), Neal Davies (baritone), Jamie Morgan Hitchcock (treble), Guildford Choral Society, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Hilary Davan Wetton, John Birch (organ). Hyperion CDA 67025 (England) 11A050 $17.98

CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921): 6 Études, Op. 52, 6 Études, Op. 111, 6 Études for the Left Hand, Op. 135, Thème Varié, Op. 97. The only recording to collect all of Saint-Saëns' etudes together: the op. 52 group, dating from 1877 are as tricky as anything in Liszt with the difficulties often exacerbated by prolonged repetition; from 1899, op. 111 has a dedication to a great virtuoso at the head of each etude and culminates in a toccata on themes from Saint-Saëns' fifth piano concerto; the left-hand etudes (1912) are neo-Classical, recreating old dance forms from harpsichord suites after the manner of Couperin and Rameau. The 1897 Thème Varié, a species of etude written for a compeition rounds things out with hammering C major chords (as op. 52 began...). Piers Lane (piano). Hyperion CDA 67037 (England) 11A051 $17.98

MIHÁLY MOSONYI (1815-1870): Piano Music, Vol. 4 - Hungarian Music, New Year Present, Free Thoughts, Invitation Card, Banderium March, Herdsman's Song, Hertelendy March, Folk Songs, Appeal, Sacrificial March from the Opera "Álmos", The Old Rákóczi Song, Rákóczi March. The major work here is the set of 10 folk-songs which last almost half the disc's length; close both stylistically and pianistically to Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsodies, the character of the music changes from gloomy meditation to joyful, often stormy dance. Most of the remaining works deal with Hungarian folk music also, many of them being arrangements of dances collected by other individuals; it's also nice to have another transcription (after Liszt and Berlioz) of the famous Rákóczi March. István Kassai (piano). Marco Polo 8.223560 (New Zealand) 11A052 $14.98

RUTLAND BOUGHTON (1878-1960): The Immortal Hour. Dating from 1914, Boughton's magical evocation of a distant Celtic past (the plot concerns the love of a mortal king for a fairy princess and the eventual destruction of their happiness) with its gentle, simple and lyrical music provided valuable escapism for post-WW I audiences in London (it ran for 216 consecutive performances in the early 20s). Quiet and sweet, blending Celtic myth and pentatonic-tinged melodies, the score effortlessly evokes a beautiful world of legend and faery. 2 CDs for the price of 1. Libretto included. Ann Dawson (soprano), David Wilson-Johnson (baritone), Roderick Kennedy (bass), Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, English Chamber Orchestra; Alan G. Melville. Hyperion Dyad CDD 22040 (England) 11A053 $17.98

WILHELM PETERSON-BERGER (1867-1942): Symphony No. 1 in B Flat "The Banner", Suite: Last Summer. The youthful first symphony, in which Peterson-Berger nailed his colors to the mast, featured on our October 1997 cover and no more need be said about it here; the true discovery is the 31-minute orchestral suite Last Summer, which began life as a piano suite in 1903 and which the composer almost immediately orchestrated. Its six movements are lyrical genre pictures (The Mountain, The Lake, Across the Heath, etc.) and the music is rewarding and rich in associative and visionary descriptions of nature. Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra; Michail Jurowsky. CPO 999 561 (Germany) 11A054 $15.98

IGOR MARKEVITCH - Orchestral Works, Volume 4

IGOR MARKEVITCH (1912-1983): Lorenzo il Magnifico, Psaume. Those who have acquired the previous three volumes of Marco Polo's invaluable Markevitch series are already aware of the astounding originality of much of his orchestral work and of the amazing talent which the composer himself shut off for good at the age of 29. This new release offers works which effectively bracket Markevitch's too-short career: the Psaume, composed in 1933, caused a riot at its Italian premiere the next year. It is a raw, primeval composition, oozing with native, idealistic inspiration which sets various fragments of text (whatever seems to have attracted the young composer, who was not shy about rewording them either!) in what Slonimsky called a "strident neo-diatonic idiom". Lorenzo is his final orchestral work, dating from 1941 and described by Markevitch as a "Cantata-Symphony". It sets poetry by the great Florentine Lorenzo de' Medici in fluid, transparent music redolent of that city which gave the world the Renaissance. Its polished sophistication makes a fitting contrast with the gripping intensity of the Psaume and sheds yet more light on a remarkable talent. Italian-English texts, newly and painstakingly translated; extensive and fascinating notes by the conductor. Lucy Shelton (soprano), Arnhem Philharmonic Orchestra; Christopher Lyndon-Gee. Marco Polo 8.223882 (New Zealand) 11A055 $14.98

PIERRE OCTAVE FERROUD (1900-1936): Symphony in A, Serenade, Chirurgie, Sarabande, March from L'Eventail de Jeanne, Andante cordial, Sonnerie pour le Hérault. Ferroud's bright, brassy and loud symphony received its first digital recording back in March on the Valois label where the classically constructed Serenade also appeared. Here we have CD premieres of a 1920 Sarabande which brought him to the attention of the public, an 8-minute suite from a 1927 one-act comic opera Chirurgie based on a short story by Chekhov, the andante cordial from 1919 and his contribution to the composite-composed ballet "Jeanne's Fan". At a less-expensive price than the Valois release, this is an excellent introduction to a sadly short-lived composer whose fractured rhythms, ambivalent tonalites and abrupt modulations betokened a most individual creative voice. Württemberg Philharmonic Orchestra; Patrick Davin. Marco Polo 8.225029 (New Zealand) 11A056 $14.98

MARIN GOLEMINOV (b.1908): Diptych for Flute and Orchestra, Oboe Concerto, String Quartet No. 3 "Old Bulgarian", String Quartet No. 7. Goleminov studied under D'Indy and was instrumental in helping create a Bulgarian national style in the 1940s. His works have their roots in the melody, rhythm and meter of Bulgarian folk music( the 1943 Old Bulgarian quartet derives from an old Bulgarian chant) and his French influences can be seen in his taut, lively and trenchant scoring (especially audible in the two concertos, dating from 1982 and 1984) Simeon Shterev (flute), Georgi Zhelyazov (oboe), Simfonieta Orchestra of the Bulgarian National Radio; Kamen Goleminov, Sofia String Quartet, Bulgarian National Radio String Quartet. Gega GD 129 (Bulgaria) 11A057 $16.98

