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Sigurd Lie

Symphony in A Minor

SIGURD LIE (1871-1904): Symphony in A Minor, Concert Piece for Violin and Orchestra, Wartburg for Baritone and Orchestra. Dead from tuberculosis at 33, this symphony remains the only major orchestral work by this Norwegian composer. Lasting just over 30 minutes, in the traditional four movements, it was finished in 1903. Although Lie himself pointed to Schumann, Grieg and Wagner as its major influences, Sinding's first symphony of 1890 seems a more apt comparison. A vigorous, outdoor work, brimming with energy and confidence, it belies the struggles with his health which made it such an effort to complete. Anyone interested in Nordic Romanticism will be delighted to make its acquaintance. The Concert Piece (1895) is as atmospheric piece of just over eight minutes which is based on a Norwegian folk song while Wartburg is a nine-minute ballad from 1900 which is rather more firmly in the Germanic style (and, not coincidentally, deals with King Frederick Barbarossa). Terje Tønnesen (violin), Frode Olsen (baritone), Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra; Terje Boye Hansen. 2L 27 (Norway) 09H001 $17.98 >

NOTES [September 2005]:

1. Believe it or not, the Raff Cello Concertos will ship with your September orders. That's only two months late - those of you waiting for back­orders on the January Raff releases of the Sym. No. 4, Shakespeare Overtures and String Quartets Nos. 2 & 6 will also be getting your discs at last... only eight months later!

2. Several customers have been asking for a year now about a Cascavelle release of Bloch's Helvetia, a CD premiere. See this month's catalogue, item number 09H064 - it's here!

3. This month brings our first historical opera DVDs. Interestingly, the label, a Dutch company just called Immortal, seems to price according to length. Thus, the 103 minute Cunning Little Vixen is $23.98 while the 126 minute Bluthochzeit is $30.98. Seems logical, huh? We'll see if it keeps up with future releases.

4. August was my worst month of sales since January of 2003 and the three-month summer the worst since my move to Arizona in early 2001. I hope that I'll start hearing again from all of you who've been missing for whatever reason; this is a very narrow-margin business which cannot sustain multiple months of horrible sales.

5. A sizeable batch of ABC Classics releases from Australia will be coming in October (and, possibly, some really hard-to-find Slovak labels too, if not in October, then in November), if I'm still here...

RICCARDO ZANDONAI (1883-1944): Concerto Romantico for Violin and Orchestra, Quadri di Segantini. This is one of the more memorable violin concertos (1919) you will buy. Its themes are virile and memorable, its moods finely etched - nervously intense in the strongly rhythmic first movement, creepily expressive in the melancholy lyricism of the slow movement and extravagantly bizarre in the final movement which is the longest of the work, this striking theme doing battle with a secondary, more lyrical one. The coupling is a 27-minute tone-poem suggested by four paintings by a Trentino compatriot of Zandonai ("Ploughing", "Idyll", "Return to the Native Land" and "Noon"). The composer openly compared the work with one of Respighi's tone-poems and the four sections are vividly expressive (the first painting is reproduced on the booklet cover) with the "Return" a very unusual type of funeral march as a paesan who has died far from home is returned by cart through the verdant valleys overlooked by snow-capped mountains. Not only Respighi but the sound painting of Richard Strauss comes to mind as well. Stefano Zanchetta (violin), Haydn Orchestra of Bolzano and Trent; Maurizio Dini Ciacci, Giuseppe Grazioli (Quadri). CPO 777 107 (Germany) 09H002 $15.98

WILHELM PETERSON-BERGER (1867-1942): Symphony No. 5 in B Minor "Solitudo", Violin Concerto in F Sharp Minor. Only one other version of each of these works exists on CD, the violin concerto on the always hard-to-get Phono Suecia label, so this pair of new recordings is very welcome. The concerto (1928), especially, should be much better known, a full-scale, richly romantic piece with strong, memorable themes in its almost 18-minute first movement, a lovely slow movement Romance of Nordic tone and a finale in which the pentatonic themes suggest the orientalism of Puccini (Turandot). The symphony (1933) is a quiet, lyrical work for the most part, the solitude of its title perhaps referring to the composer's isolation in the countryside when he wrote it, with liberal suggestions of Swedish folksong with a finale the most boisterous and active with suggestions of a tarantella. Ulf Wallin (violin), Norrköping Symphony Orchestra; Michael Jurowski. CPO 999 984 (Germany) 09H003 $15.98

DARIUS MILHAUD (1892-1974): Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. 93, Violin Concerto No. 2, Op. 263, Concertino de Printemps, Op. 135, Le Buf sur le toit, Op. 58. The only coupling of Milhaud's violin concertos on CD. The second (1946) is quite long for this composer (at 25 minutes, more like one of his symphonies) and was inspired by the feelings of loss mingled with relief at the end of the war. There are particularly memorable motifs the outer movements and a lovely, lyrical/melancholy slow movement; this is as close as Milhaud gets to Romanticism. The first concerto (1927) is the exact opposite - a nine-and-a-half minute, three-movement piece packed with density of events (both, of course, also have the composer's trademark use of polytonality) while the Concertino of 1934, less than a minute shorter than the first concerto is consistently playful and high-spirited. Arabella Steinbacher (violin), Munich Radio Orchestra; Pinchas Steinberg. Orfeo C 646 051 A (Germany) 09H004 $18.98

BOHUSLAV MARTINU (1890-1959): Duo Concertant for 2 Violins and Orchestra, Concerto for 2 Violins and Orc hestra, Violin Concerto No. 2. A 2000 Arte Nova release, not previously available in the U.S., offers some not over-recorded Martinu, from the neo-classical, concerto grosso-like Duo of 1937 to the much more serious, large-scale, truly symphonic second concerto of 1943 and finishes up with the 1950 double concerto (written for 18-year-old American virtuoso twins) which is a good-humored synthesis of its discmates. Jan Pospichal, Florian Zwiauer (violins), Vienna Symphony Orchestra; Marcello Viotti. Arte Nova ANO 7767350 (Germany) 09H005 $4.98

GRIGORI KREIN (1879-1957): 4 Lieder ohne Worte, Op. 23, 3 Lieder ohne Worte, Op. 38, JULIAN KREIN (1913-1996): 3 hebräische Gesänge ohne Worte, Op. 12, ISRAEL BRANDMANN (1901-1992): Variations on a Folk Theme, Op. 12, GRZEGORZ FITELBERG (1879-1953): Zur Trauung, JAKOV WEINBERG (1879-1956): Canzonetta, Children's Dance, BORIS LEVENSON (1884-1947): Hebrew Dance, Op. 68. The fourth in Hänssler's series of Jewish music discs, this one concentrates on Grigori Krein (just over half the music here, most of which comes from the pre-World War II period and is distinguished by its unusual yet enchanting harmonies with synagogue music as a basis, although no actual sacred music is used or quoted) and his son (whose set of "Songs Without Words", in the style of his father, date from 1926) while the remainder of the disc highlights other forgotten members of the variously named societies in Western Europe and in Russia dedicated to the creation of a specifically Jewish music. Wolfgang Meyer (clarinet), Jascha Nemtsov (piano). Hännsler Classic CD 93.094 (Germany) 09H006 $17.98

ARRIGO BOITO (1842-1918): Nerone. Boito only spent 60 years on this work before leaving it unfinished at his death, the premiere coming only in 1924. "... in spite of its unevenness, Nerone everywhere testifies to Boito's serious, erudite purpose." Thus Opera Grove's only comment on the work whatsoever after a full­length synopsis of the opera. So, here it is if you want to investigate further... 2 CDs. English synopsis. Mirto Picchi (tenor), Mario Petri (baritone), Anna de Cavalieri (soprano), Chorus and Orchestra of the Teatro San Carlo, Naples; Franco Capuano (Nov. 30, 1957). Opera d'Oro OPD-1435 (U.S.A.) 09H007 $10.98

OSKAR LINDBERG (1887-1955): 3 Dalecarlian Paintings, Op. 1, Festive Polonaise, Op. 13, From Home, Op. 34, Leksand Suite, Op. 41, Gesunda, Op. 54. We don't normally do this but, even though this disc has yet to reach American soil at the time of finishing the catalogue, we're putting it in since stock will probably be here by Sept. 10 or so. We haven't heard it, can't describe it and can only point out that it's in Sterling's "Swedish Romantics" series which, of course, will be all that many collectors will need to hear. Gävle Symphony Orchestra; Michael Bartosch. Sterling CDS-1067 (Sweden) 09H008 $16.98

VADIM SALMANOV (1912-1978): Symphony No. 1 in D Minor (March 20, 1957 - mono), Symphony No. 2 in G (Sept. 30, 1960 - mono), Symphony No. 3 in A Minor (May 24, 1964 - mono), Symphony No. 4 in B Minor (Jan. 28, 1977). If any of you LP collectors still have the Melodiya box-set of these symphonies hanging around - still probably smelling like a cross between fish-oil and a septic tank (we kept telling ourselves "It's just the glue they use...") - you can now get rid of it! Yes, these CDs were almost certainly mastered from LPs (due to the horrible job the Soviets did preserving tapes) but the quality is excellent and these symphonies, all except the third in which Salmanov experimented with dodecaphony (while also throwing in liberal amounts of romantic melody), are in the conservative Russian Romantic tradition dear to many collectors and mandatory for composers of his period. 2 CDs. Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra; Evgeny Mravinsky. IM Lab IMLCD 073/74 (Russia) 09H009 $33.98

SABURO MOROI (1903-1977): Symphony No. 3, Op. 25, 2 Symphonic Movements, Op. 22, Sinfonietta in B Flat, Op. 24 "For Children". Another composer in this series who was educated in Germany (during the mid 1930s) and whose music's identifiable Japanese elements are confined to rhythmic patterning and a tendency to avoid the western norm of "conflicting" motifs (the note-writer makes an interesting comparison between Japan's totalitarian system, brooking no dissent, and traditional Japanese music's natural avoidance of such conflict). Although all three works are from the period 1942-44, the Sinfonietta, as might be suspected from its sub-title, is fairly light in nature; the other two works, while not overtly programmatic (the symphony's movement headings don't seem to jibe with their content anyway), are plainly the work of a composer in a society at war, every much as those of Shostakovich, Antheil or Harris. Strong drama and nervous tension animate both and this release will not disappoint collectors of 20th century symphonic music. National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland; Takuo Yuasa. Naxos Japanese Classics 8.5571692 (New Zealand) 09H010 $6.98

WILLIAM ALWYN (1905-1985): Symphony No. 2, Symphony No. 5 "Hydrotaphia", Lyra Angelica for Harp and String Orchestra. The largest-scale work here is the 1954 Lyra Angelica, a four-movement harp concerto inspired by the 17th century English metaphysical poets which gives it a depth and seriousness far from the country pastoralism often expected of harp concertos. Hydrotaphia (1973) is a very condensed, one-movement work (in this way, although not in style, bearing a resemblance to Havergal Brian's late symphonies) whose title derives from another 17th century source (a tract on urn-burial in Norfolk) and which has a density of event and of emotion which bely its length. The mostly slow tempo second symphony (1953) is an earlier example of Alwyn's ability to say serious things in gripping manner. Lloyd-Jones knocks over three minutes (10 % of their length) off the Lyrita and Chandos recordings of the Sym. No. 2 and Lyra and two minutes off Hydrotaphia without disturbing their gravity and sense of flow (this will certainly be a good acquisition for Alwyn collectors to compare with discs already in their collections). Suzanne Willison (harp), Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra; David Lloyd-Jones. Naxos 8.557647 (New Zealand) 09H011 $6.98

