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Don Gillis





DON GILLIS (1912-1978): Symphony "X" (The Big D), Shindig, Encore Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, Symphony No. 5 1/2. This month we celebrate American light symphonic music from yet another neglected 20th century composer. Gillis wrote twelve symphonies, seven operas, two piano concertos, six string quartets... Yet most people born in the last half of the 20th century will only remember his name (if at all) in connection with the Symphony No. 5 1/2. Dating from 1946, it came after Gillis' fifth symphony and interrupted work on his sixth - so the five-and-a-halfth! Most of Gillis' music is light-hearted and good-natured (although the second movement of the 1967 Symphony "X" is a heart-felt elegy to JFK), often imbued with folk tunes, square dance rhythms and other flavors of the American Southwest. The above-mentioned Symphony "X" is a tribute to Dallas, its four movements self-explanatory: "All-American City", "Requiem for a Hero", "Conventioneer" and "Cotton Bowl"; Shindig is a 1949 ballet which spoofs old B-Western movies and its eight episodes involve the characters The Kid, Dance Hall Girl, Sheriff and Drunkard. The Encore Concerto is Gillis' first piano concerto and its three movements are dance-like and highly syncopated, a slow blues and a glittering and raucous finale. Feel-good music, light music, yes, but also extremely well-crafted music and very worthy of rediscovery! Albany Symphony Orchestra; David Alan Miller. Albany TROY 391(U.S.A.) 09C001 $16.98

ARAM KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978): March of Zangezur, Poem for Chorus and Orchestra, Ballad of the Motherland for Bass and Orchestra, 3 Concert Arias for Soprano and Orchestra, Ode to Joy for Mezzo-Soprano, Chorus and Orchestra. New to CD are the 1961 Ballad, a short piece whose soloist dreams of his homeland; that same year the composer revised his 1938 Poem to Stalin . The text was completely rewritten and Stalin's name was dropped from both text and title of the piece. Lasting almost 20 minutes, it is the longest work here and extensively develops a haunting Azeri folksong before building up to its fulsome choral close. The March comes from a 1938 film score - a rousing piece still played by Russian military bands. English versions of 3 Concert Arias. Hasmik Hatsagortsian (soprano), Vardouhi Khachatrian (mezzo), Mourad Amirkhanian (bass), Armenian Philharmonic Chorus and Orchestra; Loris Tjeknavorian. ASV DCA 1087 (England) 09C002 $16.98

Modern Romanticism from Canada!

PAUL M. DOUGLAS (b.1936): Helvetia (A First Symphony for Orchestra), La Cévenole (A Second Symphony for Orchestra), Ballade Niçoise for Chamber Orchestra and Violin Obbligato. A most striking and enjoyable disc for anyone with a passion for new, full-blooded orchestral music in a familiar vein. The occurrence of the Dies irae, inventively used, in the First Symphony suggests what might have happened had Dvorak used the theme in his seventh symphony; elsewhere the Romantic influences include Bruckner, and in the composer's lush, colourful orchestration, Khachaturian. The suite paints a vivid series of miniatures of French scenes derived from the composer's memories of a summer in Nice in 1970. Delightfully characterised and spiced with a teasing sense of humor, these little pieces capture a vibrant 'spirit of place'. The same might be said of the Second Symphony, the movements of which illustrate features of the landcsape of a particular area of France, and the feelings they inspire. With his use of folk-like songs and classical-romantic style, this infectiously appealing piece is rather like Brahms. The fact that these works sound fresh and vibrant even though their vocabulary is quite conservative is a tribute to their very real musical substance. Most recommendable. No U.S. distribution; direct import. Miroslav Vilímec (violin), Pilsen Radio Symphony Orchestra; Frantisek Preilser Jr. Skylark SKY 2001 (Canada) 09C003 $12.98

JOHN DONALD ROBB (1892-1989): Elegy for Our War Dead, Scenes from a New Mexico Mountain Village, Op. 9, HAYG BOYADJIAN (b.1938): Scorpius Rising, MARY JEANNE VAN APPLEDORN (b.1927): Rhapsody for Violin and Orchestra, MICHAEL MAULDIN: Desert Light: 4 Episodes for Chamber Orchestra. Robb's works are romantic, bathed in warm, glowing colors and lush yet open-air harmonies; the Elegy (written after the composer's experiences in WW II) suggests Barber's Adagio in its string orchestra version. The New Mexico suite has something in common with Copland. Mauldin's work is also an evocation of place, in a more modern idiom - still decidedly tonal - with something of minimalism about its ostinato-driven motion over which sweeping lines suggest wide skies and open spaces. Armenian-born Boyadjian's work, taking its inspiration from astronomy, is a tone-poem of considerable power and sweep, intense and driving, alternating contemplation with bursts of dynamic action. van Appledorn's Rhapsody is a sweepingly melodic work of passion and song, in a twentieth-century Romantic idiom. Charles Rex (violin), Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra; David Oberg, Joel Eric Suben. Opus One 177 (U.S.A.) 09C004 $11.98

JOHN HARBISON (b.1938): Concerto for Oboe, Clarinet and Strings, Due Libri dei Mottetti di Montale for Mezzo-Soprano and Ensemble, Snow Country for Oboe and Chamber Orchestra, Chorale Cantata for Soprano, Oboe, Violin and Chamber Orchestra. In the Montale settings, Harbison matches the poet's oblique, hugely evocative imagery, in which a well-chosen (if unexpected) word seems to carry implications far beyond its obvious meaning, with music of consonance and lyrical beauty which is nonetheless harmonically ambiguous and reluctant to yield up all its shades of meaning on first acqauintance. Snow Country and the Concerto feature wind soloists in music which is basically tonal, with a certain harmonic tension, Snow Country in pastoral vein, the concerto owing something to Stravinskyan neoclassicism. The Cantata, with texts by Martin Luther and Michael Fried, also contains an important oboe part, treated as a solo voice in counterpoint with the voice in a work of melodic inspiration and harmonic subtlety. Lorraine Hunt (mezzo), Dawn Upshaw (soprano), Peggy Pearson (oboe), Jo-Ann Sternberg (clarinet), Lisa Shihoten (violin), Greenleaf Chamber Players, Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra; Scott Yoo. Archetype Records 60106 (U.S.A.) 09C005 $17.98

ALAN RAWSTHORNE (1905-1971): Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2, Practical Cats for Speaker and Orchestra, 4 Bagatelles for Piano. It is a very real pleasure to revisit these recordings from EMI's "Golden Age", gorgeous-sounding in fresh new transfers. Practical Cats, after Eliot, is terribly terribly British, evoking a world of penny-farthing bicycles and top hats; it is also very sophisticated music, beautifully crafted. Then we have the two immensely appealing piano concerti, with their scintillating, quicksilver orchestration and lively harmonic ambiguity. Also included is a transfer of Denis Matthews' 78rpm recording of the 1938 Bagatelles, recorded at very little notice as a filler for the first recording of the Moeran Symphony. The sleevenotes give excellent background to the history of the pieces and the recordings, and there are some deliciously humorous touches (one of which - inside the back cover - may be unintentional, but it would be nice to believe not), to contribute to the appeal of the whole package. Stereo/Mono. Mid-price. Dame Moura Lympany (piano), Philharmonia Orchestra; Herbert Menges, Denis Matthews (piano), BBC Symphony Orchestra; Sir Malcolm Sargent, Robert Donat (speaker), Philharmonia Orchestra; Alan Rawsthorne, Denis Matthews (piano). EMI DCM 5 66935 2 (England) 09C006 $11.98

First Release of Premiere ALKAN Chamber Music Recordings

CHARLES-VALENTIN ALKAN (1813-1888): Grand duo concertant for Violin and Piano, Op. 21, Piano Trio, Op. 30, Sonate de concert for Cello and Piano, Op. 47, Solo Piano: Marche funèbre, Op. 26, Études dans tous les tons majeurs, Op. 35, Nos. 10-12, I.er recueil de chants, Op. 38/1, Capriccio alla soldatesca, Op. 50/1. The very highest marks to APR for 'rescuing' these recordings from the early 1990s and issuing them now for the first time, thus allowing us to hear for the first time that doyen of Alkan pianists - in many ways unsurpassed, even now that Alkan's music is beginning to attain its rightful status in reputation - Ronald Smith, in this repertoire. Now, Alkan's chamber music is not exactly what he is principally known for, so the question is; if you think that the minor-key studies are among the most extraordinary and revolutionary music of the 19th century, are you going to be disappointed by the works here? The answer is emphatically, no. The Grand Duo is probably the most unusual work here, and one of the finest. It contains the familiar Alkan diablerie, outrageous speeds (including the suggestion that the finale be played faster than possible - which, combined with the necessity for harmonic clarity and accuracy is ons of the characteristics that makes Alkan's music so hard to perform), and sly twists and turns designed to throw the listener off balance just as you think you know what is going on. The other chamber works, especially the powerful, large-scale Sonate de Concert, are similarly more than worthy additions to the Alkan canon, this work in particular demonstrating just how far Beethovenian contrasts and oppositions can be pushed in the service of Alkan's particular brand of diabolical ingenuity. Alkanophiles, don't hesitate to acquire this set! Ronald Smith (piano), James Clark (violin), Moray Welsh (cello). Appian Publications & Recordings APR 7032 (England) 09C007 $37.98

Elgar Recording Premieres!

EDWARD ELGAR (1857-1934): Piano Concerto, Op. 90 - Slow Movement, Suite from The Spanish Lady, Op. 89, Polonia, Op. 76, A Voice in the Desert, Op. 77, From The Crown of India, Op. 66: March & Hail, Immemorial Ind!, The Wind at Dawn, The Empire March, Civic Fanfare (Hereford). Unlike the Third Symphony, only the slow movement of Elgar's unfinished piano concerto had enough orchestral indications in the score to be completed. Percy Young provided a verson for piano and strings in 1956 which was performed by Harriet Cohen; his version heard here adds winds and brass and dates from 1979 when Leslie Howard performed it. Young also worked up the seven-movement suite of music from Elgar's unfinished opera The Spanish Lady which contains five dances and two character sketches. The other recording premiere is of an 1888 song which Elgar orchestrated in 1912 and which was his first setting of his (then future) wife Alice's poetry - pre-Baxian Romantic sumptuousness. The other two items recorded here are occasional pieces composed during the First World War in 1915 - A Voice setting a translation of a Belgian poet for narrator and orchestra and Polonia a purely orchestral piece which uses Polish folk songs, Chopin and Paderewsky themes in a large-scale tribute to partitioned Poland. Texts included. Mette Christina Østergaard (mezzo), Peter Hall (narrator), Margaret Fingerhut (piano), Munich Symphony Orchestra; Douglas Bostock. Classico CLASSCD 334 (Denmark) 09C008 $14.98

ARNOLD BAX (1883-1953): Harp Quintet, Elegiac Trio for Harp, Viola and Flute, Fantasy Sonata for Harp and Viola, Sonata for Flute and Harp. All of Bax's works for harp are included here, the 1916 Elegiac Trio the most haunted, the 1927 Fantasy Sonata the most traditionally Romantic. mobius. Naxos 8.554507 (U.S.A.) 09C009 $5.98