JOAN MANÉN (1883-1971): Miniatures, RICARD LAMOTE DE GRIGNON (1899-1962): Monocromies, JOAQUÍN TURINA (1882-1949): Serenata, Op. 87, Las Musas de Andalucia, Op. 93/3, La Oración del Torero, Op. 34, JOAQUÍN RODRIGO (b.1901): Cançoneta. World premiere recordings of two works by Catalan composers: Manén was a violinist who composed a large body of chamber music, six operas and several orchestral works, of which Miniatures (dating is uncertain but falling between 1918 and 1944) is a seven-movment suite of pieces which have their origins in 18th century Spanish music, another example of the "In Olden Style" musical homages to the past so popular among 20th century composers. De Grignon was a political activist exiled under the Franco regime; his 1956 Monocromies is an 11-minute suite of three movements of an attractive, neo-classical character. Orquestra Nacional de Cambra d'Andorra; Gerard Claret. Nimbus NI 5570 (England) 11A058 $16.98

FRANCESCO CILEA (1866-1950): Gloria. Produced in 1907 (conducted by Toscanini) and revised in 1932 (the latter version heard here), Gloria was in many ways Cilea's most ambitious opera. Its measured pace and medieval pageantry are somewhat reminiscent of Lohengrin and the composer was much more adventurous in his harmony and contrapuntal working of ensembles. The story itself is a variation on the Montague-Capulet theme set in Siena at the end of the 14th century with the daughter of a besieged city falling in love with the commander of the enemy and the usual tragic ending for such liaisons duly occurring. 2 CDs. Italian libretto. Fiorenza Cedolins (soprano), Alberto Cupido (tenor), Paolo Ruggiero (baritone). Chorus and Orchestra of the Festval of San Gimignano; Marco Pace. Kicco Classic KC013CD/1/2 (Italy) 11A059 $33.98

BENJAMIN BRITTEN (1913-1976): String Quartet No. 1 in D, Op. 25, String Quartet No. 2 in C, Op. 36, Three Divertimenti. Britten's quartets are still relatively little-heard and Naxos' enterprise in bringing them out at budget price is to be commended. The Divertimenti date, in revised form, from 1936 and originally portrayed school friends of the composer, now being titled simply March, Waltz and Burlesque. The first numbered quartet (1941) dates from Britten's years in America and was commissioned by Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge. It contains many fore-echoes of Peter Grimes in its first and third movements; its scherzo has a bit of Shostakovich in it and a frothy, humorous finale concludes the work. The second quartet was written in 1945 and bears the marks left on Britten by his tour through Germany with Menuhin playing for concentration camp survivors in its malevolent scherzo; its final Chacony - a tribute to Purcell - is a magnificent construction of a ground and 21 variations. Maggini String Quartet. Naxos 8.553883 (New Zealand) 11A060 $5.98

JOHN DUFFY: Heritage Fanfare and Chorale, Heritage Suite for Orchestra, Symphony No. 1 "Utah", Heritage Symphonic Dances. Duffy's music is tonal, unabashedly emotional, and downright exciting. A composer with great experience in writing for film and television, he has an unerring sense for matching sound to image, even when writing "pure" concert music; his "Utah Symphony", with its echoes of epic westerns, of minimalism, of Scandinavian tonal epic symphonists, is replete with as much and as vivid musical imagery as one could wish for. The other works are even more programmatic, but they work as powerful symphonic suites in their own right, and never sound as though they need the accompaniment of a visual image to give them legitimacy. If this is the current face of Romanticism in music, it is a very appealing one, and one of which it is hard to tire. Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Richard Williams, Utah Symphony Orchestra; Joseph Silverstein. Albany TROY 304 (U.S.A.) 11A061 $16.98

FREDERICK KAUFMAN (b.1936): Concerto for Clarinet and Strings, Concerto for Cello and Strings "Kaddish", Lachrymose (Concerto for Cello and Symphony Orchestra), Dance of Death. A composition student of Giannini and Persichetti, Kaufman retains strong connections to his Jewish heritage, most obviously in the two works for cello and orchestra here. Both date from 1985, Kaddish in response to the deaths of his parents and Lachrymose dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust; both draw upon the cantillation of the Jewish service, the latter particularly starkly, and both have exuberant finales, representing both the remembrance of the past and the hope for a brighter future. The longest work here, the Dance of Death, also has Jewish associations, being excerpted from the final act of Kaufman's opera Masada. It depicts the mass suicide of the Jewish garrison in music which uses polytonality, atonality and aleatory effects side-by-side with traditional methods of composition in a manner evoking the nightmarish gruesomeness of the stage action. Richard Stoltzman (clarinet), Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra, Mark Drobinsky (cello), Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra; English Sinfonietta; Carlos Piantini. MMC 2074 (U.S.A.) 11A062 $16.98

JERRÉ TANNER (b.1939): The Kona Coffee Cantata. Written as a companion piece to Bach's Coffee Cantata, this is a light "comic chamber opera", which uses Baroque devices and instrumentation (in addition to a traditional Hawaiian percussion instrument, which provides some local color, given the setting of the work and the importance of the type of coffee beans involved). It's a lot of fun, and musically very skillful - P.D.Q. Bach without the belly-laughs. Marilyn Taylor (soprano), William Livingston (tenor), David Small (baritone), Prague Chamber Orchestra; Timm Rolek. Albany TROY 313 (U.S.A.) 11A063 $16.98

WILLIAM THOMAS MCKINLEY (b.1938): Curtain Up, ELLIOTT MILES MCKINLEY (b.1969): Summer Portraits, JACKSON HILL (b.1941): Tholos, DAVID STOCK: Night Vision, MICHAEL P. ELLISON (b.1969): Before All Beginning. All these ensemble pieces are extremely accessible and attractive, and each has its own idiosyncracies to provide originality. E.M.McKinley's work is a delightful little percussion concerto - Music for S.P & C lite - (though in a more "popular" and lighthearted idiom than the Bartók). W.T. McKinley's Curtain Up evokes Broadway; syncopated rhythms and hints and suggestions of showtunes. Hill evokes Japanese instrumental sounds and scales in a telling, pastiche-free blending of East and West. Stock has written an evocative little tone-poem, which covers broad emotional ground in its 12-minute span, and Ellison's subtle Rilke setting, also a "night vision" is marvellously evocative. A very pleasing cross-section of fine music. Vivica Genaux (mezzo), George Willis (percussion), Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble; David Stock. MMC 2061 (U.S.A.) 11A064 $16.98

