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I admit I've never cared for him. I find him the epitome of 19th-century gentility -- sort of a Schumann without the tunes. However, the Piano Concerto No. 2 is a glorious exception. If Schumann had written another, this would have been it.

Canadian composer, and therefore not known outside of Canada (also not recorded outside of Canada). I've heard only one work (I used to live outside Detroit), 2 Sketches on French-Canadian Airs for string quartet. Canadians are probably sick of this piece by now, but for the rest of us, it's a lovely novelty. Post-Romantic.

A pioneer English woman composer and a student of Vaughan Williams. Her music belongs to the Rubbra-Alwyn camp and therefore has suffered the same sort of eclipse. The BBC had been captured by post-Webernians, who raised the musical literacy of the country at the expense of shutting out a slightly older generation (Britten was the exception to this rule). She's known mainly for her chamber works, especially the string quartets. I would like to plug 3 orchestral pieces. Overture, "Proud Thames" is an English version of The Moldau, which picks up color and momentum from quiet beginnings. Serenata concertante for violin and orchestra is intensely musical and gives the soloist good opportunity for display. Symphony for double string orchestra was influenced by the Brandenburgs in its concern for counterpoint, but don't let that mislead you. It's not really neo-classic: the influence is more Vaughan Williams than Stravinsky.

Yeah, I know: is he really overlooked? Only relatively. Excepting Das Lied von der Erde and Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, the non-symphonies aren't recorded or programmed as much. If you don't know these works, try 5 Ruckert-Lieder, Kindertotenlieder (shattering), Das Klagende Lied (Mahler described it as "the work in which I became Mahler; strongly influenced Schoenberg's Gurrelieder), Des Knaben Wunderhorn (magic; lives up to its title; try for the Janet Baker-Geraint Evans classic recording), and the early songs. Musical Heritage put out a neat disk (so-so performances) of Mahler's rejected symphonic movements, so you get to look inside the workshop.

Frank Martin was French-Swiss, so pronounce the name "Frahnk Mar-TAN" (my apologies to all Francophones). To my ear, he continues Honegger's style. The work is of uniformly high quality. He's a fine concerto writer. His oratorios In terra pax (Christmas) and Golgotha (Easter) try to come to modern terms with the monumental Bach Passions. Mass for 2 4-part choirs is an a capella masterpiece, unknown even to choral mavens.

An entry I've dreaded. If I have one Favorite Composer, Martinu is probably it. With the exception of early works, everything he wrote grabs my attention from the opening bars. "Stravinsky meets Dvorák" describes his music pretty well. He excells in chamber music and concerti. He's one of the great modern symphonists. His choral and theater works are superb. The Double Concerto for 2 pianos, timpani, and strings is recorded all the time. A 20th-century masterpiece, it deserves to be. Off the top of my head, try Three Czech Dances for 2 pianos, Bergerettes for piano trio, Cello Concerto No. 2 (soaring), Concerto for oboe (a delight), Piano Concerto No. 2 (powerful), Duo No. 2 for violin and cello (makes you think there are more than two instruments playing), Études and Polkas for piano solo, Intermezzo for orchestra, Nonet No. 2, the piano quintet, the first piano quartet, the third piano trio, ALL the cello sonatas, the Sonata for Flute (a classic piece), the Piano Sonata, Symphony No. 4, Tre Ricercari, and the vital Trio in F for flute, cello, and piano. Oh hell, buy anything.

I can't claim great familiarity. I know only two works: Odessey and Chamber Music. The second piece comes across as the work of a fine craftsman. Odessey overwhelms you and I got the strong feeling that I was listening to a masterpiece when I heard it. Now I know what the first audience for Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra must have felt.

George Bernard Shaw almost buried him. We're just starting to come out from under the burden of Shaw's criticism. To my mind, Mendelssohn is one of the great chamber composers. His emotional depth is not as great as Brahms's or Beethoven's. In many ways, his music works on you like Mozart's: the pieces have such artistic balance that this itself becomes moving. Try the piano quartets, the cello sonatas (Gilbert & Sullivan fans will recognize a bit of "Trial by Jury"), and the String Quintet in B-flat.

Another neo-classic post-war American once known and admired for his symphonies, now in eclipse. I've heard quite a bit, and he seems to repeat himself a lot. Stylistically close to Piston. Try Symphony No. 3.