KURT WEILL (1900-1950): Symphony No. 1, Symphony No. 2, Lady in the Dark - Symphonic Nocturne (arr. Robert Russell Bennett [1894-1981]). Two of the most neglected 20th century symphonies (the First because it was thought lost until 1956) are must-haves for any dedicated collector and now, at budget-price, there's no reason for more people to discover how "serious" a composer Weill was before he emigrated to the U.S. and became known for the highbrow Broadway tunes of which American composer Bennett made the accompanying arrangement from his 1940 collaboration with Moss Hart and Ira Gershwin. Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra; Marin Alsop. Naxos 8.557481 (New Zealand) 09H012 $6.98

JOAQUIN NIN-CULMELL (1908-2004): Cello Concerto (after Anselm Viola), Suite for Solo Cello, JOAQUIN NIN (1879-1949): for Cello and Piano: Suite espagnole, Chants d'Espagne, Commentarios. Here is one of the strangest releases you'll come across in a while. The barren and horribly translated notes give us no clue as to why Nin-Culmell decided, in 1962, to adapt an early classical bassoon concerto by the Montserrat monk Viola for cello but Schoenberg/Monn isn't any more odd and the piece, lasting around 21 minutes, is enjoyable on its own. The soloist plays a period cello and the Kazan Philharmonic plays on period strings, with baroque oboes and natural horns (there are this many period instruments available in Kazan?). Nin-Culmell's suite (no date; no date for anything here but we were able to find the concerto date in Baker's) continues the strangeness: a baroque dance-suite in form but using dodecaphonic and other modern compositional techniques! A relief to find father Nin's three short suites to be satisfying, romantic evocations of Classical and Romantic Spain. Svetlana Tovstukha (cello), Kazan Philharmonic Orchestra; Melani Mestre (piano). Columna Musica 1CM0092 (Spain) 09H013 $18.98

GRAZYNA BACEWICZ (1909-1969): Violin Sonata No. 4, Partita, Concertino, Sonata da camera (Sonata No. 1), Lullaby, Melodie, Caprice, Oberek No. 2, Mazowicki Dance. Although the fourth sonata is in danger of becoming standard recorded repertoire, the Sonata da camera and Concertino (both from 1945) are excellent examples of Bacewicz' neo-classical period, using ostinato, variation, polyphony and motivic writing with a conventional harmonic backdrop. The shorter pieces tend toward the folk-inspired with their lively dance rhythms or gentle lyricism. Bartlomiej Niziol (violin), Pawel Mazurkiewicz (piano). Dux 0486 (Poland) 09H014 $16.98

JOSQUIN DESPREZ (c.1440-1521): 13 Motetti intabulati, ANTONIO DE CABAZÓN (1510-1566): 16 Glosas, Tientos, Himnos and Diferencias. The late Gothic and Renaissance dawn of keyboard music in a 2003 release not previously available in this country. 2 CDs. René Clemencic (clavichord). Arte Nova ANO 927810 (Germany) 09H015 $9.98

JEAN-BAPTISTE LULLY (1632-1687): Persée. A huge glorification of Louis XIV, whom the character of Perseus represents in every way, this 1682 opera was Lully's first in which the full orchestra was used to accompany the singers. The brief booklet note covers the other allegorical aspects of the libretto; a CBC production, this performance was recorded in Toronto in April of 2003. Cyril Auvity (tenor), Marie Lenormand, Stephanie Novacek (mezzos), Olivier Laquerre (bass-baritone), Tafelmusik Chamber Choir and Baroque Orchestra; Hervé Niquet. EuroArts DVD 2054178 (Germany) 09H016 $29.98

FRANCESCO RUSCA (1634-1704): Cantatas and Motets: Ad Virginis plausus, Regina caeli laetare, Eia, eia venite, Soffrite tacete, De profunda valle saeculi, O Pompae terrenai, Ad stupores accurrite, Delecte Jesu, Toccata for Organ, Chitarrone and Cello, 8 Anon. keyboard pieces and versets. New to disc are the works of this composer, none of which were published but were held in the archives of Como cathedral since his death. Rusca exhibits skillful counterpoint, unusual harmonies and a grasp of rhetorical rapport between music and text, with some stylistic elements similar to Carissimi. Laura Antonaz, Monica Correnti (sopranos), Sergio Foresti (bass), Ugo Nastrucci (chitarrone), Claudia Poz (cello), Marco Rossi (organ, harpsichord). Tactus TC 634301 (Italy) 09H017 $11.98

HEINRICH IGNAZ BIBER (1644-1704): Violin Sonatas in C Minor, D, E, G Minor & B, Ciacona in D, GEORG MUFFAT (1635-1704): Violin Sonata in D. Collectors of fantastically virtuosic baroque violin music and of the same with scordatura tuning will enjoy this release which, although Biber's name figures prominently, features three sonatas only attributed to him but which come from the Kremsier archive in Moravia (the most important source for his works). Muffat's rare sonata, found in the same archive, is an apt coupling. Anton Steck (violin), Christian Rieger (harpsichord, organ), Lee Santana (archlute, chitarrone), Hille Perl (viola da gamba). CPO SACD hybrid 777 124 (Germany) 09H018 $15.98

This gap is brought to you by Hungaroton's inability to get 4 baroque new releases to their American distributor even though they had the entire month of August to ship them.

Gee, maybe we should sell advertising. Well, why not, since Dave Canfield is a customer, a composer with a CD in this month's catalogue and someone many of you will possibly have done business with in the past:

"Owner of the world's largest collection of repertory-devoted items is selling rare recordings from this collection. For free catalog, send SASE to Composer's Domain, 6060 McNeely St., Ellettsville, IN 47429 or contact dave@arsantiqua.com."

ATTILIO ARIOSTI (1666-1729): The Flowering and Fading of Love, PIETRO LOCATELLI (1695-1764): Trio Sonata in E Minor, ANTONIO VIVALDI (1678-1741): Trio Sonata in D, RV 84. Ariosti's cantata cycle, lasting just over an hour, dates from 1724 and comes from the Handel-dominated milieu of London (where Ariosti also had several operas which were popular successes). Full of lovely melody, it progresses from "The Rose" to "The Ship-Wreck", the soloist changing from soprano to contralto halfway through. No texts (but downloadable in PDF format). Musica Solare. Naxos 8.557573 (New Zealand) 09H019 $6.98

ANTONIO VIVALDI (1678-1741): Arias from the Operas Tieteberga, RV 737, La Candace, RV 704, La Silvia, RV 734, Tito Manlio, RV 738-A, La verità in cemento, RV 739, Medea e Giasone, RV 749.13 & RV 749.21. This fascinating collection comes from a volume of manuscripts in the National Library of Turin which contain Vivaldi's own selection of arias - some from known operas, some from lost operas and some variants of existing arias. There are 16 included here with excellent notes and analysis. Italian-English texts. Sandrine Piau (soprano), Ann Hallenberg, Guillemette Laurens (mezzos), Paul Agnew (tenor), Modo Antiquo; Federico Maria Sardelli. Opus 111 OP 30411 (France) 09H020 $16.98

GEORG PHILIPP TELEMANN (1681-1767): 6 Concertos for 2 Flutes, Bassoon, Strings and Continuo, TWV 53:A1, e2, D1, a1, G1 & h1. Possibly dating from a trip to Dresden in 1719, this is one of the earliest sets of the genre of the double concerto and the works are in Telemann's characteristic mixture of Italian and French styles with occasional Polish flavor in final movements. John Solum, Richard Wyton (flutes), The Hanoverian Ensemble. MSR Classics MS 1113 (U.S.A.) 09H021 $10.98

JEAN-PHILIPPE RAMEAU (1683-1764): Les Indes galantes. This 2003 performance features a stunning variety of stage and costume designs as well as a 50-minute documentary on the composer and a surprisingly substantial printed booklet. The best way to enjoy these French baroque spectacles! 2 DVDs. Patricia Petibon, Anna Maria Panzarella (sopranos), Paul Agnew (tenor), Nicolas Rivenq (baritone), Les Arts Florissants; William Christie. Opus Arte DVD OA 0923 D (England) 09H022 $39.98

JOSEPH BODIN DE BOISMORTIER (1686-1755): Cantata L'Hyver, Overture and Suite of Dances from Don Quichotte chez la Duchesse, NICOLAS CLÉRAMBAULT (1676-1749): Cantata Orphée, MICHEL CORRETTE (1709-1795): Concerto comique No. 25 "Les Sauvages et la Fürstemberg". Boismortier's Winter Cantata (1724) is the bigger of the two vocal works here; lasting 27 minutes, it uses flute and violin along with bass viol to accompany the voice which vividly depicts the bleakness of the cold and the fury of winter storms while Clérambault's 18-minute piece (1710), more relaxed and pastoral in nature, charms with its elegance and delicacy (as do the two short orchestral works). French-English texts. Karina Gauvin (soprano), Les Boréades; Francis Colpron. Atma ACD 2 2352 (Canada) 09H023 $16.98

PEDRO RABASSA (1683-1767): Miserere, Stabat Mater, Motets Attendite Populi, O vos Omnes, Nunc Dimittis, Accepit Jesus Calicem. The 35-minute Miserere of 1741 is a highly dramatic and attractive work which blends Italian innovations with the Spanish polyphonic tradition of the 17th century; the undated shorter motets and Stabat Mater are equally attractive although they may have been "updated" by anonymous hands. Isabel Álvarez (soprano), Alicia Borges (mezzo), David Sagastume (countertenor), Josep Benet (tenor), Jordi Ricart (bass), Coro y Capilla Instrumental "Juan Navarro Hispalensis"; Josep Cabré. Almaviva DS-0135 (Spain) 09H024 $18.98

FRANCESCO MANFREDINI (1684-1762): 6 Sonatas for 2 Violins and Continuo. A stylistically archaizing feel runs through these posthumously published works, obviously composed closer to the beginning of the 18th century than to Manfredini's death and closer in nature to Corelli than, say, to Vivaldi. Ensemble Orfei Farnesiani. Tactus TC 681301 (Italy) 09H025 $11.98

PIETRO LOCATELLI (1695-1764): 12 Flute Sonatas, Op. 2, 6 Sonate a 3, Op. 5. Original 1995 recordings for what label we aren't told, this set of flute sonatas by one of the most virtuosic violinists of all time isn't as contradictory as that might seem. Several of the op. 2 pieces (1732) also exist in earlier form for the violin and the whole set is characterized by the extravagance and exuberance of Locatelli's op. 3 "L'arte del Violino". The trio sonatas, however, of 1736 are concerned most of all with a cantabile line and memorable melodies with virtuosity present but not flaunted. 3 CDs. Musica ad Rhenum; Jed Wentz (flute). Brilliant Classics 92686 (Netherlands) 09H026 $16.98

PIETRO LOCATELLI (1695-1764): Introduzioni teatrali, Op. 4, Nos. 2, 4 & 5, Concerto a 5, Op. 1/8, Concerto grosso, Op. 4/9, Concerto grosso, Op. 7/6 "Il Pianto d'Arianna", Menuet for Organ (from Flute Sonata, Op. 1/10). Locatelli's wide stylistic palette is on view here in early (1721), middle (1735) and late (1741) compositions which range from the Corellian baroque to the beginnings of the galant. Margaret Faultless (violin), Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra; Ton Koopman (organ, harpsichord). Challenge Classics CC72134 (Netherlands) 09H027 $15.98

JOHANN JOACHIM QUANTZ (1697-1773): 2 Concertos for 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, Bassoon, Violin and Strings in G, Concerto in D for Flute and Strings, Concerto in E Minor for Flute, 2 Violins and Continuo, ANTONIO VIVALDI (1675-1741): Flute Concerto in D, RV 783, GIUSEPPE TARTINI (1692-1770): Flute Concerto in G, GIOVANNI BATTISTA FERRANDINI (1710-1791): Flute Concerto in E Minor, BALDASSARE GALUPPI (1706-1785): Concerto in D Minor for 2 Flutes and Strings, TOMMASO ALBINONI (1674-1745): Flute Concerto in G, TOMMASO GIORDANI (1730-1806): Flute Concerto in C, Op. 3. Licensed from Challenge Classics, these recordings date from 1992 and 1996, before the label had U.S. distribution and contain much unrecorded late baroque and early Classical flute concertos with the whole second disc devoted to Quantz and, like another recent release we've had, showing him interested more than in just the sonata/concerto for single flute. 2 CDs. Marion Moonen (flute), Musica ad Rhenum; Jed Wentz (flute). Brilliant Classics 92687 (Netherlands) 09H028 $10.98