LORD J.P. SOMERS-COCKS (1907-1998): Sketch No. 1, WALTER STANTON (1891-1978): Chanson pastorale, ALAN RICHARDSON (1904-1978): Scherzino, SIR GEORGE HENSCHEL (1850-1934): Shepherd's Lament, THOMAS PITFIELD (1903-1999): Rondo lirico, HERBERT HUGHES (1882-1937): Bard of Armagh, THOMAS F. DUNHILL (1877-1946): Romance, Op. 81, WILLIAM BOYCE (1711-1779): Matelotte, GERALD FINZI (1901-1956): Interlude for Oboe and String Quartet, MORGAN NICHOLAS (1903-1983): Melody, SIR EDWARD ELGAR (1857-1934): Soliloquy for Oboe and Orchestra (orch. Jacob), MAX SAUNDERS: A Cotswold Pastoral, MICHAEL KREIN: Serenade for Oboe and 2 Harps. This 1978 recording is re-released as a tribute to one of the finest oboists of the 20th century and also offers much unknown repertoire, with Finzi's 12-minute rapturous piece being the longest but with almost all of the short works being in the serene, soothing English pastoral vein. Mid-price. Leon Goossens (oboe), David Lloyd (piano), Marie and Sidonie Goossens (harps), Fitzwilliam String Quartet, Bournemouth Sinfonietta; Norman Del Mar. Chandos 7132 (England) 09C010 $11.98

BOHUSLAV MARTINU (1890-1959): Works for Cello and Piano, Vol. 2 - Variations on a Theme by Rossini, Variations on a Slovak Theme, Pastorales, Nocturnes, Suite Miniature. Everything here but the two sets of variations was written in 1930 while the composer was revelling in the Gallic clarity and concision which remained in his works even as he returned more to his Bohemian folk roots. Christian Benda (cello), Sebastian Benda (piano). Naxos 8.554503 (U.S.A.) 09C011 $5.98

FELIX NOWOWIEJSKI (1877-1946): Organ Works, Vol. 2 - In Paradisum, Op. 61, Pastoral Mass, Op. 31/3, Noël en Pologne, Op. 31/4, Fantaisie Polonaise, Op. 9/1, Mater dolorosa. Three of these works are Christmas fantasies which each use a Polish Christmas song and a traditional Christmas pastoral. Quite different is the composer's last organ composition, the grand symphonic poem In Paradisum which is an expressive reflection on Jesus' last words on the Cross. Rudolf Innig (Sauer organ of Bremen Cathedral). MD&G 317 0973 (Germany) 09C012 $17.98

PETER TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893): String Quartets, Vol. 2 - String Quartet No. 3 in E Flat Minor, Op. 30, String Quartet in B Flat, Four Movements for String Quartet. The rarities here date from 1865 (the B Flat quartet movement composed while at Conservatory) and the four separate movements written in 1863-4 while studying with Anton Rubinstein. New Haydn Quartet, Budapest. Naxos 8.550848 (New Zealand) 09C013 $5.98

JOHANN HEINRICH SCHMELZER (attr.) (c.1620-1680): Sonatas in B Flat, G Minor, C Minor & in D, SCHMELZER: Das Narrenspitall (ballet), GEORG MUFFAT (1653-1704): Sonata in D, AUGUSTINUS KERTZINGER (?-1678): Sonatina in D Minor, HEINRICH DÖBEL (1651-1693): Sonata in C. A brilliant new recording of several works newly attributed to Schmelzer along with several others from the same period and the archives of KroméÞíÏ in the characteristic and highly expressive style of the time with much scordatura tuning and violinistic virtuosity. John Holloway (violin), Jaap ter Linden (viola da gamba), Barbara Maria Willi (harpsichord, organ), Nigel North (theorbo, baroque guitar. Musicaphon M 56832 (Germany) 09C014 $15.98

GEORG PHILIPP TELEMANN (1681-1767): 6 Concerts, TWV 42, 6 Suites, TWV 42. Dating from 1734, this publication alters four-movement "concertos" with multi-movement "suites". Described as being for flute and harpsichord with basso continuo, Telemann yet offered his buyers many other options in his long, printed title page and Camerata Köln make use of violin, gamba, lute, cello and organ in their performances of these Italian-flavored pieces which both look back to the trio sonata and make free use of material in an almost Classical manner. Mid-price. 3 CDs. Camerata Köln. CPO 999 690 (Germany) 09C015 $32.98

JOHANN KUHNAU (1660-1722): Neue Clavier-Übung, Vol. 1. Premiere recording of the first half of this work (1689) by Bach's immediate predecessor as Thomaskantor in Leipzig. While obviously not as magnificent as Bach's finest keyboard works, this set is still quite involving with particularly interesting preludes (all are in five movements with Prelude followed by four dance movements). Gabriele Micheli (harpsichord). Dynamic CDS 265 (Italy) 09C016 $17.98

FRANCESCO MANCINI (1672-1737): Sonatas Nos. 6, 10, 14, 17, 19 & 20, FRANCESCO DURANTE (1684-1755): Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, DOMENICO SCARLATTI (1685-1757): Sinfonia No. 1 in A. Mancini spent his entire life in Naples; these works (really concertos for recorder) combine aspects of the concerto grosso and of the solo concerto in a uniquely personal melding of formal and textural elements. The Durante is particularly striking for its lush textures and sonorities as well as its chromaticism while Scarlatti's brief overture is a perfect curtain-raiser. Musica Pacifica. Dorian DOR-93209 (U.S.A.) 09C017 $17.98

JOHANN ADAM BIRCKENSTOCK (1687-1733): Solos Nos. 1, 6 & 8, Op. 1, FRANZ BENDA (1709-1786): Violin Solo in A, Sonata for Violin and Basso Continuo in C Minor. Birckenstock worked at the court of Prussia at the turn of the 18th century and his "solos" from 1722 (actually violin sonatas) are in five movements - the first three in slow-fast-slow da camera style and the final two being dances, the works as a whole blending the forms of sonata and suite. Ensemble Sans Souci. Koch Schwann Musica Mundi 3-6741-2 (Germany) 09C018 $6.98

JOHANN JOSEPH FUX (1660-1741): Il Fonte della Salute, Op. 23. Composed in 1718, this is the first of six works in an archaic format known as the Sepulcro - an oratorio-like piece which takes place in front of the Holy Sepulchre and which were written for performance during Easter week. Here, allegorical characters (Grace, Pity and Justice) struggle with the Demon for the souls of two sinners (one Penitent, one Stubborn). Fux's masterful counterpoint and progressive tonal language clothe the texts in music whose richness does justice to the complexity of the drama. 2 CDs. Italian-English texts. Kumiko Koike, Linda Perillo, Ann Monoyios (sopranos), Henning Voss (counter-tenor), Johannes Chum (tenor), Wiener Akademie; Martin Haselböck. CPO 999 680 (Germany) 09C019 $31.98

ANTONIO CALDARA (c.1670-1736): Stabat Mater, Missa Dolorosa, 2 Sinfonie. The Stabat Mater is a major score of the period, in style and content reminiscent of Bach while the mass, on a smaller scale, is characterized by particularly adventurous harmonies. Chorus of Swiss-Italian Radio, Aura Musicale, Budapest; René Clemencic. Naxos 8.554715 (New Zealand) 09C020 $5.98

GIUSEPPE ANTONIO BRESCIANELLO (c.1690-1758): 6 Concerti et 6 Sinphonie, Op. 1. Here's a wonderful discovery: Brescianello spent most of his career in Germany, at Munich and at Stuttgart but his concerti (all with solo violin) and his shorter symphonies all have the verve, dynamism and solo virtuosity of Vivaldi who is a clear influence. The symphonies (published in 1738) are among the first examples to have been published in Europe and, like G.B. Sammartini's, present the archaic structure in which the slow movement often is no more than a bridge between the outer, fast movements. 2 CDs. Banchetto Musicale. Dynamic CDS 291/1-2 (Italy) 09C021 $35.98

BARTOLOMEO CORDANS (1698-1757): Messa da Requiem for 2 Tenors, Bass, Chorus and Organ, 7 Organ Pieces. The 1738 requiem, broken up into 24 small pieces, apparently to allow performance during liturgy, is calm, lyrical and self-effacing; the organ pieces show Cordan's other side, being highly enjoyable, personal pieces. Budget-price. Federico Lepre, Livio Gallet (tenors), Young-Ki Kwon (bass), Ruda Polyphonic Choir; Andrea Faidutti, Mauro Macrì (organ). RS 951-0026 (Italy) 09C022 $6.98

JOSEPH HAYDN (1732-1809): Piano Trios in E Flat, E Minor, C Minor & in A Flat. Dating from 1798-90, these are Haydn's first trios to aim at the high standards set by his symphonies and string quartets. Trio 1790. CPO 999 467 (Germany) 09C023 $10.98

ANTONIO SALIERI (1750-1825): Overtures to La secchia rapita, Les Danaides, Palmira, Regina di Persia, La fiera di Venezia, Axur, Re d'Ormus, La Grotta di Trofonio, Europa Riconosciuta, Overture in D, Variazioni sulla "Follia di Spagna". A useful collection of sparkling Classical overtures from this Italian master. Budget-price. Moldavian National Philharmonic Orchestra; Silvano Frontalini. Venice Classics VE 11018 (Italy) 09C024 $5.98

LE CHEVALIER DE SAINT-GEORGES - Symphonies and Violin Concertos

LE CHEVALIER DE SAINT-GEORGES (1739-1799): Violin Concertos in A, Op. 5/2 & in D, Op. 8/10, Symphonie Concertante in F, Op. 10/1, Symphonie Concertante in G, Op. 13. Miroslav Vilimec (violin), Jiri Zilak (violin), Jan Motlik (viola), Pilsen Radio Symphony Orchestra; Frantisek Preisler Jr. Avenira AV 9989-2E (Switzerland) 09C025 $17.98

LE CHEVALIER DE SAINT-GEORGES (1739-1799): Symphonie Concertante in C, Op. 9/1, Symphonie Concertante in A, Op. 9/11, Violin Concertos in C, Op. 3/2 & in G, Op. 8/2. Miroslav Vilimec (violin), Jiri Zilak (violin), Jan Motlik (viola), Pilsen Radio Symphony Orchestra; Frantisek Preisler Jr. Avenira AV 9988-2E (Switzerland) 09C026 $17.98

The final two volumes of this series of the French mulatto polymath's concertos (of which the first three were offered last month).

