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By Glenn Loney, November 2001

Glenn Loney
Caricature of Glenn Loney
by Sam Norkin.
[01] Making CD Choices
[02] Musicals Old & New
[03] Other Musical Entertainments
[04] Opera, Choral, Orchestral CD Albums
[05] The Hänssler Treasure Chest

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The Long CD Stockpile Shelf—

By Glenn Loney/Autumn 2001

Selected from the CD Stockpile:

Once one has been recognised as regular reviewer of Broadway & Off-Broadway shows, CDs of new musicals and solo-albums by show-biz celebrities begin to arrive in the mail. Or even by messenger!

If one, in addition, is also dedicated to opera and serious music-theatre, even more wonderful recordings are dispatched.

Although I do not review vocal, instrumental solo, or orchestral concerts, many times—when I am working on Show Notes or Curators' Choice for New York Museums—I really prefer to listen to such outstanding CDs.

It could be argued that close attention to a Beethoven symphony in performance is even more important than following the lyrics of, say, Show Boat. But even the most familiar—or even banal—musical-comedy songs and scores command attention. Words cannot be so easily over-ridden in favor of the music which accompanies them.

Not that writing with Bach or Haydn instrumental music playing in the background reduces their scores to musical-wallpaper. Not at all. There are many lulls in writing these columns, so pausing to listen more closely to a virtuoso pianist like Elizabeth Leonskaya is refreshing. And stimulating of new ideas and ways to write about them.

I have a CD-player which accomodates 100 disks. So I don't have to leap up and rush across the room to change records frequently. In fact, seldom.

Right now, I am preparing to enjoy most of the CDs noted below over and over—from #1 through #100—as I recently loaded them in the carousel to sample their varied excellences. But I do have a remote, so if Robert Stolz's operetta overtures are beginning to wear thin, I can move on in an instant.

I spend virtually every evening and matinee in theatres—experiencing many forms of performing arts, especially dramas, musicals, operas, ballets, dance concerts, monologists, and Performance Art. In the daytime, I'm often at a press-preview of a new museum exhibition or gallery show. The rest of the time, I am writing about them. Or writing on other topics: such as John Steinbeck, whose centenary arrives in 2002!

Or I am busy labeling, organizing, and computer-indexing my extensive collection of photo-prints and slides. This INFOTOGRAPHY ArtsArchive is promised to the Photographic Collection of the New York Public Library. So all photos need to be indexed for easy reference.

This summer alone, I shot over 300 rolls of 36-exposure film in Europe. I had the vague intuition that I might not be there next year. Or that what I was photographing might not be there either…

So I have no time for the New York Times or for television. At home, it's almost always work, work, work, with listening to great music my only recreation and relaxation. I haven't had time to see a film since last May.

Here is a sampling of interesting disks I have recently received. They aren't all recent recordings, however.

I don't have a CD of The Producers yet. Nor of Mama Mia! , for the producers won't let me see it until next spring—even though I am an awards-nominator.

Musicals Old & New—

THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW [RCA Victor] : This show was an indirect casualty of the World Trade Center disaster, so it's good to have the lively performances of such talents as Lea DeLaria, Tom Hewitt, and Daphne Rubin-Vega preserved.

CONTACT [RCA Victor] : This show—and hence this recording—was musically something of an oddity. It did not have an original score nor a live orchestra. On this CD, such conductors as Leonard Bernstein and Benny Goodman are credited. Audiences should have been so lucky! But you do get Boyd Gaines singing live, at least.

THE FULL MONTY [RCA Victor] : You get no male frontal nudity on this CD. But the pleasures of David Yazbek's variously derivative song-styles are reinforced by the artistry of such players as Patrick Wilson, Liz McConahaym André De Shields, and John Ellison Conlee. The late Kathleen Freeman's Big Number is a treasure to remember her by.

A CLASS ACT [RCA Victor] : Showcased by the Manhattan Theatre Club, this memorial tribute to the late songsmith Ed Kleban went to Broadway, but all too briefly. If you missed it—and you wonder if Kleban's Chorus Line lyrics were just a flash in the pan—now hear this!

tick, tick…BOOM! [RCA Victor] : This interesting—if not compelling—show is also in the nature of a tribute to a dead composer: Jonathan Larson, creator of the Broadway hit musical, Rent. But it's not cobbled together from songs in his trunk. It is an entire pre-Rent show which he also conceived, composed, and wrote. Among the songs: "Therapy," "Green Green Dress," "Real Life," Come To Your Senses," and "Louder Than Words." There's a bonus track sung by Larson himself: "Boho Days."