GUNTHER SCHULLER (b.1925): Five Pieces for Five Horns, SIR MICHAEL TIPPETT (1905-1998): Sonata for 4 Horns, JAY WADENPFUHL (b.1950): Textures for Horn Quartet. The CD is entitled "Hornithology", which is alone almost enough reason to buy it. The sound of massed horns is a thrilling one, especially when the musical material is as strong as in Schuller's Five Pieces, which, though brief, explore a great number of the technical possibilities of the modern horn, and engage in some marvellously intricate polyphony along the way. The Tippett is a strong and solid little sonata, typical of this composer at his most concentrated. Wadenpfuhl is a member of the ensemble and of the Boston Symphony; his work, based on intervals and chords and alluding to many styles of music, is an approachable exhibition of virtuoso horn technique. Special Price. NFB Horn Quartet, Barry Tuckwell (guest horn). GM Recordings 2062 (U.S.A.) 11A065 $12.98

HENRY COWELL (1897-1965): St. Agnes' Morning, The Dream-Bridge, The Morning Pool, April, Song in the Songless, Music When Soft Voices Die, Angus Og, Manaunaun's Birthing, Where She Lies, How Old is Song?, 5 Mother Goose Rhymes, 2 Songs on Poems of Catherine Riegger, The Pasture, Spring Pools, The Donkey, Daybreak, The Little Black Boy, 3 Songs on Poems of Langston Hughes, Mice Lament, Because the Cat, 3 Songs on Poems of Padraic Colum, Music I Heard, Firelight and Lamp. Cowell was a prolific song composer, and not only do songs form a significant part of his substantial output, they also chart his development as a composer and constitute an important contribution to American music. This valuable collection presents settings of a huge variety of texts. The early songs are conventionally Romantic, even sentimental, beautifully and mellifluously written for the voice and with unobtrusive, expressive piano accompaniments. Later, there are accompaniments incorporating direct contact on the piano strings, including How Old is Song, which uses "Æolian Harp" with an added vocal line. Then there are clusters, glissandi, and a synthesis of all these styles with modal harmony - and throughout, the fine vocal writing, wholly natural and spontaneous, flowing and lyrical. Mary Ann Hart (mezzo), Robert Osborne (bass-baritone), Jeanne Golan (piano), Sheryl Henze (flute), Les Scott (clarinet), Maureen Hynes (cello). Albany TROY 240 (U.S.A.) 11A066 $16.98

JOHN WOOLRICH (b.1954): Ulysses Awakes (after Monteverdi), It is Midnight, Dr. Schweitzer, The Theatre Represents a Garden: Night (after Mozart), A Leap in the Dark (21 Pieces for Strings), Four Concert Arias. Recomposition of favorite music; atmospheric scene-setting, a sly, teasing sense of humor and more than a dash of the surreal characterise the music of John Woolrich, and this collection is an excellent way to acquaint onself with all of these characteristics of the composer. It is Midnight presents 11 brief - some very brief - musical "sculptures" or "machines"; little pieces for strings each of which carries out a set mechanical function as the listener walks by. The Theatre . . . uses Mozart's music with the utmost skill in a tribute for the Mozart bicentenary, for a very classical-sounding ensemble, though even here the composer cannot resist little humorous touches and odd little anachronisms, just to keep the listener alert! There is a slightly sinister side to these games, which comes to the fore in A Leap, while the Concert Arias also explore a shadowy, shifting soundworld of the composer's prodigious imagination. Jane Atkins (viola), Eileen Hulse, Adele Eikenes (sopranos), Christine Cairns (mezzo), Orchestra of St. John's Smith Square; John Lubbock. ASV DCA 1049 (England) 11A067 $16.98

ANTHONY PAYNE (b.1936): Symphonies of Wind and Rain, The Song Streams in the Firmament, Evening Land, Paraphrases and Cadenzas, A Day in the Life of a Mayfly. It is fast becoming apparent that Payne is one of the most noteworthy British composers of his generation. This collection of chamber works goes quite a distance towards establishing this, even without taking into acount the unforgettable Time's Arrow and his extraordinary work in constructing the Elgar Third Symphony. The Song . . . evolved from the idea of a soliloquy, a final death-song, of necessity improvised with no time to reconsider or plan the direction it is to take, and the result is a clarinet sextet which unfolds with harrowing intensity. A Day . . . is another existential piece - Payne is fond of creationist and eschatological considerations, it seems - a bustling, speeded-up time-lapse piece which looks at the idea of a lifespan via the vastly compressed one of an insect. Symphonies . . ., in memory of the composer's mother, is a structured and, yes, symphonic work on a small scale; in some ways the most conventional concert piece here, it builds significant momentum and excitement. All these works are fine achievements of a very significant composer. Jane Manning (soprano), Jane's Minstrels; Roger Montgomery. NMC D056 (England) 11A068 $17.98

JONATHAN LLOYD (b.1948): Symphony No. 4. Lloyd has garnered something of a reputation as an iconoclast over the years, mainly because of his unabashed use of "popular" material and instruments in his orchestral pieces. Like Maxwell Davies, the most extreme examples of this are probably behind him now. This symphony, now ten years old, uses a few unconventional instruments, and insists thematicically on some "popular" sounding fragments, but for the most part the work is a big, brooding exploration of a few scales and textures laid out at the outset, which are cross-examined and re-examined from many angle, giings rise to some striking antiphonal effects in the orchestra. BBC Symphony Orchestra; Martyn Brabbins. NMC D046M (England) 11A069 $10.98