FRANZ XAVER GEBEL (1787-1843): String Quintet in E Flat, Op. 25, String Quintet in E Minor, Op. 20. Like many German composers and teachers, Gebel earned a comfortable living as a conductor and teacher in Russia, having moved there in 1817 and spent the rest of his life in Moscow. He wrote four symphonies and an unknown number of string quintets while in Russia; the latter contain virtuoso parts for first cello since they were written for the first-chair cellist of the Bolshoi Theatre (another German). This recording substitutes a double bass for the second cello part in accordance with early 19th century performance convention. The music is predominantly lyrical in nature, in style on the bridge between Classicism and early Romanticism. Ensemble Concertant Frankfurt. MD&G 603 0956 (Germany) 09C027 $17.98

NICOLA PORPORA (1686-1768): Salve Regina for Soloists, Women's Choir, Strings and Organ, Magnificat for Soloists, Chorus and Violins, Laudate Pueri for Soloists, Chorus, Strings, Flute and Organ, Ouverture Roiale. This overview of Porpora's sacred works covers a period from 1725 to 1760 and opens with a very Handelian overture for winds, brass and timpani. His style is firmly anchored in the late Baroque and there are many opportunities here to appreciate his complex polyphony as well as simple homophony with, as befits a composer most famous for his operas, the voices always given the greatest care and affection. Susanna Rigacci, Chiara Angella (sopranos), Marco Lazzara (alto), Gregory Bonfatti (tenor), Lisandro Guinis (bass), "S. Cecilia" Choir of Lucca Cathedral, Chamber Orchestra of the Giglio Theatre of Lucca; Gianfranco Cosmi. Bongiovanni GB 2249 (Italy) 09C028 $16.98

GIOVANNI BATTISTA SAMMARTINI (1700-1775): Symphonies in A & in F for Strings and Continuo, Symphonies in C and in G for Strings, 2 Corni da caccia and Continuo, FRANCESCO BISCOGLI (fl. 1740): Concerto for Trumpet, Oboe, Bassoon and Strings. Sammartini's importance as a progenitor of the symphony is in direct proportion to his neglect on disc which makes this release welcome. These are all three-movement works in the fast-slow-fast form but within these bounds, Sammartini shows a large number of personalities from Lombard robustness to southern Italian lyricism, hints at polyphony and thematic development and the galant style current in Mannheim. The latter is also present in the unknown Biscogli's extended (23-minutes long) concerto with its ample dimensions, technical audacity and originality of its instrumental colors and sonorities. Donato De Sena (trumpet), Luca Vignali (oboe), Paolo Carlini (bassoon), I Virtuosi Italiani. Bongiovanni GB 5606 (Italy) 09C029 $16.98

NICCOLO' JOMMELLI (1714-1774): Il paratajo. "The Bird-catcher's Net" is a 1753 intermezzo in two acts which takes the old comedy of manners story of a miserly uncle and his young ward who wants to marry a penniless fellow and turns it into a parody of opera seria. The female lead is always ready to digress with endless da capos and another character seems to exist only to bring in the mannerism of Arcadian utopia. All four characters go well beyond stereotypes and Jommelli provided music of great rhythmic variety and vocal brilliance. Italian-English libretto. Cristina Curti, Silvia Testoni (sopranos), Maurizio Sciuto (tenor), Thomas Andersson (baritone), Barga Opera Orchestra; Giorgio Ubaldi. Bongiovanni GB 2252 (Italy) 09C030 $16.98

BALDASSARE GALUPPI (1706-1785): Laudate pueri, Nunc dimittis, Confitebor. Galuppi spent 22 years in charge of one or two of the most famous Venetian musical institutions, the "Ospedale dei Mendicanti" and the "Ospedale die Incurabili", and, even though he, like Porpora above, is known mostly as an operatic composer, his official duties required him to compose much sacred music. The three examples recorded here date between 1769 and 1772 and pay tribute not only to Galuppi's talent for coval writing but also to the legendary virtuosity of the young women of the hospitals who performed it. Mónika González, Lúcia Megyesi-Schwartz, Krisztina Jónás (sopranos), Judit Németh (contralto), Angelica Girls' Choir, Savaria Baroque Orchestra; Fabio Pirona. Hungaroton HCD 31828 (Hungary) 09C031 $16.98

MUZIO CLEMENTI (1752-1832): Piano Works, Vol. 17 - Musical Characteristics, Op. 19, 5 Duettini, Canone per Cherubini, Toccata in B Flat, Op. 11, Finale in B Flat. Almost half of this disc is taken up by an odd series of preludes and cadenzas "in the manner of" Mozart, Vanhal, Sterkel, Kozeluch and (yes, since he's just having fun), Clementi! A youthful work, published in 1787. The duettini date from his old age and were written for duetting with his little daughter while the tocatta was one of the items played at Clementi's famous musical face-off with Mozart in Vienna in 1781. Pietro Spada, George Darden (pianos). Arts 47387 (Germany) 09C032 $10.98

IGNAZ PLEYEL (1757-1831): Symphonies in C (Ben128), in F Minor (Ben138) & in C Minor (Ben121). Pleyel was a student of Vanhal and then of Haydn and many of his 41 symphonies capture the latter's good humor, skill in orchestration, playfulness and fount of rhythm and attractive melodies. This recording brings to six the number we now have on CD since it does not duplicate any of the three on Chandos' "Contemporaries of Mozart" disc. The two minor-key works are powerfully reminiscent of Haydn's Sturm und Drang works of the 1770s while the C major work has one of Pleyel's finest slow movements. Capella Istropolitana; Uwe Grodd. Naxos 8.554696 (New Zealand) 09C033 $5.98

IGNAZ PLEYEL (1757-1831): Octet in C for String Quartet, Oboe, 2 Horns and Double Bass, String Trio in D, Op. 10/2, Trio concertant in E Flat for 2 Clarinets and Bassoon. Volume 2 of cpo's "Dieter Klöcker Edition", licensed from EMI (there will be 25 in all!), offers examples of Pleyel's artistry in writing for winds, winds and strings and strings alone - all in the finest, attractive Haydnesque style. Consortium Classicum; Dieter Klöcker. CPO 999 743 (Germany) 09C034 $10.98

JI¤Í DRUÎECK (1745-1819): Symphony in C, JAN K¤ITEL VAHAL (1739-1813): Concerto for 2 Bassoons and Chamber Orchestra in F, WILHELM KOPRA· (18th cen.): Theme with Variations for Bassoon and Chamber Orchestra in F, FRANZ ASPLMAYER (1728-1786): Trio in B Flat for 2 Clarinets and Bassoon, ? HEINZ (18th cen.): Variations in B Flat for Clarinet and Orchestra. All works but the Vanhal are new discoveries, recently found in the Museum of Czech Music and edited for this recording. The Heinz variations are in high Classical style (as is the Vanhal) while the other pieces are in the early Classical style which still has baroque influences. Druzecky's three-movement symphony is in early Classical style. Lum Vanûk, Svatopluk âech (bassoons), other artists, Virtuosi di Praga; OldÞich Vlãek. Multisonic 31 0503-2 (Czech Republic) 09C035 $11.98

LUIGI CHERUBINI (1760-1842): Requiem in C Minor for Chorus and Orchestra, Marche funèbre. This is Cherubini's first of two requiem masses, commissioned for an anniversary of Louis XVI's death in 1816 (a second, from 1838, was written for his own obsequies). Unusual in that it does without vocal soloists, the work communicates directly, perhaps considering solo voices as unseemly embellishments. The grandly ceremonial funeral march of 1820 was composed for the Royal Chapel. Gruppo Vocale Cantemus, Italian-Swiss Radio Chorus and Orchestra; Diego Fasolis. Naxos 8.554749 (New Zealand) 09C036 $5.98

FERDINAND RIES (1784-1838): Cello Sonatas in A, Op. 21 & in G Minor, Op. 125, Introduction and Russian Dance for Piano and Cello, Romance in G for Cello and Piano. Although all three Ries sonatas appeared on Dynamic a few months ago, we offer this new release both for its two fillers and for collectors who prefer period instruments. Mid-price. Guido Larisch (cello), Robert Hill (fortepiano). CPO 999 666 (Germany) 09C037 $10.98

VINZENZ LACHNER (1811-1893): 4 Pièces caractéristiques for Cello and Piano, Op. 16, Nos. 1-4, Moderato in A Minor for Violin, Abschieds-empfindung - Romance for Violin and Piano, Op. 50, 2 Clavierstücke, Op. 52, Prelude and Toccata for Piano, Op. 57, 6 German Dances for Cello and Piano, Op. 65. The least famous of the three well-known Lachner brothers, Vinzenz is listed in Grove only as a conductor but the opus numbers above attest to significant compositional achievements as well (including two symphonies). Like Franz and Ignaz, Vinzenz remained a dyed-in-the-wool conservative all his life, eventually resigning his conducting post at Mannheim in 1873 in protest at the Wagner faction's victory. These compositions, thus, follow the tradition of Schubert, Schumann and Mendelssohn - well-crafted, richly melodic and comfortably enjoyable. Various artists incl. Heinrich Schiff (cello), Christian Zacharias (piano), Kolja Lessing (violin). Antes Edition BM-CD 31.9130 (Germany) 09C038 $17.98

FELIX MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847): 6 Organ Sonatas, Op. 65, 3 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 37, 7 Organ Pieces. Not only does this represent one of the most complete collection of Mendelssohn's organ music, but it is played here on a 1785 organ very similar to one which the composer played on in 1845. 2 CDs for the price of 1. James Hammann (Stamm organ at St. Ulrich Church, Neckargemünd, Germany). Raven OAR-500 (U.S.A.) 09C039 $16.98

FRANZ BERWALD (1796-1868): Piano Trios Nos. 1-3 in E Flat, F Minor & in D Minor. A re-release of the 1989 Marco Polo recording of these trios, the first two of which have a Mendelssohnian verve (and a Beethovenian complexity in the second) and the third which is more personal, with hints of the Sinfonie singulière in its finale. Ilona Prunyi (piano), András Kiss (violin), Csaba Onczay (cello). Naxos 8.555001 (New Zealand) 09C040 $5.98

GIOVANNI BOTTESINI (1821-1889): Music for Double Bass and String Quintet - Romanza Drammatica, Introduzione e Gavotta, Capriccio di Bravura, Allegretto Capriccio alla Chopin, 2 Melodias, Elegia e Tarantella, Allegretto Capriccio alla Mendelssohn. Bottesini's trademark combination of sweet songfulness and brilliant virtuosity inform these rarities for bass and string quintet (and the Mendessohn piece has great fun withthe first movement of his violin concerto!). Michinori Buya (double bass), Musica Varia Ensemble. Audite 97.460 (Germany) 09C041 $16.98

GIUSEPPE VERDI (1813-1901): Simon Boccanegra (original 1857 version). The revision of 1881 adds the impressive Council Chamber scene and rewrites much music, in part to lighten the effect of so many low voices but, arguably, alters the dramatic balance by inflating the character and importance of Boccanegra to the detriment of his fellow principals. Here is the first recording of the original version. 2 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Vittorio Vitelli (baritone), Annalisa Raspagliosi (soprano), Warren Mok (tenor), Bratislava Chamber Choir, Italy International Orchestra; Renato Palumbo. Dynamic CDS 268/1-2 (Italy) 09C042 $35.98

GEORG VON ALBRECHT (1891-1976): Piano Sonata in G Sharp Minor, Op. 34, Piano Sonata in C Minor, Op. 53, Mirroring - Sonata on a 12-Tone Theme, Op. 72. Like Medtner, Albrecht was born into a German family which had moved to Russia early in the 19th century. The first sonata on this disc (1929) is late Romantic in style, with elements of Scriabin heard especially in the first movement. Dating from 1945, the short, two-movement Op. 53 uses polytonality in its creation of a tense, "dark night of the soul" atmosphere which was Albrecht's response to the last months of the war. Also quite brief is the 1964 exercise in rhythmic and melodic mirroring and polyphony, using twelve-tone technique but in a personal, accessible way. Budget-price. Birgitta Wollenweber (piano). RS 051-0030 (Italy) 09C043 $6.98

ALEXANDER VEPRIK (1899-1958): Sonata No. 1, ALEXANDER KREIN (1883-1951): Suite dansée, LAZAR SAMINSKY (1882-1959): 3 Shadows, Second Tale, ARTHUR LOURIÉ (1892-1966): Nocturne, Intermezzo, Menuet after Gluck, Sonatina No. 3, JOSEPH ACHRON (1886-1943): Concerto for Piano Alone. This collection of piano works by Russian composers sticks mostly to the exciting, post-Scriabin years before the Communist Party clamped down on experimentation and individuality in the arts. Achron's piece dates from 1941, his last work in fact, and it uses a Baroque slow-fast-slow-fast form to showcase a polymodal, polyphonic language which still hints of Jewish melodies. The latter are to the fore in Krein's 1928 Suite, which consists of Yiddish folk-songs, a synagogue chant, a Klezmer dance and Biblical tropes. Saminsky was a friend and supporter of Achron and his 1935 Shadows are inspired by poems by the just-deceasedEdwin Arlington Robinson while the 1919 Tale is a fascinating piece of early Modernism. Veprik's 1922 sonata is dependent harmonically on Scriabin while Lourié's four short pieces (written in 1914, 1917 and 1928) show the influences of Latin-American and popular song, Chopin and Brahms, neo-Classicism and Scriabin (respectively as listed above). Jascha Nemtsov (piano). EDA 016-2 (Germany) 09C044 $17.98

