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ARNO BABADJANIAN (1921-1983): Fantasy, ALEXANDER SPENDIARIAN (1871-1928): Yerevan Studies, Op. 30, Persian March from the Opera Almast, GRIGORY YEGHIAZARIAN (1908-1988): Sevan, Suite No. 2: Dances of the Fishermen, Dances of the Golden Fish, Dance of Young Girls, LORIS TJEKNAVORIAN (b.1937): Valse d'Amour, My Armenia, Adagio from Othello, GHAZAR SARIAN (1920-1988): Symphonic Canvas - Armenia: Sunrise, Drinking Song, ALEXANDER ADJEMIAN (1925-1987): Rhapsody, EDGAR HOVHANESSIAN (b.1930): Erebouni-Yerevan, Sandarapat, EDVARD MIRZOYAN (b.1921): Symphonic Dances: Lezghinka, ARAM KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978): Gayaneh: March. Except for the well-known Khachaturian piece, this spectacularly recorded anthology brings over 75-minutes of CD premieres of Armenian orchestral works. Many collectors of Melodiya LPs will recognize many of these composers, especially Spendiarian and Yeghiazarian (the latter represented by three excerpts from his 1955 ballet named after an Armenian lake and the former by a march from his 1918-28 opera and two undulating, modal dances which make up the 1925 Yerevan Sketches. Hovhanessian's two works are for chorus and orchestra - the former written in 1968 to mark the 2,750th anniversary of the founding of Yerevan and the latter (1969) a rousing patriotic celebration of a victory over the Turks in 1918. Some of the music could come from a Hollywood costume adventure of the 50s or early 60s; Adjemian's Rhapsody slides back and forth between film-music-colorism and (with the entrance of a drum kit) exotic lounge music. Nothing here overstays its welcome and everything is richly melodic. Lovers of brightly-hued exoticism will not hesitate. Armenian Philharmonic Chorus and Orchestra; Loris Tjeknavorian. ASV DCA 1037 (England) 10A001 $16.98

Irish Classical Music

ARTHUR DUFF (1899-1956): Meath Pastoral, Irish Suite for Strings, ALOYS FLEISCHMANN (1910-1992): Elizabeth MacDermott Roe, THOMAS C. KELLY (1917-1985): O'Carolan Suite in Baroque Style, Three Pieces for Strings, JOHN F. LARCHET (1884-1967): Mac Ananty's Reel, The Dirge of Ossian, JOAN TRIMBLE (b.1915): Suite for Strings. Larchet's pair of pieces from 1940 breathe native Irish color and spirit while Duff's fragrant Meath Pastoral and Irish Suite, from the early 40s, recall Warlock or Moeran (to whom the Suite bears a dedication). Fleischmann's work is a threnody inspired by the blind harper and bard Carolan who also provided the impetus for Kelly's 1978 neo-baroque piece. A valuable look at Irish classical composers and sure to appeal to anyone interested in appealing and approachable 20th century music. Irish Chamber Orchestra; Fionnuala Hunt (violin). Black Box BBM 1003 (England) 10A002 $16.98

DMITRI KABALEVSKY (1904-1987): Symphony No. 1 in C Sharp Minor, Op. 18, Symphony No. 2, in C Minor, Op. 19, Spring, Op. 65, Overture pathétique, Op. 64. Dating from 1932, Kabalevsky's first symphony is a two-movement work celebrating the 15th anniversary of the October Revolution which depicts the downtrodden Russian people in its anguished, brooding first movement and the revolutionaries in its complex, agitated and jaunty finale. From 1934, the second symphony has no program but, as with all of the composer's orchestral works (including the remaining two items on this disc which date from 1960), is direct, diatonic, rooted in Russian folk music, showing wit, humor and unpredictability. Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra; Loris Tjeknavorian. ASV DCA 1032 (England) 10A003 $16.98

HEITOR VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959): Dawn in a Tropical Forest, Mômo precoce - Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra, Bachianas brasileiras No. 2, Dança frenética. Here is the only available stereo recording of Villa-Lobos' 1929 orchestration of his 1919/20 Carnaval das crianças ("Children's Carnival"). Twenty-three minutes in length, it is a noisily high-spirited fantasy bursting with energy, rhythm and boisterous good spirits. In 1919 the Dança frenetica was recommended by a critic for "epileptic musician and paranoiac listeners"; commissioned by the Louisville Orchestra in 1953, Dawn in a Tropical Forest draws on Amerindian motifs and is one of Villa-Lobos' most poetic, evocative scores. Marco Antonio de Almeida (piano), Jena Philharmonic Orchestra; David Montgomery. Arte Nova 54465 (Germany) 10A004 $6.98

HEITOR VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959): Carnaval das Crianças, Simples Coletânea, Francette e Piá, As Três Marias, Homeagem a Chopin, Rudepoema. This collection includes some delightful and easy miniatures, as well as Villa-Lobos' pianistic masterpiece, the extraordinary, dissonant, highly chromatic Rudepoema - a work of such elemental wildness that it is hard to equate it with the composer of the sophisticated and picturesque works which we customarily associate with the composer. At times percussive and brutal (in the Bartókian sense), this is a primitive tone-poem which functions much like a pianistic Le sacre. None of the other music is anything like this, stylistically recalling Poulenc as much as anyone. Alfred Heller (piano). Etcetera KTC 1220 (Netherlands) 10A005 $17.98

VÍTùZSLAV NOVÁK (1870-1949): Serenade in F, Op. 9, Slovak Suite, Op. 32, Melancholic Songs of Love, Op. 38. The 1894 serenade shows an affinity with the young Suk in its sunlit charm and graceful, untroubled lyricism. Written in1906, during his "Moravian period" - the same time as his most famous work, the Slovak Suite, the op. 38 cycle of 4 songs resonate with a sad, contemplative mood (what Novák called in his memoirs "major-key melancholy"). Novák was always renowed in his own country as a fine song composer and now, with this release and the Classico release (05-002) of his op. 39 8 Nocturnes, we have the evidence to prove it. Czech-English texts. Jana Tetourová (soprano), Prague Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra; JiÞí Bûlohlávek. Supraphon SU 3372 (Czech Republic) 10A006 $16.98

NINO ROTA (1911-1979): Viola Sonatas Nos. 1 and 2, Intermezzo for Viola and Piano, Violin Sonata, Improvviso for Violin and Piano. The first viola sonata (1934) shows elements of neo-classicism and the 1969 Improvviso is closest to the world of Rota's film scores. The remaining works (all dating from the 30s and 40s) display a lyricism of French influence. Rota's ease of melodic invention and spontaneity are everywhere apparent. Luigi Albert Bianchi (violin, viola), Marco Vincenzi (piano). Dynamic CDS 211 (Italy) 10A007 $16.98

ERICH WOLFGANG KORNGOLD (1897-1957): String Quartets No. 1 in A, Op. 16 and No. 2 in E Flat, Op. 26. Korngold's first quartet, dating from 1924, is a playful and extravagant outpouring of melody, fromits rhapsodic first movement through its cantabile second via the restlessly darting third and home via its light, sweet and sunny finale. The second quartet (1934) is one of Korngold's most "Viennese" works, having a tranquil and autumnal feel to it (save for its jolly, bubbling Intermezzo); it was composed while on holiday in the Austrian countryside and would be one of his last works before leaving for Hollywood in the following year. Its waltz-finale is particulary intoxicating. Flesch Quartet. ASV DCA 1035 (England) 10A008 $16.98

ERIC COATES (1886-1957): London Calling, Symphonic Rhapsody on "I pitch my lonely caravan at night", Springtime Suite, The Enchanted Garden, The 7 Seas, À la gavotte, Dancing Nights, Symphonic Rhapsody on a Song by Richard Rodgers, Lazy Night, High Flight. This well-filled release fills a gap as two of the items are otherwise unavailable on CD and the rest only in historic recordings from the 1930s and 1940s. All are for full orchestra and one - The Enchanted Garden of 1938 - envisaged as a ballet, is really a 20-minute long symphonic poem, full of detail, color and the opulence that comes with the largest orchestra Coates ever scored a work for; its sumptuousness rivals that of Hollywood film composers of the period. Mid-price. BBC Concert Orchestra; John Wilson. ASV WHL 1221 (England) 10A009 $11.98

Four French Romantic Symphonies return to the catalogue

ALBÉRIC MAGNARD (1865-1914): Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 4, Symphony No. 2 in E, Op. 6. BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra; Jean-Yves Ossonce. Hyperion CDA 67030 (England) 10A010 $17.98

ALBÉRIC MAGNARD (1865-1914): Symphony No. 3 in B Flat Minor, Op. 11, Symphony No. 4 in C Sharp Minor, Op.21. BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra; Jean-Yves Ossonce. Hyperion CDA 67040 (England) 10A011 $17.98

Once available on three French EMI CDs in performances by the Toulouse orchestra under Plasson, Magnard's wonderful, late Romantic symphonies have been newly recorded by Hyperion. Magnard's most important teacher was D'Indy and he moved in the circle of Franck, having been introduced to it by his fellow pupil Guy Ropartz. Wagner cast his spell on Magnard as he did on an entire generation of French symphonists but there are intimations of Mahler and Richard Strauss - especially in the first two symphonies which date from his study period with D'Indy (1890-93) - as well; he uses the cyclic form made famous by Franck. These symphonies contain vivid drama, plangent melancholy and formidable grandeur allied to a joy in orchestral color and the Fourth Symphony of 1913, formidably expansive and of Mahlerian breadth, may yet come to be recognized as a lesser masterpiece.

RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958): A Cotswold Romance, Death of Tintagiles. Loud Cheers to Chandos for unearthing these wonderful works, the first a cantata based on Hugh the Drover, containing 40 minutes of V-W in his best English folk-derived vein, offering a portrait of the English countryside and country people as stylized, and as evocative, as a Constable landscape. If A Cotswold Romance is English through and through, Death of Tintagiles, incidental music for a Maeterlinck play, speaks a more universal language, while being unmistakably from this composer's pen. A dark little tragedy, this has pre-echoes of V-W's misleadingly titled war requiem ( the third symphony), and even the later, bleaker fourth and sixth symphonies. Not to be missed by anyone interested in the finest of British music. Rosa Mannion (soprano), Thomas Randle (tenor), Matthew Brook (baritone), London Philharmonic Choir, London Symphony Orchesta; Richard Hickox. Chandos 9646 (England) 10A012 $16.98

ARNOLD BAX (1883-1953): Trio élégiaque for Flute, Viola and Harp, Sonate fantaisie for Viola and Harp, Sonata for Flute and Harp. The brief Elegiac Trio dates from 1917 and is one of Bax's many reactions in music to the tragedy of the Easter Rising, melancholic with wisps of Irish-like tunes which come like the sun through thick clouds. The other two works are from 1927 and 1928 - the Fantasy Sonata without explicit Irish fingerprints but with clearly Irish melodic turns of phrase and dancing rhythms; similarly the flute and harp sonata which Bax withdrew after a few performances and rewrote in 1936 as a septet for flute, oboe, harp and string quartet (in which form its world-premiere recording appeared four months ago on Chandos - 04-009). Trio Turner. Arion ARN 68423 (France) 10A013 $13.98