GIOVANNI BATTISTA MARTINI (1706-1784): Organ Masses: Requiem, Missa Solemnis. Proceding alternatim between choir and organ, Martini's two organ masses provide a new aspect to this busy composer who left far more organ music behind than any of his contemporaries; the dissonances and tortured chromaticisms which appear in the funeral mass certainly show a different side to the calm, serene music we usually associate with "Padre" Martini. Melodi Cantores; Elena Sartori (organ of San Mechele Church, Bosco, Bologna). Tactus TC 701306 (Italy) 09H029 $11.98

JUAN DE ARAGÜÉS (c.1710-1793): Salve a 5, Misa a 6, Miserere mei Deus a 4, Volad, volad atender, Ah de las esferas!, Ceda la noche al crisol, Las serranillas alegres. These are very attractive, intimate sacred works for voices, strings and continuo, the latter four of which are villancicos in Spanish, which date from 1742-55 and whose naïve and open appeal will surely attract collectors of music written for and performed by the common people of the day. Raquel Andueza, Ana Serrano (sopranos), Immaculada Vara (mezzo), Juan Díaz de Corcuera (tenor), Chamber Chorus, Academia de Música Antigua de la Universidad de Salamanca; Bernardo García-Bernalt. Verso VRS 2009 (Spain) 09H030 $18.98

VACLAV VODICKA (1715-1774): Violin Sonatas in B Flat and in D Minor, FRANTISEK BENDA (1709-1786): Sonata in A, JAN LADISLAV DUSSEK (1760-1812): Sonatas in B Flat and in G, Op. 69. Vodicka was concertmaster at the court in Munich from 1745; his two sonatas are in the Rococo style, still looking back to the Baroque with their slow opening movements and two succeeding fast movements. Benda's sonata is in similar style and Dussek's fully Classical sonatas are differentiated in this recording by a switch from baroque violin and harpsichord to a modern violin and a fortepiano (but still slightly anachronistic? Well, you decide). Gabriela Demeterová (violin), Giedré Luksaité-Mrázkova (harpsichord, fortepiano). Classico CLASSCD 626 (Denmark) 09H031 $16.98

KARL KOHAUT (1726-1784): Lute Concertos in F, D, A, B Flat & F, Divertimento in B Flat. Probably composed in the 1760s, these pieces are in the tuneful style of early Viennese Classicism, full of charm and plumbing no depths; listeners may be reminded of the style of Classical guitar concertos, for which instrument some of Kohaut's lute works were later transcribed. Galanterie. Profil PH05018 (Germany) 09H032 $16.98

JOSEPH HAYDN (1732-1809): Scottish Songs, Vol. 2. There are 91 songs here. For obvious reasons, we can't list them but you already know if you want the set. This release should separate diletantte collectors from the hard-core... 4 CDs. Lorna Anderson (soprano), Jamie MacDougall (tenor), Haydn Trio Eisenstadt. Brilliant Classics 92542 (Netherlands) 09H033 $21.98

New Discoveries from the Archives of St. Petersburg

GIOVANNI MARIA RUTINI (1730-1797): Sonatas in A, Op. 1/4 and in G, Op. 1/6, GIUSEPPE SARTI (1729-1802): Sonata in G, BALDASSARE GALUPPI (1706-1785): Sonatas in F, C Minor, A & in D. Rutini's sonatas are important harbingers of Classicism, the works recorded here dating from 1748 (actually before he was in Russia); Galuppi wrote the majority of his more than 200 keyboard works just before and during his stint at the Russian court (beginning in 1765). First in a series of "Chapters from the History of Keyboard Music in Russia". Vladmir Radchenkov (harpsichord). IM Lab IMLCD04 (Russia) 09H034 $16.98 >

VINCENZO MANFREDINI (1737-1799): 6 Harpsichord Sonatas. Manfredini's acme in St. Petersburg was 1760-65 when these sonatas, dedicated to Catherine II, were composed. Up to date stylistically with anything written in central Europe at the time, a slight impression of simplification (as if written for less-than-virtuoso players) is dealt with in this recording by vivacious and historically sound improvisation. Vladimir Radchenkov (harpsichord). IM Lab IMLCD05 (Russia) 09H035 $16.98 >

VASSILY TRUTOVSKY (c.1740-c.1810): Aria with Variations on the Russian Folk Song "Many Mosquitoes Have Been Born in the Forest", DANILA KASHIN (1770-1841): 3 Songs, DMITRY BORTNYANSKY (1751-1825): 3 Romances, VINCENZO MANFREDINI (1737-1799): Harpsichord Sonata in D Minor, JOHANN WILHELM HAESSLER (1747-1822): Cantata Cari ore fortunati, VICENTE MARTIN Y SOLER (1754-1806): Aria from the Opera Fedul and his Children, Unknown: Chant on the death of Peter the Great, Aria or Minuet for EMpress Anna Ioannovna. A generous selection of vocal and instrumental works written for Russian Empresses from 1725 to 1805 by composers of various national origins. Good historical and musical notes. No texts. Marina Philippova (mezzo), Vladimir Radchenkov (harpsichord). IM Lab IMLCD06 (Russia) 09H036 $16.98 >

LUIGI BOCCHERINI (1743-1805): Sonatas for 2 Cellos in C, G.74, in G, G.5 & in C Minor, DOMENICO PORRETTI (d.1783): Sonata in D, GIACOMO FACCO (1676-1753): Balletto No. 3 in C, PABLO VIDAL (d.1808): Andante gracioso. Boccherini's C minor duo receives its world premiere recording here, a work stongly suggestive of Spanish folk music in its final movement; the G major work is unusual - a depiction of battle updating the baroque fashion of such representative music of previous generations. The other composers' works are also all first recordings. Josep Bassal, Wolfgang Lehner (cellos). Naxos 8.557795 (New Zealand) 09H037 $6.98

LUIGI BOCCHERINI (1743-1805): String Trios in G, C, D Minor & in A, Op. 54, Nos. 2, 4-6. The very last such works in this genre come from 1796 and it was a genre among Boccherini's most favorite. The warmth of the Spanish soul is evident in every note of these works and not only when folk music is referenced or bagpipe drones imitated. Period instruments are the only means to really experience these works and one wonders why this recording has waited ten years for its release. Emilio Moreno, Enrico Gatti (violins), Wouter Möller (cello). Glossa GCD 922003 (Spain) 09H038 $18.98

VINCENZO RIGHINI (1756-1812): Il Convitato di Pietra. "The Stone Guest" premiered in Prague in 1776 but the version performed here (at the 2003 Belcanto Festival in Dordrecht, Holland) is that revised by Haydn for performance in Esterháza in 1781. Without the original Prague manuscript, we don't know how much of this is by Haydn and how much by Righini but that alone will recommend it to collectors of Classical opera. 2 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Bartolo Musil (baritone), Francesca Lanza (soprano), Augusto Valença (tenor), International Belcanto Orchestra; Fabio Maestri. Bongiovanni GB 2384/85 (Italy) 09H039 $33.98

JOSEPH MARTIN KRAUS (1756-1792): Sonata in E, 5 Chorale Preludes, Rondo in F, Thema con Variazione in C, Swedish Dance in C, Larghetto in G, Sonata in E Flat, 2 neue kuriose Menuetten in C Major/Minor. Kraus' complete keyboard uvre, perhaps not as strikingly Mozartean as his symphonies but still very impressive; Naxos recorded it all a few years back but with a modern piano so we offer this for collectors of authentic instruments (copy of a 1782 Stein). Mario Martinoli (fortepiano). Stradivarius STR 33697 (Italy) 09H040 $17.98

STEPAN DEGTYAREV (1766-1813): Minin and Pozharsky or The Liberation of Moscow for Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra, 5 Concertos for Choir. Dating from 1811, this 97-minute work was the first Russian patriotic oratorio, celebrating the expulsion of the Poles from Moscow in 1612. A serf who, when liberated in 1803 and allowed to move to Moscow, Degyarev destroyed all of his compositions because he had no way of taking them with him (!). This is the only large-scale work of his which survives and it will appeal to anyone interested in the history of Russian music and who appreciates vigorous, rousing patriotism in music (and who doesn't?). Stylistically, the oratorio is Italian (the composer's only formal teaching came from Sarti) while the sacred choral concertos had their own, Russian, antecedents. 2 CDs. No texts. Irina Muratova (soprano), Igor Slutskovsky, Andrei Salnikov, Mikhail Falkov (tenors), Anatoly Babykin (bass), Moscow State Choir, Moscow Teachers' Choir, Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra; Sergei Skripka. Melodiya CD 10 00590 (Russia) 09H041 $33.98 >

JOHANN NEPOMUK HUMMEL (1778-1837): 24 Grand Études, Op. 125, 3 Amusements en forme des Caprices, Op. 105, Rondo brillant, Op. 109, Rondo villageois, Op. 122. Dating from 1833, Hummel's etudes are less virtuosic than the many sets which preceeded it from his contemporaries; while not absent, it is replaced by an interest in color, emotional expressivity and delicacy. More late works, of roughly the same length as the 38 minutes of etudes, round out an interesting disc of fairly little-heard repertoire. John Khouri (Pfister and Broadwood fortepianos). Music & Arts CD-1165 (U.S.A.) 09H042 $16.98

JOHANN NEPOMUK HUMMEL (1778-1837): Concerto for Piano, Violin and Orchestra, Op. 17, Violin Concerto (compl. Gregory Rose). Exactly a year ago (09G030) we offered a Chandos recording with a different completion of this London manuscript attributed to Hummel. Rose's is five minutes longer in the first movement and a minute or so longer in the third. At this price, collectors will want both and the long (37 minute) 1804 double concerto's florid and virtuosic brilliance is not over-recorded either. Alexander Trostiansky (violin), Polina Osetinskaya (piano), Russian Philharmonic Orchestra; Gregory Rose. Naxos 8.557595 (New Zealand) 09H043 $6.98

CARLO COCCIA (1782-1873): Clotilde. Coccia was known for his skill at the sentimental opera semiseria, of which this 1819 work is a good example. It ran for 30 years in Italian opera houses and was especially known for its remarkable number of very effective choruses; Coccia, of course, as far as new works went, was one of the innumerable composers eclipsed by Rossini. 2 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Adelina Scarabelli (soprano), Amedeo Moretti (tenor), Daniele Cusari (bass), Coro Lirico Polinonico and Orchestra Sinfonica Carlo Coccia; Fabrizio Dorsi. Bongiovanni GB 2381/82 (Italy) 09H044 $33.98

GAETANO DONIZETTI (1797-1848): Pia de' Tolomei. Dating from 1837, this tragedia lyrica, set in 13th century Italy, features a sparkling role for the leading tenor while the soprano role was written for the same singer who had recently sung Lucia. This is the first recording of a new ccritical edition. 2 CDs. Italian-English libretto. Patrizia Ciofi (soprano), Dario Schmunck (tenor), Andrew Schroeder (baritone), Laura Polverelli (mezzo), Orchestra and Chorus of Teatro la Fenice, Venice; Paolo Arrivabeni. Dynamic CDS 488/1-2 (Italy) 09H045 $35.98