FRANZ LEHÁR (1870-1948): Piano Sonata in F, Piano Sonata in D Minor, Fantasie for Piano in A Flat. All three of these pieces were written in 1888-89; the earliest - the F major sonata - is a completely sunny, relaxed piece in four movements over which never a shadow of a cloud or of conflict passes. More a serenade than a sonata although sonata-form is followed... Although on a much larger scale, the D minor sonata remains a relatively unruffled work despite its minor key. Subdued conflict appears in its first movement but all four movements are fast-tempo and the finale dance-like and rumbustious. The Fantasie is the latest of the three works and its free form lets the melodist which Lehár was to become speak out easily and enchantingly. Mid-price. Wolf Harden (piano). CPO 999 715 (Germany) 09C045 $10.98

RUDOLF HALACZINSKY (1920-1999): Toccata, Op. 12, 6 kleine Stücke, Op. 13, Reflexionen, Op. 79, Nachtstücke, Op. 41, Nacht über Endenich, Op. 83, Tönende Sonne, Op. 59. A Pole who spent time as a (German Army) prisoner-of-war, Halaczinsky's piano pieces show a strong personality and an originality - especially when he uses dodecaphonic material in such an expressive way as, for instance, in the kleine Stücke (1951/1982). The 1951 Toccata is a darkly glittering, intense and frightening ride through a threatening landscape and this horror-drenched atmosphere is present also in the 1968 Nachtstücke and in the hommage to the mad Schumann in his asylum at Endenich. Well worth exploring. Budget-price. Marcus Kretzer (piano). RS 051-0031 (Italy) 09C046 $6.98

WALTER LANG (1898-1966): Piano Sonatas in D, Op. 66/1, in A, Op. 70/2 and in F, Op. 75/3. Lang's three piano sonatas are built firmly on the foundations of music from the first decades of the century, and offer a certain consistency of style. Basically tonal and clear textured, without grand bravura effects, they resemble the bulk of the piano output of Czeslaw Marek (with the exception of the visionary Triptychon); formally precise and harmonically inventive, with a good sense of counterpoint. The third sonata is the most harmonically ambiguous, almost Busonian in places, and is the strongest of the three. Monique Muller (piano). Gallo CD-1022 (Switzerland) 09C047 $18.98

ERNST TOCH (1887-1964): String Quartet in A, Op. 12, String Quartet in G, Op. 15. Perhaps the most grievously neglected of the many European composers who fled the Nazis and moved to America, Toch began his composing with the quartet and, at his death, sketches for a quartet were found at his desk; he wrote thirteen in all. The two recorded here are his earliest surviving examples (many of his scores were lost in the Holocaust), dating from 1905 and 1908 (both in the classical four-movement form) with the former showing the influences of Zemlinskian late Romanticism and the latter a brittle lyricism which hints at neo-classicism. Braude Quartet. Talent DOM 2910 52 (Belgium) 09C048 $15.98

SIEGFRIED WAGNER (1869-1930): Scenes and Arias from Bruder Lustig, Op. 4, Herzog Wildfang, Op. 2, Schwarzschwanenreich, Op. 7, Die heilige Linde, Op. 15, Der Friedensengel, Op. 10, Rainulf und Adelaisa, Op. 14 and Der Schmied von Marienburg, Op. 13. Almost all of Wagner's 18 operas dealt with supernatural or irrational themes and his post-Romantic language, with indebtedness to Verdi, Mahler and Janacek, is unfailingly interesting. This collection of grieving mothers, prophetesses, jealous sisters and procuresses is a vividly-colored gallery of personae which, in the absence of any complete recordings of the operas from which they are culled, will be a valuable acquisition for any opera collector. German-English texts. Iris Vermillion (mezzo), WDR Radio Choir Cologne, Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra; Werner Andreas Albert. CPO 999 651 (Germany) 09C049 $15.98

THEODOR KIRCHNER (1823-1903): 12 Novelletten for Piano Trio, Op. 59, HERMANN GOETZ (1840-1876): Piano Trio in G Minor, Op. 1. A perfect example of what Records International stands for: do you love Schumann but are tired of listening to the same pieces over and over again? Then, here's Theodor Kirchner, whose Novelletten were dedicated to Schumann and whose style and taste are impeccable. Goetz' trio is also heavily indebted to Schumann but has rather more of Florestan than Eusebius while Kirchner moves between the two personae with consummate skill and ease. Gorgeous Romantic stuff! Márta Gulyás (piano), Vilmos Szabadi (violin), Tytus Miecznikowski (cello). Hungaroton HCD 31919 (Hungary) 09C050 $16.98

FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886): Complete Works for Violin and Piano - Romance oubliée, Élégie, 2nd Élégie, La lugubre gondola, Die drei Zigeuner for Tenor, Violin and Piano, Epithalam, Benedictus, Offertorium, Grand Duo concertant, Rhapsodie hongroise, 3 Walzer, La Notte, Walther von der Vogelweide, Die Zelle in Nonnenwerth, Duo sur des thèmes polonais. Collectors of Liszt's complete piano works may also be interested in acquiring the most complete edition yet of his violin works. Of course, most of these pieces were originally written for piano but Liszt, inveterate reworker and reviser, made versions for violin and piano, cello and piano, duo piano, etc. Many times, the piano part is different for each version. And since they are all by Liszt, they have been transcribed (transcribed is the wrong word - "recomposed" is more accurate) with the greatest care and inspiriation. Notes by Leslie Howard. 2 CDs. Barnabás Kelemen (violin), Gergely Bogányi (piano, harmonium), Attila Fekete (tenor). Hungaroton HCD 31879-80 (Hungary) 09C051 $33.98

FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886): Concerto pathé-tique for Piano and Orchestra (orch. Darvas), Malédiction for Piano and Strings, R.452, Polonaise brillante for Pianoand Orchestra, R.460. Using a 1952 orchestration by Gabor Darvas, pianist Crismani has rewritten the solo part of the Concerto pathétique. For avid piano collectors! Budget-price. Claudio Crismani (piano), Philharmonia Orchestra; Thomas Sanderling. RS 6367-10 (Italy) 09C052 $6.98

RICHARD WAGNER (1813-1883): Albumblatt in E Flat, WAGNER/CRISMANI: Fantasies on themes from Der Ring des Nibelungen, Tannhäuser and Parsifal. A modern composer/improviser gives Wagner the Romantic virtuoso treatment. Budget-price. Claudio Crismani (piano). RS 051-0005 (Italy) 09C053 $6.98

GIUSEPPE MARTUCCI (1856-1909): Piano Quintet in C, Op. 45, OTTORINO RESPIGHI (1879-1936): Piano Quintet in F Minor. An early work, Martucci's 1878 quintet is influenced by Schumann and Brahms and is a remarkably mature-sounding work for an Italian composer with very few models in that genre. Also from early in his career, Respighi's much briefer work (1902) already shows some of his mature-period archaizing tendencies as well as the influence of the late 19th-century French school. Budget-price. Quartetto di Venezia, Patrizia Prati (piano). Aura 416-2 (Italy) 09C054 $5.98

JOHANN KALLIWODA (1801-1866): Morceau de Salon, Op. 228, FRIEDRICH VON FLOTOW (1812-1883): Nocturne Concertant, Op. 47, JOHANN GOTTFRIED HUGO SCHUNCKE (1823-1909): Andante und Bolero, CHARLES KOECHLIN (1867-1950): Monodie, Op. 216/11 "Au loin", ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810-1856): 3 Romanzen, Op. 94, BENJAMIN BRITTEN (1913-1976): Temporal Variations. This well-planned oboe recital follows the instrument from its virtuosic turns in the salons of the wealthy during the 19th century (Kalliwoda, Flotow and Schuncke) as well as the serious Romanticism of Schumann and Nielsen and into the 20th century with Koechlin's pentatonicism and Britten's spiky, experimental variations. Christian Hommel (oboe), Dorothea Eppendorf (piano). Ars Musici AM 1272-2 (Germany) 09C055 $17.98

HANS MATTHISON-HANSEN (1807-1890): Organ Symphonies Nos. 2, 3, 5 & 6, Fantasia No. 1 "Dronning Dagmar". Matthison-Hansen held the most important organist's post in Denmark, that at Roskilde Cathedral, for 58 years and was internationally famous for his improvisation and performances of Bach. A generation before Widor, he created the genre of the "organ symphony" and wrote six of them - all in the form of the Viennese Classical symphony although with a tonal language approaching early Romanticism. Inge Beck (Lund organ of Bragernes Church, Drammen, Norway). Classico CLASSCD 330 (Denmark) 09C056 $14.98

ALBERTO WILLIAMS (1862-1952): Piano Music, Vol. 2 - Mazurka No. 1, Op. 3, Waltz Air No. 2, Op. 16, 4 Poetic Pieces, Op. 17, Mazurka No. 2, Op. 20, Mazurka No. 3, Op. 28, Poem of the Bells, Op. 60, Poem of the Ravine, Op. 79, Poem of the Valley, Op. 80, Waltz Air No. 13, Op. 109, Waltz Air No. 25, Op. 127. Although understandably influenced by French and German Romanticism, Most of Williams' music contains quite a bit of native influences - the milonga, gato, cielito, hueya, vidalita etc., leading to a stylistic blend of Argentinian melodic figurations and post-Romantic European harmonizations. The Waltzes and Mazurkas are insinuated with a sinewy Gaucho quaility and Poem of the Bells does for an Argentine country hamlet what Mussorgsky and Ravel's bell-inspired works did for their landscapes while Ravines is a virtuoso crowd pleaser. Valentín Surif (piano). Marco Polo 8.223800 (New Zealand) 09C057 $14.98

CARL NIELSEN (1865-1931): Symphony No. 3 "Sinfonia Espansiva" (with alternate version of Andante pastorale), Paraphrase on "Nearer My God to Thee", Helios, Op. 17, 2 Songs, Op. 6/3 & Op. 21/1. The second volume of Classico's Nielsen Edition offers several rarities: the composer provided for occasions where the vocalists might not be available for the wordless part in the second movement Andante pastorale and provided parts for clarinet and trombone to replace them. The paraphrase dates from 1912 and, unlike an earlier recording on Chandos, contains a setting of the hymn itself (this, of course, in memory of the people who perished on the Titanic). The two songs are recorded for the first time in Nielsen's own orchestrations. Danish-English texts. Eva Hess-Thaysen (soprano), Jan Lund (tenor), Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra; Douglas Bostock. Classico CLASS CDS 297 (Denmark) 09C058 $14.98

KALEVI AHO (b.1949): Symphony No. 4, Chinese Songs for Soprano and Orchestra. Aho's fourth symphony was completed by the time he was 23 and effectively ends the first period of his compositional career. Forty-five minutes long, in three movements, it seems to describe an abstract, psychological drama with a long first movement which begins in quiet melancholy, erupts in tragedy and returns to its origins, a Shostakovichian presto of violent, distorted quality and, finally, a lento third movement in which a fairy-tale like liberation is wrung from an empty, opening desolation. The Chinese Songs of 1997 set old Chinese love songs in a series which grows darker until the final song where a new life force breaks out. The comparison with Mahler's Das Lied is apt, both for the tenor of the poetry and for the sensuality and richness of the orchestration. Finnish-English texts. Tiina Vahevaara (soprano), Lahti Symphony Orchestra; Osmo Vänskä. BIS CD-1066 (Sweden) 09C059 $17.98