GAVIN BRYARS (b.1943): Allegrasco for Soprano Saxophone and Strings, Alaric I or II for 4 Saxophones, Three Elegies for 4 Saxophones. These poetic and haunting works feature the instrument perhaps best suited to Bryars style of slow, quasi-ambient minimalism; the saxophone. The music glides soulfully through shifting textures of consonant chords or gentle, ambient clusters, creating a submerged, dreamlike effect suggesting great distances and otherworldly landscapes. Haunting, mournful and just a little disturbing, this is Bryars at his most memorable. Jean-Pierre Baraglioli (sax), Latvian Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra; Andris Veismanis, 4uatre. Daphénéo 9810 (France) 11A070 $18.98

LUIGI DALLAPICCOLA (1904-1975): Sonatina canonica su "Capricci di Niccolò Paganini", 3 Episodes from the Ballet "Marsia", Quaderno musicale di Annalibera, MARIO CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO (1895-1968): Ricercare (sul nome di Luigi Dallapiccola), Cipressi, Alghe, Il raggio verde, I naviganti. Dallapiccola's exquisite crafting of interweaving canonic counterpoint is nowhere shown to better advantage than in his piano music. The Sonatina uses Paganini Caprices as a point of departure for a modernistic, harmonically advanced series of studies full of ingenious twists and turns and subtle shading. The 3 Episodes were written for Scarpini, who had already made a piano reduction of Dallapiccola's ballet score Marsia; these are tough, basically atonal pieces, pianistically ingenious (Dallapiccola was himself a considerable pianist, and he knew for whom he was writing). The Quaderno Musicale pieces are variations on a 12-note row, and there have been very few composers who could carry this off as effectively as Dallapiccola does here. The fill-up is 5 pieces by the far more Romantic Castelnuovo-Tedesco, including the lovely Cypresses. Mariaclara Monetti (piano). ASV DCA 1034 (England) 11A071 $16.98

HERMAN ROELSTRAETE (1925-1985): Serenade for Strings, Op. 41, 5 Bagatelles for Piano, Op. 51, Nachtland for Medium Voice and Piano, Op. 92, String Quartet No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 116, Cantiones sacrae for Mixed Choir, Op. 86, Three Modal Fantasias for Organ, Op. 95. An expert on early and Baroque Flemish music, and a distinguished organist, Roelstraete was not surprisingly very conscious of the perspective of history when writing his own music. So although it is unmistakably of the 20th century, it is modal and tonal, incorporating baroque and classical forms and devices. Sometimes it sounds disconcertingly English - the string works from the 60s bear some resemblance to Moeran or Holst. Nachtland is especially fine and very beautiful, with something of the haunting quality of the best 20th century tonal Scandinavian vocal music. The quartet - again that English-sounding inflection, especially in the extended lyrical sections, in an otherwise rather Bartókian idiom - is also worthy of recommendation. Collegium Instrumentale Brugense; Patrick Peire, E. Ysaÿe Ensemble, et al. Eufoda 1233 (Belgium) 11A072 $18.98

JEAN DERBÈS (1937-1982): Chant d'amour et de mort, Piano Concerto, 7 Songs on Texts of Beaudelaire; Adagio for Large Orchestra. Powerful stuff. This music takes off from a point which Schoenberg might have reached had he continued along the path embarked upon in the first Chamber Symphony. Which is to say that although atonality is the predominanty impression, there is so great an expressive sweep to these very impressive works, and such is the composer's expertise in providing enough tonal referents to give a strong sense of direction, that one cannot help being caught up in the flow. The piano concerto suggests what Messiaen might have done had he written a concerto sometime between the Preludes and Turangalila. The songs are dark and expressionistic, while the somber desert landscape of the Adagio is profoundly unsettling, reminiscent of the Berg of the 3 Orchestral Pieces. Orchestre de la Suisse Romand; Charles Bruck, Arlette Chédel (alto), Denise Duport (piano), Lausanne Chamber Orchestra; Victor Desarzens; New Symphony Orchestra of the RTBF; Edgar Doneux. Musikszene Schweiz CTS-M 46 (Switzerland) 11A073 $18.98

PAUL GLASS (b.1934): Symphony No. 3, String Quartet No. 1, Five Pieces for Piano, Lamento dell' acqua. Glass uses the term "dodecaphonic-diatonic" to describe his organizational method in composition. What this means in practice is that while structurally the music satisfies the rules of 12-note composition, it is fleshed out in harmonic garb that sounds suspiciously Romantic. There is a real sense of harmonic movement in the symphony, which is also organised along traditional lines, and indeed classical forms are important to the composer as a means of structuring his music such that the listener is not cast adrift in unfamiliar territory in all parameters of the composition - which is important because the music is original, and does explore quite new ground in a thought-provoking way. National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine; Alexander Bavinsky, Erato Quartet., Patricia Pagny (piano), Swiss-Italian Orchestra; Marc Andreae. Musikszene Schweiz CTS-P 43 (Switzerland) 11A074 $18.98

WALTHER GEISER (1897-1993): Symphony No. 2, String Trio, Metamorphosen for Solo Violin. The influence of Busoni, with whom Geiser studied, can be detected in the symphony; there's an objectivity and economy here, which only serves to counterpoint the passionate intensity underlying the surface. If study with Busoni served to instil into his pupil a romantic view of philosophy, or a philosophical approach to Romanticism, the lesson was well learned. Geiser's later works, including the symphony, employ note-rows, but harmonically his language remained broadly tonal throughout his career. The symphony is a work of great drama and depth. The trio is a much earlier work, quite conventional for its time but approachable and pleasing, while the Metamorphosen of 1979 explore the permutations of a 12-note series in ingenious variation. Basel Radio Symphony Orchestra; György Léhel, Lausanne String Trio, Kolja Lessing (violin). Musikszene Schweiz CTS-M 21 (Switzerland) 11A075 $18.98

JULIUS WEISMANN (1879-1950): Concertino for Horn and Small Orchestra, Op. 118, HENRI TOMASI (1901-1971): Horn Concerto, KURT ATTERBERG (1887-1974): Horn Concerto, Op. 28, FRED STRIDE (b.1953): Fanfare and Scherzo for Horn, Strings and Timpani, ARTHUR BUTTERWORTH (b.1923): Romanza for Horn and Orchestra. Weismann was a prolific composer, leaving 157 opus numbers in every field but sacred music. His 1935 concertino is conservative, tonal and episodic with a particularly delightful, light-hearted finale. Tomasi's 1955 concerto is firmly rooted in the horn's hunting origins with a Pastorale followed by Nocturne as a cadenza and a hunting finale; Atterberg's piece uses piano and percussion along with strings, making it seem like a 20th century chamber concerto but its roots, too, are in the 19th century and its long, melodic lines have a recognizable Nordic feel to them. Butterworth's Romanza (1954) is Romantically just that while Stride's 1992 work features the tritone, that diabolus in musica which so fascinates composers generation after generation. Martin Hackelman (horn), CBC Vancouver Orchestra; Mario Bernardi. CBC Records SMCD 5186 (Canada) 11A076 $16.98