MIKHAIL GLINKA (1804-1857): 12 Italian Songs, 7 Vocalises for Contralto. The dozen songs, all but two to anonymous Italian texts, date from Glinka's sojourn in Italy (1828-32) and show the young composer flexing his musical talents in an established European genre. Few of these have been recorded, likewise the seven Vocalises (1853) - substantial pieces lasting some 24 minutes - about which we wish we know more. In place of notes, we have short extracts from Glinka's "Reminiscences". No texts. Marina Philippova (mezzo), Ivan Mikhailov (piano). IM Lab IMLCD027 (Russia) 09H046 $16.98 >

KAROL LIPINSKY (1790-1861): Overture in D, Symphony in B, Op. 2/3, Violin Concerto No. 2 in D, Op. 21 "Concerto militaire". This isn't in hand yet either but there is less mystery about what exactly Lipinsky is going to sound like than Oscar Lindberg on page 2. The concerto has been recorded by cpo but, as far as we know, the overture and symphony are CD premieres. Dominika Faiger (violin), Lublin Philharmonic Orchestra; Piotr Wijatkowski. Dux 0432 (Poland) 09H047 $16.98

CHARLES GOUNOD (1818-1893): Messe brève No. 5 in C "aux séminaires", Messe brève No. 7 in C "aux chapelles", Les sept paroles du Christ sur la croix, Noël, Béthléem, Pater noster, An evening service. Although you may be familiar with Gounod's religiously-themed oratorios, you may not know that he wrote 21 masses, not for concert performance, but for use at worship. As with the other works here, these are generally straightforward in style and crafted for the ability of amateur choirs so that the moments of added dramatic color stand out the more. Latin, French and English texts. Raphaela Mayhaus (soprano), Christa Bonhoff (alto), Tobias Götting (organ), I Vocalisti; Hans-Joachim Lustig. Carus 83.161 (Germany) 09H048 $17.98

KAREL BENDL (1838-1897): 14 Gypsy Melodies, VÍTESZLAV NOVÁK (1870-1949): 4 Gypsy Melodies, Op. 14, ANTONÍN DVORÁK (1841-1904): 7 Gypsy Melodies, op. 55, JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833-1897): 8 Zigeunerlieder, Op. 103. Bendl (1881), Dvorák (1880) and Novák (1897) all set texts by the Czech poet Adolf Heyduk, whose anthology of gypsy poems was published in 1859. Bendl's is the most "gypsified" of them, using exotic, modal coloration, imitations of the cimbalom and hard-to-sing intervals to evoke the foreign-ness of the gypsy culture. Dvorák and Novák honed in the lyrical qualities of the texts and produced music in much more traditional European Romantic idioms. Czech/German-English texts. Roman Janál (baritone), Karel Kosárek (piano). Supraphon SU 3813-2 (Czech Republic) 09H049 $16.98

ANTONÍN DVORÁK (1841-1904): Scherzo capriccioso, Op. 66, Polonaise in E Flat, 12 Silhouetten, Op. 8, 2 Menuette, Op. 28, Fest-Marsch, Op. 54, Slavonic Rhapsody No. 2, Op. 45. The Scherzo and Rhapsody are Dvorák's own transcriptions; the Polonaise his and Josef Zubaty's and the minuets and march by an unknown arranger. Those are orchestral works but the Silhouetten were solo piano pieces written in 1870-2 and which contain quotes from his violin concerto, Cypresses and first two symphonies; the brilliantly effective arrangement is by Theodor Kirchner (1823-1903). Cologne Piano Duo. Berlin Classics 0012532BC (Germany) 09H050 $18.98

ARTHUR SULLIVAN (1842-1900): The Rose of Persia, Overtures Macbeth, Overture di Ballo, HMS Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado, The Yeomen of the Guard. Originally published in the May 1999 BBC Music Magazine (complete only in the UK; international editions came with only a highlights disc), this is the only professional recording of Sullivan's last completed opera (1899, before the incomplete Emerald Isle). An operetta in all but name, The Rose lacks a Gilbert libretto but is frothy and charming anyway and the period instrument orchestra (horns crooked in various keys as required, and a cornet-a-piston) is a delight both in this and in the generous selection of overtures with which it is coupled 2 CDs. Libretto included. Sally Harrison, Alison Roddy (sopranos), Richard Morrison, Richard Stuart (baritones), Southwark Voices, The Hanover Band; Tom Higgins. CPO 777 074 (Germany) 09H051 $31.98

Music to the Bournonville Ballets - 9 CDs at mid-price!

HERMAN SEVERIN LØVENSKIOLD (1815-1870): La Sylphide, H.S. PAULLI (1810-1891)/EDVARD HELSTED (1816-1900)/NIELS W. GADE (1817-1890)/HANS CHRISTIAN LUMBYE (1810-1874): Napoli or The Fisherman and His Bride, H.S. PAULLI (1810-1891): Le Conservaroire or A Newspaper Courtship, The Kermesse in Bruges or The Three Gifts, NIELS W. GADE (1817-1890)J.P.E. HARTMANN (1805-1900): A Folk Tale, HANS CHRISTIAN LUMBYE (1810-1874)/V.C. HOLM (1820-1886): La Ventana, H.S. PAULLI (1810-1891)/EDVARD HELSTED (1816-1900): Pas de deux from The Flower Festival in Genzano, A.F. LINCKE (1819-1874)/HANS CHRISTIAN LUMBYE (1810-1874): Far from Denmark or A Costume Ball Aboard Ship, V.C. HOLM (1820-1886): The Kings Volunteers on Amager (Episode from 1808). Balletomanes - front and center! Another vast project by Danacord brings over nine hours of music for eight of the famous dancer/choreographer's major (and minor) ballets, all recorded in 2003 and 2004 (except The Kermesse in Bruges, which was recorded in 2000). Eight composers are represented and it's safe to assume that much of this music has never appeared on CD. Multiple track points are provided for numbers and for sections within numbers, all laid out in the 68-page booklet which also has extensive synopses of the action keyed to the disc track points. 9 CDs. Special price. Aalborg Symphony Orchestra; Peter Ernst Lassen. Danacord DACOCD 631-639 (Denmark) 09H052 $75.98

The Developing Song Cycle

CONRADIN KREUTZER (1780-1849): Wander Lieder, SIGISMUND THALBERG (1812-1871): 6 deutsche Lieder, ADOLF JENSEN (1837-1879): 7 Gesänge aus dem Spanischen Liederbuch, CARL MARIA VON WEBER (1786-1826): Die Temperamente bei dem Verluste der Geliebten, JEAN CRAS (1879-1932): Robaiyat de Omar Khayyam, KAROL SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937): Bunte Lieder, Op. 22, CÉSAR CUI (1835-1918): 4 Sonnets, Op. 48, ARTHUR HONEGGER (1892-1955): 3 Chansons from La Petite Sirène, TURE RANGSTRÖM (1884-1947): Hafvets sommar, GIAN FRANCESCO MALIPIERO (1882-1973): Keepsake, EMILE PALADILHE (1844-1926): Feuilles au vent (second series). A cornucopia of rare repertoire for the song collector: except for the Cras and the Szymanowski, we don't think any of the other cycles here are available on CD. The first disc, "The Early German Song Cycle", offers two pre-Schubert cycles - Weber's from 1816 and Kreutzer's from 1818, using an 1820 Neupert fortepiano after Dulcken - while showing some of the results which Die Schöne Müllerin and Winterreise produced in later generations (Thalberg from 1833, Cornelius from 1859-9 and Jensen from 1860, these latter performed on a Bösendorfer from 1841). The second disc, "The Wanderer: The Song Cycle in Migration", using a modern Steinway, explores the early 20th century genre across Europe (and Cui's 1892 Sonnets). 2 CDs. German/French/ Polish/Italian/Swedish-English texts. Georgine Resick (soprano), Andrew Willis (fortepiano), Warren Jones (piano). Bridge 9168A/B (U.S.A.) 09H053 $33.98

ANTONÍN DVORÁK (1841-1904): 4 Lieder, Op. 2, Abendlieder, Op. 3, from 4 Lieder, Op. 82: Laßt mich allein and Am Bache, Gypsy Melodies, Op. 55, Nos. 1, 2, 4 & 7, Moravian Duets, Op. 32, Love Songs, Op. 83, Nos. 1-4, 7 & 8, Biblical Songs, Op. 99, Nos. 1, 3, 4, 7 & 10, ARTHUR FARWELL (1877-1952): 3 Indian Songs, Op. 32, CHARLES WAKEFIELD CADMAN (1881-1946): From the Land of Sky Blue Water, Op. 45/1, The Moon Drops Low, Op. 45/4, EDWARD MACDOWELL (1860-1908): The Sea, Op. 47/7, CHARLES IVES (1874-1954): Songs My Mother Taught Me, Trad. (arr. Henry Thacker Burleigh {1866-1949}): 3 Negro Spirituals, EDVARD GRIEG (1843-1907): Zur Rozenzeit, Op. 48/5, Ein Traum, Op. 48/6, JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833-1897): Die Mainacht, Op. 43/2, Von ewiger Liebe, Op. 43/1, 4 ernste Gesänge, Op. 121, GUSTAV MAHLER (1860-1911): Urlicht. Much rarely-sung repertoire in this well-filled recital (155 minutes) recorded live at the Salzburg Festival on Aug. 17 last year. The Moravian Duets are, oddly, performed in a German version (by an American soprano and a South African mezzo); his earlier songs are almost unknown, as are the Negro and Indian songs by Cadman and Farwell. German songs have English translations. Czech songs have only German translations. Go figure... 2 CDs. Barbara Bonney (soprano), Michelle Breedt (mezzo), Thomas Hampson (baritone), Georg Zeppenfeld (bass), Wolfram Rieger (piano). Orfeo C 656 052 I (Germany) 09H054 $37.98

ENGELBERT HUMPERDINCK (1854-1921): Königskinder. Originally a melodrama but revised as a full-strength opera in 1910, this is technically a "fairy­tale opera" but, unlike Humperdinck's first (and most popular) work, Hänsel und Gretel, "The King's Children" is a dark work with a bleak ending which is an allegory for the alientation of the artist from society. The melodies are gorgeous but colored with a chromaticism which represents the forces of evil and this mixture of allegory and folklike narrative is probably the composer's finest achievement - a grim fairy-tale for grown-ups. 3 CDs. No libretto (English synopsis). Thomas Moser (tenor), Dagmar Schellenberger (soprano), Dietrich Henschel (baritone), Marilyn Schmiege (mezzo), Munich Boys' Choir, Bavarian Radio Chorus, Munich Radio Orchestra; Fabio Luisi. Original 1996 Calig release. Profil PH05017 (Germany) 09H055 $50.98

DAVID MONRAD JOHANSEN (1888-1974): String Quartet, Op. 35, JULIUS RÖNTGEN (1855-1932): Quartettino in A Minor, EDVARD GRIEG (1843-1907): String Quartet in G Minor, Op. 27. Titled "Scandinavia" since two composers are Norwegian and the other a great friend of Grieg's, this collection is obviously included here for the Johansen quartet of 1969. Very conservative for the most part, it is an immediately approachable work of 19 minutes whose roots are in the national Romanticism of Grieg (as a musicologist, Johansen's chief work is a Grieg biography) although a few harmonic moments remind us we are in the 20th century. Röntgen's cute little piece (two movements, nine minutes) bounces between a Gregorian-type chorale and a manic dance motion not unlike Grieg's saltarello finale. Matangi Quartet. Challenge Classics CC72137 (Netherlands) 09H056 $15.98