JÓN LEIFS (1899-1968): Drift Ice for Mixed Chorus and Orchestra, Op. 63, 2 Songs for Mezzo-Soprano and Orchestra, Op. 14a, Fine I for Orchestra, Op. 55, Lullaby for Mezzo-Soprano and Orchestra, Op. 14b, Night for Tenor, Baritone and Orchestra, Op. 59, The Lay of Gudrun for Mezzo-Soprano, Tenor, Bass and Orchestra, Op. 22. Two of these works were just issued on an ITM disc from Iceland (07C009). New to CD are Drift Ice (Hafís) which belongs to Leifs' world of nature portraits (Geysir, Hekla and Dettifoss) and which sets a poem for chorus and orchestra. Like its mates, it depicts the freezing and thawing of the drift ice with intense, onomatopoeic music, the cracking and breaking up of the ice being the last of several crescendo - climax - diminuendo sequences. Fine I, one of two works Leifs composed to be used as conclusions to his Edda trilogy should he die before completing it, is blunt and abrasive, a synthesis of Leifs' style: obstinate and aggressive but with moments of quiet contemplation. Icelandic-English texts. Ingveldur Yr Jónsdóttir (mezzo), Gunnar Guthbjörnsson (tenor), Loftur Erlingsson (bass), Ólafur Kjartan Sigurtharson (baritone), Schola Cantorum, Iceland Symphony Orchestra; Anne Manson. BIS CD-1050 (Sweden) 09C060 $17.98

KURT ATTERBERG (1887-1974): Symphony No. 3 in D, Op. 10 "West Coast Pictures", Symphony No. 6 in C, Op. 31. The third symphony consists of three separately composed tone poems written between 1914 and 1916 which the composer only decided to link together after the composition of the last. Titled "Sun Smoke", "Storm" and "Summer Night", the three are respectively, an impressionistic depiction of a calm sea under a clear sky while the second is one of the most powerful orchestral storm scenes ever composed. The third movement begins as a nocturne, picks up momentum with an elf's dance and moves toward the concluding apotheosis in a magnificent sunrise. The Sixth, formerly known as the "Dollar Symphony" for the prize money it won, was a 1928 work which was to composed in the modern spirit but marked by the power of melody Schubert was famous for. The first two movements are recognizable Atterberg in their romantic generosity while the final movement contains a Schubert quote in a movement meant as parody. North German Radio Philharmonic Hannover; Ari Rasilainen. CPO 999 640 (Germany) 09C061 $15.98

RUED LANGGAARD (1893-1952): Septet for Winds, Humoresque - Sextet for Flute, Oboe, English Horn, Clarinet, Bassoon and Military Drum, In the Flickering Autumn Lamplight for Piano, The Chambers of Flames for Piano, Écrasez l'Infâme for Violin and Piano, Mountain Flowers for Piano Trio, Scherzo for String Trio, Augustiniana - A Musical Joke for 2 Violins and Cello. Designed to cover all of Langgaard's career, this collection of chamber works begins with the 15-year-old's Mountain Flowers which was later orchestrated as the second movement of his first symphony and closes with the 1937 Chambers of Flames - a Scriabinesque piano fantasy - and Écrasez l'Infâme ("Destroy the Disgusting") - in which the extreme and the demonstrative become ends in themselves. In between are several attractive pieces in Romantic style. Jutland Ensemble. Classico CLASSCD 311 (Denmark) 09C062 $14.98

MARJAN MOZETICH (b.1948): The Passion of Angels - Concerto for 2 Harps and Orchestra, Postcards from the Sky for String Orchestra, Affairs of the Heart - Concerto for Violin and String Orchestra. Mozetich embarked on a compositional career in the garde most avant, and then, having enjoyed considerable success in this vein, became concerned that his music was not emotionally touching his audience; that it was in fact of intellectual interest only. So he embraced romanticism wholeheartedly and rather suddenly in the 1980s, employing the consonant harmonies and something of the rhythmic simplicity of minimalism. This is not the strict minimalism of early Reich and Glass; it is more like the 'romantic minimalism' of John Adams, recent Glass, and the like, less concerned with process than with easily accessible emotional appeal. These works, all from the mid-late 1990s, share an inviting accessibility and inhabit a world of comfortable consonance, not without melancholy and genuine pathos when appropriate. Nora Bumanis, Julia Shaw (harps), Juliette Kang (violin), CBC Vancouver Orchestra; Mario Bernardi. CBC Records SMCD 5200 (Canada) 09C063 $17.98

NORMAN DELLO JOIO (b.1913): Diversions, Lyric Pieces for the Young, Short Intervallic Interludes for Well-Tempered Pianists, Prelude: To a Young Musician, Introduction and Fantasies on a Chorale Tune, Suite for Piano, Piano Sonata No. 3. Over half of this disc is devoted to works not duplicated on last month's Elan release - Diversions, Lyric Pieces and the Interludes - all with Dello Joio's characteristic finely chiseled craftsmanship, often imbued with choral melodies, always brief and to the point in their neo-classical style. Tanya Stambuk (piano). Centaur CRC 2469 (U.S.A.) 09C064 $16.98

FREDERIC MOMPOU (1893-1987): Piano Music, Vol. 3 - Variations sur un thème de Chopin, 3 variations, Souvenirs de l'exposition, Paisajes, Pessebres, Impressions íntimes. Planys. The composer's first work ("Intimate Impressions. Lamentations"), composed between 1910 and 1914, shows that the mature Mompou with his intimacy and elegiac nature, was already there in the youth. Also here is Mompou's biggest scale work - the 1957 Chopin variations which oscillate between Romantic outpourings and a characteristically inner quality. Everything else has the quiet, exquisite personality which was unique to Mompou. Jordi Masó (piano). Naxos 8.554570 (New Zealand) 09C065 $5.98

MIKHAIL NOSYREV (1924-1981): Ballet - The Song of Triumphant Love. Composed between the first two symphonies, this ballet (1968-69) has none of the experimental, abrasive qualities of those works. In fact, it fits quite comfortably in the Russian ballet tradition, hovering somewhere between Rachmaninov and Scriabin in its shimmering harmonies and brilliant orchestration. It is based on a story by Turgenev about two friends who love the same woman. The one not chosen goes abroad which offers Nosyrev the opportunity to inject some exoticisms ("The Desert", "Portrait of the Malay" and "The Whirlpool") which show that the largely self-taught composer knew his Rimsky-Korsakov well (he had access to the latter's composition treatise during his time in prison). In its rich color and wealth of melody, this will appeal to anyone who loves the Russian ballet tradition. Voronezh State Symphony Orchestra; Vladimir Verbitsky. Olympia OCD 684 (England) 09C066 $16.98

ERNST KRENEK (1900-1991): Karl V. Commissioned by the Vienna State Opera in 1930, premiere cancelled in 1934 by the Nazis, finally premiered in Prague in 1938, Krenek's work offered a universal Catholicism as an alternative to nationalism and was thus controversial, due to Austrian cultural politics, even before the Anschluss. Described as a "stagework with music", the piece consists of flashbacks to events in the life of the emperor Charles V in response to which theological and ethical debate occurs in the foreground. Sharing content and musico-dramatic style with Schoenberg's Moses und Aron, Karl V was Krenek's first 12-tone opera and he uses the alienating effect of the music to articulate dimensions of Charles' dilemma which were beyond words. 2 CDs. German libretto. Theo Adam (baritone), Sena Jurinac (soprano), Vienna Radio Symphony Chorus and Orchestra; Gerd Albrecht. Orfeo C 527 002 I (Germany) 09C067 $29.98

JONATHAN HARVEY (b.1939): Madonna of Winter and Spring, Percussion Concerto, Song Offerings for Soprano and Orchestra. Harvey has always been an inventive and original composer, and in Madonna of Winter and Spring this inventiveness, placed at the service of his profound personal spiritual views, leads to a work which is remarkable in its synthesis of electroacoustic and modern orchestral techniques, as well as its sense of a structured journey from chaos to beatitude. The moments when a sustained electronically generated or modified sound emerges from the turbulent texture and hangs motionless and glowing over the spiritual battlefield are truly magical, and the work as a whole stands as one of Harvey's finest achievements. In terms of sound alone it is simply stunning. The same may be said of the percussion concerto, expressive and crafted as only a composer with a quasi-obsessive understanding of Schoenberg's legacy could achieve, and building on those principles in an entirely original way. Finally there are the ecstatic and rapturous songs, glittering with light and sensuous in their velvety depths. If only more contemporary music encapsulated the highest aims and expressions of art like this! Peter Prommel (percussion), Netherlands Radio Philharmonic; Peter Eötvös, Penelope Walmsley-Clark (soprano), London Sinfonietta; George Benjamin. Nimbus NI 5649 (England) 09C068 $17.98

VISSARION SHEBALIN (1902-1963): String Quartets, Vol. 1 - No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 2, No. 2 in B Flat, Op. 19 & No. 3 in E Minor, Op. 28. Shebalin wrote nine string quartets, these earliest examples dating from the 20s and 30s. The first (1925) has a strong flavor of French Impressionism, acknowledged by Shebalin himself. From ten years later, the second is more personal with a polyphonic character which suggests polytonality and a Shostakovichian irony in its Andante's scherzo section. The third dates from November 1939 and, although the war had just begun, the work is strikingly lyrical (the Stalinist purges of the 30s were on the decline and the USSR had not yet been attacked), with hints of Borodin and Rachmaninov in its deeply Russian finale. Krasni Quartet. Olympia OCD 663 (England) 09C069 $16.98

YORK BOWEN (1884-1961): Suite, Op. 53, Suite No. 2, Op. 71, 4 Pieces, Op. 90, MERVYN ROBERTS (1906-1990): A Christmas Prelude, Passacaglia, 2 Chorales, Elegy, ALAN RICHARDSON (1904-1978): Débutante, Grandmother's Waltz, On Heather Hill, Improvisation on a Nursery Tune, HAMILTON HARTY (1879-1941): Fantasy for 2 Pianos, Op. 6 (reconstr. Garvelmann). This collection of duo-piano music from Britain offers works by English, Welsh and Scottish composers, in order respectively of the above listing. It's good to have more Bowen on CD and, even though by their nature these duos are less "serious" than other genres, all three suites show the composer's intellectual acuteness, harmonic ingenuity, strong melodic core and flair. Roberts' pieces often combine complex harmony with simple, unassuming melodies while Richardson's duos were dedicated to Bowen and Harry Isaacs, who performed as a duo. The little free-form tone poem On Heather Hill is particularly alluring. Finally, we have a reconstruction of a 1902 work by the young Harty which is a showpiece which bounces phrases from piano to piano and back again with great delight. Bruce Posner, Donald Garvelmann (pianos). Olympia OCD 680 (England) 09C070 $16.98

JACQUES IBERT (1890-1962): Complete Chamber Music - 6 Pièces for Solo Harp, 2 mouvements for Wind Quartet, Jeux for Flute and Piano, Le jardinier de Samos for Flute, Clarinet, Trumpet, Violin, Cello and Percussion, Française for Guitar, Aria for Flute, Violin and Piano, 3 pièces brèves for Wind Quintet, Pastoral for 4 Pipes, Paraboles for 2 Guitars, 5 pièces en trio for Oboe, Clarinet and Bassoon, Entr'acte for Flute and Guitar, Ariette for Guitar, L'Age d'or for Alto Saxophone and Piano, Pièce for Solo Flute, String Quartet, Trio for Violin, Cello and Harp, 2 Interludes for Flute, Violin and Harpsichord, Étude-caprice pour un tombeau de Chopin for Cello, Ghirlarzana for Cello, Caprilena for Violin, Impromptu for Trumpet and Piano, Carignane for Bassoon and Piano. Covering chronologically Ibert's whole chamber music uvre (1916-1953), this re-issued set doesn't have a dull or unimaginative moment and the music is unfailingly delightful and uplifting. Recorded in 1996 by various Dutch artists. Various artists 2 CDs for the price of 1. Olympia OCD 707 A+B (England) 09C071 $16.98