BLAST [RCA Victor] : These furiously energetic, blaring, throbbing, thumping, percussive musical numbers will surely wake you up. But they can give only a hint of the visual vitality of this bookless show which was something like a choreographed marching-band, complete with flag-wavers, baton-tossers, and hyperactive cheerleaders.

BAT BOY/THE MUSICAL [RCA Victor] : This hilarious and surreal show doesn't end happily. But along the way, it offers many delights. Laurence O'Keefe's music and lyrics are jolly satires and parodies on their own. But they also move the highly improbable narrative lustily along. Why not check out "Christian Charity," "Another Dead Cow," and "Comfort and Joy"?

URINETOWN/THE MUSICAL [---?---]: How does it happen that I don't have a CD of this great show? Or has it not been recorded yet? Did the mailman take it?

Other Musical Entertainments—

INFINITE JOY/The Songs of William Finn [RCA Victor] : Finn's initial Playwrights Horizons showcases of In Trousers and Falsettoland revealed him as a most original talent. These show-songs were recorded live at Joe's Pub at the Public Theatre. Among the dynamic singers: Mary Testa, Liz Callaway, Norm Lewis, Stephen DeRosa, Carolee Carmello, and Finn himself! How about: "The Bitch and the Madonna," "Republicans," "That's Enough for Me," or "Stupid Things I Won't Do"?

BRIGHT EYED JOY/The Songs of Ricky Ian Gordon [Nonesuch] : Not only has Gordon recently had a major concert in Alice Tully Hall—with some Big Names interpreting his songs—but his settings of poems by Langston Hughes were a special Off-Broadway treat. You'll find some here: "Heaven," "Poor Girl's Ruination," "Dream Keeper," and "Love Song for Lucinda." There are also songs set to lyrics by Dorothy Parker, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and James Agee. Gordon must really have IT. His admiring interpreters from the opera world have included Teresa Stratas, Carol Vaness, Elizabeth Futral, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, and Harolyn Blackwell!

Opera, Choral, Orchestral CD Albums—

Classical music has not lost its following, but it may not be attracting younger audiences for a variety of socio/cultural reasons. Unfortunately, sales of opera albums among the dedicated faithful are dwindling.

After all, how many different Bohèmes or Meistersingers do you need on your shelves? Or in your CD-players…

Almost no one sends me review-copies of opera-albums, even if I request them. Customarily, I hope for largesse at the Salzburg Festival, where major opera recording companies are a diminishing, even vanishing, presence.

Teldec has quite disappeared. SONY was nowhere to be found. RCA/BMG is not the big festival-season player it once was. Phillips, Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, and Archiv are now all under the Universal Classics umbrella. Only EMI seems to be still standing tall and alone.

Although promised some important new opera CD albums, I have yet to receive them. DGG did give me an admirable gift, however:

FALSTAFF [Deutsche Grammophone/Universal] : Bryn Terfel scored big successes this summer as the Fat Knight at the Salzburg Festival and at the Munich Festival, in two rather different productions. On this album, conducted by Claudio Abbado, you can hear—if not see—his lusty comedic interpretation. Thomas Hampson is Ford, with Adrianne Pieczonka as Alice, and Larisa Diadkova as Dame Quickly. The Berlin Philharmonic is the orchestra of choice.

RAPPACCINI'S DAUGHTER [Newport Classic] : This is the outstanding Manhattan School of Music performance of Daniel Catán's operatic version of Nathaniel Hawthorne's gothic novella—dramatised by Octavio Paz, with a libretto in Spanish by Juan Tovar. Even with two transformations, this Mexican opera has gained, rather than lost, in dramatic power. Impressive talented young MSM students such as David Alan Marshall, Brandon Jovanovich, and Olivia Gorra are very impressive, conducted by Eduardo Diazmuñoz. Gorra is Beatrice, whose kiss is as toxic as the poisonous garden her father has created.