RICHARD STRAUSS (1864-1949): Complete Chamber Music, Vol. 6 - Cello Sonata in F, Op. 6, Romanze for Cello and Piano in F, AV 75, Variations on a Bavarian Folk Tune for String Trio, String Quartet in A, Op. 2, Quartet Movement in E Flat, AV 211. More Strauss juvenilia appear in this ongoing series: the earliest is the fragmentary quartet movement from 1879, probably a preparatory sketch for the 1880 quartet which shows a thorough grounding in the classics. The sonata is better-known, a Schumannian outpouring of vigorous music; new to CD is the 1882 set of variations on a melancholy folk song which is finely crafted and more individual than the other works here. Peter Wöpke (cello), Wolfgang Sawallisch (piano), Vienna String Trio, Sinnhoffer Quartet. Arts 47264 (Germany) 10A014 $10.98

LEOS· JANÁCEK (1854-1928): Capriccio for Piano Left Hand and Chamber Ensemble, Concertino for Piano and Chamber Ensemble, Intermezzo Erotico, 3 Moravian Dances, 15 Moravian Folksongs. If Janácek is principally known as an opera composer - and as a giant in that field, that is certainly legitimate - that is certainly no reason to neglect these two late, spiky and defiant concertante chamber works. This music is very concentrated and intense, especially the misleadingly entitled Capriccio, and the originality of the composer's imagination is quite startling. The little piano works included here are rarities, which turn up in different guises elsewhere in the composer's output, or were written to commission, showing the composer's originality in a different field altogether, in his ingenious recreations of Moravian peasant dances, full of unexpected twists and turns and harmonic surprises. Gilead Mishory, Soloists of the Bavarian Radio Symphony. Tudor 772 (Switzerland) 10A015 $16.98

MARIO CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO (1895-1968): Rapsodia napoletana, le Stagioni, Evangélion - Primera Parte, Cantico, 3 Corali. Castelnuovo-Tedesco's great gift for melodic inventiveness sets him apart from many of the Italian neoclassicists, and the lovely works on this CD demonstrate once again his refinement and poetic sensibility as composer. These little gems are at once atmospheric and meditative, whether nature-painting in "The Seasons", or illustrating bible stories in Evangelion, or illuminating the Jewish melodies of his heritage in Tre Corali. It is only with the emergence of more of his music in recordings in recent years that the astonishing breadth of Castelnuovo-Tedesco's inspiration is becoming apparent. Aldo Ciccolini (piano). Phoenix Classics 97308 (Italy) 10A016 $16.98

JOHAN SVENDSEN (1840-1911): Symphony No. 1 in D, Op. 4, Symphony No. 2 in B Flat, Op. 15. Grieg admired these splendid symphonies, and it is not hard to see why; full of light and life and national character, they are a delight to hear. The first is very classical in outline, with many felicitous touches of transparent orchestration and a lovely slow movement; the second has absorbed some of the Wagnerism that was going around at the time, and is a more dramatic work, but no less appealing. Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra; Bjarte Engeset. Naxos 8.553898 (New Zealand) 10A017 $5.98

FRANÇOIS-JOSEPH GOSSEC (1734-1829): Symphonies in E Flat, Op. 5/2, in F, Op. 12/6, in E Flat, Op. 12/5, in D, Op. 5/3 and in D, B. 86. World premiere recordings of the last three symphonies listed above (as well they might be - Gossec wrote over 50!). The op. 5 works date from 1761-2 and are four-movement works in the Mannheim style. The op. 12 symphonies are from 1769 and revert to Gossec's most common three-movement format while the final one is the latest, probably from no later than 1776 with a remarkable first-movement triumphal march followed by a funereal lament and a high-spirited finale. These are attractive, well-constructed works which may not plumb the depths of his most famous contemporaries but which shed light on the symphonic aspect of this prolific composer, professor, conductor and spokesman for the French Revolution. Another valuable issue in the "Contemporaries of Mozart" series. London Mozart Players; Matthias Bamert. Chandos 9661 (England) 10A018 $16.98

IGNAZ MOSCHELES (1794-1870): Sonate mélancolique, Op. 49, Grosse Sonate für das Pianoforte, Op. 41, Les Charmes de Paris, Op. 54, Rondo sentmental, Op. 82a, Bijoux à la Malibran: Fantaisie dramatique sur des Airs favoris, Op. 72/4, Nocturne, Op. 71, Souvenir de Rubini: Fantaisie dramatique sur une Cavatine de l'Opéra "Anna Bolena", Op. 86b, Rêverie mélodique, Op. 130. This is a delightful CD. Krücker has recorded these works on an Erard piano of Moscheles' own time, and the lightness of touch that this affords him adds to the period charm of the works. There is a great deal of the influence of Beethoven, even of Mozart, in these pieces, but the composer's knowledge of the current musical trends is apparent in several works as well; there is more than a hint of Chopin here and there. Straddling the classical and romantic eras (though firmly grounded in the former), this music, while breaking no bounds, is a perfect reminder of the first-rate fare available to the 19th-century concertgoer, much of which is eclipsed nowadays by history's perception of who was "important" and who wasn't. Michael Krücker (fortepiano). New Classical Adventure MA 97 09 829 (Germany) 10A019 $16.98

CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH (1714-1788): Solo Keyboard Music, Volume Two - Sonatas in C, W.48/5, in A, W.48/6, in E Minor, W.65/5, in C, W.65/8 and in B Flat, W.65/9. The predecessor to this volume was the finest recording of a clavichord we had ever heard and this new volume continues the fine recording work in another well-filled disc of early sonatas from the 1740s. These pieces contain a cantabile quality and broad, sweet Italianate melodies which are a legacy of the passing baroque idiom; these combine with elements of the new galant style to foreshadow C.P.E.'s mature style. Miklós Spanyi (clavichord). BIS CD-879 (Sweden) 10A020 $17.98

TOMMASO TRAETTA (1727-1779): Le serve rivali. Another forgotten master widely celebrated in his lifetime is unearthed by Bongiovanni: Traetta spent his career at various Italian theatres and, from 1768-1775, at the court of Catherine the Great in Russia. His 42 operas are now finally represented by this live recording from 1979 of a comic opera written in Venice in 1766; charming and amusing, ranging from buffo bluster to lyric cantabile and making use of programmatic orchestral effects, this was Traetta's most popular opera. Italian-English libretto. 2 CDs. Dano Raffanti (tenor), Franca Mattiucci (mezzo), Paolo Barbacini (tenor), Maria Rosa Nazario (soprano), San Remo Symphony Orchestra; Fernando Mainardi. Bongiovanni GB 2003/4 (Italy) 10A021 $33.98

GIOVANNI PACINI (1796-1887): Medea. The independent labels are doing yeoman service for Pacini at themoment; this live 1993 recording offers the composer's 1843 work which follows in the footsteps of Mayr and Cherubini (among others) in setting the compelling story of the tragic Greek anti-heroine. Medea here is a typical character of romantic melodrama, intimidating and vengeful - a scorned woman with no hint of sorcery left in the libretto. Collectors of early Verdi will be interested in the influences between the two composers - no one can say who influenced whom in every case. Italian libretto. 2 CDs. Jolanta Omilian (soprano), Sergio Panajia (tenor), Marcello Lippi (bass), Coro Scchola Cantorum S. Gregorio Magno Trecate, Savona Symphony Orchestra; Richard Bonynge. Agora AG 086.2 (Italy) 10A022 $33.98

GIOACCHINO ROSSINI (1792-1868): Ciro in Babilonia. The 20-year-old Rossini's drama based partly on the story of Belshazzar's feast shows the composer producing some fine music but hurt by a libretto which gives few opportunities for extended dramatic writing. Still, dyed-in-the-wool Rossinians will be happy to have this live 1988 recording of an opera which appeared in the same year as La scala di seta. Italian libretto. 2 CDs. Caterina Calvi (contralto), Ernesto Palacio (tenor), Daniela Dessy (soprano), Coro Francesco Cilea di Reggio Calabria, San Remo Symphony Orchestra; Carlo Rizzi. Agora AG 079.2 (Italy) 10A023 $33.98

GAETANO DONIZETTI (1797-1848): Don Sebasiano, Re di Portogallo. Dating from 1843 (but recorded here in its 1845 revision), this monumental work is set in the Moroccan desert and in Lisbon in 1578 involving the crusade of the King of Portugal against the Moors; a beautiful Moorish girl who catches the King's eye, the Inquisition and a traitorous Grand Inquisitor provide the dramatic impetus. The authentic grandeur of much of this work (and a funeral cortege which haunted Mahler) make it one of the peaks of grand opera. Italian libretto. 2 CDs. Robert Woroniecki (tenor), Monica Minarelli (mezzo), Randall Jacobs (bass), Chorus of the Aachen Opera Theatre, Aachen Symphony Orchestra; Elio Boncompagni. Kicco Classic CS018CD1/2 (Italy) 10A024 $33.98

JOHANN ADOLF HASSE (1699-1783): La Conversione di Sant'Agostino. Dating from 1750, this oratorio finds Hasse at the peak of his powers expressively and creatively in the nine arias and two ensembles which are connected together by imaginatively varied recitatives. Sonia Zaramella (mezzo), Antonella d'Amico (soprano), Vito Martino (tenor), Giuseppe Verdi Symphony Orchestra of Milan; Paolo Vaglieri. Italian texts. 2 CDs. Agora AG 166.2 (Italy) 10A025 $33.98

NIKOLAI MEDTNER - Complete Piano Sonatas

NIKOLAI MEDTNER (1880-1951): Sonata in F Minor, Op. 5, 2 Märchen, Op. 8, Sonaten-Triade, Op. 11, Sonata in G Minor, Op. 22, Sonata-Skazka in C Minor, Op. 25/1, Sonata in E Minor "Night Wind", Op. 25/2, Sonata-Ballada in F Sharp, Op. 27, Sonata in A Minor, Op. 30, Vergessene Weisen, Opp. 38 & 39, Sonata Romantica in B Flat Minor, Op. 53/1, Sonata Minacciosa in F Minor, Op. 53/2, Sonate-Idylle in G, Op. 56. Most of our readers are well aware of the phenomenal technical ability and marvellous musicianship of Marc-André Hamelin, who has made unusual repertoire a mission both in recording and in performance. It is thus a splendid surprise to find him recording the complete Medtner sonatas - a part of the romantic repertoire which, while not exactly arcane, has not received this sort of dedicated advocacy from a single artist of Hamelin's stature. 4 CDs for the price of 3. Marc-André Hamelin (piano). Hyperion CDA 67221/4 (England) 10A026 $53.98

NIKOLAI MEDTNER (1880-1951): Complete Piano Works, Vol. 5 - Sonata in F Minor, Op. 5, Sonata Romantica in B Flat, Op. 53/1, Sonata minacciosa in F Minor, Op. 53/2. Exactly why anyone still has a problem with the "difficulty" of Medtner's music is not clear; these works, from the astonishingly accomplished Op. 5 sonata, which the composer wrote while still in his teens, onward, are all conceived in the most masterly terms for the piano; they are expressive, cogently argued, and contain passages of the most exquisite beauty - just listen to the gorgeous first movement of the Romantica. Virtuoso excitement is also certainly not lacking - the same sonata's scherzo, or the whirling storm-clouds of the minacciosa's finale, are as thriling as anything else in the romantic piano literature. Geoffrey Tozer (piano). Chandos 9691 (England) 10A027 $16.98

FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886): Complete Music for Solo Piano, Vol. 52 - Ungarischer Romanzero, S241a, Deux marches dans le genre hongrois, S693. The Ungarischer Romanzero is a collection of 18 Hungarian songs noted down by Liszt from various authentic sources and which are in various stages of completion regarding figuration and repeats. The manuscript was housed in the Wagner Museum in Bayreuth and is here edited and performed for the first time. Compiled some time before 1853, this set of songs shows Liszt thinking of producing more pieces in the same vein as the famous Hungarian Rhapsodies, although on a slighter scale. The two marches which fill out the disc date from around 1840 and are performed from the original manuscripts. Leslie Howard (piano). Hyperion CDA 67235 (England)10A028 $17.98

PAUL BEN-HAIM (1897-1984): Violin Concerto, NOAM SHERIFF (b.1935): Violin Concerto, ODED ZEHAVI (b.1961): Violin Concerto. These three original and powerful violin concertos chart a fascinating progression through three generations of Israeli composers. The senior voice here is that of Ben-Haim, whose concerto is dramatic and sensual, a melding of Mediterranean warmth with the dramatic economy of langauge of Shostakovich. Sheriff shows greater diversity in his influences, with a hint of second-Viennese harmonic thinking and more overt orientalism. And by the time we reach Zehavi, there is no more room for precise labels; this is postmodern music, equally at home in the dramatic atonal world of the first movement, with its tolling bells, the tender, simple, lyrical second movement, or the exuberant finale. Michael Guttman (violin), London Philharmonic Orchestra; David Shallon. ASV DCA 1038 (England) 10A029 $16.98

PIETRO MASCAGNI (1863-1945): Guglielmo Ratcliff. Based on Heine's novel and premiered in 1895, Mascagni's fourth opera is set in an 1820 northern Scotland rife with spirits and crimes and tells the tale of a young couple and the woman's father destroyed by the revenge-mad title character. 2 CDs. Italian libretto, English synopsis. Unlike Cavalleria Rusticana which defined the term verismo, Ratcliff looks back to a late Romantic movement in vogue during the 1870s and 80s and sets the Italian translation of Heine without the intervention of a librettist. Romanticism blends with morbid eroticism in a tale heavy with the tread of fate and predestination which will appeal to anyone interested in the German Romantic tradition of the accursed hero and the gothic novel. Maurizio Frusoni (tenor), Marisa Vitali (soprano), Carlo Guelfi (baritone), Giancarlo Boldrini (bass), A.C.A. Artisti Coro Associati, Orchestra del 20 Polo Lirico della Toscana; Massimo de Bernart. Agora AG 154.2 (Italy) 10A030 $33.98

JOAQUIN TURINA (1882-1949): Complete Piano Works, Vol. 9 - Sonata Romantica, Op. 3, Sonata Fantasía, Op. 59, Rincón Mágico, Op. 97. The newest volume in the complete Turina piano music series brings two CD premieres: the early (1909?) sonata subtitled Sobre un tema español, dedicated to Albéniz, which attempts to unify Debussian impressionism with the counterpoint and formal studies he had had from D'Indy and the Rincón Mágico, subtitled "Procession in the Form of a Sonata" (1941-43) which depicts local characters as seen from the window of the composer's favorite café. Antonio Soria (piano). Moraleda 6409 (Spain) 10A031 $16.98

JOAQUIN TURINA (1882-1949): Violin Sonata No. 1 in D, Op. 51, Violin Sonata No. 2 "Española", Op. 82, Sonata Española (1908). A perfect companion to the disc at left, this release offers the CD premiere of the Sonata Española, a product of Albéniz' advice to the young composer to abandon the Franckian tone of his op. 1 piano quintet and to write using Spanish popular sources. Accordingly, there is a definite exotic flavor to its three movements. The two numbered sonatas (from 1930 and 1934) are themselves filled with colorful Spanish and Basque elements. Christian Scholl (violin), Lourdes Ramirez (piano). Amati 9702 (Germany) 10A032 $17.98

LOUIS SPOHR - 3 Concertante Works new to CD!

LOUIS SPOHR (1784-1859): Concertante for 2 Violins and Orchestra in A, Op. 48, Concertante for Violin, Cello and Orchestra in C, Potpourri from the Opera Jessonda for Violin, Cello and Orchestra, Op. 64. This release makes a valuable pendant to cpo's series of Spohr's complete violin concertos, offering the two concertanti which date from 1808 and 1803 respectively. The two works have in common a bright character, forceful and technically difficult solo parts, much sophisticated interchange between the instruments and an early Romantic spirit. The Potpourri dates from 1823 and is in the style typical to these virtuoso goulashes so popular in their day: brilliant but non-fattening. Antje Weithaas (violin), Mila Georgieva (violin), Michael Sanderling (cello), Thuringian State Symphony Orchestra; Hermann Breuer. Es Dur ES 2029 (Germany) 10A033 $17.98

JOHANN NEPOMUK HUMMEL - CD premiere of the F Major piano concerto, Op. posth!

JOHANN NEPOMUK HUMMEL (1778-1837): Piano Concerto in F, Op. posth., Piano Concerto in A Flat, Op. 113. Hummel's last two piano concertos date from 1827 and 1828 and were probably performed during a concert tour to Warsaw in the latter year. This is notable since Chopin was still in Poland at the time of Hummel's tour and his two piano concertos are remarkably similar in form (long orchestral introduction, long first movements, slow movements dominated by the soloist, rondo finales) and even orchestration (only one trombone in all four concertos!). Thus, one will have a great idea of what these concertos sound like, except for the fact that Hummel's far greater experience is demonstrated in the superior compositional expertise exhibited by these works. Nikolaus Lahusen (piano), Südwestfäliche Philharmonie; Hiroshi Kodama. Koch Schwann/Aulos 3-1567-2 (Germany) 10A034 $16.98

LEOPOLD KOÎELUH (1747-1818): Concerto in B Flat for Piano Four Hands and Orchestra, P IV:8, FRANZ JOSEPH FRÖHLICH (1780-1862): Concerto in D Major for Piano Four Hands and Orchestra. Kozeluh's work, from the mid 1780s, is a typically playful and joyful piece of no profundity: pretty music for easy listening but which requires formidable technique of its soloists. Fröhlich was known mainly as a theorist and educator but his concerto (for which no date is offered by notes or encyclopedias) is of somewhat stronger stuff, reminiscent of late Haydn and middle-period Beethoven in places and, in its beautiful slow movement, of the lyricism of Schubert. Cologne Piano Duo Kalvelage /Krücker, Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra; Florian Merz. Koch Schwann 3-6504-2 (Germany) 10A035 $16.98

FRIEDRICH KUHLAU (1786-1832): Overtures to The Robber's Castle, The Magic Harp, Op. 27, Lulu, Op. 65, Elisa, Op. 29, Hugo and Adelheid, Op. 107, William Shakespeare, Op. 74, The Triplet Brothers from Damascus, Op. 115, The Elf's Hill, Op. 100. Kuhlau's overtures span the stylistic divide between the classicism of Mozart, Cherubini and Paer to the early Romanticism of Beethoven, Rossini and Weber. Influences and borrowings (Kuhlau enjoyed the "parody" technique in which he would quote a wisp of a well-known tune by someone else and work it out in his own, very personal way) of most of the above-mentioned composers abound in this selection of overtures which date from 1814-1830, three of which are premiere recordings. Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra; Michael Schønwandt. Chandos 9648 (England) 10A036 $16.98

MUZIO CLEMENTI (1752-1832): 6 Sonatinas, Op. 36, 3 Sonatas, Op. 37. The op. 36 sonatinas, none over 7 and a half minutes in length, crystallize and miniaturize the principles of classical sonata form, showing an Apollonian expressive purity. The sonatas show a typical profusion of characters, from whimsy to a the symphonic proportions of No. 2' s slow movement. Volume 12; three more to come! Pietro Spada (piano). Arts 47234 (Italy) 10A037 $10.98

CARLO TESSARINI (c.1690-c.1766): Sinfonias, Op. 20: No. 1 in D, No. 3 in D Minor, GIOVANNI PAISIELLO (1740-1816): Flute Quartets, Op. 23: No. 5 in G, No. 6 in G, IVAN KHANDOSHKIN (1747-1804): Variations on Russian Folktunes, GIUSEPPE SARTI (1729-1802): Sonata for Flute and Harpsichord in E Minor, MAXIM BEREZOVSKY (1745-1877): Violin Sonata in C, VINCENZO MANFREDINI (1737-1799): Concerto for Harpsichord, 2 Oboes and Strings. The court at St. Petersburg, Russia, benefitted from the presence of eminent Italian composers during the reign of Catherine II; this sixth volume in an ongoing series devoted to "Music at the Court of St. Petersburg" presents a recital of works by both Italians and native Russians who were heavily influenced by them. Manfredini's concerto (1769) is the major work here - all in a late Baroque/early Classical style. Musica Petropolitana. Opus 111 OPS 30-231 (France) 10A038 $17.98

LEONARDO LEO (1694-1744): Cello Concertos in D, F Minor, A, D Minor and A, Sinfonia Concertata for Cello and Strings in C Minor. Leo was one of the most important Neapolitan composers of his day but the vast majority of his work was sacred or for the stage. This set of six cello concertos are his only works in the genre; in four or five movements (unlike Vivaldi's regular three-movement model), these concertos alternate slow and fast movements in a style more attuned to lyricism than to brilliant virtuosity. Anner Bylsma (cello), Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra; Jeanne Lamon. Atma ACD 2 2126 (Canada) 10A039 $17.98

GIOVANNI BATTISTA VIOTTI (1755-1824): Violin Concertos No. 4 in D, No. 20 in D, No. 27 in C. Volume 6 of the complete violin concertos: No. 4, from 1782, dazzled Parisian audiences with its sparkling virtuosity; No. 20 dates from around 1792 when Viotti fled the Revolution to London and its almost melancholic first movement and intense adagio are witness to the times; No. 27, from the mid 1790s shows signs of influence by Haydn as well as nascent Romanticism. Symphonia Perusina; Franco Mezzina (violin). Dynamic CDS 206 (Italy) 10A040 $16.98


GAETANO DONIZETTI (1797-1848): Maria de Rudenz. Dating from 1838, Maria de Rudenz had only two performances before disappearing until the 1840s, after which it vanished until a 1981 revival. Its plot is highly romantic (the heroine apparently dies twice) and violent, reminiscent of its librettist's (Salvadore Cammarano) later Il trovatore. There is much fine music here; the duets are especially powerful with highly contrasting music for the characters. Opera Rara's lush and lavish packaging and documentation are as reliable as ever. 2CDs. Italian-English libretto. Bruce Ford (tenor), Nelly Mircioiu (soprano), Robert McFarland (baritone), Regina Nathan (soprano), Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, Philharmonia Orchestra; David Parry. Opera Rara ORC 16 (England) 10A041 $37.98

DOMENICO CIMAROSA (1749-1801): Armida Immaginaria. Premiered in 1777, this is Cimarosa's ninth opera, setting a libretto au courant with the tastes of the times (an extremely complicated situation involving the intertwining lives and destinies of three couples - one lowborn and comical, one middle-class and one aristocratic and the object of satirical digs). There is plenty of Cimarosa's characteristic lightness, elegance and finesse and lively, original ensembles are a hallmark of what was to become his mature style. With only one or two of his operas available in modern recordings, this is a good example to become familiar with a composer many 19th century commentators (like Delacroix and Stendhal) preferred to Mozart. 3 CDs. Italian-English texts. Alla Simonischvili, Simon Edwards, Piero Guarnera, Chorus of the Teatro Petruzzelli of Bari, Orchestra of the Teatro Bellini di Catania; Eric Hull. Dynamic CDS 205/1-3 (Italy) 10A042 $50.98

ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810-1856): Der Rose Pilgerfahrt, Op. 112. Skillfully constructed as a succession of contrasting tableaux, this allegorical tale of transcendant love is one of Schumann's most accomplished works for voice and orchestra, dating from 1851 during the explosive outburst of creativity which presaged the composer's final collapse into mental illness. As with recent integrales of his symphonies, the use of period instruments renders Schumann's sense of instrumental color with extraordinary vividness making the work seem new even to those who may have heard one of its very scarce predecessor recordings. Camilla Nylund (soprano), Andreas Schmidt (baritone), Chorus Musicus Köln, Das Neue Orchester; Christoph Spering. Opus 111 OPS 30-190 (France) 10A043 $17.98

MICHA¸ KLEOFAS OGI¡SKI (1765-1833): Minuet in A Minor, 4 Polonaises, XAVIER OGI¡SKI (1801-1837): 5 Polonaises, KAROL BERNARD ZA¸USKI (1734-1919): 3 Mazurkas, Polonaise in D Flat, Le lever du soleil, KAZIMIERRZ OSTOIA OSTASZEWSKI (1864-1948): Funeral March in Honor of Marshal Piludski, WOJCIECH OSTOIA OSTASZEWSKI (1902-1975): The Turn of the Wave, IWO ZA¸USKI (b.1939): Variations on a Theme of Amelia Zaluska. Volume 2 of "Music of the Oginski Dynasty" brings us another well-filled disc of polonaises, mazurkas and marches by this long-lived and talented family (all the above composers are descended from Michal Kleofas Oginski). M.K.'s polonaises are in the classical salon style while Xavier's have quite a lot of the style of his contemporary Chopin. Iwo Zauski (piano). Olympia OCD 645 (England) 10A044 $16.98

FRANZ BERWALD (1796-1868): Piano Concerto in D, Theme and Variations in G Minor, Rondeau-Bagatelle in B Flat, Tempo di Marcia in E Flat, Presto feroce, Duo in D for Violin and Piano. Dating from the end of his career in 1855, Berwald's piano concerto has the same individuality of his symphonies, the soloist playing right through without pause in this three-movements-in-one format. Some of the writing is reminiscent of Chopin and harks back in style to the era of Hummel and Weber. The other two-thirds of this release contain instrumental and chamber works not otherwise available on CD: the 1860 duo is a full-scale, three-movement work where the piano plays glittering figures and passages while the violin sings with lyrical charm. Three of the four solo works are from the 1820s, reflecting salon influences of the time but the 1859 Presto feroce has the propulsiveness common to Berwald's symphonies of the 1840s. Greta Erikson (piano), Josef Grünfarb (violin), Swedish Radio Orchestra; Stig Westerberg. Genesis GCD 111 (U.S.A.) 10A045 $16.98

BED¤ICH SMETANA (1824-1884): Louise's Polka, Dahlia Polka, From the Student's Life, Memories of PlzeÀ, Polkas in E Flat and E, 3 Drawing-Room Polkas, Op. 7, 3 Poetic Polkas, Op. 8, Scherzo-Polka, Op. 5/1, Bettina's Polka, Memories of Bohemia in Polka Form, Opp. 12 & 13, Czech Dances (1st series), Macbeth and the Witches, Bagatelles and Impromptus, To Robert Schumann, Toccatina in B Flat, Dreams, Romance, Étude in A Minor, Étude in C, On the Seashore. This fine series will be familiar to collectors from its LP incarnation in the mid70s to early 80s. The first disc concentrates mainly on polkas, works mostly from Smetana's late teens through mid 30s while the second contains his frighteningly difficult virtuosic tone poem Macbeth and the Witches, which belongs in the circle of similar compositions by Liszt and his followers. The late Dreams (1875) are the most extended work here: six pieces lasting nearly half an hour written after total deafness had befallen him and filled with poignant, melancholic reminiscences. 2 CDs. Mid-price. Jan Novotn (piano). Supraphon SU 3374 (Czech Republic) 10A046 $21.98

GASPAR CASSADÓ (1897-1966): Sonata nello Stile Antico Spagnuolo for Cello and Piano, Cello Sonata in A Minor, Suite for Solo Cello, Requiebros, JOAQUIN CASSADÓ (1867-1926): 3 Compositiones for Cello and Piano. The famous Catalonian cellist and his father are represented here by chamber music imbued with the melodies and rhythms of Spain (a romanticized version of 18th century music in the Sonata nello Stile Antico; a unique movement in the A Minor sonata - the Saeta - which is a devotional song sung during Holy Week processions in Seville). The Requiebros was a favorite of Casals and the solo cello suite still hangs on in today's recitals; the senior Cassadó's charming little suite was probably written for perfomance by his young son Thaddeus Brys (cello), Susan Brys (piano). Centaur CRC 2381 (U.S.A.) 10A047 $16.98

MAURICE DELAGE (1879-1961): Contrerimes for Piano, Sept Haï-Kaïs for Voice and Ensemble, Quatre Poèmes Hindous for Voice and Ensemble, String Quartet. Of all the composers who have attempted a fusion of western art music with the music of the orient, Delage deserves attention as one of the most successful, and least gimmicky. A student of Ravel, his music is unmistakably French, with echoes of Ravel, Debussy, Schmitt and even jazz; occasional suggestions of the kind of added-note harmony that later would come to be associated with Messiaen, or even early Sorabji are also present. But there is a sinuous, mellifluous quality to his vocal lines which suggests a transcription of the vocal techniques associated with the performance of Indian ragas, and a genuine feeling of two disparate cultures harmoniously combined, rather than being uneasily grafted on to each other. Far more than an interesting curiosity, this is first-rate music from a composer with a most unusual perspective on the divide between east and west. 2 CDs for the price of 1. Thérèse Malengreau (piano), Lucienne Van Deyck (mezzo), Gaggini String Quartet, Instrumental Ensemble; Robert Groslot. Cyprès CYP2621 (Belgium) 10A048 $17.98

ERVÍN SCHULHOFF (1894-1942): Esquisses de Jazz, Ostinato, Musik für Klavier, Op. 35, 11 Inventionen, 10 Klavierstücke, Op. 30, Studien. This disc brings together a sample of Schulhoff's range as a piano composer. The earliest work here, the Ten Pieces (1919) owe a great deal to Schoenberg's influence, as the young composer struggled to escape his Romantic roots. The works immediately following this are all from Schulhoff's atonal period, but there is a richness, almost a lushness to the piano textures that hints that this will not be the composer's final destiny. Then we have the jazz-influenced Esquisses, and finally, after the composer adopted principles of accessibility to match his new idealogical direction, the two Studies, which marked his turning away from the piano towards large orchestral forms. Tomá Víek (piano). Supraphon 11 2171 (Czech Republic) 10A049 $16.98

JACQUES IBERT (1890-1962): Concerto for Cello and Winds, DARIUS MILHAUD (1892-1974): Symphony No. 5 for Wind Decet, BOHUSLAV MARTINÒ (1890-1959): Concertino for Cello, Winds, Piano and Percussion, NIKOLAI TCHEREPNIN (1873-1945): Sonatine for Winds, Kettledrums and Xylophone, Op. 61. The Martinu, billed as a world premiere recording, was written in 1923 while the composer was living in Paris as part of the avant-garde musical scene there. The Concertino functions like a fully fledged miniature cello concerto in four movements, played continuously, and is in Martinu's most trenchant, modernist style. The tiny Milhaud symphony is also a product of the self-conscious modernism of the time, while the Ibert, another cello concerto in miniature, is diverting and lively. Tcherepnin's Stravinskian Sonatine is the largest work here, and draws on Russian folk material in a variety of brilliant and unconventional instrumentation to considerable effect. Jean Decroos (cello), Holland Wind Players; Jeroen Weierlink. Etcetera KCT 1191 (Netherlands) 10A050 $17.98

FERRUCCIO BUSONI (1866-1924): Kleine Suite for Cello and Piano, Op. 23, Kultaselle, ALEXANDER BORODIN (1833-1887): Cello Sonata. That amidst the turmoil of his hectic and multifacted life Borodin left a good many works incomplete is well known; what is strange is that music of the quality of this cello sonata should have waited more than a hundred years to be discovered. With its passionate "big tunes" and full-blooded romantic sweep, this is a strong and appealing work which deserves to be absorbed into the chamber repertoire as soon as enterprising cellists can be persuaded to learn it. The rarely-heard Busoni works make an appropriate and interesting coupling, especially Kultaselle, ten clever little vignettes of variations on a Finnish folk song. Dorothy Lawson (cello), Steven Blier (piano). Koch International Classics 3-7324-2 (U.S.A.) 10A051 $16.98

REINHOLD GLIERE (1875-1956): 12 Duets for 2 Violins, Op. 49, 10 Duets for 2 Cellos, op. 53, 8 Duets for Violin and Cello, Op. 39. This disc shows an unfamiliar side of a composer primarily known for his large, colorful orchestral scores, which pre-echo those of Khachaturian in style. Here we find him writing ingenious miniatures with the limited pallette of string duos, and succeeding in writing memorable little melodies, usually carried by one instrument with the other largely in accompanying rôle. The soulful sound of two cellos must have appealed to his sentimental Russian soul, because these duets are especially heartfelt and lovely. South African Chamber Music Society. Koch Discover International DICD 920526 (Belgium) 10A052 $6.98

CARLOS CHÁVEZ (1899-1978): VI Sonata for Piano, ALBERTO GINASTERA (1916-1983): 12 American Preludes, Piano Sonata, FELIX MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847): Variations sésrrieuses in D Minor, Op. 54, Variations in E Flat, Op. 82. The Chavez is quite surprisingly classical, using exclusively a harmonic language that would not have raised much inquiry in the mind of his companion on this disc, Mendelssohn. The Ginastera works are quite different. The 12 American Preludes combine a modern cosmopolitanism of style with unmistakably Latin rhythms, and making much use of "primitive" percussive driving accents. And then there is the powerful, Bartókian/Schönbergian Piano Sonata, a work of outstanding stature, and easily one of the most significant piano sonatas of the second half of our century. Adrian Ruiz (piano). Genesis GCD 114 (U.S.A.) 10A053 $16.98

HERMANN GOETZ (1840-1876): Piano Quartet in E, Op. 6, 3 Easy Pieces for Violin and Piano, Op. 2, Piano Trio in G Minor, Op. 1, Piano Quintet in C Minor, Op. 16. These chamber works show us a composer with Mendelssohn's gift for flowing melody and Brahms' depth and drama, and not noticeably inferior in inspiration to either. The music is as skilfully written for the strings as for Goetz' own instrument, the piano, and anyone who wishes there were as yet undiscovered chamber masterworks by Schumann or Brahms would do well to console themselves by investigating this disc. 2 CDs. Gerald Robbins (piano), Glenn Dicterow (violin), Alan de Veritch (viola), Terry King (cello), Dennis Trembly (bass). Genesis GCD 113 (U.S.A.) 10A054 $33.98