GERMAINE TAILLEFERRE (1892-1983): Concerto Grosso for 2 Pianos, Singers, Saxophones and Orchestra, RANDALL SNYDER (b.1944): Double for 2 Pianos and Orchestra, FRANCIS POULENC (1899-1963): Concerto for 2 Pianos and Orchestra. The unusual orchestration of this sunny, effervescent music is a recommendation in itself. The wordless voices are used as an addition to the pallette of the orchestra, and the whole thing is really most unusual, original and appealing, and affords a fascinating glimpse at one of 20th-century French music's more enigmatic and neglected characters. Snyder's Double was written for the soloists on this recording and has a certain lightness of touch to complement the Gallic wit of the works it accompanies here. Clinton-Narboni Duo, Orchestre du Conservatoire du Centre de Paris; Bruno Poinderfert. Elan 82298 (U.S.A.) 11A077 $16.98

GYÖRGY LIGETI (b.1923): Musica Ricercata, Sonatina, Tréfás induló, Polyphonic Etude, 3 Wedding Dances, Allegro for Piano Four-Hands, 3 Pieces for 2 Pianos, Étude No. 15 "White on White", Étude No. 16, "Pour Irina". The second volume of BIS' Ligeti piano music series contains mostly early works from 1942 to 1953's Musica Ricercata, still deeply influenced by Bartók and Stravinsky. 1976's 3 Pieces belongs to the pattern-illusion experiments like Continuum; receiving its world premiere recording here is Ligeti's sixteenth etude, composed last year. Fredrik Ullén (piano). BIS 983 (Sweden) 11A078 $17.98

GALINA USTVOLSKAYA (b.1919): Piano Sonatas Nos. 1-6. Ustvolskaya's uncompromising, spiky music, a music of extreme contrasts and ferocious independence of spirit, is among the finest Soviet and post-Soviet music to have emerged in recent decades. Like Sviridov (with whom there is some stylistic affinity, derived in part, no doubt, from the towering figure of their predecessor, Shostakovich), Ustvolskaya's music is dramatic and vital, alternately pummeling the listener with harsh motoric driven material and beguiling with emotion-filled restraint. The reclusive composer has written almost nothing about her music, but these pieces contain so much depth of feeling it is hard not to see them as autobiographical chapters illustrated with sketches of the turbulent history of modern Russia. Markus Hinterhäuser (piano). Col Legno 20019 (Germany) 11A079 $18.98

JOËL F. DURAND (b.1954): Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, String Trio, Die innere Grenze. The concerto is here used as a vehicle by the composer for an examination of the conflict between soloist and orchestra, with the piano playing improvisatory, fundamentally linear material, while the orchestra contributes a matrix of systematized blocks of sound from which the soloist seems to struggle to escape, sometimes through defiant utterances of melodic, singing material, sometimes by taking the orchestra on head to head in clusters of battering chords. There is no easy resolution to this conflict, though the indivdual seems to win out in the end and achieves a surprisingly consonant, peaceful conclusion. The trio is a succinct and strictly serial work, whereas Die innere Grenze, which uses material from the trio as "found objects" within a sextet textur,e is a more expansive and expressive piece. Stefan Litwin (piano), Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin; Bradley Lubman, Trio Ensemble Intercontemporain, Sextuor Schoenberg. Auvidis/Montaigne MO 782093 (France) 11A080 $18.98

THEA MUSGRAVE (b.1928): The Seasons, Helios, Night Music. Along with Ronald Stevenson (an exact contemporary), Musgrave is Scotland's most prodigious living composer, the author of works of great dynamism, impact and originality. Helios is a powerful tone-poem with oboe obbligato (a concertante part of considerable virtuosity); like The Seasons, the music is graphic and vivid. The most remarkable aspect of Musgrave's music is the sheer momentum built up over the span of the musical argument: Musgrave is prepared, as so many more academic composers are not, to carry the listener forward through escalating tension, without the distraction of pausing to demonstrate the mechanisms driving the music. The subtly subversive intrusion of the Dies Irae and the Marseilleise into The Seasons serve to counterpoint Musgrave's inventive imagination. Nicholas Daniel (oboe), Scottish Chamber Orchestra; Nicholas Kraemer. Collins Classics 15292 (England) 11A081 $16.98

ROBERT DI DOMENICA (b.1927): Dream Journeys, Symphony, Variations and Soliloquies. A hitherto largely unknown composer of the very highest quality: although by profession a flutist, DiDomenica is far from the instrumentalist-composer writing works for his own instrument and with little proficiency outside his specialist sphere; the music here demonstrates a wide-ranging compositional imagination and a thorough command of modern orchestral forces. Dream Journeys is a dark, mysterious tone-poem, full of Ivesian dissonance and cunningly interpolated references to Wagner and the composer's own works. The powerful symphony, based on a note-row derived from Mozart in a language reminiscent of the Busoni of Doktor Faust with a hint of Berg, is a major find; one is almost offended at the idea that this music has been in existence longer than the present writer, and how dare I not have heard of it before?! Equally striking is the ingenious Variations and Soliloquies, which alternates contrapuntally complex variations on a 12-note theme, with music expressing the idea of introspective declamation, music derived from the rhythm of the most famous stage soliloquy - yes, that one - (very cleverly done, this) and finally, variations on the rhythm of the waltz from the "Diabelli". This disc is a treasure-trove of compositional intelligence, and deserves a wide audience. Hannover Radio Philharmonic; Gunther Schuller. GM Recordings 2061 (U.S.A.) 11A082 $16.98