RYUICHI SAKAMOTO (b.1952): Bachata, Energy Flow, Intermezzo, Sonatine, Chanson, Just for Me, Chorals Nos. 1 & 2, Opus, Lorenz and Watson, Suites for Piano, La Dispersion, La Limite, Le Sable, Grasshoppers, River, Tong Poo for Piano Four Hands. The multi-talented Mr Sakamoto's work is probably familiar in one way or another to many people who would not think of him as a composer of 'classical' piano pieces - he has scored a number of big-box-office films (The Last Emperor was probably the biggest), is a techno-pop sensation in Japan (and has appeared in the charts in the UK and USA with pop music - he is probably the only composer we have ever featured who has also appeared on the BBC "Top of the Pops" show). Anyway, what is his piano music like? It is very French-influenced; Debussyish and Ravelian harmonies show up all over the place. Sometimes, for coloristic effect, Messiaen appears as well, but briefly. And there are some 'experimental' performance-art ideas in a couple of early pieces. For the most part, this is an immensely agreeable program, of music which is well crafted and highly accessible, though not exactly ground-breaking or envelope-pushing. Chitose Okashiro (piano), J.Y. Song (piano). Pro Piano PPR224532 (U.S.A.) 09C072 $9.98

EZEQUIEL VIÑAO (b.1960): Piano Trio, Four Etudes from Book I. The virtuosic etudes explore a highly colored pianistic language in an advanced impressionistic idiom - impressionism post-Messiaen rather than the other way about. Not so much études dealing with a particular pianistic technical challenge as works exploring a range of musical challanges, they add an important element to the bravura repertoire for the instrument in our time. The trio is also a work of considerable activity and invention, covering a wider range of emotional territory. Ju-Ying Song (piano), Mark Steinberg (violin), Maria Kitsopoulos (cello). Pro Piano PPR224511 (U.S.A.) 09C073 $9.98

JAURÈS LAMARQUE PONS (1917-1982): Piece, RICARDO LORENZ (b.1961): Cecilia en Azul y Verde, GUSTAVO BECERRA-SCHMIDT (b.1925): Cello Sonata No. 5, CELSO GARRIDO-LECCA (b.1926): Soliloquio for Solo Cello, ALDEMARO ROMERO (b.1928): Golpe con Fandango, JOAQUIN NIN (1879-1949): Suite Espagnole, ALBERT GINASTERA (1916-1986): Pampeana No. 2. This disc would be worth having for the passionate neoclassicism of the Ginastera alone. The other works also have a great deal to offer, richly melodic and sensual, or invigoratingly dynamic. There are strong elements of South American traditional music, especially in the Romero, Pons and Nin, while the Becerra-Schmidt is, like the Ginastera, a tough, powerful concert work that just happens to have been written in that particular part of the world. The Nin is, as one might expect, the most conventional work on the program, but it too is soulful and emotionally charged, and most enjoyable, like all the music on this delightful disc. Carlos Prieto (cello), Edison Quintana (piano). Urtext JBCC 024 (Mexico) 09C074 $17.98

WILL GAY BOTTJE (b.1925): Capriccio for 2 Trumpets, Strings and Percussion, Sounds from the West Shore for Orchestra, Concerto for 2 Flutes and Small Orchestra, Horn Concerto, Opener for Orchestra. The composer has founded two electronic music studios in university music departments, and has spent years researching the compositional possibilities of alternative tuning systems. However, little evidence for these activities is to be found in these easy-going and approachable orchestral works. The general mood is upbeat and good-natured, with some jazz influence and a generally conventional harmonic idiom, leavened with touches of humor and unconventional scoring. Slow movements are expressive and lyrical, and fast ones bubble with effervescent energy. Most enjoyable. Roumen Gurov, Vesselin Bojilov (trumpets), Georgy Spassov, Hristo Dobrinov (flutes), Vladimir Kanazirev (horn), New Symphony Orchestra; Rossen Milanov. Capstone CPS-8673 (U.S.A.) 09C075 $16.98

JOHN BIGGS (b.1932): A Renaissance Bouquet for Clarinet, Violin and Piano, 3 Preludes for Clarinet and Piano, Concert Suite for Piano Trio, Fantasy on a Theme of Rameau for 2 Violins, Clarinet, Cello and Piano, Medieval Dance Suite for Clarinet, Violin and Piano. These readily accessible and enjoyable chamber works originate in an æsthetic that encompasses a Coplandish Americanism, a deep knowledge of Renaissance music (a speciality of the composer's) and a tinge of jazz. Generally uncomplicated and easy to listen to, the music is not devoid of genuine depth of feeling, as for example in the Cortège movement of the Three Preludes (an otherwise jazzy work), written in memoriam a friend of the composer's, or the Chorale from the Concert Suite. The Barkezian Ensemble. MMC 2091 (U.S.A.) 09C076 $16.98

FREDERICK FOX (b.1931): Impressions for Orchestra, Dawnen Grey for String Quartet, Fantasy for Viola and Piano, Devil's Tramping Ground for Ensemble. These pieces, whether for orchestra Impressions, smaller ensemble Devil's Tramping Ground or chamber group, are atmospheric and highly evocative, exploring a wide range of mood and colors. Within the extended tonality of his vocabulary, Fox introduces a powerful element of fantasy and the suggestion of rich emotional content, whether the musical material is dodecaphonic and linear or more harmonically based, rhythmically free or ostinato driven and propulsive. Accessible while remaining simultaneously challenging and slightly unsettling. Indiana University Symphony Orchestra; David Dzubay, Corigliano Quartet, Peter Pas (viola), Heather Schmidt (piano). Indiana University School of Music IUSM-09 (U.S.A.) 09C077 $16.98

MILCHO LEVIEV: Violin Sonata, String Quartet, for Piano: Toccatina, Brothers, Night Mood, Nocturno (The Winter of Our Discontent), for Solo Cello: Reflected Meditation, Augsburg Polka, A Child's Day for Harp, Vibraphone, Viola and Bass Clarinet. Leviev has composed music in a bewildering array of styles and genres, from classical to jazz and all crossover points between. In all cases the music is highly accessible and enjoyable, spiced with enough dissonance to be identifiably modern, but never complicated or forbidding. The quartet and sonata are the major works here, though the solo cello pieces have a melodious drama which belies their brief span, and the solo piano works, played by the composer, are the most musically advanced, though still easily assimilated. Boyan Lechev (violin), Milcho Leviev (piano) and other artists. Gega GD 179 (Bulgaria) 09C078 $16.98

GALINA USTVOLSKAYA (b.1919): Symphony No. 2 "True and Eternal Bliss" for Orchestra and Solo Voice, Symphony No. 3 "Jesus Messiah, Save Us!" for Orchestra and Soloists, Symphony No. 4 "Prayer" for Tam-Tam, Trumpet, Piano and Contralto, Symphony No. 5 for Oboe, Trumpet, Tuba, Violin, Percussion and Reciter. As the composer herself puts it "There is no link whatsoever between my music and that of any other composer, living or dead. I would like to ask those who truly like it to refrain from all theoretical analysis." Once heard, you will agree that there is nothing else quite like it although its sense of timeless, often threatening, ritual is shared by certain pieces by Xenakis or Ohana. The second symphony features a lonely human voice speaking the words "Lord", "Truth" and "Eternity" underneath the pounding, remorseless tread of piano, brass and percussion while the third inhabits much the same territory - truly frightening, barbaric bursts of drums answering the vocalist's cries of "Jesus Messiah, Save Us!". The short Fourth is more muted, the contralto singing "Almighty, True God, Father of Eternal Life, Creator of the World, Save Us" to a resigned, sad accompaniment. The Fifth is similarly downcast as the reciter intones the Lord's Prayer to a wind-percussion accompaniment of resigned, melancholy character. St. Petersburg Soloists; Oleg Malov (piano), Ural Philharmonic Orchestra; Dmitri Liss. Megadisc MDC 7854 (Belgium) 09C079 $18.98

ANTONIO RUIZ-PIPÓ (1934-1997): Libro de Lejanía for Orchestra, Tablas for Guitar and Orchestra, Concerto for Piano and Winds, For Piano Solo: 3 Pièces brèves, Variations usr un thème Catalan, Apuntes sobre..., Variations sur un thème de Galice, Caleidoscopio, Libro de Lejanía No. 4, Ventanas, 3 Évasions for Violin and Piano, For Soprano and Piano: Tríptico a Andalucia, 5 Tonadas. The first disc is devoted to three medium-sized orchestral works and the other to a selection of chamber works for various forces. The composer's writing is lucid and transparent, based in tonality and generally eschewing excessive dissonance. There is some eastern influence and folk-like modality in evidence here and there; in terms of modernism there is nothing that goes as far as Bartók or Prokofiev at their more extreme, though it would be unfair to suggest that the music is conservative or overly familiar in style. Madrid Symphony Orchestra; Ernest Martinez Izquierdo, Narciso Yepes (guitar), RTVE Symphony Orchestra; Odon Alonso, Antonio Ruiz-Pipó (piano), Les Philharmonistes de Châteauroux; Janos Komives, various pianists, Eléonore Gratton (soprano), Clara Bonaldi (violin). Mandala MAN 4961/62 (France) 09C080 $37.98

EDWARD GREGSON (b.1945): 3 Matisse Impressions for Recorder, Strings, Harp and Percussion, THOMAS PITFIELD (1903-1999): Concerto for Recorder, String Orchestra and Percussion, 3 Nautical Sketches for Recorder and String Orchestra, PHILIP LANE (b.1950): Suite Ancienne, DAVID LYON (b.1938): Concertino, IAN PARROTT (b.1916): Prelude and Waltz, ALAN BULLARD (b.1947): Recipes, MALCOLM ARNOLD (b.1921): Concertino, Op. 41a (orch. Lane). Having by nature a bright and cheerful sound, it's no surprise to find the recorder (for which many British composers are writing these days) as the protagonist in a disc of music which is mostly light, spirited and, in many cases, rather in the genre of "British Light Music". Much folk music is mined for these works and their rhythmic profile and fount of melody make for pleasant, light listening - even for those who may think that they don't like the sound of the recorder. John Turner (recorders), Royal Ballet Sinfonia; Gavin Sutherland. Olympia OCD 667 (England) 09C081 $16.98

RANDALL WOOLF (b.1959): Where the Wild Things Are - Ballet. Woolf, known for his lively and inventive scores in various genres including film, art rock and performance art, composed this score for a new American Repertory Ballet production of 1997 based on Maurice Sendak's classic children's book. Using wind and brass instruments along with electric guitar, digital sampler, electric violin, electric bass and marimba, the composer conjures up a wildly variegated score which should delight anyone young, young-at-heart or interested in the mixing of genres in modern composition. Various artists. CRI CD 844 (U.S.A.) 09C082 $16.98