LORENZO PEROSI - Late Romantic String Quartets

LORENZO PEROSI (1872-1956): String Quartets No. 1 in A Minor, No. 2 in B Flat, No. 3 in G. NoPerosi appears to be another of those enigmatic eccentrics with whom the history of music is populated, and of whom it would be good to know more, on the strength of this CD. Most of his output is for organ, but there are 16 string quartets, mostly unpublished, and most of the rest of his output is also for small chamber ensembles. These quartets are warmly Romantic and of very high quality; they were plainly an expression of deep feelings for the composer, bearing dedications to the memory of his father and also odd, self-doubting inscriptions to himself. If this music sounds a little old-fashioned for the 1930s, when listened to for its own merits it emerges as profoundly moving music that will never become dated. Now let's hear the rest! Ensemble "L. Perosi". Bongiovanni GB 5075 (Italy) 10A055 $16.98

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)/RICHARD WAGNER (1813-1883): Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125 "Choral". Now, here is a fascinating oddity of the first order! Wagner's fascination with Beethoven is well documented, and it led him to the composition of this remarkable transcription. Not that the piano writing is all that extraordinary; the first three movements sound rather like a Beethoven sonata, but without Beethoven's gift for innovative piano technique. But the last movement is a shock; as it sounds nothing at all like piano music, one is forced to confront the sheer unconventionality of Beethoven's vision as with 19th-century ears, when hearing it for the first time in this stunningly inappropriate guise. Performed, necessarily, with a reduced choir (but with the solo voice parts intact), Wagner's reduction emphasizes just how ground-breaking this music was when it first appears. If you think you know the Ninth, you owe it to yourself to hear this disc. Choir of the Bach Collegium Japan, Noriko Ogawa (piano). BIS CD-950 (Sweden). 10A056 $17.98

FELIX MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847): Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64 (Original Version), Concerto in D Minor for Violin and Strings, Scherzo from Octet, Op. 20. BIS' preoccupation with the original versions of well-known work by major composers has led to some real insights into the composer's workshop. In some cases the works as originally conceived are very different from the editions familiar to us today; in others, as here, a multitude of details differ in what is basically the same piece we all know. For the musicologically inclined these are meticulously detailed in the accompanying booklet. For the most part these are changes in orchestration, though occasionally one will look up with a surprised "hey, that phrase doesn't go like that . . ." only to realise that it perfectly well could. Interesting, not notably inferior to the established version, and if you like the piquancy of transcriptions of familiar works, then this is a reputable extension of that guilty pleasure. Isabelle van Keulen (violin), Nieuw Sinfonietta; Lev Markiz. BIS CD-935 (Sweden) 10A057 $17.98

MIKHAIL GLINKA (1804-1857): Piano Music, Volume One - Nocturne, 3 Fugues, Valse fantaisie, La séparation, 4 Musical Essays, 2 Fragments from Ruslan and Ludmila, Children's Polka, Variations on a Theme by Mozart. Full of charm and nuance, Glinka's piano music is typical of the Romantic era. There is no extravagant virtuoso display; for the most part the pieces are open and clear in texture, but harmonically ingenious and full of little twists and turns which bring an involuntary smile to the face. This is not to suggest a lack of depth; "Prayer" from the 4 Musical Essays plumbs the depths of some genuine melancholy. More proof that the Romantic piano repertoire is a well-nigh inexhaustible source of fascinating and delightful surprises. Victor Ryabchikov (piano). BIS CD-979 (Sweden) 10A058 $17.98

EDMUND RUBBRA (1901-1986): A Hymn to the Virgin, Op. 13/2, Rosa Mundi, Op. 2, Fukagawa (Deep River), Pezzo Ostinato for Harp, Op. 102, The Mystery, Op. 4/1, Jesukin, Op. 4/2, Orpheus with his Lute, Op. 8/2, Transformations, Op. 141, The Jade Mountain, Op. 116, Improvisation for Cello, Op. 124, Discourse for Cello and Harp, Op. 127, LENNOX BERKELEY (1903-1989): Nocturne for Harp, HERBERT HOWELLS (1892-1983): Prelude No. 1 for Harp. A strongly spiritual man, fascinated by Eastern religious thought, and an ardent Catholic besides, Rubbra wrote much fine choral and vocal music to texts of mystical significance of one sort or another. The soothing, meditative qualities of the harp, and its ability to suggest the figurations and sonorities of instruments of the east made it a natural choice for the composer to use in many different contexts, and this fine collection brings them all together, from his transcription of a traditional Japanese melody to his complete songs with harp, all of which are quite exquisite. A revealing glimpse of the great English symphonist as calligraphic miniaturist in music. Tracey Chadwell (soprano), Danielle Perrett (harp), Timothy Gill (cello). ASV DCA 1036 (England) 10A059 $16.98

CARLO FRANCI : Dreamtime. This is an extremely impressive work, which despite its use of electronics and the sheer diversity of effects that the composer throws into the mix, is emotionally powerful and not in the least unapproachable. There is beauty and drama here; a pure chant of Hildegard von Bingen is "desecrated" by violent orchestral sounds; there is a demented toccata incorporating an homage to Rossini that sounds like the warped comic first cousin of Philip Glass' "Spaceship" from Einstein . .., otherworldly incantations and transmogrified orchestral sounds, the whole leading to a kind of sublime summation with a genuinely spiritual aspect. The overall impression is like a Dalí painting; a surreal juxtaposition of apparently disparate objects and impressions, some comic, some alarming, all meticulously rendered, and expressing a strange resonant significance that goes far beyond their intrinsic meaning. Colin Firth (speaker), Francesca Franci (mezzo), Ensemble Seicentonovecento; Carlo Franci. Musicaimmagine MR 10043 (Italy) 10A060 $18.98

TANIA GABRIELLE FRENCH (b.1963): 4 Illuminations, Fantasia, Ancient Echoes, Silhouettes at Sunrise, Equinox. French's chamber music is warm and emotionally expressive. Her chosen idiom is not especially modern, and the music is accessible at first hearing, and goes on to reveal layers of meaning subsequently. There is a strong sense of mystery, even of mysticism in several of these pieces, which are nonetheless thoroughly composed concert pieces, with no trace of new-age meandering; the composer's technical mastery may be taken for granted, and the message is thus easily and fluently communicated. Los Angeles Piano Trio, Alan Vogel (oboe), Members of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Centaur CRC 2395 (U.S.A) 10A061 $16.98

JOHN ZORN (b.1953): Aporias - Requia for Piano and Orchestra. In this large and ambitious composition, an abstract requiem for our times, concerned more with the idea of a passage from life to death than the specific act of rememberance of those who have died, Zorn draws on a formidable arsenal of contemporary compositional techniques, a kaleidoscopic juxtaposition of ideas from sources as diverse as Webern/Darmstadt, Busoni, primitive musics and non-classical allusions. Stephen Drury (piano), American Composers Orchestra; Dennis Russell Davies. Tzadik TZ 7037 (U.S.A.) 10A061a $16.98

ERNST BACON (1989-1990): Remembering Ansel Adams, Cello Sonata, Collected Short Piano Works, Tumbleweeds. Bacon was born in Chicago, of Austrian ancestry. He rejected the pessimism and form-and-process motivated compositional methods of much of this century's European music, and regarded himself as an American composer, a composer for the New World. It is thus far from surprising to learn of his friendship and close association with that most quintessential documenter of the American landscape, Ansel Adams. The music that resulted from Adams' untimely death in 1985 progresses from a throbbing opening with echoes of the Franz Schmidt Fourth Symphony to passages which recall Tapiola and some music of Bloch. It is a fitting and deeply felt elegy. The other works here are also very fine, especially the poetic cello sonata. The piano and violin-and-piano pieces make free use of a variety of Americana, some rustic, some far more sophisticated, but all refracted into an overall portrait of our country as far-ranging and invividual as the vision of Walt Whitman. Richard Stoltzman (clarinet), Warsaw Philharmonic; Jerzy Swoboda. Bernard Greenhouse (cello), Menachem Pressler (piano), Emily Corbató (piano), Dorothy Bails (violin), Allan Sly (piano). CRI 779 (U.S.A.) 10A062 $16.98

JOSEPH BODIN DE BOISMORTIER (1689-1755): Les Quatre Saisons. Vivaldi and Haydn are merely the most well-known representatives of 18th century artists who devoted themselves to representations of the manifestations of Nature in music and poetry. Boismortier's set of cantatas dates from 1724 and an Italian vivacity blends with a French refinement in these refined and ironic ruminations on the passing of time. Valérie Gabail (soprano), Jean-François Novelli (tenor), Arnaud Marzorati (bass), Les Festes Vénitiennes; Eric Martinez-Bounat & François Nicolet. K617 088 (France) 10A063 $17.98

ANTONIO SACCHINI (1730-1786): Six Trios for 2 Violins and Basso Continuo, Op. 1. Like his contemporary, Niccolo Piccinni who has received a couple of recent recordings, Sacchini represents a lost period of Italian instrumental music - namely the early and middle Classical periods. This set of trios comes from around 1775 when Sacchini was in London and are infused with the spirit of Mozart (which hovered over most composers of the time, it is true), graceful and refined: the long (8-minute) Largo of the fifth trio is remarkable for its sweet, reflective serenity. Trio Stauffer. Agora AG 034.1 (Italy) 10A064 $16.98

JAMES CERVETTO (c.1682-1783): 12 Sonatas for Cello and Basso Continuo: Nos. 1-4, 7 and 12. This remarkably long-lived composer was Italian by birth (Giacobbe Basevi) but spent most of his life in England as an accomplished solo cellist. This selection of cello sonatas dates from around 1750 and the style is both strongly oriented toward the galant while still retaining significant reminiscences of baroque style. A valuable look at what was going on in England during the Baroque-Early Classical transitional period. Ensemble Fête Rustique. Agora AG 098.1 (Italy) 10A065 $16.98

WILLEM DE FESCH (1687-1761): Sonata for 2 Violins in A, Op. 1a/6, Sonata for 2 Cellos in C, Op. 1b/6, Violin Sonata in B Flat, op. 4a/6, Flute Sonata in C Minor, Op. 6/6, Trio Sonata in A, Op. 7/5, Flute Sonata in E Minor, Op. 8a/3, Sonata for 2 Cellos in G Minor, Op. 8b/11, Trio Sonata in G, Op. 12/3, Cello Sonata in D, Op. 13/5. The selections recorded here cover most of De Fesch's career, from 1714-1757, and show a fine Baroque composer exploring, as did Domenico Scarlatti and Rameau, new avenues and gradually transforming his language with elements of classicism. Ensemble d'Auvergne. Globe GLO 5186 (Netherlands) 10A066 $16.98

GIULIO BRICCIALDI (1818-1881): Concerto in A for 2 Flutes and Orchestra, Op. 130, Fantasia sull'opera "Norma" di Bellini, Op. 57, Fantasia sull'opera "Lucrezia Borgia" di Donizetti, Op. 108, Fantasia sull'opera "Aida" di Verdi, Op. 134, Elegia di Ernst, Op. 26, Canzonetta con variazioni on a Theme of Paganini, Le Streghe, Op. 138. These fantasies by the "Paganini of the flute", as Briccialdi was called during the height of his fame, are redolent of the velvet-curtained salons where the nobility and their circle flocked to hear the latest virtuosic and melancholic musical musings on the most popular operatic tunes of their day Richly evocative - especially if you know the themes well! Gian Luca Petrucci (flute), Paola Pisa (piano). Bongiovanni GB 5078 (Italy) 10A067 $16.98