VERDI/Complete Opera Overtures [Newport Classic] : This single CD features Vincent La Selva conducting the Bern Symphony Orchestra. Bern? Competent, certainly. Not only are overtures to Forza, Nabucco, Luisa Miller, and Aida on this disk, but also Oberto, Giorno di Regno, Giovanna d'Arco, Battaglia di Legnano, Alzira, and Stiffelio. The disc is a celebration of the Maestro of the Italian Risorggimiento on the occasion of the 100th Aniniversary of His Death. Verdi is anything but dead when his music comes alive!

Among single CDs obtained from Universal Classics at the Salzburg Festival are the following admirable recordings: [If you want a catalogue, write UNIVERSAL CLASSICS, Holzdamm 57, D-20099 Hamburg, Germany.]

NIGHT SONGS/Renée Fleming [Decca] : Accompanied by Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Fleming is thrilling, subtle, and enchanting by turns in this varied program of songs by Fauré, Debussy, Rachmaninov, Richard Strauss, and Joseph Marx. Among the Marxist songs celebrating night, stars, and moon is Pierrot Dandy.

GLUCK ITALIAN ARIAS/Cecilia Bartoli [Decca] : The amazing Signorina Bartoli triumphs in challenging arias from Ezio, Antigono, La Corona, Il Parnaso confuso, La Semiramide, and La clemenza di Tito. She is strongly supported by the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, conducted by Bernhard Forck. Decca has packaged this wonderful CD as a handsomely bound book—with illustrations and texts.

LIEDER/MELODIES/Anne Sofie von Otter [Archiv] : Christina Högman and Kristina Hammarström support Von Otter on this disk, featuring Meyerbeer, Beethoven, and Spohr. The lyrics of Goethe are represented in Beethoven's Maigesang and Ludwig Spohr's Erlkönig—which is one of his suite of Six German Songs. Melvyn Tan accompanies Von Otter on the fortepiano, assisted by Nils-Erik Spar [violin] & Eric Hoeprich [clarinet].

THE RITE OF SPRING/Stravinsky [Philips] : Not only does this CD feature a powerful reading of Stravinsky's score by the Kirov Orchestra—under its magisterial master, Valey Gergiev—but also Scriabin's Poem of Ecstasy.

ALFRED BRENDEL LIVE IN SALZBURG [Philips] : Recorded by ORF at the Salzburg Festival, this is an attractive addition to the Festival Document series. Included are Liszt's transcription of Wagner's Liebestod, Schubert's piano sonatas in A minor and C major, as well as two works of Haydn. Recordings date from 1981, '84, and '85.

BEETHOVEN/ALFRED BRENDEL/SIMON RATTLE [Philips] : Definitive interpretations by the master of the "Emperor Concerto" and the "Appassionata Sonata." Rattle conducts the Vienna Philharmonic.

From the ever-welcoming EMI hospitality suite at the Salzburg Festival come the following eminently listenable recordings:

SCHUBERT LIEDER/Ian Bostridge [EMI Classics] : Bostridge brings his special sensitivity and vocal nuance to 27 lyrics from Volume II of Schubert's Lieder. Among them: Wehmut, Am See, An die Entfernte, Abendstern, und Auflösung. Julius Drake is at the keyboard.

VERDI/Thomas Hampson [EMI Classics] : The always amazing and totally talented Tom Hampson excels in this selection of Verdi arias. Not only are arias from the "War Horses" represented but also lyrics from Stiffelio, I masnadieri, Il corsario, I due Foscari, and Giovanna d'Arco. Richard Armstrong conducts the Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment.

MESSA DI GLORIA/Puccini [EMI Classics] : Thomas Hampson and Roberto Alagna are the soloists in this inspiring interpretation. Antonio Pappano conducts the LSO and its chorus.

CASTA DIVA/Angela Gheorghiu [EMI Classics] : Mrs. Alagna shows her vocal power—and her intelligence, as well—not only in Bellini's Casta Diva, from Norma. But also in major arias from Puritani, Sonnambula, Anna Bolena, Lucia, William Tell, Barber of Seville, and Siege of Corinth. She is potently supported by the chorus of the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, and the LSO, conducted by Evelino Pidò.