GEORGE ROCHBERG (b.1918): 3 Piano Trios. The 1963 trio was Rochberg's last serial work before he started the process of rethinking his relationship with his music as a result of personal upheavals in his life. The work is elegant and assembled with exquisite craftsmanship by a composer who obviously relished the discipline inherent in the dodecaphonic system and the challenge of writing passionate and expressive music within it. But for an outpouring of expressive passion rare in any 20th-century chamber music one need look no further than the wonderful 1990 trio, manifestly modern yet wholly Romantic masterpiece of orchestral scope which manages to incorporate everything Rochberg learned about structure and economy in his serialist years, and puts it to the service of the boldest of emotional stimuli. The 1985 trio is an intermediate work, original yet very much a Romantic throwback in which the composer seems to be re-establishing his feelings for tonality. The Kapell Trio. Gasparo GSCD 289 (U.S.A.) 11A083 $16.98

PETER SCHICKELE (b.1935): String Sextet, String Quartet No. 2 "In Memoriam", Piano Quintet No. 2. OK, let's get one thing out of the way to begin with; there is no trace of P.D.Q. Bach on this CD. Well, the wry sense of humor evident in the composer's notes hints in that direction . . . The music is genial, beautifully crafted, Romantic and lyrical, with a definite (but hard to define) American-ness (and some touches of Bartók here and there, as well as lighter fare). The quartet, in memory of a family member, is elegiac and heartfelt, as is the more dramatic quintet, with the composer as (supposedly) somewhat reluctant but eminently capable soloist. Peter Schickele (piano), The Lark Quartet, Robert Rinehart (viola), Julia Lichten (cello). Arabesque Z6719 (U.S.A.)11A084 $16.98

GIAN CARLO MENOTTI (b.1911): The Consul. This 1950 production won the Pulitzer Prize and ran for 269 performances in New York before being given all over Europe as well. The action concerns a wounded freedom fighter in an unnamed European country who begs his wife to obtain a visa so that he can flee the country. Much of the action takes place in the office of the title character (who does not appear) and Menotti contributed his most dissonant and some of his strongest music, particularly in the third act which closes with a hallucinatory dance of death. This will certainly show a different face to collectors of the composer who is best known for Amahl and the Night Visitors and whose children's opera Help, Help, the Globolinks! was offered in our September catalogue. 2 CDs. Michael Chioldi (baritone), Beverly O'Regan Theile (soprano), David Cangelosi (tenor), Camerata New York Orchestra; Joel Revzen. Newport Classics NPD 85645/2 (U.S.A.) 11A085 $33.98

HORATIO RADULESCU (b.1942): Piano Concerto, Op. 90 "The Quest". Messiaen hailed Radulescu as having "participated in the renewal of musical language". He certainly went way beyond the French master in the direction of abstraction, since his music, which involves microtones and an almost obsessive investigation of the upper partials and overtones of musical notes, is an exercise in sonority above all, in which the often fascinating and unexpected interactions between the highest notes on the piano played as complex, dissonant chords and orchestral instruments playing at the top of their register are permitted to stand as musical statements in themselves. Such thematic material as there is is treated as raw material for this kind of treatment, creating an otherworldly creation-myth music, out of which one feels almost anything might come into being. Ortwin Stürmer (piano), Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra; Lothar Zagrosek. CPO 999 589 (Germany) 11A086 $15.98

ALFONS KARL ZWICKER (b.1952): Von Klang der Bilder - Cycle for Large Orchestra and Piano. "Of the Sound of Pictures" sets out to do for five abstract paintings what Mussorgsky and Granados did for representational paintings in Pictures and Goyescas. The composer is himself a painter, and interprets the techniques, as well as the imagery, of the paintings - by Buchholz, Klee, Kandinsky, Klein and Fruhtrunk. The "slow movement" is an almost static progression around the note D, in response to Klein's unadorned blue panel, for example, whereas Kandinsky's dynamic juxtaposition of ambiguous objects gives rise to a vivdly etched explosion of contrasting energies. The musical language emphasises color and texture above thematic development or progression of musical argument. Peter Waters (piano), Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic Orchestra; Monica Buckland Hofstetter. Musikszene Schweiz CD 6151 (Switzerland) 11A087 $18.98

EMIL PETROVICS: Cantata No. 1 "Alone in the Forest", Cantata No. 5 "Letters from Turkey", The Book of Jonah - Oratorio. Petrovics' dramatic ability is shown to good advantage in these works for solo voices and orchestra, but what is perhaps surprising from a composer who has embraced atonality and 12-note composition is the predominant vein of lyricism which characterises all these works. If there is influence of the Second Viennese School, it is that of Berg - but the vocal writing sounds more like Janacek, or the Shostakovich of the 13th Symphony or the Jewish Folk Poetry cycle. The melodiousness of this music makes irrelevant the (very free) use of dodecaphony in its construction. Hungarian-English texts. Ilona Tokody (soprano), József Gregor (bass), József Réti, Sándor Palcsó (tenors), László Palócz (baritone), Engre Ütó (bass), Budapest Chorus, Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra; Emil Petrovics, Hungarian State Orchestra; Miklós Erdélyi. Hungaroton HCD 31790 (Hungary) 11A088 $16.98

HERBERT BAUMANN (b.1925): Alice in Wonderland. Baumann's ballet score is tonal (with very occasional excursions into avant-garde wildness as special effects), and thoroughly appealing. Much of it could be a score by Martinu, and it concentrates on the picturesque quaintness of the subject matter without delving into the darker psychological undertones of the books as other composers have done. The music is lively and thoroughly enjoyable, and ingenious in its treatment of thematic material to tell the story and comment on it. The composer's deft touch in his orchestration is also a delight. Hannover Radio Philharmonic; Herbert Baumann. Thorofon CTH 2360 (Germany) 11A089 $16.98

GEORGES MOINEAU (b.1914): Messe solennelle de saint Remi, 3 pièces chorales diverses, Oratorio Le Baptême de Clovis. Fine choral works by a skilled composer working in a fairly conservative idiom which recalls Poulenc, though perhaps with more seriousness of purpose and a stronger sense of the expressly ecclesiastical. There are many moments of genuinely deep reflection and feeling in both these works, and the composer's dramatic use of the brass in fanfares adds to the sense of occasion and the feeling of an historical pageant played out in music. Mid-price. Cantabile, Arsène Muzerelle Chamber Orchestra; Arsène Muzerelle. Pavane ADW 7410 (Belgium) 11A090 $10.98