JOSEPH-GUY ROPARTZ (1864-1955): Violin Sonatas No. 1 in D, No. 2 in E & No. 3 in A. Written at ten-year intervals from 1907, Ropartz' three sonatas move from a Franckian gravity, full of anguished chromaticism (and cyclic form) to a much brighter and more cheerful piece which belies its creation during the worst year of the First World War, to a final work which abandons cyclical processes and embraces classical refinement and clarity. These works were championed by such violinists as Ysaÿe and Enesco (with pianists such as Pugno and Casadesus tackling the not insignificant keyboard parts) and, though they are absolute music which does not offer simple, immediate pleasures (even the few and far-between appearances of Breton folk song are part of the sinew of the music and not thrown in for frosting), the dedication of such artists is eloquent. Sandrine Cantoreggi (violin), Béatrice Rauchs (piano). Pavane ADW 7491 (Belgium) 09H057 $10.98

JEAN SIBELIUS (1865-1957): Sibelius Edition, Vol. 57 - Song of the Earth, Op. 93, The Captive Queen, Op. 48, 2 Chorales, Promotional Cantata, Scout March, Op. 91b, Hymn of the Earth, Op. 95, Processional (Onward, Ye Peoples), Op. 113/6. Yes, there is still unrecorded Sibelius out there (what's amazing is that such pieces as the Song of the Earth, a university dedication piece from 1919, is not a first recording). The two Chorales (1889) are, in fact, his first orchestral pieces - student works which sound about as much like Sibelius as much of his early chamber music; also a first recording is the third movement of the Promotional Cantata (a graduation ceremony piece from 1894) whose main theme was later used in "At the Draw-Bridge" of the op. 66 Scènes historiques. Swedish/Finnish-English texts. Helena Juntunen (soprano), Juha Hostikka (baritone), Donimante Choir, Lahti Symphony Orchestra; Osmo Vänskä. BIS CD-1365 (Sweden) 09H058 $17.98

CARL NIELSEN (1865-1931): Aladdin Suite, Op. 34, Cupid and the Poet, Op. 54, Saga-Dream, Op. 39, Helios Overture, Op. 17, Pan and Syrinx, Op. 49, Overture and Prelude to Act II from Masquerade. Most of Nielsen's lesser-known orchestral pieces of any size are collected here and, while the music from Aladdin necessarily evokes exotic climes, the remainder are identifiably Scandinavian in nature, even the brilliant and burnished depiction of the sun rising over Greece in Helios. South Jutland Symphony Orchestra; Niklás Willén. Naxos 8.557164 (New Zealand) 09H059 $6.98

SIEGFRIED WAGNER (1869-1930): Der Heidenkönig, Op. 9. This 1913 work is set in 16th century Prussia where the Catholic Poles have recently killed a heathen king and (they think) banished the pagan religion, the principals being the heir to the pagan throne and his Catholic wife. The contest between Christian faith and paganism is worked out in the music as well as in the action, with E major (also used for heavenly reference by Mahler in his fourth symphony) struggling with a chthonic F minor. But even if you didn't know that, don't read German and so can't use the web-site situated libretto, and have only the synopsis in the booklet, you'd still enjoy the drama, melody and color innate in Wagner's muse and which remind us that his major teacher was Humperdinck. 3 CDs. English synopsis, German libretto on-line. Andreas Heichlinger (bass), Mechtild Georg (contralto), Thorsten Scharnke (tenor), Dagmar Schellenberger (soprano), Polish Chamber Choir, PPP Music Theatre Ensemble, Munich, Solingen-Remscheid Symphony Orchestra; Hiroshi Kodama. Marco Polo 8.225301-03 (New Zealand) 09H060 $29.98

SIEGFRIED WAGNER (1869-1930): Der Friedensengel, Op. 10. This performance of Wagner's 1914 work which deals with the heavenly redemption of a man who commits suicide since he is in an unhappy marriage and loves another, setting off an attempt by the people, backed by the Church to dig up his body and rebury it outside sacred ground, represented the beginning of the Siegfried Wagner revival, conductor head tricking Winifred Wagner into sending him the score (with the benign connivance of Wagner's daughter Friedlind), which he performed in a concert version recorded here. Good, clear mono sound. 3 CDs. English synopsis. Raffaele Polani (tenor), Valerie Hill (soprano), Martha Mödl (mezzo), Raimund Herincx (baritone), Pro Opera Chorus and Orchestra; Leslie Head (Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, Nov. 23, 1975). Living Stage LS 1060 (Italy) 09H061 $47.98

LOUIS VIERNE (1870-1937): La Mélodie Française, Vol. 19 - Poèmes de l'amour, Op. 48, Les roses blanches de la lune, Stances d'amour et de rêve, Op. 29, L'heure du berger, Op. 18/1. This second volume of Vierne mélodies is dominated by op. 48, a 1924 cycle of 15 songs to texts by Jean Richepin whose exuberant joy and absolute melancholy struck sparks off Vierne's own tortured personal life and let him write music of unbridled amorous passion and desparing desolation, making for a 37-minute sequence of raw power which should appeal to any Romantic worth his salt. French-English texts. Mireille Delunsch (soprano) François Kerdoncuff (piano). Timpani 1C1091 (France) 09H062 $18.98

NIKOLAI MEDTNER (1879-1951): Forgotten Melodies, Opp. 38 & 39. This is the first appearance of Medtner's solo piano music at super-budget price so we make it available for collectors who may not yet have sampled the rich, melancholic, moody melodic muse which motivated this unique composer. This is the perfect place to start, the op. 38 containing the achingly beautiful Sonata Reminiscenza whose opening theme will be impossible to get out of your mind and which is only the first of eight sections, lasting 45 minutes before the cycle rounds off with a reminder of that fascinating melody. Irina Ossipova (piano). Arte Nova ANO 931210 (Germany) 09H063 $4.98

BLOCH - Helvetia A CD Premiere!

ERNEST BLOCH (1880-1959): Helvetia, Suite for Viola and Orchestra, Suite Hébraïque for Viola and Orchestra. Composed in San Francisco in 1929, Helvetia was the last of three large-scale orchestral works dedicated to Bloch's heritage (Israel), his adopted country (America) and to his country of birth (Switzerland). In five sections, lasting 24 minutes, it depicts the mountains and forests of Switzerland, Dawn, an open-air assembly when danger threatens, a great medieval battle scene and the serenity of the preserved, still free country. The other 49 minutes may be taken up with what are getting to be amazingly often-recorded pieces but no Blochian worth his salt will care since Helvetia is about the last major score of this composer to reach CD. Gérard Caussé (viola), Orchestre de la Suisse Romande; Lior Shambadal. Cascavelle RSR 6170 (Switzerland) 09H064 $15.98

EMMERICH KÁLMÁN (1882-1953): 20 Hungarian Songs, Reverie, 2 Intermezzi and Scherzo for Piano. Eleven of these songs are numbers from Kálmán's first Hungarian operetta of 1906 and the others are no later since this was the date when he abandoned "serious" music. Generally dark in color and setting melancholic texts, they don't use folk melodies but rather rhythmic formulas and phrasings characteristic of folk music. The four piano pieces date from around 1902 and show that Kálmán knew and loved his Schumann character pieces. Hungarian-English texts. Anna Korondi (soprano), István Kovács (baritone), Peter Stamm (piano). CPO 777 059 (Germany) 09H065 $15.98

HERMANN VON GLENCK (1883-1952): Variationen Suite for 2 Pianos, Op. 17 (Kalliopi Emmanuil, Isolda Crespi Rubio [pianos], Serenade for Flute, Viola and Harp (Nancy Ruffer [flute], Levine Andrade [viola], Jean Kelley [harp]), Songs: 2 Lieder, Op. 20, 4 Lieder for High Voice and Piano, Nachklänge, Nachts, Atlarbild, Nebel (Louise Innes [soprano], William Coleman [bass-baritone], Edward Rushton [piano]). The non-Mahlerian side of this Swiss composer is on display here (see 03G008 for his large-scale orchestral works): the songs are in the expressionist/romantic vein of Schreker, Zemlinsky and Pfitzner and the Serenade is not far from the French Impressionism its instrumentation automatically suggests while the big, 29-minute set of variations is nothing less than the two-piano version of the orchestral piece recorded on the disc mentioned above - generally light in nature and neo-classical in style. German-English texts. Guild GMCD 7286 (Switzerland) 09H066 $16.98

KATHARINE PARKER (1886-1971): For Piano: A Water Colour, Nocturne, 4 Musical Sketches, Arc-en-Ciel: Valse Ballet, Brushing up the leaves, Songs: 6 Songs, As a star, Love ships, The light of the lotus: Love songs of Japan, The road to love, Désirée, I don't care, Come, my love. Tasmanian by birth, Parker went to England and studied with Percy Grainger with whom she remained life-long friends. A life with more than its share of difficulties meant that she composed what she composed by 1930 and taught and performed at the piano after that. Grainger thought very highly of her work (practically all of which is recorded here) which, like his, is often hard to pin down descriptively but which should appeal to collectors of English miniatures (Cyril Scott comes to mind - another friend of Parker's). Texts included. Jane Edwards (soprano), Ian Munro (piano). Tall Poppies TP 174 (Australia) 09H067 $18.98

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (1685-1750)/FERRUCCIO BUSONI (1866-1924): Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C, Prelude and Fugue in E Flat, Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, Chaconne, Choral Preludes Book 1, No. 3, Book 2, Nos. 7a, 7b and 9, BUSONI: Fantasia contrappuntistica. For all that even now Busoni is (increasingly inexplicably) all too frequently thought of as three-fifths of the hyphenated Bach-Busoni, his marvellous Bach transcriptions, which set the standard that most other composers' efforts fail to live up to, do not get the attention that they so richly deserve (the notable exception being the ubiquitous Chaconne). Anyway, Ogdon, of all pianists perhaps the one most suited to the interpretation of Busoni's music (a direct heir to the Busonian tradition, via his teacher, Egon Petri) recorded this selection of the transcriptions during the brief but spectacular renaissance of his career in the mid-1980s, before increasing ill-health led to his untimely death at the age of 52. The hugely impressive Toccatas get heroic performances which evoke the sonorities of organ and orchestra, as one might expect, but the subtle and fragile slow movements and inward-looking Chorale Preludes display the astonishing range of Busoni's inspiration and the depth of Ogdon's interpretive powers. The great Fantasia contrappuntistica, perhaps Busoni's most visionary score (alongside Doktor Faust), here receives a performance of extremes - this is a completely different recording from the one released by Altarus in 1986 (which has also just been reissued). Busoni's ultimate tribute to the traditions of the past and the possibilities of the future has never sounded so compellingly like a summation of the highest aspirations of Western art, pulling together the strands of counterpoint that link so many facets of 20th-century civilisation. 2 CDs. John Ogdon (piano). Altarus AIR-CD-9070 (U.S.A.) 09H068 $37.98

MANUEL BLANCAFORT (1897-1987): Complete Piano Music, Vol. 3 - Camins, Cants íntims II, El parc d'atraccions, Pastoral in G. Containing works written between 1919 and 1926, this volume continues in the period when French Impressionism, Debussy and Mompou were Blancafort's major influences. "Roads" and "Intimate Songs II" are impressionistic and, well, intimate, while the horizon opens up considerably in "Amusement Park" which is broader and more vividly colorful while the Pastoral is a sonatina-sized work not unlike what Poulenc and Ravel were doing at the same time. Miquel Villalba (piano). Naxos Spanish Classics 8.557334 (New Zealand) 09H069 $6.98

ALEXANDRA PAKHMUTOVA (b.1929): Russian Suite, Prelude, Trumpet Concerto in E Flat Minor, Concerto for Orchestra, Ode to Setting Fire for Mixed Chorus and Orchestra, Youth Overture. Of the readily recognisable names of the pantheon of Soviet-era Russian composers, the one most likely to come to mind as a comprison for Pakhmutova's brand of readily accessible, uncomplicated and appealing music is Kabalevsky. Slow movements, like the 'Song' of the Russian Suite or the 'Prelude', a sombre cortège (which does little that Tchaikovsky or even Mussorgsky couldn't have done, but does it rather well), have genuine pathos, sometimes bordering on sentimentality, while the infectious ebullience of her rhythmically alert fast movements is delightfully exciting, the toccata-like central section of the 'Concerto for Orchestra' a real thrill-ride. So if you like your Russian orchestral music red-blooded, a little conservative, not attempting to plumb the depths regularly visited by Shostakovich, and beautifully crafted and orchestrated, this disc will definitely not disappoint. Timofei Dokshitser (trumpet), Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra; Alexander Lazarev (concerto), USSR Symphony Orchestra; Evgeni Svetlanov, Moscow Chamber Choir; Vladimir Minin. Melodiya MEL CD 10 00575 (Russia) 09H070 $16.98 >