THOMAS ADÈS (b.1971): Living Toys, Op. 9, Arcadiana, Op. 12, Sonata da caccia, Op. 11, The Origin of the Harp, Op. 13, Gefriolsae me, Op. 3b. Adès' music is a curious kaleidoscopic compendium of contemporary (I've started, so I'll finish) clamor. He is not afraid to throw everything exuberantly into the mix. Familiar chords dressed in strangely sonorous instrumentation; piercingly cacophonous outbursts amidst static ambience; sudden juxtapositions of the well-known, even the archaic, and the unexpected are all to be encounetered here. There are so many parts that it is a little hard to say what sort of whole they add up to, but the composer's precocious ingenuity is not in doubt. London Sinfonietta; Markus Stenz, Endellion Quartet, Michael Niesemann (oboe), Andrew Clark (harp), Choir of King's College Cambridge; Stephen Cleobury. EMI Classics 5 72271 2 (England) 10A068 $6.98

NICHOLAS SACKMAN (b.1950): String Quartet No. 2, GEORGE NICHOLSON (b.1949): String Quartet No. 3. Sackman's quartet is a cogently argued and well-organised work, using the quartet in a fairly conventional manner, which is not to suggest that the music is in any way unoriginal. Fragments of Mozart (specified in the original commission) may be perceived, but they are not central to the musical argument. The Nicholson is in a more modern idiom, while still recognising the tradition of string quartet writing. Both works prove that the string quartet remains a more than viable means of musical expression in the 1990s. Bochmann Quartet. Metier MSV CD92016 (England) 10A069 $15.98

MICHAEL FINNISSY (b.1946): Plain Harmony I-III, Nobody's Jig, Sehnsucht, Multiple Forms of Constraint, String Quartet. These works all, in one way or another, embody a degree of indeterminacy in performance. Finnissy does not write for the string quartet in the conventional manner; sometimes the positioning of the instruments varies, sometimes the ensemble is broken up into different groupings (as in Multiple Forms of Constraint here, which goes from soloist + trio by way of quartet to soloist + duo as it progresses). The unsettling Nobody's Jig depends for its effect on a lack of synchronization between parts; as with most of the music here, there is no full score, as the instrumental parts are designed to be played - with meticulous attention to detail - independently, with no interdependence implied. Kreutzer Quartet. Metier MSV CD92011 (England) 10A070 $17.98

TORU TAKEMITSU (1930-1996): The Dorian Horizon, Coral Island for Soprano and Orchestra, A flock descends into the pentagonal garden, Archipelago S. for 21 Players, Corona II for string(s). Takemitsu's flexible, flowing sound-world is ideally suited to a setting of the odd, surreal text of Coral Island by Makoto Ooka. Colors and textures shift and blend evocatively against a shimmer of cluster chords. Takemitsu's skill in manipulating timbres and tone-colors is especially evident in this and Archipelago S. Corona II is a brief example of the composer's experimentation with graphically notated aleatoric music from the 1960s. Rie Hamada (soprano), Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra; Yuzo Toyama. Denon CO-18073 (Japan) 10A071 $16.98

PHILIP FEENEY (b.1954): The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Collectors who acquired Feeney's ballet scores Dracula and Cinderella on Naxos some years back will be glad to make the acquaintance of his latest score. This large-scale score (lasting 74 minutes), full of splashes of color and drama which suitably evoke the stark grandeur of the Nôtre-Dame Cathedral, comes with a detailed synopsis and sufficient track points to easily follow Hugo's great human tragedy. Miranda Bevin (soprano), Opera North Chorus, Northern Ballet Theatre Orchestra; John Pryce-Jones. Black Box BBM 1009 (England) 10A072 $16.98

PAUL READE (1943-1997): Far from the Madding Crowd. Reade (whose own Cinderella as well as Hobson's Choice have been recorded by ASV) sets the famous Hardy story with opulently romantic music, gently evocative of its rural, pastoral setting. Folk melodies are used, played onstage by a "folk-fiddler", which come out of a Dorchester museum in Hardy's own hand, adding an authenticity which will appeal to anyone who loves 20th century English folk-inspired music. The documentation, again, is well-detailed and this 75-minute ballet should make its late composer many new friends. Royal Ballet Sinfonia; Paul Murphy. Black Box BBM 1006 (England) 10A073 $16.98

GEORGES IVANOVITCH GURDJIEFF (ca.1866-1949)/THOMAS DE HARTMANN (1885-1956): Music for the Piano, Volume 2 - Music of the Sayyids and the Dervishes. When we offered the first volume in this series in May, containing music from Greece, Kurdistan, Armenia, Persia, Tibet, Afgghanistan and Arabia, we were amazed at how many of our readers ignored it! Amazed because de Hartmann's transcriptions and harmonizing of the folk tunes collected by Gurdjieff shows a definite awareness of Bartók, Grieg and of other European composers who did the same thing with folk tunes from their own countries. In essence, the Gurdjieff/de Hartmann collaboration (which occurred between 1925-27 using material collected earlier) has done for exotic Asian musics what Bartók did for Hungarian and Romanian and Grieg for Norwegian musics. This second volume is even more fascinating since it deals entirely with the music of the Dervishes - full of spiritual fervor and often characterized by powerful dance rhythms and of the Sayyids (believed to be direct descendants of the Prophet Mohammed) - generally poignantly lyrical and intimate with dance sections in slow tomoderate tempo. As with the previous volume, some of the tunes appear to be authentic and some to evoke the spirit of the peoples from whom they come rather than actual transcriptions (as Bartók and Grieg did too). Here's another chance to discover this rare and fascinating music (and Volume One - 05-090 is still available too...). 2 CDs. Linda Daniel-Spitz, Charles Ketcham, Laurence Rosenthal (piano). Wergo WER 6292 (Germany) 10A074 $39.98

JOSEPH SUDER (1892-1980): Heitere Ouvertüre for Orchestra, Suite in the Old Style for Strings, Ariette for Clarinet and Orchestra, Waltz Cycle for Orchestra, Scherzo for Orchestra, Ballet Music from the Opera Kleider machen Leute. A 20th-century composer who apparently wished he had been a 19th-century one, Suder earned his living as a music educator, and wrote exactly the kind of music he wanted to, with no concern for fashion whatsoever. The music is well crafted and inventive, and it has to be said, extremely conservative. In the case of the Suite this is deliberate, as the music was intended for less than fully professional performers, but it makes no compromises because of this; the work is full of charm and elegance. For the most part, as in the engaging Waltz Cycle, this is music of a skilled composer who deliberately turned his back on trends of the 20th century - and for the record, he would have made a very good 19th-century composer! Thüringen-Philharmonie Suhl; Olaf Koch. Melisma 7130-2 (Germany) 10A075 $17.98

FRANZ FLÖSSNER (1899-1972): Cello Concerto, Op. 20, Symphony, Op. 37, Piano Concerto, Op. 42, Organ Concerto, Op. 24, Prelude, Fugue and Toccata for Piano. These are broadcast recordings, in pretty decent sound, from the 1950s. Flössner's music is basically tonal, and quite romantic in outlook; while obviously of the 20th century it is the music of a conservative; the sort of thing Franz Schmidt might have been doing had he been born 25 years later. The piano concerto (with the composer's wife as soloist) sounds a bit like Reger; the cello concerto is a supple and organic work. The later symphony is ingenious and dramatic, and the organ concerto too is a fine work, with much acknowledgement of the German tradition of organ writing in the solo part (and one particular passage that comes awfully close to Busoni's Doktor Faust, though heaven alone knows whether this is a coincidence or not - there is not a word on the composer in any English-language music encyclopedia and an e-mail to Germany produced a blank as well. Only one date is given - 1943 - for the premiere of the cello concerto.). Helmut Reimann (cello), Gerda Flößner (piano), Kurt Utz (organ), South German Radio Orchestra; Carl Schuricht, Hans Müller-Kray. Melisma 7131/32-2 (Germany) 10A076 $35.98

HARALD GENZMER (b.1909): Concerto for 2 Pianos and Orchestra, Clarinet Concerto, Sonatina seconda for Strings. Genzmer is a composer who has rejected the avant-garde in his compositions, taking his cue from Hindemith, with whom he studied. Like Hindemith he has demonstrated some interest in electronic music - but you would never know it from these scores, all of which treat a conventional orchestra in a fairly traditional manner. The music is largely tonal, incisively rhythmic in fast movements, expressively contemplative in slow ones, and contains nothing that would have given Bartók or Prokofiev pause for thought. Good, solid 20th-century fare. Begoña Uriarte & Karl-Hermann Mrongovius (pianos), Eduard Brunner (clarinet), Bamberg Symphony; Hans Stadlmair. Melisma 7123-2 (Germany) 10A077 $17.98

IVAN TCHEREPNIN (1943-1998): Le Va et le Vient, ANDRÉ VOLKONSKY (b.1933): Sérenade pour un insecte, IGOR STRAVINSKY (1882-1971): The Faun and the Shepherdess, ARVO PÄRT (b.1935): Nekrolog. This disc couples an early work by Stravinsky, which sounds like anything else that might have happened in pre-revolutionary Russia and might as well be by Mussorgsky or Rimsky-Korsakov, with an early work of Pärt, which predates his slow, spiritual minimalism, and presents a solid serialist (a side of his development that we now know more about thanks to recordings of other early orchestral works that have appeared in recent years). The Volkonsky shows a definite debt to Webern in style as well as brevity, while the microtonal Tcherepnin is a study in timbre and slow-moving textural metamorphosis. Cornelia Kallisch (soprano), Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz; John Carewe, Jaques Houtmann. Melisma 7115-2 (Germany) 10A078 $17.98

JAAK NIKOLAAS LEMMENS (1823-1881): Fanfare, ALPHONSE JEAN ERNEST MAILLY (1833-?): Pâques fleuries, JOSEPH CALLAERTS (1838-1901): Marche triomphale, ALPHONSE MOORTGAT (1881-?): Postludium, JULES DE GROOTE (19th cent.): Marche, DESIRÉ PÂQUE (1867-1939): Canon, NIELS GADE (1817-1890): 3 Tonstücke, Op. 22 - Moderato, GOTTFRED MATTHISON-HANSEN (1832-1909): Präludium, OTTO VALDEMAR MALLING (1848-1915): Easter Morning, Op. 54/3, POUL SOPHUS RUNG-KELLER (1879-1966): Interludium, NICOLAUS ADRIANUS JANSSEN (1808-1898): Präludium, JOHANN BAREND LITZAU (1822-1893): Fuga über "Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir", JAN ALBERT VAN EYKEN (1823-1686): Sonate über dem Choral "Befiehl du deine Wege", Op. 13/1, EDOUARD SILAS (1827-1909): Meditation in a Cathedral, BERTHOLD TOURS (1837-1897): Postlude in D. Not only is this disc essential listening for anyone interested in the history of European organ music, it also unearths some delightful gems of largely forgotten 19th century organ repertoire. The Lemmens Fanfare, with which the disc opens, resembles the famous Widor Toccata; the Mailly is subtle and delicate, and the de Groote and Callaerts are as rousing as one might wish. The shadow of Mendelssohn looms large over much of this music, but it is none the worse for that. Even the 20th-century works are gently meditative and liturgical in mood, and there is enough contrast in style and in the sonorities of the organs employed to maintain variety throughout the recital. Arturo Sacchetti (organs). Arts 47393 (Germany) 10A079 $10.98