LOUIS KARCHIN (b.1951): Rustic Dances for Violin, Clarinet and Marimba, American Visions for Baritone and Ensemble, Cascades for Piano, Sonata da Camera for Violin and Piano, "A Way Separate..." for Soprano, Flute, Violin, Clarinet, Cello and Piano, String Quartet No. 2. Complex as it is, Karchin's music maintains an impressionistic sense of atmosphere and a strong pulse, both rhythmic and harmonic, which helps to maintain a forward momentum. Especially striking is the extended Yevtushenko setting, almost symphonic in scope, with a broad sweep as befits the American vision uncapsulated therein. Perhaps it is this American-ness, an intangible quality and difficult to define (as the composer does not use explicitly folk-like idioms at all) that appeals most about Karchin's works; a sense of limitless reserves of possibilities, a musical exploration analogous to the exploration that took the pioneers ever further west. Da Capo Chamber Players, Washington Square Contemporary Music Society Players. New World 80583 (U.S.A.) 09C083 $16.98

YURI KASPAROV (b.1955): The Devil's Trill for 16 Instruments, A Dream for Soprano and Organ, Light and Shade - Setting Off (Chamber Symphony No. 3), 12 Samples of Interrelations Between Bassoon, 8 Double-Basses and 8 Kettle-Drums, Réminiscence for Piano, Prepared Piano and Live Electronics, 7 Illusory Images of Memory for 16 Instruments. Complex and poly-linear, the music of this student of Edison Denisov repays close study, as both in content and technique it is full of interest. The multi-faceted views of musical objects contained in these succinct, economical structures suggest the clear lines and vivid contrasts of Russian futurist-constructivist painting, with their bold images made up of exquisitely shaded artificial shapes and geometrical patterns. Kasparov's music is like that - the parts are beautifully crafted, and the whole emerges as much more than their sum, and with a meaning and message not apparently contained in the individual components. Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble and other artists; Alexei Vinogradov. Le Chant du Monde LDC 2781120 (France) 09C084 $12.98

MORTON FELDMAN (1926-1987): Piano and Orchestra, Durations II for Cello and Piano, Rothko Chapel for Ensemble, Chorus, Soprano and Alto. This is exactly the music that admirers of Feldman will be expecting - musical abstract impressionism at its finest. The degree to which the composer related his own work to the abstract styles of painting that were shaking up the art world a few decades ago is pointed up very strongly by this selection of works; Durations II with its chance procedures is put together like a dripped or splattered painting; Piano and Orchestra is an exercise in delicately related timbral color fields, and of course, Rothko Chapel is explicitly exactly that, and like a good color field painting it had better be contemplated in quietness and isolation with no thought of argument, representation, or the personality of the artist. Roger Woodward (piano), Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra; Hans Zender, Rohan de Saram (cello), Yvar Kikhashoff (piano), Klangforum Wien; Beat Furrer, Südfunk-Chor Stuttgart, Julie Moffat (soprano), Ulrike Koch (alto). col legno collage 20506 (Germany) 09C085 $15.98

SOPHIA GUBAIDULINA (b.1931): String Trio, Hour of the Soul for Mezzo-Soprano, Percussion and Orchestra, Night in Memphis for Mezzo-Soprano, Chorus and Orchestra. For a composer who did not achieve widespread recognition until comparatively late in life, Gubaidulina has in recent years lived to see the pendulum swing back very decisively in her favor. Her tough, tectonic sonorities, often avoiding explicit thematic content almost altogether in favor of masses of sound which relate to each other in the creation of a chaotic spiritual mythos, make her music the opposite of the Soviet ideal of heroic accessibility, and yet make so powerful an emotional impact as to seem less complicated and intellectually thorough than they are. Ingenuity and imagination are to be found here in abundance, and a sense of timeless contemplation expressed through the alchemy of sound. Members of the Moscow String Quartet, Mark Pekarsky (percussion), Lina Mkrtchyan (mezzo), Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra; Timur Mynbayev, Elena Dolgova (mezzo), Moscow State Chamber Choir, Moscow State Film Orchestra; Yuri Kikolaevsky. col legno collage 20507 (Germany) 09C086 $15.98

WOLFGANG RIHM (b.1952): Wölfli-Lieder for Baritone and Orchestra, Klavierstück No. 7, Frau/Stimme for 2 Sopranos and Orchestra, In-Schrift for Orchestra. Rihm's formidable technique is shown to good advantage in these powerful examples of late 20th-century expressionism, and by way of an introduction to the composer this disc cannot really be bettered. Orchestral songs to texts by dignosed schizophrenics, a piano work of unyielding ferocity, free association of apparently disconnected thoughts and above all, emotions; this is not easy listening, but for a direct assault on the senses, guaranteed not to leave the listener unmoved, this music stands head and shoulders above much of the Darmstadt-Donaueschingen material of recent years. Rihm is adept at incorporating just enough in the way of tonal referents into his music to grip the listener emotionally in a way that auditory shock-tactics alone can never accomplish. It isn't hard to see why Rihm is one of the most performed European composers of his generation. Richard Salter (baritone), Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra; Alexander Dmitriev, Bernhard Wambach (piano), Isolde Siebert & Carmen Fuggiss (sopranos), SWF Symphony Orchestra; Michael Gielen, Bamberg Symphony; Hans Zender. col legno collage 20508 (Germany) 09C087 $15.98

PIERRE BOULEZ (b.1925): Polyphonie X for Orchestra, Poésie pour pouvoir for Tape and Orchestra, Tombeau à la mémoire du Prince Max Egon zu Fürstenberg for Soprano and Ensemble, Sturctures II for 2 Pianos. It is probably fair to say that if it is necessary to adopt a revolutionary stance in music and take a stand against tradition - and from time to time revolutions can serve a useful purpose - then it had better be done as uncompromisingly and imaginatively as Boulez did it in his early career. Of course, we now know that Schoenberg is not dead, and neither are Mahler, Ravel, Bartók and the other composers that Boulez conducts so thought-provokingly, but there was a time when a work as dogmatic in its serialism as Polyphonie X really was necessary, and it is fascinating now to turn to this "Boulez Sampler" and try to see, fifty - yes, fifty - years later how, exactly, this figurehead of the iconoclastic avant-garde fits into music history. Good luck! Most of what has been done in the avant-garde since was pre-empted by Boulez, and if it now looks as though, for all his influence, he may not turn out to have left a school or legacy outside his own work, it is fascinating to revisit these ground-breaking works and hear just how well they have stood up to the passage of time and the onslaught of everything that has happened since, including the most damaging assault of all - the dumbing down of the arts for the benefit of members of a cinema audience. SWF Symphony Orchestra; Hans Rosbaud, Eva-Maria Rogner (soprano), Ensemble Domaine Musical Paris; Pierre Boulez, Yvonne Loriod & Boulez (pianos). col legno collage 20509 (Germany) 09C088 $15.98

VLADIMIR TARNOPOSKI (b.1955): Kassandra for Large Ensemble, Eindruck-Ausdruck II for Piano and Large Ensemble, Echoes of the Passing Day for Ensemble, Jesu, Your Deep Wounds for Large Ensemble. In searching for an apt comparison to suggest something of the character of Tarnopolski's music, mobile structures made of glittering fragments of incandescent sound, the booklet notes provided just such an image - the paintings of Kandinsky. Musically, in its ecelctic inclusion of diverse instrumental and extended-instrumental sounds, these compositions might be well described as post-modernist, though not in this case suggesting a return to anything earlier, but rather an extension of avant-garde inventiveness without undue concern for following a particular school or trend, or the avoidance of any specific style deemed unfashionable. If it works, it is thrown into the melting-pot, and if the resulting collage suggests something completely different from the implications of any particular component, that would not seem to be far from the composer's intention. Intriguing at the very least, and often rather more than that. Studio for New Music; Igor Dronov, Moscow Ensemble of Soloists; Alexei Vinogradov. Megadisc MDC7838 (Belgium) 09C089 $18.98

MAURICIO KAGEL (b.1931): Playback Play. Well, what did you expect? This extended essay in avant-garde musical good humor will either annoy you to the point of taking an axe to your hi-fi system, or have you laughing out loud. Impressions of a music fair, from public address announcements via the inane burbling of computer-game background music to instrumental fragments to sound effects to ambient sounds, the whole is an exercise in lighthearted musique concrète. I'm not sure if I'm ever going to listen to it again, but I enjoyed it immensely this time around. Ensemble MusikFabrik NRW; Mauricio Kagel. Winter & Winter 910 059-2 (Germany) 09C090 $17.98

SHUKO MIZUNO (b.1934): Symphony No. 2 "Sakura", Symphonic Poem "Summer". "The New-Romantic" says the cover. That sums up Mizuno's lushly sonorous orchestral textures quite completely. The composer acknowledges Wagner, Berg and Messiaen as influences, and to these undeniably present and potent examples many might wish to add another name - Scriabin. Certainly there is a wealth of orchestral color and rich chromaticism here, voluptuous and sensual. But the music has enough structure and toughness mostly to avoid sounding like a Hollywood idea of what Romantic orchestral music ought to be like. One might describe it glibly as the love-child of the Poem of Ecstasy and Turangalila, with Khachaturian officiating at the birth - if this image fills you with horror then you know where you stand, but if it sounds like any kind of recommendation then you will unquestionably have a lot of fun with this disc. Tokyo Symphony; Naohiro Totsuka, Hideomi Kuroiwa. Camerata 29CN-587 (Japan) 09C091 $18.98

CARLO GALANTE: Corradino. A self-professed neo-Romantic, Galante has written in Corradino a full-scale romantic opera on a stripped-down and economical scale, incorporating elements of popular music and culture which place it firmly in the late twentieth century. The story, set in the middle ages, allows the composer the freedom to suggest antiquity through a variety of musical devices, from elements of orchestration to thematic elements. Overall the work is a most enjoyable theatre piece which succeeds admirably on musical terms, so strongly characterised are the events of the narrative in musical terms. Breaking no new musical ground, the work is nonetheless an enticing mixture of diverse styles and influences which guarantee accessibility while never sounding stale or nostalgic for past operatic traditions. 2 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Budget-price. Bernadette Lucarini, Claudia Nicole Bandera, Roberto De Candia, Bologna Chamber Chorus and Orchestra; Giuseppe Grazioli. Aura AUR 413-2 (Italy) 09C092 $9.98

AGUSTÍ CHARLES I SOLER (b.1960): Modular I, Modular II, Sombra Oscura, Convex I, Duo, Particella. These ensemble pieces, incorporating some chance elements and unusual timbres - percussion, extended playing techniques, and in Duo a tape part, occupy a shadowy world in which muted, low-frequency sounds serve as a matrix in which fragments of more familiar material are embedded. The results are more 'popular' in style than such a description might suggest, as the composer has a knack for providing his material with a sense of motion and momentum which is appealing even as the musical substance from which it is formed is unfamiliar. Grupo Enigma; Agustí Charles. EMEC E-030 (Spain) 09C093 $15.98

ALBERT SARDÀ (b.1943): 5 Pieces for Piano, Isorritme for Oboe, Clarinet, Celesta, Piano, Viola and Cello, Le Serpent for Voice, Guitar and Percussion, 8 Pieces for Orchestra, String Quartet No. 1, Rakme II for Piano, Wind Quintet No. 1, Taiko for Percussion. This cross-section of chamber, instrumental and orchestral works gives a comprehensive portrait of a contemporary composer whose techniques run to the sort of thing one might expect of Darmstadt (where he studied), including frank atonality extending to microtonal glissandi and clusters, some extended playing techniques, and sprechstimme, but whose music nonetheless remains resolutely melodic in conception, and timbrally original and admirably clear in its expressive intentions. Various Artists incl. Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Antoní Ros Marbà, Schoenberg Quartet, Harmonia Wind Quintet. EMEC E-031 (Spain) 09C094 $15.98