GERHARD FROMMEL (1906-1984): Piano Sonatas No. 3 in E, Op. 15 and No. 4 in F, Op. 21, Violin Sonata No. 2 in A Minor, Op. 32, Lieder der Stille, Op. 4, Pia caritatevole amorosissima, Was erzählst du heut, allein geblieben, Op. 16/3. A composer of strong character and individuality, yet difficult to categorise, Frommel enjoyed the patronage of luminaries such as Pfitzner (with whom he studied composition), Rosbaud, Keilberth and Furtwängler. The music has high seriousness of purpose, yet there is also a French-derived sense of atmosphere and color, and there is always a dramatic inner tension resulting from the composer's skilled use of harmony to direct the listener's attention through the musical argument. Repays close acquaintance with the discovery of ever more shades of content and meaning. Lars Jonsson (piano), Karl-Hinz Lautner (piano), Daniel Sepec (violin), Rainer Hoffmann (piano), Rainer Lutz (baritone), Gutlinde Sudau (piano), Adelheid Vogel (soprano), Eugen Wangler (piano). Musicaphon M 55708 (Germany) 11A091 $14.98

GLORIA COATES (b.1938): String Quartet No. 3, VIOLETA DINESCU (b.1953): String Quartet No. 1 "Terra Lonhdana", ELISABETH LUTYENS (1906-1987): String Quartet No. 6, Op. 25, GERMAINE TAILLEFERRE (1892-1983): String Quartet, GRAZYNA BACEWICZ (1909-1969): String Quartet No. 6 (2nd & 3rd movements), FANNY MENDELSSOHN-HENSEL (1805-1847): String Quartet in E Flat (1st & 2nd movements), ETHEL SMYTH (1858-1944): String Quartet in E Minor (4th movement). This collection of string quartets by women composers offers the first recordings of works by Lutyens (her 1952 quartet was dedicated to Francis Bacon and she found her personal, serial voice in this work for the first time), Dinescu (whose 1984 piece uses the 12th century theme of "The Distant Land" by Bertrande de Ventador in a freely atonal, expressive single-movement work) and Coates, an American whose 1975 quartet contains all of her personal stylistic features - glissandi, micro-intervals, quarter-tone vibrati - used with a special intensity of expression. Special Price. Fanny Mendelssohn Quartet. Troubadisc TRO-CD 01418 (Germany) 11A092 $12.98

JAMES MACMILLAN (b.1959): Veni, Veni, Emmanuel, Tryst. Macmillan's exciting and vivid percussion concerto, Veni Veni Emmanuel, based on an Advent plainsong (though obviously straying far from it in mood), is something of an orchestral tour de force. The music is for the most part very active, and although the use of strongly rhythmic material and unpitched percussion dictates a modern, even aggressive impression, the music is actually very approachable, at least on a visceral, dynamic level. Harmonically it is not especially complex - that is not the point; rhythmically it occupies similar territory to Le sacre. An appealing work, very lively and colorful. Tryst occupies a similar æsthetic world; again a young man's music, full of energy and fire. Colin Currie (percussion), Ulster Orchestra; Takuo Yuasa. Naxos 8.554167 (New Zealand) 11A093 $5.98

DIMITRI TERZAKIS (b.1938): String Quartet No. 2, String Quartet No. 3, Die Tore der Nacht und des Tages for Voice, Clarinet and Piano, Sappho-Fragmente for Voice and Sanduri, Ethos B' for Alto Voice and 2 Melody Instruments, Katawassia for 2 Sopranos, Alto, 2 Tenors and Baritone, Erotikon for Soprano, Violin, Clarinet and Cello, Oktoechos for Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn, String Quartet and Double Bass. From the ominous death-watch ticking that starts the Second Quartet, and the long melismatic chants, using microtones further to suggest vocal inflections, it is clear that this is a composer with a wholly individual voice. Above all, this music is profoundly melodic, though using the most sophisticated temperament adjustments to suggest something that sounds wholly organic, with an elemental quality that goes beyond the mere absorption of folk idioms into concert music. The music suggests an ancient vocabulary, half-forgotten, which can even be quite disorienting for the listener (just try listening to conventional "classical" music immediately afterwards!). Mid-price. Berne String Quartet, Leonardo Quartet, Philharmonisches Octet Berlin and various other vocal and instrumental soloists. CPO 999 572 (Germany) 11A094 $10.98

YORK HÖLLER (b.1944): Fanal for Trumpet and Orchestra, Daydreams for Piano Trio, Pensées (Second Piano Concerto). For decades a leading member of Germany's avant garde, Höller has been associated with the most important composers and institutions in European contemporary music, from Boulez and IRCAM to Stockhausen and Darmstadt. While complexity and activity tend to be the characteristics most associated with these movements, and Fanal - "Signal" - with its associations of leaping flames and alarm calls symbolised in the solo trumpet material certainly fits this category, the spare, almost impressionistic Daydreams does not; these 7 pieces occupy a subtle soundscape of mists and vague shadowy impressions. But it is the piano concerto which truly points to Höller's stature as a composer; inspired by a tragic personal loss, the work functions as a profoundly haunting requiem, an almost Mahlerian epic, but using the full resources of our century; even the piano is also a midi keyboard, and Höller's experience with electronic music allows him an unprecedented expressive pallette. Most impressive. John Wallace (trumpet), London Sinfonietta; Hans Zender, Ravinia Trio, Pi-Hsien Chen (piano), Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra; Zender. Largo 5140 (Germany) 11A095 $16.98

TAKASHI YOSHIMATSU (b.1953): Piano Concerto "Memo Flora", Op. 67, And Birds Are Still..., Op. 72, While an Angel Falls into a Doze..., Op. 73, Dream Colored Mobile II, Op. 58a, White Landscapes, Op. 47a. Yoshimatsu's music is extremely accessible and pleasant to the ear, with sometimes a feeling of new-age Romanticism, sometimes a suggestion of pastiche of neoclassical forms and techniques, and a strong vein of impressionism. Harsh dissonances are avoided, and these works make their impression through gently shifting harmonies and muted pastel colors. The composer describes himself as an advocate of "The New Lyricism", and his gentle, unassuming music certainly fulfils his aims. Kyoko Tabe (piano), Manchester Camerata; Sachio Fukioka. Chandos 9652 (U.S.A.) 11A096 $16.98