RODION SHCHEDRIN (b.1932): Dead Souls. Gogol's characteristically trenchant satire on petty bureaucracy, greed and the generally disagreeable nature of the human race more than makes up in venom what it lacks in narrative plot. Essentially, it consists of a series of unflattering character studies of a succession of individuals with a surreal capacity for self-deception, or deception of others, or excessively morbid view of the world - a kind of dark-hued, hyper-dysfunctional Candide set in a brooding, unfriendly winter landscape. Both Gogol and Shchedrin make much use of Russian stereotypes, at once elaborating and caricaturing the essence of 'Mother Russia'. The score, drawing on the characteristic sound of traditional Russian opera- the somber melodiousness of Mussorgsky and Tchaikovsky and reinterpreting it through the 20th-century disillusionment and ironic astringency which we associate with Shostakovich above all others, is a vivid tapestry of exaggerated, absurdist theatricality and surprisingly serious dramatic insight. This is likely to be recognised as one of this fine and versatile composer's boldest and most compelling large-scale works. 2 CDs. Russian (Cyrillic)-English libretto. Alexander Voroshilo (baritone), Vladislav Pyavko (tenor), Larisa Avdeyeva (mezzo), Boris Morozov (bass), Moscow Chamber Chorus, Bolshoi Theatre Chorus and Orchestra; Yuri Temirkanov. Jimmy Classic OM 03-125/126 (Russia) 09H071 $33.98 >

VALERY GAVRILIN (b.1939): Chimes for 3 Sopranos, Mezzo-Soprano, 3 Tenors, Large Choir, Oboe, Percussion and Narrator. In its dramatic, quasi-operatic vividness of imagery and pounding, insistent rhythmic and harmonic forthrightness, the first comparison that may come to mind for many people is the Orff of Carmina Burana (the sparing instrumental forces with much percussion emphasizes this connection). The work attracted admiring comment from Georgii Sviridov, among others, and like the best of Sviridov's own music, Chimes abounds in quintessentially Russian expressiveness, unabashedly Romantic and sometimes almost bordering on self-parody in its heart-on-sleeve, red-blooded emotionalism. Plus or minus some deliberately raw, rough elements that suggest a modest affinity for folk idioms reinterpreted in terms of a relatively unsophisticated strain of modernism, the work is overwhelmingly tonal and readily approachable, which is not to say that it is ever predictable or commonplace. Like a huge, oversized and lavishly illustrated coffee-table book of 'Russian Scenes', it's guaranteed to give great pleasure to anyone who read the beginning of this sentence without wincing. 2 CDs. Special price. Russian (Cyrillic) texts. E. Yaskunova, E. Titarenko, E. Gerasimova (sopranos), N. Dorbishevskaya (mezzo), O. Trofimov, A. Detinkin, E. Vishnevsky (tenors), A. Issayev (oboe), A. Veselov, T. Feodorov, S. Sheikin (percussion), A. Pavlov-Arbenin (narrator), St. Petersburg State Cappella Choir; Vladislav Chernushenko. IM Lab IMLCD 090 (Russia) 09H072 $25.98 >

VALERY GAVRILIN (b.1939): 18 Sketches for Piano Four Hands. A diverting sequence of little character pieces - no musical envelopes are pushed, and no emotional depths plumbed, but on their own terms the pieces are wholly successful and highly entertaining. Resolutely diatonic, they sound like what Rachmaninov might have done in response to a commission for a set of teaching pieces for gifted children. A rich and natural vein of lyricism runs throughout the cycle, alternating with playful and sprightly dances and marches, ensuring a wide enough range of mood to sustain interest. All in all a beautifully crafted and entertaining offering for anyone looking for unfamiliar music on the lighter side, with instant appeal. Nora Novik, Raffi Kharajanian (piano). No label name (Russia) 09H073 $12.98 >

SAMUEL ZYMAN (b.1956): Concerto for Guitar and String Orchestra, LEONARDO CORAL (b.1962): Guitar Concerto, JORGE RITTER (b.1957): Fantasia Concertante, SILVESTRE REVUELTAS (1899-1940): 5 canciones para niños (arr. Manuel de Elías). Elías' free transcription of Revueltas' song cycle as a concertante work consists of four brief and colorful, light and folksy movements, and one much longer, haunting and atmospheric one; in all, melody is paramount. Zyman's concerto is predominantly elegiac and pastoral in mood, lushly orchestrated and warmly tonal in idiom, largely concentrating its Latin character in the solo part which lightens the texture with intermittent passages of exuberant display. Coral's concerto is neo-romantic, lucidly scored for small orchestra and providing abundant opportunity for virtuosic display by the soloist. Ritter's Fantasía is more modern in style - slightly - with many ingenious touches of instrumentation and timbre, and less of a sense of secure tonal centres than the other works here. Ritter's lively rhythmic sense with syncopations and misplaced accents constantly throwing one off balance maintains the vital thrust of this attractive and inventive work. Juan Carlos Laguna (guitar), Conjunto de Cámara de la Ciudad de México; Benjamin Juárez Echenique. Urtext JBCC 091 (Mexico) 09H074 $17.98

RICHARD JORDAN SMOOT (b.1952): Soho: Orpheus in the Underworld for Guitar, Orchestra and Singing Bowl, Hauntings for Orchestra, Arising for Orchestra, In the Twilight Kingdom for String Orchestra, Meditation for Orchestra, Overture to Faust, J.D. for Orchestra, Suite for Prague for Flute, Alto Saxophone and Guitar. Smoot is another fine example of a very prevalent trend in contemporary American music: composers of basically tonal, more-or less conventional music of genuine quality which succeeds on its own terms while neither attempting nor achieving a presence on the boundaries of musical history while holding down an academic career frequently involving research into the latest musical techniques. This ensures the availability of the widest possible range of compositional methods, but as here the actual music largely falls under the neo-romantic umbrella, directly emotionally expressive and often quasi-programmatic. The three big orchestral works are powerful and evocative (Hauntings, a 9/11 piece, is especially vivid and expressive), all sharing a vigorous and colorful, full-blooded quality which is highly satisfying. Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra; Vit Micka, Tracy Edwards (flute), Mark Sterbank (sax), Christopher Teves (guitar). MMC 2139 (U.S.A.) 09H075 $16.98

DAVID DEBOOR CANFIELD (b.1950): Symphony No. 2 "Israel", DENNIS MECKLER (b.1945): In Memory Yet Green, PAUL HARTIN (b.1950): Night in Old Vienna Waltz, JAMES UNDERWOOD (b.1951): Amish Farms from A German American Festival, ERNESTO LECUONA (1896-1963): Andalucia (arr. Gerry Amato), DANIEL POWERS (b.1960): Irresistible Force, TRAD.: Vasilon (arr. Amato). These works were all commissioned by or are in some way related to the enterprising Bloomington orchestra. The most ambtious is Canfield's symphony, which despite its title and the use of a shofar in the last movement, the one concession to 'ethnic' color, functions as a non-programmatic symphony in a decidedly tonal, richly neo-classical mold, with a vaguely English-sounding modal inflection. Admirers of, let us say, Atterberg, will find this work immensely appealing. The more successful large-scale orchestral works of Arthur Bliss also come to mind as a direct comparison. A robust and generous addition to the repertory; if you regularly buy our cover items you won't be disappointed in this. Meckler's eloquent and heartfelt tone poem has an heroic, valedictory air, employing Baroque forms (and overt references) richly and romantically orchestrated, as though Stokowski had gotten his hands on a medley of popular Bach, Albinoni and Vivaldi. Hartin pays tribute to Johann Strauss, and Underwood's genial score evokes European Romanticism. The two Lecuona arrangements are as catchy as you might expect, and Powers' energetic work brings the disc to a suitably riotous conclusion. Bloomington Symphony Orchestra; Christopher Ludwa. BSO CD 20051 (U.S.A.) 09H076 $10.98

GEORGE CRUMB (b.1929): Madrigals, Books I-IV (Tony Arnold [soprano], Rachel Rudich [flute, piccolo, alto flute], Beverly Wesner-Hoehn [harp], Stephen Tramontozi [double bass], David Colson [percussion]), Eine Kleine Mitternachtmusik (Emanuele Arciuli [piano]), Ancient Voices of Children (Arnold [soprano], Justin Murray [boy soprano], Kathryn Dupuy Cooper [oboe], David Starobin [mandollin], Dale Stuckenbruck [musical saw], Courtney Hershey Bress [harp], Susan Grace [piano], John Kinzie, Mark Foster, William Hill [percussion], David Colson [conductor]). Eine Kleine Mitternachtmusik is a premiere, and for Crumb enthusiasts it alone is worth the price of the disc. This is vintage Crumb - from a mere four years ago - and shows very clearly why he is properly regarded as one of the most original voices in American music. A series of contrasting caprices or vignettes, based around Thelonius Monk's 'Round Midnight' (though mostly not sounding like jazz, and incorporating sly references to Debussy and Wagner), the thematic fragments are presented in Crumb's characteristic fractured complex rhythms against a subtly glowing backdrop consisting of sustained (amplified) piano resonance. The sparing use of percussive and direct contact playing techniques only serves to heighten the impression of a sort of 'virtual ensemble' subtly supporting the pianist. Crumb's song cycles with ensemble, from decades earlier, are sophisticated blends of highly concentrated formal devices and allusions to music of other cultures. Bridge 9170 (U.S.A.) 09H077 $16.98

CARLISLE FLOYD (b.1926): Cold Sassy Tree. Floyd's newest opera, based on a popular novel from 1984 by Olive Ann Burns which tells the story of a widowed shopkeeper whose life in a small town in Georgia is rejuvenated by his quick marriage and then deepening romance to an elegant Northerner with a tortured background, will be an automatic purchase for collectors who loved Susannah and Of Mice and Men. We quote excerpts from the Houston Chronicle's review of the recording: "Floyd softened his sometimes prickly style into a rhythmically charged, more amenable music, particularly in areas that, occasionally, edge toward the saccharine. Yet these key pieces can haunt the memory for some time...Cold represents the essence of Floyd's art: the ability to turn fundamental stories of the American experience into memorable operas." Immensely enjoyable, more than approachable, this is a must for collectors of modern opera. 2 CDs. Libretto included. Houston Grand Opera; Patrick Summers. Albany TROY 758/759 (U.S.A.) 09H078 $33.98

CESAR BRESGEN (1913-1988): Bilder des Todes for 2 Pianos and Percussion, SÁNDOR VERESS (1907-1992): Hommage à Paul Klee for 2 Pianos and Strings, BELA BARTÓK (1881-1945): Sonata for 2 Pianos and Percussion. The spirit of Bartók looms large in the background of the two pieces not by him on this recording (Veress was after all a Bartók student). Vital and energetic, Veress' suite - evoking Paul Klee's paintings (many of which suggest graphic scores, and Klee was of course a trained musician) - has a great deal of Bartók about it, with much use of his characteristic compound meters, syncopation and rhythmic vitality. The Bresgen, after engravings by Hans Holbein, and written for the same forces as the familiar Bartók work, also sounds somewhat familiar in a mid-20th century way, perhaps suggesting neo-classical Stravinsky more than Bartók. Both works are lively and appealing. Elena Sorokina, Alexander Bakhchiev (pianos), Chamber Ensemble; Gennadi Rozhdestvensky, Valentin Snegiriov, Mikhail Arsinov (percussion - Bresgen), Mark Pekarsky, Mikhail Arshinov (percussion - Bartók). Vista Vera VVCD-00050 (Russia) 09H079 $16.98 >