JOAN GUINJOAN (b.1931): El Diari for Mezzo-Soprano and Ensemble, Guitar Concerto, Concerto for Bassoon and Instrumental Ensemble, Acta est Fabula for Mezzo-Soprano and Ensemble. An important figure in Spanish contemporary music, Guinjoan seems to have no difficulty in bridging the gap between the 20th-century continuation of musical tradition and the vocabulary of the avant-garde. From its ominous opening to the virtuosic arabesques of the soloist, the guitar concerto is a striking work of considerable intensity - if Berg had written a guitar concerto it might have had some common ground with this. The earlier bassoon concerto is less conventional, but nonetheless achieves a sense of continuity with the past. The other two works, though, fall firmly into the category occupied by many Italian avant-gardistes, from Nono and Berio onwards, with pointillistic sound effects and electronics providing an abstract backdrop to vocal fragments and speech. That the composer can do both so convincingly suggests a creative imagination of uncommonly high order. Ignacio Rodes (guitar), English Chamber Orchestra; Edmon Colomer, Anna Ricci (mezzo), Dominique Deguines (bassoon), Grupo Cirulo; José Luis Temes. EMEC E-032 (Spain) 09C095 $15.98

LUIS DE PABLO (b.1930): Piano Trio, ALESSANDRO SOLBIATI (b.1956): Piano Trio, CHARLES IVES (1874-1954): Piano Trio. The de Pablo is a work of some complexity, full of musical sleight of hand and ingenious polyrhythmic effects in an idiom surprisingly melodic for its atonal freedom. The Solbiati, a big piece in one movement, is more conventionally modern, with an emphasis on sound (and some extended instrumental trechniques) in a more abstract vein - if you like Sciarrino's sound-world, you will probably like this. Budget-price. Trio Matisse. Aura AUR 419-2 (Italy) 09C096 $5.98

MORTON FELDMAN (1926-1987): Neither. Admirers of Feldman's unique contribution to 20th-century music will need no encouragement to acquire this disc. Others who have been less drawn to the extended pointillism of the instrumental works may well find this unexpectedly appealing, for two reasons. Firstly, the presence of a text (and a typically, and appropriately, oblique and 'inner' one, by Samuel Beckett) imposes a certain continuity on the isolated sound events; and secondly, the relative richness of the orchestral textures lends a multi-layered texture that is more apparent than is often he case in Feldman's work. So the slowly pulsating dissonant chords and unexpectedly haunting melodic fragments eventually come to resemble layers of thought or memory, as implied by Beckett's text. Petra Hoffman (soprano), Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra; Kwamé Ryan. col legno 20081 (Germany) 09C097 $18.98

ERIK JØRGENSEN (b.1912): Confrontations for Orchestra, Variazioni per pianoforte, Improvisations for Wind Quintet, Piece for String Quartet, Introduction and Presto for Saxophone Quartet. Confrontations is the major work here, a tightly organised orchestral work of great cumulative organic power. Jørgensen uses serial techniques with great assurance, but the main impression is of an almost Sibelian through-composed structural unity. Chamber music makes up the bulk of the composer's output, and these meticulously crafted, mostly serial works, freely dissonant, rhythmically intriguing and sonorously expressive, suggest that the composer has a most individual voice and ample technical means with which to express it. The recent saxophone quartet work is most appealing, a good deal more consonant than the earlier pieces, though no less interesting. Odense Symphony Orchestra; Tamás Vetö, Ulrich Stærk (piano), Danish Wind Quintet, Kontra Quartet, Danish Saxophone Quartet. Marco Polo/DaCapo 8.224137 (Denmark) 09C098 $14.98

BILL HOPKINS (1943-1981): Sous-structures, Etudes en série, Ebauches. Bill Hopkins, who died of a heart attack at the age of 37, was an English composer whose strict adherence to the principles of serialism and avoidance of conventional harmonic consonance suggests a follower of Boulez at his most extreme (in point of fact it was Barraqué with whom he studied). The technical difficulties, which have nothing to do with virtuosic pianistic bravura as one normally thinks of it, also prefigure the development of the English "complexicist" not-really-a-school of the past several decades. Undoubtedly had he lived, Hopkins would have been a significant figure, comparable with his close contemporary Michael Finnissy. Nicolas Hodges (piano). col legno 20042 (Germany) 09C099 $18.98

KAIJA SAARIAHO (b.1952): Cendres for Flute, Harp and Viola, Grammair des Rêves for Soprano, Contralto, 2 Flutes, Harp, Viola and Cello, Solar for Flute/Piccolo, Oboe, Clarinet, Trumpet, 2 Percussions, Harp, Piano/Sampler, Synthesizer, Violin, Viola and Bass, New Gates for Flute, Harp and Viola. These ensemble pieces explore a wide range of instrumental sonorities, expanded by some use of quarter-tones and in the case of Solar through the empoyment of a synthesizer. The music is active, constantly shifting and evolving, but with a sense of personal intimacy which might not be found in larger, more conventional ensembles playing music of this degree of complexity and activity. The composer has an individual voice, and the textures are clear and the dreamlike interweaving of ideas always accomplished with the utmost expressive skill. Champ d'Action; James Wood. Mode 92 (U.S.A.) 09C100 $16.98

P.Q. PHAN (b.1962): Beyond the Mountains for Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Piano, My Language for Clarinet and Piano, Rock Blood for Percussion Ensemble, Unexpected Desire for Piano Trio, Rough-Trax for Alto Saxophone and Oboe, Banana Trumpet Games for Organ. Vietnamese Phan, now an American composer and professor of music, uses sounds and ideas from his ethnic background to strike inspiration from what is essentially a modern, Western idiom. The sometimes harsh sounds and clusters (especially in the organ work which gives the CD its title - the reference is to reedy trumpets made of banana leaves by children - one imagines a sort of vastly amplified kazoo, rightly or wrongly) are typical of expressionistic, atonal American concert music, but the intrusion of wind multiphonics (occsionally) and sometimes a wandering melismatic lyricism (notably in Unexpected Desire) point to an origin outside the western conservatories. The most obviously alien sound (not that it is any more, really) is the drumming of Rock Blood - not really a reference to rock music - the impression is of the ritual drumming of the kind familiar to us from touring ensembles from Japan and elsewhere. Various artists. CRI CD 849 (U.S.A.) 09C101 $16.98

KJELL MØRK KARLSEN (b.1947): String Quartet No. 3, Op. 121, Sonata Mesto for Violin and Piano, Op. 96, Sonata Nova for Viola and Piano, Op. 101, Sonata Dolorosa for Cello and Piano, Op. 108, String Quartet No. 1, Op. 66. Arvo Pärt meets Allan Pettersson in these emotionally charged chamber works in which a mood of passionate melancholy predominates. Norwegian folk-influences may also suggest Grieg at times, though the textures and spare yet intense harmonies sound more like Shostakovich. The Sonata Dolorosa for cello and piano is an especially intense work of considerable depth, which in some gestures is oddly reminiscent of the Barber sonata, presumably coincidentally. From the comparisons suggested above one may gather that the music is basically tonal, though in a modern sense of the term; in its direct emotional appeal it is closer to romanticism in mood, though neo-anything is not an appropriate description - it is original music, accessible without sounding over-familiar. Vertavo String Quartet, Gonzalo Moreno (piano). Aurora ACD 5007 (Norway) 09C102 $17.98

VICTOR YOUNG (1900-1956): The Quiet Man - Complete Film Music. For this film, shot on location in Ireland in 1951, John Ford wanted a score liberally sprinkled with Irish folk tunes and his friend and frequent collaborator provided a lushly orchestrated score with references to almost every Irish air and ditty one could imagine. Philip Lane provided the reconstructions of the original scores. Dublin Screen Orchestra; Kenneth Alwyn. Silva Screen SSD 1118 (U.S.A.) 09C103 $16.98

DIMITRI TIOMKIN (1894-1979): Lost Horizon - Original Soundtrack Recording. Orchestra conducted by Max Steiner. Sound Track Factory SFCD33541 (Spain) 09C104 $12.98

BRIAN EASDALE (1909-1995): The Red Shoes - Original Soundtrack Recording. Orchestra conducted by the composer. Sound Track Factory SFCD33540 (Spain) 09C105 $12.98

MIKLÓS RÓZSA (1907-1995): Suites and Excerpts from Ben-Hur, Providence, Julius Caesar, El Cid, Sodom and Gomorrah, Beau Brummell, Spellbound, The Thief of Bagdad, King of Kings, All the Brothers Were Valiant, Madame Bovary, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad and Quo Vadis. A re-compilation of Rozsa scores which appeared on various other Silva discs. 2 CDs. Mid-price. The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra; Kenneth Alwyn, Paul Bateman, Nic Raine. Silva America SSD 1117 (U.S.A.) 09C106 $23.98

ALEXANDER SCRIABIN (1872-1915)/LEV CONUS (1871-1944): The Poem of Ecstasy, Op. 54,SCRIABIN: 2 Morceaux, Op. 57, Feuillet d'album, Op. 58, 2 Morceaux, Op. 59, 2 Preludes, Op. 67, Vers la flamme, Op. 72, 5 Preludes, Op. 74, 3 Morceaus, Op. 45, 4 Preludes, Op. 39, 4 Preludes, Op. 37, Etute in D Sharp Minor, Op. 12 (alternate version). Brother of the Conus (Yuli) who wrote the Violin Concerto which has been recorded a couple of times, Lev wrote his two-piano transcription of his friend's over-the-top paean to eroticism, Poem of Ecstasy, very close to the time of the work's premiere. Okashiro records both parts here through over-dubbing - a curiosity many piano mavens will find hard to resist! Chitose Okashiro (piano & piano overdub). Pro Piano PPR224519 (U.S.A.) 09C107 $9.98

FRANZ VON SUPPÉ (1819-1895): Einzugnsmarsch aus "Prinz Lilliput", Herrjegerle-Polka, Coletta-Walzer, In der Hinterbrühl, Tiroler Tanz und Frischka, Le Voyage en Afrique, L'Orientale, Bellman-Marsch, Romankapitel, Glückswalzer aus "Die Jagd nach dem Glück", Erherzog Wilhelm-Marsch, Danza delle Chiozzotte, Liebeswalzer aus "Lohengelb oder Die Jungfrau von Dragant". Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra; Christian Pollack. Marco Polo 8.223864 (New Zealand) 09C108 $14.98

JOSEPH JOACHIM (1831-1907): Violin Concerto No. 3 in G, Overtures: Hamlet, Op. 4, In Memoriam Heinrich von Kleist, Op. 13. A reissue of one the very early Marco Polo releases from 1983 featuring a large-scale concerto with a deeply moving slow movement as well as two similarly grand overtures, all three in a Brahms-Schumann-Mendelssohn idiom. Takako Nishizaki (violin), Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra; Meir Minsky. Naxos 8.554733 (New Zelaand) 09C109 $5.98

ALEXANDER KNAIFEL (b.1943): Passacaglia, ALEXANDER VUSTIN (b.1943): Vox Humana, Weiße Musik, VIKTOR EKIMOVSKY (b.1947): Prelude and Fugue, VIKTOR SUSLIN (b.1942): Lamento, ARVO PÄRT (b.1935): Pari Intervallo, DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975): Passacaglia from Op. 29. Five Russian composers of the same generation pour new wine into old bottles or, like Pärt with his archaic simplicity or Vustin who, in "White Music", attempts to like dodecaphonic structure with ancient Russian choral traditions, create new bottles. Shostakovich's passacaglia is the intermezzo between the fourth and fifth scenes of Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk which the composer later scored for orchestra. Friedemann Herz (Fischer & Krämer organ of St. Clemens Church, Rheda, Germany). Olympia OCD 679 (England) 09C110 $16.98