VENGEROV & VIRTUOSI [EMI Classics] : Maxim Vengerov is brilliant by himself, but here he's in the firmament, working with the eleven violins of the Virtuosi, with Vag Papian at the piano. In addition to Russian works by Rachmaninov [Vocalise], Tchaikovsky [Souvenir], and Khachaturian [Sabre Dance, of course!], Monti, Massenet, Schubert, Brahms, and Dvorák are also represented. [Vengerov, by the way, is a charming & knowledgeable musician to interview.]

MESSA SOLENNE/Cherubini [EMI Classics] : You don't have to be Prince Esterhazy—for whom this ornamental sacred work was composed—to appreciate its beauties. You don't even have to be Catholic. Riccardo Muti conducts the Chorus and Orchestra of Bavarian Radio.

From RCA Victor/BMG come three contrasting CDs, the first being also a threesome:

THREE MO' TENORS [RCA Victor/BMG] : Nothing succeeds like Excess. Although the Three Tenors have Passed Over—not yet literally—into Legend, the Three Sopranos didn't quite make it. Now Minority Interests & Needs, as well as pop music tastes, are served with this CD featuring three unquestionably talented African-American singers. They are Rodrick Dixon, Thomas Young, and Victor Trent Cook. Fortunately, the recording is not heavily operatic, though there is a Nessun Dorma and Donna è mobile. The general tone is more on the order of the tenors' Let the Good Times Roll!

HOMMAGE À RAMPAL/James & Jeanne Galway [RCA Victor/BMG] : If any living flautist comes close to the genius of Jean Pierre Rampal, it is certainly Ireland's James Galway—with his golden flute. He plays two Devienne concertos for solo flute. Then he's joined by Jeanne, also on flute, for Cimarosa's Concerto in D major. He conducts the London Mozart Players.

BOLET REDISCOVERED/LISZT RECITAL [RCA Victor/BMG] : These are vintage Jorge Bolet recordings from 1972 and 1973. There are eight tracks of Liszt alone, with a ninth of Liszt's transcription of Wagner's Tannhäuser Overture. Brilliant!

Another Salzburg Festival Treasure:

VIENNA PHILHARMONIC (1957-1963) [Andante/Grove Music] : This impressive sampling of vintage recordings by the orchestra of Vienna's Musikverein is—like the Bartoli album—handsomely packaged as a book. It is not only a Limited Edition, but 20 copies have also been numbered and reserved for a special Collectors' Series from Andante/Great Orchestras. Featured on the four CDs are Bruckner's Symphony No. 8, Mahler's Symphony No. 9, and Strauss's Heldenleben and Death & Transfiguration.

BERNSTEIN LIVE/New York Philharmonic [NY Philharmonic Special Editions] : Not a Companion-Piece to the Vienna Philharmonic's beautiful book of CDs. This is, instead, a conventionally packaged disc, sampling the full 10-CD set of NY Philharmonic vintage performances. Among those on this disc are some outstanding events with featured artists: Vladimir Ashkenazy [1958], Maynard Ferguson [1959], Byron Janis [1960], and cellist Jacqueline du Pré [1967]. My Stanford University & Bayreuth Festival friend, Jess Thomas, and Eileen Farrell sing Wagner's Dawn and Love duet from Götterdämmerung.

REFLECTIONS/The Dessof Choirs [Dessof Choirs/PO Bx 1337/NYC 10029] : Subtitled 4 Contemporary American Composers Look Back, this unusually interesting CD highlights the talents of John Corigliano [Fern Hill], Paul Moravec [Songs of Love and War], Robert Convery [To the One of Fictive Music], and the almost ageless Ned Rorem [From an Unknown Past]. The excellent Dessoff Choir is conducted by the multi-talented Kent Tritle, whose choral concerts at St. Ignatius on Park Avenue are highlights of the Manhattan Musical Season.

JOHN ADAMS/Century Rolls/Lollapalooza/Slonimsky's Earbox [Nonesuch] : Century Rolls spotlights pianist Emanuel Ax and the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, under Christoph von Dohnányi. As the title suggests, Adams was inspired by those old robotic Player-Piano punched-out Music Rolls. The CSO commissioned this piano concerto—Adams' first—for Ax.