DAVID MASLANKA (b.1942): Symphony No. 4, Traveler, Concerto for Piano, Winds and Percussion, Concerto No. 2 for Piano, Winds and Percussion, Testament. A rather meatier and thornier proposition than some of the wind-band music CDs we offer every now and then. The first piano concerto (1976) is a 25-minute work with more than the average share of dissonance and atonality with the composer himself noting that it was the result of the boiling-over of the 60s and early 70s in his psyche; the second concerto (2002) is really a five-piece suite suggested by very various external sources which make for a heterogeneous half-hour of often fascinating music which, written for a professional pianist but an amateur wind group, offers the composer ample opportunity for virtuosity in the solo part. This still leaves over 50 minutes of music, much of which (actually almost all of which, including what's already been mentioned) is founded on sacred chorales which only serve as jumping off points for flights of engaging creativity which often touch down in wide-open-spaces music of classic, 20th century Americana feel. 2 CDs. Alexandra Mascolo-David, Steven Hesla (piano), Illinois State University Wind Symphony; Stephen K. Steele. Albany TROY 774 (U.S.A.) 09H080 $33.98

LEONARDO BALADA (b.1933): No-res for Narrator, Chorus, Orchestra and Tape, Ebony Fantasies for Chorus and Orchestra. Collectors nostalgic for the 70s avant-garde will enjoy No-res (literally, although not linguistically "No-Thing"), a 40-minute "Symphonic Tragedy" (also sub-titled "An Agnostic Requiem") which Balada wrote in 1974 after the death of his mother and which uses all the tools of the period - aleatory, tape, tone-clusters, massive atonal sonorities - and mixes in a few tonal and even lyrical segments (for shock value?). Ebony Fantasies (2003) is a 25-minute cantata which freely expounds on four Negro spirituals, generally tonal but with a few avant-garde techniques used to spice up the mix. Texts included. Denis Rafter (narrator), Chorus and Orchestra of the Comunidad de Madrid; José Ramón Encinar. Naxos 8.557343 (New Zealand) 09H081 $6.98

ANESTI NOVA (b.1935): Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra on Albanian Folk Melodies, Albanian Rhapsody, Meditation, Valse Triste. An amateur composer, the Turkish-born Albanian musician Nova (formerly Tsurupi) wrote these works for his son after a few months of taking courses at the Hartt School of Music where he learned to notate using a computer program. While one might argue that this is a family affair - funded by the family itself - the music is based on authentic Balkan melodies (and the Rhapsody rather closely follows in form Enescu's works in that genre) and, while, again, not being of the highest originality, it is comparable to good film music or light music and will certainly entertain collectors of either of the latter genres. James Nova (trombone), Symphonika Bulgarika; Valery Vatchev. Summit DCD 426 (U.S.A.) 09H082 $17.98

FRANCIS POTT (b.1957): Christus - Passion Symphony for Organ. This is a tremendously impressive work, and not only on account of its sheer dimensions, though, at well over two hours it amply sustains interest - an achievement in itself. Overall the vocabulary, while far from harmonically conservative, is less complex than Sorabji; more dialectically contrapuntal than Messiaen, to invoke the 20th century's composers of huge organ works with whom Pott will inevitably be compared in this work. Christus really doesn't resemble either - Ronald Stevenson or Robert Simpson (to the latter of whom Pott pays tribute in the work) are better comparisons. Opening with a wandering, unsettled extended passage of open-textured counterpoint which avoids obvious tonal centres, suggesting a world as yet unilluminated by the coming of Christ: as the huge movement progresses a sense of struggle and conflict emerges in ever-thickening textures, leading to a huge chordal climax, after which the dramatic narrative continues with a greater sense of tonality. The drama plays out with the gradual emergence of a triumphant mood in rich and highly colored chordal harmony. The three considerably shorter central movements depict the Passion - a mysterious and shadowy 'Gethsemane' is followed by the tripartite central movement, depicting the crucifixion itself. This starts with a most impressive passacaglia 'Via Crucis', followed by a bitter and sardonic scherzo, full of leering creatures out of Francis Bacon's studies for figures at a crucifixion. The crucifixion itself is depicted graphically, alternating apocalyptic outbursts and restrained lament; an extended epilogue finally establishes the latter mood. The fourth movement is relatively static, the music restrained as though in a kind of shocked detachment from the events which preceded it. This uneasy interlude is abruptly dismissed by the huge finale. Rather than celebrating the Resurrection as a fait accompli, much of this movement is taken up with dramatic discourse, passing through a toccata-like allegro (tonal and invigorating) which develops into a more dissonant and warlike climax. A somewhat pastoral interlude follows, during which the tension starts to rise again, followed by an extended fugue, increasingly unconventional in form, and highly inventive. After this breaks off, music of increasing tension leads into the final section, another dramatic toccata, and when the grandeur of the closing pages is finally achieved it is with the sense of an epic spiritual battle fought and won, not an easy, pre-ordained, triumphant resolution. 2 CDs. Colm Carey (organ of Dutch Church, Austin Friars, London). Signum 027 (England) 09H083 $35.98

JAMES AIKMAN (b.1959): Violin Sonatas Nos. 1, 2 and 3, Fantasy for Violin and Electronics. Unpredictable and capricious, these works for violin cover a wide range of emotional and technical territory. Especially striking is the composer's use of electronics to emulate a kind of expanded orchestra or organ in the freely fantastic Fantasy. The sonatas chart a clearly defined progression especially in the boldness of piano writing, generally becoming more willfully unsettled, less conventionally melodic and more harmonically daring, more rhythmically jagged and unstable in the more recent works. There is a yearning melancholy to the composer's slow movements, which is most affecting; his perpetuum mobile allegro movements have a relentless, driven quality, tense and energetic and generally of dark-hued character, avoiding facile light-heartedness. Joshua Bell (violin), Deanna Aikman (piano), Hidetaro Suzuki (violin), Zeyda Ruga Suzuki (piano), Alexander Kerr (violin), Lisa Leonard (piano), Davis Brooks (violin), James Aikman (electronics). Centaur CRC 2760 (U.S.A.) 09H084 $16.98

EZEQUIEL VIÑAO (b.1960): Arcanum for Voice and Chamber Ensemble. New York-based Argentinean composer Viñao sets out in this ambitious and varied work to trace a highly personal and idiomatic timeline through the history of philosophy, religion and the arts. His musical sources - from the earliest forms of chant through Renaissance polyphony and the scales and modes of the east, especially Persia and India, accompany wide-ranging texts, from the Bible to Vergil, Parmenides and many others. Each of the 18 short movements is scored for a different combination of instruments (mostly with voice), giving rise to a wide range of unusual timbres. The evocation of mysterious and archaic civilisations is of tangible vividness, and despite the predominantly meditative nature of much of the music the sense of dramatic tension, heightened in the scene-setting instrumental movements which punctuate the work's flow, is very vivid. This piece could appeal both to those whose listening habits seldom stray outside 'early music' and to those into the garde most avant in roughly equal measure. Janet Youngdahl (soprano), Absolute Ensemble; Kristijan Järvi. BIS CD-1187 (Sweden) 09H085 $17.98

MAURICIO KAGEL (b.1931): Anagrama for 4 Soloists, Speaking Chorus and Chamber Ensemble, Mitternachtsstück for Voices and Instruments, Rrrrrrr... for Mixed Chorus. In purely musical terms none of these pieces are especially avant-garde (Rrrrrrr... is rather well recorded by now), some stamping and clapping notwithstanding; Anagrama, using phonetic fragments in various combinations (and containing no intelligible language as such) is more 'conventionally' a piece of modern vocal music, fragmented and composed of vocal sounds and extended vocalisations as opposed to singing. Mitternachtsstük uses the already fragmented, and sometimes surreal, texts of Schumann's diaries in a brooding music-theatre piece, the instrumental backdrop largely incidental to the oppressive atmosphere generated by the (deliberately intelligible this time) verbal component of the work. SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart. Hänssler Classic CD 93.054 (Germany) 09H086 $17.98

JOHN METCALF (b.1946): Mapping Wales for Harp and Chamber Orchestra (Catrin Finch [harp], Bulgarian Chamber Orchestra, Orpheus; Raicho Christov), Cello Symphony (Raphael Wallfisch [cello], English Symphony Orchestra, Cardiff Ardwyn Singers; William Boughton), Plain Chants (Cardiff Ardwyn Singers; Helena Braithwaite). Welsh/Canadian composer Metcalf has adopted an unabashedly popular idiom in his recent works, feeling that there is a place for music with no greater pretensions than to be uincomplicatedly beautiful and entertaining in a complex world. The composer's skill makes his cool, restrained harmonic vocabulary touchingly eloquent and moving. Mapping Wales is a lovely, haunting piece of nature-painting, and Plain Chants evokes the solemn sonority of the liturgy in one of Britain's great cathedral churches, but it is the sustained song of the eloquent Cello Symphony that most clearly demonstrates the success of Metcalf's approach. Not so very far from the more reposeful sections of Vaughan Williams' Tallis Fantasia or Elgar's Serenade, the work has a wistful emotional depth, not without drama and considerable grandeur, and incorporating felicitously judged touches of orchestration featuring the sounds of organ and wordless chorus. Nimbus NI 5746 (England) 09H087 $15.98

ALUN HODDINOTT (b.1929): Piano Sonatas No. 1, Op. 17, No. 2, Op. 27, No. 3, Op. 40, No. 4, Op. 49, No. 5, Op. 57, No. 6, Op. 78/3, No. 7, Op. 114, No. 8, No. 125, No. 9, Op. 134 and No. 10, Op. 136. These sonatas all weigh in around 15 minutes, with the concentration of argument and structural tautness that implies, an impression heightened by the composer's meticulous use of baroque and Classical structural devices. In terms of keyboard sonority and virtuosity, harmonic richness and expressive content, though, these works are all most generous in the rewards offered to performer and listener alike: Hoddinott is never embarrassed to employ the grand gesture where appropriate; there is never any sense of neoclassical finickiness. All have a well-established sense of key centers, though the language is very chromatic; serial elements, though noticeably present, belong in the 'composer's workshop' and are not paraded as an end in themselves. Slow movements have a dark-hued, nocturnal atmosphere; hard-driven toccata-like allegro movements fleet-footed and brimming with rhythmic alacrity and variety maintain momentum throughout the pieces. A richly rewarding set of pieces, highly recommended. 2 CDs. Martin Jones (piano). Nimbus NI 5747/8 (England) 09H088 $22.98

JOAN TOWER (b.1938): In Memory for String Quartet, Island Prelude for Oboe and String Quartet (Tokyo String Quartet, Richard Woodhams [oboe]), Big Sky for Piano Trio (Chee Yun [violin], André Emelianoff [cello], Joan Tower [piano]), Wild Purple for Viola (Paul Neubauer), No Longer Very Clear for Piano (Melvin Chen, Ursula Oppens). Except for In Memory, written upon the death of a close friend and expanded when 9/11 happened while she was composing, these works are not provided with dates in the notes but Tower's basic characteristics - free forms, lyricism and a love of rhythm - are present throughout. Island Prelude is the most sensuous of them, evoking the tropics, and the solo piano pieces cover a wide variety of moods and forms in their response to lines from a John Ashbery poem but all are richly conceived and readily communicative. Naxos American Classics 8.559215 (U.S.A.) 09H089 $6.98