MÚSICA, FEMENINO SINGULAR: Songs by Female Composers, Volume One: Composers: EMILIE ZUMSTEEG (1796-1857), FANNY MENDELSSOHN-HENSEL (1805-1847), PAULINE GARCÍA-VIARDOT (1821-1910), CLARA SCHUMANN (1819-1896), LUISE ADOLPHA LE BEAU (1850-1927), CÉCILE CHAMINADE (1857-1944), ALMA MAHLER (1879-1964), HEDWIGE CHRÉTIEN (1859-1944), MATILDE SALVADOR (b.1918), AMY BEACH (1867-1944). This very useful release offers CD premieres to many forgotten women composers as well as several well-known but for other aspects of their lives - composing or otherwise. The poems are mostly of high quality, from Heine and Goethe to Fet and Shakespeare and original languages are translated into Spanish and English. Isabel Rosselló (soprano), Marta Pujol (piano). Moraleda 7478 (Spain) 10A080 $16.98

TOM FLAHERTY (b.1950): Intrada, DINOS CONSTANTINIDES (b.1929): Dedications for Orchestra, WILLIAM TOUTANT (b.1948): Arcanae, Peregrinations II, ROBERT TOMARO (b.1951): Celestial Navigation, CARSON ROTHROCK (b.1935): Vertigo - Scherzo for Orchestra, DANIEL KESSNER (b.1946): Images of Romania. This enterprising disc was recorded mainly in the studio during the 1995 and 1996 Romanian American Music Days, and it showcases a wide variety of recent American music. Most striking are the two works by Toutant, rhythmicaly complex and multi-layered yet bound together into a cohesive whole by melodic fragments with an archaic, timeless quality. The longest work is Kessner's Images of Romania which sets a powerfully evocative mood musically, with occasional interjections of wryly ironic yet surrealist or absurdist texts about the realities and poetry of life in troubled Romania. Rothrock's scherzo adds an elegant levity to the program, while the Tomaro is a powerfully propulsive journey through a meticulously imagined dreamscape. Black Sea Philharmonic; Robert Tomaro, Daniel Kessner, Radu Ciorei. Capstone CPS-8648 (U.S.A.) 10A081 $16.98

BORIS TISHCHENKO (b.1939): Piano Sonata No. 9, SERGEI SLONIMSKY (b.1932): Passing Beauty, ALEXANDER SCRIABIN (1872-1915): 4 Preludes, Op. 22, 2 Dances, Op. 73, Piano Sonata in F Sharp, Op. 30, PETER TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893): Nocturne, Waltz. The most extended work here is also the major find; Tischenko's ninth piano sonata. While Tischenko's music has been justly criticised for Soviet formula-following in the shadow of his great teacher, Shostakovich, this sonata is a highly appealing work of some originality, with a beautiful nocturne for a first movement, nonchalant and unexpectedly wistful and undramatic. Slonimsky's brief sketch is as sharply observed as the Picasso drawing on which it is based, bold and modern yet humorous and easily approachable. Sedmara Zakarian Rutstein (piano). Albany TROY 279 (U.S.A.) 10A082 $16.98

ROGER SESSIONS (1896-1985): Piano Sonatas Nos. 1-3, From My Diary. Roger Sessions' three piano sonatas were written over a period of 35 years, and what is remarkable is not so much the stylistic changes that occurred during that time as the clearly identifiable voice apparent in all of them. The first is somewhat neoclassical, and contains many elements of Sessions' individual style; asymmetrical phrases, buoyant, energetic rhythms and clear, compact musical ideas, with never a note wasted. The second is also energetic, and by this time the composer's harmonic thinking had shifted towards a linear, chromatic ideal. The third is technically serial, though in Sessions' compositional evolution, this is nothing more than an extension and formalization of the chromaticism which was already evident. Helps is a formidable pianist, and his perspective, bringing a composer's-eye-view to bear on these works aids greatly in establishing the degree of clarity essential for a full appreciation of Sessions' demading scores. Robert Helps (piano). CRI 800 (U.S.A.) 10A083 $16.98

GEORGE TSONTAKIS (b.1951): Three Mood Sketches for Wind Quintet, ALVIN ETLER (1913-1973): Concerto for Violin and Wind Quintet, BRUCE ADOLPHE (b.1955): Chiaroscuro for Double Wind Quintet, DAVID CHAITKIN (b.1938): Summersong for 23 Winds. Tsontakis' piece is sprightly and informal, exploiting the great variety of timbres available from a wind quintet in a kind of playful divertimento. Etler was an oboist and band director (at Yale), and his experience of wind technique shows in his great skill in making a wind quintet substitute for an orchestra in this engaging concerto, which is somewhat reminiscent of Bartók, especially in the solo violin writing. Adolphe's Chiaroscuro is a musical exploration of that visual technique, while Chaitkin's Summersong is a glowing, harmonically rich, pastoral treat. Michael Tree (violin), The Sylvan Winds. CRI 788 (U.S.A.) 10A084 $16.98

GERALD PAPE (b.1955): 2 Electro-Acoustic Songs for Soprano, Flute and Tape, Le Fleuve du Désir for String Quartet, Monologue for Bass and Tape, Battle for Voices and Tape, Makbénach for Saxophone, Ensemble and Tape. Using sound "events" as raw material, and applying a continuous spectrum of pitch and rhythm relationships to this material, Pape has created works which enjoy an unusual degree of freedom from conventional harmonic or time-domain relationships. Electronic taped elements and unorthodox singing techniques further remove this strange music from the established avant-garde tradition, producing something wilder, more primitive, more chaotic. Janet Pape (soprano), Cécile Daroux (flute), Arditti Quartet, Nicholas Isherwood (bass), Vox Nova, Daniel Kientzy (saxophone), Ensemble 2e2m; Paul Mefano, Gerard Pape (tape & sound projection). Mode 67 (U.S.A.) 10A085 $16.98

VINCENT PERSICHETTI (1915-1987): Pageant, NORMAN DELLO JOIO (b.1913): Scenes from "The Louvre", ROBERT RUSSELL BENNETT (1894-1981): Symphonic Songs, SAMUEL BARBER (1910-1981): Commando March, WILLIAM SCHUMAN (1910-1992): Newsreel in Five Shots, JOHN BARNES CHANCE: Incantation and Dance, JOSEPH WILCOX JENKINS: American Overture, FLOYD WERLE: Concertino for Three Brass and Band, JACK STAMP (b.1954): Cheers!. The richness and diversity of wind ensemble music in the United States is showcased to excellent advantage by this collection. Persichetti's Pageant explores similar territory to Grainger's Lincolnshire Posy, Dello Joio's Scenes sounds like the film music it is, and is bold, Romantic and colourful, and Bennett's three pieces are a glorious celebration of Americana - marches, blues, and exuberant celebration. The same might be said of the Jenkins, a gleeful celebration of the wild west. The Schuman is a splendid piece too, five picturesque movements inspired by newsreel footage, not too serious but very appealing and well written for the medium. This disc is a lot of fun, and will recommend itself to anyone interested in rarely heard wind ensemble music. Keystone Wind Ensemble; Jack Stamp. Citadel CTD 88132 (U.S.A.) 10A086 $14.98

EINOJUANI RAUTAVAARA (b.1928): String Quartets Nos. 1 and 2, String Quintet "Unknown Heavens". Rautavaara is a rarity; a wholly contemporary composer for whom melody is of paramount importance. The recent quintet is a profoundly lyrical work, full of longing, yearning harmonies, leading to a final transfigured resolution. The second quartet is dodecaphonic, and represents a period in the composer's life when he was trying to reconcile the strict discipline of serial technique with his natural inclination towards rich tonal harmony. The first quartet predates this, and is cast in a much more classical mold, with strong nationalistic overtones. Jean Sibelius Quartet, Jan-Erik Gustafsson (cello). Ondine ODE 909 (Finland) 10A087 $17.98

KLAUS HUBER (b.1924): Soliloquia Sancti Aurelii Augustini - Oratorio for Soloists, 2 Choirs and Large Orchestra. A large-scale serial oratorio on early Christian mystical texts, this work has a certain monumental aspect in keeping with its textual message. Huber's technique uses strictly predertermined serial cells, derived from mathematical relationships drawn from many sources - but over this, his vocal writing emphasizes a long line, an almost Romantic lyricism, which gives a special emotional resonance to the sung texts. So the work as a whole takes on a profoundly spiritual aspect, like the late, serial choral works of Stravinsky. Lukomska (soprano), Susanne Klare (mezzo), Douglas Ahlstedt (tenor), Barry McDaniel (baritone), Hans Georg Ahrens (bass), Bavarian Radio Chorus and Symphony Orchestra; Hans Zender. Musiques Suisses CTS-M24 (Switzerland) 10A088 $18.98

MARCEL FARAGO (b.1924): Acousticon, Op. 50, Terpsichore, Op. 54, Divertimento, op. 18, Symphony "Freedom", Op. 61 for Speaking Chorus, Narrator and Orchestra. Romanian-born, Farago lives in the U.S., and has pursued a long career as an orchestral musician. This thorough knowledge of the orchestra from the inside out, so to speak, informs his orchestration, which is skilfull and colourful. The two single-movement pieces are bold and striking, thematically astringent, rhythmically vital and full of colour - Bartók - the Bartók of the Concerto for Orchrestra - comes to mind. The Divertimento is quite Stravinskyan - think of Pulcinella or some parts of Petrushka, but in chamber-orchestra guise. The ambitious "Freedom" symphony contains much fine music, though the striking spoken texts (by Vaclav Havel) integrate a little awkwardly into the musical structure, though they are by no means an omnipresent feature of the work. Györ Philharmonic Orchestra; Gergely Kesselyák. Centaur CRC 2394 (U.S.A.) 10A089 $16.98

IDA GOTKOVSKY (b.1933): Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra, Concerto Lyrique for Clarinet and Orchestra (both trancr. for wind band by Christian Debauve). These two first-rate clarinet concertos, deftly arranged for symphonic wind band by the soloist, combine music of compelling emotional content with structured, harmonically cogent musical argument. Admirers of the music of Vaughan Williams or Bliss will find much to appeal to them here, although geographically there is a certain displacement east, with maybe a hint of Khachaturian in the colorful orchestration; nonetheless here is a French composer of universal appeal and enormous inventiveness. Christian Debauve (clarinet), Royal Symphonic Band of the Belgian Guides; Norbert Nozy. René Gailly 87143 (Belgium) 10A090 $16.98

MOTOHARU KAWASHIMA (b.1973): Manic Psychosis, YOUNGHI PAGH-PAAN (b.1945): Dreisam-Nore, KLAUS HUBER (b.1935): To Ask the Flutist, BRIAN FERNEYHOUGH (b.1943): Cassandra's Dream Song, Carceri d'Invenzione IIc for Flute and Tape, TOSHIO HOSOKAWA (b.1955): Atem-Lied for Bass Flute, BRUNO MADERNA (1920-1973): Cadenza da Dimensioni III, GYÖRGY KURTÁG (b.1926): Doloroso for Alto Flute, STEVE REICH (b.1936): Vermont Counterpoint for Flute and Tape. Many things have been asked of the flute family in the 20th century - and most of them are on this disc! Kawashima's piece is very physical, and certainly obsessive-compulsive, if not necessarily psychotic. Fernyhough's "new complexicist" writing works just as well on flute (with in one case a multitracked flute accompaniment) as in any other medium. The Kurtág sounds almost conventional in this company, where most pieces make extensive use of breath and key noises to expand the expressive vocabulary of the instrument. Reich's Vermont Counterpoint is in some ways the odd man out here, with its strong pulse and absence of unconventional playing techniques. Carin Levine (flutes). Musicaphon M 55710 (Germany) 10A091 $14.98