The latter two short tracks feature the admirable Kent Nagano, conducting the Hallé Orchestra. Among the New York City Ballet's well-received new choreographies at the recent Edinburgh Festival was an animated exercise set to Adam's Slonimsky's Earbox. This is a lively tribute to the memory of the witty polymath musicologist, Nicolas Slonimsky.

You may think you can still hear echoes of Adams' Minimalist opera, Nixon in China, but he's gone way beyond that. And beyond The Death of Klinghofer—in which Arab Terrorists throw an old Jewish man in a wheelchair over the side of a cruise-ship [the Achille Lauro] to his death below.

Several seasons ago at the Edinburgh Festival, Adams also had a success with his trendy popular evocation of another Great California Earthquake and the Golden State's Multi-Ethnicity: I Was Looking At The Ceiling And Then I Saw The Sky. As staged by Peter Sellars, it was as truly non-Minimalist but thoroughly modern work of Musical Theatre. The songs really worked!

I told Peter I thought it ought to move to Broadway, but he shook his head. Prior to Edinburgh, it had been presented that June at Lincoln Center. And, said Sellars, the critics dismissed it. No chance on the Great White Way, he lamented. But it could be revived? Considering how dull and uninspired current musicals have become?


Although the Hänssler label does not yet have the worldwide brand-recognition of such names as His Master's Voice, EMI, RCA Victor, Decca, Teldec, Philips, and Deutsche Grammophone—some of whom have been having survival difficulties—it is gaining ground, thanks to its amazing catalogue of classical and modern recordings. It even has some interesting videos & DVDs.

A Hänssler recording has, in fact, won Helmuth Rilling a 2001 Grammy Award: Penderecki's Credo! And Rilling and Hänssler also won the Cannes Classical Award 2001 for the 172 EDITION BACH AKADEMIE CD series. One-Hundred-and-Seventy-Two CD recordings: Bach Complete!

Obviously, all this and the amazing & extensive Hänssler Catalogue 2002 did not come out of nowhere. Hänssler's good fortune has been to form an alliance with Germany's admired Südwest Rundfunk, making possible the commercial release of outstanding major broadcast performances in the faszinationmusik series.

These are the kinds of admirable performances you may expect to hear in New York City—and now worldwide on the Internet—on Radio-Station WQXR, the self-annointed but justly named "Good Music Station" of the New York Times.

But WQXR does not maintain a symphony orchetra as does Germany's SWR. For that matter, no major American radio or TV station—or network, for that matter—any longer has its very own symphony. As NBC once did, under the magistesrial baton of Arturo Toscanini.

In Germany, however, in the wake of World War II, central broadcasting from Berlin was broken up into regional radio-TV authorities. This was not only a measure to prevent a recurrence of the central dissemination of Propaganda under the Nazi Regime. But it was also absolutely necessary to strengthen the newly democratic West German States or Länder, separated from the former Reich by Soviet Occupation and Communist Partition of the East.

Thus Radio Free Berlin arose. As did Bayerischer Rundfunk in Munich and West Deutscher Rundfunk [WDR] in Cologne. Important capitals in other Lands, such as Frankfurt, Hamburg, and Hannover, also emerged as centers of culture & commerce: each with its own state-subsidized orchestras and musical ensembles!

Quite a contrast to the commercially-oriented Populist & Lowest-Common-Denominator Concerns of American Broadcasting!

Less well known perhaps—but no of no less quality in programming and performance—is the SWR, which is represents Land Baden/Württemburg. Those Americans—who think they have Seen It All if they have spent a few days in Berlin and Munich—have no idea what they've missed by not visiting SWR's capital-city, Stuttgart!

And Stuttgart is not the only impressive city in Baden/Württemburg with its own Radio Symphony Orchestra! The famous Spa-City of Baden-Baden—which now has its own major Music Festival—shares a major symphony with medieval Freiburg im Breisgau. [Although there are several other Freiburgs in Mittel-Europa, this is the only one with fresh, clear water running down the streets in open channels!]

Altogether, SWR is able to offer Hänssler recordings of three orchestras, including that of Kaiserslautern, which specializes in lighter music and has archival operetta performances featuring stars such as the late Fritz Wunderlich, Zarah Leander, Johannes Heesters, and composer/conductor Robert Stolz.