STEPHEN PERILLO: String Quartet No. 1, Flute Sonata, Piano Trio 1999, Out on a Limb for Solo Violin. These chamber works are attractive and lively, tonal and entertaining, never seeking to push the boundaries of musical technique but finely crafted and idiomatically written for the various instrumental combinations involved. Unmistakable traces of Bartók and Poulenc abound in an eclectic mixture that also pays tribute to romantic models - Schumann especially - and includes genuinely catchy melodies and harmonic progressions which (in a good way!) would not be out of place in contemporary musicals of the Disney/Lloyd Webber type. An attractive programme of entertaining divertimenti, then, and one that will give much pleasure. Yuval Waldman, Robin Zeh (violins), Olga Terlitsky (viola), Chagit Glazer (cello), Lauren Weiss (flute), Paul Posnak (piano). Centaur CRC 2739 (U.S.A.) 09H090 $16.98

JULIÁN CARILLO (1875-1965): Preludio a Colón for Soprano and Ensemble, LOU HARRISON (1917-2004): At the Tomb of Charles Ives, GIACINTO SCELSI (1905-1988): Ko-Lho for Clarinet and Flute, IANNIS XENAKIS (1922-2001): Anaktoria, HARRY PARTCH (1901-1974): 2 Settings from "Finnegan's Wake" for Soprano and Ensemble, CHARLES IVES (1874-1954): String Quartet No. 2 (Flux Quartet). These composers are the elder statesmen of the 20th century adoption of unusual tunings with reference to music of the East and temperaments commonly employed before equal temperament dominated western music after the Baroque period. Carillo's piece is simply lovely; a supple vocal line intoning a haunting melody over an ensemble accompaniment suggestive of a strange, unfamiliar landscape. Harrison's piece, in just intonation, conjures a vaguely archaic sense of antiquity, but sounds more conventional, as does the Scelsi, meditative and restricted to notated quarter-tones and glissandi within a limited pitch-range. Things heat up a bit with Xenakis, whose rude, rough sounds add a visceral element to a dissonant vocabulary of quarter- and third-tones. Partch, the grand old man of unusual temperaments and odd instrumental combinations, made use of a 72-string kithara underpinning the relatively conventional wind writing (sometimes employing sublte clashes of tuning between the two instruments) and a vocal line, frankly melodic and very beautiful, faithfully presenting Joyce's ambiguous and mellifluous texts. Meredith Borden (soprano), American Festival of Microtonal Music Ensemble; Johnny Reinhard. Pitch P-200203 (U.S.A.) 09H091 $16.98

DOMINIK KARSKI (b.1972): Les éruptions du rêve, BRIAN CURRENT (b.1972): For the Time Being, JULIANA HODKINSON (b.1972): Some reasons for hesitating, LUIS TINOCO (b.1969): Antipode, CHRISTOPHER TONKIN (b.1972): Point-Counterpoint, ENEKO PADILLA-PEREZ (b.1973): Zephyr, LUIS RIZO-SALOM (b.1971): Al umbral del abismo, LUCA ANTIGNANI (b.1976): Il magnifico burattinaio. These pieces cover a fairly broad range of styles, under a general banner of eclectic contemporary modernism - no academic serialism nor neo-romanticism nor minimalism, in other words: a good deal of emphasis on timbre (spectrally derived or otherwise), extended instrumental techniques, and sound for its own sake. Karski's work is bold and brash, employing colliding blocks of sound, while Current's is more fluid and organic, with sliding tones of indeterminate pitch overlaid provocatively on a background that occasionally incorporates straightforward tonal harmony. Hodkinson's is a tapestry of fragmentary whispering, very intimate, hushed and ambiguous. Tinoco's suggests the idea of motion, specifically a journey to distant shores, through a motoric, ostinato-driven opening section, which gives way to a mysterious and evocative central section. Tonkin's study in texture, opposing instrumental sounds and 'noise', accumulates a sense of structure as the two interact. Vadillo-Perez' luminous Zephyr, based on a combination of unusual instrumental timbres, creates an impressionistic atmosphere while Rizo-Salom's is a concertante work, with a energetic and complex piano part set in bold relief against an abstract instrumental backdrop. Antignani creates tension and intensity in a freely atonal idiom through strongly contrasting blocks of material with clear timbral identities. 2 CDs. Nouvel Ensemble Moderne; Lorraine Vaillancourt. Atma ACD 2 2328 (Canada) 09H092 $33.98

NIKOLAUS BRASS (b.1949): Void for Piano (Monika Stöhr), A Due for Accordion and Violin (Hugo Noth [accordion], Suzanne Schütz [violin], Piano Trio (Kristi Becker [piano], Geoffrey Wharton [violin], Roman Guggenberger [cello]. A student of Lachenmann, Brass' most apparent affinity is with Morton Feldman. We hear a similar preoccupation with slow processes and sonority, the same whispering subtlety; an absence of obvious thematic musical material. Where the two diverge, for all the apparent similarity of vocabulary, is in the greater emotional charge carried by Brass' works. In musical terms this is expressed in more complex associations of tones - sometimes suspiciously resembling harmony - and a greater sense of dramatic progression than is typical of the American composer. Nonetheless, the sense of delineation of the passage of time through the free association of fragmentary temporal markers is as powerful here as in Feldman, and will repay the same careful and patient attention on the part of the listener. col legno WWW 1CD 20235 (Germany) 09H093 $19.98

JEAN LUC DARBELLAY (b.1946): Ein Garten für Orpheus for String Orchestra, Horn and Basset Horn, ERIC GAUDIBERT (b.1936): Un jardin pour Orphée for Horn and Strings, SANDOR VERESS (1907-1992): Hommage à Paul Klee for 2 Pianos and String Orchestra. Klee has probably inspired more composers than any other visual artist, and these works pay eloquent tribute to the breadth of his influence. Gaudibert and Darbellay both take inspiration from the same Klee drawing, and both, in their own way, interpret the clear and linear yet organic structure of Klee's work as though it were a graphic score (metaphorically speaking; both works are conventionally notated and though unmistakably modern cannot even be usefully classified as fully atonal (Darbellay's piece with its insect rustling surrounding fixed tones representing the ground of the canvas being the more so). Andreas Grau, Götz Schumacher (piano duet), Olivier Darbellay (horn), Markus Niederhauser (basset horn), Camerata Bern; Erich Hobarth. col legno WWW 1CD 20240 (Germany) 09H094 $19.98

JEAN-LOUIS AGOBET (b.1968): Génération for 3 Clarinets and Orchestra, Phonal for Large Orchestra, Feuermann for Cello and Orchestra, Ritratto concertante for Piano and Orchestra. The composer's colorful, richly orchestrated use of large instrumental forces suggests an affinity with Messiaen and Murail. Phonal, though not described as such, uses techniques familiar to us as Spectralism, though as with the other works here there is a surprising reliance on tonal referents and a sense of neo-romantic narrative. The latter impression is heightened in the concertante works by the treatment of the soloist (or soloists in Génération, which intriguingly combines the mellifluous timbres of clarinets with their larger bass and contrabass cousins, all treated lyrically with a general avoidance of the funny noises all too frequently resorted to by contemporary composers) as protagonist in constant, active dialogue with the orchestra. Passages of incisive rhythmic drive give additional momentum to music that is inventive and approachable, without compromising its contemporary identity. Michel Portal, Paul Meyer, Alain Billard (clarinets), Xavier Phillips (cello), Alexander Paley (piano), Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra; François-Xavier Roth. Timpani 1C1094 (France) 09H095 $18.98

MATTHEW CURTIS (b.1959): Orchestral Works, Vol. 2 - Ring in the New, Romanza, Little Dance Suite, Irish Lullaby, Graduation Day, Autumn Song, Sinfonietta, Bon Voyage!. "Curtis's scoring is particularly skillful and his fund of invention inexhaustible. The performances are first class." Gramophone on the first volume of Curtis' music which we offered in December of 2002 ( 12E098). After the two substantial suites in that first volume, Curtis now offers a Sinfonietta (2001) which, in its three movements and 27 minute length, can easily sit on the "serious music" side of the fence, all thematic development and no simple episodic running-on. Royal Ballet Sinfonia; Gavin Sutherland. Campion Cameo 2035 (England) 09H096 $13.98

LEOS JANÁCEK (1854-1928): Glagolitic Mass, Jealousy, Taras Bulba. Mackerras has distinguished himself as a Janácek champion for decades and devoted collectors will welcome this brand-new DVD performance of the thrilling Glagolitic Mass and Taras Bulba with the original prelude to Jenufa as a welcome little bonus. English subtitles. Eva Urbanová (soprano), Bernarda Fink (contralto), Leo Marian Vodicka (tenor), Peter Mikulás (bass), Jan Hora (organ), Prague Philharmonic Choir, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra; Charles Mackerras. Supraphon DVD SU 7009-9 (Czech Republic) 09H097 $27.98

New - Historical Opera DVDs

LEOS JANÁCEK (1854-1928): The Cunning Little Vixen. This is Max Brod's (1884-1968) German version in which, more than a mere translation from the Czech, he took considerable liberties with the plot, establishing deeper relationships between animals and humans. Premiered in 1927, it was not a great success and it was not revived until almost thirty years later which in this production by Walter Felsenstein (Opera Grove tells us that it was a fantastic success in Paris in 1956 and, in its entry under the costume designer, Rudolf Heinrich, there is a photo from this very production). Brod also did translations of Jenufa, Katya Kabanova and The Makropoulos Case (the former at Janácek's enthusiatic request although the composer asked him to remove many alterations of the last; apparently, he was happy with Brod's version of this opera). Video-tape (West German television production). Mono. German language. No subtitles. Irmgard Arnold (soprano), Rudolf Asmus (baritone), Werner Enders (tenor), Chorus and Orchestra of the Komischen Oper, Berlin; Vaclav Neumann. Immortal Opera DVD IMM 960001 (Netherlands) 09H098 $23.98

WOLFGANG FORTNER (1907-1987): Bluthochzeit. His first opera since a very early effort in 1929, this work, based on the famous Lorca story, premiered in 1957 and makes use of incidental music for a play version of 1949 and a scena (Der Wald, of 1953) drawn therefrom. Fortner's version of Singspiel uses large amounts of spoken dialogue, with music being introduced at the moments of greatest dramatic tension and, while he employs permuations of a twelve-tone row, he also uses elements of Spanish folk music (and the orchestra includes two mandolins and two guitars). Video-tape (West German television production). Mono. German language. No subtitles. Martha Mödl, Anny Schlemm (sopranos), Hans-Günter Nocker (baritone), Orchestra and Chorus of the Württemberg State Opera, Stuttgart; Ferdinand Leitner (1964). Immortal Opera DVD IMM 950017 (Netherlands) 09H099 $30.98

Václav Talich Edition - Czech Repertoire releases

BEDRICH SMETANA (1824-1884): Czech Song, JOSEF SUK (1874-1935): A Fairy Tale, Op. 16, VÍTESZLAV NOVÁK (1870-1949): Slovak Suite, Op. 32. Smetana's third, orchestral, arrangement of an 1839 patriotic poem dates from 1878 and has rarely been recorded by anyone. Recordings from 1954, 1953 and 1949, respectively. Prague Philharmonic Choir, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra; Václav Talich. Supraphon SU 3822-2 (Czech Republic) 09H100 $10.98

JOSEF SUK (1874-1935): Ripening, Op. 34, LEOS JANÁCEK (1854-1928): Taras Bulba. Recordings from 1954 and 1956. Female Chorus of the Prague Philharmonic Choir, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra; Václav Talich. Supraphon SU 3823-2 (Czech Republic) 09H101 $10.98

NOTE: Volume One is also available for collectors who want to have the whole series. It is the Dvorák Slavonic Dances in the 1950 recording, which also includes four minutes of Talich speaking during the recording session. We'll supply this on a special order basis. Supraphon SU 3821-2 (Czech Republic) 09H102 $10.98