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Gerhard: Symphony No 4 BBC SO, Bamert (Chandos)

Roberto Gerhard's last symphony was written for the New York Philharmonic in 1967, and makes big demands on the orchestra. It's a serial work with a tragic vein, but, like all Gerhard's pieces, it's one that mixes bold tone clusters with splashes of colour from the exiled composer's Spanish homeland. Coupled with a suite drawn from his 1942 ballet Pandora, this marks a suitable peak in Matthias Bamert's superb cycle for Chandos. HHHH

Beethoven: String Quartets Opp 4 & 104 Suk Quartet, Spekina (Supraphon)

Both of the rarities on this famous recording are arrangements of works for different forces. Scored for string quartet with added viola, the Quintet in E flat major of 1796 is derived from the wind Octet and shows the composer making rapid strides towards the complexities of later works. The other Quintet, a reworking of his Piano Trio Op 1 No 3, adheres more strongly to the original work. HHH