SWR also has the Stuttgart-based SWR Vocal Ensemble and the SWR Big Band—with a real Big-Band-Sound—noted for its jazz, swing, and more contemporary popular music.

No wonder the Hänssler Catalogue 2002 runs to some 224 pages! If you cannot find Hänssler recordings at your local Tower, Sam Goody, HMV, or Virgin outlet, order your own copy of the catalogue. Here are some relevant addresses:

Hänssler Verlag GmbH/PO Box/D-71087 Holzgerlingen/Germany

Phone: 011-49-7031-7414-0/ FAX: 011-49-7031-7414-259.

email: classic@haenssler.de/ Internet: www.haenssler-classic.de

Here are some of the outstanding CD albums and singles I have received from Hänssler:

ROBERT STOLZ/Operetten: [2 discs] Not only does the late great Robert Stolz—last of the Viennese Operetta composers—conduct 14 of his own hit-songs, but there are also no less than 20 others, under the batons of such talents as Peter Falk and Klaus Arp. These tracks were made by the SWR Kaiserslautern Orchestra. The song which is also the title of Stolz's autobiography, Servus Du, is here in two interpretations. I'm an operetta-addict, and Stolz's widow, Einzi, enrolled me as an honored member in the Robert Stolz Society. She even sent me Robert Stolz postage-stamps!

GALA NIGHT/Opera, Operetta, Musical: [2 discs] This set is also from SWR Rundfunkorchester Kaiserslautern, under Peter Falk's baton. Among the soloists are Vesselina Karasova and Evgeny Nesterenko. Selections range from Rossini and Puccini, through Kalman and Strauss, to Gershwin, Bernstein, Sondheim, and even, yes, Andrew Lloyd Webber!

MESSE PER ROSSINI/Verdi & 12 Others: [2 discs] Hellmut Rilling conducts the Stuttgart Radio-Sinfonieorchester, with soloists such as Florence Quivar and Aage Haugland. In this memorial mass for the great composer, each of his 13 colleagues contributed a section. Bazzini provided a Dies irae, and Rossi the Agnus Dei. Verdi's Requiem aeternam is especially powerful.

MICHAEL GIELEN/Mahler/Schubert/Webern: [2 discs] Hearing Gielen conduct the Baden-Baden/Freiburg SWR Radio-Sinfonieorchester again reminds me of the Glory-Days when he was General Music Director at the Frankfurt Opera and helped the late avant-garde Regisseur Ruth Berghaus create an unforgettable Wagner RING Cycle. On the final night, students almost tore the auditorium apart in their sorrow at his departure as GMD: ALLES IST VORBEI—It's All Over—was on their banners ands tongues…

In this set, there's Mahler's Symphony No. 3, Schubert's Rosamunde and Webern's Six Pieces for Orchestra.

MICHAEL GIELEN/Mahler/Berg/Schubert: [2 discs] In this set, Gielen conducts Mahler's Symphony No. 6, Schubert's Andante B minor, and Berg's Three Pieces for Orchestra.

Then there's the Hänssler Classic Exclusive Series of Passions. I have three of the Four Evangelists, but I seem to lack a St. Matthew Passion.

JOHANNES-PASSION/Sofia Gubaidulina: [2 discs] Valery Gergiev conducts the Kirov Orchedstra and Chorus of the Mariinsky Theatre of St. Petersburg. Natalia Korneva, Victor Lutsiuk, Fedor Mozhaev, and Genady Bezzubenkov are soloists.

DEUS PASSUS/St. Luke Passion/Wolfgang Rihm: [2 discs] Hellmut Rilling conducts the Bach-Collegium Stuttgart. Juliane Banse, Iris Vermillion, Cornelia Kallisch, Andreas Schmidt, and Christoph Prégardien are soloists.

LA PASION SEGUN SAN MARCOS/Osvaldo Golijov: [2 discs] This interesting version of Christ's Passion closes with a Kaddish. Maria Guinand conducts the Orquestra La Pasión and the Schola Cantorum de Carácas.