The joke around the conservatory used to be that the music was "Menotti-nous." The critics' whipping-boy. He obviously derives from Puccini (who himself was despised by critics until quite recently). Andrew Porter once wrote that his melodies were "as cheap as Puccini's," as if writing like Puccini were an easy way out. A gift for melody is not highly prized, and I believe it's because one can't analyze why it works or what makes a good one. We also have the problem of Menotti's libretti: Victor Hugo blood-and-thunder allied to Eurotrashian metaphysics. But few complain about Verdi and Tippett, who suffer equally in their librettists. The music should remain paramount. I find it beautiful. The operas in the theater just plain work and he does have a genuine gift for comedy (when he forgets his Message). Try Amelia al Ballo, the piano and violin concerti, The Medium, The Telephone, The Unicorn, The Gorgon, and The Manticore (a madrigal ballet; the madrigals are gorgeous), The Saint of Bleeker Street (to me, his greatest opera), Sebastian (complete ballet or suite), and the exquisite Missa "O Pulchritudo."

It's hard to believe now, but Milhaud was once regarded as the greatest composer of his generation (that honor is now Poulenc's, most likely). Although Création du monde and the Suite provençale remain popular, his postwar work is little known. Aaron Copland, once one of his admirers, finally complained that it had been "a long time since we had been shocked by ... Milhaud." He never shocked me, but he did delight and move me. His huge output militates against him becoming better known. I recommend Six Little Symphonies (wonderful chamber pieces, easily fittable on one CD with enough room left over for one by Brahms), the profound choral work Deux Cités, the Concerto for Percussion, all the work for 2 pianos (are you listening, Leslie?), the gripping Château du feu, the harmonica suite (I'd describe it as "rollicking," if the word had lost its power to make you cringe), La Cheminée du Roi René (a film score reworked for wind quintet filled with great tunes), Les Choephores (a wild piece, heavy on the percussion), Kentuckiana (a neat re-interpretation of Applachian folk tunes), and the Suite française for band.

Another 'lost' Brit. Small output, due to self-criticism. Some of his work I like enormously; some of it seems too close to Delius (an influence he mercifully outgrew). Try the vigorous Sinfonietta and the brooding Symphony in g.

Douglas. An American composer who seemed to have a career -- one honor after the other -- and who now has fallen off the edge. His work was always compared to Virgil Thomson's, although nobody sounds like Thomson except Thomson. So I can't see why. I like his operas, especially The Devil and Daniel Webster and The Ballad of Baby Doe. Very tuneful.

Anything. Twenty years ago, I went through his composition text, A Plain and Easy Introduction to Music (I might be mistaken about the title), and encountered the most fiendish set of problems I've ever seen. His own solutions are magnificent. An Elizabethan composer known for a couple of madrigals to high-school choirs from Bangor, Maine, to Honolulu, Hawaii. I repeat, get anything. I still cherish a recording of his part-songs by the old Deller Consort and David Munrow's recording of the First Book of Consort Lessons for "broken" (mixed-instrument) ensemble.

You can always find something overlooked here. The choral music, excepting the Requiem, is not well known. We've all read that he wrote masses while in Salzburg, but how many have you heard? Try K. 192 and 194. The "Great" Mass in c, had he finished it, would have ranked with Bach and Beethoven and surpassed his own Requiem. I also treasure his Vespereae Solenne de Confessore, but turns powerful and lyrical. I detect the influence of Bach. For chamber music, try the 2-piano sonata in D (wonderful), the Piano Sonata No. 12 (Horowitz did a superb recording), and the String Quintet in g, similar in tone to the Symphony No. 40 (old Ausgabe).

The songs, other than the Songs and Dances of Death cycle, aren't well known, and he's one of the greatest song writers who ever wrote. The drama of Boris Godunov in miniature. Christoff once recorded the complete set, which I heard in my college library, for Legge and EMI. Abbado and the Chicago also recorded some obscure choral music. The short cantata Joshua stood out.

A great symphonist, who, thanks mainly to Bernstein's pioneering recording of the Fifth, has come into his own. But there's more to Nielsen than his symphonies, magnificent as they are. Try the Helios Overture, one of those pieces that start out wonderfully and continue to get better with each measure. It depicts a sunrise, noon, and sunset. Never was an overture better named. For chamber music, try the four string quartets, the quintet, and the wind quintet, one of the milestones of the literature. The clarinet and flute concerti have become necessary parts of the instrumentalists' repertoire. The Violin Concerto, a wonderful Romantic work, has languished, waiting for some champion. I've heard it with mediocre violinists and orchestras, and it still makes an effect.

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