DONALD MARTINO (b.1931): Fantasies and Impromptus, ROGER SESSIONS (1896-1985): Piano Sonata No. 2, Piano Sonata No. 3. Martino's half-hour Fantasies and Impromptus is a fascinatingly intricate and detailed serial composition demanding the utmost virtuosity and intelligence from the performer. So many moods, textures, levels of meaning and pianistic techniques slide kaleidoscopically in and out of focus so quickly that the ear is initially dazzled, as the eye might be in inspecting too closely the textures of a pointillist painting. But as the work progresses, the listener is drawn in to the play of light and beguiled by the exquisite piano textures. The Sessions sonatas - the energetic, chromatic second and the serial third - make an appropriate coupling. Randall Hodgkinson (piano), Robert Helps (piano). New World 80546 (U.S.A.) 11A097 $16.98

BRIAN FERNEYHOUGH (b.1943): Time and Motion Study I for Bass Clarinet, Kurze Schatten II for Guitar, Bone Alphabet for Percussion, Unity Capsule for Flute, Time and Motion Study II for Cello and Electronics. The intense experience of performing Ferneyhough's extravagantly difficult music is explored in several guises on this disc. Time and Motion studies would be an apt subtitle for many of Ferneyhough's works, as they generate their musical worth from the process of exploiting the performer to generate a great deal of motion in precisely predetermined time intervals, bringing a new dimension to the relationship between notation, performance and the experience of creating music. Unlike the complexity of Xenakis, Ferneyhough is relatively unconcerned with the seductive world of visceral excitement generated by pure sound-sensation; here the listener is supposed to hear all the detail, and the performer to provide it; this "performace art" provides the fascination; the instrumentation and actual sounds are almost incidental to the process. Elision. Etcetera KTC 1206 (Netherlands) 11A098 $17.98

Medtner plays Medtner

NICOLAI MEDTNER (1980-1951): Märchen: in E Minor, Op. 14/2, in B Minor, Op. 20/2, in A, Op. 51/3, in A (two versions), in F Sharp Minor, Op. 51/5, in B Flat Minor, Op. 20/1, in F Minor, Op. 26/3, in E Flat, Op. 26/2, in A, Op. 51/3, in A Minor, Op. 51/2 and in C Minor, Op. 8/1, Hymn in Praise of Toil, Op. 49/1, Danza jubilosa, Op. 40/4, Danza festiva, Op. 38/3, Canzona matinata, Op. 39/4, Novelle in G, Op. 17/1, LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827): Piano Sonata No. 23 in F Minor, Op. 57 "Appassionata". For our Medtner specialists, here is the first volume in APR's three-CD series of recordings made by the composer himself. 54 minutes of this disc contain recordings of his own music made for British Columbia in 1930 and 1931 and previously unpublished. Medtner was a fabulous pianist in his own right (Rachmaninov deferred to his compatriot in this regard) and his performances must be considered definitive in as complete a way as possible. Anyone seriously interested in Medtner's music will want to have this excellently transferred CD in their libraries. Nikolai Medtner (piano). APR 5546 (England) 11A099 $18.98

WARREN BURT: 39 Dissonant Etudes. Inspired by La Monte Young's The Well-Tuned Piano, Burt has created a long microtonal piece using piano timbre which, in the words of the composer "reaffirms my connection with the modernist, mechanical and microtonal piano pioneers of our century". Among the composers who influenced or receive homage in this set (part of an in-progress work due to last six hours upon completion) are Grainger, Thelonious Monk, Ruggles, Ives, Rudhyar, Wyschnegradsky and Nancarrow; the computer parts of Cage and Lejaren Hiller were influential as well. Warren Burt (computer/synthesizer). Tall Poppies TP 093 (Australia) 11A100 $18.98

PETER HATCH (b.1957): Fragments of an Unknown Teaching, LINDA CATLIN SMITH (b.1957): The View from Here, The Surroundings, ANTHONY GENGE (b.1952): Dream Waltz, BARBARA MONK FELDMAN (b.1953): The I and Thou, JAMES ROLFE (b.1961): Idiot Sorrow, JOHN REA (b.1944): Portrait of a Man in Elysian Fields. All these pieces are imbued with the spirit of Morton Feldman (their composers either having studied with him or being spiritually close to his music), being deceptively simple: their slow, quiet qualities requiring acute concentration and refined discipline from both performer and auditor. Sonic patterns rather than melody are the primary musical material and original shapes and structures of composition all tend to focus on individual sonorities and, just as important, on silences. Barbara Pritchard (piano). Centrediscs CMC-CD 6298 (Canada) 11A101 $16.98

LEO BROWER (b.1939): Concierto de Volos, MALCOLM ARNOLD (b.1921): Serenade, Op. 50, JOAQUÍN RODRIGO (b.1901): Concierto de Aranjuez. The Concierto de Volos is Brouwer's sixth guitar concerto, and it is a fine, lyrical work in an approachable tonal/modal idiom that owes a good deal to folk musics of the Mediterranean area. The slow sections have an atmosphere of tender melancholy that is most affecting, and the incisive allegro movements generate a good deal of momentum. Malcolm Arnold's enchanting little Serenade is simple and touching without excessive sentimentality. Costas Cotsiolis, Odair Assad, Scott Tennant (guitar), Orquesta de Córdoba; Leo Brower. GHA 126.025 (Belgium) 11A102 $17.98

BRUCE BROUGHTON (b.1945): Shadow Conspiracy - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. This CD was recommended to us by its distributor as working just as well as stand-alone orchestral music (the film was eminently forgettable). Indeed, two cues are large enough to stand alone as quasi-tone-poems. Broughton uses a massively enhanced percussion section and as Gramophone put it, "...the overall effect is quite joyously overwhelming, a lumbering giant of a score dominating all by its presence, whipped into a frenzy of excitement, and quite unstoppable." Exactly. Intrada MAF 7073 (U.S.A.) 11A103 $16.98