Those are some of the notable Hänssler Classic sets & series. But there are many more admirable single CDs which have arrived—and piled-up, alas—in the past months. Here are some of the titles, as you may well want to acquire selected items:

In the faszinationmusik series of works under the batons of noted conductors there are such offerings as Georges Prêtre leading the SWR Symphony in Richard Strauss's Don Juan, Till Eulenspiegel, & the Rosenkavalier Suite [CD 93.012] and another with Ravel and Bizet works [CD 93.013].

Sir Roger Norrington conducts the same orchestra in Haydn's Symphony in D major and Schumann's Symphony No. 2 in C major [CD 93.011]. Kurt Sanderling leads the orchestra in Bruckner's Symphony No. 7 in E major [CD 93.027].

Sylvain Cambreling's special is Paris Compositions—Rameau, Mozart, Berlioz, and Grisey [CD 93.018]. He conducts the Symphony Orchestra of Baden-Baden and Freiburg. As does conductor Hans Zender on a CD with two Schubert symphonies [Nos. 1 & 4] and Webern's Variations for Orchestra [CD 93.016].

But not all the Hänssler Classics are about conductors & orchestras. Instrumental ensembles are also important. The Verdi-Quartett plays both Verdi & Benjamin Britten [CD 98.394]. The Fine Arts Quartet plays Hugo Wolf's Quartet in D Minor and his Italian Serenade [CD 93.024]. Then there's the Ensemble Dreiklang Barock, with L'Apothéose de Corelli. This is a collection of trio-sonatas by Bach, Couperin, Quantz, Telemann, and Vivaldi [CD 98.384].

Eugene Mursky plays Russian Piano Music/ Scriabin/Rachmaninov/Prokofiev [CD 98.412]. Eva Kupiec plays Grazyna Bacewicz/Piano Works [CD 93.034]. There's a regional affinity in Hebrew Melodies [CD 93.028], played by Ingolf Turban & Jascha Nemtsov.

Lasjos Lencsés is starred on the oboe—with the Stuttgart Radio-Symphony—in Masterpieces for the Oboe, including compositions by Bernd Alois Zimmermann and Benjamin Britten [CD 93.026]. Max Reger/Complete Works for Clarinet and Piano [CD 93.035] has Ib Hausmann and Nina Tichman as the respective soloists.

Antonio Rosetti/Horn Concertos [CD 98.383] has impressive performances of four of these challenging works, with Zdenek Divorky on French horn, backed by the Czech Chamber Orchestra. And there's also the Amadeus Guitar Duo in Hommage [CD 98.389], which includes Roland Dyens' hommages to Maurice Ravel, Fernando Sor, and Astor Piazzolla.

The Kammerorchester Arcata Stuttgart offers three of Felix Mendelssohn's symphonies for string-orchestra: Nos. 9, 10, & 12 [CD 98.377]. Also from Stuttgart is the SWR Vokalensemble, with Luigi Nono/Choral Works [CD 93.022]. Nono is an acquired taste, so you might prefer an historical artifact from 1956-58: Fritz Wunderlich/Sacred Songs [CD 93.025]. Included are works by Telemann, Buxtehude, and Schütz.

At the bottom of my Hänssler faszinationmusik CD stack are two discs which make quite a New World contrast to the foregoing. One features jazz trumpeter Clark Terry with the SWR's Big Band, in Jazz Matinée [CD 93.036].

The other is actually titled From the New World [CD 93.021], but it has nothing to do with Dr. Antonin Dvorák's famed symphony of the same name. Instead, it features two Scott Joplin rags, Arthur Benjamin's North American Square Dance, some Gershwin, Bernstein, Copland, and Richard Rodgers' Oklahoma-Medley.

These are played with spirit—if not quite an "American" sound—by the Kaiserslautern SWR Rundfunkorchester. I had never heard this able ensemble before, I must admit.

My only experience of Kaiserslautern dates back to the late 1950s, when those of us working with the American Forces in Europe [EUCOM] would make a bee-line for the US Army's Kaiserslautern PX—or Post Exchange—for real bargains in Black Forest Cuckoo Clocks, Rosenthal China, and Hummel Figurines. [Loney]

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Copyright © Glenn Loney 2001. No re-publication or broadcast use without proper credit of authorship. Suggested credit line: "Glenn Loney, New York Theatre Wire." Reproduction rights please contact: jslaff@nytheatre-wire.com.

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