ELIZABETH MACONCHY (1907-1994): Fantasia, ANTHONY POWERS (b.1953): Sea/Air, PIERS HELLAWELL (b.1956): High Citadels, HARRISON BIRTWISTLE (b.1934): Verses, RICHARD RODNEY BENNETT (b.1936): Scena III, HUGH WOOD (b.1932): Paraphrase on "Bird of Paradise", GORDON CROSSE (b.1937): A Year and a Day, MARTIN BUTLER (b.1960): Capistrano Song, MICHAEL BERKELEY (b.1948): Flighting. Taking the medium of clarinet solo or clarinet and piano as a microcosm of 20th century composition affords a fascinating glimpse into the extraordinary diversity of music that has come out of the British Isles in our century. Hellawell's work is meditative and coloristic, using direct contact on the piano strings; Maconchy's is finely crafted and dynamic, a more conventional duo. The Birtwistle is a study in subtle contrasts, fragmentary and enigmatic, Bennett's serial romanticism demonstrates yet again the composer's extraordinary range, while the Wood, with the Berkeley the most romantic music here, is atmospheric and moving. Butler's Capistrano Song uses a tape part to expand the timbral explorations inherent in the music. Kate Romano (clarinet), Alan Hicks (piano). Metier MSV CD92013 (England) 10A092 $17.98

PETER SCULTHORPE (b.1929): String Quartet No. 10, String Quartet No. 11 "Jabiru Dreaming", Hill-Song No. 1, Hill-Song No. 2, Earth Cry, Little Song, To Meadows, Pastorale, Prologue, Morning Song, Autumn Song, Saibai. Sculthorpe's uncompromising, trenchant, sometimes acerbic and wholly recognisable and individual style is well demonstrated here in this collection of powerful works for string quartet. Often suggesting primitive musics and tribal drumming or dancing, Sculthorpe's works evoke the vast archaic landscapes of Australia to perfection. Some of the shorter works here are juvenilia or lost early works, reconstructed by the composer and recorded here for the first time. The disturbing Earth Cry of 1986, arranged for quartet in 1994 is especially striking, and is clearly a work of great personal significance for the composer, who found himself expressing in it his anger at the plight of his native land in an age of increasing commercialization. Goldner String Quartet. Tall Poppies TP090 (Australia) 10A093 $18.98

NIGEL SABIN: Another Look at Autumn, WENDY HISCOCKS: The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, BARRY CONYNGHAM (b.1944): ppp, BRENTON BROADSTOCK: Aureole 4, ELENA KATS-CHEMIN: Purple Prelude, STUART GREENBAUM (b.1966): But I Want the Harmonica..., COLIN SPIERS: Elegy & Toccata. These Australian post-1970 solo piano works have as a common thread something of an extended minimalist tendency, generally uncomplicated, consonant harmony, and ready accessibility. Several of these pieces - Another look at Autumn and The Piper especially, have something of a "New Age" feel to them as well. They all use the piano's sonorous capabilities extensively, and make up in listenability and approachability what some may find lacking in concentrated musical argument. Jeanell Carrigan (piano). Vox Australis VAST 023 (Australia) 10A094 $18.98

JOHN DOWNEY (b.1927): Chant to Michelangelo, Harp Concerto, For Those Who Suffered (Yad Vashem - An Impression). Downey writes gripping, eventful music that could be of no other century than this, but which defies easy categorization. It is tonal, but unafraid of dissonance; the orchestra is used conventionally, but one could not describe the music as conservative. Motoric rhythms abound, in the manner of Shostakovich or Prokofiev, but maybe with an awareness of minimalism that was not available to those composers - though the music is emphatically not minimalist in any useful sense of the term. Whatever technical description one might attempt, when the composer sets out to evoke feelings of the swirling majesty of Michelangelo's art, or the insanity represented by the Holocaust, he has at his disposal the means to do so, with great and memorable force. John Senior (harp), Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra, Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra; John Downey. MMC 2054 (U.S.A.) 10A095 $16.98

GUNTHER SCHULLER (b.1925): An Arc Ascending, Vertige d'Eros, Seven Studies on Themes of Paul Klee, Meditation (Symphonic Study). This month we have Gunther Schuller championing Milton Babbitt, and also, Gunther Schuller presenting his own music, and explaining eloquently in the accompanying notes how even as a child he became fascinated by the continuously evolving, no-two-alike shapes and patterns in nature (one thinks here of Elliott Carter's famous aphorism about "leaves in the wind"). Full of wonderful glowing harmonies and incandescent orchestration, these works all complement their visual points of departure to perfection, with a level of compositional virtuosity and craftsmanship so complete that it may be taken almost for granted by the listener at least. Powerful and evocative music by one of this country's most original composers. Hannover Radio Philharmonic; Gunther Schuller. GM Recordings 2059 (U.S.A.) 10A096 $16.98

MILTON BABBITT (b.1916): Transfigured Notes, ARNOLD SCHOENBERG (1874-1951): Verklärte Nacht, IGOR STRAVINSKY (1882-1971): Concerto in D. This CD is fascinating on several levels. The obvious reason to buy it is to hear Babbitt's Transfigured Notes, a major work by a major figure in American music. Babbitt's music is complicated, to be sure - but so is a lot of lesser music by other people, and that is not a good reason for the opprobrium heaped upon him by some. Transfigured Notes is polyrhythmic and (necessarily, given the composer's intentional emphasis on polyphonic lines at the expense of any kind of harmonic relationships) atonal. But frankly, it is a good deal easier to listen to, and works on more levels, than much Darmstadt-derived noisemaking, which sounds arbitrary and unplanned by comparison. It contains a good deal of what we approach music expecting to find: beauty, argument and discourse, tension, resolution and - dare I say it? (probably, so long as it doesn't get back to the composer) - emotional appeal. The history of the work, which tells us a good deal about orchestral manoevering in the arena of musical politics, which is concisely and trenchantly dealt with by Schuller in the notes, is also illuminating. Orchestra; Gunther Schuller. GM Recordings 2060 (U.S.A.) 10A097 $16.98

JIND¤ICH FELD (b.1925): Trio giocoso for Clarinet, Bassoon and Piano, FRIGYES HIDAS (b.1928): Trumpet Fantasy, BOHUSLAV MARTINÒ (1890-1959): Sonatina for Trumpet and Piano, JAROMÍR DADÁK: Four Humble Honors for Trumpet, Bassoon and String Trio, PIOTR PERKOWSKI (b.1901): Sonatina for Trumpet and Piano, JURAJ FILAS (b.1955): Sonata for Trumpet and Piano, VÁCLAV HÁLEK: Four Meditations, OTMAR MÁCHA (b.1922): Sonatina for Bassoon and Piano. Feld's delightful and exuberant trio provides an excellent curtain-raiser to this recital of approachable and thoroughly enjoyable music from central Europe. Most of the pieces are unabashedly tonal, and there is a good deal of acknowledgement of folk music throughout the disc. Perkovski's sonatina deserves to be singled out for the ingenuity of its invention, and the subtle way in which the composer integrates modal and atonal fragments into an unequivocally tonal framework. All these works radiate energy and inventiveness, and there isn't a dull moment to be heard. Jeff Silberschlag (trumpet), Debora Greitzer (bassoon), Jan Petr (piano). MMC 2057 (U.S.A.) 10A098 $16.98

JOHANN WILHELM HERTEL (1727-1789): Trumpet Concerto in E Flat, Concerto for Bassoon, 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 2 Horns in E Flat, Concerto à 5 for Trumpet, 2 Oboes and 2 Bassoons in D, Violin Concerto in D Minor, Concerto à 6 for Trumpet and Oboe in E Flat. Three concertos make their world premieres (performed from manuscripts) in this concerto of late Baroque/early Classical works by Hertel. An admirer of Graun and C.P.E. Bach, he wrote trumpet concertos notable for the stratospheric heights demanded of the soloist and those here are in the typical, brief, three-movement baroque format while the violin and bassoon concertos show nascent Classical form. Manu Mellaerts (trumpet), Luc Loubry (bassoon), Dirk Lippens (violin), Collegium Instrumentale Brugense; Patrick Peire. Eufoda 1231 (Belgium) 10A099 $18.98

ALEXANDER REINAGLE (1756-1809): Piano Sonatas in D, E and C, Variations on "Lee Rigg", Variations on "Steer Her Up and Had Her Gawn". Reinagle wrote four piano sonatas around 1790 while he was living in Philadelphia which are generally acclaimed as the finest surviving American instrumental works of the 18th century and which were probably the first piano sonatas written in America (they bear the influence of C.P.E. Bach's empfindsamer Stil and are in two or three movements). The performer plays the D major work, as well as both sets of variations on Scottish folk tunes (which date from Reinagle's residence in Glasgow in the early 1780s) on both fortepiano and a modern grand while the other two are performed only on the modern grand. A valuable gap-filler for collectors. Stephen Siek (piano, fortepiano). Titanic Ti-235 (U.S.A.) 10A100 $16.98

JOHANN CHRISTIAN BACH (1735-1782): Symphonies Concertantes Vol. 2 - for Violin and Cello in B Flat, for Oboe and Bassoon in F, for 2 Violins in D. Hanover Band; Anthony Halstead. CPO 999 537 (Germany) 10A101 $15.98

JOHANN CHRISTIAN BACH (1735-1782): Symphonies Concertantes Vol. 3 - for 2 Violins, Cello and Flute in E, for 2 Clarinets, Bassoon, 2 Horns and Flute in E Flat, for Violin and Cello in A, Larghetto from Flute Concerto in D. Hanover Band; Anthony Halstead. CPO 999 538 (Germany) 10A102 $15.98

Two new volumes in the fine period-instrument series by the Hanover Band using soloists from within the orchestra of J.C. Bach's endlessly delightful symphonies concertates; the B flat from Vol. 2 and the flute concerto larghetto from Vol. 3 are premiere recordings.

CARLO BESOZZI (1738-1791): Oboe Concertos in C, F and G. Nine Besozzi's are still listed in Grove and seven of them are oboists; the family dates back to the late 17th century and forward to the middle of the 19th. Carlo spent almost all his adult life at the Dresden court and was favorably judged by Leopold Mozart and Burney. His concertos date from 1768 and are bright, technically showy vehicles in high classical style. Jan Adamus (oboe), Prague Chamber Orchestra. GZ Classics L1 0308-2 (Czech Republic) 10A103 $6.98

RODOLPHE KREUTZER (1766-1831)/ROBERT BOCHSA (1789-1859): 6 Nocturnes for Violin and Harp. This delightful collaborative effort by two of the most accomplished instrumentalists of their day produced a quiet celebration of both instruments: the violin providing the melody and Bochsa contributing a harp accompaniment which is rich and intricate and which occasionally upstages the violin. Shizuka Ishikawa (violin), Jana Bouková (harp). GZ Classics L1 0323-2 (Czech Republic) 10A104 $6.98

GIUSEPPE GIORDANI (1751-1798): 4 Nocturnes for String Trio, Divertimento in F for Harpsichord and Violin, Sonatas for Harpsichord and Violin in D, B Flat and G, Harpsichord Concerto. Giordani was a prolific and acclaimed opera composer (over 40 works) but his instrumental works were totally neglected until this enterprising resurrection of light, delicate, clear and uncomplicated works in the high Classical style with a touch of the galante among some of the movements. A fine discovery from late 19th century Italy. Fausto Bongelli (fortepiano), Trio Perpich. "La Corte Sveva" Chamber Orchestra. Bongiovanni GB 5080 (Italy) 10A105 $16.98